Tuesday, February 28, 2012

the litany of everyday life

the book that i am currently reading is the kind of book that is going to change me, i can feel it. as i was reading it yesterday i could feel my heart softening and my soul crying out, "yes!" it is called Keeping House-The Litany of Everyday Life and it is by Margaret Kim Peterson. a friend from church loaned it to me. i want to own it and i will, soon.

i am only two chapters into it and i want to write down every other paragraph so i can remember. one of the paragraphs that stood out to me was this one;

"Housework is all about bringing order out of chaos. ... In a society dominated by its monetary economy, it is easy to assume that any unpaid activity is either a form of consumption or an oppressive waste of time. But housework, although unpaid (if you do your own), is essentially productive; it is among the ways in which humans can and do participate in God's own work of creation." {bold emphasis by me}

wow that's good! it is so easy to think that my job right now as a stay at home mom, a housewife, isn't important. matt has never made me feel like that, in fact he continuously tells me the opposite, but i think that i have bought into what our society is feeding me. which is that what i am doing right now isn't valuable because i am not contributing to our home "monetarily". i think this is a dangerous mentality. it can foster resentment inside of myself about my "lowly" position in our home. it can also breed a lack of contentment. ...i need to think more about this.

there are days while i am sitting nursing penelope that i start to moan inside my mind. i moan things like, "why do i have to do this? why am i stuck at home? why should i clean the toilets? why do these people have to eat every single day?" it feels monotonous and tedious and redundant. but this book. this book is helping. already only 38 pages in and i can sense that God is saying something to me. He wants me to look at it differently, and though i am not there yet, i am open.

"We all need the patterns of our lives to echo and emulate the patterns of the larger story that we, as Christians, believe is the true story of the world. Daily involvement in the work of housekeeping, the litany of everyday life, is one way of participating in and living out that story."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

foggy morning

foggy mornings are rare here in south florida.
in fact i can't even remember the last time i experienced one. this morning i was up way too early with penelope. as i watched the morning get lighter and lighter, i asked the kids to quick get their shoes on. we popped out of the house for a bit so i could catch the fog on the lake.
so beautiful and eerie.
i have been doing a lot of walking lately. i feel antsy in the house these days, and when i do, i throw my shoes on and grab my camera and whatever child is around at the time and head to the lake.
it calls to me.
and when i respond i am never disappointed.

and they joined us

micah and i had talked about how wonderful our walk was all day and so before supper we all went on another one. i love pictures of people walking and holding hands from behind. i could do a whole series on this very subject. it freezes time with perfect precision. the height of the kids compared to their parents, the attitude of the adult at the time...i love it.

feeding the birds,
not a care in the world for the moment

walking with my little man

micah and i took a walk last weekend. it was beautiful and cool and there was a gorgeous breeze. we brought some bread to feed the ibis and ugly ducks.

"hey buddy. look at me."
and this is what i got.

"mommy, can i use your camera so i can take some pictures?"
sure love, cause i get to be in the pictures when he has the camera.

Friday, February 24, 2012

eleven weeks

penelope turned 11 weeks last friday.
it was alittle too chaotic around here to post pictures than, but i still wanted to put them up. i am so thankful for our little unexpected blessing.

imagine me

"Imagine Me"

Imagine me
Loving what I see when the mirror looks at me cause I
I imagine me
In a place of no insecurities
And I'm finally happy cause
I imagine me

Letting go of all of the ones who hurt me
Cause they never did deserve me
Can you imagine me?
Saying no to thoughts that try to control me
Remembering all you told me
Lord, can you imagine me?
Over what my mama said
And healed from what my daddy did
And I wanna live and not read that page again

Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally finally I can...
Imagine me
I admit it was hard to see
You being in love with someone like me
But finally I can...
Imagine me

Being strong
And not letting people break me down
You won't get that joy this time around
Can you imagine me?
In a world (in a world) where nobody has to live afraid
Because of your love fears gone away
Can you imagine me?

