Friday, December 14, 2012

On Santa and faith...(with a little ranting mixed in)

Our house is all decorated for Christmas now.  Thanks to my mother-in-law, I've got some nice greenery and bows for above the fireplace and some stuff for the railing around our front porch.  We've got our tree, and the kids had fun decorating it.  It's not too bottom-heavy...  ;)  It's a nice tree, and the house smells great, the way Christmas is meant to smell.

We got our tree at Home Depot.  Not a particularly exciting place to go for a tree, but it's close and not too expensive, and they have decent trees.

Unfortunately, an experience we had with the sales lady this year left me with a funny taste in my mouth.

She was a nice enough lady, and I'm sure she meant well, but since when is it her right to try to convince my daughter that Santa Claus is real?

Let me explain.  We had our tree picked out and went inside to get the lady to come wrap it up for us.  As seems to be the usual practice any time we go anywhere in these days leading up to Christmas, the sales lady had to ask our kids something about if they were ready for Santa to come or some such nonsense.  We've never done the Santa thing in our house; we want our kids to know where the presents really come from so they can be appropriately thankful to the givers, not to mention we want the focus to be on the real reason for the season, Jesus's birthday.

So naturally, Reuben pipes up quite loudly, "There is no Santa!"  The lady was just appalled at this, (and I couldn't tell if she was seriously appalled or just playing it up a bit to try to keep up the allusion that there really is a Santa), but she proceeded to try to convince the kids there is a Santa, and the kids kept saying, "No, there's no Santa."  Finally, we just stepped in and said, "Okay, kids, that's enough." 

I had hoped the conversation was over at that point.  Heh.

We were walking outside to where the tree was ready to go, and the lady decided it was okay for her to take Kaylee aside, deliberately leaving Reuben behind (the more vocal objector of the two), and whispered in her ear, "Don't you listen to what anyone else says.  If you believe there's a Santa, then there's a Santa.  Do you believe?"  And Kaylee apparently replied, "Yes." (The sales lady then came and told me what she had said to Kaylee.)

I think the lady might have thought she was helping because she later made a comment that she had kids and grandkids, and I sensed that she's had to deal with older children popping younger children's "belief in Santa" bubbles before, but neither of our children have ever believed in Santa, (not that we've encouraged at least, if anything we've deliberately discouraged it).  There was no bubble being popped, and if anything, she just created a difficult and confusing situation for my poor 3-year-old little girl.

We ended up having a conversation in the van on the drive home about the real meaning of Christmas, how we believe in God and Jesus, not Santa, and Christmas is about Jesus's birthday.  I think we got the message across, but I also think that Kaylee was a bit upset by the whole thing.

When I look back on the situation, I get a sick feeling in my stomach.  I wish I hadn't let that lady take Kaylee aside.  I should have been more protective of her and not let some stranger take her away from me and whisper in her ear.

It's also caused me to consider a little more closely the whole thing about faith and how to talk to our kids about what we believe.  I mean really, the difference between faith in God and faith in Santa is not so far a leap as far as believing in something you can't see goes.  So I had to think about how to explain to the kids why we believe in one and not the other.  I am so thankful for the Bible!

I'm equally annoyed that our society puts So.Much.Emphasis on Santa Claus.  Especially since the prevailing sentiment is that Santa isn't actually real, that he's just something for little kids to believe in.  Why in the world is it so important to set our little ones up for disappointment?  Fine, have some nice stories about Santa at Christmas time; I won't make too much of a fuss.  But for the love, don't expect me or my children to ACTUALLY believe that he's real, and you darn well better not step in to try and convince my child that Santa is real if he or she is telling you he is not.  It is MY job to teach them what to believe about Santa, not yours.

Anyway, enough ranting.  I think, I hope, I pray that Reuben and Kaylee got the message about what the true meaning of Christmas is.  It's so hard to know how much they understand and what they think about all of it at this age.  And now I know what to prepare for when Nathan gets a little older, and people start trying to convince him that Santa is real...

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Odds and Ends

It's funny the random things that give inspiration for a post.  Like today, I don't really have anything in particular that I wanted to say, but my sister posted last night, and it made me feel like posting, too.

Back to having nothing really to say, it means you're going to end up with a post full of odds and ends.  Here goes:

We will probably go get our Christmas tree today.  This year, Christmas means that Nathan is six months old and starting solids.  Already.  I need to remember to enjoy this time before he gets mobile because next Christmas, he's probably going to be walking and trying to take all the ornaments off the tree.  But maybe next year he'll be sleeping better, and I won't feel quite so sleep deprived.

I've discovered the awesomeness of making broth for soup in my crock pot.  As in, we deep-fried a turkey, and I put the bones etc. in the crock pot overnight and made broth.  And I bought a whole chicken, cooked it in the crock pot, got some great meat off it, and then made broth with the bones.  One of these days I will remember to take pictures of the process so I can post about it. 

We are planning to finish off the unfinished room in our basement.  I have plans to repaint it, and we need to put in some carpeting.  We also want to extend the subfloor to in front of the bottom of the stairs, carpet the stairs, and put some new lighting in the stairwell so the kids will feel like it's not so creepy to go down there by themselves.  But first things first, it needs to be emptied of all our junk.  This will be our winter project this year.

Well, the kids are done breakfast.  I can only buy myself so much time in the mornings.  More coffee is needed...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The glory of a good day

And the blessed release of a good day shining through all the not so good days.

As the fog lifts for a few oh so brief moments, I take advantage of the momentum and breathe in every last second of it. 

Watching this precious beautiful little girl, cherishing the chance to see her for the amazing gift she is, so full of life, jumping and dancing and spinning.

