WELCOME!!

Blogger Boss needs to decide what this is going to say about how crazy her life is & how she loves coffee & walks with her hubby.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Here are some pictures of the latest.
My Little Guy and I to the left.
He got his 1st "big boy" hair cut (NOT willingly).
The poor kid screeeeamed the entire time...
But after I was done with the clippers, we were friends again.
He was quite impressed with his new "do" in the end!!
 Our youngest girl donning her new specs!  We found out she needs glasses a while ago, and thankfully she wears them willingly.  Here she's making marzipan goodies for Christmas.
Some of the yummy creations!  The girls had so much fun making them, and we'll all enjoy eating them!



Martha Stewart didn't help me decorate our house for Christmas this year either... But the kids and I have had lots of fun making our own crafts and baking. 

 My oldest daughter went out and picked some birch twigs, and then set up a bird-making station for her 5 younger sisters.
She put glue on the twigs, that she sprinkled salt on!  Looks like snowy "branches".
I think it turned out great!

On December 13th we celebrated St Lucia.  The kids sang some Christmas hymns, and then we served some treats (gingerbread cookies, marzipan goodies, "glögg"-Swedish hot cider, and Swedish "julmust", a carbonated Christmas drink) to some local ladies.  It was beautiful and fun!
 Baking "pepparkakor", or gingerbread cookies, is one of the most common Christmas traditions in our house.  Here's our "family", with Star watching over us.  Thanks to my oldest daughter for the cute idea!

A few weeks ago we took the whole gang bowling, here are the 5 oldest gals, waiting for our lanes to become available.
...and here's Big Guy and Little Guy watching other people bowl.


Well, that's that for now.
I've had a lot going on in the last few weeks, and I think I'm done with all my shopping.  Yes!!!
I even went and got all the food we need for the weekend, so now the cooking can start....
Have a blessed and Very Merry Christmas all my friends.  There are so many of you that I miss, and I sure wish you were closer... May God bless and keep us all in the New Year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Here's the boot!!!

310223-01001Annelie, here she be!!! Ain't she a beauty???  Love them.... <3 <3 <3 Kaisa

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

and there went another week....

Wow.
I know I keep talking about it, but the time is ticking unnaturally fast!!
Freaky.

It feels like I'm standing in the same spot, like when you are stuck running in a bad dream, and everything else is swooshing by, tsunami like...
Heeelp!
There are SOME things I'd really like to get done, and I don't have any lofty goals.
But Ok, both cars conked out on us.  A little set back.
Time that we could have spent on other things, went to taking care of that.
We were very fortunate that neither of the vehichles had any major hickups, but the frustration still had time to get a firm grip on me.  And a bit of desperation.
When Hubby's working over an hour away, and I rely on a car to pick the kids up after school, there is a REAL problem!  Thankfully we have some wonderful neighbour girls who have helped with rides.

Saturday evening I came back from spending a night away in another city.
I went there to celebrate a ladies Christmas, with other Canadian and American women.  We had a wonderful evening, devouring great food, singing our hearts out, and laughing so hard my whole body was in pain!!!  Man, did that feel GOOD!!!
I spent the night with a Canadian friend, who's working here for a year.  When we are together, we both get as wierd as possible.  Like really off the wall goofy.
We went shopping and had a looong lunch together on Saturday, and we got more than a few stares...
Ah well,  we didn't mind.
I scored some beautiful dressy winter boots, that even got my Hubby's approval (he's PICKY!!)
Yes!!
Coming home on the train, I figured my Hubby would be at the station, impatiently waiting my arrival...
I was wrong.
Hubby was still at home, trying to get his car started!! (he just bought it, and it's a diesel, so he's not familiar with all it's quirks yet, plus the temperature was right at freezing, which makes a lot of cars cranky)
When he realized that it wouldn't start for him, he tried the Suburban.  It didn't start either!!!
Hello???  What are the chances???  Pretty big in our case, but still....
I was growling in the bitter wind down at the train station.  By now everyone else were tucked away warmly in their awaiting rides. (this was at 10.30 at nite, so the train station was closed, so I wasn't able to go in there to stay warm)
I tried to be patient, one of my many strong sides, realizing my Hubby didn't do this on purpose, but also felt a bit dismayed...
Hadn't we had enough stuff going on to last us for a while??
Hubby was lucky enough to borrow his brother's car (we are neighbours), so after I had lost the feeling in my thighs, (note to self: use long johns when in Finland) counting how many steps it takes to cover the front of the trainstation several times(it was too slippery to walk around it).... he finally arrived.

Well.  Like I said, he got them figured out, and I feel peoples prayers helped us out, again.
With cars you never know... but after cleaning the distributer cap, and replacing it on the Suburban, she ran nicely!!  So that was all for this time. 
I was praising my dear Hubby for being so good at pretty much everything!
He can build a house, do accounting,(that's what he went to school for) fix his own cars, clean the house, make dinner, bake, and most importantly, take good care of me and the kids!!

Soooo... now I have to roll up the sleeves and get back to the grind after a few days off.
What was I doing anyway???
Oh yeah, playing a game of "good housemaker"....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dear diary...

Today I feel like writing just to write, so we'll see what pops to my mind!

It's December.  And the fact that Christmas is indeed coming, is slowly sinking in...
And I'm getting excited about it too!
Watching the kid's excitement rubs off on me.
I remember the Christmases I spent as a singel girl, living quite far away from my parents, meaning I didn't make it home for Christmas every year.  Christmas was nice and fun, but I had a hard time getting the "feeling" that you have as a child.
Wanting to see the familiar decorations, listening to Christmas songs, singing along.
Baking, wrapping gifts, writing little riddles that we'd add to the gifts.
My younger brother and I had a riot with this, and when we hit our mid/late teens, things would get out of control.  We'd be laughing hysterically at our really stupid "riddles", that pretty much said straight out what was in the package!  We'd wrap my dads socks separately (so if he was getting a 5 pack of socks, he'd actually have 10 gifts to open)
Yes, we were nerdy, and man was it fun at the time!
As we handed out the gifts on Christmas eve, it seemed like our dad got the most gifts!
We also made joke gifts at times, and that tradition our oldest girls have continued.

A few years ago one of our girls had wrapped a sticker with great care.
I'm taking layers and layers of wrapping paper, with roughly a whole roll of tape keeping it all together...
When you finally got to the sticker, it said:
"You did it!"
I've been making joke gifts for the kids as well, and one time I wrapped packaging bubbles for one of the girls (our petlover). There were about 15-20 of them, and they were in a long "string", about 6 by 4 inches in size.  I drew googly eyes on them and gave them all names... She had wanted a pet for Christmas, and now she had a whole "farm"!
She kept them for a few years.  :)

Last night Hubby and I went grocery shopping and took the time to go out for a quick coffee as well.
Coming home there were candles burning, and the remains of "pulla" (cinnamon rolls) and "glögg" (Swedish "apple cider") were to be found on the table.  The kids had been practicing Christmas hymns in time for St Lucia! 
Christmas is so much more fun when you have kids to celebrate it with.
And it's NOT for the gifts sake.
They see the magic in all the little things.

When I was single, and even during our first few years of marriage (before our oldest kids were old enough to understand what was going on), Christmas seemed more "mechanical", although I enjoyed buying gifts for others, eating good food and all that, that pure joy was missing.
Now it's definitely here.
To watch the kids eyes when they see mysteriously shaped packages wrapped up, waiting to be opened...
To feel your belly close to bursting from all the good food and treats...
To squish the whole family on the couch and sing Christmas songs till our throats are sore...
To read the gospel of Christmas together as a family (even if it felt SOOO long when I was a kid!)...
To look around me and see all of our kids gathered around us. (always brings tears of joy to my eyes)
It makes me so happy for their sake that they have each other.  That they get to grow up together in this crazy bunch.  Big families are a lot of work, but during holidays "The more" is definitely merrier!
To feel that great thankfulness coming from deep inside you...
It's magical and wonderful and beautiful.

I'm excited.  And I think I have to figure out a joke gift or two...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Slowly but surely!

Here things are in full swing!  The last week has brought some much needed energy along for me!  I feel so "normal", it's almost scary, but it's also really nice.
After having an insane amount of things going on in the last few years, and with no signs of it slowing down in sight, I am sure happy that I feel an extra surge of strength!!
I do get occational reminders of how vulnerable I still am thou.

Last Thursday I ventured out to town.  First time in a LOOONG time that I did this by myself!  Felt really good.  I had a maternity top that I wanted to return (tags were still on), but of course I did not have a receipt.  Well, I figured, they might let me exchange it for something at least.
Well.  They didn't. 
"Sorry, if you don't have a receipt, we can't take it back!"
"But, I lost the baby, and I never had time to use it, and the tags are still on!!"
"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that (she did look truly empathetic), but that's our policy!"
I felt like their policy had just given me a kick in the stomach.
I took it so hard, I was surprised.
Maybe because I told her about losing the baby.
It's a private thing after all.
I felt tears welling up, as I turned to leave the store, with my unused maternity top still in the bag in my hand...
"Bye!", she said behind me.
"Oh, yeah, bye" I said as I glanced over my shoulder.
I felt that this store had something against me.
It wasn't my fault that I had lost the baby!!

