Thursday, November 17, 2011

You Can't Organize Clutter

So says FLYlady and she's right, you can't. I have gotten rid of a TON of stuff since James and I got married, but still, we have WAAAY too much. As part of my packing journey, and also part of my organizing my life out of chaos journey I need to get rid of a lot of it again.

So far I have five boxes packed and I have sent four boxes full of stuff out to be donated. That's a good start. I need to keep posting and keeping myself accountable. Tonight I'm hoping to get another four full!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1 month/2 months

My Love and I at BGH, October, 2011
Tomorrow will mark two months since James had his stroke. Two months. That's unbelievable to me.

What is even more unbelievable to me is that it is exactly a month from today that he is scheduled to come home. Three months less a day away from his family. Three months less a day that we've been without our husband and father under the same roof every night.

I thought by now I would be adjusted. Adjusted to what, I don't know. But I thought that I would have a handle on what was going on, a routine if you will.

As it turns out, two months later, new things are still being thrown at me constantly. Our lives are still in chaos. He is still not home, we are still not moved (nor do we even know yet or when the move will actually be), I am still struggling with pain and fatigue of my own, the littlest one is still struggling with his breathing, and we are all still living a life that is very unsettled.

That's not to say that we are actively in crisis anymore. Not like we were that night. And certainly we have many people that have stepped up to help us in their various ways, for which we are now and will always be grateful.

My prayer for the next month is that I will get myself more together, that we will all find more healing, and that I will be given strength to not only do what I have to do, but to find the joy and gratitude in it. I'm certainly not perfect, but I love my husband and sons very much and I hope for all of us that the next month brings us further along in our journey towards some sort of new normal.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weather Woes

I am the queen of misjudging the temperature with my kids. Add to that the fact that my kids hate wearing coats and you often end up with me being that Mom... the one who gets all of the rolled eyes and nasty looks on the playground because her kids are the only ones running around in long sleeved tshirts and jeans while all the other kids have parkas and touques on.

I decided tonight that I wasn't going to be that Mom. It had been quite chilly when the boys were outside playing yesterday and so when they asked to go outside tonight after supper (after having been inside all day because Mama was sick and Daddy can't get outside without help right now) I said yes. But I also said they would have to wear their winter coats.

It was a struggle to get everyone dressed suitably, but we managed. And since it was their first time wearing their brand new winter coats I also snapped a picture of them before we went out.

Adorable Boys Ready for Winter 2011/2012
So we got outside for them to run off some energy and that was when my plan failed on two accounts. First, the intended running around looked more like this:

Oldest Child Laying in Front of the Slide, Middle Child Laying on the Hippo

Secondly, the temperature once we got outside, was a balmy 15 degrees Celsius. They would have been fine in their sweaters. Tobias remarked that next time I said he had to wear his coat he was not going to because it wasn't that cold out anyway. Oh boy... Maybe I need to start actually checking my weather channel app before we actually venture outside anymore.

Hopefully I can get it right for him tomorrow morning. It's a school day. His first one in five days and that means it's already going to be a struggle. I don't need to add wrong about the weather to make it worse.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Six Week Countdown

My Little Malachi Elf, Christmas 2010
Six weeks. That's all the time left until Christmas Day. I was talking on the phone with my sisterbestfriend yesterday and we were both a little panicked at the reality of how close it is getting. It's even less time until the season of Advent, which is one of my favourite times at church. A time of preparation. For many things.

There is much to be done. Plans need to be made for what celebrations we will be at when. We need to prepare the gifts we are giving. There will be extra time at church, extra time with family and with friends, and on December 15th, James comes home from the hospital for good so in the midst of this Christmas season we will be readjusting to being a full time at home family of five.

Lots to do. Lots of preparations to make. I better get going on my list.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Half An Ounce

That's how much milk I managed to pump last night. Malachi's immune system and lungs are very unhappy and I am trying to give him the immunity benefits of breastmilk to help him. He won't latch, and so pumping (or actually hand expressing as pumps and I don't tend to get along) it is.

The problem being that my body stops responding to expressing milk after about a year. I am hoping that it will get the hint and increase production. It did in 2008 when I was pumping more. Hopefully it will again.

No matter what any Mama milk is better than none and my little dude needs all the help he can get to stay out of the hospital this autumn and winter.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Are You Sad Mama?

