Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jane's Plan for This Winter

Jane: 'Today I am going to eat LOTS and LOTS of food, so that I can start hibernating tomorrow. I want someone to wake me up in time for Sinterklaas, and I will stay awake for a few days, so that I can play with my toys. Then I will go back to hibernating till it is time for Christmas.' Sylvia's reply 'YOU don't play with your toys!!!' totally skipping the whole hibernating issue :)



Tara's observation: 'I wonder what is going to happen when Jane finds out she can't stay asleep.'

Help me!

Overheard while Sylvia was playing:

'Help me, help me!!!'
'Why do you need help?'
'Because!'

All with the correct intonations.

Cees went over to check out what she was doing 'Hi Sylvia, what are you doing?'
Sylvia 'I am playing dollies!'

I love hearing those pretend plays, sounds really cute.

Not only...

did we do all the shopping, but the kids also did all the wrapping tonight! Wow! We are so amazingly organized, what happened?

We ran out of wrapping paper, but the kids found creative other ways to wrap the presents. They were willing to do anything to avoid another christmas shopping trip ^^.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Phew!

Today was kind of crazy. Started out with having to pick up my van, then take two kids to the dentist, make a stop a the bank, and at the post office. After the dentist, we went grocery shopping and got quite a lot of groceries. I stayed in the car while the kids did all the work, now that was nice ^^

Quick break at home, some lunch and off to do Sinterklaas and Christmas shopping. We stopped at a few stores, but I now can say that Christmas shopping has been DONE! Now we just need to wrap the 5,000 things we got. I figured if I had to get all the christmas things, could at least get it over in one big swoop.

Best stop was at Sears. I came in on my crutches, seven kids in tow, and took a quick look at some stoves. It didn't take long for someone to notice us and realize I would be happy to spend a lot of money here. A friend had been doing research on stoves for me yesterday, so it was a fast decision. Just spent time handing over my credit card and fill in paperwork. On Friday, it will be delivered! I will have an oven again.

We decided to get take out Chinese after all that shopping, nobody felt like cooking. And now things finally have calmed down, Sylvia even is asleep already. Full day, but I am happy that I got all the shopping done.

Oh, I did manage to get my credit card blocked by all this spending, the bank called and asked whether we really were spending THAT much money?? (paraphrased) Hubby assured them that it all was our purchases and got it unblocked, just in time for me to use it at the Chinese restaurant.

Monday, November 27, 2006

MY Mommy!

Sylvia is growing up. When my friend Mosaica comes over, she often jokes 'MY mama!' pointing at me. Sylvia always replies with a very vehement 'NO!!! MY MAMA!!!'

Last time when she came over, Mosaica yet again went 'MY mama!' To which Sylvia calmly replied 'It is MY mommy too! And Kate's mama! And Erik's mama! And Lala's mama!' Very surprising.

She sure is growing up, she is learning to share. Amazing.



One thing she hasn't figured out yet is how to read. She used to be happy to just sit with a book and look at pictures. But for the last few months, I often see her sit with a book, and after a few pages disgustedly putting it away, muttering to herself 'I cannot READ this!' She is very annoyed that she hasn't mastered that skill yet.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Falling Apart

I think reading Chris has been bad for me, somehow she has infected our house with her superior skill at destroying things.

Let's make a list of what she did to us.
  1. Hubby's car is sometimes broken, sometimes not. It works fine about half of the time, especially if you get it into the garage to get fixed. It does not want to start the other half of the time.
  2. Our upstairs bath room flooded once again with a big mess.
  3. The other bath room upstairs had a broken 'flusher thingy' so is unusable right now.
  4. My car is smoking and squealing, will have to be fixed next week and can't be used now.
  5. Cees had his first real work day at McDonalds and after a few hours, came home sick. (Can I blame Chris for that too? I am sure I can somehow)
  6. My oven seems to not be working very well anymore, or I REALLY suck at baking bread (don't bother answering that one)
  7. One of the burners of my stove has permanently stopped working.
I KNEW I should have disinfected my computer, but figured it wouldn't happen to us. I think Chris's blog should have a warning label!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Quote of the Day

Kate: 'What are you making?'
Tara: 'More cupcakes.'
Kate: 'YEAH!!!!!!!! We need LOTS of cupcakes for Thanksgiving!'

