Sunday, November 30, 2008

Please stand by for developing news

No baby yet, but the plan is to arrive at the hospital Monday morning at 6:45 to begin the induction process. My wonderful sister will give updates on my behalf (thank you Ming!).

Davis asked this evening, "I know you don't KNOW when the baby will get here, but what is your prediction?" (I love it when he uses grown-up words.) And I told him that my prediction is 5pm. So, we shall see how close I come to being right. Believe-you-me, I hope it happens sooner.

You can join me in praying that the hospital has room to keep me (you know how they do that annoying thing of turning non-laboring women away in order to accommodate those pesky women who go into labor all by themselves). And I am also praying that the baby comes through the delivery safe and sound.

Hopefully the next post you read from me will be from my sister!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

False Alarm

We went to and then were sent home from the hospital last night. I really thought it was time. But no so. Baby is still cooking.

Funny thing... as my husband's stomach is tied up in knots and he is saying, "Come on, Jenne, let's just get to the hospital," I actually paused by my computer for a moment, wondering if I might take a quick moment to blog. I would have, had Ryan not been so anxious to get us there. He would have killed me if he had to deliver this child on the side of the road because I insisted on first posting a "little something" about labor.

And as it turns out, I would have had to retract my post anyway. Oh well.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Disgust

I feel for retailers this year. Really I do. The economy is going to impact their bottom line in significant ways this year and that will ultimately result in more people not working. It is not a good year for many businesses. But the excitement that most of the major retailers tried to drum up this year has made me ill and so has the greed-crazed crowds that rushed stores at O-Dark-Thirty, when the stores opened their doors.

These retailers planned, strategized and concocted ways to entice crowds of people to come shop at their store on Black Friday. They advertise amazing deals with amazingly small quantities to drum up a frenzy in the hearts of shoppers. But its a two-way street, isn't it. Those retailers KNOW that when it comes down to it, ugly greed will course through the veins of their fellow humans. They will do anything to beat out their neighbor and grab up that deal before someone else does.

This 37 second video is an example of the store-opening-rush:

At Walmart in Long Island New York, a greeter was killed as crowds rushed in. A Toys R Us in Palm Beach had a shooting that resulted in two deaths. All for some Must Have Thing.

I am utterly disgusted.

No need to feel bad if you got up at 4:00 AM and made it to the 1/2 off sock sale at Freddies or whatever. Chances are that YOU TOO were disgusted by the bahavior you may have witnessed in your fellow man. I don't like to make big statements that have the words "always" or "never" in them because they tend to come back to haunt you, but I am completely turned off of Black Friday Shopping. I'd rather pay full price with a clear head and no gunfire.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Post

It is Thanksgiving. Time to mention some of the things I am thankful for. Post your list, too! It feels good to spend a moment thinking about this.

In no super-particular order, I am thankful for...
1. My sister. I am so blessed by her in so many countless ways all throughout the year.
2. My husband. He has graciously put up with my raging, unpredictable mood swings for these last 9 months.
3. My oldest son, Davis. His kind and tender heart is quick to forgive and patient with his brothers.
4. My middle son, Jackson. His constant supply of hugs and kisses, plus his spunky take on life make me smile.
5. My youngest, Weston. (He won't hold the title of "youngest" for much longer.) His sweet little demeanor keeps me laughing, smiling, and guessing!
6. My baby. Come out, little one! It's just about time, and you would make Thanksgiving a REALLY, REALLY WONDERFUL DAY if you picked this one to make your appearance...
7. Naps. enough said.
8. My kids' Grandparents. They love on our kids to no end.
9. Barry, our pastor. I am grateful for how he (together with our elders) leads our congregation and loves us. And that he plays guitar for our Family Sunday School.
10. My fellowship group. Those ladies mean more to me every time we meet.

What's YOUR list?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cracking Down

Hopefully it does not surprise anyone reading this when they hear that since being pregnant and especially being in my third trimester, the discipline in the household has slipped "a bit." There are certain times of day when I have unwittingly trained my big kids to require much too much supervision in order for them to follow through with tasks. Getting ready for bed is a big one. So is getting socks, shoes and coats on and getting in the car.

So I informed the kids Saturday night that a new order was in place. With a calm, patient voice I explained that I will ask them once to get ready for bed and that I will not ask again. If I see disobedience, they should expect a spank rather than a reminder. The reality is that both my older kids are more than capable of getting themselves totally ready for bed but I have allowed them to be distracted, goof around, and take three times longer than necessary to get the job done. The end result, of course, is that I end up frustrated, exhausted, and raising my voice. It is generally a terrible way to end an otherwise lovely day.

And thinking forward a week or so, I know that I am not going to have "the luxury" of such close monitoring. I will be nursing, or bopping, or whatever, a little one. I will need my kids to be responsive to my voice at the first call. And I really need them to understand that non-responsiveness will not go well for them.

