Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Nap for the Weary

Naptime. Once upon a time it was an opportunity for the whole household to pause for sleep. That was before Isaiah became too big for naps.

Sigh. I thought I would be one of those moms whose kiddo took a nap regardless of their age. Isaiah threw me for a loop when his naptime began to push his bedtime later and later. Jason and I like to put the kids to bed around 7:30/8pm because it gives us "couple time". Very important. When Isaiah takes a nap, he has trouble falling asleep until almost TEN O'CLOCK! That was when naptime left his daily schedule.

However, there are those days, like today, when Mommy really, really, really needs a nap. Those days I try to revive Isaiah's naptime. I made an attempt today.

About 45 minutes into naptime, when I thought all the kids were sleeping, I heard noises. Suspicious noises. My sleepy mind tried to get me to ignore the noises, but I knew I would not fully rest unless I checked it out. And, there's the possibility that whoever was up might wake up the other two. That would be bad.

Sure enough Isaiah was up. Pooping. Yep. Apparently trying to go to sleep brings it out of him. I could tell he had been up for awhile playing in Rose's room (she was asleep in my bed). Oh, I was so frustrated. No peaceful nap for Momma.

I did settle for a nap on the couch while Isaiah watched a movie. It is not quite as peaceful since he sits in the crook of my legs and wiggles the whole time. And makes shooting noises. But, I did get a little sleep, and that is the important part.

Ah, motherhood. 'Tis an adventure.

**PS If you are reading my blog and have not posted your comment on Name That Photo, please do so now!! I mean RIGHT NOW! Hee-hee. Please..... ***

Sick Babies Night and Day

Yesterday was a sick day. Momma plus two kids were feeling "under the weather". It was very sad. The Sick Day came promptly after a Sick Night. You know how those go. Isaiah woke up around midnight (just about an hour after Mom and Dad got to sleep). We brought him to bed with us and he was shivering. Shaking. Very, very pale. And rolling about holding his stomach. It was scary.

"Should we take him to the ER? Should we call our parents and see what they think? Should we..." I peppered Jason with all my question.

In his midnight fog he snapped back at me, "I don't know! Quit asking me all these questions!" He was called from the room by the youngest of the babies who was ready for her middle-of-the-night bottle.

I sat on the edge of the bed watching my beautiful son. So very pale. Shaking and shivering under the covers. It was all I could do to control myself enough to not pick him up in my arms and head for the ER. I kept thinking, "What if it's nothing. Just the flu and here I come carrying a kid sick with a virus. Nothing serious." I stared at him. "I'm sure he's fine," I tried to comfort my thoughts.

Jason spent the next few hours cuddling Isaiah until the shivering quit. We gave him some Child's IB and he was able to sleep peacefully. About the time he dropped into a deep (non-shivering) sleep, Ms Lela began to cry. That was 3am.

Since I am pregnant and struggle greatly with lack of sleep, my amazing husband does the bulk of the night-time care. In fact, he (gently) hollers at me to "get back in bed" if I even attempt to respond to crying babies. He is so sweet... In a manly, protective way. I love him so much. -OK, off track, sorry. Back to my story here- Our sick night was dragging on and Jason had long lost his steam. On his fourth trip back to Lela's room to rock her back to sleep, Rose called out from her bed, "I have poopies!" It was 4:30am.

It was time for SuperMommy. SuperDaddy needed some rest. I rolled this pregnant body out of bed and called down the hallway, "I'll get Rose." He looked relieved. No one likes a poopy diaper change. Especially at 4:30am. Rose's poor little bottom had been soaking up poop for at least several hours. Who knows when she went poop! She was very sore. I cleaned it up, medicined her bottom, fresh diaper on and back to bed for the Rose Girl. I could hear Lela Mae crying in her room.

I poked my head into the dark room. Jason hissed, "I've already given her medicine. She just won't quit crying...". His eyes were puffy with lack of sleep.

"I know, Baby, " I said. "Let me have her. I'm going to sing songs to Rosie, anyway. I'll just take Lela in there with me. I'll rock and sing songs to her in Rose's room. OK?"

Jason willingly gave up the toddler and stumbled back to bed. He had about 45 minutes until his alarm demanded he begin getting ready for work. I carried sick Lela to her sister's room and rocked her. I sang the girl's favorite songs until both were very still before laying Lela down in her crib.

At 5:15am, I laid down beside my husband. 5:18am, Lela begins to cry again. I got up as quick as I could (remember, I'm maneuvering around a big belly) so Jason would not be disturbed and headed back to Lela's room. Rocking, rocking, rocking the baby. She relaxed and slept. I heard Jason's alarm go off down the hall. Poor guy. Lela kept sleeping and I decided I would take my chance that she might just stay in bed longer than five minutes.

And, she did. She slept until about 7:30am. Slept through Daddy stumbling through his morning routine. Slept through Sister Rose waking up and singing loudly beside her door-blocking gate. Slept through the morning sun peeking in her window.

