Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ghetto Fences

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Gracious! Life has been full and sweet this past month! I have had the absolute blessed privilege of cuddling my sweet little man over and over. We are adjusting beautifully to Vince joining our family. The girls still jump at the chance to hold him or help change his diaper, which is just beautiful! Faye is becoming rather adept at dirty diaper changing! And Keith is the biggest help ever! He is always on hand when I need someone to hold Vince so that I can do anything that needs two arms. And it is the sweetest thing ever! And Beth makes me laugh all the time. "Mommy," she says, "Vince is looking at me with his cute little eyes!"

At the beginning of April I started watching my friend's little girls again. They are so much fun and really keep me busy. I had been lobbying since I began watching the girls for a fence to be put up. And the trampoline. That way, when the baby was born, I would be able to feed him, take care of him, and the girls could play safely in the back yard. Last week was the lucky week where we got the trampoline up, and yesterday the fence was installed. Yay!

I know my fence isn't anything fancy, but it serves its purpose. It is made of some garden fence posts, and pig wire. But I don't care about that. I don't care that it looks all kinds of ghetto. I care so much that the children can now play outside without me worrying about their safety! My dad came by, and he got the whole thing installed while I was feeding Vince. It is now such a relief for me. One less thing to worry about. All in all, life has been treating us very well, indeed.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Finnigan O'Brian Was Here

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I mean aside from every day in October, but you already knew that. Today is the day I get to prank my kids all. day. long. and blame it on Finnigan O'brian, our visiting leprechaun. I get to create magic, and they all believe in it. Even skeptic Keith who has never believed in Santa believes in the reality of leprechauns.

Last night Lisa came by. She wanted to meet Vince, and we hadn't talked in ages, so when her kids were in bed, she left her sleeping husband in charge, and came over. It is always so delightful to visit with Lisa, and we had a very enjoyable evening. She oohed and aahed appropriately over Vince (and by appropriately, I mean until I was blushing) and held him a bit so I could enjoy the luxuries of life, like going to the bathroom. When my kids were finally asleep and Prince Vince was fed, diaper changed, burped, swaddled and placed in his bassinet, Lisa and I sneaked out on a special mission.

My life long friend Leslie is a phenomenal seamstress. Each year she makes an article of clothing for Finnigan.

This year, they were darling rainbow bracers, and I wish I had some for me, they are that cute! I chatted with Leslie a bit, and we got caught up, and then Lisa and I hurried back. I pulled out the paint and glitter, and we set to work, fixing up the house to be an entropy of glitter and gold. Lisa had a brilliant idea when I told her I love to prank the kids, but didn't know of any pranks off the bat. She suggested we move the couch from the living room into the kitchen, and the kitchen table into the living room. I loved it!

We stopped what we were doing and tackled that job immediately, and it looked fabulous! I added some plastic fish I found on the floor to the flower vase on my table, too. And then the green paint for the leprechaun feet throughout the hard wood floors. I decided to forgo the toilet as one of the kids typically wakes up on the night to use the bathroom, and so it would be wasted before anyone got to see it this year.

All day long Keith had been talking about how he wants to be friends with the leprechaun, and doesn't want his gold. He said he really wanted a scavenger hunt, too. Jeffrey told Keith that he would have to build a leprechaun trap in order to get the wee man to slow down long enough to read the letter Keith had written him. Keith wrote his letter, placed it in front of the trap, put the trousers and dinner jacket in the trap in hopes the leprechaun could take his clothes back home, and then he went to bed. This was a bit of a problem for me since I had already commissioned Leslie to make the bracers, and they were finished! I didn't know how to get him to leave them behind if he was expected to take all of his clothes home! And then my lovely Leslie came up with a brilliant idea. She suggested we tell him it is due to ancient leprechaun law. And that is what we did. Lisa and I (mostly Lisa) came up with this response to his letter.

Keith's letter said "Can you give us a scavenger hunt and take your clothes! in return."

We responded with: "Top o' the mornin' tikes! I found the trap was set by ye. As ye can tell, ye can't boss me! As told by ancient leprechaun law: If ye catch me, even a paw, Something must be left behind. Something that's no longer mine! This is why I've left me drawers, jacket, suspenders, and I'm out the door. So please don't fret and please don't cry. My tailor sews for both of us. Until next year, enjoy these treats, and always love your mother sweet! Love Finnegan "Lucky" O'Brian.

