Sunday, December 26, 2010


As I sit here sipping my coffee.... staring out the window at our snow covered yard...watching my beans play with My Love....I'm having a breakdown.


It could be because I'm in the final month of a emotions are high.

It could be attributed to My Love being home and the fact that the scene I'm observing can even occur.

It could be purely me....I just cry super easily since becoming a mama.

But nope. It isn't any of those things.

I'm sitting here...sobbing my eyes out....because of a country song that played while I was doing the dishes.  Cinderella.  I don't know who sings it....don't know who wrote it....but who ever it was definitely has watched years fly by in seconds.

Those movie montage scenes where they show the "highlights" of a life and then the children are grown....are pretty doggone accurate. 

We all sat around and watched home movies yesterday.....String Bean was a little baby - I didn't have bags under my eyes - My Love had some hair.....and then I looked over at my big girl and I couldn't fathom where the time has gone. Just yesterday she relied on me for everything.....and now she has things she is responsible for.....she helps her sisters....she helps me!

I know I will feel like I blinked and she'll be getting her driver's license and heading off into the great big world. 
By herself.

And I'm not ready.  I realize I have 13 more years to prep for that day where I send out a piece of myself to encounter life fully without the illusion of my protection. But that just doesn't seem long enough when I register how quickly 5 years have flown.

In my mental-montage of each Bean's "highlight" moments....barely a second ticks by. I hope they each know how very much I love them....even though I will - and DO! - mess up at this being-their-mommy-thing all the time.

Because when I look at them I see moments that cannot be recaptured. But I'm trying my hardest to not have time steal Cinderella away.....

I want to treasure every second I have with them until the clock strikes midnight.

Copyright 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Time for my Tent!

Okay, I'm just gonna say up front - very clearly - there will be NO  pictures accompanying this post. 
ON PURPOSE. No one wants to see documentation of what I am about to discuss....or at least no one SHOULD want to see documentation!

I am officially at a phase of pregnancy I strongly dislike. Not because my stomach is so large I have to completely wake up in the middle of the night if I want to roll over. Not because I get winded by putting socks on. Not even because I can't fit in a booth anywhere. And definitely NOT because of the constant movement my Boy Bean generates.

It feels like I am housing Ty Pennington! Seriously - I think the Boy is renovating my insides to make it more man-appropriate.


Not a single one of those things do I consider the most annoying/frustrating facet of late-pregnancy.

It is the underwear. 

Now, I am almost a mother of four....I'm not really one for itsy-bitsy-floss-undergarments. (Not going into detail on what I am though!)  But these things that I am stuck wearing now.....these pieces of fabric that seem to unfurl from my underwear drawer. . . they are just ridiculous! Seriously.

If we ever had a fire, I am certain my Beans could parachute from the second floor - safely - by using my maternity underwear as parachutes. 

Kinda puts a damper on somehow keeping the spark.....when you put such a large item on.....and then you can't see any of it.  Not a bit.

So, to all of you ladies out there who can actually twist to see your derriere, or can actually look down to get a visual on the location of your waistband....I am jealous. I look forward to rejoining your ranks soon. Until then.....I need to go make sure the washing machine is balanced for my delicates load.  

Copyright 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Birthing yourself....

Well, it's official. When I gave birth to String Bean - I gave birth to myself. Over the weekend, I was informed of her nickname at school....and I realized - again - she is mini-me. It is scary - really, really, scary - how much alike we two are.

We have the same crazy hair that has its own attitude.

We both can cry at the drop of a hat.

We can't stand to hear incorrect information being passed along - ever.

We have very goofy ideas on what is funny.

We both get into movies waaaaaaaaay more than your normal person.

Neither one of us like the dark. Or bugs. Or getting dirty for no reason.

We enjoy a good book.

We love to make new friends.

We like to tell people what to do. Pretty much, all the time.

That last one is the kicker. In my (advanced) 28 years, I have managed to learn it is not always appropriate to tell people what to do and can (most-of-the-time) hold my tongue. Unfortunately, at her tender 5 years of age....she hasn't learned that balance.

So, my little String Bean is nicknamed "Little Mommy." And she has absolutely NO problem with that. Because (as she said) "Some children just need more direction than others! And I always know what we are supposed to be doing."

And we are back to square one in working on developing a humble spirit. HA!

 Copyright 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

What is Homecoming??

Homecoming is the freezing cold.....

Homecoming is excitement....and racing to your heart in uniform.....

Homecoming is ecstatic laughter....big smiles....daddy hugs....

