Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Baby Who Wouldn't

Amarys has decided it's time I paid the price for a newborn who sleeps twelve hours at night.  Just a few days shy of four months old, suddenly nighttime is party time.

Three nights ago, she went to sleep at 9 pm as usual.  She woke up at 10, 12, 2, 4, and 6.  She wanted to nurse, and then she wanted to talk.  She's a talker.  All day,

Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba BWA bwa da da da da da da phhhhhhhhhttttttt wub wub wub wub OOOOO

So cute.
At night?  Not so much.  She's loud, too.
I'm aware that this waking pattern is normal for babies, but it is NOT necessarily normal for them to wake, nurse, and PLAY.  And it is by no means normal for HER.
It was a heinous night, but it was just one night so I didn't think much of it.  I got up with her at six and left the bedroom because Brent had JUST fallen asleep after working all night and I didn't want to keep him up.  I strapped her to her fancy bouncy chair with some toys, parked her next to my head, and lay down on the couch to half one eyed snooze supervise.  All parents are familiar with that one.

She fell asleep on my chest at some point, and I fell asleep too.  Matthew woke us up eventually.  Brent woke up to my alarm at 7:30 and saw I wasn't in bed, assumed I was up, and turned it off.  I woke up and thought, jeepers, my alarm didn't even go off yet it's early!
Oops.  It was 8:32 and the kids' school starts at 8:42.
That was a hectic ten minutes!  They were a bit late.

Then last night Amarys fell asleep at her normal time and everything was great, I went to bed at 12:30 and scooted her over in bed and fell fast asleep beside her.  Not knowing what she had in store for me....

At 3:00 she woke up (remember?  She usually sleeps the whole night long no matter what or where we are or what's going on around her) so I nursed her and then she started her talking


For.  An.  Hour.  And.  A.  Half.

She would take a soother for about two seconds and then POOT, spit it out on the bed and start up her opera warmup routine.
Just as she was winding down and I was about to fall asleep again, Riley came banging into our room

Meeee want miiiiiilk!!!!

I started to cry.  Very loud, very juvenile, very frazzly mom.  Brent woke up and SOMEHOW convinced Riley to fall alseep again without milkies, and we all fell back asleep.  For two hours.
[eternal gratitude towards husband]

Wow, what a weird blip, two nights in a row!

.....Anyone wondering why I'm blogging at 2:00 in the morning this THIRD NIGHT?


I actually know what it is that's causing it, and I should know better.  It's just that life without milk is so freaking hard for me.  I had a handful of cheesies on Sunday at our church young families BBQ, I had two slices of my famous chocolate pie when we had friends over for dinner last night, and tonights supper had cream of mushroom soup in it.  I do it to myself.  When she's talking, she's complaining about her sore guts.  Which doesn't make me less tired!  But it does give me hope for tomorrow....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

Abundance is an antidote for worry. Specifically, gratefulness about abundance. 

-courtesy of mama lady

Sunday, June 26, 2011

May Long Weekend

Oh, princess.  It's just a photo...

Amarys and Nana~my mom bought this hat for me last summer
when I was barely pregnant...she was hoping for a girl
(weren't we all in this sea of lovely, noisy boys...)

This nightgown was one my mom handmade
for me, and my coming-home-from-the-hospital
outfit.  It has beautiful embroidery on it

Gigi, my mom's mom, Amarys, and I
(Gigi asked me on our last visit; "How can you LIKE giving birth?
What's to like about it?"  I guess tastes differ.  Gigi also had four
girls and then a boy, nearly the opposite of me.  She's awesome.
And she reads my blog.  She likes it, though she gives me a hard
time about my swearing....)

Rub a dub dub, three boys in a tub!

See, Nana?  TUMMY TIME.

Quote of the Day

"What children need is not new and better curricula but access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks, to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want to find out."

~John Holt~ Teach Your Own 

courtesy of  The Mahogany Way

Getting Political

There has been a Canada Post rotating strike going on for several weeks here in Canada.  Then last week CP management locked out all its unionized workers, claiming the rotating strikes were costing them millions.
[This makes no sense.  Losing money how?  And how does locking the union out solve the alleged cost issue???]
Today the Conservative party of Canada, led by the illustrious Stephen Harper, had a marathon parlaimentary sitting to push through legislation to force Canada Post unionized workers back to work.  This was a last minute push through before they break for summer.

On the one hand, its a small mercy the mail will not be stalled ALL SUMMER while The Government goes on summer vacay.

ON THE OTHER HAND, WHAT THE FUCK?!  The last time I checked, Canada wasn't A FASCIST STATE!

Do you know what the ONLY sticking point was during negotiations?  Nope, it wasn't wages.  It was staffing.  Canada Post has too much work loaded on too few people, and the union is calling for more positions to be created to deal with the overload.  And what was the Conservative response?


[Here's an article about it]

This is a disturbing trend: wasn't it last year and a bit that the Ambulance Paramedics were legislated [read: forced in silence to accept an inadequate contract be shoved down their throats] back to work in a similar manner?
In our most recent election (the third in too few years, since reshuffling parlaiment is apparently something the taxpayers LOVE to pay for: now children, SHARE THE SANDBOX NICELY, they do it well in India where there is ALWAYS a minority government and people have to learn to work together) the reshuffling resulted in an actual visceral change!  A united, strong, NDP opposition party to balance the Conservatives who actually won a majority this time around.  Likely only because so many Liberals defected because who in their right mind could picture Ignatieff as Prime Minister?  Even the liberal voters can't.
[My apologies to Mr. Ignatieff, I've heard that you are actually an intelligent and articulate man.  Just lacking so much in the charisma department.  Which I've heard is pretty important in leadership these days]

Anyways, I applauded this lineup, because finally a strong united NDP opposition to balance the fiscally realistic Conservative party.  But the symbol of any socialist minded party like the NDP is union negotiations, and today they lost a big one.  HUGE.  I cannot believe this passed, and I'm disgusted and outraged enough to blog about politics, which I don't generally do.

The best way to come to agreements is to TALK, work together, find common ground, build creative, positive solutions which reflect the civil society we're so proud of, which embraces differences and tolerates diversity with pride, and takes care of people.  How is it taking care of people to weigh them down with too much work to complete in too short of time, and then slam the door in their faces when it comes to negotiating contracts with them?


