Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Don't Want to Forget...


Part of the reason I blog is so that I can look back and actually remember some of the seemingly insignificant things. Over the past two years, it's the things that seemed unimportant at the time that end up making me smile the most.

We have forty-some days until our family changes forever. While we're all excited and anticipating the baby's arrival, we're also enjoying the last days of life as we know it.

Here's the some of the things I don't want to forget...

Jakob: I sometimes wish I could keep you 4 1/2 forever. You are smart as a whip, which gets you into trouble sometimes. You wipe off every kiss your daddy and I give you, all the while smiling and giggling. You love to draw and create things. I'm forever picking up your markers, tape, and scraps of paper, only to find you've gotten them back out a few minutes later. You've become a mommy's boy lately. Last week I was sitting on the couch and you were at the table while daddy was goofing around in the kitchen telling us things he was thankful for. You announced that you were thankful that your mom was so beautiful...and you melted my heart. I love you little man.

Eli: Your seven year old, easy-going personality is completely endearing. We spend many hours a week together, sitting at the table, practicing reading, sight words, and spelling. Sometimes there's tears and frustration, and sometimes there's laughter and joy over your accomplishments. No matter what, we're on this learning journey together. You have an amazing ability to look at the bright side of life. You're a dreamer...and to this realist, you often make me smile...or shake my head. Last week you hopped in the van after school and informed me you were going to make a car out of wood and then drive it to California to make a movie. Alrighty then. You constantly run around the house in bare feet, shorts, and t-shirts. It makes me cold just looking at you. I've given up asking you to put on a sweatshirt. Your latest fashion trend of choice is sweat-bands. You wear them everyday. You're convinced they're very cool, and we believe you. I love you little man.

Noah: You remind me of myself in many ways. You are a first-born through and through. You will be almost nine years old when this new baby arrives and already you are looking out for it. You take pride in a job well done. When you put your mind to something, there is absolutely nothing that is going to distract you from it. I loved watching football with you on Sundays...and listening to stats you'd learned. Our mutual love for the Packers and disdain for the Vikings has caused some major mom/son bonding. You are always planning and looking ahead to the future. You are thoughtful and considerate. This week you came home from school, concerned that the new boy in class did not have boots and snowpants, which then caused him to have to stand by the wall at recess. You made sure to hunt around the basement for some extra pairs and then carried them to school, just in case he didn't have them the next day. Your teacher and I couldn't help but hug you. You wear a red rubber bracelet on your right wrist, everyday, to help you remember to pray for a cure for cancer for your good buddy, Tate. I love you little man.

Can't wait to see what the next addition is like :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's a Two-Week Addiction...

I tried to stay away from the topic of the Olympics. I really have. Because once the flood gate opens, I may not be able to stop myself.

I love the Olympics dearly. I've recorded all of it...even the boring stuff. Sometimes I watch it super fast, but I still feel the need to watch it none the less.

It's my American duty.

I'm amazed at their commitment. And the winter Olympians, they are a special kind of crazy. Fearless. Inspiring.

Our whole family has gotten into it. Noah, our 8 year old is desperate to buy a snowboard after watching Shaun White. In the mean time, he's been sliding down the snow pile in the yard, while standing on his red sled. It's snowboarding tiny-town style. I need to video it.

Ben and I have become expert judges in all events, thanks to the information the commentators give us.

Snowboarding was the most entertaining. Downhill skiing and their crazy crashes they walk away from left me with my mouth open. Speed skating keeps me on the edge of my seat. The Luge and skeleton thingy makes me half cover my eyes in fear. And the Figure skating/ice dancing brings out my best judging abilities. *cough*

And the behind-the-scenes stories...suck. me. in.

Good times.

Last night though...last night was something new. Did you see the 2-man American bobsledding team?!? Did you? The one guy looks like a linebacker. Not the average Olympian physique...which made me want him to win all the more!

I'm gonna stop myself now. But don't you just love the Olympics?!? :)


Friday, February 19, 2010

I Should Have Known Better...

You had me going Jake, you really really did.

For months now, I've seen you playing with the cardboard tube that comes from the center of the toilet paper roll. I've watched you get it wet in the sink, unroll it, let it dry and then use it to paint on. Sure, I thought it was a little weird, but who am I to stand in the way of your creative genius?

