Category Archives: Pregnancy

Creating Christmas in My Heart


As often happens when I read posts by Susan Gaddis, I start to comment and then find I’ve written an entire blog post myself. Please go check out her beautiful post: How to Celebrate Christmas When You’re Not in the Mood

The last few Christmases have been a challenge for our family, financially, and living in a city without much of our extended family nearby makes it even harder to get in the mood to celebrate Christmas. But we’re doing our best!

This year, the kids and I made a Terrific Mess cutting out paper snowflakes to paste on our windows which we’ve surrounded with blue twinkly lights. Our little one especially loves to just sit and watch as they blink off and on, coloring the snowflakes white and blue. If I focus on just the beautiful window, I can almost ignore the desert landscape beyond. In our trips around town, I keep a Christmas station going in the car, and it’s fun to hear the kids’ sweet voices stumbling through the words (Oh Holy Night has become a mish-mash of made up words, Sunday school lessons, and I think even Optimus Prime got in there at one point…). Their current favorites are the rock-opera-style Trans-Siberian Orchestra versions of Carol of the Bells and Oh Holy Night.

Soon, I’m planning on making cookies with the kids and decorating them to take downstairs to our elderly neighbors who don’t have family around. I keep reminding the kids (and myself!) that we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, not getting gifts and presents. We may not be able to afford a tree or gifts this year, but between devotionals (an Advent calendar), practical acts, and praise, we’re trying to keep Jesus the focus of our Christmas!

I’m feeling especially close to Mary, Jesus’ mother, this year… being ungainly pregnant; an impending move looming right next to my due date; the alternating joy of new life within me and the crushing terror of how the heck we’re going to care for another child with our limited resources. Years ago, as a teenager, I was inspired to create a dance to Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven” and have danced it almost every Christmas for the last 10 years… so it’s a familiar song, but every time I’ve heard it this year, I’ve broken down weeping. It’s so near my heart… God what are you doing? Is this really Your best plan for my life right now? Help me be strong… help me be… help me.

But the Hope that is Advent… God encasing himself in the flesh of a helpless baby, to live like us, be one of us, so that He could save us from our pathetic existence… THIS is what excites me about Christmas. It’s what shakes me from the lethargy of my depression and causes me to turn my eyes towards the Hope of Eternity Future. This isn’t all there is to life. There is more coming. Christmas gives me a glimpse of that Joy Unspeakable.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, the-God-Who-is-with-us, is coming!

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Joy! The Choice and the Feeling.


My insomnia is back.

A few weeks ago, this would be a terrible thing. It was in the night watches that my dark thoughts would spin; endlessly looping in my mind. All the problems and difficulties in our lives would swirl around creating a hurricane of depression in my brain, leading to conclusions that were just more destructive and discouraging than anything. Yes, there were thoughts of leaving my husband, of suicide, of just walking away from everything. None of these are actually options for me… or choices that I would make, but the perpetual thoughts were there. I felt like I couldn’t stop them, couldn’t escape them, and for the life of me, couldn’t just go to sleep. Even for the time I was on medication, the nighttime battle was there.

I’d get up and pace to the couch where I’d cry and pray and beg for rest. Usually, the sun would start lightening the sky before my exhausted body would finally fall into a short nap before it was time to be up and back to taking care of the family.

I love my husband, but he didn’t understand. I love my children and my current role as stay-at-home mom, but didn’t find joy in that.

I’ve said before that I would battle it, that I would fight it, that I would choose to be happy and content with where I am. That would work for a time, but not for long.

My post a few weeks ago was about the basic idea of capturing thoughts. It’s an old spiritual discipline that I’d forgotten… but the basic idea comes from 2 Cor. 10:4-5:

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments (imaginings) and every pretention (assertion) that sets itself up against the knowledge (truth) of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  

Pretty much, although I don’t have control over the thoughts that enter my brain, I do have the authority (“divine power”) to tell them to go straight to the pit of hell where they belong.

So I have been.

