February 28, 2011

getting ready.

This weekend I finished painting my changing table and cradle.
We are setting up a little corner for the baby in our master bedroom.
It's sweet.

I washed all my baby clothes and blankets and filed all my larger-sized baby clothes into my baby tupperwares for later months.
(I have to keep my house "show ready"- so I'm pretty quick with clutter these days.)

As I was piling all my 0-3 month stuff I was pleasantly pleased-- a sweet little anticipatory pile-- not to big, not too small.
i love it.

i still need to sew some bedding for my cradle, maybe sew a skirt for my changing table, and pick up a few nursing bras and other first month baby stuff... but i'm DEFINITLY almost ready. 
and DEFINITLY nesting.

Have you heard of the MOBY?

you can see one on Amazon here...
I've never used a wrap. 
I tend to just hold my babies-- unless we're out.  And then I use the carseat or a baby bjorn-- I have LOVED my baby bjorn.
But, I'm interested in the baby wraps.
I know I can make one easy enough-- but is it really HOT and uncomfortable over all your clothes?
This is my only concern-- let me know what you think.

February 26, 2011

blessed by clearance.

Warning- this post is about Being Blessed in the Clearance Section.  If you think this sounds silly-- do NOT read it!

I once heard my cousin talking about his wife.  He said something like, "She never spends money.  I have to force her to go to the store to buy something new."  My husband chuckled.  And, my heart YEARNED to be like that.  I'm not.  I'm frugal.  I spend cash.  And, I really like nice, new things. 

When I see mothers at the mall with one young child who is surrounded by mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, darling clothes, hair, diaper bag, stroller, etc... (you know who i'm talking about), i'm jealous.
NOT of the one child, of all that parents/grandparents are able to give to an only child.
I can feel myself trying to give each of my kids what I could give them if they were only children.
It is not possible.  And, I'm not even sure it is BEST.  But, nonetheless, I would like to have 7 children who look and act and feel like only children.  And, I would like to have a home so orderly that people are shocked to learn that we have a large family. 

This is my life struggle- and, it's one that I will gladly keep.  Ultimately, I KNOW that things aren't the most important.  I grew up with a single mother and not much money... I always envied the kids who brought lunch from home (we had free school lunch) and bought books at the book fair.  So, now I compensate.  I have friends who grew up with money who had parents that were frugal and taught them that book fairs were too over-priced.  We laugh at our difference.  I WISH I was someone who felt remorse for buying, not remorse for NOT buying.  :)  I wish I was someone who didn't look at clothes or care when my kids looked like orphans.  But alas, that is not my lot in life.  I do care.  I do want.  AND often, I see God's love for me because he blesses me with my desires.

Often I wonder WHY God lets me WANT.  I pray that if we don't have the means, he will take away my desire.  I know that I always feel full when I'm grateful for what I have, when I count my blessings, when I stop LOOKING at worldly things and love instead of compare.  And, really, I do try to do those things.  We stick to a strict budget.  I cook at home.  I make gifts because I can't afford to buy them.  I sew for my kids.  I don't have excess.  For everything that really counts in life, I am very content and grateful.  But, in my heart of hearts, in the back, I love nice things.  And, God knows it.  And, He ALWAYS blesses me with the desires of my heart.  ALWAYS. 
I think of the scripture in Malachi 3:10
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not OPEN YOU THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN, and POUR YOU OUT A BLESSING, THAT THERE SHALL NOT BE ROOM ENOUGH TO RECEIVE IT."
Today, my house is overflowing with baby goodness.
I already told you about my shower...
but, listen to this...
My husband got a call from a business journal that he did some work for-- it was just a service he did.
They told him as a thank you they were going to give him a reprint of Galileo's first edition book published in 1656 (he LOVES old books) AND a $300 gift card to Amazon.  He said if I bought him the extended version DVD of Lord of the Rings, I could spend the rest of the money on baby stuff.  !!!  seriously?!  I can get EVERYTHING I wanted, a diaper bag, nursing bras, new pjs, a baby swing, even the silly giraffe teether.  Isn't that fun?!

