Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stuck!

"Will someone please get me out?!?"

The cries were coming from my 4 year old.  He sounded stressed, but not hurt.


"Will someone please get me out?!?!?"

The cries were getting a bit more frantic. At first, I thought he must have locked himself in the bathroom, but as I walked closer, I could tell they were from the kitchen instead.  What could he be stuck in?

I burst out laughing when I saw this...




Monday, June 27, 2011

Sweet Nothings...


Homemade Hostess Cupcakes. Best eaten semi-frozen. Mmmm...

Piped curlicues make them look like the ones from the store. But once you taste them, you'll never get them mixed up again :)
Homemade Hostess Layered Cake. So delicious and rich (and tall!), you can only eat a sliver at a time.


There is miraculously still a few Homemade Hostess Cupcakes and the remaining half of this beautiful Homemade Hostess Layered Cake sitting in my freezer, begging to be eaten. I made it for Amanda's birthday, and she requested I make it again for her last week so her friends could taste the cake she's been raving about. With luscious layers of moist brownies, covered with homemade chocolate ganache, and more layers of my special Homemade Hostess Cream Filling, it's quite delicious. But no, instead of indulging, I am sauteing up a pan of vegis with quinoa for a late night dinner. 

We've been at the lake with the kids and I've just changed out of my wet clothes and into a comfy top and some grey knit capris. You know the kind, with the University of Utah logo written across one side. So there I stand in front of the stove, seasoning the colorful mix of snow peas, carrots, and squash, stirring contentedly as I wait for the vegis to cook. Ryan walks up behind me, puts his arm around me, and leans his head down to my ear. "Rachel," he says, in a sultry voice. (I think he's going to whisper something sweet in my ear, like maybe how nice I looked in my bathing suit, or how delicious the pumpkin bread I baked for our treat at the lake was, or how much he loves me. Right??)

No. Not at all. Nothing of the sort.

Instead, this is what I hear.

"Rachel," he says.

"Yes?" I answer, smiling hopefully.

"Your pants are on backwards."

And then he walks away as my face turns bright red.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Four Questions...

Ry with his Mom.  Love you Nan! Thank you for your love and prayers, and for raising such an amazing son!
Sometimes, especially when Ryan isn't home, I sit up for hours and since I cannot sleep, I edit pictures, or quite frequently, read snippets of blogs. Tonight, is one of those nights. It's 2 am, and I am tired beyond belief but wound up more than I should be... and sleep is far from coming. I know - it's my anxiety getting the best of me. A downward spiral at its beginning. And yet, here I sit.

I've been reading blogs about this, that, or the other, but quite a few about postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and other postpartum disorders.  Why??  Because when you've been thrown against a brick wall, had your entire life turned upside down, been shaken loose from all that's holding you together, and still are dealing with the effects of it, you tend to want to understand why. And what to do. And how to help someone else dealing with the same thing. And so even though I feel mostly healed from the whole experience... I still read about it. I still am working through it. I still am making sure that I am not just getting the point of feeling better... but that I am getting past it, through it, over it, and conquering it.

I've been asked a few times lately "do you think this is PPD?"  and "How can I tell if I have PPD?" Tonight, I came across a post that said to ask yourself these questions to help you determine if you have PPD...


Has it been longer than 2 weeks since I have given birth?
Am I feeling worse as days go on?
Am I eating much more or less than usual?
Am I sleeping much more or less than usual?


As I read it, I remembered reading this same thing as I started to do a little research on PPD before I finally accepted the fact I needed meds, and as I remembered reading it, I also remembered getting a bit angry.

No, getting VERY angry. As in, want to throw the computer across the room and yell obscenities and then break down into very large sobs kind of angry.

Here's why.


