Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas detox (and a photo purge)

I could come at the subject of Christmas 2011 from many different angles. Most of them would make you laugh as you could probably relate to the mounds of endless presents from family members near and far. The presents seriously never stopped. I know the boys are young and so they are the most fun to give to - they are grateful with one toy and they hold onto it for days (and nights - waking me up to siren sounds from the oldest's crib several nights this past week) so they make a "giver" feel good and let's face it - they are happy with a box and they don't need a "big item." My brother wrapped my present in a very large box full of trash and bricks and I can honestly say Brooks had the most fun in that free box. I've actually packed away some of their loot to swap out later for the forgotten toys but so far - if you gave our boys a gift you would be so happy with your purchase - they literally play all day long and beg to stay up later in order to play one last time before bed. Heck, Brooks sleeps with half of his gifts so he would really make you proud.
Brad was even surprised with a new iphone and for a full week now I have nearly lost him to his new love "Siri." I can carry his children so atleast I have that on her...she'll get old soon, I hope! Last week I had the best Christmas present ever as I went to the gym for my favorite morning classes that I normally can't get out the door to with NO kids! Half of a workout is lugging the boys, my belly, and their "things" in for a little class so it was truly my favorite gift to leave the boys home with Brad while I indulged myself a little bit. One such morning, I got back to my car to find what looked like a sweet text from my husband. It read:
"She looks hot. She has a nice body."

I didn't think the worst. I have no reason to but I did want to know what Jennifer Anniston movie he was home watching while texting a guy friend. I texted back "Good. I'm glad you are attracted to her." Later that day he took me through a lengthy demonstration of how Siri is supposed to work when you use the proper pronouns. He had told Siri, his new love, to text his wife "she looks hot and she has a nice body" and she did just that and I was actually very happy that SIri had finally failed him. I quickly moved back into first position and thanked him for the compliment though I knew it was a load of cr#p seeing that I am 20 weeks pregnant and feel like I'm full term. Thanks, hon, love ya, too.

But really what was most true of our Christmas (other than the endless meals we consumed with family) was the peace we felt for the first Christmas in a really long time. The first Christmas married was just shy of a disaster. It was our first Christmas married and neither of us were really ready to "share" Christmas with our new families. Then the last two were well above a disaster trying to travel all over the state to see everyone we loved. We vowed last year to maybe never travel again on Christmas atleast while the kids are young and it was the best decision we have made yet. This year Christmas started early with our (dead) tree up the day after we carved a turkey. With kids the excitement starts just then and my car radio didn't leave B98.5 with the Christmas music until nearly a month later last Sunday. So it was a long, full month with lots of time to see our families and be a family by making our own memories and traditions (umm who else got to see the live nativity on Peachtree sporting a llama as a camel and a man off the street at Joseph? A new tradition for sure!) The thing that I can honestly say rang true of the entire season was the deep sense of gratitude that overtook us this season. This was a long, excruciating year for us after what we thought was already a long, tiring year last year. I remember this time last year saying "let's just start a new year....we are soooo ready for a new year!" And then, BAM, we were hit with more trials this year and at a greater magnitude than I ever thought we would face in all of our marriage. But it's really special for me to think that the year ended during the best season of them all with truly grateful, peaceful hearts.
It was really one of only a few Christmas's for me where I can say deep down I wasn't an ounce concerned about a gift I was getting. It's always easy as a mature adult to say that you dont really need anything and it's not about the gifts anyway but gosh, if I were honest many years I really hope that that one special something finds its way under the tree. I almost feel entitled to one grand treat at the end of the year. This year was so different and so refreshing. The boys helped, too. Whenever someone asked Brooks what he wanted from Santa he would look at them kinda puzzled and I would rephrase "whose birthday is coming up?" to which Brooks exclaimed baby "Dezus!" He totally got that it was Jesus' birthday and didn't really pay attention to the Santa thing. Now, I want a whole bunch of Santa in our house....I think it's magical and I know next year or the next Brooks will care more about the jolly, fat man but it was such a simple joy this year to really talk about the birth of Christ the whole month through. We played with our Fischer Price nativity (thanks to Brad's sweet sister who sent it early) and read the Christmas Story to the boys atleast twice a day. And we loved the way our church really taught the boys about the real gift given this time of year. This really was a sweet Christmas for us and such a different way to start a new year as opposed to many of the years before. More so, after coming through the struggle of insomnia with two little toddlers this year I truly feel deep deep down the gratefulness that I had been pleading for in my prayers for so many years. I learned something - that kind of gratefulness can not be fabricated. It really is learned. This year the Lord gave and take away many things but in the end He gave me a new heart and a new perspective that is the best gift I could ever have imagined.

