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Back to School 2016

I’ve been doing a “Back to School” photo in this corner since Aviana was three. I’m absolutely awed by how much things have changed and by how much things are still the same.
 I still have these burgundy and green walls.  I still have a nursling. I’m still a homeschooling mama. I am still making it through the day alive, sometimes by the skin of my teeth, sometimes with great peace and joy. 
Aviana 7th grade
Brielle 5th grade
Cadrian 2nd grade
Denton Kindergarten 
Elivette 4 year old preschool
Finnella Nursling 

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My favorite

 Ten is a first born. Ten loves a schedule, solitude and creativity. Ten writes novels and stories and plays and journals and songs. Ten fills notebooks and loses them. Ten loves to play piano and sing. Ten practices regularly without being reminded. Ten needs lots of reminders when she’s on kitchen zone. Ten loves to bake and then eat. Ten begrudgingly cleans up after so she’ll be allowed to bake again. Ten loves to read and would read all day if she could. Ten loves to read with many voices and drama and accents when she reads to her littles. Ten patiently does preschool and games with them. Ten puts up with a lot of grief from youngers who pester. Ten is usually quite kind and thoughtful. Ten is helpful and can do so many things. Ten is brave and bold and unafraid of public speaking, but is reluctant to go up and introduce herself. Ten very much wants a bosom friend. Ten prefers the company of one to a crowd. Ten has great ideas. Ten folds her long legs and long arms up as small as she is able and lays her head on my shoulder and snuggles. Ten questions. Ten is quick witted. Ten is often a child but is often a young lady. Ten sprawls haphazardly and holds herself erect. Ten bursts into torrents of tears without warning or knowing exactly why. Ten is long limbed and long necked and blonde haired. Ten has sprinkles of freckles and a sometimes hesitant smile. Ten tries so hard to do her best. Ten is a perfectionist and ten is perfect and ten is my favorite.

 Eight is a commander. Eight is a challenger. Eight is passionate and wild and loud. Eight is persistent and independent. Eight follows through exactingly when she sees how she benefits. When she doesn’t, garnering cooperation is an arduous ordeal. Eight loves to read and loves to climb and loves to make houses out of anything, jump on the hay bales, swing from the rope and play games. Eight is a leader. Eight is friendly and draws people to her. Knowing what will happen is important to Eight. Reality aligning with expectations matters to Eight. Eight can express her disappointment better now. Eight swoops up small children. Eight finds delight. Eight is creative. Eight loves stick fighting in Kuk Sool Won and is tenacious. Eight is gentle and rough. Eight is thoughtful and thoughtless and thought provoking. Eight is coming into her own. Eight needs reassurance. Eight snuggles fiercely and pulls away from being over parented. Eight likes her own ideas best. Eight likes instant gratification and works several months to complete a model sailing ship which she gives away to her friend the day she finishes it. Eight is generous and impulsive. Eight is energetic and calm. Eight wonders. Eight questions. Eight pushes. Eight encourages. Eight is pink cheeks and freckles and gap toothed grins and scabs and giggles. Eight is perfect. Eight is my favorite.

 Six is loud covered in dirt. Six loves rockets and volcanoes and airplanes and dinosaurs. Six does things big. Six moves fast. Six does all the puzzles all at once until in the middle of kitchen. Six fights with swords of sticks, of wood, of Styrofoam, of pegs. Six is a pirate, a knight, an army guy. Six is action. Six is the exact middle. Six is the little brother. Six is the “big bruvver”. Six taught himself to write and can draw pictures, especially of monsters. Six is sensitive and self-critical. Six is unafraid to climb to the top of the windmill but doesn’t like to talk with grown ups he doesn’t know. Six will tantrum when tired or misunderstood, but usually has it under control. Six kisses fiercely and hugs thoroughly. Six is learning how to do the work well. Sitting is a chair is just not that fun for Six. Six will follow and also leads. Six loves people and to be alone. Six is tidy and trails a swath of mess.  Six eats as much as a grown man. Six is energetic and tiring. Six is growing into his sense of humor. Six generally follows the rules and has a strong sense of justice. Six is helpful. Six is learning to read. Six spoils his baby sister. Six helps his mama. Six follows directions. Six is tender. Six needs his story, his song and his prayers before bed. Six can wash his own feet but not the muddy tub. Six tries. Six is perfect. Six is my favorite.

