26 June 2009

email me link~

I know a lot of people read these posts in a feed reader, so I just wanted to let you know I added an ~email me~ link to the blog.

So fire away :o)

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for your saturday reading pleasure~

Here are some more links that I think are definitely worth reading...

Holy Habits

A weighty post that once again reminds us that what we do is important. Immensely. And there's a lot more to it than math facts, cooking, and tying shoes; yet life and relationship are tied up in those every day things.
An excerpt... "They say a mother wears an apron and a myriad of hats. I say she wears a collar too. A collar which can never be removed. A collar which cannot be observed by the material world: a clerical collar. For she is a priest in her home, before a congregation of children. ...While a mother continually changes her hats throughout the hours of the day, her collar remains: she is a priest proclaiming Christ’s glories. She cares for souls."

Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling: Exposing the 7 Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers

Unfortunately, I have been guilty of some of these far too often. An excellent read, I'm printing this one out. Vital for parents who want to keep their children's hearts.

Shelter Is Not A Place. It's a Relationship.

On sheltering our kids in the real world.
Another excerpt... "Shelter is not a place. It's a relationship
. Although we need to be wise about keeping our kids safe (let's not be simplistic here), sheltering our kids from every potential evil is impossible. The world is corrupt. Hey, the youth group is corrupt!

I would love to withdraw my family from society and keep them from having to face the messiness of navigating relationships in a fallen world. But that’s just not feasible. Maybe not even desirable. Besides, we have enough sin nature between all seven of us, they’d still get to see plenty of corruption!

Instead, we want to make sure our home is the safe place, the most comforting sanctuary on earth, where our kids are guaranteed acceptance, affection and genuine love. Our relationship with our kids should be a reflection of God's relationship with us - overflowing with grace and forgiveness.

And while we’re doing that, we're introducing them to Jesus, and we’re walking along side them, showing them how to “do life” with Christ at the helm.

We don’t have to know all the answers, and heaven forbid we should try to appear perfect. I fail daily, and have to ask my kids’ forgiveness all the time. But we feel strongly that the more spiritually arrogant we are, and the more we try to hide our flaws, the more likely our kids will become disillusioned with God later on.

I thought all of these were excellent reads and will be keeping them close by. Let me know what you think.

Happy Saturday!

(and Stacey, let me know when you have your baby!!)

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18 June 2009

pica, anyone?~

Sonic ice. My new obsession. After every baby I have some sort of food related craving. Craving is really too nice of a word. It's more like a give it to me now and no one gets hurt sort of problem. We won't talk about how with Caleb it was orange sherbet by the gallon, with Noah is was Texas Toast Cheeseburgers with an M&M Blast, or with Grace this time it was margherita pizza and sonic ice. An entire pizza every single morning.

I prefer to remember the other babies, with whom I preferred things like sandwiches and salads.

Not so this time. Now, mind you, a margherita pizza is largely tomatos and basil, an entire one contains only 700 calories which is an okay allotment for a newly nursing mama for one meal. But still. It kinda hints at gluttony. So I had to stop. And I did. But the Sonic ice is another story. I go through a bag of it every two days. Sometimes an entire bag a day. Usually with water.

When I am nursing, especially the first few months, I am ravenous, feeling the need to eat literally constantly. Eating ice is my way of tricking my mind into thinking I'm eating. And it's calorie free! But I do crave it, and that can be a sign of pica. And while I've never actually eaten powdered laundry detergent, sand, cornstarch, or baking soda, I think about chewing it. Always have. And until a couple of years ago I was a horrible nail biter. All signs of pica. I was anemic my entire pregnancy with Grace, and no amount of supplements or eating of iron rich foods changed it.

So. Should I be concerned?

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worth your time
(otherwise known as i really need to clear out my tabs)~

I do this all the time. Click, "Whoa, that looks like it might take some time, I'll come back," or "I really should share that." Over and over until I have more tabs open than can fit across the top.

So, without further ado, here are some various things I've enjoyed, thought about, and think just might be worth your time.

The Temptation of Laziness

Something I struggle with daily. I've got a post on this in the works.

How I Found God's Will In A Sink Full of Dirty Dishes

On finding purpose and sanctification in mothering.

