Weaning Feelings and Other Big Emotions

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Elle has been weaned from breastfeeding for almost one week now. She is still a little restless at bedtime as she transitions into a new routine, but for the most part I think we’ve completely crossed over. And to put it bluntly I’m all dried up, so that ship has officially sailed.

I am done having babies and nursing. The goat picture will make sense in a minute.

I was talking to my friend with 5 kids, the one who has walked this motherhood journey with me from day one. I was there with her when her first daughter was born and vice versa. She asked me sympathetically how I was feeling, knowing that Elle is our last baby and I will never breastfeed again. I told her I was sincerely fine with this change.

I’ve been pretty vocal about our family planning on the blog, mostly because it’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about and sometimes it’s a random blogger on the internet that makes you feel a little less alone. I know this because I’ve gotten comments and emails from women who have opened up about the confusing emotional decision to not have anymore children.

In our case,  I knew Elle was the last one when I was pregnant with her. Shortly after her birth we took the leap into having a permanent birth control procedure. We would love to adopt some day so that makes our finality of being finished having kids a lit more murky. Do I save that cute little dinosaur costume in case we adopt a toddler? But back to the topic of breast feeding, that’s something I know I will never be doing again.

I was ready to be done with breastfeeding. It wasn’t sad for me. I nursed each of my four babies for well over a year and Ezie and Elle were basically two years. So I have paid my dues. I was even starting to resent it a little. That’s how I knew it was time to wean Elle. She’s definitely old enough so that’s not the issue. At this point it is a matter of comfort and bonding. For me I was very uncomfortable being woken up at 2:oo am and I don’t think a disgruntled mother scowling  and murmuring is the most positive bonding experience either.

I worked on a goat farm a long time ago and remember watching a not so tiny kid try to get to its mothers teat. As the mother was trying to back away from her child she would turn and bleat. She was done and the kid was old enough to stop. I feel ya momma goat. Even in the animal kingdom some kids need a little extra push and sometimes mommas gotta bleat.

As far as Elle turning two soon. I’m okay with that too, but I am a little wishy washy in my emotions about no longer having a baby. On the one hand I get sad thinking about aging and grown kids. I reminisce about how cute and innocent those precious early years are.

It’s the end of an era, and even with all of the exhaustion it brings, it is a sweet and delightful era.

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After I had Elle I was so hormonal watching her daily changes and rapid growth that I was really grieving the thought of not experiencing any of that ever again. So I made a list. A tangible list. I wrote down dozens and dozens of reasons why I look forward to having older kids and no more babies. Eventually those sad emotions just went a way and I swung the other direction. I started counting down the years until I would no longer need a babysitter to leave the house for a moment. I dream about running in and out of stores alone.

I had a conversation with friends recently that made realize how lucky I am to have four really awesome empowering pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding experiences. Still, after spending the past decade pregnant or nursing I am just ready for this next chapter. It’s time.

I have so many more thoughts on this transition, but I’ll just have to do part two, or three, or four even, because I may feel different after Elle turns two. I may feel different again when she turns three and I’ve crossed the threshold for longest time I have gone without being pregnant. Sigh. I’ll just keeping feeling and blogging.

Onward we go, upward they grow. Thank you God for this incredible journey.

By | September 11th, 2017|Babies & Toddlers, Motherhood, Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|0 Comments

iPhone Cases and Apps That You Will Love

First of all I would like to say thank you to JimmyCASE for giving me the chance to review this awesome iPhone SE wallet case.

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The JimmyCASE iPhone card holder is  ideal for a variety of situations.

For dudes, it’s super slim so it slips in and out of your pocket with ease. It can also eliminate the need for a bulky wallet, which means a lot less junk in the trunk. The JimmyCASE can hold 6 cards plus cash. Everything slides in easily and stays put. It’s amazing.

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For moms like me, I still carry a purse most days, but I love this iPhone case. It especially comes in handy for the many situations when I just want to bring my phone and a little bit of cash.

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For example, when I go to the Children’s Museum I need to carry my phone, ID, membership card, and my debit card. Before the JimmyCASE I would carry everything loosey goosey in my pockets. I was constantly worried that I would loose something important because I have had stuff slip out of my pockets on more than one occasion. The alternative was to bring another bag to carry my wallet in. As a mom, I’ve always got my hands full, so I would rather not bring my purse. It was a conundrum! The JimmyCASE solves all of that. Whether it’s the beach, hiking trails, a concert, or anywhere else I want to pack light, it’s JimmyCASE to the rescue.

