Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas Surprise

I always struggle with Christmas. Although I am far from religious, I still believe Christmas should be about family and trying to make the day special for others. My children have grown to never expect too much and we try to stress the importance of doing your best to make others happy. This Christmas I was met with a very unexpected and truly heartwarming surprise.

In the hustle and bustle to rush to the store for the last-minute items needed for our family brunch, I failed to notice an envelope in a ziplock bag placed on my windshield. As I drove away I saw it going flying off behind the van, but still had no idea what it was. Something compelled me to go back for it, even running across the road to find it. As I picked it up I noticed both Seth’s and my name on the envelope. I started thinking who could possibly have left us a card on the van as a ran back to where I had parked. Who wouldn’t come to the door and hand deliver something yet be so careful as to place it in a plastic bag to not get ruined. I opened it, read the card, and immediately called Seth. “Your Neighbors” as it was signed must have a wonderful heart I told him. I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say, these neighbors know the true meaning of christmas. They have taken the time to read our blog and found it in their hearts to share with us. I am truly touched by their generosity and overwhelmingly thankful. While they have chosen to remain nameless (only signing from our “neighbors”) we felt like our family needed to say thank you. Please know we deeply appreciate your card, your gift, your kindness. We also appreciate the conversation that was sparked with our children, not all the good you do in the world will you see the benefit of first hand. It’s about doing good, from your heart, no matter what.

Thank you. Please know we genuinely appreciate you.

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Children’s Books

Sometimes as a Mom your job is to stop and listen. As they scream and yell, slam door, and generally do everything in their power to stress you out, you have to see through it. You have to see the pain they are hiding, and it’s your job to figure out what is causing it. Despite the fact that Seth and I have set out to make the transition for our children as  easy as possible, there are issues for sure. Each child is showing signs of frustration and stress, which I believe is to be expected. When I see this pain in my children it sends me straight to the book shelf. I am always looking for new fun books to help start conversations about feelings with my Littles or to simply remind them of what is important in the world.



Tonight I pulled out some for the coming days to share with my Little People. Books that I hope will help set them back on the track to feeling happy inside. Books I hope that will bring them back to “normal”.

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Tajh my Tajh

Some days I feel like Tajh (10), the sweet, loving, innocent boy who would always protect his Mother is lost forever. I seriously start to wonder if he is possessed or possibly has had his body take over by some hormonal, angry, confused, loud, frustrating, obnoxious alien. Either way, it sucks! And then occasionally I get the joy of having my little man back, and I am thankful.


Since Facebook has become the “repost every article you find mildly interesting” forum, I have felt inundated with articles I would normally never read, but now feel the pressure to. Some articles do catch my attention though, mostly the ones having to do with parenting. Recently I read one about raising boys, a subject very near and dear to my heart. I want to raise my boys to be the best husbands (or partners) they can be. I want them to open doors (screw feminism) and make their partner feel special. I want them to think of others, be kind, be polite, and most importantly be an asset to society. I feel like most Mothers would say the same, but how many follow through? I literally stand at doors until one of my boys open them. I have an expectation that my boys will be taking care of me, and in return I try to be the Mother they deserve.

I send Tajh into the store alone on occasion. I have 5 kids, sometimes it’s nice to not have to drag them all in, and I trust him to behave appropriately. Today I sent him in list in hand to grab a couple of things. He returned as always with money in his fist (he literally never puts it in his pocket, I find this odd… but then again he is a tad odd), bag in hand, and he hoped into the van casually. As he got in his seat he says “well mommy the rolls were on sale so I got you something”. I peek in the bag to find my favorite special drink. What 10-year-old boy grocery shops for his Mother and then thinks about how he can surprise her? How many husbands/boyfriends are absolutely incapable of grocery shopping, let alone are able to think of bringing their partner a surprise? My little Tajh is such a beautiful young man. The compassion he has for animals is incredible, and his drive to learn more about them is intense. He spends his days reading, thinking, dreaming. He loves nature, weaves sticks in his crazy hair, and finds beauty where most would miss it as they rush by. This little guy made me into a Mother, he stole my heart, he helped me become the person I am today. Life with a tween can be rough, you just have to remember the little things.  So whatever alien gave him his body back for the day, thank you!

