Sunday, March 9, 2014

Losing control and meeting God in person

One year ago we were having an ordinary family Saturday. The kids watched too much tv. The parents spent too much time being lazy. But at 4pm we loaded up and headed out to our church for our night of volunteering for a program our church sponsors. While there we ate dinner and my husband Jay went to the church gym to play basketball with a couple of teens. About half an hour later he came back to the youth house and was working to catch his breath. He took a drink. He sat down. He was beet red and sweating. He kept cringing and rubbing his chest. He was trying to determine whether he was just having severe indigestion from eating and then running around or if it might be something more serious. I asked him several times if I should call 911. When he told me that his hands and arms were going numb that was when I no longer asked. I went and called 911 immediately. 

 Our church is out in the backwoods and so it took probably about 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. During that time I worked to reach my mom in case I needed care for the kids, I called the youth pastor, Steve, to come take over our volunteering. The EMT's hooked Jay up to a portable EKG machine and took a strip. They promptly loaded him up and told me that he would be transported to a hospital 50 minutes away – whether by life flight or ambulance was the only thing they weren't sure. I watched helplessly as they loaded up my husband and drove off with him. Steve helped me get our four children loaded up. I had reached my mom at my sister's house and I was meeting her there with the kids. As the kids and I drove home to get stuff for them to stay overnight we prayed for Daddy. I cried a little but I kept mostly calm. My oldest son came inside and helped me get pajamas and diapers for everyone and we were on our way to my sister's pretty quickly from there. When we got to my sister's we all gathered in a circle in the kitchen, eight children, three adults, and we prayed. The bible says where two or more are gathered ask in my name and it will be done – now I know that what will be done is God's will but we were definitely praying that His will was in our favor that night. My mom drove me up to the hospital 50 minutes away. From the time they took off with my husband to the time I was at his side was close to three hours. That was probably the longest three hours of my life and I've given birth five times now with long labors for three of those births. My husband and I are young. I was 31 just this year and my husband was just 28 last March. My husband had a heart attack at the age of 28. Our world was definitely rocked. We had four little children at home and we were newly pregnant with our fifth. He was 28!

I've never been more thankful in my life for strep throat. You see just a few weeks before his heart attack we had all been to the prompt care for strep throat. While he was there my husband's BP was dangerously high so they ordered blood work to check his cholesterol. That came back high too. So when he began clutching his chest a couple of weeks later and his arms went numb I knew that this was in the realm of possibilities. If I didn't know he was having high blood pressure and high cholesterol I don't know if I would've even considered a heart attack. Also during the weeks leading up to this moment I had been watching a show on netflix where one of the main characters had a heart attack and the beet red face, sweating, labored breath all seemed way too familiar when I saw them on my husband.

People tell me I saved his life calling 911 that night. I didn't. His life was not in my hands. I had no more control over how anything went that night than I had during any one of my five labors, or than I have during every day I live and breathe. The control isn't mine. It's God's. 

If we hadn't had strep throat we wouldn't have known he had high blood pressure or cholesterol and without that knowledge I wouldn't have jumped to the conclusion that this might be a heart attack. 

If I hadn't watched that show and seen that scene with the heart attack I wouldn't have recognized the symptoms. 

If my mom hadn't already been at my sister's house it would have taken longer to figure out arrangements for getting me up to see my husband. 

 I couldn't have controlled any of that but the God of the universe knew. He knew before Jay was born that on March 9th 2013 Jay would have a heart attack. And He lined things up, allowed the strep throat in our family and used it for His glory. I don't believe in coincidence. Not like this. I believe in God. And I believe that God was with my husband, with my children, with me and my mom as we raced up to be with Jay. I believe that God was with our friends who came to see him. God was made real to us that week through all the people who passed our children around to make sure they were cared for so I could be with Jay while he was in the hospital. The family members, the church family, every single person who blessed us in some way that week whether tangibly or through prayers, they were God made real. The hands and feet of our savior living out the word.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

oh my

So they always told me that once you have three adding more is really nothing.  I believed them.  My third was a doozy.  He has these big doe eyes and insatiable charm.  Even at 5yrs old that kid could sell beachfront property in Arizona to anybody. 

And so we believed them and added that fourth.  Boy is she sweet until she's not.  And when she's not she's really just comical.  She just has these emotions that just course from the top of her head to the tips of her tiny stomping toes and the facial expressions that say she's ALL IN whatever she's feeling at the moment.  And then, THEN, I was like eh, what's one more? Ha.  And that little four month old has just completely stolen my heart.

I read this blog post the other day.  The point of the post was finding meaningful ways to communicate with our husbands and other people that we are in relationships with - friends, parents, siblings, children.  But what I saw at the start of the post was the perfect capture of all the mixed emotions a mother has on a daily basis.

My arms are tired because this baby is heavy and I'm tired of holding her.  She's finally happy in the swing and I miss her so much I go pick her up.  All in the space of thirty minutes.  And this, this is motherhood.  We're not complaining, we're really not.  I wouldn't trade that heavy baby for all the world - it means she is growing which was a genuine concern at her start.  I wouldn't trade that content baby for anything in the world because with her contentedness comes the worlds most unbearably cute smile and the most infectious laugh ever. 

To those who have three considering a fourth I would say this: They're wrong.  Adding more after the third does matter.  It does make a difference.  It is SOMETHING! It can have it's hard moments.  Sure you're already outnumbered at 3 but adding a fourth or fifth certainly doesn't make you less outnumbered it makes you more.  Have I ever posted about what little trouble makers my two S' are together?  Oh my. 

But I would also say this: DO IT!  Each one is such a blessing.  They are their own unique blessing.  And the more I have the more I have to depend on God because really my human strength failed somewhere around the 36th hour of labor with the first one.  And it is a gift.  The deeper need for God is the gift that each child has given me.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I know we're a few days into the new year now but hey a few days is better than a few months right?

So resolutions.  We all make em.  Or most of us do anyway - whether we tell others about them or not I think most people at least make them privately if not publicly.

This year I've decided to keep things simple.  Four areas to work on to improve myself this year.

As a mom - I want to purpose to have one on one time with each child each month.

As a wife - I want to purpose to have one date night a week - nothing hugely fancy most weeks, something simple at home, just a time to connect with Jay and remember to keep each other a priority in the busy-ness of parenting five busy children.

As a Christian - daily prayer and bible time - this is hard to get sometimes because of those five busy children but I want to make it a priority.

For myself - I want to get healthier.  I saw great success with weight loss while eating a controlled carb diet during Lilah's pregnancy and I plan to return to that diet again now.  I also want to add movement to my days to burn some extra calories.

And that's it.  Those are my resolutions for this year.  I resolutely resolve to be resolute.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lilah's birth story - better late than never

My dashboard here on the blog tells me I haven't posted since May.  Wow.  It's already nearing the end of October.  That's a long time.

One month ago today Jay and I went to the hospital after dropping our four monkeys off with my mom.  At 1:44 that afternoon we welcomed Lilah Ruth into our family, into our world.  She was 9lbz 10oz and 20 inches long.  It took me the better part of two weeks to realize we had FIVE children!  It still sounds funny when I say it.

I wanted, initially, to write a long and in depth birth story for our dear Lilah.  But really what is there to say?  I had a scheduled c-section.  I could mention that they were running behind and we were scheduled for a 12pm OR time and ended up heading back shortly after 1pm.  I was really so at peace with everything.  I had a small bit of anxiety about the spinal because it took them quite a few tries last time to place it but I was really at peace.  I had gotten the ok from my doctor to have music in the OR and had Jay help me get the playlist onto the MP3 player.  I look at Lilah's birth and I just want to recount the ways that God was there.  First, the spinal took on one try.  ONE try!!  It took almost 20 minutes with Sierra.  Then I find out that the anesthesiologist is a believer.  What a blessing.  The surgery was text book and went very smoothly.  One hour from the time that they walked me into the room they wheeled me back out.

The nurses were great about letting me get my hands on Lilah as soon as possible.  Lilah's sugar was borderline so they gave her a tiny bit of formula with a cup - they got my permission first.  Every other sugar check for the next 24hrs was excellent.

We ran into problems with feeding our precious girl though.  She dropped a full pound by our release from the hospital. She dropped all the way down to 8lbs 3oz at nine days old.  I began pumping and supplementing after nursing sessions.  I had two lc's tell me her latch was great but she wasn't having enough dirty diapers when she was just nursing.  After supplementing she began to gain and I'm thrilled to say that although she's not at birthweight yet she was 9lbz 4oz yesterday at her one month well check.  She has gained a full pound in three weeks!  We're continuing to nurse, pump, and supplement and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

She's just amazing though.  The kids love her.  We love her.  Ha, we've already talked about baby number six.  Yeah we're crazy.  No definite plans but no definite not happening either.

And another huge praise is that while I certainly have days where I'm at my wits end and incredibly overwhelmed as I'm sure any new mama has experienced, I haven't experienced depression or anxiety in the after math.  That's HUGE.

January 2nd, 2014 - Lilah is three months old now.  A couple of nights a week she still gets a two ounce bottle but she is primarily breastfeeding and growing great.  Just before Christmas she weighed in at 12lbs.  She's a very high needs baby which accounts for some of the reason that I haven't been able to post on here. But I adore her.  I love watching her personality emerging.  I love watching her watch the other kids as they run around like little crazies.  I would LOVE it if she'd find a sleeping pattern she likes for both day and night but eh.  This time is fleeting.  And she's awake. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to keep your home company ready, without stress

So today we're going to talk about how to keep your home ready for unexpected company. 

First thing in the morning you need to lock the children in their rooms.  Insert food through slots in doors.  Make sure you have a little potty seat in there for those times that they just have to go.  Voila.  Company ready home.

Seriously people, I clicked on a link on pinterest to a blog post titled how to keep your home company ready without the stress and well, we don't get unexpected company often but when we do you know it's at the worst possible moment.  So I'm ready for this stress free company ready plan.  I click on over there and begin to read.  The pictures look like they're from a magazine.  And ya know, that's great, I love beautiful magazine ready homes as much as the next person but the only magazine my home would ever consider being in is something along the lines of "toddlers live here today!" 

