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October 2nd, 2007 (06:29 pm)

I've relocated!

I will no longer be updating at this livejournal blog.  You can now go directly to Mandymom.com to access my blog.  Also, check out my homeschool blog, http://mandymom.com/edublog

If I'm on your blogroll, please update the link (if you using the old link, which is either a livejournal link or http://blog.mandymom.com.... again, anyone who clicks on those links will come HERE.. and have to be redirected to mandymom.com).


September 28th, 2007 (06:58 pm)

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  [Matthew 11:28]

Life has been a bit chaotic.  It was busy before Keagan's birth, and it's even busier now.  It's difficult, since I should be taking all the rest I can get, and rest hasn't been exactly easy to come by the last week or two. 

My amazing husband has been working long hours because we need the money and time off is not an option in such a case.  He comes home completely exhausted to join his frazzled and weary wife on the couch where we stare off into space.  He attempts to tell me about his day, but focusing is a challenge for me at this point, so I only hear bits and pieces.

Thankfully, the children have allowed me to sleep in, except for last night.  Keagan is allergic to milk- something he gets from me.  Merikalyn has the same allergy, but Nolyn does not.  Anywho, I ate a pint of icecream the other night which made poor Keagan constipated  and cranky...... and kept him (and me) up all night.

Needless to say, today has been... well, "one of those days". Keagan was still cranky, Nolyn was very needy..... thankfully Merikalyn was content.  I need to come up with something for dinner, but I just don't feel like moving around the kitchen.

Hubby and I definitely need to take some time for ourselves.  Maybe someday soon.

The Art of Homemaking

September 27th, 2007 (02:06 pm)

[Excuse the "ramblingness" of this entry (along with any typos)........ it's been on my mind, and on my heart, for the last few weeks.]

Older women... admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.  [Titus 2:3-5]

God calls us as wives to be homemakers, something I find to be severely lacking in today's society. Many people mistake a homemaker for someone who is confined to the home to raise the children and be a slave to cleaning the house. I feel that the term homemaker has become a negative thing, when in reality, it is the toughest, yet most respectable career a woman can have.

Being a stay-at-home-mom is not the same as being a homemaker. The Proverbs 31 woman is a wonderful example of a Christian homemaker. She is a great contributor to the family. She makes sure her family is fed and clothed, loved and cared for. She makes the home a safe place. She reaches out to friends and strangers with kindness. She is active in her community. Her husband trusts her. She is an encouraging support and a blessing to her husband and children. She watches over her household, making sure God is the center of it all.

Sadly, many of us enter into marriage severely handicapped. We have not been taught how to love and care for our husbands, how to keep our marriages nourished when children enter the picture, and how to work through disagreements and differences.

It is not enough to have a great example lived out before us. We need to be taught, we need hands-on-training. My mother was super-woman in my eyes. She was scrubbing toilets and tubs before I rolled out of bed. Supper was on the table when Dad walked through the door after a day's work. The laundry never piled up, neither did the dishes. The house always seemed to sparkle, even on the days when she begged us not to bring guests over because the house was supposedly a mess. And, she worked outside the home as well (usually in the evenings). She had a system that worked. She seemed to juggle it all quite well.

Mom desired to impart her wisdom to me, but when I was sixteen, she was in a car accident that changed her life (and ours as well). I had just left the public schooling system and asked to be homeschooled. She had planned to teach me the art of homemaking that year, but the damage to her brain (she had several concussions) prevented her from doing so, although she did try. (I won't go into detail about her condition- that's a whole 'nother entry!)

This has been a great lesson in why we have to teach our daughters to be Christian homemakers from day one. We have to teach them how to care for others, to reach out to the needy, to be thoughtful of others. We have to teach them how to cook and clean, how to build a routine that works. All of the things you needed to be equipped with when you entered into marriage, those are the things we need to teach our daughters.

I am thankful I have an example to refer to in my mother. We both wish she could have taught me all those things I desperately needed to know before entering into marriage (could have saved a lot of heartache, I'm sure). Fortunately, my husband and I were able to go through the fire, and, by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin make it out.... only by the grace of God. The "art" of homemaking is something I've had to learn through the bible, through Christian friends, Christian books, and through the leading of the Spirit.... and of course, trial and error. I'm (obviously) still learning!

So, even if we were severely handicapped entering into marriage, even if our skills of homemaking were lacking, God can turn it around and turn us into Proverbs 31 wives. It is then our duty to help and teach those around us, especially our daughters!

