Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Godly Contentment & The Gift and Curse of Organization

I am asked a lot (especially on my really productive days) how I manage to get everything done around here. While I must be completely transparent and admit right upfront that a touch of OCD helps in this area, my talents in organization are really credit to God and the gifts that he blessed me with. I didn't get a whole lot of patience, or will power, or self-control....there are many other traits I could list here, but you get the general idea. God equips each of us the unique gifts and talents that he wants us to use for His kingdom. Right now my "kingdom" job is to raise my children and run this home, so what gets me through everyday is the contentment that comes when you realize this is exactly where you are supposed to be. Think about that for a second (or two, or three).

One of the biggest contributing factors to discontentment and resentment (having either negates any JOY and peace you should have) is the feeling that you could be doing something else, living somewhere else, going to school, working, not working...that is a slippery slope once you start your descent - comparing your life to others is a trap, and not fruitful at all. God wants us to have peace and joy where he plants us.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to
have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in
any and every situation,whether well fed or hungry, whether
living in plenty or in want. -Philippians 4:12

Don't think for a second that Jeff and I don't struggle with this - we are just as
susceptible to this temptation. We have learned our lessons, though. When I separated from the
Air Force to be astay-at-home mom, our income dropped by $4,000/month! We had prayed,
planned, and knew that our lifestyle was going to change and we wereready to accept it.

The wonderful thing was, God really did take care of everything. We weren't able to sell our
house that we had just bought a year ago - but we found renters that moved in around the
same time we got offered a house on base. They didn't cover the entire mortgage, but we paid
out of pocket for as long as we could, thinking the house would sell eventually. Of course, that
was the same time the housing market completely we ended up having to foreclose
anyway. That is one expensive lesson that we haven't completely paid for - we haven't done our
taxesthis year and it might bite us there. But, we are prepared for that. If that is the price we
have to pay to learn that lesson, it is worth it.

We are blessed to be living in a "sheltered" environment - we live on base and everyone around
us is in similar circumstances and financial we don't get exposed to too many
luxuries that might cause us to stumble. (Although I'm mighty jealous about two of my friends
having an awesome tempurpedic bed!) I'm learning to be content where we are - it is really hard
- we would both love to move out of California - preferably on the East Coast, but we would even
take Texas! I know that this is temporary, and we have a pretty great life here, so I'm trying to
enjoy it and look forward to the time when we get to move. Until then, I will work on my biggest
obstacles here:

1. Getting rid of Clutter and extra things we don't need.
2. Organizing the Garage.
3. Growing Spiritually.

That list probably needs to be re-prioritized, but those are the big 3! I want to be ready for when
we do eventually move!

Okay so I kind of teased in the beginning about my secrets to organization - well I can definitely
give you a couple of pointers, things that work for me. Here is my list:

Secrets to Michelle's Organization:

1. Having a "List": the "List" is kind of a joke around here, because sometimes I put stuff on
there that I've already done, just to get the satisfaction of checking off that little box...but
seriously, I wouldn't get anything done around here without my list. I organize my list into
different categories, too, so I'm sure to cover all areas of responsibility. (Example: Computer
work, Housework, Kitchen, Kids, Outside, Stuff for Jeff)
I'm a hearty believer in the little check box, too. People make fun of that, but I've heard it's a
Covey thing, too - so I'm in a good company!

2. Having a Vision: I was going to put "Having a Schedule" but that wouldn't be accurate.
I don't always have a schedule, but I usually have a vision for my day. For example, after making
the list, I decide what I really want to get accomplished for the day. Then I start on the list,
checking off things that will help me get to my ultimate goal. This goal/vision could be as simple
as having the house cleaned before lunch so we can go for a walk to the park, or, a trip to the
Library to rent new get the idea.

3. Seeking out inspiration: I frequently search online and flip through BHG/Good House-
keeping for ideas that will inspire me. I even started a book with magazine clippings of ideas I
would like to incorporate into our life. Some of the ideas won't be feasible until we move into
our OWN house, but they are still there. If I am feeling particularly unmotivated, I will surf on
over to or for cleaning and decluttering ideas.

4. Starting small: Sometimes, the projects I get involved with around here are HUGE, and
intimidating, and the little check box begins to gather dust...well, the best way to tackle this
problem is to JUST GET STARTED. Start small. If you want to clean the garage, start in one
small section, or bin, and just get one small area done. The sense of accomplishment just might
catapult you into further cleaning action!

5. Start with Stuff you Hate to Do: For some reason, I can't stand cleaning bathrooms. I will
do everything possible before I pick up the toilet brush and tackle that urinary frontier.
(It could have something to do with all the BOYS around here). Anyway, I find I procrastinate on
this chore until I am absolutely overwhelmed at the state of the bath. I have found that if I make
this cleaning chore a priority, I feel so great about getting it over with that I am propelled into a
state of near euphoria. (I say "near" euphoria because clean, bleached, sheets are one of the only things that can get me
into a euphoric state!)

