This is my energy we're talking about. I had a huge surge of energy during our trip and right after we got home. I got everything unpa...
Surge and Outage
The Allen clan just returned from a trip to Chicago! It was about an 11-12 hour drive, a bit more with traffic and kiddos. My darling fath...
My baby brother graduated from Navy Boot Camp!! He's a sailor!
Yep, my sweet little brother somehow made it through boot camp. I cried listening to his stories and immediately wanted to beat some folks up for being mean to him. I also wanted to hug some folks for taking him under their wings, loving on him, encouraging him, and standing up for him. Sometimes I forget what "big sister" mode feels like because I'm usually very busy being in mom mode. I imagine it is similar, but the pride I feel in him is not really the right word. I'm not being prideful because it has nothing to do with me. Amazed, encouraged, hopeful, excited, fearful, disbelieving, surprised, shocked, okay those are all words I've felt watching him over the past few days. He looks so handsome in his uniform and so tall. When did he get that tall? I'll try and post pictures soon, but my jankity camera died not too long into the trip. The iphone picked up most of the highlights. This was a secret mission because he didn't want to tell folks in fear that he may not make it, that some cantankerous family members may not agree with his choices or even worse, try and do something to sabotage him. Yes, these are legitimate concerns in my family! Sad, but true.
Our children were blessed angel babies on the trip. The dvd players helped! Really though, they were so good. Addie usually does terribly in the car, but I think she cried for a total of 30 minutes during the entire round trip. I was really amazed and grateful. They were also so well behaved during the LONG graduation ceremony, out in public, at a fancy restaurant in downtown Chicago on Thanksgiving, at a busy continental breakfast, in the hotel room, at bedtime, the whole time! It was a serious blessing that I had prayed for, and now I feel so much more confident that we will be able to travel joyofully as a family together, even with three! So, hip hip hooray for my brother the Sailor, and hats off to my beautiful sweet babies who absolutely adore their Uncle Ben, and mad props to Daddy and me for being patient and kind with each other and our company despite over 24 hours in the car together in one week! Also, a huge thank you to those of you who ordered crafts, helped with my yard sale, prayed for us, encouraged me, and sent your well wishes, letters, and cards to my brother, just everything. All that saving went to our trip (not really Christmas...sorry I may have fibbed a little, but this was our Christmas present to each other). Off I go to save Freddie, he's having a meltdown in his room over something...oh he brought it to me. He's bawling because he can't close his tub of cars. NAP TIME!!
Mom let Daddy get the kids ready while I packed lunches this morning. It is one of those few days a month where we both have to go in to wor...
Parenting Hall of Fame
Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary, despite me being aghast at their outfits/hair, etc. Addie is wearing a tan short sleeved shirt with hot pink flowers on it (a kind of older, more ratty hand me down type of thing), and a pair of blue jeans with red cherries embroidered on them with pink and white shoes. Her hair is not brushed and her face has crusty milk and boogers on it. I tried to wipe her clean, but my heels were not permitting the fight with her. Freddie is in desparate need of a haircut, so we don't bother trying to comb anymore, especially not freshly slept in hair. It's wild, curly, unruly, and full of cowlicks in every direction. Daddy put him in his only clean pair of jeans, black western style Wranglers. The only long sleeved shirt that wasn't navy blue (and therefore offensive to Jason's matching abilities with black jeans) was a 5T long sleeved thermal mulberry colored shirt with sewn in shoulder panels. It looks like a football jersey, almost. The shirt hangs off of him in every which way and goes almost to his knees. I don't think anybody got their teeth brushed this morning either...well child anyway.
I dropped them off, kissed their sweet faces, and left with my head down thinking about how cute they really are if given the time necessary to dress them appropriately. We stopped on the way out to sign them in and there it was. The 11x17 glossy flyer with the dates in bold white lettering. A sweet little girl in a bow and her best Christmas dress smiled up at us from the page. Suddenly, I gasped in horror. Jason was surely afraid of the worst. "It's PICTURE DAY!!!??? How could I forget?!!!!"
I guess I know that our parenting highlights are actually behind us. I remember picture day at their old daycare. We fussed over their hair, even used hairspray to keep it in place. We put them in perfect little outfits to match the season of their picture. In short, it was a production. I guess today was its own sort of production, but not the same type of grand finale!! Maybe I can snap a picture of them when I pick them up, just for a laugh!
