3.31.2012

Through the Lens

I just discovered Instagram. It's an app that filters your pictures a variety of ways. You literally choose the photo and then, just like choosing a font, you scroll through and the picture changes with each selection. When you like it, choose the green check mark and it's done. Super easy. And, it doesn't change the original. If you have buyer's remorse, no big deal.

I've been messing around all week with it and this is what I've got to show for it:

Ice cream at Costco.
Birthday girl fresh out of bed and so excited to be 6.
Our nursery dropout playing with blocks during my class.
Halloween
Zonked.
Waiting during school drop off.
Birthday girl on her way to school.
"Writing" while mommy does chores upstairs.
Emmy saying "cheese!"
Lexi's cupcake cake.
Same picture different finish.
Costco ice cream: Emmy style.
Dress up: Lexi style.
Just chillin'
Holding hands "nice" for a change.
Don't worry Grandma's, it's a rubber mallet. Not the read kind.
Emmy wants Eggos for breakfast. Can you tell?
At the park.
Same place, just a different filter.
Looks so contemplative, doesn't she?
Picnic lunch with the cousins at Micke's Grove.

Cheese!
Popcorn Popping!
Nigh, nigh.

3.25.2012

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Emmy crying, going rigid, and being completely difficult about getting on jammies after her bath.

Me {stern teaching voice}: Emmy, we get dressed after our bath. Please help Mommy.

Emmy continues crying, going rigid, and being completely difficult.

Me {stern teaching voice}: Emmy, you must let Mommy get you dressed. Please lay still and help Mommy.

Emmy still crying, going rigid, and being completely difficult. 

Me {stern teaching voice}: Emmy, I cannot help you when you don't use words. I don't understand why you are so upset. Please use words.

Emmy {yelling through tears, still stiff as a board}: No! No! No!

3.23.2012

Happy Birthday to Lexi

My sister and brother-in-law live in far away Idaho. But, they make the biggest effort to be involved in the lives of our kids. Without fail, they put together the most awesome videos for any occasion of note.

Here's Lexi's virtual Happy Birthday party from Aunt Mart-eye and Uncle Brain.

video

3.18.2012

Justice or Mercy in Parenting

One of my favorite parenting books is Parenting a House United: Teaching Children Self Government. The author is Nicholeen Peck. Her website is : http://teachingselfgovernment.com/. I hope you will take a few minutes to read about her method and some of her suggestions. Implementing some (or all) of them will improve your parenting style and change your family for the better. Promise.
 
Below is her take on justice or mercy and how each should be metered out by parents.


The Parenting Question

Justice or mercy? That is the question. When your child gets frustrated at his sister and hits her does he need justice or mercy? When your youth comes home from a date after curfew does she need justice or mercy? How do parents balance these two truths? Which principles are the parent secrets for raising children? Is justice or mercy the key for how to become a good parent?

It is true that a person can learn from the mercy of others and can even have a change of heart. But, it is also true that in order for most people to learn cause and effect there must be justice, or consequences, which show them how their choices affect their happiness.

The Bracelet

Porter sees that Londyn has put her new bracelet down for a moment. He wants to tease her for fun and chooses to take it and put it on. Londyn sees him with the bracelet asks for it back. But, Porter wants to tease her and push a few of her buttons so he says “No.” Londyn gets angry. Soon there is a disagreement.

Mother helps the children disagree appropriately and sees that Porter needs to be corrected and earn an extra chore for a negative consequence. This is justice, and it serves Porter well because it teaches him cause and effect and helps him see that making wrong choices doesn't make him happy.

Cookie Dough

Paije is making a treat for family night; chocolate chip cookies. When the dough is completed the kitchen begins to fill up with people waiting to taste the dough. Some people seem to like the cookie dough better than the cookies themselves. Paije understands this and tells each person they can have a spoonful of cookie dough.

A few minutes later Quin attempts to take another spoonful of cookie dough, and Paije takes the bowl away. Soon there is a power struggle and an argument.

On first inspection Dad thinks that Paije is possibly being too controlling, but after talking for a minute or two he realizes that his first impression is wrong. He sees that it is not kind to take someone's creation, which they have plans for, and expect them to go with the flow. Dad saw that Paije felt disrespected by her brother, and that the brother was crossing a boundary he should not cross.

