Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a move

My second year on blogspot is coming to a close.  I've learned so much in so many areas of my life!  I do feel the need to create a new web address, and start writing under fictitious names. My kids aren't old enough to give me permission to tell their stories, so for now, I'll write anonymously. Thank you for reading here, and e-mail me if you'd like to keep following. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Counting of Blessings - Tuesday

- We had a pleasant visit with Aunt Dot and Uncle Bob (Don's mom's sister and her husband), and with Auntie Lorrie, Don's sister.  They arrived from PA on Saturday and left after church on Sunday.  Before leaving, Uncle Bob told me three times that I had my hands full.  LOL

Uncle Bob is a character.  He watched Penn State football on Saturday, yelling out a number of times "Go Penn State!"  My kids got a kick out of that.  When Daddy watches Penn State, he yells out, exasperated, "Would you just go for the touchdown, Joe?"  When Joe Paterno doesn't go for the touchdown and they kick a field goal instead, my honey yells out, "Play to win, Joe!  What's the matter with you!  Time to retire already!"  (Coach Paterno is in his eighties.)

- We paid a car insurance bill last week with no time to spare.  It was either pay the bill or have grocery money for another week.  Those were our choices.  We paid the insurance bill, since it would be expensive to try and reinstate the policy.  Two days later, our church called to ask if we wanted a Thanksgiving basket.  We were blessed that they called, and assumed it would be Thanksgiving fixings. But it was all that AND extra groceries.  God's timing is amazing!  You really can have faith in what Matthew 6 tells us:

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

-  Aunt Dot and Uncle Bob had some legal-size computer paper cluttering their tiny house, so they brought it to my children, along with Christmas presents. My boys have written three cute stories with that paper already!  The writing bug has hit them!  Who knew that legal-size computer paper was all I needed to get their literary juices flowing?  What a blessing!

-  Daniel loves therapy!  His therapist is gentle, kind and young.  She is working at the facility as an intern.  Yesterday the two of us worked with Daniel to write out steps to take over the next two months that will gradually help him face his separation anxiety.  The first step was that for half of yesterday's appointment time I sat in a chair outside her office, rather than next to Daniel IN her office.  While I sat out there with the door closed, they played Uno to help Daniel relax.  He told me later that he felt like crying at first, but he didn't.  I'm not sure he was exactly relaxed, but it was a big step nonetheless.  During his next appointment I will sit outside the office for the whole appointment, then two weeks later I will leave briefly to get something from the van, and then two weeks after that I will hopefully be able to wait in the waiting room.  Baby steps.  Just dropping his ADHD med has helped a great deal with his anxiety.

That's all for today.  Anna Grace is now awake.

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!

Friday, November 20, 2009

a cure

I probably won't have time to come to this space again until Monday, but I wanted to report some progress on dealing with my "rushing around" disease.

Yesterday and today, I have taken one of my children aside every few hours for a cuddle and an ear nuzzling.  I've also whispered my forever love into their waiting ears.  A few tickles and giggles were shared too.

And you know what?  A calm and lightness has descended upon us.

Thank you, Lord, for the diagnosis, and for the cure.  My heart swells with gratitude.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

to have and to hold

My heart swells as I look at these.  I couldn't be any more grateful that these precious ones call me Mommy.  They are little rascals, yes.  Active, restless, sometimes overtired, sometimes argumentative.  But brilliant too, each in their own ways.  Emily Rose loves to call her favorite foods "delectible".  Daniel wants me to read out of non-fiction animal science books endlessly.  Timothy spent half of his short birthday party last night having Uncle David quiz him on square roots and multiplication.  Square roots at six years old?

But when I look at them on the screen right this minute (it's 10:00 p.m.), do you know what I'm mostly feeling?  Regret. Regret that I didn't slow down enough to take each of them in my arms today, and love on them and whisper softly to them about how much they mean to me.  I did this only with Anna, my nursling.  She gets the best of me these days.  Our nursing relationship keeps us bonded.  Thank the Lord for that!

When you've looked at your sweet children in photos at the end of a long day, isn't that what you most wish you had done?  I know a yearning to slow down is universal among moms.  And I think most moms feel they fail at slowing down, on most days.  For truly, when we slow down, we get behind on something.  And being behind raises everyone's stress level.  No one wants to dig through large laundry baskets for socks and underwear.  Or have lunch without bread.  Or take a bath without a fresh towel.  Everyone appreciates our diligence, but not our hastiness, or our lack of patience.  Even in our haste, we rarely get even halfway through our to-do lists.

