Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day love

I love this Daddy of ours. Everyday I feel like my kids are so lucky to have the father they do. I feel like I lucked out. He loves them, he cares, he navigates parenthood with me, an active participant in their lives, and he's probably one of the most fun Dad's too (not many Dad's are also a human jungle gym). He's a good role model, expecting high standards from the kids, teaching how to be by living that way. He teaches them character, that to be the best you have to do your best, not to be a poor loser. He teaches them how to think things through, not just what to think. He is an equal participant in raising these kids with me, running this house with me, putting thought into how they're doing, how we're doing. He humors me, is my intelligent sounding board when I'm panicking, lets me sleep in even when it's not my turn. I enjoy being with him, I miss him when we're both busy. I'm glad I can say that.

That said, he didn't get much spoiling today! I did get up with the kids this morning, but at all of 8:30 I woke him up too to drag him to church, not his favorite activity. But I knew it would make my own Dad happy to have us there, so to church we went. We did go out for breakfast, then home and napped, then out to Mom and Dad's for a birthday/Father's day bbq in a crazy thunderstorm. The covered porch in the hot summer rain really was the perfect way to spend the afternoon though.

As a father's day gift we're sending him, along with his brother and his own father, to night away next weekend, followed by a golf day! I think he definitely deserves the treat day off. They should have a good time.

Love you Troy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

35 weeks. Are we there yet Poppa smurf?

I am soooo tired.

My ribs hurt. No, my ribs are burning. I can visualize my muscles pulling off my ribs I think. That must be what's happening.

And my brain is full.

Seth had 'itches on his legs' last night (aka bugbites), which kept him up, which kept me up. He crawled into our bed and could barely keep still for the scratching. He has a bugbite issue. They seem to zone in on him and eat him up ten times more than the other kids. And then he swells up like a balloon, much more so than my other two. The swelling isn't nearly as bad this year actually, he may just grow out of this yet, but the itching seems as severe as usual for him. It was torturous (although I'm sure more so for him than me really). I had had the worst time getting to sleep in the first place, my mind reeling with gallery thoughts, compounded with middle-of-the-night panic of knowing I had a big day coming up and I really needed to just sleep! So Seth is panicking and scratching and I'm panicking about the sleep I'm not getting and trying to wake Troy up to give poor Seth some sympathy and perhaps a cool cloth and some of the pink 'anti-itch' lotion, maybe we should even dig out the Benydryl? Now Troy is great at a lot of things, but waking from a deep sleep is not one of his assets. It was one of those situations where I realized in hindsight today it would have been a lot smarter, quicker, and less stressful to just get up myself.

I knew today was going to be an exhausting day for me in the best of circumstances, I was teaching art workshops all day at the elementary school for the gallery, something a little out of my norm that I felt a strong need to be well rested for! On a side note, how do you teachers survive bad days? You can't be just genuinely well-prepared every day? Being a newbie at the teaching thing, I felt like the kids would eat me up if I wasn't in top form, so I stayed up really perfecting the lesson plan and then ended up sleep-deprived anyway.

The workshops were really awesome actually, but were also as exhausting as I assumed it would be at 8 months pregnant. The kids were so great and inspiring though, really seeming to soak up what I had to show them and immerse themselves in their art. So worth the effort. We did mosaics based on the work of Jane Perkins (check out her portfolio at Blue Bower Bird) and discussed the theme of "Rejuvenation", the title of our current exhibition at the gallery, expanding it to discuss examples of artists taking the everyday and giving it new life. I bet at least some of those kids now know who Marcel DuChamp is and what his bicycle wheel did for the path of art!

The gallery has been encompassing all of my thoughts lately. Sleep is getting to be a very difficult thing to begin with, just getting comfortable enough, and thoughts of the loose ends I need to tie up at the gallery are proving impossible to turn off at night. I need to hand my newly beloved gallery over for the year for my maternity leave - eeek - at the end of next week! While I fully realize maternity leave is certainly what I want for me and baby, I feel like I have so many want to-do's, need to-do's, should do's at the gallery... panicking... need to breathe deeply. Aghh...

So today, after I finished up the school day of art workshops, Thane and I picked up groceries and then Seth and Claire from the sitters. We wound our way home in the heat, where I promptly crashed on the couch, convincing Thane to put away the frozen goods. (Again, I can't decide if oldest children get none of the breaks or just all of the life training.) As I struggled to stay coherently aware of where Claire was and what she was getting her popsicle on (so I could remember to wash it when the will to exist returned to me), Troy called and said he wouldn't be home for at least another hour.

At that point, supper for these three became whatever they could scour from the groceries that remained unpacked on the kitchen floor.

It's a good thing they're a pretty self-sufficient trio.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Does your child's caregiver do it better?

Today was a productive day, but a bit at the expense of attention paid to Seth. Claire puttered along around me while I tidied and cleaned; the kitchen, the living room, I cleaned the bathroom and dealt with renovation mess that has spilled into our living space. Eventually Claire went down for a nap and I even finally cleaned off a shelf and pile of toys that were covered in drywall dust. All the while Seth watched tv, only switching it up for video games at some point along the way. (In my defense, we did have enjoyable pb&j sandwiches on the sunny deck for lunch.) After lunch Claire apparently grabbed her blanket and joined him in front of the telly, I found her asleep in the chair when I realized it was naptime.

