/> Raising Angels: July 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Somebody Please Tell Me...

How I am losing weight because of constant nausea - having symptoms of the end of pregnancy like indigestion and instant fullness - and still by the end of the day, my flat morning stomach sticks out like I'm four months pregnant.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Moments Like These

There are some moments...moments like today...

I walk into the Y to workout with three little ones who can all walk in themselves. I don't have a bag in hand. Not one of them is holding a sippy cup. Not one is in diapers.

I take them to Chick-Fil-A where all of them can maneuver the playground equipment on their own. Everyone can feed themselves. We even chat a little while they eat.

These moments...when I'm enjoying my growing children...when my stomach is rumbling and my throat feels tight reminding me that indeed, I am pregnant...I find myself wondering...if just for a split second...

What have I done?

And then sweet, joyful Mackenzie comes over and rubs my stomach with a grin from ear to ear and giggles out loud. Then I tell myself that this miracle of life inside of me is the best gift I could ever receive.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Page from the Pregnancy Diary

Last night I had a terrible bout with the nausea demons. On a rare night off from housework, Nelson and I took time to actually go out together. Just dinner and a movie, but it felt like heaven just be with the man I love for a little while.

For dinner we went to a local seafood dive where I indulged in some crab legs. I sat across a picnic table from Nelson and cracked away. I ate nothing else - not even Nelson's garlic bread that seemed to be screaming out to me. I didn't want to risk being sick on my night out. I figured boiled crab legs with nothing on them. How much more innocent can you get?

Then three-fourths of the way through Spider-Man 3 it happened. My stomach started to rumble. The bubbles started to brew. No matter how I sat, I could not make it go away. Walking to the car made it worse. Driving home slowly on the interstate that is under construction, I thought I might lose it. I willed it away. I did not want to throw up those crab legs.

I was up for several hours trying to feel better. It's funny, but laying down does not help at all. I was exhausted, frustrated and sick.

Today, I decided to take it easy. I did not want to rush anywhere. I took the kids over to the house to eat lunch with Nelson and then we all came home and took a nap. All I wanted to do was to vacuum and mop for the first time in two weeks but I just couldn't do it.

When we all woke up I felt like such a louse. Why is it so hard to be pregnant? I thought the whole pain during childbirth was our punishment. I made a decision that something was going to get done if it took me all night.

Now I sit here with the kids fed, bathed and in bed; the floors swept, mopped and vacuumed; and two loads of laundry going. I feel accomplished. Actually, I feel better just feeling bad in a cleaner house.

I told the baby this morning not to take any of my emotions personally. All this yuckiness is a result of my body dealing with the turmoil of the changes going on inside of me, not because of the precious soul I'm growing. I assured the baby that I am happy he or she is here.

Hopefully, through this awful process of the first trimester, I will not do any permanent damage to the baby inside of me, the ones I already have or my poor husband who has to live with me.

Eight weeks and three days down. Only 31 weeks and four days to go.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Finding Someone to Beat

Tonight Father Aaron came through town so the family went out for dinner. As I was putting the kids in the car, they were racing to see who could be first to buckle their seatbelts.

Mackenzie is in a booster seat so hers is the easiest and she quickly shouted, "I won! I beat everyone!"

Aiden was next, "I beat Mommy and Dawson!"

I still have to give Dawson a little assistance as his is the most complicated of the buckles. When I finally got my seatbelt buckled, Dawson piped in from the back.

"I'm going to race Daddy because...he's not here!"

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Week 8

These are the "Long and Lean" jeans I was given. I'm quite sure they will no longer fit by the time the weather turns cool enough to wear them. In the spirit of recording the pregnancy I had Mackenzie take a picture of me wearing them.

Maybe this will be good motivation to get back in shape after the baby.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Grass Isn't Always Greener

It's weird. Over the last week three of my pregnant friends have given birth and I find myself wishing I was in their shoes. At the pool, I eyed the moms with the biggest pregnant bellies with envy thinking of how close they must be to their due dates.

Then, at Wal-Mart, I ran into a friend who just miscarried. She was exactly four weeks ahead of me and pregnant with her first child. As I hugged her and told her I was praying for her, I suddenly realized that she would give anything to be dealing with nausea right now.

