going home?

going home?

Ack!

I am so nervous this morning.  As I sit in this very accommodating hotel room, I think of how much I would like to be in my own home, and wonder if today is the day I get to go home.

In order to go home, I have to get my PIC line out.  I also have to have a better white blood cell count.  I have to be doing well enough not to have a setback when I get home. Right now, I am doing alright with pain medication (although I am loathe to take it), and I hope the doctor will think I am doing alright.

I do have a few items that have developed since I left the hospital, but I hope they are not going to be anything major.  Hopefully, they will fall into the realm of normal side effects from taking 6000 gallons of antibiotics and other medications that saved my life.

Sometimes I feel sorry for doctors.  They are almost like ill-tempered fairies that people feel obligated to acknowledge, but would rather not.  They will give you a gift, but it’s always double-edged. You know, like in M.M. Kaye’s “The Ordinary Princess,” (one of our favorite read alouds), where the fairy godmother, Crustacea, gives poor Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne of Phantasmorania the gift of being ORDINARY.

Crustacea...Could She Be An Allegory To Modern Doctors?

Crustacea…Could She Be An Allegory To Modern Doctors?

Double-edged gift, I tell you.  Her parents were almost forced to hire a dragon to capture her so that a knight would be required to marry and rescue her (no one wanted to marry an ordinary princess, you see.)

Or when Maleficent says Princess Aurora will grow in grace and beauty, but “Oh, by the way, she’ll also prick her finger on a spinning wheel and DIE!!!!!! Mwahahahahaha!!!!!”

(Maleficent always terrified me.  She was just so urbane and civilized in her deviousness and villainy.  My sister played her once in a play and was a dead ringer for her.  Which shocked me (and everyone else for that matter), because my sister is an angel, and always has been.  She’s like Beth in Little Women.)

I remember when I was younger always wanting to be like her, because I thought the sun rose and set on her, and I would determine to do just that, but, inevitably, not more than two hours later I had lost my temper, or acted like an uncouth neanderthal with my lack of decorum and inability to keep my mouth shut for more than 22 seconds at a time.  I finally gave up, but always thought how lovely it would be to be so full of grace.)

Sometimes I feel doctors are like that.

Not like my sister.

Like Maleficent or Crustacea:

“We saved your life, but now there is an IV permanently stuck in your arm for who knows how long, you will probably get thrush, maybe a huge rash all over your body, and we may have to operate on you and give you medication to help counteract the side effects of the medication that we just gave you and that may give you a giant wart on your nose indefinitely.”

Yes, I think doctors may actually be ill-tempered fairies in disguise.

Just Like A Doctor....

Just Like A Doctor….

Double-edged, I say.

But, for all of that, I am still happy to be here, warts and all. (No, I actually don’t have warts.  It is just an expression.  At least as of today.  Who knows what tomorrow may bring?)

At any rate, I am trying to think positive, and hope that there is no surgery in my future and hope that the extra syringes they gave me to flush my line won’t be necessary because hopefully in a few short hours, it will be gone.

Please pray for me.  I feel somewhat like a prisoner sitting in my cell each day waiting for my body to remember how to feel better, to walk and to hear properly again, and waiting to see if I’ve been good enough to get out on parole.

At this point, I don’t care if I have to use a walker, because at least that means I will be traversing a space larger than 600 square feet.

Yum!  Real Food.

Yum! Real Food.

Really, I just want to go home and direct my daughter in making a big pot of gumbo for me.  And I wish to keep it down without the help of anti-nausea medication. 🙂

Guess I’ll have to find a good-tempered fairy to do that.

 

i was interviewed!

i was interviewed!

In the spirit of being somewhat braggy, I must take this opportunity to publicly tell all the world wide world that I have been interviewed!

I was really stressed when I was asked–should I, shouldn’t I….what if my words got taken out of context and I sounded like an idiot?

[Okay, let’s be honest here, my words would not necessarily have to be taken out of context. I can easily sound like an idiot.]

But, I decided to take the plunge and just go for it.

Because, you know, I think I am ready to break out into the real Mormon mommy blogging world.  I think I might be ready to advertise for Shabby Apple and do tutorials with pictures!

Just kidding.

Actually, it was just an interview with my daughter, who is about to graduate from BYU-Idaho’s Nursing program.  In one of her classes, she has been asked to interview someone in the career field she wants to pursue.  The field she chose was “stay at home mom.”

And, she thought of me.

Of course, I was flattered.  I mean, there are so many more people in this field that are more accomplished, better looking, and more…oh, I don’t know…everything…

I am sure many of you may be a bit jealous that she didn’t ask you.  After all, she does follow many a mom blog.  She could have asked anyone, but she chose me.

Actually, it may be because she felt she had a better chance getting me to answer the questions before the deadline.   But, I can think whatever I want, can’t I?

So, without further ado, here is the actual interview–published here free of charge.  Just because even though I may feel slightly more famous today, I am still as humble as ever. 😉

Recently Studied The Night Sky…

1. How did you decide to do what you are doing now?

When I was five, I was given an IQ test, and afterward, was told that I could pursue anything I wanted in life because I tested at near genius level. Given that wide scope of endless possibilities, I would happily study anything and everything that came my way. From anatomy to floral design, physics and astronomy to theatre–I truly became something of a renaissance woman. While in college, I realized that only motherhood would give me the opportunity to practice so many of the skills and knowledge I had acquired.

I felt like any other career would really tie me down to one discipline. Motherhood has fulfilled and exceeded my wildest expectations. I have been able to use and increase my knowledge and skills in ways no other career could manage.

