Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Our yard

I have so enjoyed reading the lovely gardening posts of my blogger friends. Our yard is not nearly so spectacular, but here is what we've been up to nonetheless. Below is the lovely geranium that I just could not pass up at Home Depot. It just said "spring" when I saw it! It is in my planter atop our outdoor patio table. It is so gorgeous I think if we were to do nothing else, this one simple plant could transform our yard.
This is one of the flowers that Jacob chose, which also happens to be one of my all time favorite flowers to grow - Gerber Daisies! They do so well here and stay around even during our mild winters. I have some in the front that have never died!

Below are some flowers that have been growing continually in this spot for a couple of years now. I forget what they are, but they are wonderful. They have never stopped blooming! I wonder is this because these are the flowers planted right in front of my statue of the Blessed Virgin.

I absolutely love this addition to our garden this year. Lovely native Texas Bluebonnets! Our state flower. I have always wanted to grow Bluebonnets, but never got around to sowing any seeds. When we were out last Friday, I saw these pots of Bluebonnets for only 98 cents a piece. I couldn't resist and might have to go get a few more. These should die back and seed and keep coming up year after year.

The next one might be a bit hard to see. These are little flower seedlings. I had picked up a packet of Zinnia seeds and Cosmos seeds. We decided to throw them in this big pot together and see what happens. They are coming up already. I am so excited. I am hopeful they will make a large pot full of the mixture of the 2 flowers. I hope.

And this here is our revamped vegetable garden box. It used to be about half this wide and not as elevated off the ground. It always served us well, but I had been wanting more space to grow. And I was so inspired by Robin's vegetable garden box. This past weekend, Brian very lovingly transformed my box. It is great. I am hoping to get what I need on Friday or Saturday and get planting!!! Those weed like things in the center are not weeds. They are pineapple tops. They do grow. We've never grown one long enough to see what happens, but maybe this time. They will have to be moved, of course!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why do I homeschool?

Michelle and Michele (he he) did such a lovely job at conveying their reasons for homeschooling and it got me thinking. I couldn't post right away. I needed time to think. And, I guess, I have been a little busy too. And after our first 2 days back to homeschooling after a month "baby break," I do wonder to myself, "Why AM I homeschooling?" Not really. It has gone well.

I think my reasons have changed only slightly since I first started reading up on homeschooling and researching. I don't remember what first got me started on the trail, but I do remember having early homeschool conversations with Michele about the subject while Brennan and Jacob were both still a mere 3 years old. I remember Brian joking with others that I was so excited to homeschool that I was going to rip some little grade school child off the school bus one day and start homeschooling him - just until Jacob was old enough!

And I think that one word, "excited," still sums up my perspective, my feelings about homeschooling. I was excited as I read my very first book. I was excited as I read my second book. I was excited as Michele and I went on our very first shopping excursion to our local homeschool store. I was excited when I started Googling homeschooling. I was excited to attend my very first homeschool conference. I was excited, excited, excited.

Some might argue, "Oh, Celeste, it's just the smell of all those homeschool books that gets you excited." Well, yes, it does. There is nothing better than a fresh stack of books, no matter what the subject! But, honestly, there is more to my excitement than the books and manipulatives.

I love to learn. I would never have thought this of myself in my school days, but now I truly see it for a fact. School was work for me. I did what I was told, I worked super hard, I made top grades, I excelled, I graduated. But I can't say I really enjoyed school. But I do love to learn. I love to read. As Brian says, I devour books. Learning is to love.

From early on Jacob adored books. We read to him often and I always read books to him that were above his "level." Real books, I guess you could say. For a time we were afraid Nicole would not enjoy books as much, but somewhere around 18 months she made the turn and now adores them like her brother. I know she will be anxious to unlock the code to reading too. And even Andrew enjoys books. He gets books off the shelf and reads to himself with his very own "Andrew gibberish." But, never fear, that boy knows what to do with a book. Books litter our home all day long. By the end of the day there is a stack in the study (at my clean up request) of books at least a foot high. At least! It makes me happy to reshelve them every day. I often wonder as I reshelve, "What will they choose tomorrow? What treasure will they uncover?"