Homecoming is having all the pieces of your heart in one place.....

And all is right in the world.

Copyright 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Confession time again....

So, if confession is good for the soul - I'm about to get a workout!

I have a confession. It is embarrassing to say what I'm about to say...but in the spirit of being an honest blogger I must tell on myself.

Recently I went to a cookie exchange for the squadron wives Christmas party...and lied. Through my teeth.

You see, we were supposed to bake two dozen cookies to bring and share. I thought it was a wonderful idea when I heard of it back in November! I bought all the ingredients and had grandiose plans of making lovely and delicious cookies from my own kitchen.

It didn't happen.

I could excuse myself by saying my back went out and I couldn't move and I have 3 young children and I'm pregnant and my husband is gone and I was sick for 2 weeks so my entire life was behind about a month....but I won't say any of THAT.

What DID happen was this - I left early for the party and brought my empty Christmas plate and my roll of Glad cling wrap with me in my car. I went into a civilian grocery store (a place where I am always lost and feel awkward) and purchased 2 boxes of bakery fresh cookies. When I got back to my car - thank goodness for the large center console in my Suburban! - I loaded them on my plate and wrapped 'em up. For the record - I DO have a recipe similar to the kind of cookies I bought!  Then I entered the party and acted like the cookies were my own.

And you know what?

I slept great that night. Zero guilty conscience. :)

This is why I try to get to all the sign-up sheets first. I know the only items I actually will bring to anything right now must be pre-made, or juice boxes!

I also had lofty ideas of the delicious goody bags I was going to fill with fantastic treats for those special people who have impacted my life deeply this year...and I was mildly hyperventilating in the store just thinking about it. So, I let myself off the hook.

I could excuse myself by saying my back went out and I couldn't move and I have 3 young children and I'm pregnant and my husband is gone and I was sick for 2 weeks so my entire life was behind about a month....but, again, I won't say any of THAT.

Sorry to you people that were on my list....maybe I'll get something to you as a "happy summer" gift!

No extra goody bags. And I don't feel guilty! I feel complete relief. 

Final thing...I promise. I had some cleaning that I wanted to accomplish before My Love's return...that I just couldn't figure out HOW to DO. Like scrubbing my deep soaker tub - tell me, how are you supposed to clean that with this massive moving abdomen I've got going on???? Or cleaning my fans. So, I did one of the best-gifts-to-myself I've ever done....I paid 2 wonderful teenagers to do it!

And my list is getting accomplished.

By other people or the items are being removed as unnecessary...but, the list is getting shorter either way!

Copyright 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


So when I was -before children....which right now feels like it was a life lived by somebody else....anyway. When I was younger I always thought I would be a "Thoroughly Modern Millie." 

I wanted a career and independence!

Bring on the epidural for whenever I did end up having kids...
which was going to be LOOONG after I graduated with at least one post-graduate degree and definitely after 30.
Who are those crazy people who would opt against drugs???

I definitely wouldn't breastfeed...I mean, it is inconvenient, and nursing mama's are weird. 

Apparently, when I was younger, I was not a very good soul-searcher. If "knowing thyself" had been a test - I would have failed. Epically. 

Because here I am - a mama of almost 4 without even a bachelor's degree. At 28. My career is motherhood (Great benefits, no pay, and always on call). I have never had an the past it was mainly due to my ridiculous fear of needles. Instead, I've had the horrific treat of Pitocin 3 times - and Nubain as my pain management for the last hour.  I know - intimately - the excessive pain pitocin makes labor...which is why I am excited - literally, it makes me giddy with anticipation!! - to experience my first fully natural childbirth with Boy Bean. Let me repeat myself - I am looking forward to labor and delivery. It is the most amazing, miraculous, and beautiful thing I have been able to experience.

I never would have thought those sentences would be written by me just a few short years ago!

And then nursing. Ah, nursing. I've become one of "those" women. *Gasp* And I LOVE IT. Yep. Breastfeeding is challenging hard work...but I am so thankful I persevered and was finally successful with Bitty Bean!

As I look back on my 3 previous birth experiences and my struggles with nursing my first 2 beans...I am filled with regret. And anger. And frustration. Because I bought everything sold at "Modern Millie's" store regarding labor and deliver and nursing - and it was wrong. 

