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Having a purpose


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Wednesday, October 31. 2007

Last night, the kids had their group lesson for piano. When I first saw A-girl's name on the list to participate, I wasn't sure how that would work. She is about 2 years younger than the youngest of the other participants in the group and frankly I wasn't sure she would sit still much less absorb anything. She definitely proved me wrong. She fully participated and actually was able to understand some of the theory presented. I was impressed with A-girl and also with their teacher who believed in our little girl and gave her a chance to attend even when she seems too young to fully grasp the concepts.

This evening, at dinner conversation ended up on the group piano lesson. A-girl was explaining that L didn't go with her and AJ (her time was later). She then excitedly added "Mommy came too!" For a quick moment I was thinking how excited she seemed to have had me along. Those thoughts were dashed when she announced....."Ya, somebody had to drive us!!!"

Tastes of special days


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Wednesday, October 31. 2007

For most holidays and celebrations, food is closely tied with great fun and memories. Halloween is no exception. Over the past few days/weeks we have had a great time making Halloween goodies.































Just like the rest of us


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Wednesday, October 31. 2007

We had very special guests today (B and B!!) who offered to watch the kids and help out in any way. I was able to set up three appointments for kids and go to them with only one child which was incredibly wonderful but also left me wondering all day long if I'd forgotten someone!! Guess that is a sign of needing to get out more without my entire crew!

First thing this morning, I woke L up early and we headed to her 8:00 appointment. We got to a dark office and stood outside for a bit until an admin staff arrived and we went in. We waited another 20 minutes in the office only to learn that the doctor was out sick and the fax hadn't come in from the agency saying he was not going to be in. For those of you that know my lovely spirited first born, waking her up at least an hour early for anything is not really a good idea, for a doctor appointment is even worse and then for it to be one that we now have to reschedule really isn't a good way to start the day. Repercussions were felt from that all day long!!! Let's just say I hope that none of her doctors choose to show that they are just like the rest of us when L is their first patient of the day!


Later in the day I took Baby L for his ultra sound appointment. They loved his skeleton shirt in the radiology department! Anyway, turns out that the test ordered required a doctor present during the imaging so we had to wait til one could come back from lunch. I wondered why no one had noticed that during scheduling and informed the doctor that they needed to eat faster but the thought went sailing out as quickly as it went in. Their waiting room was nice and quiet and it was just the baby and I. Turns out, the doctor ordered the wrong test as the ultrasound procedure can only be done on infants up to 5 months and can show some information of underdeveloped infants at an older age. One look at my line backer and they knew they were not going to get what they needed as he was "developed" from a bone ossification stand point. They needed to contact the clinic to reorder an x-ray. We finally left after two hours. I am very grateful that the doctor error didn't occur on something more critical or while I had all four kids in tow as I doubt they would have been as easily entertained by a container of bubbles, a Halloween pinwheel and an LCD screen version of a fish tank.

Today was a great reminder that we are all human and all need to be given our space to make mistakes and learn and grow from there.



Here are some pictures


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Wednesday, October 31. 2007

These are from J and M's visit.













Happy Halloween


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Wednesday, October 31. 2007

Hope there was as much excitement and energy in your house as there was here! Lots of laughs, lots of fun and lots of goodies.















Celebrating children


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Monday, October 29. 2007

Now this can be read different ways with different meanings and today was a little of both. I am celebrating my children and also they are celebrating children as they gear up for Halloween.

