Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Supermom Club

Right now I definitely feel like a member of the Supermom Club.

Don't I look happy? I am happy. I also have my hands extremely full and the number of things I'm supposed to take care of and catch up on is absolutely staggering at the moment. But I feel well, and that makes such a difference. I am chipping away at the pile and when I get through a day and everyone is basically fed and things are basically in order and I accomplished one of my goals I feel like Supermom.

As you can see, my hip is feeling better enough that I can go on a short walk around the neighborhood (and it was nearly 70 degrees in Oklahoma today, so how could we not?)

Motherhood certainly has a way of stretching you. And when you're pushed to your very limits and you realize that you're stronger than you think you are, then you are in the Supermom Club. And you are in very good company!
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Analogy

I've been trying to think of a way to express the feeling I have about this baby of mine that started the moment I took her into my arms right after she was born. I've finally come up with an analogy that explains it pretty well.

I feel like I showed up to pick up a $200 paycheck after a long hard day's work and when I opened it I found it was for $2,000,000 instead of $200.

And I'm still saying "Really? Really?" every time I look at her.
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A Special Day

Peanut had her baby blessing in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. It was kind of neat to have it the day after Christmas. It came up a little bit suddenly-- we hadn't even been thinking about it and all the sudden I realized the Badger's work schedule might not allow for him to for sure be at church any Sunday in the near future except the one coming right up so that's when we needed to do it.

Her Daddy gave her an amazing blessing. It was such a beautiful experience. And the neatest thing was this-- I know she was hungry going into it, and I was having to work pretty hard to keep her calm during the opening of the meeting-- I figured she'd cry all through the blessing. But she didn't. Not a peep. And then, when the Badger handed her back to me afterwards, she looked at me with this extremely intelligent look on her face and smiled. The look on her face was that she understood what had just happened to her and she was very pleased about it. You may think this sounds like my imagination stretching things, but you haven't been around Peanut. She's like that.

The blessing dress she wore is starting to become a family heirloom. It was first worn five years ago by my sister Pineapple's daughter and then passed to me in time for Roo's baby blessing. Now all three of my daughters have worn it. It's a gorgeous dress-- handmade with beautiful smocking. I love it so much.

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Sweet Feet

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Peanut's World

So far, Peanut has spent most of her life upstairs in my bedroom. I really like my bedroom. I'm still working on some of the clutter in the corner, but it's mostly a very peaceful and comfortable room to be in. It's probably my favorite room in the house.

Some comments: a friend lent me the Amby bed-- that white hammocky thing in the middle of the picture. I was excited because I've been hearing two things about them for years: that they're wonderful for tiny babies and that they're very expensive. Peanut really likes it and it looks very comfortable for her. Thank you, Kristin!

I've made my sewing cupboard into a temporary changing table. It's very convenient having a changing table right in my bedroom, though I've actually been thinking about doing some sewing one of these days very soon (I'm very excited that sewing sounds interesting to me again-- my entire pregnancy I couldn't bear the thought of sewing).

Here's the other side of the room. I love having a room big enough to hold my rocking chair. I've never had a comfortable chair in my bedroom before and I love it. It makes my room into more of a hang-out place-- we have family scriptures in here and when I read aloud to the kids I mostly do it up here. Right now this room is far more cozy and comfortable than my living room.

I love the soothing pale green color of this room. Someone did a really good job picking the shade. The room gets east and south light and that goes really well with the green walls. Also, the windows both look out on the branches of the elm tree. This time of year that means I get to lay in bed and watch all sorts of birds hopping about.
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Santa Across the Street

Christmas afternoon our neighbors Bob and Sue across the street show up at our house with a bag of presents-- one for each of our kids. I was so surprised and touched. And the funny thing is, they did a better job shopping for our kids than we did, if you go by the amount of time our kids have played with their various Christmas presents.

What gifts! Remote control stunt cars for both the boys, a Fisher Price Trio building set for Roo, a Little People farm for the Rabbit, and darling clothes for Peanut. Those cars have been tearing all over the house and yard followed by giggling boys. The Trio set has been very popular with everyone-- especially since it can be formed into a really nice gymnasium for the dollhouse dolls. And farm goes perfectly with the Little People we already have.

Why this generosity? They told us they were just so grateful for the Badger's help on a metalworking contract Bob had last fall. I certainly feel like we'd been amply rewarded for that already, so I just think this was incredibly sweet of them.

