Thursday, December 31, 2009
i have one that's more of a goal... & one that is more of a resolution.
1. Before i got *too* pregnant, i ran my very first 10K. i was really proud of myself - i had always wanted to run, but had never gotten into a routine. i thought that maybe if i had a new, fun habit that was good for me, it would keep my mind off having babies... God tricked me - & running is likely what changed my body's rhythm enough that this baby knocked me off my feet with surprise when i found out about that precious life growing inside. By the time i found out i was pregnant, i had already registered for the race, so i decided to just go for it if i felt good enough. That morning, i didn't say in my post, but i did feel pretty gross (i was about 8 weeks pregnant) - but *so happy* to have accomplished my goal. My goal for 2010 is to run a 5k. i know, it's not a huge goal - but i wanna be gentle with my body recovering from childbirth & likely nursing 2 little ones! If i feel really good - & i think i can do it, i'll up it to a 10k... but really, i should be able to do a 5k for sure.
2. This second one - i give myself permission to welch on... (recipe for success eh?) Ever since i heard about nanowrimo, i always wanted to give it a go. i'm not sure if i can come up with a story line for a novel - much less a 50, 000 word novel written over the period of one month (the month of November)... & i'm not sure Neil would be impressed with me dedicating a huge chunk of time to a creative endeavour that is 'just for fun'... but the idea nags at me... Could i do it? Could i come up with something i was proud of? Could i write down my ideas & imaginings within the framework of a novel?
So, there you have them... my resolution & my goal. It's kind of fun to file them in my mind & wonder what 2010 will bring...
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
& i sat up - i was completely awake & it was only 2:32AM.
i glanced over - & in the dim light that came through our blinds from the street lights, i could see Neil's dark head on the bed beside me.
He was completely sandwiched between Mollen (5) & Gage (23mos).
For such a big man, he was totally squished into a tiny space.
i yanked Gagey over closer to me & tried to go back to sleep - thinking sweet thoughts about the man who is a magnet for little ones... who seems so gruff, but offers sweet ultimatums in the night to little girls who have nightmares about whales...
"You can sleep with daddy, but only if you give me backrubs..."
i'm so grateful to God for making me the momma... of Neil's babies.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We're getting ready to have a little baby.
We're kind of playing a game of tag. Neil built lockers, i cleaned out our closet, Neil reorganized the laundry room, i organized my "craft cupboard" & 3 "junkish" drawers, Neil fixed a part of the floor, i organized everyone's shoes...
We're getting ready to have a little baby.
i promised myself that all i have to do is clean out my little desk in the office... & then i can pull out the sleepers... & find the baby diapers... & start gathering up all the things that we're going to get to use again in only a few short weeks.
We're getting ready to have a little baby.
i'll be walking around the house, going up the stairs, in the baking needs aisle at Superstore, at Home Depot with Neil & suddenly one of my legs will almost give out on me. My shirts are stretched to capacity, i've gained 28 lbs.
We're getting ready to have a little baby.
Neil asked me to double check that i have the right phone number for our midwife. In the past 2 weeks, i've read 6 books on childbirth, visited websites, made lists, dreamt of my 'dream birth' & accidentally referred to the baby by the name i love...
We're getting ready to have a little baby.
i'm enjoying my last month of expectancy. i still feel good - better since i feel like baby turned... each poke & prod & teeny shooting pain reminds me though, that...
We're getting ready to have a little baby...
Sunday, December 27, 2009
i feel like baby has turned - (maybe more on that later in another post) & i feel more comfortable... i feel excited, anticipation...
i also *feel*... a lot.
Today, God gave me a moment of clarity that i needed.
It was a picture in my head... i was looking furtively around, almost in a panic - for all the things i thought i needed. Rushing from this corner to that, looking in every nook & cranny to find whatever it was that had driven me to this state.
Suddenly i found my face cupped in His hands.
Not my children's...
Not a doctor's or a midwife's...
There was no substitute.
There was a pause - like when you're already in motion & you get stopped so quickly, you get whiplash.
"Here, paige... here is your peace..." He reminded me, allowing me to glimpse into His Goodness.
There was nowhere else to look... nobody else to expect to give it to me... nowhere else i needed to turn.
Here - with my cheeks resting on the palms of His hands - i found myself worshipping my Saviour. The One who comforts and consoles - the one who *sees me* - & the only One who is worthy. The One to whom i can completely surrender. The One in whom i become lost...
Here... Here is my peace.
Friday, December 25, 2009
What i really wish is that i could post a snapshot for you all to see what it's like having Christmas here with my side of the family...
Both my sisters have gathered here with their husbands & between them 13 children, plus my family of 8... My mom & dad are here from Victoria, bringing the total to 27? & then the 2 that are still hiding in the secret place. i think we're all glad Jess has a big house.
Right now, the boys are playing foos ball in the basement, Haven is playing the mandolin, Granny the banjo, Jess on the piano, Gramps has pulled out his guitar i think i see Cairo, Sloan, Carrie & Stephanie on the fiddles. Children have sifted in & out of the music room over the past 2 days - sometimes it's just the mamas too. There have been many rounds of both sledding and bouts in the hot tub. Lots of arms to scoop up the littlest 3 who are all under 2.
There were a few presents, lots of food & even more music. We've had a Christmas play, recitations & performances. There was a game of "risk", a puzzle, a "living nativity" followed by Grampsie interactively telling the Christmas story. There have even been some chances for quiet conversation... snatched in moments when moments are snatched... We've shared pass me downs, dishwashing & vacuuming. Wyatt made me read passages from his latest favourite book & take a pokemon personality test... that left me completely bewildered. The cousins have paired off in their usual circles - or taken breaks & formed new alliances for an hour or two at a time.
Over the years, i've watched so many little faces change from baby faces - to the faces of young adults... The energy runs pretty high with this many people in one house, but it's like a beautiful painting - the mixing & mingling of colours & shapes... each unique piece that when put together forms a family.