That was my Sick Night. Fun, huh? You can imagine how yesterday, the Sick Day, passed us by. Lela was fussy and needed a grown up to hold her at all times. Often, she preferred Momma. She took two naps. The second nap was our turning point, praise God! She woke up hungry and ate her first meal of the day at 5pm. She ate and ate and ate. Then, with child's IB running through her system, she was able to get up and walk around and even laugh. Sigh. It was good to see my baby being a little more herself.

Isaiah was down and on the couch the bulk of the day. No more shaking or pale, pale face. Just a low fever and obvious not-feeling-good.

Momma ran a low fever during the day and felt weak all day. Mostly, I sat on the couch cuddling sick kids. That was my job. One that bonded me to my sick babies and allowed SuperDaddy to make lunch (he was able to come home early from work), sweep the floor, make dinner and bathe the kids. What a day.

That was my yesterday. Today is a brand new day. Last night, nobody woke up sick. Yeah.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Name That Photo Monday Madness

OK, here's your chance for fame! Everyone leave me a comment with your creative caption for my first Monday Madness photo. Good luck!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Something New on My Blog; Readers Action Required

Ok. I'm going to do something a little different. I have been following some blogs myself and have discovered a fun "contest" of sorts that I would like to implement on my own blog. Yes, I am copying someone else. At times, even with all my own creativity, I borrow someone else's ideas. Hee-hee.

I'm going to make it a Monday Madness thing, I think. I think that is my own idea, but I might have stolen that one, too. Hee-hee. I'm so bad.

This is how my little game will go. Ready? We are going to have a "Name That Photo" contest.
On Mondays I am going to post a silly picture and YOU, my wonderful readers, get to use your creativity to come up with a fantastic caption for my picture. Now, I have been tracking my daily readers and I think I get around eight readers, on average, a day. Not the most popular blog, but still thrilling to have any faithful fans. On that note, I would absolutely be super-duper excited to receive EIGHT (or more, of course) comments with your favorite caption.

**Side note** There is no prize for this contest. Just amazing bragging rights that YOU WIN! Hope you all join in on the fun! Watch for my post on Monday!!

Sickle Cell Anemia Hits the Fan

I cannot imagine how it feels to be told your baby has a disease he might die from someday. My baby sister received that news last week about her new baby, Emmanuel. He has been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia. Sarah just started keeping a blog called "A Single Mother's Trials". It is full of her words and thoughts that I have never heard her speak out loud. It is like she writes into the darkness of the Internet and is able to fully express herself. I understand. I love the silent, accepting Internet, too. Writing is so therapeutic.

Anyway, about Emmanuel. He is a baby I have never seen before (aside from the hundreds of pictures proud Grandpa sends our way). I rubbed Sarah's belly and we let our bellies "hang out" together so our sons could get to know each other. But, that is about the extent of my time with Emmanuel.

Sarah has been on my heart lately. So hugely on my heart. She is incredibly young to be carrying such a heavy load. Being a mother is hard enough. Then to have to do it all without a husband. And now... Now a baby who has a very serious condition. It is hard to watch her walk through this challenge.

Pray for my baby sister and her little baby boy. Read her struggle and encourage her, if you feel led. May God draw her and Emmanuel so close to Himself that they hear his heartbeat.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Motherhood Follies: Fat Mosquitoes

What is up with these mosquitoes in my HOUSE? I thought those were outside buggers? Are we growing a colony of mosquitoes and I am unaware of the location?

I have seen TWO big, fat mosquitoes on Little Lela Mae today. One was right before we headed down stairs. It was sitting, perching on her fat arm. My first impulse is to smack it. As I raise my hand to swiftly end the life of an irritant, my daughters innocent eyes bulge and I find myself gently shewing the bug away! AH! But, he's not to escape this momma. I bounced around the hallway, my arms flailing in the air in a desperate attempt to not let the blood-sucker live another day.

WAP! I hit the wall. Lela giggles. Rachel is behind me now. BANG! I smack the wall again. Everyone is laughing.

"You're not going to get away!" I yell at the mosquito.

I clap my hands together in the air. Once, twice and three times. Finally, SUCCESS! The bad bug is gone-gone and the air is once again, safe. Sigh. Satisfaction. Victory. Supermom wins again.

Preparing to Birth

More "nesting" today. Actually, I think it might be more than just "nesting". You see, I am preparing to birth a baby in this nest, not just take a baby home. A few weeks ago I started to allow myself to travel to memories of other births and then to try to imagine Samuel's coming birth. Looking around my barren room, I realized it did not feel very cozy. Thus the sudden commitment to unpacking a few more boxes and preparing my room for birth.

