Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rain

I have such mixed feelings about rain these days. Back in the "old days" when we lived in the Metroplex rain simply meant no Park Day on Fridays or a need for an umbrella or something. Or frizzy hair (okay, some things never change).

Nowadays rain brings so much more to mind:

*Perhaps an end to the burn ban so we can burn some of our trash.

*This time of year I don't worry so much about grass growing for the cows, but the pond will be full and that's good. Cows drink a lot and that's less water we'll have to pay for.

*There will be TONS of mud dragged into the house by all the little (and big) feet that go in and out all the time.

*Lots of wet clothes to wash. (Well, that's nothing new.)

*And for now, I wonder if we'll be stuck in the house. The road across our property that leads to this house gets awfully muddy. We haven't yet put in a gravel driveway as we plan to do eventually. So lots of rain means lots of mud which means we stay here until it dries up some. And I guess I need to call the friends that were planning to stop by tomorrow and warn them that it's too muddy--IF it's too muddy.

None of these things are things that will keep me up at night. But just one of the changes from "then" to "now". Every so often I notice these things and marvel at how different my life is these days. But mostly, I just live it day by day and do what needs to be done. Now there's a change right there. I feel so much less stress over life in general.

Melissa

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Big Hole

People often think that with all these kids it must be hard to keep up with them all. There's this attitude that we have so many we wouldn't notice if one was gone. But we feel very differently. If one child is gone we all feel like there's a big hole and something is missing.

We've really struggled with Stephen's absence. We know this is right and good and he should grow up and move on. But we still miss him. I still have to remind myself every so often that I only need to count to 8 now, not 9. It doesn't help that Mitchell turned 16 yesterday and will be getting a driver's license this week. I know that means that being away from home a lot is just right around the corner.

And now Roger is out of town and that leaves an even bigger void. Thankfully this is much more temporary.

Last night we swapped children with some old friends. They had Faith for the night and most of today. Meanwhile, we have two of their girls. So numberwise, I am back up to nine. But it isn't the same. Several of the kids have commented on how weird it feels. I keep having to really think through who is here and who isn't and it seems, even though there are nine kids in the house, like there aren't enough. It just feels like the house is so empty!

Sam, age 3, said it well this morning when he woke up. "Mom, I need Daddy and Stephen and Faith to all come home right now!"

Melissa

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The day started off as usual with preparations to go milk the cow. Faith put on her coat and then watched a scorpion come crawling out from where she'd just picked up her coat. I guess the "little" thing got cold outside and came in for warmth. Clark got to be a man and protect his sister by killing it. He then proudly showed his trophy to everyone.

We then went off to our homeschool co-op and ran errands and all was well. We had a prenatal appointment with our midwife, Betsy, and all is well with Baby. No unfortunate events there--even with our student driver doing all the driving. (I can't believe Mitchell will be 16 in just a few days!)

We got home and I was exhausted and looking forward to spending the evening at home. Then I got a call from a friend reminding me of a meeting tonight for Smoothing the Way--a class to prepare new homeschoolers on the "how to's" of homeschooling. I left the house grumbling to myself about how I wish I didn't have to do this because I just didn't feel like going tonight. Roger wasn't home and I didn't feel right leaving the kids alone yet in the new house. Basically just grumbling about whatever because I was tired and sore. (My midwife and I are thinking the pains in my abdomen are gallstones. Not fun.) I passed the neighbors house and was surprised to see our cow walking down the road! My complaining instantly turned to thanks to God that I had to go out. Who knows what could have happened if I hadn't been out and seen her! This was Isabella, our milk cow. She's like part of the family and we would NOT want to lose her. I called my friend to tell her I would be late and then turned around to get the kids.

We dropped Mitchell off with the cow, then went to get her harness and lead. Grace discovered a gate had been left open. No one has admitted to that, but at least it wasn't a fence that needs mending. When we went back to Mitchell and the cow, she wouldn't let him harness her. Cows are afraid of the dark anyway, so she was extra skittish. I sat and silently prayed that Mitchell would be able to get her, but instead she started running down the road. So I began to pray out loud that God would send an angel or something and just lead her right into the gate. She kept running down the road and Grace ran ahead and opened the gate. I realized she could easily just run right past it so I prayed (out loud again) that God would lead her to turn and go in the gate. She got to it, turned, and went straight in! I couldn't believe how easy it was!

Now, she is in our pasture, but not the right one. She's back with the other cows including her calf. Taffy isn't much of a calf anymore, she's about as big as her mom. But that won't stop her from nursing all night. We'll probably have to separate them in the morning rather than milking her, but we still have her.

So we went and explained that I wouldn't be staying at my meeting and headed home to rest. But it wasn't time to rest yet. We're thinking that satan didn't like that we were all praising God so much so we got to "enjoy" another test. We were just about ready to "talk about our day" (which is part of our bedtime routine) when we heard this loud splash of water. Remember, our house is quite unfinished. The dishwasher is connected and was running, but the wall behind it which is the bar that separates the kitchen from the living and dining rooms is not yet built. The kids seem to enjoy climbing up there. I think they must have loosened a connection or something and the pipe coming into the house that goes to the dishwasher suddenly separated where it was connected and water was pouring in. Thankfully Mitchell knew how to fix it, but meanwhile we ended up with a huge mess all over the kitchen and the dining room. I found myself wishing we'd actually put those drains in the floor, but we didn't. After soaking every towel in the house and wringing them out and soaking them again and again, I suddenly remembered the wet/dry vac. Duh. It was cleaned up minutes later.