& that's what we look like, on this December 25th 2009.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The solitude i felt in that waiting room during his surgery was replaced by company as we received several emails that stated simply: "and we will keep praying for a full recovery for him and peace for the rest of you..."
What comfort to know that in that inescapable vigil that a parent makes when their child's health is still uncertain, we're joined by friends and family - who love him too... who will pray for him too & who will believe for the best possible outcome for him. (Btw, that appointment is the first week of the new year...)
Lately, i have been feeling *covered* in prayer. What is it about prayer that it has the ability to bring about change, healing, miracles, peace & comfort?
i'm praying for you, little baby... & i know that in this, i'm not alone.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
1. egg nog or hot chocolate?
i've never tried egg nog, but we always buy it for Neil... it looks kind of gross. What's up with the non refrigerated variety i've seen in the grocery store lately? That can't be good... isn't it supposed to have raw eggs in it? ewwww... i love hot chocolate. Especially with whipped cream.
2. Does santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
um... does santa even *give* presents in our house? Not likely... i stink at Christmas... Come to think of it, there's not even a tree. Why am i doing this quiz?
3. Coloured lights or white?
i guess white since we don't have lights either. Aren't we grinches? We do that 'cause we are trying to preserve energy for the sake of our energy depleted planet, so we're actually better than you are.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No. But i would if i could get some fresh. & i still go for all the smooches i can... & i always look for it at my mom's house 'cause she never fails to hang it. She must like smooches too.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
it's not like i've *never* done *any* decorating.... but we didn't do any this year... other than our cute due date chain... Neil is happier this way & claims if he ever sees another Christmas decoration it'll be too soon. He threw most of mine out when he "cleaned out the garage" earlier this year. i love my stern faced man. He makes me giggle.
6. What is your favourite holiday dish?
Hands down, stuffing. i use my sister's recipe & i have never *ever* tasted better. But i'll even eat stove top if you serve it to me...
7. Favourite holiday memory as a child.
8. When & how did you learn the truth about Santa.
My parents never pretended anything to us. i don't remember ever believing in him... Mollen got into a fight with her cousin last year about who existed: "God & Jesus" vs. "Santa". There were many tears & i felt affirmed in my decision to be truthful with her. (It was a pretty funny little battle though... i only heard the aftermath, i wish i could've heard those 2 4year olds going at it... )
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas eve?
That was always our tradition when i was growing up - & we usually do that now too... i figure anytime is a good time to open a gift. i stink at waiting... & i'm greedy... i hate having gifts wrapped in my closet too... i just want to give them *now*.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
When i have had a tree in the past, i love to decorate with butterflies. Not very Christmassy eh? But, it suits me...
11. Snow. Love it or dread it?
It's not my favourite. i fall farther to the "dread it" side. But, i love Sloanie's pink cheeks & crazy hair when she comes in from sledding... The other day, she had a branch as big as my hand tangled into her mane. She must go nuts out there...
12. Can you ice skate?
Yeah. i'm a good Canadian prairie girl. Are you giggling when you ask that question picturing my rotund body on a pair of skates? i stink at it, but i pretend i'm worse than i am so that Neil will hold my hand.
13. Do you remember your favourite gift ever?
No. But i will guess that maybe it was the year i got a pogo stick. Rockin'est present. i used that sucker up.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Remembering that i *needed* my Saviour... & that God chose to send Him as a tiny baby - full of vulnerability. He loves me that much... i find it impossible to think about Christmas without thinking about His death and resurrection. My love for my Jesus is the truest thing about me.
15. What is your favourite holiday dessert?
Probably lindor chocolates. They taste "healthy" don't they? Like you are doing something good for your body by eating them. They lie. But, they're still yummy to eat.
16. What is your favourite holiday tradition?
i love knowing that my mil is going to buy me fresh jammies.
17. What tops your tree?
Nothing. But i suppose it should be a star eh?
18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?
i told you i'm greedy. i like giving if i know i have a good gift to give, but i STINK at shopping & finding the perfect gift... i don't get a lot of presents either though & that's ok with me. Mostly i just want mistletoe...
19. Candy canes - yuck or yum.
yum. Especially when they're crunched up in white chocolate.
20. Favourite Christmas show?
The plays that Cai puts on every year. i think she might end up in theatre.
21. Saddest Christmas song?
i don't know. i'll be home for Christmas? i hate nostalgia.
22. What is your favourite Christmas song?
The whiteheart version of little drummer boy. It's on youtube & everyone should go listen to it. It makes me happy.
Monday, December 21, 2009
"Baby, ah yahv you!" Gage shouts to my belly, echoing the words he has heard so often. i question his sincerity... Does he know 'love' & understand the tiny baby who often wrestles me from within as he wrestles me 'from without'?
"Where's the baby?" i ask... It's less frequent now that he points to his own belly... he knows that mine is the secret hiding place of this mysterious baby who takes up so much of the space that previously belonged to him.
Lately, i have found myself to be more wrapped up in my baby's position - rather than in my baby... How did that happen? As i type this, little person has the hiccups & is all cuddled on one side of my belly... with sweet head perched up between my ribs.
Darling baby - i know there must be a good reason why you're upside down. Finally today - i'm feeling a little more peace.
i was talking to God - about my concerns - i told Him that the word "breech" scares me a little. i told Him that the word breech combined with the words anterior placenta seemed to limit some of my options... i told Him that i didn't want baby's birth story to be told by policy or procedure... but instead i wanted a peaceful, natural birth...
& you know what i feel like He wants me to do? i feel like i'm to wrap it all up - in a big bundle or package, tying it all up - so that none can escape & fall back into my lap - & hand it to Him...
Kind of how my little ones do with their orange peels.
Papa, will you take care of this for me? Father, i give *You* this baby - completely - including baby's birth. i know that you created us both - & by Your design, baby will either turn, or remain breech... neither because we're flawed or broken... but because of how You made us. Father - i don't know how this little one will enter this world... but... would *You* please be the one to catch?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Even if it's only a few weeks, it will be fun to be expecting our seventh children together.
