Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Wow, has it really been 2 months since I've last posted?  Crazy!

I don't really have much to say and it's almost my bedtime so I'll make this short and sweet.  I've had a lot of people lately come up to me and glance at my belly, then ask me if I have any news.  They say that I posted a lot at one time and now they haven't heard anything. Nope.  I do not have any news.  Sorry!  I posted everything that I posted because it was National Infertility Awareness Week.  Plus, I don't really have much else to report.  We have started some fertility treatments, but so far I am not pregnant.  I'm praying, and so is Scott, that a sustainable pregnancy comes along soon, however.  We'll leave that all in God's hands.

I realize that I've very much made this journey public, and that when I haven't posted in two months about it that people may begin to wonder.  So I just wanted everyone to know that no, I'm not pregnant yet.  I posted a lot in April just because it was NIAW and I wanted other infertiles to feel a sense of solidarity.  Otherwise, this blog is intended to record the funny and cute things my boys do (hence the name Life With Boys).  That's why you're not reading anything else about the journey here.  Maybe one day I'll have more to add, if another little boy happens to come along :)

Keeping wishing that baby dust on us!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Our Infertility Story- Part 6

This is as far as we've gotten in our story so far, but we are far from the end.  This journey is far from over.  Through this week of posting, I have received several messages from several people who have their own infertility stories to share.  My goal has been to encourage other women to share their stories, and they have, so I consider this to have been a success.

 I don't know what God has in store for us.  I'm not sure if he intends for our family to grow larger, or if maybe we need to wait a bit and learn some lessons first, or if our family is now complete.  I guess there's really no way to know that.  I suppose that years from now, if we have three children or if we don't, we will know the answer.  Scott and I have been holding on to Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  This has been comforting to us for the last 14 months, and will continue to comfort us for the rest of this journey.

 Happy reading :)  


Wednesday, 03 April 2013

Antral Follicle Count

Today I went in for more bloodwork and also an ultrasound of my ovaries and uterus to see if there were any structural abnormalities.  My uterus is fine, but my ovaries were interesting.  Each ovary is supposed to have around 5-10 follicles on it on day 3 (which is today), with 10-20 overall.  My left ovary had about 24 follicles and my right about 27 (give or take a few), for a total of 51 overall.  In normal ovulation, one follicle will become dominant and eventually release an egg.  The tech told me, however, that when you have as many follicles as I have, it is unlikely that one will become dominant and release an egg. 

However, I do know that I have released at least a few eggs, since I've conceived.  So, until we get my hormone levels back next week, I'm not really sure what's going on.  The first thing I think of is PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome), but like I said, we'll wait for the doctor to interpret my results before I start any rumors :)

That's all for now...

Tuesday, 09 April 2013


Yesterday Dr. Young called me with my test results from last week.
Everything's fine.
Everything's normal.
Nothing is wrong.

I should be happy about this, but honestly, I'm devastated.  I was banking on being able to find something that could be fixed, but there is nothing that needs fixing.  I kept thinking that if only we could fix something, then all our problems would be solved, and I'd be able to carry a baby to term.  Maybe I'd need some progesterone or clomid or something and things would be ok.

But now, there's nothing we can do except keep trying to get pregnant.  Who knows how long that will take, and there's a much bigger risk that I'll miscarry again.  On the one hand I don't want to go through that anymore.  On the other hand, our family is not complete.  We are not all here yet.

So, I think we'll go forward.  I think we'll continue trying, running the risk of breaking our hearts over and over again. 

We can do this.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Our Infertility Story- Part 5

 Since it is National Infertility Awareness Week, I have been sharing my own infertility story via my blog this week.  My hope is that someone else will read my story and maybe not feel so alone in their own journey.

 A little background information:
Nov. 2006- I had my first miscarriage, a blighted ovum, at 9 weeks.
Nov. 2007- Benjamin Scott was born (he was conceived in the first month of trying)
Apr. 2010- Caleb Blake was born (again, first month of trying)

We've been trying to have a third baby for 14 months with no luck.  I've had two miscarriages: one in November and the other in March.  This is our story.

