It’s a girl (FINALLY!!!)

I had an awesome post all typed up.  It’s gone.  Evidently I didn’t, in fact, save it to drafts.

To continue on Lucy’s story…

In July (while submerged into getting our oldest ready for the convent) we had our “big” ultrasound.  As is our tradition, we brought all the kids with us.  It’s nice to share the journey with them and makes them feel more involved in getting ready for their new sibling, and really?  Who doesn’t like to see a sweet little baby swimming around in there?

We were all fully expecting to be told we were, in fact, having another boy.  It’s what we did.  God gave us two amazing daughters, early on, and He was wanting us to raise sons now.  We’d gotten used to the idea.  The volume in my home is loud, to say the least, and not a little messy at times but we’ve come to terms with that and just figured on welcoming another boy into the mix.  People kept asking what we were hoping for (of course we always said “healthy”) and we would respond with “doesn’t matter, either way we’ll probably have a boy!” and give a bit of a giggle.

Imagine our surprise when the ultrasound tech told us it was a girl.  I didn’t even know what she was looking at, completely oblivious.  When she pointed it out to me like I was an idiot I just looked at her and said “check it again, I don’t believe it.”  She, very kindly, did, and crazy enough, it was still a girl!!  I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and said “ummm, I think you’re broken!!”  Everyone wanted to know what her name was, but the thing is, we don’t share that information until it’s on the birth certificate, period.  It’s another weird family thing we do (mostly because I just don’t need other people’s opinions on the matter) and we’re fairly adamant about it.  All I wanted to do was rush to the store and start buying every single pink, ruffly thing in existence.  We did have to finish the ultrasound first, so I laid there with goop on my belly watching our little girl (!!!!) swimming around and crying tears of pure joy.  Everything looked great: heads, legs, arms, belly.  We couldn’t get a good shot of fingers or toes, she had her hands and feet up by her face, and for some reason we couldn’t get a great shot of her heart, even with me turning on my side and trying a different angle.  We all wrote it off as just baby being in a wonky position and didn’t think anything else of it.

The perinatologist came in to talk to us after the ultrasound (I had to have one because I’m old) and let us know all was well and he just wanted to see me in a couple of months for a follow-up growth scan, just to make sure my old-lady body was able to nourish and maintain a pregnancy like it could fifteen years ago.  I agreed, happy to get another peak at our newest little girl, and set up the appointment.

I look back on this particular time and marvel at how simple and easy it seemed and how incredibly confident I was that the baby was fine.  Practically Perfect in Every Way.  Goodness, to hear me talk,  I was carrying Mary Poppins herself.  I was a bit irritated when they ended up scheduling me for two ultrasounds, instead of the one.  Why would they do that?  There’s nothing wrong, after all, I have healthy babies, always have.  She’s fine.  I’m fine.  It’s all good.  I managed to talk my way out of one the ultrasounds and just kept the one in September.  There was no reason I could even begin to fathom that would make it necessary to be required to peak at her more than that and I’m a busy mama, lots to do and people to take care of.  Everything was fine.  Then, I just concentrated on planning a short vacation, keeping hydrated (summer in Oklahoma after all) and getting our oldest completely ready for the convent.  Sprinkled in there were little shopping trips for various baby things, little outfits with sweaters and jeans, pink and lace and ribbons, all the good stuff.  Life was perfect and amazing and busy and I was oblivious to the fact that our beautiful little girl was beginning a battle for her life.

“…A very good place to start…”

So, since the best place to begin is usually the beginning, I guess I’ll start there.  The beginning of Lucy.

I had attempted to make several appointments with my ob/gyn because my cycles were flipping out.  100 days, 10 days, 38 days and so on.  Clearly something wasn’t right and after taking enough pregnancy tests to have warranted the purchase of a large amount of stock in the company, all negative, I decided it was time for professional involvement.  I love my doctor, she’s pretty amazing and, awesomely enough, likes my husband and myself too.  I imagine we could go out to dinner and enjoy some awesome conversation over a bottle of wine.  Anyway, I came to her looking for advice on what in the world could be going on with my wonky body.  I knew I was fat, but didn’t think that was the issue, it never has been (and fat isn’t new).  I had horrible thoughts running through my head about cancer and all kinds of ugly things, but decided to wait until I talked to her before I invested in a cemetery plot and gravestone.