My three little munchkins!

September 25th, 2007 (08:10 pm)

(Ignore the wall in the background.  I have yet to finish the faux-plaster over the ugly 70's style wallpaper)
Nolyn, age 2 - Keagan, 10 days - Merikalyn, age 4

The way of our family....

September 25th, 2007 (02:09 pm)

Immediately following the births of each of my children were questions of if, and when, we would have more children.  I find it a bit humorous that someone would bring up the subject days after I endured the pain of squeezing a child out.  Give me time to forget the pain, time for the joy of a newborn to completely overshadow the exhaustion of pregnancy and birth.  Some people even need time to forget the sleepless nights and disgusting diapers presented in the first weeks and months of their child's existence (personally, my nights haven't been all that sleepless, and the diapers aren't all that bad).

My husband and I always wanted a large family, and that desire has only become stronger as our marriage and family has become strengthened by the Lord.  However, we're at a point now where we are not sure if we're to have more children.  We know we have been called to adopt, and possibly foster younger children, but we both wonder if having more biological children is something we should "pursue".

I know some people feel that any sort of birth control is bad (I'm not a big fan of any medicinal form), and that women should put their fertility in the hands of God, meaning not even using the natural family planning method of BC.  I haven't had that conviction myself, but I don't look down on those who have or believe it to be a ridiculous choice.

This passed pregnancy was a difficult one in the beginning.  The severe "morning" sickness had me dreading each day.  I couldn't keep anything down and was confined to the couch for most of the day.  I found it extremely challenging to function even partially.  Not only did I suffer from this barfalicious knock-down, so did my family.  Cooking?  The smells made me want to vomit.  Playing with my preschoolers?  I was too dizzy to even sit up or stand.  Making it back and forth to the bathroom was a major fete in itself!  Dishes piled up.  Toys littered the floor.  Laundry became "Mount Washmore".  I felt like a burden to my husband and a lousy momma to my critters.  (Although the last 15 weeks of my pregnancy were more enjoyable after the sickness faded and my energy returned.)

So I question, if my "morning sickness" goes the way it always has (which is to worsen with each pregnancy), how will I take care of the three children God has already blessed me with if I should get pregnant again?  This has been a subject I've been praying about.  Do we continue to have biological children, or should my husband get the snipparoo (which he has offered to do).... and if he does get a vasectomy, should it be permanent or reversible? Doing this would allow us to focus our time and money on becoming foster parents and/or adoptive parents.  (And adoption is quite expensive, so we'd need several years to save up.)

While this is a public entry, this isn't really a question I'm opening up to be answered by the public, rather it's something I'm writing about because it's on my mind.  It's such a big deal, something that affects so many.  I just want  us to make the right choice and not take it lightly.
We know we're meant to have a big family, but we just want to be sure we're headed in the direction God has chosen for us.

A blah sort of day.

September 24th, 2007 (08:56 pm)

Today wasn't a bad day, but it wasn't extremely fabulous either.  The kids seemed to wear on my nerves quite a bit.  Keagan was in a snacking mood all day and kept spacing out.  He kept falling asleep while breastfeeding.  I'd set him down and try to get something done around the house, but he'd be calling for me with his little newborn whimpers and cries minutes later.

We only did about thirty minutes of schooling today, but we did cover all that I wanted to, so at least we accomplished something.  I nearly forgot we were starting homeschool today.  Hopefully tomorrow will be much better, more focused, etc.

It was one of those days in which I yearned for the children's bedtimes so I could have time alone, time to zone out- or sit in front of the tv and munch on unhealthy snacks and watch season premieres. 

Home sweet homeschool.

September 21st, 2007 (03:37 pm)

Monday starts the first day of homeschool for the critters.  I had decided it wasn't worth starting until the baby was born, and we had settled into some sort of routine.  We're starting off slow and easy so I don't overwhelm myself (or the children).  I put together next weeks lessons today... and I think it'll go pretty well. Both Merikalyn and Nolyn are learning the same lessons/curriculum, but I'm using varied methods with each of them since they are so different. They're both excited and ready to begin!

Yesterday we met up with Natasha and her two-year-old son Kale at a park in a new residental neighborhood in the area.  I know as fall progresses and the weather cools we'll be spending more time out there.  It's a great place for picnics, and even has a little lake.  I promised the munchkins we could bring bread to feed the fish next time.  Nolyn was trying to feed them leaves, ha!  We didn't stay there long, as I was already pretty exhausted (just a little over one week post partum, remember?), but it was enough for the kids to get hot, sweaty, and ready for nap time!