We are so blessed to have such good neighbors. I hope we can be good neighbors in return.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Doll

So, as I mentioned before, I wanted to buy Roo something for Christmas that she would enjoy playing with. I thought she would enjoy a doll. Shopping on Amazon and reading reviews, I got talked up to buying a pricier doll than I originally planned, but I knew it was going to be good quality and hold up well for a long time. I was very excited to give her such a nice doll.

Christmas morning I gave her the present and she opened it. She acted indifferent.

Then the Rabbit saw the doll. She got very excited. "My doll! My doll!" she sang.

We opened the box, took out the doll and gave it to Roo. She set it down. The Rabbit immediately picked it up. I expected a fight. There wasn't one. Roo didn't mind a bit that the Rabbit had stolen her doll. She was totally happy to let her have it. A couple hours later I even heard Roo talking to the Rabbit about "your doll."

The Rabbit LOVES LOVES LOVES LOVES LOVES "her" doll. She pretty much hasn't put it down since. She wants to eat with it, sleep with it, take it when we go in the car, etc.

I'm so grateful Roo was so willing to share. I guess I could have put in an emergency order for a second doll if it had been a problem, but there isn't a problem, even two days later. I guess I'm a little disappointed that Roo didn't like it, but this doll totally made the Rabbit's Christmas and I'm so glad my dear little Rabbit it so happy.
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Roo's View

Roo never seemed very excited on Christmas morning. She seemed happy, but nothing really thrilled her. When we were all done unwrapping presents she said "let's go play dollhouse now" and ran upstairs to start her day afresh with her favorite toy.

I watched her throughout the day and she seemed okay, but I was a little concerned that she might hiding some deep feelings that I needed to address. Maybe we missed the boat on what she really wanted most and she was really feeling terribly disappointed. Maybe there was some hurt or jealousy relating to one of her siblings. That evening as she and I were laying in her room with the Twilight Turtle on I decided to probe a little bit. I'd start with some general questions and then get more specific.

"What did you like most about Christmas?" I asked.

She thought for a couple of seconds, then blew me totally away as she very sweetly and earnestly replied:

"Baby Jesus being born and my dream about Baby Jesus being born."

No further questions, your honor.

Christmas Brunch

We've carried over the tradition from the Badger's family of having pigs in blankets on Christmas morning. This year they were particularly good!
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Baby's First Christmas

Peanut is, of course, too little to notice Christmas, but I got her a present anyway. She had a tiny little stocking with binkies and a little soft doll in it. Then her wrapped present was a Twilight Turtle. I've seen them on "recommended" lists for years and always thought they looked kind of cool. One day I was surfing on Amazon and found that they were on big-time sale. So I bought one for Peanut. And it's extremely cool. The stars it projects are brighter and prettier than I thought they would be and when you turn it on in a dark room it's really beautiful. And you can change between three different colors. Roo and-- well, actually, all the kids love it. I think it will help Roo and Rabbit (and eventually Peanut) get to sleep easier at night.

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The Loot

A couple months ago it looked like we weren't going to have very much money for Christmas this year and so I started thinking about how I could simplify things. In the ensuing weeks, extra hours turned up at work for the Badger and we ended up having more money than we thought we would, for which I am extremely grateful. We still bagged the traditional new pajamas and simplified their stockings, but we had enough to buy each child two toys and a book, more or less. I know some people wouldn't think that wasn't very much and others would think it was a lot. I felt like it was pretty simple quantity-wise, but I had tried to buy quality items-- and when you have five children those fifteen quality items can add up to a bit of money!

I really thought a lot about making sure each child had things they really wanted or would really enjoy. If they weren't getting a ton of presents I wanted to make sure they really loved the presents they got. But I also wanted to get them things that were educational and/or useful. So I was a little worried about some of the items and about whether a couple of the kids would be a little disappointed.

In the end, I think all of them are very happy about how Christmas turned out, though not for the reasons I thought would make them happy.

Bean got a Leatherman (Dad's idea), an Engino construction set (my idea) and two books about historical figures he likes (Francis Marion and John Paul Jones.) He is over the moon about everything. Oh, and Pringles were a huge hit in the stockings this year!

Fish had been letting us know for months that he wanted a gun of his own. Bean has had a BB gun for a long time and Fish felt like he ought to have one too. So the Badger got him a nice BB pistol. I got him a toy dragon that he had been wanting for a long time. But I was surprised to see that the book I bought Fish was by far his favorite: I bought him a book of Tintin comics on a recommendation from a homeschool website. I was worried that he wouldn't like it after I saw it, but he has been engrossed in it ever since he opened it. I'm not sure what I think of it after all, but both the boys love it.

