Jun 20
Loss.
LandofLovings | family, motherhood, pregnancy | 06 20th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Mother’s intuition is a funny thing. When I discovered I was pregnant on Mother’s Day of this year I was beyond excited. We’ve wanted to add to our family for some time now but nursing a toddler has made things a bit irregular and I’ve not really been my usual fertile self. Either that or it has something to do with 34 having come knocking on my door this past birthday. I was thrilled when we finally got the positive pregnancy test but from the beginning I was more worried than usual. I didn’t feel quite right. I had the same symptoms I always have. Crushing exhaustion. Weird food aversions. A sea sick feeling. But there was something else. And I didn’t know quite what it was.

I convinced myself I was just being paranoid after my 9 week midwife appointment when it was confirmed that everything was going well. No problems on the horizon. Everything looked good. I let myself breathe a sigh of relief and began to really embrace this new little life. I started planning what cloth diapers to make. And room scenarios. I settled in for 9 months of nesting and I was thrilled.

But, this Monday I went in for a routine dating ultrasound and I had that bad feeling again. My mom, my husband, everyone I told thought I was just being paranoid. So I took a breath and believed them. And then as I was lying on the cold ultrasound table in the darkness of the room the tech seemed to get  a bit nervous. She suggested we switch from abdominal to vaginal ultrasound and I knew what was wrong. I knew that very second. I looked at the screen and watched as she discovered my small precious perfectly formed baby hover silently with no heartbeat. She turned on the doppler and I closed my eyes because I knew. When she asked if I would like her to tell me what she saw or if I would rather wait for the doctor to tell me I began to cry and my heart nearly buckled with the weight of my sadness. She didn’t have to tell me. I didn’t need a doctor to show me. I already knew what I had known the whole time. This baby was not going to be born into my arms. It was gone. And I was left feeling that terrible fullness of pregnancy with the knowledge that this baby was no longer living inside me.

The next hour was filled with information about how long ago the baby had passed (less than a week) and what to expect next. There were tissues and hugs from strangers and knowing looks from the women in the waiting room whose swollen bellies were the indisputable evidence of the life growing inside of them. And I smiled while I cried and thanked everyone for their kindness and went out to my car and wept. Because it was over.

I’ve been pregnant 7 times in the last 10 years. And this is my third miscarriage. Each of them is heartbreaking and sad. The first two were so early that nothing ever even had a chance to grow. They were gone nearly as soon as they had started. And with both I mourned the loss of what had never been. This time it’s a new mourning. A new and fresh sadness. This time I got to see my baby on screen. So small. So alone in the darkness of my womb and having died without me ever noticing he or she was gone. A silent, unseen, unheard tragedy. And I find myself wrestling with the guilt of knowing a child of mine died without me feeling it. And I feel sad. And at fault. And lonely. And crushed by the weight of it.

So now I wait. I wait for my body to process the loss that my heart is in the throes of feeling. I wait for the inevitable. And it hurts.

When you’re 9 months pregnant and waiting for labor every day you waking up scrutinizing each pang or twinge wondering if that is the feeling that will bring you to the moment you meet your little one face to face. And waiting to miscarry is a lot like that. Each minute I’m wondering is this the feeling? Is this it? Will this be the moment? Was that a cramp? Is it happening? And in the meantime I carry inside me the small and tender body of the baby that, had life moved differently, would have been another quirky member of the Loving clan. Would he or she have the same mischievous grin as Juni? Would this baby grow to be as stoic and tough as our Ivy? Would he or she share Traveler’s kooky sense of humor? Or Kai’s knack for philosophizing? I don’t know. And I won’t in this life. And the reality of it hits me every time I look into the dark brown eyes of one of my children. This, their brother or sister, will not sing silly songs with the rest of them. He or she will never snuggle up on the couch in my lap and ask to stay up past bedtime. There will be no family vacations or memories with this littlest member of our family. The memories begin and end here. Too brief. Too fleeting.

I wish I had a neat and perfect way to wrap up my post. Something about having peace in the midst of the storm. Or knowing there is a reason for everything. I do have moments of peace and I do believe there is a reason for everything, but it seems too simple to put that on top of this grief like a nice shiny Christian bow. I don’t doubt my God in this. I truly don’t. When my children ask why God would give us this baby only to let it die my only answer to them is an honest one. I don’t know. I likely never will. And sometimes having faith means terrible things will happen that will never make sense but that you choose to believe God is present through them. And that’s where I am today. And for now that’s as good as it gets.

