A Season of Sickness

We’ve been hit with one illness after another around here. It all started with a common cold that escalated into something far more serious for me, though the boys got over it fairly rapidly. However, once our immune systems were compromised, that was it! We were fair game for every little virus. The kids all came down with nasty colds again a week after the first one, Dorian’s GI tract has been acting up and we’ve had multiple consults with the doctor about how to manage his issues.

Then the night before last, Dominic woke up vomiting and vomited for several hours before falling asleep, completely empty, and waking up just fine in the morning. I’m not sure what happened there, since we eat the same food!

Finally, we’re getting over all these colds and tummy bugs and whatever else seems to be thrown our way. Here’s to it actually being the end for a while! Now to rebuild these immune systems!

Keeping Busy

Work has picked up lately, which means that everything has picked up, of course. Isn’t that always the way? Here’s what has been going on around here:

Dominic is:

  • Reading sentences and wants to practice reading daily
  • Playing in the rain and mud
  • Arranging the flowering plants (in pots) to his liking around the patio

Dante is:

  • Sculpting with the clay some wonderful blog readers brought us
  • Painting up a storm
  • Bugging his brothers
  • Crafting and reading

Dorian is:

  • Preparing to become a “Youtuber”
  • Taking a programming course on Khan Academy
  • Creating comics

Irving is:

  • Making furniture, signs, and shelves from pallets to sell on Antigua Rustico
  • Playing music gigs (as usual)
  • Taking the kids for hikes while I work

I’m:

  • Writing for several clients, including sales copy, a novel and website copy
  • Baking up a storm, by myself, with friends and for business
  • Redoing my websites to be FDA compliant
  • Sewing NICU vests and gowns for preemies

What are you up to?

On Aging

For much of my adult life, I’ve felt 17. I’m not sure why I ended up stuck at that age, but it was a definite point for me. Until recently.

Again, I’m not sure why, but I’ve been feeling my age lately. I know, I’m not that old, but considering that I’ve felt like a teen for the past decade or so, it’s odd to suddenly realize that not only am I 35, but I FEEL 35. What the heck?!

Why do I feel old? It might be the fact that my children are getting older and I’m seeing that this isn’t going to last much longer. Maybe it’s the fact that  look at my in-laws, who have been married for 6 months and are split, shaking my head and thinking up sage advice and realize that I’ve been with my man for 13 years. Or perhaps it’s the fact that all the tourists in Antigua suddenly seem really young and I’m surprised their parents let them travel down here!

Whatever it is, I don’t like it. Not one little bit. I liked feeling young. This feeling middle-aged business is for the birds!

Setting the Table for Six

Since we had Dorian, I’ve felt that we should have four kids. It just felt right. When I set the table for five people, it felt like we were missing one. Why? I don’t know.

Originally, we planned to have another baby shortly after Dominic. The C-section changed that. It was a horrible experience and a very long recovery. Plus, the doctor said at least 18 months before I could get pregnant again (this was after he’d asked if I wanted my tubes tied while he was in there and I said no, we’re having another). On top of this, the possibility of having another C-section was enough to turn me off the idea of having any more kids . . . forever.

So three it is. And it feels like someone is missing still.

However, we’ve lately had Sofia 3 over nearly every day. She is a wonderful, rough and tumble little girl who has completely installed herself into our hearts. She’s completely at home here and will often turn to Irving or me when she’s hurt or upset, instead of her papa. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have this little one in our lives. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone else’s baby this much!

Now, we set our table for six or sometimes seven, if her papa is eating with us. The other day, we sat down with four children at the table and Irving looked at me and said, “This feels right.”

We thought we’d have four children of our own, but maybe the fourth is just borrowed.

What About the Boys?

WARNING: This post is a little heavier than my usual posts.

As I was growing up in a family full of girls, we were taught that our bodies are ours and to say “no” to someone who wanted to touch us inappropriately. We learned about sexual abuse and were taught to be vigilant and to watch out for each other. This is good and certainly something all parents should talk to their children about. However, as a mother of boys, I’ve been noticing something . . . most tips and ides for discussing abuse revolves around girls. While girls are more at risk for sexual abuse, 1 in 6 boys is abused before they turn 18. So it’s important to talk to your boys about this issue, as well.

Today, I’m going to look at a darker side of things, though. Talking to your kids about sexual abuse is very necessary, but with all the information about the Duggars in the news right now, I started thinking. What if your child is the abuser? We talk a lot about preventing abuse, but from the standpoint of protecting our children from other people . . . what about protecting your child from BEING the abuser?

No parent wants to think of their child as being capable of something like this, but 40% of young sexual abuse victims are abused by older children. While it’s easy to skim over this and think that those children have been abused, that isn’t always the case. So, I started thinking about how to talk to children, especially boys, though it is certainly not limited to them, about consent and abuse from the other side of things.

How do you teach children about this subject without going overboard? I started to do some research and with the help of some friends, I found some websites that seem very useful.

The Good Men Project: This site has a lot of great info for raising boys, but this page talks about teaching consent from toddlerhood through the teens. I think this is extremely important! It works both ways. Children should respect other people saying “no” and should also be respected in this way. For example, not forcing children to hug or kiss someone is a way of respecting their consent or lack thereof. You can ASK, but not force. By giving them the power to say no or stop, you teach them that these are important words. The site has a lot more info on how to teach that, age by age.

