Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can Christmas be "FAIR"??

Last year we had this discussion... and thought we came up with an answer but this year we are again struggling with what to do for Christmas with the children.

See, Doodle is always with his mother for both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day... and being a few hours away we don't get Christmas Eve, but we get him the day after Christmas through New Years which works great for us. Except for the "Family Christmas" traditions that we like to have on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Doodle gets Christmas with his mother and her parents on Christmas Day.
Butterfly gets an extra Christmas with her father and his family near Christmas.

We thought about doing 2 Christmases, one on Christmas with the kids that live here, and one a couple days later when Doodle is here, but is that fair?
If we do that, how do we split the presents so that on 2nd Christmas everyone feels it's fair? without overloading the kids that live here?

Isn't it funny how Jesus is the Reason for the Season, and it's supposed to be about His Birthday, but somehow in this material world, no matter what we do - we know that it will come down to the presents for each child...

In some ways, the Holidays are really depressing in a Jigsaw family...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers

So after 2 days of eating Thanksgiving dinner, I finally couldn't handle the last of the leftovers! So on the 3rd day for lunch Hubby helped me make potato pancakes and "chinese" turkey, it was delicious! Sadly I forgot to take a picture....

Then for dinner, I got creative!

We took the rest of the stuffing and gravy, mixed them with some parmesan cheese and added a little more turkey stock (homemade from the bones of the thanksgiving turkey) to soften it and added the chopped up stems from the mushrooms.
The mushroom caps baked (opening down) for 10 min @ 400 degrees.
Then we stuffed the caps and baked them for another 20 mins. Soo delicious!!
I might make more stuffing soon, just so I can make these. It really was that good!

After the stuffing stuffed mushrooms, all we had left was the green bean casserole and a little turkey... It wasn't enough to make a meal, unless I added something. So we made rice and then thinned out the casserole with a bit more milk, mixed them all together and I think we have a new dish!
I just have to come up with a name.... any ideas???

So today, we have no more leftovers... our lunch was tuna or PB&J.

Dinner will be Salisbury Steaks with mushroom and onion gravy, and some scalloped potatoes.

Tomorrow we might still be tired of poultry, but by the next day I think we will again eat chicken or turkey :)

You can bet, I'm already looking forward to Christmas dinner, and the leftovers from that!!


What a wonderful way to start the super early day! Daddy made breakfast :)

Then we got the turkey cleaned, and "stuffed" with carrots, onion, celery, fresh sage and thyme. Covered in butter and s&p. Then we put it in a bag, on a rack, in the pan. Phew!
That is our first turkey!!

The girls thought it sounded so good, they were already wanting to eat Thanksgiving!!

The rest of the morning, the girls hung out with Daddy (when he wasn't helping), and we got the rest of dinner cooking by 11:30am! So with things just finishing up (and waiting for the turkey drippings so I could make gravy), we left Hubby in charge of food, and I took the girls upstairs to clean up and get dressed... We came down to a beautifully set table :)

Homemade Sourdough Stuffing!! My new Favorite! Shh, I think it's better than my mom's, who before this year has the ONLY stuffing I ever liked!

Homemade Pecan Pie, in a homemade crust.

Hillbilly Green Beans... (thanks again for the recipe mom - he decided he wanted it made with ham and fresh green beans, so I had to start it the day before), these are so yummy they are requested to be a new family favorite!

Smashed Potatoes (homemade mashed potatoes with the skins still on), always a staple! With yes, that's Whole Berry, Cranberry Sauce. Sadly I was the only one who liked it... but with ground clove like my dad taught me, it was wonderful!

The turkey! mmmmm, juicy :)

Homemade Green Bean Casserole with Hubby's Home fried "french" onions!  With a new favorite here, Pecan topped Sweet Potatoes.

Thanks to Butterfly and my mom, we had homemade pumpkin pies! You know it wouldn't be the holidays without pumpkin pie!

The girls had to try out the turkey leg, Butterfly knew what to do, but Ladybug had to explore it first! 

That was our Thanksgiving!
We had it for lunch, then we ate the leftovers "as is" for the rest of the day, and the whole next day!

Preparing for Thankgsgiving...

This year was a lot of firsts for us!
The celebration of 1 whole year in our new house; Ladybug's first Thanksgiving; my first one cooking the whole dinner; our first "just us" Family Thanksgiving (except that we were again, sadly missing Doodle...); and our first "junk-free" or mostly homemade Thanksgiving!

So we started the day before, Hubby had to work, so I called in some reinforcements, LOL!
Butterfly and her friend, Fish, to do the real cleaning :)

Puppy came to share lunch with Ladybug, while Butterfly and Fish ate too :)

Then Butterfly and Fish played soccer...

sliding, and...

Butterfly even pushed Fish on the swings!

