Monday, April 11, 2016

What's New?

Top of the Monday mornin' to ya, friends! I hope your day is starting off as fabulous as mine (or better). I mean, I didn't wake up at the beach so there's room for improvement. Still, it has been a good morning. Jordan was around so I didn't have to wake up Merit to take the other two boys to school, meaning that I also didn't have to throw my back out of line as I hobbled across two parking lots with a baby on my hip and two other little goons tugging on my other hand. Isn't it amazing how not having just one of your kids with you makes everything seem so much easier? I bet once Saylor arrives, I'll be feeling like three out in town is a breeze. Because Merit slept in (10am!!), I got a lot done.
Dishes are clean, laundry has been started, and I'm about 4,000 steps into my day. In addition, I've been plugging away on the nursery.
Last week, I bravely moved my two oldest into a room together and that has been...well...going. Anyway, I was determined to have a little room for our newest addition coming soon. Kinley had a room set up about a week before he arrived due to a move shortly before my due date. My other kids didn't have rooms until they were closer to one. It's not a big deal, but since this is my last babe I figure there's some room to spoil her (and me!). I just think a girl needs some room for her clothes! :) I don't have money to make this room the Pinterest perfect place, but I do have some mediocre skills that will improve the look of Abel's bland, tiny old room. When Jordan left on business, I set to work. In a week, I have moved out furniture, moved more in, set the crib up, and painted. Additionally, my dear husband humored me this weekend when he got back and hung some crown molding for me. I'm getting excited to finish cosmetic issues and start decorating. I'll show you more later.
We survived the first week of J being gone. We had some rough moments, but they were made better by friends and family who stopped by to provide a smidge of sanity for me. My in-laws brought over dinner for the boys and girl scout cookies for me and told me to leave and go to the grocery store alone! It was so nice to have an hour. The week went well. Abe had his first appointment with his occupational therapist. By the end of the week, I had noted that he said two new phrases: "It worked!" and "Do it again!"Merit is growing and changing so much, too. This past week he learned to climb up to the top of their outdoor play set by himself and slide down. Big boys.
I'm 27 weeks now. 
Baby is the size of a: cucumber or lantern
Weight: 140
Cravings: Nothing to write home about
Stretch Marks: I think I see a new one every six minutes. Kidding, but yeah...I'm trying to keep them under control. 
Exercise: I haven't been to the gym in weeks. My back pain is awful. I finally broke down and bought a pregnancy belt yesterday. It does seem to help, but the pain is still there and knocks me off my feet at times. I'm a little worried because I have a 5K coming up and it really hurts to run.
New Things: Does a feeling count? I just feel so much more pregnant than I actually am and it gives me this uneasy feeling that she might be early. Watch her come at 43 weeks now that I said that! :/ Anyway, I think that's why I've been wanting to get things in order. Nesting in full effect. I also got her car seat yesterday!
What's going on with her? She's about two pounds and if she's hearing, she probably is starting to recognize Mama's voice.
What I miss: sushi, running, climbing stairs without breathing know, the good life.
What I'm looking forward to: Never being pregnant again.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Workin' 5-9

Tumble outta bed
And I stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn and stretch
And try to come to life

Jump in the shower Skip the shower
And the blood starts pumpin' because I've got a bunch of kids
Out on the street In this house
The traffic starts jumpin' They're already jumpin'
The folks like me on the job from 9 to 5 Moms like me on the job from 5 to 9

Workin' 9 to 5, 5-9
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin' and no givin'

They just use your mind

And they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it

9 to 5, for service and devotion 5-9 for service and devotion
You would think that I
Would deserve a fat promotion

Want to move ahead

But the boss won't seem to let me

I swear sometimes that man is out to get me I swear that kid is out to get me

They let you dream
Just to watch 'em shatter
You're just a step
On the boss-man's ladder
But you got dreams
He'll never take away

You're in the same boat
With a lotta your friends

Waitin' for the day your ship'll come in

'N' the tide's gonna turn
And it's all gonna roll your way

Workin' 9 to 5 5-9
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by

It's all takin' and no givin'
They just use your mind
And you never get the credit
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it
9 to 5, yeah 5-9 yeah
They got you where they want you
There's a better life
And you think about it, don't you

*It's a rich man's game
No matter what they call it
And you spend your life
Puttin' money in his wallet

9 to 5, whoa 5-9 whoa
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin' and no givin'
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it

9 to 5, yeah 5-9 yeah
They got you where they want you
There's a better life
And you dream about it, don't you

