Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Election Reflection

It's election year.  Man, I hate these things.  I hate the slander, the exaggerated stories of scandal, the finger pointing.  But most of all I hate the constant division of Americans.  If you don't like my candidate then I don't like you.  It's like everyone forgets that they're not 4 years old.

So I've finally gotten to the point where it's hard for me not to make comments on the political atmosphere.  I refuse to post anything specific on Facebook, mostly because I have very vocal friends on every edge of the spectrum (can it really be a spectrum if there are no less than four edges?) and I don't want to see people I love and respect argue with each other.

This is what I have to say about the political climate in America, 2016...

We've forgotten why we are American.

I had a brief reminder last week.

I was at a Cub Scout meeting and the Cubmaster showed the boys and their families how to retire an American flag.  He told us of some of the options there are to retire a flag but he had landed on the idea to retire it by burning.

Now, I need you to understand that this notion is something that stirs my soul.  I have had family members serve in the military, and even fight, during every American war and conflict since about 1776.  My parents raised me to respect the military, leaders of government (agreement is different than respect), and the flag.  My dad flew the flag at our house while I was growing up. He treated it with reverence and taught us to as well.

As the Cubmaster stood in front of the group of Cubs, their siblings and parents, and other leaders, he explained some symbolism of the colors of the flag: the red of the courage and the blood spilled in defense of freedom, the white of virtue and purity, the blue of perseverance and justice.  The stripes represent the 13 original colonies while the 50 stars are the states,  The UNITED states.  The states held together in the union of perseverance and justice (the blue part, remember?).  This is what it is to be American.  To unite in perseverance and justice.

We watched as the Cubmaster and his assistant folded the flag and gently, in highest regard for Old Glory, laid it on the flames.  As the fire consumed the well-used and well-loved symbol, we all held our hands over our hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  It moved me.  It brought me to tears. Nevermind that my children will argue that everything brings me to tears, but I couldn't help but think of the sacrifices made for this country.  This country of ours that seems in such disarray.

How did we get to this?

We've forgotten who we are.  We've forgotten that our brother is not our enemy.  We've forgotten that the freedoms we take for granted came at a price.  We have confused "liberty" with "entitlement."

Funnily enough, that last sentence made me think of Patrick Henry's infamous line of "Give me liberty or give me death!"  I decided to look it up and found the speech it is from.  Recorded by William Wirt, Henry is petitioning to the Second Virginia Convention president, Peyton Randolf.  Extremely eloquent, Henry explained the time to hope for change was over.  It was now the time to act.

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? 

This is what originally united us all.  The desire to find strength, to develop a character of resilience.  To work and fight for what we know to be right.

So what?

This is what I believe: America is still the greatest country in the world.  I love it with all my heart.  It is within our greatest interests to determine which presidential candidate will take these weaknesses we've developed as a country and help us gather back our strength.  Let us stand tall and proud once more.

Frankly, I don't know who I'm voting for next month.  I have a week or two left to figure it out.

But we would be slapping those that have sacrificed so much for our freedoms in the face if we do nothing.  If we sit back and let others make our choices for us.  If we continue "...lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope..." Stand for your freedoms.  Stand for your beliefs.  Stand for future generations.

Stand for something.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Top Ten: Why I Hate Exercise

I started working out again last week.  I have a love/hate relationship with exercise.  Basically, I'd love to love it, but I hate it. Hence, the love/hate relationship.

But now that I've completed four workouts in a row, I'm an expert on the matter.  Right?  So, here are my