I love that they love books. To me this is where a love of learning begins. To read is to unlock a whole world of possibilities. I enjoy hearing Nicole describe favorite books to me and to hear about what Jacob has newly discovered in his reading.

So I get excited. I get excited about sharing knowledge with them. I was always a good reader and I attended mostly public school, but I never read the quantity of books at school that Jacob reads at home. I have my mother to thank for getting the REALLY good stuff in me. She knew the good books, the real books. In our journey of homeschooling I know books will be our mainstay, our constant. I am excited to share with them the journeys they make through their reading. I am excited to read some things I never read. What an adventure awaits!

One of my early reasons for desiring to homeschool stemmed from my short year as a Catholic school teacher. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but was often frustrated by my limitations. I had so little time to do with my students the really wonderful, creative activities that we could possibly do. There were so many basics to squeeze into each day - around the breaks and assemblies and announcements and discipline troubles. Our reading of good books was so limited by the available time. I always felt like so much time was wasted with fluff. And I always felt sorry for the really gifted children who often times missed out because I had to focus so much of my efforts and attention on the average and below average students. Now I know many children get stellar educations at both public and private schools. I am not dragging them through the mud. And I know there are excellent gifted and accelerated programs out there. I am a product of those. But I wanted something different. I wanted the available time to read, make meaningful crafts, to dance to music, to garden and, more than anything, to let them JUST BE A KID! I wanted to allow each child to have time to focus on their interests. If they are really into building, I wanted them to have time after math and phonics to delve into their Legos or K'Nex. And so far I have been more than pleased with that facet of our homeschooling life.

Another reason, I think I have recently more fully discovered, is that if not missing out. As we have begun our "real homeschooling" with Kindergarten this year, I have had countless moments when I knew in my heart I would be crushed if I had had to miss it. It is so enjoyable to watch my children think through things, sort out ideas, talk things through, master concepts, and learn. I hate to think all those "Aha" moments I would miss out on if they weren't here learning in the home. I want to share those moments with them. I love to be able to be the one who says, "Yes, that's it! You got it!" I don't want to miss out on those discoveries that they come barrelling into the kitchen to tell me about. I love to watch them learn.

I want to homeschool my children so that I can provide for their needs. I know if I sent my children to school, it's not that I wouldn't be meeting their needs, but I do think there are needs that would be met by others for part of the day - some of them strangers. When my child is upset during the school day, I want to be there to console him. I want my child to share his special moments with his family more than he would his classmates. I want to be a more present figure in my children's lives. I want to be able to meet their needs as they struggle with difficult bnehaviors, in decision making and with tough moral questions. I feel I can also meet their needs in a special way by meeting their special learning needs. I know so far how Jacob works, pretty much. But I am yet to discover what it is that will really make Nicole tick. She may need something totally different! I want to provide that for her and my other children. And I know I can with little effort and expense. I love my job meeting their needs, no matter how taxing it can prove to be on a 24/7 basis.

I remember after teaching in a Catholic school, I had the feeling that I wanted my children's education to be more Catholic than what I experienced. Not all Catholic schools are the same, but from what I witnessed, I felt I wanted more. I really like the ability that homeschooling gives us to live our Catholic faith all day long, not just during a specific time period carved out for religious instruction. This is something I am constantly trying to improve and I know there are many changes and improvements I can make. But like all of life, our homeschooling journey is just that, a journey.

It has been an interesting endeavor to write this "little" post. I think it has reiterated for me the reasons why I really do homeschool. Yes, there are the other reasons of limited negative peer pressure, great academics, etc., but I think what I have posted about are the real reasons I have. Plus, I must say that I enjoy being with my children all day. It is not an easy job. There are difficult parts of every day. Yes, there are times I wish for time alone. But all in all, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my children and enjoy them. I am glad they can be home learning and loving with me and with each other.