I've had a slight headache, which I think is due to my neck being a bit out of wack.  I need to visit my chiropractor soon for adjustments for me as well as the baby.  I'm hoping it's an adjustment thing, rather than a cold or infection nestling in my body since everyone seems to be sick these days!  Our restaurant manager has pneumonia, poor thing.  I worry about her, as she already has severe heart issues along with diabetes.  If you're reading this, I hope you take the time to send up a little prayer for a healthy recovery.  Do it now, you'll forget to later.

Well, everyone's conked out (even Hubby) except for me.... so I do believe I should take advantage of this time and take little nappy-poo myself!

May you notice God's little blessings on your life as you enjoy your weekend!

We are family.....

September 20th, 2007 (10:46 am)

Little Keagan is curled up in my lap as I type.  He's been sleeping very well.  At night, he eats every four or so hours, so I'm able to get quite a bit of sleep.  He loves being snuggled up to me in my wrap, which I wear at least an hour (or more) every day so I can have my hands free, but still cuddle him to my chest.  He's great with noise.  I figure he heard it all in my womb, so there is no need to quiet it down now that he's out.  He sleeps through the pounding of piano keys, endless giggles, and the occassional sibling rivalry.

I feel like Keagan has been a natural fit to our family.  Adjustment has been incredibly easy for all of us.  Oddly enough, his arrival has brought me more patience for my preschoolers.  I'm still fairly strict (I expect them to listen and obey), but things have gone much smoother, and maybe it's because I'm calmer.  I know during the last weeks of my pregnancy I was frazzled and worn out- and sometimes let my exhaustion and frustration get the best of me when dealing with them.

Anyway, I know what you're really here for....... my wonderful snapshots of my wonderful family!

The knit blanket (peeking out top left) was handmade by Debi, aka "Mimi".
The other blanket, along with the froggy lovie, was a gift from my brother, Chip, and his wife, Christina.

Sweet, sweet baby feet!

The only photos I have of these two together are when they are sleeping!

Look how intense his face is! He makes me melt!

This is a photo from when little Keagan was a little over 12 hours old!
Merika was so excited to hold her little brother, and Nolyn, well, he could't wait until it was his turn!

1 week post-partum

September 19th, 2007 (10:23 am)

So, what has happened to my body one week after birthing?  I am amazed by the differences between my natural birth in a hospital post partum experience and my natural, unhindered birth at home post partum experience.

The most astounding difference is that my bleeding was only heavy on the first day. My second day post-birth this "go-'round" was much like that of my second week with my last child.  With my previous two births, I couldn't bare to check myself "down there". When I did, the view was frightening.  Had Freddy Krueger attacked me in my sleep?  It sure appeared to be so! By Friday (I gave birth Wednesday night), you couldn't even tell I had given birth.  My husband was amazed, as he was the one who had done my "check-ups" after my other births since I couldn't stand to look.

Secondly, I've slimmed down twice as quick.  Now, I'm a small, slender person by nature, but I'm still surprised that my little baby gut has already firmed up enough to question whether I was hugely pregnant a week ago.  I'm also blessed to have extremely elastic skin and managed to escape this pregnancy with only one stretch mark on my stomach (lets not talk about those on my chest, okay?).  It's the sort of stretch mark that will fade and hardly be noticable (like the one I gained during my pregnancy with my second child).

My breasts have tripled in size.  I could very well pass for a Hooters girl right now.  Breastfeeding is going extremely well- which I'm thankful for, since it didn't go so well with my second child and I ended up giving up.  (Oh how I wish I wouldn't have....)  I intend on breastfeeding beyond a year.

My energy levels are great.  I'm not on a false high because of strong painkillers which keep me awake and pain-free.  I don't over-do it because I can FEEL where my body is at.  For the first 3-4 days after birth, my body was extremely (EXTREEEEEMELY) achy.  I felt like someone had run over me, flipped into reverse, and given me a second run.  Part of this was due to the fact that I had used a lot of upper body strength (especially in my arms and shoulders) when laboring/pushing while clutching the footboard.  I was literally holding myself off the ground, as I knew my legs would give in.  Also, my tailbone was slightly bruised.

