Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Lonely Blog

There's been a lot going on here over the past few months. We took a trip to Scotland. I just finished up the fall term of online classes and Helena is coming up on 4 months old (!). The boys have acquired a typical European obsession with soccer, but I am too stingy and/or lazy to sign them up for an actual team (think of all the driving that would involve with both of them on separate teams - blah), so they play once a week with their after school club.

Lately there has been so much Christmas-related stuff going on I can barely remember where we are supposed to be and when. But I love all the holiday stuff. Christmas in England is so fun. Here are a few pictures to sum up
the past few months:

Monday, September 28, 2009

An Update

I had forgotten what life with a newborn was like. I mean, I remembered that the first few weeks at home were pretty rough, but all the details were lost. This time around it's been easier in some ways and more difficult in others.

I now spend the bulk of my time in sweatpants. It's a very cliche "mom" thing, I know, but suddenly there are a million things to do and getting dressed is towards the bottom of the list. I have the feeling for most people it's towards the top of the list - like most people get dressed right after they get out of bed, but oh well. I manage to put real pants on when I leave the house, so that's gotta be worth something.

I don't mind the lack of sleep so much this time around. I pretty much knew what to expect and I think when you start off the night not expecting to climb into bed and sleep all night, that makes a big difference. I now usually climb into bed thinking, "Please let it be three hours...or at least two." And I'm usually not disappointed.

Did you know I have two other children besides this baby? Where are they? What are they up to? Who knows. We now pass each other in the house like ships in the night. Hey. How's it going. Need a peanut butter sandwich? Okay. See ya later.

It's strange how Jack has gone from being my little tiny baby boy (he's 6) to suddenly NOT being the baby AT ALL. He now seems ridiculously huge. As soon as we brought the baby home, Jack grew up. He now weights 355 lbs and is a big giant man . I seriously wondered if I would ever stop thinking of Jack as my baby and just like that, I have! It's weird and I hope he doesn't feel bad about it, but so far there are no signs of it.

Dylann is taking his role as the oldest very seriously and I must say, he is great at it. If the baby starts to frown at all, or wrinkle her eyebrows, he REACTS IMMEDIATELY by alerting me to the situation (MOM!!! THE BABY'S UPSET!!!) and locating the pacifier. He is an awesome big brother.

We went the first two weeks of Helena's life with no pacifier because I was breastfeeding and the midwives here advise against using one. Anytime we left the house (usually just to go to the school) I felt like I was carrying a ticking time bomb that might go off any second. And I couldn't always whip out the boob, which was the only thing that would calm her down. Errands outside the house were done with the speed and efficiency of a military maneuver. We were continuously watching her for signs she was about to let loose and that was when things really got going - okay, we're at T minus 10, 9, 8....let's move, move, MOVE! We really couldn't
keep that up, so we wound up going with the pacifier. And although I would rather see her lovely face without a big plug stuck in her mouth, I cannot imagine life without it. Ain't no two ways about it.

To sum things up, this past month I have felt exhausted...amazed...completely disorganized...

And absolutely filled...

with gratitude.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Our beautiful baby girl Helena Patricia - born August 27th, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Monday, August 17, 2009

Still pregnant...

Well, the 38th week has come and gone, which was the week I thought would be it. I've been having lots of Braxton Hicks/false labor/early laboring (whatever you want to call it) over the past two weeks and I figured that meant I was destined to go early. I haven't been having the midwife check to see how dilated I am, so I have no idea if these contractions have done anything at all - other than cause a few sleepless nights. Now I am only one week from my due date. I know it's a good thing for this baby to stay nestled in there as long as she needs to be, but we are definitely ready for things to move along! I spend most of my day walking around like Bill Cosby in this video, because either my back is about to go out or I'm rushing to the bathroom. Hopefully I'll be doing the Bill Cosby dance to the hospital sometime soon...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blood and guts and gore!

I have 19 days until my due date and I think I am losing my mind. I have been having contractions on and off for a few days. They come regularly about 20 minutes apart for a while and then completely disappear. Dylann was early and Jack was early, so every morning I wake up and feel "weird" in some way and I become convinced that I'm about to give birth. Then I think, gee, I should do the laundry and clean the bathroom in case I really am about to go into I don't have to worry about it later. But that would mean I would have to get up and move around, which is not enjoyable when it feels like a baby is hanging so low in your pelvis it might fall out.