Wednesday, 06 March 2013

Yesterday I went to see Dr. Makkapadi to talk about my miscarriage.  She did an internal exam (which I was NOT ready for!) and verified that my miscarriage was complete.  Then we talked about moving forward.  She wrote me an order for bloodwork, which had to be done at the hospital because of how it needed to be stored immediately.  She also gave me a prescription for a progesterone suppository and told me to fill it the minute I get another positive pregnancy test.  She said that there was no guarantee with it, but it might help.

So I took my bloodwork order to the hospital, and when I handed the phlebotomist the order her eyes got huge and she said "are you serious?"  This is what we were testing for:
-Anticardiolipid antibodies
-Prothrombin Activity
-Gene mutation
- Factor V Leiden
- TSH (thyroid)
- HcG quantitative
- Progesterone
- Karotyping

There were a couple others that I can't remember.

In all, she took 15 vials of blood from me.  While she said that wasn't the most she's ever taken from a person, she said that it's much more than she normally does.  I felt special :)

My bloodwork results should come back in a week or so, and Dr. Makkapadi said she'd most likely refer me to Dr. Cooper and Dr. Young.  They are fertility specialists in Des Moines. 

So for now, we wait.

By the way, my bleeding is mostly done and I'm physically feeling much better.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Moving Forward

On Monday I got a call from Dr. Makkapadi's office that all my bloodwork results were in and everything was in the normal range.  She gave me a referral to Mid-Iowa Fertility, and I was able to get an appointment the next morning at 9:20 with Dr. Young. (they had a cancellation.  Otherwise I would have had to wait until April 18th!).

 My good friend Kristen came over to watch the kids, and I met Scott at the clinic.  Dr. Young was very nice, albeit a bit socially awkward.  So, here is what he told us:

- There is a good chance my miscarriages have been because of chromosomal abnormalities, since I have two children already and all my miscarriages have been very early.
- There is also a good chance I have a Vitamin D deficiency, which causes my uterine lining to not grow thick enough to sustain a pregnancy.
- There was also a good chance that I have issues with my uterine structure (polyps, cysts, scar tissue).
- From a fertility standpoint I'm doing ok, since I've been pregnant twice in the last year.
- Scott could have an issue with his sperm.

Moving forward, he told us he wanted me to have a hysterosalpingogram (hsg) test done and then later, on day 2 or 3 of my cycle, have some more bloodwork done to test for genetic factors as well as hormones.  Also, I need to have an ultrasound of my ovaries done to check for egg quality.  We were actually able to schedule the HSG for the same afternoon, so I've already gotten that one out of the way.  It was very quick and very painless;  Dr. Young shot dye into my uterus  and then used an x-ray to watch where it went and make sure it spilled into my ovaries.  It did, which means there were no blockages, and my uterus is structurally sound. 

Now, we just wait a couple of weeks until I get my period and can have more testing done.  I'm glad that we are moving forward with testing and hopefully we can get some answers soon.  Dr. Young did tell us, though, that there is a chance we will never have an answer.  At that point, we'll decide whether or not we want to keep trying, knowing that there is a chance for more heartache.  I guess we'll figure that out when the time comes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Infertility Story- Part 4

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I have been sharing my own story of infertility.  My husband and I have been trying for fourteen months to have a third child, with nothing but two miscarriages to show for it.  We now have three babies in Heaven and two on Earth.  My hope is that other women who are struggling will read this story and know they are not alone.

 Here is our infertility story, part 4. 

 p.s. Don't forget to keep track of the dates!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Yesterday I took a positive pregnancy test and went in for bloodwork to test my hcg and progesterone.  I'm going to start keeping stats on here for my own purposes.

4w0dHcG: 14
Progesterone: 11.1

My numbers are low.  I'm not completely pessismistic, but not very optimistic either.  We'll see what happens, I guess.  If I do have another miscarriage, maybe we'll be able to do some testing and find out what's going on.

Friday, 01 March 2013


Just as I thought, this pregnancy is not going to make it.  My HcG at 4w3d was 17.  It's just a matter of time time until I start to bleed.

My kids are demanding food.  It's hard to be a mom when things are going on like this, but I have to do it, right?

Saturday, 02 March 2013

Sparkling Failure

The last few days I've been cleaning like mad, and anyone who knows me knows this isn't normal.  Just a minute ago I figured out why.

I feel like I've failed Scott.  My body isn't able to hold on to a pregnancy and although I know it's not REALLY my fault, I still feel like I'm failing.

