Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No crying over spilt milk

Vasaline anyone? Apparently Eden has some extra on hand.

Why is it that if the dish washing detergent is going to be emptied on the floor(carpet, mind you) by a certain two year old, it has to be when the box is full and not the box that was nearly empty two days before? And why is that this same two year old decides it is time to pour herself a glass of milk with a full gallon of milk instead of one that is two thirds empty? A full gallon of milk on the carpet. The house reeks.

You know that smell of forgotten laundry left in the washing machine? Times that by ten and you're smelling what I'm smelling right now. Any suggestions on how to get rid of it? Steam cleaning hasn't worked. Did that until 11pm the night it happened, not to mention we had just paid a hefty sum to have the carpets cleaned a month ago. Frangrance candles make a mild improvement if you like the smell of Gardinias mixed with mildew. Hubby just got home and someone suggested baking soda. Of course! Why didn't I think of that? Baking soda solves everything.

Good thing this certain two year old has charm to knock your socks off.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ode to Mothers

The other weekend I got real sick. In fact, barring labor, it was probably the worst I've ever felt. I woke up early on a Friday morning and I couldn't lift my head off the pillow. The world was swirling around me and the contents of my stomach kept threatening to make an appearance (which they did, until there was nothing left but dry heaves). It was evident that I could not function and that "mom" was out of commission for an indeterminable amount of time. Fortunately, Herb was able to drag me to the doctor's office where I was able to obtain anti-nausea pills that significantly helped my condition. Oh blessed anti-nausea pills! Thankfully, I was only out of commssion for a day and a half and was able to leave my bed and walk around by Saturday evening. It turned out I had had an inflammation in the inner part of my ear that controls balance and equalibrium. Whilst I wouldn't wish it on any one, the experience gave me much pause and consideration as I was able to reflect on the value and blessing of motherhood.

In the past couple of months, I have felt a great deal of frustration throughout my day when things don't get done. That feeling of wanting something tangible to show for what I've done that day. The feeling of accomplishment when you can physically show where your efforts were spent that afternoon. When my house doesn't look any better than when I woke up, even after I've picked up three times, it causes me stress. When dinner doesn't get made for yet another day, I get grouchy. Things I used to be able to accomplish seem impossible with four kids. Can I just tell you the looks I get when I have to bring all four kids grocery shopping with me?! Sometimes I feel like that crazy mom I see reflected in onlookers eyes.

It comes down to the inner battle of wanting. Wanting to be patient with my kids, wanting to "teach them something new everyday", wanting to appreciate that they are growing up so fast instead of wishing Lincoln would turn five tomorrow! Wanting to garden, keep fit, develop a hobby or two, wanting to get enough sleep, yet wanting to find time to work on this blog(even as I write this, there are five loads of laundry waiting to be folded and put away before morning). Wanting to work with my kids on enriching projects and activities and wanting to be able to catch-up on my thank you cards and bake goodies for all my helpers, wanting to not stress out and ENJOY this time with my kids. Above all, wanting to be the kind of mother I know I can be.

Yes,there is a time and a season. But I'm also very aware of the areas in my life where I could move from the "wanting" category to the "doing" category. I admit it, I like it when other peoople think I'm amazing. There's a feeling of satisfaction when I can keep up appearances. I like the facade I can put on when people come over and my house is clean. Little do they realize the effort and all the interruptions it took along the way.

"Mom, Eden threw her food on the floor,again."
"Mom, I need a drink,"
"Mom, Max isn't sharing with me,"
"Mom, I'm hungry,"
"Mom, Eden just ran out the front door into the street,"
"Mom, can you fix this for me?"
"Mom, Eden's stinky!"
"Go to time out!"
"Eden, get down from the table,"
"Boys,get this room clean. If I have to ask again you're going to time out!"
"Mom, I love you."

I really am amazed when people tell me I'm a patient mom. Honestly, they just haven't spent enough time around our family. However, I am willing to work on these things and I thank God for the desire to do so. That is a huge blessing in and of itself.

