Friday, December 24, 2010

Having a Heart Like Mary

Though I don't really classify myself into a Christian denomination, I have grown to love so many different traditions and can appreciate the roots of my faith. In recent years, I have really come to respect Catholicism. I was raised a Protestant, and honestly, I was taught that there were very few Catholics who really knew God. I look at that now and laugh because I have come to know so many who know Him!

I don't fully know or understand all of the Catholic teachings about Mary, but I have learned this: I have not given Mary the respect she deserves as a hero of the faith. It's easy to praise people like Moses, or Paul, or Abraham, but Mary is often overshadowed in Protestant circles.

I had the rare opportunity to identify with Mary when I gave birth to Samuel on Christmas Day. I know that December 25th isn't really the day Jesus was born, but I still found myself thinking through Mary's experience in becoming a mother to the Son of God. I understood the special feelings she probably had--being pregnant, knowing that the baby who would be born was special, knowing that she would one day have to give Him up. As I looked at Samuel, I knew that motherhood was special, and how much MORE special it was for her.

This year, I am pregnant with twin boys, Felix and Milo. I was 37 weeks yesterday, and I am so grateful that I have had a healthy pregnancy and made it to term with them. I have been struggling in my heart, though, because it is quite possible I may have a c-section. I know c-sections aren't a big deal for a lot of people. I know that people often recover quickly and well from them. I know that in the grand scheme of my life, it isn't that big of a deal. I know that it is a beautiful experience for the mommies who have them. I can't downplay the experiences of others. I KNOW it's okay, so don't feel a need to convince me of it.

But, natural birth is very important to me. It is one of my passions. It is something I have devoted time and research to, something I have experienced, and something I think women should be educated about.

In dealing with my own disappointments concerning my birthing experience, I am being taught of the Lord. He is showing me today that I can trust Him no matter the outcome. I can say like Mary, "I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled." (Luke 1:38) Mary humbly accepted the Lord's will for her--to bear the Son of God while yet a virgin engaged to be married.

Mary had to sacrifice to carry Jesus. She could have said, "No, I don't think I want to do this. I'm not willing, and I don't want to ruin my reputation or my upcoming marriage. It's not convenient, and I have my whole life ahead of me." Instead, she proclaimed herself the servant of the Lord, and she welcomed the fulfillment of the angel's words.

She said, "Yes, Lord. Your will be done."

I, too, have been chosen for this. God knew these boys before I even knew they existed in my womb. He has had plans for them before the foundation of the earth. He knit them together in my body and knows them intimately. Every mother has to make a sacrifice when it comes to childbirth--whatever the form. Mine may be the pain of natural childbirth, or it may be surgery and recovery. Either way, there is a sacrifice involved (not to mention the sacrifices of caring for children!). Am I going to walk into it with a willing heart or a begrudging one?

Will I choose to have a heart like Mary's that welcomes whatever may come? Or will I demand my own way, my own timing, my own experience? I do not know what will happen. I do not know if I will get to have a natural birth or a c-section. But, I do know that His ways are higher than mine. His words for me are for good and not evil. He will not lead me down a hard path without providing the grace I need to walk it with Him.

Today, I choose Mary's response. I pray I will do the same tomorrow and each day so that I can say with full confidence, "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name." (Luke 1:46-49)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Third Time Is Not So Charming

The house was relatively quiet. The kids were all playing with toys or watching PBS. Then, I prompted the older two to run upstairs to get dressed so we would be ready to leave for a Christmas party.

"Mom, Lucy's hair is all wet," Sam called down from their room.

Perplexed, I heaved my 9 month twin pregnant body, complete with cankles and marshmallow feet, out of my chair and made my way upstairs to investigate. The bathroom door was closed and had the childproof doorknob cover on it, so I knew she hadn't been playing in there. I get into their room, and I saw her wet head and couldn't figure out how in the world she managed it. I then realized what it was.

It wasn't water.

This was not the first time I had seen this.

In fact, this had happened in our house TWICE before.

It was Vaseline. Vaseline in her soft, fine baby hair.

This is a mommy nightmare.

This is a 9 month twin pregnant mommy's seventh level of hell.

You see, this happened twice before with Maryn. Sam had found Vaseline and smeared it into her baby fine hair when she was about 12 months. I even blogged about it here. The first time, I took a picture and tried to be calm about it. The second time, I just got mad. I learned to put the Vaseline on a tall shelf out of sight.

Three and a half years have passed, and just this morning, I saw Vaseline in their room and quickly grabbed it and put it away in the bathroom closet on a high shelf.

But she found ANOTHER container in the twins' room (which was closed, but the door must not have been fully latched) and smeared it all over her head and all over their dresser and a few toys (that I know of...there may yet be more).

So, I sent Sam to grab the camera, and I determined to be calm while I got down on the bathroom floor and attempted to wash her long hair with baking soda, dish soap, and baby soap.

Lucy prior to her bath-her hair is NOT wet. That is just the vaseline.

Unfortunately, she is a greaseball.

And thankfully, we aren't having Christmas family portraits taken.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Has It Been Over A Week?

Wow, I stopped by my blog to look at my sidebar and see what was new with everyone, and I discovered that I haven't updated in 8 days. Sheesh. Sorry about that. My midwife says I have "placenta brain." Sounds kind of gross.

Well, I'll be 36 weeks tomorrow. I had a good visit with the doctor on Monday. Everything looked good--blood pressure, heartbeats, unchanged cervix. So, I really don't have anything to report--unless you want me to talk about the pain in my pelvis...

I can't believe I've made it this far already. I know for sure that my boys will be here within a month. The doctor definitely won't let me go over 40 weeks, and if these little boogers don't move, then they'll most likely be here by the end of the year. So, really, they could be here in 2 weeks. That's crazy.

I'm not really nesting. I had a spot of it a couple of weeks ago and got everything washed (with Em's help--she's my housekeeper) and ready for the room that they won't use for a while! :) When I think about what I need to do, it overwhelms me, so I just tell myself everything will work out. My, how I have changed!

Here's my mental list:
  • Make a list of all the people who have volunteered to help and organize the days/numbers so they can be called in for reinforcements.
  • Install the car seats in the van and make sure that Lucy's seat will actually fit in the rear seat with Sam's and Maryn's booster seats.
  • If the above doesn't work, I guess we need to look for an alternative??? God altered physics for us when we put three in the backseat of our Acura Legend (one infant carseat with a base, a convertible car seat, and a booster seat); we're praying He does it again!!!
  • Pack a bag for the hospital.
  • Have definite child care arrangements in place.
  • Revise the birth plan.
  • Have a sheet explaining the kids' schedule and favorite foods and where things are located.

Will I actually accomplish these? I do not know. But, at least it's a start!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sacrificing Plans for Peace

I went in for my ultrasound yesterday to check out the boys' sizes and positions. Well, the little boogers have both gone transverse (that's sideways...and babies don't come out sideways, just so you know). There is still time for them to move, and my OB/Gyn friend told me that transverse is the most unstable position. Sooooooo, I am praying at least Felix will move into a head down (vertex) position.

Their measurements were funny to me because the margin of error is now up to 1 lb. :) There are some doctors out there that will make decisions to induce or c-section a baby based on their size from the ultrasound. That is not wise. Find a different doctor if your doctor does that! The margin of error is too great! the soapbox. Anyway, Felix measured 5 lbs. 9 oz, and Milo measured 5 lbs. 14 oz. So technically, they are somewhere between 4.5 and 7 lbs. That's a big window!!! Either way, they're growing well, and I'm thankful.

I am retaining a lot of fluid, but my blood pressure has been consistently great and there was no protein in my urine. I'm just huge. I measured about 41.5 cm at 34.5 weeks. And I gained 12 lbs in 2.5 weeks!!!!! Crazy. Like I said, I'm retaining fluid....and the babies measured two lbs. bigger than they did a month ago! Just crazy.

As for plans, anything could happen. Anything. It is a bit unsettling to realize that any scenario could take place. They could both turn vertex, and I could have a vaginal delivery. Felix could turn vertex, and I could deliver him vaginally, but if they're unable to get Milo to turn, then I could have him breech...unless he won't come out breech and something goes wrong, and then I could have an emergency c-section. Or...neither one turns, I go into labor, get to the hospital and have an ultrasound and head to c-section, or neither turns, and I will have a scheduled c-section on Dec. 30th when I am 38 weeks.

Too many scenarios to think about.