Today is one of those days when my heart is so filled with love and joy for my children (and I currently have one crying/fussing in my arms on his second waking in the past couple of hours but can still honestly type that!). I am celebrating children today....especially my four. One of those times when I just can't hug or hold them enough. Now its not because the day is going extraordinarily well or that they are all playing beautifully in unison. In fact it is likely more of the complete opposite. I had to work today after a busy and full past few days of activity and family visiting. The older two kids had a class and AJ was so wound up he couldn't sit still and had to sit by the teacher for a good portion of the class. The baby refused to sleep and then screamed because he was tired at the Y childcare and at home. There were tons of sibling squabbles, tears and fights. I can't really explain it. I am just so happy that these four incredible kids are with me in our life journey together. I am so incredibly lucky to be their mother. Despite the tough spots, challenges and the lumps and bumps, I wouldn't want them to be anyone else. They are so amazingly unique and I love the individual differences and special qualities they each have. I have been given the overwhelming task of helping them learn, grow and develop into responsible adults and today is one of those days I don't want to be anywhere else but where I am at the moment. Its not easy. Some days are downright tough but I love being with my kids! Today, I am celebrating my kids. They are so wonderfully full of life and joy. They are constantly learning and challenge me to learn and grow and stretch beyond what is comfortable, predictable and feels safe. They are gifts from God that I have been given and I am so glad to be spending my days and (often long sleepless) nights with them. I love you four with all my heart and soul.

I also have celebrating children. This afternoon after work/class we baked cookies and little cakes and decorated them for Halloween. I had stumbled across some Crayola Cookie Kits at the store and they included the dough, cutters and icing for the cookies and the cake mix, little cake pans (more like cupcake tins) and icing for the cakes. They were the right size/amount and kept the kids interested. They made and decorated a dozen cookies and 5 little cakes. It was great to see their artistic expression. I would share photos here but apparently the computer gnome has struck again and in an attempt to fix one issue has left me without easy access to photos to post and still has left the other issue unresolved. Gotta love how those computers work! Perhaps soon I can share photos but until then, use your imaginations to create wonderful pictures of family fun, loving interactions and perfect creations. Then I will post the reality of our lives and you will see frosting everywhere, messy clothing (L decided it would be fun to clap her flour covered hands and create rain to which all 3 were soon creating a storm...more of a snow storm if you ask me!), incredible kid designs that you are sure are ingenious but are left wondering exactly how to ask for clarification without crushing the budding artist within, utensils on the table, floor and of course in their mouths and non-harmonious children. Perhaps we'll just leave your imaginations working overtime......

I'm off to celebrate!

Saying Good Bye update


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Monday, October 29. 2007

At the time I wrote that post, my friend B had already passed away. He past away a couple of hours after the initial email was sent. His family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers.

Saying Good-bye


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Sunday, October 28. 2007

I got an email yesterday from a friend at the children's treatment center I had worked in for 10 years before moving here 10 years ago. She indicated that a great friend of ours from our "treatment center years" had called the center to say "good bye" He has stage 4 brain cancer.

I read the email and my heart started to break. B is such an incredible man. He and I were really good friends. I was his supervisor but I was also his friend. I was there when he battled abdominal cancer and celebrated each anniversary of being cancer free. I was their in their journey of adoption which was a very hard road. I wrote letters of recommendation and support. I was there when they held their son, only to have to give him back a few weeks later when grandparents decided to step forth and assert their rights to adopt the baby. I was there as we all celebrated when he and A brought home their beautiful little girl from Europe.

Our lives both changed direction but our friendship is still there although not as close as it once was. He moved closer to his wife's family so they could share in baby K's life. I moved here to start a new chapter of my life.

Its hard to accept he is saying "good bye" He still amazes me. I am not sure what I would do faced with knowing my days were numbered. He is choosing to reach out and reconnect one last time with those that he loved, worked with and shared part of his life journey with. Knowing me, I likely would have retreated to a corner unsure how to reach out and say those final "good byes". He has found strength and touched us all one last time. I have learned so much from him and most of it was not through the common profession of speech pathology that we shared but in finding joy in life and celebrating it to its fullest.

As I sit alone in the house as my baby sleeps and everyone else went to church, I am letting the tears roll and celebrating B and his life journey. May your final days be peaceful my dear friend. "Good bye!" You are very special and loved dearly.

Busy Times


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Sunday, October 28. 2007

We seem to be in a very busy phase as we approach the end of October. My brother-in-law J and my three year old nephew M have been visiting since Wednesday. All five kids are energetic, full of life and ready to go. It has been a lot of fun and in the late evening when they are all in bed, the three adults (and usually baby L as well) sit on the couch looking much more drained and worn out than the 5 kids did at any point in the day!

