Friday, December 31, 2010

Crunchify One: Shampooooooo

The Urban Dictionary states one of the many definitions of crunchy as this:

                               Adjective. Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.

I always thought of the word crunchy to simply mean: (and I'm not talking like chewing crunchiness here) one who has adjusted or changed their lifestyle for environmental reasons. To better this planet that sustains us. The rest kind of follow suit, I think.

In our family we strive towards crunchiness. We do our part, the best we can, to help nurture this home of ours. Because it really is the only one we have, and the only one our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will have. This special place carved out in the universe for us is all we have. And, ummm, if I'm raising little earthlings I want to foster a great love for nature and all that is created within her. After all, I'd like to know that my littles care to keep their littles, and grandlittles, safe and healthy on this planet and keep her just as luscious and beautiful as she deserve be.

I thought it might be neat to share some of the earth friendly things we as a family are doing here on the blog. One day when my littles are grown I hope to have this printed off for their eyes. I know I would love to have a journal of my childhood to look back and see. Yet, to also see from my mom's point of view. Wouldn't that be cool? And, maybe it will help them to remember some of the ways we have adjusted so that they can use these ideas and grow with them with their future families. I also thought it might be nice to share some of these things in case anyone who is reading out there, like us, strives to live for a healthier future for our planet. I also hope to further learn and grow by doing this and am interested in hearing what you do to preserve our Earth too. Because we've still got a long way to go, baby.

I'm thinking of making this a weekly crunchy type of post, so follow along if you are interested. And, if you haven't already-- become a follower and leave feedback. I'd love to hear from and share ideas with you all.


One small thing we've done (we, excluding Ellie) in our home is to rid our lives of big ole bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Not only did this help to reduce the plastic flow through our home but it has left our hair feeling much, much healthier. Naturally. It really feels lighter.

I see your hydroxyethylcellulose, methylchloroisothiazolinone, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine "Herbal" Essences. Your not fooling me.. and I raise you honey, beer, and eggs. Because that, so far, is the best bar of shampoo I've had yet.

I'm not saying that you can't get a nice healthy, organic, shampoo in a bottle, you can. I just don't see the point of the plastics involved when there are ways around it. Because really, how are you reusing your shampoo bottles? And how many of your shampoo bottles are the recycling companies truly reusing? Probably less than you'd think. I think.

Now for the growth.
My goal within the next year is to also have Ellie using the shampoo bars. Right now we are still squeezing her body wash and shampoos from plastic bottles and as much as I love the natural baby scents, I think we could get just as much of the goodness out of a bar wash. Besides, even without the shampoo the girl smells delicious!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Because I Said So

At times I feel ashamed at the way I talk to my littles. These words and phrases spew from my mouth like vomit and I've got no way of stopping them. Sometimes they are worse than others and I've had times that I've actually sunk into another room with tears because I'm filled with shame over my inability to stay cool.

My goal for the coming year is to listen. I do try, I promise. But with a baby on my hip or hanging off my boob, a six year old needing help sounding out a word, and a four year old who is constantly testing my patience lately I feel as if I'm falling waaaaay short

I can remember being a child and hating it most when my parents would end a conversation with "Because I said so." And guess who finds herself saying this allllll the time now? Me. Yesterday Dominic just wanted a reason as to why he couldn't do *xyz* and I wasn't willing to give it to him. I'd hit the end of my rope and I was done, overdone. I wasn't willing to give him any other answer than because I said so, and then when he wanted me to elaborate I actually said "Because I am the parent and you will listen to me." Whaaaa? Don't get me wrong I do believe children should respect their parents.. but I do however also believe that a child should be given the same exact respect in return. And, I know if I were to ask Dominic to do something and he told me "No, because he said so." or "Because I am the child and you will listen." I wouldn't be satisfied at all. Fair of me? I think not. I don't respect my elders unless they respect me. It's a two way street. Shouldn't I feel the same when it comes to my littles?

I've already come so far on this parenting journey, but I know I've still got a long way to go. There have been mishaps along the way. Spankings that I don't agree with. Misuse of words. Too many time-outs and not enough time-ins. It's hard. Being a parent is the hardest thing I've ever done. It's a constant challenge but more rewarding than anything else on this planet. I will continue to grow on this journey. I've already grown so much since we brought our first little into the world nearly seven years ago.

So this year my New Years resolution is to listen. To show respect always to my littles. To prove to them that they are loved unconditionally. To validate feelings. To answer all questions. To satisfy. To yell less. Hug more. To say yes a million times more than I say no. To be there 100% spiritually, emotionally,  physically, lovingly for my littles because they are my world and they deserve the very best.


And today there is a milestone that need be recorded. I am so proud of my biggest little. He is such a brilliant little thing and everything he does amazes me. Just looking at him fills my heart with overspilling pride. At six and a half years old Dom is reading his very first chapter book. He is so full of himself over it, and he should be. The boys' got smarts. 

I love everything about this kid.
Right down to his freckled pointer finger.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunflower Love.

