Friday, May 29, 2009

A Week of Being Closer

There are times when living across the ocean from all your friends and family is a great thing. Like when you don't want to get involved in petty squabbles over silly things or when the thought of having to go to another family party with your uncle-twice removed makes you break out in a cold sweat. The excuse of being on another continent comes in handy.

But there are also times when it down right sucks that you live so far away. And the only person you can blame for this suckiness is yourself.

I have no regrets in the places I've lived or the world I've seen, but I hold myself responsible for the miles between me and my family. I chose to wander and meander, thinking it would always be easy to get back "home" when I needed to. And it was, until my definition of "home" changed.

Spending last week with my sister, her husband, and our friend filled me with such happiness. Laughing at old stories, comparing notes on children and old friend's children, watching Hubster and my brother-in-law find solace in the fact that both their wives are nuts was wonderful. I admit to feeling like I've made a mistake living so far away. Especially this week with my mother's birthday and my oldest niece graduating from high school. Momentous occasions that should be celebrated en famille. Which they were, just without my branch.

Melancholy can strike even in spring.

But then my Hubster came home last night from work, he laughed with our kids at the dinner table, splashed with Bubba-Love in the bath, and rocked Whoops while staring out at our back garden. He sat with me in our house and, tired as we are, he made me smile and laugh. His presence reminded me that home is where my heart is and that's right here.

I miss my family and I'm so grateful for the efforts they make to stay close. I think they know that my heart was always searching for it's own place and now that I've finally found it, the miles don't matter all that much.

If only we could win the lottery to pay for the bloody airline tickets to cross those miles more often.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

While I Have 30 Seconds...

I'm taking care of French-Me's littlest guy today so between feeding the Whoops and trying to keep Bubba-Love and F-M's boy off the roof, I think I have about 29 seconds left to share these little tidbits of conversation that Bubba-Love been coming out with lately:

"Mom, is Whoops having her breast fist again?"

"No, they aren't my aunt. They're my friends."

"No, you're not Whoopsie's mommy. SHE is."

And my favourite...

Upon seeing a packet of Always Maxi pads, which look roughly like this,

Bubba-Love turns to my friend Chris and asks, "why does mommy need airplanes?"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Give Me A Week or Two

I really need to sit down and write about all the wonderful people that have been with us at the B&B over the last couple of sister, her husband, and my fabulous friend, Chris. In some ways, there are no words that could express how lucky I am to have them all in my life, how wonderful they are to have made the effort to be here and how I am humbled at their love.

This past week we've also celebrated The Princess/Queen's 6th birthday and enjoyed the dogs escaping not just once but 3 times in the last couple of days. The best time being at 8:50am yesterday morning as I was sitting feeding Whoops while simultaneously trying to get the other three out the door for school. Luckily, Chris helped me out and we were able to get the dogs back with the aide of a bit of cheese and a quick tour around the village in the 4x4.

And now, all heck is breaking loose again....the joys and cacophony of this house!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Princess Leech

It seems I'm suffering from that age old problem of writer's block. Well, actually, it's not that old. Only three weeks but when it cries, it likes to hang out with and on me for hours on end. Which in turn, blocks me from getting to the computer. See, I still haven't mastered that one-handed typing thing so how can I drink coffee, nurse and type at the same time? Proof positive that I've never been good at multi-tasking.

Hubster was slightly offended the other day when I referred to this newest bundle of joy as "The Leech" but at this point in her life, the name fits. Granted, she's the cutest leech I've ever seen and if doctors way-back-when had wanted to put her on my wounds to suck out the bad blood, I would have let them. Who can resist a leech with beautiful eyes and a wobbly neck that causes their head to flip flop all over your collar bones, only to finally find a safe perch right up under your chin, letting you be transported by the good smells of Mustela and baby spit up. Bliss, I tell you. Sheer bliss.

Nicknames run strong in our house so I'm going to have to be careful that "The Leech" doesn't stick. (Yes, dear readers, even sleep deprived, I can still knock out the puns. My uncle Steve should be so proud.)

Regardless, The Princess has asked to be promoted from a princess to a queen now that the little sister is here. Yes, she's decided that she is now the queen, Whoops is the princess, Mini-Husband is the king, Bubba-Love is the prince, and I'm to be the Queen Mother. She hasn't decided what Hubster is to be but all my suggestions of court jester or page-boy seem to be falling on deaf ears.

I just hope Grand-dad doesn't get wind of all this monarchy stuff. I'm not sure he's a big fan of the royalty he's got in England, I can't imagine what he'd have to say about this French branch.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random Thoughts As I Dust The House While Waiting for My Sister to Get Here

I an amazed by the fact that even though Whoopsie is our fourth child, just how much one can forget between children. Granted, there are only 3 years between her and Bubba-Love, but my GOD, how much I've forgotten.

Sure, it is easier in some aspects. We don't freak as much about the crying as we did with numbers 1 and 2. I'm not as worried about being away from the house or having to breastfeed in public. Been there, stressed about that already. I was so eager to give advice to new mamas in the years past. I felt I had weathered the storm of newborns and as the mom of 3, I was a voice of reason and experience. Having another one in the house is proof once again that God has a wicked sense of humour.

A newborn is humbling, awe inspiring, wonderful, and demanding. I had forgotten how you give up yourself so that this little thing, this little combination of you and your dearest, can thrive and grow. Having to remind yourself of this at 2 am and then again at 3:15, 4, and 5:20 is the tough part. All of this will pass too quickly.

I found myself humming to Whoopsie last night as I fed her in the dark. Not sure where the song came from since it's been years since I actually sang this out loud...

