Friends & Family Archives

84 degrees with a chance of fire hydrants

You would have thought they had just opened up a fancy new water park in our cul-de-sac.

But no.

The water company just came by and flushed the fire hydrant.
And that is how spontaneous fun happened.
It doesn’t take much to make my boys excited. And soaked from head to toe.

Notice Jesse in the background, standing at a safe distance. He ain’t no fool.

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i’m just not sure about this

Kait recently gave up her spot as the only daughter and sister. And today she gave up her spot as the only teenager in the house.
Joe joins the ranks. 13 is his number.

It’s his birthday and I’m not quite sure what to think about all this.

Joe is definitely growing up. Manhood is just around the corner. I can see it coming. He’s becoming protective over his older sister. There are stories.
And he doesn’t like to see me doing any work that could be considered difficult.
Mom, why don’t you let me get that for you?
Mom, I will carry that.

Mom, take a nap. I can watch the kids.

He’s a good boy who won’t be a boy for too much longer.

I’m thankful for his steadiness. His laid back nature. His unbelievable capacity for patience. His respectful attitude. His sense of humor. His quirkiness.

But…

why can’t he just stay little?

Because he’s 13 now. And while I knew it was going to happen, I never saw it coming.  And while that shouldn’t make any sense, it makes total sense.

[sigh]

I’m loving the age Joe is right now, watching him grow into a young man, watching him become his own person.

If you happen to read this, Joe (he doesn’t read my blog much), happy 13th birthday!  You’re all I could ask for in an oldest son. I’m proud of who you are and who you are becoming. 

Just slow down this whole growing thing a little, okay?

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I love being a mom.  Despite how much pessimistic writing goes on about my job as mommy, I’m always writing with a cheerful pessimism, not a serious pessimism.  Sometimes I feel the need to point that out.  Things are good around here.  Real good.

And I think, despite our differences (me wanting clear walls and he preferring walls that are more like a toddler run art gallery), Jesse at 2 is probably at my favorite age.  His face is pudgy. And so are his hands.  I just can’t resist such pudgy cuteness.

Though I really like newborn through 16 too.  I guess age is a hard one to call favorites on.  But I do really like age 2.

You would think that Jesse was never watched as much trouble as he gets into.  Let me assure you, we have a family of 10. The boy is never alone.

What he is is very, very sly.  You could talk to him for 10 minutes and not even realize he’d been drawing your portrait on the side of the couch the entire time.

I know I’ve mentioned before Jesse’s love for drawing.

Recently, actually a couple times recently, I found more drawings in places that we aren’t supposed to put drawings. And they’re not even good ones.  They’re just big loopy scribbles.  I think I would be less bothered by it if he was showing some savant-like talent.  But no.  He’s just scribbling all over everything every chance he gets because his brothers can’t remember to keep their writing utensils out of reach.

The boys are my fall back for blame.  You know, if Kait’s not around.

My 7 year old is sitting on the floor doing some school work.  He sets his pencil down beside him to count something out on his fingers.
Jesse takes this opportunity to sneak around and steal the pencil. This is what we call sly.
Matthew goes to pick his pencil back up but it’s gone.  He looks under his book.  Looks all around himself.  Stands up.  It’s not there.  So, does he continue to search it out?  No.  He just goes and gets another one, assuming the first one disintegrated or something else just as likely to not have happened.

Meanwhile Jesse, gripping tightly to his new found marking piece, is doing his own artwork on the wall by the window that I’d just cleaned with magic eraser a few hours before.

I’m beginning to love Mr. Clean even more.  If you’re one of those stock buying people, whatever they’re called, go ahead and bet on Proctor & Gamble.  I’m sure to be buying enough Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to keep the company in business for another year or two at least.

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jesse strikes again. and again. and again…

You probably haven’t noticed but I haven’t been blogging as much as I usually do.  It isn’t because I’ve run out of things to say because, well, I always have something to say.

It’s actually because…
Um…
I really can’t think of anything to say.

It’s bad.  I hate it when I can’t think of anything to write.  I feel like it’s because I’m failing to notice the things around me.

