Content Amidst the Chaos

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Live out loud December 30, 2009

Filed under: S3 — jps23 @ 8:32 pm

Somewhere during my pregnancy with S2, I happened upon a conversation between two friends.  One is a mother of six children, while the other was trying to decide when and if she should have another baby.  Basically, the mom of six was sharing her view of family size and spacing, which basically boiled down to trusting God to make that decision for your family.  After all, He knows us better than we know ourselves.  Now, the conversation wasn’t that brief, and our decision was not made instantly.  However, it was the catalyst for where we are today.  It was a conversation that sat heavy on my heart.  I talked with Superman about it, we spent time reading over scripture and praying, and I read the book entitled ‘A Full Quiver’ by Rick and Jan Hess.  He and I came to the conclusion that this was what God wanted us to do.  I conceive very easily (obviously), which I had learned wasn’t something that happened to everyone.  My pregnancies are fairly easy and pretty normal.  I had some pre-term stuff with the first two, but I later learned that I just have an irritable uterus.  I also learned that my cervix is pretty stubborn, so the pairing just means more of an annoyance later in the pregnancy than it does risk.  So, we made the decison to let God be the One who decides when we get pregnant again.  We don’t try to get pregnant, but we also don’t prevent it, in any way.  There is no charting of cycles and counting days.  If we’re in the mood, we go for it; if not, we don’t.  So, 11 1/2 months after the birth of S2, we were blessed with our third daughter, S3.

S3 lives out loud.  I don’t know any other way to describe her!  She likes things to be loud, fast, and active.  She growled as a baby, and she was such a bouncy child I wondered if she was part Tigger!  She is currently five years old, but there are many, many days that I have to remind myself that she is “only” five years old.  I guess that comes from having two older sisters.  There isn’t anything she won’t try, and if she doesn’t succeed, it rolls right off her back and she moves onto something else.  There are so many ways she is different from her sisters, but there are ways they are similar, as well.  I always said that if I never had a boy, she was close enough!  She’s a wild child.  One of our kid friends used to refer to her, affectionately, as “crazy baby!”  She has striking features that leave many commenting on her beauty, but she is oblivious to it.  She is loud and she seems to live in the extreme.  She is a great little student, already reading quite proficiently, while the other two did not pick it up as easily.  She has just recently started taking gymnastics, which she absolutely loves, and it is definitely something she was made to do!  She gets all her bouncing and movement out of her system that way!  She prefers love and attention from you over any gift or present.  She doesn’t seem to mind being the little sister, except on a rare occasion when she is tired or worn out.  She is a great big sister to her brothers, and she will sometimes restate a request I’ve made of them unsuccessfully, and they’ll do it with excitement!  When I first learned I was pregnant with S2 and she was a girl, I couldn’t imagine loving another little girl the way I love S1.  She was the perfect little girl.  But when I had S2 and then S3, I realized every child is a perfect gift.  God definitely knew what He was doing.

Our little gymnast

My wild child

 

Oops! December 29, 2009

Filed under: S2 — jps23 @ 3:05 pm

S2 was our oops.  We knew we wanted more children, but we had it in our minds that they would be a little more spaced.  I was nursing S1, and you know everyone says you can’t get pregnant if you are nursing exclusively.  I was practicing natural family planning, charting cycles and watching indicators offered by my body to know if I was fertile or not.  The problem was, I didn’t read the appendix where it says all that is altered when you are nursing.  So when S1 was just four months old, I found out I was pregnant again.  My mom is mortified that I share this, and she thinks it’s awful that I don’t mind S2 knowing this, but I think it’s even better than had we planned her.  You see, even though we had not “planned” her, God did.  And His plan for her in our life led us to open our hearts, minds, and my womb to the other five precious children.  I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for this sweet little girl coming into my life.  I can’t wait to tell you about her!

S2 is a unique child.  She was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at the age of two, and while that doesn’t define her, it does explain a lot about who she is and why.  When she loves something, it is that kind of love that is challenged by nothing.  She usually has a strong love of one thing at a time.  For example, it started with butterflies.  One summer, she would not wear a bathing suit unless it had butterflies on it, and I’m not exaggerating.  Then it was whales.  After visiting the Georgia Aquarium for the first time, she fell in love with the Beluga whales, hard.  Our big passenger van is called the Beluga Bus because it’s white and reminds her of the whales!  Now, her love is of horses.  She loves animals of all sorts, but these have been the special ones.  She loves people the same way, which can sometimes be awkward for the one on the receiving end.  That’s just who she is.  She likes her quiet time, and she is now old enough to know when she needs it.  She is hesistant in trying new things, but when she tries it, she rarely gives up.  When she learns something, she never forgets it.  She prefers blue jeans and shirts that fit, and in the summer time, the less skin covered up, the better.  We’re working on that one with her!  Her clothes cannot be lose because of her sensory issues.  She calls them “wiggly”, and this issue also contributes to the fact that she doesn’t like dresses.  Although kids with her diagnosis aren’t usually cuddly or snuggly, she loves to do both with her daddy and me.  No one else, really, but us.  For example, she refuses to sit in Santa’s lap, even this year!  She likes to run and play outside, and at an early age of three, she could run and kick a soccer ball straight down the yard.  This always struck me as odd because we had to teach her how to use steps/stairs.  She is very silly, and when she gets tickled, it’s hard to bring her down.  She doesn’t discriminate.  She has taken ballet for a year and a half, and she has decided that even though she likes it, she wants to find her “thing”.  We’re going to see if horse riding lessons are that thing.  She has taught us to appreciate every moment in life, even the hard ones, for they have made us the family that we are.  I love this girl, and I’m so glad God went with His plan instead of mine.