2. What do you do during a typical day?

My day usually begins around 3:30 or 4:00 am, at which time I manage the nutritional needs of a 4 month old. In the morning, I manage a small scale cafeteria and dining area, and then I teach elementary, middle and high school aged students for several hours. I also teach pre-k students number recognition, foundational writing skills, social skills, and reading mastery using phonic programs. I engage in outdoor adventures like hiking, backpacking, and cross country skiing, and physical education activities like wrestling, stretching, and running.  

Future Career Plans Include Hiking Table Rock

I also publish articles on the internet, design websites and blogs for other writers, work on writing a novel, and teach life skills to my students.

In the evening, I also give hugs and kisses, read books to children, and discuss and set career, life and personal goals with pre-teens and teens. After that is paperwork, studying in continuing education, and reviews. My day usually ends around 11:30 pm.

3. What do you like most about your job?

My favorite part about my job is the fact that I know I am making a difference in the world. It’s great to have a career that is so focused on humanitarian efforts. It is truly a work of love, and a career based on serving others and changing lives. It’s amazing to see the difference one person can make in the lives of these children–there are so many in need–it’s nice to know that I am doing something positive and really reaching them on an individual basis. The most important part of my career is to see these children’s gifts and talents and make them feel that they are capable of doing something remarkable–and it’s so satisfying to see that I am doing that.

Changing the world–one child at a time!

I also greatly enjoy chubby cheeks and feet.

4. What are the disadvantages of your work?

The main disadvantages of my work are probably three-fold: 1) It is such an intense field that it really kind of takes over your life, which is great–but you really need to make sure you have a balance,  2) there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do everything I want to do, and 3) other people sometimes just overlook or downplay the work I am doing, citing that there are many organizations and non-profits already in place to help children, and that my career may be somewhat obsolete. Of course, that is entirely unfounded, but it’s a myth perpetuated by competitors in the industry.

5. What was it like to work at your job when you first began?

When I first began, it was pretty overwhelming. I mean, I thought I was pretty prepared, having interned almost my entire life as the oldest of ten children, but when I was actually at the head of my own organization…wow. Nothing can really prepare you for the thrills and sometimes failures that occur when you start out.

But, really, when you think about all the humanitarian work you are doing, you realize that so many other people have been where you are and they stick with it. Why? It’s just so rewarding. I mean, you are at the cutting edge of social change!  Every day is an opportunity to change the world for good. You also get the courage to take a deep breath and keep going. The learning curve is steep, but after a few months, it just becomes so natural.

6. What is it like to work at your job after years of experience?

After years of experience, the job is more fantastic than it’s ever been. I love that I am finally in a place that I can feel confident in all my decisions–from financial management to day-to-day operations to special events planning and everything in between. I have very little job stress, as the routine is so established that the organization practically runs itself. If I feel like change is needed, I always seem to be able to expand and add new children into the mix. It’s just amazing.

7. How does your job affect your lifestyle (family life, leisure time, social life, vacations, material possessions, personal happiness, etc)?

Pretty much my job is my life, but it does not interfere with my family in any way, except toward the positive. My husband loves what I do, and we still have time to take weekly dates, and occasional weekend trips away. My social life has only improved, as I usually associate with others who are of the same frame of mind–that making a positive difference in the world is more important than having stock in a company and having a billion dollars. Since my work is so important and consuming, I also make sure that I don’t waste time with things that aren’t truly important. As far as vacations–well–I know I’ll do that someday, but when your work is vital to humanity, it’s hard to get away.

Teaching Children To Go Green: Adorning Hair with Natural Plants Rather Than Man Made Plastics

As far as material possessions, I was so grateful what this job taught me near the beginning–LESS IS MORE! A recent study showed that Americans have far too much “stuff” and never use it–they just stress about taking care of all of it and finding a place for all of it. I was able to truly simplify and live a lifestyle that took me out of the ‘consumer rat race’ that is the source of so many people’s stress and problems. I learned that space free of clutter is so calming and creates such a peaceful, zen like environment.

At the same time my career allows me to focus on the value of experiences over things! When you work with children, you see clearly how valuable, meaningful, fun experiences are so much better than more stuff anytime.

Working with children and changing the world is such a great way to find personal happiness–and when you add to that the opportunity to teach the next generation how to better care for our planet, be compassionate to others, and learn valuable life skills that can help people all over the world, well–I think you’d be hard pressed to find something that could bring more personal happiness than this career.

8. What opportunities exist for advancement in terms of money, responsibility, or personal growth?

This is where my career really shines. We have always seen that when you put positive thoughts to work, great things happen. If we need more rooms for more children, a safe vehicle for transportation, more learning opportunities or enrichment for the kids, we just get to work thinking positively and doing all we can–and wow! The money pours in–sometimes it may appear to outsiders to be a trickle, but as in most charitable efforts, somehow every single nickel, dime and penny really count!

Opportunities to have more responsibility are endless. While dealing with multiple age groups can sometimes be challenging–the rewards are tremendous, and if you find that you have extra time on your hands–there is always so much more you can do. This job offers on-the-clock opportunities for additional responsibilities in the humanitarian effort–like opportunities to manage sports teams, major community events and fundraisers, food drives, literacy efforts and more.

Major Event Planning

With regard to personal growth, really–the sky is the limit. While actually working in this field, you are supported in every personal growth endeavor you want to accomplish. My organization offers onsite opportunities for such things as:  learning to make quilts for the homeless, searching for ancestors using high end technology, and other types of personal growth activities. Also, there are several ways to tie in a personal growth plan with what we are doing for the children. Pursuing great literature, artistic pursuits, and other things are not only acceptable during work hours, but encouraged!

9. What type of training is best for this job?

The best type of training for this job is probably spending time with a host family (usually your own), in which you can see a mother in action. If you haven’t had the chance to intern that way, don’t worry! There are many other ways to get the training. The LDS church offers youth programs and youth seminaries, and the adult training program for this career, known as temple attendance, is vital. Also, the LDS church sponsors full-time missionaries to serve for a period of 18 months to 2 years which provides absolutely excellent training for this job.