But I’m not.  Things have happened around here.  As usual.  And I’ve noticed them all.  Like the pen and pencil markings that are covering my walls.

Jesse.

We now know Jesse, who is a good and sturdy age 2, can and does reach his little finger tips up and over the kitchen countertops to feel what might be up there for him to swipe.  A few days ago I noticed that the taco rollups I made had been severely picked at. But just the rolls on one side of the dish.  The side closest to the edge of the counter.

Jesse.

And where did the silverware on the living room floor come from?

Jesse.

And how did that plate end up shattered on the kitchen floor?

Um…
Let me think…

Jesse.

We keep dog food in a 6 gallon bucket in the laundry room.  Jesse in all his toddler wisdom moved it up to the counter. Climbed on it. Then somehow hefted himself up onto the countertop this morning.  There was nothing up there for him, I guess he just wanted to see if he could do it.

My best-good friend, four or so years ago, commented to me that she thought Ben, who was 2 at the time, was going to be my tough child.

Oh, how wrong you were, Carrie B.  How wrong you were.

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a jesse question

He lifted up his shirt, pointed to his belly, and asked me, Baby?

I laughed.  No, Jesse, there is no baby in your belly. 

Jesse: Woocy?

Me: No, silly boy.  Unless you ate her, Lucy isn’t in there either. 

What goes on in the mind of a 2 year old…

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lucy – the whole homebirth story

I want to record what my first home birth experience was like while it is still fresh in my mind. I have some of it in the bits and pieces of my labor day updates so excuse the duplicates.

My due date, February 14th, came and went. No baby. I was having sporadic contractions but nothing exciting.  We spent the 15th doing stuff. I wanted to stay busy. It helped pass the time.

Ryan was surprised with yet another day off. And he used that time get stuff done in the garage. My Jeep, mostly. We went to and from the hardware and auto parts store a few times.
Like I said, just keeping busy.

It was Ryan’s birthday so we threw him a party with balloons and all.  It was fun.

That night I had trouble falling asleep. Contractions were between 8 and 20 minutes apart and were starting to hurt more than a little. I finally fell into a fitful sleep at about 12:30, I think. I woke up frequently to use the bathroom.
Jesse woke up at about 3:30 in the morning. Actually, he wasn’t really awake and by the time I got into his room to find out why he was crying he had stopped. It was while I was covering him up that my water first started to leak.

Because of that dumb GBS thing I had to call the midwifery. Everybody was delivering a baby. It was a busy night for them. That meant that we had to actually go to the birth center to get my antibiotics, then we came home expecting to have the baby within a few hours.

But nothing much more happened. Water kept leaking. Contractions stayed the same – only inching closer. At one point they completely stopped for a full hour. So I slept.

Ryan went back to sleep when we got home and slept until 9:30 or so. Then he got up, ate breakfast, and headed into the garage. I did a few chores between my contractions, took a few hot showers to help with the ache in my back, and tried to pass the time.
I had my weekly appointment at 2pm so I called them and asked if I should keep it. They said that not only should I keep it but expect to stay at the birth center. They were under staffed due to the magnitude of babies born and may not be able to make it to our home birth. I was disappointed but ready to have my baby.

My appointment showed that even though my contractions weren’t regular I was already 6cm dilated.  That surprised me. I normally don’t have very regular contractions but expected them to be a little more painful or regular before I’d dilate much.

My midwife, Tara, and I decided that I could go on home and if I could make it to 5pm before my contractions were steadily under 5 minutes apart I could still have a home birth.  I thought it would be cutting it close but we’re only 15 minutes from the birth center so decided to just go on home and wait it out.

Ryan ran to the auto parts store again.  He said it was way better than sitting in a hospital room just waiting.  I agreed.

At 4:30 I got a call from another midwife at the center.  She told me that if I didn’t deliver by 9pm I’d have to be transferred to the hospital since my water had been leaking for so long. Some Florida law they have no way of working around. And since my contractions at the time were between 4 and 10 minutes apart she didn’t sound hopeful that I would be having the baby soon.  I knew differently though and I told her that my contractions wouldn’t be steady until I was getting ready to have the baby.