The doctor and myself took a bit of my appointment time catching up and then discussed my cycles.  Clearly, so clearly, I just wasn’t ovulating.  We couldn’t think why, but a strong dose of progesterone to kick start a cycle might be just what my body needed to get itself back into normal operating condition.  She asked if I wanted another pregnancy test and I said no, I had taken yet another one that morning, just to be sure, before I came for my appointment and it was negative, just like the rest of them had been for nearly a year.  I left with my prescription in hand and decided I’d get around to taking it eventually, if my body didn’t jump into normal on it’s own (don’t ask.  I have no idea.  Seriously, it wasn’t being “normal” yet, why would I think??  Yeah.  I have no idea, LOL!).

The next few days were extraordinarily busy, I never got around to picking up my script.  Finally my husband asked if I was ever going to take it.  He was right, I needed to get it and get started on it so I promised to get it picked up the next day, and as promised managed to make it to the pharmacy and pick it up.  It sat on the bathroom counter for a day or two, I just had such a strong check in my spirit, I couldn’t take it.  God was nudging me toward another pregnancy test, I just didn’t want to take it.  It was going to be negative, we didn’t need another baby right now, I didn’t have the time to wrestle another boy, I was tired.  Pregnancy is difficult and painful and I just didn’t have it left in me at the moment.  I still didn’t take that pill.  I took a test instead.

It was positive.

Shock is so mild a word.  I called my doctor’s office and asked them what the heck I was supposed to do now, I was NOT supposed to be pregnant.  I didn’t trust the test.  The nurse had me come in for blood tests, for three weeks I came in and had levels checked.  I was, in fact, pregnant, and the baby was growing strong.  When I finally got to see my doc (dh came with me, we really were in shock!) she cried tears of joy which was such a welcome reaction.  We weren’t ready to let the world in on our little secret, I just couldn’t take the ugliness.  We had to have joy.

We decided to tell our kiddos at Easter.  We put an egg in each basket with a little plastic baby in it and a tag saying “coming Nov 2014″.  It was such a sweet way to let them know we were getting a new member of the family, we really enjoyed sharing it with them.  We were a bit worried that the news would keep our oldest from entering a convent in the fall as she had started planning to do, but she assured us that she could be just as happy to have a new sibling there as at home and she would be okay.  It’s an odd thing to be pregnant and have an adult child at the same time.  So many things to balance, such different ways to parent each of them.  There are no rules or guides, you just muddle through to the best of your ability.

We laughed, then, at how much God wanted our little peanut to be here, His voice was so loud to me, when I thought about taking that medication.  We were so proud of ourselves that we had actually listened to His voice, and our sweet little one was still in my womb, safe and growing.

resolutions

So my resolution this year was to write more.  I’m happy when I write, it fills something that soothes and comforts, not to mention the past year we’ve had begs to be written down, not for anyone but myself and my family, but it must be writtten.

It’s February.  So, yeah, you can see how good I am at resolutions (I’ve resolved to lose weight for years and years, I’m still fat.) but I’m trying.

The past year saw my oldest attend her first year of college, apply, get accepted to and begin religious life at the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecelia, come home from said convent and restart life here, changing a college major and life direction.  Religious life is not completely written off, but it’s on the back burner.

The past year saw my boys grow and change so much that now one of them is taller than I am and his voice so changed as to be nearly foreign to my ears.  They are all big brothers as well.  We got pregnant, unexpectedly, in March as well.  That was the beginning of a season I would never have imagined, that tested my faith in ways I’ve not experienced before.  I need to start there.  My blog will become a bit of a chronology of our experiences with Lucy.  I need to get it out, write it out, sort it out.  Eventually we’ll be done with that and I can write of other things, but for now, I’m writing about Lucy.  About her story and our miracle.

Tomorrow.

Today, I’ve got kids that need teaching and feeding and loving.

mmmmmm

You know that beautiful moment when you find some fudge in the freezer?  NO?  I’m so, so sorry!  Nom nom nom

 

It’s November. 

It’s fall.

It’s beautiful!!!

