Friday, December 30, 2005

I drank a coke today

Since I have insulin issues while I'm pregnant (and really the rest of the time, too), I really watch my sugar intake very carefully. I completely swear off coca cola while I'm expecting, even though I love, love, love it. So when my husband brought some home last night I knew there was gonna be trouble. He bought it to take to a cookout at a friend's house, but the friend already had plenty to drink. So he brought it home. I guess I understand. I mean, what was he supposed to do - throw it away? I kid you not - I literally laid in bed last night thinking about that coke. So I had a glass this morning and... it was good. Hubby's working on getting the rest of it out of the house for me, but I think I feel my willpower coming back anyway, so I should be fine. But I'm pretty amazed that after months of not drinking the stuff I could still be that addicted!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas - a look back

It's hard to imagine that something we work and plan so long for is over in one short weekend. But it is...until next year. I have to say this Christmas felt really good. The kids still got swamped with gifts from both sides of the family - some more welcome than others. The gifts, I mean. And there was still a little stress from the driving back and forth and staying up too late. But overall, it was a wonderful Christmas and I couldn't be happier that it went so smoothly. The gifts we gave brought as much pleasure as the ones we got and some of the ones we got were especially wonderful. My uncle who is a pastor gave us some beautiful advent storybooks for next year since he heard that I was trying to incorporate more spiritual focus into our holiday. My mother-in-law bought me a fabulous iron, which was well out of my price range. Now I can stop living in fear that my old one might electrocute me if I turn on the steam. And my mother, who always gives great gifts, got me new maternity clothes to wear for the holidays - even though I only have a few weeks left. I protested the impracticality, but new clothes made me feel like a new woman:) And my mom pointed out that I can always use them next time! It's so nice to have her support - that was as good a gift as any.
So now we're taking it easy. Slowly putting all the presents away and getting the decorations downstairs. And this year I don't have the post-Christmas letdown I usually experience. There's still too much to look forward to in this house! My niece and nephew are here for a visit, as are my parents. And, best of all, we have a new baby to get ready for. I had a sonogram yesterday, by the way, and he's gorgeous! With tons of hair! My mom came with me and we were both just blown away. The 3d (or 4d?) sonograms are so detailed. We now have a great picture of his foot (second toe is longer than his big toe) and his ear, which curls just like his daddy's. I just can't wait to meet this little guy!
I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve morning and all is well:) Hubby had to hit the ground running this morning to finish his "project" - a great big gravel box (like a sandbox, but with gravel) in the back yard for Levi. Ask me how difficult it's been to keep Levi from seeing it! So far though, the kids and I are taking it easy. They are watching a very cute animated movie about the first Christmas -lots of songs to hold their attention - while I finish baking some pecan pies. I have a few gifts left to wrap and then it's to Grandmother's house we go.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your families and especially that you spend some time with Our Father thanking Him for the gift of His Son.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Things I Love About Being (Very) Pregnant

By this point in pregnancy (34 weeks) I'm quite miserable most of the time:) Since I'm only 5'2", the baby doesn't have much of anywhere to go except up into my rib cage and straight out in front of me. And I've got a sinus infection. And there are the Braxton Hicks contractions:( Etc. But I'm also well aware that this baby will be making his entrance pretty soon and I will miss being pregnant (strange as that seems to me now!). So I thought I'd list some of the things I really enjoy about being pregnant and spend some extra time over these next few weeks celebrating them.
1. Feeling the babywiggle and squirm inside me. It's so fascinating to feel this whole other person with his own arms and legs that he can move all by himself (sometimes when you least expect it) INSIDE ME! I'm already getting little clues about his personality - he seems more laid back most of the time, but when I sit down he comes to life!
2. When he gets the hiccups. I remember with Levi and Brenna being just overcome with emotion the first time that they got the hiccups after they were born. It was such a tangible reminder that just hours ago they'd been inside me.
3. I love the attention. Okay, I admit it. I like having people make just a little fuss over me - not too much, just an extra phone call or a seat in a crowd. I think it's a shame that a lot of those little courtesies have fallen to the wayside.
4. I love how thick my hair gets. And shiny:)
5. I love the instant camraderie with other pregnant women - even strangers.
6. I love planning for and daydreaming about the baby. What will he look like? Will these tiny baby clothes really fit? Levi and I had so much fun yesterday dragging out all the newborn clothes and washing them. He loved hearing about when he was that little and talking about the baby.
7. I love how excited Levi is. I'm not all together sure how much Brenna really understands yet (although she does like to kiss my belly), but Levi is so excited about *his* baby. He also is under the impression that he picked the baby's name, which is the very first secret he's ever kept. We're not arguing with him since he picked the same name we picked:)
8. I love the excuse to nap without guilt. I'm growing a human here!
9. It's such a great time to share what a blessing children are. Without a word (which is often just an invitation for people to argue with us), everyone can see that we want children just because we're happy about being pregnant.
10. Honestly - I like maternity clothes:) All clothes should have a nice stretchy waistband:)

Monday, December 19, 2005

The final test of my Christmas resolve

Well, it's just 5 or 6 days until Christmas - depending on when you start celebrating. We do a lot of Christmas Eve stuff so I tend to count both days. Our family's tradition goes something like this. On Christmas Eve I want to get to my Grandmother's (mom's mom) as early in the day as possible to help with the baking and cooking and eating and to visit. My parents live in Texas so any time they're here I like to spend a lot of time visiting:) We almost always have last minute stuff to do though and don't get to Dublin (an hour's drive) until about 4pm. Everyone gathers at Grandma's house by about 6 and we have snacks and goodies until the little kids can wait no longer to open presents. Isn't it odd that I remember so well when I was one of those kids jumping up and down, but now I prefer the snacks and visiting? We all exchange presents with the teenagers usually being "Santa" and passing them out. It's becoming somewhat chaotic as our family grows, but usually everyone is pretty polite. Then we move back to the kitchen for my grandparent's anniversary toast. They've been married for 51 years on Christmas Eve this year! These two are so inspirational to us because they are *not* one of those perfect couples. My grandfather was just saved within the last few years (PTL!), they were a military couple, they suffered a lot of loss, and they can just both be hard to get along with:) On their anniversary last year, we watched them have a big argument about the crossword puzzle! But they've managed to genuinely love each other for better than 50 years:)
Anyway...I got side-tracked. After Grandma's, it's off to Granny's (dad's mom) where people stop in to visit all evening and a wonderful chaos reigns. We usually don't get everyone settled down enough to open gifts until pretty late - 10 or 11 at least. So by the time we leave there and drive home, we're looking at midnight to get home.
Christmas Day starts with more presents and breakfast for the four of us. Then church! We're really excited about being able to worship with our church family this year on Christmas Day. Then over to my sister-in-law's house for a big Christmas dinner and, that's right, more presents. Then we drive home for a nice quiet supper and reading the Christmas story again before bed.
There are lots of little events this week, too, before Christmas. My Ladies' Fellowship meeting/party, Levi's Kid's Club party, church Wednesday night, my parents and sister getting into town, it's my week to clean the church, groceries have to be bought, etc.... So how am I going to maintain my commitment to a tranquil Christmas? What's really helped so far is extra alone time with my Father. Even though I don't technically have time when there is so much else to do, spending extra time in the Word and in prayer has been so wonderful this month. I can't even count the number of times I've been drawn back to focus on Christ, not parties, on Christ, not food, on Christ, not presents. So this week, when I know the "one more gift" and "I hate to miss" thoughts will start popping up with more intensity, I'm counting on time with my Savior to remind me about what's really important. I can't wait!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Gift Ideas

In my effort to fins Christmas gifts that are a) something the recipient will actually use and/or enjoy and b) not outside our limited Christmas budget, I stumbled upon this website. If there's anyone on your list who might enjoy a magazine subscription this is the place to go! I just bought three gift subscriptions for less than 5 bucks - that's total, not each:) And, even better, it's a magazine that I think all three of my sister-in-laws will really enjoy. Now I didn't see a lot of specifically Christian materials, although that wasn't really what I was looking for, but I did see a lot of high quality magazines. So check it out and shop to your little heart's content:)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Boy what a weekend...

Levi had a great birthday. Four years old! We took him and his cousin to Chuck E. Cheese's on Saturday. That's a whole post in and of itself. A zillion kids, all the coke they want, a confined space... Levi and Noah had a good time though and that's what we were aiming for:) Brenna really liked the toddler area, but the rest of it was a little overwhelming.
We had ice cream cake at home and a birthday party the next morning at Sunday School with cupcakes for all the kids. I was afraid I'd be cheating him some how by not having a regular birthday party at home, but it turned out fine. He was excited about getting to do something different and it was a lot easier on me. Which turned out to be a good thing since I had Braxton Hicks contractions all day Sunday. I was miserable! If I hear one more person say that they aren't supposed to hurt, I may snap my twig! I was actually really nervous since I have 6 1/2 weeks left until d-day and words like "under-developed lungs" and "NICU" kept running through my mind. I know that God is in control of this little guys life - including his birthday - but I can't help but want him to be fully "cooked." Although I will admit to being a tad impaitient to get him out here:)
In the meantime, Lydia has written a fabulous post on homemaking and the kitchen over at Choosing Home. I'm so inspired to get my kitchen in order! So today I'm cleaning out cabinets and the fridge and freezer - now that the remnants of the ice cream cake are out of the way (hubby and Levi finished them off for breakfast - how's that for healthy?). I may even get around to baking a few dozen nice healthy muffins for the freezer. Breakfast in the freezer - it's a good thing:)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Should the state have taken this child from her parents?

