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Being visible


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Saturday, April 28. 2007

I tend to prefer to live my life backstage rather than in the spot light. I prefer to do all I can to support behind the scenes rather than be "out in front." That's likely a great thing since as a mother of four, one tends to be "backstage" and often isn't really visible or recognized for their part in the production. The one behind the scenes making sure the laundry is done, the meals are planned, prepared, served and cleaned up, the playmate, the referee, the teacher, the coach, the one that ensures that things are running smoothly in the home and that all feel loved. Of course there are always going to be the times when one of the kids does something that you wish you could even be more invisible during but for the most part its fine to go through life not being completely visible. Earlier this week as I sat waiting in the doctor's office for over an hour as I had accidentally been "overlooked" because "somehow the flag got pushed back), I wished I had been much more visible. I had the baby with me so you'd think at least he was unforgettable but it didn't happen that way. When I finally did step out into the hallway and ask if the doctor was running late, I was told it would have been appropriate to be less polite, a lot more vocal and let them know I was waiting. Perhaps I need to work on being a little more visible.

Eighty


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Saturday, April 28. 2007





Well, the temperature this afternoon hit eighty so the kids pulled out the sprinkler while I was away at a workshop. A-girl got sprayed when it was first turned on and stayed clear the rest of the time. AJ donned his goggles and was ready for action. L as per usual thoroughly enjoyed herself. Too bad the camera wasn't ready for photos as the batteries were dead. Looks like it will be a great long summer full of sprinkler days especially since we have already kicked things off before the calendar turns to May.

Celebrating the sunshine


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Friday, April 27. 2007



















We are all enjoying the warmer temperatures. We're watching plants push their way through the dirt, finding bugs and other creatures, pulling out all sorts of warm weather clothes and toys, having lots of picnics, eating on the deck and of course we picked up some summer treats. On several occasions they have even been trying to convince me they should play in the sprinkler. Today they got one step closer and "played swimming" outside.

Its all fun and games til someone loses an eye...or....


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Thursday, April 26. 2007

a tooth in this case.

This morning as we were getting ready to leave, L and AJ were supposed to be brushing their teeth. Only in a way siblings can, they were bugging each other. Apparently L wasn't giving AJ the toothpaste and was trying to put the soap I had just used to bathe the baby on his toothbrush. She had her toothbrush in her mouth dangling out between her teeth and holding the toothpaste in one hand and the baby soap in the other. He got really frustrated and came to me to tell me what she was doing. I was putting pants on the baby and was just finishing up so told him to wait and I'd come with him to talk with her. Well he waited....briefly and then took off. I knew it wouldn't be pretty so followed him and came to the hallway just in time to see arms and legs flailing pushing each other and then a very white faced L quickly pull her hands to her mouth and start crying. She then pulled her bloody hands away from her mouth and handed me a tooth. Luckily it was a lose one that was getting ready to come out. AJ got so upset, called himself stupid, said he couldn't be part of the family and tried to run away. Baby was screaming because almost everyone else was and A-girl decided since the front door was open she would take off as well.

At that point I was really wishing I was an octopus and had enough arms to give all the love and comfort that was so desperately needed. I only had two so was left trying to balance the very delicate line between everyone. My heart was aching. Poor L was hurt, her mouth was bleeding badly and she was upset. Poor AJ was feeling very badly and was more upset and angry at himself than any of us added all up together would have ever been. He has started calling himself dumb, stupid etc a lot in the past couple of week when he can't get something or if he makes a poor choice and upsets or hurts someone.

This really tugs at my heart strings because we don't talk like that and I am very sensitive to comments such as those and the impact they have on children due to my own experience as a child when an adult in my life made sure that I heard on a regular basis how worthless I was. In talking with his teacher at preschool when we finally got there about 40 minutes late after an hour of time together to ensure that everyone was feeling better, knew they were loved and ready to take on the day, I found out that he is also saying the same things at preschool when frustrated or making mistakes. It s so obvious to anyone else that his statements are wrong yet he is so convinced and it breaks my heart. Its hard to know there really isn't anything to do but love and encourage him and hopefully very soon he will see what everyone else sees when they look at that beautiful little boy. A wonderful, intelligent lovable little boy.

