30 December 2010

introducing bitsy

The very first moments . . .

Little B pushed his new baby sister from the Labor, Delivery & Recovery Room to the Mother Baby Care Unit.Then he was the first to hold her, outside of Mommy, Daddy and the nurses. He is officially very possessive and does not like to share. I decided that was a million times better than resentful.Miss C and Baby J (who is not so baby suddenly!) are so beyond thrilled with their sister's arrival that it's hard to keep their hands off. And how dare they have to share her with Mommy - does she really have to nurse and get a diaper again??
Sister bonding. Miss C likes to pick out clothes for bitsy, hold bitsy, be mommy to bitsy. . .payback - apparently I was the same toward my younger brother. Ah well - again with loving being better than resentful!

Hmmm....a little thumb sucker like her mommy used to be?
At birth, Bitsy weighed 9lb 3oz and was 19 1/2 inches long. She was born screaming at the top of her lungs, quite literally before she was done delivering!
I will write of her birth later - for the moment, I need to care for bitsy and get some more sleep before morning and the next round of meds are due!

26 December 2010

stay tuned!!

Tomorrow morning is the big day - Little Miss Bitsy will be in our arms, and I am so happy. I cannot wait.

My peace about the c-section has never wavered. It is so clearly God's plan this time, and even my nerves are not nearly as rattled about it as I expected. I'm sure I will have moments of frustration as I heal - I know myself too well to believe otherwise - but I am very much at peace still.

The other peace I have is beginning to make me a tiny bit emotional. I am getting my tubes tied tomorrow morning after Bitsy is born. Moments ago I was feeling her wiggle and kick, rubbing her feet through my belly...and realizing that this is the very last day I will ever be pregnant, holding a life inside of me. It makes me nostalgic and a little sad, but at the same time I know I'm done. I cannot have any more babies - it's too hard, the older I get. It's many other things as well, but I'll leave it at that. So, I'm not exactly excited about the tubal but I am so peaceful.

And TOMORROW I will have my sweet girl.
I want to tell you of her name. But I have not decided if I want to post it on my blog for all the world - I still feel the need to hold some semblence of privacy in this area. Perhaps I will send emails to any of you I have one for. And you're welocme to email and ask me if you want to know and are a regular reader but don't think I have your email. It took us a very, very long time to name her. And she only got a middle name the weekend after Thanksgiving. But we love her name so much and I would be thrilled to share it with you!

So, stay tuned my friends - I want to post pictures of her sweet self this week (while I sit abed in the hospital, I hope!).


(PS - I've read many of your blogs but I have not commented much as this has just been a hectic year for us. Also, I have fought exhaustion and insomnia for the past month. So I've not really been around, and I'm sure adding a 4th child to this crazy household will keep me busier than I can imagine, but you are NOT forgotten!)

19 November 2010

out of the mouths of babes

The other night when I was dropping Miss C off at AWANAS, my daughter's leader pulled me aside to tell me a short story:

The previous week during prayer request time, Miss C wanted to pray for her mommy because "she is having a baby in December and it's not coming out the bottom way."

Just lovely. The leader laughed and said that they just moved quickly on to the praying. I'll take all the prayer I can get. But that wasn't where I expected it to come from. . .

18 November 2010

writing things

Writing of any kind is a pain in our homeschool world. And so I've been trying to find some new ways to approach it and keep it from being quite so painful.

I have found some free samples at Currclick (I get an email every week from them that tipped me off) that offer work with penmanship, specifically the Thanksgiving Cursive CopyBook - not the creative writing, but writing nonetheless. Little B is still in the learning curve with cursive, though not doing too badly. I want to find a way to encourage him to improve it without totally driving him crazy. And so this particular method seems to please him because first he traces a couple of sentences then writes it on his own. And it's only a a few lines, not what feels like an overwhelming amount of writing - though in my book he has easily gotten enough practice to make it worthwhile. If you open it and scroll through, you'll see blank pages as well as the copywork. I'm only printing the ones where he copies what he's traced.

From this same site, I also found similar work in these: Human Body Sample (it's fascinating and well done and I'm considering buying all three volumes (.50 each or $1.50 together), not just sticking to the sample....be aware they discuss reproduction at the end of this sample, should you try it....always a good head's up! ;D ). Fifty States Copywork is quite similar and also can be purchased in a bundle or as several separate volumes (links on that page).

But then there is creative writing. Something I love but am not good at and hardly know how to culture because Little B gets so frustrated or doesn't know what to write or is bored with the things we find (very hard to motivate a 9 year old boy at times, yet when wants to, he is darn good at it!). Until this. Granted, we're just finishing the first week (okay, I am not done, he is...the teacher has to participate...which is good for me!), but I'm pleased. And Little B is pleased so far. We'll see how it goes, but he's excited about it and looking forward to it. As am I.


SmallWorld's WordSmithery

12 November 2010

i promised

I have promised for months now to post some belly pictures. So here you go; enjoy these while I'm too tired to think of anything else to post this weekend....

04 November 2010

decisions

I have been in the throes of making a major decision the past few weeks. A decision that I'd not had time to give much thought to until recently. And it's huge for me.

As anyone who has been reading my blog very long might know, I'm an advocate of all-natural, drug-free birth. Organic, so to speak. ;D I believe in the very essence of it, every reason given for it, and every good thing it is and does for the baby being born. I believe that almost any woman willing to take the time to learn how she can best work with her body and educate herself on the many aspects of childbirth is capable of doing this. Yes, there are circumstances that require a different approach, but they should not and are not really the majority. They are the exception to the rule.

And I have become that exception to the rule, deciding to go with a cesarean for my little girl's safety. My heart is saddened that I won't have one last natural birth. But to be fair, my births never went the way they "should" go - and as history has proven, this came at a high price once. Almost too high. It was only after my 3rd baby was born that I realized all three of my births had resulted in shoulder dystocia - the very reason that Miss C suffered such traumatic injury at her birth.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had immense peace. God has a plan for this little one and even knows how her birth will go. So I did not give it much thought at the time. Then we moved and we have had so much else going on for the past few months that her birth was far removed from my mind. Until I hit my third trimester an realized that the time had come to give it serious thought. And immediately I had a check within - a strong sense that I had decisions to make.

Yesterday I spoke with an old friend of the family - who used to be a Labor & Delivery nurse. She is also a Christian. And as soon as I told her I had been feeling a check about this birth, she reminded me that as a Christian this is how the Lord speaks, and as a mom I know my body and I know to listen to it. She told me that in that one sentence she felt I needed to have a cesarean. And my heart was completely at peace about it for the first time. I was leaning that way anyhow, but it was a confirmation for me.

A difficult decision for me, but one that was right. And God will be with me and my baby in this birth as with my other births.

15 October 2010

keeping up with the jones'

It appears that my method of keeping current with all my favorite blog reads appears to be shutting down at the end of the month (that would be Bloglines, so if I'm mistaken, feel free to correct me). I have the cream of the crop listed on a sidebar of my own blog, but there are more that I like to access - food blogs, home school blogs, blogs that rarely post (even more rarely than me!), etc.

I want to know: how do you keep up with the blogs you read? I've seen a couple options, but I want to know what you like and why . . . do tell!