This is stretching for me. I like to be in control, and I'm not. I've lived under the illusion often in life that I am, but I'm not. Maybe you do that too. I don't know, but one thing is certain--Jesus loves me.

That's right. Jesus loves me. As I was praying over this situation yesterday, I asked Him to speak to my heart the truth it needed to hear, and what He said came in the words of one of my favorite songs, "I am my Beloved's and He is mine, so come into Your garden and take delight in me, take delight in me...Here in your presence, God, I find my rest; here in your presence, God."

No matter what is going on around me, I can find my peace and my rest in Him. He loves me, delights in me, and wants me to rest in Him and enjoy Him.

I am really okay with that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just checkin' in.

Wish I had more to say. I am checking in to say, "Hello!" and then I will disappear again for a bit.

I am really tired. My friend, Tina, helped me make up five different meals today, and we did double portions and froze half. I am EXHAUSTED. It was really wonderful though, both to see her and visit and get so much accomplished today.

I think I am going to hold off on extra cooking for now. I'm too big to be on my feet for this long at a time. I am estimating that I have about 17 meals in my deep freeze for now. This will come in handy once the delivered meals have ended.

I am feeling alright. I have made it to 34 weeks today. I am praying for 3 more. I slept better last night than I have in awhile. The boys moved somehow off of my pelvis and I don't feel as much pain there. That is a blessing. I go to the doctor, ultrasound, and midwife on Monday, so I'll have more news then as to how things are going. I appreciate your prayers.

Well, it is time for me to go supervise the kids as they clean up their room. The house helpers will come tomorrow; I can't wait. I am going to kick back.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Advent Calendar Tutorial

Advent calendars have been around for about 200 years. They were first used by German Lutherans in the early 1800s. In fact, check out the article on Wikipedia.

Funny enough, the advent calendar I made was based on one I borrowed from my friend Cinthya's mother-in-law, who is Lutheran! I believe she told me she had gotten it from someone at church, but I cannot remember for sure.

I have put together a tutorial here. It is on Google
Docs. Let me know if you have trouble viewing or downloading it. I have included instructions on how to make the calendar, pictures of the symbols and the devotionals that go along with them. I hope you find it informative and easy to do. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Finally Did It!

I have had grand plans and ideas for blogging. I have had intentions of taking lots of pictures of my cute kids. But, there is something in the way--my belly. It is big. It is cumbersome. It is very limiting.

Quite frankly, I am ready for it to shrink. However, my boys need to stay snug a bit longer. On Thanksgiving Day, I will be 33 weeks. That is hard to believe. Christmas is just around the corner, and I have missed doing all the traditional baking and making from years past. You may recall how industrious I have been before--like last year with the tree skirt. Follow this link to read about that--

I haven't been completely uncreative this season. I did learn a little knitting, and I knitted two soft baby washcloths for Felix and Milo.

I also determined that I would make an advent calendar. I have tried to accomplish this for three years.

Well, I finally did it, and it matches my tree skirt. Here's proof!!!

It is based on a pattern my friend's mother-in-law has. She let me borrow her calendar, and I copied it, just with different colors. Dave did the lettering freehand (thank God I have an artistic husband!). There are advent symbols in each pocket. Those were fun to cut out! I hot glued safety pins on each symbol so they can be attached to the front of the pockets. Each day, there are devotionals to discuss the meaning of the symbol and to turn our eyes to Jesus, the reason we celebrate this wonderful holiday!

I will hopefully be able to post more pics as we put the symbols up. Maybe I can do the devos too. But hurray!!! I finally did it!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birthweek 2010 Conclusion

Dave outdid himself. But I'm super thankful he did. I've been wanting one of these for several years now.

He got me a new camera--the Nikon D3000. It's perfect for me because it fits my skill level without being too extravagant (though it costs more than a point and shoot). I am so thankful and blessed, and I can't wait to learn my way around it. I'm thankful I'm familiar with manual settings because I intend to use them frequently.

I think now that I have a better camera, you will be seeing more pictures on my blog again. I quit for awhile because it was so hard with my old camera--the focus was janky, and the picture quality was not great. It was just not so nice. :)

And, no, I was not surprised about this I said before, he's not sneaky enough for this lady.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Husband Isn't Perfect...and neither is yours.

My husband, Dave, is a lot of things--an artist, a poet, task-oriented, tall, strong, funny, sweet, handsome, unsneaky, hard-working, kind, a good father, and a man who wants to be like Jesus.

But he's not perfect.

I could list his flaws here probably more quickly than I typed his strengths (mostly because we, as humans, tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive). Your spouse probably isn't too different from mine--full of good qualities but not perfect. This is NORMAL. My husband may be strong where yours is weak or weak where yours is strong. So, really, there is no use in comparing them, right?

Regardless of our spouse's strengths and weaknesses, we are called to love them, honor them, and respect them--even when they fail. I have been guilty of focusing on the negative too many times in my marriage. I know I'm not alone in this. It helps to know that the picture people paint of their spouse is not the FULL picture (either way!)--hopefully, we do a better job presenting them in their best light rather than displaying all of their flaws for the world to see.

So, in lieu of my husband's strengths, I want to share with you about my birthday. Early on in our marriage, my husband quickly figured out that I expected a thoughtful birthday--he didn't have to spend a bunch of money--he just had to be thoughtful. One year, he started a tradition. It is my favorite time of the year--not because it is about me (okay, maybe a little bit.), but because it shows me how thoughtful my husband can be. He started what he calls "Birthweek."

This year is Birthweek 2010. It has been a blast so far, and tomorrow, it will conclude on my birthday. He gives me a gift each day leading up to my birthday. They are usually small, inexpensive gifts, and then his final gift on my birthday is usually a bit more (but some years he has spent more than normal). Some years, he has even gotten creative in the discovery of the gifts--a scavenger hunt or a box he made with different compartments for each day. To help me remember this year, I am posting a log of his gifts from each day, and tomorrow I will post his final gift (which I think I know because he's not sneaky enough).

Day 1: My favorite candy--Junior Mints (this is always the Day 1 gift)

Day 2: Wifi in our house--(we live out in the sticks and it is hard to do a lot on our iPhones because we have such poor signals and no 3G--so this gift was really for both of us, but still very thoughtful!)
Day 3: Nasal spray (this is a funny one because I've had so many allergy issues with this pregnancy, so he actually got me a prescription nasal spray to help!)

Day 4: A spa pedicure for me and a friend (this was an awesome gift--especially since I can't reach my feet without hurting myself)

Day 5: Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo and Conditioner (he knows what I like!)

Day 6: Robert Ludlum's Bourne trilogy (the books--I've wanted to read them for several years. I love the movies, and I hear the books are even better...of course!)

Thank you, Dave, for being thoughtful, for listening to me talk, for paying attention to my likes and dislikes, for celebrating me all week long. I feel special and loved, and I love you even though you're not perfect. Thanks for loving me--even with all my thorns. You're a winner.

Look for tomorrow's post for my final gift!!!

(All pictures were not taken by me--all online images.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Need YOUR Expertise!

I am contemplating spending a day in the kitchen (hopefully with some friends) cooking and freezing meals to fill my freezer for the zombie days ahead. It's not really an apocalyptic thing, I just know that the friends delivering meals thing won't last forever. Sigh.

So, here's what I need from YOU:

  • Any food freezing tips
  • What kind of containers do you use?
  • Do you thaw food prior to cooking it or do you cook it frozen?
  • What about soups? How do you thaw/reheat those?
  • Is it better to have completely cooked a meal before freezing it or partially?
  • Anything else you can think of?
  • How long should a meal stay in the freezer?
  • Any special products that have made food freezing better for you?
I am not much of a food freezer. We typically eat leftovers for days if a meal made too much for us. I am hoping to start freezing those leftovers as well to add to our stores (plus I'm a little tired of leftovers!). I have cooked up ground meat and frozen that ahead of time as well as onions, peppers, that sort of thing.

Any advice in this department is appreciated!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Quiet Life

It's cold. It is 28 degrees. I am wearing socks--this is monumental. Socks typically make my feet hot, and then my whole body overheats (even if I'm not pregnant). This has only been happening to me for a few years-kinda strange.

Our leaves have turned and are halfway gone. It's time to get warm and cozy and stay in the house--thankfully, I now enjoy this part of life.

