Thursday, January 23, 2014

Have You Heard???

I've been anxious to share my news on the blog for a long time now & I swore once I start 
blogging if I ever had another baby, I would document the full pregnancy on my little online space here.
Well, that didn't happen. In fact, the majority of you didn't even know I was preggers until just this moment. Those of you who are facebook 'friends' of mine were surprised with our exciting news around 4 weeks ago...and if you follow me on istagram, you may have been slightly shocked about 2 weeks ago. But I was waiting for my 'official' blog reveal until this very day.

First I will fill you in on a few of the details some of you have asked if you you already knew 
about the bump...

Were you trying?
Yes. For about 6 months, since about April 2013. I specifically planned to take my family to Disney in the spring and immediately after we would begin trying. Which we did. I had a chemical pregnancy in early July and in September we decided to 'take a break' for a month because I knew I was taking a NYC trip for my first time in October and wanted to avoid morning sickness during our trip. Of course, September is the month I got pregnant! Wouldn't ya know? I just had to relax ;)

How far along are you?
Today, I am 20 weeks 4 days. My ultrasound (that I had today!) measured the baby at 21 weeks 1 day.

Morning sickness?
Yes, through about 17 weeks. It wasn't horrible, but I was dealing with other physical issues which made it feel horrible.

Weight Gain?
Ugh. More than I should. The average is 8-13 lbs. I've gained 19 lbs. It's not a surprise to me. 
I always gained 20 in the first half of  all my pregnancies. And all together between 55-70 lbs with each child. 
I was hoping to do better this time, but no go so far...
I always lose it fast though. Within 6 months tops.

Baby Movement?
Yep, lots of it. I started feeling 'bubbles' around 16 weeks, but the last 2 weeks or so have been obvious. 
My son even got to feel a kick, although he is the only one so far besides me.

Cravings/ Aversions?
Neither really... I've been stopping by Wendy's alot latey for fries though... =) 
That's not helping to my weight gain.

It's been off an on. Once I started packing on these past 6-7 lbs, I started getting 
uncomfortable and needing back support (already? I know!)

What are you looking forward to most?
Of course, meeting my baby. And a tiny baby butt. =) And snuggles. And nursing. I LOVE nursing.
But also this is my 4th baby, but my 3rd child in which I am pregnant WITH my sister being pregnant as well. Our first kids are 7 months apart. Our second kids are 3.5 months apart...and now this time we are about 3.5 months apart again. It's fun having babies with people you love.

Baby Gender?
Well, as you see above, we are having another boy!! I am beyond thrilled.
This is the first time I am announcing it to anyone, with the exception that I told my family a few hours ago! We all wanted a boy. The kids all wanted a little brother. I wanted another boy. My first baby was a boy, then I had two girls... Jeff seemed happy either way, although he was convinced it was a girl, because the chinese gender chart said it was a girl and it was right for the other three kids!

Birth Plan?
Yep. I'm not completely sure of the timing yet. But I just talked to my doctor today. I have had c-sections with all three of my kids so another one is in order. Generally they plan it about a week before the due date, which would put me to deliver around June 1st.
However, I reminded him that with my last baby, he made a note that my muscle and tissue being thin where the cut is made and he said at that time if I had another one they may have to go a week earlier even. So my very wonderful doctor who delivered all three of my kids will be looking at his notes and records and letting me know when we can plan on delivering. My guess is the last week of May.

I don't have a set full name yet, although I do have a first name which we have had since Wesley was born. But until I figure out the middle name I will keep it a secret (to most of you).

I'm sure I will be updating occasionally with more details. I feel so blessed. This is our last baby, that is for absolute sure. Something permanent will have to take place, probably with me when I have the csection. But I am trying to enjoy and savor every moment of this pregnancy and will be doing the same when the baby is born, knowing it is the last time I will be doing this...
Sniff Sniff...
I love babies...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

No, Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason

Nothing bothers me more than when I hear or read people saying "God has a purpose for your pain or struggle" or "Everything happens for a reason." As if God has some master plan to put us through cancer or depression or a car accident or a death of someone we love to teach us a profound life lesson.
What about instead of coming up with good quotes about God to try and make sense of things that happen, we look to his actual word.

