Friday, December 7, 2018

Exploding Emotions: Motherhood Edition

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It is mind boggling how there can be so many emotions felt in one day. Today, my day began with fear mixed with annoyance and bliss.

I woke up from a simply mahvelous dream. It was so vivid and sunny and warm in my dream. I was being treated like a queen, and I really did not want to wake up. Especially to a baby who was fussing. I lay still, paralyzed. It was 5 in the dark no-one-should-be-up-at-this-hour-especially-not-a-baby-especially-not-me hour. I tried to quickly find his binky and slip it into his mouth, hoping he wouldn't notice and wouldn't wake up completely. He did. I scooped Kip up, and we quickly slunk out of my room where Jeffrey and Vince were still sleeping. I went into the kitchen and got Kip some milk, and then we retired to his room where I sat and rocked him in the dark, humming, and hoping he would go back to sleep quickly. He did, but not a deep sleep. I rocked and hummed for nearly two hours. Every time I thought he was asleep I tried to lay him back in his crib, and he would jump up, screaming, and throw his binky Apparently he isn't a morning person. I was super annoyed because I really wanted to shower today, but if he woke up, that would be out of the question. You see, water terrifies him and so I can't put him in with me. And I can't leave him to roam the house because he is just a baby. I can't let him roam the bathroom while I shower, either, because he is super helpful and always manages to find the toilet bowl cleaner, and then either helps me clean the walls and everything else he can reach with it, or tries to eat it. Neither are ideal, and both gross me out to the umpteenth degree. And today there would be no showering during nap time because I was babysitting, and I just don't feel comfortable doing that. Besides, there are far too many variables. A 1 year old, two 2 year olds, two 5 year olds, and 8 year old, a 9 year old, and an 11 year old. And so, around 7:15 I just gave up. It was time to wake the other kids up and get them ready for school, and I had to say goodbye to my one chance for showering for the day.

Yes, you read between the lines correctly, I stink all day, and I am proud of it! Bwahahaha!

And so, already, by 7 am I had experienced a full range of emotions, and the day had just begun. Especially since I had stayed up late wrapping Christmas presents. However, that is also a good thing, because now they are wrapped, and put away, and I can actually enjoy the season with the children, instead of fretting about what I haven't finished yet. I aim to enjoy this month, and I will thwart anyone who dares stop me. But my point here was that I was already tired from staying up late wrapping presents last night.

I fought the kids off to school. And by that I mean, I fought with them to get dressed. Properly. Because shorts when the high for the day is still going to be below freezing is just not acceptable. And clothing is a MUST! Beth just doesn't like to get dressed for some reason, and I very nearly leave her every morning. She prefers sitting on the heat vent with a blanket wrapped around her, watching as the heat billows out the blanket around her, the warm air from the vent swirling around her, keeping her oh so cozy and warm. I can't say that I blame her. I did teach her that trick, and I love that she has really picked it up and run with it. She is my little furnace sitter, and it makes me smile. Except when we are late for school!

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I took the boys with me to the grocery store. It was sort of funny how many people stopped me and asked if they were triplets, or if they were all mine.

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Even more humorous was the audible sigh of relief from most of them when I told them that the middle boy was not mine. After that I didn't have the heart to tell them that my other 3 were in school. People act like 5 kids is a ridiculous amount of kids and honestly, most of the time I don't feel like it is. Just when I'm trying to herd them. Then 5 is an insane amount!

I did a bunch of errand running today, and I was so thankful for the DVD player in the van. Normally it annoys me to all get out, but today, it was really nice. The kids were entranced with the old stop time animation Christmas movies, and I was able to get my running around done without much of a hitch. Relief!

When we got home, I checked the mail, as per my habit, and I was so excited to see that the Christmas present that Jeffrey (I) bought for me (myself) was in the mailbox. I didn't expect it until January because it was coming from China, but, hey! It made me happy!

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It is a gorgeous ring, and was less than a dollar, so I splurged when I was doing the Christmas shopping for all the kids. I really should wrap it and let him put it in my stocking for me. Maybe I still will. But I really did enjoy wearing it around today. Every time I looked at it, it made me smile. Of course, I have already treated it so it won't turn my finger green, or turn a brassy copper color. Clear nail polish all the way! Because that is how I roll. After Keith flushed my gorgeous wedding ring down the toilet and I mourned its loss for years, I decided I will never again own diamonds. I don't need them. I am perfectly happy with costume jewelry, and if my children decide to dispose of it, I won't have to cry over both the cost and the loss. I really love the nature elements of this ring, though.