When I first found out I was pregnant with Ellie I was sure she would be a boy. Actually, I was sure and happy about being sure about her being a boy. She was to be our little Miles Monroe. I didn't think we had it in us to create girls, and to be honest I didn't really want a girl. I had two boys, I knew boys. I was good at having sons. But a daughter, the thought was so foreign to me. I couldn't even imagine, and to be honest it scared me a bit shitless.

I can remember driving down with the boys to our ultrasound appointment. We were to meet Matt at the hospital and find out what our third little would be together as family. On the way down there it hit me.. After months of wanting another boy, or so thinking that was what I wanted, it just hit me. I can remember thinking "Try not to be upset when they say boy." What??? Whoa hold up, I thought I wanted a boy.. Funny how ones brain can try so hard to protect the heart that it can actually lead you to believe a lie. Deep down somewhere inside I did want a girl. I wanted to experience having a daughter in this lifetime. I wanted to know the special feeling between a mama and her gal.

That drive down there was extremely confusing. Here I thought I was okay-even happy-with having another boy.. and now all of these strange emotions were coming up inside like a burning ball trying to jump out of my throat. So, we met Matt and headed in for our appointment. And to our surprise the tech was 99% sure that we would be welcoming a girl into our family. Matt and I were in complete shock. I can remember walking down the hallway of the hospital after our appointment speechless. We seriously said nothing.. then when we got to the doorway Matt looked at me and spoke two words "Holy shit" and I was all "I know" and then just as we got outside each holding a hand of our boys we kind of did this jump up and down we can make girls dance. And Matt really did kind of shout it. We can make girls.

And make a girl we did. The coolest little girl ever in fact. Sweet Elliana Mae.

The day she was born the only sunflower in our yard bloomed.
Having a girl hasn't been extremely different for me at this point. She's a little smaller than her brothers and a bit more soft spoken. She's fun to dress in funky clothes but I think I'd be doing the same even if she were a boy. She's just as attached to mama as her brothers were but she loves daddy too. Like, a lot actually. Way more in love with him than the boys were at her age. She lights up when he walks in the room. Just as he does when he is around her. He says having a girl is waaaaaay different to him at this point and will always be. And, even though he didn't think he wanted a girl to begin with the man is so wrapped around her finger. In fact he told me one day that he thinks every daddy should have a girl because she really is that special to him. How sweet it that?..

So today and everyday I am loving my gal. (and my guys of course!) I am blessed. We are one big blessed family. And this littlest little of ours fit right in. She was meant for us, and us her. Our little sunflower.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Catch Up

Is it really over?

Seems like we were anticipating the arrival of Christmas just seconds ago and now it's passed. Each year we anxiously await the Christmas festivities and then when they hit, and hit, and hit, and hit, we anxiously await the end. Don't get me wrong.. We do love Christmas, and the time with our families. It's all good. We treasure these moments we spend with these special people because as we all know.. time is fleeting. Our Christmas celebrations are bound to change through out the years as our families change. We will gain tiny new members with open arms and lose the ones we cherish most with heavy hearts. I know this. I've been though the gain and the loss and they both effect families in big ways. Each and every year I try my hardest to live in the moment because really it's all we have. Each moment is the moment, a moment to remember, good or bad.

Christmas Eve into Christmas day was hard. Really hard. Our littlest little was sick. She was up allllllllll night. Come 3am I was sure I wasn't going to be making it to any Christmas celebrations. My eyes were heavy, my heart was heavy, and I knew my body was going to feel just a wee bit too heavy to drag out of bed Christmas day. But, I did it. I rallied. On three and a half hours of sleep. Boy, that Christmas spirit is strong! I don't think I felt tired all day. In fact I even stayed up long enough to catch two episodes of Deadliest Catch when the day was done.

Ell on the other hand was tired. Tired, feverish, grumpy, I felt so bad for her. She wouldn't nap. She'd fall asleep while nursing, I'd lay her down, and within five minutes she's be up again. I'm not sure what was wrong exactly. I know she's got a tooth coming in on the bottom, I can see the little white line under her gums and she's been attacking her fingers. But, I also know Dom had been sick with a fever and a throat thing, so it could have been that too.

Great Grandma's are great at cuddling sick babes.

She's feeling much better now though, and is finally able to enjoy all of her Christmas gifts.

She got so many goodies.

We've got two teething in our tiny house. One gaining baby teeth and one losing. Our biggest little is missing two teeth. One of the front top teeth and one on the bottom. His other front top tooth is hanging by a thread. He could almost sing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" but not quite. Ell on the other hand was probably wishing she could have screamed the song out. Two teeth in would equal a pain free, happily chewing baby.

Mr. Toothless.
The boys had an awesome Christmas. They left cookies and apple juice out for Santa. (We didn't have one drop of milk left for the big man.) And in return Santa left them some pretty cool gifts that were on wish list we'd mailed off just days before. They've been busy ever since.