For months now, I've also been very irritated with the one and only toilet in our house. It seems to get plugged all the time lately. I've had my suspicions. You were at the top of the list. And yet, you were very insistent that you had not put anything down the potty that is not supposed to go down the potty.

So, I started buying cheaper toilet paper, because someone must just be using too much at a time.

It wasn't until a couple of days ago when I met you coming out of the bathroom, with a fresh cardboard tube, that it hit me. I am the mother of boys, I should have figured this out waaaay sooner.

I'd JUST refilled that toilet paper roll...I knew it had been full. (Sidenote: I've also been perplexed as to why we're going through so much toilet paper the last few months...)

You were indeed right, you had not been flushing anything "foreign" down the potty...just a roll of toilet paper in order to get to the precious cardboard tube. What had I been thinking, all those times I saw you with a new tube?!? That you'd just always happened upon an empty one in the bathroom?!?

You got me kid...you got me real good. But from now on, can you just check the recycling container for some cardboard...I think you'll find it much less work...and probably far less entertaining as well.

Love you, my baby boy who is soon to be a big brother. You never cease to amaze me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You Helped...the Stipes Do Not.

You all are the best. THE BEST. You totally came through for me. The comments, the emails, all of it is so completely helpful! I can't thank you enough for taking the time to share your wisdom...never in my life have I typed and/or read the word nipple so many times. ;)

A few things really stuck out to me. The fact that in most cases you just had to grit your teeth and hang in there and it did get better. With Jake, I really felt like it was just never going to get better, so why bother. Knowing IT WILL is gonna help tremendously. And, I'll be implementing your tips and tricks and for sure harassing the experts until I get it right. :)

I have different reasons for wanting to make it work this time. It's not necessarily for the health benefits, or the bonding...because I really think formula is just fine...it's really for convenience.

Sure, bottles are less painful at first. But they are still a lot of work...I know, I've done it three times. Making sure they're washed, and have the right water, formula stockpiled, making sure you have enough bottles/formula for your outing, mixing them up, on and on.

I'm up for the challenge. I think. In the mean time, I'm going to pray fervently for a baby who just knows how to latch on perfectly. ;)

On a completely different note, I thought I would share with you what not to wear, preggo style.

It's called horizontal stripes when 31 weeks pregnant.

They are not helping my silhouette, even from the front.
Yet...I've worn them two days in a row.

It's official. I've reached the "I really don't give a rip if it's unflattering, because really, what IS flattering?!?" stage.
You're welcome.




Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let's Help Me...

Breastfeeding. Oh the stories. Oh the opinions.

For me...oh the trauma. ;) Okay, maybe I exaggerate a wee bit.

Here's the deal: I know that most of us have an opinion on it. That's not really where I'm trying to go with this post. It's not where I'm trying to go at. all. I do not like blog debates, they make me cringe and leave quickly.

What I do enjoy, is sharing too much information with you and then you helping me. In your oh-so-kind-way :) Sound good? Good.

With my first and second babies I did not even attempt breastfeeding. I just wasn't interested in the tiniest bit. I know the whole "breast is best" but honestly, formula was pretty dang good, and I have some great boys to show for it. It was the right choice for me and them.

When I was pregnant with my third, I decided I wanted to give breastfeeding a try. So I read, and read and read and talked and talked and talked about it to pretty much everyone who would listen. I was ready.

Or so I thought.

I knew it was not gonna be much fun at first. I knew I'd have to stick it out for awhile before it got better. I knew it might be tricky and painful in the beginning.

What I did not know, is that after about a week, when Jake would cry to eat...I would cry because I didn't want to feed him!! Because the pain...it was like NONE OTHER. And then I would cry harder because I felt bad for not wanting to go pick up my sweet baby and feed him...and by day 13 I gave him a bottle. And from there it was happily ever after.

I felt no guilt with any of my boys. I still don't. I made an educated decision for what was best for all of us at the time and it all worked out.

Now, as I have about 8 weeks left in this pregnancy, I've got breastfeeding on the brain. I'd like to give it a try...again. Because between Jake and this one, I learned an important little lesson for me. Remember when I used to run? Do you? Because I'm finding it hard to remember...anyways, I've mentioned before that people used to tell me that working up to the first 30 minutes or 3 miles of running was the most difficult and after that you get in a groove. I was pretty sure they were either lying or my body was just the exception...but during 1/2 mary training I learned they were actually right. Who knew.

That was a physical lesson I learned, and whether it makes sense or not, I think it applies to breastfeeding for me.