I just saw this on Primetime and it's got me really thinking. For those of you who don't feel like doing a lot of reading... a beautiful, three year old little girl died of what may have been AIDS related causes. Her mother who is HIV+ does not believe in taking drugs to combat the HIV and didn't take them while she was pregnant. She also breastfed her daughter and refused to have her tested for the virus.
So now there's a large contingent of people who lay the blame for her daughter's death on her head. And, at least some who say that if an HIV+ woman has a baby and refuses to have the baby tested for the virus - her child should be removed from her custody by the state.
So my question, I guess, is this...does the state have the right to compell a parent to have their child undergo medical testing or treatment? If we allow exceptions for people who have a "religious" objection to medical treatment, then why is this woman's belief different? She strongly believes that it was in her daughter's best interest to be breastfed, to not be tested, to not be exposed to anti-viral drugs in utero. Who gets the final say about a child's healthcare? The parents or the state?
I feel like I have to say that I didn't "like" this woman. Had it been me, there is no way I could have risked feeding my child a fatal virus. But I can't help but wonder why this is different than choosing whether or not to have your child vaccinated or to give them a blood transfusion. And if we say that it's okay to take a child away from his or her parent because they don't make the *right* medical decisions, then a lot of us may be in trouble.

This is as indepth as my thought process can go today:)

1. Seven things to do before I die: Celebrate (at least) our 50th anniversary - 75th would be even better. See all my children and grandchildren walking in the faith and following God's will. Visit the Holy Land. Help to deliver a baby (in a midwife kind of way). Hear my husband say "this gravy is better than my mom's!" Write a book. And, on a sort of selfish note, lose weight and keep it off.

2. Seven things I cannot do: Make a pie crust that doesn't fall apart. Buy groceries without a list. Stop giving my baby brother advice (he just got out of the navy, but I still remind him not to run out of gas). Go more than a day or two without talking to my mom. Wear orange. Put down a good book. Ignore chocolate.

3. Seven things that attract me to my husband: He's the hardest worker I've ever met. He's so tall and handsome. He really believes in the sacredness of marriage. He's generous. He has gorgeous blue eyes. He writes me great love letters. He's a wonderful daddy. He brings home dinner when I'm too sick to cook. He glows when we have a new baby. He stands up for me whenever I need defending. Was I supposed to stop at seven? Amy's right, some things we can't help.

4. Seven things I say most often: Use your fork, not your hands. Brenna, get down. Please get a tissue. Where is my...(insert interesting-to-a-toddler object here)? Mommy needs to rest for a minute. Okay, one more book. Church isn't until...Wednesday, Sunday, this evening, whenever (Levi's favorite question lately is "when can we go to church?").

5. Seven books (or series) I love: The Bible (NIV is my favorite, but that's me). Gone With the Wind. The Tightwad Gazette. All the Way Home. The Left Behind Series (they're not the Gospel, just a thought provoking read!). The Mommy Manual. The Hidden Art of Homemaking.

6. Seven movies I watch over and over again: Let's see if I can think of seven...Gone With the Wind, of course (Amy, are you sure y'all can't move up here?). To Kill a Mockingbird. A Time To Kill. That's all I can think of right this minute. I watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation every year (hubby loves it). And, although I doubt I could watch it over and over, I'd count The Passion of the Christ on my list just because it had such an impact on me.

7. Seven people I want to join in, too: Let's just make this an open invite since I don't like to put anyone on the spot:)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Are you "ready" for Christmas?

I've been told that this is a Southern thing - that in other parts of the country people don't ask you this when you run into them at the Piggly Wiggly during November and December. But Christmas is THE holiday around here - the season kicks off with Thanksgiving and lasts until New Years. There are parties and dinners and cookie exchanges and Christmas plays. We decorate the house - inside and out - and the church and some people put wreaths on their cars. Add in birthdays for hubby and Levi and our anniversary and we can be a little busy around here. It can be a wonderful time of celebrating our Savior and sharing our joy with family, friends, and neighbors. Or it can be a stress-filled season of running from place to place, of "have-to's" and "should have's." It can be standing in line and fighting over the latest *must have* toy and staying up all night trying to get the Christmas cards mailed out on time.
Since I became a stay at home mom and received the salary decrease that went along with it,we've never had a lot of money to spend on Christmas. At first it really bothered me because gift giving has always been one of my very favorite parts of Christmas, but it's just a fact of life that I'm learning to deal with. This Christmas I'm determined not to be stressed out about what we can and can't afford or who gets what. I've actually decided not to be stressed out about anything this Christmas. The more I focus on the reason for this season, the more I want to have a really special holiday this year. I want to enjoy my family and be thankful for what I am able to do. Actually being 32 weeks pregnant (as of today!) I don't have the energy to do a lot of the running around that I usually do. What a blessing that's turned out to be! Any Christmas shopping I've done has been online - staying out of the stores (and they're a nightmare already) prevents me from feeling guilty about all the things I'd like to buy for family and friends. And from seeing all the things I want to put on my wishlist:) Not to mention avoiding the stress of shopping with a pre-schooler, a toddler, and a big belly.
I've crossed lots of things off my calendar and made room for more nights of driving around to look at the lights and sip hot cocoa. Going fewer places makes it so much easier to really enjoy it when we do go out. I've cut back on a few other things, too. I'm only making the recipes I really like to make and eat this year. A side effect of ongoing nausea is that I just can't cook certain foods - and I can eat pretty much whatever sounds good to me (as long as I watch the sugar). So if I feel like gorging on my mom's sausage balls, my doctor will say "protein and calcium! great!" And since we'll be sending out birth announcements with pictures in January, I'm skipping the Christmas cards and standing in line to have the big Christmas picture made for them.
So what am I doing this holiday? What made the cut? Well, I'm really looking forward to church service on Christmas morning and I had a ball buying Brenna's Christmas dress (now to find Levi a semi-matching shirt) at a Children's Wear Outlet sale. The tag says $36 and I got it for $6! And it's beautiful! Levi is wild about Christmas light so we plan on driving around at least once a week to look at them right before bedtime. We're spending some time as a family thinking of and doing for others - spreading some of our joy! I've narrowed the gift list to things I think will really be enjoyed and to things that I can buy or make. I want people to know that I put my heart into what I gave, not just my wallet. And most of all I'm not going to feel guilty about the number of gifts under our tree. I'm focusing on what matters this season. So I'd love to hear any of your truly cherished traditions - we're always looing for good stuff to replace the meaningless stuff we're getting rid of.
Barbara has wonderful ideas on her site

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

When Levi was born

It was about a week and a half before my due date so I still thought I had plenty of time. After all, I'm late for everything:) Boy, you really don't know anything the first time around, huh? I had read all the books and magazines. I had my birth plan all worked out - no drugs, no unneccessary interventions, etc. I was going to be great at this whole birth thing. Of course I thought I was going to be great at the whole pregnancy thing, too, and that hadn't gone exactly like I planned what with the never-ending morning sickness and all. And I had been on semi-bedrest for two days due to slight pre-eclampsia. But I was determined to "do" birth just right. I couldn't wait!
On Saturday night we went to a family Christmas party where I ate as many cream puffs as I could hold and complained about a nagging backache (to which my aunt replied "please don't have that baby right here"). The next morning I woke up having very mild contractions and decided to skip church. I just told Casey I didn't feel like going - no need to panic him just yet:) I rested up while he was gone and got a few more things unpacked. We had just moved from our apartment to a house and I was still trying to find everything. I had to unpack so I could pack for the hospital.
When Casey came home the contractions were still irregular and pretty far apart. We hung out for most of the afternoon until about six when they started coming about every ten minutes. We called my mom in Texas and called my doctor to let him know we'd be coming in sometime. We lived about an hour from the hospital so I'd been well-warned not to wait until the last minute. By 9:00 the contractions were every 6 minutes and getting painful so we headed out the door with that last "life will never be the same" look back. It was a long ride down to the hospital.
And of course when we got there I was no where near as far along as I thought - barely 2 cm dialated. My doctor didn't want to send me home so we walked. My aunt arrived almost as soon as we got there with my grandparents right behind her. Casey was a little annoyed with everyone. I think he felt like they thought he couldn't take care of me or like this should be a special time for just us. I would have agreed with him up until they actually got there:) Then I was so glad to have some company! Someone to baby me a little (not his strong suit, although he's come along way since then).
We walked for hours until I hit about 4 cm, then they wanted to hook me up to the fetal monitor. I readily agreed because it meant getting to lay down! My contractions felt a lot stronger than the little chart showed. I will never forget Casey saying "look, that one only went a third of the way up!" I was not terribly upset when he suggested running to my Granny's for a quick shower at about 7 that morning. Not that I was glad to see him go, of course. My grandfather fussed a little at him, but we figured we knew what we were doing. So my grandmothers sat with me for awhile. My doctor offered me stadol "to take the edge off" but I was still holding out. I noticed myself getting very cranky - my grandmother's conversation with each other was really getting on my nerves. "Why weren't they paying enough attention to me?" Until I had a contraction and then it was "why are they talking to me, can't they see I'm busy?" About that time I got very suddenly, very violently sick. The "nice" nurse washed me off and let me get up long enough to wash out my hair in the sink, but wouldn't let me take a shower. By the time I got back to the bed, the contractions were a lot harder and I was doing every breathing exercise I could remember to get through them. But, upon inspection, I was still not dialated very far. So, with Casey back by my side, we agreed to the pitocin. The contractions were suddenly off the chart and coming in no predictable pattern at all - one on top of the other. I think at that point they gave me stadol, but I don't really remember anything except feeling totally out of control. The next thing I remember is Casey saying that the baby's heartbeat was getting really low. He was watching that machine like a hawk. The nurse checked me and called the doctor, who inserted that internal monitor and checked me again. That was probably the most physical pain I've ever experienced. The doctor was talking, but I had no idea he was talking to me. At that point I really felt like I was going to die and just hoping that Casey would tell him to do whatever he needed to do to save them baby. I heard the doctor say "we need to get the baby out now" and when I didn't respond he shook my foot and said "Shannon, I need your consent." I was shocked that he thought I was even following their conversation - I had no idea he'd been talking to both of us.
From then on things went fast. Casey kissed me and I tried to smile at him as they wheeled me into the OR. The nurses weren't talking to me and I honestly didn't now what was going on. I didn't read the part of the book about c-sections since I wasn't going to have one. I know one nurse was particularly annoyed because I'd left my bra on! I remember the catheter being really painful on top of everything else. They were giving me oxygen and for some reason I assumed that's where the stuff to knock me out would come from. Also I was slightly hyperventilating so I was really sucking on that oxygen mask! About that time I saw my doctor standing over me with a scalpel. I've never been so scared in my life. I was so sure he was about to cut me open while I was still wide awake. Thank the Lord, he saw the look on my face and understood. He leaned over and said "I promise I won't hurt you, you'll be fine." Then they knocked me out.
I came to in the recovery room after what seemed like hours. Casey was there telling me he loved me and my cousin came in. She said "he's so beautiful. he has a head full of hair." And I thought, "who is she talking about it?" I was still a little out of it when they wheeled me into a room because when the nurse stopped by the nursery window and showed me my baby, I didn't know which one she meant.
But when they brought him to me...that was a whole different story. Here was my baby! I recognized him right away - he was the exact baby I'd been dreaming about my whole life. Just exactly like I'd always imagined me baby. Almost all of the baby boys in Casey's family had been fat and blond so I kind of assumed that's the kind we'd have, too. But this was MY baby. The perfect size, perfect features, perfect dark hair:) It was literally like being high - I was above the moon.
My doctor came in shortly to talk to me about what went wrong during the birth. He spent a long time talking to me and apologized several times that he didn't have time to talk to me more first and explain things, since he was well aware that I wanted to avoid a c-section. But Levi's cord had prolapsed and was coming first -everytime I had a contraction his head pressed on the cord and cut off his oxygen supply. Apparently he had a few dicey moments in the OR when they had to give him oxygen. I thank God for that doctor and for that surgery. I can't even let myself imagine what might have happened.
That night I had a fever which puts me at higher risk for uterine rupture now so I will probably always have c-sections from now on. But even though I was very depressed about it for a long time afterwards, I think I've managed to accept it now. I do regret that I won't ever be able to physically give birth, but I also see now what an idol I'd made out of "all-natural" childbirth. I have so much to be thankful for, including modern medicine which saved both our lives. Thanks be to God that I have my son and my daughter here healthy and that I can go on to have more children.