Our midlittle had asked Santa for so many things that I could sense a bit of disappointment after he opened all of his gifts. In fact, I think he even said something along the lines of "Where's the rest of um?" This however is the same kid that did all of my Christmas shopping with me. The one who I spilled a big ole made up Santa fib to just so we could get through the stores a little easier. :: You see, while I love the magic of Mr. Clause I don't enjoy fibbing to my littles. Especially when it's a fib, the same one in fact, that broke my heart as a kid. ::

The fib I told this year though, topped them all. I, after pleading with a stubborn fit throwing in front of all the shoppers boy, told him that if he closed his eyes and lay his hand upon what it is he wants that Santa will see, and quite surely bring him his wish for Christmas. So he walked around all of the toy isles laying his hand on all of the big plastic objects that he wanted. Mostly all objects that this mama wont buy. Not only because our house is small but because I do my best avoid plastics as much as possible. Especially plastics that are four feet tall and three feet wide and my littles hands, and possibly mouths, will be all over. Yucky. But there was my midlittle laying his hand down so softly, closing his eyes, and quietly whispering "Dear Santa please bring me this for Christmas." His mind defenatly wandered to all those big plastics a time or two Christmas morning. Eeeeeeek!

Yo, what's up with that Santy Clause?

This Santa's got big shoes to fill. And big stories to fess up to in the future. Ahhhhh. Today however, this Santa is being extremely lazy. I've been cleaning since we came home two nights ago and there's no end in sight. Art kits put away, art kits back out. Trouble put away, Trouble back out. Memory put away, memory back out. It really is never ending. So, I'm on strike. Luckily we are going to visit family tonight for the Oyster Stew tradition. And while I may never truly like Oyster Stew, I do like not having to cook dinner for my family tonight.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two Boys and One Sweet Smellin' Gal

Today was hard. Like really hard.

They boys were on opposing sides allllllllll daaaaaaay loooonnnng. They just could not get along. At times they were violent. Violent to the point that I stopped to daydream for a moment about what it will be like if this happens a few years down the road when they've grown bigger and stronger. Will I still be brave enough to jump in the middle? Oh boy. Oh, two boys. Wowza.

And they got along so well yesterday. Shoulda' knocked on wood when I posted last night, I guess. Tomorrow they're going to bundle up and take their new sleds out for a test run in the yard. Hopefully that will help shake any remaining steam from today. 

But for now the littles and their daddy are in bed, tucked in tight, and this mama is taking a breather. A much needed breather. And it feels good. I've managed to mess around with some pictures, post a few, catch up with neglected blogs, eat a few cookies, and drink a glass of warm apple juice. (yeah, I like it warm) And now, now I feel ready to snuggle down under my quilt with my two littlest littles, watch a little bit of The Office, and hit the hay.

I love curling up with my sweet smelling gal each night. Tonight while I was nursing her to sleep she smelt sweeter than ever. Like baby's breath. I could lay around and do nothing but smell this girls skin.. That's how sweet it is. How sweet she is.

My little flower girl.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cozy Solstice

Today has been one of those nice winter days. The kind that leaves you feeling all cozy and warm inside and out.

We are enjoying winter break to it's fullest. The boys have spent the day playing with one another. Mostly on their beds because the new bed quilts they got for Christmas are a huge hit. There have been few spats between the two today, and mostly just kindness. Which makes this mamas day a million times easier.

They're buds.
Ellie even got to spend time on the big boy beds while mama picked up the mess that said boys decided they weren't going to clean.

Doesn't she look thrilled?

She just needed some goofy mama entertainment.
Works every time.

And I think she found a new favorite toy.
She really likes the sound of the maraca but sometimes she gets a little wild and
cracks herself in the face with it. Silly girl.
I spent the day cleaning around the house and spiffying up some white onsies. One (the one she's wearing above) I cut the design from an old onsie that was given to us by a dear friend. I was having a hard time getting rid of the onsie even though it was way tight, so I thought this was a clever way to keep it in rotation. I also whipped up two more designs, one pine tree and one yellow tulip. They look super cute.. and now my girls got some cute new clothes. Stay tuned for pictures. 

I'm off to celebrate the solstice with chicken tacos and board games in front of the fireplace with my dear and our littles. Doesn't that just scream cozy?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Still Me

Monday Greetings!
 We've been gone all weekend. It was a good one. Filled with all that I had hoped it would be.

Today, however, we are home. Most people think of being home as a time to relax.. but when you've got three littles, a small house, and have been away all weekend, only coming home long enough to pile the gifts on the floor and crawl into bed, it makes for one GIANT mess.

So I am back to the grind.

Laundry, dishes, cooking, scrubbing, bathing, sweeping, mopping, litter box cleaning, ahhhhhhh. Home. I do love being home. It's high on the list of my favorite places to be.. but with being a mama and wife, home isn't always relaxing. In fact it's almost never relaxing. Unless it's past nine at night and the littles are all fast asleep and even then I find myself in the kitchen preparing school lunches, wrapping Christmas gifts.. Busy, busy, busy.

I love this busy life of mine. I really wouldn't have it any other way. It will slow down one day when the littles are bigs and away from home and I will surely miss these busy times. It is good to live a full life, but sometimes as a stay at home mom I forget my purpose. I become this lady who just picks up after children. I'm the maid, the part-time cook, the tutor, chauffeur, accountant, and in all that mess I wonder.. Who am I?

