Friday, November 30, 2012

I am... Finished

with NaBloPoMo!!!

I'd better say Merry Christmas to everyone now since I may not be back until the new year, ha ha. Like a lot of things in life, I'm glad I did it, and also glad it's over.


On a more somber note. Exactly four years ago I sent N and J to school in the morning and in the afternoon, they were picked up by someone else, never to be mine again. It is a painful memory, but this morning I had the sweetest dream. I got to see them as young ladies and tell them so many things that have been stored in my heart these four years.

I hope my Christmas wish comes true this year, that finally, I will hear news of them.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I am... That Mom

I took Raccoon to visit a preschool today. With the baby coming and all, I thought he might like to have a few hours a week where he gets to run around and play with other children. He's a bit of a hermit, although oddly enough he seems to have some qualities of an extrovert as well. At least in the sense that he wants my or my husband's attention all the time. Does he need time away from us, or at least time with other children? The socialization question has been bothering me recently.

The place we visited was the same preschool that I used for N and J during their time with us, so there were a lot of bittersweet memories going through my head this morning. One of the staff members is still the same and it felt surprisingly good to catch up, even though I don't have any news about the girls. Just having someone know about them and that they were in my life was nice.

Why am I thinking of sending him to preschool? (Goals)
* For him to realize that other children are not always a threat and can be fun
* To improve his second language (he understands it but doesn't speak it and this is increasingly becoming an obstacle with my husband's family)
* I am exhausted with the pregnancy and Raccoon not sleeping, so honestly, I could use a break

I loved this post about being "That Mom." I know that's what the teacher was thinking, that Raccoon is the way he is because I am overprotective. Maybe yes, and maybe no. Except for a few hours he's spent with my husband while I ran errands, I have been there for every minute of his life. Exhausting? Yes. Rewarding? Yes. Have my husband and I ever gone somewhere together and left him? Um, no. But only because we've never found a babysitter who can handle him, family member or not. Is he really that intense? Yes.

I think when you have a child with special needs, especially "invisible" ones like SPD, it is easy to get labeled as a helicopter parent. I realize that I am helping Raccoon function at home in ways that the teacher will not because most children his age don't require that kind of support. Can they cope with his perfectionism, his need-to-know, his easy frustration, his sensory overload? I am not sure, and I suspect that the only way to find out is to dive in.

Now the question is, am I actually going to send him there or not?

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I am... Curious

I once heard someone say something like, "I'm curious about things that I'm not even interested in," and the phrase stuck with me, because I also have a raging sense of curiosity. I especially like hearing people talk about things they are passionate about, even if it's not a topic I find interesting independently. This is why I took AP Biology in high school, simply because I enjoyed the teacher's enthusiasm. Lately I've been wondering...

1) How can my son and I get the same amount of sleep (7 hours on a good night and a 2 hour nap), but he's raring to go all day and I am barely conscious?

2) How do people just let go of the mistakes they've made, you know, the really big ones?

3) Why does the kitchen light sometimes work for me and sometimes not, yet it unfailingly turns on for my husband?

4) Why do weird things happen to me? When I come home with stories, my husband just shakes his head and sighs, as if somehow everything must be my fault because nothing out of the ordinary ever happens to him.

5) Where do all of my lost things go? If misplacing things was an art form, then I'd be at 42 instead of 41 on my bucket list. The house I currently live in is like the Bermuda Triangle for random objects. I am currently looking for my engagement ring (the stone fell out so I put it "somewhere safe" until I could get the sapphire replaced), my cookie cutters, most of my socks, and other odd things.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I am... Praying

for this little girl, Zoey, to find a family. Zoey was one of the names I considered for baby Robin, and her story makes my heart ache. She is currently at an ophanage in Bulgaria, 6 years old and weighs 10 pounds.

What a world we live in. I am speechless.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bucket List

So how many things on this list have you done? Mine are in bold - 41 so far.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Don't ask my why there are just 99, I don't know. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Weeks Pregnant

I really like my doctor at the birth clinic. I found him when I was 36 weeks pregnant with Raccoon and very stressed out about the whole pregnancy experience/birth process. He's confident, soothing, and capable. Some people aren't in favor of extra ultrasounds, but I love(d) seeing my babies at every appointment. I got a 3-D picture of Robin this time, and it was amazing to see her little face. It makes it so real. I have to say though, she seems to look a lot like her brother, but with more cheeks. I have this feeling that she's going to be a chunky monkey. Her current estimated weight is 1643 g (+/- 240 g) or 3.6 lbs.

