Category Archives: Life

The one where I cry over a wet diaper

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You’re going to laugh at me.

This morning, I woke up early.  (No, that’s not the funny part.  Don’t laugh yet!)  I normally sleep until Mercy wakes up, since it’s hard to get out of bed with a baby draped over my lap, you know?   But this morning I woke up worrying about something, so I snuck out of bed and made coffee.  The boys weren’t even awake yet!  My house was quiet like my favorite 11:00pm quiet, only the sun was shining.

I heard footsteps upstairs just as the coffee finished brewing, so I darted back in the bedroom to hide with my cup of coffee.

I settled back in bed with coffee and a book.  Mercy woke up and climbed back in my lap to nurse.  As she did, I caught a whiff of her rank, wet diaper from nursing all night, and I had a sudden pang of nostalgia and sadness.  I wondered if it would be the last time I noticed that smell, combined with a warm, snuggly baby in my bed.  I would miss it, I realized… a scent marking this cozy time of motherhood.

Now is when I thought you’d laugh.

I knew I’d be sad about all the other lasts.  The last time teaching a baby to wave bye-bye, to blow kisses, or how a cow says “Mooooo!”  The last time I get open-mouthed, slobbery baby kisses, or laugh at a baby just discovering her belly button.  The last time I cheer wildly…  irrationally excited about first steps… and watch siblings get just as ridiculously excited.  “MOM!!!  Come here quick — Mercy is STANDING UP!”  A tiny miracle that — watching life unfold.

Last shared peach, sticky juice trickling down baby’s chin and Mommy’s arm.

Last time watching a toddler’s face light up as the fireflies blink on and off, and watch them chase fireflies in erratic patterns around the dusky front yard.

Last time hearing a toddler giggle with delight as I place a new brother or sister in their arms.

How can I be done, having babies?

No, never quote me on this, because I have an incredible weakness for the tiny ones, and you just never know…

But I do know that my growing-up children need me, and it seems like the bigger they get the more they need.  I don’t know how to be a grown-up Mommy.  Emotions from an almost 10 year old girl are way more difficult to handle that the emotions spewing from a 3 month old that just wants to tuck in and nurse.

How in the world do I take care of big kids?!

I wish I could pause time right now.  I’m not looking for later on… when things get easier.  (My guess is that’s a myth!)  My life is perfect right now.  I have a baby, my favorite thing in the whole world, and my older kids are independent, helpful, and still think I hung the moon.  They still hold me hand, tell me I’m the best mommy EVER, and ask me to tuck them in bed at night.  Half of them still scramble to sit in my lap when I sit for a movie.

So yeah, this morning, with a warm, stinky baby draped across my lap, I had a moment.  I watched my sleeping girl… memorizing her.  Freezing this moment in time.  Her chubby fingers twitching in sleep, the ones that like to pat my face and poke my nose.  Damp curls, growing longer by the day.  Perfect, healthy skin on that beautiful face, her adorable lips and tongue still making unconscious sucking patterns.

Oh heavens, I’m going to miss this.

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P.S.  I also sniffled a little as I tucked Zach’s outgrown fleece hoodie into a give-away bag.  I have no more boys to save clothes for!  It’s been a rough day for Mama.  *serious bawling going on over here…*

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The post after my meltdown one

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You guys.  You’re just so sweet!  All the Facebook love, the phone calls, the offers of dinner, a pedicure, and just hanging out time for me and my kids.  You know who you are!   It meant the world to me.

Ruby Peterson, you are my hero.  One day, I promise, I will repay all the kindness you’ve showered upon me.  I’ll find some young mom still in the trenches of motherhood, and I’ll sit and chat with them at the Christmas party, and really listen, as the rest of the world swirls around.  I’ll bring a meal over for no reason other than to be a huge blessing.  Thank you.

So.  The rest of my week was not uneventful.  I just had courage, thanks to you all!

There was the bedtime routine where nobody was in bed yet, and the baby was cranky so we couldn’t put her down to sweep up the broken, special dolphin that shattered glass everywhere and made Megan’s foot gush blood and both girls were wailing at each other…  And meanwhile, downstairs, Zach was putting the baby monitor and toothbrushes and apples in the potty.

Yeah.  There was that.

The chili is still on my curtains.  Removing it is just not high on my priority list!  Oh.  And?  My fridge that was brand new 6 months ago?  I realized recently that I haven’t cleaned it yet.  Not once.  It’s pretty scary in there!

