Monday, January 30

The Day I Couldn't Get Warm

Argh! Last night the low wasn't too bad, so Zorak didn't start a fire, and I guess he didn't think it was very cold when he left for work this morning because he didn't start one then, either. I got up this morning and was freezing.

I tried to start a fire before breakast, but we didn't have enough smaller chunks to get a fire going, and it wasn't cold enough that I could justify using books. (Would it ever get cold enough to justify that??? Nah...) So add in that whole nursing issue, and I was one wet, cold, miserable woman today. Spent most of the day begging the boys to come sit with me under the blankets.

They didn't seem phased by the arctic temperatures (ok, the high was 58, but it didn't FEEL like 58...) They played outside, without jackets on and I shivvered uncontrollably every time I looked at them. I put on hot water and tried to coax them in to sit with me on the couch. Hot tea couldn't even lure them in. So then I just stood by the stove, pretending I was tending to the tea. Yeah, I'm pathetic sometimes.

When Zorak arrived home, I pounced on him, gave him a quick kiss, asked how his day was and would-you-please-set-the-house-on-fire-now? Er, I mean, would you start *A* fire now... you know, in the wood stove... but I'm thinking the dining table would put off a nice warm glow...

The fire's been blazing non-stop for the past five hours, but I never did get warm. Emily and I laid down around eight, buried under enough blankets to furnish the Lewis & Clark expedition AND the Donner party with warmth for their travels. As long as nobody moved, I was fine.

But now I'm up again. And Zorak just took off his shirt. He said he's burning up. Yet here I sit, toes numbed, back quivering, limbs trembling from the cold. Even my wool socks aren't staving off the cold. And what does he say? "Have you taken your temperature? You might be coming down with something."

Bite. Your. Tongue. Young man!! No, I CAN'T be coming down with something! Couldn't I just have particularly poor circulation? Temperature-related sensory issues? General neurosis? I CANNOT GET SICK!!!!!

I refuse.


So there.

And I'm tellin' ya, it's really. stinkin. cold in here.

So I'm going to finish my caramel cups and coffee and then crawl back in bed to snuggle with Emily. She'll understand. :-)

Kiss those babies!

P.S. I did take my temperature, and I don't have a fever, so I'm voting for circulation issues, perhaps? There's hope!

OK, who here is from Hobbs, NM???

Hey, I see in my stats that somebody from Hobbs visits here fairly regularly. The curiosity is killing me! Who's from Hobbs??? Say howdy, will ya? And have a cup of coffee at the North 40 for me, too, please. :-)

OK, back to regular blogging.

Sunday, January 29

Tell Me More!

Em and I trekked to the market today. It took twice as long as I'd anticipated, because the second any woman passing by realized my sling held, not a pocketbook and notepads, but *shriek* a BABY, said woman felt compelled to talk to me. Today we spoke with three women who'd raised five children each, and they just beamed as they recounted some special event or memory. We heard from one lady who reared eight children, one with four girls and a little boy, and one who also raised three boys and a girl. We heard great-grandma stories and adoring aunt stories. A lady behind me in the checkout line even glowed about her neighbor's children!

I love that. We are so fortunate, and we know it. We cherish it. And we're doing well in our transition period, yet it was so refreshing and encouraging to walk this uplifting path through the market. Just imagine what those encounters would have done to boost my spirits if I was an overwhelmed first-time mom, or having a truly rough day, or questioning my sanity in having had a *gasp* fourth child! What a difference kind words can make.

Then, on the flip side, are those who feel the need to be nasty and snotty about *their own children* when you try to compliment them. ARGH! What is WRONG with these people? Do you really believe your child will somehow behave better if she overhears you lambasting her character to total strangers? One woman ahead of me in line had two little girls. They were not misbehaving or mouthy. They were quite well-behaved, actually, even with the long wait in line. I just had to comment on them. The mother immediately ripped off a few complaints and then offered to give me her two. In jest, of course, but the look on her four year old daughter's face showed that she didn't find it humorous. It just broke my heart. What a difference thoughtless words can make.

So when you're out and about, and you see a mom - of many, of one, it doesn't matter - share a warm story, give a little smile, find something to compliment about her child. You could turn her day around. She may turn out to be one of those who simply cannot hear something positive about her child without having some quip to snap back with, but odds are very good that you will leave someone feeling refreshed and encouraged. It's a good thing to do, and it's worth the effort.

On to other news, we had official Company today. The house wasn't too scary (I hope), and Zorak did all the cooking (which may have looked strange, but Zorak was making his specialties, and I had baby duty). It was one of Zorak's co-workers who'd come over to visit, help in the boys' room, and stay for supper. It was nice to meet him, and we enjoyed having him over. He's a nice guy. He's also a single guy, and he handled the boys' excitement quite well. (They pulled out all the stops on their stash of Stoopid Human Tricks! Wiggling various body parts, crossing only one eye, making odd concoctions, asking odd questions... *sigh* I've got to start getting them out more. Thankfully, they did draw the line before getting to True Guy Humor and Bodily Functions. *whew*) But Co-Worker Man was gracious about it and took it all in stride. For that, I am truly appreciative.

Loved all the responses to the foods, but man, I've got to ask on a non-weekend post sometime! And now I have to find a really great Chinese food restaurant, too! That's one drawback to living in a town with a whopping population of 353 - nobody delivers, but everyone knows where you live, anyway!

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, January 28

What'cha cookin'?

What did y'all fix for supper tonight? We're slummin' it tonight - it's some kind of green chile stew-ish mixture. Not sure what to call it. Somehow, "oops, we don't have diced tomatoes, think this enchilada sauce will work?" doesn't quite have the panache (with or without the accent marks) that it needs. What's Spanish for "goulash", anyway? Smells delicious, though, and it'll be great w/ shredded cheese and warm tortillas. Everything is great with shredded cheese and warm tortillas.

Oh, I had the most bizarre conversation with a lady today. In her defense, maybe she's new. Or senile. Whatever it was, something wasn't quite connecting and I don't think it can be blamed on my heavy Southwestern accent. ;-)

I looked up retailers for Ener-G foods, hoping to find somewhere a tad closer than the current 40-mile one-way drive for a loaf of bread. Ooo, goody! There's one in Hartselle, just down the road a ways.

So I called, explained that I'd found their number listed as a place to purchase Ener-G brand products and asked which breads they carry. This is, by the way, the point at which I lost the poor woman - she never did get beyond this part of the conversation - but I wasn't aware that this was such a large obstacle, so I kept going, thus compounding the situation and pretty much guaranteeing that I will never get a loaf of bread in Hartselle.

We did establish that they do not have a single Ener-G product in the store, of that much, I am sure. Mostly. The conversation after the introduction went pretty much like this:

NOL (Nice Old Lady): Well, what are you looking for?
Me: Wheat-free breads.
NOL: What's the name of it? E what?
Me: Ener-G. But do you carry any wheat free breads? (you know, considering we've already established that you do not have their stuff there)
NOL: Um, we have macarrons. They're (reading the label) wheat free, gluten free, egg free, dye free, dairy free, soy free, and nut free.
Me: Great. So you do carry other wheat free products, or just, um macaroons?
NOL: Maybe. I'll have to look. Now what kind of products did you want?
Me: Um, bread. Wheat-free Bread. Any brand. I don't care.
NOL: We have pizza crust. (Again, reading the label.) It's made with stone-ground, organic, whole grain flour.
Me: No, that won't work. Unless it specifies another type of flour, like rice or something else, it's going to be wheat.
NOL: We have Ezekiel bread.
Me: (perking up considerably, thinking she's maneuvering into the right plane) Oh, yes, I'm familiar with that, but it does have spelt and we can't do spelt. So, is that the only bread you carry, then?
NOL: Did you want carrots?
Me: *blink* (oookayyyy... now you've lost me)
NOL: ...I mean, do you want produce? We have carrots. We have organic produce and locally grown produce.
Me: Did you say "carrots"?
NOL: Oh! You're looking for carrots? Yes, we do have carrots. Thank you.
NOL: Oh, did you need something else?
Me: *sigh* No. Thank you. Have a nice day.
NOL: You, too, sweetie.

There was a part in there where she offered to call her suppliers, but I never did ascertain whether it was the produce suppliers or the dry goods suppliers, or if she was even sure what she was calling them for. Whatever it was, she said that if she can get it, she'll order it for me if I order by the case. Ahhh, yes, bulk mystery foods. It's the adventurous way to buy! So, essentially, she was very, very nice. Not one bit of help, but very friendly about it.