We've been incredibly blessed with wonderful friends and church community who have brought us meals (and diapers), offered to run errands, and watched our preschoolers while baby and I crash for an hour or so.  I know their contributions have really helped me get back on my feet quicker.

Interestingly enough, my husband is also experiencing post partum.  It was just as much (maybe even more?) of an emotional ordeal for him as it was for me.  Plus, I clearly remember pushing my legs against him as I pushed the baby's head out- and he held up so firmly.  I'm sure his shoulders are killing him!  The poor fella really hasn't had much of a break as he had to pretty much jump right back into work.  Just one of those things that comes with owning your own businesses.

I've been asked a lot of questions, like "When are you going to start trying to conceive again?", which I'll answer in my next entry (maybe today?).  I hope you all have a wonderful day and can find the little blessings throughout your day!

Thank You God for parents.

September 17th, 2007 (11:41 am)

I have to remind myself throughout the day that I'm not even a week postpartum.
Sit down. Slow down. Relax.

I feel fantastic. Thankfully, I have the brains to keep myself at home even though I have the urge to get out. Ladybug spent the morning with Hubby as he ran errands for the restaurant. She was his big helper, which allowed me to sleep in (because, thankfully, Doodlebug, who is usually up by seven-thirty or eight, decided he'd sleep in and then play quietly with the cool stuff Poppa bought him).

After I fed and "bathed" the baby (wiped down his body with a rag, especially the creases in his body where milk gathers when he dribbles and drools), readied myself, and Mr. Doodle, we headed to our restaurant for a little bit.

I felt like taking the kids for a walk since it's a beautiful day (with a slight breeze), but decided it would probably be best that I didn't- especially since I'll be up and about the house putting up the clothes my parents washed and folded while they were here.

Speaking of my parents- thank goodness for them! They were awesome to have here after the birth. They kept the dishes washed, the laundry maintained, and our preschoolers spoiled (er.. entertained). I bet they both need a vacation now!

If they hadn't come over from Houston, our house would likely be a complete pigsty!

Well, baby calls- which means, if I don't want my boobs to explode, I'd better feed him!

Birth Story!

September 14th, 2007 (08:13 pm)

I was having light contractions Tuesday morning, mainly just "tightenings". By 2pm, they had become a bit more like menstrual cramps. I wondered if I would progress into labor that evening, so Hubby called his mother and had her pick up the munchkins.

The contractions continued through the night, light enough to sleep through, hard enough stimulate my bladder. I woke up every half hour to use the bathroom, then literally fell back into bed.

The morning came with firmer contractions. By the afternoon, I knew I was in "real" labor. I napped quite a bit, trying to reserve energy. I relaxed in our big jacuzzi tub for a while, sipping on a little wine. (We remodeled our bathroom and picked this specific tub for the birth event, as I knew I would want to labor, and maybe even birth, in the tub.)

I didn't pay much attention to time, so much of the timing is speculation on my part if not confirmed by my husband. When the contractions made me actually pause what I was doing to lean against something, I got back in the tub for back pain relief, but after about 30 minutes or so, even the water wasn't relaxing. At some point, I stepped out of the tub to tinkle and realized my water had broken, but because the baby was so low, there was barely any leakage. This was a new feeling to me, as my water had burst in both of my previous pregnancies, but the babies were still so high up, that the fluid gushed out.

The contractions kept pressing harder and harder. I'm "blessed" with back labor, the pain of which lingered between contractions. I noticed the contractions overlapped at times, and then I'd receive a small break. I allowed myself to bear down ever so slightly during the firmer part of the contractions. It gave me a bit of relief. I was trying to kneel in the tub, which, after a while, made my toes and ankles ache. I found myself uncomfortable, so I decided to stand and lean against the wall. It felt much better, yet I had nothing to hold on to, nothing to support me.

I reached down to feel where the baby was, and, to my surprise, I realized he was only about an inch or two in. It was one of the strangest feelings.... a squishy little head!

As much as I had desired a waterbirth, I found myself craving the comfort of my bedroom. I wanted to keep standing, and, well, standing in the tub didn't seem like such a great idea. Hubby helped me move into the bedroom where I stood between the end of the bed and the dresser, white knuckling the footboard as my knees wobbled and shook uncontrollably (a sure sign of transition). It was approximately 7:30pm.

I was exhausted, even though I had napped periodically throughout the day and tried to keep myself well hydrated and nourished. Whenever there was a break, I'd flop the top half of my body over the footboard, only to realize another contraction was on its way.

