When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bedtime Bliss?

When I pictured bedtime in a large (ish) family, I pictured clean-smelling kids, matching pajamas, smiling faces and quiet prayers. I thought of reminiscing in whispered tones over the day's events, heavy eyelids gradually closing as I sang lullabies...

In reality, our house is awash in chaos at night. Maybe one in four smells good, jammies are a redneck mismatch of too short pants and long sleeved t- shirts from varying museums and national parks, faces are often contorted in pleas for salvation from the horror of bed, and prayers are mixtures of, "Be quiets" and "My turns!" Eyelids rarely close by choice and any lullabying is drowned out by crying and flip-flopping (the boys are like dogs and have to circle their sleep location before settling in for the night.)

But, it's OK. I have some plans to make it a bit more relaxing. My new seven to seven rule means everyone in bed at seven, regardless of who napped when...if you're not sleepy, grab a cuddle toy and a book and dig in. There will be no more drinks at bedtime--too many midnight sheet changes lately...

And you will not come out of your room until seven in the morning (your alarm clock will tell you.) If you come out between seven and seven, it has to be an emergency. If it is not, you will be swiftly whisked back to your bed, no discussion. Bad dream and illness exceptions will be made (but I'm not going to mention this up front I don't think.)

And honestly, this time in our lives is so fleeting, that all the chaos is kind of funny so I try to remember that despite my dashed expectations. Scott and I always end up laughing when we see Caden in his redneck tank top running down the hall, belly hanging out, or glimpse Wyatt's brown feet protruding out from the blanket after a hard day in the dirt...it's not that I want to crack down too much and end this parade of joy...it's that I'd like to be able to enjoy these little ones a bit more during the day...and the endless nights prohibit that, ya know?

Anyway, I'm still figuring out this mothering thing, but I do still like the figuring out process..and I'm honored to do it...I know I'm making some blunders and I know there are many things I could be doing better, but I'm their mom, who's doing the best I can, and I'm praying that's good enough. :)

Bedtime is NOT what I pictured it would be before I had children, but I know that when we put them down in bed at night, and kiss their contorted little faces, and brush the hair back from their sad little eyes while we pray for them, they are learning that even when they are sad, we will make them do what is best for their little bodies and souls...and I will always be there for them...even if it's a room away, safe in their daddy's arms...because they need to know that mommy loves them, but mommy will not let the whims of four children under the age of six CONTROL THE WHOLE HOUSEHOLD. Amen.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekly Menu Plan

This is our new weekly recurring menu plan. I don't assign days because I like some spontaneity. Ha! I try to make what I can from scratch, but some things, like my chili, are from cans and spice packets because it's the yummiest EVER! What's your menu plan look like?

Tacos, refried beans, rice

Spaghetti and meatballs, homemade bread, and salad

Chicken salad in pita bread, fruit jello

Chile verde chicken over rice with salad

Hamburgers and tater tots with salad

Homemade chili and cornbread

Chili mac and grilled zucchini

Alternate: Breakfast for dinner

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cleaning Schedule at My House

In an effort to reclaim my sanity, I made my cleaning schedule when I was sleep deprived and had boxes everywhere. Now that the dust has cleared a bit, I am surprised to find I quite adore my little schedule. So, here it is in case you'd like a little peak into my housewivery. (And no, spell check doesn't like this word either.)

Monday-Laundry and Kids' Room
Homeschool Subjects: Bible and Language Arts

This is the day I focus on clearing all surfaces in the kids' rooms. The girls' room has only one dresser, the crib and the bed. Anything else in there on Mondays gets put back. The boys' room has one queen bed and an armoire (thanks Stephanie!). Same goes for their room. I combine their laundry bins and go to it. I like to have a single layer of clothes left at the end of the day (that days' clothes) only going into Tuesday. This is also the day I change the kids' sheets.

Tuesday-Animals, Gardens, Porches, Pool and Deck
Homeschool Subject: Science

This is the day I haven't quite mastered. The outside really is more efficiently cleaned/maintained by the blower/riding lawn mower/tractor/sprinkler system, none of which I can operate. Sometimes on this day, I go outside, look around, and go back inside...but, I am working on a basic maintenance and repair list so I can at least do some basic things outside that will make me feel like I can be part of the outdoors here I longed for so much!