And, it gets better.
My mother- and father-in-law sent me some money to get a blessing dress for this baby.
I ran to Dillards and the dress that I wanted was still there!!!  When I went to buy it, it was marked down from $56 to $26 or something like that (it was originally $250).  All the clearance items in the store were an additional 40% off, Friday only.  I was not only able to buy the blessing dress, but I got a DARLING Ralph Lauren baby outfit for $6 AND...  AND... matching Strasburg Dresses for my girls (all 5 of them!!)  Now I have Easter/Summer dresses for all my girls (from my shower) and Fall dresses (from this sale).  Isn't that fun?!
You may think that it was just coincidence.  But, I will tell you, IT IS NO COINCIDENCE.  I had no idea that Dillards was having that sale.  My mother-in-law just happened to call that day and tell me she was transferring money to my account that day.  AND, hanging on the rack are the EXACT sizes of dresses that I LOVE, for 5 girls-- do you know how hard it is to find the right sizes in clearance... AND the dresses are $100 marked down to $20...  Yeah, that is not a coincidence.  It was a blessing.  And, I'm grateful. 

I feel stupid writing this post, because I know how shallow I sound.  But, I just wanted to share with you my small testimony.  God knows ME.  He loves me.  He sees my sacrifices and my desires and even though I'm not perfect, I am enough.  And, I am so blessed.  We ALL are so blessed.  Ultimately, I'm grateful that He lets me want for a time so that I can see His hand in my life.  And yes, often I see God's hand in the clearance section of Dillards.  :)

Does God talk to you in the store? 
One of my FAVORITE shopping-angel stories was when I was pregnant with Ellie.  I REALLY wanted a pink-checkered pottery barn bed set for anna (she was moving into a big bed and Ellie was sharing a room with her in a crib).   One day I was driving down the road and I felt a distinct impression to stop at Home Goods.  I had NEVER been to that store in my life.  I pulled over, parked and walked in wondering why I was there.  I remember walking down the main isle and turning right, to the very corner of the store.  I looked down and saw pink and white checkered bedding on clearance, sticking out from the bottom shelf.  When I pulled the bag out it was a twin quilt and sham, behind it was a matching crib set.  Seriously.  I laughed out loud, and prayed my gratitude.  God is soo good!  [Maybe not so important to note- but, it was shortly after this that Anna was burned.  I spent my 9th month of pregnancy in the hospital with Anna.  Ellie was born 4 days after Anna was released from the trauma burn unit.  We had a daily visiting nurse and made daily trips to the occupational therapist.  No, God did not bless me with an EASY life... but he did bless me with a darling bedroom to come home to. ]

i LOVE this scripture...
"For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven, ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am"  (Doctrine and Covenants 84:119)
There are times in ALL of our lives when we WANT.  I believe wanting is good.  Asking is good.  I believe that God wants to bless us, because He loves us.  And, if we LOOK we will see His hand in our lives.  Not instantly.  But, eventually. 

Today, I am blessed and very grateful.

February 25, 2011

thank you!!

Baby showers.

I had so much fun last night... Can I just tell you how much I'm going to miss this place?
I love the great people that I have gotten to know over the past 5 years.
It was so fun for me to be surrounded by all my friends-- church and school.

Of course, when I got home I saw that MOST of my pictures were blurry so you won't get a true representation of the great friends I have... but I am going to show you all the cute baby stuff I got.
NOT because I'm bragging, but because baby things are SO darling.

It may seem silly to say, because I have done this 6 times before, but I am as excited for this baby as I was for my first.
Giddy excited.
Perhaps, more excited than I have ever been-- because I know how great it is to have a new baby.
(Writing that made me cry.)

Today I feel SO blessed.
And VERY grateful.

Thank you to all of you who came to the shower last night, who smile when I say dumb things, who are excited and supportive of me-- for celebrating a 7th baby!
Really, I have the BEST friends.
EIGHT girls hosted this shower-- isn't that cute! I love them.
Valerie Post, Julie Merrill, Deborah Jimenez, Liza Mathes, Breanna Partington, Bambi Temple, Jessica Medrano, and Jennifer Carroll.
Julie let us have it at her house.
AND, they invited 70 people. :) Isn't that funny?!
The food was delicious, we had a lot of fun, breanna made this funny matching game where you earned a "themed" candy bar for each correct answer-- it was so cute.
I made the party favors-- a way to say THANK YOU!
And, my sweet friend, Becky Williams, made the cute thank you tags that I put on them.
They passed around a basket with note cards for people to write me notes... so sweet.
And, I got the most adorable gifts.
(One friend got coordinating outfits for all 7 of my kids... so fun! One friend crocheted the softest, prettiest purple blanket. One friend knit this darling dress and bunny. I got a homemade towel, a new CAR SEAT, darling dresses, and blankets, chocolate, and even a certificate for a ONE HOUR MASSAGE-- i'm SO excited!! People are kind and generous... and I'm so grateful.)