13 October 2010

just beachy

(Picture disclaimer: I've got more pictures on my camera phone but uploading those is not quite so simple; and I was apparently the main photographer, therefore you are denied the opportunity to see a 3rd trimester belly in a swimsuit. So there.)
We had our first true vacation in over three years this past weekend. We indulged in four nights at the beach - the hotel was clearly a bit older, had horribly lumpy mattresses (hello sciatica that was almost all gone!), one 5am little roach critter that I chose to ignore once he was dead and gone, and not so great free continental breakfasts (canned juice and so-so bagels, though the brand of blueberry muffins they served were dairy- and nut-free, making for two superbly happy kids, so that redeemed itself at least a bit); BUT it was clean, it had amazingly wonderful hot showers (I think this is my favoritest thing about hotels in general - their massive amount of scalding hot water), and a kitchenette (a specific need for us since we didn't need nor want the stress of eating out every meal with so many kids and all the allergies).
And tying for first place with the hot water heater (okay, maybe the hot water is second, but only by a hair) - we were beachfront. NO sand in the van. Just in the swimsuits (ick). We had a little balcony overlooking the pool and ocean, we had enough beds for all of us, and we just went down and walked out onto the sand each day. That made my beach experience exponentially better than any other I've had. (Whereas I loved going up to the room to get something I forgot with no worries, frustrations, or tears...as well as simply arriving at the beach when you get to the back of the building you're in.) Conversely, I loathe loading a car with sandy toys and towels and bodies to driv a mere mile or two to the hotel. Of course, it's a little hard to get sand in the van when the van is not with you anyway.....
We left several hours late for our trip (10pm instead of 6 or 7pm as we'd planned). Which put us arriving at our destination just after 4am. Lots of coffee and Grandparents who came to play with the kids while I packed and napped made all the difference in the world that day. (Or I might have given up trying to go on vacation altogether.) As we arrived in town, a mere 15 minutes from the hotel, I turned a corner and suddenly the check engine light came on and the transmission would not find the right gear. It took at least 20 minutes, maybe more, to arrive. The engine never stopped making it's horrible revving sound.
After a few hours of sleep and once the kids were awake and fed, we took them down to the sand for a few minutes - sans swimsuits because John desperately needed to find a mechanic. As pregnant as I amI was NOT chasing kids on the beach. No way no how. Once we got back into the room I implemented the endless handheld games and TV and coloring rule. Which is still not as fun as the beach you can see outside your window. Such a mean mommy. Who was stressed out because the first mechanic sent him to Mr. Transmission who said we definitely needed the transmission rebuilt pronto. And it would not be ready until Tuesday (we were set to return home early Monday morning . . . ha! It was almost the end of business on Tuesday before they were done). So, we arranged to stay an extra day - nothing like the extended vacation. And there were absolutely NO rental cars available in the city, even at the airport. Thankfully, they were able to dig up a loaner for us - nothing like a tight squeeze in the back seat for the kids, but they were champs. And at least we didn't have a lot of driving to do. The lack of rental cost was a real blessing, though.
And I must say that in all of it, I saw God's hand: we broke down arriving in town, not halfway, and not before the trip. We got to stay an extra day. He knew all along that this was going to happen. And how much it would cost. He even pushed us to on the trip in the first place - and do it where we didn't have to drive to the ocean each day! No, I have no doubt His hand was upon us during the entire experience. (In spite of the hormonal stress and tears of the third trimester.)

I guess that we won't need that transmission fluid changed before the end of the year like I'd been told when I had the car checked out two days before the trip. . .

07 October 2010

open brings forth open

As opposed to last year when we deliberately avoided all home school groups, I have joined not one but two this year. (And, we put Little B in Awanas where he has already found a new bestest-kind of buddy!)

One group is a co-op style that meets every Friday except for the first Friday of the month (that day is reserved for field trips). The regular Fridays consist of Art, PE, Health, lunch and a social skills group led by an occupational therapist for a fraction of a fraction of the cost of what I'd find anywhere else. So far, we've been once and Miss C is in love with it and Little B will hopefully warm up a bit more to it. Baby J has his own little group to hang out with as well and so far he's okay. There is one lady I'm not real sure of in there, so we'll see. If it goes south, we'll just move on. And I'm good either way. I'll take it for what it is right now.

The other group is a lovely collection of Christian ladies who come together once a month at some one's home for a mom's time - late evening, snacks, fellowship, prayer, and support. Then they get the kids together for a field trip once a month as well. I went to the mom's group for the first time this week, and I knew one person which is very hard for me. The evening's topic was "grumbling and complaining" - each lady was encouraged to bring a tip, book, suggestion, verse, etc, that could be applied to the grumbles and complaints that arise in a home school setting. I had nothing. Nada. My situation goes so far beyond 'grumbling and complaining' that at first I was uncertain I should have even attended.

I arrived a little late, but that was more of a social time, not the group discussion, so what I really missed was filling out a card that told of an "aha moment" in my homeschooling. When my friend handed me a card, I looked at her, stricken, and said, "I don't know that I have one...we haven't even started really. I've done like three days of school so far!" Her response was that maybe that is what I had to share. The cards had been put into a basket and one person drew them out, read them and had everyone see if they could guess who wrote each one. As they went through the basket of cards, I sat pondering what I could say. I finally went last, winging it.

I want to insert here that I've been reading a book called "Shut up about your perfect kid" by Gina Gallagher & Patricia Konjoian. It's written by two sisters who each have a high needs daughter - one with Asperger's and one with bi-polar disorder. But the book is about coping and adjusting and dealing with the struggles that arise - and it references many other special/high needs, not just these two. One of the premises of what they share is how open they are with the struggles they face in handling their children's needs. They discovered that the more open they were, the more open others were in sharing their struggles as well. And the more open everyone was, the less of a stigma and the more manageable each struggle became. I find it very refreshing, and an easy, humorous read. In many ways, I see struggles so much bigger than my own that I feel reassured, too. One of my favorite stories was when one author was in the grocery store, waiting in a long line at the deli, and someone came up announcing loudly, "Hey! Guess what, I'm bipolar!" - she was secure in her struggle because she knew she had support and those who understood. Precious!

So, back to my story. . .as I pondered what to share, I knew I needed to let my guard down, but also preserve the dignity of my son and the fact that we don't fully understand everything going on with him yet. I weighed this with not wanting the other moms to be afraid of letting their kids play with him. I was glad I was able to speak last. I shared openly about why we started homeschooling, that last year was a pretty good year, that we'd barely schooled this year because the summer has been such an intense one and that our grumbling and complaining went beyond the average - that my son needs professional help (a hard thing to 'fess up to in front of 15 women you've never met!). And my aha moment was that I have the space and grace to adjust what I need how I need to meet his needs: be it curriculum or schedule or something else. It was good (and hard - I loathe the center of attention in groups that size, even when I know them....I was flushed from the effort!). I didn't feel criticized. And later, two different moms came up and were open with me - one specifically about a daughter's struggles and the other just saying that it sounded like we could easily get together and discuss our son's needs. I honestly hardly knew how to respond, but saw the opportunity for so much more in the year to come.

Open brings forth open.
In amazing ways.

04 October 2010

13

Today marks 13 years with my love.

My husband and I were chatting this morning (on the phone as he drove....a favorite past time of ours), and he commented that he was sorry that our anniversary fell in the midst of such hard times - namely all the 'stuff' that we've been coping with for the past several months. Honestly, our years have never been simple or easy, peppered heavily with his schooling, deaths in the family (when it would rain, it would pour), and most definitely the struggles of our sweet children - the hardest of things to bear.

But I look back and would not trade a single one of those years. I would not trade the tough times, because they made us stronger; I would not trade the sad times for they made us closer; I would not trade the struggles for they made each achievement sweeter.

I commented on something along those lines, though not so explicitly. And he knew what I meant, agreeing. I then thought back 12 years to our first anniversary. I was going through medical treatment for my endometriosis that put me in a drug-induced menopause - I can tell you here and now I would not trade this year for that year ever. He very quickly agreed as I mentioned it (and yes, we know that true menopause is not so many years away, but we'll take it when it comes, and not a day sooner, thankyouverymuch). Besides, 12 years ago we did not have our sweet little people (who, I have begun noticing, do not stay quite so little....) and life is much richer with them.

I may have had a tough summer and be bracing myself for what could lie ahead - there are many unpredictable turns with Little B's issues and Miss C's allergies and a new baby in the mix - but I love that in the midst of these days I am celebrating 13 years of sharing this life with the man I love so much. I am thankful that our anniversary falls in the midst of it all, for it's a wonderful reminder that tough or not, life is still very good. Very good indeed.

27 September 2010

booked

Peace has returned to our home for the most part. Little B is far more himself than he has been in a long time, and I am so glad to have him around again. There are definitely some 'moments' still, but much fewer and farther between. I breathe thanks by the moment to my Lord for this. Truly - I do not say this smart-alecky in the least. It is now a temporary, resolvable issue versus an evolvable (no, not a word, but it sounds good) issue that begins upon waking. I can breathe again.

And my iron levels were low, apparently, which no doubt added to the exhaustion I felt, the depression that rose like bile, and my general inablility to get anything done. I had run out of my preferred prenatal vitamins (from a health food store, IN A CAPSULE so I did not have to taste or smell them) and just never got back to said store to replenish (and meat has been less appetizing than usual, which no doubt contributed). When the glucose test came back normal and the hemoglobin was not, I was on the verge of a lecture from the nurse and she was making sure I had a prescription for my vitamins. I really don't get why your vitamins should come from a pharmacy when you're pregnant. Sheesh. Anyway, my wonderful husband picked some up on his way home from work the next day, and I've been a good little pregnant girl about taking them each night. You're welcome.