Letting go of my past
And glad I have another chance
And my heart will dance
'Cause I don't have to read that page again

[Chorus x2]

Gone, gone, it's gone, all gone

imagine me-kirk franklin

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a long road to go

i love this picture of beatrix....i mean desperately love it.
i looked at it alot this last weekend.

it is tuesday and i finally feel like i can write about our weekend.
where to start...
last thursday i took beatrix to an appointment with a speech pathologist to have her tested. after two hours of testing they determined that beatrix has what is called apraxia of speech. this means that they don't think beatrix's lack of words has anything to do with her desire to speak, but the fact that something in her brain makes it difficult for her to form the words. the speech pathologist told me that it is going to mean years of intense speech therapy. she told me that we have the option of putting her in a free public school speech program 4 days a week for 2 hours a day, or we could find our own private speech pathologist and take her there. as she was talking she began handing me literature on apraxia and my eyes welled up with tears as i looked at bea. and then i lost it. i cried. not the sobbing kind, but the silent alligator tears that wouldn't stop falling. she just kept on speaking as i sat in the chair in her office looking at beatrix and balancing penelope in her sling. i didn't know what to say. the speech pathologist looked up from her filing cabinet and went to get me some kleenex. when she came back with the kleenex she said, "i am not going to scare you with what all of this means right now, but the important thing is that you know this is going to be a long road for your family and for beatrix. it will mean years of intense therapy and a lot of hard work. the important thing is that you are here now and we are going to get her some help." after some more talking we left the office and we went to our car. i sat in the front seat and nursed penelope while bea had a snack and i called matt. i was devastated and i didn't even really know what it all meant for us yet.

i put penelope and beatrix in their seats and then i started driving. as i drove i cried some more. i guess i was wondering what the worse case scenario meant. would she ever talk to us? how were we going to take her to therapy with only one car? how would we pay for it? i felt like my life had just been totally disrupted. i wondered if it was my fault. if i had caused it in some way. was it because she fell off the bed when she was a baby? was it because i didn't work with her enough on her words when she was 2? what had i done.

i talked to matt again during his lunch break and he asked me more about it. i told him all that had gone on during the session with the speech pathologist and he told me that he had already talked to his principal and she was researching all of our options too. i cried some more and he just listened to me. over all he was incredibly optimistic and encouraging.

later we went to pick up matt and micah from school and as matt was leaving to go teach at PBA he hugged me and said, "we will get through this lydia."

that night when he got home and the kids were in bed we sat outside and talked all of our options over. the kids insurance had just been canceled a couple of months earlier because they had raised the cost from $20 a month to $320 a month. i had figured that since the kids are rarely sick and only went to the doctor once a year that we would save money every month in a medical fund and just pay for their yearly check ups out of pocket. now, with private speech therapy possibly on the horizon at $40 to $100 a pop i told matt that the $320 a month for insurance wasn't sounding so bad. i had numbers and scenarios and money running like mad in my brain. i couldn't silence the questions going round and round. matt just said that he had faith it would work out and that God had provided for us in the past, he trusted that God would provide again. i was too sad to really talk any more about it and went to bed.

friday i got a text from matt that he was having a harder day and that he thought the shock might be wearing off. when he got home from school i found out that he had shared the news about bea with one of his classes and they had all prayed for him and a couple of the students even wrote him very thoughtful notes. he had also called his dad to talk to him about it. beatrix woke up that night with a horrible fever and a sore throat. she ended up in bed with us which i don't think we minded at all. it was nice to have her close.

saturday we didn't say much to each other. we kind of walked around the house in a daze. i took penelope to run errands and i was thankful that i had gotten popsicles because that is pretty much all beatrix ate all weekend. i think every time matt looked at her he felt like crying... i told micah about the situation too and he said that he would pray for her. i know he will. saturday night i was able to go for dinner with a friend. it was good to get out of the house and sit and talk to her about music and art and church and anything else other than what i was thinking about. i was so grateful for that time.

sunday we stayed home from church because beatrix was sick and i was just plain tired. i ended up going on a walk with micah early that morning since we were the only two awake...well, we took pips too. i walked behind him with my camera and just took pictures of him feeding the ducks and being happy. it was a beautiful morning. i could tell matt needed to get out of the house and so that night he met our pastor and they were able to talk about a ton of things. i knew he needed support that i just couldn't offer him. a listening ear is about as close to God like as a human can get.