There are a few new things with us:

  • I sprained my foot last weekend. It still hurts to walk on it, and there is still some swelling--not much, but enough that it makes my shoe too tight. There are some pretty purple and blue bruises on it as well. Festive.
  • Baby A (Felix) is now breech. He flipped. We are praying he flips back over or I will be having a c-section. I have heard some stories of twins with the first breech that turned out alright, but I've also heard otherwise. Bottom line: my doctor doesn't feel comfortable with it, and he is comfortable with breech deliveries--just not with the first twin. So, if you would, pray that Felix turns over. Either way, things will turn out alright, but it is hard to deal with the reality of it all. I'm getting there--slowly.
  • My emotions are out of control. Steer clear.
  • I wish my body wasn't so cumbersome right now; I would love to be taking walks in this fine weather. Instead, I just look out the window. When I walk, I feel like Godzilla or Frankenstein. In fact, we had to do some grocery shopping last night, and for the first time ever, I drove a motorized cart. It was great.
  • My life is quieter now than it has ever been in the friendship department. This isn't a bad thing, although it is an adjustment. I'm learning with this codependency thing how often I was turning to friends for fulfillment instead of Christ. I have by no means arrived, but I am catching myself about to pick up the phone, and then I will stop and take it to Him first. It isn't easy. I am thankful for my friends who have let me "get it all out," but I am even more thankful that they aren't assuming His place in my life.
  • I've purged my facebook a couple of times to either get rid of those I never talk to or those who try to fix me. It's been good so far. I am also being much more reserved in accepting friend requests from people that I don't really know that well or people that I don't think need to be seeing so much of what I say. :)
  • My husband has been working extremely long hours (especially for someone who is finished with his training!), and it is wearing on all of us. I am thankful that in a month or so, his nurse practitioner will return from maternity leave and lighten the load a little bit. We've had some disturbing news about his call schedule for the next year, and we're praying for God to send some relief. We need relief in so many areas...
  • We have decided to look for a different body of believers. Things were pretty crazy where we were at, and we didn't have peace about staying in that kind of environment. We felt things were not being handled in a Biblical manner, and we don't feel like it is a healthy place to be. We love the people we connected with and will continue to love them.
It is quiet, Dave is off for the first day in a few weeks, so I am going to go drink something decaf and hot next to him on the couch while he plays a game on his phone. ;)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What We're Doing

What we're doing about Halloween:

We aren't the celebratory type when it comes to scary stuff, so we are buying some candy, stuff for s'mores, and we're building a bonfire in our yard. We're gonna veg out with our kids and make ourselves a little sick with sweets. You are welcome to join us.

What we're doing about getting ready for babies:

We are buying a bunch of stuff. We haven't registered anywhere--too much hassle. We've got our carseats which is huge. We are contemplating having them in the pack and play in our room, but it won't fit well on the side of the bed. Anyone want to make me a cradle? I didn't want to pay $150 for a bassinet. Will be checking into co-sleepers as a cheaper alternative. I've got sheets, mattress pads, towels, washcloths. What do we need? Clothes. And I need to buy the rest of the cloth diapers I will need. I'll use disposables until they're about 8-9 lbs. I guess we need those too.

What we're doing for my birthday?

Ask Dave. He better come up with something good. :) Look out 31.

And Lucy's birthday???

I'm planning a party for her a few days before OUR birthday. Yes, we share our birthday. So, party for her, and I get Birthweek 2010.

What we're doing for Thanksgiving:

Dave's mom and grandma are coming to cook. Dave is on call. I plan on watching the parade.

What we're doing about Sam's Christmas Birthday:

Well, it all depends on when these boys arrive. I would like to have a party for Sam with some of his friends a few weeks before Christmas. I'll be 37 weeks on Dec. 23rd, so I could have babies by Christmas Day or maybe not! I have no clue. This one is being played by ear. As is Christmas. I am planning on a fake tree this year because it may be a while before we're able to take one down. :)

What we're doing about Christmas gifts:

I don't know. We're thinking donations to charities in people's names. We did this one year before, and we didn't get much reaction...don't know if that was good or bad! Whatever we do, it's gotta be simple.

What we're doing about staying sane:

We are taking life one day at a time--with as much pre-planning as possible! :) No, really, we are not worrying and fretting over how things are going to go once our darlings are born. We are learning to be content and trust our Father to provide what we need in terms of help and sleep and childcare. We are trying to enjoy our time with our three children before life gets crazy. We are hoping we can stay focused on our Father and His love in the midst of all of these changes. He has been so good and faithful and kind to us, and we are so thankful for Him.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Spider and a Rooster and Delighting in God

I have felt a tad bit guilty as of late concerning my lack of inspiration and worship to the Creator for nature. I see so many of my lovely homeschooling friends who enjoy nature with their children and worship Jesus in it. I would love to do this.

But I don't like being hot, being cold, bugs, itchiness, or cleaning up dirty children.

I like to observe nature...from afar.

This isn't entirely true. I love hiking. Of course, that is OUT OF THE QUESTION at this stage of my pregnancy. My body is aching after a trip to the grocery store. I have climbed a few mountains in my day--big ones--14,000 ft. peaks (and a little smaller). I like to run outside. I hate treadmills. I like to go out on the lake. I like to watch the sunrise. I like to listen to Rich Mullins sing "The Color Green." I don't hate nature.

It's just I don't love everything that comes with it. I like creature comforts--bug spray, central heat and air, and someone else to clean up the mess.

What I've discovered is that I am starting to get attached to little creatures. I never touch them, but I watch them and feel even protective over them (perhaps this is merely part of the maternal nesting instinct).

We had a garden spider outside our front window for a couple of months this summer. She was beautiful--black, yellow, and white. She laid TWO egg sacs, each the size of a cherry. One of them is attached to our window screen. I researched her online to find out all about her life cycle and what would happen to her babies. The site I read said she would die at the end of September, and her babies would hatch in the Spring. Sure enough, she did die. I found myself a little sad, missing her there in the window. It was such a joy to watch her catch bugs and spin her webs.

She was our own personal "Charlotte." And like Wilbur, we are protectively guarding her egg sacs.

There's also a rooster who belongs to our neighbors across the street. He spends a lot of his time pecking bugs in our yard. I don't mind. He has a healthy fear of humans and doesn't bother us. He is friends with our dog. This may be the very same rooster I was complaining about a few months back--the one who crowed ALL NIGHT LONG. He's since stopped that (and we got new windows). My mother-in-law's dog chased the rooster on Friday, and I thought she caught him and was going to kill him (it turned out she caught a hen instead, who did escape, but not without wounds). Everything in me was angry and protective of the rooster (I'm not attached to the hens, but I still felt awful about her attack).

I realized after the attack that I do care about this animal--one I've only observed and never touched. I did poke an umbrella in his direction once, but that is the closest I've gotten to him. I find this all very odd.

But, I'm thankful that during this season of homebodiness, I am able to worship the Lord and His creativity by taking wonder in these creatures, loving them, even a smidge. I'm not able to hike. I'm not able to go on safari, and I'm sure not able to travel anywhere super beautiful like lovely Colorado, but I am thankful for the beauty He's brought to me--right to my window, next to my chair, for me to watch and worship Him--

without even realizing it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Anticipation of The Push

I miss running. This weather makes me want to get outside and run. It's so nice and beautiful most days. I miss having that goal to accomplish--the way I had to push myself a little farther and quicker each run. I miss the quietness of it as well as the pounding rhythms in my earbuds.

These days I spend mostly sitting. My stomach is swollen and large and disproportionate to my body. Little wiggles on the inside remind me that this is a temporary existence. Soon, I will be cuddling two sweet little boys, nursing them, patting them, shushing them, rocking them, and letting them fall asleep on my chest.

While I wait, I dream about Springtime and how my body will be ready to be challenged again. I am eager for this, but I don't rush it. I want to drink in these moments before they're gone--flip flops in my belly, hiccups in my belly, babies bouncing and growing and getting stronger in my belly. I will soon be pushing myself and my body will be challenged in childbirth with a pounding rhythm all its own--not even running compares with that.

So, for now, I am content to be still. The challenge nears, and I am ready.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

4 Loads of Sick Laundry...and counting.

This week has been exhausting. I had an appointment with the OB on Thursday which entailed a 10 hour day for the kids and me. All is well. My iron and glucose are fine, the babies are growing fine, and there is nothing alarming going on. The highlight of the day was hanging out with my college friend, Amanda. It was fun to be with her if only for a little bit. I love that about old friends--you don't have to try; they already know you!!! Plus, she taught me some knitting, and that is great.

