"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Thursday, February 27, 2014

37 Weeks

21 days until baby girl is due.


I know I walk around with undeniable evidence that she will be here soon - but I am still in awe.  We are going to have a baby.  A teeny tiny baby.

People ask me if I am excited?  Am I ready to be done being pregnant?  Uncomfortable?  Anxious?

The truth is yes and no.  I am so very excited, but yet I am also totally content in the moment.  I have LOVED this pregnancy.  I adore her kicks and wiggles and hiccups.  I savor the feeling of her snuggled into my left hip bone.  That is her spot.  Sharing my body with her is a perfect privilege that will soon end - and while there is a time for everything, I am enjoying every last moment of this time.

And no, I am not terribly uncomfortable.  Sure, carrying around 25 extra pounds is a bit hard on the body.  I get tired faster than usual.  I feel like a freight train trying to get out of bed.  But that is just part of the gift.  More than any sort of discomfort, I feel purely and completely blessed.

And is she still breech?

Time will tell.

My doctor will do ANOTHER ultrasound on March 14.  If she is breech, then as soon as it can be scheduled, my doctor will check me in.  She will first try to turn her. . . again.  If she turns, then we will induce labor right away.  If she will not, then I will have a c-section right away.  (March 14 is just over 39 weeks, so she will not be too early.)  If she is heads down, we will wait for labor to start naturally.

At this point I am not predicting ANYTHING!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cheer Photos 2014

Sierra was a basketball cheerleader again this year.

It was really fun to watch the girls' skills develop.  This year they added stunting, which they loved!

As an added bonus the team they cheered for most won the 8th Grade Championship last night!
That is a FUN way to end a season!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

8 Mo - 36 Weeks Pregnant

Less than a month until baby is due!

Less than a month! (25 days to be exact - but who is counting)

I have honestly been in a bit of a panic these last weeks.  I have so enjoyed being pregnant that I have, perhaps, not done enough planning for baby to actually arrive.  I am feeling a bit unprepared.  Loose ends seem to be everywhere, and I HATE loose ends.  A partially finished project causes me more stress than one not started.

BUT - partially complete is just where we stand right now.

Baby's room is painted. . . but the crib hardware was not shipped with the crib.  UGH!  Until the crib is put together the room can not be completed.

I do have her dresser painted.  It turned out so cute.

I do have her clothes, blankets, and bedding washed and waiting.

Diapers and wipes are neatly stacked in her closet.

Her bag for the hospital is packed.

And yet - the car seat, stroller, bouncy chair, etc are waiting to be assembled.  Curtains are waiting to be hung. Bottles and pacifiers are yet to be sterilized.  My breast pump is in the box stashed in baby's closet, but I have no idea how to use it.  It has been a LONG time!

So, if she came tomorrow - we would be fine.  I know that there is nothing on my list of partially finished tasks that is emergent in any way.  But, I want them done just the same.

The ONE thing I forgot about pregnancy is the crazy compulsion to nest.  I always like things the way I like them.  My home tends to be organized and fairly neat and clean at all times - but I have learned to not sweat the small stuff (at least most of the time.)  Add pregnancy hormones to the mix, and I have been struggling.  My head knows that my to-do list is silly, but I am having a hard time convincing my emotions of that.

Poor Chad.  He has worked so hard to get things done promptly.  He was up before 7 am today with plans to put the crib together before church knowing just how happy it would make me.  When the hardware was not there, he felt personally responsible for my irrational level of disappointment.

Truly the root of my pregnancy related stress is that this little peanut loves to be breech.  She has been sitting heads-up and sassy for months.  This week the doctor flipped her during an in-hospital procedure called a version.  It was not something I was looking forward to.  In fact, I was so paranoid that baby would be born as a result of this procedure that I stayed up late the night before and washed all her clothes and packed our bags. . . just in case.

In the end, things went very smoothly.  The worst part of the procedure ended up being the failed IV.  Flipping her was not comfortable - but it went quickly.  I left the hospital totally relieved.

Until yesterday. . .  I am 80% sure that this little diva flipped heads-up again yesterday.   It is totally bumming me out.  Hours spent at the hospital wasted.  Plus, I really do not want a c-section.  I know that is a bit silly and selfish.  Many people have c-sections, and I am lucky to live in a place where I can safely and simply deliver a breech baby.  Yet, I still hate the idea.

I do not like the idea of a needle in my back.  I do not want my belly ripped open.

And more than anything, I do not want to have to sit in recovery instead of being with my baby.  That is the part that makes me craziest.  I have always been so spoiled.  I have always been able to spend the first hours of our baby's lives snuggling up with them.  Baths have been delayed, so baby can snuggle and nurse.  With my last several babies, I have felt great after short labors and easy deliveries.  I had even been showered and dressed within a couple hours of their birth.

