Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
As we were starting out on a walk (for me & Abby)/bike ride (for you) today, I heard you singing a delightful little diddy, “Riding my bike is very fun.” Over and over. This is very common for you – you’re always making up a new little tune with lyrics expressing what is in your heart at the moment. I had a moment of panic after playing some nursery rhymes on the piano for you when you no longer wanted to make up your own music because you “can’t do it by myself”. So I backed off from fun “real songs” in favor of letting you plunk away on your own.
One area that is really changing recently is your desire to color and do crafts. A few months ago I had to practically hold your hand to make you draw a picture. Now you seem to really enjoy. Often your method is to take one marker out of the box, draw a line or a circle, put the lid back on, then set the marker on the table. Then you go to the next color. This way you methodically manage to use all of the marker colors.
I’ve been pleased to see you choosing to obey so much more often. I have been trying to ask you “Will you obey?” after giving instructions to help you understand that this is a choice you must make. And every “no” choice results in consequences, so it has helped to crystallize the battleground for both of us, I think. The result is fewer bad choices and fewer spankings (which I DON’T like to give!).
Abby and you are developing a special little friendship too. You like to show her how to do things, and she likes to follow you around. I often catch you guys giving each other a spontaneous hug or kiss. What a delight you are to me! I am so thrilled to see you become a “big boy” and I love you more than ever.
Monday, April 28, 2008
It is also clear that you would prefer to be walking with the rest of us whenever we are on a walk or a hike. But that slows us down just a bit too much, so it’s the stroller or the hiking backpack for you! You are very observant when we are outside – noticing squirrels, birds, flowers, even pointing out houses and cars.
Dropping your morning nap had been a bit of a painful procedure as you developed the habit of becoming overtired then only napping for an hour in the afternoon. I would hear you crying and my heart would go out to you so I would go in and rock you then lay you back down. Here your stubbornness really manifested itself as it reached the point where you would scream and cry when I sat down in the rocking chair and refuse to stop. However, if I walked out of your bedroom with you, you would stop instantly (knowing naptime was over for good). Once I clued in to your little game, I stopped going in to rock you when you woke. One day of you “crying it out” (very hard for me!) and now you’re napping 2.5-3 hours in the afternoon. Happy days!
Your verbal skills are amazing. You have a somewhat understandable word for nearly everything from “hungry” to “Roman” (cousin) to “no , thank you” (what nice manners!). The most recent verbal event was when we were all reading bedtime stories together. Isaac and I were reading a book of rhymes and came upon a picture of what Isaac thought was “Ring around the rosy”. Instantly upon hearing those words you sang out in a clear melody, “Ashes ashes all fall down”. Your dad and I looked at each other, flabbergasted. Since then, I’ve caught snatches of “real” words in the songs you sing constantly around the house. I’m convinced a lot of your time is spent singing “Amazing Grace”, actually. How I pray that you will know that grace in your own life even starting now!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Walgreens paid me $1.60 to buy all of this. Isn't that beautiful?
And I had to throw in the caramel to make the transaction go through, or else I would have had more coupons than items. That made my son very happy.
When I go to other people's blogs to read about their deals for the week, I mostly look at the photo and total cost. I don't study the transaction breakdowns since the week is practically over and it's too late to duplicate the transactions anyway. Therefore, I haven't been including the details of my transactions. Is that okay with everyone or are there a bunch of you that wish I would spell out exactly how I accomplished this? Post a comment and let me know for future posts. And check out http://moneysavingmom.com/ for lots of other super savings posts!
EDITED TO ADD: Yes, the Aveeno worked just by using the K-Mart coupons and then buying 4 to generate the RR's. Everything else is part of Rebate 13 - Softsoap, Palmolive, Colgate, Speedstick. I found coupons for everything on http://www.couponloop.com/id133.htm. If I hadn't bought the Aveeno everything else with rebate and coupons would have come to $3.90 OOP. Hope that helps!
Friday, April 25, 2008
And a second note to all of you: Does anyone else have a one-year-old and a two-year-old who together can completely demolish a 15-ounce can of pears and an entire box of macaroni and cheese for lunch?
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The photos of the young widows with their children really affected me - they were all just about my age when their husbands were killed: in their twenties with young children. They all knew that "Operation Auca" might cost their husband's lives, yet they wholeheartedly supported their men, recognizing the preeminence of the Gospel over even family life. Not one of them was bitter following the killingss, with four of the five remaining in missionary service for at least some period of time afterward. Elisabeth Elliot herself eventually lived in the very community of Aucus who killed her husband for several years.