And when you're failing in one area you try to make up for it in another area.  At least I do, anyway.  So, my kitchen is sparkling clean because Scott likes clean kitchens.  He has no clue I'm doing this.  Heck, I had no clue either until just now.  But yeah, that's what's going on.  My kitchen is sparkling because my body is failing to do what it was made to do.

And that's all I feel like writing about right now.

Sunday, 03 March 2013

I started spotting last night before bed.  By the time I got up this morning, I was bleeding.  It's not super heavy yet, so I suppose that's good.  Cramping is mild.  I've spent most of the day in bed, except when I've had to work (I'm working Hy-Vee this weekend). 

I'm anxious to go to the doctor and start getting some answers. It's killing me that I can't know what's going on RIGHT NOW.  It's hard to stay patient. 

My cousin told me about the Creighton Model of natural family planning, and so I did a little research and found a clinic that uses it and NaProTECHNOLOGY in Des Moines.  I'm considering going to them.  I'm frustrated that I've known something has been wrong for a year and nobody has listened to me.  Two precious lives have been lost because nobody would take me seriously.  I need to advocate better for myself, to make lists and take them to the doctor and not leave until everything I want to talk about has been discussed. 

Right now, to be honest, I'm not sure I want to continue with trying to have a baby.  Maybe we were meant to only have two children.  Or maybe I'm just weary.  I'm tired of the trying and the disappointment and the fear and the loss.  I just want someone to make the decision for me so I don't have to.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Infertility Story- Part 3

This is part three of our story about infertility.  I'd like you to see the emotional parts of infertility.  I'm not posting this to garner attention or to make people sorry for me, though.  I'm posting because I want people to know that secondary infertility is real, and it affects way more people than most people think.  I'm also doing this because nobody should have to feel alone in this journey.  Maybe telling my story will bring a sense of solidarity to other women.

We are still at the beginning of our journey, even though it started fourteen months ago.  So far, I have not been on any special meds, or had to give myself injections, or had to have highly invasive procedures done on me or on Scott.  I pray that we will never have to get to that point.  I've witnessed it with my best friend and it was not pretty.  I admire her courage and strength, and I know that every day she thanks God for the miracles He gave her.  She had to endure much to receive much.  I love that she is so willing to share her story;  her openess has given me strength to talk about my story. 

p.s.  Remember, this was written in January :)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

  • Ramblings

    This is the twelfth month that we have been trying for a baby.  It's hard to believe that last January we were nervous about the decision to expand our family, February we started, and here were are, almost a year later with no baby.  After conceiving three times in our first month, I never thought we would be at the point where we are now.  If, at the end of this month, I am still not pregnant, we will start blood work.  The fact that I was pregnant in November kind of cancels out all the other months of trying, so technically, we are not considered "infertile".  However, I will still pursue bloodwork and see if I can figure out at least if the issue is with me.

    Meanwhile, I am frustrated.  And sad, too.  And a tad bit guilty, because I'm at the point where I don't like pregnant women.  A dear friend of mine called the other day to tell me she was pregnant, and all I could think was that I was glad she was telling me over the phone so she couldn't see my tears.  It's hard to explain.  I"m very happy for her, but even more sad for me.  The fact that she conceived her baby right about the same time I lost mine is not lost on me.

    I thought I would beat her to it.

    I know that sounds selfish, but I did think that.

    I have a friend who struggled for six years to have a child.  Just a few weeks ago, her daughter was born.  I cannot imagine the pain she must have felt.  While I so desperately want another baby, at least I've been blessed with two amazing little boys.  Still, it is painful to see so many people around me pregnant. 

    I've been wondering if I'm being punished or tested by God.  I'm not sure.  It's possible.

    Maybe something good will come to me and that's why I have to wait.

    Maybe I'm being taught a lesson in patience.

    This I know: I am sad, frustrated, and a little bit miserable.  I am also a little more humble, closer to God than ever before, and appreciative of all I have.

    Now may I have my baby?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Our Infertility Story- Part 2

For those of you who don't know, Scott and I have been struggling for fourteen months to have a third baby.  In November, we suffered a miscarriage at 5 1/2 weeks, and then another in March.  In honor of Infertility Awareness Week, I have decided to share our story.

