living after the death of a baby, living with Autism, living as a family of six, living on our organic homestead, living miserably, hopefully, and with joy, and somedays just living

Archive for July, 2009

I’m sorry, no i’m not, and neither should you be.

There’s something I’ve learned about apologies.  Make them sincere, and if you can’t make it truly  sincere, but the apology must be said, make sure it’s for a good reason.  There’s nothing as obnoxious to me, as an insincere apology, or an apology for something not meriting of an apology.  Make apologies true and meaningful, from your heart, overcome the organs shaking inside when you have to make an apology for a big blunder, and humble yourself, and pray like heck your apology is accepted.  And for goodness sake people, if you accept an apology stop using the incident in future arguments, or as an example later.  You may never forget it, but learn to be gracious, and remember it to yourself!  Now I’ve gone on to far about apologies, and suddenly it seems I’ve make more of it than I wanted this post to be about.

The apologies I’m trying to get around to are blog challenge posts.  Are you trying to blog all thirty days in a row to say you did/can?  Or did you take this on to improve your blog, er… excuse me, awsome-ify your blog?  If it’s about completing thirty days in a row then by all means don’t continue to spit out blogs less than the 150 words then grumble about it, or let us know that today’s blog sucks because it’s filler.  If you insist on completing the thirty days because it’s in your character to finish what you started, or you’d feel you failed if you didn’t complete all thirty posts( I get it I can be competitive,or proud,or just plain committed too), go ahead, just stop apologizing for your posts, or leaving us with little notes like: You go ahead and check if that’s 150 words.

I don’t care if you miss a day, I also don’t care if I miss a day.  I would much rather read something interesting or meaningful to you the next day than what ever you came up with 15 mins before bed because you had to.  If you feel the need to apologize for the crap content, or that you feel it’s not worth reading then, by all means, don’t waste your time writing it.

And while we’re (I’m) at it here.  Stop apologizing for not blogging!  If you had nothing to say, you got to busy, something important happened that day, or you were so tired you felt like throwing up, so you decided bed won (this one’s my excuse in case you couldn’t read between the lines), then you had nothing to offer that day.  So what.  Make it up the next day, or don’t make it up at all.

In this world we are too appologitic for the things that don’t matter much in the long run,  because those appologies are easily said, and we’re not nearly appologitic enough when we really need to be, because it’s so damn intimidating, it makes us vulnerable, and proves we were really wrong or hurtful.

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I like to cook, I just hate making dinner

Truthfully going out to dinner is a super rare occurrance for us.  It’s expensive, and we have to warn the kids in advance that they have to be good, and it often backfires.  Really if it’s a special occasion for the most part we’ll eat better food if we just stay at home.  Even when we lived in Chicago we never went to a 5 star restaurant, we can’t afford to drop 400 bucks on a meal for two with wine. We fit in the 100 bucks for two on a really special occasion category.  And now if we want to go out, just the two of us, we’re looking at paying a sitter 10 bucks an hour.  It simply makes better sense to stay in.

Kyle tried to do a nice thing and take our whole family out for dinner on our anniversary.  It was stressful, the kids were not at the top of their behavior, and in the end we left before I finished my meal.

When there’s reason, when I take the time to think it though, and prepare, I would say I am an excellent cook.  I love to watch food network, and I can improvise a good dish when in the mood, with the best of  you.

It’s the everyday meals that can be the hardest to find the enthusiasm for.  Finding something that is easy enough to prepare with three kids underfoot at the witching hour, something nutritious, and something that all my littles will put in their mouths, is exhausting.

In the end, we end up in little ruts where we have a five meal rotation, we wait until the last minute to start dinner, limiting our options, and then we generally settle on something uninspired that we likely already ate in the last week.

Every now and then, Kyle and I, will go through a good foodie stage where we do some of out best kitchen work, and I wonder why we were ever in a rut in the first place, and then somehow it sneaks up on us, and I start wondering when out next good food stage will be.

I can’t wait to get into my new kitchen, it was designed, with food prep in mind, you work clockwise from the fridge and pantry, to the prep sink, prep area, cooking area, staging area, clean up sink, and finally the dishwasher.  I feel a strong foodie stage about to start when we move in, but I’d be kidding myself if I thought we’d never have another stretch the left overs by also offering cereal type dinners, again.