I was pretty surprised when she didn’t seem to hear me. EDIT: after a little thought I think maybe she wasn’t so much ignoring my self-assessment, but was just wanting me to understand that I needed to get the baby born before 9 so they didn’t have to transfer me.  These gals really try to avoid transfers at all costs.

However, Tara, my delivery midwife, took my past experience into account and since I had made it to 5pm she decided to bring the team over.  She said she just had a feeling about me and didn’t think it would be smart to wait much longer.

Apparently I’m meant to labor standing up.  My midwife team of 3 got here around 5:30pm, my midwife wearing her 6 month old daughter on her back. I thought that was awesome! The team consisted of Tara, her assistant Theresa, and a young trainee named Chelsea.  All three of these women are amazing people.  I love them dearly.

Tara asked me if I would like to sit or lay down.  I told her I was actually more comfortable walking around.  She said that sounded good and we all stood around the kitchen bar and talked about homeschooling between my contractions, which were about 3 or 4 minutes apart.  It felt very relaxed.  Ryan dinked around on the computer, looking for tires for the Jeep on Craigslist, occasionally heading into the garage to do something.

At around 6:30 Tara asked if I wanted to know how far dilated I was.  My contractions were bearable and hadn’t been closer than about 3 minutes.  I felt like I was on the edge of transition but that I hadn’t quite gotten there yet so didn’t expect much.

I decided to have her check me anyway, thinking I was probably only 7 cm or so.
But, I was wrong.
I was a full 10 with only a sliver of a lip on one side! The bag of water, which had been slowly leaking all day, was in the baby’s way, however, and Tara said to give a couple of pushes during the next contraction to try to break it.  3 contractions later it broke and her assistant said she thought the baby was going to slide on out.

That’s exactly what she did.

I called for my husband to come into the room and 3 or 4 pushes later we had a baby!

6:53pm on February 16th.

Tara immediately covered the baby up and laid her on my stomach.  Nobody, not even the midwife team saw the gender.  For a half hour they administered a little oxygen, wiped baby up, cut the cord, and cleaned me up – all while baby was on my stomach.  They never took her from me.  That was pretty awesome.

I was so completely tired. Relieved. Overjoyed. And excited to know if the baby was a boy or a girl.

Once all the mess was cleaned up, which I might add was quite minimal and contained, Kait told me I looked fine, normal again.  I didn’t understand why she was saying that until later when she expressed her opinions of watching the birth.

 

She went and got the boys from the neighbor’s house.  We brought them into our room and then revealed the gender to everybody all at once.

It was the coolest moment…

We had a baby girl!
Helen Lucille Aileen.

Lucy

I fed her, then we wrapped her in pink blankets and handed her to her Daddy.  While Dad and Kait fought over holding her, I got a shower.

Then we weighed her at 7 lbs 14 oz, and she was 20 1/4 inches long.

She didn’t have a bath.  Meaning her body temperature didn’t fall and warming lights were not necessary.  Sometimes raising a new baby’s body temperature after a bath can take hours. That’s hours you have to spend away from your new baby.  Newborn babies don’t need baths.  In fact, it’s better if they don’t have one right away.  For days even.  And it’s best if mom does the job of keeping babies temperature up.
Lucy hasn’t had a bath yet and you can see from her pictures that she’s perfectly clean.  I did gently wash her hair on Friday though.

All the midwives from the birth center were calling each other to see what we had.  They all seemed to be so involved in Lucy’s birth and were all excited to find out that we had a girl.  It was so sweet! Everybody seemed to care so much about her birth!

There were no complications.  Everything went quick and smooth.  2 hours after she was born the team packed up and took off.  The boys went to bed and Ryan, Kait, and I stayed up for a few hours – exhausted, but unable to sleep for all the excitement.  We watched a couple episodes of Psych waiting for the adrenalin to wear off, I ate a little food, then I went to sleep in my own bed.

It was so perfect to be in my own home. In my own bed.  Undisturbed.

The last few days have been spent resting.  There are Hot Wheels cars all over the living room floor.  The boys are outside playing.  My bed is unmade and my bathroom needs a good picking up.

Things are normal around here.

