Archive for January, 2008

Learning Lessons #6: Appreciation

January 31, 2008

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a 3rd grader from my children’s school. It was a little boy who had previously been in class with Tristan. It was incredibly sad to see the family come in behind the little coffin. The kids go to a Catholic school and the funeral and Mass were held at the parish church affiliated with the school. Many of the students and teachers attended. As I sat there saddened by the loss of a little boy, my mind started to wander. I started to think about what, exactly, I was sad about.

I realized that the saddest part for me was knowing that if I were to lose one of my children, that I’d have missed out on enjoying some of the things that are often “annoying”. I’d miss the clean and folded clothes that have been stuffed into the laundry basket so that they didn’t have to be put away. I’d miss a little voice begging me to sit down and read a story, even though I’m trying to make dinner, fold clothes, wash dishes, write a blog post or take a shower. I’d miss “on-demand” nursing. I’d miss the warmth of a little body climbing into my bed and squishing in-between my husband and I. I’d miss special requests at dinner or snack time. I’d miss the long, drawn-out explanations of ideas from curious and growing little minds. I’d be heart-broken to realize that I hadn’t enjoyed being a mother and instead focused on the annoyances of doing this job 24/7 for years on end. And right there and then I made a decision to ENJOY my children. To love them for the time I have them, dirty hands, food on the floor, whining and all. I’m making a vow to love them the way I want to, despite people who think they should be more disciplined, quieter, cleaner. Despite people who think my family is too large or too poor. I’m just going to love them and enjoy them and hope that I get to keep them for a long, long time.

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday! I learned that I need to appreciate what’s been put before me.

So, now, instead of worrying about the paperwork that’s piling up or the laundry that’s never going to be done, anyway or the messy playroom, I’m going to pack up my 3 youngest kiddos and take a walk to the beach.

I hope you each find a way to appreciate your loved ones today and to vow to love them in your own way, without being hindered by other’s opinions.

Have a great day~

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A Futuristic Blast From the Past

January 30, 2008

I work on a MAC and we bought Kateri an iBook for her graduation present. So, we have the luxury of being able to use iChat to see and talk to each other whenever we can. The little kids LOVE to see her on the screen and be able to do their latest trick or show off their newest song. Tonight, she sent an iChat invitation just after we finished dinner. So, Clay and I came over to the computer and answered the request and pulled up chairs to be able to chat. After a couple of minutes she asked for the babies to come to the computer so that she could hear them sing, etc. Then Arianna and Maddi wanted to tell her their latest, exciting happenings. Pretty soon, Tristan and Max were in front of the computer showing off their latest TinkerToy creations. Well, soon the whole family was around the computer chatting and listening (some of them, Clay included, met her boyfriend for the first time.) and it reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of families gathered around the radio or TV after dinner, in years gone by. I had to chuckle because even though we were using a great piece of newer technology, it was drawing the family together unlike anything else we do, these days.

So, iChat, I recommend it!

Good night~

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My Head is Full of So Many Things!

January 29, 2008

There are so many topics running through my head! Everything from being so grateful for wonderful people in our lives to wondering if my girls should attend a funeral at their school on Wednesday. I guess I’ll just jump in with both feet and see where I land.
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This weekend, we were fortunate enough to have 3 great guys come to the house to help Clay get some things in order before he deploys. Each of these people had to make a trip to get here. It wasn’t like they lived around the corner or work with Clay. It’s amazing to have people like that in your life! Thanks guys! I always hum the Johnny Appleseed song when I think of how lucky we’ve been with our circle of friends!
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When we got the mail today there was a new bill in it. When I opened it, it was for a credit card that I hadn’t heard of before. When I asked Clay about it, he said it was a card that he had applied for, but that when it came, we sent it through the shredder. It had over $100 in fees on it! He went to call to say that he never “activated” the card and to close the account. No live people to talk to! So, we Googled the card and came up with this! I’m writing about this, so that if any of you receive this offer that you can tear it up. I’m saying a prayer that it becomes an easy fix.
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It seems that as Clay’s deployment approaches, new projects keep being laid before us. We need to switch Dr.’s for the family because Luke-Xavier can’t be seen at the one we have been with for the last 10 years. Plus, we need to change the status for Kateri and JJ and try to find Dr.’s in their areas. The taxes have to be done (and we’re just NOT going to talk about THAT!). Oh! I’m just not even going to list any of the others, because they are just depressing!
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Last week, a little boy from the kids’ school passed away. It was unexpected and tragic! The funeral is on Wednesday and the girls want to go. I can’t attend because I would be bringing Gabi and Luke-Xavier with me and I just don’t feel like it’s the right place to bring little ones. So, another mom has offered to check the girls out so that they can go. But, then I wonder if they should go to something like that without me. What to do?!
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Well, this all seems a little dreary. Sorry! There will likely be a few more like this as the time for deployment and the crunch to get things done approaches. If you’ve never sent your spouse off to war, it’s probably a bit difficult to understand the vast array of emotions that go into it. If you HAVE been through this, then you are probably remembering specific crazinesses of when it was happening to you. Ugh! But, we make it through. One step at a time and it all gets done. Ultimately the kids get taken care of, the bills get paid, the needed items get purchased and off they go. Then the time during the deployment creeps along until it’s literally flying to the date for homecoming. Whew! One step at a time.

