Oh, how I wish some days I was that mom that blogged often and had all kinds of creative ideas to share and to inspire others. See, I do have lots of things to say and creative ideas do float around in my head....but nothing ever really makes it out of my brain. It often just stays there and haunts me....almost mocking me. How do these moms do it? How do they keep a tidy house, blog their ideas AND mother their children? Oh AND exercise and maintain meaningful friendships? Rather than being envious, I am counting my blessings. God IS good...and I am thankful for where He has me. Pressing on.
That's what we keep telling ourselves...we are redefining what life is like for the Olson family. Seems like just when we got into a good rhythm, we added another child. It has been a wonderful thing...really. Micah is the perfect addition to our little (or is it big now?) family. And here we are, trying to figure out what is our new normal, what things we need to change up and what things can stay the same. Things that pretty much stay the same- our values, our desire to raise godly children, our need for some form of order, our love for our family, our commitment to our church, our passion and love for each other within our marriage...the list does go on. But things that have needed to change have taken so much time and effort, we often find ourselves completely spent at the end of each day. Every couple has their own coping mechanisms in this situation. Sometimes the stress and work can really pile up. For us, we have been getting the kids to bed and then, some nights, we sit on the couch in our pajamas and watch mindless tv episodes on Netflix. Sometimes we up our workout routine...mostly for fitness but also to let off any extra concerns that the day has brought us. We also try to get in some form of a date every single week. And we also try to get in daily quiet time (no matter how long it ends up being). These things have been helpful as we have tried to navigate our new normal. There are some things we have realized, some right away and some over the past few months, that needed to change. Especially, our expectations. Things do seem to take more work. Like - getting dinner on the table, finding time for personal fitness...and showers :) And this year - we tried our best to get up all our Christmas decorations over a two day period, like usual, but that was a big FAIL. Rather than get bummed at our lack of productiveness...we just went with it. Took us over TWO weeks to get everything set up....and the Christmas decoration bins just last night made their way back down to our storage place in the basement. Things just take longer...and if we keep our heads on straight, we can find the humor in it. We have found that it is all in changing our expectations and being okay with doing things differently. When we become okay with our new normal, we can sit back and enjoy all God has given us - like a successful trip to the tree farm. It wasn't like last year, where we searched out in the fields for how ever long we wanted until we found the perfect tree. No, this year we tried a new place...drove around and rather than dragging everyone out of the car, we parked at the front and selected an already pre-cut tree.
Yep, that's how we roll these days. And I am okay with that. Simpicity and JOY or complexity and STRESS. Not a tough decision.
And for this season, I am choosing JOY....how can ya not with sweet ones to share it with like these:
I just HAVE to write about something I was thoroughly able to enjoy last evening - time with Carina We didn't do anything incredibly special, just grocery shopping, but it was soo enjoyable to have that time with her alone. Rarely do I get to have one on one time with just her without Miss Libby Rae. Because they are both girls and relatively close in age, they get lumped in with one another more often than not.
Last night half our family was sick with the stomach flu and I had a ton to buy at the store in preparation for a marathon freezer cooking day today so rather than canning it altogether, I decided to take Cari and Micah with me to the stores. I had my list all categorized into departments so we could cruise right through. So, I gave her a pen and my list and she was my assistant the whole time. She willingly took charge of the list, crossing off items, telling me how much of things we needed and how much more we had to get. It was so cool for me to observe her grow up right before my eyes. Well, she had already done the growing...I just hadn't taken time to really notice. Throughout our time together, she made me laugh with her quips and observations, laughed at herself, was polite, didn't ask for anything extra, helped me load groceries and and just overall was a joy to be with. I don't know how I missed all these changes in her. But I am so glad I got to experience them last night. She used to willingly admit that she didn't care to go shopping and by her behavior in the past, it was obvious. She was no fun...and would be a drag the whole trip. I guess I just assumed she would always be that way. But I was wrong. She must have grown out of that stage because last night, she was a different girl - a complete blessing all the way down to bringing in the bags from the van at the end of our trip.
My heart is full this morning as I reflect on our time together. A few thoughts floating in my head. 1) I need to take time to spend time with each kid one-on-one more often 2) I need not assume things will stay the way they are when they are little 3) Some things get easier as time goes on- with regard to parenting. 4) I am blessed.
In just a couple short weeks, Cari will be EIGHT years old. How can this be? Love her so much!!
We finally got everything finalized, thanks to some really wonderful people. We had it set up so four different babysitters would take shifts during the day until Mary got home. My contractions started picking up when we had just gotten off the phone with Lauri Chupp. She said, "If you need me, I can be there in 10 minutes. Just call." So, I told her it would be a while but as soon as I hung up the phone, the pain started picking up and the contractions were coming closer. That was the first time that I thought we may be missing our little window of time when I could get an epidural or worse, the antibiotic I needed for the Strep B. (They told me it had to be in my system for four hours prior to delivery in order for it to be most effective). So, I called Lauri right back and she headed our way. Mary was home so we were able to quickly grab our belongings and check our list twice...and snap this pic.