What I do believe is that God can make all things work together for our good. It doesn't mean He put it there, but He can certainly turn it around....
and I believe though there may be sorrow through the night, joy comes in the morning...and when we walk through the fire we won't be burned...

Yes, if we allow God to heal us and teach us, we can learn and grow through our trials and our pain. I know I have. But there are plenty of people who suffer through life, never learning anything and it wasn't God who made their life that way 'for a reason...' And it wasn't God who put pain in people's lives on purpose, but he can certainly turn your pain into great purpose and joy.

Job placed much of the blame of his tragedy in his life on God. People quote Job all the time in their sermons and songs, saying "The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be His name." But they fail to read on and learn what needs to be learned...Job repents of uttering things which He didn't understand....its a warm sentiment that people sing, that 'although God has been tormenting me, I will bless His name.' It certainly has an aspect of loyalty, doesn't it? Yet to the world that still questions God, it still portrays we believe God is responsible for their hurt and pain.

We call God our Heavenly Father, yet we forget the "how much more will your Heavenly Father give" aspect to him being our Father. Would you torment your child with death and poverty and disease just to teach them a lesson? No? Neither would he.

Instead of encouraging that God has a reason for it, let's encourage that God is able to turn it all around and bring JOY in the morning...

Romans 8:28
Psalms 30:5
Isaiah 43:2 
Matthew 7:11 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cry, Pray, Breathe, Rest...Repeat

Earlier this week I was filling out an application that applied mainly to my health, both physical and mental. It discussed my history in both and it brought up the topic of stress and anxiety. It asked me, "How do you cope with stress or anxiety?" I was sitting there with my sister and I literally laughed out loud. 
I said to her "I don't know. What do I do?"
Um, foot massage, back massage, long warm candlelit baths, nights out with the girls? None of that. As relaxing and wonderful those things are, those usually aren't my go to methods of coping with stress. Like ever. My bathroom/bathtub is anything but relaxing. If anything, sitting in my tub would cause me more stress as I looked around at how badly it needed to be gutted. Massages I love. My husband gives them to me, often. But it's usually because a certain area of my body is aching. I think the last time I payed for a massage was maybe 3 years ago. To come up with the money to get a massage, again, has the tendency to cause me more stress than I need. And although I do enjoy an occasional night out with the girls, and I love my girls dearly and I love to laugh... it's not my coping method for life or anything.

Then today a friend of mine posted an article on facebook, 
I'm pretty sure I actually blushed as I read this. I know that, again I laughed out loud. Not because I'm embarrassed about being a control freak. But I'm embarrassed that it made me sound like I don't care about anything. People, Life, Work, Kids, Money...meh...  I think I maybe qualified for 1-2 things on this list and it made me think, what do I do when I'm stressed out? What do I do when I feel like I can't control things in my life? Nothing.
Writing this sounds a little weird to me, given the fact that a few years ago, my doctor "described" and "prescribed" me as obsessive/compulsive. But I know for a fact where that derived from and it was completely unlike me. I keep my house moderately clean (as clean as possible usually) but if I can't, I can't. I don't stress about it. I pay my bills, but if for whatever reason we have no money, it is what it is. Phones will get turned off. So what? I will turn them back on when we have money. I have work to be done, but I work better when I'm on a time crunch so most times I wait until the last minute. I don't have my life mapped out. I don't have lists.
And a few years ago, I learn to let go of that "control" issue that I had.