And then it was nap time. Joy of Joys! Hallelujah, hallelujah! Jack went down for a nap. And then Vince. It was really hard to get him to sleep while Kip wanted to play. I finally resorted to sitting on my bed with the two of them, and putting on a show. Keith drifted off rather quickly, and Kip tried to wake him up over and over and over. You know, sometimes I think they might as well be twins with how they act.

And then it was Kip's nap time.

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Just me and the baby, cuddling. I love those moments. I love how he snuggles close, and I can smell the baby lotion on him. I love the gentle caresses of my arm that he does as he is drifting off. I love that he sings along with me when I am singing him to sleep. I love all of it! Well, I love most of it. Just not the hour that it sometimes seems to take him to actually drift off. Ugh! Except I do love that. Just not when I am trying to get things done. It's a very ambiguous thing, really.

Once I got all of the boys sleeping I started on cleaning the kitchen. The deal I had made with the girls was that if we could get the kitchen clean, we could make gingerbread cookies. Ginger snaps, actually, because I just gave away all of my cookie cutters because we never used them. The girls put forth a valiant effort, but frankly, just got bored. 8/9 is a hard age to stay focused on something. Especially since Keith was wanting to play with them, and so they all went outside and I tried to finish up cleaning.

I eventually relented and once 2 counters were cleared off and the dishwasher was running, I started on the cookies. The oven was pre-heated, and I just finished mixing the dough when I looked to my recipe for the next instructions, and it said to chill for at least 2 hours. I am not sure why it had started with pre-heat the oven if I was supposed to chill the dough, but that is what I needed to do, and so that is what I did.

I have to be honest, it is really hard to know that there is a bowl full of cookie dough in the refrigerator, and I can't have any of it. I just don't agree with that at all! I may have to stop baking yummy sweet things from now on if I don't get better self control. I have really noticed a decrease in migraines since I started to cut out sugar. But that doesn't mean I don't really miss it. And it isn't the sugar so much, as the amazing flavors and blends of spices. Like ginger and molasses. Yum! I suppose smelling it can be nearly as satisfying, right? Right?!

The kids' mom came and picked them up and I promptly enforced a Mom Time Out. I locked the door to Arcadia, and sat down and just breathed. I sat in my reading chair with just the inside fairy lights on, and the outside Christmas lights creating a soft colorful glow through the window. It reminded me of when I was a child. That was one of my favorite things, seeing how the outside Christmas lights made my room so cozy and bright with the colorful lights. It just seemed to be warmer inside when the lights were on. I loved falling asleep to the glow, and hated the rest of the winter for its dark cold nights and lack of the big bulbs outside of my window. As I sat and breathed in the memory on my chair, slowly detoxing from the noise.
"And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!" ~Dr. Seuss
I don't hate it all the time, but I do think that years of migraines have made me especially sensitive to  noise. But when there is a house full of children, and they are told they must be quiet because of sleeping babies, the sound just seems to erupt out of them, despite their best efforts. And the sound is usually in the form of loud giggles, and laughter, and joyful screaming, and it is so hard to get upset over those kinds of noises...

...except when there are sleeping babies in the next room, that is.

And so, after a brief detox, which mostly came from transferring the emotions and the chaos out of my body, through my fingertips, and into this post, I got to put the little boys to bed once more, and once more I pondered on the many emotions in a day. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if Ron Weasley was actually on to something. A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, "One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode.” 
"A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, "One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode.""~ J.K.Rowling
Which is precisely why I blog. So I don't explode too.  But I'm not sure I would explode in the same sense that Ron was thinking. I think I would have so much joy and happiness, and all those other emotions, and they would just burst out of me, all the time. Which honestly, isn't completely a bad thing, right?

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Exploding Emotions: Motherhood edition. I'm trying to decide if this is something the medical community needs to learn about, or what. Either way, it is a very good thing I have a chance to sometimes sit and write and organize my thoughts.

At any rate, I've been up for nearly 18 hours now, and I may start hallucinating about my bed very soon. Instead, I'll just go find it.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Pour Some Sugar On Me ---- but please don't actually

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***There is no real purpose to this photo other than it makes me happy. It was incredibly foggy the other morning, the morning where everything went down, and I like to remember that there was a little bit of tranquility that morning. The boys and I drove around for a few minutes before we began the rush and craze of the day, and I just had to get out and take this picture because it made me heart calm and full of peace. Who knew how much I would need it later in the day? ***
"I'm allergic to sugar, it makes me swell." ~Gina Judd
For the past 11 years that I have been blogging, migraines have been a very strong topic here. It is something I have lived with virtually every day for the past 28 or so years. It hasn't always been a blinding migraine, but there has been fairly consistent head pain for that long. It is always there, my constant companion, pain. I guess it has sort of become a part of my identity, which is really sad, if you ask me. No one should have to become accustomed to living in pain.

