Sunday, September 27, 2009

Goodness, Gracious

I mentioned earlier the 60th wedding anniversary get-together our family enjoyed for Hubby's grandparents. It was such an interesting event, to my curious, hormonal mind.

His grandparents indeed celebrated 60 years together this summer. I've thought much about that, though I'm not sure why. They don't have an unmarred relationship, for sure, and I can't decide if it's laudable that they have managed 60 years in spite of all that, or if it's silly, because certainly the union wasn't preserved through maintaining vows or obligations.

That said, all 5 of their children were present, and four of them are born-again Christians. One or two are ministers. All five (I think) spent years doing drugs of one kind or another (some much longer than others), and their stories of God's grace are encouraging. They have a grandson in prison for murder, but many other grandchildren are serving God this day, to one extent or another. Some lead worship and one is married to a pastor. There are allegations of abuse, but the victims embrace victory instead of defeat, regardless of the supposed perpetrator's attitude. One grandson looked much improved (he's my age or older), and declared that instead of drinking and seeing his dealer, he went to church and worked out at the gym. Praise the Lord!

Grandad is not a believer, in fact he's quite hostile to the gospel message. I await the time he acknowledges the great and obvious changes in his own progeny and humbles himself before the Lord. What a gift he'd give himself!

It was fun to hear (I was inside tending Baby much of the time) of an uncle - with scraggly chest-length beard and omnipresent overalls (which he even wore to our wedding!) praying and sharing Christ even as he sat next to Grandad. An adventure, I imagine.

It surprises me some, that with such a patriarch so much of the family loves the Lord. It's hard evidence for God's grace, for sure, not only in the lives of the saved: Living to see such amazing changes in your children and theirs isn't a blessing one might expect for such cantankerous foolishness.

God is good.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Catch Up

I'm happy to report that while I've been absent from this blog forever, it's not because anyone has mastitis or is hospitalized or on bed rest or suffering from a wicked, debilitating infection. One-handed typing though; yes, I suffer from that greatly these days.

What has happened?

There are tomatoes in them thar jungles. Some are quite big (where the soaker hose worked quite well) and some are tiny (where the soaker hose didn't work much). I've only put up about 6 quarts (with a few more half-done as I break to nurse this baby), but I have several bags left from last year, as Hubby has been off tomatoes since Thanksgiving or so. *sigh* Oddly enough, without ANY special attention from me, the weeds have grown waist-high and tower threateningly over my garden boxes, laden with evil seeds. I always lament Adam's disobedience this time of year, fantasizing about what an un-cursed land might produce...

We had planned to kill the geese and turkeys last weekend, before remembering that Saturday was Hubby's grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed seeing some extended family for the occasion, and I was so thankful I'd put a loaf of banana bread in the freezer last week! That, and a loaf of homemade bread with peach jam was our contribution to the potluck! Organique only peed her pants twice and, um, did something else on the kitchen floor once (panties and pants were drying, and grandma's t-shirt was her dress), and Big Sister only once inadvertently smacked a second-cousin in the face while playing too roughly. Leave it to the homeschoolers in the bunch to make scenes, huh? *sigh*

We rescheduled the bird-deaths for Sunday, but awoke to sudden fall weather instead. The wind convinced us that the propane burner would be rendered ineffectual. We'd been enjoying days in the high 80's, but that day never hit 70. We are warming up again, though, so Saturday is it! It must be!

Monday was Organique's birthday! She's officially 2 now. Grandma, Papa, and aunties all came for oatmeal cake and organic ice cream. There was a pinata in attendance, which Little Artist suggested be placed on the floor and 'whacked with sticks' from there. :) Hubby managed to hang it over a clamp placed on the little dividing ridge between dining and living rooms, and the kids alternated between using a stick (no blindfolds, please. I'd like the piano to stay unscathed.), and "doing karate." The unicorn finally gave up it's stash of baggied 'natural' goodies. :) (c'mon - at least I didn't fill it with carrots and celery as threatened.).

Earlier that day we had a real scare with a freak accident that resulted in a harried dash to the local doc office for the birthday girl. Turns out everything is fine, and what could've been truly horrific wasn't, and I am ever and completely grateful to God. He watches over us, and His hand protects us.

I've finished painting 2 walls in the family room. I'm not sure what, if anything, I've posted on that project, but it's slow-going, so there will be time! There's only so much I can do in a day with a newborn and a toddler. Plus, everyone likes to eat three times per day, at least. Yikes.

Well, the laundry beckons, as do the scalded tomatoes!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thoughts On The Fourth

I need to update my profile, I see.

Little #4 is 1 month old today! She is a joy and a delight, and pleasant indeed.