Lucy got a stomach bug at 1:30 Saturday morning. She was sick again at breakfast yesterday, and again at breakfast today. I wish it would go away!!! Other than those times, she's been fine--a little sleepy, but fine. I slept several hours yesterday. I don't know if I was catching up or what. I busted my tail getting the house cleaned up for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law who were going to come for a visit, but then when Lucy got sick, they couldn't come. I think I overdid it. I feel much better today. So far! I am hoping and praying no one else gets sick. I have little energy anyway right now, and like most people, Dave has to go back to work on Monday!

So, here's to a quiet day at home! I hope we all can rest and stay healthy.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Gift of Wisdom and The Curse of Co-Dependency

I have both. Unfortunately.

I had never considered that I had the gift of wisdom until earlier this year, around Easter. A dear woman spoke a word over me about Lady Wisdom from Proverbs, and how the Lord showed her that I was like this woman. And peering into my life, I see that I do, indeed, have this gift. I can't get a big head about it, though, because it is a GIFT. I didn't earn it, and it certainly doesn't come from always learning things the easy way (which is a nice way to say that I sin a lot).

I also can't brag about this gift because "Hi, I'm Amanda, and I'm in recovery for co-dependency and anger." "Hi, Amanda. We're glad you're here." (This is what I say at Celebrate Recovery, fyi.)

The problem is this: I have the gift of wisdom, but because I am a co-dependent, I want to fix people--I want to give them solutions to their problems. I want to "help" them--"help" because it is more about me than it is about them. It gives me a sense of control and superiority instead of a sense of love and humility to be used by God. And if they fail to take my advice, anger inevitably follows. That loss of control, that loss of superiority makes me feel powerless, and anger gives me the power I need to triumph in the situation (this is not true, it is just how I think). Herein lies my problem.

Now, I know I don't ALWAYS operate out of my co-dependency. Thank God! I'm grateful for the Holy Spirit and the ways He has used my gifts to bring Himself glory. But I often, in order to gratify my flesh, find myself wielding advice that no one asked for, taking on burdens that are not mine to carry, and worrying over other people's decisions (that, of course, I wouldn't have made).

In the same breath, I can say that people routinely seek my counsel. I'm learning, though, that I am not their personal prophet. I am Abba's child, used of Him, and it is my desire to point them to HIM like John the Baptist did--"He must increase, but I must decrease." I've found in the past that I will speak the wisdom of the Lord over someone's situation, but He is not the focal point, my wisdom is. So, in that, I must say that I have robbed my Father of His glory.

My prayer now is that when I am asked for my wisdom in a situation, I will first seek Him. I will speak His words, but I will conclude with the statement, "But you must seek Him and His will--you must test and weigh what I say with the Holy Spirit; and you must get your full direction from Him. I am here to edify and encourage you towards Him, not towards myself."

I also must say that as I have been learning about myself for the past couple of years, I have also learned that I don't like it when people try to fix me. I'm sure others feel the same way when I do this to them! Novel!!! I have had to set boundaries in several areas of my life where I do not give myself the opportunity to fix others, nor do I allow others to fix me. Only Jesus can be what I need. Only He can heal my pain, my anger, my co-dependency, and in realizing that, I see that only He can do this for others as well; I am not qualified.

That is a load off my mind.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Call Me "The Homeschooling Hermit"

Cooler weather has come to our region and with it, I am finding myself becoming a hermit. It is much easier for me to stay at home than it is for me to get out and drive somewhere. Maybe I'm nesting. It's not normal nesting, though, because I'm not cleaning anything or preparing anything for the babies. I'm mostly just living my life, quietly. That, and I feel like (and measuring like!) I'm 32-33 weeks instead of nearly 25, so moving around is becoming a challenge...and I still have 2-3 months of this.

School is going well, and I enjoy this time each day with my big kids. Lucy is still a struggle during schooltime, but the world hasn't ended because of it. Maryn is reading better and better each day, and I'm in awe of how quickly she picks up new things. Sam has learned SO much this year so far. We have been schooling for 3 months nearly, and he is soaking it all up.

This doesn't mean that we don't have bad days. In fact, for awhile there, it seemed like our bad days were more frequent than our good days. A lot of it has to do with my attitude and how I respond to him. I'm learning that being matter-of-fact is more effective than getting annoyed or irritated when he refuses to do something. Some days, school takes WAY longer than it should because we have to stop, correct behavior or attitude, redo whatever lesson we were working on, and then move forward.

All in all, he has learned far more than I bargained for. Someone once told me that kindergarten (or was it pre-k?) is really a lesson in learning to stand in line. They don't learn much more than that.

I beg to differ.

Sam has learned to read with better proficiency, is tackling long vowels like a champ, has learned to count to 100 by 1's and 10's, he is learning to add, he is learning basic fractions this week, he is learning how to write properly, he has memorized 10 verses and the Lord's Prayer. All of this and so much more in 3 months. Seriously. I don't say this to brag at all. I say this because I think kids really want to learn more and the more you work with them, they will surprise you with what they're capable of! Their brains are amazing. Our Creator deserves all glory for His amazing creation!

I think it is limiting to them to say that all they will learn is how to stand in line. They are capable of so much more. And they do take pride in their accomplishments. Sam gets excited when he learns something new, and it is fun to watch him apply it throughout the day. It's very rewarding. I realize he could have learned all of this stuff in a traditional school, but I am amazed that he is learning all of this stuff from ME. I never, in a million years, thought I would be teaching my kids at home. But I am thankful for the opportunity, even if this is the only year I do it (we will reevaluate in the summer and see how life with twins is treating us).

I may not be out and about and taking the world by storm, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to stay home with my kids, teach them, and enjoy watching them be kids. I know I'm very blessed to be in this position, and I try not to take it for granted.

I'm off to spruce up the home, welcome Lucy's speech therapist, and begin my day in the hermitage. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Expectations of the Expectant Mother

Time is passing rather quickly, it seems. The first day of Fall is on Wednesday, and after that season passes, my babies will be here. It is hard to believe I have between 3-4 months left.

I feel anticipation and anxiousness when I think about going into labor. I am excited for them to arrive, but I don't want them to come too early. The longer they stay in, the healthier they'll be. There is that in-between waiting that is just hard. I am growing by the second, and I have a hard time imagining what I'm going to look like in December.

Deformed. I'm sure I'll look deformed.

That's okay; I have a good reason. :)

I've also found that I've been much more quiet about this pregnancy. I rarely call the boys by their names to other people. I don't know why. I just say "the boys." I think perhaps I am savoring the knowledge of the two of them in my womb. Since I get to have ultrasounds so frequently, I have a pretty good handle on where each boy is positioned. I can think of them in terms of "Felix just kicked me," or "Milo has the hiccups." It's a special bond between the three of us.

I wonder what they'll look like. Will they be identical? Will one of them have red hair like Sam? Will they look different enough that I don't confuse them?

Sam and Maryn are excited about their arrival. I'm a bit nervous for Lucy. She is a mama's girl, and I wonder if she'll be too jealous or clingy. I hope not. I hope she'll be excited to run and get me things I need. We are planning to move her into Sam and Maryn's room in the next few weeks. The party will probably last for a month or two. I'm hoping she is secure and sleeping well in their room by the time Felix and Milo arrive.

I'm holding out hope for help. I am praying that God will send some people to help us with the older children and meals. I really DON'T want people to come who just want to hold the babies; I want REAL HELP. I will be spending a lot of my time feeding the boys, and it would be nice to know that my other children are not running around like crazy people.

I'm so thankful for God's grace in all this. He knows what we need, and I can see that it won't be easy, but I know HE will be faithful to us and help us when we need it. He's a really good Father.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus!

I've been thinking about sorrow and grief multiple times over the last month. I've had three friends miscarry their sweet babies, and hearing that news just never gets easier.

It's also been on my mind a lot because the baby I lost would have been due this week. I've thought so many times about how I would have been close to delivery, eagerly anticipating his/her arrival, and our lives would be changed again. Watching my friends walk through the journey without me has not been easy; in fact, it has just sucked. I certainly wish no ill will on anyone, and I am happy for them; it's just hard to watch them knowing that I won't get to experience that with the baby I lost. I think I am in the final stage of grief, and I think this too shall pass as this date passes me by.