Why do all these things happen when Roger is not home? I'll tell you what. I've sure been appreciating the sacrifice that military wives make! It really hit me today that while my husband is gone for a while, I miss him terribly. But he's never been gone for more than a week or so at a time. I can't imagine the 18 month stretches that military wives face. I woke up feeling lonely and feeling for them, but now after seeing that they must face all these struggles alone, too, I appreciate it even more.

God bless you ladies. Know that my prayers are with you tonight.

Melissa

Saturday, January 12, 2008

When's the baby due?

I've been so busy focusing on the whole new house project and getting moved, that at times I actually forgot I am expecting a new baby. I've been feeling really good and I figure that's because I've been so active and busy.

The other day we watched some program on tv where they were delivering babies. One baby after another was born for an hour. Gloria (about 1 1/2 yrs old) sat and watched it very closely. After the first baby was born, I asked her if she saw that baby come out of that mommy's tummy. She nodded yes, then laughed and said "potty!" Then she just kept laughing. Later that night I commented to her about a baby I'd seen that she knows. He's pretty little and she must have connected him somehow with the show she'd just seen. Then I said, we'll have a baby soon, won't we? She jumped off my lap (I was sitting cross-legged on the floor), got in front of me like a football player ready to catch a ball, and said "I got it! I got it!" I just couldn't stop laughing!

Thursday I had one of the stomach bugs going around and felt totally miserable. But I realized that I haven't felt all the normal aches and pains I felt the whole last trimester when pregnant with Gloria. That all changed when I woke up Friday morning. The baby seems to be lower and I have this awful stretching and pulling sensation in my skin that feels like I'm going to rip open around my ribs. But according to my lmp, I am 34 weeks now. According to the ultrasound however I am only 33 weeks.

A bit of my history: Baby #1 was 12 days after due date. No ultrasound was done.
Baby #2 was born the day after the lmp due date and two days before the u/s due date. However my water was broken due to Braxton Hicks contractions coming 1 minute apart and driving me absolutely nuts. I now know that I should never eat chocolate while pregnant because that was what was causing that.
Baby #3 was born on her due date based on lmp. No u/s was done.
Baby #4 was 2 days past lmp due date. No u/s.
Baby #5 was 3 days past lmp due date. I have no memory what the u/s due date was, but it was later.
Baby #6 was born on his due date based on lmp. U/s due date was later, but I don't remember it either.
Baby #7 was 3 days before lmp due date. No u/s.
Baby #8 was born on the lmp due date. U/s due date was 9 days later.
Baby #9 was born 4 days past lmp due date. U/s was 8 or 9 days later I believe.

So the big question is when will baby #10 be born? My lmp sets the due date at Feb 22. The u/s sets it at Feb 29. My birthday is Feb 25 which might be a cool day to have a baby. We've long thought it would be neat to have a Leap Year baby. But what we want and when the baby comes are not usually the same thing. I think it would be fun to hear guesses. I can't give a prize to the winner, but if you'd like to guess, just put your guess in the comments section and we'll see who gets the closest!

Oh, and the u/s was done early so we don't know if this is a boy or a girl. Feel free to guess on that too. ;-)

Melissa

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Wood Stove

I thought Roger posted the other day that we were moving in, but I guess it didn't work or something. Anyway, we spent the last day of 2007 moving. We began the new year in our new house. It's not finished, but it is livable.

We are all excited over big things (I took my first shower in 2 1/2 years, we have a dishwasher, we can all fit in our living room) and little things (a light in the laundry room, mirrors that we can see ourselves in, colors we like on the wall). It was a bit disappointing to find a scorpion in a box on the floor yesterday morning, but there were NO ANTS in the sink!!!!!

When we first decided to leave the city and move to the country, Roger and I both did what we'd always done to learn something new. We read books. We knew there was stuff we'd need to learn that you can't learn from a book, but at least that gave us a starting point. We read about how to butcher a chicken, felt clueless, but tried it anyway. It's funny to look back on some of our mistakes, but we've learned by doing. That seems to be how it is with our new wood stove.

I was a girl scout for a little while as a kid, but I was too young to be taught how to build a fire. Roger loves to play with fire, so he has a starting point. We are learning how to keep it burning all night, but meanwhile, if one of us wakes up during the night, we check on it and add a log. Well, that's me. Roger SLEEPS like a log so he doesn't add logs on the fire at night. I wake up usually for any little thing. Last night I didn't wake up until 5am.

I woke feeling really cold. I got up and found that the fire was almost completely out. We still had a couple spots of glowing embers, but that was about it. The blower was on, but the air coming out wasn't very warm anymore. And it was cold in the house. I found out a few hours later that the temperature outside was in the teens. The eggs the hens laid this morning were brought in partially frozen. I didn't know all this yet, but I knew I needed to get that fire going.

I had no book learning to help me and no one to show me what to do. I grabbed a log and put it on those embers. Then I sat down and prayed. I just asked God to help me know what to do next because I was clueless. That log was just making smoke. I won't bore you with all the details, but an hour later, I went back to bed with a fire burning in the stove. I will tell you that at one point He had to tell me to stop worrying about the smoke getting in the house and just open the door and poke at those embers. It worked. Hurray and Praise God! Who says He doesn't care about the little things in life?

We currently have no tv or internet at our new house. I am writing this from our old house. There is lots of work to do here so I must stop writing and get to work. I need to get back to the house before that fire goes out! Like I said, we have a lot to learn. Hopefully we'll learn it soon so we won't be tied to the fire in the wood stove!

Melissa