A forgotten thrill

>> Monday, July 28, 2008

I have mentioned before that I am having digital camera woes. Mine broke and we have yet to replace it. I keep forgetting to find batteries for our really old one or charge the digital camcorder that can take stills. So, the other day I resorted to buying a old-fashioned disposable camera that actually uses film (gasp!!). I know... like stepping back into the 90's or something. :) Anyway, I used it a couple times last week and then dropped it off to get developed (gasp again!!) today. I at least told the girl to give me a CD of the pics so as to not be totally culturally irrelevant. Lucas and I went a ran a couple more errands and came back an hour later to pick up our pictures. SO FUN!!! I had totally forgotten what a suspensful thrill it is to open that little cardboard folder and start to look through previously unseen pictures. And to actually have pictures in my hands to hold and flip through... SO FUN!!!
I guess there is something to be said for doing things the old-fashioned way now and then. I have been teased before for loving my paper calender where I can actually write in my appointments, etc.. and resisting the urge to get a Blackberry or Palm. I love sending actual cards to people and not always resorting to e-mail/ e-cards to wish someone a happy birthday or tell them I am thinking of them. So it isn't all that shocking that picking up actual pictures today was such a treat. I had just forgotten just how exciting it can be. Not all the pictures were worth the printing costs, that is the chance you take. But here are some of the good ones....
Daddy and Lucas on the Carousel at the Dupage County Fair yesterday

Lucas loved feeding the animals "breakfast." The food did look like cereal!
Riding the tractor at the Fair. Oh the things that excite little boys!!
With our friend Brooke at the ArboretumMy sweet little guy at the park
Lucas and Mommy at the park - you forget how hard it is to take a self-portrait with a film camera!! :)


Joy and Discomfort - Psalm Sunday

>> Sunday, July 27, 2008

This week I chose a psalm that is one of my favorites. It is one that I often turn to when I am in need of some encouragement, a reminder of the hope I have in Him even when I get a bit down about what ever life is throwing my way.

Life these days in very full. Full of both potential joy and potential discomfort. It is days like today that are very real reminders of that for me.
I had a rough night last night. I was beat after selling slings at the French Market yesterday and had pretty intense contractions and a horrible headache all night. It was topped off with a emotional morning for me, just feeling very tired and a bit un-attended to. I seem to have this need to be cared for, especially when I am feeling particularly needy and overwhelmed. Anyway.... Thankfully, Lucas took a good nap after church which meant I could too. We later had a very fun evening at our local county fair showing Lucas all the animals and watching his little face light up as he fed the goats and lambs (pics coming). As I put him down to bed, it was one of those times when I was really drinking in the special-ness of the moment. His little giggle as I made up a special voice for the baby bird who is looking for his mother, his insistance that we say thank you for brother Micah and baby brother (whose name is yet to be announced) during prayers, and his request for one more hug and kiss before I left the room. A day full of both overwhelming joy and discomfort...

So today, I have felt a little like David in this psalm - a bit troubled at times but really just thankful for the hope we have in the Lord and for the ways He blesses and instructs us. My hope truly is in Him, both when the joy and the discomfort come. And almost exactly two weeks from right now, I am scheduled for a heaping dose of both. To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.....

Psalm 25

1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.
8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
13 He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.
18 Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
19 See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.
22 Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!


My life is in You, Lord
My strength is in You, Lord

My hope is in You, Lord
In You, it’s in You

I will praise You with all of my life
I will praise You with all of my strength
With all of my life
With all of my strength
All of my hope is in You


Gimme a break

>> Friday, July 25, 2008

I had a nice little outing with the girls last night for fondue. Even though we talked about pregnancy and kids most of the time, it was still nice to get out of the house and have some brownie smoothered in melted chocolate. I need those little escapes now and then. I think everyone does.

And even when I can't actually get away, I take little mental vacations. My recent vacation spot of choice.. Project Runway. Yes, the obsession has returned. I am talking more about that here today.

How do you escape and let your mommy-brain take a breather?


Trains and train wrecks...

>> Saturday, July 19, 2008

In case any of you are wondering, black permanent marker does not come off clothing or wooden trains. But I am getting ahead of myself....

