Life With Nine Kids

Monday, December 31, 2012

SICK AGAIN: You've got to be kidding me!?

Life was getting back to normal. We got over the flu and in two short weeks we celebrated Sage's 13th birthday, we went ice skating, we saw Santa, I got all the laundry caught up again, I was feeling 100% better, I cleaned and de-cluttered like crazy; I even dusted the ceiling fans. We decorated inside and out and baked tons of cookies, we made Christmas cookie care packages for all service people/ mail carrier who stopped by, we happily made crafts, Smith-wick (our elf) brought great joy and fun. Sugarplums danced in our heads for the better half of December. I spent loads of time doing other things with the kids too, like making Santa faces from paper plates and cotton balls, watching Christmas movies, hanging red and green paper chains all over the house, playing and reading. We made delicious homemade pretzels and everyone settled in and enjoyed the time together (and being well again). On the Winter Solstice we decorated a tree outside with apple rings, birdseed pine cones and circle pretzels as offerings for the "snow angels" just like in Little Bear, and we sang.
Things were indeed TONS better. The kids were weaned of the TV after being sick and overloading on it, the house looked great, we were happily awaiting Christmas Eve. Then I noticed sniffles and sneezes starting up in the kids. I soon woke up with a sore throat, it appeared we were getting a cold. Just a day before Christmas Eve a few younger kids had fevers. I was nervous but super hopeful and sure it would be no big deal... Christmas Eve came and we watched my favorite comedy Christmas movie that we all totally enjoy and laugh wildly at, Jingle All The Way. Christmas morning came early (5:30am) and we had a lot of fun and family time full of joy. Sebastian enjoyed his toys for a few hours and then laid down on the couch with a warm rosy face; the poor little guy burned up from there on and didn't get up the rest of the day except for us to give him drinks. Ricky felt under the weather by 11am and took a nap until 1:30. Aunt Sharon and Grandma visited and overall we had a nice time and pretty Christmas dinner. By the time they left Charlotte was in bed sick and other kids seemed feverish, too.
For the following seven days after Christmas I walked around the house getting lethargic laid up kids orange juice, water, hot tea, cold rags, medicine, tissues and small meals while repeating to myself "I just CAN NOT freaking believe this. THIS IS SO NOT FAIR." Ricky recovered quickly and was able to help me thank goodness ( just as I got sicker). It was/is an upper respiratory virus and some of us now appear to have bronchitis. It's not nearly as bad as the flu but it still took its toll on all of us. With the flu it was just misery, with this "cold" at least Ricky and I got to spend time together snuggling and watch TV (although interrupted often by kids needing us). So now we're back to square one, recovering as I pick up the pieces of a messy house and getting caught up on laundry. I so did not expect this! We've never all been sick with a flu or cold ALL at the exact time and here it happened back to back in the same month and with a vengeance!! I can't fathom it still, even though I lived it! I'm thankful we are up healing up faster this time and even us bronchitis stricken people actually seem to be fairing okay. In hindsight we are awesome and we are troopers and we overcame all of this: but man did it suck. (Still sucks since we really aren't over it yet.) New Years Eve is upon us and no one feels like eating much, nothing sounds good at all and as a result we have no party food or drinks or noise makers. Bah! Humbug! :) In reality though my head is full of snot and I'm coughing like crazy so I don't care. I've been holding Everett all day because he's still not feeling well. I wanted SO bad to be all better this morning that I thought I was... I was so determined. I started trying to do my normal Monday routine: stripping the bed for washing, making the bed, cleaning my room, starting the laundry, making breakfast... I made it as far as taking the pillow cases off our pillows, making hot tea and starting one load of laundry before I was EXHAUSTED and holding a fussy baby on the bed as we both dozed off restlessly.
I can not wait to be normal again!! I have things to do and kids to enjoy and decorations to put away and a house to clean... we have loads of school we have to catch up on and I have so much hope that this was the last of illness we need to have for a long time! I hope the winter goes by as fast as it came and with lots of: trips to the Magic House, school/art projects, more pretzel making, good conversations, family games, hot cocoa, winter hobbies, a few home projects... and a snowman or two!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kid Break ~~Relaxing

Aunt Sharon hasn't seen the kids very much lately and wanted to give us a much needed break after being sick so she picked up the kids Saturday for a sleepover. They all go now, even little Everett! It's SO cute watching him go. This is his second sleepover. The first time I was thinking about him nonstop and missing him a ton! This time I was really mellow probably because I needed the break, but probably because the weaning is in full swing so it makes it easier knowing he's not really expecting me to nurse him. It's so cute when he's in the car with the other kids waving goodbye to me and giving me a kiss. His cute little two year old voice and chubby hand waving. Oh the cute. The little kids are all really cute when they go. I'm always surprised how much they wave and kiss me and say goodbye. At times we can get so burnt out, so tired, so sick of each other, but when we part for a day or two there is such a sense of love and appreciation. After they left I excitedly told Ricky, "They love me, they really showed me that they love me with their kisses and goodbyes." :) Sometimes being a mom is a thankless job, and sometimes it's totally not. :)

Ricky and I relaxed and just enjoyed the quiet house for a while. I thought about doing some housework without being disrupted but then thought nahhh. We went out to dinner in the evening and then walked around the mall for about 20 minutes and bought a new personalized family Christmas ornament. Malls aren't our scene at all, but once in a great while we'll stop by one for some reason or another. We watched tv briefly at home before turning into bed. We slept in this morning until 9:30; waking up to a super quiet house and warm snugging bodies was so nice. Since I was sick for so long and unable to breathe well or be close to Ricky we are extra-enjoying being close again. Our furnace went out last night so we were under three heavy blankets and stayed nice and warm and cozy. Ricky looked at the furnace this morning while I whipped us up an elegant breakfast for two. It was fancy and super-fantastically delicious! Chocolate covered strawberries, blackberries, hot cinnamon rolls, egg and ham croissant sandwich and a side dish of organic vanilla-banana yogurt! Romantic breakfast for two in heaven!