I've been trying to distract myself with other things, like simultaneously watching a nature documentary and reading some crappy Michael Crichton book about gorillas in the congo that want to kill you. Also the boys are on summer break, so I have their constant wrestling matches and showering the living room with legos to distract me. And my understanding husband to say supportive things like, "I don't remember you complaining this much the other two times." HaHa! He's going to need a new schtick when we get to the delivery room!

Today I distracted myself by reading birth stories on some of my favorite blogs. Well, it was sort of a distraction even though it was all about BIRTH and BABIES coming out and OH THE PAIN! I have to put up a link to Henry's birth story from Finslippy because it made me laugh so hard I had tears streaming down my face and my kids kept asking me what was so funny or am I just stuck again. Every time I sit down a little too long in one place they ask me, "Are you stuck again??" No kids, just lazy! But thanks for your concern.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It was a beautiful, sunny day...

The wooden bench outside looked so inviting, the giant pregnant woman couldn't resist. She waddled over and sat down. Then she realized she could probably lay down on the bench and put her feet up and it would be awesome. So she did. She was laying on her back with her feet up and from that angle the sun was so blindingly bright she couldn't open her eyes. About 10 seconds later, she felt something going on with her back. It gave out. She tried rolling herself one way or the other, but it was not happening. She was stuck on her back like a giant dying bug. After contemplating just giving up and taking a nap, she started calling for her oldest son to bring his strapping self over and yank her up into a seated position. But alas he was on the swing and didn't want to give it up or his annoying little brother would take his spot. And that would be unacceptable. So his mother continued to call him and wiggle her arms and legs uselessly like a helpless overturned turtle, while he continued to guard the swing. Finally he came over and as soon as the woman saw him she burst out laughing like a lunatic. She laughed so hard that tears came streaming down her face and the sun was slowly blinding her, so she couldn't see. While her children looked on, not sure if they should laugh or call the funny farm, she managed to sputter out that she was stuck and could someone please pull her up. It took about 5 seconds for them to haul her up and she was sitting on the bench like a normal person again, but the woman couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if she would have been home alone that day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

How will it be with one more thrown in the mix??

I am now over 8 months pregnant...due next month! Still trying to convince myself that we're actually going to have three children, because it's a little scary!

With the two children we have now (you know the ones - I may have mentioned them on here a time or two before), I've begun to notice some differences in Donn's parenting style and my parenting style. I've always known that I'm more laid back than he is. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but it's just the way things are. Having Donn home now from his deployment for over a year, a few specific things are starting to become clear.

When I'm home with the boys I tend to let them clutter up the house with toys until I can't stand it and then I help them clean up. Donn pretty much makes them clean up as they go along. If I go in the bathroom and the toilet is not flushed, I just flush it for them and I might say something or I might not. Donn will call them in right away to take care of it themselves. I think his method is probably better, but I've come to the conclusion that I'm just too lazy to be so on top of things. The house falls apart during the day, I've come to accept that. Sort of.

As an example, tonight I found Dylann's dirty socks stuffed behind the door in the bathroom. Here is my dilemma: Do I take the socks over to the laundry room myself or call Dylann in to clean them up, which will no doubt result in him trying to throw them at Jack (don't ask me how I know this will happen, but it will) and then there will be a bunch of running and laughing and dirty sock throwing until I can finally reign them in by repeating myself over and over and over again, getting louder and louder?

Kids never do things calmly. Or at least mine never do and together they egg each other on until they've both reached a level of frenzy. If you ask them to throw something away they have to run all the way to the garbage can, slide on the kitchen floor, make a slam dunk and possibly spill stuff on the floor, and run all the way back. Sometimes I'd rather just do it myself in the interest of sanity. I realize this doesn't teach them any good lessons, but it keeps me from developing an eye twitch.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Notice to Little Boys (And rowdy little girls)

Please note the following:

1. Throwing rocks is pretty much never a good idea.
2. Climbing on things can end in disaster.
3. Hitting your brother or sister means they will probably hit you back. Don't start the cycle of violence.
4. If you're caught fighting with someone no one will care who started it, you will both be in trouble.
5. Never get too close to another kid holding a baseball bat.
6. Don't hold hands on the trampoline or you will eventually smack into the other person.
7. As soon as you yell, "Look how fast I'm going!" something very bad is about to happen.
8. Real baseballs are like flying torpedoes of death - stick with tennis balls.
9. If you mess with the bees, they will get revenge.
10. Superglue - don't try it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Because we need more drama

The boys have learned from one of their friends what it means to "put on a show". Now they gather costumes and props and rush around in hushed voices until everything is under control and then they want me to sit quietly and watch while they pretend they are a bat, a ninja, chuck norris, or a bankrobber. It's pretty cute. And highly entertaining for about 5 minutes or so.

