It’s Half-time!

20 weeks into my fourth pregnancy today. Phew! This first half has really been an experience, I’ll tell you what. I’m very thankful for our friends and family who have supported us while my body made another body. It’s no small task!

A lot of people have expressed concerns that my health may not be what it should, secondary to the close pregnancies. I’m happy to relate that I’ve actually felt recovered every single time before I’ve gotten pregnant again! And I’ve been doing much better the last 2 or 3 weeks, coming out of illness and mental haze. I know it’s ultimately the grace of God, however, that I’m relying on to get me through each day. No matter how recovered I may be, I’m certain there will always be morning sickness to contend with, a huge insta-belly that gets conversations started and ligaments that wonder what in the world just happened to them. Eh, it’s life!

The biggest news by this point in the pregnancy is that we’re having another boy! The anticipation leading up to the 18-week ultrasound has been the same every single time – I can hardly wait! I was so sure it was a girl but my intuition was obviously off this time.  The funny thing is that we both were so certain it was a girl that now we have to re-think lots of other little details, too. It’s all good though. We’re really blessed to be having another baby – boy or girl! – and we’re sure our one daughter will be able to hold her own should she not ever get a sister.

And now we’ve got the list going for boy names. It will be whittled down little by little, which is sort of a rarity for us. Usually by now, I’m calling our baby by name but I suppose it will just be different this time around. Do you know how hard it is to agree with your spouse about a name? Yep, it can be brutal. So, in the meantime, baby boy #3 is being called anything from Hamish to Scooter to Bonzo. I promise his actual name will be superior to these.

The funniest conversation that I’ve been getting into this time around has been mostly internal in nature. Most strangers ask, “Is this your first baby?” I respond with, “No, it’s my fourth,” while my mind starts saying, “Holy crap! Your fourth kid! Wha’ happened?!” Always makes me smile. And please know the last question is rhetorical. 😉

Supermom? Supermaid?

While I personally use my blog to write up all kinds of ideas, thoughts or issues, I don’t know that I always state exactly what my point is within each blog post. What a bad writer I am! So it’s naturally left up to interpretation which, of course, is always spectacular in this venue. 😉 One thing I did realize about blogging is that it can probably come off as very selfish or self-focused. A person writing constantly about themselves? It doesn’t sound very spectacular when stated as such, but then whose lives would we reference better than our own?

This leads me to this particular post. I hope that it will be an encouragement to some of you out there. I’ve heard similar sentiments stated by others recently but I think we all could stand to hear it even a little more. I do reference my life but it’s only for example’s sake. I think there’s probably a take-away for quite a few.

Like most of you readers out there, I’m a person who has a number of roles. My identity doesn’t lie in any of the roles, thank goodness, but the two roles that are almost ever present for me right now are home manager and mother. Getting away from these roles for any length of time seems close to impossible, so my progress (or lack thereof) is also ever present in my mind.

In the last few years, life has certainly been the roller coaster (hence the naming of the blog) and there have been usually two major incidents within each year to knock me off my game. Firstly, we have the infamous first trimester of each of my four pregnancies. Some more brutal than others but all having a definite impact. Secondly, the first few months after each delivery where I deal with postpartum depression and trying to find rhythm and structure again in the household. Thirdly, my husband going completely out of commission for weeks (like flat on his back – can’t move) along with the surgery, complications, recovery, etc… Fourthly, my father-in-law passing away. It was sudden, to be sure, but it flipped us all around for a bit there.

I’m sure you all have had events like this happen in your life. And you know what happens while those events are happening? Not a heck of a lot, that’s what. <insert Rachel Lynde voice for last comment> For me, the house gets dirtier – far dirtier than I’d like it to be. I get the laundry cleaned but it sits for a couple extra days just mocking me until I buckle down and get around to folding it and putting it away. The dishes – oh, the dishes! – the job that can never wait and has to be done as soon as you finish. Or sometimes it just seems that way. And then, God forbid, you have a sunny day because then you can see every speck of dust in your house AND every fingerprint laid on every surface. The horror to a clean freak like me is acute, let me tell you. And I haven’t even gotten to the mothering role…