Redundant?

So I think this blog may be a bit repetitive in certain ways.  Yes I really do have more to talk about than Katie and Elijah, but they are thick threads woven into my life, so they surface often.  I’m not pathological.  I wrote this as a submission to this site.   I know most of my readership are my guy friends who also signed up to the blog challenge, so it may not be a site where you’d hang out.  But as women we need to work past the ridiculous unattainable stereotype, and accept ourselves in whatever way we can.  Sadly women are women’s worst critics, and their harshest adversaries.  I was hoping in a few days to simply post my submission with a nice screen shot, or link to my work, but submissions are running three to four weeks until publication.  So, all in all, I’m taking the easy way out and offering my submission as today’s blog post.  I do know I have Kim as a reader, and Pam (Cliff’s sister) has dropped by, thanks for the generous and touching comments Pam, so I have a few readers who secrete more estrogen than testosterone. But none the less, gentlemen if you chose to slog through this post you’ll get a tiny look into our womanly world.

Transformation

By Erron Anderson

Age: 31

Number of pregnancies: Seven pregnancies, two successful

The age of my children: 2 aged 4, 1 aged 2, and one on the way

Key words: child loss, growth, breasts, stretch marks, twins

When expecting our first baby I remember going to my 20 week ultra sound in my regular pants. I couldn’t wait to start looking pregnant.  After two years of trying, and waiting, we were finally on our way to having a baby light our house with his/her own brand of sunshine and happiness.  I delighted in my pregnancy, I consciously thought out my meals, so they were balanced, I took my vitamins, exercised lightly, and all in all had the perfect pregnancy.  At the end of my pregnancy I had gained 25 lbs and didn’t have a single stretch mark.   I should have been the world’s happiest woman, except I wasn’t.   Our Kate died just before she was born; our delivery room was silent when she arrived.

A week after she was born my body made that amazing Hollywood like change that would have left one guessing whether I was ever actually pregnant.  I was so sad.  I had absolutely nothing to show for my pregnancy.  People would later tell me “Don’t tell people that you made out so well, other women will hate you with jealousy”  who ever thought it would be me jealous of those who’s pregnancies left their bodies transformed.  I longed for one stretch mark to prove she had actually existed, just one tiny one.  My tummy only showed signs of the baby within for a few days.  The comments that, at least, I looked great at the funeral where a slap in the face, really is that what you chose to say, did I really look great? Because I felt anything but.

The truth is we’re all made up of different genetic material, I went on to have twins and another singleton, and amazingly enough I still have no stretch marks, I ate no special diet and slathered no expensive creams on my belly.  My body springs back quite quickly, with no extreme exercise regime.  I’m lucky, I guess.  Nursing three babies exclusively (yep you can nurse twins and never have to supplement, women you are equipped and powerful) have left my, never were A cups, in somewhat in dismal shape.  My hips have always been a bit on the largish side leaving my upper body super out of proportion.  I don’t love the way I look, but it’s how I’ve been remolded.

Some of us will go to accept, and eventually love our bodies, others will not, opting instead to change the outside to better live in their skins.  Instead of either group working to make the other one feel bad, or less valuable.  Let’s open our eyes to the bigger transformation, the one that takes no physical form.  The metamorphosis we make from women to mothers.  I love watching friends embark on the journey of pregnancy and motherhood.  I fascinate at the changes these women are able to make within their character to make way for a new being.  This is our biggest change, and it is our most remarkable undertaking.  No matter who we are on the outside, we all want the same thing for our children, room to grow, happiness, and love.  How we provide that, is as diverse as our physical appearance.

I know now, that no mark would make Katie more remembered, she lives within me, my husband, and my children.  I have grown as a mother in many challenging ways starting with stillbirth, then having a son who works harder than most to overcome autism, and its many challenges to him, and to our family, also by having two other little girls who are seeking to find their roles and carve out their spots in our family, and by the three other early losses, all at varying times in my life. Pregnant again, I wonder if there is any room left for me to grow, but I know the growth of a mother is ever expandable.   I wear my stretch marks on my heart, you can’t see them with your eyes, but ask me to show them to you, and I will share the stories that have changed my shape in seemingly impossible ways.