I can't believe it!

I had forgotten to change my screen name (or whatever you call it)! I just realized today that I was still "Mom to Almost Four." No offense little Michael - I haven't forgotten you. And I am well aware that I am a mom to four!!!!!

So I have changed it......Mom to Four.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Well, last night we got to enjoy our first sweet little smiles from Michael and lots of them! What a joy! And what a perfect way to celebrate his month old birthday. Enjoy the photos.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

All in the family

One of my dear, creative sisters wrote the following for me to read after we have struggled with illness for the past several weeks. I asked her if I could post it because I believe many of you, my dear mommy friends, could benefit from her wisdom and insight. It deals with getting sick and sharing germs. Her perspective gave me courage to live out these difficult times of family illness with grace and compassion. After all, getting sick and sharing germs is not some curse sent to wreak havoc on families, but purely part of life as a family. It is up to us to handle it well and use it for growth.

Here are her words:

When someone in the household gets sick, expect another person to get it, if not more. Tell each other that this is a family that shares. We share our germs because that is part of being a family, and that is love. After all, no one likes to be sick alone. If you have two family members that are sick, pair them up as sick buddies, and tell them to take care of each other. This helps them to think of their sick buddy rather than themselves. Plus, sharing the burden is always easier.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Businessman of the Year

Earlier this week some neighbor friends down the street were selling lemonade. This got Jacob brainstorming yesterday morning to think of what he could sell. After considering items like lemonade, an old computer and various odds and ends from the garage, we decided upon homemade chocolate chip cookies. We baked today after lunch and then set up shop this afternoon. The cookies were a hit, several of the kids exclaiming, "Mmmmm. They're homemade!" Jacob was so proud of his success and so am I.

First Outing as a Mom of Four

Call me crazy. But this morning I braved a trip out with all four little children. Now, Brian and I are not big on taking our babies out those first 6-8 weeks, other than trips to family and other rather uncrowded places. And I am sure with my first, I never would have taken him to the Home Depot garden center at 1 month old. But, as Brian and I have noted several times over this past month, things are just different now with our fourth. So, the idea hit me several days ago that I really wanted to shape up our backyard this weekend. I decided flowers were in order. So I after breakfast and tanking up the little wee one this morning, we put on shoes, took potty breaks and ventured out! I figured outside at Home Depot was probably a pretty harmless place and it was. It wasn't very populated and the weather was pleasant and breezy. I had visions as we drove along of my little children cooperating in every way and Michael sleeping happily in the stroller. We would leisurely stroll through the aisles, enjoy the flowers and, of course, get absolutely everything we came for. Call me delusional.

We got out of the van and I wrangled the stroller from the back. Then I did the dirty job of disrupting my sleeping angel to transfer him to the stroller. Crying ensued. Andrew was also crying because he did not want to unbuckle and get out of the van - he wanted to fiddle with the buckles. Jacob was having a wee bit of trouble getting a cart. We pressed on.

A nice employee lifted the garden hose so we could get under and I pointed Jacob towards a different cart. Andrew was a little slower behind us. We browsed the flowers and Michael was not calming down. I decided to pick him up and got Nicole to be in charge of the stroller. Michael was still not happy. I had told the kids they could each pick out 2 pots of flowers they liked. They were all busy and happy and Michael was still crying as I shifted him from shoulder to shoulder, arm to arm. Every time we left an area, Andrew lagged behind. Some miscellaneous older lady helpfully guided him my direction one time. As we perused the veggie section, I heard some man say to his wife, "I think what you need is 3 or 4 more." Michael was still fussing, but I thought pushing him in his stroller would really be better and calm him down - WRONG! So I picked him up again and went to retrieve Andrew from the veggie plants. The gentleman we had been near earlier walked by and said again, "I think what you need is 3 or 4 more." Odd. Oh. Then I realized that he had been speaking to me all along. He wasn't being rude at all, but in my flustered state all I could manage to say was, "Mmm Hmm, thank you."