Then I came home and tried on some items from a bag of clothes someone gave me. Five pair of skinny jeans from the Gap that I probably won't fit in by the time it's cool enough to wear them, some cute capris, and a couple of shirts that also fit great now. I looked at my skinny self in the mirror and began to rethink the whole big, round belly thing.

Sometimes I get so focused on the other person's lawn that I forget to take a look at how green mine is.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Day of Distraction

I tried a new tactic to fight the first trimester yucky blues today. All weekend as I swallowed hard and my stomach rumbled, I tried to remember how on earth I did this before. I thought back to my first pregnancy during which I was still teaching.

I remember feeling much the same but the distraction of getting my job done helped to ease my pain. So today, I struggled to get out of bed and fought to get some food down so I could distract myself with some activity.

The first order of business was to pack a lunch for our trip to the pool. Then I had to go to Lowe's to pick something up for the house we're STILL building. From there I made a stop at Nelson's office to pick something up and then on we went to the Y.

I actually worked out for the first time in two weeks. Although I got a few hard lumps in my throat, I made it through. I think the endorphins helped. I even giggled at myself a bit as I did my ab workout. The thought of my soon to be expanding stomach made me wonder about the kinds of looks I always get as I continue to work my abs up until the last day. Hey, I know you can't see them anymore by that point, but they sure help in the delivery room.

After my work out, I gathered up the kids and headed for the pool. First order of business was lunch. It's funny how eating affects me these days. The emptier my stomach gets, the more nauseated I feel. As I sat there forcing half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich down I knew it would help, but it was hard to eat.

Two hours of sun and swimming were almost enough to make me forget about the nausea. We headed for the showers and then to Sam's. My mom had a great idea for my inability to cook these days. She suggested I got to Sam's and get some of those pre-made meals. Since, I was already feeling guilty about the two weeks of frozen waffles, cold cereal and grilled cheese sandwiches I had dished out to my family I thought it sounded like a good idea.

Unfortunately, it was a bit harder than I thought. All the free samples I usually love to try made me sick to my stomach. Each aisle we went down only worsened my condition. Everything that normally made me hungry did the opposite. Perhaps the worst moment of all was when we passed by a trial table and the lady said, "How about a garlic or jalapeño stuffed olive?" as she held it out towards me.

Poor lady. Her innocent olives literally made me gag out loud. I had to apologize and explain to her that it wasn't her but my condition that evoked my response. Then, like the loving wife I am, I picked up a jar for Nelson and buried it at the bottom of the cart so I wouldn't have to look at it anymore.

After all that, I was exhausted and so were the kids. So, when we got home, I popped in a frozen pizza because, well, it was all I could do. I keep telling myself that these weeks will not cause any permanent damage to my family's health or well-being. As I apologized to Nelson through near tears about the sorry supper I put on the table, he just looked at me with a loving smile and said, "What's wrong with this? It's great." Ya’ gotta' love the man that can thank you for pizza.

All in all, it was a better day. I may try it again (a shorter version that will hopefully involve a nap) tomorrow. And in a few weeks, I will be singing a different tune I'm sure. The nausea WILL go away. The energy WILL return. And in the meantime, I just try to remind myself that growing a human is very hard work.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Silly String, Sparklers and the First Trimester Blues

I'm glad I'm pregnant. I'm so happy to be growing a new person inside of me. This is a gift. I'm part of a miracle in progress. I'm a co-creator with God.

This is what I keep telling myself as I swallow hard and try not to throw up - as I'm leaning over the toilet doing just that - as I pass by a double cheeseburger and almost lose it - as I am moaning about how awful I feel.

Ah, this too shall pass as my doctor so flippantly told me yesterday, "in about six more weeks." "SIX MORE WEEKS? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN NAUSEATED FOR SIX WEEKS?" is how I wanted to answer him with my hands around his neck. I love my doctor, really I do. That little outburst in my head was just the hormones talking I'm sure.

