Friday, December 30, 2005

Litter dilemma solved!

Rather than fighting with hubby about getting the litter scooped every other day, I taught the oldest daughter (who was also very interested in getting cats!) how to scoop and will pay her to do it.

I tend to forget that the kids are old enough to help out. Sure, they might not do it as quickly or as well or even just the same as I might do it, but the longer I just do it myself, the harder it will be for them to learn responsibility. One of my New Year's resolutions is going to be to give up some of my control over things with the kids and let them learn to do some stuff on their own!


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back into the swing of things

Now that Christmas is past, I'm trying to get back into the "regular" routine. Not all that easy!

Today's main event was trying to catch up on laundry. While I'm no fan of summer, I love summer laundry. If I go a couple days without doing laundry, I don't have an insurmountable pile waiting for me. Lots, but nothing that I can't handle. Once it's winter and the heavy clothes come out, I need to do laundry constantly or run the risk of being ridiculously behind. With Christmas, I didn't do laundry for a few days, and now I've got a lot to do. If I can stay focused, it can get done, but staying focused on laundry isn't easy!

The rest of the house is doing okay. The oldest dd wanted to invite a friend over tonight, so she helped clean up so her friend would be allowed to stay. I've got some cleaning to do in the kitchen, but nothing I can't get finished tomorrow. Of course, the upstairs will probably be trashed with the two of them tearing into everything, but such is the price of friendship!

Trying to decide if I want to go to the church on New Year's Eve. On one hand, I'd love to go be with other people and enjoy some games and what have you, but on the other hand, I love staying in, eating wings, splitting a bottle of Spumanti with Jason, watching a movie and then seeing Dick Clark ring in the new year. Tough call. I think home and wings will probably win out.

Sorry this isn't more exciting. I'll try to get fired up about something soon! I just didn't want to go too long without writing.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

To all of my faithful readers (wink), I hope you're having a very Merry Christmas!

Things are lovely here at our house. It was a big score Christmas for me this year! I got a new knife block, seasons 5 & 6 of Seinfeld, some candles, a beautiful sculpture of a woman kissing an infant (for completing my final birth), a new watch, a photo collage frame, a lovely new diamond bracelet and a spectacular diamond necklace! Sweet! It's all very beautiful and I feel very loved and appreciated (would you believe that "gifts" is a big love language of mine? *smile*).

The kids all slept in the boys' room last night, and were up at a reasonable time (right before 7AM). My parents (who gave us a vacation for the six of us plus them in June) came over for gifts, then we had breakfast with them. Right now the kids are enjoying their gifts, Jason is playing a plug in video game (lots of old Atari games -- he's playing "Breakout" right now!), and then we're going over to Jason's grandmother's house for Christmas lunch. Then to Jason's parents for more gifts and then home to sleep!

So far it's been a lovely day, and I'm so glad I have so much family to enjoy this day with. Praying you all are enjoying your holiday as well! Be blessed!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Birth story and Christmas wish

It's been a little nuts around here the past couple of days. On Thursday around noon, I got the call from my client that she was probably going to go in to the hospital for an induction later that afternoon. My sister and her husband were coming in from Louisiana that afternoon, so I asked them if they could watch the kids until our parents got in.

Anyway, when they got here, we spent some time visiting. The hospital didn't have any rooms available, so my client called and told me that she was just going to be waiting for them to call her with a space. So the kids and I got to spend some family time, which was nice. I went to bed early (Jason was out of town at a Christmas dinner til Thursday afternoon), waiting for K to call and let me know it was time to head to the hospital.

At 5:28AM, K called and said that she had been laboring since about 2:30AM. Her contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart, but pretty strong. She and her husband wanted to go to the hospital, and I agreed to meet them there. My dad came over to the house to watch the kids, and I got out the door around 5:50AM.