Midafternoon, feeling a little guilty about his lack of attention and a bit exhausted from my cleaning, I figured the least I could do would be to join him on the couch for a bit, which he really did appreciate as he showed me that Little Big Planet has levels built to be like Mario world. (Have I ever mentioned just how creatively awesome Little Big Planet is? There are the main game levels, and then trillions of levels built by other players all over the world. Truly amazing, but I digress.) As we chatted, he was enjoying the snuggle and said "You're the best mommy I ever had"... wait for it... "even when you yell at me". To which I felt the need to defend myself, "Well, thank you Seth! I love you too... you know I only yell when you guys aren't listening to me and I want you to do what I'm asking you to do, right?".

'Cause that makes more sense than the yelling for no reason yelling. 

"You know I love you all the time right?" I sounded like a public service ad against abusive boyfriends, the kinds that suck up when not yelling. To which Seth happily said "I know!"

Good, he knows I love him even when I suck.

"Joanne doesn't yell at her kids when they aren't listening."


Joanne is our babysitter. Seth and Claire go there two days a week. We love her. I can believe that she probably really does never yell. She takes care of children because she just oozes love for them. And it's not a sign of a lack of discipline, somehow, she even gets them to listen too.

I know the tricks. I know how to get down to their level, speak to them from near instead of at them from afar, work on empathy and teach them how to reason how other people feel. I can talk the talk. In public, I'm generally not the one to lose control. I don't panic in stores, I don't lose it when my children are melting down on me.

But I generally don't take the kids in public when I'm tired. If I'm taking the whole crew somewhere alone, I generally try to time it so I, and they, are capable of being patient and well-behaved. I try to make sure we're well fed and I'm also well coffee-d so as to be as reasonable as possible and generally prepared to be 'public-worthy'. I'm pretty good at recognizing when I'm asking too much, at being patient when one of them misbehaves because they need a nap and I've just kept them out too long.

It's those moments at home, more frequently lately in moments like now with this big pregnant belly, when I feel tired or unprepared, when everyone's hungry and tired as well and I haven't planned supper and we need groceries. When I'm trying to get a project done, laundry done, or them off the tv and it's been raining for three days. Or Thane's had a long weekend and I forgot to plan any extra things to get his energy out. When we're late and trying to get out the door and someone has lost one shoe and someone else has no clean socks.

That's when I yell. That's when I forget all the count-to-10, take a deep breath goodness that I am well aware of, and yell instead.

Sometimes, when my house is really messy and disorganized and I feel like a bad role model, or a conversation like this happens and reminds me how frequently I lose my cool, and I'm hit point blank that there really are moms out there who are so much more patient and yell less than I, and I just wish I had that part of the mom gene. I would really like to have the 'quiet mom' gene. I hope the kids will remember someday all my good points, my really great mom points that I know I have, and not just remember the yelling crazy eyed Mom.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Itty bitty newbie babes

I've been thinking about baby pictures. I think I might schedule a newborn baby shoot, I've never had really newbie ones done of any of my babies. I've heard within the first two weeks is best for the sleepy oh-so-small pictures. Look at these ones on Design Mom. They're of June, her 6th baby. The shelf one not only makes me want a newbie baby shoot, but for my shelves to be that pretty and color coordinated! The Blair family of six makes me feel not so crazy at only four children. I love the picture of all six of their children together. It completely captures the essence of big families, the love and the crazy combined. I'd like to get one like that of my gaggle, it's not an easy task!

These pictures are by a photographer local to me here in NB, Heather Wilkinson, of my friends new baby boy Jack. Isn't the one by the river so sweet? Moses incarnate.

Why do you think we find baby's in odd places so fascinating and perfect? In bowls, on bookshelves, hanging in little knitted hammocks. Do you think it's just because it's amazing how small they are? The fact that they are so small they can fit in a bowl?

These ones are in the delivery room, straight out of the womb this little guy. This photographer, Pam Tomen, has done a lot of our family photos, including my pregnancy shots from the last post. What do you think of delivery photos? I'm personally all about as few people in the room as possible and really have no desire to have my friends and family capture the whole experience. I think both of my sisters have had my mother there with them, but it's always just been Troy and I, and what seems like a trillion doctors and nurses of course. I've actually put a lot of thought into delivering at home for this reason actually, just Troy and I would suit me just fine. You know what I can't get past? Labor is a messy business, and I totally wouldn't want to have to deal with that at home! Ridiculous, I know. I'm not up for having my kids there either, I'm not convinced that it wouldn't be more scary than amazing for them. What do you think?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bauhaus wife

I think this is the most beautiful pregnant shot I have ever seen.

I am aquainted with this woman through the gallery, she and her husband are both artists and she is so very inspiring - check out her blog: bauhauswife. Their way of life makes me want to do better. At the very least turn off the tv.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The belly shots

I'm back, haven't disappeared forever. I'm fighting desperately against the blog recession I fear is coming, I apologize ahead of time if it does. I'm tired and not feeling as pensive as usual, maybe I'm low on iron, maybe it's just my usual almost 8 month pregnant-itis.

What do you think of pregnancy pictures? I had taken these shots taken with my boys last time, when I was expecting Claire. They turned out beautifully, but I don't feel the need for them again during this pregnancy. I am so over enjoying the beauty of pregnancy! Can I just tap out now please?

Last time my sister and I were both expecting at the same time, that last picture and the next are of our bellies together. Her little Gracyn was born at the end of August, and Claire mid September, just three weeks apart. At the time I couldn't decide if I liked them or not, what do you think? I do really like my pregnant belly, I always carry so low and in front (for my boys and girl), it's one of those basketball bellies. When I stop and quit complaining it really does amaze me how we can grow a person in there. A whole person. 

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