Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's April 1st in New York

I ate a big bowl of ice cream at 9:15pm tonight.

Because in New York, it was past midnight, and thus April 1st.

Which means my own version of March Madness is over.

Is that cheating?  I think it's just smart!  And man was that ice cream good!!  Let me tell you, this has been one LONG month.  Have I been perfect in my quest to not eat sugar?  Not quite as perfect as I could have been.  But for the most part, I did it.  I learned some good things, which I plan to share in a blog soon.  Not enough energy to put my thoughts together tonight.

I blogged almost every day for a month.  Which was more of a feat than I expected, keeping up with my family and my job and finding time and wit to blog. 

With Gracie's 3rd birthday, Easter and a business trip coming up, it's a good thing I don't need to try to blog daily any longer.  Life is coming at me fast these days, but so far I'm keeping up. 

Tomorrow we're having a jammie morning.  No school, no work, no morning drop off's.  Just mama and her girls.  This is what I live for, what I look forward to.  I love being a mom.

Monday, March 29, 2010

29:: style

When you have two babies in two years, you spend the majority of 4 years pregnant, nursing and losing weight.  Function of clothes is more important that style.  And why spend lots of money on clothes that will only fit for a short time.  So you make do.

Now with my baby being 1, I'm pretty much back to my pre-pregnancy self, again.  All of my clothes fit.  But I don't have as many as I've tried to downsize what I didn't find myself wearing much or items that definitely went out of style.

Which hasn't left me with a lot.  So I make do.  I don't intend to complain about my wardrobe, because I do have what I need.  But although I'm not too emotional or high maintenance, I'm still a girl.  And girls like fashion and style.  And girls feel good in new, fashionable clothes.

This girl's clothes don't seem too fashionable anymore.  They are functional and classic, but not too fun and flirty.  I'm ready to be fun and flirty again!  I wish my bank account felt the same way.

I attempted to go shopping tonight.  I do enjoy shopping, but it's not how I like to spend my evening after a day at work.  But sometimes it can't be avoided.  I went to a large clothing store which in my opinion would have a large array of choices at decent prices.

While there were a lot of clothes I liked, I didn't find what I was looking for.  All I wanted was a cute, spring-y skirt with a feminine top or sweater to go with it.  But no.  No skirts to be found.  Lots of tops, but no skirts that fit that description.  Seriously.  Not even ones I didn't like.  They just didn't have any.

Either my sense of style is completely off, or I went to the wrong store.  Which is a bummer because it was a waste of a shopping trip.   I did get a few other items, but not what I really wanted.

Now to figure out where to go, and when. 

This mama wants something new for Easter.  It's cliche, I know.  But when you don't shop much for yourself, you'll take the opportunity.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

28:: babywearing Bible Mama (with photos this time!)

On my last Sunday, as a babywearing Bible mama, I got a photo! Which in itself, is pretty miraculous, given the whirlwind that Sundays have been. Are you tired yet of me recounting the craziness of my Sundays? As I was driving home this afternoon, I was thinking about how God certainly has called me to the ministry because he gets me through these crazy days and although I'm exhausted, I'm fulfilled in my ministry and thankful that my kids are experiencing ministry too.

I was out of the door at 7:10am with the older girls. I had a bunch of printing to do for promoting a new ministry. I have more hours of week these days, then I do time in the office, which means for last minute stuff like today. After sending the girls for their Sunday morning donuts, Miss Rose came back and said she had an accident. Just lovely. Thankfully Bean was still home, so he was able to get clean clothes. That's what happens when you're daughter is determined to come early with you--but is still tired and neglects using the bathroom when she first wakes up.

At 8am I had to rush to get my stage makeup done. Grab my costume, then back to meet Bean for Miss Rose's clean clothes and to get the baby and costume her. Once my part in the production was done...quick change into a dress and out to do sign-ups for our new classes. Then, lather, rinse, repeat for the 2nd service.

I wish I had taken a picture of my office after the whirlwind was over. Candy wrappers, sunday school papers, pee-laden clothes, toys strewn about, half-eaten applesauce, empty raisin box, my own papers and clothes, empty water bottles and general craziness.

It's been fun, but I'm looking forward to just focusing on ministry next weekend (although our trilogy has one more part) and Bean said he's ready to not be Mr. Mom and stage dad.

Me & the babe, sporting the Sakura Bloom!   I don't know that the average townperson following Jesus would have had such a lush sling, but I thought it fit with the costume pretty well.  Can you tell Lily missed her morning nap?

Babywearing Bible mama and her modern children!  (Notice how tall Miss Rose is getting?  STOP GROWING!)

There have been about a gazillion people snapping photos the last few weeks.  If I get any good "action" shots, I'll be sure to share them!

Now that my part is over, I'm excited to paint my toenails and wear earrings again!  

Friday, March 26, 2010

26:: as promised

Remember when I told you that Lily was finally crawling around 13 months?  And that she had a funky crawl?  Yeah, she still has it.  I somewhat suspect that this will be her only crawl and she'll go on to walking after this (still some months away I'm sure).  She already tries to pull up, and yesterday she did manage to get up on both feet while holding onto my legs as I sat on the ground.

I think I figured out how to share her little crawl with you.  It's unique.  She gets around fairly quickly when she wants to.  Everything else seems bilateral about her, so the doctor isn't concerned that there is a problem with her leg.  My take is that she just really disliked being on her belly, and so she found a way to avoid the whole army crawl to normal crawl path that most babies take.

Without further ado... (I apologize that you have to listen to me "babytalk". Honestly, who likes hearing themselves recorded?)

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

25:: 9 years ago yesterday

9 years ago yesterday, a boy invited me on a breakfast picnic. 

He insisted upon wearing bringing his backpack, for which I teased him.
He disappeared to the bathroom for ten minutes, wearing his backback, for which I teased him even more.

We ate muffins and donuts.  I drank coffee, he drank juice.

Then he opened his backpack and pulled out a photo album that chronicled the 7 months of our dating relationship.
I was so touched.  I asked "when did you take that photo with my parents?"  I honestly, was clueless.