I called my Hubby, and told him how I felt.
He of course asked me not to worry about it.
No big deal if I couldn't return it.
I knew he was right, but I guess the feelings the situation had brought up, made me realize that I'm still quite sensitive.
He made sure I felt better before we hung up, and then I actually found a pair of jeans that fit me!
(I hate trying on anything in public changing rooms, and jeans are among the worst...)
This pregnancy made me gain more weight than I normally do, and now when there's no baby to nurse to help shed the pounds, the new "chub" is stubbornly stuck on me.  Argh.
Perfect timing for Christmas to show up too!  Yohoo!! (I admit to liking all the Christmas goodies WAY too much)

Well, I met up with a friend after shopping, and we went out for a late dinner.
It was really nice to just hang out and chat and eat (yummy pizza on ryebread!, and I wonder why I'm not losing weight??)

Well.  Now it's all full tilt with the Christmas gears rolling!
I can't shop or decorate or bake before the house is organized and cleaned, so I have a LOT of organizing and cleaning to do, which is fine, since I truly enjoy an organized house. (there's still a ton of stuff to go through since we moved)
With 9 people thou, I will never ever catch up to what I would like to keep as my standard.
So... yeah, we did some decorating already! (or we might not put anything out before Easter, and that would look quite wierd...)
The kids also made a batch of gingerbread cookies, so that's a start I guess.
In the end it doesn't really matter if everything is not as perfect as I'd like it to be, (trying to remember to pace myself!!), what I want is a home that feels "good".  That is cozy and warm and a good place to end a busy day.  No matter what time of the year of course, but Christmas is extra special.  It's that special feeling... This is the 1st year in this house, and things are not all done yet, but it's still "us" here.  And that's what matters.  And a clean floor of course! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Fa la la la la!"

"This the season to be jolly!"
Yes it is.
This week is Thanksgiving in the USA (Happy Turkey Day all of you over there!!)
I feel it's a good time to stop and reflect too.
It's so easy to get caught up in the Christmas Craze, "wanting and needing" a lot of "fluff stuff".
That's what I call things we really could live without.
Of course it's neat to "deck the halls", and make your home a bit extra cozy.
What makes me a bit sickish and sad is watching people run the race, looking and searching for "just one more thing...", when all they need is right in front of them.
Like their family.

Spending a Saturday at IKEA this last weekend, along with 50% of Finland's population, was a reminder of how spending money always bothers me in the end.
Not that I'm not happy that Hubby and I had alone time there, being able to pick up some bookshelves for our house, eating undisturbed and just being with each other.
That was great!!
Standing at the loading station (where you drive your car so you can unload your treasures) while my Hubby got our car, I spent a few minutes people watching.
I don't think what I saw was unusual, I think it's the same all over the world (especially in all the rich coutries that I've had the privilige to live in).
What I saw was gray, empty faces.
Nobody seemed a stich happier to have spent hours browsing, finding and buying stuff.
I got the sickish feeling inside.
Looking at the overloaded carts, filled with things that are somewhat needed, but many things we could do without, reminded me of the good times we have, but also wondered if the owners of the newly found stuff, had hearts that felt as full??
Maybe buying stuff is a substitute for some?
Like a drug for someone else?

So... As I prepare for Christmas, I shall try to remember how GOOD I have it.
I get daily reminders of people who have some really hard times.
With drugs.  Illnessess.  Serious money problems.  Divorces. 
And that's not after watching the news or reading the paper.

As I prepare for Christmas, I shall try to first make sure that my heart is full.
Then all the other "fluff stuff" is less important, and I hope I'll take the time to rather send a prayer and a thought where it's extra needed.
To those of you who are having a hard time, to those of you who has a close family member who's struggling, I hope your heart will be full this Christmas.  I hope you can look past the pain, and focus on the good in your life.  Because surely, there's a lot of good in your life!!
I know there's in mine....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Time to breath, Please!!

Why didn't anybody say anything??
Am I supposed to keep an eye all by myself?
Hm....
Some things never change, and one of those is Christmas.
I love Christmas.
When I was a kid, a year felt like 10 years, I thought someone should decide that holding Christmas more often should become mandatory.
Now I know why it's only ones a year (well, besides for the obvious reason that Jesus was only born ones), but also so that we as parents only have to deal with the madness ones a year!!
It always sneaks up on me.
Just as I have turned around to put away the beachtowels for the last time of they year, I notice something on my calendar, and it spells "November".  What????
How does it happen EVERY year??

This time I have to confess that I've been thrown on an extra loop.
Losing a baby, just as November decided to roll around, didn't make it any easier to grasp that
"Wow, in a matter of a month or so, EVERYTHING has to be DUNZKI!!"
I've made a promise to myself this time thou.
And this promise is named:
"Scale back and give yourself a break, dear lady!"
I'm sorry, but for the 1st time in many years, I will NOT be sending over 100 Christmas cards.
I will not plan 3-4 big activities to take place, at our home, in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
(I'd LOVE to have a "girl's nite" for our daughters and their friends, as well as a ladies nite for me and mine, and one for all the great young, single people that I know around here...)
But this time, I will allow myself to be a party pooper, and save my energy.

We went for our little weekend getaway this last Friday.
We had a great time, and came home just in time to get the kids ready for bed Saturday evening.
Sunday morning came way too soon, and I did not feel like getting up.
When I got up I had that restless "I've been staying in bed too long, and now I have to do a million things fast or I will go a little bonkers!" feeling.
After getting a lot done, fast.  I felt pooped.
So from one extreme to another, I ended up in a pile on the couch for a while..

I think I have to learn to pace myself!
Maybe that's part of the lesson I need to learn from losing Star??
I always search for reasons why things happen, not because I can't accept that it was meant to be, but I like to learn from my trials and experiences.
I think the message I'm getting is "Slow down!"

I have to remember that God didn't create the world in one day.
And he did take time to rest.
I have to remember that the same rules apply to me.
I have a few very intense years behind me, and I think my goal for the next little while will be to turn my attention inward.
To me and mine.
To take some time to rest, and recover...
Although my "to do list" is long as usual, I will try to be happy even if I only get a few things checked off each day. 
And allow myself some days "off" as needed.

So, wish me good luck, as this is NOT a thing I'm good at!
But... I'll try my best.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MORE good news!! :)

Wow.
Where to start?
As you know the last few weeks have been filled with lots of things taking place in my life.
1st finding out that we lost Star.
Then to the hospital for a DnC, losing a bunch of blood, feeling drained physically and emotionally.
Recovering at home, trying to make sense of what all has happened...
Reading up on "molar pregnancy".  Feeling depressed after reading too much, getting worried that the worst will happen to me!
Had an x-ray of my lungs last Friday, to make sure nothing bad had made it there!
Waiting for results... (that's the worst part!!)
Yesterday (Monday) I went to leave my 1st bloodwork to see how well my hCG has dropped (the hormone level that will indicate in what direction things are heading)

Today I called my Dr in the morning, to see if he had any info to share about my x-ray results.
He said he'll call me back...
Well, he just called at 8 pm!!  He apologized about calling so late, but that didn't matter to me,
I want to find out what's going on!!!
Well, the lungs were fine.  Check.
The pathology work came back, and they did confirm that I had a partial molar pregnancy, but with no abnormalities! Yes!!
The results from the hCG were also back, and my hormone levels had dropped from 20 000 to 32½ in 10 days!!!  WOW!!!
Even my Dr was impressed!

Of course I still have to keep leaving bloodwork for many months to come (probably for a few years actually, as they need to keep an eye open for any changes that could indicate cancer growth)
Even when the hormone levels hit 0, there's still a risk for things to reverse.
But for now: "I'm CELEBRATING!!"

I know that all the prayers from all of my wonderful friends have helped me.
I can feel it.
The fact that I've been taking walks in the sun with my 3 youngest have been beneficial too.
And the fact that I've had time to be truly happy for others, I think is one of the best medicines for your body and soul! 
I've had some low moments.  Feeling blue, questioning the meaning of this trial...
But I can already see so much good that has come from it, that in the long run, I would not have wanted to be without it.
And like my Hubby said "I rather have gone through this, knowing we have a baby waiting for us, than not have it happen at all!"
Those words are so true and so strengthening, they will be my words to live by for a while.

This Friday Big Guy and I are going away overnight. We are going to the capital city of this country, a few hours drive away.
I got a good deal on a SPA-hotel a few weeks back.  Little did I know what would have time to happen in the time between booking the hotel, and us going!  I think we'll need this vacation even more now.  We'll enjoy our time together even more.  We haven't gone anywhere, overnight, just the 2 of us, for almost 2½ years!  So it's about time...
"Have fun!" 
I know, we will!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

No Need to fight! + Some awesome news!!

