Friday, January 28, 2011

Could you please...

...take a nap for me?

Because some people - like me - don't sleep....ever. 

I was asked today if I would be able to get a nap....and I laughed. I used to wonder why the people my age - or older - who didn't have kids always looked soooo good. And together. 

Obviously, I forgot what having a newborn feels like.

Which is amazing, considering how back-to back-to back-to back our four beans have been. I mean, really. Who in their right mind has four children in five years????!!! I guess it is obvious I am not in my right mind....but I wouldn't change it!


This morning as I was trying to pry my eyelids up to check the clock and figure out how much sleep I got....I realized exactly why people without kids look so doggone great.

I managed two two-hour stretches of sleep last night. Anyone not dealing with a newborn - or being tortured - get less than that?!

They are rested. Yes. Those people without kids waking them throughout the night just look better purely because they are rested. It is really quite unfair. They don't need makeup to cover the industrial-size-bags under their eyes....but they have the time to put it on.

I went from pajamas to out-the-door this morning in 5 minutes flat. I had been up for 3 1/2 hours. But I only had 5 minutes to shower and dress.  My Cubs hat always comes in handy on days like today.

Don't get me wrong. I knew sleep deprivation was just part of the joy of a new baby.  I just forgot how you feel like you've been hit by a truck when you keep being awakened just as you are on the edge of sleep. On the up side - I was able to sing a little Happy-one-month-Birthday song to Boy Bean as the clock struck midnight.

I promise I'm not complaining - it is still a treat to snuggle and nurse my Boy Bean in the night; to redirect Bitty Bean in her sleep walking; to wipe Jumping Bean's tears; and to calm String Bean's fears -but it would be nice if they could coordinate their wake-ups to happen at the same time!

I've just been tired since 2005. 

I know I'll sleep through the night again....which is why I am looking forward to 2014.

Copyright 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trigger points

I admit it freely - I have lived a very easy life.

My biggest heartache is whenever My Love deploys. I can't imagine the pain that would come from losing a spouse...because the ache of loneliness that comes from sleeping in an empty bed, or not having loving arms nearby, or the exhaustion of having all parenting decisions rest on my shoulders....can be overwhelming, and he is supposed to return.

Whenever My Love is deployed, I am amazed at all the random things that can trigger the wash of emotion that is close-to-impossible to hold at bay.
Sitting in church and seeing all the couples. 
Watching other kids run up to their Daddy. 
An understanding touch shared between a couple.
A sentimental card
A song on the radio
Having something really, really funny to say....but no one to hear it. 

I would imagine there are things like that throughout life whenever a loved one passes away. And deployment can - at times - feel like a death. You have to discover a new normal without them. You can talk to them - sometimes. But there can be days, or weeks, with no communication at all. (Basic training, or OCS anyone??) I would not claim to fully understand the complexities of life after someone indelibly marked on your heart dies....but I can't imagine it being an easy process.

The blessing of deployment....the curse of encountering those triggers every day. 
Because each one reminds me of the depth of my love for the man who holds my heart. 

Copyright 2010

Monday, January 24, 2011

Casing the joint...

There was nothing so wonderful as the complete ignorance about, well, pretty much everything regarding health and fitness - with which I entered college. Somehow, I thought a steady diet of large Papa John's pizzas, easy mac'n'cheese, ramen noodles, ice cream, and potato chips would not cause me to gain weight.

I was wrong.

I had NO idea that you actually would need to buy larger underwear if you gained enough. I was in severe denial - so I didn't - instead, I remained extremely confused about the indentations left on my hips. 

I was a busy bee back then - but none of that busyness involved any form of exercise.
Unless you count walking up the 2 flights of stairs to my dorm room.
Yeah, me neither.

 I enjoyed every bite. I did not, however, realize exactly how much I had gained. The fact that my stomach, butt, and thighs, had grown exponentially from September to April became crystal clear to me in a moment I will never forget:

I had my favorite jeans on - Union Bay symbols of comfort, does that age me? Do they even sell Union Bay any more??? - and had a severe case of the giggles. In my fit of laughter, I suddenly folded over...and the butt pockets of my jeans flipped up. And OFF my pants.

They had been stretched to capacity and could no longer hold this freshman in her jean casing.

With the diet listed above, I managed to gain 20 pounds my freshman year. Oh what lucky people gain the freshman fifteen!

