in case anyone still checks in at this old haunt, i'm writing somewhere else these days. :)
Better late than never, right? I saw this at several of my favorite blogs (Megan, Sarah, and Elizabeth, to be exact) and am only now getting around to doing it myself... it sure seems like we have read many of the same books!
Books that have changed the way I. . .
think about marriage: The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason (*this is actually the only marriage book I've ever read, and I did love it; however, I was single both times I did read it, so I'm due to read this and this.)
think about politics:
appreciate Christian spirituality and the personal essay: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne, Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell, and A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
view the writing process: Since I'm not technically a writer, I'm including the essay in college that had the biggest impact in thinking about the process of writing, Slouching towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
mother: The Baby Book by Dr. Sears, Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel (still reading this one, but it's great), and Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey
go about my daily work: they're not books, but many of them ought to be: the blogs in my sidebar and in my favorites folder leave me inspired and convicted quite often
feed my babies: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and BestFeeding
feed my family: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
think beyond myself: What is the What by Dave Eggars
I love books so much and this is just the tip of the iceberg of books that made an impact on my life!
I'm emerging... Out of the clouds and haze of having a newborn for a whole month now (really? 4 weeks already?), but also trying to solidify a few things I've been ruminating on for a while. I hate to say something as vague as that and tell you I'll be more specific later, but that's exactly what I'm going to do. My time is limited these days with caring for the older boys and attempting to nurse the wee one, so as I'm able to add to the growing drafts in my folder, I'll share my thoughts here.
Quickly, though, I can say some blogging changes will be happening, probably piecemeal due to that whole time thing, but the first one I'll start with is my kids' names. I've thought and re-thought about their monikers, and decided that at the end of the day I'm okay using their given names. So blog, meet Shea (aka Bear), Connor (aka Bunkin), and of course the newest Avery. These little men, along with their awesome daddy known as Hunny, are the light of my life and the happenings of my days, and as I write about them I will keep in mind their safety and what is acceptable to be posted on the Internet.
There may also be some format and background changes, as well as a possible URL change, so bear with any construction issues, please!
Other than Avery's arrival (more on that in a minute), our lives have been busy with hosting company for a week and some uncertainty with Hunny's job security. The dust of company has settled but alas, work has not. If you are a praying person and would like to pray for clarity and peace, we'll take it! Having my friend Amy here was a powerful tool to incite some action on my part. At first, I was very homesick for Memphis and friends there (church! community!), and I still am. But after some discussion, Hunny and I feel we moved here for a reason, and we want to make a good faith effort at figuring that out. We'd like to honor our lease, which still has one year, and to take that time to really be proactive with relationships, both for us and for the boys. So, hopefully you'll hear lots more on those successes! Down with loneliness!! Part of that means I continue to lie low online so that I can pursue real-life friendships, maintain some sort of cleanliness at home, as well as support Hunny as much as I can while he seeks a new job or stays where he is.
On to the picture-heavy part of the post!! That's what you were waiting on anyway, right?
Remember this picture (scroll down just a bit) of Phineas and Connor? Well, same photo-op but with Phineas and Avery:
Yup, Phinny still thinks my lap/the Boppy is for his personal use despite being occupied. And a little side note: he's expecting a litter of his own. Sigh... yes, our other cat Mia is pregnant. The kittens should be pretty darn cute, though!
And here is Avery's solo act; don't you love how newborns literally just surrender to sleep (even if it is on their schedule!)?
And, Elizabeth, if you're looking at these pictures, I promise we don't just have Arkansas apparel, despite my t-shirt and the one of Avery here and on my blog! Just sayin'!
What I love about Avery now: his faux-hawk (well, it also looks like the tuft of hair, er, feathers, on a duckling called Fuzzworth); his gas or dream induced grins-they're totally lopsided; his spindly little limbs...Shea and Connor were much more stout than he is; and his complete and utter mellow-ness. He's so chill all the time (except when he's hungry or gassy, and those you expect and desire!), it's strange. But in a good kind of way. :) I still can't figure out who he looks like, so that'll be fun to watch.
Anyway, that's all for now... I'll be back soon!
I'm proud to announce the arrival of my newest little man to my blog family!! Baby came supposedly 5 wks early on June 30th, and I'm so excited that I was able to have the VBAC I longed for.
Here's my birth story... it may have bodily-related details you aren't interested in, just warning!