Taking advantage of a burst of energy to get that one thing done that wasn't on the list, but feeling that little thrill of finally getting to something I've been meaning to do for ages and desperately needed to just be done.

Feeling the hope that maybe Nathan's sleeping habits will change soon, especially after he has a good morning nap that let me make use of the motivation I was actually feeling for once.

Someone's prayers were answered this morning is the only thing I can figure.  I can't pinpoint any other reason for this unexplained brightness.  But I bask in its glow, not sure how long it will last, but so thankful for it nonetheless.

Note: this post was actually written yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to post it at the time.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

In search of motivation

It's 7:30 AM, it's finally becoming lighter outside, and I can start to make out the outline of houses across the street and distinguish between where tree ends and sky begins.  The kids have been good and occupied this morning with the new Dora videos we picked up from the library yesterday.  I'm gradually getting motivated to get my butt off my comfy morning chair and get some stuff done today. 

Motivation is hard to come by lately.

The response to my last post was overwhelming to say the least.  I have greatly appreciated all of your kind words of encouragement and offers of help.  I'd like to say that my mood has improved since the writing of that post, and there have certainly been a few better days, but I am weary, and Nathan's sleeping still hasn't gone completely back to what it used to be.  I wish I could say that getting more sleep will help, and maybe it will, but I'm starting to feel like the road back to feeling more like myself again is going to be long and filled with hard work.

It would be great if I felt more motivation to fight back again.

I wish this could be one of those awesome posts where I have all kinds of brilliant ways to find motivation when all you want to do is sit on the couch and surf the Internet or watch TV or read books or do absolutely anything other than feed the kids, dress the kids, and tackle the mountain of laundry that threatens to overwhelm the upstairs hallway and spill down the stairs.  (Okay, my laundry situation isn't quite that bad.)

The only words of advice I have for myself (and maybe you) are this: Do the next thing.  I forget where I read this the first time, probably on some blog or other, and I maybe have even referenced it here before, but there's a poem by a woman named Elisabeth Elliot called "Do the Next Thing" and talks about how we just need to keep our focus on the Lord and do the next thing.  Whatever that next thing might be. 

Today, for me, that next thing is simple: get off the chair.  The next thing after that: go upstairs and get dressed.  The next thing after that -- well, I haven't got that far yet, and that's the point.  After I get dressed, I'll figure out what the next thing is, and I'll do it. 

So here I go.  Off to the next thing...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just some bits of it

I had a hard time hitting "publish" on my post two days ago.  If you normally read my blog by following the Facebook link I usually put up, you might notice I didn't put it up on Facebook.

Why is it so hard to admit we're not okay?

I've spent some time over the past little while thinking about this.  For me, it's a couple of reasons.  First, there's something about being that vulnerable with people that I'm just not good at.  Most of the people who read my blog are people who know me in real life, family or friends.  And for some reason, (which may take further pondering), I would rather pour out all the messy bits of my life in front of complete strangers rather than people I see face to face every day.

Then I was convicted by a post from Ann Voskamp about how as bloggers, we need to be willing to share the messy bits of our lives because it helps both the writer and the reader to heal, and I had to wonder if maybe, just maybe, there might be someone in my meager following that needs to hear that someone they actually know in real life doesn't have it all together -- that there's someone out there who feels the same way they do.

And it made me feel a little better about hitting "publish" on that post, but not better enough to go put it up on Facebook because frankly, being vulnerable is hard.

The other part of admitting we're not okay, admitting it to ourselves.  And I think that's about all I'm going to say on that for now because I've been trying for the past 15 minutes to come up with a way to explain why it's so hard for me to admit maybe I can't handle this anymore, and none of the words are coming out right.

Which is maybe a sign of how much I really need to get on the stick about admitting how not okay it really is.

And more sleep would help...

Oh, and this is my 300th post.  How cool is that?  I had hoped it would be something a little more upbeat, but, well, this is where life is at right now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coming clean

It's been a rough few weeks around here.

It started when Nathan had a growth spurt right around Thanksgiving.  So he started waking up more at night.  And then he caught a cold.  Babies with colds aren't fun, especially when they use a soother to fall asleep because they can't suck and breathe at the same time when their nose is plugged.  Then I caught the cold, which just made me feel even more exhausted and crummy from having to blow my nose all the time.

Of course, just when I started Nathan on a warming socks treatment which helped him to sleep better at night, then Kaylee caught the cold.  Except hers went straight to her chest and she wound up with an extremely painful cough that kept her up at night.

She is finally over the worst of it, and I got in one night of "decent"-ish, somewhat back to normal sleep from Nathan before Reuben decided his cough needed to develop into something a bit worse, and he had to have his turn waking Mommy up at all wee hours of the morning.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that all this lack of sleep and fighting off sickness hasn't affected my already somewhat fragile mental status.  The reason I haven't been posting lately is just as much because I haven't had the desire to, and not just because I can't find the time while caring for three kids instead of two.  It's hard to tell if the fog I feel I related to lack of sleep or something else.

Can you see me avoiding the word post-partum depression?  Can you?  Can you?  Because I'm not sure I'm ready to say that's what this is yet.  For now, I'm just really tired.  But it's on my radar, and I hate that.  It feels a bit like I'm losing the battle I've been fighting ever since Nathan was born, take my supplements, make sure I get time for myself, try to get enough sleep (whoever says sleep when the baby sleeps obviously didn't have other children...)

So I get up each morning, dark and early, and I daily rely on God's strength to get me out of bed.  Literally.  We had a discussion in my women's Bible study group about starting the day with prayer, and some of them tell about how they wake up and say, "Good morning God!" all cheerful like and have a nice prayer.  My morning prayer: "Oh God, get me out of bed."  And so far, somehow every morning I get out of bed.

