Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A day at the dentist (and the gasp heard round the world)

I'm soooooo sleeeeeeeeeeeeeepy.

This morning I took the kids to the dentist for their regular check-ups. No cavities for any of them, hooray!!!

I, however, am exhausted. (2 hours at a medical visit with four kids when you're 9 months pregnant will do that to you I suppose. :) )

I'd say the morning was completely uneventful, but that wouldn't be entirely true. Because as we were sitting in the waiting room and I was signing some paperwork, a mom (to two elementary-aged kids) asked incredulously, "Are ALL THESE YOURS???!!!!"

(By "these" she must have meant my four happily-and-quietly-playing children who I find to be pretty pleasant overall.)

I smiled and said, "Yep!"

Then there was an audible GASP. That I'm certain was heard from more than a mile away. Followed by, "Oh my GOSH!!!" Then ANOTHER loud, dramatic gasp. And finally, "You really have your hands full!!!"

I just chuckled and went back to my paperwork. I debated saying something about how my kids are actually a joy (which I could say in good conscience at that point--it would be another hour before my 2 year old decided to throw chalk and then a fit, which could also probably be heard from more than a mile away), but her reaction to my family was so absurd I figured I wouldn't dignify it by engaging in any sort of conversation, period.

And as for what I REALLY wanted to say? I wanted to say I'm sorry that the prospect of motherhood is so distasteful, that on some level being a parent is SO MISERABLE, that the idea of 4 young children is enough to elicit gasps of horror from a complete stranger. That I think our culture/generation is so incredibly confused about purpose, life and work and so long as we seek gratification from entertainment/money/me-time, we will inevitably be unfulfilled in the vocation of motherhood.

But of course I didn't. Instead I spent the next 2 hours with my kids while they had their teeth checked and cleaned, oversaw them excitedly choosing 2 toys each from the box for being cavity-free, endured a screaming, tired, hungry 2 year old's tantrum that ultimately included a timeout, more tears, a hug and a sweet little apology, and finally I brought everyone home, happily sucking on sugar-free lollipops and chatting about their new bouncy balls and toothbrushes.

So no, I didn't discover the cure for cancer today. I didn't get a massage or a pedicure. I wasn't able to take a 3-hour nap, or have lunch with a friend, or take a nice hot bath. I'm a mom. I spent the day with my family. It was a simple, exhausting, non-glamorous day, but it was a day that God gave me to love Him by loving my children. Who also happen to be His children.

The thing is, God has brought me (and is continuing to bring me) to a place where I'm quite comfortable with who I am, and I've developed a pretty thick skin when it comes to the lame-o comments I get in public sometimes.

But I still blog some of them, in part because it's my life, in part because I know some of you can relate, and also because it's a way for me to process through my convictions and thoughts.

Therefore, you got an earful about my day at the dentist.

But I'm done now.

The end. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I am so there

Today I went to Target to get some newborn diapers. (By the fifth child, apparently you tend to be pretty laid back about things like being prepared for a baby's birth and homecoming). But I've been having so many contractions lately that I realized it'd be good to have some diapers smaller than size 5 around here.

There was a bunch of other stuff I needed to get too (laundry detergent etc.) Not too long into my excursion I started having contractions, which continued the whole time pretty much. Then in my attempt to check out, the teenaged checker miscounted my items, then overcharged me, was dealing with a couple in front of me who he'd ALSO overcharged...TWICE...because he made a mistake on their receipt AGAIN. I seriously contemplated having him reach out and feel my rock-hard, contracting uterus in hopes of getting him to hurry up, but I didn't. I somehow finally made it home and pretty much collapsed.

ALL of this to say that I'm "there." And by there, I mean that happy little place where you are just plain ready to go into labor and have the baby. I'm completely overheated, I'm CRANKY, I'm sick to my stomach and food doesn't appeal to me half the time...yep, I think I'm ready. :)

And so friends, it's ice cream time. I may not have a hospital bag packed, or a bassinet set up, but by golly my freezer is full of ice cream. It's all about priorities. Especially when you're "there."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

37 weeks

I just had my 37-week OB appointment and...

baby is head down
and I'm dilated 1 cm.