And you know what? I’ve had an awesome last few weeks. Yes, there’s moments of sadness (our home church’s women’s retreat is this weekend and I wish I was there with my friends… the coastal town where my family lives had a fireworks celebration on the cliffs that my kids would have adored…), but I can acknowledge my sadness without STAYING there. Moving on to the next thing, fixing the eyes of my heart and mind on Jesus and the joy that He’s given me in my day-to-day life. Even if I still can’t go to sleep, I remind myself to meditate on scriptures, sing songs to the Lord in my head, count my blessings, or even just get out of bed and spend some time reading my Bible until I’m tired enough to go back to sleep.

This has been so helpful. I can FOCUS on my kids, and I’m realizing anew what a total delight they are… and I can’t imagine enjoying them more or better if we lived anywhere else. I can wrap my head around the reality that we’re having ONE MORE, and she’s going to just add to the happy chaos that is our home. I can see my husband as a man, not my SOURCE of joy or happiness, but as my partner as we try to figure out our lives and family.

So today, when I was reading Psalm 9 in my quiet time, my spirit shouted “YES!” to these verses:

I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; 
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High!

Should Everything Be Done in Moderation?


After my 900+ word post yesterday, I’m gonna keep this one short and sweet.

To answer this question: no. Not EVERYTHING should be done in moderation. Some things, like eating or drinking adult beverages or playing Plants vs. Zombies SHOULD be done in moderation (these happen to be the things I’m currently struggling with… well, except the adult beverages. Being as I’m knocked up and all, but I almost tackled my husband for opening a Stella after dinner last night. Mmmm.).

Anyways, here’s my short list of things that should NOT be done in moderation.

  1. Reading. Fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, blogs… it’s good for your brain, it’s great for expanding your horizons. Don’t ever stop reading.
  2. Loving. Love is one of those amazing things that pays huge dividends, usually when you MOST need it.
  3. Singing. My husband *might* beg to differ on this one (he reminds me that our lives are NOT actually a musical), but signing can be the best way to express my soul. Even if it’s the tuneless humming that’s the result of sleepless nights soothing a sick child, I feel better when I’m creating music.
So there you go. Things to do in excess. How would YOU answer this question?

A Funny for Your Monday


I’m just settling back into home after a wonderfully exhausting vacation. Since I have no inspiration for my own words, I figured I’d fall back on the humor of my uncles, who sent this collection of hilarious “kids say” moments.

Enjoy!

Why We Love Children

1. A nursery school pupil told his teacher he’d found a cat, but it was dead.
‘How do you know that the cat was dead?’ she asked her pupil.
‘Because I pissed in its ear and it didn’t move,’ answered the child innocently.
‘You did WHAT?’ the teacher exclaimed in surprise.
‘You know,’ explained the boy, ‘I leaned over and went ‘Pssst’ and it didn’t move’

2. A small boy is sent to bed by his father.
Five minutes later…..’Da-ad….’
‘What?’
‘I’m thirsty. Can you bring a drink of water?’
‘No, You had your chance. Lights out’
Five minutes later: ‘Da-aaaad…..’
‘WHAT?’
‘I’m THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??’
‘ I told you NO! If you ask again, I’ll have to smack you!!’
Five minutes later……’Daaaa-aaaad…..’
‘WHAT!’
‘When you come in to smack me, can you bring a drink of water?’

3. An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him ‘How do you expect to get into Heaven?’
The boy thought it over and said, ‘Well, I’ll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, ‘For Heaven’s sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!”

4. One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, ‘Mummy, will you sleep with me tonight?’
The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug.
‘I can’t dear,’ she said. ‘I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.’
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice:
‘The big sissy.’

5. It was that time, during the Sunday morning service, for the children’s sermon.  All the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the minister leaned over and said, ‘That is a very pretty dress.
Is it your Easter Dress?’ The little girl replied, directly into the minister’s clip-on
microphone, ‘Yes, and my Mum says it’s a bitch to iron.’

6. When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower.
She said, ‘Mummy, you are getting fat!’
I replied, ‘Yes, honey, remember Mummy has a baby growing in her tummy.’
‘I know,’ she replied, but what’s growing in your bum?’

7. A little boy was doing his maths homework.
He said to himself, ‘Two plus five, that son of a bitch is seven. Three plus six, that son of a bitch is nine….’
His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, ‘What are you doing?’
The little boy answered, ‘I’m doing my maths homework, Mum.’
‘And this is how your teacher taught you to do it?’ the mother asked
‘Yes,’ he answered.
Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, ‘What are you teaching my son in maths?’
The teacher replied, ‘Right now, we are learning addition.’
The mother asked, ‘And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a bitch is four?’
After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, ‘What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four.’

