Monday, December 14, 2009

Giving Up My Addiction

I just read my last post and I realized I have a sick and strange obsession with the exclamation point. I use it often. Too often. I use it unnecessarily. I think this must be a flaw in my writing, which is part of the reason behind the blog, to help me hone my writing skills. There must be ways to convey excitment in writing without resorting to the exclamation point all the time (resists urge to use said punctuation mark).

Hey Mama, is Santa Really Real?

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love all the excitement of my children preparing for Advent, counting down the days until Christmas. Because we homeschool, most of our kids retain thier belief in Santa a little longer than other children tend to, and my seven year old, Kolbe is no different. This boy is very smart, and a skeptic to boot, but he has the biggest imagination in the world. He also has a very tender heart, so when he gets his heart broken, it takes a while to heal.

We were very fortunate to be able to take a ride on the Polar Express this year. Kolbe was so excited, he asked every day how many more days until we rode the Polar Express. I was a little worried that he would build it up so much in his mind that he would be disappointed, and I was right. The train ride was fun, and perfect for the 3 to maybe 6 year old set. Seven is pushing it, just because they are getting too darn smart! Well, the minute Santa got on the train, Kolbe knew something was up, this Santa was very obviously not the "real" Santa! He was crushed! He was really hoping that finally, this would be the time he would meet the real Santa.

I was able to restore some of Kolbe's faith in Santa with an online video that allows you to plug in your child's picture, name, and some other details. He was so amazed, and I was grateful to be able to retain some of that Christmas magic for him.

This little boy is so sweet, and so good. He is a hard nut to crack, he doesn't like hugs and kisses, or saying I love you, but he feels it all. He looks forward to Baby Jesus' birthday, and is the first to remind us that we need to bake a cake to help Jesus celebrate. I never know quite what to make of this kid.

This was his Christmas list: (three presents each, just like Baby Jesus)
1. A microscope
2. A model of the Solar System
3. A Big Top Cupcake maker

He is such a hoot! When he grows up, he wants to be a priest who travels around the world and cooks. I really, really love this kid. He is a cool kid! Did I mention he is completely and totally obsessed with Michael Jackson? He was even MJ for Halloween! If you knew Kolbe, you'd understand how funny this is. This kid is stoic. He is serious. The fact that he likes Michael Jackson just doesn't jibe with the rest of his personality! The fact that no one else is allowed to sing MJ songs does, though! When he plays his music, he takes it very seriously! No dancing or singing along allowed!
Kolbe is really into science and nature, as well as cooking. I cannot wait to see what he is like when he grows up, I just hope he takes his sweet time doing it, because I am totally getting a kick out of wathcing this kid grow up! I love you, Kolbe, you are for sure the coolest kids I know!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Have Secrets

As moms, we all have our little secrets. Our secret fears, our quiet guilt. the messy bathroom, or the box of candy we hide where the kids can't find it. Maybe even a real secret or two, like the fact that a family member drives you crazy or sometimes you can't stand your nine year old.

I have a secret. I have hardly ever told anyone this secret, afraid they would think I was truly crazy or maybe think they should report me to someone. It started after my first baby was born. Mostly just crying, just for a couple of weeks when she was two or three weeks old. The next baby was much the same, though it is hard to remember because she got very sick at three weeks old, and that has blotted out anything else that happened at the time.

I do remember clearly though, after my son Kolbe was born, I started eating. I do very well during pregnancies, as I don't want to do anything unhealthy for the baby. So, I started eating, and crying. I always cry, but the eating was new. I am talking about self destructive eating, to the point where you look at yourself later and wonder how and why you would eat all that food.

Kolbe's birth also brought the voices and the paranoia. I would hear voices, dark voices. They would say horrible things, but I could blot them out with prayer. The paranoia was harder to control. I would have images of falling down the stairs and crushing the baby, or somehow dropping the baby. If I was unloading the dishwasher with the baby nearby, I would see the silverware flying out of my hands and hurting the baby.