Lucky for me, I didn't have to work to lose any of it. Instead, the summer after my freshman year, I came down with a severe case of Mono. . . and lost almost 30 pounds. 

For the record - even though it is known as "The kissing disease," it is really NOT fun. At all. But it was a pretty easy way to lose weight....kinda hard to eat when your throat is swollen-almost-closed.

Honestly, that is pretty much how my weight was managed until I started procreating. I would eat like crap, be a total lazy butt, and then get sick-as-a-dog and lose loads of weight. While it did enable me to not think about health/weight/diet, I wouldn't really recommend it!  

Unfortunately, my metabolism - which was like that of a hamster, courtesy of my Dad - went on permanent vacation with Pregnancy #1. Thanks go to String Bean for showing me that weight is very, very fun to put on....and very, very hard to take off. 

But I still spent 2 more years trying to squeeze into my complete denial of the work I would need to put in. Thankfully, no more jeans were harmed due to my slow learning curve. 

Copyright 2010

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cocoa Bean Moment....

My fears of sibling jealousy were allayed (for the moment) when I walked into the living room and found this....

Each of the girls had found a favorite book....

and sat down to read it to their brother.

String Bean chose "Mike Mulligan"...

Jumping Bean chose "Mouse about the House"...

and Bitty Bean chose "I Love You Through and Through."

Did it matter that Boy Bean was crying the whole time? 
Not to them. 
And the moment was sweet.

Copyright 2010

Monday, January 17, 2011

All that is gained....

....Does NOT like to be lost. 

Starting point: round 4
Seriously. What IS it about pregnancy weight-gain? I'm not asking for every-single-pound-gained to suddenly disappear when you deliver....but at least the amount the baby weighs to be lost - that would be nice. (Although the fully-disappearing-weight would be nice too!)

Before you say something like "your baby is not even 3 weeks old! What are you worried about?!" Hear me out....all the way out.

With Boy Bean I gained drastically less weight than I did with the other 3 pregnancies.

And I'm going to say the exact numbers because it really is relevant.  

With String Bean and Jumping Bean I gained 55 pounds each time. Fifty-five. 

String Bean in the pod

That whole "eat for two" idea? Well, I fully embraced it. 
Unfortunately, I didn't realize that most of the pregnancy, the other person you are eating for is not a pro-linebacker. . . they are actually smaller than a cantaloupe. 
Jumping Bean in the pod

Anyway. With Bitty Bean I gained 35 pounds...and I was very proud of myself!
Bitty Bean in the pod
Boy Bean in the pod
But with this man-child, I only gained 23 pounds...bear in mind he was 3 weeks early - so I was on target to gain exactly what I was supposed to. Lucky for me, Boy Bean didn't have me craving Hardee's thickburgers, bbq, and ice-cream, like the girls did....I just wanted LOTS of fruit. AND I really didn't have time to eat. So, that makes it a lot easier to not gain weight. I would actually make myself eat - even if I wasn't hungry - if the opportunity presented itself!

Now, I am not a person where the weight just melts away....I have had to work....very get it off.
With String Bean it took 14 months....I got pregnant one month later.
With Jumping Bean it took 12 months....I got pregnant one month later.
With Bitty Bean it took 6 months....we were shocked I didn't get pregnant until she was 10 months old!

So far, I have lost 8 pounds. Eight. When you consider the fact that my son weighed 6lbs 3oz and I lost (what felt like) 25 gallons of would think it would tally up to a little more than eight. Apparently not.

So I have decided to chronicle my journey back to myself to (hopefully) encourage someone else out there who is struggling to find time to work out....or say "no" to the oh-so-tempting-food that should be directly applied to my stomach.

2.5 weeks post-Boy Bean
I tenderly call my post-baby tummy - which is where all of my fat goes - my "love-pot" because if the fat rolls on the side are "love-handles"....

Oh well. My body will have a break for the rest of the month and then I will get to start working out again. I have really really missed running and working out hard!

More on that shocking sentence another day....

I'd love to know how you manage your healthy weight!  
Copyright 2010

Friday, January 14, 2011

Now for something Completely Different....

Well, I am about to deviate from my normal topic-wheel-house....this is not about the military, My Love, My Beans, Motherhood, emotional upheaval, or cleaning. It is, however, very much about me. So, if you are ready for a very introspective on.