Of course my boy would get those convenient skinny genes from his dad and my little girl the chubby ones from me. Ever since we started dating I was hoping it would be the other way around, but sometimes that's just the way the cookie crumbles. Only 10 more weeks to go. I'm glad Christmas is in the middle because I know the time will fly with decorating, shopping, parties, and family gatherings.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I am... in a Christmas mood

What with one thing and another, I have not really enjoyed Christmas much for the last few years. But this year, I am feeling a glimmer of the holiday spirit. On Thanksgiving, I really missed being with my family, so instead Raccoon and I put up our Christmas decorations, everything except the tree.

One and two were fun, but so far, having him be three years old this year is my favorite. He unwrapped my Christmas village buildings with me and helped me set up the creche. Those were always my two favorite things to do when I was growing up. He also asked to read our special Christmas books that only come out once a year, and he sat through all of them. We ended our Christmasy day with "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (cartoon) while we ate lunch. Knowing that next year, Lord willing, we'll have a 10 month old toddling around making a mess has inspired me to try some things with Raccoon this year that we may not be able to do next year.

I'm not sure what I want to do for SB, N, and J, but just the freedom to include their memories this year makes me feel better, since I won't have to spend my energy on trying not to think about them. I know that I want to include some small pictures I have of them that I have been carrying around in my wallet, perhaps on a special ornament or by a miniature tree with a candle.

I am also thinking about what I want to do this year for some special children I know. Whenever I feel down, I think about reaching out, a sure way to cheer myself up and help someone else, too. My husband and I have decided not to do gifts for each other, so we'll have a little bit of money for special things. Raccoon will have presents under the tree, but I want him to be involved in giving to others this year as well.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Foody Friday

On Sunday, I didn't know what to offer Raccoon for supper, so I ended up doing one thing at a time. Surprisingly, it worked really well. First he drank some freshly squeezed orange juice, then he at a large piece of fish, then he ate half an apple and a few pieces of avocado. The avocado is new and I put it on the plate with his apple just for exposure. I was so surprised he actually ate it 3 of 4 pieces!! Later he at some of my rice and hamburger, which is also new and only acceptable sporadically.

I usually put everything on separate plates, but on his little table all at the same time. I think I'll try the progressive dinner idea more often.

The good news is that Raccoon has gained a pound this month, despite being sick for most of it. He weighs 29 pounds, so we're almost into the 30s!!! He weighed 21 pounds as a one year old, so it has taken us a loooooong time to get here.

And I just have to say, seeing him sit down and eat a good meal, without a single "No thank-you, Mama," is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Foody Friday is my way of sharing the struggles and joys of having a resistant eater, the category way beyond picky.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I am... Wishing

with all my heart that I could be with my family on Thanksgiving.

It is just another day here. My husband will be working, and Raccoon and I will be home alone. But I am looking forward to my mom's visit in February to help out with baby Robin. Maybe I can convince my dad to come too.

Looking forward, looking back, I find it hard to stay in the moment. So this isn't very original but it is still important. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:

*my family
*warm weather

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Feel Better Protocol

Different bad day reasons, but I really liked the idea. Here's mine:

*Take a shower, as hot and long as possible
*Afterwards, dress in something frivolous
*Snuggle up to a movie with Raccoon
*Try to let go of the feeling that I am the worst mother ever
*Remember that tomorrow, or this afternoon, or this evening, or just right now, can be a new beginning
*Call a friend, or my mom
*Get out of the house the next day

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Goldilocks Day

Today we are stuck in yes-no-too-much-not enough land. Raccoon seems caught between baby and little boy, making everything a wrong fit.

"I want to be an Indian." I help him put on his headdress which he immediately tears off and throws to the ground.

"I want you to paint my face." I do and he wipes it off immediately, as if I'm torturing him.

"I want to play boat." Throws a fit that our boat is too small, rejects every idea for how to build a different boat.

Then we cycle back to #1 "I want to be an Indian," as if I'm stopping him from fulfilling his destiny.

Yesterday was a whiny day. Today started off better, but quickly descended into whiny land once again. I try to remind myself that he whines when he doesn't feel good, when he's tired, or when everything is just too much. I pray and ask the Lord to give me strength. Not patience (I don't want more trials, thank you very much), but endurance, grace, mercy. To not raise my voice. To not sit on the couch and cry with him after a morning of "everything's wrong." To figure out something reasonable for lunch, now that we've eaten all the ice cream and chips.