Good night~

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Mommy of Many Show #14: Facing Miscarriage

January 27, 2008

10 years ago Clay and I had the awful experience of losing a baby to miscarriage. We had 5 healthy and beautiful children at the time which made the whole experience completely unexpected. The healing process was long and rocky. We learned a lot from that little baby that never spoke to us. I felt like the 10 year mark was a good time to share what we learned and some good resources for those that are looking for support. The 2 websites mentioned in the show today are;

Americanpregnancy.org
and
miscarriagesupport.org

Thank you for visiting MommyofMany.com. I look forward to your comments and questions.

You can always email me at Jen@MommyofMany.com

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Tip of the Day (and a question)

January 25, 2008

Using sidewalk chalk in the bath/shower may seem like a good idea when your children are house-bound (2 days of “heavy” rain in So. Cal.)

But……………..it’s NOT!

While the kids did enjoy writing on the shower walls, it took me over an hour to get the area pictured below, clean. Geesh!

The only positive thing about the whole experience is knowing FOR SURE, that my tub and walls are clean! :-)
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While I was in there scrubbing, I was thinking about the bath toys. We’ve had several systems for bath toys over the years. But I haven’t found one, yet that keeps the toys from eventually getting mungy. Does anyone have a FABULOUS bath toy system? ‘Cuz, as you can see, we are down to a few toys that just sit on the edge of the tub. Not so much fun for the kiddos, but at least I can keep them clean and dry.

Let me know.

Good night~

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Random and Disconnected Thoughts

January 24, 2008

I am supposed to be writing my next show because I have someone coming over to show me how to record my shows at home. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a good friend who has been doing it for me and now I’m dragging my feet getting ready! I’ve had weeks…..WEEKS to prepare for this and now at the 4 hour mark, I’m choosing to write a blog post instead of a show. Yikes! I really dig my heels in when it comes to change.
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Step, step, drag, thump. That’s the sound of trying to get Luke-Xavier up the sidewalk, across the street and into the house, today. You know how toddlers will go completely limp when you’re holding their hand and trying to lead them somewhere. Usually I will just pick them up and carry them to the desired destination, but today I had the other arm full of stuff. So, step, step, drag, thump we went until I finally got him inside.
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A friend of mine, who has 4 small kiddos, told me that her husband wants to come to our house during dinner time and observe and take notes while we go about our routine. ~Gulp~ Really! Is he aware that he’s coming to the circus?! Popcorn and peanuts may even be the menu! I am always so flattered and encouraged by people who tell me the good things they see about my family. I just wish I could see what they are seeing! I’ve even had people come into the house and talk about organization and routine that eludes my eyes. Maybe it’s a sign that I should ease up and enjoy what’s happening a little more, but I really feel like I’m not only dancing around the children everyday, but also trying to swim.
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Why does it feel so good, when you’re driving, to sing with such feeling and volume but LOOK so bad?! Totally not fair!
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Here is a great picture of Luke-Xavier being entertained by the washing machine, this morning. If life could always be so simple!

Good night~

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And the Beat Goes On……………..

