Wednesday, October 30, 2013

halloween 2013

this year we had a  . . .

princess/beauty queen/ ghost (after a costume change)

50's girl with a real poodle and all

a mean principal

a vampire

st. george the knight

and… i don't remember what baby j was
maybe he had on some skeleton pjs.
anyway, he was cute i'm sure.

cousins and friends came over for our annual driveway pot luck.
kids kind of ate and then ran around like crazy
we took turns taking the kids around

a beautiful arizona halloween night

Saturday, October 26, 2013

the final epic union of ruby & baxter

we knew we wanted to have one more litter of puppies. maybe next year. not any time soon.

rewind a few months to those dreadful hot 120 degrees days of summer, being over due, everyone around the house was a little on edge.

i walked in one day to a blood smear on the floor. i was a little perturbed (over due preggo mind, not the most compassionate) who is bleeding? can i leave for an hour without coming home to someone bleeding? who is bleeding? then i proceed to walk around and inspect all the children. not me! not me. they all said... well then who???

then it dawned on me. oh my gosh. it had better not be that dog!! we were unclear on when she would be in heat next... she goes into heat every 6 months. we weren't sure if it would be 6 months after her last time or 6 months after the last puppies were born. well anyway... sure enough it was her. such bad timing, we were about to leave for the hospital at any moment. someone was going to have to come and take care of our whole house & kids and now this? it was an impossible situation.

when ruby is in heat, it makes both of the dogs insane (and they are pretty much insane anyway.. this intensifies it 200%) we had to keep them separated and keep ruby diapered so she wouldn't bleed all over the floor. she is fertile for 3 weeks... that means this would be a constant struggle for 3 WEEKS. they are both big wild dogs. so when ruby needed to go out to the bathroom, we would have to get baxter inside. that was impossible. he would run away & bark because he wanted to be with ruby. and i'm talking all the time. he had no shame. he was on her like bees on

honey. it was pretty disgusting.

as i sat there and cried, paul would try to manage the dogs. he put an old pair of underwear with a big pad inside with a hole cut out for her tail on her. well, ruby could sense the tension so she was a little skiddish. when she would dash around the house, it would come off. and whenever we let her outside baxter would rip it off of her.  we thought that would deter baxter but not so much. so mumbling a few choice words under his breath about changing bloody dog pads, he decided that it would be a good idea to duct tape the diaper around her. well then when she had to go #2, he couldn't get the tape off fast enough so then he had a HUGE mess. all while both dogs are constantly barking like two young pathetic lovers desperately wanting to elope. oh boy was he happy about that.

it was a nightmare. over the top.

it was enough for us all to fall apart at the seams. with the house, the kids, work, the impending new baby... too much. if we could not handle the situation, how could we expect someone else to handle it for 3 days when we were to be gone at the hospital? AND it was 120 degrees outside!

we had to make a decision. i think paul even impulsively listed to dogs for sale. when we had no takers on that, we had to figure it out.

we decided to let them just be together. we knew that it meant our lives could once again be very complicated in a few weeks... with an 8 week old baby and puppies. but desperate times call for desperate measures. we turned on the sprinklers, undiapered the dog & let them loose in the backyard. oh man were they happy. the barking stopped. no more dog blood or poop in the house. we had to turn our heads away several times... a day. we even closed the shutters as to not traumatize the children. it was like watching the blue lagoon with dog actors. we just prayed that she wouldn't get pregnant.

alas, we were able to let it go and focus on the baby. we went into labor, natalie came and took superb care of the kids & house and threw some food out for the dogs.

we came home. all was good.

meanwhile the dogs were a hot mess. happy, but a hot mess. they were muddy from the constant sprinklers, ruby's hair was matted. they both smelled horrible.

and ruby's middle section was getting a little bigger.

we knew what was coming and paul set up ruby's birthing center. she had a home birth :)
this part was kind of fun since we had just been through it ourselves. i think paul even put on his scrubs to play the part. now the waiting game began once again.

sure enough, in the middle of the night 9 weeks later.... we heard baxter barking like a maniac. paul ran outside. he came back in and said "i think ruby is in labor." i asked why? he said "because there is one already out."

oh my.

she was under the swingset in the back yard. so much for her fancy birthing center set up inside. so we had to just wait. he would check on her every 30 min. or so.