When all was set up Lisa took a few pictures and went home.

Faye woke up twice in the night. The first time, she rushed into the living room and brought me the notebook to find out what the leprechaun had responded. I was so tired, though, having just then gotten Vinny to sleep, and dropped off myself. I told her we would read it in the morning. When morning came, the kids thought it was the greatest thing in the world, to have me be the one Finnigan was messing with this year. They laughed delightedly, but Keith was disappointed there was no hunt. I made the kids get ready for school and while they did that, I put a few drops of food coloring into their bowls, and then began cooking some cream of wheat. As they stirred their porridge, it gradually turned green, and they thought that was funny, too!

They both left for school in high spirits, and I have to say that I think i was a success again this year! I was planning on drawing up a hunt for them for this afternoon, but things got out of my control, and I have to just be happy that they got what they got, and they are happy and grateful for it.

Happy St. Paddy's day, friends! May the wind be always at your back!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Vince meeting one of his grandfathers. It was a very tender moment.
It snowed today, and it was beautiful. Oh my goodness, it was simply lovliness. I cherish that I got to snuggle with my girls and Vince, watching those gorgeous flakes flitting down, not quite covering the ground, but enough that the birds all ran for cover in our bushes. The girls especially loved watching those birds scamper and flutter from branch to branch, ducking the flakes and trying to get warm. It made me wish I still had some bird food tucked away in the closet. Note to self, I am going to have to invest in more bird food, as it is always a treat and joy to see our feathered friends flying around. Faye loves and talks to the mourning doves, and my personal favorite is the blue bird whose wings seem to glitter in the right light.

Vince's umbilical cord fell off today. I was so happy to see it finally gone. I love when I get to finally see their belly button. Right now his is half innie, half outie. But I don't think I can actually tell yet, as it is still a bit red and tender, and possibly swollen. But, now I get to give him real baths, and that is the thing I am most excited for. This little guy is such a joy, I cannot even explain! He is so calm and sweet tempered, and wonderfully cuddly!
Now, bedtime has become quite the ordeal lately. Sunday, Faye broke down into tears, sobbing and begging to have "just one night to sleep on my own!" Keith is still sleeping with the girls right now. Last night, none of the kids got to bed before 10 o'clock, and I was nearly ready to banish them for life! They both got sent to stand with their noses in the corners until they could calm down. They were fits and giggles and like explosive firecrackers. They standing in the corner seemed to help a bit, but my goodness, they were difficult! Tonight, I noticed that Faye's fitted sheet was lying on the floor. I asked the kids to put it back on her bed. Ten minutes later, I found the mattress propped up Beth's bed, the other end on the floor, and they were sliding down it, and laughing all the way. When I asked them to put the mattress back on the bed, the top bunk, a circus came to her bedroom and preformed. Or maybe it was more like a Vaudeville variety show. Beth was constantly crying. The mattress fell on her, she tripped, the big kids weren't letting her help, they looked at her wrong, etc. Keith got beneath the mattress and tried to lift it up from under while Faye tried to guide him from above, pulling and tugging on the side where she was, which was typically the opposite direction that Keith was going, usually making him topple in a fit of giggles. I began looking around for the roller skating brown bears. Eventually Jeffrey came to the rescue, and like Colossus he hefted the mattress with Keith and Faye clinging on beneath it, and he carried it over to the bed. The kids dropped off, and he hoisted it easily into place with the kids laughing like the Stooges around his legs.
Vinny, on the other hand, is such a dear when it comes to sleeping. He still only wakes up once a night, and I am over the moon about it. I have never had such a good baby when it comes to sleep. I just love his guts, and am so blessed to have him. He provides a wonderful peace in our home. Everybody needs a Vince in their lives.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cherishing the Routine


After a grueling nine months of illness and extreme exhaustion, I am so pleased to say that I feel like I am getting back to my old self.

Schedules are being remembered, my grumpiness is waning, and glory be, my house is finally getting cleaned again! I have had a clean kitchen and living room for two days straight, a record since getting pregnant! And I don't mean I never cleaned during those nine months, because I did. I just didn't seem to have the energy to stay on top of things. I would clean a room, walk out, the kids would mess it up, I would try to get them to clean up their messes, a fight would ensue, and someone would break out in tears, usually me. I would give up, go lock myself in my bedroom, and just be alone until I could be around people again.

