Friday, July 29, 2011

Filling their buckets...

We have been having this on going issue at our house. The issue is the little boys seem to not want to share with each other. We have so much, but yet the kids cling to EVERYTHING like they have nothing. By the end of the day I am at my wits end. Somewhere along the way the giving and caring seem to have gotten lost. I feel like I am raising a bunch of selfish hooligans. They will fight over ONE Lego piece (when we have about 10,000) or over a Playmobil guy because they all seem to want this one guy (it changes everyday, it just seems that who ever picks the first guy, that is the guy they all seem to NEED to have). They won't share snacks or treats with each other, or help each other willingly, it doesn't matter how much it is modeled to them, they just seem to not be getting it.
This evening in a fit of anger I started yelling at everyone. Not a very great mommy moment I must admit. No one wants to listen when they are being yelled at by a crazy mother, they all sort of shut down and get freaked out. Mike nicely pulled me aside and informed me of this fact. Which then I let him have it... "What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing? How can we have created these kids who would rather fight for 20 minutes over ONE STINKING LEGO BLOCK, than share it with their brother? I just don't get it." Then I got a bit weepy. I hate that I yelled, I hate feeling like I am screwing them up. Like I will have these kids who won't share with anyone ever. I had a bit of a "light bulb" moment... Do you think they just aren't getting enough bucket filling? Mike agreed. Maybe they just don't get enough positive attention and so they have nothing to give. They don't have enough overflowing to want to give to each other. They cling to every little thing that brings them even the littlest bit of happiness because they are empty buckets (or mostly empty buckets.)
So what can we do? It can be challenging to give all the kids in a large family all the attention they need. But it isn't impossible, it just takes focus. It takes Mike and I not thinking so much about our own needs and spending a bit of extra energy on the kids. It just takes us making sure to focus when the kids are talking to us, you know, look them in the eye, nod, acknowledge their words. (That can be a challenge when you have a talky kid.) Give hugs and tickles and tell jokes. Slip them a little love note occasionally. Turn off the TV and computer and sit them in your lap (or at least have them sit around you) and read a book. Ask them about their day. Smile as much as possible.
Recently I read "A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family" She talks about the challenges of dealing with a large brood. How important it is to make each child feel special. One of the things she suggested is at bed time sitting at the foot of their bed and spending just a couple minutes finding out what the best thing about their day was, or singing them a bedtime song, or laying next to them for just a couple minutes and giving them that extra cuddle.
I can attest to it being hard to give and give when you feel like your bucket is empty. At Mike's work his boss handed out "How Full is Your Bucket?" (This book is more business place oriented, but it can easily be applied to the home front.) It talked about how hard it is to deal with everyday issues when you just aren't getting enough positive feed back and affirmations. I know that I am critical and that I tend to be easily frustrated when the kids can't seem to get along. But still, in the end it comes back to me, to us (Mike and I) being present, having realistic expectations and focusing more on the positives than the negatives, picking our battles, and setting goals for the family. It also takes Mike and I filling each others buckets so that we have enough extra to give and give to the kids so they in turn can give to each other also. So in the end it won't be just Mike and I doing all the giving, in the end, the end goal as I see it, is that all of us are filling each others buckets and when we are all over flowing it spills out into the world.

Crafting for the holidays...

I have been very inspired lately by these two blogs: and . I made a decree recently that this holiday had to be all "handmade". I am not sure 100% how this will go, but I have some great ideas. One idea I have been tossing around isn't really "handmade" but it is really cool. Sagan is so into inventing things. I was toying with the idea of getting a nice box and heading to the Goodwill or Salvation Army and filling the box with old toasters, keyboards, tape players, etc and give him a couple good screw drivers and let him go to town. Maybe set up a work bench out in the back yard that he can take stuff a part on. Still a work in progress. I have a few more ideas that I am really excited about, but they must remain secret because someone might read about them. hahaha

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fiona Rose's birth Through Derek's eyes...

This is Fiona Rose's birth as seen through the eyes of Audrey's friend Derek. So interesting to read what was going on inside someone else while I was so focused on what was going on with in myself. :

January 26, 2011. What a day. I woke up just like any normal day, because I had believed it was going to be another normal day. One special thing about it was that it was my mother’s birthday. Her 49th to be exact. So I told her to have a happy birthday, and I left for school. When I got there, I saw my best friend, Audrey, and asked her how her extremely pregnant mother was doing. Apparently she had been having some minor contractions the day before. So the time was getting close.