Saturday, June 25, 2011


This post will be a bit like a rag carpet.  Bits of denim, terrycloth, and jersey.  Bear with me~I'm not that articulate lately.  =)

I found a good blog post on spanking [remember the spanking discussion and then more and more of the same discussion?  Wow, I've never had so many comments before or since on anything I've written].  You can read the whole article here, but this was my favourite excerpt:

Grace-based discipline can never be taken too far.  (Extreme permissiveness, which is neglect, is not a part of grace-based parenting).  You cannot teach (discipline) you child with love and grace too much.  You can spank too much or too hard, regardless of whether you are angry or not.  Consider, is your goal really to get as close as possible to abuse without crossing the line?  Why even go near it at all?

This is one of the best 'avoid spanking' arguments I've come across.  Really, it is more the statement regarding the positive nature of grace based discipline that I like about it.  

If my opinion on spanking were on a continuum, I would say that since that discussion that was so big on here, my opinion has slid further over to the left.  I still think spanking fits better in the archaic category than the unethical category, but I'm less comfortable with spanking as an acceptable concept.  I've said before that I'm all about adding tools to the parenting toolbox, rather than subtracting them~and I really believe that the 'biggies' as parents are often things we get distracted from by debates such as To Spank or Not To Spank.  Biggies like: healthy marriages.  Emotional availability.  Eating, reading, and playing together.  Shelter, clothing, eduction.  My mom likes to say, you show up for the job, and you've done 90% of your job as a parent [I'm paraphrasing].  I like to fine tune the remaining 10%, but that is what it is: fine tuning.  You show up, you love them, you love your spouse: you've done a fantastic job.

Eating junk food is bad for my kids, but if I feed it to them, I'm not abusing them.  I might be if it were ALL I fed them.

I read a research project that showed it wasn't methodology in discipline but rather a balance of authority and emotional connectedness that produces healthy adults.  Authority being the opposite of permissive: having reasonable rules, and having the adults enforce the rules, since we are the ones, presumably, with the mature brains and experience to create and sustain boundaries for our kids.  Its certainly ridiculous to claim that the opposite of spanking is permissiveness: healthy boundaries can be enforced consistently without anyone hitting anyone else.

I was never an avid or frequent spanker, but since our discussion if my memory serves me, I have not employed this particular tool.  I think it shifted something in me, so that I figured it was better to err on the side of caution and not spank at all, in case my kids found it damaging or unethical, unlike me.  My experience of being spanked was so benign that I universalized it, but not everyone experiences it that way.

[Added later: scratch that....someone got spanked today...ah, life.  Way to keep me ironic]Anyways, I liked this quote in particular.  And I linked to the whole article so you could read what else she had to say even though I didn't agree with all of it.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Little Boy Musings

I have been wanting to blog the first bit of this story for months.  But first I was pregnant so I kept forgetting, and then I had a new baby so time went by super fast.

Matthew is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy.  Not that he doesn't try and swing things his way, its just that whenever he tries to do something sneaky, its written all over his body language and is blatantly obvious.  When he's thinking about something, he's asking about it in detail.

If I help you set the table, can I have some candy?
How about after supper, then can I have candy?
How about in my lunch tomorrow?  I will save it for recess instead of eating it on the way to school.
When can I have candy next?  Can we go to the corner store tomorrow after school?

Sometimes, though, things are percolating under the surface and it takes a few days or weeks for it to bubble over so we can see what's going on in there...
In February sometime, Brent was working and I was trying to get everyone to school on time.  It was three minutes before the first bell rings, I was still in my pyjamas, no one had their shoes on, and I was wrestling Riley into a pair of socks and sweating from the effort.  Matthew appears at my elbow and asks,

Mommy, why did you and daddy have to have kids?

I was initially going to brush him off but *something* [hello, God] told me not to.  This was worth unpacking.

What do you mean?

Like, why did you have kids, why do you grow babies, why did you adopt kids if you can grow babies in your tummy?

.................a few things were running through my brain, the foremost of which was, NOW?  YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS NOW?!  Seriously, NOW?!!!  Kids: famous for their uncanny sense of when would be a bad time.  What makes this bad timing?  First, I'm alone.  No backup.  No second adult voice of wisdom and love to make sure I get this right, this first inquiry in five years, and who knows when we're going to get a second chance to answer a question when he's primed to hear the answer?  Second, I'm harried and sweaty, making me less articulate and more likely to say the wrong thing.  Third, I'm pregnant, so I draw blanks all day long when I'm trying to think of something to say.  I prayed, and opened my mouth with no plan whatsoever:

We adopted you because we had a house and a family and an extra bed, and lots of love to give to someone, and you didn't have a house or a bed or a family.  God put us together because he knew we needed someone to love, and you needed a family.


And he runs off.
The big parenting moments are always fly by the seat of your pants kind of moments.
I hope I gave him what he needed: nothing more, nothing less.  But a bed?  Why did I put the part about the BED in there?!  Maybe because I was in his bedroom and I was grasping.

Until last night, that was the last we heard about it.  Well, that's not entirely true: for a school project he brought in his baby photo album and explained to his entire class how he was born in Thailand, had a Thai mommy, lived in a foster home with a foster mommy, rode elephants and ate sand, and then flew home to live with his parents in Canada.  Everyone thought that was really cool: other parents were commenting to us about how their kids came home and told them about Matthew being born in another country to another mommy, and being adopted when he was one.  His teachers were pleased by his openness and willingness to share his story.  When asked how it went, Matthew pronounced:


Ever the articulate one.

So last night we're sitting around the table playing this game we've recently invented, where each person chooses any country in the whole world they would like for us to live in if we could.  Matthew always chooses Thailand.

So I could sleep with my Thailand mommy.

Talk about breaking your heart with sweetness and grief.

Mommy, if we lived in Thailand could I see my Thailand mommy?

YES!  Of course, the next time we go to Thailand, you can see her.
[We have the most open international adoption I've ever heard of: we exchange letters and photos, and plan to visit whenever we can manage it financially]

How about my Thailand brother and sister?  Could I see them, too?

Well, that would depend.  If Kuhn-Mae says you can see them, you can.  Its her job to decide if we can meet them or not, but probably she would let you.