Paije was instructed to disagree appropriately in the future, and Quin earned an extra chore for being disrespectful and not accepting a no answer, or disagreeing appropriately.

Later Paije said to me, “Mom, it felt so good to be understood about the cookie dough. I knew I had over-reacted, but didn't know how to get my message across. I felt like you showed me mercy.”

Indeed we did show Paije some mercy. Her behaviors were not perfect, but at first no one was understanding her side, so she was frustrated. Once we saw why she would become upset, it was easy to see she needed to be given a bit of slack and some teaching, but her brother needed some character building as well as teaching.
  
Justice And Mercy

Since the beginning of time there has been an argument between these two principles brewing on every front. In government I don't think we will ever settle on what principle to use. The debate is endless.

The ironic element about the intellectual and emotional battle about mercy and justice is this, justice and mercy must both be satisfied in almost all situations. So, while one group or person argues for justice and another begs for mercy and it is tempting to take a side, no side should actually be taken in this dispute.

The same is true in families. Families need principles of justice tempered with elements of mercy to raise children who are able to govern themselves.

Justice is the structure of the home. It is the way we teach cause and effect so the children see there is a reason to choose the right. Justice is also a calm parent who looks into the eyes of her child. Only a calm parent can truly be just. Otherwise the justice is actually just revenge. A frustrated, power hungry parent gives consequences in haste and as an emotional release. A calm, just parent tells children what consequences they have earned after teaching has taken place and a bond has been established.

It is easy to be the kind of parent who counterfeits justice. It is difficult to be the parent who lives real calmness and executes justice as a means to happiness.

Mercy is the tone you have within your heart which reaches the heart of your child even when you are bound to execute justice. Mercy is teaching children the right way to do something so that they don't have a problem again. Mercy stems from loving someone. The love is apparent no matter the situation, and accepts mistakes as part of the learning which is needed for growth.

Mercy is also the structure you have in your home. When you have certain skills you teach, master, and expect as well as a predictable system of positive and negative consequences the child feels secure and understood.

Seeking to understand, which is the action of mercy, starts by looking into the eyes of the person and seeing them for who they are supposed to become, not what behavior they have just done.

Mercy and justice are required for raising children, and are not just for different situations. Both principles are true and need to be present in all situations. When parents feel mercy and teach justice, children soon take responsibility for their own behaviors and become self-governing for life.

3.16.2012

1...2...3...GO!

Emmy hasn't begun to use words yet. At least not at the frequency of my first two kids and not as often as I think is normal. I'm a little concerned, but she is making some head way. We work a lot at home on using the words for things rather than the sounds and gestures she's interpreted to mean those things.

Emmy also has a bit of insomnia. As a victim of the awful burden of insomnia myself, I get it when you just can't sleep. I have chosen to use her sleeplessness as an opportunity for teaching rather than an exercise in exhausted frustration (as I have with my other two. Yes, years from now they will accuse me of loving Emmy more. It's not love, my dears, it's experience that has led me to make better parental choices. Don't you fret, we're saving for both college and therapy. Smooches!)

Last night was one of those sleepless nights. Most of the time I have a strict rule that she has to sit on my lap and watch boring mommy shows if she's going to be. She will not have any fun.

Last night, she was really wired. She started playing and while doing so, she started counting a bit. Although the activity is a bit unorthodox in it's method - at midnight no less - it was effective!

video
video

3.13.2012

Truth In Reporting

Every good reporter tells both sides of the story.

As such, I feel an obligation to report on both my weight loss successes and set-backs.

Because of the pregnancy, I had to go off of the Medifast 5-1 program and do a speed-entry into the maintenance program.

I did great!

I gained 1 oz. in a month's time. That's ONE OUNCE! I was so happy with my ability to add food back in a healthy way. I also added more exercise and it felt so good to move with 59 fewer pounds on my frame.

I also found that I had zero desire for crap food. Because the 5-1 plan keeps you away from fruit, I discovered that when I added fruit back, it covered all of my sweet cravings. I felt totally satisfied.