Except for the overflowing boxes of pink – gifts from my neighbor.  And the sweet baby girl laying on Kait’s chest – that’s new.

It’ll be home births for us from here on out, God willing we have more children.  Ryan commented that it was the best decision.

It was.

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We Are Having Another Baby!!!!


So, we are expecting again! Number 6 is baking and should be born somewhere around May 5th, making me about 5 weeks along. We are very excited! We are so very blessed!!!

I am not sick yet but the past two days have proven to be very tiring. Morning sickness usually strikes me at 6 or 7 weeks so I am only a week or so away from misery. It should only last about 8 or 9 weeks. I have known some women to be sick during their entire pregnancy even after delivery! I feel blessed to only have to deal with it for a few months – long months they are however.

I am continuing to jog for 15 minutes 4 or 5 mornings a week. Hopefully I can reduce my exaustion a bit by keeping up my excersize as much as I can. I know that when the morning sickness hits I won’t be able to jog as much but I am sure gonna try! It is just that I hate running. I really despise it and it takes everything I have to keep it up. Actually, I hate excersize all together, lol. I was a child athelete and I think I am just burned out on moving.

Either way, it has to be done. And it is only 15 minutes so I guess I can push through. It’s important to me to stay fit during my pregnancy – it helps the weight to melt off in only months after the baby is born.

I wonder if this baby is a girl or a boy. We have only one girl out of the 5, the rest are boys so I am betting this one will be a boy to, however, my husband never guesses wrong and says he is getting some girl vibes. I, on the other hand, have never been right.
If it is a girl we have had a name picked out for a while. We have used up every boy name we like so I don’t know what we will do if it is a boy, lol.

Who knows. I guess we will find out in about 8 months!

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Sirens were asounden

So, Tuesday Joe, my 8 year old, asked me if our little farming town could catch on fire. I told him that it was possible but not very likely. He asked a number of questions for which I had no answer and I answered him as well as I could. The day went on and everything was normal.

To my surprise, on Wednesday we heard emergency vehicles drive by almost every hour. It was crazy and we could not figure out what was going on. Finally, my husband came home and told us that he had heard on the radio that there was a fast growing wild fire headed toward our little town. If I am remembering correctly there were 15 small town fire departments fighting this blaze and containment was little to none. You see, we live in a farming community where it is harvest time and wheat is dead and dry. We haven’t had but a sprinkling of rain in about 3 months; prime fire feed.

Joe was quite worried. He kept asking if it was getting closer, what was going to happen, and all kinds of questions that had no definite answer. I told him that the fire was still 3 miles off and we were in no danger but that seemed to make him even more concerned. Our town was never under serious threat, we were just careful to listen to the radio (we don’t have TV) and stay aware of developments. I was more concerned for the farm houses in direct path of the fire.

This morning we woke up with quite a bit of smoke in our house. The air looked clear but that campfire smell seemed to permeate every room. I looked out the windows to see a smokey fog blanketing the town. We turned on the radio and waited for news. Nothing bad yet, still only 10% containment but the winds were being kind and our town was safe for the time being. Joe was not at all comfortable with the level of smog that seemed to hover above.

Not long after lunch we heard good news. The fire was 60% contained and it appears that the fire fighters have won. Lost was part of a train track, a small bridge that crosses a river, acres and acres of farm land and trees, and a few freshly filled grain elevators, but not one house or human. What a blessing!

Other notable events- our small town was busting at the scenes with help from local store owners. Fuel was supplied by The Grange, other supplies, like much needed ice, were provided by Rosauers grocery store, which opened it’s doors awful early to help out the fire fighters. Grandmas’ baked and husbands’ took food to the workers. As nice as it would have been to have had no fire at all, it sure was a gift to see all these people coming together, trying to do their part.

As for Joe, he has stopped asking if the flames are coming our way. As soon as the smog started to clear he started to feel better.

There are still fire fighters on the scene and I suppose there will be for at least a few days. Thank the Lord for them, as they may have, indeed, saved the homes of the 2500 residents in our small town. We will never know what the outcome would have been without these brave hero’s, and I am glad because of it.

