Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dream House

What would you want in a dream house?  Come this fall we are looking at having to move so we have been searching for houses that would fit our family.  We have to start now so we know what kind of expense we are looking at.  With rentals you need the first and last month rent, security deposit, and of course the moving van and turning on the utilities.  Plus we have to hire cleaners for this house, a requirement of the landlord.  Which quite frankly if you had a family this size living here for 3 years you would want it professionally cleaned too.  Still, I don't expect our security deposit back.

Anyhow, we are looking at houses.  Rentals have to have at least 6 bedrooms for our family (even though with rooms big enough we really only need 4 since everyone wants to sleep together).  As I am looking I am realizing there are certain requirements that I have to have.  I can't pretend to be able to make it with a house that doesn't have a very large dining area, simply because we would not fit otherwise.  We have to have a walk in pantry, just to store enough food for a week requires a good sized cabinet.  Counter space isn't that big of a deal but I have to have at least 4 complete uppers and 6 complete lower cabinets. More would be better but if we have too many more than you just don't know where everything is.  BTDT, bigger isn't always better.  I have to have a door to the bathroom in the master, none of these decorative arches stuff.  I would be really happy with a series of doors, with combination locks and sound proofing but I realize that is probably not something any one has ever built.  No rocks in the backyard.  Something people here like to do is landscape with rocks.  Well little boys and rocks are not a good combination, you can ask our neighbors.  So no rocks.

As we are looking at these houses though I have seen things of my dreams.  2 kitchens, irrigated lots with mature citrus trees, pools, balconies, looooong driveways, 8 bedrooms with full basements complete with separate entrances to the backyard.  Whirlpool tubs and walk in closets in every room, double ovens and climate controlled pantries, laundry rooms with space for fridges and freezes.  Stuff I have literally dreamt about.  But what do I really need?  How realistic do I have to be.  Cause I am sure I can find excuses for just about any of those amenities.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Baby Bedding Zone - Curtains Giveaway

Smockity Frocks blogged about a curtains giveaway today and I just could not resist sharing.  Besides the free entry I get,  I was having way too much fun browsing through their selection.  Here I thought I was being so clever in finding a Spongebob Squarepants comforter and sheet at the thrift store for my 2 year old's toddler bed.  And what do you know?  They make whole bedding sets for toddler beds....I know, I know, I am so not in the decorating loop.  But how cute are some of these sets?  The Max 4 Piece....and you can get matching toddler chairs WITH ottomans?!  Its probably a good thing I have not won the lottery because I have a feeling my kids would be spoiled. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Never say your baby sleeps well

Because they very next night they will have to prove you wrong.  Never fails.  The best way to jinx yourself is to brag about how well your baby sleeps.  You know you are sleepy when you are rummaging through the fridge looking for something - anything to drink that lists caffeine as an ingredient. 

For the last 3 weeks the kids have been telling me how cute the baby is when he sleeps.  You keep saying you think hes cuter when hes awake - those big eyes, staring back at you. Then the baby stops sleeping and suddenly you start thinking the kids were right.  He is cute when hes asleep...and you would pay good money to see him asleep again. 

Then when you complain the baby doesn't sleep he hears you and figures he'll help you out.  He falls asleep and sleeps for hours...In the middle of the day. 

Never ever say your baby sleeps well.  You are sure to jinx yourself.  *yawn*

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Celebrity Baby Names

I love celebrity baby names.  It seems they are more free, than the rest of society, to indulge in naming their children what they really want to name them.  Average ordinary people get flack for getting a little creative and giving their daughter a traditionally boys name or their son a more unique name.  Everyone quips how those poor children are bound get their butts kicked on the playground or everyone will forever be spelling or pronouncing their names incorrectly.  Take it from someone who had a very common first name and an easy 4 letter last name - it doesn't matter.  They will still get spelled wrong and mispronounced regardless if its a unique or not.  Thankfully I am a woman who could take her husbands last name.  I graduated to an odd 5 letter last name that no one can pronounce or spell.  And it doesn't bother me a bit because I expect it.  When you have a common name that gets spelled or mispronounced you just assume people are stupid.  I have a new respect for people now, see they aren't that dumb. 

Oh sure everyone talks smack about the stars and their kids names.  How stupid they must be to name their kid what they do.  But it actually makes a lot of sense.  I bet you anything everyone can spell Bear or Apple.  And everyone will remember your name.  No need to change your name when you decide to follow in mommy or daddys foot steps either.  How many of the Hollywood elite changed their common names in for something more unique so they would stand out?  And as far as getting their butts kicked or kids picking on them, you have to ask by who?  Look at who their peers are. 

