August 02, 2017

on sciatica and choosing joy

By nature, I am a positive, happy-go-lucky person. I tend towards sunshine and bright colors and kid giggles. Therefore, I like this blog to be about happy things- kids, easy crafts, good food, fun adventures, and the general blessings of day-to-day life.

But right now, life is a little rough.

I have been in pain for the past five weeks, with no end in sight, and it just plain sucks.
I am experiencing sciatica in my left leg and my lower back, so I cannot stand for more than a couple minutes or walk (hobble, really) more than a few feet before the pain is too excruciating and I have to sit down. It also makes sleeping difficult.

I have had multiple massages and chiropractic adjustments, as well as acupuncture. I have seen two primary care doctors and two physical therapists and tried five different creams (including cannabis cream) and four oil blends; heat and ice and epsom salt and every stretch in the book as well. Additionally I have been on a high dosage of ibprophen to take the edge off.

I have cried more in the past month than I can ever remember crying- sometimes due to pain, but more often due to frustration.

BUT, God is good. All the time.
He is teaching me so much through all this.

My first lesson was to accept this pain, count my blessings, and choose joy. 
(Coincidentally- or not so much- our church has been doing a series on joy. I have yet to listen to any of the sermons. I should probably think about doing that.)

I am ashamed to admit that my first reaction was anger. I have been frustrated that this pain is seemingly keeping me from a fun-filled summer with my family, and robbing me of the ability to fully be a mom and homemaker.
I would give anything to be able to stand in the kitchen long enough to make brownies with my kids, or to take them to the park and not have to sit on the bench, or stand in the shower long enough to wash my hair, or even to vacuum a room without having to fall down on the ground in the middle of it and lay there for a few minutes taking deep breaths before I can continue.
I cancelled my gym membership (meaning no pool days this summer) and cancelled a family vacation and a trip with Lane.

But I realized that instead of being frustrated and angry, I need to act out of joy and gratitude. In the grand scheme, this trail is nothing. I am still blessed far beyond what I could ever deserve- a handsome and loving husband, four healthy, sweet kids, a comfortable home, wonderful friends and family... on and on the list goes...

In the interest of saving time (I could write a novel on all the past month has meant for me and this post is already too long) I will bullet point a few more reminders that the Lord has been giving me:

- God wants me home to enjoy this time. At first, I accused God of robbing me of a fun summer with my kids. I like to be on-the-go all the time, and I would have been, but I now see that He instead has blessed me with a time in which I couldn't leave the house, or focus on housework, or really do anything else beside to sit around and stare at my beautiful baby and watch my kids play (and write blog posts, apparently). That is not my style at all, but that is what I am learning to do.

- God timed this just right. If this had been during the school year, or when we had a tiny newborn, or when we were moving (or while we were doing all three of those things this past spring), it would have been especially awful. But as it is, God allowed this to happen during a time when I could be home to deal with it.

- God provides. Our wonderful neighbors moved out this past week (we will miss them so much!), but they gave us a HUGE fun pirate ship to play with, a swing set, and some other fun, new toys. So the kids have new and exciting things to do at home! Not to mention, we have a nice big yard to play in finally!
We have also been blessed by such an incredible community of people who have been praying, bringing meals, and offering their help. We are so thankful for our friends and family, and another huge lesson for me has been to humbly accept help (something I am not good at).
(also not good at: writing thank-you notes. sorry about that. working on it, ha!)

There are just a few things God is reminding me of (along side what constant prayer looks like, how to listen to His voice, giving myself some grace- this post really could go on forever!), and I hope this short list is encouraging to someone else as well!
I don't know how long this pain will last, but I understand that this is where God has me now to teach me so much about Himself.

Trials are no fun, but they sure are a blessing!

PS two years ago
five years ago (evidently blogging doesn't happen much in August!)

July 16, 2017

lately: as in, the past nine months....

Let's start where we left off...

November: I reached the half-way pregnancy point, Elle turned four, I traveled to Pasadena for a wedding, and Lane and I went to Pheonix for a business training.


