Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Many people ask me how I manage with four kids ages four and under. It's surprisingly not as difficult as one would think. Especially if you don't clean your house regularly.

I was afraid adding a fourth might stretch me to my limits, but it hasn't. I think I understand now how people can have 18 children. Okay, not really.

Yesterday we received a package in the mail...a ridiculously huge box filled with 2 million packing peanuts, 2 tiny books, and a picture frame. Whoever packed this box was either having a really good chuckle at the absurdity of their act (sounds like something I would do to entertain myself), or they hated postal workers.

The point of the story is that packing peanuts fell out everywhere when I was stupid enough to open the box on an angle. I guess I thought the "holding in place" fairies would do a better job of holding everything in place, but clearly they were incompetent and maybe imaginary after all. It's been a while since I've received something in the mail. Packing peanuts weren't the first thing on my mind. "What in the heck did I order that was this big???" was what was going through my mind.

The children hovering over me immediately started throwing peanuts into the air squealing, "It's snowing!!! It's snowing!!!"

Times like this are when the baby starts crying and wants her bottle ASAP. I catered to her partly because I had no choice and partly because she is the most precious baby that has ever touched foot on this planet! But I digress....I was saying something...

Oh, there was a need to feed her and make sure no more snow was thrown. I ordered the big kids to stop shredding the packing peanuts and put them all back in the box--a concept my 3 year old son chose not to grasp because he put them in and then took them right back out. The magnitude of the box was also enticing because they all knew they could fit inside (one at a time, but still...). Boxes are so VERY tempting to small people.

I fed the baby while they cleaned. I eventually told them to stop and that I'd vacuum up the rest later. They insisted on doing the vacuuming which was a surprise considering they run screaming from it every time it's turned on. It doesn't help that I chase them with it.

I wish I had gotten their initial reaction to the vacuum coming to life on video because it was a hilarious combination of fear, jubilation, and chaos as they all tried to run in separate directions---away from the vacuum--and into each other. There was also shrieking and laughing taking place. Not all of it was me.

By the time I got the camera, much had taken place. Here's what's left. It's really long because I have no idea how to edit these things. Also, it's Ironman's fault all the furniture is draped with his gigantic shirts. He doesn't like them to be put in the dryer. Had I known I was about to catch a memorable moment on video that I would post on my blog, I would have cleaned the house first.

This is called, "I Want to Suck Up Everything I Can Find With a Vacuum Wand." So far, the kids and I are the only ones who laugh when we see this. Ironman wasn't so sure it was funny. I think having a weird sense of humor is why I love having children all around me...they are weird and it makes me laugh. This whole thing cracks me up.
video

Ballet Girls

Progress is being made in Baby Ballet. My twins are the ones in pink skirts....sticking the tongue out while dancing is important for balance.



video

Friday, December 12, 2008

Be Back Lata

Thanks so much for all your interesting comments being left on various old, old, OLD posts! The post from so long ago with all the pictures of aborted babies is what brings almost all the new traffic to my site, and a lot of women came across them the same way I did. I hope it changes some minds for those who are researching abortion as an option.

I also really appreciated all the comments on the last post. I love it when you guys rant back! :D

And the Jon & Kate Plus 8 post is still getting some intense comments. All very interesting to me.

So sorry to be off the radar, but I don't see how I'll have time to post any more on the book until after the new year.

Much to do! Much to do!

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, She's Ranting Again

More on the book soon... I've read more than I've posted about, so I hope to make the time to update you soon. I'm glad to hear that a couple of you have bought the book! I hope it helps us see things in a new light.

I was watching the news earlier, and I have to vent despite the fact that many or most of you will disagree.

I realize I'm just about the only person left in my age bracket (or just about any other age bracket) who isn't jumping on board with a variety of changes the world wants me to embrace, but I don't care. I have kids to raise, and I still want the world to be a fairly decent place by the time they're out in it alone. I don't think it will be a decent place if we continue to look the other way and claim morality is simply a way for us to place labels and judgment on one another. I think there are times we all need someone to pull us back in line. I know I've been there.

I also believe one day I'll be held accountable for all of my decisions--good and bad, and that I'll have a lot of explaining to do as to why I kept quiet and went with the masses instead of rocking the boat when I had the chance, so....here's to rocking the boat and using my voice to say I'M NOT BUYING WHAT MAINSTREAM AMERICA IS SELLING!

**Soap box in place, and I'm officially on it.**

I hate that old-fashioned values are referred to as old-fashioned.

I don't believe in a live and let live mentality. There. I said it.

I think the standard for behavior is sinking fast, and it's hard not to get caught up in it. It's harder for some than for others. We need to remember that a "free for all" mentality means utter destruction for a lot of people.

I think immorality is becoming much easier to justify because we have such low standards as a nation. You used to be able to look at the next guy and feel ashamed if you weren't up to par. Now the next guy is probably a bigger mess than you are which means you're let off the hook and can continue living your life as you are. No need to rise to the standards of a gentlemen or a lady, an upstanding Christian, etc. if the standards don't exist anymore.

I don't think I should have to see girls going wild at every single commercial break when I want to watch a late night movie. I don't want my husband seeing drunk bimbo after drunk bimbo showing her barely bleeped out breasts, and I don't want anyone in my family having to watch two skeezes sticking their tongues in each other's mouths (although I'm sure it's just that they love each other a lot, and they're not sexual deviants...psssh!). I realize this makes me a real old-fashioned stick in the mud, but I miss the days that sleazy behavior was a bad thing. I don't think it should be celebrated and piped into every home.

I joke that Ellen and Oprah are collaborating on a new project--their own revised version of The Holy Bible because I think they've already verbally rewritten it by spewing their beliefs over and over and over again until they've brainwashed a lot of their viewers with their idea of how our world should be. I admit, I still watch Oprah now and then, but definitely not to hear what Oprah has to say. I try to fast forward when the guests stop speaking.

I don't believe the gay right movement is the same struggle as the blacks had in their civil rights movement. I don't even think it's fair to compare the two.

I'm glad we have a black man as president, but I wish it were a different black man.

I still oppose abortion. I still don't feel sorry for women who choose it as a form of birth control.

I still think it makes no sense that we will kill children and say the mother had the right because it was in her body, but we don't kill child molesters because child molesters--as well as murderers and rapists for that matter-- have rights that even the innocent unborn aren't given.

Just so you know, pedophiles meet online and elsewhere so that they can "come out of the closet" to people like themselves. They would like you to know that "like homosexuals" (their comparison, not mine) God made them the way they are. They can not help who they are sexually attracted to. Yes, it has come that far. Did we really not see this coming? Equality for the rights of individuals who are sexually attracted to children. Did you know fathers video tape their own infants being molested to trade with others who believe they are all just "misunderstood" and will one day be accepted just as homosexuals are accepted now?

As I said, I don't believe in live and let live because look where it takes us.

While I'm harping, I don't believe in one man having ten wives. I still define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

It's been a long time coming, but our standards for morality are slipping as our standards for living a life of luxury rise. If there was any doubt left in my mind, it was removed when our new president was elected. The promise of plumper pocket books won out over absolutely everything else that used to matter and still matters to half of America.

We're the blind leading the blind. Our lives are a mess. Our families are a mess. Our families are broken. Our children are lost. Churches have no idea how to reach the masses because church sense doesn't make sense when you really like the freedom of the secular world. Christians are lost because they-- like myself-- look to the world for answers. When I was drowning in despair, I turned my back on God, made my own set of rules, and I failed miserably just as the world around me is failing miserably.

Someone attempted to help me by anonymously posting something in my comment section like, "Don't look to God for strength. Look to yourself for strength." (Oprah, is that you?) Well, that's what I did, and it got me nowhere. My wheels were spinning for years, and I was going nowhere fast. I am not all powerful. I can not do it alone. When I tried being godless, I've never felt more alone or more desperate for peace and understanding. But I had more than enough anger and bitterness because it had nowhere to go. I had no one to relieve me of my burdens. No one to promise me rest.