More sleep would help to make that easier.

...and as a side note, this morning as I'm writing this is following a night of particularly bad sleep, which always makes my mood worse.  If I sound particularly miserable, it's because today I'm feeling particularly miserable.  But for the record, not all days are this bad.  And sometimes just writing about the bad days can make things seem not so dim...

I'll try not to take so long to post again...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Of tired mornings and thankfulness for coffee...

The morning dawns a new day.  I wake to my alarm, but just barely.  Today is one of the few blessed mornings where all the kids stay sleeping long enough for me to have a 45-minute stretch of alone quiet time. 

I can barely keep my eyes open to read the daily chapter from the book our church is going through as part of a 40 Days of Love series.

I'm not kidding.  I am THAT tired.  I don't think I have ever had such a hard time trying to stay awake to read something.  My eyes kept crossing, and I struggled to focus on the page.  My morning prayers are echos, "Give me strength.  Keep me awake.  Help me to be patient through the tired."

I should be working -- I have a file to proof that's due by mid-day Pacific time (thank the Lord for contracts with companies based on the West coast!).  Instead, I pour my coffee and turn to blogs for a bit of inspiration for the day.  I love this blog, with the music playing in the background and for once today I plug in the headphones and listen instead of hitting mute and my heart feels for a change instead of staying numb in the exhaustion, and even though the posts are long, I read to the very end because her words always resonate deep down in those hard places.

One by one, the kids wake up and join me.  This quiet time for myself (and my coffee!) have done its work, and I am ready to get into the busy-ness of the day.  I call on His strength, and as always, He provides.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Going out in the rain...with kids...

Murphy's Law of Running Errands with Children: on a day when you absolutely have to leave the house for some type of errand, ie. doctor's appointment, groceries because your cupboards are bare or you forgot an important ingredient, library because your books or videos are overdue, any other essential errand that needs to be run, guaranteed, it will be pouring rain.

I can name probably at least three situations in the last two months where I've had to leave the house with all three kids, and it has been pouring rain.  I'm pretty sure the examples I listed were the exact reasons as well.  Doctor's appointment, essential groceries, and library books being overdue. 

Case in point, today, yet again, I had plans to head out to the library this morning with the kiddos (not as essential of a visit because I returned the videos earlier this week and the books aren't due till next week), but the kids always like having videos in the house instead of always watching TV (and I don't mind being a little more selective in their entertainment choices).  Of course, it is raining. 

And is it ever raining.  The kind of rain where I'm going to get really annoyed at how slowly my kids get into the van because even though they have umbrellas and can just hop in with relative dryness, my umbrella is broken, and I'll have to stand there with my backside out in the elements whilst I buckle them all into their seats.  Ick.  Time to rethink the white t-shirt I picked out to wear this morning.

And of course, I was lazy last night and didn't put out the garbage and recycling.  I said to myself, "Oh, I'll just do it in the morning."  Boy was that dumb.  Now I have to go put it out in the rain.  *sigh*  That's what I get for procrastinating...

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Hello Mornings

I've been doing a new thing with my mornings.  It's called the Hello Mornings challenge, and basically, you make a point of waking up early, and you do morning quiet time, plan your day, and theoretically, exercise before everyone else gets up.  Given the early hour that my children wake, this means I have to get up by 5:45 just to fit in my Bible study and make a quick list of what we're going to do in the day.  At this stage in life, exercise is just not going to happen.  That would mean I'd have to get up by 5:00, and since I'm still waking up once or twice with Nathan in the night, that is an unrealistic goal.  As it is, 5:45 is pretty rough.

I've done pretty well with the 5:45 so far.  Some mornings, I actually get 20 min to half an hour before any of the kids get up.  Other mornings, one or more are up about 5 min after the alarm, and one morning, Reuben and Kaylee decided to get up at 5:30, even before the alarm went off -- not sure what happened that day.

In just two short weeks of doing this, I've now come to really appreciate the few minutes of quiet that I get before everyone else wakes up.  It helps me to feel more intentional about my day and not just reacting in the moments.

Of course, with Reuben starting school tomorrow, morning routines will change yet again.  But hopefully, if I can stick with getting up early, it will be a fairly smooth transition.

Oh life and it's seasons...


Monday, August 13, 2012

The Big, Fat Caterpillar

My mum is obsessed with Eric Carle books.  (Sorry, Mum, it's true.)  Not that this is a bad thing.  It just means that my kids have received a number of Eric Carle books over the years, and we've amassed quite a collection.  They happen to be great books for kids.  A favourite of Reuben's has always been "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", and he actually had the book memorized at a very young age.  I'm not sure if he still does; maybe one of these days I'll pull it out again and find out.

Anyway, I digress.  Today, I found the very hungry caterpillar in my garden.  Except, he was not a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.  He was a big, fat caterpillar.

See for yourself...
The Big, Fat Caterpillar
Apparently, instead of just eating through one nice, green leaf, he decided to eat through a whole bunch of nice green leaves, like the ones on my tomato plants.  And he took a few bites out of some nice red tomatoes as well...

 I don't know how well you can see in this picture, but this is a tomato plant that's had all of it's leaves eaten off.  I now have the answer as to what's plaguing my tomato plants.

Suffice to say, it gave me a bit of a jolt when I was out picking tomatoes this afternoon and reached down to lift up the tomato plant and grabbed that not-so-little guy.  I mean, I've seen some caterpillars in my life, but none quite like this one, and I've certainly never touched any like this.  It gives me the creepy-crawlies just thinking about it...