Having children and rearing them is not a secondary line of work - it is a primary life calling. Labor and Delivery is not something that happens to you...or that you have to get can be something that changes you and grows you and initiates your understanding of the lack of control you truly have over another individual. Nursing can be inconvenient at times....but now that I am seeing a pediatric gastroenterologist to help resolve problems that have arisen for String Bean - caused by the formula she was placed on as an infant...I can assure you breastfeeding is NOT inconvenient. When I look at String Bean and Jumping Bean and realize the moments I squandered because I resented being attached to them...I only feel regret. (I only breastfed String Bean for one month, and Jumping Bean for 2) Thankfully I started educating myself - finally! - regarding nursing while I was pregnant with Bitty Bean...and wanted to know more than just to follow the crowd during this pregnancy with Boy Bean. I was able to breastfeed Bitty Bean until she weaned herself at 1 year...and am eagerly anticipating a water birth with Boy Bean. :) 

So, while I am sure I will say the words "I will NEVER...." is with full knowledge that I probably will. And when that day comes I'll at least have something to post about!

Copyright 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Homecoming....take 2


One word so laden with emotion. Excitement. Nerves. Joy. Concerns. All of us have changed during the separation - the Beans have grown - matured - developed - I've grown (A LOT!) - My Love has experienced things without us. There are definite struggles that occur in the reintegration....but oh-how-wonderful homecoming is!

The biggest things I've found to help with a homecoming are talking about it - and preparing as much as possible.

The Beans and I have talked in depth about the ship will pull into the the men and women will be in uniform manning the we will get to wave an American Flag and cheer the ship in alongside thousands of others watching their hearts inch home...about the signs we will make (String Bean wants to make a "My Daddy totally Rocks" sign) and what it will feel like when we first see him again. String Bean wants to run to him and hug tightly....

Jumping Bean wants him to pick her up so she can hug his neck...they both don't want to let go for a very very very long time.

My "Big Beans" are only 5 and 3 - but they understood this separation deeply. They knew Daddy had a job and needed to leave to be faithful to accomplish that job. They know he loves them and that even though he had to leave...he never stopped loving them. They know they have jobs also - and although we miss him and wish he was home - we need to take care of things here at home so Daddy can do his job the best he can. There have been definite sad days. Days where tears and emotion ruled the house - but there have also been times they couldn't fall to pieces and they held it together until later. They have grown in ways I didn't think possible when we sat at the airport crying back in September.

I am immensely proud of my girls.

Regarding the actual preparation for homecoming - we will do a trial run sometime before the ship pulls in. We will drive to the base so I know which pier to be looking for. Get a good idea on travel time - scope out the bathrooms, snack availability, and parking. I have found that simple step helps calm my nerves enough that I can concentrate on the nervous excitement the Beans need funneled instead!

Every day brings My Love one day closer to being home...every day my smile gets wider. The excitement over Daddy's return is almost palpable - all 3 Beans race to the paper chain each morning to tear off one more link...the highlight of our day is watching that sucker shrink! 

The other consistent highlight happens at bed time....Every night before bed they kiss their "Daddy pillows" (The travel-size pillowcases I had a picture of each Bean and My Love screen printed on) good night and tell him all about their day. But right now they are telling him all about how soon he comes home and what they will do with him during their "special time together."

String Bean can't wait for him to visit her at school to eat lunch with her and all her friends.  

Jumping Bean is ecstatic about watching Tinkerbell and eating popcorn and snuggling Daddy all-to-herself.

And Bitty Bean just wants to hug him and kiss him.


Me? I just can't wait to touch his face. To see his eyes crinkle when he laughs. To put his hand on my belly and let him feel our son's kicks. I can't wait to watch him watch our Beans. To talk with him and not worry if I'm wasting the time on the phone about non-important things.

All four of us are so-much-more-excited about Daddy's return than we are about Christmas! What better present could there possibly be???

Copyright 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Missing again....

Well, I went missing for ANOTHER week...because my computer was struck with an-amazingly-high number of viruses and needed to go to the doctor. But I'm back! And I REALLY hope the posts I have up my sleeve will keep you coming back and telling your friends. (Yes, I am shameless.)

Before I get into all of those posts I've been writing in my head for the last week - because, seriously, who uses a note pad anymore??? - I have to talk about what I just encountered yesterday.

Be warned. I will be crying as I write this.

Thursday night I got THE call from my sister who lives 40 minutes sister who is 2 years younger than sister whom I love deeply, don't always understand, and have experienced so much life sister who was due with her first child - a baby boy - on December sister who gave me the amazing honor of asking me to be a part of her labor/delivery/birth experience. That sister. She called because it was time.

Time for Baby R to have his birthday. 

Time for a family to grow.

Time for 3 lives to be forever entwined. And changed.