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Ben’s Trash Can Adventures

Don’t I love my little 19 month old. He is completely adorable, smart, and so funny to watch. We laugh a lot at his antics. Watching him grow and learn new things has me fascinated.

Ben is a curious being. He loves to look inside things, tear other things apart, empty cupboards, dump out bags of bread, test dogfood and pet water temperature, the list could go on and on. One of his favorite events is his daily trash can adventure. This event has been passed down from child to child since our first baby. Usually he tosses scraps of paper or magazines he has destroyed previously in the day. Occasionally he scraps something more significant, like a DVD or a leather glove and we suspect he has gotten rid of many dishes in the past as well. Today, however, Ben managed to really step up his trash throwing excersize. This one is a new family baby trash can olymics record!

Today I found one of Ben’s Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers and two inserts on the floor in front of the trash can. I wondered about it, then thought that maybe they had been dropped when the freshly cleaned diapers had been brought up from the laundry room earlier. I picked it up and went into the dining room where the rest of the cloth diapers had been waiting to be stuffed and put away.

The diapers were not there.

I marched right over to the trash can, knowing exactly what I would find. There, under the wooden trash can lid, sat more than $150 in Fuzzi Bunz, Rumpsters, and inserts, topped with a nice green and yellow pacifier, my wrist brace, and some tomato pieces.

I can see him wanting to get rid of his diapers. He likes to not have them on and we are thinking he might potty train early because of it. It is the pacifier I am wondering about. We have been in the process of “not” taking the pacifier away. He only gets it at night but it is essential to his night time ritual to have the pacifier snuggly in his mouth. Every night I give it to him and say “Sleep well, Ben, and enjoy your pacifier. I will most likely trash it in the morning.” Maybe he is just sick of hearing it that he decided he would rather just be done with it. I don’t know. He is such a silly kid.

I did take it out and clean it thoroughly. I am not sure if I am ready to deal with him not being a baby anymore. He stopped nursing months ago, which affected me much more than it effected him. He is starting to drink out of a regular cup and eat with a spoon. I just cannot handle all this “growing up” he is doing!

Anyway, I guess it is time to get rid of the pacifier, once and for all. I will go ahead and tell him tonight when I put him to bed. “Sleep well, Ben, and enjoy your pacifier. I will most likely trash it in the morning”.

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today’s dialogue

Mom: I am going to the library to return those books and the movie. Please go get “The Rookie” and its case.

Kait: Yes ma’am.

Kait leaves the room and a few minutes pass.

Kait: Mom, where is the case to “The Rookie”?

Mom: Um, I don’t know. You watched the movie yesterday. Where did you put the case? Maybe it was accidentally put with the other movies.

Kait: (yelling downstairs) BOYS! We need to find the case the “The Rookie”.

Stomping can be heard as the boys stampeed up the stairs.

Kait: do you guys know where the movie case to “The Rookie” is?

Joe: I don’t know.

Gabe: What are we doing again?

Mom: did anybody check to see if it is in with OUR movies?

Kait checks the wooden coffee table cupboard, twice.

Gabe: It’s in there Kaitlyn, I can see it right through the coffee table.

Kait: It’s not in there Gabe. I checked twice.

Gabe: (head straight down on the coffee table as if peering inside) It’s in there, your just missing it. I can see it with my x-ray vision.

Kait: (totally annoyed) This isn’t a game, Gabe. This is reality.

Mom and dad give eachother a funny look.

Joe: I know where it is! It is down stairs, I’ll get it.

About 10 seconds go by.

Gabe: Oh, I know where it is. It is down stairs on the DVD player. I’ll get it.

5 or so minutes go by.

Mom: Maybe it is in with the other movies.

Joe and Gabe return from their underground lair.

Joe: It isn’t down there.

Gabe: I will check to see if it is with the other movies.

2 or 3 more minutes go by.

Kait: I found it.

Mom: where was it?

Kait: Down stairs.

Mom: where downstairs?

Kait: In the video drawer with the other movies.

Mom: You mean it was with the other movies?

Kait: yeah, somebody must have mistakenly put it away.

This little short drama is brought to you by the Culbertson kids. What a group of total space cadets.

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