In other news, the basil and parsley I planted in one of my barrels has taken over.  Take a look:

I really need to get around to making some more of the Herbed Garlic Butter I made last year.  And more bruschetta.  And anything else I can think of that needs basil.  If anyone wants some fresh basil, I've got more than enough to share.  Let me know...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Life goes too fast

It's amazing how time flies.  I had so many good intentions to write posts more frequently, and then somehow, I end up busy, and before I know it, it's been two weeks since my last post.

Nathan is over six weeks old already.  When all the stars align, (which for a baby means that he's just woken up and isn't tired, he's been fed and has a clean diaper), you just might get lucky and coax a smile out of him.  It's pretty doggone cute.  Reuben and Kaylee seem to think that any facial expression that isn't crying is a smile, and Reuben frequently makes comments about Nathan's various baby noises that Nathan has just said something "like a real human".  Kids are hilarious, especially with babies.

Reuben starts school in four weeks.  I assume anyway.  We haven't had the official word yet if the SK students start right on time with everyone else or if they stagger them in or how that all works.  It's a little mind-blowing that my little boy is heading off to school.  It's a bittersweet moment when I actually manage to find the time to sit and think about it, which isn't often.  (In fact, most of the time I forget it's happening.)

Am I supposed to be excited that it won't be my job to keep him entertained anymore?  But at the same time, I know that school changes people, and he's going to be influenced by so much more than just the things in our little home, and wow, I am so grateful that we're sending him to a Christian school so I at least have that reassurance behind what those influences are going to be.

I find myself wanting to do more things one on one with each of the kids, but struggling with such an immense lack of time and opportunity because they all need me to be there all the time.  I go grocery shopping with just Kaylee and me pretty regularly, but Reuben hates getting groceries, so I need to find something to do with just him and me, hopefully before school starts.  I'm thinking maybe I just might be able to convince him to come shopping if I tell him it's for his school supplies and bribe him with Tim Horton's when we're finished.

Anyway, it's now two hours since I typed this post up, and I somehow managed to get myself so distracted that I didn't just wrap this up and hit "Publish".  So that's what I'm doing now... 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Because I need a nap more than you need a real post

I wanted to write a good post tonight.  All the elements of a great time for writing are in place: the kids are sleeping (Nathan in his Moses basket on the couch beside me), I've got some classical music playing on the TV (to help Nathan sleep), I've got wine on the counter that is calling for me to pour a glass, and Tim won't be home from work for another hour.

But I am so very, very tired.  I'd forgotten how tiring it is to be woken up multiple time in the night to feed an infant, even if I do feed that infant while lying down and usually doze off while doing so.  I look forward to the days when Nathan gets down to that one 4AM feeding instead of maybe doing one long stretch during the evening and then being up every 3 hours till morning.

So instead of a nice post, you get this very boring little blurb of me telling me you're not getting a real post tonight.

And I'm going to lay down on the couch and take a nap until Tim gets home.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

His plan, not mine

One week before Nathan was born, I was transferred from midwife care to the care of an OB.  My platelets tend to run low while I'm pregnant, which puts me at a higher risk for postpartum hemorhage.  We'd been consulting with the OB over the past eight months, but in my last month of pregnancy, the numbers dropped low enough that the official transfer became necessary, as well as a consult with a hematologist (doctor specializing in blood disorders).

Unfortunately, I found out about the transfer when my midwife called me on my cell phone as I was sitting in the OB's office for a routine update appointment.  Her timing could have been a little better.  I was pregnant and hormonal; how else could I react but with tears?  I ended up crying my way through the appointment, trying to wrap my head around how my labour and delivery experience was about to change now that I was under the care of an OB.  I now hadn't the faintest idea what to expect, nor did I even really know what to do.  Having been with midwives for the births of our first two children, I wasn't used to the whole concept of having to deal with hospital staff and specifying my wishes for a natural birth and all that stuff.  This post isn't really about all that, but let me just say that in the end, the experience really is completely different, and I was very thankful that in the end I was able to have my midwife there at the hospital for supportive care.

Back to the point.  I went home from the appointment that day feeling pretty miserable and lost.  All the expectations that I'd had for the birth of our third child were changing.  I felt completely thrown for a loop and didn't know how to wrap my head around what was going to happen now.  My plans had to change, and I was having a hard time accepting that fact.

And then God came and reminded me of the truth: yes, my plans had to change, but His plans didn't.  This was His plan all along, and His plans are always for my good.  He knew this was going to happen the whole time, even if I didn't.  He is in control, even when I feel like life is spinning around me.

I found myself repeating that phrase to myself frequently over the next week before Nathan was born, "His plan, not mine."  I'll be honest and say that as I look back on the whole experience, I don't really know what the good was in having to be switched to an OB as Nathan's labour and delivery was about as uncomplicated as it gets.

Or then again, maybe the whole point was to learn this valuable lesson, that we can plan our lives all we want, but we are not the ones in control; it's God who plans our lives, and He always knows what to expect, even when we don't.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My eReader

This is my Kobo.
I got a Kobo. 

I know.  It's almost a sacrilege.  I actually bought an eReader.  But before you take me out back and read me the riot act for doing something so crazy, hear me out. 

When you have kids, an eReader is actually extremely handy.  As in, I can now borrow books from the library without leaving my house.  Have you ever tried browsing the library with two small children in tow?  And I mean literally in tow.  The last time I tried to find a book for myself at the library, Reuben and Kaylee decided it would be a fun time to pretend that they were my new shoes.  So they latched themselves onto my legs, and I had to try and walk with two cling-ons attached.  Not my idea of how to find a book at the library.  With my new eReader, I don't have to do this anymore.  I can sit on my couch with my laptop and browse the library from the comfort of my living room.  It's wonderful.