When started having physical symptoms of the miscarriage, I ended up in bed. And we went into survival mode. I ate whatever they were eating. It wasn't too bad because it was only one meal a day.

I knew my time on maintenance was coming to an end. I knew I would be jumping back on the 5-1 plan as soon as I was done with surgery. And I decided I was going to eat whatever the hell I wanted in the time between. Like, my last hurrah.

Oh man, did I eat. I ate McDonalds. I ate In and Out. I ate Taco Bell. There was pizza and we made a cake and I ate a piece. I ate movie theater popcorn at 10 at night while watching a movie (high as a kite on Percocet). I hadn't eaten those things in months!

I anticipated allowing my self this complete freedom for 3-4 days. Then, I didn't recover from surgery very well. My poor family was stuck in survival mode. I didn't keep eating as bad, but I wasn't ready to go back to the 5-1 plan like I had anticipated. I ate mac and cheese one night. And I ate oven baked chicken nuggets with a little rice for dinner the next. And I had sandwiches, without cheese, for lunch. And those things may not add tons of weight, but they certainly don't take it off. Oh, and we may have have had Cinnabon cinnamon rolls all day for breakfast Sunday.

I've gained 7 lbs. as of this morning. Deep, collective sigh. It goes on so easy. Just as easy as fries and tacos and frosting goes down.

So, instead of 16 to goal, it's gonna be 23.

I'm a little sad. And remorseful. I'm mostly self conscious. Like, everywhere we go, people must be whispering "ooooh. I knew she'd get fat again. Ooooh. She must be taking it hard. Oooh. Her pants are a little tight, aren't they?"

But, let me tell you why I'm not crying myself to sleep at night:

1. During and after our miscarriage, I had ZERO desire to eat my feelings. I didn't eat those foods because I was sad or mad or anything. I made a deliberate choice to eat my guiltiest pleasures for the sake of tasting the pleasures. That, my friends, is the most liberating feeling on the planet. I know food DOES NOT own me anymore.

2. I know I can lose it. I'm not overwhelmed by the idea. Sure, it'll extend my time on the 5-1 by about two weeks. I've done the 5-1 plan. It works and I know how to work it.

3. I've still lost 52 pounds. That is still an accomplishment.

4. I know I can do maintenance and not get fat again! I, with quite a bit of ease, kept my weight consistent for a month. I was so worried about that and now I have no fears about my future.

5. I lost a baby for hell's sake. Like feeling bad about 7 pounds is going to make this time any easier. Pssssht. Allen and I have come so far in our processing of this stuff and we are doing so good, I'm not going to stop our moving forward over something that is so easy to fix.

To be honest, I haven't gotten up the nerve to start the 5-1 plan just yet. Well, that's not totally true. The Monday after surgery, I tried but I wasn't near ready and I had some complications from the procedure. I chose to delay my start in favor of getting back to raising my family and back to normal. The first few days are pretty tough as you go through the sugar and carb withdrawals. My plan is to start Monday. Allen is gone all weekend and we're not going to be home so I think I'd be setting myself for only 1/2 success if I start, say, tomorrow.

I am eating much, much better. I'm back to maintenance and feeling way better. I will admit, I got really sick Sunday. I think my body had to get rid of all the yuck I put in it. I felt horrible when I was eating all that crap, too. And my body shape changed. I notice that with the 5-1 plan, too. When I eat good food, my body shape changes. I've had weekends where I eat some junk and don't gain any weight but my body changes even in those few days. As soon as I start putting good stuff in, my stomach and face look much less bloated. It is possible to lose weight while still sneaking crap. If you really want to see your body change the way it looks, start putting good stuff in. I promise, it will.

{stepping down off of soapbox}

I did take some pictures, but they are terrible. My mirrors are so dirty with fingerprints you can't really see. I'm gonna post them anyways. If you squint you can sorta see where I'm at as of today.



I'm not proud of myself. I should have metered my food choices. I could have eaten a Medifast bar instead of a cookie. I could have kept my water intake up instead of drinking Diet Pepsi. I could have done that. And I didn't. And I have to pay for it now with a little extra work.

I will return and report.

