First few weeks

It’s been pretty quiet on the blog lately. We’ve been trying to find a new “normal” at our house with Zeb’s arrival. We’ve been spending lots of time enjoying him these days and I haven’t had much time to write. So I’ll share a few pictures of these first weeks with him. It’s hard to believe he will be 4 weeks old on Thursday!
Bath time is so relaxing!


Waiting…that’s the name of the game here lately.
We’re (I’m) waiting kind of impatiently for this little baby to get here. I have a little while until my due date, but am close enough to know that if he decided to make his appearance now everything will likely be fine. It’s hard to wait, it’s hard to ride it out.
But I know this baby will come in his time and in God’s time. He can’t be rushed and shouldn’t be. So we wait.
I am doing okay and am thankful to have been fairly comfortable until the last couple of days. I’ve had a terrible cold this weekend and that is probably compounding the whole discomfort thing too. I hope that I am well by the time the baby comes as I don’t want to give him anything and don’t want to be dealing with a cold while adjusting to life with a newborn. Another good reason to keep waiting.
We are mostly ready for the homebirth, I say mostly because I’m sure we’re forgetting something. I’m much more laid back about getting things in order this time than I was last time. So I’m pretty sure that I’m forgetting something. I have all the essentials ready and in line so if there’s something missing we probably won’t know it until we think we might need it.
Here is a recent picture. The boys keep asking how big I think he’ll be. I have no idea to be honest. I don’t think I’m much bigger or small than I was with the other boys, so we’ll see. Kerry is much better at guessing than I am when it comes to baby weights. He’s been within an ounce or two with each of our boys, I haven’t asked him yet where he thinks this one will fall.

No white appliances

I have a confession to make…in the evenings while Kerry puts the boys down for bed I sit at my computer to work (I teach online) and have the TV on in the background. My two default channels are HGTV and the Food Network. The more time I’ve spent watching, the more disgusted I get.
Now, I like watching renovations or watching people search for the perfect family home as much as anyone, but they’re starting to make me sick. I see these couples or families (rarely with more than 1 child and certainly not 4+) looking at homes that have 3500+ sq ft. And you know what they say? “It’s too small!” or “We would never be able to fit all of our stuff in here.” My thought tends to be…Maybe you have too much stuff!!
It drives me crazy to hear women say “Well I don’t cook, but I still want a pretty kitchen.” or “I don’t like the white appliances…they look so dated!” It disappoints me to hear them say “But it only had one sink in the bathroom and I don’t want to share a sink with him.” I’m sitting there thinking…well you married him didn’t  you?
And I think, more often than not, one of two things…The first is “please don’t let my boys marry a woman like that” and the second is “please don’t let me raise my boys to think that white appliances and one sink is the worst thing that a house could have…please let me raise them to be content. Please let me be content.”
I think what it comes down to is the materialism of it all that disappoints me. The fact that we fail to see the hurt and the need around us…in our own backyards and we ignore it all. We shut out the need with our triple car garages and gigantic master en-suite bathrooms and our two sinks.
I want so much more for the world around me and my children. I want for them to not care about white appliances and double sinks. I want them to care about people around them…the things that matter. Sure…I like nice things, I enjoy a home with 3 1/2 bathrooms (they all have one sink) and more space than we need (we are blessed to live in the church parsonage). In our current home, each of my boys could have their own room if they wanted, but they don’t. All four, and soon to be five, share a room.  But you know what else? All this space…it doesn’t do much good unless I’m willing to be hospitable to my neighbor and open my home to those around me. As a follower of Christ, I am called to be hospitable. And that doesn’t just mean to people I know…the word actually means to open your home to strangers…complete strangers! Gasp!
I want for myself and my children, to look past the “stuff” and to people. To see needs and meet them, not to be hesitant when reaching out to others. We take for granted that we have clean water on demand, we can buy fresh food, we have flush toilets and in general we don’t have to worry about our safety…we can sleep soundly at night without fear of being attacked, victimized or homeless the next day.
As a mother, I struggle to keep this in perspective for myself and for our children. Kerry and I both work to teach them to keep things in perspective and to look around, to be grateful for the blessings we have. But sometimes we wonder if we’re doing enough.
So how do we do this as parents? How does this goal of breaking down materialism and consumerism culture change our conversations, our actions and our thinking? We’re still learning and refining what goes on in our home, but we are implementing some changes in our family to help our boys (and us) think about more than just ourselves, to think about how we can bless others and to be in a position to be used by God.
Because life and service is about more than white appliances and double sinks.