We still don't have any John bread. Fortunately, the store in Huntsville is a Seventh Day Adventist-owned company, so they'll be open tomorrow and we can get our stuff in the morning.

I'm gonna go warm some tortillas and call in the boys (I cannot believe they have been outside, in the dark, playing - for the last two hours!! They are so going to pass out tonight! Muuahhhaahaaahhaaa!)

Kiss those babies!

Four hours later...

I was going to blog after putting the children to bed. The boys have been in bed since 8:30. Emily, however, just now gave up and passed out.

Did you know that there is a subtle, yet striking difference between *not sleeping* because you are simply too lazy to get up from the computer and go to bed, and *not sleeping* because your newborn has decided she needs ALL her caloric requirements met at the END of the day? Interesting, really.

The boys have a subfloor in their *real* bedroom. The wiring has been removed and new outlets positioned. WOOHOO! With any luck, I'll be texturing their room on Monday! The wood stove seems to be able to warm their room (we've had the plastic out of the doorway this evening, testing it) - that room is farthest from the wood stove, so that's quite encouraging!

We made our first trek into town today as a family of s-i-x. On the way into town, as we bumped down the back road, every available slot in the pickup filled with bodies, Zorak chuckled and said, "Wow, we have a passle of kids!" Yesiree, that we do. We smiled all the way into town.

And really, it was a quiet day. A productive day. A good day. But I'm just too tired now to really expound on it. SO, I will bid you good night.

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, January 26

That was a *long* half hour! ;-)

So how many of us discovered this morning just how addicted to our favorite blogs we really are?? Hmmm? 'Fess up! I don't know what was worse - not being able to blog, or not being able to leave comments on my favorite blogs.

*whew* I'm glad that's over!

So, as I was saying this morning at 2:30, when I discovered the Blogger Outage... Zorak worried about me making the drive last night, so the dear man did it for me. I had supper on the table, we said grace, inhaled our food and then James, Smidge and Zorak headed north for Pioneer Club. John had to stay home with Baby Girl and me, so we had a quiet evening of tidying the place up a bit, watching a movie, and then reading more about dragons (life cycle and behavioral habits!) All three of us were out cold by 8:30!

So why was I up at 2:30, you may ask. I was up because my body is not accustomed to getting that many hours of sleep in a row. So I was dozing lightly by one, and lingering in that half-awake state that comes when your body is allowed to wake gently, on its own. (Odd sensation, to be truthful. Not quite sure I liked it.) When suddenly, from the darkness beside me, ***BLATT*** Slime came flying at me, smacking me square in the neck and chest. Ewww. Poltergiest? Nope. Food fight? Well, sort of. Em's first spewing incident. And it was quite impressive, let me assure you!

She was none to thrilled with the whole lights-on, changing-o'-the-clothes, warm-rag-suddenly-turns-cold-air-on-damp-skin thing. So, once everyone had been mopped up and dressed properly, she decided she was up. I was up. We hung out for a bit. It was kind of nice, and turned out to be rather fortuitous, as the fire had died down and the low last night was 28' (yes, I know, a downright balmy temperature if you live up North... call me a weenie... I relit the fire!)

Today we've done nothing spectacular: read, read, read, play outside, gather rocks, read, and eat. The next three days should yield good results on the house, though, so I'm not feeling one bit guilty. ;-)

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, January 25

Well, That's Something

Yesterday, as I began to hang the umpteenth load of wash, the phone rang. I won't generally answer if I'm doing something important, but let's face it, this was laundry. I could use a little company as I pull, hang, pin, pull, hang, pin. It was a lady from church, calling to touch base. We talked for a bit, caught up on the children's lives, and then she said, "Did Zorak tell you about the shower?" *blink blink* Um, no...

The ladies at church are throwing me a baby shower next Wednesday! I was stunned. Perhaps I figured by the fourth child, people barely notice the weight gain, let alone throw you a shower. I don't know what I expected, but this was certainly a pleasant surprise. It's not even really a need for gifts, to be honest. Bring desserts! I am simply thrilled to (a) be thought of by these kind ladies, (b) be able to spend some time with the women of our church, and (c) be in a church that gets up and does things for its congregation. Little things. Things family does for family.

For years, I've been the one in the churches we attend who leads the Bible studies, organizes the food delivery for sick families, rallies the women to help clean house for new mamas. It's always fallen on me to get the phone chain started and follow up at the end. And when I haven't done it (like with my wedding, or my first three births), well, it hasn't gotten done. So. I've never had a shower thrown by one of my churches before. While this may be little, I have to say it touched me in a very big way. They even scheduled it for Wednesday evening because they didn't want to ask me to drive the hour (each way) an extra day during the week! I feel so humbled, and so very thankful.

The boys, Emily, cat-dog and I took a walk around the property yesterday. It was nice to get out and meander. I refer to Balto as cat-dog because it was much like taking a walk with a large cat on speed. He kept walking and pouncing and rolling over right in front of me. Nearly killed him a couple of times, but he still followed us happily back to the house, so I guess he knows it wasn't intentional. The boys thought it was great fun to show Emily the barn, the creek, and the meadow. John wore his batman costume. James made a puppet out of a dead root he'd found. Smidge held my hand and maneuvered the tufts of grass and clumpy bits like a champ. It was wild trying to get all of us shod and jacketed and out the door. But very, very worth it.

Today we'll do more wash, a little more snuggling and reading. We'll enjoy the sunshine and the puppy. We'll have an early supper with Zorak and then head up for Pioneer Club in the evening. The boys will bask in the joy that they feel at church, and I will sit and rock my sweet baby girl, and give thanks for all I've been blessed with.

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, January 24

*Again* with the Deneuralyzer, and New Blogs

Whew, we all survived yesterday! Yay! I do think, however, that I'm going to see if Zorak can get one of those things through acquisitions at work. Sometimes it's nice to work for the Feds, don't ya think?

I know this is all about finding our groove. It does happen, and while it's not pretty, well, as my mother used to say, "Tough." Still, ugh. If we'd had another ER trip, I was going to a different hospital. That's all there was to it, know what I mean? Anyhow, I'm glad it's a fresh new day!

When I awoke this morning, the house was sheathed in a slivery glimmer. I couldn't see trees just 30' out from the house. It was beautiful. The glimmer is burning off now, and today looks like Laundry Day. Let's pray for a breeze, shall we?

Since it is a fresh new day, I thought I'd mention some new bloggers I've been reading and enjoying. Branching out a bit from the MommyBlog and the HomeschoolingMommyBlog style, we have a few ManBloggers who've begun posting - and I enjoy them thoroughly. There are also two homeschooled teens who have begun blogging, both of whom have given my future-weary spirit a boost. It's nice to see young women coming into the world with good heads on their shoulders, a fresh and honest perspective to the world, and some common sense. Check them out. I think they'll encourage you and make you smile.

First, there's Deliberate Wanderer. He's not a new blogger, by any means. He's probably been at it longer than I've known more than ctrl+alt+del. But he's funny, snarky, travels the North American continent making life better for the technologically impaired, and he shares his travels with us. He's also KathyJo's hubby, and their banter is priceless.

Then we have The Dude, at But seriously... Em's hubby (she's the one currently puking and begging for ice cream simultaneously over at Me and the Guys - major multitasking, there!) Father and techie extraordinaire. Don't trust the picture in the profile, though. He's not that furry. But he is funny. And he's a great dad, too!

Matt, husband to Amber at Rutabaga Dreams, also blogs at Vanderbrew. It's way over my head. I think, though, that the other computer guys might enjoy it. His title says, "Beer, Food, Code, Writing, Creativity, Life". There's a lot of code talk, and I mean that literally.

Farm Girl is the daughter of Jean in Wisc. (Of Shades of White fame) I've met this young lady, and she's the kind that makes you think, 'OK, I could really enjoy raising a daughter!' Articulate, enthusiastic, funny, and thoughtful. I haven't told Jean this yet, but we're sending Emily to Wisconsin for the Logic years. :-)

Going with the mother/daughter bloggers, we have another blogger at Hill of Beans. She's the daughter of our Theologian-in-Residence (and erstwhile biker chick) Kim at The Upward Call. Not only is Virginia a good writer, but she gives us a peek into the thinking process of a young woman standing at the door of adulthood, preparing to take the plunge. It doesn't look as scary as it did when I was in that doorway. Encouraging!

