Saturday, April 5, 2014

ordinary days

i would be the first to say i'm not anything special. i am just a mom. a wife. a daughter. a sister. a friend.  i am trying to find my way thru the script of my life that was handed to me. it is not always what i wanted or thought it would be. the boxes i had put my expectations and dreams into have at this point been dismantled and destroyed. my hands are wrinkling. my eyes puffy and weary. my skin softer and looser where four lives grew within me. i am not youthful anymore, or at least i do not feel youthful.

i'm only 31 and yet i feel so much older. my days take so much out of me. and i remind myself frequently it is a season. but, a season of storms makes one tired of trying to swim and keep her head above the waves. the phrase "trying to keep our head above water" would perfectly describe how we have been transitioning to life as a family of 6. things are hard. i cry almost every day from pure fatigue and the overwhelming exhaustion that comes with having a 5 year old, 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 year old, and a 1 month old. 



yet, we are not the first to have to face life with many littles. it makes me think that i am not cut out for the job title of 'mama.' maybe it's us. maybe we struggle because we are not cut out for the life of parents. but, that is a lie. my husband is a wonderful father. and i know that i am a good mama. some days.


these hard, long, tiring days are filled with whispers in my head of defeat and failure. simply put, it's easy to believe a lie. there are so many reasons why i feel defeated, but many of them come with the territory of being a mother. our days are filled with so much repetition, correction, redundancy it can feel that we never make any progress. i recently told my husband it feels like we are in a giant pit trying to climb our way out to the day light and just like that someone will turn on a hose and the dirt becomes mud and we are buried up to our necks.

it's easy to believe that's all it will ever be. we love to see life in polaroids. yet, we don't realize we are only seeing snapshots of a beautiful panorama. and it is full of ordinary days. these days that we have don't have to be defeating. i don't have to see my day, my children, myself as being failures. i must choose to see that in the beautiful simplicity of an ordinary day there is freedom from the feeling of defeat. this is an ordinary day. it is full of tantrums. full of rebellion, both in my heart and my children's. it is full of laundry, dirty dishes, night time kisses, hugs and 'hold me mama.' it is full of fatigue, and crazy toddler energy. it is full of dirty floors, legos, princess crowns, and tears. it is an ordinary day and it is beautiful.


i am a boo-boo kisser and that makes me special. i am mama. and that makes me very special to four little people. the ordinary is special.

i am striving to see, thank, and relish in the beautiful ordinary of our life. i am striving not to feel that i am standing still while others are moving forward. constantly thrust back into the newborn stage while others have kids growing and moving on. fighting the feeling of being left behind. but to find gratitude for the lives i've been given charge over. to not mess this up, and have grace for the messes.




it's in this stage of life that words mean so much to me. words of encouragement are life fuel to my heart and soul. i have been extremely encouraged by songs, books, and real words spoken directly to me. i hope to be that to others. this is hard, but we can do it. and, not in the survival sort of way, but we can thrive in this role of motherhood. we have the most important job. we shape hearts. and to be able to shape hearts in the little ones, we must first allow our hearts, my heart to be shaped. change is never easy, but to surrender the negative feelings and change within ourselves is life altering to say the least. 

rachel jankovich said, “Motherhood is hard work. It is repetitive and often times menial. Accept it. Rejoice in it. This is your toil. Right here. Those are their faces. Enjoy them. The days of your life are supposed to be full of things like this. But joy is not giddy. It is not an emotional rush–it is what happens when you accept your lot and rejoice in your toil. So rejoice in your children. Look them in the eyes and give thanks.” 

and that dear friends, is what i must do. i will give thanks. thanks for the ordinary day of today. and tomorrow. and the day after that. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

laughter {a birth story}

It's no mystery my body likes to be pregnant. And, with three of my four pregnancies going "past term," it's also no mystery my body likes to stay pregnant.

With no sign of labor other than small movements forward we decided to schedule an induction on Saturday, March 8th. I've had three inductions, and all were preceded by some amount of labor on my own. This time would be no different. As we were heading to bed for the last night of sleep before the newborn fog sets in my darling husband says to me, "Wouldn't it be funny if you go into labor tonight, and don't even need to be induced? Well, except that you wouldn't get any sleep." Irony. Not my favorite.