My children play around in their pajamas most of the day because I haven’t made a point to change them into other clothes. I feed them, change them, put them down for naps – all the essential stuff. But all the rest? Well, I still give them boundaries and rules and I still try to hold to those but guess what? There are some times they disobey that I just can’t deal with it and I just let it go. Not model parenting, by any stretch of the imagination. Then I feel like I should be super involved in all their play time and down on the floor with them and their toys. But you know what? Sometimes I just relax on the couch and play Words with Friends. There’s also some little guilt demon, or something, that’s always pressuring me to really challenge my children mentally, especially my 3-year-old. I mean, we did decide to start out homeschooling for the moment, right? Why aren’t I engaging, especially when little Zulu or Zenith over there does _____ that my 3-year-old doesn’t?

And all this to get to a point…it’s a phase! All of these are phases. This is not forever! After all, I’m not this sort of person. I’m not lackadaisical. I am a hard worker. I’m not distant. I’m engaged with my family. And, generally speaking, I don’t let my kids “get away with crap”. When I’m not in these “slumps” I tend to be very on top of things and will be more than willing to go out and kick some butt. But, in the meantime, I need to be sure not to define my worth or character by these temporary phases where I, or anyone, could feel like a big, fat failure. And we really shouldn’t listen too much to people who have only seen us in these moments. There’s just too much they don’t see and don’t know. We have to let what they say roll off our backs.

God has really been there for me during all these times – high and low. Even when I’m in butt kicking mode, I’m still not that Supermom or Supermaid that I’d like to be. I’m not perfect. And as completely human as that is, it’s still sometimes depressing. My percentage of perfection simply seems higher on good days. Luckily, God is always faithful to me to make up the difference. He helps me keep things going, even if it’s at bare bones level. And I know He’ll help each of you, too, in order to make up the difference in your imperfect lives. We just need to be willing.

Gardening!

I was going to blog about something totally unrelated but then I opened the seed catalog. Big mistake! I’ve never had an official bucket list going but learning how to garden (organic fruits & vegetables, to be specific) would definitely be on the mental list. And when I open the seed catalog, the idealistic visions unfold.

Now I don’t know why gardening would strike me but I do have a couple guesses. One is that it appeals to the self-sufficiency streak in me. Not that I think I’m an island. I certainly know otherwise. But I like to work hard so I don’t have to consistently prey on other’s good natures. So growing a food supply for us would follow in that line.

My other guess is that there’s something genetic at work. While I have many relatives who garden, the main one that sticks out in my mind is my paternal grandfather. He’s 92 years old and has been farming or gardening, I believe, his entire life. He’s got a little bit of knowledge there! So perhaps my inspiration lies there, somewhat dormant, in a recessive gene.

I know almost less than nothing about gardening so I have quite the mental block about starting, despite trying to educate myself through reading. I’m sure of one thing though – I need to pick a year to do it where I can give it the ol’ college try so I don’t completely despair of the results! It won’t be this year but perhaps next year will hold the first official foray into the previously unknown.

My goal, in maybe another 10 years, would be to be capable of growing at least a few different kinds of fruit or vegetables and in some sort of volume. I think it’s a doable goal. I do wish my grandpa lived in this climate so he could give me some tips. These Western WA semi-summer months are hard to figure out!

Annoyances

If you know me very well at all, or read my Facebook statuses on a regular basis, you know that I’m a person with a long list of things that annoy me. It’s not something I’m proud of, by any means, but it seems to be the way of things…at least for now. Most of the time I just vent a bit and I’m done. Things like that shouldn’t cripple our lives – that would be ridiculous. But there is one that keeps rearing its ugly head that deserves notice…

People and their perception of whether your “family planning” is kosher or not.

Oh, I know. I’m obviously an extremist in this realm and live by no one’s rules. Ha! But I really don’t get some people. I understand that they have their own opinion about how many children (if any) they’d like to have and when and why, etc…but why so incredibly anal retentive? I venture to say there are a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that developed countries have well established controlling as much of your life as possible and doing only what you want to do, when you want to do it.