Thanks to those of you who came last night, and thanks to those of you who are my friends from a distance.
Thank you to those of you who cheer me up when I'm cranky and love my kids when I am overwhelmed.
People talk often about the rude comments they get at the grocery store-- or the people who judge them when they choose to have a big family or have a natural birth or send our kids to school wearing child-picked attire and 7 year old ponytails (not cute)...
But, from my experience, those who LOVE and SUPPORT are much more than those who condemn.
I know how crazy we are... and I also know how loved our family is.
SO, thanks!!
really... thank you.
and now (after my massage)... let's meet this baby so i can dress her in all these cute things!!

February 24, 2011

third trimester preparations.

There is one thing that I find magical about pregnancy, and that is how well the last trimester prepares you for life with a newborn.  As your belly grows, your body naturally slows down.  You have less energy and thus begin to sit more, lay down in the afternoons, gravitate to bed when your children are sleeping...

Night time sleep is not what is once was.  Being 8 months pregnant and tired, I am amazed again at how difficult it is for me to sleep.  First of all, it's hard to find a comfortable position for too long.  Second, I'm hot.  Third, when I do find that perfect position, my mind seems to race with baby names or lists of things I need to do before the baby comes, or ways that I can apologize to my sweet older children for my cranky retorts of the day.  I often find myself awake in the middle of the night staring at the clock... 1:07am, 4:12 am, 5:15am, etc. 

The truth is, I LOVE this.  Why?  Because I KNOW it is all part of the plan.  There is something perfect about a third trimester mother gently transitioning into slower days and less rest at night... a PERFECT preparation for the day when a newborn will nap throughout the day and graze throughout the night.  Although it is difficult, it is preparatory.  And, I think it's beautiful. 

I really, really adore evening babies.  There is something magical about waking up at 2am with a precious, wide-eyed baby.  When the whole house is quiet aside from the occasional sleeping sound or laugh from another room.  And, it's just me and my suckling baby and dreams of tomorrow.  I LOVE night time babies. 

I love waking up as I try to roll over with a 8 month belly, all tangled in my blankets.  I love the quiet of the night-- with all my kids asleep and safe.  My husband's funny night sounds-- he closes his lips just enough so that you can hear them flapping as he breathes in and out.  I love how he always cuddles close to me if I reach out to him.  I love the stillness of my spirit in the middle of the night, and how any time i think of my baby she will kick back at me.

There is something nice about that day when you wake up realizing that you have actually slept through the night-- a whole 8 hours, without any interruptions.  (This takes awhile-- because even if my babies are good sleepers, I still sleep shallow enough to hear them if they do squirm in their sleep.)  Sleep is good.  But so are quiet nights, when you are alone amidst those you love... preparing for change. 

The ironic thing about this post is that I have babies that quickly sleep through the night.  Often, I find myself holding my sleeping baby, knowing that she would sleep well if I would just lay her down... and I do.  But, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY love that time we get to spend together. 

And, just FYI-- I do not sleep with my babies.  I did this with my first four kids and I created children that could not sleep on their own.  Our nights were horrible.  Our intimate life suffered-- first, because we were always tired from not sleeping well and second, because we never really had time alone.  Now, I have a small bed in my bedroom where my babies sleep for the first 3 months or so.  I'm very good at waking up and caring for my baby and putting her back to sleep in her own bed, all swaddled and perfect.  My babies sleep on their tummies.  (Even the NICU nurses put my babies on their tummies-- this is the only way they will sleep for a long time.)  And, I love the Baby Wise philosophy--  Eat- Awake- Sleep, Eat- Awake- Sleep.  But, I think the BabyWise book is a bit extreme.   Remember, I'm not good at extremes.  And, I don't believe children are ruined by inconsistency.  So, some days my kids snuggle in.  Sometimes, my babies cry in their cribs.  Sometimes, I hold them all night long and never lay them down.   Sometimes, I rub their back until they fall asleep and MOST of the time, I swaddle them and lay them down awake so they can peacefully fall asleep and learn to fall asleep on their own.  I'm also NOT a pacifier mother.  When my babies are hungry, I feed them.  When they are tired, I put them to sleep.  I think most babies are fussy when they need something and content when they are taken care of.  Saying that, I probably should have used a pacifier with some of my more fussy kids-- oh the hours I spent rocking those little stinks. 

