Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Making new friends

What a wonderful morning we had! We went back to Downey Park, which was a blast last time, but this time we went with FRIENDS! Friends of all the right ages!! Plenty for Sofi and Judah both to enjoy. It was so refreshing to spend time talking to other moms and playing with their babies and sharing stories and tips. I really do feel like things are settling in at last. Good thing, too, if last night's and this morning's ctx are any indication... :P

I am a little concerned about Judah still, though. Have any of y'all moved with a child around Judah's age before? He seems to have become very shy and withdrawn in crowds these days. My memories of him from Va are of a happy-go-lucky child, content to pal around with whoever is nearby, not afraid of strangers and rarely moody. But today, for example, he spent a large part of the time on the very outskirts of the group, quietly picking up fistfuls of sand and watching them dissolve in the current. He swam, too, but wouldn't talk or interact with any of the other kids.

Towards the end, I got him interested in helping me and Martha (2) build sandcastles and that seemed to cheer him up a lot. He talked to her a little and they energetically stomped the castles down together. He seemed to enjoy her company-- she doesn't talk much and seems a quiet, gentle little one.

Perhaps it was just her quiet spirit, or perhaps some Middle Child Deep called to Middle Child Deep, but when we were leaving he leaned his head over on my shoulder and said, "Mom, there's lots of people. Too many people-- I don't know them."

"Yes, but we're getting to know them, they will be our new friends."

"I think Martha is my new friend now."

Thank the Lord for new friends!

Monday, August 30, 2010

waiting on the Lord again :)

It's such a cycle, life... isn't it? I mean, you fail and fall, you wallow a bit, then you remember the God you serve, you get a note from a friend, you get some sleep (or some protein) and you get back up and keep going. Somehow the strength is renewed every morning. Actually, not so much "somehow". It's the Lord. He promised He would and He is so faithful to renew His strength in me.

Not that circumstances have changed since last night, it's just my attitude that changed. Today I find myself able to remember all the good things in my life, instead of just the challenging things. And to see the good even in the challenging things. For example, the tiny, sharp feet kicking me violently in the hip-bone right now. There are two ways to think about that, right? Right now I'm able to smile indulgently and reminisce about the curse of the Huge Howell Feet. I mean, if the mother wears a size ten, you gotta expect some major kickage, right? Oh and by the way, can you believe my swelling's bad enough that I'm actually wearing a size ELEVEN right now???

Still, I have to get myself together a little better and try to avoid the kind of crash I had yesterday. I need to be more careful about getting enough rest, food, water and not trying to pack too many activities into one day. We almost crashed and burned again today, but after Judah's third meltdown in Costco, I decided to just go home. Best decision I made all day.

And I need to make sure, also, that I get some time first thing in the morning to spend with the Lord and my day planner. Both of those are vital. I've made that my goal for this week-- quiet time every morning. We'll see how that works out.

A quick update on the Labor is up!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another bad day

We all have bad days, right? Of course right. But it seems especially unfair, spectacularly unfair, when that bad day falls on a Sabbath. It started with a long, sleepless night and just went downhill from there.

Judah had a meltdown at church resulting in J having to spend the entire service in the back of the church calming him down. This is the happy child we're talking about here. Judah is not the moody type. He rarely actually Cries. Whining we deal with-- it's a family besetting sin (well, not J, just the rest of us), but the crying? that's not like him. He wailed heartbreakingly when dropped off and after about five minutes, J just went in and got him.

I just know it's the move and the unsettled-ness getting to him. He was never like this at church back home. He spent the rest of the day being super clingy and wanting to sit on me, talking about our old house and his friends and asking for Violet to come see him. We got on Skype with the Other Forsheys and chatted for a while and he was so precious ooing and aaaahing over Grace-- whom he ADORED from the moment he first saw her, just a few moments after she was born. He told me that God told him He was going to give Violet "lotsalotsalotsa money to buy a aaaaeeerplane, so she can come see me in Flooooda"

And then all the trickiness I've been trying to balance with neighbor kids came to a bit of a head and I had to call Sofi in from playing Chicken (!!!!) in the pool with the neighbor boys (!!!) , riding on the shoulders of a neighborhood dad (!!!). And somehow I had to find a way to explain that Ladies don't play chicken in the pool with boys while riding on the shoulders of men we don't know. *sigh* Never an easy conversation to have with your 8 yo. And yes, we'd given her permission to play in the pool with the gang of kids and adults out there. It's right off our front porch after all, and one of the dads we know vaguely had offered to be responsible for her. Apparently our version of "responsible" and his version were... not the same.