I've probably forgotten a few. It's been a weird week. But there's some good reading above, and that'll work for now. I am off to redirect, stay calm, prevent serious injuries, and try not to give myself a stroke. Can't have a stroke until James can drive me to the hospital. Simply can't.

Y'all have a glorious Tuesday, and kiss those babies!

Monday, January 23

Back to Work! *hyah!*

(That's a whip-cracking sound, up there in the title, btw.)

It is absolutely gorgeous this morning. Since I awoke, the sky has turned from Deepest Black to myriad shades of blue, lavender, and yellow. Now it's working on hues of orange and red. I love waking before the sun.

Sadly, my quiet morning time has once again been foiled by the Small Ones With Radar. That wouldn't be so bad if Miss Emily and I hadn't been up, putting miles on the treadmill (aka - up and down the hallway) until well past one this morning. But we did. And it is. And I cannot in good conscience tell you that it's pleasant to be up with three children awake, hungry and rambunctuous, at six-thirty in the morning when you were up til one. They're still cute, and I still like 'em, but this isn't what I wrote in my schedule!

Today we're all on our own. Zorak is back at work, doing the dragon slaying so that we can keep this wonderful roof over our head. He's so tough. I don't imagine the last week was much fun for him - being thrown into the fray without a whole lot of training and preparation. The first few days were grueling, but by the weekend, he was on firmer ground and was such a help. I do appreciate that. And I appreciate that he supports me being here, doing this, all the time. I know I'm fortunate.

John is healing. Smidge is still carrying around the potty for no apparent reason. James is devouring a book that one of Zorak's dearest friends sent us (E.D. Hirsch's First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy - what a great resource!) Em is, finally, asleep. Ahh, the sweet sound of deep sleep! I don't know what's on our agenda today (and in light of the laundry-list issue, I wouldn't tell you if I knew - that'll have to wait 'til tonight so it's not a to-do list! hee hee), but I do think we'll pop outside to play between thundershowers if we can.

The school room should be set up the first of February, and then this space will return to its former status: occasionally mentioning the fact that we do, actually, and honestly, educate our children at home. Been a little sparse on the details there, lately, I know. Been a little sparse on the activity, too, though, so that would explain it.

We'll be doing science with birds, building bird feeders and learning to identify the locals. We'll be reviewing math to see how much has leaked out their ears while they've been knocking about the property. We'll gently start back in with the Pater Noster until I order Latin for Children for James. We'll be reading more again, telling stories and writing our lessons. Yep, everyone back to work. Cracking the whip and such, as it were. *wink*

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, January 22


The lights in the hall glow through the bedroom doorway.

They go off.

They come back on.

From the hallway, I hear, "*chuckle* That's just fun."

Zorak, enjoying the fruits of another task well done.

The lights are off again...

Saturday, January 21

A (thankfully) quiet day

Today was just blissfully normal.

The boys had cereal for breakfast. They played with the dog. They made spears and sheilds and staged an ambush that had me just rolling (I was the one who got ambushed). Balto, we discovered, is a natural-born tracker. The boys went to the creek after lunch and when their wee pup emerged from his nap, he started looking for them. He found a trail and sniffed his way to the path they take to the creek, then let out a little hop and started down the trail after them, nose sniffing, tail wagging. Good boy!

Zorak worked on cleaning the tool room. I cleared the boys' bedroom and pulled out a few winter shirts in a fairly more normal size.

For supper, we made roast teriyaki chicken with rice and brussel sprouts. The boys ate seconds. Then thirds. They're snuggled into bed now, and the fire is blazing in the stove. Emily is curled up in my lap, looking around and contemplating whatever quantum physics-related problems newborns contemplate. She looks very happy.

Thank you for the well-wishes for John. They cheered him tremendously. He is doing okay today, although he's far too active. The bandages haven't slowed him down a bit - this morning he took the dog for a walk and this afternoon he and James headed to the creek. Like I said before, quite a trooper. We changed his bandages and I felt a little queasy. The thumb is pretty swollen and raw. John was expecting a prettier picture, too, I think. He gasped and whispered, "Oh, mama! That looks bad!" *cringe* I know, sweetie, I know. Lots of snuggles today, all around.

We read bedtime stories. I cleared out a drawer for Emily's clothes and blankets. Zorak hung a little sheetrock in the hallway.

Like I said, blissfully normal. Significantly less interesting blogging material than a good old-fashioned emergency, I know. Still, every once in a while, it's nice to have nothing interesting to say. *grin*

Kiss those babies!

Friday, January 20

I will not blog a to-do list... *updated to add: I didn't need to!*

This is what I started to post over coffee this morning... read on for the "real" post below that...

Oh, I really hate blogging in the morning. The whole day is stretched out in front of me, clean and unfettered like new stationery (one of my many addictions). I'm not feeling terribly contemplative, or creative. The coffee hasn't kicked in yet... and all I can usually pull off is a laundry list of things to get done for the day. Bet that's fun blogrunning, eh? But today, I am not going to do that.

The big news (and I think the only folks who will truly share in this joy are other women who've done this), I am back. in. drag. Yes! This morning I donned a pair of Zorak's jeans, and am dressed like your average country transvestite ready for a day of work! (Yes, *his* jeans. Because it will be another year before I can get into *mine*, but let's ignore that part, shall we? He's lean. It counts.) I'm not a frou-frou woman, by any stretch of the imagination, but I've gotta say it does feel good to don support garments and run a brush through my hair! Yup, nice way to start the day, that whole personal hygiene thing...

James had a dentist appointment this morning... at eight o'clock. This is the second one in two days that I scheduled at that hour. Proof that women that close to birthing should not be allowed out in public, eh? WHAT was I thinking? Anyhow, Zorak took him (after confirming that it wasn't going to be anything like John's extensive work yesterday - it's going to take a while for Zorak to recover from that) and then will keep him at work today. I've got the three Littles with me for the day.

Um, yeah, that was at nine o'clock this morning. I typed the above, then got up to get a cup of coffee, switch out a load of wash, and check on John and Smidge, who were outside playing in the yard. I got the coffee. Then I heard screaming. Wailing. Thumping and gnashing.

I bolted to the front door and opened it to see John standing at the door, blood-spattered and screaming. He was cradling his arm, and completely hysterical. I hauled him into the house and ushered him to the bathroom to rinse off the blood and ascertain the situation. Well, I'm not an "every little gash needs stitches" kind of Mom. I really believe a little scarring won't hurt, and for the most part you just band-aid the thing together and admonish the child not to move it or it'll scar. Done.

This was not one of those situations. I took one look, did a full-body shudder, wrapped the thumb in a towel and told him to load up, we're going to the hospital. Amidst trying to find a carseat for Em (Zorak has the pickup today, which has the other small carseat in it), grabbing diapers, insurance cards, and making phone calls, John relayed the story to me. Poor little guy was trying to split firewood and he got his thumb with the hatchet. All I could do was hug him and thank him for being upfront and honest. We'll deal with the other questions and issues when the blood congeals, ya know.

So, five long and hungry hours, one truly phenomenal physician, one cranky childless LPN and two great mom RNs later... we're home with five stitches and one mighty impressive dressing, as well as antibiotics and pain killers. I'm being good and staying out of the pain killers.

John was a total trooper. Brave. Honest. Attentive. I am so proud of him. He was terrified until the nerve block kicked in, then he was very matter-of-fact about the process. I asked if he wanted the doctor to give him webbed fingers while he was working and he said, "Honestly, Mom, I just want him to fix my thumb." Ah, well, can't blame ya for that!

Who needs a to-do list when you have children?

Kiss those babies! I'm going to snuggle my little lumberjack.

Thursday, January 19

Family Photos

We certainly have no trouble figuring out what to take pictures of at this house!

Smidge delights in keeping track of the "BEEbee!" He plops down anywhere, reaches out and says, "Me? My turn!" I think he's decided this new kid in the house thing is pretty nice. (And no, we haven't been out of our jammies for three days... why do you ask?)

James is awed. Reverential. In love. This is the baby he prayed for. When he was four and hoped for a sister, he wanted to name her, "Beautiful Girl that I Love So Much". I think it fits.

And John got his wish of being the first to hold here. Here he is the morning she was born. He was the first one up and into the room.