Also, when you are nursing an infant, it is much easier to read when you don't need a second hand free to turn pages.  In fact, I don't even have to hold the book at all.  I can just leave the Kobo on my leg or on the arm of the chair or next to me on the couch and tap on it occasionally to turn the page.  No more trying to awkwardly turn a page while holding a baby.  No more worrying about losing my spot when I put the book down because the pages are going to flip over without me holding my spot or putting in a bookmark.  Very, very handy.

Anyway, I'm not trying to make you all go out and buy yourselves eReaders.  In fact, I have no intention of changing my book purchasing habits just because I have one.  There's still nothing quite like the smell of a new book, and reading a book with the actual pages in your hands is a completely different experience from reading it on an eReader.  Besides which, there are many books that don't come in e-format.  But at this stage in my life, I have a definite appreciation for this new technology, and I'm thrilled with my purchase so far.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Some thoughts

I have a few moments to myself, so I thought I'd take the time to see if I can get a blog post out.  Nathan is sitting quietly beside me in his bouncy chair, and the other two kids are occupied playing with two older children from our church that have started coming over for a few hours on occasional afternoons.  It's a great arrangement that the kids and I both love because they get somebody to play with, and I don't have to try to keep them entertained during that dead time between nap and supper.

I'm discovering a couple of things.  One, I'm really feeling the itch to get back into blogging more regularly again.  I've had a couple of ideas for posts, some from when I was pregnant and just didn't get around to writing and some now that life is starting to go back to normal.  Except that's one of the other things that I'm discovering: life has to have a new normal now that there's an infant in the house. 

Which leads to another discovery: it's hard to create a normal routine with an infant and two other children.  I know that this shouldn't really come as a surprise, and it doesn't really.  I think I'm just feeling the frustration of enjoying having some energy back now that I'm no longer pregnant, so I want to be doing so many different things, but feeling like I can't because I'm tied down to an infant schedule and still trying to deal with some serious sleep deprivation, so I need to try to conserve the energy I do have.

For example, I wish I could get back to the morning routine of getting up with the kids to read blogs and write posts, but for some reason, I feel like every minute of my mornings is now taken up with just getting everybody dressed and fed.  And school hasn't even started yet!  I'm worried about how much more hectic mornings are going to get when I have to actually have the kids fed and dressed in time to get Reuben on the bus.  Anyway, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, and hopefully I'll have some kind of better morning routine figured out by then.

But it does mean that I also don't get the blogging time in that I wish I could, and I'm not so sure it would work to switch to writing in the evenings because by the time the kids are in bed, all I want to do is crash on the couch and veg for a little while before I go to bed myself, usually at a ridiculously early hour in anticipation of being woken every three hours (or more frequently) to feed the bottomless pit that is a two-week-old infant.

Actually, even writing this post now, at suppertime, feels a little strange.  But maybe this needs to be the new normal?

Part of the problem is that since I've been out of the blogging routine for so long, I almost don't know where to start with the posts, so I'm hoping that by just writing this now, it will pave the way for more posts, and maybe I just need to sit down at some point and write out for myself all the post ideas I have and plan out a bit when I might try to write them.  Ooh, planning posts...  Will I?  Will I?  Will it actually happen?  We will have to wait and see...

Sunday, July 08, 2012


...Nathan John, born on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 10:40pm.

He weighed 6lb 15oz and was 20.5cm long.  I got the little baby I was hoping for.  :)  Reuben was over 8lb, and Kaylee was 10lb; this is a huge adjustment for us.  Everything with the labour and delivery went well, even though I'd been switched to OB care in my 38th week due to concerns about my platelet levels.  My midwife was still present at the hospital, and I was so grateful for her help in getting me off the ridiculous monitors that the hospital seems to think is necessary.  The OB resident that day seemed to think I needed to be on the monitors constantly, and therefore needed to be stuck in the hospital bed, not fun when you're trying to go naturally.  I can see why so many women decide to have epidurals if that's the kind of stuff they have to put up with.  Luckily, the attending OB overrode that decision, but the nurse decided not to actually take the monitors off of me even when they weren't keeping track of things.  My midwife quickly put things to right when she got there, and things went much more smoothly from that point on.  An hour and a half after being admitted, Nathan was born! 

We spent that first night in the hospital, and then my sister Laura brought Reuben and Kaylee in to visit us the next day.  They are super excited to have the baby brother they were hoping for.

We are all settling in nicely at home now.  Tim went back to work this week, and I think I managed fairly well with just me and the three kids.  Nathan seems to sleep better in the day than at night, and his nap doesn't really match up with Kaylee's, so I'm pretty sleep-deprived at this point, but otherwise, I'm starting to feel a bit like my pre-pregnant self again.  That said, I have every intention of nursing Nathan for at least a year, so I'm not sure how long my brain will be stuck in that particular fog, but I'm quite certain it won't be nearly as bad as pregnancy brain.  I am hoping to get back into posting a little more regularly, (when/if I can find the time), and I can already feel the creative juices slowly starting to flow again.  And then again, that could be due to my renewed relationship with that faithful friend, my morning cup of coffee.  Mmm, coffee.  How I have missed thee!

Anyway, that's all for now. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A boring update post

Reuben woke me up this morning shortly before six.  I sent him back to bed because it was too early to get up, and he was actually doing really well with that, but of course, I could no longer get back to sleep.  I lay there for a little while with my mind spinning, until I finally decided to just get up and go downstairs because maybe, just maybe, with my brain spinning this quickly I just might manage to get a blog post out this morning.