I hope your Christmas was a time of peace as well! We're looking forward to a new year over here but in a different way than last year. It's not a "get me into the new year as fast as you can because last year is haunting us" type of feeling but rather a "bring it on" type attitude because we saw last year how strong we can become when having to walk through the fire.

Jump jump jump all day long

I just love these newlyweds

Family trip to the zoo
Lucky cousins and Big Daddy and grandma
Several trips to see the pink pig

Friday, December 23, 2011

A must read

Ive never blogged from a car before but after checking Facebook all day for updates on baby hallie, a baby I'll never know or a family that I've never met, I finally saw a litle update tonight. We just spent a perfect afternoon with my family for Christmas and while soon I want to share the fun of the night- right now this update that I read is what matters in life. What a beautiful
And humble story of this little family. I love these kind of tears that are so heavy but so real and necessary.... Tears of sorrow and of praise.

Read here

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This and that

My picture quality is poor, poor, poor. I am thinking I'll have to trade in any Christmas presents this year for a camera that captures the moments around here a little better. Unfortunately, I have always been a "live in the moment" kinda girl and I do not put enough thought into the 10 years down the road and these boys are well into girls, and video games, and bikes and want nothing to do with me and any of my Christmas shenanigans and I'm sure I'll wish I had some edible footage of the boys' 100% pure cuteness from their toddler days. Some of the more put together moms I know get their kids pictures taken every 6 months and then even have special outfits for the occasion and then actually do the unthinkable....get the pictures printed and framed and hung. We still have Brooks' newborn pictures adorning our mostly bare walls and I don't think a picture of William exists in the house. Don't remind them of this later please. Last year we had a pass because we had a pass on all of life other than learning to sleep again but now I have no excuse! Okay, maybe I'm pregnant but that is a level playing field for me. Pregnancy is my job! Anyway, maybe in 2012 I'll be a more put together mom. Normal sleeping patterns (if pregnancy sleep is considered normal) make all the difference and any New Years goal seems that much more attainable with a little sleep. Yes, as you can see, I seriously wake up and say "thank you" every single morning. This has truly been the gift that keeps on giving this year and the biggest journey I have ever walked.
So, in the last few spirit filled weeks we have continued to wear corny Christmas attire. Yes, all of us. Brad even borrowed my brothers Cousin Eddie get-up for a party and I was so impressed that he actually wore it! I learned alot about him that night and I was pleasantly surprised with the "dress up" kind of guy I must have married. I hadn't really known it until now. Isn't that the most fun part about marriage when you learn a new little thing about the person you've probably used the restroom in front of and spent a majority of your time with over the years of marriage. I also observed this week that he is more of a little kid at heart than I had thought. In 5 nights we have now watched two of the Toy Story movies, the animated film "Up", and every old school Christmas cartoon you could fathom. Personally, I'd much rather the story of a Disney movie than going to bed after some of the more intense movies we seem to pick up. Here's our never-ending festive attire...And a picture of Brad and I at the Woodfruff Arts Center for our favorite Christmas tradition - the Christmas Carol play. Good thing I got our faces in a photo from this year or I would look back and wonder who Brad was raising these boys with

It's funny to me often how things transpire. Ever since a short video (about 2.5 minutes in) of a family we barely knew from our church a few weeks ago we have been praying for the Green family. I was certainly touched by this family's faith during what is probably the hardest season for their little family yet. I had to stop and really think about what the mom, Katie, must be feeling. She has been carrying baby Hallie, whom they discovered early in the pregnancy had Trisomy 13, a chromosomal abnormality that effects every facet of a baby's life. At the time we had just entered the 2nd trimester with our 3rd child, too. Hallie is this couples third girl in just a few years. Many of the similarities were striking and thus really allowed me to try to feel what this sweet mother might be feeling though I know I would never have a clue outside of this type of diagnosis. I've just always thought things that happen in utero like this type of thing - a chromosomal thing - were one of the more tricky and difficult places in our faith. If it were me I know I'd almost want to know that there was something I did wrong to have warranted such a diagnosis but in this case it is truly a matter of chromosomes - the stuff we are made of and what we bring to the table which I think we can all agree, Christian or not, came from our parents and their parents and on and on and on but has nothing to do with my right or wrong doing as a mother.

With each of our own pregnancies Brad and I have decided not to have any of the ultra fine tuned testing that they can now do these days in order to determine your supposed risk for complications whether inside or outside the belly. I certainly think there is great value in knowing something ahead of time (especially in the Green's case) but I guess we just knew deep down that no matter what any test ever told us we would carry the baby for as long as we were given (just as this sweet family has done). Now, if there was something that showed that we were definitely going to be looking into situation like Trysomy 13 or down syndrome we would do whatever possible to know as much as we could about our time frame with the baby. Fortunately, we have just never had to walk that road.

