Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Empty Tomb and a Beautiful Life

Its way late...
like nearly one a.m.
I am an idiot for being awake when everyone else in this house is snoring... loudly.
 
(I will pay for this in the morning when I'm trying to wrangle four little ones into their matching Easter outfits, while trying to make myself look presentable and not be late.)

Tom is loudest of all, but he is to cute for me to wake him.
I would post a picture but one of the things I enjoy about married life is keeping him all to myself.
I never shared well as a child either....

I'm listening to him breathe...
to the wooshing of the ocean waves coming through the boys monitor.
To the sound of the occasional car going by, its warm enough that the windows are open.

And now I'm listening to the sound of my thoughts as they click and clack on this keyboard.
My thoughts are part of the reason I'm awake at this hour I'm sure.
That and the fact that I got to sleep in and had way to much caffeine tonight.
 
One of my Mom's good friends passed away this week.
She was one of those friends one whom my sister and I bestowed the title of "Aunt".
The one who cut our hair for free in her laundry room.
Who treated us to candy as liberally as a grandma.
The kind of friend you can pick up with after any length of time and it feels like you never missed a beat.

She was at my graduation, my wedding... it's simply very surreal that she's passed.
I remember her best at my Mom's age, when her grandchildren were little.
Still very young and full of life.

I am pained to think of how quickly the years slip through our fingers.
It seems like yesterday I was dying for him to pop the question....
then it seemed the wedding date would never come.
Then all we could think of was starting a family... for about eight weeks.
Once Isabella was on her way we felt nearly uncontainable anticipation.
Once she was here we looked forward to each milestone more than the last.
Soon Tommy came along, then Daniel... now here is our sweet Vivian.

And with each addition I have grown wiser... 
I feel my grip tighten as I try so desperately to hold onto them. To this time.
I remind myself more and more often not to rush through this beautiful life God has given me.

Its a strange juxtaposition I suppose to talk about trying to hold on to life on this Easter Sunday.
I love this life so much that its hard to imagine one better...
I know that's not the case for everyone though.
I think sadly that far more people are unhappy in this life.

my ultimate hope and joy should be in the promise of an eternal life.
 
One far better than this I am told... and I often tell Isabella when she asks.
It seems she has a lot of questions about heaven.
No pain, 
no disease, 
no war, 
no death....
life everlasting..... I can't wrap my head around it.
So I guess it shouldn't surprise me that she can't either.
 
She asks questions about things that seem important in her five year old mind
... can we take our house with us?
Can I have a horse?
Will God play with us? 
Will He have cool toys?

 I try to envision it.
what will Heaven be like?
I'm not sure. 
Isabella's childish questions make me wonder.
Is it whatever we want or is it that we will have no more wants... only contentment?
How is it possible that there is no sorrow, only joy?

I want to learn more and I intend to but in the end it won't matter what I think I know about the eternal life God has promised to those who accept the gift of the risen savior.

I want it.
I know God loves me and I want an eternity with Him.
That he would send His son to the cross in my place is more than enough to tell me that.

Matthew 18:3 "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, 
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I want to never be separated from these ones I love... or the God who graciously gave us each other.
That is my definition of Heaven I suppose, in its simplest form.
 
 
... but first to grow old with my husband.
And hopefully watch our children grow old too.
And spend our last years watching our grandkids the way we watch our little ones now...
and we'll say, don't they look like Vivi and Bella at that age?
or, do you remember when Daniel used to play with that car and Tommy would push him around?
 
I guess its as they say... everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.
 
 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seasonal Limbo

It's beginning to look a lot like springtime.
Today its beautiful... its sunny... and its freezing cold.

Ah well, I'm just hoping it gets nice in time for Easter, or at least Mother's day.
And we have had at least a few nice days that the kids could get out and play these last few weeks.


I couldn't find the right flowers to go above the piano so Julie made me this.
I love it, she does not... he art is usually a bit more dark, serious... sexy :) 
Stunning and moving but not usually involving flowers and ribbon.

Anyway I just had to show off her softer side... sorry Julie.
I know you'll hit me but I don't care, I'm high on all the fresh air.

Its so nice to be able to get out after a long winter,
especially a long winter spent very pregnant with three busy little kids.



But with spring comes rain... and I'm ok with that because it makes for a better nap that day.


Cloudy rainy days that follow days of sunshine and running around outdoors are the recipe for the three hour nap.  And even if only one or two of them nap for long its still a wonderful break for mommy.


And then there is always craft time when the April showers roll in,
also known as "mommy is desperate to make you shut up and sit still time"

My mother in law told me play-doh saved her sanity when she had her fourth baby...

