When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


Perfect Timing

I ache. For the last 3-4 weeks, unless I am sitting fairly still, somewhere in my body, something hurts...a lot. I don't get it. Pregnancy has always kind of been my thing. In general, I have loved it. I don't get morning sickness, I love my hair, nails and skin, I love not trying to suck in my stomach for a 40-week stretch, etc. This time around, however, due to the physical pain, I just don't like it.

That is why, when I hoisted my enormous body into the van after my 39 week check-up, I was crying. I had been certain all of the late-night painful contractions were doing something. Wrong! "No change," the doctor smiled sweetly. "He just doesn't want to come out yet." Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Afraid my smile looked more like a grimace or perhaps a sneer, I asked, "Well what if I want him to come out?" "Oh don't worry," she laughed, "we won't let him walk out of you. We'll induce you before you reach 41 weeks." Oh gee, what a relief! Thanks! I hobbled back to the van.

Then I had a revelation today. As I was holding Maddie on my lap and kissing the top of her head, I realized that if Jack had already been born, these precious two hours of cuddle-time with my 2 year old would likely never have happened.

My church recently built a new auditorium with big screens. As part of their summer outreach program, they have offered family-friendly movies every Wednesday morning to anyone who wants to come (complete with free popcorn and bottled water). Let's just say I've taken full advantage of this program.

I was extremely diligent [militant] with Parker's T.V. viewing when I was a new mom. He had absolutely no television until he was two, and then it was watched very sparingly (a 15 minute show before bedtime). He was only 18 months when Maddie arrived, so the television was a part of her little life before age 2 (what would the pediatrician say?!). These days, I can see the benefit of a more relaxed attitude toward the television (though I am still pretty anal about how much they are allowed to view).

Maddie could care less. She often skips her "show" altogether, preferring to read or work a puzzle instead. Parker, on the other hand, is glued to any flickering image with the drooling, open-mouth stare of a drug addict getting a fix. Taking him to the movies is a cinch. Maddie loses interest, and we end up in the lobby playing pretend, reading, or doing a puzzle [it's amazing what I can fit into my purse].

So, while the summer movies at church have been fun, they have not been quite as relaxing as I had hoped. If Grandma can't join us, Parker ends up whining in the lobby, or Maddie ends up whining in the auditorium.

Today was different, however. I don't know if it was the movie (Despicable Me), the warm blanket I'd packed [thank you, ginormous purse], or Maddie acclimating to longer viewing sessions [perish the thought!]. Whatever the reason, Maddie watched the entire movie. It was heaven. Not just the sitting down without having to move part (which was also greatly appreciated), but the cuddle-with-Maddie-for-2-straight-hours part. Not since she was an infant has she been in my arms for that long a stretch. I rubbed her soft arms, smelled her hair, kissed her head. It brings me to tears knowing that my arms will be full of another person soon. As much as I can't wait for that to happen (and to be free of all this discomfort), I am so grateful for the blessing of today and the precious time spent holding my girl.


A Golden Age

There are times when life is just good - when the kids are loving and oddly compliant, when your husband is overly-attentive, when friends (with generally hectic schedules) are readily available, when God just seems nearer somehow. Sometimes they are fleeting moments, like when the I catch the kids singing to each other at nap-time after a particularly rough morning, and sometimes they seem to stretch on and on.

This is one of those golden times. Our dear neighbor, Alex, is visiting us from Seattle. She is an anomaly. She has the exuberance one might expect from a teenager but also demonstrates responsibility, emotional maturity, and selflessness that are well beyond her years. We love her!

I was a little nervous that her visit was to occur so near my due date. I didn't want to go into labor and have her feel awkward about moving in with my extended family. I also didn't want to miss out on time spent with her myself. Plus at 38 weeks pregnant, I was concerned I couldn't be an attentive hostess and that she would be bored.

Of course, God's timing is flawless. Jack has not arrived, and if Alex weren't here, I would be drumming my fingers, snappy with the kids, cleaning like mad, etc. Her visit has been just what the doctor ordered. I find myself letting little chores slide, playing quietly with the kids in the mornings while she sleeps (she is a teenager, after all), and relaxing.

In addition to having Alex here, the kids' behavior has been, well, odd. Not bad odd, wonderful odd. I don't know whether or not this is a reflection of my own relaxed attitude, but they are so cooperative and loving it's almost spooky. Some days I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. For example, yesterday morning, they played with the same puzzle [sharing it - *gasp*], for nearly 45 minutes. The would build it, break it, and giggle, "Wanna do it again?" I took a video [mostly to prove to myself later that it was not a hallucination].