I remember doing that when I was a kid with my friends or my cousins. We wrote scripts. We acted very dramatically. Our reviews were always fabulous, unless we accidentally ripped down the smurf sheets being used as curtains during scene 1 of Act 2. A minor setback.

I could be a little bit bossy. I remember doing a play with my cousins in the basement that we were going to make my aunt videotape. If they disagreed with something I wanted to do, I would react by forcing them to go along with whatever I thought, because I was full of kindness and understanding.

So far the boys have handled their disagreements about the details of the play in a much more straightforward way. Dylann does the shouting and Jack does the beating.

No matter how the show begins, it always turns out to be Jerry Springer.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

From the Vault

These are from blog posts I never published from the past 6 months.

Bird poop in the fireplace and salami handling.

There is a nest in our chimney. We can hear the birds chirping through the fireplace. Every so often a bunch of sticks fall down into the fireplace and I'm afraid at any moment that a bunch of baby birds are going to come plopping down. Then we'll rescue them and the angry parents will come flying out of the fireplace and attack us.

My least favorite job in the morning is making the boys lunches. There's something horrible about handling cold lunchmeat first thing in the morning.

I'm going through cat withdrawl. I am not a crazy cat person or anything, but we've always had a cat. We were planning to fly our cat here from the US this weekend, but they wanted to charge us over $1,000 for the flight and fees. Now whenever the neighbor's cat walks through our yard I want to run outside and steal it.


Yeah, well, I wanted it to be there.

Last night when I was putting Jack to bed, I laid down with him for a while and he asked me to tell him a story about Star Wars. I would rather tell a story about just about anything else, but Jack always wants to hear stories that involve weapons and danger. I don't know very much about Star Wars, beyond the main characters names, so I made something up about Luke Skywalker when he was 5 years old. Jack kept smiling and looking totally into it, so I thought I was doing a pretty good job of making crap up, but just when I got to the part where 5 year old Luke has to battle some other kid named Damien from gamma quadrant 5 (I think that's actually from Toy Story), who has a gold light saber, Jack totally lost it and laughed so hard he couldn't speak. I asked him what was so funny about this very dangerous, perilous story. And he said, "THIS IS THE WORST STAR WARS STORY EVER!!! HAHA HAHAHAHAA!!!!" The end.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Give me all your food and nobody gets hurt!

I've always been warned by people that my boys will eventually become starving teenagers that will try to eat the very house down around us. They will eat you out of house and home! They will eat and eat! You won't be able to keep the refrigerator full! Non-stop eating!!! And I believe these warnings, because I grew up around a lot of boys and witnessed the eating and the eating and the chompchomp gimme that burrito chompchompchomp.

But it seems to have started a little early. Dylann is 7 and over the past few months he seems to be increasingly starving to death. It's like living with a raccoon. He's always rummaging around in the cupboards and the fridge asking if he can have this or that and if I say no, he looks very sad and neglected and malnourished. I am continuously trying to think of things that will fill him up and keep him that way for more than an hour, but it ain't easy. Even after he eats an entire meal, he will be starving to death and wasting away two hours later. Peanut butter sandwiches and milk are my two standbys for staving off hunger, because they're quick and fairly filling. And yet, he can polish off 2 or 3 peanut butter sandwiches and a glass of milk without stopping to take a breath.

Meanwhile, he gains nary a pound. Well, I think he's gained about 4 pounds in the last year. He is growing taller and more hungry every day.

Our supplies are running low. The neighbor's chickens are growing anxious. The number of milk jugs in our recycling bin is threatening to bury the house.

I think it's his metabolism. He's metabolising and I can't keep up. Help.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I had a new car...

Up until yesterday my car looked brand new. And it is pretty new, it's a 2008. However, in the span of two days it has become used. Yesterday I was driving on one of the little country backroads to our house when a white van came flying by and smashed my mirror to pieces. Of course, his mirror got smashed to pieces also, but maybe he should have MOVED OVER! On these country backroads it seems like half the time you encounter really polite drivers who slow down and move over and the other half it's these maniacs who go flying by like they have the right of way no matter what else is going on around them. Maniacs. Maniacs!