Of course, Puppy kept Ladybug busy too! All so I could have a kid-free kitchen to clean up, make pie crusts and start preparing everything I needed for Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Changes and Additions

So it's been a while......
I'm only a little sorry, see it just so happens that our life totally changed immediatly after my last post. Our little Ladybug who was working towards sleeping through the night and was starting to follow her older sister's social butterfly ways, suddenly became a clingy child that would not sleep for anything!

This hit at the same time that we were hit with separate but very impacting news/fights? about each of our ex's trying to make our life more difficult (did they meet, talk and conspire together?) through the older children... who already have soo much to deal with! Can't we just play nice until they are adults and we don't have to have contact anymore?

Well, soon after, Ladybug started crawling... and said "DADA"... and then cruising.... and so we thought things would get better!

They haven't :(

Soo, then we looked into other things, all the while trying to find ways to up my milk supply which despite her nursing every 45 mins to 2 hours was diminishing... after seriously over producing with my first daughter, this made no sense to me!


my husband asked the forbidden question!

I had to indulge,

I had to show him he was wrong,

I had to.....

I had to test..

and so....

we learned...

that we are expecting a new baby!!

We sat on the news, absorbing the idea of children just over a year apart...

There is a 6 yr gap between Doodle & Butterfly, a 4 yr gap between Butterfly and Ladybug (yes a 10 yr gap between Doodle and Ladybug) so this "gap" doesn't feel like one at all.
We will soon be parents to an 11 yr old, a 5 yr old, a 1 yr old, and a newborn!

By soon, I mean in about 6 months...

Yes - we will find out our Baby's gender
NO - we will not try for another homebirth
Yes - the baby will be born in the hospital but without all the interventions
and finally
Yes -this is our last time.

Sad, yet freeing...

With such spacings between our children, we are ready to move out of baby stages and on with child stages. We want to enjoy all of our children, and give them all wonderful FAMILY memories. We want them all to enjoy each other and we want to have the ability to spend time with each of them.

So our current "family project" is to totally rearrange the house, changing almost every room in the house, preparing not only for this baby, but for the family time and projects that we want to start or continue.
Wish us luck :) and don't take it personal if you know me in real life and I don't have time to hang out, I promise it's not you, it's life... but I'm sure this trying time will take it's toll on many friendships and I guess I'm ready for that... I just hope that I still have a few when this time is over!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

promises, promises....

About 10 days ago, our baby turned 6 months old. She is pulling up and trying to stand, crawling backwards, head-scooting, rolling, rocking and jabbering like crazy.
She is such an amazing little girl and brings so much joy to our lives!!

So we kept our promise to the kids (that they begged us to make when we told them we were pregnant) and got another dog. An English Lab mix puppy. He's 7 weeks old and we named him Moose since we are pretty sure that he will be bigger than the 2 dogs we have; a Basset Hound named Sammy that's 2yrs and a Beagle/Jack Russel/Akita/Welsh Corgi mix named Colby that's also 2 yrs.

Housebreaking is definatly m least favorite part, but he's not doing too bad!! He's still having a rough time sleeping alone, but our other 2 are crate trained so we are trying to do the same with him. Poor little guy would much rather sleep with us, but since he isn't fully house trained yet, it isn't an option.

Colby who protected me from other dogs during the pregnancy and won't let other dogs near his food is having the hardest time with Moose. He is willing to share food, but still tries to protect the baby from the puppy.

Sammy is excited to have him around to play and gets frustrated when the puppy tires out before he does.

All 3 kids are in love, and I think we found a great new addition to our family   : D

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I love you....

A definition:
Love is both an action and a feeling. Love is a profoundly tender, warm, loyal, personal, deep affection for another person.
The diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even to compare to other emotional states.

A little background:
 1 - I am trying to work through anxiety (more on that some other time) so right now when I feel an attack coming on I will try to get away by myself to calm down after some really dumb arguments made me learn the beginning of an attack.
 2 - We are trying to find a balance between Doodle's lack of rules at his other house and the basic rules we have here. For him and for consistency with all other children in the house. Without treating him "like a child."

  So last night, events during family dinner were leading me towards an anxiety attack, but I was trying to calm myself while finishing without bothering anyone. *It didn't work, so I will excuse myself next time.* Doodle asked for more salad and then a few bites in decided he was done and didn't want to finish. This was following both Daddy and I repeatedly reminding Butterfly that she had to finish her dinner. He got up to throw his in the trash.
  The stream of possible senarios all turned badly in my head so I quietly stormed upstairs. Doodle got upset by this and cried to Daddy that "she hates me".
When I was told this I had almost calmed myself, so rather than having myself a pity party like I wanted to I tried to put Doodle's needs before my own.
Ladybug had just fallen asleep so I put her in her crib, put Butterfly in her room to play after shutting the door and telling her to wait until we came to get her, and asked Daddy to have the 3 of us talk.
It was emotional, but we needed to get some more cards on the table.
Sadly, Doodle has to be let in on some "adult" issues due to the circumstances so that he can understand the reasons behind some of our actions and goals. A little into the conversation, I told Doodle that I love him, and gave him some compliments.... I thought he knew that, I half expected him to (like a teenager) tell me that I didn't, or roll his eyes, say "ok", nod, or ignore it altogether... it's not like I expected him to say it back!