Wednesday-Master Bedroom/Errands
Homeschool Subject-Social Science

This is Kya's school day AND Wyatt's school day. Unfortunately, one goes from 9-12 and the other goes from 11-2. So, I often feel like a chicken with my head cut off most of this day between lunches and getting everyone where they need to go and nursing in between...and arranging grandparents' offers of help without putting anyone out too much...sigh.

But, I am happy to get home and snuggle up with Kya and my FAVORITE subject of all...social science. Ahhhh, nothing do I enjoy more than discussing freedom, citizenship, and Lady Liberty with my five year old. I try to get to our room on this day and our laundry, but sadly, by the time dinner comes around, I am spent. I usually shove the piles around to make a little more room on our floor and fall into bed. My plan is to really get in there this weekend and get rid of a lot of stuff. Because it's the stuff making the mess. Bleh. Wednesdays. Bleh.

Homeschooling Subject-Math

On this day, I wash and change towels, wash the bath mats (there is so much pee pee dribble in this house), clear counters and sweep and mop the floors. I am in the process of finding a new mop. My Fly Lady one is not cutting it.

Friday-Kitchen and Living Room BIG clean
Homeschooling Subject: Language Arts

I have to start the weekend with these two rooms in order and clean. This is usually the night I choose to stay up until after midnight and I love it. I love to clean and have Hulu on into the dark, quiet hours of the night...ALL...BY...MY...SELF!!

Saturday-Family Fun Day (aka: messing up the house all day long)
No school

Sunday-Laundry Room/Get Ready for the Week Ahead

This is the day I regroup in the laundry room. To be fair, this day hasn't really happened yet because there is still SO MUCH CRAP in there. But, I am hopeful. I would like to prepare the laundry room on Sunday for Laundry on Monday, but God has arranged that I just have to rest lately on Sunday for various reasons , so I am happy to obey. :)

Daily Chores (things I try to do every day):

Make beds
Feed chickens/get eggs
Clean cat box
Clean dishes off after every meal
Load and run dishwasher nightly
Sweep floor daily, mop floor every other day
Swish and Swipe toilet and counters in bathrooms
Put away clean laundry sitting in baskets in various locations all over the house! :)

So, that's how I roll. How do you structure your cleaning week?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm sorry sweet girl...

Dear Addie:

As I placed you in your little bouncy seat tonight, after feeding you, I looked toward an evening of rocking you to sleep after listening to you fuss...because for the past three months, you fussed. While I did dishes, you fussed. While I tried to homeschool, you fussed. While I tried to sew, you fussed.

You cried, I cried. You screamed, I got frustrated.

And then, after eliminating my multi-vitamin supplements last week, in a last ditch effort to keep breastfeeding, you became peaceful. You no longer cried with every burp, or writhed in pain. You stopped moving every minute of the day and finally...relaxed...

Tonight, when I placed you in your seat, you just turned your sweet head to the side, folded your hands peacefully, and went to sleep.

If I had known that what I was taking was hurting you, I would have stopped earlier sweet girl.

As I watched your peace tonight, the weight of your painful digestion these past few months really hurt my heart.

I was angry at you.

I thought you were just a "fussy baby."

Thoughts crossed my mind that you were really throwing off my schedule and life. I wished occasionally...

...that we had reconsidered...

But tonight, as I watched your sweet baby face, fall into a peaceful slumber, I realized, you were just in pain. And I am so sorry...sorry for ever regretting...

...sorry because all you needed was your mommy's comfort...

...not her frustration...

I cherish you, and I am so glad we found the answer to your pain, and that you can sleep peacefully.

I cried tonight with thankfulness for your sweetness and with sorrow for my selfishness.

You are like a new baby...

...a sweet, happy, smiley, baby.

I know now she was in there all along...but, I regret...

I feel so sad...

...that I didn't know what to do to help you stop suffering earlier...

I love you more than words.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kitchen Happenings

Here is a view from our new front window to our new front porch: The red kitchen of happiness:

Gingerbread men made by small children:

Gingerbread men making group (minus Addie and Hudson-not pictured but present.)

Caden eyeing the dough boys

This kitchen beckons me to make and bake, create and love, mop and sweep and mop some more. It is a dream of a kitchen and I will forever be thankful for every nook and cranny therein.

Estrogen, Heart Palpitations, Caffeine, Anxiety and Exhaustion

But first, some photos from the last few weeks... Kya studies the flag...
Our living room...

Fall rain brings out the crazy in the kids...