Woohoo!!! There's no guarantee she won't flip back (or back and forth) again, but I was able to have a good conversation with the doctor and she said even if a version (ECV) is necessary, she wouldn't do it until 39 weeks. She totally "gets" my not wanting to be induced, and I am feeling more confident.

TOTAL answered prayer and I just cannot wait to go into labor and have this sweet baby!!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Today has just been one of those days. No logical reason for it, nothing catastrophic has happened, I just feel blah. Some (okay most probably!) of it is hormones. Some of it has to do with feeling stressed out that my baby is still sideways with less than 3 weeks to go. There's still room for her to turn, but she apparently likes laying this way. Lovely.
Anyway, I thought I'd post this cute picture I took recently of Kaitlyn and Yosef sitting together outside, because it makes me happy. She loves her brothers! Her relationship with Yosef is really, really sweet. He's a great big brother. (And she's an adoring little sister.)
So do you ever have days like this? I feel so unproductive, and aimless, and yucky. I think Anna hit the nail on the head earlier this afternoon when, while upset about something, she tearfully announced, "I feel like I'm in a trashcan!" Sounds about right to me!!! :)
Here's to tomorrow being a brand new day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nursing covers and George Strait

I just need to share that I am finding it utterly impossible to wrap my mind around the fact that in about 3 WEEKS, I'm having a baby!!!! I'm super excited, but this pregnancy has so faded into the back of my mind that it seems really surreal that it's almost over. That it's almost time to deliver the baby, and that I won't be pregnant anymore, etc. etc.

I'm really trying to treasure these last weeks of feeling my baby move inside of me, of having a big huge belly that is forever being kissed and patted by 4 eager children. I feel great, and minus the constant getting up at night to use the bathroom, I'm happy as a clam. Interestingly this pregnancy has really felt like just a natural part of life...it's hard to describe.

The baby hasn't dropped, or settled head-down. She likes hanging out in the transverse position, but there's still plenty of room in there for her to change positions (which is why she's able to be transverse), so she does that regularly as well. I guess we'll see what she ends up deciding to do. That's the benefit (for her) of being the third baby to occupy that space, though of course it makes me a little anxious!

In other baby-related news, I happened to be at the thrift-store yesterday and accidentally happened upon one of these nursing covers. The exact one in the above picture. That costs $35. It was in pristine condition, quite probably never used. So I bought it--for $1.50. The good ol' Denver ARC makes me happy, happy, happy. (Not to mention they come to my house once a month, free of charge, and pick up any old junk I want to donate.) I could go on and on about the exciting things I find there on a regular basis, but I won't, because you would probably be bored. (Someone once told me that I am easily amused. It's true.)

And here's a testament to how easily amused I am (or an insight into what a geek I am): I also purchased, for $1, a movie at the ARC yesterday. (VHS, I might add.) The title? Pure Country. Starring George Strait. From 1992. My best friend and I saw it in the theater when we were 11 years old, and it became one of my favorite movies. No joke. I had the soundtrack AND the movie poster. And now, 17 years later, I finally own the film. I seriously cannot WAIT to watch it--Kevin claims I will be utterly ashamed and embarrassed when I see it again, that I ever liked it in the first place. He also is refusing to watch it with me. But...let's just say that the hospital I'll be delivering at has VCRs in every room. And at some point during my time there I'll be digging into my hospital bag and pulling out that movie. It's socially unacceptable for a husband to leave his wife's side while she's in labor, or shortly after she's given birth. Even if Pure Country happens to be on...

Friday, September 18, 2009

All part of this complete breakfast

There is something you need to know about my husband. He loves cereal. Eats it every single morning. Literally.

But not just any cereal. It's gotta be full of sugar. Sometimes it's Cinnamon Toast Crunch, sometimes Cap'n Crunch. His all-time favorite though is Cookie Crisp. (See above.)

Kevin waits until the cereal is on sale. (As in, waits until the store is basically giving it away.) Then he stocks up, and gleefully hoardes his purchases in the unfinished part of our basement. Each morning, the kids know to expect Daddy to give them a piece or two of said cereal. They love it. Occasionally they have been known to wake up early on purpose to make sure they catch him before he leaves for work.

Yet somehow, in spite of all the sugar and preservatives, the man is still functioning. He puts in a full-day at work, then puts in time at home working on our house. And he's doing a great job. I'm wondering if perhaps it's all that Cookie Crisp!