This Wednesday, at church, I had a moment. You know, a moment where you really, really wish you hadn't shown up because the message was directly addressed to you?  And it wasn't all butterflies and rainbows. One section of verses Pastor Dave brought up caused me to have that moment.  And in an effort to be a fully-honest-blogger....I just have to share when I have a moment. (Thankfully, this is not a meltdown-in-the-middle-of-the-commissary moment, but it is a moment nonetheless)

Philippians 2:14-16
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life - in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 

I have actually heard - and read - these verses before....quite a few times. 
But I had not taken hold of them. 
Registered their full impact.

Do everything without complaining or arguing..... 

Everything really encompasses a LOT. From the easy - enjoying snuggle time with the Beans... to the hard - figuring how to "do life" after you've slept 5-interrupted-hours the night before.
That would include laundry. And dishes. And sweeping. 
And cleaning the bathrooms. And cleaning puke. And taking care of accidents. 
And dealing with a constantly changing schedule for My Love. And deployments. 
And not having the schedule go as planned. 
And being teamed up with people that are not-my-very-favorite. 

As I sat back and evaluated my conversations...both verbally to people, and mentally to myself....I realized I fall really, really, really short. I do A LOT with complaining and arguing. In fact, I am a very good pot-stirrer.

But here's the kicker. That whole non-complaining, not-pot-stirring, all-the-time for a reason. And by being the opposite of those things (which is much closer to what I am) I am ignoring a key purpose of my life as a Christian. order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 

I want to run this race for a purpose. For Something. For Christ. But when I cave to that oh-so-natural desire for complaining, arguing, and pot-stirring....I am running backwards.

So this year, I am going to try to NOT run in vain. I want to be a woman known for NOT complaining, NOT arguing, and being a peace-maker.  It will be a challenge (as anyone who knows me can attest!) but I am going to try.

Because I'm God's girl....and I want to follow Him. In spite of my humanity.

 Copyright 2010

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The see-saw of the Military...

Today is a sad day for thousands of people. 

Husbands, wives, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, significant others, friends. 

While I just celebrated the wonderful homecoming of My Love just a few weeks ago...they are all saying goodbye. For months.

Knowing that things will change - events will be missed - milestones will be conquered - regardless of the absence of key loved ones. 

While I spent Christmas thrilled to sit next to My Love and comforted that he should be home for a long time (In military perspective!) ....they all snuggled up to their loved ones realizing the next special moment would be spent without them.

Add caption
Last picture as a family of 5

While I was relieved to know My Love would be home for the delivery of Boy Bean....there are people in recent weeks and months who have realized when their "plus sign" is born - they will be without their spouse.

Family of 6. Together. Silly. All is well.

Every countdown to a homecoming is someone else's countdown to a separation. Every joyful moment being reunited is tainted by thoughts of friends who are helping to pack a sea bag.

So, tonight, as I treasure My Love's company - I will know that there are many people acutely aware of an empty seat at their table.

To each of you - I know you can make it. It will be hard. It will be exhausting. You will be stretched and pushed to your limits. Every day you will have the opportunity to show people the strength that is required of those left behind - and I know you will do it beautifully. 

Because today, your countdown to homecoming has begun.

Copyright 2010

Monday, January 10, 2011


So the fabulous combination of post-partum hormones and constantly interrupted sleep can really lead to some amazing dreams.

They are still not to the level of weird achieved during pregnancy....but pretty close

What?! I didn't write down for posterity my crazy pregnant dreams? 

Here's a quick rundown on the absolute-hands-down-oddest-dreams-I've-ever-had:

While pregnant with String Bean I dreamt I went to the car while in labor and delivered....a litter of kittens. Ugly ones. That was disturbing to me for a couple reasons:
1) I hold cats in utter contempt. I cannot stand them. Unless they are completely outdoor animals and keep the rodent population down....maybe. 
2) I had always assumed my offspring would at least achieve a "homely" status.
But for my daughter to be born an ugly version of an animal that I hold in disdain.....that was a hard one for me to swallow.

While pregnant with Jumping Bean I dreamed....bear in mind I was starving from the moment of a plus sign until delivery....I dreamed I delivered a chocolate bar. And then ate it.  All I have to say about that is we are already saving for her therapy.

