Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two Years Ago, Today

Two years ago, on this very day, my third born child, Noe Michael came into this world saying, as Frank Sinatra would, "I did it my way!"

My loving husband, mother & father (& my little brother in Japan on the phone) helped me welcomed this 6 lb 10 oz, 20 inch long bundle at 4:58pm Sunday, September 30th, 2007. (6 days early)

Our day began with my bag of waters breaking at 6:30 am, and since I was certain this was what had happened, there was no need for me to insist Ralph smell the leakage as I had before, with Capi. (I wanted to make sure it wasn't urine) We began to assemble our "team". MIL and Grand MIL to watch Gabriel & little Capi at our house, my parents to be present at the birth.

I took the time to do some last minute house straightening, take a shower and apply light makeup. (yes, vanity thy name is Capi) We arrived at the hospital at 8'ish, still no contractions to speak of, yet a consistent stream of amniotic fluid.

We were all surprised, since this had not been typical of my previous births, which had been termed "rapid labor".

By 9 am I was admitted into L & D and examined to be at 3cm, with cervix soft, yet completely high. The delivering OB (Dr. Small-Hands) suggested since I'd not begun contracting, to have a pitocin drip and asked if I had any special wishes or concerns? I mentioned I had never had an epidural with my other two deliveries having had rapid labor - so he offered one to me before beginning the pitocin drip. At the time, I obliged thinking "HA! I'm going to try something different."

However, by the time the nurse arrived with the IV, I had second thoughts. I had effectively managed my pain before and I assumed the pitocin would progress labor quickly. I didn't see a need for the epidural and declined it. I wanted to be free to change position, wander about the room and pace as I needed to.

Pitocin was started at 10am at 2ml and triggered contractions every 3 or 4 minutes, which seemed to wane in intensity and frequency. Periodically, the nurse would come in and increase pitocin level. Yet, results were the same. I paced the room, did pelvic rocks, sat and rested, did noticeable changes.

When I reached the point of pitocin at 12ml, I asked the nurse, "what are other women normally doing at 12 ml of pitocin?" She laughed and said, "they're usually screaming and rolling around on the bed." I asked, "am I abnormal or something?" She replied, "I've never seen anything like you!" (nor has anyone since, I am sure)

Pitocin was increased to 18 ml, and contractions started to "change." I felt positive pressure in my cervical area and asked to be checked at 3:30. Disheartened to learn I was only at 4cm, with 100% effacement. Noe's head was right at the cervix, yet cervix opening was at the back of his head.

Frustrated, I decided to try standing and rocking again. I was somewhat annoyed that things were taking so long & I began to wonder how much longer this all would go on?

At 4pm, Noe made an unusual feeling move which sounded somewhat like a sonic boom on the monitor. I felt the all too familiar "immediate pain and pressure." "Game on," I thought. I began to need to breathe through the contractions and no longer wanted to stand and rock. Ralph's jokes became unfunny. I asked to be checked again at 4:30pm, and the nurse confirmed I was "complete".

I was asked NOT to push until the doctor had arrived. I, however was READY to push and stated ..."well, then he NEEDS to get here, now!" After what seemed like an eternity Dr. Small-Hands arrived and assumed "catcher's position". I was given the green light to push, so I gave it all I had annnnd...he told me to stop. I, was not of the opinion I should stop pushing and very politely asserted (through gritted teeth) "NO, he needs to come out NOW!"

Apparently my cervix still hadn't come "around" (I hate when everybody isn't on the same page) so he put on his miner's cap and reached in. I felt and almost seemed to hear a "pop", it was VERY painful and I confess I SCREAMED! (then I did the moon walk with my butt cheeks up the hospital bed)

With that minor adjustment I was allowed to resume, and in one breath out came Noe's head. One more push brought the shoulders. Dr. Small-Hands told me to reach down and take my baby. How absolutely thrilling it felt to be the one to bring him out of me and straight into loving arms. "you're here, you're here! how handsome you are!"

Noe Michael is perfectly unique and an agreed completion to our family. I hear people say this from time to time, but he's everything I never knew I always wanted.

Happy Birthday mijo!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A New Look

Spent a little time this morning updating the look of MLTD.

Hope you enjoy, cos I am sort of loving it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ear on Fire! Ear on Fire! Ear on Fire!

Still suffering from MAJOR congestion and being unable to hear from my left ear, I ran out yesterday to our local health food store to purchase a bundle of ear candles.

After supper dishes had been cleared and the kids had sufficient time to run and play outdoors, Ralph rounded them up for the evening by shouting into the yard .... "kids, time to come inside - we're going to light mom's ears on fire."

Man! What an efficient way to round up a herd of children & dogs! Three children, and four dogs came running into the house full of exuberance.

Without understanding, or reason, my darling daughter began to chant ...."Ear on Fire! Ear on Fire! Ear on Fire!" Noe chimed in, and eventually Gabriel joined in the fun and led his younger siblings on a pot banging, chanting parade through the kitchen.