She labored and delivered her son with her husband by her side. Calmly. Beautifully. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever been a part of. 

I was able to watch her suddenly assume the role of Mama...and her husband become Daddy. To see their lives change - their hearts explode - their nights of sleep disappear.

I thought back to each of my moments of meeting my beans...and I was overwhelmed with the power in that moment...

That moment is the death and birth of life. Life as you knew it before is gone...changed forever. It is beautiful and amazing and petrifying and scary. The changes you know are coming are frightening enough.... but the changes you aren't aware of are more so. The sleepless nights, the decisions that only you - the parents - can make, the knowledge you could permanently screw up this person...are all very daunting.

Yet in that moment of first meeting your child - you know. You know it doesn't matter what they do - you will always love them. Your heart will ache with them when they hurt. You will cheer them the loudest throughout their life - because that is who you are. It is in your title.

So, to my sister and her husband all I have to say is this:
Congratulations on joining the club - enjoy your titles for the rest of your lives. 
Be prepared to hurt like you didn't think possible, 
to love more than you can fathom, 
and to give beyond your limits. 
You are now "Mom and Dad" and life as you know it has forever changed.

Copyright 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Things that make me happy

So, I'll confess, I can be exceptionally shallow. I love to fake that I am an elitist. I take an obscene amount of pleasure from a particular realm of mistakes....


I love typos. Spelling errors. Flipped words.

Especially on signs.


There was a dumpster at a construction site across the street from our house for one entire month that brought me excessive joy.


Because they had spray painted - 8 times - the following words:

Wood Olny.

Beautiful. I kept meaning to take a picture....but it just didn't happen.

THEN today I saw this on the digital sign as you enter the base:

Sign up for a trian ride with Santa!

I smiled. I laughed. And I thoroughly enjoyed feeling better than those people that made the sign....

Until I forgot to turn down my street and had to loop the neighborhood. So much for being brilliant!

Copyright 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ahhh, the Holidays,,,,

The Holidays....such a treat they are! The gathering with loved ones, the memory-making, the quality time spent with old and new is just a great time of year.


When it's not. 

When you are missing someone at the Thanksgiving table that was there last year....this holiday can be a very bittersweet time. Be it due to a move, a military engagement, a different commitment, or still stings a touch when whomever-it-is, isn't there.

This Thanksgiving, I have been surrounded by family - by people who know me well and like me anyway. People who adore my Beans. Who love My Love with a similar depth as I.  And it has been wonderful.

And horrible.

He is everything....missing.

My Beans are sad - they miss him. They feel his absence more acutely here it seems. And I am struggling mightily to keep it together enough to help them.

Because the truth is....I miss him too. Deeply. Especially here.

So, while there are those people who gathered together today with all the pieces of their heart present...please remember there are many who did not. Many who could not. In the last year, loved one's have died - babies have been miscarried - future dreams have had to change - best friend's have moved away - spouses, children, parents, have been deployed.

Yet I remain thankful - because even though tears were shed today over my heart being on the other side of the was a beautiful day. A day of laughter, love, and community. A day to be reminded that sometimes the hurts - cuts - wounds - help you enjoy the beauty in a moment even more. 

Copyright 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

10 things I hate about....

Baby Brain.

Or pregnancy brain. Or losing my memory. Or whatever-you-want-to-call-it.  I am losing my mind!!!

***All of the things listed below ACTUALLY happened. To ME. THIS pregnancy. In a TWO WEEK PERIOD. Thought that should be made clear....please don't call social services.***

1. Today, while brushing String Bean's hair....I had to ask her THREE separate times how she wanted it done. Apparently, her simple answer...Pony tail, please....was just too many words for me to keep in my head.

2.  I completely forgot to buckle Jumping Bean's seat belt. Thankfully, she reminded me within a block of leaving the house - so I just pulled over and fixed it. I was getting out of the car...I had to freeze and try to remember why I had stopped. 

3. I can't remember how to get to places I've been already. Not random places like a person's house I've only been to one time...oh no. I had to use Google maps to remember how to get from my the Doctor's office.  Seriously.

4.  I can't remember what Boy bean doesn't like for me to eat. Case in point - last week I spent quality time with the toilet up-chucking all food consumed in the day...because I forgot he is NOT okay with BBQ sauce. Oops. My bad.

5. I call people and have absolutely no idea why.

6. I call people and between the time I hit "send" and they pick up the phone...I can't remember who I called.

How can I possibly be safe to drive at this point??? Or care for other humans??? It is a wonder I haven't left them anywhere.