January 23, 2008

Back from my 4-day jaunt of eating (and eating and eating some more), laughing, visiting, reminiscing AND being childless, reality hit HARD this morning at 5am. “Oh yeah!, I’m the Mommy of Many” ” I do the Dance of the Children”. Dang!

Seriously, it was sweet to have Luke-Xavier climb into bed with me and snuggle up, all happy and sweet, because I was finally home. Max was down-right giddy when he saw me this morning. Talk about feeling like royalty. It lasted all of 7 minutes and then it was back to the routine. Clay had done a good job of trying to keep the kiddos on schedule and on task, but there was still plenty of catching up for me to do. I’m still a little fuzzy from taking the trip.


I was able to visit with my Grandma. I was quite impressed with her memory on that particular day. She was able to ask about some of my kiddos by name. I don’t think, enough, about visiting relatives until I’m finally with them and realize how much I miss them. It was really nice to be able to visit with 5 (yep, 5!) of my siblings at once. Usually I’m the one hearing stories of the visiting, but don’t actually get to be there. Hmmmmm……………I guess I better start taking trips more often! :-)

I managed to squeeze in some visiting with friends from High School and am now wondering how Kateri can possibly be, almost 19, when my friends and I are all only 28?! Crazy!

Well, off to bed I go, so that I can face tomorrow without feeling off kilter. Wish me luck!

Good night~

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Mommy of Many Show #13: “No” Parenting

January 20, 2008

No is a powerful word and as parents I feel that we need to feel confident in using it to set limits for our children, even when it means that we go against all the hype happening around us. It can be hard to stand firm, but I feel that it’s crucial so that our children learn to appreciate the true gifts in life.

Thank you for coming to MommyofMany.com. I look forward to your questions or comments. You can email me at Jen@MommyofMany.com

Have a great day~

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Leaving for the Weekend

January 18, 2008

I’m heading out for a weekend trip to visit family and friends. It’s the only chance I’ll have to get away before Clay leaves for his deployment. It’s also the first time since 1998 that I will be going anywhere overnight without “the baby”.

I’m excited to see people, but the Mommy in me is nervous about Luke-Xavier. But, my personality is such that I shy away from anything new (hard to believe?) and am always ready to cancel what I’ve planned. So, getting on the plane will be an accomplishment. I also, always worry about the house and routine and if it will be kept up (ok, silly! It won’t be kept up in MY way, but no one will go hungry, thirsty, naked).

See the self-talk I go through?!

Geesh!

Well, I’m going! But, that means that the next new thing here on the site will be the show on Sunday. I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll be back to tell about my trip Monday night.

Until then~

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A Day in the Life of Luke-Xavier

January 17, 2008

It was a challenging day with Luke-Xavier. He was constantly on the move and into things. It made me realize that, not only is he almost 2, but it looks like being 2 is going to be a challenge!
Here’s a glimpse into his day;

Chocolate pudding was eaten and worn at snack time
choclate pudding for snack

At nap time, we had to put up 2 gates because he climbs over 1. However, we learned that you can’t leave a space in between them
Luke-Xavier peeking between the gates

Lex climbing between the gates

After nap I found out that he can strip himself down. Yep, diaper too! But those pictures weren’t ok for the internet (but watch out baby book!)

Once I redressed him (in a onesie, ’cause he hasn’t figured those out yet!), he cleared out one of the kitchen cupboards and made a new place to play (or sleep. We could use another bedroom. Maybe I should start looking at the kitchen! )

He then climbed into Tristan’s bath, fully-dressed and had to be stripped down. But he didn’t mind, since he didn’t want clothes on anyway.

Then he became a very self-sufficient little guy and found a water-source when he was thirsty

That’s Clay’s Camelback that he’s drinking from. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?! Smart kiddo.

We ended the day with dumping a pencil-sharpener on the living room rug.

Then he found his baby doll and acted sweet as could be and gave it hugs

All his shenanigans paid off in the end. When I put him to bed, he didn’t put up a fight AND he slept through the night!