She teased her excited husband for buying their baby a present only days after having a positive pregnancy test - but i happen to know that it was her who first dropped money on the new babe when we each bought raw amber teething necklaces for our unborn babies.
We share ideas, solutions & stories, along with our older sister - in our motherhood journey... we share a passion for our children, homeschooling & marriage... & in these days, we share an excited anticipation for the babes to come.
& this time, we will be sharing another teeny element of our lives as we grow these newest little ones.
We will each be nursing our toddler sons.
Seems so much less lonesome to be counter culture when your sister joins you.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The roads were full of slush as our deep freeze had finally ended & we were granted a small reprieve from the bone chilling winter of the week before.
We talked about the appointment to come & the excitement of another little baby entering our home.... & then we drove in silence for a bit.
"Mom, are miscarriages hereditary?"
i immediately felt guilty - for losing my babies & also for giving my daughter a reason to be afraid.
"i don't think that's the case with me, honey... Granny & Gam never lost any babies - & neither did auntie Nancy or auntie Jessie - maybe it's a combination of your daddy & me... i don't know..."
She wanted to know about my aunties & grandma who had lost babies - i told her their names & we got so distracted in remembering these little ones that i drove right past the clinic. i turned the van around & we parked.
Cai walked inside like she belonged there.
"i love this artwork!" She exclaimed over the floating bellies & breasts.
She ran over to the display of organic teas & read all the titles of the books available, finally settling down next to me as i read a chapter from "Baby Catcher" that i decided to take home. On impulse i grabbed my favourite prep book for childbirth, "Spiritual Midwifery" too & signed them out at the desk to borrow till my next appointment.
Finally they called my name & we went into the little room.
We talked about the progress of my pregnancy & about how little one has been so active as of late - i told the midwife i was sure babe had been trying to turn to a vertex position over the weekend & i was fairly certain we had success.
After palpating my belly for a few minutes, she grunted, "nope, baby is still breech - here, feel this way - you can tell that that is a little bum in your pelvis & a little head in your ribcage..."
i could feel my heart growing heavy with disappointment. i was almost 34 weeks... Would baby turn in time? We listened to the teeny thumping heartbeat... & drove home... thoughtful & hopeful...
i want to be honest...
When i was pregnant with Gagey i struggled with anxiety throughout my entire pregnancy. i couldn't watch my little ones going off the diving board, or riding their bikes. Each night, i had nightmares & terrifying images flooded my mind - regardless of how much i prayed or thanked God for the little boy growing inside. i prayed, even during Gage's pregnancy, that if God would ever bless us with another baby, would He please spare me the anxiety? & He was faithful to do just that. My pregnancy this time 'round has been so peaceful... but on my drive home & in the moments & days since my appointment - i feel that anxiousness trying to creep back in. Letting it go is such a struggle for me...
& that's where i'm at... for real.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Why should i feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely, & long for heaven & home...
Each note, drawn out... my voice was fuller in the small space as i sang my song for you, baby...
When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He...
His eye is on the sparrow & i know He watches me.
Can you hear me, baby? He loves us, o how He loves us...
i sing because i'm happy, i sing because i'm free!
His eye is on the sparrow & i know he watches me....
His eye is on the sparrow & i know... he watches over...
you & me.
My voice breaks on the last note. Are you listening, little one? He's watching us. He cares for us - & tends to our needs. Is the sound in your snug home too muffled to catch the joy in my voice? He sees me in my vulnerable state - carrying you, naked and needy within... He notices the pause in my step as you shift positions & i have moments of discomfort or pain... What a Good Shepherd - who gives us such good gifts & sustains us in our weakness.
i love you, Father & hope to point each of the little ones in my care to Your tender embrace.
Isaiah 40:11 He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young...
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
(If you have read my blog for any length of time at all, you probably know where this is going.)
There were maybe 50-60 fiddlers at the Irish Cultural Center - plus at least that many parents & grandparents (a sour looking bunch, i thought) that were seated audience style in the dark behind the huge lit up circle that the fiddlers made. Neil quit sitting with us after Charter & Mollen made their 4th trip to the snack table... (We have different views on that... i told them to fill up & not say they're hungry when they get home... He embarrasses too easily. Little did he know).
You're meant to *move* to fiddle music. Sloanie & Peyton had brought their fiddles too & were trying their best to play along during some of the songs they knew, so that left the 3 small fry sitting somewhere between Neil & i (Charter 7, Mollen 5 & Gage 22mos). It wasn't long before Mollen decided she wanted to dance. Before starting, she asked if she could turn my jacket into a dress - she needed it buttoned right up to her throat - it shouldn't have surprised me that the detail of "costume" wouldn't escape her. She started tapping her feet... then flapping her arms... then jumping - just a little - before fully transforming into the lord of the dance in the small dark space around our chairs. Charter ignored her & kept eating cookies. She would return to me, breathless, between songs & say, "MOM! I LIKE my moves, i'm GLAD i have them!!!"
i glanced over at Neil who was trying his best to pretend that he wasn't with us - & i saw his face turn white as he choked on his rice krispy square. i turned to see what had caught his eye & i see Mollen who is now irish dancing in the middle of the HUGE circle of fiddlers - jiggedy-jig, up & down with her arms plastered to her side - Michael Flatley would've been proud. Cai has stopped fiddling & is laughing so hard in horror & humiliation that there are tears streaming down her face. Most of the other fiddlers are smiling encouragingly at her. One of Cai's friends turns to her and says, "Is your sister in Irish Dance?" "NO!" Cai sputters - "i have no idea what she's doing!" Molls isn't even cracking a smile, she's concentrating so hard on her fancy footwork. When the song ends, she spins on her heel & walks all the way back around the circle, back to me & says, "wheuf, i'm hot!"
Well, i guess so!
Then she gives me a confident smile & says, "if they do another slow one, i'm gonna throw in some ballet." (!!??)
