It's snowing again! Of course, they canceled school, but that's okay! We have all the blinds pulled up and have had a lazy day, watching the snow falling. Now I'm sitting in my living room, the house is quiet, all the boys are asleep or having rest time, I'm cuddled up on my couch with my warm blanket catching up with my friends. It's nice to just be quiet. No talking, no TV, no music, no phone, no whining, no crying, no asking for more juice, I don't even have to listen to the sound of my own voice. It's hard to take advantage of these moments, but I'm never sorry when I do. It's moments like this that I appreciate how hard my husband works so I can stay home and watch the snow falling with my boys.
(I appreciate how hard he works in other moments too!)
Well, that quiet moment was short lived. Luke is starting to squeak and grunt, which only means one thing...time to eat!
My best friend, Shana, has joined us in blogger land! Shana and I grew up together in Houston. We met in 6th grade at Sunday School and have been friends ever since. We didn't go to the same school, but lived 15 minutes away from each other. I really wanted to post some old pictures of us, but don't have the brain power to figure out the scanner...maybe one of these days. There are some great photos though, I'm sure you can imagine, we were definitelyrockin' the bangs and perms! Anyway, Shana and I have been through a lot together...a whole lot. She is so intertwined in my history and is a part of so many of my best memories. She has been, and continues to be, a huge blessing in my life. We are so different from each other, but the Lord has used that in such a unique way to bless our friendship for all of these years.
Shana has an amazing story that you can read about on her blog. She and her husband have struggled for a couple of years with infertility. She has walked a very dark and depressing path the past few years, struggling to get pregnant, only to have two miscarriage. I'll let you go read her story in her own words, I would not do it justice. The Lord has still not finished writing this chapter in her life, but Shana has come to a place were she wants to be a voice to other women who struggle with infertility as well. She has done an amazing job with her blog, there is a wealth of information on it pertaining to infertility. She is so honest about sharing her struggles. I know it's hard to put yourself out there and to be so honest for the world to see, I'm so proud of her for doing it, and I know that it will bless so many people.
So...go check her blog out and welcome her to our little corner of the World Wide Web!
I can't get enough of you! I miss you when someone else is holding you, or when you are asleep in your crib for longer than normal, or when I'm out running errands and you are home with Daddy and your brothers. The way your little body feels in my arms is so right, you are still such an extension of me, such a part of me. You have completed our little family, we are all so in love with you!
I can't talk. I have a thought, I try to speak that thought and all the wrong words come out. I feel like everything I say sounds like Charlie Brown's mom...whaa, waa, waaah, blahh, blahh. I don't make any sense. I know that I'm not making any sense, but words keep coming out of my mouth. I think my Doctor took my brain out along with Luke during my c-section. I'm a MESS!
Gabe, Luke and I all got sick on Tuesday and I was CERTAIN that we all had the Flu, that Luke had RSV and that meant the whole family had cancer. I was a basket case. I couldn't sleep Tuesday night because my brain was powered up on high and wouldn't stop spinning. I made an appointment with the boys Doctor the next day...not for them...for me...so he could tell me to chill. He did. Thank goodness. We all just have a cold, even little Luke, poor thing is congested and has to get his nose sucked out every couple hours with that little squeezy thing, which he HATES - and who wouldn't hate that??? Can't blame the poor little peanut for screaming his head off every time I invade his face space.
Thursday, while Sam and Gabe were at school I had big plans to do some errand running with Luke. I got up early, got ready, got my receipts for the returns I had to make, got the boys out the door and safely into their classes by 9:45. I stayed a little bit to catch up with a friend and then I was going to hit the stores. By the time I left the school, it was 10:15 and Luke had to eat at 10:30. The school is literally across the street from my neighborhood, so I just went home to feel Luke, THEN I was going to go run my errands. By 10:30, I was trying to decide if I should really run those errands, or if I should just take a nap, Luke would surely go back to sleep after he ate and I could sleep for 2 hours. But then I would have to save all my errands for Saturday when Neal was home, I have an eye appointment on Saturday, so I would be gone extra long from the house and Neal would have to give Luke a bottle and I'd probably have to pump in the car. Plus, Gabe got invited to a birthday party and I can't do ALL of that on Saturday. I got so overwhelmed I just sat there, in my chair, after Luke finished eating, just sat there. Finally, sleep won out and I made myself get into my warm bed. There is nothing better than curling up for a good nap on a cold, cold winter day when you are exhausted. I was happy with my decision, painful as it was to make...
Guess who woke up 30 minutes into my nap?
