Abundance, Alex, boys, child, children, city living, family, getting things done, house, Iceland, kid, kids, life, mother, motherhood, New House, Parenting, parents, project, projects, Renovations, Stay at home, stay at home mom, tantrums, toddler, update

Time to Write

Things are changing. They are always changing. Every moment when I get into the rhythm of “I got this” life happens and I have to learn to dance to a different beet and sometimes life doesn’t even provide me with the music to dance to and I sort of have to be super creative. Now is one of those moments where there is music but it the station keeps getting changed a lot and I have learned to just roll with it. Funny thing is that it keeps mixing my favorite hip hop station with my least favorite techno station and I have NO idea how to dance to techno. But even my favorite Hip Hop station is throwing me curve balls that I can manage and they are not horrible but throw me off beet. Thankfully there is more Hip Hop than Techno.

So here it is. Remember when we purchased the house the summer of 2016? The 1978 monster of a house that was frozen in time in 1978. There was shag carpet everywhere. Even in the bathrooms. There was carpet in the kitchen. Yep you read that right. IN THE KITCHEN!!! We knew that was not going to fly with 4 young boys, a dog and 2 cats. So we ripped out ALL the carpet except in the formal living and dining room which looked newer than the rest. But Ya’ll the carpet in there is cream colored and that is where I have the boys fenced off when I need to finish dishes, laundry, cook dinner or what have you and the dining room is the play room at the moment and the formal living is the game room with the ugliest pealing pleather couch that you could think of. We stalled out of updating the house about 7 months ago. Getting all of this done with 4 kids, a dog and 2 cats in tow on top of homework, school pick up, mountains of laundry, all the meals and all the normal stuff we have going on just wasn’t happening. One of our investments did well and we suddenly had the money to pay someone else to do the work and it was like a light shown down from the heavens. This is where I spend most of my time. In this house and we have had nasty concrete floors for over a year. The toilets and everything in the bathrooms is an ugly beige that makes me want to stab myself in the eye. But we have a great friend that does AMAZING work and was willing to take us on as clients and I am so excited to see what he will do for our house. Hopefully by the end of February I will have the house of my dreams. Before then we ran into some snags.

We found bats in the attic Bye Bye $1170 for removal and clean up

We hired a structural engineer because of some uneven floors and wanted the foundation to be fixed before we put new hardwood floors on. We need piers and foam to stabilize the foundation. Bye Bye $10,000

We needed some trees trimmed and removed from our property and the rental property. Bye Bye $2400

This all before we even start on the whole house remodel. The new appliances needed and the furniture that we need after that is done. We never fully moved into this house because it was never finished. The attic above the garage (that doesn’t have bats) is still full of our stuff that I never moved in because we had so much left to do. Also we moved from a 1500 sq ft house to a 3390 sq ft house. We still have whole rooms that we don’t use at all because they really aren’t usable because there is just subflooring.

As I was dealing with all the contractors (I’ve already been stood up 2 times and we haven’t even started on real renovations) I get a call from my 3rd boy’s principle. It is that call that no parent wants to hear. “You need to come pick up your preKer because he has been violent towards another child and has left marks on him.” I was in complete shock and disbelief. He is stubborn and sneaky and a hand full at home but never would I have imagined that he would be violent towards another child on purpose. I left a note on the door that I would be back in a few minutes for the contractors and speed off to school. Ashamed of my sons behavior. When I asked him why he did it he told me that he wanted to come home and this is the only way he gets to go home. It was one of my few days where I get to get stuff done without having small children under foot. My youngest (who is almost 2 and throws the greatest tantrums ever at the moment) was at his little preschool and I was trying to pack as much into my window as I could. Alex, my #3, got suspended for the rest of the week. He thought he won the lottery and got to stay home. I took away screens, I took away games, but honestly there is little I could do to make staying home with me less great. He hates school. Says his teacher doesn’t like him and even though I have asked for a change, written emails and showed up to meetings and other things nothing but a Behavioral plan has been done for him. The child that hasn’t done anything like this before is suddenly labeled a psychopath by his teacher because he is trying everything in his power to get out of there. What really makes me sad is he begged to go to “big kids school” for almost a year before he started. He had been dreaming of it for so long and I remember sitting down with the teacher at the beginning of school and thinking “oh no” that she was not a good fit for him and this might not go so well. I thought he would be unruly for her but NEVER violent. I can’t change things for him at school. I can just be a loving place for him at home. Make sure he talks about his choices at school and try to move on. This part of parenting sucks. When they have to learn to be outside of your zone. If they never really learn this the rest of life will be hard. I don’t want that for him.