Ayden pipes up,
Why wouldn't she let us see them?
[Again: I'm alone, answering deep life inquiries by the seat of my pants.  God?  We need to have a chat about timing....]

Well....Maybe she might worry that if they met each other, it would be more sad when they say goodbye.  Or maybe she would worry that they could be jealous.

Jealous of what?

Well, she doesn't have any money, no house, no way to buy food for her kids, so they don't live with her. They live with relatives.

Well, we could bring her some food and some money!
Kids, on poverty.  It really is so simple, isn't it?

That would be nice, wouldn't it?  We could share what we have.  But it would only solve her problem for a little while.  Once the food was eaten, and the money was spent on clothes and a house, she still wouldn't have any more food, or any more money to pay for a house or clothes.  She doesn't have a job, or an education that could get her a job.  That is why she gave you to us after you were born; because she didn't have a house to live in, or food, or a job, or money for clothes.  
Oh.  Why doesn't my Thailand daddy give her some money?
[Are You There, God?  Its Me, Melissa.....]

Hmmmmm....This one is a real dilemma.  You see, Matthew's birth father abandoned his birth mother when she became pregnant with him, claiming it was not his child and he would take no responsibility for it, or her, or their previous two children [they had been divorced for several years at this point].  He kicked her out of her house and cut her off financially.  He's the reason she's so poor she can't keep her kids.  But we don't want to taint Matthew's view of his birth father, nor do we have the other side of the story (although actions speak pretty loudly here...), nor do we want to talk negatively about him.  On the other hand, its Matthew's history and he has a right to know it.

Ummmm....well....see....He's not a nice man.

I don't ever want to see him, then.

You don't have to.

[Nor can you, since the man won't acknowledge that you exist, but thankfully Matthew didn't go in that direction at all]
I don't know that I told that part of his history as well as I could have.  I really was at a loss.  How do you look your child in the face and tell them they were not wanted by a key person in their life?  I'm sorry, I'm not that into breaking six year old hearts.  All Matthew knows of fathers is his own, real life daddy who trips on his toys and wrestles on the trampoline and cooks him good food and says I love you every night before Matthew goes to sleep.  How could he reconcile that with abandonment in an alternate father figure?

Oh, life.  You are too hard.  You are a shitstorm every day, every hour, always.  Thank heaven for ports like REAL daddies, who show up daily and fix remote control cars and show you how to tie your shoes.  And mommies who answer Really Big Questions.  These are the days when you know you are a parent but you feel like a little child floundering in a big sea.

I sure love you, Matthew.  I'm glad you're my boy.
Bwraaaaaa....[looks at the ceiling and changes the subject]

Big questions from little boys.


Today, something is off.  Somewhere inside my head, my brain, my hypothalamus, something is OFF.  I noticed yesterday that I was feeling weird about the other parents at school.  This is often an indicator that I need to increase how much fish oil I'm taking, because its a common *thing* I start to notice when my mood is going off kilter towards anxiety.  By 'weird' I mean I start thinking conspiracy theories about them: they all think I'm dorky.  They all think I dress like a freak.  They all think I'm fat and frumpy and have too many kids.  None of them would ever want to be friends with me.  Which makes me think, well, that makes them materialistic snobs, because they are all the same with their two kids and two SUVs and homes worth $800,000 so they don't like me because I'm different from them.
See?  Conspiracy theory.
It's not true at ALL.  In fact, they are all decent folks with nice kids (yes, a lot of their lives look the same in many ways but isn't that true of anyone who lives in community?) who will talk to me if I talk to them.  I generally am shy so I don't often talk to other parents at school.
Anyways yesterday I was feeling weird about one parent in particular, whom I like a lot, and with whom I have several things in common.  Six year old sons who like to climb rather than read, larger than average families (she has three kids), and midwives at our births.  I started thinking she was avoiding me and my dorky clothes and my frumpy hair during the kids' concert yesterday and part of me thought,
I'm being irrational.
And part of me thought,
No I'm not!  She totally hates me.
I didn't have much time to pay attention to this little warning signal and as a result, today happened.

I rushed around herding the kids to school on time in order to meet up with Ayden's class parent to pay her for the group gift for his teachers.  Today was the LAST CHANCE, so I tried really hard but I got to the parking lot just as the bell rang so she left before I had an opportunity to give her our contribution.  I bawled my eyes out, got out my phone, and sent her an email blubbering about missing the boat and screwing up and trying hard but having four kids and it was totally ridiculous.  TOTALLY RIDICULOUS.  I think she may be questioning my sanity, and WOULDN'T SHE BE CLOSE TO THE MARK?!

Hey if you're crazy and you know it, at least poke fun at yourself~it really is quite hilarious to be crazy.  I find it funny, as well as difficult.  Irony is not always lost on me.

Then I went to meet an acquaintance for coffee~this is a woman I met at church, and we have spoken on the phone twice and this is the first time we have gotten together (and maybe after today, also the last).  She's cool, and I like her, and I kind of wanted to be nice and give a good first impression.  Most of our visit was great, except an hour into it, I mentioned in passing something about contemplating a homebirth.  I didn't ever HAVE a homebirth and she knows that, but I mentioned entertaining the idea and she said,

Wow, you're brave!  I could never have a homebirth!

I'm generally pretty diplomatic in situations like this, but today I side stepped out of character and bit her head off.  BITE.  CHEW.  BITE.  CHEW.  SPIT.  I tossed statistics at her, the illogic of proximity = access (as in, proximity to the operating room means immediate access in an emergency: it DOESN'T), the truth that yes, sometimes babies die as a result of homebirth and also sometimes babies die as a result of hospital birth (I gave examples), and I even pulled out emotional weaponry when I said,

It is offensive to me when people say "You're so brave to have a homebirth" because it implies that the choice to give birth at home is an unsafe one, as if I would compromise the safety of myself or my baby for anything.  Inherent in that statement is criticism of me as a parent, when I would never choose something that wasn't safe.  Homebirth isn't unsafe.  It's safe, if you read the research comparing homebirth to hospital birth in BC, no higher number of babies die at home versus hospital, and way fewer women have cesareans, episiotomies, vacuum extractions, forceps, and other interventions if they have homebirths.  I get so offended when people SAY THAT!