Rinse and repeat.

Every. single. day.

But I haven't had to do any deep cleaning, because I have been on top of things, and I have felt up to getting things done, and it feels glorious!

My life isn't consumed with feeding Vince as much as it was that first week. I can put him down for an hour or two at a time and get things done, and what a sweet boy he is, he just sits in his bouncer, happily,  either awake and thoughtfully watching what is going on around him with those big baby grey eyes of his, or sleeping, soaking up the sun. Because of course, when I put him in the bouncer it is with as much of his Oompa-loompa orange skin exposed to soak up the lovely sun, spilling through our windows, to help drop those darn bilirubin levels which have been steadily climbing.

I recently read the most gorgeous thing, written by CS Lewis. He said "The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only- and that is to support the ultimate career."

What a lovely sentiment! While nursing Vince today, I decided to catch up on reading some favorite blogs. NieNie Dialogues showed up and so I spent my time reading and being re-inspired by her passion and love for this wonderful calling of Motherhood. It really is the ultimate career. There are so many things said in jest about mothers having to be experts in all fields from chef, to taxi driver, CPA to home doctor, etc. But the privlige we mothers have to witness these huge spirits in little bodies grow and learn, to guide them and teach them is the most spectacular thing ever! How on earth did I get to be so lucky to be entrusted with four of these giants of spirits?! These children teach me so much, and we learn so much every single day that we are together. What a blessing they are in my life! Stephanie Nielson has inspired me yet again to capture the little moments of every day. To capture the tears and the laughter, the accidents and the chaos, and to find the beauty in it.

The kids have been very tired lately, so today has been a day with a focus very much on rest. We didn't go to church, which makes me sad. I really wanted the kids to go, but what with daylight savings time, and being up so late feeding the baby, I didn't even wake up until around 10:00, and then by the time I was through feeding the baby, there was no hope to get them there for even the last class. Sad. Hopefully next week we will do better. I am anxious for the day we are all at church, as a complete family with my little Mister Baby Man. But we usually keep the baby home for at least a month, especially when said baby is born in times of illness. Which means Jeffrey and I will be taking turns taking the kids to church until we feel Vince is strong enough to be around everyone.

Going along with our day of rest, we have done some serious journaling, reading, and right now Faye is meditating, while Keith is in bed, "resting." I love that today has been so peaceful and restful. We have enjoyed candles and tea with some dark chocolate turtle poke cake. We have talked, laughed, and a few fights broke out. But all in all, it has been such a lovely day!

I hope that I can cherish these moments a little more deeply, and share my love and appreciation with the children a little more often.

And Then There Were Four

Friday, March 4th, my external version was scheduled for 1 o'clock. I got a phone call at 7 asking if we could change it to 9:30. At that point I hadn't found anyone to watch the girls, so I hopped on the phone immediately. I am so glad my dad is retired now, as he was able to watch them on such short notice.

And so, I rushed the kids out the door and to school, then took Beth to my parent's house. Jeffrey came home fro work so he could come with me, and we headed up to the hospital. On our way there, Jeffrey commented that this was the last time he wanted to go there until the baby was born. I heartily seconded his opinion!

Now, Thursday morning I had had a vivid dream that little baby man had turned. I was so excited! When I sat up, however, it still felt like he was upright, so I kept praying. I told this to my midwife who responded that she has seen stranger things, and I got prepped and ready (bracing myself) for the ordeal that was sure to follow. The doctor walked in who was going to be helping with this, and I was happy to see that he was a different doctor from the previous one. He assured me he would use some gel, so there would be no Indian burn inflicted. He pulled out the ultrasound machine, put it on my belly for a fraction of a second, clapped his hands as if to dust them off after a difficult job, and said "Congratulations, I am a magic doctor." Apparently the baby had turned! He was head down for the first time my entire pregnancy! Everyone in the room was thrilled. Christy and I had a quick chat and decided that she should break my water then and there, rather than risk him turning again. He was very high, and so while it wasn't probable, it was entirely possible for this little dude to do some more swimming and flip upright again. Since she understood my deep aversion to having a c-section birth, and I was far enough along that Baby Man was probably developed all the way, we went ahead and did it. She broke my water at 11 that morning.