Thoughts of a surgical room, prolonged soreness, and lists of limitations do not thrill me.  Sending Chad to watch over our baby while he and the nurses care for her without me makes me really sad.  Really sad.

I know.  Get over yourself.  People have c-sections all the time.  It will be just fine.

Soooo, I am still hoping this baby decides to behave herself and flip.  Only 3% of babies (according to google) do not flip by the time labor begins.  I am keeping my fingers crossed and expecting good things.  I will also put off plans for a scheduled c-section as long as possible.

I know there are many, many techniques for flipping a baby.  Trust me, I have done the research.  I think I have read them all.  And I have decided that it is time to just chill out.  I do not want to spend the next couple of weeks obsessing about this.  I do not want to spend every spare minute in crazy positions, at the chiropractor, acupuncturist, or standing on my head in a pool.  I need to just forget about it.  While many things may work in different situations, what works in every situation is prayer.  So - once again - this pregnancy is teaching me to simply trust in God's plan.  He loves me and this baby more than I can comprehend.  He is the ultimate physician.  If she stays heads-up, I choose to trust that it is what is best for one or both of us.  I am choosing to let go of it all and simply enjoy these last weeks of hiccups and kicks.  I am choosing to hope for a natural delivery, while also mentally preparing for a c-section.

Either way, it will be OK.  I am lucky because recovery wise there has never been a more convenient time to have a c-section.  I have no little children to carry and chase.  I have many family members big enough to take care of things that may be restricted.  Either way, I am truly blessed.

This next week is CRAZY at work.  The coming weekend will be FULL as well.  All good stuff - but BUSY.  After that, hopefully, life slows down.  I should be able to rest, get ahead a bit, and prepare for my leave. . . I hope.

So, yep, as of today my brain is full.  My to-do list is a bit overwhelming.  Thankfully the vast majority of the tasks are exciting! And I guess I won't be bored during these last weeks of waiting!

Photography, once again, by Brenna Joy.

She is really hoping that by March 20, there is a baby in my arms rather than under my shirt!

I still expect this baby to be pokey, like her siblings.  Chad is predicting early, though.  Time will tell.  Time will tell.

And - no.  She still does not have a name.  I think we have it narrowed down to three though. 

One thing I know for sure is that I am SO, SO, SO, SO looking forward to my maternity leave!
12 glorious weeks of being a (mostly) stay-at-home mom again sounds like heaven.

As I reread this post it makes me laugh.  It is a rambling mass of bouncing thoughts.  It perfectly describes me right now.  I am an excited mess, praying daily that the Lord will make His priorities known to my heart, quiet my racing mind, and direct each of my steps.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One Room Ready, One to GO

 When Chad and I drew up the plans for this house, we chose to leave one space unfinished.  We were not sure what it would be used for or when we would need it, but it just felt right to have it.  It was a large space that we jokingly called "the triplets room" while we were building.  (Now that freaked a few people out!)

When we found out that baby #6 was on the way, we asked Joshua if he would like to move into that space, or if the baby should.  He was quite excited about moving upstairs like the rest of the big kids.  I, however, was not in a hurry to begin constructing.  I asked Chad to wait until after Christmas, hoping for a quiet, dust-free, and relaxing holiday season.  
The first weekend after Christmas, the girls helped me clean up the space.

We needed to get all the storage stuff organized neatly into one-third of the room.  It was not so easy, but we did it!
Chad started framing right away.  He needed to build a dividing wall/closets.  The perimeter had already been framed, insulated, wired, and sheetrocked.
Sheetrock came next.
He got that up in record time.
Next came taping.  I do not comprehend why, but Chad actually likes taping.  (I do not!)
Taping took a while, it is a large room with 2 closets, and lots of corners.

He also did the texturing.
It looks so good.

I am so thankful for his skills!

Typically I take over once the walls are textured.  I am do the painting, staining, and lacquering.  But. . . not so much this time!  Poor Chad!  True love is painting one room 3 different colors to please your cheapo wife!  (I wanted to use up existing paint.)  Joshua and I did help paint some - but Chad did by far the most.  And he did all of the staining and lacquering.  Those are not his favorite tasks - but he did an incredible job!

We had to wait just a bit on the carpet layers - but in the end we moved Joshua into his new room only four days after my Valentine's Day goal.  
Joshua is THRILLED with his new room.  While he has not always transitioned well, he has done perfectly with this transition!  He has gone to sleep nicely, slept all night, and gotten himself up when his alarm goes off in the morning - just like the big kids!  I am so pleased and thankful!

This weekend we plan to prime and repaint his old room (which was navy blue) for the baby.
I will be quite relieved to have it done!  The baby crib plugging up the front entryway has got to go!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Parenting - It's not for the Faint of Heart!

Last week started so peacefully.