Picture me waving my arms around and my voice getting louder and louder.  Gah, this poor girl.  It doesn't sound that bad when I type it out but its not like me, to get all up in someone's face for a simple comment that has nothing to do with the conversation at hand.  We were actually talking about the weather, not birth!
I apologized over and over, I totally went over the top, I felt really bad.  It's true, I get offended by that comment, but she didn't mean it offensively and she doesn't know the weight of years of research and rhetoric and fighting against a lack of awareness regarding what the research says regarding midwifery care and giving birth at home.

Also behind my words is the weight of my sense of loss from giving birth in the hospital three times and never having the opportunity to experience a home delivery despite my deep desire to do so.  And my belief that it is safer and more emotionally natural to give birth at home, relatively unobserved and undisturbed.

It wasn't so much verbal diarrhea as emotional diarrhea.  It felt kind of gross, since I obviously made her feel bad and bit her head off for nothing.  For being normal and having a normal reaction to the concept of homebirth.  It might not be accurate, but its normal.

Oops.  Better go take some extra fish oils and a chill pill.  Jeepers.
Good thing God invented GRACE.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Toothpaste Hoarder

Remember last week when I saved $32 by combining coupons with a really great sale?

This week: CRAZY more toothpaste!
I combined ten coupons I had for kids' toothpaste with a sale I stumbled across (read: wasn't in the flyer) and wound up paying 88 cents per tube for toothpaste which was regularly priced at $3.56!  I saved $28.50 by spending $11 with tax.  And now we are ALL stocked for toothpaste for at least a year.  THIS ROCKS!

I also found a buy one get one free (with coupon) deal for bacon, which worked out to $2.25 per package of bacon (regularly $5.99 to $6.99 per pack)!!!  I phoned my Mother-In-Law about that one: she LOVES a deal, especially on MEAT!

I love this.  Couponing ROCKS!

I have decided that the difference between hoarding and couponing is organization of storage items.  Line them up in perfect order and you're infinitely wise.  Scatter them hither and yon, and you're pathologically ill.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brent's Top Ten

We were celebrating my dad's 65th birthday on Father's Day so I missed getting this up in time, but I thought I'd give you a glimpse of my wonderful husband in action...

Here's a list of my top ten things about him as a dad:

Brent with Ayden in the Nursery

1.  Brent faints at the sight of blood, but he was in the operating room without question or hesitation when Ayden was born.  He made sure he had a chair to sit on, though, to keep him from getting as faint, and so he wouldn't have as far to fall if he DID faint.  And he never once complained or referred to his fear of passing out cold while watching our son be born from a big slice cut out of my belly.  He didn't faint after all, because he was so caught up in the moment, and the miracle of birth.

2.  When Ayden was 12  months old Brent said to me, "I know we talked about adopting our third baby, but why don't we do it now, instead?"  And so we started the long journey that brought us our Matthew.  He's quiet and understated, but Brent has plenty of initiative, especially as a father.

3.  We arrived in Thailand to meet Matthew on a Friday evening.  By Sunday morning at church, Matthew reached over to Brent, climbed on his lap, and grinned.  He stayed with Brent for the entire church service, bouncing on his legs, touching his face, walking on the veranda, and playing.  More than anything, this little guy needed a daddy.  And Brent is just the exact perfect dad for Matthew~playful, funny, affectionate, firm, and full of love.

First week as The Vose Four

Spring 2006

Fall 2005

Spring 2006

4.  When we were thinking about being ready to try for baby #3, Brent went away on a business trip.  When he came home he brought with him two little dresses.  He had gone out to a store and bought some little baby clothes all by himself because he was so excited about having another baby.  And possibly a girl (which as it turns out was one baby too soon, but Amarys is wearing them so the cute little girl clothes got some use after all).  He might kill me for sharing that story.  =)

5.  When Riley was born, after 37 hours of no sleep because he had worked a night shift and come home to a labouring wife, after 8 hours of labour and 3 hours of pushing, after I cried and squeezed my fingernails deep into his palm over and over again shifting positions and praying and pushing with every cell in my body to have my first wonderful VBAC, he said to me, "I'm so proud of you.  You are so strong and you did wonderful.  You're amazing."

Riley, 20 minutes old

6.  He stayed so calm during the most frightening three minutes of our lives, when Riley was born unconscious and needed resuscitation.  He took action, pulling the emergency cord on the hospital wall when our midwife asked, and then stood beside me and prayed silently.  We both have a special appreciation for the fact that Riley is alive and healthy after his hesitant start to life earthside.

Spring 2010

7.  He wrestles and tosses and tickles and trips the kids for hours, and turns around and kisses their owies, cuddles them to sleep, commiserates regarding imaginary injustices, and involves them in whatever he is doing, from washing the car to assembling the computer.  He can bake cookies, build forts, and catch bad guys at his Superhero job.  He always lets the kids 'help.'  Including this afternoon when he and the kids washed all the road trip bugs and dirt off the van.

Summer 2010

8.  He patiently helps Matthew work through his homework and practice his spelling every morning that he is not working.

9.  When Amarys was just a week and a half old, she fell asleep on his chest in the living room and he stayed put for several hours because he didn't want to disturb her, and he was blissing out on baby cuddles.
Baby Vose #4 Makes Her Entrance

10.  One of my all time favourite memories is of when we went on a road trip to Brent's brother's place (12 hour trip) with three small boys, aged 5, 4, and 2 months.  He was frustrated up to his eyeballs with the mess in the van, and he said,
"The next person who touches the seat with their muddy shoes, I'm going to....I'm going to....I'm going to CUT OFF YOUR FEET!!!  And whose BACON is this?"
We still talk about cutting off their feet as a family joke whenever we get frustrated with their flailing limbs and childlike disregard for basic cleanliness, and every time I remember the Bacon Comment I laugh so hard I get tears in my eyes, three years later.

Brent is the best dad around.  I pinch myself every day because I just can't believe how lucky I am.  I'm glad my kids won't even really know how lucky they are~they will just take it for granted that every dad is a nutty mix of humour and support and exasperated bacon statements, and grow up to be just as wonderful with their own kids.

Love to my sweetheart.