That's my girl.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
i hit one of those this week.
What? It's only Tuesday?
Well, i like to get things done, so i hit that particular hill first thing on Monday morning.
The painful, agonizing, truth is that parenting (& can i get a little more specific?? ... homeschooling) is *hard work*. & like my momma used to say, sometimes you just know that this is one battle that you have to win.
i know that my precious child feels like perhaps i don't love them - in those moments of agonizing frustration... because why else would i be inflicting this pain upon us all?
But, that sweet little person doesn't see that it's *because* i love them that i am willing to waste my entire day in this battle to help them gain a little character... a little discipline... a little knowledge... a little humility... a little fortitude.
It's one of the hidden *treasures* of homeschooling. i've heard people say they couldn't homeschool 'cause they would "drive each other nuts". In homeschooling - there are days - where we *do* drive each other nuts... but we always have to work beyond that. Get our relationship to the point where we can work together, learn from each other & be around each other... a lot. *That's* the type of relationship that i want to have with my children anyway.
So, our rams horns get locked...
We emerge from the fray a little frustrated, bedraggled & shaken... needing many tender hugs & smoochies, words of love & praise & comfort...
But, hopefully - we'll both be a little better for it.
Ready to start fresh with toast & coffee in front of the fire on a Tuesday morning...
Monday, December 14, 2009
i sat & cried.
Through the whole service.
Grace has always been pretty easy for me to extend.
i *get* that you're sinful, petty, wrong, angry, hurting...
because i've struggled with those things too...
So, to extend grace isn't a huge stretch for me.
What hit me from the get-go... was my own neediness.
It was like i got a flash of truth -
That i require so... much... of it.
Will i require so much that Neil will run out?
Will i be so needing of grace from my children that i will stretch them too thin?
Will my sisters get tired of constantly extending grace & expect me to finally learn?
i was overcome with grief...
Yeh - Jesus so freely extends grace -
& i'm grateful.
but i sat in my shame & sorrow...
knowing that as long as i live in company with other human beings - i will be needing grace extended to me.
& i don't know how to be better...
i don't know how to live to a higher standard... try as i might...
i don't know how to hide my own heart - & display a less fragile, more perfect one...
The only thing i guess that i'm capable of, is to extend even *more* grace... Right? Where grace can no longer be extended to me - i need to extend more grace to the person who gets - understandably - irritated or angry with me for my own foolishness...
Could it be that the solution to needing something so desperately.... is to give it more lavishly....?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
i've always been a dreamer - & recurring dreams have just become a part of who i am. Sometimes i know where they're coming from & sometimes they're just a mystery...
This one was pretty clear...
My limbs had the weakness of a tiny baby... & i was laying on the ground.
Suddenly, God Himself, seated on a throne, with a lion & a lamb curled up beside Him - would take me in His arms & hold me like a mother would rock her tiny newborn.
i hope there's nothing irreverent in dreaming that God holds you...
it was, after all, just a dream - likely stemming from my need of Him & my desire to be *held*.
i had that dream again this past week - one i haven't had since i was maybe 12.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Lemme tell you a story.
This week has been a doozer... i'm not gonna bore you with details, but with about 7 weeks left to go in my pregnancy, the Christmas season upon us, a houseful of company & music concerts & recitals... i've had a lot on my mind...
My frail mind.
We were packing up to head out to the girls' violin recital & i was making sure we had everything... Gagey missed supper 'cause he was snoozing, did i pack him a snack? Do the girls have their violins & music? Does everyone look decent? Who has a camera? Have i tried over the pieces i'm gonna accompany for? (i did the easy ones & passed off the challenging piece to someone a lot more capable than myself...) i changed Gagey's diaper, got him dressed, checked myself in the mirror, lost the ponytail... why do i look goofy in everything these days??
"Did you grab an extra diaper?" Neil calls over his shoulder as he lugs children out to the Silver Fox (which, incidentally is the coolest vehicle on the road... ever... )
"Yup!" Secretly, i'm pleased... i've got it all together... Gagey's supper in one hand, & a disposable in the other hand... just in case... but the recital is supposed to be quick. i probably won't need it anyway.
As i gather my things, i absently leave the diaper on the counter & slippedy slide out to the van & we arrive at the last minute practice a good 15 minutes early.
Within 15 minutes, a stinky stench is emanating from the most beautiful boy in the world, & i realize that i must've "forgotten the diaper in the van". Neil kindly runs out to get it for me & returns empty handed. i realize immediately what must have happened & the recital hasn't even begun yet. What to do, what to do???
i go to the bathroom & clean up his bum, emptying the disposable liner in the toilet... i steal a bag out of an empty garbage & put his diaper in it. Stink solved, but....
Then came the tricky part.
i still had a bare bummed boy.
As i gazed at him, i considered my limited options.
He gazed back at me & grabbed his crotch...
The recital was about to start...
i unbuttoned his shirt & stripped off his undershirt, & fastened it into a makeshift diaper, using his snappy to secure it, then i snapped his waterproof cover over the top & put his button up shirt back on. Had he not been wearing a cloth diaper, there is no way i could have improvised like that & 'made it work' till we got home...
"This is why you should potty train, baby..." i whispered in his ear as i hefted him up onto my hip & ran down the corridor to the recital.
His makeshift diaper lasted till we got home & when Sloanie saw me changing him for night, she looked at me & breathed, "Mom, you're a genius...."
Actually, quite the opposite, my dear...
& *that* is why i love cloth diapers...
Thursday, December 10, 2009
so... this morning, what was i doing sneaking away to find a tub full of hot water & epsom salts?
i was doing just what i said i was gonna do. Find the quiet moments to fall into my weakness & enjoy these last weeks of pregnancy.
i watched little bones & wiggly baby parts make my belly ripple like the ocean...
i closed my eyes & melted into the warm water - easing deeper - letting go of all the little things that make my heart uptight... & letting the water wash over me, comforting and preparing me to face the rest of the day with peace.