Until yesterday. Yesterday was the big anatomy ultrasound for this baby. We had an appointment at a specialist's office which makes me feel so confident going to one of the top doctor's office at one of the top hospitals for delivering babies in the country.
While I hadn't said much about it I was a little antsy over this appointment. We had decided not to find out the sex of this baby so it wasn't over that lingering question. It was because of the gobs of medicines that I was taking night after night the first several weeks of this baby's life in order to fight insomnia. We didn't find out we were pregnant until about 7 weeks so there were 7 solid weeks of chemicals that I didn't want in my body let alone a growing fetus. After a lengthy ultrasound with multiple pictures of the baby's heart and kidneys as I guess those are two of the main indicators of a problem the ultrasound tech left the room and the waiting began and it lasted for what felt like forever. Brad paced as usual and I laughed at him while secretly praying that I could be ready for any news.
Our news was not terrible. We won't need to make any decisions like the Green's did in this situation. But the report wasn't spotless either which leaves a chance for something to be discovered when this sweet life joins our family in May. Since my husband is an adopted math guy (former forestry major and tree expert) he assured me after running some numbers of al my risks that he calculates our chance is less than 3% that our plans for this baby's life could look very different come May (though the doctor said 20%....3? 20? close, right??). I am certainly not one to focus on the minute chance that is out there and I am so elated that we stand on the other side of the ratios. But it had me thinking alot yesterday about chances.
The chance of us getting pregnant on the IUD was less than 1%. But here I sit as pregnant (and plump) as I can be having put all my hope in that little miracle uterine device. And my faith in a God that prepares a path for me and knows my days is more solid than it has ever been because of this (very small) chance we took. My life and my outlook changed the moment I saw that pregnancy test in late September. More so, the chances of the nurse at my OB not doing the routine pregnancy urine test the day I came in for a check up are probably even lower. Yesterday I thanked her for her mistake and I think she almost slapped me. Had we known then that I was pregnant I would have certainly thrown out the medicine and this long wait until this big ultrasound wouldn't have been so heavy for me - thinking all along that I could have caused harm to this unborn child. But God knew every single detail of this story. I don't have time to go back to how God made me and put together my story with Brad but I can see how intricately we "fit" and it's not because of some insane romantic feelings we share (though they exist) but because we really are a team - even waiting for the news of our 3rd born child. And He knew the moment we found out we were pregnant with our 2nd child that it would set me and my body into a very lengthy and exhausting search for something....for sleep, for acceptance of my role as my mom, for normalcy, for a truly grateful heart, for an answer?? But that search and the long wait now ending with a baby as an answer has taken my faith to places I could never have imagined....even in my volunteering multiple times a week, small group leading, mission trip leading, super duper prayerful days with time galore to read and write and just listen....I didn't understand my faith like I do now. He has used this entire journey - every single ounce of it to put me in a state of awe.
And He knows the way the story will go in May of next year. I am surprised that I don't have any part of me that wants to go do all the tests we can to see if we can determine something. There's nothing wrong with doing all those tests but there is also nothing we could do. I have more trust in the "chances" of what might happen because I feel completely submerged in a ocean of grace and mercy after coming through this most tremendous and tiring year. That doesn't mean the outcome will necessarily be the prettiest but neither was insomnia. Neither was getting pregnant 3 times within 3 years - or atleast that's what I had thought. I wouldn't be in this place today were it not for those two large, unexpected detours - kids and chronic sickness - in my story. I know now, that in all things, good and bad, God can work in breath taking ways for the good....for the GOOD....of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Please continue to pray for the Green family as little Hallie lives her 3rd unexpected day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pregnant thoughts about chil'rens

I was admittedly in denial the last time I was pregnant and I don't say that lightly. It wasn't just "Oh, I forget I am pregnant sometimes." It was more like "I can't believe I am really having a baby," as I was laying in a bed 7cm dilated at the baby factory up the hill. I just hadn't wrapped my head around the fact that I was a mother in the first place to be {already} having another child. Quite humorous how God works, huh? Just in case I wasn't secure in my role with one thing to take care of for the rest of my life - there was another. And now I am "PG" for the 3rd time around and I am finally thrilled to say I not only accept but embrace and adore my role as a mother. Third times a charm, right? So of course when I talk to neighbors or strangers or whomever that says they aren't "ready" to have kids I have to sort of chuckle because like most big events in life - you'll never actually be ready. It takes going through the experience itself to develop whatever it is that you think you need to be "ready." And for me, I've had to walk through it twice to finally say I am more "ready" than I could be though I know that even this child, and this birth, and this new life will be different than anything I have prepared for the first two times around.