When I got to the hospital, K was being monitored. She was having strong contractions, around 5-6 minutes apart and she was about 5-6cm dilated. Once they had a baseline down and she wasn't strapped down, we did some walking. I was able to give her some ideas for better positioning that was more comfortable for her, as she was experiencing some back labor. We walked the halls of the maternity ward for a little bit, and she did some slow dancing with her husband.

Jan the midwife got there about an hour after I got there. K's contractions were getting closer together (3-4 minutes) and she was struggling to find some positions that eased up the back labor. Jan suggested getting on all fours with the bed broken down. A was able to stay at her head and encourage her with kisses and words, while he stroked her hair, and I was able to apply counter-pressure to her lower back (did the double hip squeeze for about two hours! I have got to work out!). The baby finally turned and the back labor eased up. She got into a great pattern of breathing and moaning. I found that I didn't have to remind her verbally to moan, but that she was really good about mirroring what I would do. Jan was a great encourager both to K and to me, as she guided a lot without being too "teachery." Jan asked her if she wanted to be checked or to have her water broke, and she chose to just continue laboring on her own. She never asked for any meds or an epidural.

Around 11AM, she said that she thought she needed to have a bowel movement and started making some grunty sounds. She alternately pushed and panted for about half an hour on all fours, I held her hand and encouraged her with A, and Jan moved to her back and massaged her back and her legs. She asked about having her waters broken, so Jan asked her to flip so she could check to make sure she was complete and to break her waters. When Jan checked her, her waters broke. She pushed for about another 20-ish minutes and at 11:59AM, delivered an 8 pound, 9 ounce baby boy! He latched on great and I was able to leave a mere hour after the birth. They gave me a beautiful photograph K had taken that I had admired when I visited their house for our first meeting.

I felt much more sure of myself during this birth. In the first two, I was more reserved in my touch, and more reserved in my language. I felt practically worthless in the first birth during the pushing (I was so overwhelmed by actually watching the birth process that I was no help to L at all, and wasn't much better with E.). This time I felt like I was able to actually offer some help to K during the pushing time. The actual birth was still just incredible to watch, but I felt like I was better able to focus on mom during delivery when she needed me. I'm sure that will improve with time, but this was the first time I felt like a doula, not just a doula-in-training. I think having a midwife in the room, especially one who functions in such a doula role, helped me feel much more comfortable with my role as a helper.

Anyway, today is Christmas Eve and the little kid in me is just bubbly! Yesterday was absolutely wonderful, and I still just love Christmas. Tonight we're going to church for a Christmas Eve service, then tomorrow we're spending the day with family. Mom & Dad are coming over for gift giving, then we're going to Jason's grandmother's for Christmas dinner, then to his parents for Christmas evening. I expect it to be a really fun day.

May all of you reading have a wonderful and blessed Christmas. May you enjoy your family. May you cheer the Steelers on to victory. May you indulge in your favorite Christmas cookie with a cup of hot chocolate. May you laugh and smile all day. And may you worship the Savior of mankind with all of your being!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Update on cleaning...

The girls' room has been cleaned! Pitched another 2 garbage bags of junk out, reorganized the closet and got everything more or less put away. There are still a few junk piles, but mostly things are in pretty good shape. Had to miss the first episode of "Malcolm" but I was done before the second one was over, so hooray!

I still have to clean in the living room, but that's going to happen late Thursday (provided I'm not off at a birth). I still have a lot of laundry to get caught up on, most likely tomorrow, but the end is definitely in sight. And if the laundry doesn't get finished, everyone still has plenty of clothes to wear, so I'm feeling pretty happy now.

Might do a little bit of cleaning in my bathroom tonight, but mostly I think I'll make a few more pieces of jewelry for Christmas gifts and maybe put in "Zoolander." Nothing says Christmas like a freak gasoline fight accident!

Christmas cleaning

All of my laziness from the past few weeks is coming to bite me in the butt this week. Lots of cleaning to do, not much time to do it!

