Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Everyday

I make a big deal of Halloween and Christmas, but truth be told- I love Easter even more. It's the one day set aside to celebrate a risen Savior. Of course, I do my best to acknowledge that in my day to day life, but the rest of the nation joins us on this day. A risen Savior. It's incredible. We can relive a miracle through the scriptures, through the sermons, through our lives. Jesus, the author and FINISHER of my faith, endured an agonizing death on a cross for me and you. Why would a blameless man do that other than great, great love? It's that realization that faces me each morning and keeps me going. No matter what happens in my life, I'm loved by an Almighty God. One who loves me so much he sent his Son to die for me. These songs are my favorites this time of year. They echo so many of my thoughts. Amazing love. How can it be?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sleepless in Tennessee

Historically, when I'm awake in the middle of the night blogging, I'm in active labor and don't quite know it. Let's hope that's not the case here. I just was tossing and turning in bed after Abel screaming for the last few hours and decided my thoughts couldn't turn back off until I got this off my chest. It doesn't matter that I'm tired on every level. Exhausted physically and especially mentally. I have to write through this tonight because I feel so desperate for respite for me and this family.
As Abe gets older he's becoming more challenging. He is 3.5 years old now and should be gaining vocabulary and communication skills. His hearing age is 18 months and he communicates on that level. Sometimes he seems to be slightly behind that level. Merit (19 months old) has begun to surpass him in spoken and receptive language and maybe this is why this is bothering me so much lately. It's in my face every day. I see it. Can't ignore it. I have twins-- twenty months apart.
It was at this age with Kinley that I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel in regard to explosive tantrums, behavioral issues, and regulating his frustrations. Sure, he has his days but with an expanding vocabulary, it became easier for him to express himself more appropriately. Abel seems to be headed in the opposite direction. His fits are almost a personality trait at this point and I spend my days at the end of my rope. He can be perfectly happy and raging mad in the same 15 second time span. It's as if he forgets that he can choose a word, a gesture, or anything to help get his point across. He resorts to bulging eyes, immediate tears, flailing on the ground kicking and screaming. All in a matter of seconds. His screams are all day long for me and they filter into the night, too. He can't stay asleep and he wakes up crying frequently. He vacillates between screaming and moaning in the middle of the night and we are all left in a sleep deprived state throughout the week. Nothing seems to comfort him at night. There's nothing we can do. He just cries. Of course, to me, this is so stressful. I hear it all the time. It also leaves me with plenty of time to think about what else might be going on in his little body and mind. My heart aches for one thing, ANY thing to be easy for him, but right now all I can see is the struggle. 

You know what strangers see? They see another child who can't behave. They see another lazy parent who can't control her children. I see it all over their faces when we go out to eat. I see their eye rolls, their whispers, their stares. My reaction goes one of two ways. The stress of the day (this life) closes in on me and I lose it in a puddle of tears OR I plaster my game face on with a smile and try to ignore the helplessness I feel in all of this. Is excessive crying a form of torture training? If so, I have a lot of experience. A lot.
I'm so tired and in desperate need of your prayers for him, for me, for this family. Thanks again for listening. I think I wanted to write this out for catharsis, but also for documentary purposes and in the chance that another cochlear implant preschooler parent happens this way to my corner of the web and finds a commonality here. I haven't lost hope that this is just another phase. I still cling to the notion that one day, Abel's struggles will be that the girl he wants to date is uninterested or he didn't make the varsity basketball team... and his lack of speech, sleep problems, and health concerns will all be a distant memory.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why do you share online so much?

