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..."


"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.

16 March 2010


I do not like wearing shoes. I mean, I really loathe wearing shoes. I am clumsier in shoes, whereas my feet can feel their way around all kinds of things without them. I can wear socks and get them nasty dirty much of the day...but shoes come off the minute I walk in the door. Even socks wear out their welcome if my feet are not cold enough. Mystery crumbs on the kitchen floor yield taking them off sooner not later. Did I mention I like bare feet?? (Yes, I'm still clumsy without shoes, and my husband tells me I wouldn't stub my toes if only I had shoes on. He loves shoes...I guess opposites do attract!)

So, I'm trying to exercise. On a treadmill. This would be during nap time for Baby J which equals quiet time for the older two. I stack an upside down laundry basket onto a portable computer stand, plop down my laptop and stream a Netflix movie for motivation. I get insanely bored when exercising and this is the only thing that keeps it going. I'd read, but it's just too plain awkward to flip pages and find a way to keep the book at a comfortable reading distance. Trust me on this...I've tried.

Yesterday, (the, uh, second time I've dusted off the treadmill in about a week...we won't talk about just how dusty it got before!) I was all ready to start and realized that Baby J was napping in my room. Where my socks live (because I'd actually cleared the clean clothes off the couch -- clearly a mistake on my part). So, I put on the sneakers without socks. And walked/almost-jogged for over an hour. My feet are mad at me today. Apparently, socks are more than just for soaking up sweat.

If only I could hit the treadmill barefoot, I'd probably be a lot better at it.

(I'll spare you the stories of walking my neighborhood as a teenager, in the South, barefoot, during the peak of summer...and the time I jumped a fence and scraped the balls of my feet raw before I turned around to head home....fun times in bare feet, I tell you...)

11 March 2010

thankful thursday

I've been a slacker recently - my apologies. But, I'll take a moment to share my thankfulness from this week just for you.

~I'm sucked into a very long trilogy (like 475 pages each book) that has my not-busy-mommying moments used all up (now you know where I've been). Since I'm starting the third book, I should be more readily available soon. (FYI: I'm reading The Daughters of Boston by Julie Lessman). Oh man...I just saw she's got a new trilogy (that is about this same family) coming - first book later this year. I do not know how I'll wait that long...I LOVE a read that carries me away. A long one (call it a pseudo-vacation if you want).

~John has been covered up with work so much that there are lots and lots of late nights and weekend hours required. There are not words to tell you how desperately we need those hours...to say I'm thankful that he is with a rare company who pays most of their employees (including professionals like his engineering self) hourly instead of salaried is an understatement. Every moment of overtime (also known as "professional time" since it's not time and a half as a professional) helps us right now. I miss the man, and I am heard to lose it a bit and feel grouchy, but oh how the Father is providing. That said, hats off to every single mother out there. I pray I never know just how hard that is because at least I have my husband safely on the other end of a phone if I need him.

~ Speaking of lots of hours and missing the man of the house, John needed a bit of a break and took Monday and Tuesday off. I so love having my love around - I can not get enough of that man. I look forward to the day he retires!

~ And with those days off, we took the kids on fabulous field trips in our local vicinity (I'm too chicken to take all three kids places like that while both boys are potential wild cards!):

Saturday, we took them to a train museum that had me in love with trains. I see how people develop such a love for them. We got to go through so many old trains and ride in a real caboose. Completely fascinating!

Monday we returned to a favorite environmental center that's all about water cycles and being "green." They've got a small room with fish, snakes, turtles and horseshoe crabs, and the main "hall" is full of cool displays. Best of all is play room full of interactive water things. You can experiment with the flow of a river, adjust water pressure with levers and wheels that, or play in a ball pit of blue balls that go into a tube in the wall sucking them up like vapor and coming back down out of a "cloud" like rain etc. etc. etc...it's a small place that's quiet and probably has a lot of "growing room" but we like it small.

Tuesday we went to a kid's art museum complete with a scavenger hunt that encouraged them to look at the art and pay attention to color and shape, draw some pieces, name some pieces, and talk about what they saw, felt or thought. And there was an interactive room with instruments, puppets, crafts and book nook.

And now, I believe I need to do some of that mommying I mentioned, then see happens in this third book. . .

04 March 2010

the accidental bubble bath

My daughter's skin tends to be sensitive - I know, real shocker, isn't it? Little B had eczema when he was a baby and occasionally got random hives that could never be explained. So, we're soap-picky. Dove for sensitive skin is preferred for the little people's skin, though Little B doesn't have to stick to that as much any more.

Of course, that still leaves shampoo. And though the cost is very high, the carcinogens are pretty much nil in California Baby products - and my kid's skin is happy with them! Big factor right there. We cannot begin to buy all the products that they offer, but I do dream of it. However, I easily find some of their shampoo/body wash combos at my local Target, as well as conditioner. And thankfully it doesn't take much to wash the hairs upon their heads. So, after making a bottle of California Baby stretch as long as I could, and after an itchy-skin attempt to switch her to a 2-in-1 kid's shampoo that Little B uses, I recently buckled and bought a new bottle of the good stuff.