I put all my strength into my arms, lifting myself up as I bore down. (I paid for that later, my arms and shoulders feel as though I've been lifting thousands of pounds.)

The negative side of this position was that I had to hold myself up and my husband did not have access either. The space was narrow, and he could not get behind me or in front of me.

I gave in to my weariness and collapsed on the bed (which was actually quite a move, as the contractions were on top of each other, and my husband had to set out towels, pads, and "bed protection" as we moved). At first, I laid on my side and pushed that way, but once he was nearly crowning, I rolled to my back and gave it all I had. Hubby helped support as my body stretched around the head.

I kept thinking, "Oh gracious, I can't do this! Lord give me strength!" Then I'd be reminded, "You have done it, he's pretty much here!"

With several pushes and primitive screams (I'm surprised my neighbor didn't call the cops!), the head was out. The ring of fire burned through my core, and finally, relief as it came to his slender neck. For the first time, Hubby was a little confused as what to do. My contractions, for once, had given me a break, so I explained that the baby would be rotating a bit in order to allow my body to birth his shoulders (and the rest of his body), and with the next contraction, I would push him out.

And sure enough, Hubby watched as the little fellow rotated, and with a gush, he was baptised by the rest of the fluid from the sac as little Keagan spilled from my body.

Everything seemed to be soaked. The bed. The floor. My husband, of course. No surprise since the bedroom was a last minute idea for which we were not prepared.

Keagan was laid on my chest, but I didn't feel his cord was long enough to get him completely up to my breast. He wasn't interested in feeding right away anyway, so I just snuggled him as Hubby tossed a towel over us and began frantically throwing stuff on the floor in order to soak up the mess. (He was worried about our floors warping.)

Keagan had very little vernix- just a bit in his hair. He yelped and gurgled just a bit, but calmed as soon as he was placed on my chest. He wasn't bruised or "discolored" in any way. He was pink from the moment he immerged from my body. His face wasn't even swollen. His complexion was perfect and his head, perfectly shaped. We were amazed by his beauty, so perfect. It was eight o'clock pm.

Hubby ran back to the "birthing bathroom" to gather the supplies, and upon return, I informed him I thought it would be best if I birthed the placenta over the toilet. The cord had stopped pulsing, so we tied it off with shoelace (and later, with dental floss) and cut it just before the placenta splashed into the toilet.

When Hubby finally had time to examine it, he was shocked by it's size. He confirmed that it was indeed whole (completely intact), and asked if I wanted to see it. I took a peek, but that was enough.

I did tear a little, but nothing major. The whole experience was amazing, awesome, emotional... just.. wow, but it was definitely hard work. As powerful as it was for me, I know it was even more so for my husband. For once, he wasn't the bystander. He was front and center- a major player in the process of birth. He was incredibly supportive and encouraging. I am so thankful for his role in it all. It really strengthened our bond with each other and with our children (not just Keagan).

When things calmed down a bit, we called in an order to O'Charley's. A friend of ours brought it to us, and then helped Hubby clean up. She even ran to store to buy Depends and overnight pads I had forgotten to purchase. Before she left, she gave me a back massage, which really helped me relax. I will forever be indebt to her! My parents arrived soon after.

By one am (Thursday), Keagan had already filled two diapers with meconium, and had two or more later in the day. He's been having regular "breastmilk" poops now. No signs of jaundice whatsoever.

My own bowel movements came much easier this time. This is the first time I wasn't afraid to pee or poop after giving birth. The bleeding wasn't bad at all. In fact, by Friday morning, the blood was more pinkish and very light. I didn't get to this stage until I had been 1-2 weeks postpartum with my two previous pregnancies. The differences are astounding. I haven't had any problems with anemia this time at all. I've slimmed down pretty quick. I have more energy, and it's not due to any postpartum painkillers!

The munchkins are totally infatuated with their new sibling! They're doing great. They argue over who gets to help (which is cute, but quite irritating in the moment).

Breastfeeding has been going great. Keagan didn't seem to have much of a desire to eat until Thursday afternoon (although he did get a bit here and there). He pretty much stayed at my breast all through the night Thursday and into Friday morning. (He has a great latch!)  I was worried at first, but deep inside, I knew he'd let me know when he was ready.

He's a very calm baby. Very relaxed, much like our first born. God has truly blessed us- and we hope our Lord has been glorified through it all!

