Meet the Family – Turtle

This is my oldest son, Turtle, holding his baby sister, Cookie, just last week. He turned 26 this past December. A little blurry but sweet nonetheless.

He is currently working full time at a local grocery store.

Turtle loves anything Denver; Denver Nuggets, Denver Broncos, Chubby’s Mexican Food, Las Delicias.

He also loves playing basketball with his brothers and their friends.

Needless to say, with his love of Denver, he, and his brothers and my husband were very disappointed over the Broncos losing the Super Bowl yesterday.  So it’s probably best not to mention that.

So, say “Hi!” to Turtle!

Meet the Family – Banana

Everyone say, “Hi!” to my mom, Nana (AKA Banana)

As I said in my post introducing my dad, Papaya, Banana and Papaya moved in with us almost 6 years ago now. They moved in for a number of reasons, including so I could finish school and to get them out of a neighborhood that had gone downhill until it was no longer safe for them to live in their house.

Banana grew up in Florida and Georgia and this is the first time she’s ever lived outside of the South. This picture was taken right after a major snowstorm. She’d never seen so much snow before!

She is a baby boomer born right after WWII ended, to a housewife who drank and smoked way too much because they didn’t know how if affected unborn children back then. It was truly a miracle she survived, only weighing 4 lbs at birth. My grandmother said when she was finally allowed to bring her home, a month or more after her birth that the palm of her hand was larger than Banana’s head. (And Grandmom was a tiny woman, only reaching 4’11” and having been a ballerina!)

Banana does a marvelous job of helping me with the kiddos. She takes the younger ones to school in the mornings and picks them up in the afternoons. And since Cookie was born, she’s been helping make their lunches in the mornings, too. She’ll be taking care of Cookie while I’m at work, when I go back. (Which is rapidly sneaking up on me.)

She was almost always a stay at home mom. I remember only one job that she had when I was growing up and that was packing candied pecans at a pecan factory. She kept the job one season and then stayed home, taking care of my grandmother and I until after I left home. After that, she worked in a grocery store in the seafood department.

Banana was my biggest supporter growing up, never missing a single ballet lesson or performance, soccer game, parade, football game (I was on flag line.), or band concert. She brings just as much dedication to my children as she did to me. (Thanks Banana! We love you!)

So say, “Hi!”, to my mom!

First Smiles

We got our first smiles last Wednesday, January 29th!

By that I mean, the first smiles that weren’t done in her sleep or while staring off into space trying out different facial expressions.

There was full eye contact, with Cookie’s little face lighting up like the proverbial light bulb. She graced me with her beautiful smiles four times that day and twice for Daddy. And I can’t even count the times since then!

I’m a Happy Happy Mama!

Dreaming Babies

Ok, I REALLY REALLY want to know, what do babies dream about??

Cookie has been laughing and smiling in her sleep for the last week approximately. Well, the smiling in her sleep started the day she was born. But the laughter is something new.

At first it was a single guffaw, like a little tiny explosion of laughter came out of that itty bitty person.

Today, there was a string of 5 or 6 chuckles with the biggest grin.

And did I mention, I can’t wait for her to start actually smiling and laughing at us? Seeing that whole little face light up? Can’t wait.

She’s 3 1/2 weeks already! Where has the time gone?

Meet the Family – Papaya

Meet my dad! We call him Papa (AKA Papaya).

Never one to keep a straight face in a photo, this is the only semi-recent one I could find where he isn’t being a screwball. 🙂

He is a United States Marine Corps and Vietnam War veteran. He and my mother have lived with us for the last five years. They’ve been married for the last 38 years.They watched my daughter Pookie while I finished school and they will now watch Cookie when I go back to work.

The family joke is that I teethed on a 3/16th’s wrench while “helping” Daddy fix a car. I was always Daddy’s girl. I think he still feels guilt (although I don’t think he’s ever found the words to say it) about not being able to be there for my half-sister when she was growing up. So I think he made up for it by spending as much time with me as he could when I was growing up.

He never let me being a girl stop me from doing anything: he taught me how to use tools, feed the chickens, and clean out the gas filter in my grandmother’s Chevette (while my grandmother and mother were making sure that I knew how to sew, crochet, embroider, set a table, use the right utensils and be a lady but more on them later).

