laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Mommy Poppins


Look, I know that there are always going to be fads, and that diets are no exception. Kale is a phenom today and tomorrow it might be dandelions. I get it. Fads happen, people grab on for reasons from wanting to be healthy to just liking to stay part of the crowd. Or worse, to be “trending”. (I feel like that should’ve been accompanied by a #hashtag) See, I do get it. And still, I find myself disheartened when someone finds out that we’re a gluten free family. Especially when their response is similar to the one I got this morning.

Oh, you’re one of those.

Excuse me? One of those whats?

Oh, you know, one of those mommy-poppins where you make all your food from scratch and you’re an organizational freak, you homeschool, and your children are always perfectly polite. And with an added eye-roll (just in case I couldn’t feel the distain dripping off her words) I’d think you were one of those moms who just likes to make other moms look bad or feel guilty, if it weren’t for the way you’re dressed. 

At this point, I couldn’t help but laugh. I am….reserved. I’m quiet if I don’t know you and hate confrontation. So this morning was almost like an out of body experience when I found my timid self voicing the things that would have normally just been left to scream in my head. I laughed, out loud style, Like, really laughed. Enough to make her look at me with eyes wide in a way that I’m pretty sure said, oh good lord, what have I done?

Once I regained composure of my unkempt hair, makeup-less face, and sweat pants and shirt covered self, and looked at her well-manicured, make-uped, hair done, business attired self and tried not to burst out laughing all over again. And then I shared with her some of my thoughts.

Some of your assumptions were correct. I do make lots of things from scratch, and I really do love organization more than the average person, and my children are usually polite… but there is nothing about me that does any of those things for any reason that is outside of my family. We’re gluten free because two of my three children have Celiac Disease. And well, you know, we’d like to keep them alive, and thriving, even. And the from scratch part, well, that’s simple. It’s a third of the cost than buying gluten free things store bought, and it gives us more options. So I don’t really have much of a choice. If I bought every meal from a store (vs homemade/from scratch), we’d spend over $1,000 on groceries. And that is not an exaggeration.  And homeschooling, well, that’s a bigger issue. But my oldest has dyslexia like his daddy, and learning is a struggle. So we keep him home and practice being patient every single day so that he can have a different learning experience than the handful of people we know that struggled with dyslexia as children that the school system left feeling stupid. And as far as the organization goes…I love it, I really do. But I have three children. I have a demanding day time schedule, and often have to stay up until three am just to keep up with the laundry and the food prep clean up, and everything else. And that’s when I’m not working, if I am there are usually several nights a month where I do not get to sleep, at all. I have learned to function on very little sleep. Which is why my hair is in a pony tail and my face is plain, and my clothes are frumpy at best. I would never try and make another mom feel bad about the job she’s doing or that she’s not doing enough. I would like to believe that we’re all trying our best. Sometimes I wish that celiac, or dyslexia, weren’t a part of our daily lives. It would certainly make things simpler. And would open up some more time for all of us. But it’s the life I have and I do everything I can for my children to feel that it’s a normal one, and that they’re not missing out on anything. 

The lady didn’t look at me, and didn’t say anything for a long time, and we just stood in silence, watching our children playing together across the playground. Just before she round up her children to head home, she (without looking at me) did quietly say,

Well, your children sure are cute.

Um, thanks. 

 

I’m not sure if that was her version of an apology or if she realized that we’ve all got struggles and whether we look like we’ve got it together or not, it’s probably not. I hope so. I hope the next mom who says, Oh you’re one of those really means, Oh, you’re one of those moms that struggles just like the rest of us, your struggles just look differently than mine. And I hope that the next time I find myself thinking, Oh you’re one of those about anybody, that I remember that their struggles just look differently than mine.

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Love The Ones I’m With


This last week, I have been a terrible mother. Ok, so maybe not like worst mother in the universe, terrible, but the kind of terrible where if you knew me, and you witnessed my mothering this last week, you’d think I lost my marbles. Maybe I have.

