Category Archives: parenting

Two Months

It’s pretty amazing how time works. You know, how when you’re counting down the days until something exciting happens, it seems like time just drags on. You can almost count the seconds, and they drag on endlessly. But when you’re looking back at something, it seems like time has flown by. And you wonder where it all went and how is it possible that it went by so fast.

Today, Silas is two months old. Two months since that whirlwind of a labor. Two months since I first saw that face that I fell oh-so-completely-in-love with. Two months since I looked into newborn eyes that held so much wisdom -is it because he still remembered being in heaven? And I wonder, where did the time go?

I’m still waiting for some down time to just sit and hold my newborn. But my newborn isn’t newly born any more. I’m still waiting for the few days of slowness with my husband to just sit together and enjoy the moments of welcoming this precious life into our family. But we haven’t had any moments to just sit together.

I’ve only had postpartum depression once in all my seven babies. I don’t have it this time. I don’t have time for that. But I have mourned the busy-ness of our lives this last season. So busy sending a child off to school. So busy working on our little bit of home and the land we have been blessed with. So busy enjoying a far-too-brief visit with our oldest and our granddaughter. So busy trying to get started and be diligent about school work. So busy trying to maintain a semblance of sanity in this almost insanely busy but blessed life we have. So busy that I don’t know where the last two months have gone.

My little Silas. Still a baby, but so much changed from when he took his first oh-so-calm breath. I’ve had a few brief moments of just BEing with him. I’m hoping to find more. He has definitely carved out his place in our family. None of us can remember what life was like before he came. Happy two months to you, my little man-cub.

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Busy, Busy, Busy

Bingley when he was 15 minutes old.

 

Turkey poult reading the news.

Little baby ducks.

It’s spring here in New England. Which means there are LOTS of things calling for attention. Baby chicks, baby ducks, baby turkeys. Preparing garden beds, mulching garden beds, planting, weeding, cleaning. And then there’s the end of the school year push. Every year in May I can see the end of the year coming and completely lose my schooling focus. This year it happened at the end of April. So we entered May mode in April, but now I’m ready for summer mode and it’s still May. It’s pretty difficult keeping children on track when I’m not!

Plus this year we have to pull together final grades for Josh, who is graduating in just over 2 weeks! And we don’t have only final grades to pull together, but grades for 9th and 10th grades which were stored oh-so-safely (NOT!) on a computer that decided to have several hiccups along the way. I still have all his work, but it’s stored in the basement under all the things we haven’t needed to access in the last 2 years. So in order to get to all his old work, I need to go through the stuff on top. And it makes sense to sort what I’m going through while I’m going through it, right? So let’s just say that I have a few things on my things to do list.

And on top of it all is the oh-my-goodness-the-baby’s-coming-in-as-little-as-9 weeks! I still haven’t gotten through my pre-Sophie project list, and she’s 20 months old! I think my spring and summer are pretty well spoken for.

Mother’s Day Blessings

Reminiscing. Thinking of all the mothers in my family. My great-grandmothers, most of whom I never met, but still are such a big part of who I am. The one who had to leave one of her children in another country for years because they didn’t have the money to bring her home. The ones who left home for new lands and new opportunities. The one who lost a son in WWII. Strong women, all of them.

My Great-Grandmother, Amelia, is the second on the left. My grandfather is the handsome blond sailor in the back on the right.

My grandmothers. I love them dearly. One who told me on her 83rd (or 84th?) birthday that her biggest regret in life was not having more children. One who never talked about children until after my third child was born and just mentioned that she always wanted more but had many miscarriages. No one ever knew. One leaving home and family to marry the man of her dreams, the other marrying after a brief 6-week courtship and then sending her husband off to war, not seeing him again for 2-3 years. Strong women, both of them.

My still beautiful grandmother.

My mother. Raising two children as a single mom. Warm and creative. Working to provide the best she could. A strong woman.

My grandmother, my mom, my oldest daughter, and me.

I’m next on the family mother tree. I am a blessed woman. Abundantly blessed. I think about each child of mine. Each one so precious.

The oldest, Kate, a mama herself now and living too far away, preparing to move to an even greater distance in a week. Born when I was so young, and didn’t know the first thing about being a good mother, but wanting to giver her the best of me that I possibly could. She is the fierce protector of her baby I always knew she’d be. Graceful, passionate, beautiful.

