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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My...your hands are full!

I had the pleasure of taking Eli and Dayton to the DMV today.  Eli busied himself rearranging the furniture and Dayton was screaming his head off letting me know it was time to eat.  For whatever reason I did not feel inclined to whip my boob out of my tank top to feed him at that moment.  I dug him out of his car seat and talked to him while intermittently telling Eli "no." Finally it was our turn and the lady sees that I'm in a little distress and hurries my transaction along.  Luckily I read the instructions and had my paperwork in order.  As I'm headed out the door with my screaming infant and dragging Eli behind me (he was convinced the furniture wasn't quite right yet) a woman pops up out of her chair to hold the door open for me.  I'm so happy I could cry...but then she said it..."my, my, your hands are full!"

Yes, they are.  Some days I feel like all I want to do is sit down and cry.  Other days I go through my headcount and can't believe that five children is "a lot."  It doesn't seem like much on those days.  All I can think of is that my house is positively full of people that love me unconditionally.  Yes, I do have my hands full but I also have my heart full as well.  I LOVE my big family...even on days they make me want to pull my hair out.  Why?  Because they'd love me with stress induced bald spots and certifiably crazy.

Taylor even came running up to me on the baseball field last night to give me a hug.  One of those "I'm going to stick my face in your armpit" kinds of hugs.  I was dripping sweat and pretty sure I smelled bad enough that the flies were avoiding me.  She gave me a lingering hug anyway.  I asked her "Taylor, do I stink?"  She said "yep, but it's ok...I love you anyway."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lucky #7

Yes, we've added child number 5 to our happy home!  Dayton Alexander O'Brien joined us on March 28, 2014 at 21 inches long and 7 pounds 15 ounces.  He didn't cry for the first three or four days of his life.  I think he was thankful to be part of this crazy little crew of ours.  

When Taylor was a baby I was tired.  I couldn't imagine how anyone could have more than one child and survive.  Now I giggle when people find out that I have 5 children.  They say one of a few things:

"Whew, you've got your hands full!"
"I don't know how you do it, my kid(s) wear me out!"
"You know what causes that right?"
"Oh, your catholic?"
"You've got a basketball team there!"
"Are you done?"

I always find it interesting that perfect strangers want to know what my procreative future looks like.  But I smile and field the questions as gracefully as a southern woman can muster.  Sometimes I can come back with something quick and smart to answer them with but most days I just answer them honestly with a broad smile that you probably only see on crazy people.  Maybe I am crazy.

Our kids have welcomed Dayton with open arms.  They love him without boundaries, don't mind his crying, spitting up, stinky diapers, or the fact that mom's arms are a little more occupied than normal. As soon as our girls get home from summer school they are racing in the door asking if they can hold Dayton.  It's first come first served in our house so they have to be the first in the door and the first to think to ask.

Even little Eli has taken to his little brother like a champion.  He sits next to us while I nurse him and rubs Dayton's head and sniffs his hair before he tells me "mmmmm..smell good."  He gives him kisses and when Dayton is crying Eli searches frantically for a pacifier to give to his little brother.  The whole time he searches he repeats to himself "Dayton crying."  

Dayton's birth is just the beginning of changes in our home.  Kinsey starts Kindergarten this fall and is currently in summer school.  She loves it, but was a nervous wreck before school started.  I couldn't get her to understand that her friends would be there too.  She has really enjoyed making the little crafts at school and has started gluing cotton balls to anything that will sit still long enough for her to slather with glue.  I threw the glue away before she figured out that Dayton would be an easy target.  

Today is Bella's 7th birthday and she wants to celebrate by riding her first real roller coaster with her daddy (the mamba).  We're trying to make that happen for her.  Jay developed a cold yesterday and I was up all night with a cranky baby but we're going to push through to make Bella's birthday as special as we can.  She wants to have dinner at Fritz's tonight.  It'll be the third fast food restaurant we've eaten at this week since she chooses the meals on her birthday week.  My colon hates me right now.