Top Ten Reasons Why I Hate Exercise
10. It hurts. My body is screaming at me right now.  And it's using a lot of dirty words that I don't normally use myself.
9.  I'm old. Next year I turn 40. Now, to be fair, my birthday is later in the year so I haven't even turned 39 yet. But still. I'm old. And I totally feel it.
8.  I'm tired. I know that I'll feel better after I start shaping up a bit but I have to exercise to do it but I'm tired and I don't want to exercise. It's a vicious cycle.
7. I have kids. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why I NEED to exercise. But it's also a reason why it's so HARD! First, my day is consumed by my mommy-schedule. Second, have you ever tried to do a push up with a toddler thinking you make an awesome horse? In order to avoid these complications I need to exercise before the kids wake up and I have standards. Early mornings are against my personal creed in life.
6. The 80/20 rule. So, diet makes up 80% of how to get fit. That means that busting my butt in working out is only 20% of the equation.  What the heck? Everything I'm doing will be nullified if I can't control my eating habits? This depresses me and makes me want cookies. And Diet Coke.
5. My clothes. My workout clothes don't fit. Having three kids in three years (plus the other four before that) messed me up. Bad. But I don't want to buy new clothes because I don't want to stay this size.  So I wear a sports bra that cuts off circulation. It's awesome.
4. My carpet. Every time I get on the floor for pushups, burpees, core work, or whatever I'm reminded of how gross my carpet is. We knew when we moved in that we would need to replace it. That was six years ago. Yeah....
3.  It's boring.  It costs money to mix up the exercise routine. I'm cheap and I don't like spending money on myself, even if that means doing something other than the same video day in and day out. And I'm addicted to watching television so I'd rather watch Fat Amy sing and dance than watch the same skinny people easily do an exercise routine that winds me within the first three minutes.
2. My doctor warned me.  I had the unique experience of laying on the surgical table right after my last (and fifth) C-section and having my doctor warn me that my ab muscles are thin. I asked her if that would effect my healing.  She assured me it wouldn't, but it would make getting back in shape really hard. So now I have a built-in excuse for why I always want to quit.  And I use it. All. The. Time. "I can't do this exercise because my abs are thin." Unfortunately, they are the only thin part of my body, so that sucks.
And the number one reason I hate exercise....
I never did Kegels during my pregnancies.  Jumping is a bad idea. A very bad idea.
So now what?
Now I go to bed so I can get up early tomorrow morning and work out. Because I can do this, even if I hate it right now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

(A Little Too Honest) Confessions of a Bad Mom

I’ve been in a slump.  Like, a big one.  It seems that my life is on repeat on an annoying song that makes me want to pull my hair out and ogre-scream in frustration.

A few weeks ago Josh was watching Groundhog Day. You remember that one.  Bill Murray is living Groundhog Day every day.  The same song wakes him every morning.  The same people greet him, unaware of the repetition of his life.  No matter what, it’s the same thing.  Every. Day. 

I sat watching the movie, mouth agape, at the reflection of my own life.  Every day the same thing.  The alarm goes off.  The kids are woken.  We all get dressed.  The big kids make their lunches as I wrangle the little kids.  We load up in the van and I drop kids off at their respective schools.  I spend the remainder of the day trying to catch up on housework.  This is impossible as I have three little kids home during the day and they are all very capable of undoing any chore I complete.  Laundry folded?  Not anymore. The baby decided to use the folded laundry as a nest envied by every mouse on Earth when my back was turned because the 2-year-old was quiet so I checked on him really quickly only to discover he had tried to get his own snack and was sitting on the floor of the kitchen surrounded by full and empty fruit snack pouches that were once on a high shelf in the pantry in a plastic box with a locking lid.  Not to mention the 3-year-old who keeps squealing at the top of her lungs because her little brother took her spot on the couch, or her book, or her toy, or her turn on the TV, or her breathing space.

And then 3 o’clock hits and the four big kids get home from school wanting food, a nap, TV time, a ride to Scouts or youth activities or a ride home from track or drama club or tutoring.

Within two hours I need to have dinner ready because Josh works nights and if I don’t have food for him he won’t eat until 2am.  Or, sometimes, I have food for him but he ended up sleeping later and doesn’t have time to eat and leaves without the nowhere-near-gourmet dinner I’ve prepared. 

After that it’s the nightly fights of dishes, picking up the toys, getting ready for bed, why didn’t you do your homework earlier?, you need WHAT for school tomorrow?, and just the typical teenage angst/toddler meltdown depending on the age of the kids.  Either way, it’s basically the same thing.

I’m burned out.  I don’t do anything for myself.  And I know why I don’t.  If I take time to do something I want to do, I’m not doing something I should do.  Therefore, I’m not a good mother.  Therefore, I’m selfish.  Or unfit.  Or a bad wife.  Or a horrible housekeeper.  Or a terrible cook/meal planner. 

Who am I even trying to prove myself to?  My husband?  Yes.  My kids? Yes.  My neighbor? Yes.  The girls from church (my only non-virtual social network)?  Yes.  Myself?  No.