Embrace yourself as a mother, whether able to stand naked in front of a mirror boldly and love yourself, or as a woman who feels more comfortable undressing with the curtains tightly closed and the lights off, and do not forget to embrace other mothers,  whether they share your sense of self or not.

katie hand

Holding Katie’s hand

Twin tummy

Twin Tummy

Media permission granted, comments can be left open,

Edited October 27th 2010:

Wow, this was posted and I never went back to read the comments.  I really should have gone back.  I got some beautiful, meaningful, and personal comments.  The kind that make you feel all glowy. You can read them here

http://theshapeofamother.com/blog/transformation-erron/

Past me, meet future me

Kyle touched on it a bit in his 11 post.  There was a time I thought I couldn’t afford good food, in fact I kinda disliked all those natural organic people for trying to trick me in to paying way too much.  Though really, I just felt bad, because I couldn’t afford organic food.  Kyle’s tight with a penny and convincing him to pay more is hard! We really did buy what was the least expensive.  None of it out of season, none of it organic, all of it cheap.

Getting Kyle to go Gluten Free Casein Free was tough, eventually I said I was gonna do it, that I just had to know I tried everything.  Well when Elijah’s first sentence was “Wait Daddy I need a hug”, as Kyle was saying good night, meant that I no longer had to convince him. He believed.  Reading about how autistic kids are sensitive to many things that we just adapt to, I started shopping organic.

Our grocery bill took a steep dive upwards.  But I didn’t regret it for a minute.  We’re all eating GFCF meals, we lack for nearly nothing at all.  About 80% of what we buy is organic, I don’t even compare prices to non-organic anymore. With some products it’s GF or organic, and GF always wins, or sometimes there’s no organic option at that store (there’s not an organic option for everything).  And we seriously all feel better for it.  Sure much of it is because we eat hardly any processed foods anymore, but going organic was one of the most economical decisions we ever made. We’re healthier, we make good food choices, a lot of it tastes better, we enjoy our food now, and when we decided to go food dye free it was hardly any work.  If your product is natural organic there’s no way you’d alienate your clients by adding artificial colours.

I wish the new me could go back and tell the old me how much better I would would feel if I decided to make food a priority.  That in buying with what we started with, instead of what was left, would have made a huge difference.

Living on just Kyle’s income meant that we needed to cut back other places, our grocery bill over doubled, but those sacrifices are easy to take when you feel better all around. Even Kyle buys organic now, even when he shops by himself, that’s impressive, it means it’s worth it to him too, and if it’s worth it to Kyle (the guy who once ate an all egg yolk scrambler, so they wouldn’t go to waste when I made an angel food cake) then that’s something tangible.

And it’s not just food, if you feel worn out after a day of cleaning the house, try switching to plant based cleaners. Get rid of caustic bathroom cleaners and automatic dishwasher detergent with chlorine, at the very least and feel better.  Some of why you’re feeling bad after a big clean is because you just coated yourself in chemicals.

So future me (the healthnut, hippy, environmentalist) is telling you make changes, you’re worth it. Eat healthy, live healthy, feel and be happy.

Confessions of a feminist

I am a feminist.

I rebelled against this title for years, I didn’t like the armpit hair wearing, man hater connotation that it seems to carry.  But I believe men and women are equal, I believe their innate talents are different, but that their basic worth is equal.  I believe that a woman should be able to chose any profession she wants and climb the corporate ladder as vigorously and as high as she wants and be paid equal. I believe that woman are just as intelligent as men.  I believe that women have been objectified for so long that many women feel they are are worthless because they don’t weigh the same as they did when they were 14.  I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

So what what I’m about to write may have some women gasping and hollering to have my membership card revoked.

I believe that submission to your husband in marriage can be healthy, and cause less strife and power struggles.  As the head of our family kyle has huge responsibilities, and when he makes a decision he is sure of, the last thing he needs is me barking at him that he should do it my way.

I think that having 6 kids,and being a stay at home mom is a legitimate career choice.  I may not be breaking down any walls as a star environmental lawyer, but raising decent human beings is worthwhile and earth changing.