And as far as house photos go: here's a quick tour of the one semi-finished bedroom. In that last picture, with John, you can see our expandable insulating foam in the window frame, my lovely - yet unpainted - texture job on the wall, and the view - albeit skewed by the dirt in the window frame - of the back yard. Striped bedding by IKEA. Thank you. :-)

Kiss those babies!

When Things Go So Well

Last night I heard from a dear, old friend whom I haven't heard from in a couple of years. He called to touch base and wish us well with Emily. While we were thrilled to hear from him, the phone call was bittersweet.

We have all of this joy in our lives to share -- the Forever Home, moving here to Alabama, the wonderful boys and all they've been up to, the fun we have, the happiness we enjoy, this sweet baby girl, Zorak's great job, and how much I love my life -- I could go on, but I cut myself short while talking with him.

Because, you see, things aren't so happy in his life. At all. Even the things that could be construed as potentially joyful bring no joy.

And it broke my heart.

I felt, suddenly, as if I was rubbing salt into an open wound with every positive thing that came out of my mouth. So I shut up and tried to think of neutral things, outside things, positive-in-his-life things. But there just wasn't anything. And it's not a case of him being a pessimist or a negative person. It's really that things just are not happy there. And they probably won't change. This is his life -- his family's life. It's not something I understand, or the lifestyle I would choose, but I know how it happens.

Still, it's sad. He is such a great guy, and has such a gentle spirit.

But he's not the only one. It seems lately that there is a lot of bitterness and sadness sprawling about the emotional countryside. And here I come, galumpfing through the hills with this goofy smile on my face, belting out songs from The Sound of Music (granted, they're squalled out off-key, but it's a robust noise, nonetheless), with the kids in tow (wearing old curtains and happy about it), and the dog carrying what's left of one of my slippers, and... Boy, talk about your not-so-graceful entrance.

How do you all handle it when things are really good for you, and not so much for your loved ones? What do you say when everything that comes out of your mouth sounds like you're channeling Pollyanna and she's drawing her nails down someone else's chalkboard? Is it possible to have a conversation where you can answer their inquiries without causing them sadness or pain?

I realized last night that it might sound like I'm really laying it on thick at times, and I'm not. We've worked darned hard to get where we are - in our relationship, our finances, our lifestyle - this didn't just magically come to us, it's been work, and the payoff is good. BUT, to someone who is so far from happy that even the beauty of a sunset may not be visible, this kind of joy probably seems painfully garish. And I just don't know how to gently tiptoe through those meadows. I'll keep trying. I don't want to cause loved ones pain at all, and while I cannot bring myself to feel guilty for all we have, I also am under no motivation to rub anybody's nose in anything. Ever.

SO. Awkward moment ensues. Everyone clears their throats. And then what do you say? Have you ever felt this way? Or have you ever been the one who wasn't in a happy spot? If so, how could your ridiculously happy friends handle it that would make it easier? Let you know that your presense is a part of that happiness. Let you know there's a place for you in their lives and that you're loved and noticed. Because you are, and even when you are not happy, you bring joy to their hearts and they love you. Trust me, I know.

Kiss those babies, and I wish you joy.

Wednesday, January 18

Overheard and Observed Lately:

When I stop singing to her, she starts meowing again.
*whispering* Oh, Mom... her ears are the size of candy!
Hey! I can reach all the way around you again!

Babies are delicate, you know.
Wow - that's the whole baby! (Said during a diaper change - first time she was more than a head in a blanket.)
I think she needs to eat.

Ewwww... (pointing at some random body fluid)
Baby. Bed. Now. (Smidge carries a receiving blanket around, waiting to tuck her in the moment we lay her down.)
TOES! (Huge source of fascination!)

Huh? I'm up! I'm up! Are you okay? I'm up!

We're learning so many wonderful things.

For instance, did y'all know that when a little baby girl pees during a diaper change, you don't have to dodge or do a three-foot perimeter search for cleanup? That is very cool.

Bed Rest? Means. Nothing. when you have your fourth child. (Ah, well, I could dream, couldn't I?)

SweetPea gowns are darling, no matter what gender you put them on. Babies are just precious. Period. (We knew that, but it's fun to rediscover with each baby.)

Not being near family when you have a wee one is a little sad.

When the puppy doesn't see Mama for a couple of days, he gets a little spastic.

The capacity for people to share in joy and celebrate is breathtaking. (See the comments in Em's arrival post.) I am completely blown away by all of the wonderful comments and how y'all have joined us in welcoming Little Em to the family. *Thank You.*

And now it's time for me to sneak back to bed and kiss that baby!

Tuesday, January 17

We Did It!

Well, it's 3:47AM, so for obvious reasons, this is going to be short and sweet.

Little Miss Emily arrived at 1:18AM on January 16 er, 17, 2006. Her birth was amazing, and once it got started, it was quick. (Evidently so quick that I thought it was still the 16th!)

She's 19" long, weighs in at 6lb. 8oz., and has a healthy set of lungs on her. We can't tell what color her hair is, but she's got a little bit of it. She's a champion nurser already - catches on quick. I think she'll fit right in with her brothers.

We're all doing well. John awoke to our calls and came to greet her. James stayed up so late in anticipation that the horsemen of the apocalypse could not rouse him, but he will be thrilled come morning. Smidge stumbled out around three to see what all the noise was about, and sat in awe of the baby from the fish pool.

Zorak and I are exhausted, thrilled, and ready to hit the hay.

We're off to kiss this sweet baby.

Monday, January 16

Woo-Hoo! Ride 'em, Cowboy!

Well, now, this is more like it! Contractions are coming about every five minutes, and lasting 50-55 seconds each. This is the bronc I was hopin' to draw. This is what it should be like! Yeah, buddy!

This evening we showered, and I rolled my hair (hey, I had to have something to do, okay?) We ate supper and hung out, talked with the boys. John is a little disappointed that there is no sister today, but optimistic that she'll come tomorrow. Both of the older boys asked us to wake them if she's coming while they're asleep. They'd like to be awake and ready to go when she arrives.

I tried to lay down and get some sleep, but that's when the phone rang and the boys came unhinged, and... well, you know how that goes. Ah, well, I kept my eyes shut and only spoke when spoken to. Feels good, and I'm feeling rested beyond belief, but I'm crawling back in bed just to be on the safe side.

Also, I've changed the commenting feature, and will see how this goes. Anyone can comment - it'll still require that horrible word verification, but no longer requires you to have a blog in order to post. Comments won't appear immediately, though, as they'll go through comment moderation. SO, play nice - and please remember to sign your name. Unless there's a name, or I happen to recognize your style of writing, it may not make it through moderation. Not trying to be grouchy, but just don't have the energy for much moderating.

Kiss those babies!

Totally Boring Labor Update

OK, I really expected to have a baby in my arms by nine this morning - that's twelve hours, and that's plenty of time to spit one of these little critters out.



So I just had to call our midwife (again) and tell her there's still no change - average contraction is coming every 6-8 minutes apart, lasting about 25 seconds, with a whomperdine humdinger coming along just shy of every hour. Whoopty-do. She laughed. This is either far, far more efficient than I realize, or I'm just far too well-rested for my body to know what to do now. (Yes, LB, we've tried all manner of things. *grin*)

The midwife said to give her a call when we need her, but not during her belly dance lessons. (Of course she was joking, but it's only a half hour long class, so I'm pretty sure we can accomodate her on that request. *grin*) I'm glad we didn't ask them to come up right away. It's always awkward to have people sitting in your living room, staring at you. Or hanging out in the kitchen over coffee, while you're sequestered on your knees in the pool. Life as a dolphin at Sea World would be the ultimate Karmic Payback for me, if I believed in reincarnation.

Well, supper smells great -- I love that Zorak is such a great cook. It's raining out, so I can't do anymore laundry. The bed is made and ready to go -- and now it looks beautifully inviting. I didn't find the mama fiction books I'd gone looking for in the basement, but did find Zorak's Nietzsche and an anthology of short stories, so that's something to do.

Oh funny. I went to the living room to grab the books (because I couldn't remember what I'd brought up from the basement - the ultimate in pregnancy-brain), and promptly forgot what I was after (ack! it strikes again!). As I stood there, wondering aloud what I was looking for, James piped up helpfully with, "Food product?" ROFL - well, now that you mention it, a "food product" does sound good. Where did Zorak hide those FastBreak candy bars???

Will update later, hopefully with some exciting, fast-paced news! (Or something like that.)

Kiss those babies!