Sticks In Jars

A job/chore method that I am seriously considering trying out. For small or large families.

Tips for Surviving (and thriving!) in the Toddler Phase

From a mom of four in five years. Excellent, excellent post. So well said. I wish I'd written it myself. And not just practical tips, more toward emotional and spiritual thriving!

From Joyful Chaos

A mom of ten talks about life with her first baby and learning to mother in the way that works for her family. The more children I have, the more I value doing what works for us and ignoring what everyone else "says" we should be doing. Life is so much easier now than it was in the years with just one or two. This is not a "you should practice attachment parenting" post or recommendation from me, we are actually a good mix of attachment and scheduling. It just really struck a chord with me as Grace is such a peaceful and content baby, and I really feel that aside from the grace of God (which it is!), it is also because I've learned some things about giving her what she needs. This is the first in a series of posts. I've not actually read the rest of them yet.

Why Would You Want All Those Kids?

From a mother of fourteen on the eve of giving birth yet again. I loved this. Whether you have one child or fifteen, this will bless and encourage you. While short, and she's talking at first just about real life, toward the end she reflects on her relationships with her children and she puts it, getting ready to begin another love affair with a new baby. It gets sweeter each time. That I have learned.

I had some more, but as usual, lost them to little hands :o)

Happy Saturday!

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17 June 2009


snuggle buddies

camping buddies

no, that's not a tv in our pop-up buddies

how many kids can you fit around a camper table buddies

cool buddies

rock climbing buddies

reading buddies

sleeping in the car buddies

3-D buddies

even though we're cousins don't we look alike buddies

happy buddies

pretending to be puppy dog buddies

smiling buddies

my sister thinks it's fun to dress me up buddies

singing and sleeping buddies

vegging buddies

the super-buddy

diaper changing buddies

sweet sleeping buddies

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16 June 2009

overheard in the garden~

Three year olds make great garden helpers. Especially if they're slight ocd boys :o) Not only does he do a great job counting and picking potato bugs and pulling weeds, but he's also happy to help out Grace when she loses her paci.

So, one evening when we were out working in our so pathetic it shouldn't be called a garden garden, Grace started to fuss in her bouncy seat. I asked Noah if he could go give her the paci, which he promptly did while making cute faces at her. A few moments after he went back to picking bugs, she began to fuss again.

So, overheard in the garden this week as Noah called out to baby Grace over and over...

"Don't fuss now, baby. I got to wook in da gahden. I got to wook in da gahden, baby."

I love three year olds, especially this one. :o)

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14 June 2009

wedded bliss, little people style~

You know you're parents to little people, and you've been married for awhile when for your 12th anniversary you take your kids out for ice cream to celebrate.

You know, I'm just saying... :o)

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10 June 2009

late night reflections on grace
(on being thankful)~

I sit here typing with aching shoulder and two hands recently freed from holding a tired baby. My foot is bouncing up and down in an effort to lull my tiny one into dreamland. As I was holding her, wishing she would settle down so I could get back to what I was wanting to do, I looked down at her soft head snuggled in the crook of my arm, knowing all too well how soon it will pass (I've walked this road before), and once again, my heart melted. How blessed am I.

My days are filled with busy children, tired babies, dishes to wash, meals to prepare, laundry to fold, toys to pick up, schoolwork to grade, messes to wipe up, bodies to scrub, arguments to settle, and life lessons to teach. Yet through the busyness and never ending list of things to do and do again, the Father has shown me how profoundly blessed am I.

It's not easy, and it's not always fun. But what I'm doing here matters. It matters very much to seven little people whose lives would be very different if I followed the path the world often deems the more valuable one. That knowledge that He, the One who created each of those little people, would show me His way and turn my heart toward theirs, allowing me the privilege to point them to the Lover of Their Souls...how blessed am I.

I could have missed it. One different decision, be it made in selfishness or ignorance, and the course of our lives would have been different. But when we, Glen and I, started on this journey together, we vocally, together, committed our way to Him, asking and trusting Him to direct our path. We had no idea that we would be entrusted with seven souls to guide and point to the Father. To shepherd and disciple. The gravity of that is more than I can wrap my mind around, much less work out in my own strength; so I daily go to Him, trusting that He who began this good work will carry it on to completion. That His grace is sufficient and in my weakness, He can shine. His power can be made perfect. I can rest in knowing it's all Him. How blessed am I.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work.