A couple months ago our neighbor gave us a beautiful wooden jewelry box and we've been saving it to give to Roo for Christmas. I knew she would love it, but I also wanted her to have something to play with. I decided to give her a doll. More on the doll later, but let's just say she isn't exactly into it. She does like the jewelry box though, and she loves the book I got her. (I love the My First Little House series!) Also, she needed a new dress and I found one for a really good price so I wrapped that up for her for Christmas as well. (Same with socks for the boys-- if you have to buy something for the kids in the weeks before Christmas you might as well wrap it and add it to the pile!)

I've been wanting a Hugg-a-Planet stuffed globe for a long time (just one of those things that a geography major/homeschooling mom of very young children really needs!) so I bought one and gave it to the Rabbit. She likes to sit on it, which makes me laugh. I also bought her some wooden fruits and vegetables made by Plan Toys (neat company!) She hasn't seemed too into that (in fact I've only seen Roo playing with it), but she does like her Mary Engelbreit Nursery Tales book. And she really really really likes something else, but I'll tell about that in another post...

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

When I was a kid my dad would always line us up on the stairs and take our picture before we came down Christmas morning. It was such torture to have to sit there and wait while everyone was assembled and posed (my brother Horrible Beast would always be contrary and not want to get out of bed and we would have to wait and wait...) But as awful as it was, I now inflict the same torture upon my children. It makes for such a cute picture!

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Christmas Eve

The Badger cooked a turkey for our Christmas Eve dinner. He made an impressive tower of mashed potatoes too. Some rolls from the store, a pitcher of gravy, and apple cider completed our meal. If I had been on my feet and not limping/taking care of a newborn we might have had some more fancy trimmings, but really, that was all we needed. And it was so wonderful of the Badger to cook the whole thing for us!

After we digested a bit we went out and did a little bit of Christmas caroling to some friends. I wish we could have done more-- it felt so good! I look forward to doing a lot more of that kind of stuff in future years as the kids get older.

When we got back the little girls were totally bushed, so we simplified our Christmas Eve devotional. We read a couple of short scripture passages and the Badger and I both bore our testimonies of the Savior to the children. Then we had family prayers, hung our stockings (or rather laid them out on the couch) and then sent everyone packing to bed.

The girls clocked out immediately, and so did the Badger, followed shortly by me as soon as Peanut went to sleep. But I don't think the boys went to sleep for quite a long time!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Baby

Having a newborn baby in the family at Christmastime sure makes the season sweeter.

I've always loved to think about Mary and what it must have really been like for her to have Baby Jesus. I love to imagine what she must have been thinking and feeling-- both her experiences which were universal to motherhood and those that were unique to being the mother of the Son of God.

After I had Bean, the whole thing became more real and easy to imagine. I remember his first Christmas season (he was five months old) I could still sometimes get him to fall asleep on my chest and I would lie on the couch with him sleeping and only the tree lights on and listen to John Denver's song "A Baby Just Like You" and get all teary-eyed. Those were wonderful moments.

But this is the first time I've gone into the Christmas season with a brand-new baby. And I find myself thinking about Baby Jesus all the time. When I pick up my baby and she does that newborn stretch where they curl backwards I can see in my mind Mary picking up Jesus out of the manger and Him curling His back in that same way. When I squeeze my baby's tiny toes I can imagine Mary doing the same thing. And when I look into her eyes and see the greatness of her soul I can only imagine what it must have been like for Mary to pick up her tiny, perfect, velvet-soft baby, look into his eyes, and see the soul of Jesus Christ. What tender, sacred moments Mary must have had in the stable that night! Any new mother who has sat through her own silent, holy night holding and treasuring her newborn can imagine that this precious experience was multiplied ten-fold for Mary, and what a wonderous thought that is.

I love the scripture in Luke 2 where it says "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." Can you even imagine the thoughts and feelings she had? I'm sure I can't totally imagine, but this year I'm closer than ever before and it's made this month very special to me.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Two Cents on the Provo Tabernacle Fire

I just finished looking at all 212 pictures of the Provo Tabernacle fire on Roo asked me why I was looking at so many pictures and I told her the honest truth-- "I'm grieving."

It's not just that I have countless memories of being in that building throughout my entire life from my earliest childhood down to just this last spring.