Today I drove the boys to school and then went to the grocery store. When I came out of the store and popped the trunk open, I noticed that there is a dent on my rear bumper. A dent where there was no dent yesterday, even after the mirror-smashing maniac incident. I have no idea if it happened this morning parked outside the school (probably) or at the grocery store. All I know is, I don't want to drive my car anymore. I want to buy an armored vehicle or a tank or something.

I have been in no shape lately to deal with car problems or any kind of problems at all. I can't help but overreact about every frustrating thing that happens. Everything is suddenly tragic. It's like I'm a toddler with no ability to step outside the situation and be rational. I don't know what is going on, but I blame it on hormones. Forgot my keys? Hormones! Bursting into tears because my favorite yogurt is gone? Horomones! Eating the last chocolate chip granola bar? Definitely hormones! I think the children are wondering what the hell is going on around here and pretty soon they will probably start hoarding food up in their rooms before I get to it first. But I would find it. I would find it and eat it all!! And then we could cry about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

But I'm not a fan of pastel pink...

Hello again! Here I am more than one month later writing another post myself. We found out about 2 weeks ago that our little pea in a pod is a girl....a girl! A girl?? A girl.

I wanted a girl...or a boy, actually. Either one. But it's strange having been a mom to only boys for the past 7 years, I feel unprepared. I imagined myself with 3 boys so I could keep referring to my kids as "the boys" and pass on their faded, worn-out clothes to the next in line. Having a girl seems a little bit scary. I was kind of a tomboy growing up. I liked bugs and animals and playing baseball, even though I was no good at it. I'm not a fan of the color pink. I don't want to buy stuff that says princess on it. Is that sexist of me to assume that she will even like that stuff? She probably won't. She'll be just like me and want to play baseball. But then she'll turn into a scary, unstable teenager and join the army and leave.

Jack said he didn't want a little sister because he doesn't want any Bratz dolls in the house. I told him she might not like Bratz dolls (lord, I hope not - why don't they just call them hoochie mamas?), but he doesn't seem to believe me.

It still seems unbelievable that I'm pregnant with a girl. Why do I feel so different about it than with the boys? I feel like I'm pregnant for the first time all over again, not knowing what to expect. A girl....a girl? A girl!

Updated - 5 May 2009 - I've been thinking about this and I think the main reason I feel weird about having a girl is because of the way everyone reacts like I'm finally getting what I've been waiting for! Like having a girl is going to be somehow more fun for me than having a boy. Or how people would ask if we were going to "try for a girl" like we wouldn't really want another boy. We knew we wanted another baby, and the rest didn't matter! I guess I'm just defensive about the subject. I love my rowdy boys and I don't want them to feel like I was any less excited about my pregnancies with them.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Remember when I had the dilemma about whether or not we should have another baby?

Well, a couple weeks ago I found out that in August of this year, our children will outnumber us. I'm pregnant! Again!

Right after I found out, I felt perfectly fine for about a week and I thought this is going to be an easy pregnancy! I'll just be able to do what I normally do and be pregnant! But the nausea crept up like a big green ugly monster...and the food aversions and cravings. It's more intense with this pregnancy than with either of my first two...and I've only just begun. It already feels like my body is no longer my own. It's a vessel for some greater purpose and I'm just along for the ride.

I've been thinking of nothing but labor and delivery for the past few days. As soon as I lay down at night, I'm bombarded with images of babies being born in all manner of possible home on the floor, in a hospital with an epidural, in the backseat of a car, underwater, 100 years ago on a bed where a woman bites on a leather strap with a knife under the bed "to cut the pain." I think it's because I'll be using the National Healthcare System here in England and they have a lot more options than our military healthcare when it comes to labor and delivery. You can have a home birth if you want and the pain control options are a little different. Also babies are delivered by a midwife here and doctors are only involved if necessary. I realize it's a little early to be thinking about this, but it's been on my mind nonetheless.

And I also feel like the laziest most fun-hating person on the planet. I'm a bum. A slug. I am a stick in the mud. I want to be on the couch with a book and a blanket like a person of weak constitutions. I lure the boys to me with books and snacks and card games, so they will sit with me and then they get bored and run away because I'm a boring old woman.

And me bones are tired. But excited to the very core.