I just got the 1st issue of Reader's Digest, (a great friend of mine, from Detroit,  arranged a subscription for my family, THANKS AGAIN!!)

In the 1st few pages of reading, I bumped into the "React" page where people have a chance to put in their 2 cents regarding previously published articles.
This one was about fights in marriages, and "the good and bad about it"(or something like that, the whole original article is not reprinted)
Anyway, what cought my attention, and that I just have to share, is what this older gentleman wrote:

"Why should there be fights in every marriage?  I've been married for 60 years, and I know something about having a good relationship with a wife.  When we have a disagreement, I stop and think, Is this something that is important?  If it's not, I let it pass.  If it is, a little reasoning, and the matter is done - without a fight.  The result: We get along just fine with love and kisses"

Awwww.... isn't that lovely!  I can see why this man has been happily married for 60 years!
It starts with a good heart, and a wish to make the other person happy.
Not "to win" fights.
If you really love someone from the heart, what satisfaction do you get from "winning" anyway?
Maybe there'll be a short term gain, you got what YOU wanted.... But when you know that it didn't benefit your spouse, how much can you enjoy what you got out of it?

Of course there are times that we need to compromise.
But if we start by making sure that we have listened, and made sure that the OTHER one is happy 1st...
And this works both ways... How much more enjoyable pretty much everything in your life will be!

"Arguing is not a matter of winning or losing.  Winning at the expence of love and respect is not a solution.  The solution is forgiveness"
Another persons comment on the same article.
Both were men!  Interesting, huh??

Well.  Before I sign off I have to share some great news!!!
This made my whole life so bright and happy, and again I know that we have a rich Father in Heaven.

A while ago I wrote a blog about having faith.  I told you about a family, who we are close to, who due to jobloss ended up losing their house.
They had their 12th baby back in September, and this little girl has already made their lives even happier. 
Around the same time the husband got a job, that he now loves!!
Well... they have been living with her parents since June, but now she wrote to tell me that they've found a house!!!
I have to mention that they were turned down a few times as renters, due to their family's size.
Well...  God had something better prepared for them.
They now have a contract on a "lease to own" house.
This house is situated on 4 beautiful acres, the last house on a private dirt road.  It has 6 bedrooms, 5 baths, a 2½ car garage AND a barn!  It has been totally remodelled in a way this dear friend of mine loves...
"This house is perfect for our family!", she wrote to me.
These news put a huge grin on my face.  And tears of joy and thankfulness in my eyes...
(they'll move in in time for Christmas btw!!)

When we doubt, and wonder if God has forgotten us, but we still know that the only way for things to work out is to put things in his hands...  He works wonders.
I have said for a while now that "it's this family's turn" to have something really good happen to them.
Well, many sighs and prayers have been answered.
Good luck with your new home dear friends, you deserve this so much!! May God bless the house and your whole family!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy That you are our kids Father('s) Day

Here in Finland, as well as in Sweden, we celebrate Father's Day today.
And no, my Hubby is not MY Father, but he is our children's Father, so since this is my blog, and I blog what I want to, this one goes to him.

I know I gush about my Big Guy a lot.
Well.  If he was yours you'd know why :)
This last week and a half, he has again shown his love to me and the kids.
He has cried along with me.  Soothed the kids those 1st hard nights after finding out that Star had died.
He went to their rooms in the evening, and talked with them.  Hugged them.  Cried with them.
He thought nothing of it.  I pointed out to him that all guys are not like that.  Many guys would not have done that.  He looked puzzled at me...
To him it was the most natural thing.
And I'm so thankful that's how he feels.

I think it's so important to be able to show your feelings.  To SHARE your feelings.
Most of us women are OK at doing this.  Many guys are not.
Too bad.
I can't imagine how hard it must be for guys who feel that they need to "stay strong" and bottle their feelings inside themselves.
Maybe they get it out through work, going to the gym, whatever....
But I still think that showing your feelings is nessesary in order to heal and move forward.

Last night Big Guy said something that I totally agree with.
He said that he'd rather go through the trial of losing Star, knowing that we have a baby waiting for us, than not have it happen at all.
So, so true.
It puts it all in it's right perspective.
We still did get a baby.  We still did get a gift from above.  We have a baby we never have to worry about.
From this trial love has grown.
From this trial people have shown their best side.
Have you ever thought about that??
That the hardest times bring out the best in people??
I don't ask for hardship in my life, but when it comes along, and you realize the love and strength that comes out of it...
It's truly amazing!

I'm happy to have Big Guy at my side going through this.
He's.... well... the best.
Thank you for being such a wonderful Father to our kids.
Thank you for being you.
Life is beautiful when you have so much good in your life.
Thank you to our Heavenly Father, who provides so well for us... Without him, we would be nothing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A week later.

I can't believe a week has gone by already.
A week ago, early in the morning, I went for a regular pregnancy check up.
A week ago dreams, hopes and plans for the future were shattered and changed forever.
I had to for the 1st time in my life experience hearing the message that
"Your baby died!"

Little Star was with us for 20 weeks.
Little Star never had a chance to live from the very start, but we didn't know that.
I had my strange intuition during the whole pregnancy saying that "something" wasn't right.
But being the 1st time having in baby in Finland, I figured I was mostly nervous about the unknown.

Today I know that Star is safe at home with God, and that Star was a trooper!
Star will never have any pain, never be disappointed, never hear, see, speak or feel any evil.
Star is luckier than most, and that gives me comfort.

Now I'm wondering, how am I supposed to feel??
I feel sad inside.  I have read up on the typical progress you experience after losing a baby.
But what is "normal"??
I have been up, doing housework (trying not to overdo it), reading to the kids, talking on the phone, hanging out with the kids after school...
I've been surprisingly "normal".
Is that OK?
I get pangs of guilt at times, like I should be in "worse shape".  But why not try to accept and appreaciate the moments that I laugh, say corny things, hug my kids and hubby, get annoyed at toys on the floor...
Wouldn't Star want me to be me?

I try to create time for me.  Space for thoughts.  Sitting on the couch, staring at the fire in our fireplace in the evening, missing Star, cuddled up next to my Hubby.
Tears sometimes fall...
Yesterday I cought a glimps of a babyboy clothing item in a bag in our bedroom (clothes I was going to eventually go through for the new baby, in case it was a boy).  Just seeing that little white and babyblue vest, size tiny, made my eyes well up with tears...
I so badly wanted to have a baby to put it on.
Some of my closest friends back in the States are due right around my duedate, and although we wouldn't have been able to see each other, we'd be sharing info via phone and emails.
Now I won't have any info to share...

Well.  Not about the baby anyway.
I will be sharing my hCG levels.
I just realized last night (I've spent a fair amount of time reading up on the net about "molar pregnancies" and trophoblastic disease), that I had a tumor!!
That word scares me.
What I had/might still have, is a type of benign gynecological cancer....
I think I really realized that this could potentially be somewhat dangerous...
I know that the Dr's are aware of my situation, they know what to do, and they know that this is something that needs to be followed up closely, so that any remains of the "mola"/tumor don't start to grow again...
It's when this happenes that it can spread to other parts of the body (lungs, brain and liver) and if untreated be very dangerous.
As long as my hormone levels come down nicely, I will be fine.
But this waiting game is stressful.
I will be leaving blood on the 14th and 21st of this month, and on the 22nd I have my 1st Dr. appointment, when they'll do another ultrasound (to make sure there's nothing left in there, and if there is, I'll need another DnC), and I suppose they'll share my hCG status.
I pray that it will be as low as possible...

One week has gone by.
And my life is so different.
And still it's so much the same.
I still have our 7 kids to care for.  My love for them has grown stronger than ever.
My Hubby has been wonderful as usual, and I have a new tenderness towards him.
I think we both feel more vulnerable.  More thankful. 
And definitely, more loved.
Not that we didn't felt loved before, but this has been such an overwhelming experience, that the love has been like a shining light for us in a dark time.
Like a Star in the sky...

I need to pray for patience and acceptance.  I want to feel normal again.
But I don't want to rush things either.
People seem surprised that I'm doing as well as I am...
But I can't help but seeing the good in my life, and that brings me happiness and joy.
And I don't think Star would want it any other way.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I just have to say this...

Thank you.
Thank you all my dear friends who have carried me.  I feel the strength pouring in from all around the world.
I have literally people praying for me in (at least) 5 different countries.
In many many cities.
I don't know how I would have had the strength to cope in the last few days without you all.

I have had help with babysitting.
I have had friends bringing dinners.
I had 2 big bags of groceries dropped off today.
There has been bread and goodies.
Kind words.  Thoughtful messages and cards.
I feel so very very loved.

This coming week I have a friend picking the kids up after school for us.
Others have offered to come and help in various ways.

Here are some words from some of my favourite hymns that helps me everyday...

"Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here,
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment, I've no cause for worry or for fear"

"Be not dismayed whate'er betide, God will take care of you,
Beneath His wings of Love abide, God will take care of you"

Please keep praying for all of us.
I will blog quite frequently as writing is very helpful for me.
It's like therapy.

I am doing OK btw.
Thanks again for all your love.

A little story before I say bye for now.

On Friday, about the time of my DnC, my husbands cousin's wife came by with dinner for our family.
She walked down the hill from where they live, just a few hundred meters from us.
She had her 3 young sons along, and her 3 year old was on his little bike.
As she visited with our babysitter, her 3 year old kept looking up at the sky above our house.
Our babysitter (who is in her early 50ies) was thinking
"I bet he sees an angel!"
Well, the mom went back home with her little boys, and getting back to her house, she realized that her 3 year old had biked the whole way!!
The hill up is quite steep, so this is very impressive!
She had to point this out to him, and asked how he did it.
"I got strength from heaven!" was his answer....

Kids are angels on earth, and they see things that we might miss.
I bet Star is already working hard, helping us out down here...
I want to open my heart in a childlike way, and let Star be my guide until we meet again.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Back at home

So.  I'm back at home.  I have been fortunate that the hospital stay was so short.
Yesterday morning (Friday Nov 4th) I got a phone call at 7.10 from the hospital.
They wanted me to come in right away, as they had moved my DnC to the 1st surgery of the day.
They had originally asked me to come in for 10.00.

It was kind of nice to have the procedure done sooner, less time to get nervous.
Walking from the car in to the hospital, I felt like hiding.
It felt like eveyone could see my pregnant belly, but only I knew that the baby in there was not alive...
I felt a bit mad at everybody.  I don't know why, but my head was so overloaded with information, emotions, fear etc, that the equation made me "ticked".

Coming up to the prep room I needed to hurry up.  The Dr wanted to have another ultrasound to confirm what they had seen 2 days before.  4 Dr's were waiting for me in the ultrasound room...
On the screen we could all see the huge "mole" (that's what they call the placenta in a molar pregnancy)
We could also see the baby, which they had missed at the other ultrasound! (my placenta was probably about 20 times the size of the baby) I felt so happy and thankful to see little Star for the last time.  Star was the size of a 12 week old baby, but had most likely lived a bit past the 15 week mark.  The small size is explained by the molar condition.  http://www.molarpregnancy.co.uk/ 
At this site you can read up about my condition.  I had what is called a "partial molar pregnancy".
I might have a year of recovery ahead of me, but it could be a shorter or a longer process, depending on my body.  For each person with this desease the recovery will vary.

One common sign of a molar pregnancy is an abnormal count of hCG (a pregnancy hormone) found in the urine.  In my case my levels were never above that of a normal pregnancy range, so that's why they never cought it sooner.
This in itself is a good sign, meaning that the lower the levels are, the more likey you are to have your hCG levels back to normal sooner.  It's when they stay elevated that you risk another DnC, and in some cases chemo treatment.
Regardless I will need to have my hormone levels measured on a weekly basis via bloodwork.
I need to be in close care with my medical team as well.
The growth of the mole in the uterus, could spread through the blood to other parts of the body, causing a type of cancer, and that is obviously not good, although the rate of recovery is 100%.

One thing, that is kind of interesting, happened before I was awake after the DnC.
I guess I had asked if my uterus was intact.  I woke up to a blur of faces, and someone was telling me that my uterus was safe and fine.  I was wondering why this was the 1st thing they told me as I was waking up... Then my Hubby told me later that I had asked about this, even before I was awake!!
I know this was my biggest fear going in to surgery, and even subconsciously, I must have been thinking about this.  I must have a very deep desire to still have another baby...

Well.  At this point my head is a blur.  It feels like I have suffered some memory loss, but it might be from the information overload, along with the loss of a baby, going through a DnC, losing 2 pints (1 litre) of blood, having my hemoglobin dropping to a level low enough to need bloodtransfusion.  Fortunatly they waited with this, and my body was able to recover on its own.
So, so far so good.

I'm at home, and I feel that most of my energy is going to staying awake and trying to process what has taken place in the last 3 days... I feel too wiped to cry.  I feel very, very empty.  I feel sad about our loss, but thankful that I am safe and healthy.
I am amazed about the outpour of love from so many many friends.  I can't thank you enough.
I feel drained and tired, and I realize that the road ahead might get rough at times.  My arms feel empty...
Going to the hospital yesterday morning, I was about to bring the camera... before I realized that there won't be a baby to take pictures of.
My body thought it went to have a baby.  A healthy baby.  A baby to bring home, to love and nurse and care for.
Star is safe.  I will never need to worry about this child.  But my brain hasn't understood yet that this pregnancy is now over.  When March comes.... I will not be due with a baby.
When this has time to truly sink in, I know the tears will start to roll...

This morning when I was laying in the hospital bed, these words came to my mind

"Showing that you can be vulnerable, being able to cry in front of others, being able to expose your heart and your innermost feelings, is not a sign of weakness.  It's a sign of strength.  A sign of honesty.  A sign of true love for yourself"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Till we meet again, Star.

Last night I was going to write a new blog entry.
I wanted to celebrate the midpoint of my pregnancy...
But something told me to wait.
Today I had a checkup, and after going through the regular weight check, bloodpreassure, hemoglobin test etc, the nurse wanted to make sure the baby was Ok.
Normally we get the heartbeat at the 1st try with the doppler.
But not today.

I have had an intuition about this.  My mom lost her 8th child, and she had never had a miscarriage before, so I was worried that the same thing would happen to me.
The last few weeks I have felt different.  And I have told a few people that this pregnancy has been different from my other ones.  I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but "just something".

The nurse kept trying with the doppler, and concern showed in her face.  I prayed.
"Please, just find it.  Just say "Oh! there it is!"
But time passed.  Maybe a few minutes went by.
No heartbeat.
The nurse told me I need to go to the hospital so they could do an ultrasound.
"Sometimes the baby changes position, and "hides", so we can't pick up the heartbeat!"
I hoped so.  But in my heart, I knew different.

Walking to the car my eyes welled up with tears...
I called my Hubby who was at home with the 3 youngest, waiting for me to get back home, so he could head to work.
I cried on the phone, sharing my worst fears.
He wanted me to come home, so we could go to the hospital together.
But with 3 kids along??
I said
"I'll go, I'll be fine, you watch them while I go and figure this out!"

Driving the 10 minute drive was OK.
Sitting in the waitingroom was a rollercoaster of feelings.
So.  What do you think?
What are you supposed to think?
At one point I got annoyed and figured I might as well go home.  Time will tell what happens.
I even called my Hubby and told him so, but he kindly asked me to stay put and make sure things are fine.
After 2½ hours of waiting (there were many other ladies that had scheduled appointments that went ahead of me), my head felt numb from waiting.
It felt like the early morning checkup was somewhere in the distant past.
That this wasn't actually happening.
I almost felt embarressed sitting there.  Like this was a big mistake, and that they would do an ultrasound, just to confirm that everything was Ok, and wonder why they had sent me there in the 1st place.
Then I was trying to accept the fact that the baby might have moved on to a better place...
And trying to think ahead of all the matters that would have to be taken care of.
I realistically realized that I didn't have time for this!
(I know... dumb thought, but my head was spinning)

For each time they called someones name, I jumped.  I realized I didn't really want to find out what I was about to find out.  I didn't want to hear my name and reality knocking...
Finally it was my turn to go.

I got ready for the ultrasound, and the lady put the scanner on my pregnant belly.
After a short amount of time, confusion showed on her face.
I couldn't see the screen, but was hoping that she was looking at a healthy baby, moving and kicking around.
She wasn't.
She asked me if I had had an early ultrasound, and I answered yes, at about 12 weeks, but the ultrasound showed the baby as 10 weeks old.
"Hmmm.... I can't see anything!" she says.
"What do you mean?  Like, NO baby?"
"Yes...."
?????  I was shocked.
At my last checkup we had heard the baby's heartbeat loud and clear (at 15 weeks)

She said she needed to have a 2nd Dr's opinion, to confirm what she was seeing.
The 2nd Dr came after a short wait, and he saw what the 1st Dr saw.
I have a condition called "molar pregnancy".
I had no clue what this meant.
What I learned is basically this.
Already at the time of conception something goes wrong, and this makes the placenta grow at a faster pace than the baby (could explain why the baby was so small at 10 weeks).
Normally the mom will miscarry early on, as the baby gets "absorbed" by the placenta.
In my "unusual case", the placenta kept growing, and so did the baby, till at least 15 weeks.
I don't know how big the baby got, but I know we heard the heart beat then.
At some point after that, the placenta "took over", and our little baby went to heaven.