30 weeks

There were so many moments in the last year I was sure I would never see 30 weeks of pregnancy again, yet here I am and oh so very thankful. Sometimes when I think about the next 10 weeks it seems like they’ll take forever to go by and other days it seems like the time is flying by.
I have been working through some tough stuff mentally the last few weeks. It’s like a couple weeks ago I realized I was pregnant for the first time this whole pregnancy and I was terrified to be honest. I think I have been waiting so long for the other shoe to fall, to lose this baby too, that I had guarded myself against the possibility that this baby could live and I would actually have a live baby to hold at the end of it all. It caught me off guard. And there were moments where my mind would dream up the highly unlikely, completely unreasonable fears of “what if” with this pregnancy. I would think of all the rare complications, some that I’ve only seen once or twice in my nursing career, that *could* happen and would make me lose the baby. Almost like I was looking for the rare to happen again because it’s happened twice before with Knox and Lily. I am thankful for a midwife friend and several others who I could vent to and talk about this with. Most of all though, I am thankful for the patient. loving Father in Heaven for helping me deal with my fears and give me peace about what is to come. I’m feeling much better this week with what lies ahead.
I suppose that every mother wonders if she’ll be able to make it through labor again. Me included. Especially since, after 3 c-sections with my oldest, this will really be my second non-induced labor. So to a certain extent I do wonder what it will be like, if I will be blessed with a super fast labor and birth like I was last time (I’m so hoping this is the case). I’m doing the things I need to be to get myself ready for that marathon at the end. We ordered our birth supplies a couple of weeks ago and they sit neatly in a box in the corner of our bedroom. I’m not sure Kerry knows where everything is yet, but hopefully he will before we need them. I have “extra hands” on call if we need them, something that was a huge answer to prayer last week.
The only thing I’m struggling with is drinking red raspberry leaf tea. You’re supposed to to help condition the uterus and get it ready for the birth…and I’ve done it with my previous pregnancies, but this time I can barely stomach the stuff. It isn’t “robust” enough for me, I want the strong coffee flavor but it just doesn’t have it. So, for now I’ll choke down what I can, but it isn’t my thing this time. That and eating. Eating is still a challenge for me. Nothing really sounds good, still and when I do have an appetite the baby feels like he’s so high that I run out of room before I really get to enjoy much of what is on my plate. It is what it is I guess, and this is pretty typical for me when I’m pregnant. So I eat because I have to, not necessarily because I want to. I explained it to Kerry like this…it’s like eating every meal with a terrible cold, not being able to taste anything or enjoy what you’re eating. After a while, it’s just “eh” when it’s meal time.
The boys are getting very excited and still ask several times a day “Mommy, how many more weeks?” Zeke is getting anxious to hold the baby and thinks that the baby will want to sleep with him when the baby gets here.
We are excited about the next 10 weeks and the time when baby comes. We pray every day for his safe arrival and easy birth at home. By the way, we don’t have a name yet. We’re talking about it though. 🙂
 BabyFruit Ticker

The Best of 2012

I’m a little behind in my reflection of 2012 I guess. I saw this survey a couple of days ago and thought about my answers. Kerry and I were asking each other what our best memory of 2012 was, but it was hard to come up with a big monumental moment or memory. Instead, it was the memories that were built and the lessons learned in the small moments and corners of our lives this past year. The way God revealed Himself to us in moments of despair, feeling lost and scared. But here is my attempt to answer the “best of 2012” list.
The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
Crazy Chicken. When I first tried this recipe I thought for sure the boys wouldn’t like it, but they ate it up and ask for it regularly. They love it!
The best book you couldn’t put down?
1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp I rarely re-read books, but this is one I’m picking up again as the New Year starts and am reading again. I am also doing the devotional and would love to start the small group study in our church this spring.

Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. I’ve read this book before, in fact several times, but I delight in reliving the stories of this midwife and she shares her experiences and the lessons she’s learned.