Best Daddy Award

The Thing About Scalps

We all have weird things that gross us out, right?  We used to talk about this at work all the time:

I can handle blood, but I don't do toenail clippings.
Brain matter is okay but vomit?  GROSS.
Poop?  No biggie.  Seeing people all foamy at the mouth while they brush their teeth?  DISGUSTING.

My particular vomity aversion is scalps.
I don't like looking at them, I don't like thinking about them, and I REAAAAAAALLY hate smelling them.  I know.  I'm weird.  But imagine how many times I've had to stare at and simultaneously try to avoid smell peoples' sickly unwashed scalp at face level when they are on the ambulance stretcher and I'm the fairly short paramedic pushing it?  Down long, long hospital hallways and in stuffy little hospital elevators.....

So, tonight I decided to tackle Amarys' cradle cap and it was probably the grossest thing I have ever done to one of my kids.  I've cleaned mountains of poop [including once when Matthew took his poopy diaper off and spread it over 700 square feet of laminate floor in our, hallway, livingroom....I don't remember what I was doing that allowed him the time and freedom to spread it so far, but I DO remember how it was dried up stuck to the floor in some spots, and all smooshy and wet in others?!!!].  I've cleaned up SO MUCH vomit.  Pee.  Blood.  Flapping skin owies, slivers, teeth through lips, Matthew's tongue nearly bitten all the way off [I posted that story sometime this past year but I'm not sifting through a bajillion posts for that one, sorry--it was a gooder, though], diaper rash so bad it bleeds, pus filled eyes, vomit and diarrhea at the same time in multiple kids....

But this was grosser.

I soaked her head in olive oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil by rubbing it on her head and letting it sit for half an hour.  Then I took a soft toothbrush to it, and scraped off the HUGE CHUNKS OF SCALP that kept breeding MORE HUGE CHUNKS OF SCALP and it was getting stuck in her hair, and huge piles of baby fine hair were stuck in the toothbrush and
I am shuddering while I write this, and I feel all nauseous and I think I'll just leave her cradle cap alone from now on, because no one ever died of CRADLE CAP, but I think I JUST MIGHT DIE if I have to go through that again.
It was like scrubbing a bald old man's scalp with a tooth brush and getting bits of hair and sluffing entire chunks of skin off with the toothbrush and suddenly you realize HIS HEAD IS ROTTEN AND MAYBE HE'S DEAD AND OMG ITS SO GROSS YOU MIGHT DIE.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mini Break

Last weekend I had a mini vacation.  My cousin Sara had her annual Gala fundraiser for Breast Cancer in Victoria, so I sent my boys to grandma's house and I packed up Amarys and walked on the ferry to help with the Gala.  My father in law dropped us off Friday morning because he works in the next city over from the ferry, and the best time for him was 7 a.m.  Our ferry didn't leave until 9 a.m., and he was apologetic, but I was all,
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Two hours to myself with no boys to run around after and no questions to answer?  This sounds like utopia to me.  Amarys slept in my Ergo carrier, and I listened to Cold Play on my Ipod and crocheted.  And then I listened to Snow Patrol.  And then Sufjan Stevens.  Wintersleep.
Then we got on the ferry and what did Amarys do for the 90 minute ferry ride?  Slept!  I crocheted some more.  Read my book.  Wow, I haven't had four hours so relaxing in years.  I'm an introvert, see?  Four hours to myself is like winning the lottery when you're an introvert with four small children.  Everyone likes time alone.  I think I like it more than everyone.
My cousin picked us up on the other end, and we hustled around getting the last minute Gala items done.  I donated 6 of my toys to the silent auction, and they all sold to the two six year olds at the fundraiser: so cute!  One bought three aliens, the other bought a lion, a spider, and a fish.
The Gala was great, very well organized, and fun!  We had to compete with the hockey game though.

Next morning I stayed in bed til 10.  Amarys woke me up around 7:30, but because her food is stuck to my chest I didn't actually have to get out of my bed until whenever I got too hungry to lay about and read my book anymore.  We visited, ate some good food, and I came back on the ferry that night.  Wow, was that ever awesome!  I loved to go, and I loved to come back.  It was a great vacation.  It was a great visit.  And a great Gala.  Funny how when Ayden was little I used to think he was So Much Work, and now getting away with Amarys is as good as a weekend by myself.  Its the most relaxing thing I can think of to do.  What was I thinking?  One kid?!?!  Some diapers and a boob and you're good to go.

My aunt bought Amarys that big flower headband I posted a few days ago.  Smashing, isn't it?  I have wanted one of those since the MINUTE she was born.

Speaking of hockey games, did everyone see what happened yesterday?  I mean, its one thing to lose a stanley cup [when you want it bad, but really, in this series, we didn't deserve it after our performances in Boston], and its entirely another to destroy downtown Vancouver with a massive, hours long riot, smashing every window in downtown, looting department stores, overturning vehicles, and setting them on fire.  Over 150 people were injured, and there was at least one fatality.  It was mayhem.  I knew it would be, if we lost, given that the same thing happened in 1994, the last time the Canucks lost the playoffs.....
Way to go, idiots.  Way to make a mother proud.


Maybe they all need a mini break?

Top Ten

Top Ten parenting moments from this month:

1.  Amarys laughing out loud for the first time.
2.  Matthew helping Riley learn the alphabet
3.  Listening to Cold Play on the ferry while Amarys slept and my three boys had fun at gramma's house.
4.  Asking Riley, "How old do you think you will be when you are a big boy and stop having milkies from mommy?"  "Hmmmmm, when I really big like Ayden."  That made Ayden giggle (and eight is too old for me, to breastfeed...other moms can knock themselves out, but for me?  Not so much).
5.  Jumping on the trampoline with my kids for the first time.  When we first got the trampoline I was eleventy billion months pregnant, and then I was healing, and then I was....busy.  It was fun.  Everyone laughed.  There was some wrestling.
6.  Watching Matthew sound out, "I might be small but I think BIG" on Amarys' t-shirt.
7.  Being informed that "Scorpions aren't insects.  They are ARACHNIDS, mommy."
8.  Making apple crisp with Matthew.
9.  Hearing Riley say, "It otay, Amiss, I here.  It otay," when his sister cried.
10.  Nursing, and nursing, and nursing Amarys.  Every time I nurse her, I love her more.  Its not so much work now, and she's not distractible yet, so its just sweetness mixed with love.  Pure bliss.  ♥

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And Then There Was Insanity

Today was one of those days where you wonder

....Just exactly what is the universe up to?....Didn't The Universe get my memo?  I'm crazy.  Like, actually Mental Illness Apeshit Crazy.  I don't *do* this life shit very well, so WTF is UP with life on life on LIFE today?!?!!!