I felt as if all eyes were on me. This crazy mother with for little ones at Home Depot of all places. What was she thinking? What was I thinking? I had been thinking it would be fun. Was it? If only I hadn't brought them all, Michael wouldn't be crying. That's silly. Of course he would be, just at home. I was not frustrated or upset, just merely felt like me and my little charges stuck out like a sore thumb, blinked like a neon sign.

Then things changed.

We went to another section and somehow I managed to get Michael into a position where he was comfortable and happy and he quieted down. I barely moved my arms. We parked the cart and the stroller in a central location. Nicole carried my purse on her shoulder. There was peace and order. The children were happily walking along with me, enjoying all the flowers and plants. Jacob was being helpful and talkative. Nicole was proud to carry the purse. Andrew followed along and delighted in the sights. We gathered more flowers. We wandered around. We filled up our cart. I was the epitome of calm. My children were delightful. It was fun. Really, it was.

I felt as if all eyes were on me. Wow, look at that lady. She looks as though she's got it all together (if only they knew). And look at those adorable children. How does she do it? How do I do it? By the grace of my wonderful God! I felt good. I felt like a heavenly light was surrounding us. I sensed grace and beauty and love. I CAN do this. God is faithful to me. He told me many months ago that he would give me what I needed to love and care for these four children he has given me and Brian. He is faithful.

So we waited in line without complaints. The lady rang up our purchases and Jacob paid her with the gift cards I had given him to safeguard in his pocket. We walked to our van, loaded up and went home. It was a great first trip out!


Jacob was practicing magic tricks yesterday so he could do a show. Nicole was watching.

JACOB: Nicole, if you want to see the whole show later, you're going to have to pay a pretty penny.

NICOLE (holding her coin purse): OK, Jacob, how's this one?

JACOB: That one there. That's a pretty, shiny one.

A literal child so much like his mother.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

While they are out

While Jacob and Nicole are still happily Play-doh-ing OUTside and Andrew and Michael are OUT cold asleep, I have been busy.

This may not sound like a real important task, but if you know me and my relationship with books, you will understand it's necessity. There is a very large Houston Public Library book sale coming up in April. I adore it (Blair, you need to come!). But each year at the sale (as well as when I am at Half Price Books), I stand there wondering, "Do we have this one already?" This is especially true where our favorite authors and collections are concerned. So I just made my list of these major categories. I am so proud of myself!

The list includes:

Peterson Field Guides
Golden Guides
Make-it-Work series
Discoveries Science series
If You.... history series (e.g., If You Sailed On the Mayflower in 1620)
A Picture Book of.... history series (e.g., A Picture Book of George Washington)
Little House on the Prairie series
Nancy Drew series
Christmas book collection

And also includes books by these favorite authors:

Tomie DePaola
Virginia Lee Burton
C.W. Anderson (Billy and Blaze horse books)
Robert McCloskey
Margaret Hodges

All in all, these books alone comprise 107 of our book stash. I shudder to think how many more books we must have. This is just a small fraction. I am sure Brian will laugh as he reads this. I know as we bring home more books to love, I only see the endless possibilities within their pages. I think Brian sees "another bookshelf". Hee hee.

Once again, I must say, I LOVE BOOKS!

That's what patio tables are for.....

Patio tables OUTSIDE that is! Play-doh playtime!

The heroic two hours?

Many times as I have read my daily meditations in my favorite In Conversation With God, I have encountered the phrase, "the heroic minute." As I understand it, this is that first moment upon awakening that we shake off any bit of laziness and make that choice to get up, get going and to offer our day to God in prayer.

