Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Emma's Welcoming Party

The same day that Bashful gave me the calendar of help, she handed me an invitation. She and HisLady were planning a party for Emma. I thought it was really sweet, because generally you think that someone with three kids won't be needing any more stuff for a baby. But surprisingly, things wear out, get stained or worse and although you may have everything necessary for a baby - it's just really nice to have something new and refreshing!

The day of the shower, was the day after I first came down with my cough that ended up being bronchitis. It was a cloudy day and, although it rained a bit in the morning, it was clear and dry that afternoon and evening. The weather forecast was supposed to be clear and sunny so I had insisted Sir take the car to work and I would walk to Chasm and HisLady's house. It was my first attempt at taking a walk with a stroller and three kids and we arrived at a decent time in spite of our adventures.

I did remember to take the camera, but when you're second-in-line to being the center of attention, you don't end up taking very many pictures. And if you're like me, you don't remember to ask someone else to take pictures for you either. As soon as we got to HisLady's house, PC ran off to find Jolly and I discovered them a few minutes later when I decided it would be wise to locate my absent son. Thankfully, I actually had my camera in hand, and the little boys didn't see me until I'd grabbed a few pictures of them in their mischief. I guess boys will be boys no matter how little they are!

Meanwhile, Dolly had run upstairs to play with the other girls and Emma was making faces at all the cameras aimed at her downstairs. Go ahead and click on any of the pictures to get a closer look. Some of them are worth it!

Anyway, the evening started off with supper. Bashful provided all the food as I later discovered. There were enchiladas, corn pudding casserole, chips, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. All of it was delicious! Grandma C. made my favorite cake for desert, but I didn't get any pictures of it since it was mostly gone by the time I remembered that I had a camera on the premises. Oh well, at least you know it was good!

Once the kids were wiped up and released to play again, HisLady started the games. There was a 'Dress the Baby' race where everyone was divided into three teams, given a bag of clothes (including a diaper, socks and shoes) and one of the three one-year-olds. Wisely, HisLady had made sure that the mother of each toddler was NOT on the team that had to dress her baby. It was an absolute riot and I had so much fun! Monkey's team won and everyone on the team got to choose a prize. Then there was the classic 'Dirty Diaper' game. You had to identify by smell (or taste if you dared) what kind of chocolate candy was mangled inside each diaper. Astonishingly, Aunt Knittery's middle daughter got every single diaper right! The last game we played was a 'Alphabet Baby Names' game. Each person had to come up with a girl's name. They had to be in alphabetical order, and each name could only be used once. They started with me and went clockwise around the room. If you couldn't come up with a name that started with the next letter in the alphabet, you were out. You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to come up with a name that starts with Q,X,Z or U until you try this game, but you wouldn't experience the outlandish made up names if you didn't give it a try either! Lots and lots of fun for sure.
After the games were over, I got to open gifts. The main gift was a money basket that turned out to be a very generous amount! But there were quite a few other gifts as well including the decorated diaper cake (above) made out of 78 diapers, baby washcloths, baby socks, bottle liners, a teething ring, pacifiers, tiny teddy bears, wooden spoons and a chocolate filled bottle. I got a few outfits for Emma, some cardboard books, toys and a dozen homemade bibs among other things. I must admit I got rather excited about the bibs and feel rather silly looking back now, but the bibs were terribly practical and something that I really needed, and I was definitely not expecting to get anything like them!

By the time the gifts were all opened it was getting pretty late. The shower had started at 5pm and the alphabet game took a while to play - all that thinking, you know. I called home to let Sir know we were ready to be picked up, but he didn't answer and I left a message instead. Sir had planned to go over the border for gas and groceries after he got off work so I wasn't too suspicious. He called me back half an hour later and said he'd be on his way in a few minutes. Twenty minutes later, he arrived - we live within five minutes driving distant from Chasm and HisLady. Anyway, we loaded the van, with kids and gifts and went home. Once everything was unloaded and I was about halfway through getting the kids ready for bed, I noticed two huge boxes in the living room. Sir had picked up a surprise while he was across the border, but this post is long enough as it is, and I'll write about that another time! Hm, I guess I should include a picture of me with Emma. Just ignore my frizzy hair please - it's worse in the shots where I'm looking at the camera, so that's why I chose this one!

And my kids are up from their naps, so I have other things to do now. Until next time!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Captain Dan Has Posted Again!

