Monday, August 31, 2009

Brag post

I'm a mum. I like to brag about my kids 'cause I think they're the bestest. I'm allowed to do this. This is my blog after all.

{insert toothy grin here}

Here's Turtle toddling around. I *love* the early walks. It's so freaking cute.

Oh, and please ignore the background noise in both of these videos. This is my house, full of monkeys. There is always background noise (like right now, Zoe and Lana are locked in mortal combat over a helium balloon disagreement and it is generating a significant level of background noise).

And here's Zoe the artist. She *loves* to draw. You'll remember, she got started at and early age. She can entertain herself for hours drawing. Unfortunately it won't just be on paper. It will be on her, on her siblings, on the furniture and the walls. She's even drawn with chalk on the neighbor's lawnmower (oops, sorry guys).

Until recently, it's just been scribbles or circles. But now she draws faces, bodies, bugs, butterflies and even an occasional letter of the alphabet. (brag brag brag, but isn't she clever?)

She is a little ambidextrous but she does favor her left hand. Here she starts off drawing with her right hand just because I confused her when I handed her the green crayon and asked her to draw a green monster, but she didn't want to give up the orange one. She quickly switches to her other hand and takes over with it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I will celebrate

Last weekend we were dong our usual, running around in the car getting errands seen to. We were also visiting yard sales and some stores, looking for something that would look nice on our daughter's grave. The atmosphere was a bit tense, because we didn't have a lot of time left if we wanted to mail it in time to arrive in Scotland for today.

You see, today, 8 years ago, I became a mother.

So last weekend we were looking at all the little angel statues and bear photo frames and cute little baby figurines. We were also hunting out some bargains and generally getting on the with mundane. I scored a bunch of perfectly conditioned gymboree sweaters for Turtle, for a quarter each!

It felt like a normal day, but tense. I noticed that my fuse was very short and I couldn't understand it. I was getting cross with the kids and Rene for silly little things, but there was no reasonable explanation. As far as I was aware, I felt fine. I wasn't hormonal, I got up on the correct side of the bed, I had had my wheetabix. We continued stopping at yard sales and looking through for treasures.

And then I heard myself just melt down. Rene and I had a disagreement about something, I can't remember what. I went silent for a while. My head was just empty. No thoughts at all. It was strange. Silent. Then I heard myself burst into tears. I sobbed and wept and I'm sure it was quite relieving, if I'd have felt it. But I was hovering over myself watching it play out.

I expected to come out with some argument to whatever it was we were fighting about. But I didn't. I heard myself say, "I don't want to buy a bear or an angel or a statue or figurine or a baby for my daughter's 8th birthday. I don't want to buy it in advance to mail it to Scotland. I don't want to make sure it's weather proof. I want to buy a craft kit or an mp3 player or some trendy pajamas and jewelry, and I want to take it home and hide it in the closet until the next morning. I want to stay up late and wrap it at watch her face light up when she opens it. I want her to hug me and say, "thanks mum". I want her to play with it and enjoy it, not for it to sit on a cold stone being rained on. This just sucks."

And I crumbled. And he stopped the car and he held me. I hadn't been aware that I was even feeling this way. I guess it was all tucked up inside. We just cried. And the kids asked questions, and talked about her. And then Rene had a good idea. Why don't we go shop for clothes for an 8 year old girl and then donate them to the homeless shelter.

So we did that. It felt so good to look for clothes for her. I chose styles she'd like, based on her being a Docherty. My kids don't like wearing denim, or anything scratchy. I bet she'd be the same. I chose colors she used to look great wearing, because of her complexion. White, deep purple and green. I chose comfortable, yet trendy. It was so satisfying. Kaya used her money to buy a pretty pink t-shirt to donate on her behalf too.