No, I’m not trying to prove anything to myself.  Because I already know that I’m a horrible housekeeper.  I already know that I don’t like cooking.  I already know that my kids watch WAY too much TV.  I already know that it takes me a week to finish folding and putting away laundry even if it only takes a day to wash it.

I am not the ideal candidate for being a Pinterest-crafting, housework-loving, creative-playing stay-at-home mom. 

Then why do I even try?

Hence, my depressing dilemma.

I’ve often heard that if you have a question you can ask the Lord and He’ll answer you.  I know that happens.  I’ve experienced it before.  But I decided to see if maybe I’d get lucky at church on Sunday and get some insight as to why my life is so...ugh.

It was Easter Sunday.  Our ward has a new meeting time of 2pm.  It’s still new enough that I haven’t quite figured out how to make it work.  Despite my loathing of scrubbing toilets, I do enjoy creating a good strategy.  A plan.  Lists of all kinds are my friends.  But I don’t have this new meeting time down yet. 

Josh got home from work and we had our Easter egg hunts before he went off to bed.  Then the kids ate candy and played with the new games the Easter Bunny brought while I made dinner: BBQ pulled pork, potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad, deviled eggs.  We’d had ham the previous Sunday when family had been in town so I went a different way for dinner.  Specifically, I needed something that we could come home from church at 5:10pm and it would all be magically ready for us to eat since Josh’s shift started at 6pm and he needed to leave by 5:45.  If I stay at church the entire three-hour block I can’t plan to cook anything quickly enough for him to eat before heading out for the night. And I still had to get kids bathed, dressed, combed, and find church shoes.  This needed to be done close enough to church time that they can’t mess themselves up but not so late that we miss the first hour of church.  And somewhere in there I really needed to try to get a shower myself.

To make a long story short, Sunday afternoons are stressful.

Then there’s the whole taking seven kids to church by myself fiasco.  The arguments over who sits by mom and who sat by me last week and who can fit on my lap so the bigger kids can sit next to me and fussy kids because it’s naptime during Sacrament Meeting and I forgot the snacks to keep the little ones quiet.

I tried to focus on the purpose of Sacrament Meeting – partaking of the Sacrament, renewing my baptismal covenants.  My thoughts were quickly distracted from this sacred ordinance as I tried to balance two kids on my lap and make sure they each only took one piece of bread, not a handful, and later that the water they spill from the little cup gets mostly on me and not the floor.  What is supposed to be a spiritual time of meditation and prayer is spent shushing and balancing and grabbing little hands reaching for more “snack.”  I can’t even begin to tell you how unworthy of the Sacrament I feel just admitting all of this.

But I looked forward to the talks about the Savior.  About His sacrifice for us and His gift of resurrection for every person.  And then the thought entered my mind: We’re told Jesus knows each of our sorrows, our griefs.  He experienced all pain in the Garden of Gethsemane.  And the nagging, arrogant, rebellious voice in my head had the audacity to argue that He never experienced my life.  He never knew the monotony of 21st century routines. He never had little kids that bombarded His every move and kept Him from accomplishing any of His goals or desires.  Of course, I know His life was much more difficult.  He suffered beyond anything I can understand.  But, how does he understand me?

And that’s when it happened. 

I wanted to prove God and His ability to answer my questions.

Despite my pride and self-importance, He sent me a realization.

There had been a special musical number by a young girl on the harp (it was pretty amazing).  Usually there’s only one musical number per meeting, but for some reason there were two that day.  The second musical break was a congregational hymn, Where Can I Turn for Peace?  There were phrases that stuck out to me:

Where is my solace?

Where, when my aching grows…where can I run?

Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?

And then the third verse stunned me into silence and burned tears in my eyes.

He answers privately,

Reaches my reaching

In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.

“In my Gethsemane”?  MY Gethsemane?  My quiet corner of the world (or just my mind) where I suffer alone.  My attempts to give everything I have to everyone else and leave nothing for myself.  My quiet pleadings for solace but not knowing when they will ever be answered, if they even can be.

I realized, this was what I was experiencing.  Not a slump.  Not a monotonous routine to be endured.  My own Gethsemane where I felt alone, wounded, overwhelmed.  Suffering.