 Four is fast and funny and friendly and furious. Four makes mad faces and hits and kicks mostly the air when he’s frustrated. Four outgrew naps, but sometime he needs one. Four hides when he’s mad or doesn’t want his hair washed. Four is snuggly. Four is hungry. Four is thoughtful and sweet and gentle. Four needs to be told to not hit the cat with the broom. Four gets a bite of ice cream when he complies with a request the first time. Fours is giggles with gusto. Four apologizes for screaming. Four loves rough housing. Four’s favorite is “sody pop and ‘tato tips”. Four loves Jeeps and fish and lions and flipping upside down. Four remembers. Four needs reassurance. Four notices. Four asks questions. All day long. “Dada, what would happen if the ‘wuk tuwrned into a boat and ran wan into a volcano?” Four sits in on Six’s reading lessons and answers the questions. Four is tender with his sister. Four catches Two and then falls down. Four does preschool. Four learns new things every day. Four is independent and needs to hold hands. Four wants to do it himself and needs reminders. Four loves to be read to and loves to race and loves to be silly. Four loves to make me laugh. Four is earnest and genuine. Four is sticky and sweaty and pudgy and solid. Four is bronzed and blonde and baby growing into boy. Four is quick and curious and contrary and certain. Four is dimples and dirt and dynamite. Four is perfect. Four is my favorite.

 
Two is adorable. Two is hilarious. Two is big eyes and curls and serious mouth. Two is grins and giggles. Two is mischievous. Two talks. Two is “ung-ee”. Two prefers bread and bananas to broccoli. Two nurses when she wakes up. Two runs herself to the potty when her bummie is bare. When she has on bundies, she forgets. Every time. Two sleeps alone in a queen sized bed. Two likes to be where the action is. Two loves to play with water, to play with sand and to carry purses and dollies. Two kisses and hugs ferociously. Two is a fat little belly and dimpled knuckles and legs slimming. Two is thought filled and watchful. Two teases and jokes. Two loves attention and to make me laugh. Two opens, two gets out, two dumps, two strews. Two is curious and quick. Two is intuitive. Two eschews her high chair and sits at the table with the rest of us. Two is clever. Two helps put away the dishes and takes her plate to the dishwasher. Two climbs everything. Two is a problem solver. Two gets her shoes and wants to go. Two doesn’t like to be left behind. Two wants to run with the bigglets but can’t yet keep pace. Two tries. Two loves books and to be in the wrap and for Mama to be a monster and to grab. Two loves the kitties squishingly and the puppy only when Mama is there. Two dashes, Two cackles, Two babbles. Two is tiny and pure and innocent. Two is perfection. Two is my favorite.
photos by the genius Sweekit Photography
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The Absolutely Amazing Home Birth of Babe E

I’m sharing this video for several reasons.

One:  Because it’s awesome.

Two: I want to educate people on natural birth. Women were created to do this! (Not just this, but you know what I mean). I want people to know that even though it’s hard, and even though it can hurt, women CAN do this!

Three: My first birth was a Cesarean. That means I’ve had four VBACs, three out of hospital. VBACs are safe and should be encouraged.

Four: After Elivette was born, I had uterine clotting and bleeding. I lost a lot of blood and fainted. My midwife gently removed the clots, and administered oral Cytotec to clamp down my uterus. My midwife called 911 and I went to the hospital in the ambulance about two hours after the birth. My blood pressure was almost non-existent upon arrival. The ER doctor on call flipped out on me. At one point, he panickedly yelled at me “Do you just want me to take you back and do a hysterectomy right now?!” What kind of question is that for a medical professional to ask; especially to a woman in my weakened state? I knew my midwife had given me medicine at home, but I was unclear at the time exactly what it was. All I wanted was for him to wait until she arrived so I didn’t end up with some sort of drug reaction.

After my midwife arrived at the ER, we got the OB on call to come down. She removed (NOT GENTLY) still more clots from my uterus. I remember screaming and writhing. It was much worse than anything I’d ever been through. I had been loud during the birth, but now I was really screaming! Then, after she got down off of me, they gave me morphine for the pain. A little late, I’d say. I was also hooked up to Pitocin.

I was thankful at least I got to nurse my baby in the ER.

They wouldn’t let me eat. Once I got admitted, they made me stay awake and answer all these ridiculous questions for their intake forms. They wouldn’t let me eat! I just had a baby and they wouldn’t let me eat! I had to be on the surgical floor (I think) because since my baby was born at home, apparently she’s contaminated and can’t be in the Mother/Baby unit. The nurses were as kind as could be and very curious about home birth. I didn’t really want to talk though; I just wanted to sleep! And eat!

The next morning, the OB came back to check on me. She told me that my midwife did everything right. My home birth midwife saved my life. She told me that while it was good we transferred, in case I needed a blood transfusion, the her actions and the actions of the ER doctor and the hospital staff are not what saved my life. My home birth midwife saved my life.


I reiterate this because I want it known that home birth is safe. Home birth, even when there’s an emergency, is safe.

I want people to know that moving birth out of homes and into the hospital in the 21st century is much less about safety as they are led to believe, and more about money. Absolutely, there are instances where you need to be in the hospital–my first birth was one of those. But in the vast majority of cases, for the vast majority of women, it’s unnecessary.

Welcome Home banner the girls made for me.