What forgiveness! What deep understanding of the richness of God and the all-importance of the message: Jesus Christ came to save sinners. And what overwhelming commitment to proclaiming the message to those who might not otherwise hear it! It amazes me that there are still people groups today who have never heard the name of Christ.
It astounds me that these men could accurately be described as happy to lay down their lives for Christ. I am willing, if it should ever come to that, but I am not exactly happy at the prospect. However, I know enough to realize that I am therefore missing some measure of the love that these men had for their Savior. And I love God just enough to say that I desperately want to love Him as these men did. "Bring me to that place, Lord, where I could be overwhelmed with joy to lay down my very life in your service."
I'll close with a quote from Jim Elliot's diary - oh to know Christ!
"I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God - what more could a man ask? Oh the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead them through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose finger ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him , touch His garments, and smile into His eyes - ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself.
"Oh Jesus, Master and Center and End of all, how long before that Glory is thine which has so long waited Thee? Now there is no thought of Thee among men; then there shall be thought for nothing else. Now other men are praised; then none shall care for any other's merits. Hasten, hasten, Glory of Heaven, take Thy crown, subdue Thy Kingdom, enthrall Thy creatures."
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
We have twin bed that was used in the guest room at our house in Iowa. Now that we moved, we don't have anywhere to set it up, so the pieces are in storage and the mattress was leaning up against a wall. One day my son took it upon himself to knock the mattress flat on the floor. He then figured out that it was a fun idea to bounce on the mattress.
And I realized that I had a nice, safe indoor trampoline on my hands
That mattress is just about the best "toy" we own and it is indispensable in the long winter months. In our current house I have it covered with a cute sheet that matches the playroom color scheme. I also have two pillows we keep on it so that when the mattress is not in use as a trampoline, it becomes our reading corner.
And THAT has REALLY worked for me! Remember to check out more ideas at http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I'd like to encourage each of you to start your own "1000 Gifts List". Taking the time to jot down a couple of my gifts each day has made me more attentive to the small pleasures and presents that make up everydayness. God truly is good down to the smallest detail even in the midst of trouble and pain. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude allows me to realize and treasure the miracles and gifts that are mine each day.
70. Antibiotics and pain medications - relief for aching little bodies.
71. Snuggles and tickles shared in a tangle of family on the big queen bed.
72. Green grass poking up as the wet April snow melts.
73. Blessed assurance: Jesus is mine!
74. Frost-covered branches and grasses on the hill behind my house; still, peaceful, white.
75. Antique brass knobs for my kitchen cabinets found for half price on eBay.
76. Tears in the eyes of a Hindu man as my husband explains to him the resurrection of Christ.
77. Bedtime snuggles, songs and prayers, kids and mama together in the rocking chair.
78. Furnace that comes on at just the right moment to mask the cries of my younger so the noise won't wake my older.
79. Reasonable expectations: In the world you will have trouble; but take heart for I have overcome the world!
80. Reasonable expectations: Winter will turn to spring.
81. Reasonable expectations: He will complete the good work begun in me.
82. The less-than-half-full glass: at least it has something in it though I am deserving of nothing.
83. "Lo lo lo" - a melody sung from the crib by the joyful lips of my baby girl.
84. 1.33/lb chicken breasts and a Mom willing to share her deep freeze so I could stock up!
85. Time, precious seconds, ticking slowly by for once.
86. Baby soft skin, pudgy and scented with soap, inhaled long so that I may remember.
87. Young arms firming, skin tanned and head smelling of sweat and sunshine, cuddled close so that I will never forget.
88. A husband who is fiercely committed to providing for his family.
89. A sixteen-month-old who somehow knows to say, "No, thank you!"
90. Small children's delight in receiving simple balloons.
91. Children discovering moss for the first time, feeling the softness - "I want to sleep on it!"
92. Adventurous spirit of a two year old who wants to stick his toes in the lake despite warnings of frigidity.
93. Same young boy happily kicking pinecones down the hiking trail as he sings a made-up song.
Monday, April 21, 2008
So many days require constant training, correction and reminders on everything from not-banging-your-fork-on-the-table to not-stepping-on-Abby to not-saying-no-to-Mama. But every now and then I catch a glimpse of what might be the norm someday if I just keep fighting those battles today.