I still feel so content in the deep places of my heart from my wonderful trip to the beach - and now we're planning a dessert and coffee night hopefully this weekend. Much smaller scale, but how refreshing to at last have some friends who make the time for this - for all of us, not about me per se.

And, and the heels of my trip, my beach-loving husband jumped all over my idea to go as a family if we could find decent rates. So, we're booked. And not just two or even three nights, but four nights away from home for my deserving family. It's been a few years since we took a vacation and the thrill is running high for everyone. We'll be staying beach-front, so no sand in the van (which is even worse than sand in my swimsuit!). Kites, sandcastles, pool, hotel with a kitchenette, sunscreen galore. . .

For the first time, a vacation on the horizon doesn't feel threatening or stressful - because I had my vacation first. Now, I can help the family have a good time. My husband was gracious enough to actually understand that. Good man, that one. He deserves some sand time, that much I know.

16 September 2010

the rest of the week

On Sunday evening John came to pick me up from my friend's home. He parked in the cul-de-sac, van loaded with sleeping children (Little B stayed one last night with my parents), and walked down to get me and my things. As we carried my bags and pillows back to the van a couple of minutes later, there was an incredibly foul odor that met us. We had no idea where it came from, but it appeared to blow away with the windows down for a moment. The relief was short-lived however, as it kept returning. . .

Upon arriving home, my hubby took a flashlight out and looked for dead animal remains - that kind of foul! When no evidence was found, he checked all my fluids and discovered I was out of oil. I am overdue for an oil change, but normally that should not empty it out. My poor van is burning oil, though, so that exasperated the situation. Assuming the odor was a lack of oil, he added what he had on hand (enough to bring it to minimum) and went to bed.

The next day, going to hear Bitsy's heartbeat (she has no name yet), the odor was still going strong. A stop at the mechanic made for a longer day than planned, and they were too busy to see us. One of the kind employees checked it out to make sure I was safe to drive, though. He discovered fur under the exhaust. So it WAS a dead animal! Then, they added another quart or so of oil, free of charge. (And, yes, I was thankful for the odor since that's how we discovered we were out oil.)

Monday finished up late after an allergy-safe food stop (specifically, Whole Foods for multiples of things we can't find anywhere else) and meeting my parents to pick up Little B. One car wash later and we were slightly less offended by the odor coming from my engine.

Tuesday was the big day, though. I took Little B to a new, in-between, psychiatrist. His meds have clearly needed some adjusting, but we were on a cancellation list for the doctor on our insurance plan. After consulting with our pediatrician, the new office, and current psychologist, the choice was made to try someone in the old office where his records are current (the previous doctor is no longer there). Could there be any more people involved in this? Yes, actually - I kept it simple for you here.

So, some changes have been made, a new diagnosis given, the old one thrown away, and this mommy's heart is feeling deeply hopeful that what is probably a placebo effect of knowing he's on meds to help things will transition smoothly into a better-functioning little boy. There is still a part of me that isn't totally throwing out the old diagnosis just yet. The new one makes me very sad, but at the same time it fits so well. We'll follow up next week to see how he's doing. When we see the new doctor (that has a co-pay, not full cost out of pocket), it will be interesting to see how her opinions line up with everything else we're hearing. I can tell you this: the right doctor is crucial. No matter the cost.

15 September 2010

beach talk

I am back. And have not stopped feeling like the big pink rabbit that calls itself the Energizer Bunny yet. As soon as I got home, the van had problems (literally, on the way home, but that's for another post), doctors appointments were waiting each day and there were plenty of other things to keep me busy - and only right now have I stopped and remembered that I need to tell you of my trip...

My lovely trip started early on Friday morning - as in we loaded up all the kids to take me to my friend's home before 8am. I was jittery and excited and my wonderful husband could barely keep up with my chatter-box jibber-jabber. My oldest spent a long weekend with my parents and my younger two had some glorious Daddy Days that they are still talking about and savoring.

On the 6-ish hour drive to the ocean I talked to my two friends. But not just talked. I mean poured out my heart and soul like purging drugs from one's body. I was headachey and shaky and felt like I was detoxing from the stress of the past months. I had compassionate ears and loving hearts in these two women, both moms of boys about my son's age. And so I poured and poured and poured out. I do not know how they tolerated it. Yes, I listened as well, and it was conversational, but I did a lot LOT of talking. If they were not such precious Godly women who listened so willingly, I'd have felt bad about it. But they at least acted like they wanted to hear what I desperately needed to talk about. I assure you, there is no human counselor or psychologist or other therapist-type who could begin to meet the need they met for me. They had insights that not all peers could offer, as well.

Once we settled into the 20th floor condo overlooking the pristine ocean, I found time alone in my room to lay across my bed - thinking surely I needed a nap. But no slumber would find me. Instead my eyes slowly leaked tears as I was able find words to speak to my Heavenly Father for the first time in weeks. It was not that I'd been angry at Him, or resisting Him, or ignoring Him. Quite the contrary. I needed Him desperately and knew it. I have just not had words that I could utter. I needed the Spirit to intercede for me. My eyes would glaze over when I would open my Bible. My world was so insanely complicated I was lost. I could hear my mom pray on the phone with me and I'd weep in pain for my son's needs and a longing to help him and fix whatever was wrong, but no words could fall from my mouth.

I intended to take my Bible with me on this trip, but I forgot. And honestly, I just loved being still and knowing God in those moments, rather than trying to play catch-up on months of reading. He came to me, He met me, He had been with me all along - which I knew - but I felt His presence so closely it ached.

We ate a ritzy restaurant that first night, created to feel like a balcony setting with outdoor lights and phenomenal food. The kind of place you might see the President at (apparently, he ate there once). And then we sat up very, very late and talked girl talk and laughed ourselves silly before succumbing to the sleep that was grabbing at us.

The next morning, we took our lazy time with breakfast and coffee and getting ready for the beach. Then we sat before the vast ocean, collected shells, talked, avoided jelly-fish, and talked some more (they swam or jogged, I waded in a tiny bit, but I'm not an ocean-lover, just a feet-digging-into-sand-while-watching-the-ocean-lover). We left the chairs and umbrellas while going inside for some lunch then meandered back out when we were ready, doing more of the same. After we'd had our fill, we took our time cleaning up, chatting, and getting ready to head out for souvenirs and dinner (I absolutely had to find fun things for my kids). King Crab was the theme of the night, which had been my pick since I never get crab any more. It takes too long to finish while the kids are sitting by waiting impatiently. Another late night with silly talk and serious talk and droopy eyelids followed.

Sunday morning we slept in (mostly me), cleaned up the condo, had some Starbucks, and did the rest of the souvenir shopping before heading home. Decadent is all I can say. I succeeded in getting the requisite souvenir shirts, sharks tooth/sea shell necklaces, ball cap for the hubby, and some changes-colors-in-the-sunlight fun stuff for the kids (rings, key chains, nail polish). I even saw some amazing prices at the hotels down that same strip and we're going to check the budget to see if we can swing a few day at the beach with the kids soon.

We arrived home drowsy and content - the kids were asleep and I could barely unpack my bag. Another day would have been heavenly, but it was nice be with my husband, kiss my the faces of my sweet kids and sleep in my own bed.

I have felt hopeful this week - crazy busy and longing/looking for the right help for my son, but hopeful for the first time, not just beaten down with endlessly trying. I think we're on the road to some answers, though it will still take a bit of time to be sure it's the right road. In the meantime, I'm ready to keep trying rather than throw in the towel.

02 September 2010

all about moi

After reading a friend's post about her in-laws taking her kids for a night, I was pondering how I could get away from MY kids overnight.  Baby J is not quite ready to be left with someone other than us, so it limits the options a lot – and means I can't have a night "alone" with my husband.  I daydreamed for a bit about going away with a friend for a night or two, but promptly dismissed such thoughts because I can't afford a hotel plus food for two or three days.