And then, I turned the page, and saw this picture.
I looked to my love, mouth wide open.  Saying, "what is this?"  My heart saying, "oh yes, please let it be."

And since we were sitting, he got up, to get down on his knee, and asked me to marry him.  I wish I remembered every word he said.  All I remember is the pure joy, that this man, the man after my own heart, the man who had stolen my heart, who was the answer to all of my prayers, was pulling a ring from his pocket.  A beautiful ring.  A ring I would have chosen for myself, yet he chose it all on his own.
Our joy was so complete. 

And in the distance, the noise of a camera got louder and louder.  And I thought to myself, what tourist is taking so many photos and why are they so close to us?

I finally looked, and it was Bean's best friend.  The reason for the ten-minute visit to the bathroom.   A photo documentary of this most special day.

So young, and fresh-faced.  (Clearly I had not yet learned the importance of filling in my eyebrows.)

What a beautiful life sat ahead of us then.  A life together.  And what a beautiful life we lead, and that lays before us yet.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

24:: Life

Life is catching up with me right now.  Hence, no posts the last few days.  I enjoy posting things with content important to me, so I'm not going to blog just for the sake of blogging!

I have a few great (in my opinion) posts in mind...look for them the next few days.

In the meantime, excuse me while I try to get ahead of the curve in life, instead of it catching me!

Monday, March 22, 2010

22:: Did you know?

Who would have thought that a silicone basting brush would make such a great teether.

But apparently it does.

I'm sure it has some sort of unsafe plastic in it. Especially since it was purchased from Dollar Tree. Not as a teether, just as a kitchen item.

But when Mama is trying to get stuff done in the kitchen, she'll take the risk.

Go on. You know you want to try it with your baby. Just look how happy it makes her! (and pay no mind to the mismatched clothes.)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 21, 2010

21:: babywearing in the Bible

I decided to participate in our church Easter production this year. I used to do a lot of singing and worship leading, and I miss it. I thought it would be a fun opportunity to sing a bit again.

Before rehearsals even began, the director asked if I would want to have Lily in the production with me. We spread it over thee Sundays in about 20min chunks.

When have I ever said no to including my baby in any event--especially when her prescence is requested!!

I brought Lily to a few rehearsals so that she would be comfortable with the people, singing and interaction. She's been the perfect baby because she has all of mama's attention!

I decided to wear her, because it was easy--and authentic. No doubt moms in the Bible day wore their babies as they went about their full, busy days.

The first "episode" was today and Lily was a hit. She was very animated and interacted with those on stage. At one point Jesus interacts with rhe children and I took her out of the sling so he could hold her. Even if it wasn't my baby, I would have been so touched to watch it.

My castmates can't get over how mellow and easy going she is. She hardly makes a peep and has only cried one time. What can I say, Lily loves being worn! She is safe and close to me. I can imagine in the crowds of people following Jesus, there were lots of babywearing mamas and I'm glad I could represent them today.

Next week is the triumphal entry and we have a long routine involving choreographed palm branch waving. I'm certain Lily will want to "help" hold the palm branch. I'll get some photos taken of us in our Bible times getup next week.

Here is a photo I snapped today with my phone. Isn't she cute?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, March 20, 2010

20:: I Could

I could choose to blog about the craziness of today and tomorrow.

I could choose to blog about how I am questioning my sanity in that I alway tend to bite off more than I can chew.

I could choose to blog about my brief meltdown, most of which took place in my head. Which is a dangerous place to have a meltdown. My stinking personality which bottles and surpresses my emotions.

I could, because it's in my nature. Because I'm human.

But instead, I will CHOOSE to focus on the tremendous blessings of my life. Instead of letting life overwhelm me, will choose to enjoy time with my siblings and mom tonight. (you can pray for my dad. He's been feeling very tired the last few days and spent most of his time in bed and I don't think he'll be joining us for dinner).

I CHOOSE joy. I CHOOSE peace.

And I'm feeling so much better now. Because I chose wisely.

And why let life overwhelm me, when I get to live that life with these three beauties?

(silly girl!)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 19, 2010

19:: bits & pieces

I have inspirations for what I think are fun and interesting blogs, but that takes time and energy, which I don't often least to put into blogging.

So today, I'm settling for bits and pieces.

I read a great blog this week about challenging your body more in exercise and seeing more results.  I very easing fall into a groove with whatever workout I'm doing and just focus on getting through it, instead of really pushing myself.  This blog post caused me to push myself more yesterday on a run, and I am really feeling it today.

Speaking of blogs, I read this today and can say this mom did a great job of expressing the overwhelming feelings that often drowns working moms.  Thankfully, I do have a strong faith, that keeps me going and gives me strength and peace.

The scale dropped by two pounds between yesterday and today.  That was nice to see!  I wonder if those pounds will stay away.  I'm very much in that yo-yo state, waiting for my body to re-set it's happy weight to a lower number.  Does your body do that?  Every 5-7lbs I find that I yo-yo for a while before my body re-sets and stays at the lower number.  I'm used to it...but it's annoying.

I think the biggest thing I want to see change about my body right now is toning.  I'm feeling very soft in my midsection.  And I've never been happy with my upper arms.  Perhaps I'll use some birthday money (no, my birthday is not for a few months still, but I'm already planning!) for some training sessions.  I've never worked with a trainer before, but I would enjoy it.

I'm starting to get excited about the summer.  The trips to the beach, the zoo and Sea World.  Not having to be up and out of the house early on my days off for school.  Although Lily won't be walking until the end of the summer most likely, this summer will be much easier than last summer---we did all this last year, but it was a lot of work!

My sisters are coming this weekend and I am looking forward to seeing them.  They have't been able to visit much since the holidays.  We are going out to a nice (adult-only) dinner for my mom's birthday.  I hope my girls have relationships with each other, like my sisters and I do.  (my brother's not half bad either!)

Hope you have a great weekend!

it was good while it lasted [18]

I intended to blog each day this month.  Several times I've scheduled posts to publish in order to keep up this streak.  One night, Bean asked if I'd blogged, which I had forgotten about, so I did it real quick.

It was good while it lasted, because I had too much going on yesterday and forgot to blog.  I realized it this morning.  Not that it's that big of a deal, but it was fun to keep the streak going. 