Birth is an amazing event. I have been blessed with three beautiful births, all with absolutely no complications. The closest to a complication I have experienced was with Rose. Rose insisted on coming through the birth canal turned slightly wrong. Thus, I had to labor on my feet so that her head would stay against the cervix and keep it dilating. Then, when I pushed her out, she did not slide the way babies are supposed to.. It was painful, of course, but it was still only an eight hour labor!

Even with "easy" labors, I have found myself dreading the approaching labor as it rounds the corner. I even managed to convince myself that my previous labors have been difficult and extremely painful.

The other day I came across my mother's recounting of Rose's birth. I read through it and cried. It was not awful or horrible. It was beautiful. Even with the difficulties, the Lord was there with us. Rose came out just like she was supposed to come out. It was hard and it hurt, but I DID IT!

Lela's birth was quick. I had very mild labor pains all morning and decided I was "for sure" in labor around 3pm. I sewed on a labor project until 6pm before getting into the birthing tub. Lela was born an hour and a half later! So, yes, it hurt, but I DID IT!

Remembering my births and allowing my mind to recount every minute of the challenge of labor has helped me prepare for Samuel's birth. I know it will be hard. I am praying he comes quickly. Even if he doesn't, I CAN DO IT! Knowing that I will make it through to the other end encourages me so much.

So, I continue to nest; to prepare my home for labor and for receiving a baby. My heart fills with the expectancy of a woman swollen with baby.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Baby Bookwork

It has become tradition for me. When the next baby is due, I decide it is time to finish the previous baby's Baby Book. When I was pregnant with Lela Mae, I worked on filling out Rose's Baby Book with updates and pictures.

Lela Mae's book has been sitting on the shelf for the past year. Two weeks ago, I blew the dust off and sifted through the mostly-empty book. I ordered pictures off Snapfish and began to wrack my brain for all the facts of her little life. When was that first tooth? I have no idea. I skipped those entries. Somewhere, I kept track of that on a little "First Year Calender". Now where did I put that, I wonder?

Today, I sat down and filled Lela Mae's Baby Book with pictures. It looks so beautiful now! I love it. I also added Rose's First Birthday Pictures to her Baby Book. I found some papers I had slipped into her book. One set was my mother's description of Rose's birth. Another handful were emails in response to Rose's birth announcement. So fun to read both of those! I taped them into the book so they would be there forever.

Now, (drum roll, please) I feel free to begin Samuel's Baby Scrapbook. I am excited about that project. Aunt Rachel bought me all the scrapbook supplies I needed to get started; she's so precious! I am abandoning the Baby Book with Samuel and plunging into a Scrapbook. I am tired of pages and pages that do not pertain to me and my family. Lela Mae's Baby Book had about six pages titled "Coming Home". Well, she was born AT HOME! She literally "came" at home. Then there are the Immunization Record and Doctor Appointment pages. We do not "do" immunizations and doc appointments are reserved for sick visits. What a waste in my baby's book!

Samuel's book will not have that wasted space. Smile. Just loads of pictures of him and notes from his momma about how wonderful he is to all of us. I am looking forward to snapping his first few pictures. We are almost ready for you, Little Boy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nesting Begins

I think I might be nesting.... I have a SLIGHT burst in energy. Nothing too obvious. I still end my days laying on the couch bemoaning my loss of energy. However, during the day.. Well, I'm actually getting things done! Wowsers.

I am a firm believer in babies sleeping with their mommies. I know, I know, it's not the most common theme among medical professionals, but to this tired momma, it's wonderful! Nursing babies do excellent in bed with the always-full-"bottles" of Momma's milk. They snuggle right up, nurse and then fall back to sleep. And, the best part is that I get to sleep while the baby nurses and often I don't wake up until he is ready to nurse on the other side. Ah, it is excellent.

However, a baby in the bed all night can be a little worrisome. Daddy might roll over on the little guy or that the little one might slip off the bed while Mom sleeps her exhausted sleep. So, my favorite thing to do is use a co-sleeper pushed right up next to the bed. That way, I can nurse Little Guy and, if I am still awake, flop him over to his bed to sleep until the next feeding. It works great! I HIGHLY recommend every new momma to care for their newborn this way. But, that is just my continually expressed opinion. :)

Since Junior sleeps in Momma's room, we have no need for a "nursery". Instead, I like to decorate a corner of my room for the coming baby. Unfortunately, my room still looks like we just moved in! Un-packed boxes are hiding in the closet and we have none of our decorations up on the dressers or shelves. It looks, well, quite bare.

As I mentioned earlier, I have found myself in a bit of a nesting mode. I cannot stand my room being empty-ish anymore. Today I went though a corner that had been collecting clothes waiting to be sorted. I cleaned off a vanity so I could put out some pictures. I brought all the wonderful diapers from the shower and stored them in the closet. I am washing my little guy's clothes in the wonderful-smelling baby detergent. I am getting ready for baby!! It is so wonderful! I can hardly wait to hold my darling. Ah...

