Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spring is like a box of chocolates

Spring in Utah...you never know what you're going to get. Last week we had a warm day. (What I mean is a warm day for Utah being in the 50s...had I been in California and it was in the 50s I would have curled up with a book and a blanket.)

We walked to the park with a few neighbors to enjoy the sunny weather. Here are a few pictures of our fun...Rebecca
Maren and Lydia

Sunday with Kelly brothers

What a great day! We drove to Pleasant Grove to go to church with Chris' brothers and family. The twins had their first experience with nursery, and thus Chris and I had our first experience with sitting through a lesson, first in a long time...

Here are some pictures of after church...

Uncle Bob shares his pictures with Ben and Lydia..

Susan tries on her daddy's shoes

Steven, Melody and Tyler Drew

Grandpa playing cards with Nick, Michelle, and Steven

Did you notice that when you say the name Tyler Drew, your lips pucker and you are all ready to smooch him?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My dear father in law

I have been grateful for my in laws many a time. The tradition comedic image of terrifying in laws just never applied to me and mine. They have been wonderful to me and it has been a pleasure to love them.

My father in law has had a lot of struggles. Eleven years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, a disease that averages ten years from diagnosis to death. Two years ago he was diagnosed with cancer, then in the middle of radiation treatment, he fell down the stairs in their home and broke his neck. He partially severed his spinal cord...millimeters from total paralysis. He worked through recovery and therapy to gain some use of his arms and legs...every movement was a hard fought gain. He still is mostly paralysed. Between the Parkinson's and his neck injury we tease him that he is like Michael J Fox and Christopher Reeve...in other words "He's short, but he can fly!" A more practical application is, his card playing skills aren't what they used to be. He still plays, with the unique box cut card holder creation, but its different than the cut throat competitive experience of old.

Along with all those things as a part of his regular care he has had recurring UTIs which have resulted in hospitalizations resulting from sepsis. The infection in his blood has now reached the lining in his heart. The Internet describes these as vegetative growths, the Dr. in all of his wisdom identified them as goobers. The practical prognosis..two months to live.

There are treatments for endocarditis, the official name for infected heart lining goobers, are difficult. There are antibiotics..or a microbiotic, that can help if the infection is not advanced. Dad's infection is advanced. The other option is open heart surgery. Dad is just not a good candidate for that...we all agree.

So where does that leave us? With a two months (or less as the Dr. reminds us-if the goober breaks off and causes a stroke!) to love and care for dad and mom. Two months to take pictures and make memories. Two months.

how to wean twins...

Goodness I have nursed and weaned five babies before. I do have a few coping skills. I have employed variations on the cut out nursings, stretch out nursings and cold turkey methods. I do have some mothering skills. Right??

As with everything else twins...many of my mothering skills don't exactly apply.

First the cut out the least favorite nursing method. Although I hadn't really noticed it before, Susan and Rebecca have different favorite nursings. Rebecca is an evening and all-night nurser. Susan is a morning nurser...well at least that leaves me with a few day time nursings to cut out. I know how to do that, spread the nursing time out and...DISTRACTION! We take more baths, go on walks-when it isn't snowy, play,sing, read books and I hold them standing up instead of in nursing position....A blessing of weaning so late, is the food options. They are excellent with sippy cups and I frequently offer their favorite foods: avocado and frozen blueberries.

Now what? cold turkey couldn't be too bad from here right? I mean they are almost 18 months old and eat lots of different things. They are sippy cup pros and it really is only 3 or 4 nursings...

It feels like my body has somehow developed the potential to make gallons of milk, and I am now storing it all! I have tried hot showers, lot of liquids, rest, massage...I have taught my children to hug me from behind, my husband doesn't need teaching anymore, I carry my babies WAY on the side, and hold them with pillows in front of me.

Of course I also smell like coleslaw. I have read various places that cabbage leaves help with engorgement. It is my personal experience that THEY DO! Of course I feel a little odd cutting up cabbage leaves and stuffing them in my bra, but hey desperate times call for desperate measures (I wonder if whoever said that knew how it would be applied?)

We are now 48 hours from our last nursing. We have had some bumps in the road. Lucky for me only Becca woke in the night-so I only had one grumpy baby to rock, bounce, sing to , distract etc. During the day, I do sometimes find myself pacing around with two babies to hold (just ask my laundry room what kind of effect that is having on my housekeeping). I expected all of that.

I haven't really had time to mourn, like I normally do. I've been too busy with the process. As with so often the case with my raising twins, I'm too tired to feel much of the emotions involved...too busy living them. I am grateful to have been able to nurse so long. I'm grateful to my sister...who nursed two sets of twins longer than I have (once again i am left to ask HOW did she do that?). I'm grateful to my neighbor for all of her support. I'm grateful to my friend cindy for her wise advice to boost my supply. I'm grateful for my husband-who somehow rides all the emotions and just ignores all the bad ones, sends me to bed early, and gets me lots of water to drink. He supports me very well.

Although I have weaned all of my other children at younger ages than this, these ladies seem so young still. The more children I have, the younger they seem! It wil be interesting to see how the next phase of our relationship develops. I know I will soon be out of pain, not having to constantly distract, and past the back breaking constant carrying. Really I will...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valenines food

We had fun with our food this year. I learned from a felow homechooler. She put pancake batter in a squeeze bottle to make shapes:
of course heart shaped pizza has been a favorite for years!



Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Mom in the hat

Today was generally awful. I am so tired, tred of sick, whiny children. Between the twins and I one of us had a ten minute nap...and it wasn't me. I dragged all seven to a visiting teaching interview at church, and that was the turn around in the day. I'm not sure what even made me go. I didn't want to, I hadn't showered, my babies were still sniffly (though not sick enough to sleep as poorly as of late). Somehow, just that 15 minutes talking with some women about anything but stinky diaper was just wonderful. My partner thinks we are doing okay.

Back at home...dinner. My homemade chili was a big hit, but only with me. Perhaps that was the brownies at the meeting. The lack of interest in dinner, means I spend more time cleaning people up then eating. Fine. Its bedtime anyway.

To get my 3 year old down I help him take apart his whole train track and bring it downstairs..at which point he entirely forgets it. We read PB Bears Birthday Party, as he tries to keep his droopy eyes open. Just as I'm about to call out to my 7 year old son to tell him he may miss his bedtime story, he appears in the doorway. We read until artoo deto and threepio go their separate ways.

The final piece of the puzzle is the 5 year old...always tricky. Which story will she choose, how long will it be, and will I tell it correctly? She chooses the Cat in the Hat comes back...with a few minor revisions. She would like to take the place of both children and I am the Cat. I was pretty happy with the mom eating cake in the tub, that actually sounded blissful...until the cleaning part started. Then the Mom in the hat needed help. So from under the hat on my head, come my children...apparently I have 26 and they make HUGE messes!! Their cleaning techniques did not surprise me, I've seen that before. I did feel 26 was a tad excessive, but my 5 year old disagreed. It was then I realized why the Mom in the Hat is so darned relaxed and happy...the VOOOM! That's it. The missing ingredient in my life is voom!

So now fast forward...bedtime take two is succesful and both babies are asleep. All the dishes are done, and my husband comes home. Exactly how do I explain in the five minutes he has until basketball that I had an awful day but with some cake in the tub and voom I'd be just fine, and doesn't he want some chili?

Why does he look at me funny when I try to explain these things??

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Dish duty

Dishes...on a good daythey are ever present. On a bad day they can take over parts of the kitchen, often being carried throughout the house. I have never been a stellar housekeeper and since the twins have been born it just hasn't gotten better. Early on I would set the timer for my 15 minute morning kitchen cleanup and always find myself otherwise involved when the timer went off. It wasn't that I was easily distracted, or that i had run out of dishes to clean or counter to wipe...I was normally nursing, changing a diaper or in general mothering. I couldn't even clean for a lousy 15 minutes!

Now that the infancy days with twins are over, there are new challenges...

challenges like, keeping them from falling off the table, getting into the bathroom, or coloring on every book we own. Generally now I can scrape out 15 minutes, as log as I allow for a mess somewhere else. The biggest challenge has always been between books, babies and cleaning...in otherwords ME. Am I disciplined enough to put down a book, stop playing with the children, get off the computer and clean? Frequently I have help, constantly I have interuptions and I have mess makers active in atleast two other rooms at all times. It still comes down to me getting up more times than I sit down to nurse or change a diaper, starting more times than I am stopped by requests and cleaning repeatedly the same messes. Of course there is also good deal of suprvising, reminding, following up and quality control...also known as chores for the children.

I am frequently reminded that the only way to reduce the workload, is to reduce the number of smiles, the hugs, books, snuggles, and smooches...unthinkble.

why I homeschool...

In the last few weeks there have been several poignant reminders as to why I homeschool. The first, of this batch of reminders was last week. My 10 year old daughter had finished all of her library books and library day was a full 24 hours away. "There's nothing to read" she moaned, while standing between two full bookshelves. "How about my Shakespeare" I said, offering the closest book to me. She took it, my Shakespeare library, mega volume of all of his works. Half an hour later I walk by and notice she chose to read Hamlet.

Last Friday we got new math textbooks. The children had been wanting something and I decided to try getting books through our school district. That required me actually visiting our local elementary school for the first time. Although that was an education, the real homeschool moment didn't come until later. That night I went to check on everyone and turn out the lights...taking a moment to look at my peaceful, sleeping children. My oldest three were curled up snugly in their beds, pencils in hand...they had fallen asleep with their math books. I guess love of learning is still alive and well.

One of my standard reasons for enjoying homeschool has always been time. Time to read, paint, explore, love, and be. Well this week my children have spent that extra time with clay. We did a science experiment involving clay, then they asked if they could play with it...5 hours later they were still playing with clay. They were mostly making birds and nests the first day. Striped nests that looked like they had popped out of a Dr. Seuss book. Day 2 brought another 6 hours of clay...including a hard fought discussion on whether to go to homeschool play day or stay home and play clay. Day 2 was birds and snakes. Day 3 started the flowers, baskets and dinosaurs and finally a mom smart enough to take some pictures...

There was also the revolutionary war discussion comparing Kings and Presidents, the discussion of time and the definition of an eon and reading pioneer journals. But none of that really "counts" because rarely did they fit the image my school district personnel described to me as on task learning time. Instead they were on the couch, or in the kitchen...just my children and I.