Hooray for Captain Dan! Click over (here) to see what he said, and leave lots of comments so he'll keep blogging! Read his Jeep Wagoneer BBQ post and you'll know why I want to see more posts over at The Last Resort. I grew up on The Ranch and dearly miss hearing what's happening now-a-days. And... while you're thinking about The Ranch, read SAJ's laundry post (here) to get a general feeling of what it used to be like - she did a pretty good job describing it!

Friday, October 19, 2007


Finally! I can breathe!

Yesterday 'Ann-Tee' as Dolly calls her, came over to help me with the kids. She called me up Monday morning to see if I could use some help Thursday since that was the day she could come over. It worked out perfectly, because on Monday I called my doctor's office to make an appointment for as soon as possible. I wasn't feeling any better than I had been on Saturday, and the cough syrup that was giving me enough help to fall asleep each night was almost gone. Thursday happened to be the soonest I could be seen and even then I'd be seeing a different doctor since our family doctor was booked until next week.

Anyway Ann-Tee came over at 9:30 and I was able to take a shower and WASH MY HAIR! Washing my hair makes my shower twice as long, so unless I have time to spare aka: using valuable nap minutes, I pin my hair up and do my best to speed wash the sour milk off of me. Then while I got started attempting to make some order in my kitchen, Ann-Tee kept my kids happily entertained by reading all the books they kept bringing her. I'm sure she read a few of them more than once too. By the time the kitchen was halfway presentable, it was time for lunch and I had enough time to eat my own lunch and feed Emma before it was time to leave for my appointment.

The doctor listened to my wheezy gasping (it hardly qualified as breathing)and agreed that I needed some inhalers. I had told her I'd dug up an old inhaler the day before and had used it in spite of it being expired because I just could not breathe. If I'd had a car, I would have headed for the ER, but I only have the car if I ask for it ahead of time. So, I was given a sample conditioning inhaler and a prescription for a quick-acting inhaler to use as needed. She also gave me another cough syrup prescription since I'd asked about getting more as it really made a difference in calming my cough and getting to sleep.

It was past my kids' naptime so I didn't wait around for the prescriptions to be filled. I was planning on going back to that area to pick Sir up from work later and could get my medicines then. I didn't want to leave Ann-Tee with my fussy, tired kids for any longer than was necessary. As it was, when I got home it was nearly an hour past their normal naptime, and since I was planning to pick Sir up, I'd have to wake the kids up before they'd slept long enough. I put my kids to bed and Ann-Tee headed home. It was pouring rain all day long that day, and I felt terrible letting her walk. I had offered her a ride home, but she said she'd take the bus like usual. I could have packed all the kids up and driven her, but then they would have completely missed their nap that day. They didn't settle down for a long time that afternoon so they barely got a nap in after all. Oh well. Not everything goes according to plan.

While I was at the doctor's, HisLady dropped by to deliver a pot of soup for our supper. She stayed and helped Ann-Tee with the kids for almost half an hour and finished cleaning up my kitchen while she was there. She was gone by the time I got home, but it was nice not to have to come up with supper that evening!

After we picked Sir up from work, we dropped by the pharmacy to get my filled prescriptions. I've been using the fast-acting inhaler as needed, and I have room in my lungs to breathe! It's such a relief. I can climb the stairs without collapsing in the nearest chair for ten minutes hacking away as I gasped for breath. I can breathe deeply enough to actually cough up some of the gunk in my lungs. I can breathe and I'm so glad!

I was feeling so much better today, that when Bashful and her kids dropped by to drop off our supper and to help me for a couple hours, we tackled the job of cleaning the carpet in the dining room! It was so nice to have energy enough to be productive. It was nice having an extra pair of hands to work on the carpet stains too. The kids kept each other busy building forts out of the living room furniture, pillows and blankets, so they stayed out of our way which made the work faster. When we were just about done with the carpet, Bashful took the older three of our six kids and walked down to McDonalds where she grabbed some lunch. With just the three little ones (all of them sleeping at the time) I was able to finish the carpet job. It's nice to have a clean floor in the dining room again!

Maybe it's the antibiotics finally making a difference... maybe it's being able to breathe... maybe it's both, but I finally feel like I've gotten past the worst of this bug. Things are looking up and I'm sure I'll be feeling ten times better tomorrow than I did last Saturday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Than Friends

Almost three weeks ago, Bashful handed me a folded piece of paper after prayer meeting. When I opened it I was shocked at the extent of the love my sisters in Christ have for me. To see for yourself, click (here).