We donated them today. We also went out to a re-diaper sale/fun day with a bouncy castle and face painting and way.too.much cotton candy. There were balloons and free treats, kids music and lots of our friends. And I pretended the whole thing was her birthday party. That's ok to do, right? It might seem a little crazy, but us bereaved mothers are a little crazy, and we're perfectly allowed to be. So we spent 5 hours at her birthday party today. The kids made bead people and danced and jumped until we all about crashed. And she smiled down. I'm sure she did.

Or God at least did and he knows where she's at in the whole space time continuum, Heaven/paradise, new body, spirit, temporary place or wherever. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but thankfully he does and he's in control and I do know I'll see her again. I'm certain of it.

Meanwhile I will celebrate her birthday. And I will cry on it. And I'll do some less than sane things, like pretend a re-diaper sale is really her birthday party with tons of guests. And I'll remember that day when I pushed her into this world late at night, and I sat and stared at her and could not go to sleep. Because she was perfect and beautiful and I could hardly believe she was really mine. I guess she never really was. None of them really are. I'll remember staring at her tiny tiny face and holding her little hand in mine and memorizing every little detail. The way she'd pucker up her lips, her little lamb like cry, her perfect eyebrows, how she could look across the large hospital room from day one, and focus on objects far away. She was so smart

I'm so proud of her. Happy birthday Peach.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's not about what's in the bottle

In some ways, I had it made when I lived in Scotland. My birthday is in May. Usually about a week before Mother's Day here in the USA. In Scotland Mother's day was in March, which gave Rene plenty time to build up his pampering energy in between the two.

Now it just gets a bit too overwhelming for him. Two special occasions all bundled up. And he's kind of a one trick pony when it comes to this sort of thing. Thoughtful (not expensive, by any means, but thoughtful) gifts is one of my love languages. But not one of Rene's. He tends to buy a bunch of cards and a couple cheap gifts and dump them all at me in bed before I get up in the morning. Then that's it for the day.

I tend to go all out. Streamers, treasure hunts, poems, surprise hidden notes, gifts ordered from other countries months in advance, special meals etc. It's all about making a big fuss and making the person feel special. It is my love language.

Last May, I tried not to show my disappointment. In his typical style, he woke me up and dropped some kids, some cards and a couple gifts at me. I smiled and thanked them and opened my gifts. I got some junk food (a bag of dove chocolate and some salt and vinegar potato chips) which we're trying to avoid eating, and a bottle of some sort of shower gel which I assumed to be from the dollar store. I don't use shower gel. I prefer bars of soap and preferably all natural, when we can afford it. This stuff looked like it was stuffed full of chemicals and perfumes, would dry my skin out and burn my eyes and make my breastmilk extra toxic.

It felt to me like Rene either didn't know me, or didn't support me, or didn't care. Maybe he just has no idea that I like to avoid chemicals. Maybe he doesn't even know I'm crunchy granola. Maybe he never paid attention. Or maybe he'd trying to send a hint that he wants me to be more mainstream, like the rest of them. Or maybe he didn't even give a thought as to what I'd like, maybe he just thought, "that looks like girl stuff. My wife is a girl. Score. Birthday present sorted".

Either way it was kind of hurtful. I guess I wanted to feel special, like I try to make others feel. But maybe I'm just not special enough.

Fast forward a few months to August. Lana wants a bath and asks if we have any bubbles. I tell her no, we don't. Rene corrects me. He looks down at his feet and tries to act like he's cool, like his heart is not at all on his sleeve and his feeling are not at all hurt. He's simply stating the facts. But can't look me in the eye, and he sounds dejected. "Well, we have that stuff I got for your birthday or mother's day or whatever. The chamomile and lavender stuff. I don't think any of it has been used, so there's plenty left".

At first I had no idea what stuff he was talking about. Chamomile and Lavender bubbles? Oh, he must mean the crappy shower gel.

I think I thoughtlessly blurted out something about the stuff not being good, or filled with chemicals. He found it a little harder to hide his hurt while he defended it, "It's Johnson and Johnson".