In Washington D.C., there are ads running on the sides of buses that say,

"Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake."

Below it there's some picture of an idiot in a Santa outfit and info of how to join the club of agnostics and atheists.

I really don't believe being godless is the answer. I think we're only more confused because right and wrong is not consistent across the board. Maybe it was never black and white, but it definitely wasn't whatever color you wanted it to be.

It's been said that the younger generation is the mess it is because parents were too concerned about harming their psyches and chose not to discipline them. Now those kids are the people deciding what is acceptable in our culture, and guess what? Every thing's okay! Surprised? Me either. Those same kids pushing the limits then--that the rest of us thought were so bratty--are the same bratty people pushing the limits now. For better or worse, they're getting their way because they think they're entitled to it. Ah, the entitlement mentality. That's never ruined anyone's life.

Staying quiet, being agreeable, and keeping the peace so as not to appear politically incorrect is causing our world to go to hell in hand basket. If there's anyone out there actually reading this, and you still see the value in "old-fashioned" morality, I encourage you to find your voice if you haven't already and let people know how you feel. I can't be the only one left who longs for a civilized and morally upright world for their children to grow up in.

**Leaving soap box.**

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Perfectionism

Quotes from The Worn Out Woman by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray regarding perfectionism:

Many women secretly believe they must be perfect, or nearly perfect, in everything they do. They may give lip service to "nobody's perfect," but the despair they feel when they fail reveals their perfectionism.

Perfectionists strive for the unattainable. They need to be first or best and try never to make a mistake, which they see as a sign of failure or unworthiness... Because of this, perfectionists are rarely happy. They frequently slip into depression and are often disappointed. Sometimes they're so worn out by their own expectations that they fail to do anything at all.

At the heart of perfectionism is fear--fear of making a mistake and being judged, fear of failure and rejection. The faulty belief underlying perfectionist behavior is this: If I could get everything right, life would be good. People would love me, and then I could finally love myself. The problem is that as soon as you think you have everything right, something goes wrong.

The chapter goes on to say that perfectionism reveals a lack of faith. In a sense, perfectionism is really a way of playing God with our own lives....we try to preempt His work and get it right without His help.

A few principles to help you fight perfectionism (the short version...each principle is elaborated in the book):

Admit that perfection is impossible.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
Accept your weaknesses and failures.
Set realistic and reachable goals.
Aim for excellence, not perfection.

This chapter uses phrases such as "living human" and "accept your own humanity."

Henry Van Dyke said, "Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."

People Pleasing

I didn't highlight anything in the section of people pleasing. I'm not exactly sure what that says about me.

Since nothing stood out to me on a personal level, I'll list some of the questions they ask to help you identify if you're a people pleaser. This applies to people who go beyond being nice and accommodating. It's about people whose lives are worse for it because they do it mainly out of fear of rejection.

Quotes from The Worn Out Woman by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray:

Do I work overtime to impress those around me?
Do I often say yes when I really want to say no?
Do I depend too much on compliments and affirmations to feel good?
Do I let others schedule my priorities or activities?
Do I try too hard to be nice?
Do I take criticism too personally?
Do I find it hard to be firm?
Do I feel very bad when someone is upset at me?
Do I apologize when I don't need to?
Do I bend over backward for other people, even when part of me is protesting and resentful?

I think the point of this section was to say you'll never please everyone, and trying to is an impossible and exhausting task. If you take extraordinary measures to please people and succeed, they'll expect it of you every time if not more. If the desire to please causes you to feel worn out, it's time to stop. "Remember that your physical, emotional, and spiritual health is more important than temporarily pleasing someone else....Scripture reminds us that 'our purpose is to please God, not people.'....Pleasing people can lead you astray, but pleasing God never will."

Comparing Yourself To Others

How ironic that I haven't had time to update you on the book I barely have time to read called The Worn Out Woman by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray.

Of course, now the baby's starting to fuss. Let's see what I can accomplish between consoling an infant with hiccups and trying to skim previous chapters.

....yeah, she's sleeping! You know how ten people can read the same paragraph and come up with at least 5 different things that seemed most meaningful? I figure each of us could read this book and different parts would speak to each of us, so I'm just going to tell you what stood out to me as interesting. I'll type direct quotes that I underlined. Hopefully it will make some kind of sense and save me from having to paraphrase.

Quotes from Ch. 3

Most worn out women struggle with expectations...the shoulds and oughts don't stop.

Comparison:

Comparing yourself to others is dangerous, especially when you are on the verge of being worn out. As your stress increases, you tend to become more self-critical. Whoever you are, someone will always be better or brighter than you, and comparisons can cause envy, competitiveness, and dissatisfaction.

When you compare yourself to others, you actually stop seeing yourself. All you see is how you measure up to your perception of someone else. Comparisons accomplish nothing except to increase expectations. This saps your energy and kills your morale. It is one more standard to live up to and one more burden to bear.

Then the book went into some depth on the "6 As" of comparison which I'll just list here. We're most likely to compare ourselves with other people's:

appearance
articulation
attitude
accomplishments
acquisition
ability

In these areas of comparison, most of us tend to exaggerate the other person's qualities while minimizing our own...the best antidote is a healthy dose of reality...Each of us has areas where we can grow and improve, but in God's eyes, comparisons between people are like comparisons between roses and lilies--both are beautiful...More important, we are each infinitely precious to our heavenly Father. He sees us as we are and still loves us.

Spend some time thinking about your positive characteristics. Then resolve to start accepting yourself, respecting yourself, loving yourself, and thanking God for how He made you. We all need to spend less time looking around and more time looking up.

This section on comparison ends with a list of 100 positive characteristics that you're supposed to go through and select things you see as positive about yourself. VERY hard!

Okay, quoting is done on this section. This is Me! I am a comparison freak. And I just spent an hour of my life providing an example of how I'm a comparison freak only to delete it all. It's one thing to think the thoughts I think, another to verbalize them to people I hope will somehow remain my friend, and another to write them out word for word so I can see just how ridiculous I am.

Now I have a baby starting to fuss and 3 children interrupting every other word I type, so this is it for the moment. Hopefully it won't be too long before I can cover some things written on perfectionism and people pleasing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Study of The Worn Out Woman Part I

The Worn Out Woman: When Your Life Is Full and Your Spirit Is Empty
by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray

Prologue: Winter Night

These are the pages where they share some personal stories of women who have been worn out and spiritually empty. Here are some quotes from the book on how the various women felt:

Most days I feel overwhelmed.
I want to run away and start over again.
I've wished my life away.
I hardly ever experience intimate or tender moments with the Lord.
My days are filled with things I don't want to do.
When I read the Bible, it's out of habit rather than desire.
The joy and excitement are gone.
I wake up feeling discouraged.
I've taken on responsibilities that I never wanted.
I feel like I'm missing me. But maybe it's God I'm missing.

At the end of each chapter there's a page called "Something To Try." That's where you reflect on your personal situation as you review questions or suggestions they have for you.

Chapter 1: What's Going On?

"Don't ask me to relax; It's my tension that's holding me together." Author unknown.

Chapter one has you take your own personal inventory of what has you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. There's a check list to determine your stress level. My personal level was marked Severe---get help now! Yippy skippy.

Chapter 2: Telling Your Story

What I appreciate about this book is that it hits some valuable points without probing too deep. This is a brief chapter that has you consider your life as well as what and who has shaped you. You're to consider the obvious like family to the more obscure like teachers, coaches, and old boyfriends. You're to consider events--traumatic or positive, decisions you have made--that have made you who you are. It also has you consider your basic personality and temperament and how that makes it possible for some women to respond to stress so much differently than their friend or family member. No particular personality type is labeled as weaker or anything. It reinforces that God made us all different. "Your basic personality or temperament is part of the way God wove you in your mother's womb."