Labor Check-In

Things are coming along. Little Miss Emily is sure taking her... erm, time about it. But we're feeling great and -- wow, oh wow! Zorak did an amazing job of cleaning the kitchen and living room! That was like a special birthing present in itself.

I rested most of the night, got up at five-thirty for a couple of hours to get some water and a snack. Then I curled up in bed and went back to sleep - until eleven-thirty! Contractions would wake me, but nothing I couldn't recover from and go back to sleep as soon as they were over.

You know, I've never labored before when I wasn't absolutely exhausted. With James' birth, we'd been up for four days straight, working, and we were out of town when labor began. With John's birth, well, I'm just a night-owl -- no excuse, there. With Smidge's birth, we'd just moved not a full week before and had been up all night unpacking. Doing it this way feels so... so... GOOD! :-D

TMI warning for men (may want to skip to the non-italicized part if you're squeamish or just plain weirded out by girl-talk)

Contractions are coming about five minutes apart, and feel pretty productive. They aren't lasting long, though, maybe 15-20 seconds. I'm anxious for things to pick up the pace a bit. Threw in some laundry, snacked on breakfast leftovers... roaming around looking for something to do. I might go down to the basement and see if I can find a book I haven't read yet (you'd think, considering 3/4 of what we own is books, that wouldn't be a difficult task, eh?) She's moved down quite a bit - I just showed James how much lower Em is, and he squeaked, "You've got RIBS!" This is. so. cool.

Anyway, not holding anything but my breath at the moment, but that's okay, it's been a pleasant morning and a great day so far. When I checked my email and saw all the warm, wonderful wishes, y'all just made my heart burst. Thank you. I'm going to print them out for Em's scrapbook (b/c as Jess says, someday we'll be 80 years old and have to do something with our time - so we can scrapbook then!)

Have a lovely Monday, and kiss those babies!

Sunday, January 15

I guess it is!

Well, guys, it looks like this is it. Time to ride that bronc and see how we fare.

We hit the Super-Awesome Buffet and ate until we all felt lethargic. Then to Wally-World for a few last-minute items (um, chux, vinyl sheet... yeah, we keep thinking we're done and getting rid of those things... silly us) Well, perhaps rather than bronzing baby shoes, we can bronze a vinyl sheet - sort of symbolic of all the kids, right? he.


Um, gotta go switch out some wash, take a shower and lay in bed swearing I'm asleep and getting some rest. I swore to myself I'd not be up when labor started this time, and darned if it didn't decide to start before midnight, just to prove me wrong. Can't win 'em all, but that's okay. We're good to go!

Talk to ya in the morning!
Kiss those babies!

Is this it? (Random morning musings)

I don't know. My back aches this morning. In waves. Part of me is thinking, "Well, I did get to bed at nine-thirty last night and got a good night's rest, so this would be a good day to go into labor." Another part of me is thinking, "But it's cold out right now... And the dog escaped and did a Templeton the Rat Smorgasboard-at-the-Fair routine on the house... And I was going to texture the dining room today... And... *whine*" So there ya have it. I don't know.

Our official edd started out at the 19th, then the spread widened to the 6th - 19th, somewhere in there. I prefer spreads over specific dates - they seem to alleviate the number of people who ask if you've had that baby yet (why, yes, but this gas is just causing awful bloating), don't ya think it's about time (no, we're shooting for the Guinness record for longest human pregnancy, why?), what are you going to do if you go past your due date (keep waddling? explode? what are my options?), and a slew of other irritating questions that may seem witty to the unencumbered. (Although nobody's done that here, and I do appreciate it, deeply.)

Truth be told, questions like that make pregnant women insane and grouchy. We're well aware of just. how. long. we've been pregnant. We're also well aware that we look miserable and that we are rapidly running out of elastin reserves. We live with the fear of our skin rupturing and us lying on the sidewalk with the wee critter emerging from our abdomens, Alien-style. "Are ya done yet" quips don't help that any. So we set a spread. Babies are born when they're done baking. They come when they're ready, and there's not much we can do but enjoy a mild panicky sensation as the ride begins, and then ride it out like a bronc buster. WEEHAW!

OK, I think I'm done with the disturbing visuals now. Sorry 'bout that. This is what happens when you cut back on caffeine. See? Coffee is a good thing.

Oh, speaking of which, I found a great new blog on the WTM listings. It's called, Caffeinated. So, of course, I had to check it out. I enjoyed it, and naturally feel a distinct kinship to anyone who believes in better living through caffeine.

Also, Staci, Mamabear, Kim (and the rest of y'all with HaloScan's anyone-but-Dy-can-comment feature) I read, but I cannot comment. *sigh* HaloScan hates me. However, I still enjoy your blogs daily, so please blog more often.

Well, the boys are up and I can stave them off no longer. They wake up so hungry, I have to wonder if they get up and go party in the meadow during the night. We feed them regularly, per the instructions, and they get fed well at supper. Yet still, first thing out of their precious little mouths in the morning is a plea for food. Because they're starving. It's accompanied by the most pathetic big-eyed expressions and folded hands. What's up with that?

My laundry froze on the line last night (that's how you know you're done doing laundry for the day, when it's crispy and stiff), so as soon as it thaws I can bring it in and finish it up. Guess I should go through all the lovely little girl clothes that we've been blessed with (because we have wonderful friends who took pity on this little girl when they realized I have had neither the time nor the inclination to shop for her - THANK YOU!) and wash some up today.

Just in case we don't make the Guinness records book. ;-)

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, January 14

No news, just slacking.

Doing laundry.

Cleaning dishes.

Watching movies on the couch with Zorak.

Blissfully normal reprieve.

Still pregnant.

More later.


Thursday, January 12

A quiet virtual Friday night

Well, Zorak is still in the attic, and today was pretty quiet all the way around. I did, however, get tagged for a meme by Lynette, who is blogging now, and is a lot of fun to read. So, in honor of her new blogger status, here's the meme:

2 Things

2 names you go by:
1. Mama
2. Dy

2 parts of your heritage:
1) Irish
2) German
(This translates to: bad temper, great sense of humor, and I can hold my alcohol.)

2 things that scare you:
1. Roaches
2. Losing my family
(Not in that order.)

2 of your everyday essentials:
1) coffee
2) time spent just on the boys
(In that order - it just doesn't work well the other way around.)

2 things you are wearing right now:
1) sweats
2) wool socks
(It's winter. I'm pregnant. This is as creative as it gets, folks.)

2 favorite bands or musical artists:
1) Ian Tyson
2) Robert Earl Keene

2 things you want in a relationship (other than real love):
1) Intellectual challenge/growth
2) Laughter

2 truths:
1) I am horribly uncoordinated.
2) It is, evidently, not a recessive gene. (Apologies now to the boys in the years to come.)

2 physical things that appeal to you (in the opposite sex):
1) Great smile
2) Good, lean arms

2 of your favorite hobbies:
1) Reading
2) Politics

2 things you want really badly:
1) To get the news in May that the house really is ours. Forever.
2) To get back into a normal routine before then.

2 places you want to go on vacation:
1) On a reading vacation w/ DH when the boys are old enough to go to camp
2) The Rocky Mountains (I miss them.)

2 things you want to do before you die:
1) Finish my degree
2) Pick up study of an instrument again

2 ways that you are stereotypically a chick:
1) I love to sit with my legs bent under me - ok, I didn't know this is a chick thing, but it is SO true for me, so I'm stealing Lynette's.
2) I comfort eat.

2 things you are thinking about now:
1) Wondering if the attic has claimed my husband for all eternity.
2) Whether or not I need to pick up vinyl sheets for the birth or if we still have the last set...

2 stores you shop at:
1) Wal-Mart (duh!)
2) Sheplers

2 people I would like to see take this quiz:
1) I don't know who has taken it and who hasn't... how sad is that?
2) So, if you read here and you want to do it, either answer in the comments, or blog your answers, but leave me a note to let me know you did it. (Or, if you know me and want to do it, but don't have a blog, email me your answers and I'll put 'em here.)

And on that note, I am going to forage for junk food.

Kiss those babies!

You did *NOT* just do that!!!

*edited to correct the glaring spelling errors - sorry*

Oy. Pioneer Club resumed at church last night. The boys were ecstatic, and I relished the idea of seeing everyone again. We ate supper, everyone hit the potty, and then we packed up and headed north. Now that we've moved, our church is an hour from the house, so it's a bit of a drive. John and Smidge sabotaged me yesterday afternoon -- I laid down with them so they'd nap and as soon as I was out cold, they took the pup outside to play. So naturally, they both fell asleep on the drive to church. Ah, well, they're little. It's okay.