If you're interested in our choice to have an unassisted birth, you can read more about the decision HERE.

I don't want anyone to get the idea that I believe unassisted birth is for everyone, because it certainly IS NOT.  We did not do this to brag or glorify ourselves.  This choice was well researched, prayed about, prayed about, and, oh, prayed about.  I could not have had an unassisted birth with my first child, or even my second.  I did not have confidence in myself or in my body.  I wasn't in a "good place" in my marriage, or my life.  I did not fully trust God either.  Whatever your birth choice, it's your choice.  It doesn't make the birth less amazing, your baby less adorable, your experience less than extraordinary.

The Arrival of Keagan Charles!

September 14th, 2007 (04:14 pm)

Keagan Charles

was birthed into the arms of his Daddy
on Wednesday, September 12, 2007
at 8 o'clock pm.

8 lbs

21 1/2 inches

God blessed us with the amazing experience of
an unassisted home birth for our third child.
Birth story to follow!

One Nation Under God

September 11th, 2007 (09:48 am)

I am now waking up every 30 minutes to tinkle in the middle of the night.  It's exhausting.  Resting is not restful at all.  I wake up feeling worse than when I laid down.  Why didn't I marry a chiropractor or massage therapist? (Kidding!)

My first thought this morning was, I am officially tired of being pregnant.  Literally, tired.  Standing hurts.  Sitting hurts.  Laying down hurts.  Bending over hurts.  Breathing hurts.  And, after I eat, even if it's just a snack, my belly feels like it's about to explode.  Not much stomach room in there.

Here I am complaining.... something no one wants to hear (or read), but it feels good to get it out.  I am looking forward to the day when I can stand, sit, lay, bend, breathe, and eat comfortably.

Today I am reminded of all of those who lost their lives, sacrificed their lives, and gave their time due to 9/11 so many years ago.  It seems like "forever ago".  I remember what I was doing (I had just walked into work at a shirt screening and embroidery shop).  I remember thinking, "What? Surely not!"

Later in the week I designed a shirt with Bin Laden on a target with a sign that read, "Wanted, Dead or Alive."  We sold a lot of American pride shirts that month.

It was amazing to see all of these people gather together to pray.  Suddenly, our nation seemed to acknowledge God.  But, just as quickly as it all happened, it ended.  The prayers stopped.  God went back to the bible on a shelf.  People went on with their lives.

For a couple months we were united as a country.  For a couple months we were thoughtful of each other, helping each other out.... just like after the hurricanes Katrina and Rita where the South worked together.  Now it's all "back to normal".  The "ME ME ME" mentality has returned.

It makes my heart ache.  Anyway, just thinking of those people today- those who were lost, those who lost someone.

Almost done, at 41.

September 10th, 2007 (09:19 am)

Fourty-one weeks.
The first 37 weeks of this pregnancy flew by.  Then thirty-eight, thirty-nine..... until I realized my procrastination has once again come into play, this time in my pregnancy.  My body is playing games with me.  "Maybe today?"  Nahhhh. 

Every Sunday, our friends laugh as they watch me waddle into church.  "We were sure you'd either not be here, or be here with baby in arms!" they say.  And yet, there I am, belly dragging the floor, still very pregnant.

Did I mention I've gained 10 pounds in about 2 weeks?  Where in the WORLD did 10 pounds come in?  Did another baby just appear in my womb?  (Edit:  I just stepped on the scale again and realized.. it was already 5 lbs off, so I only gained five pounds, not ten!)

Good news is, I am having contractions- crampy ones, not just tightenings.  Someone told me there's a new moon tomorrow, and maybe that'll bring on the baby.  As I told my Granny in an email, I don't know how women "back in the day" did it.  How in the world did they work in the sweltering heat out in the fields until their baby practically dropped out of them?  I'd have passed out by that time.

This pregnancy has certainly brought me to appreciate the days of my great-great-grandmothers (and great-great-great grandmothers).  You know, when pregnancy wasn't completely mapped out, you didn't know exactly when you were due, and you just went about your day to day business until labor set in.

Every day the critters exclaim, "Nana and Poppa are coming today!"
I grin, "They are? Why is that?"
"Because the baby is coming today!"

[They know that when the baby comes, so will Nana and Pop.]

They are very excited about their sibling's coming arrival.  Ladybug has been excitedly helping me with the laundry.  Every time we come across a little piece of baby clothing, she squeals, "This is for the baby, Mom!"

