themamabeth's Blog

Figuring it out, one crazy day at a time.

House Changes April 16, 2014

Filed under: Family,Life Is Good,Makin' Stuff — themamabeth @ 4:07 pm

My living room is 95% done.


I bought patterned fabric for our dining room window, and a solid blue for the living room. The blues didn’t match though, so I had to return my solid blue fabric (sorry UPS Guy) and reorder. My second attempt was a success.

Small_0329809 Small_EL-229It’s just so much fabric, I’m totally intimidated. Maybe tonight…


The curtains and the cover for my glider, and I’ll be done, though, and that would be totally awesome.

Our new dining table AD580-45was delivered last week too, and that is probably my favorite change at this point. It is considerably smaller than what we had, and it created so much space. We also got rid of the dog crate, since Sarge is fine if we have to leave (we still make him stay in the kitchen, even though he’d probably be fine whole-house), but we did replace it with two giant dog beds; at least we can store those away easily if we need to.





The last big house thing we wanted to do was put up solar screens on all of our west-facing windows. It gets so hot in here in the summer, there’s nothing to block the sun at all. I planted bushes, but they are puny and not offering any shade yet.  Jake cut and assembled the frames for me, and I just need (haha,”just”…one screen takes me all day) to put the screens in the frames and then the frames in the windows. We’re using velcro so we can take them down in the winter when we want it to be warm.


So…all that said…


We just put in an offer on a piece of land with the intention of building our dream house. We’ll know for sure in the next couple of weeks, but isn’t that always how it goes? Get everything juuuust right, and poof, decide to move. (Not like this will happen any time soon, but still.)


Today’s Post is Brought to You by Ikea March 24, 2014

Filed under: Life Is Good — themamabeth @ 12:03 am

I packed up two of the kids on Friday and we made a quick trip to Phoenix to hit Target and Ikea. Our hodgepodge of random furniture was making me nuts, and that combined with a real need to create just a little bit more space inspired a little shopping spree. I got a chair, bookshelf and two end tables and now I feel like we live in a whole new house. That single bookshelf has freed up so much other space, it is amazing.


All of the sudden my living room feels so put together! I have a few more projects to finish up tomorrow (hopefully, Monday is busy for us) and we’ll be golden. It is the end of a looong road of me tweaking and rearranging and I’m sure Jake is going to be very happy to not have to wonder every day if he’s going to come home to all of the furniture rearranged yet again. I can’t imagine the dread he must feel when I pull out the tape measure.


We did run into one snag, because going to Ikea at 5:30 on a Friday with two little kids and my mom, who is currently in a sling, didn’t lead to clear thinking, and I actually bought a blue chair rather than the grey one I planned on. So now I have a random blue piece of furniture that doesn’t match a single thing, at least not at the moment. Since I can’t exactly hop back to Ikea to return it, I did the next best thing and ordered new fabric to make new curtains, which will tie in the blue chair. I’m actually kind of happy, because what we have now was my first attempt at curtains so now I have a chance at a re-do so I can fix some mistakes I made the first time around.


It is awfully exciting to be done with the decorating stuff. We’ve been here for almost three years, and I think I’m finally satisfied that it is as good as it is going to get.


Now I’m ready to move on to the next big project, which is mainly going to center around school. We bought a legit curriculum to do over the summer, so after the house projects are finished up, we’ll jump in to school for real-probably within the next two weeks. Between school, classes and sports, I think it is going to be a really busy summer! But it feels like all of the sudden our whole life is just falling into place and I couldn’t be happier.


Our new normal January 26, 2014

Filed under: Family,Homeschool,Life Is Good — themamabeth @ 11:02 pm

Today was the first day I was officially on my own since Delilah was born. Right after, Jake was off, then my mom came to help for nearly two weeks (best mom ever, by the way). I spent the two weeks post-delivery on the couch, being taken care of and catered to. Once I had to throw a load of laundry in the washer because there was an Incident while changing a diaper, but that’s the most work I did in those two weeks. It was lovely and wonderful, but by the end of it I was ready to lose my mind.

For some reason I had been dreading today, thinking it was going to be Just Terrible, that it would be chaos and screaming, with tears from everyone involved.