I have such mixed emotions right now. There is a part of me that wants to press the Pause button, that doesn't want anything at all to change, that will miss having relaxed breakfasts listening to just 2 tiny voices sharing the adventures they had in their dreams the night before, having enough arms to encircle both little bodies as I read a favorite book, etc. Then there is the other part of me that can't wait for that other shoe [or baby, rather] to drop. I can't wait to walk and not waddle, to push the kids on the swing without getting winded, to smell an infant again, to introduce the kids to their brand new brother.

For right now, I am just trying to enjoy our Golden Age and recognize that "to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1).



Maddie's favorite blanket is covered in strawberries. It's kind of ironic, since she is extremely allergic to strawberries. She calls this beloved blanket, "Shrawberry."

She has loved "Shrawberry" since she was born. I used to rub it softly across her lips to help her fall asleep. Now she does that herself. She can't sleep without it. It is so worn, it has holes in it. She insists on taking it everywhere. It drags the ground, and has to be washed quite frequently (which often requires negotiation/bribery and still results in tears).

Today, I noticed her love of "Shrawberry" has been taken to a new level. She talks to it. Over breakfast, she was asking it if it liked cereal. It was in a heap on the floor (and didn't respond). I was grateful she didn't attempt to feed it, as that would have resulted in yet another washing. At naptime she informed me "Shrawberry" needed the nightlight on. Okay...

I understand talking to a doll or stuff animal, but a blanket? Strange.



The only drawback of pregnancy that really gets under my skin is my weakness (or sometimes perceived weakness). There is a book called The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy in which the author describes a plethora of negative side effects of pregnancy...varicose veins, stretch marks, discomfort, etc. I can and have dealt with those types of things, many of which are permanent. Oddly, I am much more troubled by the temporary problems that pregnancy creates.

Lack of stamina, inability to bend at the waist [to weed the garden, for goodness sake!], need to sit frequently, inability to lift heavy objects, being discouraged from climbing ladders, etc. This is the stuff that makes me absolutely crazy! I hate being told that I have physical limitations. I suppose on some level it scares me. I realize that as I age, I will have more and more of them, but right now I am a healthy 30-something year old woman. Don't tell me I can't lift that chair!

Two events have triggered this rant: the gutter cleaning incident and the van leak. Allow me to explain...

There has been a tree growing in our gutter for months. A tree! Granted, it is a small tree, but come on! Our landlords sometimes post notices on their rent deposit box which read: Don't forget to clean out your gutters and change your air filters. I know it's paranoid, but I could swear they are referring to our little tree. It has bothered me for months. My husband is a busy man and does a great job keeping up with other tasks (mowing, bills, etc.). This weekend, I had finally had it. The gutter is on the edge of the garage (less than 10 feet from the ground). Our ladder is fiberglass and very lightweight. I easily maneuvered it outside and set it up (opened all the way, not leaning against the garage) right next to the gutter. I climbed up a few rungs, held onto a rung tight with one arm, and used a gloved hand to scoop out the debris in the gutter. Very simple. Then I made a big mistake...Proud of my accomplishment and eager to try out other, taller gutters on the house, I foolishly made a Facebook post. Unwilling to stand on the top of the ladder with nothing to grab but the house itself, I asked for a taller ladder. Well, needless to say, not everyone agreed with my activities. Due to all the negative (albeit caring) feedback, I simply deleted the post.

The second event occurred today. I realized I can't fix our van alone. Grrrr...
Last summer we discovered a putrid, moldy mess in the back where the seat had been folded down. Assuming it was the result of some wet (now moldy) towels left back there, I used every product known to man to get rid of the stuff. However, months later, the wet and mold had returned. We realized there must be an outside leak, took it in, and had the rear window seal replaced. Everything was fine for a time. Then I found the same mess after a very hard rain. I took it in again and was told that they would need to remove the interior panels to determine where the leak was coming from, as all the seals appeared to be working. That sounded costly. I decided we could save money by removing them ourselves. Heck, we have the ridiculously detailed illustrated repair manual, how hard could it be?

During the kids' nap, I decided to do it myself. Repair manual in hand, I unlocked the van and began taking the first steps. I got to about step 2 in which I was informed that 2 people are required to lift out the backseat. Foiled! You see, if I weren't pregnant, I would not have been deterred by this minor detail. What many deem a 2-person job can easily be turned into a 1-person job with a little ingenuity.

But not when you are pregnant. There are some things my body just won't let me do right now, and let me tell you, it really ticks me off!