11 Month Musings

My sweet little baby girl is 11 months old today. It’s hard to believe she’ll be ONE in a month!

She is such a joy. She loves to snuggle. She thinks her siblings’ antics are hilarious. She crawls everywhere and gets into everything. She scavenges for crumbs. I think she deliberately throws Cheerios and the like on the floor to eat later. We’re starting to see more of her personality shine through. She has a streak of mischief and a flair for drama. I think we may have our hands full with this one!

Today is full of nostalgia and reflection. Month-iversaries often are, but today it’s a bit more than usual.

One year ago, I had no idea my sweet baby would be overdue. Only by one day, but I fully expected an early baby because her older siblings were born on their due dates (x2) or 5-6 days early. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the possibility of her being late. But she was. I think she wanted to share a birthday with me, and she does.

She is by far the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten. Last year, my husband kept asking me what I wanted for my birthday. My reply? “I just want to not be pregnant anymore.” I got my wish!

But having her sent to the NICU a few minutes after birth was the worst birthday present I’ve ever gotten. She passed meconium prior to birth and it got in her lungs. It resulted in a 10 day stay in the NICU.

Those were the 10 longest days of my life. We knew she’d be fine, that she’d be healthy and come home when she was ready, but we still felt every emotion.

As our joint birthday approaches, I find myself reflecting on those experiences. I’m grateful to be past them. NICU is hard. But words cannot express how grateful I am for the amazing nurses and doctors who took such great care of my baby.

Sadly, not all babies get to go home. At least not in the earthly sense. During her last night in the NICU, I heard tragedy strike another family. I was pumping behind our curtain since little miss wouldn’t wake up to eat and it was nearly the time they close for shift change. Her nurse told me she needed to go help with a new baby who was in bad shape. Some minutes later – time is surreal in the NICU – I heard a nurse briskly walking by. But it wasn’t just a simple walk from one end of the room to the other. She released a telling sigh. And I knew.

Then, I heard screaming and wailing from the hall. And I knew. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of this family – especially this mother. How much did she know, in that moment? My heart broke for her, knowing she had a difficult painful road ahead.

Then, the NICU doorbell rang over and over as this grieving family flooded in to see their lost baby. As I began to put the pump away, I heard a woman (possibly the grandma) say, “we never even got to play with her.” And I knew.

I waited till the NICU quieted down; I could not intrude on this very raw, very personal grief. And after witnessing all of this, it was extra hard to leave my sweet baby girl behind. It was hard to leave every night, but more so on this last night.

I was somber and subdued on the way home. I felt conflicted. I knew I should be ecstatic that my baby would go home in the morning, but all I could think about was the mother who lost her sweet baby.

I often think about her. I pray for her. I don’t know anything about her. I never saw anything – everything I witnessed was by sound. I don’t know what she believes. I don’t know if this was her first baby or her fifth. I don’t know what her life is like. But I know it was forever altered that night. I pray she finds peace. I hope she found strength. I know it will be hard for her as we approach the anniversary of the day she lost her baby. Her daughter’s birthday should be a joyful occasion; instead, it will be an annual reminder of the worst moment of her life. And I pray. She doesn’t know I was there, doesn’t know I’m praying for her. But I was. And I am.

This…went somewhere completely different than I expected. I had other things I meant to write, but they will have to wait. To add them now wouldn’t feel right, as if it would somehow cheapen these deep moments. So, another entry for another time.

A Mini Adventure

If anyone is worried about us after the previous post, don’t be. We’re OK. We found a third solution that works. It’s not ideal, but it works. Just writing it out helps, even if it’s mostly for the catharsis. I don’t even know if anyone besides me is actually reading this, but just in case…we’re doing fine. Things are still tight, but our bills are paid and my attitude is much better.

After my last post, we went on a mini adventure. We’ve mostly been staying home in our AC this summer, so we needed a little non-stressful excitement.

And it was free! Nothing big or complicated; just a simple trip to the library and the adjacent park. The park has a pond with ducks, geese, swans, and seagulls.

We walked along the path beside the creek that connects to the pond. It was so nice to get outside for a walk. I love that the park has informational signs posted about the various waterfowl. We enjoyed the lovely scenery.

There is a little foot bridge where we met some friends. And one of them pooped on the bridge, so we had to watch our steps 😂

We saw a baby duck swimming with its mother.

Then we played on the playground for a bit. It was really hot (95 degrees), so we didn’t stay long.

Since it was too hot to cook, we made sandwiches for dinner when we got home. This mini adventure was exactly what I needed. Finding joy and beauty is exactly what my heart required on a particularly rough day.

We really should go on more little adventures like this one. It’s usually so much easier to stay home. But I want to make more of an effort. This was the first time we’ve gone to this park, and we bought our house almost 2 years ago. Granted, most of the time we’ve lived here, I’ve either been pregnant or caring for a young baby. Summers are too hot and winters are too cold. But we really should make more of an effort to enjoy the beautiful world around us. It soothes the soul and reminds us of how much love went into its creation – and consequently, how much love our Father has for each of us.

Struggling: Faith in the Refiner’s Fire

I’m struggling. Today, the challenges we face are hitting me hard. Even writing that is hard. I can’t seem put things into words today. I can’t seem to find my faith that it will all work out. I have faith, but I’m struggling to find it today.