We were supposed to have dinner with some new friends, but by 4:00 in the afternoon, after the conversation with Sofi, and a parental conference over Judah's anxiety issues, and a failed attempt at a nap (for me), and the gradually increasing stranglehold of a headcold (J), and Jamie's constant bone-crushing roller-coaster imitation (me) had all worked their magic, we decided that it might be just a bit much. So we didn't go. And not-going made us both feel a little lonely and a little more aware of just how soon (pleaseLordpleasemakeitsoonAmen) we'd being entering that fatigue-crazed labyrinth of new-baby-ness without the safety net of a settled church family.

And someone sang Be Thou My Vision at the offertory this morning and it was beautiful. And I cried. Still. I think I will never be able to hear that song again without thinking of that tiny wooden box and the room full of mourners trying so hard to find words to say, to express what their hearts were feeling. That one line:

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall....

It stabs me to the heart. To think that they choose to claim that, even in the midst of heart-crushing grief-- such faith awes me and touches me and I want so much to be there with her, for her. But I can't.

So, so much has changed so veryvery quickly for our family this year. I still feel as though I'm standing in one of those hourglasses with the sand running rapidly through, out from under my feet and I'm clinging to the slippery glass walls trying to find a way to keep from getting sucked through. I just haven't had the time and the space to process it all, to "adjust". Someone asked us this morning when we decided to move and J said the end of March and it hit me. Bam. March, April, May, June, July, August. Six months. Half a year. That's all. In six months we went from normal Us, to something that, on a Bad Day, I don't even recognize anymore.

I recognize that bad days come and go and there are also beautiful Florida days, when the kids are happy and Jamie is still and tranquil, the contractions are mild, J gets home early and I remember that "...the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places". I am so thankful for all that the Lord has worked in our lives in these six short months.

But some days, I just want some time to sit and think. And some days I just want to go out for coffee at Organic Grounds. Or drop in on the Trainums. Or run into friends at the Farmer's Market. Or call Laurie up and go buy some plants. Or put up a post on Facebook to meet me at the library in twenty minutes and see who shows up!

I think I should go to bed now and see if things look any better in the morning.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scratch that

I'm a little leery, I have discovered, of subjecting all you innocent readers to my descriptions of the sensations and events of my labor. Soooo. I'm starting a new, quickie blog which I'll link to whenever I have a post up. You can subscribe there, if you're interested, or link in from here, or simply remain in blissful ignorance of that part of my life :) Your choice. I'm really just doing this for my own benefit and that of any interested parties. It's not that I'm shy, just that I realize that some of you are a captive audience, receiving my blog in a reader or by email (those of you who get it in an email, Barb, can let me know if you want to get the Birth Blog, too and I'll set you up). I'll still be blogging innocuous family news and all my latest opinions on stuff here as well, never fear!

The grown-up me re-emerges

OK. So. The last post was written in something of a maelstrom of self-pity and frustration. As I spent the last day pondering what I wrote (yes, I know, I should ponder BEFORE I write) I realized that all that whining might even hurt some friends that read this blog and would literally give their right arms to trade places with me-- four weeks of contractions or no. So, in the spirit of gratefulness for the blessing that is this new life and repentance for my bad attitude, let's do a re-write. Only for penance, I'll leave the other one up, too. Honesty at all cost.

It's for the sake of dealing better with all this prodromal labor that I've decided to go ahead and let myself talk about "being in labor" this time around. I've decided not to play mind games, not to try and ignore contractions, or do crazy, herculean feats to try to get them to increase, or take all kinds of weird concoctions to get them to quit. But rather to just accept that this is the normal, GOOD working of my body to bring a baby into the world. It takes me two to four weeks to get a baby out. It just does.

I'm not going to say these are Braxton-Hicks, either. They're not. It's different. This is the same kind of ctx I have in labor, just less intense and less regular and predictable. B-H ctx feel like squeezing... like squeezing a rubber ball really hard and then gradually letting go. But these ctx have an edge, a sharpness, that B-H don't. Like squeezing a ball of tinfoil. Prickly, with edges. Later on, as labor progresses over the next few weeks, the edges will get sharper and harder-- although it's always one step forward, two steps back. Then, at some point, I'll notice that it's less tin foil and more like actual tin. And then we'll progress to the feeling of being in a car-crusher and then I'll call the midwife :)

When I can think rationally and calmly about simply being in the looooong first stages of actually bringing my child into the world, I'm able to be at peace about it. When I can agree with what my body's doing, instead of fighting it and trying to manipulate and change it, then I can accept what's going on. It lets me distract myself with other tasks, instead of getting all tense-- "will they stop? will they get harder? is this It? what should I do???"