3.10.2012

That's Life

Thaat's liiffee....

You know the song, right?

In the wake of my dirty, gritty, my-life-is-the-worst-ever, post I received an outpouring of support. I will admit, it feels good to know that people care enough to say so. And lots of people got after me for not taking the help they actually offered. Many a good folk tried to lend a helping hand but were turned away.

Guilty as charged.

And let me tell you why:

Service is good. To both give and receive. I know this to be true.

And, I did get help. I had friends and family check in via email, Facebook, phone and text. I had help with the kiddos. I had a get-well basket and books and movies delivered by loving friends. Others sent meals and yummy cookies (specifically snicker doodles - the kind that are soft and chewy not hard and crispy and go down oh-so-easy) so that I had one less thing to worry about this week.

I've given service and I will testify that there is no faster way to forget your worries than to serve another (unless it's your family and then you just feel like you have nothing but worries). Giving service is the best way to give yourself a pick-me-up and you get the added bonus of helping someone who needs the help. Plus, God just can't be everywhere all the time so we better be waiting for instructions to help him get his work done. Most prayers really are answered by acts of service performed by other people.

BUT, the truth is each of is really living in our own private hell. That sounds bad, but you know it to be true.

If you've been alive, then you've had those terrible weeks, months, or sometimes years. Sometimes help is good and mandatory. Other times, you really just gotta get through it. And you'll be doing it on your own.

I mean, really, like I'm going to make anyone come near us while we're barfing. No one does that. Maybe an air-dropped rescue pack of electrolytes and chicken soup would be ok, but when bodily fluids are involved, you are going to be on your own. It's just the right thing to do.

And the pooping and the peeing of the pants. If you've ever mothered a child, you have had those days. They just ARE. Right? Suck as they may, they do happen. And at the worst times.

Last week was rough. I was tired. So tired. And I'd had this dumb surgery that takes, like, 5 minutes but they put you under. And going under makes you useless for, like, 5 days. And there were doctor appointments. And all other manner of annoying "protocol" that went along with it all. And the kids always end up on these mommy benders when mommy isn't available. And the inanimate objects in the house suddenly reveal their true demonic selves and they break down or misbehave or something.

And it was awful. But, that's life. Murphy makes all the rules.

Now that I've had a chance to catch my breath and take stock of the wreckage, I'm left, somewhat surprisingly, with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I feel so grateful that I have friends that love me even though I openly complain. I have friends, who, in the midst of their own struggles, care enough to ask how I'm doing. I'm so grateful for selfless family members who know me well enough to give me space when I need it and hug me when I need that too.

And most of all, even though they pee themselves and spew forth almost constant disgustingness, I am so grateful for my girls. Having them in my life feels so "right". I have complete peace about where we are at this very moment. I have exactly who is supposed to be here with me right now. I have three amazing spirits who have chosen to come to be with me. ME! They will become the most awesome women and will change lives. And they are with me.

Sure they piss me the hell off most days, but deep down when I get past my humanity, I am truly humbled by their presence.

And, I am grateful. Because I really would be a shell of the person I'm meant to be if I weren't raising them. I would never grow to my full potential were it not for me working so hard to help them reach their own.

I'm sure, sooner rather than later, there will be another my-life-sucks-the-worst post. In fact, I'm already authoring it in my head. (Like you don't love to read those. Puh-lease. Misery loves company people. You know this.)

In the mean time, we're getting our bearings again. We're making it back to the land of the living. We'll make it, just like we all do. You just keep on, keeping' on.

'Cause that's life.

3.08.2012

The Collective

The days have all run together at this point. So this "timeline" is a really rough guess, but I honestly don't remember what day housed which atrocity. One thing I know for sure? My hair ain't been washed in 10 days so don't get too close. Serious.

March has been the shits so far. Last week started off rough and it hasn't gotten much better yet.


Wednesday (this could be the last Wednesday in Feb, actually) - Ultrasound. No heartbeat. But, we're still early on so we're advised not to worry. We'll check again in two weeks when it will be unmistakable.

Yeah, there was a weekend and church in here too, but I don't think we went. I can't remember it if we did.