I went to the bathroom and looked at it. True enough it was Johnson and Johnson, lavender and chamomile, chemical filled shower gel. I decided to get in his head space and figure out what he was thinking. In Scotland, Johnson and Johnson is THE preferred brand for babies. It's portrayed as soft, gentle, natural, preferred by midwives etc. The tv commercials have tons of squashy, squeaky baby bums and he knows how much I love baby bums. And it says chamomile and lavender, and he knows I love herbs and aromatherapy.

It's not that he doesn't know who I am or that he disapproves, or that he doesn't care! He knows I'm crunchy granola, and he supported me by thinking hard and buying exactly what he thought would fit. So he doesn't know how to tell a "good" product from a "bad" one - I can so live with that. I feel bad that he put so much thought into that gift, and instead of focusing on what was going on inside his head and heart, I made him feel rejected just because of what was inside the bottle.

9 years ago today, two babies who truly believed they were grown ups, said vows to love and cherish each other forever.

Both of us babies have grown and learned so much in these first (of many) 9 years. We have been through some pretty trying times and have had some years where staying married was very hard. But this baby is so glad we've fought through, and clung to God like we promised we would. I'm sure we have some more hard times to come, but I believe we'll get through whatever comes our way, and use it towards our growth.
I pray I'll learn how to get inside Rene's head space more. To be more selfless. To see the bigger picture and to see the pure intentions. I'm really glad it's not about what's in the bottle. Because the stuff in his head and heart is so beautiful. And I'm blessed. I've just got to open my eyes and see it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tot Talk Tuesday

Zoe has learned how to politely ask someone to move out of her way. She will say "cuse me" in her sweetest voice. 5 minutes ago she was trying to get to the bunnies to give them some hay but there was a bag in the way. So she asked the bag, "Cuse me. I weally need to cuse. The bag is cusing me"

It reminded me that I have to get my TTT post up. So here I am.

Rene reminded me of the one I forgot about from last week. Zoe calls sunscreen ice cream. For whatever reason. And we call her diaper rash cream, "bum cream". Sometimes she gets the two confused. I was applying sunscreen to her in public and she loudly protested, "No, I don't want bum ice cream!"
Frankly, neither would I!

And a sweet one:
Lana was asking me what the word available meant. I explained it meant something wasn't being used and was open to be used. She asked what about if a person is available, what would it mean. So I explained it meant they weren't busy and were free to help if you need help sometime. So she said, "Then, God is available. He is available in Scotland, or America, or Africa, any time we need him". Absolutely.


Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog

Friday, August 21, 2009

Family of veggies

Lana and I became vegetarian in 2007 after she started crying when I served up chicken and she realized it was previously a live chicken. I have not regretted it at all, and I preached from my soap box about the issue here.

A year ago, Kaya decided she wanted to become vegetarian too. Mostly because Lana and I were, and I think she felt left out a bit. She loves the taste of meat and allowed herself to eat it on holidays, and she'd look so forward to holidays. But recently she won't even eat meat on holidays. She says she likes the smell of meat still, but never wants to eat it again.

Rene and I discussed what to do with Turtle and Zoe, and eventually agreed that we'd raise them vegetarian until they ever express an opinion otherwise. We won't feed them animals until they are old enough to understand meat comes from animals and request to eat it.

Which left us with Rene as the sole carnivore of the family. I rarely cooked meat for him, but he'd eat it if we went out to eat or if someone brought something at work etc. And then he'd eat meat, and as much of it as possible. He enjoyed it very much.

Until recently. I completely, did not put any pressure on him (I haven't even expressed opinion to him on the matter, so don't blame me, peeps!). He decided to go veggie too, out of love for his daughter. He is an amazing Dad! Read about his decision on his blog post about it .

So now we're a completely vegetarian family. It does make me very happy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When Turtles attack

Turtle got to my laptop, pulled the screen down, and was fascinated to see himself in the webcam software thingy. He proceeded to take snapshots of himself.

Tot Talk Tuesday

Zoe gave me quite a bit of material this week...I was writing it on the whiteboard but then someone wiped it all off. So let's see if I can remember..