Today we had planned on driving about 90min. to a local
train museum. We have been planning this trip for weeks, trying really hard to get certain things in that we have been intending to do with Lucas before Baby is born. It was overcast when we woke up but that didn't stop us, at first. As we got in the car and started our trek down there, it was pouring with no signs of letting up. With most of the museum being outdoors, we amended our plans. Total bummer. We instead played at the children's museum for an hour or so and then went and had lunch at a train restaurant we had heard good things about. We had a great time at lunch and Lucas loved that his food was delivered by the train that ran on the tracks next to our booth. Then as we browsed a farmer's market by the train tracks, a train stopped right by us. Lucas was awestruck with an actual train being 2 ft. away. Not as good as the train museum, but still a fun train-themed morning.

And then....

He fell asleep 10min. from home and then would not nap AT ALL!!! I desperately needed a nap, after being up with him for an hour during the night and then getting up to our usual early wake-up call. The longer it took him to settle down, the more frustrated I got. Hubby came to bail me out after about an hour of trying and we both evenutally conceeded to Lucas just having some quiet time so at least I could get a little rest. But as I lay in bed, trying to find a position that relieved my back pain and hearing him "being quiet" in his room, there was no way I was going to be able to nap. So I got up and I let him get up.

Hubby had an event for work and had to leave. Being very tired and wanting a minute to myself to look over some long-over-do
business accounting, I was more than willing to let Lucas go downstairs and play on his train table like he asks to do several times a day. He was down there for no more than 5 minutes when I heard "Mommy, come see my mess." Never good words. I walked ran downstairs very apprehensive of what I would find. What I did find was a black permanent marker in his hands and black marker all over everything. And I do mean everything. Where did he get that marker and how did he color on everything so fast?!?! Black hands, black face, black all over the train table and all the tracks and all the trains. He thankfully spared the carpet and my stash of slings in a tote bag not 5ft. from his "mess."
At this point, I lost it. I started crying and asking my 2yr. old why he did this. He doesn't know why! He never thinks about why!! He just does things. He is 2!
He asked me to clean it and I just rambled on about how it is permanent marker and I can't clean it! He started to cry, I continued my crying and just sat there and held him as we both cried. Why did it upset me so much that he marked on his train table? It is just a train table. But I felt genuinely mad at him. Frustrated and tired but also just plain mad.

I chilled out a bit as I got a rag and my Clorox Anywhere spray and started trying to minimize the damage to the trains. Mostly I just didn't have the energy to be mad anymore. I put him in the tub to soak until his fingers were pruny and I had scrubbed all the black off his face.
After the bath, I fixed him the only dinner I could muster the energy for... ham and cheese and grapes. Gourmet, I know. I sat there, quiet and spent. Feeling much like that poor camel whose back breaks after they throw on that one last straw. I even have the sore back and the humps to help complete the analogy. There is so much intense emotion in my head these days and I have been doing my best to hold it all together and stay on track. And then my toddler won't nap and he finds a black Sharpie and off the handle I fly.

Just then, Lucas looks at me and says...
"Mommy, you like cheese?"
"Yes honey, I like cheese."
"Mommy, you want some of my cheese?"
"Sure. That is nice of you to share."
"Mommy, thank you for loving me. Mommy, I love you so much. Mommy, you love me so much?"
Here is where I start crying again.
"Yes Lucas. Mommy loves you SO MUCH!" But I haven't really been acting like it, have I.

The day ended with us watching a Thomas the Train DVD and reading a Thomas the Train book at bedtime. Both unintentional additions to our train-themed day, but appropriate I guess. Oh, and did I mention that right before bedtime the dog got loose and I had to run, carrying Lucas and my oh-so-pregnant self, down to the end of our court to retrieve him? Figures.

It has been a train-themed day for sure and I am the train wreck. Having just recounted the evening's events to hubby on the phone, they sound (and feel) a little less dramatic. But in the moment, I felt done. Just done. Although, after I had my moment of freak out, I really did my best to pull it together and not take it out on Lucas. We had a precious moment together at dinner and then I held him as I sang and rocked him to sleep. After all that talk of expectations, today felt a little like a dry run for the many tired, frustrating, why-is-this-happening-to-me days that are probably in my near future. I didn't handle it as I probably should have or would want to... but I am trying. Really trying.
Off to scrub some trains.....