Tuesday - This day was shaping up to be just fine but then Emmy started barfing. Right at school pick up time. Like, I go in to get her up from nap so I can go pick up Lexi from school and she's sitting up covered in chunks of lunch. So, I called school. 3 times. No answer. Get a call from them, like I'm the irresponsible one, asking if I'm coming. Yes, as I pull a screaming baby from the bath. Of course I've been barfed on during this whole hullabaloo so I go in barf pants and shirt. You know I have a big, shiny smile on my face, right?

We get home, Emmy barfs again. Well, of course she does. On the only other pair of clean pants I own. Addie starts gagging and I'm sure she's gonna be next so I just kick the bigger girls out. Like, GET OUT and stay there until Dad comes home or this mess is cleaned up. Yes! You can have snacks. No! I don't care which ones - here - take the box you're gonna be out there a while.

I've been barfed on twice in one day and am in underpants because I have no pants. No, really. I have no other pants. I must bathe Emmy yet again and try to leave no trail of chunks as we run upstairs. (Please tell me you haven't forgotten that Emily is totally afraid of the bathtub. You do remember that post, right? So, she's crying and screaming at the top of her lungs through all of this, too.)

We finish the hell that is bath time and get to the sheets, pillows, books and other items from the first barfing episode. Then, we clean chunks up off of the floor downstairs from the second incident.

Of course, when there is an influx of wash to be done, the washing machine isn't in good working order. It's completely off balance and these stupid front loaders are not like your good old top loaders either. One would have to take the entire thing apart and re-balance the weights to get it back to rights. Allen hasn't had time so, each load is averaging 3 hours. NO joke. Three hours. With lots of barf, that is a real mess. And the entire time the machine is like this, "Slaump, slaaaump, slllaaaump, whomp, whomp, whomp" for three hours and it's not even dry when it's done.

Allen gets home, sees me in my underpants and says, "Hello, hello." in his fake British-I'm-so-happy-you're-half-naked voice. 'Cause I'm feeling dead sexy. DEAD. SEXY.

Wednesday - start miscarrying. Ultrasound. No heartbeat. Get lab work done. At least no more barf. I will give Wednesday that. No barf.

Thursday - spend the whole day on the phone trying to get a hold of my doctor. 'Cause with Kaiser you aren't given a direct number with which you may reach your doctor. They definitely do not want patients speaking with their care providers. In fact, when I told the operator I would just walk into the clinic and request my doctor, she "strongly recommended" that I do NOT do any such thing. They absolutely do not recommend patients going to the clinic to try and see their doctors. It is, in fact, frowned upon. That would allow us a chance to be heard or cared for or (gasp!) both.

Friday - more lab work. I think the kids are with Grandma. I spend the day in bed on drugs to move things along now that we know we are definitely losing the pregnancy.

Sat and Sunday - who even freakin' knows what is going on. I do vaguely remember my dad coming by to help Allen with the kids on Sunday. I think it was Sunday. Hmmmm.

Monday - Been fasting since midnight the night before. Surgery isn't scheduled till 2 p.m. Nuff said.

Tuesday - Surgery went as it should have. But, I'm left dizzy and light headed with blurred vision. I'm pretty sure the kids have been at Grandma's for, like, the last 3 days but I really don't know. I do think they finally come home this night.

Wednesday - Still dizzy and light headed. My vision is still blurry. The room is spinning. After 3 hours of "mothering", I break down and ask Grandma to take the small ones (you know, it's not like she's had them for the last 27 days or anything) while Lexi is at school so I can get vertical. That seems to help a little with the constant spinning. (And thank goodness for Grandma. She took them without missing a beat.)

I have missed a week's worth of rehearsals. I have shirked all my scouting duties. Diet is out the window, but the pressure to not gain any weight is certainly not. It's weighing nicely on my spinning mind.

Thursday (today) - still dizzy and light headed. It's one of those stupid things that sounds totally made up but is completely debilitating.

Mid morning, Addie pees her pants. All over the carpet, all over her body, soaking her down to her toes. Quick bath, change of clothes.

Then, she does it again 1/2 an hour later. All over the floor, the stool, her clothes. More baths. More wash. Remember the washing machine, oh yeah, it's not fixed.