And thus followed one of the longest days of my life.

We had expected to be holding our little baby by 2 at the latest, but 2 o'clock came around, and I hadn't progressed a whole lot more. He had descended a bit more, but not enough. And the waiting game continued. Around 4, Christy instructed the nurse, (who was absolutely amazing, by the way. I have never in all my days had a better nurse!) to give me some pitocin to help my body move things along. And then every 30 minutes after that, they increased it by 2 drips a minute. Which means that it was a very low dose, and coming at an incredibly slow speed. I was happily oblivious to the changes my body was making. The monitor said that I was having contractions, I just wasn't feeling them, which left me incredibly happy and hopeful that I would have one of those amazing births where I get dilated to 10 cm and am virtually pain free!

Unfortunately, that is not how things played out. Of all my births, this was the most intense and the most difficult I have ever gone through. It lasted the longest, too! Around 9 is when the contractions began to really get me. I tried everything I could think of to ease the pressure, but to no avail. I had been determined that I was not going to have another baby lying on my back, as I had read so much literature that stated this is the most painful position of all. I tried my hands and knees, walking around, the two different exercise balls they had, and everything else. I found that for me, the most comfortable position was lying on my side. Which is a funny way to say it, because comfortable, I was not!

I slowly, gradually, dilated to 10 cm, but my body still wasn't feeling the urge to push. I pushed anyway. I learned that it hurt far less if I pushed during one of the surges, rather than try to get through it. It seemed to be taking a long time, and I had forgotten that it was possible to feel pain that intensely. I prayed through each and every one for the strength to be able to make it through. I prayed for the power of the Atonement to help me through, and if it was at all possible, for the pain to somehow be lessened. I prayed so much, and I know it is because of those prayers, that I got through it. And then we learned that the baby, my sweet stubborn little boy, was transverse. Which means he was facing the wrong way. This, we deducted, is probably the reason that my body was having a hard time getting him out! Christy asked me to lie on my back, as with his angle, it would probably be easier for me. She was right, and though I didn't want to give up my dream of delivering crouched, or on my knees, I ended up on my back, pushing that little guy out.

At 10:24 my beautiful Vince Orlan was born, and I could breathe again. They placed him in my arms,  all 7 lbs 9 oz of him, and he and I just cuddled and relished the moment. He didn't cry at all. He nestled in, and I quickly wrapped him in a blanket against my chest and loved on him. He is absolutely perfect! He stayed happily in my arms as long as we could, and after about 45 minutes I agreed to have him taken, cleaned off, weighed, measured, and all the other things the nurses do, while Christy checked to make sure everything was well with me. As with all my other natural births, I did get some incredible shivers afterward. I always do. But I was well, and he was well. They gave him back to me, and I got to nurse him, and he nursed like a champ!

Vince is by far my smallest baby, measuring in at 19 inches. He was also, by far, my hardest pregnancy and delivery. I attribute that partially to the fact that he is a boy. I have a harder time in pregnancy with the boys. Also, I think it is partially because I am so much older now than I was when I had Keith. On the other hand, though, this has been above and beyond my easiest recovery. I am actually quite amazed at how quickly and how well I have been recovering. I haven't needed to take very much pain medication, and I am thinking of trying some light yoga today. I know I can't push myself very hard yet, but I figure, if I am going to ease back into exercising, I may as well start with something as gentle on the body as yoga.

So far, he is a delightfully good baby. He mostly only cries when he is cold, which means usually when I am trying to change his diaper. He sleeps a lot, and is slightly jaundice-y, which is something I have to battle. Feedings take a LOT longer than I would like, because he falls asleep. Because of his sleeping habits, they can range anywhere from half an hour, to two hours, which only gives me about an hour break before his is hungry again, and we have to start it all over. The little man is quite the trooper, though. I have had to take him up to the hospital every day since we came home, to have his blood taken so they could monitor the bilirubin count. I am hoping I can get him enough sunlight, and enough food that he can get the count to go down, but up to now, it has slowly been increasing. I am sure he will be fine, though. I just need to keep on doing what I am doing, and things will work out.