Chapter 3: Shoulds and Oughts

This is the best chapter so far!!!! I could really relate. It's about expectations we place on ourselves by comparing ourselves to others, people pleasing, and perfectionism. I have an appointment I can't miss, so I hope to get back to this later today. I constantly poison my brain with thoughts of how I'm not as good of a housekeeper as so and so, I'm not as fine of a disciplinarian as that mom, I don't have the mild and glowing personality of that friend, or I don't have the attractive physical appearance of just about anyone I admire. This chapter had words that for once could penetrate my brain and make me reconsider how hard I am on myself. I hope they'll work for you, too! More later!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's Wrong Part II

Continued...



I tested God, and He failed me. I KNEW He would let me down. I knew we couldn't have a "peaceful" life like other families. The shoe fell, and it fell hard in every way imaginable. When He knew I was already weak, He had the nerve to hit me where He KNEW would hurt me the worst because my biggest fear is losing a child.



I used to be stronger. I used to be one of those Christians who clung to God in prayer and read my Bible professing to all that God would see me through it. And He did. That still didn't stop me from being angry that He didn't/wouldn't spare my child from a heart defect.



And it didn't matter that He had seen me through other trials or that at least my child could potentially be helped by having surgery. On prayer lists I was praying for fatally ill children and parents who had lost a child. You would think that would make me more grateful, but that only added fuel to my fire of raging bitterness and anger with God. I still cannot fathom the suffering of those families, and I will probably always struggle with why so many families have to suffer the loss of a child or parent of young children.



Anyway...for Lindley...I tried to remain faithful. I felt like I was in a war with God over her life--that He would only get her through the surgery if I had the faith that He would. I had already failed at having the faith that she would be cured without surgery, so I felt like I definitely couldn't throw what faith I had left out the window before the surgery. There's no logic to my thinking and no decent excuse for my religious views. I could see it even then, but that's another story.



Lindley made it through the surgery and had successful results. Following my line of thinking from before, one would assume I'd give God the credit for protecting her. I did say I was grateful that God used surgeons and medical science to heal her, and I meant it, but WOAH was I pissed!



I've spent the last year fuming. My internal anger has been through the roof as has my outward anger at times. This past year has been a year of existing, questioning, cursing, venting, blaming, excuse making, and just plain awfulness. For the most part I don't take it out on my kids, but there are times I have. I don't know how I make up for that other than pull them close and reassure them from here on out.



I can't even begin to measure what I've put Ironman through. I could have just come out and said, "If you were a better person, and if I were a better person, OUR BABY WOULDN'T BE ON AN OPERATING TABLE GETTING HER CHEST SPLIT OPEN RIGHT NOW!" I don't think it would have helped to confess that thought to Ironman, but my behavior was just as bad or worse. He probably already knew I felt that way anyway. Here's to hoping he was as oblivious about my thoughts then as he seems to be about house projects now. That was my attempt at humor. (I'm sorry for everything, Pickle.)



Question my sanity if you'd like. I have. Many times. I'm starting to realize that what I say to myself in my head is often irrational. What I say out loud to myself is totally rational. Just kidding. If I've been talking out loud to myself, I haven't noticed.



As I was saying, I've spent the last year angry and generally discontent wondering if I was depressed but convincing myself I wasn't because I'd have days or weeks where I felt fine. And then I'd be fed up again---crying in private a lot more than I felt was normal (at least for me). I'm not entirely sure what that was, but I assume it was a combination of life mixed with unresolved issues mixed with hormones (pregnancy and otherwise). I wasn't necessarily unhappy, just discontent with some things and restless. Very restless. Spiritually empty. I almost never prayed, and that's not like me.



Actually, I've been wondering where I went. The summer I originally decided to hold my breath and wait for the other shoe to fall was the summer I lost myself. I've been struggling to feel comfortable in my skin ever since. Not so much comfortable, I guess, as simply feeling like the Jennifer I had always been. Ever heard of "fake it 'til you make it?" That's me. Faking being Jennifer until I come back into her again.



I don't know what brought it about, or if it's been coming about slowly, but the anniversary of Lindley's surgery brought up a flood of emotions that left me feeling....of all things...content. Once again, I'm holding my breath a little. I'm worried this is a temporary hormonal high that I'll crash from soon. But I don't think so this time. I feel joy again, and I didn't realize that was what I'd been missing until it came back. Maybe joy is the wrong word because I've felt happiness all along...especially when Faith came into the world. I see the irony in that sentence.



I feel so grateful to have hope in faith and my spiritual relationship with God that I'm praying again. My most frequent prayer is that I don't lose ground on the progress I'm making personally. If you've ever really been depressed for a long period of time, you might have experienced the desperation you feel to hang onto "feeling normal" again if you've naturally or medicinally become stabilized. I feel that desperation to hold onto my contentment and inner peace. I never wanted to be separated from God. It just happened through my own fault or whoever else I can blame. ;)



I'm learning some interesting things in the book I mentioned. I hope to find the time to share it with you because I think it speaks to most women in today's world. If any of you pick up a copy, let me know. I'd like to know what you think.

What's Wrong With Me? Where to Begin?

FYI: I posted my two cents about the Jon & Kate Plus 8 blog in the comment section on that particular post. In a nutshell, I had mixed feelings. You could state an opinion and chances are I'd agree with you. There are lots of good points.


About a year ago I bought a book called The Worn Out Woman: When Your Life is Full & Your Spirit is Empty by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray. I haven't read it yet because I've been too worn out and too spiritually empty to care that I was spiritually empty. I don't know how on earth they manage to get their target audience to read this book. I assume they must rely on less worn out women who are spiritually empty or completely worn out women who are spiritually full to spread the message. I have no idea. Currently I'm semi-worn out and running on spiritual fumes, but that's better than being on empty...more on that later. A point I'll get to later is that I'm now reading the book and finding it valuable enough that I hope to find time to share parts with you.



What I'm about to write is spiritual in nature but not the sappy Christian witness story it may appear to be. At least I hope it doesn't come off that way though I wouldn't be writing it if I felt it was going to have a bad ending. I don't know how it's going to end honestly. All I know is that currently I have hope that it will end well, and I haven't had that in a very long time.



The year marking Lindley's open heart surgery date was some kind of a turning point for me. I've been angry. That's no secret to me or anyone around me. It's been building for years. If there wasn't one crisis in our lives, there was another. Some were made by us and some were just bad luck. If there wasn't a crisis, there was a constant nagging of underlying unresolved personal issues or annoying people in our lives. There was always something.



Then there wasn't.



Other than some unresolved personal issues that we could probably spend the rest of our lives dealing with, there was really nothing major to speak of. We were in recovery mode financially and emotionally from a lot of stressful years. And I waited, and I waited for the other shoe to drop. But nothing happened. Still, the pressure built because life experience told me something would happen. Or one could argue that my lack of faith caused me to fear that if something major happened again, I couldn't handle it one more time.



That's when we found out Lindley had a heart defect that would one day need surgery. Then we were told I might have leukemia (which can do quite a psychological number on you). Then we were told our insurance wouldn't cover the expensive tests needed for Lindley and definitely wouldn't cover her pending heart surgery estimated to be almost $100,000.00. There were a lot of other "little" things from infertility issues to a serious car wreck...once again...going into overload.



I wanted to be the ever faithful Christian as we went through it all. The more I blogged, the more I realized how weak I felt. I wasn't a shining example of a Christian at all. I didn't keep my bitterness or anger to myself. The more Bible verses I was quoted, the angrier I became, and this is why...

(continued in next post)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Jon & Kate Plus 8

I know a lot of us are watchers of the reality show Jon & Kate Plus 8.