I'm still not used to being the mother of four girls. Four! It makes my head spin each time I say or think it. You wouldn't think it would be that different than three, but somehow it really is.

First, I allowed Big Sister to turn 8 last week. I might not have been so accommodating had I not a few more little ones to enjoy. :) Don't get me wrong; I enjoy having an 8-year-old immensely, but it would be more bittersweet if I didn't have this precious baby and the others to fill my arms.

I perceive The Fourth differently than I did The First at this stage. That could have several reasons, but I am especially aware that tomorrow she will be turning 8 herself. I know how swiftly things pass! We had Big Sister's joint-birthday party this last Saturday, and it was the first time Baby would be at a gathering of several family members. At the last minute I pawed through the "0-3 mo" box of clothes, searching for something not pajama-like or mismatched (or being worn by a doll). It occurred to me that once upon a time I'd have had a selection of brand-new outfits to choose from, and would have thought far ahead of what exactly to dress her in. Slight but relevant rabbit trail: Years ago I knew a woman with several children. For a very special occasion she had her hair done - professionally trimmed, colored, and styled. She looked so beautiful! They were typically on a very tight - too tight - budget, so this was really a one-time thing. It pained me in some ways... I looked forward to having children, but would I have to give up certain luxuries (not that I'd ever had my hair professionally colored anyway, but..), would I become frumpy and drab as a matter of sacrifice? This thought coalesced with the way I haphazardly rummaged for a baby outfit. It's not a matter of boredom, of not valuing this baby as much as I did the first. It's not a matter of 'having to sacrifice' my former wardrobe or hairstyle. No, on the contrary. I'm on the inside, now. I know the brevity of these days, this time. I value it too much to be sidetracked by mere trifles! Who cares if what she is dressed in is new (or whether she is dressed at all)?! There are her eyes to smile into. How could I spend a half-hour fixing my hair just right when I could spend it caressing her soft hair? My hair will (hopefully!) still be here long after she is not content to doze in my arms.

There is also the irony of myself mothering four daughters. *I* never had a sister. I always wanted one (at least). But I know nothing, experientially, of sisters. In fact, my mother was in no way very feminine or domestic at all. Of course, she was handicapped, but even before that she aspired to nothing remotely connected to homemaking. As a divorcee she told me once how terribly it angered her to hear a man refer to "the wife." As a child I thought it sounded quaint but sweet. She was not a born-again Christian, did not clean, did 'subsistence cooking' only, didn't bake or can or grow a garden and most certainly disliked the idea of a wife being her husband's helpmeet. You might say my 'early education' in such things was lacking. Or nonexistent.

So what is God thinking, making me the mother of FOUR of His daughters? I must say, I'm at least grateful that I am aware of my obvious lack. Sometimes I'm not. Aware, that is.

It's tapping my faith and blessing me in ways I never really imagined.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Geese = Gross

Do you remember how much I loved those cute little goslings? Aw, but they were sweet! They peeped a lot (and pooped a lot), were so fuzzy-soft, and loved to nibble clover and grass we picked for them.

I was worried that I'd keep liking them so much and be sad to see them go.

I should NOT have worried.

My sweet goslings underwent the most disappointing of metamorphoses, truly. It DID take them quite a while, but all sweetness left the premises. Their voices changed to a deep, growly honk. They became quite big enough to not be hawk-bait, so we let them loose, where they daily mowed the lawn.

And nightly ruined the porch. es.

I cannot tell you why, nor how, but we have 3 exits to our home, not counting the garage. Each night, the geese would choose one exit and sleep there. RIGHT on our front welcome mat (as opposed to all the porch-space that is NOT where we step out of the house), RIGHT outside the sliding glass door, or RIGHT on the back step. And I suppose it wouldn't have been too bad if they would actually only SLEEP there. But while they eat copious amounts in the day, they, um, get rid of it in the night. All. Over. My. Porches. SO disgusting. Were I not quite pregnant at the time, I'd have lopped off their heads with a machete. Instead, we were finally able to herd them into a little chicken tractor, where I locked them in without a care if they ate or drank. Hubby, occasionally, did care, so they yet live.

A week or two ago I decided to give them another chance. And since it's nigh time to butcher them I didn't want them living their last days in a yucky pen (for the sake of my dinner, not their bliss). The first night or two was fine, but soon they remembered the joy of their transgressions, and soiled all three sites again. And bit Organique on the leg, leaving a nasty abrasion dripping blood down her leg. So now they get to spend their time within the confines of their yucky pen again. Yes, it could be moved, but not by me (yet), and Hubby hasn't been so inclined, I guess.