Thursdays I'm fried from 4 days of balancing work and home.  I don't usually plan to do much, other than what needs to be done with the family and restoring my sanity.  Yesterday we went to playgroup and then picked up Miss Rose from a half-day at school.  I had a chance to run in the afternoon while my mom sat with Miss Rose and the little girls slept.  We made some sandwiches and headed out to watch an hour of my nephew's baseball game.  Came home and I headed out with Lily to rehearsal for our Easter production.  It was almost 10 by the time I got home and got Lily in bed.

So I'm sure you understand why blogging was not in the forefront of my mind.

I would like to finish out the month, and now that I forgot once, I probably won't forget again.  But if I do, I know it's no big deal. 

Speaking of streaks, I'm doing well with not eating sugar.  But at this point, it's just getting flat-out annoying!  I'm annoyed with Bean eats treats and I can't.  I'm annoyed when I turn down cookies at playgroup or cake at a wedding shower.  I am counting down the days to April 1.  Because jelly beans, cadbury eggs and See's Candy are all calling my name.

I'm going to keep a balance though.  And not eat sugar so mindlessly.  I have noticed a little bit of change in my body.  I'm very close to my goal weight, so the last few pounds don't come off easily.  I've been counting calories this week and doing okay.  I did decide to weigh myself at the beginning of this week, because I was going to be counting calories, and I wanted to see if I was eating too many or the right amount to see a loss. 

I'll be back later today with a blog for today.   This is yesterday's make-up!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

17:: extended

I have been very blessed to have three successful nursing experiences.  My mom exclusively breastfed four children.  I don't even think she ever owned a pump.  I remember her taking to me about hand-expression into a cup or jar on the rare occassion she left a baby.  Clearly, her example had a big influence on me.

I read up and studied up on breastfeeding while I was pregnant with Miss Rose.  I approached it with the mentality that failure was not an option.  Even though I had three c-sections, nursing as soon as possible was a priority for me.  I felt extrememly drowsy and nausous after having Miss Rose.  It was a struggle to stay awake, but as soon as I reached recovery and they brought me the baby, I got her to latch on.  Prior to that the nurse was concerned that Miss Rose was breathing too rapidly.  But once they brought her to me and she nursed, she calmed down and her breathing pattern was normal.  Baby just wanted her mama!

I had been awake over 24 hours by the time Gracie was born and there was trauma associated with her birth.  Bean and I were so exhausted and fatigued.  But still, nursing was a priority.  Lily's birth was much more relaxed and the whole experience was actually quite enjoyable.  She nursed great right away as well.

Pumping and working...well that's a whole other post!

Miss Rose and Gracie weaned around 13 months.  It was a mutual decision in some ways.  I felt good about nursing them for over a year and they didn't protest weaning at all.  We did it slowly, so by 13 months there was just one feeding left to cut out.  It was always bittersweet as I enjoy the nursing relationship, but there is also some freedom from not nursing any longer.

Lily is coming up on 14 months now, and still nurses morning and night.  On the days I am home, she often nurses midday also.  I have no trouble admitting, I am very sentimental about ending my nursing days.  This is the last baby, my last opportunity for this special bond.

While Lily still seems to enjoy nursing and gets plenty of milk, she is easily distracted.  She is a fast nurser and doesn't really linger.  I never really nursed my babies to sleep; they always nursed upon waking, except for right before bed.  I think this hurts the extended nursing relationship a bit.  Lily is accustomed to nursing for nutrition first and comfort is a distant second it seems.

I think that Lily would pretty easily wean at this point.  But I'm not ready.  Yet, the nursing experience is not as sweet and tender as it once was.  I know that the nutritions she's getting from breastmilk is probably worth it.  I don't necessarily see us going past 18 months, unless she really resists weaning, but I'm just not sure how to judge if it's time now or if I should continue.

What do you think?  If you breastfed past 12 months, what was your experience like?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

16:: How did I do it?

A post in which I give myself kudos.

I think the question "how do you do it" is commonly heard by moms of young children, no matter what their situation is.  I hear it all the time as a working mom of young children.  Other moms who's husbands work long hours, who's husbands work 24-hour shifts, who juggle homeschooling, and many other challenges in life, are awe-inspiring.

My own mom asks me that question.  A woman who, although she didn't work, had her first three children in the same timespan as mine, who's husband work long hours and often multiple jobs.

My mother-in-law asks me that question.  A woman who raised her sons on her own from the time they were 6 and 8, and the support she got in the years prior to that was minimal. 

Today, while Bean took Miss Rose to t-ball practice, I decided to go for a run with the little girls in the double jogger.  I don't run much with the jogger anymore.  Because I can run in my neighborhood, usually Bean sends me out on my own since I'll be back in not too long. 

I used to run 3-4 times a week with Gracie and Miss Rose in the double jogger for 40-45 minutes.  I did it without thinking.  I needed to run for my sanity and I enjoyed staying in shape, so I just did it.  I ran with them in the jogger well into my pregnancy with Lily.  Miss Rose hasn't been small since she was about 6 months old, and calculating in the stroller, I was pushing close to 100lbs.

Pushing the jogger today was no joke.  I definitely couldn't go as fast as I do on my own.  My jogger is awesome and pushes so easily.  But still, it's a whole other thing than running on your own.  I can't believe I used to do this 3-4 times a week.  I almost can't imagine it now.

I thought to myself, "how did I do it?"  And I was reminded, when you want to, when you need to, when you have to, you just do.  When it's important enough to you, you make things happen. 

This is a good thing!  And once you move past that part of your life, you look back and wonder how you did it. 

So, kudos to me, for running with that double jogger so much a few years ago.  If I need to do it more often, I know I can.  And I just may be doing that this summer! 

What do you need to give yourself kudos for?

Monday, March 15, 2010

15:: *60*

Today, my mom is 60.  My mom looks GREAT for being 60.

This is from Mother's Day, 2009.  I went through my photos and I guess I haven't taken as many of my mom recently.  Now that she lives next to us, I guess I don't think about photos as often.  Gotta rectify that!

