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Smack Dab in the Lap of Imperfection

7:20 a.m. Hear someone crying. Get up.
Find sweatshirt and sweatpants and robe. Come downstairs barefoot. It’s one degree outside and the floor in the bathroom feels about the same. Feel annoyed with Elivette for pulling on my sweat pant strings and untying them while I’m trying to pee. Feel guilty that I’m annoyed, especially since I did get to stay in bed past seven.

Denton gets hit in the face with a light saber while I’m trying to navigate the whole coffee and creamer and right side up cup ordeal with half open eyes and I feel guilty about looking in the refrigerator for the creamer while halfheartedly comforting him.

Sit in my comfy chair by the corn stove with toddler on the left and preschooler on the right arms of my chair. Elivette snuggles into my chest and asks to nurse. This child who hasn’t nursed since November still asks me nearly every single day. Shot of guilt for weaning her when *I* was ready and not when she was ready.

Read several books to Elivette while I ignore the boys upstairs bothering their older sisters who are still in bed. She and I have lots of giggles about the pictures and faces in her book. Wonder if I should interfere with the situation upstairs. Wonder if I were a “better mom” if they would still torment and tease. Wonder if my kids are normal or if there is too much yelling in this home and that is why they yell. Feel guilty.

She starts pulling on my hoodie strings and kind of choking me. I put her on the floor where she cries. I let her climb back up when she starts “smooshing baby” and pushing uncomfortably on my belly. I put her down again and she cries again and I feel like a heartless mom who doesn’t just sacrifice herself for her toddler but I must maintain boundaries and take care of myself too which feels like an impossible task.

The kids want to listen to a CD only we can’t find the cord to the CD player. After looking in several places, I pirate the cord from my camera charger which miraculously fits. Wonder if we would still have all the lost things if I were better at organizing and teaching the kids how to put away their things. Feel guilty. Denton starts screaming and slamming doors because Cadrian is the one who gets to hold the CD and put it in the player.

Cadrian finally goes to begin unloading the dishwasher after having been asked roughly thirty times. Denton comes out of the keeping room and begins pulling on the CD player and making the CD skip and yanking on the camera cord, which makes me feel angry and anxious that my camera cord will get ruined and the library CD will get ruined. After asking him to stop several times and gently pushing his hands away and moving his whole little body away, he will not be altered in his destructive course. I not so gently push him away and bodily pick him up and plop him on the couch in the keeping room and shut the door. Feel on the verge of tears that I’ve already had a temper fit and it’s not even an hour into my day.

Loudly remind Cadrian to finish his job for the umpteenth time. Loudly remind Elivette to take her sippy cup to the kitchen for the umpteenth time. Try to read a couple articles in my Holistic Parenting magazine which are about the importance of real food which I then translate into my being a ‘bad mom’ because all I’ve fed Fizzy Baby is a couple cups of coffee and a cookie and we’re going to have frozen breakfast pizza for breakfast.

Change Elivette’s stinky pants the smell of which makes me internally puke a bit. Feel guilty that I didn’t take her diaper off earlier so she would have gone in the potty and that the wipes are so cold and that taking care of her basic needs makes me want to retch.

Now Elivette and Denton are fighting over pulling up the antenna on the CD player. Cadrian is playing with the BopIt in the other room. The girls are chatty and overwhelming me with questions and comments and anecdotes.

Brielle is writing a story she intends to submit to PBSKids about a little girl whose parents are so mean they don’t let her watch X or R rated movies or drink alcoholic beverages, not even margaritas. Wonder if the PBS people will think WE watch X movies and wonder how she even knows what that is, and if I should make her change it or just ignore it and wonder why I even care what these strangers think when I know we don’t do anything “wrong” but then again it’s appearances that seem to matter and…what if?

******************************

Until I wrote this out, I didn’t even realize how much of my day is punctured with guilt. I don’t know where this comes from–other than the Enemy who wants to steal my joy.