I'd begun noticing my Braxton-Hicks contractions picking up over the last couple of weeks, but they were so irregular they never caught me off guard or anything. I do remember feeling impatient with the pregnancy in general, all the diabetes complications, and just the huge feeling of discomfort I'd been having. I began asking Hunny and my doctors if I could have been any further along, but the simple answer was "who knows." I didn't share all the issues that had surfaced with my maternal-fetal appointments and the huge disappointment that I felt when told I'd no longer be able to try for VBAC due to the large size of the baby, and I'll admit to feeling frustrated that I'd have to endure another surgery and still be Mama to the two at home. I even asked at my latest appointment, "What if I go into labor before the 13th (my scheduled amniocentesis date); will I be able to labor then?" with the answer being "no." Needless to say, I was crushed and trying hard to deal with the disappointment.
On Sunday the 28th I began noticing a pattern to my Braxton-Hicks, but while they were still "weak," they were very noticeable. I contracted from 6:30 pm to about midnight, and remember getting very excited and telling Hunny, "This could be it!" However, they completely stopped after midnight, and I went to bed and woke the next morning with no new changes. I assumed I'd just experienced "false labor," and Hunny was golden in gently reminding me that all contractions are practice and thus a "forward" motion, not backwards as I was making them out to be! :)
On Monday, my back was hurting all day, which I just chalked up to sleeping fitfully (wondering if I was in labor or not), and the contractions came back, but they were on again/off again so I didn't think much of them. I asked Hunny what he thought of me trying some of the so-called "natural induction methods" out there, and he admitted some skepticism but was willing to do whatever I wanted to do. We'd already eaten a spicy curry on Sunday, I'd increased some of my physical activities, and I was getting so ready to be unpregnant, so I asked him to pick up a bottle of castor oil. (DISCLAIMER: this was not sanctioned by my OB (I didn't ask her opinion) and thus I in no way offer this as medical advice!!) I took a tablespoon in some juice right after dinner, and proceeded to clean the house a little more vigorously (vacuumed and swept, etc), and waited for the horrible bowel symptoms that are supposed to result from the castor oil. They never showed up! I was tired and decided to lie down, and when I did I realized my contractions increased. Seeing if they would help, I started to manually stimulate my nipples, and sure enough, the contractions both increased in intensity and regularity. I wanted to stay lying down in case it was the real deal and in case it would be a really long night, but I found that my anxiety and excitement kept me from sleeping at all! I called Hunny to pack some things (because as of this point, I'd only made a to-do/to-pack list, not actually packed anything for the hospital!), and this is when the light clicked on in his mind/heart and he just KNEW this was when we'd deliver! Unable to sleep, we traded places so I'd be out in the living room and he'd try to sleep as long as he could. I spent the next few hours surfing the Internet for first stage labor symptoms (!), and my water broke at 3 am on Tuesday the 30th. When this happens, I go wake Hunny up to tell him, and we spend the next bit of time trying to figure out what the best course of action was regarding the boys and me getting to the hospital: do we wake them up or me drive myself? We chose the latter, much to Hunny's chagrin. So, around 4 am I drove myself to the hospital, and it's funny the things I thought! I remember being happy there wasn't any traffic, being happy it was June and not July (Bear's birthday is in 2 weeks), and just happy that driving was a pretty decent distraction from the definitely increased contractions (they got much worse after my water broke).
I get to the hospital and check in, and of course am immediately subjected to all the IVs, and monitors. I was literally tethered to the bed, and even though I knew (and remembered from Bunkin's birth) this would make labor more difficult, I was still attempting a natural labor. I kept asking the nurse if it was okay if I continued to try to VBAC, and that's when she was like, "oh, there was an issue with this?" DOH! keep your mouth shut, Misty!! :)
After 7 am I began doubting my ability to keep going med-free. I hadn't heard from Hunny and I was beginning to panic if he'd even make it to the hospital since I had the car. My nurse was awesome at encouraging me to do whatever I needed; she helped me breathe and low-moan through the contractions, but I began to lose control because all I could focus on was Hunny not being there for the birth! I finally got a hold of him and he let me know that my sister B was coming home from work to pick him up, take the boys to her house and drive them to the hospital. At this point I gave in and asked for medicine because I just didn't feel I could do it without help anymore. I am actually really happy I got the epidural; it helped me relax, and I went from a 3 to 9 within an hour!! (I'd arrived 80% effaced and 3cm dilated) When my OB showed up she said it would be okay to just let my body keep working and see if we could wait for Hunny to show up, but I got to a point where I couldn't resist the urge to push any longer, so the nurse directed me to push a few times, and in walks Hunny and B, just in time to actually see me deliver Baby!! I was so glad they got to be there! I didn't tear and the delivery itself was mostly uncomplicated (I had a little extra bleeding than they normally hope for, but it was well-controlled quickly).