We pull into the parking lot and John wakes immediately, crying. He has to pee. BAD. NOW. I get James out, get John out and give them instructions to go straight to the bathroom AND DO NOT DAWDLE!! They hold hands and head inside. As I'm lifting Smidge from the pickup, I hear James telling John, "No, not there! Come on! THIS way!" I turn around in time to see my son, the fountain of youth, urinating off the front porch of the church! Pants clean down to his boots, nekkid white legs illuminated by the glow of the sanctuary lights. So, being the nurturing, with-it mother that I am, what do I scream across the parking lot?


*sigh* Lovely, Dy. And then what do I see? One of the elders walking across the lot. (This is where I pray, for the first time since, oh, Junior High, for God to just kill me now and make it end.) John turns and waddles all the way to the front door before remembering to pull his pants up. In this particular nightmare, he cannot hear me, as my screams fell on deaf ears. I think he was still partially asleep, but am still mortified - both by his behavior and my particular choice of panic-stricken words. But it's too late. They're inside. I can't hide in the pickup now.

So Smidge and I go in, do our thing. Lovely evening. Nice to see everyone. Nobody speaks of the incident. Myself included.

On the way out the door after Pioneer Club, I overhear part of a conversation between James and a little girl from his class. My heart skips a beat. I do not want to hear this conversation. I do not want to see my son skipping about with *that* grin on his face. What? No. No, I tell myself, this isn't what I think it is. Girls do this at this age. Girls in public school who listen to Brittany Spears and get to wear skimpy clothing. Not homeschooled boys who still make fart jokes! PLEASE!

We're in the car, buckling up, and I hear that someone has an "embarrassing secret". Yup, he's "in love". Worse yet, he told her tonight. Oy. And just to grind a little salt into that not-quite-ready-for-this wound, "it's just sprouting, budding like a new flower." Lovely, I've spawned a poet, to boot. Nice imagery, but... but... why did we leave Zorak at home? I neeeeeeeeed him for this talk!

I stutter, stammer, and beg off from replying to things on the premise that there's traffic and I have to concentrate on shifting gears (in my defense, it is a manual transmission, but yes, I realize that I am now telling my child I'm an idiot who cannot walk and chew gum at the same time - it was all I had, man.)

We discussed agape love, filial love and... oh, crap, there is no way I'm teaching this child the term "eros love" at this age. He knows too much as it is. And, um, the love Mommy and Daddy have, which takes DECADES to grow and develop and which God won't reveal to you until you have survived the trauma of many, many dysfunctional partners, so that you can fully appreciate the Woman God Has Ordained For You.

Hmmm... no, that's probably not the best approach. Well, let's face it, my single life in no way prepared me to help guide a child into making healthy personal relationship choices, ok? I have never claimed otherwise. And Zorak? *snort* He's in worse shape than I am. It is pure Divine Grace that he and I found one another and managed to get this far.

*sigh* So, I did manage to get him focused on the love we feel toward our brothers and sisters in Christ, the love of friendship, and the importance of making sure you've found your own way and path in life before even beginning to worry about finding a wife (because that is his concern - that he's going to miss the one God has picked for him, or in some way let her down, and he doesn't want to do that). So we're good? We're focusing on friendship and finding your own path first? OK, good. *whew* Oh-and by-the-way-would-you-please-clarify-that-with-her-the-next-time-you-see-her-because-I'm-already-going-to-have-to-give-her-mother-an-awkward-heads-up-as-it-is-thanks.

I think next week I'm letting Zorak take the boys and I'll stay home...

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, January 11

My Christmas Gift

The pictures FINALLY LOADED!!!

Around mid-December, the boys spent a week helping Zorak with the plumbing work by cutting copper pipe for him. They did all the measuring and cutting, handled the set up and clean up. I double-measured for their lengths before cutting, but that was the only involvement Zorak or I had in the cutting project. The boys were so proud and so excited. I was, too, thinking that they were taking a great part in the building of our Forever Home. How cool. Even Smidge "helped" by holding the pipe with one boy while the other one cut. It was too cute.

But that's not the whole story...

You see, Zorak had A Plan. And a good one it was, too.

I had no idea.

He taught the boys to make a jig,

size it up,

use the drill,

and put all those skills together...

to make a surprise for Mama!

They were so proud of themselves.

And here are my beautiful windchimes, as seen from the front porch...

The neat thing (well, among many neat things) is that these are made using materials we've used in renovating the home - firewood from our first load of wood, pipe from all the plumbing, nails from the woodwork. In years to come, the copper will turn a beautiful shade of green, and the wood will grey, and they will still make beautiful music and remind me of the time we put into building our future together. I cried. And I smile everytime the wind blows.

Tuesday, January 10

A few reminders this morning

More for me than anyone else. I'm not preaching, but they were beautiful and gentle, and they helped a great deal. So I wanted to put them down.

You will never regret holding your tongue with a child.

If you can laugh when things go wrong, they will learn to do that, as well.

It will take twice as long to do something if you let them help, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Even if you enjoy it, you will be exhausted when it's done.

A woman is simply not strong enough to tighten a 50' clothesline enough to keep it from sagging when she hangs jeans on it. No matter how tough she thinks she is.

No matter what she tries.

Re-read the laughing part again, and commit it to memory. It will save you from having to commit yourself in a few years.

Any endeavor worth beginning is worth including your family.

I'm off to tackle "the next thing" (oh, how that phrase shames me!)

Kiss those babies!

Monday, January 9

Midwives and Drywall

Today was really quite nice. We stayed up far too late working last night, but it was worth it this morning. The place looks great. James saw the arch and the sheetrocked dining room from his bed when he awoke, and all we heard was an awestruck whisper, "WOW!" Yeah, that feels good.

Zorak has developed either empathy swelling, or tendonitis in his left ankle. I'm hoping it's sympathy pains, but fear it's not. So he has been ordered by Doctor Mom to sit his rear on the couch tonight, put his foot up, and r-e-l-a-x. The man hasn't stopped moving since we bought this place, and while he's developed the body of Adonis from it, let's face it - Adonis isn't much use if he's incapacitated! He agreed to "try", but then when he called this afternoon, he actually said that he "keeps daydreaming of wiring ideas". Who does that? *shaking head* The man is sick, I tell you. Sick! He needs some downtime and soon!

I've done four loads of wash today, and enjoyed every single one of them (and just to prove I can laugh at myself, as well, "who does that??"), but since I am lacking a proper clothesline (we have one, but couldn't find it in the dark), I've had to stop washing until the 14 gauge Romex that's strung all over the back porch has more room. It was fun, though! And Zorak is picking up creamer, bread and clothesline on his way home from work. Yay!

We had a wonderful day of pregnant women and small children, fresh banana muffins (I forgot the honey in the recipe, threw in some turbinado sugar, and have to say I liked them much better than the recipe we normally use - fluffier, but I don't know why), friends, and the joy of being in a nice-looking place. The boys played their butts off and had a wonderful time. If I can get them to bed early tonight, they'll sleep the way little boys are meant to sleep. They need that stuff.

On the baby front, she is nestled in and happy, in a good position, strong and active (yeah, ask me how I know the last two!) Everything looks good, and we can have another appointment next Monday -- or not, if we don't have time. The ladies are comfortable that all is fine and we're doing okay. I think they also know that I'd much rather stay home and work on the place than travel for another prenatal appointment to hear the baby's heartbeat and pee on a stick. Maybe I should've asked them to leave me a stick and I could just call in the results? I can't believe it's time.

Oh! And our shower curtain rod arrived today! We bought the Crescent Rod - you know, that hotels use now. (And yes, I know that's a ghastly amount to spend on a shower rod. I know. But I got stuck with the small tub, and darnit, sometimes it's okay to splurge. It still cost less than the tub we wanted.) Anyway, we just ordered it the end of last week - that was FAST!! We're going to put it up tonight and spend the whole water heater's worth of hot water just trading spaces in the shower, laughing gleefully that nobody has to brush up against the cold curtain in passing! WOOHOO! (It's the small things that make a marriage happy, you know.)