First off, you sure can try and do whatever you’d like to do. Bobby Brown says it’s your prerogative, right? But it takes a fairly naive person to think that they’re 100% in control of all the elements. And I’ve never known something to take all the charm so quickly out of the command to be “fruitful and multiply” as a bunch of talking heads letting me know I should first have a career, make something of myself, travel all over the world, be married at some point late in life, then possibly have one child a few years in, to be followed (maybe) by a subsequent child in another 2 or 3 years. And it’s best to have one girl and one boy. Don’t forget that part because that makes a “perfect family”.

All this to say, my husband and I having four children in four years is obviously against the grain of society and we wouldn’t have it any other way! And if you ask me which children were “surprises”, you’ll be lucky if all you get is a laugh in your face. All our children are coming at just the right time in the grand scheme of life and all of them will grow up loved, knowing they were each a great gift – none of them thinking they were just a mistake on a cold night.

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.  – Psalm 127:3

To Help You Get To Know Me Better…

…consider this fact.

How many hungry weasels could your body feed?

Created by Oatmeal

Finally Decided On A Major

Yeah, so, when you’re about 16 (and, oh, so full of knowledge) the world starts expecting you to make some decisions. And not just the easy ones but the big ones that aren’t very straightforward. The most dreaded life decision, you ask? In my book, it’s the whole question of what you’re going to do with your life occupationally. I’m a planner so I don’t mind that aspect of it. And I love to go to school and earn good grades so it’s not that. It was that feeling that the rest of my life was going to hinge on this one decision. That once I decided what I wanted to do, I could never turn back.

That’s silly, of course. I know that now. But, at the time, it felt more permanent and I for sure and certain didn’t want to make the wrong choice. Nothing really called my name so I ended up just taking a course here and there after I graduated high school. And then finally got a job. Then quit the job…

And now, two technical degrees, one associate’s degree, one husband, four jobs and three kids later, I believe I’ve hit upon a subject that I would actually love to study and get a….wait for it…bachelor’s degree in. Sociology! I took an intro to sociology course as part of my associate’s degree and found it extremely interesting. It was one of my favorite college classes to date. Combining that with loving to people watch and always being interested in how people got to where they are now and why it is that people think the way they think makes me think this could be a good fit. It only took me 14 additional years to figure it out but better late than never.

Of course, the flip side of the question is, “What are you going to do with your degree?” Well, honestly, I have no flippin’ clue. But maybe in 14 more years, if I’ve been able to accomplish my goal, I’ll have an answer for you.

Canning 2011!

It’s August and even though we haven’t had too much of a summer yet in the Seattle area, it’s still canning time! All those great fruits and veggies are going to grow eventually, right? Well, once I start canning things, then I kind of get on a rampage. I’m just a tad OCD. Alright. You caught me. Maybe a lot!

So, as a preface, they’re doing this “food drop” after our church service on Sunday and it’s been a really great help to augment the weekly groceries. However, most of the produce they bring is either too far gone or needs to be eaten immediately. And my mind was being far too unimaginative…until now. These fruits are PERFECT for jams and jellies. They’re so ripe that they’ve reached their sweetness potential and they’re super soft.

I’m happy to say that, as of this evening, I’ve made seedless raspberry jelly, mango jam, blueberry jelly, seedless blueberry/blackberry jelly, red grape jelly, strawberry jam and…any guesses? I’m going to assume you won’t guess it correctly so I’ll just tell you. Currently in my water bather is a batch of banana jam. Doesn’t that just sound sort of awful? I had a ton of ripe bananas and was tired of making cakes and breads with it. I thought, “Does anyone ever make these into jam? There must be someone…”

So, of course, I googled it. Recipes galore, peoples. And the alternate name for this particular delicacy is monkey butter. Really? OK, random poll: Which sounds worse – banana jam or monkey butter? I honestly don’t know which one is most cringeworthy. You can decide.

At any rate, I’m determined to be adventurous so I’m trying a batch. Besides the usual water, pectin, lemon juice and sugar, I also threw in a little cinnamon. It smelled good so that’s promising. We’ll see…wish me luck!