The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave. I get lost in this song.

The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
I don’t wear jeans very often. So I’m going to go with my maternity jeans right now. I’d really rather wear a skirt.
The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best?
I have totally enjoyed my Kindle fire but to be honest, the thing I’ve enjoyed the most since we’ve moved is the pull out cutting board in my kitchen. One of my favorite things ever.
The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)
Quitting my job before Kerry had found employment to support our family. Without a doubt, turning in my resignation was the scariest but most freeing thing I have felt in a long time. Right up there is the “risk” of trusting God with our family size. We experienced major hurt losing two babies in 6 months this last year, but God used those losses to teach us so much and we risked TRUSTing Him. We find ourselves now 27 weeks pregnant and are thankful for everyday.
The best laugh?
My boys bring so many laughs each day. I can’t narrow down just one, everyday is filled with another quip or comment that has me in stitches.
The best living?
In the moment. For God in everything we do. Our days are sweetest when we spend every day bringing glory to Him.
The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.)
Move. I was excited for what God had in store for our family, but I didn’t want to leave the family we made in Pueblo. It was tough and it took some adjusting (it still is), but God called and we answered. Here we are and we are blessed.
What was the best habit?
We started the year reading the Proverb of the day as a family. By far this has been a highlight for our family, reading together and praying as a family. It’s been a wonderful blessing.
The best holiday?
Christmas. As my husband said “You can’t celebrate His first coming without being prepared for His second coming.”
The best gift?
The gift of life, both those still living and those who we learned so much through their death. And most of the all the gift of salvation.
The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…)
Raising my children. This is where I’m called, I’m supposed to be here, but the selfish side of me wants something different. I have learned that the best sacrifice is to lay down my desires and be obedient to what God has called me to do. In doing so, it turns out I am blessed beyond measure and it ends up not being such a sacrifice after all.

So… what was the Best of Everything 2012?

Us vs Them vs In-between

I’ve been working on this post for a while now in my brain. I want to talk about the mommy wars that are happening around us. Why is there this constant battle between stay at home moms, work out of the home moms and anyone who falls in between those two roles? It drives me batty.
I have worked outside of the home and I have recently become a stay at home mom. There are things I liked about both. I can tell you that I am happier now being at home than I ever thought I would be but….there are days when I still miss working in the hospital as a nurse in L&D. But I have learned, for everything there is a season and now is not the season of my life where I need to be outside the home.
When my oldest son was born, I was a full time nursing student. I had him right before Thanksgiving break and went back to school the following Monday, I was fortunate enough that my mom could watch him and would bring him to the school in between classes so that I could feed him. When I graduated he was 6 months old and I went to work full time night shift right after I passed my boards. It wasn’t easy, but I enjoyed my job. It was perhaps made a bit easier for a time because he was watched by family members (I realize not everyone has this luxury), but when I had to put him in childcare…I felt torn. I hated leaving him crying in a room full of children. I hated tearing myself away, seeing pictures of him taken with a sadness in his eyes and worrying about what he was hearing from his providers. I walked in one day shortly after I dropped him off because I was called off due to low census. They weren’t expecting me…and I heard his teacher yelling at another little boy in the hallway. She was yelling at him because he couldn’t pull his overalls down fast enough and had an accident. I walked passed him with tears streaming down his face, wishing I could hold him in my arms and tell him it wasn’t his fault. I picked up my son and never took him back.

My oldest son and I shortly after I graduated nursing school.

