Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Feelin' a Little Fallish

I tell ya what, I have just been sick of myself lately. I haven't posted much because it seems like pessimism and negativity is just oozing out of me: Waaaah! We can't find a place to live! Waaah! I have to have surgery! Waaaah! I can't sleep! Waaaaah! I hate moving (even now that we have a place to live, rather than "hurray!")! I mean, they say "knowing is half the battle," well GI Joe does anyway, but I do not think that knowing I am a negative grump is half the battle of being a positive and happy spirit. It is just not in me naturally. I know that sinful nature would dictate that it is not natural for any of us to be good, but God made people with different strengths and gifts. Everyone was made in His image, and so Joe Schmoe Pagan Guy (have I mentioned him before?) has delightful and valuable qualities about him that he can offer to his neighbor despite his ultimate unacceptability before God. It's part of common grace, you know. But my common grace portion did not include a cheerful disposition. I am sure that my Creator was very generous to me in many ways, but let's just be honest, I didn't get that enviable quality of effortlessly being able to see the bright side of things. I know the rest of the story is that I am now set free to pursue that, that God can enable me to see His hand in the midst of hard times or even just the beauty of His world wherever I go. There are many things to be positive about all the time and I can learn to look for those things and rejoice in the Lord always. It runs deep though, this vein of negativity, because I have tried to "look on the bright side of life," as the Monty Python boys would have it, and usually end up more frustrated because I feel like I am trying to trick myself! Can you imagine? What kind of a freak am I?!

Well anyway, today is just one of those days where I didn't have to trick myself. I started a post yesterday, a follow up to "Insomnia, Serving You Well," called "Insomnia, Kicking My Butt." I didn't finally finish it because I was half dead, or so it felt like to me. I didn't get to sleep for Sunday night until about 6:30 on Monday morning. And well, that just ticked me off. I did get to sleep until about 12:30 Monday afternoon, but nonetheless, yesterday was a grueling and miserable day and I barely made it until 7:30 before turning in for the night. I woke up at 9:30 though, a little discouraged that all the exhaustion only allowed two hours of uninterrupted sleep. I finally did get back to sleep around 2am and slept very nicely until sometime late this morning. As I was drinking my Sleepytime tea at 2am and praying that my Tylenol PM would be a good little drug and do it's job soon, I began trying to exercise that flabby part of my perspective, that underexercised optimism I want so much to tone up.

Maybe it was the tea or that my strategy for the evening was not to turn on the TV (lest it stimulate my mind and keep me awake longer), but I started feeling a little cozy, a little "fallish," if you will. I thought about school starting this week and September too. I have always also been in that tiny percentage of the population that gets the "summer blues." I love the start of school, when life gains a little structure again, but I never quite know how to keep myself in that routine nine months later when it takes a three month break. I love fall and winter and spring too (except that it means summer is coming), but I just wilt in the uneventful blah of the summer, always have. Plus, I hate being hot. Anyway, the three month break is over! I thought about how I need to get August some saddle shoes to replace his white summer shoes and Amabel some black mary janes to replace her white ones because Labor Day is Monday. I love saddle shoes and black mary janes (yes, Abby, we know, you still wear your own black mary janes!). I thought about how October is right after September and October is when we go over to Eckert's to pick apples and pumpkins, and how I'll have to borrow or buy someone's Baby Bjorn to carry the new baby while trying to do these kinds of things this year. I thought about how hot tea really is just such the nicest thing, and though homemade lemonade and garden fresh tomatoes and herbs really are so delightful, I much prefer pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and hot coffee on a cool October morning. I thought about Christmas even, and snow, and warm cozy blankets. I knew I was getting ahead of myself. I knew that if I ever did get to sleep, I would awake to another sweltering St. Louis summer day (waaah!). But I continued to indulge myself in thoughts of happy harvest days ahead until... SLEEP! Hurray! It was a good sleep too, because even though I woke up a cazillion times to use the bathroom and realized I was having major Braxton Hicks, I got right back to sleep when my head hit the pillow.