The day went on, and that baby inside Heather’s belly was all I could think about. Towards the end of the school day, I just decided the baby wasn’t going to come that day. But when I was dropping Audrey off at her seventh period (I didn’t have a seventh period), I received a phone call from Heather. My heart racing, I answered. She explained that the baby was coming and she called Audrey out of school so we could go experience this blessed miracle. I drove Audrey and myself to her house because that’s where Heather planned on having the baby. We got to there around the same time as her father, Mike.

As we got out of my car, I started to get extremely excited. But when we got into the house, I started to extremely anxious. Why? I don’t really know. Something about a new human being coming into my life was very special and big to me, and it just struck me somehow. I saw all of Audrey’s little brothers (she has four – Logan, Sagan, Caelan, and Rowan) and greeted them. I think most of them were pretty oblivious to the situation, except for Logan, so they weren’t as pumped as Audrey and I.

The first time I saw Heather, she looked like she was in immense pain. She reached for Audrey to hug her, which turned into another contraction. She just leaned there on her daughter for what seemed like a very long time. When the contraction ended, Mike asked me to do a big favor. He asked me to go drive to his mother’s house to bring her to the birth. I agreed to it, and Audrey and I looked up directions on the internet to her house. And we were off.

The directions we had written down seemed simple enough, but we got lost. Multiple times. We ended up in some kind of resort, in a ghetto, in the middle of nowhere, and in a few neighborhoods. We also almost crashed into another car, and we almost flipped over attempting to do a u-turn and riding up on the curb. Finally, after a few phone calls to Mike for accurate directions, we arrived at Ruth’s house to pick her up. And now that we knew how to get home, there was plenty of traffic. We weren’t going any faster than 30 mph on the highway. And finally, we got off at the exit we needed, but I didn’t know what way to turn. Audrey called Mike quickly and he told us to go east. I didn’t know where east was. But I used common knowledge. I screamed “THE SUN SETS IN THE WEST SO WE NEED TO GO THAT WAY!” We got home about ten minutes after that. A trip that should’ve taken us an hour took us almost two, but we were back in time. The baby was still in the belly.

Heather was now in her bedroom, and I could hear her screaming in pain. It frightened me. I didn’t know what to do. When no one was looking, I snuck into Audrey’s room and sat down at her desk to calm myself down. I literally felt like I was going to pass out. What if there was something wrong with the baby? What if it’s hurt? How much longer was this going to take? Was it going to be a boy or a girl? All of these questions were racing through my head. After I thought I would be able to handle it all, I made my way back into the kitchen, where Ruth was with all the kids. I sat down at the head of the kitchen table. Heather’s screams were getting louder and more intense. I felt like screaming too.

Audrey decided to go into the bedroom where the labor was happening to see how everything was going. Less than a minute later, she came running into the room, yelling “It’s a girl! It’s a girl! It’s a girl!” And while all of her brothers went running into the bedroom, I snapped up and grasped Audrey into one of the most intense hugs I had ever given. I don’t know why, but tears literally poured out of my eyes. I couldn’t help it. Audrey had her first sister out of her five siblings, and it was what she was hoping for for sixteen years. And in my eyes, I had a new baby sister in the same way that Audrey, Logan, Sagan, Caelan, and Rowan did. We stayed there, hugging like that for what felt like hours. Breaking our moment, Mike was calling “Audrey, Derek, come see the baby!” Still crying, he found us in the kitchen. “Come on!” he said. We slowly followed him, and he turned to me. “Are you okay?” he asked. I couldn’t speak, so I just nodded.

The three of us got into the bedroom, and there she was: Fiona Rose Hawkes. And even though it was a bloody naked mess, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The family resemblance was incredible, and of course, I did some more crying. Eventually, the umbilical cord was cut, the placenta came out, Heather’s parents, Jim and Flo, were called to the house, we sang Fiona “Happy Birthday”, and we took pictures. And finally, the moment of truth came. I got to hold her in my arms.

She was so perfect. No crying. No fidgeting. She just remained perfectly still in my hands with her eyes closed, and there wasn’t a single thing that was imperfect. She was content. I was content. Nothing else in the world mattered.

I called my mother to tell her all about it. I told her it was a girl. I told her she was perfectly healthy. I told her we were all happy. And I was happy. And now January 26th contained two very special birthdays. It was getting late; it was a school night, after all. So I went back into the bedroom. Ruth, Jim, and Flo all gave me hugs. Mike gave me a hug. Heather gave me a hug. Audrey gave me a hug. And I gave Fiona one last kiss. At least one last kiss for that night.