2 more!.... 1 more..... 2 more!!.... 4 more!!!! 

10 puppies!

omg. that is so many. finally after 2 hours & no more puppies he transferred ruby and her 10 puppies inside.

she was much more comfortable this time around. a few days later we took them in to the vet & had everyone checked out. baxter got neutered and ruby will go in once her milk is all dried up. all was good.

they are adorable and the kids are in heaven playing, naming, brushing and loving the puppies.

hearts broken every time someone comes to buy one. they have thought up some new tactics this time around.

like leaving prayers taped to the door for prospective buyers to read. tying notes to specific puppies. hiding specific puppies....

paul promised the kids a trip to disneyland after all the puppies are sold. that took care of that. they got over it.

now... only a few are left.  who's in the market for a labradoodle???

Monday, October 21, 2013

milk fascinations...

after my baby boy was born

there seemed to be a lot of questions regarding 


why does the baby drink from your nipple?

why do you have milk in your nipple?

how does milk get into the refrigerator?

is that your milk or cows milk?

while playing with my squishy stomach my 3 rd. old says

"oh! i get it. your milk is in your stomach and then goes up and out of your nipple. i can feel all the milk here in your tummy!"

cute, but let's change the subject and focus from my tummy to a video about dairy farms.

we watched a few fascinating movies on my phone.

we wanted to be spontaneous

so i decided to pick up and head out to a local dairy farm.

we were not able to go into the milking stations, but we did get a hay ride, a lot of info., saw lots of farm animals and were even attacked, ok maybe threatened by lucy, the farm's aggressive goose.

get it? lucy goosey?

anyway, it was a fun hot summer day.

Friday, October 18, 2013

surviving adolescence

around 2 years ago, i started worrying about my child's sanity. the mood swings, the happy girl skipping around the house 5 min. later rolling around sobbing on the floor. the extreme ups & downs.... i decided to consult a friend who's daughter is 1 yr. older than mine. she assured me that no, there was nothing wrong with my child, but that she is probably heading into puberty.

i made it my mission to ask as many seasoned moms about this disease and how to cure it.

they laughed and said that may be the problem. it is not a disease and in fact a very important part of life to journey through. i realized if i was going to keep it cool and not lose my sanity i had better get it together. i decided then to have a special devotion to st. jude during these years. the patron saint of hopeless causes.

it reminds me, in particular, of my last two birth experiences. with #5, i had a 10 min freak out period (it wasn't really that bad, but  i didn't want to repeat it) which included a few audible bouts of "this sucks" "how much longer?" "i'm over this" "this really sucks!!" and then he was born & it was over. well with #6 i didn't want to experience those out of control feelings again. i wanted to stay "in the zone" the whole time. so when that unbearable ring of fire presented itself, on the outside i stayed "in the zone," but inside my head i remember thinking "this is ridiculous. it's like having to escape a fiery room... you have to go through the burning door to get out. that's it, no other way out. to live... you need to run through the burning door."

so i know that is the perspective i need to keep while entering this treacherous new world of pubescence. it's just that they are so unstable. they are like clumsy growing puppies. their bodies are growing and seeming more mature however their minds are not quite there yet. it's almost like they revert back. they start spilling things again, bumping into you, personal space? what's that? i think they might lose some capability of controlling the tone of their voice as well. things get REAL loud around the house... the talking, the crying, the singing, the laughing, the teasing... it's REALLY loud.

lately, i have been getting very frustrated at my sweet adult baby angel. it's as if every time we talk ends in her huffing away and my blood boiling out of my ears. spinning cartoon eyes and steam rising from the top of my head (you are welcome for the visual). i had a very weak moment the other day and casually mentioned to her that i am tired of feeling like i want to stick a knife in my eyeball after every conversation. probably not something i would want in vinyl letters on my wall. not good.