8. One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer. She read, ‘…. and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is
falling!’ The teacher paused then asked the class, ‘And what do you think that
farmer said?’ One little girl raised her hand and said, ‘I think he said: ‘Holy Shit! A talking chicken!”
The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.

9. A certain little girl, when asked her name, would reply, I’m Mr. Sugarbrown’s daughter.’
Her mother told her this was wrong, she must say, ‘I’m Jane Sugarbrown.’
The Vicar spoke to her in Sunday School, and said, ‘Aren’t you Mr. Sugarbrown’s daughter?’
She replied, ‘I thought I was, but mother says I’m not.’

10. A little girl asked her mother, ‘Can I go outside and play with the boys?’ Her mother replied, ‘No, you can’t play with the boys, they’re too rough.’ The little girl thought about it for a few moments and asked, ‘If I can find a smooth one, can I play with him?’

 

And after 11 hours in the car with my husband and 3 kids, I’ve got this song stuck in my head. But I prefer watching the Backyardigans sing it (sorry Rihanna).  =)

From 1 kid to 2: Tips and Advice


The transition from 1 child to 2 children is really hard. If/When you go from 2 to 3, you’ll realize it’s not that bad at all! I think that keeping the older child as involved in the prenatal baby care as possible will really help. Invite her to “read” to the baby while you rest in bed, or talk to him. Jonathan really loved coming to the midwife appointments and being the special helper. He could measure my belly and use the doppler to hear Hannah’s heart beat. It was so sweet when we got pregnant with Joshua and Jonathan showed Hannah how to do all the hands-on things that he had learned when she was in my belly!

Does your first born have a special doll or stuffed animal they like to care for? We got Jonathan a stuffed monkey and used it as Jonathan’s baby. Before Hannah was born, we would play like it was really a baby and put a diaper on it, give it a bottle, and I made a special sling out of cloth so Jonathan could carry it around. We did this for Hannah, too, when Josh was coming. Do this when you are still pregnant, so that once you need to focus on the baby, you can encourage the first born to get her “baby” and take care of it while you take care of your baby. We have hilarious pictures of Jonathan and Hannah “nursing” their “babies” while the real baby was getting fed, too! Encourage her to help you as much as possible, and she will feel important to Mamma.

Hannah, "feeding" her "baby" in a sling

Hannah, "feeding" her "baby" in a sling

I could say “don’t feel guilty”, but there are going to be times when you just will. The older child needs to learn that the baby’s needs will have to come first for a while. What works for me is that I’ll take care of the baby until he’s asleep, and then go have special snuggle time with the older ones, talking to them about how much I love them and how they are special to me. Also, communicate to your spouse and the people around you how important it is for them to focus on your older child when they come to see the new baby. I so appreciated some of our friends who came over with gifts for both the baby and the older kids, so that EVERYONE felt special. Your husband especially can help with giving the older child lots of Daddy time while you focus on the baby.

One of the crazy things I did that I think really helped was NOT weaning Jonathan when Hannah was born (he was only 25 months old). After I would nurse Hannah to sleep, I would nurse Jonathan and talk to him about how much I loved my big boy. I know that sounds totally crazy, but it helped a lot, since his love language is touch. It was initially hard to tell him that Hannah had to have milk first, but he would lay quietly until it was his turn, even waking me up sometimes to tell me Hannah was all done and it was his turn. =D (I’m getting teary thinking about this… he’s FIVE now!!!)

I think the greatest thing about having kids close together is how they pretty much grow up together. When Jonathan finally finished potty training, Hannah was old enough to start, and he encouraged her. When Joshua was born, they both were the proud older siblings, and could go play together while I took care of the baby. It’s so precious and sweet to see them growing and learning and loving together. I really would not have it any other way. When God called us to do something crazy like TRUST HIM with our fertility (and then me getting instantly pregnant), we were panicky. 3 kids in 4 years? That’s insane! But the blessings are so great, and we are so glad that we didn’t take matters into our own hands and prevent the conception of any of these little wonders!

I hope that you are encouraged!  If you have any advice you’d like to share or questions to ask, please do it!

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