We have done the usual (work, classes, choir) and also enjoyed Halloween parties, a birthday party, the Children's Museum, special Halloween art projects and church. The weather has also been great to allow some running outside.

One of the programs I need to post pictures is not working so will have to add them later.

No rule girl


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Wednesday, October 24. 2007

Yesterday, as we were driving in the van, we were talking about spelling and discussing some of the rules. L casually announces "I really don't like any rules." It was all I could do to keep from laughing as that line pretty much sums her up right now!

Man of Rules


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Tuesday, October 23. 2007

Sunday was a busy day full of various activities (pretty much the average for us except that I was doing it alone this weekend) and had made all the arrangements necessary to have L go to something, stay later so I could pick her up after a 2 hour meeting for work, got the other three into the childcare and went to my meeting. Only issue was, the meeting had been canceled and they had forgotten to tell me. In the whole scheme of things it relaly isn't a big deal but it was frustrating nonetheless as I could have been elsewhere doing other things that were much more important on my "to do" list. After gathering everyone back up from the various child care location in the Y, I had an hour before I could go and get L. We decided to pick up a few things that I had needed but not been daring enough to tackle the "new Target" with all four kids in tow. Not sure what possessed me to think that three would be better but we went anyway.

I was really disappointed. The old Target was replaced by a new Super Target. We didn't really check out the whole store as I had limited time and budget and was focused on the items on my list. Our first problem came when trying to get a cart. All the ones with the seats for older kids had the basket seat bolted so I could either put the older two in the cart and carry the baby and push the cart or just put the baby in the cart and have the other two walk. Was Target management just not thinking when they purchased these carts? Who is their main market.....I would think parents with young kids. To not be able to pout a baby/toddler and older kids in the same cart is not a good plan. I decided to go with putting the back breaking baby in the seat in the cart and put A-girl in the basket to keep track of her. AJ started pitching a fit. "Mom!!!! You can't do that!!! It says on the cart (in pictures) that you can't put kids in the cart!!! She is going to fall out on the floor and crack her head open!!!! That is against the law!!!!' MOM!!!! You are doing it wrong!! We are going to get into trouble!!!" He voiced his displeasure through the parking lot (it was very busy so we had to park a long way off) and had everyone staring at us and smiling as we entered the store. Luckily he was distracted in the store and left his rule enforcement in check.

As we went through the store, he kept saying "can we have this?" or "Don't we need some of this?" and I kept saying to him "Its not on the list. We can put it on for next time and save money to get it" and that seemed to be an acceptable answer for him. He had a lot of wishes and desires so it seemed like I was a bit of a broken record. We got to the laundry aisle and I told him we were looking for stain remover. He yells "What are we wasting our money on that for?!?!?!" I replied "you are my number one stain maker and I need a number one stain remover to clean your clothes so that you can wear them again without them looking so dirty." As if I had just presented him with some wonderful award, he grinned and grabbed the stain remover as if it were a trophy and we proceeded to the next item on the list. As we walked down the aisle I realized that our little exchange had been a source of great humor for those also shopping nearby.

Gotta love that stage of logic/rule enforcement.

Field Trip


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Saturday, October 20. 2007

This afternoon, my co-leader and I took ten girls (8 and 9 year olds) to the apple orchard. It has rained so much of the month that it was quite a mudfest but we had a great time. They played in the hay pile, the corn crib and the wooden train. They enjoyed the hayride, roasted marshmallows and had a great time picking apples. I think perhaps they ate as many as we put in the bag!

It was odd being outside enjoying the bright sunshine, gorgeous fall colors and not sharing it with all of my family. S is away this weekend enjoying some mountain biking and the younger three were having a great time playing outside and in the leaves with A. As L said this evening, "Let's go back next year with our whole family!" I'm already looking forward to it!



Interesting Question


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Saturday, October 20. 2007

Last night, I was asked if I was going to get a divorce. Later I was told it was "just a joke" but nonetheless it had already soaked into my brain and I was thinking about it. I can seriously say that I had not ever considered that for my life at this point so perhaps it was a good thing to think about, to ponder and to reflect on.