The benefit I have this go-round, is that I've tried it, and I know where the complications came in for me. The last time, it was all book knowledge and no experience.

I've also signed up for a class to take (in March) at the hospital I will deliver at.

But I have some specific issues that I'd like your thoughts/expertise on. You know, what worked for you. And, if you'd rather not post it in the comments section, you can always send me an email at lifeintheparsonage@gmail.com

Here's where I'm going to get entirely too detailed for 300 of my closest friends...

  • I think "latching on" was the main problem. I got a pamphlet in the mail recently that said "Three easy steps to latching on" Pffffff. Easy, really? It didn't feel easy. Any tips?
  • How long does engorgement really last? I mean really? Because even when I quit on day 13 they were still super full (and I did try pumping some first) No wonder the poor kid couldn't latch on...it was like sucking on a kickball.
  • How long does leaking last? How long do you have to wear those disposable pad thingys in your bra?
  • Sore nipples. You heard me. How long?
  • Should I contact the local la leche league?
  • What's your take on nipple shields? You know, those clear things...I used them with Jake as an attempt to make it hurt less, and it kinda helped, but it was also another thing to get adjusted while trying to get him adjusted and latched on...
Whether it works out this time or not...who knows. No expectations. Either way, my baby will eat.

Alright ladies, I'm counting on you and your vast expertise...let me have it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eight Weeks to Go...

Eight weeks to go till baby #4 joins the craziness. I have the luxury of subtracting days from my actual due-date because I will be induced. It's the benefit of birthing a large baby the first time around. Last week when I discussed with my doctor about whether I'd like to be induced again or not, she laughed when I mentioned that the "inducing at 39 weeks" seemed to work well for me, then my baby's are "only" 8 pounds-something. Size is relative, I guess.

I have baby on the brain, to say the least. The lists have begun.

The swinging pendulum of Oh, I can't wait to meet this baby, 8 weeks is forever to OH MY WORD, ONLY EIGHT WEEKS TILL BABY MODE is a constant theme in my head.

I also swing back and forth between loving being pregnant and feeling the baby move around, to really wanting my body back, to be a runner again...to have a waist in order to keep my pants up again.

At this stage in the game, my silhouette turns me into a bit of a freak show. Strangers stare at it. I catch the eyes of people I'm having conversations with, and they can't help but let their eyes drift to the belly. I can't blame them...I do the same thing to others. There's something about it that screams, there's life in there, how weird!

After Jake, I got rid of most of the baby stuff because we were so done. Yeah. Friends have been generous in letting me borrow stuff this time, because the fourth time around, buying new gear loses the appeal that it had the first go-round.

I have gotten some new stuff, though :) Can't show you the clothes yet, of course...that will have to wait.
The bouncy seat is from my mom, it's so cute and I especially love it because I'm in an orange phase right now. I also got a new Moby wrap (in orange.) I have a cream colored one that I used with Jake and love love love it...but I think I need a spare ;) The newborn diapers are just so cute...they actually make buying diapers fun...they lose their appeal once they get bigger. And last, but not least, my favorite baby product of all time: Boudreaux's Buttpaste. Best stuff ever. I bought it in tub size.
And, last but not least. Baby #4 has a name. At least we think it does...
Tomorrow, lets talk about breastfeeding...as in, let's help Sarah with all our wisdom so that she no longer thinks its the worst experience ever. *smile*

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Winner!


This is how our week has gone:

Early out
Snow Day
Late Start

Ben was also home Monday (like usual) and then home sick on Tuesday.

Today though, everyone is going back to school and back to work. And I will do laundry.

Good times.

Anyways, I decided to have Eli show you his 7 year old mouth...the teeth, they just keep falling out.



As you can see, he was thrilled to take a break from watching his movie so I could snap his picture. I also made him pick a number between 1 and 71 for the book give-away. In true Eli fashion, he picked 80 just to be funny.


And then I gave him *the look* and he picked 50.


Fringe Girl you are the WINNER! Email me your address and I'll send this your way! YAY!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Finally I Give the Book Away!

The day has come. Check out my book!

Finally.

The chance to win the book! Lisa even autographed it for you. And I even autographed my quote for you. Kidding. I'm only kidding. I totally didn't sign it...although I may have smiley faced it.

I really do love this book. I know I've told you that already. There's just a few more things I want to share about it before you enter to win.