Tomorrow, the recitals & concerts will all be over.....
Tomorrow, the last of our beautiful company will take flight...
Tomorrow, Neil will finish up his work week...
Tomorrow, i will begin the work of putting my house back to normal...
But, today - i choose to embrace *today* with gratitude & joy.
& Baby, your little presence - slowing me down, taking my breath away, stretching within my body... You're making it easy to be happy.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
As i tossed & turned in my bed this morning, my prayer for her was that she would he *held* as she *lets go*.
Listening to this song this week - totally met me in a place of surrender to God - who i know is Good & who daily shapes me to His image.
Choosing to do things that are counter culture is a lonesome place to be sometimes... & choosing to say, "i regret" is hard too.
if you are reading my blog, little mama, may God bless you as you swim against the current. i hope that your service brought healing & comfort to you too.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
When baby comes, we will have 7 little ones in our home.
i don't know if we'll ever have anymore.
i would gladly take another little one into my heart, home & arms.
it's not just up to me.
Seven is a big number.
It's not too big.
i'm sure grateful
i'm not crazy.
God has used motherhood to transform me.
He's not finished with me yet.
i wish that birth control did not exist & that the cultural norm was the attitude that, children are a blessing.
i can't change minds or hearts...
Mine has been changed.
i'll never be the same.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Y'know, they pass the plate & people put in what they have...
Neil never says that it's *his* money & not mine... but as a stay at home mom, it's often how i've felt. When Neil is generous with money - i shrug my shoulders - it's his to give, or to keep... & though i have free reign to give what i want, to buy presents for whomever i please, to spend whatever i would like on myself or others... i'm conscious of the fact that i don't earn anything.
i told that to God as they passed the plate on Sunday.
'i never put anything in...'
The baby inside me stretched out a wee bit as i continued to play and sing the offertory...
& my perspective changed.
'i give you everything, God... i give you this body... though it's weak, and temporary - it has been used by God to grow 9 little lives...
i give you these fingers - though they stumble through the melodies at times - let them play for You, Father...
i give you this voice - though my breath is hard to find these days with less room for air - each note is a sacrifice of praise - & i hold nothing back.
Each of my little ones memorized the Christina Rossetti poem at one christmas or another... & in it's simplicity - that's where my heart rested on Sunday as the plate was passed & it seemed i contributed nothing...
"What can i give Him,
Poor as i am?
If i were a shepherd,
i would bring a lamb;
If i were a wiseman,
i would do my part;
Yet, what can i give Him?
i give Him my heart."
Saturday, December 5, 2009
i love how my bare belly is exposed & my hands are down my pants. classic. Focus on the cute children if you can...
i wonder how many hours gagey has listened to me yelling & banging :) i love his reflection in the piano - (if you can see past the fingerprints :)
Friday, December 4, 2009
But both of those words are like a time warp for me -
Both pull me, reeling into the past.
Yorkton - to that ultrasound table with a wand on my belly & my son's form on a black and white screen... my husband's hands covering my mouth, muffling the sobs that could not be silenced...
Mayfair - to another ultrasound... & though my husband was on an airplane flying home to me, i never felt alone - i could feel His presence pressing in so thick i could almost breathe Him in as i saw another wee one - still.
There are probably more words, dates, smells & numbers that bring back different memories - different images that have been stored in my mind - ready to be awakened when the right key turns in the right lock...
i'm grateful for memories - even painful ones that make me cry -
They remind me where i've been - & Whose child i am...
& Who holds me still...
Thursday, December 3, 2009
He clung to my neck & cried pitifully, "mama's bed... mama's bed..."
& suddenly i lost my will to fight & surrendered to his sweet plea.
Twice in the night, i had to untangle his arms from around my neck, and another 3 times, i had to dislodge his foot from my belly... but we had a pretty good sleep.
We slept in...
The sun was already starting to peek through my window when i finally opened my eyes & saw his thick eyelashes littering up his cheeks.
My eyes were half opened, half closed -
i was halfway between getting up... or rolling over for another 10 - but when i had rolled over to look at my sleeping beauty, it had woken the baby within, & baby was gently poking me, reminding me that maybe it was time to rouse myself & face this day.
Suddenly, Gagey giggled in his sleep.
One of those little giggles that tiny babies do - where their little breath intake at the end makes a high pitch squeak.
His eyes were still closed & the smile was slowly fading off of his angelic face.
What dream had caused that gorgeous sound?
What God had created this amazing gift?
What better way to welcome this day?
Than with a smile on my face & gratitude in my heart...
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
But the other day, someone commented to him that i had written about him & so he came home & said, "Well? What did you say?"
i couldn't remember because i have been disobediently blogging about him a lot lately, so i read him a few recent entries... i got a couple eyebrow raises, but nothing i couldn't handle. He took a look at my list of labels...
"Hm, i'm beating music, but God still has me by quite a few..."
Really? Is this how men think? 'don't blog about me, don't blog about me... but if you do, i want to be winning.'
Well, here's another one to add to your number, buddy. Don't say i never did anything for you.
Monday, November 30, 2009
i wonder if my dad was as entertained - (constantly, incapable of boredom, to the point of insanity) - as my husband is?
With 4 daughters, my husband has seen more panties, tutus, princess costumes, concerts & ballets than your average guy.
The other day, i was watching him with mollen. She was talking a mile a minute. Her little lisp keeps her tongue flapping - & he was so tired, his eyes were red rimmed & he was hardly keeping them open. Every few sentences, she would run to him & fling her arms around his neck & whisper in his ear, then climb on his lap then climb off & again to go get something to show him. i was exhausted watching them - him almost motionless, her a blur of energy particles fairly flying around the room. "Can you put this elastic around this and then around my head?" She asks sweetly, holding a tiny elastic and a broken kleenex box. He looks at her, uncertain, & she encourages him, "i wanna look like a robot, pulleeeeeze?"