Life with four kids is very busy. Time for S and I to talk about anything other than the basics of kid care/kid stuff is zero. S works a lot although not as much as others I know. Most of his evenings are consumed with work and volunteer work after the kids go to bed. I also over extend myself and a lot of my "spare time" that could be spent with my husband is spent in fulfilling volunteer and community service commitments. Our time alone together is non-existent. We face the same struggles that a lot of couple face in their relationships including stress over money/finances, scheduling/priority issues, parenting issues and concerns and limited resources and support for child care or completing household tasks. That being said though, neither of us is at a point to end our relationship. Of course its not perfect, but then again whose is. There are always ways to improve communication and we need to continue to grow and learn together. Marriage is not easy. Relationships are not easy in general and I believe that marriage is one of the toughest relationships to keep growing and healthy. Many people continue to be married but are not happy, not communicating and not growing together. Some relationships are too co-dependent, some too independent. Some are functional and some are dysfunctional. Some are a true relationship and some are "convenient". None are easy.

Ours holds a lot of love, respect, communication and a desire to continue to build our relationship and grow together. Is that enough? I don't know. Are we going to get divorced? I don't know that either but I do know that we are committed and devoted to our relationship, each other and our family. We are aware that needs change and our relationship needs to evolve and change as well.

I grew up in my teen years (as if those weren't hard enough on their own) as a child of separated parent/step parent for 5 years (My Mom had died prior to that marriage). The constant emotional stress and strain that was experienced by each and every one of us in our family was intense. It was horrible. I would not consciously choose to put my children through that yet if I was compromising my self or my children physically or emotionally by staying in a relationship just to be "together" it would not be appropriate either.

Marriage is personal. To look at your own relationship, to keep developing communication, developing a common path or journey is key. I can understand how things fall apart, how relationships struggle and how many end up in divorce. I understand that. I also understand that the relationships are personal and for anyone else to try and understand someone else's marriage, to compare it to theirs or to try and fix it is not going to work. One cannot judge anyone else's life journey. We can only walk beside them offering love and support. If I found myself facing the end of my marriage, I would hope that I could turn to family and friends for unconditional love and support and that they could be there to assist me with limited judgment.

All that being said, I have been adorned with 4 bracelets, 4 earrings in each ear, 4 necklaces, 5 rings and a crown and my time and attention is needed elsewhere and I need to push this question out of my mind space.....that being easier said that done.

Nice Try


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Friday, October 19. 2007

It has rained 17 of the past 19 days leaving October a very wet month. Yesterday was no exception and I drove to and from work last night in the rain. As I made my way to the car, the rain was heavy. I got in the car, and ready to start the ignition when I noticed a folded piece of paper stuck under the wiper on the driver's side of the car. I got out, took the paper and when back inside the car, I opened it. It was written in felt pen so needless to say was running and a bit hard to decipher. It read "I'm not sure if I hit your car but I noticed a black mark on your bumper. If that was not there before, please call me at......" Well I don't typically drive the car as I am the one needing 2 car seats and two booster seats which don't easily fit in a Subaru wagon so I had to ask S when I got home. Apparently the black mark was not there prior to last night. Now I just have to try and figure out what the runny numbers really are so I can call. Perhaps, I'll leave a waterproof pen attached to my car so that next time it will be easier to read a note left by someone bumping my car in the parking lot in the rain! And by the way, how do you not know if you hit a car hard enough to leave marks??????

Candy Math


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Friday, October 19. 2007

Yesterday, I was trying to find something "different" to do since I didn't have to work in the afternoon due to the fall break. We seemed to lose most of our morning to a dentist appointment for L so I was trying to figure out what we could do and I wasn't feeling very creative. I remembered an idea that a friend had shared form a conference she had recently attended. The presenter talked about Candy Math. As we left the dental appointment, I picked up three small bags of M&M's. After lunch we all enjoyed "Candy Math". We did guessing/estimation, counting, sorting, graphing, more/less, addition, subtraction, beginning multiplication and division. It was great fun to watch them working and learning together. Who would have thought that M&M's could have such educational value!









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