Jun 3
Just a little housekeeping….
LandofLovings | Uncategorized | 06 3rd, 2013 | Comments Off

Since I’m thinking about being more present in this space again and stepping back into blogging, I’m taking care of some housekeeping around here. Because so many past giveaways included signing up for an email subscription as a mode of entry and since the scope of my blog is very different and will not include giveaways again I’m clearing my email subscriptions for two reasons. 1. It prevents all of you who don’t care to know the day to day life of my family from being subjected to my crazy stories and 2. It keeps me from having to get the unsubscribe emails that feel a little too much like rejection for my sensitive writer’s ego. : )

So, if you DO NOT want to continue to hear about the daily saga at Land of Lovings you don’t have to do a thing. I’m changing all email subscriptions effective today. But, if you know me in real life or want to follow my blog you’ll need to come back in a couple of days and resubscribe to continue receiving these posts in your inbox.

Thanks!

Feb 28
Smells like…what?!
LandofLovings | funny, Traveler | 02 28th, 2013 | Comments Off

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This boy of mine is a charmer. And he has me thoroughly wrapped around his little finger. But one of the things I love the most about this little man is that I never really know what to expect from him or what new crazy thing is going to come out of his mouth. Case in point.

One morning this week he came into my room as the house was waking up and he crawled right up into bed with me. He snuggled up beside me, looked me in the eyes, and said:

“Where is your heart, mama?”

I told him where my heart was and he asked me to give him my heart. Now, this boy has my heart. Every single hour of every single day. But because I wanted to see where he was going with this I mimed giving him my heart. He held the imaginary heart in his two hands and looked at me sweetly. Then a horrified look came over his face.

Traveler: “Mama! What is that smell! Your heart is so…STINKY!!!”

Me (laughing): “My heart is stinky?! What does it smell like?”

Traveler (looking like a light just went on in his head and also a little bit relieved): “oooooooh, I know. It’s Jesus. It smells like Jesus.”

There you have it. Mystery of the stinky heart solved.

Sep 30
I wasn’t prepared for this.
LandofLovings | funny, Traveler | 09 30th, 2012 | 4 Comments »

There are lots of things I have found myself unprepared for in my parenting journey. Hard to answer questions about life and death. The “birds & the bees” talk. Poop in the bathtub. You know, the BIG stuff.

But they all pale in comparison to this newest experience. One word, friends…BALLS.

Traveler asked us about a particular part of his anatomy. And we explained what that part is. And so that is how he came to be running across the Olive Garden to see his Nina (Grandma) and yelling at the top of his lungs while grabbing his boy parts: “Hey Niiiiinnnaaaa!! Guess what?! These are my BALLS!! My balls are right here!! Isn’t that awesome! My BAAAAAALLLLLLSSSS!”

So, yeah. I bet that ruined some people’s dinner. Or, you know, maybe not. It was pretty stinking funny. And also? Mortifying.

But the good news is it isn’t just at the Olive Garden. Oh, no! He tells the little old ladies at AWANAS on Wednesday nights. And new people we meet in public. And pretty much anyone he hasn’t already told about his balls. Pretty awesome, no?

Uh…No.

Sep 8
My week. A recap so I remember it all…
LandofLovings | family | 09 8th, 2012 | Comments Off

This will be boring for those of you who don’t care to obsessively follow the goings on of my kids & family. But one of the reasons I love to blog is so I remember everything 5 years from now. Or, to be honest, even 5 months from now. It is amazing how the beautiful moments slip by disguised as the mundane…

So, this week:

Juni discovered the joy that is Southern Fried Chicken. And boy did she go to town.

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And Kai begged me for some new “church” shoes. And she didn’t get them. (She was serious BTW. Pray for me.)

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Traveler continued his obsession with preschool street art. He finds it impossible NOT to leave this on each and every cart that comes within walking distance of him and a smiley face sticker. Never fails to send all of us into fits of hysterical giggles.

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Kai and Ivy arranged an in-house lunch date for Thomas and I. They surprised us with warming up leftovers, pouring soda into wine glasses, turning on romantic music (Jack Johnson of course!) and then also turning on a recorded show about Great White Shark attacks. It was hilarious. And adorable. And the chips and salsa with chips set directly on the tablecloth (which was actually a blanket that had been laying in the floor five minutes prior to this table setting) was too sweet not to make note of for posterity.