A friend sent me a link yesterday to an interesting blog. When I brought up the show on this blog before, an anonymous person left some information about how Jon and Kate are deceiving the public.

Here's the link I received yesterday.

http://truthbreedshatred.blogspot.com

Aunt Jodi's (the red head who cares for the children) sister writes it. I thought it was a hoax at first, but there's video of Jodi on the blog stating that the blog is legit. There are some interesting stories and links to articles written about the family. A children's advocacy group of former child stars is apparently pleading with Jon and Kate to stop filming their children stating that children need secrets and privacy regarding issues of making friends, etc.

She also gave the low down on how they're making a lot of money yet still qualifying for public assistance...or health care. Now I can't remember what I've read, but it was interesting. Check it out for yourself and share your thoughts with me if you get the chance.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Whole Year

This morning I've been reflecting on where we were exactly a year ago today. It's a surprisingly emotional experience remembering Lindley (3 at the time) going in for her open heart surgery.

I remember the month leading up to it was the most anxious I've ever been. A year of pediatric cardiologist appointments that initially took us totally by surprise (always thinking things would get better somehow) and then they turned into one disappointment after another until it appeared surgery couldn't be postponed any longer.

The memories of the doctors and details of what would be happening to her are a factor in the rush of emotions...as well as holding her through the surgical prep...watching Ironman be so strong for her every step of the way, barely ever turning loose of her (he was definitely the strong one in that situation)...the uncertainty of how it would all turn out...and finally watching a nurse carry her away from us with a little blinking "magical" wand. All of those things are definitely a huge factor in how emotional I'm feeling right now.

But more than that, I've been thinking of the waiting room and the people in it that were there to support us. I'll never forget that. I felt like I was drawing from their strength. I'm thinking of the emails. The phone calls. The visits to Lindley while she was recovering. I remember the incredibly kind words and offers of financial support from people I've never even met before in cyber world. People are amazing.

Today Lindley is doing great! She recovered quickly. She continues to have follow-up appointments with the cardiologist, and they are happy with her results. Her August appointment didn't sound as optimistic about surgery being a thing of the past, but I believe that was just the difference in doctors. (We saw a new doctor this last time.)

I'm eternally grateful for the friends and family who saw us through that tough time, and ever so grateful that's all we've had to go through. I don't know why we were the lucky ones, but we were, and it's very humbling.

Off to Walmart now. Haha! Thank you again to all of you out there who went through those tough times with us.

Here's a Lindley video. It's the only one I have that I know how to upload. The content won't make much sense because it's in reference to a conversation that was taking place on Facebook, but anyway...she's silly and well! The best thing for a 4 year old to be!

video

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Background Checks Make for Better Friendships

I might have a new "in person" friend. Emphasis should be placed on "might" and "new" and "in person." Basically the entire sentence.

We're still in the researching phase.

If you have followed this blog for a long time or if you actually know me, you know that I don't do "in person" friends. To my lifelong girlfriends, don't think I don't know how you just twisted that last sentence to be something completely inappropriate.

What I do is clutch and/or cling to the girlfriends of my past and never let them go. I don't want any new friends because it's taken decades for my old friends to get used to me. I have no desire to start from scratch. (Sorry about the "old" friend comment. It's nothing personal.) I think it's only been in very recent years that they've come to terms with my personal failures as a human being and can write it off as, "Oh, that's just Jennifer. Try not to think about it."

I am what society calls "anti-social," or "busy," or "unwilling to give of herself to others on a frequent local basis." I'm not really about the "in person" friendships because they require way too much effort; however, I am considering breaking my own rule and taking a friend locally. My lifelong friends live hours away unfortunately, but that's probably the only reason they can still stand to be my friend. Small doses and all.

Anyway, this friend I'm considering shall remain anonymous considering everyone I personally know manages to find me on this blog. Sure as a monkey flings its own filth, she will wander upon this blog and read about this entire thing regarding herself, and the potential friendship will be over before it even began.

I'll just say we have to see each other weekly...bonus...required built in time to "be" a friend. We have quite a lot in common including knowing the same people. I think she gets my sense of humor which is rare. In person, I basically have no sense of humor. The jury is out on just how much she would appreciate it long term, but anyway...

Ironman accuses me of having a girl crush which is fine because he has a new boyfriend named J.C. Since we are both extremely anti-social, we are forced to mock and laugh at the other person when they consider making a friend. We're mature like that.

So I'm following various leads I'm getting on this person and weighing the pros and cons of local friendship. Now is the time to back out if I'm going to do it because it will make no sense if I cower in the corner of the required weekly meeting place months from now. It is imperative that I find out as much as possible ASAP!

When did I become so skittish around friendships? I'd say it was about the time that a favorite friend of ours introduced us to his arsenal of weapons and showed us videos of Bill Clinton's head on soldiers in Hitler's army surrounded by floating swastikas. Luckily he quit his job and moved out of state because the end of the world was coming, so we avoided some of the awkwardness of ending a substantial friendship. Update on that is that the world didn't come to an end. Also, people are weird. Keep them away.

Assuming I find no scary dirt on her, then there's the issue of the dirt she finds on me, and well...then it's over, so what was the point? I don't know. This is why I don't make new friends.

That is all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tipsy Magoo

I think the guy who services our heating and cooling unit might have been hitting the sauce at lunch. Should my nose hairs be burning? I'm not sure I recognize that smell, but if I were to guess, I'd say it was a mixture of cigarettes, booze, and cologne.

Let's start from the beginning with the ever popular knock/pounding he used to announce his presence.

Knock, knock, nah, knock, knock...........knock, KNOCK!

(Professional, isn't it? I think so.)

It's the ac/heating guy! What a different approach than the lawn guy who barely tapped on the door due to the sign that says, "Please do not ring the doorbell or knock loudly. Children could be sleeping."

The ac guy greets me with a way too happy to see me "hello!!!" and immediately says he's getting drunk from watching the guy mow the lawn.

Really? Really, Mr. AC Guy?

Have you ever seen anyone oozing sugar out of the pores in their skin? Me either, but you'd think he was solid sugar because he is always super sweet. I shrink about 3 feet when he speaks to me because his voice gets very high pitched and happy like at any moment he's going to tickle me or play "got yer nose!"

Anyway, the lawn mower moving was a clever excuse for drunken behavior. You'll all have to remember that one. Now if I call the company and complain that they sent me a drunk repairman, he'll be able to say, "I TOLD HER IT WAS THE LAWN MOWER!!!"

What if he had come before the lawn guy? "Oh, watching this tall grass blowing makes me feel drunk!"

Or after? "Watching your door mat sit there, umm, yeah...I'm just drunk."

Anyway, we made glorious small talk about how obsolete check writing has become and how napping should be allowed at work for adults...actually that was his thing, and then he all but skipped out of my house saying in the most syrupy voice imaginable, "Now you know where to find us if you need one little thing, Jennifer!"

"Well, yes I do! Thank you, AC Man! Do you want a wine cooler for the road? Aaaaahhhaaayukyukyukyuk!"

Just one more reason to believe I'm being secretly videotaped for others' amusement. My friend says there really is a syndrome where people actually believe they're being secretly videotaped, but my case is not a syndrome. I really am being secretly videotaped and piped into a bar in Boston. I just know it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Faith--sideways

Oh my gosh!!! Did I just manage to upload my first video??? After years of having this digital camera, I've finally started using it as a video camera as well. Who knew I could figure it out! Too bad my video is boring! Woo hoo! I've also now learned I can only hold the camera one way while shooting video. Try not to strain your neck.

video

Friday, September 05, 2008

Crazeeeee

It seems to me that some people spend their whole lives trying to convince themselves that they are crazy and other people spend their whole lives convincing themselves they aren't crazy.

How do you know which one you are? I've heard that crazy people don't know they're crazy.