In other news, Uncle Kevin gave Aiden what he asked for for his birthday - silly string. He also threw in some sparklers. Boy did the kids have fun.
*Note to self - perhaps silly string inside the house is not a bad idea. It has to be easier to clean up than trying to peel it off a driveway that is as hot as a frying pan!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

1/2 an Inch of Pure, Miraculous Life

I made it to the doctor today and everything looks great. The sonogram confirmed that there's only one baby - we have twins on both sides (including my husband) - so I'm always relieved that God gives them to me one at a time!

I'm due on March 5th. It should be interesting. I have always gone early and the doctor tells me 2008 is a leap year. Hmmm...I'm hoping I don't have the baby on February 29th. As long as the baby is healthy, I really don't care.

Even though this is my fourth, it was still amazing to watch the little one growing in my belly. The heart was beating, brain forming, and arms growing. It never ceases to amaze me. It's also very nice to know that there is a reason I feel so disgusting most of the time.

Every time I have a sonogram the thought occurs to me that they should be required of every woman considering an abortion. I really believe that if they saw that little life inside of them, they might reconsider.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy 4th Birthday Aiden!

Aiden, it's hard to believe that it's been four years already. It seems like just yesterday we were rushing to the hospital to make sure you were born there and not in the car. We made it with about 20 minutes to spare. Unfortunately, neither the doctor nor the anesthetist made it. You came bursting into this world in the same way you continue to this day - feet running from the get go.
Daddy and I were so happy that you were a boy. We felt so blessed to have a perfect little girl and now a beautiful baby boy. And believe me, you proved you were a boy from the moment of birth and haven't stopped. I don't care what anyone says about how we train boys to be boys - there were some fundamental differences from the time you exited the womb.

You have such a wonderful heart. You are my friendly, jovial, caring boy. You love your brother and sister in a way that teaches me generosity and you care for them in a way fitting of being the oldest brother. You also have a genuine love for babies and I can't wait to see you with your new brother or sister. Every time we see a baby these days you ask, "Are we going to have a baby just like that one?"

I have no doubt that you are teeming with intelligence based on the thousands of questions you ask every day. I am often amazed that you not only remember my answers, but you also apply them when appropriate. Lately your curiosity has centered in on the faith and you ask some questions to which there are no logical answers. That never deters you. You simply press on and, I believe, grow in faith.

With all the events surrounding Uncle Aaron's ordination, you have assured me that you will be a priest when you grow up. That would thrill me to no end but I want you to remember something very important. Daddy and I will always be proud of you, not because of what you do, but because of who you are. Our prayer for you is that you do the Lord's will in your life, no matter the cost. If you are able to do that, you will always find peace and joy. As parents, we couldn't ask for anything more.

Aiden, I love you buddy, from the bottom of my heart. You are the answer to my prayers and one of the greatest gifts God has given me. I am so proud of the big boy you are growing into and I can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

Happy Birthday!

And, yes, I did make that cake.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lake Martin

I'm back from our long weekend trip to visit with my aunt and uncle who didn't make it to Fr. Aaron's ordination.

My uncle has had a house on Lake Martin in Alabama for as long as I can remember. We grew up vacationing on that lake. We learned how to ski not long after we learned to ride our bikes. We jumped from cliffs, rode on dirt bikes and jet skis and even caught a few fish. That lake contains many, many happy memories for me.

One of my favorite memories was attending mass. Let me assure you that as a kid, attending mass on vacation was rarely a highlight. But at the lake, we got to ride to church in the boat, sit on park benches, and stare out at the water during the homily.

This past weekend, although I was still recovering from that horrible sickness last week and in the throws of the nauseating first trimester of pregnancy, I braved the 4 1/2 hour trek to see my little brother say mass at Church in the Pines (and of course spend time with family).
I am so blessed to have a brother who can do that. I am blessed to have an aunt and uncle who have shown us endless hospitality over many a summer. I am blessed to have a cousin who let me lie around on her couch and watch TV. I am so blessed that we have children the same age who are growing up as friends.
Yes, indeed, I am blessed.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Good Job Dawson!

I have failed to recognize a MAJOR accomplishment in the House of Parris. For the first time in a four year stretch, I am no longer changing diapers. Somewhere along the way, Dawson successfully completed potty training and we are ecstatic.