I was blown away and am still confused by his reaction; he cried and ran away.

I guess he wasn't expecting that; especially then, and I guess he didn't know that.
His reaction made me realize some things, made me think, and makes me want to be not only a better mom, but a better person. I feel badly that I've never told him that before. I feel horrible that I wasn't showing it enough to him.

It makes me wonder: - Does he not hear it that much? - Does he not take compliments well? - What does he really think of me and how I feel about him? - Will this change things? If so, how? - Why did I not make it clear sooner?

To be honest, I can't see my life without him anymore.
He's my son! Yes, he was given to me by marriage only a year and a half ago and may not be here all the time, but I worry about him and miss him and wish for more time with him. I have a very strong desire to help him reach his full potential and become a wonderful young man.

That being said, I now feel that I should find better ways to show him how much I really do love him. I think it's fair to say that's a normal struggle with a 10 yr old. It's not like I can just pick him up and go snuggle with him like I do with little ones. I can't take him to go play baseball (I can't play so it would be NO fun, and who would watch the girls?).
So what can I do and how can I show him that I love him for him?
Not just because he's my husband's son and my daughters' brother?
I love Doodle because he makes me laugh (like his dad), he makes me smile, he makes me think. He can talk his way into or out of many things, he's passionate about things he loves, he's fiercly protective of his sisters, he's bright, and trusting, and gentle. He's inquisitive and doesn't accept simple answers from me. He's amazing at baseball and just a great kid that (unless he's sucked into a video game) doesn't like to have a dull moment.
He's really just irreplaceable, and last night made me realize that I need to let him know that a little better.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

one week...

This week we have a lot planned, housework though I've been struggling with it is getting pushed to the side, and we are staying busy.
Doodlebug is here, ALL WEEK LONG!!!!!
You could feel the buzz of excitement contained in that news for days before he came :) We have all been looking forward to it. An extended time to spend with him!
Usually he is only here for a few days, and quickly tires of the young girls' antics and cries. This time its different. While he does restate "it's going to be a looong week" each time one of his sisters makes an unhappy noise... he has initiated play times with each of them!
This week, I am loving having all 3 of our kids and trying to stay in the moment, not get caught up wishing that every week is like this <3

Monday, June 28, 2010


We spent a wonderful half week camping. 2 parents, 2 little girls, 2 dogs... we had fun!
We relaxed and built fires, I read a book, we played catch and "tennis"/badmitton.
Daddy taught Butterfly to cast her fishing pole and after getting bored 10 minutes into it and losing her hook, she had fun practicing in the grass for days :)
Ladybug was the happiest she's ever been, getting her feet dirty, staring at the sky, watching her doggies, and watching the river!
We played a bit in the river and even went to Old Man's Cave one afternoon with the dogs and took a hike on the trails through there!
Fun, Relaxing, Refreshing, Exciting! Great family memories... which brings me to wonder if all trips are "family" trips if it's most and not all of the family?
I not then what do we call it? or if so, then what do we call it to the family member not there? now or in the future...
Another challenge of having a split but blended family structure...

We will go back again, to the same place whether it's a few more times this year or not until next year.

Anyplace that makes Butterfly declare daily that "God made a beautiful world for us" is worth going back to!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Trying to do what's best for her, even if it's hard for me...

You know the old Hymn...

" I have decided, to follow Jesus. I have decided, to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back"

Following Christ is a big decision, but if it is one that you have been presented with then you know that it's a life changing one. You know that from now on your life will follow a path in a direction where you know the final destination.
You know that every decision you make afterwards, brings you back to the question, is this the direction God is leading me to take?

We all know that there are many decisions, that are life altering, and once made... are unchangeable, you can never turn back the time and re-choose your decision.

So this hymn has been in my head for days... as I have been struggling with some decisions about our older daughter. I don't know where to turn for answers, yet I feel like the decisions I make now in this area are ones that are life altering and I can never go back and change the decision to get a different outcome... They are decisions that will lead us on a path towards a specific destination... but there's my problem.

I want to know the destination before I make the decisions, I want to know where we are heading before I take the next step, I want the answers before I ask the questions...

My struggle?

How does one ever really know what is best for your child when faced with a plethora of issues??

See, her bio father resurfaced when my husband and I married last year. In short, he wasn't ready for the changes that a baby brings when she was born. We separated for many reasons when she was a few months old, and he mainly saw her for her Birthdays and Christmas. Last year, just before her 3rd Birthday he worked with me to start a visitation schedule. He got minimal contact due to my fear of him leaving her again.

