Wednesday, November 30, 2011

first taste of winter

When you are two, snow is exciting. Even the mention of snow can have you running for your boots and mittens, intent on getting a chance to get down and dirty with the fluffy white flakes falling from the sky. It doesn't matter if its a sprinkling or a good drop, snow is snow. And as long its white, its alright.

SweetPea was more than her fair share of excited this morning to wake up to see our ground dusted for the first time this season with snow. In fact, she was excited enough for me and her both. But mama relented and agreed that she even though she has a slight cold, that a few minutes of outdoor time wouldn't be such a bad idea. And I am glad that I did now since our "snow" pretty much vanished once the sun fully came out, minus a patch by my bedroom window where the rays do not hit from autumn until summer.

SweetPea helped me get her boots on, donned a pair of my fingerless gloves since her mittens seem to be on vacation somewhere warmer, grabbed her hat and proceeded to bowl the dogs down racing for the back door. I got PorkChop into a hat and sweater, tied him into his pack and reluctantly grabbed my winter outer wear.

PorkChop's first snow was what cemented me taking the littles outside before 1o in the morning for what was supposed to be "just a few minutes". SweetPea raced all through the yard, dancing and jumping, twirling and shrieking. PorkChop just plain shrieked... and cried... and tried to bury his poor sweet face inside my jacket. I thought that he was just done being packed so I took him back inside, grabbed a heavier blanket and let him free.

I found out quickly where as SweetPea is part eskimo like her daddy, PorkChop is a tropical baby just like his mama.

He sat on his blanket and looked around. Having newly discovered that he has toes, he made a pass at them... and caught a handful of snow. That about ended his love of being outdoors. Suddenly, his favorite place to be (other than on the boob) had become a cold, barren wasteland. And he cried. Of course I rushed over to him, snuggled him, and then plopped him down on his tummy to get a few pictures of commeration of his first snowfall. I think that the scars of pretty much all healed now.....

Nevertheless, my brave littles made it outside a grand total of 45 minutes before I called time for hot chocolate. If it hadn't been for my quick thinking, I think that SweetPea would still have me out there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

cold November rain

I love the song "Cold November Rain" by Guns and Roses. Always has been one of my favorites by them, maybe one of my favorite songs of all time. Which is really saying something since I tend towards musical scores over songs. But I digress.... Our weather today gave that song title all new meaning.

It has rained ALL. DAY. LONG. I remember hearing it every time I woke during the night and its still going right now. Just a cold, demoralizing, flooding downpour that makes me feel that we are in the middle of spring instead of getting ready to prepare for winter's fury. Days like this remind me why we have the "gales of November", even down this far from the majestic Lake Superior. Because its easy to see today the "witch of the Nor'East'r come slashing".

To beat the doldrums of cold today, SweetPea and I baked to our hearts' content. She helped me throw a new chili into the crock pot (always looking for new chili recipes to try). She then helped me make a batch of pecan brownies for her daddy. Then finally, she helped me make pretzel dough for these....

I love getting the chance to bake and now that the weather has cooled and I am not hugely pregnant or dealing with a tiny newborn anymore, we have our cooking days back. I am pretty sure that SweetPea is happy for the return too since she is back to asking me in the mornings "What we gonna make today, mama?" instead of asking for the cartoons that helped us both survive bed rest and a new, yet very demanding, human in our presence.

Monday, November 28, 2011

pretty little Peanut Pie

There is so much that I can say about my Peanut that I am not even sure where to start. My most complicated pregnancy, second easiest but second most complicated delivery, definitely my most challenging child of the bunch. But she is my Peanut regardless.

Peanut's nickname actually has an origin, much more different than our other P's. See, her's was Princess before she was born and for a short while thereafter. But she was small. So tiny. Peanut was born at 36 weeks gestation for a host of reasons, one being what they felt was severe IUGR (intra-uterine growth restriction) and because of prenatal heart complications. At birth, they recorded her weight at 5lbs 5oz but just 12 hours later, in front of me, she was a mere 4lbs 9oz. Today at 9 yrs, she is still a peanut, weighing in at 48lbs and 49.5 inches tall.