Everyone was doing well.

The remodeling we need to do before baby was taking shape.  The kids were all doing well - healthy, well-behaved, happy.  Some exciting possibilities were coming to life in our business. Life was just clicking right along.

Jamison even donned a tie. There are few things better than a guy in a tie.  Sigh.

And then it happened.


Now, let me tell you that I realize we have very good teenagers.  And I so appreciate that.  I enjoy our kids immensely - but they are not perfect. (and neither am I!)

Last week, was a hard one.  One crashed a car.  Another made all sorts of silly decisions.  Chad and I had to spend a lot of time praying, breathing deep, discerning, and deciding.

When to talk?

When to listen?

When to pass out consequences?

Which ones?

What is fair?

What will help our kids become responsible, humble, caring adults?

What will simply foster continued dependence and irresponsibility?

Parenting is not for the faint of heart.  Being a parent is perhaps my very favorite job description - after being Chad's wife - but it is HARD.  For me the very hardest times are when I can see my children heading for trouble.  I just know that their decisions will cause them pain, suffering, and regret - yet I have to take a step back and allow them to make their own mistakes.  I can warn and advise - but then I have to LET GO and trust that only God can save them.  Only He can change them, mold them, protect them.  They are His.

That fact - THEY ARE HIS - is both the best news ever and the hardest thing to reconcile.  I am so thankful that He, not I, am in control.  I really am.  And yet, I struggle to let go.  My kids feel like "mine."  Remembering to hand them back to their perfect Father does not always come naturally.  Balancing the letting go and giving them back to Him with the hard work of parenting that He requires is a huge challenge.

Especially some weeks. . .

In the midst of teenage chaos this week, I was reminded of just how far Chad and I have come as a couple.  I called Chad early one morning to deliver a bit of unwelcome news.  It was not the first such call I placed during the week.  We were both tired, weary at 7:30 am is not a great start to the day!  Anyway, after I explained the situation, he took a deep breath, let it out and said, "Honey.  I gotta tell you - I am not sure I even want any more kids!"

And I - at 35 weeks pregnant with our 6th child - laughed hysterically.

Where at one time I would have burst into tears, wondering why and how he could say such a thing, 20 years into this marriage - I just laughed.  I SO get him.  I SO love him.  I SO trust him.

I am SO thankful to walk this crazy life with him.

Now - "Baby Sister who doesn't have a name" (as Joshua calls you), never read this and feel unwanted.  You are most certainly wanted and welcome little one.  Daddy and I, along with so many others, can hardly wait for you to come.

Instead, understand this - Daddy has a crazy, goofy, sense of humor. (I hope you do too.  Mommy is far to serious most of the time!)

And, momma and daddy are far from rookies at this parenting thing.  We know that adding you to our family will bring more joy, pride, celebration, laughter, and love than we could even comprehend right this moment.  You are a treasure - as are each of your siblings.  You will bring so much to our family.

We also know that along with all the joy - there will be tears, anger, misunderstanding, sleepless nights, sickness, frustration.  EVERY SINGLE ONE of those HARD moments will be worth it.

You - and each of your siblings - are WORTHY of every tear, dollar, prayer, and scare.  EVERY . SINGLE . ONE .

And sometimes, when things are just way too stressful, way too serious, way too overwhelming - laughter helps!

Thank you, God, for my crazy husband.  Who worries with me.  Prays with me.  Listens to me.  AND forces me to laugh - always!

Thank you for the gift of our children.  Who worry me.  Stretch me.  Teach me.  Impress me.  Motivate me.  Inspire me.  Frustrate me.  Help us to raise them with the perfect balance of letting go and entrusting them to You mixed with hard-core, hands-on, work-our-butts-off, and wear-our-knees-raw effort that every day brings glory to You.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

In the Morning When I Rise

On December 26, I decided to make it a priority to start every morning with a time of Bible study and prayer. 

It has been SUCH a good thing.  So good, in fact, that I have not missed a single day.

I have been using Beth Moore's 10 Week Prayer Devotional titled Whispers of Hope.  I bought this book on a whim when I was finishing my Christmas shopping.  I had never done a Beth Moore study, and the title made my heart leap.  HOPE - truly choosing the Hope that is in Christ - has been one of the lessons God has been teaching me these last months, so it just felt right to start this year with a HOPE related devotional.

Sometimes our whims are God working!

For me, in this season of my life, this devotional has been just what I need.  It contains a scripture to read, Ms. Moore's thoughts on that reading, and a directed prayer journal.  All of the above have been so, so helpful.

While I have done similar devotions in the past, the directed prayer journal is new.  I am loving it.  It helps me to structure my prayers so they are more than simply a random rambling.  It causes me to spend time praising God first thing in the morning.  That has been an incredible thing.  When my very first words directed toward my savior are words of praise, my heart is in a totally different place than if my prayer day starts with my list of needs and complaints and stresses.