Okay. I think that is enough for now. Choose one from the list and get started!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baby Cascio (still unnamed!!) Update!

Alrighty all of you who are anxiously awaiting an update on my little uterine resident - it's time! Had an appointment yesterday afternoon with a midwife at Sutter Davis (very different experience than seeing an OB) and she confirmed that he is very low, -1 station, so that is why my back pain has been in overdrive lately and I feel all this pressure. Also, my most efficient cervix, which needs to make its way from a posterior position to a fully anterior position has rotated to midline - half way there. She said it is very soft (a good thing for future dilation) and 1+ cm. It hasn't started thinning though, but that can happen quickly! He is also head-down, and I'm assuming at this point (36 1/2 wks) he doesn't have any room to turn around in there! That doesn't stop him from rocking his body from side to side and kicking the bejeebers out of the top of the uterus. He is quite a feisty one, I must admit. I hope this doesn't translate to his personality....we are hoping for another "luke" baby - relatively quiet cry, pretty mellow, milk-hound that likes to sleep!

Also went to Bible Study last night - it was great...that is definitely where I need to be right now. Our assignment for this week is to find the bible verse that motivates us to stay in the word. Jeanette's is Proverbs 31:30. I haven't found one yet, but I'm working on narrowing it down.

Luke is wearing his Giants football shirt for the fourth day in a row. He won't take it off, just rotates the shorts he wears with it. I told him yesterday that he couldn't wear shorts because it was so cold out, so he went up to his room to change into his jeans and came back down in another pair of shorts. Then he told me, "I changed my mind, it's not cold out - I'll just wear shorts." Then we had to explain to him that just because he changed his mind about the temperature doesn't change the fact that it's cold outside. He was pretty reluctant about that (as he is with many things that he has made his mind up about)....

Josh is still in his PJs and they are both watching "Super Why" (which is an awesome reading show on PBS). So far no major intervention on my part has been needed. Amazing. By intervention, I mean breaking up a wrestling match...saving Eagle from propelling himself head first off the couch or stopping Luke from ripping all the pillows off the couch to make a "jumping place". So far, so good.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Reality of "Sleep deprivation psychosis"

I want to preface this post with a disclaimer: I have not been diagnosed by a professional, and the advice contained hereafter is merely my opinion and should be interpreted as such. This information is best absorbed with a good sense of humor.

Yesterday morning, I had a minor "psychotic break" – which included the irrational opening and subsequent slamming of cupboards and drawers, crying out loud to josh (who was too absorbed in his self-pity sobs that he couldn't even hear me) ...all triggered by the loss of my slippers and k-cup holder. Let me explain, I had gotten maybe like 4 (non-contingent) hours of sleep in the past week. A week is 7 seven days. It might have even been longer than that, but I lost track of time two weeks ago.

Those of you function normally, or even optimally, on mere minutes of sleep, I am jealous. This doesn't work for me!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday, February 19th

Okay. There it is in all it's nearly 36-week glory! The baby bump that is doing a pretty good job of looking rather basketball-ish at the moment. Someone actually said, "That's a strange place to carry around your basketball!" (with a chuckle)...last night at the grocery store. I grumbled something in response and managed a half-hearted smile, all the while wanting to just escape into the freezer section.

Speaking of the grocery store...I got to go ALL BY MYSELF, which is a rare treat that I am beginning to think will turn into a delightful escape in no time at all. I feel guilty about leaving Jeff stranded at the house after he worked all day, but I was on a mission. I menu-planned yesterday for the next week and had a big list of ingredients to get. I got a little carried away, but the commissary has such great sales, the hoarder in me just can't resist the stock up. Especially when we go through juice like wine at a wedding in Canaan. Ha ha. A little bible humor there for you!

While I was at the grocery store (here we call it the commissary aka com-misery on a payday), I was really struck by how lucky and fortunate we are to be able to buy whatever food we want, bring it home, stock our overflowing pantry, and have choices of what food to eat, whenever we want to eat it. I mean, have you really ever stopped to appreciate that? It's amazing. John 10:10 (one of our favorite verses) says,

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

And not only that, but he gives us this abundance and we don't even deserve it!! I don't pray every day, I don't read my bible every day, and I sin. EVERY DAY. Yet still, my meager efforts of Adoration, Confession, and Thanksgiving are rewarded 100 times. Can you imagine if I actually put more effort into my spiritual growth? I really do try, but is trying really enough?

I have a big list of stuff to get done today, and lately I've felt the need to prepare an "emergency birth kit" just in case we don't make it to the hospital in time. I had visions of delivering at Mimi & Palfs house (on the way to Sutter Davis)...I was trying to figure out where I would deliver in their house (I'm thinking Bath tub, maybe?? They have carpet everywhere!) and what I would need. Again, probably overactive meanderings of a 9-month pregnant mind, but still...I'm going to get it ready - JUST IN CASE! It would make for quite an entertaining story...

