Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Here, It's Here!!!!!

Finally, my blog book is here! I finally did it! This was a goal from when I first started writing this blog that I would print it regularly to have a written record of all that I wrote- to preserve the memories I have recorded. 3 1/2 years later, I still had yet to do it. I was determined this year to get it done. So, I did a book through that went from the beginning of my blog (March 2008) through Dec. 31, 2010. (My goal will now be to do one ever year.) I am so excited to have it and I LOVE it!!! Here is a sneak peak:
In case you can't read it, it says "Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love" (my blog title) and then says "The Craziness, the Fun and the Love in our Family from March 2008-Dec 2010" It then has my name followed by "Woman, wife, mother, chef, taxi driver, nurse, teacher and chaos manager."

One of the first pages is this:This is the quote I have at the top of my blog, with a cute pic of my kids beside it. Then, there is every post I have written with pictures on glossy pages- here is a couple of my favorites:
This was my post from Easter 2010 which had a ton of pictures, so I have some small beside the text and then a full page next to it.

And then this was from a trip to the zoo with my sister that was so much fun!!! I love how this one looks with the text and then the pics under it.

I am so thankful I am able to have this printed record. It took a while (I think I started working on the book in March!) because the 3 years of posts ended up being about 400 pages of text! Then, when I was finally ready to order it, I noticed some of the pictures had rotated sideways. I couldn't figure out why. When I was in the "edit mode", the looked fine but in "preview mode" just a few were sideways. But, when I did a print through the company, they would come out straight. I emailed the tech support for blurb and let me say they were amazing! They worked with me for a few weeks trying to fix the problem. They were so supportive and kind and helpful and even tried to re-upload my blog for me. I recommend this company just because they were so personable. Despite their many efforts, they could not fix it and recommended I delete those pictures and re-upload them individually. This was a very daunting thought. I feared if I did that, I may never get it done. I also figured my biggest goal here was not perfectly positioned pictures, but a record of my blog so I took a chance (hoping they would print correctly since it printed fine on my computer) figuring it wouldn't matter if a few pictures were sideways. Well, the ones that really mattered (like the one above with the quote) were straight! There are just very few sideways pictures, but they are small. It is so worth it! I love my book and definitely recommend anyone who keeps a blog to do this!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Final Project

As previously mentioned, Ellen and Meghan have enjoyed the preschool exchange I have done with my friend, Abbey. All year long, they have worked on learning their numbers and letters, writing them, playing games and doing fun activities. Abbey and I also enjoyed it because it gave us a good chance to spend time with the kids as well as be able to get out on our own when it was the other persons turn to teach. It was a successful adventure!

So, it only made sense now that they know all their letters, to make cookies showing off all they have learned! Here are the bright young graduates hard at work on their final project:

And here is the finished (and tasty!) result!! Everyone gets an A+!!!
Annie, Ross, Meghan and Ellen

It was a great year! They grew so much and it was so fun to watch them learn!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Heat is On!

(as in the old 80's song...)

There is one thing universal to all Ohioans.... (and yes, for the record, I am born and raised...)

Ohioans LOVE to complain about the weather. I am guilty too! I really think God feels like he just can't make us happy here. It is always to hot, cold, snowy, humid, rainy, gray, dry, etc. Though it is true, probably the hardest thing about Ohio weather is the quick and constant change. That is what I like the least, how it can go from cold to hot and back to cold in a day it seems.

This past April definitely ranks as one of the worst in Ohio's history. Luckily, we didn't have any snow, but it rained....all....month....long! The news even said that all month, there were only 6 days without any rain (and they weren't in a row...) It was cold and dreary too- temps in the 50's and gray. There are problems with flooding everywhere- even worse outside Ohio- such as along the Mississippi River. May was looking like it might follow suit. The first 1 1/2 weeks gave us gray skies, cool temps and....yes...more rain!

However, this week, things finally turned around. We have had very little rain this week with bright blue skies and....gasp!.....temps in the 80's! We seem to have forgotten how to handle ourselves! We whined about it being cold and rainy and now that it is hot and dry, everyone is whining again. Knowing that temps will cool down again, I refuse to turn on the air conditioner yet. Besides I have been so sick of being cold, I am okay with being hot for a while. I try to make it until June before cranking up the air, though I have been guilty of giving in before that too. I mean, really, didn't most of us grow up without air conditioning?!?! I never had air conditioning until I had been married a couple years! (For that matter, I never had a dishwasher until then either. It was also after I married that my parents could suddenly afford "real" vacations to cool places- not camping in a tent to see historical sites as we did my whole childhood- but that is a whole other story....).

