Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Story of We, Part 4

To catch up check out part one, two, and three.

Before I had kids I wanted to have home births. Then we found out that our insurance covers so much of our hospital bill that it seems unwise and REALLY expensive to stay at home. (I would still love to do that at least once though.) So, when Nathan and I were preparing for Hazel, I let him know I probably wouldn't want to be at the hospital very long after she was born.

Boy, was I wrong!

You just have no idea what having a baby does to you before you've had one. To put it lightly, I was in pain. Plus they have that nifty little nurse button that I just can't seem to get Nathan to install in our house.

We also had this new little person that I suddenly felt nervous about caring for. She was so vulnerable and tiny. So completely dependent on me. When I was at the hospital I just pushed a button and they answered my questions. I knew if I called my pediatrician that much he'd fire me!

Like I said in Part 3, after she was born I felt like I had arrived. And then I went home. We were probably home less than 2 hours when I left Hazel with Nathan and my parents (who were now home from Florida) and went to my room to nap and immediately burst into tears crying. Hazel woke up shortly after that and when Nathan brought her to me he found me curled up with a tear stained face.

How was I to nurture this helpless baby and the growing boy we were adopting? They both needed me so much, and in completely different ways. What if I failed them? What if I didn't measure up? Could I really do this?

I'm sure most mom's have feelings similar to these. I've been told they do.

There was no other option but to do what needed to be done. There was a joy missing in my heart, though. I didn't realize for a long time that I was struggling with depression. I know some of it was postpartum, but I've realized just in the last year that most of it was emotions coming out that I had never dealt with. Disappointments I had never faced. Failures I'd never worked through. Having these little lives, these blank slates, brought out the imperfections in me more than anything else has.

I struggled with knowing whether or not being a full-time mom was really what I wanted. I mourned opportunities I'd missed out on when I was single and before we had kids. I had always made pretty good decisions, but they were safe decisions. Not adventurous or risky. I would replay decisions made and conversations had that I wished I could change. My life seemed dull and monotonous.

This struggle was very internal for me. I didn't have the words to explain. I didn't even understand enough so that I could try to explain.

When Hazel was about five months and Abiah was almost 5, Nathan and I started talking about when we would want more kids. We wanted our kids to be close in age, but had always talked about waiting for at least one year before trying again. I told Nathan that I didn't think I would mind if I got pregnant soon or if we waited until she was older than one. I was nursing and had just had a baby so our chances of getting pregnant were slimmer. We thought. So we decided to just let it happen. If it did or if it didn't, we would be happy.

The next month there were two pink lines on the little stick.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wishing for a Wordless Wednesday

I know my kids are cute. And completely picture worthy.

But this week the things they've said have trumped all the cute, funny, odd pictures I could post of them.

Hazel was being bossy and I let her know that I am the mom, not her. After a back-and-forth argument about who the mom really is she told me, "I'm sure I'm am the mom!"


While I was putting Amelia in the car and trying to buckle her seat belt she started squirming and grabbing at the buckle yelling, "I do! I do!"

Not only was it her first two-word phrase, it was also her first official (meaning I could understand her sass) step towards 2.


The other night we took the kids out to dinner (yay! for kids eat free coupons) to a restaurant nicer than we usually take them to. They did a great job. Especially Hazel who, right now, is the one we are having the most struggle with (go figure!). When she exclaimed that she had to go potty I got up to take her. I think she thought I would just pick her up out of her chair so she put her hand, palm up, in the air and said, "Wait! Dus wait!"

Shocked, I stood wide-eyed, and waited to see what she needed. She wanted to get down herself. She's a big girl. I wonder where Amelia get's it...

Later in the evening, when we were almost ready to leave Hazel announced, "Miwee said dammit!" Which Amelia didn't. They were at opposite ends of the table and couldn't hear each other, much less see each other over the glasses and table full of plates and napkins. Suddenly it was time to go!

On the way home Hazel let me know that she was going to color when we get home. "It's your only choice, mom."