"Honey, i don't think it's gonna fit..." His big fingers try putting the elastic around the box & the box begins to bend and tear. "That's ok, daddy." She says forgivingly.
Finally, she settles for showing him a song and dance she had learned.
"You just sit there & WATCH ME!"
He was obedient. Very obedient.
"Letter T says 'T-uh', letter T says 'T-uh', 'T-uh' like Turkey, letter T says 'T-uh'"
So far so good...
Her voice gets a little louder & more shrill as she works through the easy part of the song & onto the show.
Suddenly she flings her arms into the air & begins dancing across the room, "Try the turkey tango if you want ROMANCE!!! Other wayyyy... " (out flings the other arm as she tangos back across our living room...) She continues, her glinting eyes hinting at hilarity. Neil's eyes are glazed over, but i notice a grin starting to form under that scruffy facial hair...
She dances back across the room & suddenly bursts into the most energetic tap dance you've ever seen, "TWENTY TURKEYS CAN TAP DANCE, TWENTY TURKEYS CAN DO THE TWIST!!! TURN AROUND JUST LIKE THIS!!!" Her little body contorts and jives to the music and Neil is now completely captivated.
We both burst out laughing - our opportunity for conversation is stalled... but she has wormed her way yet again through his exhaustion & into his heart.
She smiles sweetly - success - & goes back to playing.
Late at night, i know when i hear little feet padding down our hall, that she will usually make her way to his side of the bed. She will climb under the covers & instantly be asleep again, beside her slumbering comfort. Each of our girlies has been the same. Our big girls have an easy, teasing relationship with their daddy.
He is a masterful father.
i can't imagine being a daddy... It's so completely different than being a momma. i love watching the man i love father the little ones i love.
Being in a family is a blessing beyond compare.
Why i missed that he had to fly out on Sunday night is beyond me.
When i found out, i felt my heart beat in indignation.
Stolen hours, precious, sleeping, restful hours.
One more night of tucking in all by myself.
One less night sleeping next to the man i love.
i shouldn't begrudge those 12 or so extra hours that he has to be gone,
but i can't help but feel a little...
Saturday, November 28, 2009
You don't tell them how many children you have unless they ask...
When they ask, you answer as vaguely as possible - "oh, a few... but one is just a teeny tiny baby..."
When pressed, you mumble & hope they hear a lower number...
When they tell you they can't accommodate your family, you say, "Thanks anyway!" & hang up.
If you get to the hotel & they haven't asked, your husband takes 2 children in when he checks in. You stay in the car with the remainder. He'll drop off a couple & you send a couple a few minutes later... in shifts, without making eye contact with anyone at the front desk, you
i was reminded, reading McMama's recent posts, how hard it is for us to ever get a hotel room (unless we get 2 - & my littles are just now getting to an age where i would contemplate that... even though the potential cost makes me cringe).
Recently, we had a very different experience.
We *rarely* ever stay in hotel rooms... or do any "holiday-ing" that doesn't involve mooching off of our parents... hey, our parents live in 2 of the nicest places in Canada, so we have to take them up on their awesome hospitality... i'd love to see what their food budgets explode to after a week having us at their house, but i digress...
This last time we were at my parent's house, Neil announced to me one day that if i wanted to, we could leave a day early & cut up our drive home, stopping at some "hot pools" in Crazy Creek. i jumped at the chance. He made me phone to make a reservation... (chicken)
i looked at what they could accommodate & prayed their largest suite would be available.
i booked the biggest one they had available, & held my breath...
"Ok, & that was for how many?"
"Myself, my husband & our children..."
"Yes, how many total?"
"five... & then the baby..."
"Six total, including the 2 adults?"
"um.. no, six children and 2 adults... but they're really good & quite small for their ages...."
yeh... i was desperate....
"That'll be no problem. i bet you'll be travelling & not have sleeping bags, we'll make sure to add some foamies & sleeping bags in your room when you arrive... we don't normally do that, but i think we can make an exception... "
"Wow, thank you so much!"
Turns out the lady taking our reservation came from a family with 5 kids & thought she had the best childhood evahhh... Who knew?
When we got there, it was empty - we had the hot pools all to ourselves. The kids had a blast - we slept like logs & left the suite spotless when we left.
Sometimes, you get surprises... & every so often, they're pleasant.
Friday, November 27, 2009
i ache to have family close.
Don't get me wrong, i have been more than blessed with amazing friends that i *know* i can call on in times of crisis, but most of our friends have families with little ones - who i don't feel like i should burden anymore than they already are...
On Tuesday night, in those moments of feeling torn - knowing that Neil & i would have to divide & conquer - me at the hospital, watching, waiting & praying in the waiting room by myself - & him taking over for my little hero Cairo who fed everyone supper, cleaned up & tucked the troops in bed... i wished that we could just call gramma.
i spouted off to someone - vented? whined? complained? that i wish that church felt like that. i wish that there were older couples, maybe who have raised their children - or whose children lived far from them, like we do from our parents - who would adopt us - & encourage us - & care so much about us that they would rush over & help us bear our burdens... i know - i sound selfish even to my own ears...
i remembered Gramma Ann...
i remembered that we each knew we could just pop in...
When i would pop in with my tiny preschoolers & my huge belly, i knew she would brew a cup of tea for me & would probably have something fresh baked that she'd share with me. Totally worth the walk across our small town to her house...
My little ones knew that they could climb carefully down the stairs to her basement to find the bins of toys that they could play with - & that if they made her a craft, it would be proudly displayed on her walls for months, if not years...
When she would pop in, she never noticed if my house, life, hair was in disarray... she usually had smarties, or vitamins, or tickles for my babies in her pockets... a warm hug for me... & when Neil worked late at night, i remember her phoning me & encouraging me to dig deeper into my relationship with God.
You wanna know how we met?
i went to church a lot without Neil in those days, when he was working shift - juggling my 2 sweet blond girls & oftentimes wondering why i bothered trying to go at all. She saw me in my need & came over sitting next to me, distracting my girls & cuddling them on her lap - stealing their 'buttons' & making them smile shyly.