Anyway, there's the update on us all!  Let's certainly hope when I walk into church this coming Sunday, it's with a baby cuddled in my arms!

Five Lessons I've Learned in My Journey of Motherhood!

September 8th, 2007 (03:13 pm)

Out of the gajillion lessons I've learned, these are the five lessons that I've really been thinking about lately.  

Feel free to share yours!

(c) MandyMom.com1. God uses your experiences in raising your children to raise you.
Entering into parenthood, you expect to teach your children all sorts of things. You quickly realize your children are likely teaching you far more than you are teaching them. You're growing along with your children, which is what makes parenthood so amazing.

2. Discipline is the easy part. Figuring out which method of discipline is best is the complication.
With so many books, articles, and ideas out there it's tough to figure out which one fits your beliefs, morals, and children. All of the books make great points in their favor, but it's tough to find one particular method that is a perfect fit. I read so many books, skimmed articles, and watched parenting shows and videos. Just when I thought I had it figured out, I'd read another book that made me think, "Hey, this could work too." Plus, I was being told that I would severely screw up my children if I chose the wrong method, which is a pretty frightening thought.

Now I'm confident in the parenting method we've chosen. We believe in parenting with mercy and grace, but this does not mean we allow our children to get away with everything or use us as doormats. We say what we mean and mean what we say and we're consistent, but most of all- we are loving and understanding of our children's personalities and capabilities.

3. It's okay to pray for patience.

People always tell me never to pray for patience, because God will put me in tough situations in which I will learn patience. Um. Excuse me, but I'm a full-time mother. I'm already in that situation. We are told to ask, and we shall receive. God is not trying to play mind games with us. If I need strength in the area of patience, I'm going to ask for it- and I have faith that God will supply.

4. The more you really get your children involved in your day-to-day life, and the more you involve yourself in theirs, the deeper your bond will be.
This is easier to get into when your children are young and love helping out and being by your side. I honestly believe that the reason children start drifting from their parents, not wanting to be seen walking beside them, and not wanting to be involved in family events, is because we have failed to be totally involved in each other's lives. We haven't allowed them to help us out because we can "do it better and quicker". We haven't taken the time on a daily basis to get down on hands and knees to play with them or to take interest in what they are interested in. There are days when I realize I've neglected my children on that level. They're moodier, they're argumentative, and their attitudes are very defiant. At their current ages, my children love and desire to be by my side. However, if I repeatly turn them away or act like their presence is a bother, they'll lose that desire. I do need space now and then, but spending time, and lots of it, with my children shouldn't be a burden.... but a blessing!

5. Your children are watching you.. really, really watching you.
I knew how important it was to be a good example to my children, but I never realized they would catch on to those little inconsistencies in my life. Children pay attention to everything, and I do mean everything, you do. They will imitate your movements, speech, and characteristics. They make note of how you talk in front of others and behind their backs. They pay attention to the shows and movies you watch, the books you read, and the music you listen to. They watch how you treat your family, friends, and even enemies. They see your first reactions or lack of reaction. Even when you don't think they are looking, they are.

Motherhood has been an amazing experience, and I've only dipped my foot in the pool of it all.  I really am looking forward to not just watching my children grow up in adults, but being a big part of their lives and growing up along side them.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

September 8th, 2007 (09:09 am)

This is one of my favorite hymns.  I love the music, but most of all, I love the words.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

I bolded the verses that I can't help but shout out.  My favorite verse in this whole hymn is "Tune my heart to sing Thy grace".  The word "tune" is so fitting.  We are instruments of God, and we need to be properly tuned on a regular basis- daily, maybe even hourly.  And how true is it that we are prone to wander, prone to leave... even with all our good intentions?

Meaningful Post

September 7th, 2007 (06:27 pm)

"Strip it down, baby. We're stripping it all way -- peels of covetousness & materialistic obsessions. We're left with simplicity, family, friends, laughter &, most importantly of all -- far less obstacles & distractions before the throne of the Almighty."  
(Excerpt from Crystal's blog, link below.)


Update of sorts...

September 6th, 2007 (06:18 pm)

Yesterday, my husband nearly collapsed (literally) from heat exhaustion.  Several weeks ago, he "retired" from the landscaping business and put his brother in charge of it all.  Shortly after came a great opportunity for Hubby to make a good bit of extra cash working on sprinkler systems (more money, less time spent).  However, after working inside the restaurant for weeks (and drinking sodas and not water), proved to be his downfall when he was working on one particular sprinkler system in the heat of the day.