>> Friday, July 18, 2008

I am a girl with expectations. I always have been. Expectations of both myself and of those around me. I expect myself to perform at certain levels. I expect to complete things that I set my mind to. I expect to not let people down and to live up to the things they assume will be true of me. Exhausting at times, but just how I am wired.

Well, here I sit. Three weeks away from my newest son being born. And I am once again full of thoughts and tasks that need addressing. I am nesting, I am reflecting and processing... I am expecting.
It is no mystery to me why people refer to pregnant women with this term. "She is expecting," or "That couple is expecting." They mean the baby, right? Most people do. But that is so far from the complete picture, at least for me.
I have talked enough in recent past about how pregnancy for me is such a different experience. One full of uncertainty and hoping and attempts at faith and trust.... But as I near the end of my third (and mostly likely last) pregnancy, I am full of expectations - of all sorts.

Expecting... to be awake for the delivery and hear my son's first cry. For hubby to be present too and carry Baby to meet me in recovery just as he was able to with Lucas. (For those who may not know, this is a platelet issue, which means it is an anesthesia issue....) To nurse right away, to sleep the first night with him on my chest so I can feel him breathe, to put him in my sling as soon as I can (does that make me a babywearing nerd?), ...
Expecting... to hold my healthy newborn son in my arms and learn more about this little man who has been doing acrobatics in my abdomen for the last 20+ weeks. To kiss his soft face and tell him how much I already love him and how much more I will love him throughout his and my lifetime. To watch adoringly as hubby does the same. To introduce Lucas to his younger brother as tears of both joy and grief cloud my eyes.
Expecting... there to be room in my heart for all my boys and to be able to love all of them well, whatever that may look like for each. For my bond with Lucas to only be made stronger as we both learn how to welcome Baby into our lives. To never let Lucas question my love or devotion to him, even as the demands on my time and attention increase. For there to come a day when I can fully love all three of my sons perfectly and completely, holding them and knowing we are all complete as we bask in the Glory of our King.

Expecting... my marriage to grow and deepen and only be made stronger by whatever storms we face. For there to be lots of storms, ones we are currently in and ones that we can't possibly foresee. But also, to walk through them all together, not questioning if the calm will come but only when. To work hard to show hubby that I can be the wife he needs, even in times when I am needy myself. To receive grace and love from him in the ways I need even when he is feeling needy too. To feel cherished and valued and have the effort I am putting forth acknowledged. And to do the same for him.

Expecting... to fail. To not live up to my own ideals of motherhood and womanhood in general. But to allow myself to freely receive God's grace and mercy and to get back up and try again.

Expecting... to feel overwhelmed at times, like I can't possibly do it. And then to realize, I can and I will and whatever that looks like will be O.K. To also have moments when I am genuinely proud of myself for something, anything. And to let those moments fuel me during times when I am discouraged.

That is a lot of expecting... but it is all true. Maybe some of these are unique to me, but I am willing to bet that not all of them are. Are they?
Thank God for His grace in both helping me meet them and picking me up when there is no way that I can.


Buying handmade

>> Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Check out BabyLove Slings today on this really cool website that features only handmade products. I know I have posted this picture at least once before, but I just love it so much and think it is such a great depiction of why we where our babies. Momma and baby both look so content and cozy. And even more importantly, so very connected.
Get your own little piece of content motherhood at BabyLove Slings.com
check out all the other great handmade stuff out there at Try Handmade.com



>> Saturday, July 12, 2008

For those of you following along at home to the drama that is continually unfolding here on my blog in my life.... Lucas has slept past 6am for the past two mornings and not woken up at all during the night. We have been giving him some Tylenol to help with the molars, we flipped his bed so the sun won't shine in his face in the morning, it has been overcast the last two mornings, he has been falling asleep on his own for the last week or two (as opposed to us patting/singing until he falls asleep).... But no matter what the source of this new found sleep, I am grateful and hoping that this is the beginning of a new trend.

