Did you think I had departed to that great Lego-strewn playroom in the sky?
I'm still around, and helplessly behind on posting...since I last posted, we've had a couple of birthdays, a couple of midwife visits, a minor holiday or two, a minor illness or three...I have lots of pictures to upload and too much to ever write about. So, how about some random updates...
...Praise the Lord, Halloween is over. Gathering up costumes for four kids, plus All Saints' Day costumes as well, has been just about more than I can handle. Now I just have to ride out the candy wave for a few days and it'll all be behind us.
...The first trimester is done! I am now 16 weeks along and feeling in that weird in-between stage of pregnancy, that one where I'm no longer nauseous and not really feeling the baby move either. Up until last week we'd had trouble finding the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler, and part of me was convinced that the whole thing was just a big mistake and I wasn't pregnant after all. But we did find it! There's definitely a baby in there after all! Which makes me feel lots better about the recent move into maternity clothes.
...Tess is delicious. I just love toddlers. She is a joy, sweet and happy and so funny. Today I was getting out of the shower and she was watching me intently- staring up at me as I dried off and wrapped a towel around my head, looking a little unsure, as she always does, that it was still really Momma under that towel- watching me kiss and put on my scapular, watching me put on deodorant and get dressed,,,all the while she just looked like her gears were turning and she wasn't missing a thing. Then the towel came off my head and she smiled in relief that it was still really Momma after all, and we settled on the bed for a snuggle and a nurse. Yep, she's still nursing, as much as ever. One of the sweetest things about Tess is that she is *so* in love with Daddy. Oh my goodness. I've not had a child that has been like this. It's very sweet to see. John just came home from work, and she is just enraptured.
...Jack is really growing up a lot this year. He just turned five last month. He loves his preschool class at the co-op and his PSR class at church. We are still waiting to have him evaluated for autism spectrum disorder. Waiting is hard. Some things are improving with him. Other things seem to be harder. He has this need to run through the upcoming day, over and over and over again, the exact same script. At times when I can't prepare him for exactly what will happen, he has a really hard time. He was really out of sorts at our homeschool group's All Saints' Day party...it was in an unfamiliar place, very crowded with lots of people he didn't know very well, and he kept following me around and fussing, "Everyone is in my way!" He's so sweet though, and so smart. His latest obsession is with outer space, and he sits and reads our science books about the planets. He has them all memorized and is glad to rattle them off for anybody. If Tess is a Daddy's girl, Jack is definitely Momma's boy. He's not very affectionate or tuned in to many people, but boy, he loves his Momma and is very affectionate towards me. And I sure do love him madly.
...Kain is...well, Kain has his good weeks and bad weeks. We are in the middle of a run of bad weeks. It's really difficult and really draining. I feel like we fight all day long. We do fight all day long. School is really difficult for him and I think his learning issues are more significant that he was originally diagnosed with at age 6. He was so unbelievably hyperactive then that I think it would have masked any more subtle problems. So we are in the process of having him re-evaluated.
...Maria just turned 13 in September. What can I say? She's a chip off the old block. Outgoing as can be, involved in everything, my right hand and a little mother to her siblings...except for Kain. She and Kain fight over carpet lint. She's doing really well with her school work this year. Oh, her spelling is still atrocious, her writing is certainly not on grade level. She's still dyslexic, in other words. But she's really matured in her ability to handle her school work. She doesn't dissolve into tears over her reading and writing assignments anymore! She is very busy with her Irish dancing. She has two competitions coming up in the next couple of months, and it's great to watch her have something she enjoys so much.
...I guess the main reason I have kind of subconsciously avoided writing is because I got a criticism, not particularly about my blog, I don't know if this person even reads my blog, but from somewhere else, that I write too personally, that I share too much about my life,,,a bit raw I guess. It stung, and I thought about it for a long time. This person is probably right. I sat on this information for a while. And here's my conclusion. I don't really know any way else to be. I'm just kind of a "let it all hang out" kind of person. There are people who read this blog that know me quite well in real life, including my parents and my husband, and I think they would tell you that I am pretty much just exactly the same in person as I am on this blog. I do have boundaries. I won't tell you about the latest argument with my husband. I won't say anything about my children to intentionally embarrass them. And as Maria gets older, I do try to be conscious of her privacy and not to share things that she wouldn't want me to share. I try to have some common sense about keeping my family safe, and in that vein I consciously avoid, in words or pictures, giving away any geographical information. But in general, I write this blog in the way I would chat with a friend. If I know you outside this blog, you probably are a friend, and you won't read anything here that wouldn't come out if we were sitting over a cup of coffee. And if I don't know you outside this blog, well, I guess I just don't see how it matters if some random person who tripped across my blog reads this post and knows I have that I legos on my playroom floor, you know? Trying to write differently would feel very awkward and false and just kind of defeat my reasons for writing.
...One last thing, I would like to give a shout out to my Grandma W. who celebrated her birthday recently. I haven't gotten to see her in a long, long time, but she has been keeping up with us all through my blog almost since the beginning, and it's always really sweet to think of someone else out there that enjoys reading about the kids and seeing their pictures as much as I do.