On a side note: we do have a tiny predicament. No dresser for the coming Samuel. As it is, Isaiah and Rose are already sharing a dresser. We have been praying one in for Samuel, but none has materialized. Yet. I have faith that it will be here soon. In the meantime, I have no drawers to place Samuel's sweet-smelling baby clothes into. Help me pray in a dresser!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tiny Dancers

Look at my beauties!! Aren't they just adorable? Mommy decided to dress up her dollies today. Summer has escaped us and Autumn will only offer warm days for a few more months. I felt this incredible urge to dress them in their little sleeveless dresses one more time before Winter steals our warmth. It was fun to watch my ballerinas prance around in their pretty dresses. Sigh. I love little girls!

Showered With Love (and Presents)

It was quite the party. Twelve women, cake and punch, games galore and lots and lots of presents!

My friends threw me a beautiful Baby Shower to celebrate Baby Number Four. I needed to get out and be pampered; pregnancy does wear one down. My sister, Rachel, organized the party games and they were terrific. One game we "talked" on the phone, held a baby doll and hung laundry up (all at the same time) in a relay-race . Another game I snuck out of the room and all the ladies had to try to remember what I was wearing. That was entertaining!

My sweet friend, Kelly, decorated her home, baked cupcakes and opened her house to all the guests. She also invited 37 ladies to the party! Whew, that's a lot of work! Thank you, Kelly!

Check out all the wonderful gifts I received. (see picture!) Many women brought TWO gifts for me; what a blessing. My little boy needed baby clothes and diapers. I now have clothes enough to outfit the boy and diapers to last months.

Looking at the women as they sat around the living room I realized what a blessed woman I am. To have so many friends; it is humbling. Women I had not seen in months showed up to bless me and to celebrate my new little life. Before the games came to an end, the women had a "blessing" game where everyone had a turn to speak a "blessing" over me and my baby. I cried, of course. Listening to each of them, I was reminded of the love and support that overflows my life. Each of these ladies love me and offer out to me their heart of friendship. What more could I ask for?

Thank you to all of the women who attended my shower. Thank you to the women who love me even though they live too far away to attend a shower. I am filled with your love. I am stunningly aware of your prayers and support. God has overflowed my life with friendship; praise Him for his faithfulness. What a great God!

Earwax Dramas

I just have to say, I LOVE MY READERS!! I love it when you guys leave me comments and offer me your thoughts! Thank you!!

And now "the rest of the story"...

I did not call upon my Supermom powers yesterday by hauling all three kiddos to the pediatrics. Instead I called upon my fellow Supermom in the neighborhood and she watched my two "big kids" for me while Lela Mae and I headed to the doctor's office.

In the office, the pediatrician looked in Lela's ears.

"Mmm..." she said. Her well-lit ear scope probed my baby girl's ear.

"What do you see?" I asked the doctor.

"Well, a lot of ear wax."

"Oh." Not the response I had expected.

"We'll have to clean that out before I can see the ear drum," she told me. "I'll have my people do it." Her people? Was she a movie star with groupies called "her people"? Sounded interesting. The doctor's "people" ought to be able to aptly remove a one-year-old's ear wax. Right?

The tech was nice enough. Very eager and full of unwanted advice to me. He stumbled into the room with his hands full of odds and ends. Two barf pans, a syringe, hydrogen peroxide, etc.

"How do you want to do this?" he asked me.

I stared at him. "What?" He waited for my response. I had no clue how to "do this". I said, "Look, I don't know how to do this. You're in charge. You tell me what to do." I am not really sure why he asked me that. Did I look bossy all of a sudden? Was I clinging to my child? Weird.

"OK. Yeah, I'm in charge. I, uh," he fumbled around for some words. "I was just making sure." I couldn't tell if he was joking. Meanwhile, my earwaxy baby was sitting innocently on the table watching us.

He gave me some pat instructions and filled the syringe with his concoction of warm water and hydrogen peroxide. With no other "people" in the room to assist in the procedure, I was called upon to hold Lela in place, keep the Chux pad over her clothing and hold the barf pan to catch the excess water, while Mr. Techie squirted water-peroxide into my child's ear. And I thought Supermom was excused for the day.

Lela screamed with every syringe full of fluid. Tiny pieces of wax flowed back out with the water mixture. Her little face was red with anxiety and pain; precious tears rolled down her cheeks. Several times she got so upset, her lingering cold choked her up and she coughed roughly. As a mom, it was not fun to watch my baby go through something so invasive. It may not be the most painful procedure she will endure in her lifetime, but on this day, it was an awful event.

"It doesn't hurt," Mr. Techie tried to reassure me. "Is this your first?"

I tried not to scowl at him. "No," I said through slightly gritted teeth. "It's my THIRD. And," I added for effect, "my fourth is due next month." Lela's screams drowned us both out and the conversation fizzled.