It went fine. The baby is already following some pretty predicable patterns so I knew what to expect from her, and the rest of the kids just do what they normally do-playing nicely, trying to kill each other, and demanding food. Last night was a little rough, so I set the big kids up with Kindles while the babies napped and I got a nap in myself.

Tomorrow we’re going to pick back up with school, so that’s going to add a new layer to things, but I’m determined to not let myself get frustrated and just let things happen as they will and trust that in the end, it will all work out. I’ll admit that we’ve not been very consistent with school at all, so there’s no good, established routine in place. At first that was really stressing me out, but now I think that it is a good thing that we’re essentially staring from scratch. I’m picking up our curriculum from the first week of September when it goes over some of the behavioral expectations, and then in February I’ll jump back in with the scheduled material.

So yeah. So far so good. Going from 3->4 hasn’t been nearly as tricky as I thought, but we’re also only two weeks in, so that could change any day.


Hey there, Delilah January 20, 2014

Filed under: 9 Months,Going Crunchy,Labor and Delivery,Life Is Good — themamabeth @ 11:02 am
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At the beginning of January, I had a day of cramps and general discomfort. It was a not very fun day, Jake was at work and I couldn’t figure out if I was being labor-ish or not. When he came home that night and I told him how I was feeling, he made an executive decision that the next day we’d head to Phoenix to wait for the baby.

I was decidedly uncomfortable in the car during the drive down, but the closer we got to town and the more I relaxed, the better I felt. Once we were there and unloaded, I stopped having cramps, stopped feeling rotten and pretty much just reverted back to just being regular pregnant, not about-to-go-into-labor pregnant.

So, we hung out in my mom’s two-story condo, with no yard, two big dogs and three kids who had been pulled out of their house without any warning. Every morning Adeline would ask me “Is baby Delilah here today?” and then be disappointed when I was still pregnant.

The more time that went by the more frustrated I got. We could have been home! I was fine, barely a twinge.

After we had been there a little over a week, my mom took the girls out for the day to give Jake and I time to just hang out and do whatever we wanted together (for, like, the eighth time since we’d been there. My mom is amazing.). We kind of putzed around for the afternoon, and I took the dogs for a walk before we headed out to do…stuff. We went to some stores-Jake’s willingness to wander around Joann’s with me never fails to make me all gooey inside-and then out to eat. The last time we’d gone out to eat, I’d had an anxiety attack in the restaurant and it wasn’t so fun. This time, I was feeling similarly, and I though for some reason I had developed an aversion to restaurants. It was a dinner I had long been looking forward to though, so I ignored how I was feeling and although we kind of left in more of a hurry than we normally would have, we still ate and it was still nice.

I wasn’t feeling a whole lot better when we got back to my mom’s and I ended up falling asleep on the couch after everyone else had gone to bed. I got up and went upstairs, still feeling not great and there were cramps added in this time too. I read for a little while, and ended up falling asleep again. I woke up again with the cramps, and…my water broke.

Based on previous experience-my water breaking while the baby was actively being born-I was feeling a liiiiitle frantic. I woke Jake up and changed into different clothes so we could leave. He isn’t the world’s faster waker-upper, and I don’t think I quite articulated my panic to him so it felt like he took foreeeeeever to get ready to go. I’m thinking, do you really need to brush your teeth? I told my mom we were heading out, and we paged the midwife to let her know too. She called back before we could even get out the door and let me know she’d be there with the tub ready.

The drive was uneventful, I had some cramps and maybe one or two contractions. I had been stressing out the entire week that I’d go into labor during a time of day that would force us to drive to the birth center during rush hour, and since it was Saturday morning that fear was gone, but the new fear of construction zones popped up. Luckily it was smooth sailing, and the light to turn left off the freeway was even green when we got to it. What are the odds?

We got to the birth center and…nothing. The tub was ready, the midwife was ready, Jake and I were ready, but apparently the baby wasn’t. The assistant (apprentice? I’m not sure of her title) got there and we got settled in. The room is set up like a bedroom, there’s a bed, chair and nightstand, and an attached bathroom. I swear that full tub was mocking me, because after all of my panic and rush, I wasn’t even having contractions, cramps or anything.