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Silence is Golden

All too often I find myself contradicting the way I “want” to parent and going against any and all research I have done, basically taking the easy way out. Many days I find myself raising my voice to them, as if the problem really is they can’t hear me and not that they are just being little assholes. The reality is no matter how much they pretended they didn’t hear me, they did, they simply didn’t agree with what I was saying. So now I have basically taught them the less someone listens the louder you should get, problem fixed right? THEN when they do get loud as I don’t respond to their constant requests for a snack while I’m on the phone, I get upset with them for being loud? Shocking right?

Today I have barely any voice and my throat hurts, always awesome feeling terrible and taking care of 5 little people…sigh…  Talking in a whisper doesn’t hurt as badly, so whisper it is. Now here is the amazing thing people, my children can still hear me! When they ask a question they actually pay attention to the answer I give knowing I will not be speaking any louder. Fancy right? Even better is how quiet their voices get, like there is some awesome chain reaction of not screaming at the top of our lungs in a tiny house with too many people in it!

I remember back in the day when I only had a couple of kids and my go-to was always a whisper. Even with tantruming toddlers, it throws them off just enough to mess with their “I want what I want mood”. It slows everyone down and forces everyone to actually pay attention to one another. I know I sound crazy, but just give it a try! The next time you have 10 people talking to you at once, respond with a whisper. Watch as the chaos stops so they can hear you, the small bit of silence is golden! I make no promises that it will last more than 20 seconds, but sometimes 20 seconds can be all you need to get some sanity back!

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If you can get a "good" picture of 5 kids, I'll give you a high five.

If you can get a “good” picture of 5 kids, I’ll give you a high five.

There was something ingrained in me and I knew I would nurse my baby from the moment I found out I was pregnant with Tajh. It was almost gross to me to think about putting a bottle in his mouth, yet I didn’t understand why. My mom hadn’t nursed me and I was aware of that, so why did I feel so strongly that I was supposed to? Slowly memories came back of my mom stopping every so often and my little sister hiding under her shirt. I was 6 at the time and then it didn’t mean much to me, not even enough for me to have it as strong memory, but evidently without knowing it my Mom had created a lasting impression.

I knew I would nurse Tajh, but there was also something odd about it to me. It felt weird being a 19-year-old kid and feeding another human being from my boob. Yes, I will admit, it felt weird. The idea of doing it was right, I knew that, but it didn’t make it any less awkward. Having a lactation consultant at the hospital help him latch on, and having people watch me nurse and possibly catch a glimpse of my boob, everything about it made me terribly uncomfortable. I would plan trips around nursing him so I rarely had to nurse in public, and I would always cover up with a blanket. Tajh had bottles of  my milk on rare occasion when he was tiny, and began getting formula as well at around 6 months. I started him on baby food at that time too, and then at 11 months I felt he was “too old” for the boob. During a nursing strike I let him quit. My baby was done with the boob, and although I was sad, I was slightly relieved.

Tajh Baby2 Tajh Baby1










Tea was born in New Zealand and there was once again never a question from me if I would nurse her, but there also wasn’t a question from my midwives, it’s what you do. Tea nursed like a champ and having an almost 2-year-old as well, covering up became even more difficult. I have a great technique of wearing a spaghetti strap tank top under any shirt I was wearing, it was a simple pull one up and the other covers your belly. This worked great, but something you have to chase the other one around, so exposure became a little more normal. Tea was an avid nurser and continued to nurse well over a year. At this point I started running and found out I was pregnant again. Tea nursed through me training for a half marathon into my 5 month of pregnancy. At some point my body was exhausted and I’m not sure if I was even producing anymore. At 20 months old she just stopped asking and she was done. To be honest, I think my body was very thankful for at least a little break.