May was a busy month for us.  Between my sister's wedding, the annual May long weekend trek to Waterloo for the All Ontario Youth Convention and bi-weekly midwife appointments, I barely had time to sit down and breathe.  I think even my kids noticed that I was a little more stressed than usual. 

But even though it was busy, and at times stressful, it was a good month with lots of time spent with family and friends.  I am glad, though, that things have slowed down, and I can spend the next four weeks or so preparing for this new baby that's about to join our family.

For the most part, I've been feeling good, and I'm thankful that this baby seems to be smaller than Kaylee was.  Watch it prove me wrong and come out over 10 pounds...  I'm officially 36 weeks, which means I start having weekly midwife appointments.  Sometimes it's hard to believe we're already at that point.  Thankfully, most of my appointments are on Tuesdays when Tim is home, so he can either come with me with the kids or stay home with them.  I discovered early on that it does not work for me to take the kids to appointments by myself.  I can't entertain them and try to focus on the appointment at the same time.

I've also discovered that I get really sick of looking for babysitters.  This past month it has felt like there's always something going on that I need to locate childcare for, and I'm really tired of always trying to think of who to call.  I did find a student that lives relatively close by that I can pay to babysit for a change, but it's a bit of a hassle to have to pick her up if Tim is gone as I then have to drag this kids with me to get her and bring her home. 

Anyway, enough of all that.  I think my brain has finally slowed down a little at least.  I don't know how long it will be until you get another post.  With my track record, my next words to you may be a birth announcement....!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

What not to say to a pregnant woman with 9 weeks left to go...

...and how I wish I could respond to such inappropriately annoying comments...  (forgive me in advance for ranting.)

Comment #1:  Upon hearing my due date: "You're so big!"

Dream Response #1:  Gee, thanks.  Thanks for reminding me that I already feel like a whale, and I have NINE MORE WEEKS TO GROW!  And for the record, I'm not actually that big.  You should have seen me with my other two children, particularly the one that came out weighing 10 pounds.  THAT was big.  This is not.

Comment #2:  "You look like you're ready to pop!"

Dream Response #2:  Really?  That's nice, except that I'm nowhere near my due date.  I have NINE MORE WEEKS TO GO!  If you think I look ready to pop now, what do you think I'm going to look like then?  Does this mean I have to spend the next nine weeks looking like I'm ready to pop?  And what exactly does "ready to pop" mean?  My stomach is going to randomly explode and a baby is going to pop out?  Gee, what a pleasant thought.  Thanks, but no thanks.  (In case you can't tell, I absolutely HATE this comment.  It's a real conversation killer, too.  Exactly how is someone supposed to respond to this?!)

I'm sure there are more things that people have said to me that they really shouldn't have, but these are two that I heard yesterday at church that really drove me crazy.  I've also decided that I need to wear a sign that says, "No, we did not find out if it's a boy or a girl."  Not that it's rude for people to ask if we know or not, I'm just getting really sick of talking about it.  I should be thankful for something to make small talk about since I hate making small talk so much, but it does get tiring to have to say the same thing over and over again.

Some further remarks:  If you've ever said one of these two comments to a pregnant woman or even just wanted to say it, please reconsider your words.  What I find interesting is that both these comments came from women with children, so theoretically they would know how it feels to be pregnant and huge and not really wanting to be reminded of one's large girth.  Something more appropriate to say would be, "You look great!" (even if she doesn't...)  Pregnant women have enough issues with the way they look.  Please don't contribute to these issues by making ridiculous comments about their size and reminding them of just how big they might be.

Stepping down off my soap box...  Until the next annoying comment...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Third Trimester

Third trimester is kicking my butt.  I don't remember noticing this much of a difference in my fatigue level with my other pregnancies, although that could be because my iron levels are apparently quite low this time around.  Seriously, there are days I can barely make it up the stairs, and of course, those are usually the days I end up having to go up and down them two or three times in a row because I keep forgetting something up there.  Even now, I can barely keep my eyes open at the keyboard, and I'm pretty sure I slept fairly well last night.  How long is it supposed to take for me to notice that the iron supplements are working?

I'm having a hard time thinking of anything else particularly interesting to say.  I'm really only posting because it's been over two weeks since I posted last, and I was starting to feel like if I don't post something soon, it's just going to keep getting harder to find something to say.  You might start ending up with a whole bunch of boring pregnancy updates. 

That said, we're down to single digit weeks until my due date.  Gah!  I'm so not ready.  I still need to get Kaylee out of the crib and into a bed before the baby comes, more because I don't want to make that transition after the baby is here than that we need the crib, although that's a bit of it, too.  I have to go through my boxes of baby clothes to dig out the newborn stuff.  The only reason I have newborn diapers in the house is because Kaylee was so big when she was born that she didn't fit them, so I still have half a package from when she was a baby!

Well, that's about the end of what I can think of to say, so I'm going to go now.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

One of those days

Today is one of those days. 

And it's only 7:30 in the morning.

The kids were up at quarter after six after another long night of interrupted sleep.  We've been dealing with a miserable cold/cough for a number of days now, and I've lost track of how many nights in a row I haven't slept for longer than two hour chunks at a time before being woken by one or other of the kids crying out in their sleep because their nose is plugged or running or they're coughing and it hurts.  In fact, a two hour chunk of time to sleep sounds glorious right about now because some nights it's been every hour, if not every 15 minutes.

I'm tired.  And I'm cranky.  And I don't know how much longer the Vitamin C I've been religiously taking is going to be able to keep me from getting sick, too.