Well today I decided that I too have a heroic minute, but mine lasts a little more like two hours. I don't roll out of bed as early as I used to pre-baby (well, pre-late pregnancy too). So I get myself up around 7:30 or 7:45 and thus begins the 2 hours. If I patiently, calmly and lovingly make it from there to 9:30ish, then I can claim my "heroic 2 hours."

Why must I attempt to be heroic for 2 hours. Well, I told my best friend today that these are by far the most crazy, difficult and stressful hours of the day since Michael's birth. In that span of time, I must hope that Michael sleeps a little longer while I do those things I absolutely need 2 hands for, like straightening my hair (now you all know), making my bed and Nicole's, getting Andrew and me dressed, etc. Things like brushing teeth, putting on a bit of makeup and directing morning activities, require only one hand. I have to get Andrew out of bed and dressed. I have to continually remind Jacob and Nicole to get their morning routine completed (gotta think up something to motivate them). I have to change Michael. We attempt to having morning prayer time. I have to make breakfast and enlist breakfast helpers. Michael usually needs to be fed. The kitchen needs to be tidied. It is a lot, but if we can do it, the rest of the day is usually relatively easy. I guess I could relinquish a lot of these things, but I hate to because I really think it helps us all to get off to a good start.

So at this point, somewhere around 9:30, I am able to heroically sit down with a cup of coffee and, most likely, feed Michael some more.

It is a difficult 2 hours, some days more than others, but I feel a sense of accomplishment and peace when I finally sit down with my coffee and the kids are free to play and read. I do think that it would help me tremendously if I could get Jacob and Nicole to complete their tasks in a much more timely manner, without me having to remind them every 5 minutes. Jacob has to get dressed, make his bed and wash up. Nicole only has to get dressed and wash up. Any suggestions? To me this should take 5 to 10 minutes - TOPS! But yet it seems to drag on morning after morning. They like to listen to their new CD in their room in the morning. I thought about not allowing that until they are ready. But then if Nicole is lagging behind, I have to make Jacob wait. Plus I can envision him nagging Nicole to get done and that would bring on mighty roars form my little angel girl. I think if they could do that, things would be a little easier.

Anyway, it is after lunch (we made it through that too) and now Michael has decided to wake up. He was awake a lot this morning. I thought he'd sleep a while. But he must be starving!!!!! It's been almost 2 hours!

Blessings to you all this day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A respite of sorts

I hate to say anything, but it seems most of all our worries and difficulties are over - at least for now. I know this is not a permanent state of freedom and peace, but I will take it for however long it lasts.

The stomach virus is gone. Nicole threw up that one more time last Wednesday night and that must have been its farewell. She did well after that and thankfully was well enough to spend time with her cousins in town this weekend. No one else ever got it. Praise be to God!

The ringworm is still here, but contained to Nicole and me. We are medicating ourselves with antifungal creme and I think I see some improvement.

Michael, of course, still seems to be doing just perfect - getting bigger each day. I can tell when I put the newborn outfits on him now that they fit a lot closer. His eyes are a lot wider and more attentive now and he really is good for his bath. Other than some peeling baby skin on his forehead and baby acne, he's a picture of perfection.

And yesterday, I went to the doctor. I spent the weekend fretting about the condition of my incision. When the nurse returned my call yesterday, they had me come in and have it looked at. It was great to hear that I have a perfect looking, wonderfully healing incision. It is so hard to know, especially this being my first. I feel so much better about that.

Today has been a lovely day. Lovely weather. The kids have spent lots of time outside. Jacob has been bird watching and drawing pictures in his nature notebook. They ate their leftover pizza lunch outside. I even had some time to sit and play and do puzzles with Andrew and Nicole.

Next week we will attempt to get back to our school work, but I am just wanting to enjoy this week with no sickness, no major concerns and lots of sunny spring weather. Hopefully this weekend we can make some headway on our yard work. The backyard really needs some clean up for spring. I told Brian I was making a list today!!!