In church on Sunday, in the cry room where we watch the live feed from the auditorium while tots can run around a be a bit noisier, Zoe was looking at a book with her daddy and naming the animals she saw. I heard her point one out, "Wook at that. That's a kangarood! A kangarood, Daddy. See? A kangarood"

It was cute.

For some reason, whenever I wear her in the sling she starts declaring, "I'm a big boy"

Darn, I forgot the other one that was on the whiteboard. Maybe Rene can remember??

Last night she put the metal strainer on her head and started saying to me, "Mummy, wook, I'm a biter biter"

I couldn't figure out why she was so proud to be a biter, or why she was a biter twice over, or what it had to do with this strainer on her head. But she continued to smile and tell me she was a biter biter and she seemed really pleased about it.

It wasn't until I noticed she was putting out flames with her hose and being the hero of the day that I figured out she was trying to say, "fire fighter".

Ok, I just remembered one more. We were grocery shopping and Lana was having a bad day. Zoe heard her asking us for "one more chance" about an issue that's irrelevant to this post. And Zoe decided to mimic her, and she gave me her frowniest face and loudly asked me, "One. More. Pants, Mummy. One more pants!"


Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog

Monday, August 17, 2009

heart faces - bubbles

This week's I heart faces photography challenge theme is bubbles.

This one of Zoe blowing bubbles is a fav of mine. I fixed up the coloring and lighting a bit and added in a couple of bubbles, since there weren't actually any in this pic.

I totally encourage you all to click on the link below and go join in this super fun and wildly popular photography challenge.

The monkeys and me with a new look

My wonderful husband stayed up late getting it to work, because I designed it all wrong in terms of pixel sizes etc. I had hoped it could plop on top of the old design. Anyway he got it all working. Lemme know what you think, and if it's not working on your browser etc, let me know too so I can try to do something about it.

I at least wanted some sort of pic of me with dreads in it. So I'm happy with that.

And thanks Rene for your dedication! You're too kind, and I'm sorry about the late night! I'll make it up to you (I'm talkin' home made tapioca pudding with homemade strawberry jam, baby. Maybe I'll even throw a curry in there too. Well, not in with the pudding, that would be gross. But on a separate plate, at the same meal time. Ok this has got too long for parenthesis..)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We've coined a new phrase

Rene came up with the term this morning while trying to put away some laundry (yes, I know, I have a man who puts away laundry on occasion. I am thankful) with Turtle on tow. As he put things away, Turtle pulled them back out again.

Rene came and reported to me that our son was "unhelping".

Turtle then unhelped his Daddy to load the dishwasher later too.

Of course, we still give plenty of praise for unhelping. Not just because Turtle has the cutest grin and can get away with almost anything with that charm. But also because we know his intentions are pure. He is trying to help, to be just like Daddy. How sweet. As he grows, we can guide him towards more helpful helping, rather than unhelpful helping. But until then, I guess doing the dishes will just have to take a little longer, while we stop to grin at the boy who is unhelping in the cutest imaginable way.

I am SO far behind with pics, so here's one from July, since every post is better with one.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Something is different.

Something's not right. I am a fan of summer. Summer is my favorite and my best. I love the heat, the playing in water, the ice cream, the crashing into an air conditioned home after sweating it out all day. I love getting sticky with sun lotion and drinks tasting too watery because the ice melts. I love having to wear shoes because the ground is too hot for the soles of your feet. Yard sales, picnics, barbecues, hand held fans, sun stroke. It's all good.

I love this stuff.

And because I love Summer so much, and I'm not a fan of Winter; Fall is usually depressing for me. I love the leaves and the beauty. But it always feels like death to me. Partly because I remember the life and death of my firstborn in the fall of 2001. So the look and feel of fall bring back some mixed up memories and throw me in a rollercoaster of emotion.