I was standing in the bathroom putting on makeup. Outside the bathroom door was a huge pile of towels. Isaac's normal job is to throw the towels down the stairs to the laundry room. He knows it, but I didn't have to remind him today. He picked up a towel, gave one to Abby and told her, "Come on, sweetheart!" Over and over they went back and forth between bathroom and staircase, throwing towel after towel down, having fun together. Abby didn't get stepped on once!
I barely breathed, afraid of disrupting the magic. This job always gets done, but it is normal for me to have to supervise closely, often correcting a bad attitude or two. Today, it just happened.
And now, it is 3:47pm and both children are still napping after being laid down at 1:00. I must be doing something right.
Ha. If only I could figure out how to TRAIN my kids to nap longer.
Rump roast – 1.88/lb BUY 2
Strawberries – 1.77/lb
Rice-a-roni - .88 plus .50 coupons BUY 2 = .76/2
Salad – 2/$3
Bell peppers 3/$5
Onion 10lbs/$10 BUY 2
Milk – 1
Juice – 2 OJ & 1 grape
Rice-a-roni I occasionally use when we have company to supplement fajitas. Roasts and strawberries are sale items this week that I wouldn't buy otherwise. And the rest is mostly produce! Now how does this work? Well, for example, we will have chicken fajitas this week (I prefer beef but I have ALL that chicken to use now . . .). In the past my list for a week when we were having fajitas would have to include meat, cheese, sour cream, tortillas, peppers, and onions. But since starting to stock up on sales, I now have most of these things on hand. (I got 10 packs of Mission tortillas for $1 each a couple weeks ago!) So all I have to get is the produce.
Now to be honest, I will do other shopping this week. The list above is for my main grocery shopping. I take the kids with me on Tuesdays. But on Wednesdays my wonderful mom stays with my kids for two hours so I can check out sales at other stores without dragging my poor kids along. So I will go to Walgreens on Wednesday and possibly Safeway depending on how good their sales look when the ad comes out.
And Walgreens - let's just say I'm so excited to have figured out my first really good deal ALL BY MYSELF (versus reading about it on moneysavingmom.com). Suffice it to say that if all goes as planned I will get 2 deodorants, a toothpaste, 2 dish soaps, a hand soap and a body wash for $1.40.
See what fun this is?
Friday, April 18, 2008
If you're in the mood for actual "entertainment" though, there are lots of free or almost-free options if you live in a town with a university or even a high school. We have enjoyed going to a free choir concert at Christmas and several $5 plays at the local high school. The municipal band plays in the park during the summer, and an art gallery hosts live music on Thursday nights. We've attended high quality classical strings performances by music professors and there are often sponsored guest lectures open to the public as well. If you've a craving for some culture, forget the $60 tickets to a concert or Broadway show, and check out the homegrown talent in your area.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I'll be using this book as my guide as I attempt gardening this year, so I can't recommend it yet since my results are unknown! However, I did find it clear, easy to read, and easy to reference.
So far we've had fun starting our seeds. The only two veggies we're growing that require an early start are tomatoes and bell peppers. The kids helped me plant the seeds in our homemade (from toilet paper rolls) seed starter pots and we've been having lots of fun watching our seedlings grow.
I'm hoping to build some raised beds soon, since the soil in our yard is full of rocks and broken glass bottles. Yeah, I really should get to that. Though thankfully we're in a northern clime and it doesn't make sense to plant seeds for another month at least.
The one year I was in charge of the family garden as a 12 year old we got very low yields. This was mostly due to my mistake in enlisting the weeding services of my 3 and 4 year old siblings. However, this event has scarred me for life and I am starting small this year in expectation of failure.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Now Revolution Money Exchange has extended this promotion through May 15. So you have a chance to get free money too! And if you click on the link below, I get money for referring you. It's a win-win, wouldn't you say? I will warn you that you must give your SSN (which is required by law when opening a financial account) but if you have them send you your money by mail, you don't even have to give them bank account information!
After chores: Bible story and art (drawing, craft, or art book)
During lunch: Bible memory
Before naps: Storytime
During snack: Listen to classical music
And of course we're reading, counting, and discussing things all day long. For storytime I am trying to be more intentional about bringing home at least one high quality (award winning) children's book from the library each week instead of just grabbing whatever I can reach. The classical music has been a big hit; we listened to Bach all through the month of March and Isaac would ask for it over and over.