As L wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy this evening, she asked if she could have extra money for her tooth since her brother knocked it out. The Tooth Fairy left extra money for AJ when he had his two front teeth removed during surgery a few months ago and she knows that sometimes teeth earn extra money if they come out differently. For now the anger, hurt and pain of this morning are gone. She and AJ are playing together as though nothing ever happened and all that remains is the extra funds the tooth could bring her. Perhaps someday she will be sitting on the couch in her home trying to comfort her children and telling the story of how her brother knocked her tooth out just as I found myself on my couch this morning telling my kids about my brother knocking my tooth out with a baseball bat. Hopefully me sharing my experience of losing a tooth will not give either one of them any ideas!!!! Not sure I can handle any more tooth injuries!

Shoes


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Tuesday, April 24. 2007

Today has been a busy day and we were finally rolling home from L's group piano lesson about a half hour after they all should have been in bed. As they are getting out of the van, AJ asks "Mom did you pick up my shoes?!" I was a little confused as the last time I had seen them was as we were getting ready to leave L's piano lesson and he was putting them on after climbing off the trampoline. At first I thought he was joking around but as he persisted it became clear he had come home without his shoes. I had loaded everyone into the van and then gone back into the house to quickly leave a message with another mom we know that was gathering up her kids. L cam in to go to the bathroom and AJ followed likely thinking she was gathering up more "treats" for the ride home and he certainly wouldn't want to miss anything. I guess he left his shoes in the house on the way back out to the van. Not quite sure how he got to the van and all the way home before any of us noticing he didn't have shoes!!!

Washable


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Monday, April 23. 2007



Yesterday, as I returned home, the kids and a friend had just finished creating wonderful masterpieces with paint on the dining room table. The water was running in the bathroom and I could hear A-girl crying "This isn't washable!!!" as she tried to scrub her hands covered in paint. I went to help her and we were able to get her hands clean. The vinyl table cloth however, looks more like an expression of modern art as the paint wasn't so washable from that surface. Every time I sit down to eat on my art piece table cloth I can't help but smile as I recall that little two year old voice crying "It isn't washable!!!"

mail


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Monday, April 23. 2007

Our kids get very excited about mail in our mailbox. L and AJ were at the mailbox pulling things out and I overheard the following conversation:
L "Look its Mom's paper! Here is a bill."
AJ "Hey!! Its the toilet magazine!!!"

Now they had my interest as I wondered what the toilet magazine was. Turns out it was the latest Reader's Digest which we do keep on the back of the toilet.

Meal time coaching


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Monday, April 23. 2007

During my meals away Saturday, I realized I must spend a lot of time teaching and coaching during mealtime. It often feels more like a circus act than a meal time and often it is not the wonderful family communication time that we are striving for. I decided to keep track of what actually does happen at our table over the period of 10 minutes. Here are the learning opportunities that presented themselves last evening after I had been away for 3 meals:

- how to sit on a chair properly (not hanging off of it, standing on it, propping yourself up on your knees, or sitting with your knees up and your toes curled around the edge of the table)
- put things that you would prefer not to eat on the edge of your own plate not on your sister's
- keep your hands in your own body space not your sister's hair
- try not to lean too hard forwards on a table with wheels as you will move it
- toys, books and other items need to stay off the table during mealtimes
- if you dump your water we need to get a towel and wipe if up
- polite requests will get you much further than demands
- mealtimes are great opportunities for teaching language (a futon is the thing in the playroom, a crouton is in your salad)
- plates and forks are not to be thrown across the table
- there is a volume to use when sitting across the table from someone as you speak and it really doesn't need to in the front row of a rock concert level.

Many of the above learning opportunities occurred several times during the ten minutes. After looking at the list I kept I realized its no wonder we don't seem to ever get to the "meaningful family discussions" as we are still in teaching/coaching the basics.

A bit of a break


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Monday, April 23. 2007

In the course of our day to day/week to week life there is very little time for personal down time, relaxation, renewal or creativity. My days are enjoyable and extremely full with the kids, activities and all the tasks that go into running a house of 6 people. I don't seem to be able to get all I would like accomplished in a day or week for that matter. If I do go out, its often to meetings for various groups/organizations that I volunteer with so its part of the routine. Since I enjoy where I'm at in my life, I get into a rhythm and tend to just keep plugging along not really realizing that I am missing opportunities to re-energize. It is very easy to lose your self and your needs in the overall family and household needs. I hadn't really noticed until I went to say goodbye to the three older kids Saturday that I can't remember the last time that I was gone from home for several hours without them. It felt weird to be leaving them home while I went off on a scrap booking event. I needed to take Baby L and due to something S had to go to I couldn't attend the whole weekend but I loaded up the baby, my gear and headed to a camp about an h our away for my 24 hour break. It wasn't luxurious but it was truly enjoyable. The best part was the meals. No, it wasn't any five star restaurant. It was just camp food that most thought was kind of "blah" but to me it was divine. I didn't have to plan it, go grocery shopping, prepare, serve and clean up. I didn't have anyone eating off my plate. I didn't have to cut up anything on anyone's plate or help them eat. I didn't have to coach anyone through the meal with appropriate table behaviour and manners, no one was fighting or yelling and the conversation was adult focussed. I could sit and eat (well except that the baby seemed to do his regular thing of not letting me really sit through a meal and fully enjoy it but that didn't seem to matter as it was only one kid and not four).

