Fambly.

My mom, sister and nephews went back to their respective homes today, leaving me and the kids to face the rest of the day by ourselves.
We were bored, tired and sad. But as I reflected on their time here, I realized how blessed I am by my family. There are times that I take that for granted and I want to remember not to.
We share the same views on eating and food, go to church together and have similar values in child-rearing.
They don’t judge my dirty house, but offer to clean and organize it. They buy stuff at Goodwill and on Craigslist for us and drive it up here. They love on us well.
They make me laugh and then we cry after being together.
They are some of my closest friends and favorite people.

(Linking up with Just Write.)

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It all comes out in the wash.

This morning, I woke up before my children, which happens very rarely in our house. Since I’m a night owl, I’m not a morning person, so our kids have become my alarm clock.

Each night, after we put them to bed, I have grand plans of going to bed earlier than usual in order to wake up earlier and greet the day with a cup of tea and some quiet time. Again, that almost never happens–I end up staying up late, catching up on a favorite show, then having a bowl of cereal and watching late night tv. Last night, Eli Manning was on David Letterman and we had to watch that!!

So when Flannery woke up, she was sad and needed to cuddle and I had no choice but to get back in our bed with her. Amos was also in a fog and needed some cuddle time. And as I was there with them, I realized that it was almost an hour later and that I had not gotten up or accomplished anything. As I plotted my move to get up and make breakfast, Flannery rested her head on my tummy and snuggled in, again.

All of a sudden, it hit me. It hit me that this time was limited and that soon, there would be another one, wanting cuddles (and more!) from me.  There would be less room for a toddler to cuddle and I am really unsure, even now, how it will all work out–if I will be able to love everyone with just two arms.

A while back, there was a blog post circulating on Facebook about the difference between chronos and kairos time and their place in our lives as moms and the kind of time we give our kids. This morning, as I realized that my kairos time was short, I snuggled Flannery even closer, because whether she was ready or not, she was going to be displaced as the “baby” in our family. It’s bittersweet to think of her turning 2 this week, but still needing to rest her head on my belly.

When I finally emerged from our cozy room, I remembered that there was laundry to be switched, but that would take too many steps at that point. When I made it to the kitchen, I remembered the rest of the groceries I never unpacked last night. I noticed the dishes on the counter and realized that it would have been helpful for me to get up early to tackle the clean dishes and make breakfast. It would have been good, yes, but my cuddle time was better. And that’s what this practical mommy has to remember.

(Linking up with Just Write.)

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A night with the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon

I’ve always been a night owl. I love to watch funny things and love seeing my favorite bands play their newest song. So when I discovered that late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live combined those things, I was hooked. My brothers and I started watching SNL in early/mid 90’s, during the height of the Mike Meyers/Dana Carvey/David Spade/Chris Farley/Phil Hartman/Adam Sandler etc years. We would video tape episodes and then put our favorite sketches onto compilation tapes and watch them over and over. (Gap girls, anyone?!) And we did the same with Late Night talk shows, taping our favorite bands’ appearances.

Fast forward to the year 2000, when I was a nanny in NY. I figured out how to get standby tickets for SNL and talked my good buddy Jessica into spending the night with me, in line for the following Saturday’s performance. We ended up getting in at the very last second, and the loss of sleep from being on the sidewalk all night paid off! After the show, we all waited outside and waited for the stars to come out so we could get their autographs. I got my picture taken with Will Farrell and a little-known, new cast member named Jimmy Fallon. As he was walking off into the night, I yelled at him and asked for his picture. He happily obliged.

So when I heard that Jimmy Fallon, who now has his own late night talk show, was going to be filming in Indy during Super Bowl week, going to a taping immediately made my very short bucket list. I was more excited about that than the Super Bowl itself and couldn’t wait for ticket info to be released. I had grown to love his show, which I only watched when we had DVR or if I happened to be up that late, which is rare. In my opinion, his show is the funniest and most entertaining show on TV right now, with awesome writing and an amazing house band, The Roots.
Naturally, I was really bummed not to get tickets, when they finally were released and even though I was so excited for friends who were updating their statuses with reports of confirmation emails, Iwas a bit bummed not to be among them.