So, we slept. I ate, we slept. We watched TV, I slept. I ate again, and slept some more. I went back and forth between waking up cheerful and optimistic (this will surely be the hour something happens!) to being discouraged and frustrated (calculating how many more hours until I’d be facing a hospital transfer). It was easier to just sleep than to worry, so I slept. Since I had left the house sure I’d have a baby in my arms by lunch time, as the afternoon went on I got more and more anxious. I kept thinking I should get up and walk, but the whole water broken thing made that very unattractive. My midwife kept pushing food, which I was so not interested in, like not interested to the point that I asked Jake to eat his breakfast outside because I couldn’t stand the smell.

As it got later, we started discussing ‘things to do’ to try to get things moving. My midwife was sure that if I ate something substantial that it would help. I was resistant, so she told me I had a half an hour and if nothing changed then we’d try a good meal. She also told Jake that he should be laying in bed with me, rubbing my back and taking care of me. He politely agreed, but after three previous babies he knew better than to crowd me. After she left, my contractions started to pick up-just a little, like I actually had to think through them rather than just notice they were happening.

A few more contractions in, and I wasn’t able to be laying down anymore. I had Jake refill the birthing tub, and a few more contractions went by and I was ready to get in. At this point I was kind of not aware of my surroundings anymore, but I remember the assistant coming in, and then telling them that the midwife should probably be there too, and then hearing her telling me she was right there. She turned on the jets in the tub this time, which we didn’t have a chance to do with Hazel, and it was wonderful. After another handful of contractions, I was ready to push. It was three, maybe four pushes, and we had a baby. That first minute after a baby is born might be one of my most favorite feelings in the entire world. Delilah Joan was born at 5:59 PM on January 10th, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.


We hung out at the birth center for another few hours, and then packed up and went home. It was late-we didn’t get back to the house until 11 or so, but Adeline was still awake. She got to meet her new baby sister, and then insisted on sleeping downstairs with me and the baby that night.

After a couple of days we were ready to come home, so after having the baby checked over by a pediatrician, we loaded up and drove back. My mom followed us up so she could help me while Jake works, and we’re all working on settling in to a new routine and giving me a chance to recover.

I’m so happy to be home, and am feeling about 96%. My mom will be here for a few more days, so I’m back and forth between being excited to get back to normal and kind of terrified about doing it on my own when Jake’s at work. This has been the longest I’ve ever given myself to recover after a baby, and I’m starting to feel a little bit lazy, and ready to be back in charge again. I have learned a lot about managing the kids from watching my mom with them though, and I hope I can remember everything that she did so I can start doing it too. Her methods are very effective, and more pleasant than how I’ve done things (she never, ever raises her voice. Ever.). But it is still hard to not be in charge, and I rather miss Hazel, who is in total YaYa mode right now.

So here we go on our next great adventure-family of six!


Oh, hi there! August 5, 2013

Filed under: 9 Months,Baby Cakes,Baby Hazel,Homeschool,Life Is Good,Lulu — themamabeth @ 10:21 pm

Whoops. Been awhile, hasn’t it? Seven months and not a word to say? I’ve missed two birthday posts too. Bummer.

Quick catch up…

Hazel turned one. She’s just…the best. She cracks me up with her dramatics (and makes me want to pull out my hair sometimes too). She’s into everything and so very smart; she watches the big kids and tries to do everything they do. Adeline is still fantastic with her and Lucy is learning to get along with Hazel a little better everyday. She’s still not talking much, which is par for the course for my kids. She says “hi doggie” and what we translate as “hi cat”. We didn’t get far with the baby signs with her, although she does know ‘all done’ and ‘milk’. She loves animals as much as Lucy did at this age and luckily all of our pets and occasional friend’s pets have been open to her constant hugging. She’s almost just as affectionate with us as well, which is nice. I don’t remember either of the other two being as huggy.