But then…

Then there was the day I just hung out with my friend Michele and her kids, and I wondered why my husband didn’t seem interested in coming over to hang out with us when he got off work early.  Well!  It was because he wanted to get home and make a meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn for me.  So I didn’t have to worry about supper!  Oh. My. Word.  Serious heart melting right there, folks!

My baby wore an outfit yesterday that said, “Who needs a superhero when I have my dad?”  Isn’t that just the sweetest cheesy rhetorical question EVER?

(My husband teases me about Anthony Hopkins and Johnny Depp, but he knows that he’s my real favorite!)

I was forced into time-out/prolonged nap time for a couple of days by a breast infection.  Nasty, those infections!  Derek came home from work early on Wednesday to take care of me (see why he’s my favorite?), and my mother-in-law took care of the kids when he wasn’t home.  My poor oldest daughter thought I was dying.  Like, with breast cancer.  No, no, I tried to explain about the baby not drinking enough, and it’s like the milk gets rotten and gives me an infection, and so Mercy just needs to nurse more.  Cory says, “But she can’t drink rotten milk!”  OK, I give up.

I’ve been sitting in leaf piles this week.  And dancing.  And putting puzzles together.  And sharing my coffee time with children instead of shooing them away.

Because my children, those “animals that we don’t eat” (from The Croods… awesome movie!), they’re such unique creatures.  They make you want to tear your hair out and they tear your heart up at the same time.  I know I don’t need to explain this to you!  I love them.

I’ve been eating chocolate too.  Everyone knows that chocolate is good for the soul!

Have a good weekend, ya’ll!  May you also be blessed with chocolate, and yummy children too.

Handling hardships myself is crazy talk!

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I read an article today, about how false it is to tell someone, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

It’s true, the false ring to that statement!

I won’t even try to list all the horrible tragedies that some people are facing.  But you probably know somebody who is, or you might be facing something yourself.

I was just going to talk about what I know — motherhood.

Even my midwife uses this phrase.  She said it to me when I sat in her office for my first visit with baby #4.  I told her, “I didn’t mean to get pregnant this soon!  I don’t know how in the world I’m going to handle four kids!”

She said, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”

Ha!  I would have burst out laughing if I wasn’t the polite type.  God gave me that baby, my sweet Megan, in spite of myself.  He also gave me a mother-in-law that lives right next door, to help with my kids, and a husband that loves babies and doesn’t mind a disaster zone for a house.  He gave my husband a good job, so we can afford to have babies.  And he made the coffee bean.  And placed the idea of Starbucks in somebody’s brain.

There’s absolutely no way on earth I could do this alone.

Just last night, for example, I was crying at 10:30, rocking my baby #6 to sleep.  She doesn’t always sleep too well outside of my arms.  So I had a mess in my kitchen, a mess in my laundry room, dust and dirt everywhere, clothes piled high in my bedroom, stuff covering my kitchen table and counters, and a chicken in the crock pot that’s been simmering on low for days.

Maybe it’s the chicken that got me.  I’ve turned it off a couple of times now, let it cool, and then turned it back on because there’s no way I have time to pick the meat off the bones and make soup.  So it’s still just cooking.  It might still be cooking next week, or maybe I’ll just feed it to the cats.

I’d like to make bread, but I can’t even make it to the store to buy bread.  So we’re dipping shredded wheat in hummus.

I did finally get my bathroom cleaned, halfway, heading into week #4 of unclean, while Mercy was lying on my bed after a diaper change.  She seems to enjoy gazing around my room while I change her diaper, so I have about 5 minutes of free time until I have to pick her up again.  I scrubbed in the toilets, since the grime was starting to come alive, (and when you sit on the toilet you don’t really want to think about living organisms down underneath…) and I wiped down on the toilet, so I don’t have to scrub dried pee off of Zach’s hands every time he pulls himself up to the bathroom sink.

Then 5 minutes were up, and Mercy told me she wanted me to hold her again.

I wiped down the floors today.  Maybe I’ll do the sinks tomorrow.

I did take the trash out, since the maxi pads and piles of diapers were starting to stink up my whole room.

My Bible right now usually consists of flipping the daily calendar on my kitchen windowsill.  If I get up at a decent time in the morning, I can read my Bible and drink coffee all alone.  I’ve enjoyed that a few times.  But Mercy usually sleeps until 8:00 or even 10:00 some mornings, and after sleeping off and on all night, half-sitting, propped up on pillows, I’m usually gonna choose the extra sleep!