After lunches, Emmy goes down for her normal nap. I beg Addie to watch a movie so I can try to get vertical and maybe get my bearings. It's like a total out of body experience. I've never had this type of response to surgery before (I mean, I'm attributing it all to the surgery. Who knows? I guess it could be something unrelated entirely.) and it's totally pissing me off at this point.

As it nears time for us to go and pick up Lexi, I tell Addie to go potty. And she does.

She stands in the bathroom, in front of the sink and pisses all over herself and the floor. In the bathroom. 'Cause the extra two feet it would have taken to get to the toilet is too much? She pissed her pants while standing in the bathroom!!!

She gets yet another bath and change of clothes. And the floor gets another scrubbing.

I take the kids outside to play. I mean, the weather is glorious even though my life sucks ass right now. Why not take advantage of something we got going for us, right?

While peacefully basking in the warm afternoon sun, I see Addie with a look of determination on her face while awkwardly hunching over. I quickly realize she's shitting her pants. Right there in the yard.

So, in one day, she's peed herself 3 times and crapped herself once.

After cleaning up, yet again, Addie turns to me and says, in her most helpful voice ever, "Um, Moooom, Emmy leaked."

Well, sure as shit she did! Child just had explosive diarrhea and leaked out her diaper, down her legs, and all over her pants.

I will say, the floors have never been more clean than they are today. If you are wanting to walk on a beautiful floor with your bare feet, please, come to my house.

Seriously. This is just one day.

I can't articulate how miserable this day has been. I hate being weak and I hate these stupid side effects that make life awful. The kids don't understand what is going on. They don't know why mom is a total wreck. They aren't trying to be difficult. In all honesty, they cannot physically meet all of their own needs. There are no "movie days" with little kids.

Individually, any one of these things would just be a "pain". Annoying yet manageable. Aside from the miscarriage, they are all material things. Or issues that pass. I can hang with that. I've been a mom for 6 years and been through all the yucky mom things.

But it's like the transition state of labor around here these days. It's hard and fast and painful. You're screaming for a break. Screaming for some type of relief. It's the collective efforts of the universe that will catch up with a person.

I think the fair thing to is to call do-over.

Can I do that?

Do-Over!

3.05.2012

Momplex

Momplex: a complex unique to motherhood.

A friend of mine's Facebook status read something like this: "kids and hubby gone. What am I going to do with myself all day? Good thing I have chores to do or I'd go crazy. "

I completely identify with her sentiment. Here I sit, kid and responsibility free because of the miscarriage and I'm fighting the urge to clean, craft, fold laundry, pull weeds, wash the car, etc. There's so much to be done, I certainly can't just lie in bed, right? If I just relaxed, surely the whole world would see me for the lazy slob I am.

I've never, in the history of all the world, heard anything remotely similar come from a man's mouth. No man would ever feel guilt for having a day for himself. He would do whatever made him happy. Work in he garage, hang with his friends, stare mindlessly at ESPN.

Moms, however, have this notion that simply being is not ok. We must constantly be in motion. Surely, our worth is defined by our busyness, right? Our productivity is our measure of value. We simply cannot sit. We cannot have an unproductive moment.

Sadly, we even schedule our "down time" (also known as Girl's Night Out). After we put it on our over-filled calendars, we then create a schedule of what will do for our down time.

I think this mindset is, in part, fueled by experience. We know, as mothers, when we have a few minutes, we need to make the most of it. If the kids are around, they will, without a doubt, have a need the minute we try to accomplish something else. So, if you do get a break and they are happily engaged in something else, you best get to work 'cause you never know how long you've got.

For the most part, though, I think we have this completely unrealistic ideal in our mind of what constitutes the "good wife" or "good mom". Busy = better, right?

Why do we have to give ourselves permission to relax? Why do we need an excuse to decompress?

Now, you know I'm not advocating laziness. Or sloth-like behavior. I'm not a fan of avoiding responsibility.

But, there is always going to be some thing that needs doing. There will never be a time when we will have it ALL done. If you're worried about running out of things to do, you can stop right now.