I hope you're having a wonderful day, enjoying your families and your homes.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, January 8

Texture, Rinse, Repeat

Yes, that is how I do my hair these days. It's not a 5th Avenue look, by any stretch, but it does have that "busy, industrious, woman on the go" feel to it. I think I'll be ready for a change, though, in a few months. You know, once the joint compound grows out...

Today we got a lot done, but not much is visible. Zorak accomplished a great deal more on the house than I did. I worked here and there, helped him, and focused on the boys. Poor little things are feeling pretty neglected this weekend. Heck, they are pretty neglected this weekend. So, we worked on that a bit. I hope it helped.

The big deal of the day was (pause for effect... keep holding - it's a big effect) The Arch. The front door opens into a foyer that is more like a hallway than an entryway. It doesn't feel welcoming at all. It has that KGB "wait here" feel to it. It leads directly to the hallway and dead ends there. There was a narrow doorway-like opening to the right that led to the living space, but it didn't exactly invite you in. Seriously. We live here, and we still scarcely gave furtive glances into the living space as we trudged single file to the hallway (and then to the right, into the living room from there). Ick.

A foyer should not say, "Papers, please. *pause* Proceed." It should grab you in a bear hug and say, "Welcome! Put your coat over here, kick off your shoes, and come on in. The coffee's fresh. We're glad you're here." So we gave it arms and a personality to match. The little doorway-like opening is now five feet wide and arched. It's gorgeous, and diverts the flow of traffic into the dining/living area rather than to the end of the hall. Even all nekkid without drywall or paint, it looks better. It also created enough butt room for people to mill about in the foyer while they don coats and boots and look for mittens. Prior to widening the opening, there wasn't room to turn around if someone was coming in behind you. So. That was today's big Hurrah! It's purty, too.

The house will be converged upon tomorrow morning (at nine, ack!) by the midwives and three other pregnant women with their children in tow. That means I've got a *lot* of cleaning to do before I go to bed tonight. (You know, in case I'm still in my jammies when they wake me up er, knock on the door tomorrow.)

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, January 7

Three Months Ago...

(edited to add... I have no idea where I was going with that title, but I just got back and it makes absolutely no sense at all. My apologies. It's late.)
It's ten o'clock at night. I can hear Zorak, up in the attic, working on the wiring. Since I can neither fit up there, nor handle the air quality up there, he has to work solo on that stuff. I don't envy him, that's for sure. Normally, he does short spurts in the attic, then comes down to de-grumpify himself before heading back up, but today was incredibly productive for him and he's on a roll (a bit of a manic, slighty disconcerting roll, but hey, it's forward motion, so I'll keep the coffee fresh and just check in on him every few minutes.)

But that's not what made me write about it. What I was thinking was not,
"There goes my gallant knight, fortifying the castle from all manner of dragons!"
But rather,
"Wow, it sounds like we have a ravenous, terrifyingly large critter up there, gnawing its way through every layer of protection the house has to offer."
I'm glad he's coordinated, too, as he's balancing on the truss spans to keep from falling through the ceiling.

The washing machine works. The plumbing is beautiful. It does not leak. The fan and lighting are what Zorak is working on now. It is beautiful. Totally worth losing a coat closet to get the setup we have! I didn't get back from the Lowe's run until almost five (and I got there at a quarter of two!) so I didn't get to run any actual wash today. But we *could* wash clothes, and that's almost as exciting as actually washing clothes. (Just can't dry 'em because it's below freezing outside right now.) So, yeah, I'm good with that. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 67' - it's as if God is sending me a Special Laundry Day. *sniff, sniff*

Yesterday did not get any better, and I feel like such a heel for not handling it well. The effort was valiant, but fell painfully short of worthy. Today was much better, except for a few attitudinal glitches on my part - totally on my part. I'm really quite highstrung these days. This is my Achille's heel: deadlines. I don't cope well with deadlines, and sadly, my innate response is to unleash the Fury of the Damned on anything that doesn't scamper out of my way quickly enough. Lovely trait, I know. I'm actually exponentially better now than I was ten years ago. There is improvement. That, in itself, is encouraging.

The boys bathed today and then gleefully covered themselves in dirt within minutes of donning fresh clothes. This, actually, is a joyful part of the day, as it's part of being a happy child living in the country. Of course, I admonish them not to get too dirty, but leave it just vague enough that they can play (which they will) and get dirty (which they will) without feeling bad about it in the end. That's the good stuff.

And now, I must retrieve a pizza from Hartselle and some grapefruit soda from Wal-Mart and come lure my ravenous dragon-slayer down from the rafters. I'll blog more later.


Friday, January 6

OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!

We are ONE FITTING away from having a working laundry closet!

ONE trip to Lowe's for a fitting!

Just that one, small, 90' angle stands between me and my washing machine!

And then, I can dig into the remaining 70+ pounds (and growing) of wash that needs to be done! (Because no, I didn't make it back to the laundry place after last weekend, thanks.)

I cannot tell you how excited I am, but let's just say that if I wasn't afraid of either injuring myself or falling through the subfloor, I'd do a great big Toyota "What a Feeling" leap!

Be back later,


I don't think even Calgon could rescue this morning.

Between Zorak's alarm codependence (it's far better to set the alarm for some ungodly hour and hit SNOOZE every four minutes for two hours than to set it and GET UP THE FIRST TIME - that way the puppy, the children, and your adoring wife can share in the joys of interrupted sleep), the dog's passive resistance to clean floors, the boys' not-so-passive resistance to my repeated request lately to "use your WORDS! For-the-love-of-God-you-never-seem-to-stop-talking-except-when-you-ought-to-be-talking! PLEASE use your words!", and that stoopid pain that keeps shooting down my inner thigh everytime I try to stand up and accomplish something, it is safe to say that today. is. not. beginning. well.

At all.

But I will persevere. It matters not that I may have to lock those of the herd under four feet tall outside, or perform today's tasks on my hands and knees, SOMETHING will get done around here today. I honestly don't care if it kills me. Zorak can raise the kids. Aside from lactation issues, he'll be fine.

OK. SO. There it is. Accountability. Now I have to get something done and quit whining about Life and how it gets in the way.

Because we all have little things that gather under the couch and snipe our ankles on the way past.

Because we all have mornings where the stars align, only to rain down upon our heads with smelly sulphur and garment scorching embers.

Because we all live, and we all experience situations where the best of circumstances just isn't gonna happen and we all have to make do.

And we do it.

And we laugh about it when it's done. (Or not, but mostly, we can laugh.)

And having reminded myself of that, I'm off to rig up a creeper and see if the dog wants to be a sled dog for me today.

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, January 4

Well, nuts

I had a post about my Christmas gift nearly completed, and in the process of uploading photos, Blogger's upload feature went T-U. *sigh* Their engineers have been informed of the problem and are working to correct it (or some such thing, I shut the window in frustration before I read it all). Maybe later it'll be up again. I've got a Photobucket account, but am just not motivated enough to go mess with it right now. Sorry 'bout that.

In the meantime, totally unproductive day today. Painted some flooring, and spent the day on High Alert for dog droppings, but mostly spent a lot of time with the boys and the dog, just playing, reading, talking. It was nice.

James found a tick crawling on his arm. He picked it up, killed it, and then informed me about it in such a calm, matter-of-fact manner that at first I didn't think I'd heard him right. So. Naturally, I freaked out enough for both of us. Flea and tick collar goes on the dog TO-NIGHT! Ugh.

Smidge spent the entire day nekkid from the waist down, carrying his training potty with him from room to room. If he could have secured it on the barstool, I think he'd have eaten dinner on his throne. He's so excited. So far, though, no results for his efforts. The only time he peed all day was during the few times he had a diaper on (before breakfast, naptime, and while I was painting). Gotta admire his enthusiasm and persistence. That potty is as big as he is. I'd be exhausted after lugging one around all day, to be honest.

Did you know that "unseasonable" is really a euphemism for "freakish"? It is. When they say the weather is "unseasonably warm," what they mean is "it's freakishly warm". Not that I mind at the moment - high 60's makes for a great temperature to open the windows and doors and air out the house. Still... it's January, isn't it? You know, the Dead Of Winter... I'm thinking this does not bode well for summer temps, but then I could be wrong. (I hope I'm wrong.)

That's about it. Nothing more to write. Going to hit the hay early tonight and hope for a wonderfully productive day tomorrow!