(the one above was our Christmas card. 

Then there was the December/January snow-pocalipse, which gave us a fabulous month-long Christmas break! It also made it almost impossible for Lane and I to get to San Antonio for our company's event, but we bought chains and made it to the airport!

...and then there was the spring. Which is all kind of a whirlwind. 
We remodeled and sold our house (in a day), bought our friend's house, sweet Natalie Joy was born, we moved, and then kindergarten finished up for James and preschool for Elle...

(James' school program. He had one line, nailed it, and picked his nose through the rest of it.) 

(James is reading! It is so fun!)

(photo credit to James)

It's been a little nuts.

Currently I am trying to get into the swing of summer, four kiddos, and the home business.

(Only documenting the following so that I can look back and remember this time and be thankful when it is over!) : I have been dealing with super severe nerve pain in my left leg for the past couple weeks. It has made standing, walking, carrying anything, and sleeping all very difficult. Lots of tears. So far I have gone to an acupuncturist, masseuse, chiropractor, physical therapist, and urgent care doctor. Nothing has made it better yet, but we continue to pray and hope that it will improve and summer can continue as normal.)

VBS starts tomorrow, and hopefully I will post all the summer pictures soon.
Or, ya know, in nine months...

November 02, 2016

fall happenings

Well, Halloween is over, so now is the time to blog about it! (And the time to listen to Christmas music, but only instrumental- I'm no cheater!)

I was so thankful to go on James' class field trip to the pumpkin patch and afterward he, Elle, and I carved pumpkins while Judah took a late nap. James even carved the eyes and nose all by himself!

We did have our pumpkins smashed this year, which was a bummer, but at least I scraped them off the road and threw them in our yard debris before they rotted in our front entrance!

This year I was so excited that the kids all wanted to do a Peter Pan theme: James would be Peter, Elle Tinkerbell, and Judah a lost boy. However, James decided that he had to be a ninja. Again. Only this year, he had to have nunchucks (numchucks?).

Elle made an adorable Tink, of course. And I don't know which was cuter, that Peter Pan costume on Judah or the way he said "I Petey Pan!"

We went trick-or-treating right after school in downtown Gresham (never doing that again, it was crazy crowded!), then a couple families came over for dinner and the seven adults and thirteen children age six and under all went around the 'hood trick-or-treating.

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

Up next: retail therapy + disciplining my kids

October 21, 2016

happy weekend

 Happy Friday friends!

Today I am trying to get caught up around the house from the havoc our week wrecked on it- meaning: laundry, dishes, picking up, sweeping, plus more dishes. Also soaking up plenty of snuggles and Lego building with my favorite three little humans.

Tonight my favorite big human and I are meeting up with friends in Vancouver at a pizza place they frequent.

Tomorrow the whole family is going over to our friends' house to watch the OSU game.
Go Beavs!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

October 20, 2016

loving lately :: kid stuff

There are many products, foods, and toys I have come to appreciate over the years of having kids, and I go through different phases with what I like and what the kids are into. Here are some of my current favorites:

Duplos These huge legos are perfect for building all kinds of structures, and even little ones like Judah can use them. The kids have been so into them lately that I keep a big basket of them on our fireplace and it is usually the first toy that gets pulled out in the morning. We all sit around the pile of Duplos and build together- so much fun! I am asking for more for Christmas.

Think Baby shampoo I just discovered this product a few weeks ago, and I absolutely love it! It is free of parabens and other harmful chemicals while still being tear-free. Also, it makes my kids' hair smell like some sort of delicious tropical fruit smoothie.

Kirkland Signature's organic applesauce packets Oh my heavens, do my children love applesauce! It was one of Judah's first words ("appy-sauce!) and it is by far his most requested food. He even had an applesauce cake for his birthday this year. These packets are perfect for on the go- I can just grab them and throw them into my bag without worrying about them spilling or the kids needing a spoon. Also, the kids can have them while they are out playing somewhere because I don't feel like they must wash hands before eating one of these.

