Friday, October 30, 2009

24 1/2 weeks

That's me as of late last week. ;o)

Just what I needed to hear today...

Psalm 139

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, "
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake, I am still with you.

If only you would slay the wicked, O God!

Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.

Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you?

I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

How can I read that and ever worry that I will not be cared for, or caught when I fall? How can I fear that I am doing everything wrong or not good enough or not doing as well as I see others doing? How can I worry that I am not enough, when God - Yahweh the creator of everything - made me, ME. He didn't make a mold of billions of people and slap us all here on earth to be automated robots, going about our business doing our best to be identical to one another. He made ME, just exactly how He knew He wanted me to be.

So how then can I fear that I am not as good as others? That seems to me as though it would be flying in the face of the Creator - doubting His wisdom in making me just so.

I realize this is one of those overused Bible passages that I suspect most every Christian knows of. But cliche though it may be, it deserves a second glance. It deserves a deep and thorough reading (or two, or three, or twelve!). I can't say I was in a bad place today - but I was most definitely in need of the reminders He gave me through His word in this psalm today.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Profiles of Jelly Bean

It feels weird always calling the baby just plain Baby. So since I've thought of this little cutie pie as Jelly Bean for so long, I figured I'd just call him or her that here, at least until I have a real life nick name I'm using and can start writing about.

So... here are the ultrasound pics of my little Jelly Bean. The ultrasound was very fun, and we did manage to get out without glimpsing any revealing poses that might give away the big surprise. There was a lot of kicking, quite a bit of thumb (or finger?) sucking, and even an on screen eye blink, which was pretty neat to see.

Isn't that a cute profile? Look at that sweet nose.

Jelly Bean is sucking away on that finger or thumb here.

Look at those lips!
At 24 1/2 weeks, I was amazed at how much chub we could already see on the little guy! The tech said Jelly Beab already weighs a pound and a half according to their measurements. That just seems so much heavier than I'd expect this soon!

Just love those profile shots. Plus none of the front view shots turned out very well. But it was cute to see his or her face on screen. Lots of little expressions already!

So there you go. Our baby's big photo debut on blogger! I think he or she is pretty cute already. And it made me even more excited to hold him or her in my arms in a few months!
And just as a side note, I had a fantastic time going out with just my husband to watch the ultrasound and then to enjoy lunch alone together at a little cafe. It was like a real date, and it was lovely. I think we might need to sneak a few more of those in if we can in the next few months!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big Picture Day

Well tomorrow is the day.

I know it is such a silly little thing in the big scheme of life. But I love going in for the 20+/- week ultrasound. This one is at 24 1/2 weeks for this baby, so we're likely to see some very cute little profile shots with a few thumb sucks and the like. We're not even finding out the sex, so it's not like there's some big moment that will happen.

But tomorrow morning my hubby and I will head out the door - together and without any children in tow - to see moving pictures of our newest little one, at an age where there will be so much to see and admire.

And I am just so stinking excited! So excited that I actually do feel silly.

Oh well. Not too often I really get to feel silly anymore. I guess I'll just enjoy that too! ;o)

Picture Day

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy Update

So - I realize that I'm more than half way through this pregnancy, and I hardly ever mention my pregnancy or the baby on this blog.

So today seemed like a good time to just fill in the gaps!

I'm past the 23 week mark now (closing in on 24 actually), and everything is progressing great for me, and as far as I can tell for Baby too. I've had two ultrasounds already to diagnose some bleeding (though scary to begin with, it was not serious and as far as I can tell has resolved itself!) and very much enjoyed seeing pictures of my sweet little Jelly Bean. He or she has been doing well, and we'll get to see the bigger picture next week at our bigger ultrasound. So then, when I finally have big pictures with fingers, toes and profile shots I will be able to post them here to share.

Sadly I am much worse about getting pictures of myself through this sweet time in life now that I have a few other little ones around. I was so good at getting pics every few weeks with my first 3 pregnancies. But I never did get a good one of Girly Pie. And I still haven't done any of this guy. I do intend to get a couple though, and I guess I can post them when I do. But I am definitely at the point where people don't know feel confident enough in my condition to comment on it. Usually that's a good thing, but it still amazes me the things people will say in "polite" conversation.

This little one is not giving us any particular clues as to whether he or she is in fact a he or a she. We are not peekers, so we won't know for sure until we meet the baby. Personally, I love that moment of truth and wouldn't trade the surprise for the world. And I'm not too anxious most of the time to find out, though in some pregnancies more than others I have a harder time waiting. This is one where I really am perfectly content to wait, though very curious what the baby is going to be. I guess my track record of the three to one ratio makes me lean towards assuming it will be another boy, but if I ignored the numbers and went off of feelings and baby wiggles, I guess I'd say I lean more towards girl. So in other words, I really have no idea! This little one so far seems fairly similar to Girly Pie as far as movements and position go, but then none of my pregnancies have been super unique. S/he is not a huge kicker, and always moves in the same spot, the same spot that Girly Pie did. Most of his/her movements are quite gentle and more of a wiggle than a kick. Lots of hands and arms, is my guess, rather than feet and knees moving around.