She - though at first a stranger - became 'gramma ann' to my little ones - & to all the other little grandmotherless children who congregated around her, found solace at her home & warmth in her arms.
i remember crying when our moving truck pulled away from that little town... i felt that in that small town, we had found a little make-shift niche of *family* & dreaded the thought of being aliens yet again & trying to find our footing underneath us...
& so, there's my soft, vulnerable underbelly exposed for you today...
For those of you who live close to grandparents - regardless of their flaws & shortcomings - give them a hug & thank them for loving you & your babies & for being there when you need them.
It is a blessing.
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the king of creation.
o my soul praise Him for He is thy health and salvation.
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
join me in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
shelters thee under His wings, yes, so gently sustaineth.
Hast thou not seen, how all thy longings have been
granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, o let all that is within me adore Him.
All that hath life & breath come now, with praises before Him.
Let the *amen* sound from His people again;
gladly for aye we adore Him...
i can hardly sing these words without shouting... just a little bit.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
At the hospital, when he was groggy, hooked up to oxygen & an iv, throat still raspy from a breathing tube, the nurse came in & gently asked him, "How are you feeling, sweetheart?"
He tried to sit up & said, "i happy".
Today, we're all home, recovering - i had a good sleep & my body feels less like it's gonna shatter. i have a house to clean, children to teach and meals to cook.
i happy too.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
i'm reading from our history book & our subject this morning is the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years - specifically, we're talking about what God told them to build and carry with them in the desert all those years: The Ark of the Covenant & the Tabernacle.
i read with my lively voice, stopping every couple of sentences to ask questions & to confirm comprehension - aiming most of my arrows at my young, distractable 7 year old son. He's used to being questioned & wiggles in his seat, pretending to be wracking his brain for the correct answer each and every time - & just not being able to pull it from the folds of his brain, "ohhhhh, i know this one... i know it, i know it, i know it...."
i practice deep breathing...
i only just read the answer the breath before asking him...
Why isn't anything going in?
His sisters, exasperated (both older and younger) spout off the answers, and he fairly leaps from his chair, "OH YES!! i KNEW that!! i KNEW IT!!!!! i just couldn't REMEMBER!!"
Stopping, starting, asking question, "Why would he do that?" "What did they bring?" "OOh, Look at that, now we know THREE things that were in the Ark! Remember when all they had to eat was Manna? Why would they save Aaron's staff? What were the 10 commandments written on??" We get into lengthy discussions about each object, about their journey through the desert, about God's specific commands regarding the construction of both the Ark and the Tabernacle...
i smell victory -
i have covered my topic beautifully -
They'll never forget this lesson in history & it will come back to them, helping them better understand deep truths about their Father later on in life - the energy in the room is palpable, the volume of our discussion has risen with the interest level & i'm ready to end this lesson on a high note - my voice trembling, i shout out-
One Final Question:
"Charter! What were 3 things that they kept in the Ark of the Covenant!!"
His bum immediately leaves the chair & he begins whacking his head, in pretending concentration, trying to pin down the correct answer...
i watch him in rapt attention, SURE that he won't miss this, after all of my careful focus & attention, not after he's already answered it correctly 10 different times in 10 different ways over the course of the last 1/2 hour... Surely, one more whack on his sweet little blonde head will loosen the answer & it will spill out of that darling mouth...
"I KNOW THIS ONE... i KNOW it mom!!!! i FOR SURE DO!!!!"
He looks so sure, even his sisters hold their breath, sure that the correct answer is about to burst forth...
"C'MON, Charter!" i find myself fairly cheering. Am i rising to my feet?
He suddenly looks so confident.
His face is glowing - here it comes...
"TWO OF EVERY ANIMAL!!" He shouts triumphantly...
Mollen looks at him in disgust.
i sob quietly into my coffee...
Monday, November 23, 2009
Perhaps this objet d'art.
Gage- Feb 6th, 8lbs 4oz (we gave him his birthday & birthweight :)
Friday, November 20, 2009
It should have been peyton's turn, but she wants to wait for a day when daddy's not out of town so she can share it with him. Funny monkey.
Sloanie was quick & eager to fill in her spot.
She remembered at the traffic circle that she had forgotten her latest novel at home. i assured her that she could make it through a couple of hours without a book & she looked at me with those dreamy eyes of hers & said, "yeah... i guess so..." so slowly that i was sure she doubted me.
We talked about babies, childbirth, Gagey and middle of the night labours... & when we arrived & parked, she held my hand on the way to the door. She perused the titles of the books they had available to borrow & then put her head on my shoulder as we sat & waited for my name to be called.
i figured out that like me, her love language is *touch*... She's got such a soft, gentle touch. i pull her up from her seat as we're called in.
The midwife & i discuss previous births, my preferences & opinions.
Sloanie listens quietly.
When the midwife palpates my stomach, she proclaims the baby to be breech & also quite "small" - i sigh - i'm used to this news... With both Gagey & Mollen i was told that my babies were "dangerously small" & was surprised by babies that were each over 8lbs. i decide to take that news with a grain of salt as the midwife listens for my wiggly baby's heartbeat with a stethoscope. After a couple of minutes, she switches to the doppler & we hear the confused sound of my little one's heartbeat mixed with mine.
It's windy, but not cold outside as we leave.
i feel her warm hand slip into mine.
The leaves are gone & my next appointment will be in December - before we know it, baby will be here...
i hope this next one is as soft as the sweet girl walking next to me.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
We have a few minutes before we need to go in, so we sit in the van, listening to the radio in the darkness.
Cairo: Mom, what if my very first crush doesn't feel the same way about me?
Mom: Well, yeh, that happens sometimes...
Cairo: That would be embarrassing...
Mom: Love by it's very nature is embarrassing though - putting yourself out there, wearing your heart on your sleeve...
