/> Raising Angels: January 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Grass Is Always Greener...

when it's new sod put down in front of your new house in the dead of winter when the dumpster has finally been removed.

It looks a little less like a construction site every day.
This morning as I rubbed my belly, I said with some relief, "Only 34 more days...34 days until my due date."

Nelson replied rather confidently, "Only 16 more days...16 more days until we move."

It's the final countdown...finally.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sweet Memories

Tonight, after a VERY long day, instead of being impatient (as so often happens in my very pregnant, uncomfortable and exhausted state), I held my baby Dawson on my lap so he could reach the sink to spit, realizing that in a few short weeks he is going to look like a giant next to my newborn and will lose this baby status. I brushed his teeth a little longer.

Over the past week I have had moments when I've seen Aiden as the kindergartener he will be next year. Sometimes it's what he's wearing. Other times it's how he is able to do so much by himself. Even the way he speaks gets my attention and all of a sudden my little guy looks very old. Tonight I was glad that he was too exhausted to wipe off my good night kiss.

And Mackenzie has become my Miss Independent. It's not unusual for her to get herself up, dressed and fed. Sometimes she feeds the boys too. She packs her own lunch, picks out her own clothes and is suddenly more interested in being at her friends' houses than her own. She was already asleep when I came to tuck her in tonight and flinched not once as I kissed her and made the Sign of the Cross on her forehead.

As I sit her contemplating these moments, I realize that they are growing up right in front of me. I recognize that these days will soon be a distant memory. There will be lots of other memories to be sure, but these memories of their youngest days will always be tender and sweet enough to bring a tear to my eye like the one currently hanging on for dear life.

And then this little baby inside of me changes positions, gives a little kick and vibrates as if the hiccups have taken hold. I am no longer aware of my discomfort. I am not thinking about how tired I am. I am instead thanking God for the gift of this little one and the chance to experience all of this sweetness again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Show and Tell?

Today we were in the car on our way to meet some friends for lunch when Aiden asked, "Will _ be there?"

"No buddy. He's in kindergarten, but his baby brother will be there."

"Oh. Why doesn't he bring his baby brother for show and tell?"

"I really don't know Aiden. You'll just have to ask him when you see him." Then I looked at him in the rear view mirror and asked, "Are you planning on bringing your baby brother or sister for show and tell?"

"Yes!" was his enthusiastic reply.

Dawson piped in very simply, "But Aiden, you HAVE to wait until the baby comes out of mama's tummy first."

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Day of Ups and Downs

Today I was in an appliance store desperately trying to listen to the salesman teach me about the world of washers and dryers as the boys took to the wide open spaces like caged animals let loose for the first time in years.

I was frustrated by their disobedience but at the end of our stay, which was close to an hour, the salesman complimented me by saying, "You have the patience of Job."

From there we went to Lowe’s to get the wood stain for our walk-in closet. Here again the boys went over the edge. By the end they were hitting each other and crying because I reneged on the surprise offered for their good behavior.

There I talked to one of the nicest employees in the place. He too was patient with the boys and told me what I needed to know about staining and protecting the wood. He was quick to offer assistance and actually took the products off the shelf and put them in the cart for me.

The next errand was to drop the supplies off at the house. There the boys helped me carry in the gallons of stain. We got to see my cook top installed and I got excited just standing looking at my counterless cabinets knowing that the countertops were coming in right behind me.

Nelson told me yesterday, "Twenty more days," as he left to "get his ox out of a ditch" and work on the house on the day of rest. It's always so hard for me to see him go, but he's comforted me over the last few weeks saying in earnest, "The end is near. It's almost over."

Tonight when he left yet again, he was talking to the tile guy who was working at the house. He hung up and said, "Rick said the counters look incredible!" I wanted to jump in the car and go over to see them but I knew that would mean re-bathing the kids and a late bed time. Nelson walked out the door saying, "We're getting so close."

And tonight, if only for a few moments...I actually believed him.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Good Day!