If you did not have the opportunity to pursue any of those training paths, don’t worry!  The church has also put out a set of manuals that have been hailed by millions as the absolute authority in the field–called The Standard Works.  They are available free online, or free of charge from the missionaries of the church.  You can also opt to buy them bound in one volume, in pocket size, in leather, or in extra large print anywhere in the world where there is a Distribution Center or online.  

Other training opportunities that would be best for breaking into this field are:

  • Living with roommates, some of whom you may not naturally get along with
  • Engagement and marriage
  • Continued Temple Attendance (for continuing education)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in any field of study (can help in critical thinking skills and putting up with bureaucratic nonsense, which are vital to this job)
  • EMT/Nursing/PA School (these are all excellent fields to help in the practical side of the job)
  • Any education in the arts or sciences
  • Money management training, hair stylist training, fashion merchandising, and culinary expertise are a HUGE plus

10. How do people find out about openings in this work?

It’s a fabulous career, and it’s sometimes hard to find openings. A lot of cultures require you to have children before you begin this career, but if you branch out a little, you can clearly see that being a mother involves a lot more than having children. It’s great to be a stay-at-home mom even if you don’t currently have children. There are myriad opportunities to serve our communities, neighborhoods, churches, and our nation. They are literally everywhere. Right now the market is HOT, as there is a HUGE demand for mother hearts and nurturers, and not enough people trained or able to choose the career.

If you choose this career, you can really work from anywhere. There are openings ALL OVER THE GLOBE. Literally. Want to visit China? You could do this career there. Always wanted to see Paris? No problem. The current demand in France is very high.

The Market Is Hot All Over The World!

And statistics show that the demand is going to increase dramatically every year for at least the next 200 years in every part of the world. Talk about JOB SECURITY.

11. If you were to hire someone to do your job, what qualifications would you look for?

The greatest qualification is YOU HAVE TO WANT IT. The second hugest qualifier is LOVE. Is this person capable of loving other people? Is this person capable of the huge workload of a major humanitarian effort? If they can’t right now, are they willing to try? Other qualifications to look for:

  • Sense of humor
  • Handles unexpected situations appropriately
  • Sense of humor

12. What are some related jobs that you could do with your training?

 Other related jobs someone could do with this training:

  • CEO/CIO/CFO
  • Entrepeneur
  • Fundraising/Non-Profits
  • Chef
  • Event Planning/Transportation Coordinator
  • Youth Camp Director
  • President of the United States
  • Nobel Peace Prize contender
  • World leader
  • Head of the UN

13. If you had to do it over, would you make the same career choice? Why?

Definitely yes! While there have been days that I really felt like quitting, I have never once seriously considered it. It’s just great to be at the cutting edge of societal change for good. It’s great to be able to really have an outlet to teach children to be less consumer conscious, more aware of their environment and caring for it, and more compassionate to others. I feel like I am really making headway in shifting our culture away from serious problems like drugs, pornography, bullying, abuse, not caring about the earth, and the perpetual immaturity that seems to be plaguing our communities and cities. It’s so exciting to really be the change!

14. How many years have you worked at this job?

I have been mothering nearly my entire life, but officially committed to a lifetime contract about 15 years ago.

So, there is the interview.  It was a lot of fun, and great to feel so vetted and sought after!  Don’t worry, though, I won’t let it go to my head!

brutally honest

brutally honest

Social media.  It’s a double-edged sword.

I have used it many times to discover people in need and help them.  I love that.

I used it to make a Pineapple Angel Food Cake that exploded in my oven but that my kids ate anyway.  I love that.  What an adventure!

But, ugh.  Sometimes it’s just not a good idea.

According to many of my friends on Pinterest, you must have washboard abs and ridiculously skinny (and muscular) legs, and unrealistically large breasts,  while also making (and presumably sampling) cake pops and bacon wrapped bacon smothered in bacon wearing a retro vintage apron that you made yourself in your kitchen with distressed cabinets that you did yourself.

I Don’t Get Motivated By Seeing Women Working Out In Their Underwear Or Whatever That Is. Also, Not Possible While Eating Bacon Wrapped Bacon and Seven Layer Death By Chocolate Cake…

That’s never going to work, people.

I am still not getting how looking at women in nothing but some kind of skimpy pair of shorts/underwear/workout clothes(?)  that until recently I wouldn’t have been able to find unless I subscribed to Playboy or Hustler, is “Fitness Motivation.” (The below photo was actually found on a board called “Fitness Motivation.” For real.)

Fitness Motivation? I Don’t Think So. This Is Porn.  Also, It’s Objectifying Women.

Or, as they would say in bloggy speak:

Just. not. getting. it.

(Am I supposed to capitalize all those words?  See, this is why I know I am not a real blogger.)

What are we doing here, ladies?  It seems like, once again, social media has been hijacked by some kind of weirdness.  Why can’t it be more like this?:

I Like This.

I don’t know why.  Those women also look more like normal women than all the other ones I see on Pinterest.  Plus, that’s funny.

So, I am going to be a rebel.  I just feel like being an opinionated sassy pants today, so I am going to be brutally honest and anti-Pinterest.

I am going to admit on my blog and in front of all the world (including Pinterest), things that may blow your mind.

So, stop reading now if you are faint of heart.

If you are up for a life changing experience, grab a plate of your “So Good It Can’t Be Described, Explosion on Your Taste Buds Chicken” (probably one of the most popular pins I’ve seen), and get ready to be entertained.  Or mind-blown.

1. I don’t care that I am fat.

Yes, I do want to lose some weight.  I would like to ride a horse and not make it feel scared when it sees me.