But as the hymn explains, I am not alone.  My Savoir and Friend is there with me.  I have a hard job right now.  My job description includes many things I am not good at or don’t enjoy doing.  My husband works hard to provide for us and is often either at work or asleep.  I do a lot on my own.  But I am never alone.  He guides me when I know I need to intercede in my teenager’s life.  He inspires me with individual responses to each of my children.  He reminds me of my goals and my ability to accomplish them in the past.  He prompts me with motivation to make our home livable and meals edible so it’s a delight (or at least not a dread) for Josh to come home to.

Of course, there’s no immediate solution to any of my troubles.  It took me three days to finally sit down to write this out because I felt it necessary to do other chores before the “frivolousness” of writing my feelings.  And there are toys strewn across the floor, the kitchen needs a good scrubbing, and towels need to be washed.  But there seems to be a bit more perspective now.  What’s important?  A clean house?  Yes.  Is it the most important? Well, sometimes it is.  Right now, though, I need to remember what I need.  And right now I need to recognize the good in my life.  My family.  My Savior.  Easter Sunday can be buried by the expectations of the obligatory Easter Bunny, or egg hunts, or rushing to church on time.  But really, it’s about the Savior and His Gethsemane for us.  For me.  In His Gethsemane he suffered for me.  In my Gethsemane he suffers with me. He does understand me.

 And He loves me anyway.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pregnancy Update

TMI pregnancy confession:

I thought I had gotten all good news from the OB today: no new things to worry about.  The last 18 weeks have been crazy.  Every time I came by to get a check up or progress report I learned new words.

Subchorionic hemorrhage
Choroid plexus cyst
Trisomy 18
Placental lake

To put it simply, all of these words suck. 

A subchorionic hemorrhage is a kind of like a blood clot between the placenta and uterus which can be reabsorbed without any complications to the pregnancy.  Sometimes you don't even see any symptoms of it except in an ultrasound.  Of course, that wasn't my story.  I got to have the gory, bloody hemorrhage.  It looked like a murder scene: Mrs Peacock in the bathroom with the lead pipe.  This happened at week 8.  The hemorrhage is finally gone.  All of it.  FINALLY!

Around week 18 we discovered a choroid plexus cyst in baby's brain.  Basically, a little extra cerebrospinal fluid built up in his brain.  It happens in about 1 in 100 babies and goes away on its own.  It's nothing to worry about when there are no other developmental problems.  Luckily, our baby has no other symptoms and so we can consider this a normal abnormality.  Normal abnormality.  I'm sure my former English professor would consider that a "wonderful paradox."

Trisomy 18 is a chromosomal defect that can sometimes be identified when a choroid plexus cyst is present.  It's scary.  And fatal.  It is one of the somethings to worry about when other developmental problems are discovered.  Our baby boy shows no markers of this defect.  We got this relieving news two days before Christmas. 

A placental lake is a blood pool found in the placenta.  I guess it's not as serious as it sounds.  But, seriously, how are you not supposed to worry when you find out there's a "lake" in your placenta? 

Except for the trisomy/cyst connection, none of these things have anything to do with each other.  Except that I've had all of them in this one pregnancy.

So when the provider at my appointment today told me that my hemorrhage was gone, the cyst had resolved itself, the echocardiogram we had (just in case) came back completely normal, and my placental lake was less than half its original size, I was relieved. 

Then she shocked me again.

Even my weight gain is on track.  She said I can gain ten more pounds and still be within a healthy gain.  I thought this was wonderful news.  And then I thought about it.


This baby still has six or seven more pounds to gain. 

I know, plenty of people have babies that are six or seven pounds after cooking for nine months.  I don't.  My last two babies have been over nine pounds each. 

This means that I'm not on track to stay within a healthy weight gain.  I'm on track to have a healthy, chubby baby and several weeks of "talks" from my provider over my strategies of controlling my weight gain.

"Choose healthier options."  I do.  I have plenty of dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.  Do you know why?  Because of antioxidants.  And because no one else in the house will eat it.

"Try to go walking more."  Because this is possible to do.  I'm carrying around a million more pounds than usual so my feet, knees and hips never hurt and make it hard to want to do anything but sit still. 

"Drink more water."  Mmm, water.  My favorite thing about ingesting food or beverage is the taste.  If only water had some.  (Not counting unfiltered Arizona water that tastes like barf.)