And upon waking up for the day, I found a delightfully overcast sky- yes, we Eeyores often prefer cloudy days- over a 67 degree world! 67 degrees, people! It's like a little gift. Actually, it's like a great big blessing. And so as I was driving along, enjoying a hot beverage on a cool day, to my next to last doctor's appointment (hurray!) I spotted a gas station. What's that I see? $2.65?!! Can it be? Indeed, it can be; not that that has anything to do with fall, but good news nonetheless. I went into the doctor's office and stepped up on the scale. Uh-oh, I gained two pounds in one week?! Not to worry, I still have a one pound margin. The baby is fine. We're right one schedule. 38 weeks down, two to go. I had a whole hour before I needed to get home and be with the kids in time for George to get off to work so I did a couple of errands and wound up at a swanky children's boutique. There were all manner of Christmas outfits out, I guess so people could get their personalized orders in early... or so I could be filled with more cheer! I'm not going to think right now about how it will be at least 95 degrees again before it's time to head to the pumpkin patch or that the summer sun will bring us many muggy miserable days before the winter sky brings Christmas snow. I will continue to indulge my fall fantasy. Afterall, Auburn football starts on Saturday and Amabel and I are fixing to make cocoa gingerbread brownies as a little tribute toward the good things to come. It's the little things, ya know? Actually, it's the big things, like a healthy baby, a full night of sleep and a thirty degree temperature drop.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Insomnia, Serving You Well

My baby has hiccups. It's only one though. So while I wait for Tylenol PM to kick in and baby's body to quit spazzing, I decided to write a little something. George mentioned "Mr. Jamie" on his blog recently. And today my friend Jennie mentioned that she needs some less annoying kids' music. I know I have mentioned my desire to have a booklist on here several times. The task is just too big. But I do have a short list for kids' music. That is not quite as an endless treasure trove in my opinion. Or is it that I have not put as much into researching it? Everyone feel free to add your own to the list in the comments. And give us a link to your recommendations if you can ( you'll probably just have to paste the web address for us to copy and paste; mine all have links by clicking).

Mr. Jamie is Jamie Soles, a Reformed Christian artist from Canada with four children's CDs out. We don't have the most recent one yet. It is called Memorials. My friend Elizabeth was good enough to give us copies of his other three: Good Advice, Up From Here, and The Way My Story Goes. The whole family loves his albums. He really brings out some of the lesser known stories of the Bible and even the very well known to show God's faithfulness and purposes throughout Scripture. We have loaned ours out a lot, so feel free to request a listen. I think I owe Jessie if she didn't already borrow from someone else.

Miss Judy is Judy Rogers, a PCA pastor's wife from Georgia. She also has four children's albums out though I believe one of them is a "best of" type thing. I think it was Elizabeth who also introduced us to Miss Judy. We have three of hers: Why Can't I See God, Go to the Ant, and Guard Your Heart. Why Can't I See God has a lot of the Children's Catechism and the ideas therein put to music. Guard Your Heart and Go to the Ant are mostly based on Proverbs and other Scripture. There is one creepy "pro-life" song on Guard Your Heart. Not that pro-life is even remotely creepy ("hiccup" goes the little one within me!), but the song, well, we skip that one.

Mr. Steve is Steve Green and he, oddly enough, also has four kids' CDs out. And, even "oddlier," we have three of these as well. He puts Scripture to song, which I love. I wish he included the reference in the song more often, but they are all on the jacket. His three are all called Hide 'em in Your Heart (volumes 1 and 2 and Praise and Worship). They are not the least cheesey songs you've ever heard musically speaking, but they are catchy and help even us mommies memorize more Scripture (and hide them in our hearts), so you can't complain about that. Evidently, he has something else out called The Adventures of Sir Bernard the Good Knight. I know nothing about this. Anyone have any information (link to that website, which sings when you click on it, under title)?

A lover of U2 and Jack Johnson is hardly going to play only Christian music. I got the music in me! So yes, my kids also listen to a lot of U2 and Jack Johnson etc. They love the Curious George soundtrack which is done sort of for children by Jack Johnson. Then again, they love some things that I wouldn't link you to, like that "had a bad day" song from American Idol. It's amazing how they sponge up whatever is playing when I have completely tuned it out. All the more reason to make sure you are deliberate about what is playing.

We like the Pottery Barn Kids CDs a lot too, about the only things we have actually ever purchased from Pottery Barn Kids. Unfortunately, I can't find them on the website, so I guess you have to go in the store to get them. They have several out, but we have how many? Three, that's right. We have First Steps, which includes "How Much is that Doggy in the Window?" which my grandmother used to sing to me and "Yes, We Have No Bananas Today" which my grandfather used to sing to me. We also have Play Time, which has "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" on it, one of my favorites from childhood (though Amabel doesn't care for it at all), and August's most requested, "I'm Just Wild About Animal Crackers." All the songs on both of those are sort of silly pop songs from back when our grandparents were teenagers. I haven't gotten some of the other ones because they have started pulling from the "oldies" genre and I hate oldies. Our favorite PBK CD is probably Let's Sing, which has jazzy versions of classic nursery rhymes. If you're gonna listen to "Old McDonald," listen to the rocked out version!