I decided to give our sub-par park district class another shot. We missed a week due to the babywearing conference but we heard that the teacher was much improved the second week. I, however, did not get the opportunity to see the improvements.
This week was a bit better, I guess. The teacher did read one story during "All the Stories We Will Read" (feel the sarcasm?), we played in the gym for 10min during the stories class and then never stepped foot in the gym again during the fitness class. Lucas did play with some dinos and train tracks which is SO different than what we do at home and worth spending money on a class for (more sarcasm). At different points during the 90min. waste-of-my-time-and-money class, I rescued a little Chinese girl (who, as you may recall, speaks NO English) from running around the room with scissors and then sat stunned when the "teacher" asked me if I had seen any children escape out the door. WHAT!!! How is it my job to make sure children don't escape?!?! And do you think I would just let a child escape and not say anything or chase them down?!?! I know a waddle a bit with this huge basketball under my tank-top but that doesn't mean I can't still beat out a 2yr old runaway! I am SO writing a letter and requesting compensation for this "class." Lucas now frequently repeats the phrase "we are SO done with gym class." I wonder where he has heard that before?

My platelets have taken a turn for the worse. Most normal people who don't attack their own platelets have somewhere around 200-300 thousand of the little clotting machines. My pregnant body apparently doesn't approve of clotting. When my number went below 100 thousand, we knew that the spinal vs. general anesthesia decision would be tricky. If the hit 50 thousand, the decision is no longer ours to make. General anesthesia it will be. Well, with 5 weeks to go I am sitting at 62,000 and have been dropping about 10,000/week. My OB wants to start me on steriods to try and slow the decline and maybe even give me a bump. And, we will probably move the delivery up a bit to try and stay ahead of the game. I am getting used to being totally out of control. Truthfully, the last week has been very frustrating. It just seems to not be playing out the way I imagined it. But, there is still time for things to work out and/or me to come to terms with the way things have to be. I would rather be awake to hear my son cry and I would rather the timing be perfect. But in the end, if my son is born safe and healthy and I am safe and healthy, I guess all other details will seem less crucial. I could still use your prayers for the whole situation though.

In other news....

We took Lucas on the "Little Buddies Tour" at the hospital today. He got to practice putting a little hat on a babydoll, giving the baby a bottle, and stand at the nursery window and see all the newborns. It was a reality check for all three of us, I think. Lucas loved seeing all the babies. And I stood there, watching my baby look at the babies, and couldn't help but feel emotional and a little awe-struck. One of those is entering my world soon. Wow. My little Lucas, my cuddly yet oh-so-rowdy little boy, is getting so big. And the one in my belly is going to come out soon and he will be so little. And we start all over. Wow.
On top of it all, we watched the movie "Juno" tonight. I think I need to say more about this whole train of emotions but I need to let them percolate a little first....
We also took Lucas to the zoo today. The day was perfect. Perfect weather, small crowds, animal after animal. All three of us had a blast. Some really good family time that we were all desperately in need of. It is amazing how a little quality time together smooths so many relationship-wrinkles. Lucas had fun, Hubby had fun, and Mommy had fun too. Perfect.


Precious moment

>> Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lucas and I went to the local splashpad this morning with some friends. As we were leaving and I was buckling him in his carseat, he was asking me a million questions (as usual). "Mommy, what's that truck carrying? What's that man doing? Where we going, mommy?" To this last question I answered, "We are going home because mommy desperately needs a shower and a nap. Do you need anything?" His answer... "A big mommy-kiss! I love you SO MUCH!" Can you hear my heart melting?!? That is my precious boy!
Picture courtesy of Stephanie Dame photography- taken at the Babywearing Conf. Thanks Stephanie! She is an amazing photographer in the Oak Park area if anyone is in need. We plan on booking her this fall for some family photos. She is great!


Sleep..... oh, how I need some!!

I am over here today talking about Lucas and his sleep challenges. What is a mama to do? Really, I NEED to know!!! Any advice???