 I have another blog on Xanga that I use to privately record everything that has been going on, so this week I will copy snippets of that blog to share with everyone here. 

Here is our infertility story, Part 2.



Tuesday, 06 November 2012


The last two days have been a bit of a blur to me.  I've spent most of my time lying in bed and going to the bathroom to take care of things.  I feel this darkness around me and all I want to do is sleep.  Is this depression?  I wonder if it is.  I think it might be.  I'm trying hard to come out of it, but I think it's justified.

Because yesterday I started bleeding heavily.  Which would be no big deal unless you knew that last week I had a positive pregnancy test.  So that means that I miscarried at 5 weeks.  Add that to the fact that we'd been trying for 8 months to get pregnant and one could probably see why I've been in bed the last two days.

Tomorrow my help is gone.  Scott's parents have been here since last Tuesday and have been incredibly helpful the last two days.  Tomorrow they leave.  Scott also goes back to work tomorrow.  So I am on my own with my boys and Lydia and I'm a little apprehensive.  I'd rather spend a few more days in bed.

But life must go on, right?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Infertility Story- Part 1

For those of you who don't know, Scott and I have been struggling for fourteen months to have a third baby.  In November, we suffered a miscarriage at 5 1/2 weeks, and then another in March.  In honor of Infertility Awareness Week, I have decided to share our story.

 I have another blog on Xanga that I use to privately record everything that has been going on, so this week I will copy snippets of that blog to share with everyone here. 

Here is our infertility story, Part 1.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Here's a little background information on what's been going on:

March 2012- I went off birth control and ignored the doctor's commands to wait a few months before trying to conceive baby #3.  We weren't exactly trying, but we definitely weren't NOT trying.

June 2012- I started charting my temperature and realized something was wonky.  I never got my "spike" that I was supposed to get after ovulating.

July 2012- Still not pregnant, I made an appointment with my ob-gyn at Women's Health Services.  I needed a pap anyway, so I just asked that the doctor schedule me some extra time so we could discuss trying to conceive.  I did get my temperature spike this month.

August 2012- I started therapy for my crazy-psycho mood swings I've been having.  Every month I turn into a terrible ogre, and I don't like what's going on.  My therapist (Amy), told me I have mild depression and told me to take St. John's Wort.  I started it for a week or so, but stopped taking it for no reason other than something in my gut told me it wasn't necessary.  I also called my ob's office again, and cried to the nurse.  I explained to her that I have been pregnant three times in the first month of trying, and this (now 6 months) was highly unusual.  I also told her about my irregular periods (anywhere from 23 to 30 days), and heavy flow.  I'm also losing hair.  The nurse told me that there is definitely something going on, and that they would do blood draws at my appointment to find out what's happening.  She couldn't get me in any sooner than already scheduled, so I decided to wait one more month.

I also started using ovulation predictor kits in August.  I never surged.  Also did not get my temp spike.

September 2012- Still charting, still doing OPKs.  I went to the ob yesterday and was devastated when she told me that she would do my pap or my blood work, but she couldn't do both because insurance wouldn't cover both.  Frankly, I believe that she just decided she wanted to go home, as I was her last patient of the day.  She refused to look at my charts, and told me to come back in five months.  She left the room, I cried, then got dressed and opened the door.  That's when I noticed two nurses talking in hushed tones, and one of them said "she's coming out".  They then plastered fake smiles on their faces and asked if there was anything else I needed.  I quickly said "no" and walked out.  I'm sure they were talking about me; I'm convinced they were not saying nice things about me.

Today I called another OB clinic, and they told me they'd gladly see me, even though we are only on month 7 of trying.  I told the nurse that I have two children already,  but all signs are pointing to me not ovulating.  She was very sympathetic, and scheduled me an appointment for October 17th (the first available).

I'm very upset with the way I was treated at Women's Health.  I will not be returning there.  Nobody, especially not someone who is struggling with depression and infertility, should have to be made to feel the way I was yesterday. 

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

To Caleb, On Your Third Birthday

Dear Caleb,
Three years ago today, your daddy and I laughed as you slipped quickly into this world.  You made quite the entrance, little man, not leaving any time for the doctor to do what she needed to do to help bring you into this world.  You were going to do things your own way, happily oblivious to society's "norms", yet so charming that nobody really cared.