During school, when I ask Abiah to read something out loud, he yells. I was confused at first and thought he was just being goofy. Nope. He thought that's what I meant by out loud.


One morning when changing Amelia's diaper I exclaimed loudly, "Whew! Mills!"

Hazel walked up and asked, "What, mom? Did she cwap?"

Then later in the afternoon, when there was some suspicious goo in Amelia's bed, Hazel asked, again, "Did she cwap, Mom?"


Hazel was bossing Amelia around and not getting the response she wanted. She came and told me, "Mom, Millie has an agitude!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Story of We, Part 3

If you need to, you can catch up by reading the first and second parts.

After my second miscarriage some friends suggested that I might have my hormone levels checked. A close friend had gone through something similar to me, but had a successful pregnancy right after her miscarriage because she didn't wait for her hormone levels to drop back down.

A little hormone schooling for ya: the hormone progesterone is needed in the first trimester to keep the pregnancy. When progesterone levels start to drop off it's a sign to your body that it's time for a period. When pregnant, after the first trimester the placenta takes over the progesterone production. For more details you can read this article.

Anyways, back to the story.

We decided after the second miscarriage that we weren't going to wait the recommended three months before trying to get pregnant again. I was suspicious of my progesterone levels being low due to signs like hair loss and cystic acne. Sure enough, after one month we saw two pink lines on the stick.

I just have to say, after taking so many pregnancy test, there is no better place to purchase them than at the dollar store. I don't think all dollar stores carry them but it's worth checking out. Spending $1 per stick vs. $5-9 per stick is a big difference. Check it out if you're in the market.

Anyways, once again, back to the story!

This time I had NO spotting. I made an appointment with a naturopath and by eight weeks found that my progesterone levels were indeed low. I was put on a progesterone pill for the first trimester and had zero complications with my pregnancy.

From the beginning I knew my baby. Whether boy or girl, I knew exactly who was in me. When we found out we were having a girl I felt that "knowing" deepen. I wanted to name her Hazel, which means "commanding authority."

I think Nathan was scared because it is such a strong meaning. But I felt that's exactly what she was. A strong girl. My mom said, "Hazel is an old lady's name." I was like, "Mom, you named me Helen after an 80 year old lady you knew!" She changed her mind.

When we asked Abiah what we should name her he suggested Cowboy Chinnah. I, of course, starting calling her that in hopes that Nathan would settle on a name. Which he did. And I won. But there was something missing. We couldn't find a middle name that suited her.

When I was 38 weeks along my mom and dad left for a week trip to Florida with the belief that since this was my first delivery I would be late. On Wednesday night of that week I didn't feel good so I laid in bed listening to worship music trying to relax and fall asleep. That's when her whole name came to me.

I was listening to Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace over and over. While letting my heart relax in the freedom of the words, I saw it. Or knew it. Or...something. Anyways, a commanding authority isn't a bad thing. As long as there is grace! And, as the Queen I wanted to raise this princess to be someone who commands authority with grace.

At 6:30 the next morning I was wakened by the sensation of my water breaking.

Nathan was a wreck. He wasn't ready. The car seat wasn't in the car yet. Our bags were packed but the house was a mess. I had planned to get up and clean it. Oh well! Babies come when they will. And this one came two weeks early! Thankfully I had registered with the hospital the day before. Before I could call there I had to get a hold of my mom.

Since she was in a conference I knew it would be difficult. After trying her cell and my dad's cell I crossed social boundaries I was uncomfortable with and called a friend, Pam, who was with them. Interrupting my mom is one thing. Interrupting friends seems so much different.

Pam was gracious, of course, and I heard the disappointment in my mom's voice when she found out who it was before she was even to the phone. She guessed why I was calling. She had never missed a grandbaby's birth. This time it was inevitable.

Since she was going to co-support with Nathan and wasn't able to now, I called my older sister, Summer, and she stepped into the position naturally. After taking Abiah for us and leaving him and her four kids with a sitter, she met us at the hospital. Being a pro birther herself (see the reference to her four kids, which she had all without drugs) she was a great second option.