The thing is, and I'm realizing this more and more as time passes, that I am still the same woman I was before I had my littles. I still love all of the things I loved then.. they are just on the back burner for now. I have passion for many things in life.. and new passions as well now that I've brought these three great people into the world. I am growing day by day.. and while I may seem like I'm just mom right now. While I may not have a whole lot to talk about in a social setting besides my littles. I am still me. I'm still in there under the messy unwashed hair, sweatpants, milk stained nursing top, baby on my hip, I'm Kristin. Most of the time when I'm having a hard time finding myself, or feeling lost at sea, all it takes is a cup of tea (or wine!) and some good tunes, a twirl or two around the living room and I find myself again. And once I find me, I'm at ease, life is good, and I slip back into mamahood like it's a glass slipper. One that was made just for me.

Or maybe it's not a glass slipper at all.. Maybe it's this brand spankin' new pair of Merrell's I got for Christmas..

because, after all, I'm not really a glass slipper kind of gal.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Funday

Today is Friday. Not just any Friday. Nope. This Friday kicks off the Christmas celebrations for the year.

I love Fridays. They start off good, they end good, they are good. Friday mornings are easy because I only have to get one little off to school. Who, might I add, is the easiest of the two. On Fridays I don't even have to go out and wait for the bus. There is no hair brushing, bundle-me-up, boots and all. It's just a kiss and a hug and out the door my biggest little goes. Of course he is bundled, but he's pretty smooth and does his bundling himself. And this Friday he's partying at school and getting out early. Score.

We were worried that he may not make the party as of yesterday. He woke yesterday morning with pain upon breathing. He couldn't breathe in, yawn, sneeze, cry, nothing. He was hurting. At first I thought maybe it was due to his "funnel chest" that his doctor and I had spoken about previously. Later on in the day he started complaining of stomach pains and a pounding headache which led me to believe it was the flu. So I decided to wait it out and see how he was feeling today. I awoke this morning at 6:30 to find him in the bathroom gossiping with his dad while he was getting ready for work. Christmas party here he comes! He couldn't have been more ecstatic.

It was pajama day at school yesterday so we celebrated at home.
PJ's are a must on sick days.
  After Friday, comes Saturday, and with Saturday comes family days. Days that Matt doesn't have to work. Days that we spend hanging around the house as a family watching movies, cooking, cleaning, playing, creating, lounging. It's all good. This Saturday however, is the start of our family Christmas celebrations. Saturday morning we have to get up early, get dressed, get the littles dressed, get the husband dressed (he's a slow mover on his days off) and get out the door for a basketball game and then we are off to finish our Christmas shopping. After a day of shopping we will head over to my dads house to kick off the Christmas fun with good eats, family, love, presents, and hopefully some good wine too..

:: Last year at the Christmas party at dad's I was pregnant but not spilling the beans just yet. So when they passed out the glasses of wine I took pretend sips and when no one was looking, dumped my glass into Matt's. So needless to say this year I am sooooooo looking forward to the wine ::

It will be a full weekend. Wrapping up with a Sunday brunch at my Aunt's house to celebrate Christmas with my Grandparents. Bring on the goodness.

And even though Dom wasn't feeling well yesterday my midlittle and I still managed to have a little fun on the side. I'd signed up for a Christmas party at his school and didn't want to back out at the last minute so my mom watched Dominic and Ellie for me. We had fun. I love going to my boys' school and visiting their classrooms. It never fails to put a smile on my face. They smile too because they love having visitors. It's double the good. Owyn was making a gingerbread house and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to snap a few photos of the fun.. but.. my camera had a different plan. :: batteries depleted :: So after we got home we snapped a few pictures to remember the day..

Christmas sweater stud.
We also found out that our smallest little of all is indeed becoming aware of strangers. Yesterday while I was away celebrating preschool style Ell's Uncle Nate tried holding her.. and she screamed. She screamed for a half an hour while I was gone. So much so that my mom couldn't calm her and Ell girl loves my mom. Luckily the party ended just in time. By the time I got to her she was only sniffling a tad. Phew. Talk about heartbreaking. So I spent a little extra time over there trying to help ease her into a bond with Uncle Nate. I think we made some progress.

Ellie Mae has had a good week. She's started blowing raspberries. At first she was only doing it when she was fighting sleep but now it's constant. And adorable. I'm really looking forward to kicking off the Christmas celebrations this weekend with our sweet gal.

Baby's First Christmas. It's right around the corner.

 ..But before we can kick off our stellar weekend this mama is off to clean my not so stellar looking house and eat a few cookies along the way. :: I shouldn't bake. When I do I eat treats for every meal. Seriously, it's bad. ::

Wishing fabulous weekends for everyone. Now go, be merry, and spread the cheer!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Don't Worry About a Thing

Tap, tap, tap. Delete, delete, delete. That my friends is all I have for you today...

Nah, I'm kidding, but seriously why is it so hard for me to get my thoughts out into words?

I just got Ellie down for her nap. Phew! That girl can sense me awake from a mile away. Seriously. I lay down with her to nurse her to sleep but I'm the one who has to completely free my mind of all thoughts. It's like if my mind is anything but empty she senses it and she will not fall asleep. Even after she's asleep and unlatched I still have to vibe my way through standing up, and then I stand over her for a few more seconds with my hand on her skin and send off the strongest sleepy vibe I can. :: slllleeeeeeeeeep :: Until I feel sure that I can sneak away without her waking.