*It's a rich man's game
No matter what they call it

(*Open for revision)
Collaboration by Dolly and Kace

Just another day in the life, y'all. How is your Thursday?
(Please note: I'm kidding. A little.)
(Also: It's actually more like 24 hours with no vacation, days off, or sick days rather than 5am-9pm, but who's counting?)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

the one where I get testy about stay-at-home moms and their time

Happy Saturday morning to ya. I sat down at the computer with shooting pain going up into my back because I've seen every single Alvin and the Chipmunks episode there's to see and instead of trying to relax on the couch with a squirmy three year old--the one that's always awake--I'm here. Guzzling coffee and ignoring the pain in my back as best I can. April is going to be a difficult month here. I'll be solo parenting for most of it. Earlier this week there was a light that made me hopeful. I met and interviewed a potential babysitter. I hate relying on other people, especially with something so precious! When I posted the job on I even wrote to "please not apply if you aren't interested in becoming a part of their lives". I think that's pretty clear, straight-forward- don't you? Well, after speaking with this girl and doing some background checks, I reluctantly hired her. I always feel this way after asking someone new to watch the kids. I thought it would be easier when we moved home because I thought everyone around here would know the person or know someone who does and have some extra info to set my mind at ease. The trouble is, I need sitters during the day for the other two while I run Abel to therapy and everything else under the sun. Everyone already has a job or school at the times when I need someone. So, I hired her because she appeared to be bending over backward for me, rearranging her work schedule so she could definitely be available three days a week. She even said, "I think in life it's most important to connect with people. I'm here to help mothers out. I want a large family and I hope someone will do the same for me when the time comes." Alright, gal. Let's see what you've got. She even came with a calendar and wanted me to schedule times with her in advance. When I came home, the kids were happy and fed and the house was cleaner than I left it. Score! I talked to her about the extra therapy that Abe might be starting and she said she had a job interview in Knoxville (making that her 3rd job!) at that time, but that she would be happy to reschedule to accommodate me. Within five minutes of leaving, she had supposedly called and rescheduled the job interview. "See you Tuesday!" she happily texted. Then yesterday she texted me telling me she got a job in a different state and could no longer work for me. Sayonara. 
I guess I'm bothered by it mostly because my time is important, too. In the four years that I've been a stay-at-home mom, I've noticed a recurring theme that many people demonstrate to me over and over. My time is not as important as theirs. When we lived in Louisiana, my neighbor put my name down on her kids' school contact list (without asking me) and would have me running all kinds of crazy errands for her. Her house was one of those you'd see on Hoarders, no joke. One day, she asked me to break in which consisted of pushing the door open until the trash can fell over ("don't worry, just leave it") and entering to rummage through her kitchen to find her son's medicine and take it to him at school. SURE BECAUSE MY TIME ISN'T IMPORTANT. Another time, she wanted me to take her daughter some new clothes to school so obviously I thought that was pretty important so I rushed over there expecting to find a young girl who started her period unexpectedly or got in trouble for wearing shorts too short, or something else big. Nope. She just changed her mind about what she wanted to wear that day. You think I'm joking, but this sort of thing happens all the time to stay-at-home moms. Ask so and so, she doesn't have a job! So when I lovingly crafted a job posting online, set up a time to interview, and hired someone indefinitely, I expected that to be it. Now it just feels like a huge waste of time. You know what I could have been doing during that time? Finally showering after days. Stuffing my face with chocolate ice cream. Working on the laundry. Cleaning the kitchen. Enjoying a double nap time that is just so rare. Calling the insurance company to figure out the hospital bills past and upcoming. Calling the company that we order Abel's bionic ear from because the cord and headpiece broke for the millionth time. Just because I'm not paid for what I do every day, doesn't mean the schedule we've created here isn't important to the functioning of this house. It doesn't mean that it's not important to me! Time is super precious to a stay-at-home mom. I'm going to have very little of it this month and that's what is on my mind when you tell me I've wasted my time by hiring you. God has called me to be here with four children that aren't yet in kindergarten. I'm to be pouring myself into them, guiding them into a budding relationship with Him. My role is to create a happy home here that demonstrates God's love. It's important. ..and hard....and time consuming. As a society, can we stop telling mothers it isn't? I'm a servant to Him by serving them and finding caregivers that reflect the importance of that. 
So what did I say to her? " Congrats on the new job!" Obviously, it wasn't meant to be. Then I resisted the urge to also say April Fools at the end of the text. ;) 