My kids have their priorities right ^^

We have home baked chocolate cookies too, Tim baked those yesterday. It is such a blessing to have kids old enough to do all those things without any assistance.

May your Thanksgiving be as good as ours.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Love is...

Getting an unexpected package in the mail from a good friend. Opening it in happy anticipation and finding this:



Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. What a wonderful surprise. Browsing through the book makes me smile at the cupcakes ABC, and drool over all the good sounding recipes. Who could resist apple cider cupcakes, or rum raisin cupcakes with rum glaze and rummy buttercream. Who wouldn't want to indulge on green tea cupcakes with green tea glaze and almond flowers, or hazelnut cupcakes with mocha hazelnut mousse filling?

Yesterday, we went grocery shopping and made sure to get some ingredients to make cupcakes for Thanksgiving. Today, Tara baked peanutbutter cupcakes and decorated them very beautifully:



Tomorrow, she is planning on baking the chocolate mint cupcakes. I can taste the goodness already, just thinking about it.

I feel very loved.

Thank you, my dear friend!

Happy Love Thursday and have a good Thanksgiving if you celebrate.

Good Leg News!

Saw the dr today and got xrays. The fracture is healing well, no displacement and there is new bone growth visible. I even have official permission to put some weight on it over the next three weeks, as long as I use my crutches. He said I was way ahead of the game, because I had been putting some weight on it already. I had been slowly testing it, and figured out what I could and could not do with it.

I still am supposed to keep it elevated, but that is driving me batty, so I might mostly ignore that part of the instructions. The swelling is going down anyway, no need to hurry it.

The picture shows where I found Sylvia relaxing:



She was just hanging out, pondering life, the universe, and everything.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sign of the Day

What to do if you feel like eating only half a kiwi.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saving The Day the Roomba Way!

Sending a big thank you to Want Not. Two weeks ago, she told us about the Friday sale at Amazon, which included a great deal on a Roomba. The little cute robot which runs circles through your room and vacuums it. I had told the kids about it, so they were very excited when Roomba arrived.



It didn't take long to tear open the box and find the treasure inside.



I used to enjoy putting together things like that , but no way I got any chance to touch it. The kids were way too much into it ^^



All the appropriate warnings were heeded.



And it wasn't long before Roomba was desperately trying to clean our living room floor.



I feel sorry for the little creature. Not sure whether it was designed for a nine person household with sooooo much mess. I am sure it had hoped to be adopted by some nice, upscale, urban, single guy. It often sends sad little beeps about the state of our floor and the annoyance of all the obstacles.

But I have to admit that this is a seriously cool gadget with a high kids entertainment value. It is doing a pretty good job cleaning too. It is not perfect, but it sure is more perfect than when nobody vacuums the floor (which happened more often than you would like to know).

The kids have scheduled it so that it will clean the living room every night at 2:30am. It is cool when I am still studying go, and I hear Roomba working on the living room.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fifteen Years!

Fifteen years ago, Cees was born. It was a dark and stormy night, three weeks past my due date, and the midwife had sent me home with instructions of how to take castor oil. She told me to put it in strong coffee and gulp it down that way. I added lots of sugar to it, but it still wasn't very pleasurable.



The effects weren't very pleasurable either. I first thought nothing was happening, but later spent a lot of time in the bath room. I was sure the cramps I was feeling was labor, but when I called the midwife she didn't agree. She came, checked me out and told me to get a good nights of sleep, so I could get to the hospital the next morning to get induced. At that point I was not dilated at all yet. I figured I would be in for a long labor. Heck, I convinced myself I wasn't even in labor.