I am dying to make a joke now about which child actually made her lose her sanity...
but I lover her so I won't ... ;)

So I decided to give the craft thing a spin when Aunt Gigi sent us some spring foam stickers in the mail....
I hate messes so this is as crafty as I wanna get... no paint or glue... thanks.


Daniel lost interest pretty quickly
but it still killed some time and made for some nice bright Easter art for my pantry door.



We tried play-doh the next day and it worked better for keeping Daniel occupied,
its seems that the best combination for Daniel is to give him play-doh and put on Toy Story 3.
I learned I can get a good hour of sitting still if I do that.
Did anyone else just hear the Hallelujah chorus???

And you can't judge me for using tv as a babysitter...
or rather you can, but I have no shame and you know you do it too so whats the point?

Lets all come out and say it... sometimes they watch three movies in a day.
(it must be ok... baby Einstein has a continuous play option!)
Often dry cereal is breakfast, and lunch...
and dinner is mac and cheese, while mommy and daddy get take out late.

Sometimes they eat the play-doh, throw goldfish at the dog, and run around in underpants and diapers for and hour or two.... or three....
anyone else notice when they are any degree of naked they wanna run?
What's that about? I don't know, I'm guessing its the feel of the wind...
but either way it makes em tired so I say faster kids faster!


Now if you will excuse me the movie is almost over and they need more goldfish in their little feed bags... see why we need some more nice weather, poor kids.

But I have to say I like the balance right now of inside days and outside days.
Makes me appreciate both... maybe a few more warm days would be good.
But sleepy movie days are nice now too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wonderland

 Our peanut is finally getting some chubby cheeks.... relatively speaking.
We haven't had a weight check yet but both Tom and I can see that she is growing with the help of some formula. It is a bittersweet relief.

I put her in a onesie today that says "...if they could just stay little."

It sounds good in theory.
No falling down and scraping knees, 
no nightmares and monsters in the closet,
no mean kids at school,
no broken hearts.

But if they stayed little I would also never get moments like this one...

Silly faces at three are different than silly faces at seven weeks...


Both funny, both make me smile... but that three year old beams when he makes his Mommy smile.
And then I smile twice, once for the silly face.. and once for his simple joy.


 I love having a little baby in the house again.
But if I had wished to keep Bella that way I would have missed out on this moment...


And then the five year old taught the almost two year old how to butter mama up...


melt my heart... you little pain in my butt.
And sometime in the shockingly near future, he will teach her.


I don't want to freeze this moment.... although I wish I could hold them always.
I want them to grow and learn, 
and I want so much to know the adults they will be as well as I know the children that they are.


I wish for them to remain joyful, and amazed.
I want to try harder everyday to teach them how to grow up well without growing up entirely...

 There is a quality of mind... receptive, open to wonder... that we call childlike, for it is children, who in their smallness, are most aware of the grandeur all around them. 
Happy are they, then, who remain small in their own eyes: 
Like Alice, they will find a wide vista beyond a little door.

~Cooper Edens

We told the kids today at dinner that we are going to the beach this summer.
To them the "beach" is a lake at a nearby state park.
We explained that this was different, there wouldn't be another shore within sight.
But I know that they have no clue what they are going to see... how do you explain the ocean?

They are at a beautiful age, where everything amazes and delights them.
We could take them to the city to see fireworks, or give them sparklers in the back yard.
It is all the same to them right now, amazing.

So instead of hauling to the city this summer to see fireworks, I'll give them the sparklers.
Instead of trekking to Florida to meet Mickey, we will make the short trip to Kennywood.

Eventually we will do those things and more I hope,
but why not let them be overwhelmed with wonder by these little things as long as possible?

We will however make that trip out to the Atlantic to take in that incredible view, and hopefully standing next to one of God's more obviously incredible creations I'll be able to see the grandeur my little ones see so easily every day.



*This post was inspired by that wonderful quote, I found it in a book the kids got from their Aunt Shari for Christmas, Its call "The Big Book of Little"  compile by Cooper Edens.
thanks so much Aunt Shari! We love it!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Six Week Staycation

 I'm ready to start heading out a bit more now that the weather is warming up.

We have been living in our pj's for the last six weeks.
Staying home every chance we get.
Happily eating whatever junk is easy and available.
We have had pancakes so much it feels like a vacation with a breakfast bar.
No reason not to make a nice brunch when you are trying to be lazy and not go anywhere.
....that is only when we actually make it downstairs and out of our bed.
We bought a new one, a king instead of a queen so we could all fit for movies and early morning cuddling.
We had a rule about no kids coming into our bed but we have found that we can get at least an hour more sleep if we let them in and turn on the tv....
all "rules" went out the window after baby number three.
Sleep is vital and in short supply.