As all of this is going down, the endless estimates and contractors and Alex making himself seen in our large busy family, I am also planning a trip to Iceland to see my family for Christmas. We won’t be there for long so I’m trying to introduce my boys to all of the different families on a one on one basis. This takes planning. I also have to make sure that I have all the outdoor clothing we will need for all 4 of them. Good shoes for all kinds of weather and that I make time for friends and us too with out hurting too many feelings.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, most of my music is good music that I love to dance to, finally getting the house done the way I like it and money not really hindering that, but I find myself stumbling through the techno noise and feeling like I am failing in ways along the way, when I am navigating the parenting outside of my control zone, watching my child not thrive and knowing that he needs to learn to be without me and I will not always be able to pick and chose his caretakers or bosses along the way. I hate that he is learning this so early. He is only 5. But also sheltering him even longer might not be helpful either.

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9 month old, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Iceland, mother, sudden heart failure, travel

Back from my trip of sorrow.

Sorry for the radio silence but now I am back from Iceland. I had decided to not blog until I was back. It has been a one day at a time sort of 3 weeks for me. My mother actually died of sudden cardiac death and not a heart attack. This is why even though my dad was performing CPR immediately and the search and rescue squad got there with in minutes with a defibrillator nothing worked to bring her back. My mother died in my father’s arms early that Saturday morning changing my family’s lives for ever. Great sorrow has moved through our very large family and she was the first of her 5 siblings to die at the age of 68 and she was not the oldest.

My mother’s empty chair and her unfinished knitting

During my stay I got to know my sisters again and their families. I have lived in Tulsa for over twelve years now and before that lived in France for two only going to Iceland every 3 or so years because of how expensive it is to go there.

At the viewing I was lucky enough to get time with my mother before everyone else came. My mother was different of course but I was happy that they did not use too much make up but let her be the natural lady I knew with light pink lipstick and mascara. When only the closest of family had arrived for the viewing it started and  I had closed my eyes to gather myself and while doing so saw it raining love over my whole family. My mother was showering each and every one of us and it gave me strength to be the person that my sisters and father could come to for strength and love. To welcome their sorrow and hurt and let them feel some comfort in my arms. Even though at times I got sad for some reason I did not really cry while I was in Iceland.

My mother’s Icelandic sweater and slippers. It looks like she will step into them any min.

Planing a funeral is hard but even harder with such a large family. Hundreds of people showed up to the funeral and the wake. My mother was loved by many and will be sorely missed.

At the funeral two of my sisters that did not just have surgery, two of my grown nephews, two of my brother in laws, my brother and I carried my mother in her casket from the church out to the hearse. It was so heavy that it mimicked the sorrow that we all carried. It was almost too heavy to bare but just holding on and trying to put one foot in front of the other was exactly what we were doing in life at the moment. Our steps were ungracious but they kept the pace. It was a slow, painful walk until we got to the hearse but then we got to hand the weight over for someone else to carry like handing the pain to God to be able to sleep. 

My father’s eyes are hard to look in these days as the sorrow flows from them. The hurt and pain is so deep that it was hard for me to leave him in Iceland but know that my sisters are there for him and the socialist system is there to help him with grievance counselors and other support.

My mother’s angel with the view of the mountain she loved so in the background. 

When I drove to my father’s home so that he could drive Alex and I to the airport he tells me to go inside to make sure I get anything that I might have left behind and told me to say goodbye to the house because he can’t afford to keep it. My heart breaks again. I walk into my parent’s room and on the bed sits the teddy bear I gave my mother for her 50th birthday 18 years earlier and with the white scarf I had given her when she baby sat for me when I went to the meditation retreat over two years ago. She had always said that when she had the feeling that she needed to hug the bear that it was time to give me a call because I wasn’t feeling well. Hoping that the bear was still a link to her I gave it a goodbye hug hoping she would feel it on the other side. 