When I was pregnant with Vince it got so bad I finally called my doctor. Up to that point in time, I just referred to them as "really bad headaches" but I didn't think they were migraines because I didn't see an aura. I didn't get the lights, or the fuzz, or even light sensitivity. It was just a pain in my head, in one spot, that would become unbearable.  When I went in to see my doctor, he told me that what I had been experiencing for most of my life, were migraines. And he offered to do something about it!

I was so excited and had so much hope! He got me on a medicine and about a month into it I discovered I was pregnant with Vince, and so had to stop immediately. No research had been done on pregnant women, nor would there likely ever be. That is just not ethical! And so I had to stop immediately. But I planned to start again as soon as I finished breastfeeding Vince...

... except 9 months into his life I found out I was pregnant again. Which again forestalled taking any medication until after he was born and done breastfeeding.

Finally! I was able to get started on the journey to fix my head! I went to the doctor and he prescribed a new medication that is supposed to prevent migraines. It is an injection that you administer to yourself once a month, and it should keep you migraine free for a whole month. Also, to help the migraine that I was currently suffering from, he gave me another injection of torrid, a migraine medication that should have stopped the migraine right then and there, within the hour.

Three days later, the day I took that gorgeous picture of the thinking bench near the pond, Kip had a well child visit, and while there I mentioned that the medication didn't seem to be working, and my head was still in substantial amounts of pain. And so he prescribed me with imitrex, a rescue medication. That is supposed to be only taken when nothing else has helped and the pain persists. Hence the name, rescue medication. I went down to the pharmacy, got my promised pain relief, and then got the kids into the car, including picking up the sweet little boy I get to watch sometimes. I had a busy morning ahead of me. I had to go straight to pick up Beth from school, and then Taelynn, the little girl I watch. While I was driving I started to get really hot. I couldn't figure out why. I began to sweat. My head seemed to get worse. I got Beth, and then we parked the car, waiting for Tae to get out of school. I noticed that my face began to feel funny, but I didn't think anything of it. It seemed to go numb in spots, and tingly in other spots. I got the girls and we went home. They were hungry and wanted me to start on lunch immediately, but I really didn't feel well and had to lay down on the couch in order to recover. I mustered up enough strength and made sandwiches for everyone, and then went back to the couch. At this point in time my throat began to feel tight. No like it was difficult to breathe, but just really tight.

I decided it was time to call my doctor.

I called and left a message because they are always crazy busy. I asked what the side effects of the imitrex were, and what I should do about the things that were happening to me. Of course, they told me to make an appointment and get in as soon as I could. I called the mom of the kids I was watching and asked her if she could get them 20 minutes earlier than she normally would have so that I could go to the doctor. She is a sweetheart and was very obliging.

I got into the doctor's office and they hooked me up to an EKG machine to check my heart. Apparently that medication is known to cause heart problems in people. My heart was fine, thank heavens! They gave me an antihistamine shot to counter the effects of the imitrex, and within 20 minutes my throat was no longer tight or scaring me.

But that put us back at square one. What could I do for this pain, as nothing seemed to work for it at all!

My sister had been here for Thanksgiving and she recently found out she is allergic to all joy in foods. At least that is how I interpreted it. She can't have dairy, eggs, wheat, blueberries, sesame, or coffee. The coffee is the only one that isn't a blow to her as we don't drink coffee. She is the one who used to joke about being allergic to sugar. As we were discussing her new dietary needs and how difficult it was but how much better she felt already, it got me thinking. Perhaps my head pain was a result of food allergies... I began to watch how I felt when I ate and I made a disheartening discovery. I was at Adrienne's house and she had cheesecake. Not just any cheesecake, either, mind you. She had pumpkin cheesecake! The spicy, creamy, decadent dessert that makes my heart happy! However, I noticed, as I was eating it, there was a spike in the pain in my head. It suddenly became much more intensified, and so I put two and two together. I must have a dairy allergy.

I was so sad as I contemplated all of the creamy soups I would no longer be able to eat, or the cheese. Mostly I was sad about the cheeses. It seemed cruel and unnatural, but I decided if it could help to ease my head pain, I guess I would give it up.