But really, I love celebrity baby names because I can say, "And you thought my kids had weird names."  And if ever I decide to name a kid Gimli or Turnip or something I can just claim I am being trendy.  Remember, at one point  most names we have today were on the edge and different.  And most names from the past would be viewed the same way.  Someone has to set the tone and start the popularity rolling on a name.  

While I am being the voice of reason, let me just say if you want to name your child something that people don't approve of, do it.  Once the baby is here they will get used to it.  I am speaking from experience.  Not that my kids name is terribly unique or different.  But no one liked it but the dh and I.  Now you wouldn't think twice about the name, its who they are. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Being a Mom

Happy Mothers Day! 

What is it like to be a mom?  Its wondering why there is a tooth laying on the counter, its picking crayons out of your cup of water, its having to ask "Has anyone seen a dirty diaper laying around?" when you catch a streaker run by.  Being a mom is nursing a baby at midnight, comforting your 8 yr old from a nightmare at 2 am and going stargazing with your 12 year old at 4 am.  Being a mom is taking 3 months to read a book, 2 days to watch an hour program and never getting to hear a song all the way through on your mp3 player before someone needs your help.  Being a mom is being grateful for P/DVR's, Pause buttons and timers on coffee makers.  Being a mom means hurting for your children when they are ill, being proud when they accomplish something and loving them even when they hate you.  Whats it like to be a mom?  Its always having someone to love. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Sense of Irony

I don't think God has a sense of humor as much as he has a sense of irony.  Take for example our latest edition.  I hired a new midwife.  I explained how my labors are generally short, afterwards it takes me about a week to get back to my old self and the problem I generally have with breastfeeding is oversupply.  Well now life could not go and prove me right.  Oh no.  We had to be different this time.

This time I had a 22 hour labor, my 2nd longest.  She asked me around hour 20 if this was one of my longest labors, and I told her it was one of my longest labors 8 hours ago!  This time I am on day 10 and am still sore.  I still can't do a full shopping trip.  This time my milk decided it was going to take 4 days to come in and I didn't have a good supply even then.  Thank goodness for Dr. Jack Newmans site for the absolutely best information on how to tell a baby is not getting enough and how to increase your supply.  This after my poor baby was born starving.  Never before had I heard a baby, fresh from the womb, with a growly tummy.  Even the nurses has to comment on it.   And this time our baby has felt the need to hold onto that nasty umbilical cord stump even to day 10.  And this time I am within 5 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight already.  Which normally I wouldn't complain about, but not if its whats causing me to have such issues with my milk supply. 

This time I had to be different.  I guess God felt I needed to feel like a first time mom again and to remind me that nothing is set in stone.  Hopefully my midwife doesn't think I was lying to her! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In case you ever wondered

Yes, the kids like living in a large family.  No, they do not feel resentful.  Quite the opposite.  Just today my 4 year old told me, "I wish you had had 2 babies."  I asked why and he said, "So we could have a boy and a girl."  I guess it didn't occur to him that I could have had 2 boys. 

Yesterday my youngest daughter told me she couldn't wait till the baby could sit.  I am forever telling people not to rush babies.  That I like them better when they can't go anywhere and get into stuff.  That they grow too fast the way it is.  Come to find out its not that she wants him to sit its that she wants him to be old enough for me to get pregnant again!  I was left speechless.  And thats pretty hard to do, those of you who know me are probably laughing your rears off.  I'm still sore from the last birth and as much as I like to add to my quiver can you give me a little while please? 

Then while discussing why people are constantly asking us if we are done yet (we're not if you haven't figured it out) my oldest said, "Good, I hope you keep having babies till you can't have them anymore."  I now know how my own mother felt when I was constantly bugging her for more siblings.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Real Layette List

I have seen a few dozen layette lists during my parenting days and few are really truly what a new parent is gonna need.  You can ask any new mom if the list is reflective of what she needs and she will most likely say no. So, for new parents, here is my layette list.

Figure out how often you will do laundry and then multiply it by 4.  Unless you are like me and do 3 loads a day.  But be honest and know that unless your dh or kids are gonna step up, laundry will take a back seat for awhile after a baby comes.  I knew that even though my dh would try his hardest to stay on top of the laundry situation I would still be behind.

- Forget the bibs, side snap shirts, shoes and mittens.  At least for now.  Its fluff stuff and will usually just sit there looking cute.  Bibs for newborns get in the way (they bunch up as you try to nurse, they twist around their little necks, the velcro or snaps can irritate), burp clothes are much easier to deal with.  In a few months you will love those bibs, but for a newborn?  No.  Most babies want to suck on their fingers or at least figure out how to use them, which they can't do inside of mittens.  If you are in a cold climate you might want a pair or two for out and about but for everyday normal use?  Skip them.  Even if you have a scratcher, God gave them long nails for a reason.  I am sure they help as they learn how to get those fingers into the right places. Side Snap shirts?  Never ever used them.  Not a one.  Except for the 3 babies that were born in the hospital and only for a day.  