In front of me was a month calendar filled out with meals, help, babysitting and laundry volunteered by my friends and family. I mentioned in previous posts that Grandma C. came over to help me adjust to a bigger family the first week of Emma's life, but instead of my help being ended when she had to resume her own life, it went on for the next month!

So far, only half the month has gone by, and people have done even more than they signed up for to help me. I've had supper provided almost every day because when a meal was delivered, often there was enough food for more than one meal. No one has forgotten a day that they signed up to do something for me, and even some who weren't on the calendar at all have called me up and offered food or help.

Lily kept all three of my kids for 3 hours that first week, giving me a chance to do some grocery shopping that I'd been putting off for too long. Then yesterday she called me up and offered to take Dolly and PC for the afternoon so I could get some rest. She even came over and picked them up since Sir had the car. It was such a help! With the older ones gone I could take the baby and just go to bed. I slept for over two hours and didn't have to pop out of bed in an instant to let my kids up from their naps! I felt SO lazy... pampered... rested. It was a wonderful break and it was completely unexpected and very much needed. And that evening, HisLady brought my little ones home along with an already hot supper ready to go on the table!

Grandma C. came over yesterday morning and helped for an hour or so before needing to go. She bathed my kids, did my dishes and insisted I sit down with a cup of tea. Then she made a special trip back to our house just to bring us some soup for lunch! Today, just before I was about to start my last project before our afternoon naps, Mamma Bear called and said she was watching Lily's kids and wanted to know if she could take my older kids for the afternoon! I was even more tired than I was yesterday, but I didn't have the car so I couldn't drop them off. So, she came over and picked them up! She kept them all afternoon so I could get a really good nap and she even fed Dolly and PC supper. As well as providing supper for us tonight as the calendar indicated!

Having the afternoon free that last two days, has been such a help. It's given me a chance to just rest and work on getting better. It really is a blessing to have so many people around so willing to help! I have so much to be thankful for. I'm still wheezing most of the time, coughing a lot, and my airways are still restricted, but the antibiotics are starting to work. I'll be so glad to get over this since it's been the worst lung malady that I've had in more than five years!

Anyway, speaking of getting better... I need to go find another cough drop before I work myself into a coughing fit again. Once I get started it's really hard to stop and I still have a splitting headache from the last coughing fit!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sailing Under A Yellow Flag

Mothers are not allowed to get sick. And somehow, my body forgot that little rule of motherhood.

On Wednesday I thought it was just an annoying cough. It would pass. Besides, I was expecting to come down with a cough as a result of the laughing gas I used during labour. It's not recommended for people with asthmatic history but nobody will refuse you that pain reducer if you still want to take the chance of your asthma rearing up a few weeks down the road.

Anyway, the cough got worse on Thursday, but I wasn't too worried since I figured I knew what it was. By Friday it was more than just a little annoying, and like the flick of a light switch, I was noticeably worse that evening. My chest hurt when I coughed, my throat was getting raw from so much coughing, and the cough was nearly constant. Worst of all, it seemed to be settling in my lungs. Not a good thing since my lungs aren't the strongest.

Last night, although Emma slept solid for six hours, I did not. Even being drugged up with cough suppressant/expectorant and nasal decongestants didn't seem to help. I barely slept at all and my coughing didn't help Sir get very much rest either. By this morning I was feeling half dead, and at times more than half dead. My voice was nearly gone, I couldn't get three words out of my mouth without sending myself into a coughing fit, and if I wasn't coughing I was so exhausted from coughing, that I didn't even have the energy to do anything except collapse in a heap on the bed, chair or floor.

That was when Sir decided I needed to go see a doctor. He had suggested it on Wednesday, and I was going to make an appointment since a lot of my coughs end in lung infections. I didn't get around to it before the doctor's office was closed for the weekend and since today was Saturday, my options were the emergency room or a clinic. I chose the clinic and Sir bravely stayed at home with all three kids so I could go see a doctor. The kids were going crazy because it was lunchtime, they were hungry and Mommy was acting far from normal.

I had a half hour wait at the clinic before being called in, and in less than five minutes the doctor told me I had bronchitis and sent me on my way with a prescription for some antibiotics and a strong cough syrup. The cough syrup has really helped, and in a day or two I should notice the effect of the antibiotics. At least I'd better - they were expensive enough!