Today they couldn't see anything besides my large placenta...
My uterus is measuring as if I am 20 weeks pregnant, and I look like it too...
I was very confused and shocked.
I had to go to have labwork as well as have a pre-surgery visit with a nurse at the surgery department.
On Friday I'm going in to surgery.  I will be put under general anesthesia.
Since I'm further along than normal with this condition, the risks of bleeding etc are higher.
All day at the hospital my brain was on autopilot, trying to absorb all the information.
Longing for a big hug from my Hubby.

At 3pm I got the kids from school, and I had to break the sad news to them.
All 4 of them broke down in tears and sobs, and I ached for them.
Their little baby sister or brother wasn't coming to us anymore, the baby had gone to heaven...
I drove home, and my sister from Norway called me.  I had texted a bunch of people previously, and my phone kept getting texts nonstop.
My sister made me cry... and she cried.
Reading all those encouraging words from all my friends, from many different countries, made me realize how fortunate I am.
I could feel everyones prayers carrying us.

Coming home and having my Hubby scoop me in to his arms in a bearhug, made me finally cry a good cry.
I felt his tears rolling down at the back of my neck, and I felt both of our helplessness in the situation...
We have a tough time ahead of us, but together we'll be Ok.
I have a new respect for people who have lost babies, or for those who are suffering from childlessness.
We are fortunate to have 7 healthy, beautiful children.  Still, the loss of one is so painful...

Star.  We loved you from the day God made you.  We'll love you for the rest of our lives.  You are our anchor on the other side, and we pray that you help us on the way...
Our sadness is hard to explain, but I feel that you were too good for this world.
Until we meet again, I love you.  Mamma.

PS: Our oldest daughter asked if we could name the baby, and we decided Star was a good name.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday, Bug!!

We have another birthday to celebrate!!
Our 3rd girl is turning 10 tomorrow.
So.... let's take a walk down memory lane....

10 years ago I was 10 days overdue with this gal.  I remember a few weeks before when I went to one of my Dr checkups, and the Dr asked me
"How are you feeling?"
"Pregnant!!" I replied.
"You should, because you are 8 months pregnant!"
He, he... He was this older obstetrician, with a dry sense of humor and a great personality.
So, the day before she was born, I felt very ready.  I had a a Dr's appointment, and he told me that if I didn't have the baby by Friday, he'd induce me then. (this was on a Monday)
Well.... Tuesday early morning I went in to labour.
My Hubby was already at work in the States, since this was only 6 weeks after 9/11 2001, it took a LOOONG time to cross the border in to the USA, so he'd leave from home at 4 am to make it to work for 5 am.  If he left any later, the same drive would take up to 3 hours.
So... I called him around 6 to let him know that he needs to come back to Canada.

My in-laws came over and picked up our 2 oldest, who were 3½ and 2 at the time.
Then Hubby and I went to the hospital.
Of course when we got to the hospital my contractions became less frequent, I think it's a rule...
But since I was 11 days overdue, they kept me anyway.
We had breakfast in the cafeteria, and were excited about what the day would bring.  It was sunny and unusually warm outside.  My contractions came and went, and when they came they were good and strong.
Around 1pm they decided to break my water, to help things along.
Turned out I had so much water, I had to stay in bed after that, or the baby might have flipped around = c-section.  I got a bit frustrated since walking around had felt so good.  But I knew things were getting closer, so that was exciting.  I had made a decision to try to go without en epidural, since after my 2nd one I had quite a few complications due to it.

I had a fantastic nurse at my side, who kept me believing that I could do it!!
Shortly past 2pm, things got bad.... I started to have really strong and painful contractions, and I remember looking over at my Hubby telling him I was scared!  His face looked so helpless, it hurt me.
Good thing for that amazing nurse!
After about 40-45 minutes of pure ****, we were able to welcome a beautiful girl to our family.
I was so out of it I couldn't even hold her...
But amazingly enough, I felt WAAAY better within a very short amount of time.
I took a shower only a few hours later, and I had all the energy I needed to care for our little pumpkin!

Almost 2 years later we just about lost her to undiagnosed diabetes.
She had been sick, and slowly gotten worse, for about a month and a half.
We had a newborn baby at the time, and my brain was mush.
I averaged about 3 hours of sleep per night for a few months straight, and for several weeks I kept bringing our little sick girl to the Dr's, trying to figure out why she was disappearing in front of our eyes.
This smiley, busy girl, turned in to a shell of herslef.  She finally quit walking, talking and eating, and her bowels stopped moving...
My mother's instinct KNEW that this was more than a viral infection, besides non of the other kids were sick!  We finally got her type 1 diabetes diagnosed, just a week before her 2nd birthday.
I was relieved to know that she'd be fine, but devestated knowing that our baby had a chronic illness, that would change her life forever.

For the next 5 years we managed her diabetes via insulinshots, about 4-5 every day.
When she was almost 7 she got her insulin pump, which has made her life (and ours) a lot easier.

So, what is she like today??
Well, she's our Angelina Ballerina through and through.  She has the looks and built of a dainty fairy, she's fun and smart and at times a bit ditsy.  She plays great with her younger siblings, and most of the time she carries a smile on her face.
Knowing how close we were to losing her, and knowing what she has gone through with her sickness in her young life, makes her a bit special to us.
It's also a reminder of how much we should appreaciate what we have when we have it, and how quickly things can change.  It makes me love all our kids even more, because they are merely gifts for us to care for, and there's nothing that's for sure in life....

Bug, we love you so much, I admire your strength, and how you almost never complain about what you have to deal with on an everyday basis.  Like I've told you many, many times,
                                                               "You are the bravest girl I know!!"


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Little Guy!

Happy Birthday Little Guy.  You are 2 now!!  Time has gone so fast, and now we have this little guy running around, ruling the household.  He gets into his fair share of trouble, but not any more than some of his sisters at the same age.  I bet when I have the baby, he'll make up for any wasted time thou...
Our Little Guy has been talking in sentences for many months now, and now he's starting to say the more "big kid" stuff, like : "No, that food is yukky!" , "No, I don't wanna go sleep!"
No is a very well used word.  If I ask for a hug he usually says "No!", then I say, "Please??", and he'll say "Tay!" (he can't say "K" yet), and come over and give me a snug.

He's starting to think that he doesn't need naps anymore!  Bad idea for a guy who likes to wake up 1st in the household... I try to be firm on this one, but you really can't MAKE him fall asleep!  He'll spend 1½ hours in his bed, talking, singing and playing games, but won't sleep.

So.  How was it the day this little guy entered this world?
Well, 2 days before, I went for my weekly pregnancy checkup, and my Dr said:
"You are due on Saturday, if you come to the hospital in the morning, we can induce you then!"
Saturday was my duedate, and he figured with baby #7, I had been pregnant long enough.
I agreed, although I wasn't sold on the idea of being induced... But to plan it on a Saturday was so convenient, since my Hubby worked in the States at the time, so if I went in to labour with him on the other side of the border, and a potential line up at the bridge coming in to Canada, I couldn't deny the offer.
We were also able to plan babysitting service at his moms, so that was practical as well.

Early Saturday morning, Oct 24th 2009, we piled our 6 girls in the Suburban and dropped them off at grandmas.  A week before, my hubby's brother and family had a baby boy, so of course we all wished for a boy even more now!
Coming to the hospital they hooked me up to antibiotic and IV, since I tested Strept B positive, and you need to have the antibiotic for 4 hours before the baby is delivered.  I walked the halls attached to the pole carrying the IV+meds.  We had a lunch at the hospital cafeteria, and I was kind of impatient getting into labour.  Nothing was happening yet.  Around 3pm or so, they broke my water (I had been at the hospital since 7ish, but things got really hectic on this day, with a few emergencies, so I was pushed down the priority list)  After breaking the water I had to stay in my room, and things were kind of draggy.  Nothing much happened.  I tried to stand and walk in different ways to get things going.  Nothing happened.  They put me on oxitocin (like the body's own hormone that puts you in labour), and they kept cranking it up....  Early evening I was finally getting some decent, but not very steady contractions.  I'm not a very patient person, so needless to say, I was getting frustrated.  The nurse told me to enjoy the rest...
She was really nice btw, and hung out with me and my Hubby for many hours, just visiting.  Since I was in a high risk unit (mandatory after having so many babies), I had my own nurse, so she wasn't wasting her time.

I finally got some good contractions going, and I needed some laughing gas.  1st time I used that, and I liked it.  (I was trying to go without an epidural)  I rocked in a rockingchair, which was soothing through the contractioins.  Around 8pm things strated to get intense.  I was still only 5-6 cm dilated, and wasn't sure how long things were going to take, and I felt like my bladder was going to explode from all the preassure... so I asked for an epidural...  I got it quite fast, and 20 minutes later our 8 lbs boy greeted the world.
There were cheeres from all the nurses, as well as the Dr and my Hubby.
"A BOY!!!"
Nobody could believe that this girlmaking machine was capable of this!
I had to ask them if they were SURE!!
"Yes, we are sure!"
Then my Dr asked Hubby to cut the umbilicy cord, and I'm sure he didn't mind, alhtough his vision was blurred from tears.  On his face was also a HUGE smile!  He had a SON!!!