I have worked full time outside of the home for the last 10 years in one form or another until we moved this past summer. I never felt defensive about my decision, I never felt like I had to make others moms feel bad because they chose to stay home or work or whatever. The truth is, I envied moms who had the opportunity to stay home. I didn’t like leaving a feverish child in the arms of someone else (even if it was Daddy or Grandma).
When we lived in Pueblo and I was teaching nursing full time I started to feel convicted about working out of the home and being away from my children so much. Kerry was miserable, although he was (and is) a great dad, he got depressed about being home full time. He wanted to provide for his family. And I wanted to be home with my children. I remember driving to clinical rotations at 5:00 am crying and praying to God to find a way for him to work and me to be home. We weren’t financially in a place for that to happen and we felt hopeless. But God (my favorite two word ever), slowly showed us we could do it and I began to cut back at work and Kerry began to work outside out home. We worked hard to pay off a lot of debt in that time as well. God has always provided for our family. And in spring of this last year I quit my full time teaching job. It was freeing! Kerry didn’t have a job and didn’t have any prospects. But I was going to stay home. God has provided employment for him that provides for our family and I still teach part time online. It was an adjustment to be sure. It has been hard for me to make new connections in a new town without working outside the home. The first few weeks we were here I cried because I felt so lonely. There are days I still do. But the truth is, I am delighted to be here. I feel “right” for the first time in years. I keep my nursing license current because one day, I might decide to go back to the hospital…I do miss witnessing mothers bring their babies into the world. For now though, this…right here…right now is where I’m supposed to be and I’m thrilled.
This picture was taken in spring of 2012. The week I wrote my resignation letter.

Here’s my beef though…
What is with all the fighting? I read several blogs and participate in several online forums and there seems to be this constant war between Stay at home moms (SAHM) and work out of the home moms (WOHM). Someone on a blog will post something about her conviction to stay at home and she gets blasted for “wasting her talent” or being “old fashioned” or “judging” others. A WOHM will post a question asking about how to choose a childcare provider or about an issue with childcare and she gets blasted for not “being obedient” to God or ignoring the mandate to “love her children and her husband”. And it gets nasty. Words are not being spoken in love or kindness, instead they belittle and hurt and wound.
Both sides feel like they have Biblical support for their beliefs. SAHM point to Titus 2: 3-5 as the Biblical mandate to stay at home.

Titus 2: 3-5

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

WOHM point to Proverbs 31 to make their case.

Proverbs 31:16

She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Proverbs 31: 24

She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

Proverbs 31:27

She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Back and forth the arrows fly between camps. The truth is this…we all want the best for our children. We all love them. We all do what we can and what we know to give them what we think they need. And…we’re not all at the same place in our walk, God is working differently in all of us. Sometimes we can’t see a way out of our current financial, work or life situation. Sometimes our choices (past and present) make it necessary to work. Sometimes we think we’re better people because we work or because we stay home. Sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re wrong.

What I hope, is that every parent will seriously consider what is best for their family and put thought into why they’re choosing what they are for their children and the results of what those choices are. I wouldn’t want either “side” to just do something because it’s what someone else tells them to do. It has to be a decision made, ideally because of a God given conviction and leading from the Holy Spirit for what is best for their family, not mine, not yours but their family.

One thing I’ve learned is that making others feel lousy for their choices doesn’t change their mind. It makes them dig in their heels and fight for their position…right or wrong. I can tell you it took me years to get to the point where I could quit my job. I praise God for women in my life who showed me that I could be just as valuable at home as I could in the workplace. I’m a huge positive reinforcement person, I love to hear “job well done” I worked hard to please those around me and to be the best at what I did. I can tell you that when you stay at home…”job well done” isn’t uttered often by the little children gathered at your feet. My husband had to learn why it was important to hear it from him and I had to learn that my rewards will come later.

The women who God used to guide me and show me where He wanted me didn’t tell me I was wrong, they didn’t hit me over the head with scripture or even come out and say it most times. They lived it. They lead by example, they shared advice with me and encouraged me when I was upset.

I drives me bonkers that there are even lines drawn in the sand. That moms feel like they have to attack each other. It’s hard enough worrying about your children and their well being. It’s hard enough questioning your own decisions about what food you’re feeding them, books their reading and friends they’re with, without having others question you too.

Here’s the deal…Do I think the best place for me to be is at home? Absolutely. Do I think children are better served when moms are there to take care of them, teach them and guide them? Yep. But am I going to berate a mother who works outside the home and sends her children to childcare? No. When she posts a question asking about childcare or balancing work and family, I will respond with what I would do or encourage her…because I’ve been there. My job is not to be the Holy Spirit and convict, my job is to speak words with love, show with my actions and let God do the convicting and convincing. I can be a resource, a sounding board, provide suggestions and tell other moms how we did it (it did take some sacrifices) but I will not, I refuse, to participate in the mommy war.