7. I went to the OB Doctor recently for blood work....and completely FORGOT to give them a sample. I went to the bathroom - that is always a certainty - just forgot to leave them a souvenir. And how many OB appointments have I had???

8. I can be standing in the kitchen...with a cup in one hand and the apple juice in the other...and still not remember what I was doing.

9. I took String Bean's homework out of her book bag to check it (she had put it away in the correct spot!) and then completely forgot to put it back! After dropping her off at school, the rest of us came home and I was greeted by THREE items I was supposed to remember to take! duh.

10. The only perk about not having any memory??? In the morning I have ABSOLUTELY no idea how many times I woke up in the night! 

Copyright 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where Have I Been?????

Well world, I have been extremely slack on posting for the past two weeks.

Wanna know why????

First, I couldn't talk. 

Which, you would think, should not mess with a person's ability to write. But in my case - it totally screws up my thought process. I have to read the words out loud....or at least say the sentences as I type....or I can't come up with a blessed thing to say.

Please feel free to make fun of me now.

Then....I couldn't MOVE. My back went completely out....not exactly sure why. But I do know that Boy Bean helped my back feel like it was 128 by flipping into the worst possible position and then kicking my back.

Plus side? I know the man-child has some seriously strong legs.
Down side? I had to spend 2 whole days crawling on my hands and knees....barely. And I couldn't lift my children for 6 straight days.

I was in so much pain I couldn't sit at the computer....I could only lay on the couch with an ice pack. Hence, no posting. The pain level was actually very close to that of active labor...I would break out in a cold sweat just trying to go to the bathroom.

It has not been my favorite week ever.


Well, except for the fact that my complete inability to care for myself and the beans gave me the amazing gift of being cared for. By a huge team of people. 

Really. I had NO idea I needed sooo many people to keep my life going.

But when you can't pick your children is REALLY hard to get them into a Suburban. And out of it. And down the stairs. Or up the stairs. Or in the bath. Or....well, you get the idea.

When you can't stand up is REALLY hard to reach the cups. Or the food. Or the Bean's clothes. Or pretty much anything.

And it is REALLY, REALLY hard for somebody like me....someone who likes to take care of themselves and not bother people to help be forced to completely rely on the kindness of others. But what a blessing it was. 

However, I was struck by the hilarity of my situation when half - yes, half - of the people helping me.....were pregnant as well. And due BEFORE me. 

In fact, I'm pretty sure people were questioning the actual relationship between me and my sister-in-law as we traveled together over the weekend. 

She came to my rescue to drive all 4 of us girls 8 hours to be with family over Thanksgiving.

At each stop two very pregnant women would slowly and gingerly unload from the Suburban. (I'm 32 weeks along and she is 36 weeks) Then came the in depth process of unloading all the other females from the car....String Bean....Jumping Bean....Bitty Bean....and Girl-Cousin-who-is-the-same-age-as-Bitty-Bean.  It was a LOT of Estrogen in the car. 

I'm pretty certain people thought we were Sister-WIVES. 

So, while I'd rather not repeat this week of pain and challenge....I am truly thankful for it. I have been blessed beyond belief by an amazing group of people who came to my rescue.

And THAT is where I have been.

Copyright 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Homecoming - just the word is enough to make me smile. And the fact that OUR homecoming is sooner than the expiration date on the Orange Juice I bought this week??? I could burst for joy!

Homecoming is one of the perks of the allows you to re-experience a honeymoon phase. You are just soooooo happy to see your love's face that you don't even notice any funky quirks that drove you up the wall before they left. And it REALLY IS that wonderful!

There is nothing like scanning the sea of faces in uniform pouring off the ship...walking down the pier....looking for the tell-tale foot turn and perfect green eyes to know which person to run to. Then you are enveloped in hugs and kisses and tears that you've held at bay for months.

However marvelous all of the above is....there is a part of homecoming few talk about.

And since I like to talk....I'm gonna fill that void.

At Wrigley Field in our first year of marriage
 Ahh, the joys and craziness of homecoming.....there's this aspect of homecoming that is a ball of nervousness, apprehension, and difficulty. In fact, homecoming can often be MUCH MORE CHALLENGING than the leaving. When the active duty person leaves, all parties have clear responsibilities - he does his job.....and I stay home and take care of everything else. But when they come back....the lines aren't so clear cut. The children have grown...their favorite foods have changed...things have been relocated in the've learned a routine - settled into a groove - that works, and they want to change it.

We've handled our fair share of separations and I thought I'd be honest and just share a few things that we've experienced......