Monday, November 28, 2005

My second cesarean

Brenna's birth went a lot smoother than Levi's - no emergencies. It was a planned repeat cesarean, but since I was unconcious during my first one I really didn't know exactly what to expect. We got to the hospital bright and early after leaving Levi at my grandparents' house where we'd spent the night. My mom and dad and aunt and cousins were right behind us, but I'd told them not to hurry since I thought it would take awhile before we got to the actual operating room. Luckily they didn't listen to me because things at the hospital went fast. After I got changed into that horrible gown all the really undignified stuff got started pretty quick. By the time my mom stepped in to say that they were all there I was about to get an epidural. It was June and there was some kind of a/c problem. I don't remember being hot but I do remember Casey saying he smelled something musty. I have to say it wasn't on the top of my list of concerns. The epidural was my big problem. It took 4 tries and it was extremely painful. I still don't really know if my vertebrae are too close together or if I was just so huge with Brenna that I couldn't bend far enough or what. Honestly I don't like to think about it too much. After the third try Casey had to step out of the room. I think he said something about the smell making him feel lightheaded, but really he just couldn't deal with seeing me in that much pain. He had a hard time when I was in labor with Levi, too. He stepped a little too far away though because as soon as the epidural was in they were wheeling me to the OR and we couldn't find him! My parents were there and I remember the nurse saying "who else do you want in there if we can't find him?" He got back right in the nick of time, though:) I was so excited - giddy is the only word I can think of to describe it. I expected to be really nervous about the surgery, but all I could really focus on was seeing my baby. The doctors were talking about the grandopening of the new HomeDepot the night before (my doctor won a table saw and I joked with him not to break it in on me!). Casey watched the whole thing (why do men feel the need to see all that?) and when they pulled her out, he was the one that said "she's here!"
After that they weighed her (9lbs!) and wrapped her up. The pediatrician held her so that I could see her and picked up my hand to help me touch her ( I thought my arms were strapped down, but they weren't), but then she was whisked off to the nursery and I sent Casey to keep an eye on her. By that time lots more family had shown up (although my dad still nearly missed it for a cup of coffee - after coming all that way!) and they were all waiting in the hall. The nurse put a small birth announcement we wrote up in her bassinet announcing her name - the big surprise. Brenna Janes (Brenna after my mom Brenda and Janes after Casey's mom & my granny's maiden name). In the meantime they sewed me up, which took forever, and wheeled me into recovery. I wanted company and wanted my baby! My dad brought Levi in to see me, but I had the shakes and I was afraid I'd scare him. And then Casey brought the camcorder in so I could watch the tape of her first bath. That helped, but all you really want when you have a baby is to hold her and look her over from head to toe:) I couldn't wait to get in a room so they would bring her to me.
She was beautiful. Her little face looked squished from being stuck in a too-small womb (I can't help she was a big girl and I'm only 5'2"), but she was still so pretty. Long fingers and fingernails, a head full of dark, dark hair. And she nursed like a champ! Until she got sleepy and decided she wasn't hungry for a couple of hours - we learned lots of tricks for waking a baby (that I never used again).
And it was a nice, uneventful hospital stay with just a few exceptions. My blood count got very low and there was a lot of talk about giving me a transfusion which I did not want. I finally talked the doctor into waiting just a little while and with some effort on my part (making myself eat and walk - yuck!) it came up. I hope to avoid that this time. Also the baby was accidently given a bottle of formula which I wasn't happy about, so now I know to put a sign in the bassinet.
Overall, it was a great experince. I learned a lot about what I like and don't like and I have some defintite ideas this time about how things should go. But, in the end, whatever works to keep me and baby healthy is okay with me.
Soon I'll write out Levi's birth story. Until then I'll be reading some of the others written out on Kim's blog.

Managing our time

I stumbled across this wonderful article on time management this morning and it really got me thinking. I'm a planner by nature - I have a list for everything in my little steno notebook. Let's see there's a master list of everything I need to rememeber to do, a to do today list, a list of the menus I've planned to cook for the next two weeks, a list of some dinners to make for the freezer sometime before baby gets here, a list of presents to buy or make and the shopping list to accompany it, a list of books to checkout of the library or buy, a list of scriptures I plan to write on our walls...are y'all tired of reading about my lists yet? Cause I'm only about half way through! Let's just say I'm more of a planner than a do-er, although I am improving. I'd much rather make a list of what to do than actually have to do all those things - clean the refridgerator, yuck! And I feel somewhat superior when I add those big jobs to my list. I mean surely I'm a great homemaker, after all I have "clean the baseboards w/ toothbrush" on my list. Right? Nevermind that my house looks like a tornado hit it right this minute because I'm so busy thinking up more stuff to do and writing it on my list.
So what to do about all this overplanning? I've decided to set aside a daily planning time - using a timer! - to do my list making and a weekly time to get the big stuff out of the way. And that's it! No more spending what should be dishwashing time writing "wash dishes" on my list!
Some other things that have been eating up my time have been cut out of my daily schedule altogether. No more wasting time watching television unless it's actually something edifying (we rented Luther not long ago and I got a lot out of that). My Bible time comes first and any reading that I do after that has to pass the edifying test, too. Am I learning from it? Is it helping me in my Christian walk? To be a better wife? Mother? Homemaker? Even fiction read purely for enjoyment can be uplifting.
There are so many good things vying for our time these days - family, church, kids' extracurricular stuff, service opportunities, etc. I've tried to spend a lot of time lately praying about the priorities God has for me. And now it's time for me to make sure my activities line up with those priorities.

Friday, August 19, 2005

What a busy week:)

Vacation Bible School went very well. Levi was grown-up enough to get up front with the big kids for the closing songs on Sunday morning! I couldn't have been prouder as he sang and did the motions - until he started pulling his hat down over his face and talking to the kids around him during the pastor's part, anyway:) At least everyone else still thought it was cute:) brenna did great too. I was very excited that she stayed with her nursery class the whole time and didn't cry for me once. Well, excited and a little tiny bit sad since it's a pretty good sign that she's starting to grow up.
Casey and I have been reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and we've made the big decision to get completely out of debt. We actually are not in too deep, but hubby does have to work awfully long and hard to keep us floating along. The more I think about not owing anyone anything, the more excited I get. It will mean some belt tightening around here, which is what we're currently working on. I've always been pretty frugal in principle:) so I guess it's time to really put my money where my mouth is! I think the thing that has me most excited is having hubby at home more. It will be so wonderful to have him only working 1 job when baby#3 makes his/her appearance this winter. I also can't wait to be able to pay for things with cash. We can actually invision the day we pay cash for our new (to us) minivan and the day we have our mortgage burning party! I've been rereading The Tightwad Gazette (by Amy Dacyczyn - if you haven't ever, read this book) and rereading some money articles that Amy posted on the MOMYS digest (I'm not sure if these are on her blog or not, I need to check). Both of these are full of great advice.
All righty I'm off to start supper. I hope you're all having a wonderful week!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Quick Note