Finally, after resorting to using a skinny, plastic probe to digg the final ball of wax out of Lela's tiny ear, the doctor reported that, indeed, the baby's ear was very red and inflamed. She ordered a prescription of Amoxicillian and was out the door. I stood in the tiny examining room and cuddled my youngest baby. She whimpered and sniffed.

"Doesn't hurt, my foot!" I whispered to her. "If my ear was inflamed and infected, water squirting against it would dad-gum hurt me! Let's squirt water in HIS ear and see if that hurts him... Just give ME a syringe..." I turned my mommy grumbles off and offered more soothing words of comfort to Lela.

On the way to fellow Supermom's house to pick up the older two kids, I realized I had made the right decision to not take all three kids to the doctor's office. The ear irrigation drama would have put all three children into tears and craziness would have ensued. Good call, Supermom!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ear Infections and Supermom's Issues

Lela is pulling at her ear this morning. Her right ear. Tall-tell sign of an ear infection. She had a terrible cold last week with an unbelievably runny nose, cough and hoarse throat. And now, with the nose beginning to clear up, she is grabbing her ear and crying. Sigh.

A call to the Tricare Appointment line yields positive results; an appointment with the Pediatrician on Base. Now I have to figure out how to juggle three kids and a pediatric appointment. My first response is to try to find a sitter for the non-sick kids and take the sick kid to the doc by myself. That would be the easy way. Then I think of all the stories my mother has told me of hauling her three kids into the doctor's for one sick kid. What a Supermom! I feel the challenge coming on inside myself... I should do that, too! Right? Shouldn't I try to be the incredible Supermom and take everyone with me just to prove that "I can"? Am I being a wimpy mom by asking for help? Tis a predicament...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself....

The house is mysteriously quiet. The absence of human sound amplifies all the other sounds of this home. The water circulating in the fish tank roars like Niagara Falls. The fan I forgot to turn off in the bathroom is hurting my ears. My neighbor's muffled sounds coming through the thin walls sound like a herd of elephants. My typing sounds like machine gun fire. Where is everyone?

The father of my beautiful children has packed up his kids and taken off for a big adventure. Off to hike a five mile trail in a nearby park. Mom was graciously excused from the adventure due to the eight and a half month pregnancy that causes her to tire quite easily and quickly. Instead, I am left at home, alone. While I did not cry when they drove away, I did pray God's protection over them. It feels as though without Momma there to worry, everything might go wrong!

Sitting on my couch in the empty (and oddly loud house), I picked up my Bible. I needed some company. Praying and reading the Word comforted my empty heart. It's odd. I long all day for some peace and quiet when the whirlwind of children are running through my home. Now, here is my opportunity and it makes me sad. Sad-ish. OK, I'm not sad. I am happy. But, it feels... strange. Unusual. I do not know quite what to do with myself.

So... I'm blogging. Hee-hee. Blogging without feeling guilty for taking time away from the hubby. Time away from the kids. Time away from my dirty house. No one is here; no one cares what I'm doing! Ah! Freedom!! Mm... It feels good. But, I think I'm going to turn some music on; it's too quiet in here!

Gearing Up

I am trying to gear up for this baby's delivery. It is a little over a month away; or, at least, the due date is a little over a month away. Maybe his appearance will be early. Every pregnant woman's dream; an early birth.

This is my fourth time to face childbirth. Childbirth is a big deal. It is when "the rubber meets the road". There is never a more challenging moment than pushing a baby out of your body. One would think that after three labors, I would be calm and ready for the big event. But, honestly, I'm not. I am dreading it. Dreading the pain. Dreading the waves of pain that bring a baby. Dreading the pain of pushing a small body through my bones and my skin. I hate how much it hurts. The baby wiggles in me and I know it is only a matter of time before I am called upon to face the pain.

Here's the reality check for me; what I say to bolster myself up for the pain of labor. It is only one day in my life. One day of pain. The most intense and painful part is usually just a matter of hours. Lela Mae's birth gave me just and hour and half of intense-I-can't-stand-it pain. That is not bad; I can do that. Right? I did it before, I can do it again.

Also, I cannot stop labor from happening. Labor will bring the baby. Unless I throw all my beliefs about childbirth out the window and sign up for a Cesarean, only labor will bring an end to my pregnancy. And, oh, I do want an end to my pregnancy! Labor will be here whether I ask it to show up or not. The best thing for me to do is to accept that reality.

Somehow between now and the end of October, I have to find a way to embrace this baby's birth. I have to accept the coming pain as a part of life. A mother's life. Pregnancy only ends with childbirth. After all is said and done, there will be a little guy in my arms. Isn't that worth the effort and the pain? Ok. Yeah. So, I'm gonna try to gear up. Here I go.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Computer Fast

I "fasted" from the computer for three days. Yes, me, Jessica; I neither blogged nor checked my email for THREE DAYS! GASP!

Our church challenged its sheep to a three day fast. Being preggers, I could hardly come off of food, so I prayed about what I could sacrifice as fast to seek the Lord. "The computer" was the very real answer I received.

