Not long ago I shared with you, fair reader, my thoughts on motherhood. This post was mostly in light of my becoming a mother for the fourth time (with a fair space between babes) and the things that I wish I’d known before I ever considered having children in the first place. As a part two to that piece, and in light of my willingness to share the secrets I keep, and my desire for a world that is honest and true, I give you this post:

What it’s *really* like to have four kids. Not the sunshine and rainbows and pooping butterflies motherhood but rather the gray skies, clouds and vomit on your shoes kind of motherhood.

Before you proceed, and lest I be flamed for my disrespect of the institution that is motherhood, let me say this: Being a mother is the best thing I ever did. Ever. My life would be reading a pathophysiology textbook level of boring without my kids.

Read on:

1. Baby #1, who is now a sassy, beautiful 15 year old, was a Fussy Mc Fusserton. Not like “wah wah hold me” fussy. Like screaming from 5 pm until the end of David Letterman’s monologue (which is 11:45 for you non-Americans) kind of fussy. Every. Single. Day. For like 6 months. There were times during her infancy where I wasn’t sure which one of us, if either, was going to survive to see her adulthood.

So far so good.

2. Also she wouldn’t sleep. Ever.

She does now.

3. Baby #2 wouldn’t latch on correctly to save my life. I had mastitis like a 157 times when he was a baby. I should have known…

This was only the beginning.

4. He was also a really ‘high-needs’ toddler. And, let’s keep it real folks, by high needs I mean pain in the ass. My god I love this kid like you wouldn’t believe, but I’m not going to lie to you. He threw tantrums. He screamed incessantly. He wouldn’t go to sleep without me. Ever. He woke up at 5 am for chocolate milk. Every. Single. Day. I thought I was going to die. Remember when your mom said, “When you grow up I hope you have a kid JUST LIKE YOU.” Well, yeah.

He’s exactly like me. And he is outstanding.

5. There was a year, I think 1999, that we never managed to all be well simultaneously. I exclusively breastfed and yet… Baby #1 (a toddler by this point) had ear infection after ear infection after ear infection after… you get the point. Baby #2: Oh he had pneumonia. At 7 months of age. And every other ailment known to man. I slept sitting up in a wooden rocking chair (Wooden. No padding. At. All.) for a week straight. Everyone threw up. Except me. But instead of throwing up, I had a case of incurable non-viral pink eye that literally made me blind. I bled from my eyes for a week. I parented, while their dad worked, with my eyes closed. Literally. Closed. I was physically unable to open them. The 17 year old doctor at the after hours clinic almost lost his lunch in the trash can when I walked in. I wanted to die.

I didn’t.

6. Baby #3 wasn’t *exactly* conceived on purpose. I was absolutely not ready. I had a 3 year old. And a one year old. Once he arrived it was clear that I was outnumbered. I had two hands and three children age 4 and under. And a migraine. And I wanted a bottle of wine. Or beer. Or vodka. But I wasn’t drinking at the time. Which is probably a good thing. It wasn’t always bad but there were days I thought I was so far in over my head I was destroying everyone’s life, including my own.

I wasn’t.

6. Also I was depressed. Like really REALLY depressed. Not taking a shower for like 7 months can do that too a woman.

I’m not now.

7. Also I was fat. Eating children’s leftover food every single meal and never leaving your house because you can’t figure out how to take out 3 small children without losing one can do that to a person.

I never did lose anyone. Wait, let me check….

Yep. They’re all still here.

8. Baby #3 was thankfully a good sleeper, eater, nurser and overall person. He must have known…

I was at my wits end.

9. At some point I decided I’d better get my arse back in school. So I went to nursing school while raising 3 little kids. Also I worked during that time. A lot.

I’d rather not discuss it. It was a dark dark time.

10. I forgot what it was like to have hobbies, interests or any free time. I forgot how to work my sewing machine, how to use scissors and how to spell. I felt like my brain had completely atrophied.

It comes back.

11. They got older and I got hobbies again. And interests. And I got to read some books that weren’t text in nature. I gave kids chores and I stopped making everyone’s bed.

Then I had another baby.