Just to let y'all know I'm still here. We've had quite a week with Vacation Bible School (known at our church as Back-to-School Bible School), which isn't over until tomorrow, and family dinners and the exhaustion/sickness of pregnancy. I did manage to get some reorganizing of our "school" supplies done and we've officially started back to school! I had a ball figuring some goals for the next few months and we're already seeing some improvement. The best thing though has been hearing Levi say "can we do school now?" as soon as he finishes breakfast.
Other than that I've spent a lot of time on the couch reading and watching the kiddies play. I've read several really good books that I'm going to mention on here this week and I want to tell y'all about all the fun stuff we have planned for school.
I also want to point y'all over to an interesting conversation about s-e-x and Christians over at Evangelical Update. So far it's been fairly respectful, but one thought, that Christians use sex as a marketing tool for marriage, just had me beside myself. I'd love to see some of you adding your two cents over there.
Well, I'm off to make salad to go along with the takeout my darling hubby is bringing home. No cooking! Yay!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Book Review

First let me say that this book was a gift given purely out of the author's generosity and kindness of heart. She certainly didn't ask me to review it and, actually, has no idea that I'm about to so I hope it's all right with her:) But this is one of those books that, once you read it, you just can't help talking about it.
The book is The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis - and it's fabulous. I was thrilled with the whole thing - start to finish.
Barbara draws on her experience as a mom (and she has a lot of experience! - 12 kids!) to teach mommies all about building up your children and your family. I got so many great ideas for creating traditions and discipline. She talks a good bit about uncovering the potential God put in each of our children, too, and that's such an important thing for me to keep in mind when my little ones are causing me to pull my hair out:) She also includes a great list of children's books to read aloud - one of our favorite traditions - and a list of really good family night movies. I think Christian mommies have an especially hard time finding books and movies for our kids because in addition to wanting quality, we also want something that reinforces the values we want to pass on. This list was really helpful for me.
The greatest thing about this book is just how real it is. I'm always on the lookout for a "Titus 2 Woman" to sit down and chat with - about raising godly children, about what I need to be doing now so they'll be responsible, loving adults later. There aren't many women around who are willing to sit down with you and say "this is what I did and my kids turned out pretty great." It's just a great practical and inspirational book and Barbara is a great writer. I recommend it whole-heartedly!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hurtful people

Why is it that some people just can't stop themselves from being hurtful? In real life and in this cyber world, we have all come across people who just don't seem happy to respectfully disagree or to let something go. It seems they're constantly on the lookout for any perceived slight or opportunity to attack. I have a person in my real life who has this attitude and Molly has recently been attacked on her blog by someone over what began as ...I can only describe it as a difference of opinion. Have there always been this many rude people running around? I'm just constantly in awe of the things people feel entitled to say.
I think most of you know where we stand on the whole quiverfull thing, but I have never tried o make anyone who disagrees with me feel stupid or vilified about their beliefs. I also would never intentionally look for an offense where none was intended. And I pray I've never done it unintentionally either.
I've heard a lot of comments since we announced that baby #3 is on the way, but it's easy to tell which ones were said in jest and which ones were meant to be a little (or not so little) jab. I've been much less concerned with the jabs this time around, but I recently found out that I've been missing the worst of them. That's right, some people around here have nothing to do but bad-mouth me behind my back for having another child. I mean I know this is a sleepy little town, but my word - get a hobby.
I guess I've always known that following God's will isn't meant to be easy. I just imagined that persecution would be more ... glamorous somehow:) Not this petty little drip, drip, drip of annoying rudeness.
I think a lot of us could use a course in manners - especially the conversational variety. But maybe the main thing is we need to start taking seriously the Golden Rule.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I've had one of those days...

You know, where you're so busy you don't remember to eat until sudden-onset nausea (or for you non-pregnant readers - just a growling stomach). Actually, my whole week was pretty much like that. So now I'm taking a little break. It's almost time to watch the webcast of my mother's graduation ceremony. She's getting her Master's and I couldn't be more proud of her. She's worked so hard for this and I would just dearly love to be there cheering, but this live webcast is a fabulous substitute. Anyway. In the time before that gets started I thought I'd chill out for awhile (does anyone else still say chill out?) and type for a few minutes. One of my friend's recently encouraged me to make a list of things I get excited about so that I'll have something to refer to when I catch myself with a few minutes to spare and no idea what to do with myself:) So I think this will be as good a time as any.
These are things that make me smile or grin or just things I'm enthusiastic about:)

  1. painted toenails
  2. not having to cook
  3. reading to my kids
  4. sweetened condensed milk - cold
  5. historical fiction
  6. brand new contacts
  7. books about cooking - not just pages of recipes
  8. crab legs with melted butter and lemon
  9. blank paper and a new pen
  10. the MOMYS for sale list
  11. the library
  12. the Dollar Store
  13. febreeze
  14. bubble baths
  15. magazines
  16. talking with my hubby over a bowl of ice cream
  17. catalog
  18. my church
  19. girlfriends (this esp. includes my mom, sister and grandmas)
  20. big shady pecan trees
  21. eating a ripe peach

There it is. 21 things that make me happy:)

Organizing a Playroom

When we moved into our new home my darling husband was thrilled to see that it had a dining room. A "real" dining room – not just space for a table and chairs off the kitchen (although it has that, too). Unfortunately, we do not have a dining room table or chairs or all that other fancy furniture that looks so nice in a "real" dining room and we probably won’t be spending the big bucks to buy any soon. So I had a whole empty room to find a use for – YIPEE! I thought immediately of making a playroom for my two (soon to be three) little toy junkies. There were just two problems. The first was that the room is attached to our living room, which is where we sit at night and where visitors sit when they come over – very visible. The second problem was that this room was also the only place for my computer and "office" (also known as Home Base). These problems both worked out to be good things. I motivated to keep this room very organized and attractive and I can work in the same room with the kids while they play so with a spin of my chair I can discipline or encourage – or stop everything and play.
I started by dividing the room into stations – just like a preschool. The first station is my desk and bookcase. The book case holds our Levi’s school supplies that he needs permission to get, library books, my file folder of magazine articles that I’ve pulled out for future reference, phonebooks, my "office in a basket" and –most importantly – my homekeeping binder. That’s everything I need to do any deskwork during the day. The station next to it is his little table and chairs. This is where he does what we call schoolwork – coloring, pasting, cutting, putting together puzzles, etc. He’s within arms reach of my chair so I can stop and help (or see if he drops the glue). Under his table is a big piece of clear vinyl to keep the carpet clean.
The next station is his bookcase – turned on it’s side so that the three shelves turn into cubbies. He keeps books in one, puzzles and a tub of little books in another and a stack of shoebox size rubbermaid containers in the last. The containers hold little toys – cars, blocks, and his musical instruments. We pasted pictures on the ends of the boxes so he knows what goes where and can pick up the toys and put them in the right box himself. On top of the bookshelf are Brenna’s big toys so that she can see them and reach them. The only thing I have to get down is the Little Tykes farm – it’s still too heavy. There are also big pillows on the floor nearby – a little reading center. We’re in the planning stages of redoing this section with raingutter bookshelves – I think these will make a big difference since he’ll be able to see the books and put them away.
On the other end of the bookshelf are all the building toys – legos, lincoln logs, etc – in bigger rubbermaid containers. We also have a crate full of dinosaurs here since Levi plays with them with the legos. And the tonka trucks. We keep a large toy box in the playroom, too, that my husband made for Levi. It holds the out of rotation toys – out of site, out of mind. Every few months I rotate toys so that they can play with the ones they haven’t seen in awhile. This is also a good time to give some toys away. I have a theory that too much (of any material thing, anyway) is not good for kids, so I actively try to make sure that they aren’t swamped. But you can’t tell Grandparents thatJ But a little spoiling by Grandma doesn’t hurt.
The last thing in our playroom is a small basket of Brenna’s little toys – rattles, baby blocks, stacking rings – all the things that keep her busy for a few minutes while I’m on the phone.
I’ve had a really great time putting together a play space for us and the kids have a great time playing in it. We’re doing a little along to decorate with framed pictures Levi drew or crafts he made. We’re going to do a chair rail border of old-fashioned alphabet cards that I just found. I can leave the molding and change the border when we have a dining room. The best thing, in my opinion, about the room is that Levi can get to the toys himself and can put them away himself.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Making Your House Feel Like Home