Papa grew up in Oklahoma and as worked in so many trades that it’s hard to keep track. Off the top of my head there was oil field worker, broom corn field worker, mechanic, bartender, truck driver, maintenance worker, janitor, and Walmart greeter.

We finally convinced him to retire after he left Walmart so he’s been relaxing and reading every Western the library has for the last 2 years now. (Seriously, the library is running out of Westerns that he hasn’t read!)

Anyway, he says, “Hello!”

Mom Guilt

Everyone has heard about new mom guilt by now. We all feel guilt no matter what, about everything from nursing or bottle feeding, cloth or disposable diapers, work or stay at home and possibly a thousand other things.

I have however encountered one version that I did not expect. And let me state now, that I do NOT blame anyone at all for my guilt.

Let me explain.

My acquaintance, we’ll call her Cammie, was expecting her first baby, due the day after I was expecting my seventh, Cookie. I jokingly called us due date buddies. Whether she liked it or not, she laughed along.

She was very vocal on her favorite social media site about her pregnancy, whereas I chose not to even discuss it on there until Cookie was born. But she posted less than glowingly about her pregnancy. Yes, I was uncomfortable, and I felt like a whale, and I had trouble sleeping and at times it was painful, but I was bringing a baby into the world! What a blessing!

On January 4th, I woke up with contractions and two hours later, our little Cookie was born. Yep. You read that right: 2 hours later. I had a natural birth (and not by my choice, let me tell you). I found out later that day that Cammie had begun having contractions the night before. By the end, she had opted to have an epidural (of which I’m still a bit jealous lol) and she had to have a C-section.

So I feel guilty that my birth was so easy and hers was not.

Then I read (again through her favorite social media) that Cammie was having trouble nursing her son. And while Cookie and I had a little bit of a problem, we got it sorted out and she nurses like a champ. (Even if I am worried about having to pump when I go back to work.) Cammie’s son, however, was hospitalized for dehydration and they are still having to supplement with formula.

So I feel guilty that my daughter nurses well.
And I feel guilty that I was lucky enough to avoid needing to supplement this time. (I have had to with one of my sons.)

And I have recently realized that most of the moms that I know (granted they are on their first kids) are so very much the “crunchy” moms about which you hear.

So I feel guilty about not wanting to use cloth diapers (I don’t find them practical).
I feel guilty about not buying organic foods only.
I feel guilty that my kids don’t have severe food allergies.
I feel guilty that I am fortunate enough to have my mother available to keep my kids while I work.

And I am sure I will find more and more things about which to feel guilty.

But maybe we, as mothers, should realize that we can’t be it all.
We can’t do it all.
And no matter what we are going to feel guilty about something.
Instead, perhaps, we should all just give each other a hug every time we pass each other in the grocery store, or at the pick up section at the school, or in the doctor’s office and just acknowledge, even if it is silently, that we are all human. And all of us are going to make someone else feel guilty about something whether we mean to or not. (I know Cammie or my other mom friends don’t intend to make me feel guilty.)
What do you say; want a hug?

Daddy

I’ve been debating for a couple days now on how to begin this blog. I have a couple stories that I wanted to tell before life flows on and I forget them. And it seems to me that the appropriate one to start with is the one I’ve been wanting to tell about my DH of 20 years since our story as a family starts with him, too.

We had our little Cookie’s first doctor appointment last week, just to make sure she was growing well. He had trouble sleeping the night before, but he got up to drive us anyway.

We were waiting for the doctor to come in & she was fussing, as babies sometimes do.

I was doing the mama thing and rocking and murmuring to her and she calmed down a bit. He had been watching me comfort her & his words meant more to me that I will ever be able to express. He said, “You amaze me.” At my puzzled look, he continued, “You’re such a good mother. You have a strength that I don’t understand.”

I can’t explain why or how, but he always knows just what to say to me to take my breath away, to chase away the tears, to give me strength. Just when I need it most, he says exactly what I need to hear even when I don’t know what I need to hear. He is my rock. He is my life. And I love him.