But the sun is shining in glorious from the window in the front entranceway.  It slants through the living room and casts a beam of light over the dining room table where I'm sitting.  It's brightness brings warmth to my heart and hope for the day.

And it reminds me to focus my gaze on the true Light, that one who (once again) is going to be the strength that gets me through the day because, by golly, I sure can't do this on my own.

I'm tired.  But He is my strength.

I'm cranky.  But He is my joy.

We're all fighting a nasty cold.  But He is the Healer.

Thanks be to God for providing all I need and being all that I need.  Because today is just one of those days.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A post of nothing

Lest you think I've given up on getting up early and doing the morning blog thing, I figured I'd try to at least post something today.  Do you have any idea how long I sat at my laptop yesterday morning trying desperately to find something inspired to say?  My pregnancy brain misses its morning coffee.

This morning isn't a whole lot better, but I thought I'd try just sitting and typing and seeing what comes as a way of attempting to break through the block.  I was actually working on my menu plan for a while, and it seems I can't even come up with enough ideas for that either.  I've got five nights over the next two weeks that I just can't seem to figure out what we should eat, or more accurately, what I might feel like making.

So here I sit, unable to come up with a good idea for a blog post, and still trying to figure out what we're going to eat for supper.  Maybe another day will be more inspiring...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day Three

The lights are on at the construction site behind the house where the men continue to work on the long-awaited and past-deadline rec centre.  There's a haze outside this morning that promises of one very hot March day and hints of summer rather than spring.  The tea kettle rumbles and grumbles behind me, and I miss my coffee.  Vanilla rooibos tea just isn't cutting it for me these mornings.

It's day three of getting up with the kids, and boy, I forgot how hard this is.  It's my own fault for getting out of the habit, and I keep telling myself it would be easier if I had a steaming cup of coffee waiting for me, which I know probably isn't true, but it does give me something to look forward to once these months of pregnancy are over.

And "Click!" goes the kettle.  My kettle doesn't whistle when it's done.  It kind of annoys me.  All I get is a "Click!" as it shuts off and pray that I actually hear it so I get up and pour the water while it's hot instead of having to reboil it when I finally remember that I was waiting for it.

So I'm going to continue on, and you'll get some disjointed blog posts, somewhat like this one, until my mental faculties return to their former non-pregnancy-hormone fogged state, and in a few months, I'll have the benefit of caffeine to assist me in providing added clarity through the fatigue.  I can see a difference in my moods already; not that I can attribute that to my own strength.  Lord, no, but He is faithful to provide grace for each day when we but turn to Him and ask.  Praise Him for His faithfulness!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back to a new thing?

Well, people, you'll never guess it: I actually got up with the kids this morning instead of sending them downstairs to watch TV while I go back up to sleep.  I know.  It's a miracle.  It sucks, though.  I'm stuck with tea instead of coffee, and it's just not the same.

I've been feeling more and more lately like this pregnancy has turned me into a miserable monster, and I'm getting sick of it.  So in an effort to bring more of God back into my day, I'm going to try to get back into the habit of getting up with the kids and spending time reading all the inspirational and encouraging blogs that I used to back before I got walloped with ridiculous morning sickness.  Thankfully, most to all of my nausea and vomiting has abated, and I'm actually starting to feel a modicum of inspiration to write again, so if I can keep this up, you might even get a few more blog posts out of the deal.

(Wow, look at all those big words!  See, it's working already...)

I have to say, I was highly amused to log in to Blogger this morning and check my stats.  I couldn't believe that I've actually managed to maintain a steady readership, even though my posting has been sporadic and infrequent.  Get this: I've been pinned on Pinterest!!  I know!!  Crazy!!  Apparently, some of the recipes I've posted have caught some attention, how cool is that!

Anyway, that's about all I have to say for now.  I don't want to get too long and lengthy as I have much catching up to do on my blog reading after months of not doing much of it.  I will say this: the kids have been totally confused this morning by my getting up early.  They've gotten used to me going back to bed for about an hour after they get up, and now they're all like, "I guess you couldn't sleep, Mommy."  "What are you doing awake, Mommy?"  "What's going ON?"  Poor things.  I tried to remind Reuben that this is what I used to always do, and I think he gets it.  We'll see if I can get back into making this the habit or not...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thoughts through the fog

I was sitting at the table this morning, eating my raisin bran and reading from my Christmas present "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  It's one of those slow reads that work better when you take in a little bit at a time so you can spend a while turning it over in your brain and taking the words to heart.  Hence the reason I haven't finished it yet, and it's been two months since Christmas.

Today's reading had a line in it that really struck me: "...and I know all our days are struggle and warfare (Job 14:14) and that the spirit-to-spirit combat I endlessly wage with Satan is this ferocious thrash for joy." 

...this ferocious thrash for joy...

These words somehow managed to pierce through the pregnancy-induced fog that seems to surround the thinking part of my brain these days, and I almost couldn't believe how perfectly Ann has described this constant daily battle to see God's glory and grace in our fallen world.  (Except that I know from reading her blog that she always seems to find the right way to put into words the way I feel about life.)

I find it particularly interesting to be reading about finding God's gifts even through the trials of life from Ann, while at the same time, the lesson I just worked on last night for our women's Bible study was talking about what we do when we can't explain what Jesus is doing.  The study we're doing is Beth Moore's "Beloved Disciple", and it focuses on the disciple John.  Last night's lesson looked at Jesus' crucifixion through his eyes, and she finished the chapter by asking if we would stay close to Jesus when He doesn't stop a tragedy, or if we will walk away from Him when it seems as if He is weak and defeated.

In earlier chapters, she talked about how God uses difficulties and assignments in our lives to teach us lessons, and that often, we don't learn all the lessons from those experiences until after we've gone through them and are able to look back on them and reflect.