"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain." -Psalm 127:1

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Everyday

I make a big deal of Halloween and Christmas, but truth be told- I love Easter even more. It's the one day set aside to celebrate a risen Savior. Of course, I do my best to acknowledge that in my day to day life, but the rest of the nation joins us on this day. A risen Savior. It's incredible. We can relive a miracle through the scriptures, through the sermons, through our lives. Jesus, the author and FINISHER of my faith, endured an agonizing death on a cross for me and you. Why would a blameless man do that other than great, great love? It's that realization that faces me each morning and keeps me going. No matter what happens in my life, I'm loved by an Almighty God. One who loves me so much he sent his Son to die for me. These songs are my favorites this time of year. They echo so many of my thoughts. Amazing love. How can it be?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sleepless in Tennessee

Historically, when I'm awake in the middle of the night blogging, I'm in active labor and don't quite know it. Let's hope that's not the case here. I just was tossing and turning in bed after Abel screaming for the last few hours and decided my thoughts couldn't turn back off until I got this off my chest. It doesn't matter that I'm tired on every level. Exhausted physically and especially mentally. I have to write through this tonight because I feel so desperate for respite for me and this family.
As Abe gets older he's becoming more challenging. He is 3.5 years old now and should be gaining vocabulary and communication skills. His hearing age is 18 months and he communicates on that level. Sometimes he seems to be slightly behind that level. Merit (19 months old) has begun to surpass him in spoken and receptive language and maybe this is why this is bothering me so much lately. It's in my face every day. I see it. Can't ignore it. I have twins-- twenty months apart.
It was at this age with Kinley that I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel in regard to explosive tantrums, behavioral issues, and regulating his frustrations. Sure, he has his days but with an expanding vocabulary, it became easier for him to express himself more appropriately. Abel seems to be headed in the opposite direction. His fits are almost a personality trait at this point and I spend my days at the end of my rope. He can be perfectly happy and raging mad in the same 15 second time span. It's as if he forgets that he can choose a word, a gesture, or anything to help get his point across. He resorts to bulging eyes, immediate tears, flailing on the ground kicking and screaming. All in a matter of seconds. His screams are all day long for me and they filter into the night, too. He can't stay asleep and he wakes up crying frequently. He vacillates between screaming and moaning in the middle of the night and we are all left in a sleep deprived state throughout the week. Nothing seems to comfort him at night. There's nothing we can do. He just cries. Of course, to me, this is so stressful. I hear it all the time. It also leaves me with plenty of time to think about what else might be going on in his little body and mind. My heart aches for one thing, ANY thing to be easy for him, but right now all I can see is the struggle. 

You know what strangers see? They see another child who can't behave. They see another lazy parent who can't control her children. I see it all over their faces when we go out to eat. I see their eye rolls, their whispers, their stares. My reaction goes one of two ways. The stress of the day (this life) closes in on me and I lose it in a puddle of tears OR I plaster my game face on with a smile and try to ignore the helplessness I feel in all of this. Is excessive crying a form of torture training? If so, I have a lot of experience. A lot.
I'm so tired and in desperate need of your prayers for him, for me, for this family. Thanks again for listening. I think I wanted to write this out for catharsis, but also for documentary purposes and in the chance that another cochlear implant preschooler parent happens this way to my corner of the web and finds a commonality here. I haven't lost hope that this is just another phase. I still cling to the notion that one day, Abel's struggles will be that the girl he wants to date is uninterested or he didn't make the varsity basketball team... and his lack of speech, sleep problems, and health concerns will all be a distant memory.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why do you share online so much?