I miss that little baby, conceived in love and commitment, created for a purpose. I was honored to be his/her mommy for just a short amount of time. But, I'm still sad. Even with two wiggly boys in my womb right now, I still feel the loss of that precious one. Just because I was able to conceive again doesn't mean that the love and memory of that precious one has been erased. I will never forget that sweet child.

Last night, after hearing of another friend miscarrying, I began thinking of Jesus, dying on the cross, becoming sin for us and carrying our sorrows. Isaiah 53 says,

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of man, understands the grief and sorrow that comes with loss of a child. Because of His great sacrifice on the cross, He acquainted himself with these very griefs. He experienced ALL of it on the cross. He is the ideal one to carry us through the grief and sorrow ourselves. I am so thankful for this beautiful gift--one who can understand perfectly what I am going through because He has ALREADY CARRIED IT for me. I can lean on Him and trust Him in my sorrow.

Occasionally, I will still have a sad moment, but through it all, the overwhelming and predominant feeling in the midst of sorrow has been JOY. JOY in Him--that He loves me, that He would carry my burdens, that He is my strength, that He is my hope. I pray that my friends experience this Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus. I pray that they are touched by His Joy and can be filled with it in the midst of their own sorrow.

We are healed by His stripes. We are whole in Him. We lack nothing. We have everything. All will be restored. All will be made new. Praise Him!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Brain Niblets

I'm having some blogger block today. It will probably end up being a bullet point list. Yes, it will.

  • 22 Weeks yesterday--went to the doc, measuring 30 weeks. Boys look good. Blood pressure is awesome--100/60. Altogether uneventful. 15 weeks until term.
  • Dealing with an overachieving child is difficult, especially when he's learning new material in school and is easily frustrated when he doesn't get the answers right the first time.
  • I have a throbbing headache in the base of my skull.
  • It is best to put away the dishes while the toddler is asleep. This prevents her from getting into the dishwasher and making messes.
  • Doing things for others is rewarding unless you do them out of obligation, then it is just exhausting. Note to self: next time, you will say "no."
  • We have one episode of Lost left and then the finale. I'm ready.
  • Does anyone else think Benjamin Linus is the Island's version of Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder version)?
  • I have really missed my husband this week. He has been working so much, and I can tell he's exhausted and drained. I'm looking forward to this weekend with him.
  • I am currently frustrated that Lucy will not play outside for more than 3 seconds without crying, wanting back in only to go right back out.
  • I have appreciated the rain we've received the last few days. It was much needed, and I am hoping our trees don't dry up and change colors like they've been doing so far.
  • I just got sad realizing that the next holiday Dave gets off is Christmas. He hasn't had a holiday off since...Memorial Day. Sheesh. That was three months ago.
  • The good news is that the work day is almost done, and all my favorite people in the world will be under one roof.
Have a good weekend!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Dabor

It is Labor Day, and I can't think of Labor Day without remembering this old Strong-Bad email from Homestar Runner. Just for a laugh, you know?

Check it out HERE.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Names and Meanings

We have notified our families of our names for our boys. So now, it is your turn (though you might've already seen it on Facebook. Took me a little longer to get on here.)


Felix Josiah
Milo Zane

Now, what you didn't get on Facebook are the meanings of the names. Dave and I are pretty insistent that our children have meaningful names that speak over their lives. We believe that a "good name is rather to be chosen than great riches" (Proverbs 22:1).

Felix means "blessed, happy, fortunate". This name is not only rock awesome, it is so true. This little boy is a blessing to us and will be to others. His middle name, Josiah, has a few meanings. I saw two prevalent ones: "fire of the Lord" and "Jehovah heals". This name is especially meaningful. The fire of the Lord brings power and purity. "Our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). Also, Jehovah does heal. In our pain of losing our sweet baby in January, the Lord healed us. Then, He granted us a double blessing beyond anything we could have imagined. We are so thankful for Felix Josiah.

Milo means "merciful" and one book I saw said "generous". His middle name, Zane, means "God is gracious". We believe this child is a gift of God's mercy and grace. We are so thankful that God blessed us with Milo Zane in His grace and mercy. We didn't deserve anything, but He lavished this gift of ANOTHER boy on us.

We are so humbled and grateful for these gifts!!!

We know most people don't think about meaning when they say a name. But when we say our children's names, we can't help but think about what their names represent for them.

When I speak "Samuel", I am declaring that my son will hear the Lord!!! I want him to hear the Holy Spirit clearly and not live in fear.

When I speak "Maryn", I say she is "desired"--by Jesus and by her parents. I also speak that she is "of the sea"--hopefully one who gives her life to those beyond this land.

And when I say "Lucy", I am calling her "light". She will shine forth in radiance for Jesus.

We love our kids' names, but the meanings surpass the popularity or lack thereof. I pray you will start to see your own name and your children's in the same way.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm a Failure, and It's Okay.

I think I probably fail more than I succeed. I attribute this to being human. I am not without error. How I handle failure is often more telling of my beliefs than the actual failures themselves.

I think we're scared of the word "failure". We've been taught not to call ourselves that because then we can't "do whatever we put our minds to". I don't think we need to be scared of it. Failure is inevitable. We're all going to mess up; we've all sinned. We're all imperfect and wicked at times. We think impure thoughts, we get angry and murder people in our minds, and we willfully do the wrong thing--over and over.

Why are we scared to fail? Is it because we're afraid of what people will think of us when we announce that we failed? Or is it because we know we're not "good enough" for God?

Take comfort, friends.

You're not good enough for God...on your own.

Knowing Jesus makes you good enough in EVERY way. Despite your human failures, the blood of Jesus shines through, His grace covers, and His love overwhelms every single failure.

Did you know that Jesus BECAME sin on the cross? He didn't just carry it--HE BECAME SIN. What does that mean for us? Every single failure--He became it. He put to death those failures, and He rose victorious over them. Because He did that, we also died to them and rose victorious over them.

So, I sinned today. You did too. We both failed.


we trust in His death and resurrection over those sins, and we can rise to walk in His victorious life.

He's not mad at us.
He's not disappointed in us.
He's not surprised at us.

He's pleased with us.
He's rejoicing over us.
He knows us intimately.
He loves us.

So stop acting like He's a meanie out to get you. You couldn't be further from the truth.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

21 Weeks--16 to go!!!

I go to the doctor next week. I have gained 19 lbs so far. I need to gain 5 more lbs. in the next 3 weeks to meet the quota of 24 lbs in 24 weeks. Evidently, if you gain less than 24 lbs in 24 weeks, your chances of preterm labor increase significantly. I think I can do it! :)

The boys are moving quite a bit these days. They really enjoy dinner time and bed time. We have decided on first names but no middle names yet. I will announce them here whenever we tell our families what we've chosen.

We just hope no one is negative about the names...we've been down that road before!

37 weeks is my goal. If they stay in a bit longer, I won't mind (even though the discomfort will make me mind!!!). I pray they're both over 6 lbs and good nursers!!!

I will definitely update after my appointment next week. I'm looking forward to the ultrasound. It's so fun to see them on there, wiggling around and waving at me. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Knowing God: A How Not To

Last night, a girl I really don't know well at all told me that she envies the way I know God.

I laughed.

I was at a meeting called Celebrate Recovery!--it's like AA for everything--life's hurts, habits, and hang-ups. I think this is why I laughed. Here I am, obviously a "beggar at the door of God's mercy," and she envies ME. I was flat-out humbled. And realized even more how great God is.

She went on to say, "I've been a Christian for a long time, but I don't feel like I have that kind of relationship with God the way you do. I want to know what I need to do to get there."

I replied, "Well, I'm sorry to say, but there is nothing you can do to get there."

I went on to explain that God's work of grace in my life has been a long road. My journey to "get there" is not complete. I've been blessed by experiences with Him, grace extended to me in my darkest moments, and just loved on by His people. My journey into a deeper relationship with God goes far beyond a list of things to do. In fact, I can't take any credit for the journey. I believe He has orchestrated all of it. If anything on my part, there was a desire to know Him more. He has been faithful to grant that.

"Even you just asking me about this tonight is part of YOUR journey. You will look back someday and remember that this was part of it," I told her.

I tried to explain that there were a couple of really great books that have shaped and blessed me over the years. I wrote down the titles* and gave them to her. I told her to call me if she wanted to chat some more. I hope she does.