My only complaint is that the top power button and side volume buttons are difficult to push with the case on; I am told that it is because it is new and it should break in with time. That makes sense. My favorite shoes are the same way.

You get to customize the look of your iPhone card holder by choosing from an assortment of colors and combinations. Each case is handmade with a silicone bumper and genuine mahogany wood core. The “Magic Elastic Pocket” is designed to never ever stretch out.

The best part about JimmyCASE: they are all made in the good ol’ USA. You can’t beat that.

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Now onto my favorite apps.

  1. Cozi– A long long time ago when SJ was first diagnosed with hearing loss I had to get organized to keep track of all the Doctors appointments. So I went to you dear readers and asked for help. You all came through when you recommended the Cozi app family calendar/organizer. I use it everyday and would be absolutely lost without it!
  2. List Ease– This is my grocery list app. Cozi actually has an option for shopping lists, but I like List Ease because it automatically catogorizes the items in the department that they are located in store. Also, I keep multiple lists labeled and organized easily. Lastly, when you check something off of the list a little animated cartoon comes and checks it off with a pencil. If the kids are shopping with me I keep them entertained by letting them be in charge of Mr. Check Mark and they love this. It’s the little things.img_6640
  3. Disney Magic Timer– This is the Disney Oral-B app that helps kids brush their teeth, and it has been a huge game changer for their oral hygiene habits. First you select a brusher, then when you scan your toothbrush a screen of white bubbles comes up. The timer is set to 2:00 minutes and as the child brushes their teeth the suds are scrubbed away to reveal a colorful Disney picture. disney-timer-app-carsThen the picture acts as a reward sticker for their own personal sticker album. Finally, the toothbrush calendar is a way you can keep track of their brushing. BRILLIANT!brushing-calendar
  4. NBC– Nothing fancy about this app, just a chance to acknowledge that I am on the This Is Us bandwagon. I watch almost no TV at all, in fact I don’t have network television so the only way I can access an NBC show is online. For those that watch, wasn’t this weeks episode sooo good!? I love what they are doing with Kevin’s story. I did not see that coming.
  5. OverDrive– This is for my library audio books. I love me some free audio books, let me tell ya. This app gets the job done. I just recently finished “Raising Grateful Kids in and Entitled World” by Kristen Welch and I would definitely recommend it.

I’ve got other favorites like Trulia (we are currently house hunting, more on that later) and the Bible app, Walmart grocery pick up app, email, social media etc. Those are all the main ones. I keep it pretty simple.

Those are my picks for phone cases and apps. What is on your phone?

 

By | January 27th, 2017|Motherhood, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Four Kids in a Grocery Store

Every once in a while I go somewhere with all four children and seamlessly accomplish the daily tasks at hand. That happens about as often as I find the perfect avocado and consume it at its peak ripeness. It is an anomaly.

Last week I attempted grocery shopping with all four kids. I have done it before and managed okay, but I try to avoid it at all cost. On this particular outing I prepared ahead of time. I had them get their wiggles out before we left and I had something to entertainment each child while in the store. I searched around the parking lot until I found one of those shopping carts that have a car in the front.

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This is a different shopping trip.

Once I had the “shopping car” I strapped the baby into the baby seat, the two younger ones were side by side strapped in with their own steering wheel, and my oldest has, by the grace of God, reached the level of maturity where he can walk beside me for an entire 45 minutes (PTL).

The first half of our excursion went okay. They each got to pick out one treat for later while I scanned the aisles. Toward the end of our excursion we hit some rough terrain. Despite my threats and pleas I could see that we were headed for a crash landing. We barely made it to checkout when Elle started screaming. Then everyone started fighting and shouting at illegal decibels levels. The young man that was bagging my groceries was moving at a glacial pace and for some reason he kept asking me if I wanted my items bagged.

Do you want this bagged? He would mumble slowly holding up a package of gum.

Yeah, that’s fine. I tried to shout back over the screaming children.

Do you want your milk in a bag?

No that’s okay. 

Do you want your watermelon in a bag? 

No.

I finally unleash Ezie and SJ thinking they could help put groceries on the belt and they did, but afterwards they decided to climb on top of the plastic car. At this point the bag boy is still asking if I want stuff in a bag.