Saturday I had the wonderful privilege of going to a holistic health conference in Provo. While I was there, I was lucky enough to get a session with a practitioner. I told him about my migraines, and he began to check some things with me. He said that I do have an allergy to milk, but it is hardly consequential. It is so slight, it wouldn't be causing the problems I was describing. I may have done a little happy dance then and there, and contemplated a cheese plate of epic proportions. The practitioner then continued; because I had had such a reaction with cheesecake, what else in cheesecake could be causing my problems. Sugar? We both sort of laughed at that, because who is allergic to sugar? Actually good and proper allergic to sugar? He decided to check it anyway, just to be thorough.

My body gave out a resounding YES!

In case you were wondering, Me. That's who's allergic to sugar.

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I mean, I know it is bad for me and all, but actually allergic? There's got to be a support group for this somewhere.

Still a bit skeptical, last night I decided to give it a test. I had a candy cane, some cocoa, and another piece of cheesecake. Call me a masochist. But I really wanted one farewell piece of cheesecake. I scarcely slept last night because of the pain in my head! Today was no joke, as I tried to navigate a day with another migraine. I was sad when I realized I couldn't put the pumpkin spice creamer in my tea this morning because of all the sugar in it. I was sad when I couldn't make cocoa for myself. The family went out for Chinese tonight, and I stayed home with the little boys. I don't like Chinese food, but I love the fortune cookies! Except, I was severely disappointed when I remembered, once again, I can't have fortune cookies anymore. I have book club on Wednesday and am supposed to be bringing a trifle. I was so excited for that, but I guess I just wont be taking part in enjoying it. Not to worry, though, because I'm sure that by the time I am finished with our dinner I won't really want any dessert anyway, so it won't be much of a loss then, anyway.

This is going to be a huge shift in my lifestyle, friends. I mean, if there had been sugar eating Olympics, I could have taken the Gold home! In every living last category! Except peanut butter. I just don't like that. But Beth would have picked up the slack there, so Moon Hollow would have been adequately decorated. I'm just saying.

On to live a life without sugar. I am sure it is going to be a very fun transition figuring out how to give up something I am hopelessly and ardently addicted to. Yikes! But really, if it will help the pain in my head, I would walk across coals for that! Just not the ones that were on fire. And I would prefer to wear my shoes. But still! Stay tuned for my sweet but sugarless life. TBA

I didn't sleep last night but Vince certainly did. He slept so late this morning that he flat out refused to take a nap today. I did at one point get him into his bed, though, and as I read him stories, he fretted over his little toy robot. He kept fluffing the pillow, tucking the sheets around the toy, and cuddling up to the cold hard plastic thing in the most uncomfortable-looking but lovingly way.

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Vince didn't end up taking a nap. But robot did. I guess that's half the battle, right? Getting the toy to sleep?

Sigh, that boy is the most amazing and funniest little guy I have ever met, and I get so tired because of his antics every day. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I guess I get all the sweetness I need from him and his brothers and sisters. Who needs sugar when you have Littles like them, anyway?

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But butter? Now that is a whoooole different ball game, as you can see from Vinny's toast!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Termination Letter

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Moon Hollow Family Enterprises
November 27,  2018

Dear Tuesday,

This letter is to inform you that your employment with Moon Hollow Family Enterprises will end effective immediately.

You have been terminated for the following reasons:
  • Failure to alert the family that morning had come, thus making everyone nearly late and hungry as per no time for breakfast.
  • You failed to properly clothe children for the cold weather allowing them to  leave their coats home. Upper management was reprimanded by school staff.
  • Vince was super Vince-ified today. Lucky for you he was not naughty, just overly curious, adventurous, and busy. Fortuitous for you he didn't pull a stunt like he did on Monday's watch; going outside to play in the snow wearing only a diaper and boots while management was rocking the baby to sleep so they were unable to stop him or retrieve him. He did come in before neighbors called CPS, and before he got too cold, which was Monday's saving grace. He did immediately go back out yelling about snowballs but again, that only lasted 5 minutes.
  • I (Mother) had only one goal today and that was to clean the living room, but somehow, Tuesday, you thwarted me at every turn. The children were extra clingy, extra needy, and extra fight-y. They followed me around promptly pulling out everything I had just cleaned. You failed in the simple task of helping to distract them elsewhere.
  • The oven is full of burned on butter, causing too much smoke when turned on, this ruining dinner's plans
  • All of the pots and pans have begun to flake off their non-stick coating, making them unusable. Mother was forced to throw her last one away today, making food preparations impossible. More than that, it signified am end of an era as those pans  had been a wedding gift. Why you allowed them to be thrown out on your day is beyond Management's comprehension, when you were already skating on thin ice.
  • On top of everything else, it was found that you have been pilfering Sleep. None of the babies were found with it, to the extent that Kip was still awake at the writing of this, having had no nap, mind you, at 11:30 pm. 
  • Finally, you made the dog need to go out to poop twice in one night! Middle of the night, mind you. That was just not cool.