No mother will put her child in harm's way willingly, right? So I did what I thought was best at the time and kept him at arm's length so she could meet him but not get attached and thereby not get hurt.

Our pregnancy was rough so I was no longer able to be the supervisor and my dad was able to step up for me. I took back over as soon as I could after our baby came.

He has made it a point to keep up the regular visits and now he has started bringing his fiance with him and recently told me that they are expecting their first baby together. He also told me that he wants more time with our daughter. She is now attached and developing a relationship with both of them.

He is no longer the person I left, or he doesn't seem to be. He seems to have grown up and is now driven to live his life for himself instead of, well, what he used to live for. It's great that our daughter should never meet the person I knew, but I am very hesitant about her getting close to this new person that I don't know and his fiance that I know nothing about.

So where do I go from here? If it was what I wanted for me he would just go away, but I can't make him and I shouldn't try to stop her from having a relationship with her father. So to try to find a balance... but what? More time together I think, but there are so many things that concern me with all the unknowns. They want to be in her life permanantly, and for her I am willing to do whatever it takes to give her the best variety and the most opportunities to learn/do/see new things and have new experiences.

Does that mean that I need to get to know them? Or continue to keep them at arm's length and just try to work on rules and boundaries that I feel keep her safety and innocence intact?

I believe that I have moved past the pain he put me through. I have no desire to hurt him like he hurt me. I don't want to make him pay for what he did to me. I'm happy where I am, I love my life and I know that I wouldn't be here if I hadn't gone through that period in my life that unfortunately was with him.

Problem is, as a mother there is a different kind of pain that I still have from that time. I don't know how to move past the pain of what he put her through, she was a baby and didn't deserve the pain and stress. It still hurts that when he walked out time and again, he was walking away from her… he mad other people and other things have more importance in his life than she did. It still concerns me that he was oblivious to the harm that she barely escaped from in the situations that he continually put her into. I can't make him pay for what he did to her back then or that she now has to work through her family relationships differently because of him. I wouldn't want to if I could... but it still leaves me with a hesitation that if I give him too much freedom with the visits, in the end SHE is the one that could get hurt... and this time she would remember it.

So I have decided to do what I think is best for her... move forward and look at only how today, not yesterday, could affect her future. Hopefully it will put all of us in a better position to give her the best life she can have in these circumstances.

I am going to move past the pain and the fear. I am going to trust that this is just another part of following Jesus. God will not give me more than I can handle, and God will help me stay on the path I'm supposed to be on. God gave me my husband partly so that my daughter could have a daddy who is a wonderful male role model and great example of what to look for in her future relationships. God will show us all where to go and will help us get there.

So I will follow, try harder to not look back, and only move forward... because it's what's best for her!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kids and their Birthday celebrations...

Our son turned 10 recently. We bought him his first cell phone (in hopes of talking to him more), took him to Magic Mountain, and basically made the whole weekend his choice....

Our older daughter is turning 4 next week. We are having a backyard party with friends, and building her a playset/swingset.

Is that fair?

We made the weekend all about our son... we will make the day all about her.

He got a family only "party" with mini golf where I think he won, or came pretty close. He played video games, go-karts, and sprinter cars... where Daddy beat him, but they still had fun :)

Everyone had fun for his Birthday, and all our kids will have fun on "her" playset...
so I'm trying to decide if I'm doing too much with trying to make her cakes as well...

She wants a Butterfly and Ladybug Birthday Party... so red chocolate chip or srawberry chocolate chip ice cream scoops will resemble ladybugs, or so I hope.

So I'm thinking of making Butterfly cakes... by making a round cake, cutting it in half and putting the round parts together, then cutting triangles out of what used to be the middle of the cake... then spread Icing, and trace the outside to make wings and put a big stripe down the middle for the body.
I missed a picture of it before she started "helping" decorate... but she has a beautiful creation, doesn't she?

Is it just their ages? Or is it that she lives with us that makes it different? I don't want to give him more or less because he isn't here, I don't like the idea of "making up for time by spending money"
I also don't want her to miss out or get more just because she gets us all the time so she doesn't need as much or its easier to give her more...
I feel I need to find a balance...

This is becoming a regular struggle in my mind, to still be fair when we can't be equal to our kids... right now their birthdays are the biggest thing puzzling me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dark nights lead to bright mornings.... right??

Even in the worst of places, there has to be hope... otherwise, what's the point?

When I was a small child, I remember waking up to a bad storm... and I ran with my brothers into my dads room and we found sleep in the safety of being close to him.
 - In the morning he would show us that the sun had come up, the rain and the storm had passed and we could make the day good if we would live in the present of today and not let the worries of yesterday or last night linger.

Lately there have been lots of dark clouds around here... we are waiting for the storms to come, because as you grow up, you learn to look for the signs and try to get out of the path, or make yourself comfortable for the night until they pass.