Never anything intentional, just ridiculous things that with any regular caution would never happen.
This type of thing would happen after the birth of each child. It would start sometime after two or three weeks, getting worse around the third or fourth month, and finally it would go away before the fifth month. Each birth it lasted a little longer, and was just a bit more severe.

This time has been worse. The crying has not been as bad, but it was replaced by panic attacks, at least more frequent than any other post partem period. That was bad enough, but the voices were back, stronger, and more dark and awful than before. I  picture myself doing the horrible things they suggest. I know I won't, and I tell them I won't and to leave me alone. But it is still frustrating. I called the doctor, finally willing to tell someone what was going on, and they gave me an appointment two weeks away. Not stellar. I can handle it, it is more of a nuisance than a danger, as I know I would never do anything, but I need it to go away - NOW!

I have kept this a secret all this time because I was afraid of what people would think - maybe that I was crazy or that they should take the kids away from me. Then, when I do tell my husband, my mom, and the doctor, they all sort of acted like it was no big deal. Does this happen a lot? Why does no one talk about it if it does? I know people talk about PPD, but no one really discusses what happens. Maybe if they had, I could have told my secret a long time ago. I am a little disturbed that no one thinks anything of it though...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


My husband and I just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary, and 15 years as a couple. It flew by in the blink of an eye, but not without it's ups and downs. We have had several children born with some medical issues, and of course, money is always a challenge when you have nine children. But, all in all, we can count our big arguements on the fingers on one hand, and that I consider a blessing.

We were both married before, my husband and I. Somehow we had both managed to marry the exact wrong person. I think I can truthfully say that we each would have stayed in our respective marriages had the choice been left up to us. Niether of us believes in divorce, but sometimes the choice is taken away from you.

None of this makes me qualified to tell others how they should and should not live thier lives, but I have a theory on why divorce happens so much in this country. Actually, the theory has two parts:
 1. People expect to be "in love" forever.
 2. People expect to be loved perfectly by thier spouse.

So you get married, and you are head over heels in love. The whole walking on clouds, can't quit smiling thing. Then one day you wake up, look across the table and feel like you are looking at a stranger, and you wonder how you got there. Or, maybe you just aren't feeling that wave of love, the hormones, whatever, anymore. Maturity will hopefully tell you that no, you aren't going to be in love everyday, but you make the choice to love anyway. Love is an action, even more than it is a feeling. I think people either lose sight of that, or somehow, they never learned that. Then, one lovely snowy morning your husband has cleaned off your car, warmed it up, shoveled a little path for you, and made you a cup of tea to take with you, and you realize what love really is... it is the care you take, the little jobs and the big jobs and everything in between, as much as it is the passion and the feelings.

The second reason I think people get divorced is they expect to be loved in an all encompassing way, a perfect love. Unconditional love. What they really are yearning for is the love of Christ. Only the Lord can love us with the boundlessness that we all desire. Expecting a human, a spouse, to do this for us can only lead to disappointment. So many people do not invite God into thier marriage, and I don't know how these marriages survive without His grace.

So, my darling husband, if you ever see this...Happy Anniversary! I love you so much, for all that you do for us, the sacrifices you have made, and more for the man you are everyday. You are the greatest blessing in my life, and I thank God for you everyday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kenzie Rosie

I have a beautiful daughter named Mackenzie. She is twelve, you know, the 12 going on 25 sort of 12. She is all about drama and long sighs and getting frustrated easily. She thinks her feet are too big and her hair is too long and poofy. She has what I call "teenager eyes".  She does not see herself the way she actually is. What I see when I look at my daughter is a beautiful young girl, working hard, and succeeding at becoming a beautiful young lady. She has a big laugh that makes you want to laugh with her. She is very, very 12, so she is a little whiney and hormonal, but she knows it and is able to laugh about it when you call her on it.