- 6-8 Gowns instead of footed sleepers.  Changing diapers in the middle of the night is hard enough the way it is.  Make it easy on yourself by just pulling up their gown or unzipping their sack sleeper.  They will likely pee, poop and spit up on them so have more on hand then you think they will need.  If you live where its cold you might want to go with long sleeve shirts and a sack sleeper, if not the regular gowns work fine. 

- 6-8 pair of socks.  Or more.  Babies lose socks, all the time.  I'm not sure you can have too many socks.  Get all white ones so they match with everything, if you lose one it can be matched with another one that is missing its mate, and you won't feel as bad when you lose a plain white one as you would a cute one for twice as much.

- 6-8 onesies (and pants depending on where you live).  I really like onesies.  They stay in place, no rug (or blanket) burns on your babies belly from tummy time, no straightening out their clothing every time you pick them up or put them in a car seat.  They easily can be combined with other articles of clothing to make an out fit to warm them up or make them picture perfect. 

- 6-8 receiving blankets.  I use these all the time: swaddling, cover baby while in car seat or stroller, as a quick changing pad, as a diaper (seriously, flannel makes great diapers),  as a burp cloth, as a cover up while nursing.  Never be far away from a blanket.

- Optional, 3-4 baby hats.  If you are somewhere its cold you might want a baby hat, little bonnets or baseball caps if you are where its sunny.  I only used them one my 7th to cover up his unsightly hematoma, otherwise I find them sweaty and irritating to babies.  Of course I plan homebirths so I always have plenty on hand for the first day, but after that they find their way back to the birth kit for the next time. 

If you are on a budget or trying to be minimalist this is the basic stuff you need, its what I use everyday.  At night I change the baby into a gown sleeper, when he gets up for the day its into a one piece or onesie outfit with a pair of socks.  I carry around a blanket everywhere I go and thats it.  Easy, simple, takes up very little space.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Starting Kids off Right

People often ask me how I homeschool with lots of little ones around.  Its very simple - I include them.  If they can hold a pencil or a crayon they are doing school work with us.  While it looks to outsiders like they are just scribbling on paper, what they are learning is that there is a time for school work.  They are learning hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.  They are learning how to sit for increasing lengths of time.  They are learning that when its time for school we can be excited and ready to learn.  But what can you do with a 3 year old that won't leave them bored or done after 5 minutes?

How about Mazes?  Or Tracing?  Or Dot to Dots? Don't want printables?  How about Games? 

Games on the Computer...Games for the Table like Dominos or Color your Own Puzzle.

How about listening to cds while reading a story book?  Or using tools like a Vsmile, Leapster or Leappad.

Don't want to use a ton of paper every day?  Try Dry Erase Boards or their very own Chalk Boards

Even if you are just using crayons and a roll of paper at the dining room table, the important thing is to make the kids feel included.  They won't see school as something only older kids do but as something everyone does, everyday.  Learning will become habit.

Monday, May 2, 2011

When Somethings Gotta Give

New parents, including those who have done this a few times before, have all these grand ideas of what it will be like to have a new baby.  First timers especially fall prey to high expectations, thinking it only takes sheer will power to have the family life they want.  But even those of us who have been down that road before continue to delude ourselves and we really should know better.  More times than not parents quickly realize something about their grand scheme has to give because they can not do everything they had planned.

So when something has to give, what is it?  I admit I had high expectations, even this time around.  School was not going to be interrupted, we were gonna have enough frozen meals to not have to eat out, and I was gonna be up and about and ready to shop in no time.  But at least I knew enough to realize I might get over my head, and to prioritize what was really important and what I could give up - before the baby got here. 

So if I had to give my advice to expecting parents it would be to be honest with yourself and realize you do not have it all figured out.  And then to prioritize what is really important for you.  For me that would be establishing good breastfeeding, making sure everyone else is fed and has clothes to wear, the house isn't dangerously dirty and that above all else I rest.  I will gladly give up my homemade meals and cloth diapers, full on grocery shopping trips and a sparkling clean house to make sure those things happen.  Are those other things important to me?  Yes, but not at the expense of the more important things.  I know if I don't take the time to heal properly I will be laid up for longer than I need be.  Its hard to not push yourself, especially when you are used to pushing yourself, but I have learned from experience what a mistake that is. 

And when you get to that point where you realize something has to give please don't beat yourself up.  Don't feel guilty and don't be embarrassed.  We have all been down that road.