And one last prayer for the day, "Please, Lord, let today have a naptime in it."

Monday, November 19, 2012

I am... Reflecting

A new year is coming up.
   I am almost done being 30.
      I will soon go from one to two kids.
         I'm wondering what life theme I should pick for next year.
            My words of the year for 2012 were "do it now," mostly referring to cleaning.
                  What do I want to change as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, and just for me?

I wish I could write extensively about each of these, but my toddler did not nap today and we are both fading quickly. So instead it's off to french fry land for supper and then early to bed, I hope.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I am... Happy

Having a very active three year old around doesn't leave me much time for thinking during the day. But during the temporary quiet of naptime, my thoughts come tumbling out. I take advantage of the quiet to do my devotions and lately I have been reading Psalms. David talks often of God giving us our heart's desire (Ps 20:4, Ps 21:2), and today I had the surprising thought that, right now, I am happy with my life.

Of course there are things in the past that I wish I could change, things that I still mourn, and things I am waiting for, but at the same time, I am grateful and blessed. God has given me my heart's desire with baby Robin, and I am finally looking forward again instead of just back. Today, I celebrate.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I am... Hoping

There is a mocking voice in my head that says, "What made you think you could handle two kids?" As my due date approaches, the voice is getting louder and louder. Sometimes, especially late at night, I give in to fear, but I mostly try to respond with hope.

I hope that baby Robin will:

*be a mellow baby
*take to nursing easily
*sleep well right from the start
*not have any food or other allergies
*not feel like she has to keep up with her big brother
*and maybe I'll put sleep on the list again, just to emphasize it's importance
*be patient (I add this to my list after dealing with a full day of meltdown after meltdown)

For Raccoon, I hope that I will be amazed at how well he handles having a little sister.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I am... Counting

my blessings
the days until Christmas
the weeks until baby Robin is here
the months until I see family next summer
how many pregnancy pounds I've gained so far
the moments I have left with just Raccoon and me
Raccoon's toys
NaBloPoMo posts

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I am... Dreaming

of a white Christmas... but no snow for us this year. Next year hopefully we'll be spending Christmas in the States with family, so Raccoon and Robin will get to see snow then.

I went to the library yesterday, and my books aren't due back until December. What!? I've been so busy with things (being sick mostly) that the holidays have snuck up on me this year. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, so at the stores it's straight from back-to-school decorations in September to Christmas things in October, but I wait until December to put up our tree.

I'm looking forward to following this...

and doing some things this year in memory of my three girls in December.

The only thing I want for Christmas is a happy month of family celebrations, and to have my baby girl safely in my arms after the New Year.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I am... Anticipating

(in random order)

*hair bows
*less one-on-one time with Raccoon, sweetening our time together now
*putting up our Christmas tree
*Christmas chocolates
*New Year's Eve family time
*even less sleep than usual after the New Year
*pink baby clothes
*big boy shoes
*my first solo outing with two kids
*nursing again
*the first very bad, horrible day with two
*falling in love with another little person
*watching Raccoon grow into being a big brother
*infancy being easier this time around
*the moment we share her name with everyone
*family wrestling - two kids against Daddy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I am... like Charlie

Am I talking about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? No, but who wouldn't want to live next to a chocolate waterfall!

I'm talking about the Charlie from Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom by L.M. Alcott. I read her books as a young girl, and her description of one of the cousins, Charlie, as he lay dying has always stayed with me. Alcott wrote, "But Charlie bore it manfully; for he had the courage which can face a great danger bravely, though not the strength to fight a bosom-sin and conquer it." He could face the big things in life like death with courage and heroism, it was the little things that were his undoing.

This is me. I am always looking for the next big thing. I can do the big gestures, make the big sacrifices, but I get stuck in the mundane parts of life. Big things inspire me, bring out the best in me, but to faithfully follow through day after day with duty and the mundane... I struggle. 

I definitely am - or was? - a "fool's rush in" kind of gal. There is a cost for all things and so far I've had to pay far more than I could afford. I now have heart-debts that will never completely go away. There are still moments when I want to jump in, but I have changed, matured... become afraid. There are moments when I still long to do great things, but doubt paralyzes me.