I bathe Miss C and Baby J in my tub most of the time, and so the sides of the tub are littered with bottles for shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. (We won't discuss that I often have a bottle of my shampoo there, the rinsing bucket is there, sometimes the hand soap is there for short-people faucet access, and the previous, empty, larger pump-size of California Baby shampoo is still making a home there. . .) All of these items regularly rotate location along the shelf that is otherwise known as the edge of the tub.

Yesterday, as Baby J washed his hands, I noticed a wet streak in the tub coming from the opposite corner as the faucet. I didn't fully register this until later when I took a (deliciously scalding hot) bath. And little bubbles appeared. I looked to the array of bottles and discovered much to my chagrin that the expensive new bottle of shampoo was open and on it's side. Half empty.

I decided to enjoy it while it lasted, though. Especially since I find it very easy to believe I left that bottle open when washing her hair last. Ah well....a surprise bubble bath is at least a relaxing surprise!

01 March 2010

my waiting room friend

The autumn before I had Baby J I was growing daily larger and more hormonal and working to cope with the imminent winter "mood swings" of my oldest child. All we knew at the time was that he dramatically declined in almost every way during the colder months of the year. School was more difficult each day, attitude seeped from his every pore, his face wore a cloud of anger across it. He freely sassed his teacher and meltdowns seemed the core of his existence. Intense does not begin to describe it. We could not find a specific trigger. But each month was worse. And yes, he was only six years old still.

He was lonely. There was a one boy he was becoming good friends with and an effort toward a few others, but his social cravings did not line up with his social abilities. He was an easy target for bullies and his intelligence was easily bored by the education he was receiving.

I was lonely. In the "mommy world" I felt like a complete failure as a parent, in spite of my every effort to be the best I could be. I had friends who listened, who tried to understand what I was going through with my son, who cared. But they didn't really get it. Sure, my friends had their struggles, but in my mind their lives were "charmed" compared to mine – we didn't have occasional bad days; we had occasional good days.

If February is the hardest month I can think of, then October should have only been a warm-up session. But one evening in early or mid October I was trying to cope with a major meltdown of my son's and at some point I finally kicked my foot through the wall. Now, my husband was in the hallway between my son's room and me, so to this day Little B does not know how come there is a white patch of unpainted wall behind the Curious George poster that graces the hallway at an odd height. Or why there is torn sheetrock immediately behind that wall, beneath the bathroom light switch. Apparently I have a strong kick. Or temper. (No, I do not make this a habit!)

I talked to the Lord that night about a lot of things. One of which was a need for a friend. I do have some very dear friends so don't misunderstand this need: it was very specific. I was assured that the Lord understood and heard me very clearly in less than 48 hours.

At this time, we still had Little B in Occupational Therapy for his Sensory Processing Disorder. Each week we'd arrived with my pregnant belly and Miss C's adorable two-and-a-half year old self. I'd tell the therapist of anything going on (like meltdowns that bring mommy's foot through the wall), sometimes show her the teacher's comments in Little B's agenda, and then sit for an hour with Miss C trying to open the door to the back of the office and/or playing with the waiting room toys.

The therapy appointment after my foot-in-wall episode was different. The therapist told me that Little B would have another boy in half of his therapy each week – doing joint activities for social and other purposes – a "peer." My heart began to lift like a helium balloon. I took one look at the lady in the waiting room with thick, dark hair. She had an open and friendly face. And I knew in that moment my God had heard my pleading.

For the rest of the school year, we spent an hour each week in that waiting room talking. Not once was it enough time to finish all that we wanted or needed to say. Her son does not have the same issues as Little B. In fact, they are far removed from what we deal with. However, she easily grasped that there are kids with different "special" needs.

There was not a breath of censure in her voice if she heard of a hard day as it is in our home. She plied me with the right kinds of questions. She shared her heart and her concerns with her own son. She listened.

Three months after I met her, she visited me in the hospital when Baby J was born and I hugged her and told her that she had no idea how much of an answer to prayer she was. She told me it went both ways. I love how personally my prayer was answered.

Even after our mutual therapy appointments ended, we stayed in touch with sporadic visits and phone calls. And now, as I mentioned recently, we are attempting to overlap another doctor's appointment for the simple reason of finding time to visit. I suppose we just do well in waiting rooms.

Recently, I told her of putting my foot through the wall the weekend before I met her and she had the grace to pop her eyes open wider and laugh about it with me.

***As an important side note, Little B has since been given further diagnoses of Anxiety and mild Asperger's Syndrome. By making a very difficult choice to medicate him last spring, he has made great strides of improvements. February just ended. It used to be the longest month of the year for me. Not so this time.***