Now hold up a second. I’ve been to the grocery store a few times in my life. I get the question about the milk, the gum, the watermelon, but he even asked if I wanted my cinnamon rolls from the bakery which were in a plastic container in a bag! Huh? I was so desperate at the moment that I just told him No. Just throw it in the cart.

The bag boy  put all of my groceries in a separate cart from the one containing my children so I definitely needed his help getting it to my vehicle. Then I realize on my way out that I had pre-purchased a bag of ice. So I left the bag boy, the carts, and all of my screaming children in the doorway as I quickly grabbed the ice.

The ice is right by the door! Right there! But in that brief moment it was like a crowd rivaling that of black friday were trying to enter the doorway we were blocking. Really!? Why? How?

It happened quickly, but you know how in a car wreck or life threatening situation things seem to happen in slow motion? That’s how this was.

I saw all these people with carts wanting to get past my traveling circus and they are staring in horror and disbelief as Elle is screaming bloody murder, SJ is sitting on the car like she’s riding a horse and Ezie is running around wildly. It was like I died right there and left my body and my spirit was floating above watching the tragic scene and my spirit man was also staring down in shock at the four crazy children and screaming mother. Then my spirit came back into my body and I managed to get my cart and my clan out the door and into the parking lot.

The second that my key remote was close enough I popped my trunk and told the bag boy he could just load them on top of the stroller in the back. Except when he got to my vehicle he left the cart full of groceries and took off. He didn’t make eye contact or mutter a word. He just fled the scene like a victim escaping captivity.

I sighed. Who could blame him? I loaded up my kids as steam was evaporating off of my body. Z was the only one who got to have his good behavior treat that he had picked out. Every else including myself had acted out of control in the store.

I just have to take it all in stride knowing someday I’ll be able to go to the grocery store and maybe, just maybe I’ll find the perfect avocado.

By | August 12th, 2016|Family, Laughter, Motherhood, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Getting Emotional About the Last Baby

While in Texas last week I got to spend some time with Connie (the pastor’s wife at the church where we did ministry for many years). She is the same age as my mom and always has so much valuable wisdom to impart. When talking about motherhood Connie reminisced about her only daughter graduating from High School and leaving for college. This was close to 15 years ago when she was about to become an empty nester and her daughter asked her Are you going to miss this? 

Connie replied

Yes. I am going to miss you, but I have always missed every stage that you have gone through. I missed having a little baby around, I missed the toddler stage, and when you turned 16 and no longer needed me to drive you around I missed that. But then I also always looked forward to the next stage. I get to watch you grow and discover new things.

That’s it. That’s what I have had to remind myself over and over. It’s hard knowing that aside from whatever could happen with potentially adopting a chid we are done having children. Baby Elle is the last time I will experience so many of these things and it’s all happening so fast! I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck over it.

I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes and I’ll admit I have done that when I have read lengthy status updates about someones first baby turning one and how the world is ending because their baby is “all grown up”. Then I know plenty of other people that are just shy of detesting babies/toddlers and toast cheerfully to each passage toward independence.

I don’t do change quite so well.

Ten years ago I was so reluctant to have children. I never wanted to disrupt the connection between my husband and I or our childless freedom. I could hardly fathom life tied down with babies. Now that J and I have children of our own our relationship has definitely changed, but it’s become so much deeper and stronger. We both wish we would have started our family sooner!

Then when I had Z my world changed forever as I stepped into the role of mom. I didn’t want to upset that relationship either. I don’t know how many mothers I have talked to who have all said the same thing- I don’t know how I could ever love another child as much as I love this one. Then they had the next child and the love only grew. I do have a soft spot for those first two years of motherhood when it was just Z and I, but there is nothing like getting to watch siblings interact and bond with one another. You not only get to love more children, but you get this amazing gift of watching them bond and love each other. It’s amazing!

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Every stage so far has had it’s pros in cons. You trade in sleepless nights for power struggle days cushioned by adorable phrases of overwhelming cuteness. Then chubby little faces turn into grins with missing teeth. Before you know it you begin to connect on a deeper level and have conversations about history, and ride bikes together, or play board games where you are actually challenged. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, but I see a pattern. It keeps getting better. I wouldn’t trade any of it.

I’m sure this stage of parenting is just like the other stages that I was reluctant to embark upon. If I had only known all the joy and fulfillment that was coming I might not have been so hesitant. I know there are parts of this season of life that I will miss, isn’t that always the case? But for now I am just soaking it all up. Living in this moment that is a gift from God and knowing that there are so many more new and wonderful memories that await.