She was one happy girl this day!

Sweet smiles

 

Let’s start at the very beginning… December 28, 2009

Filed under: S7 — jps23 @ 10:54 am

I was a little inspired by the Sound of Music last night, thus my title.  We were just excited to see a family on t.v. with numbers like ours.  Makes us feel a little bit normal.  Today, I’d like to introduce you to my first, sweet blessing, known here as S1.  She is seven years old, and she is the lovliest little girl!  She is definitely a good bit of my mother-in-law.  She appreciates the girly things, which I am not known for.  I loved dresses as a little girl, and I had my CPK collection, a doll house, and Strawberry Shortcake, but I wasn’t what you would call fru-fru.  Our oldest loves fashion.  She’s a graceful ballerina who appreciates beauty in all things.  She likes to dress fancy, not cute, and the girl has a new love of hats.  She loves her long hair, but she doesn’t ever let me fix it.  Music moves her soul, and she has been in love with Jesus since she was able to say His name.  She is the greatest helper in our large family, without complaint, but she doesn’t do that great managing her own stuff.  She’s a pack rat (she’ll tell you that), and she’s a dreamer.  She can never find her shoes, she always forgets to brush her teeth, and she’s very frustrating to teach.  I know these dreamer traits will serve her well one day, and we try to encourage them, but there are days that they drive me insane!  She is one of the most creative children I know, and she has an appreciation for art, loving to draw since she was 3 yrs old.  She is completely capable of taking care of her siblings, and while some of you may think we require or expect that of her, we don’t.  She simply has that desire to love and take care of her siblings.  Yeah, they get on her nerves sometimes, but the majority of her day is spent loving on them.  Around here, she’s the one in charge, sure of herself, and willing to try just about anything.  She isn’t quite as confident outside our family.  She’s a little bashful in a room of people she doesn’t know too well.  She’s very hesitant and second guesses herself a bit.  But all these things, good or bad, make her who she is.  She is simply amazing to us, and we couldn’t have hand-picked a better first born child for a family like ours.  She’s an absolute treasure.

Is this the little girl I carried?

Our graceful ballerina

 

Meet S7 December 27, 2009

Filed under: S7 — jps23 @ 10:25 pm

Meet S7

It’s been a little over two weeks since S7 came into our lives, if you don’t count the nine months prior that he was growing in the womb!  The kids are still just as in love with him as the first day he came home, if not more so, and he is beginning to be awake enough to notice them.  Nursing is going well, which hasn’t always been the case for me, and although we are going at it every two hours when awake and about three hours apart at night, I am just grateful we are having a successful go at it this time.  He had to do the bilirubin lights for jaundice in his first week, but they were delivered to the house and a visiting nurse came out each day to do his blood draw.  I don’t know his weight right now, but he is growing!  He is still sleeping quite a bit, but he does have moments where he stays awake.  The kids can’t get enough of holding him.  I’ve actually had to tell them “no” to their requests to hold him just to give him a little break!  I think that’s a good problem to have, though!

Since I’m off my blogging schedule, I think I’ll catch up over the next few days by introducing you to my kids.  I’m using little code names simply because I’ve read that it’s recommended in the blogging world if you have traffic from people other than folks you know.  So, enjoy getting to know my kids this next week.  I know I like them!

 

A True Test December 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jps23 @ 9:05 pm

Well, here is a true test of my ability to be content amidst the chaos.  My sweet S7 is here, but it wasn’t nearly the way I expected it to be.  I was able to see our other children’s Christmas programs at church, and for that, I was grateful, but it seems that the programs were so good, they had little S7 doing flips!  We get home, my contractions increase in number and intensity, so we go to the hospital.  It turns out that he was in breech position.  Now, my doctor delivers breech babies, as long as there is no distress and the baby is positioned well, which was the case in the beginning.  However, he managed to drop a foot and then the umbilical cord was being pinched between his legs and torso, causing his heart rate to dip too much for our liking.  So we had to have an emergency c-section.  Now, I’m not one of those who feels more one with my child because of the way they are brought into this world, with or without meds, vaginal or c-section, etc.  That didn’t bother me.  What bothered me was the 6 week recovery this kind of thing requires afterwards.  That doesn’t exactly line up with six little people needing love and care from Mommy when she returns home.  I kept saying to them, “Once the baby is born, Mommy will be able to…”  Now, I come home with boo-boos that forbid them from climbing in my lap.  I can’t pick them up.  I can’t snuggle with them.  And there is still Christmas to be taken care of.  And my sweet Superman does so much already.  Coordinating help for six kids can be so hard.  And while help is often offered, it isn’t always reliable.  Our help for the night we were in labor didn’t go as planned, and the help lined up for the day we were to come home from the hospital didn’t work out either.  So even when you have a plan to manage the chaos, it doesn’t always work out.  We try to have people who really know the kids be the ones that take care of them in times like these.  It’s just easier for us and the kids.  Transition is hard, and change isn’t a welcome friend around here to anyone but me, so we try to make it as smooth a gig as possible.  Since we’ve lost our favorite babysitters ever to college and ministry over seas, we just don’t have that person that we can call on.  The funny thing about them, too, is the one overseas is coordinating meals and help for us from England, and the college student is home for the week, so he managed to come over and help out by taking the kids to school one morning.  Even when they are away, they manage to be here for us.