This week is the 3rd due date anniversary to our sweet baby we have yet to meet. I have been preparing myself for about a month, and this week I have been so busy busy-ing myself and being so wrapped up in my own inner stuff. Grieving a life not known, but not unloved. I became so focused on what I had lost, that I’d all but forgotten to pay attention to the ones things I still have. I don’t mean that to say they take the place, or make up for, the baby we lost. Because as any parent knows, one child can never replace another. No matter how much you love any of them.

This week, I have taken my loves for granted. I have cried, and moped, and yelled, and been all around cantankerous. I did not explain it to my husband, until yesterday, because I was in my dark place, and in that dark, cavernous room, I expect him to remember and to know, even though his body doesn’t remind him the way that mine does. I have wanted all my closests to just know what I was going through, and to not have to explain it. So instead, I spent my days in the dark place and cried to myself.

And then there’s the people kids things that are too young to understand, even had I explained why mommy was behaving like a crazy person… when my irrationality, my irritability, my lack of patience… none of that was their fault, although I’m sure, at least at times, it must’ve felt that way to them. :/ Although they do understand so much more than we give them credit for. Littlest has been in a mood that can only be compared to my own, and yet I still wonder why he seems so out of control. (Hello, pot, I’m kettle.) Miss, well she keeps looking at me, with a look that can only be described as one that says, I will be tiptoeing around this crazy lady. And she has asked me repeatedly, You’re just sad, aren’t you? And Biggest… well, he’s always been the most intuitive. Last year, around this time, he came up to me crying, big, crocodile tears. When asked why he was crying he said, I just really miss my sister. When I was very confused and said, but she’s just in her room. To which he replied, “No, not Miss, the sister that was the baby in your belly that went to go be with God.” Yeah, that happened. A little Heaven is For Real, right? {sidenote: we do not know the gender of the baby we lost, but I have always felt that it was a girl, but Biggest did not know that.}

Ok, so back to me… I’m out of control. I finally told hubbyman yesterday. He came home with a big thing of bright, cheery flowers for my table. I love them. And him. And strangely, as soon as I told him…I felt so much more at peace. Maybe the whole problem was that I’d convinced myself I was in it alone, and I’m not.

But in the midst of all the emotion, I was so focused on what I didn’t have, what I couldn’t have, that I lost sight of the blessings that I do have.

Biggest's teeth are falling out! It's so cute!

Biggest’s teeth are falling out! It’s so cute!

oh, my Miss.

oh, my Miss.

Littlest. He's not staying so little. But he's still napping. Hallelujah!

Littlest. He’s not staying so little. But he’s still napping. Hallelujah!

My E's

My E’s

Today, I’m going to just love them, hug them, encourage them, support them, laugh at with them, chase them, run  them ragged with them, hide with them, seek with them, and enjoy them. And then put them to bed before they can drive me too crazy early.

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The Dog Is Wet


This will kind of go along with my last post, but you know those days where you wake up gently, you stretch, yawn, and smile… embracing your day happily? I think I can remember waking up like that. But I was probably 11. How did I wake up this morning, you ask…

Moooom, I peed!

What?

I think I peed on the dog!

What?

I was cuddled up with him and I peed.

I’m going back to bed.

What?

Go get in the bath while I get my coffee.

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The Tale of the Master of Distaster (And His Sidekick)


So… you know those days where you feel like you’re so on top of it all? The dishes are done and put away. The laundry is washed, folded, and put away. The children are bathed, fed, and napping? If you do, leave. Right now. And never return. Unless you’ll tell me your secrets, and then I’ll wait patiently at your feet. Either that or I’ll out you as a bold-faced liar.

I will admit, lately, I have felt pretty on top of things. Laundry got caught up on. Dishes get washed. (Ok, so they’re not put away until the next time I need to wash more, but I can live with that.) My children have been fed. And bathed before public appearances. I even rearranged and did some redecorating of the house. For the most part I’m feeling more zen these days. More in control. More like I can actually survive having had three children in three years. (Ok, 3 and a half years)

So I did my salsa making and canning with a girlfriend. While it’s debatable whether or not it took less time to do it together, with all of the children between us, it was definitely more fun that way. Well, my dear friend is recovering from meningitis and left me all alone my own with two 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes for sauce. I got brave (or the fear of  having to admit that the tomatoes went bad before I got to them to my husband took over). I took out all of the tomatoes and set them on the bench to make sure they were all good, throw out the bad ones, etc. After I did that, I started getting out the pots and pans, and bowls and everything I needed to turn these lovely ‘maters into even more lovely pasta sauce.  And then this one called to me from her room, downstairs….