Baby was allowed to nurse pretty soon, but when they checked his sugars (required because of my diabetes), they were way too low: 22 out of minimum 45. They took him to the NICU, and he's been there ever since, but I'm so glad the hospital has been so supportive of my desire to breastfeed. I've been on a strict schedule (every 3 hrs) to attempt to feed him at the breast, but we've supplemented every feeding to maintain his sugars, which he now has (PTL). We are getting him weaned off the glucose IV, and while I'll go home tomorrow, he'll prayerfully join us this Saturday!
I'm so blessed and happy that despite all my fears and obsessing over the "worst case scenario" that God saw and met the desires of my heart and allowed me to deliver this little boy with a normal vaginal birth with no complications other than Baby's sugars. He is a beauty and so sweet, and we are so in love with him!! Welcome to the world, sweetheart!
As is obvious by now, I've not been a very good blogger in terms of frequency! Part of it is simply being summertime, there is more to do, and part of it is just where I am in life right now. I've had spurts of things to say, but a lot of it would have been complaining, and I didn't want to drag anyone down with me so to speak!
To update everyone in my personal life, I have about 4 weeks til we deliver this baby, which I'm greatly looking forward to, even though I'm quite disappointed it looks like I will need a repeat c-section. I'm grateful that Hunny and I have two friends willing to come all the way to Texas to help us out, but I'm still battling fearfulness for surgery recovery (if it comes to that) and still needing to be Mama to two little guys at home as well. I'm also nervous about what 3 kids look like in "real life"--I thought going from one to two was hard!
Speaking of real life, this is actually my main incentive to take a decisive break from blogging (as opposed to the accidental beaks I keep taking). I need to get stuff done. I just got done reading an excellent article about being a calm mother and "getting off your butt parenting", but while I read those posts, I yelled at Bunkin at least twice without physically diverting his attention and redirecting him, and I ignored a plea or two from Bear for me to help him do something... also while having my couch covered in laundry that's been sitting there for two days not folding itself! I can make a hundred excuses for why I don't feel up to doing certain activities, but the truth is, often I take the lazy route, leaving me with disgruntled kids and myself highly frustrated as well. I need to take a season, especially with this new baby, to reprioritize balancing real life and all the other things that take up my time (
crackbookfacebook, anyone?). I have a girlfriend who refuses to get on the computer at all while her kids are awake... I'm on mine all day long for various reasons. Instead of reading about parenting, I need to DO parenting. It's great to be inspired and convicted and read about spiritual disciplines or healthy/natural living, but to what avail if I'm not actually DOING any of those things?
So... I need a break. I'm sure there may be random posts here and there if I'm particularly inspired by something or just want to show off my latest crafty adventures, and certainly I'll post when the new little man is here, but til then, I'm going to lie low both in my own blog and in the rounds I make reading others' blogs (in fact, I'm going to clean up my sidebar and narrow down to the blogs I truly love and get something from instead of trying to keep up with the blogging Joneses and link to everyone).
On my way to the doctor yesterday, I had a bit of an "aha!" moment.... but not exactly in a good way. More of an "I really thought that?" moment. I've had the idea of social justice on my mind a lot, mostly because of reading Shane Clairborne's Irresistible Revolution, and just thinking through the so-called practicality of a missional mindset (while my kids are young and as I wrestle through my own opinions and beliefs) and wishing fervently that Hunny and I found a place we could worship and find fellowship. Anyway, driving through downtown, I saw a woman standing on a corner where I normally see the same homeless guy holding his sign. I've driven past this same man for 10 weeks in a row (I see the maternal fetal doctor every week, thanks, Diabetes!), and it kind of shocked me to see someone else in his place, maybe especially because she was a she? No sign, no expression, just standing there, and I have no idea if she was homeless or just there.
For some reason I recalled almost simultaneously two things I participated in at college. The first was a class that fulfilled my Life* requirements, called Hunger, Plenty and Justice. It was both a philosophy and religion course taught by one of the most brilliant professors on campus. And I barely passed. I struggled so much in that class, and at the time I simply said that I couldn't wrap my brain around the philosophy side of the class. That's true (I still struggle to think through logic or other forms of rhetoric), but I think there was also a spiritual implication I just refused to "get" at the time. I was trying to figure out my own faith, and the Life course (among other things) certainly did much to shake me! I wish I'd let this class impact me more then and grow me up, instead of me backing down and refusing to internalize the issues we discussed: the idea that there is an inequality of food distribution in the world and the implications of those who choose to tackle such a huge project. [*At my college, before Freshman year, you had to declare Life or Search, a 2-year "religion" general education requirement, the difference explained at the time was the "Bible" course or the "History of the World" path.... in retrospect, despite its being billed as biblical, the Life course was very secular, and the Search course was not nearly as boring as it sounded at the time. However, Search students seemed to have twice as much homework as I did, so I don't regret that particular decision! Not to mention 2 of my all time favorite classes were taken as Life requirements.. so there!]