"But, God?" I complained. "Really, the computer?" I wishy-washied about it for a few days. I used all the excuses, like "what would my blog readers do without me for three days?" or "what if someone is trying to get important info to me via email??" But, all of the reasons of "why not" fell lamely aside when I contemplated the reason "why". Why? So that I can sacrifice something that is very important to me. I knew that I would miss the computer and that "missing" would remind me to seek the Lord.

You see, the computer is my outlet. It is a stress reliever for me. Working on the computer, no matter what I am doing, makes me feel better. Even if that work is the checkbook or the monthly bills! Imagine how thrilling are blogging and emailing. Some people are avid TV watchers. I am a computer-junky.

So, I "came off" the computer. It was hard. I stared longingly at it sometimes. I found myself with extra time on my hands. Time in the morning to read the Bible in the middle of the chaos of children. Time to hold my babies and dispel their little fights. Time to visit with Rachel before she leaves for work. It was a good break. I did not know I needed a break, but I did.

But, I'm back! I think I will spend less time on this machine and more time doing the other things I have learned to enjoy the past three days. However, I do love my email and my blog. Sigh. It's good to be back.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

SuperMOM (and Dad)

"A Russian woman holds the record for having the most children. Between 1725 and 1765, she was pregnant 27 times and had 69 children." ( www.babycenter.com weekly email updates.)

WOW. I should never complain. Can you imagine being pregnant 27 times?? And 69 children? What did she do with all of them? Was this the old lady who lived in a shoe?

My meager three have been doing well. This week has been better than the previous few. We have had several exciting happens that, frankly, I could have done without.

For example, Lela Mae fell down the stairs. We think it was the last five steps or so. All the grown ups were sitting at the dining room table, out of sight from the stairs. We knew the girls were headed up, heard a hollering and then boom, bang, boom! Lela's wail rang through the house as Jason, Rachel and I ran to the bottom of the stairs. Jason got there first and picked up the little rag doll. She was upset, of course, but OK. A little bruise surfaced on her cheek the following day. Sigh. For all my efforts, I simply cannot protect them all the time!

Another hair-curling event that went down here last week was scary as all get out! Rose is our early bird; she wakes up around 6:30am every day. Someday, when I sleep through the night without getting up to go pee every two hours, I will join her early morning adventures. These days, though, we have put a gate up to keep her safely in her room. She plays until Mommy is ready to get out of bed. (Or until Isaiah rescues her; he has learned how to take the gate down.) Anyway, last week, I heard her start fussing. Then she quit. I never heard her door open or any sounds of sweet play coming from her room. I figured she went back to bed and I dozed off again.

An hour later, Isaiah wakes me up. Rose has started calling for Daddy, and I notice her door is still not open. Hmmm... This is different for my Rose; something is up. Opening the door to her room, I find she is still laying in her bed. That's odd.

"Momma, my neck," she says. She is rubbing her neck.

"Does your throat hurt?" I ask.

"No, my neck. Get it off," she says. At first, I don't see anything. But, looking closer I see a string wrapped around her neck!!! Yes, that's right. A string is wrapped around my baby's neck! A month ago we found a pillow with pretty beading along the lining. Rose fell in love with the pretty throw pillow. We let her have it on her bed. That night, the button on the back of her nightgown, caught one of the beads, pulled the thread out and wrapped it tightly around her neck. My stomach dropped and spinned. So glad it was only a small thread and she was able to breathe; aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!

I easily broke the string and pulled the pillow off her bed. Enough of that pillow; we will be giving that death pillow away.

Mothers go through so much! Last night the box fan fell over in Isaiah's room; it sounded like a horrific crash coming through the baby monitor. I sat upright in bed and hollered, "JASON! Did you hear that?" He didn't; somehow slept through it. I heard it again and off we went to the kids' bedroom. Parents are heroes.

Glad we don't have 69 kids. Whew. Four will be plenty for me. At least for now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11

Words cannot express the heartache of 9/11.

Remember with me today. Watch the recordings of the attacks and the aftermath of the tragedy. Cry over the loss and the devastation. It is real. Let us not forget.

2,974. The total number of causalities from the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Saggy Pants Law

We have all seen them. I suspect many of us have had a good laugh over them.

In my email this morning, I found a link to an article about baggy pants and legislation. Yes, did you know that many cities now have passed a ban against wearing your pants below your bum? I had no idea!

It is a great article. Jason and I often enjoy the entertainment of saggy drawers walking down the street. How DO they keep their pants up? At the end of the article are people's comments on the topic; they are hilarious! It is what I have always wondered and thought and now I know I am not the only one!!

Check out this article and then read further for the comments the other readers posted. I think you'll get a little laugh. Hee-hee. http://hamptonroads.com/node/479746

Ah, style. It's a funny thing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Motherhood Follies III: Pickles

Pregnant women really do crave pickles. At least this pregnant woman does.