I went to bed. I tried to sleep. Really, I tried so hard. But bathroom breaks and contractions were keeping me awake. Very awake. I spent a lot of time screaming, and I knew this was going to be my last baby. No way I would ever go through this again!



Eventually I gave up and took a bath. This helped with the pain, but now things changed. I had to push! Not only that, but the bag of water bulged out every single time I pushed (or actually tried not to push).



Around 4:30am, the midwife came back, got me out of the bath on the bed, and in a few pushes Cees was born. OMG! I had a baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somehow the concept had been very unreal to me my whole pregnancy. I knew it with my head, but seeing him in person was very very very different.



His breathing sounded weird, lots of stridor, so we transported to the hospital. He spent two weeks there, and we found out he has laryngomalacia and tracheostenosis. Or a 'floppy larynx' and a narrowed airway in non-medical speak.



Breastfeeding him was not easy, I almost gave up in despair, but somehow it all worked out. He did throw up a lot, about seven or eight times a day for the first few years of his life. You have no idea how much laundry can get generated by such a small baby.



Now he is fifteen years old. And I had six other babies after all, so Cees's labor was not too traumatic ^^



He had a good birthday, lots of junk food and presents. I had bought special candles for his cake, the ones which relight themselves again when you blow them out. He made it even more funny by arranging them in a pentagram shape. Everyone was suitably impressed with the candles. I hadn't told anyone, so it quite a suprise and lots of hilarity.



We had dinner at McDonalds, where my kids did a great job of making a circus act of themselves. I am glad it wasn't too crowded. At some point, Erik jumped up and yelled something. Kate shushed him 'ERIK!!! YOu are so embarrassing!!!!' The bigger kids were making up all kinds of outrageous stories, it was... interesting.

Amazing how fast he grew up from the tiny baby to the teenager he is now. Time flies like bananas.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Freedom!

The foot still looks pretty awful, but the good news is that I drove my car again today!



I had worried about getting in the car, but it actually was easier than I expected. It was so good to drive around again, being able to go wherever I want! I chose go club :)

The foot still is pretty swollen, and hurts, but it feels like it is healing. I have a dr appointment on the 22nd, when we will take new xrays. It will be interesting to see how much it has healed already.

Today, a friend helpfully told me that I least I would develop a lot of upper body strength. Yeah, I guess he is right. To prove that, I did a series of sixty-five one - legged pushups with Cees. Not all at the same time, but still feel good about it.

Sylvia also wants to do pushups, and it is fun to see how she does them one-legged, just like mama and Cees. She is sure that that is the right way to do pushups ^^

Thursday, November 16, 2006

ARGH!!!

Yet another bathroom flood. No idea what Erik did, but he managed to flood a whole bathroom and part of the basement... Yes, the part where there was a blanket on the floor, so that is wet now too.

So much mess, so much laundry, and so much frustration about not being able to do anything useful. Blech. The kids have it under control now, but you have no idea how badly I just wanted to do it myself!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Love is...

Love is taking care of your sick baby sister. Lovingly feeding her spoonfulls of water.



Hanging out with her when she is laying down to rest.



Pushing her around the house in her stroller.



Checking on her to see whether she is ok.



And this all is made even more special by the fact that said baby sister is not even sick...



Seeing me on crutches has motivated them to play lots of hospital, nurse, and sick baby pretend situations. My crutches often are borrowed to practice walking with them. Not sure whether they are planning on breaking legs too ^^ They'd better not!

Happy Love Thursday!

Don't Worry, Mama!

This morning, when I got out of bed.
Sylvia: 'I will get your crunches, mama!'
Me: 'Thank you! Do you think you could take that pair of pants off the floor for me?'
Sylvia: 'I did it!'
Me: 'Thanks, that's great.'
Sylvia, reassuringly: 'Don't worry, mama. You won't fall!'