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, January 3

My sense of accomplishment tonight is tempered only by my sense of impending birth. Mighty odd combination, lemme tell ya. A friend laughed at me the other day because she’s convinced I’m the only woman this close to delivery who is actually praying the baby stays put a little while longer. (Not too long, as Zorak has a TDY assignment coming up that we’d like to go on, but long enough to get “just a little more done”.)

Aside from minor trimwork and towel racks, the main bathroom is now DONE. Finished – fully functional, AND attractive. It looks like a completely different room. Well, um, actually, it is a completely different room – from the new floorboards and subfloor to all the appliances, fixtures, walls and even the ceiling. All the wiring. All the plumbing. The cabinetry, double sinks, lighting. And we pushed a wall back a foot (which made an astronomical difference now that it’s all back together). Zorak even built a beautiful ceiling trim that makes the 8’ ceiling feel much taller and more spacious. The pocket door ROCKS. If you have the chance to put one in, don’t pass it up. That alone gives us a ton of floor space and leaves the area clear and clutter-free. We ordered a crescent shower rod, as well, which will make the shower enclosure feel more spacious, and I simply cannot wait to see the whole thing all trimmed out and picture ready.

The living room lacks primer and paint. That’s it. *huge cheesy grin*

This week we’ll focus on more wiring and on the laundry closet (which has me seriously cocker spaniel-like excited!) God willing, Emily will wait until I can do the wash at home before she makes her grand entrance. If she’s feeling particularly helpful, I’d like her to wait until we have the living and dining areas brought up to the same level of completion as the kitchen. That would be... perfect. *happy sigh*

On the baby front, however, she is much much lower now. I’d venture to say that if she’s not engaged, she’s close. I’m having minor twitching, light contractions, and a whole lot of femoral nerve pain. And yes, for the record, I’m ignoring all of it. Other than staying hydrated and reminding the boys to please use their inside voices, (we don’t want to make it sound like too much fun on this side of the womb, okay? Okay!) it's business as usual.

Smidge wants to use the potty. This will be much easier now that the potty is back inside once again. However, excuse me while I have a small meltdown over the fact that he couldn’t have begun this, oh, two months ago... one month ago... or just waited until Spring? No? No. *sigh* Of course not. (I actually held off on even mentioning it around him in the hope he'd be content to wear diapers until we got settled. How much of a total goober could I be?) Well, that’s okay. He knows what it is. He knows what he needs to do. He’s excited about doing it. That’s more than a lot of mothers get, and I will appreciate it for all its worth.

John has been talking about his allergy treatments quite a bit lately. He is anxious to undergo them. We are, too. Something else is getting to him recently - it shows in his little eyes and his demeanor - and I am terrified it’ll turn out to be something like corn or rice that he’s developing an allergy to. There is only so much I’m up for handling right now... and this wasn’t really on my top 100 list!! ARGH! We’re still not 100% sold on the treatment process, but we’re willing to give it a shot and see if it helps. If not, well, no harm done and we’ll know what avenue not to take next time. But if it works, oh heavenly joy!! Wouldn’t that be splendid? Yes, indeed.

James is a really neat kid. I'm so glad we didn't kill him while he was six. It really does get better! Gone is the argumentative demon that drove him mercilessly most of last year, and in its place is the spirit of exploration and curiosity and willingness to share that had originally inhabited our firstborn child. He's back to being helpful, attentive, funny. He’s changing drastically in his maturity level and his comprehension of the interconnectedness of all things. (In other words, he’s growing up.) Zorak and I are awed by him, and we truly enjoy his company lately. Moreso than usual. He’s got insight and a keen sense of how stuff works, and that’s quite a bit of fun to be allowed to observe as it unfolds and grows in your child. There is no drug on earth as potent as the twinkle of delight that shines in a child's eyes.

And ya know, just in case these contractions turn out to be more serious than I care for them to be, I'm going to go enjoy the new shower facilities at Hotel Forever Home and get some rest before midnight! (I keep swearing every pregnancy that I will sleep like a normal person, but so far I'm 0-3... sometimes I'm a little slow...)

Kiss those babies!

Too Tired, Up Too Late

OK, it took me four tries to type the subject line. That in itself says a lot. Pre-emptive apologies for any typos I don't catch...

That said, the bathroom is tiled, grouted, and painted. It's beautiful. I feel good about the work accomplished. But we can't get the stoopid toilet flange back in now. Been working on it for two and a half hours. Zorak has to work tomorrow and really, deeply wanted the toilet back in before he leaves for work. I think I've finally convinced him that it's not going to happen tonight and that that's OKAY. His drive and determination are phenomenal, but they're going to be the death of me.

Must take Balto to the vet at eight-thirty in the morning. Funny. We don't get anywhere by eight-thirty in the morning. Not sure how that's going to work out.

Laundry room is ready to tie into the plumbing and put up the greenrock. Yeehaw! Once again, at another juncture of the project, I cannot express my joy and gratitude for the soon-to-be-completed phase of this part. I need to be able to wash clothes daily. I miss being able to change clothes daily. But the laundromat is not only expensive, but exhausting, and it takes time away from working on the house.

I tried three times in the past four days to get the wash done at the laundromat. Every time I've gone, the place has the air of a Mexican fiesta - jam-packed with Latino music, people, cousins (lots of cousins) -- food and kids everywhere. Not a single spare washer, and people gathered around them so thickly I can't tell if they're waiting on the current load or in line to use them next. I was telling LB that if I could have a margarita and do a little corrida, I'd be happy to stay, but lugging 90 pounds of wash (I'm not exaggerating - we weighed it in a fit of desperation where I contemplated using the drop-off service), out-to-here pregnant, with three small children in tow just wasn't conducive to the street faire tone. So, I bailed. I did pull out enough clothes for the boys to have clean skivvies and Zorak to appear at work relatively well-clad and dropped those off.

Today was an awesome day, but I'm too tired to do it justice. So, I'll have to blog about it tomorrow. Kiss those babies,

Sunday, January 1

Still Looking Ahead


We're moving too quickly to stop and reflect. There simply isn't time, and for now that's okay. Zorak is working on the laundry room (have I mentioned that one's definition of "sexy" changes drastically while renovating?), and I am preparing to slap down more paint. The boys are ringing in the New Year in Dreamland, sound asleep in their beds. But we did take a short bit tonight to enjoy the uniqueness of "the last time" -

We all had cereal for supper and we recapped the year while we ate. Their biggest memories of the year are "Maddy and Emmy", our Wonderful Neighbors from Maryland, and the things we did with them; fishing here in Alabama; and "looking for a house" (which, according to them, we began doing the second we entered the state and didn't stop until, oh, last week or so - I'm guessin' it was more traumatic than we thought!)

We medicated the dog and Lysol'd every flat surface less than three feet from the floor.

The boys watched a movie while I dotted the walls with mud and Zorak tore out the old coat closet studs. How the boys can sleep through the roaring whine of a reciprocating saw and the muttering whine of me stumbling over random buckets is beyond me. They'll do well if they serve in the military, though.

HAPPY 2006, Everyone!

The baby got a little rambunctuous, so I laid down to give her some room. Promptly passed out (for the record, narcolepsy would absolutely suck to have as a permanent condition), and awoke feeling ridiculously refreshed and ready to go for this late at night. Ah, well, run with it, right?

So the flooring in the living room and part of the kitchen has been repainted. The dog has been taken out... repeatedly. Do you have any idea how tempting it is to spray Lysol on his butt before letting him back in the house? The boys are still sound asleep, and we've blown a bit of time just watching them sleep. So beautiful. We have pizzas in the oven and Zorak's hooking up the ice maker (because I'm eating my way through a bag a day -- how embarrassing -- but we're both thankful it's just ice and not bon-bons).

I realized just a little while ago that we completely forgot a Very Important Date this year. December 16th officially marked ten years together for Zorak and I. Our first whole decade. Of course, we forgot to get married once, and then again, then we postponed the wedding because we procrastinate too much. It ended up taking us a full two and a half years before we could manage to get everything lined up and remember to show up for our own wedding. (That'll test your faith in a relationship, lemme tell ya! "Uh, honey... weren't we supposed to get married this morning?" Yep, we must have been made for each other.) But we have always honored December 16th, because we recognized one another then, over chicken fried steak and coffee, and we knew this was it.

Was it ever. Ten years, fifteen moves, four children, several lost loved ones, many surprises, and a whole lot of dreaming and working and playing. Yes, this still is it. Sometimes it's nice to be so right...

...and wrong. Turns out there was a little room for stopping to reflect tonight.

Kiss those babies!