My sisters and I really hope that we have our mom's genes and look 10-15 years younger as well, after we hit 40.

She has been dubbed "Nannie" by Miss Rose, a name picked up on by the younger grandkids of course.  We decided my mom wasn't a "Grandma" and I liked the names "Nana & Papa" for my parents.  When Miss Rose was learning to talk, we shared a house with them.  When Miss Rose began calling us "Mommy & Daddy" I guess she thought the same rules applied for grandparents and they became "Nannie & Poppy."  We think it's quite cute and endearing.  I wonder if the kids will go back to "Nana & Papa" when they get older, but maybe the names will stick.

My mom hasn't had the easiest time of it the last decade or so.  Along with her own health struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, her wedding vows were really put to the test when my dad had a debilitating stroke in 2000.  It changed their lives drastically.  But my mom has stayed so true to her wedding vows, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.

Still, she looks so good for 60.

Much of who I want to be as a mom, and how I want my children to turn out, is due to the example of my mom and my parents.  Also, some of the things I hope to avoid as a parent and individual are due to my mom too.  She's been quite transparent with her weaknesses and regrets.  Just today she commented to me on how my "generation" in our family has learned so much from the past and are making choices to set us up for success in life and in raising our children.  Like many, we come from various issues of dysfunction.

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Mom with her grandkids 1 year ago on her 59th birthday.  Baby Hawk was still in utero.  Miss Rose is clearly so thrilled to be in this photo.  I believe I recall some threats of punishment if she didn't cooperate and her trying to exit through a emergency exit.  And in the midst of this, my mom shines on!  Can you tell she raised four children?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

14:: blog food for thought

I've read a couple good blog entries this week.  Themes that I identify with.  The circumstances prompting these blogs don't mirror my own life, but the message can apply to anyone.  If you let it.

Because, when it comes to life, you and you alone can live YOUR life.

Because you may not always feel strong and when the responsibilities of life stare you in the face, you don't know how you will, but you just do it,  because it's what you do.

There will be challenges in life.  Challenges you choose.  Challenges that develop.  Challenges you don't expect.  But life is what you make it.  And you can choose to make it fun, and enjoyable and you can choose to bloom where you're planted.

Life rarely goes how you plan.  Because His plans are higher than ours.  But, you can embrace the life you didn't expect.

It's too easy for me to focus on other people's yards, without gazing upon the beauty and uniqueness of my own.

It's tempting to contrast and compare this and that in my life, with this and that in their life.  To grab that score sheet and tally up the difficulties or the unfairness.

To forget that Jesus loves me and he loves my family and he is in control.

It's when I get selfish and focus on myself that things get all messed up.  That's when I experience anxiety and begin to break down mentally.  That's when I have headaches for five days.

Because it all seems and feels so impossible.  Because I worry that my children are missing out on me.  Because I feel like a failure that my home is rarely picked up and laundry sits on the couch for days at a time. 

But that's because my eyes are on me.  They aren't on Him.  When my eyes are on my Lord, the lover of my soul, everything seems ordered and ordained.  I see His thumbprint in my life.  And I know that this life, is the life he wants for me.  None other.

He is the one who gives me the strength to do what must be done, to make the most of my life and to embrace whatever comes my way.

It's my life.  And only I can live it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

13:: I almost forgot

I'm getting ready to go to bed.  It's 8:30pm, but with the time change tonight, it's really 9:30pm.  I almost forgot that I needed to write a blog.

I'm tired.  It's been a full, long day.

Miss Rose had a t-ball game at 8:00am.  I was up before 6am with the baby, which is par for the course these days.  Usually on Saturdays we have slow mornings, even though the kids don't sleep in.  Not for the next few months though.  Most of the Saturday games are at 8:00am or 8:30am.

Then I dropped off Miss Rose for a birthday party.  She's getting to the age of "drop-off parties" which are a pretty big deal in her world.  This one was for a cousin, so I didn't have to worry at all.

Then we went to an adoption event for rescued labs.  No we didn't leave with a dog.  But don't be surprised if we have one before long.  Miss Rose thinks when your fish die, you get a dog.  I guess Mama and Daddy think when you decide not to have more children, it's time to get a dog.  (and no, we aren't getting a puppy.  If Bean wanted a puppy, I would have said let's just have a baby.  In fact, I think I may have.  So we aren't getting a puppy.

Then we came home.  I spent 15 minutes cleaning sticky goo off the inside of the dryer.  I have no idea what it was.  Then I sat for a few minutes.

Then I got ready for a bridal shower.  As I was driving, I fogot I was supposed to get a gift on the way.  So I was five minutes away and had to turn around and go to Target.  If I could change one minor habit in my life, it would be waiting until the last minute to get a gift (or a gift card in this case).

Then Bean texted me, "are you coming home yet?  It would be nice."

Did I mention Bean is recovering from his procedure?  He's a terrible patient.  He doesn't feel awful, but he still needs to be careful.  Let's just say, he did way more today than he would have let me, were the roles reversed.  And I will say, I got a small taste of his go-go-go mentality, and I don't know how he does it.  He likes to be on the go.  I like to be home, minding children.

Then I walked to the store wearing Lily.  Baby food was on sale, so I loaded up.  But I didn't have enough money for my purchases.  So I had to choose what to take off the bill.  Feels a bit humiliating, but I know it happens all the time.  "Um, how about the yogurt?  I guess the walnuts too."

Then I made banana bread while Bean grilled chicken.  I'm hoping semi-healthy banana bread doesn't qualify as a sugary treat.  Cause I ate some.

Then we ate dinner.  Next it was bath time for the little girls.  And Lily decided to do a face plant in the bath, which freaked me out. 

Then we got the kids in bed.  And I finished the dishes (which I had to chase Bean away from).  And now I'm unwinding a bit. 

Perhaps you can see why I almost forgot to blog.

Friday, March 12, 2010

12::v-day (2)

We are all made up of a heart and a mind.  Often, these two are in conflict.  Sometimes you choose with your heart, because you can't live with yourself if you don't take a chance.  Other times you know you have to go with your head and make the wise, responsible choice.  And sometimes, you have to figure out how to combine the two.