I have been afraid to jinx myself by making such a public acknowledgement but he really has done it. I'm talking a road trip to Savannah, a 2 1/2 hour ordination, trips to the pool, nap times and through the night trained!

Gosh, I'll have a whole eight month hiatus before I start all over again. Good job Dawson. We are proud of you!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

Today has been the first time in four days that I have managed to stay off the couch. Three nights of no sleep because of a sore throat and fever, a nasty respiratory infection, absolutely no appetite, a few times of nearly passing out combined with the beginning of pregnancy nausea did not a happy camper make!

A couple of weeks ago I remember actually thinking that it might be nice to be on bed rest for a few days. I thought I'd love reclining on the couch and watching tons of TV. Instead it was more like coming in and out of consciousness, barely being able to move.

Last night as I was in tears over my stupid decision to eat Taco Bell at 10 p.m., I was literally crying out to the Lord. I was trying desperately not to feel sorry for myself but I was anyway. I felt awful and I didn't like it. It didn't matter to me that I know other people out there are suffering worse things. When you feel bad, it doesn't make you feel better to know that someone feels worse. It's all relative when you're in the throws of sickness.

This was going through my head as the tears rolled from my eyes. Then, something came to me. You know that guy in the Bible that goes by the name of Job? Okay, I'm not so out of my mind that I think my suffering in anyway compares to his, but the lesson he had to teach certainly applies.

In the midst of everything, when all hope was lost, when he had every excuse to lose faith, he said, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!" So there I was trying not to throw up, doubled over with stomach cramps, thinking about how today is my birthday and I don't want to be sick and the song that was playing in my head was "Blessed be the Name of the Lord".

Today, as I reflect on my birthday and am actually feeling like I'm back in the land of the living, I realize that I have already been given the best gift of all. Today I realized that I am not deserving of anything. God doesn't owe me anything. Every minute of every day is a gift from Him and no matter what that day brings, His name is still to be blessed.

Now, if I can just live that out every day, my 37th year should show a lot of promise!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Guess What!

Last Friday I went to the local florist to pick out some flowers for Nelson. I have never given him flowers before, but this occasion warranted something a little different. Next to the vase I put a card that read as follows:

The pink one is for your angel girl.
Two blues for the boys you love to furl.
But you may have noticed there's still one more,
The yellow is for baby number four!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fantastic Fourth

We had a fantastic Fourth! Yesterday we went to a carnival of sorts that included giant waterslides and games with tons of prizes. We followed that up with a picnic with family and friends followed by a talent show. The evening was, of course, topped off with some awesome fireworks.

You may remember that last year they were the pirates who always say "Arr!" This year Dawson joined the act and they became secret agents thanks to the many hours we spend listening to The Backyardigans in the car. They did it in front of a crowd of hundreds. The numbers didn't bother them at all. In fact, when they finished Aiden asked me, "Mama, next show can we do the racing song so we can run around the stage?"

What can I say? Performing is in the blood.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Avalanche Ranch - Wahoo!

Last week the kids were all ranch hands at Avalanche Ranch and boy, oh boy did they love it. Wahoo!

Friday they invited the parents to come for the Final Showdown. It was wild, crazy, loud and tons of fun. I think the ruckus overwhelmed our pastor just a bit. When it was over, he looked at me and asked, "Now tell me again how this promotes the Gospel?"

I looked at him and laughed. "Well Father, it speaks to the kids in a language they understand, LOUD." But speak to them it did. They came home babbling about Joshua and the wall of Jericho. They yelled things like, "God is strong," and answered with shouts of "Wahoo!" It was one holy, rootin' tootin' good time.

There was one moment during the production that they turned down the lights and sat the kids on the floor to sing "All in All". I'm telling you, watching my three sitting quietly, singing this song with their arms raised to the heavens brought tears to my eyes.

Wasn't it just yesterday that I took them to the bathroom after VBS and Aiden flooded the entire thing by plugging up the sink and letting the water run while I was in the stall with Dawson? Really, if we weren't in the church I think I might have strangled the boy. And yet, there he was hands raised in praise to the Lord.

They had a good time, ate some great snacks and made some neat crafts. Most importantly, they learned a little more about the Lord and that is what made it all worth while. Wahoo!