This decision is not reversible.

Miraculously, Mother was quick to think on her toes and found multiple ways to allow life to continue at Moon Hollow Family Enterprises. When the Littles were causing irreparable damage she took them and the dog for a walk. When the bigger kid fighting became overwhelming she separated and assigned chores. Keith was assigned to help install Christmas lights. When Mother became overwhelmed and angry by the consistency of your messes, Tuesday, she concocted a plan. Jeffrey would get home, they would eat dinner (something quick and easy, not what was previously planned), they would get into the van, go get report card donuts, Mother would bring along hot chocolate (laced with melatonin) and we would go see the Christmas Lights at the park. 

Plans were executed with the hiccup that someone had accidentally thrown away Kip's pajamas (I suspect it was also you but don't have proof). But Tuesday, we defied you! T

he park was beautiful and not crowded and not too cold. We were even able to participate in the Rotary Club's game of finding the elf to get a prize! 

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As we were walking along, some lovely young men (without coats *gasp*!)  gave us a candy cane with a sweet little message about the meaning of Christmas and the symbolism of the candy cane.

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I was so happy about that, loving that our Family Night was able to take a spiritual turn. I plan to print out a bunch of these sayings and go somewhere with the children to hand out candy canes with this sweet message as well. I loved that! It gives me great hope for the world when I see people going around doing good for no other reason than to do good. 

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When everyone got home from an incredibly delightful evening, the kids put themselves to bed. Except for the baby, who insisted on staying awake until midnight. The very same baby who had refused all naps during the day, another example of your fine handiwork! 

Tuesday, you will receive compensation, including pay for unused leave, severance pay, salary owed, etc. 

You are requested to return all company property, and training for the next Tuesday who will be replacing you.

Keep in mind, you have signed a confidentiality policy and as such are bound to keep the craziness within Moon Hollow Family Enterprises to yourself. 

If you have questions about policies you have signed, your compensation, benefits, or returning company property, please contact Mother within the next 5 days.

Sincerely,

Amy
Aka Mother

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Attack of Both the Dog and the Head

Onyx loves to run away. We have put up a little chicken wire fence in the backyard, but it seems to be one of his greatest joys in life to find holes in our security, and to break free and run away. As he runs, he looks back, tongue lolling out, eyes wild with excitement, and he r-u-n-s! The excitement and joy trail behind him like the intoxicated pheromones of a frustrated teenage boy. To see him run is just a joy...

...except for the part where we have to somehow catch him and bring him back home. That bit isn't so fun. The kids go chasing after him, and it is a wonderful lark to him. He eats it up and wants to do it more. However, Onyx has tried this stunt a few times at twilight, and Vince has felt it his duty to go chasing after the dog.

We decided this was no longer safe for our children, and so we decided to invest in an electronic fence. I never wanted to do that, but when my children's safety comes in to play, no holds are barred and I will do what I have to in order to keep them safe. In the meantime, we have been forced to only take Onyx out on a leash, and that includes when he needs to relieve himself. Sigh.

The electric fence was ordered, and Keith and Faye had the dog outside on Sunday, letting him do his business when the neighbor's dog who had gotten out, came over into our yard, hopped the measly fence like it didn't exist, and went after our dog.

The dog fight was epic and horrible and traumatic for Keith and Faye who didn't know what to do, and didn't know how to stop it. When the other dog finally grew tired of beating up on my dog, he went home, and Onyx limped into the house, scarcely putting any weight on his front left paw. It was bleeding a bit, in many different places. The poor thing was so scared! We pampered him a lot that night, and he fell asleep licking his wounds.

Monday dawned bright and beautiful. Nearly as shimmery as my beautiful 9 year old. Faye came up into my room, grinning from ear to ear, and just plopped herself down on my bed. Her eyes were big, and her smile was even bigger. I loved how the new morning light was creating that sleep halo around her head from the mussed up hair. I smiled at her, and started to sing Happy Birthday to her. She smiled even bigger. I gave her a quick squeeze and sent her off to get ready for school.

Onyx hadn't eaten since before he got attacked, and he had been busy all night licking those wounds. After taking the kids to school, I ran a bunch of errands, including getting scones for the kids. I checked them out of school and let them eat the scones and honey butter in the van while I ran into the pet store to get a cone for our dear Onyx. The kids were in heaven with the surprise treat. The scones really are heaven. They are billowy and light, and oh so perfect! They went back to school, and I got home and put the cone on the dog, along with a bunch of neosporin as per the instructions of the vet at the pet store.

