Sunday, November 9, 2008
Look at me...I'm so adorable!
Blessing playing in the rain on vacation! She had a ball scooping muddy rocks in the water!
What a great painter Blessing is! Thanks for your help!
Blessing with her caterpiller cake for her 2 year birthday.
Tummy time for Joy! Look at how strong I am getting!
Blessing and Joy hugging. Joy sure doesn't know what to think of big sister!
Look mommy, Joy is sleeping in my arms. So precious!
Joy taking a nap on her tummy.
So, what is different tonight....My two year old is in bed. My 4 month old is sleeping, I think. And, my husband fell asleep putting my 4 month old to bed. So, I have picked up the house from a crazy weekend, and am now making and taking the time to update.
So, since the last time I posted, we have had a baby. She was born on July 7th. We will call her Joy for the purpose of the blog. She is completely different than Blessing. Joy actually sleeps - well most of the time. She is in that stage now where she doesn't want to miss a thing. She is our little cuddle bug. She will sit with you for hours and cuddle and coo. I will post some pictures - so enjoy!
But, for the real reason for this post....
This fall has been a time of reflecting for me. Besides being extremely hormonal and emotional from having a baby, this fall has affected me in many ways.
I can not begin to tell you how blessed we are with our children. Just 3 years ago, on this date, I knew something was funny. I took a pregnancy test and discovered that we were expecting our first baby. I was in the middle of my second year of teaching at a public school, my husband was working 60 to 80 hours a week for a local farmer, and our marriage was falling apart. I did NOT want to add kids into the mix. Even though my husband and I vowed to never get a divorce, our marriage was heading south. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that God took my husbands hand to save us. Anyway, I found out I was pregnant and cried and cried and cried. I was sicker than sick (for all 9 months) and really didn't want to have any kids. I had just lost 50 pounds and was beginning to feel fabulous about myself and how I looked. However, God had a different plan...
Over the next couple of months, he helped me to accept that I was pregnant. However, I still didn't "want" the baby. I found out I was no longer going to be employed at the public school come the next school year and was devastated. How was I supposed to be a stay at home mom....How was I supposed to care for this baby that I didn't even want...How was I....How was I...How was I...
The list went on and on. And, time continued to pass.
Today, three years later, I can honestly say that I do not know what I would do without my 2 year old. Yes, she is a challenge somedays, but she is a miracle sent from God. She helped to save our marriage (along with a special group of women that I met about a month after having her). She has taught me patience, tolerance, how to love, how to cherish, joy, and hope. As I sit and rock her at night, some nights I don't want to put her into bed - I just want to hold her all night and thank God for the miracle of kids. She is growing into such a beautiful little girl on the inside. It has been truly amazing to watch her change and develop...I am looking forward to what the future holds.
With the addition of a second child, I was scared. What if I didn't love the second baby as much as I had learned to love the first? What if I couldn't take care of the second baby? What if the second baby was just as demanding as the first? What if...What if...What if...
Once again, the list went on and on. However, the addition of a second child has changed me yet again. Yes, I am still the same woman, but at the same time, subtle things have changed. The love in my heart has multiplied. The time that I spend cherising my two kids has changed. The joy in my heart has increased. The time that I spend making the house into a comfortable home for my family has also increased and the things that I value have changed as well.
I would not go back to having only one kid, and I definitely would NEVER go back to having no kids. The addition of children to our family has been a challenge. It is a challenge I am glad to face every day. Even though it is frustrating to have to discipline Blessing, for Joy to be fully dependent on me, to take care of the house and garden and kids and finances and..., and to be a wife of a loving husband, I thank God every day. Each obstacle that is placed in front of me helps me to become a stronger woman of God. Each challenge placed in front of me helps to develop character. It is my prayer that I will be able to someday help other women and families that are dealing with similar situations. It is my prayer that God will use me one day to serve others and to make a difference in others lives. I am trusting that I am not going through what I am going through for nothing - there truly is a plan for my life.
Finally, on this anniversary of discovering our lives would be changed forever, I just want to thank two special women who have helped me to be a good mom.
To my mom-in-law - Thank you for loving me unconditionally, even when I was failing at being a good wife for your son. Thank you for your support and encouragement when things are tough. Thank you for allowing me to marry your son and for accepting me as your daughter. I love you!