My mind knows that making a conscious effort to end our babymaking days is right.  Making babies is something we seem to be good at.  I'm not interested in being on a contraceptive pill for years on end.  And with our current insurance that's the only affordable birth control for me.  Although we are using another form of birth control, it’s open to operator error.  I’m tired of wondering each month if I got pregnant “on accident.”

Why do I want a fourth baby?  I have these visions of the “perfect” new baby scenario.  A wonderful pregnancy in which I take the professional maternity photos I never did with my three.  A scenario in which I am a homemaker and have the time to prepare a special, personalized nursery for the little one.  Everything is checked off on the “to do before baby list” before the baby comes.  I don’t have to worry about pumping or storing milk.  I spend my days wearing my baby and nurturing my four children and making a lovely home for my husband.

Fantasy my friends, pure fantasy.  I do realize this.  I’ve read too many books and seen too many romantic movies!  My little scenario doesn’t often happen in real life because, well, life happens.  I do love each story that surrounds the birth of my three children.  Because it was real life.  Yet still…my mind wanders. 

I get baby envy and belly envy.  I think pregnant bellies and newborn babies have been stalking me lately!  I sometimes have stay-at-home mom envy.  I don’t expect that to go away quickly or easily.  I am in awe of those who easily add fourth, fifth and even sixth children to their families and it isn’t a financial strain to them.  Secretly, I wish we had that faith and freedom.  I wonder why, when I would be so thrilled with one more child, God didn’t orchestrate that, like he orchestrated Lily. But each one can only make the decision that is right for their family, and trust God for his direction of their family.

Part of the issue of my heart is that I love this stage of life I'm in right now.   It’s what I waited my whole life for, being surrounded by little ones that love me and need me.  I expect that as my children grow and we move out of the "baby phase" I will not long for it so much and will get excited about the new phases we move into.

However, there are many benefits to being done having babies.  I can actually get my body back, and keep it!  I haven't had a decent wardrobe in about 4 years because I've either been pregnant or losing pregnancy weight.  Perhaps Bean and I will get to go away together for a night, come our anniversary in October.

The reality is, I feel that it would be selfish of me to push for a fourth child.  I know how much Bean loves me, and when I actually ask for something, he has a very difficult time refusing me.  I know, that I could probably wear him down.  But that would be taking advantage of his love for me.

Bean loves his family with a vengeance, but the last several years have been devoted to my dreams and goals of family and children.   Bean is a wonderful partner in life and he is extremely active and involved in the day-to-day managing of the house and children.  I can't complain that he doesn't help or contribute, like some wives do because he goes non-stop most days.

But I want him to get to focus on his goals and dreams next.  Another baby would just prolong those things.  He's given me the fulfillment of my dream of being a mom with at least three kids, and now I want to help him fulfill his dreams.

Why not focus on what God’s given me?  Why not lavish all my love on these three, without pining for this non-existent fourth?  Why not concentrate on all we will be able to give these three?  It’s something I’m working on.

No matter what the fleshly desires of my heart, I strongly believe that this moment, this life, is what God intended for me.  I abide by Psalm 16:6 that says, "the boundary lines for me have fallen in pleasant places."  Meaning the life I have, is the life God intended for me, and I need to focus on the pleasantness of what he has blessed me with.  It is sinful for me to always look at everyone else and pick what part of their life I would like to have.  God didn’t intend that life for me, he intended this life for me.  And it’s a good one.

Being a working mom is a financial necessity and also a fulfillment of God’s call on my life.  I may not always fulfill my call in that way, but for the foreseeable future, that’s what I’m called to.  I barely make it most weeks with three children and my job.  It would be selfish of me to add another child, just because I want one, and take a part of me away from my husband, my three girls and my job.

I trust God infinitely with my life; with our family's life.  This is something we've sought God on, and feel peace about.  My emotions are attached to not having more children, not the vasectomy.  And I don’t see us having more children, vasectomy or not.  Just because you determine something is the right decision, doesn't necessarily make it easy to make or accept.

I know that God's ways are higher than ours and if we live seeking Him and submitting to His will, he will direct our paths.  And, if for some reason God does desire us to have more children, he will orchestrate it in his way.  Vasectomies have been known to "fail" and there are many babies and children already in the world who need families.

My heart is full with my husband and my three beautiful children.  I am complete.  However, I can’t help but wonder what God’s purpose is, for this desire of my heart.  I know we made the right decision, but I still feel like the story isn’t over.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

11:: snapshot

This, was my reality today.  A snapshot taken with the Photobooth on my Mac.

Lily has been very fussy today.  All week in fact.  She had a fever from Sunday to Tuesday.  And has had a case of the fussy's all week.  She had her shots last week and I learned that the reaction can come up to a week later.  So the fever could have been that.  She's also cutting one of her top teeth, and those always seem to be difficult to cut.  (Do you see her bottom teeth in the photo?!)

By fussy, I really mean, screaming bloody murder anytime I put her down.  And waking several times during the night crying.  And waking before 6am in the morning.  Gripping me when I'm holding her.  Screaming every time she was in the car today.  It hasn't been this bad since she was a newborn and very colicky.

I assume its her teeth.  That stinking tooth is still not poking through, but it's right there.  It can't feel good. 

Lily did take a 3-hour nap this morning, from which I had to wake her up.  But her afternoon nap was just over an hour.

It's been a long, tiring day. 

But I still love it.  I may be frusterated by not being able to do much around the house, but I'll never turn down an opportunity to hold my baby more.  She's not going to be a baby forever.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10:: v-day (1)

I've been mulling ove this topic for weeks, maybe even months now.  Thinking about what I would share.  Working through it all in my head.

Whew. I think I'm ready.

So, v-day is almost upon us.  Our official baby-making days will soon be over.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may have picked up that this is a bit difficult for me.  I love babies.  I love feeling a baby move inside my belly.  I am a rare person who loves those first few months of the tiny, squalling, even colicky baby.  Don't get me wrong.  I get tired and frustrated like everyone else, but yet I love every moment.  I had a hard time saying Lily was my last baby.  I still do at times.