From Pottery Barn Kids to Starbucks. Man, that's embarrassing. We have the Starbucks CD, Gather 'Round. It is a compilation CD with a lot of familiar artists of the present: Sarah McLaughlin, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia (not so present anymore, whoops), Willie Nelson, etc. I wouldn't rush out and buy this one if it's the only one you don't have. But it's fun and very eclectic. Obviously it's "folky" as we are sort of "folky" music lovers. We also enjoy Peter, Paul, and Mommy, one of Peter, Paul, and Mary's CDs for kids. This can probably be attributed to my own childhood as I listened to Peter, Paul, and Mary for adults as much as I listened to my Disney sing-along records. So I guess I can fully expect that my grandkids will love the U2 kids album if it ever comes out. That's just funny to think about.

Lastly, I have to put a plug in for a funny little Burl Ives CD that we have. You know Burl Ives, the snowman from the claymation Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? More importantly, he's the guy in Summer Magic, the greatest Disney movie ever (that's a stretch, and it's not for little kids because of the romantic subplots, but it is my personal favorite!) . Burl Ives has one of those wonderfully endearing voices. He sings some classic songs on this one, like "Little White Duck" (the title track) and "Froggie Went a Courtin'," and also some very bizarre old folk songs. I need to find more CDs like this one.

So I told you it was a short list. Yet somehow it has taken me an hour to write this post. Surely I can get to sleep now. The hiccups have stopped. But you know, as soon as I lie down and get still... baby gymnastics hour begins again! Well, then maybe you'll get a two-for and I'll serve up another list. I have been meaning to at least tackle a train booklist. I have well researched the whole books on trains world, and there is much to be read that is not Thomas! But hopefully, I'll get to sleep! Let us all know if you have more good kids music to suggest!

A little next day ammendment:
We also love Betty Jean Robinson's children's album that I had when I was little. Her grandaughter was in my class in school and we used her music from this album for our school pageant. It is sweet, old style country/Gospel Christian music, like what they used to have on Hee Haw or something. And the album is just recently (as in since August was born, that's the last time I looked) available on CD. Here is the link to her order form, you are looking for Up On Melody Mountain for Children.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Clarity, for a Moment at Least

It has probably been months, possibly even years that George has had two days off from work in a row. The bank job means he has to work every Saturday. They give him another day off during the week, but there is definitely something to be said for two days running up next to each other like Saturday and Sunday. And then, out of the blue (or the hand of God), George's schedule allowed him Wednesday and Thursday of this week off! The most exciting part of our two day vacation so far has been the installation of a ceiling fan in our bedroom. I had been waking up hot pretty much every hour during the night since we lived here. I shouldn't have been hot at 72 degrees, but I think our bed was sort of a "hot pocket." I knew a ceiling fan would help. Last night I got 6 hours of sleep in a row! That is huge! Then George let me sleep in until pretty much right now so I am ready for another big day today, after my nice long, cool sleep. And we have actually made some progress around here with unpacking.

I think I had been mostly discouraged as I have found myself really struggling to keep up with everyday things. I get tired so fast and have to rest. I have felt like I was pigging out only to get to the doctor and learn I had lost a pound and a half. So I guess my body is in overdrive. Having George home has helped me be able to better manage the everyday things and then somehow begin to tackle the extra things that come from moving and getting ready for a baby. I am starting to be a little less overwhelmed.

The other thing that has had me discouraged is, as I mentioned, anxiety over surgery. This is the first time I have had it scheduled. The last two times, I went in like I was going to deliver and then, hours down the road, had to opt for surgery. With this one, I will go in at my apointment time (7am) and put my name on the clipboard the same as I would for the dentist. When they are "ready for me," they will "call me back." How very strange. How very strange to deliver in a different hospital than my first two, with a different doctor. I feel like I should be seasoned with this, know where to go, what to do- I've done it twice before! But I find myself feeling like I'm having my first baby all over again in some ways. Three years is a pretty long break you know. We're out of diapers and cribs and any kind of special food considerations. We're down to one naptime. I think that as I have realized this, I have begun to freak out. And I guess anyone dreads the idea of having surgery no matter what kind it is.