The Miss E

So I went to go help her with whatever crisis she was currently facing.

I returned to find that between these two, disaster had ensued:

Littlest E …aka The Master of Disaster

Sidekick of The Master of Disaster

What did I find when I came back upstairs? Well, I’ll tell you. I found all of my tomatoes being thrown on the floor, off the table and bench. I found the dog either trying to do a grape stomp, or eat them, catch them… whatever he was doing, he trampled them. In hindsight Littlest was probably clearing the bench and the pup was probably trying to catch them. That or they really were trying to ruin my life. Regardless. I found my tomatoes being smashed on the floor with the sidekick trampling them. Upon finding them in this state, I immediately yelled for the dog to get away from the tomatoes. I forgot our dog is a big, huge baby who gets his feelings hurt. He immediately began to pee. All over the tomatoes. The trampled, peed on tomatoes. There went any thoughts I had of rescuing them.

Thankfully, this one was a good helper during clean up.

Biggest

Thankfully, a glass of wine helped. And in the end, I still love them.

 

Next time, I’ll just buy my pasta sauce.

7 Comments »

Sharing Life…With You


I know, I know, it’s been…months. (*insert gasp here*) Don’t think I haven’t thought about you, dear blog, because I promise I have not. I have often thought of you. Almost daily. Which is how I knew I couldn’t let you go, not permanently. Now, now, don’t be so hurt… I had good reason. I have these things that require a lot of energy and attention and time…

There’s this one:

He lost his first tooth this summer! And now… He started kindergarten! My baby!!

And this one:

She turned 4!! My baby!!

And then there’s this one too:

He turned 2!! My youngest is no longer a baby!! He’s still my baby!

This summer has been filled to the gills. We went on a multi-state drive to visit family and spent days upon days in the water.

We pranced around Lake Michigan

We climbed on a giant elephant somewhere in Wisconsin

Even hubbyman got a picture on the elephant, but I thought you’d appreciate this one more.

Downside of the summer: Biggest ran a ridiculously high fever most of our vacation and his only request was naps. (Boo!) When we got home we realized he had an abscessed tooth! (double boo!)

Biggest E was the photographer. We had our first kiss on a swingset like this. I like it.

For her birthday, hubbyman built her a doll house, and her papa built her the furniture to go inside!

Navy Pier, the anchor. Watching all the Sailors almost made me miss military days. Almost. Maybe just the uniform.

And I’ve gotten to be a part of lots of births -2 a month!- since April… including this sweet little man’s! (Who also happens to be my nephew! Check out his shirt- he’s wild about Auntie! And it’s true! The feelings may be are mutual.)

So you see, dear, sweet blog, I  have been a busy mama. I have been a moving mama. I have been a travelling mama. I have been a tired mama. I have been the best mama I know how to be. And I think that if you asked my children what they liked best about me not spending hours on the computer, on a daily basis, they would have said that we played. Do you know that I also gave up cleaning? Ok, ok, so that’s not entirely true. But I stopped making them spend all day in the house, just so I could keep up with the laundry and dusting. We spent the majority of our days outside, in the dirt, at the beach, at the playground… playing. And I only stayed up really late cleaning…a couple of times, and I’ve been ok with it!  My kids seem happier, and I feel happier. And I’d say it’s a win in all departments.

Plus, now that I feel…organized, in our lives together (and you know how much I love organization). I feel that I can come back to you. I look forward to sharing stories with you. I look forward to sharing life with you. Know that you have been missed.

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No Longer A Baby


I know, I know… how can I even show my face around here? And I deserve it. Leaving you all high and dry. Ok, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. But bear with me. I’ve been parenting and vacationing and organizing and garage saling and birthday-ing and working… you know, living. I do have happy news, I have had consistent clients from the get go, which is pretty exciting if you ask me! In fact, I have clients through February! (How awesome is that?!)