I always imagined myself with four children.  Maybe its because I'm one of four children and I really enjoyed our family size.  Maybe its because being a mom is my favorite thing in the world (besides marrying Bean of course).  Maybe I want four children because I'm crazy.

Bean was open to stopping at just one child after we had Miss Rose.  But he agreed that giving Miss Rose a sibling was important.  We had some long talks about having a third child.  It was extremely hard for me to reconcile with having two children.  Bean, being the wonderful man that he is, concluded that I would always regret not having a third child (which was correct), while he would love that child from the moment it was conceived. 

Not long after this conversation, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant with our third child!  Even though we were planning on a third child, the timing wasn't what we would have planned with our second just being one year old and some job insecurity at the time along with buying our first house.  We had a few tense conversations coming to terms with our new reality.

Lily is such a wonderful addition to our family.  Miss Rose and Gracie love her.  The covet her attention and her smiles.  She gets so excited to see them and interact with them.  She's my sweet baby.  A mama's girl.  She loves to be worn and wants to be held all the time.  I can't imagine life without her.  And in many ways, she does complete our family.

Yet I still have this crazy desire for a fourth child.  It's lunacy, I know.  I already have a hard time working and mothering three children.  My house is rarely organized or picked up.  There is always something that needs to be done.  I'm on the verge of a mental or emotional breakdown a few times a month.  Evenings are crazy in our house.  Miss Rose turns goofy, Gracie is hyper and Lily wants to be held.

And still I would add another child to that mix.  (Yes Bean, really I would.  I know he's reading this right now thinking--you can't be serious.  But I am.

But Bean, he's done.  There is no way he can fathom another child.  And I understand that.  In my head, it makes sense.  We live in a sub-1100 square foot home.  Two working parents and four small children sounds rather unmanagable.  We aren't those working parents who have lots of money for nannies and housecleaners.  We rely on family for childcare (and they are wonderful) and clean our own home.

It makes sense.  It's the right choice.  We have a wonderful family and three beautiful daughters.  Me, the mom who loves children, I'm at minivan status.  I have more children than "average".  It's responsible.

This, this is my head speaking.

Tomorrow, I'll share more from my heart.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

9:: hot rod

I'm hoping that my daughter stays athletic and not too concerned about her looks.
I know I'm biased...but she only gets more gorgeous each year and in a few years, when boys start looking her way, I'll be quite happy if she is oblivious and just keeps on in her independant way.

The Hot Rods first game was rained out.  Hopefully Saturday, we'll get to play her first game!

Monday, March 8, 2010

8:: strong

Back in the day, you heard a lot about the "power suit." Do people still wear those? Or refer to them?
What do you wear when you want to feel strong, powerful, in control?
Or what do you wear when you don't feel those things, but need to be inspired?
This is what I put on.

A few weeks ago I was driving (hence the seat belt...I was stopped at a light) to Miss Rose's awards assembly. Did I mention that here? She received an award for being a good role model and outstanding effort in writing.
I had already taken Miss Rose and our neighbor to school. Dropped Gracie & Lily off.
Returned home to check email and do a few work related things before heading back to the school. I would be going to work afterward, to spend pretty much all day in meetings and planning sessions.
I am woman, I am a mom, I am a pastor. Hear me roar.
I am a runner. I had a great run the day before.
I felt strong.
This necklace, although the details are hard to make out, symbolizes strength to me.
It's actually my finishing medal from the 2007 Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco. Gracie was just 6 months old when I completed it. I highly recommend the race. Because the "medal", it's Tiffany's. As in, little blue box Tiffany's. When you cross the finish line there are guys in tuxedos, with little blue boxes on silver platters. It's worth every mile! I love the tshirt I also received. It says FINISHER.
When I feel strong, I wear this necklace. It has a somewhat abstract design of two women running side by side.
I wear it because I am strong. Because I am a finisher. Because I'm worth it.
And, when I don't feel strong, I wear this necklace. Because I need the reminder. That I can be strong. That I am a finisher. To boost my confidence and give me inspiration.
Only one person can win a race. I doubt that I will ever "win" a race. I don't run to win. I run to finish. I run to feel the sense of accomplishment. I run to improve, just a little, on my last run. A few seconds faster, a mile further.
This isn't only true about running. It's true about life. My life. Your life.
I don't need to compete to win. I just need to finish. Each day, each task, each goal. To improve on yesterday. To go a bit further, to love more, to complain less. To feel that sense of accomplishment. To finish, you just run one mile at a time, take one day at a time. Sometimes, even one moment at a time. Putting one foot in front of the other.
I am a finisher.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

7:: weekly wrap up

Today marks my seventh day not eating sugary treats.  That phrase sounds somewhat juvenile to me for some reason.  But it is what it is.

I'm proud of myself for the accomplishments this week.  It's a pretty big deal for me to have not grabbed a piece of candy from the office, a baked goodie from the store, or shared some ice cream with Bean at night.  I don't know if I've actually gone this long without such treats.  Certainly I've counted calories and points--but I typically save points for my favorite goodies in small portions.

This month is going to be good for me.  I need it.  However, it's going to be a long month.  It's become much easier to resist the sugar I eat without thinking during the course of the day.  It's harder though when it's dessert after dinner.  Or, "everyone else is having some."

In fact, I may have fallen off the wagon for a short time yesterday.  It was the end of a long (albeit good) day, we ate pizza with friends and there were divine cake leftovers from an event.  I had previously resisted temptation at the event, but I guess it caught up with me.  At least I only ate one piece I guess.  I've dusted myself off, and hopped back on the wagon.

Bean.  Well, he's another story.  Yes dear, I'm calling you out.  At the start of the week I asked for his support and accountability and even invited him to join me in trying to eat better.  The stinker has tried to get me to "cheat" every day!  Sometimes more than once.  He's had a sweet tooth and wants an accomplice.  He was holding a hand up to the wagon inviting me to jump off last night.  (still love you babe!)

Three more Sundays until I can have my Sunday morning donut.  Or maybe, I'll become more empowered and not choose a donut as part of my Sunday morning breakfast routine. 