My Love. Many moons ago.
Our first separation occurred when My Love went to Basic Training.....4 1/2 months into our marriage.....and only 12 1/2 months after meeting each other. Yes. I said meeting. Anyway. We had not been apart at all and then he left for Basic for 2 months.....and his communication to me was a total of 2 phone calls and 4 letters. Yes. You read that right. So I was a tad a bit exorbitantly nervous about seeing him at graduation. I was super excited...really, beyond excited....but what word would capture the feeling of anticipation? Overjoyed? Elated? Ecstatic? And petrified. I was scared to death that I would run up to the wrong in-shape-white-guy-with-a-buzz-cut-in-a-uniform and kiss his face. While my new husband looked on in horror. Seriously.  I was kept awake the night before his graduation with nightmares of that exact thing happening.

Thankfully, it didn't.

But that didn't make me worry any less the next time!

Another homecoming was one week before I delivered String Bean....I was about 15 months pregnant. He had been gone almost all of the pregnancy and I worried about recognizing him as the sea of people unloaded off the ship. I don't really know why I worried.....I mean, I was there, the size of a house in a white dress.....he could see me on the pier before the boat docked. Seriously.

He was smart enough not to tell me that until about a year had gone by.
7 months pregnant with String Bean
Being a goofball at my baby shower

There have been the obvious struggles of figuring out a new routine....the unexpected frustrations brought by My Love not knowing where things were kept....the expectation that he would come home and just know what needed to be done.....

Which, for the record, is ALWAYS unrealistic, unreasonable, and ridiculous.

The surprising things that could cause anger - like him not knowing how to pack the diaper bag, or forgetting the foods I was allergic too.....that had only popped up SINCE he left. Everything can seem a bit exaggerated when they finally get home.

Sooooo, here are my tips: prepare, prepare, prepare.

Label things to help them find stuff without having to ask you for every little thing.

Make a check-list for various things - what the kids need in their lunches, what belongs in the diaper bag, normal routine for bed....

Keep your sense of humor.

And keep your perspective in check.....because, although I have been  nervous and there have been growing pains with every homecoming.....

I will never forget standing at the washing machine unloading My Love's sea bag and sobbing.....purely because I could do his laundry - and that meant he was home.
Us. Together. And all is well in the world.

Copyright 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010


This morning I had the treat of eavesdropping on the beans playing together and overheard the following conversation:

String Bean: "But MOM! We must save our brother!"
Jumping Bean: "Why is that, Daughter?" 
SB: "Because, Jesus wants us to love other people - and loving our brother would be saving him from the alligators!!"
JB: "Hmmmm.....that makes sense."

At this point I thought to myself - I am an AWESOME MOM. I mean, I totally have this thing DOWN. They've got it!

And then I kept listening.....and snuck down the hall so I could watch the interaction....

Jumping Bean: (With hands on hips and head cocked to the side) "But I don't care! I told you NOT to go near the alligators....and that is the end."
String Bean: "But, but, we HAVE to SAVE our BROTHER!!!" (On the edge of hysterics)
JB: "NO MA'AM. I said DON'T go near those Alligators young lady. Are you honoring your mother? (For emphasis a finger wag started to be be used) You don't go near those alligators....BECAUSE I SAID SO."
SB: "Yes, Ma'am." (With head hung down and furtive glances at whatever stuffed animal represented her now-dying brother.)

I gave away my covert location because I was giggling so hard.

There you have it folks. Apparently, I come down like the hammer. Even the Love of Jesus compelling us to do right cannot trump the "because I said so!"

And I learned a couple things about myself:

1. If I say it, that is the end.
2. I remind them their JOB is to honor their father and mother.....and obey their parents....A LOT.
3. I call them "young lady"....and didn't even realize it!
4. I've become an "I said so" mom.

Now, none of those things really bothered me....except for number four! I had this (what I know now is) ridiculous dream of ALWAYS explaining everything to my children and not having to use that awful phrase. But you know what? It is a good phrase. There are times they DON'T need to know the who, what, why, when, where, and how. Sometimes they just have to do it because they do. Period. And I will probably end up using that phrase for a long, long time.

But I really think I would have at least tried to save the brother from the alligators! I mean, c'mon! I'm not totally heartless!

Copyright 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The aftershock....

Well, I've been spending a LOT of time contemplating how to best handle/manage life right after Boy Bean arrives....that glorious emotional roller coaster-sleep deprivation-constant questioning-learning a new human being state known as the Post-Partum Period.