It's not just that I have the entire interior of that building memorized due to attending several extremely long events such as my sister's college convocation during years of my life when I was too young to find them anything but utterly boring and there was nothing else to do but stare at the architecture.

It's not just that it was an aesthetically lovely landmark in a town I spent many years in and love dearly.

It's the spiritual epiphanies I experienced in that building, moments which shaped my very foundations, that have made that building so dear to me that I am truly mourning its loss.

All of them involve music. Very little that was said from the pulpit of the Tabernacle stands out in my mind, but the music that resounded through that space will always stay with me.

Last winter when we lived in Utah I was very pleased to take the children to church meetings and events in the Tabernacle. I was looking forward to them having the kind of experiences in that building that I had had. Maybe that's what I am the saddest about-- that I will no longer be able to share the Tabernacle with my children.

I did share this with then though, and I believe it left quite an impression. Perhaps the legacy of the Tabernacle as a place where faith is strengthened will live on, even after the fire.

Blushing Bride

These are the socks I wore on my wedding day, eleven years ago today:

They are a bit worn, but they don't have any holes yet. I am wearing them right now. It makes me smile to contrast the first day I wore these socks with my day today. Fancy dresses and everyone fussing over me and my hair and my nails etc. versus ragged sweat pants, hair washed last week, and five kids running everywhere making messes. I was so happy on that day, and you know what? I'm so happy today too. Sweat pants are comfortable, styling your hair is boring, and we have the five most beautiful, wonderful mess-makers in the whole world.
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2 AM Homeschool Lesson

It would be neat if I had the photographic capability to have gotten a really nice, clear shot of the eclipse, but I'm glad I have this as a memento. It gives you the general idea. It was fun to get up in the middle of the night with the kids and look with binoculars. Roo was particularly intrigued that she was seeing the earth's shadow.

It was fun remembering that the Rabbit was born during the last total lunar eclipse. It was cloudy in Kansas that night, so we didn't see it, but we knew it was going on. I haven't seen a total lunar eclipse since I was a kid. I think they're pretty nifty.
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Monday, December 20, 2010


I think Peter is going to work out.

Fish and the Badger brought Peter home from the animal shelter on Friday. They have been taking careful steps to acclimatize him to Toad Hall and he seems to be settling in.

Fish is very pleased to have a cat again and I'm very pleased at his choice of name for his new pet. He got it from Tom Sawyer.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Achievement

Today I went back to church for the first time since I had the baby. Oh, it felt so good! Taking my seat in the chapel, I felt the Spirit flow into me and fill me with warmth and peace. It's such a simple, seemingly mundane thing to go to Sacrament meeting, but it means far more than we realize-- of that I am sure.

My Achievement was that I got all the kids to church by myself. The Badger had to work and left before I got up, so I had to get all five plus myself washed, dressed, fed, and out the door. I also had to make sure I had everything I needed for my Sunbeam class (special Christmas lesson-- lots of props.) But I did it! I even remembered my tithing and a stack of Thank You cards I needed to hand out. And I had a fully-stocked diaper bag. And everyone's hair was combed for once.

We were a little bit late, but we got there during the opening hymn. Not bad for a 9 am meeting!

My kids were wonderful. They got themselves dressed and Bean fed everyone breakfast (cold cereal) while I showered. Bean helped me load everyone into the car and they all helped me carry stuff into church, since I am still limping. And then they were all absolute angels during Sacrament meeting. The baby slept peacefully through most of church. Everything went so well.

Now, the reason I am crowing about this is that I have had many Sundays that went pretty much the opposite. Hectic, harried Sundays where everyone's shoes are missing and there are poopy diapers and bloody noses at just the wrong moments and no one will sit still. So I really appreciated this one.

And it just occurred to me as I wrote this that all this was an answer to my prayers. As I thought ahead to today during the last few days I knew I would need help going to church as the only adult with four children and a brand-new baby and a sore hip. I thought seriously of staying home-- I think I had every excuse-- but I really missed my Sunbeams and I wanted to be there for them. And I just missed church period. So I prayed a lot and I prayed very earnestly and my prayers were definitely answered. I know the Lord dishes out a lot of help when you are doing your best to serve Him. I need to remember to ask Him for that help more often.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Three Weeks

Yesterday it hit me-- Peanut doesn't look like a newborn anymore. She's getting chunky. That's a relative term, since she's still less than eight pounds. But she's definitely filling out. And also yesterday we were looking at each other and I smiled at her and she smiled back. Really. She has been smiling tons in her sleep ever since she was born, but this was her first awake smile.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Better Than a Teddy Bear

My sweet neighbor gave me this darling little snowsuit for Peanut. It's still a bit too big, but it fits well enough and it is so soft and cuddly. And it has ears. Picking up Peanut and hugging her when she's wearing it is one of life's greatest joys.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Here I am two and a half weeks post-partum and I feel awesome.... except for one thing.