So, when I'm brave enough to try lying down, I'll be going to bed. I'm tired, but coughing sure takes a lot out of you and it's worse when I'm not upright. At least typing doesn't require extra breath to accomplish or this post wouldn't have made it past the first sentence! Now I just have to start functioning again before Sir gets what I have - I really hope he skips out on it this time though. This bug really knocks the wind out of you - literally!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One Day At A Time

You know, life just slips by you one day at a time. Sometimes I wonder if every mother looks at her little ones and feels the desperate longing to keep them just the way they are - knowing that one day she'll look at them, and they won't need her any more. That the smallest things she does which influence them so completely now - magnified a thousand times, will hardly budge their actions in only a few short years. Knowing that one minute she'll lose her guard and blink. And they'll be all grown up. And then she cries.

Then it doesn't matter how much sleep she gets, or how little housework gets done, or that she's going deaf because of the little voices crying in her ears. The headaches, the stress, the chaos - is worth having these precious minutes while her children are small and pliable. That's when you want to pile all of your little ones in your lap and just hold them and never let them go. But of course, they look at you like you've gone crazy, and just try harder to squirm out of your arms.

But that's what I want to know - How do you enjoy these little moments (where your babies are squirming out of your arms or screaming their heads off) when you know that those very moments are limited? That one minute they'll be there for you to savour and then one day they'll be gone. Forever.

I know, I know. I'm probably worrying too much. After all, my oldest isn't even three years old yet. There's still a couple years before she starts off to school. My son is still in diapers and probably will be for another year.. my baby is barely sleeping through the night. But time keeps ticking, the days keep going, and my little ones won't be little forever. They won't be little for very long at all.

But don't let me get you all depressed or anything. There are more cheerful things to think about. For example: In the last two days, Emma's schedule has seemed to change into something absolutely reasonable! I'm so excited - hopefully it's not just a chance occurrence or anything. Last night she slept for SIX hours solid - 11:30 to 5:30. On top of that, when she woke up to eat, she managed to make the feeding just 15 minutes long and then without further ado, she went right back to sleep until 8:30. Of course if I had been thinking clearly I would have put her back in her bassinet at quarter to 6 and snatched another couple hours of quality sleep, but I was sure she'd want to eat again soon. After all, 15 minutes isn't much of a meal. So I kept her beside me and tried to get her to wake up enough to eat more, but she wouldn't budge and I finally put her back in her bed around 6:30. And the alarm went off at 7:30, and the other kids were done being quiet and waiting for Mommy to release them from their room by 8. But hey! the six hours last night were priceless.

That was last night. The night before, was almost as good since Emma slept for two solid four hour stretches and only took half an hour to eat both times she woke up. And all day long yesterday she seemed to follow everybody else's schedule. She ate breakfast when we did. Lunch when we did... she had an afternoon snack while the other kids were finally sleeping, and then she ate supper when we did. She stayed awake and played or just stared at stuff after she finished each meal, and didn't sleep for too long during the day - except when it was afternoon nap time which is exactly what I would like. In fact, it seems just too good to be true, and perhaps it is... she is only two and a half weeks old. But it's been a wonderful break for me to get some real rest in the last two days.
Dolly and PC are still adjusting to sharing a room during naptime, and it's very slowly getting better. They still play for a long time and I have to go in and tell them to go to sleep every ten or fifteen minutes for the first hour, but eventually they do go to sleep. Much to my frustration, I think I'll have to eliminate PC's morning nap. I so love that little bit of quieter time after breakfast and before lunch, but PC is not sleeping very much if at all during the afternoon. And as much as I love my morning peace, I NEED a break when the afternoon comes 'round. I tried shortening his morning nap and putting the kids down later for the afternoon nap, but it's not helping very much and recently as soon as the older ones finally settle down, Emma wakes up for her 'afternoon tea' feeding around 4pm so my afternoon nap is very short or non-existent.

But I'm adjusting too. I've found that even 20 minutes of sleep for me, can really help. It's amazing to realized how tolerant you can be when you've had just a little bitty nap. I do have to go to bed as soon as possible after Emma does though, since I really need more than just a short little afternoon nap. Other than that, I love to watch my kids interact with each other. As you can see above, Emma is still the favorite baby sister. I actually got a few pictures of Dolly and PC loving their 'new baby'. And thankfully, Emma hasn't displaced anyone either. PC and Dolly are still just as much friends as they ever have been. Below you can see them playing a 'big person's game' together. I'm so thankful for each one of my little ones!

And life is getting much better and more manageable just one day at a time.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Flying Solo

This is what I see from the porch of our house. That is, if I don't look the other way at the busy street in front of our house. Anyway, a little over a week ago, I noticed a plant growing up the fence across the alley behind our house. It was just starting to change it's summer foliage for fall colors, and I thought it would make a pretty picture when the colors had turned. So, I waited... and waited.. and watched.. and waited and finally I was happy enough with how it looked, to take pictures.