So here is my homage to Kevin and his sugar-coated-cereal-habit. I'm thinking a study should be done on the benefits of this stuff, because as much as I give him a horrible time about eating it every single day, he seems to have developed some super-human abilities over the past year in the areas of installing and fixing appliances, hanging doors, and remaking this place into something really nice.

Maybe the above photo of him with his drill should make it onto the next Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs box?????

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First day of school

So grown up!

On Mondays, I take Anna to Kindergarten at a school for homeschooled kids. (I know, that's confusing.) So far she's gone twice, once with me for orientation (the above picture was us right before we left) and then this past Monday was her first day all day by herself. She loved it! It was so strange not having her here though. My other kids missed her all day and quite frankly, so did I! (You should have seen Biniam's face positively light up when I told them it was time to go pick up their sister!)

My kids have never attended preschool or any sort of organized school-type program before, so this is big for us. One day a week seems good--I like that Anna gets to go and have stuff she does independently, while at the same time is still primarily a part of the day-to-day goings on at home. Yesterday for example she and I baked apple crisp and brownies for our church's community group that we just started hosting/leading. She loved it.
Getting a proper send-off from Daddy.
Proud siblings dropping her off!

Okay I think you are sufficiently updated on all things school-related. :) Which means I'm going to have to come up with something else to blog about!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The camping trip that wasn't

This past weekend was to mark our maiden camping voyage in Colorado. Yes, we've been here for over a year and had yet to go camping. Maybe that doesn't seem strange to you if you don't live here, but the thing is, people here LOVE to camp.

It's no wonder, really. We live literally an hour or less from some of the most beautiful areas in the United States. Seriously. So people spend a lot of time outdoors, camping and hiking.

On Saturday we packed up and drove the 60 minutes to a gorgeous state park to meet up with two other families that we're good friends with. The weather was overcast and cloudy but whatever, we figured (hoped?) it'd all work out, and we could be adventurous, right? (Note that in the above picture, Kevin's busted out his "OJ gloves.")

It was actually our first trip into the mountains since we've been here (save for driving through the Rockies and Vail on our way through and back.) And OH MY GOODNESS, it was gorgeous. Beautiful aspen trees that were just starting to turn colors...pine trees galore...rocky hills and just the most beautiful scenery. I couldn't believe it. We live in a beautiful state, that is for sure. (Even made the loss of the ocean seem like less of a sacrifice!)

So anyway, we get out of our cars, and yeah, it's cold. (40 degrees maybe?) And raining. We all decide to eat lunch there (thanks to Jonathan and Bekah for bringing their handy dandy shelter thingy) but hold off on setting up our tents. At one point it starts to hail. Soon multiple children are crying. And whining. One of my kids completely face-planted and got a fat lip and scratched his glasses. Another peed everywhere because he didn't make it to the toilet in time. We lasted nearly two hours, but by 5 pm we packed back up and opted to go hang out at Erik and Karen's home, which was nice and dry and WARM. We ate hotdogs, the kids played, it was great.

All in all, the day was an adventure and we all had a blast that evening. All's well that ends well I suppose!

Here's Anna with her friends around the campfire.

Still smiling at this point. (I think it was the hot chocolate.)

Ah, now we have some not-so-happy-campers!

Oh, and we're not completely giving up. We WILL try this camping thing again! Hopefully next time we'll get to actually set up our tent!

Homeschooling thoughts

Well this is our third week "officially homeschooling." I put that in quotes because at this stage of the game (it's Kindergarten afterall), we aren't really doing anything TOO different from what we did before. Anna's doing some handwriting each day, we have Bible time over breakfast, and we're loosely using Saxon math. (AKA I skip over things she already knows, and modify some of it.) I do a lot of reading aloud and Anna does a ton of independent reading. Again, those things were occurring naturally in our home anyway.

In some ways it's hard to describe what we "do" because I just look at it as regular old family life with education thrown in. Lots of good literature (we're all LOVing the classic "Winnie the Pooh" stories) and reading and togetherness, lots of time for play, and then some working on skills like writing etc. The most important thing I do is what I should always be doing, training up my children, nurturing them and loving them, teaching them about Jesus and about our world.