Quiet in the house, the oldest four have gone off to homeschool club. Sylvia is awake, and trying to wake up Kate and Erik. I have tea, but not gone through the trouble of making myself breakfast yet, I guess I should. OTOH, I did get a bunch of one-legged pushups in already, courtesy of Cees :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What do I Want for Christmas???

This morning, Sylvia was asking herself: 'What do I Want for Christmas??? ' After thinking about it for a few seconds she knew: 'I want NAIL polish!' 'Seven different kinds!'

Um... Makes you wonder where a 2yo gets the idea of asking for nail polish. Couldn't be her big sisters, could it?

Bread!

Just a small thing, but yesterday, I did bake bread again. It's a pain to do without having the use of two legs, but I managed (with some kids and friends help). I feel good about it, and the family is thrilled. At least half of the four loaves have been eaten already, I might have to bake again soon.

Today is a rainy, gloomy day. I spent most of my morning doing go problems, and did yoga after breakfast (Tara made me do it ^^). Now studying other go, instead of playing mindless blitz games like the rest of the week. I need to get more grounded, I miss my aikido and my walking.



This is a picture of Sylvia eating breakfast. Kate had set her up with placemat and cute little dishes. Sylvia was thrilled. The kids have been really helpful through all this, but I am sooooooo ready to go back to 'normal'. Or whatever we call normal around here :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Child Labor

Today, Cees applied for his very first job. To prove it, we have an 'Employer's Request for Child Labor' form sitting here, to be handed in to our high school. I am sure you all are wondering where he is going to work. Let me give you a hint: 'Do you want fries with that?'

Indeed, I am now the proud parent of an almost-employee of McDonalds ^^ They grow up so fast.

He only can work on the weekends, which means he cannot ride the bus (our buses only ride on weekdays). So one of us will have to get him there and back. Oh well.

He practiced for his new job by buying frozen french fries, so that he can prepare them at home :)



This is a picture of one of the cakes the girls made last week. It tasted very good. More child labor ^^.

No Wonder It Hurts...

Today, I mostly managed to do without pain killers, but had to give in at night.



When I took off the splint to see what was going on, I realized why it was hurting so much.



It is very impressively bruised now, this is new. I guess should try to find some arnica. It still is very swollen too, I had hoped it would be less by now. I guess should have believed the dr when he said two weeks. Two weeks for the swelling to go down, not two weeks till healing.

Friday, November 10, 2006

One Legged Push Ups...

Before all this happened, Cees and I had been doing 'friendly' push-up contests. Friendly as in 'Are you ready to be crushed???' 'I am going to pound you into dogmeat!'

When I broke my leg, I told him that I wouldn't be able to do this for a while. But my kids all assured me 'No problem! You can just do one-legged push-ups.' Immediately jumping to the floor and showing me how they easily could do one-legged push-ups. Yes, I had 3 or 4 of my kids on the floor doing those.

For a few days, I was able to use my leg as an excuse, but today, I felt I should stop whining about it and just see whether I could do the darned pushups. Amazingly enough, it was not as hard as I thought. My big problem is that my one foot slips, so I kind of automatically stop when my foot slips too far. But still, I ended up doing thirty push-ups all together! (not in one batch)

After that, we found a yoga book and looked for poses which were do-able with a broken leg. We had fun doing those for a while. Now I am back at the computer, being lazy :)

Momentum

Let's take this theoritical situation:

Object 1
: Person on crutches
Object 2: Plastic container, half filled with tea
Object 3: Sink, just far enough away that it is not reachable for the person on crutches

Proposed experiment: Throw Object 2 into Object 3, so that crutches do not need to be used. It's the smart way to do it.

Expected outcome
: Object 2 lands in object 3, and all is well.

Real world outcome: Object 2 lands in object 3, and the contents of object 2 splatter all over all the walls behind the sink... Object 1 stares at the wall and is impressed with the amount of mess can be made by a half container of tea.

Conclusion
: Momentum still does exist.