Here's what the month of April's Pre-preschool plan looks like for us:
Genesis 2 – 5
Painting with Yarn
Painting egg cartons
Salt dough creations
Printing with Cookie Cutters
Peanut Butter Playdough
The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister
The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats
First the Egg - Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Ella Sarah Gets Dressed - Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Remember to check out http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com for more great tips!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This was necessary because I had watched a movie with my hubby the night before. Since that cause-and-effect relationship is probably not self-explanatory, I will elaborate. The movie finished up and I went to bed at my normal time of 10:30. I then laid awake in bed until some time past 2am. I tried getting up and reading for a while, I took my son to the bathroom at one point, and I even tried taking Tylenol PM. Nothing seemed to help until I finally fell asleep somehow. Then, of course, I was up rocking my daughter back to sleep at 5:30. After she mercifully went back to dreamland, everyone slept until 7am. And that, friends, does not equal enough sleep for me.
I have long known that I have to avoid certain movies before bed: suspense in particular. Otherwise I stay awake for long periods of time with my mind tracing the plot, finding loopholes and inconsistencies. Since I pretty much only get to watch movies before bed, that means I avoid such movies entirely. So now for the title of the suspenseful movie that kept me up two nights ago?
"The Nativity Story".
Right. I thought I'd do okay watching that one too. But evidently not. This time when I laid awake my mind wasn't even tracing the plot, I just felt like my mind was racing and my body was so jittery I couldn't relax. Does anyone else have this weird problem?
My only theory is that I get overstimulated when I watch movies. Since I never watch tv (we don't have one) and have been watching fewer and fewer movies (1-2 a month) I think my body just can't process that medium anymore. Is that weird or what?
So I'm swearing off movies entirely. It's just not worth losing four hours of sleep to watch a two hour movie. The one option I think will work is if Keith and I go once in a great while to a 7pm movie at the theater on a date. That way the movie will be over by nine and I will have a couple of hours to do other things before going to bed.
I never thought this could happen. Weird, huh?
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Walgreens - all for $3! Free cereal, 10/$1 seeds, free toothpaste, and more than free lotion makes for lots of fun!
Safeway deals. Milk was 2/5.50 and I combined a coupon with a sale to splurge on the Flat Earth chips (I got them for $1.50/bag), so this shopping trip came to $10.
These are my finds from the discount store. Whole grain pasta for .79/box plus my favorite was a barrette for thick hair that I was about to pay $3 for at Wal-Mart. Instead, I got it for .50! All this totalled $10.
This bread will last us for a month for sandwiches and breakfast bagels - the wholesale store ends up being about half price or better on Sara Lee bread, so I got all this for $10.
And here is my beautiful, answer-to-prayer $65 armoire found in the classifieds!
Friday, April 11, 2008
I have no idea who wrote this but I found it at http://girltalk.blogs.com/.
The next "Survivor" series:
Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.
Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.
There is no fast food.
Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money.
In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.
Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time.
Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.
He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.
He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.
Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.
The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.
The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.
During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.
They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.
They will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.
A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up. The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.
If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called Mother!
I've been having some fun with Freecycle. My sister insisted a few weeks ago that I check it out because she had just gotten two Power Wheels battery-operated ride-on jeeps for her boys for FREE! Then she also got a free picnic table and set of patio furniture just by asking.
Freecycle is set up as a network of local Yahoo groups where you can make only certain posts: WANTED, OFFER, or TAKEN. So, for example, someone posted OFFER: Power Wheels jeeps, and my sister responded to that post. Then, she posted WANTED: picnic table, and got two responses to that!
So far I've posted one WANTED and that was for lumber to make raised garden beds. I got two responses and should be picking up some free wood this weekend!
I've also responded to two WANTED posts, one little boy who wanted baseball cards (we only had, oh, 5000 or so to give him!) and a lady who wanted a small quantity of purple paint. Both of these were things I really WANTED to get rid of, but was planning to wait until my yard sale since I couldn't stand throwing them away.
It's fun for my frugal side to get some things I need for FREE! And it's fun for my organized side to get rid of clutter I don't want and give it to someone who does!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Monday - Empty wastebaskets, feed kitty, switch towels, sticky roller upholstery (to get rid of cat hair!)