We have really ran the gamut with Peanut. Everything from dealing with severe GERD that no medications touched (until age 5 when she finally outgrew the daily vomiting) to ADD/ODD/SPD that means that we now medicate her with Adderall. She has dealt with invasive testing for the GERD, along with surgery to biopsy her stomach and esophagus, a broken elbow, stitches, broken nose twice.... She is our roller coaster!

But she is also more than her diagnoses. She is someone that loves horses and wolves and hopes one day to become a vet. She is creative and artistic and longs for a chance to get those thoughts to congeal into masterpieces... even when her mind is racing and not allowing those thoughts to streamline. She is a brilliant child that tested off the charts in some subjects and above average in others but she struggles in school. Peanut is a self-imposed loner, preferring her company or that of adults to those of her peers but she still has friends and is well-liked. A walking enigma is our Peanut.

Like Punk with his soccer, Peanut is our baseball player. Her nickname on the team last year was Slugger because when she is confident, she could hit the sweet spot in the ball each and every time. During games though, she often chokes because everyone is watching her. She is looking forward to another season though, so I know that we made the right decision in allowing her the chance to try Little League since both swimming and dance couldn't hold her interest for longer than a month or two.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

we been busy

We have been busy today. Busy learning new things. Busy practicing our skills. Busy making lists and checking them twice, thrice, four times to be sure. We have been busy catching up and remembering to slow down. Busy playing and learning and exploring.

We made sure today to catch up with friends and loved ones. We remembered to take the time to be thankful for our gifts and to appreciate what we have. We worked on goals, be them little or significant. We shared our weekends with all the returning children and our pictures with our loved ones near and far. We made plans and took turns. We enjoyed each other and ourselves rather than rushing to the next great thing.

Sundays may be my favorite day of the week.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

hail to the conquering victor

For the first time in seven, yes count them.... SEVEN, years, UofM beat OSU today!

Of course, we listened to the game.... on hubby's phone... while doing our grocery shopping. Of course we came home and before the groceries were even put away, had the game on our television. Of course we had our mini Wolverines decked out in spirit attire. Of course we celebrated our huge victory with a dinner out celebration where people were cheering for our little cheerleaders.

Of course, this made mama and daddy very happy. Not as happy as these two little faces make us each and every day but happy nonetheless. After all, this WAS PorkChop's first big rival game. And our boys made us proud to share it with him.

Friday, November 25, 2011

people on the other side of the screens

Oh Black Friday.... The day of crazy holiday shoppers, grown-up temper tantrums, stampeding and selfishness..... Yes, I am not a fan of Black Friday shopping. In fact, until today, I have gone only one other time in my life. And that was in 2008 when, pregnant with SweetPea, I let my mom convince me to go to JoAnn's for their sale. Which, wasn't bad considering we went at 10am and got home around 2pm. But its just not my cup of tea. This year? I was all set to hit Jo-Ann's again and just kept loathing the idea. So I let my buddy, PorkChop decide. See... I refused to set my alarm. I figured that when he woke to boob around 530am or so, I would make a decision. Instead, he made it for me. For the first time, he wouldn't go back to sleep. Around 630am, I gave up trying and handed him to my hubby so I could shower before our long day. We left the house around 730 and left Jo-Ann's around 930. For two hours of our time, we saved $101 and spent $60. Not too shabby considering that I got what I needed to finish SweetPea and Peanut's Christmas jammies, get a good start on our unpaper towels and hubby got what he needed for his speakers.

After shopping, we headed north to have breakfast with my brother and his family. Pretty unremarkable, right? Hardly. See, my brother is from my father's first marriage. He is a bit older than me and my sisters and already out in the world when we really began to have memories of him. After my parents divorced back in 1985 (or 6), all contact ended. It wasn't until the spring of 2009 when I refound my brother and sister via facebook. This was our second time in over 20 years of getting together. Its a small thing that so many take for granted but for me? I am not one downplay the significance of family.

It was so wonderful getting to introduce Uncle T and Aunt R to their new nephew. It was so heartwarming to see J, my four year old nephew, keep touching PorkChop and saying with wonder "That's MY cousin." You could hear the possessiveness in his voice and see the emotion in his eyes. J and SweetPea hit it off so well that you would think that they lived down the street from each other, not 9 hours away. And while M was a bit disappointed not to have Punk there with us, promises of a "next time" help.

