t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


35 and Still...

...A hunk a hunk of burning love!

I love you Brent.
I love that you will smash your face in a cake lovingly decorated and far too intensely fondled by your two daughters. I love that you started that tradition.

I love that you have patiently undertaken more than you bargained for as we went through this pregnancy and birth.

I love that for your birthday you wanted a new van, new washing machine and dryers, and a haircut for Ellery.

I stand firm, that I am the luckiest woman alive.


So That's What They're For

Dive for the rocket....
Shoot the rocket...

Go fetch the rocket....

We decided to put all those swimming suits to good use. The only extra-curricular activity the children have done this summer is swimming lessons. Our neighbor put in a pool and their 20-year-old daughter teaches lessons. We've done 5 weeks. Just this week, I realized Emmett should have been participating. We split our hour time slot into three parts and the little, fearless one has been in heaven (in his swimming suit of course).



I stumble across something like this every so often and I just don't even know what to think. What possibly could have spurred this random, intriguing contraption?
A zebra hairbow, a sticky hand from the dentist and a flashlight.


I'll have to ask the children its purpose and function.

What's your guess?


How I Feel

A bit frustrated.

That's how little Berks and I felt about our doctors appointments last week. My blood pressure continues to be quite erratic. Those darn "bad" genes keep kicking in. High some days and low others. My doctors were concerned. Thankfully they are giving me some time to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and to start exercising again. Hopefully that will bring things under control.

Speaking of weight...Berkeley was 7 lbs 5 oz. That was our token piece of good news. She is gaining weight like a champ. You will begin to notice a bit of chubbiness peaking through.
But what was so puzzling is she had zero improvement on her oxygen needs. It was disappointing. I don't know at what point I begin to get more concerned about a possible alternative underlying issue.


A Little Riddle

What do these 3 pictures have in common????


And therein lies the crux of the problem.

Now, I will speak candidly. Not once in 6 years have I even thought about cleaning my bathroom vents, or in pulling my fridge out and sweeping and mopping underneath it. And if it did cross my mind, I don't make the time (I had to add the qualifier "make" since I am speaking in all candor) to devote to it.

I am very good about keeping up with clutter, and decent at staying fairly organized. Those things drive me bonkers if they aren't in order. But thoroughly mopping the floors (beyond the wet rag wipe) and cleaning blinds (probably done 2x in 6 years) are not my fortes. As I prioritize my time, this type of cleaning is just not on the top of the list.

Bed rest + New Baby + Not-Very-Good-at-it-in-the-First-Place = Rebecca is Getting a House Cleaner

The first two factors in that equation, finally put Brent over the top and he begged me to find some help.

The cleaner I found came highly recommended from several neighbors. Affordable. Thorough. Moves the furniture. It seemed like a fit for me. Earlier this week she cheerfully arrived and let me know it should take about 4 hours to do the initial deep clean. Ummm, at the four hour mark she was still in my 600 sq foot upstairs. At this point the true scope of my negligence began to surface. Over 7 hours of cleaning, at an intense pace, and she was still uncomfortable because she had to leave and hadn't gotten to everything. This woman takes pride in her work and she is thorough!

I began to laugh as she told me we would all breathe easier now and have a overall better feeling of wellness. If I was prone to be insulted I surely would have been. But thankfully, I could just laugh at myself. Soon she was laughing as well (in between her sneezes). She assured me, she has seen much worse homes. But who are we kidding? I know that was the token consolation phrase to the haggard, negligent housekeeper. It didn't change the gritty details.

I begged her not to share my dirty secrets (literally) with the neighbors. But here I am spilling them myself for the world and my posterity to read. Oh well. None of us are perfect.

I have to admit as my children made their forts today I didn't have to cringe as they pulled the cushions off the couch. There were no crumbs, pencils, or pennies.

Hopefully a few hours a month will help keep the dust bunnies, or jack rabbits away.



Callista: Mom! Mom! Mom! Berkeley's zuchini is out of her nose!!!

Ummm...still not sure how we went from "canula" to "zuchini" but somehow she made the mental jump....

Berkeley goes to the doctor today. We are hopeful she is showing some improvement with her oxygen needs. Last week we had a brush with the ER because of retractions, but after a hard cry, a bunch of really big coughs, and some suctioning she was fine.


This is what your garage looks like when you have 4 kids and really like things with wheels. ( I even think there are 3 bikes, several mountain bike helmets and 2 strollers missing from this shot.)

This picture was sent as a response to a good friend of my husbands (his old mission president) who sent him a picture of his garage packed full of extremely fancy, expensive, exotic cars. I think this is equally as impressive don't you? Brent and I had a good laugh.

Believe it or not I am constantly cleaning and organizing this garage, but it is impossible to cut a dent in it.


Piano Recital #4

Ellery literally sparkled in her recital today. I think I was far more nervous than she was. Life has been so unusual for us the last little while I haven't been able to help her practice as much. She played her piece "Minuet in Rondo Form" by Rameau the best she has ever done. And guess what? She remembered to bow!

In her dress she designed and made, my heart was bursting for her.

Budding Seamstress

For Ellery's 7th birthday in May she received her own sewing machine and two gift cards to JoAnns Fabric. I took her to pick out a pattern and material 3 months ago. She chose a little dress and teal, sequined material. Sometimes I really struggle to keep myself out of the decision making process. I didn't have her vision, but she had an eye.

Cutting the pattern and material were not as glorious as she envisioned. But anytime she got to use her machine she was in raptures. The dress we were making was for her upcoming piano recital.
We finished cutting and the sleeves, only to have me thrown back on bedrest. The sewing machine was put away, and we pulled out an equally sparkly, Christmas dress from Mimi for the recital.

