Saturday, July 05, 2014

"Luckiest" Girl in the World


I really hate the expression "he made me the luckiest girl in the world". This man, this birthday man of mine, this good man, he works hard at loving me. I work hard at loving him. We work hard at loving our family. Of course there are easy moments, there are beautiful moments, there are hilarious moments. There are also, buckets and buckets of work.

This good man, this birthday man is celebrating his birthday today by hanging out with his family. That is hard for him to do. Being still is hard. Not getting jobs out on the farm done is hard. Being around the founts of energy that are our children, on a rainy day is hard. Prioritizing what is best, not what is easiest is hard.

It's not luck. Our marriage, our 13 years together is not made up of luck. We challenge each other, we bring out the best --and the worst--in each other. We love each other madly, and sometimes, we love each other mad. This man, this good man, and I stay together because we choose to stay together.

I am so thankful for this man, this good man who chooses each day to carry on loving us in the best ways he can. This man has been by me through five pregnancies, and five births, and ten years of breastfeeding and diaper changing. He was there for me the times I had to be on bedrest. He stands by me when I'm sick, when I'm tired, when I doubt myself.

He comes along slowly, warily but surely, when I decide we're not going to spank anymore. He tries. He supports when I start new ventures, when I try new things, when I dare.

This man, this good man, is celebrating his birthday today by going to Menard's to buy things like brackets and bathtub plugs. He's celebrating by corralling small children at the steak house. He's celebrating by doing art with younglings. He's celebrating by heating up leftovers, selling a mattress, getting a candle in his ice cream, and brushing teeth.

He could choose to be out with buddies, drinking at a bar, or flying thousand dollar remote controlled helicopters, or playing golf. He could choose to be at work and not be home for dinner.He could choose to look at other women, or flirt with them, or more. He could choose to be emotionally unavailable to me and our children because facing your feelings is a hard thing. He could choose dishonesty. He could choose distance. He could choose solitude. He could choose an easy peacefulness that doesn't include five rambunctious children and a sometimes contentious wife.

But he doesn't. He chooses me. Every day. He chooses us.
I am the luckiest girl in the world, but then again, it's not luck. 
Happy birthday, my loving man.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Absolutely Amazing Home Birth of Babe E



I'm sharing this video for several reasons.

One:  Because it's awesome.

Two: I want to educate people on natural birth. Women were created to do this! (Not just this, but you know what I mean). I want people to know that even though it's hard, and even though it can hurt, women CAN do this!

Three: My first birth was a Cesarean. That means I've had four VBACs, three out of hospital. VBACs are safe and should be encouraged.

Four: After Elivette was born, I had uterine clotting and bleeding. I lost a lot of blood and fainted. My midwife gently removed the clots, and administered oral Cytotec to clamp down my uterus. My midwife called 911 and I went to the hospital in the ambulance about two hours after the birth. My blood pressure was almost non-existent upon arrival. The ER doctor on call flipped out on me. At one point, he panickedly yelled at me "Do you just want me to take you back and do a hysterectomy right now?!" What kind of question is that for a medical professional to ask; especially to a woman in my weakened state? I knew my midwife had given me medicine at home, but I was unclear at the time exactly what it was. All I wanted was for him to wait until she arrived so I didn't end up with some sort of drug reaction.

After my midwife arrived at the ER, we got the OB on call to come down. She removed (NOT GENTLY) still more clots from my uterus. I remember screaming and writhing. It was much worse than anything I'd ever been through. I had been loud during the birth, but now I was really screaming! Then, after she got down off of me, they gave me morphine for the pain. A little late, I'd say. I was also hooked up to Pitocin.

I was thankful at least I got to nurse my baby in the ER.



They wouldn't let me eat. Once I got admitted, they made me stay awake and answer all these ridiculous questions for their intake forms. They wouldn't let me eat! I just had a baby and they wouldn't let me eat! I had to be on the surgical floor (I think) because since my baby was born at home, apparently she's contaminated and can't be in the Mother/Baby unit. The nurses were as kind as could be and very curious about home birth. I didn't really want to talk though; I just wanted to sleep! And eat!

The next morning, the OB came back to check on me. She told me that my midwife did everything right. My home birth midwife saved my life. She told me that while it was good we transferred, in case I needed a blood transfusion, the her actions and the actions of the ER doctor and the hospital staff are not what saved my life. My home birth midwife saved my life.

I reiterate this because I want it known that home birth is safe. Home birth, even when there's an emergency, is safe.

I want people to know that moving birth out of homes and into the hospital in the 21st century is much less about safety as they are led to believe, and more about money. Absolutely, there are instances where you need to be in the hospital--my first birth was one of those. But in the vast majority of cases, for the vast majority of women, it's unnecessary.

Welcome Home banner the girls made for me.

Meeting biggest brother

Meeting big brother


Five: I want to encourage other expectant moms out there with this video. I loved watching youtube videos of birth while expecting because I felt it helped me be more prepared. It could happen this way, or that way, or some way I'd never anticipated. I loved watching the miracle of mamas bringing their little ones into the world. My baby was malpositioned, and it was difficult, but the euphoria of being able to bring her earthside is unparalleled.