Life has been slow and easy going around our house this weekend. It's Matt's weekend to work and the littles and I have just been hanging around the house. (the messy house!) I'm starting to feel cooped up a bit but with the wind chill making it feel like a chilly -20 outside today, I think I'll stay in my coop.

My coop is in need of a desperate scoop. It's a mess. On the weekends I go into relax mode and everything gets put off. Who wants to clean on the weekends right?! It needs to be done though. It's so bad that last night after a delicious dinner of chili I put both pots (beefy, and veggie) into storage containers to cool before sticking them in the fridge and guess what.. I came down to make breakfast and there were the cold stinky containers of chili on the counter starring back at me. Guess we wont be having chili for dinner today. There's nothing that bums me out more than wasting food.

Matt and I have been (how do I put this nicely?) a little annoyed with one another these past few days. We aren't usually so unkind to each other but something about this weekend kind of did us in, I guess. We aren't screamers or fighters, not anymore at least. If you could have seen us in '04-'05 you'd probably have crapped your pants watching us fight. Now we're more like bickerers and we sit around and pick on each other. Kind of like old people I suppose, on our bad days. :: Looking back, this weekend makes us look madly in love compared to a good day back then.. Don't get me wrong, we are in love, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't like to choke each other out every now and again. We're human. Two humans to be exact. Living together. Enough said? I think so. (I should also mention that I asked him to put the chili away last night before bed) ;)

I hate to be a negative nelly but the truth is while I want everything to always be happy, free, positive, sunny, and like a bed of frickin' roses, it's not. I've learned to take the not so great days in stride because there are always good times around the bend, and days like this not so bad but not so fabulous day help to me appreciate the good ones even more.

..and even on the not so bad but not so fab days like today she still smiles like this and helps to put everything in perspective..

"This is my message to you-ou-ou"

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's All Good

I've been meaning to write the past few days, I have. The issue is our mailman. You see, a few days ago I went to check the mail and opened up the box to find our Netflix pick that we'd been anxiously awaiting. Needless to say we've been spending late nights out on the Bering Sea for the king crab season.

That show captivates me like no other. We dream big each night after our episode has come to an end. Matt's always all "I should be a crab fisherman. I could do it" and then I think, well the money would be nice but there's no way he could do it. Then I open up with an "I'd be a much better crabber than you."

Last night the wind was blowing forty knots and they were working through the storm. They'd been up for thirty some hours on the Northwestern getting rid of their gear and I thought there's no way. No way I'd ever be able to be on deck with the wind blowing like that. No way I could stand! I'd be cowering in my bunk chanting, begging, and praying for dear life. They lost a boat last night. It sunk with eleven men on board. It wasn't a crab boat, was it cod? I'm not sure. I just know that out of those eleven men only four survived. Deadly.

I've spent far too much of my time this morning watching videos too. Only this morning I was watching family videos. Videos of my biggest little who isn't so little anymore. Videos of my midlittle as a baby. Videos of us in caves. Videos of us in streams and on rivers. Videos of us in canoes. Videos of birthdays and Christmas' past. Videos of dancing and Dominic strumming his guitar to Widespread Panic dvd's. Videos of vacations. So many good videos. So many good times. Then I think I can't wait to share this with Ell. I can't wait to take her to my favorite stream that runs along the Vermillion River and dip her tiny toes in the water next summer. I can't wait to take her into her first cave and let her explore the darkness. I can't wait to take her out on the water for her first canoe ride. I can't wait until she can pick her favorite song and I can record her singing it. I can't wait to show the world in all it's beauty to my beauty.

Sharing the magic of this beautiful planet and all of it's wonders with my kids makes my heart swell. Will Ellie want to stop to smell every single flower like her oldest brother? Will she climb dangerously leaving me in fear the way he does? Will she be as daringly brave? Or will she stay grounded and explore the world like her second brother, hand in hand with mama. Never getting to far until the moment feels exactly right to slowly break our tight grasp and wander to what interests her? I wonder what my littliest wonder will be like next year when we head out to be one with nature. I can't wait to learn and grow with her.

Yet, I can wait, and I will. This time is so sweet. She is so sweet. I will hold onto it for as long as it lasts and enjoy every single last darn second of her babyhood because it's all good now. Far to good to skip over with wonder, but it will all be good then too.

Universe keep on rockin' out the goodness because we are forever grateful for all of it. Now and later..

It's all good.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Johnny Cash, Baby Wipes, and Christmas Songs.

Each day when Owyn gets home from preschool he has to tell me what his special friend said to him that day. Last week she told him that he should sit with her on the bus. Can you say happy boy? Yesterday she said "Best friends" to him. He was thrilled. If his class only consisted of his teachers and this little girl he'd be just as satisfied as he would with a whole class full of friends!

Today he came home with the biggest smile on his face, and as we were walking up the drive, hand in hand, I began our daily ritual. "Hey buddy! How was school?" This time he played shy smiling and looking down at his Elmo boots. Surely with something on his mind.

These bad boys from Goodwill have been though two, possibly three, boys now and are still going strong.