monday was presidents day and again we laid low. matt took beatrix to home depot and micah and i went on another walk around the lake. there is something so healing about the water. i don't know what exactly, but i have said it a million times. it centers me. monday night we discussed money a bit. i hate talking about money. i mean really hate it. conversations about money have so much potential to just explode.

tuesday i was planning to take matt and micah to school again so i could have the car to take beatrix to another appointment. i over slept though and so matt came back home to pick us up during his planning period. i didn't have time to feed penelope before we left so i sat in the car in the parking lot at his school and fed her. she smiled at me so sweetly in between nursing and then when i sat her up to burp her she proceeded to throw it all up on me, her car seat and beatrix's hand across the seat. i had brought a change of clothes for the baby, for beatrix, but i had not brought a change of clothes for myself. i sighed. cleaned penelope and bea's hand off and buckled them back up again. i arrived at the appointment a little late and not caring one little bit. i already felt like sobbing and it was only 9 in the morning. the appointment went well. she did a great job, but again i wanted to answer the questions for her. i knew she knew the answers she just couldn't say them. it was so frustrating to watch. the speech pathologist kept asking her to look at her mouth while she was speaking and bea kept looking away. her confidence with other people is non-existent. she knows that i understand her, and matt and micah do and that is it. she doesn't trust other people. i pray that changes.

at the appointment i found out that the school she would go to would be a lot closer than what we had initially thought. it was such an answer to prayer. when we got home from the appointment i talked to another speech therapist on the phone who gave me all kinds of wonderful advice. then i talked to a friend all about it and then i talked to another speech pathologist named rhonda who is very interested in working with beatrix. she was recommended to us by a dear friend and she is a christian. the awesome thing is that she offered to do it for $30 for a 45 minute session which is totally doable for matt and i to pay for. she works with the school program in the summer and spoke very very highly of it. she told me that she thought beatrix would have a blast and wouldn't even know she was learning. it really set me at ease. she also said that she would like to come to the house and just have a cup of tea or coffee with me to observe bea and watch to see how she and i interact and to see if beatrix would bond with her. that was an answer to a personal prayer of mine i had been praying ever since we had gotten the diagnosis. all i cared about was that whoever worked with bea would desire a relationship with her and really come to love her. i want her to feel as safe as she can with all of this.

after i got off the phone i could tell beatrix was upset. i asked her to do a couple of things and she flat out said no. she looked right at me and said, "no!" i asked her several times to obey me and she wouldn't so i sent her to her room where she proceeded to scream at me and "tell" me off. i could hear her getting madder and madder and madder with shouts of no mama, no mama over and over. i finished feeding penelope and put her down for a nap and went in to talk to her. i laid down with her and looked right into her face. i said, "honey, are you tired of mommy talking about you?" she shook her head yes. sniffle sniffle. "does it make you sad when mommy talks about you?" another nod. i decided to tell her the truth, "beebs, do you know who mommy was just talking too?" she shook her head. "that was your teacher. mommy and daddy have decided to put you in school. like micah." her eyes lit up with this. "we want you to have some help so that you can talk to mama and daddy better. would you like that?" she nodded yes. "do you know what sweetheart? it doesn't mean that anything is wrong with you though. we love you very much and we are happy that you are in our family. we just want to have some help that is all." she looked so relieved. "but i still need you to listen to mommy and obey me when i ask you to do something, ok". she nodded and then i was able to lay with her until she fell asleep. my heart broke because for about the millionth time i wished that she could tell me how she feels...

when i think about all of this i struggle with feeling so desperately sad for her and then i swing back up the to the other extreme of minimizing it all and telling myself that it really can't be as bad as i am making it seem. but these situations remind me that it is. it is bad. she can't tell me what is wrong or what she is thinking and that really really sucks.

i feel like i am trying to keep it all together and all i have is hope. hope that she will find her voice. if it isn't her verbal voice that is ok, we will learn signs. i just want to have a conversation with my daughter, whatever that may look like.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

a mental sidetrack

last saturday we walked to a rummage sale at a church close to our house and i fell in love with this little owl lamp. on wednesday i really needed a distraction as i was waiting to take beatrix to the speech pathologist on thursday. i didn't like the colors of the owls though. one of the blogs that i read every day is always repurposing things like this so i thought i would give it a try too. i bought some white spray paint and with their advice of light even coats, i got to work.
first coat.
i did five more after this one.
i love how they turned out and they look amazing on my dresser. i will definitely do this again.
it works beautifully as a night light in our room for middle of the night feedings.