And then last week, my friend Shannon called and asked if I would want to be her husband’s date to the show. She was unable to go and wasn’t very interested in the first place. I was in such shock and disbelief, that my response was not the usual jumping and screaming that it would have been. Still, I was really really excited!
So with help, I got to go to the show. Lee went downtown at the crack of dawn this morning and got in line to ensure we would indeed get in (since they had released more tickets than seats) and Nathan helped with the kids so that I could be gone to stand in line and go to the show.
Standing in line felt much like the SNL line experience, only it was just for an hour, not a whole night! But we made friends with those around us and all shared in the torture of the cold air and the anti-establishment songs a homeless man sang to us. We finally got our tickets and wristbands and were happy to have assigned seats so as to avoid another line.

When Lee got to the theater this afternoon, he saw a line was forming again, to get in. Instead of being afraid of not getting in, we were afraid we wouldn’t get in before 5, when the doors would close. So I hurried and got there around 4 and we proceeded to get in line and head into the theater. It took awhile because we all had to go through security but then we found our seats and said hello to our line buddies. We had awesome seats, too. We were up on the first mezzanine and were up in the fourth row, basically up behind 3 rows and a walkway. We were smack in the middle and had a perfect view. There was a camera on a big crane to our left that often panned the crowd and I was hoping that maybe this would mean we would get on TV!

Promptly at 5, a guy named Seth came out on stage and started warming up the crowd. He was a little bit comic, a little bit flight attendant and when the Roots played their warm-up song, a little bit male cheerleader/dance team member. It was definitely entertaining and got us all in the spirit of being in the crowd.
And then it was time to start the show. The Roots played the intro song, the opening sequence (newly filmed in Indy) played on the monitors and we all clapped and cheered our hearts out! My eyes even teared up as Jimmy walked out on the stage, I was that happy. Before we knew it, he had started the monologue and the show was underway. He did a few bits, some with special NFL guests and then we had our first commercial break. The Roots played an entire song and it was so good. I could have stood up and had a dance party right then and there, but I didn’t think of it until the end.

The show progressed, with guests (Taylor Lautner, Drew Brees, Adam Levine, musical guest Nas and a few Colts and NFL players.). At times, during “commercial breaks,” they would film 15 second commercial spots to be aired at different times, in different cities and for different things. It was fun to be part of those, having to cheer really loudly and then stop, and then watching Jimmy Fallon have to get it right over and over again.
It was fascinating to watch the whole production take place, with so many moving parts and people. It was like a well-choreographed dance, that could not have anything go wrong. Everyone had to act at the right time, and in the right way for it all to work.

Finally, when it was time for the musical guest, they moved the Roots’ stage around front and center. We noticed that the director lady was up on our floor, standing in front of us, and they were testing the lighting on her. There was a guy with cue cards and after a bit, we realized that Jimmy, himself, would be up there to introduce Nas, standing right in front of us!! For a moment, we waited and then he came through the door. Lee got to shake his hand and then Jimmy took his place. I could see on the monitor, that I was behind his right shoulder, so I decided to wave with all my might, as I was sure to be on TV! And for a few seconds, I was. It was crazy and surreal and super fun. Not being a Nas fan, I had no idea what to expect, but since the Roots were his backup band, it was immediately awesome and we didn’t mind that we couldn’t understand a bit of what he was saying!

(Here’s a video of Jimmy’s intro and me waving behind his right shoulder!) http://youtu.be/XCON0-2iqH4

It all ended so quickly and we were left with just sitting in awe, watching them put the stage back in its original state. Jimmy thanked us for being such an awesome audience and city and we headed out into the cool night, to find dinner at a food truck.

All in all, it was an awesome experience. It was funny, fascinating and really interesting to see the whole thing happen. I don’t feel like there’s much in life that i have to do before I die, but this is definitely on thing I will love to remember doing.

 

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Homeschooling is….

This semester, we are homeschooling Amos, a decision that was tough to make but was the best for Amos right now in his life. So far, the changes we’ve seen in heart, attitude, spirit and smile have been evident and encouraging and even though at times it feels daunting and overwhelming, overall, I’m glad we are going to try it!