Of course I sound all sentimental and peaceful now, but we’ll see how I feel in 15 years. Shoot, with the way my emotions swing you can ask me how I feel tomorrow. For now, I can handle the bitter sweet fact that my babies will not stay babies forever.

By | April 7th, 2016|Babies & Toddlers, Motherhood|1 Comment

The Big Six

SJ turned 6 years old on Friday. If you have spent any time around MessyMom.com then you probably know I like to party. SJ has had a Cupcake Party, Green Eggs and Ham Party, Donut Party, and Tea Party. However as I said in my blog post “How to avoid overboard kid parties” I don’t do theme parties every year and this is an off year. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun though! SJ still had a fabulous birthday and I still got to cherish all those gigantic smiles with FOUR teeth missing.

I started the day by sneaking in her room to hang some streamers in the door and throw some pink balloons on her bed. This might sound fancy, but trust me it was nothing you are going to see on pinterest. She woke up late so all 5 of us snuck into her room to surprise her (not hard to do with a deaf girl). We sang happy birthday as a family and she was beaming!

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Her birthday outfit was a shirt I got from a yard sale that had a number 5 on it, but I covered it with a pin that said “I am 6” and she also wore her cupcake headband from last year which was from a conisgnment shop.

No slaving over the oven this year. The cupcakes I sent with her to school were store bought and the 13×9 cake that we ate that night was all from a box.

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My parents and nieces and nephew came over for her “party”. It worked out great because they were going to come over anyway because their mom just had a baby and needs to rest. It made for a really great surprise birthday slumber party though.

Decorations $2

Birthday accessories $6

Birthday desserts $10

Birthday joy- Priceless

So as you can see it was definitley a low budget simple year and I know SJ still loved it just as much as the years I go all out.

The fun continued on Saturday since the family was still around to hang out and ride scooters.

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Then Sunday she graduated to the big girl class at children’s church and yesterday she had her first daddy/daughter date.

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That’s the last of it though. The birthday festivities are officially over until next year, which may or may not be a theme party. I’ll warn you though, if an idea sparks, there is no stopping me!

 

By | March 8th, 2016|Frugal Living, Motherhood, Parties, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Freedom From Parenting Guilt

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Like most parents I fear that I fall short with my children. I worry that I don’t have what it takes as a mom and that I could possibly ruin my one shot at this child rearing thing. It’s not a constant thought, but it’s this lingering insecurity. I used to love to listen to a pastor named Miles Welch, who had a podcast for college students. I was way too married and grown up for the topics be applicable to me, but I tuned in anyway and I am glad I did. One day I was sweeping the kitchen while casually listening to the Q&A session on the podcast* when there was a question from a young man asking how he could forgive his dad who was responsible for breaking up the family with a divorce. What Miles had to say in response pretty much jumped out of iTunes and punched me in the gut (in a good way).
He said
“You know, that is a hard question. At some point I was really disgruntled by my parents. I had to learn to accept them for who they were – limited and faulted. You can’t put too much
hope in humanity, we are flawed, fallen people. Now there’s hope in Christ, but we shouldn’t have an idealistic view of humanity. We place too much hope in what a person can be. I used to be really angry that my parents left a mark on my soul. Now that I am a parent I know that every parent leaves a mark on a soul. I am going to for my daughter and I don’t know how to stop it. I feel like I can protect my child from Hollywood. I can protect my child from crazy teachers, and soccer coaches. I can protect my child from anybody but me, because I will leave a mark, and I am a broken person, and as hard as I try I will fail her and she will have to learn to forgive me. She was wired to have a perfect father, and she has me instead.”
I almost dropped my broom in the kitchen when I heard that and it’s stuck with me for all these years. My children are wired for a perfect father and I can’t meet that need and I am not supposed to be expected to. It was in that moment that the weight of the world fell off of my shoulders and Christ set me free from that guilt and insecurity. I was
wanting to be God to my children. Now don’t get me wrong I want to show Christ to them every moment that I breathe 24/7, but the fact of the matter is I mess up time and time again. The further along I go on this parenting journey I can see how it is actually helpful for my kids to see my weakness, to see me grappling with reality.  That way some day they can see that even though I often struggled as a mother and wife, God’s grace was/is sufficient for me. Maybe they will learn that God is who they need to ultimately fulfill them not a parent, friend, or spouse. I pray that it teaches them about forgiveness and that they will truly embrace the grace of God that is there for them as well.
This is post was originally published October 6th, 2014 as part of a 31 Day Series. 
The quote was taken from * Miles Welch, 12 Stone podcast- Marriage and Divorce episode #76 June 28, 2011
By | September 14th, 2015|Family, Motherhood, Parenting Tips|10 Comments

My #1 Son

 

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There really isn’t anything significant about turning 8 and yet somehow Z is changing so much all of the sudden! It really snuck up on me, but I first noticed it when I did my run down of asking each of the kids to go potty before we let the house and Z requested that I NOT use the word potty with him. He says it’s embarrassing. Since then I have caught myself several times, but I am working on it.