The answer is, do nothing. Rest. Wait on the Lord. The good work He has begun in me, He will accomplish it in His own time.

As far as blogging goes, I intend to keep a kind of daily journal of how this weeks-long labor progresses. It might be helpful to Sofi one day, as an example of how the women in our family seem to do this :) Who knows? It may be good info for others in the meantime. Regardless, it will at least help me to articulate what's happening and keep track of the progress, as slow as it may seem in the moment.

As a disclaimer, I don't know if I have any male readers, but if so, y'all might wanna occupy yourselves elsewhere for a while here. Things might get a little TMI.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In which I cuss a little and make pronouncments that will shock the internets.

That's it. I'm calling it. I am in labor. Starting now. Or rather, 6:30 pm, August 25th. God only knows when he'll actually be born, but by golly, I'm going to get full credit for all the *muttercusscussmutter* I have to put up with in the last month of pregnancy. EVERY SINGLE EVENING, I will probably have at least an hour of regular, strong, timeable contractions. Contractions intense enough to have me pacing the floors and snapping at all and sunder. For at least the next four weeks. One day my children will appreciate what I went through for them!!

I hope.

In the meantime, I'm at least going to get the credit for my four-week-long labors. And when y'all hear rumors of three or four "false alarms" that bring J rushing home from work in the middle of the day, only to have things peter out in a few hours, I want you to realize the extent of the confusion caused by my BLASTED uterus. Seriously. With Judah, I wasn't convinced it was reallyforreal until my water broke, 45 minutes before he was born. Everyone else knew what was going on, but I still had this nagging feeling that I was going to have to shame-faced-ly send everyone home any minute right up till that moment.

*stomps off to get in the pool*

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Two More Houses

We saw four houses tonight, but these were the only two that didn't get crossed of the list right away. I'm linking to the Photobucket album, is you want to see the pics and video I took, but in summary (for those of you with dial-up--- Mom):

Monticello Dr:

This one is my favorite. Matter of fact, it's bumped up to the top of my list-- all time. I like the wood trim, the extra room, the KITCHEN (omg. the KITCHEN-- and the cabinets!! Cabinets out the wazoo AND a PANTRY), the fireplace in the dining room, the stained glass windows in the "study" and beside the front door. Another feature that I didn't photograph; there's a very small bdr, kinda hidden away on the other side of the master bath. So you walk through the MBR and the MBTH and then there's a sliding door to a bdr, about 9X9ft (5 "bdrs" total-- although one would be used as an office/guest room). Perfect for a baby's room! Also, there's tons of space around the pool (a safety issue for me-- I don't like the feeling that you walk out the back door and fall linto the pool, as we've seen in several houses so far) and plenty of room for gardening! Love the shutters and the brick pillars in the front.

Cons: No outside entrance to a bathroom (means wet swimsuits traipsing daily through the house to the bathroom), no appliances (not too big a deal), no pool screen-- bummer.

North Cypress Way:

This is J's favorite. :) You can probably all tell why. He's the realistic one that looks at a house like this and says, "What?? It's in perfect condition, we could move in tomorrow, it's in our price range and the pool is SCREENED IN!! What more could you want???" And I grant you, it's truly lovely. And I'm a fool for preferring one that needs a little TLC. BUT. I can't help myself. I think it's a family curse. I want a house with character-- brick and hardwood and stained glass, you know? This one has brand-new tile, laminate (*gags*) and a HOT TUB. Right outside the MBR :D The kitchen has brand-new modern appliances and a built in desk, granite counter tops and a wet-bar in the living room. There is a truly SJP-worthy walk-in closet in the MBR and spotless paint on the walls.

But it's also $20K more than the other one. And it doesn't have a brick surround in the kitchen. Or stained glass windows. Or much room in the back yard.


Ok. Opinions, people. I need opinions!!!!!!! Fire away!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A low-post week, brought to you by...

OH. MY. GOSH. Everyone is having their babies already but ME!! WHY???? It's not FAIR!!!! *whinewhinewhine* *moanmoanmoan*

See? Aren't you glad I haven't been posting???

Friday, August 20, 2010

7 Quick Takes

1) I love the idea of Conversion Diaries Quick Takes on Fridays, since it's easier than using my pre-weekend brain to actually think of something coherent to say, but today I'm too lazy to link in to the carnival-- so this is just mine own version.