Seventh Generation diapers Okay, seriously, how cute are these?! They are just adorable on Judah's little bum (and he runs around the house in a shirt and diaper quite a bit) and they are also free of chlorine bleaching and fragrances, which gives me less guilt about not using cloth diapers so much anymore, ha.

Jelly beans Although I am not super into sugar and candy for my kiddos (our style of dessert is going out to fro-yo or making cookies together every so often), I have realized the power that jelly beans (I think these ones are Trader Joe's brand) can hold. On special occasions when we are out and about and I know they will need a little extra coaxing towards the end (i.e. trying to finish up the last exhibits and leave the Zoo) I carry a little bag of these magic beans in my pocket and reward the kids for good behavior when everyone is getting tired and cranky ("Everyone gets a bean when we reach the gate to leave the Zoo!" "Everyone gets two beans when we are in the car and buckled up!").

These are few of my favorite kid things lately- what are yours?

Also, this post is not sponsored by any company, but I would be happy to take a check if they want to sponsor me!

PS up next- favorite pregnancy stuff lately
And- five years ago

October 17, 2016

pun-ka-nin patch

 Yesterday we went to the pun-ka-nin patch (as Elle calls it).

The patch is about a five minute drive from our house, which is one thing we love about living where we do- farmland is not far away! This patch had a bunch of fun stuff to do, which we enjoyed despite the fact that everything was soaked.

There was a very short hay maze (this was Judah's favorite):

James was in heaven practicing his lassoing skills:

There were even some donkeys and floppy-eared goats to check out:

We forgot it was a check/cash-only stand (we usually frequent another nearby stand for our produce), so we only picked out a couple small pumpkins to paint, but we will be back later in the week to play and get some big ol' carving pumpkins!

Happy autumn friends!

PS- a couple year ago- adjusting to life with three kids
five years ago- a comfort-food snack

(another) PS- Judah calls them "punkies" and talks about the "punky pass" all the time, sweet little guy

October 13, 2016

baby four :: week 14 (almost)

As I stated in a previous post, we are expecting again! And we are over the moon about baby #4 who will join our family in April.

As I have done with the two previous pregnancies, here are the FAQ's :

Q: Was this one planned? 
A: Yes. Well.... mostly.
Q: When are you due?
A: tax day! Hard to forget that.
Q: What is it?
A: A baby! We aren't going to find out the gender this time, which is a fun twist for number four. And I honestly can't tell what the gender is from the way I feel, nor do I have a preference. I just want a healthy baby.
Q: How are you feeling?
A: SO much better than last pregnancy! My pregnancy with Judah was pretty miserable, so I am extremely thankful that I am feeling less sick with more energy and just all around healthier and thus happier. At the complete risk of sounding sales-y, I am positive it has to do with the incredible nutrition that Lane and I have been using over the past year. With each previous pregnancy my nausea was worse and worse and lasted longer each time. It left me exhausted and down right depressed with my last pregnancy. But I did not go into this with deficient nutrients, which I am sure made all the difference.
Q: Are you having any cravings?
A: I ate a LOT of bread for a couple weeks there, but not really craving anything specific. I always seem to want good cheeses when I am pregnant, which is difficult since I can't have most of my favorites! 

 Q: Are you showing yet?

A: Um. (see above photos)
Q: How do the kids feel about all of it?
A: We had Jenny video us telling the kids, and James was SO excited, it was so sweet. Elle didn't really get it at first, but is starting to get a little bit more excited- she is convinced it is a girl and says it will be "her baby" which is kind of cute and scary at the same time, ha. Meanwhile, pretty sure Judah has no idea what is happening.
Q: So, how far apart will they be?
A: Judah will be two and a half years older than this baby, which is the biggest gap we have had in age. I am really glad it worked out this way because Judah is not great at sharing with any "babies" that come over- he tells them "no baby!" if they are playing with his toys and gets upset if I hold any other baby for too long. Thankfully, we have time to work on these issues.

Overall, we feel so blessed and so thankful that we get the privilege of parenting another little soul!

Here is the announcement post from Judah.
Here is the announcement post from Elle.