But then, it got windy and it rained for days and days, and when it wasn't raining, the lighting wasn't right, but I took pictures anyway, and just kept trying again when I could. Today the pictures seemed better, so now the wind can blow all the leaves off and I won't complain.

Anyway, I wasn't planning on writing about a plant growing on the fence across the alley behind our house. So, before I move on to my main topic, here are a couple closer shots of some of our fall colors.

I always wondered how three kids could be that much harder than just two. I mean, a new baby doesn't do anything but eat and sleep right? Right, but it has it's own schedule that usually clash with all previously existing schedules. Apparently the only one really affected by these schedule clashes is Mom- or whoever it is that organized most of the schedules.

Last week Grandma C. came over each morning either before I was even up, or just a few minutes after I'd crawled out of bed. She would tidy the kitchen until the kids woke up, or if they were already awake, she'd start by getting them dressed for the day. Then she'd fix breakfast. This gave me time to get Sir's lunch packed and not have hungry whiny kids underfoot. After Sir would leave for work, and breakfast was over, we'd start on a project for the day. Most of the week was spent digging out the baby clothes from the storage shed outside and sorting through them. It would have been a monstrous project for me do do by myself. Especially with both of the older kids clamoring for attention and the frequent stops I had to make in order to attend to Emma.

(Continued 3 days later....)
As I was saying... The first week of Emma's life at home went nice and smoothly. Grandma C. was here to be an extra pair of hands and eyes and as time passed, the initial excitement of the 'new baby' wore off a little and the older children stopped hovering over Emma ready to touch her the minute an opportunity presented itself. Then Grandma C. had to resume her own life, and I got to find out what 3 kids is all about. Ok, I'm sure I have no idea what 3 kids is all about yet... but I'm learning fast.

This week has been a roller coaster when it comes to good or bad days. Most of it is related to how much sleep I get in a 24 hour period. In general, Emma has been sleeping well enough at night. Most of the time she's only up twice to feed, but then you have to toss in diaper changes and burping sessions that can take a lot longer than one would consider 'ideal'. Overall, on a good night I'll lose about 2½ - 3 hours of sleep.

But then there are the bad nights. The nights where Dolly has a nightmare and needs to be cuddled for 15-20 minutes. And the nights that I forgot to give the kids cold medicine before bed (they've had colds basically since Emma was born)and PC wakes up crying because he's so congested. Then I have to pull out the nasal spray and the bulb syringe - not a sick baby's favorite things to see when they don't feel good. That can take a good half hour at best. Or the nights that somebody loses a pacifier and can't find it in the dark within two seconds thus leading to a frantic panic attack. The worst nights are when all of those things happen during the same night and overall, I get about 2½ - 3 hours of sleep.

A normal night is generally from 11pm to 7:30am for me, unless I'm really foolish and stay up late reading a book or writing blog posts or finally getting to the kitchen cleanup in peace and quiet or the kids are generous and let me sleep until 8am. And there's always nap time. Well, that's one thing I've learned about 3 kids. There isn't always naptime. We've started putting the older children in the same room for their afternoon nap. I used to separate them so they wouldn't disturb each other, but sooner or later they'll need to take naps in the same room since Emma will be occupying the nursery. On a good day Dolly and PC go right to sleep at about the same time, and if one of them wakes up before the other I can get the awake one out of the room without waking up the sleeping one thus giving me at least a bit of a nap myself. But there haven't been very many good days when it comes to nap time so far. I've spent more of my precious naptime minutes either nursing Emma back to sleep, or dragging myself out of bed just seconds after falling asleep to attend to one or both of the older children.

So, when you combine a bad night with a bad day - sleep-wise, you get a very grumpy and overwhelmed Mommy. This is when I'm so thankful for Sir. There's something to being understood when you can't even understand yourself that really restores sanity. And when somebody will listen to you wail out all your frustrations and only offer sympathy and help when most of what you're saying doesn't even make the remotest sense, it really gives the sense of a safe haven and a place to belong.

Anyway, this post is getting long and ramble-ish and it's taken me 3 days just to get this far on it, so I probably should get it posted soon since it's lunch time and PC is about to get up from his nap. Hopefully I'll be able to post more often as things start to settle down. After all, even if it does seem like we take a step backwards for every two forwards, we're still making progress on our way to a normal routine! And for all those who have been so patiently waiting for more pictures of Emma, here's some from her 9-day old photo shoot.