This carried on for a few minutes until Capi became concerned and sweetly asked me, "mom, if we light your ear on fire are you going to die?" Ralph explained the process to her "no, mommy won't die. We are going to stick this rocket in her ear, and then light it on fire. When it's done, you can blow it out like a birthday candle!"

Immediate return to pot banging and chanting "Ear on Fire! Ear on Fire! Ear on Fire!"

I love my life!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's Good to Be Back ..... On Track?

On Sunday I noticed I was coming down with a small bug, by Monday, it had morphed into a virus(y), kind of a thing with a full blown fever, body aches and chills by early afternoon.

The trooper that I am, screwed all my gumption up and managed to pass muster for the day. (including laundry, supper, school & fun with the kids) When Ralph came home at 4pm I was officially ready to crawl into a hole and die. The supportive, caring man that he is, I was relegated to our bedroom with tissues, tylenol, smoothies & vitamins.

After watching so many Law & Order episodes I now hear the "Ga-Gong" noise every time I enter a new room, I eventually recovered and have learned a few things from my exile into quarantine. I share them with you now ....

Moms Never Really Take a Day Off
Similar to the phrase, "old marines never die .... they just keep rowing"; Moms never really take a day off they just change the venue. Intermittent periods of exile provided me various queries from the children, phone calls, giving direction to the husband re: family finances, amidst other details I usually manage on a day to day basis. However, in this case I was able to do it all from the comfort of my Serta throne.

There is a Limit to How Much Daytime Television Drama One Can Tolerate
Much as I love Law and Order, CSI, House, and all the rest there is only so much room in your brain for the various unravelings of the continuing sub-plot continums found in the re-runs of daytime TV dramas. Mom was right, too much tv isn't good for you!

Not All Company is Good Company
Our two dogs & my parent's two dogs we are sitting made a unanimous move to keep me company in my time of need. Periodically, I would awaken to at least two guards (they must've had rotating shifts). It seemed, that no matter which two sentinals were beside me; one or possibly both had the most foul and unrelentless case of canine flatulence it has ever been my displeasure or misfortune to smell.

Just Because There's a Stand In, Doesn't Mean Your Work Will Be Done
When I returned to the land of the living, I happened upon a kitchen filled with yesterday's scrambled egg skillet, last night's fast food cartons and a dishwasher full of dirty dishes. The living room looked a little less worse for the wear, with only Monday's clean laundry waiting to be folded. Suffice to say I am playing catch-up in a big way today!

I Need to Clean my Ceiling Fan and Light Fixture
Really. I really, really do. It's disgusting. I don't know how I've missed that.

Is it weird that I have missed the chaos at the breakfast table? My altruistic daughter? The driving determination of my toddler to ignore me at every turn? The laundry? No, no I don't miss the laundry, just kidding.

At any rate, it is good to be back. As for on track? If being well & carefully mismanaging portions of my day counts .... then yea I am.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mean Girls vs. The Roller Derby

Saturday night, we managed to take the entire Z-Crew out to the local Roller Derby. Surprisingly we learned that our town has not one, but two leagues! In my opinion, it was, hands down THE best entertainment for a family of 5 for $25.

Gabriel wasn't so enthusiastic, but little Capi was absolutely enthralled. We had to make a trip to the restroom & encountered two Derby Girls waiting in line for the facilities. (which answers the age old question "DO Derby Girls put their pants on one leg at a time like everybody else?") My little girl was instantly star struck by the stripey socks, tule skirts, glitter tee-shirts & sparkly makeup. After her initial moment of being gobsmacked, she tugged on "Princess Paxa Punch's" skirt and stammered out .... "is it hard? What you do? Does it hurt?"

My little girl and Princess P.P had a brief yet memorable interchange, which only helped to solidify what I've told my daughter since before she was old enough to understand.

Girls. Can. Do. Anything.

Never underestimate. Never under mind. Never downgrade.

I actually had someone question my judgement in exposing my children (namely my daughter) to the Roller Derby. Citing it will (or might) teach her to bully other girls. I actually (surprisingly?) disagree with this theory.

The typical feminine competitive activities (dance, gymnastics, ballet, pageants, cheer etc) all seem to invoke some unhealthy (in my opinion) traits, I'd like my daughter to never acquire.

(if dance, gym, ballet et. al is an activity you've chosen for your child, please don't assume I think poorly of you. I am simply citing my experience, however limited with these activities and those involved in these activities. & also lack of parental guidance to correct these vicious behaviors.)

My reply to this argument,

Roller Derby is a sport. It's a healthier brand of competition than say, ballet, tap, cheer leading or pageant. Derby girls come in all shapes and sizes as do "real" women. Derby girls ...are strong, fiercely independent, capable and determined. I don't see that mentality coming from the "typical" girl sports & competitions.

I want my daughter to be strong, independent, capable and determined. I don't want her to feel invaluable because she doesn't fit into a certain size, shape, weight mold. I don't want her to spend her life trying to measure up to other girls and their ideals of perfection. In turn, I don't herself in the "Mean Girls" clique. That sort of behavior is just abhor able to me.

In this scenario I feel solid in my choice, and naysayers be damned.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ancient Housewife Wisdoms ....