Please Forgive the Absence

I haven’t blogged in forever. I’m sorry. My personal feeling is that I shouldn’t be blogging about the extremely mundane and repetitive moments in life but rather have something important or at least unique to communicate.

Having just finished my third pregnancy in 3 years, I can now give you a glimpse into the incredibly deep thoughts I’ve had to share with all of you.

  • Why is it that all baby wipes are so lame in comparison to the Kirkland Signature brand? Or why do I have to pay more to get a baby wipe of that caliber that doesn’t require me to pull out a full half dozen before I actually feel there’s a barrier between my skin and their poo?
  • How is it that my 2-year-old almost never falls asleep during naptime but, if he does, he’s asleep for almost 3 hours? Must it always be feast or famine? And can I really get that kid out of diapers before Kindergarten? He’s practically old enough to change his own diaper. Yikes…
  • If there really was a Mother of the Year Award, would I have a chance in Hades? Maybe I should just shoot for Mother of the Half Hour and call it good.
  • Once we move into our new house, I won’t have to keep things so perfect. Yeah, right. Who am I foolin’? I’ve become some kind of neurotic, OCD house cleaner. A messy house puts my nerves on edge. I’ll be moving into a house that I’ll also keep perfect…occasionally.
  • Oh the internet….zulily, living social, facebook…aren’t they all just breeding grounds for discontentment? If I wasn’t constantly assaulted with what everyone else was doing and all my potential buying & vacationing options, I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out. I know it wasn’t truly easier way back when but <sigh> anyways…
  • One of the cool things about going to the hospital to have the baby is that I’ll get to watch TV. Like they actually have cable and get CMT and Food Network and…and in this thought, Emily, you’re making yourself so incredibly shallow and lame that you will almost never recover or live it down. Instead of paying for one night at the hospital I could be buying cable service for everyone in Everett for the entire month.

And this was just a cross-section. Life continues to barrel along as I keep house and fulfill all my wifely and motherly duties and I continue to do my best to keep my head above water. By God’s grace, I’ll keep going and, perhaps, someday have something much more awesome to talk about on here. One could only hope.

Why Facebook is like a Broadway Musical

While I can probably assume that you’re all essentially familiar with Facebook,  you may not all be familiar with musicals. So I will enlighten you, to some degree, with my insights on the latter before I make my comparison.

There are a lot of different types of people who go to see a Broadway musical or a stage musical of any sort. As much as some may think that every audience member is cut from the same cloth, it is actually quite untrue.

The first grouping of theatergoers are there for the staging & costumes. They’re interested in the visuals. The more elaborate the set or the more costume changes that are made, the more impressed they usually become. Shows like Wicked, Les Mis or Phantom of the Opera just get them on the jazz.

Then you have the singing theatergoers. They may or may not be qualified to judge the vocal talent involved but that doesn’t stop them. They are constantly screening each individual that comes on stage and there better be at least 90% of the cast that can really bellow a tune or they’re not going to be happy.

Next you have those who are interested in the choreography. This is my little niche. These people are all about movement and they expect the cast to move and to wow them with some pretty heavy-duty dancing. This group can usually appreciate the choreography the most as they typically have some background in dance themselves.

A smaller segment of the audience are the music aficionados. They’re not so interested in what’s happening on the stage as they’re intensely interested in the score. I venture to say these are the only people that appreciate the overture and the entr’acte. The music carries them away and they leave wishing they could play just that well.

The last group I will mention (although there could easily be more) is the filler group. I don’t honestly understand this group but I will gladly take their ticket anytime. These are the people who don’t care at all about going to a live show. It’s the loyal boyfriend, the child without any options, the spouse who can’t convince their other half that their headache is really that bad. I think you all know the kind of people to whom I am referring.

This brings me to Facebook. Why on earth are Facebook and Broadway musicals similar? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve been on Facebook long enough to realize that everyone goes there with a mission. They all want Facebook to be a certain something for them. But not everybody has the same goal. And let me just tell you that when missions collide, drama ensues.