Ten years ago, before I had kids I had a lot of responsibility, thus things I had to control on some level.  I was the coordinator of our youth ministry. I am a pastors daughter, so there is some level of "stepping up to the plate" I felt (and feel) is necessary and appreciated at church. We owned a house. 
We had an insane amount of  debt...
and the only thing that still stands today in that list is that I am still a Pastors daughter.
We had to sell our house, I lost my job, my husband lost our health insurance, our bills plus the loss of money got us in over our head, but it taught me one major thing and that was that we are still standing. I have a family of five and although times have been hard. There have been meals of macaroni and cheese or cereal or less on days, we are still alive. There have been unpaid bills. There has been tons and tons of paperwork requesting help financially, medically, etc. It has been humbling to say the least.
But God has always provided and we are still blessed.
Before that, we never imagined that life how we knew it would crumble. I don't think anyone does.
But when it seemed like our little 'white picket fence' life fell apart, I learned that God has yet to let us down. Maybe that sounds weird to say, seeing that it felt like we lost everything. But we had each other. Don't get me wrong. I cried and cried and cried over the years. I cried the times we were told we wouldnt get a paycheck. I cried when we had to sell our house. I cried when we discussed how to handle our insane amount of debt. I cried when I found out my daughter needed $20,000 worth of dental surgery and not only did we not have health insurance, but our current pediatric dentist wouldnt even look at her because we owed them almost $4000. I cried and I cried and I cried. 
I couldn't control life anymore...
 all I could do was cry.
And years later, it's evident that God has not left the throne...we are still standing...and to me that means, everything is ok.

I felt the control issue creep in again a few years ago when I started getting involved in the Women's Ministry at our church. I saw a need and I sort of just stepped in. I didn't place myself in charge or anything, but I did what I could to organize occasional events. I still do... and no one stopped me.
So I just went ahead and did it. When I asked for help with decorating the first year, I called upon one of the young women in our church who does a tremendous job with styling parties and asked for her help. But there was a part of me that wanted to still have 'a say' in what she did. 
And I caught myself...and I took my hands off and stepped back...
I thought, 'You know what, I don't even want to do that. I already have enough to do. God made plenty of people with plenty of talents. The only reason I would be doing that is because of my need to control something I don't even want to control. Just for the sake of being in control.'
Since those hard times and since that moment where I caught myself losing, and trying to gain control again... 
I taught myself ...or rather let God... teach me how to let go of some things.
Just because I was involved in things, doesn't mean I had to control them. Just because things were in my life, didn't mean I even had the ability to control them...and I felt myself let go of trying so hard.
And I felt myself rest.

I kind of joke around inside my head as I watch my kids in their ratty hair, no shoes riding their bikes outside as I'm cleaning the several colors of acrylic paint off the table and I say, 'I guess I'm a hippie. It's all about peace and love, man.'  I'm kidding, but you get what I'm saying. I take care of what needs to be taken care of. My kids do get baths, but it's not every day. My house does get cleaned, but it's not always as clean as I'd like it. My family does get fed, but it's not always steak and chicken and roast...

I let go of stress. I let go of that need to get things done all the time. And alot of times I cry.
I cry. I pray. I breathe...I rest....and then something comes up and I do it all over again. 
I repeat.

Needless to say, when I was filling out my form this week and after I laughed asking my sister, "I don't know what I should say?" I said "I'm just going to write it."
I wrote. I cry. I pray. And I trust in God.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Entertaining Vs Raising a Family...

After a long Christmas break, with two additional 'dangerously cold' school closing days added on, my kids finally went back to school yesterday. The tears were abundant. The begging to stay home, to be home schooled and for more and more hugs left me feeling sad. I wanted to close my eyes and ears to their tears. 
I will be the first to admit, I never understood the moms who were sad when their kids went back to school after Christmas or Summer vacations. I get that part of that reason is they didn't have to wake up so early every day and lug their kids to school, but for me, my husband usually is the first one to get up and get the first two off to school, so that was never been an issue with me. I hugged them, fixed their hair and waved goodbye as Daddy brought them to school. But many moms miss the time with their kids. And as much as I love my children, that has never been a problem for me. Because weeks spent with my kids home means weeks spent breaking up fights, weeks of demands on my alone time, weeks cleaning up constant messes, making endless bowl of cereal and pancakes. In general it just seems to be a lot more work.
When the kids head off to school, I have time to clean, to gather my thoughts, to run errands alone. It's my selfish time perhaps, but I never let myself think of it as selfish, because afterall, for the most part, I work my life around my children. I have 3 people, well 4 if you include my husband, who depend on me and they are never left without food or without hugs or without snuggles or I Love Yous. My life revolves around and is dedicated to other people before myself, so how could I possibly be selfish when I want some time alone? Some quiet time.