Am I feeling worse as days go on?  I remember thinking.. my lower regions ache from giving birth. My head aches from feeling crazy. I have a piercing headache from not getting enough sleep. My arms ache from bouncing this baby and trying to hold it just the right way while I try to nurse and that isn't working either. My eyes ache from crying all the time. I haven't got enough cohesiveness of thought to figure out whether I'm feeling worse right now than I was 2 hours ago, let alone try to track how I felt a week ago. Am I progressively feeling worse? How could I possibly feel worse than I do right now?


Am I eating much more or less than usual? 
I remember thinking... more or less than usual??? What is usual? Do I gauge that on how much I was eating before this kid popped out of me? It was Thanksgiving for crying out loud! I was eating for me, for the baby, and then some! Or do I look at afterward? I am crying so much, so exhausted, and not functioning well enough to get up and out of the room, let alone go make myself some food.  When someone brings me food and sticks it in front of me I eat. When they don't, I don't. And if there is a bag of chips or a box of cookies within reach, I will eat the entire thing without thinking about it. Is that more or less than usual?


Am I sleeping much more or less than usual? 
I remember thinking... sleeping more than I was before I had the baby?  I got up every hour to pee and took another hour to go back to sleep because my hips hurt, and then dozed while reading books to my toddler.  Should I gauge it off that? Or am I supposed to remember back to after I had my last baby and gauge whether I'm sleeping much more or less than the average new mom not getting enough sleep because she has a newborn's poopy diaper to change or baby to feed every hour. I have small kids! I haven't had a full night's sleep in years!! Is that more or less than usual sleep for a mother?

What ridiculous questions, and yet, my very answers to the questions were telling enough in themselves.  I couldn't just answer "no"to any of them, so the answer was obviously "yes". Yes, it had been more than two weeks since the baby was born. Yes I am feeling worse than I want to be, need to be, and can handle feeling. Yes I am eating much more or less than usual, and Yes I am sleeping much more or less than usual. Yes, I had many, many things pointing to severe postpartum depression. Not being able to hold the baby without crying. Not enjoying when I had the baby near me. Not wanting to talk and play and laugh with the baby, kiss his tiny nose and marvel at his tiny fists.  Not being able to turn the thoughts in my head off, and yet not having rational thoughts - all at the same time.

Still, the questions - though they tried to be helpful, didn't feel helpful at all. And my poor husband had to bear the brunt of all of it until I got it figured out... and then, still took care of me for 2 more years as I began to heal.

One day, I'll write a real list of "how to tell" questions. Until then, I'll just say "Thanks Baby. I love you more than you can imagine."

 - Rachel

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Sweet Chili Peppers

It's amazing how much better the house stays clean when I'm not working 40 hours a week.  Hmmm... maybe I'm not as horrible a housekeeper as I've felt like for the past few months. It's amazing how much more I can get done too! In the past week, I've painted the girls room (cream), the boys room (butterscotch brown), the stairway landing (white), the front porch (sandy red), the front steps, back steps, back stairway and railing (forest green), half the picket fence (white), and touch ups all over the house.

I'm painted out, for the moment... and although I would love to be at the lake right now, soaking up some sun, someone borrowed my pass. So... I decided instead to edit some photos I took of the kids in May.

I hope you enjoy them.  My Chili Peppers are the highlights of my life :)

- Rachel





Friday, June 17, 2011

Visitors

A week ago, the kids and I came back from a long trip away from home. Anyone who has seven kids and has been gone for a week knows that you have a lot of clean up, sorting laundry, and work to do when you  finally get home. Well... we hadn't done all the work yet, and the house was still a mess. In fact, a little before we got home, Jonnie piped up in his carseat and said,  

"Mom, I'm pooped."

"Okay," I said, "We'll change you as soon as we get home."

"You're not going to throw me in the bathtub," he said worriedly. (He hates to bath!)

"No. We'll just change your diaper, okay?"  

Well, he was asking if I was going to give him a bath for good reason.  We went to get him out of his carseat and realized he had done more than just filled his diaper - he had a poop explosion!  It was everywhere!  We spent the next half hour cleaning everything up, and then I jumped into the van again and ran to a job interview. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. The kids were exhausted. I decided we would clean the house the next day.