So that's us right now.  Treading water and laughing like fools the whole time.  I guess that is the pace of our life.  :o)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Suck It Up and Do It Anyway!


“If only I were (or I had) ______________________, I would ____________________.”

We have around 4 inches of snow on the ground and my Clever Container orders had come in.  It was not the best day in the world to be delivering bags of goodies to my friends but if it were me I would want to have something new on my doorstep to play with on this less than ideal spring day.  So, off I went with two of my four kids.  

I made a delivery at 6 houses and I noticed that each house had their driveway shoveled out and a neat little path to their door.  I was ever so thankful.  When I cam home I looked at my still snow covered driveway, my indiscernible walkway, and my ice rink of a doorstep and I knew the dirty deed had to be done.

I gave my kids lunch and put them down for their naps.  As I was “suiting up” to go outside and shovel it occurred to me that I didn’t have gloves, or a scarf, a hat, or snow boots.  I put my husband’s gloves on, decided I would pass on the gloves and hat, and just went out in my tennis shoes.  In the garage I pilfered around for a snow shovel before it dawned on me that my husband told me that our shovel was broken and it has been discarded.  I sighed and found a large dirt shovel and opened the garage door.

I went through all of the stages of grief as I began shoveling.  First I was in denial “it’s not that much snow, it won’t be too bad”.  Then it was anger “my husband said he always wanted to live in a place with lots of land and I can’t even talk him into shoveling our driveway!”  The sorrow and self pity came afterward, “I’m the only wife on my block that has to shovel her driveway, poor me.”  Lastly sweet acceptance peaked over all of my foul moods.

It was when I got over myself that I was able to open up and have my God experience in the middle of my snow covered driveway.  I was thinking “I’m the most ill equipped Midwesterner ever!”  That is when that still small voice told me “even when you think you are ill equipped or unable to do something you can still get the job done and do it quite well.  Suck it up and do it anyway.”  

How many times have I told myself I would wear that dress, volunteer for that, go dancing, fix myself up, travel, etc. if only I were thin, talented, pretty, wealthy or whatever?  You don’t need to improve ANYTHING to be worthy of relationships, love, respect, kindness and happiness.  God has uniquely equipped you even though you believe yourself to be ill equipped.  Do you have something you want to do?  Then go out and do it!  No one else can do what you do...so suck it up and do it ANYWAY!  ;o)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mission: SAHM

I chose to accept my mission again...to be a stay at home mom (SAHM). I put my resignation in at work and have one more day of training my replacement before I am officially done. The last work has served as nothing more than a confirmation of this decision. Bella has gotten strep from school and I have had to take 2 days off of my last week at work to stay at home with her. I have so enjoyed being able to be there and comfort her and answer her zillions of questions.

What am I going to chose to do to celebrate? Well...I've already begun. I am slowly but surely getting my home back under control and reorganized into a functioning place again. I cleaned up most of the dishes today and reorganized my cup cabinets while Bella was snuggling down on the couch watching Christmas movies. Then Bella watched me work on dinner, beef stew and homemade bread. Her job was to count how many "scoops" of each ingredient I added to the bread machine.

I am hoping that the extra time with Bella will help speed along her recovery so she can get back to her normal self. Say an extra prayer for her!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fear vs. Faith

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I'll love
How you serve I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there's life everlasting
In you there's freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow
--Chris Tomlin

I was thinking about this song as it was playing in my car. Oddly enough it made me think of my dogs. When I get up to leave the room my dogs will pop up out of a dead sleep to follow me. On a walk my dogs will watch my every move to make sure they are following me (well...when they are being good dogs). To be able to follow my every move they keep their eyes on me. They live for my praise for their obedience and my attention in practically a drug for them.

If we don't keep our eyes on God how can we expect to truly "follow" him? Will this require effort? Of course and a lot of it! But I also think that we find ourselves truly transformed when our goals involve Him rather than our career, bank account, vacation, cars, homes, title, status.