And String Bean makes 3!
It is intriguing to me how much emphasis is placed on pregnancy and prenatal health...labor and delivery classes...and all the fun stuff that happens to you from when you pee on the stick until you are discharged from the hospital.  And then there is diddly squat about the REALLY hard part....what the heck you are supposed to do when you get home!

Wow. I was a lot younger.

So, I figured I may as well share some stuff I've learned, observed, been surprised by, and hope to improve on. :)

I was most amazed at how utterly exhausted I was. I was literally walking into walls - couldn't remember my name - wasn't safe to drive for at least a week!

In the NICU with Bitty Bean

The driving one was with Bitty Bean - in my defense, she was in the NICU for one week. I was nursing, so I was sleeping for 45 minute snatches at a time and traveling back and forth to the hospital. I had no idea you could keep functioning at that level of exhaustion. 
Bitty Bean in the NICU - her sweet nurse cut hearts for her stickers!

Even though everyone tells you - tries to warn you of the exhaustion - there is no way to prepare. Thankfully, it is not forever...but those first few weeks sure can feel like a looooong time! With Bitty Bean I truly took the "let everything else slide so you can sleep" to heart - and definitely did that come week 2. I had to wait until she was out of the hospital! With Boy Bean, we've made plans to take it a step further - I will do NOTHING except focus on him and myself for the first (hopefully) 10 days. I will nurse, sleep, eat, repeat. That forced rest will allow my body to recover from the war of labor and delivery MUCH faster - and it will help me learn his nuances and quirks.

And Jumping Bean makes 4!
 I'm not gonna' lie - I am SUPER excited about that forced down time. 

With String Bean, I was one of those naive mama's who actually packed pre-pregnant clothing to wear home from the hospital! Perhaps some women could wear those home....I was not one of them. At all.

For some reason I thought the 55 pounds I gained with String Bean would all just disappear when I delivered her! She weighed 5 lbs and 12 ounces...yet I left the hospital weighing 5 pounds MORE than when I was admitted!
In fact, I was shocked and appalled at what my stomach looked like after delivery. It was this saggy, balloony, thing that I wanted NOTHING to do with. I would strongly suggest avoiding looking at your naked body in the mirror for at leas 3 is just so disturbing!  AND pack maternity clothes to wear home. Soft ones. Maybe a skirt. Eventually you will look like yourself again...but the drive home from the hospital isn't gonna be that time.

They are NOT joking about the bleeding. All I'm going to say....but take them seriously.

You will question pretty much every decision you make...over and over again. And that makes you normal.
Why God didn't have us deliver a specific instruction manual with each child is beyond would really be helpful to know ahead of time which one is allergic to milk, who can only sleep on their side, which one will need more sleep, who will need less sleep, what each cry means, what type of diapers they are allergic to.....the list just goes on!

Our Sweet Jumping Bean
There will be a identity crisis. Ranging from minor to severe. But at some point - you wonder if there is anything else you can talk about other than sleeping patterns, eating habits, and poop color. Yes. You will be able to converse like an intelligent adult again....but it just might take a little while.

There will be an identity crisis - figuring out how to balance the "wife" with the "mom." Best tip ever for me? Buy an item of clothing that is ONLY wife-wear. It helps flip the switch from one to the other. (But make sure there is enough coverage for dealing with leaking if you nurse!)

And Bitty Bean makes 5!
There is sooo much more I could say....but this post is plenty long enough already!

Do YOU have any tips/pointers/questions???

Copyright 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some organizing proof....

Well, I believe I've mentioned that I am psychotically nesting with this pregnancy. I figured no one would believe the levels to which I have I thought I'd document them!

I was LITERALLY being kept awake at night trying to figure out a cost-effective and orderly way to corral the girls clothes once they were all moved into the same room.  Here is what I came up with... (bear in mind a 5 year old and 3 year old put their clothes away!)
An old TV Cabinet that was headed for the trash - I just added a back (plywood) and removed the shelf for a DVD player. On the right is a dresser we found at a yard sale 5 years ago.
Inside the cabinet is a 9-Cube organizer. Makes me happy!

Labels for EVERYTHING!
Bitty Bean's clothes all fit in the white dresser with an extra drawer for the big girl's items.

I think these fancy wall tags in their closet should do the trick!
 Now, I was partially motivated to label what-goes-where to help the Beans learn where things went, but it was primarily to help My Love be able to get the beans dressed if I somehow go into labor with Boy Bean the very day he comes home! (I also needed to figure out a way to keep all their clothes in the closet neat and organized - 3 different sizes in the same area...definitely could spell frustration if all time is spent checking tags!)
These shoe boxes with all their "next size up" help keep me from wasting money on items we already have.
I also re-purposed a book shelf we bought at a garage sale for $5 5 years ago into a shoe storage rack!