Well, I am off to go read with Jacob and Nicole. Andrew and Michael are asleep. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement as we met all these challenges over the last 3 weeks. I knew there would be an end in sight, but sometimes by doubts and discouragement would get the best of me. I am so ready to inaugurate a new normal.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Little Glimmer of Sunshine

Sick of sick

Lo and behold, 4am rolled around this morning with Nicole throwing up in her bed. I guess she is not done with this virus yet. Poor girl!

I do not want to still be doing this today. I am fighting much discouragement with all this. It would be so easy to succumb. Please pray for me, for all of us.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

2 Week (well, 2 1/2) Checkup

Bright and early this morning we took Michael for his 2 week checkup. If you recall, when he left the hospital, he was down to 7 lbs. 3 oz. Two days after that he was back up to 7 lbs. 14 oz. And today he was a whopping 9 lbs 5.5 oz. I am so proud of my boy!

The funny part was his length measurement. His length at birth was measured at 19 1/2". I have been a bit doubtful of that measurement all a long. Even my shortest child so far, Andrew, was 21" at birth. We were interested to see his measurement today. Sure enough he was 22 3/4" long. Yep. Don't think he grew 3 1/4" in two weeks. I feel like such a fraud! Not really, but it is kind of disappointing to know that his record at birth isn't terribly correct. Oh, well.

And as for our spots (mine and Nicole's), well, we still have them. They haven't gone away, they haven't gotten worse or bigger, there aren't any more. So I showed the doctor today. He said it looks like ringworm. We'll see. If it goes away, it's not. If it changes, especially hers, then we have it and we'll treat it. Sounds like a plan to me! I just wish they could change the name to "circle fungus" or something like that. Ringworm just sounds so awful.

Things are still going well each day. We are getting ready (dressed, beds made, upstairs tidy, breakfast) by around 9:30. Our days have been going smoothly for the most part. Nothing out of the ordinary. The days have been rainy so I look forward to them getting outside when it dries up, but really things are going well. Michael does some good sleeping during the day and is starting to have more awake and happy time. Things change so quickly.

I am pretty tired tonight though. I am having trouble keeping my eyes open as I type. I don't get a nap during the day very often and I have probably been staying up to late and of course getting up in the night. So put all that together and it equals sleepy. So I guess I should listen to my body and head up to bed. Michael is sleeping on Brian while he watches TV so I think I'll catch a couple of cozy moments in my bed without my sidekick. But not too long or I'll miss him. He's a snuggly, cozy little sidekick. More photos soon!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Once upon a time

I would have fussed at and promptly removed any 21 month old, 28 pound child caught sitting in the infant swing.

Now, with a little age and a lot of seasoning, I laugh, smile, oooh, aaah and grab the camera before said child runs away!

How times change!

10:20 am and all is well!

We are faring rather well this morning!

I can do this!

Keep praying!

House cleaning team comes at noon! Yippee!!!!!

Meal arrives for dinner this evening! Yippee!!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Am I ready?


I am so not ready for my dear Brian to return to work tomorrow! I will miss his help, his pep talks, his encouragement, but most of all his company. I will just miss having him around. I love it! And I love him! But I am thankful. Thankful that he has a job where 2 weeks off is a possibility. So very grateful.

I am not ready to be a mother of four all on my own. Tomorrow real life begins again. I do not feel ready. But nevertheless tomorrow morning will arrive and I will roll out of bed and be ready. I have to be. And deep down I know that His grace is sufficient for me to make a success of the day. Things will be different than 2 weeks ago. Things will not be the same. So I must usher in a new normal. And so I shall begin - with a heaping helping of prayer from me and you.