Keith hasn't been thrilled about our family increasing. He doesn't have anything against Vince, he just is having a hard time adapting. But he always has been like that, with every new baby. He will come around, I am sure. Faye has had so much energy! More than normal. She is so excited to have a new baby in the house, she just can't contain her joy and excitement. Happily, she is old enough now, to know not to maul the baby. She was scary around Beth when we brought Beth home from the hospital. A little ball of happy energy that couldn't wait to love on the baby, and all that love gave us cause for concern for the baby's safety! Now, she is able to channel it through jumping jacks, or running around the house, or getting that energy out in other ways before she holds the baby. When she holds Vince, she is very careful and sweet with him. And then there is Beth. I never worried about her with him, as she is so gently and caring with her baby dolls. She tucks them in at night, and when she takes her naps. She carries one around in a purse like it is a baby carrier. She feeds them all the time, and she is so conscientious about caring for them. She has been thrilled to have Vince around. She asks so many times a day if she can hold him, and I try to say yes, so that she will feel she has a part with him. She holds him so tenderly, rubbing his face with her cheek, holding his little hands in hers, and singing softly to him. She is such a sweet little mother to him, and it melts my heart. I think they will be good friends.

As for me, I have to pray for patience and understanding with the big kids every day. When I get tired I lose my patience quickly, and obviously, I am very tired every day. I have been much more shouty and frustrated than I would like, and I think Keith has been taking my tired moods much harder than the girls. It is a delicate balancing act, which I am anxious to master very soon. Especially because potty training and brand spankin' new born baby is really going to try my resolve.

What a beautiful family I have been blessed with! I love them so much, and feel so much gratitude to have them all a part of my life.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

An Update, Nothing More.

I hate breaking from journaling, because there is so much to say, and I never know where to start. Which is probably why I should never take a break from journaling like that.

February grew wings and, like a flock of frenzied geese, took off. I have scarce been able to catch my breath! We have been having a lot of fun with the little girls that I have been watching. Lately, though, it has been like playing roulette. They come over, we play, but I am ever so mindful that I can go into labor at any moment, and I typically deliver quickly. An hour from start to finish. And so every day has a bit more anxiety because it isn't just the question of what to do with my kids when it happens, it is also what to do with my friend's kids. We decided this morning, though, that I should probably be through watching them for a bit now. Her sister is in town and can take over for a month or so, which will probably ease a bit of stress on both of us. Keith and Faye are thrilled that the girls wont be coming for a while. I think with the impending birth of little baby man, and my attention more divided it has been hard on them. They are so desirous to have my undivided attention back. Both of the older kids have mentioned it, and it breaks my heart.

I have been nesting quite a bit, which I find incredibly funny. One day I decided that I was going to move Beth out of her room and into Faye's. Jeffrey was working, of course, and I had the girls, as well as my kids. I walked in to Beth's room, and began dismantling her toddler bed, and rebuilt it into the crib. I pulled all of her clothes out of her room and moved them into Faye's. I did all of this, without having a bed for her to sleep on once she got into Faye's room. Jeffrey' was wonderful and took apart Keith's bed and moved it upstairs, and then he basically had Keith assemble the bunk beds with a little guidance from him. Which left us with another problem. Keith then had no bed, because he was sleeping on the other half of the bunks. This happened about three weeks ago. Ever since, though, All three kids have been crowded together in the girls' room. Keith and Faye sleep on the top bunk, and Beth sleeps on the bottom. It has been quite and adjustment. We aren't planning on keeping it like that, mind you. There was just SO much stuff under Keith's bed, that we weren't able to set up the futon for him. And he hasn't cleaned his room since, despite being reminded to do it nearly every single day. But with the two extra girls, and trying to get things figured out for the baby, and the house ready, which I have been failing at, I wasn't able to follow up, and so his room has remained too messy to put a bed up in. Hopefully we can get that tackled before Baby Man makes his entrance! But the kids have actually been loving sharing a room. They stay up late talking or fighting, and then as soon as one of them is awake, the rest of them are, too. It has been funny listening to them wake up.
"Get your feet out of my face!"
"My feet aren't in your face, but your elbow is in my ribs!"
"Quit hogging all the blankets."
"I'm telling Mom. You took all of the covers and I am cold!"
Oh, the memories this evokes from my childhood and having to share with my brother when we were on vacation, or even when we shared a bedroom growing up.