The thing I am forgetting is how I get a new baby out of this. I know that sounds ridiculous. Please laugh at me! But I have never been one of these who bonds with my baby before it's born. I don't feel bad about that; different people are just different ways. But out of all the things I am anticipating, I am forgetting that I am going to love this baby! When you have a newborn, somehow you really don't mind being up in the middle of the night because you get to see your baby. You don't mind changing the diapers because it's your own little child. Of course, these things get very tiring after a few weeks, and we all get overwhelmed with it at times. But I think I am just forgetting the smell of a new baby's little head and how teeny tiny their little toes and fingers are, and how warm and snuggly they are (as opposed to the two little monkeys I have to play a game of chase with before I can get a kiss). I have a hard time realizing that there will be another person around here. I've got the whole "more work" idea down (so like me, how sad!) but I am forgetting all the love and sweetness and the new little personality that comes with all that work.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. I am beginning to feel much better- and with only 19 days to go! (And, I might add, still 3 pounds left to gain if need be- to stay within my 15 pound gain goal, just thought I'd remind you all. For me, it is positively bizarre! Don't let the numbers fool you though; I'm as good and huge as any prego ever plumped up to be!)

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Therapy

I just finished a post that was too vulnerable, even for me. I know, I know, it must've been super icky. It was. Here are two Scriptures that have come to mind as I have pondered what I am pondering. Maybe they will help or comfort one of you:

"The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:18

"The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Let's Talk About C-sections- Therapy for All

I think I have mentioned, at least way back at the beginning, that insomnia is a big part of both the beginning and end of pregnancy for me. It's sort of how I knew I was pregnant before it was early enough to know. It's sort of part of the last six weeks for me as well. I have actually not been having too much of a problem with it since we have moved in. I have been taking Tylenol PM a lot. It's great for actually getting to sleep, avoiding bizarre dreams, and staying asleep, but it's tough to shake the next day. Last night, George and I were up late wasting away in front of cable that is left over from our friends who used to live here and I had no trouble falling asleep when we finally went to bed. So because I went down "undrugged," I have been wide awake this morning but also much of the night (needin' the Debbie Downer "wah waah" there again). I had a lot of dreams too, mostly revealing very clearly to me all of my anxieties about the coming changes. Anyway, it has all prompted me to write a little post about what I have been thinking about- you know to let all of you learn from my own experience.

Well, I guess the biggest thing is the C-section. The thing about C-sections, which everyone will tell you, is that doctors are far too eager to do them. In my case, it was truly an emergency the first time. I had gone into the hospital when my water broke. They gave me 13 hours to go into labor on my own. I never had any significant contractions and never dilated even a little, so they put me on pitocin. I was then on pitocin for 12 hours with very significant contractions, actually throwing up from the pain, and still never dilated. They did manage to get a heart monitor on Amabel, the single most painful and traumatic experience of my life (because, you see, I hadn't dilated)- and no, I am not forgetting that I nearly died in a head on collision where I broke several bones and had my forehead nearly gashed away. When Amabel's heart rate began to indicate that she was in distress and my water had broken 26 hours before, putting her also in danger of infection, there was nothing to do but get her out right away. I had been put on an epidural at the 22 hour mark and that had not helped me progress, but at least it made it easier to go ahead and do the surgery quickly. The only thing anyone has said in hindsight that may have helped is that they could've had me up and around instead of in a hospital bed hooked up to all kinds of monitors for that first 13 hours. But it seems that in the end the monitors as well as the C-section saved Amabel's life. I am confident that there are many cases where they are necessary and a wonderful providence, a gift God has given to our doctors to help save lives of many mothers and babies.