Proverbs 31: 26

She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Some days aren't perfect, but the blessing of being home is worth it.

Did you know? 2.0

Did you know that…
boys make a bathroom really dirty in a very short amount of time?
Legos can be used effectively as booby traps for robbers (and parents) when spread strategically in the doorway and the hallway? So can Hotwheels, army men and K’nex.
Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be where I am right now.
When I was growing up I thought I would have 4 children…3 girls and 1 boy? (I still thought I could order them back in the day). I am DELIGHTED with the 4 (#5 pending) boys I have!
When Kerry and I got married (at 19) we wanted 6-8 children. I still remember Pastor Mark sitting across from us looking a bit shocked when we told him that during pre-marital counseling. We would take more than that now and pray God blesses us as He sees fit.
I would much rather stay up late at night and sleep later in the mornings?
I would much rather freeze at a football game than watch an entire basketball game indoors?
I never ever tire at the miracle of birth. I love seeing babies being born, helping mommies give birth and that new baby smell. It is way amazing, every.single.time. I’ll never forget the first baby I saw born, I knew that moment that I had found my “place” in nursing. I miss it terribly, but know that I’m not in that season of life right now. Someday I will go back to helping mamas have babies and witnessing the miracle every day. For now, I’m going to have my babies and marvel at the amazing body God gave me and revel in the blessing of being home with them.
I miss singing in a choir. I miss 4 part harmony.
I worry sometimes that I’m not doing a good enough job building character in my children. That someday they’ll grow up and people will ask “where were their parents?!?”
My children teach me something new everyday. That their personalities are very different from mine (thank goodness!) and they push me to think about things from a different perspective.
I admire people who can quilt, can vegetables, play piano, garden and in general do all the things I wish I could do well.
Kerry painted my parent’s barn to earn enough money to buy my engagement ring.
When I type my blog I’m always secretly afraid someone is going to read it and edit it for grammar and proper punctuation. Seriously, I am. I halfway expect someone to send me a copy of my blog with red marks on it.
I don’t tell those I love, that I love them enough, I don’t say “thank you” enough to those who have made a difference in my life.
Teaching nursing students reminds me of drama performances in highschool. It’s like standing up in front of a bunch of judges and they tell you (on their anonymous evals each semester) exactly what they thought of your performance. I loved drama, the judging not so much.
I am happier than I ever thought I would be staying home with my children. There are things I miss about not working in the hospital, but I know that those things will wait. My children will not.
Sometimes I have a hard time thinking about something non-controversial to write about on my blog so I come up with “did you know…” lists.

Is Christmas Common

Below is the article my husband wrote this month for our church newsletter. I think it’s a worthy read and reminder about the Christmas season.
Is Christmas Common?
Every year after Thanksgiving we start to think about Christmas. This is the next big event in the month to come. We think, “Can Christmas really be only a month away?” This is something that we all go through and we see it become the focus of everything on TV, Radio, and in every store that we walk into. I would like to give you a challenge this Christmas.
One great challenge we face is to not view the birth of the Savior as something common, even though Christmas is celebrated for weeks every December year after year. We need to remember that despite how routine our celebration may be at times, what we are actually celebrating was never meant to be something routine or ordinary. We have heard some form of the birth story told in so many different ways, that sometimes we may even be guilty of skimming over parts of Scripture because we have heard it so many times before.
We can easily forget what God says in Matthew 1:22-23, “22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” This is the amazing aspect to this story; God became flesh and dwelled among men (see John 1:14). This is what sets this story apart from other stories. The Eternal One who created the universe and all that is in it, came and lived among His creation.
It is nice that in Matthew’s Gospel “Immanuel” is defined; it takes out the possibility of having a mistaken meaning. Scripture clearly says, “God with us.” This is an astonishing truth that should continue to amaze us year after year. We should be in awe of what God did in the incarnation.
Now we all understand that we cannot and should not be absorbed with the materialistic themes that the world pushes on us at Christmas time. Only the youngest still believe that Christmas is about the stuff. Yet we still get caught up at times and fret over not getting our decorations up in time. We can get bent out of shape when things do not go the way we think it should at our Christmas gathering. We may have objects that we get out at Christmas time or have traditions that we enjoy. These may be reminders of what Christmas really means, but the objects or traditions are not why we celebrate. Christmas does not have to do with the stuff, the decorations, or even how good the food may be. It is all about Him.
As I said earlier we have heard the story many times and many ways. Have you told your children or grandchildren what Christmas means? What if we shared about the first coming of Jesus Christ with someone that has never heard it before? I am asking myself this Christmas season, “Is how I am spending my time, energy, and resources really useful to God? Is this obedient to Him? Is this effective at making disciples?”
I would like to leave you with a couple questions and final thought. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do my Christmas celebrations have to do with celebrating the birth of the Savior?
  • How does the way that I celebrate Christmas praise God and bring Him glory?
  • Is the Savior at the center of our celebrations this year?