I feel I have been stuck in the sunset... waiting for the night of storms that are starting.
Trying to find ways to prepare the kids for the ones that affect them and shelter them from the ones they don't need to know...
Not sure how long the storms will take, or if we will ever get them all to end and pass, but I am holding to that belief that someday the sun will shine again on our whole family, and someday we will have a bright morning with no more storm clouds.... someday....
 : )

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sleeping habits...

Let me start by saying I know that my daughters are 2 different people, but I still wait for certain things to happen with my baby girl the way they did with my big girl. They are similar in some ways, and different in others, but it amazes me how different they are when it comes to sleeping.

My big girl would only sleep on her own when completely surrounded by
rolled blankets and a sleep positioner to hold her on her side, she would scream and refuse to go back to sleep if she was on her back or belly until she was over a year old, so she slept with me until she was over 2... She was a cat napper, but knew her days and night quickly, so night time she would go back to sleep easily... She was almost 2 yrs old before she slept through the night and she was 3 1/2 before she started taking only one long nap a day if she took one at all.
She now sleeps on her back all flailed out, it makes me laugh when I go to check on her at night.

My baby girl is often put down for a nap, or bedtime on her belly or back or
side, she has to be on her side if she's fussy, but mostly doesn't matter. She's fine to sleep on her own, almost anywhere but her favorite place is on her side snuggled up to daddy's back... she's getting moved to a crib tonight because daddy has been pushed off the bed by her too many times. Overall she's an easier baby when it comes to sleeping. She started taking long naps before she was 3 months old. When she's close to what I need to do it's great, otherwise I spend more time running back and forth to check on her than I do getting anything done.

So I started letting them nap together in my bed after one morning I let my
big girl lay down with her baby sister who was sleeping so I could take a shower... you know the whole "big sister is a built in 5 min baby sitter..." right?
Well, big sister fell asleep, and I walked in to the baby smacking and grabbing at her big sister and smiling whenever the big girl moved  :D
possibly a peek into the future, when they are older??
mornings when baby will wake up early and wake up her sister for morning play time...

and in time show us more similarities... and differences!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Daddy's home and she's still missing him...

Confusing I know... but then, that's life with a preschooler going on pre-teenager. Our daughter is getting very confused by many things in her life right now and I feel constantly at a loss as to how to help her. She's turning 4, becoming a real Big Girl! She is at a very vulnerable place in her life though.

Her father, my ex-husband, recently decided to enter the picture and try to integrate himself into her life. We had to slowly walk her through how special she is to have a Daddy and a Father, not just one like most of her friends. Right now she has one visit with him every other week and I'm not in a hurry to change that. He's been late a few times and she has had a total meltdown being worried that he wouldn't come and she'd never see him again :( Sadly she hasn't developed a trusting relationship with him yet and isn't sure that he will be there the next time he says he will be.

While I was pregnant, we were planning on a homebirth and talked to her often about what could happen to try to prepare her. She was really looking forward to seeing her baby sister come out and even wanted to help wipe off the baby and investigate the placenta. Sadly many things contributed to us not being able to have the birth at home safely and then we had to stay in the hospital for a few days afterward and she still talks about how much she missed us all when we were in the hospital.

We have frequent trouble getting our son on our weekends with him. She misses him terribly when he isn't here and wants him to be involved in many things that happen when he's gone. She doesn't understand why 3, 4 or more weeks pass and "it's been forever since I saw my brother..." The adult issues involved are too much for us to want to explain to her. Things come up and he's busy is about all we can tell her. I mean we explain what it is most of the time: baseball, school, his "extra" family... but she still misses him and wishes she could see him everyday.

So to have Daddy go to work all day is hard on her, but to have him travel and not be home for dinner and to tuck her into bed is horrible! He was gone for a week, home for a day and a half to leave for another day, home for dinner and then took 2 days off to stay home with us.
Her desire to snuggle with him, help him, sit next to him, and just know exactly where he was made it difficult for him to get much done while he was home. So we had family time! We just hung out and had a couple of those relaxing days where you don't do anything. The days where you stay in your pajamas all day and no one cares :)
It was worth it, to catch up on what we feel like we've missed out on in the past couple months with him travelling, uninterrupted time with Daddy!
So today he headed off to "little work" and had to promise her that he would be back for dinner and he would put her to bed again tonight. He left and she had to run outside to wave to him, and walked back in sniffling that he was gone. A few more reassurances that he will be back for dinner and bedtime before breakfast, some more while eating, and even more after breakfast.
She needs to know that her Daddy is coming back, she needs to know that she will see Big Brother soon, she needs to know that I won't leave her again, she needs to know that we can keep Baby Sister, she even needs to know that she will see each member of her extended family again someday.... and then she needs to be reassured, again, that Daddy will be home today.
As I write this, she's snuggling with me and still asking about him... and everyone else... and again Daddy, "is Daddy coming back tonight? I miss him soo much"

So how do I comfort her and reassure her as much as she needs me to? without spending all day snuggling on the couch again? How can I be enough for her to get through the day until Daddy gets home?
What can I do to help her through this time where all she seems to see is the time she misses with those that she loves? How to I help our daughter to stop missing out on life because she misses the people who aren't with her today?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home is where the heart is...