EveryDay Feminism: This site has an excellent page (linked) that talks about teaching children about consent. There is some very important information there, including teaching them the difference between an enthusiastic yes and a non-response.

If you have any other useful resources, please share them in the comments and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Oh Look, More Oil Classes!

Are you tired of hearing about essential oils yet? Last post for a while, I promise.

I’ve got another 101 class starting tomorrow for those who want to learn more about essential oils and family health. If you missed the first one, you’ll want to get in on this one! Click the image to sign up.

Also, if you’re more interested in the business opportunity side of things, I’m offering a business class starting tomorrow, as well. NO obligation to join up, but you can learn a bit more about the doTERRA business and how to make money with the oils. Click the image to sign up.

Both classes begin tomorrow and run for 4 days. See you there!

Visiting with the Grandparents

Yesterday, I was getting some water for Dominic when my Skype went off. I missed the call, but when I checked, it was my dad. I called him back and the boys came running in to talk to their grampa.

The call was a spur of the moment thing, so my dad could show the boys some of the new chicks my parents have. A couple of weeks ago, a baby goat joined us for a Skype visit with my parents. Video makes it easy to share ideas back and forth and while I email my family on an almost daily basis, Skype takes things to the next level.

We may not be able to visit Canada as much as I want to, for financial reasons, but I love that my family can still have a relationship across the miles. Even Dominic, who has never met his grandparents in real life, talks constantly about Gramma and Grampa and their little farm. To him, they are part of his life, despite being several countries away.

Sometimes, I think about what would have happened if I’d been born 100 years ago and had traveled. Letters would have been the main method of communication and would have taken so very long. I’m definitely thankful for technology.

Works in Progress

As usual this December, I’ve been slammed with work. Last minute projects that everyone wants finished up before the holidays, but I think this year has been even worse than last . . . thanks to being on Elance. I’m still finishing up a couple of projects and Christmas is just a few days away.

We ended up finding some awesome deals on some games for the boys this year, so they’ll be getting several. I’m very excited because I actually found a copy of Candyland for them to play. They’ve been obsessed with it since they found a mod for Candyland in Minecraft and have asked to buy the game for months now. Well, I found it and cheap, so there will be some very happy little boys on Christmas morning.

However, we do like to give them some handmade stuff, too and despite working so much (Irving has been working nearly every day, as well) we managed to come up with some fun ideas. I designed these dragon heads to become hobby dragons and Irving cut them out of wood.

Irving took the boys to his band’s Christmas party today so I could work and while they were gone, I put some paint on the dragons. They’re far from being finished, but I think I’ll make it.

We are also making a wooden cookie matching game for Dominic, since many of the games are a bit too old for him yet. I saw it on a Montessori website and figured we could easily make them. Irving has cut out 24 wooden circles and sanded them, so now it’s up to me to get them painted by Christmas! I figure I’ll sew up a little bag to put the cookies into, though a cookie jar would be more appropriate.

Are you handmaking any gifts this year?

Hi, Spammers! Plus a Little Update

Apparently, leaving your blog without constant updates encourages spammers. Every time I pop over to check, there are more spam comments telling me I have great tips for beginner bloggers, or asking what theme I use, etc. Even my spam filter isn’t catching them all!

I guess it’s good that my blog is big enough to attract the ‘bots and spammers? ?

In other news, things are chugging along here. My uptick in work hasn’t slowed down, so I’m still writing for long hours and trying desperately to maintain some semblance of balance. It’s all moot though, we basically get school done and I’m working until late at night. But, I never expect these things to last long, so I’m just going to enjoy it while I can. At least the kids like eating the fast meals I throw together every day!

The good thing is that I happen to love each and every project I’m working on right now. My clients are all awesome, pay quickly and the projects are all things I really enjoy learning more about. It’s made for a rather pleasant change from my usual dreary tasks of writing automotive descriptions and payday loan blog posts.

Irving has been super healthy lately. His blood sugar levels are great, even when he cheats and sneaks two packets of Oreos. Ahem. We’re all eating healthier, though, of course, it’s easier when I’m not working so much that I forget people around here neat to eat!

Potty training is done. Dominic has proven himself both at home and in the street, though he has had a few small accidents. In general, though, he does very well and is great about getting to the bathroom on time, on his own. I am still stunned to have a two year old who is potty trained, except for night, but it’s pretty awesome. We’re saving tons since we only need a few diapers each month.

The older boys are also doing well. They’ve been working hard in school and trying more foods and basically just showing how grown up they’re getting. I see more responsibility in them every day. Of course, they still fight and complain, but there are definite signs of being more mature, which is much appreciated and much encouraged.

How are my readers doing?

Writing on 3 Hours of Sleep

I’ve been absent lately because I have been getting tons of work via Elance. Probably too much. I have a tendency to overbook myself because I hate to say no to jobs that pay well, particularly since there is often little or no work.

Last night, I worked until four am and then slept for three hours before getting up to feed children, teach and start all over again. This is only temporary, of course, but it is allowing me to get a little ahead and save up some money. Next week should be much calmer! Unless more work comes in, of course. ?