My doctor was the same with August. She had herself had a C-section the first time and then went on to deliver "normally" the next time. I felt like we were geared up together to keep me from having another C-section. She was somewhat skeptical as "failure to progress" is one of those things that she said is prone to happening again. I would also tend to think that for a doctor, failure to progress is really annoying- it messes up your day having to check on this patient again and again etc. A C-section is far more convenient for everyone involved because it makes the very unpredicatble birthing process both predictable and quick. I would never say that that was interfering with my doctor's doctoring abilities though. I went in two days before what would have been my scheduled induction date. I didn't schedule an induction because I actually preferred being cut open to going back on pitocin (or as I have come to think of it, the drug from hell- though I know it has also been great for a lot of people), so it was a scheduled C-section that she said I could back out of if I wanted to. But I didn't make it to that point because I went in one night after not feeling any movement from August all day. I knew I was being a little paranoid, but I really just wanted to hear that heartbeat and know everything was okay. Why do people think it is a good idea to share their horror stories of failed pregnancies with pregnant women? I don't know! Anyway, I heard that little heartbeat and felt much better. But they wouldn't let me go because I was having contractions four minutes apart. For weeks I had been having lots of contractions that seemed very regular that would even keep me up all night and then have them fizzle to nothing in the morning. This was exactly what happened in the hospital. They kept me there all night with contractions four minutes apart. In the morning, after ten hours, the contractions went away and I hadn't dilated at all. It was now just one day until when my surgery would have been scheduled. I was in the hospital. Someone was watching Amabel. My mom was on her way. I was exhausted. And it appeared that I was "failing to progress" all over again. The only thing was that my water hadn't broken, so I could've left. But we opted to go ahead and do the surgery. I sort of regretted it while still in the hospital. Had I just unnecessarily mangled my body? She said it should be no problem to have the four children we hope to have all by C-section. In fact, I hear often of one of the Kennedys who had nine.

It is hard because you make a decision, one that is "the point of no return" without really having all the information you need. I say that because the recovery for the first C-section is obviously going to be easier than recovery from a second one. But you only have your recovery experience with the first one to factor in. And carrying a baby after one C-section is infinitely more comfortable than carrying a baby after two C-sections, but you only have the second pregnancy to factor in. I can only judge now that I have had to recover from a second surgery and carry a third baby to term that the recovery for this third C-section is going to be pretty bad. Added to that, there is the problem of having to be in the hospital for a lot longer while leaving two kids who need to be cared for at home. My mother is always generous with her time and gives us all a week to help us out after we have a new baby. With a four day stay in the hospital, her time is almost up before I even get home with the baby. To give me maximum help when I get home, we are actually going to hire a babysitter to watch the kids while I am in the hospital and let my mom come later on. We have been looking forward to George's paid paternity leave from the bank for a while thinking that he will be a huge help. What a great benefit! Unfortunately, now he has another job and school will be starting, so it seems like there may not be a whole lot of "leave" to speak of.

All of this to say, I am pretty terrified of having another C-section. I am pretty terrified of how to care for three children while recovering from this third major surgerey (or otherwise). I am sharing this because I think some people are strangely comforted by other women having multiple C-sections. I think this may have a lot to do with with the big advocates of natural childbirth making us feel really judged for having them. Believe me, I understand that. I understand feeling very defensive about having them because people say such nasty things about having them, when you know that you just did what you thought was best for yourself and your baby- and that often times, as with Amabel, you didn't even have a choice. I just want to say to anyone who has had one, who may have the choice about having a second, be determined not to. If you have to have one, I am sure it will be fine, just as I am sure I will be fine and I was fine after having August. But do what you can to make carrying your third and fourth children etc. easier. And do what you can to make your recovery easier. I will be sure to let y'all know how the recovery goes. I anticipate a lot of pain just because I have a fair amount even now. It just seems unfortunate that some doctors (not mine) tend to be flippant about the idea of having multiple C-sections and consequently some women might tend to make a hasty or flippant decision themselves. On the other hand, sometimes it can't be helped and people need to quit making people feel like they have done wrong or even just worse to have had them.

That's my two cents- or actually much more than two cents. But I feel like I can say something on the matter because I have been there. People who have never found themselves in a situation where they fear for their child's life if they don't have a C-section really shouldn't have much to say on the matter. And maybe that includes doctors too. How can you encourage or recommend one that is not absolutely necessary, especially if you're a man and have no idea what you are asking your patient to endure? On the other hand, how can you condemn having one if you also have no idea what sort of labor or agony someone endured before having one?

This is a pretty emotionally charged subject matter for me. I have actually been pretty unkind to my children while writing this and need to go apologize. But I just hate that I have gotten the feeling from some people that I somehow gave the impression that C-sections are no big deal. They are a big deal. On the other hand, I really don't want to be one of those people that is anything but gracious to someone who has them. I am afterall, one of the ones who has them. I think birth is so mysterious. Even with all the medical advances we have, it is still such an uncontrollable experience. To try to control it with unnecessary procedures is not good. To insist (or even imply/ lean toward) that all surgical procedures are unecessary or due to lack of competance on the doctor's, mother's, or hospital's part is equally not good. And in the end, maybe all discussion on the matter should be done with careful consideration of the mother, the one who feels the weight and sensitivity of caring for the life of her child and her own health in the situation, as opposed to just batting around an idea think tank or debate style.