We ran out of pickles about a month ago. With a lengthy grocery list every pay period, I opted to not get pickles until just last week. At every grocery shopping excursion, I walked past the pickle aisle and stared longingly at the huge jar of pickles. Mm. They looked so good; I could just taste them. In my money-saving efforts, I passed up the 4-dollar jar of pickles.

Last week I could not pass up the jar again. I decided it would be four dollars well spent and giddily loaded the pickles into my full shopping cart. It was hard to wait until I got home. I even contemplated opening the jar and munching on a pickle while I shopped. I'm pregnant; people would have gotten a good chuckle.

Exerting a bit of self-control, I managed to wait until dinner to pop open the jar. One problem. The jar would not be popped.

"Argh!" I hollered. My wrists are weak with pregnancy-induced carpel tunnel. I have been called an "absurdly strong woman", but my powers failed me. I could not open the jar.

"Rachel!" I called to my sister. "Come open this jar of pickles for me. Please!"

She laughed until she saw my serious face and realized this was a mission. She did her best, but the tight lid would not budge. "Poke a hole in the top," she suggested.

"No," I hissed. "It would ruin the whole jar! The pickles will go bad too quickly." She looked slightly offended, but said nothing in response to my passionate decision.

I knew Jason was on his way home so I called him. No answer. I gritted my teeth and tried the lid again; no luck. "Ah!! This is so frustrating! I hate this! I want a pickle!!"

Rachel, politely, did not laugh. I think she did turn her back to me, so I suspect she was smiling.

My phone rang Jason's jingle and I quickly picked it up. "Are you almost home?" I asked.

"Why? What's wrong?" His voice was filled with concern.

And the absurdness of the situation hit me; I was suddenly embarrassed by my need for a pickle.

"Um, nothing. Yeah, it's nothing..." my voice trailed off.

"Nothing?" Now he was curious.

"It's just. Um. I... We can't get the pickle jar open. I was hoping you were almost here so you could... open the jar." This was embarrassing.

He laughed. A very loud and long laugh. Thoroughly amused.

"Quit laughing at me," I said softly.

"I'm sorry," he said amidst laughter. He made a slight attempt to tone it down. "I'll be home in a just a minute. And I'll open the jar."

Jason did come and save the day; he opened the pickle jar for a pregnant woman. I enjoyed that pickle. It was good. Uh, I think I'm gonna go get another pickle.

Monday, September 08, 2008

He Comes Forth!

"Jessica, come here!" Jason called me.

The hornworm's jar held a huge moth who wiggled furiously to escape from his home. It was raining outside as Tropical Storm Hanna teased us with her wind and rain. We carefully released him in our screened-in patio. Poor guy; not the best time to come out of your cocoon!

We documented his unfurling wings for the next few hours. We even found him hanging onto my tomato plant the day after his release. (Due to the "storm", the plants had been relocated to the back porch.)

I do not know if he made it; his wings looked kind of small for his huge body. I wish him luck, though. It was fun having him around!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Reminded Anew of that Motherhood Ministry

"If I could just sit with You awhile. If You could just hold me, though I'm wounded, though I die.

If I could just sit with You awhile. If You could just hold me. Moment by moment, 'till forever passes by." -Praise and Worship Song-

This morning I realized I need to sit and be held by my God. I need to lose myself in Him and his greatness. The past few weeks have been trying. Last night, crying during an attempt-to-relax-bath, I asked Jason "What's wrong with me? Is it the pregnancy? The hormones? Or do you think I have been incredibly overly intense lately?"

Sitting beside the tub, he studied my huge belly under the flickering candle light. Mirroring my seriousness he softly answered me. "I think it's both." We smiled at each other. Of course, it's both. The pregnancy adds intensity to everything.

Pregnancy brings a rawness to every situation. When I first discovered this little baby inside, the Lord laid on my heart that He had "placed a mountain in front of me to climb". The weariness on my heart and on my shoulders lately is because I have forgotten that this is, indeed, a mountain. A beautiful mountain. But, still, a mountain. Full of rocks and steep paths and hardships. In faith, I believe the mountain top will be well-worth the climb.

Pregnancy is not the only thing bringing intensity into my life. Motherhood is intense. However, I have been renewed in my direction of ministry. I am called to minister to my children. A high calling. I think in the next few weeks I am going to study more about this calling on my life; to be a mother. I believe God whispered the term "Motherhood Ministry" into my heart, and I want to learn all He has filled with this term. I can see a small piece of the vision; I want to wade into the ministry and offer myself fully to it.

Being a mother is beautiful; but, every now and then I swallow the lie that it is "not enough" or that I am "just a mother". I choke on the lie as it goes down. I know the truth is being a mother is beyond "enough". Every now and then I grow weary of carrying the load of motherhood and the monotony of the day to day ministry and I dream of other directions for my life. I daydream about being that famous singer; I research college classes; I escape into a good book; I spend all day talking on the phone with other lonely mommas.