Getting back to the beginning of this entry. Those couple of days I was out of commission, I realized that it takes a small army to do my job. Though I was sick, it was a little gratifying to understand that at the end of the day when the house still looks like a disaster zone and I seemingly have nothing to show for where my time was spent, I now recognize that there was PLENTY of work and good deeds that got done that day. I don't have to worry about keeping up with those women in my head who manage to keep the smudges off their walls and juice stains off their floors. The little hands that made those smudges and juice stains belong to me and I wouldn't trade them for all the clean walls and floors in the state of Texas.

Finally, it does take a small army to run a household, and I certainly wouldn't be able to do it without the help of the other mothers in my life. Whether it be an uplifting conversation with family or friends, an offer to watch my kids so I can have some time to myself, an impromtu meal dropped off or the back-up crew who took care of my family whilst I could not, all these things are needed and so very much appreciated. Indeed, I don't know that I could get along without them. It's good to gain perspective sometimes and I'm glad for the days I was sick, though I'm even more glad it didn't last longer!

Monday, April 5, 2010

100 Days of School Project

There are a lot of mothers out there who are wonderfully creative, whose homes are the epitome of good taste and who always have a fun, why-didn't-I-think-of-that? project underway. I know because I read their blogs. So, when I thought of the following idea for Maxwell's 100 days of school project, I felt for a brief moment I had entered the ranks of these esteemed women.

If you have had a child attend kindergarten in the past decade you are probably familar with celebrating 100 days of school. Celebrating the first 100 days of school is a BIG deal if you're a kindergartner. The teachers engage them in all kinds of fun games and activities that have to do with 100. It's an all day party parents can feel good about because it involves math!

Max and each of his classmates were asked to prepare a project to present in class the day of the celebration. On the way to school one morning, Max and I began to brainstorm some ideas. Our conversation continued along the lines of listing things Max could collect. Nothing seemed like the right fit until "bing" the light bulb went on. A couple of weeks prior to this conversation, we had a family home evening lesson about acts of kindness. It was inspired by Pres. Monson's talk in the Oct. 2009 General Conference session where he spoke of the declaration of kind acts he had receieved from children all over the world. In particular he mentioned a large jar full of "warm fuzzies" he had recieved from one primary. Each warm fuzzy represented a kind act that had been performed by one of the children in the primary.

Bingo! That was it! Our family, namely Max, would collect 100 warm fuzzies for 100 acts of kindness and service. You moms out there, I'm telling you this was a hit! Max and Lincoln were eagerly looking for ways they could earn a warm fuzzy. Never have they been more helpul or complained less about picking up their toys or cleaning around the house. It was also rewarding to see and hear how the boys made a conscious effort to look for opportunities to serve others. Here are some of the examples we wrote up for Max's presentation:

• I (Max) helped my brother Lincoln clean up the Light Brite pieces even though I didn’t have to.
• My dad didn’t get mad when someone cut him off in traffic.
• I cleaned up lots of messes to help my mom.
• I fed my sister Eden when she was hungry.
• I tried to be a good example for my friends.
• We brought dinner to a friend’s family who was sick.
• I wrote lots of nice notes to my mom to let her know I love her.
• Eden comforted Lincoln when he was feeling sick.
• Lincoln shared his licorice with Eden without being asked.
• We helped a friend with a ride home from the emergency room and helped her feel better.
• I called my grandma and told her I love her.
• We made birthday cards for a special friend.

I have a friend who's daughter is in the same kindergarten class. Her daughter did a fantastic project. She took 100 photos of her favorite things. My friend then spent hours that night printing, measuring and attaching the photos to a tri-fold for her daughter's presentation. We joked around that by the time our youngest hit kindergarten, we'd be inclined to say, "Here kid, take this piece of paper and draw a 100 circles on it."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust, or Happy Trails to You

Living in the DC metropolitan area has a lot of perks, but it also has it's down side. We have met and continue to meet a lot of amazing people and are fortunate to call many of them our friends. However, we live in a very transient area, easy come easy go. Herb and I have said goodbye and happy trails to many a dear friend in the 10+ years we have lived here and the past couple of months have been no exception.

In December we tearfully said adios to our beloved Huish family. They left the green trees of Virginia for the scorpions of the desert. Our solace is that they view the move as somewhat temporary and we expect to see them every few months as they return to visit VA. Below are some pics of their visit last week. Our kids are all within months of each other in age and have known each other since they were babes. The boys tend to get a little excited when they're together. It was so great to see them again and I especially enjoyed the one-on-one time I got to spend with Tisha. We love the Huishes!