Cairo: i bet you've never been embarrassed to love dad though.
Mom: i remember when he told me he liked me.
Cairo: Did you just jump up & say, "I LIKE YOU TOO??!!"
Mom: Yeah... Pretty much...
Cairo: What did HE say?
Mom: He said, "so, can i kiss you?" & when i said, "yes" he proceeded to give me the worst kiss that has ever been given... & then he said, "sorry, i was nervous..."
Cairo: (giggling) That's so dad.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
If any of you remember this post... oh, c'mon, go back & read it... it's short...
My sister sent me the following email:
Paige, thought of you when i came across this quote tonight. You and your "Did you ever have thoughts without words?" question. "yeah Paige... they're called FEELINGS." I guess it's actually called GENIUS. haa haa --j
These thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward. Albert Einstein
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Our house smells like the hazelnut coffee that Neil has already brewed. He's sitting by the fireplace checking emails on his blackberry.
i take my seat opposite him & put my feet up beside his.
i'm wearing blue denim maternity overalls borrowed from a friend, my 1972 roller rink t-shirt & flipflops. He's wearing a pristine dress shirt & pants that i had to hem 3 times before they were good enough.
i hate that i can see his suitcase sitting in the hallway from where we're sitting. Away, again this week - i know he's trying to get in all his travelling before the baby comes... but i miss him.
There's no need to exchange many words as the sky begins to change hue from black, to dusky grey. We get up simultaneously to get our coffee - his black, mine with cream & sugar - & as we return to our chairs that face each other & share an ottoman, little messy haired children begin to make their appearances one by one.
The minutes are slipping by too quickly - i know he'll soon be gone.
Is this what growing old together means?
These yielding moments in front of the fireplace?
The peace that comes just being in each other's company?
The familiar quiet - the longing in absence - the smell of 'home'?
i hope so...
Already, it's hard to remember a time when i wasn't crazy in love with the man sitting across from me. As these good years stack up on themselves - & our children grow - & our feet continue to share the ottoman between us, may there always be another monday morning with hazelnut coffee in the early glow of sunrise...
Monday, November 16, 2009
Over the years, she has graciously shared many tips with me to help me get from where i started out as a newly wed teenager... (shudder) to where i am now... coping nicely (most of the time) with a busy, full house.
One tip that she shared with me early on shocked me. She casually said, in conversation about cleaning, "I cut corners all the time."
i wanted details.
It was just little things - but i noticed that she never got so stuck in *perfectionism* that she lost sight of her goal: a tidy home.
i made it my goal to be the same way.
i'd spot check my floors or windows when i could get away with it...
Skipping what i could & doing whatever i noticed needed doing.
i'd get rid of clutter & look for ways to create *wide open spaces*.
i'd make sure everything had a place & that each nook & cranny wasn't crammed to capacity.
She showed me by example that when we came to visit, the house was clean when we got there... & she assured me, it would get clean again later when we left, but while we were there, she would enjoy those little finger prints & let the puzzles spread across the living room floor & the couches get turned into forts.
Her house was a home first.
When i sighed at her streak free windows & her crumb free cupboards, she would remind me that she didn't have little ones living at her house - & that my house was *very* tidy considering all the living that went on there. Always encouraging, suggesting, helping when she was around but mostly just enjoying what we had.
One time, i remember going through a big bag of pass me down baby clothes with her. She let me do the choosing, but gently encouraged me to only keep the best & really, how many outfits does a baby need anyway?
Neil inherited a lot of his mom's simple cleanliness. Over the years, his inability to live in a disaster zone has rubbed off on me - & i've learned that if i wanna visit with him, relax with him or have him just *be with me*, then i'd better have the house in a semblance of order when he walks through the door. He's not a perfectionist either - but he requires *order* to relax.
At first it hurt to constantly be culling... but now, i can chuck almost as good as he can. Like i said in a previous post, my motto has become, "getting rid of 'stuff' to make room for people".
i sure haven't 'arrived' as a perfect housekeeper. i know i have a lot of training to do with my little people to get them to be good little housekeepers. i have a lot of little drawers & cupboards that could use some attention... i've got areas that seem to win regardless of how often i tackle them & try to get them under control... i've got bits of dust & dirt where i'd love to see sparkling shine & fingerprints where i'd love to see streak-free perfection.
But it's coming...
Sometimes i imagine myself mother in law to my son's wives.
Will i have any gems to pass down to them?
Maybe they will far surpass me as wives, mothers and housekeepers.
Maybe they'll need a little encouragement & advice.
Hopefully i'll be ready.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
You look in the mirror & wonder...
Friday, November 13, 2009
They looked impossibly tiny - but they fit me only 5 short months ago - maybe less...
i pulled them up & held them up to my nice round tummy, smiling at my husband who was already nestled in bed. He glanced up & without pausing said, "It's like watching the Biggest Loser in reverse..."
It's a good thing he knows i can laugh at myself.
& me? i'm feeling impossibly good. i can't believe i'm getting ready to count down the final 10 weeks. This pregnancy has flown.
i was thinking to myself the other day that i should not be feeling this good when i'm this pregnant, so i looked back in my journal from G's pregnancy & i was saying the same thing... i figure if all follows the same pattern, i've got another good 5 weeks to go before my body falls apart again. i'm planning on embracing it this time... When i ache, i'm gonna have a tubby, when i'm tired, i'm gonna sit down, when i'm uncomfortable, i'm gonna get comfortable... when i puff up, i'm gonna guzzle water & be gentle with myself. If possible, i'm gonna pull all the joy that there is to be pulled from this beautiful countdown.
i'm not ready to not be pregnant anymore.
i'm loving feeling little legs & knees & a sweet little twisty, turny head inside of me... the sweet company in my own body of another little person i love, the way that me and G make a baby sandwich when he nurses. i'm loving the look of surprise that is happening more & more often when Gagey is snuggled in my arms & he gets a little boot to his belly.
If only there was a way to preserve these days & these most beautiful moments...