Speaking of nesting, this little guy has just been the most stubborn little man ever. He is breech. And he likes it that way! No matter what I have done, this little guy just wants his head under my ribs, and his feet in my cervix. Not the most comfortable position for me, I assure you! I have been a bit worried about his determination to stay upright, and so have been scouring all of my resources for help flipping him. I have gleaned the internet and tried every weird obscure thing I came across. I have hung upside down in what I call "bat pose". I have tried putting and ice pack on top of my belly and a heating pad underneath, in the hopes that he would try to move away from the cold. He did squirm a lot, but he never turned. I've tried putting my phone with music in my lap while I drive, hoping the sound would entice him. Possibly I tried the wrong music. Maybe he doesn't like Vivaldi, or mellow music. Possibly he would have liked Def Leppard more. I have gone swimming, which was incredibly stressful, because I had to spend the whole time watching out for other people's kids. Kids these days just don't watch where they are going, and if I wasn't on high alert, would constantly run into me. The only things I haven't done are acupuncture and visited a chiropractor. Because those things sort of scare me. Especially while pregnant.

Finally, out of desperation, I scheduled a version with the doctor who works with my midwife. That was last Saturday. I can't decide which is more painful, having them try to turn the baby, or giving birth. Granted, the doctor who was doing it very much man-handled me stomach. I stopped him at one point and asked him if he could PLEASE! For the love of all that is holy, just put some lotion or oil on his hands because he was giving me an indian burn (which really doesn't seem like a pc sort of thing to say, and I tried to find another name for it, but the only one that came up was snakebite, but I wouldn't know what that was if someone called it that to me, so I am putting the only word I know with the apology to both the Native Americans and the people of India, as I am sure that particular form of kids teasing and hurting each other did not originate from either place. I like to be PC on things like that. But not always. My inconsistencies are what make me me). He said he wouldn't lotion up because he couldn't get a grip on the baby to push him to turn. And so I had an Indian burn on my tender baby belly for a good 3 days. And I am still bruised on top of my belly from when he was pushing that child around. The baby got down to right above my left hip bone, wouldn't lock into place, and then 10 minutes after they had finished, drifted back into an upright position again. Stubborn little guy! The pain was unreal, though, and I don't wish it on anyone.

I went in for my appointment on Wednesday, and my midwife was convinced that he had turned again, but she was mistaken. Things are slowly beginning to progress, though, so that is exciting. Last night, because I had been having small contractions all day, and I had a little bit of amniotic fluid show up on some nitra-paper, she had me go in to L&D to be monitored. It was midnight when she told me to go in. We didn't get home until 4 this morning, and I was SO tired! We actually had the kids stay home from school, because there was no way I could have gotten them up and ready for school on 2 hours of sleep like that. They were really excited! Jeffrey took off work so that I could sleep and he would watch the kids.

After I woke up, we decided to get some groceries. When we put Beth in the car, though, she got really excited and started talking about going to see the dinosaurs. She talked about it through our whole shopping excursion, and was able to convince Jeffrey that it was what we needed to do. She has her daddy at her beck and call, and it is adorable. Both of those girls can get him to do almost anything! Which means, yes, we did go see the dinosaurs! Beth was giddy with joy, and Keith was so happy to be able to browse the gems and stones they have on display there, while Faye was just happy to run around outside and play. It was such a nice afternoon, to be able to have that quality family time.

We got home, did the homework run through, and then bedtime, which quite honestly took 3 hours tonight. Beth did NOT want to go to bed! Keith and Faye fought it as well, until I threatened to make them sleep on the couches if they couldn't get along in the bed. And then I told them we were playing the Quiet Game. Faye is the master of that game, surprisingly, and she doesn't want to lose her undisputed title. Keith, on the other hand, desperately wants a win, so it was the perfect way to get them to go to sleep! I may have to try that tactic more often.

Which brings us to tomorrow. I shudder when I think of what tomorrow brings. Apparently, the pain from the first version wasn't enough to scare me off. I am scheduled to go in for another attempt to flip the baby tomorrow. I am dreading it,but I want to do what I can to help Little Man turn so that I can have a natural delivery for the last time ever. I am dreading a cesearian with all of my heart! I know that they aren't horrible, and that a lot of people really like them, but the whole recovery necessary for them really bothers me, and makes me not want one. Besides, there is something about the natural labor and delivery that I really look forward to. It is so empowering, and amazing! And the recovery time for that is next to nothing, for me. I hated my experience with an epidural, and never want to be drugged up like that again, not even for a c-section.

