Saturday, May 31, 2008

Finding Joy.

My life isn't simple.  It's a bit chaotic, a lot of stress, fun, and craziness, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I've been coming to grips with the fact that I want my life to look "happy" and I want to be "happy".  But I'm not.

Yes, I love my family.  Yes, I am super blessed.  But I wouldn't characterize my life as happy.  I would describe it as joyful.  Or at least becoming joyful.  It is full of hardships and various trials and lots of problems and stress.... but at the center I have the Lord as my strength.  He is the one navigating me through the storms of life.  He is my peace and my hope.  He brings joy to my life.

One of the definitions of joy I found was: To take great pleasure; rejoice.  That's what I'm doing... I'm taking great pleasure and rejoicing in God.  He is my comfort.  He is my source of strength and hope.

I know other definitions talk about joy as an elated feeling and happiness... but I'm past "feelings".  Not that I don't feel :)  It's just that I know there is more to life than how I feel.  I'm choosing to be content in the midst of difficulty, that's how I would define joy: finding contentment in the midst of difficulty.

Well, I need to go... just some thoughts on joy.  Hope your week-end is excellent.

Ian after a bath.

Love.

Big Brother. Big Sister


After nursing I never know what I'm going to find...



Thursday, May 22, 2008

You know your tired when...

-you reach in your bag for your fries and start chewing only to realize about 10 seconds later that your eating your straw wrapper.
-you wake up and don't know who or where you are.
-When the chair squeaks you reply it needs some 409 (when you meant to say WD40)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brokenhearted.

I'm brokenhearted.  I really am.  Tonight was so hard.  Michael is really having a hard time.  He's in a lot of pain and he screams a lot.  He settles down a little when I hold him but even then he'll arch his back in pain and cry.

I am at the end of myself.  It started Mother's Day night.  Being with Michael at the hospital that night was so hard.  I cried. The kids were really sick that night and so we decided that I'd take them in the morning to the doctors. The week has been a blur.

Monday morning (after Mother's Day) Mike left at 4:30 a.m. for school. I took the kids at 8:30 in the morning to the doctors.  Laura met up with me and helped me get the kids into the office.  Libby was given antibiotics and Samuel was given a breathing treatment.  The nurse practitioner wanted him scheduled ASAP to see a pulmonologist (a lung doctor).  Well, I left the kids in Laura's care and went to take Ian to the opthamologist (eye doctor).  We were checking to make sure he didn't have retinopathy (sp?) which can occur in preemies and also because he was exposed to some oxygen.  While I was waiting I talked to Mike... whose car had broken down on the way up to PA.  The ball joint broke (the wheel came off the axle)- and he was able to get off the highway safely- Thank the Lord! Also, a plus, he didn't miss his first final.  He was able to call a tow truck and get it towed to the garage that usually worked on our cars when we were up in PA.  

The eye appointment took a LONG time but the doctor was wonderful and had great bedside manner.  I then left and went to Laura's to pick up prescriptions to get filled at Target and bring her back medicine for the kids.  She brought the kids back later to the house.  Thankfully Mike's car was repaired the SAME day and he was able to use the car to get around in PA.

On Tuesday a woman from  church helped me in  the morning.  Thank you Lisa!  That afternoon I had help from a woman named Jenn.  She was such a blessing.  She enabled me to go the hospital and watched all 3 kids by herself... and she had never met them before.  Wow, huh?!  Mike came home at 3 a.m. on Wednesday.

Sharon came over in the morning to help us out.  I was able to go to the hospital while Mike took a much deserved nap.  By that evening though Samuel was doing so poorly we were afraid he'd have to go to the hospital.  Mike took Libby to Laura's that evening... just in case we had to go to the Children's hospital (CHKD) in the middle of the night.  Thankfully we didn't go but Samuel was really unwell.  Mike took him to the pulmonary appointment and then he had to go and get an x-ray.  They changed his meds around and put him on 2 new antibiotics.

The next day Mike's mom picked him up and took him to the airport...at 4:30 in the morning- isn't she a saint?!  He flew up to PA and took his final and then headed back to the airport... only to wait for 6 and a half hours.  In the meantime my phone was busted... the charger wouldn't connect.  So I had no phone.  I had no way of communicating with Mike... thankfully his mom picked him up for me... he arrived home at 10:30 p.m.  Crazy.

Saturday Reaghan came over and watched the kids so Mike and I could go to the hospital and see Michael.

Sunday, Samuel was too sick for church.  We did go over to Mike's parents for lunch... it was great.  Martha prepared the yummiest fried chicken and mashed potatoes and biscuits... nothing like a good ol' Southern meal to comfort oneself.  Mike and I went to the hospital to see Michael.  he was doing rough and I could tell he didn't feel so hot.  We saw some friends briefly after the hospital.  We got to enjoy a grilled kebob with them and I had a good cry... thank you Michelle.

Monday was a blur of appointments.  Mike, Samuel, Ian and I all went to CHKD.  Samuel had a follow-up appointment and Ian needed to have a repeat test done.  More meds for Samuel.  Later Ian had a doctor's appointment.  he hasn't gained a lot of weight so the doctor wants to keep an eye on him.  He's not too concerned but we just want to watch it.  Monday night I went to the hospital...and to my horror Michael was on oxygen and antibiotics.  Apparently, he was having episodes on Sunday night after we left and was having apneas (stopped breathing), brady's (low heart rate) and de-satting (low oxygen saturation)... they tried to call me but because my phone had still been broken I had no idea they had called.  I just sat holding him and cried.  They had stopped his feeds.  Put him on an IV.  I got home just before midnight.

Tuesday my friend Isabella came over and we tackled the house... lots of cleaning and putting things in order.  It was great.  Mike went and saw Michael (off oxygen!) slowly doing feeds through a continuous set-up.  Very, very little milk, but constantly being fed.  

today, was well, a little nuts.  Let me just say how it ended.  I'm exhausted.  Mike and I are in bed trying to just chill out and have a little down time.  We hear Libby crying... she then proceeds to throw-up.  We run upstairs.  She throws up more.  Then Samuel starts to throw up.  We take them  downstairs and start a bath.... Libby explosively throws up everywhere!  Samuel is throwing up all over Mike.  Clean up throw-up.  Strip kids.  Wash kids. Dry kids.  Samuel throws up more.  Dress kids.  Strip sheets off bed.  Put on new sheets.  Put kids back to bed.  

It just feels like it never ends.  Samuel has been throwing up everyday... every day for a long time now.  He's hydrated (his diapers are soaked)... he eats. He drinks.  He throws-up.  It's the coughing up and mucous that does it to him.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh.  That's all I have to say about that.

My life feels like a blur of nursing, diaper changing, throw-up cleaning, trying to sleep, doctor visits, trips to the hospital, rocking sick babies, screaming babies.... kind of life.

The Lord says, he is near the broken-hearted.  He must be near me then.

  

Some pictures.



Monday, May 19, 2008

Tears.

okay this fuzzy picture was taken at night at the hospital.  Mike is holding our very discontent Michael.  It's been so hard lately to see him crying.  He seems so miserable.  He's still not eating properly so he's getting 98% of his meals through the feeding tube.  A bit discouraging.  It's been hard remembering that Samuel was already home by now (when he was a preemie in the hosp.)... and Michael still seems to have a ways to go.  Sigh.

I've had my share of tears.  Well actually I don't think I've been crying enough.  Last night though I had a very good cry on my friends' shoulder... thank you friend.  I need to just break down sometimes, it really helps.

Well, to discuss this week would be to time consuming and I want to head to the hospital before it gets even later... it's already 9 at night.

Wishing you happy tears.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Some Thoughts On Motherhood.

Today is Mother's Day. My first Mother's Day with four children. wow- my children doubled since last year :)

One of the beautiful things about being a mom is how I'm learning more and more about humility, about dying to my desires, about relinquishing control and letting God work. He's showing up more and more... I'm lessening. It's a good thing.

I've never understood sacrificial love, self-denial, or giving when you think you couldn't give anymore until I became a mom. I've learned more than just how to change diapers, clean up throw up endless times or nurse sick children. I've learned about love, about joy, about sin, about confessing my dependence on God and surrendering myself to Him again and again. He is showing me that what I do unto the "least of these" I do unto Him.

Now, with that being said I won't pretend that it's easy or always fun. It is true labor. it is a work that tires. It is a work where you have to run to God to give up your fear and anxiety. But it is a blessed work. It is a sweet work. It is a pleasure to feel little hands around my neck and the words of "I love you Mommy!" in my ear.

I am a failure. I mess up. I sin. i yell at my kids. I get frustrated. I want to give up. I get angry. But the Lord sustains me. He keeps me going when I feel like I can't go any longer. He shows me that He hasn't given up on me. He helps me to be a better mother. He helps me to love more than I thought possible. I thank God that with Him all things are possible, including mothering four under four. I look to Him for comfort. I look to Him for reassurance and peace. I look to Him for my all in all.

I had hoped to go to church today. The kids were dressed and ready... but Libby and Samuel are sick. Both coughing, sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes, etc. So we drove and picked up a rose bush for my mom, went through the drive-thru at Starbucks, and headed out to my parents where we are spending the afternoon in the garden. Planting. Watching new life grow and form.

My mom just called to say she's picking up steaks and potatoes... yum! I'm looking forward to the peace and coolness of this place. Swing in a hammock. Hold my children. Bask in the love God has shown me this day.

I hope your Mother's Day is special... whether you are a mother or are enjoying your mother. And for those who have lost their mothers or want to be a mother but are not able, I ask God's comfort for your heart and for His healing balm for your spirit. Blessings on your day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Interesting Life: AKA random thoughts.

Well, I can honestly say that my life is never really boring- it's interesting.  On Wednesday, before we went to pick up Ian, Libby and I had some "girl" time.  We went out to Starbucks... where she managed to completely smash her toe at the door... removing the entire toe-nail... poor girl.  Then when I was getting her back into the car a lady ran into me while I was strapping Libby in.  She literally was closing my side door on my leg with her SUV... thankfully I screamed... minimal car damage, minimal leg damage.

It was so great to take Ian home.  He's been doing well.  We're still trying to work on the nursing thing.  He really just wants a bottle because it's quick and easy.  I'm still trying to figure out when he's hungry and when he just wants to be held and so fusses. Mike has been a saint and taking the late night shift.

Wednesday night Samuel had a fever of 103.  His cough was crazy and his asthma was flaring.  So I took him to the doctor's Thursday morning.  The doctor thinks it's bacterial so he's on antibiotics... which is also giving him diarrhea... so he's had blow outs every morning and we have to change his sheets, bathe him, etc.... I took Ian for a follow-up appt. on Thursday... after I took Samuel.  He did great.  Everything looks really good.  Samuel has been sleeping a lot and I've been trying to keep him from Ian.

Libby loves being a big sister.  She loves to help with the baby.  Whenever Ian cries she says, "What's wrong with our baby?"  She loves changing his diaper and following me around... she's constantly underfoot.

I can honestly say though that I've been tired.  I was half-way through eating dinner a couple of nights ago when I looked down to discover the oven hand mitt still on my hand!

I've been feeling guilty.  I've only seen Michael twice since we've taken Ian home.  It's just been a lot juggling the kids at home and then trying to get to the hospital.

Tomorrow is Mother's day and it feels weird to not have all my kids at home.  Oh well.  Hopefully soon!

Mike has finals Monday, Tuesday and Friday of next week.  So this next week will be a bit challenging as Mike will be gone.

I look forward to sharing more later... maybe some coffee will help me get my thoughts in line :)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Carseat Time.