The weekend wasn't a typical one for me as I usually don't have kids in tow and I go with my friend T and often L. Its a great opportunity to be creative, to get to spend time together without a kid focus and to do things you don't typically get the opportunity to do. This year, my friends couldn't join me. I was anxious about having the baby along as I know other people there are also on a get away and likely left their kids/families behind and didn't want to be disrupted by a baby. I worried about the sleeping arrangements (rooms of bunks) and was concerned he would wake people up. Luckily, things flowed fairly smoothly. He was completely over stimulated so that meant no sleeping and more fussing but all in all he did really well. I knew I wouldn't accomplish much but thoroughly enjoyed the chance to get at my photos which I haven't touched in many months.

The one thing that amazed me was how much I missed my friends that have been there every other time I've gone on this yearly event. All the tables were full of friends or family that were having a great time together. I was seated at a table with two other "loners" and it really wasn't the same. There is an energy that renews one when spending time with friends and I really need that so it seemed even emptier for me that it likely was in reality.

I had the pleasure of sitting with a woman who most people there learned to dislike in a very short time. She's the kind of person who can't seem to formulate a single thought in their mind....they are all said out loud....therefore there is a constant stream of words coming from her mouth. Her volume only has one level. The level I thought was only reserved for my children...the one that's off the top of the scale. She also tended to repeat herself a lot as when one's mind is constantly going and is on the "outside" its probable that you do run out of material and tend to repeat yourself. There is also the issue of "too much information/didn't really care to know that" that comes into play. Of course, this is also the same person who seems to be unaware of the cues of others, doesn't seem to see how she is affecting others or a need to change her behaviour. She struggles socially. I'm sure you could have asked any of the other 35 women about some other person they didn't know and they likely couldn't tell you very much about them but they all knew about this woman. They also all knew about the lady with the baby so I guess that made two of us that didn't really need a whole lot of description and the group could identify us. After this description, one may think there isn't too much to make the experience a pleasure but I really learned a lot from her. I was able to see that instead of her being so different she was really the same. We all had the same purpose there, to create family keepsakes and the same underlying value that family is very important. She also helped me see how much I really missed my friends and that perhaps I may take them for granted and not always share with them how important they are in my life. It was also a reminder of what not to do in a social setting. Because of my background in communication, I am very aware of both verbal and non-verbal communication and try to be keenly aware of both in interactions. This was a good reminder to be aware of the non-verbal cues I may be giving off that are intentional or unintentional. This woman could illicit the deepest groans and sighs of frustration, annoyance and disgust from even from the sweetest looking people. By the time I arrived Saturday, she could cause people to stiffen, to let out "UG!" in so may ways and through their body language/non-verbal language made it known to all (except one woman) that they were ready to explode if she didn't stop talking! I learned to look beyond the obvious and see that she was just like the rest of us and was there with the same goals. A great reminder to me to keep looking beyond the outer shell.

It was a whirlwind 24 hours and I left very tired (baby was restless so I didn''t really sleep when I finally did got to bed in the wee hours of the morning as I was afraid he would disturb others), wet (it rained heavily on the drive there and back and therefore all unloading and packing was during the rain) but with an energy and a peacefulness that hasn't been so full in the past few months for me. Even though I didn't realize I needing to "re-fill" those and I was enjoying my life's journey/adventure, I realized that I need to try and be creative and find opportunities to do more things that refill my tanks so that I am able to be the Mom and wife that I strive to be and find even more joy and happiness in my already incredible full, blessed life.

Three months old


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Friday, April 20. 2007









On one hand it is so hard to believe that Baby L is already three months old and yet on the other hand it seems like he has been with us forever. Its like he has always been a part of our family and he really completes it.