And so now, we are building a fence. Not just to keep our doggy in, but to keep other dogs out and to keep my kids safe. My backyard neighbor had nearly all the hardware for a fence and they so graciously gave it all to us. I am so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors!

I feel bad that Faye's birthday wasn't the epic focus on her moment that birthdays seem to be. But we did have a lot of fun on Saturday. I made her favorite foods for dinner on Monday, though. We had crack chicken, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. I also made an incredible recipe for cheesecake. It is one that I was given when I was 19, and had lost it, but I remember it being absolutely divine! Luckily my sister still had the recipe and she shared it with me. It takes 4 hours to chill, and I finished baking it at 6, so I popped it into the freezer in hopes that would speed things up and help us be able to eat it that night. Shaun and Lisa stopped by with their kids and had dinner with us. Sadly, they didn't get to enjoy the cheesecake.

While we were eating dinner, my day long headache suddenly intensified into a migraine of epic proportions. I was coughing and every single cough felt like my head was being split open. We sang happy birthday to Faye, and then I went to bed. I couldn't bear the pain any longer.

As luck would have it, I had scheduled an appointment with my doctor to discuss my headaches a month ago, and my appointment was yesterday! I went into his office with a headache, and we discussed possible causes for them. We then discussed possible treatments. I am not going to lie, I missed most of what went on in that appointment because my head was hurting so much, and I had Kip with me. Keeping him out of stuff is a full time attention job. But it was decided on a new medication that was recently released that is said to have phenomenal results with migraines. I had to get 2 shots for this medication, but it takes about a week to fully work. It prevents migraines, and lasts for about a month. Which means, I get to take it monthly. A shot to my stomach. Yuck, but so worth not having the constant pain that I have been dealing with for the past... 28 years or so. Yeesh! I did have a brief few years where the pain decreased significantly when I started taking Plexus. Plexus is a wonderful health and wellness company. They focus in gut health, inflammation, and blood sugar balance. Focusing on those three things helped so much with the pain! But the pain has slowly been coming back and increasing, so it was time to do something else so that I could function as a human being, and more than that, so I could function as a mother! I do have to say, healing my gut has been an amazing journey and I am so glad I embarked on it nearly 3 years ago! But back to my current state. So I got 2 shots in my stomach, and then, to deal with the current head ache I have been having, I got another shot in my arm. That one hurt the most! The good news, I don't currently have a migraine!!! My head is in a bit of pain right now, but it is so insignificant, it is scarcely worth mentioning! I am so excited to see if it actually works!!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Steps and Motherhood

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I've always read and been told that being a mom is a lot like riding on a roller coaster. Those darn wonderful kids are so full of ups and downs.  Being a mom is dizzying and has Everest highs, and never-going-to-get-out-of-bed-again lows. Which, yeah, I can see that analogy. However, I submit my own.  Motherhood is like running steps. You know what I mean. I'm talking about those crazy awesome fitness people who find a huge expanse of steps (stadiums see a lot of these "dedicated and healthy people" aka lunatics) and they run up and down them for no other purpose than getting their heart rate up, sweating profusely, and to create thigh muscles that could squeeze you to death by merely looking at them. As they take these steps, there are so many ridiculous jarring ups and downs, many of which seem pointless, and it makes you all kinds of tired and sweaty.

Right now I am hiding in Arcadia. I feel like I type that sentence a lot. But it is important to have a place to go to not explode all over everyone. You see, yesterday I finished painting my front door. It is a delicious buttercream yellow now, and I am so in love!

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And I finally got pictures of it! But here's the thing. I am not what you would call a "Professional Blogger" and so my picture isn't perfect. The hose is unraveled, there is still painter's tape up, and I haven't painted the primer of the doorjamb because, well, kids. But you can still sample the lovliness of the yellow door, and that is basically the point here, so, there you have it.

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 As I was saying, I painted the door yesterday, and I got it all cleaned up, but I guess I had missed a tray of paint. It was such a little tray, not even a normal sized tray, just a tiny mini, which made it very easy to overlook. Obviously, though, a little bit of paint goes a long way when it comes to the Master Mischief Makers - Vince and Beth. They painted my counter tops last night. I was so tired. I cleaned off the counter, and thought I had taken care of the paint. Apparently I hadn't though. Jeffrey discovered more paint on the counter this morning, a whole lot more! He got that cleaned up, and all seemed well. Fast forward to this evening when I was cleaning up the Fall decor, and cleared off my piano. I found a bunch of primer painted onto my beloved 102 year old piano! I may have cried a little. Oh my goodness, those two are just so... hot and sweaty and all kinds of tiring.