2) This post by Jordana, on Curmudgeonry, really lifted my spirits yesterday. I would love for you all to go and read it and be re-invigorated in your commitment to the sacrifice of motherhood. And that includes those of you who are mothering other people's children, too-- nieces and nephews, neighbor kids, whatever. I've been saying over and over to myself today, "This is my body, broken for you..." and it has helped me keep my mind on the eternal significance of even the small daily "brokenesses".

3) As I approach the beginning of my third Breastfeeding Adventure, I'm starting to notice articles and posts about breastfeeding as I stroll through the internet. In particular, I've become aware that b/f-ing in public is a very controversial issue-- even in the Church. Well I'll be darned. I never knew. Really. I breastfed Sofi in movie theaters, college dorm rooms, church services, grocery stores, everywhere, and I never really noticed any looks of censure. Maybe I was just naive? But anyway, I found a great article by a breastfeeding husband in the church (for lack of a better label) and got permission to re-post it here. (it'll be up shortly)

4) If you've noticed, I haven't been posting much this week. You can always take blog silence as an indication that something (usually finances) has sent us bad news and I'm slogging through the Slough of Despond. I usually don't blog from there. Too muddy.

5) One more house to see in our price range. Then back to the waiting game-- see if anything else comes on the market in the next week or so. Our letter of approval from the bank is good for 60 days.

6) Home schooling a third grader really shortens your day. I spend an awful lot of my day on nouns, verbs, multiplication tables, line graphs, note-reading and whining children. It's exhausting.

7) On the other hand, there's this:


The Breastfeeding Article of the Month Award goes to...

Melissa Neece!! Or rather, her husband, Kevin. Actually, they can share it, since she wrote the rest of the article. I got her permission to re-publish this excerpt, which is from her husband's perspective.

And to sum up, here is an article about breastfeeding in public that my husband Kevin wrote that I of course think is brilliant:

Written by Kevin C. Neece:

It is really a sexist view that proclaims that women are intelligent and responsible and can make choices about how they respond to stimuli and that men are just drooling animals, uncontrollably dominated by their passions because they are basically too dull-witted to do otherwise. Saying that men “can’t help it” or “are wired that way” may seem like compassion and consideration for men, but in reality it is a degrading gender bias. The truth is that we should expect all adults to behave like adults regardless of their gender.

As a man, I am personally tired of hearing such views bandied about so easily as though they are not at all bigoted. It may be culturally acceptable, but it is wrong to expect men to be the lowest common denominator of our species. Adult men are expected to be and are often portrayed as no more than college frat boys with families. But college frat boys are just junior high boys with newfound freedom and legal permission. And junior high boys are just elementary school boys with sex drives. So essentially, we are telling men that their progress as a gender is so stunted that they can never truly be expected to grow out of boyhood. This is now excused because we tell them that they are genetically wired to be too stupid to grow up. When you place no expectations of civility and maturity on any human being, they will more often than not respond to those expectations by remaining in the realm of their baser instincts. If, however, people are treated as beings capable of civilized, respectful behavior, they develop as such.

Moreover, the story of human progress tell us that the basic project of being human consists of learning, changing, growing, and trying to become more than what we are. By insisting that men are incapable of advancing themselves in a conscious, focused manner, we are depriving them of their basic dignity as human beings by ignoring their potential to grow in positive, civil and mature directions.

As a man married to a breastfeeding mother, to whom I am very sexually attracted, I can say that simply having developed the mindset of the natural, feeding function of the female breasts has allowed me to consistently view my wife’s breasts as sources of food when seen in a functional context, and as sources of arousal when seen in a sexual context. There has never been any confusion between the two. I did not have to be trained or desensitized. All I had to do was learn about the purpose and beauty of breastfeeding. Were the activity of public breastfeeding more common and accepted in our culture in general, and were our expectations of men inclusive of more than unthinking Neanderthal-like sex drives, there would not be an issue regarding the response of intelligent, civilized men to public breastfeeding. A mother must be asked to do no less than put the needs of her child before other considerations. A man’s response to what he may or may not see for a brief moment is his own to deal with.

The breastfeeding conversation among Christians today tends to focus on nipples, nudity, and naughtiness. Instead, Christians should be about the business of helping to develop a view of breastfeeding as normal, natural, and necessary. Part of that process includes the promotion of breastfeeding as an acceptable, everyday experience. This may create some difficulties along the way for Christians who are now grown men, but it will also help prevent future complications for the Christian men of tomorrow. If our boys are raised in a culture that values and openly accepts the fullest, truest nature of the female breast, we can come one step closer to a world that no longer reduces breasts, and indeed women, to mere sex objects.