 
 

A mere few hours later, my waiting room friend and I were chatting on the phone. Her son receives physical and speech therapy several times a week among other routine things as he had a brain tumor that left him with many deficiencies. Beneath the outward disabilities, he is so smart and warm and friendly. It's hard to imagine watching your son deteriorate and then struggle to relearn the very basics in life, but that is exactly what this friend has gone through since we met.  Needless to say, there are plenty of heartaches and pity parties available, and she and I make good sounding boards for each other. On this particular day, she had called to tell me that she wanted to invite me and two other friends to her condo at the beach in Panama City for a weekend away fairly soon.  I could barely contain myself waiting for John to get home and hear his reaction…and had to force myself not to interrupt his work day with it. Once he as home and I spilled my hopefulness onto the table, he promised to find a way to work it out - that I needed to go.  How thankful I am for a husband who sees this need right now!

 
 

So, a week from tomorrow I'm headed to the beach.

Without kids.

For two nights.

With 2 or 3 nice ladies for company.

Costing me only some of my meals and pitching in for gas.

I plan to make some large batches of normaly, yummy, NOT-allergy-friendly cookies to take along and share with everyone.

And there will be plenty for me to overindulge in. Freely.


 

(And I desparately hope nothing messes this up now that I've told people about it….because, well….I WANNA GO!!)

16 August 2010

and we're having a . . .

Yesterday marked the halfway point in my pregnancy, though we all know this baby IS showing up before the 40 week mark. So, I suppose I'm beyond the halfway point now. Which works just fine for me. Although someone did think I was 7 months along over the weekend....!

And today was that ultrasound that gives it all away: we're having another girl!

12 August 2010

I didn't get back to tell you about the million and one things going on in our lives and the pictures I promised are not taken because a certain someone was using my desk key and locked it into the desk where the camera is. Once we get it open again, he can go ride his bike and take lots of animal pictures for me to post.

But as to why I haven't been back on here. . .where to start?
My son is not doing well. The changes, the new routines that aren't fully routine yet, the newness in general, the probability of needing meds changed...
My daughter has been having varying allergic reactions to foods and dryer sheets and mystery things about twice a week...
My mischief maker is still being mischievous...
My smallest one is slowly making it's presence known with subtle movements and large belly (one of those pics I mentioned will be a belly shot, okay?). I have to slow down because the stress around the house has me worrying about the baby....
And me, I'm just a blubber face in the midst of it all. No longer coping on any level, and now faced with tough decisions.

As in, I want to home school my kids. I find it rewarding, even on the hard days. And less stressful than worrying about my son's behavior in public school or my daughter's potential allergic reactions because of carelessness in a classroom (which is frighteningly common).

But today when I expressed the concern about the stress and the baby to Little B's psychologist, she immediately suggested putting him back in public school for at least one term while we finish getting settled. I'm not sure how I feel about it. She told me she'd bring it up to him, which is fine - when I suggested it recently (quite seriously) his eyes bulged and his nostrils flared and he was appalled, acting as though I'd suggested he be thrown in jail.

On the way home, he brought it up, saying he wanted to try. I really like the psychologist, but am not overly happy with some of the things she said to encourage this. As we talked, he wavered back and forth: public, home, public, home. . .I told him he needed to make a list for each and to pray.

I understand that his last year's experience is something he needs to overcome, but really it's more than a year - it's all his years. And I understand he could potentially make more friends, but he could potentially be an outcast and desperately lonely and angry, something I find more likely with his history. I also understand that he would need special classes and have more hours of actual work. I know the battles that used to ensue about homework. There will be so much more in 4th grade. And if he goes, I will not fight him over it. I'd rather let him fail. Call me a lousy mother. I'm beyond caring at the moment.

And I know that I would have fewer hours of one on one stress with him for a while. Which is the one and only upside to enrolling him in my book. I confess: I don't find him very likable right now. I'd rather lay in my bed and weep than talk to him or look at him. I hate myself for feeling that way.

I have his new Sonlight books for our home school year. I have the current math we're partway through ready to resume, as well as the free online Spanish lessons, the typing course planned for the computer we are supposed to buy in a couple weeks. I've got a homeschool group we're planning to join with friends we already know. I have a cool writing class online that I want to enroll him in for 8 weeks - though he hates 'controlled writing' - I simply said he'd always be average and never excel in it if he couldn't learn to listen and follow directions....and that's his choice. The thing is - he has amazing potential. Amazing. It kills me to see the lazy streak so strong. But he has to choose for himself, too. So many things I look forward to, things I can tweak at home, that will be set in stone in school.

But I need to pray. And listen. And curl up and sleep for 100 hours. Maybe when I wake up someone else will have made the decisions for me.

24 July 2010

the good, the bad, and the not-too-ugly

We finally made the move one week ago.

I had prayed and pleaded with the Lord to send enough help – I was absolutely unable to get it all done and worried how that would affect the move – I asked for packing help as well as moving help. I am humbled by the sheer number of people who came to help us – and not just by how many, but by who they were. They were family, they were life-time friends who worked out their schedule to be here, they were old high school friends we had not seen since graduation, and they were even the spouses of people we knew just a little bit! Some stayed from early until late, barely taking a break to eat, some had to leave early and others showed late. There was a constant rotation of fresh hands to help those who never left. My neighbor commented on just how much help we got when she brought over fresh tea and warm blueberry muffins. I had one family keep my older kids overnight, a few helping me finish the packing on the last two days and the rest were an endless cycle of moving furniture and boxes and kindness. I maintain that I do not know of any way to truly express the gratitude I feel. Blessings were poured out upon us by over a dozen people on Friday and Saturday.

As for the rest:

The hot water only lasts a few minutes from scalding to frigid in five, baby. Surely that is something that can be tweaked, but even if not, it GETS WONDERFULLY HOT FOR ME!

The people at the phone company totally messed us over. Repeatedly. They finally got it set up Thursday, but we were a breath from eliminating them altogether and finding some other solution for our needs. We're still in consideration, so if you have tips on how to accomplish it inexpensively, do tell! (We don't really care about cable, just a phone and internet…)

In the move, I lost my new bottle of asthma meds.

But I got a month's supply of samples from the doc, so that worked out to my advantage, really.

One of my kind friends or family helping me pack managed to pack up a little Fed Ex envelope that had Little B's completed Iowa Test of Basic Skills – due back with a postmark no later than July 19 (two days after the move). We have not found it yet. He finished it a day or two before the move, so it's not like we'd just been hanging on to it needlessly, and we had planned to send it the day after he finished….we just got so busy packing we overlooked that detail.

The company I ordered the ITBS from was very nice about the test being MIA and told me not to stress, she'd note it in the file, and to send it when we find it. I do want it found soon, though – no need to push the limits in such things. Excellence in customer service, no doubt.

My parents gave me a stackable washer and dryer for the new house.

I sold my old washer and gave away my old dryer a few days before the move, after doing tons and tons of laundry which I thought was close to caught up.

The new one had a different plug that needed switching out, so it was not ready the night we moved in like I'd counted on, and not the next day either. Double oops.

It's working now, and I have clean clothes again, even though Baby J wore trunks one day when I could not find shorts for him. I'm sure they're here someplace…

There is a LOT to do around here – I don't mind doing it, but the kids are going nuts with things out of sorts and that slows me down which in turn keeps them nuts longer. Sigh. Oh, sweet routine, where are you?

Little B has huge amounts of acreage to ride his bike on once the summer camps are done for the day – we got 2-way radios to keep track of him which provides him more freedom. He needs it fiercely at the moment.

I had my 16 week prenatal visit last week. I measured five – count them, F I V E weeks bigger (yes, that means I look 21 weeks pregnant). Apparently, that's because the uterine muscle gets bigger with each pregnancy, but still, it's a tad worrisome for a lady who's noted for her big babies….just sayin'.

I think I'm cute pregnant – all belly. And I'm not feeling sick anymore! Someone must have been praying for me to feel better, because in the past I have always felt sick until at least the halfway mark.


That's all folks. For now, anyway, because I'm sure I'll find more to say soon. And I'll try to put up a few pictures of the horse in our yard at the very least.