At 1:00 a.m. I was woken up by a far too familiar pain in my lower abdomen. I used the restroom and laid back down. For the next two hours off and on I was brought out of sleep by the same and worsening pain. Around 3:00 I knew it was time to get into the shower. I was uncomfortable laying down, squatting or doing anything that resembled a woman who had been in labor before and knew what to do. The shower is my sancutary. It was when I had Cora, and I can rest in there with the hot water, and my labor play list playing from my ipod.

My moaning and breathing, and maybe the grabbing and squeezing of his arm, woke the hubby around 4. It was dark and couldn't see, but if he could he'd have known I was glaring at him for wishing this upon me unintentionally. I tried to lay down and rest, though that seemed to prolong my contractions and each time I'd start to fully relax and drift to sleep another huge wave would crash over my belly. I was back in the shower at 5:30. I couldn't get comfortable. I knew to just hold out till we needed to leave because we were heading to the hospital at 6:30 anyway. I really really wanted to get there, and I really really wanted to see my drug dealer.

My mother in law arrived on time, and got to witness a few of the contractions take over my body. Being that she had only had C-sections she was completely freaked out, my husband assured her this wasn't even that bad. Off to the hospital we went and were checked in right away. After being hooked up, the doctor who I've been waiting for three pregnancies to finally deliver me checked to see how far I was progressed. I was a 5! Half way there, and my body was so ready that my water broke during my exam. Fantastic, that meant no pitocin! Any woman who has had pitocin knows that it is the devils juice and you don't want it.

I hadn't been feeling well leading up to the delivery so I decided to give myself a break and take the yummy drugs. I was continuing to progress on my own, and in 45 mins had progressed to a 6 before my epidural. I received the epidural, enjoyed it's numbing glory and rested.

Around 11:00 my nurse came in the check on me and said she might as well see where I'm at. I told her the story of Hazel's birth and how we just happened to have our nurse check and the baby was on her way out. She laughed as she told me not to sneeze because that was the exact same situation we were in.

Thankfully my doctor was on the floor and not at home as the last two were. We got all set and ready to go, the nurse told me to take a deep breath and push, but the doctor said, "No. It's your fourth, just do what you feel you need to do." So, being so good at following orders I took a breath and started to push. Just a little half push. My husband praised me saying, "Good job babe." And our doctor, the jokester that he is, says, "Aw, thanks hon." I laughed out loud and her head came out. And, that made everyone in the room laugh.

I didn't need to do anything to get our girl out but laugh. How very fitting, our last baby was born with laughter surrounding her at 11:21 a.m.
 Anne Monroe Kneisler





She was 8 lbs 11oz and perfectly perfect. We love her, and she is just the sweetest.

Things got very crazy the next day when we were discharged, but that is a story I will write later.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Frustration, fear, and faith

Why is it that children, in particular my toddler, seem to forget that we get into our pjs every night? Or that a diaper change is a mandatory part of our day, in fact she seems to be suffering momentary short term memory loss because I just changed her not more than 20 mins ago! It seems that my goal in her mind is to put an end to all fun and wrangle her to the ground, contain the clearly protesting and convulsing child while I attempt to keep poop from getting on the new rug. There are times I think we need to call an exorcist with this one. 

Though seemingly funny it gets very tiring. 16 month olds have super human baby strength. There's a funny story around the internet that refers to the act of dressing a toddler as containing an octopus in a mesh bag with holes. Couldn't be truer. 

In my world right now it feels as if groundhogs day has taken over, except that Bill Murray isn't in my version. Things get tiring, and frustrating, and I become "over it." The other night I was extremely defeated. Being in my ninth month of pregnancy for the third time in two and a half years really does begin to feel like groundhogs day, and I am starting to feel its effects. I was flustered with the protesting little toddler, and the overly happy bigger toddler who just had happy wiggles, and the little boy who just wants to talk more and all I wanted was for them to go to sleep. Thus, in anger I put them all to bed and wept in the kitchen. I was frustrated. Frustrated at myself. At my selfishness. At my clumsiness. At my sore back and aching hips. At my tears. At my expectations and my feelings of defeat. Frustrated at knowing what I needed to do (be patient) and should have done (given him 5 more minutes of mommy time), but sought to escape rather than dig deeper and muster the energy for them. 