i talked to my mom and she said i really can't say things like that & that her behavior is very normal for a 13 yr. old. she reminded me that my goal in life when i was 13 was to make her life miserable.
(now i'm feeling like a terrible child and a terrible parent) i explained that is just the point. i want her to be better than me, to not make the mistakes i did as an adolescent. i want her to be a "perfect" 13 yr. old.
not good again.

i met up with a friend who also has a 13 yr. old. we shared stories and died laughing with tears streaming down our cheeks. it's just so hard to see those same eyes that sparkled at you & preferred your smile over everyone else... you are their sun and moon when they are little... are now giving you an arms folded blank stare in response to whatever you are saying to them.

i will give you an example of a recent situation that had me really worked up. and i share this not to point out my daughters behavior, but to give you an idea of exactly what i am talking about. {i asked permission from my daughter to share this story so i don't want to get any random calls from family psychiatrists}

at a recent family dinner, we had s'mores. we had a lot of children around an open fire. we really had to watch the little ones. so you can imagine my frustration when my 13 yr. old was standing in front of the fire with her marshmallow in full flame 2 inches from her face. just innocently curiously looking at it. so many things wrong with this scene... 1. hello? not a great example for the other children, 2. hello? get the fireball marshmallow away from your face, 3. hello? why?????
so of course she watches the marshmallow until it burns to a crisp and falls off of her stick. i decide to let it go in attempt to "choose my battles."  same routine with marshmallow #2. i now roll my eyes and pivot myself so that she is not in my direct line of sight. repeats the pattern again with marshmallow #3. now after marshmallow #4 i lost it. i said "enough! no more marshmallows for you. you have wasted 4 and now you are done". big performance incurs with a big "what did i do? i didn't do anything!!!" big huff & puff and dramatically walks inside the house. 2 min. later dad comes out asking what happened and why did everyone else get s'mores except for her. i decided to excuse myself from the situation and cool off at home.

now, i do realize that 13 yr. olds are capable of much more drama. i am VERY thankful that these are the types of things that drive me crazy and not other behaviors that could be much more concerning (i.e. boyfriends, drugs, drinking, general rebelliousness) but it makes me crazy anyway. i ask myself where did i go wrong? why am i such a bad mother that i can't just enjoy a little marshmallow roast without getting upset at my daughter? is she obsessed with fire? is she doing that just to make me crazy? why isn't she thinking it through? how many more marshmallows would she have gone through?

but what i needed to do was calm down. because in the big picture she really isn't doing anything wrong... maybe a little eye roll here & there, taking FOREVER to do anything and generally somewhat unorganized... but that's kind of the stereotype for teenagers. the thing that needs to change is me. my perspective.

i love that child more than anything and don't want to spend the next several years battling with her. i want to encourage, support, laugh, delight in and enjoy her. because this time is so short. while i love having little children, i know that doesn't last. most of our lives together we spend as adults. and i am very much looking forward to enjoying my kids as adults. i want to do my best in raising them and helping them to become the best they can be. but that's just it. they are who they are. i can't control who my daughter is. she has to develop that on her own. i can set an example and make lots of suggestions but she is her own person. she will have to make her own decisions. some good and some bad... but she has to make them. and i want her to be happy and confident with herself. who am i kidding... some of the choices i made as an adolescent are funny to me now... but if i think of my daughter doing those things... oh boy. not so funny. but the point is that i really enjoyed making choices. i wasn't lost or confused. i delighted in being myself. and she is her mother's daughter. she's a little eccentric & out of the box and i LOVE that! i don't want her to be dependent on me for every choice. i don't want her to feel like she needs to look to me or is incapable of making her own decisions. i want her to feel like i am a good sounding board and that she can always ask me... but that she is capable of making good choices on her own.

i have a feeling that the drama and turmoils of raising 6 teenagers are going to be pretty much the same regardless of my stress level. i need to stay calm and 'in the zone.' i may regret a lot less verbiage if i bite my tongue. it's like my 5th & 6th birth experiences. the pain was going to be the same. i wasn't getting out of that. there was no way around it. i had to get through that burning door. i could freak out and complain about it & regret it later OR i could take a breath, maintain focus and get through that burning door with a bit of grace and sanity.

me & my first baby girl. july 2000