Lucy. Oh Lucy.  I love this kid so very much but oh my goodness is she ever…Lucy. Some days? Awesome. Other days? I’m researching boarding schools and fearing the teenage years to the point of just wanting to go curl up in bed and not get up until she’s 20. I just feel like I can’t quite figure her out, like there’s something she needs or something she’s trying to communicate to us that I’m just not getting. It’s frustrating, both because I’m not getting her, and also because my not getting her has some terrible consequences as far as her behavior goes, and I’m almost positive it is very much due to her being frustrated a lot of the time.

Adeline is four and a half, and she is very happy about that-we get reminded almost daily. She did three different camps this summer, soccer, pee wee sports, and tumbling. She did really good at the soccer, and I’m thinking her talents do not lie in gymnastics. This fall we’re going to get her onto an actual soccer team. She’s such an easy kid, so much fun to be around and interact with. She’s on a huge ‘be helpful’ kick, and I feel no shame in taking full advantage of that. She’s also really into being polite and using manners lately, which has been fun. I wish I could get her to extend her helpful manners and politeness into her interactions with Lucy though…

Yet-To-Be-Named Baby…She (we don’t know for sure, but you can’t blame me for defaulting to girl) is due in mid-January. She’s to blame for much of the silence over the past few months-the first trimester is always rough. That’s all passing though, so my energy is up and I’m feeling more human. Coupled with the usual first trimester blahs, I’m dealing with depression, which comes and goes. Right now, it is gone (well, ‘gone’), but I’m just coming out of a rough couple of weeks. Between my doctor and I, we decided that the benefits of being on meds were less than the risks the meds pose to the baby, so for now I’m toughing it out with the promise that after I deliver I’ll have an rx in hand, and the understanding that if I stop being able to manage on my own, we’ll revisit the meds conversation.


Today was our first day of school-we officially started our homeschool curriculum. I’m really excited, and when Jake got up for work today (he’s on night shifts this week) Adeline told him right away some of the things we talked about. I’m mostly focusing on her right now, and letting Lucy just kind of tag along when she feels like it (which means she participates in the art projects and ignores the rest). I’m trying really hard to be relaxed about it and not be to rigid. I can get so stuck on the way I want things to be, or the way I imagine them to be, and then having them not work out throws me all off. I’m really, really hoping we can get into a good groove with this and it can be our long-term plan as far as school goes. Since we’ve discovered the Parks and Rec programs that give us more social exposure, it is feeling more and more like the homeschool route is going to be possible.


So that’s where we are.


Back to regularly scheduled programming… May 16, 2012

Filed under: A Better Me,Life Is Good — themamabeth @ 4:11 pm

Why won’t WordPress and Facebook play nicely together? Frustrating

I woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. I think this mood started last night when I watched The Practice (always a bad idea) and it made me cry, and it has carried over into today. When I checked in with Twitter this morning I read about a sad and terrible loss.  Lucy has been in a funk all day (well, the portion of the day she’s been up-from about 8-12. She’s napping now and will hopefully be much cheerier when she gets up). Adeline was okay earlier  but seems to be on a downward spiral. I am sick of making food period-I got sick of cooking so I’ve been on strike and we’ve been eating salads and sandwiches and other very quick and easy meals-and now I am flat out sick of food. No more salads, no more sandwiches. I threw a can of beer, six chicken breasts and a half a jar of barbeque sauce in the crockpot so hopefully that will be dinner-I’m picturing shredded chicken sandwiches-if I can get us up to the store for buns and some sort of side.

I feel like I’m right on this edge between being totally unproductive and ready to just go crazy getting things done. Getting back to life again.

My sewing machine has been seeing regular action, and if tonight goes well, both big girls will have new dresses tomorrow. My mom has requested a bag, and I have the fabric that I want to use in the kitchen picked out, pending Jake’s approval. With just a few other odds and ends taken care of, and maybe some paint, the kitchen will be done.

The biggest and most important thing that I want to tackle is getting on a better routine and start doing more deliberate and hands on things with the kids. It just feels like we get to the end of every day and it feels like we just haven’t accomplished anything. Somehow Adeline knows how to count almost to ten (which is probably from Sesame Street) and she’s starting to understand the concept of letters (which is probably from Super Why).  I’m not interested in any sort of curriculum since I don’t think anything more than play-based is necessary at this age, but I do want to start having at least some sort of purpose to our days/weeks.