And so my optimism has taken a hit.  All good news about the baby.  And only a month or so left before the lectures begin.  I'll just nod and smile.  And I'll do my best to have a little more salad, a little more walking, and a little less chocolate.  Even if it is dark chocolate.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Losing More Than Just My Mind

We've lost the remote control to our television.  It's nowhere.  We've now torn apart the three couches in the living room, lifted them, looked in every drawer, nook and cranny. 

I don't think this is a "large family" problem.  I think it's more of a "we own a TV" problem. 

The real challenge comes in with the fact that the one-year-old has begun believing he's entitled to walk around the house with anything he can find, including the TV remote.

It could be anywhere.  And when I say "anywhere" that's exactly what I mean.

A week or two ago I noticed that the 2-year-old had lost the rubber stopper for her piggy bank.

 I figured it was long gone since I couldn't find it anywhere in her room.  A few days ago I found it.  In the bottom of the dishwasher. 

So now, looking for a lost item means looking everywhere.  Even inside the dishwasher.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Family That Might Not Have Been: Part 2

Writing the second half of this post was one of the main reasons I wanted to get back on the blog in the first place.  But for some reason it's been really hard to put all of this into words. 

Someone I love very much recently experienced a miscarriage.  Talking with her brought back so many of the memories and feelings I've had over the last several years.  It occurred to me that maybe there are things I can write that just need to be said. 

My first miscarriage was our very first pregnancy.  We were so excited and happy.  We knew about the pregnancy just long enough to tell everyone we knew.  Somehow good news is much easier to talk about than sad, crappy, depressing news.  So it took a while for us to tell everyone about losing the baby.  It's always fun to have to tell someone that the reason you look so good for being pregnant is because you're not.  (Insert sarcastic eye roll here.)

Our second miscarriage we discovered via ultrasound.  We'd had one successful ultrasound already.  We saw the baby's tiny heart beating.  It was there.  Right in front of us.  The next ultrasound, however, included the tech and the two of us talking about all sorts of trivial things.  And then she just stopped talking.  She got that look.  Maybe you know what I'm talking about.  It's the pursed lips, raised eyebrows, sad eyes, with a little head tilt.  Of course, she couldn't tell us what was wrong but it became obvious.  When we finally got to see the doctor she said I could get a d&c.  But I hadn't had any symptoms of the miscarriage yet so I had hoped beyond hope that maybe she was wrong.  So we waited and a week later everything began.

Even though she was only 1 mm, we could see her heart beating.

The third time we hadn't told very many people about the pregnancy at all.  Not even the kids.  Well, especially not the kids because once they know everyone knows.  But I was laying on my bed and felt the cramps.  The awful, horrible, heart-wrenching cramps.  I just grabbed my middle and cried.

All three times were different, but the aftermath all seemed to be the same process.  I discovered a lot about what's normal to feel after a miscarriage.  Pretty much, however you feel after you have a miscarriage is normal. 