It was a busy day--a homeschooling playdate, for which I made cupcakes this morning.  Followed by a trip to the bank, to the dollar store, and then home to make more cupcakes for AWANA.  I was running all day to meet deadlines.  The homeschooling and AWANA events themselves, I didn't attend, due to Anna's naps and some late afternoon fussiness.  Daddy gladly stepped in, rather than being left with the job of soothing Anna.

Mostly, today's busyness was brought on by myself, by offering last week to bring birthday cupcakes to the playdate and to AWANA.  My children were very excited, and so happy that I did it, but it cost me.

I was not the gentle, quiet-spirited mom I wanted to be.  I was not patient with diaper after diaper, changed at the most inconvenient times.  Or with Timothy, who wanted me to play his new Pay Day board game, even though it was an hour before AWANA and I still had more baking to do.  Or with Daniel, my non-medicated ADHD child, who climbs the walls and buzzes around in his frenzied, highly-strung, me-first way.  He is the most helpful, which seems a contradiction, I know.  He loves to help in the kitchen and with special projects--a quality which on less busy days I find endearing.  But not today.  Today, I let it annoy.

I guess I'm most patient with Anna, even though she's into every cupboard and drawer, distributing the contents for me to pick up, in my spare time.  She needs to explore so she can learn; I try not to confine her unless absolutely necessary.  At eleven months, her exploring hands and her curiosity are her best teachers. Yes, that is an electrical device in her hands.  The mixer, to be exact.  She was really happy to find that baby in my cupboard.

I have no answers for this conundrum of slowing down, while still meeting everyone's physical needs.  I only know that when I look at these photos, I want to hold my babies forever, just as they are right now.  Every day with them is perfect...blessed.

Oh, Lord, how I want to convey that to them!  For them to know the depths of my love for them.  For them to know how much I dearly love having them in my midst.

I fear I'm too imperfect to change.  I'm counting on you, Father, to convey it supernaturally.  Cover this conundrum with your grace, and help each mother to end her days satisfied.  Not only with her kids, but with herself.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

glory for the house

I'm here taking a much needed deep breath.

We are having company for cake and ice cream tonight, for a belated birthday celebration for Timothy.  We were sick around his birthday, so I had to keep calling my aunt to postpone.  Her husband is one who will back away from you if you even mention that someone is ill, or has been ill.  Two kids are still snotting, but oh well.  I tried.  Life must go on.

As well, my husband's aunt and uncle are coming for an overnight visit this weekend.  They've never visited before, and they've never seen our girls.

You know how it goes when you've got to prepare the house for overnight guests.  A . huge. exhausting. undertaking.  I always run around breathless, cleaning everything in sight, running on empty, as there's no time to eat or drink before the arrival deadline.

Each time I prepare for guests, I beat myself up, wondering what's wrong with me that my house gets this bad, and requires this much turmoil to set right.  Don took the older three to the park today, so I could rush around as much as possible, uninterrupted.  Of course, my Anna took a short nap.  Sigh.

Today it dawned on me that this mess is just my season of life for now.  Diapers, meals, snacks, messes, laundry, and schooling, keep me running all day long, every day.  There isn't some formula I'm failing to see, or failing to implement.  If this were a business we were running, we'd be advised, "Hire some help!"  But there is no help coming.  Chaos reigns when your kids come close together, and they're all still little.  Period.  End of story.  Especially if there's no close family around (my dad moved back to Vegas in October).  My aunts have their own families to worry about.

I have to stop berating myself, and just accept.  If it weren't for guests coming periodically, the house would probably look worse.  So I need to thank God for these times of turmoil and tension, whilst the house gets back some of its glory.  It's glory that only lasts for about five waking hours, but at least during that time, I can walk around and say, "Hey, what a nice house this is!"

Monday, November 16, 2009

We're Protected!

I took Anna for her second (regular) seasonal flu shot today.   Her doctor confirmed that our family probably did have H1N1 back in October.   I asked what level of immunity we would be blessed to enjoy, if the virus later mutates into something more deadly. He said we would probably be fully protected, but it would depend on how bad the mutation is.