BAD IDEA. The next morning I let the kids sleep in, and as I'm sitting on the porch couch enjoying the peace and quiet of the morning, here comes a big shiny suburban pulling into my long driveway. "Who is that," I wonder. Pretty soon, out pops our good friends Mark, Paul, Steve, and their Dad.

Now, let me paint this picture a little more clearly.  I'm sitting on the couch on the front porch, lounging while I look up job listings on my laptop. I have no bra on yet, I haven't combed my hair, brushed my teeth, or put my makeup on. The porch is crowded with furniture we are storing for someone as a birthday surprise, and EVERY room in the house is messy. Every. Single. One.  In fact, when I came home, I had dumped my suitcase on my bed frantically trying to find something I needed from it before I left for my job interview.  I came back from the interview and shoved everything onto the floor before I fell into bed, exhausted. The room was bombed.  I'm not the world's best clean freak housekeeper to begin with... but that day, every room looked awful.  The food storage we had relocated to the playroom while we were working on a project was all still sitting there. The huge beanbag full of foam squares had broken the week before we left and since I didn't have time to sew it up, the kids had them scattered everywhere downstairs.

Mark gives me a hug hello and walks into the house to see how the basement turned out, which he had helped us do the drywall on. He goes downstairs, where Amanda is still sleeping.  I awkwardly give the others a hug and excuse myself for a minute while I go get my brassiere on. When I come back, Steve says he wants to see the house so I start showing them around, cringing at every room we walk into.  We go upstairs, and meanwhile Amanda comes up to the main floor, oblivious that we have visitors. When we come back down, she is sitting at the dining table in her nightgown eating a bowl of cereal, totally unaware they were even here.  They all want to see the work Mark did down in Amanda's room too... and Amanda is freaking out because her room looks about as good as my room.

Ugh. Normally, I love visitors. But sometimes I think I need to get one of those signs on my door that says...

"If you come to see me, come anytime.  If you came to see my house, make an appointment."

I can just imagine the stories they had to tell their wives when they got home.

Oh well....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A good day...

A good day is when...

They fight like cats and dogs most of the time, but occasionally they find something in common... like when they both want to do something they shouldn't, such as trying to start Amanda's scooter and ride it.  Good thing she doesn't leave the key in it!  Notice Jonnie's hat.  He wouldn't take it off for weeks... it has now disintegrated completely.
  • You find a bunch of money in your old wallet while cleaning your room. (Yay!!  I was trying to figure out how to buy paint I needed for the deck.) 
  • You get to sing "Love Story" and "Crazier" with your five and seven year olds. (Daisy and Lina are adorable, if I do say so myself :) 
  • Good friends stop by because they miss you and have been thinking of you. (Love you Sheila and Kelly!)
  • You find pictures you forgot about while emptying your camera's memory card. (See below...)
  • Your 14 year old helps you de-clutter your room. (Thanks Mercy!!!)
  • You get a call in for an interview and your husband has one too. (Hmmm.... which direction will our lives take?)
  • Your husband sends you a sweet text saying how much he misses you. (Miss you too Babe!)
  • You fit into pants you haven't fit in for a very long time! (Just three more pounds til my next goal!)




Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oh the joys...

We've been staying at Joe's place the last few days and when we're there, Jonnie sleeps in the same room as we do.  Unfortunately, here is what our night consisted of last night.

Cough, cough.
Cough, cough.

And a little later...

Cough, cough, cough.
Cough, cough, cough.

Being away from home without my medicine cabinet is NOT my favorite thing, and I normally always bring a few basics with me when we travel north. The climate and elevation change always seems to get the kids with one sickness or another. Who wants to wake up your hosts at one in the morning asking for some Vicks?

All night long it was the same thing.

Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough.

Needless to say, I'm tired.

Good thing I can take a nap :)
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