If my plans are not of the Lord, they will fail. I know this full well. I just keep feeling the Lord telling me to wait, and I am afraid that my life will be like Sarah's, on hold for 25 years. Like me, she didn't want to wait and now we have an enduring conflict between two peoples, descendants of Ismael and Isaac. How long must I wait? I am afraid that I will not be useful to the Lord until I am old. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before God called him at 80. Oh dear. Jesus started at 30, that makes me feel a little more hopeful, but King David never got to do what he wanted the most, to build God's temple. And some people only ever did one big thing, that we know of at least - Gideon, Esther, Noah. Was God pleased with what they did for the rest of their lives? I wonder.

I love my child(ren). I am blessed to be able to stay at home. I am grateful for all that I have been given, and for second chances. Despite this, all the good I know I have, life still seems bleak to me sometimes. My current life is great, yet I never imagined this being it. I am used to having a big dream to hold onto to get me through the have-to-do things, but now I have none.

If there is something else out there for me to do, what am I supposed to be doing while I wait?

The answer that keeps coming back to me is all those little things, exactly what I struggle with the most. I think of the verse (Luke 19:17) that says something like, "he who is faithful in little will be given much." Why should I expect the "much" when on some days I can't even successfully manage with the little I have? My husband asks me this all the time. I don't know the answer to that, since logically there is none. All I do know is that there is a yearning in my soul for more.

Because that's my real question, right? If it's not big, it's not enough? I've known the Lord since I was little, am the daughter of parents in full-time ministry, have been waiting to grow up all my life so I could finally do something, then messed up when I had the chance. Where are the masses I should have led to Christ? I look back and there is nobody there.

What's that, Lord... You delight in me... me?

Perhaps there is still something big left in my future, but I don't need to do it to earn God's approval. I am already accepted, already loved.

But I wanted to make You proud, Lord.

He whispers to my soul, "I already am, dear daughter of mine."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear Robin

Raccoon needs you to be his little sister. He needs you to show him that messing up is okay. That he is able to do so many things. That he's no longer the smallest, but is strong and capable. I can't wait to add you to our family, little one. Hiccups and all.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

28 Weeks Pregnant

Or 30, depending on various factors and two different doctor opinions. But I'm sticking with 28 since I'd rather have her "early" than "late."

How has this pregnancy been different than my first? I feel like everything has been earlier - feeling her move (10 wks!), heartburn, feeling huge, not sleeping, the waddle, prego brain fog... I'm still waiting for the "pregnant glow," although my mom did say I look well, but I'm not sure mom-comments count. Everyone else has pretty much stuck to variations of the "You don't look that pregnant..." except for my husband who affectionately calls my belly "his little mountain." During Raccoon's pregnancy I called myself "the whale," because seriously, I was that huge, and looked like I was carrying a tire around my waist instead of a cute baby belly.

We have finally declared a truce picked a name. Now just for spelling and fine-tuning the pronunciation between two languages.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I am... Relieved

Raccoon has been sick for forever two weeks now and our whole family is exhausted. He had an allergy flare-up (too much junk food at the end of October) and then he developed croup. We are just starting to get back to normal and his sleeping is still off. My husband and I have been taking turns during the night every 2-3 hours (can I just say how much I love that man in a crisis). When I got up around 5 am on Tuesday morning, Raccoon seemed so sick that it really scared me. My husband was holding Raccoon the same way he used to hold SB, and Raccoon was lying there so limply with such a blank stare, that I had a terrifying flashback. He perked up when he saw me and wanted me to tell him a story, but I couldn't get the words out. I was crying and didn't want him to notice as he was snuggled up in my arms. I try not to think about it, but I don't know how I would survive if I lost him too.

I have recently started reading this blog, one of seventeen, and she wrote a post called the fear factor that really resonates with me, although her loss is much more recent. Lori wrote a similar post on her blog awhile ago when one of her sons was sick. There is so much I could say, but others have said it first and better, so I won't write it all out again. I do agree that after losing a loved one - especially a child - I think the anxiety about whomever we have left is so much more intense.

Today he is almost back to his spunky, jumpy, mischievous self, and as exasperating as that can be sometimes, it is a huge relief to see him feeling better.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I am... Still Home

Well, today we were supposed to be traveling to the beach. But Raccoon has been pretty sick this week, so we've put off our trip once more.