Tuesday- Rinse breakfast dishes, feed kitty, water plants, wipe down bathroom
Wednesday - Empty wastebaskets, feed kitty, dust house
Thursday - Feed kitty, gather library books, vacuum
Friday - Empty wastebaskets, feed kitty, switch towels, wipe down bathtub
It has been so fun to see his excitement for these "jobs" and some days he actually asks to "do another job, please?" Other days require an attitude adjustment, but he's learning. I usually offer an incentive by describing to him all the things we need to do then telling him that we can read a story or play a computer game or something when we're done.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
My poor children had to put up with me this morning. I rarely yell, but let's just say I was way too short on patience. Isaac's failure to respond quickly became an unforgiveable sin instead of a teachable moment and Abby's whiny, tired behavior was a cause for frustration instead of an opportunity to extend grace.
God, forgive me.
I am convinced I am dependent on a good night's sleep so that God can reveal to me the true baseness of my character. If a couple hours of sleep is all that stands between me and such reprehensible behavior, then I am wretched indeed. Such sinful attitudes and words sleep deep within my heart, waiting to be revealed when I am weak.
Oh that I would learn to instantly turn to Him in such moments of need! "God, my flesh wants to say "X", please keep such words from my lips." I always think of such things too late. Holy Spirit, change me deep within so that the deepest parts of my character will exude your patience and grace.
I did not manage my planned nap this afternoon (due to an unexpected, delightful visit from a friend) so I will have the next four hours (until the children go to bed) to throw myself on the all-sufficient strength of my Lord, who can keep me from stumbling.
God, help me.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
My favorite grocery store in town got bought out by my least favorite grocery store in town. The big switch was made this week so I took the opportunity to go to my second favorite grocery store (and second worst - we're down from three grocery stores to TWO now!).
My pantry is getting really full so all I really needed was eggs, milk and produce. Lucky me, all these things were on sale at Safeway this week! The milk was 2/$6 and the eggs were BOGO. The oranges were actually 2lbs/$1, the salad was $1/bag and the broccoli was 1lb/$1. The cereal was on sale with a "super coupon" 4/$4 plus I had 50 cent off coupons making each box cost 50 cents. The orange juice, bananas, butterscotch chips and yogurt were necessary, but also slightly on sale.
It was fun because the checker called over to her friend, "hey, she just got all those groceries for $28!". And my receipt said I SAVED $25. Not bad for the basics, it seems to me.
I don't have a picture of my Walgreens deals this week, but I'll list what I bought anyway.
2 boxes powdered Gain - on sale $10/2 with $4 back in register rewards (RR)
2 dozen eggs - on sale $3/2
1 box Advil PM - on sale for 3.99 with $3 in RR plus I had a $2 manufacturers coupon that made allowed me to pocket $1 on this
1 SoyJoy bar - free after rebate
I did two transactions, so I ended up spending $13.50 out of pocket, with a $1.20 rebate on the way plus $3 RR to use on my next purchase. So it wound up being all that for $9, which ends up being more than 50% off of those purchases too! Of course, I wouldn't normally buy a SoyJoy bar, but it's free, ya know?
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I can't help but think that surely one of my friends will miscarry someday. They might not have any warning, and they might not know what to expect. And that was one of the hardest parts for me - not knowing what to expect. So I want to help prepare that unknown friend. I also want to help all those who have never had a miscarriage understand what it's like. Four months ago, I didn't know either.
I know that every circumstance will be a little bit different, but maybe there's enough commonality for it to be worth me sharing. I will likely get a little descriptive and icky so please read no further if you're squeamish.
We found out I was pregnant on the 16th of November. I had been suspecting for a couple of weeks but just hadn't gotten around to buying a pregnancy test! I then realized that I was already seven and a half weeks along, which explained the nausea I was experiencing. I called an ob/gyn practice and made an appointment for December 16 (they have a very busy practice and I wasn't overly concerned about getting in early).
Just a week or so later I started having nagging concerns about the pregnancy. First of all, I normally have a terrific complexion when I'm pregnant. But this time the acne wasn't going away. Secondly, the nausea wasn't consistent like it had been with my first two pregnancies. I would have really AWFUL days then a few days in a row with almost no nausea. After returning from a trip to MN for Thanksgiving, I had one more bad day then the nausea was gone. I noted that I was only at nine weeks, and normally the morning sickness lasts me to 12-13 weeks. After sharing this with my mom, she commented, "At least you're feeling good though!" And I thought, "Yeah, but I wish I wasn't." The nausea is comforting in a way, because it means the hormones are doing their job in sustaining the pregnancy.