The really good news is that these past couple of nights have gone amazingly well. I remind them of the new way things are, give them their instructions and then ask little distractable Jackson (4 1/2) to repeat back to me what I have asked him to do. Both evenings he has been unable to repeat it so I feed him the words, "Jackson, say, 'I am going to go straight upstairs and getting all-the-way-ready for bed.'" I know he knows what his task is, and that gives me the freedom to follow through with the discipline if needed. And so far, it has not been needed (proof of their competence!).

It feels great to regain some control and expect of my kids what I KNOW they are capable of. With only days to go before delivery day, its about time!!

The answer, unfortunately, is No.

No, no baby yet. But you will be the first to know if I head in to the hospital. Induction date is still set for December 1st. Acupuncture today hopefully will help ripen my cervix (TMI??).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Poopy Morning

So technically my morning started at 2am, when I woke up and was unable to fall back asleep. But then I did, at 5AM, and my loving husband let me sleep in until 8AM. And therefore, technically, the first thing I got to do this morning was sleep. That automatically makes it a good morning.

Thirty minutes before 8AM, I vaguely heard Ryan put Weston in the tub (a favorite activity of this toddler). I fell back asleep and awoke at 8AM to Weston half-yelling, "Uh-Oh" and "Nayah!" Those two words in succession are a good clue that something must be addressed in short order. I got up and found Weston standing in the tub, pointing to the water.

You already know what I found. The question is, was is solid or not? The unfortunate answer is "not." Floating in and amongst our modest supply of bath toys was a copious amount of poo. While Ryan hosed Weston off in the other bathroom's shower, I spent the next little portion of my morning scrubbing, bleaching, and sanitizing the toys and tub. Of course any toy that had cracks or crevices automatically earned a one-way ticket to the garbage can. So now our bath toy collection includes only cups. All the cute little fish that, when you pull the cord make a swimming motion have been sacrificed in favor of poop-less-ness.

I easily return my thoughts to the part of the morning where I was sleeping and can say that the morning - despite the poopy tub - was a good one. Thanks, Ryan, for letting me catch those extra Zzzz's.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Davis came home today with a Guatemalan Worry Doll. Have you heard of them? They are very small dolls originally made in Guatamala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep.
According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person's place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night.

With the doll came a little piece of paper with typed text explaining all this. "Where did you get this?" I ask with as much non-chalantness as I could muster up. Mrs. Otto, apparently. (Who is that? A mom? A school employee? I am not sure.)

So here is where the rubber meets the road. One significant reason for allowing our kids to go to public school is to expose them to the world and walk with them as they synthesize what they are seeing. The theory is that we process with them the beliefs of our broken world in tiny chunks as they grow up. In the process - again, so the theory goes - we help them understand better why we believe what we believe, and show them just how much the world needs a savior.

I sort of wanted to get angry that the "pagen public school" distributed some crazy idea, but instead I grabbed up the opportunity and we chatted about the whole notion. Here is what he had to tell me:

"It is pretend, mom, but I think that it does help kids if they THINK it will help them. The dolls don't really take worries away." Yeah, you are right Davis. I know only One who can do THAT. "Yeah, yeah, I do too, Mom." (Too preachy, Davis? Dare I insult your intelligence and faith?)

It was clear pretty quickly that he knew what the Truth was (he has a solid head of faith on his shoulders), but I imagine that there will be other opportunities to discuss to Whom we can bring our worries.
(Matthew 6:34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Psalm 54:4 & 7) Behold, God is my helper ; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. ...For He has delivered me from all trouble...

This is the kind of stuff I knew would be coming. I just pray the Lord would give me wisdom to know how to answer, and the discernment to know if or when too much exposure is too much.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This One's Just For Ming

Somehow my boys and I got talking about what my name "used to be."
"I used to be Jenne Snodgrass, but now I am Jenne Glover," I tell my kids. They snicker, like every kid I grew up with did when they learned my last name. In almost defense of my proud heritage, I added: "And Megan's last name used to be Snodgrass, too."

Davis replied with a puffed up I-know-I-am-about-to-be-right, "Yeah, but now her name is Ming-y Wood!"

Meg, I guess it is official now. You might as well change your birth certificate.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Evidence and a Diaper

Story 1: Evidence
Many people ask me if my kids are excited for the baby to come. Yes, my two "big boys" are. But Weston is a little young to be excited. Their next question is "do you think he understands that there is a baby coming?" Always I reply that he is clueless. Well, today he gave his first hint that he understands (at least in part) that a baby is growing in my tummy. During our family Sunday School he lifted up my shirt - luckily I had a fitted tank underneath that he did not grab - he lifted my outer shirt up just enough, pulled his binki out of his mouth and poked the binki into my 37-week pregnant belly. So, he gets it that there is a baby in there. The question remains as to whether or not it has occurred to him that the baby will actually eventually be on the other side of my skin. I will break that news to him gently, in about three weeks.