I just can't help but chuckle at all of my facebook friends saying they "gave in" and turned their air on after a day (yet complained about the cold/rain last week!) They complain about it being so "hot" in their house with it being 80 degrees INSIDE! Gasp! Well, it hit 86 in my house yesterday for a few hours, but we did not give in. In the mornings and over night, it cools off. I just have to endure those stressful hot evening hours and I know all will be well. I guess that since I know it will cool off again (tomorrow is only in the 70's and it gets cooler after that!) that I would rather save the money and the fossil fuels and hold off turning it on. Though I am human, and I will be right there with everyone else soon enough!

Let me say though, if anyone who has complained about the heat, complains next week when the high is only supposed to be 59 deg and RAINY (sounds familiar)....well, I will have something to say about that!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jacob's Week to Shine!

This week was a VERY big week for Jacob!! Last Sunday, May 1st, he had his first piano recital with his new piano teacher. We were all really excited for it because he had been working so hard and is showing real talent! Unfortunately, it also fell on the day we got our bad news and I was feeling pretty crappy (see previous post if you don't know what I am talking about....). But, we made it JUST in time to hear him play and he did such a great job! He got right up there, played his songs with confidence and gave a great big smile afterward. Here is a picture of him with his piano teacher and some of her other students. Jacob is exactly in the middle in the white shirt. (His teacher is Christine, on the far right in the black shirt. A huge thanks to her for sending me this pic and the following video! Because of the chaos of the day, if not for her, I would have no pictures of it!)

Here is a video of him playing part of one of his songs, "Big Chief Running Bear." For some unknown reason, the whole song did not record, but this gives an idea of what he played:


Then, yesterday, Jacob was baptized!! In our church (I am sure I mentioned before when Kenny was baptized), kids are baptized at age 8. We believe that baptism is a commitment to God and children need to be old enough to be accountable for their actions before making that commitment. We believe for most children, that age is 8. We baptize by total immersion and Aaron was able to perform the baptism. Jacob seemed so proud and happy- just shining for his big day. Here is a picture of our family!

I am so proud of him. He is growing so fast and is such a little man in so many ways. He works so hard at school and treats his siblings so well. He is always willing to help at home and adds so much to our family. I love weeks like this when he is able to shine because he deserves it so much. He does have to deal with a minor medical issue which, while not serious, causes a lot of frustration and a lot of time to deal with. The stress adds up after a while. I am so thankful that this week could be all about him in a positive way- between his recital and his baptism. I want him to know how much he is loved and how thankful I am that I get to be his mom. Today, on Mother's day, I could not be more proud.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Not The Post I Imagined Writing

This is not the post I imagined writing. Not even close. Here in a week or two, I imagined telling everyone that I was pregnant and we were so thrilled to welcome baby number 5 into our house. I was going to talk about how, despite having 4 kids (including twins) we felt we were being led by God to add one more to our family. It was something we felt so strongly about. I was going to talk about this and so much more. I could not WAIT to do that post.

Unfortunately, God had other plans. This past weekend, I was 10 weeks pregnant and miscarried. I had not told many people I was pregnant because I had miscarried once before (pre-twins) at 12 weeks and was "gun-shy"- not wanting everyone to know until I was past 12 weeks and all was well. However, now that the worst has happened, I find I don't really care if people know- and I think I figured out why, but I will explain that later.

On March 17th, St Patrick's day, I took a pregnancy test that came out positive. It was a bright spot in an otherwise awful day. (It was one of the days my girls threw up all day...) I had actually been off birth control for two years, so to get that positive was a miracle. I had a lot of spotting early on, but early ultrasounds showed all to be okay. We saw a heartbeat and saw the baby progressing. I had had at least some spotting in other pregnancies, so I tried not to be too worried. And, after a few weeks, it stopped altogether and I felt good!