11 July 2010

missing you

I'm just stopping by here to say 'hi' to all of you, my bloggy-friends....I'm missing you and my little world here. I barely catch up on your posts and have nothing to write recently. It's the busyness, overwhelmedness, migraines, stress and miscellany of packing. Which I still think is nearly impossible with three kids underfoot. My parents were able to come play with the kids yesterday (huge box stacks and forts, etc) while John and I finally felt like we got something accomplished. Though I don't think I did that much. I do know he worked hard all day. We move THIS week. Saturday morning. I am desperately thankful my husband took off Thursday, Friday and Monday surrounding the move. I find I'm still purging as I'm packing and I bet I purge more as I unpack in the weeks ahead. Because I cannot figure where much of this will fit.

In the midst of it of it all, I'm now 15 weeks pregnant and blossoming quickly. The maternity pants came out over a month ago and the shirts have followed suit the past few weeks. I noticed as I carried a larger-but-not-too-heavy box yesterday that it wasn't as easy as I expected....the belly keeps it just far away enough from my body for it to be comfortable. Better than than in 3 more months, right?

See you later, ladies.....probably once we're settled a bit.

28 June 2010

crunch time

So the garage sale was a massive hit - better than we'd hoped for! Stuff was selling before we could get it pulled out of the garage and set out. Which meant less to set up, though in reality there was still a lot. And all the leftovers that I don't plan to attempt to consign fit into the van around the three kids and made it to Goodwill already. The rest I'm hoping to sell at the big twice a year consignment sale...or give it to someone who would enjoy it.


I even sold the trampoline and 4 pieces of furniture! But there is still a LOT of furniture left to part with. Craigslist is my obsession this week. The table and chairs, the train table and a chest of drawers have all found new homes. But it's so not nearly all of it. In the meantime, these non-responders and no-shows are grating my nerves something fierce! I'm not a fan of giving out my address to start with, but they should have the courtesy to tell me if they changed their mind at least!

The biggest crunch, though....we move this month. Mid-month. As in the 17th. Barely two weeks away. Today a friend came with her kids and while the madness ensued around us, she sat on my kitchen floor with me while I purged through the excess of pots and pans and baking trays that consumed the cupboards. She listened while I pondered and reasoned. She supported my thought process. Do you have any idea the value of such help? She didn't have to pack but she sure helped me figure out what I needed by listening to me consider that the Pampered Chef stoneware is not only too heavy but also not washable with soap and therefore a bit impractical given our many food allergies and blah blah blah. Things long over due to be reasoned out. Then she put the items into the "stay" pile or the "out" pile. That, my friends, is what I desperately need as I purge and pack this house in the next two weeks.

Of course, the laughter (and bits of fighting) that rocked the house was beautifully reminiscent of our childhood together as well....savory seasoning to any kind of day.

25 June 2010

garage sale

T minus 22 days and counting til the big move. That I do not feel remotely prepared for.

T minus 1 day and counting til the big garage sale. That I do not feel remotely prepared for. Well, a little bit on that one, but there is still SO much I need to do.

We went to our new house a little while back and measured all of it - every wall, window, door and air vent (well, hubby says those weren't so accurate, more 'eyeballed', so it's only sort of helpful, but he did work hard on everything else).

Then, we measured every piece of furniture in our current house to see what will fit and what won't. There's a whole graph-paper rendition of the house and little cutouts to scale of the furniture. Cause we're nerds like that. We will all be switching our our dressers and such, and some pieces (like a large TV cabinet) will get new jobs (like becoming a home school shelf, unless perchance it sells).

And anything that doesn't fit must go. PRONTO. Little B has worked hard to purge his room. He's got a medium box of things to sell plus a couple bigger items. For him, that's paramount. Miss C just can't part with anything, but she doesn't know how much mommy purged 6 months ago, so I'm not really upset. And they will be hosting a grand lemonade stand which I hope will be a huge hit. Lemonade, cookies (that both are allergic to, but felt would sell well...Keebler fudge striped cookies), and discounts for veterans/military/police/fire. That touched my heart. Little B thinks deep.

But there is still furniture in the bonus room that needs to come down and a hodge podge pile of things that need a heavy sorting to hit the sale. I had 2 friends (with their 2 yr old daughters) come Tuesday to help - one watched all the kids and the other helped me clean some animal cages, an exersaucer, and somewhat make more space in the garage - not to worry, she's about 10 days more pregnant than me, so we were extra careful. :) I did sell some things to her and a friend of hers, so that was less to haul down and set up...more space for the rest.

I also forgot to list the sale on Craigslist last night and the signs are not ready to be put in the ground yet. Pricing is still vague in my head. I need to clear the current home school shelf a.k.a. baking rack and buy the lemonade for the sale. I have to corral the kids who are already super cranky at 8am and find maternity shorts to wear tomorrow (I have 3 pair of pants and a few shirts....not gonna cut it in this heat). The lemonade is still at Wal Mart and the table for the stand is still in the house.

My husband is working today. All day. Good thing I recognized I wouldn't be ready for the sale today.......sigh.

Oh yeah. Gotta home school today. Part of which is the business plan and sign for the lemonade stand because that is good, hands on learning. But OH, so much to do.

10 June 2010

chickens and donkeys and goats oh my!

We finally settled on a pet idea that made everyone happy and the 'no pet' landlords didn't have an issue with: guinea pigs. They can be outdoors during the milder months and are at least a moderate 'playmate'; a second one would be reasonable for Miss C (and keeps the first from being too lonely). The only hold up was waiting until we were settled in a new house. And that is tough for a kid, I know.

And then.
We found the new house. Quite unexpectedly.

It was a situation of too much stress trying to figure out where the Lord wanted us. Satan was attacking with frustration and our bodies were worn out from driving hours on end looking around, and having lack of peace with every single place we saw or area we considered. We decided to wait a week or two and just be carefully watchful, but not too aggressive - a break was necessary. So, we checked listings in the paper and Craigslist, contemplated and sighed. Then yesterday morning on Craigslist I saw a something that fell just beneath our hopeful rent budget - I'd prayed the Lord would be so clear and find a way to meet our needs for an affordable house, 3 bedrooms, 2 potties, and at least a corner to home school in. (A fence was a strong safety preference given my toddler's tendencies to wander.) I also prayed for peace that would leave no doubt.

We went to see the house after John got off work - so we could test the commute. It's a fraction faster getting there than our current home! And on Sunday mornings we'll be able to leave a good bit later (we make quite a drive, but some things are worth it). It's small, I'll give you that - 2 largish bedrooms, 1 very small bedroom (Little B gets it because he's not sharing), the bathrooms are not off the main living area but you must go through one of the large bedrooms to get to them - so be it, we can survive that. The heart of the house is "L" shaped - the bedrooms are off one half of the "L" and the kitchen and laundry closet is in the middle (the knee?). The other half of the "L" is just big enough to accommodate both eating and a homeschooling area. There is even a (very tiny) attic fan which makes my heart beat faster just knowing I'll get to use one at last!

The fence is a bit unusual, though....it does not give us a private yard, but rather it's all over the 21 acres, holding in farm animals that the owners care for. And there are two playgrounds on the property with a massive garden that is completely sustainable - and we are to consider this our backyard. They even MOW THE GRASS, not us. Small house? No big deal. We've got a farm to run around. Talk about the home school opportunities at our fingertips....

Ecstasy ran high for all of us as the gracious, warm owner showed us around the land, told us about the farmer's market she has there every Saturday morning, the business of horse riding lessons, birthday parties, and other events, etc. etc. etc.....we told her we really wanted to go home and pray about it to be certain and she said that was fine, we were her first choice as it's hard to find the right fit in an unusual situation like this. Even our need for it in five weeks rather than right now is better for her.

Once home, Little B could not wait to hear a final word on if we'd take the house....he's ready to purge his room of toys (a major first in his life) so he can fit into the tiny room that overlooks the field where a horse named Comet lives. I told Little B that it would be okay if he wanted the guinea pig, but that with the horses, goats, donkeys and egg-laying chickens (see that, Hannah!?) that he'd see every day, he may not feel the need. He promptly agreed that the guinea pig could wait. He's ready to do some farm chores, people!

With each effort to pray the Lord breathed a yes into our ear before our words could barely come forth. The kids want to pack NOW. The family who owns and lives on the land want us there, and have all kinds of connections to homeschooling groups, run a buyer's co-op (which I'd looked to find close to my home!)....the list goes on, and my heart is overflowing with a thrill that comes with utter peace.

God is so good.

05 June 2010

pet fight

Buttercup, our pet bird, died this morning. Her husband, Wesley, died about two and a half years ago, while I was pregnant with Baby J. So, now we are birdless.