I know my limits. I have learned them sadly the hard way. I must walk away at times to keep myself from lashing out. That alone is frustrating. And it creates fear in me. With yet another season of round the clock feedings, hormones, the possibility of postpartum depression again and over-all fatigue heading my way there is fear in my heart that I will stumble. Failure and weakness are such ugly words in our society. We must constantly seem as if we have it all together.

 I must seem like super mom to some, and I have been told that, but the bitter truth is I just yelled at my kids, and said things that may shape my sons view of me for a lifetime. And sometimes I need to be reminded that I have in me the potential to be super mom. Rather than constantly reminded that my hands are full. 

 The flip side of that coin is the whole "being real" concept. I have tried to take that one to heart and never present myself more than what I am. Flawed. And some days it is a Christmas miracle that I got dinner on the table and didn't kill the kids. But that can't be my standard. There are real seasons of life that require me to lower myself and my expectations and realize that I can not do it all. And, to be honest, I probably shouldn't be doing it all. If I am, what am I not doing? Am I not parenting? Am I not loving my children? Am I not allowing creativity because I want to do a specific craft I saw on Pinterest and it must be done this way! All I know is that this is where grace and faith come in.

I must believe that the grace that is given to me can be given over and over again. I have faith that I am not finished. I know that things will change and my children will someday no longer need diaper changes, but that something else will take its place of inconvenience. I know that they will not be little forever, but that I must grow as they grow. I know that defeat will come my way, and my days will be filled with hard moments, the question is how will I move forward?  What will I do to overcome the "over it" moments? 

I will text my girlfriend that I am "this close" to loosing it.
I will cry alone in the kitchen. 
I will pray for strength.
I will remind myself that I am not finished and that this moment does not define me!
I will turn the music loud and sing and dance. 
I will throw caution to the wind and make cookies to eat before dinner. 
I will rise above it and not fall victim to defeat. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dear 2014

Dear 2014,  
 I'm just going to come right out and say it. I'm expecting a lot out of you. There are some very big events you are facilitating and I'm thinking you're gonna be kind of a big deal. 
  My sweet first born will turn five during your year. Five! I hurt in my soul just saying that. How on earth did my boy, my tender hearted, fun loving, friends with every person he meets boy get to be almost five?!
  I will have my fourth child during your year. Can we just agree now that it should be an easy birth? I can't believe I'm going to start a new life again. For the fourth time. What a privilege, though sleep deprived and oftentimes a painful one. A fourth baby in our family. I pray I am worthy of her love and affection.
  The hubby and I will celebrate nine years of marriage. Nine years of trying to lay down our selfishness for one another. Some days are harder than others. Like when he wants to watch zombie movies and I'd rather drink vinegar. 
  I know, 2014, you'll provide us with plenty of challenges, like agreeing on paint colors or wood flooring or watching others go through heartache. But I know that we will make it through together, as long as we are united. 
  I have a few expectations for myself don't you worry. It's not all on you this time. I hope I will take each day captive and use it for love. I want to show so much more grace to others. Especially my family who, lets keep it real, has to show a lot of grace to me. I am not an easy pregnant woman to get along with. Unless you have ice cream, then we are besties. 
  I crave more for my soul from you 2014. I pray and hope to grow so much deeper and better myself. I want to show more patience and kindness. I want to share my story and who I am to others. For its in the sharing and relating to each other that we can become connected and unafraid of rejection. 
  I hope you provide me with opportunities to open my home and my heart to others. That I will seek out friendships for both my children and myself. That I will stop fearing rejection and accept what is and what is not. 
 I'm looking forward to you 2014. Let's make this a great year. 

 Oh, and I really hope I have the opportunity to eat a lot of cookies. 
  Love love love,
 Amy

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

merry christmas 2013

I hope your day is filled with wrinkled up wrapping paper,  candy cane faces, the laughter of family and friends, and the love of Christ this Christmas morning. I hope its messy in all the right ways, and crazy holiday joy to it's fullest. 
 