Anyone can have a house (or apartment or hotel room or RV), but it takes a little effort to make a home. So why bother? Well, it’s our job – we’re homemakers after all. And who doesn’t want a home? A soft place to land when the world outside is too hard, a place to invite others and share a part of ourselves, a place to make our family feel warm and loved and cared for. But how do we go about changing our little dwelling into a comforting and welcoming home for our family?
I believe the first step is to ask our family members and ourselves just what says "home" for us. I know for my husband –and probably yours, too – home means smelling a nice hot meal when he comes through the door. Nothing makes him feel more at home than knowing dinner is on the way! So I try to have something that smells inviting on the stove when he comes in even if I haven’t quite got dinner started yet. A "trick" I read in an old home economics textbook is to slice up an onion and start sautéing it on the stove before hubby comes in. It only takes a second and it smells like supper. Chances are you’ll use it when you do cook dinner anywayJ Appetizers from the freezer that you can stick in the oven are also great for making a hungry husband feel welcome.
Since our children are still small and since hubby doesn’t enjoy making lists nearly as much as I do, I sat down in a rare moment of quiet time one day to make my own list of things that make me feel good – words that remind me of the best things in life. If you can get your husband and kids involved, this is a great exercise for everyone. If not, make a list for yourself. Mine looked like this.
10 words and phases that make me feel at home
God’s Word
Pecan trees
Sweet tea
Family and friends
Good food
Screen doors slamming
Fresh-cut flowers
Porch swings
After I made my list and thought about what would be on my husband and children’s lists I had a pretty good idea what I wanted our home to be like. Then I started figuring out ways – inexpensive ways! – to incorporate some of these "homey things" into our home.
One of the first things I did in our first apartment was frame a set of poster’s that I got on sale – they’re Bible verses done in calligraphy – and hang them throughout the house. It was perfect for all our rental homes. Now that we’re in our own home, I plan to paint scripture on the walls.
We can’t always afford fresh flowers every week, although they can be very cheap from the grocery store or, in the spring and summer, from the yard. But many of the pictures hanging in my home are of flowers. I often cut pictures off of calendars or out of magazines to frame. I also press flowers and mount them to hang. These also make great gifts.
One of the first things we planted when we moved in were pecan trees. They’re still pretty small and I know it will take them a long time to grow, but I can wait. My grandmother’s yard is full of great big pecan trees and they just say "home" to me. Next spring I hope to plant some wisteria to climb over something in our side yard. This is another plant that makes me think of home. Many of my family members are surprised that I don’t plan on planting kudzu (an infamous, rapidly spreading ground cover that literally covers anything standing still here in Georgia), but my dear husband had to put his foot down somewhereJ
Our porch swing is actually under our deck – not on our front porch (we don’t have one of those), but it serves the same purpose. It’s a wonderful place to relax with my husband, read a good book while the kids play or sit and chat with friends who stop by. Drinking sweet tea, of course.
My husband worked with my grandfather, a carpenter, one Christmas to make me four beautiful bookcases. They hold our books, of course, but also pictures of family and friends, and baskets filled with cds, memorabilia that will one day get put in a scrapbook, my "office in a basket," and magazines I hope to read. We also decorate with books. I have them in stacks under a too-small lamp to give it a little more stature and a few with beautiful covers stacked on end tables. I’ve even found pictures in yardsale books to tear out and frame. Part of my son’s room is decorated with old-fashioned Curious George pictures.
We haven’t added on a screen door just yet. That’ll come when we finish the downstairs (it’s still under construction). And I have lots more projects in mind. But the most important thing to me about making a house into a home is remembering that it’s a home for my family. It doesn’t matter what others think of it. I want guests always to be comfortable and to enjoy their time at our house because we love to have people over. But in the end guests go to their own homes and our home is just for us again. So even though others might not understand why we have a playroom where the dining room should be or why certain spots sit empty (I always wait for inspiration!), that’s alright with me. As long as we are happy in our home, that’s what counts. So sit down and think about what would make you happy in your home. Encourage your husband and kids to tell you what they’d like. And then use those ideas to make your house into your home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A few of the comments we've heard since announcing #3

Now keep in mind that this baby will only be our third and that our oldest will be 4 and Brenna will be 20 months already before Little (insert name here) is born, so It's not like I'm popping them out every 10 months here - I'm just not that lucky:) But here are a few of the funny/absurd/cute/borderline offensive things we've heard over the past week...
"how many are y'all going to have anyway?" (as many as God gives us)
"do you two know what's causing this?" (yeah, we know - apparently we're pretty good at it:)
"don't you have your hands full enough as it is?" (yes, but my heart isn't full yet)
"I hope you were expecting this." (I never could've expected to be this blessed)
"Better you than me!" (I think so too!)
"I hope Brenna grows up some before then." (That's likely since she'll be 7 months older, don't you think?)
Fortunately, there have also been a lot of genuine congratulations and a lot of people very excited for us. And for some reason, I'm handling all the above comments much better this time around. Something particularly hurtful was said last time that I'm still struggling to forgive, but I've managed so far (by the grace of God) to keep my eyes on the prize and not worry about the comments from the peanut gallery. That's especially good for me since my mouth tends to kick into gear before my brain sometimes.

Calling All Homemakers

Welcome Home is at it again - this time it's a blogdrive on Homemaking so go here to read all about it. And then get those ideas typed out and sent in. I can hardly wait to read how everyone else handles this part of the job!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Big News at our House

Finally I can make the big announcement - we're expecting a baby in February! We're so thrilled! We waited until everyone was gathered around for Brenna's birthday party to tell our family - we even let the kids make the announcement. They had on matching t-shirts that that said "I'm the BIG brother" and "I'm the BIG sister" - it took my family forever to get it! And with several of them we had to point it out. My dad thought that Brenna's said big because she was the only sister:)
So that explains why I've been mysteriously absent a lot around here - although I'm actually feeling much better than I did with the last two. PTL! Hopefully I'll be back in the swing of things in a week or two.

Monday, June 27, 2005

10 Great Reasons To Have Another Child

I just have to link to this great post. These are fabulous reasons. But I am often reminded these days that God commanded us to be fruitful and multiply. He expects us to obey His commands whether we understand and agree with them or not. And if children are blessings from Him (and the Bible states that plainly), then why are we turning them away? Sure, bringing them into the world or caring for them when they get here isn't always easy, but if God says they're a blessing then they are! There are lots of other blessings that don't come easy - health, wealth, friendships and relationships - but we believe these gifts from God are worth our hard work, so we don't complain. When's the last time you heard someone say "Please don't send me anymore money, God, I don't have time to invest all I've got now"? But when it comes to children, we've been infected by the world's outlook. The outlook that says children are not worth the trouble. That they just "get in the way" of our self-fulfillment. That they require too much self-sacrifice. Sure most people still think one or two is okay - as long as you can "afford them" and as long as they're healthy and cute. I mean, you can put them in daycare so they don't interfere too much with your other plans. But this isn't the kind of life God calls us to, is it? Doesn't God call us to DIE to self? And how great is the reward! My children have blessed me and stretched me and caused me to grow in ways I can't even begin to enumerate. So the bottom line for me is always going to be - do it God's way.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I know it's not Friday, but I'm late with pretty much everything these days:)

This is from Friday's Feast. I thought it was funny:)

What's one word or phrase that you use a lot?
I say "get that out of your nose" a lot, but I don't think that's what this means:) Let's see. I still say "cool" a lot and "chill out" - a true child of the early nineties:)

Name something you always seem to put off until the last minute.
I could list a lot of stuff right here. Putting things off is my worst habit and something God's really dealt with me a lot lately. I'd have to say I put off the laundry until we are as close to out of underware as we can get. I really need to get a handle on Mount Washmore:)

What was the last great bumper sticker you saw?
Motherhood - Changing Society One Diaper At A Time

Main Course
If you could be invisible for one day, how would you spend your time?
I'd watch my little boy sing. He loves to sing and dance and gets all into it as long as no one is watching, but the second he sees you - it's over!

Describe your hair.
Ugh. Do I have to? Let's see - medium-to-dark brown. In need of a trim. Suddenly wavy after my daughter was born after years of being stick straight. Usually in a ponytail.

That was fun!

What I thought about on Father's Day

My parents were pretty young when I was born - my dad had just turned twenty. He was a new soldier with a new wife and baby to support. He could've easily turned into a "deadbeat dad" like many of my friends fathers. It would've been easy to be overwhelmed - and now that I have kids of my own, I'm sure sometimes he was - and given up trying. But here's what I remember about my dad from when I was little.
My daddy (and I do still call him Daddy, at least 90% of the time) was a hero - a soldier. He was big and strong and able to do anything. He once built a grill in our backyard. I was about 4 or 5 and thought this was an incredible feat of genius:) I was always safe with him. I remember playing "Dukes of Hazard" in his pickup truck. My brother and I would be standing in the seat next to him (this was the late 70's before car seats) and he'd drive slightly off the dirt road and down into the ditch - we'd squeal in terror, but I knew I was safe. He took us into the "woods" and let us try his bow. I couldn't even pull the string back (I know these aren't technical terms), which just reinforced my belief that he must be the strongest man in the world. When we came home after bed time, I would pretend to be asleep and he would carry me to bed. On other nights he would tuck me in and say my prayers with me and we'd talk about my day. When my brother had to have several surgeries I remember how my daddy would hold me up to Shawn's hospital room window so I could sneak him some candy bars. Looking back now I think we probably could've just taken the candy to him, but sneaking was so much fun.
As I got older there was a lot of moving around with the army and I was pretty vocal about not wanting to leave home. I'm sure I hurt his feelings over and over again. But he was always so great. Everytime we moved he'd go ahead to scout out the place. By the time we got there, he'd found us a house and figured out a ton of fun places for us to go and things to do. When we got to Germany he took my brother and me on a nice long walk to the candy store AND ice cream shop. When we got to Hawaii he knew where all the great beaches were and bought us shaved ice (which we'd never heard of).
I can't even imagine all of the sacrifices he made for us or all of the heartbreak we caused him over the years. But I do know that it's becasue of all those sacrifices, because of all the times he went out of his way to be a great dad, that I know how to parent my babies, that I knew what to look for in a daddy for them. And because he was a great dad, I know I can count on him to still be a great dad. He's still there when we need advice or just to run an idea by him. Or when I just need to know someone thinks I'm great:) He's really good on those days! And he's the best Grandaddy ever. My kids and my neices and nephews just can't get enough of him.
So those are some of the things that popped into my head last night while I was thinking about my daddy. I hope he knows how much I love him:)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I've been tagged:)

1)What is the amount of the most books you've ever owned?
I think I probably own the most now that I ever had (although I am trying to weed out the lesser tomes). I would guesstimate about 250. Not including kid's books.

2) What was the last book you purchased?
The Excellant Wife by Martha Peace. I'm really excited about starting it - I've heard great things. And I'm excited because I found an autographed copy for $2 at a local booksale:) I love a bargain!

