Guilt Free Friday!!

As a mother I struggle with guilt.  A lot!  I spend a lot of time thinking and rethinking about the decisions I’ve made as a mother.  I just finished reading a book about Motherhood and guilt, and as humorous as it was there was a lot of truth in it.  One of the exercises the author recommends is to make a list of things that you have done right, or that you don’t feel guilty about.  I have decided that Friday’s will be my guilt free days!  Today I will list 5 (and it was hard to come up with 5) things that I DON”T feel guilty about as a mom.  So here goes!!

1.  I DON”T feel guilty for feeding my babies formula!  I did breastfeed all 4 for varying periods of time, but when necessary they got formula.

2.  I DON”T feel guilty for co-sleeping with some of my kids and not others.  Different kids, different needs, different circumstances.

3.  I DON”T feel guilty for setting an expectation of behavior for my kids and then following through with natural consequences if they don’t meet that expectation. 

4.  I DON”T feel guilty for sometimes letting a child cuddle with me on the couch even though they were supposed to be in bed and they sneak downstairs for “water” or the “noise” that they heard. 

5.  I DON”T feel guilty for not doing everything for or “babying” my kids.  Sometimes I wish I could baby them more, but with 4 kids it’s not always possible.  Nothing is wrong with a child that can do things for themselves.

Whew, that was tough!!!  Why should it be so hard to come up with things I’ve done as a mother that I don’t feel guilty about?  My reason for forcing myself to begin to make statements of things I’ve done right as a mother is because I don’t think I am helping my kids by drowning in my own guilt.  I want my kids to see that they are being raised by a confident mother who makes decisions and doesn’t second guess herself.  Sure, I will and do make mistakes.  But I want to teach my children to make good decisions and feel confident about those decisions.  They have to learn that from me.

Come on Moms!!  Comment with 5 things that you DON”T feel guilty about as a mother, or write your own blog post and put your link in my comments.  I want to read about all the strong moms out there!

Snobby birds

I decided to get a bird feeder.  Simple enough, right?  I got the feeder ($4), some special expensive seed, and the pole.  I stick the pole in the ground, fill the feeder and put it on the pole.  Then I waited.  And waited.  For 8 days I waited, and nothing.  Not even a fly by.

I called my dad and fussed about how the birds hate my feeder.  I mean, how hard is it to feed a bird?  So, Dad comes by and says that my bird feeder is the problem, that it doesn’t look like a bird feeder.  Huh?  Do birds know how bird feeders look?  Who teaches them what a “proper” bird feeder looks like? 

So I send my dad to the store and he comes back with a new ($20) bird feeder.  We fill it up and hang it on the pole.  I wait about 3 days, and guess what?


They came.


And they ate!!


And they even got into a little bird squabble.


And then, . . .  HE came!


And HE ate, A LOT!!!!



And although I did like to watch his persistant attempts at stealing my expensive bird seed,


I also liked it when he failed!!


Pig squirrel eats too much!! 

So apparently I have snob birds.  They don’t like $4 walmart feeders.  They only like $20 Home Depot feeders (I should have known).

But, now I have all my pretty birds to look at. 


Now to come up with a plan to keep pig squirrel away . . .

NOT Me Monday!!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
Here we are again!  Time for me to confess all the things that I did NOT do this week!

I did NOT send(lock) all the kids outside on 2 different afternoons this past week.  This has been a LLLLOOOOOONNNNNGGGG winter and I am sooooo happy to see spring come!  But we have a fenced backyard, so if I did lock the kids out, which I did NOT, they would have been completely safe!!

I did NOT let my 3yr old get his paci and “kiki” (blanket) and lay on the floor to watch Dora every night last week.  Daddy had to work late and Mama was just tired.  But even then I would NOT let my 3yr old have his paci!!  I mean please, he is 3!!!!  He does NOT even take a paci anymore!!

I did NOT request to have my kids conference by phone rather than in person.  I know that things are hectic and Nate did not have anymore time to take off work, but not going to a conference would be irresponsible, right?  So, that is exactly why I did NOT have the kids conference by phone, and love every minute of it!!!

I make it a habit of only confessing three things per week, so I have reached my limit!!

Newborn Session

I finally got to do my first newborn session!  He was the cutest, sweetest baby ever!!  Oh, and he just happened to be my nephew :)   Here is Brayden . . .


He was so sweet and cooperative!


I love the little grin on his face here . . .




ok, he may hate me for this one day!  I made this hat and just HAD to try it out on him.  Sorry Brayden, but it looks really cute!!!



Believe it or not I am getting ready to do his 2 month photos!!!   Where does time go???  I love this sweet boy!!

Not Me Monday!


 Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Well, first off, I have NOT missed over a month of Mondays of doing my NOT ME Monday posts! 

I did NOT allow J3 to consume 1/3 a bag of ruffles chips and over 1/2 a container of french onion dip just because it was keeping him quiet.  I am NOT that desperate for a little peace and quiet that I would allow my child to do something so “un-nutritional”!!  I have much better ways of keeping my kids occupied!

In my attempts to return my kids playroom back to a happy and fun place I did NOT paint it the brightest turquoise blue that I could find!  I know I was desperate to totally change the look of the room that my kids had to give up so that it could temporarily become their grandfather’s bedroom while he was under hospice care.  But I would NOT go so overboard that the adjoining bathroom now glows blue, even with the door closed.  And I did NOT buy a polka dot and striped comforter set to go on the bed in that room.  When I revealed the new playroom to my kids they did NOT respond by gasping and covering their eyes.   I would never have picked a color THAT bright!!!

And finally, I did NOT bribe my two oldest children with money to spend at the school store if they would just get dressed quickly in the morning and not fight.  I know I was tired, and their dad had gone into work early leaving me alone to get them on the bus.  But I would NEVER resort to bribery.  I mean, that is just not right.

