Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Homeowner's First Winter full of fun tasks like shoveling, roof raking, and removing eight foot icicles.

This is what the LORD says:
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 9:23-24

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day of the Weak

Breakfast was late...mostly because even though I used to wake up at 6, I can't seem to drag myself out out of bed much before 7am these days. I finally baked something in the new oven, in my new loaf pans...but I didn't grease them well enough, and the bread got stuck. Donny is giving up his naps just as his pregnant mother is starting to really need them. The children threw their pot roast on the floor instead of eating it. The impending bills are beginning to loom, leaving Don and I wondering where we can find a money tree. And even though, at 11am, it seemed like I had all the time in the world, it's now 8:00pm and I have a load of laundry to fold, a husband to feed, a kitchen to clean, and a shower to take. And the children are still awake...telling me they are hungry.

It wasn't a bad day. It was just a day. A day that suffered because I was too lazy to wake up early, or spend time teaching the children, or sneak in some alone time with God. A day of harsh words and tones with no beneficial results. A day that could easily leave me discouraged, wondering why I even attempt to get my children to obey or my household to run smoothly. It would be easy to skip the laundry, the dishes, and the shower, and just curl up on the couch for that coveted nap.

But no. Tired and discouraged though I may feel, I'm too stubborn to let my children's misbehavior and some minor kitchen disasters ruin my day. I will feel better with a clean body, a clean kitchen, with all the laundry put away, and the husband fed. And then it's time for a date with my Bible. I know what I was lacking today, besides the obvious perfection. My prayer life, my Bible study, and my devotions with the children have been neglected, to say the least. As the saying goes, "Seven days without prayer makes one weak."

My much needed daily schedule, like the proverbial diet, starts tomorrow - or at least, sometime after I get it all figured out. Tomorrow, start with small steps: set the alarm for 6, read some Bible snippet before day commences, have breakfast ready prior to the moment when husband needs to leave for work. Read Bible with children. Pray with children, and for children. Remember that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And thank God that each new day is a new chance to grow strong in Him.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Isaiah 40:29

Friday, January 23, 2009

Training, Tools, and Turkey

With all the recent posts about pregnancy and moving, you may be wondering how my boys are doing. So far, they seem to be adjusting well to the move. Hayden insists on extra snuggling at night, but otherwise he is just as happy and playful as ever. Donny's imagination continues to soar; he is often making up complex stories that involve an interesting mixture of real life events and Bob the Builder characters. He constructs things with the K'Nex (a.k.a. "Little Legos") he got for Christmas, and builds train tracks that span the entire hallway. And both boys love having family nearby - they nearly burst with excitement whenever an aunt, grandparent, or friend stops by to visit!

Although Hayden has been using the potty for several months, I wanted to wait until after we moved to seriously train him because I feared he would regress under the stress of the move (not to mention that our apartment was entirely carpeted, while there are lots of easy-to-clean tile and wood floors here). Now that we are settled in, we have been concentrating more seriously on staying dry during the day. One morning I walked into the bathroom while Hayden was sitting on the toilet, and he announced, "That was a yucky day."

"What was a yucky day?" I asked.

He replied, "When I fall in the toilet, and you would flush me!"

Um, yes, that would be a yucky day indeed. He also insists on asking "Are you ready Mumma?" before he flushes - every time. And with the frequent potty breaks, the flushes have been many. Good thing our new toilet flushes quickly and long as there aren't any little boys stuck in it!

The same day, the boys were playing turkey hunting (a game which consists of running through the house pretending to shoot turkeys and cook them for dinner) when Donny decided that they needed some milk to accompany the meat.

Donny: Let's milk the cows.
Hayden: Boom, boom!
Donny: Hayden, you don't kill the cows to get the milk out; you squeeze the thing underneath them.

He will make an excellent farmer someday, don't you think?

And the most common phrase from Hayden lately has been, "Where's my screwdriver?" First it was the plastic pliers, then the wooden wrench, but he seems to have settled on the wood screwdriver as his security object. He likes to bring a tool with him when he rides in the car (and he assures me that he will "hold on to it nice and tight!"). And every hour or so at home, he needs to know the location of his screwdriver. Unfortunately, the round handle makes it easy to lose the treasured toy as it rolls off of tables and counters and underneath the couch. In fact, after climbing behind the couch a few times, I have instituted a "no screwdrivers near the couch" rule. For the next holiday, I am thinking of giving him a tool belt, so that he can keep his favorite things close by his side!