So. Do we eat them? Do we get them to fresh grass for a time? Do we just do them in for the sheer joy of being done with them? I don't think we'll be raising them again. Turkeys are so much more pleasant, plus I know they taste good.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sweet Blessings

A couple weeks ago the UPS man brought a box. We like it when that happens. It was a day earlier than the site had claimed, but I happily told Hubby his boots had FINALLY arrived.

He opened the box across the room from me, looked inside, looked at me, and said, "These are NOT my boots." He didn't sound excited.

Thinking they were the wrong style, or wrong size, I begged him to double-check inside the boot box, to be sure. We'd waited over 2 weeks for the darn things to arrive, and exchanging them would be such a hassle! "Are you sure?"

"These are NOT my boots," he repeated, holding up a white box like those you get at department stores to wrap a sweater. It was labeled "Baby."

There were 2 such boxes within, from one of Hubby's cousins. She was probably Big Sister's age when I moved in with her family... 11 years ago, to teach at their little Christian school. She grew up, was Big Sister's babysitter when we still lived in town and I still cleaned houses a couple times a week, and signed up for the Army Reserves or something a couple years back. She met a man, married him in a wonderfully brief ceremony, and moved far, far away. But she took her sewing machine.

The boxes held a wonderful assortment of gender neutral things: blankets, sleepers, a bib, a mitten/hat set, a lovely vintagey card, and a quilt (The box was en route nearly as long as Baby, and we backwoodsy, home-birthing freaks of nature don't get sonograms to determine gender or anything else, you know).

Oh, the quilt.

Doesn't it just look all chocolate-minty? Doesn't that make you want to buy and eat ice cream?


And look at the backing. And the cute vine-style stitch that attached the binding. I just love this thing.


The funny thing is, I figured we had plenty o' quilts around here, what with this being our fourth baby and all. However, I didn't figure the "gap difference" (which is really becoming a noteworthy issue around here). The first 2 girls are 2 yrs, 8 months apart. Then there was a space of 3 years 4 1/2 months. When the second and third babies arrived, their older counterparts were already in 'real' beds. Not so, with a 23 month gap. Many of my quilts are still in use by Organique! Serving as mattress pads as well as quilts, and laundering when necessary, I found myself sadly and surprisingly short on them. And I love wrapping my wee ones in a good-sized quilt, which is stiff enough not to smother them but can provide shade from the lamplight, privacy when nursing, and warmth of course.

She's very nearly lived in it since then, and I finally put it through the wash the other night. Baby might not suffer from separation anxiety yet, but me and the quilt? For sure. :)

***

Shah-shee, I'm not linking to you. You're not as paranoid as me, and I could be Found through you. :)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Just Don't.

When you have haircutting wounds, and your beautiful little girls who look like this:

Call you from an outing with their Grandma to ask if they can get their haircut.

And you want *some* control of the outcome, so you compromise by offering to do it at home.

And you're 3 days postpartum.

And hormonal.

And emotional.

Expect this:


And this:
To render you a blubbering puddle of anguish.

Think it through next time, Mama.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Better?

The mastitis is lessening. In large part due to my mother-in-law's help yesterday. I had called my husband and suggested (in a very mild way, really) that he must figure a way to help me. I didn't think he'd want to cut his trip short, and so he called his mom. I couldn't - couldn't! - bring myself to do that of my own accord, though I knew I needed the help. What is wrong with me, anyway? I can call my own mom, suggest that Dad speed up his airplane-buying a bit so he can fly her out for a weekend to help me bake a cake, but can't make any declarative statement to Hubby's mom about real needs. *sigh* I always feel like I don't want to 'mess up' others' lives or plans, OR make them feel guilty by requesting something they can't provide. Except my folks. :) In any case, she came about 1:00, fed the kids lunch, played with them a lot, washed dishes a lot, made BLTs for dinner (yum!), and probably didn't leave until 8:30 or so. What a blessing. The resting really did help a lot. So I had enough energy to nurse Baby while standing sentinel over The Crib until 10:00 p.m. And really, I can't stand nursing. I can sit nursing, I can even lie nursing, but standing? Yikes.

Gi-gi was released from the hospital yesterday, and got home around 3:30. She called me later to let me know, and I'm shocked at how old and tired she sounds. She's still dealing with her arm, obviously, and will need physical therapy to be able to bend and unbend her arm and fingers, I think. Two weeks ago she was doing laundry here, cleaning out messes, badgering me about recycling and dishing out grapes and cottage cheese to the kids. She's also dealing with some frustrating... gastrointestinal issues, which make recovery even tougher. And get this: She doesn't have the Medicare prescription stuff because she Doesn't Need Prescription Medication. Usually. They prescribed her 2 oral antibiotics to be taking. One is about $80-$100 to fill, and the other is seventeen hundred dollars. NO, I'm NOT kidding. Costco quoted her $1500, but their pharmacy was closing shortly until after the holiday. I don't know about you, but I've never even heard of drugs costing that much. Unless you were on 50 different ones for HIV or something. Or buying them in a syringe on a street corner. I hope they're necessary and do the job.