My kids watch TV in the basement until I wake up and feed them.

I’m freaking out about another year of homeschooling.  Add a newborn, and only God could pull off such a stunt!

I lean on Him, hard.

Last night, with tears burning my throat, and that sweet baby in my arms, I asked Him to help.  Just. Help.

I don’t have elaborate prayers these days!

My suspicion is, that the people who do manage to do it all themselves are full of pride.  And those people who are falling apart at the seams?  Maybe even contemplating the end?  Facing heartbreak?  Why in the world would you tell them that they can handle this… That God expects them to… That He gave all this tragedy to them.  What happens when they fall flat on their face?  Shame, and failure.

No.  If God did give it to them, He meant for them to bring that burden to Him.

And sometimes… sometimes it’s not God.  Our adversary, the devil, walks about this world as a roaring lion.  This fallen, sinful world.  This world that is not meant to be our home.  This world that is not perfect, and where people die.  And people hurt you.  And you have to watch children hurt and die.  And God never meant it to be so full of pain.

(I’m not still talking about just having a lot of kids.  I know why that happens!)

You might be lying if you tell somebody that God gave them the trial they’re facing.  Maybe a couple who desperately wants children is facing infertility.  Or a child is handicapped.  Or dead.  Or ill.

This world is ill, and God didn’t make it that way.

We did, and He offers hope.  He will take vengeance on the evil that we were never meant to handle.  He will justify the righteous and defend the innocent.

It doesn’t make the pain of this world go away, but it gives us hope.  I’m pretty sure life would be terrible without hope!

Hope is Jesus.  The answer is Jesus.

Next time you hear somebody say “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” please speak up and say, “Yes, He will, but He’ll also give you Jesus!”

(P.S.  My laughable “trials” of motherhood insanity are nothing compared to what some of you are facing!  I’m not trying to compare apples to oranges.  But the answer is always Jesus.)

Summer in a nutshell

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Here’s the skinny:  …I have absolutely no idea why I haven’t written anything for three months!

I’ll be sad not to have our summer stories written down anywhere.  Except on my heart — my kids are always scribbling memories down on my heart.  And while I don’t have our recent lives typed up all neat and orderly, we have definitely been living out stories together, in real life.  Neat and orderly though?  *Phfft* — Hardly!

Humor me?  I’m going totally random for just a few minutes.  For memories sake.

Since I last set foot in bloggy land, I broke my real foot.  Yeah, not kidding.  It was ouch!  I broke it falling off the toilet.  Mm-hmm!  All the nurses laughed too.  My foot is just now, six weeks later, feeling strong enough to walk on.  I have to do some mental rehab!  I keep limping, flat-footed, until I remember that my foot is healed — ish.

My husband and I got a few dates out of the deal!  I wasn’t allowed to drive, obviously, so Dee took me to all my medical appointments.  (“Date night” is all about your view of it, right?)  Dee, master prankster that he is, set the atomic fart phone app off every time a nurse walked by our curtain at the ER.

My garden went to pot.  The green beans and tomatoes were just coming when I broke my foot, but I was barely hobbling at that point.  No way could I harvest a garden!  The kids had fun picking what they wanted to eat, and everything else just rotted.  I had to trash whole packs of flowers too.  So sad!

My baby boy learned to crawl, stand, and take steps since I last recorded anything.  He is too BIG!  He’s also bad.  So, so bad!  I don’t remember any of my other kids laughing in my face when I flicked their fingers.  Zach seems to think that “No-No” is just a game Mommy loves to play!

When I first broke my foot, I felt like I’d ruined summer for the kids since I couldn’t drive them anywhere.  Looking back though, it seems like a magical summer of kids and sunshine and long, lazy days.  My boys discovered bow and arrow making, with branches, sticks, and rubber bands.  They spent hours and hours in the fields and woods.  “We’re going hunting,” they’d tell me, and made me promise a trip to the butcher shop with any kills they made.  The poor groundhogs, rabbits, and turkeys hid well this summer!  I have cemented in my head a picture, of Cory in full archer’s pose, aiming down a groundhog hole.  The boys baited the animal with elderberries stolen from Grammy’s berry patch, but that groundhog never showed his face.