3) What was the last book you read?
The last thing I read...all the way through? The New Elegant but Easy Cookbook (2 thumbs up, btw), Celebrate Home: Great Ideas for Stay At Home Moms and Created to Be His Helpmeet. I'm reading now... Once a Month Cooking, Train Up Your Children in the Way They Should Eat, and Teaching Montessori in the Home.
4) What are the five books that meant the most to you?
This is a tough one! Of course the Bible. The NIV study Bible that my Grandma gave me for my 16th birthday is especially special - it has 13 (wow that's a lot!) years worth of highlighting and underlining and questions in the margins. I would hate to ever lose it just because it really shows how much work God's done on me through His word. Four more, huh? Let's see... Gone With The Wind - I reread it all the time. I'm starting to identify more with Melanie than with Scarlett - I think that's a good thing. Mary Pride's The Way Home. This was the book that introduced me to the idea of staying home with my kids, of "letting" God control our family planning, of homeschooling. Don't read it if you don't want to be convicted:) The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyzyn (I hope she'll forgive me mispelling her name) - turned our whole way of looking at finances on it's head and taught me how to use what God provided for us so that I could stay home with Levi and not feel like we were "doing without" all the time. The Well Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. This was the first real homeschooling book I read and it just gave me such a vision of the kind of education that is possible. I was astounded by what I didn't know and what I hadn't been exposed to, especially considering I believe myself to be well educated:)

5) What is the current book that you are reading together as a family? (If you don't do, you want to? Why, or why not?) We have been talking about starting this. My oldes is just three and always before I convinced myself he was too young to really pay attention, but I think he would enjoy it provided we started off kind of slow. I'd love some suggestions on this one.

This was who to tag? :)

An Organizational Frenzy

I've been working on getting my house in shape for a couple of weeks now - slowly but surely. I guess it's a little bit of spring fever that's got me in the mood for cleaning and organizing. I know, it seems late for spring fever, but I started out the spring just working outside. We just bought this house last year and since last summer was busy what with adding to our family and all, the yard didn't get very much attention. So we started the spring with a yard full of red Georgia clay (which I love, just not in my yard) and a few sprigs of grass. Plus, of course, the standard three boxwood bushes that the buildersput in every yard. So we got rid of those and a lot of undergrowth in the our woods - now you can walk through them! And we planted grass and a flower bed (complete with stone wall) in front of the house. We did a lot of filling in with peagravel to cover some not so attractive places. We've planted 22 baby trees on the property - including two pecan trees! I l0ve pecan trees because my Grandma has a yard full of them. And for Mother's Day my hubby planted a pile of pink abnd white azaelas (by a pile I mean about 40) on this little hill that we weren't sure what to do with. He's so sweet.
This is supposed to be all about what I'm trying to accomplish inside though. I've managed to get everything spic and span so I have a good starting spot. Now I need to get some systems in place so it doesn't get messy (or at least not out of control) again. My first oragnizational feat is going to be my craft/sewing supplies. Right now they're piled in two big rubbermaid tubs so of course I have no idea what I have and what I don't. Plus they're all the way downstairs in the storage closet so if I have even a little project to do it's a lot of trouble. I also just got my first new sewing machine (I'd been trying to make my Granny's 70's model work) so I want to set up a sewing area. I have lots of projects in mind and I can't wait to get started. Also I thought I'd start with something fun to motivate me because my next project is laundry:( There has to be a way to keep laundry for 4 people caught up without piles on the floor or "delicate" dresses that never get worn because they need handwashing. Any ideas are welcome! After I get those projects finished, I'm planning on trying Once a Month Cooking. Evenings are often crazy around here - especially in the summer since we tend to be gone or outside so much, so I'm looking forward to getting supper under control.
In the meantime, we have a busy day ahead so I'd better get off the computer. I hope all of you are having a wonderful Saturday!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Levi nearly drowned

Well, I guess not "nearly," but it still scared me pretty good. We were with our church at a picnic at my sister-in-law's yesterday and a lot of people, kids and grownups, were in the pool. Levi is still in that "I want to play with the water, but I'm still to chicken to get in" faze so I don't have to worry about him being in the pool - just around it. Anyway we had just gotten there and I was looking around for his swimmies (I make him wear them just in case when he's around the pool). He was just out of my reach when he leaned over to fill his watergun and ... in he went head first. I don't think I've ever felt my heart just stop like that. I don't remember if I screamed or what. Thank God, Eric ( a foreign exchange student from our college group) was right there. He's really great with kids anyway, but he caught Levi just as he went under and plopped him right back on the deck just as I got to him. Levi looked so scared - it broke my heart - but he wasn't going to cry! He sat down with me just for a minute to let me wipe out his eyes where the chlorine stung, but then he went right back to playing (but NOT close to the pool).
I tried to stay real calm about it - we've always kind of said "oh, you're allright" and tried to encourage him not to get too scared to try things. That seems to work well for him (with exception for the very few times he's been really hurt - then we pour on the sympathy for as long as he needs it). But after he went back to playing I had to sit down. I don't know when I've been so shaken up. It wasn't as if he was in danger of drowning - there were probably twelve people in an above-ground pool - it was just the sudden realization that he could drown or that something else terrible could happen to him. How irrational I can be - other people's children get sick or get hurt. Not mine. But I got a powerful lesson yesterday about something I thought I knew. Not only are we not promised tomorrow, we aren't promised our children for tomorrow either. My children aren't mine, they're loaned to me from my Father and one day He will call them home. I selfishly pray that He'll take me first and that they'll have long full lives and go quietly in there sleep. But I must remember to live each day with them as if it is a gift, because it is a gift. So today I'll hug them a little tighter and play with them a little longer and I'll try to remember not to take them for granted.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Levi is telling stories...

Not the bad kind:) "Telling a story" in my family always meant a little one telling a fib. Casey and I usually call that telling a lie, though, because that's what it is and we don't want to gloss over that fact with our kids. Stories however are great things - especially Levi's which are funny and creative and usually *loosely* based on truth.
He told us three last night, two (mostly) true stories with a moral and one entirely fictional one about a "kite" he'd just made from some string, a plastic hanger and an envelope. I know every mother thinks her child is the most intelligent, imaginative, interesting person on the planet - but mine really is ;)

Saturday, May 28, 2005


I am falling down on the job. The job being housekeeping. My "good excuse" is that I've been so run down and sick from this medicine this week (and before) that I've let some things slide. It's nothing major - the department of health probably won't be stopping by any time soon. But I'm putting off the dishes a little too long, "forgetting" to water the flower beds, just giving a cursory swipe to the know, just letting things back up a bit.
Now I do usually cut myself some slack when I'm sick. And hubby is very understanding. But my job is to keep this house and family running smoothly and quite frankly there aren't too many sick days allowed. But why does it matter? Why not just let the house go to pot (as my Grandma says) and start over when I feel better? Is housework even vaguely important? And if so why?
Well, for one thing, my God is the God of order. Since He dwells with us, I like to keep the place neat for Him. And then there's my hubby. He's quite the neat freak:) Now, like I mentioned, he's very understanding when I don't feel well or when we have a really busy couple of weeks, but part of what he loves about having me at home (and part of why he's happy to work so hard to keep me here) is that he loves having a clean, orderly, happy home to return to. Another reason is my kids - it sets a good example for them to see me doing my work cheerfully and thoroughly. They're also better behaved in a neat house. I know that sounds like a stretch, but it's true. Levi is quite a live-wire, but when he's in a clutter-free environment he's much more focused.
Keeping house is part of my job - an important part. I love to come home to a beautiful home and I know my family does too.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Brenna is learning to talk!

She's been saying "bye-bye" and waving her little hand for about a month already, but now she's added to her repetoire - mama, dada, and bubba. I think she's trying to say "more," too. She makes an "mmm" sound when she does the sign for more. I've really enjoyed teaching her a few signs. I think I got more involved with signing with Levi - Brenna definitely misses out on some things (the second child syndrome). But she's talking a pretty good bit sooner than he did, so maybe she won't be permanently damaged by not being first:) At the very least she should be happy to have her own personal entertainer 24/7. Levi spends a big part of his day trying to make her laugh!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