You gave us quite a scare, little one, when you so recklessly arrived.  Your lungs didn't have the opportunity to be squeezed the way they should have been, so your body was purple/gray and you had to be on oxygen for a bit.

But ever the optimist, you powered through, and within a couple of hours you were pink and smiling.

Caleb, you were born smiling, with Daddy and I laughing.  And that's the way it continues to this day.  Your sweet smile and silly antics have your Daddy and me smiling and laughing all the time.  I love that you march to your own crazy drum, so happy and so carefree.  Life is a party to you, Caleb Blake, and my wish for you is that the party continues.

I love your matter-of-fact optimism, little Bug.  You believe, in your core, that everything will always go the way you intend for it to go.  There's no Pollyanna attitude with you; yes the sun is always shining, but it's only because the sun has no other option BUT to shine.  Yes, Mommy will give you a juice box even though she always gives milk at lunch, because Mommy has no other option BUT to give you a juice box.  And if, perchance, Mommy happens to tell you that you can't have one, you'll turn on that dimpled grin and whisper "juice box", because you know that the quieter you are the more people will listen.  And 99% of the time, you'll get your way with that charm.  I love and loathe that about you, Caleb!

I fear that your wit and your charm will be your downfall, Caleb.  I fear that you will be able to get yourself out of a lot of situations, and you will never really learn a good lesson from having to suffer any consequences.  Of course, I am your mother, and my prayer is that your road is as smooth as possible, but I also pray that you will learn to handle the tough times with dignity and grace.

Little one, I worry every day about the way that Daddy and I are raising you and Ben (Bay-un, as you call him) in a way that is pleasing to God.  I pray that you will grow up to love Him, that you will be a Godly man one day.  Your carefree spirit and gentle heart have the potential to lead you in many different directions; my hope is that the path you follow is the one that brings you the most peace in life and that reflects God's desire for you.

Thank you, little Pizza, for bringing a sense of humor into our family.  Thank you for your imagination and giggles.  Thank you for running around with no pants, singing the Oompa Loompa song, dressed as "Darth Vader" (but the good guy Darth, not the bad guy), while your Storm Troopers (Daddy and Ben) follow you around.  Thank you for declaring your name is Pizza, and that your age is four-nine-eight, and for insisting on wearing rain boots to church.  Thank you for being such a love bug.  I love you, Caleb Blake!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This morning when I threw the kids in the van to take Ben to school, I noticed Scott's sunglasses sitting in a cupholder and thought it would be a good idea to take them to him at work.  And, since we were in the business of showing up at his work with things for him, Caleb and I decided it would also be nice to surprise him with a Caramel Macchiato from Starbuck's.

Scott was surprise and happy and spent a few minutes visiting with us and then it was time to go.  As we approached the lobby of the hospital, I heard a faint "Ma'am?  Excuse me, ma'am?".  I looked over to see an elderly woman flagging me down, so of course I went over to see what she wanted.

Adjusting the getting-very-heavy toddler I watch on my hip and pushing my falling-off-my-shoulder purse back up, I approached the woman. 

"Isn't there supposed to be a volunteer here?" she asked me.  "I thought there was supposed to be someone who can help me get upstairs."

I don't know, lady.  I don't work here.  Can't you see I'm trying to juggle a toddler and a preschooler and a juice box?

"I'm not really sure, but maybe I can help you," I said.

"Well," she said, "my daughter just dropped me off so she could take her own son to a doctor's appointment.  I have these two bags here, and do you think I could take a wheel chair upstairs?  That way I could put my bags on the chair and push it around.  I'm very unsteady on my feet.  Isn't there supposed to be someone here to help me?"

"Well, how about I'll just help you?"  I said.

"Oh, I'm sure you have someplace to be," she replied.

Yes, home, so I can change a diaper and give snacks out.

"Nope, we were just visiting my husband at work.  We can help you out."

"Oh thank you," she said.  "I'm here visiting my husband in the hospital.  He has cancer."

Oh.  The C-word. 

I got a call from my mom this morning.  My grandpa was just diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer.  It is inoperable, and he will go in for a PET scan next week to see how treatable it is.  As I spoke with this woman, who happened to be just my grandma's age, I couldn't help but picture my grandma in this same position.  I knew that this old woman could easily have been my grandma in the hospital trying to visit her sick husband.  Tears came to my eyes as I took her bags and she took my arm and the four of us made our way up to the eighth floor.