  • I cried in chapter one (p. 26) I love their story, and their call to ministry, because it has God's handwriting all over it. You see Him do the seemingly impossible, and can't help but say to yourself, Yep God, only You...
  • I did the most underlining in Chapter 2, which bears the same title as the book. In particular, she speaks of being winsome. And frankly, it's something all women need to hear. Couple quotes:
  • People are much more likely to overlook faults when mutual love undergirds the relationship. And, in order for people to love you, you need to present yourself as lovable. (p. 53)
Girls, people need to like being around you! (p. 52)

Amen.

Good stuff. Practical, useful stuff. Hurts so good kind of stuff.

Alright. I'll let you enter now. Just leave me a comment to get yourself entered. I tried to think of something clever to have you comment about, but apparently I haven't had enough coffee yet...

I'll randomly pick a winner on Wednesday.

If you're not a blogger, please leave me an email address so I can reach you if you win!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Going Dark

Check out my book!


My love for Jack Bauer and 24 runs deep...and wide. He has two key phrases that he says all the time.
  1. You have my word
  2. I'm going dark
Now, before I lose all of you who have no idea what I'm blabbing about, let me explain. When Jack says he's going dark, he means he's shutting his cell phone off, taking out the ear piece and getting the job done, without the input/help of his co-workers.

This week, I've had my own version of "going dark."

I mentioned a new book I received. I sat down this weekend and started it, and it didn't take long for me to realize that there was much that I know about being a pastors wife, mom, and friend that was not actually being played out in my life like I desire it to be. Not way off course, but just enough askew that I couldn't shake that feeling of being drained by people, no matter how much I tried to fill myself up in prayer and God's Word, at the end of the day I just felt sort of used-up.

I had to take a good hard look at my days, my relationships and focus to figure out where I was off course. In her book, Lisa quotes a motivational speaker, Jim Rohn who says, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." And I thought to myself, how stinkin' true.

Ministry is tricky. Part of ministry is bearing one anothers burdens, listening, lending support. And when it rains, it pours. I'm not sure why it is, but it is. It seems like those around me are being hit hard right now. I'm thankful to be able to listen, yet when it's coming from all different directions...it's hard to shut it off.

I'm in no way saying I don't want people to come to me...it's not about them, it's about me being able to establish boundaries with the information. Sometimes it's nice to be the one people come to...yet sometimes, they're not meant to come to me.

I took some time to evaluate who my five are. Who are the people that I spend the most time with? Am I allowing it to drain me? Is it balanced the way God desires it to be?

The book also reminded me of my priorities, of my real ministry. I'd lost sight of that, without even realizing it. I'd made my ministry into listening and being there for people. It's not wrong, it's just gotten out of whack, thanks to me.

My first priority needs to be my time with Jesus. I need to be selfish about it. If I answer that phone before my time with Him, then I've just moved Him to less important than ministry.

My husband is next. As his wife, I get to be his biggest support. I help him far more in ministry by being a support to him and our kids, than I do by bearing other's burdens that were not mine to mess with in the first place.

My boys. Man I love them. And if I've spent every last bit of energy on others, they suffer the most...because my patience is just gone. They are the ministry God has given me. The disciplining, the encouraging, the homework, the meals...all of it. It sometimes feels like busywork...but it is God-ordained busywork for me. They are lives and souls that God has entrusted to me. Soon, there will be a baby here, and that is going to require me to dial it in even more. I need to guard my family.

And Julie...a teenager. Uffda. Julie just has 4 months left here with us. There's no doubt God ordained for her to be with our family while in America. Those late night talks, the tears over teenage stuff...she needs me. I need to have enough left to give her.

Extended family, friends and ministry are next. What I need to learn is that all of them are not meant for me to minister to. Discernment is key. Big time.

I guess all the babbling boils down to this: Sometimes, it's necessary to go dark. It's the only time I can hear my Savior softly speak. Otherwise, everyone else's voices tend to drown him out. Going dark is going to be something I implement on a regular basis from now on.

Monday, I will be doing a give-away for Lisa's book, You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes and sharing with you some more stuff that I just love, love, love about this book. And now that I've read it, I think it's a must read for everyone. If you are a pastors wife, it's fantastic, no matter how long you've been in ministry. If you go to church, you need to read it because I think it will help you see your pastors wife in a new way...human. ;) Heck, even if you know a pastors wife you need to read it. Everyone wins. :)

Come back Monday.