That was a bit of a brain dump, but some certain infant in our house won’t nap and a particular three year old is acting her age today, so I can’t quite keep up a linear train of thought.


Camping! April 30, 2012

Filed under: Family,Fun and Games,Life Is Good,On the Road — themamabeth @ 11:50 pm

Years and years ago, I went camping. It was absolutely awful; the first night it stormed like crazy. I’m not a fan of storms when I am in a nice solid house, so being in a tent, in the woods, didn’t go over so well. And then after the storm finally stopped and someone came to see if I wanted to spend the rest of the night in their trailer? I was convinced they were actually a murderer that was going to kill me since the storm didn’t. The following day was wet and miserable, and then that night was full of drunk ATV riders who were shooting guns into the air. It was miserable and I swore never, ever again.

Then I went and married a Camping Person. I had managed to avoid it even being an issue the entire time we lived in Phoenix since camping isn’t exactly a convenient hobby down there. Even the first year we lived up here the idea was thrown around and shot down over and over, until he met The Camping People. His friends are campers, frequent and enthusiastic campers. Before this weekend, Adeline had been camping twice, which meant in her three years of life, she had been camping twice as much as I had in my thirty years. So, to even the field a bit, I agreed to go camping for a weekend. Me, Jake, two toddlers, and infant, and a small dog.

We went a day before the rest of them, because I knew that the frenzy of everyone showing up and setting up would make me crazy. The drive down was interesting to say the least, the road stops being paved and then stops being a road. Poor Lucy got carsick about six seconds before I could get t her, and had to make more than half of the drive draped in receiving blankets because I couldn’t get to the extra clothes. She glared at me for a few miles and then fell asleep. As much as it was lost on the kids, the drive really is pretty.


Once we got there, all was forgiven when we let them out to play in the river and get as muddy as their little hearts desired.

We made hotdogs for dinner and even had a little campfire.

The next morning I took the kids for a walk (as much of a walk that you can take two toddlers on when there’s no clear path) and they got to play and play. Everything was going well until…

After everyone else showed up, Lucy kind of lost it a bit. There were lots of loud vehicles that she found terrifying, and then there were the dogs-oh, the dogs. She loved the dogs, but with the excitement of being there, and the fear of the engines she was freaking out.  There was just so, so much going on. The baby wouldn’t settle down, Lucy was constantly taking off, it was loud and hectic. There wasn’t a single second I could relax, mostly from trying to keep Lucy from getting overly friendly with some poor dog. That kid is relentless in her love of dogs, but I am quite sure most of them don’t return her affection. All of them tolerated her though, without even a hint of annoyance. Even the dog we knew was not particularly kid-friendly was fine. But following her around and redirecting her from those dogs was exhausting.  This was probably one of the first times since Hazel was born that I really felt how outnumbered we are by these children.  I couldn’t figure out how any of it was supposed to be fun. That night though, went better. It was warmer and I don’t know if I was just exhausted or more relaxed (riiiight…) but I got some actual sleep, even though the arrangement of me and all the kids plus the dog in the smaller bed repeated itself despite our best efforts.

Sunday morning we were the first ones up (sweet Lucy woke up at 5:30) and Jake agreed we could pack up and go home. We got everything packed up by the time the others woke up. There were less people at this point, since not everyone from the day before stayed overnight. I figured we’d eat and go, but the kids started playing and everything was just calmer and (I’ll admit it) fun. I actually got to sit and talk a little bit, and the kids were having a blast. Jake’s friends have this fantastic lab that Lucy was just head over heels for, and it was so fun watching her run around yelling “doggie!” and I swear she added two new words over the weekend-wait and the dog’s name.  The entire atmosphere was so much calmer, everything was easier and the day actually went by really quickly. Since we had packed up first thing, when we were ready to go, we just left. It wasn’t a bad way to end the trip. I was still very, very happy to be home though.

All in all, it was a good time. Jake’s (I guess I should say our) friends are just Good People. I’m still not declaring myself a Camping Person, but I’m willing to give it a few more tries to see if it grows on me.