The second we get in the door he looks as me with his shy smile and says "Wanna know what Shaniya said to me today?" So I asked him what she said, and he, still grinning from ear to ear whispers "Johnny Cash."

Owyn's heard The Ring of Fire plenty of times but the name Johnny Cash was foreign to him. So I went on to tell him who Johnny was.. That he was the guy who sings the song the Ring of Fire that we sometimes listen to. He just said "Oh" and went on with his life. Kind of like "Whatever mom. I don't care who he is. I just like it when she says his name."

So apparently this little girl likes Johnny. Or her parents do. Either way I just love the things kids say. I wish I could bottle their little voices up forever. Like the other day when Dominic exclaimed "Wow mom, it's really puffin' snow out there" When it was snowing. Or the time that Owyn wasn't helping Dom clean up their mess and then he stubbed his toe and started to cry. Dominic looked at him so seriously and said "That's karma Owyn. You just got karamed because you weren't helping me!" Or the way every night after Owyn has finished his veggies at dinner he whines in a I'm really suffereing here, whiniest voice possible, whine,  "Mooooooooom, my tummy hurts" just so he doesn't have to eat his meat. The way that right now he's standing at the top of the steps yelling "Banjo, L-E-B come here right now!!" because we all know that L-E-B spells come, right?

 All of it. Each sentence deserves it's own corked glass bottle.

After school nap, because he still takes them, and it rocks!

Babe, as the boys call her. Also known as Ellie, or the littlest of our littles, has decided upon her favorite toy. Which isn't a toy at all. It happens to be her travel wipes and she loves when I let her play with them!

 To her the sound of the crinkling package is the best noise ever. Waaaaaay better than her crinkle book that is actually, well, a toy! If she were able to write Santa a letter this year it might look something like this...

Dear Santa,
Will you please bring me a package of Earths Best travel wipes. Make sure to have used a few so that it's small enough for me to grasp and crinkle, Mr. Kringle. Also, if you would install a set of milkers on my dad that might be nice too. I'm a huge daddy fan but there just seems to be one small thing missing. Or maybe two.
Ellie Mae

Santa just might like this outfit so much that Ell gets everything she wants for Christmas.
Watch out daddy. ;)

We went to Dominic's Christmas program tonight. They did a play and sang lots of cute Christmas songs. Dominic even got to dance a little bit. He loves dancing. Ell fell asleep on me which left Matt in charge of the picture taking so.. ::cough:: it's quantity not quality ::cough:: ::cough:: Love you babe.

"What a bright time, it's the right time, to rock the night away"

Rock the night away, we did. Now I'm ready to crawl in between my two smallest littles and snuggle up tight. Goodnight all.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Owyn Matthew

Four years ago right now I was holding my second baby for the first time.

My birth experience with Owyn was much different than my first. I woke up December 5th of 2006 with what I thought was the stomach flu. My 39 week appointment with my midwife was set for later that day and I figured with the way I'd been feeling (and vomiting!) that I'd just call it off and reschedule for another day. After all, I was only 6 days away from my *due date* and I'd be seeing her soon enough anyways, right? Wrong. After calling the office and speaking with the nurse my appointment was still on.

I knew I was contracting but I figured it was from the act of puking my guts out! Almost literally. Or so it felt.

Matt was at work that morning and I'd gone over to my moms house to have a little help with Dominic so I could rest. My sister drove me to see my midwife for my appointment later that afternoon. I was feeling a bit better and thinking that maybe, just maybe, I was in labor. Sure enough, I was. After my midwife confirmed that I was quite possibly in labor we decided that I'd head over to the room where I would meet my second little.

I can remember leaving her office so giddy! I was going to meet my baby soon and my sister was going to experience her first birth. What a win-win! Shortly after we arrived in the birthing sweet Matt arrived from work and my mom made her way to the hospital.

There is so much of Owyn's birth story missing and I wish I would have gotten it down on paper while it was still fresh in my head. I remember my dad and step-mom being there during parts of it. I also remember gripping the sides of the bed and tensing up.

 You see, my first birth, with Dominic, was so easy! I left the hospital wondering why so many woman claimed it as a painful experience. It was far from that. I couldn't understand why woman would want to numb themselves from feeling what I felt. It was pure magic. I knew after his birth that I'd have future children.  Owyn's birth was much more difficult. I was in pain. I was trying to deal the best I could with all of my family in the room and it just wasn't happening. At one point I can remember hanging, arms around Matt's neck, slow dancing. My midwife was rubbing my lower back and I thought to myself.. I can't do this.

While I was gripping the bed rails I felt hot tears run down my face. Why was this so hard for me? Now however, I know that I probably wasn't opening up because I was so tense and tight. Never once did I try to be loose and open. It was too hard to do with a room full of people that I'd felt the need to impress. My midwife came in to check on me and we decided it would be best for me to get into the whirlpool and relax just Matt and I. I don't remember much of my time in there but I do remember trying to keep quiet and hold it all in. Tense. I was unable to do that and started to vocalize a bit. I heard someone out in the birthing room comment that they needed to quiet down and then by the time I was out the room was fairly cleared and I was feeling pushy.