So far Anna loves it. But she is a real taskmaster. I decide we'll do three pages out of a science and nature book, but once I read those to her she takes the book away and proceeds to finish it independently. Or we'll be doing some lessons out of the (dull) math curriculum. I want to be done. She wants to keep going. She's hardcore! (Except for when it comes to handwriting, which she does NOT enjoy. But she does it, and is already improving.)

Most days we also try to go for a walk--I walk, the kids ride their bikes (Kaitlyn on a tricycle and Biniam on some sort of plastic motorcycle)--all around our neighborhood. We have so been enjoying it! The kids love getting to see all sorts of cats and dogs, and we've also run into friends who happened to be driving by, or who are over at our church office.

I've also started including Anna in dinner prep when I can. She loves helping in the kitchen, and takes real pride in preparing a meal for our family. (You should see her smile when Kevin and the other kids tell us what we made is good!!!!!) This is a picture of her standing by the eggplant parmigiana we made together one evening.

My favorite part of homeschooling so far has been the amazing conversation that takes place sometimes during our morning Bible reading. (Yes we could be doing that if we weren't homeschooling, but I think it can be more difficult to carve out time before the rush out the door, and my kids are more tired in the afternoons/evenings.) My kids are really thinking about things, and asking deep questions, and I LOVE seeing where their hearts are at. What a blessing and a privilege!!!! (I also love the fact that there is still plenty of time for this: relaxing together on Mommy and Daddy's bed in the afternoons!)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Come on ride the train, and Come Be My Light

I took these pictures at the trainride at a local park recently. Fun times!

I just finished the book with Mother Teresa's private writings in it, Come Be My Light. I find myself uttery intrigued by her spiritual life, by the vows she took and by her heart's desire to pour herself out for Jesus every.single.day. I learned a little bit about the whole idea of Roman Catholic "vocation"--celibacy vs. marriage+family, and interestingly the stuff about becoming a nun actually shed a lot of light on the calling to be a mom. (Stay with me.) Because the idea of wholeheartedly committing yourself to God's work, to be refined by God and to grow in grace and in truth and in holiness is actually what MY calling should be too, it's just a different context.

Then there was an article I read recently called "The Me-Time Myth." Basically it talked about how people are always telling us moms we need to make sure to have lots of me-time, etc. etc. But then it went on to describe the potential for the entitlement mentality to creep in...suddenly the me-time you do get is never enough, suddenly your children are just plain burdens encroaching upon your life, you start to hate all those daily tasks, feel unfulfilled, the list goes on. There was much truth to what this article was saying, in my opinion. Certainly there's nothing wrong with taking a break, or having a girls' night or a date night. But I think women are being sent some really funky messages about themselves and about children and as a whole we've lost sight of the idea that self-sacrifice is a GOOD thing. Or that we're supposed to be doing that.

I'm blessed to be friends with some amazing moms, including some with adopted children, children with medical needs, and some who have several children, and I'm floored and inspired by their devotion to motherhood and commitment to their kids. Some of these moms I've met in real life, and some I haven't. They're an encouragement to me in part, I've decided, because they remind me that motherhood MATTERS. That sometimes the hard road is the blessed and joy-filled road. That sometimes life is hard, and not fun, but that there's a greater good to aspire to and that God doesn't want us always feeling comfortable and in control of our happy little lives.

Last week was a hard one. Both Kevin and I uncharacteristically busy, going different directions, three sick kids, I was having major hormonal issues (aka pregnancy hormones all seemed to hit at once and I was a basketcase), the list goes on...but...I love being a mom. I love being a wife. I don't fulfill either purpose perfectly, or remotely close to perfectly (especially with, you know, raging hormones), but somehow this is the path God wants me on, and wants to use to challenge me and make me more like Jesus. Sometimes that's all you have to hold onto, really.

If you've read Come Be My Light, then you know the depth of sadness Mother Teresa felt for decades, feeling like she was alone, and empty, and far from Jesus. But her faith was so strong that she just kept hanging on, and persevering, and trusting and believing even when it FELT hopeless. What inspires me about this woman is not so much the work she did and the legacy she left (although that is truly amazing), but the quiet, unswerving devotion to her God. She gave herself away. Less-so to the poor, moreso to God.

And I should do the same.

Those are some of the thoughts I've had as of late, and I'm sure I'll share more about the book at some point. If you've read it, I'd love to hear what you took away from it.

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