Familiarizing the younger generation with a broader understanding of the feeding function of breasts will help to prevent unnecessary and unwarranted sexual temptation in the future rather than creating such temptation by presuming a universally sexualized view of the breast. This is not about a few instances of men being bothered by seeing a little skin. It is about a process of cultural education and development toward a more enlightened future where sex is a natural part of life and not something that dominates our lives in a negative fashion. In this future, breastfeeding is placed in its proper context as a normal and necessary function of motherhood, no longer overshadowed by over-sexualization, nor oppressed by the tyranny of titillation. Therefore, normalizing public views of breastfeeding mothers is a move toward moral responsibility and away from the domination of sexual temptation. As such, it is important that it be carried out, not flippantly or defiantly, but with a focus on awareness, education, and acceptance.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another House

Avalon Blvd- Photobucket Album

So, this house wouldn't really have been in contention with our previous top choices. BUT. Just as we were leaving-- and after I'd already tossed the camera into the front seat of the Honda, so sorry, no pics-- we noticed a sign across the street (right across the street-- direct line from the front door) for "Dew Drop Park". We've lived in Orlando for a month and a half now, but our first reaction was still something like nonchalance. Meh. A park. In the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Probably cute, a few swings, no big deal.

You'd think we'd have learned by now.

We trudged over and Oh My. What a jewel of a park! A lake! Tennis courts! Volleyball court! TWO full-sized playgrounds! Pavillions! Clean bathrooms! Wow. Orlando is the city of parks, that's for sure. They're everywhere, and they're beautiful.

So now I feel like, despite the general blah of this house, I can't quite cross that park off our list. And, as you can see from pics above, it is pretty blah. No extra perks. No backyard-- pool takes up the whole thing. It does have a grapefruit tree on the side, and the curb appeal is pretty good. I love the wrought iron. But the inside is just... you know. Blah. And it's a little pricey.

So it's technically still on the list, but... I guess I just don't see it working out for us. We'll see.

Good answer, son, good answer.

Whenever I have the time I like to take Judah into my bed after his nap and cuddle with him for a while till he wakes up all the way. He's like me, and unlike Sofi, he takes a little while to "warm up" after napping, or in the mornings.

Anyway, one of the sweet things we do during that time is just chat. About stuff. I ask him deep philosophical questions, or we talk about his dreams, or what he wants to be when he grows up. I highly recommend this :)

Yesterday's question:

Me: Judah, what do little boys like best in the whole world?

(me, expecting a dissertation on guns/swords/cars/running/fighting/climbing,etc.)

Judah (takes his binkie out): Mamas.

say it with me now, Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Supercool Internet Things

I found some cool thing online this week I'd like to share with y'all :)

First off, here's a link to a blog/website for and about handmade businesses. It's mostly geared towards childrens' stuff, but has a ton of great info, links, hints and articles. I've subscribed to their feed and am loving their photos! So inspiring. Can't wait to put some of what I've learned into practice in Jamie and Judah's new room-- whenever that happens!

From that site's linkage, I discovered another awesome site. It's run by artists from all over the place who donate prints for free download and printing. Some of them are simply gorgeous! I can't wait for the new house to start trying some out-- so I'm totally printing a few today! Goodness knows frames are cheap enough at Goodwill and Salvation Army..

So, how about y'all? Did you find anything fun online this week?

Overheard at our house

Judah runs inside, proclaiming...

I found a lizard, I found a lizard!

(they're everywhere here, but the kids still find it a novelty)

Me: Oh boy! Was it a big one?

Judah: yes, it was weeeally BIG. And it talked to me! *nods vehemently*

Me: Oh really? What did it say?

Judah: It said, hello, do you want to be my friend? and I said yes!

Earlier today:

Sofi: I want to grow up right now and move to Russia and buy a house and have ten kids!

Me: Oh my. Really? Well, go for it!

Sofi: Weell, maybe only eight kids.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nursing Top Sweepstakes!

Check out what I found! Aren't these CUTE?? You can enter too, but I'd rather you didn't since it gives me a better chance of winning ;)

Downey Park

Ironic to think that after living in fairly rural area of Va their whole lives, the first time my kids get in a lake is after they move to Orlando. Downey Park is AWESOME!! A splash pad AND a lake with lifeguards! What more could you want???