12. Now I don’t sleep. I don’t sew. My hamper is never empty. Going to the store is an Olympic event. Some days I don’t even wear a shirt. I can’t seem to find time to exercise. My breasts are huge and leaky and making it so no shirt made for a human being fits me. My nights are spent bouncing a baby to sleep. Then trying to transfer her to bed without waking her. Then laying by her to get her back to sleep after I wake her. Then sneaking out of the bed to try to see if I still have a husband. Then getting to the bottom of the stairs only to hear her crying.

I am a mother.

And I love it.

Phew.

mothering

Thank heavens for failed birth control.
No, really.
Thanks, heaven (or you know, whoever).
My son, the littlest one, turned 11 yesterday.
I found out I was pregnant with him after about 9 weeks of feeling ‘not quite right’ and attributing it to the heat, the move, the exhaustion of having a 3 and 1 year old. Anything but the little person growing inside.
I had no period. I was nursing his brother. I was on the pill. I wasn’t trying to have another baby.
I had no idea I was pregnant.
It was hot. We had no air conditioning. We had a swamp cooler. It doesn’t count. If you’ve ever had one, you know what I mean. I was doing dishes one night and found myself hunched over the kitchen sink in a gut wrenching hurl.
I don’t vomit. Like ever.
This is the exact moment I knew that the birth control pill had betrayed me. The next day my suspicions were confirmed. The week after that the poor poor radiologist had to be privy to my near breakdown when I saw that the presumed baby had fingers and toes.
I know what that means. You aren’t a little pregnant ma’am. You are, in fact, a lot pregnant.
I wasn’t ready but he was coming. And sure enough on January 29, 2000 at 8:40 pm this little guy joined us earthside.

I hope this photo conveys the awesome-ness that is this kid.

He loves bugs. Of all kinds. And animals. And mud. And blueberries. And his baby sister.
He plays sax. And drums. And the strings of my heart
He cries when he gets in trouble. And not the “please don’t punish me” kind of cry but the truly sorry kind. Because he is.
He was there when his baby sister was born. And by there I mean THERE. In the room. And by in the room I mean standing right beside me the entire time. The. Entire. Time.
He blew me bubbles.
He sat on the ball (OK he had a PSP but he was sitting there for like 6 hours).
And as Ella was literally coming out of me, he stood behind me and held my shoulders telling me I could do it. Gently encouraging me and saying “you’re DOING IT mom.”
(I cut the bottom off. Because this is a PG site. Also, I’m literally giving birth in this photo. There is a human being coming out of my body. Please forgive my hair.)
OK he used the thermometer like a gun too. I mean, come on, he was 10.
That is my boy.
Damn am I glad that birth control pill failed.

homebirth , kids , labor

Disclaimer: This is a multipurpose blog.

I like to educate, entertain, inform. I like to make you laugh and sometimes make you cry. I like to make you think. I like to be funny. Sometimes I like to be a little serious.

I ran into an old friend today. Well she’s not old. She’s my age. (Am I old? Wait… don’t answer that.) What I mean to say is we used to know each other pretty well. I really loved and admired her in those days. I still do. She’s a great mother and wife and a beautiful person. We don’t socialize anymore because we aren’t in the same social circles. I won’t go into that.