Cross-eyed chubby cheeked Addie Grace... :)

Kya likes to take pictures of us...

The title says it all when it comes to my physiology and psychology the past three months since giving birth.
1. Estrogen-NONE. After I had Addie, I am convinced that all things estrogen-related died in me. This included, in my opinion, the addition of heart palpitations and a strange out of body, not attached to anything kind of feeling. The cardiologist did not think my heart issues had anything to do with estrogen or birth...but HELLO, they started immediately after giving birth and everything I've read about menopausal women and low estrogen says it can manifest as heart palpitations. (No, I am not menopausal YET, you jokesters.)
2. Heart palpitations feel like a strange awareness that the rhythm of your heart, heretofore unnoticed and pleasantly so, is off...the dub of the lub-dub is dubbing all wrong--and sometimes it dubs at the same time as the lub, making a strong BEAT that makes you want to sit down fast. I was pretty sure in the middle of these episodes I was going to die...leaving four kids and a husband to live a life of certain doom...it feels like a lump in your throat and a little bit of a sick feeling...maybe because it causes anxiety...which causes more palpitations. For me, it's a vicious cycle. Oh, and for me, the caffeine deprivation DID NOT HELP!!! It made me palpitate all the more. Strangely, this would happen MOST when I was sitting or lying down.
3. Caffeine...never in my wildest dreams did I think the doctor would tell me to stop drinking caffeine. When those words met my ears, it was as though the strength drained from my body...no caffeine? This cannot be serious. Do you M.D. people understand that having four children and moving into a new home, and having a colicky newborn REQUIRES caffeine?

I thought I had it all together until that moment...

4. Anxiety: I always have heightened anxiety after giving birth. For about three months, it causes me to periodically sleep on the floor between the kids' rooms and my own, so certain am I that a serial killer or kidnapper will come in the night and harm the kids.

It makes me want to lock and deadbolt and chain and alarm every opening in our house.
It causes me to check my baby's breathing...over and over and over again.

It makes me look at my husband in disbelief when he suggests a weekend away.

It heightens all rational fears and worries until sometimes they are unbearably irrational.

It causes me to be certain the latest episode of CSI is going to manifest in my living room.

Sometimes, I think my own special issues should be called postpartem preparedness--because I spend all my time preparing for the worst possible scenario and then preparing again...who has three first aid kits in their minivan just in case? ME. Because I know someone is going to have a puncture wound in the eye as soon as we get to the PARK!

Oh the park...don't even get me started...

I am thankful to know that my God is bigger than all that and His plan is for us to prosper. If I didn't have that on which to hang my anxiety-ridden hat, I would be paralyzed.

When my babies are three months old, like clockwork, the anxiety lifts and the first aid kits and Rambo-proofed door locks are abandoned. Phew!

5. Exhaustion: Where are you? It is a miracle to me that I have stayed up until midnight or 1:00 AM every night, awakening typically at 4:00 AM, every night since we moved, and I am still functioning...not high-level functioning mind you...but, I am doing OK. The few weeks without caffeine were tough. But, I now have a little daily caffeine and it is getting me by nicely.

We get dressed and do our hair every day (I say "we" because I am the sole person responsible for five peoples' hair in this house--it's a BIG responsibility--have you seen Addie's hair?).

We venture out regularly. I put makeup on and I am finding my husband to be very wonderfully HOT again (a sign the estrogen has returned! Hooray!)

The house is looking pretty darn good (because I stay up at night and undo what has been done to it during the day.)
The heart palpitations have lessened significantly.

Addie is three months old, but the past three months are absent to some extent. I'm not sure where they went. The fog is really lifting now and I feel sad that I missed her babyhood.

I feel sad that the last baby we'll have was lost in the middle of moving and fogginess. I feel regret that I have not been able to fully experience the sights and smells of newborn mommyhood...but I'm ready to tackle it again.

I'm ready to breathe in and out the happenings of my family, our farm, our friends, and our life.

Look out everyone! I'm back! Just a little less caffeinated.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Homeschooling Kya

I'll be honest, I was scared.
What if I mess her up?
What if she doesn't receive teaching well from her mom?
What if she doesn't like being at home all the time?
So far, the fears were for nothing. And watching her learn to read, learn math skills, find her way through a science lesson or explore the nuances of citizenship in social science...wow, there's just nothing quite like seeing your child's educational and spiritual growth firsthand.
I am so thankful every day that God continues to equip me for this task.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My New Laundry Line

Pretty, huh?