So we moved about 6 months ago. We found a house and from the moment we saw it, my husband and I wanted to make it our home. We have barely begun to put our personal touches on it.
It was a fixer house, but still fairly new. So we spent a lot of time with our personal plumber :) and painted some walls and changed some flooring. There's a huge list of things we still want to do to make it "our house" but it has our name on it and it holds our things, with room to grow.
Sometimes it still feels like a dream... a wonderful dream, but just doesn't seem real that I have my own house. It's my dream house... just missing a fireplace and a bay window, but if I never get those I have more than I imagined off my list of dreams I wanted in a house.
So I sit here in my house, and wait... enjoying the peaceful night again as the girls are sleeping, only one on me tonight. - It's been a week of the house feeling like something is missing, feeling very... empty. Hubby is on a trip out west for work. Just our 2 little girls and I are home and somehow without him, the house feels almost, too big. Sadly the house only feels full when all of us are here, so most of the time it feels like something is missing since our son doesn't live with us full time. But this week the empty feeling is bigger. I feel like something bigger is missing. My heart. Or part of it... it travels with him when he's gone. Hopefully it keeps him company, but a part of me, a part of our family, a part of our home is missing when he's soo far away.
At night is when I notice it the most. Our house is at the end of the cul-de-sac with nothing behind us. It gets very dark outside and we love to keep the windows clear so we can see the dark night out the back. Tonight it again feels like everything is disappearing into that darkness. Especially my ability to sleep well, or some nights like tonight.. 
Thankfully it won't feel like that for long, Hubby comes home tonight!!
He may have to leave again soon for a short trip, but he's coming home tonight!!
The girls and I will wake up to see him and hug him instead of holding a phone.  The coffee pot will make a full pot instead of a small partial one so the house will fill with the smell of coffee in the morning.
The house will feel safe and warm and back to normal again, and my heart won't feel like I'm missing a part of it :)
The first change I will notice though? Sleep, I will sleep deeply when he gets home. Instead of sleeping lightly so that I hear if anything happens, I will put all my trust and faith in him and sleep comfortably for the first time all week.
Our house is our home... but nights when he's gone, sometimes it just feels like a really big house.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Missing Daddy

I have the most wonderful husband. He works really hard and travels with his job, dealing with missing us and missing out, so that he can support us and I can stay home with the kids. This isn't easy for him, or us, but we deal with it. He loves his job and we all like his company so the travelling, while not ideal, is worth it.

Sadly, sometimes his travel schedule leaves us missing out on time with our son, which is hard for all of us but until we can change that... We accept it, wishing things could be different, but trusting God will give us only what we are ready for and can handle.

From the moment that my husband and my first daughter met, they have been inseperable. So now there are 2 little daddies girls that are very attached to daddy and just aren't themselves when he's gone.
Which brings me to my dilemma today. We are halfway through a weeklong trip and I'm at a loss as to how to ease the pain.
With the baby, she nurses when she's upset about anything. Hungry, tired, hot, cold, you name it and nursing can usually fix it for her. It doesn't fix missing daddy... she pushes away from me and looks around talking, almost "calling" for him, then buries her head in my chest and cries, and repeats this until she is tired or hungry or both and then will let me fix her problems.
What about the big girl? How do I help her? Well this week has been easier and harder because she's been sick. She wants to snuggle and be held all the time. She wants to be told what day it is and how much longer until her daddy comes home. She wants to ask what daddy is doing and is fascinated that it's a different time where he is than it is here. So it's easier that I don't have to be one step ahead of her trying to find new ways to distract her.
Overall, this week is harder than usual. Our baby is "pre-teething" which means that she is sensitive to her teeth growing and moving under her gums, but they aren't ready to break through yet. So she's fussy and clingy. Our big girl doesn't feel well so she's crabby and clingy. Which means I have yet to have more than a bathroom break without atleast one of them wanting me to hold them.
Part of me is actually enjoying the chance to snuggle with both of them and take things super slow this week. The other part of me is upset that I can't find a way to get things done around the house since he isn't here to give me a small break in the evenings.
So I sit here, with one on either side of me, and thank God that I have a husband that wants to come home as much as we want him to. While praying that someday I can learn to balance snuggles and cleaning!
We will still miss him everytime he has to go, but hopefully we will find a way to make it easier on all of us.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day

A day to celebrate motherhood!
Today I woke up to my baby's smiling face, my husband giving me a small but wonderful present, and my older daughter trying to be good.
It was a great morning, and not a bad day! My husband had to leave for a buisness trip early in the afternoon, so now I have plenty of time for my mind to wander... and so I wonder about mothers today. I wonder about my own. Part of me feels bad that we aren't spending time with her today, but I am happy snuggling with my daughters and just hanging out today.