Six: Our birth stories matter. Birth matters. Helping women have a "good story" or even, the story they want is important to me. I hope that this video encourages someone to have a natural birth and to be able to say "I did it!"

Because you can!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Greetings from the Farm Fresh Family


We were all dressed up and looking dapper. So I had my mom snap a few pictures of us in the yard. That went well. (Depending on your definition of well)

 I love looking at pictures of my sweet family. No one is talking. Still a lot of movement though. ;)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Allergies and Farming

Yesterday when I was mowing the lawn, dandelion fluff blowing in my face, the smell of freshly mown grass filling my nose, I was thinking to myself all smug-like, "I should really let people know how awesome this is. I used to get allergy shots. I used to have to take medicine on a regular basis. I used to be non-functional until my allergy medicine kicked in, and even then I was moderately miserable. I used to not even be able to BE in the yard when someone was mowing, let alone mow it myself." 


"Now look at me," I inwardly bragged, "I'm treating my allergies on a strictly as needed basis, with essential oils, and I can be outside whenever I want, and I can even mow the grass!"

I had mown a couple of times last year with no ill effects.

I certainly wasn't expecting to be bedridden today!

I woke up feeling stuffier than usual, but I felt a little better after a couple of "allergy bombs" --2 drops each of lemon, peppermint and lavender essential oils. 

But as the day wore on, I got sicker and sicker. Now my nose is running like a faucet and I'm sneezing 10 times at a go. My face hurts. My body aches. My head hurts. My throat hurts and my palate itches. I'm a mess. 

I went for the prescription strength meds and the over the counter meds. Still no improvement. 

I am seriously never mowing again.

I just wanted to help my incredibly busy and amazing husband who, right now, took all the kids, who have been fairly owly today, and a pizza down to play on the riverfront. 

Guess I'll have to think of indoor ways of assistance. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Day (in status updates)

Passion really is better than coffee.

It's a DRINK! Get your mind out of the gutter.

Only one out of five screaming and neck clinging when I dropped them off at Grandma's. We're getting better.

Hey! I'm not late!

Getting fillings isn't so bad when you can watch The Princess Bride.

Never had a leg wax in someone's living room. I'll go back. And next time I'll stop at the ATM first.

Six avocados. Five pounds of freshly sliced meats. Four cucumbers. Three cauliflower heads. Two tubs of spinach. And one healthier mama. (Hopefully).

Picked up my sister-in-law at the doctor. Slightly jealous that she always looks amazing, despite spending the weekend in the hospital, and the week flat on her back with an agonizing spinal headache. Glad she's feeling better.

"I'm gonna go mow." Yes, I really said that. And I really did that.

Mowing's stupid.

We have too much yard.

Still mowing.

Somebody needs some sheep!

Chatting--with MIL.

Oops! Time to leave again. Kuk Sool. Construction. Not even late. I totally rule.

"Mama! I want to climb that light pole!" This about sums up the energy level at Goodwill.

And your aisle's entertainment will be provided by sword fights with wrapping paper. Stop laughing, fellow customers, you're just encouraging them!

Goodwill Good Deals: For Kevin: Tommy Bahama silk shirt, Banana Republic shorts, J. Crew jeans and a couple pairs of shorts for work
                                  For me: VS Pink capris, questionably authentic Gucci handbag, and UGGS
                                  For Aviana: a couple of Gap swimsuits, and Iowa State tanktop and a pair of sandals                                   For Denton: a pair of Merrells
                                  For Elivette: a cute Carter's outfit
                                  For Brielle: four black tops to wear under her Kuk Sool uniform, which is the whole reason why we went there in the first place
                                 For Cadrian: NOTHING--and he's the one who really needs shoes ( I have a theory that five year old boys wear out all the clothes, so there are never any for me to buy)

Waving  excitedly to all the people in the grocery store parking lot while 9 yo runs in for the almond milk I forgot earlier. Yes. That was us.

We love singing along to the Best of Broadway CD all the way home! (although, I question the truth of The Best)

Make your children's day and stop by the lake a mile from your house to pee and strut about to "If I were a rich man".

Kevin doing bedtime = priceless

Nursing runny nosed toddlers is possibly the grodiest thing ever.

Cutting husband's hair and it's not the day of the wedding we're going to...again with the "I totally rule".

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Farm Funnies

Aviana, age 9, bursts into the bathroom where I'm, ahem, doing bathroom things.
"MAMA!" she bellows, "Mama!"
"What?!"alarmed,  I am forced to answer, wondering why I can't seem to remember to ALWAYS lock the door.
"Stamps are now 49 cents!"

**************

Cadrian, age 5, to our chiropractor.

Did you buy that table put togevvewr awweady or did it come in a box and you put it togevvewr?
I bought it put together already.
*pause, thinking this over*
When you die, can I have it?