Have I told you how excited I am to meet this new little girl?
She'll probably have colic and cry all night long and I'll read back on this post and laugh at myself...
but, that's life!
Right now, I love to feel how we are making room for another...  it's a growing process, but a really fun transition time.

February 23, 2011

sibling class.

i took drew, anna and ellie to a class at UMC for Super Siblings.
it was free, and a fun way to spend Saturday morning.
they taught the kids how to hold a baby, change a diaper, and do the hospital swaddle.
they also showed a video that showed what a newborn baby would look like and things that siblings can do to help with a new baby.
NO, i wouldn't say this class was AMAZING-- but, it was something fun to do to help my bigger kids feel prepared.
(Drew was darling, he did ask me if he had to get a baby doll- the teacher gave them all an option- when i said yes, he really got into it...  boys like dolls-- just let them blame it on you that they HAVE to and they'll be fine.)
we toured the labor and delivery and got to see the new babies in the nursery...
it made me want to work in the post partum unit-- helping mom's adjust to their new babies.
AND, part of me just wanted to change into a hospital gown and meet my new baby...
i'm SO excited.

and so are my kids!
who are now, diaper changing, baby swaddling EXPERTS-- just ask them, they took their class VERY seriously.

February 22, 2011

still sewing.

8 months and counting...
this picture makes me laugh.
and, i actually had to run to TWO stores with my thready belly...
luckily they were craft stores and i think the nice ladies understood.
black might not be the best color to wear for a day of crafting with your kids.
and check out that belly!!
oh baby!

February 21, 2011

an easy blanket.

anna had a birthday party on Friday night.
we decided to do a little sewing.
With 60 inches of a cute cotton, one yard of a soft fabric, a little iron-on and some co-ordinating scrap fabric, we made a cute, easy blanket.
first- we printed out reagan in mirror image.  anna traced it onto the iron-on, ironed that onto a piece of fabric, cut out the letters and ironed them onto her front fabric.
second- on the sewing machine, she stitched in the middle of each letter.
third- we pinned right sides together.
fourth- anna stitched around the edges of the blanket leaving a hole to turn it right-side-out
fifth- we top-stitched around the whole blanket.


 And, I had to make a blanket for my sweet baby...  you can never have too many soft blankets...
happy president's day!

February 20, 2011

ps. my boys sew too.

just in case you're thinking i only sew with my girls... i thought i'd add these pictures from last weekend.

yes, my boys get crafty when they are on a mission.
this mission-- create a Sheath for their swords.

 mission accomplished.

February 19, 2011

a mother of seven?

the past two weeks i have gone grocery shopping by myself- while the professor worked from home and my little girls napped.
the grocery store is a lovely when you don't have young children to entertain.

Last week a sweet lady, in the produce department, asked when i was due.
I told her in a month.
She asked, "Is this your first?"
I smiled and said, "No, it's my seventh."
She choked.  And said, "Really?"
After the typical, all from the same daddy, boy/girl ratios, names and ages, conversation... she concluded that i looked great.  That i certainly didn't look like i had seven kids.
i smiled and bought some more grapefruit.

Yesterday, a college boy walked me to my car with my groceries.
Yes, they do that here in Texas.
It takes some getting used to... moving from Michigan, I was scared to let someone else push my cart.
FYI- no tipping necessary.
Anyway, he asked, "When are you due?"
I wanted to tell him that I wasn't pregnant-- just ate too many tacos, but i didn't.
"Four weeks."
He asked, "Is this your first?"  (We hadn't gotten to my car yet-- i'm sure the mother mobile would have given it away.)
I really wanted to say, YES! 
But, I smiled and said, "Nope.  It's my seventh."
He was like, "Whoa!! Seven!!  Really?!  You don't look like you have seven kids!!"

And so i ask you... 
What does a mother of seven look like?
What am i missing?
A hairstyle, a purse, some gray hair?

hah!  i love these pictures.
i'm sure if i looked like any of these people, nobody would say to me "you don't look like you have seven kids."
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