This is her first year with no kids at home as my two brothers moved in together out of state, the youngest just this past summer.
Isn't that a Mother's job? To help her children get to the point where they don't need her anymore? Years from now my husband will remind me of this when our children don't need us and are doing well on their own, I'm sure.
As I sit here snuggling with the baby, and listening to the sounds from the toy room... I wonder - am I being fair? If today is supposed to be about mom, is it ok to spend it as a mom with my kids, or should I make a way to spend it with my mom as well?
My mom and I have had our share of issues and I don't want to add something else for her to be upset about... but that's no longer a reason for me to change my plans, even if my plans are to have none.

My mom came into our lives when I was 16... married my dad right before I started my senior year in H.S and turned 17. Yes, I have put her through a lot, and she has put me through a lot too. We both had troubled childhoods and don't speak to our biological mothers for the safety and well being of our children, and now we both have changed each other's lives more than I think we expected to over the last 10 years. We have times when we are best friends and times when we can't get along... but isn't that the way it is with all mothers and daughters? I shudder to think that someday I will be on the other side with my own daughters.

My mom and I don't see many things the same way. We have drastically different ways of running a household, and totally different views on parenting. Her experiences are mostly with older children as my brothers were 10 and 15 when she entered our lives. As a "stepmom" I value her opinion when it comes to our 10 yr old son... but unfortunatly more often than not, I feel I have no one to turn to when I want advice for my daughters.
She is a mother solely by choice and love, she chose to marry my dad and become the only mom in the lives of us 3 children. I am a mother by choice and love to our son who still has his own mother as well, by surprise and choice to my first daughter and by desire and God's blessing to our baby girl.

The choices and decisions that we have each made have brought us to totally different points in our lives and sometimes I wonder if she could walk a mile in my shoes, knowing that I would not enjoy walking a mile in hers.
So what does one do when your mother is more of a friend than an authority or a person to look up to?
Do you put your feelings or hers aside when it comes to times when each person wants drastically different things?
I have finally started putting hers aside at times. Part of me wonders if by doing so I am setting myself up for heartbreak in the future with my daughters.
I am trying to have a completly different type of relationship with them than she was able to have with me... and I hope that years down the road, today will be the first of many and not the only Mothers Day that I spend as more of a mother than as a daughter.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nursing takes time

Nursing is a way of feeding, usually when breastfeeding, but holding baby and bottle and snuggling could be considered nursing too, or I think so :)
My thoughts today are about the time spent and if the older children are jipped of time. Here we breastfeed, because I love my sleep and I'm too lazy to get up in the middle of the night when baby is hungry and go downstairs to make a bottle, come back up and stay awake while baby is eating, then get us both back to sleep. Say what you will, I nurse in my sleep so I feel like I get more, and everyone will agree, a happy mommy that slept is MUCH better than a crabby mommy that didn't sleep!
So my point: When I had my first daughter, I overcame many obstacles to nurse her. It was just me and her. It was rough, but there were no distractions and no one that needed me to take time from nursing her.
This time around it's soo different. My oldest daughter usually wants something as soon as we sit down, so I have learned to walk/stand and nurse. Our son is old enough that I use a cover when he's here just like I when out in public or when other guys are here. (If I had nursed him, I would not cover up as it really is an extra step that feels like too much when baby is screaming hungry.) I pay attention to the big kids more than the baby when I'm nursing as much as I can so that they don't feel like the baby is taking that time from them. I'm slowly learning to have things accessible to do them one-handed and to have snacks and drinks ready at all times for when a marathon nursing session happens. The problem is that I am still trying to stop the feelings of guilt when I can't snuggle with both my little girls. When our son is here, I wonder how much it affects him. I find myself trying to do more and more while nursing so that it's still "productive time spent" especially when he's here, but even when he isn't.

"Breastfeeding takes commitment" I read on the mail last night with a formula coupon... I won't go there today. Commitment..., so now I feel guilty that maybe I don't give this baby as much committed time as I gave my 1st daughter to nurse. Do all moms deal with this? I can't be the only one that feels like the balls of time with the children that I am juggling have to be more and more connected.
I need superglue so I can juggle more balls of time together, but maybe I need to learn to separate the nursing one more often, she won't be a snuggly little baby forever!