So I have decided there is some sort of strange compulsion wired into small boys that disallows them to process anything prohibiting climbing or jumping off of stuff. It is as though there is a small masculine voice inside willing the destruction of all household furnishings. It could be an olympic event around here DESPITE repeated disciplinary efforts to the contrary. So this day, I just gave in and took pictures.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grandma on a Tractor

I never thought I'd see my mom on a John Deere. A very sophisticated, never the leave the house without her makeup, always has her toes done kind of lady, my mom hopped right on at the opportunity, much to my husband's and my surprise...tractors are just crazy fun. No one can resist.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Real Life

I had to take this picture quickly (myself) before I ruined my makeup by crying, washing off spit up, getting dusty and dirty outside, or sweating. And I had to show off my hair because I actually got my hair done yesterday for the first time in over a year...maybe two!
Ok, I'm a teensy bit tired of folks believing that our life is 100% perfect all the time. And I really don't want anyone to have the misconception that this life is easy or that I do it well.

Having four small children is hard. Waaaaaaay harder than law school or the Bar exam. There was no prep course, no manual, not even an outline to follow. I wing it! And I fail a lot.
Having a beautiful big house to clean up every day is hard. Having 2 1/2 acres and sprinklers for miles and a pool with a deck and two porches, well, it is a lot of work. And I don't always do it! And I've come to realize that's OK.
I love it all, but I am often sleepy, or irritable and I often cut corners on everything from dressing my children (boys don't need shirts, right?) to cleaning the kitchen (no one can really see UNDER the table, can they?).
I spend the day with the children...Addie cries unless she is held, sleeps minimally during the day and spits up like it is her job.
I stay up most nights until at least 11, sometimes one or two, cleaning and organizing for the next day. I "get up" some time between 4:30 and 5:30 AM, depending on when Addie nurses last and then I hit the shower. There are often other kiddos needing me between the time I "go to" bed and when I "get up" for the day as any mom of young kids knows. So I sleep 3-5 hours a night.

Sometimes there is one child in the bathroom with me when I shower, sometimes all four. My showers are SHORT.

I still smell bad most of the time.
I read the Bible every morning...sometimes three words, sometimes three pages...it is my lifeline.

The laundry has not been done in weeks except when my in-laws took pity on me and did five loads. Our dryer works sporadically, so I do laundry less and less because I find myself wanting to kick it a lot and who needs to fill their days with that kind of hatred?
There is a promise floating around here that a Lowe's delivery man may bring me a sparkly new dryer today though and I am hopeful!

Wyatt runs around with his pants backwards, his underwear sticking out of the top, his shoes on the wrong feet and did I say no shirt? Well, most of the time, no shirt (refer to aforementioned laundry shortage.) He has a goofy smile all the time and really likes to poke and hit things with big sticks...and there are a LOT of big sticks here.

Kya looks beautiful all the time and is a great little gal with LOTS of clothes (so the laundry shortage doesn't affect her much.) But sometimes, she goes days without a bath or any semblance of conditioner in her hair and it gets pretty ratty. She bites her nails, so at least I don't have to worry about cutting her nails. Bonus! :) I forget to give her Singulair sometimes and she coughs and says her throat hurts, which reminds me to give it to her again...that makes me feel really bad.
Kya also sleeps anywhere and everywhere. She's flexible when Caden falls asleep horizontally on her bed because the parents haven't enforced bedtime in over a month...she just moves to the couch. She does all her school work for the week in a day and spends the rest of the week helping out around here and playing make believe. She has a great imagination--in her dollhouse world, there is much less chaos.
Kya reminds me that eating five brownies will make my tummy hurt. I am thankful for that.

I cannot even see the bottom of my closet.

We eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The baby is crying again so I gotta run, but I really just wanted to share a slice of life for those of you who keep sending me messages exalting me as some sort of mothering messiah. It is not so. But, I am happy in this chaos, and I know that I know, that God is with me every crazy step of the way, so that's worth a lot.
And being happy really is a choice (as my friend Callie recently reminded me) and that is 90% of the daily battle won if you can keep a smile on your face!

Chicken Coop, Ridiculously Big Bathroom...and Other New House Stuff

This is the new chicken coop. I think it cost Scott like $20 after all was said and done. The fencing was free from our neighbor, the wood was scrap Scott got from a contsruction site.