I waste so much time trying to figure out what my next move is because my brain is no where to be found! I miss it so. I wonder if it comes back after your third baby? Or do you think it's gone for good? Will I ever be able to have a conversation with someone again and make sense? I can't even understand what I'm saying, I feel sorry for those of you who are on the receiving end!
Carly had her baby last night...another sweet little boy named Sullivan, or Sully (how cute is that?) She ended up having a c-section, her labor was very similar to mine, she just stuck it out a little longer than I did, trying to avoid the section, but it turns out it was going to happen anyway. The cord was wrapped around Sully's neck - 3 times! Yikes! My c-section was ineveitable too, Luke's head was wedged in one of my pelvic bones and the cord was wrapped around his ankle. I talked to Carly this morning and she is doing great and so happy to have her little peanut here! We are so thankful that Sully is healthy and here safely. I'm sad that it will be a few months before I can cuddle with him and give my friend a hug.
My dear friend Carly is having her 3rd baby today!
I kept Gabe home from school today because we are both not feeling great. He, Luke and I are laying in my bed, watching movies all morning. I've got my computer, my cell phone and my home phone right next to me, wating for updates from Robin, Carly's sister. Carly and Casey found out the gender with their other 2 kids, but decided to let this little one be a suprise. I can't wait to call him or her by name and see that sweet little face.
I'm updating her blog today as Robin calls me with news...
I had Neal take some pictures of Luke and I last night. I wanted to document the fact that I really was around when he was a baby, not just some person behind a camera capturing all of his adorable moments. And adorable he is! I can't get enough of this sweet little thing. I will admit that life is a bit overwhelming right now as I try to figure out how to juggle 3 boys. This little one is going to have to be good at falling asleep anywhere! He is a little piggy who thinks that he should eat every 2 hours, especially at night. Last night was our worst yet, with him waking up at 2, 4, 6 and 8 - ugh! I was exhausted today. I'm hoping he is going through a growth spurt! I was rewarded with the sweetest little smile at one of those early feedings, I just can't remember which one and I have yet to catch that smile on camera. When he smiles, he reminds me of some of my baby pictures and Gabe's little smile at that age. It will be so fun to see who Luke ends up being. It's funny that with your first kids everyone says they look like you or your husband. With Luke, everyone is commenting on which one of his brothers he looks most like...forget Mom and Dad!
We woke up to a winter wonderland today. Sam opened the blinds in the living room for me and was so excited when he realized that it was snowing. Unfortunatley, school was cancelled, but we spent the morning freezing our little (theirs, not mine!) tooshies off outside, trying to build a snowman and throw snowballs. This wasn't the best snow for those activities, so they both got a little frustrated. They perked up when they realized how fun it was to hit the tree branches and bushes to make all the snow fall off. They were not very happy when Mommy decided that it was time to come inside. We are now watching Frosty the Snowman and have already watched Rudolph, I think they think Christmas is coming again soon. Since we have no school today, I figured we needed an activity, so I think we are going to make Valentine cookies...we'll see how that goes and maybe I'll have some more pictures to post later, or not!
I have the best mom in the world. She flew in the night before Luke was born and stayed in Nashville for 2.5 weeks, which was such a treat. She took the boys to school, she made them breakfast, lunch and dinner, she played with them, came up with fun stuff for them to do, she cleaned my bathrooms, dusted my house, prepared meals for us, changed Luke's diaper, chatted with me while I was nursing, took turns loving on Luke, went to the grocery store, drove me around for 2 weeks, ate chocolate cake with me, let Neal and I sleep in almost every morning while she took care of the boys. She was there when I was laboring with Luke and when things got scary, I'll never forget her coming to my side, putting her hand on my shoulder and praying over me. When we had another scary moment, I asked her to pray again and it flooded me with peace. Just her presence in the room was a comfort to me.
It was so nice to have all that help. There is nothing like having your mom come take care of you when you really need it. Even though I appreciated all of her help, the best part of having her here, was just having her here! I love to be with my mom, to have her around to talk to about whatever comes to mind and to hear what she has to say about those things. My mom loves me in whatever form I happen to be in at any given moment and simply accepts me as who I am. She has taught me how to be a good wife, a good mom and a good friend. She has shown me what it looks like to forgive, to love the Lord and to seek the Lord. I can call her when I'm bored to talk about nothing with her, she loves to hear stories about the cute little things my boys do, she likes Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, American Idol, What Not to Wear, she is the queen of bargin shopping and can put together some pretty dang stylish outfits. She is always up for Mexican food and some good dessert. She loves me, my boys and my husband.
I love my mom so much, she is the best friend I could ever have in this life, I'm so grateful for the relationship that we have.