So far, homeschooling is…
demanding: each day needs to be planned; you have to be on and talkative even when you are too tired or have other things on the to-do list; you have to juggle the needs of all of your kids, and try not to turn on the tv too much!
time consuming: again, the planning; the hours that you would be running errands, cleaning/organizing or doing something else are spent sitting still to teach your child.
tiring: in moments that would normally be quiet or occupied by just one or two children, there now is another child that needs you.

BUT…

Homeschooling is also (and more importantly):

Fun and rewarding: I am having a blast with Amos, helping him to write his letters and numbers, teaching him about all kinds of things, and watching him succeed. There are times, as a mom, that there feels like there’s nothing to show for the day, no tangible reports to hand in or list to check. But with homeschooling, I’ve been keeping a journal and as we do each activity, I write it down and by the end of our time, can see what we’ve done.
***It’s also really really awesome to be Amos’ teacher again. I think I began to feel like someone was taking my place as his teacher and parent (as silly as that may sound) and I think I really missed having him around and experiencing life with him, watching him learn and grow. It’s not easy to sit and teach and sometimes he gets frustrated or distracted, but when he does get something, it’s really satisfying.***
Flexible: This morning, we all slept in because we went to bed so late and both last night and this morning, we felt free from the stress and time constraints of bed times and wake up tims. This morning, we were able to enjoy being together before starting the day. Since Nathan’s job is flexible, it’s nice that we are all back on flexible schedules. Amos has also had more time to do art and play and it seems that he is really enjoying himself. Again, it’s great to watch him just be a kid and I really believe that there’s learning and valuable brain growth happening.
For us, right now: Again, we have felt free enough to try it out for now, knowing that we might return to school again at some point. We’ve also realized that Amos and Flannery are really different and that she might need to not be homeschooled. We don’t feel that everyone should do it, or that it’s the best for every child.

(I began to think about this post as I was loading the dishwasher, wondering to myself, “what have we done?” Flannery has been sick a lot lately and this morning I was pretty stressed as I tried to make breakfast, put dinner in the crockpot, clean the kitchen and get ready for homeschool. Nathan helped everyone get settled at the table before leaving, but afterward, Flannery was fussing again, needing a diaper change and a bath and then downtime back in bed. Amos was running around saying, “Mommy! I’m ready to learn!!” and I was just trying to finish eating breakfast, making tea and dinner. Wow. At one point, I prayed and gave to God our day, Flannery’s health, my sanity, all of it. And since then, we’ve had a pretty great day, getting two hours of schooling in, an epic art project, lunch and now blog posts. Why am I writing all of this? Mostly, just to verbally process it and think about what just happened. To recognize the difficult and then the good.  And also to be reminded that God will come–that I don’t have to do it all in my own strength and to somehow find peace there. I don’t know how I’m going to do it all, but I’m hoping that it eventually won’t matter, and that what will be most important will be our hearts and attitudes.).

So there it is.

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Looking back, looking ahead.

Wow, here we are, on the other side of the 2011 holiday season.

There is so much to do, looking forward, but looking back, there is much to think about:
Since Thanksgiving, I feel as though (like all of us) life and time were passing me by and there were things I had hoped to do that did or didn’t happen, but mostly, I look back and feel like it happened, I got through it and I barely remember it.
I had hoped to do a Jesse Tree reading each day with our kids, but as usual, we started out strong and then fizzled as December went on. Two perspectives on that one: Oh well, we tried and darnit, I guess they won’t know the true meaning of Christmas until next year. Even though we tried to remind Amos of THE greatest gift and the reason for the season, somehow, I feel that it just didn’t go as deep as I wanted it to go. Oh well.
We DID make gingerbread cookies, get Christmas and holiday cards made and sent, teacher gifts distributed, a neighborhood holiday dinner hosted, gifts for family and friends purchased, house somewhat cleaned and organized, and trips planned and taken. Nathan got Advent services planned and carried off in addition to the rest of his work for the church and I got through it all with only 1, maybe 2, meltdowns! We experienced the holidays with our Kenyan students which made things busier but more meaningful, and got through getting to Amos to school on time each day, with homework completed.
Also, not in the plans were the stomach flu, colds, runny noses and other interruptions.
Wow. I look back and my soul feels unaffected by the reminder of the birth of our Savior. I feel tired and in some ways, glad to be done and ready for the new year to begin. Even though celebrating Christmas three times with family and the week of vacation afterward were all good, it was still tiring and even now, as we drive back home, I long for our quiet house, my bed and a place to put all of our loot.
So this month and year, what am I looking forward to?
I’m excited to homeschool Amos; to do a January (maternity-friendly) detox; to get our house ready to sell; to hopefully wake up early enough each morning so as to read and pray, maybe even with Nathan; to less TV, more reading; to better time together as a family; to welcoming a new life into our family, who hopefully, is full term and healthy; to growing relationally, emotionally and spiritually and above all, to trusting God with our future, with our family and hopes and dreams.
I guess I can resolve to do those things….maybe?!
***This is what I wrote as we drove back to Indy from a week of vacation in TN.
Linking up with Just Write.
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It’s been a lonnnnng time! (Thankful…)