To my best-friend - Thank you for helping me to be a better mom and wife. Thank you for encouraging me every Wednesday when things are tough. Thank you for the Godly perspective that you provide and for challenging me on making my house a home and serving my family. You are an amazing wife, mom, and friend. Your encouragement is priceless and words will never thank you enough! I love you my dear sister-in-Christ!
God is good and provides even when times are tough. He has given me two kids that help me to appreciate the little things in life - from the wire worm crawling on the floor to egg shell in my baked goods.
What a change in my heart from 3 years ago when I didn't even want kids in my life...Thank you God for blessing me and changing me!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Invisible Mother.....It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on thephone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this ? Can you tie this?Can you open this??
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30,please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of afriend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sittingthere, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package and said, 'I brought you this.'
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals -we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied,'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing tosacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to hisf riend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Hey mommy, look at me! Climbing on the steps and the railing.
HELLO?!? Anybody there?
Mommy, this is so yummy! Snitching leftover cookie dough after making cookies!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
On one particular spring day, we were anxious to be planting our garden. We decided where our gardens were going to be, and instead of pulling all of the weeds, we decided to burn the garden off. We really enjoyed the ability to be outside and start preparations for spring and summertime gardening. We can't wait for fresh produce! However, the day after we burnt the ground off, we had a cold snap and 4 inches of snow - not exactly encouraging when you want to plant a garden. A few days later, we were back to the mid 50's. Old man winter just wants to keep hanging on even though we are ready for Spring. Spring come soon!
This last picture just shows the curls on the top of Blessing's head that mysteriously arrived
Sunday, March 9, 2008
This second picture is of Blessing sitting in our Pampered Chef stainless steel family skillet. I had just finished washing it and set in on the shelf next to my sink. Blessing grabbed it, pulled it off having it narrowly missing her toes, and then crawled in. She then climbed out and went to my pot holder drawer and found the two oven mitts. She put them on and crawled back into the family size skillet. We couldn't resist but to capture it with a photo. It won't be too long before she won't be able to sit in it anymore....
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
1) Life goes by so quickly, enjoy the little moments.
I have come to this conclusion while having sleeping issues with our 19 month old
daughter. Blessing has been challenging mommy and daddy, especially when it comes to bed time at night. Nap time hasn’t been quite as much of an issue (except that she screams after about 45 minutes of napping). However, bed time has been another story. Blessing decided that she wasn’t going to go to sleep, even after mommy and daddy rocked her and laid her down. We didn’t change her routine at all and haven’t had any problems with her sleeping since she was about 10 months old. Two weeks ago, Blessing decided that she was going to scream after we put her in bed. All she wanted was to fall asleep in mommy and daddy’s arms while being rocked and then sleep there all night. That was not a possibility as mommy and daddy needed their sleep too! So, the other option was to rock her for a little bit, then put her in her crib. Normally she would fuss for about 10 minutes and then fall asleep. That was not Blessing’s idea – she decided she was going to scream for over an hour. Mommy and daddy had to give Blessing some tough love, and let her cry herself to sleep. We would check on her every 10 to 15 minutes, but had to stop ourselves from picking her up and touching her. It was such a tough time, however, she would always wake up in the morning happy and glad to see us. During these two weeks, Blessing has become such a daddy’s girl. She hates to see daddy go to work and loves to see him pull in the driveway. The “DADDY” that she screams when she sees him coming down the road melts my heart. Also, the times that she wakes up from her nap and wants to be cuddled also warms mommy’s heart. During these two weeks, I had the opportunity to hold Blessing as she fell asleep in my arms. This had not happened in several months. As Blessing was sleeping in my arms, all I could do was look down into her face and smile. Blessing, even though she had frustrated mommy and daddy with sleeping problems, taught me to enjoy the moments in life that seem so small and take time out to create the little things.
2) When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a mix of lemons and oranges, create citrusade.