Anyway we chatted about life. About keeping up with the Joneses. About assumptions people make. About feeling like your neighbor was doing so much better than you because you didn’t know their truths, their secrets.
I told my friend about the blog post I’d written where I suggested we all just confess to each other all our shortcomings our mistakes.
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we knew we weren’t alone in imperfection?
I think it would.
In that light, I’ll go first.
*There are things that happened to me as a child that I don’t usually talk about. Because they hurt. I am embarrassed.
*Because of these things (and others) I have struggled with self-esteem. I still do sometimes. It’s a process. I am mindful of it.
*I have made decisions as a salve to my self-esteem. I am aware of this.
*I have felt the hushed murmurs and judgement of my friends and family. I was hurt by it.
*I have made judgements and spoken badly about people before. I didn’t like it done to me. Therefore I try hard not to do it.
* I worked hard to get into UC Davis so I could go to Vet school. Then I quit after a year. I thought I’d take a year off and go back. I didn’t. Not until much later. I have always wished I finished it there.
*My sister graduated from UC Davis. It was one of my proudest moments. And yet I was very sad it wasn’t me.
*I have suffered through postpartum depression. I cried a lot and felt like I was worthless a lot. I felt alone.
* I have lost my patience and yelled at my children. I don’t really much anymore. But I used to. More times than I like to think about. I was young and overwhelmed and unhappy sometimes.
*I co-sleep and practice attached parenting. I believe in letting babies self-wean and holding your kids close to you as much as you can, but at one point 15 years ago I let my eldest child cry in her crib. Because I was exhausted. I still feel awful about it.
*My kids have sometimes watched too much TV and played too much nintendo/gamecube/xbox/psp/playstation and read too little. I was tired and didn’t want to fight them about it.
*My husband and I don’t always get along. We don’t scream at each other but we do bicker, sometimes about stupid things. I don’t like when we do.
*Sometimes I intend to get things done and I don’t. Because I want to sit on the sofa. I am sometimes lazy.
*I have, on a couple of occasions in my lifetime, drank too much. I was probably sad.
*I have never done any drugs, of any kind. And I kind of wish I had.
*Despite the fact that I have never done drugs of any kind, I am not as square as you think.
*I curse. Sometimes I even use the f word.
*I try to be eco-aware and live green but I also drink diet soda and I buy drinks in Styrofoam cups. I feel guilty about it every single time but yet I still do it.
*I still eat fast food occasionally. It’s not good for you and I know it and yet I still do it.
*I have eaten more cookies than I’d like to admit. Today I ate pie, out of the dish. I’m not proud of it.
*I have occupied myself with things to keep from being depressed to the point of being obsessed. I have stayed up all night sewing. I have eaten sadness away. I have run until my leg was broke. I’m not proud of that either.
*I need to exercise more. I know this. And yet somedays I just don’t want to go through the hassle of it.
*I used to be thin. I was young and ate everything I wanted. I thought I was fat.
*I used to be fat. I was working nights and depressed. I hated my body but didn’t care. I knew I was fat.
*Then I was thin again. I was working out 2 and sometimes 3 hours a day. I was obsessed with being thin. I had no idea I was that thin.
*Now I’m not thin. Again. Though my husband love me the way I am, I don’t always love my body. I feel bad about it. I’m pretty sure I’m fat again. It’s probably better than being obsessed with being thin.
*I’m working on loving myself despite all of this. And when I fail at that, I feel like a failure.
I am a work in progress. If any of these things remind you of you. Phew. I’m not alone. Neither are you.
What are your secrets?
secrets

Not because I’m homeless. Stick around, will explain.

Let me know what you think of the blog redesign. I obviously didn’t need all that header. I found something smaller.

I’m typing up the post at a time when I wouldn’t normally be blogging. It’s dark. I think you get what I’m saying. Today is going to be a wild ride for this mom of 4. I’ll get to that later.

First things first.

Poo-free update. We are now on day 8. My head itches. This is apparently normal. Frown. I’m not enjoying this but I am sticking with it. I think I’ve combatted the dryness by using honey in the ends of my hair and reducing the baking soda (and still rinsing with AVC). Here’s hoping. I’m not a fan of the dry hair feeling so honestly if I can’t combat that, I can’t not use something. Presently I’m using almond oil and the coconut was just too greasy. The Man is having no issues but agrees that people use shampoo because it’s easy. So far this has not been. I’m holding out hope that once we get the kinks worked out it will be. Hoping. Now that I feel like I’m conquering the hair, I’m ready to start the oil cleansing method for face. More on that later.

Secondly:

This is the kind of day I’m going to have. The 3 big kids have to be at 3 different schools at 3 different times. 6:45. 7:45. 8:45. They also have to be picked up at 3 different times. One of them has a jazz band festival in a town about 35 minutes from here which begins at 9:00. Somehow I have to get kid #1 to school at 8:45 and still get to the festival by 9:00. Kid #3 has to be picked up at 12 because he has a minimum day. And kid #2, the jazz band kid? Well I don’t even know when he has to be picked up. Crap. I hope I don’t forget him. Thankfully Ella can’t walk or go to school yet.

I’m going to just move my stuff into the car today.

I need coffee.

Immediately.

And a clone.

chemical free , coconut oil , green living , kids , poo-free


I’m not lying.