Three days ago, Ellery and I decided it was high time we finished off this dress. We pulled back out her sewing machine and got to work. Unfortunately, the pattern she chose was a little too difficult for her to be completely independent on. But she loved it, so helped her work through the directions. (And to be honest, many times sewing patterns trick me up, they can be quite complicated or at least convoluted in their descriptions.)

She insisted on wearing the bodice while finishing the skirt. The end result was darling, and just in time for her next piano recital. We finished this morning about an hour before her recital started!
After the recital, I took Ellery out to lunch and then we did a little grocery shopping at Costco. It was wonderful because at least four random strangers stopped Ellery and commented on her beautiful dress. What a boost. I was so proud of her.


Wynken, Blynken and Nod

Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe---
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea---
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish---
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam---
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'T was all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 't was a dream they 'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea---
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.

We had just been working on reciting this charming classic lullaby minutes before I came upon this scene. I left to retrieve something from the storage room and came back to this sight. The perfection in soothing verse led to the perfection of this peaceful picture.


Worthy Endeavor

If you have a minute check out this article featuring Brent's cousins nonprofit organization These Numbers Have Faces. What I love about what Justin does, is he isn't offering handouts. He empowers young men and women with education, and then demands of them a return. They must build up others in the same way they were lifted.

If you are ever looking for a worthy organization to support this is one.

Fashion Sensitive

Of all my children, Emmett is most sensitive about what he wears.
Recently, he is just as sweet as peaches and cream, if he can wear his swimming suits all day.
That includes a desperate attempt to wear one to church on Sunday as well.

Somehow, he has ended up with three swimming outfits.
I think he likes these nine-month size shirts because they make his muscles look big.
What do you think?

These photos of course are taken over the course of a single day.


A Few Good Reasons...

...to get up after a long sleepless night.


Worry Resolved

And to think I ever spent time worrying about where I would fit all these little kids in my three bedrooms. Sharing small spaces doesn't seem to be an issue with these little munchkins.


Girls, Girls, Girls

I need to be a practice partner like Ellery. She was so darling with Callista. Callista begs to play the piano, but my policy is no lessons until they are six. I can only handle practicing with one at a time.

Yesterday I caught them practicing together and had to snap a picture. It made me laugh as Ellery tapped the piano with her pencil, starred songs when Callista passed them off, awarded music bucks, and scheduled a recital. But most impressive was how patient and positive she was. A good lesson for this particular practice partner.

Berkeley went to the doctor yesterday. We were so proud she weighed 6 lbs 6 oz. She is officially in the heavy weights now. She is one month old today. It is amazing however, she feels only a week old to me. All those days in the hospital are hazy and receding away. I am grateful I recorded them, someday I may want to read them again. Not for awhile though. Too raw. The doctor did not try taking Berkeley off her oxygen, as her saturation levels were borderline low. Her doctor actually turned the flow up a bit.

I dreamt she went back on CPAP last night. Ughh. In two weeks we will try with the oxygen again. Thankfully, they told me I can forgo the horrid leads which false alarm constantly and present far too many cords. Hooray. We only will use it when she starts sleeping for prolonged periods.
My three little girls were hanging out together this morning. Berkeley is so much more portable minus the leads and monitor. Callista especially just adores holding Berkeley. She also loves playing "games." The games must be closely monitored as they usually involve some sort of wild rocking or bouncing.


A Sense of Normalcy

Today I made bread, did laundry, piano practiced with Ellery, read to the children, had the children read to me, and did lots of pumping, feeding and snuggling with my four gorgeous children.

Three of them happened to be little rays of sunshine!

I also felt shin splints, rickety knees, and an aching incision from my 2 laps around the park yesterday. It is always a long road back, but at least I am on the road!


Visions of our First Days as Six

My parents returned from Canada and came to visit us this weekend. We were ever so grateful for their help. It hadn't really dawned us that it was a holiday weekend, or that the children might enjoy celebrating. Thank goodness Grandma and Grandpa came equipped with sparklers and fireworks.

They also helped us get organized with our sweet little addition finally home. Saturday morning we had a frightening moment. When I came to check on Berkeley, she had pulled her canula out of her nose. She was dusky with blue eyes and mouth. I wasn't sure if she was alive. It was a terrifying moment, one I won't soon be able to erase from my mind. I ran to her oxygen and pumped it up.

Here is her stationary tank, we keep in my closet.

She immediately regained color. We set up a camera so she can be under constant supervision. Big Brother is definitely watching in our house, and Big Mama and Big Papa. It is a live feed to our computers and ipod.

Sunday afternoon we gave Berkeley her first bath at home.

It wasn't quite the spa experience of the hospital nursery, but she loved it.
And as you can see from the photos, she was attended to by quite a crowd.

Speaking of bath time, I'm not sure who told Emmett he needed a shower cap, but he sure looks darn cute in it.

While I was in the hospital Grandma took the kids out and remade their bathroom. They think it so wonderful. She also stocked them with strawberry princess bubblebath, and fruity flouride toothpaste, wonderful things mama is far too much of a purist to buy.


Berkeleys Home

We made it home, the day before Berkeley was due.

It was both wonderful and overwhelming in so many different ways.

Berkeley is receiving all the love any little one could desire from her three doting siblings and two adoring parents.

Here is one of our favorite nurses Kory, walking us out! You can see she is carrying the portable oxygen tank and monitors. As much as we ended up loving some of the nurses, it was wonderful to leave. 23 days is long enough.