In seeking something else to fulfil me, I loose my way a bit. I stumble and hit the ground and start to cry, "Lord, why is this so hard?" Today, He told me. It is because I am trying to find another way to be fulfilled. I am running from the calling to lay it ALL DOWN to be a mother. Today I stop the silliness and watch the world's spinning quietly slow itself. I hide myself in Him. I realize Jessica cannot serve in this motherhood ministry without completely loosing herself in the Lord.

God reminds me of His words. "Don't push these children away. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom." (Mark 10, The Message) And, of course, "Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace." (Matthew 11:28, The Message)

I press forward; turning my face towards the Light. It feels good, so warm on my skin.

I feel called to lay it all down in a Motherhood Ministry. I am not telling anyone else what they should or shouldn't do. I am not judging any mothers and the decisions they make. Do what God has called YOU to do; this is what He has called me to do. This is MY journey. You go where God calls you.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Singing Dream

I was 14 years old and the gigantic auditorium stood empty. We were away on a school trip, and I sneaked into the closed doors of the huge room. Rows and rows surrounded the center stage. Looking around and spying no one, I made my way to the stage and climbed the steps. I closed my eyes and imagined the crowd. My heart sped up and sweat gathered on my upper lip; I was there. In my imagination, I had the crowd in the palm of my hand while I sang my newest hit. Ah, a dream come true.

Poof. The dream remains a dream to this momma of (almost) four. I remember when Isaiah was a newborn and I realized I would never become a famous singer. There are so many dreams mommas push to the back burner for the sake of raising their family. I know I am not the only one.

I do love to sing. In fact, anyone who spends any time with me knows that I sing because it just comes out my mouth; I spend the day in song. It is unintentional. The songs find their way to my mind and are carried into my day. My favorite part in church is the singing; some have told me I have "the gift of worship". Whatever that means.

Perhaps part of my "Motherhood Ministry" is to teach my children to sing. To have praise sessions in our home. To teach them what it means to worship God. So, I lay down my dream at the feet of the Father. My heart's desire is simply, to worship Him. I do not need a stage to lift my voice to the Creator; I can do that right here. Watch out; here comes my joyful noise! LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Am Just A Tomato

My tomato plants are turning yellow and their once bright red fruit are now splotchy. I stand outside and lament their change in health. Once bright and beautiful, they are now sick with .... who knows what!! I am researching, researching, researching online trying to figure out what is up with these plants I love so much. Silly, I know; but, I do!

Not to be too analytic, but I feel like these yellow plants. I do not know what is wrong with me either. I am cranky and weepy. I am hollering at my babies and then crying on the phone to their Daddy. It could be something as simple as just being pregnant. Like my plants could just need more water. Or maybe I feel bad because I need prayer. Like my plants need to be "fed" more often than once a week. Maybe it is because my energy is draining out too quickly like the tomato's water pours out the holes in the bottom of their upside-down buckets. What is wrong with us and how do we figure out the "fix"?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beach Days

I have a beach bum for a baby. My little Lela Mae is crazy at the beach! She runs into the ocean. I have to chase her to keep her out of the deep water.

"Lela, let the waves come to you," I coach my one year old. "Don't go to them." She watches me and then the waves. Lela screams and runs to the waves. "Lela!!" I holler as I run after my fearless baby. She is laughing as the waves carry her to and fro.

My Rose stayed away from the water all day. She was content to play with her best friend, Gabrielle. The two two-year-olds built sand castles, chased the birds with a big stick, dragged the boogie baord up and down the beach, laughed, giggled, and got covered in sand. Who needs the water?

Isaiah found himself enjoying the waves, too. He wore his life jacket and I think it gave him a sense of security. He kept up with the older kids and was toppled over and over by the waves. It only made him cry twice; all the other hundred times he thought it was hilarious fun!

We are all tanned and sun-burned today after spending Labor Day at the beach. It was great. We went with two other families, so our station at the beach was quite big. There were six chairs, two umbrellas, countless beach toys, food bags, coolers and lots of kids. We arrived at the beach at 10:30am and stayed until past 4pm. A long day; but it was great. Lela napped in her stroller at naptime and the other two played hard until five minutes in the van when the zonked out.

The whole Labor Day weekend was a blessing. Jason got four days off! We went over our hopes for the four days on Thursday and decided we wanted to catch up with friends. Over the long weekend, we had company over twice, joined two different couples for dinner, went to church, went to the beach, and dirtied lots and lots of laundry. Good times!

revolutionary love

I have experienced revolutionary love. Love with no strings attached. Jesus Christ loves me and made a way for me to have a relationship with the One True God. God desires a relationship with you, too. If you have yet to experience this revolutionary love, please email me at jandjkeys@hotmail.com so I can share this amazing experience with you. Blessings, -Jess