That was the question my two year old asked me when he came upon me today, tears slipping down my cheeks, lost in my own world.

"I'm remembering baby", I answered him.

"Remembering what?" Those big blue eyes looked up at me and he reached out and placed his hand on my own.

Remembering what? This was a harder question for me to answer completely. At two his heart is big and open and wants to take away everyone else's hurt. I didn't want to burden him with the depth of what I was feeling.

I told him I was remembering Poppa, which was not a lie, although it wasn't really the whole truth either. My four year old piped up with his own memories of Poppa John (his great grandfather).

Poppa John was a veteran of World War II and although he survived the war and came home and went on to be father to eight children, we lost him earlier this year, at the end of June. He was not a perfect man, but he was perfectly what I needed him to be as my grandfather. Fitting then, on this day, for me to be remembering him, along with the other men and women who have served and are serving this country proudly so that me and my children can have our freedom.

This day, in some ways, marked the end of my own freedom several years ago. That pain, those memories, were in fact also bubbling over into my tears when my son found me. I couldn't really explain that to him though, indeed I can't really put into words the depth of my feelings at all. That will be a post for another day. Tomorrow perhaps, or perhaps not.

Right now I will focus my thoughts on gratitude for those men and women, for the ones who came home and the ones who did not, for the ones who fought before and the ones fighting today. For my Poppa. For all the others who were and are spouses, children, parents... loved.

Thank you. I will never forget. May none of us ever ever forget.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Helping Hands

This is a difficult blog post for me to write. I am someone who is not good at asking for help. I'm not even really good at letting people know how they can help. It has been pointed out to me that I should be asking for help, as hard as that is... and there are people who have said that they would help us right now only they don't know how.

Mostly what we need right now is practical help. I'm overwhelmed at times with the constant chaos that is my life. Taking care of the three boys, being at the hospital with James (which I'm not able to do as much as they'd like me to because I have the boys with me), keeping up with the housework, packing up the house, etc etc etc. Plus taking care of myself, which falls to the bottom of the priority list and often doesn't get done.

Help could look like a number of things and since I've been asked I'm going to put some of them out there:

*spending time playing with the boys in the park next to our house so I can get stuff done without them underfoot
*coming and chatting with me and keeping the boys occupied while I get things done
*taking the kids away (even just for a short time) so I can get a quick nap in or finish things that need doing
*dropping off a meal that I can pop in the oven for us to eat (you could even join us if you'd like!)
*calling to check in on the phone and just listen, even if that means I cry or vent a lot
*picking up an extra bag of milk (I can even provide gift cards for stores so it isn't out of pocket) and dropping it off... we go through a TON of whole milk here since M drinks it and I can't ever seem to keep up with it
*running errands with me so that I have an extra set of hands (when all five of us go it involves me both pushing James' wheelchair and pulling the cart behind us)
*taking boxes of stuff I pack to get rid of and dropping them off at Value Village (or really anywhere else that will take them, I'm not picky)

I can see how helping us could seem overwhelming. There is just so much that could be done. Really small things really make a huge difference though. There may even be ways that you could help that I haven't even thought of. One of my dear family members has offered to come over and help me put my garbage out every Thursday. It won't take long but it is hard for me to fit into the million other things that take up my time on Thursdays and sometimes the garbage just doesn't get put out (which means I have another two bags that have to wait until the next week). It's a very large blessing for us that she offered to do that. Now I know that it will get done.

Thank you for all of the help that has already been given to us over the last two months. It really, truly is appreciated.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hair Cuts

We are big sticklers in this house for not doing hair cuts until the kids ask for one. Tobias had his first hair cut at 3ish. Linus was only a bit over 2 but his hair is straight and so it gets shaggy looking where Tobias' just kept getting curlier.

Tobias' hair was getting right out of control. He didn't like how it was always in his eyes so we decided to cut it at home. Of course once Linus saw we were doing Tobias' (and Daddy's) he wanted his done too.

I'm happy with the end result and happy that we can save money by doing it at home.

Linus Before:

Tobias Before:

My sweet boys post hair cut:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sick As a Dog

I'm not really sure what this phrase was meant to refer to, but I'm pretty sure that after tonight I know what it means to me. Tonight I was sick. I should back up.