Week 2, coming up.  My main goal this week was obviously--no sugary treats.  This next week I think I'm going to work on counting calories or points and eating more vegetables.  I love Weight Watchers while breastfeeding and losing weight, but for some reason once my babies are one, I don't enjoy it as much.  So I'm not sure what I'll do to track my food.  I always struggle figuring out how many calories to eat also---seems like every site says something different.  And I am still nursing 2-3x a day, so I still need some extra calories for that.

It's been interesting making a point to blog every day, or at least schedule a post.  Thankfully, there's always photos when in need!

Friday, March 5, 2010

5:: not gonna lie

Today has probably been the most difficult so far, this not eating sugary treats thing.  I could definitely use one or five right now.

The baby is teething, so she's ben clingy and fussy much of today.  She needs pain reliever, mama wants chocolate.

I powered through four errands today in about 90 minutes today, with the1yr old and 3yr old in tow.  It actually went pretty smoothly.  Especially after I found blessed Tylenol in the diaper bag for the teething baby.  No matter how well errands and children go, one is still tired.  And could use say a candy bar or even some dry fruit loops in celebration.

Getting dinner ready with cranky kids and a teething baby?  Sure helps to snack on some sweet treats while doing preparations.

But oh no, not for me, not this month.


I keep telling myself just one after dinner treat won't hurt.  And realistically, it wouldn't.  On a day that I've eaten well (like today) and gotten in a little exercise even, a reasonable dessert is acceptable.  But the problem is, my typical pattern would have been to already have eaten several sugary treats (see scenarios above) and would still have one while relaxing before bed.  That's the cycle I'm trying to break. 

Maybe I should have made it "one dessert a day" month.  But no, I had to go the hard route, and say no desserts.  I know that's the better way though, to really rid myself of this bad habit.  For the most part, I'm doing it. 

Bean is a terrible accountability partner and in my early morning delirium yesterday got me to agree to a Starbucks drink he wanted to go get me before work.  The heavy dose of caffeine was what I wanted most, but the amount of sugar probably defined it as a treat.  But come on, how do you turn down the handsome face who wants to go get you a coffee at 6:30am in the morning?  You can't hurt the guy's feelings by turning down such a sweet gesture.

I just drank my second cup of Market Spice Tea and had some popcorn.  Hopefully I can get through the rest of the night without being too miserable.  I can always microwave an apple with some cinnamon.  Or I'll just go to bed early.

Not gonna lie, the next 26 days feel like they are going to be really long.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

4: : finally!

Lily has a cute onsie that says "Expert Crawler."

Although it has fit her for a while, she's never worn it.  It was just too ironic.  Yes, most children crawl between 6 and 12 months, the size on this onsie.  But at almost 13 months, my child wasn't.  Until last week.  Finally, my baby is on the move. 

Well, there still is some irony to it.  I wouldn't quite classify her skill as expert.  But at least she's crawling.  If that's what you could call it.

My childen, they do things their own way, in their own time.  They often like bucking the system and laughing at charts and curves.

Yes, Lily is getting around the house more.  In her own way.  Her right leg folded in front of her, and her left leg folded behind her, she uses her arms to scoot along in a forward motion.  She's barely using the strength of her legs to propel her forward.  It's quite funny, and unique.  It reminds me of the videos you see (usually on TLC) of children with limb problems learning to crawl.

It was just in time for her one year doctor visit.  She turned 13 months on Sunday.  At least I could tell the doctor she is starting to crawl and can even go forward.  The pediatrician wasn't concerned at all with her late blooming status.  She's already getting into stuff.  She loves to open the doors on our TV cabinet and pull stuff out.  She opened a kitchen cabinet today and pulled a heavy glass loaf pan onto the tile.  It made a huge thud, but thankfully didn't break.

I've never had to truly "babyproof" a house before.  Perhaps it was the layout of the house, perhaps it was the laid back personalities of my babies.  When it comes to investigation though, Lily is anything but laid back.  I am wondering if I'm going to be doing some baby-proofing this third time around.

Time will tell.

But, friends, she's crawling!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

3:: Secret Weapon

One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride.  Who doesn't have that on their top list?  So many great lines in that movie.

One of mine is "re-wease the secwet weapon."  Remember that one?  Really it's "release the secret weapon."  But it's so much more fun to think it in the original voice and pronunciation.

I have a secret diet weapon.  A secret weapon that helps so much when avoiding sugar and calories.

The best part?

It's natural.

It's sweet.

It's spicy.

It's calorie-free.


Here it is.

Market Spice Tea.

Honestly, it's amazing.

It's a product from my childhood.
We lived in Washington state until age 9.  From the time I can remember, my mom always drank this sweet and spicy tea that we got to have occasionally.

When we moved to California, several times friends came to visit from Washington and brought some or mailed it to us.  One of my best friends in college was from Washington and she became my supplier! 
Even now, when her mom visits I often have her bring me a few boxes.
Then I discovered you can order it online.

When you have a cup of this tea, you will not believe that it's unsweetened.  It absolutely tastes like it contains sugar.  It tastes like the best sweet tea you've ever had--with a bit of spice.  I have made it into iced tea before, but usually I drink it hot.

I buy it in a bag of 50 teabags.  And I buy 100 teabags at a time.  With shipping it's about 60cents per cup.  A lot less than your favorite Starbucks drink, even if it's more than a cup of tea from your local grocery store.

Acouple things you need to know about this tea.

1.  Make sure you purchase the cinnamon-orange flavor.  The company actually sells many different varieties of tea.

2.  Store it in the original bag, in an airtight glass jar.  The tea contains a lot of natural oils that are required for flavor and will leech into any sort of plastic.

3.  You can buy a decaf variety.  I've found that sometimes the decaf doesn't have the same strength of flavor.  But if you use a bit less water, this can be remedied.  Once, I sent a box of decaf back without problem, because the flavor was so weak and they replaced it.

4.  You have to decide how strong you like the tea and figure out the right amount of water.  I find early on in my bag of tea, I can use pretty large mugs of water and have strong flavor.  After it's been open for a while, sometimes I have to use smaller mugs. 