Whew, that's over for now! We got to court and at the last minute the defendant decided to plead guilty. He pleaded guilty (um, yes Ja...
Guilty Plea and Fried Squash
So, to end my evening I went to the store with my kids who were tired and cranky from daycare all day. I had to fill a few WIC checks, I ain't scared to admit that we receive WIC benefits. However, my kids acted up so badly that I got those pity looks from everyone. Addie was the worst. It was like a different child! She pulled my hair in the parking lot and laughed about it. She screamed "potty, poop in it, potty!!!" She tried to escape the cart, jumped up and down, got out of the cart, ran down the front aisle, and garnered much attention from other shoppers. The cashier was very kind but of course there was a problem with my WIC check, I forgot a quart of milk and then they were arguing about some brand of whole wheat tortillas. It never fails. So, as I was dragging Addie and attempting to keep Freddie in his seat I felt a hand on my arm. The woman behind me in line grabbed by arm and leaned in very close to whisper. "If you need help with food, Zion Lutheran Church has a food pantry and I can give you the number. They are just wonderful and you could get some really good things especially for the kids." I was too dumbfounded to refuse and would have felt rude to have refused, so I stayed and let her dig for a card in her purse and write the number on it as the cashier commented on how Addie's terrible two's must have started early and how I had my hands full. I so badly wanted to say, "Oh, just wait about 7 1/2 more months!" Wouldn't they have died? :) I was so close to tears by the time I left that store, but a talk with my mom had me laughing about it pretty soon. Needless to say, I needed some comfort food when I got home. I made baked pork chops and homemade fried squash that was DELICIOUS!
It is finally happening. We are going to trial tomorrow for the prosecution of one Brandon B. for the abuse and battery against Freddie. I...
It is going to be a circus, a performance, a little song and dance, razzle dazzle for the benefit of the judge and jury. I would like to believe that the prosecution cares that "justice" be brought for the crime, but I am painfully aware that this is a two year old case that nobody in that office can attach themselves to and maintain sanity. This is also a happy ending, with a child who is alive, well, loved, adopted into a safe home, and thriving. The defense attorney probably does not think Brandon is innocent, and would be a complete sociopath if not given the title of defense attorney where it is their ethical duty to ensure everyone a fair trial regardless of their innocence or guilt. I know this is a cynical view, but we are expecting human beings to make rational decisions after seeing horrid pictures of Freddie's little body, hearing testimony from my emotionally vacant sister, weighing possibilities, feeling societal and racial guilt, and with full knowledge that they can not KNOW what happened or who did what. I wish I had the super power ability to read people's minds and memories and broadcast it so that the truth would be revealed clearly for everyone. Even those are tainted by now though, and I'm sure people are capable of convincing even themselves of complete alternate realities because the monstrous truth is too impossible to bear.
So, tomorrow pray for us, that small community of brothers and sisters in justice and peace. The witnesses, the lawyers, the jury, the judge, the court reporter, the press, the observers, the bailifs, and the defendant that we can judge with rational minds, speak honestly, discern the truth, rise to the occasion, trust each other, and maintain dignity and respect for the very things that make us human. Love and thanks to all of you who have prayed for our family and all who will.
The most handsome little boy this side of the Mississippi. The absolute silliest little sugar dumplin. "Siddy (silly) Mama,&qu...
The midwife clinic I've chosen teaches a birth class based on principles taught in this book. Birthing from Within by Pam England. I ...
What I'm Reading
The midwife clinic I've chosen teaches a birth class based on principles taught in this book. Birthing from Within by Pam England. I immediately wondered what this book was about, especially compared to the popular Bradley Method which is "Husband-Coached Childbirth." I checked it out at my local library and I've been flying through it. Let me share for a bit on what I'm learning.