Of course it doesn't matter what the gender of your child is, but there's a reason why there are girls and boys on this planet, and there are differences between the genders as well, so after having 6 girls in a row, although being very different from each other, having a boy was wonderful!
Coming home from the hopital, our livingroom slowly turned light blue... Cards and gifts were everywhere.  This was a special little guy!  Some people felt sorry for the poor thing, having to grow up surrounded by all those sisters (and at times I do too..., I worry he'll never get married, since he'll know WAY too much about women from growing up in this household)  But mostly he's a lucky little guy.  His needs have always been met, he's loved beyond words, and pretty much anything he does is cute and adorable.
HE is cute and adorable, with his round head, round blue eyes, and... yeah, everything.
And he's SO boy.  100%.  Amazingly enough!
He does have a really tender heart thou, and he loves his stuffed Winnie bear, and his sisters, and especially his mom and dad.
And we love him too.
So increadibly much, it almost hurts...  I have to agree with our 12yearolds comment:
"You just can't get mad at him!"
No, you just can't...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are you a Saint??

This morning our Little Guy (almost 2) was throwing a fit.  He was very upset that his older sister had the bowl of cereal that HE wanted.  I made him the same thing, to no avail.  I asked big sister if she would be so nice to give her halfeaten food to her brother in exchange for a brand new bowl of the same stuff. 
Obviously she did not go for that.  Too easy of a solution, plus watching little brother holler is somewhat amusing.
I walked away from the situation, telling my hubby I felt old, and added
"How hard could it have been for Mother Theresa to be a Saint, she never had kids!"
My Hubby chuckled and added
"And no husband!"
True.
Now, don't take me wrong, Mother Theresa was in my eyes an amazing person, who probably spent hundreds of nights awake taking care of poor children who no one else cared about.  She was truly unselfish.
I by all means doubt that would have been me at any point, with, our without, hubby and/or kids.
At times thou it seems like we mothers (and yes, fathers!) of young children get tested to our limits, over and over. 
I have to remind myself about the good stuff, to help me out during the intense moments.
The cereal situation was solved, I guess big sister got sick of her brother screaming, so she traded bowls...
Then he wanted her cup of course.  Duh.
Good thing we had another one that looks exactly the same!!

When we lived in Canada I actually had people ask me on a regular basis, if I indeed was a Saint, when they saw us and our row of kids out in public.
"Of course I am, is it that obvious?"  Dressed in stained clothes, hair in some sort of creation, bags under the eyes... isn't that the registered Saint look??

Really thou.  Being a parent can bring out the worst in us.  It makes us feel guilty, impatient, immature... not all great stuff indeed.  I guess we really do get in touch with who and what we are.
Parenting also makes us patient, unselfish, full of love, understanding.
It makes us wear our hearts on the sleeve, and give us strength to stay up all night with a sick child.
It has made me more forgiving, and forever thankful over how forgiving kids are.

I strongly doubt I will gain Sainthood any minute now, but all the sweat and tears, and sometimes some blood, is sure worth it.
This morning my mother-in-law popped over to say goodbye before going back to Canada, and just as she was about to shut the door, Little Guy called out, while waving his little chubby hand,
"Bye, bye, see you soon!"  Granma melted a bit, and so did I...
Only 30 minutes before had he been acting very monster like, and now... he was almost like a Saint!

Oh, one last thing that I have to add.
When talking about gifts for her grandmas 60th birthday, our 8year old added
"Farfar (Grandpa) is Mummis gift everday, because he's her husband!"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Maybe I'm cheesy??? Or maybe it's just LOVE!!

We had some fun plans for this weekend.  We were FINALLY going to spend a nite in a hotel w the kids, just chillaxing, swimming in the pool, enjoying the big breakfast buffee, then on Sunday go to church and see friends in a different city.  Well.  This horrible mom decided to come down with a cold!!!  Hello???  Bad timing anyone?  I felt really bad telling the kids that "Mom is too tired to pack up all the stuff for 9 people!"  Hubby was gone helping his brother repairing his car, that decided to come down with something too...

Well.  In the end the 2 oldest took the train to the city we had planned on visiting, they are spending the nite with their friends.  The rest of us hung out all afternoon, Hubby and I zonked out on one couch each, and getting up some time later, I found a smidgen of energy.
We loaded up the 5 kids in the car, and went to Hop Lop (indoor playground), followed by a late dinner at McDonald's.  Coming home the 2nd youngest was already asleep, and now it's only the oldest of the 5 that's still awake.

We had a nice day after all, and again I feel thankful for our "basic" family life.
I got to be with 6 of my 8 favourite people, and again I fell a bit more in love with my Hubby.
Just because it's so hard not to.... :)
I might seem ultra cheesy who is always gushing over him... but why not???
It's been over 15 years now since we started dating, and I know just how lucky I am to have him.
I'm too lazy to climb a mountain to declare my love for him from high up there.  I don't have the money to fully show him how much I think of him,  so this is a good way to share my feelings.
I love him. 
Tons. 
And every day I pray to grow old with him. 
Surrounded by our kids and their families.
Cheesy??  Maybe for those that are looking for something else, for those who are not happy about where they are...
But I am.  And I wouldn't want it any different.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A special night

Now we've lived in our house for almost 3 months, and things are sort of falling into place.
I know where the things are in the kitchen.  At 1st you feel like a stranger in a new house, even if the things that surround you are yours, it takes some time to get used to where the new place to keep them are.  So... feeling more comfortable living here now, and not being as tired as in the beginning of the pregnancy, I wanted to have a ladies night.

My Mother in law is here for a visit from Canada, so it was a good time for her to spend a nite with some lady friends as well.
I prepped some yummy food, and sort of cleaned the house, put out a bunch of candles, flowers and napkins in bright orange colours.  I had about 20 ladies here, a nice crowd!
When the 1st ones arrived they brought along a beautful gift basket for me!  I was moved to tears as I read the card from all these new friends of mine.  I felt so blessed and thankful, not just about the thoughtful "housewarming gift", but the fact that they thought about doing this in the first place!  I also got a huge bouque of flowers (one of the ladies work at a flower shop, and she had put the arrangement together by herself).  Another lady gave me some pretty glass candleholders.  Wow, I felt spoiled! 

Moving somewhere new is always a challenge, feeling accepted and cared about is a great gift.
I feel humbled and blessed about all this, and my heart is so warm and thankful for these great new friends I'm surrounded by.
If any of you read this, Thank you!!!  I'm so very happy to have you all as a part of my life!
I hope I can be as good to you as you've been to me, you've made me feel truly welcome! :)



The Gorgeous Flowers




The Flowers and Mugs and Candleholders




These mugs are typical in Finland.  They show various "Muumin" characters (very popular here)
printed on "Arabia" china.  I can't believe we got 12 of them, as these are usually collectors items!
I know they'll be well used and loved by us all.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hey! Who bumped me??

I know, I have written several blog entries lately... don't get sick of me quite yet thou, because this is pretty neat!
I'm pretty sure I can feel the baby now... some soft flutter in there...
It's our 8th baby. 
It's another miracle. 
It's amazing, and it brings tears to my eyes...
This person is already making me happy, and I love him or her already...
Only the size of an avocado, but with immense power over a mother's heart...
This is not a random happening. 
This is a creation of someone a lot greater than us.
It deepens my understanding for what I believe in....

Just had to share this milestone with you all....

Monday, October 3, 2011

15 months in Finland.

Time for another letter to America!!  To give an update on how things are going in the old world.  It's been 15 months since the boat arrived at the harbor... or I guess when our Finnair flight hit the ground in Helsinki.  A lot has truly taken place since...

The move itself.  Getting an apartment, and trying our first little jumps and hops, like a babybird learning how to fly, in a new country.  Starting to build a new house.  Starting a new business.  New schools, language, Dr's, blah blah blah....
We moved again, and now live in the house we started building, the new company is growing roots, things are picking up. 
A new baby is on the way.
The kids have a year of school here stuffed in their backpacks of life.

Lately there have been many things happening back in Canada and USA.  Some friends of mine are expecting babies right around the same time as I.  I'd love to "grow big" along side with them.  I miss them.  A dear friend has moved on to eternity, and she'll be missed.  One of my dear sister-in-laws won't be my sis-in-law much longer... and that hurts, but she know's she'll always be my special L.  I wish I could be there for many reasons at times.  I get "homesick" for people.  Sometimes for places too, but not much.  I don't miss "stuff", I miss people.

Here I have laid the ground work for new friendships.  Looking back in my life, I realize that I've "started new" many many times.  Becoming a new friend to someone does not scare me.  I love meeting new people, and I find that everyone is interesting in their own way.  One thing I miss here is my ability to talk to anyone I want to.  I like to talk to old ladies, but here the language barriare slows me down a lot.  Very frustrating at times.  After learning Swedish growing up, and now also being fluent in English, makes the road of learning Finn seem very long and bumpy at times.  (I know how much work is involved in becoming equally fluent in 2 languages)  I'm not 18 anymore either... The age I was when I spent 2 months in USA and learned English. 