5.  Use piping hot water!  And for the best results, put your tea in a travel mug with a lid or cover your mug with a small ceramic plate and let it steep for 5-7min.  This gives the strongest flavor.

I'm bummed I finished off my mug of tea while writing this.  I want more!!

I'm drinking two mugs a day right now!  It hits the spot.  Plus, very soon, we'll be into warmer weather that will last many months and for me hot weather and hot tea don't mix. 

Go right now and order some!

I was not compensated or sponsored for this post.  But if anyone wants to me review their item, contact me and I'd be happy to!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2:: Holding them close

Warning: it's a heavy topic tonight.

Last week a 17-yr old girl disappeared after going for a run at a well-known and travelled spot.  Thousands of volunteers have been searching for clues and a few days ago an arrest was made.  The city has been holding out hope that she would be found alive and safe.  Unfortunately this afternoon a body was discovered and although it has not been officially identified the Sheriff has said there is a strong liklihood that it's her body.

One year ago, a 14-yr old girl disappeared while walking to school and there are now suspicions that the same suspect could be involved.  Her body has not been found.

Several years ago a young girl disappeared from her home and was found to have been kidnapped and murdered by her neighbor.

When I was in high school, a girl from my youth group was murdered in her home by a neighbor.

I can't bear to follow closely, but every day or two, when I see mention of Layla Grace on Twitter, I check in. 

So much grief and sadness.

It's heavy, I know.  A topic perhaps we'd like to avoid and push to the back of our mind.

But tonight, it's close to my heart.  Because close to my heart I hold three daughters.  Three beautiful, precious girls.  Who are often the target of such heinous crimes.  Three girls who could easily get sick like Layla Grace and so many other little ones, like Allie, a sweet baby just 1 month older than Miss Rose, a story I followed closely.  (Allie's mom is awesome, BTW)

I never want to let my precious girls out of my sight right now.  Miss Rose has had the privilege of riding her bike around our short block on our own.  I can't handle that idea right now.  The crimes I listed above, they occurred in "good" neighborhoods, ones even a bit more upscale than my own. 

I rushed home from work tonight to get Miss Rose to T-ball practice.  On any other day I may have been a bit impatient to get home and get dinner started and our evening routines going.  I would have a mental list going of what needed to get done and what I wished I was doing.  Tonight, I gladly watched Miss Rose practice with Lily safely in the sling and Gracie next to me.  We walked over to the playground and the little girls got to swing.

I cherished every moment.  I chose to take advantage of the opportunity I had to play with my little girls and watch my big girl learn T-ball (she's already one of the better hitters and throwers!) 

Why wish I was dealing with the responsibilities of the home--when I could just play and drink in their sweetness.

I know I can't protect them from everything.  I know above all, I have to trust God for their well-being.  But for as long as I can, I'm going to hold them close and cherish the opportunities to play, because sometimes, it doesn't last forever.

Monday, March 1, 2010

1:: Weighing In

Yes, I am posting on this first day of my self-imposed March Madness.  I'm in Pacific Standard Time, so it's just 9:30pm here.

I am fairly certain that this March is going to make me mad, that is crazy, because there is so much going on.  Miss Rose is in T-ball.  There are two practices this week and then games start next week.  I think the standard will be one practice per week and games on Mondays and Saturdays.  Add that with me having rehearsals for our church Easter production on Mondays and Wednesdays, and then a few Saturdays at the end of the month.  Oh, and I have three kids, a husband and a job. 

What was I thinking?  Apparently, I wasn't.  Well, we'll get through it.  All of the obligations are good ones, it just means we have to have all of our ducks in a row each day.  Perhaps it's a good thing that we've downgraded our cable to save a little money.  We no longer can record shows and only have a few high-def channels.  It's been a week now, and honestly, I don't miss it much.  I'm behind on "my shows" and haven't seen the latest reality shows, but in the end, they really have no bearing on my life.  They are just entertainment. 

Oh, and my last "99 Things" post, apparently some of the changes I made didn't save.  I think I've corrected it now.  No, I do not have a child named Sam nor have I been to Paris.  I HAVE babysat for Jerry Lewis though, and I'll share about that later this week.

I've debated whether or not I wanted to track my weight this month, with giving up sugary treats and generally trying to eat healthier.  While weight is a good gauge and checkpoint, it can also be a roadblock.  Sometimes the scale doesn't move when you expect it too.  It's too easy for a "bad" number on the scale to set the tone for your day. 

I happen to be a little too in tune with my body.  I know when I gain and lose weight pretty easily.  I can tell by how I feel, the size of the rolls on my stomach, the tone of my legs, the fit of my clothes.  I kind of wish I wasn't so aware of those things.  Is it a female thing?  Are all women so aware of their bodies?

So I will not be weighing in.  This isn't about a number on the scale.  It's about my health and sugar not controlling me.  I may weigh myself in a few weeks, I may not.  We'll see.

How was my first day?  Not so bad.

I drank tea this morning instead of my coffee and creamer.  There may be some mornings I choose to use artificial sweetener and drink coffee, but I don't want to make it a standard.  In fact, my tea is my secret weapon.  More on that tomorrow.

Wouldn't you know there was a box of donuts at work this morning!  I don't remember the last time someone brought donuts in.  But I was strong and resisted.  Thanks in part to Twitter.  It's amazing what instant accountabilty it is.  You tweet about avoiding the donuts, a few encouraging tweets come back, and it helps keep you from backtracking to the breakroom for a sugary treat.

I definitely felt the lack of sugar in the early afternoon.  I could have laid on my office floor and fell asleep.  I'm a sucker for an after lunch treat.  In fact, I got a sandwich today for lunch, and a cookie came in the box--and I threw it away without a second glance.

It helped that tonight was a busy and I had to leave for rehearsal shortly after practice.  No huge temptations while cuddling on the couch with the hubs.  Another secret weapon--which I shall share tonight--is Medjool dates.  I happen to really like them--and naturally they are very sweet.  I have a large tub of them in the fridge and they do hit the spot when you need something sweet.  I had a few tonight after dinner.

With work and rehearsal, no exercise happened today.  I may try to Shred tomorrow after the kids are in bed. 

So, that's the first of my March Madness.