I will say that I felt funny about spending money on a bed... but now that I've slept in it?
Just try to take it back and see what I do.
Its heavenly.

Its so nice not to roll involuntarily into the middle... its all flat... no valley!
And to not hear about how I hog the bed, (which I do... I admit)
I wake up and can't tell if anyone else is there or not!
No more freezing cold feet kicking me in the stomach...
ok well at least not until the third child gets there.

And speaking of the third child and cuddle time.

Daniels very favored Aunt "G-G" is away for a bit and we are missing her much.
So these are for you GG... your baby fix.
The two "babies" cuddling on the couch...
Also took Vivi for her weight check today! She is up to 8 pounds 11 ounces!
She has gained 3 ounces in as many days... she is still tiny but we are headed in the right direction!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Post Partum Guilt Induced Rant.....

Six weeks as a family of six.
Do I dare to tell the truth?
How do you explain the hard things about mothering little ones without seeming ungrateful.
I am so completely and utterly overwhelmed by these four
they are exhausting both mentally and physically...
I am also overjoyed, often content, and endlessly happy.
I don't think I have the baby blues or postpartum depression, I'm feeling more....whats the word... neurotic?

One day we are good, things running smoothly, fairly clean house, pretty happy kids.
The next day there is more crying and screaming than talking.
This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
This is the most important thing I've ever had to do.
This is a life that in spite of every sleepless night and temper tantrum I wouldn't trade for anything.

Even though its been six weeks since she was born I still feel in some ways as though it was just yesterday.
She isn't gaining weight the way she should which is so discouraging because she seems to be such a good eater. We are nursing this time instead of bottle feeding.
I really can't explain why but I just felt I wanted to give it a try after three bottle fed babies.

And by not gaining I mean that she is actually losing weight.
At birth she was 9.1
At discharge she was 8.7
At six days she was 8.9
and shockingly at six weeks she was 8.4...

I increased her nighttime feedings over four days and she gained four ounces.  Now at 8.8
That was as of Tuesday and we are going in tomorrow to see if shes gained.
I have started adding in some formula too. I want to at least keep nursing her in the evenings and at night for a few more months but I can't see us lasting on just nursing alone.

I am frustrated because when I thought she was gaining I was enjoying nursing.
And I'm frustrated because there is always more I could do.
But how much is too much? If I take it to far I know that I'm going to make everyone else miserable.
I could get up every three hours at night and wake her to eat.
I could pump... I could take herbs and let her eat as long as she wants during the day
(which would be an hour every two hours...)

But it wouldn't make sense because I would just be doing whats best for Vivi.
Not whats best for Vivi, Daniel, Tommy, and Izzy.

It seems more and more in my life God is putting me in situations like this to give me better perspective.
Having kids seems to open you up to like nothing else.... no pun intended.

I can see why you would get the epidural, I can see why you would go all natural.
And now I can see why some women love to breastfeed... I can see why so many loathe it.
I certainly can see why going to work is appealing. I think I've worn makeup once this month....

Ironically the hardest part of making these choices for me is wondering what other people are thinking.
Not because I really care but because I am an explainer... I want everyone to see my side of things.
Its exhausting let me tell you.

Especially when I'm finding after five years that young mothers maybe the Least flexible people I've met.
 Everyone believes that there way is the right way, and I did too when I just had one.
Even when I had two I thought I knew almost everything.
But after three and four I realize that my way isn't the only way because "My way" has been a bit different every time we have add a new baby... sometimes more than a bit.

My oldest two nursed for just two weeks.
My third not at all.
My fourth going on seven weeks...
  ironically she is "starving" and number three has been a tank since he was a few months old.
My one year old is forward facing in the car.
My dog sits between the car seats too.
I hardly ever let my kids in my bed before dawn... but I do love having them there in the early morning.
I let them cry occasionally, when I think the situation is appropriate.
God help me for saying this but I believe spanking is in order sometimes...
I have vaccinated all of them.
I plan to homeschool them too.
I stay home with them.. its not always where I want to be but I believe its where I'm needed right now.

... but let me explain, cause that's what I do.
I can make it short and sweet.
I love them more than anyone, I know them better than anyone, and God gave them to me.
So I'll be the parent.

Now do you see why I haven't written in weeks? I am a ranting raving hormonal mess...
I promise many funny stories are coming soon.