Mind you, this is all hypothetical, not like anything like that would ever happen at my house.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sigh

Good news on the leg, but lots of other stress. Yesterday, Tim threw up and had dhiarrea and needed his bed changed (the top bed of bunk beds). Hubby was not happy to have to deal with that. Later, we had a bad flood (yes from a toilet) in a bathroom upstairs. Another not-happy cleanup.

Today Erik was throwing up, but luckily hubby was off to work. I had some people over for an attachment parenting meeting. The moms with their first kids immediately left after they heard Erik was throwing up... Well, at least my friends stayed and helped me some around the house, even cleaning up after Erik. It is soooooooo frustrating not to be able to do simple things like that.

Tonight Sylvia peed on hubby, and he was annoyed already before that. He is not very good at dealing with stress, and he suddenly has to do a lot more around the house than usual. I wish I could do more. In a way it is easier when he is off to work and I have the kids and friends to help.

Good thing was go club today. A friend drove me there (still haven't figured out how to get into my monster van while being on crutches) and I had a wonderful time. It was good to be out for a few hours, away from all the chaos and stress at home. Erik was fine by the time I left, it was one of those few-hours deals. I hope we don't get too many other sick kids. Not like I needed any more laundry.

Good News on My Leg

Today, I saw the orthopedic doctor. His office is totally plastered with pictures of hip replacement, knee replacement, back surgery, and more uplifting things. My fracture looked like such a nonsense, minor event compared to that.

He showed me the xrays again, it is a very clean break of the fibula. No displacement, no complications.



He gave me 4 options (ordered from lots of protection to none):
  1. A real cast, which means no showering/ baths, and has to be redone in about two weeks when the swelling goes down;
  2. Some kind of boot, which is heavier, but can be taken off to shower;
  3. An kind of air splint, light, and can be taken off;
  4. Do nothing, just use crutches. (Although he did not recommend that option)
We went with the airsplint, which is super light weight, and might even be taken off at night in a few weeks. I still can't put any weight on my leg, and I need to keep it elevated, but I can even move my foot a little.

I had not been looking forward to the whole cast experience, so I am happy I have this splint instead. The crutches still are a pain though ^^

The girls baked two cakes this morning (just for fun), yummy! And a friend is coming over to get me to go club, life is good!

Friends Love...

Today's love post is in honor of my friends, who have been showering me with love and help since I broke my leg. Those potstickers were part of tonight's dinner, lovingly prepared by mosaica and min.

.

Yesterday, I had a friend come over and clean my whole kitchen. I would like to say it wasn't too dirty, since I broke my leg on Monday. But I would be lying, kitchen cleaning was long overdue. So her help was especially welcome.

Today, we had a LLL meeting at my house, and everyone brought love, food, and even a good luck bamboo! I have never received a bamboo plant before. According to Chinese tradition, receiving living bamboo ensures good luck. Such a lovely gift.

Later in the day, mosaica and min came over to cook the potstickers and tea eggs for me. So tasty! Food cooked with love tastes better anyway.

My broken leg still sucks, but having loving friends around me and supporting me, makes everything a lot better. It also makes me realize more what a great bunch of kids I have, they have been super helpful in all this. So much love is surrounding me, I am blessed.

I will see the orthopedic dr tomorrow, hope I will get a cast on which I could actually walk. Would make life a lot easier!

Happy Love Thursday!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Important News Flash!!!!

Tara taught herself how to whistle! She is the very first one of my kids who mastered this very important skill.

And yes, my leg still hurts and I am still annoyed :) Thanks for all the well-wishes, I appreciate it. Back to studying go, and figuring out apple tree logistics. Looks like they are too big for us to move them, maybe I'll hire a gardening company or so to do it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Well...

I broke my leg...