Lying close to you feeling your heart beating
And I'm wondering what you're dreaming
Wondering if it's me you're seeing
Then I kiss your eyes and thank God we're together
I just wanna stay with you in this moment forever, forever and ever

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On being a homemaker

Awhile ago on someone asked if people considered themselves Stay at Home Moms (SAHM) or homemakers. I was surprised to see so many found "homemaker" to be somewhat offensive. They said they were home to care for the kids and that was all. And their dear partner should not expect to be cared for in anyway and to hell with the house because that wasn't part of the deal. Now until I read that thread I would have thought I was just a SAHM, but you know I am more then just that. I really love being a homemaker. I mean maybe it does sound all 1950's suppressed woman, but really I take great pride in making where we live a home. Most of the time I enjoy making a nice dinner, I like my house to be clean and somewhat organized, I love doing things for my family, I love making where ever we are living into a home... which to me is totally different then a house. A home is where people want to be, it is a safe place with loving people who care for you. That is what I am making here. So no I am not a SAHM, but a homemaker and damn I am proud of that.

Sweater for baby Fiona

After many years of knitting the simplest of tings i have decided to give something harder a try (ok harder for me) I am going to knit Fiona a sweater, this one in fact , It looks really easy, even to me, so I think I can do it. I am planning on using this yarn, I am toying with either Lollipop or Prism. I will keep posting as I figure this out. Hopefully it will be done by Yule, maybe her first birthday.
(note the blue sweater vest above is like the one I am making for Fiona, only hers will be PINK!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Birth of Fiona Rose

I thought it was about time to tell the story of Fiona Rose's birth. Our newest little wonder came to us all the way back in January of this year...
The evening of January 25th I had some mild labor pains, nothing to write home about, but it got me terribly excited. As the night progressed they faded away and I was feeling a bit put out. I was a bit "over due" and just really really wanted to have this baby. I had had two miscarriages the year before and I was just so ready to be holding a baby. The morning of the 26th was dull, not a single contraction. I was pretty upset and pretty sure I was going to be pregnant until, well, maybe forever. I did the chores around the house, cleaned things, baked stuff, read stories to the kids, did the laundry, you know homemaker stuff. I took some caster oil to try and get things going again... big mistake.Then around noon I gave a my friend Alica a call, mostly just to complain bitterly that I was still not in labor. About 1/2 through our conversation I started having contractions again. When I got off the phone with her, they were pretty good ones. I gave Audrey a call at school, but she didn't answer, so I called the school and then I called Derek to see if he could give Audrey a lift home, because dang these contractions were rough. I called Mike at work around 3 pm. Mike, Audrey and Derek all showed up about the same time. I was in the tub, the boys were all over the place sort of oblivious to what was going on, I think Logan knew, but the little ones were playing, watching TV and fighting. I had just gotten off the phone with the Servpro people in Maine who were trying to clean up the house after a pipe burst. LOL Try talking to someone about something important while having a mother of a contraction and in a tub of warm water. I wanted to just yell, "LEAVE ME ALONE!! Can't you see I'm in labor." Which of course he couldn't. That is when the Caster oil started working. I was on the toilet for most contraction because I wasn't sure what was going to come out! Then I got this idea that I needed Ruth (my MIL) to be there. I mean she HAD to be there, so Derek and Audrey went to go and fetch her. Then of course I worried that they wouldn't get back in time to see the baby being born. After a couple hours of that, things finally settled down in the GI department, but this labor was fierce. The contractions were not really long, but they were intense. I couldn't really sit, laying down during them was impossible. So I walked and got in the shower and sometimes just sat on the toilet, leaned on Mike and Logan. Moaned and carried on. After one hell of a trip to pick up Ruth, Audrey and Derek FINALLY made it home, just in time too. They got back to the house at about 5:20, and at about 5:45 I felt like I had to push, but I couldn't get comfortable at all. I just ended up on the floor in the bedroom. Mike was sure it was too soon, but I didn't care, I HAD TO PUSH! It felt as if the baby wouldn't come out because the bag of waters (which still had not broken) was so big and in the way. I told Mike to get me a crochet hook and during a contraction I broke a hole in the bag. 2 pushes later out she came, our Fiona Rose. Just Mike and I were in the room, just her mama and her daddy there to greet her. Mike called in everyone while I laid on the floor, naked as the day I was born, cord coming out and baby on my belly. Audrey, Logan, Sagan, Caelan, Rowan, Ruth and Derek all came in to see our most wondrous new little bundle. Fiona even crawled up my belly to get up to my breast to nurse, and she did that like a champ. This was my quickest labor, lasting about 4 hours, and my most intense. Soon all the family was called and Grandma and Papa came to visit, I am not even sure I had showered when they showed up. It was amazing, fast, intense, and beautiful all at the same time.