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Lord, how I do love these precious children of mine. So thankful for the blessing of these wild and crazy and creative and spirited little people. I pray I never forget to be thankful for these moments.

Sep 4
And now for something a little lighter…
LandofLovings | Uncategorized | 09 4th, 2012 | Comments Off

Hooray for back to school time! Looking forward to this being a productive and exciting homeschool year…

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Aug 26
Reality check.
LandofLovings | confessions, family | 08 26th, 2012 | 2 Comments »

Oh my. Today at church just slayed me.

Our church is doing a Water for Life campaign with Compassion International. Their goal? To provide 170 water filters capable of providing one-million gallons of water for a child and their family FOR LIFE. Because, did you know, that every day 22,000 children under the age of 5 die from of poverty related causes. That is 2/3 the population of city of Milton. Every day.

Hearing statistics like that is so hard. And today was a humbling day in which I realized how much I need to count my blessings. Because, I do. Oh boy, do I.

It was also Compassion Sunday. A day where our church emphasizes child sponsorship for children in poverty. And today we had a guest speaker who was a former child in the Compassion program. And I wish I could do her story justice. But it was simply too powerful for me to even recount. (And you can go listen to it online if you’re interested. And you should.)

What I can say is that sitting there listening to the story of how this woman found herself, at the age of six, hiding and sleeping in a bush every night to avoid being abducted by the rebel army in her country and listening to her describe the moment a python wrapped itself around her six-year-old body as she sat there alone reciting Psalm 23 and telling God that she was ready to die in that bush the only word that echoed in my mind was SELFISH. Because, I am so selfish. I am am so shallow. I am so weak.

Ask me on any given day if I have problems and I will give you an emphatic yes. Because, brace yourself people, sometimes I don’t have enough money to take my family out to dinner when I’m too tired to cook. Or — gasp!! – sometimes it is a burden to pay my cable bill. Boo. Hoo.

I have other problems. Difficult relationships with my sisters. And my husband snores. And my kids splash water outside of the tub every single time they take a bath.

You feel sorry for me, right? Yeah, me too.

But this woman? She never felt pity for herself. She simply survived. She survived sleeping in a new outdoor hiding place every night to avoid death or abduction. She survived the death of her mother at the age of 11 and only 5 years after she met her and they were reunited. She survived TB for a year. And I’m sure there were more things along the journey that she overcame.

And what do I (we) worry about? What is it that really matters to us? My kids complain because there are 3 kids in this family sharing 2 iPads. OH THE HORROR. And at the risk of sounding like an old fogie can I just say that this generational tendency of young twenty year olds to focus on (to use their own label) self love through posting a million pictures of themselves touching their hair and looking at their shoes on FB, Twitter, & Instagram as a way to encourage more of their generation to love themselves more is making me crazy. You don’t love your eyebrows? You are self-conscious of being short? At least you aren’t sleeping in the wilderness every night praying that God will keep from being raped, murdered, or forced against your will into a life of misery. We have rich people problems. We have selfish people problems. Do you honestly think the child in Africa living without shoes or clean clothes or clean water even has the luxury of thinking about whether her eyebrows make her face look fat? Or do you think the mother who prays every night for her children not to be bitten by mosquitos carrying malaria and for them to live past the age of two cares about writing a love letter to her body? No. She doesn’t. And if that is our number one concern in life then we are living The Capital of the Hunger Games universe and don’t even realize it. And it is gross.

As Christians, I can’t imagine God wants us to worry about how much we love ourselves. I can’t imagine that He thinks I should embrace my curvy thighs or my frizzy hair. I don’t think He wants us to focus our attention on such shallow things. Can you imagine what Mother Teresa thought of her appearance? Do you think she spent time trying to love herself? No. I truly don’t think that is what we are called to by God. I think He wants us to love others. Love those who have no one to love them. And serve them. With our time. With our money. With our hearts. But self love? I’m pretty sure He couldn’t care less about that.

But what do we do with this? How do we change ourselves? Who do we become to make ourselves more compassionate and in touch with the reality of the world? And how do we live a life that is aware of all the horrors of this world and not crumple under the weight of it all?

No, really, I’m asking you. Because I don’t know that I know the answer to that.