Sure enough Owyn was making his way into the world and I'd dilated from a six to a ten within 15 minutes. The waves were smacking me like a rock and I was so happy to be on with the next stage. Owyn came out with a nuchal cord and after it was unwrapped his daddy delivered him onto my chest at 10:52pm. It was love at first sight. He latched on shortly after his birth and nursed like a pro. We were immediately connected. 

I was sure after Owyn's birth that I was done having children. I believe I made mention while still in the birthplace that I was happy to be done after a hard birth experience like his. Little did I know that this was all a huge learning experience for me and I would take so much from it. When Owyn was about 18 months old I decided that I did indeed want more children one day and I wanted it to be exactly the way I wanted it. I credit Owyn's birth for Ellie's being so incredibly beautiful. The biggest lesson I learned was open-ness. To be open within myself. Open with those around me. Surrendering to the universe and opening like a blooming flower. Open, the exact word I chanted while moving Ellie down the birth canal.

His birth taught me to be true to myself and what I needed in life; and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you little teacher!

Today we celebrated our midlittle. He opened presents and ate his cake and ice cream like it was going out of style. I have been so blessed to share the past four years with my second little and am looking forward to many more wonderful years to come.

Happy birthday my sweet one. I love you to the moon and back!

Birthday Boy! 12-5-2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Firsts and Fourth

Oh sweet Saturday.. How I love you!

I awoke this morning to find Matt and Dominic dressing in their winter get-up to head out into the snow. It started snowing here yesterday afternoon and the snow is still falling!

He caught snowflakes on his tongue all the way up the drive yesterday.

It's a winter wonderland out there, and I too, couldn't be more stoked! This year I have vowed not to get sick of the snow before it's done clinging to the earth. (because we all know here in Illinois it clings for quite a while!) I will embrace every last second of winter that mother nature blesses us with and when it's over I will embrace Spring just the same. Oh, who am I kidding? I always embrace Spring! Last year in February we made it out to do some hiking with a white blanket of snow still on the ground and guess what.. We had a blast! So I figure I've finally found my cure for the winter blues and I will not be that same old bird in a house this year.. I will fly out and be free!

Owyn and his *organic* popsicle. February 2010.
Dominic last February enjoying our hike.
This winter will be full of good things. Life is feeling so full right now and I am loving it. This year will be our last first Christmas that we will celebrate in our home and it's bittersweet. It amazes me daily how life just trucks on in full speed. It doesn't seem that long ago that we were celebrating our first first Christmas together.
Dominic's first ornament. 2004.
Two years passed and we found ourselves celebrating our second first Christmas. With our second little who really was little and new at Christmas time.

Owyn's first ornament. 2006.
So as our last first Christmas approaches I feel full. Full of excitement to share this Christmas and many more with our sweet Ellie Mae, but full of sadness too. This is the last Christmas I will cuddle a sleepy babe while watching the wrapping paper being flung in all directions from my two bigger littles' hands. ::Bittersweet:: I'm not one to dwell on the sadness. It's there and it's got a place in my heart but the good is just too good. I am so blessed to share each Christmas with these wonderful littles who have forever changed me inside and out.

Our little Ellie has a special place on our Christmas tree now too. It's the first pink ornament we've added to the tree and I am so happy this year to be celebrating the magic with my daughter. We really are complete.

Ellie Mae's first ornament. 2010.
This is a Winter season that I will forever remember. The last winter season in our home for a gummy smile like this one.. and it's special.

Love her!

Now I'm off to gear up for two days of fun. Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of our midlittle. He's kissing three goodbye.. and turning four.  

12-4-2010 Owyn's last day as a 3 year old.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Almost Tears for Two and Special Friends

I guess I'm going with the two topics per one blog sort of a thing.. Yup, that's how I roll. Or how I'm rolling for now at least..

Tonight was Owyn's first ever Christmas program at school. I was worried because..  

I cried last year at Dominic's kindergarten program. I was newly pregnant with Ell and my hormones were all over the place. It was one of those silent cries. The kind where you don't want anyone to know that you are crying so you don't look anyone in the eyes and just kind of nod when they talk to you. It was just so crazy to think that my boy, my baby boy, my biggest little, really was in school. In kindergarten at that, and really was going to just keep on growing up and standing taller on those risers. So I did what any pregnant mama would do and blamed it all on hormones, shrugged it off and left it be. I think I may have told Matt and my mom later on.

Turns out tonight was just as hard. The thing is, this year it wasn't only hard on me, but it was hard on Owyn too. We've always had this super strong connection. Not that I don't with my other littles. I guess I don't know how to explain it because it's not favoritism at all. I love all of my littles equally for all different reasons but mostly because they grew within me and all came into this world and just amaze the shit out of me on a daily basis. (pardon my french ;) They are all so great and so different and I love that but there is just something with Owyn. Maybe it's that he's so soft hearted. I don't know, but I do know it's there and it's real and tonight when he didn't want me to walk away from him and leave him up there all alone it nearly broke my heart. I could tell he wanted to cry. I wanted to cry. I felt the lump rising in my throat. Matt made mention of cutting the umbilical cord. I think he could sense not only Owyn's upset but mine as well. Tried pulling off a joke to ease the sadness in me. (which is so Matt!)We did however make it without tears and once Owyn's friend Shaniya arrived to stand next to him on the risers he was all grins and giggles.