Remember how I told you I have the best friends in the world? This morning, as I was packing up my non-maternity clothes I got a call from this friend. She asked, "Can I cook you dinner tonight?"

This is a friend who is also pregnant and has tons on her plate but she read my blog and thought to herself that she could cook for me. I tried at first to turn her down saying that I had enough left over from last night, but she was sweetly persistent. Then I remembered the promise I made to myself and my husband about accepting all the help I am offered. I thanked her and graciously accepted.

After I hung up I nearly cried. Why is it so hard to ask for help? What did I do to deserve such wonderful people in my life? God is so good. In another hour my folks came by and picked up the kids so that I could have a few hours to do whatever I needed to do.

By the end of the day I had managed to pack 8 boxes, eat a delicious meal, and have my kids in bed before 8.

The nights are hard, but oh, what a wonderful day it was. As always, God comes through in the most astounding ways when you are in your greatest hour of need. Thanks be to God...and Dianna...and mom and dad...and Nelson!

5 weeks and 4 days to go...I CAN do it!

Friday, January 25, 2008

The End is Near

Last night was a better night because of the medicine. I think I was asleep sometime after midnight rather than 2 a.m. so that's a start. Each morning I awake a little more tired and a lot more sore. Each day I move slower. Every simple task, such as actually cooking dinner, gets me out of breath. It's hard.

I went back in my archives to July, when I was in the throws of all day "morning" sickness and read how sure I was that things would get better. I was certain I'd get my energy back and feel better. That was seven months ago. It's a good thing that I didn't know then what I'm living through now.

Even so, with each day that passes I know I am one day closer to delivery. I am one day closer to finally meeting this baby. One day closer to not being pregnant anymore. I can tell this by the calendar. I can tell this by the fact that when the baby moves, I have to stop at times because it feels as if it might actually punch its way out of my body.

Today at the boys' school we saw a newborn sibling of one of their classmates. She was so very tiny and cute. Aiden peeked at her in her seat and said only, "Wow!" in the cutest whisper ever. And it is in moments like this that I almost cry with joy.

This very long season of house building is almost over. This pregnancy that is taking forever is almost over. We are about to welcome a new member into our family. A little soul who will be loved and cherished simply because it is ours. A new face to kiss. A new person to love. A new personality to get to know.

Sometimes I wonder what life will be like when this season is over. What will I do with all of my "extra" time? And today I answered that question. I will sit in my new house, hold my new baby and just be with my family for awhile. I will count my blessings and thank God that He carried me through one of the hardest seasons so far.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sometimes Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

Tonight I went into our local drugstore in search of a remedy for the acid reflux that has been keeping me up until 2 a.m. every morning for a solid week

After dinner and a special blessing from my brother, Fr. Aaron, I felt hopeful that something would change tonight. I found two things that had been recommended, one of which was not on the list of things my doctor told me to try.

I decided to wait for a consultation from the pharmacist because I don't want to do anything that would harm this precious baby. After standing at the counter for some time, one of the girls in the pharmacy asked if I had been helped.

"I just have a question," I said in a bit of desperation feeling the acid beginning to bubble once again.

She told me the pharmacist would be with me in a minute and that he was the one on his knees behind the counter. I peered over to see that he was indeed on his knees.

He looked up at me and said, with a slight chuckle, "I'm just back here praying for healing for all the people coming in tonight."

I laughed and replied, "Well, PLEASE send some up for me. Although...I don't think healing will help me at this point. What I need is deliverance!" I said beginning to really laugh.

"I think you mean delivery," he replied and then laughed so hard that he almost fell over.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

34 Weeks

Here's proof that we're making progress in more areas than the house - this baby is growing! Only 6 weeks to go.
It will be a race to the finish line for sure.

And the Letter of the Day Is...

Today was "L" day at school. When I picked Dawson up I saw a lion puppet hanging from his peg.

"Wow Dawson! Did you make this lion? It's really cool," I gushed.

"Yes!" he squealed with delight. "I made it ALL by myself."

"You did such a good job. Can you tell me what letter lion starts with?"