2018 has been difficult thus far. And expensive. Car repairs, new furnace, home improvements, health and dental costs, illnesses that result in lower pay checks…plus the day to day bills and grocery needs. I’m so over financial stress. It seems every time we start to maybe catch up, we get slammed with something else. Just when we start to pull out of the hole, we get shoved back in. It’s exhausting.

And stressful. We’ve barely been scraping by, trying to be as frugal as we can…until now. Now I’m not sure how we’ll be able to pay a necessary bill. We’re short. Like, nearly $200 short. Mortgages kind of need to be paid. And what about things like food and diapers?

The only solution I see is to ask for help. That alone is hard, to be in a situation where that’s the only option. It’s awkward. It’s uncomfortable. It’s like telling the world I’m not able to get through this on my own.

Plus, one of the sources I can turn to makes me feel even worse. Lectures, guilt trips, suggestions that simply aren’t feasible…yes, they help with the money aspect, but I walk away feeling like crap. It makes me not want to ask them, or even tell them how badly we’re doing. I don’t want to talk to them at all. They will never know this blog even exists.

Lol, not that anyone in my real life knows it exists yet. Maybe I’ll let this post get buried first. Or simply delete this post or mark it as private (that is a thing, right?).

I haven’t even been able to buy much for the next school year. We’re schooling under an umbrella school as distance students with all custom built classes. We’ll be reimbursed for much of our curriculum and resources, which will help immensely, but…that won’t happen until late Sept to early Oct. And we have to be using some of it before then. I’m feeling this overwhelming need to buy all our school stuff now, but the money simply doesn’t exist.

This is far from being a joyful post. It’s very raw. And real. And I’m really really trying. I’m trying to be OK. I’m trying to have faith that we’ll get through this, that we’ll be taken care of. I’m trying to recognize my many blessings. I have a wonderful little family. We have most of our needs met. Somehow, this will all work out. I don’t know how, and the only ways I see are so awkward that I’d rather pretend nothing is wrong. I’d rather distract myself than deal with it. I don’t want to deal with it! I want the necessary funds to just magically appear in my bank account. Haha, I know, totally unrealistic. A girl can dream, right?

I know this will only make me stronger in the end. I know there are some valuable lessons to learn. I know it will help me be a better and more compassionate person. But I’m not sure how much more of this refiner’s fire I can take. I know where I need to place this burden, and I’m trying, but I almost feel like I don’t deserve the help. And yet, I also kind of feel like I don’t deserve this challenge. Like it’s not fair, somehow. As if life is always supposed to be fair, right? 😂

We’ll be OK. It may not happen how or when I want it to, but I know it will work out. Somehow. I know I need to have faith. I’m trying. I’m not always succeeding, but I’m trying. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I fall into a deep pit of discouragement. Sometimes it’s so deep and dark that I really start to worry about my mental health.

I can’t do this on my own. But…I was never meant to. That’s part of what the atonement is for. I don’t have the strength to get through it alone. I need to rely on my Savior. I need His help. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that. Maybe that’s part of what I need to learn from all this, to truly trust fully.

Not that I didn’t trust before, but…there’s always room for improvement. And that’s what these refining fires are all about, isn’t it? All the same, I wouldn’t mind a reprieve from the heat.

Independence Day

We had a wonderful 4th of July, filled with family, friends, and food. We started our day with orange sweet rolls. Then we colored while listening to patriotic music.

We did chores (laundry – the kids’ least favorite 😂).

One of my favorite family traditions from my childhood is a 4th of July flag cake. We make it every year.

Then we relaxed at home until our neighborhood BBQ.

The BBQ and fireworks were great!

We can see our city’s display from our neighborhood.

All in all, it was a great 4th of July! I am grateful for the wonderful freedoms we enjoy and for those who fought and sacrificed so much to make that possible. Happy Independence Day!

An Introduction of Sorts

Hello world!  There’s something refreshing about a clean, new blog.  And yet, it’s also a little intimidating. Where do I start?  What do I want to say?  Will anyone else find my world interesting enough to read about?  And just who am I?

I am a mom.  I have 5 amazing kids: a 10 year old girl, an 8 year old boy, a 6 year old boy, a 3 year old boy, and a 10 month old girl.  They certainly keep me busy!  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am a wife.  I’ve been married to my sweetheart for 11.5 years.  He’s an amazing man.  I am so grateful for him.  I can’t imagine this journey of life and parenthood without him.

I am a homeschooler.  We jumped off the public school ship after 2 years.  We’ve finished 3 years of homeschool and are preparing to begin our 4th.  We love it!  Homeschooling is the best choice for our family.  It’s easily one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

I am a crafter.  I enjoy many crafts and hobbies, but I bounce around between them.  I knit, sew, digital scrapbook, make hair bows, and one of these days I’ll learn how to use my Silhouette.  I do various home decor crafts to enhance our home.  I love making our little corner of the world a cozy, happy place.

I am a writer.  And a reader.  I earned my BA in English in 2005.  I want to write books, mostly for young adults.  My plan was to write while my kids were in school.  And now I homeschool 😂

I am a gamer.  Haha, yep.  I don’t play much (usually lol), but I enjoy playing games when I can.  I also love Netflix.  Netflix gets more love in the evenings these days because I’m usually nursing my baby.

I am a chef.  Lol, sort of.  I am a good cook.  I enjoy baking.  And eating.  I’m a season to taste kind of cook, which makes sharing recipes a little tricky.

I am LDS.  It’s a big part of who I am and how I view the world.  I believe in a loving God who loves me – and who loves you.

That’s a little snippet of who I am.  Enjoy!