SO thankful for living in such a beautiful place with such beautiful people (even when they’re driving me absolutely bananas, which seems to be often at this point.)

and freezer fudge.

and roasted chickens and bone broth.

and sage.

and babies (even when they don’t sleep) (and aren’t quite babies anymore.) (which just breaks my heart and makes me want time to stand still, but only for a minute so I can get a better grip before it zooms past)

and big kids (with vocations) (who are willing to follow God’s gentle nudging and mama’s prayers)

and boys who know who they are and where they stand and aren’t reluctant, no matter how difficult, to stand up for what is right, even if it means giving up nearly everything that was important to them until that point.

and  husbands who give up so much so joyfully with the hope of one day giving up even more.  who work so hard to live up to their patron, even if it means doing hard things in the midst of opposition.  who love unconditionally and wholly and completely.

and daughters who work so diligently to love, who study and dream and play and work and are lights to all they encounter (including their mama)

and little boys who want to sit close and love mama even when she is too busy to do so

and great friends who feel welcome into our lives and will come and be a part of them, without batting an eye, always bringing joy and laughter

and bonfires

and melty marshmallows

and Faith

 

What are you thankful for?

Mission Fields a plenty

I can not adopt or foster children, I have “too many” of my own.  I work daily to raise them and teach them and help them to grow into amazing kids.  I know there are kids out there hurting, I pray for them daily but God did not give us the means or ability to work for them.  I know there are poor everywhere, I know they need things and money and people and care and love.  Until I no longer have little toddlers running around I am useless to them physically.  I can, however, pray.  I can give what money/belongings we have, if we have any to give, although sometimes it’s all we can do to provide for our own family. 

There are so many ministries I can not actively participate in right now, prolife work that I feel so strongly about, homeless, poor, foster kids, children and adults in third world countries, the list is endless.   I hear, often, passionate and beautiful people pontificate about how they are filling a need, a very real and immediate need, and what sacrifices they’re making and how it’s all worth it.  They’re right.  It IS all worth it.  However, something that seems to be lost in translation is how upset they seem to be that everyone else isn’t following their mission.  Somehow we all should get over our selfish desires and tendencies and join them in their mission work.  Somehow we need to all be guilted into following God’s call for their lives. 

We are forgetting, in leaps and bounds lately, that God is calling us to live out  our vocation, with His Grace, to the best of our abilities.  Right now, my vocation is raising my family.  God has called me to a mission field in my own home.  He has called me to tend the needs of the children He has so abundantly blessed me with.  He is calling me to teach them about Him, about His Will and about His calling for them, in their lives.  I know it appears as if we’re doing nothing, but how can I justify serving God in the poor while neglecting my duties at home, to my family and children?  Am I really doing God’s Will to neglect the very family He entrusted to me?  Is it God’s Will to create “apostolic orphans”?  Motherless and Fatherless children raising themselves at home so that their parents can look good and feel good serving Him in a more visable and thankful venue. 

No.  I don’t think so.  I think we need to start giving ourselves permission to serve Him in the scrubbing of the floor and the sweeping of the porch. Serving him in the wiping of noses and serving the sick in our very own homes.  Serving him by teaching the ignorant within our own walls, showing and loving the least desirable in our families.  We need to start seeing how our daily life, without frills or fanfare, can, and does serve Him. 

Maybe instead of attempting to manipulate with guilt and anger we need to encourage each other in the living out of God’s calling on our lives, whatever way that manifests itself.  We need to encourage one another to listen and hear God’s still and quiet voice calling us to become better what we were created to be. 

 

Peace,

Kara

They’re all different.

It’s fall, it’s fall, it’s fall!!!!!!

Well, sorta. 

Oklahoma style anyway. 

The weather is finally cooler and looking to stay that way, we might even need to get out the boxes of clothes to do the dreaded “switching of seasons”.  I honestly can’t wait.  Weird, I know, but I love this time of year, it makes summer almost worth it.

School is puttering along but I think I’ve hit a road block with a certain kindergartner that I know.  He seems to be struggling to learn his letters (by sight) and I’ve got to admit I feel a bit like I’ve met my match!  He’s gotten the first four down.  Not sure what it is about A-D that he connects with so well, but he does.  We’ve not progressed past E-H, at all.  Not even a little bit.  We’ve been working on the alphabet for a year and a half now.  He can sing his ABC’s, but those letters are just giving him a run for his money! 