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Potatoes and Poetry

I check out books of poetry

because I think
I want to be the kind of person

who reads poetry
and to use
my brain for more than
deciding dinner
and conciliating sibling squabbles
and three weeks later 
I find the books of poetry 
unread and forgotten.
As I pare potatoes
with a knife,
because the potato peeler has
gone missing
along with the remote control
a library book by Roald Dahl
most of the magnetic alphabet
and the waist I had when
I met my husband, 
I think
about the poetry I used to read
and the poetry I used to write
and I look down into the 
oceanic eyes of the 
tiny toddler 
clinging to my legs
as she gazes up at me
willing me
to pick her up
and nuzzle her downy hair
and breathe in the scent of 
innocent potential
and I know
my life is poetry.
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Time for a change

I’m a whole different person.
The morning after I cut it, Denton came out of his room and stared at me. He made a sleepy bee line to Dada and stared some more. Then he finally says, in that indescribably sweet little voice of his, “Mama? You name Mama?”

I was just tired of it. My hair is VERY heavy and I feel so much freer now. I was finding myself getting annoyed with my sweet baby for grabbing and pulling it all the time, not to mention it huuuurrt!

So, I just started whacking at it. And it turned out pretty ok.

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Plans for me

I have been wanting to be a midwife for a long time. I even seriously thought about changing my major in college a couple of semesters before student teaching to nursing!

I’ve never gotten very far with this, what with getting a job in my field to get out of debt, then getting married and having babies of my own…

But it’s always been there. My sister tells me the first thing I said to her when she came to visit after having Brielle was, “I had to have an epidural! How am I ever going to be a midwife when I can’t even birth naturally?!”

An opportunity arose to take a midwife’s assistant class with an acquaintance of mine. As a super special bonus, a couple of my favorite people were already signed up. It took a while to get Kevin to see the wisdom of attending this class. He initially was adamant that it was not the right time in our lives and I needed to make our family our priority. It was hard for him to be at peace with my making this commitment and buying the books but he came around a couple days before the deadline to sign up.

All systems go.

And every time I thought, as I would go about my day, “Oh! I need to sign up for the class!” My Holy Spirit would whisper, “Be still and know that I am God.” or ” Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

So I waited. The next day. And the day of the deadline. Talking things over with my sweet Father, knowing He would come around to see things my way.

And now, here it is three days past the deadline. I’m not signed up for the class. I feel so dejected. I feel like it’s a chance I won’t have again. I feel like I’ll never be anything else than what I am right now.

I’ve been complaining about it too. And I hear my sweet Father say, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

And so I wait.

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these days

I am doing So much better.

Today, I actually went grocery shopping. I think the last time I did that, by myself with assorted children, was early this summer. Ever since I started having pregnancy complications we have just been doing food triage, where we run in to get the things we think of, or I send Kevin in with a *very* short list. Today, I planned a menu and made a list.

Last night, I created. I made Denton some training bundies. I used his Gerber ones as a guide and made the outside out of fleece and the lining out of an old pair of flannel boxers (not going to say whose ;-)) He’s had them on all day and he’s been dry all day, so I have no idea how well they work. *grin*

This was such a joy for me to have my brain work right. Losing all the blood I lost during Elivette’s birth really affected my mental process a lot more than I realized. I was extremely emotionally fragile and fuzzy headed to the extreme. Being able to figure out how to de-construct a simple pair of bundies and then make a pair myself has been out of my reach for too long.

This week, I have been in control of my emotions for the most part. I could feel myself  slipping, for no particular reason, just the overwhelmed-ness that so easily creeps in. I cried but I didn’t “lose it” with the chiddlers. I went into our pantry while they were having lunch and sobbed a bit; breathed deep and prayed long. The day went on and I was in a much better frame of mind.

Simple things, but things that have been out of my grasp. These days, I’m doing SO much better.

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I’m productive even when I don’t mean to be.

And sassy too.