But the thing that drew me back here… well, really I’ve been thinking about doing a post for over a week now. Sharing various stories and laughs and pictures, but the thing that made it necessary to do today… is simple. Littlest is 2. I know, I know…it does seem like just yesterday I was recounting his birth (horrors and wonders alike)! And then I was dealing with the aftermath of his birth around his first birthday.

And now here we are, his second birthday. My baby is two years old.  My baby is no longer actually a baby. My house will no longer contain any babies. My house will never again be home to a baby. A baby will never again belong to me. Do you see the digression? Do you feel it? I feel it. I’m pretty sure I’ve been feeling it for about a month. I’ve become incredibly emotional and perhaps even a little irrational. You see, I would’ve been the little old woman who lived in a shoe, who had so many children she didn’t know what to do… and I would’ve liked it that way. Lots of people look forward to the end of babyhood and enjoy toddlerville and the elementary years; I am not them. Ok, that’s not entirely true- I do enjoy toddlerville and I am enjoying the beginning of our elementary years. But I am not a mama who looks forward to babies no longer being babies.

Obviously (as I’ve said before, I know), I would never trade Littlest’s sweet self for the option to have more children. But it is still bittersweet to watch him grown and to know that this is the end of babyhood. And childbearing. I’m even sad that I’ll never labor and birth another baby. That’s right, I’m in that deep.

But in the midst of the sadness, there is this deep thankfulness and joy. I have my boy and I get to witness his growth! My itty-bitty boy who never should have survived the pregnancy and his mama who almost bled out without anyone noticing. I have him. I cuddle him. I teach him. I try to ignore him listen to him. I love him. And looking at him today, I still see the miracle he was the day he was born, and the miracle he’s been every day in between.

The day we brought him home

Littlest E, you will always be the baby (as all of my children will always be my babies) and a constant reminder that miracles happen every day and to every day people. I am so, so blessed and thankful to be your mama. Happy birthday, my boy.

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The Lowest Of Blows


I know, I know… I’ve been MIA, continuously. And I’m still clinging to the fact that I will be back to blogging on a more regular basis! Last weekend (yes, just shy of two weeks from when hubbyman fixed my laptop) hubbyman accidentally knelt on top of my laptop’s screen. Don’t ask how it happened, I’m still not sure. I saw it coming, and even though it seemed to happen in slow motion, I was not able to react in time. Sadness. But at least he had practice in fixing it. I teased joked half-joked seriously told him to buy two screens, just so we were prepared. As a good hubbyman, he immediately ordered a new screen the next morning. And yesterday, it arrived! He tried to tell me he wasn’t sure if he had the tools to fix it at home, but I caught him trying to fix it a short time later. And he did! Yay! So now he’s not allowed to use it. I may have to hide it from him.

That fun stuff said… I couldn’t help but include you lovely in something I witnessed in our crazy household this morning; I heard some yelling and went to investigate and this is what I witnessed:

MissE is standing at the top of the stairs and delivers what those who know her best is the lowest of all blows, yells down to her brother:

FINE! You are NOT handsome anymore!

When there’s no response, she continues yelling it again.

Finally, her smart brother responded by yelling back up to her,

FINE! You ARE the prettiest girl!

Oh, I am so thankful for those funny, fleeting moments that get me through the day! And the kids who spurt them! And I’m also thankful that I get to go and babysit my nephew tonight! A few days ago- he smiled at me! I need to keep up with that trend and since I won’t see him for a month! (He’s only just a month old, so the idea of not seeing him for a whole month is a little devastating!) Anyhow, so I’m thankful for the opportunity to get a few more smiles, solidify my role as Queen of all Aunties, and maybe give his parents a bit of a break. I’m also thankful for the Kings of the Uncles who will have my kiddos on Saturday while we go have a day/afternoon/evening of fun and outdoor games with friends (and cocktails)! And I’m thankful for a hubbyman who is able to fix most of the things that he breaks.

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Cherish It All


I should get a tattoo of this. Ok, maybe not seriously, but seriously…  I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that I love me some coffee.