These are things I wonder while wiping down kitchen counters.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hello!

Here's a newer update...




Faith has been sleeping through the night almost every single night since she was a month old. I'm no longer mommy dearest. I truly believe I have the best baby on the face of the planet!!! I've never met a child so low maintenance. She is either sleeping or quietly sitting and smiling like she is at this exact moment. No one is talking to her. She's just smiling. Like I said before, it's like God knew I needed an easy baby.




I took her in for her 2 month check up...a couple of weeks late, but that was mostly the doc's fault...and she weighs 12 pounds! This is considered "above average" which is a really nice way of saying she's a chunk.




The working out turned around quickly. I did 10 training sessions total, and then my trainer went back to teaching. I haven't been in the gym in almost a week, but now I'm loving cardio. I NEVER thought that would happen! I listen to my crazy music and ride my bike like a mad woman. It's pretty good. I went back to eating whatever I wanted and lost more weight than when I was dieting. Go figure. We'll see how long THAT lasts.




Now I'm trying to convince Ironman to work out with me in the evenings when it gets cooler. That will be a hard sell since he does manual labor all day long as it is, but he didn't get the name Ironman for nothing. He set a state record for dead lifting back when he was training. He would make an excellent trainer for me...mainly because he's free. I keep telling him, "It will be Jennifer and Ironman together again!!!" as if our history of working out together is comparable to a Beatles reunion. Yes, I know some of them are dead. Even having the living Beatles together again in the same room is more impressive than Ironman yelling at me to stop lifting like a woman while slapping the heck out of my leg. I vaguely remember cursing at each other. I don't think the YMCA can handle that. Luckily, he's calmed down a little in his old age....his very, very, very old age. (Ironman, that's for all the flack you've given me about turning 34 in a couple of weeks.)




So anyway...here are some new pics...









Waaaay old draft

Update: Oh my gosh! This is such an old draft!!!! But I'll post it because of the state cracker question.

Woo hoo! Little Bit turned one month old yesterday and has slept through the night twice in the past week or so. This is SUCH a good thing because I turn into Mommy Dearest when I don't sleep much. I fear my children are going to be so unstable because it feels like I'm either yelling or apologizing for yelling. There really is some middle ground in there, but I hate days when it feels like all I'm doing is policing them. They survived the pregnancy. Now if they can just survive the sleep deprivation mode, I think we'll be free and clear. I promise to pay for all of their counseling when they're adults.

Another reason I'm a bad mother is because I have no group photos of all my children as one of the cat readers requested. I hope the long, tall, Texan photos in Little Bit's ten gallon hat make up for it. Do people outside of Texas know that song?





Here's another question I have while we're on the topic of Texas...

We have Texas shaped everything in Texas. We are probably the most egotistical state when it comes to our shape which I must admit...TOTALLY ROCKS! So here's my question, do other states take pride in their shape? If you saw an outline of your state on a t-shirt, would you know it's your state? If you saw a pot holder in the shape of your state, would you recognize it or think that you were looking at a really screwed up pot holder? I was eating a box of Texas shaped crackers the other day and wondered, "Are there Iowa shaped crackers?" Someday I would like to get to the bottom of this, so please leave any information you have in the comment section.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I HATE THE GYM!!!

Is anybody still reading this blog? If so, what's wrong with you? I'm the worst blogger EVER! But thank you. :D

I want to yell today...and possibly curse. Want to know where I've been?
I'll tell ya where...
WORKING OUT AND EATING CRAP DIET/HEALTHY FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does anyone have any encouragement for a chick ALREADY wanting to quit working out? I pay $20 per session with a personal trainer (pretty cheap admittedly) and have been about 7 times. For that much money as well as tasty food deprivation, I had hoped to look like a movie star by now. I know! I know! It takes time. It took 9 months to put the weight on, I can't take it off in 3 weeks. Whatever.

I come home freaking SORE and exhausted. I did my weekly shopping last week the day after a leg work out. It hurt so badly to squat down and get things off lower shelves that I wanted to just lie there and ask someone to pull me by my arms when I wanted to go further down the aisle.

When does the added energy kick in from exercising and eating healthy? I'm tired!! And I'm so sick of calorie counting already. I figured just cutting out soft drinks and fast food would make a big difference, but I'm eating crap diet food as well. I've hardly lost any weight.

We had WHEAT spaghetti last night. FREAKIN' WHEAT SPAGHETTI!!!!!! Ironman almost barfed. He's ready for me to get back to our lazy and more tasty lifestyle, too. I'm not used to cooking every night or even eating 3 meals a day. And if I DO cook, I want it to have gravy or what's the point??? We're in TEXAS for gosh sakes! It should be fried and smothered with gravy...and possibly butter!

I MISS MR. PIBB AND CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm not even close to being done complaining. I get my ass to the gym with 4 kids THREE days a week despite their growing desire to NOT go to the nursery. Lin had her heart appt. Monday, so I worked out to a video at home that day and did THREE Pilate's videos yesterday. THREE!!!!

I want to strangle my trainer. I don't think she has kids or a husband, and she's new to town. She can live at the gym if she wants. She wants to know why I'm not out walking at night (hello...105 degrees here) or making it to the gym to do cardio on my days off. She has me write down everything I eat. I've had 1 Mr. Pibb, and this is the middle of my 3rd week. She looks at my meals and keeps pointing out that same Mr. Pibb and says, "I'd like to see this cut out completely." THAT WAS LIKE THREE WEEKS AGO LADY!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW MUCH MORE CAN I CUT OUT MR. PIBB IF I'M HAVING NONE! FREAKING NONE!!!! I HAVE NO CAFFEINE AND I'M ABOUT TO CUT SOMEONE!!!!!

So anyway, I don't completely deprive myself of chocolate. I eat cookies in the 100 calorie pack. I allow myself a cheat meal on weekends. I temporarily fell off the diet wagon a couple of times, but my calories have been drastically cut. My trainer is happy regarding my diet and even my moments of weakness. Then why aren't the pounds melting off?????

I did nothing to lose weight after my other three kids. Somehow it just eventually came off. I ate whatever I wanted. I never even looked at a gym for at least a year after my third child was born. If I got the results I wanted before with no effort, then why am I busting my butt now? The results are definitely not immediate. I guess things feel firmer, but I want the scale to reflect major weight loss which ain't happening. All that work for 1-2 pounds a week? This is going to take forever!!!!!!!!!!

I need to lose 20 more pounds to be back to pre-baby size. I honestly expected the first five or so to come off super fast. I figured the last 10 pounds would be work--which would only be as tough as what I'm doing now. THIS SUCKS! I'm SICK of maternity clothes! I don't fit in any of my regular clothes, and I refuse to buy new clothes for the size I am now. If I did that, I'd feel totally defeated.

So I think that about covers my complaints. I'm going to try to catch a nap before fixing something disgusting for dinner. Bleck. If you can muster any encouragement or advice, it would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jon & Kate Plus 8 and other ramblings

Haaaaaaaaa ha ha ha! THANK YOU, KATE!!!!

I Tivo Jon & Kate Plus 8.

I used to think it was way too stressful to watch.

Then I developed a morbid fascination with it.

Now I can watch it, cringe, and laugh.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's the reality show with the parents who had a set of twins and then sextuplets. I only have one 3 year old and twin 4 year olds (newborn is not included in this since she's still in the potted plant stage). Knowing what life is like with that many children at approximately the same stage developmentally, I watch in awe as Jon and Kate handle SIX 3 year olds and twin 6 year olds--actually, they're all a year older now, but still...

I have always said I wouldn't compare my situation to having triplets because there are mothers of triplets out there who know just how untrue that statement would be. I had a whole year before I added a third to the mix, so I'm not going to insult them by suggesting we're the same because I had it MUCH easier.