I used to be annoyed to view everyone's highlight reel on Facebook. Greaaaaat. You have an awesome, fit body. Your kitchen is sparkling. Your kids are reciting scripture and Spanish. You have the best job ever. You are traveling...again. But today I get it. You probably aren't saying, "Look at me! I have my life together!" If you're like me, you're actually saying, "Look! This tiny part of my life is going well today." It's amazing when you have several small children at home how your goals and accomplishments morph from big, lofty goals to YAY, I THREW SOMETHING IN THE CROCKPOT AND MY KIDS ARE BATHED! I'm beginning to see that you aren't trying to build yourself up with your selfie; you are, in a sense, probably saying here's my life right now and it's worth documenting. I know that's how I feel when I snap a photo of some workout I accomplished or if my kids are playing together and not fighting- by all means snap that because it will be gone before you know it! Growing up, I was an avid journal writer. As I got older and technology advanced, blogging soon took the place of my pen and paper. Now, I hardly find time to sit down at this old dusty keyboard at all because if I do, the kids will be playing in the fireplace ashes in no time (Yes, this has happened twice in the last week). Facebook and Instagram have become a type of journal for me, like it or not. My life is spelled out in a few sentences a day or a caption on a photo. On particularly hard days when the kids have finally drifted off to sleep, I can crack open my accounts and look back with gratitude on how far we've come. I can see the good things that my kids are doing, that I'm doing. I remember and I focus on that.
If you could see me right now, I'm doing the Disney channel chopper dance as my little Merit looks at me saying, "no, no, no, no!" and starting to cry. Abel smells suspiciously like throw up and I haven't yet found the evidence which is not the most pleasant start to this Tuesday, but you know what? Life is good. Our Father in Heaven gave these specific babies to ME. And when I feel less than qualified to care for them, He bends down to remind me that He knows all. It IS me. He is with me. He loves me. He loves them. He is authoring this family. Each step we take, He is there.
How many kids can I handle? As many as God chooses to bless us with. Yes, I'm stressed and this life is hard, but I'm okay. We're okay. People ask me how I do it all the time and the answer is I really don't know. I just figure it out with lots of prayer, coffee, and Shakeology. Often times I feel completely overwhelmed with motherhood and my life as a stay at home parent, but it ain't all bad! So you'll have to forgive me when I display my tiny victories online for you to see. I'm simply celebrating. As always, I promise to strive to be transparent and talk about the struggles here, too. That's the place where we connect and grow!
Are the kids alive and fed? Take that photo! Is your garden flourishing and beautiful after the hard work you put into it? I want to see that. Did you slay your last workout? Good! That's motivating to me and I want you to share it. Thank you all for sharing in our family's story online, too. I appreciate you checking in with me when I post. Sometimes it's nerve wracking to have my personal diary online for anyone to see, but the alternative is being closed off from all of you. I get that enough here as I spend my days teaching small people how to talk and not be heathens. Then I go to bed feeling alone and do it all again the next day. I prefer to be as open as I can be! That's why you'll see me showing you proof when I actually get dressed in real clothes! Small, miniscule accomplishments are big news for this mama who is also chasing around three other people trying to stuff feet in socks and zipping up clothes while the bulging belly is making me have to catch my breath after every child is finally clothed. You know someone is going to require a diaper change before we finally head out the door, too, don't you?
This life is bananas, but I'm going to share it with you anyway. (Gotta go. #2 just threw up on my feet.)

Monday, March 14, 2016

23 Weeks

While I may look like I'm thirty weeks pregnant, I am only at week 23. It has gone by pretty fast and I think that has everything to do with the unpreparedness I feel with all of this. After I had Merit, I got rid of all the baby stuff. Swing, rock-n-play, bouncy seat. Ya know- everything that makes this mama have any shred of sanity in this life of reaaally close-in-age children. I realized just the other day that I only have a few months and she'll be in my arms. That's crazy. While I am so over being pregnant or nursing for the last five years of my life, I think I will try not to wish the next few months away. Anyway, I have hardly updated at all here and I think it's about time! Besides, if I don't do this there's a little person who is very close to needing a diaper change and this sounds a million times more appealing than that!
I'm fatter in real life. 

Baby is the size of: a barbie doll
Weight: 139 -I've gained a lot already. This pregnancy has been much different than the boys as far as how I'm carrying her and trying to steadily gain instead of packing on the pounds. I'm told it's not fat and it's "maternal tissue storage" so I'm holding fast to that. ;) 
Cravings: I haven't had a lot of cravings with Baby 4. I'm lucky to eat, honestly. I spend so much of my day just preparing food for other people. 
Boy/Girl: BABY is a GIRL the last two times I checked. I was in a bit of shock when the tech told me that. It was surreal after hearing boy three times in a row! I'm happy to have a sweet little girl to welcome into our house. She shall be called Saylor Eden.
Stretch Marks: the same marks that appeared with Merit have come back, but I do think they're temporary. I'm trying to stay hydrated and am using oils to combat them.
Exercise: I'm working out fairly regularly when my kids are well. I like to go to the gym because that's the only break I have from them and so I can only go when no one is contagious or feeling sickly. Here's to hoping the warm weather lasts and all these yucky cold symptoms subside so I can get back into going daily.
New Things: Kinley felt her kick the other day. Merit points to my belly and says "baby". Abel continues to ignore the inevitable. I have also been having a lot of contractions already which is uncomfortable but apparently not all that uncommon. 
What's going on with her? I got to see on the ultrasound that she has begun to practice breathing. Additionally, she can already hear us and has likely developed a few familiar sounds (if, of course, she doesn't take after big bro Abel and isn't deaf). We will see! 
What I miss: sleeping on my stomach, not feeling like a cow, etc.
What I'm looking forward to: postpartum health goals! Next time I 'get my body back' will be the last time. Saylor will be my last baby I carry and nourish with this body. Stick a fork in me. I'm done!

I hope y'all have a good week!
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