I ask these questions not that you owe me an answer, but because I believe they are good for all of us to answer and ponder. May we each hear from God in the month ahead. May we look for the Savior this Christmas season.

One year–not forgotten

I have written this post and re-written this post several times in my mind. Sometimes I find myself at a complete loss for words and sometimes I could write a book. I don’t want to forget…
A year ago today I had a baby, Knox Cornelius. I was 16 weeks pregnant when he was born and that day was one of the most difficult days of my life. And that single event seemed to have kick off one of the most trying years we as a family has ever experienced.
I will never forget what it was like to see the sonogram confirming our fear that he was gone. I can still vividly see what that screen looked like with an empty silent chest. It is all still very vivid and very real. There isn’t a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought of Knox, how that pregnancy ended and the fears that came along with losing a baby.
God used the experience of losing not one, but two, babies in the last year to teach me a lot…to grow and stretch me…something that is never easy or comfortable.
As I sit here writing this I am 23 weeks pregnant with my third baby in a year. I thought I would be writing this post with a new baby in my arms…she was due November 15 but that pregnancy ended as well in May, on his due date. The trauma of so much loss in a year has had a profound effect on me and how I’ve viewed and navigated this pregnancy. Kerry asked me the other night if I still thought about and feared losing this baby. Through tears and held back sobs I answered “Every day”.
Yet I know that God is in control, I know that He has a purpose for what ever the outcome will be and it is so hard not to be afraid. I trust that God will provide what I need every moment. God helped me navigate the anger (and I was angry!) and worry that followed in the days and weeks after Knox died. He continues to guide me through the anxiety that comes with being pregnant again after loss.
I have learned much in the year that has passed. I have made connections with people and have been able to offer support to people I wouldn’t have without Knox. We have been able to teach our sons the gift of life and how important babies are. We have had conversations we would have missed, they understand why we grieve our babies and that we anticipate seeing them again in Heaven. We were also reminded how deeply we were cared for and I learned to let others take care of me (something that was incredibly humbling and difficult to embrace).
Most of all though, I have learned to rely on God more fully. It has been reinforced that I am so not in control. My job isn’t to direct the events of my life, but to be obedient to what and where God has called me to be. He has used this time to strengthen my trust in Him and to remind me that comfort comes from Him…not doctors, hospitals, money or even health.
In losing Knox, God prepared me and built in me the faith that I would need to navigate the coming year… yet another loss that was to come in May, quitting my job to stay home, moving to a new community and the transition that comes with that and a new pregnancy (that seems to be going beautifully).
I do wonder what life would be like had he lived, I wonder what he will look like when we are reunited and I wonder what else I have to learn yet as part of losing a child (I am continually learning about this territory I find myself in). I wonder still, what the purpose has been…if it was just to grow me or if there is more. I can’t say that I’m “thankful” in the typical way, because I’m not thankful I lost a baby or that I had to learn the lessons I did…but I am thankful for what God has done in my life despite (and because of) the hurt.

Life with boys

After finding out a few weeks ago we were expecting boy #5, we’ve heard lots of “really?!? Another boy?” or “Oh man, do you wish it was a girl?”. The truth is nope I don’t. I would love to have a girl someday, but after two losses in the last 12 months, I am delighted with a healthy baby and Lord willing I will be able to hold him in my arms in spring. I couldn’t be happier with another boy.
Life with boys…It’s an adventure. This past week especially. Here are some things I’ve learned about being the only girl in a house full of boys.