I think she wanted a formula. The "me" from just a few years back would have wanted one too. Perhaps, she wanted me to say, "If you just read your Bible more, pray more, be faithful to church, and stop sinning, THEN you can know Him more deeply." A lot of churches teach this heresy. The path to knowing God is not about disciplining yourself into what you believe is obedience. It's about letting Him reveal Himself to you in a myriad of ways--yes, His Word is one way, but so are His people and His very voice in your spirit, speaking His truth to you and over you.

There is NO formula.

In the kingdom of heaven, a+b≠c. Everything is a paradox--you die to live, you lose to win, the first is last, you give to those who take from you.

There is NO formula.

I'll end with this quote I read on Facebook yesterday. It totally sums up how I feel about my walk with God--knowing Him, letting Him love me, and being able to love Him back:

I used to think that what God wanted for me to do was try harder, get
more committed, deny myself and keep my sin under control and then I
would begin to see change. But I am learning that the fight in the
Christian life is the fight of believe the Gospel of grace
...(that God in Christ has forgiven you of all your debt with Him and that He has given you all His 'rightness') really is true. -Tom Wood

I repeat, there is NO formula.

*The titles I recommended are The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning which was a catalyst in my journey of grace. In my journey of understanding God's love, He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobsen takes the cake.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Rundown (no, not that horrible movie with The Rock)

I wish I had something amazing and exciting to talk about.

I don't.


So, I guess you just get a rundown of what I did last week.
  • I cooked.
  • I cleaned.
  • Dave cleaned my floors, and I feel like our house is sparkling.
  • I reorganized my craft shelf and got rid of a bunch of fabric.
  • I made a skirt for Maryn.
  • I finished a sweater for my friend Nicole's son, Calvin.
  • I repaired two stuffed animals.
  • I took my kids to the park twice.
  • I played miniature golf, and my son almost beat me (he got two holes-in-one).
  • I got to see my good friend, Elizabeth, on Saturday for a couple of hours.
  • We had Nicole's family over for supper and s'mores last night. Though, our smores had to be made in the toaster oven because it started raining during dinner, and we have an electric stove and a capped fireplace. They were still good.
  • When I cleaned out the craft shelf, I discovered a few unfinished projects. I'm working on an afghan as a gift, and that darned old advent calendar is STILL waiting for me. My friend's mom gave me hers to use as a pattern, so I'm starting from scratch with that. Forget the old one. There is also a pile of bibs waiting to be sewn. I may or may not get to those this century.
  • We got doughnuts for snacks one day.
All in all, it was a pretty fun week. Dave and I are finishing up Season 5 of Lost this week. We have the season finale, and then we can move on to Season 6. I'm ready to be done!!! I have enjoyed the story immensely, but I'm ready to have some closure.

I believe it is time for me to do mundane chores. I hope your day is blessed and filled with lots of laughter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Little Light House: Vote NOW!

Please click below on the widget to go vote for The Little Light House in Tulsa, OK. It is a great school for kids with special needs. My friend's little boy, Elliot, is a student there, and this school has been such a blessing for their family. He has learned so much while he is there. Here is a link to read about Elliot Bennett.

The Little Light House does not receive ANY government funding. They rely solely on donations and are non-profit.

You can vote 5 times for The Little Lighthouse--they can win $500,000!!! This would be a huge blessing for them. This is not a scam, and you won't regret it!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Homeschooling Progress: 7 Weeks Down

Sam is doing really well with homeschooling. He is so smart (which I knew because I'm his mom, and of course, I am biased!). No really, though, I am so impressed with God's design of the brain. Sam is soaking up so much in a short period of time. Because I did the Beginning Reading from Hooked on Phonics with him prior to starting school, the entire first semester of his phonics curriculum has been review (with the exception of a couple of lessons on sentences).

Sam finished that first semester of phonics LAST week. We reviewed what was necessary and flew through the rest. We are finally slowing down now that we have made it to long vowels. I would be thrilled if he finishes the phonics curriculum by Christmas (or before the boys arrive, whichever comes first), and then he can just READ, READ, READ!!!

As for math, we aren't going quite as fast, but it has been really neat to see him learn. I am discovering what is hard for him and easy for him. I am also discovering what kind of approach I prefer. He loves real-life application. He's not content counting manipulatives (though he does), he really wants to do something that is REAL. We have made toast together, used the computer together, and I've noticed how much more quickly he learns by doing. It is so neat to see him in this new light.

Handwriting is fine--he does fine on his worksheets, but he forgets to apply what he's learned while drawing for fun. I suppose it will translate eventually. Other people experience this? We're doing Handwriting Without Tears, if you didn't know.

He has memorized seven verses so far! I am so encouraged. I am re-memorizing them with him. One day, I noticed Maryn was learning them too, just by listening to Sam recite them. So great!

Maryn is almost finished with the Beginning Reading Hooked on Phonics. I ordered some books for her to give her something to do for awhile. I got the Bob Books and the Now I'm Reading books. She has shocked me with how quickly she has picked up reading. She is not as proficient as Sam yet, but she will be in no time, I'm sure. I wanted to get him really comfortable with long vowels before I go any further with her. I am not ready for her to catch up with him yet!

I am really amazed and encouraged by my experience so far. My kids are learning so much in an hour a day. I am thankful for this opportunity. I am loving my time with them, watching them grow and learning more about who they are. They are a joy and a blessing.

By the way, Lucy will watch a Backyardigans Sing-A-Long DVD, and that has helped immensely! I've also found that snacks help keep her occupied as well!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Twice is Nice

We have had yet another ultrasound and an appointment, and we are having two boys, for certain!

They are very cute. I get more and more excited about meeting them and seeing their personalities up close and personal. They are growing well, and I am healthy. What a gift!

My oldest two children are very excited about having two baby "brudders". My dad has come up with several silly name combos for the boys as well--Phineas and Ferb, Thaddeus and Thor, Cash and Dash. Not gonna happen! :)

We are a bit stuck on names. We don't want anything that rhymes, and we want to have very meaningful names. It is hard to find two names that work well together and with our other children. And then there are middle names to consider! It is too much! I mentally go through my children's list of names to see how it would sound, "Sam, Maryn, Lucy, ______________, and _____________." I also have found a name or two that I liked, but I just didn't like the potential nicknames. We shall see, and I believe it will be a matter of prayer! I am sure there are names for these boys!

Just not Jacob and Esau....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Last Trip (for awhile)

We made our last trip of my pregnancy this past week. I am to the point already (at 18 weeks) where riding in the van for extended periods of time is very uncomfortable. Some of our good friends from residency were in Tulsa because of a death in their family. We wanted to be sure to see them while they were in town because it has been a year since we saw them last, and we won't see them for another year and a half or so. They are missionaries in Kenya, and it was GREAT to see them and their children. It is so surreal sometimes to think about them being overseas; someday, I will feel that way about us being overseas!

We were able to visit with a lot of people, but there were still so many that we didn't get to see! It's so hard to not be able to see EVERYONE. But, I trust we saw those that we needed to see this trip. We were so blessed by our hostess, Jan, and by the many families who cooked for us. We are so thankful for the time people made in their schedules for us.

The kids got to swim several times and had a blast. They love going to Tulsa. They always hate to leave. :)

Now that we're back home, we are prepared to settle in and stay put. The babies are coming in Dec/Jan, and I have a feeling it will be months before we're brave enough to attempt a road trip with 5 children (2 of them babies!). So, here's to being a homebody and being content!

So, if you miss us, come visit! :)

I have an ultrasound today as well as my doctor's appt. I am looking forward to seeing the boys (I will be surprised if Baby A is a girl. Very surprised.) I will certainly let you know if it changes!

I must move on with my day. I have too much to do to sit here any longer!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I'm considering joining in the consignment sale coming up in our area. I thought it might be a good way to make some money to put toward buying the twins some clothes. However, I'm not sure I think my time is worth it??? I don't know.

I want to know what you think about consigning.

Did you feel it was worth it?

Did you like being able to shop early and get good deals?

Should I only put out fall clothes since we're coming into the fall season or should I put out summer stuff too?

What were the positives/negatives?

Did you iron any clothing?

Any tips?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


That's what my house is right now. I asked Dave to please take all the children to the store to buy some ice cream so I can be alone for a little while. It has been a rough couple of days. We had new windows installed in our house, and so there was a lot of togetherness for me and the kids. They are used to being able to play all over the house, and I had to keep them out of the workmen's ways and away from the glass.

I am tired!

The windows look great, and I am so thankful to have them. I hope our bills change drastically, and I hope our house can maintain a more consistent temperature.