I should be proud of my body.  I am.  Growing and delivering 4 beauties is AMAZING! So is knowing that within me me now new life lights.  Nursing the three I got to keep, is one of my proudest achievements.  I wish I could pull off that ‘my body is beautiful the way it is because it does what God made it to do, develop and nurture his greatest creation’ attutude and believe it entirely.  I can’t. Sadly my near non exsitant bust didn’t make it through.  My once firm and perky tiny boobs sadly have lost most of their breast tissue in nursing, and I now just have protruding nipples in place of breasts. I’ve never been able to fill out an A cup, but these days I need to wear a bra to give the illusion of breasts.  Although this pregnancy is helping to fill them out, the only time I feel femine is during pregnancy for this very reason.  This feminist is GASP… considering plastic surgery in a few years.  Nothing drastic, I rationalize it by thinking of it as mostly reconstructive.  But I don’t know if I can do it, and still be able to sit on the edge of Petra and Natalia’s bed and gently stoke their teenaged faces and tell them they are beautiful just the way they are, if I’m full of sillicone, and yet I would like to feel good in my skin.

So that’s it.

Good feminist, Bad feminist.

23 Days

Figuring out how many days left until we move, I realized that we’re at the half way point today.  23 days spent here already and 23 days left.  Seeing as the first half is generally the quick half, and the second half frought with anticipation is to drag, it’s gonna be a long few weeks.  Visiting didn’t help it just made me want pack up and move that day, not that I would have considered not going.  It was good to go and see the place not all set up in show mode.  It’s still wonderful.

There’s something about living in transition, you go grocery shopping, but don’t stock your shelves, the fridge remains somewhat bare, and the random boxes strewn about seem to encourage other things to remain on the floor long after they’ve been used.  The Lego looks more at home scattered about, than it does in the make shift toy box that, its self has no order, a random assortment of toys that were taken in the van, a few deliberately unpacked, and a few the oddball in a box of clothes, or other unpacked box.  Occasionally a specific toy is requested, and the same explanation that it’s in some box somewhere unknown, not to be unpacked until we get to the farm house, is repeated.

I think our kids are beginning to wonder if the farm house is perhaps a joke, or as far off as Christmas.  In fact I wonder that sometimes.

This temporary house feel just that, temporary, like  a take out container good enough to do the job, but no matter how sturdy it seems, it’s always viewed as disposable.  Not that we’re treating this house badly (though I do not dare speak for Elijah) It’s just that the finger prints on the wall or the spots on the shower can wait.  It didn’t help that the place wasn’t clean when we moved in.  These last 23 days have been long.

Because we’re in a new development there are no playgrounds built, so that means going to find one, and finding a good one can take a few tries.  If this where my neighborhood, I think I would relish the adventure of discovering what my new area had to offer, including the best playground, but because it’s not, I don’t want to.  I stay in and curse the fact that we’re trapped in a house with no yard.

In fact I’ve disliked this state of limbo so much, I’ve idealized the thought of staying in Chicago while Ky came to get all settled.  We’d have a yard, activities to do, friends to visit and spend the summer with,  BBQ’s to attend and sprinklers for the kids to run through with their little friends.  Never mind that I would essentially be single parenting with my husband thousands of miles away in my first (exhausting and barfy) trimester.

23 days left. Most people I speak will say, oh well that just around the corner.  Yes it is, if I would just stop mopping and wanting out so bad.  So in what will seem like 212 days to me, and 23 to you, you’ll all read the post that ends all this whining, and you can cheer that your time will no longer be lost reading my pity posts.

Am I sick?

This morning I woke up not feeling well, what else is new?  But Kyle let me nap the day before and last night I slept well with the one obligatory pee break mid sleep.  Not much was appealing for breakfast, so I skipped telling my self I wasn’t gonna skip, just delay.  I went on to make some call to find some services for Elijah which left me angry and deflated. (A whole other blog post.) Kyle left for work and I turned the TV on, so I could have a rest. After about oh.. a million requests for juice from the kids, I got my self some yogurt.  Every time I got up I would have  vision lapse and feel like I was about to lose whatever there was in my tummy.  Yep I think I’m really sick!  It took me half  a day, and some really bad parenting, to decide that I needed kyle to come back home on his first day.  Ugg,, I felt terrible for asking him to come home.  As soon as he got home I fell asleep sitting up on the couch.  I sure hope I feel better tomorow.