But, I am pretty content with how I look right now.  And I have a full length floor to ceiling mirror in my bathroom.  I see myself naked every day.

At first it scared me, but I am coming to terms with my stretch marks, rolls and jiggliness.

Other people probably aren’t.

But, I eat really, really healthy.  I exercise daily. I am doing my best.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, and other things are just fine.

Content With How I Look, Even While Pregnant and Overweight.

So, I don’t care to be motivated.  I am happy with where I am at.  I figured out that 20 years of self-loathing and worrying and complaining and “fitness motivation” have done nothing except make me dissatisfied and discontent.

I realized I just have accept that I am beautiful right now, and I have.  Even if I get made fun of when I am walking, or even if people snicker.

It doesn’t bother me.  I know that a great part of my physical flaws stem directly from having children.  So, I have decided it was worth it, and a 10 year weight loss plan seems reasonable to me.

2.I don’t ever want to have washboard abs.

I don’t care.  I am not a body builder or an Olympian.  I don’t want to spend time on that in my life.

I have kids and I want to be slightly round on purpose.

It’s more comfortable to sit in a lap that is soft.

Or lean on a shoulder without taking out an eye from something so jagged and bony.

I want my husband to be able to pinch my rear end without breaking a finger on a bun of steel.

I am so happy for other people in their quest to run 1,000K Marathons, but I think 5 or 10K is probably where I would draw the line.

I have a friend who is like 7 months pregnant who just participated in a triathlon. I know it’s important to her and I am in utter awe of her abilities and discipline.

But, I don’t have to do that.  I love and admire that she did (and does).

But my idea of a triathlon when I am 7 months pregnant is:

Getting Out Of Bed

Going To The Bathroom

Getting Back In Bed

That’s just me.  And that’s okay.  I am happy with that.  And my triathlon loving friend is okay with it, too.  And she still loves me and we like each other partly because we are different.

3. I am not a gourmet chef and I no longer care.

Oh, for a while, I cared.  But, I am kitchen disabled.  I think it has something to do with the fact that I have morning sickness for the majority of every pregnancy, and that’s been about eight years total…it’s kind of ruined me as far as cooking goes.

Cookies, Anyone?

I can make a simple salad. (I must add, however, that my family does not like me to cut the vegetables, as they are best described as “hacked,” not “chopped.”)

That is about as far as I can go.

Joy’s “Healthy” Birthday Cake With Raw Coconut Frosting…COMPLETE FAIL. But, She Still Loved It. (Yes, she looks slightly frightened, here, but once she tasted it, she smiled!)

I have attempted all other kinds of cooking, sometimes with disastrous, life-threatening results.

I will never be a gourmet.  And I am okay with that.  Sometimes, even though it looks like goo, it tastes okay.

4. My Husband And I Don’t Always Get Along.

Yes, I married the love of my life.  Yes, we are in it forever.

Sometimes I don’t like him, though.  And sometimes he doesn’t like me.

And, I am happy for people who have never fought with each other, and who never fight in front of their children, and I admire them for living the ideal.

But, you know, my husband and I are just not that mature.

Sometimes we sound like children.

Sometimes it’s embarrassing.

We both have an opinion about everything, and sometimes that ends up in silly, inane arguing.

And we don’t write love notes to each other, and we don’t do Valentine’s Day, and our last three anniversaries were spent at OB/GYN offices or with a midwife.

We don’t go kayaking and he has never flown me to Paris.

And I don’t care.  I don’t want to go to Paris.

And other people do this, and that’s great.  But, it’s okay that we don’t.

He has unplugged the toilets I don’t know how many times.  He leaves apple cores in random places in the house.

He found my missing blue skirt.  He cleans up vomit and messes without batting an eye.  When he builds fires, he loses track of time, children, and any sense of living in the same universe as the rest of us.

Yummmm….

He eats the failed “So Good It Can’t Be Described, Explosion on Your Taste Buds Chicken” that is burnt and disgusting without gagging.

That’s romantic to me.

And we love each other.  But we don’t always get along.

Working on it.  Not there yet.  Not ever giving up, though.

5. I am not always happy and pleasant with my children.

For some reason, ever since our daughter died, people seem to think that I am “special” or “saintly”.  Also, when people hear that I have 12 children, they think that I am “a saint,” too.

am a Latter-day Saint, but that’s not the same thing.  I feel so awkward when people say things like, “Your halo is probably so bright and shiny!” (Yes, someone did say this to me once after finding out that I adopted two children…).  I may have a halo, but most of the time it is slightly askew or in the shop for repairs…

And, even though our daughter died, I admit that I still get mad at my children that are still here.  And I am sometimes less than pleasant.

I read some message board once where this lady with three kids was saying “I can’t stand them sometimes.  They drive me crazy.  Does anyone else feel like this?”  She got blasted  from other women, many of whom were struggling with infertility.  They said things like,

“If I had children, I would never feel that way.  I would never say what you have said.”

“I have had several miscarriages, and what you said makes me sick.  I can’t imagine how any mother could feel that way.”

I understand where these women are coming from, but they are dealing with what they imagine motherhood would be like–and maybe what it would be like for them, because they are able to handle things like that.  Not everyone can.

I felt so sad, because I think what this woman was looking for was some cheering up and validation, and a “Just try again tomorrow,” type of answer, not a “You’re such a jerk for not being perfect” response.

For a long time after Joy died, I was tormented with guilt every time I was less than perfect.  So, basically, almost every single day I thought,

“What is wrong with me?  I know I could lose them at any time.  Why am I not behaving better?”

Well, maybe I could have behaved better, but the gospel talks about getting brighter and brighter until the perfect day, not

“Wow. Something bad happened to you. Tomorrow you will wake up and be perfect.”

I had to come to terms with that.