I know I said I was going to tell you how to make french bread.
I did lie about that.
Well not entirely. I will post that recipe and instruction soon but I made this pie again today and I thought to myself, “Self, you should share this recipe. Like now.”
This pie is a nice little spin on the basic pie and the combination of a few recipes that I tweaked a little bit until it’s basically so delicious that you’ll want to immediately die after you eat it.
Ok not die. But probably at least have a moment of reverent silence.
No other person on the face of the earth has this recipe.
You’re welcome.
Here it is:
Epic Apple Pie
Crust:
4 c flour
1 3/4 c shortening
3 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup water
Filling:
8 ish large apples (I use Granny Smith. Duh.)
2 T flour
2 T sugar
2 tsp cinnamon (Or more. Or less. You decide. I use it sparingly because frankly my mom put so much cinnamon in her pie that you could barely taste the apples. Sorry mom. Just keeping it real. I have a little bit of an aversion to cinnamon.)
Juice of half lemon
Topping:
1/2 c unsalted butter
3 T. flour
1/2 sugar
1/2 light brown sugar packed
1/4 water
And instructions:
First heat up the oven to 425 F.
Gather your ingredients. Here they are:
The lemon isn’t pictured. You need one. Sorry, I forgot. Also the butter and sugar aren’t pictured. You need those too. Oh heck, I’m not sure why I put this picture there at all.
Moving on.
Ok, peel up them apples. However thin or thick you like. I like them thin. That’s just a personal preference (also if you’re making a BIG pie like me they’ll get cooked through this way, if not they’ll be a little firm which is also tasty).
Please use a sharp knife. And don’t cut your finger. (I know you’re probably not 10, but just in case you are, be careful.)
Toss in there the lemon juice, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Stir it up.
Compost the peels (or eat them, or feed them to your pig, if you have one).
Now make the crust:
I command you to not be intimidated by making homemade pie crust. It’s not that hard and it makes a WORLD of pie difference. You can buy crust at the store (in the freezer or fridge section) but it is like 1/1,000,000th as good. If granny saw me using store pie pie crust she’d come back from the afterlife just to strangle me. And probably curse me out for not having my own chickens.
Here’s the dry stuff (and crisco):
Mix the egg and water and set in the fridge. You know, cause it’s cold in there.
This is how you do it: Mix up the dry stuff (that is flour, sugar, salt). Give it a good stir. Then cut in the shortening. You can use a pastry cutter (I got mine from Christmas) or you can use your fingers (some of the best pies I’ve ever had were made by my sister in law Deva and were made with the “fingers” method”) or two butter knives. Make a little well in the center and pour the egg and water into it. It should look about like this.
Mix it all up with a spoon until it’s well blended (I usually end up using my hands at this point).
Then divide it in about half. Note: This recipe makes probably two pies worth of crust but I always make deep dish so I just end up with some leftover bits. You can cut these into strips and put cinnamon and sugar on them and bake them up making a little treat that kids (and husbands, incidentally) love. I probably should have told you this earlier. Sorry.
Then throw some flour on some flat surface (this is my kitchen table which is basically the only place I ever roll anything out) and roll the crust out. Use enough flour to make sure it doesn’t stick. It’s helpful if it’s kind of cold (the dough, not the table). Once you’ve got it rolled out big enough lift it up and put it in the pie dish. Press it all in and then cut around the edge. If you like to can make it crimped and fancy schmancy like mine:


Pile the apples in there:
This pie is not. Messing. Around.
Now time for lattice. Roll out the other half the dough and cut it into strips about 1.5 inches or so wide and at least 10-12 inches long. You can use a pizza cutter. Or a knife. Like so:
If you need help figuring out how to do the lattice (I just lay it down one strip at a time starting with the top one and the one on the left side and working my way down and over ) here is a little step by step instruction.
Now let’s mix up topping. Melt the butter and add flour to make a pasty like substance then add in the water and sugar(s) and mix it all up.
Brush it over the crust using a pastry brush (or if you’re cheap like me just use a paintbrush {I swear I only use this for pie}). Then slowly pour the rest over the pie (and into the pie).

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then reduce to 350 and bake another 35-45 minutes (I go the full 45 for the deep dish). It’s a good idea to set it on a cookie sheet (Unless you like the sound of your smoke detector).
You may now enjoy the best apple pie ever in the history of apple pie.
Can someone please come clean my kitchen?

cooking , epic apple pie , recipes