My husband is the type that works through his pain and suffering, which worries me.  Often, he just needs to STOP, yet he doesn't.  I have to remind him, "If you keep this up, you'll be out of commission, which won't be good for anyone.... and we'll have a big hospital bill to pay!"

He had more outdoor work to do today, but allowed himself breaks...  so hopefully he's learning.

The critters stayed with my MIL last night, which allowed the two of us to rest up and relax.  I slept in this morning and allowed myself to take it slow.  My whole body aches, and I've just felt all over crummy today (which Debi believes is a sure sign that I'll be in labor tonight, but I'm skeptical).  It's been nice to "take it easy", which is all I've felt like doing the last couple days.  Why is it that I get a small burst of energy in the middle of the night?  Why can't it arrive mid-day when I need it most?

Lady and Doodle were very excited to return home from Maw-Maw's house.  They were hopping circles around me, as we played games like Duck-Duck-Goose and Ring-around-the-Rosie-Mommy (Ha!).

Now we're waiting for dear, dear Daddy to arrive home so we can chow down on... something.  We'll see whether our exhaustion means a meal out or mere sandwiches.  I'm in a IHOP mood.  (Ha, surprise, surprise- right Mom and Dad?)

We haven't shared our birth plans with many people- mainly because we don't want to hear the negativity and, well, explaining why over and over again can be a chore.  The downside of this is people think I'm absolutely nuts for not knowing (and not wanting to know) how dilated/effaced I am.... and are in complete shock that I haven't been induced yet.  I'm tired of explaining why (in a way that doesn't expose our plans of an intervention-free homebirth which leads to more explaining), and often feel like writing it on a business card and handing it out when people approach.

I enjoy the attention pregnancy brings to a certain extent, but sometimes it's overwhelming.

I have several standard answers I give, and sometimes, they don't really "answer" the person's question at all, but are a side-step manuever that seems to satisfy, even if only temporarily.

My current answer is, "Well, we're going to just ride it out until 42 weeks.  If he hasn't arrived by then, we'll think about our options."  Of course, if something feels off, or my intuition sends of a warning, we'll go in to a doctor and have everything "checked out", but everything is running smoothly, baby is moving around quite frequently (currently strumming my ribs like a banjo with his toes), and I feel pretty darn good... considering I have a cacoon weighting my body.  I'm just ready to meet my little butterfly!

We joke that he's in there reading the last chapters of the "How to Raise a Child" that comes with every newborn (What? You didn't get one?) in an effort to throw me off as he goes through the phases of life. 

Anywho, you can bet I'll update when we have the child- I don't intend on leaving anyone hanging!  Plus, family (siblings and parents, plus a best friend or two) will receive personal phone calls following the birth!


September 6th, 2007 (09:41 am)

Just letting you know... 40+ weeks, no baby!  Just waiting!

Hello, September.

September 1st, 2007 (04:52 pm)

We've officially crossed into September, and still.. no baby.  What frustrates me most are the numerous phone calls I'm receiving which focus on the same question:

Have you had your baby yet?
Are you still pregnant?

And then, when I reveal I am indeed still with child:

Well, are you dilated at all?
What does your doctor think?
When will you be induced?

That's another aspect of it all that has me eager to have the baby!  I've had contractions here and there, but still nothing steady. 

Doodlebug and I went grocery shopping this morning.  We had absolutely no breakfast foods in the house so settled on cheese sandwiches for breakfast.  I stocked up on cereals, snacks, and sandwich bread... bought extra ground beef to stow in the freezer for my Hamburger-Helper-loving-husband  (personally, I am not a big fan of the stuff).

Hubby and I have been enjoying our last few moments as parents of two (who, for the most part, are able to go to bed whenever we want and wake up well rested).  I really cannot explain how much I absolutely love that man.  I never thought it possible to love him more than I did the day we married... but I do. The ups (which were few) and horrible heartbreaking downs (which were many) of the first 3 years of our marriage were totally worth it.  I don't think we'd ever have the strong relationship and Christ-centered marriage we have now without going through all of that junk. 

I love that God has given us both a love and longing for children... whether it be three... or thirty (okay, haha, not quite thirty..).  I know God has a great plan, not only for my husband and me, but for our family as a whole.

Now... I'm off to wash a few dishes before tossing together something for supper!

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