It’s not an excuse not to try and have perfect days.  I still try every day to give it my best shot.  That is really important.

But, I am not always pleasant, and things are not always great. And we don’t always like being around each other.

Mostly, we do.  But, sometimes, we don’t.

And, maybe there are some people who can always put on a smile and never feel less than perfect.  And I think that would be wonderful.  But, I’m not there yet.

So, there.  My opinionated self feels better getting all of that out in the open!  And now, I feel more open and honest, and I am glad we had this little conversation.

I suppose it would be appropriate to end this post with something from Pinterest–or if not appropriate, then ironic. Because while it can be irritating at times, social media can also be inspiring:

some lessons learned from the flu at 38 weeks pregnant

some lessons learned from the flu at 38 weeks pregnant

I almost hesitate to write this post, because not everyone will need this information–but, you never know.  I think we all know someone who is pregnant at least once or twice in our lives–and what if they get the flu at 38 weeks?  They should be able to benefit from this information…so I am sharing it as kind of a public service.

Thank you.

First of all, if you get the flu this late in pregnancy, it is always good to have best friends who will send you gifts through email–gift cards, random sums of money…I am blessed to have such a friend whose gift to “help Daniel get here” was so perfectly timed, because it arrived in my inbox at precisely the moment I had decided that death would be better than continuing on with the flu and the possibility of a C-section.

My friend’s perfect gift was even more perfect because I didn’t have to make any sudden movements to retrieve it, and I didn’t have to speak (I still haven’t quite the ability to speak without rasping and coughing yet).  I could lie in agony of body and still enjoy the gift. And just knowing I have a friend like that made it hurt less.

So, thank you, best friend, for making things better and carrying me a little.  I love you.

Lesson #1:  Accessories de Toilette

When the hacking cough comes to the completely pregnant bladder, there is a really important question that needs to be answered–and quickly!

Poise or Depends or Attends? Help!

You’d Never Find One To Fit Over A Pregnant Belly

 

Attends Are Ugly.

Poise is the hands down winner here. Why?

Because Depends only sells plastic underwear, which are great if you have other issues, but a two week bout of intense coughing on a pregnant bladder does not warrant plastic underwear.  Also, they will never fit over a 38 week belly.

Attends are another option, but they are, for want of a better word–ugly.

Poise Uses French.

Poise is pretty and purple and paisley.

Also, Poise uses French.

That’s right, ladies.  Underneath the pad, instead of just having an arrow and the word “Front” it says “Avant”.  That’s French.  And as everyone knows, that makes it more fashionable.

So, instead of feeling the indignity of being temporarily incontinent, you can instead say to yourself that you have “Accessories de Toilette”.   And, don’t most fashionable French women have whole oodles of “toilette”?  So, it doesn’t even sound that bad.

Also, when you send your husband to the pharmacy or grocery store to have him pick up the Poise, make sure you have texted him a picture of the exact kind you want, along with a description.  A description alone won’t do.  I cannot reiterate enough that THERE MUST BE A PICTURE.  Here is a link to the official Poise products site so you can find the right product.

Lesson #2: Robitussin is gross.

Doesn’t Work And Is Too Sweet and Colored

Robitussin is gross and too sweet and does not work.  I’ll tell you what helped me.

Tea Tree Oil.

Tea Tree Oil Works

I am not kidding.  I brushed my teeth with it, I bathed in it, and I put a few drops on the floor of the shower when I got in to take a shower.  I diffused it.  I humidified with it.

I could never do that with Thieves.  First of all, I am not a thief, and somehow, I always suspect that the devil-may-care, living as an outlaw by your wits attitude of a thief probably helped in keeping them from being sick.

Somehow, It Seems That They Don’t Deserve To Get The Flu (Or The Plague)…They Are Just Too Cute!

Also, bad guys usually get away with things, you know.  Especially if they are portrayed as kind of fun-loving, goofy bad guys, and that’s how I always picture these Thieves from the Young Living Thieves oil.

Devil-May-Care-Native-Cheery-Temperment Helps Prevent Flu

I see them dressed as gypsies who aren’t really trying to be bad, they just don’t know any better.  And maybe they are wearing festive hats, rolling around in Christmas spices…

Festive Thieves

I don’t even have a festive hat, and if someone tried to put one on me while I had the flu at 38 weeks pregnant, that would end in tragedy for all.

Plus, have you tried to swallow Thieves?  Well, I guess it would put you out of one kind of misery and pain and into a whole other level of misery. Ouch.

Why tea tree oil?  Well, because when I had the flu while pregnant with child number four, I lived in Australia, and my medical doctor there told me to use tea tree oil.  Never once did he mention cold/flu OTC remedies.  Might I remind you that he was an actual medical doctor  (Australians are much more holistically minded than the crazy Americans).

The thing about tea tree oil is it is not as quick to work as, say, codeine.  Nor does it have a narcotic effect.  This was something that at a few points I desperately wanted.  But, I thought of scriptures a lot and prayed a lot for survival, and while that didn’t have the same type of effect as codeine, it didn’t have the same type of side effects, either.

If you do decide to take Robitussin in the middle of the night when you feel like you have lost your mind, go ahead.  Maybe it will help you think that you are feeling better.

Lesson #3: When you can’t recall the taste of strawberries, be grateful that you have your husband, and if he needs tips on how to help, have him watch the following clip.

In the end, he was able to try to help me remember that life would go on and there were orchards and strawberries and cream and love and laughter and that I wasn’t just “naked in the dark with nothing except the eye of fire torturing me.”  In the end, he also carried me (literally) to get up to the toilette. (Portrayed in the clip as Mt. Doom)  He is an angel.

Lesson #4: Don’t forget Lesson #3. I ended up like Jane Austen’s Emma….

He found my blue skirt.

“I love John.”