I am thankful for the quiet now. No one is yelling; no one is crying. Not even me. :)

So, I think I will go enjoy myself for a few more minutes before I eat my ice cream.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And the Twins Are...


Well, we think they're both boys. Our ultrasound tech was confident that one was a boy and a little unsure about the other. When I look at the pictures, it does look like a boy. We have another ultrasound on the 16th, so we will be able to check again, and hopefully with more certainty.

Names are a no-go at this point. We had a boy name and a girl name, but if we're not going to be able to use those, then we will need to come up with some others. We've tossed several around, but we aren't sold on anything yet. And, family, we are fairly certain you will think the names we pick are weird, so be prepared. :)

Everything looked good on the ultrasound--hands, toes, fingers, heads, bellies, and hearts. Both were measuring about the same, which is great--there isn't one getting more than another. There were two placentas, two sacs, but this does not guarantee they're fraternal (however, they most likely are). If they are, indeed, two boys, we will not know if they are fraternal or identical until birth if we have a DNA test or can obviously tell them apart (we think it'd be cool if one was a redhead). It was fun to see them wiggling around and see how amazing the human body is--and the God who created it!

Here are some pictures of the little bundles of JOY:

Here is Baby "A": He/she (this is the one she was unsure about) was more cooperative than Baby "B"--wasn't nearly as wiggly and let us get some good pictures.

And Baby "B" wiggled so much, most of his pictures were blurry. Can you see his fingers spread out?

And here they are together: "B" is on the left, and "A" is on the right. "A" decided to wave for the picture. Can you see? "B" is blurry. :)

Thanks for indulging my proud mama's heart! I would have put all the pictures on here, but I am not that ambitious. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ideas Worth Stealing

My friend, Katie, has fabulous ideas. You should check out her weekly Tuesday Tip on her blog. As I've gotten to know her over the past couple of years (via the internet and a brief visit in an airport!), I've learned to steal as many of her ideas as I can. She is a few steps ahead of me, and she is way more organized than I think I will ever be.

Here is my favorite idea of Katie's: teach your kid to read.

That was something very intimidating to me. I wondered how in the world I would do that. She made it simple.

Starting at age 2, do alphabet flashcards until they learn to recognize all their letters.

At age 3, begin teaching them all the sounds of the letters.

At age 4, begin teaching them to blend letters and form words.

And BAM! your kid is reading before kindergarten.

I was a little slow on the uptake, but here's how it went for us.


He knew his alphabet already when I started although he would confuse similar-looking letters (b/d, g/q, f/t). At age 4, I started working on sounds with him. He learned all of those and started to blend letters into words. I quit for awhile because he seemed really frustrated. Right at age 5, I picked it up again, and in 45 minutes, he was sounding out words like a pro. He continued reading, and now we are flying through the kindergarten phonics and reading; so far, it has all been review! We will slow down once we come into unfamiliar territory. I am excited for that day to see him learn MORE new reading techniques.


At age 3, I started making sure she recognized all her letters. Then, at 4, when we started "school" for her three weeks ago, I started working on letter sounds. In three weeks and 5-10 minutes a day, she learned all her letter sounds. Last week, she started sounding out words. These kids have amazing brains! We need to take advantage of them!

So, Katie, thank you for encouraging me in this; it has paid off, and I am so thrilled that I got the opportunity to teach my kids how to read.

Now, Lucy may be a different story because she turns two right before the twins will be born. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Twins 101: Conversations

"I heard the great news! Twins!"

"Yes. We're very excited."

"Better you than me!"

"Are they fraternal or identical?"

"I don't know yet. We might find out at our ultrasound, but then again, we may have to wait until they're born."

"Does it run in your family?"

"Yes, I have some that are distant cousins."

"What about your husband's family?"

"Well, it actually doesn't matter if they're on his side of the family. For fraternal (genetic) twins, it has to be on my side because it means I released two eggs."

"Oh. Well, congratulations...I guess."

These are a couple of the real conversations I have had multiple times. Not everyone ended on a negative note, but I have had a few end like these. It never ceases to amaze me how negative people's comments can be, and they assume you agree with them so they're not rude at all. Yeah, right.

But I've had some good conversations as well. My favorite was with my friend, Caroline. We were in Tulsa for the weekend, and we went to visit our former church there. She walked straight up to me and said,

"This is the greatest thing you will ever walk into. This is something you will look back on and say that this is when it all began. This is a great blessing, and I am so excited for what God is going to do."

That is a loose translation, but exactly what I heard.

Speak life to people.

If you say you honor life, respect life, and protect life, then SPEAK LIFE.

Speak it over your children, over your home, over your spouse, over your family, over your friends, over the Body of Christ, over the sucky circumstances in your life, over the amazing circumstances.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Appointment and Disappointment

We had our first appointment with the OB/GYN yesterday. Everything went really smoothly, and I was not required to repeat all the lab work and exams that I had already done at the Health Department for my midwife risk assessment. That was nice.

We really liked our doctor, even if he was a bit chatty. Once they find out your husband is a doctor, the conversation can kind of stray! It was fine, though, and we feel really comfortable with him as our doctor. He is very confident in his own abilities, and he was confident in ME. I really like that kind of support--especially when it comes to birthin' babies. Because really, I am the one who does all the work anyway. :)

The disappointment was that we did not get to have an ultrasound because he doesn't do them in his office, so we have a separate appointment to have that done next week. In the future, I will have ultrasounds every month to check on the babies and make sure they're both getting enough to eat. These appointments will be right before my doctor's appointment, so I won't have to make the trip twice. Thank you!

We got to hear their heartbeats. It really might be one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. To hear two was comforting--I'm glad they're both okay in there. I've felt them flutter around a bit, but at this stage of the game, it isn't regular enough to gauge anything by it. My blood pressure is stellar, and so far, my weight gain is great. I'm right where I should be...hope I can keep it that way. :)

We ate Indian food last night for dinner since we were in the city, and it was delish. But there was this obnoxious woman who came in to do a take-out order. She was talky-talky and passive-aggressive, and it was so sweet because Dave caught my eye and said, "I love you so much." I laughed. I guess he's glad I'm not as neurotic as that lady. :)

Well, stay tuned for a post on Twins 101. The facts, the myths, and the common questions that I get asked almost EVERY day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Diseases, Books, and My Exciting Life

Not too much has been happening here...well, nothing exciting anyway.

Last week, all three of my kids had hand/foot/mouth--a nasty virus that has sores in those three body parts. Lucy was the worst, and it was miserable. She didn't sleep well (translated: we didn't sleep well), and she was just very fussy. I am so thankful they are all better now.

We had a friend who is a missionary in East Asia come stay the night with us this week. It was nice to visit with her and hear about what God is doing in her part of the world. He is really moving among the church there and is drawing more to Himself.

I read another book by Wayne Jacobsen--So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore? It was really interesting. Too many thoughts to go into here and now, but I will say, I agreed with far more than I disagreed with. It is not a proclaimer of house church or no church or anti-traditional church. It is all about US as THE CHURCH living in community with one another--transparently and honestly--loving people and making Jesus our focus instead of buildings, programs, classes, methods, or men. It was very encouraging, and it is exactly what I needed to read right now. I do recommend it.

I'm reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett right now for book club. I am loving it so far. It is really well-written, and I can tell it is going to be one of those books that I am going to want to own. If you're wondering, it is about some black maids in the 60s who have been raising white children for years as nannies, but they are also discriminated against by their employers. A white woman comes along who wants to see change, and the three of them together embark on a journey of change during the civil rights era.

Lucy starts speech therapy next week. I am glad. However, in the last month since her evaluation, she is already saying new words and trying oh so hard to say many more. I'm very happy for her. We're still trying to decide whether we want to pursue developmental therapy. We really feel like the speech will help her in her weak developmental areas. I am hoping she does really well with speech in the next three months, because once I hit my third trimester, traveling an hour twice a week for therapy just may not be reasonable--it just depends how well my pregnancy is going.

We go to the doctor I found on Monday. We are very excited. We are not expecting to see their genders because I will be almost 15 weeks. It is possible, but I am not getting my hopes up. We are very thankful for the doctor we found. He is so reasonable and kind and supportive. Now we just have to pray all goes well and that the babies stay head down throughout delivery! :)

Well, that's about it for me. I hope your week is going well!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

School in July...almost as fun as Christmas in July

School has officially begun at our house.

You say, "It's only July, Amanda. Stop and smell the roses."