I was being thrown at aikido, when my leg somehow got in a bad position and made a very satisfying snapping sound. Ouch! Off to the ER, in our small community hospital. The waits are really short there, but they did have to call a radiologist out of her bed to make the x-rays. Everyone was a bit bewildered when they listened to me telling them I broke my leg when somebody was throwing me ^^ They were eyeing me warily. We were making up all kinds of stories which I could use instead of this. Feel free to comment if you have good ideas. I am sure I will spend a lot of time explaining to people what happened, and it would nice to have some variety ^^

I got my very own hospital bracelet, on which the first item was my account number. Nice to see where their priorities lay. We also had to look at a big and scary looking poster on the door of the little exam room, admonishing us that we had to keep the door closed, per federal regulations. Seemed very important to them.

Good news, it's only one bone in my ankle and it is a clean break. Not very impressive. They sent me home with splint, crutches, and prescription for pain meds. The conversation went like this

Nurse 'I am here to show you how to use your crutches.'
Me 'OK'
She showing and explaining, then giving them to me to try
Me 'Great, works fine'
She 'Where are your shoes? You need shoes now'
Me 'In the bag, but I only have flipflops'
She 'You can not use flipflops, that will not do at all'
Me 'No problem, I'll go barefoot'
She 'No way you are going to leave here barefoot!'

I did anyway :)

The kids were very impressed with my broken leg and had all kinds of great ideas to help me 'We could install an elevator!' Kate reassured me 'It could have been worse, you could have broken BOTH legs!'



The kids have been enjoying the crutches.

And the apple trees? I'll take my older kids and put them to work while I supervise. The doctor did not tell me not to drive, and I was careful not to ask ^^

Dentist...

The last few weeks, we have been living our lives at the dentist. Between the six dental age kids, we have had at least ten dental appointments last month, and at least four more to go this month. A friend told me we could just buy him a Lexus, and call it even. Good idea.

Today, Erik needed a cavity filled, and Kate had some molars sealed. Erik's filling was not easy, he was very sensitive to everything. Luckily, he is done for now, till we have to do a cleaning in six months. Kate's sealing was a bit easier. But still. I am kind of tired of spending half of my days at the dentist. Ended up paying more than $500 today for the saldo on our dental bill, the part not covered by insurance. Blech.

Now off to aikido, I need some grounding.

Tomorrow, will drive to a nearby town and pick up some apple trees. They were posted on freecycle, I am very excited!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Snow!

Yesterday, we woke up to this:



The poor birds!



It all melted and we had nice sunny weather the rest of the day. It did remind me though how totally unready I am for winter!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Love is...

Sleeping together as a family.



Before we had our first baby, I was open to the idea of a family bed, but I felt that it might not work for us. I figured I would keep an open mind and see what happened. I made sure I got all the trappings of cradle and nursery, because that's what people are supposed to do. I had read all the books, I knew it all ^^

Fast forward to his birth, which was at home, but we transported to the hospital, because he had problems. He ended up spending two weeks in the hospital, where we had a harder time bonding with him. It almost felt like he was the hospital's baby, we had to ask permission for a lot of things I now would just do (yes, we were young, and inexperienced).

When we finally could take him home, I felt I had missed out on soooooooo much with him, that I felt very strongly about keeping him as close to me as possible. Naturally, this included having him close to us at night. I had a hard time envisioning him sleeping in a different room than I was. I wanted to see him, smell him, enjoy him. I wanted to be sure he still was alive. I wanted to be sure he wouldn't spit up and we wouldn't hear. I wanted to nurse him whenever he showed interest (he had a hard time gaining weight). I just wanted to be with him. The nursery was empty, but our bed got fuller and fuller.

Over the years, we got to experience the joys and challenges of sleeping together. The snuggliness of a sleeping baby. Waking up with the toddler's feet in your face. The rich feeling of having a brand new baby in your bed. The 2am throw up parties. The early morning smiles. The middle-of-the-night temper tantrums. We have seen them all.

It has been an awesome experience, I would not change a single thing. After a hard day with a toddler, it is nice to see him asleep and reconnect with him on a very basic level. Yes, sleeping together has been good for us as a family.

The picture is baby Tara, with hubby and Cees, on a camping trip. It is one of my favorite co-sleeping pictures.

Happy Love Thursday!