Monday, August 14, 2006

What's the Deal with "Antique White?"

I love to decorate with white. It is clean and crisp and airy and versatile to boot. We have no beds for our children currently, nor do we have a dresser or any other significant piece of furniture for them. But the crib is white. And I love white. So I hope to find a couple of white twin beds to put the kids' matress sets on. I also need some sort of dresser as well as a cabinet or what have you to store toys and such in. I know, it's a lot of stuff. We just haven't ever had furniture for them.

Amabel did have a little hand me down laminated head and foot board that had been water damaged. George had glued the wood sheets back together as best he could and painted it white, but it was never too cute. And because it had been bumped and banged so many times in our first three moves of her life, it started to get a little dinged up. Amabel, who hates taking naps, enjoyed peeling the paint off on and around these dings for about a year before I decided it was just junk, George was never going to repaint it, and it could be left on the curb when we moved into the POD (didn't have room for it anyway!).

I decided to go to some antique stores today after only a couple of possibilities turned up on Craig's List. I didn't find much in the way of storage, but I did see lots of inexpensive painted furniture that would have been great for stashing next to a chair or sofa or in an entry way to cozy up the place (we also have none of these sorts of pieces either). It was all really cute except for one thing. It was all "beige" or "ecru" or "off white" or "bisque" or whatever- basically all blah! I just don't get it. We went to two antique malls and found this was constantly the case. It was just me and Amabel and she was being a pretty good sport, especially because she really wanted a piggy bank that looked like an animal cracker box; and I just told her today I would get her a piggy bank when all her coins fell out of her backpack but in the end was not willing to pay $6 for it nor to have to look at it for years to come. I decided to compensate for her loss by taking her for icecream and could only think of the Ben and Jerry's in the mall.

The stairs down to Ben and Jerry's are right by Pottery Barn Kids which I have made fun in the past of both for being ridiculously overpriced (kinda like Ben and Jerry's) and wildly extravagant (like we all need a child sized cocktail bar on our patio). I am a big believer in sales though. And you never know when some basic piece is being clearanced out... Okay, it was a pipe dream, but I went in. Anyway, they certainly made it easy for me not to go Green Eyed Monster. The catalog is a beautifully done thing. I mean, the photographers should win serious awards. I went in the store and found literally nothing I would want, even if I could afford it. The catalog makes everything look so crisp and cheery and light. The store, absent of natural light and full of "antique white" finished furniture, is a drab, yellowy, not cute place. I think Birmingham shoppers may have difficulty conceding this point as the store at the Summit has a lot of natural light pouring in through the store front. But any mall-enclosed Pottery Barn Kids exposes the catalog for what it is, beautifully done photography of crummy merchandise. Sure, we know it's mass produced and overpriced, but isn't it cute? No, it really isn't. It's just the photos that are so good. Incidentally, this is George's feeling also about Martha Stewart Living, but that's a different post. Anyway, I think a true white finish would be a big improvement, but I'm sure they sell plenty of the yellowed variety (ugh, it just makes me think of stained teeth or unkept fingernails!!) and could care less what I think. Now that I'm thinking about it, they seem to often be just a little bit off on the color, which makes the lacking quality so much more noticeable. I remember ordering a pink rug years ago from the catalog for Amabel's nursery. When I got it, it looked nothing like the lovely pastel in the catalog but was actually a bubble gum pink, even a raspberry pink! The stark contrast between the pink and the "antique white" background made the flowers look really blotchy. A pastel pink would've softened the edges, and also just not have been heinous in my daughter's room. The sales associate seemed irritated when I returned it because evidently it happens a lot. She said "people always think it is pastel, no, it's bubble gum pink." And I ask you, what do I want with bubble gum pink? What do I want with "antique white?" Absolutely nothing. And therefore, I want nothing with Pottery Barn Kids.