So I continue on, hoping that even though I am super skeptical THIS will finally be that one thing I've been missing all these years.

Guess what people??  Her secret?  She has NO toddlers.  In fact all of her kids are my oldest sons age and older.  Of course she can engage them to tidy the house and keep her own stress lower.  When my kids are those ages I should be able to as well.

I felt lied to people!!  There is no stress free way to keep your home company ready when you have young children.  Especially when you have young children AND you homeschool.  It's a deadly combination to the company ready concept.  If I have three days notice I can have my home in okish shape for visitors.  If you stop by unexpectedly then you get what you get. 

My key is only making friends with other moms.  Other moms have been there.  Other moms don't care what your house looks like.  At least I hope this is the case.  Of course other moms are also not terribly likely to drop by unexpectedly because they are busy being moms.  See?  Now THAT is the key.  And hey it's no stress too!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Winding down the school year and some new plans

So it's May 1st.  The end of our school year has been kinda blah.  Kayd finished his math curriculum in February and I had the epiphany that spelling is mostly pointless with him.  He inherited a natural spelling ability from both of his parents, poor kid.

So for the rest of the week and through next I plan to finish our read aloud unit of Charlotte's Web and continue letting the kids play with educational apps on my kindle.  And then we're calling the school year officially over.

We're going to be trying something new this year.  I have always liked the idea of year round schooling but we hadn't really had a reason to give it a go.  Until now.

You see come the end of September and what would for "normal" people be the end of the first month of school we will be welcoming a new student.  Of course our new student's coursework will look a lot like nursing and sleeping and numerous diaper changes.  But as anyone who has ever had a baby can attest they do take a bit of time to find their rhythm and routine in the family.

And so I thought it would probably be good if a portion of our school year were finished before the baby comes so that we can enjoy our new bundle stress free.

So the kids will have a four week break for "summer vacation" for most of May and the first week of June.  My overall intention was to do six weeks on and two weeks off but something came up for two weeks in July and so we'll do three weeks on, two weeks off, three weeks on, one week off, six weeks on, two weeks off, six weeks on, Thanksgiving holiday off, a special three week holiday unit, two weeks off for Christmas and New Years, six weeks on, two weeks off, six weeks on, two weeks off, six weeks on and ending the school year at the end of the first week in June.  That would make 39 weeks of school in total.  We generally do four days of school a week.  The built in time off allows for make up days if necessary and also allows me to do my lesson planning in three and six week chunks instead of trying to do a full year at once which frankly overwhelms me.

So we will give this a try for the 2013 to 2014 school year and see how we like it.

Kayden was definitely reluctant about it when I mentioned that we weren't having a full summer break this year but I showed him a calendar and how it would work with the intermittent weeks off and he seems pacified enough for now.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I LOVE my kindle!

I love my kindle, yes I do!  I love my kindle, how about you??

So first I finally got the kindle because I really wanted something more portable.  I use recipes and sewing tutorials from blogland a lot and having to print things off constantly was a real pain - not to mention a major cause of clutter.  And have I ever mentioned how disorganized I am with paper?  So I knew that the kindle would allow me to have my sewing tutorial open right next to my machine and my recipe open in the kitchen.  I also knew that I could have the fitness pal app and thought that it would be more convenient for tracking my food.  On top of that I thought it would be great for educational games and apps for the kids as well as e-readers.

Is it everything I thought it would be when I purchased it?  Oh so much more than I could have dreamed possible!

I've had it for one month now.  Now I got the regular kindle fire with the 7inch screen.  Nothing overly fancy here.  But it has been phenomenal.

I have my facebook, pinterest, and email accounts linked to it.  I found a great feature through flylady - the cozi family calendar, and since I created my account through flylady it has the daily zone tasks auto programmed into it which I LOVE.  I do have the fitness pal app but I'll be honest in that I don't use it.

I have downloaded a number of free apps and games and tried several list making apps, grocery shopping list apps etc.  I find that I prefer Cozi for pretty much all of that.  I can make unlimited lists on it and I like the way it works, it's really easy to use, in my opinion anyway.

And then today, today I did something that I had no idea my kindle could do.  Something that will completely revolutionize our homeschool.  My life has changed.  Today I found that I can in fact put pdf files on my kindle and read them!  This is amazing to me because several of my teacher manuals are pdf files on my computer and this means I can have my manual right there are the table as I teach!  I don't have to print it out and use all that ink and paper and I am in LOVE.

Oh and did I mention the freebies??  I have gotten so many free kindle books it's crazy. There are several bloggers out there that post freebies or low cost e-books.  The ones I read are geared towards homeschoolers and I've gotten a number of easy reader books to work with Colton with and that has been an amazing resource.  I've also gotten some free books for myself or books that I think we might use later as reference books. 

Seriously, if you have ever considered it I highly recommend a tablet of some kind.  We haven't once regretted our kindle purchase this past month and it has really streamlined a lot of stuff for me.

*This post is not sponsored in anyway.  I'm just a normal person who found a product she loves and is happy to tell people about it.*