The next one, Josh, now a man preparing to leave our nest. He spends less and less time here. I miss him already, but I’m so honored to be his mother and I look forward to watching the next few years. Gifted, humble, a quiet and strong leader.

And then my quirky, particular, and oh-so-funny Zach, the boy who is quickly growing out of boyhood, loving books and dragons and legos and swords, still giving me swift hugs when he passes me in the kitchen. 

Sweet Maddie, so tender hearted and kind. Probably the one most like me in likes, but so much like her Papa in personality. Dress wearing, tractor driving, loving to knit and bake and sew and run barefoot and splash in the creek and care for the animals.

Little Emma, a princess. Blond-haired beauty with a quick smile. Dumping toys from boxes so she can stand taller next to me to play with my hair – her habit when she’s tired. So wanting to be in charge, but just barely 3 years old and the 5th child makes it hard to be the boss.

Sophia Rosebud, the current littlest, but not for much longer. Dark, curly hair and a deep belly laugh. Such a petite little body, but such a big personality, a fearless monkey imitating everyone around. Curious, climbing, busy.

And the soon to come littlest. A boy? A girl? Blond or dark? Serious or fun-loving?

Each one is such a gift, a treasure. I did nothing to deserve them. So much love in this little cottage of a home. Oh, yes. I am a very blessed woman. And I’m so grateful to be the descendant of so many strong women. I hope I am able to honor them in the way I live my life.

Fighting the Battle

Thought I’d share a few interesting things I’ve been learning lately.

  • The cold and flu viruses die at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • These viruses survive best and are transmitted fastest in low humidity and cool or cold temperatures.
  • A cough or sneeze can spread germs up to 8 feet.
  • People with a cold are contagious for the first 3 days and up to 10 days after the start of cold symptoms – for most cold viruses. There are exceptions. People with the flu are contagious for even longer. 
  • Most colds go away 7 – 10 days after the start of symptoms, but the symptoms may last longer.
  • There are over 200 different viruses that cause colds. That’s why the same person can catch a different cold frequently.
  • Once sick, you can do things to relieve symptoms, you can do things to help rebuild your immune system, but the cold still needs to run its course.
  • Cold and flu germs can live on some surfaces up to 48 hours. 

Why have I done all this research you ask? Because our family has, once again, been stricken with yet another version of the wonderful cold. This is round 5 for us this winter. That’s the most we’ve ever been sick.  I’m tired. Really tired. Adding joy to the wonderful cold, is the very unpleasant and lingering morning (well, mostly evening these days) sickness that I’m still battling. Every time I cough, by stomach does flip flops. I won’t tell you any more than that. It isn’t very pretty and doesn’t need to be blogged about, but it’s the worst weight-loss plan I’ve ever been on. We missed church (again) on Sunday. We’re missing our homeschool co-op day (again) tomorrow. We’re staying in and containing our germs. You’re welcome.

So here’s my advice for everyone else. If you or your child are coughing, stay home. If you or your child are sneezing, stay home. If you or your child has a fever, stay home. (And by the way, reducing the fever with medication does NOT mean “fever-free”. The fever needs to be gone on its own for 24 hours.) A low grade fever does not need to be medicated. It is your body’s nature way of killing germs. 

Why is it so important that you stay home? Because your germs spread. A cough or sneeze (see above) spreads germs up to 8 feet. The germs can live (see above) for up to 48 hours. So think about it. If you go anywhere when you’re sick, you just gave anyone who, for the next 2 days, touches anything within 8 feet of where you or your child coughed your wonderful cold. This may not mean much to you. But to a family of 7, it can mean a very long time of feeling very unwell. To my 9 year old, it means several doses on the nebulizer, and frequently a trip to the emergency room because she’s struggling to breathe. To a 91-year-old great, great grandfather, it can mean hospitalization (my grandpa’s in the hospital because someone didn’t stay home). To a person, like my granddaughter, who has a suppressed immune system, it can mean hospitalization, or rejection of her heart, or worse.