Actually, after watching her have her first daughter I told her she could just carry and deliver all my babies for me. She was good with that, too. Her husband? Not so much.

My labor was pretty normal. Hazel was posterior. And that HURT!

Nathan was amazing. My midwife and nurse were amazing. Summer was too. Even though she made fun of me and laughed at me a few times. She was the perfect person for me to have there. She is my birthing hero and offered me the perfect amount of support.

Nathan was amazed when, after him, the midwife, and the nurse suggesting or asking me to do something, Summer would tell me to do it and I would without hesitation. I don't know what it was except maybe I trusted her because I had seen her do this four times already. Plus she's my older sister and I'm used to her bossing me around!

As hard as it was to not have my mom with me I think it was good for me. I found that I had it in me to go through that without her. My mom and I have a good relationship and it is easy for me to depend on her more than I need too. I think I would have felt more like hiding behind her skirt than pushing myself to be strong and work through the most intense pain in my life.

Around 11:20 that cold October (2007) night, Hazel was born. She was the most perfect 7lb 9oz baby I've ever seen. She had a perfectly round head and gorgeous skin. I held her for over an hour before handing her over to be cleaned and checked. She was so small. My perfect baby. My dream. One answer to many tearful prayers.

I felt like I had arrived. I was suddenly the woman I had known was in there somewhere. And then I went home...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Motivation Monday: Worship Music Selection

Worship music makes my heart soar. For me worship is a way to say what my heart feels when my mouth has no words. Make sense?

That's okay. I get that response often.

Honestly, Kat's recommendation for a personal time of worship in the mornings is what sold me on being a part of this. I need worship. I thrive on it.

It was hard for me to narrow my list down to three songs. I tried five the first week and while I loved it, I found that I would need to wake up earlier if I wanted to get everything else into my morning schedule. I thought I would share all five with you though.

Alabaster Box by Julie Meyer

Desert Song by Hillsong Live

The More I Seek You by Christ for the Nations (Kari Jobe)

In Christ Alone by Travis Cottrell

Yearn by Shane & Shane

What worship songs minister to your heart?

To see more Motivation Monday posts go here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Story of We, Part 2

This is the second part of our story. You can read the first part here.

Thanksgiving Day of the same year, 2006, there were once again two pink lines on the stick, but I was spotting again. Once again we shared our news with friend and family and asked them to pray. I was nauseous, which is a good sign. So we held onto hope.

December 15th, my SIL and I got together to make pepper jelly for Christmas presents and Nathan's birthday party. I LOVE pepper jelly. But it is one stinky recipe to make. And it didn't effect me. I tried to push the thought out of my mind. At 4:30 the next morning I miscarried again. When I got back in bed Nathan and I held each other and cried. There were no words.

We spent the following Monday seeing doctor after doctor. Waiting and waiting. Blood tests and ultra sounds. Exams and consultations. In the last office we visited we sat in the waiting room tortured by the exclamations of the joyful parents-to-be around us. They were holding sonogram pictures in their hands and healthy babies in their wombs. I was empty.

That night my parents blessed us with a gift certificate to a nice waterfront restaurant for a much needed night out. We looked forward to eating a quiet meal while watching the festival of boats go up and down the river. We arrived at the restaurant at the same time as another couple...who were pregnant. We were seated up stairs next to the windows. We had a great view. We were almost the only ones there. Except for the pregnant couple. At the table behind us.

The evening was spent listening to their excited conversation about finding out they were having a girl. I don't remember much about the evening. I know I stared out the window a lot. I have no memories of the food we ate. But I remember that couple. While I wanted to be excited for them and congratulate them, I also desperately wanted to just walk out.

We didn't. We ate our dinner. We comforted each other with knowing glances. We knew that once again we would be given the grace to get through this disappointment. And we were.

But our journey wasn't over...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Story of We, Part 1

When Hot Hubby and I got married we knew we wanted to wait a year before having kids. He was 25. I was 24. We wanted kids but we felt a year would give us time to adjust to the newness of marriage and yet we wouldn't be risking the "your parents look like they could be your grandparents" issue. This is that story.