After a praise paragraph, there is a place for a paragraph for confession.  Followed by a paragraph for acknowledgement - or telling God that I fully realize that He is in control, He is worthy, He is my everything. . .

These first three paragraphs are prayer components that I commonly skip. I do not really intend to. . . it just happens.  After all I am a busy momma, with 2 jobs, 5 + kids, and my time is limited - right?  Wrong!  In all reality, I am more self-centered than busy, and my skipping praise, confession, and acknowledgement only makes me more so.  Beginning with these first three paragraphs helps me reframe my mind.  It has made my heart more humble, more thankful, and more open to all the Lord has to say.  Those paragraphs have been invaluable.

Next comes an area in which to pray for others, then an area in which to pray for myself, and finally an area that she calls "equipping."  Equipping is a time to ask God to prepare me for all that is to come in the day ahead.  It is a time to relinquish control, to ask to be filled with more of Him that I may serve Him well (not that I may get more of the tasks on my list completed.)  It is all about turning the day over to Him.


The results in my heart have been amazing.  I am more peaceful, more hopeful, more focused, more willing to dream and follow hard after Him. 

My only dilemma is what comes next?  I only have 23 mornings left in this devotional.  That is not enough!  Any suggestions on a follow-up?  So much will change in my life during these next months.  It will not be as easy to have some quiet time first thing in the morning with an unpredictable newborn to feed.  I also know that once the snow melts, hitting the running trail will be tempting IF all is quiet around here in the pre-dawn hours.  I am unsure how it will all work out - but I have learned that when I choose to put Jesus first, I never regret it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pregnancy Confessions

I am officially "large and in charge" according to my tall son.

I have reached the point that I feel like a bit of a spectacle everywhere I go.  The belly is the first thing everyone looks at when I walk into a room.  And it is OK.  I get it, my profile surprises me sometimes when I walk by a mirror too!  It is "all good."  Ginormous or not, I feel happy and healthy and thankful.

I have been keeping a mental list of the many uses of a baby belly:

Joshua loves to use the baby as a pillow.

I prefer to use her as a convenient rest for all sorts of things - coffee cups, books, my crossed arms.

The baby belly also works wonders when I need help lifting, loading, or opening a door.

It is a pretty handy tool, really.

It is also great entertainment.  I LOVE watching it rock and roll as baby stretches and kicks.

And thanks to this baby belly, I tried something today I never really wanted to try. . . acupuncture.  I have personally never been interested in acupuncture.  Chad has tried it a few times - with some success.  I know others that have as well, but I always been more of a skeptic.

Well, my OB suggested I try it.  My OB tends to be fairly relaxed, yet thorough.  She is also conservative - in my opinion.  So when she suggested acupuncture as a method of ensuring this stubborn baby flips, I decided it may be worth a try.  It is certainly better than a c-section. . . right?

So - today was my first appointment.

It was weird.

Really weird.  (Sorry if you are a big fan.  I am not saying it won't work - just that it is weird!)

So he explains all about Chinese medicine and chi (sp?) and all sorts of other things, while I try to focus and not giggle.  Then he asks to see my tongue - at which point I did laugh - and take my pulse.

Next he placed needles in each of my pinky toes, the back of my calves, the top of my forearms, and the top of my head.  Then I sat in a dark, quiet room for 20 minutes.  (That part I liked!)

He returned.  Pulled out the needles.  And gave me a homework assignment.  I am supposed to "smoke my toes" (my words not his) with burning moxa herbs several times a day.

For real.

Are you laughing yet?  Me too!

Told you it is weird.

But I am trying it.  After all, what can it hurt?

I go back for more needles Tuesday.

Yep - I have officially lost it!

On a more serious note, Chad has Joshua's new room almost painted.  The carpet installers came and measured for the carpet today.  That is the good news.  The not as good news is that they are predicting it will take 2 weeks before they will have time to install the carpet.  I will be honest, this highly hormonal momma was not happy about that timeline.  I am ready to get things in their place.

As I thought through why I was so disappointed, I realized that the main reason I was bugged is that I want things done so that I can just sit back and relax for a bit.  In my timeline, I wanted rooms complete by Valentine's Day so that I could have a month to just chill.

Really?  I want to rush now so that I can chill later?  More likely,  I will come up with more stuff to do once this stuff is done and never take the time to chill.  Right?

So I am (trying to) choosing to chill out now and later.  There are a few things I can and will do outside of my "perfect" order.  Other things will wait.  Some things may wait a long time. . .  

But I am trying, really really trying, to chill out, relax, and enjoy each day no matter how many items remain on my to-do list.

Hopefully, this becomes a life-long habit, rather than a pregnancy survival technique.