Everyone has days like today, where fate just pisses on them.  And then slaps them for good measure.

We started off well enough.  I rolled over to ask Brent to make breakfast and realized OOPS, he's at work!
Le sigh.
I managed to get the kids off to school and breakfast mostly cleaned up before I realized Ayden forgot his lunch at home.  Awesome.  A friend of mine came by to visit so I put it aside to drop off later.  We had a very nice visit, and her kids had a good time on our trampoline and in our toybox, so that was very nice and it fooled me into thinking today was going to be nice to me.  I made a batch of muffins for them and put the leftovers on the counter.  The dog ate them.
[f*&%$#ing dog]
I put the babies in the car, dropped off Ayden's lunch, and made a quick trip to the store for three items.  I drove up to the drive thru bank machine, and it was out of order.  Awesome.  Okay, I will use debit.  I go to store #1: they have all three of my items but glycerine soap was $4.99 per bar, washing powder was $9 for 2 Kilos, and borax was $11 for 1 Kilo.  Yikes!  I figured I could buy the borax elsewhere so I  bought the first two items in case I couldn't find them elsewhere.

I went to Walmart.  No borax.  Save on Foods.  No borax.  London Drugs.  NO BORAX!!!  I'm dragging a toddler by the arm as he whines and pulls and complains and carrying a baby and walking from store to store because they share a parking lot, but its a pretty large parking lot so my back hurts.  I swear Riley is going to pull my arm out of its socket one of these days.
However, I did find washing powder for $7 for 3 kilos and glycerine soap 3 bars for 2.87, so that was a plus.  It meant I had to drive back to the first store and return the items I bought there, and I still hadn't found the third item on my list.
Amarys shat through her clothes and decided she was STARVING OH SO STARVING FEED ME NOW OR I WILL DIE at 2 pm: exactly when i needed to leave downtown to make it to the older kids' school on time to pick them up.  GAH.  It had taken me three hours to buy two items.

I made it to school only a few minutes past the bell and weathered some other-mother glares.  Because obviously its a sign of neglect to pick your kid up five minutes late, although when I was a kid MY mother showed me the route home from school the first day of kindergarten and never walked me home again for the following 13 years of my school career [!!!!!!]
When we were loading into the van Amarys shat through her diaper [AGAIN!] so I laid her on the front passenger seat to change her, and suddenly Matthew shouted
And I realized that Riley had run into the street to climb in the van on the road side rather than the sidewalk side and OH MY GOSH he's so little and quiet and just decides something and slips away into the street.  Jeepers.  So I ran around the van faster than I've ever run in my life and lift him in with a reminder about street safety.  Then I realize, I just ran away and left Amarys on the front seat with the door wide open, what if she ROLLS OUT?!
Clearly, I cannot keep all four children safe all at the SAME TIME!

 Then I had to take all four kids to the grocery store (one last grocery store) looking for Borax, and then also a few items for dinner.  Four kids.  Grocery store.  OMG.
[Oh I used to be a feminist, a feminist, a feminist, Oh I used to be a feminist and now I'm the crazy mom in the grocery store with four kids and frizzy hair]

I found borax, though!  *Fist pump!*

I don't usually take the cashier up on her offer for help out to my car, but today I did.  When my back was turned Riley cheered,
Catch me, mommy!
I turned around and he was already in midair, leaping from the grocery cart seat to my arms.  His knee hit Amarys' head and she did the pause-pause-pause-gasp-pause-pause-SCREEEEEEEEAM that babies do when they are really hurt.
Four kids.  Grocery store.  OMG.

I got them all home, did all the work it takes to do homework and feed them snacks and police their behaviour while I make dinner, and by now I was REALLY looking forward to my dinner.  I made chicken satay and my favourite salad, which has three kinds of lettuce, endives, sliced pears, cranberries, toasted pecans, and blue cheese dressing.  It's a lot of work, for a salad, but it is SO worth it.  I turned around with the perfectly crafted salad in my hands, and I have no idea how, but the bowl slipped out of my hands and smashed onto the floor, mixing lavishly with the forty seven pounds of dog fur on my floor.  I cried.  I cried so loud and hard and disappointed that Riley got scared of me and ran off to hide in the bathroom while Ayden trailed after him yelling,

Riley, Riley, it's okay!  Mommy's not hurt, she's just sad about dropping the salad!

And about dropping the ball.
I couldn't make the salad again because I didn't have any more of the main ingredients.  I couldn't scoop the top off because it was littered so evenly on the floor.  I couldn't eat it off the floor because it was dirty.  I cut up some cucumber, carrot, and peppers and we ate that instead.  At least its veggies.

I think overriding all that happened today, all the mishaps and wasted time and dropped salads, was that from noon onwards my anxiety had me by the neck and was owning me.  I haven't been that anxious in a very long time, and it was pretty gross.  I'm done.  Fried.  Crispy like KFC.  I don't want to look at anyone, talk to anyone, smell anyone, nothing.

Here's to a better day tomorrow

Monday, June 6, 2011

Absolutely Hysterical

rantingparent Ask An Expert "Breast Feeding" from on Vimeo.

courtesy of

Adventures In Couponing

I've recently become moderately addicted (can those two words really go together???) to the new TLC show Extreme Couponing.  You have to see it to believe that it is possible to purchase $500 to $2000 worth of stuff for $20 to $50, and its pretty ridiculous.  Ridiculously AWESOME!!!
So I decided to try my hand at this couponing thing.  And today was my first time.  [Coupon virgin]

On Friday a coupon booklet came in our newspaper with the flyers, and it had a number of coupons for items that we already buy.  Like, for example, toothpaste.  Crest had a 75 cents off coupon in this booklet.  Brent and I scanned the flyers [flyer virgin: Brent usually reads the flyers while I swear at them and hustle them into the recycling box as fast as I can] for sales to combine with the coupons, and I was SUPER EXCITED when I found a 2 for $3 sale on 130 mL toothpaste.  Combined with my coupons, that would be 2 for $1.50!  Woot!