It has been an odd 2 weeks. Like I posted earlier, Tuesday found Andrew sick - throwing up, etc. By Thursday afternoon he was doing well and improved daily. We really were thrilled to be out of the woods. No one else was sick! Yahoo. UNTIL..... yesterday morning. We went out to run an errand Saturday morning and while I was in Kohl's and Brian was driving the children around the parking lot, Nicole threw up. I told Brian that as I stood in the incredibly slow moving checkout line, I knew deep down she was going to throw up in the car. That mother's intuition is sure something!!!! She had been complaining all morning about her tummy hurting. That is not uncommon for her, but it usually goes away pretty quickly - this didn't. I suspected something was up. It was! As we drove home I felt so many emotions - anger, frustration, sense of futility, fear, anxiety, worry! Why had I worked so hard to keep everything sanitized while Andrew was sick? Was Michael still at risk????? Not to mention Nicole had three rashy spots (Brian informed me in the car) that had cropped up last night. Oh great! I showed Brian my arm. I had one too! It was a perfect match. Will I get sick???? I am not sick yet. I must have the virus, but hopefully it will not manifest in the same way. It seems to me that instead of a stomach bug, it is a "non-specific viral illness." The book's description seems perfect, including the rash. I am so frustrated by all of this. I just want it to be over. Please pray for an end.

I am doing well otherwise. I had my 2 week check-up and everything looks great. I can drive now! For the most part I feel great and pretty close to normal. There are still some pains, but not so much that it bothers me if I skip my Advil. I have devised ways for getting Andrew in and out of things where I would normally have to lift him. I think it will all work out. I am thankful for my healing. God has been so good!!!!!

I hate to complain and I hope this post isn't too whiny, but it is what's in my heart and on my mind. I know things will be OK. I know God will give me what I need. I know it will be hard, but it will get easier - much like it has each time before. My life is richly blessed. And the degree to which I remember that and act upon it will determine the course of tomorrow, the next day, the whole week and the months to follow. Yes, I am richly blessed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Happy Blogiversary to ME!!!!

My husband just informed me that yesterday marked the one year anniversary for my blog! How amazing. It seems like just yesterday I began. How much has changed since then!

Take a look back at March 2006 and you'll see what I mean!

A week and a half in review

Challenges sent our way:

* Unexpected c-section

* AWFUL referred shoulder pain following said c-section (possibly more painful than the incision itself!)

* Painful tailbone bruising - after all, I did labor a sunny side up baby BEFORE the c-section

* Millions of questions related to the c-section, the symptoms, etc. (I love you Michele!)

* Newborn Michael losing 10% of his body weight in the hospital. Pediatrician asked us to supplement for a couple of days

* Extra effort to supplement Michael with a teeny tiny tube and syringe while I nurse.

* Inability to move and do all the things I would normally be able to do after a birth.

* From the Friday morning before giving birth to the end of my hospital stay, I could count on one hand the hours of sleep I had.

* Stomach virus and other various symptoms and sniffles.

Blessings sent our way:

* Very well-done c-section by my own OB

* Referred shoulder pain - GONE; tailbone pain - GONE; most pain from the c-section - GONE!

* A very dear friend who was so willing to answer all my very crazy questions about my c-section

* Went home Tuesday with Michael down to 7lbs. 4 oz. Went to doctor Thursday morning and he was back up to 7 lbs. 14 oz. I think he is nursing well now and he is sure wetting diapers like there's no tomorrow. Go back for 2 week checkup on 3/14. Pray for good weight gain!

* Supplementing went well - now we're done!

* I feel great now! I made a turn for the better over the weekend. I feel so much more normal! I know I still have more healing and recovery to do, but I know I will get there! I have my check-up tomorrow.

* Since coming home sleep has improved. I still have to wake up at night, but I am able to sleep in MY bed with my baby next to me. Aaaaaaah!

* The stomach virus hit yesterday, not last week. Last week I felt crummy and couldn't have done what I can do now to take care of the necessities around the house like meal prep, etc. You see, Brian has sole custody of the sick child.