For several months now she has been Little B's responsibility - food, water, clean cage. He was doing a stellar job. Much better than I could find time for. I had told him that this was an opportunity to prove to me that he could be responsible for a pet (some of you may remember the hamster from a while back...she probably received less than stellar care, but she was loved and played with). Anyhow, point being that he has shown me he can be more responsible about a pet as he's gotten older.

In truth, I felt a mixture of relief with the sadness over losing my bird. For she was mine - both of them had been gifts from my mother almost five years ago. But as we added babies to the household caring for pets was more of a task than a labor of love. The relief today is much more enhanced by the fact that when we move we will be in a smaller house. And I had no idea how we'd find space for a bird cage. It just felt like an issue I was avoiding. So now, I have no issue to avoid.

I promised the kids a while back that we'd look into a cool fish tank once we got settled someplace. Today, that no longer sufficed. Little B recently found a lovely tortoise that now resides on our front porch in a large plastic bin and gets good care plus yard time every few days. He wants to give that to Grandma because he is afraid of causing it's death (but turning it loose is not a pleasant option, either - I should add that my mother has a history of keeping turtles and tortoises on his behalf...and one in particular has never been allowed to go free in over five years).

So our pet world is now limited to the tortoise in question and one dwarf frog. The kind that come two to a small cube with a bamboo plant growing inside and you add water once in a while and feed it about twice a week through a tiny hole in the top of the lid. Notice I said we have one frog? His name is Jack. As in Sparrow. His cube-mate used to be Will. As in Turner. One day, Will was just a skeleton - and Jack is our resident cannibal, apparently. You know, I think there is a snail that acts as a maid for the frog, so perhaps we could count that as a third pet?

All this said, Little B wants a new pet. Now. No, not the tortoise (I'm not getting his logic here, people!!). And he's steamed that I've requested we wait until we have settled into our new house to choose a pet. He's on the verge of a meltdown. And he's mad as a hornet that his brother and sister are allergic to dogs (Daddy, too, most likely), and I do have compassion for his frustration. Rabbits don't appeal. Guinea pigs might. Gerbils and hamsters just aren't jiving for me - I do not like escaped rodents. Birds are not a practical option for space and noise right now (besides, he wants a Macaw when you get to the bottom of it...which I said we'd talk about as a college graduation gift!). In truth, I'd rather skip the whole pet thing or keep the tortoise (the frog stays either way). I don't like their smell and I will be changing smelly diapers for another 3 years at least - must I contend with a pet's odor as well? Am I just cold hearted??

Does anyone have a good pet suggestion? One that I won't find hiding beneath my bed covers or chewing the carpet? One that will be fairly simple to care for as a nine year old boy who is desperate for a pet, but not so heavy of a task that it becomes a burden. And, from what I'm gathering, is not a fish tank.

28 May 2010

it's time

Clearly, I don't mean the baby...a bit early yet, don't you think?

I am referring to our move which will take place in July. I'm not certain if that will be early, mid or late July. But, it will be July.

And I'm feeling down. Not because we're moving - that part I've been waiting for and expecting for months now. I'm down because I'm in the first trimester ickies with roughly 6 weeks to purge, pack and move. I'm down because we no longer know where the Lord wants us to move. The little town we were all set to land in no longer gives us a clear sense. This is in part because my husband's job is shifting...not location, but there are currently negotiations for a different title and different salary - at a different company with some of the same owners. Instead of residential and commercial work, they'd be doing government work. It's a different revenue that has some promise, but those details have not been ironed out. We expect longer hours which means a shorter commute would be safer and better all around. All of which affects the house we end up in. See the vicious circle?

I want to draw closer and listen my Lord. I long for His peace and clarity....I know He has answers and I know He'll show us what and where, I'm just trying not to panic while I wait.

In the meantime, anyone want to come pack with me? Sigh....

**edited to add: I should tell you that I trust fully in the timing He has chosen - in fact, today as I was driving home from the library, I told the Lord that I really just didn't think I would have it in me to move during my 3rd trimester. I then checked my mail before pulling into the driveway and discovered a notice written last week about the pending move. The Lord answered my need even before I could utter it. . .

25 May 2010

I don't have much to say, so I'll tell you about my days...

I have the all-day sickies almost all day every day. I do eat - sometimes more, sometimes less, and I feel crummy more than not. All that increased body fluid (going down one's throat in particular) drastically adds to the nausea and general crumminess.

The hormones are getting stronger, the sleepiness is ever present. I want to throw a tantrum when my children can't be nice to each other or to me. I called my mommy crying not once but twice today. I could lay on my couch and stay tired all day - wait, my life at least partially resembles that anyway. I'm feeding the kids (resenting the food as I do it), I'm filling them up with television, I'm clothing them (most days), and I'm schooling the one that must be schooled. But it's been an uphill battle recently. Which is not helping.

My amazing hubby was off for 3 days last week. I slept in, I dozed, I rested and I took naps. He fed kids, did dishes, diapered the toddler, did dishes, was nice to me, and fell asleep early every night. Oh yeah, he also did dishes. He was happy to get back to the office yesterday.

We took a field trip to our local aquarium one of those days with some specially priced tickets (and I left the camera at home because I rock like that). I should have known better. It ended horribly....bad, bad end to a day packed wall to wall with inner city field trip kids and lots of loud noise, and a mommy who felt....pregnant with a migraine.

On a slightly lighter note, yesterday I had an OB visit - specifically paperwork and blood work. Yes, the lady had to stick me THREE times to get blood and I could barely hear the doc over the chatter of my oldest who would N O T stop being silly with his sister no matter how many times I asked - it clearly did not process for him much to my frustration. However, both of them were absolutely thrilled - and jealous - when they discovered I get to pee in a cup every visit! "Not fair," says Little B. He will never, ever in his lifetime know just how not fair it is to be required to pee into a cup when you cannot see and can barely reach around an over-stretched belly filled with a full term baby. . .but, hey, let them be jealous. It's good for them.

15 May 2010

end of an era

Please pardon my general absence - the exhaustion of this pregnancy is overwhelming right now!

I wanted to share with you the reason we took our kids to celebrate today. First, I admit I took them to Brewster's for "ice cream" at 5pm (for the dairy-free kids, read: Italian Ice; for the wheat-free people, read: in a cup...no, nothing in our lives is simple). I was secretly hoping they would eat a light dinner, but they were hungry almost immediately. And I've put them off indefinitely. haha!

So, the reason?? Miss C's results from the final evaluation on her arm arrived in the mail this week. She is completely age-appropriate in all aspects of using her arm and it is strong and there is no further work needed for her! We're encouraged to remember to keep it strong, but there is no shortage found and we are full of delight and thanksgiving on her behalf! We're thankful the Lord saw fit to heal her arm so completely. I have one joyfully happy little girl who very proudly enjoyed her treat tonight.

And I feel we have reached the end of a long journey this week.

07 May 2010

unexpected joy

Very recently God showed me in an unexpected way that my heart was aligned with His. At first, He told me in a quiet, still voice that this was on his heart, and I wasn't sure how to take it or what to make of it. But I am thankful I never had make any decisions - He had His own timing and simply took care of the details without my knowing. Sometimes it's easiest that way.

I posted about what was on my heart fairly recently, though I just realized it published with the earlier draft date, so some of you may have missed it . . . you will find more here. I can assure you, my heart is overflowing with joy right now!

05 May 2010

pathology report

I've been miserably sick with a nasty cold and probably sinus infection, therefore I'm not thinking clearly this week. But, I promised you an update of my pathology report when the stitches came out (um...two days ago). So, here it is:

They removed all the pre-cancer cells and everything is clear! Thank you Lord!

27 April 2010

a servant's heart

In recent months I have been touched that I need and want a servant's heart. When praying about when and where the Lord will move us, we pray for the opportunity to serve Him. In my mind's eye this means things outside of my family life.

Then, I read a book. (It is Christian Fiction - admittedly my preferred genre for the cleaner content). While I normally read for entertaining and "escape" purposes, this book began to draw me in a different way.

On Sparrow Hill, by Maureen Lang, is about serving. It merges a modern family with their history as they read letters written 150 years ago. They learn that some of their family genes carry Fragile X. You see how it affects part of the current family, and you see a deeply caring, serving woman from many years ago who was called to serve children who had this "curse." She understood so clearly that they are God's creation and need love and care, to be served.