Well, yes, that is true, but I think I will wait to stop and smell the roses when the babies arrive in the winter. We started early so that I will be able to take some time (a couple of months) off when they get here.

Sam is in kindergarten this year. We are doing A Beka Phonics and Reading, Bob Jones Math for K5, and Handwriting Without Tears. It's pretty low-key, takes 45 minutes to an hour a day. And Sam is zooming. We are doing two phonics lessons a day right now because it is all review for him (because I did Hooked on Phonics with him in the winter). The math is all review too, and I think it will go faster as I get a feel for the teacher's guide and how much I want to put into each lesson.

Maryn has a packet every day that I made for the whole year. I bought those ginormous workbooks from Sam's Club (at Joanna's suggestion!!! THANK YOU, JO! BEST IDEA EVER.). I ripped out all the pages and made packets for each day and stapled them together with coloring sheets from the many coloring books we have lying around the house. She is proud of herself for getting to do school too. I am also doing the Hooked on Phonics with her as well. She is getting all her sounds down right now.

We are also doing a bit of Bible memory as well and discussing the meanings behind the verses we memorize. It is amazing how quickly kids memorize.

It has been great so far. I'm very proud of both of them. The hardest part so far has been finding things for Lucy to do. I don't do school during quiet time/naptime because I need that time to unwind or nap. She doesn't quite have the dexterity for coloring yet, and her attention span for TV is way too short. If you have any ideas for a nearly 20 month old, I will gladly take them. This girl is way too busy and into everything!

Well, naptime is over; this post is too. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Plans and Open Hands

Planning for the birth of a baby is challenging, especially when you already have children. Planning for the birth of TWO babies (at the same time!) is even more challenging and ESPECIALLY when you have three older children.

I have felt every emotion possible this past week: happy, overwhelmed, excited, thankful, scared, nervous, and a little loony.

I have comforted myself with the knowledge that God has chosen this for our family. He has blessed us with this amazing gift of two children at once. He is wise. He also knows how pressure draws us closer to Him. Trusting Him in this will be a lesson all in itself!

Right now, I am trying to decide which doctor I will go with. I am doing my best to research them ahead of time instead of doing several interviews since we live an hour away. It hasn't been really easy, and some offices have been more cooperative than others. I've called hospitals and talked about their policies for multiple births. I am still waiting to hear back from a couple of doctors.

I want what is best for my children. I want them to be healthy, though I know that isn't a guarantee or a proof of God's goodness. He is good no matter how healthy they are. I do want to plan the best possible situation for them to be born in. I feel that if I fail to plan for the best possible situation, then it will certainly NEVER happen. Things may not go the way I plan, and I know that, and I'm okay with that, but if I don't plan for the best, then that reality is not a possibility.

I am daily reminding myself that I am not in control. I don't have to be in control. I don't know how early they'll be born. I don't know how much they'll weigh. I don't know if they'll nurse well. But if I don't take care of myself, then the chances are, they'll be born earlier, weigh less than they should, and probably struggle with nursing. So, wouldn't I be foolish to not prepare for the BEST and take care of myself?

I think the same thing goes for my birth plan. I want to have a vaginal delivery. It is statistically the better option for both mom and baby. I want to work towards that. I realize it may not happen. One of my wiggly children may decide to turn some funny way at the last minute. I know that. I am prepared for that.

I want to have a natural birth if possible. The fewer medications in my body=the fewer medications in their bodies. It is also an amazing experience for all involved. My experience with Lucy was so amazing, and the bond and connection we shared was very different from my other births. Do I love my other children less? No. Absolutely not. But the experience has changed our relationships. I can't deny that. I don't need to defend natural childbirth--there's a plethora of information that shows how much better it is for mom and baby, breastfeeding, and postpartum recovery.

I have already felt the criticism of others for wanting to plan in this direction--as if I would totally disregard my children for what I want. That kind of judgment goes straight to my heart--that I would prefer myself over my kids. I will do what is best, and I trust that the Lord will give me wisdom and discretion for each situation.

In the meantime, I will continue to search for the best doctor and hospital for me and my babies. I am so thankful for a husband who supports me in my decisions and who isn't afraid to tell me if something makes him uncomfortable. We are in this TOGETHER, and we will press forward in this adventure regardless of the criticism.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Change of Plans

Well, we are no longer planning a homebirth. We are sad about it, but our midwife will not continue our care...for a very good reason.

We are having twins.

That is right. I am not even joking. We just found out today at our ultrasound. We had a resident friend do one for us since we haven't had one yet.

All week, I have been wondering if there were two babies instead of one. I believe my spirit knew what my mind did not--the Lord was preparing me for this great news!

Here they are!!!

Our next step is to find a doctor who won't insist upon a c-section unless absolutely necessary. Thankfully, my midwife is going to be able to be my support during delivery and be my go-between for hospital staff as well as helping support me with breastfeeding them.

We appreciate your prayers!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Provision

In the grand scheme of things, bunk beds are pretty low on the list. I must say, though, that we distinctly felt His provision for them yesterday.

I had done plenty of online research of several stores in the nearest city, and my conclusions were that if we were to buy metal bunkbeds, bunky boards, mattresses, and pay to have them delivered, we would spend at least $800.

I did not want metal bunk beds. I'm sure there isn't anything wrong with them, they just don't seem as sturdy as wooden ones. But, we certainly did not want to spend even $800 and certainly not for metal bunk beds.

I checked Craigslist. Most bunkbeds with used mattresses were going for $500. We didn't want used mattresses, but most folks wanted us to take the mattresses with the beds.

So, we went on our adventure yesterday morning. We were both dreading the idea of wandering from store to store and back again just comparing prices and trying to get a good deal. It just sounded exhausting. We went downtown first because we knew of three furniture stores we wanted to check out there. The first store we went to was closed. Closed on Saturday. Seriously?

As we were driving back around, we saw a store that wasn't even on our list--Bates Furniture. It was in an old building downtown and didn't look fancy. We get in, and the lady comes right up and asks what we're looking for.

"Bunk beds. We're just shopping around and trying to get an idea of what we want to buy."

She takes us to the back of the store, and shows us what she has in stock. The first picture she showed us was everything we wanted:

Solid Wood
Drawers Underneath

For $550.

That is right.

I am not even kidding.


They would also provide setup and delivery for $75.

This is awesome considering we don't own a truck and couldn't rent a U-Haul for less than $90. And we'd rather have people set them up that are used to setting them up!!!

We walked out of there so relieved that our task was OVER and we had saved so much money. At another store I had talked to, they would have been able to give us all the same stuff for--get this--$1200.

We paid HALF.

God is a provider, and I am thankful.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Really Uninteresting Post

I don't really have anything interesting to say. I hope to contradict myself, but that would be surprising.

I feel time is flying pretty quickly. My kids are growing. My belly is growing...mostly with fat. No really. It's funny to me that anyone would assume there's a baby in there since it is only the size of a plum. My belly is sure a lot bigger than that! It doesn't really bother me, but I don't want to wear maternity clothes yet. It was exciting to wear them with Sam (which I didn't get to do until I was 20 weeks). I'm wearing maternity stuff today at 10 weeks...I also need to do laundry. I just don't enjoy the looks on people's faces when I tell them I'm still in my first trimester. The cashier at Wal-Mart thought for sure I was four months pregnant. Ha! My abs just aren't what they used to be. :)

I'm considering giving the potty a try with Lucy. She almost peed on it last night. By almost, I mean she stood up from it and peed on the floor. She started crawling out of her bed yesterday. I have never had this issue. Neither of my big kids did that. She is a monkey. She is so tiny too. It amazes me she did it. As a result, we are going to move her to a toddler bed soon and put the big kids in bunk beds. So, this weekend, we will be shopping for bunk beds. I was hoping for a twin/full combo. But DANG, bunk beds are not cheap! I also want sturdy wood ones instead of metal construction. It wouldn't be too bad if we didn't have to buy the mattresses too. I saw a few on Craigslist that looked appealing, but we're not super thrilled with buying used mattresses. Does that gross out anyone else? If you live in my area, do you have any good recommendations on places to buy them? I have looked at several stores online, and I've found a few things that I like, but it looks like the cheapest is going to be about $800 for everything. What I want to buy is about $1200 total, and I just can't stomach that! And it appears, most folks on Craigslist want you to take their mattresses too.

I am thankful my kids have places to sleep. And a roof. And food. And more toys than any of us want them to have. I'm such an American.