My quirky child

>> Monday, July 7, 2008

One of my favorite self-taken pics from when I brought Lucas with me the the Babywearing Conference.
Every child has those little quirky things that make up the unique expressions of their little personalities. Here are my maternal boastings about a few of those precious things about Lucas that make me smile just to think about.

Every since he was very little, he has loved to line things up in perfect rows. He would line up the blocks, line up his Cheerios, etc.... Now, he takes all his cars and trucks and places them in perfect lines and calls it a parade. He is very particular about the order and that the next car be acurately lined up just behind the other. This must be some expression of his puzzle-loving, analytical, maybe future engineer brain.
Just in the last few weeks, he has begun to want some of his stuffed animals in bed with him at naptime and bedtime. It started with one purple bear and the posse grows larger all the time. He has come up with names for each of them and carries them from room to room in our townhouse, calling them his "friends." Let me introduce you to.... (from L to R) "Daddy Max" (the blue dog), "Popsicle" (the purple bear), "Lambie Waffle", "Water Bottle" (the blue frog), "Blueberry" (the green frog), "Cookie Monster", "Baby Max" (small blue dog), and "Honey Fishy" (small blue fish in front). Sometimes a dino or two joins the crowd but they don't have special names; only special voices but that is a whole other quirk!


Come - Psalm Sunday

>> Sunday, July 6, 2008

These weekly reflections are supposed to be just that, reflective. But as I sit here, I can't come up with a single blog-worthy thing to say. There are so many things going on in my mind. Things too personal to post at the moment. Yet things that are choking out any other thoughts or feelings that may be more appropriate to share in such a public place. Suffice it (for now) to say that life is complicated. Motherhood is complicated. Marriage is complicated. Being 34wks. pregnant and trying to be everything to everyone is definitely complicated. It seems that when trying to be what everyone needs, most people lose.... especially me. And especially this week.

I am tired. Overwhelmed. Feeling like I am doing too much but nothing well. Lucas continually says "Mommy, come play with me" as if he misses time together. I am behind on carriers I have promised to people. I am not being the wife, the sister, the friend I hope I am capable of. I am not ready for Baby. Our newborn clothes are still boxed up in the back of a closet that needs a major makeover to be ready for 2boys worth of things. I could go on.

Yet in the midst of it all, I feel God telling me to "Come." That was the word I heard in church today. Through the song, through the readings, in my soul.... "Just Come." We read from Matthew 11 "28Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
He hears my cries of disappointment and anxiety and fatigue and failure. He hears me asking if I am enough or if I am on the right path or what I should focus on next.... and His response to me is simply "Come."
Lord, let this Psalm be my prayerful response to your bidding.

Psalm 145

1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

Come, Now is the time to Worship (Brian Doerksen)

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
One day every tongue will confess You are God
One day every knee will bow
Still, the greatest treasure remains for those
Who glady choose You now


Happy 4th!!

>> Friday, July 4, 2008

To say that life has been a bit busy lately is a gross understatement. With the recent conference and getting ready for markets and getting ready for baby and just keeping up with toddler life... I have barely had time to catch my breath. We did take time this morning to go to the Wheaton 4th of July parade. Lucas has been asking for weeks to see a firetruck and we have been saying "wait for the parade." Well, today was the payoff. He was in awe of the trucks and the motorcycles and convertibles, etc... He was like our personal parade commentator. "Look at the fireman up high, Mommy! What's that truck carrying? Mommy, it's a convertible!!!" It was so fun to watch. He was in toddler-boy heaven!!
I always get a little emotional on the 4th of July due to my very strong sense of patriotism. Being a military kid who lived through a father at war, I am deeply moved by the sacrifice of others to give us freedom. I find myself tearing up during the National Anthem or when the Jeep full of veterans drives by in the parade. Those men and women risked so much for our country and I just feel very grateful for their courage and sacrifice.

Today was a beautiful day and a nice break from the crazy of life if even for a few hours. Here are some of my favorite pics from today. Hope you had a wonderful 4th too, full of fun and fireworks and feeling grateful for all we have. Lucas in the daffodils
Mommy and Lucas watching the parade
Oh, my precious little boy!!
Look at that face!


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