Most toddlers have some obsession. For Jacob, it’s the book No, David. We’ve had the book since Brenna was an infant and all of our kids have loved it, but Jake is truly obsessed with it. He absolutely loves it, reads it all day long, and has every page memorized. It’s adorable!
Archive for February, 2012
Jake is a grouchy, clingy toddler lately. I don’t know where my smiley, energetic, determined little guy went to, but right now he’s all tears all the time. I’m not sure what’s going on with him, though I suspect that more sleep would help.
Drew is happy as usual, but he’s in a Mommy-hold-me phase and wants be in my arms constantly. He definitely doesn’t sit still, even when he’s being held. He wiggles and squirms and turns in circles. It’s like holding a feral barn cat. He wiggles and writhes so much that I always think he must want ti get down, but then he always protests instantly and reaches to be held again.
School today was somewhat interesting with two little toddlers squished together on my lap, with Drew playfully trying to wrestle with his brother and with Jake sobbing pitifully at every move Drew made.
We have been studying Africa during the middle ages for history. Today I broke out my “semester supply box” and filled the kitchen table with cardboard, brown yarn, raffia, twine, colored pencils, glue, scissors, and so on. It was quite the messy pile and the kids dove in with gusto and made African masks.
Braden was so nervous about his mask. He was pretty sure that he couldn’t make one. With sone gentle urging he began working on it anyway. He was absolutely delighted when his mask began to actually take shape.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he exclaimed proudly, climbing his own 5-year-old sized Mount Everest.
The older three children were completely independent with their projects. Braden and Asher weren’t strong enough to cut the cardboard on their own so they told me what shapes to cut and then glued the pieces themselves. Braden was an especially strict overseer of my cutting; he had a great vision for this project! Jacob never could get into the raffia and cardboard and yarn, so I pulled out some little foam stickers and he happily decorated his own little cardboard mask with those instead.
At lunch time we weren’t quite finished and the table was a tangle of raffia and yarn. We spread a few blankets in the family room and enjoyed a nice indoor picnic together.
We’ve had a long, quiet Saturday. We all rested a lot. The kids played in the backyard together, enjoying the sunny day. Brenna and Joshua played the piano and the little guys built yet another fort.
I spent most of my day resting and working on school prep. I broke through some major preschool planning writer’s block and finally got all of my ideas down on paper. Most of the lesson plans are done. This week I can print, laminate, organize, and assemble. Next week we will start our brand new preschool lessons and I am really looking forward to it.
I also got all my science experiment sheets, journaling pages, and activity sheets finished. Now Rick is helping me format them to add in the tables that I need. Then all the sheets can be printed and compiled into Science Notebooks for the kids to use over the next two semesters. My lesson plans for science are totally finished and I’ve gathered all my books and materials so the Science Notebooks are all we’re waiting on there.
Rick felt better in the afternoon so he helped the kids finish their chores for the day and he washed the dishes that I’d neglected in the kitchen. He even made dinner. He took the four oldest kids grocery shopping long after bedtime and then we all worked together to put everything away when they got home (a little before midnight). The fridge, freezers, and pantry are now stuffed with two-weeks worth of groceries.
It was certainly not the Saturday we had planned, but it was nice anyway. In the end, missing the tournament wasn’t too bad (though I do still miss the money). Slow is good sometimes.
For over a year, Asher has had a cute little cowboy figurine. I’m not sure where Little Cowboy (as Asher calls him) came from, but the kids have said they remember him from the lincoln log set that Joshua got when he was about Asher’s age. The set was given away long ago, but Little Cowboy is still here somehow.
Little Cowboy is Asher favorite thing, his best buddy. It’s really cute.
Asher carries Little Cowboy everywhere, sleeps with him, and even gets “help” from him. Every once in a while Asher loses Little Cowboy (he’s a rather small toy for a three-year-old to keep track of) and gets very sad, but then his pal always miraculously turns up again. Their little reunions are adorable!
Little Cowboy even joins in our school games…
Eventually, Asher’s little buddy might not be a part of his life anymore. He might lose him. Or he might just get older and forget about his tiny, plastic friend. But I will always remember the sweet, simple relationship between my three-year-old and his best little buddy.
Thanks for being such a good friend, Little Cowboy!
Well, I think at least part of my sick tummy was due to a bug. Rick stayed home sick from work today and a few of our little guys have felt yucky too. We spent the day resting and our big kids helped out quite a bit.