He decided to make black bean corn tortillas for breakfast for me because I said I could not eat another egg.

“I hate John.”

He gave me blessings and held my hand and got me perfectly warmed chicken broth at 2:30 am when he’d just been up at 1:15 for one of the kids.

“I love John.”

Etcetera.

Really, just because he couldn’t make eggs at the exact perfect amount of runniness was no reason to temporarily hate him.

He was also running on no sleep, seven sick children, worrying about a transverse baby, staying home from work, and lots of dirty laundry duty.

But, I did vacillate between being angry with him and loving him.  What’s the matter with me?  I think, though, I was really just projecting.  I was really mad at the FLU and PREGNANCY but you can’t yell at THEM.

Badly Done

Badly done, Emma.

Lesson #5: Remember that you will one day be human again.

There were times when I honestly felt like I was not a human being.  Just a pile of nerves and pain and a baby holder.  And the baby was very uncomfortable.  And then, I started to wonder,

“Is there really a baby in there, or am I just the product of a moody, overly sensitive, possibly clinically depressed enchantress who turned me into a wardrobe?”

Am I Really Still A Human Being Or Not?

But, I am human.  At least, hopefully.  And, I will probably start feeling human again in about a year or two.  Until then, I can think positive and sing along:

I’ll be cooking again, be good looking again…

I’ll wear lipstick and rouge and I won’t be so huge
Why, I’ll easily fit through that door
I’ll exude savior-faire, I’ll wear gowns, I’ll have hair
It’s my prayer to be human again…”

proof that sugar is an addictive substance.

proof that sugar is an addictive substance.

I usually don’t go shopping.  I don’t go get groceries because I subscribe to the idea that in ancient times, men hunted the food, so…you know–I am a traditionalist–and I don’t want to take away the thrill of the hunt from my husband.

(Actually, part of it has to do with pregnancy complications, but I like the way my first explanation sounds so much better!)

I also allow the UPS guy the excitement of delivering non-perishable food items to my door.  One day, he delivered brown rice noodles while I was having a breakdown because of some misbehaving children.  I think he may have changed routes after that.  It was really embarrassing.

For some reason, I found myself in a store this week, and it was a huge mistake on my part.  You see, I forgot that it was already Easter candy season, it being February already.  So, I was innocently walking down the aisle when I saw them…

I could almost hear the distinctive, yet quiet crunch that accompanies biting into that powdery, pastel candy shell…

You Can’t Even Tell The Tartrazine Is There!

$3.19 for a tiny bag of sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, weird natural flavors, more sugar, gum arabic, and color with tartrazine (because you couldn’t have the beautiful pastels without it, I assume).  I don’t even want to know what tartrazine is, but I know it’s not worth $3.19 a bag.

But, what did I do?  I bought a bag. The imaginary crunch in my ears was overwhelming.  I couldn’t stop myself.

I tried to tell myself that because they are produced in Poland, I was merely getting in touch with my family history and heritage and identifying with my culture, but I knew I was just rationalizing.

I did it in a hurry, hoping no one would see me put it in my cart (as if I now had a gigantic sign on my head saying, “No Sugar Preaching, Artificial Color Hating Hyprocrite!”)

It was embarrassing. But, just for me.  I don’t think anyone else cared.  But, you know, there were angels watching.

I tried to hide it from my kids, because I didn’t want them to see that dark side of me.  But, I can’t hide anything.  I am an open book. So, I shared the poison.

Sharing The Poison

What is the matter with me?  And why do they stock Easter candy in February?

I tell you, there is no health food that can match the pleasure of Cadbury Mini-Eggs.  To me, that is proof that they should be classified as an addictive substance.  In fact, the entry for Cadbury Mini-Eggs on Wikipedia (the source of all true knowledge) states:

Not to be confused with heroin.

Honestly, I really do think sugar is an addiction, and it is a really serious problem, probably because it looks so pretty and can come in pastel colors.  I wish I could say that I wouldn’t have made the same mistake if I had to do it over again, but I probably would.  If a woman who is totally anti-sugar can be tempted, anyone can, so, to quote Shakespeare:

Beware the Ides of March!

And February, and probably April for that matter, because that is when those delicious little eggs are sold.  You don’t want to find yourself asking this question in May when you realize what they’ve done to you:

Et tu, Cadbury?

To make myself even more of a hypocrite, I will admit that I was just reading articles referring to scientists pushing to make sugar regulated like alcohol and tobacco because of its deleterious effects–AND I STILL BOUGHT THE BAG OF CANDY!!!  Can you believe it? 

farm life…living the dream

farm life…living the dream

Ever since I can remember, I have always thought of how much fun it would be to move out to the country and have some animals and quit being a full-time consumer and be self-sustainable and self-reliant and all that stuff, and I have worked very hard for the last few years to move toward that goal.

I started out my research into the life of a hobby farmer the way anyone would–I drew on my vast experience reading Jane Austen novels, because, you know, they all live in the country.

Plus, I am a lot like Mrs. Jennings (see previous post).

Note The Country Setting

I then graduated to watching Jane Austen movies and other BBC period dramas.

I also moved out to the country and lived in a beautiful, beautiful home with 10 acres of pasture and neighbors who had horses.

And cows.

I was on my way.  I even planted a garden that yielded three zucchini and about 20 teensy, cute potatoes.

Our Backyard

I was moving right along toward my dream.

I went organic.

I wanted to live sustainably.

I baked my own bread, and then got a bread machine, because my attempts at real, homemade bread were disastrous.

Finally, I just resorted to becoming friends with people who could make bread, and who would take pity on me and bring it to me in exchange for me being able to make them feel vastly superior and accomplished.

I read Mother Earth News and fell in love with Mary Jane’s Farm.  I fell in love with horses.  Of course, not in the way most people would.  I decided to take care of old, decrepit horses.