Friday, April 30, 2010

At 10, he's had years of changes

So he's officially 10! That's a big deal! I met him when he was 8 1/2 so in some ways he's grown up so much... in other ways he's not much different.
Our son is now in the double digits! Daddy has been there the whole time, the little person that he once held as a baby has now survived a decade of life! Daddy was there when he learned to walk and talk, when he started riding a bike without training wheels, when he started school, his first time playing team sports, and when he got obsessed with electronics (no surprise there with such a techy daddy :D)
For me though, there weren't big firsts like that for me to see him go through. When we married he got a little sister for the first time so I was there too as he learned how to take on the role of big brother and recently as he started learning to interact with his baby sister as well. We took a family trip out of state to visit family last year and both kids had their first expierience with the Ocean and sharing close seating in the car on a long trip. I was there for his first apple picking and such but ask anyone, those aren't considered big milestones.
He's like most boys at his other home: quiet, reserved, much more inclined to play sports or video games than have a chat... yet somehow over the past few months or so thats what him and I have been doing. We talk quite a bit, in spurts, because I want to learn more about him - what he likes and doesn't, his favorites, his dreams if he doesn't become a multi-million-dollar baseball player. I hope he does but realistically he may need something else to do after that to pay the bills.
He's very sensitive, he's been through a lot since he was old enough to remember his parents being together. He takes things to heart and is so eager to please that when he realizes that he has dissapointed you, he lashes out in anger or sadness.
The light at the end of the tunnel? A year ago he seemed to do this almost everytime we got him, sometimes a few times in the same visit... now they happen rarely. Which is part of why it surprised me this weekend.
We took him to celebrate and we had fun, but I got caught up with the girls and didn't give him the attention that he needed or deserved... this was his day! He started to lose it but between us we got him to calm down. At that point I didn't realize why... then it was time to take him back, a long 3 hr trip and both eating kids decided to eat minimal lunch even when we said we wouldn't stop for food. A couple hours later they were hungry and when we took a potty break and decided to get them a snack our daughter wanted to look at toys instead of deciding what she wanted and he broke down when I told her that it wasn't playtime but time to get snacks quickly since they hadn't eaten lunch and the rain was making us late. Part of me wanted to tell him to listen and stick to the rules... part of me wanted to hug him and cry with him. Instead I let my husband do the talking as he's always the calm one and he quickly got the kids to calm down, decide on food and get back to the car so we could get back on our way. It was later that I felt the guilt, and realized my mistakes.
I need to find a way to focus on each child while realizing how it will affect the others. The older 2 were "only" children for so long, and he is still like an only at his other home; that they are not yet ready to always be treated similarly... They may never get there, so I need to keep that in mind more.
I had this idea that more than one kid does a wrong and they can all get the same speech. I'm realizing that as individuals they have a need to separate them and address the wrong as their ages and stages allow. Just being older doesn't mean he can handle my dissapointment as well as his sister who is still at a stage where its a daily occurance. He needs to feel special sometimes, and he needs to be left alone other times, its my job to know what he needs and when.
This is hard for me, but maybe now that I realize it... it could get better!?!?!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reaching a year...

Marriage is a wonderful start... for many families.
For us, marriage was a RE-Start. When we met we each had one child from a previous marriage to bring to our new family and we both wanted more! We both believed that God had designed marriages to work, and knew that we had it in us to keep one going if we both worked at it. Well, work we have!
In less than a week, we will celebrate our First Anniversary! I can't tell you how wonderful it is for all of us. We have gone through so many changes in this first year that I truly believe that we can face anything that comes our way. But that's not what this is about. This is about what that year of changes in our lives and the children... and what changes will be coming... has done to make changes to me.
**Jigsaw Parenting: I believe this is taking the pieces that you have been given and finding how they fit together to make a whole... while allowing for the pieces to constantly change and move and fit in new pieces.

We face our Anniversary, the end of our first year, the start of the next year of life. I wonder sometimes if anyone has it so good? then I wonder sometimes if anyone else is facing the puzzles that we are?
When we met, he had a son and a dog. I had a daughter. We met, married, moved in, bought a bigger car, and got a 2nd dog. We realized that we had outgrown the apt (a 8yo boy and a 2yo girl were sharing a room) so we moved to a bigger apartment so they could have separate bedrooms. The kids turned 9 and 3. We found out a baby was coming. We got a cat. The pregnancy was tough. We got a 2nd cat. We were blessed with the ability to buy a house, so we moved again. We had a healthy baby girl with a daunting delivery. - We have decided to find new homes for the cats. We just celebrated his son turning 10. Our daughter will be 3 months old less than a week after our Anniversary. We are trying to get ready for my daughter turning 4.

Yes, we have his, mine, and our kids... but really, no matter how they came into this world all 3 are ours! WE have 3 kids, and until we have more that's how it is. We don't say "step" or "half", we say dad, mom, brother, sister, family.
We try not to look back or regret, we look forward, take what we have and try to make the best of it. I ask that you come with me for this ride, encourage me if you can, ask what you question, but don't believe that this is all there is to it or that daily life is easy.
I will share what I can, when I can... but this is for me.
Afterall, how many times do you go from having only a 2yo going on 3, to having a 3yo going on 4 with a 10yo and a baby??
It's been fun! It's been work. It's been my life and this past weekend, with the meltdowns, the cuddles, the pictures to remind us, the crying, and the laughs have been what made me decide to start this outlet for myself.