Of course, things have been challenging too. A new home has provided new means of making mischief, and new rules that need to be enforced. I need to get back into a routine of doing learning activities with the children and playing with them. With so much to clean and organize and do, those things are easily put on hold, but my children are growing fast. And before they grow up to become farmers or hunters or builders, I need to take the time to admire the skyscraper, eat the imaginary turkey, and find that missing screwdriver.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thinking Pink

I am 20 weeks pregnant today - halfway through! And as you probably concluded from the Wordless Wednesday, ultrasound indicates that Baby #3 is most likely a girl. I say "most likely" because my cousin was supposed to be a boy, and my aunt and uncle were quite surprised on delivery day to see a baby girl, so I am always a bit skeptical of sonogram-based assumptions. However, I've had that "mom's intuition" from the beginning that this was a girl, to the point that on the morning before my ultrasound, I realized that I would be surprised - not disappointed, but surprised - if the technician declared it a girl. My premonitions were confirmed, though, by the absence of anything appearing boyish. Here is a sneak peek at our sweet little girlie:

Don and I are thrilled to have a daughter, of course, but we cannot possibly be as excited as our mothers are. My mother-in-law, especially, has four grandsons including our boys, and had threatened to buy pink things for this baby regardless of gender. She was the one who sent me the pink flowers to celebrate the ultrasound results, and has even purchased a dress for our daughter to wear on her second Christmas. We are thinking of using the middle name "Joy," not only because I have always liked it as a middle name, but also because it accurately describes the emotions associated with this baby!

I am also happy because although I adore having boys, I want to have someone to pass my womanly knowledge on to. I love homemaking, being a wife, and being a mother, and I hope to instill those same passions in my daughter. I pray that I will teach her to avoid the mistakes I made, and to love God with all her heart, seeking His will in all areas and yielding to His guidance. And of course, I have a miniature china teaset and a pink jewelry box tucked away in the attic, waiting for an appropriately girlish recipient to enjoy them.

In high school, I was convinced that the ideal number of children was no more or less than three. And I very much wanted to have a boy first. In fact, my ideal family consisted of two boys and then a girl. Maybe that is why I have felt so strongly ever since our second son was born that our next baby would be a girl. Or maybe it was just God, in His wisdom, preparing my heart for the family I would eventually have! I have no intentions of this baby being our last - the ideal number for me is now somewhere closer to ten! - but I am still awed to see how God is granting the desires He gave me even as a teenager.

There is more, too - if I had to plan the ideal spacing, I would have chosen for my boys to be two years apart, and the girl to be two or three years younger than her brother. Don and I have never intentionally spaced our children, but instead have chosen to trust that God is much wiser than we are, and that His timing is the best. He forms every child in the womb, and we don't believe He makes mistakes. I got pregnant with Hayden when Donny was 14 months old, which resulted in 23 months between them. From there, I expected a pattern of babies approximately every two years. For His own purposes, though, God chose to delay the return of my fertility this time. Without any prevention on our part, Hayden and his sister will be 2 years and 7 months apart. Isn't it amazing that when we trust the Lord for His will, He is so good to us? Because of his allergies, I couldn't breastfeed Hayden through my pregnancy and eat a diet of extra calcium and protein that is recommended for pregnant women - I was scarely getting enough calcium and protein for myself. But because I was not yet pregnant, I was able to nurse Hayden for two years, reaching my goal of doing as much as I could to support his health. And I was also able to wean him without guilt, and to eat a nutrient-rich diet during this pregnancy, for my own health and that of the next baby. God is so good!

And whether they are boys or girls, I do hope that Don and I will be blessed with many more children. Babies are such precious gifts, and I am honored to be chosen to raise these three already. The thought of welcoming our little girl into our family in another twenty weeks or so fills me with joy in the Lord!

Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Psalm 37:3-5 NASB

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The View From My Window

Maybe we should have moved to Dallas after all?

The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.
Job 37:10

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Post-Ultrasound Present

Some time later she gave birth to a daughter...
- Genesis 30:21a

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year, New House

Happy New Year! We have been in our new house for two weeks now, and even though our internet service was hooked up within days, this is the first time I have sat in front of the computer long enough to do more than check email or the bank account balance. My days - especially during the formerly quiet periods of naptime and post-children's bedtime - have been busy with unpacking, cleaning, and painting. We have dealt with snowstorms, colds, pregnancy pains, (again) broken cars and (again) broken computers. The inbetween moments are quickly filled with snacktimes, snuggling, visiting, laundry, and dishes (some things never change...and some are only intensified by two weeks without a dishwasher). Blogging and other such virtual activities have taken a distant backseat to the task at hand of making our new house a home.

And home it is. It is exciting to turn a dusty, abandoned house into a home that suits our family perfectly. Now that the walls are painted, new appliances installed, boxes unpacked, and the kitchen floor scrubbed, our home is becoming a delightful place to be. There are a few finishing touches for my handyman to tackle - like hanging pictures and replacing the toilet - and I am sure I will find a few more corners that need cleaning or odds and ends that need a home. There are some bare windows that expose our every move to passing traffic and curious neighbors, a snow-dusted refrigerator in our backyard (next to the pool that is full of fallen pine branches), and a basement that I dare not even attempt to turn into a respectably sanitary place. Overall, though, I am feeling so happily blessed. The Lord has given us a wonderful place to live, and wonderfully kind friends and family nearby to share it with. I am looking forward to a memorable year of making home!

She replied, "I have a home among my own people." - 2 Kings 4:13b