At the same time, I was still really tired all the time and I was starting to show, so I wasn't desperately concerned. One of my best memories is that I remember commenting to my mom and sister on December 9 that I thought the baby was a girl. With Isaac and Abby I had had no premonition on gender whatsoever, so the fact that I did this time I'm taking as a gift from God. Because really I have no way of knowing, but I do think of the baby as a girl.
On December 11 I finished laying the kids down for naps and went to the bathroom. I happened to notice a trace of blood on the toilet paper. Just the tiniest trace, but my heart stopped dead in my chest. I did a quick online search to figure out if a trace of blood is worth calling the doctor about and apparently it is. So I did and they wanted me to come in right away. Then I couldn't get ahold of my husband, couldn't find anyone who could come watch my sleeping kids. It was miserable. Finally I got to the doctor right before they closed and the midwife did a doppler (heartbeat hearing machine) on me. She warned me before she started that eleven weeks is often too soon to hear a heartbeat, so not to be overly alarmed if I didn't hear anything. Only problem was, I had heard both of my other kids' heartbeats earlier than that, so I didn't buy her story.
We didn't hear a heartbeat.
I was sobbing as they went to look for someone to do an ultrasound. Since it was closing time, no one was available and they told me to come back the next day. They encouraged us not to assume the worst. But I did.
Yet the torture of waiting and NOT knowing . . . I didn't sleep much that night. The next day I went purposely to copy 100 copies of our Christmas letter to be ready for mailing just so I could not worry about having to write anything in there about what was happening. Keith met me at the doctor at noon for an ultrasound. The tech got the picture of my womb on the screen then left the room. She didn't say anything to us but because she didn't we knew it was bad news.
No one came for a long time. Keith and I just sobbed and hugged.
Finally the doctor came to check the ultrasound images and officially declare that our baby was dead. He said the baby looked to be about nine weeks gestation, so she had already been dead in my womb for two weeks. Development looked normal to that point so there was no obvious reason WHY. Genetic mutation, probably. But no one knows or will ever know. (I have since learned that for my age group of mothers past six weeks gestation there is actually only a 37% chance that it was a mutation. This makes me wish we had had genetic testing done, but it is now too late for that.)
I had two options: wait for my body to deliver the baby("pass the tissue" as they kept saying - what an awful phrase!) naturally, or schedule a D&C (basically an abortion). I preferred to go naturally but since we were so close to Christmas, we scheduled a D&C for a week out (December 19) just so we wouldn't have to prolong the ordeal into the holiday.
Then, the horror of waiting. Of knowing that my body contained the body of a dead baby. Of thinking of all the ways I loved this baby and would never be able to tell her. Of not sleeping - laying awake late into the nights, my mind awhirl. Of not knowing when my body might decide to start cramping and bleeding and delivering.
As we told friends and family I was shocked at how many women I've known for a long time have had miscarriages and I never knew it. It is VERY common (16% of known pregnancies; up to 50% of unknown pregnancies). This was in fact a wonderful thing for me because so many of them knew just what to say. I felt very cared for and loved, particularly in our church family. We had them all praying that the miscarriage would occur naturally.
The cramping and bleeding steadily increased throughout the week until the morning of Tuesday December 18th, when I began having what felt like early labor contractions. I called my mom to watch the kids because I knew I couldn't handle them and the pain. I laid Abby down for a nap (barely able to get her in bed because of the pain) and turned on a movie for Isaac.
I was laying on the futon next to Isaac when I felt a gush of what I assumed was blood, so I went into the bathroom. The liquid was clear, though, so I think it must have been amniotic fluid. Then I heard a "plop" into the toilet, which I figured was a clot or some tissue. I changed my pad and went out of the bathroom.
Soon I was back in again, bleeding heavily. I reached to flush the toilet before sitting down again then took a closer look. That "plop" had been my baby's body, now laying in the toilet bowl. I lost it, crying and shaking, calling Keith and praying for my mom to show up soon to deal with Isaac who was calling to me from the other side of the bathroom door.
I rescued the body from the toilet and sat down as blood and placental tissue started flowing out of me. I held the tiny baby for a moment, then spent the next couple of hours cramping and bleeding heavily. Traumatic is the only word to describe that experience.
Keith came home, the kids went with Mom, I was wiped out. I sat on the bed for a couple of hours, intermittently reading and crying. Keith called our pastor. Our church has a tiny cemetery for miscarried babies. Ours would be the third baby buried there.