Your family may well have had this virus too.  Here are some symptoms to consider, which didn't end up being the same in all of us, or in all of my sister's family.

1.  fever
 - some get no fever, some get only a mild fever, some get a high fever.

2.  sore throat
 - we all got this, and it was painful

3.  chills
 - not everyone gets chills, but our family did seem to get this to different degrees; my sister doesn't recall any chills

4. dry hacking cough, could be productive cough later
 - everyone involved in both families got a bad cough, which lingered a few weeks

5.  nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
 - Timothy vomited for 24 hours; Daniel once (some diarrhea for him); Emily had diarrhea twice; only my sister's ex-husband vomited in their family; I did have nausea, my husband didn't

6.  congestion, runny nose
 - a runny nose is more of a cold symptom than a flu symptom, but you can get some drainage halfway through the flu; only Anna and I had some drainage, probably due to our secondary sinus infection.

 - everyone in both families did get congestion

7.  fatigue, muscle aches
- we all got this to varying degrees; my husband and my sister were only tired for two days; the kids and I were tired and weak for one to two weeks

8. secondary bacterial infection
- While flu is a virus and not helped by antibiotics, your system is less able to fight off bacteria when you're ailing with the flu.  This means you could get a secondary bacterial infection and need antibiotics to fight it.  Examples of secondary infections are:  ear infection, sinus infection, bronchitis, pnemonia
All of these things can also be viral, but if you begin to feel a bit better from the flu, and then get worse, suspect a bacterial infection.  Anna and I got sinus infections, my brother-in-law and nephew got pneumonia.  You are less likely to get something secondary if you drink plenty of water, get extra sleep, use clean humidifiers, and wash your hands frequently.

9. sudden onset
- Colds come on gradually, and the flu comes on suddenly.  Since congestion is common in the heating season in cold climates, it can be difficult to determine if symptoms came on gradually or suddenly. I get congestion from having the heater on, and congestion can give me a headache.  Indoor allergies can also cause symptoms that might be confused with a gradual-onset illness.

10. headache
- We all got this to varying degrees.  It is hard to determine how bad this symptom might be in young children.

I hope this helps someone!  You may not need an H1N1 vaccine if you've had these symptoms in 2009.  It's something to consider, although I read that having antibodies to this virus, and then getting a vaccine on top of that, is not dangerous. They aren't doing much testing now, since H1N1 is now so widespread. Most people presenting with flu-like symptoms do have H1N1, rather than the regular seasonal flu.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Counting of Blessings - Sunday

- I have a little girl, Emily Rose, who wakes up every day looking for her Momma.  When she finds me, she flashes me her sleepy smile, and says,  "Hi, Mommy.  I luv you", in her still-sleepy voice.  And after I've taken her in my arms and cherished the moment, she says "Fank you, Mommy."

- I've been given the opportunity to make Christmas about something other than spending money, wrapping presents, and rushing around town fighting crowds.  If we had the money to shop, we would--for what parent does not want to grant at least some of their children's Christmas wishes, or give nice things to relatives?  The pressure to shop is pervasive and powerful in our culture, and it takes up all of our extra time.  But when children grow up, the memories of laboring with love together at Christmas (on bundles of cookies to give away, on stringing popcorn, on helping the needy) will mean far more than a tree crowded with presents.  So thank you, God, for forcing me to make it about togetherness and working toward the goal of blessing others.

- Thank you for four happy, healthy, active children, who force me to lean on you all the day long.  I would surely lean on myself, and stumble more with pride, if daily life with them weren't so challenging.

- Thank you for the blessing of online friends, for whom I can pray.  It's a privilege to share their burdens, and for them to share mine.  For surely, if we only had phones, I would rarely connect with anyone in this season of life.

- Thank you for a husband who loves me unconditionally, who never pressures me, who forgives instantly and keeps no record of wrongs.

- Thank you for a low house payment, and a big yard.

- Thank you for the freedom to write about you, teach about you, and worship you, without fear.

- Thank you that since the job loss in March, we've not had a single delinquent house payment.

- Thank you for Don's school grant, and for the opportunity to work with his head, after so many years of working with his hands.  There are blessings to both, but his heart has desired this for a very long time.  Thank you for forcing him to put fears aside, so he could take the next step.