Of course, at this point I had only one coupon for 75 cents off toothpaste, so the next order of business was to procure more.  I pilfered every rural newspaper box we could find~it was a family affair: and I got my mother in law on the job.  She's a master detective =)
We managed a small collection of coupon books, resulting in 9 coupons for 75 cents off Crest toothpaste.

Then Brent said, "Hey, another store is having a sale on Crest toothpaste, 99 cents per tube!"


So today we gathered the kids and drove to the drug store that had 99 cent toothpaste, and I was PUMPED!!  I was walking to the front door so fast that Riley lost his boot on the steps and I barely let him reclaim it!  Here I was, a coupon virgin, about to save some serious money on toothpaste!  We jogged over to the toothpaste aisle and there was ONLY ONE lone Crest toothpaste tube on the shelf behind a sign that read 99 cents.  OH SO SAD!  Apparently someone else is in the same frame of mind as myself, with the late night Extreme Coupon watching, and the collecting of Crest coupons....

So I bought one 130 mL tube for 36 cents after tax.  And we drove to the next town over.  Their shelf was totally empty.  And the next one after that....
I was getting pretty down, when Brent said, "Doesn't Walmart price match?"
So I went to Walmart with a flyer from the other store showing the sale price, gathered 8 tubes of toothpaste, and lined up--the cashier had to ring them up separately to price match, and then enter the coupons individually, so it took some time [meanwhile, everyone behind me in line is thinking, jeepers I lined up here on purpose because this chick had only eight tubes of toothpaste but it turns out she's the slowest checkout in the store].  Grand total?  $2.86.  EIGHT TUBES!  So in all, I got nine tubes of toothpaste for $3.16, approximately the price of one tube.
It's not $1800 for $44, but it felt pretty good.  And we're stocked now, for toothpaste, for several years!

I could really get used to this....
[as an aside, some Extreme Couponers feed their entire families with only several hundred dollars per year, but there is no way we're eating junk just to save money.  Homemade food from real ingredients is so invaluable, and in general you can't find coupons for fuji apples or ground beef.  But dry goods and the few processed foods we eat?  I can save some serious money.  Maybe.  We did spend some money on fuel chasing around toothpaste availability, but I think I did pretty good for my first time.

I saved $32 today.

I'm an Innie

There are innie bellybuttons and outie bellybuttons.  And there are innie personalities and outie personalities.  I'm an innie.

Here's a fantastic post about parenting as an introvert.  Good read!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Perfect Day

Today was perfect.
[boy, did I need a perfect day after last week....stressful....]
Lets start with yesterday.
Drop off big boys at school, take Riley to Strong Start.  Awesome.  Go home, wake up Brent and have lunch.  Hang out, lie down on my bed with Amarys and relax while Brent and Riley pick up the boys from school and go to the park for an hour.  Brents mom arrives and takes ALL FOUR of my kids (complete with a bottle and some of my milk) to her house for the evening.

When Riley was tiny he went everywhere with me, and I never wanted to be away from him.  Part of this was my anxiety; I had a hard time with him being across the room from me, let alone in another geographical location.  And part of this was that he was SO easygoing.  He came everywhere with me: book club, girls' night out, grocery shopping, doctor appointments...But Amarys is more intense, and sometimes I just need breaks from her.  It is a sign of how well controlled my anxiety is now, and how far I've come, for me to admit that and be absolutely fine with it.  I'm human.  She's a lot of work.  I need breaks.  This doesn't make me fell like a bad mom [it did with Matthew].

This is to preface the fact that i went out with my two closest girlfriends [as Cinco De Mommy says, "My Jugs"] with no kids.  YAY!  Brent went out with some friends too, hence the babysitting mother in law.  =)
The kids did fine.
I DID AWESOME!  Wow, the three of us talked so hard and long and fast it was like a pressure cooker with a melted lock had invaded all our lives and we'd finally poked a hole in the lid.  All of us have Big Life Things going on and it's been awhile since we got together.  I nearly cried because it was so nice to go out and be me with a couple of women who really *get* me, so we can talk about sex and kids and dogs and lawns and food and jobs and extreme couponing.
After dinner I picked up my kids and we came back to my house, I put my kids to bed, and we watched a movie.  Chick flick.  LIKE!

THIS day was the PREVIEW for today, can you believe it??
Perfect preview, perfect day.
Today was bright and sunny.  We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the deck in 23, 28, and 24 degrees respectively.  We puttered around for a bit, then packed up the kids and a stroller and walked to the park.  I got pooped on by a crow, but otherwise it was beautiful and fun.  We walked home, BBQd smokies for dinner, and blissed out on the deck.  I love my kids, I love my hubby, I love my deck, I'm just so grateful.  So, so grateful to be here at this moment, in this hour, now.  Filled up and happy.  What can be better than three sandy boys and a purple faced baby girl all talking at once on the deck on an early summer evening?
I even made apple crisp for dessert, and Matthew helped me out.  He LOVES helping out around the house, and when Brent is home I can handle the kids helping me cook way more often than when he is working.

Bliss out.

♥ ♥ ♥

Quite Contrary

Our townhouse, which we sold last November and moved out of in January, was a part of a strata and had rules regarding the yard.  Despite our best attempts, we really had no room for a vegetable garden.  I'm overjoyed to now own our yard, and have room for veggies!  Square foot gardening is all the rage now it seems, so I'm trying my hand at that.  Here is a photo essay of the day I transformed a rather sad plot of evergreen bushes and dead annual entrails into a square foot garden with 24 plots....

I had several helpers.  Here is my first helper preparing himself for the hard
work of gardening with refreshments.  For a baleen such as Riley, it really
doesn't get much better than this...

I took some of these....

And added these....

To this.  With a few intermediary steps  =)
So this is the before photo of our garden plot.
Rather sad, as you can see.  It is located at the foot of our deck.

Helper #2: Hymen

Helper #3 prepares for hard work with a hardcore nap

Who can resist such cute helpers?