I have several ideas for posts this week!!  One on parenting, another one about my father-in-law, and one about “what I’ve done right” which will follow up on my Mommy guilt post.  Ideas are NOT my problem, time on the other hand is!!

Praise the God who gives, . . . and takes away Part 2

The ambulance arrived.  They brought Bob inside and got him into the hospital bed.  Bob didn’t like that bed, and actually spend most of his time in the twin bed that was also in the playroom.  I didn’t blame him.  I didn’t like the hospital bed either. 

The next 11 days are a blur of meds, oxygen and dread.  Bob had 2 good days after he came home.  Those were the two days that his family came to visit from TN.  He was up and able to talk and enjoy time with his family.  After that there was a steady decline.  His breathing became more labored.  He didn’t eat.  He would only drink when he took his meds.  And then there was the “terminal restlessness.” 

Ohhh, if I never hear those words again it will be ok.  By the end I felt like I was going to scream at the next person that tried to explain “terminal restlessness” to me one more time.  I told one nurse  “Oh, I’ve seen terminal restlessness.  I’ve lived it for the last 11 days.  There is nothing new that you can tell me about it.”  Terminal restlessness can have several causes and several extremes.  Basically, Bob was not ready to die and he fought it until the end, and he fought hard.  I believe that was the cause of his restlessness. 

So for about 8 days we all dealt with the restlessness which consisted of these things: confusion, agitation, pacing, insomnia, meaningless tasks.  During the worst part Bob was up for 36 hrs, took a short nap and was then up for about 8 more hours.  And by up I mean UP, and walking.  Taking oxygen on and off.  Trying to go outside.  And because he was confused we had to stay with him every second.  No amount of medication would help.  We even questioned if the meds were making it worse.  Physical and emotional exhaustion took over, we were running out of options.

Inpatient hospice.  We didn’t want it.  The nurses mentioned it to us for days and we said no.  We made a commitment to Bob, we would bring him home to die, with his family.  As two firstborns Nate and I don’t like to break a commitment.  In fact we will go to any length to avoid it.  We prayed and begged for another solution.  We prayed that the decision would be taken from us.  And it was.  We reached a point where Bob was suffering, and there was nothing we could do for him.  He deserved to be peaceful and free of pain.  So, there it was, there was no decision.  We do what we have to do.

Again we go through the motions.  Phone calls, insurance, nurse visits, signing papers.  Then, we wait for the ambulance to come for transport.  We had already gone through all these emotions when we left the hospital, but while we were at home it had turned into “work” mode and we were able to ignore the emotions.  But now, we were removing Bob from the house, and I knew he would never come back.  It was hard to hold back the tears.  I felt like I had failed.  I failed my father-in-law, and I failed my husband.  It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

We get to the hospice facility and wait while he is being checked in.  Nate and I were sent to what looked like a cozy library to wait.  We sit huddled up on one end of the couch.  I felt so empty.  This room, it bugged me.  They tried to make it seem so inviting, a warm fire, shelves full of books, dim lighting.  Ugh, it was fake and we knew it.  It made us angry that they thought they could trick us.  The fire was even fake, just an orange light that “danced” on the inside of the fireplace.  I went and stood in front of it.  The sensation was odd.  To my eyes it looked like a fire, that it should be warm.  But as I stood in front of it my legs stayed cold.  Just like the room, cold.  I told Nate,  “I would feel the same inside if this room had concrete walls and bare metal chairs”.  He agreed.  It was one of our lowest points.

Bob received the help he needed.  Within about 24 hrs they were able to get him comfortable.  This was a relief, but short lived.  Nate and I spent almost all of Thursday, and all of Friday until Saturday morning there with Bob.  Those were some rough days, and nights.  There will never be words to describe what happened and how it impacted us.   But, by mid day Saturday things got back under control, and Bob was again as peaceful as we could hope.

Bob passed away on Monday night, Feb. 8, 2010.  Nate and I were with him for his final breath.  In a way there was relief.  Relief that he was at peace.  I knew where he was, and that brought some comfort.  But, the finality of it all was almost impossible to take.  And then, I had to go out to the waiting room to tell J1 and J2 that Grandad was gone.  They wanted to see him, so we let them.   There were two things worse than my own pain.  The pain of my husband, and the pain of my kids.  If I never have to see the look in my kids eyes when they realize that someone they love is gone, it will be too soon.

Honestly, the rest is business.  Packing for 6, sending everyone in separate directions.  Nate and I head to TN the next day to make arrangements.  My parents come the next day to bring J1 and J2 for the service.  The days after are spent cleaning out his room, going through pictures, taking care of details.  We return home on Saturday and spend the entire next week being sick.  Being sick was awful, but in some very needed way it helped us to catch up on some physical rest.  The emotional rest is still in progress.

At the visitation Nate said a few words to the family that was there.  He said that there may be several opinions of who Bobby Arwood was.  But he said that as a father and grandfather, he was flawless.  Flawless.  I agree.  I think Bob would have been honored to hear those words.  As a parent I could only hope to someday have that legacy.  He was a great man, and he was very loved. 

Thank you for reading about the journey that forever changed Nate and I.  I would imagine that losing a parent is one of the hardest things that you can go through, no matter the age.  Nate and I have endured trials over our almost 10 yrs of marriage, but this was one of the hardest.  I plan to write a post soon about Bob, and who he was.  How I will always remember him.  Until then, don’t assume that you have no earthly limits.  Say what needs to be said, love who needs to loved, and be with the ones who are important to you.  Start to finish, Bob’s illness was one day shy of 3 months from diagnosis.  Only 3 wks and 1 day from the time he came to GA, to spend time with his family.  But, we will see him again!  And for that we are very thankful!