I don't really believe I am selfish, don't get me wrong. But I do enjoy my space now and then.

But this time was different.
Maybe it's because the kids each had a new tablet to play with from Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas so the fights were kept to a minimum, and the house stayed moderately clean, or maybe it's because they are getting older, but I found this break time with the kids home oddly calm and I can honestly say this is the first time I was anxious for them to stay home a few more days when the 'dangerously cold' school closings were declared. I really enjoyed the time spent with them at home and felt sad when I knew they were headed back.
We had a simple laid back Christmas. Not as many presents this year, not too much running around like usual and a lot more time just hanging out with each other.
Many days when all three kids are home we are breaking up constant fights, and I have mentioned this before but a lot of our family time is somehow spent separated to simply avoid the stress. One of us will take the girls, one of us will take the boy and we will each do our own thing, because Wes and Jada just can't seem to stop arguing and tattling and all the physical battles that come with kid fights, so it's easier on us to just keep them separate.
Or, if we do go out together, we would make sure they stay stimulated. You know a movie, Chuck E Cheese, a theme park, the fair, but then again...there is always more they want. They want to play more, they need more coins, they want one more ride, they want to play one more game and it becomes a battle of parent versus child and the repeated "NO" over and over until one of us finally gets upset because "NO" is simply not a good enough answer for kids, as we all know.

But there is something I realized in the past year and have been taking it to heart a lot more lately. Family time doesn't mean entertaining your kids or keeping them busy or spending money on them. Family time is best spent when you are present with them, laughing with them and playing with them. It definitely seems the most appreciated. Sure we have our 'discussions' over what things they 'want' and are not going to get any time soon. We have unmet demands by them and they seem unhappy and unsatisfied with us as parents because we won't or can't give them everything they want.
But somehow, the time spent with them makes children and families forget everything else in the world and cling to one another and cling to love and laughter...

Things and outings will never replace love and laughter and presence in a family setting...

Last week, my son was supposed to go to school 2 days earlier than my girls were supposed to start back and he was feeling nervous and anxious. He was crying, sighing and it wasn't stopping anytime soon. I kept trying to talk to him about how there is nothing to be nervous about. Nothing bad has ever happened at school, but nothing I was saying was helping. He would come and kiss me, walk out the room I was trying to work in, he told me I am a good mommy and 2 minutes later he came back in crying about school. I already let him stay home an extra day because I felt bad that the girls got to stay  home and he didn't, so I couldn't fall for the tears this time...but I was having a hard time talking him out of being sad and scared.
I resolved to tell him if he let me finish what I was doing, I would play a game with him when I was done...and in the meantime, I sent his dad upstairs to play with him. He sure loves Mommy. Mommy is the one who talks him through life, through sad times, who snuggles him most. But he often makes requests that "his dad"  spends more time with playing with him, so Daddy it was. At least until I was done. Then I went upstairs and took over, while Jeff played a game with the girls in the other room. Eventually their game finished, and they all wandered in Wesley's room where we were playing and everyone wanted to join. The joy on our kids faces when we play a family game together is indescribable. The laughter and the remarks about how much fun "family game nights" are over and over ...are worth the time and effort away from our phones and our televisions and our computers.