As we slowly walked down the hall, we had plenty of time to talk.  It turns out she's from the small town where Scott and I are planning to go for a getaway next month and knows a couple of people that I know in Mary Kay.  I told her about them, and she told me that she's been in Mary Kay for 30 years.

As we approached the nurses' station, one of the nurses, seeing that I was carrying a squirming toddler and three bags while trying to wrangle an almost two year old with an eldery lady on my arm, came rushing up to help.  She asked the woman (who, I had learned, was named Evelyn) who "these cuties" were that she brought with her, and Evelyn replied that she had just met us in the lobby.  Before the nurses could walk her down to see her husband, Evelyn stopped, grabbed both of my hands and told me her full name.  She told me her phone number and the town that she lived in, and told me I really needed to call her.  She then asked for my name, and told me she was going to go write it down before she forgot.

As the nurses walked her down the hall, I could hear Evelyn repeating my name over and over, most likely so she wouldn't forget it.

I teared up a little as I watched her walk away, thinking of my grandparents.

My grandpa and I have been close my whole life.  In fact, my grandparents had a huge part in raising me.  Knowing my grandpa has inoperable lung cancer is killing me.  Thinking of a future without either of my grandparents is unbearable.  I knew in my head that this time would come, but my heart refused to believe it.  It's too early to tell how much time he has left.  Right now he's feeling pretty good.  I do know that the median survival rate for his cancer is 16-24 months.  I pray that for him it's longer.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mom Points

I have spent most of my motherhood feeling inadequate, wondering when I was going to ever be a "real" mom whose kids are happy and well-adjusted, whose house is always spotless, who lovingly prepares wholesome meals made with organic, all-natural ingredients, whose children gobble up those meals with smiles on their faces while thanking me for a job well done.  I've held on to this idea that every day needs to be stimulating, filled with crafts and songs and stories, lots of giggles and laughter, and no tears.  I've been shamed into thinking that TV will rot my children's brains and that I need to spend a minimum of 23 hours a day directly engaging them.

What was I thinking??

Somehow, recently, I've had an epiphany.  I am not perfect.  It's ok for my children to watch tv.  In fact, our days run much more smoothly when the boys start out with a little Curious George, have some breakfast, then watch some Cat in the Hat.  That's our routine.  While some people would cringe at the thought of letting their children start the day with (gasp) TV, I've come to realize that in our house, we NEED to start out that way.

Also, my house is not spotless and I'm ok with that.  Actually, most people who come over don't even realize it's not spotless.  Has it really taken me almost seven years to see that people come over to see me and not criticize my house?  I have much more important things to do than to mop my floors and scrub my toilet.  While I do like to maintain a certain level of cleanliness, I've learned that only robots and people without small children keep their house spotless on a daily basis.  And if their house just does happen to be spotless, I can guarantee some other part of their life is imperfect.

Here's the way I see it:  I have ten "energy points" to use every day.  If I expend all my points keeping my house clean (a spotless house is worth 10 points, by the way), then I don't have any left over for time with kids.  If I spend 9 points in taking care of and connecting with my kids, then I only have 1 point left over for cleaning.  If I spend 5 points slaving over a stove and making a delicious meal, and 3 points playing with the kids, I only have 2 points left over for a quick clean up of the kitchen.

Get it?  It's all in the points.  All those other moms out there have the same amount of points as I have.  And we each choose to spend our points in different ways.  The way we choose to spend them is based on our needs for that day, and can easily change from day to day.  My point choices are no better than your point choices, and yours are no better than mine.  At the end of the day, we've all used the same amount of points.

So, don't fret if your house is messy and your kids are happy.  And don't fret if your kids are messy and your house is spotless.  And don't fret if you forgot to do a craft with your kids today while your friend did twelve educational activities with her kids.

And if your friend does educational activities with her kids and feeds them homemade real food meals and volunteers at the homeless shelter and has a perfect house and works out five hours a day and reads interesting books, then she clearly has a maid.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Not Mine.

They're not mine.