When I first started feeling the pull to stay at home some of my very favorite daydreams were about all the fabulous entertaining I’d have time to do. I couldn’t wait to sit up late chatting with our friends over a spectacular hand-made dessert or grill succulent steaks while all the families in the neighborhood hung around our yard. I just knew I’d be a perfect hostess and everyone would think my parties (house, children, husband, food, etc) were the absolute best.
If I have to tell you that it didn’t work out that way, then you probably haven’t been at home long. I quickly learned that hospitality is a lot of work and its purpose is not to make the hostess look good. Actually, it seems I am most called on to be hospitable when I am least prepared for it – you know those days when you haven’t had time to sweep up the crumbs from breakfast or lunch, or when the baby was up all night teething and now none of you are out of your jammies. And, while I love having company, hospitality isn’t always the fun stuff – the barbecues and parties. Sometimes it’s being a shoulder to cry on even when you don’t have time. Sometimes it’s taking in that niece or nephew whose parents have just given up. Sometimes its having an elderly relative come to live with you or inviting the "latch-key kids" next door over to play after school.
So why do we do it at all? Why is hospitality such a big deal? Well, because it can be really great. I love to open my home to others and have them share in the love of our family. But more than anything we do it because we’re commanded to. 1 Peter 4:9 says "Be hospitable to one another, without grudging." There is no better place (in my humble opinion, of course) to share the Gospel or to nurture new believers than in the home. We do it by living out our religion in front of our guests. By sharing His Word with them. By meeting their practical needs so that they can hear.
So how do we go from theory to practice? Well, …practice. Start small by having friends over just one or two at a time then build your way up to inviting those you don’t know as well or hosting a Bible study. It’s always a good idea to be prepared. Keep snacks on hand – out of site so they’re not a temptationJ . Something easy to keep around is a can of roasted nuts. If you heat them in a little olive oil or butter with some cayenne or cinnamon, they taste special and require next-to-no effort. I usually try to keep the fixings for a quick meal on hand too. If you have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer with a loaf of french bread, you can make spaghetti and garlic bread pretty quick without making your guests feel like you just threw something together. Keep some olives, pickles and cheeses on hand – they go great with crackers. And always have vanilla ice cream on hand (even if you have to hide it behind the frozen broccoli). It’s like a little black dress – you can dress it up with something. Topped with warmed peanut butter and/or melted chocolate chips it seems like you knew they were dropping by and planned something special.
I believe hospitality and charity go hand in hand. When we open our home to the needy we’re engaging in personal one-on-one charity and really helping that individual. Not just throwing money at a beggar hoping they’ll go away. I am always reminded of a story in Edith Schaeffer’s The Art of Homemaking. She tells about the "hobos" that often came to her door looking for a handout. Instead of turning them away or just giving them a few dollars, she had them sit on the steps and wait while she fixed them lunch on a tray – hot soup, a sandwich on thick cut bread. She even tried to include a flower and a small New Testament for them to take with them. While it may not be safe to do today (and probably wasn’t entirely in her day either), can you imagine how that man felt as he left her steps? God’s Word tells us "Do not be forgetful of hospitality, for by doing this some have entertained angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2).
The key to hospitality is to always to keep in mind that your focus is doing what God wants you to do. If He’s led these people to your home, do what you can to make sure they feel wanted and welcome.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Health problems

Last week was not the best I've ever had. I've been having some problems for the last few months related to my polycystic ovarian syndrome (if there are any men reading this, you can probably see where I'm heading ... feel free to check back in later :) ) . Serious fatique, unexplainable weight gain, ovarian pain, did I mention the fatique? I felt like I was trying to walk with a lead suit on. So I had a lot of tests run and it turns out I have all kinds of problems. They're all related to the PCOS in one way or another - insulin resistance, hypothyroidism, DHEAS deficiency, and a great big cyst on my ovary which may require surgery and a biopsy. Yuck.
Luckily, I've found out about all of this now when there are still things I can do to reverse most of it. It means I'm going to have to start taking care of my body. Something I'm not very good at. I've already started a few new habits that I seem to be sticking with like watching what I eat and trying to get some exercise everyday instead of just a few times a week. And hopefully, with this new medication, I'll have more energy to make more improvements. I want to be healthy enough to really run and play with my kids (and to have some more!) so that's pretty great motivation.
But in the end, what I've been thinking most about this week, is that this body - health - is not the end-all, be-all that we make it out to be. When I get HOME I'll have a new body - an immortal one without these problems. One that won't hold me back. So, while I feel like taking care of my body is important because it's a temple of my King and because He calls me to be a good stewart of the things He's given me, I'm not going to obsess about it. My God is more concerned with the state of my heart than that of my body and I should be too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lacey Renee is born!

My very dearest friend in the world had a baby girl today. We've been friends for a long time - oh, wow, half my life, I just realized. And I am so happy for her that I could just squeal:) I can't wait to see pictures - they live in Texas:( And I can't wait for a visit. We're planning to go out in September. I'm so excited:) God is so good!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mommy Brain

For all of you who thought this post would surely be about some of the dumb things I've done in a state of combined sleep-deprivation and stress, I'll throw a couple things out there for your amusement. I once left the house and drove to town with the door of the house wide open. Once I nursed Brenna in the parking lot and forgot to button up before we went in Walmart (you know it seems like one of those greeters could've made themselves useful and pointed it out). Once, at a big family lunch after my daughter's dedication, I sat down to eat and forgot my baby (she was safely with my dad) until my little boy said "where's baby sissy?"
So okay, being a mom may fry your brain sometimes, especially the first months after a new baby's born (let's blame the hormones). But I've always thought that overall motherhood is making me smarter. And I finally found someone who agrees with me:) This article is reviewing a book called The Mommy Brain by Laurel Robinson.
I personally am a lot smarter than I was before I had kids. I've had to really think about what I believe, what I know, how I know it, because I can't pass on to my children what I don't possess. If I want them to be smart, to love learning, and most of all to know and love God - then I have to do all that too. And the everyday challenges of running a house and raising two small children are making me smarter. I know the world might not agree, but I think it takes brains to figure out how to entertain a toddler without the use of your hands (because you're nursing a baby and making lunch with them) or explain to a three year old how God can be everywhere at one time or how birds fly or the nine million other explanations they ask for over the course of an afternoon. I also think the process of keeping up with kids as they daily learn new things and new skills makes me smarter. I'm just better all around for being a mother - more organized (as a matter of pure survival), more interested in the world around me, clearer about what I think and where I will and won't compromise. I communicate better with others (well, maybe not in writing - haha) and I definitely have gotten better at multi-tasking:)
I've also had much more time (now that I'm over that 1st year or so where I didn't have a clue how to do this whole mom-at-home thing) to develop skills and hobbies than I ever had when I was working (BK - before kids). I've taught myself quite a bit about making gourmet meals (although I rarely get to practice), sewing, knitting, refinishing furniture, making a budget and sticking to it, about nutrition, herbs and health, about the environment (thanks to Alice for getting me interested), and government. And I'm learning more all the time. And there's so much more to learn!
So, now that I've given it some thought, I don't think all those little "mommy brain" moments -like the time I started talking to my son in the backseat only to remember he had stayed home with my husband- mean that my brain is turning to mush. I think I may actually be gaining some ground:)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

A day in the life...

I appear to be using up most of my brain power over at Alice's new site so I thought I'd regale y'all with a blow-by-blow of what goes on around here on an average day (as if there were such a thing with a three year old and 10 month old in the house). If nothing else you'll have concrete evidence that I really am slightly (at least) off my rocker.
The day actually starts around 5 when Baby Sissy wakes up starving. In the good old days I'd just stick her in bed with me and she'd nurse away while I went back to sleep, but since we had to switch to bottles I have to get up and get the thing and stay awake while she drinks it. On all the lists of good reasons to breastfeed that I ever read not one listed what I consider a really big benefit. Breasts don't spill - leak a little maybe sometimes, but not a bottle being shaken all over the bed. At any rate, my little man usually stumbles into bed with us at some point between 5 and 7 when Daddy gets home and we all hop up so he can get some sleep.
Then it's off to fix breakfast - smiley face oatmeal for Levi and Brenna and something easy for me. We all get dressed and the kids play (usually quite nicely) while I clean up the kitchen and start supper. That's right I start supper after breakfast. We have that whole "witching hour" thing going at our house big time in the evenings so I just avoid the dinnertime hassle all together.
We usually play outside for a little while or go to storytime and the library or whatever until Brenna's naptime and Levi's "school" which isn't really much like school at all. As a matter of fact we could probably just call this reading time and be a lot more accurate. We read our Bible story for the week first and talk about our memory verse (btw, kids this age amaze me with their ability to memorize) and then we read more books - stories, nursery rhymes, phonetic readers, books about counting cheerios and books about how thing work - transportation is a big theme at our house these days - stories about policemen and firemen. Usually, after we've read a bunch of books, we pick a craft to do and get started on that. Then I can get Brenna up and start on lunch while he finishes. School time is probably my favorite time of day with Levi.
After lunch it's more playtime and housework and running around if neccessary. Then rest time for everyone! Levi thinks he's outgrowing a nap, but Mommy still needs him to take one:) We've compromised and instituted quiet time on the couch while Sissy naps and Mommy has Bible time (as Levi calls it). He usually reads, but this is the time of day when I don't mind him watching a movie or tv show. We're picky about what he watches, but I'm picky about how much too. He almost always falls asleep anyway:)
By the time the kids wake up, Casey's awake. He works at his business most afternoons or plays with the kids while I play catch-up with the housework. I used to occaisionally spend this time watching Oprah:) But no more. Not just because I'm anti-Oprah, but also because it's a gigantic waste of time. Even if I have nothing around the house - which is rare! - I can always use the time to read or get on the computer or dig in the garden or talk to my husband.
We try to sit down for supper around 6:30. Our new thing is eating supper on the back deck. When we lived in our last apartment there was literally no where outside to sit down or grill out or let Levi run around and play so our big thing was getting a house with a yard! But of course the first year we lived here it seemed like we hardly had time to enjoy the nice big yard ( a whole acre!). So this spring Casey and I got serious about fixing up the yard and trying to enjoy it. Anyway, that's supper. Then there's bath time. Okay, I'm going to make a big confession here and I'm trusting you people not to turn me into DFACS - I don't give my kids a bath every night. I'll wait to let you catch your breath. Brenna's to small to really get dirty and Levi usually makes do with a good washing off. I started when he was a baby only bathing him about three times a week because he had ezema and the doctor said... And now I just don't think it's neccessary. I actually read an article not to long ago that suggested it might help build a child's immune system to bathe a little less than every day.
After baths (or not), we play on Mommy and Daddy's bed. The kids pile in there and we talk, Casey and Levi wrestle, we all play with Brenna. Then Daddy reads a story to Levi and Brenna hits the sack. Then we say prayers and Levi hits the sack. Lately he's been hitting the sack about three or four times before he sticks so we're working on that. After that Casey and I spend some quality time together and he heads out to work. Then I get some quiet time to think or blog or read or ... well you all know what I mean.
Lots of days there's church or sometimes I have a planning day when I read or plan (curriculum if you can call it that, menus, spring cleaning, projects, etc) all day and the house runs on the bare minimum. And we tend to invite people over pretty often - once a week or so. We have a lot of family and friends who aren't believers so we try to invite them over to see that a Christian family can be fun and we don't eat live chickens or anything:) Not that we think our family is the perfect example of a Christian family, but I think it's good for people to see a couple that loves each other and loves their kids.
Well, that's our day in a nutshell (a BIG nutshell - I rambled a bit). If you've waded all the way through that you're either a family memeber who loves us very much or a really nice person who felt like it would be rude to stop reading in the middle. In either case you have my permission to go do something interesting now:)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

