Wednesday, November 3, 2010

October: wrestling the cloudy mirror

Oh October... You have turned out to be quite the mixed bag. But you have shown me what God says is true - that right now, I see things imperfectly as if I am looking at a cloudy mirror, but one day I will see everything with perfect clarity. I can't wait for the day.

There are so many things that I want to remember about this month that were either too little/brief/impossible to capture with my camera, or so monumental (and again, impossible) that a single image would never tell the entire story.

The beginning of the month brought on the second trimester of my third pregnancy. Sweet relief! Our refrigerator threatens to fall over for the amazing number of sugar cereals I have balanced on top of it. Around 5:00pm our house actually smells like DINNER again. And every morning I wake up and think about what I can bake from scratch that day. (Today's selection: Fresh Apple Cake.)

Not entirely unrelated, at my last OB appointment I discovered that I had gained a pound over the course of 4 days. That seemed noteworthy / kind of awesome / pretty mortifying. Luckily the nurses in the office are kind and their mothers taught them manners - they always just laugh with me as if they see that kind of thing every day. Ok, maybe they do. But I don't, and I will never get used to this part of being pregnant.

My consolation prize for the aforementioned humiliation was an ultrasound of our little one. See the new addition over on the left sidebar? The baby is growing on schedule, and my due date has been adjusted to April 9th which is pretty inconsequential. Everything is progressing just fine, but I will go back to CDH to have a level 2 ultrasound in a few weeks at the traditional 20/21/22 week mark for a more thorough exam of the baby.

Speaking of CDH (you like these smooth transitions, don't you!?), I felt like I spent a lot of time there this month. It was one of the surprises October held. Unfortunately not one minute of my time there was in the Mother-Baby wing, which is quite possibly one of my favorite places on earth. Since my dad spent a week fighting that infection in his arm as an in-patient we made our home-away-from-home in room 5300. The best moment of that week would have to be throwing a birthday party for my little sister in his hospital room, complete with presents, birthday cake, vending machine coffee (not as bad as this coffee snob would have thought), and a rousing game of hearts. Kelsey and I decided that it's only fair to let your elders win, especially when one of them is hooked up to an IV of pain medication. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

In the middle of the month, one of my dear girlfriends walked through what I'm sure she would say was one of the darkest moments of her life. A tumor was discovered growing around her 4 year old daughter's spine, and within a week she found herself in the surgical waiting room at CDH with her husband and a few of us gathered around for support, waiting for the results of a biopsy of the tumor to chart the course of their immediate future, and let's be honest, lives. Praise God that the tumor ended up being benign, and completely removed without injury to her daughter's spine or heart! It really was a miracle, with clear signposts along the way that God had gone before them. It's an amazing story. But there were days that felt like years in between the initial identification of the tumor and the confirmed biopsy that were just terrifying for them - we were all pleading with God to spare them from pediatric cancer. He did, and we are so thankful.

As impossible as it is to forget to thank our Heavenly Father for things like the healing of my friend's sweet 4 year old daughter or the sparing of my dad's life and health after his accident, it is easy to overlook the blessings that God gives us every day. I'm keeping a list like many of you, called 30 days of Thankfulness, and each day of November I will write down something that I'm thankful for. Maybe I'll share it with you all at the end. If you want to do this too, just come up with 3 things you're thankful for and you're already caught up!

These didn't make the list, but Robbie used the big boy potty again this week (to poop! He likes to conquer the hardest parts of a task first, apparently.). Ellie has added a few more words to her vocabulary: Mommy (instead of mama), Ellie (pointing to herself), juice, tree, and is much more aware of the relationship of things to one another. Pointing to the TV power button and shaking her head at me saying 'No no!', pointing to her crib and saying 'Nah-night!', pointing to the door and asking me to 'Open!' and then go 'Bye-bye!', pointing to the wipes and pretending to wash her hands, acting like she is washing herself in the bath when I am cleaning something with a rag, etc.