Story 2: a Diaper
So my husband is enjoying a day trip up to Seattle with a bunch of great guys to watch the Seahawks play a game. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it has shaped up to be a great day to watch football. To pass the day more quickly, I brought all the kids to my parents house directly after church to play and relax.

So, when it was time to put Weston down for his nap, I set up our travel bed, which is a Peapod Plus (the best travel bed in the history of kid gear - see picture). It gets hot inside that little tent when it is all zipped up so I decided to keep him in his shirt, but remove his pants. About 15 minutes later I hear him really hollering for me, "Nayah, nayah! NAYAH!!!" (That's what he yells when he wants me to come get him from his bed. What it means, I don't know. For a while I thought it was my name, but last night he pointed at me and said in a sing-songy voice, "MaaaAAaammaa." So "Nayah" is apparently some other word.. "I up," perhaps??)

I digress - my apologies. So, I come into the room he is in, notice immediately that he has unzipped the Peapod entry/exit flap - but has not yet ventured out. I pull open the flap and he immediately holds out his diaper to me, which he has removed completely from his body. Let's all take a moment and imagine the possibilities at this point, and then praise God with me for big blessings (and small miracles): The diaper is completely clean and dry. No horrible mess to deal with. But what I will say is that he was MIGHTY PROUD to have disrobed himself. Once I took from him the diaper he was handing me, he darted out of the room in a gleeful escape and ran (bare-bottomed) into the kitchen to greet his Grandma. It was pretty cute. Needless to say, I had him in a diaper AND PANTS upon the second attempt at a nap for the little cutie. Thankfully, the second attempt was a quick success. He was sawing logs in moments.

Friday, November 14, 2008

All Things Kids

Things around here have been pretty normal lately. I have just enjoyed my kids in the many things they have been up to. I thought I would share some random but fun pictures of the crew.

Thumbs up, Jackson draws his pumpkin face design.

I love it when all three boys find something to do together. Even Weston got in on this little game of badmitten by being the cheering section

The lovely Jenna - cousin and best playmate in town!

Toothless Joe, here, lost a tooth at school. Its a good thing, too, because I am squeemish when it comes to wiggley teeth.

And here is the happy two year old. A language update: he is up to 5 words now. In other words, no update necessary. We are utilizing some MESD services to get this kid some expressive language!! Despite his lack of words, he is not a frustrated kid. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Response...

If you have not checked my blog in a day or so (!!Oh the Horror!!), you will want to skip down to November 9th's post so that this will make sense.

A comment like that might provoke a couple of answers:
1. something modest, like “well, they are really good kids”
2. something insulting to the kids but tongue-in-cheek, like “this is unusual – they are usually monsters”
3. something more helpful, like “I just try to be as consistent in my parenting as possible and expect a lot from them…and read lots of good parenting books. My favorite these days is…”
4. something “godly” that may come back to bite me in the bum the NEXT time that person sees me, like “I spend lots of time with my kids, bring them to church, and we memorize lots of scripture, and when you do all those good parenting things, that’s just what happens…” (you know that the next time that person sees you, your kids WILL embarrass you).

I have probably used each of these answers in the past - granted, I had many more opportunities when I only had 2 kids to manage. Fewer complements have come since adding #3, and even fewer since being pregnant. (smile)

So, I thought about it and if I EVER receive a complement like that again, I think I would like to have some sort of better answer ready… And the truth is that sometimes my kids are really good, and sometimes they are really hard. Sometimes I look like a mom who has it all together, and sometimes I am a laughing stock. The truth is that parenting is really, really hard. How do I do it? Honestly, I cling every day to the promises of my God - especially on the harder days. And because of that, I have hope. And because of that hope, I can do another day. Even when the day ends in a blizzard of tears and yelling, I wake up the next day with a renewed hope (God’s promises are new every morning!). Without my God and my Hope, I couldn’t do it.

That’s a long answer to someone who might just be looking for a quick “thanks” from me. What’s the shorter answer that might still give God the credit? Maybe something like, “How do I do it? With the help of my God and the husband he has blessed me with!”

Did you think about it? What would YOUR answer be?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How would YOU answer?

My good friend, Ginger, asked me a GREAT question inside the following email:

You know my kids are FAR from perfect. But today we were at the end of the soccer season pizza party, and my kids were being really good. (for a nice change.) They were staying seated where I asked, they were eating with their utensils, etc... in stark contrast to MANY of the other kids who were running around like TV stars from "Nanny 911". One of the Moms said to me, "I don't know how you do it." Soooooooo, My question is.... What do you say to that?