We’ll see what he’s got in store for me today :-)

Have a great day~

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Things That Give Me a Great Feeling

January 15, 2008

Yesterday, when I was feeling a little yucky, I decided to think of those things or moments that have given me a great feeling. Whenever I’m doing something that makes me feel really good and SO happy to be alive, I try to make a mental note so that I can go back to it. Here’s a list, in no particular order;

The smell of the ocean
The sound of the ocean
The feel of the sand and the water at the beach
Driving along the water in a convertible on a beautiful day

Holding Luke-Xavier, just after birth

Holding my, just-delivered baby

Snuggling with a little one who’s got their arms wrapped around my neck SO tight
Listening to Rod Stewart music blaring when I’m alone in the house
Music, all genres
Right after Reconciliation
The feeling of knowing that Clay’s coming home THAT day from a deployment
Surprises
Sushi
Being the first one up in the morning and stepping outside into the quiet of the day
Watching/listening to people perform and knowing they’re giving it all they’ve got

I hope you each have a great day and that you each have a great list of wonderful things to pull from to make those yucky days better~

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Feelin’ Yucky. Could it Be the First Stage of Deployment Emotions?

January 14, 2008

American Flag

For the last few days I’ve felt very emotional, with big highs and low lows. We’ve gone through many deployments throughout Clay’s career and our marriage and I can’t help but feel that I’m hitting the first stage of the Deployment Cycle. I’ve looked at several sources and they all list the same basic phases of emotions that people go through. I thought I’d share what I’ve heard and read, below;

The Stages of Deployment

Deployments evoke a variety of reactions, but many families experience
a fairly predictable cycle of emotions: increased
anxiety or stress as a deployment approaches; adjustment after a
command deploys; and renewed, though positive, stress during
reunion.

These three phases are followed by a period of readjustment.
In each phase of the cycle, different emotions or reactions
will take place. Listed here are some normal reactions
and feelings you may have for each phase of the deployment.
Pre-Deployment Phase (6-8 weeks prior to deployment)
· Disbelief – Its too painful/scary to think about
· Anger – It’s easier to say goodbye to someone you’re angry
with.
· Guilt – “I’ll be glad when I’m/she/he is gone.”
· Fear – “Can I do it?” or, “I’m afraid to be alone.” The fear of
the unknown.

So, the conclusion I’m coming to is that my emotional roller coaster is normal. But it still feels yucky!

I hope you have a good day~

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Mommy of Many Show #12: Talking with Kateri

January 13, 2008

While Kateri was home from school for the break, I took the opportunity to bring her into the studio and sit down for a chat. She shares a few stories about life in the Lang house and what it’s like to be the oldest in a big family. It was fun to have her with me for the show. I hope you enjoy our chat!

Thank you for visiting the site and for listening to the show.
You can always email your questions or comments to Jen@MommyofMany.com.
You can also subscribe to the show by clicking the “subscribe” button to the left.

Until next time, I’ll be here, doing The Dance of the Children~

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Change of Command Ceremony

January 12, 2008

American Flag

Yesterday I was able to attend the squadron’s Change of Command ceremony. For those who aren’t coming from a military background, that’s when the existing Commanding Officer is exiting and the Executive Officer becomes the new Commanding Officer. The ceremony is wonderful and full of tradition. This is only the second one I’ve been able to attend because in the past I didn’t have a babysitter etc. These ceremonies are the times when you are able to remember that your family is part of something great. Just as in any home, the husband going to work becomes routine, so it’s easy to forget that we belong to an organization so full of tradition.

Clay at the Change of Command

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Kateri ready to catch the plane

On another note, Kateri headed back to school this morning. The break is officially over. It was so nice to have everyone here for the Holidays! Christmas was peaceful and New Year’s was beautiful. Seriously, it was a beautiful, sunny, So. Cal. day.

Now we focus on getting everything in order for Clay to deploy in March. ~sigh~

Have a great day~

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Q n A

January 10, 2008

I get a lot of questions about life in this family ‘O mine and I was thinking it would be fun to put together a Q n A show. But………I’d like to answer questions that each of you are interested in hearing about. So, over the next few weeks, if you have a burning question for Mommy of Many, you can leave it here as a comment OR you can email me; Jen@MommyofMany.com (the whole email thing will be easier soon. One step at a time on this undertaking). I’m up for answering just about anything. I get some pretty invasive and crazy questions on a daily basis, just walking through the grocery store. So, no need to be shy.

Have a great day~

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