I want to be more aware. Sincerely and truly aware. And I’m just not sure how I can do that while sitting on my comfy couch watching episodes of Project Runway and surfing Facebook on my iPhone. I will be able to let myself forget her story. I will be able to let myself forget imagining my own 6-year-old sleeping alone in the bushes night after night to avoid abduction, child sacrifice, and death. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to forget. I want to remember. I want to remember every day how blessed I am and the responsibility that I have to share my blessings with others. And how blessed my children are and the importance of teaching them to be compassionate and giving to others who have less. And how thankful I am to have a sense of safety on a daily basis. Because right this moment, somewhere in this world, somewhere in this country, somewhere in this city, there are men and women and children without the luxury of safety. And that is truly heartbreaking.

There are ways for us to make a difference every single day. There are people in our lives and communities that need us to stop focusing on how much we love our selves and start focusing on how much we (and God) love them. I, for one, am going to spend my days praying for more opportunities to do just that. And I’m going to make some changes in my life for myself, for my kids, and for my community. Pray that God will show me how to serve. How to love others. And how to focus less on myself and more on those who need it.

(If you are interested in providing a water filter for those in need just shoot me an email. Our church will be doing this through the week and I am can also connect you with someone who can give you more information. $55 is all it costs to change a family’s life and provide one-million gallons of clean drinking water for life.)

Jul 3

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Jun 20
Lazy Potty Training: The sequel
LandofLovings | confessions, parenting, Traveler | 06 20th, 2012 | Comments Off

Remember a few years ago when I told you how I potty trained Ivy? Basically, I was lazy and let her decide when to be potty trained. Well, for some reason, I didn’t learn my lesson there. Because about the time Traveler was approaching 3 I decided he needed to be potty trained. Not because I really cared whether or not he was, but more because kids are supposed to be potty trained at 3, right? And lots of other people I knew were potty training. So, I did it because I thought I was supposed to. And it didn’t go well – as in pee puddles in the dairy aisle of Trader Joe’s. So I gave up. Mostly because he was so not interested. He cried every time I even put him near the potty. He hated it. It was miserable for everyone.

That’s about the point where I told my husband that Traveler was going to have to beg me to let him wear underwear because unless he really wanted it I was not potty training any time soon. Fast forward to last Monday. Traveler wakes up and asks to wear underwear. My first thought was, “Really? Seriously? Please please please no!” But I put it on him. And he didn’t have an accident all day long. Not the whole week. As of today, he has had one accident and it wasn’t even a terrible traumatic one. And he’s wearing underwear all the time. No pain. No tears. Not even much bribing. It has been a piece of cake.

Which leads me to my point. (You were wondering when I was going to get there, right?) The number one parenting stress in my life comes from worrying about what my kids are “supposed” to be doing versus what they need to be doing or what they’re ready to do. When I step back, stop comparing, and think about my kids as the individuals that they are everything works so much more smoothly.

You would have thought I would have learned this lesson when I was stressing over the fact that Traveler wouldn’t go to sleep on his own in his bed when he was 2.5. I thought he would always be falling asleep on the couch snuggled up in my lap. Because, after all, kids are supposed to go to sleep on their own by 6 months, right? I mean, let’s forget that it was infinitely easier and happier for both of us if he laid down beside me on the sofa at bedtime and fell asleep all snuggled up. And let’s forget that I enjoyed babying him just a little. If you read too many parenting books you’d believe he would never be able to sleep on his own. He’d be ruined for life. But, one day he climbed into his bed and announced that he wanted to go to sleep in there. And for the last 7 months he has gone to sleep in his bed with no problems. So apparently I didn’t ruin him for life. Yet.

My litmus test has always been (and continues to be) to ask myself whether I truly see him going to college engaging in the same behavior I am worried about. That was true for breastfeeding. And diapers. And sleep training. All of it. Letting my kids do things on their time and not some random prescribed plan enforced by mainstream parenting “experts” has always served me well. I guess one of these days I’ll start to remember that before freaking out…

May 29
Sensory Boxes: A cautionary tale
LandofLovings | confessions, family, funny | 05 29th, 2012 | Comments Off

I love sensory boxes. Really, I do. But, apparently it has taken me four kids to realize that sensory boxes are not intended to be utilized without adult supervision. Or at least not inside. Here’s to 16 ounces of Penne pasta all over my kitchen. At least they had fun doing it. : )

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