Tomorrow the boys have a tournament. Rick is planning to just take the boys. I hope they are all up for it. At this point, I kind of wish we hadn’t even signed up. Mom and Dad still aren’t feeling good and I realized the tournament overlaps with a church activity that I was planning to attend.
Baby Girl is kicking again tonight. I like knowing she is okay.
It’s now Saturday morning and we’re skipping the tournament. Rick and I woke up at 6am as planned and started getting ready, but neither one of us felt up to taking the boys. We went back to bed.
I feel bad for my boys, I feel frustrated at how much money we’ve wasted on tournaments this month (this is the second February event that we’ve had to skip with NO refund of our pricey entrance fees), and I feel disappointed because I don’t feel good enough to attend the activity at church today either. Oh, and physically I feel sick, weak, dizzy, and utterly exhausted.
But…. I slept in and woke up to an 8-year-old who had fed all of his younger siblings oatmeal for breakfast, a 7-year-old who had changed the baby’s soggy morning diaper, a 3-year-old who proclaimed that I was “super duper duper pretty,” and a Baby Girl who gave me a reassuring kick. So, yeah, life is still pretty good.
I had a yucky, sick day today. I don’t think my body handles long-term stress very well. We managed to get school done though so that was a major accomplishment in my eyes. Rick took care of evening carpools and Maddie helped with little boys while everyone else was gone.
The little guys are all asleep. Rick and Maddie are picking Brenna up from gym and stopping for Popsicles for me on the way home. The house is quiet except for Joshua playing the Star Wars theme on the piano. He is loving the new book he got today and his song sounds great already. I should tell him to shower and get ready for bed, but I’m not going to interrupt him. I can’t interrupt him when he’s nose-deep in a novel either.
Baby Girl has been wiggling more lately. She must be growing! I love feeling her move, each little nudge is like a sweet little promise. I try not to think that this might be the last time I feel a baby kicking. And even when I do think it, it doesn’t seem… right…
I am on a bit of a roller coaster these days. I feel mostly peaceful. I had a neat experience recently that comforted me so much, and that peace has lingered.
But along with the peace, there is a quiet ache. It’s not overpowering or consuming, just a quiet reminder of our circumstances. Truthfully though, I don’t mind it. I guess I would rather feel sorrow because I have something to grieve, than feel nothing because I don’t have anything that matters enough to grieve over. Does that make any sense?
I do wish my body would settle down though. I can’t eat and when I do eat I get sick. I don’t feel too stressed, but I do think there is stress there and taking its toll.
I am finally done with the rest of my planning for our current semester. I have assembled about half of the files as well. I’m hoping to finish this weekend and then next week I can finish everything for preschool.
*Drew, at 14 months, is now walking! At least he is mostly walking. He spends more time on his two feet than he does on all fours now. He looks super cute, like a little upright gorilla. The big kids haven’t gotten over the excitement of it, so every few minutes someone yells out, “Hey, everyone! Drew is taking steps!!” And then Drew’s Fan Club gathers around and cheers for him. He loves the attention.
*Brenna has her back tuck off high beam. I am so proud of my hard-working, brave, dedicated, strong gymnast. She is amazing!
*Asher and Jacob love to sleep in our bed. Even if they are asleep in their own beds, they still wake up in the middle of the night and wander in to sleep with us. Rick asked Asher why he likes sleeping in our bed and Asher sweetly replied, “Cause I love Mommy.” Sweet, sweet boy.
*Yesterday was a gorgeous day. There were several inches of soft, fluffy snow in the yard, but the air was warm and the sun was shining. The kids spent most of their freetime out in the snow together, enjoying the perfect snow-play conditions.
*Most of my homeschool books have arrived. My science stuff came yesterday and I spent part of the afternoon putting together lesson plans and creating experiment sheets and planning the kids’ science notebooks for the semester. I am waiting on one more shipment. It contains a writing book that was a last-minute splurge and not really necessary for our work this semester. I managed to get the rest of my planning done over the weekend so now I can start making copies and assembling everything. It should be done this week. Preschool prep is more time-consuming. My first few weeks of preschool lesson plans are finished so I just need to finish the rest of the lesson plans, print and laminate everything, gather supplies, assemble boxes and mini units… There’s a lot to finish. We’re only having formal preschool until May or June though so that cuts down on my prep work. Then it will be back to reading and games as we await Little Sister, no formal lessons during that time.