So this is a true test.  An unplanned c-section is our chaos, and add to that the high levels of bilirubin in S7’s blood, requiring time on bililights and visits from a nurse daily to take his blood (not fun).  Can I be content?  Can I find peace in this situation and truly rest and recover with the house a mess and friends dropping by daily to bring a meal or help with a kid?  Can I handle family conflict gracefully and with a heart like His while trying to recover and enjoy this new life He has blessed us with?  Can I juggle the Christmas festivities?  Here’s praying that I can be content amidst the new baby, Christmas chaos!

 

Waiting for S7 December 8, 2009

Filed under: family size,S7,Superman,The Siblings — jps23 @ 12:35 pm

Well, I’ve been contracting for about 30-something hours now, pretty regular, but not real strong.  I have a stubborn cervix that doesn’t change easily, so I’m just waiting for this to change enough to justify calling the midwife.  I have an appointment tomorrow, so at least then I can see what’s going on, if anything has changed, and see if she will help me along (which she has already said she would do).  In the meantime, I thought I’d post about what it is like to do this for the seventh time.

  • I still consult my “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book, usually towards the end, but sometimes even in the beginning.
  • I still get nervous.
  • I still pray for water breaking so I will have a more certain “It’s time, honey” moment!
  • I still miss my kids when I am in the hospital, and I have a feeling I’ll feel that way even more this time since the flu epidemics are keeping hospitals from allowing kids to visit.
  • I wish I could have Superman with me the entire time I am in the hospital, but I want my other babies to have as normal a transition possible, so he always gets sent home to be with them.
  • I am sometimes sad that people don’t celebrate number 7 with the same excitement as 1 or 2, but I kind of enjoy the quiet, uninterrupted rest time with my new one by my side.
  • I don’t like to send the baby to the nursery, and I only do so when I have to for baths, stats, or circumcisions.
  • I’m never ready at home with all the baby stuff.  I try to prepare, but it never really happens.
  • Fortunately, in regards to the previous statement, the baby doesn’t really NEED all that stuff!  🙂
  • I wish Superman had some sick/personal days left this year so he could stay home with us, like he has with all the others.  The move ate up his days this year.
  • I prefer delivering in the spring.
  • This is the first time we haven’t made sibling shirts.  Maybe after we get home…
  • This is the first time I haven’t taken my zoloft during the pregnancy (it made me very nauseous), and it’s been HARD!!!
  • I want my kids to be together during the time I am gone.  I don’t want them to be split up while I’m in the hospital.
  • What is it about me delivering the week of our children’s musicals?  This is the third or fourth time that’s happened!

That certainly isn’t an all-inclusive list of thoughts on my mind as I sit and wait for my body to be a little more aggressive.  I just thought it would be nice to let others know (that is, if anyone actually reads my blog) that it isn’t like riding a bike.  Every birth, just like every child, is unique and different.  Maybe I’ll have some fun with this idea and publish a What to Expect book for one of these larger numbers and make fun of us crazy people having more than two babies.  Yes, that’s right, you three kid mommies aren’t normal anymore, either.  Read the articles.  They think you are weird, too!  🙂

 

Manage-it Monday December 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jps23 @ 6:46 pm

Christmas photo cards:  They are precious ways to stay in touch with friends, old and current.  They also are something that you know your friends and family have taken time and money to produce, so you certainly don’t want to toss them or stick them in another box in a closet.  In the past, we have placed them at the end of our annual family scrapbook, but in the age of digital scrapbooking, that isn’t really an option.  I came across this adorable idea tonight while visiting some of my favorite blogs.  Cut out your photos and put magnetic tape on the backs of them, placing them as magnets on your refrigerator.  She has suggestions for keeping the outline of the card and using it as a puzzle for the cutouts of the people, also.  It looks like a fun idea, takes less room on your fridge than posting the entire card, and it allows you to “see” your friends throughout the year.  A friend of mine keeps a basket on the table where her family then pulls a card each day (they get a lot of Christmas cards) and prays for that family.  You could make a little frame for the “family of the day (or week, month, etc.)” to move each magnet into and pray for them.  The blog host also suggests adding birthday hats on the days your friends celebrate their birthdays, and other fun ideas along those lines.

Here’s the link to her blog.  Check out the idea if  you think you might like it!

http://snipandsnail.blogspot.com/2008/12/recycled-christmas-photocard-magnets.html