He continues to be a big boy who seems to capture the hearts of everyone who looks into those deep brown eyes or is drawn in by his big grin. People ask to touch him when we are out and others offer to hold him. He loves to "stand"on your legs and prefers to be in motion rather than sitting still or confined to a position. He loves activity which is great since he is surrounded by it living in this house. He is starting to pull his head up when he is sitting in his seat or car seat and likes to grab things (beads, earring, hair).

It is so much fun watching as he learns and develops new skills. Its also so much fun to watch the interactions of the whole family as this new little guy finds his spot. It is such an incredible journey baby L.

Biker Babe


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Friday, April 20. 2007



This past Wednesday, A-girl decided that she would ride her bike to AJ's preschool since the older two were riding theirs. I wasn't quite sure how that would work out and in the back of my mind I wondered if we would ever make it to preschool before noon. Well, she kept up beautifully. Her little legs just a whipping around to keep that bike moving. I only had to nudge her a couple of times as something along the sidewalk was more interesting for the moment. We looked like a mismatch circus train with 3 bikes and a stroller but we had a great time. We dropped off AJ and she couldn't wait to get back on her bike and ride home. As I was trying to sign him in, she's yelling "Come on Mom!! I want to ride!!!" She rode 15 blocks that morning. I was amazed. We've been planning to move her up to a bike with training wheels but I'm not sure that is a good idea as I may never be able to keep up to her!

Dinner time furniture?!


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Thursday, April 19. 2007

This evening as we were all sitting down to dinner and there is that initial frenzy (well OK most of the meal is a total chaotic frenzy!) when everyone is asking for something to be passed or that they need a tiny little voice was heard asking "Can I have some futons?" Who knew that a salad could contain such interesting things!

A math and biology lesson for Mom


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Thursday, April 19. 2007

Yesterday, Baby L was three months old. The kids and I were talking about how amazing it is to see all the changes in the baby since he was born three months ago. AJ looked at me with a deep seriousness and announced, "Well Mom, L is actually a year old." I told him that it seemed like he was that old as he wears clothes with that number on the tag (12 months) and that it feels like he has been with us for a long time. In his wisdom, he looked at me deeply and said "no Mom! Baby L was alive from the minute he was in your tummy so he is a year old now." How he ever figured that out is beyond me but that 5 year old never ceases to amaze me in what he knows, thinks and accomplishes. Thanks AJ for constantly making me think, grow, learn, smile and be challenged every day. You bring great joy to me each and everyday buddy!

Signs of Spring at my house


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Thursday, April 19. 2007

1. Socks and shoes are left strewn across the yard and the kids are loving running barefoot.

2. Summer clothes are coming out and they are asking to play in the sprinkler even though the temperatures are only in the 60's.

3. They would prefer to be outside all day long and be served their meals out on the deck as to n ot miss any outdoor playtime.

4. Riding their bikes has become the choice mode of transportation.

5. They often require more than one bath a day and several clothing changes whether the result of filthiness or the pleasure of trying out their spring/summer wardrobe.

6. The bathroom sink looks more like an abandoned flowerpot left out in the rain covered in mud and mud splatters than a sink. There is a trail of mud from the sink across the floor to the towel and the towel looks more like it was used to wipe down a mountain bike after a great mud bog ride than a hand towel that should be hanging in anyone's bathroom! The floor is covered in muddy footprints and they step in the water they drip when washing their hands and turn their dirt covered feet into wonderful footprint stamps. There are 4 sets of prints (3 different kid sizes and a dog set) from each of the doors through the kitchen or living room/dining room to the bathroom.

7. Because the kids are outside playing hard they can barely stay awake til their typical bedtime and therefore go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than usual and I haven't made the switch to their new schedule and am therefore dragging every day.

8. Allergy symptoms.

9. Lots of walks, bike rides and playtime at the neighborhood park so we are re-acquainting ourselves with neighbors that we haven't seen in the past few months.

10. It takes us a lot longer to go anywhere as the kids are so absorbed in nature and all the changes that spring is bringing.

See the similarity??


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Monday, April 16. 2007







The top photo was one done at the halfway point of the pregnancy. The next two are of Baby L just hours old. At the time they gave me the ultrasound photo I was fluctuating between the awe and wonder of it to the grotesqueness of some of the features due to the limitation of the imagery. I was looking through some photos yesterday and decided to print off these three photos and see if there was any similarity between an ultrasound picture and a photo of him hours after he was born. I certainly see some similarities.



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