First of all, I will offer a disclaimer. There was a time in my life when I thought natural childbirth and home birth was absolutely ridiculous. I was of the impression that if drugs are available, USE THEM! I thought home birth was only for backwoods hillbillies and dirty hippies. I hate to be so blunt, but those were completely my thoughts. You remember when I posted about how I've had to eat a lot of crow because I spent so much of my youth developing opinions on things that I had no interest or investment in. Well, childbirth was one of them! My heart has changed so much, even in wanting to have kids. As a teenager, I never really wanted to get married or have kids. My MOPS group is doing a great study and one of the questions they asked was, "What was one of your 'I'll nevers' before you had kids?" All these women said things like co-sleeping, spanking, saying "because I said so," and so on. When they got to me, I said, "I was NEVER going to have kids!" We all got a great laugh out of it. The point is that God has worked in me a new heart with new desires that honestly I'm still getting used to. So, during my pregnancy with Addie I thought about what I wanted her birth to be like. I educated myself and I talked to friends. Manda G. Money
Why....grr I get mad at blogger. Anyway, Amanda was a big proponent of natural childbirth and really got me excited about that possibility. Honestly I was afraid of an epidural, episiotomy, and a c-section more than I was empowered about giving childbirth without drugs. You can read about that whole experience on my old xanga blog Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3
Hopefully those links will work. Alright, on to the book. It is totally hippiefied but I love it. The first several chapters are devoted to describing birth art and how it can reveal your assumptions, fears, and hopes for childbirth. I even tried my hand at drawing a "Journey through Childbirth" picture. I was pretty amazed at all the symbolism that came out in my drawing. Pam wrote this book with her husband, who is a psychologist. She is very merciful to all women, even those who do want to use drugs, have a hospital birth, don't want to breastfeed, whichever. She advocates natural childbirth and breastfeeding and care from a doula and/or midwife in whichever setting you give birth. Her book really promotes respect though, for a mother's journey and her power. She explores birth in other cultures and some of the stories are amazing. She also discusses our culture's assumptions about childbirth and pain, and how the woman's body is completely equipped for childbirth. There are several chapters on the husband's role during childbirth and I just love it. Her methods promote the husband as a partner, an encourager, and a father rather than a coach or a guide through childbirth. She brings up the great point that no matter how much we love our husbands, that they are not women and in many cases we are going to be less receptive to their coaching for that very reason...they have never experienced childbirth and have no frame of reference for our pain or the changes going on in our bodies. It was definitely not a negative assumption, just kind of true for me at least. She also describes the dad as needing to be cared for during labor as well, that he needs guidance, reassurance, and time to take rests and breaks as well from the exhausting event of labor. Right now I am reading the last few chapters on pain management techniques. I'm trying very hard not to be skeptical and just open my mind to these options. I love that she talks about Laborland or this place that your mind-body goes during labor that is almost disconnected from the environment you are in and totally focused/concentrated on your body and labor. She uses holding ice cubes for one minute and practicing the pain management techniques to "simulate" a one minute contraction (um, she totally admits that nothing can prepare you or actually simulate labor pain!). Jason and I tried the first one together last night and I feel pretty good about it. So far, what I've figured is that labor actually takes extreme concentration. I always thought that you may need to just "check out" and try to float out of the pain or something. According to Pam's research and experience though, women have to be completely connected with the pain in order to listen to their primitive brain and respond to the body's cues during labor. It's all very new and exciting, and slightly scary.
Okay, that's my incredibly long post for today! I'd like to encourage everyone to set out today to challenge your opinion on something. Think of an issue or idea that you have a very strong opinion on. Examine it. Does this issue concern you at this point in your life? When did you develop this opinion? Are you different, or have you had new experiences since then? What information did you use to develop the opinion? Is there new information? Does your heart feel peaceful about this or strained? What can you do to make your heart more peaceful? I think it's kind of amazing when God helps me examine these things, because sometimes I'm left even more turned around because I don't get an answer right away. It seems like my sweet Jesus really enjoys those times when I am actually open to listen rather than trapped in my own sea of opinion and self-righteousness. They are rather uncomfortable for me, but I always come out on the brighter side of things.
Yep, 7 years ago I was really hungry about this time. We had such a long day and a whirlwind of loved ones, friends and family. It was a b...
7 Years ago!
These are my most prominent symptoms so far. I don't think my 4 year old's shenanigans are funny and I can not imagine having the p...
Little Patience and Poor Humor
In fact, I am trying to find a way to nap right now but the kids are off schedule today and may not get an afternoon nap....which means none for me either! Let's hope together that Addie doesn't pee on the couch and my husband will come home with a more merciful heart this afternoon. Oh, I guess I could pray for speedy recovery from this stage of tiredness but really I'd rather just have the opportunities to nap!