So I guess that's a good realization. I'd hate to spend years pining away for Pottery Barn furniture we'd never be able to afford anyway. But there must be some solution to my furnishing dilemmas. I know you're thinking garage sale. And I'm thinking there is no way garage sales will be worth my time while I am schlepping two and 36/40ths children with me, not to mention all the time it takes to strip off old paint and sand everything down and repaint a couple of coats, etc. etc. etc.... I just have no patience for that. I want to find something that's already ready. It is worth the money when you're me (and when you're any of a lot of other people who don't enjoy laboring over furniture painting projects at the expense of some other more important task). So wish me luck. I have a couple more antique malls and a Craig's List lady to call about a white wrought iron bed for Amabel. Let's just hope she doesn't mean "antique white."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

We're In!

It's amazing, I know, but the Edemas have landed! It is a chaotic mess, but it is in my living room and not in the POD so I am not complaining! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! And just four and a half weeks until baby comes. I am pretty sure we will need every moment of that time to pull this place together.

First of all, there's the space. We have seriously downsized which I am very (yes, bold and italics, that glad!) glad about, but I had gotten a little slack with what I allowed the children to accumulate (train table, Little Tykes kitchen, a village of Fisher Price Little People). So before we had whole rooms to devote to toys because we couldn't furnish them anyway, and now we are faced with cramming three children and all of the toys into one bedroom. If anyone in the fam reads this, Aug's birthday is coming up and then the baby and then Christmas. I strongly suggest (as in, I plead with you) books, collge fund donations, or CD's. There is just no more room for toys. Plus, their toys are all new again after the ten week storage, so there is no need for more.

Then there's the colors... I think we're going to be okay on this one. The khaki is not really showing up in the living room, but I think I might enjoy the grey. I mean, I have such the grey personality anyway, it really is rather fitting. The green in our bedroom probably would not have gone well with the original duvet, but the oh so sweet people at Sycamore Moon let me swap them for one that I had really liked better. That was what was causing the anxiety more than anything- I got a second choice because I thought it would match best and then it wasn't looking so matchy. George kept saying "well, we'll just re-paint." And I just kept thinking "if we're gonna have to re-paint, I want what I really liked best." And in the end, I got what I really liked best, plus a cash refund because I decided I didn't need as many shams, and I don't think we even will have to re-paint. Now that is the kind of thing that gets me fired up. I know, so quick to distress, so quick to please- I am a crazy roller coaster of a person. Anyway, the new ones had to be ordered so we'll see in about a week how it's all going to work out. But the blue in the kids' room is great and the green in the bathroom is pretty. It doesn't really match our towels, but our towels go from shelf to person to laundry pile, so they never really get seen anyway. I generally stick with white for shower curtains and bath mats and anything looks good with white- which is why I stick with it.

The other big change that comes with the new apartment is the job. I am not so sure how I will like George having this job except that I know he will like it way better than his bank job. He gets a paid paternity leave with the bank job which we have been really looking forward too. After the leave, he will have a good idea of what this job and three kids at home looks like and will be in a better place to see if he can hang on to the bank job. The bank job is where our insurance comes from so I really want him to keep it. But two jobs and school and a bunch of kids and a high maintenance wife is a lot for just one guy. This job is all on the property and that will keep him from having to drive out to work all the time. On the other hand, it seems to be kind of constant and there is no real "quittin' time" which is how I have learned to organize my long and uneventful days at home for five years (revealing that grey side I mentioned with that comment!). But just today, I have met two very nice plumbers and a new tennant, so perhaps the uneventful part of my day is a changin.' It will, perhaps, be just the catalyst I need for getting myself and the children out of pajamas before 11am!

So we have a home. Thank you thank you for praying for us. I have had a horrible attitude and I admit that I still have a lot of doubt issues. I never wondered at God's sovereignty. Could he do it? Of course. No, his power is never a question to me. Would he do it? Did he care what was going on? That is where I struggle. I have no problem seeing God as Supreme, as Sovereign, as King. I have a real problem seeing him as a Father- believing his love, believing that he cares for us as individuals and for our feelings. I have a lot to say about that, a lot to say about things that people throw at you that are not comforting at all or that actually make the problem worse. I hope that they are wrong or just simply choosing the wrong words or sentiments. I hope that there are more things to say about God as a Father to a screw up like me. I will let y'all know. Right now I do know that He has provided for a little family in St. Louis, Missouri who have a new baby coming and had no home for ten weeks. He sent helping hands to move us in and a sweet sweet friend to bring us a super yummy meal (plus, brownies!). And after all that, there is a healthy little baby, measuring just right and kicking like a mamma jamma at thirty five weeks, that seems more like a reality now that there is actually a home to bring it to and a crib set up to lay it in. I totally hate calling my baby "it." But, I've kept the secret this long (which has actually only been about 12 weeks) so I reckon I won't spoil it now.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Everything Slightly Askew