Finding God's gifts and daily graces through the trials of life.  God teaches us lessons through difficulties.  Staying close to Jesus when things don't seem to make sense.  All timely and essential reminders to me during this time in my life.

When I try to think about this pregnancy rationally, it feels like I'm being unfair to call it a "trial".  It's not as if this is a time of extreme grief or sorrow or mental anguish (although the ridiculous amount of time it's taking me to put together a simple blog post might prove that last one is actually accurate).  But I have to say it, I am not one of these women who just breezes through pregnancy and loves every minute of it.  Those first 14 weeks of debilitating "morning" sickness and all-day nausea were a trial.  I survived that first trimester only to have to face the reality of this steadily growing new life taking up all the space in my body that was previously reserved for my vital organs, which are now all being shoved up into my rib cage and making it difficult to both take a deep breath and eat a large meal in one sitting.

By golly, this counts as a trial for me.

But that's no excuse for me to just sit down and wallow in self-pity, which is why I am grateful for these reminders in Ann's book and in Beth's study.  God's grace is here, in this daily "ferocious thrash for joy".  It is in life's trials that we need to cling to Him even tighter.  Little by little, day by day, He gives me the strength to keep going and persevere.

(And I'm really looking forward to the day when my hormones go back to normal, and I can drink coffee again, and I can put together a blog post in less than an hour...  Yeesh...)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crock Pot Bread

So I've got this really great slow cooker recipe book, but I hardly ever use it.  For some reason, I remembered today that I once read a recipe in it for white bread that seemed fairly easy, and I had a craving for freshly baked bread, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I was really pleased with how well it turned out.  The recipe really was very simple, and I'd definitely make this again.  Here's the recipe for anyone interested.

Slow Cooker White Bread

2 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/4 c. warm water
envelope active dry yeast (1 scant tbsp)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt

1 cup all purpose flour

Start by stirring the warm water and 2 tsp of sugar together in a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle with the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes.  After the 10 min, stir to dissolve the yeast.

Then add the 2 c. flour, 2 tbsp sugar, oil and salt.  The directions said to "beat", so I used my hand mixer, and that seemed to work okay.  Basically, beat on low to moisten, and then beat for 2 minutes on high.  After that, work in the remaining 1 cup of flour.

You'll need to grease the bottom of your crock pot, preferably a 3 1/2 quart size one.  I'm not sure what would happen if you tried to use a bigger one.  Dump the dough into the crock pot.  Layer 5 paper towels between the top of the crock pot and the lid.  Note that this does not say between the dough and the lid.  You don't want the paper towel on top of the dough, but resting on top of the pot.  Now put a wooden match or other thin object between the paper towel and the lid to allow steam to vent.  I used two round toothpicks stacked on each other, and it worked just fine. 

Cook on high for 2 hours, but apparently you're not supposed to open the lid for the first 1 3/4 hours.  I'd recommend checking it at the 1 3/4 hour mark as I think the full two hours was almost slightly too long.  One side of my loaf ended up just a touch crispier than I like my bread.  When it's done, loosen the sides with a knife and turn it out to cool on a rack.  I also brushed the top of it with butter because I like the taste of it, and it helps to keep the crust soft.

The only drawback, and it's more an aesthetic thing than anything else, is that the top of the bread doesn't get browned.  I'm actually discovering that I like this because I always find that homemade bread crust is really crunchy, but this way, it's not.  Also, you'll end up with a round loaf, but that doesn't bother me.

Here's the final product:

The taste is good, like bread.  The consistency has a slight cake-like quality to it, but not so much that you feel like you're eating cake instead of bread.  I found it almost a bit sweet tasting, so I think next time I would use slightly less sugar and maybe a bit more salt.  I'm pretty sure you can get store-bought bread that's just as sweet, if not sweeter, than this, so it's definitely not too sweet.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the outcome, and I'm looking forward to trying the whole wheat version, as well as maybe some of the other breads/cakes that are in this book.  If any of you try it, I'd love to hear what you think!

Friday, January 06, 2012

I miss coffee...

Well, I figured it was high-time I posted at least a little something so that those faithful few who keep checking back here will know I haven't died from morning sickness.  What follows will probably be some pretty random thoughts, mainly because pregnancy hormones have the unfortunate effect on me so as to pretty much completely destroy all creative and coherent thought.  Hence the lack of posting. goes...

As a major answer to many prayers, my morning sickness actually seems to be easing off.  *knock on wood...a lot...*  In response to this, I've backed off on my Diclectin, and I'm only taking it in the evenings before bed now.  Maybe this is why my brain feels clear enough to post today.  Hmm...  I hadn't dared hope that I'd start feeling better before at least week 20 because that's how long it took with Kaylee, but here we are, week 15, and I think it's been almost a full week since I've had to make that mad dash for the toilet first thing in the morning.

I'm trying a new recipe for supper tonight.  Further proof that my stomach is cooperating enough that I actually feel like eating something other than mashed potatoes.  Huzzah.  It's a turkey casserole, which we've never had before in this house, so we'll have to see how it turns out and what the response is from the peanut gallery.  I don't have high hopes on the children liking it much.  Oh, well.  I tried.

Tim's run has undergone some slight changes so that he should be home every other weekend now.  Numerous benefits from this, but the one I can think of now is that he'll actually get to come to church with us on occasion.

Well, there goes the timer for supper, so the randomness ends here.  Oh, and the reason for the title?  I really miss my morning coffee, but this pregnancy has totally changed all my tastes around, and the very thought of coffee is enough to make me feel slightly nauseated.  *sigh*