And that brings us up to date, I think. Hopefully I can keep up with this posting more than just the vague highlights of what is going on in our lives.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Delicious Humble Pie

When I got pregnant in June, that translated into me getting sick in July, and staying sick through to... well, I don't actually know, to be honest. Until recently, at any rate. Because of that, a lot of my cleaning schedule went down-hill, or was completely ignored and forgotten. Months of just going through the laundry room, finding a few clothes to wear for the week, washing just those, and leaving a huge heaping mess. And when the kids went in search of clothes, they were like a dog digging, clothes being flung about, scattered wherever they happened to land, and promptly ignored after that. I did my best to keep the surface of our house clean, the areas where people would see were always quickly straightened before company came over. Whenever we would try to get the kids on board with cleaning, they did what kids are best at. They would take everything from the family room and throw it into the laundry room. Seven months of this created the most spectacular mess ever. The laundry room/craft room floor was completely carpeted with toys, clothes, and any other dodad that the kids didn't know where to put. Once the floor was a few feet deep beneath the mayhem, the chaos climbed up onto the counters and completely overtook them.

That was the downstairs black hole.

Upstairs, we had quite a different black hole. It was called Faye's bedroom.

I know I have written about this before, but her room seems to be in a permanent state of pandemonium. No matter what we do, her room is an abyss that seems to suck in any sort of anything. It became a sort of joke that if we can't find something, it is most likely in her bedroom. Like the laundry room, her room floor had a couple of feet of anarchy, silently trying to take over the house.

Because of those two rooms in my house, and the mountainous layers of laundry that needed to be attended to, my stress sometimes seemed to choke me. I have absolutely nothing ready for the baby. Nothing! I did not want to get anything out of the shed because it would just get swallowed up in the lawlessness of the house. Really, there was no point.

Which obviously created a problem for this third trimester-nesting-at-full-force mama.

And so, I tried to tackle the mess on my own. Except Little Man had other plans. I was merely trying to fold some clothes while watching a movie with the kids on Sunday after church, when my Little Man decided he didn't like me moving around. At all. Now, it is important to note that this little boy is stubbornly sitting upright, aka breech. He head buts me all the time, which causes quite a bit of discomfort. More than that, though, I believe his foot is stuck down near my cervix, and when I move around much, he kicks. He kicks and kicks and the pain is both startling, sudden, and somewhat suffocating! He has been randomly causing this pain for quite some time now, but on Sunday he decided that he would kick every minute or so. I contacted Christy (my midwife) and she told me to knock it off. I needed to quite doing anything that would cause him to kick, and if it didn't let up in an hour or two, I would need to go to L&D to get checked out. Which is obviously something I want to avoid at all costs, because I know I am not in labor, I just don't want him to kick through the cervix and come too early! And so, I stopped.

I stopped and I looked at the mess in my laundry room and remembered the mess in Faye's room, and my heart sank. There honestly seemed to be no way to get it all done and the despair tried to settle in and make itself at home. But I am not the sort of person who makes things easy for despair. We are not friends, and if he ever comes to visit, I do what I can to get him to leave immediately.

And so, I took a deep breath, ate a very large slice of Humble Pie, and called my mother for help. I don't like to ask other people to come in and clean up our messes. They didn't make them, so why should they have to clean them? I don't like asking people to come help me do things I should be able to do on my own. It is so very difficult for me to admit that I can't actually do it, and that I need to allow others to step in and help me. And so I called my mom.

She is so wonderful! She immediately said yes, and both she and my dad came over Monday to help me with the laundry room. If I stand up for long, the pain hits and I have to stop what I am doing and sit down. It was so incredibly difficult to let them clean for me. I kept trying to help, because I know where things belong and they don't. It is easy for me to delegate one thing while I am working on another, but my mother kept threatening to leave if I didn't sit on the floor and play a little Raja, directing them on where to put things. Apparently I would make terrible royalty! But together we got my laundry room black hole clean! And things were found, and it was exciting and it looks so lovely now. And all the while we were cleaning the laundry room, Adrienne was upstairs in my kitchen, in stealth mode, cleaning. Because she is wonderful like that. When I saw all of the work that people had done, all the service they had offered me, I was overcome. I nearly broke down in tears because I was so grateful. There are not words sufficient to express my gratitude to them! It feels so good to have a clean laundry room!