Fortunately, the kids have been really good about staying out of my hair so I can get some stuff done. Yesterday I was able to clean the kitchen (clear off counters, mop floor, stuff like that) and also clean the boys' room. It was getting to the point where I was getting physically ill thinking about cleaning the boys' room, so I'd kept putting it off. Finally grabbed a stack of garbage bags yesterday afternoon (after "Malcolm in the Middle," of course!) and tackled it. It took almost two hours, but I was able to clear out three bags of junk and was actually able to vacuum the floor and everything! I felt so much better when it was done! Now to see if they can keep it semi-clean til Christmas...

I cleaned out and scrubbed down the fridge this morning (not the freezer -- that's a whole other project!) and have some laundry going. I hope to tackle the girls' room this afternoon (again, after "Malcolm"), unless my doula client goes into labor, which, quite frankly, would be awesome! My main goal is to have all of the garbage out of the house by tonight, so it can go out with the trash tomorrow morning. The kids won't have any problem getting to the window to see the garbage collectors tomorrow. We've got our two huge garbage cans filled, plus an ungodly number of additional trash bags. Yeow!

Okay, enough writing. Time to get off of my aforementioned butt and get back to work!

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's too early!

DD3 came down and fell asleep in our bed last night. I was too tired to bother taking her back to bed, so I just let her stay. Unfortunately, she's a sprawler and at about 6am (after being awake for another hour or so), I decided to get up.

Part of the problem is that even though I'm pretty beat, I'm not sleeping really well right now, as I'm waiting for my doula client to go into labor. Her due date was Thursday, so I've been "on call" for a good week or so. Of course, that means I'm "on alert" so to speak, even when I'm asleep. I remember being that way when the kids were still nursing. I'd sleep, but I'd be waiting for the nursing baby to wake up to be fed. Only if I knew that Jason was taking the next shift of night-time parenting would I be able to sleep through a crying kid. I can tell that they mostly sleep through the night now, because if someone does wake up, I almost never hear them until it gets pretty loud or they're at our door!

I wonder, as my business actually starts, if I'll still have that "alert" sleep? So far, as any of my clients' dates have approached, I've definitely had fitful sleep. I hope that as I get used to the idea that babies come when babies come, I'll be able to just sleep and wake up when I need to.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Merry Christmas and pass the budget cuts

On Wednesday, Jim Wallis and more than 100 other Christians were arrested on the steps of the Cannon House Office Building. The Chicago Tribune writes:

WASHINGTON -- Christian activist Rev. Jim Wallis told hundreds of religious
protesters gathered near the Capitol on Wednesday that there is a scandal this
December, but it isn't the conservative-stoked controversy about retailers and
others using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

"The Christmas scandal is the budget out of this House of Representatives,
a budget which is an assault on low-income people, on poor families," said
Wallis, who was arrested by Capitol Hill police along with 113 other
protesters--as they knew they would--for blocking the building's entrance.

The contrast of the "War Against Christmas" and fighting against budget cuts that could take food stamps away from thousands of Americans is one that is absurd to me. On one hand, we have Christians up in arms over a phrase I've heard all my life ("Happy Holidays") and on the other, a group that is fighting to save health care for children.

You may have seen the pro-life piece that sometimes circulates and details the sad situations of the parents of several prominent figures in history, including Mary. Clearly, we are to come away with the idea that every life is precious, regardless of the circumstances into which they are born. And yet, many of the same people who would wave the pro-life banner are now calling for budget cuts that would probably effect each and every one of the four people. A family that could have received food stamps. A family whose children could have received CHIPs. A woman whose relatives could have been received money to help raise her because her mother was unable to do so. And a woman who probably could have used any number of these programs. Where do they fit into the Republican's plan for a balanced budget?

Ultimately, I'm not certain if Wallis and company were right to be arrested in this manner. No doubt it will give some fuel to the rhetoric of the "loony left" but it would seem that there's a never-ending list of things that the left stands for that galls the conservative talking heads. On the other hand, I am sure that their actions brought to light the fact that there are a growing number of Christians who are unhappy with the idea that the only moral issues facing this country are homosexuality and abortion. Additionally, it brings to light once again that we must protect the poorest in our midst, particularly at Christmas time.