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We were at Ikea recently. J and I have always waited with great anticipation for each one of our children to be tall enough to get into small land. This last time as Z stood in front of the height marker I noticed that he is closer to being TOO TALL to get in than he is to being to small. When did that happen?

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This photo is from last year when he turned 7.

Similarly, I asked him to pull up a stool to help with dishes the other night and he informed me he didn’t need a stool. I honestly did not believe him. I figured he’d be reaching on his tippy toes, but nope. He can stand at the sink and wash dishes perfectly fine without a stool.

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There are tons of little things like this. For example I am glad Carter’s offers size eight now but this is a recent extension of their children’s selection. There are lots of stores that lump the size 8 in with the preteen clothes. So even shopping has made me realize what a big boy he is.

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He’s still a young though and he is not afraid to hold hands, which melts my heart. Holding my child’s hand has got to be one of my favorite parts of being a mom. Physical touch isn’t my love language so I am a little surprised at how much warmth and connection I feel with this small gesture. Even just walking across the parking lot (when they aren’t trying to pry away and dart off) holding hands is the best feeling in the world. At the end of the last school year we were walking on the sidewalk holding hands and I asked him if he would still hold my hand in 2nd grade and he said “Yes. I will hold your hand in all the grades”. I know that’s not true, that would be weird. It was still sweet to hear along with seeing drawings like this

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or school papers like this

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or a Lite-Brite with these words.

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Or notes in my pocket like this

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He was the one that started me on this motherhood assignment. I call him my #1 son. He knows what I mean by that. It doesn’t mean he is above all the rest, but he was the first. I know he often feels slighted due to his siblings getting more attention at times and I remind him of the special place he has in my heart as my #1 son. I feel exceedingly blessed to have this precious boy in my life. 
IMG_1485Happy 8th birthday Z.

By | September 4th, 2015|Motherhood, My Life|5 Comments

Living in Holland (Thoughts From a Special Needs Mom)

If you have a  child diagnosed with some form of special needs then you have probably come across the “Welcome To Holland” essay by Emily Perl Kingsley. Basically it compares the shock of finding out your child has a disability to the feelings you would have if you planned a trip to Italy, but landed in Holland. The idea behind the whole analogy is that Holland isn’t BAD it’s just different and may take time to readjust your original plans and learn your way around.

The comparison applies to my situation well. I thought I was raising a perfectly “normal” (for lack of a better word) child the first two years of her life before I learned that SJ was deaf. I was speaking Italian, bought all the guide books for Italy, and really believed I was in Italy until that point which I consider my crash landing in Holland.

I have known about SJ’s hearing loss for 3 years now. The 2 1/2 year mark was a significant threshold for me because at that point I knew that my daughter was deaf longer than I knew her as (I thought) a hearing child.

It really does get easier. I have an appreciation for Holland. I’ve met lots of new friends here and learned so much. I’ve got the Holland guide books and maps now. I might as well have a tshirt and bumper sticker declaring my loyalty to Holland! There are moments though. There are moments you remember this wasn’t your original destination. I am being candid because I know I am not the only special needs mom going through this.

For example I have never babied or coddled SJ for her disability. She can truly accomplish anything she wants to do. She has been learning to swim this summer and let me tell you she is a champ. She fearlessly tackles this mission with great passion and fervency. She does so without the use of her cochlear implants so she is completely without hearing the whole time. I try to sit by the pool for a little break and she will tug on me and sign  “Practice! Practice! Mom, practice.” I see her going after it with all she’s got and when she comes up for air with the splashes of water blurring her vision I scream “Good job. Take a breath. KICK! KICK! KICK! You’ve got this!” but I know she can’t hear me. She can’t even read my lips or see me with the conditions that we are working with in that moment and I have felt helpless. Similarly, when my three kids are going to sleep (they share a room for now) I lie there in the dark with them for a while and Ezie says he wants to pray. After he finishes he wants his sister to take a turn. I tell him SJ can’t hear us right now because she doesn’t have her implants. If it were light it would be different because she reads lips so well, and with her implants she is just communicating non stop, but the next night we went through the same thing and Ezie said SJ needed to get her implants. He’s two and just starting to verbalize more himself, so it’s kind of heart breaking to hear him process all of it for the first time. Add to some of these emotions that SJ is starting kindergarten and she can’t go to the same school or have the same opportunities as her brother and it’s just another layer of Oh yeah, I was supposed to be in Italy.