Ok, so I made the last part of this one up, but it makes sense to me. I have mentioned before that we have been struggling financially for several months now. At the beginning of February, I didn’t know if we were going to be able to pay all of our bills or not. However, God provided for us, and we were able to pay everything. The middle of the month arrived, and once again I didn’t know how we were going to be able to make it. After paying bills, I had approximately $150 left to make it until the first of the month. My loving adorable husband, not realizing where we stood, came home and mentioned that he had spent $130 of that on oil, oil filters, and valentine’s gifts. I love my husband so much that I didn’t have the heart to tell him what kind of a pinch this put us in. I smiled and accepted the valentine’s gift lovingly and appreciatively. He had got a paraffin therapy. He needs it almost more than me right now, as he has been in a high amount of pain due to his amputation. He was so excited to be able to put it together and start using it that I couldn’t imagine crushing his pride. So, I took a tough situation and one that could have become a sour one, and made it into a sweet, enjoyable situation. As a woman after God’s own heart, I have been working extremely heard at being a supportive, respectful, appreciative, and encouraging wife. It is not always the easiest task, however, it is one that I am striving towards. I have other Christian friends who are striving towards the same thing and it has been so helpful to be able to bounce ideas off of them and know that we are all struggling with some similar issues and circumstances. I have a friend who also had very little money as her husband has not been working the past 3 weeks due to the weather. Needless to say, they were struggling in many different ways. I spent a few hours with her last week, and even though she says that I encouraged her and helped her, little does she know the impact that she had on me. It is amazing how God works and helps us to make citrusade out of lemons and oranges – to turn yucky situations into successful situations. I know that I don’t always succeed at being a loving, supportive, Christian wife, but I do know that I am trying so hard to succeed 80% of the time and working at being a better person. That is the sweetest part right now!
3) Finally, take time to renew yourself.
I am not the best at this statement. I always put myself last – after my husband, kids,
friends, and extended family. I have been trying, especially the last few days, to take at least a few minutes for me each day. Whether that is in the form of a nap or reading a book, it has made a difference. I tend to feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day after those few moments. Even though I don’t get it done every single day, it is something that I am attempting to do. Renewing yourself is such an important part of life. We can wear ourselves down so much that it feels as if life is overtaking us, instead of us taking control of life. Take time to renew yourself.
Finally, I just want to say that I definitely don’t have all the answers to life, and these few paragraphs don’t even touch all the thoughts on life that have passed through my mind lately. It is just a snapshot of how I am being touched during this long, cold, snowy winter. Also, with a little life growing inside of me, I have been reflecting a lot on God’s creation. I know that I am tired of winter – all the snow and cold weather – but, being stuck inside has helped me to reflect. This long winter is going to make the spring and warm weather so much more enjoyable once it gets here. If at all possible, attempt to enjoy the last few weeks of winter – even if it means bundling up the kids and yourself and going outside to get some fresh air.
Friday, February 1, 2008
Over the past couple days, this is the word that keeps coming to mind. If I just persevere, then things will be good. Things will change and I/we will make it through this tough time.
I honestly think a lot of it has to do with the exceptionally long winter we have been faced with this year. It didn't start too early, but it has been filled with ice storms, snow storms, and extremely cold weather. The quote usually stated is "life is short." Right now, life is seeming extremely long with extremely short days, even though they are getting a little longer each day! Hooray!
As winter drags on, and we spend more and more time cooped up in the house with our kids and husbands, we start to get grumpy and antsy and just down right upset. We have cabin fever and are not sure what we can do to get rid of it, because there is no money to spend and it is too cold to just go outside for a long walk on gravel roads with no houses for windbreaks!
Well, perseverance has paid off for me this week. At the beginning of the week, my husband and I were not getting along very well, I was grumpy, and my daughter was just a handful. She was a handful basically because I was not in a good mood, or at least that is my conclusion! Around Wednesday, after talking to a couple of my girl friends from church, I decided that I had to make the most of these days in the house, change my attitude, and change the course of the week.
I got home on Wednesday, after working in the morning and having a visit/play date with a girlfriend, and cleaned the bathroom and made supper for my husband. My husband and I had had a few words with each other earlier in the day because our diesel truck wouldn't start, a telltale sign of how cold it is outside. Also, he didn't put the garbage out to the curb for the garbage man to pick up. All I could think about with that scenerio was the money we were "wasting" by paying for garbage pick-up and not using it. Anyway, he came home, our daughter was excited to see him as always, and I had supper ready for him on the table. After supper, I made some homemade pudding for him - something he enjoys tremendously. Then, we played with our daughter together, had an excellent conversation, and just hung out. It was a fabulous night!