Please, call your congressperson and ask them to oppose cuts that will affect the poorest in our nation while giving tax breaks to the richest 3%. Let us remember that being pro-life cannot end when the infant makes it into the world, but that we must continue to protect those who are unable to help themselves.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another birthday

Today is my wonderful husband's 31st birthday! Yeehaw!

Here's a pic from when we played the coffeehouse gig this summer. What a hottie! I love you baby!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

By the way...

...Happy birthday to my mom! I always (!) forget her birthday, but I actually remembered and called her today.

Of course, the card I bought on Monday is still sitting in the WalMart bag on the kitchen table...

Love you, Mom!

Don't look down!

Warning: this is a disgusting entry today! But it needs to be said!

For the record, the cats are not mine. I would have been perfectly content to live the rest of my life without any pets other than the occasional goldfish. Don't get me wrong, I like cuddling up with a nice furry animal, but I'm not a great housekeeper, and I don't need another mammal dependent on me. The four that came out of me and the one that I married are plenty to keep me busy. But the oldest child and husband wore me down and now we have two cats.

My husband assured me that it would be easier with two cats rather than one because they would play with each other, so they wouldn't need us as much. Also, cats are much cleaner than dogs. And smarter. And all of those other things that cat-lovers say to those of us who are, at best, ambivalent about these furry little aliens.

What do you know, he's right! They do keep one another company. And they are clean. In fact, they're so clean that if their litter box isn't diligently scooped out, they opt to go somewhere else. And they are smart. If they need to go somewhere else, it's where I'm sure to find it, like my kitchen or my bathroom.

Incredibly, my loving husband is completely oblivious to the massive stench that these creatures can produce. He'll walk through our bathroom, into our kitchen and out the door without even a, "What is that putrid smell?" Now, as I noted above, I'm not a great housekeeper, but it never smells like that, even on my laziest days.

So I have to make a choice. I either scoop the litter boxes every day, which I hate, or I clean cat poop off my kitchen floor, which I hate even more. Needless to say, I clean the litter boxes.

Despite the nasty of it all, I have to notice how my life is so like this. I have places where I "store" the nasty things in my life. Bitter feelings, angry thoughts, little bits of gossip. I can hide these things so people who see me don't know that I have these problems. But if I don't take these nasty things and give them over to God, they start to stink. And if I continue to ignore them, they start to spill over into other areas of my life, at which point all of my hiding has been in vain.

1 John 1:8-9 say, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." In The Message, verse 8 says, "If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense."

I might not claim outright to be sin-free, but when I hide my sins from other Christians and (albeit, with much futility) from God, I might as well say that I'm without sin. Today, I choose to acknowledge my sinful nature and offer it to God, that He can make me clean.

But I'd still like my husband to clean the cat litter.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Where does the time go?

"Time is an illusion -- lunchtime, doubly so." ~Ford Prefect (or Douglas Adams, I suppose!)

I'm not sure if Ford is right about lunchtime or not, but I'm pretty sure that the "time is an illusion" part is spot on.

I'll be the first to admit that you might hear me say, "I can't believe how busy I am!" To some degree, it's true. You can't have four kids to care for and not be at least a little busy. But a lot of it is just poor time management. I have the same 24 hours each day that everyone else has, but a lot of the time I choose to fritter it away. I'll sit and watch a little TV. I'll read an internet message board. I'll talk on the phone. The next thing I know, hours have passed and I have to get the kids fed, cleaned up, dressed for bed, run to a rehearsal, finish three loads of laundry so Jason has something to wear tomorrow, and I'll whine about how "busy" I am, when in fact, I'm not busy at all, but rather undisciplined.

I don't expect to get everything together all at once, and I know that sometimes I really am busy, but I also know that I need to make more of an effort of getting my life more disciplined!
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
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