***************

Cadrian, as we're driving to the park:
Can we go swimming?
No, not today.
Can we go to a friend's house?
No, not today.
Can we go to that park?
No, that's a school, we can't go there until the schoolchildren go home.
Can we go to that park? (indicating the one we're heading to)
Yes! Yes we can!
UGH! NO! I don't want to!

*****************

Denton, 3, riding his tractor around and around the lawn chair where I'm sitting outside.
"Know what I hate?"
"What?" I respond, internally exasperated to hear another thing this kid hates.
"When you're sitting down wifout me."



Monday, May 26, 2014

Gardening Together With Children

I really should not read.

It fills my head with all sorts of un-executable ideas and grandiose plans, and frankly, drives my husband nuts.

I just LOVE this book: Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots . It's chock full of great ideas for gardening with your children. I love the watercolor illustrations, quotes and poetry. Some of the ideas make me want to go till up the front yard right now to create A Garden of Giants or A Flowery Maze.

I want to turn our old whiskey barrel into a water garden.  I want to make a sweet little garden in my holey old purple rubber boots filled with parsley, chamomile, Easter Egg radishes and Thumbelina carrots.

I can tell you how that will go in real life. I would put dirt in my old boots. Small children would see this and fill their every day boots, and probably Dada's with dirt. I may or may not get the seeds planted. I would set the boots on the front step to grow. I'd probably forget to water them. Something may sprout. One day some child would see the boots, filled with dirt and half alive seedlings and they would decide to put them on, and have soil filled boots up to their thighs. And then another child would decide a hose was necessary, because, really, the hose is always necessary, and fill the boots with water, in addition to the first child's legs, and the soil, and the seedlings. Then when they tired of that, they would somehow extricate said legs from the mud boots and come into the house. Probably across the cream carpet. And the beautiful little miniature garden in process would get thrown into the yard and get run over with the mower.

Possibly. I could be wrong.

I can tell you how gardening went today.

I Square Foot Garden. Kevin thinks it's kind of silly because we have ALL THIS SPACE, and I want to truncate my garden to fit in the sunny spot right under the windmill, next to the clothesline. I do it like this because it's close to where I am all the time. It's near the spigot so I can water conveniently. When I had the traditional farm wife garden, out in the middle of the side yard, I never went over there, to weed or water. Let's just say nothing really grew. Except weeds.

I've been really happy with my little Square Foot Garden. I don't grow enough to can or store for the winter, but I'm not really in a stage where I can do that anyway. If I tried to put that kind of pressure on myself, I'd be miserable, and so would my chiddlers.

Anyway. It's the 26th of May, Memorial Day. It rained last night so Kevin took a little time off to help me with the garden. My parents took the older three to a Memorial Day service, so we thought the timing was perfect. The parent-child ratio was 1-1. It doesn't get a lot better than that over here.

 I needed to mix more of the "Mel's Mix"--compost, vermiculite and peat moss--this is supposed to help keep the garden weed free. We had stopped and bought some seedlings yesterday, and I had saved some seeds from last year (we'll see if they grow...). Kevin helped me find the tools I needed. One of the frustrating things about my life is I can NEVER find anything when I need tools. Kevin just doesn't have a "spot" for stuff. And even though I DO, the chiddlers don't, so when they can't find their tools, they abscond with mine. I'm locking my new ones up.

We took off the lattice to mark the squares, raked off the leaves and accumulated debris, raked up the soil that was still there, mixed the "Mel's Mix" in the wheelbarrow, and applied it to the boxes. Then he filled my new box with field soil. He had read of a way to garden where you just plant your seeds in holes in landscaping fabric, so we're trying that. (Again with the reading ;) ) I brought out my seeds, which had been stored in plastic Easter eggs (I read somewhere that it is an easy idea to store them this way), and planted some of them.

Sounds simple. Relaxing. Working side by side peacefully with my handsome husband.

I left out this part:

 "Denton, stop! Don't dump the nails!"
"Where dis goes?"
 "Watch out Elivette! Stay back! I'm shoveling here!"
"What cuh-wer is dis pwant?"
 "Nooo!"
 "Here, go shovel in this box!"
"Why we do dis?"
 "Don't stand on the cilantro!"
 "Why da 'slantrwo hewre?"
 "Uh-oh!"
 "Elivette has the hammwer."
 "Here, Denton, you can pull out this nail."
"Why we need dis?"
"Leave the fabric alone!"

watering the seeds
"I dist move dis."
"Don't put your sister in the tomato cage! You'll poke her eyes out!"
"What dis for?"
"What you wooking fowr? Dis?"
 "IN the box. Keep the dirt IN the box."
"When it my turwn?"
 "Here, you can help me dig this hole. "
"I put da wadish seeds hewre?"
"Watch out for that rake!"
"Ugh! I want to pwant dem awll!"
"We can't dump out all the seeds, Elivette."
"When dey gwo?"
"Let's not open all the Easter eggs"
"Dis many carrwot seeds?"
 "Ugh. I just swallowed a gnat."

 Giving children the joy and wonder of reconnecting with nature? Introducing children to the pleasures of gardening? Cultivating wonder?

smelling the basil
Hopefully.