"Umm..." he thought and then with a grin began to sing, "A,B,C,D,E,F,G,L!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Big Jump

In my family there is a right of passage, so to speak. My uncle and aunt live on Lake Martin in Alabama and there is a place called Chimney Rock that is a big rock out in the middle of the lake that we have all climbed and jumped off. Some say it's 90 feet high but our guess is that it's between 60 and 70 feet. Either way, it is very, very high...especially when you're standing at the edge preparing to jump.

What do you think family? I'm pretty sure that in a couple of years my little Mackenzie will be joining the ranks of the brave and crazy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Music to my Ears

"Hey, you know what I was thinking?" Nelson asked me with a sly grin on his face.

"No idea," I responded rather curiously.

"I was thinking that my Valentine's gift to you could be for me to find someone to watch the kids while the two of us spent our first night together in the new house."

I was speechless. That's only 24 days from now. Stay tuned.

House Update

This is the show stopper on the house tour. It is a 5x5 walk-in shower that, when finished, will have two shower heads and several body sprays. I really hope I get to use it while this pregnant body really needs it.

This is the laundry room. The tile floor in here is finally finished (well except for grout) and I'm still in search of a washer and dryer.

Here is one of the dream come true features of the house...DOUBLE OVENS!

The back splash now has grout and I'm totally loving it. I can't wait to see the cook-top and hood installed.

We are making progress.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We Belong to Jesus' Church

There are three Catholic churches very near to where we live. We are faithful members to one that we love but we also frequent the other two for daily masses and when we need to go to an evening mass.

Today, on the way to church, Aiden led the following Q & A session:

"Mama, are we going to Joseph's church today?"

"No. We don't belong to St. Joseph's."

"Which one is that?"

"It's the one where we go to daily mass and where Dawson spilled his Cheerios."

"Oh. Are we going to Mary's church?"

"No. We aren't members at St. Mary's either."

"Oh. Which one is that?"

"It's the one where Uncle Brian got married and where we see Fr. Justin."

"Oh! Then are we going to Holy Trinity?"

"Yes, buddy. We belong to Holy Trinity."

"Is Holy Trinity Jesus' church?"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's the Little Things

I went back to Lowe's today after a long search party last night in hopes of finding a mirror that matched the vanity I bought. They had one on display, but none in the store. The plumbing manager made a few phone calls to other stores in the area, but was having no luck.

In the middle of his calls I asked if he might consider selling me the display mirror. After giving it the once over, I happily concluded that it was in perfect condition and (here's where the big leap of faith comes in), even though it was already on clearance, I asked if he might give me a discount for buying the floor model.

I walked out of the store with a $100 mirror that I paid a mere $30 for, and for some reason that little victory made my day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

You Know Your Friends Are True When...

They come over for two hours and pack up most every closet, clean out under every bed, pack up and go through every game and never say, "Look at all this junk."

They pack so fast that you run out of room for the boxes.

They carry out bags of infant clothes, toys and gadgets to wash so that they're ready when the baby comes.

While this is happening their husbands are at the new house helping Nelson and my cousin has all three of my kids in her little apartment feeding them, putting on their PJS and letting them lay in her bed to watch a movie.

They do all this in the SNOW! Yes, snow in Augusta, GA! Big white flakes that they left their children playing in so that they could come over and serve me.

If I've never told you that I have the best friends in the world, I have been remiss...because I do...I really, really do!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To Keep Or Not To Keep?

I've made six moves thus far in my life and with every one of them I’ve tried to pare down the clutter.

This is the biggest move ever. I've never had my own home before now and packing up the entire thing is a bit overwhelming. So far, with the help from family and friends I have been able to do it a little at a time which allows me the opportunity to toss more stuff.

Today I was going through some of the attic things. Most of it was boxes of children's clothes and shoes I've saved over the years. Stuff that was stained, worn out or not a favorite went into the garage sale pile.