The end of February we said goodbye to another set of dear friends, the Feiks. Herb and I look at each other every so often and say, "Sure wish we could call the Feiks to come play cards." It's kind of an inside joke, cause we always talked about playing cards when they came over, but only managed to do it once in the whole year that they lived in VA. We sorely miss having them come and hang out.

The Saturday before the Feiks moved, we were able to host a little open house for them. It was bitter-sweet but so nice to be able to have an evening for them to say their goodbyes. In addition, the night before the Feiks left to head back to Utah we had an impromtu sleepover at our house. Herb and I were so glad their move got delayed one more night so we could all spend it together. Our kids were estatic. They are really going to miss each other.

Friendships are such a key part of this mortal experience and I feel so blessed to have the friends in my life that I do, even if it means keeping in touch a half a continent away. Thank you Tisha, Jeremy, Sandy and Kelvin for being such dear, dear friends. We love and miss you!!!!


Sugar Addict a.k.a. Mama Riggs

True confession. This dish of mint chocolate brownies was full three days ago. I gave one square to a friend, Herb ate two squares and I have single handedly eaten the rest. In 3 days people!!! In addition, I had this bowl of strawberry ice cream with chocolate sauce today and yesterday a sweet friend dropped off a loaf of white bread with cherry filling from Great Harvest. I ate the ENTIRE loaf, by MYSELF, in ONE day. Something has got to give. I can't go on living this way..... even though I'd like to.

Culprit #1

Culprit #2

With the warmer weather we've had this weekend, I'm thinking about starting up with my exercise routine again. Sigh. Do you think we'll still have, I mean get to exercise when we have our perfect, ressurected bodies?

Two additional incentives to help me stop the binge:


#2 Jonah is not so fond of the chocolate mint brownies. Poor guy has had the gas pains the past couple of days. If I was a really good mom, I'd put down that brownie.

Anyone need a walking partner?

P.S. Tisha, I know you are dying as you read this. Perhaps you need to send me that photo of us in the swimsuits to give me a kick start.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jonah's one week mark

Here are a few pics of Jonah at one week old. I love that this babe is mine!

It has been fun to witness Eden's reaction to her new little brother. She is surprisingly gentle with Jonah. Hers is not the choke-hold style her brother Lincoln has with her. Eden likes to sit near me when I'm holding Jonah and she'll softly touch and stroke the back of his head. It's really, really sweet. I think they are going to be good friends.

Eden has a thing for mouths. She loves to put her fingers in my mouth and apparently Jonah's mouth too. That's going to have to stop.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jonah's Arrival and a Whale of a Storm

Hurray! Jonah has arrived, all 8lbs 9oz and 22 inches of him. "Born on the opening week of the Winter Olympics and in the Grand Snowstorm of the Decade. He's a natural already." If my brother-in-law proves to be prophetic, Jonah is bound to be an avid skier. Good thing, cause he wouldn't be inheriting his finesse on a pair of skiis from me.

Timing is everything and Jonah seems to have a pretty good grasp of it. His due date, according to the ultrasounds was Feb. 4th, which came and went without fanfare. However, the snowstorm that hit our area the 5th-7th of February recieved plenty of attention. We kept praying that Jonah would last out the storm, and thankfully he obliged. It would have been very difficult to venture out during those days of stormy weather, if not impossible. There is a hospital about a mile from our home, but not the hospital where my doctor delivers. One night, while experiencing some contractions I imagined having to hike through the storm to the hospital. I think I could of made it, but I'm glad I didn't have to try.

I was scheduled to be induced on Wed., Feb. 10th if Jonah didn't arrive on his own. Monday morning, Dr. Mehta called and suggested we move the inducement up to Tuesday since there were predictions of another big storm coming through. I wasn't going to protest so we scheduled the inducement for 10am Tuesday morning. All of Monday I cleaned the house, did the laundry and got things ready. Max went with Herb for most of the morning to check on people and shovel snow while Eden, who was recovering from a fever and rash took an extra long nap. Lincoln was my little helper and I was able to get everything in order. It felt so good knowing that my house was clean, things were ready and I would be having this baby in the morning.