But even before then, fall could bring me down in the dumps. The chill in the air, the death on the trees, the darker days and longer nights. In the middle of enjoying Summer, I've always found myself dreading Autumn.

But not this year. Something is different this year. This year I've noticed myself thinking forward to Halloween or Harvest time or raking up leaves, with excitement brewing up inside. What's up with that? Lately when I've been realizing the Summer must end soon, instead of grieving, I've been feeling anticipation and joy and a whole new sense of ambition and motivation.

This was so eerie to me, so I had to get to the bottom of it. Ok, I noticed that accompanying these positive feelings of my least favorite season were always memories of last fall. So the key must be somewhere in there. I ran my mind through memories of last year.

The pumpkin patch

The yellowing leaves

Dressing up

Bringing out sweaters

And as I remembered these things, I felt so good inside. Like I had just taken a drug. That warm, content, excited feeling which starts deep in your gut and resonates across your shoulders and through your whole body. I feel alive. It's wonderful. What is it about last fall that's causing such wonderful memories?

Did anything significant happen last fall?

Why of course it did. This happened last fall. September 18th, 2008 - I had the most amazing birth experience. I had my first son, at home, in the water, with only my husband and eldest daughter with me. It was peaceful, intimate, exciting and perfect. And oh my, the buzz.

I enjoyed my other births, as much as one can enjoy pitocin induced contractions while being strapped to a bed. I was happy to meet my little babies and I love newborn days.

But nothing could compare to the feeling of giving birth using only the normal, natural hormones and chemicals which God built in. And wow they are amazing chemicals! the adrenaline and the endorphins and the love hormones. I just felt on top of the world. It was the most amazing high.

People often ask, "why would anyone want to give birth without an epidural? It must be some sort of martyr mentality"

And if you can't grasp how amazing it feels to experience birth with all the natural lows and then incredible natural highs, then you will find it difficult to understand why anyone wouldn't want to numb the pain of labor.

I felt like I could conquer the world. I had done something incredible and I felt like I had super powers. I had created a little being and brought him into the world. He was mine. The Drs didn't give him to me. I made him and I brought him to life, and played a part in this incredible miracle of life which God set into motion.

If I'm having a difficult time in life, which I often do, lacking motivation etc, I just have to look at these newborn pictures or remember those early days and I am instantly infused with this sense of achievement and amazement and self worth. I can draw from the energies that I had back then, from that birth buzz.

I am woman, hear me roar.

Oh my gosh, look at that sweetness

It was about 11 months ago. And I can still tap in to those positive energies. How amazing is that? And I'm thinking this wonderful birth has cured my ill feelings about fall forever. So are you all convinced about natural childbirth yet? I'm just happy I'm embracing life in a new way, and am content to experience the changing seasons with my wonderful family, and empowering memories. yay.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tot Talk Tuesday - a little late in the day...

I've been busy today with La Leche League in the morning and then playing with 8 kids in our wading pool and slip 'n' slide in the afternoon. I didn't get the chance to get my Tot Talk Tuesday post up. I figured I'll do it now anyway - better late than never, right?

Lana gave me some TTT material on Sunday, when we were flying in first class. She was a couple rows in front, sitting beside Kaya. I was praying they'd be on their best behavior and they did pretty well. At one point though, Lana turned around and in a panic tone started calling, "MUMMY! DADDY!". Everyone looked. She continued, "I'M ALMOST PEEPEEING MY PANTS!!!"

Thankfully the steward was swift to attend them, remove her tray of food and help her to the bathroom before any accident. but it was a little embarrassing.

Zoe came to me with her dad's glove worn clumsily on her hand and says,
"Mummy, do you want to pway soccer?"

I'm guessing she thought it looked like a baseball glove, but thought that baseball was called soccer. It was very cute.

Anyway I know it's late in the day, but if any of ya are online while it's still Tuesday (or heck, I keep it open all week, so join in any day if you want! Call it Tot Talk Wednesday for all I care. :))it would be nice to hear what your tots have been saying this week.


Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog