Friday, January 25, 2013

Waiting and Living

Well, between the nesting, the nausea, the bursts of energy followed by tiredness, all bundled up together with the bouts of contractions that seem like they're about to go somewhere and then just stop...I've decided Baby Q is a tease.

Its funny. With Blueberry, I was not actually ready for her to come when I went into labor. With Baby Q I'm pretty much begging him to come on out! A large part of that really has been this never ending stream of contractions; long enough and heavy enough to get my hopes up, and then dying off into nothingness. Again. And again. And again. For several weeks now. Bah!

We go off duty again tonight. Its been a month of crazy shifts with lots of comings and goings. Our little Butterfly is being prepped to return to her mom--successfully this time, i hope. And Wednesday night we found out that our Squirrel is being reunited with some family as well...Today! Nothing like a bit of last minute packing up of a child to keep you busy in an already busy week.

As I write this, Squirrel and Blueberry are holding Doggie a funeral. They've built him a bier and are now crashing on the piano, playing him a song. He apparently died from losing all of his teeth. Sigh. Blueberry is going to be missing both these little girls quite a bit. Admittedly, I will too. Mind you, the lower numbers in the cottage, however temporary, will be a blessing during this transition period.

I finally got my sign off from the nurse practitioner at the health clinic in town--a sign off needed saying I'm still a good candidate for home birth. Not my favorite lady in the world. I about laughed in her face when I went in to see her the other day and she inquired about swelling of my ankles while closely observing my then very swollen ankles. I admit to a little bit of snarkiness when I told her that I've had minimum swelling this whole pregnancy, but having sat for THREE HOURS in the waiting room for the appointment, yes, my ankles had swollen! I just love government health care.

I think my biggest issue has been the carpal tunnel syndrome I've had in my wrists this pregnancy. Driving me crazy! I had some with Blueberry but its been much worse this time. Which is odd as the amount of time I'm on the computer now is far less than it was when I was pregnant with Blueberry.

Anyhoo...that's the general update. Soon and very soon....this little man has to come out!

Friday, January 11, 2013

January 2013

Resolved: (This particular resolution is in flux in terms of wording as it is going to need to change every month. The basic goal--to mindfully consider my roles in life and focus on how to best accomplish them). To continue/finish preparing myself mentally, physically (both myself and my house), and emotionally for this baby.

As of today, I think I'm getting there. Oh sure there is a never ending list of things to do, but I feel much more confident and prepared than I did even a week ago. And, frankly, I'm finally really feeling excited to meet this young man and see what he's going to bring to my life. Theoretically, by the end of this next shift (we just came back on duty--so Wednesday/Thursday of next week), the final, major physical touches will all be in place in our home...and everything else is just frosting.

Resolved: To work on a specific habit every month that I want to build into my life.

This month's habit is one that I physically need and that is simply drinking more water. I used to be great with how much water I drank, and over the last year, I've found myself struggling to keep this up. So, as I desperately need to be hydrated right now, this is my first habit to re-establish in my life.

Resolved: To work through our home over the course of the year and apply the principles of minimalism and decluttering that I've been devouring for the last few years.

Now, this month I'm giving myself somewhat of a break on this resolution, as I, frankly, have enough on my plate as it is. However, in preparing our home for the arrival of Baby Q, I did sort through Blueberry's room and get rid of a number of things that were simply taking up space. It wasn't necessarily as purposeful as I would like to get, but at this point, I count it a win for the month!

Resolved: To continue to pay off any and all debt that we have accumulated, and not to accumulate any more. The goal is by the end of the year to have paid off a number of little bills that have piled up (thank you health related issues) and new well as get Chris' second, small student loan paid off.

This month--We paid the last (by faith I state this) of all baby-related fees and so can welcome Baby Q into our home without any unresolved debt related to his birth.

Resolved: To read through some books in a purposeful manner this year. Monthly, I have a goal of the following four items:
1. Faithfully follow a devotional of some sort. I have actually taken on two (in addition to my regular scripture reading). Glimpses of Grace which is a compilation of Madeline L'Engle's writings put into daily, snippet format. As she is frequently an author I find myself turning to for snatches of spiritual inspiration, I've been enjoying reading this. In addition, I have been reading Beth Moore's book, Praying God's Word. I'm enjoying how she literally is dealing with various topics in a prayer format, just applying direct scripture. So far, so good. I list it with this because I want some accountability in this aspect of my reading this year.  I enjoy the enrichment of books in addition to basic scripture, but I do have a tendency to sputter out part way through.

2. Fiction Re-Read: Because I'm always seeking my comfort books. But I'm trying to limit my comfort zone a little bit. This month (well, it started in December), I reread the Hunger Games trilogy. Just finished Mockingjay. Really is a fascinating story.

3. Non-Fiction New: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England. This was a book lent to me by my midwife, and I've really enjoyed it. She uses a lot of art forms (written and visual) to teach birth preparation classes. Although I didn't really participate in the actual activities themselves, I enjoyed the perspective she provided (which I found to be very balanced--refreshing) and insightful in many ways.

4. Other New: This can be a fiction book or a nonfiction, depending on what is interesting me at the moment. This book is being decided on as I type. So no news there.

As far as I'm concerned, any other reading is just bonus :) 

Note: This particular post will normally be a little later in the month. But this was all on my brain, and so I decided to go ahead and share here and get it out of my brain and into action. Perhaps I shall do a January 2013 Part II post later. Or perhaps I shall just be buried in baby mooning and shall leave you hanging until the end of February.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Old Year, New Year, and Other Randomness

Well, once again it has been several weeks since I've blogged and in that time I feel like I've run a marathon. Let's see if we can play catch up.

1. As of today, I am officially 36 weeks and 5 days pregnant pregnant. Which means I can legally (by the state of Arkansas) give birth at home with a midwife. Yay! Which is doubly good as I've had plenty of contractions the last week; although, its hard to tell if they are simply stress induced or actually going somewhere.

Other than the marked uptake in contractions, I've been doing pretty well except for the carpal tunnel that has been bothering me in both my wrists. And yes, the irony that I'm typing right now is not lost on me, but at three am, one has to do something when one can't sleep. And I just can't sleep tonight. I had a little bit of carpal tunnel last pregnancy, but the last few weeks have not been pleasant at all in that regards. Makes sleeping even trickier because you're not supposed to sleep on your back and yet if I sleep on my sides, it greatly exacerbates the pain in whichever arm is underneath. I'm finding wrapping my right wrist at night, which is the one that particularly is bothersome, is helpful in keeping the pain down, but as I said earlier, tonight sleep is just not with me at all.

I feel like I'm still struggling to be fully prepared for Baby Q to come along. All the pieces are slowly coming together, and really I do have the essentials. Almost. Still need to get a new infant car seat and holders for both the car and the van. But in general I don't feel like I've created a space for him yet, physically. That's my job currently; get that final layout in place. The mental prep is coming along, and in the last few days, I've found myself more and more ready to hold my little boy.

To think positively for myself though, I do have baby clothes that are washed (if sitting in a laundry basket waiting to be put away), diapers that are ready, my labor stuff is all ready, bills are all caught up, and I have frozen banana bread! So really, we're not doing that bad. And I have a list of meals to make and freeze (thank the Lord I had not actually managed to do any pre-freezing of meals before Christmas or they probably all would have been lost...more on that in #2).

2. We've had multiple random Christmases this year.

Several parties involving the cottage girls and Blueberry. Blue has really picked up on what "presents" are, which has been both good and bad because obviously if everyone is getting a present, she wants one! And she's still got some learning concerning some presents are for others and not her.

Then we had our little cottage gift exchange. We wanted to do this before Christmas (even though the girls technically don't get the bulk of their presents until January 7 because of donations still coming in) because as of December 28 we are officially down to 7 kids total (counting Blueberry). Our Panda Bear has gone home, we hope for good (not that we don't want her, but she actually has a decent home to go to, it is simply up to her to keep her behavior together so that she can stay there!). The girls all had presents for each other and we had presents for them, so we went ahead and squeezed in a mini Christmas exchange before Panda left. I spent several hours (OK, a lot of hours!) putting together a photo book of pictures from this year, individualized for each girl. It was a lot of fun, and from the general absorption that fell over the cottage when we let them open their gifts, I think the girls appreciated their books.

The next Christmas celebration was with my brother and sister-in-law.  That was a fun time. They arrived Friday the 28th, by which time all the girls except Butterfly had gone elsewhere for Christmas as they were shutting our cottage down for the holiday. We kept Butterfly until Monday for stability sake. Saturday we drove to Little Rock and enjoyed the zoo, delicious Indian food, and a general tour of our favorite places in Little Rock including the GF bakery.

Because whatever Blueberry does, Doggie must do to...

Blueberry and Butterfly were their usual hysterical selves, and that just added a fun element to the day. I swear I don't know what I'm going to do if/when Butterfly gets sent somewhere else. She and Blueberry have become so close, it's going to be a rough day for our little Blue to lose her friend/sister.

Sunday we enjoyed a Christmas service and then had our modest Christmas celebration that night.

Monday morning they left early and mid-afternoon my sister and her husband arrived! Just to keep the celebrating going, you know! Tuesday--Christmas day officially--we did our gift exchange with them. The day, however, was punctuated by steady rainfall in the morning, dropping temperatures, ice accumulation by evening, and finally snow. Around 8:30pm, just as we were settling in for a movie, the power went out. Completely. For the whole night. And the next day. For the whole campus.

 All bundled up for breakfast by candlelight.

 The front of our cottage. 

The following pictures come from around campus. Did I mention we live on a really beautiful piece of property? Cause we do. Just cold when we have no heat!

 These trees that line the main entrance-way are probably the worst part of the storm's aftermath. They've all been severely de-limbed, which is sad because they're normally a beautiful indicator of the passing of the seasons. 

Joy and Adam left early the next morning, and we were left to fend for ourselves. Fortunately, we were still a closed cottage at that point, so we didn't have to worry about anyone other than us. So we kind of piddled around all day. Went and played outside at one point. Finally got the power back on at 7:30pm. Light! Heat! Beautiful!

 Blueberry's inspecting the snow.


I went to sleep around 11:30pm, and woke up an hour later on Wednesday 12:30am when the power went back out again. Only this time it stayed off for the next three days. We went back on duty on Wednesday. For some reason, some of the cottages and a few of the buildings on campus had power (different grid line or something?), so we wound up bunking in at the high school girls cottage for three days. It wasn't so bad, but having four adults (plus the HPs over there had their adult daughter staying with them) and 14 kids ages 2 to 17 in one house was quite interesting.

We played quite a few games (the girls all really got into Pit), discovered that Blueberry and Butterfly are terrible roommates as they create double havoc at night time when they want to (they slept on the floor in the same room we were sleeping in, just on opposite sides of the bed). Got some gift cards to go to Chic Fil-et one day as that was actually open and we just needed to get the girls out, hit a basketball game, watched some movies, and generally tried to encourage good attitudes, avoiding trouble, and calm.

The most depressing moment was coming over to our cottage on Saturday with the girls and cleaning out the fridges of the last items that were going bad and we just had run out of ways to keep. We did manage to salvage quite a bit, but still, there was an awful lot of dumping that occurred. Having all the help from the girls was great though. We literally lined them all up with garbage bags and filled up the bags which they took outside or elsewhere as needed. Made the whole job go a lot faster. And they apparently thought the whole thing rather fun.

Saturday afternoon, as were were facing the news that the rest of Hot Springs was not scheduled to be reconnected with power until Tuesday, one of the directors finally got on the phone with the mayor (who happens to go to church with him), and we suddenly had power across the whole campus again Saturday evening! Thank the Lord for being the children's home :) 

The girls were hysterical upon coming home. Very happy to be here. In the meantime, we were going off duty that night, so we spent several crazy hours packing up our stuff, settling the girls back into their rooms, scrubbing and restocking the fridges with what we had salvaged, trying to get our paperwork together, and get seven children to bed before our Relief Houseparents came over at 9:30pm.

Oh, and just to make matters worse, it was our last passdown with these particular RHPs before they are scheduled to take over new duties as the HPs in the high school boys cottage! Very sad as it means upheaval for the girls (particularly Butterfly) just as we will be off a lot ourselves whenever Baby Q decides to make his appearance.

We're trying to be scheduled with one set of RHPs as much as possible so as to minimize the change for the girls, but the set who are coming in primarily are actually only temporary RHPs until we get some more RHPs hired. It's just going to be a few months with a lot of change I'm afraid. Plus, on an entirely selfish note, we absolutely loved our old RHPs and are very sad to lose them (even though the situation will be a great one for them!). At least they're still on campus and not gone-gone, but still...

Any ways, back to my original topic in this point. Multiple Christmases. Our final Christmas is tomorrow (Monday) and then the girls are back to school on Tuesday. Blueberry got some of her presents at Christmas, and we have some other presents for her to open with the girls on Monday (it didn't seem right for her to be the only kid sitting there not opening presents. It's going to be a tricky balance as she gets older, but we'll figure it out).

3. Christmas break has been a lot of fun--once we got our power. Just very busy. Lots of appointments, and I've been playing catch up on getting ready for the baby. But we've played games and watched movies and made Peanut Butter Balls (very important!) and gone out shopping, which has all been good. Had some other plans that the storm kind of took out, but I think we've done all right.

New Years Eve we were off duty, and admittedly, we crashed hard for those three days (although I did manage to get the bills paid!). The days prior to that were all the ones of dealing with no power, and that was truly exhausting. Not to mention that my contractions at that point were coming hard enough and frequently enough to make me question whether Baby Q was trying to make his entrance in truly dramatic fashion in the middle of a power outage! Fortunately he apparently does not have a flair for the dramatic and settled back down again--mostly. Our New Years celebration consisted of putting Blueberry to bed, watching a few movies, paying those silly bills, and going outside at midnight to give the girls hugs and wish them a happy new year. I know--we're boring.

4. New Years Resolutions. Well, I have some. Kind of. More my list of items to develop and focus on this year, rather than a bunch of specific resolutions. I think the first quarter of the year is best to be simply titled--Adjust to Changes with Grace for Myself, My Family, and My "Other" Family! If we get through that, we'll be doing good!

5. Blueberry news. She is doing well; although, she still has a cough that just won't clear up. Mind you, I think that's the news for half of us right now. She has officially transferred to a "big girl bed." Mainly, we took the railing off her crib and converted it to the toddler version.That's been an adventure as she definitely likes the freedom of getting out of bed!

The primary issue is that with her potty training, she will get out of bed (before falling asleep) to go potty. Which is fine, except on nights when she just doesn't want to go to sleep and suddenly she has the bladder of, well, a Blueberry! Potty training itself is going really well. She's got the whole process down herself, other than she gets stuck turning the water off sometimes and has been known to climb on the bathroom counter to get to my lotion to put some lotion on her nose because "it hurts." Which it probably does she's been blowing it so much, but she's not to be using my lotion! She's actually napping without diapers at all now, only the occasional accident. Night time she's still in diapers, but really, I think she's doing well!

May you have a blessed Epiphany!

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...