After a miscarriage it's normal to feel:
  • super hormonal.  With pregnancy, your hormones begin to go nuts anyway.  They don't immediately flush out of your system.  It takes a few weeks, maybe even a few months, to go back to normal.  So if you're sitting there wondering why you just don't feel like yourself, it's because you're not.  And that's fine.
  • grief.  Lots and lots of grief.  I thought it was a sign of weakness that it took a week for me to stop crying after our first loss.  How could I not handle things?  I thought I was a strong person.  Come to find out, I had to put into words the fact that I lost a baby.  I lost a child.  Even though it had been so early in the pregnancy, I lost the opportunity to hold, snuggle, love, and kiss my baby.  I would never have a chance to physically love that child.  Grief was just a sign of my motherhood potential.  I was then, and always would be, a mother.
  • conflicting feelings about love and support.  Sometimes all I wanted was for Josh to take me in his arms, hold me, and whisper that everything would be okay.  Other times I cried after the lights were turned out or when he was at work because I didn't want him to feel obligated to take care of me if he needed support.  I had a hard time knowing if I wanted to be surrounded by people I love or completely shut away and alone.  There's no right answer here.  And there's no rhyme or reason to any of it.  But, I did learn that Josh often kept his feelings hidden from me because he wanted to be strong for me if I needed him.  Communication might have helped us a bit here. 
  • resentment towards kind words.  Many people offered us their condolences, completely sincere in what they said.  I can't quite put my finger on why what was said was wrong.  I think because it was just the wrong timing.  Right after losing our babies I just wanted a hug or a kind "I'm sorry."  There were a lot of medical reasons that were spouted to try to give me comfort, justifications for our loss.  Like, "there's nothing you could've done" or "maybe it was a chromosomal defect" or "it just wasn't meant to be."  I didn't need any of those offers of comfort, especially in the first week of loss.  And I never needed to hear, "Don't worry, there will be others."  I definitely didn't need to know how much less my pain was because I'd lost the pregnancy early and not five to eight months into it.  The first doctor I saw didn't call it a miscarriage or a loss.  She insisted on using the medically-correct term of "spontaneous abortion."  For someone who morally objects to elective abortion, this was as much of a slap to the face as the miscarriage itself.  Stupid doctor.  I still hate her.  She was in the category of people that couldn't seem to understand why I couldn't just "get over it."  There wasn't anything anyone could say that could help me just get over it.  I just needed time.  And someone to talk to that wouldn't pressure me into "feeling better."
  • denial.  The first and third miscarriages were hard to deny.  The symptoms of loss were blatant.  Cramping, bleeding.  But that second one, I held out hope.  I hoped so much that everything would magically be fine.  The doctor warned me that it could take as long as a week after discovering the loss on the ultrasound for symptoms to occur.  A week?  I didn't have the patience for that.  I just wanted a clear sign.  I prayed for the Lord to either make me morning sick again or make me cramp.  Because I would never quit hoping that everything would be fine.  And then I'd cry for a week when the sign came and I knew without a doubt that I was no longer pregnant.
  • disloyal.  After a while I thought I might be ready to try again.  But there was this nagging feeling that I hadn't honored the memory of our lost baby long enough.  As if trying again was negating that our baby had ever existed.  When the next pregnancy actually lasted longer than 8 weeks, I even felt a sort of "survivor guilt."  Not only was I leaving my lost babies behind, but now I was leaving other friends behind that didn't get to have a pregnancy that thrived.  That was a whole other feeling of disloyalty in and of itself.  It actually took a while for my guilt to subside into happiness in a successful pregnancy.
  • fear.  There was so much fear after the miscarriages, especially after having two in a row.  I feared getting pregnant again.  I didn't want to lose another one -- I was terrified of losing another one.  I didn't know if I'd have the strength to go through it again.  I feared NOT getting pregnant.  I didn't know how many more times I could handle a negative pregnancy test while waiting to finally get pregnant again.  But after keeping the pregnancy after the last two miscarriages, I was afraid to truly acknowledge and accept that a baby would actually make it this time.  I didn't want to bond with a baby I wouldn't get.  Again.  I remember vividly as I laid on the operating table (because I had a C-section) holding my breath and waiting for the cry.  It was as she finally made noise that the surreality of the pregnancy finally lifted and I knew my baby was safe. 
  • anger.  Anger is a really easy emotion to feel.  And there are so many reasons to be angry when you miscarry.  Why can't I stop crying?  Why can't I just get over it?  Why can't I function normally?  Why can't I just have my baby when that is such a righteous desire?  Why does she get a baby when I don't?  Why doesn't the world stop turning long enough so I can catch my breath and just be sad?  Why does God think I'm strong enough to handle this?  The only thing I ever did that helped dispel the anger was to get down on my knees and pour my heart out to the same God whose judgment I questioned.  Thankfully, He's understanding and loves me more than I give Him credit for.  And He's pretty forgiving for my narrow-mindedness.  Anger is the easiest part of losing a baby. 
I'm a firm believer that you have to know the bad to appreciate the good.  As much as I hate that I've experienced all of these things I know that I needed to.  I can be so ungrateful and selfish.  I needed to hurt and ache so I could see how much good I have in my life.  In our home now there are lots of messes and complaints and crying.  But I've discovered how lucky I am to have those messes, complaints and crying.  This family of ours didn't come easily.  But I'm so grateful to finally have these incredible kids in my life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Family That Might Not Have Been: Part 1

I have to preface this post with the notion that I truly believe that Josh and I were a family even before the kids came along.  We had made promises and covenants and gave our lives to each other.  According to the laws of God and man, we were bound together as one unit.  A family.

But there was more I wanted for my family.  I wanted kids.  Oh, I wanted kids so bad.  People would tell me to wait and enjoy just being married.  I did enjoy the time of just the two of us.  We had lots of fun together going out to dinner or the arcades or Josh's softball games. 