After I ripped out the evergreen bushes, transplanted the red foliage thing,
ditched the entrails, and broke up the hard packed soil

Helper #4: good for heavy lifting and eye candy
Said heavy lifting, which I added to the soil to fertilize naturally, a year
before we will have homemade, mature compost to mix in for healthy veggies

After the sea soil was mixed in~doesn't it look rich and beautiful?  What a

Helper #4 built me a frame for my square feet to mark off the different
veggie patches

Yours truly, in action!  Funny enough, the foot I'm planting in this photo
is the only one that fell flat.  I think the soil was too cold and wet for beans,
and the day after I planted it rained hardcore just to double the damage.

Completed garden!  Herbs bottom left, dill top left, tomatoes across the top
and lettuce far right.  The rest are seeds...
Also, I noticed today that my two cucumber plants (featured here top left,
second row from the lattice) are missing!!  Here there is 100% evidence
that I did, in fact, plant them, and yet where are they now??  Hmmmm,
some four legged thief?

GORGEOUS!  So much fun.  And we already eat
from it, because the herbs were ready to go that day
and have only gotten bushier!

The only downside to my square foot garden so far, aside from the stolen plants, is that I can't walk all the way around it for harvesting.  To reach my tomatoes, dill, and peas I have to step one foot on the frame and reach pretty far.
I have updated photos~radishes were the first to appear!  And now I have onions, beets, carrots, peas, zucchini....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

3 Months Old

Amarys turned three months old yesterday.  What a sweetie she is!  It is hard to imagine what we did with ourselves before she was here.  It is amazing how much sparkle and life each kid fills us up with, and how quickly they become so integrated into your life that you can't conceive of the world without them as a central figure.  Before they arrive you worry about whether you will have enough to give them, of everything, and a few hours after they are born your life and everything you have to give has expanded to fit them.  Amazing.
Amarys has given us the go-around.  Colic?  Check.  Purple crying?  Check.  Sensitive to foods in mommy's diet?  Check.  Demanding?  CHECK.
What she really needed was time to get used to life earthside.  A few weeks and she didn't cry for as long or hard, and then a few weeks more and she was only fussy in the evenings, and a few weeks more and now we're at the point where she is getting used to life and can cope better.  Her digestive and neurological systems matured a bit and now she's not so prone to freakouts.  She still cries often enough that I sometimes get to the point where I no longer hear her, but its not the make your ears ring cry.  And she generally has a fixable problem now: dirty bum, empty tummy, sleepy body.  Or sometimes, lonely.  She likes to be held.  Who doesn't?  I mean, besides my sister.  I'm happy to comply.  I know how fast they grow and move beyond the snuggle-me-always stage.
She's bright and alert, and sleeps less during the day than your average three month old baby.  Her expression is still often suspicious, but if she catches the eye of one of her beloved family members that look vanishes and she grins and wiggles around, and her eyes sparkle.  She just recently started laughing out loud, which is the best music nature ever invented, and today she discovered blowing bubbles.  All day was one big long fart noise.
Ppppppppppppppppppttttttttttttttttttt! Pppppppppppppppppttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt!
She's a particular soul.  She is remarkably loving.  She trusts us all, already.  She's quite enraptured with the busy chaos surrounding her on a daily basis.  And she always has someone to play with.  =)

-her brothers
-her bouncy chair
-car rides
-walks, especially in the stroller where she can see everything
-being talked to/with (she likes the back and forth cooing, like a real conversation in baby talk)
-soft patting on her head or hand while she falls asleep
-being upright, sitting or being held
-sucking her fists

-loud noises, especially yelling right beside her (and particularly mommy's angry voice which is employed to keep certain boys in line)
-being startled
-being kicked, rolled on, landed on, having rocks dropped on her face (once I tossed a rather large pebble out the door of the van and it landed on her head: oops!), or toys dropped on her lap, and other numerous little boy 'accidents' that just seem to happen when you have three older brothers
-not being held
-unfamiliar environments, unless she's held closely by mommy or daddy
-being held by unfamiliar people anytime after 5 p.m. (and she's not polite about it)
-waiting for my milk to let down
-sputtering and choking when my milk lets down
-the taste of milk puke

She's working on rolling from back to front, she sucks her fists continually when she's not making Ppppppppptttttttttttttttt! noises, and just today I caught her staring at her foot as though saying,

I think that thing belongs to me....

She will work hard to capture the attention of someone if the are near her but looking away.  She communicates clearly what she needs and when she needs it.  And although she makes us work for our money during the day, she makes up for it by sleeping ALL NIGHT LONG!!!  Her minimum nighttime sleep is eight hours, usually more like ten hours, and sometimes as long as twelve hours.  She sleeps like her dad: as though she were comatose.  She looooooooves her sleep!  And what does she do after ten to twelve hours of sleeping?  Have a quick snack and then quickly go back to sleep for her heaviest and longest nap of the day!  I mean, wouldn't you be exhausted after all that sleeping, too?!
She will take a soother when she is tired, to help her fall asleep.  But if she's not drifting off to sleep she's not interested in sucking and will spit it politely back out if you try and put it in her mouth.  In fact, she will often try to block it from entering her mouth at all if she's not ready for it.
She deals with my strong milk flow by popping on and off, spitting my breast out of her mouth much as she does with the soother: her tongue pushes the offending object forward and out!  She also pops on and off while searching for flow when she first latches on and has to wait for my let down.  She's so funny.  It's like she's thinking,

I know it's around here somewhere!  Where did all the milk go....

and then

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh milk milk milk gulp gulp gulp sputter, WTF?!  SLOW DOWN, PEOPLE!  


I love her, I love her, I love her.  She smells delicious, she's bald on one half of her head and not the other, she needs me constantly, her thighs are roly poly, her bellybutton is an inny, and her pinky toes still poke out sideways at right angles to her feet all the time.  I love her, I love her, I love her.

And her eyes are still blue.

In the Midst of a Hard Day

Today was pretty tough, emotionally.
At one point late afternoon I wrestled Riley into the bathtub for a much needed soak.  He hated getting in.  He hated getting out.  But when I lifted him up wrapped in his towel and carried him to his bedroom he snuggled his body into my shoulder and declared,

I lub you, mommy

I might have cried, a tiny bit~that pretty much made my day.