*Speaking of our sweet little girl, Asher has already claimed her as his own. “Mommy,” he tells me. “You can have Drew and I will have our new baby sister.” Yup, it’s official! She is his! I love to see his love for her already, though I did convince him (sort of) that maybe we can share her. He wants to buy bows and blankets for her and he hopes that she is just as cute as his cousin Brooklyn.
*Jacob and Asher dumped about 10 pounds of beans in the kitchen last night. My first thought was, “At least they didn’t find the powdered sugar first!” Ha! I guess I’ve really acclimated to life with crazy little boys! And all the boys from Braden down to Drew have been climbing like crazy lately. They’re usually climbers anyway, but right now they are climbing more than usual. I caught both Jacob and Asher on the fireplace mantle today. Jake, my most fearless dare-devil, did it first and Asher followed.
*Maddie loves to fix my hair. She puts it all up in these really unique, intricate styles by connecting a lot of little pony tails, braids, and buns. She loves it and she does a great job. I love her creativity; no two styles are ever alike!
*Jacob loves to put markers in his ears. He can’t put them in too far because his ears are tiny and I try to discourage and prevent this little habit of his. But there are still many days when his ears are bright orange or green or blue!
*Our carpets are clean. We spent some money and had them done, out of sheer necessity! There was no way around it. They are still a little dingy, but they look and smell so much better now!
*The boys start back to wrestling practice this week and there is a tournament on Friday and Saturday. They have missed wrestling so much these last two weeks, but I’ll admit that I have really enjoyed the break! I can’t believe how fast the last few weeks have passed. I hope the next six pass just as quickly.
I love these seven cuties so much, more than words can ever express! I am intensely grateful for each one of them. They are each miraculous to me, each so precious and unique, each such a blessing from Heavenly Father. I am thankful for my role as a mother and for the children who call me Mom. It’s true- I’m one of those women who would have babies forever if I could. And I do hope that I get to have more children. But, no matter what the future holds, I have been blessed with enough love and joy (through my husband and children) to last an eternity. It’s more than I can even comprehend and I am thankful.
This is a precious experience, one that I want to record and remember. In some ways I don’t want to write about it because words are so inadequate that they can sometimes minimize the magnitude of a beautiful spiritual experience. However, this moment was so sweet and powerful, so defining for me as a person and a mom, so very comforting in a time of heartache, that I feel the need to write it down… even if words aren’t enough.
I was pondering our situation, imagining various scenarios in my mind. I wasn’t really happy or sad at the moment, just pensive as I wondered what the future might hold for our family.
A very distinct feeling came over me then, wrapping me from head to toe and filling my soul with warmth, for lack of a better word. It felt like heaven itself opened up around me, encircled me, filled me up. I’ve never felt a feeling so big. It was a feeling of great love and peace, as if Heavenly Father was connecting directly with me. I felt so strongly that we will be blessed for the obedience and faithfulness we’ve had as we’ve added children to our family.
We have always followed the promptings we’ve felt to have another baby, even when it wasn’t convenient or when others didn’t understand our decision. Now, in the face of this trial, I know that we WILL be blessed for that obedience and faithfulness.
I did not feel any direct promptings about the future. I don’t know if I have this condition. I don’t know if we’ll be able to have more babies. I don’t know what the future holds or how hard the journey will be.
But I do know that we will be blessed.
The feeling was so enormous, so encompassing, so powerful, so peaceful, so comforting. I have no doubts; we will be blessed. I don’t know what “blessed” means in this circumstance, but I cannot doubt the power of the feeling that came over me. Maybe it will be in the way I hope for or maybe it will be in a different way, but whatever happens will be a blessing from Heavenly Father. Whatever happens, it will be right. Whatever happens, we are loved. The feeling I felt was so powerful, as if to tell me that I don’t need to be afraid of what the future holds.
I’ve had many spiritual experiences over the years. Some have been small and subtle, like being directly led to a particular book for homeschool or like the quiet thoughts/feelings/nudgings I had before Asher’s emergency c-section. Others have been large and powerful like my first experience in the temple or the feeling I’ve gotten before some of our babies have been conceived. Others have been long, stretching out over several months, like the amazing journey that led up to this Sweet Baby #8.