As it is written:

"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever."

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food

will also supply and increase your store of seed
and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness."

2 Corinthians 9:8-10
(my current life verse)

I've been learning about strength. The Father's verses mine. I am finding peace and joy in the realization that when I let it be all about Him that He can be glorified in my mothering.. For when it's done in His strength, according to His plan for my days, I do a much better job than when it's all about me. And I've been living it these past weeks. I've had a taste. When my help went home and real life returned after Grace was born, I had a choice: get overwhelmed, discouraged, and even angry at all I needed to start doing again, or be thankful. Choosing to see not the diapers and dirty floors, but the great honor and privilege I have in being a mother. A mother that is there. And embracing all that it encompasses. Not every mother has that privilege, and not every mother realizes what a gift it truly is. And I have both; circumstances that allow me to stay home, and the truth in my heart that it's the most important thing I can do with my life. And I am finding joy. Unfortunately, I have not always loved to stay home, and I have not always loved being around my children so much. But He has brought me far, taught me much, spoken to my spirit, and worked in my heart. How blessed am I.

May you be blessed,

as I have been.

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03 June 2009

the birth of grace~

Well, it's high time I finally got around to writing Grace's birth story. I do feel I really needed to process it first, as my first attempts were all over the place and the way I kept "losing" them to blogger-land finally led me to believe I just needed to wait a bit. And I did. I needed to think it through. Not to mention I've been a little busy :o)

So here it is. Finally.

The actual birth is pretty normal. Labor began, lasted about four hours total with about twenty minutes or so of pushing. She was posterior, she turned right before I began to push. Non-eventful, easy birth. Rather large for two weeks early (nine and a half pounds exactly,) but perfectly healthy. No tearing, easy recovery. All done.

But it didn't feel that way in my head. During the labor, it felt like my hardest one ever. But it was all mental. The actual "birth story" is as above, but in my head it was an entirely different story. So if you want the details, here they are...

Easter Morning. We're all excited to go to my grandparents' farm in Kentucky. Secretly I've been feeling like she would come this weekend, but you know how that is. It's so hard to discern between what one is "feeling" and what one is just really hoping for. So although I was feeling it would be Easter weekend, Haven's two week late birth kept me from setting myself up for disappointment. I knew I was mentally preparing for her to come early though as I finished off my to do list on Saturday.

So everyone is looking forward to Kentucky. I'm hoping the car ride will put me into labor and that things will happen that night after a nice visit to the farm.

Not so. I woke suddenly around 7am thinking I either peed in the bed (which has never happened to me, even during pregnancy) or my water broke a little. I say a little because it was one small spot, not a huge gush. I got up, confirmed that yes! my water had indeed broken. And went back to bed quietly excited with my secret, and waited for something to happen. I was mildly disappointed that it seemed I would be laboring during the day (I really, really like waking up during the night realizing labor has begun, taking a bath, and enjoying the dark, quiet house and watching the sunrise. Strange, I know. But it's actually worked out that way several times.) But the disappointment was largely overshadowed by excitement that she was coming, and almost two weeks early!

So I laid there, and nothing. About an hour later, everyone was up and I was keeping my secret. (Have I mentioned I don't like to tell anyone I'm in labor until I absolutely have to? Not even Glen. For some reason, I just really prefer keeping it to myself as long as possible.) But after awhile I realized I was going to have to tell them as they were beginning to talk about getting ready to go. I told Glen quietly first, his eyes got really big and it actually took me a minute to convince him I wasn't joking. The kids were all very excited to find out the baby was coming and didn't mind missing the trip. Except for Ethan, he was highly irritated the baby couldn't just wait. He kept saying, "Can't we just go? The baby isn't actually coming now. Can't we just go and come back when she's actually being born?" Poor guy. If we had only known.