I was looking more into Montessori type activities to open up a door, or window (I’ll take what I can get) if I can.  It’s funny that after all these years of homeschooling I’ve never done anything Montessori on purpose.  I have liked what I’m reading, but the thought of starting something new, again, is overwhelming. 

So, trying to evaluate where we’re at, what we want to do, and what our goals are.  Are we serving a time line with our children’s education?  Do I care if it takes until he’s 7 to “get it”?  Yeah.  Probably not, sort of.  I don’t know.  Is it time to walk away for a bit, just do a simple “say the alphabet and go over cards” relaxed approach while reading amazing books for his nature study and counting everything in sight?  I think it might be, for both of us.  We’re talking about God, we’re talking about nature and doing experiments.  We’ve got it on the schedule to go on nature walks and relax.  We can count so many, many things. 

I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up in a time line of what “education” is supposed to look like that we forget to look at what the child looks like.  What his needs are and how best to meet them.  My little Kindergartner needs to be outside exploring, climbing and jumping to his heart’s content.  He needs to know who he is in the family he has and the community we live in.  He needs to know that God loves him and watches over him and that He died for him.  He needs to know his letters, yes, but he will. In time.  Right now the sweet little monkey needs to feel secure, and not stressed, he needs to know he’s smart and capable, and that’s what I need to be teaching him.

Vision check!

There are moments when I look over my life and see bills due, projects needing started (or finished) clothes that need bought, sewn or mended, appointments to be made or attended, school to be taught, tasks to accomplish, things to tick off.  The list is endless and terribly overwhelming.  I don’t see it letting up anytime soon (heck, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be going until the day I die, I just pray that I am very old and have many great great grandchildren by then!).  When I get caught up in the chaos and insanity, with no hope for a break or a vacation, I often want to sit down and cry.  Overwhelmed by the big picture, the everything, I forget about the little things that make up each day.  The little seconds here and there that, put together, bring the entire “big picture” into better focus. 

Instead of looking outside and seeing a house in need of repair, I need to look within the walls and see a home full of love, and strength, and joy, (and sometimes pain), sorrow and rejoicing, worry and stress, and prayer and thanksgiving.  I need to see beyond the baby who won’t sleep to the 7 year old who can’t bear to hear his brother fussing and goes in to him, patting him on the back and quietly singing a lullaby to soothe him to sleep.  I need to see the 13 year old who happily plays cars with the 3 year old so he can feel “big”.  I need to see the triumph of an alphabet remembered, or math facts mastered.   Children and parents celebrating each other in things little and big.  Loving and forgiving each and every day. 

While the yard is overwhelming and we need new tires or the carpet needs cleaning or the blinds dusted, the children are growing and memories are being made.  Dad wrestles on the floor with the boys, I fan girl with the girls about Iron Man (Seriously, Ummmm, yeah.  He was a hottie when I was 13!  Nothing has changed!).  We go about our days living in these walls, in this life.  The things, the overwhelming college tuition, senior year planning, activity list keeping will always, always continue.  I will be busy until the end of my days.  And, that busy-ness is not something I can take a vacation from, there are noses to wipe, heads to kiss and stresses to calm, always.  Every.  Single. Day.  The key is to remember that is the stuff of days.  That is what really living is all about.  The other?  The upkeep of a house, bills, cars, lives, all of that happens, always and no matter what.  It falls into place and it gets finished, but it is not what the “big picture” is really composed of.  If I were to look closely I would see those things, but they would be dotted about a page absolutely overwhelmed with the trappings of life.  The noise and mess that encompasses what being our family looks like.  The scrawled notes of love and encouragement from parent to child, the “atta boys” to siblings, the gratitude journal, spread out on the school room table, pages numbered and decorated with drawings of butterflies and bird, our home, skateboards and rain, pencils strewn around it because there was no time to put it away before being rushed through bath time and bed. 

I know that God wants us to see things through His eyes, not the world’s, and yet, every once in a while the world slips in and God has to send these precious saints in training to straighten out my vision again.