I do not have anything so difficult to deal with in my life. But I do have children with their own unique needs and difficulties. And in reading this touching story, I began to see that I need to have a servant's heart with my children. Serving begins here. With the children the Lord gave me. Their special and high needs that He allowed require care and cherishing and compassion. Too often I find myself on the frustrated end of things, pushing and instead of pulling gently. Instead of serving them.

(Apparently this book is a sequel, but I didn't realize that until I had finished it.)

25 April 2010

potty talk

(also formerly posted at my crochet/knit blog 'got me in stitches' that has been neglected until my knitting friend picked up the slack recently)


I'm not potty training Baby J in earnest, only dabbling with it.

When his diaper stayed dry for several hours at a time and he asked to go potty between changes (his greatest joy), I bought him underpants. If he's wearing them he'll have small accidents frequently - I'm guessing it's because he doesn't empty his bladder on the potty no matter how many times I ask him if he has more, can make more, push more out...whatever the phraseology. I'm not in the mood for games, so I'm not pushing this.

My other two trained when they were ready to do it right and did it in roughly a week's time - different kids, different ages. Right now, Baby J's verbal skills are not as strong as theirs were (he can say "potty" but other things sound very much the same) and he's a bit more wiley which means more work.

This history leads me to last night...

Around midnight, Baby J woke up. And began to cry. As though in pain. Grabbing his diaper. I was alarmed and looked inside where all appeared normal. Except that he grabbed himself and cried some more. Yeah, uh, Urgent Care? ER? I noticed his diaper was almost totally dry - oh my, was he having trouble peeing??? Can we please freak a mom out a little more?

Then he started to pee. And stopped fast, grabbing himself, crying more. I considered a moment and asked if he needed to use the potty. He calmed down, saying yes. Nearly falling off in his groggy state, that boy peed more on the potty in one sitting than he has ever done. And went on to bed quite happily afterward.

But 12am is so not the time to work on this issue.

i’m a blogger dunce

You see, I posted my last two posts under my crochet blog….oops. I will repost last week's here, this week's above this one.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Today came at last. I had my pre-cancer cells carved off the upper right side of my back this morning. It didn't take long and the doctor and his assistant were wonderful.

But it's been about five hours. And the numbing stuff is wearing off. It itches like mad, people. Truly, if it was a normal spot I could scratch and be done, it wouldn't categorize as that big of an itch. But I can't scratch. I did take some ibuprofen because I can already tell a burning will follow as the itch gets worse.
(There will be a follow-up pathology report in 12 days when I get the stitches taken out.)

07 April 2010

waiting

(I mentioned last week that the Lord is doing some things in our lives right now....)

How difficult it is to have faith in God's timing sometimes. I've been in a very long season of waiting. For several things, really, but there is one specific thing that comes mind: our move.

It has been just shy of two years since the Lord began to work deep in my heart about moving closer to "College Town," over an hour from where we are. It took a long summer of my husband working there, the Lord prodding me, and my heart softening. We were ready to put our house on the market (and I told people we felt to move) when John was sent back to the main office which is not so close to College Town. But both of our hearts had been stirred for this change and that did not die down. We began waiting to see what the Lord wanted and when.

At that time the economy was dropping fast, which as I've said before was a direct hit on us since very few needed the services of a civil engineers - nobody could afford to build, the lots grew weeds and foreclosure/bank owned signs went up everywhere. Yes, we've suffered from this, but I know full well that so many others have, too. We're not alone.

In the meantime, we pondered what the Lord might be doing. Our desire to move was still strong, but no longer a practical thing as the commute would have become impractical. We waited. And waited. And prayed.

Acts 1:4
And as He met together with them, He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, He said, You heard from me.

Last August we reached a point when we could no longer afford our home and the inevitable was foreclosure. So we attempted do do a short sell (where the mortgage company agrees to take less than what we owe.) Yes, we had a peace to go that direction. But by Christmas we needed to make some bigger decisions. We got an offer on our house the same day we decided not to sell. I believe this was all a ploy from the Lord to keep us waiting! As stressful as it has been, His peace has been there every step of the way. On Christmas Eve, we filed for bankruptcy. There was simply nothing else we could do. Thankfully, we own our cars outright. The house will go into foreclosure after all (as part of the bankruptcy). We'll know at least 60 days in advance...and per our attorney we should have heard something as early February, but guess what? We're still waiting.

While waiting, I've had some niggling thoughts within me, but never voiced them. Occasionally I'd bring them out to play and see how they fit, what it might be like. Then I'd tuck them back onto a shelf inside of me and move on with my day. A few weeks ago my husband voiced them - all I could do was sit in shock for a moment before asking, "You, too, huh?"

His words: "How would you feel if the Lord moved us out of state?"

He has been working at his uncle's company for just shy of 13 years now. I always assumed it would just keep going. And I was quite fine with that as I loved the security it brought. But it seems the Lord has different plans for us now. And one thing we both are sure of: we want to be where the Lord wants us, not in the wrong place.

So, we're branching out. He spent all weekend working on his resume and sending it off (and there are still only a few jobs in his field). One place in particular draws us both, though we're open to whatever the Lord might do. I suppose we'll just wait and see what He has planned. . .and when. Maybe all he's doing is asking for our heart and our willingness. But I think it's more.

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

06 April 2010

timing

The night before I got the call about my biopsy results I got a different phone call from someone whose voice I hear far too rarely. This person is a man I've known since we were bout 15. To this day I consider Eric one of my dearest friends - though we speak about twice a year and see each other even less. This is the friend who walked my mother down the aisle at my wedding because my brother didn't want to, whose last name is the same as Little B's first name, whose parents are our extended family, and whose wife laughed recently at his longing to find time to sit and read War and Peace when he saw it on a chair in a restaurant.

Eric and his wife are expecting their first baby and I confess a moment of trepidation when I saw his name on Caller ID. In recent years, a call from him often brings news, whether good or bad. We spoke of my children, my husband, his wife, our lives and plans in general. He asked the right questions, listening with his entire self as always, like the answers mattered very much him. And all the while I sat waiting for the bomb to drop. One year it was his mother's broken neck (she is fine now) and more recently it was the news of expecting a baby. So you can see how I was uncertain of what I would hear after the chit-chat came to a close.

But on this night, he was calling because his intelligent medieval lit-professor-self was on spring break, catching up on some work (oxymoron, thankyouverymuch!) and upon reaching a good point for a break, he was simply calling a few friends he had not spoken with for a while. I was blessed to be one of those.

As our conversation continued, I realized why he had really called, unbeknownst to either one of us at first: Because I needed him to pray. For the same reasons I asked you to pray. Because the timing of our God is always perfect. This is a friend I have always shown my heart to without reserve because he took care of it. And on this night of struggling for me, God provided yet another source of prayer to cover me.

I never cease to wonder at the multi-faceted ways our Father cares for us, like the timing of a friend's call.

05 April 2010

monday madness

After I posted about my severe pre-cancer cells on Thursday, I called the doctor's office like a good patient and scheduled my appointment for removing the mole on my back. At first, they had something at the end of April, I believe. Then I gave her my address to enter and she told me there was an office closer to me (which is actually where I thought I was scheduling already). And, by switching locations to the right one, they were able to see me Monday (which is now today).

Of course, this is also Miss C's regularly scheduled allergy treatment around dinner time, and now Baby J has a nasty cold on top of pollen allergies on top of 2 year old molars cutting in. Fun.


**Update: It was not removed today as he wants the biopsy to heal a bit more first, so we'll reschedule for next week. Also, the doctor was very kind and informative which is always a good thing.**


Thank you so much for your prayers for me this past week. I feel them at work in my being, literally. My heart is slowly easing and God is doing things in our lives right now that I will hopefully share very soon. . .

01 April 2010

thankful thursday - part 2

I got a call from my dermatologist earlier this morning. My biopsy came back abnormal and I will need to see a plastic surgeon to remove the mole entirely.

Since she was not forthcoming with what that meant, I plied the lady on the phone with a handful of questions and it seems that I have severe pre-cancer cells (versus mild or moderate). If left alone, it will turn into skin cancer.

I'll be making that call and scheduling that appointment today.
I'm thankful...