The funniest thing I can tell so far is that this little one has some personal space issues. Any time I move in a way that might squish him or her, or any time a sibling leans or pushes too heavily on my belly, this guy gives a full body reaction to the pressure. It's a funny violent little explosion. This is the first one to be so reactive to outside influence... I'm hoping that is not a bad sign for a fifth child... that could make for some interesting times with four older siblings always wanting to love on this little one!

So all in all, I am thoroughly enjoying this pregnancy. I get little glimpses of how exciting it will be to actually give birth, to meet a new little person, to kiss that soft, fuzzy little head... but for the most part that still seems like the distant future to me. I'm happily sitting in the here and now. My big goals before February include lots of organization, schedule refinement, pre-planning for the remainder of the school year so that I don't let it all fall by the wayside when I have a sweet little angel face to admire and memorize distracting me from all those equally important goals, meal planning & freezer stocking, and potty training a certain big-sister-to-be... plus a few odds and ends around the house. So far I've been pretty productive, but there is still plenty more to accomplish. And I know myself well enough to expect many of my goals to remain unmet. But hey, I'd rather aim high and miss than just settle for nothing!

So that's the scoop. We're all happy and healthy here. All the kids (who have a clue that is) are getting excited to meet a new little brother or sister, and they all have opinions on which it will be. Girly Pie is baby-obsessed right now, so I'm hoping that is a good sign for the months to come.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Irresistable Moments...

Armed and dangerous

Idn't he PERTY?


Look at that smirk.

Look... it's Cindy-Lou Who!

Male bonding

See? I really do exist!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Schedules, revisited

Well I never did post the outline of my schedule. That's because A) my schedule left little to no time to sit and do such things on the computer and B) Girly Pie gave me all of three weeks on my beautiful schedule to enjoy it before she decided that she did not, in fact, need her nap from 9-11am as I had planned around, but rather that she would now be awake until 11 when I had planned on having free time for the boys. So instead of napping during school time, she decided to nap smack between the two planned school times in the day. School was from 9-11 and from 1-2:30. Little Miss Girly Pie suddenly found her toddler nap groove from 11am to 1pm. Not such a good fit.

So after a couple of weeks of fumbling around with the mornings with all four kids and trying to see what I could fit in and where, I finally sat down last night and put together a new schedule. It's a little tighter and a little more structured than my last one. But it does allow for some toddler-free school time, as well as some carefully planned one-on-one (or two) time with me and the kids. This newer version also leaves less free time for the kids, which means less floating time for me - but it adds a short window where I am free from all four kids, which the old schedule lacked. So hopefully it balances out.

And of course in about four months when Sweet Baby #5 enters the picture, I'll be back to square one anyway. But hey, hopefully I can get more than three weeks out of this one and find out just what I need to do to make a new one work out with our new needs.

So now our days (should) look something like this:
  • 6-7a Wake, free, Mom dressed & downstairs by 7
  • 7:00 Brushing & OT (mellow) w/F
  • 7-8 AM chores, F set table, make & start eating BREAKFAST
  • 8-9 Finish breakfast, P kitchen, Mom chores & laundry, L & F rooms tidied, all free when done
  • 9:00 Brushing & OT (heavy work)
  • 9-10 P Story of the World CD with Legos in his room, F free for quiet self directed play, Mom play/activity/early preK time w/G & GP
  • 10-11 P independent school work, F school/work/games w/mommy, G & GP directed play or quiet free
  • 10:45 SNACK for all
  • 11:00 Brushing & OT (heavy work or mouth), GP nap starts
  • 11-11:30 P free or directed play, F & G school/games w/Mommy
  • 11:30-12 P w/mom for lesson time (language, spelling, other) or games, F & G quiet directed play
  • 12-12:30 LUNCH, family devotional
  • 12:30-1 P kitchen, tidy L & F rooms, F OT w. Mommy, rests start for all boys
  • 1-2:30 all boys rest, Mom free til GP wakes up, then Mom/GP time til boys up
  • 2:30-4 SNACK for all, then unit study time for Mom, P & F (crafts, activities, reading, some directed play), G & GP free/directed play
  • 4-4:30 P play w/GP, F & G w/Mommy for kitchen helper or games
  • 4:30-5 boys all free, GP w/Mommy in kitchen or doing chores
  • 5:00 Brushing & OT
  • 5-5:30 P tidy family room then read his book, F & G set table and help, GP w/Mommy
  • 5:30-6 DINNER
  • 6-6:30 Bed chores, P kitchen, G & GP baths or quiet play
  • 6:30-7 G & GP stories & bed
  • 7:00 Brushing & OT (calm, quiet)
  • 7-7:30 P & F stories & bed
  • 8:00 Lights out for any boys reading in bed

I know it looks like a lot in list form like that. But most of the directed play just means the kids don't roam free, I just get to direct them as to what game, toy or activity they are using during that time. Also, all of Finny's brushing and OT stuff we need to do about every two hours, so that's just getting to be habit and routine now. The big change is that instead of school being done before rest and afternoon, we now have a big chunk of school in the post-rest time. I will need to see how that works for us all. I admit I enjoy the free afternoons, but life with more and older children means changes need to be made. So we'll see how it goes. I hope that it will lessen the chaos and busy-ness of afternoons and evenings, while lending to a sense of direction and purpose in the play that they do have. And obviously there will be exceptions. We'll have play dates and outings and errands and field trips. In which case we just stick to the morning plan and keep Girly Pie's nap and let the rest and afternoon stuff slide. I'm all about flexibility, and with 2nd grade and under, I really have little guilt about having a day slide with only half of our intended school accomplished for a day. After all, I am comforted by the thought that in just our morning time alone we're likely doing more learning that a whole day of government schooling could accomplish. So really, in the big scheme of things, not a bad deal.