My brave, strong boys made weed whackers and machetes too, and wandered all over tarnation chopping stuff up this summer.  I have to admit that I lost my cool and yelled at them the day they decided that pulling poison oak off of a tree and swinging on the vines would be fun!  Not fun for mama, who had to scrub them down from had to toe instead of napping.  But they didn’t know.

Cookouts, fireflies, swimming, reading, painting, jammie parties, zoo animals at the library, “Lord of the Rings” movie-watching marathons… lots of warm fuzzies!  There have also been crazy, insane messes.  (Maybe more messes than fuzzies?  It’s a toss-up.)  Days when I want to throw in the towel after a long night of wet beds, potty trips, and nursing sessions.  Days when I sit down and cry because it appears that the kids have forgotten once again to love each other and their poor, frazzled mother.  Days when words hurt, from my girl, “Me and Cory were talking about how it seems like we do all the work and you and Daddy do nothing!”  Right after I stay up until 12:00am washing dishes and starting laundry.  Just to do it all over again the next day.

Days like that can make me forget the beauty and delight of motherhood.

It comes rushing back in single moments.

Like when my scared-of-the-water child is the last one out of the pool.  It’s twilight, and the other kids have been obedient and started walking to the car with wet towels.  My one child though, has finally figured out the thrill of letting go!  He refuses to leave the water.  He’s all alone in the shallow end, and an enourmous grin lights up his face as he demands, “Watch me, Mom!”  His nose and chin and eyes dip into the water, and his feet kick up just a wee tiny bit.

It is so. totally. swimming!

My heart squeezes tight with fierce pride and love for that boy.

And later, my heart warms from words spoken by my mother-in-law.  “You know, I was thinking about how perfect it is that YOU are Cameron’s mother.  Anybody else would have killed him by now!  God knew you’re the only mother that could handle him.”

Thank you, God, for grace.  For endless wisdom.  For Your beauty and majesty that automatically transfers to us because of Jesus.

No soft women here!

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International Women’s Day was this week — March 8th.  I just want to take a moment and tell my sister Esther and my sister-in-law Erin “WELCOME” to the world of motherhood, and “YOU ROCK!”

Jena Rose Martin was born on February 18th.  I LOVE having a niece that lives just 5 minutes away!  We are going to spoil her rotten.  (With Erin’s permission, of course.)

Keziah Grace Snyder was born on February 29th.  (The cutest “leapling” in leap year history, I’m sure!)

My sister Esther went into labor on Saturday, February 25th, and didn’t give birth to Keziah until the following Wednesday.  I was so excited to be nearby for her birth!  When I heard that Esther was in labor, I decided to drive up to Massachusetts with my 5 kids to meet the new baby and hug my sister.  Well.  On Tuesday, the scheduled travel day, still no baby.  Esther hadn’t slept all weekend, so she was exhausted.  Her midwife gave her some sleeping pills and told her to crash for the afternoon.  When she woke up, she wanted company, so my sisters Liz and Anna and I hung out with her and Ben for the evening.  In between contractions, we watched “Last Man Standing,” complained about Courtney still being on “The Bachelor,” swapped storied, and “oohed” and “awwed” over all the little girl cuteness around the apartment.  (Like, the gorgeous toy box that Liz made for Keziah!!!)

After one of her contractions, Esther told me, “I can’t believe you did this five times.”  I said, “I never labored for four days!”  She already had me in awe at that point.  I am SO PROUD of my little sister!

Esther never got a chance to take the 8-hour sleeping pill.  Her water broke at midnight, and she and Ben and my mom spent the next almost-17 hours at the hospital, laboring and waiting for Keziah.  Keziah was backwards, so Esther had back labor for those five days.  (Can I just say again how in awe of my sister I am?)  When it came time to push, baby’s head just wouldn’t budge.  After a couple of hours of pushing, the midwife told Esther that they’d have to do a C-section if nothing happened within the hour.  Keziah’s heart rate was accelerating, and Esther was completely worn out.  Ben spoke to his daughter, and said, “Keziah Grace, put your head down.”  She did it!  They did it!  Esther pushed her baby girl out, and I know that if I’d been there I would have cried.

It’s a beautiful, messy thing, the birth of a baby.  Love in all it’s reality.

Keziah’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and chest, and she was blue when she came out.  Didn’t cry.  She was whisked away to be worked on while the midwife and nurses worked on Esther.  Esther hemmorhaged heavily, and ended up needing 6 units of blood before she left the hospital.  All the medical staff told her they’d never seen anyone get 6 units of blood, or have a hemoglobin level of 4.6!  The pediatrician told Esther that her body was functioning at 30% at Keziah’s birth.