Then I happened upon one box that said "Amy's stuff". In it were my first few diaries, classroom journals, report cards and a blue ribbon sewing project I did somewhere around the 2nd or 3rd grade. I also found a portfolio that holds some of my favorite art work from my high school art class. I also have a box with all of my diplomas and college awards.

Those two boxes are still in my living room - the others have been carried over to the new house. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep these things.

Here are my thoughts so far. I think I'll hold onto the journals/diaries. I've been a writer all my life and I've learned a lot from going back over some of my entries. It may also make a nice history for my kids some day. Other than that, I think I'll let the rest go. It pains me to think about throwing the art away but really, it's not anything I'll hang in the new house so why should I keep it? Also I don't have an office so do I really need to hang my college degrees?

Any words of wisdom?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Random Thoughts

It's funny how your mind works. You know, those times when you start out thinking about what you have to do and end up thinking about what you had to eat - weird, out there, stream of conscience type moments.

For instance, this morning as I was huffing and puffing my way through putting on my compression stockings I was thinking how much I loathe being pregnant this go around. That led me to the knowledge that although I loathe the pregnancy, I love the idea of this life growing inside of me. Then I prayed for all women who would give anything to be in my shoes right now. Then I remembered that my dad was coming over with some help to take things out of the attic so that I could pack them up and move them over to the house. I wondered how much I would be able to do before having to stop and rest. Oh yeah, and I have a doctor's appointment Wednesday. Did I make arrangements for the kids? Yes. Oh wait a minute, I think there's a Little Sisters' activity this week, I better check my calendar. Man, it's Friday, I have to send out email reminders, call the place and make arrangements, find a place for the boys....wait a minute...it's an outing...at the Aquatics Center...we're taking the girls swimming...ummm...the water will probably feel great. I might actually feel light again for a little bit.

Hold on! In order to get in the water, I'll have to put on my suit AND shave my legs. OH MY GOSH! I'm going to bare my vein ridden, more purple than peach colored legs in public. Legs that gross my own kids out and garner reactions like, "EWW! How big are those things going to get?"

Do you think anyone would think it's strange to see a 33 week pregnant woman swimming in an indoor pool in her husband's wet suit?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Little Help Please

We're in the final stages of our home building odyssey. Currently, I'm in the market for a washer and dryer. I've done my consumer reports research but I'd really like to hear from all of you out there who are really doing laundry and LOTS of it. Any suggestions?

Here's what I can tell you:
* both need to be front loaders since we designed the space for them to be stacked
* capacity, quietness and reliability are important, but mostly, I want really clean clothes

I don't consider myself a laundry expert or lover but I know that there are some of you out there who are and I know you love your machines. Help!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Did You Know...

that just when you think you're done with one area of house decisions, you discover that each decision merely leads to another?

For instance, after sifting through thousands of tile choices and tediously picking ones for each place, the tile guy comes to you and asks you what color grout you want.

Grout? There are choices? Yes, literally hundreds.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What It's Like to Live with an Angel

Last night I attended a belated Christmas party because it was among a group of my friends who are coming over next week to help me pack. I really don't do anything at night anymore except for the occasional wedding or necessary function. I came home exhausted to see the above note taped to the kitchen door.

I've always told people that God didn't really prepare me for parenting by giving me Mackenzie first. She is an angel and God uses her over and over again in my life to remind me of that very fact.

Thank you so much my sweet Mackenzie! I love you!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

As the Stomach Turns

I have always been utterly amazed and just a little grossed out by people who drink Coke in the morning. However, during this pregnancy it's one of the only beverages I have been able to force myself to drink.

This morning as I was driving from one task to another I happened to pass a Sonic (okay, it was a little out of the way). I pulled in because I was thirsty and I had this.

I was having a serious debate with myself about what to order. Yes, the apple juice or orange juice would both be healthy morning options but I knew they would literally make my stomach turn after consumption. Still, a diet drink before noon seemed a little weird too.

I bit the bullet and pushed the button, "I'll have a Diet Coke please," I said, finally deciding that the thought of my stomach turning was better than the actual thing.