So there you go. Day 1 of Plan B has gone OK, but not right on schedule. Part of that is all the extra time put in with training and disciplining a certain Mr. Finny through his difficult transition period (how much time can one boy spend in a day whining and being sent to the stairs for YET ANOTHER time out!?). Part of it is helping all the kids learn that the new times are meant for something specific and not just play time.

But all in all, I feel the potential with this new plan is good. I'm sure there will be tweaking. And as I said I know if nothing else we'll need a whole new plan in a few months. But for now, I am happy to have a rhythm to my days again, and I hope that the structure brings us all back to that happy place we had for the few weeks we had the set times with Girly Pie's nap lining up with our school time.

In talking with Mary Grace on the phone this morning (only allowed between 8 and 9am, mind you!) she commented that she had noticed a change in my mindset and attitude towards our family's structure and what we do with our days. I'm paraphrasing there, but I have to say that I think she's right. I have felt a change and a commitment to finding a rhythm to our days that brings glory to God and accomplishes for us all in a day what He would like to see us doing. I no longer feel the freedom I once did in a day without boundaries. I feel trapped instead by that lack of structure. And knowing the person I have always been, I know for sure that I did not stumble across such a shift in perspective by my own doing. I do see God's hand in our days now, and I do feel His presence and His voice leading me in my attempts to make the most of the days I have been blessed with as wife, mother and teacher in this family.

So here's to a good day, not even over yet - and to the hope of a good tomorrow, as well!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Love is patient, Love is kind...

Well after 5 solid days of high fevers, headaches, diarrhea and nausea, my sweet little Finny is finally on the mend. He came down with some nasty bug last Thursday, and was completely thrown for a loop until well into Monday afternoon. He'd flirt with low 100-101 temperatures for much of the daytimes, especially with ibuprofen running through his system, but every night he'd shoot right back up to the mid to high 103's, even measuring as high as 105. He ate next to nothing. He hardly left the couch. He sobbed through what must have been some really intense headaches for such a little man.

He was such a trooper and hardly complained at all. But by the time Tuesday morning rolled around and he wake fever free and finally ready to begin the recovery process, he was a wasted, broken little boy.

It's been a rough week this week. Honestly, with Finny, the recovery from illness is always harder on everyone (including him) than the sickness itself. He seems to do fine being wiped out, zonking on the couch with heavy doses of drinks in straw cups, videos, books and some coloring thrown in for fun. But come the day when he must rise from his stupor and actually accomplish anything whatsoever and it is as though the sky is falling every.single.time something doesn't go his way.

I know he physically cannot control himself in many ways. I know his little body struggles even on the best of days to maintain a sense of normalcy and balance that most of us take for granted. Sensory Processing Disorder is not something that he does on purpose just to make life difficult for himself and those he loves.

But can I just admit something here?

Man is it hard to maintain compassion and patience through a day (or two or three) of a five and a half year old boy whining, complaining, arguing, fussing, grumbling, withering, crying, whimpering and generally grumping through every single moment. I am thankful beyond words for my three other children who have been beyond patient and compassionate as they watch their brother fall to the floor in a heap of misery every time he has to, say, I don't know, choose a spoon to eat the pudding treat he should be thankful to be given. And I am thankful that I was blessed with enough patience and kindness to get through the day without just locking him in his room and putting earplugs in. But man, it took everything in me to not completely lose my cool with that boy. Actually, it took more than I had, which is where God stepped in and took over my own human will and weaknesses.

So I just wanted to vent that here. I love Finny more than I can say. He struggles, yes, but his struggles hit parts of my heart that I cannot even fathom being touched by anyone else. I ache to watch him suffer (and he has suffered more than all my other children combined in his short little life). But I just love him beyond reason. And yes, the past two days have been hard. I know he's lost a few pounds. I know he's weak and tired and his body has been thrown completely out of balance with the fevers and lack of nutrition over the many days of his very difficult flu. And I know that with patience, consistency, love and a whole lot of his OT exercises and some extra doses of sweetness on my part that we will see our sweet boy emerge again in a few days.

Sigh. But man, it's a stretch for me.

Thank you Lord. For Finny. For patience. For the grace You've shown me that has taught me how to show grace to others. For three other loving and patient children who know when to step back to let a brother in need get whatever it is he needs from me. And for the 12 hour break while he sleeps so I can ready myself (and You can fill me up with more of your grace and patience...) for yet another healthy day...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mmmm... Fresh, warm peanut butter cookies.

I forgot how good they really are...