Dash, Our 29 Year Old Gelding

I spent $500 on the wrong kind of gravel for the horses to rest their hooves in.

I found a horrible farrier that nearly killed our Arabian and who charged me outrageously.   I then found a great farrier who was furious at what the old farrier had done.

I learned how to fix founder and make beet mash. I bought 25 gallons of sticky molasses for the beet mash, not realizing it came in powdered form at the IFA. I bought ridiculously overpriced hay. I now know what a colicky horse looks like and what to do to save it.

My husband learned how to pay the vet.

I worked some land that in the late summer (when we first started renting it), looked like paradise, but in spring turned into a marshy quagmire of mucky goo and naturally produced six trillion giant, bloodsucking mosquitoes.

Not Supposed To Be Wet Here

I gardened some more with my daughter, who actually could make things grow.  I bought fly traps and bug repellant.

My Daughter, The Only Green Thumb in the Family

I lost an apricot and cherry tree to some weird disease that made the bark ooze strange, icky, sticky liquid from the trunks.

I was singlehandedly responsible for the untimely demise of several chickens and ducklings.

The Ones Who Lived

I moved to another home with 5 acres and neighbors who own goats and roosters.

Did you know that some roosters crow every 10 minutes from about 1 am until noon?

I discovered that goats stink and cow poop is really gross.

In short, I was living the dream.

I still have my horses, and I still live in the country, and I love it.

Love Our Horses

But, you know what?  I am just not that talented.

I can’t bake bread.

My attempts at gardening would not sustain my family for five weeks, let alone a whole winter.

Canning makes me want to swear, and I don’t like it.  Also, I don’t really want to swear and then have to repent.

Grape vines are a natural habitat for wasps, and I don’t like wasps.

I cry when my fruit trees get sick.  I can’t stand it.  It just breaks my heart.

I don’t like poo.

I am not brave and I can’t just let my toddlers wander around the property while I try to move five tons of manure.

I don’t have the focus or ability to be pregnant, homeschool, raise toddlers, and milk goats while holding my breath so I don’t vomit at the smell of them.

Cute But Stinky

When my husband is home from work, I don’t want him outside for six hours on a tractor or making giant bonfires. I actually want to see him sometimes.

So, what am I going to do?

Well, I’ll tell you right now that in the event of an emergency, I would be the first to pass out.  I am not a survivor.  I am not self-reliant, self-sustaining, or self-sufficient.

I am a horrible homemaker, even though it’s “in” to bake cupcakes and have homemade bread. Besides, even just driving by Jo-Ann Fabrics terrifies me.  I am so scared in there.  It’s this big, mysterious place full of material that seems far too expensive for me to ruin.  Also, it’s not a place for children.  Children + Jo-Ann Fabrics = Chaos.  And crying.

Simple Math

My homemaking skills end at being able to buy a cute, trendy retro apron from Etsy.

Vintage Apron.

I have few, if any, ethically marketable talents.  (I am great at getting pregnant, but that’s not ethically marketable).  I have absolutely nothing to offer to a community co-op.

I must shamefully admit that I am a consumer.  I can’t help it.  When things go wrong, I buy stuff.

When I can’t keep up with the housecleaning, I call the maid service or burn scented candles that I did not make myself.

I Am Ashamed To Admit I Love Them

When I am too lazy to put the bread machine mix into the bread machine, my kids eat bread I bought at the organic health food store.

When I realize that building a chicken coop is too hard for my 7 month pregnant self, I buy a ridiculously overpriced one because it’s cute and it looks like a barn!

See, It’s Cute Because It Looks Like A Little Barn!!

When I want to eat meat, I prefer to find someone else who has done all the hard work and buy it from them, already dead and in packages and cut up so it doesn’t resemble the actual animal from whence it came.

I guess I could feel horrible about everything.  After all, it’s constantly humbling to live in a community full of self-reliant, self-sufficient milkers of goats, raisers of cows, plowers of fields, and makers of homes knowing that I am the one on whom they should all take pity…of course, I am the first person to admit that I am always in need of a good, strong dose of humility and I really, really adore my neighbors.  And their livestock.  Including the rooster.

They are all amazing, and I love to take advantage of their bread making, goat raising, egg laying, tractor driving abilities.

It’s just sometimes I feel like, “You know, what do I have to offer to these amazing people who are so much more gifted than I am?  Aside from “opportunities for service?”

I have realized that my dream involves pregnancy without morning sickness or bedrest, unfailing energy, animals that don’t poop, roosters that only crow once at 9:30 am for the ambience, goats that don’t stink, bread that always rises, and children that never get hurt.  In short, my dream is for something that does not exist on this planet. So, I am going to take it as I sign that I am just trying to be more…heavenly.  After all, C.S. Lewis once said:

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

Until I make it (if I ever do!) to that world where animals don’t poop and goats smell like lavender, I think I’ll limit my “farming” to children, waterfowl, and maybe some vegetables.

Love The Ducks.

And, I’ll limit my culinary adventures to looking at recipes on Pinterest.  That way, no one gets hurt.

Of course, I won’t forget to don my trendy apron while doing it.

The first photo on this post is from Mary Jane’s Farm, which really is amazing.

meet my literary likenesses

meet my literary likenesses

It’s so fun to find out the difference between the literary character you feel most like as compared to what your family feels that you are like.  For example, here are the characters I have always fancied that I am most like:

1. Miss Melanie from Gone With The Wind.  With her charitable heart, and longsuffering kindness, her sweetness was what I told myself was certainly part of my personality…(Plus, I just love Olivia de Havilland)

2. Miss Marianne, Sense and Sensibility.  Shakespeare, being rescued by a handsome man on horseback, being overcome with love…a generous heart and motivated by fun.  Yes, I think I could relate to Miss Marianne.  Especially when she ends up with Colonel Brandon.