Well, the post about being bored was just a jinx. Both kids had two full days with 102 degree fevers shortly after. Of course, we went down to Birmingham anyway because I know it will be ages before we will be able to go again. I slept maybe 14 hours over the course of three nights. Pregnancy is just getting to that point (only five more weeks) where comfortable sleep is more difficult and that is without factoring in feverish and homesick children. I called George in desperation one morning and asked him to consider flying down to drive us back to St. Louis. Of course, we had nowhere to be in St. Louis, but I couldn't make it back without him and I was ready to be back. He was able to work with his very gracious managers who found someone to take his shift at the bank and give him the day off, to hitch a ride with a friend leaving the very next day for the beach and heading right through Birmingham, to accept another friend's generosity in holding down the fort at the apartment complex, and bring me home to the home of his mother who graciously offered us her bed and is now sleeping on the couch! It took a village, or a Church rather, but we are back in St. Louis all four together. I am not sure if that little summary will make sense to anyone. But it was really all quite the crazy fiasco. And now we are all coughing and sniffling and doped up on Benadryl.

We do have the apartment, it is just not finished being painted and updated and cleaned and the POD people cannot deliver our POD until Tuesday. George had to pick the paint without me and relying only on vague memories of what our stuff actually looks like. You know it never is easy to tell how a color will look once it's up, especially in the poorly lit Home Depot, and especially when you have nothing from your home to hold the paint swatches up to. For this reason, we are ever picking new colors and never really committing to any colors in our furnishings. Well, that and that we move every single year, so we have to paint again! This past Christmas we finally decided to pick a couch, because it was on sale for $199 more than anything else, and that locked us into blue (it is blue and white ticking...I think, I can't really picture it in my mind anymore!). My mother bought an upholstered rocker for me for this pregnancy because she had gotten each of my sisters one with their recent pregnancies and I chose a red toile, so that locked us into red. Still, there is a lot of flexibility and we decided we might go with a sort of khakish gray color on the walls. We went and looked at it tonight and the khaki seems to have been lost. I also felt like I was picking up on a purple undertone. Let's just hope that was the lighting at 11:30 with most of the bulbs burnt out in what little overhead lighting there is there. Gray might be okay, khaki gray would be better, but purpley gray is trouble.

On to the bedroom. My favorite store in Kirkwood, Sycamore Moon, is going out of business. It is a darling store with all kinds of cutie country decor (hope you know what I mean by "country"- thumb through a Country Living or Country Home magazine for a better idea, lest you picture patchwork and stencils!) and really lovely handmade jewelry, bags, candles, lotions, and soaps. I always use birthdays as an excuse to shop there. My sweet friends in Birmingham gave a little shower luncheon for me and so I used that as an excuse to go in for hostess gifts today. So glad because I discovered that the store will close before the end of the month! I have always admired the custom bedding she carries, and with the 20% off for the closing sale, not to mention the fact that in six years we have never had any new bedding for our bed, I decided to take the plunge and buy a duvet cover and some shams. I was very pleased with the price for the duvet, not so much for the shams. But I concluded that I would spend another six years waiting if I didn't do something. But upon seeing the color in the bedroom, George and I are both unable to tell if the colors will actually work together (even while holding the sham up next to the painted wall). We are going back to the store tomorrow to try and see if she will let us exchange the set I purchased for another set with some bluer shades of green. Who knows if she will be willing to exchange it. Who knows if we will see anything that will work better.

Doesn't it stink when things are just slightly off? The bedroom is just slightly too blue. The living room is just slightly too gray. The POD people are just slightly too booked- we had hoped to have them deliver it today. Don't even get me started about only slightly losing several ebay auctions this week (can't stand to lose by a dollar). Out and out fiascos are more the kind of thing people can sympathize with; and they're more the kind of thing you just throw your hands up over and pray for help. Things just slightly off? That's what insomnia is made of. It's what keeps you up at night thinking of the best way to solve the problem and playing "if only." It's things being slightly off that drives me crazy. Maybe I'm OCD. Aren't we all? Well, it really is just slightly longer than we thought until we finally get a home. And it really is just slightly all the wrong colors in the new apartment as far as we know. There really is no way to know for sure until we get everything in there anyway. I'll let y'all know how it all turns out.

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