And THERE is some proof that I am going crazy!! But at least people will know where to find stuff when they take me away.... :)
Copyright 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Psychic Love....

Be warned: I am about to get all romantically mushy. 

Seriously. If you don't like that kind of thing....stop reading.

Although, if you are probably just skipped ahead a little.

HA! Caught ya'.

Anyway.....want to know why My Love is perfect for me? (And why I love him oh-so-very-much???)

Aside from the brilliant sense of humor, sixth sense for finishing my sentences, amazing levels of understanding females, and pretty much being my knight in shining armor...

He can Read. My. Mind.

No - seriously!!  It is this amazing gift-curse he has. Poor thing.

I was contemplating his amazing abilities recently when I ran across this:

THIS was part of the birthing class (which was by birthinsight and absolutely worth every penny) we took this past August. Our FIRST birthing class. Taken for my FOURTH child. And still, worth every cent. Just sayin'. 

Anyway, the multi-colored braid was something we had to make over our class weekend. We needed to choose three colors of fabric - each symbolizing something - and braid them together. In theory, you are supposed to remember to take this with you to the hospital to help focus your thoughts and remember why, exactly, you are choosing to have a natural childbirth. 

I say "in theory" because I've done this before....chances are I'll be more concerned with other things then a braided thingy in my hospital bag. But, maybe not. I like the idea at least.

But I digress.

So I chose pink, green, and white, and just started braiding. Then I looked at My Love and said "Why do you think I picked these colors? What do they mean to me??"  Thought I had finally stumped him.

I was wrong.

"Well," he began, "I'm assuming the pink is for each of our beans - you are committed to a natural childbirth because of various complications with each of them." Already I was choking up....
"And since you are committed to breastfeeding again - and you know medications can hinder that being a success - the white is for your desire to nurse."  I leaned over and kissed him...
"Which means, the green could only stand for one thing - one thing that is very important to both of us - we hope that this baby is born healthy and strong."  And I just melted.

Seriously.  We were squatting and my legs fell asleep. 

THAT is one more reason why My Love is perfect for me - he knows what is important to me because he listens. And then he says it back to me. And he's really really strong and can lift me up off of the floor when my legs fall asleep.

And I love him even more. 

Copyright 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Cat's away....

So....have you ever wondered exactly WHY a mom can never go to the bathroom in peace?

It isn't just some freak-of-nature-thing that the children always must-needs their mother right at the moment.

I think it is to help the mom out. At least you know where your kids are. AND what they are doing. This point was proven to me today in my brief bathroom break.

Bear in mind this is the day that I have no voice and feel like I've been run over by a truck....everything is much more challenging.

String Bean was at school, and Jumping Bean and Bitty Bean were happily taking turns on the rocking I thought I was in the clear for the 1 minute it would take to go to the bathroom and wash my hands.

And flush of course. We are not THAT eco-friendly.

I was wrong.

Apparently, there was a secret stash of MARKERS hidden in the playroom for such a time as this. Thankfully, my walls, carpet, furniture, and pretty much everything-that-would-cost-a-lot-to-fix, were spared.  Instead, the Beans had gone to town - on each other. 

Obviously, they thoroughly enjoyed their artistic foray. Not only because it was super fun...but also because - and I am sure they knew this - Mommy did not have the energy to discipline them properly for their crime. (Markers without supervision are a definite no-no.)

Oh well. I guess I just have many more years of reading children's stories out-loud while using the bathroom. 

Wait! My day isn't done! Tonight was the night Bitty Bean decided was the perfect night to test the limits about staying in her bed.  Of course it was. Up and down and up and down and in and out and in and out....round and round we went. I'll spare you all the details...but after 45 minutes of battling I was ready to just put her back in the crib. Thankfully, she didn't try me that one more time...or she would have found herself in a new room for the night. From her perspective, I can understand why she chose tonight to challenge...I mean how intimidating or fearsome can a person be when the "voice of doom" is a finger snap? Or - heaven forbid - a hand clap? I mean really. I did find ways to get the point across....but she just wanted to be sure I meant it.

Holy cow. That sin nature sure is something to battle against!

But all parties are peacefully sleeping now....and I think that is my signal to join them...after I go to the bathroom in peace - just because I can.

Copyright 2010