Unfortunately the furnace issue is not resolved. I think I want a post breakfast chocolate-strawberry snack before we re-read the manual and decide if we need to call a real repair person. A couple years ago we ordered a part and made a repair on it ourselves, but we can not for life of us remember what we did! I think we are also off to buy another space heater or far it looks like it's going to be a cold night or few days...

Update: We have finally located the igniter and somewhat remember replacing it before. We checked and it's not lighting, so we have all the info about it and luckily remembered where we took it for replacement part (not a regular home store an actual manufacturer supply place). Tomorrow I will hopefully be able to pick it up at the same place without a wait! For now we will sleep and heat two rooms like people did in the old days of winter! (Except we are using handy electric heaters instead of wood heaters. :) Tonight's low is the coldest of this season, 20 degrees! Burr!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sick, The Quest for Some Family Time, Weaning Toddlers

I was sick forever. Ok, it was only a week, or nine days...give or take...but it was awful! Layla brought us influenza B home for Thanksgiving, so over the Thanksgiving holiday people started falling ill. The kids were pretty easy and straight forward; fevers, tired, achy...then I got it. I was the sickest of all. It was totally pitiful how sick I got. I slept for six hours a day, the kids watched six hours of TV a day. It was misery. Everyone got over it slowly, but I got over it even slower. I'm still totally recuperating but I'm much better now. I have some cold like symptoms and until last night I hadn't slept an entire night in two weeks. Usually we have our tree up by or on Thanksgiving, we finally got it up yesterday. We have been doing Christmas crafts and finally getting more into the holiday! Funny because we had actually started early last month, we had Christmas music playing as usual in November, but then everything got put on hold.
I feel really bad I've been SO bitchy to the kids. I really do. I've been: tired, cranky, demanding, impatient. It happens from time to time, but being sick has just made me even more miserable I'm sure. I wish I had the grace of Michelle Duggar. I would love that. I would love to treat my little people with more respect sometimes; I would never nag at my husband the way I nag at them. It's a reoccurring theme, and I need to re-read this post and I'll feel better and try harder and start over from a place of more patience. I'm always working at being a better calmer mother-person. Things have been very stressful lately, I need to remember that first. Second: things will get better. For months and MONTHS Ricky's been working a lot, which is totally understandable and needed right now, but it has made things more stressful. We are both tired, stressed and busy and while that doesn't reflect on our relationship with each other it does on the kids. I'm more stressed, he's not seeing them as much or playing with them as much. It's just hard. A lot of nights we just rush around trying to get them in bed so we can talk for 30 minutes and then either collapse on the couch together or in bed. I'm in bed a lot since I'm so sick. We recently have been trying to watch more TV in the evening with the kids. It's hard because there is not much we can watch together as a family since our society thinks family TV has to include non stop adult themes, teen dating and/or crude humor filled with stereotypes. But, we've found a few shows we like and with holiday movies and shows being in season it's much easier right now too. At least if we are tired we can still sit around together and be in each others company instead of rushing everyone off to separate rooms for quiet time or whatever. This craziness is just a phase though: things get better and worse, rinse and repeat, it's called life! I'm looking forward to us feeling better and playing more family games in the evenings again.
WEANING THE TODDLER (otherwise known as the baby)
Before any of the sickness started, right about the time Ricky started working a lot more hours on some special projects, Everett started getting really cranky and going through a "stage." It was what we called 'a REALLY HARD time that would pass.' That has now been compounded with weaning him. So he is EXTRA cranky and needy now, but things are improving with him! He is starting to understand more and the slow almost-child-led but mostly mama-led weaning is going well. It's so very hard for a child to make that transition. Weaning is forever, it's a huge milestone as well as a huge new development into being his own person. In addition we both have to learn an entirely new toolbox of mothering and soothing skills. It's not just about him not nursing anymore: it's him not getting extra calories, him no longer getting my antibodies that help him during colds and flu, him needing something new to do instead of nursing for a big owey or emotional breakdown, him needing a new way to fall back asleep at night, him needing a new coping strategy for teething, him needing to find something to do when he is bored...and the big one me and him HAVING to find away to get him to sleep for bedtime and naps to begin with. His life is changing big time; eventually he won't remember it, but it will be forever a part of him. Even though I'm SO, so ready for him to wean, it's still bittersweet. He's still my baby, he'll always be. We have some tears at night and nap time when I just *won't* nurse or when I nurse him and then tell him 'all done now.' (Because physically it's just NOT working for me, not because I'm trying to withhold from him through will-power, I'm actually at that point where it's just not working out and milk is drying up.) As we lie together and I try to soothe him it's getting easier every few days. He's getting older and more understanding (or at least accepting). He's doing great. Today he found ice cream cones in the cupboard and wanted ice cream. We are all out of ice cream. A couple months ago he would have cried and cried because emotionally he wouldn't have been able to accept not having ice cream in the house while having the cones in his hand. Today he got over it after looking in the freezer and accepted it for a simple reality. Growing up is AMAZING. Lots to learn about cause and effect and acceptance...