But there was always a feeling of someone missing.  Lots of someones missing.  I just wanted to start meeting who they were and welcome them into our home.  I knew there would be a partnership not only between Josh and me but between God and me, as well as God and Josh.  I wanted to enjoy counting toes and giggles.  But mostly I wanted to know if I could even carry a child.

Two years before I met Josh, while he was off in South Africa serving a mission, I was at college and on my own for the first time.  I ended up having some intense pains and discovered that I displayed "endometriosis-like symptoms."  I didn't have endometriosis, and really I didn't know much about what it was.  All I knew was the few people I knew who had it had been unable to conceive children. 

And I was petrified.

I was even more petrified when the time came to tell Josh that I might not be able to give him the babies he and I both wanted.  I felt ashamed and unworthy to even be his wife.  How could we start a life together with me already being so far behind where I should be?  How could I be everything he needed if I couldn't be a fully functioning woman?

Now, here's the part where I need to thoroughly stress: These were my feelings of myself at that time.  I share them only to identify with anyone who has ever felt the same things.  Infertility is heartbreaking.  But there's nothing about it that lessens who a woman (or man) actually is.  Thankfully, Josh helped me to understand that early in our relationship.

This terror that I felt is a part of my journey.  And one reason why I feel the way I do about pregnancy, life, and loss. 

And it might help to clarify why this pregnancy that I'm experiencing now is so important to me.  Not only is this our seventh baby, the one we've been waiting the longest for, but it's my tenth pregnancy. 


In an effort to not make this post too long, I'm going to break it down a bit. My point of this post is this: Infertility is scary.  And horrifying.  And torturous. And it makes you think stupid and untrue things about yourself.  It causes pain beyond what you ever comprehended before.  It makes you ask, "Why?" when all you want is something so righteous.  It brings doubt and fear into your life.  And all of these things are a normal part of the whole experience. 

My heart truly breaks for those who battle with this with no end in sight.  Thankfully, I also know families blessed by the power of adoption and the incredible insight of birth parents.  I'm sure that is a whole slew of other emotions and experiences, none of which I have any clue about so I'm just going to end there.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Reviving the Dead... Blog

It's been a really long time since I blogged.  Really. long.  This is of no fault of my own, of course.  It's life's fault.  Life and pregnancy.  And kids.  And pretty much every other excuse possible.

My last entry was written while I was pregnant with Kid 6.  Now I'm pregnant with Kid 7.  Yeah, seven kids. 

This is actually the reason I decided to revive this old blog.  Even in my days of religiously blogging I never considered myself a Mommy-blogger.  In fact, the very title makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little.  But, I am a mom.  I have mother-related happenings that could use some sharing.  I don't know that I could ever be a professional blogger.  I don't have words of wisdom to share with others.  I have no training, other than life, to share "The Four Things Ruining Your Marriage" or "Seven Things Every Child Needs to Hear."  Those types of blogs are all well and good, but that's not what I've got.

I've got years of mistakes.  Years.  I've got a short temper that I'm training to lengthen itself.  I've got sarcasm and just a little bit of anger here and there.  I've got guilt flowing out the wazoo.  I've got regrets with no rhyme or reason to them.  I've got no training in psychology, sociology, philosophy, or normalcy.

But I've got a big family that I love.  I've decided to take some time to devote this blog to focusing on what a big family is like.  We've had plenty of doubts about having a large family.  We've also had plenty of doubts that we'd even have a family at all.  Some days the chaos is ignorable.  Some days the quiet is nothing but trouble.  But it's something that I can share with anyone who will listen (or read).  Maybe someone out there will understand the need some of us have for having lots of kids. Maybe that someone will be me when I'm having a rough day and wondering what the heck I've gotten myself into.

I'm really hoping to get on here a few times a week.  It's not my New Year's resolution.  That would mean I'm setting myself up for failure because I have yet to accomplish any resolution I've ever made.  But it is a goal that happens to start toward the beginning of the year.  And I've completed goals.  After all, before we got married we said we wanted seven kids.  And we've been crazy enough to keep at it until it happened.  Although, you remain poor and have nothing to do long enough, seven kids is bound to happen eventually.

I'm looking forward to having some fun with this idea.