One of the rooms of our new house that makes me smile EVERY time I go in is this bathroom. It is immense. We could put a bed in there and call it good. The bath tub fits our whole family. Scary thought, I know...

Here's a picture of Caden in the bathroom that really punctuates its massiveness. I have some decorating to do, I know!

Here's me on the tractor a week or two after I had Addie (got some weight to lose mama!)

This is the view from the front porch--Miss Judith's horse corrals. I have no idea where the horses were this day. They are always right out front.

I just love it here. I'm finally home!!!

Kya's First Day

Kya rode the train (a long trailer hauled by a John Deere tractor) from the school over to the Lori Brock Museum where her Art and P.E. enrichment classes took place. These are her sparkly purple flip flops.This is a close up of my sweet baby girl. It was much harder on me than her to go to school this day. She kept this sort of pensive observant attitude all day. Reserved, but content and peaceful with her surroundings. Sign me up as this kid's mom. I like her.

Off to class like a big girl!

Wyatt is quite pleased to be walking his sister to her class.

As charter school homeschoolers, we get the best of both worlds. I get to teach the kids at home one on one, but we get free curriculum, record keeping, resource teachers and enrichment classes at the school. This is Kya's first day of Kindergarten enrichment classes, which she takes one day a week at the school. With over 1000 students, the charter school is bursting at the seams, but oh my what a blessing. The teachers, the other families, the resources and the school site are just marvelous.
Happy first day baby girl!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Two Quick God Stories

The last two weeks, there have been two specific moments I have stopped Scott and asked him to pray with me over silly things. One was a dresser for our room and the other was the a/c unit that went out at our rental.

First, the dresser. Scott's clothes and shoes had been all over the floor since the move because the closet in our new room is smallish. So, I said, "honey, let's pray for one." So we did. Two days later, my in-law's neighbor, Mary, gave us the most beautiful HUGE wonderful dresser imaginable!

Second, three days ago, our renters called and said the a/c unit was out. UGH! Sucky for them and us! And it was the start of the Labor Day weekend--no repairman was gonna come cheap! And our budget is stretched THIN right now with all the appliances breaking in OUR house! So, first, Scott asked our former neighbor to recommend someone that wouldn't rip us off.

Our neighbor ended up fixing it himself! FOR FREE! And it just happened he had thrown the exact part we needed into his rental truck that weekend. That's awesome!

I was excited...and felt so blessed.


Yesterday they called again--it wasn't working again.


So we prayed, "Lord, you worked this out so beautifully that we could live in this house and afford things, we know you will work this a/c issue out somehow too."

Today, they called and it turned out that their little girls had been pretend "repairing" the a/c unit like they had seen Chris the repairman doing and turned off the breaker. It's back on and working.

I could never have imagined how God would grace us out in these little areas. But he did. And He knows that impresses me.

Thanks for caring enough to show yourself to me God...over and over.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tackling Our Giants and Other Stuff Too

Six weeks ago, Addie Grace, our fourth baby in five years, turned two weeks old. She gave me a run for my money in every sense. She cried and screamed and cried...but I didn't really mind because I was soooo excited about our new home, our new life, and our new baby girl.

I slept a few hours here and there, usually with Addie nestled in my arms. I did not feel exhausted, but I knew when I would forget simple things or go back into a room for the fourth time wondering what I was looking for, that the tiredness was catching up to me.

The other kids adjusted well. They were excited about the move and having a swimming pool of their very own.

We moved with the help of so many loyal friends, I cannot even begin to recount them all here. Thank you to all you loyal souls, and I apologize that I was absolutely no help whatsoever. I would show up at the old house, baby in the Bjorn, other three kids in tow, and end up nursing the whole time, trying to keep Caden from unpacking the boxes our sweet friends were packing up, and praying that Kya and Wyatt were not being stolen out of the front yard. I felt helpless and deeply grateful...

The move wasn't pretty or organized. There was a bunch of crap thrown in boxes and stacked in front of our house, in our rooms, under the carport...bathroom stuff in the kitchen, kitchen stuff in the kids' rooms, everything else in the whole wide world in the driveway. It was enough to cause any sane person an anxiety attack.

But, I'm not sane, and I was too tired to recognize the magnitude of what i had to tackle.

The day after we got the last of our boxes moved, we went shopping for camp. I cooked for (with A LOT of help from one Dee Williams!!) and Scott directed camp for a week. After camp was over each day, I would come home, get the kids put to bed, strap Addie in the Baby Bjorn and unpack until 1 or 2 in the morning.