The time spent with my son and my family helped him get his mind off his worries, it kept my kids from fighting, (and from making messes, by the way). And best of all it kept them happy with nonstop smiles on their faces. They didn't ask for anything else. They didn't ask more more toys, more coins to play games, more video games, more money, more downloads, more online memberships. 
The only thing they did ask for is more time with us as a family. When the night was over, they didn't want to stop.
And those are the kind of moments our children will cherish and will remember. They won't always remember the trips to the zoo, or chuck e cheese or six flags, but they will remember mom and dad spending time with them....
I gotta say, I'm happy with how life is turning out with this little family of mine. I know there are still bumps ahead. I know I still have to face the teenage years and more complaining and fights, but my goal, my life's resolution is to make sure we always spend quality time with them, not just truck them off to this place or that place to keep them preoccupied, but to really meet their need for love and acceptance and that they would know that we are always available to them in whatever they struggle with. Our job isn't to just keep them from bugging us, but to help and nurture them in their lives. They are not here for us. (Even though they bring so much joy.) We are here for them...

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Word for 2014

 One thing I've noticed having a facebook account and reading blogs, is that everyone has an opinion or ideals about things, about who God is, what he thinks about this controversial topic in the media, or what he must feel about modern churches... or thinks about this kind of music in the church. What his answer is to this or that political debate or that scriptural debate. I've even seen the thoughts on how people should dress, or how people should or shouldn't take pictures on instagram.
I'm not saying who is right or wrong...and that is the point.
My point is that mankind always believes their conviction on something is the right way.
And sometimes it becomes a battle of pride or will or opinion rather than what it should be...
seeking our Heavenly Father's heart, his answers and the entirety of his word. To me, that is KEY.
the entirety of scripture....

It isn't a bad thing, really. Sharing our opinions. Our blogs and our facebooks  are used for sharing our thoughts on things, as long as we aren't tearing down others or attempting at making fools out of people.  That's what it is there for. Whether we are random and more surface level with what we share or whether we like to dive a little deeper, many of us do it on the interwebs these days.  Our opinions may be based on our backgrounds, what we grew up knowing and being taught, what we dislike about how we were taught or grew up, what ideas we rebel against, what ideas we support, what we are used to, what we like or dislike, maybe it's based on what has taught us or affected us or changed us... or sometimes we even base our convictions on one or two scripture and not the entirety of The Bible....
I'm not saying scripture is a free for all, for each man to interpret God as they wish,
but to know the heart of the Heavenly Father's is the what He wants. It's what matters...
let's seek HIM...
2014 is upon us and this year I challenge myself and I challenge you to SEEK your Heavenly Father for a true revelation of who He is and his heart and thoughts. He wants our hearts to take after his heart. His heart is revealed in his word, but sometimes it takes a  revelation of his word to make parts of it become real to us. Don't you want that? God's truth, not mans. I always do.

Let us not ever come to a point that we ever feel like we know everything there is to know about our precious Savior, but to earnestly and always seek a deeper relationship with Him and a deeper revelation of Him and his written word. God is sovereign, righteous, just, and jealous...but he is also merciful, loving and full of grace and compassion. He can embody more characteristics that we can comprehend, but that is why he is God...and so many times we get stuck on our own ideas and convictions about things. Let's be open to being wrong once in a while.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to show us more who God is and less of what we think about Him based on what we know, have always known or thought, or what side of the fence we tend towards, or what scriptures we decide to read and decide to set aside.

HIS heart is what matters in every situation and whenever I feel my guard go up because someone says something about a topic that I don't agree with because I've always known it or liked it a certain way, I ask the Holy Spirit to show me his truth in it. I WANT him to check me if I am off. I WANT my toes to be stepped on occasionally so that I don't get so stuck and set in my ideas that I am not open to the Holy Spirit and the way He is moving throughout the earth in many different ways. 

Sometimes, he shows me that what I believed was right...sometimes, He shows me something I've never seen before and where I'm off.... the point is that I want him to always show me and reveal HIMSELF to me...and not vice versa....and I want desperately to know who my God is and and long for more intimacy WITH him, not just knowledge or information or about Him...and I pray that you would desire the same...
SEEK HIM... in everything...

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. ~Ephesians 1:17
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  ~Matthew 7:7
  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. ~James 1:5
Just another little piece of my heart here on my blog...
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration...
Now let's get on with 2014...

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