At 2:30 am I was awoken by a strong contraction, which for the past several nights wasn't an uncommon thing. However, by 4:30 am the contractions were coming about 10 minutes apart so I figured it was a good time to wake-up Herb and head to the hospital. I knew from my previous labors, there was a good possiblity this could go quickly. Herb was out of bed, showered and ready to go within five minutes. He doesn't mess around when I'm in labor.

Our good friend Sandy responded to our early morning plea and quickly came over to stay with the kids. Meanwhile, after a comedy of errors that included misplacing my phone and wallet, Herb and I arrived at the hospital about 6am. The roads were decent though a little rough on the belly with layers of ice and snow.

Once settled in the hospital, the contractions began to slow down and by 8am they had virtually stopped. When Dr. Mehta arrived about 9am we decided to go ahead with the scheduled inducement at 10 am. I was given patossum (sp?)to start the contractions and within 5 minutes I was in labor again. The contractions came on hard and fast. I was given an epidural which gave some relief, but contractions being what they are and coming so quickly, I was still uncomfortable. Thank goodness the labor wasn't long. I don't have a knack for pain. I could feel Jonah was getting ready to come and I warned the nurse that it was time. She checked me and ran to the door to call for Dr. Mehta. My water broke and I let it be known that Jonah was coming, NOW!

Things moved quickly in the next 5 minutes. I pushed several times through a couple of contractions. At one point Dr. Mehta raised her voice telling me I needed to push harder. I thought I was pushing as hard as I could, but I could hear the urgency in her voice. The umbilical chord was wrapped around Jonah's neck, but he wasn't out far enough for them to release it. I pushed with all that I had and they quickly unwrapped the chord.

Jonah didn't cry right away and the doctor called for additional help. Staff quickly responded and within two minutes, Jonah took his first breath and showed off his set of lungs. Later, Dr. Mehta explained that because Jonah had gone through the birth canal so quickly he was stunned. His body wasn't quite sure what to do next and it took a couple of minutes for him to draw breath. In addition Jonah experienced bruising and swelling all over his face from the quick delivery. All in all labor and delivery was about an hour and 15 minutes from the time I was given the patossum to when he arrived at 11:14am.

Once he was registered as fine and cleaned up a bit, the staff left and we were given some quiet time with Jonah before we were transferred to recovery where I would spend the next two days. The nurses and staff at the hospital were wonderful and very attentive. My doctor was terrific and I felt very at ease with her. I had a great stay at Northern Virginia Hospital and enjoyed staying in a newly renovated facility. I would recommend it to anyone.

I love the time in the hospital when it is just the baby and I with few distractions and time to rest and recover. One of the goals the staff had written down for me was to bond with the baby, which I definately did. All of Wednesday I held Jonah and watched the blizzard from my window. I felt cozy and relaxed in my room, not wanting to be anywhere else and grateful that my family at home still had power and electricity. Herb surprised me in the evening by venturing out in the storm to bring me some delicious Chinese food a friend had made for our family. What a good man he is. We enjoyed some quiet time together watching t.v., talking with our family on the phone and bonding with Jonah.

Before Jonah arrived, I felt anxious about how things would be with four young children at home. Now that he is here, I am no longer anxious and I feel content with how things are. We have been given a tremendous amount of help from our friends and fellow ward members and part of the feelings of contentment stem from how blessed I feel to be the recipient of so much generosity.

In the labor and delivery room about 6:30am

Poor little bruised up face.

The token hospital pose of Herb with each of our newborns.

Dr. Mehta with Jonah. She's a terrific Obgyn.

Thursday morning and already the bruising is much, much better. Jonah is starting to show his true colors.

What a smile! Must mean he's waaay advanced for his age.

The homecoming ensemble provided by some generous friends. Isn't he just adorable?!

It was a happy homecoming as the kids were very excited to meet their new little brother. When I walked in the door, Eden toddled right over to me and threw her arms around me. Melt my heart.

We had some amazing help while I was at the hospital. The kids were well taken care of by several dear friends. The boys were having such fun, they didn't have a chance to miss their mama. It was such a relief to know that all was well at home, that my kids were in good and competent hands and that all was taken care of. We don't have any blood relations in the area, but Herb and I sure felt like family was taking care of us. It was a tremendous blessing.

Each day, Jonah gets more and more handsome. Here he is at five days old.