Meeting biggest brother

Meeting big brother

Five: I want to encourage other expectant moms out there with this video. I loved watching youtube videos of birth while expecting because I felt it helped me be more prepared. It could happen this way, or that way, or some way I’d never anticipated. I loved watching the miracle of mamas bringing their little ones into the world. My baby was malpositioned, and it was difficult, but the euphoria of being able to bring her earthside is unparalleled.

Six: Our birth stories matter. Birth matters. Helping women have a “good story” or even, the story they want is important to me. I hope that this video encourages someone to have a natural birth and to be able to say “I did it!”

Because you can!
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I think I need an assistant

Ok, ok, this set up to the south facing window is clearly too sunny, despite it being an overcast day. Note my valiant Aviana in the back there.

I move the “studio” around to the east facing window. And Denton decides handstands are in order. And Elivette scoots away. (I graciously spare you all the chit chat and playing and general shenanigans, along with the 57 pictures missing between each of these shared here)

Elivette scoots away. Again. I nurse her.

Arrange everyone again. Reclip the clips holding up the sheet for the umpteenth time. Keep my patience. Denton gets cheesy.

I’ve got my arm raised, snapping my fingers, and making weird embarrassing noises trying to get their attention. So is Denton. 
Um. We’re about done with this, Mama. But we’re all looking!

Yeah. That’s about the best I could do…
Their individual shots turned out AH-Maze-ing though!

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The best age

Six months is the best age. Six months rolls over, scoots backwards, reaches and grabs indiscriminately.
Six months smiles and laughs and coos and angels sigh delightedly. Six months stares wide eyed, wonder. Six months eats books and mama milk. Six months can sit unassisted and when on her tummy, pop up on her arms like a prairie dog.
Six months loves the wrap. Loves her mama. Loves her dada. Adores her siblings, even when they try to sit on her.
Six months is entertaining. And my very favorite.
Two is the best age. Two wants to be just like his big brother and his dada. Two tags along. Two can be ornery and full of mischief. Two says “Hols me” when he wants held, “Wap me” when he wants in the wrap. Two often says, “I do it!” Two giggles gloriously.
Two loves to read, loves to build, loves to sit in the middle of the train table and make the tracks go all around him. Two likes to be in the middle of everything!
Two focuses! Two picks up his toys, takes his laundry to the basket and helps unload the dishwasher. Two goes through all the drawers and takes out all the things. Two can be into everything all at once. Two is my favorite!
 Four is the best age. Four needs ‘nuggles in the morning. Four can go outside and play all by himself. Four can button and draw now. Four loves oatmeal, macaroni and “gheez” and cream of broccoli soup. Four makes me laugh every “ghingle” day.

 Four is helpful. Four unloads the dishwasher and switches out the laundry. Four helps his brother when he can’t reach. Four is thoughtful and considerate. Four wants to be heard. Four repeats himself when he isn’t.

 Four is brave and can climb really high and jump really far and run really fast. Four consistently gets his shoes on the wrong feet and likes it that way. Four loves to roughhouse. Four is my absolute favorite.

Six is the best age. Six talks loudly, sings loudly, laughs exuberantly and lives large. Six likes to tell stories with much detail. Six wears holes in her knees and large grins. Six hugs enthusiastically and compassionately. Six is empathetic.
 Six knows a lot of stuff. Six doesn’t always think through her actions. Six practices self control and being a wonderful big sister and a sweet little sister and a gift to her parents. Six can follow a recipe and wash the dishes and put away the clothes. Six sometimes needs multiple prompts.

 Six wears purple on Mondays and loves to bring me coffee. Six enjoys ballet and sharing all the new things she’s learned and dessert. Six would rather read than be read to but still enjoys books on CD. Six is busy thinking of new ways to use yarn and Thinking Putty and rolling pins. Six says many, many, many words. 
Six snuggles. Six is totally my favorite.

Eight is the best age. Eight prefers to be quietly engaged. Eight likes order and a plan and not too many people all at once. Eight is thoughtful and thinking. Eight is creative. Eight writes plays and stories and lists and letters and lessons for her siblings.
 
Eight loves to be independently at work. Eight has all manner of ideas and plans. Eight is a dreamer and generally has wonderful follow through. Eight tries hard.

 Eight is sensitive and sweet. Eight hugs and doesn’t sit on my lap nearly enough anymore. Eight practices piano without being reminded and reads voraciously. Eight learns something new every day. Eight has a beautiful heart. Eight is my favorite!

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We’re all still here…

This was after Aviana and Kevin’s baptisms at the beginning of July…

In between then and now we’ve had four birthdays, a trip to MO (the girls) and MN (Kevin, Denton and me), assorted visits to and from friends, much ado, some tears, many smiles, tons of giggles and nuzzles, a bit of tiredness, volunteer work, and not a lot of inclination to blog.
I’ll be back soon–I miss you too!
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