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I know I shouldn’t feel guilty sharing some of these stories, but I do because we are so blessed and I love SJ exactly as she is. We are to the point now that if I try to think of what life would be like if she weren’t deaf I absolutely can’t wrap my brain around it because it’s a part of who she is. It’s like trying to picture what she would be like if she had been a boy. That’s just not who she is and I don’t want to change a thing.

As far as the little bumps in the road, we can purchase special gear that she can wear in the water to swim with her cochlear implants on. We can make sure everyone takes a turn praying in bed before SJ takes her implants off. She goes to a phenomenal school, and will have tons of wonderful experiences this year in Kindergarten. These are really minor things, but as in the Holland analogy it’s different and it takes some getting used to.

I have a friend whose son just crossed the one year mark of being a double amputee and that family has the most incredible testimony.

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I have loved cheering them along as I have watched all that their little man has achieved and I can’t wait to see what comes next. They have a caring bridge site where they post updates about Jude’s progress. Reading some of their experience has been like reliving my own. Even though SJ has artificial hearing and Jude has artificial legs there are just TONS of similarities.

I don’t know it all (that’s for sure) but since I feel like I am a couple years ahead on this journey I shared with my friend what I have come to realize after being thrown into the world of special needs parenting. I wanted to encourage her that just because it’s been a year doesn’t mean that you should be completely adjusted and move on. It’s been 3 years since SJ’s diagnosis and we are still in the transition stage. I look at the timeline like this Old normal, shock, transition (or adjustment, or adaptation), and then new normal.

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We spent just over two years living in the old normal, there was probably a year of living in shock and just doing my best to stay afloat. The last two years have been transition and we’ll be here for a while. I feel pretty darn close to “New Normal” but we still have such a long way to go. I feel like for us that will be when she goes to main stream schooling. I’m sure it looks different for everyone and more experienced moms could give a lot more insight into all this and the multifaceted layers. I am just learning, but this is my message for those in similar situations. Don’t feel like you have to rush into coping or adjusting. It’s going to be uncomfortable at times for some more than others, and somedays you are in Holland with a map from Italy. That’s okay, you will get there. I will get there. Our precious babies will get there and boy will we have stories of all the adventures we’ve had!

By | August 31st, 2015|Motherhood, My Life, Parenting Tips, Special Needs, Uncategorized|6 Comments

How Do I Know I am Done Having Babies?

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J and I always wanted a big family. We were in agreement, but we never set a number. It seems for a lot of people they have always known exactly how many kids they wanted, but I never did.

Yet, here we are at baby number 4 and suddenly I know that I’m done.

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This is actually SJ. I don’t have a sono of baby #4 yet.

It’s not that frazzled hair, bug-eyed mom staring blankly into space whimpering, “No more. Pleeease make it stop!”. I mean, I might look like that mom at times, but that’s not how I feel about it.

I’m going to be extremely candid and uncensored with my personal thoughts and feelings here, so please keep in mind that they are just that- personal. Every couple needs to follow their own path when it comes to bearing children; when, if, and how many. And sometimes that path is determined for you for various reasons. I don’t want my words to be hurtful, I am just expressing how it’s worked out for me at this point. That’s all.

There are a lot of reasons I feel like I am done, but the biggest is that I don’t want to birth children when I am over 35. There I said it. I said it to someone the other day who gracefully mentioned that ALL of her children were born when she was over 35. I hope I did a decent enough job of pulling my foot out of my mouth when she told me that, because I really do think she and other women like her are awesome. I know lots of people that have gone that route and I am all for it.