Back in high school (or was it college?  I don't really remember.), I learned that there is a culture somewhere in Africa (or was it Asia?  I realize I'm starting to lose credibility here, but just hear me out) whose language does not use possessive pronouns.  There is no "my" or "mine" or "yours" or "hers" or "his".  If a person wants to talk about her husband, she'd call him "the man I married" or something like that.  And if she wanted to talk about her son, she'd call him "the child I birthed."  It gets a little more complicated with things like "my couch" ("the couch I purchased when I was newly married") or "my gray sweater" ("the sweater that the woman who gave birth to me gave to me for the anniversary of when she gave birth to me last year"), but all in all, I kind of like the idea of no possessive pronouns.

Because here's the thing.  We don't belong to each other.  Scott is not my husband, and Ben and Caleb are not my children.  We are on loan to each other.  There is Someone higher and mightier who truly owns us, and while it's true that Scott is more MY husband than he is YOURS, the only one he really belongs to is God.

And the only one I really belong to is God as well.

How absolutely freeing is that?

Today was a rough day.  The boys were very disrespectful, very hyper, and very cranky.  There was lots of wrestling going on, which turned to pushing, which turned to screaming.  Much of the screaming was done on my part.  We're doing this 1,2,3, Magic thing, and it works most of the time, but today it seemed the only thing that could get those two to settle down was for me to yell at them.  But not ten minutes later they were back at it again.  I wanted to pull my hair out.  I could not believe the way those two were treating each other, me, their toys, and my stuff.  I could not wait for Scott to get home.  I told them more than once that they were acting like jerks.

And then I sat down and read the bible.  I was in Luke when something triggered my memory about the Africans without possessive pronouns.

And I remembered that these children are not mine.

They are on loan to me from God, who loves me, and knows the plans He has for me.  Plans to prosper me, not to harm me (that's in Jeremiah 22. Go look it up.  You will love it.).

Sure, I carried these little people for 40 back-breaking weeks, pushed them out of me, and have spent the last five years making sure they are well-fed, warm, secure, and polite.  Sure, I have some days exhausted every resource I know of trying to get them to behave.  Sure, I have done things I never thought I'd do, like swear off highly-processed, preservative-laden food so I can make sure they grow up without cancer or personality disorders.

But, really, they do not belong to me.

So I need to take reeeeeeeeallly good care of them while they're in my care.  I need to love on them and teach them how to grow up to be good men and set firm boundaries and play with them and be silly with them and give them good routines and teach them responsibility and give them eskimo kisses because one day God will want to know what I did with what he loaned to me.

I don't know about you, but I want to give Him the right answers.


I mentioned a while ago that I was going to start feeding my family "Real Food".  I found this site, and decided that we were ingesting way too many chemicals and not nearly enough good for you food.  Well, we've been doing pretty ok with it, but definitely not great.

The thing is, they have these great weekly pledges , which I consider to be more like challenges.  Anyone who knows me knows I can't back down from a challenge.  Starting this week, we are taking on these challenges, and I am challenging myself to a few more things:

1. Exercise regularly.  I joined a gym and paid way more than I could afford up front so I HAVE to go.  I am taking classes 5 days a week, including Zumba, Pilates, and Bodypump.  I currently weigh more than I ever have in my life (with the exception of when I was pregnant, of course), so this is a much needed thing.  So far I've lost 3 pounds!

2. Spend $50 or less a week on groceries.  This one will be tough, but with our Real Food pledges I think we can do it.  I'll basically just need to buy things like milk, butter, eggs, flour, yogurt, and produce.  Once in a while I'll need things like oil or sunflower seeds or oats or something.  My freezers are full of a 1/4 cow and 1/2 hog that I purchased locally from a friend so we should be set in that area.  I have never spent that little money on groceries, though, so that should be a challenge.  Have  I mentioned that we never go out to eat?  This will be tough!

3. Read the Bible in a year.  I've found a site that will walk me through it, and I plan to read it through chronologically.  This should be my easiest challenge yet!

4. Spend at least 30 minutes (cumulative) in active, engaged play with each of my boys each day.  No phones, no computers, no distractions of any kind.  Just me and my boys.  That doesn't seem like a lot of time, but it's surprising how often I'm distracted with other things when I'm playing with them.  All too often, I take for granted the fact that I'm with them all day long, so I don't really intentionally spend time with them.  Before I know it, the years will be behind us and I'll have not much to show for it.

With that said, I am getting off this computer now.  Time to go spend time with my boys!