This area is where I am struggling. Why? Because I am being called into into my home to raise my small children. I LOVE my children, so why is this decision so hard on me? I'm afraid. I once again feel like I am committing economic and career suicide. I KNOW that this is the decision that is best for my children including the precious infant growing in my womb. Fear vs. faith right?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Reflections

Seriously...does it ever slow down? I am really struggling with the fact that my time seems to vanish before my eyes. I looked down and suddenly I am a mom of 3 (almost 4) and my oldest is 6 years old only 12 years from departing the nest. We are 1/3 of the way through nurturing her through her childhood. Cries for milk have changed into cries of injustice and soon there will be tears of heartbreak and teenage anguish. I am so not ready for this.

My life is over complicated. I am working on simplifying it. I want to be able to spend intentional time with my children...the over-used "quality time" idea. The problem is that my attention span is startlingly short. If I were a child today I would probably be diagnosed with ADD. As it is I am an adult with real responsibilities dealing with the fact that I need to focus and be patient. I desire to be a good wife and a good mother. The question is...what do these things REALLY look like? I'm not talking about a June Cleaver kind of concept but a realistic "good" wife and mom that years from now my children will never doubt for one second that I love them with all that I am for who they are? Nope. I don't have any answers yet? I just hope I am not running up the therapy bill for my offspring years from now while I sort this dilemma out.

We are preparing for Thanksgiving. My in-laws are coming in to town and it is just as exciting as waiting for Christmas morning when I was a kid. I have one of those weird families where I genuinely love and enjoy my in-laws. They are just fun to be around and lets face it...I'm lonely. My children are great company but they lack the maturity to get most of my jokes and I am quite glad about that. I enjoy watching them interact with my children and watch them define "grandparent" in their young minds. I can only remember having one grandparent when I was growing up and that relationship was pure and precious to me. I see the same types of relationships growing between my children and my-laws and my mom. Maybe I am getting old and sentimental around the holidays. Or maybe, just maybe, God opens my eyes and lets me glimpse at what life is really about every once in a while.

My mom is spending Thanksgiving in Israel. It has been on her bucket list for years. I am excited to hear all about her trip when she returns. I never realize how much I talk to my mom until she is out of the country and unable to talk (well...ok...I'm too cheap to talk to her when she is out of the country). I guess this is an eye opening glimpse into the reality of life and the true richness of relationship.

I guess my epiphany for today is RELATIONSHIP and the value that lies there. What a cliche. I guess even cliches have to be rooted in truth right?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oh Boy...It's a Boy!

O'Brien baby #4 is a boy! We found out on Friday morning 11/4/11 that the baby wiggling around in my tummy is a little boy. I was totally in shock! Jay was grinning from ear to ear from the time she showed us that he was indeed a he on the ultrasound screen. It is really weird to refer to the baby as a "he". It may take a while to get used to!

I have started checking out baby boy outfits to try to decide what to bring him home from the hospital in. I know that sounds pathetic...but with a girl you can chose something frilly and pop a bow on her head and it is easy. With a boy it is going to take more thought. Jay is concentrating on footwear and the fact that he can confidently pick out shoes for his son. This boy may have a serious shoe obsession like his daddy.

There is a ton of Georgia stuff that I can get for the baby...but they don't make them in newborn. The smallest I can find is 3 - 6 months and if this little boy comes out the size of a 3 to 6 month old baby we're going to be having bigger problems than wardrobe choice! I will let the search continue because I would like nothing more than to bring my first born son home in a cute little Georgia bulldogs outfit!

We took Bella and Kinsey out to breakfast at Ginger Sue's to tell them that they are going to have a baby brother. We videoed the event. Jay tried to drag it out to create drama, but when he said that the baby is a boy Bella burst into tears. It took her the rest of the breakfast to come to grips with the idea. She finally decided "I can take care of a baby boy." Good decision. Kinsey pondered it a while and when I asked her what she thought about having a baby brother and she said "it's a great idea." Alrighty then...

Taylor has been PRAYING for a baby brother almost on a nightly basis for over a year. Apparently God answers the earnest prayers of a little girl. We told her when she came in the door from school. She screamed and jumped up and down. She LOVES the idea!