After our first anniversary road trip to San Fransisco, (Just a tip: When you suggest that you and your reclusive husband drive to the second most densely populated city in the United States and he says he's gonna hate it...believe him! Then plan a trip with a girlfriend who would love to roam the crowded and confusing streets of San Fransisco on a trolley filled with potential disease infested people instead of hiding out in your tiny hotel room. Someone who would enjoy the thrill of driving over the Golden Gate bridge for the first time and wouldn't be consumed with cursing the traffic. Just a tip.) Where was I? Oh yeah.

So, after our trip I expected that it wouldn't take long before I was seeing double pink lines telling me the great news. And though it only took a few months, those months were so frustrating. I'm impatient. What can I say.

I think that it was the end of May when we found out we were expecting. I was excited but confused. I was spotting and was scared about what that meant. We hesitated to tell people but decided to so that they could be praying for us.

The day before Father's Day I miscarried. If I wasn't so emotional and upset I think I would have responded different to the many insensitive comments and unhelpful people I encountered that day. The on-call doctor I called for advice got frustrated and told me he wasn't and obstetrician so he couldn't help me. The on-call ultrasound technician told me that most times when a woman miscarries it's because there are some major genes missing and "we have too many weirdos walking around anyways."

I think we were in so much emotional shock and were a little surprised at the nonchalant attitude of the ER doctors that we figured they all would see it the same way. A few days later when the shock started to wear off we did complain about the on-call doctor but we didn't have a name for the ultra sound technician.

We were told we should wait for three months before trying to get pregnant again. And so we did. But in the mean-time...

Abiah came to live with us with the intent that we adopt him. Abiah is the biological son of one of my sisters. His story is a long, sensitive one. What I can say is that Nathan and I both new for a long time that we wanted to give him the family he so desperately needed. While the details are hard to understand and explain we knew it was the best thing for him. He moved in with us on July 31st 2006.

We literally became parents overnight. To a three year old. The transition was...interesting. He is a wonderful boy. The challenge is knowing how to tell the difference between disobedience and him responding out of his hurt heart. I think we felt prepared to parent him but unprepared in guiding his broken heart. We want him to grow up with a respect for his biological mom and a complete trust in our love for him.

As we adjusted to parenting a three year old I sought to find a way to deal with my emotions of loosing a baby. Well meaning people wondered why I hadn't gotten "over it" yet. I found myself confused. I was sad. I wanted that baby. I had dreamed of that baby since childhood. How could I just get over loosing it.

Through the tears and confusion in my heart I felt the Lord tell me that I didn't and wouldn't get over it. But I would get through it. It was like water to my dry and cracked soul. I had hope.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Motivation Monday: Getting Out Of Bed

I don't like getting out of bed. Ever. It's soft. Warm. Cushy. Warm. Comfortable. And warm.

If I don't wake up before my kids I wake to Hazel's "I'm dying because there is a wild animal on top of me eating me alive" scream. Not pleasant. Ever.

It makes me want to crawl as far down in my blankets as I can get and hide from everything.

Since I've been purposing to get up a few hours before the kids so I can have alone time, I've had to "help" myself by changing a few things.

How easy is it, when your alarm goes off, to turn it off and roll over and not know until you wake with a start a few hours later?

Tip #1

Place your alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of your bed to turn it off. And NO music! It's too easy to sleep to music. Loud obnoxious beeps, however, are hard to ignore.

Also, I love to push the snooze button. It makes me feel like I'm getting away with just a few more minutes of sleep. So...

Tip #2

Set your alarm to go off before you really need to get up so you can push the snooze button. My snooze lasts for 9 minutes. So I set my alarm for 18 minutes before I need to get up. Then I can push the snooze button twice.

Keeping yourself in a relaxing environment keeps you sleepy.

Tip # 3

TURN ON THE LIGHTS! I can't do this in our room because it will wake the girls who are directly across the hall. But as soon as I reach the bathroom - no dim night lights for me. It wakes me up in a hurry. I also make sure the room I'm using for my quiet time is well lit.