Not making the thankful list is Ellie's new routine of waking up at 4am on the dot and not falling back to sleep without some assistance. I suspect some gastro-issues are to blame, but it is still frustrating. We work very hard in this house to sleep train our kids, and so far we've reaped the benefits of putting the time and hard work in early when the kids are little. This just doesn't add up though!! I am trying to gently remind Ellie that now is not the time to deprive her pregnant momma of much needed sleep, but she's not getting the message.

Also not making the list: one of the kids coming down with something EVERY MONDAY MORNING. I should just make a weekly standing appointment with our pediatrician (and never plan anything productive or social early in the week!). I know it doesn't make complete sense with incubation time periods, but I swear we walk out of the church nursery every Sunday with the virus-du-jour. This week Robbie woke up Monday complaining of a stiff neck and headache. When I tried to move him out of his bed, onto the couch, into the van to see the dr, basically ANYWHERE... he was hysterical. Just to be sure that we weren't dealing with meningitis I took him in for an exam, and we discovered swollen lymph nodes causing the stiff neck as well as an ear infection and his final molar cutting through the gums. He's finally perking up after a few doses of antibiotics and ibuprofin, and seems to have fought off whatever was trying to make him sick. I'm so thankful for good medical care.

Now they just need to come up with an antidote to Robbie's continued (although random) desire to paint his room with poop. Yeah... that happened again last week. He couldn't get to sleep, and we thought he was just reading books near his door which is blocked off with a baby gate. Turns out he was redecorating. And I did not care for his color choice. I did capture the carnage on video, for posterity's sake. One day we will laugh.

Yesterday I found him eating out of the sugar bowl, after having scaled the garbage can to get up on the kitchen counter. That was actually shocking. These are the (few and far between) moments that I envy families with bigger gaps between children. :) Overall I'm happy with our decisions though! We just have to get through these early years. Apparently sleep and safety is not guaranteed. I'm going to need a few straight jackets.

Here is what our Monday looked like... all day.

And our Tuesday.

Can I draw your attention to the fact that my 1 1/2 year old is ROCKING that bed head!?
Oh my.

Oh and this is only like 6 months late, but Ellie took 2 steps on her own yesterday shortly after the picture below was taken. She went from the couch to the foot stool / ottoman. She refused to repeat the performance. Typical. Her high school prom is going to be a pretty disappointing experience if she is still crawling around at that point.

And although we don't make a big fuss over Halloween, we can't ignore the opportunity to put our kids in freakishly adorable and fuzzy animal costumes. This year I found both costumes for $3.50 each at Babies R Us 2 1/2 weeks before Halloween! So Robbie was a cow, and Ellie was a giraffe.

Aunt Megan-an spent the day with us, which was SO fun. The kids decided upon arriving at Mima and Papa's house that they would rather play trains than trick or treat around the neighborhood. I wasn't going to argue with that. Halloween is just one of those holidays that I'm not anxious to ingrain in our kids. Thanksgiving? Yes. Christmas? We talk about baby Jesus being born so that he could grow up to die on the cross to save us from our sins all year long. Easter? Yes - but light on the bunny and heavy on the resurrection. Halloween doesn't really have any redeeming value outside of dressing up and having fun, and eating sweets in (hopefully) moderation. Haha, I sound so old and crummudgeony. (My blog, I get to make up words.)

From our family to yours... here's to hoping that October brought you many blessings, whether they were clear or tucked beneath whatever may have made it a difficult month for you.

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

*Praise God, right!? I think that promise just jumped to the top of my 'Thankfulness' list.*


RyanLaurenAbby said...

Thanks for sharing Ashley! Joshua had the same costume as Ellie and I, too, got it the week before on clearance : ) He was going to wear an Elmo sweatsuit hand me down but I was feeling bad : )

Jennifer said...

Oh boy! What a month, huh?!! Such fun stories and pictures. Very entertaining for me at least! LOL!!! I just love you guys, all the things you go through (good and bad), and how you ALWAYS turn to God first giving him the praise and the glory. His blessings abound! Love you all!