For me though, I will be turning 33 this month and so as far as I’m concerned this is it. Given my fertility history, if we continued having children I would be at least 35 when the next one would be born. I know that pregnancies after 35 are considered “high risk”, but that’s not even why I decided this. I just had a peace about having closure at this time. My body has been either pregnant or nursing for 8 years. After this baby I will have committed a decade of my life to using my body as a beautiful and miraculous source of nourishment. I feel a little sad about moving on from that season, but I know I’m ready. It’s not just about pregnancy either, these children grow up and I am considering my age when they graduate, and potentially have my grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Only God knows the future. Children, health, and lives in general are all very unpredictable. So I realize my planning is somewhat futile, but I still like to dream about what lies ahead.

I look forward to soaking up every last bit of this pregnancy and turning the pages slowly as I close the chapter on this era.

I like that I know so many other moms that are at the same stage as me. I feel like there is a bond between us. If you know me, you know I never let conformity determine my choices AT ALL, but I have a lot of women I can turn to for support about this decision. And that’s a nice feeling.

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Me and one of my closest friends when we were pregnant with our oldest sons (8 years ago). She has had 6 pregnancies and I’ve had 4. We are both feeling  the same about the next step.

The thought of missing the tiny toddler voices makes my heart ache, but I get a burst of excitement thinking of being able to ride bikes as a family, or travel and minister together, and play board games on a level that is fun for everyone involved.

My mind continues to waltz through visions of each season; from enjoying regular date nights with my husband again when we are in our
40’s, to planning weddings and welcoming grandchildren in our 50’s, maybe seeing the world in our 60’s, and then perhaps great grandchildren?

Who knows what will happen. Plans change. Circumstances change. Feelings change. Proverbs 27:1 says “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” As far as what J and I have discussed though (and there was a lot of prayer and discussion), this will be my final pregnancy. The million dollar question is always How do you know when you are done? The answer is simple for me.

I know I am done because the thought of it is comforting.

lastpregnacy

By | June 2nd, 2015|Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy & Birth|15 Comments

Mothers Are Like Clocks

Long ago, before we even had children we bought this large clock for our kitchen. It actually set itself automatically and changed when the time changes twice a year. It was just a simple analog clock, so I never did figure out how it could adjust the time like magic, but it was faithful to do so.

The clock moved from Texas, to Kentucky, and finally Ohio where it adorned our kitchen once more. It wasn’t the cutest or trendiest home decor item but it had an important purpose. Our son even learned how to tell time the old fashioned way thanks to that clock. I’ll admit that it had gradually sped up over the years to the point that I knew it wasn’t perfectly accurate, but it still helped me stay on schedule. It just kept faithfully ticking away.

That was until recently when the clock stopped.

I thought it was 12:55 pm for two hours before I realized what happened. I panicked and rushed out the door to pick up my kids from school. When I returned home I immediately went to change the batteries. The problem is that it still didn’t work. We tried different batteries. We tried reseting it. Even the fixer of our family couldn’t revive it. So we had to face the fact that after ten years of service to our family the clock had come to the end of it’s life.

Time of death? Unknown.
Bad joke. Sorry.

Anyway, into the trash it went and about a week passed by without the clock hanging on the wall. Even despite our phones, computers, and other various digital clocks I had relied on that one for so long that I thought I would loose my mind if it wasn’t replaced soon. I looked up at that blank spot on the wall probably 20 times a day. I expected to see the time only to be repeatedly disappointed. I feel lost when I don’t know what time it is.

Today we finally replaced the clock and life can proceed as normal.

With mother’s day around the corner this got me thinking. Moms are a lot like clocks. As a child you rely on your mother to keep time, to get you where you need to go, to maintain a steady rhythm, to be there to keep the machine running non stop… like clock work! Then one day you grow up and enter adulthood and you realize just how much you looked up to your mom. It’s in hindsight that you can fully appreciate the depth of what she did for you.

When I think about my old clock I see so many parallels to my mother.

I don’t know how she did it all- all the time, but it happened. Like magic. And if sometimes her timing wasn’t perfect it didn’t matter because she got the job done. She served our family faithfully. She was committed every second, minute, and hour of every day. Her purpose was and is invaluable.

She taught me how to cherish the time.

So this is for all the mother’s out there that are constantly running. To the moms that are a source of reliability and consistency for their families, and those who are trying to embrace every moment as time marches on. Your role in your family is obviously deeper and more intimate than any old clock, but maybe next time you look at the time you can think about the bigger picture because whether you feel it or not, I can assure you that you are appreciated.

 Happy Mother’s Day.
By | May 1st, 2015|Family, Motherhood, Uncategorized|16 Comments