The 2nd thing I thought of was a servant-leader group I joined to help fulfill some of my volunteer service hours for the Bonner Scholarship I was a member of. Besides the preposition at the end, what's wrong with that sentence? I only did it to fulfill a requirement: to log hours of community service. The group was called Micah 6:8 (He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.), and their purpose was to learn to be servants by being leaders in the effort to promote social justice. I was so clueless. I thought life was pretty good back then, so I didn't really understand the term social justice (or inequality) at all... I knew that I was poor compared to some of the other kids on campus, but who cared, right? I didn't even end up completing the internship, and again, I desperately wish I could go back and be moved by others' true desire to be servant-leaders and to give to their community.
As if that were not enough, I then remembered an evening I'd been out on a date and ordered a very expensive fish sandwich of some kind. I don't remember why I got a fish sandwich, because the mere idea makes me want to gag now. If I remember correctly, it's because I was at a fancy seafood restaurant, and I was trying to mask my distaste of fish (which I don't normally care for), so I thought, "bread will help this." Needless to say, I still didn't care for it, and I did my best to nibble the bread and make it seem as if I enjoyed the food, and then was too "full" to eat it all, so please box the rest for me, thankyouverymuch. Walking back to the car, a homeless man walked up to my date and me and asked for change. Truthfully, I told him I didn't have any, but would he be interested in leftovers? He GLADLY took that box of nibbled-on fish, and I remember how relieved I was not to just throw the food away (and thus admit to my date I hated the food) and pity that he would eat a sandwich I'd been more than wiling to throw away. And I was proud. Proud of my solution to the not wasting food and proud that I'd helped this man out.
Yes, all this passed through my mind very quickly as I took my turn at the light, but I cringed as soon as I recalled feeling that prickly sensation of self-congratulation for offering a half-eaten sandwich to a man who deserved a sit down meal and a decent conversation. I treated him as the dregs of society and patted my own back for it. How foolish!!! How humbling?! What if God gave me that kind of grace? "Here. I'll let my Son's sacrifice cover about half your shortcomings, but really, I was just gonna throw it away anyway, so you'll be fine." SHIVER.
I still have no idea what I think about worldwide justice. Politics make things muddy. My own priorities make things uncertain at times. I do know, however, that I have a passion to not just BE in my own little world, ignoring the sufferings of others. I want to offer myself and expect nothing in return. I want to serve soup in a homeless shelter and not feel superior. I want to teach my kids that there is more to being frugal than trying to be millionaires. I want to have my own eyes and ears opened so that I can see other people and hear their true needs as Christ would... and love them as He would love his bride. This feels like a tall order, and I fear falling very, very short of this. But it's the journey I'm on, and one I'm still figuring out what it looks like. I'm also fairly sure I'll mess up along the way, but at least I know that His grace looks a heck of a lot better than a half-eaten fish sandwich, eh? It might look a lot more like 5 loaves and fishes turned into 5000, and that kind of grace is pretty awesome.
Oh my, way too much time has passed since my last post, but please, if you are praying for Josiah and his parents, continue to do so! I know Merri and Stephen have appreciated everyone who has lifted their sweet family in prayer!!
I have so much to write about and catch things up, but I'll start with OH MY GOODNESS, I have less than 50 days til this baby is born!!!! There's a lot that goes into that (while I'm technically 31 weeks, I'll be delivering by 38 weeks at the latest... so soon!), which of course means my mind is in overdrive!
One of the things I'm most excited about doing with this little man is starting him in cloth from the beginning. Since potty training is
nonexistent not working at this point with Bear, I may have three kids in diapers, which means a lot of money! One of the reasons I never started Bear and Bunkin in cloth from their hospital days was my prefolds were just so huge on them. As I wrote before, I have some newborn sized dipes, and I'm very excited to get going with them!
As an additional boon, Simple Mom is giving away some cloth diapering options on her website. She has an EXCELLENT series on cloth diapering if you haven't heard me laud them enough! She has a great review of several of the major brands, and you or I could potentially be a winner of one of these brands, so go on over and check her out!!