So I turn into the cleaning dictator. Anything anyone gets out has to be immediately put back, and any mess or crumb must immediately be cleaned up. But still nothing is happening. Not one contraction. Nothing. We take a family picture, run to the video store, come home, eat lunch, and finally lay down for a nap. All this time, my water is leaking enough for me to know that it truly is that, but not enough to keep me from normal activity. So finally I realize this labor is looking to be like Caleb's. With his birth, my water began leaking early on a Sunday morning as well, but I didn't go into labor until the following night. I really am kind of happy that I may indeed get to labor during the night. And it was really kind of fun anticipating it.

When we woke up from our nap Sunday afternoon, my water really broke. As in I was creating puddles every time I stood up, so I spent the rest of the evening sitting in my chair and assuring Glen it was totally normal for labor to have not really started yet. I reminded him of Caleb's birth, but he was still growing nervous that it had been so long and nothing was happening. He kept wanting me to call Susie, but I knew what that would mean and I wanted to just let it happen on its own. I assured him things would probably happen during the night and not to be concerned. We watched a movie and eventually went to bed.

I woke up the next morning after having zero contractions during the night. I don't even think I got up to pee. I'm lying in my bed trying to not be disappointed. At this point, I know we're going to have to have a baby today, one way or another as my water has been broken for so long now. No night laboring, and more than likely we're going to have to induce labor, be it naturally at home or artificially at the hospital. So I'm trying to not be terribly disappointed. You see, I really like to plan things. Whether it be how I'm going to organize my laundry or how my labor is going to go. I have always had a very distinct plan in my mind of how I want it to go, and amazing it has been that way more often than not. And not only do I have a very specific way of how I want things to go, but I also have very specific things that I absolutely hate in labor. And it was beginning to look like not only was it not going to go the way I wanted, but I was going to have to endure the things I absolutely wanted to avoid at any cost.

So I was mad. And then Glen comes in and tells me he's called Susie and she's on her way. So now I'm really frustrated. I can't even sit there and feel sorry for myself think through things and talk myself out of my pity party. I was slightly irritated with Glen, but he was concerned, and knows how I always put off calling the midwife, so he just took charge. It had to be done, I know it, but I was not happy about it.

So she comes. She tells me about the whole "water broken for 24 hours" thing which I already know, so we decide that "officially" my water didn't really break until I woke up from that nap around 3, so we'll give it until noon to see if labor is progressing. If not, I'll need to go to the hospital. Oh, and by the way, hospitals around here won't even do pitocin once it's been 24 hours. Automatic c-section. No pressure or anything. Ugh.

So she gives me some homeopathic stuff, has me use the br**st pump, and threatens me with castor oil or an enema if nothing happens. She really is quite nice about it, but I'm mad. Outwardly I'm agreeing, but inwardly I'm thinking yeah right. I'd rather just go to the hospital, refuse a c-section, get an epidural and have a nice pain free birth. I mean, by now all my desires are out the window, so why not just go all the way? I seriously spent the next hour thinking about how I was going to tell my midwife I wanted to go the hospital if she told me I needed to try castor oil or an enema. And I was serious.

Well, let me tell you. All that talk about n**ple stimulation (sorry, dad) bringing on contractions? It's true. It works, and it works fast. Within five minutes of using the pump I was having intense "I changed my mind about this whole no drug thing" contractions four to five minutes apart. They gave me some iv antibiotics to be on the safe side since my water had been broken for so long. (Which was so much easier than at the hospital. She slid the little needle in, just held it there for about fifteen minutes, then slid it out. No tape and I didn't have to leave it in during labor. So nice.)

So things are progressing. And then Susie realizes that once again, my baby is posterior. Now I'm really mad. Not only did I not get to gradually go into labor during the night, but I'm not going to get to labor comfortabally. No, I get to lay in all kinds of uncomfortable baby-turning positions while having intense contractions close together. I'm okay with it as I do not want to try and push out a baby turned backwards, but I'm still mad about the whole situation. She does finally let me get into the bath for awhile, but when I get out, I have to try and get the baby to turn still. I couldn't even lay back in the bath, I had to sit up straight. And I had too much tea tree oil in the water so every time I would have a contraction I would lay my head down on the side of the tub, but I couldn't breathe because it was too strong.