My Grandmother

This isn't what I planned to post today at all, but sometimes I get a thought in my head that won't go away until I get it out so ... We just found out that my grandma will have to have a heart catherization done on Tuesday and the doctor is fairly certain that they "will find something" so they'll probably do heart surgery (or the balloon thing) then too.
I'm not usually much of a worrier. I really try to leave it God's hands and I usually have a peace about things. Even loved ones who have died - I grieve of course but take heart knowing that I'll see most of them again. And that would certainly be the case with my grandmother - I've never known a woman more in love with God. But this time I'm really worried. Not only at the thought of loosing her, but just at the idea that she's sick. I'm so used to her being so fit and active - she's a pretty young great-grandmother, 66. She babysat my wild children last week for cryin' out loud. I guess it's just the idea of losing a real rock in my life that has me so shook up. She's always been such a huge influence on me and she's so supportive of me - a rare thing around here.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day...

to my mom and my granny and my grandma. And to my mother-in-law. And to all my aunts and my friends' moms. And to all my friends who are moms. I've had a little time to think today (my mother's day gift!) and I've thought a lot about being a mom - not very original I guess, but what do you people want from me? :) I thought about my own mom and how blessed I am to have her. And how blessed I am that she had me. I came along a little earlier than she had planned. And a couple of years after Roe v Wade. There was no law that said she had to have me. I'm sure having me wasn't easy for her, but I thank God everyday that she did. I have had a magnificent life (and that's just so far). Possibly the only gift that rivals the gift of life itself has been the gift of motherhood. It took us awhile to get pregnant the first time. For almost three years I prayed for a baby and tried to "leave it up to God" (all the while trying to help Him along with charts and thermometers and even fertility drugs). Every month I sunk into a deeper and deeper depression. When I did, finally, really truly pray "not my will, even if it means never, not my will, but Yours" and we did finally did get pregnant - I don't think my feet touched the ground for months. My head was in the toilet, but my feet weren't on the ground:)
Being a mother is now completely a part of me. It took me awhile, even though I feel in love with my son before I ever saw his face, to get the hang of being someone's mommy. And then I went to the other extreme for awhile and couldn't remember how to be anything else (woman? wife? lover? Shannon? - what was that?). And just when I thought I had it figured out, God threw me a curve ball in the form of my baby girl:) And the figuring it out started all over again. I love these babies. I can't wait to have all God will give me. I love being a mother. It's the most challenging, rewarding, demanding, intense and beautiful thing I ever could've chosen to do with my life. But, you know, having said all that, it isn't everything. I think sometimes we (I) set up motherhood as some sort of idol to be worshipped. Motherhood is incredible. But it's not my all-in-all. Would I give my life for my kids? You bet. Without hesitation. But my kids are not my life. My life belongs, wholly, to the One who gave me these kids (and this husband, by the way) to serve. The One who bought me at a price. How often do I put off my time with Him (or him, as in hubby) because the kids need me? But when it comes down to it, they will all pass away. My kids will move out, start families of their own. My hubby will go on to Glory (although I selfishly hope not before me). I need always to remember that my calling first is to Christ.

Mother or not I hope you all enjoyed this Father's day and every other one you're blessed with:)

Monday, May 02, 2005

A new baby is here!

My wonderful friends Debbie and Steve had a beautiful baby girl bright and early this morning - Riley May. She was 8lbs 151/2 oz. Just 1/2 lb shy of my baby girl (her new best friend). We stopped by for a quick peek this morning and she is so pretty. Makes me want to rush God along:) But I know he has a plan for me and I'll just have to wait and see if that includes a new baby. Levi seems to think so:) He said "now can it be our turn?" He was also very annoyed with the nurse for washing Riley's hair under the running water. He thought it might be cold on her little head.
I get so excited about new babies!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A post on abortion

First - just a little heads up. The article I'm posting about includes pictures of an aborted baby. I found them very moving, but if you are very sensitive you should probably not read the article.

I really try not to get in people's face about this topic or any other. I just generally have the attitude that you can't bully people into agreeing with you. But this story really affected me. A basic synopsis (for those who don't want to read the article) is that a single mother with two kids decided to have an abortion at 22 weeks for reasons that seemed sufficient to her at the time. She says she wanted to kill her baby in the "most humane way possible" and had planned with a funeral home to have the baby cremated - even choosing Bible verses to have read over him. That's right she calls herself a Christian. She went to the clinic and had the baby, who she expected to be stillborn. He was, in fact, alive however. She says that at that point she tried to get someone to call for an ambulance - hoping to save her baby by getting him to a hospital. But she is now considering legal action because the clinic workers did not call an ambulance or do anything else to help her keep her baby alive.
The first time I read about this I was just so sad for poor little Baby Rowan. How cruel - to be pushed out into the world from what should be the safest place on earth, so long before he was ready. He managed to survive his premature birth only to be born into a toilet. And then managed to hang on. Anyone who has seen a premature infant knows just how hard they struggle to live. I can only imagine that little Rowan must have tried to breathe on his own with his tiny undeveloped lungs. Who knows what this little boy could've grown up to be? It just breaks my heart to think about him.
But the next time I read it, I got mad. I usually have a lot of compassion. I've held the hands of several friends who went through crisis pregnancies of their own. I know the panic. I understand just how overwhelming it can be. And I know people make mistakes that they wish they could go back and change. Let me tell you, there but for the Grace of God go I. I've made many mistakes myself and I don't ever forget that. It doesn't help women or their babies to say "what were you thinking?" or "how could you do that?" But I am mad for Rowan.
I am mad that a mother with two kids at home - a woman who calls herself a Christian - chose to kill her child. She knew this was a baby. A real, living baby. She felt him move the same way her first two children had. She carried him for 5 1/2 months. She named him. The she planned his funeral and she killed him anyway. How can anyone with even a passing acquaintence with Christ ever imagine that this is okay? And she says "I know you're thinking, 'How can a Christian possibly make that decision?' – but I think it happens a lot more often than you think."
How does that explain it? How does that explain why a follower of Christ can treat the life of their own child so caulously?
I know it can be hard to bring a child into this world. Some of us have nearly died doing it and still committed to doing it again. It's hard to admit that you've made a mistake that you can't "fix" or hide. But a baby deserves a life. Adoption is a good option for women who can not care for a child. So is temporay custody while you get you're life together. For that matter so is getting your life together fast so that you can care for your baby. We need to do all we can to help mothers so that they can raise their children or help them to find families who will cherish the baby that they are about to dispose of. And we need to remind society at large that children are a blessing - every child all the time. And we need to make murder illegal again. Every murder. All the time.

Friday, April 29, 2005

One of those weeks...

Well, my copy of Created to be a Helpmeet finally got here at the end of last week. I'm almost finished with it (remember I have little ones so excuse the slowreading). And it's already made a huge difference in our relationship. So if anyone wondered where I've been, let's just say that my house is a wreck, my kids have watched a good deal of videos this week, I haven't had much computer time, and I'm just now getting around to grocery shopping, but hubby is happy;) We're getting back on schedule now, but I've had a big priority shift. It's not that I ever conciously put my husband last, mind you. I know hubby is supposed to come right after God on my list. But in the day to day you know what happens. The kids need me. The house is messy (and hubby likes a clean house, right?). And I need time to myself, don't I? I mean if I don't unwind a little I'm not going to be anygood to anyone. So hubby keeps getting pushed back further and further. But after spending the majority of a week with him and remembering how great he is and how much fun it is to be his wife, I'm not going to be giving that up any time soon. So instead of trying to work time with Casey onto my calender, my calender is going to start working around time with Casey.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Marriage Maintenance Guide

My darling hubby and I were having a big discussion today. We're in the midst of sort of reordering some things in our life. We've had a lot of changes over the past year: The church thing that I posted on awhile back, a new baby last summer (although we're pretty used to her by now!), shift change for hubby and a big surge in his second business (Praise God!). Now these are mostly good things, but they've caused some upheaval so we're trying to get everything back on track. Tonight's discussion was about all the things that we need to get done this weekend - maintainence on the house, car, and yard topped hubby's list. We wound up talking about how much we would love a "date night" some time soon. This led to a discussion about how marriage "maintainence" is just as important as maintaining the car, yard, and house. And it got me thinking...maybe we need maintainence guides to our marriages just like the ones that come with our cars.
Now of course the first, best guide to any relationship is the Bible. It really is a "how to" guide for life. And "marriage advice" is excellent - things like "wives submit to your own husbands"and"husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church." But what about the everyday stuff that makes a marriage run smoothly, like compliments, backrubs, dinners out, favorite desserts:) How do we make sure we're getting enough of that? Maybe I need a little light that comes on when I'm low on appreciation or hubby's check "engine:)" light could flash.
In the meantime, we're going to reinstate datenight even though for awhile they'll have to be at-home dates. And we're going to make sure and have a tuneup now and then. Even though we are absolutely totally committed to one another and to our family and to the vows we made to God - we've seen too many good marriages fall apart to take chances. I mean if you're blessed with a ferrarri (did I even spell that right?), you don't just drive it until it runs out of gas and then leave it by the road right?
And that concludes my car/marriage analogy:)