Tea Baby

Tea Baby 2








Tay was another nursing champ. He was born at home and nursed basically right after birth. He was an “all the time” nurser which I attribute to him not using a pacifier (plug as we like to call them) like the other two had. He was on the boob all day every day and it was exhausting. As he grew into a toddler I did love his nursing moments, they were the only time he sat still! At 22 months I remember one particular day that I was just done being touched. I had watched the kids all day alone and was now attempting to get my own schoolwork done. I was tired, grumpy, and just done with everything. Seth brought Tay in to me because he was cranky and needed the boob. I remember letting him nurse for a few minutes and just feeling angry. This time things weren’t special I just wanted him done. I told him enough and sent him out, and he never asked again. I feel terrible about how my nursing relationship with Tay ended. It was a moment of frustration that ended my special bond with my little boy.


Tay baby3 Tay Baby 2








Tay Baby 4


My time nursing my children was beautiful. I think through my years of nursing I learned a lot. I nursed longer each time, stopped supplementing with bottles and plugs, and learned that nursing should never be on a schedule. The day I received my first foster baby and held the little girl and gave her a bottle I felt something was lacking. It wasn’t that it “wasn’t my child” it was the closeness that was lacking. I was always sad to give any of my babies the bottle, and I was embarrassed in public. Sometimes I wanted to tell people I would be nursing if I could, that I too hated giving the baby the bottle. I felt like people were judging me, and maybe they were?  Or maybe they weren’t and it was me feeling like I wasn’t doing the best I could for the babies in my care. With Tenny and Tru especially I had huge regrets about not nursing them. Nursing soothes an upset children, puts them to sleep, honestly makes life easier. I found parenting and not nursing to be much more difficult and harder to create the bond I wanted with them.

Tenny baby 3 Tenny Baby








Tru Baby Tru Baby2









Yes I am very pro nursing. I understand it is a choice everyone has to make for themselves. I began nursing as a choice I made for my children. I continued to nurse them as long as I did for myself as well. I am thankful for all my years spent cuddling my little ones giving them the best I could. I hope that my baby wearing and snuggling with my little 2 gave them at least a little taste of the closeness the other 3 had.

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Christmas Thoughts

I have been toying (pun intended) with not actually giving my children “toys”, the kind most people picture when they hear the word. Nothing purchased in brightly colored packaging and probably made by a small child in another country who will never be able to play with one themselves. Instead opting to give them something made by myself, put together by myself, or just with a little more thought. Clearly my children ask for normal things, but they have also been taught that “things” don’t just come to you. As it is my kids don’t have all that much when it comes to traditional toys, but walking by their rooms I feel like it is still too much. Maybe it’s the summer spent with nothing but nature to play with, but I am even more over plastic then I already was.

For the girls I feel like I can make some super cute felt headbands. You can find them everywhere on ebay, and great ideas on pinterest. I do feel like I’m at least a little crafty, and I’m fairly certain I can make a couple of cute ones. Although this won’t be their entire present, it’s a start. Maybe some new clothes as well? They both have a funky fun style and love getting new clothes. For Tay my idea came fast, a fort kit. Obviously we have plenty of blankets and other fort building materials, but a kit of everything that is just for him? The kid will love it! Some fun blankets (maybe from goodwill), cloth pins, and a bunch of PVC pipe with all the attachments to put them together, what else does a little boy want? I can even throw in some more “outdoorsy” things (new flashlight?) and I think he will be a pretty happy  camper.

So I’m left with Tajh and Tru. what does a 2-year-old really need? A ball? Even as I type that I have that overwhelming guilt, “but it’s christmas, a ball isn’t enough!” The reality is, what does it matter? Nothing would make him happier then a ball and a box, well except a puppy… No puppy. So Tajh, what does he need? Nothing at all. He reads, more books? Ugh… for this one I will need a little more thought. Ideas?

The kids all get 1 present from the parents, the stocking is all from santa (small toys and the like), and they draw names and get each other a small present. My mom will get them something they don’t necessarily “need”, and maybe a couple of other family members too. I enjoy our small present Christmas, it gives the opportunity to enjoy special time together with our traditions and not get too caught up in the chaos of want. We go ice skating, go to lights at a couple of venues, have an ugly sweater bike parade, and go to the snow on Christmas Eve. If only I could add going to Disneyland on there every year… hmmm…

I suppose it’s time to get crafting!

Oh and we go to the park, because the park is awesome.

Oh and we go to the park, because the park is awesome.

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