I did the math and realized that if I were to go at the same time as my mother that my husband and I would have already finished a 4th of our relationship. That made me really sad but also reminded me to be kind, thoughtful and tell my husband and my boys how much I love them every day. To be a good wife and a good parent getting my children ready for the real world out there because I will not always be around.

Yesterday I made coffee and cried. I cried the ugly cry with snot and all. I also have lost my voice so I sounded like a frog that was gasping for air. Grief is ugly and unforgiving. It grabs you when you least expect it. I realized that I would never make my mother another cup of coffee in my home. That she would never be back to give me those hugs that I love and that my childhood home is going to be sold. A great loss. Great sorrow.

Be kind to one another. Tell the people you love that you love them and live the life you love and love the life you live. Life it too short to be unhappy. 

death, heart attack, Iceland, sudden., women

Wondering how something like this could happen….

I sit here on my couch in total disbelief, great sorrow and thinking that I should be waking up from this nightmare. I can’t eat and it feels like the elements that make up my body are shaking. Sleep eludes me and anything that I eat makes me feel sick. I  have cried more in the past 2 days than I have in a lifetime.

Friday evening my mother and father had my sisters over for dinner in their home in Iceland where they all ate a beautiful dinner together and laughed and talked. The weather was wonderful and at 11pm when my sisters said goodbye to my mother and father they were smiling and waving and marveling at all the trees they had planted on their property in Iceland. My mother had been complaining about an ache under her shoulder blade and up the side of her neck but not anything that really worried anyone.

At 2am my mother has a fatal heart attack in her home and my father tried his best to revive her until help came but even with help there was no bringing her back. My mother was gone. Taken too soon at only 68 years of age and way too quickly. I get the call about her having had a heart attack before they knew if she was really gone or not. They were still working on trying to bring her back for over an hour. It was honestly the longest 30 minutes that I have waited. That time where you still hold the hope that maybe, just maybe everything will just be fine but you know that your life will change forever if they are not OK:

That night I lost my mamma. I lost the greatest woman that I have ever known in my whole life. I lost the role model that showed me what it was to be a woman, a wife and a mother.

Now here I am in Tulsa trying to make it home. Wanting to bring my family of 5 with me but it costing over $7000 US dollars if I do. My passport is also expired and my 9 month old doesn’t even have a passport. As I try to make the decision to put my family in such financial hardship to use up ALL of the money we have put aside for an emergency to pay for our mortgage and food if needed and start putting charges on our credit cards and take the whole family or have only me and the 9 month old go and leave my poor 3 and 5 year old with my husband’s parents for over 2 weeks. That is a VERY long time for a 3 year old that recently became the middle child and needs his mamma. My heart is aching over this.

 As this all happened on at the beginning of the weekend I have not been able to talk to anybody about my passport issue or try to find out if there is a way to get get reduced tickets because of the circumstances. At the moment I could use a fairy god mother since neither me or my husband come from family that have money. We support ourselves and are our back up so we have to be careful about keeping a roof over our heads and our children fed.

Wish me luck in trying to make these decisions and get my passport issue taken care of. Of course if you have more money than you need and would like to donate to the fund. I would not say no at this point.

family, Iceland, Icelandic, Legos, Yule Lads

It’s About Family

Alex has started grasping toys and bringing them to his mouth

Magni having his morning banana

Óðinn enjoying a lazy morning on the couch.

As most of you know I am Icelandic and most of my family is in Iceland. My parents just left to go back home over a week ago after coming to be at my son’s birth. My mother is the best labor coach a daughter could ask for. It was so nice to have them here and her being the amazing help that she is didn’t hurt either.

This time of year becomes difficult for me. I miss my parents, my sisters, my nephews and nieces in Iceland. I´m lucky enough to have a brother and sister-in-law that live only 45 min away and they have three beautiful boys that are so good to my children. Tradition has become that we spend Christmas Eve at their home and now it isn’t Christmas if we wouldn’t go there. In my family, Christmas Day is spent in your PJs enjoying left overs from the day before and the presents that you received. Reading a book that you got while eating chocolate in bed. I’d like to keep that tradition for my family with the added American Santa Christmas morning.