Here are some of the great and mighty things I got accomplished today.

Duct taped the toilet seat after it cracked under me. Nothing like that happening to make you feel like you’ve gained 300 pounds. I used zebra duct tape because really, how can you not?

Ate some blonde brownies the seven year old made.

Cut both the boys’ hair. They love getting their hair cut with the clippers. I mean love it. If they had their way, they’d both be bald. Denton’s still hasn’t recovered from when his brother cut it (and Cadrian’s is growing out funny from the same incident) so it’s a loh-hot shorter than before. Denton looks so different. And old.

Started a new book.

Started to do dishes until we realized the freshly installed (and apparently not quite correctly or completely) water heater was gushing water out into the room, so I got out of that.

Planted the rest of the square foot garden.

Hung out a load of laundry. It’s still there.

Hired a birth photographer!

Called one of my besties and pinned down a date to take her to get pedis.

Took a few pictures of the house addition.

Now I’m just sitting here, sans pants, being awesome.

Look how productive I am. *grin*

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This week…

It’s been interesting. Crazy and calm and hot and cool, windy and still.

I signed the three oldest up for VBS at a church about 6 minutes away. And let me tell you, there is NOT much in my life I can say is about 6 minutes away. They are gone from 9-11:30. The girls also have had Five Day Club for a couple of hours in the afternoon; they are gone from 12:30 – around 3.

It has been a break for me to only have Denton in the morning and only Cadrian (because Denton is sleeping) for part of the afternoon. I have been able to rest more, put my feet up more, read more, do a bit of scrapbooking, plan ahead more, THINK more. I have been thankful for the one on one time with my boys.

It’s been crazy because we have to be out the door every day by a certain time, and I have to go get the kids at a certain time and we have to eat lunch right away when we get home because the girls get picked up about 40 minutes after our arrival.

It’s odd to have them not be around me. To not really have them have time to unwind, to go around their home at their pace. It’s odd they haven’t had time for a many of their self initiated craft projects (although they still made time to make sandals from cardboard, construction paper and chenille stems).

It’s been different, and I’m not sure in a good way, for Denton to only have me around to play with. He was much more demanding (much like my oldest was at this age…hmmmm) than normal. He didn’t quite know what to do with himself without his siblings to follow and emulate. He misses having his favorite people with him all morning.

The house has been tidier, and yet I’m not sure it’s worth it.

As wild as is our normal, as busy and frazzled as I often feel with all four of my chiddlers ganging up on me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like having my children here at home, the whole family in our house where it belongs. And, I daresay, they love it too.

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Ok, I’ll admit it…

…right here in public for everyone to see.

I’m weird.

True story.

I have my clothes hanging by color in my closet and my DVDs alphabetized. But I hardly ever have a clean kitchen floor and it drives me bonkers to take the time to make tater tots in nice neat rows for a casserole.

I like to write my dates like this: 25 August 2012 which is European instead of August 25, 2012 which is American. And I am oh so very American. I also wish we were on the metric system because I can always remember there are 1000 meters in a kilometer, but never how many feet are in a mile. Plus I never say it’s however many miles anyway; I always measure distance in time. As in, “It’s about 20 minutes to the grocery store.” or “My aunt lives 8 hours away.”

I love chocolate. I’ll eat Nutella right off the spoon. I adore milk chocolate, dark chocolate, my grandma’s recipe for hot chocolate syrup, but I really, really don’t like chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream. If that is the only kind offered, I won’t even have any! Cake! or Ice Cream!

I read a lot. I am on a first name basis with all my librarians who automatically pull my holds when I walk through the door (I know! They are THAT awesome!) But I have some sort of aversion to buying books. As in, I never do. Unless they are a quarter at the library sale or part of our homeschool curriculum (shout out to Sonlight right there). As in, we checked out Everywhere Babies probably 30 times before I finally decided it was buy worthy.