So as I was sipping coffee I was thinking about/listening to my children talking amongst themselves, and just so I don’t forget one precious minute, I’m going to share some of our latest things.

Big kids, older siblings, teach their younger ones lots of new things. Occasionally, it works backwards. Littlest says thank you as soon as you give him anything or do anything for him (dress him? thank you. change his diaper? thank you? feed him? thank you. kiss an owwie? thank you.). It’s very sweet, and an obvious homage to my parenting prowess. Or he’s just a big copycat. One of those. But lately, it gets better. Every thank you is followed by a Wuv Uuuu! (= love you… obviously!). Heart melting. And his siblings have taken note. They all now follow all their thank yous with Love Yous. And this mama is totally lovin’ it!

Another thing that has passed from one kid to another. When saying our I love you’s, I frequently followed it with a series of questions: the most? forever? always? 16? (It was Biggest’s favorite number and when he was under 2, 16 was the biggest number he could think of, when asked… and it just kinda stuck. He occasionally tells me that it’s now one hundred and 81 hundreds. His love for his mama is growing. Or he’s more aware of higher numbers, one of the two. I’m picking his love is growing.) Anyways, Littlest now does this too and it is just sooo cute. Even daddy can’t help but stop whatever project he’s working on to listen to littlest say these things. I tried to catch it on video to share with you all, but his siblings kept chasing him by trying to get themselves in the picture. Aaaand, all his kisses still end with the MWAH! sound. I love that boy.

And Miss, well she eats like a 14 year old boy. And I am not kidding you. My MIL says that she’d put my Miss up against any teenage boy in an eating contest, and that my girl would win. She eats a million times a day. It’s to the point that by the time I need to be making dinner I am so burnt out from getting meals together allllllllllll day that it’s not as fun as I usually find it. And she’s freakin’ tiny. Seriously. Found an outfit she wore as a baby (it’s 3 months I believe) and she could get it on her little body. Granted it’s capris instead of pants and the shirt is more of a belly shirt, but it fits. Metabolism of a horse, I tell ya!  We can frequently be overheard muttering the words So much attitude in someone so  tiny! Seriously!  The way this girl can express herself and articulate her thoughts is amazing. Especially when you remember that she’s still only 3! And she’s so literal, in a way that you would never expect/believe from a 3 year old. I’m telling you- It’s mind blowing!

And Biggest, well, he’s going through a stage that he finds exciting and scary. He’s growing and learning. Becoming more independent, even. Stages where more independence is learned is usually accompanied by some clingy-ness/whining while they adjust. Lately, he’s been declaring that I love Littlest more than him. I respond with, I love all my babies, and you were the very first baby I ever loved. He hasn’t been saying I love Littlest more lately, but I still get an occasional, Was I really the first baby you loved? And he’s becoming embarrassed about things. He doesn’t like me to share things he’s said and especially to be laughed at. And he’s starting to notice that girls are cute. He and I  had a date last night and I caught him staring at a little girl. When I turned to look at her, he turned red, grabbed my hand, and said Mooom, don’t look at her! I looked at him, smiled, and just said, What, it’s ok! To which he sighed and said, ok you can look at her, but it’s just one of my big kid friends. (We’ve never seen this girl before.) When recounting this story to his daddy, he walked into the room midstory, and was pretty horrified that I would tell daddy about it. Hubbyman had a good laugh and was like, Ah! He’s starting to think girls are cute! He then told Biggest that he thinks girls are cute. Which made Biggest eye his daddy curiously. Hubbyman responded with, Yeah, I think Mommy’s cute. Biggest rolled his eyes and said, Dad! Mom is not cute, she’s just a mom! (Thank you, very much, for that ego boost, son I labored with for over 24 hours.) *Sigh*

My babies are growing and changing. And really, none of them are babies anymore. How did that happen?! When did that happen?! Moments, all these little, tiny, lovely moments… they go fleeting by. I hope I cherish all that I possibly can.

5 Comments »

Not Gone. Just Living.