I can't imagine what effect this will have on her in the future, but as I've said for the others, they can complain about me all they want in therapy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Auto Pilot

The last couple of days I've felt as though I'm ricocheting from one aspect of my life to another. Fumbling between rooms in the house, trying to organize and sort as I go.

I'm amazed at my constant need to do laundry. And I haven't even started the cloth nappies yet.

I also wonder how it is possible for all my children to make me so insane and crazy all at the same time and then 2 seconds later, they do something adorable and all I want to do is hug them and cry.

Whoopsie's eyes are still blue and I'm wondering if I got the right baby at the hospital.

But as I feed her, my inner primate comes to the surface and I examine every little nook and cranny of her head, ears, and feet. It's then that I see on those tiny appendages the non-existent pinkie toe nail, just like her dad and sister. Her little nose which just like her brothers' and when she cries, she sounds just like them.

The weather is getting nice and I'm looking for that to inspire me. Hopefully the cloudy weather that has been dulling my sleep deprived mind will go away for a few days and I'll be able to soak in some warmth and sun.

The good news is that my sister is coming to rescue us on Wednesday. She's seen the white flag flying and is bringing reinforcements.


Friday, May 15, 2009

And Hamburgers and Pizza and Chicken Nuggets

The other day, Mini-Husband and the The Princess had their usual lunch at the cantine, which over here usually consists of a three course meal including the mandatory cheese and dessert courses. Lucky kids. All I ever got at my school cafeteria was a pizza that burned the crap out of the top of your mouth or a hamburger that could have been used as a hockey puck.

On this specific cantine day in question, the meal was couscous, a delicious mix of semolina with vegetable and meats, served in a savory sauce. The meal has it's origins in the Maghreb countries (Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco) and is extremely popular throughout France, even here in the sticks.

Odile, the lovely woman who works in the cantine, served all the kids and taking the chance to help these country bumkids learn more about the world and differing cultures, asked the group where couscous comes from. Mini-Husband raised his hand high and begged to be called on. When Odile finally asked him what he thought, he responded proudly,

"Couscous comes from England."

Now, if there are any doubts about the origins of this child, cast your mind back to the time that Hubster liked to claim that the sport of lacrosse came from that sacred isle as well. I have a sneaky suspicion that Mini-Husband will assume, for the rest of his life, that all things wise and wonderful are somehow English in nature.

God Save the Queen. And Mini-Husband!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What the Princess Wrote

We have a chart board in our house where, from time to time (aka when I remember,) I list out the chores that the kids need to do. Simple things really, like get dressed, do homework, or clean their room.

The other day, The Princess decided that the board needed to be updated. Granted her spelling is horrible, but you gotta love that brain. (Bonus points to you out there that actually can translate her spelling! Go on, sound it out. It's worth it.)

Especially interesting is her asking Bubba-Love not to throw toys, bearing in mind that he proceeded to push her into a stone wall yesterday that resulted in 4 stitches around her beautiful ear. I think we can safely say he didn't earn any bon-bons for that one.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Happens to a Dream Deferred? Chez Nous, We Medicate It.

The Princess has entered that magical little girl stage where the only thing she wants to do is have a horse. A big horse. One she can ride and hold on tight to as they jump over trees together. I remember this stage from my own childhood. Pictures of horses around my room, the fascination with "Misty of Chincoteague" and model Appaloosas chomping at play hay in the stables next to my Barbies.

For weeks, I've been trying to find a way for The Princess to actually get to a horse farm and have a chance to be up close and personal with these magnificent animals, but with the pregnancy and my own laziness, it wasn't happening. Luckily for her (and for me,) Kitty and BaPa picked up the slack and offered her some riding sessions at a local centre for her birthday this month.

So Saturday afternoon, she headed off with friends for her first time in the ring. She packed her bag with her boots and comfortable pants and went off with a twinkle in her eye and swing in her step. I don't think I'd seen her this excited since her friend's big birthday bash at the indoor playground.

Our friend said The Princess was wonderful at the centre. She had no fear and rode like a natural, albeit a natural with a runny nose. And then red and swollen eyes. A hacking coughing. An itching throat. And a fabulous rash under her chin.

It seems The Princess has inherited our allergies. I had hoped it might be the milder strain, the one only set off by furry cats of all colours and shapes, but no. It's horses. The big beautiful horses she's loving so much.

We dosed her up with an antihistamine and things seemed to calm down immediately. By late evening, her eyes looked normal and she only had a small wraspy cough left. Hubster and I apologized profusely about this lovely genetic trait, but The Princess' only concern is what medicine can she take before she goes back next weekend.

I'm hoping our doctor can prescribe a stronger antihistamine so that she can at least finish out the sessions before we have to break it to her that her dreams of being a jockey may well and truly be over at the tender age of 6.

If only there was such a thing as a hairless horse...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Laura Ingalls Wilder Redux

This time last week, I was at the hospital managing my contractions with grace and ease, getting ready to birth that beautiful Whoopsie.

This time this week, I've just finished stocking fire wood, hanging out laundry to dry, weeding & cleaning the terrace, gone treasure hunting for dog poop, had a quick tidy of the kitchen and a breast feeding session with the baby.

Ah yes, life as I know it and love it has returned, full force.

I just hope I have enough time between feedings to make up a couple of jars of strawberry jam, eat lunch, organize my closets, knit an blanket and maybe even have a shower.

Well, worst comes to worst, I can always bag the shower, right?

Monday, May 4, 2009

She's Here

April 30, at 1:55pm, we were graced with the safe arrival of Whoopsie.

She's beautiful, wonderful, and ours.

Chaos, maginfied by one more. I am beyond happy and blessed.