I would nurse Addie throughout the night, get up at 5 and haul the kids back to camp for the next day, and so it went for the week.

When the week was over, Scott and I were mere shells of our former selves. We would meet up at midnight in the pool and silently hold each other, grasping for some hope amidst the insanity of our sleeplessness, trying to cool off so we didn't have to run the a/c all night.

We had a week until school would start, and a few days at the beach for the previously arranged beach trip with the Haner family. It was a wonderful break and we loved being with the family in the cool ocean air, but the piles of boxes and work to be done lingered in the back of our minds...and the chickens were still without a coop. This fact was punctuated when we returned that Wednesday around midnight to find racoons munching on one of our hens under the Eucalyptus tree. Brutal greeting.

Addie was finally beginning to turn a corner with some formula supplementation finally satisfying her growing appetite.

We returned and worked our hardest to get things under control before Scott had to go back to teaching, but alas, it was not to be completed in time.

But, here we are, six weeks later, with less than fifteen boxes remaining, a house filled with happiness and peace, a baby who sleeps for at least a few hours at night and cries less than she used to...and a successful first two weeks of homeschooling Kya.

So, I thought I'd share a few pictures that sort of illustrate two things...1) What in the world would we do without our friends the Hortons??? Ben and Angie, you have been our rocks! and 2) Sometimes gigantic tasks just need to be addressed with a giant freakin' chainsaw.

Number two is both literal and metaphorical. I believe that the chainsaw I have used to tackle these past six weeks has been prayer, and lots of it! You have to get kind of hard core when things get that bleak and exhausting. God showed up time and time again and He just totally wowed me over and over. Kind of like Ben and the chainsaw against this monster of a bush...
Here, Ben and my hubby demonstrate how happy power tools can make you when you have a large project at hand.

Here, the Horton and Haner kids combine (minus Addie) to eat a meal and celebrate friendship...and pizza! Isn't it funny how moms are never in pictures? Because we are busy getting the meal on the table, getting drinks and taking pictures!

The chainsaw suffered a sad death today, only to be resurrected by the power of Ben's touch!

It's a doozy! But we HAD to cut it down because it was housing all manner of rodents, critters and creatures. Bleck. This is Ben rethinking his endeavors.

This is Ben wishing he had come over to swim instead of "help."

This is Addie (being held by Pat Cowles, our dear friend who also helped us a TON with our move and preparation for moving.) I thought I would insert this picture because HELLO, Addie is so fat! You see, I have found that she stops crying for long periods of time when she is well fed. She really just likes to eat--all day.

And finally, Kya started taking piano lessons (from me) in our new home and is doing great. I have dreamed for years of teaching my kids piano and it is going better than I ever dreamed. What fun to have the opportunity to share skills with such a wonderfully excited and gifted student!

More to come on caffeine withdrawal, heart palpitations, homneschooling, the laundry fiasco, raccoons, lizards, and gophers, oh my!, and life in general here on the Haner farm...As for this home, we will serve the Lord, who has so richly blessed us. :)

Who Knew?

Who knew moving with four kids including the super fussiest newborn on earth could be so exhausting? But, man oh man, do I love this man and this little fussy mop of hair. (His shirt reads, "I need my garage time." Too bad he couldn't even make it into the garage for three weeks because of all the STUFF in the driveway! Seriously, it was sad and scary for a while around here.) But, we have been blessed with unexplained energy beyond measure (despite my lack of caffeine--oh my caffeine withdrawal post will be sad and long, but with a happy ending) and the home of our dreams.

The Dream Realized

Well, this will be a short post with many more to come, with the amazing story of our arrival here. Suffice it to say, we are finally home...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fourth Time's the Charm

I have never had a fussy baby. I could always soothe, nurse, pacify, what have you, all of my babies. I thought it was because I was a good mother.

Enter Addie...

If I am not nursing her, or holding her, she is screaming...like a banshee...a life-altering, someone is murdering me, please call 911, kind of screaming.

And I am baffled.

I know she is not sick or terribly hurt, because when I hold her or nurse her, she calms down and is quiet.

But there is no chair, swing, swaddle, that can calm her once she gets to screamin'.