The thing is, Vince is the mastermind behind all things trouble. He weaves it in and out and all around the fabric of our lives like the mad genius he is. He has a knack for it. If there is mischief to be had, he will have declared himself the king, and will conquer it in the most spectacular fashion. That boy is going to be the end of me. And here is the best part of it all. He is so darn cute, and funny, and clever, and happy, that you can't help but be swept away by him. That boy has charisma +20! (forgive the nerd reference, but it applies oh so well!)

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I got to play some games with him the other day, and he was making me laugh so hard with the faces he would pull as he contemplated his next move.

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And the ideas and opinions that boy has! I am so glad that he is mine, but man alive, it is a wonder that I have any dark hair left. But when he is tired, or when he just feels like it, he will come to me and cuddle up in my lap. He rests his head on the hollow of my neck, and takes a deep breath, and melts into my heart. Suddenly, all of the stress and headache he has been giving me dissipates and I am left feeling warm and happy and so grateful for that little man of mine. He is going places, I tell you. He will make his mark on this world, and I will be able to stand back in awe and watch as the world around him changes for the better. Because he has that ability and that determination.

Yesterday was Faye's birthday celebration. The birthday is actually on Monday, but since she has school, and we have FHE, there wouldn't be a whole lot of time to just focus on her. And we don't do gifts anymore. Just experiences. I had the idea to take her to a painting class. I really think she would enjoy that. She countered me with the idea to go "hang out" at the mall. She wanted to get her hair done, and then go to the mall because, "Mom, I have never even been to the mall. What is there? What do people do there, anyway?" So I made an appointment with our favorite pink haired stylist, Kimberly. She knows how to treat Faye like a princess.

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After the luxurious shampoo, she got a Sprite for her VIP client, asked her what she wanted done with her hair, and then proceeded to knock it out of the park, completing the style with glitter spray perfume. Kimberly and I laughed because it looked so much like Rachel hair, and Faye was delirious with excitement over having "straight hair!!"

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When hanging out at the mall, as all teenagers know, it is important to meet up with friends. That is just the way it is done. Not wanting to knock tradition, we called my best friend Adrienne who also has a daughter who is mostly best friends with Faye. I say mostly because theirs is a complicated friendship. We got some food in the food court. Faye got Japanese noodles, Adrienne and I got Greek, and Emily got a good old fashioned American burger and fries. When we had finished our lunch, the "hanging out" portion commenced. Adrienne and I got to teach the girls the glories of Bath and Bodyworks. We sniffed candles and lotions and soaps until our noses tickled and we couldn't handle any more sniffing. Faye and Adrienne tried on perfume and smelled fabulous the whole rest of the day. We moseyed in and out of stores, spending the most time in places like Claire's and Icing.





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I was giddy when I found the used bookstore that Jeffrey and I had discovered years ago when we lived near that particular mall. I was so worried that it had moved or gone out of business. It had changed locations within the mall. It is now in a more prominent albeit less interesting location. I spent far more time and money than I had anticipated in that store.

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But oh my goodness, how can you not?! I found some favorite DragonLance books that I had wanted to own again (I think they had originally been my brother's), and The Pilgrim's Progress, which is something I have long been curious about! I can't even express the joy over that find! The first half of the time the girls were impatient and wanting to leave (but seriously, how can you? Used book store! Those are my favorite kinds of book stores! And book stores are my favorite kinds of stores. When they finally dragged me out, we found a boutique that I have always loved and often get lost in...

All in all, it was an incredible day for my dear sweet Faye. She finished off her day by going to the BYU game with Keith and her cousin. It was ridiculously cold, but the Y won, which always makes the game so much better. I think they got home around 1:45 last night. I don't know. I was asleep.

As I typed that last paragraph, Vince came in here to see what I was doing. He stood next to me, spread his legs, angled his hips, and peed directly beneath my chair... leaving his mark in Arcadia. First, my quiet room, next, the world!

Motherhood is akin to running steps. Jarring ups and downs, people! Sweaty and exhausting.  And surprisingly worth it as we all grow so much stronger because of it.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Strict Order


Halloween

Thanksgiving

Christmas.

That is the natural order of things.

I am a purist and always have been. To fully appreciate the seasons, you must partake one at a time, and in the proper order. None of this skipping ahead for Christmas and neglecting the only holiday focused on gratitude. That is how I saw it even as a very small child, and I would fight for it, tooth and nail.