But when they're all 2 and 3 years old, there doesn't feel like much of an age difference. It feels like juggling cats--very spastic, fast cats who are trying to get away from you. And there's a mob mentality involved. I felt that was true even when just the twins were conspiring to do something "interesting," "creative," or "fun." Christel, can I get an "Amen!" ????

When you have multiples, you don't always have the benefit you would if you had children of staggered ages because (hopefully) if your children are spaced apart, at least one has the ability to use self restraint, better judgement, or at least can tattle before something goes terribly wrong. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, which brings me to my next point before talking about Jon and Kate.

I never watched the nanny shows too regularly when they first came out because Ironman can't stand them. I can see his point because it's stressful to watch a house full of someone else's screaming, bratty children. This summer I have started recording them and watching all of the old episodes when Ironman is not around.

There's a distinct pattern--especially on Nanny 911. There are usually 4 or more children, and it seems that a majority of the time there are twins or triplets involved.

Another requirement seems to be getting the mother on tape screaming, "I'M DONE!" as she is on the verge of collapse.

And finally, there's always a husband who comes home from work, parks his butt in front of the t.v., and does nothing to help.

This brings me back to Jon and Kate. That man is a saint in my opinion. If he's home, he's involved. I realize there are a lot of dads like him, but according to Nanny 911 there are still a lot of dads who have a 1950's mentality. Ironman is kind of a 1950's dad. I feel it's safe to mention that because if he were embarrassed by it, he wouldn't do it. He plays with the kids and most definitely adores them, but any weekend time we get with him or help I get around the house feels like I'm having to ask him for a favor.

He works outside of the home. I work inside the home. That's where our responsibilities lie. End of story. Obviously it's that way because Ironman makes it that way. If I had any say in it, we'd do this parenting thing together on a regular basis. Ironman would defend this saying he's a manual labor worker, not some dad who sits behind a desk all day in an air-conditioned building. He doesn't have the energy to come home and help or do things on weekends because he gives 200% on the job so that (hopefully) some day he'll be promoted to a better position in the company. That last sentence is true, but I still wish he'd only give 150% at work so that he could have something left to give to his family.

I say all that because I can't believe the expectations Kate has of Jon. I think she takes him for granted. I was watching an episode today where Jon was filling sippy cups, styling the girls' hair, and keeping the kids out of his wife's way while she was trying to cook in the kitchen. And the WHOLE time she was complaining that he was having an "off day" because he wasn't helping enough. WHAT???? That man is always scrambling around dealing with kids as well as a full list of her other demands to check up on this, that, and the other. Have you ever seen an episode where he was home and not as involved in chores or taking care of children as Kate is?

Of course, he IS being filmed. And he does have an air-conditioned desk job. Also, I can't imagine many men would be horrible enough to not help their wife who is a stay at home mom of sextuplets and twins. As much as I admire the tight ship Kate runs and how organized she is, I fear that her constant criticism of a man who is definitely pulling his own weight with the kids is going to destroy their marriage. I hope not. Their lives are incredibly stressful....which finally brings me to the part of the show today that made me laugh because I could soooooooooo relate.

It was the episode where they were all in a furniture store picking out bunk beds for the sextuplets. Kate always has the desire to get her kids out of the house and involved in the world just as if there were only one of them. I'm not that way at all. I'm raising hermits because I know good and well we're not normal. I don't take my kids anywhere by myself unless I know it's a very controlled situation where I can escape quickly if things aren't going as planned. I'm not as bad as I used to be since the kids are getting older, but I would still never take them anywhere that I had to concentrate on a major decision involving thousands of dollars.

So Kate is looking for REALLY sturdy bunk beds, and the conversation arises about how destructive the sextuplets can be. Jon said the sextuplets have destroyed libraries worth of books, and Kate said, "it's not that any one of them singly would do it , its just the group of them descending upon things" and she did this gesture with her hands that I can't even described. It was kind of like monster claws grabbing something, and I COULD SOOOOOOOOOOOO RELATE!!!!

It felt SO good to hear someone else put into words what I've always felt and that I describe as mob mentality. People used to be mortified hearing the stories of my 3 toddlers and what all could go wrong in such a short period of time. They sounded like total heathens, and THANK GOD they've matured and outgrown it, but I always knew in my heart that singly, they wouldn't do the things they were doing (at least for the most part). It has to do with the sheer number of children matched with them all being developmentally at the same stage that is a recipe for disaster. I've never been successful getting that across to anyone without sounding like I'm making excuses for children who simply lack discipline. I felt so vindicated when I heard Kate express what I had always felt. It probably won't hit anyone else the way it hit me, but boy did it make my day today!!!

If you've been a reader of this blog for a couple of years, you've probably noticed I don't have a lot of kid stories left other than what can come out of their mouths. I used to have daily/weekly horror stories of how the house was destroyed within a matter of seconds thanks to toddlers who got out of their duct taped diapers, etc. My blog is not nearly as funny now, but I'm really grateful for that.

It can still be overwhelming. They still drop crumbs all over the rug. They can drag toys out of their rooms and into the living room in no time flat making it appear as if I never clean, but at least there's no poop in the toy microwave. There's no meat on the ceiling. When I walk past picture frames, I no longer find dried on apple sauce. The toilet paper no longer has to be locked up. Neither do the toilet lids for that matter. The potty chairs have been put away for a couple of years. I can understand the speech of 3 of the children (most of the time).

I continue to hear that it just gets harder when they get older, but for now it feels like a total relief to only have one child completely dependant upon me. Speaking of...she calls. Later!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Correction to c-section post

Correction: Ironman says I was wrong on what the nurses were calling "it." It was a spinal, not a spinal tap. Who knew I could be wrong? I guess there's a first time for everything. ;D

Mary and Stuff

Ironman and I were on an hour long road trip with the kids on the 4th of July. The two of us were talking and doing our best to tune out the noise from 3 of the 4 children in our PACKED to the gills minivan. Now that our family is a 6-pack, everything feels much more crowded...and only because of an 8 pound person.

Anyway, Ironman and I sometimes have to yell to each other to be heard over the background noise of laughing and singing...not a bad noise to be overwhelmed with, but the conversation went something like this--maybe not exactly like this, but something like this:

J: "Blah, blah. Yackety yack."

I: "Yes, I agree."

J: "Yada, yada."

I: "You're the most brilliant woman on the face of the earth..."

J: "Hold on. What are they singing?"

I: "I don't know."

J: "It's the tune of, 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' but they're not saying 'little lamb."

Ironman and Jennifer stop to listen....

J: It's 'booty crack.' They're saying, 'Mary had a booty crack' and laughing hysterically.

*blink, blink*

J: Oh my gosh. Those are your children. That's not my fault.

I: KIDS! You can't just sing, 'Mary had a booty crack' over and over again. You have to finish the song. (Insert more crude and disgusting lyrics here that I have seriously mentally blocked out.)

It's really not my fault. I'm going to have cards printed up for all their teachers when they start school explaining how none of the gross words or concepts they come up with are my fault. I'll ask that a copy of the card be placed in their personal records. I already have it all planned out.

The Verbal Vomit of my C-Section

New correction: If the word "tap" follows the word "spinal" in this post, ignore it.

Warning: This is long, and I have no time (or desire) to proof read it...

Another warning: This could also be considered graphic and gross by some readers..

I should be napping right now, but all I'm thinking about is my c-section experience. I think I'll use this opportunity to verbally vomit it all out so that I can hopefully STOP thinking about it. I'm also considering this to be "on the record" which means it can and should be used against me if the day ever comes that I think having another baby is a good idea.

