Friday, October 30, 2009

The Day is Here...

The fateful day is finally here. I knew it was coming. I could feel it in my bones (.... or maybe that was my rear end...) I went to the doctor this morning and after swearing to myself that I wouldn't freak out no matter how much weight I have gained..........

I freaked out.

Because I now outweigh my husband.

And I have 6 weeks to go.

This isn't going to be pretty, friends.

(And sorry about the light posting. My laptop is broken and I don't make it to the basement very often to use the big computer. Hope to return soon.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When Angry Meets Angry

It takes very thick skin to take four small children shopping when you are eight months pregnant. Nevermind the physical aches and pains, the comments and gawking is enough to make even the most confident want to run screaming from wherever they are. Little stingers such as "So, you're done, right?" or "All they all yours?" make me feel like a circus sideshow. And it is not like we are trying to grab attention. The kids usually behave fairly well - but the sheer volume of our presence is enough to move bystanders to commentary.

As you might imagine, I have been in no mood to deal with the attention. I just want to move quickly and efficiently into and out of the places we frequent, avoiding all pregnancy/baby/large family-related conversation until I feel physically stronger. So I have taken pains to make sure that we get all of our running around done while the big kids are at school and we usually make it out of the public eye without notice. Until yesterday...

A heavily aged woman pushed a loaded shopping cart near us in the grocery store. She stopped near us where I assumed she was looking for similar fare. All of a sudden I heard her voice pointed at me, "That's quite a family you have there." I looked down at my two youngest kids with their sparkly eyes and their soft little blonde heads and smiled at her in agreement, "Yes. And this is only half of them." She stared venom at me. "Do you mean to tell me that you are expecting your fifth child?" Oh, hell, I thought. This isn't a compliment. I felt the flush of anger, pain, rage rush to my cheeks as I chose my words carefully. "Well, yes," was all I could muster. "Well, you must want a large family," she scoffed. "God wants us to have a large family. Plus, they are wonderful kids," my flight response dying quickly as fight quickly started to kick in. Her, "You must be Mormon." Me, "No we're Catholic." Her, "Well I am glad you can afford them." Me, "Well, who can really afford them? If you wait for that, you'll never have any." Her, (nasty laughter) "Well, good luck to you." Me (screaming) "WE DON'T NEED LUCK!"

As furious as I was that someone could actually insult my children and lifestyle choices in front of me, I just wondered what brings a person to the place where they are so angered by the presence of a happy, well-adjusted family? What is it that moves people to be so aggressive as to make a public spectacle out of someone who was otherwise just trying to mind her own business? Have I ever done that to someone? If I have, whoever you are, please, please forgive me. It's awful.

And of course, in the moment, word always fail me. When cornered, I usually resort to either shouting, tears, or a combination of both. Never calm articulation. But in this case words probably wouldn't have worked anyway. I probably just sent that woman on her way with the calm assuredness that I was too unstable to handle minor confrontation without screaming my head off. And you want to know what? She's right.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stand Down, Spongebob!

Grant and I do some of our best talking either on the telephone or while riding in the car at night. It probably has something to do with not having to look at one another directly in the face while speaking that makes the conversation be a little bit more flowy and candid. So tonight we were driving home from dinner at his parents house (about a 30 minute trip) and I was telling him about a story about a blogger who used to have a really funny, thought provoking little blog going and how it has gone completely south. I was searching for the right words to describe it, "... and now it's like... like..." and he said, "Like yours?"

I feigned shock and shot him a "How Could You"-face but the truth is I know what he meant. He decided to enlighten me anyway, "Well, you were pretty funny there for a while, but now it is all just filler crap." Touche.

Well, the truth is I am not a writer, but sometimes I like to write. I am not a photographer, but sometimes I like to take pictures. These things pass into and out of my life from time to time, season to season, and I am completely in touch with how fickle I really am. But when I really needle it down to the truth I must confess: the reason I lag in creativity right now is because the fall seasons started on the television and I have been using my evening brain drain for that instead. Is it a less worthy use of my time? Oh, I wish I could say no, but the truth is yes.

Upon having this realization, I started to think again about the amount of time my kids have been spending in front of screens - television, computer, video games - and how I don't want that for them. I started to think again about the over-branding of our culture and how children don't want anything to do with anything that doesn't boast the label of something that is familiar to them. Forget about ethnic food - kids won't eat anything without a McDonald's label. Don't even think about taking them to the theater - kids don't want to watch anything but the latest installment of the GI Joe saga. All of these familiarities provide them with a sense of belonging, recognition ... comfort, comfort, comfort. I just want my kids to be able to think outside of all these labels. To interpret freely what they like and dislike. But guess what? I really want the same thing for myself.

