Monday, January 31, 2011

Luxurious me :)

The other day I had a salad.
Not really notable (other than the fact that I don't really like salads!).
But this tasted like a bit of heaven!!

Wee One was the first baby that I could nurse. What a gift this was (I didn't think so at the beginning, but after a while :)...). It was one prayer I had during pregnancy - one that I thought would never happen. With Little M, after weeks of interventions, my milk never came in. I always joked that I had a "let down with the let down." :). With Sweet K, life pretty much fell apart after Day 3, so I didn't need one more thing to worry about.

Last baby. Last opportunity. Wee One.

And wouldn't ya know.... with a significant amount of learning and effort, finally a breast fed baby!!

She has a pretty sensitive system, so there was much I could not eat for the next 6 months. Salads. FRESH GARDEN VEGGIES THAT I HAD SO LOVINGY MANAGED TO PLANT IN THE VIGOROUS NESTING PHASE!!! Popcorn. Coffee (except for one precious cup in the morning.) Cheese.


With the first two babies, I also struggled through post-partum darkness. The first took a year to work through. The second - TWO YEARS. I joked with a friend when pregnant this last time - either, it'll be a walk in the park OR I'll be out for THREE YEARS!! YIKES!!!

Thankfully, this time around was pretty straight-forward. Another gift.

Lately, I can feel myself returning to "normal." (Re)Discovering things that I enjoy. Finding things for myself that fit with this season of my life. Taking time for myself here and there. Making time for conversations and solitude. Blending all the roles and responsibilities with who I am. It is good.

And eating normally again!
The salad tasted spectacular, I munched down as many fresh green beans as humanly possible. I can't begin to describe CHEESE PIZZA, guilt and worry free. DeLISH.

Life's little luxuries feel good!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Front porch living in a backyard world....

A couple of summers ago we were able to complete the fence around our backyard. Since both of our neighbors had fences already, this wasn't really that hard. We used fencing to close up the yard on either side of the house, and used a chicken-wire fence to close off the back. (The chicken wire becomes almost invisible in the lilac hedge and allows us to keep the "view" of open prairie land behind our house!)

Voila. It is perfect for kids. You can send them out to play and not be worried about them heading to the road or onto neighboring properties.

However, it also acts like a fortress. Keeps us seperated from the rest of the world.

Some days I think I could easily become a hermit. With so much activity indoors, and an introvert by nature, it takes a lot of effort to get out, mingle with the neighbors and connect with my community.

Last summer, I intentionally played in the front yard with the kids. Consequently we had a lot of impromptu play times with our neighbors, cultivating relationships with dear friends and making some new ones too. My kids are already begging for warm enough weather to play outdoors with their friends again. Oh, and freezies. Can't forget the freezies!!!

Before Christmas, I was able to host a Cookie Party. I invited gals of all ages from up and down the street, and their kids too, and we gathered for a morning of getting-to-know-you visists, chuckles and catch-up conversations. Some women I knew before this, others I had only briefly met. Kids were given an opportunity to decorate cookies at the table, and it was a way for me to share all the white-chocolate covered pretzels I'd made (and didn't want to eat all myself!!).

I cannot begin to say how much this was a blessing to me. It was a full morning (even busier getting ready for it) but the time was a gift and a highlight of my advent season. Little M was asking me when we could do it again - I was asking the same thing! SUMMER!! When we can set up the sprinkler ;).

These are little attempts to become a part of, and even contribute to, the community around me. It is so easy to drift along, focused on my own life and wants and needs. In a day and age when much emphasis is placed on individualism, this is very refreshing indeed.

So, I'm also on the look-out for new ideas :).
How do you cultivate community in your world?

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Littlest BoBo

Seems like each of my kids has a plethora of nicknames!! Each one seems to resonate with an aspect of who they are and have stuck.

Don't worry, I often call them by their given names too, and not just when they are in trouble!!

Somehow, Wee One got the nickname BoBo. I think Little M got it started with, "HEY THERE, BoBo." And we've been using it ever since!

It's hard to imagine that my Littlest BoBo is over seven months old already. Maybe it's because she's so active, and maybe it's because our journey with Sweet K has taught me to deeply appreciate every little milestone, but she seems to be moving through these stages very quickly! Just this week she figured out that if life is boring while sitting down, you scooch to your tummy and start to squirm. We are just around the bend from crawling. YIKES!!

She's an adorable little gem. She's highly opinionated and quick to offer her perspective.
What a joy.

When I look at her, I often think of what I would have missed if fear had ruled our desire to have another child. After Sweet K, it would've been easy to take the safer route, not open oneself up to change and chance once again. However, experience has taught me that if I based my decision on fear, there would always be a part of me that was not at rest. The part that wanted to get to know and raise and nuture one more baby. The part that desires the best out of this life, and sometimes, though not every time, that involves taking a risk. This felt like a pretty big risk :)!!