Mackenzie is helpful and kind, and her heart is for the Lord. She wants people to be happy, and is like my right arm most days. It's hard when she's not here, not because I miss the help, but because I miss the girl who makes me laugh, gives me a hard time about doing the dishes, and yells at her brothers, but has a heart as deep as the ocean.

Where did the little girl go, who was so beautiful that people would often stop and complement her looks? I was always tempted to say yes, she is lovely, but she is smart and funny and kind! When people look at her now, I know they still see a pretty young girl, but I hope they look past that to see the goodness, the kindness and the heart that breaks for her sisters or friends whenever they are sad. I hope they see the very articulate young lady who has a lot to say, but usually knows of what she speaks. I hope they see just a little of what I see when I look at her.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Last May, I gave birth to my 5th son, Caleb Blaize, and our 9th child. When I say gave birth, I am ashamed to say, I still feel a wee bit of grief. Caleb was born via C-Section. I know it was the best way for him, and I am so grateful that he arrived safely. But, there is some part of me that mourns the loss of his birth. I mourn the loss of the moment you feel your child slip from your body and feel the thrill and exhiliration at that accomplishment - pushing your child toward life and his first breath. I miss the midwife laying him on my belly to feel the smooth sliminess of a newborn just from his mother's womb. I miss the pictures his dad would have taken and I am sad that all the children never got a chance to crowd into the hospital room to meet him.

It's silly, and I know it. I have actually been afraid to say it outloud, because I am so very, very thankful that the doctor was able to get him out, healthy and frankly, alive. I woke up on a Tuesday morning, 12 days past my due date. I instantly knew something wasn't right, but thought I was just overreacting. When the babe didn't move much throughout the day, I grew more concerned and ended up having my husband come home from work to take me to the hospital just to make sure everything was okay. Well, it wasn't. When we got hooked up to the moniter, it quickly became clear that Caleb was is some kind of trouble. I knew as soon as I heard his heartrate dip that I would end up with a C-Section. I have always had natural births, so this was a first for us. I was so, so scared that something was really wrong. I wanted my mom, as she is always with me when my babies are born, but I knew they would not let her in the OR. It was so fast, and yet seemed to take forever, but finally Caleb was out, but not crying. He had no amniotic fluid left. Everything around him was meconium, and he had aspirated some. They were taking him away, to another hospital in a neighboring town. I was so upset, and so scared that this didn't really register much with me for a little while.

Caleb went to the NICU at another hospital, and I spent two nights and one day without him - the worst I have ever spent. I couldn't believe that I wasn't with him. I made my doctor discharge me 40 hours after he was born so I could go to his hospital and be with him.

In the end, my beautiful Caleb, everything was fine. You were healthy and chubby and lovely. I have given birth eight times now. I never get over the wonder. Your smile makes my world go round, and your sturdy little body is so sweet to hug and snuggle. I will always be sorry that we missed those first moments we should have had together, but the Lord is allowing us so many others, that we have made up for it already. You are in your bassinet, scrooching around and letting me know you are ready for a nice long nurse. So, my darling boy we'll sit in our chair, and cuddle in this early morning chill, and I know my heart will trip over itself falling in love with you for the thousandth time in the last four months.

Too Many Thoughts

I have been thinking of starting a blog for a while now. Often it is when I come across some article or post somewhere during my news-obsessed day. I would like the ability to share my thoughts, or just give a few words to the things that float through my mind throughout the day.

This blog is really just for me. If you happen to come across it, please be forgiving, as I am experimenting. Perhaps if the experiment goes well, I might have something useful to say, and then your time here would be better spent.

As it is, most of the things I would like to talk about involve my children. When you have so many, with such varying ages and issues, it's hard to keep a record.  I have been very bad about recording my thoughts and feelings about each child as they make their way through our home and our hearts. So maybe this blog is for them, so they will know how I felt about them at any particular time. Or how I struggled with this decision or that one. I have to analyze everything and take a poll before I make a decision, but it is never done lightly.

So, my children, if you see this someday, please forgive your mom, if I happen to write something here that you don't like. Sometimes you just want it down, you just want a record.