Scratch that. If Ironman and I ever get to the point where we think it's meant for our family to be expanded upon, I'm not going to want to be told it's a bad idea. Just gently refer me to this post as a reminder of what it was like to be pregnant and give birth. I already know I'll argue that those two things are temporary and well worth the pain, but I want to remember just how bad the pain was. I can't believe it's already fading from my memory. Anyway, I'm a major "after thought" for my parents. It took my parents almost a decade to decide they wanted a third child. For that reason, I'm hesitant to say I'll never want another child.


As I've whined about in previous posts, I'm not one of those women who handles pregnancy with ease. It starts with the typical fatigue, all day sickness, and horrible heartburn and quickly progresses to a deep down aching in my bones that gets worse and worse and worse with time. I need to remember how painful it was to be still and how much more it hurt to move.



Regarding the c-section, if you're scheduled for one, don't read this. I don't want to be in your head when you're lying there on the table being sliced open. This story isn't a nightmare because everyone came out of it okay, but it's one of those downward spiral stories that seems like it's never going to end. At least it feels that way if you've lived it.



Background: I've had 2 c-sections before. I've had a LOT of surgeries before. I've had kidney stones three times. Despite how wimpy I sound, I've been told many times (even by doctors) that I have a high threshold for pain. Instead of making me stronger, I think that comment had the opposite effect on me. Now I think, "Holy crap! If I hurt THIS bad, it must be REALLY bad pain!" Anyway, I had zero fear about having a third c-section. I barely even remembered my other two.


Even though I have three tattoos on my spine (which I completely regret), that stupid spinal(That's the term they used. I no longer remember the difference between a spinal and epidural. Is there one? Now I'm really confused.) still gives me major anxiety. I don't know how I survived a couple of hours of needles with the tattoos, but the spinal makes me want to faint. It gives me the mental heebies like almost nothing else can. Ugh! I can't even stand to think about it. I'm not too fond of needles, but I had about eleventy million stuck in me during the fertility treatments to conceive the twins. I've had a TON of blood work done due to all my various ailments. Needles are a fairly frequent part of my life. But that spinal ....jeez louise! BLECK! That's the only part of the entire experience I was dreading.


But let me back up a little. We got to the hospital at 9 a.m. as scheduled. I was parched because I could have nothing to eat or drink after midnight and pregnancy puts me in a constant state of thirst. While pregnant, I drank 64 ounces of water in the middle of the night almost every night. I know this because I kept a giant glass beside my bed that was a 64 ouncer. While not pregnant, I might not even drink 24 ounces of liquid in 24 hours. Anyway, I tell you this to express just how thirsty I was to have gone 9 plus hours with no liquid.


The c-section was scheduled for noon. The nurse came in to get an i.v. going. The lab guy came in to draw blood.

Needles!

Needles everywhere!

He was in and out just fine. She was digging in veins and having no success. I was squirming internally because I was getting another overwhelming case of the heebies. Another nurse was called in. She did more digging in veins thus causing my case of the heebies to grow so much I wanted to jump out of my own skin if she referred to my veins as "ropes" one more time. Neither nurse could figure out how they could possibly be having so much trouble considering how great and "rope like" my veins were. HEEEEEEEEEEEEBS! BLECK! BLECK!

Oh, and did I mention I had already gone into active labor at that point??? That makes TWO pregnancies now that I've had the joy of experiencing painful contractions when I wasn't supposed to because of the c-section. Whatever! I was watching the clock closely for the 12 o'clock hour because I knew the spinal would bring me relief.

Twelve o'clock came and went, and I wasn't even in the operating room yet. The nurses finally got an i.v. going at least. About 12:30 I went to the OR, did the icky spinal, and instantly felt like vomiting. With all the surgeries I've had, I've never thought I was going to throw up before the surgery started. Of course, I couldn't move, so they laid a bowl next to my head. Oh joy! Barfing horizontally.

My arms were already tied to the table. Fast forward through the spread eagle, naked, in a room full of (thankfully) women. Catheter, blah, blah. Couldn't move my legs anymore which bothered me more than ever before. Couldn't move my arms. I have panicky issues with being in tight spaces and/or not being able to move.

Mentally I was less than okay at that point. We very easily could have called it quits because I felt sufficiently traumatized. "Thanks, doc! I would like to go find the hell that has been scared out of me...if you could just let me go, please." I don't know how the baby would have exited, but I wanted to pretend like nothing was happening so I could go to my happy place. Note to Randa (in Barbie mode): Pretend like I didn't just get my veins violated, go into labor before my c-section, get a needle and a couple of other things stuck up my spine, get a catheter stuck up you know where, get strapped to a table, get an overwhelming urge to barf, and definitely pretend like I'm not naked in a room full of people who have all their clothes on.

I've never asked him, but Ironman looked nervous to me. I don't know if it felt better or worse to have him seem scared. It's very bad to be scared alone, but it didn't help to think we were in the same boat. Soon a few tears fell, and I had to admit I wasn't feeling comfortable with the whole situation. As soon as the nausea passed, the shaking started. NEVER in all my surgeries have I experienced shaking on the operating table. It always starts in recovery. The anesthesiologist explained it's something about the medication making your body think it's cold, so you start shaking to bring your body temperature back up. Since only the upper part of my body could move, my arms (still tied down) were trembling and pulling against the ties for the hour and a half or more that I was in there.

That's another thing, we were told it would take about 45 minutes total. I was in there at least twice as long FREAKING out because nothing felt like it was going as planned. Have you ever shivered really hard for over an hour? It's exhausting. All at once it would stop, and I would think it was over, but apparently that was just my muscles giving out. It got so bad I had to concentrate on clenching my teeth so I'd stop biting my tongue. I talked to the anesthesiologist through all of it asking if it was normal and if there was anything she could do to stop it. Nothing she did made any difference. She said I would stop shaking once all of the medication was out of my body which ended up being a long time after I was sent to recovery. I remember one of my visitors held my arm down while she talked to me as if my shaking was distracting her. Didn't stop my head or my other arm from shaking. Just made me that more conscious of how bad it was.

So my doctor located a butter knife and began sawing into my abdomen at some point. That was the reason for the twice as long surgery. Not actually the use of a butter knife...though I'm not so sure she wasn't using one...the cutting took FOREVER. The doctor claimed she had to cut through a lot of scar tissue. Then she did the typical, "You're going to feel some tugging and pulling." I expected it to be brief. I had no idea it would go on and on. That's usually said right before the baby is pulled out.

Want to know the added bonus I received? The lights positioned over my body were made out of a type of metal that reflected my torso just like a mirror would. I could see EVERYTHING. The curtain was up between my face and body, but right above my head (where my eyes naturally fell) was the reflection of my abdomen gaping open, blood, muscle, everything internally exposed. It's not cool to be awake and see yourself cut open from hip to hip and pulled open as wide as possible from top to bottom. I can't even stand to watch surgery on television. It was horrifying to see it being performed on myself. I tried to keep my eyes closed so that I could block it out, but when I closed my eyes, it seemed like I noticed the pain from shaking more. Before it was over, Ironman asked, "What's that thing on her chest?" The doctor answered, "That's her uterus." BARF!

Like I said, mentally I was not in a good place. It felt like they'd never get to the baby, and their small talk about the weekend mixed with the music on the radio was driving me crazy. Then finally they pulled Faith out. That's when she inhaled a lot of fluid, so they quickly started working on clearing her lungs. They took Faith and Ironman away to the critical care nursery, and I spent another half hour or more getting sewn back up, shaking, and wondering what was happening with Faith. Luckily they gave me reports as I was finishing up in the OR.

I was taken to recovery after that...still not being able to see Faith. The shaking continued there for quite a while. I had a few visitors briefly and spent most of the rest of the day alone. I was in recovery for over an hour. The shaking stopped when the meds wore off, and I was given one of those buttons to push when I needed pain relief. I kept telling the nurse that the pain was only getting worse with time and that the meds weren't helping. Her advice was to keep pushing the button frequently so that a nurse somewhere would be alerted to the fact that my pain wasn't being managed. At that point my doctor would be told she needed to write another pain prescription.