So why not give yourself the chance to be happy in the middle of it all? Why shouldn't I feel ok with watching mindless TV one day of the year? Why shouldn't I be ok with not putting the laundry away right this minute? Do I really have to multitask every chore? Fold laundry while I'm on the phone? Play with the kids while I organize my shopping list?

Can I devote my time to a singular activity and be guilt free about it? I should be able to. It should be ok forego the chores in favor of reading with my kids. To read a good book while my body heals this weekend. To enjoy a TV show while my kids play nicely.

We have value simply by virtue of being alive.  We are so much more than the "to do" list. We owe it to ourselves and our kids to act as such.

3.04.2012

Useless Factoid

Three of our four miscarriages have happened in California and during the week of Allen's birthday.

Poor guy. Crappiest birthday presents ever.

I Think...



we are missing the point of the shoe basket.

3.03.2012

Go Forward with Faith

After a lot of thought, I've decided to share some insight I've gained though my child bearing challenges. Some of you readers may feel like this post has a little TMI. But the purpose of this post isn't to re-hash my struggles or disclose inappropriate information. Rather, I feel like the lessons I've learned are spiritually universal and worth sharing.

A little over four years ago, I was pregnant. It was our 4th pregnancy but would be our second child. We'd had two miscarriages and we'd had Lexi.

 Early in our pregnancy, I had two clear thoughts: 1. we would lose the pregnancy 2. But I would be pregnant again. We would have 4 kids.

We did lose that pregnancy, but eventually we had Addison.

And then Emily. Boy, did that pregnancy test my body. It was hard. And the recovery was rough. And Emily was a really hard baby.

This past summer, I had the thought we should try to wrap up this kid bearing effort and go for our 4th. To be honest,  I ignored it for a bit. Allen was just coming out of the Emily induced baby stupor. We'd been warned by doctors to wait a full two years before trying again. We'd finally hit our stride as a family. Life was getting to be a bit more bearable. Even enjoyable.

And I didn't want another baby. The idea of long, sleepless nights, food allergies, reflux, medications, and all the health challenges our babies have didn't fill me with warm fuzzes. I also didn't want to go through another miscarriage.

So, I came up with a zillion different reasons why we should just be happy with our 3. The list was long and so easy to create. I kept going back and forth about it. I kept trying to convince myself that three was right. And I kept feeling unsettled.

In my heart of hearts, I knew the answer was still four. The truth was I didn't need to pray about it again. I had my answer. I'd received it years ago. Heavenly Father would have let us know if the game had changed. I was pulling an "asked and answered" with God. I'd already asked and he'd already answered. I  really just needed to be brave enough to be obedient.

As I prayed for bravery, I kept getting a very clear answer: Go forward with faith.

I took a deep breath and recommitted to the idea of four. I told Allen. He went to the Temple to pray about it. And we both knew it was time.

Immediately, I felt peace.

I took the pregnancy test the first week in February. I was super tired. And getting sick.  I knew something was up. The test came back positive. I was 3 weeks pregnant.

I started the hormones and baby aspirin regimen right away. I got my acupuncture appointments. I quit my diet and went to maintenance. I did all I could do on my part to keep this pregnancy.

But, I knew we would lose it. I knew it with complete certainty.

At six weeks, we had an ultrasound to check for viability. There was no heartbeat. But, there was a sac and something inside. So, we scheduled another for 2 weeks later. I would be 8 weeks along and we would be able to see a definite heartbeat.

So, here we are the first week in March and we are supposed to go back to New Mexico to get the rest of our belongings. On Monday (Feb. 28), I had another thought: don't go to New Mexico. I mentioned it to Allen and he was disappointed. Why not? Well, what if I start to miscarry in the middle of the Arizona desert? I have a history of hemorrhage and if we couldn't find a hospital quick, we could be in a lot of trouble.

This past Wednesday I had a couple of cramps. Nothing big, nothing disturbing. I mentioned it to Allen, almost in passing.

Thursday, I had some more. Then, I started spotting. I got an appointment with my doctor, got the kids managed and went in.