So, it looks like it was a quarter till eleven when we left :)
The plan was for Lauri to watch the other kids until the afternoon, then Stephanie Slabaugh...then Anna, our neighbor and then Mary would be home around 9. Kinda crazy but it worked and the kids thought it was pretty awesome to have all those great people who love them over to help out and play with 'em.
On the way to the hospital, the contractions started to slow a bit but they kept happening. As usual, I wondered if I was really far enough along for them to keep me there. Miah kept assuring me that we would be staying and leaving with a baby. When we walked up to the Circle of Caring Birthplace on the third floor of the hospital,. we were greeted with a lot of familiar faces...hospital staff who go to our church or are friends of ours, as well as the midwives or nurses we have had in the past. It was a good feeling...very welcoming...and so surreal at the same time. Were we REALLY coming to have our FOURTH baby? Crazy. They weighed me and I was thankful it was in kilos cuz I had no desire to know what my final weight was. I just wanted to meet my baby. They put is in this little pie shaped room and helped us get situated. They just assumed I was far enough along to keep without even checking me. I was still doubting myself though. When they did check me, I was at a four and 70% effaced. Yep, I was staying. The midwife came in to see me and I was thrilled that she was the same one who delivered two of our other kids. She wasn't a big fan of me getting an epidural because that is not the natural way but we had decided to go that route and were going to stick with it. Once we told her we wouldn't be budging, she lightened up and told us all the good things about having one :) They got me hooked up to the IV shortly after I got there. I had never had one before so I had Miah take a picture. Lame, I know...but I thought it was pretty cool. That part didn't hurt but the antibiotic going into my veins was killer. It felt like fire. They told me this happens to some women and they wrapped my wrist up in a warm towel, which did relieve some of the pain. My contractions were tolerable for the next couple hours and finally the anesthesiologist came in. He was an Asian man with a pretty heavy accent. He was all business. Not rude, just a get to the point kinda guy. He ordered me to SIT UP, TURN TO THE SIDE, BEND OVER...and a bunch of other instructions. When he was about to stick my back with the enormous needle he gave me a little forewarning that I would feel a little stick. Well, I didn't understand the guy quickly enough to make sense of what he just told me. All I felt was the prick of the needle which made me flinch big time. He then said loudly, "Why did you do that?! I almost poked myself!" And when Miah then bent over behind me to get a good look at what he was doing, the guy put his hand up and said, "Sir! You stand back...You too close!" Ha ha ha! It was pretty funny. Anyway, the needle wasn't bad...getting the epidural wasn't painful at all. It was just pretty weird. I am used to feeling the contractions and at one point, Miah is looking at the monitor and asking me if I felt this or that one and he was the one telling me the intensity. Strange. I couldn't feel a thing. I kept progressing and about 4 more hours passed and the midwife came in and broke my water. When I was in active labor, Miah and I watched the movie Hitch. Strange that I could sit there and laugh at all those hilarious scenes and not even feel the pain! Then around 7:40 p.m, I started feeling some pressure...not true pain...but I could tell he was starting to really descent. The midwife checked me and said that I was complete. I could start pushing anytime. That's when the nurses started coming in and setting up all the post delivery equipment and the baby cart. Totally surreal. We were having our baby!! They asked me if I wanted pictures taken and even though I always had said no in the past, I said yes this time since it would be my last. The next part was sooo cool! Usually, in natural childbirth, at this point I am completely spent...hardly able to be of sound mind and physically exhausted. But this time, I had saved up all my energy and was able to really lock in and enjoy every moment...just being present. This was exactly what I had hoped for in having an epidural this time. I could feel pain...not intense...but definitely pain as Micah descended and worked his way out. The contractions were tough but my breaks were refreshing. I actually laughed at something someone said at one point in between pushes. He came out and back in a couple times...but after 25 minutes of pushing as hard as I could, out he came. He didn't respond the second he was out. He was purple and was in shock. They laid him on my chest and rubbed him down...and after about 5 very long seconds, he screamed out. What a wonderful sound! He was BIG...and at first looked just like Jordan. I didn't have any rips or anything (praise God!) so the after birth stuff went pretty quickly...and it was pain free! Thank you, epidural! We finally had our son...born at 8:07 p.m. 9.5 lbs. and 20 inches long. What a gift!
The midwife is on the far right and my labor nurse, Randy, is the other woman in the pic. Both were really great.
The next morning we introduced our kids to their little brother. We had a wonderful morning together before all the visitors came. And here is our first picture as a family of SIX.
And here is our "little" baby now at two months.
He is in the 95th percentile for weight - 14.4 lbs. and the 95th percentile for length 25 inches. Yep...big boy, I tell ya! Love this guy. He has added a little craziness to our family dynamic but we are enjoying him so much. He is a wonderful baby. He smiles a ton and sleeps great at night - so far. Love you, sweet Micah. Glad you are here now.