I do not have skin cancer.

thankful thursday - my tree



I mentioned several months back that we would be moving soon. And we fully expected to have moved by now, though that has not happened yet. We're still waiting on some things in the "paperwork" side of life.


At that time, I was saddened by a specific thing I would have to leave behind: my cherry tree. Every spring there is this amazing week when she graces the back of my yard in prominence and beauty, her blossoms whispering gently in the breeze.


I take scads of pictures of that tree during this one week - my poor kids don't know a camera the way that tree does. I hope to find time to pull out my film camera with manual settings before the blossoms drop by week's end so I can capture the real essence of what she is.


I am thankful for one more spring to see this tree in bloom.

31 March 2010

to three or not to three

(A few years ago, before the, uh, conception of Baby J, I wanted to title a post this way, so I finally found another chance.)

When I had my first baby, I knew that at some point, he needed a sibling. I did not want an only child. But that was all I knew. If someone asked "how many" kids I wanted, all I could say was "more than one." And with the craziness of John in school while working and Little B being a bit high maintenance, I waited about a year longer than I'd originally wanted to before having Miss C.

And then when Miss C showed up, I had all the trauma with her birth that I've talked about before, therefore had no reply to the questions about wanting more, yet never liked the "Well, you have one of each now..." remarks. Gender has never been the issue for me. I'd have gladly taken a house full of boys if that's what God had chosen for me. Or girls.

It was during the week after her birth, when I was not allowed to get up from bed except to use the bathroom, that Little B told me he wanted a brother . . .

"I thought you wanted a sister!" (As though I'd arranged it per his wishes)

"I do! But I want a brother next..."

"Oh."

"And then another sister."

Yeah, so not a good week to have that chat.

And then came the day when we decided that two was not enough (around the time I didn't blog on whether 'to three or not to three' way back when). While Miss C's birth was extremely difficult, Baby J's pregnancy was hard on my body. I was clearly in a new age of my life (called being in my thirties, I believe). I was more sick, I was more tired, I was chasing more kids...it was very different the third time around. And I assumed that would probably be it, though I've always maintained that decisions on babies should be made one at a time. I never really expected to have three, much less contemplate a fourth.

But the moment I laid eyes on this precious wisp of life, held him close to my body, gazed into his deep blue eyes and fell in love with him . . . my heart stuttered at the thought of never having such a moment again. Literally, I ached with the need for one more. (After adequate time to soak this one in, of course.)

I was in the grocery store last summer, traipsing around the food aisles with all three of my kiddos as usual. I frequently get stopped with questions about whether Baby J is always so happy (unless he is unhappy, in which case no one asks me that question. . . ). This time, it was a mom of four, whose kids were a good deal older than mine. As we chatted for a moment, I admitted to thinking that four sounded nice. She grinned. And cheered for me to have another. Then she told me about the time before her fourth came along: she said she was always looking over her shoulder, feeling like someone was missing. I thought that was so lovely. And I, too, have had that same feeling for so long.

I set a deadline for myself a while back: "When I hit 35, if there's nothing baking in the oven, then I'm done." (That's less than a year away now.) And with so much going on this past year, the very thought of adding another person has felt irresponsible. And so the decision is not made, over and over. Added to that are the safety issues that rise up with any discussion of my giving birth - I clearly do not have have typical birth experiences; this fact makes me sad and it concerns my husband greatly. I would have to give strong consideration to a c-section if I have another (which would be astronomically expensive on our current insurance plan). Plus, the very thought of that is difficult for me. Perhaps there would be a time later for us to adopt, something we gave thought to when we thought there might not be biological children. But adoption is not a decision to make right now, either.

And so, to three or not to three, that is the question. I believe that question does not have an answer yet. Only God knows. In the meantime, I suppose I will just continue to wait on the Lord's timing, either direction.

28 March 2010

on my heart

I am short on words here recently. My heart has been heavy in ways I am not sure I understand. I want to say I'm a bit "despondent" but not so much as to call it "depressed." I'm almost struggling, but not quite. There are several facets to what I am feeling and experiencing. I cannot decipher it all, but I feel that you are a group of ladies I hold dear and so I want to share the fragments I can see with you and ask you to pray with me and for me.

A small part is that friend I have been so burdened to pray for. No response, but occasional heaviness of heart to continue praying.

Another small part is that about the time I began exercising I began to feel more tired. I should have more energy, I realize. And I'm not pregnant (had that scare last week and it was negative...ahem...). I am not resting well, however, so that is probably the source of tiredness. I never feel rested, but neither am I tired enough to nap.

And then there is a small sense of foreboding deep inside right now. I cannot call it fear, for it's not. I cannot define it. I am not certain what is triggering it. Perhaps a preparing of my heart for something to come. I don't feel like there is death around the corner, but neither can I be sure. When my son began having nightmares about my dad dying, it was easy to fall into fear over that. It makes me want to "know" what lies ahead - but yet I don't really want to, nor need to.

As my brother said, it's my intuition. I know it is. And it aches fiercely at times.

And maybe there is just a heavy dose of anxiety mixed up in it all. I had a small biopsy done on a mole Friday. There is skin cancer on both sides of my family, so I am not naive as to what that means. She didn't seem overly worried. And there was only one that she felt to biopsy, which is good.

But I cannot shake the sense that the foreboding feeling is about me.

Friends, if you are so inclined, I covet your prayer right now - however you feel led to pray.

25 March 2010

thankful thursday - little b

My firstborn turned 9 on Sunday. I wanted to post on it earlier in the week, but life spiraled on me so it didn't happen.

I have told you about how wonderful he is. How he melts my heart. How I adore him. How I am glad to be homeschooling him. What his struggles are. So, I will not go down that road today.

Instead, I simply want to be thankful for him. This was "one of those weeks" with him - entirely my fault as I got distracted with an early doctor's appointment on Monday and missed his medication by several hours. That is more than enough to turn the tide and it's been pretty ugly since then. And I'm totally worn out now.

But in my heart of hearts I am still oh so thankful for my boy. He is so special to my heart. On the hardest of days he will still hug me tight at bedtime, tell me he loves me, and mean it. I am often trying to do juggle all three kids at various stages of bedtime neediness, and even hanging onto frustration. I feel I fail to appreciate the sweetness of this boy. But truly, it's like a fragrance that lingers long after his breathing has evened out and my own head is drifting into slumber.

He makes me so rich.
I do love him so.

18 March 2010

thankful thursday

There is only One source of true Life and true Peace. And I am so thankful to have access to that source. Every day. Just by containing the Holy Spirit in my human spirit. My excperience of this has been vital to me this past week.

I felt deeply prompted to send a small message to an old friend the other day. This person has been on my heart strongly for some time, indeed urgently this past summer. After facebook reconnected us not long ago, the Lord began prodding me to write. Given certain circumstances, it seemed a bit...unorthodox...to my way of thinking. And yet if I resisted, I lost my peace immediately. At first, I just felt to pray and consider a note in the future. Then this week I had a sudden, pressing need to send that note. Without hesitation. I had no outward reason to believe that day was better than another day. But the Lord was very clear to me and I felt I was racing against a time bomb as I worked to quickly and carefully craft a short, appropriate message to someone I had not seen in over 12 years.

I prayed as I typed, deleted, retyped, listened to my son asking for the computer, moved sentences around, deleted, promised the computer in just a minute, and typed some more. I pondered my heart, my intent, my source of Life. Any time I considered just waiting, the urgency almost made my heart race and I grew uncomfortable. Any time I turned and sought my Lord in the matter, life and peace returned. I pressed "send" and felt a calm come over me.

Yet I would get wrapped up in my mind, second guessing myself, feeling uncertain and edgy off and on for a couple of days. And each time I thought surely I was foolish, that I wished I could take it back, I began to pray. And again the peace returned. My mother gently reminded me in the midst of my angst that all I really needed was to follow Life and Peace - not worry about anything else. Her words reassured me and in that simple truth, I could see exactly what she was telling me in the entire situation. I knew without a doubt I'd done exactly that: follow Life and Peace.

I have not heard a response. I may never hear a response. I do watch for one. I do hope for one. Even if it's another 12 years. But I do not expect one. And in my mind, that is so hard. But each time I go before my Father about it, this friend gets prayed for. And I am well aware that the Lord is moving and operating beyond anything I can fathom. And He clearly needs me to pray.

And so I do. With the Life and Peace that only He can afford.