This past Saturday, April 30th, my back was sore all day long, but I didn't think much of it, until I felt worse as they day progressed. By late evening I was spotting again, but it improved overnight so I wasn't too panicked. Then, Sunday morning, it started again and Aaron convinced me to go the ER. They did a pelvic exam, ultrasound and blood test. The blood test showed my HCG levels to be 15,000. The doc said at this point, it should be over 100,000. The ultrasound showed a 9 week size baby with no heartbeat or blood flow. I was instantly devastated. She was waiting on a call from my OB office to see what to do, but we were trying to make Jacob's piano recital (it started at 1:30 and it was already 1- at least my mom was able to take him- We barely made it to watch him play, but more on this in another post.) So, we left with instructions to follow up with my doc Monday morning to see about a D&C or another plan. But, as the evening progressed on Sunday, I gradually started to feel cramping. I woke at 2 am (after not getting to sleep till midnight) with strong, painful cramps. At 3 am, after a particularly hard cramp, I felt a gush of blood and fluid. I will spare details from here, but it was a horrible painful night. I have never seen anything like it or felt anything close, aside from childbirth, but that was in a hospital with a much more positive outcome (not to mention an epidural). At two different times, my bathroom resembled a crime scene. I didn't sleep a wink the rest of the night. The days following involved bouts of crying and occasional periods of sharp pain. I saw my OB Tuesday who confirmed that no evidence of the pregnancy remained so a D&C would be unnecessary. (With the first miscarriage, it did not pass on it's own, so I had a D&C. Having experienced both now, the D&C was so much less painful and way less traumatic). That follow up appointment in itself was so painful and so humiliating. I am glad that is over. So, my body is healing at a good pace, but my heart will take quite a bit longer. I just feel so sad and the disappointment is all-consuming right now. Why is it that our bodies often heal quick but our hearts stay broken for so long?

What went wrong? We will never know. I do have several fibroid (benign) tumors in my uterus, but they have been there a while and I carried the twins full term with them in there. The doc does not believe that they caused this or the previous miscarriage. He believes both to be just a natural genetic problem that would not allow the baby to thrive.

So, I did some thinking figuring out why I felt it so important to keep the pregnancy secret, but now that it has failed, I am so willing to tell people? I am sure part of it is the need for support, but it goes beyond that. To me, this baby was real. It was a real being with a heart beat that was growing within me. (I will now refer to the baby as "she"- it was too early to determine gender, but I can't stand referring to a baby in the womb as "it"). She was growing and we loved her and were excited to have her as part of our family. We are so sad in the loss. I guess I feel it is my way of honoring her life, though very brief. I just can't go on and pretend all is okay when it is not, or that it never happened when it did. That is ultimately why I decided to write about it too. At first I was not going to, but I felt I could not move on with the blog without talking about this. I have other happy posts to do, but could not do them until I wrote this. This was a child I loved and I realized I do not want to pretend that it never happened. Of course, when I look back on this I will feel sad, but she was real and was a real part of me that I will never forget and she deserves a page in our family history (considering this blog is my only journal right now that I will print regularly). That is how I am honoring her brief life, by letting people know she was here and she was loved.

I know I am so blessed in so many ways. I do not know what the future holds- if there is another spirit to come to our family or not. I really don't know what will happen at this point. What people need to understand is how hard and painful this is despite having 4 children. I had a miscarriage with two children and again with 4 and it is just as painful. I have 4 beautiful children that I love dearly that I literally thank God for every single day (I really do, every day in my prayers!) But, the one comment that has not been helpful is when someone says, "Well, just be thankful you have 4". If you have read this far, please don't say that. I am eternally thankful for the 4 I have and if this is our complete family I will show gratitude every day and be happy. I just don't think anyone should judge the right size for someone else's family. I feel the "magic" number of children is different for every family. For some, the right number is 1, for others it is 10. (no, I do NOT envision 10 children in our family....) Only God knows the right number for each family and families should consult with Him in knowing when their family is complete.

The one blessing here is the reminder of the amazing friends and family I have. The support I have received has been so wonderful and I have felt so loved. I have received so many supportive phone calls, letters, cards, friends and family that have brought meals (despite me telling them it wasn't necessary), help with my kids, treats to lift my soul, hugs and so so much more. I seriously have the best friends and family. God allows us to go through trials, but He also gives us the strength and the people to help us get through. To all of them (you know who you are), I am eternally grateful to them all. I hope I can serve others as they have served me and that I can help to lift another soul.