This morning, I woke up, not sure what I was going to do with my day, but fully expecting to babysit. Brickale (the mom) texted me to tell me she was sick and so wouldn't be bringing the girls by. When I heard that, I knew it was a blessing in disguise. It was a chance for me to get Faye's room clean! Fired up by the great success of yesterday, I took another large helping of Humble Pie and sent my mom a text. Like the angel she is, she gladly responded to my plea and said she could come over after work. In the meantime, I got down a busy. Beth and I worked on that mess for two and a half hours before we had to go pick up Faye from school. I kept pushing myself to go faster and do more. It wasn't bad, because I could do it while sitting, so I wasn't getting the cervical kicks. But when it was time to go and get her, it seemed to me we had barely made a dent, and I was discouraged.

Tuesdays are crazy. I pick up Faye and her friend. I drop her friend off and then take Beth and Taelyn to dance. I then rush off to get Brynlee from her school (she does not attend the one my kids go to), and then we go back to the dance class and wait for them to finish. Faye and Bryn are always invited to join (since the class basically consists of Beth and Taelyn right now). The four girls prance around, laughing and playing, and then I take them all home from lunch, and put the two littles down for their afternoon naps, thoroughly worn out and ready for sleep! It is crazy, but I love it. And so, I did the mad rushing about with school pick up and dance and naps. Once Beth was finally sleeping, Faye and I decided it was time to head on into her room and see what we could do.

Daunting, I tell you. Even after my work from all that morning, it looked like the surface had just been scratched. I sat down anyway, armed with my garbage bag and a basket for clothes, and we set to work. Or rather, I prayed for patience and the ability to not yell at Faye while I cleaned her room, and she flitted about, landing on nearly everything, like a curious little butterfly discovering new flowers. My mom came, and that is when things seemed to really pick up. I made her some lunch, and then together, she and I tackled that anarchist rebellion of a room. We struck hard and fast with order, organization, and law. And I threw so much stuff away. I have learned it is very hard for my mom to clean with me because I want to get rid of everything. If it is a stub of a broken crayon, I want it in the trash, because I know if I keep it in my house, it will gravitate back to Faye's room, and that spot in Faye's room, and there will never be cleanliness or order. I suspect messes are habitual creatures and like to return to their favorite places. Faye has made her room into a haven for messes, and so everything we try to put away keeps finding its way back to its spot in her room. My mom, on the other hand doesn't live with Faye, and so doesn't understand this as well. She kept trying to talk me into keeping things I wanted to toss. I am brutal when it comes to throwing things away. I would much rather toss something than have it hanging around, waiting for the day I might use it... unless it is a crafting sort of thing. I have so much of that, just in case!

We kept encouraging Faye, telling her she couldn't go to her dance class if she didn't get her room clean in time.

We kept fighting and fighting the mess until it was vanquished! We moved her bed around, making room for when Beth will be moving in to share that room with her (at a future, not yet determined, date).

Her room is clean. My laundry room is nearly clean. In cleaning Faye's room, we found 4 baskets full of clothes. Not just hers, Beth's, Keith's, and Jeffrey's clothes were all mixed in with hers. I am waiting for the clothes to wash right now, actually, so that I can go to bed. But the feeling of gratitude and accomplishment is great tonight. Faye is thrilled to have a clean room. She wanted to read in her room, and draw in her room, and work on her animal report for school in there. She is being so careful to keep her room clean (we'll see how long that lasts), and I know that she feels so good to have it looking as good as it does. Despite all the times she told me she likes it dirty. Silly girl.

I am so thankful for a mom and dad who can come and help when it is needed. I am thankful that things lined up so that they were able to come and help me when I needed it, and that those things are done and taken care of now. Two of the biggest things on my list are taken care of. What a wonderful feeling to know that I am looked after and cared for. I know that all of this happened because God has been so aware of my worries and stressors. I know that it is because of Him that everything lined up perfectly so that my parents and even Adrienne were able to come and help, at the drop of a hat. I really didn't give people much notice. What a humbling experience it has been.

Now, I just need to get this baby to flip!