Wow, so I’ve just logged into this blog for the first time in a few months. It’s been a busy time, this summer-fall-winter, with Amos in school full time and me being pregnant with our third (among other things).

Again, wow.

Thanksgiving came and went and this year, we traveled to be with my sister and her family on the big day. She’s a doula and was waiting on a client to have a baby so we went to them. We had a great day, cooking together, hanging out, listening to music, helping with each others’ kids.

It was funny though–we made our big dinner and then ate it in 20 minutes flat, and when we ended it was only 5:30pm. !!! What were we going to do with the rest of our day? The kids were acting crazy and we all just looked at each other, now realizing why we got to watch those holiday videos on special days like this. We made a quick decision to go see the new Muppet movie and after quickly getting the kiddos into PJ’s, we set out for the theater. It was a great way to end the day and the kids loved it.

Since Thanksgiving (and ironically, not before or necessarily ON the day), I have been thinking of all of our great blessings and have realized many of the things for which I am thankful:

I am thankful for ten great years of marriage to Nathan. It hasn’t always been easy and our first few years were very difficult, but now I look back and see the sweetness that has grown and am thankful to be able to live life with my best friend, every day.

I am thankful for our healthy children, both our healthy preemie that is growing big and strong, and our healthy full term-er, who is growing well, and who gets over sickness easily. I am thankful for our naturopath and friends who have helped us to care for our kids in non-conventional ways, that have long-term benefits.

I am thankful to be carrying a healthy baby boy and even though is different from who I thought it would be, I am excited to meet him and hope he continues to do well in my womb, at least until March!

***

And then I start to realize all of the things we have and how we always have exactly what we need, and sometimes more, and am blown away with those great blessings. We have a warm house, we have a working car, we have food every week and money to pay all of our bills. We have a great group of friends and church community of people that really love us and care for us in tangible and intangible ways. We have the luxury of buying fun presents for our family, this Christmas, not just practical things like shoes or clothes, etc. We have a father in heaven that loves us, beyond measure, that has lavished his grace on us and adopted us.

I feel like it’s important for me to stop and think about this, not just because it’s that time of year, but because it’s so easy to complain about things that are difficult or that we don’t like. I do, all the time. Hopefully, I can look at this list often and be reminded so that when I want to complain, I will be slower to do so.

Hopefully.

 

 

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Diary of a first trimester

Weeks 1-5: Yep, pregnant. Thoughts: I am glad this is happening now. I’ve always been wondering (since Flannery was born) if there was another to join our family? Who is it? Brother or Sister? How long will they inhabit my womb? Will they exit early? I hope not. What is their name? What will they look like and act like? Will they be mellow or more of the same? What is this going to be like? Is it really going to happen now?

From Day 1, I’ve felt pregnant. It’s never happened that way before but this time, there was no mistaking the classic symptoms as they came and went, pretty mildly. And then I hit Week 6…

Week 6: Thinking, talking about, looking at food all makes me sick, until I think/look at/talk about the right thing and then I want it, immediately. It’s like a switch was flipped somewhere and on Day 1 of Week 6, my body said, YES! LET’S DO THIS!!!! So here we are, emotional, tired, cranky, hungry, nauseous constantly and already pooching out like I’m four months pregnant. Wow. I already weigh what I did when Amos was born and what I weighed at 28 weeks with Flannery… at SIX WEEKS! I am hoping to walk on the treadmill most every day as soon as I feel better.