a naked baby and her sister

she holds her head up so well.
none of my babies have been "floppy".

beatrix went to get her "train hat", left over from matt's military days and her train whistle.
man i love this girl!

blurry love

HOW I GET...{part 4}

how i get the laundry done.

milk drunk

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

motivated by guilt

the house is quiet on this valentine's night 2012.
i finally got penelope to sleep and matt followed soon after due to a very busy day at a conference in miami for teachers. he surprised me with roses tonight and my cup feels full with love for him so i am not disappointed in the fact that i am up alone on this night meant for lovers. micah and beatrix are sleeping soundly, i have just checked on them. i washed my face, brushed my teeth and put my pajamas on, but i am not ready for bed yet. i need to purge myself of some thoughts that have been brewing inside of me for several days.

thursday i am supposed to take beatrix to a speech pathologist to have her tested and to determine what kinds of speech therapy she needs. i have been putting this appointment off for some time now. first it was because i was pregnant. then i made excuses that we only have one car so it would be too difficult to take matt and micah to school to have the car. then it was because penelope was newly here and now...well, now i want to put it off because i keep thinking that one of these days she will miraculously start talking on her own and i won't have to think any more about it.

but the truth is that she does need some help. so i finally made the appointment. and as the day has drawn closer i have found myself feeling more and more anxious...and if i am totally honest, i am feeling sad. i fluctuate between feeling guilty that she isn't speaking yet and denial that well, she isn't speaking yet.

i recently read a blog post somewhere else about the difference between guilt and actual ownership of the situation, a call to change if you will. it has been mulling over and over in my brain. then shortly after, i read another blog post on a different blog about the way this mother felt on having her first, and then her second child and finally what it felt like to have a third. and i had to admit to myself that what she wrote resonated with me.

when micah was born i was relieved and grateful and beyond excited to finally have a healthy baby. i wanted to do everything with him. i would sit on the couch in the morning when matt left for work feeding him and just gazing at his face. matt would return hours later and find me in the exact same position. he would smile and ask me if i had moved at all that day. i would fain exasperation and say, "yes! i got up to go to the bathroom." hours would go by. i just loved looking at him, talking to him, examining his beautiful face and toes and fingers. i would watch how he slept. i would sit there and watch him. i don't think that child cried until he was at least 6 months old. when it did happen i thought it would wreck me.

fast forward three years. i was pregnant with beatrix. we had planned to have another baby. as far as planning goes. i knew i was ready to extend our family, but couldn't imagine how i would love another baby like i loved micah. but miracles of miracles i did love another baby. however, she didn't get the best of me like he did. she got seconds.

i remember feeling so torn that first year. micah would want to spend time with me and i was constantly telling him just a minute, or after i feed the baby, or in a little bit. i never felt fully present with bea. i always felt like i should be doing something else. the blog post i read articulated this very thing so eloquently. then when beatrix was a few months old i had to go into the hospital for a kidney stone. she had never taken a bottle and matt was forced to do that very thing. she would cry for hours and i wasn't there to feed her. our routine got interrupted even after i returned from the hospital. for over a week i was on meds so strong that i had to pump and dump just to try to keep my milk going for when i was off of them. that was an awful week. after that we never really returned to the way it had been before and due to how tight money was i returned to waitressing soon after that for 4 sometimes even 5 nights a week. though it strengthened matt and bea's bond, i never really felt connected to her.

i remember when micah's first day of kindergarten came. i wept. i felt like i was losing someone. i mourned the loss of what we had. but you know what? God, in his grace, knew just what i needed. he knew that i needed that year and a half alone with beatrix. she was never very affectionate until micah went away to school and than we were able to discover our relationship. i am so very thankful for that year and a half! especially when we were surprised by getting pregnant last year. i can't even imagine what our relationship would have looked like if i wouldn't have had that precious time with her, alone.