I’m hoping to get back into blogging…I know I’ve been far and few between lately. I’d made the decision to keep the computer off, or at least in use minimally (and I mean minimally) during the day and evenings… and if time was going to be spent on the computer, it would be after the kids had gone to bed. By the time that happens… I’m usually about spent. So I haven’t gotten there yet. We’re in the constant process of streamlining. Our lives our activities, and especially our things. I’m working on getting things more organized (well, I’m pretty  much always working on that, but it’s been a more active process lately.), and paring down all the things that we have. A house full of things will not make anyone happy. A house full of love could make anyone happy.

It’s not just the distraction of electronics though. I’ve been guiltified (That’s right, it’s a new word. Accept it and move on.) about housework too. How many afternoons have we skipped the walk or trip to the playground because the whole house wasn’t clean? A lot. How many days have I wished we wouldn’t have gone to the playground and stayed home to clean? Absolutely none.  So in the last two weeks we have spent afternoons on the deck, sitting in the pool. Making and playing playdough on days when it’s been gray and raining. We have been living and loving.  And I have still gotten a few loads of laundry done in between. I’m calling success. There’s food in their bellies, clothes on their backs (or at the least covering their bottoms- hey, they’re little!), and definitely smiles on their faces. They’ve been happier with me, and I’ve been happier with them.

I have another confession. I thought I would feel really resentful of not getting the day time to process out blog posts, but I’ve actually found it to be freeing once I let it go. I don’t want to lose the blog (or my lovely, wonderful followers), but I do feel like I’ve found my life. You see, I was   trying to have it “all.” (But really, aren’t we all?) I wanted to have a perfectly clean, perfectly organized home; a well-loved family who I spend intentional time with; a successful blog; an abundant garden; and the start of a new career. Most of these things could take up most of your day if not all of your day, individually. And I was trying for it all, simultaneously. I felt like everything was only being half-done and half-heartedly at best. So I’ve already mentioned how freeing it feels, but I’m going to say it again. Totally freeing. I can throw in laundry in between games, activities, and outside fun with the kids (and gardening too). And TV has been limited too! So there is no doing things around TV times, we watch TV as it fits around our life! Which is obviously, how it should be! Totally freeing. And I feel so much happier and content the more and more we move towards our intentional living ideals. It’s awesome. I’m less stressed, I’m less frantic, and I think I actually do get more things done because I have less distractions and aren’t trying to do 100 things all at the same time. As the kids get older, some things will be easier and time may be more easily managed (and maybe some day I’ll have help with the laundry), but for now this is where I’m at. And I’m loving it.

For my fellow bloggers- I’m still following! I do most of my reading on my phone which makes it impossible to leave comments, but I am still reading and enjoying all the lovely and funny things you have to say! One of these days you will each have a million notices from all the liking and commenting catching up I’ll do! I am also intending to get some posting done this week (and hubby has agreed to help make some time available for me on the weekends too so I can do some posting and scheduling.) so I’m not gone, just living.

11 Comments »

She’s Not Qualified


I know, I know… it’s been a week, and I haven’t posted anything. I promise you I’ve been using my extra free time for good. I witnessed the birth of my nephew, I’ve visited with him multiple times (I keep threatening to -gently- shove him in my shirt and take him home with me.) and can’t get enough of him! I’ve had my grandma from out-of-state here visiting. It’s so fun to watch my children getting to know her, and her them. It’s just so sweet. My sister-in-law and nephew also came in for a surprise visit from China! And I’ve gotten to meet and/or talk to some really lovely mamas-to-be about providing my doula services to them! It’s been a fantastic week!

We’ve got a fun family wedding this afternoon, and the “big” Es are at their grandparents’ house to visit with their cousin, so we are soaking up Littlest and all his dramatic flair- he’s currently a dinosaur.

Before I go, I want to tell you about a post I was tagged in on Facebook this morning. A friend of mine got a card from another friend, and she uploaded a photo of what it said and tagged me. I loved it SO much that I decided I couldn’t help but share it:

she said “So! you’re a stay at home mom…”

in a way that insinuated

she wouldn’t be caught dead in that job

…and I laughed until I cried

because

I knew

she wasn’t qualified.

Have a wonderful weekend and remember that sometimes

how you’ve enjoyed your life is more important than what things you got done!

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