Which kind of brings me to my next thought. This one stirs something in me so deep. Among the multitude of counselors and psychologists that I dated last year during that awful year in our lives I remember one such counselor asking me questions about my choices about (or against) birth control. She told me that I have a very deep value for life. That sounds really hokey and counselor-like but I got what she was saying. I guess I just really take it seriously that I have the ability to not only create life but also to give life to those close to me. Before I was of the child baring stage I was most deeply satisfied when I felt like I could offer something of value...real personal value to someone. Though I still get the same joy when that takes place now it's kind of different and much more grand. It's the gift I have been given to literally give life to a baby. Last week I told Brad I thought 5 or 6 kidaroos would be great. He spit his food out and turned pale. Now that we have just gotten over the "hump" of the first year of a baby's life I can start to see the forest through the trees. This whole game...the passing of a life....the stacking of years FLIES by! I have to make myself look at pictures from just 2 short years ago when Brooks was an immobile, drooling 14 lb little guy. Now, 20+ pounds later and a whole dictionary of words and I can not recall one single thing about his baby-hood. It really does fly - just like your great great aunt always told you. I don't need 3 more little ones right in a row like these 3 babies but I embrace the idea of a whole bunch of little lives to impact (and to be impacted by) running all over my house one day.

I know I am biased because I know nothing different right now but I feel I've finally been let in on the greatest secret and gift of all time....children! I've had alot of fun seasons in my short 30 years and many that Brad still likes to token as my "glory days." We've all been in those seasons or maybe you are there now. But as I type, still unshowered, dressed in my typical workout clothes, and having just eaten the crusts of the peanut butter and jelly's the boys ate (or threw) for lunch - I can honestly say these are my glory days! I feel selfish at times to get to enjoy such fabulous, authentic, yet free entertainment. Atleast 4 times a day as a mom you find yourself laughing out of true comedic exploration from the mouth of a toddler or laughing at yourself for ever thinking something might go seamlessly as it once did before kids entered. Like Monday when I came in the living room after almost 40 minutes of a peculiar silence to find Brooks having opened 11 of the 14 presents I had just wrapped during his nap. I had no words. His face was too innocent and just too sweet to even tell him he was wrong. We rewrapped the presents and told him he had to wait until Jesus' birthday. So now everyday, all day he asks me if it can please be Jesus' birthday. And last night I came down the stairs to go to a party and William clapped like I was a hot air balloon and Brooks told me I looked like a princess. Hello???? You just can't pay for that stuff and you can't fabricate it. There are definitely really really hard times and they, too, happen daily. There are hours that turn into days where all I feel like is one overrun babysitter and nothing the boys do or say can snap me out of it when it's one of those days. But the unevoked, unfabricated, simple purity that is experienced while babysitting" these little people truly is what makes these of all years - truly my glory days.

So, if you stuck with me through all the sap on motherhood here are a few pictures to woo you and a few lighter thoughts from the brain of a pregnant woman.
-Now that I am relearning how to sleep again (with the exception of a few rough nights like last week) I have remembered that I am a stomach sleeper! I loooove to put my hands under my head and under my pillow and feel like a little girl again as I drift off. I think there is money to be made on a product that allows a PG woman to sleep on her tummy for longer than the first trimester??
-Dreams, dreams, glorious dreams. Atleast the crazy dreams assure me that I am sleeping but goodness, if you can put dolphins, a storm at sea, a boyfriend from 7th grade, and a dunkin donut all in one dream - it's got to be stirred from the hormones!
-I deplore (is that a word) maternity clothes. I have never bought too many but the few things I did buy have been lent to my other expectant friends and now I am left with not a thing for this belly to wear. I just hate to ask for anyone to buy me maternity clothes for Christmas but as Brad reminded me the other day - I am always pregnant and therefore maternity clothes would actually be a wise investment. Thanks, honey.
-I will be half way through with this gig come the 1st of the year. What? Half way? I realized this the other day and also realized these could be my last 5 months in a long long while (unless we break the odds again and conceive under the 3 forms of birth control I am being forced to use (which is highly likely)) to enjoy the freedoms of pregnancy.....the 2nd helpings, the laziness in the mornings, the half hearted workouts, the more womanly figure up top if you know what I mean, and the desserts! I am never one to go crazy during a pregnancy or nursing period because let's face it - that would mean craziness would prevail (25 of our 49 months married have been spent PG) but this time around....just in case it is the last one for awhile - I am taking full advantage of the caloric needs for a body to grow a baby!
-Brooks asked Santa for a baby "dister". Uh oh. I hope he won't blame Santa when another boy part pops out in May. We won't find out for certain this time if the little person is a boy or girl until the birth but I am quite certain that boys are all we do. And how cute....I have always thought a mom of 3 girls or 3 boys was just the most edible thing but I just never thought I'd be that mom.
-I really really really want a margarita. A whole one with a straw and salt and an umbrella. And margaritas aren't normally my thing but I really really just want a margarita.
-Brad and I are already starting to think about how to celebrate our 5th year anniversary next October. We will also be celebrating 4 years of pregnancy and 3 kids and the anticipation that I will be a normal-non pregnant-sleeping wife come next year! Any suggestions? I Crazy! I really want to go skiing out west since skiing has been one thing that has been restricted since we went on this baby marathon. Ahhh.....I can't wait!