I used to be annoyed to view everyone's highlight reel on Facebook. Greaaaaat. You have an awesome, fit body. Your kitchen is sparkling. Your kids are reciting scripture and Spanish. You have the best job ever. You are traveling...again. But today I get it. You probably aren't saying, "Look at me! I have my life together!" If you're like me, you're actually saying, "Look! This tiny part of my life is going well today." It's amazing when you have several small children at home how your goals and accomplishments morph from big, lofty goals to YAY, I THREW SOMETHING IN THE CROCKPOT AND MY KIDS ARE BATHED! I'm beginning to see that you aren't trying to build yourself up with your selfie; you are, in a sense, probably saying here's my life right now and it's worth documenting. I know that's how I feel when I snap a photo of some workout I accomplished or if my kids are playing together and not fighting- by all means snap that because it will be gone before you know it! Growing up, I was an avid journal writer. As I got older and technology advanced, blogging soon took the place of my pen and paper. Now, I hardly find time to sit down at this old dusty keyboard at all because if I do, the kids will be playing in the fireplace ashes in no time (Yes, this has happened twice in the last week). Facebook and Instagram have become a type of journal for me, like it or not. My life is spelled out in a few sentences a day or a caption on a photo. On particularly hard days when the kids have finally drifted off to sleep, I can crack open my accounts and look back with gratitude on how far we've come. I can see the good things that my kids are doing, that I'm doing. I remember and I focus on that.
If you could see me right now, I'm doing the Disney channel chopper dance as my little Merit looks at me saying, "no, no, no, no!" and starting to cry. Abel smells suspiciously like throw up and I haven't yet found the evidence which is not the most pleasant start to this Tuesday, but you know what? Life is good. Our Father in Heaven gave these specific babies to ME. And when I feel less than qualified to care for them, He bends down to remind me that He knows all. It IS me. He is with me. He loves me. He loves them. He is authoring this family. Each step we take, He is there.
How many kids can I handle? As many as God chooses to bless us with. Yes, I'm stressed and this life is hard, but I'm okay. We're okay. People ask me how I do it all the time and the answer is I really don't know. I just figure it out with lots of prayer, coffee, and Shakeology. Often times I feel completely overwhelmed with motherhood and my life as a stay at home parent, but it ain't all bad! So you'll have to forgive me when I display my tiny victories online for you to see. I'm simply celebrating. As always, I promise to strive to be transparent and talk about the struggles here, too. That's the place where we connect and grow!
Are the kids alive and fed? Take that photo! Is your garden flourishing and beautiful after the hard work you put into it? I want to see that. Did you slay your last workout? Good! That's motivating to me and I want you to share it. Thank you all for sharing in our family's story online, too. I appreciate you checking in with me when I post. Sometimes it's nerve wracking to have my personal diary online for anyone to see, but the alternative is being closed off from all of you. I get that enough here as I spend my days teaching small people how to talk and not be heathens. Then I go to bed feeling alone and do it all again the next day. I prefer to be as open as I can be! That's why you'll see me showing you proof when I actually get dressed in real clothes! Small, miniscule accomplishments are big news for this mama who is also chasing around three other people trying to stuff feet in socks and zipping up clothes while the bulging belly is making me have to catch my breath after every child is finally clothed. You know someone is going to require a diaper change before we finally head out the door, too, don't you?
This life is bananas, but I'm going to share it with you anyway. (Gotta go. #2 just threw up on my feet.)

Monday, March 14, 2016

23 Weeks

While I may look like I'm thirty weeks pregnant, I am only at week 23. It has gone by pretty fast and I think that has everything to do with the unpreparedness I feel with all of this. After I had Merit, I got rid of all the baby stuff. Swing, rock-n-play, bouncy seat. Ya know- everything that makes this mama have any shred of sanity in this life of reaaally close-in-age children. I realized just the other day that I only have a few months and she'll be in my arms. That's crazy. While I am so over being pregnant or nursing for the last five years of my life, I think I will try not to wish the next few months away. Anyway, I have hardly updated at all here and I think it's about time! Besides, if I don't do this there's a little person who is very close to needing a diaper change and this sounds a million times more appealing than that!
I'm fatter in real life. 

Baby is the size of: a barbie doll
Weight: 139 -I've gained a lot already. This pregnancy has been much different than the boys as far as how I'm carrying her and trying to steadily gain instead of packing on the pounds. I'm told it's not fat and it's "maternal tissue storage" so I'm holding fast to that. ;) 
Cravings: I haven't had a lot of cravings with Baby 4. I'm lucky to eat, honestly. I spend so much of my day just preparing food for other people. 
Boy/Girl: BABY is a GIRL the last two times I checked. I was in a bit of shock when the tech told me that. It was surreal after hearing boy three times in a row! I'm happy to have a sweet little girl to welcome into our house. She shall be called Saylor Eden.
Stretch Marks: the same marks that appeared with Merit have come back, but I do think they're temporary. I'm trying to stay hydrated and am using oils to combat them.
Exercise: I'm working out fairly regularly when my kids are well. I like to go to the gym because that's the only break I have from them and so I can only go when no one is contagious or feeling sickly. Here's to hoping the warm weather lasts and all these yucky cold symptoms subside so I can get back into going daily.
New Things: Kinley felt her kick the other day. Merit points to my belly and says "baby". Abel continues to ignore the inevitable. I have also been having a lot of contractions already which is uncomfortable but apparently not all that uncommon. 
What's going on with her? I got to see on the ultrasound that she has begun to practice breathing. Additionally, she can already hear us and has likely developed a few familiar sounds (if, of course, she doesn't take after big bro Abel and isn't deaf). We will see! 
What I miss: sleeping on my stomach, not feeling like a cow, etc.
What I'm looking forward to: postpartum health goals! Next time I 'get my body back' will be the last time. Saylor will be my last baby I carry and nourish with this body. Stick a fork in me. I'm done!

I hope y'all have a good week!
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