At least that's what I thought until the voice on the other end came back with, "Okay that's a large Diet Coke. Would you like some fried macaroni and cheese to go with that?"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Gig is Up

My totally independent, "I can do it myself", three year old has completely regressed. Suddenly, he can't do anything. He needs to be held, sit on my ever shrinking lap, and...climb into bed with me every night.

At first I thought this was cute. Then after a month of almost nightly invasions, I decided I had had enough. Of course, in my pregnant, not sleeping much, totally uncomfortable shape, my first solution was to send him to the other side of the bed to sleep with Daddy. That worked okay until Nelson began to send him right back to me.

Last week I decided it was time for some serious action. In about 8 weeks I'll have a newborn in my room and, hopefully, be in the new house, a flight of stairs away from the other kids. This was a habit that could become dangerous in more ways than one (think waking a sleeping infant and mother).

For the past few nights, when Dawson’s little hand taps me on the shoulder, I simply tell him to get back into his own bed. After several teary requests matched with stern refusals he resorts to asking me to tuck him in which I also refuse figuring that this would only delay the learning process.

Last night he actually spent the entire night in his own bed. He awoke to the praises of a very grateful Mommy and Daddy. Tonight, as I tucked him in and gave him a blessing, I reminded him of how proud I was of him.

"Are you going to do that again tonight?" I anxiously asked. He shook his head. "You did it last night, why can't you do it again tonight?"

"Last night there were no monsters in my room," he quickly explained.

"Dawson, that's because there's no such thing as monsters. There have never been any monsters in your room and there never will be," I confidently assured him.

He looked a bit relieved and then asked, "Are there any snakes?"

Monday, January 07, 2008

An Exciting Revelation

I have a Christmas journal that someone gave me for a wedding gift. It allows me to rehash all the Christmas stuff at the end of the season and include a favorite card and family photo.

Every year we have taken our picture sitting on the ground in front of the tree. Usually we do it at Epiphany because I suddenly remember that Christmas is about to come down and we have yet to take the photo.

Now let me tell you, taking a self-timed photo at 31+ weeks pregnant and trying to get up from the set up, run over to the group and then settle down before the camera goes off is no easy task. Combine that with two lively and playful little boys and you've got quite a memorable experience.
However, last night as we giggled our way through multiple tries at a half descent photo, I came to the realization that this is our last photo in front of this tree in this little house.

Today as I began to take it all down instead of feeling just a little sad, I became really, really excited. You see the boxes I got down from the attic are not going back up. Rather, they are going over...to another attic...in our new house! The time is truly near. And today, for a few moments, I felt nothing but sheer excitement.

A Busy Weekend

Well I made it through a tragically busy weekend.

Friday was the first day all three kids were back in school so I had to get back on track with the new house completion tasks. While the boys were at school, I picked up the remaining tile from two places and then called in the reserves (thanks Dad!) to unload them at the house for me. While there, I counted all the places we need cabinet knobs so those can get ordered. I searched for a vanity for the half bath and bought presents for two weddings.

After picking up the boys, Nelson met me at an appliance place and we looked at a deep freezer and washer and dryer. On the way home I passed a shoe place that he told me to stop by because of a mega sale they were having. When I finally got home, I was exhausted so I popped some popcorn and plopped everyone down in front of the TV for some down time.

It was around 5 that I got the fated call - the realtor was bringing someone by to look at the house on Saturday at 3. My loving husband suggested making some calls to hire someone to come and clean for me but it was too late, I was already totally in a tailspin.

By the time he got home, I was in tears. "I just can't do it," I told him. "I'm clearing away what I can only to have to sit and take a rest every 45 minutes or so. How is it all going to get done?" He very lovingly calmed me down, told me I was doing a great job and suggested we all go to the homecoming games so I could detox for awhile.

When we got home, he put the kids to bed and then stayed home to help me with the heavy loading (all those boxes I had already stacked up to go over to the new house). Saturday morning the mother of the girl I had hired called and said, "Why don't you have Nelson drop all three of the kids off when he picks up _? I can watch them for as long as you need."