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Friday, November 8, 2013

my diy christmas decorations {mini version}

i love christmas. not sure of too many people who hate christmas, now that i think about it. either way, christmas and the knowledge of it approaching makes me giddy. i have gathered and collect and created a lot of the christmas items in our home. some are childhood ornaments, or items our kid has made, or my favorite are the home made items. doesn't matter if i diy'd it or if someone else did. handmade is my favorite. always. 

alas, i have no house to decorate this year, and all of my stuff is in storage. i have shared these very briefly and a few years ago, so i thought i'd revisit and elaborate on two of my favorite diy christmas decorations i've made. 

the first is my pride and joy. our family advent calendar. 
i had found one via pinterest on site here, and intended on following the format with multiple boards, but instead went with one single large piece of mdf. mostly because i had my hubby cut the squares too small to fit my envelopes. 

after painting the board with a few coats of red paint from a bathroom we'd painted in an aprtment 6+ years ago,  i used small coin envelopes i found at office max and decorated them with christmas paper and items i have from all my scrapbooking. i used my cricket to cut out some of the letters, or got creative. i had been given a advent boxes kit from target and used some of the items from that here as well. the envelopes are stuck on there with e6000, so they aren't going anywhere. 

i typed up the cards with all our activities, cut and corner rounded them for a pretty look and voila. 
some of our activities are: 
enjoy hot cocoa
take cookies to the local fire station
do a holiday craft
take a bag of food to the local homeless shelter
go look at christmas lights

my other favorite is our christmas countdown calendar. 
 i had found the plain clip boards at office max as well. paper and modge podge are all i needed. i used my cricut again to cut out the lettering and just typed up the letters on my computer. it was so cute and i was so in love that i decided to go back and purchase the mini clip boards and make them as gifts. because who doesn't love mini things, christmas things, and the combination of the both.

these turned out so cute, and i know that my friends loved them. i had one left over and i'm thinking it might be perfect for the handmade christmas exchange i am doing with emmy. but, that would require talking the husband into going to the storage unit, clearing out some boxes and letting me search every box from the craft room to find one little clip board. or i could just buy the supplies and make another one. which is probably what i will do. 

i'm going to be dreaming of a white christmas and a decorate home this year for christmas.

linking up to the following...
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating




Thursday, November 7, 2013

the right kind of business...and a pinterest fail.

we haven't had a single day at home with nothing going on since august. i'm aware that's normal for most families with older kids or those with children in main stream education. but, for us with littles and being preggo {as usual} it's hard on us to be on the go every day of the week.

praise be to sweet jesus that soccer is done and that means thursday is our home day. a day for us to be together and be productive in all the right ways.

i woke early as i usually do, but the hubby and i had talked about budgeting the night before. and the nerd in me couldn't wait to get my cup of coffee and do the budget. yes, i did say i was excited about budgeting. we have an amazing system that we learned thru dave ramsey and we actually look forward to payday and all that we can accomplish with the blessings we have been given. also helps that we have next to no debt. and did i mention we will have our second completely cash christmas this year. boom! christmas is completely funded and i am in love. 

we had breakfast, watched octonauts. do yourself a favor and don't watch. not because it isn't cute, or educational, or witty for the folks. don't watch unless you want to be singing the jingle when you wake up to pee at 2 a.m....creature report...creature report... what was i going to say, oh yes, child labor. i am a fan. after the morning show the kiddos dressed, and 'the beast' as we are now referring to her as went down for her short morning nap. we then tackled the one job daddy gave us. clean out the car. 
 i personally hate doing it and i can't get into the back. and that's why i have so many minions. it was very helpful though, and they do love to be helpful.

we made cookies, and colored together. had lunch, read books, played outside, i collapsed on the couch when they went to bed. i should have taken a nap with them, but hind sight is 20/20. i made dinner which turned out great! home made chicken strips, with smashed potatoes, and asparagus & carrots.

i should clarify that my "smashed potatoes" was something that i found on a website via pinterest. things always look so pretty on pinterest. i do not have that touch. let me show you. please. you'll enjoy this.
from lovegrowswild...
her version is so beautiful. very pleasing to the eyes and look all her potaotes are intact. 
mine...

not so much. they did taste good. so i have that going for me, but they look horrendous.

along with the budget win, i also tackled the laundry monster. i genuinely think that not only do i have a sock gnome who steals my kids socks, but that my laundry might actually be reproducing. five loads later they are clean and folded. i will attempt to put them away in about two weeks.
i had some good down time and enjoyed one on one time with all the kids. home days are so wonderful, they'd only be better if daddy were home and we lived in our own home again. but we are getting close. only time will tell, hopefully my sanity can last that long.

linking up my pinterest adventure with jessica.

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