Keziah swallowed meconium, and possible caught an infection Esther had, so she stayed at the hospital for a full week of antibiotics.  We bothered the adorable little Snyder family plenty while they were stuck in the hospital!  I don’t think Keziah was put down very much that week.  She had tons of people loving on her, and I have to admit that Esther and Ben might even make cuter kids than me and Dee!

I just wish they didn’t live 8 hours away.  (Or 7 hours 15 minutes, if you’re driving by yourself with 5 kids, and your foot just keeps pressing down that gas pedal…)

It all started in the pediatrician’s office

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True story:  A mom walked into the pediatricians office with her un-vaccinated baby.  The nurse asks, “How many children do you have?”  The mom tells her five, and that the oldest is just seven years old.  The nurse then asks, “And do you homeschool too?”

Why yes, yes I do!

I also live in the country, I garden, and I can my own food.  I eat grass-fed, free-range beef and chicken, and drink raw milk.  I can hang drywall and stack wood, and I know which plants to chew up and spit on a bee sting.  I breastfeed my babies and wish I could have DOZENS of kids!  The only reason I don’t own goats is because my husband said,”NO!!!”  (Just like that, too.)  And I try really hard to obey my husband.  Because I believe God wants me too.

What?  Oh, yes.  Yes I AM a Christian!  What does that mean?  I love Jesus, believe He’s God’s Son, believe He was born and walked this earth fully human and fully God, that He died on a cross so I wouldn’t have to pay my own death penalty for sin, that He rose from the dead, that He LOVES me, that His grace is limitless and free, that His grace ALONE saves me, that He intercedes for me at the throne of God, that when I die I will live forever with Him in heaven, a place where there is no more sorrow…

And while I’m on a rant… No, I don’t believe in “global warming,” per say.  I believe creation is groaning, waiting for Jesus to come back and destroy this sin-full world.  To reign over His new heaven and earth!

And WOW is that radical!

I guess being stereotyped isn’t always bad, if I could just remember to bring up Jesus.

P.S.  I still don’t bake my own bread.  And I buy Fruit Loops.  See?  I fit in nobody’s box!

Pardon me, I’m busy breathing

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I’d really like to complain.

I’d like to say that my baby didn’t sleep well today, so I felt like we didn’t get in a good day of school.  I’d like to say that Megan was unusually whiny, and Cameron screamed for me too.

I’d like to say that my big kids were at each other’s throats.

And one boy wet the bed.  Again.  And one boy got into the unfrozen popsicles.  Again.

I cleaned up a bloody chin and bloody noses.

All that would be true, but really, I can’t complain.

My breath, it must be saved for breathing in the sweetness.  I rock the baby and I lean down and feel his warm head, breathe it in.

I hold Megan, giggling, on my lap.  She just wants me, that’s all.  Up until two months ago, she was the baby I breathed in.  So today I do it again, while we read a book about a cow who leaves her farm to live at the zoo.  Her baby curls are still untouched, and I rest my head against the softness.  (She has a tiny piece of gum stuck in her hair, so I’m sad to think that tomorrow will be her very first haircut!)

I play Candyland with my big kids, and put together a puzzle with them.  A cool, glow-in-the-dark one.  So we have to turn all the lights off, and we talk about how wouldn’t it be cool if our new basement carpet was all glow in the dark?

I let them wash my dishes.

I let them eat the noodles raw.

We bring a meal to a neighbor, a new mommy, and I let them walk and meet me there.

I watch them make shields out of cardboard boxes, and be superheros.  Sure, they might whack each other too hard, but I think, and I pray, that they will always be superheros together in Life.

I sigh at the in-between boxes of baby clothes.  Zach, he’s already stretching out his 3-6 months sleeper.  And I don’t even have all the 0-3 months clothes out of his dresser.  The bigger clothes, they sit in used diaper boxes on the floor in my room.

I was sad, the other night, about my babies growing up.  My life is perfect right now!  Dee, he told me, “Soak it up, every day.”  I soak it up extra for him, since he leaves every morning and our babies are a whole day older when he comes home.

So today, I’d really like to complain.  My overwhelmed, selfish side would love to do that.  But my overflowing, mommy side is winning right now.  I’m just breathing it all in, tucking the warm memories away for later.