Guess who's possibly coming home tomorrow?  Ian!  He was circumcised today- poor baby.  He just needs to pass his car seat test and continue to keep on eating like he has been.  He's been taking all his feeds by bottle.  So he might come home tomorrow night.  Michael is doing well and has caught back up to his birth weight but still doesn't quite get what to do with a bottle... he's better at breast-feeding.  Anyway, since this is my last day to prepare and my last night to get some "real" sleep I'm going to go enjoy it.  Pleas pray for Mike as he studies for finals with a newborn at home :)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My birds.



Some birds had decided to build a nest in the wreath of my front door.  Some other birds have made a nest around the side door.  It's been a happening place.  I loved watching the mother bird's eggs grow and grow.  She actually laid a total of 6 eggs.  The birds have all hatched now and I still need to get a picture of their fuzzy little bodies and sweet open beaks.  I just hate to disturb her.  Spring is here.  I guess this is a sign of life around here.  Nesting.  Babies.  Etc.  Can't wait until mine are home.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

in Nags Head


Tales of the tired.  I was by myself the other night and was in the rest-room when I was completely startled.  I heard this loud popping sound.  was it a gun shot?  No.  I had forgotten that I was popping popcorn in the microwave.  Literally I had started the popcorn and went to the bathroom and completely forgot until I was startled.  I laughed at myself for a full 5 minutes.
Mike and I are getting a little break.  We're down in Nags Head by ourselves... a wonderful slight change of plans.  Our kids and his parents will be coming down today.  We had a nice night to ourselves.
This morning we're enjoying some coffee and cinnamon rolls.
yesterday was a good day.  We got to see the boys and they've been moved so that their crib beds are right next to each other.  I got to nurse both of them and they did a great job!
Anyway, I'm going to go enjoy time with my honey!
Here's our "just woke up" picture".

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy May.

Ian



I loved taking pictures of them this morning.  michael nursed today and did great!  I was so pleased.  Ian was sleeping and didn't want to nurse. I was at the hospital from 9:30-3:00.  Long day for me.  I loved getting to hold them though.  I was able to be with Michael during his cranial sector scan and we should have the results from the doctor tomorrow. Mike is going to come home late, late, late tonight.  tomorrow we're going to go see the boys and then pick up the kids and go to Nags Head.  We'll leave the kids with their grandparents overnight and have a night to ourselves back home.  Saturday morning we'll go back and hang with the boys.  I'm looking forward to Mike getting to hold the boys and I keep hoping that Michael will be alert as he has been!  He loves to look around and his eyes get so big and happy.  Ian is continuing to gain weight.  He's over 5 lbs., 8 oz. and Michael is now 4 lbs, 2 oz.  They're both growing so much.  I love snuggling them and rubbing their heads.  Libby often plays "hospital" at home and has two baby dolls that she calls Ian and Michael.  It's really sweet.  She pretends to feed them and tells me often that they're sleeping.  Today she told me, "Mommy, you have princess eyes."  I wonder if it's because I've been wearing make-up lately.  Anyway, just glad that things are going well.  I feel pain-free (can even sleep on my tummy) but I am so exhausted.  My house is clean.  I'm fed.  Life is good.

Michael

Aren't they so cute!?


Being Low.

In case you're wondering what the results were for Michael's further test- the results were ambiguous.  The resident said nothing new.  He did seem to think things were moving in a good direction.  They were not getting worse.  Yeah, lots of help :)  The truth is we won't know the extent of damage with Michael until he's older.  We'll have to see him growing and moving and continue to have further tests.

I'm struggling.  I don't do well if I look at other's circumstances.  I question why my life has been what it's been and struggle with seeing other pregnant women who are healthy and have full-term normal babies.  Seeing other women taking their babies home.  Seeing other people whose children are free from all the medical craziness my children have had.  The "other" people who haven't experienced a significant loss.

I had this realization this morning though.  I'm sure my life has caused pain and temptation for resentment.  I'm married to a wonderful man.  I have a great home to live in.  I have four children that are all alive.  I haven't miscarried and I've never been barren.  These reminders are helpful.  I'm not the only one who struggles with life turning out in unexpected and difficult ways.  Others struggle with the circumstances and situations and the problems they have.