now that penelope is here, i am noticing a marked difference in how i relate to her. it is a difference that i can only know because penelope is here. it is a different way that i am with her. i am comfortable with letting micah and bea wait because she is a baby and she needs me more. i don't remember feeling that with bea. i don't feel torn this time around. i don't feel like i should be doing something else.

i have been doing a lot of self reflection lately and in this reflection i have come to two conclusions so far. one is that i have gotten lazy with beatrix. she isn't demanding of my time and attention the way micah was at her age. she is content to play alone and she accepts what she gets from me without question. the second conclusion i have come to is that i don't like to do things that are hard for me. i don't. i stick to what is easy. this whole speaking thing has gotten me knotted up inside. and if i am honest, i know it is going to be hard and it is going to take a lot of time and attention to help her find her voice. i know 100 percent that she is worth it! she is worth more of me than i could ever even give, but like i admitted i don't like to do hard things and i have gotten lazy.

when i finally get penelope to sleep i don't want to sit and play games or do puzzles or play dough or trains or trucks or play kitchen or read books. i want to do what i want to do. and because beatrix isn't demanding i can get away with so-so parenting and still look like i've got it under control. but she is suffering. she is getting more and more frustrated that her sing song requests aren't communicating all that is in her mind. i know she feels frustrated that there aren't signs for all that she wants to tell me about thomas or little Einsteins. and this is motivating me. not guilt. i don't want to be motivated by guilt but like the blog post i read said,

"The term mom-guilt is good for dismissing ridiculous things that we feel bad about. But I also think it's provided an excuse for us to behave apathetically as moms at times--and that's a bad thing. We need to learn the difference between unwarranted mom guilt and mom guilt that says, "Focus on your kid. Put down your phone. Shut your computer. Stop folding laundry for ten seconds. You don't need to go to the mall. You need to play doctor for a full half n'hour and not try to get out of it. You need to watch Sesame Street WITH your kid once in a while instead of using it as an excuse to do what you want to do while it's on. The house can go without being vacuumed for an hour. The stuffed animals can stay right there in the middle of the living room floor--they're at a show."

We've got to learn this. We've got to admit that not all mom-guilt is bad. We need to remember......they'll never forget how we made them feel. Never. Not ever. "

i don't ever want beatrix to feel second. even though that is her birth order i don't want her to feel stuck in the middle. unseen. i love her so much i fear sometimes that my heart will explode. she is my fragile bird and i want her to always feel safe and wanted and needed and a valued part of our family. i want her to feel that something would be missing, a huge something if she were not here.

dear heavenly father,
you know beatrix. you know her and love her miles more than i do. we named her beatrix sparrow for a reason and like her name reminds me daily you love the sparrows. how much more do you love your children? i long to hear beatrix's voice. i have had dreams that she speaks to me and in those dreams i weep with happiness. ...thank you for teaching us about ourselves through our children. i confess that i struggle with laziness and that when things are tough for me i tend to give up. i confess too that i needed to be taught this and will probably need to learn it over and over again for the rest of my life. i am selfish at my core. thank you for showing me this before it is too late. like bea is slow in speaking i am slow in doing and i appreciate the grace that you have shown me. i do ask that you will help things to click in beatrix's mind when it comes to words and uttering them. i ask that you will help me to think of creative ways to help her. i thank you for the gift of children and for knowing what i need even when i don't agree initially. thank you for your patience with me over and over and over again.
i love you.
i need your help.
your child,

Monday, February 6, 2012

nine weeks

look who keeps right on growing.

the most exciting change since her 7 weeks pictures is that penelope has been sleeping 6-8 hours in a row at night. i almost don't know what to do with myself! i have never had a baby sleep like that until they were a year or older. it is a blessing and one i am so very thankful for. she is so smiley and such a happy baby! i love waking up in the morning and seeing her little face look at me. she tries to coo and "talk" to matt and i and she is recognizing micah and beatrix's faces and smiling at them too. it has been so much fun having another little one in the house. since i cut out dairy a few weeks ago i have noticed a dramatic change in her. even though i really miss cheese and milk in my cereal, it has definitely been worth it!