I was REALLY blessed to think about this overnight, so before I give my answer, I thought I would give you the same opportunity. I would love your comments, of course, but at the very least, give this some thought and then come back in a day or so if you want to hear how I answered (I don't promise it to be life-changing or anything, just something to read).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Great Listen!

On my sidebar (as of this writing) you can see that I am listening to a sermon series called The Fulfilled Family. It is by John Macarthur of "Grace to You" radio broadcast. I just have to put in a quick plug for the one I listened to today, called God's Pattern for Parents, part 1.

The sermon, a little more than an hour long (seems long, but really that's just two episodes of The Office), is primarily about the process of leading your child to Christ. He is big on NOT having a formula, so if it is a formula you are looking for you will be disappointed. What he does do is answer tons of questions about the process of leading your child to Christ. Questions like How young is too young and how old is old enough? and Is it ok to allow my child to ask Jesus into his heart multiple times? and How much information do I offer into those young ears? and Where do I start?

Really, this is a must-hear for all of us parents. There were so many times while I was listening that I was assured that I was doing alright, and many times when I thought to myself, "I am SO GLAD to know THAT!!"

You will be encouraged by this sermon, so I hope you consider listening. And if you do, come back and comment. I would love to hear you listened and maybe what you appreciated about it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack at Breakfast

It was an interesting conversation at the breakfast table with Davis when I told him that Obama won the election. We do not talk much politics (or any at all, yet) around the kids but Davis was aware of the election because a few small conversations happened at school yesterday and plus they had a chance to vote at school yesterday. (Obama won that election, too.)

It really is an interesting line to walk with the kids, when we do not like the authority placed above us… a new kind of example to set, a new layer of life’s complexities to reveal. If you would permit me to look on the bright side for a moment, these next four to eight years should be full of good parenting opportunities.

The Lord has allowed this man to be in authority over us whether we like it or not. It is important that we not praise this man and it is important - I believe - that we not show outright disrespect for him either. Even more critical, it is appropriate that our school-aged kid understand a small bit of why we did not vote for him. He will, afterall, be in the position to defend his beliefs at school today and in the future as well (he revealed to me that he voted for McCain because "he doesn't think killing babies is ok, and Naddy voted for him because she felt sorry for him because he was a soldier prisoner"). I tried my best to prepare him for conversations he might have at school that could lead him to show respectful disagreement. We talked about one good thing (first black president and the significance of that) and one bad thing (supportive of abortion) about Barack being our next president.

A seven-year-old mind can only grasp so much when it comes to politics but one thing he can grasp onto with great strength is how we, as parents, respond to an authority over our lives with which we disagree strongly. He can watch us pray for this man, he can watch what it looks like to disagree with an authority yet still show him respect, and he can watch us distinguish when we are to go against human authority (when that human authority asks or demands us to sin against God) and when it is appropriate to obey that authority.

I ended the conversation, telling him that "Two things are for sure, Davis:
  • God knew a long time ago that Obama would be our President. God was not the least bit surprised at the election results.
  • And God is still God. He is still in total control. So we can trust Him no matter what."

"I KNEW you were going to say that!" He responded.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Oh Beautiful Sleep

Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.
~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002

If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters.
~Author unknown, attributed to Jim Davis
The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more.
~Wilson Mizener
The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can't get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.
~Edgar Watson Howe
Daylight savings time with children is not an extra hour of sleep. No, it is an extra hour of morning.

I have not slept well for some time now. My belly, back and bladder wake me many times at night. Couple that with my almost two-year-old who often thinks 1:14 AM and then again 4:35 AM is morning and you can imagine how frustrated and hopeless I can let myself feel on any given morning.

Being awoken at 4:30 AM has too often lead to the complete end of my night's sleep as my body is just too sore to lay down any longer. And so I have prayed many times that the Lord would give me uninterrupted sleep. I tell you the truth: I cannot function without beautiful sleep: "Lord, just let Weston start sleeping every night through the night. Please! Before the baby comes at least! And, Lord, give me a couple nights in a row just to catch up so I can be the mom you want me to be." But on one of those prayerful, sleepless mornings the Lord allowed me to see something new: Sleep had become my idol. I had begun to believe that no amount of God would help me become the mom during the day that I knew I needed to be - only beautiful sleep could do that. God wanted me to trust in HIM and what HE can do more than I trusted in SLEEP.

Upon being shown this, my prayer quickly changed, asking instead that regardless of how much sleep the night brought me, that I would depend wholly and solely upon the only One who could get me through my day to His glory.

I wish I could say that after this epiphany - this lesson that God was trying to teach me - that He then gave me night after night of sleep (since, after all, I had finally learned what God was trying to reveal to me). No. He has not. I now am being asked to live in this new understanding, testing my faith and providing me many opportunities to trust in Him for what I need in a day.

While I do still love sleep, that is not a bad place to be.