Sunday, October 31, 2010

Little Punkins

It's sort of hard for me to believe that they all started out as small as baby B.  Or rather, that they are all now so very much bigger than baby B.  But they're still my little ones, no matter their size.

We managed a trip to the pumpkin patch in between all of my medical issues.  Where the kids found the perfect pumpkin, which turned out to be both too big and too expensive.  But at least we snapped a few pictures with it before leaving it there for someone else.

Fortunately for us, the kids were happy enough choosing little pumpkins from the dollar bin.  So we were able to leave with most of our money in our pockets.  We went later to the grocery store, where they sell pumpkins for about a third of the price at the pumpkin patch. 

Even B made an appearance on the giant pumpkin.  She wasn't too fond of the experience, however, and soon started to cry.  But not before I had snapped a few pictures. 

One of her nicknames is Dopey.  I think this photo clearly shows the resemblance.  We just need to find her a purple dwarf hat somewhere.


Last Halloween, I remember talking to Shaggy about this year's costumes.  We decided that it would be a great idea to have all of them be homemade.  We were full of ideas for cute costumes.  It would be so much fun . . . and so doable.

Then this year rolled around and the reality of life with so many kids forced us to reconsider.  We had a few "what were we thinking?" moments, and then decided to just pop open the halloween box and let the kids dive in and choose their own costumes.  Which was a good thing since the very thought of trying to make/supervise the creation of five costumes made me hyperventilate.

K used her costume from last year and decided to be an elven princess.  Lovely . . . and wonderfully easy.

S was super excited to wear a costume from a few years back.  Plus she raided my jewelry box and found a Zuni necklace that I've had for as long as I remember.

J found an old, thrift store fireman costume.  He was so excited to wear it, the only problem was that it was too small.  So when I saw this costume at Costco, I grabbed it.

This is the first year that he wasn't afraid to be a person for Halloween.  Every previous year, he's been some sort of animal or insect.  So I jumped on board and encouraged him.  We even pulled Shaggy's old helmet and boots out of the garage for a photo op.  Too bad we don't have a fire house that we can visit anytime to let him climb around on a fire engine.  Sigh!  I really miss the good old days in Chicago, sometimes.

R has been talking about being a fairy for months.  So I dusted off a gorgeous flower girl dress that K wore when my oldest brother got married.  It couldn't have been better, though I did have to hunt around for the right wings and crown.  Thanks again to Ebay, and my newest friend, Etsy, that part was easy.

I wasn't sure she'd want to wear the wings very much, but I could hardly get them off of her.  I'm thinking that this is one of my all-time favorite costumes.  Lucky B will get to wear it at some point in the future, I'm sure.

We didn't have any costumes that would fit baby B.  I guess I sold all my baby ones from previous years.  So I grabbed a used pumpkin costume from Ebay.

Turns out that I should have waited, because we realized belatedly that B should have been a piggy for Halloween.  Why?  Well, because she snorts.  A lot.  It would have been the perfect costume for her.

Oh, well.  She did make a cute pumpkin.  And as J pointed out, I do call her "punkin" all the time.

I've had people ask me why I put so much thought into my kids' costumes.  And I think it's simply because I like costumes.  And I like to watch how much fun the kids have when they're dressed up.  It becomes a role-playing extravaganza.

These two were running around the backyard, somehow managing to make fairies and firemen a natural part of their games.  Then they had to stop to catch a moth that they saw.  When J was done putting it into his bug jar, R said, "Good job, fireman, catching that moth!"

Now we all know that firemen rescue kittens from trees, but catching moths . . . well, that's something new. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life Is Pain, Princess

And anyone who tells you differently is selling something. 

The birth of B was supposed to be the big, huge hurdle that we had to make it over before our life could settle into normalcy again.  Our last baby was wonderfully mellow and sleepy--even from the very beginning.  We figured karma was on our side and was rewarding us for choosing a life of service rather than one of leisure . . . or something like that.  We were hoping and probably expecting this baby to have read the heavenly memo that explained that she would be a FIFTH child and should therefore be decidedly LOW maintenance. 

But I don't believe she got that memo.

She is most certainly NOT low maintenance.  Her first flaw is that she refuses to take a pacifier.  Which leads to her second flaw of not napping very well on her own.  Which makes it nearly impossible for me to get anything done.  Which wouldn't be a big deal, really, except for the fact that the other kids need clean clothes to wear to school and have to be able to find their shoes in the hurricane zone that my floors sometimes become.  And the fact that I really hate to let R watch too much tv each day.

So we were muddling through the first month post-baby, just taking things one day at a time.  But I remember asking Shaggy after a particularly difficult day, "What were we thinking, believing that we could handle five kids?!"

I probably shouldn't have asked that question--I must have jinxed myself in a major way.  Because right after that, things got a whole lot tougher.

I started having horrible abdominal pain which would keep me up most of the night.  Didn't know what it was, but I had experienced something similar after R was born.  But back then, it just went away after several weeks.  So this time, I just tried to dig in and wait it out. 

Only that didn't work out so well for me.  The pain just got worse, lasted longer, and came more frequently.  Early on, I remember thinking that if the attacks would only come during the day, then at least I could get some rest.  But then they did, and it certainly wasn't better.

It's a funny thing about pain;  when you're not feeling it, you don't really think about it at all.  But when you are experiencing it, EVERYTHING else fades in importance.  Stopping the pain becomes the most important thing.  Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to take a pain pill.  So I just sat up all night and endured it until it finally faded away.

But I couldn't really do that during the day.  Because I had two little ones at home I had to take care of.  Whose needs didn't make any concessions for my pain.  So I had to endure the pain AND take care of them, which added a whole new dimension to my agony.  Which finally drove me to tears and my leftover vicodin.  Which was a godsend.

But as the attacks didn't seem to be going away, I figured I would actually need to see a doctor.  Ugghhh!

Turns out that it was a good thing that I went when I did, as my condition was fairly serious.  Gallstones . . . blocking my liver.  Nice.

So here I am, a week later, and post-surgery.  I've earned a whole lot more pain endurance points, because the nice vicodin unfortunately started making little B sick.

But I've realized something.  I got the memo that God has apparently been trying to send me.

Appreciate the now, because things can ALWAYS get worse.

Suddenly life with five kids doesn't seem so overwhelming.  Because in the absence of my pain, I get to live my life blissfully grateful that it's gone.  And that . . .  well, that just makes absolutely everything easier.