Our breakfast was too short but understandably so. I don't think that there will ever be enough hours in the day to spend catching up like I would like but those moments that ARE spent together make up for those apart. After breakfast, as they headed back to their home state, we headed across the mitten to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends from across the pond.

It still amazes me to think that three years ago, I didn't know H and her hubby R. They were just "people" I had met on a message board dedicated to those of us pregnant and due in February of 2002. But through many months of talking, many moves for H and their family, they ended up not only moving to our state but becoming dear friends to our entire family. I am not sure that a day goes by that H and I do not touch base about something trivial or something monumental. And I have a feeling that SweetPea has met that in her "best friend A".

Even though they have only officially seen each other four times over this year, the girls are inseparable when together. Which, if you know two year olds, you know is pretty amazing. Our little ladies spent six hours together without a single fight, without a single tantrum, without a single tear (on their parts... mamas and daddies had plenty with the noise level). H and R cooked us a delightful dinner, introducing us to some English classics. They even introduced us to a game that I am sadly, I will admit, hunting down even now for our own collection.

Being so far apart, living wise, has its drawbacks. We had to leave well before the girls were ready to say good-bye and after many tears, "one last hug and kiss", we took a very sad SweetPea home with us and left a very sad sweet A home with her mummy and daddy. I know that it doesn't mean much to SweetPea, but the next few months are promising a lot of visit time since we will have three little girls in three different months needing birthdays.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Really, every year, but especially this year in my mind. I am thankful for my wonderful hubby who loves me even when I am at my worst. Who stands beside me through thick and thin and never stops holding my hand. He encourages me to try new things, to set and meet my personal goals, to be the kind of person that I want to be. He works hard for our family, giving more time than any human should, but he does it without complaints. He is loving father and a good son. He is thoughtful and caring and puts everyone before himself.

I am thankful for my beautiful children, all five of them. Even though Pickle wasn't here with us this Thanksgiving, he was still in our hearts and on our minds. Yes, the tall, good-looking one in the center is NOT Pickle, but my nephew G. I am just as grateful to have him in my life as I am my own children. I am thankful that our boys are having better years and growing and becoming more mature. I am thankful that Peanut is striving towards bettering herself and growing as a young lady. I am thankful for SweetPea's chatter and genius. I am thankful for PorkChop's health and the mere fact that he is here with us.

I am thankful for the roof over the heads of our collective family. I am thankful that we have all been healthy this year (relatively so). I am thankful that my family could come and share with us today. Its not often anymore that we are all together even though we try hard to make sure to do so at least once a month. The holidays are a good excuse to all sit down and break bread together but I wish that it could happen more than just on those special days.

Most of all, I am thankful that I am alive. I am thankful each and every day for the blessing of life, for the ability to parent my children, to be here for them. I am thankful for the time that I have with my hubby, for our lives coming full circle. I am thankful for my freedoms, my choices, and my words.

I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

from one pumpkin to another

Ah.... my oldest son turned second oldest son. My first little man.... affectionately called Punkin or Punk as he prefers now. I really debated how best to introduce him but I couldn't resist this picture. Even if its not my favorite or even his favorite, how could I NOT feature Punkin with a pumpkin of his own carving/choosing?

My son that made me a mother.... Not the first in the line, not even the first of all his siblings... But my first. He will always hold a special place in my heart and I really hope that he knows it. Punkin came roaring into the world in April of 2000, about 11.5yrs ago now. And he is still the same as he was then, laid back, passive, but hyper and passionate.

Punkin is the quintessential boy. He loves sports, especially soccer. He loves riding his bike and coming home filthy from fishing or catching frogs. He protests reading or writing or anything that requires him to sit still but at the same time, he loves his video games. As a small boy, Punkin told me that he wanted to move to Japan to become a Pokemon master. He also wanted to become a fireman. Talk about broad sweeping goals.

Punkin was my first in almost everything.... My first real experience as a mom (though I was a stepmom three times over when he arrived), my first breastfed, co-slept, home schooled little guy. I often joke that I made my most parenting mistakes with him but looking back, I think that we cut our teeth (figuratively and quite literally) on each other. Yes, I made decisions that I regret with him but I also learned the most from him and Peanut.