At this time last year, we were waiting for test results, waiting for doctors and specialists once again. Our initial ultrasound detected an issue with the baby. My first phone call with the genetist office (the same doctor we have for Kezia) consisted of outlining the possibilities. Cystic Fibrosis. Spina Bifida. Downs Syndrome.

Oh MAN. I took a deeeep breath. I cried a bit. Some days a bit more :). I prayed.
Where would this adventure take us!!?

At a follow-up fetal assessment, we were reassured that everything looked fine. Head circumference was normal and the initial detection was a false alarm.

As a special gift, our technician asked if we wanted to see 3-D images of our baby!
Suddenly there she was!!! Snug and safe and cozy as can be.
(Only we didn't know it was a "she" at the time!!)
An extra blessing was just around the corner - the technician PRINTED OFF these beautiful photos and gave them to us! Just for fun.
God knew what I needed, when I needed it. I am so grateful!!

There've been times when I've backed away from a blessing because I was too afraid to embrace it. What have I missed out on? I'll never know. But I know there is grace to start again. And grace to teach me the importance of pressing through the fear to making the clearest decision as possible. That doesn't mean it'll all turn out quite the way I want it, but then I know deep down I've moved forward in faith, not fear, and that brings peace.

Every day I look at this baby and I am reminded of this truth.
So far she's been healthy, happy (most of the time now, though she started off as a very passionate cryer!!!) and sweet as can be.
My littlest BoBo is a gift, for sure!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Put Your Head On My Shoulder

For some reason that I can only attribute to hormones, fatigue and post-partum funk, I had the (mistaken) notion when Little M was born that sleeping with your wee one was a bad thing. Like I had failed as a parent in getting them to take their first step towards independence or something like that. Because she was such a good night time sleeper, this wasn't really a huge issue, except that at some level I wrestled with this idea of what it meant to be a "successful" parent. And I still grieve the times I missed cozying up for a little nap together rather than insisting that she do things my way.

Five years into this journey, I am a little (and only a little ;P) wiser. I could not sleep with my kids in my bed all the time (it'd be a bit full with all three, Jon, myself and the pooch!!), but I have discovered the delight of snuggling in for a nap or even the occassional night with my little ones.

In the past month we've combatted the flu twice. Consequently we had out of the ordinary sleep arrangements so that we could quickly tend to sick kids and crying babies with minimal disruption.  Minimal disruption!? Whatever. There's always disruption with sick kids. We just needed to be quick with the barf bucket!! About two weeks ago, we found our sleep situation all scrambled up again, and this time Little M asked to sleep with me! Moi! She's been a daddy's girl from early on, but lately she's been showing more and more signs of (just maybe :P) needing her mama too!

She slept all night long with her head on my shoulder. I was a wee bit stiff in the morning, however I wouldn't have changed a thing. These days are few and far between and they won't last long. Just last night we were out and about, and Sweet K had had both a stress-filled and very long day. In the end, she curled up in my arms, her 3-year-old body relaxed, and she too fell into a cozy snooze. She got heavy after a while, but I didn't want to move. The time goes so fast.

Sometimes I too feel weary and sad, stressed or just in need of a snuggle. I long to curl up in a secure place and enjoy the sense of safety and comfort. Even though the world may be falling apart at the seams, there are still pockets of peace.

I'm learning to soak in all the snuggles I can. I still get caught up in my routines, my chores, my own preoccupations. However, slowly, I am learning to say yes to the out-of-the-ordinary arrangements and find myself caught up in extraordinary moments.

Monday, January 3, 2011

What the heck!? A new year already!?!?

Okay, so I went to write the date in my journal this morning.
And it finally dawned on me that we've started another year!
The past few weeks have been crazy, and I'm just starting to catch my breath. Aside from preparing for the christmas festivities, there was the bout with the flu, getting ready for Little M's birthday party (which we had to postpone due to aforementioned flu!), gatherings with friends and family and preparing for a family holiday.

I had to laugh to myself. When I thought about the start of a new year, and the things I'd like to be intentional about in the coming 365 days, two very specific things came to mind. They are not very profound :).

1. Use fewer exclamation points in my electronic communications!! See, there I did it again! And AGAIN! Whether it's email, the ocassional facebook entry (I don't visit the "social network" very often) or a blog post, I seem to be highly addicted to the frequent use of exclamation points!! Read any entry - you'll see what I mean.  I'm not sure if I just have an over-abudance of exuberance or if it is just bad form, but it's something to work on ;).

2. I would like to watch more tv. WHAT!? You may be asking yourself. Most people try to reduce their tv-watching. Well, particularly since Wee One arrived, I have found myself on my feet until 11 or 12 at night, just getting stuff done. On more than one occasion I have said to Jon, Where do people find the time to watch tv! I would love to sit down for an hour every evening or two and just veg! I'm not sure if it's because I have unrealistic expectations of what needs to get accomplished by the end of the day, but HEY, at some point we need clean dishes, clean undies and a place to walk across the floor without stepping on fisher price animals!!! I know that this is not healthy and a little R&R at the end of a day would probably help me be a better mommy too!!

What kinds of hopes and dreams do you have for the coming year....


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