My husband’s family is very good to us and normally we would all be heading out either the weekend before or the weekend after Christmas to spend it at my husband’s parent’s home which is a 3 hour drive away. My older boys just think the place is magic and my oldest says that he wants to move to grandma and grandpa’s house because they have lots of toys and he gets a big bed to himself. I smile when he says that, feeling the warmth in my heart that my boys are so loved by so many (this bringing me to tears just writing it out). It doesn’t hurt that his aunt Sabrina and uncle Danny spoils them rotten when she is there too, and my boys love their cousin Spencer. But I hate traveling long distances with babies because I can’t handle hearing a baby cry and 3 hours is just too long for a 12 week old. So I will be sending my husband and the older two this year and I will miss out on the fun.

Being so far away from Home (Iceland will always be my ultimate home) has advantages. I would never own a home this big and 2 cars in Iceland, it is too expensive. But the disadvantages are great. I have a 12 week old beautiful boy that my sister’s have never held (again bringing me to tears). Knowing that if they got to hold him and see is smile in person they would love him almost as much as I do. But being so far away my children are strangers to them and my sisters are strangers to my sons. I have also become a stranger to my sisters and my nieces and nephews.

After writing all of this out I count my blessings. My healthy, beautiful children, my amazing husband, my home, the food that we get to eat, the ability to get my sons something this holiday season, all the comforts of wanting for nothing.

From the Icelandic Yule Lad Skyrgámur or Skyr-Gobbler

We spent the morning putting these together
Wishing you all a beautiful day filled with love, comfort and loved ones.
Afghanistan, Australia, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Iceland, maternity leave, mortality rate, Norway, Save the Children 2011, USA

USA ranks number 31 with Save the Children!

Did you know that the USA ranks number 31 on the Save the Children´s State of Mothers 2011?

M right after his birth in Iceland.
Delivered by a midwife naturally.

At the top of the list is Norway, then Australia, and then my home country Iceland comes in third as the best places to be a mother.

This is all based on mother and child health and mortality rate, socioeconomic status, access to clean food and water and their level of education.

At the bottom of this list is Afghanistan.

In Norway, Australia and Iceland over 80% of all women use some sort of modern birth control, almost every birth is monitored by a health professional like a doctor or a midwife, most women have more than 14 years of education, the average Norwegian woman reaches 83 years of age, and only 1 of every 175 women loose a child in the first 5 years of its life.

While in Afghanistan, only 16% of women use some sort of modern birth control, the average Afghan mother only gets an average of 5 years education, and won’t reach the age of 45. Then there are the children where 1 of every 5 die before the age of 5 and compared to that statistic each mother in Afghanistan will suffer a loss of a child.

Why is the US rated 31 on the list? “We are the wealthiest country in the world, but there are still pockets of our population who are not getting the health care they need,” said Mary Beth Powers, a reproductive health adviser for the U.S.-based Save the Children, which compiled the rankings based on health data from countries and agencies worldwide.

The US maternal mortality rate is so high,1 in 2,100 die because of complications pertaining to birth. More women die during or immediately following childbirth than in any other industrialized nation. Only Albania, the Russian Federation, and Moldova scored lower in this category of industrialized nations.

The US children under 5 years of age, mortality rate is very high, with 8 deaths to every 1000 births, comparable to less developed countries such as Latvia. A child in the U.S. is more than twice as likely to die in the first five years of life as a child in Norway, Greece, Iceland, Finland, Japan, Singapore,  Luxembourg, Slovenia or Sweden.

The US is the country with the fifth lowest preschool enrollment rate. Only 58 percent of American children are enrolled in preschool. The U.S. ranks 5th-lowest in the developed world in early childhood education.

As most mothers know, we have the least generous maternity leave policy of any developed nation.  The U.S. maternity leave policy of 12 weeks of unpaid leave is called “the least generous of all wealthy nations”.  Of all the countries on this list, only one offered women less: Montenegro. In Iceland the maternity leave is 5 months and it is also paid leave. Letting mother and child recover, bond and breastfeed.  Even India has 12 weeks of 100% paid leave.

The US is lagging with regard to the political status of women. Only 17% of congressional seats are held by women, compared to 45 percent in Sweden, one of the countries that made the top ten.

By posting this I hope that someone that knows somebody can make a difference in the lives of both women in the US lives and in the countries that rated the lowest on the list. Woman should have the right to modern birth control with out it costing them anything and they have the right to stay home with their babies with out it being a strain on their finances.  The poor can not afford 12 weeks of no pay while at home with a baby.