So really, is that trip out of the house worth it? Do you really need milk that badly? Can a neighbor or a friend pick it up for you? Do you really need to send your children to school or church or to co-op?  It may not seem like it, but to some people a cold really is a life or death battle.

Changes

I took an unplanned blogging break. There were so many things happening around here, that I simply didn’t have time to catch my breath and write any of it down, let alone try to process any of it.  I spent some absolutely amazing time with my oldest son. Six whole days. Just us. And another mama and her daughter. We headed to sunny and warm Florida to look at a school for Josh’s next step. We flew from the cold snowy tundra and landed in sunny warmth. We sat by the pool, drove in TRAFFIC, saw some scary people, met some very nice people, walked around the school, ate, sat in on classes, auditioned (well, Josh auditioned, and the daughter of the other mama auditioned. The mama’s sat and prayed during the auditions), sat by the pool, napped (I napped), went to church at a HUGE church, went to the beach, and flew back from the sunny warmth into the VERY cold (3 degrees) snowy tundra. It was good to get home.

Let me just tell you. If you ever have the chance to spend time with my son, you should do it. He is a blast to be around!

And we found out we’re going to have some changes around here. The Builder and I discovered that we’re expecting a new little one. In August. We think. Well, we know we’re expecting, but we THINK it’ll be arriving in August. Surprise!!

And then Josh got a phone call. From the school we visited and where he auditioned. They want him to come there next year. So he’ll be leaving in August. More changes. I’m so excited to see what God has planned for him. And I’m so sad to see him leave. Having one child 2,000 miles away is hard enough. Having another one leave isn’t fair. This Mama’s heart doesn’t want to let go. But it is right. And this is life.

The end of a Season

My “Thanks Mom” flower. Given by each of the senior soccer players to their mom’s to say, “Thanks for getting us to practice, making dinner around our schedule, coming to our games, cheering for us, standing outside in the sun, wind, rain and cold.”

His team finished well, with a 14-0 season, and losing only at the last game of the regional finals.

I doubt that my son knows how much I enjoyed watching him play.  I’ll miss cheering for him and his team. It’s more than the end of a soccer season. It is the end of a Season.

Growing Up

Emma fell asleep tonight. On her own. In her own bed. For the first time since she was 5 months old. And she is completely, totally 100% weaned. Finally. Except for the 3 or so times that she was tired and assumed her nursing position, laying down in my arms playing with her hair. I was able to distract her and we moved on. She’s growing up. And for the first time in 13 months I’m only nursing one baby.

Rebooting

“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would have the courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents. The mother would then be able to hold herself in “wise passiveness’ and would not fret her children by continual interference even of hand or eye – she would let them be.”
Charlotte Mason

Oh, what a wise woman she was!

Every Potty needs a Pooper

Sorry about the title of the post. I couldn’t resist. But it perfectly reflects today’s big event:

Emma pooed!

Yes, I know this is not something that people typically get excited about. But I have two children in diapers ( and we’re back to using cloth for them both), so dealing with poo is a frequent occurrence for me. This time it was different. Emma pooed…..

IN THE POTTY!!!
Can I hear a collective, “WOOHOO!” from all mom’s everywhere who dislike potty training as much as I do? 
I don’t think Emma was quite as excited as I was, but she wanted to flush. When she did she looked in the potty and said………
“Ew.”  
I have to go now. Sophie just learned how to take off her diaper cover.

My new favorite thing

Why, oh why did I wait for so long!!?? I finally bought myself a Moby wrap. My midwife told me to, but I didn’t listen to her right away. I have 3 other slings, and I used those. (One of which I used to carry 3 other children. Yes, I’ve had it for a while.) Well, after trying to carry Sophie in one last week, and after my shoulders ached from doing so, I finally broke down and picked one up. I just put it on. Let me just say that this is the most amazingly comfortable baby carrier I’ve ever used. Sophie loves it. I love it. And it’s cute!! I have her in the Hug hold right now. Typing with BOTH hands because I don’t need to support her with one even though she’s in the carrier. I’ll try one of the other positions later and see how she and I like it. I might even try it with Emma. Oh yes, this will definitely be the one I recommend to EVERYONE.

Sorry, no pictures. My camera has decided to completely quit working. Good thing I have a birthday coming up. =)