I wanted this to be us -

But since this was more likely given the last week or so, we decided to stay home.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am... Living Overseas

As you could probably tell from yesterday's post, I do not currently live in the United States, although I was born there. I like this post that talks about raising children overseas. I also partially grew up overseas (from 10 years old on), so I think of some things from a child's point of view. And now that I am a mother raising my own child overseas, there are other things I wonder about.

* Raccoon is growing up bilingual
* The richness and diversity that surrounds us
* Climate - year round warm temps

* I miss my extended family, especially my parents.
* Sometimes I wish I could count on little things working the way they're "supposed" to, such as running hot water and my printer.
* Those body image comments, yup, could live without those

Good and Bad
* We are surrounded by beauty but also incredible poverty. Raccoon will not have a life insulated from human suffering and need.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I am... Fat

I was at a park with my son recently and I had the following conversation with a complete stranger (note: I live in a country where personal comments are not seen as inappropriate).

Her: Is he your only son?
Me: Yes, and one on the way.
Her: How much time do you have left?
Me: Three months.
--She looks at me again, slowly.--
Her: Oh, I didn't notice that you were pregnant, I thought you were just fat.

And a few days earlier, I was visiting somewhere I haven't been for 6 months or more. This is a recreation of the conversation I had with the guard.

Him: How are you? Anything new?
Me: I'm pregnant.
Him: Congratulations. I could tell that you're a lot heavier than the last time I saw you. I'm glad it's because you're pregnant and not just fatter.

Okay, so here's the thing. When pregnant with Raccoon, I gained 40 pounds total, and so far I've only gained about 24 pounds with baby Robin, but apparently this time around I look bigger? Even my husband thinks I'm as big at 6 months with baby Robin as I was at 9 months with Raccoon. I had to look at pictures tonight to see for myself... it might be true. That and I have the same squarish belly.

One more thing to make you say, huh? Raccoon weighs exactly the same on my home scale and the doctor's scale. Exactly. But I, on the other hand, weigh 10 pounds more at the doctor's office! Not just one or two, but ten. How is this possible?!

Totally not important in the grand scheme of things, but it's NaBloPoMo, so I had to write about something, right? :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I am... So Sleepy

This post has been hanging out in my head for quite awhile. As I've mentioned before, Raccoon is not a good sleeper, and has never slept much, even as an infant. He's NEVER techincally "slept through the night" (8+ hour stretch) and July of this year was the first time he stayed asleep for more than 3 hours consecutively. Since then, his sleep has gradually improved and now he does a 6 to 7 hour stretch at night and then is ready to get up. My mom says I should put him to bed earlier, but as a night person, I have chosen my preferred 7 hours for sleeping - midnight to 7 am. Maybe 8 am if I'm lucky. At playgroup, my friends console themselves with the thought, "Well, at least Z sleeps more than Raccoon." I am not whining (well, maybe a little), but wanted to paint a picture of my recent relationship with sleep.

Along the way, I have collected a few thoughts and decided to put them all in one place, since in three months more, I imagine that sleep will be even more scarce for awhile.

* I don't need as much as I thought I did.
* Lying down (while we play) helps me to feel better even if I can't sleep.
* What I tell myself often - "Sooner or later, I will sleep again, probably later."
* Having something to look forward to helps me to forget how tired I am.
* If he's sleeping, I'm sleeping. I sometimes do a quick clean (15 min) or journal a bit, but at naptimes, I try to lie down within 30 minutes of him falling asleep.
* I try to accept however much I am given - gratefully - whether it's 10 min or 2 hours, because no matter how long it was, it's probably not going to feel like it was enough anyway.
* How much sleep I actually get may or may not have anything to do with how I feel when I wake up. Sometimes 6 hours feels great while 10 (cumulative not consecutive) can leave me wanting more.
*He can't stay up forever.
*I just have to make it through today.

My frequent prayer whenever I lie down is, "Please Lord, help me to feel rested and to have a good attitude about it, no matter much sleep I actually get." Sometimes I still have to count to 10 before I get up, but in general, I am much more accepting of my interrupted sleep now than I was three years ago. (Just ask dear hubby what happened if he woke me up when we were first married!!!)

How do other people cope with chronic exhaustion? Tips?

Monday, November 5, 2012

I am... Amazed

at how much my baby has grown up between 2 and 3 years old. Some things I'm celebrating:

* After co-sleeping with us since he was an infant, Raccoon moved to his own bed in April and has never looked back. Dear Uncle R., I will be forever grateful to you for the Cars air mattress and sleeping bag at your house the nights we slept over, which were the catalyst for this unexpected development.