And all this time I'm retreating further and further into myself. You moms know how it is. You kind of get locked in your brain. I was obsessing over how miserable I was, how mad I was, trying to figure out if and how I could tell Susie I really just wanted to go to the hospital, and telling myself over and over that next time, I really, really, really AM going to the hospital. And that I'm not going to forget how much I want to just get an epidural next time. Really, I do. Finally, I remembered that I had asked the Lord for a verse or two to remember during labor, but by this time I couldn't really get them straight in my head, so they kept meshing with another. Really, I think this was the Holy Spirit giving me encouragement though as the way they went together was really sweet, and very encouraging when I could manage to remember it.

You know, it only takes a paragraph to write in black and white what was going through my head, but it was really intense and mentally very difficult. I guess it lasted about two and half hours or so of this feeling of contraction after contraction, with these thoughts chasing one another through my brain and my going back and forth between being mad and trying to gather my thoughts and remind myself of Scripture. I was very quiet, I don't make much noise during labor and don't like to talk unless I have to, but inwardly my mind was overwhelmed.

I got out of the tub, Susie checked me and I was almost complete, with a lip. (Does that happen to every mother giving birth naturally? It seems there is always a lip. "Just wait a little longer, you're almost there, just a little lip.") Susie figured this was because she was still backwards so that her head couldn't put proper pressure to finish dilating. So I resume lying on my side in Susie's highly effective baby-turning positions. (They work, they really do.) Finally, I feel this tremendous pulling and turning sensation during about three contractions. Grace is turning into the proper position, and I can certainly feel it. You could literally watch her turning around as my stomach contorted strangely.

As soon as she finished turning, I had the urge to push. I had to push for about twenty minutes, which is longer than with any of my other children, but oddly, it didn't hurt. It felt good to be able to finally push and know the end was near. I was finally going to have my Grace. I didn't even realize her head was out until Susie told me her shoulder was stuck and to push really hard. That took a few more pushes, and then finally, that feeling of immense relief when you feel them slide completely out. She was perfect, and beautiful.

Immediately following the birth, I had the whole violent leg shaking thing which is so odd, but is calmed by warm blankets fresh from the dryer (yay for being at home!) and I was exhausted. Usually I'm actually quite perky after birth for awhile, but this time I was mentally worn out and just wanted everyone to leave. I have had people at my births before, but have learned that I really prefer to just be alone. It doesn't even really matter to me so much if Glen is there which I'm sure most people will think is really strange, especially since we have such a sweet and wonderful relationship, but I just completely withdraw into myself during labor so I don't even really notice anyone except for Susie telling me what to do. This time, Anna and Glen were there, but that was all. I always tell my Aunt (who is like my Mom) and sisters that I'm planning on having them, "but will have to see," but this time I didn't have anyone since it began under weird circumstances, was immediately intense, and I was just plain mad the whole time. Anna, having missed Haven's falling out since she ran to get everyone else, refused to budge from the room the entire time, and she was actually a huge help to not only me while I was pushing, but also to Susie. Even if she did talk her ear off :o) (Me: "Anna, if you can't stop talking, you are going to have to leave!") :o)

I was telling some friends yesterday the whole thing was so surreal. I can see myself lying there pushing, but in my mind, my bed was almost all the way against the wall, it felt like the wall was right in front of my face. In reality, I was a good seven or eight feet away from the wall probably, but in my memory my bed is moved completely over. Very weird. The whole thing is like one long, slow motion memory where I'm going back and forth between the real world and my own thoughts. Very much like something you would see in a movie. It was very strange to experience it in real life.

So that's why it has taken me so long to process it. It actually took me a long time to figure out why I was so frustrated and mad the whole time and why it felt so much harder when it really wasn't. I just couldn't make the mental - emotional connection. I guess it is just another lesson in me not being able to control everything in life and learning to be okay with that. I very much want to have another baby, I very much want to have another home birth (funny how quickly we forget,) and next time, I hope I can remember how huge a part my mental outlook plays in how easy or difficult labor feels and that I can just go with it.

So that's my story. Sorry it took so long ;o)

And for those of you (like me) that love birth stories, my other ones are here.

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"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

2012 November

2012 November