An hour before the realtor arrived my mom and brother came over to move things and sweep up the porches and breezeway for me. I skipped the wedding because I could no longer stand up. However, the house was ultra clean and the realtor said it showed great.

Over the course of the weekend, three different friends called me and said they want to help. Totally out of character for my "I can do everything myself" alter ego, I said yes to all three of them.

In the midst of this, I realize that my most important task is to provide a safe environment for this little soul to finish growing. The last thing I want to do is to force myself into premature labor or get put on bed rest for the next 8 weeks. What I'm able to do, I will do. I will ask for help when I need it (really... I will). I will sit down and rest when my body tells me its time.

God knows all these things. His timing is perfect, not mine. Before the baby or after, it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. I have seen so many times that God gives you what you need when you need it (for example, all the unsolicited help this weekend). I trust that He will not let me down now.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

These Are A Few of Our Favorite Things

This year was Aiden's Buzz Lightyear year. After our trip to Disney, he totally fell in love and Santa honored that. In his hand is a gun similar to the one he got to "shoot" on the ride at Disney. He loves it!
The boys started the season asking for remote control helicopters, but after seeing how much they cost as well as the fact that they're still a little too young for such a toy, I had to come up with a strategy. I had already purchased them each a set that had a tent, sleeping bag and flashlight.

When we were in line to see Santa, I asked Aiden what he was going to ask for and he responded with his usual, "a remote control helicopter". I spent a minute explaining that Santa doesn't always give us everything we ask for and that his choice might be a bit too old for him. He looked at me totally puzzled as to what to ask for instead.

"How about a sleeping bag? You don't have one like Mackenzie does." Before I could say anything else, Aiden's eyes twinkled and he said, "I'm going to ask him for a sleeping bag, tent and flashlight." God is so good to me!We set the tents up immediately and they filled our little living room. We put them on top of the boys' beds for a few nights and let them sleep in them. However, after a week of virtually sleepless "camping" nights, we finally put them away until we get into the new house.
Mackenzie was inspired with a new love for Tinkerbell after the Disney trip and was thrilled to receive Tinkerbell pajamas as well as a Tinkerbell "Polly Pocket" set. However, her biggest thrill was the one thing she asked Santa for - a hula hoop. Man, I love this season of the kids being so totally easy to thrill!

Another New Year

Ah, another year is upon us. I have to admit that although I love the idea of a big New Year's celebration, I don't think I'm going to celebrate this one until the baby is born. As of yesterday we're nine weeks away from my due date and counting...and I do meant counting.

The holidays were great. As usual, I pulled a few all nighters to get everything done but once Christmas hit, I put on the breaks for a whole week. Christmas was spent opening every present we got the kids. For one day I didn’t say, "Not now". We actually played every game, read every new story and even did a few crafts. Nelson was even able to resist the urge to work on the house, so we were actually all together the whole day. I turned in fairly early and very satisfied at spending the day just as I should, with my precious family.

When New Year's Day came around the nesting instinct kicked in and I realized that I have a house to pack before this baby is born. The mind is willing but the body is weak. I started by packing away the large bookshelf in our living room. After filling four crates and two boxes and transferring them from the living room to the kitchen, I had to sit down. I had a few contractions and was completely and totally out of breath. SO FRUSTRATING.

I'm not sure what God had in mind when he gave me this pregnancy at this time, but I'm going to have to accept it (yeah, I know it's already been 31 weeks - I'm a slow learner). I'm going to have to develop a different strategy for this whole packing thing. Not sure what it is except for now it's been trying two boxes a day and stacking them up in my kitchen waiting for my husband to find the time to carry them to the car and over to the house.

As for the resolutions, here's what I've decided: it's been a tough 31 weeks and I don't want to set myself up for more frustration. In 2008 I resolve to deliver this baby and move into my new house. And, once the baby is past infancy and the boxes are unpacked, I will CELEBRATE the dawning of a new era in my life.

Happy New Year everyone!