One of my pet peeves is discovering everyone left their toothbrushes out on the sink after they’ve all gone to bed. It doesn’t seem to bother me to step over my own shoes for the third day in a row however.

I don’t really like tea that much. But I wish I were a tea drinker. I love the image that tea seems to personify for me: a mama sitting at a tidy table, gentle breezes blowing in through the crisp lace curtains, a canary singing softly in the corner, red geraniums on the window sill and a calico kitty purring contentedly on the lap while the children joyfully-yet quietly– play with their handmade wooden toys at her feet. In fact, I buy into this image so much I have an entire cabinet shelf dedicated to tea of all flavors. Truly.

And yet, my sick little tea fantasy never comes true. When I do make a cup, my children are still loud and squirrelly, I’m still allergic to cats and still a houseplant killer, canaries actually annoy me, I don’t even have any curtains, and the tea is found the next day half drunk and cold.

It’s true. I’m weird. I’m a walking contradiction. It’s a good thing I like me that way.

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Pain free?

I have had my share of pain with a history of migraines, but never have I had chronic debilitating pain. I know God is allowing me to walk through this (pun intended, since some days I can barely walk) so I can have more empathy for others, and I’m sure a host of other reasons. I can see now why chronic pain is so often associated with depression.

I went to see my sister in Colorado, which hopefully will be another (positive) post. While I was there, I had an appointment with her chiropractor who specializes in muscle testing for food allergies. It is good to know that the only thing I need to avoid is chemicals, which we are already trying to do. It is challenging to know that we need to avoid dairy for Brielle and reduce wheat for Aviana; a bit of overwhelming, to be honest.

That evening I started developing a terrible pain in my thigh. I had been playing with my three year old nephew and thought maybe I had just overworked my muscles a bit. It continued to get worse and extended to both legs. By the time I got back to Iowa, I was up most of the night in pain, in pain most of the evening and only able to lie on the couch with a heating pad and moan and cry a little bit.

I went to see my chiropractor here, contacted my midwife and the chiropractor I saw out in CO and everyone is somewhat stymied. My midwife did say I could take Tylenol, so that is helping. Last night I was able to feel almost normal and laugh at funny websites. I was optimistic that I would sleep through the night, but I was wrong.

To compound matters, Brielle has a sore throat and has been waking up in the night. I’ve been sleeping in our newly cozy guest room (so at least I’m not keeping Kevin up too) across from her room so I’m the one getting up with her to comfort her and give her medicine.

This morning has been the first time that I’ve really even felt coherent enough to write some thoughts…

Praising God for that. Praising God for Brielle’s stuffy nosed happy cricket voice. Praising God the other children aren’t sick. Praising God for a reprieve from the pain. Praising God for my husband who’s been a saint–a bona fide saint.  Praising God that He’s right there with me through the pain, when it’s all I can think about.

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Recently

Reading Last Light by Terri Blackstock.

Buying a generator.
Building and stocking a storage pantry.
Wearing my poet shirt I got in high school.
Trying to talk my husband into a wood burning stove.
Researching composting toilets and water sanitation systems.
Harvesting some veggies from the garden.
Freezing them plus more I bought from real gardeners at the Farmer’s Market.
Falling in love with Backwoods Home Magazine.
Implementing the Two Minute Tidy.
Not stressing about the state of my home. (it’s been a beautiful thing)
Brushing off the sand from my bed (see the post about the two sandboxes :-))
Designing our Christmas photo card.
Getting ready for my brother’s wedding.
Noticing that I am up before the sunrise now.
Making stuff with my sweet girl.
Spending a lot of time outside.
Preparing to make a lot of applesauce.
Learning how to can tomatoes. (And hopefully applesauce)
Loving my first cup of coffee and my second and frequently third (and even, sometimes, fourth) (I tell myself, hey, it’s better than the Diet Dew habit!)
And snuggling with my husband under a yummy fleecy sweatshirt blanket free from the seed corn salesman.
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