I cannot pay tribute to my mom without paying tribute to my dad as well. He suffered through 2.5 weeks of lonliness and TV dinners while Mom was here taking care of all of us. The best part about him is that he was glad she was able to be here with me during this time. He is so unselfish and loves me so much in his sweet, quiet way. His prescence has always been constant in my life. I'm so grateful for a Dad who loves his wife, his kids and grandkids so unselfishly and sincerely. He has worked hard his whole life to provide for us, I can't wait for him to retire and spend his days playing golf...he deserves it!
One thing I have never questioned in my life is my parents love for each other. I'll never forget the first time they came to see me at college. The were holding hands and talking about "their song", I was suprised that they were so happy, I mean, I wasn't living with them anymore...shouldn't they be sad all the time? :) (give me a break, I was a freshman in college!) It was so good for me to see that though, to realize that my parents didn't depend on me to be happy, they didn't make me feel guilty for growing up and moving on, they have never put pressure on me to feel that I am responsible for their happiness. I look back and realize how much freedom that gave me to grow up.
So, thanks Mom and Dad, for everything you have ever done for me, for loving me and for giving me this gift of 2.5 weeks of time with Mom.
My friend sent me this in an email and I thought it was so beautifuly written that I had to share it. This is something I need to read every day!
FOR PARENTS by Anna Quindlen
All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast.
Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.? Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves.
Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past. Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories..
What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay.
No one knows anything.
One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.
When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing.
Eventually you must learn to trust yourself.
Eventually the research will follow.
I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet,and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk.
Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame." The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?". (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking? But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs.
There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.
The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.
It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.
For the past three weeks, I've pretty much been house bound. After the c-section, I was not allowed to drive for 2 weeks and they said that I'm not allowed to lift anything heavier than Luke for 6 weeks (like him in his car seat), and honestly, up until today, I haven't wanted to do any of those things. I've been so lucky to have people here for the past three weeks to basically do everything for me! It's not easy for me to let people do stuff for me, so that should give you the hint that this c-section has kicked my butt...I'll just tell you...this c-section has kicked my butt! I'm so sick of my stomach hurting.
I decided this morning that I was just going to ignore it and pretend like I was a normal person...I wanted to do something that resembled my normal life. I got up this morning at 6:30am to feed Luke and when I was done and he fell asleep, I rejected that strong desire to go back to bed, instead...I did stuff...like fixed the boys lunch, put my clothes in the dirty clothes basket, emptied the bathroom trash cans, took a shower, blow dried my hair...and...I put make up on! I can't tell you how accomplished I felt, it was so great to get some stuff done all by myself. After Sam had left for school and my super sweet friend, Stacey, had taken Gabe to the Y while she worked her 2 hour shift in child care, I loaded Luke up in the car and drove out into the world beyond my cozy house. I returned books at the Library (at least 2 weeks overdue), got gas in my car and went to Target. Yes, I did lift Luke in the car seat to the cart and you know what? My incision didn't bust open and start oozing blood all over the parking lot!
I headed into Target feeling pretty good. The first sign something wasn't right was when I went to the dressing room to try some clothes on. The family dressing room was taken, so the attendant told me I could wait for it. Wait? Are you kidding me? I have a three week old baby that could start crying at any minute...I need in that room RIGHT NOW! I didn't say any of that, I just stood there for a few mintues, waiting...and sweating...and getting SO mad at that lady. Finally, I told her I couldn't wait, that I would just go into a small one. So she tells me I'm going to have to empty out my entire cart (which was full) before I could go in. Huh? Like my cart was going to fit in one of the small rooms...doesn't she know it won't? I explained to her that I would just be taking the car seat in...duh (again, I lifted it and nothing broke in my body). I was sweating bullets and SO angry at that lady, and really, she didn't do anything wrong, she just wasn't getting it like I wanted her to. The good news is I actually found a cute pair of pants that don't hurt my incision (have you noticed that Target is carrying the Converse brand now? Got some really cute cargo Converse pants).
Then, I head to check out and the dude checking me out took 5 YEARS to scan everything and bag it, really it took him FOREVER. Still sweating...still mad! I get everything loaded into the car and head out, only to get furious with another driver who is totally getting into my lane, so they got honked at...by me...still sweating.
It took me the car ride home and a Sonic Dr. Pepper (which I felt I totally deserved) to calm down, stop sweating and to realize that the hormones are truly raging right now and that it might not be a bad idea to stay another 3 weeks in my cozy home...just to keep away from all the crazies out there! :)
By the way, I'm sore and all I want to do is crawl in bed and sleep for 6 hours straight.