After spending my time in recovery, they wheeled me to my room, and each bump in the hallway was very memorable and very painful. When the nurse told me to scoot from the gurney to my hospital bed, I thought she was kidding. She wasn't. That should have been the point where I yelled at her that she wasn't grasping my pain level was nowhere near being normal or acceptable. I continued to tell her I needed my doctor to write a better prescription for pain relief. When she left, I told the next nurse who came into my room that I needed better pain management. I also told her my room was hot and that I needed the air conditioner to be turned on. She said it was on and that I was probably hot from the ridiculous "boots" I'd been wearing since before surgery began. Of all the surgeries I've had, I've never been put in the boots to keep circulation moving. They're like white casts that go from your ankle to the top of your thigh. They squeeze you really tight and then release just like a blood pressure cuff, and they do it non-stop all day and night. Very noisy, very annoying, and very hot.

More time passed, I was hurting more, and I was burning up. After about an hour, the nurse called maintenance because she finally agreed the room was hot. I had also spent all that time waiting for a fan which didn't come until I was moved to my new room. The brilliant maintenance man finally came. He tinkered with the AC. He left. He was gone a looong time. When he came back, he confirmed that the air conditioner was broken.

When I was moved to my new room, I was finally given a prescription to ease the pain. It was evening by that point. I still hadn't seen or held my baby. The more my pain was eased, the more incoherent I became. I was nodding off constantly. I tried to email family the news of Faith's birth, and I was able to write maybe one sentence before falling asleep. I'd wake up a minute or two later and finish a sentence or start another and fall asleep again. Even though I could barely stay awake or speak, I remember it all. I was very aware that it was obvious I was having to work really hard to get my thoughts out. I remember because it was SO frustrating.

Finally about 9:00 that night, I was able to move to a wheel chair and take the ride to see Faith! I couldn't hold her because she was in one of those special contraptions for babies with breathing problems, and she was hooked up to various things, but I was allowed to touch her. I couldn't stay long, but it was nice to finally see her. The next day she was doing much better and was moved to the regular nursery.

By the third day, I was doing much better. I left on the fourth day--a day earlier than planned. It's been almost a month, and I still have incision pain, but it's not something I think too much about. I take my prescription pain meds once a day if that much. The shooting pains are gone. The nurse said those were from my body being pulled apart. Thanks, nurse. I happen to have a very accurate mental picture to go with that description. Excellent lighting, by the way.

I'm looking forward to exercising if you can believe it. Obviously I want to spend a lot of time on the abdomenal region, but I can tell it's too soon to put that area through very much strain. The third c-section was definitely a doozie. That experience is the closest I've ever come to saying I can't have another child even if I want one. But at least everyone is safe and sound. It's not like I had a truly horrible experience...just super icky and not cool. Not the vacation from homemaking I had in mind.

Okay....verbal vomit of c-section is complete. Now I can rest except nap time is over.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Liars and Snooping

Hellooooooooooooooooo!

Why did I sign on to post something? I'm so sleepy. Now I can't remember.

OH! Here's something weird I heard yesterday. There's a homeless man I used to have a bleeding heart for. He's in a wheel chair, and I see him around town. For the past couple of years I've given him money or food if I have it. He'll say things like, "Thank you! God bless you. I'm not supposed to take my medication on an empty stomach." He usually sits on the same corner with the same sign begging for food. I used to see him every time I took Ironman lunch at work, so I'd plan to have things to give the man in the wheelchair. I'd actually be bummed if he wasn't there because I really wanted to help him. I figured there were a lot of people in the community helping him because eventually you begin to feel for a person you see struggling every single day. The wheelchair led me to believe his physical challenges prevented him from being hired on somewhere. I assumed he was in his 30's, but his long beard and clothing made him look like an old Vietnam Vet.

Anyway, in the past 6 months or so, his "crew" has grown. Now there are about 5 or 6 "homeless" people working that corner in shifts. When it's not their turn, they sit under an overpass with the others and shoot the bull. It's become quite a production. Then my mom told me she had read that someone had been watching these "homeless" people and had reported to the local newspaper that a van drops them off every morning and picks them up in the evening. I don't know the whole story, but apparently people in town are beginning to feel like the community is getting conned. If any locals know the details of this story, let me know.

This is the part I wanted to tell you...Yesterday Ironman's boss was in his truck at the intersection where the wheelchair guy was begging for food or money. When Ironman's boss told the guy he didn't have any money on him, the wheelchair guy cussed him out. That's when "boss" said something like, "Well, I guess you are what I thought you were then." Surprise, surprise, wheel chair guy JUMPS OUT of his wheelchair to attack the boss! Unfortunately for the "disabled" man, the boss happens to be a huge guy. He opened his truck door to hit the wheelchair guy and prevent being attacked and knocked the guy on the ground. The truck door was dented. Now the guy may have a legitimate reason to be in a wheelchair other than conning people. So weird. And I totally fell for it. I really thought he was legit.

I think you have to be a special kind of evil to pose as a needy person. They put doubt in our minds towards those who truly are needy.

Here's my latest snoop story. A while back I told you about the lady who bought a cart full of douche. That's when I confessed to spying on other shoppers and coming up with stories in my head of what they'll be doing later that night. Today I was behind a man buying 3 things...a new mattress, a large bouquet of flowers, and the largest bag of dog food money can buy. My mind is going wild. OH THE POSSIBILITIES!

Nap time. Sorry for the poorly written post. I'm lucky I can string two words together.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It's a Tough Job

So Ironman can gripe at me later...









Monday, June 30, 2008

2 WEEKS and Happy about it!!!

Two weeks old today! Happy 1/2 a month old, Faithy!

She's celebrating this milestone with sleeping and grinning alternated with moments of grinning and sleeping. There might have been a few squeaks of protest from the flash of the camera bothering her.





Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ask And It Shall Be Given...

My camera wasn't cooperating yesterday for most of these pictures, but at least I have some new ones!

This is Paul Bunyan.




















This is Ironman. They aren't the same man.

Ironman grows a beard for good luck when we're going through a life changing event. Being that he's of the Middle Eastern breed, he looks like a terrorist in most of our important photos. Or a trucker. A trucker or a terrorist. No offense to the truckers.

I try to convince him he's more of a hottie when he's clean shaven, but he's of the opinion that the power is in the facial hair. Whatever.

The nurse was supposed to bring him a hat to wear in the operating room. When she didn't follow through, he decided the face mask would make a good hat. And in case you're wondering, our hospital didn't carry shoe covers to adequately cover a size 14 boot. Oh, you weren't wondering?























Here's what Faith looks like when she pulls her entire body inside her gown. I guess there really is no point to having sleeves when your hands can't stick out of the ends.

























Here's what Faith looks like when she's thinking about something funny she heard earlier in the day.
























This is Faith loving the feel of chenille on bare skin.






















Awwww, Bub. That kid LOVES his baby sister. He has kissies for her all the time! I've been shocked how well the 3 older kids have taken to what I feared would be seen as "the invader." So far she's their baby.



















I don't really know why this picture was included. Ched asked for pictures. What Ched wants, Ched gets--except for the pictures of us (parents) as babies. I haven't had a chance to get those pictures down yet.
























Baby ear.

And wispy baby hair for kissies. Karly asked me for a picture of baby toes, so I thought I'd get a baby ear pic while I was at it.























1970's bedspread baby ninja.

This gown came from Ironman's side of the family. Just wanted to clarify...

It originally belonged to the twins. I have no idea why I continue to put it on my children other than it makes me giggle because I'm mean like that. I had professional photos taken of the twins wearing these gowns along with the gigantic hot pink hair bows that came with them. At least Faith was spared the bow...until her head gets big enough to wear it and her neck strong enough to support it...