I don't feel that I did too bad with him though. Of all the pea plants, he is the most nuturing, the most tender-souled, the most willing to help and pitch in. Which might not be a fair assessment since SweetPea is just a toddler and PorkChop a baby but for now, he is definitely the most loving. And that totally fits his personality as well. For an Aries baby, he totally lacks the self-centered "number one" persona and instead, is the little dad. Punkin totally wears his heart out there on his sleeve, would give his shirt off his back to help someone, and really makes people feel welcome.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

oh Sweet Pea

Am I the only one that knows that song? I want to say that it's from the 50's, maybe 60's but I love it. And it's upbeat tempo definitely matches my little SweetPea's personality. You see, more than writing, I enjoy photo-documenting our days. Which is wonderful.... when you do not have an infant at home that often times doesn't like mama to upload the day's shots. So when that occurs, I will just take the chance to introduce my little Ps.

This little beauty is my youngest daughter, SweetPea. She is our first baby together (minus a dog that we had together in high school but I am not sure how Gwennie really plays into this post), our first home birth, hubby's first exploration into the hippie sub-culture. See, I am by nature a hippie at heart. A peace loving, non-confrontational, save the planet, tree hugging hippie. I embraced my motherly instincts with my first baby and with each one thereafter, I learned to follow my own lead more and more. Hubby's first experience with parenting was much different. He was a more traditional conformist. But I digress away from introducing SweetPea.

She was born at home, into her daddy's hands in February of 2009. Both of our biggest, she was a healthy 8lbs 8oz and 21.5in long. And she has remained our biggest, brightest personality. She is smart and sassy, sweet and silly. She is usually not far from a "linus", our name for one of her multitude of blankets that help her deal with her days. SweetPea is imaginative and creative... I often say that she would make a better Pisces than the sign of Aquarius that she was born under. She is also our talker, asking about a million questions a day but hardly ever asking just "why?". At almost three, she still enjoys sharing the boob with her brother PorkChop, being worn on my back in her special "pack" and co-sleeping in our family bed. Has this derailed her independence? Sometimes, I really wish that it did! Instead, it has made her feel secure to the point that she is confident that she can do anything, test any limit, soar to any heights. SweetPea has never met a stranger, everyone is her self-proclaimed best friend. She has never met a challenge either that she cannot overcome with either her wit, charm, or intelligence.

Our only true concern when it comes to SweetPea is that she has a slight ASD (atrial septal defect) that we didn't discover until she was 25 months. It has never caused her problems that we are aware of, just something that we will need to monitor and re-evaluate at 5 yrs. Right now, about the only way that we know that its there is because she has a tendency to turn blue, especially her lips. This usually occurs when she has had something cold to eat or drink. She shies away from ice cream, ice cubes and while she is a die-hard slurpee fan, she often times passes after a few sips, we think, because she instinctively knows that too much will cause the bluing. Swimming, a huge passion for her, is another trigger, as is too long in the bath tub. We have every faith that she will one day outgrow this though. After all, our little girl is strong and healthy and a fighter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy four months

Happy four months to my beautiful son, PorkChop! Still hard to believe that its been that long since you graced us with your earth side presence. Even harder to imagine that there was a time when you were not here as part of our family.

You are an absolute joy. I don't think that you could be any more loved and cherished if we tried. From your daddy all the way down to your smallest sister, we all enjoy you more and more with each passing day. Thank you for being you... for being our little homie.

And for our biggest surprise.... even though you don't look it, you are making sure to fill those "big" shoes of being the youngest. You are 17lbs and 27.25in long already. Surpassing even Sweet Pea, who you look smaller than at this point.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

in the beginning

There was a blog challenge. A challenge to hold ourselves accountable for our thoughts, dreams, creative ramblings.... A gauntlet thrown down and the quest accepted. So it begins. A delve into the mind of a hippie suburban housewife and mother, transplanted from her own time in the era of Susie Homemaker and dumped into the time of Betty Breadwinner. Where will we travel? Only the soaring mind knows.... or does it?

Welcome to our life. The life and times in the Garden of the Mitten, surrounded by our little P plants. Welcome to our world, our little slice of paradise outside the city limits. Welcome into our home and hearts. So sit back, grab a drink and relax. Take a load off. Come and laugh at our expense because, believe me, we do to ourselves all the time.