I hope I didn't scare anyone today....

Why can't I open all "da p'esents, mama?"

Friday, December 9, 2011

The great, the bad, and the plain ugly

I don't need any words to show you the good around here. It's real good like I said last week. Happy toddlers and lots of seasonal things to do as a family. These truly are the moments to live for and the ones that get you through the not so great ones below.
Happiness in a candy cane from Santa!
We take nightly drives to look at lights. This is a house around the corner and there are 127 blow inflatable Christmas items. Holy power bill!
Last weekend we went to the Christmas parade downtown. We rode the "choochoo" there (MARTA) and the boys loved the bands and the floats. Great family tradition in the making!
We wrestle in bed. I love to come around the corner and hear these two laughing at each other. I stand by my stance no matter how much havoc it has wreaked on my body - that two kiddos close together is wonderful!
We love church during Jesus' birthday season. Brooks loves pointing out the characters to a nativity whenever he sees them. He also loves singing songs at Waumba land at our church. Who doesn't take pictures of their boys in the parking lot after church?
We make Christmas cookies almost daily!(and mommy eats them all)
We go to our favorite neighborhood park even when it's silly cold.

Hand. Foot. Mouth. Ewwwww! The oldest has complained of his "teef" hurting all week and finally Tuesday I figured it out. He had hand foot mouth disease which sounds as bad as it is....little sores on the hands, feet, and the worst - in the mouth. Poor guy. He has eaten milkshakes and oatmeal for 5 days now and he won't talk because it hurts so bad. At first the quiet was really (really) nice but after a morning of the silent treatment I really missed his innocent questions and comical observations. But dont worry - he has made sounds.....lots and lots of whining! I have prayed that his sores would heal quickly and that the little little guy would miraculously escape this sickness. Not to mention, yesterday I did see that on top of the sores he is getting his big ole two year molars in the back of his mouth. Sign me up for a root canal instead. I can't imagine the discomfort! Hopefully this weekend his spirits will perk up and he'll talk to us again. Just pathetic......
But...a popsicle for breakfast isn't soo bad, right?

Even though this one is just nasty on the scale of nastiness - it doesnt overshadow the joy of the first one. Yes folks, the inescapable, despicable, torturing insomnia! I won't talk long on this because I on't want to give it that much credit in our lives. The hard part is that the nightmare of this past year is so recent so one night off and all of the old weighty emotions come flooding back pretty quickly. Im on night 4 now of less then 3 hours of sleep a night. The good thing is a body can actually function (though pretty wearily) on that little sleep. The bad thing is there is truly no reason for it and I spend 98% of my brain power during the day and night trying to figure out the cause and there just isn't one that I have found. I am tempted to call all the doctors again today but I also recall the anxiety that a flurry of doctors can cause on a person not sleeping well. Last night was the worst and I think I finally dozed off to the 2nd round of Christmas vacation somewhere after 5 this morning. I know that for the majority of the last 10 weeks I have enjoyed sweet sleep again so the worry isn't there (yet) but I can honestly say that the hardest thing I may ever have to do - is somehow convince myself to just accept this situation and not try to fix it. I exercised hard yesterday, got outside, relaxed before bedtime, didn't fall asleep on the couch, didn't drink caffeine after name it....but somehow the moment I lay down my body and mind turns on like I am going on the night shift or something. I am more than grateful that I don't also have the mess of medicines mixed in this ugly, ugly thing so that is the thought I will try my best to hold on to today. God knows my mess and though I may never be "healed" I know He won't leave me. And I do believe that He can make beautiful things out of even the ugliest of situations. My strength comes only from you today, Lord. And a little morning coffee. :)