And so tonight when we got home, fresh off of the conversation/realization I had in the car, I received an email from someone talking about her impending Florida vacation. She made reference to staying at the Nickelodeon Hotel. Since I don't know this person well, and I am curious about her tastes in vacation spots, I googled Nickelodeon Hotel and this is what I found ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Someone would actually purchase an airplane ticket for her entire family to fly to a place where murals of Spongebob adorn the walls of their hotel room? Come on. This has to be some kind of joke. Listen here friends, it's not. (And I thought all-inclusive resorts were tacky.....) But seriously, how can you think in a place like that? How can you relax? I just don't want that for our family. But is partaking in just some of it the slippery slope into a vacation in a pineapple under the sea? I sure hope not - but maybe.

To sum it up a bit, (as always) we have some revamping to do. Just for this week, let's trade tv screens for board games. Let's trade XBox for lively debate. Let's trade the internet for extra prayer time. These are my ambitions. Let's just see if I am not too fickle to keep them.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Forget the Cookie Jar ....

This kid's got his hand in the whole stinkin' pantry!

Said to Me - Chapter 2

Me: My favorite color is green. Ben, what is your favorite color?

Ben: Ooooh, I like baby blue the best. Josh, what is your favorite color?

Josh: I like a mixture of blue and green. Do they call that "aqua?"

All of Us: Yes. Aqua. Or turquoise. I like that color too.

Michael: Do you wanna know what I like?

All of Us: What?

Michael: Toasters.


Michael: You know what I am going to wish for on Christmas?

All of Us: What?

Michael: A tissue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If the TV Isn't a Babysitter... What the Hell Else is it For?

There are a few dearly held words of wisdom that I question, that have never made sense to me. Today I will isolate one that particularly stupefies me: Don't use the TV as a babysitter. Why on earth would you turn on the TV for your kids if not for a break for yourself? My problem? I am using my "babysitter" too much.

As seen in the past, this little blog becomes somewhat of a mini-confessional for me. It is a place where I can admit my wrongdoing in the hopes of going forward without committing the same ills. So with this admission of guilt, I realize that now I need to right my wrongs, I just don't know how right now. The weather has turned cold, Annie is fighting off some respiratory ailment, and I weigh 6-zillion pounds and have no desire for physical activity. None. Enter glorious television.

I remember when I was pregnant with Michael and facing the same malady, I confided in a neighbor. She was a loud Long Islander with definite opinions on all topics. I said to her, "I just feel so guilty for letting the kids watch TV so much." And she delivered one of my most quoted pieces of advice, "So WHAT!? Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get by." And so now I find myself in similar waters: same guilt, same aches and pains, same cable television crutch. No solution - just wondering what people mean when they quote that little babysitter barb. TV is neither constructive nor educational - it is a (sometimes necessary) brain-drain. Plain and simple.

The next quotable quote I intend to address goes a little something like this: Never drink to get drunk. HUH?? I need a few glasses of wine before I can adequately address this one. 7 weeks and counting.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Home Early

I shouldn't be on the computer right now. I should be in the forest with my family on our last campout for the year, and perhaps next year, too. One hour ago, that is exactly where I was. It was glorious. The weather was perfect, crisp and cool. We had a fire blazing and the kids were in the cabin telling funny stories. Picturesque? Charming? Yes. All of those things.

We had to leave when we walked into the cabin and heard Annie coughing and audibly wheezing. Scared us half to death - what is it? Cold? Flu? H1N1? Asthma? We have no idea, but we do have prednisone at the house, so the decision was obvious. We had to leave.

So now I am snug in my bed, watching Noggin with Annie (she seems fine), eating saltine crackers and banging away on the laptop. We'll probably go back to our campsite tomorrow morning and have breakfast and hang out, provided that the prednisone works and the wheezing stops. Want to know a secret? This is how I prefer to "camp" anyway. Eat, play games, roast marshmallows, make a fire - go home to sleep - return in the morning after a shower and eat, hike and play more games. Don't tell Grant or the kids.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Embrace Motherhood

While I am certainly no techno-wizard - I hope this link will post so you can watch this video. I am so inspired by this woman - there are no words.

This just proves - beauty lies in the little things. Bathing your children, cooking their favorite breakfast, praying together. Watch this video and then bake something for your kids. I'm gonna.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Must-See TV

I don't know if you are interested but Stephanie Nielsen of the Nie Nie Dialogues will be on Oprah tomorrow. I may be the only person on the planet who cannot stand Oprah - but this will be good. Soooooo good.

See more here:
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