Which is why I am flabbergasted by this year. Even before Halloween was over, I was having inclinations to decorate for Christmas. Also, I have always loved Halloween. It has been my favorite holiday my whole life. I didn't even decorate for it this year. Don't get me wrong, I have had my fall decor up since August. Fall has the prettiest decorations of all. The colors and smells are just so homey and cozy. I typically put up Halloween on October 1st but this year I just didn't. I seem to have had a subtle paradigm shift. Halloween, while fun and delightfully spooky, is all about celebrating the darkness. And I don't need any lectures on the origins of the holiday because I am well aware of them. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is a favorite of mine, and it delves deep into all the roots and symbolism of Halloween. But any way you look at it, it is a celebration (or had slyly turned into one) of devils, witchcraft, and demons. Don't get me wrong, though. We still went trick or treating and fully enjoyed the day because I have kids and days Like that area made for kids. It's half the magic of childhood. Keith went as Sans, a skeleton guy from a video game he enjoys, Faye went as a hipster and she nailed it! Beth was Hermione from Harry Potter, Vince ended up being Spider Man, and Kip was an elephant, but he stayed home and helped pass out candy because I just didn't want to push a stroller and pull the dog on his leash. Taking the kids out was the perfect opportunity to walk the dog. But we didn't watch the usual movies of Hocus Pocus, Casper, etc. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with them, either. I own both and many others besides. It just didn't feel right to put so much focus and emphasis on the holiday that celebrates the opposite of what we want to achieve.

During General Conference in October the prophet asked us to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, paint special attention to every time the Savior is talked about our mentioned. It has been spectacular! I have noticed a huge shift in how often I think about Him now. I can't wait to get my Christmas decorations up because that will be such a beautiful visual reminder of the role of Christ and the hand of God in our lives. And that is where I want my family's focus. To be fiercely fixed on why we celebrate Christmas. I want to pull my nativities out and have them be the focal point of my living room. I want my home to be full of happy musical voices rejoicing in the birth of the Savior of the world.

(not my nativity, but super cute nonetheless!)

I find myself anxiously awaiting the first snow. Yes, I love to watch the snow fall and to see the world completely cocooned in the softness of winter snow, but it's more than that. The snow seems to be the harbinger for the season. And anyway, the snow would just match my mood and it seems to fit already. And so every day I check the weather, and every day I am disappointed but still hopeful that snow will come soon (and all people who are sleeping rough can have a warm dry place to stay) because I have a new roof and can't wait to welcome it's maiden voyage, so to speak.

Tomorrow the Christmas lights go up on the house and I am so excited!

Also, lest ye think I have turned hypocrite, we are going to have a Family Home Evening on gratitude, complete with a gratitude tree that we will add to every day.

I still value the order of holidays and not completely bypassing any of them, I have just finally seen the value in celebrating the birth of Jesus longer than just 25 days so fraught with greed and shopping and so many distractions that are unnecessary, that the actual reason for Christmas gets forgotten and Santa and the religion of consumerism reigns supreme.

Happy Holidays everyone! 🎄☃️✨

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Last Time Ever


Today I sat in Arcadia, rocking Kip to sleep and silently cried. He was nestled in my arms, one hand lightly holding the collar of my shirt, the other, limply hanging onto my lap. His breathing was steady and even, while mine was quick and jagged. You see, I had missed a last and not even realized it. Ordinarily that wouldn't bother me. Sending my kids to school never brought about the tears. Nor did haircuts, missing teeth, or anything else like that. Maybe when naps ended for some of my kids (Faye quit napping at 18 months which was far too early for my liking), but overall I'm not that sentimental. But today, with Kip, it was somehow different.

It's no secret that I suffer from migraines. My doctor was telling me about a recent discovery which is proving to be effective, in the medical world, but which I cannot take while breastfeeding or pregnant. I made an appointment with my doctor 3 weeks out (because that is the earliest he had available) and knew I would have to be done by then. In 3 weeks. Honestly, that seemed perfect to me. I would have 3 weeks to slowly wean my baby and I could enjoy and savor every single time with him. All of this happened last Thursday. Little did I know, by his choice, Sunday night would be my very last time breastfeeding my very last baby. And the tragedy is I slept through the whole thing.

Kip woke me up at 3:00, as per usual. I carried him into my room, laid down next to him, and he started to eat while I promptly fell asleep.

For the very last time.

And I didn't even realize it until today, which is Tuesday.

And now I sit, rocking my baby, crying like an actress for the missed moments I didn't realize were coming.

And then my dear friend Lisa sent me this, and I cried even more.

It's mind melting, how fast they grow up, how quickly they change. I'm not sure I'm ready to be out of the baby stage yet. I think if I had my way I would always have a baby on my hip, but my body is getting older and my other kids complain of lack of attention.

I'm just glad he still likes to cuddle to sleep.