1. Teach them to clean bathrooms early. Once they start potty training, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will need to clean the bathroom on a fairly frequent basis. At the very least the toilet will need a good wipe down and most likely the floor around it too. So…since I don’t use the facilities standing up I’ve taught the boys how to clean the bathroom. I haven’t cleaned a toilet in the boy’s bathroom for a couple of years. In fact, as part of our life skills day each week, our boys clean their bathroom and at least one other bathroom in our house…and most of the time they do a stand up job (Hehehe). Oh yeah…don’t put the good bathroom rugs in the boy’s bathroom either.
2. Get used to body humor. I don’t think it really matters how much you try to avoid this, but at some point with boys farts, burps and arm toots become really funny. I would, however, recommend limiting it to places other than the dinner table, public gatherings and church.
3. Save money for co-pays. We have learned to just budget for a co-pay each month. With 4 boys, we’ve spent our share of time in urgent care, the orthopedic office and the pediatricians office. By the way…did you know that they don’t put casts on in the peds office any more? They send you to the ortho office…it’s all just a scam if you ask me, but I can’t do anything about it. In the 10 years we’ve had our boys…we’ve had 4 broken arms (two broken arms on two different boys) and a broken nose. I’m pretty sure that the count will only go up from there.
4. It pays to have some dermabond (think super glue for skin) around. If we ran to Urgent care for every thing that needed to be pulled together we’d be very poor. Otto seems to be our “laceration/open wound” kid. We have had to take him for staples a time or two, but for most things the dermabond works just fine. I even used it on myself this last week when I had a run in with the camera. Actually, I was taking the picture and my son had a run in with the camera giving me a gem of a cut and a black eye.
5. I might also suggest being a nurse or at least taking a couple first aid classes. Again…cost savings here is totally worth it. Parenting in general isn’t for sissies and parenting boys makes it doubly true. Being a nurse helps me decide if it’s really something that needs to be seen or just a “rub dirt in it and walk it off” kind of thing.
6. Buy livestock. Seriously. We have purchased a whole cow the last 3 years. We have had just a little left at the end of each year. I can’t imagine what it will be like when these guys get to be teenagers. We already have 2 deep freezers and keep them fairly full. I’m thinking that a future in cattle farming may not be a bad investment…except we’d eat all the profits. Oh yeah…consider purchasing chickens (we go through 5 dozen eggs a month easily), goats (for milk…I hear they’re much easier to milk) and possibly 10 acres for a garden. I so wish our new community allowed you to at least have hens in town…and maybe a dairy cow.
7. Don’t buy expensive jeans or shoes. They wear them out so fast that it doesn’t matter if you spend $50 or $10 on jeans. Crawling around on hands and knees causes the same wear and tear. I promise.
8. Boys are physical. They play and fight and work physically. Everything they do is physical. The throw punches at the same time they’re hugging each other. They jump while they’re counting, folding laundry or eating dinner.
9. They are loving and tender-hearted. Our boys care about each other and other people. They write each other notes, make gifts and generally watch out for one another. Their feelings get hurt, they need reassurance that they’re growing up to be men and they need to know that you’re proud of them. Even though they’re busy…they need hugs and kisses regularly.
10. You will do lot of laundry. I mean lots. It will be muddy, dusty and sometimes slimy. I would suggest making sure you check pockets before you put them in the washer, otherwise you’ll end up with a basin full of rocks, sticks, coins, markers and possibly a small creature that didn’t survive the spin cycle.
11. I wouldn’t trade having boys for anything. We get a lot of comments about having all boys and people are always so astounded when I tell them I would take 10 more even if they’re all boys. I delight in our boys. I delight in their activity, in their energy and in their “boyness”. My boys bring me so much joy. They may be busy and active, but they don’t have me running crazy and they’re not a “disaster” or “trouble” like so many fear. My boys rock.
If I’m ever blessed with a girl…I’d delight in her as well, but it’s not like I’m disappointed that I don’t have a girl yet. If God gives me boys for the rest of my life…I’d be thrilled. I figure if I have all boys that I will get my “daughters” when they get married.
Every child is a gift from God, boy or girl. They each have their own unique personality and I really believe that it’s all in your perspective.