Now I'm mostly at home during the weeks, so the opportunities to use Finnish are sometimes far in between.  Lately I've been to some "in home sales" parties.  Great chance to practice Finn!  And to listen to the person presenting their products.  I actually "get it" every now and then.  Finn  is very different from most languages, so it's not like it "sounds like" or resembles any of the common Europeean languages either (which would greatly help me out).  So.  I struggle.  And I'm taking small steps forward. 
At least I can relate to how the kids feel!  They are fortunately catching on faster than their mom thou...

We are going through our 2nd fall here, and it's interesting to experience the seasons change for the 2nd time.  I'm curious and a bit scared to see if this February will be as cold as last one.  Will we still have tons of snow at the end of March?  Right now the trees are all dressed in sparkling colors, but their gowns are falling rapidly.  Soon we'll hit that gray November... and I'll be looking forward to snow to brighten up the days.  It's already getting dark quite early, and it's only getting darker.  We are planning to spend Christmas at home.  I hope I have energy to bake all the traditional Christmas goodies, and spend the holiday relaxing in front of the fireplace.

So... the latest review of life here??  It's good.  I still like the fact that things are so close.  I still don't miss crossing the international border crossing between Windsor and Detroit.  I don't miss Detroit traffic, and my hubby stuck in it on the way home from work... We have seen each other a lot more this year, and that was one of our goals.  The kids are adjusting, and they seem happy over all.  Of course they miss their friends and realtives over there, just like I do!  But you'll always miss somebody... especially when your family live very spread out!  But as long as we are content in the moment, and with what we have each day, those things become easier to handle. 

Some people ask if we are staying here, we originally talked about living here for 2-3 years.  Some people said before we moved "Oh, you'll be back here in 2 years!" others predicted we won't come back at all.  (besides for visits)  At this point I think we are staying here for many years to come.  1st of all, I'm not interested in uprooting and moving our kids every few years, especially since moving back to where we used to live would not be an option.  So if we moved back, it would be starting new all over again, in a new city etc.  Does not sound appealing right now.  Some of the reasons that made us move in the 1st place, we really would miss moving back, and why "fix" something if it's not broken??
I like to tell the kids that this is where we live now, feel free to root yourself.
If they knew that "We might be moving back in 2-3 years", would they dare to fully spread their wings and embrace all the new?  And then after a few years, we aren't able to move back, and they feel disappointed? 

I don't know if there is a "right or wrong" way to do a big life change like this, but being honest makes it easier.  And I couldn't honetly tell them "in 2 or 3 years this or that will happen!"  That's impossible! 
Who knows what will happen in the next few years??  Besides, then our oldest kids will be in highschool, and highschool here and overseas is very different, so the older the kids are, the harder a move would be.

2 years ago it seemed very strange to move here.  I was almost due with our youngest, and our overseas plans were just starting to gain momentum.  So much have happened since then, and I guess time will tell how this move has changed our lives for better and worse.  I like to look at the good stuff thou, and so far, so good!  I realize that giving a timeline for a move like this is really quite pointless (unless you move on a one or two year work visa, where your company helps you with the moving costs, and you plan on returning to your old place, that's different).  We sold our house, brought all our belongings with us, my husband quit his job... so after cutting all the ties like that, it's a lot more work going back.

So.... now you know where that stands!  I guess we are Finns now!  :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Have faith

This is a true story, with a happy ending.

A bit over a year ago one of my favorite families had to accept the sad news that they had lost their home.  After the dad lost his job a few years back, and they fell behind on payments, this was the outcome in the end.  Far from the only ones these days.  He was working when they lost it, but the bank was not willing to negotiate.
This family had 11 kids at the time, and the hard task of finding a new place for them was on their "to do list".
It's not easy to tell a potential landlord that 13 people in your rental will not wreck it!

The months went by, and for Christmas gift they found out that God was again blessing their family with another child.  This incradible mom felt new strength from this, feeling that in this dark time of heavy trial, they had a light to look forward to.

Another month or so went by, and they finally found a rental place that seemed like a good place for them.  In March they were moved in, and things seemed OK, but sad news came around this time, the dad lost his job, again...
With a 12th child on the way, and living in a rental home that unfortunately turned out to NOT be a good one, losing his job felt like a terrible blow.
This mom who never complains, felt that this finally got the better of her.
Many, many friends prayed for them, and she got her strength back.
At the end of the school year, her parents opened their doors for them, and the 13 of them moved in to their house.  Still no work lined up, although the dad worked hard on finding one.

Summer break came, but before it's end, the dad lost his own dad.  His dad had been sick for  quite some time, but it's never easy to say farewell to one of your parents. 
Finally on the 1st day of September a beautiful baby girl was added to the bunch.  The family was extatic, and the mom felt that this is what life is all about.  A new baby reminded her to stay focused on the things that really matter.

About a year had gone by since they found out about losing their house, and God saw that it was time to end this trial.  At the end of September the dad got a great job offer, and now this wonderful family can start looking for a place to call their own. 

These are the kind of people I look up to.  Who don't despair in the darkest hour, but keep their heads high and keep trying, and who let God guide the their lives in a humble way.

Good luck dear friends, you are not forgotten, and God will always be with you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's the problem???

Don't we all have bad days at times?  Days when we wonder how our lives turned out the way it did.  Why am I doing this?  Why does he have a better job, a faster car, more money etc? Yes, that's perfectly common and I believe normal.

What I don't get is when young, healthy, able bodied people are complaining about their lives, making it sound like everything is somebody elses fault.
"I hate my job, I get paid crap, nobody understands me, I try to please everybody, but when I turn my back they take advantage of me and leave me in the dust"  Whine whine and more whine.
I think some people need to give their heads a good shake and take a hard look in the mirror.
First of all, if you truly hate your job, why don't you change it???  Can you retrain in something?  Take a course?  Who are you benefitting if your work really suck?  Have you asked your boss if you can make your tasks more interesting or challenging?  How?
Remember, no one will come and thank you for putting up with things you didn't like.
You will not get a medal or great friends along the way.
You'll get bitter, bored, and the people who hang out with you are most likely suffering the same problems.  And you tear each other down, and steal each others energy.

I have a feeling that some people might thrive on complaining.  The job itself is not the true problem.
Of course there are times when we have to hold on to a job in order to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads, and maybe going to this job isn't just thrilling fun, but do you ever stop and concider your options?  Good or bad.

If I didn't have this job, would I be better off unemployed? 
Do you ever take a minute and remember what your grandparents did in the past, during the depression, just to keep their families alive?  Are we becoming spoiled with the opportunities of being able to pick and choose?  Think about your boss that hired you, and you feel no gratitude towards that person...  Is that right?

I'm a strong believer in being thankful for what you have, instead of missing what you don't.
In doing things for yourself, not expecting others to serve you.
Rather serve others.

If you are unhappy at work, and just can't do anything to change it at the moment, how can you change your sparetime to make that time more fulfilling?
Do you know elderly who you can help out?  Run errands, mow the lawn, clean their home?
Do you know families with young children that might appreaciate a helping hand?
If you fill your sparetime with helping others, with a smile on your face and without expecting anything back, maybe your life will become fuller, and your job might even become a bit easier to handle?
At least you know that at the end of the day there might be somebody waiting for you to show up, to help them out.

We all have one life to live, and we choose ourselves how this time is spent.
You can not blame others for how things turned out.
Some people have gone through some really hard times, because of how others have treated them, but at some time we all need to realize that
"I am me now.  My happiness is my own matter.  What's past is past, what is done is done, but now I will surround myself with people who give me good energy, who are positive, and I myself am going to try to be my own best friend."
If you like who you are, and feel that you'd be your own friend, then being alone and being bored isn't so bad, at least you are in good company!!

When you point fingers and say
"I trusted that person, and he or she failed me, I'll never forgive them!",
you become bitter and full of hatered, and the only person that you truly wreck is yourself.
People will turn their backs, because you are stealing their energy.
And if you're not happy with yourself, why would others be?
You need to love yourself in order to be loved, and being able to love others.
This is not cliche', this is truly how it is.

"A bitter person was never thankful, and a thankful person was never bitter"
Good words to live by.
Even if we have days that feel less than good or fun, at least when we carry a thankful heart, we can go to bed feeling content with how life is, good and bad, and if we feel a need to change, we know the ball is in our own court!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gold Nuggets

After a busy summer, including house building, moving in to that house, continuing working on it, getting pregnant, having a bunch of visitors...  I feel like I finally have time to catch my breath.  Lately the Dr. appointments have been back to back, and there are many more to attend in the next month.  Several kids need checkups, 6 kids need to see dentist (for regular checkups and for more advanced stuff).  I'm looking forward to having one of my wisedom teeth pulled in the next few weeks.  Not.  But it needs to get done.  I need to have them all pulled, but they'll start with one for now.  Then I have to go to my checkups... well, you get the picture.