He tells me he's got Shaniya on the brain. His first crush.

I love that he has made a special friend. I was worried that he would go to school and be that quiet little who's too shy to make friends. It took him a few months but he's warming up to his classmates *insert sigh of relief here* and he really likes his teachers too. So it's all good, baby! 

Special friends are the best! I've never had a ton of close friends. I've been close with one other mama since childhood and we've managed to remain close over the years. I am so grateful to have her in my life.  Don't know what I'd do without her actually. She's my soul sister. Then I have my real sister whom I'm extremely close to. I'm so thankful that we have such a strong bond. It's really special. We were born to be friends and while growing up we weren't always too fond of each other but now, now we are tight. (and if I'd come out of the closet with my blog I could say "Right Jen?" and she'd agree. It's like spandex tight.) My mama is another friend of mine. Again I am blessed because our relationship was extremely rocky when I was younger but she never gave up on me, or me on her, and here we are, buds. Extremely cool to have a mom that I can call a friend. Then there are a few friends that I've gained through Matt's friends because some of them have pretty cool significant others that I really enjoy spending time with.

However, a few years back my number of close friendships really grew and as lame as it sounds I've never met some of my friends in person. They are my online pals. I know, I know, chuckle if you will but I've formed some really tight bonds with these other mamas that I've met through *mom sites* here online. Some of them know details about my life that I haven't shared with many people and the closeness is so there even if we're millions of miles apart. I could go on bragging about these ladies for hours. They are so rad. One lives in Hawaii off grid, one a mom to 4 kids under 6 years who spoils Ellie with hand-me-downs from her sweet girl, one a lawyer, another who's a marine biologist and a mom to a super cute boy named Quinn, one who had a baby a few short days before I had Ell who's in Mexico, and a few more super special ones on top of that. Many of them even went in on creating a handmade off grid in Hawaii baby quilt for Ellie that I came home from the hospital to find on my doorstep. Special. Today though I want to brag up my online/phone friend named Esther who I WILL meet irl one day! She had a baby a few short days before I had Ell and named him Charly. She's been so sweet from the start and after meeting her my grateful for my friends meter rose way high! Today I received a package from her and I am always amazed at her kindness. She sent so many goodies for my sweet Ellie girl and even goodies for me!

I don't know what I would do without these friendships. They keep me sane. Being a stay-at-home mama it's hard going 8-10 hours straight without any adult conversation. I don't need a TV or cable but I do need this glowing box with a keyboard to keep me connected to these amazing mamas. I'm not sure what I would have done if I were a house-mama before the Internet was big. I'd imagine I'd be pretty lonely living in a small town with a less than reliable car to get around in while Matt's away with the reliable one. I am so grateful to have this connection with these incredibly inspiring women and I look forward to the day that I get to wrap my arms around one in real life because that's kind of how I imagine it.. Kind of like a run and leap into each others arms sort of deal. It. will. happen. Ahhh someday. For now though we will love on each other from afar and that's okay too. They are there and I here and we get together on this thing we call the Internet and well, if that's all I can get, I will take it because it really is pretty damn cool. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Fresh Start with a Fresh Snowfall

I've decided to give blogging a try.

I really like the idea of recording these moments we share as a family. There really is so much that I want to remember and sometimes at the ripe age of 24 I feel as if my memory is slipping from me. It's hard to think back to six years ago when Dominic was just a baby. I wish I'd recorded more at that time. I feel the same with Owyn's *little-hood* and am already feeling that way about Ellie's first fresh days. I want to retain every single moment I have with these littles because I know time will keep on moving steadily towards the future. So that, my friends, is what this blog will be. My memory savin' place!

The littles have had a case of the icky's here. There have been many sleepless nights this past week. Or heck, there have many sleepless nights this past month! We are currently battling pink eye in both of the boys and a horrible cold that Ellie caught from us after months of obsessive hand washing between the boys and I. We just can't win right now.. Or so it would seem. The thing is that even with the sickness of today it's been one hellava good day! I love when I get to spend school days here at home with the boys. I like being all together under one roof and even more so when I know there are places we should be.. (Yup, I'm a hermit!) On Monday night when I learned of Tuesdays possible snowfall I was ecstatic! I looked at Matt and said "I wish I could keep the boys home tomorrow!" when he asked why I explained that I wanted to be able to share that special moment of the year with them. He told me I was strange and asked if my mom was as strange as I am when we were kids.I guess he figures it has to come from somewhere. Truth is I don't know if Mom did want to keep us home for the first snowfall?!  Probably not since she's not a big fan of snow or winter but I don't care! I'm rockin' with my own mama flow and that's just the kind of weird overly-emotional mama I am. I dig it.. and I think my kids do too!

I did end up sending Dominic to school Tuesday. I wanted to call it off but duty calls and the boys' got to keep up in class. (Little #2 was home with pink eye) As it turns out we really didn't miss the first snow together.. The flakes started falling on the bus ride home and the first thing he said when he walked in the door was *Mom, IT'S SNOWING" So we totally still shared our moment, and yes Matt, it really was that special!

Our Three Littles