Yesterday, I set out to accomplish some tasks around the house. My husband has been complaining about our bedroom, which is temporary, being hard to get around. So, I worked at putting clothes away that were in boxes from the move, organized a few other things, picked up trash, and cleaned. I did all this while my daughter was engrossed in the television. (We only have one tv in our house, and it is in the master bedroom. Therefore, our daughter doesn't spend much time around the tv. It has changed how creative and inventive she is. Even though it drives me nuts at time trying to occupy her, it has been a great change. If anybody is up for a challenge, I say go for it. It has changed our life.) Enough on the sidenote.....After working in the bedroom, Blessing colored while I worked on her scrapbook. I drained some pumpkin and worked on getting 5 loads of laundry done.
When my husband got home, he carried in 3 beautiful pink roses. If you could only smell them. They made our whole downstairs smell beautiful. So fragrant. I felt as if the last two days had paid off. I warmed up some soup, as the wind had him extremely cold. We ate supper and then spent some time with our daughter together. He then took our daughter upstairs and played with her while I worked at cleaning up my desk and paying bills. We then put her to bed for the night. I worked on pampered chef stuff and then we ordered our seeds. It was a great night together.
A little note on paying bills - many of you know our situation. We have moved and 95% of our bills are due at the beginning of the month now. This is a change from where we last lived. As a result, I have been very stressed and uptight about the 1st of the month coming. I had it in my head that we were not going to be able to pay our bills without dipping into savings. My husband brought home a pay stub on Wednesday night with an unexpected pay check. Plus, it was a free check as no insurance was taken out because it was the 3rd paycheck of the month. This was not an "extra" check, it just happened to be how the month fell. However, I didn't realize we would get an extra check. As a result, we were able to pay all of our bills, except our icky propane bill, without dipping into savings. God truly blessed us and really made me realize how much I need to trust him to bring us through. It is so easy to not trust and take finances into our own hands, when really it is God's money to begin with. I know that I needed that reminder this week.
I guess the moral of this post is to persevere, even when the winter is long and all hope seems lost. Know that Spring will be coming soon, the grass will be turning green, the seeds we plant in our gardens will germinate and grow, and the sun will shine and warm up our hearts and the temperature. Even though life is difficult right now, we just need to stay on that steady course and keep on keeping on.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Blessing with the SOLD sign at our new house the weekend after we moved in. It was still cold and snowy, but we had to get a picture!
Blessing on Christmas Eve at our new house. She loves her dress! Thanks to the Winter family!
Well, in the past 5 months, a lot has once again changed in our lives. This will be a quick update, and then I will start posting on more of a regular basis.
First of all, we put an offer in on an acreage in Hubbard back in October. My husband was getting his work comp permanent partial disability settlement, so we were able to purchase a house. We ended up in the house that my husband really liked when we looked at houses last Spring. It is a 2 story farm house with 3.5 acres of land with it. The house is a 1900's house and is very breezy, especially in subzero temperatures. However, we absolutely love owning our own place and are looking forward to many years here. The upstairs has 4 bedrooms and a 1/2 bath. The downstairs has a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and office. There are several buildings on the property, so we are looking at getting animals once Spring comes! :-)
In the beginning of November, I started being extremely sick. I was throwing up several times a day and unable to keep food down. This was a sign to me that I was pregnant again. The test confirmed my suspicions. Therefore, we are expecting to add another wonderful child to our family come July. The baby is due July 9, only 2 days before Blessing was due to come into our lives. We are a July baby family I guess.
In December, we moved into our new house and spent the holidays working at unpacking and settling. We also spent time with family and friends during the holidays and really enjoyed ourselves. My husband worked some extra hours which helped us out a lot.
January has been a month of working on getting into routines. We still have Blessing on a bedtime routine, which makes life so much easier. I am working at starting a schedule for the weekdays so that when baby number 2 comes, it will be easier to handle being a stay-at-home mommy.
February is almost here and that is so hard to believe! As we get older, the years seem to go faster and faster.
It is my goal for 2008 to be better at posting on the blog and keeping everybody updated on what is going on in our lives. So many changes!
Thanks for being patient with me!