While pregnant with Bitty Bean the crazy dream did not concern delivery. (Thankfully)  It instead involved the drive home from the hospital. In the dream she was safely loaded into her car seat and had a lovely pink blanket tucked around her..... then the car seat was set on the ground next to the car as we loaded everything else in.....and then we drove off. We just left our 3rd daughter in the parking lot of the hospital and went and had lunch.  

It seems food is a recurring theme of my dreams

However, my wild and wacky dreams while pregnant with the girls were NOTHING compared to what happened in my brain with the man-child. In the dream, we went to the hospital and I delivered Boy Bean....but he wasn't a baby....or a chocolate bar....or a litter of kittens....he was a fully-grown werewolf.  And as soon as the umbilical cord was cut, he turned to attack me. So, there I was, running down a main thoroughfare of the my hospital gown....being chased by my newborn-werewolf-man-child.

Thankfully, in the past two weeks Boy Bean has not shown any signs of being anything other than 100% human. But I'm still keeping my running shoes handy.

Well, to be honest, now that I've actually written down those post-partum one's are not even worth mentioning.....I mean, no one will need therapy from those! Although maybe I should see someone...

Copyright 2010

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm ordering my Plexi glass....

Well, all those people who had sons first - or only - lied when they tried to prep me for changing a boy.

Boy Bean - dry and clean - for the moment

It is utterly and completely different than changing a girl.


Maybe it is because I'm already familiar with the equipment and how to keep it clean on a girl....but I think there is a good bit more of a learning curve on changing a boy.

Girls puddle. Barely.

They shoot like a fire hose.
All over the place.
With reckless abandon.
With no apparent concern for their cleanliness or the area around them or anybody within a 4 foot range.

"Just be sure you point it down." That pretty much sums up the words of advice given to me by veteran mama's of sons.  And that is just NOT all there is to it!

There is lifting and stretching and pulling involved.
There is a LOT of vaseline.
The requirement of a changing pad.
And maybe even a rain coat.

The other day while changing my Boy Bean I reached for a wipe and when I looked back at the little man's little was shooting at his head. Thankfully he had JUST turned to the right - so nothing landed in his eye...but it was close. Then, the very next diaper change, he projected urine in a perfect arc over his body - off the diaper changing table - and against the wall. It left a 3 foot mark on the wall. And what did this veteran mama do? I squealed and laughed hysterically...while trying in vain to stop the explosion.

So, I'm learning how to embrace the shock, laundry, and flood plain that comes from learning how to change a boy....slowly. But I'm getting there!

Uh-oh... the Boy Bean just pooped....better go don my raincoat.

Copyright 2010

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Water Birth...Sort of....

Another break from the blog has occurred over the past week. But I have a REALLY good reason...promise!

Boy Bean decided he wanted to arrive early. :)
Boy Bean on his birthday! 12/28/10

My water broke at 2:45pm on Monday, December 27th....and he was born at 8:02am on Tuesday, December 28th.  He is healthy and strong and absolutely perfect. Promise to write a detailed birth story soon....but at the moment I have to just chronicle the one utterly-hilarious-gross thing that happened during delivery.

If you get queasy easily...don't read this post.  REALLY. 

My Love and my Mom were there for the duration of labor and delivery as was my nurse Colleen - who actually delivered Bitty Bean! - those three were my support team and they were AWESOME! Anyway, my labor kicked in at 7:15am (after some pitocin) and then at 7:50 things were getting dicey. I was laying on my side with My Love at my middle holding my leg ready for delivery....I was gripping his arm and focusing very much on each contraction.  My Mom was at my feet - she was my support for my other leg - and Colleen was sitting on the end of the bed keeping tabs on everything...
My Nurse Colleen, Boy Bean, and Me

Then came an urge to push.

So I did. 

And water EXPLODED all OVER My Love, My Mom, and Colleen. It literally shot out. My Love's pants were drenched...My Mom had so much fluid running down her arm that it filled her glove and she had to replace it! She actually ended up having to change all of her clothes because of how wet she was!...Colleen was just very lucky she hadn't been checking me right then - her chest was wet, but none got on her face!

And then they all got the giggles.

My Love, My Mom, and Boy Bean
Thankfully, they didn't let the giggles blast out - I was in deep concentration since the Boy Bean was about to arrive - but after he was born it was quite a hilarious moment!
Boy Bean just moments old
So, while I ended up not being able to have the water birth I had hoped for - at least somebody still got wet!

Copyright 2010