Week 7: Today, I want Doritos. And maybe Cheetos. I want to eat a BLT with Turkey and extra tomato for dinner, but we’re out of bacon. Peanut butter saved my lunch, but I’m hungry again. Nothing sounds good. Except Doritos. Regular potato chips and Kroger brand French Onion dip sounds really good right now, too.
Week 7, day 2: Tweet/Facebook status update (that I never posted): I can barely finish my favorite salad from Trader Joe’s. I feel totally like crap and have so much to do. This day has been challenging.
Oh and the thought/sight of meat: turkey, chicken, beef makes me sick. So much for protein!

Week 8: Praise God, here we are. Today, in thinking about what to have for lunch, I thought and thought and thought through all of the food we have and none of it sounded good. And then I got to hot dogs. And then I thought about Mac and cheese. And thankfully, we had healthier options for both. My tummy is so happy and I hope it doesn’t make me sick, later.
That’s been the theme this week, how not to feel sick. Some foods I don’t eat because they sound gross and some foods I do eat and then they make me feel gross. I feel like I can’t win. My constant meal companion is a bottle of pro-biotic enzymes that my mom gave me and they have worked, 99% of the time I’ve needed them to. I am finding now that I have to stay away from really really sweet stuff. So I am basically craving carbs, and greasy meat. Yum, right? I so wish I could down a whole blender-full of green smoothie, but as of now, I cannot.
Also, by 11 in the morning, I’m ready for a nap. And apparently, Flannery is too. Today, she was asleep by 11:15 and at 2 o’clock now, is just waking up. It was very helpful, today. I rested for a solid hour and a half and then had late lunch. At this point, I am just taking it one day at a time and am thankful for the nausea, however difficult it makes the days.

Tonight, we are going to see the little one(s). I’ve never gone this early, so I am excited to see who all’s in there and how many of them there happen to be. There aren’t twins in our family, but you never know, right?!
Also in Week 8–I got a cold, the worst I’ve had in years. My face hurt and I even spent a day in bed, it was that bad.

ps–There was only one! :)

Weeks 9-11: Food aversions continue. Sprite and potato chips, Arby’s, mac n cheese and hotdogs are some favorites, though, for curbing nausea.  It’s been a hot weekend and it’s gotten to me when I’ve been outside. I’m still super tired but have had bursts of energy, which I’ve needed, to get our house clean for guests and students.  Also, my emotions have been crazy. I’ve cried alot this week but I think it’s due to the combination of hormones/being tired and or/ hungry.

Weeks 11-13: Nause, exhaustion and hunger. Same as it ever was.

Weeks 13-15: So just like at Week 6, a switch happened at week 13. It was almost a sudden stop of the nausea happened. It was a few days into that week before I realized that it happened and I was so grateful. In the past, it has lasted up to 17 weeks but I feel like I finally have caught up and have done the first trimester in a normal time frame. I also feel less emotional, although, that usually depends on how much sleep I’ve been getting.

This, by far, has been the most challenging first trimester and pregnancy for me.  It feels like with each pregnancy, my memory has gotten worse and the number of things I have attempted each day has been fewer and fewer. It feels like I am coming undone. But the good has been that God has been humbling me and showing me through this how prideful and judgemental I am and used to be on friends of ours that were parents and on parents in general. It was always so easy for me to criticize their messy house or chaotic life. But now I feel like I’m one of them, simply because it’s the way it is in this season of life. I have found myself taking things a day at a time, trying not to have panic attacks or get too overwhelmed. I’ve prayed for strength and endurance (knowing that there are some out there that are waaay sicker than I am while pregnant) and God has heard my prayers and has provided. So it’s been a good but trying time.

I’m really looking forward to fall. I’m so glad that summer has passed and now, it’s just a matter of finding warm clothes that fit!

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