* Potty training - I'm still amazed when he stops playing and takes himself off to successfully take care of business. It's so much less work now <huge sigh of relief>.

* I weaned him at 35 months old. I don't share this much since most people thought he was already weaned long before that (towards the end we only nursed privately at home). With all of his allergies, eating struggles, and meltdowns, it was still a necessary part of our lives until recently. I'm very proud of him for this particular "big boy" transition.

* Although we still deal with daily meltdowns, they are less frequent and intense. He can tolerate so many more things now than he used to. Bathing, dressing, brushing teeth, washing his face and hands, grocery shopping, doing errands, riding in the car... all these things are slowly becoming less of a struggle. His imagination has really taken off this year, and part of the way he processes things when the world is too much is to help me make up stories about his favorite imaginary friends, Peter (a little boy) and Jon (a dragon), who have to deal with similar struggles.

What will I write about next year, what will he accomplish between 3 and 4? Whatever it is, I know that another year with you, my little man, will be equally amazing.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Orphan Sunday

I had a different post scheduled for today, but upon discovering that today is Orphan Sunday, I knew that was more important.

For a very eye-opening post about orphans in need, go here. One of my favorite explanations (also from that same blog) is this: "We are not all called to adopt children. But the Bible is as clear as daylight--we are commanded to care for the orphan (James 1:27). "Caring" looks different for every single one of us. Some are called to go. Some are called to help. Some are called to support. Some are called to encourage. And some are called to give!"

Even though my heart wishes to do more, for today I am trying to spread the word and also praying for the many children I know of who are waiting for families.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I am... Grateful

Despite how hard the last three years (and more) have been, I am grateful. I am blessed. November is a great month for thankfulness. Sometimes I can get too focused on the negatives and forget to appreciate the good things in my life. So today, I am grateful that:

* I have an amazing three year old son
* Baby Robin moves around so much, reassuring me that she's okay.
* I am still married.
* I have a house, food, clothes, and all those other material things.
* Jesus saves.
* Christmas is coming! I finally feel ready to celebrate this year. I might even put up my decorations early.
* I recently organized all of Raccoon's things, so our living room no longer looks like a toy depot and we can actually sit on our couches.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Foody Friday

On Tuesday, I felt very successful when I put down a fairly balanced meal on my son's table for lunch. Melon pieces on one plate, meat pieces on another, and noodles with spaghetti sauce in a bowl. He likes it all separate so that if he doesn't want something, I can take it away without it touching his other food. When I actually saw him eating something off each plate, I think I heard angels singing. I just wanted to celebrate this victory, hooray!

p.s. I can't believe it's November already!!!

Foody Friday is my way of sharing the struggles and joys of having a resistant eater, the category way beyond picky.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I am...

going to do it!

I've been thinking about joining National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), and there are so many things I want to capture right now that I've decided to jump in. I am planning on a series of posts that start with "I am..." mixed with some of my usual randomness as well.

Today's post -

I am a mother of five.

When people find out that I'm having a girl, they often say something like, "That's perfect, one of each." This bothers me, although I don't say anything because I know that most of them have no idea. I will never have the "perfect" family because my first three little girls are gone. As another mama put it at the end of her third pregnancy (her first daughter died at birth): "Somehow even this far in it doesn't seem real, or possible, to end in a place where our family is complete. Perhaps that's because we'll always be a partial circle, never closed, always reaching across a gap where she should be."

Raccoon was walking hand in hand with two of his older cousins the other day and I thought - this is what our family should have looked like. Raccoon should be both a younger and older brother. I'm not sure how exactly we would have survived the craziness, but I still wish it had been so.

It has been five years since SB died, and four years since N and J went home with another family. If things had turned out differently, we would have had a 9, almost 8, 7 and 3 year old for the holidays this year. The assumption seems to be that I'm "over them," especially now that I'm having a girl, but this year I'm breaking the silence. I still miss all three of them. I wish they were here.

I found some of SB's hair cream the other day and when I smelled it, I felt like it had only been five minutes since the last time I pulled her springy curls into pigtails. Doing their hair is one of my favorite memories for all three of my girls, but especially N. How she loved her mirror time! Raccoon sometimes wears a jacket that belonged to J, and my memories of her wearing it at 3 are so bittersweet. I met someone who remembered SB and spoke her name last week. I have decided that I will be speaking their names this year, and telling Raccoon their stories.