Keith gave me the jewelry box that his tie pin had come in and I lined it with some satiny fabric. We placed our baby's body in the box and named her "Jewel". Tiny, precious, and buried in a jewelry box.
The graveside service was brief, just me, Keith and Pastor. I was so glad we could do it though. Burying our baby seemed to legitimize her life - she was a real person, deserving a proper burial.
And that was all. I bled for another week. I couldn't sleep for a month. And I still cry often and think multiple times a day about the little one that just wasn't meant to be on this earth.
I'm sad. But I trust. And I know God is good, He has a plan, and He loves my little Jewel more than I ever could.
I hope this reflection can help someone understand or process or sympathize or whatever. Please feel free to comment or email me with questions.
It has been there for a long time.
That is because it was written in short
I found this difficult to read.
For some people, this represents how they think, and they like reading things written like this.
I do not.
However, I finally finished the book, and therefore removed the title from my book list.
I will tell you what I think of it, but only if I can stop writing like this.
I find it highly annoying.
But I'm sure you've gotten
I thought the book had a lot of good things to say. I think it's good to live "in touch" with your own soul, live in community, and approach conversations with an open heart, willing to truly listen. I want Christ to search me deeply, to show me my own heart, so that I can love more truly and experience life more fully. I want to have solid relationships within the Christian community, sharing life beyond Sunday, learning to truly know each other in Christ. I want to have friends who are different from myself and approach them to learn how they think without shoving my thoughts down their throat. And also, I hope I will love them truly enough that they will want to ask what I think.
Rob Bell talks about all of these things and in these things I think he is right.
What deeply disturbs me is his view of Scripture and the Christian faith as a "brick wall". Remove one brick, he says, and the wall still stands. His example? The virgin birth of Christ. If that was proven to be untrue, "Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart?" If we deny the virgin birth, what do we lose?
WE LOSE JESUS!
If Jesus was not born of a virgin, then God was not His Father and He is not fully God AND fully Man. He's just a really good man. Really good men can set a fine example for how I should live. But a really good man cannot save me from eternal judgement in hell!
So on the surface, there were a lot of good thoughts in "Velvet Elvis". But when you dig a little deeper, you catch glimpses of a system where truth is not absolute, God is who I want him to be, and the Bible is only an interesting historical narrative.
Check out this post http://howsmallawhisper.blogspot.com/2008/03/remarkable-though.html to read another thought on this topic.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
1) My kids both woke up and stayed up before 5:30am yesterday morning. No, I did not let them get out of bed. They just laid awake for a long time. You'd think they'd be tired by bedtime (8pm), right? So then why was I rocking Abby to sleep at 8:40 and still dealing with Isaac at 9pm? Then they woke up before 5:30am again this morning. Only this time, thankfully, they eventually went back to sleep.
2) Not to mention what happens during the night. Both of my kids slept through the night (12 hours) by about 12 weeks of age. Now Isaac routinely wakes up 1-2 times a night calling for me and Abby wakes up 2-3 times in a night once or twice a week. What happened here?
3) I always thought in matters of food that two toddlers would eat less than or equal to one adult. Not so with my children. There are meals when one or both of my children (16 and 35 months old) actually out-eat ME! (I also count my husband as two people since he eats so much!)
4) Looking forward to motherhood I dreamed of exposing my children to great children's literature. I try, but all they want is the same book over and over and over. The past two weeks it's been Debi Gliori's "Nursery Rhymes". This book takes about fifteen minutes to read in its entirety but both children sit for the entire reading.
5) Children love to play in the snow, right? Not mine. I don't know why I even try. (Thank goodness it's almost spring!) This morning I bundled everyone up (it's actually over 30 degrees so not even really cold) and we lasted outside for less than ten minutes before they were both crying about being cold. Isaac says he likes to play in the snow, but I think it's because he gets hot chocolate when we come inside.
6) I thought that high quality toys would occupy my children. They don't. The couch cushions and a bit of music to bounce to, however, work as entertainment. Our piano is my children's favorite toy. And I'm wondering why I have a playroom at all since my children are never more than four feet from my side. (Okay, slightly exaggerated but not much.)
So motherhood is different than I expected. The children are more real than the ones I imagined when I dreamed of being a mother. By this I mean that they are harder to control, to manage, to schedule, to discipline, to perfect. But I'm learning to love them as they are.
After all, spontaneous slobbery kisses more than make up for a couple lost hours of sleep.