Tip #4

Brush your teeth right away. Why this helps me wake up, I'll never know. But it does. So I do.

Tip #5

COFFEE!! A big steamy mug of it! Nothing says good morning like coffee.

Do you have any "getting out of bed early" tips?

Go here to read other Motivation Monday stories.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Preschool Curriculum Choices

Hazel is going to be three this fall and since she is so interested in school work I have decided to try a few school projects with her this year. Some I have planned. Others will just happen. I'm generally really organized like that.

I plan to have her sit in on a few of Abiah's courses (phonics, Bible, history, and science).

I am also using About Three. A preschool study set that teaches motor skills and an introduction to numbers. It is a very simple curriculum and will only take a few minutes a day. By following the suggestions by the author, we will use this book multiple times this year. I purchased all four books in the set even though the next three books are for 4 and 5 year old students. I will keep them for next year or use them with her this year if I find that she is ready.

A blog that I recommend any mom of preschool aged children follow is Chasing Cheerios. She has simple Montessori activities that should be easy to incorporate into our school time.

Do you have any fun school activities that you are using with your preschooler?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Second Grade Curriculum Choices

At the end of April, just as I was loosing steam for the school year, I read a blog post about a new-to-me curriculum. And fell in love. And wanted to start school.

Yesterday I received my box of books from My Father's World (MFW). Abiah will be doing the Adventures in My Father's World program for 2nd or 3rd grade students.

I love that the program links science, history, literature, and Bible together for the whole year. The lesson plans are simple and easy to follow. On Mondays we do a phonics class with another family so I usually do school just four days a week which is how MFW curriculum is set up.

I also like that we aren't working through a few big text books. The program is made up of small books that aren't intimidating to get through.

In science we will be exploring the vast world of science: "stars, weather, plants, animals, atoms, energy, gravity, friction, sound, computers, and much more."

The lesson plan for history covers the history of the United States complete with a state-by-state overview.

The literature books recommended all relate to the subjects covered in our history class.

In Bible we will be studying the many facets of Jesus. I LOVE it!

MFW lets you choose your own math and language arts curriculum.

For math we will be using Horizons Grade 2. We've used this curriculum since kindergarten and I really like it. It is colorful and repetitive. Perfect for young students.

Our language arts will be made up of a few different books: Easy Grammar and Primary Language Lessons to build a foundation in language and grammar. We will continue to use Spell to Write and Read which we used last year. Through this program Abiah learned to read with a foundation in phonics which makes spelling and writing easier for him.

We will use memory verses from Bible and writing assignments from Primary Language Lessons as handwriting assignments.

We start school next week and I can hardly wait!

It's Official!

I guess it was official when the second pink line appeared.

Or when I started feeling nauseous in the evenings and threatening the life of anyone who dared touch me (Sorry, Hot Hubby!).

Or when I started craving spicy foods.

But it didn't feel official.

I was waiting for the first sonogram. And the thu-thump sound I love to hear. That would make it official.

But, no. Official showed it's face in a completely different way this time.

Tuesday mid-morning I set out with Amelia and my friend, Robin, to do my monthly grocery shopping.

At the first stop (Fred Meyers) I:

Get cash (it makes Dave Ramsey happy).

Pick up a few items that I can only find at Freddy's.

Go to the self check out.

Scan items.

Bag them.

Put them in my cart.

Walk out.

Walk down to Starbucks (it's a treat for all the hard work of grocery shopping).

Order drinks.

Pull out wallet.

Have a strange feeling.

Pay for coffee.

Recognize strange feeling as an uncertainty of whether or not I paid for my groceries.

Realize I didn't pay for my groceries.

Grab a $20 bill and groceries and hurry back to the store leaving Amelia and Robin to wait for our coffee.

Explain to the clerk at the self check what happened.

Realize I need two more dollars than what I have.

Race back to Starbucks and get wallet.

Go back and fully pay for the $22 of groceries I almost stole.

Blame it on pregnancy brain.

It's official! We are expecting number 4 to join us towards the end of April.