Last night, I finally got her to sleep in the crook of my arm at 3am, and suddenly I heard an annoying beeping. In my stupor, I thought surely it was Scott's alarm and I was SO ANNOYED...but no, it was mine. One of the boys was playing with it yesterday and must have set it accidentally...I could have DIED. Sure enough, within moments, Addie was awake and crying.

Strangely, I feel mostly calm through all this. I haven't lost my patience with her or the kids (just Scott, but to be fair, he has deserved it a little--his obsession with the tractor has gotten a bit ridiculous) and I feel like God is really listening when I pray.

My prayers are not for her to stop crying interestingly, but I feel I have been led to pray that God would show me what he is trying to teach me, that he would help me to keep my calm in the storm, and that he would give me the strength to be a good teacher, mother, and nurturer even when I am really really tired.

This is the time in life when my maturity is tested. Do I cry out to Scott that I can't take it anymore and melt into a puddle of tears reaching for pity at every turn? Or do I cry out to the Lord for strength to handle this blessing he has given to us and extra joy and energy beyond human understanding?

I think the choice is clear. But, sometimes, in the wee hours of the night, when I am trying to hush little Addie so as to not wake anyone else in the house, I still wonder if I am the only freakin' one awake in the whole city????!!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Recent Happenings

We are in the process of learning to breastfeed again, moving, and not sleeping. Consequently, no recent updates have been posted and of course, I can't find my camera cord to post pictures.

So, here's a brief picture-less synopsis of random happenings the past two weeks:

1. Addie cried through her entire JC Penney picture sitting. Apparently, they allow ten minutes...period...for each session. Addie spends about ten minutes a day NOT crying and she did not choose 1:20 on Friday for her ten minute non-crying jag. So, I suppose it was a good capturing of reality. Oh, and did I tell you I win the mom of the year award for offering my infant a sucker to try to get her to stop crying? Yeah, call CPS. I just wanted ONE GOOD PICTURE!!!

2. We are moving out of the house, but it's no fun, so we spend a lot of time planning the new house decor, gardens, etc. It's now time to get down to business. One room a day for the next week. No excuses--even though I sleep maybe 2 hours per 24 lately caring for very cranky Addie.

3. We went to the lake with the Steele family and had a blast even though it was 240 degrees (that's Fahrenheit.)

4. My husband is incredible...

5. I made a great all natural lemon bar recipe this week. SO good.

6. I inherited a Bosch mixer and I cried when sweet lovely Rhonda offered it to me. What could I have possible done Lord to deserve such a gift??? Tell me so I can do it some more! :)

7. I don't really like flabby-after-baby-belly, but I have lost twenty five pounds since giving birth and only have about twenty more to be back to pre-baby weight! Hurray!

8. I am thankful for friends who come through in a pinch; I am blessed with lots of folks in my life who I can ALWAYS count on. That's rare. And I'm quite sure I am not nearly so reliable.

9. I know that I know that I know God provided this house we are moving to and the renters who are moving into our house. The blessings of both lined up more perfectly than humanly understandable. I will have to blog it all one day.

10. Cold ice water in a mason jar. Is there anything better on a hot summer day?

11. We have a tractor--an old (I mean like antique old) Massey Ferguson that smokes so much when it's running I am requiring Scott to wear a mask when he's running it (which he would do all day every day if he could, and which he looks SOOOOOOO cute doing.)

12. We may be inheriting a puppy...a beautiful Aussie just like our old beloved Maggie (may she rest in peace.) What's that? I'm crazy to bring a puppy into the mix with the new house and new baby? Nah. Crazy would be to live a boring adventure-less (not a word according to my spell checker) life! :)

Blessings! XOXO

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Embarrassment Breeds Motivation

There's nothing like a little embarrassment to motivate me.

Two days ago, Scott took a picture of me passed out on the couch nursing Addie. I had a double chin and a muffin top. It was not pretty. So, I ordered some workout clothes and intend to hit the gym as soon as my healing body will allow. I would also like to order a figure like Kelly Ripa's please.

P.S. I feel better after giving birth to my fourth child than I did after my first! I could have danced a jig on day three! And I never took a single pain med!
Second, a well-meaning individual, who shall remain nameless, was entering my home with my four year old daughter, Kya. Kya stated to said individual, "I'm so sorry our house is a wreck."

If that was not embarrassment enough, this individual replied, "That's what happens when you have too many children."

Needless to say, I am on the road to becoming an immaculate housekeeper...this week. Sometimes, a little embarrassment goes a long way toward motivation. And I'm OK with that.