3. Lucie Manette, A Tale of Two Cities.  I felt that my compassionate heart and hers resonated and if I had a father like Dr. Manette, I would love him back to life just as she would.

4. Eponine, Les Miserables.  More a reflection of my teen years, always falling for a guy who liked someone else already but who thought we could be “great friends.”

5. Belle, from A Christmas Carol.  Sweet, patient, but not a victim.

6. Princess Aurora, from Sleeping Beauty…I have sung in the past to the delight of birds and squirrels (although I am not fond of racoons…they are beastly creatures that scare me), and I did have blonde hair…I also thought that Prince Phillip would find me as charming and kind as Briar Rose.  Also, when faced with a spinning wheel, the first thing I would do is prick myself.  I also like to sleep a lot (200+ years nonstop actually sounds like how much I would like to at this point), and sometimes the only thing that can wake me up is indeed true love’s kiss.

However, in reality–and this, I am sure is MUCH more accurate, here are the literary characters whom I most resemble according to my family.

1. Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With The Wind.  Willing to do anything for a piece of land.  A little whiny, but never gives up.  Tends to trust in her own abilities rather than God.  Although, our similarity ends at love interests.  None of hers would have interested me.

2.  Mrs. Jennings, Sense and Sensibility.  Generosity that spills over into being too open about matters of the heart, rollicking sense of humor, handles wealth with aplomb (if given the chance, I am sure I could do the same), dislikes loud balls when it’s too hot, always shows concern (“Does she care for olives?”) in ways that probably aren’t very helpful, but she is sincere.

3.  Miss Pross, A Tale of Two Cities.  Fiercely loyal and orderly.  A perfect foil for the Madame DeFarge’s of the world. And a mommacrocodile!

4. Madame Magloire, housekeeper to Monseigneur Bienvenu, Les Miserables.  Fiercely loyal to the Bishop. She wants to be as charitable and Godlike as he, but still worries about things like the silver and criminals sleeping in the same house as she.  She’ll go along with whatever the Bishop wants out of love and faith, but worries about it.  She still needs someone like the Bishop to remind her that the silver wasn’t theirs to begin with.

5. Mrs. Fezziwig, A Christmas Carol.  I really do like to have fun and I love to share.

And finally, the one (actually three) literary characters with whom I most resonate.

A combination of mostly Merryweather, Flora and Fauna

I really channel these crazy fairies with gusto, especially Merryweather.  I actually sew and bake about as good as Flora and Fauna, too. Watch the video below and you will know me almost as well as my family does!

Pregnancy…For Those Who Are On Their Fourth or More…

Pregnancy…For Those Who Are On Their Fourth or More…

Okay, so I realize that while I am no expert on anything, I can say that I have been pregnant more than the average woman of today, so perhaps I might be able to have some clout when I make some claims to knowing a little about it.

I have decided that since I was recently pregnant, and it is fresh in my mind, I will now post some tips and things I have learned throughout my many years of being pregnant–this is mostly for people who are on their fourth+ pregnancy.

1. Answer is the best brand of early pregnancy test.  It is reliable, it hardly ever leaves  “evaportion lines” that get your hopes up (if you are hoping that you are pregnant), and it shows positive sometimes even earlier than First Response, which is much more expensive.  For the accuracy and dependability, the price is amazingly low for a retail pregnancy test.

That being said, you can now order strips online at Amazon.  You can get 25 for the price of one pregnancy test.  This is great if you are having difficulty conceiving and are testing frequently.

2.  Morning sickness is something that happens all the time.

Maybe someone somewhere once only had it one morning, but I have had it all day, every day for most of my pregnancies for at least the first trimester, and it has gotten progressively worse as I have had more children.

3.  By the time you are pregnant with your fourth baby, don’t expect to be a completely functional individual for the first three months of your pregnancy at least.

I usually operate at 45% capacity, and wander around the house in my pajamas frequently.  That is not a bad thing.

I think if we would just admit to our 45% capacity operational level, we wouldn’t try to overdo and then be so tired.  I think if we just planned to do maybe two things per day, we would feel a lot better about ourselves.

Also, I would suggest right now to get a lot of pajamas.

4.  The second trimester usually gets better, but sometimes it doesn’t.

The important thing to remember is to understand that anything can happen, and no matter what anyone tells you, it could be totally different and not resemble any other pregnancy that has ever been documented.

5. Doctors don’t know everything.

Midwives don’t know everything.

Nobody really knows anything, really, except God, who often doesn’t disclose everything for reasons that we don’t always understand.

6. No matter when you think you are going to have your baby, it’s always going to be not that time.

7.  For most women, eating healthy during the first trimester becomes very difficult–especially in later pregnancies.

I don’t know why.  It’s so frustrating.

I can always count on going from my typical green smoothie breakfast and all of my assurances to myself that I will do it no matter what to having vanilla pudding for breakfast, lunch and dinner three weeks later.

I also find that our family dinners, breakfasts and lunches kind of go out the window.  “Leftover takeout pizza for breakfast, anyone?” or “Cake for dinner?”  “Cereal for lunch?”

I have to take pride in the fact that, with the exception of pizza, it’s all organic junk food, though, so I can ease my guilty conscience.

8. Exhaustion is just a way of life after the fourth pregnancy.  It’s just going to be that way for a long time.

9. The idea of having twins as time goes by becomes less and less cute and exciting. One at a time is very, very acceptable and good.

10. If you want to keep a healthy self-image, do not shop for pregnancy clothes in real life, where the pregnant women look like underweight sick inidividuals who are merely bloated and have enlarged chests, instead of a real pregnant woman who has a gentle roundness all over.

And finally, it is always worth it.