Somewhere, in some pagoda far far away, written on an ancient tablet I just know there are wisdoms imparted to us by the Ancient Housewife Masters. I imagine they read something like this ....

Ancient Housewife master say, the surest way to have something spilled, is to mop the floor.

Ancient Housewife master say, do not pat yourself on the back for a job "well done" lest you wish for more to do.

Ancient Housewife master say, if you sit and have empty thoughts, soon there will be much to fill your mind with.

Ancient Housewife master say, never enjoy the silence of your children, for they are up to no good.

Ancient Housewife master say, do not plan too far in advance matters of your own enjoyment, your children will turn up sick.

Ancient Housewife master say, never speak your thoughts aloud to no one lest you wish to be questioned by your children.

Ancient Housewife master say, if you leave your coffee unsupervised a small child will come along and drink it, negating nap for the day.

Have a prosperous and balanced day my friends!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Evaluation With Resource Teach, "Reinventing the Wheel"?

Part of the requirement of doing your homeschooling through a charter school is that you must meet with your assigned resource teacher every 4 weeks. He or She will evaluate your work & make suggestions or recommendations as needed.

We had our first evaluation yesterday. Apart from her making me feel like an idiot, judging Gabriel's hair and clothing, repeatedly correcting (read reprimanding) my younger two children I did gain one very valuable piece of information from that meeting. According to her standards, I am working too hard. I have been told to "stop trying to reinvent the wheel."

This was a saying frequently used when I worked at Edward Jones, in reference to the younger (inexperienced) brokers in the business. There would be this poor sap beating his brains to go out of the way picking up pennies, when nickels and dimes were laying in front of him. We would all stand around at production meetings and say, "stop trying to reinvent the wheel, others have gone before you and have found a proven method for doing things."

In thinking about my past experience with the invention, reinvention and revamping of the wheel. I'm not so sure reinventing the wheel is a bad thing. It certainly is time consuming, labor intensive, costly and frustrating. I'm going to have to ponder this further as it applies to us.

I am relieved to know that she feels we are spending too much time daily on school. I am also relieved to know that it's OK to do certain subjects only twice weekly. This opens up more time during the day for running errands and taking care of mom business.

This whole experience is a learning curve. I know I will constantly be changing, revamping things.

Week Three of Homeschool

I had intended to do daily updates about our homeschool journey and probably will continue to do so as needed, but I have been extra special busy lately and completely missed any update during week 2.

Towards the end of our first week, my mother was rushed to hospital with a suspected stroke. After two days of testing, magnesium (to reduce blood pressure) and rest she was released with no lasting side effects. During the daytime I kept to business as usual, during the evening I left the children in Ralph's care and went to be with her at the hospital.

Mom's release was in time for the maiden voyage of our camp-tent-trailer we'd purchased recently. (given the moniker, SS Snickelfritz) At her request, we continued with our plans and camped for 2 nights / 3 days at San Simeon State Park, just downwind from Hearst Castle. We could smell the ocean mingling with campfire smoke & at night we could hear the waves as though our little Snickelfritz would be swept out to sea. I brought "school" along, in the mornings Gabe and I worked amidst the squirrels and curious blackbirds.

At some point during my first week of school I had a small homeschool identity crisis. Using the packaged curriculum given to me by our resource teacher from the charter school, I felt as though Gabriel and I were only working to feed a ditto hungry monster, never quite satisfied. After a brief conversation with the resource teacher, who told me simply -- "of course it's boring and repetitious, what we've given you is the 'loaf'. It's a tasteless, bland compilation of everything you'd need to nourish yourself and survive. What you do with it and how you use it is up to you."

Given that encouragement, without hesitation I decided to go "off grid" (charter school speak for using an alternative curriculum other than state recommended) for Gabe's reading and writing assignments. Ultimately, as I gain more confidence I will likely go off grid for science and social studies as well.

We are now studying "Little House in the Big Woods" as a comparison to life today. I feel strongly that classic literature has a very valuable place in society and I want to expose Gabriel to as much as possible of that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Interesting albeit Baffling Phenomenon

How is it, that just as I triumphantly strike an item from my "To-Do" list, three others appear in it's place?

Why can I never seem to be done? Is this something scientists are studying? Perhaps it's a job best suited for physicists? Licensed Psychics? Is there a "To-Do" whisperer like there is a "Dog Whisperer" or "Horse Whisperer"?

I have this very vivid mental image of my "To-Do" list resembling something of a Hydra, whilst I, am Hercules, unsuccessfully truncating heads left and right, only to find new growths in their places.

What was it Hercules did to defeat the Hydra? Flew to the underworld, on the wings of Pegasus, firing flamed arrows ... chopping off heads with a sickle until his nephew bailed him out by burning off the decapitated stumps.

Let me see if I can manage it... I'll fly (via my trusty Envoy) to the underworld (aka Wal-Mart, Costco, & Winco) chop off a few heads (read = spend a boatload of money), fire some flaming arrows (run a handful of laundry loads), and finally seek help from a close trusted friend or family member (via my martini shaker).

Hmm. Who says Greek Mythology isn't applicable today?