Hubby will be home this evening, and I'm so glad. Apparently I'm too lazy to take out the garbage, and his return will be none too soon. :)

Big Sister is 8 today! The celebration will wait, though, until I can prepare properly. And she brought me a tray this morning with a handful of cheerios, a sliced/diced apple, 3 plums, a piece of toast with peach jam and a bouquet of dead flowers (Little Artist has been 'picking' from the bouquet I got when Baby was born). Topped with a layer of bright pink tissue paper. :) Her disappointment with the delayed party has eased, thankfully, and she gets to look forward to her Green Tomato Cake and pinata for a longer time now.

Wondering how the garden and critters are doing? Me too...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Challenges...

Hubby left Wednesday afternoon for 4 days.

Organique won't sleep until Mama does a long shift at the side of the crib. Routinely applying the board of education to the seat of understanding, though understanding seems slow in coming. If Mama turns her back, or walks 3 steps away, she's halfway out of the crib.

And there is no frustration like hearing a newborn's anguished wail from down the hall while trying to police The Crib. "Mama, Baby's crying!" and I abandon my post to go hold and comfort the little one. Upon my return, Organique is in the closet or up her sister's bunkbed or any other place but her bed. I can't keep her in with the Baby in my arms, though I did try it for some time last night. What about this situation qualifies as, "I won't give you more than you can handle. You can accomplish all I've called you to today."? Maybe Hubby trumped His plan?

We picked 50 lbs of peaches on Thursday morning, and I made 1 batch of jam pints. The rest are too green, thankfully. The fruit flies are planning to fly off with the kitchen, so everything is covered in flour-sack dishtowels.

Friday I felt crummy. Finally figured out the pain I had in one side for the past day and the crumminess added up to a case of mastitis. Bed rest, my midwife orders. Comments about "near your heart" and "lymph system drainage" and "can get really bad, really fast" make me anxious. Bed rest?!? Recollect that first paragraph above? There is (was) a birthday party to ready for on Sunday evening. "That must go, or someone else must do it," she orders. Many tears from the girl who was counting on her pink pinata and green-tomato cake. The family room remains in a state of halfway-torn-apart (have you seen this homeschool room? I'm so inspired!). Laundry needs done, clean dishes are no more, and the house is littered with banana peels, I have no doubt. There are 3 here in the vicinity of the computer.

I relate some of this to my dad, who replies with a story of a godly man who was told by his doctor that he had 3 months to live. "You don't understand," the man said. "God has more for me to do, but He wants me to slow down." He lived another 40-some years.

The peaches can go. The family room can pause or stop. The laundry and dishes... and food? I suppose they're on hold too. But if that is the message here (and I'd love to figure it out, quickly), how can I slow down beyond that? I must at least keep up with Organique, musn't I? Letting her get one step ahead results in banana mashed into everything, the refrigerator ransacked, and the toilet plunger as a bathtub toy.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gi-gi Health Update, Etc.

Gi-gi is improving. We're so thankful.

Monday she was doing well enough that the doctor surmised that she might well go home Tuesday. Tuesday he checked her, and found a patch on her arm where the skin was peeling, almost like a burn. He added another antibiotic to the regimen and said he'd hold on to her for a day or two more. Since being off the pain medication, she's making sense and telling stories about the hallucinations she had on Vicodin. Hallucinations? I'm not sure if I wish I'd known that when she was here or not. Poor thing; we just left her alone to "recover" - a.k.a. "hallucinate" in the quiet of her room. Yikes!

Hubby is leaving this afternoon; nearly a day earlier than we'd planned. My uncle and he have planned a motorcycle-focused trip, and somehow, in my pregnancy fog, I decided it would be nice for him to be able to go away for 4 days. And leave me home. With a newborn. And other kids. During the fair. Until Big Sister's Birthday. *choke* What was I thinking? Apparently I wasn't, and he's unwilling to change those plans now. :) No elephant ears this year, and I *desperately hope* he gets back Sunday in time to celebrate with our oldest. I also *desperately hope* to be able to homeschool, clean, bake a cake, shop, care for Baby and stuff a pinata by myself by then. Oh, and peaches are ready to pick at the orchard tomorrow. And Hubby needs new pants. Today. Before he leaves.

Which means I better get to town...