* Brian is HOME!!!!! And he won't go back till next week. Hopefully everyone will be well by then. I couldn't do this whole newborn and stomach virus thing without his help.

* I have dear friends and family who help out in countless ways! We need them so much!

* The knowledge that current conditions will not go on forever. There will be an end to the stomach bug and Michael will continue to grow and change. There is so much ahead of us to enjoy!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Stomach troubles!

After 2 hours of constant fussing, complaining, and writhing and rolling on the floor this morning, Andrew threw up!

Please pray for us all - that everyone else will be spared. I am not sure how much I can handle. Please pray!

Thank you dear friends.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

One week down, many years to go!

I can't believe it! A whole week has already gone by in little Michael's life. So much has happened in one short week, that it seems like so much longer. Yet at the same time this first week is past. I have been wanting to sit down for days to write, but we have been a little busy.

I am so glad Brian was able to come home and post the announcement of little Michael's birth. I knew you would all be wondering and waiting. Thank you dear husband! I think he really understands that you are not just some miscellaneous cyber people, but friends. Thank you dear friends for your prayers and encouragement all along.

Where to begin????

I guess at the beginning.

Last Friday evening, I was unsure of my feelings. I was not having any contractions I could time. Wasn't even sure I was contracting at all. But I felt crummy and had pains around my middle. Try describing that. I decided to call our doctor, who thankfully was on call all weekend. We had offered many prayers that she would be around to deliver our baby. That was so important to us. God answered that prayer and I am more thankful that she was there than I ever thought I would be.

She said it was worth us going in to the hospital to see what was going on and to pack because we may not come home. Our doctor is very understanding of my history of quick labors and really takes me seriously even when I can't describe anything specific. So we called Brian's parents, fed the kids some mac-n-cheese and finished our packing. Brian's parents came and took the kids home with them and we made our 10 minute journey to the hospital.

When we arrived we were put in a room and all the monitoring and checking began. I was not much more dilated than 2-3cm, but by then I was contracting some. The watched me for an hour. I was contracting and hurting but still not moving along and "Baby" had not come down much if at all. They watched me, they discussed and the doctor decided that I should stay the night. She said she'd be around in the morning (5:30am for my early bird doctor) to break my water and start some Pitocin. She did not want to send me home and have me come back 2 hours later at 8 cm. She arrived and broke my water and got me all hooked to the IV and I decided to go ahead with my epidural. The doctor really believed, considering my history, that we would be done and holding our maybe in a couple of hours, if that long.


Several hours later, I was not getting anywhere. I was contracting, but I was only 4cm and "Baby" was still pretty high. It seemed as though he kept down and then back up. After checking again, the told us that our baby was held up because of his odd presentation. He was presenting face first. They called in the high risk doctor and had her do her own independent assessment. When she checked me, "Baby" actually sucked on her finger!!!!! From what we understand this presentation is more rare and could be dangerous for the baby. With advice from these two extremely competent and experienced doctors, we decided that a c-section was necessary. At that point I further understood why it would be so important that our doctor be there to deliver this baby. I would not trust any of the others to advise me in such a matter and I would certainly want her to do a c-section. So they prepared me and off to my surgery I rolled. It was so much different than my other births. I was so groggy from some medicine they gave me for my nausea and I was terribly afraid I wouldn't even be awake enough to meet my precious child. I had done a lot of crying. This wasn't at all how it was supposed to be. But I knew it was right. We had made the best choice for our baby even if the method of delivery wasn't at all what I had planned.

And Michael was born. He was met by two thrilled and joyful parents who for a time had forgotten the drama and difficulty of his arrival. He is here now and that is all that matters. I will take the pain and the scar in exchange for my beautiful, happy baby ANY DAY! I am amazed at what God calls us to endure, ever knowing that we CAN do it. He never gives us more than we can handle - with His help. I would have thought I couldn't handle all this, but I am handling and life ticks on.