Today was a crazy, busy, full day. By the time supper time was looming the boys and I had been inside together all day and they were itching to go somewhere "fun". I called up my Aunt and she welcomed us to come and visit at her house. The boys love this. She has a castle toy that is legendary. They are obsessed with it.

So we packed up and were on our way. We only made it part way when all of a sudden the low grade nausea that is my constant companion these days turned into raging nausea and massive pain. I pulled over and ended up throwing up on the side of the road. I am pretty sure I was in my own version of hell at that moment. Side of the road, in the dark, my babies in the van, throwing up. Then having to drag myself back to my van to get them home when the pain was threatening to split me in half. Not fun.

To make matters worse, when my babies realized I was going to have to break our plans and retreat back home they were, understandably, very upset. I felt like mother of the year for sure :-(

A few hours and some pain medication and nausea medication later I'm feeling at least human enough to be able to function. The kids are asleep and I'm here left with my thoughts. This being the only adult at home thing is rough. I feel like I'm not enough for everyone. I'm abusing my body by taxing it right the hell out with no sleep, lots of stress, and not the amount of good food it really would like.

*deep breath*

Tomorrow is a new day. A day where hopefully I will not feel like I did tonight. I will pray and hope and sleep.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude Project

I've decided that as part of my overall plan of living my life with gratitude to spend some time checking in with all of my facebook friends. I have over 200 of them (closer to 300 really) so it won't be a one day project, but I want to make sure that all of my peeps know that I care that they are on my list. Spread a smile and some love as it were.

I'm grateful I have such wonderful people on my list. I hope they know that. :-)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sometimes A Little Means A Lot

Sometimes an unexpected visit can be exactly what we need.

Sometimes a hug and a smile and some love is all it takes to turn someones day around and make them smile.

Sometimes a helping hand for a few minutes can make the load seem not so heavy.

Sometimes the little things mean the most.

Today all of the above was true for us. For that, I am grateful.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Update

So far, so good on our laid back weekend plan. It's amazing to me to see how the kids are totally different when their Daddy is home with us. They miss him so much and even when they aren't saying it, their body language and actions tell how grateful they are to have him home with us.

The only downside is that it's going to fast. I best go enjoy our time before it's gone and we have to pack him up and go back to the hospital.

40 days to anticipated discharge date. So far, but yet every day makes it one day closer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Whole Weekend Ahead of Us

That's the gift we've been given. The boys and I picked James up at 3:30pm today and he's all ours until 8:00pm on Sunday night. This is the first time in seven weeks that we are all together for a whole weekend.

Our plans? Sleep (well, that's my goal anyway lol), and lots of time spent together. We are going to get some necessary productive work done but other than that just hanging around close to home and relaxing hopefully. No commitments, no timelines.

I'm grateful for days like these.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Memories of a Baby I Never Met

Yesterday was the anniversary of the birth of a baby girl I never got to meet, but her memory is an important one to me.

Baby K was born in 2009, many weeks before her expected date of delivery. She was stillborn. Her mama and I were friends even before she got pregnant with her. We had been out of touch due to busy lives and I hadn't seen her in a while but she was all of a sudden constantly on my mind. I don't know what made me think of her but in the weeks after the birth and death of K her mama was frequently on my mind. I emailed her finally to check in and she told me the news.

Now I have talked with my friend about her sweet baby and I am glad she trusted me enough to share those memories with me. It always surprises me in situations like this that everyone doesn't want to know. That anyone could mistake this life as a life that didn't really happen.

She happened all right and she left tiny sized foot prints on my heart and on my life. I wish I'd been able to meet her. I watch her two siblings now grow and change and it makes me think of her often.

Happy Birthday Baby K. You are missed and loved. And to your Mama I offer love and many many gentle hugs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday November 2nd

I'm going to cheat for my blog post today and post a picture instead of a long post. I'm not feeling great so it'll have to do.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Blog Post A Day...

It's November first. A new month. The beginning of the second last month in the year that has been 2011. A year of a whole lot of a whole lot of emotions.

I'm taking on the task of writing everyday. I'm hoping that like the proverbial apple it may help me ward off the illness that comes with staying alone in your head as your stress and emotions and thoughts all build up and bubble over.

It's a challenge but hopefully also a release. Day one, check. Onwards and upwards.