Somehow I managed to injure my back/hip. Not sure how I did it, but with the hormone relaxin loosening up all my joints it didn't take much.

I walk with the funniest limp-- I look like a giraffe.

The problem is I move very slowly. This makes things difficult trying to take care of five children. Stairs are particularly slow and difficult, and I have stairs.

Yesterday I saw a chiropractor. I was hoping it would be one of those "we just need to pop this back into place and you're good to go" kind of deals, but unfortunately it's a more like one of those "come see us twice a week for the next forever" kind of deals.

I spoke with my brother who is a physician and he said that it will probably get better eventually anyway but the chiropractic stuff will speed things up. I kind of need that because I kind of need to be able to walk to take care of my kids, so I'm going to go with the chiropractic care for awhile.

In the mean time, we'll just have to keep life in the slow lane. That might not be a bad thing.

Thank goodness I was able to buy all the kids' Christmas presents online! Hooray for the internet! And hooray for the Badger signing us up for Amazon Prime last summer!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cat Sadness

Our dear cat Martha was hit by a car and killed a couple of weeks ago. It happened during the night not very far from our house. We buried her down in Firefly Hollow.

The funny thing was, the kids weren't that upset about it. The dog attack in August was far more traumatic for them. I'm probably more sad about it than anyone, what with my post-partum hormones and all.

Well, actually Flinch is probably the saddest. He is now the Cat that Walks Alone.

Our local animal shelter is having a December special on cats. All cats 6 months and older are free. So, this last Saturday the Badger went down there and picked out another cat for the kids. He got a lovely tabby cat with white paws and a seemingly gentle disposition.

The kids were pretty thrilled, but it was immediately apparent that this cat was NOT thrilled about her new situation. I have a picture of this cat and I was going to post it on here but as I looked at the picture the cat just looked so sad and it made me so sad looking at her that I decided not to post it. The Badger did a lot of things to try to make her comfortable and help get her settled, but about a day after he brought her home she vanished.

Bean claims he has seen her running around with the pack of wild cats that live in our neighbor's bushes. Apparently she's joined the brumbies. I hope Bean is right because I'd rather think of her happily hanging out with other wild cats then trying to attempt a hopeless journey back to somewhere. Wherever she is, I hope she's happy. I wish she would have let us love her.

We should have got a kitten. Maybe we still will.

So we are learning a lot about animals and death and lots of other important life lessons. This is one of the reasons we moved to the country, after all. It's been sad, but good. Fish had an earnest personal prayer the other night that his Martha would be taken care of in heaven. God blessed him with a warm feeling of reassurance. I know God sent us Martha to teach us several important lessons with her life and her death and I'm grateful we had the chance to have her.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This Year's Tree

Last Monday night we decorated our tree for Family Home Evening. As always, I handed out the ornaments and the kids put them on. This allows me to make sure the more fragile ornaments are put higher up and put on by kids who know how to attach them securely. Just a few minutes into the tree decorating, I gave Fish a glass ornament that was pretty but had little sentimental or monetary value. It slipped through his fingers and smashed to bits on our hard tile floors. Bean then managed to get his foot cut on the shards.

Tile is not a good choice in a house with small children. I can't tell you how many dishes and cups and things we've broken since we moved here.

Anyway, I was grateful for that little accident because we realized at that point that putting anything breakable on the tree, even higher up, was unsafe and unwise. Sadly, most of my ornaments had to remain in their boxes. Because the Badger likes colored lights on the tree I have accumulated a lot of very beautiful clear/white/silver ornaments that are mostly glass. They look fabulous with the colored lights, but they will not be on our tree this year. I'm just glad we figured this out before I lost any of the ones that are really special to me.

I think our tree turned out quite pretty despite this setback.

I have four dozen crocheted snowflakes which are very lovely and very shatter-proof and they really make the tree.

I also have a few cheap plastic glittery things-- wish I had more, maybe I'll have to invest in some.

Next year I plan to put a thick rug under the tree so I can put up the rest of my beautiful things. But for now, the children are enchanted with the tree and it is safe for them.
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