Besides all those "not so fun" appointments, life is good.
And I know we could be going to the Dr's for far worse reasons, so I'm thankful that we are only doing the regular "are we doing OK" stuff.
Soon (maybe today!) I need to pull out our boxes with hats and mitts.  Crazy.  Didn't we just put those away??  This morning it was only 5 degrees C (about 40F), but the sky is clear and the sun is shining, so it should warm up fairly fast.  The trees are changing outfits, and for each passing day, their gowns are getting more and more elaborate.  Fall is so pretty!

What else?  I just realized again how much I'm thankful and happy for. 
I dreamed that we had another boy, and he looked just like our 1st one!  It makes me want a "little brother" for the kids even more...  I'm getting more and more excited about the new baby coming, and soon I'll start going through all the old baby clothes, girls and boys, and then I'll really get in the "new baby mood"!
A little girl would be fun too, but for our only son I wish for a boy.  Don't you think he "needs" a brother?

I've been very thankful (again!) for my wonderful Hubby.  He really truly is an amazing man.  Sometimes the kids wish he wasn't so "dadish", but in a household full of women, I'm thankful that he's a "real guy".  Blunt and clueless at times, but also willing to go back and give hugs and say sorry when need be.  (I need to say sorry a lot more than him...)  He's not one to bicker or fight, and every day he's my friend in everything.  There are so many "little" things he does, for me and for many others, that add up, and I don't think he realizes it.  He doesn't complain, ever!!, and that to me is very manly!  Whiny guys is like nails on a chalkboard.  Not that you can't say "Wow, today was rough!".  But guys that whine, and try to sound like "See what I have to deal with?, but of course I can handle everything, I just have to suffer through this", makes me shiver, in a bad way.
So yeah.
Thank you again for being who you are, I couldn't imagine my life without you.

Pretty fall trees.  A new baby coming.  A new house to make our home.  A wonderful Hubby.  Lots of kids to love and laugh and learn with.  Those are all gold nuggets in my life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, again!!

Today we again celebrate one of our kiddos.  This time it's our 6th daughter who's turning 4! 
This little girl has something about her that make people notice her, even when she's not seeking out attention.  She's sweet and funny and most days she says things that have us all laugh our heads off!  Kids that age are like that, but you never get too much of it, it just keeps being cute and funny!
She really, really knows what she wants, and she makes sure to get it, pretty much all of the time.  Her poor, somewhat older, sister has to give in a lot...  At the same time she is really caring about her little brother, so I guess it evens out.

One of her little "things" she does is to giggle at just about anything.  She can be sitting by herself, playing quietly, when a slow giggle starts to build up inside her, and before you know it, she's laughing out loud, by herself, at something funny she did or thought about!

My pregnancy with her was NOT enjoyable.  At all.  I had the most morning sickness (lasted for 16 weeks), then my veins on my legs started to bug me, as my belly started to grow really fast!  At 5 months along many people started to ask if I was due soon.  I felt like saying, "Yes, I'm really due - to pop your head off!!"  I had to have extra checkups and ultrasounds and labwork.  They thought I was having twins for a while!  Turns out I "just" had a lot of amniotic fluid, no explanation to why this happened.  (there are several theories to why this can take place, but they did not fit me)  So, during one of Windsor's hottest summers on record (you can look it up if you want), I was measuring as if I was pregnant with twins, but I wasn't...
 
I had a very active toddler to chase, and... yeah.  I got pretty swollen and very uncomfortable before I finally was able to have this little girl.  My Dr. saw an induction to be my safest choice, since things could turn pretty risky if the water broke at home.  So 8 days before due, I went to the hospital to welcome our 6th girl.  (we knew what we were having, I had so many ultrasounds with her so it would have been very hard not to find out!)
The Dr broke my water, and they had to use a hose in my bed to suck it up.  After they had got a lot of the fluid out, my belly had literally lost half its size!  My Dr. claimed that he'd never seen that much amniotic fluid from one lady in 23 years!!  I believed him...
Our little girl made a safe arrival, but had to stay in NICU for the 1st night for observation.  She was fine, and screamed the loudest by far among all the preemies... (she was 8 lbs, and some of her roommates were probably a 10th of that!!)
The next day when I got to have her with me, I was holding my newest miracle, and thought "They are such a joy!", and then I knew that Joy would be her middlename (we hadn't decided on one yet).
And a joy she has been! 

Happy Birthday to a special girl, who makes our lives even more worth living!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

Today millions of people around the world remember that dreadful day 10 years ago.  I remember that too.  Looking back I hope we all focus on what made us stronger, and not what others tried to ruin for us and make us weak and scared.  May God bless and keep us all safe from evil, and may we first of all remember to take care of ourselves and the ones who are dear to us.

This day, 12 years ago, a miracle happened.  We became parents for the 2nd time when our 2nd daughter was born.  This little lady was 9 days over due, just like our 1st one, and she made sure to make the hot summer feel even hotter for me... When she finally decided to announce her arrival, she came in a hurry!  From sitting at my brother-in-laws house, eating burgers, at 5pm, till us calling back to them from the hospital to share the latest family news, was less than 4 hours!!
This little lady made sure to keep us in line.  She refused bottles, so I had to feed her every 2 hours, around the clock, for her 1st year of life!! 

When our 1st born was a toddler, she "followed the rules of the book".  She was increadibly busy, but she would listen to me explaining, and usually be pretty obedient to what I said.  I thougth this parenting thing was falling into place quite nicely.
Well.  Let me just say that #2 proved me wrong!!  What ever worked with our 1st one, did NOT work the 2nd time around.  She'd throw fits and scream like the best.  She was the kind of kid that made you leave the shopping cart mid-isle, and walk to the car...  trying to make yourself look as descreet and small as possible.

I remember one night when she was right around 4 years old, and we had a newborn baby, an almost 2year old, and the oldest being 5½ half.  I had said the prayers at night, and my little girl had finally settled down after an unusually trying day.  I cried.  I felt that I did not have what it took to be a good mom to this little girl.  I sent a deep sigh, and a sincere prayer, that God would please give me strength.
After that day we saw a slow change.  We got her a hamster that she loved with all her heart, I need to tell you that she does have a huge, loving heart, for anything living.  As a 2-3 year old she'd collect bugs and worms and play with them.  Toads and frogs have been her pets.  Any dog anywhere was her friend to play with, to her mom's great fear at times!!  She'd follow any stranger anywhere, as long as they were attached to a dog!!
As the months went by... I one day realized "That difficult girl was gone!!"  In her place we got a really, really sweet gal, with a temper intact, and puppy-dog-eyes that could get her pretty much anything (but a horse).

She's still sweet and loving, and looking back I know that God has helped me along the way.  Every child you are given teaches you something, she sure tought me a fair scoop of patience!  She also is my voice of reasoning many times, helping me to see things from a fair point of view.
The other night she told me how everyone has some weakness that they struggle with, and as an example she mentioned how one of her sisters can be very slow at times (this is a known fact), then she mentioned a few other examples that were right on, after that she very diplomatically told me "And you mamma, you have to work on not being so hard on yourself!, I can see how you put yourself down sometimes, and you shouldn't do that!, you are a good mom, and we love you, please try to work on that!"

I tell yah, kids are so smart.  Little angels sent to us, to keep an eye open for us, to help us along the way....
Dear 12 year old!  We love you so much. Don't change. Keep your sweetness intact, keep loving this beautiful nature and all its animals!  Thank you for your wisedom and love.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Congrats, you just won another 2 weeks of pregnancy!!

Hm.  I went for my 1st ultrasound yesterday.  Based on all the facts, I SHOULD be almost 12 weeks along now.  I have felt that this is the right number of weeks, and my body sure has felt and acted its part.  But what do I know, right??  According to my ultrasound, the nice technician informed me that "Hmmm, this baby is only measuring 9 weeks 5 days", so 2 weeks less than I had figured.

What???  I don't get it.  It does not make sense.  I'm not going to share any details, but the whole thing is rather strange and confusing.  I have had 7 kids, and many ultrasounds, and they have all been within 5 days of my estimated date...  Now this.
You might think, "Who cares? a few weeks more or less?"  Well, I DO care.  Now we are having an April baby instead of a March baby.  It makes it sound like a whole month later!!  (even if the date "just" moved from March 20th to April 4th.)  Now I have to do week 10 to 12 all over again!! 

My oldest daughter is not impressed either.  She has been over the moon about the fact that I'm expecting a baby within 2 days of her birthday, and now that will most likely not happen...  My dear hubby does turn the big 4-0 in April thou, so Happy B-Day Big Guy!  This one is for you :) 

Well.  There.  Now I got to gripe abou that a bit.  Now I'm hoping that the baby will surprise me and come "early", actually meaning, that my own duedate was the right one all along...