To start, some people are all about photos. These are like the visual theatergoers. They really have very little intention of actually communicating with people on this social networking forum. They just want to see everyone’s life via pictures. The more albums they can look at, the happier they are. You can be their friend, by all means, but never expect status posts or comment replies.

The next group of people are all about words. I would equate them to the singing theatergoers. They love to talk on Facebook. They talk, talk, talk. They will comment on everyone and everything. Facebook is like a huge soapbox for them that they can get on any hour of the day and no one can really tell them to get down. But, if someone does, they can easily delete that person’s suggestion and go on talking. They don’t mind if they don’t have an audience.

Then we have a set of people I jokingly refer to as the “friend whores”. Don’t be offended if you are one. I think it’s funny. These people are Facebook friends with their actual friends, the friends of those friends, the family of those friends, the pets of those friends, etc… They will ask to be your friend if you comment on one of their friend’s posts even though they’ve never met you before in their life…and they have no intention to. I’m not sure of the ultimate goal other than having a perpetually changing newsfeed and so I will equate this to the theatergoer concerned with choreography.

This next group is an interesting one to me personally. I can’t honestly equate it the musician type of theatergoer but it definitely needs its own grouping in my Facebook analysis. These are the generally well-rounded Facebookers that have a little twist to their mission in social networking. They don’t want controversy. They can’t stand even the slightest smidgen of negativity, cynicism or sarcasm. They’re so concerned with making their Facebook world into a positive place that they won’t even allow blatant stupidity to be pointed out. I can only partially understand their mission and so I will no longer dwell on it.

The last group I will mention is almost precisely like the filler people at the theater. These are the individuals that are on Facebook because someone else told them to or expects them to be on there. They log in almost never, never post a status, have only one profile photo and apparently fill their scarce Facebook time with simply accepting friend requests. These people will not even get on to play Farmville! And why these people are here I will never know.

I will wrap it up by mentioning that I’ve been a little bit of most of these groups, at one time or another. I don’t even point out the groups as a criticism but rather as a comment. There are, of course, people on Facebook AND people at the theater who are just basically well-rounded, not too overboard in any particular fashion, sort of people. I like those people. I think I’ll try to be like them when I grow up. How old am I again??

Accentuate the Positive

As a preface, because I always have a preface, I’d like to explain a little bit about what kind of person I am so that you’ll properly view my following idea. I’m not one of those people who thinks that you should just say good things, do good things, dream good things and all good things will come to you. Ha! Besides being too simplistic and just plain old difficult, it’s not particularly realistic. On the other hand, I do know that I have tendency towards all that is pessimistic, cynical and depressive in nature. So…new year, slight shift in mindset.

Before my husband and I were married we went through a series of pre-marriage counseling sessions. They were very beneficial to the both of us but there was one exercise that we did at the time that has stuck with me for the past 5 years. We had to sit down and write out a list of every single reason why we loved the other person and wanted to marry them. It wasn’t exactly a new thought to us so we busily started scribbling away. And, of course, as you write down the more obvious reasons, more subtle reasons usually present themselves. By the time we were done we each had at least 15 different reasons and probably couldn’t have come up with that many negatives if we had been asked to – being in the goo-goo eye phase and all.

As the years have gone on there are quite naturally little nit-picky issues that come to the surface in our relationship and sometimes I get quite fixated on them. This is when it’s time for me to clear my head, sit down and write that list again. Not the exact same list I wrote before. A list of all the reasons I love my husband today and why I still want to spend the rest of my life with him. I usually share the list with him because it helps him to see how much I still love him and he will often end up doing something similar for me.

This brings me to my new idea. Why don’t I, as a parent, do this for each of my kids? How easy would that be? There are lots of things about each of my kids that I love but I don’t necessarily keep those in the forefront of my mind. How could I? We’re deep into the foundational training years of two toddlers and, let’s be honest, there are probably more times that I’d like to pull my hair out than lavish them with love and praise. But part of this is just born out of frustration and so I need to remind myself of how many great things my kids have to offer our family. And so, sometime this month, I think I’ll sit down and rehearse some of these great things. I would encourage each of you to do something similar, especially if it’s regarding a relationship that is usually a struggle. Couldn’t hurt!

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2 other followers