Month: October 2017

Company

We’ve had a glut of company this month and the two previous.  I think it’s a combination of a more relaxed summer schedule (for us all), and we’ve also hit the time period where we’ve been in a new place long enough to comfortably host. That, and being in a place that warrants a visit.

It’s been good.  A welcome distraction from the busyness of the everyday routine that somehow sucks you in and without realizing it, time passes with no real markers.  We tend to take a lot more pictures and etch a lot more memories when we have friends and family here to enjoy them with us.

I often feel inadequate as a host, though I’m sure this is a common feeling that prevails over most of us, save for the few that are incredibly talented in this area and enjoy life filled up in every aspect.  But the only way to overcome inadequate feelings and imperfections is to practice through them.  So that’s what I strive for.

It’s been a season of running the dishwasher twice a day in order to have enough drinking glasses and silverware (why we don’t just buy another 8 sets, I do not know yet.  Eight forks seemed like more than enough when we were first married and our family took up two chairs at the dining table).

It’s been eating out at our “old” favorites and trying some new ones.  Recommended dishes described over the tops of our menus.

It’s been staying up too late because when the kids go to bed our conversations continue without interruption and that is a small luxury.  We’ve played games and eaten homemade cheese popcorn, the ice in our drinking glasses melting and condensation dripping down, making small pools on the table.  These are the things that remind us of when we were young and didn’t need a babysitter for such things.

Our A/C worked overtime these months.  Both because of the ninety-plus degree days but also a sure sign we have company.  We worry that our lifestyle of scrimping on things like air and favorite foods won’t be enjoyable for them so we roll out the red carpet.  It’s a treat for us too.

Our house has been packed with small children during these times.  And we feel so thankful that we finally feel we have a house that can accommodate them well.  A fenced in yard, a cul-de-sac to ride bikes, a playroom away from the common areas, and three eating areas with enough seats for thirteen bottoms.  These things we have longed for in our previous houses and have served us well in our short time here.

Having guests has pushed us to explore parts of our city that always felt a little frivolous to pay for or drive to when it was just our family of five.  Though I do always wish when we arrive that we were a little more seasoned and confident in our leadership. For example, we could not find the promised playground in Centenniel Park and ended up walking too far and then giving up all together for the sake of the little legs and heat beading up on our necks and the lack of stroller space. We ended up doing plan B and it was fine (and fun!), but I hate to drag friends into that.

When you have people over to your house, especially if they spend the night, you reach a certain level of intimacy with them that is virtually impossible to otherwise do, especially if you have children. There is no time limit on your conversations, sometimes you see each other in less than flattering situations, like with the morning dew still on your face, and your children misbehaving, and a little bit of marital discord (like when you disagree about the direction of the playground…).

But intimacy breeds closeness and talks about adoption and unknown futures and future fears and items that don’t normally get discussed because you are usually on a two hour time limit and you can barely cover surface level in that amount of time, get crossed over and beyond.  Conversations that start in the morning get finished in the afternoon and dissected in the evening.

It’s been a good season.  One that I’m sure God has given to us in bounty due to the coming changes, as surfacing on the horizon.  One thing we didn’t know 4 months ago is that our “guest room” would soon be turned into a full-time used room, come March (or possibly sooner). We intended to put “all three” girls in the same sister room, but the addition of the fourth made us reconsider.  Now I think we’ll do two and two, but will lose the guest room in the process (it was either the guest room or my “sewing room”/office, so something we use seasonably, or daily.  Seasonably won).

We will hopefully still be able to accommodate the more adventurous guests (my in-laws have promised us they will be fine on an air mattress in the playroom…), but I also know our life will slow predictably, for a short season, at least, with our new one.  And adventurous outings to the city won’t come as easily or often.

So I’m thankful for what we’ve been able to squeeze in during this short time, and know/hope it is a promise for more to come.  We feel the sands shifting beneath us again as we seek to change, once again, but know that with each change, our life has become even more rich and full than possibly imagined.

May it be so.

-smk

Hearts of Palm

It’s October 3, and we’ve now bridge the four month mark. According to thebump.com, baby is the size of an artichoke!

I am 18 weeks now and, though still not to the halfway mark, in a weird state.  I have fully embraced this pregnancy, as I have had due knowledge of it for the past 14 weeks, (longer than a trimester). I have crossed finally past the threshold of sickness and dodgy energy levels, only to be met by my growing stomach as the new reminder there is life inside.  I am still able to do everything I want, but having to be mindful of limits due to the size of the one growing in me.

For now, it has still remained hidden from strangers, those who offer up the polite and kind remarks about how they “had no idea I was pregnant”, but it is coming.  Depending on how I fit my shirts, I either appear to be slightly over my normal weight, or growing something artichokey in size at the center of my body. Not a win either way.

I am down to the last few pairs of regular jeans that fit me and know it’s only a matter of time and discomfort before I pull out the elastic bands.  Once I see those, it is a long journey of learning to love them, but there is an undercurrent of a rallying cry with this “one last time”.

By all accounts it’s still summer here, and could be for a while.  But I have a hatred of all but one pair of shorts and few flattering tanks left.  It’s probably time to spring for some maternity clothes but we have such few days left in this season, it seems futile to purchase those of the warm weather variety.  With this baby coming in, so they tell me, early March, I hopefully will be back into “normal” clothes by the time I’m in need of them next summer. So I move through it, ill-fitting clothes bearing witness to my discomfort.

I think we have settled on a name. This is big for us.  A moment of time that I relish, but feel hesitant to embrace this time.  I think because this is my last baby I will name, I feel decelerated by the concept of finality.  Right now, this name is being put through every test I can think of.  Does it fit our mold?  Do I love the meaning?  Will I still like it on a teenager?  Is it edgy enough for us?  Is this good enough for a grand finale?  Do I like it as much as the other girls’ names?

Still I catch myself scanning for birth announcements and ruminating on new names, trying them out in my daydreams for a bit, and on my tongue if they are lucky.  Everything around me has become a potential naming source, a network for helping me cross that final bridge.

I think it’s a good sign that I keep coming back to the one after all of these.  So I will hold onto that thought, close for now.

What I do like about the potential name is that it has multi-layered significant meaning. But that is all I will say for now.  I suppose we will do a name game again at 30 weeks, though it’s going to be tough to think of clues I haven’t already used 3x over!

Sleep has become a contemptuous master and one that I will fight with for the remainder.  I am evermore thankful for a king size bed when I am pregnant.  Each night, I carefully set up my throne with two pillows for my head and a pillow to cushion each side.  That way if I accidentally roll to my stomach or back, I have something soft to protect me from going fully prone.

All of these items must be weightily moved in the middle of the night for my, no less than, four trips to the bathroom.  Getting less than nine hours of sleep also makes for an unwelcome afternoon slump and a day of mentally fighting against laziness.  I have become not only a guardian of my children’s rest, but my own.

I am careful in sitting up now, not wanting to, for lack of better words, blow my abs out on this baby.  It feels silly to use your arms and elbows so much to reach a sitting position, but I hope my protection will pay off in the reward of no diastasis recti.

Every time I am still and restful (which, with three little ones, equals about an hour a day before bed), I feel her little limbs tapping around in my belly.  It still brings a rush of excitement and hope that a tiny, unknown being is alive in there, growing to join our family in about 5 months.

After a stressful or exhausting day, feeling her move gives me a little edge of hope and I’d like to think of this is a small allowance from God to remember his kindness towards us and His control over our lives.  I am still amazed at He how is piecing this storyline together and still waiting with expectation to see how He finishes it.

But for now, this feels a good place to be.

-smk