But this experience was one of the single most powerful. There have only been a few times that I have had the privilege of feeling heaven open and wrap around me, and this one was by far the most powerful.
I know I will still be anxious and nervous over the next six weeks. I know I’ll still probably have no appetite and have to force myself to eat. I know I’ll still have ups and downs. I know I will grieve tremendously if I lose my fertility.
But I am thankful for this peace I feel, for the promise that I have received.
I am holding out hope that everything will look normal at our next ultrasound. At the same time, given how “abnormal” the last ultrasound was, I am also trying to process the fact that things might not be normal next time. I am working through a lot of emotions, all centered around various questions.
Will this precious baby girl be okay? Most likely, the answer is yes. The biggest risks to our sweet girl are low birth weight and/or preterm delivery. Both of those risks are scary, but seem manageable. I worry about her, as I do about all of my children, but I feel peaceful as well.
Will I survive and be here to raise the beautiful children I already have? This is Rick’s biggest concern and I feel bad for him because I know I’d be terrified if our roles were reversed. The mortality rate for accreta is 7% from what I’ve read. I feel pretty encouraged by that because it seems pretty low actually. Rick says its way too high. I’ve also read about crazy amounts of blood loss, and the numbers are so high that they are mind boggling to me. I know that many, many precautions are taken with accreta and I feel confident that I’d be well cared for. Overall, I feel pretty good about this question. It’s a little scary when I really let myself think about it, but I think I’ll be just fine in the end.
Will I be able to have more babies? This one. This one scares me the most. Immediate hysterectomy is the usual course of treatment for accreta. That is something that I am just not ready for. I have felt strongly that we were going to have at least one more baby. I can’t imagine losing that baby that I’ve dreamt of, along with the ability to bear children altogether. This is where my strongest emotions, fears, and questions come from. This is the hardest issue to process. I could write paragraphs on this issue alone, but for now I’ll just continue to process it internally and pray for the total peace that I’m searching for.
I know that Heavenly Father loves us all. I know that He allows hard times to strengthen us for our own good and for our own benefit. I know that a blessing can be anything that brings us closer to Him, anything that strengthens our testimonies.
I can’t look at Asher without being reminded of God’s goodness and love, especially the goodness and love that is present through adversity. We couldn’t get pregnant with sweet Asher for so long, my pregnancy was my most difficult by far, delivery was very scary, and his first six months were so uncertain. Through it all, my faith was strengthened immensely, I learned how to trust the Lord more fully, and I gained a testimony that each of Heavenly Father’s precious children is deeply loved and has their own mortal journey to follow.
Now, several years later, I can’t forget those lessons.
I do believe that if we are to have that baby boy I’ve felt so close to already, that Heavenly Father will provide a way for him to come to us. The challenging part for me is the flip side of that. If I truly believe that (and I do) then I must also believe that the reverse is true. I must also believe that if we can’t have anymore babies, that it’s within the Lord’s divine plan for us. (But why did I feel that special spirit so strongly then? See? That’s where I struggle. On top of that, I hate having these kind of doubts and questions. It just doesn’t feel right. I’m working on it…)
I’ve known this time of bearing children would end, and relatively soon too. I just don’t want it to end this way. But still, I’m glad that no matter what happens, I can look back on this time of life knowing that these years were blessed and beautiful and knowing that I did everything to be faithful in this area of my life. What a sacred, miraculous, incredibly blessed season of life this has been!! I still look around in total awe at the almost eight beautiful, unique, amazing children we’ve been blessed with during the last ten years.
I have decided that there are certain things that I will and won’t allow myself to feel. I won’t allow myself to feel anger, self-pity, doubt, or fear because none of those things will bring me closer to Heavenly Father or allow me to be teachable during this time. I actually don’t feel anger or self-pity, but I am working to overcome the fear and doubt that I feel. I don’t like feeling those things and I am working hard to overcome them. It’s a process.
I will allow myself to feel sorrow because this is a sad situation. At the same time, I will remember to feel gratitude and love in the midst of that sorrow. I will remember to have faith that Heavenly Father will protect our family and faith that if we are supposed to have another baby, we WILL have another baby.
In six weeks, we’ll know for sure what is going on. Until then, I’m trying to balance my emotions, trying to align my own desires with the will of my loving Heavenly Father, learning to trust more fully, and remembering how blessed we truly are.