Now at 7 weeks and change, we should have be able to see a heartbeat. There was none. The doctor ordered blood work and we talked about options. Because of my history, I wanted to go straight for surgery. She wanted to take the less invasive route; the route that has never worked for us.

We explained my history and she agreed to surgery. So, Monday morning, Allen and I will head to the hospital.

This is our 4th miscarriage. When I go to the doctor, they will ask me, "How many pregnancies?" I will say 7. And they will ask, "How many living children?" And I will say 3. They will look at me with pity. Their touch will be a little softer. Their voices a little more hushed.

Inevitably, one of them will ask us why we want to try for more kids if it's so hard on the family and we already have three beautiful girls.

I'll just smile and let them fill the silence when it becomes awkward.

The reason is this: we are being obedient. We know it's 4.

Why then, would we lose the baby if we are really supposed to have four?

We could easily get stuck on WHY.

Why, after receiving spiritual confirmation, wouldn't God make a miracle so we could have the baby? Why would he want me to be in pain? Why would he let this happen to us if we're doing something righteous?

Asking why isn't going to help us through this. There isn't a prize for figuring out why. No blessing is promised when we ask why.

The blessings are promised when we ask HOW. When we are given instruction, we shouldn't ask why. We should ask how. Then, we go and do. And then, the blessing is given.

I don't know why we lost this baby - or the other three we've lost. All I know is we were told to try and have another baby. We did. We were obedient. I know that we will be blessed by that obedience. If the blessing is nothing more than knowing we were true to the commandment we were given, then so be it. I can keep my head held high knowing I did my part. We went forward with faith and there is great satisfaction in knowing we did all we could do.

3.02.2012

What I'm Grateful for Today: Emily

Memily. Memers. Miss Emmy.

- When I take Emily out of her crib, she holds on tight and pats my back like I'm the one who needs comforting.
- She loves to cuddle.
- Emily likes to have her belly rubbed. She tells you when she wants it rubbed by lifting up her shirt and pointing to her tummy.
- Emily doesn't use words very often yet. Rather, she has her own method of getting her point across. For example, when you ask her "where's your eyes?", she rapidly blinks instead of saying the word. If she wants to sing Wheels on the Bus, she does the crying baby gesture. All the textbooks say she should be using more words, but her symbolic way of talking to us reveals her imagination and way of thinking.
- Emmy wakes up looking for Addie. She can't say her name right so she calls, "Ad-duh!"
- She loves to build blocks. She brings the tub of blocks out into the family room, dumps them all on the floor and is entertained for a long time.
- Emily also loves to color. She will sit at the kid table and color with her sisters for what seems like hours.
- Emily greets people who come to the door with complete exuberance. When Allen comes home she runs full tilt to him and wraps herself around his legs. When I come home, I get the same treatment. Anyone who comes to visit that she knows, gets 100% enthusiasm.
- She is mostly obedient. She wants to be good and we usually only need to explain something to her once and she gets it. She doesn't push us just for the sake of pushing. You can tell that Emily understands instruction when she appears to be looking down at the floor, but is really looking up at us through her eyelashes and she gives us a sheepish, "ooooohhhhh".
- She is so vibrant and fun just thinking about Emily makes us feel good inside.

3.01.2012

What I'm Grateful for Today: Addison

Little Addie.

Each day I'm grateful for these traits of Addie's:

- Addie hugs Emily every chance she gets. Sometimes Emmy doesn't reciprocate. Other times, she buries into Addie's neck and they hug as tight as they can.
- She wakes up happy and comes in to watch Allen get ready. She chatters with him and adores being around him.
- When I sit with Addie and talk with her, she puts her hand on my cheek.
- She spontaneously tells us she loves us throughout the day. It's always accompanied by a kiss.
- Addie often tells me during afternoon quiet time. "Mom, I'm going to play toys. How about you watch a Mommy show? You never get to watch Mommy shows."
- When I check on Addie at 11 o'clock at night, I tell her I love her. She's always dead asleep. But she always mumbles, "love you too".
- Addie is easy going. If I want to work out or need to shower, she has no issues giving me the time. She doesn't destroy anything, whine, or cause problems. She just plays nicely so I can have those few minutes.
- Addie sings to us at night. Her favorite song is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.