The rest of my "nesting" list is broken down by category - (really, who does that??) computer stuff, general house, kitchen cooking, organization, and Jeff stuff. If you ever need help organizing your to-do list, talk to me!! (Of course, if you need to organize your to-do list, you probably a) have too many things to do, and/or, b) have a little disorder called OCD, both of which apply in my situation.) Better get started checking some things off!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Getting things Fixed...

There really isn't much to say about today - the weather is icky again after two days of beautiful sunshine and 70, I guess it was inevitable...back to the wet, rainy, gray dismal-ness that is the California rainy season. I have to say, my mood suffers, but that could be partly because we are confined to the inside - lots of wii, tv, playdoh, and movies. Oh Thank God for the library and FREE MOVIES!! They may not have the greatest selection, but with kids that like to watch movies until they have committed every line to heart, it's a lifesaver. And the memory thing, that can be quite tricky to reverse. It's a good thing when Luke is quoting "Let my people GO!" (From the Ten Commandments), but a not-so-good thing when he starts picking up the language that seems to creep into even the PG-ist of movies. (He called Dylan a selfish jerk after watching Monsters vs. Aliens - although this does fit at times, I had to bite my tongue and chastise.)

Still waiting for Baby ___________ whatever-his-name is going to be! Not that I am expecting him to make his appearance this early, but the additive effects of severe back pain, head/chest cold, extreme fatigue, and the ever-present Braxton Hicks, I would welcome his entrance just a little earlier than usual. I'll be 36 weeks on like 2 days! That is when Dylan was born, and he turned out OK (well, functioning anyway!). I guess I'm sort of nesting now, I just feel pressure to get things done before there is another little screeching eaglet around attached to my "milkies" makes things a teensy bit more challenging to accomplish with a little one attached at all times!

My birthday was nice yesterday - pretty relaxed day, Dylan was sick all day so we had to suffer through his ailment with him (he tends to exaggerate A LOT!!!!!!!!). That kind of put a damper on the day - but what can you do? Got some nice cards, lots of facebook birthday wishes, nice presents and a card from my mom, and of course a cake from my present from him was (don't laugh!) A BREAD KNIFE. Woo hoo! Really excited about that (no, really) If you knew how much I enjoyed my warm-from-the-oven crusty bread with fresh melting butter....ahhhhh. Well we didn't have a bread knife, which made it very difficult to not crush the bread and saw through the tough exterior. It was a good choice on his part, until he remembered I asked for a waterpik. But that is considerably more expensive, and given our current uncertain tax situation, the knife was the way to go!

Well it's nap time around these parts, and I'm going to menu plan, then try to catch some zzzzz's with eagle and woog (if he will submit to sleeping, that is!)...Oh, and the "Getting things Fixed" has to do with the fact I called in like 4 work orders for various stuff that isn't working right around the house...they came this morning and fixed almost everything! Yay!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Well, today is my birthday, actually the 5th? anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday...I spelled it out because it seems less intimidating in letters. Numbers are big and scary! Ummm so far it's been a good day, Jeff is swiffering the kitchen as I type, Eagle is kicking it in Cowboys boots, no diaper and a green t-shirt with a picture of a turtle that reads "SPEEDY"...he is watching Daddy while he munches on a slice of leftover cinnamon roll from breakfast. Luke is watching Monsters Inc. (rented from the library yesterday) on the couch next to dylan - who has suddenly come down with a stomach bug...probably imagined...

So our day begins! It's a beautiful day outside, and we are getting ready to pack up and head out to who knows where...we already went to IKEA this week so I can't imagine anything better than that! (Ha, ha...) Jeff's parents are in Florida right now, which makes me a little nervous that the little guy in the incubator is going to come when they are gone - leaving us to bring the kids to the hospital with us! I guess that would be okay, but we joked about trying the water birth and having Josh and Luke trying to swim in the big tub while I'm in the throes of transition...not so fun and hypno-birthing for me! I finally picked up the hypnobirthing book at the library, only to discover the CD isn't in the back. Grrrrr...

However, since I was supposed to be at Jury duty today (checked last night and they didn't need me! woo hoo!), an idea of good time right about now woule be hitting up Walgreens for some mucinex and robitussin...(yes, stillllll sick!).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yay for Friday!

Here we are at the end of another week...another week closer to meeting this little guy in my exciting!

We toured the Sutter Davis birthing center last night. It was smaller than I expected, but the nurses were friendly, even joyous, and the atmosphere was calm and serene. They have 6 birthing suites, two of which are outfitted with birthing tubs - available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The nurse who gave our tour said most people don't use the tubs, so there is usually one open...but we should call ahead and reserve it! The nurses at the front desk said they would start filling it when we called if we explained that this was baby #4 and we tend to have pretty quick labors...what a refreshing change from the attitude I got when we delivered Josh. The impatient nurse who doubted I was having contractions every minute and wanted to do a sterile SPECULUM exam in the middle of transition...having back labor! The only downside is that it is going to take us about 40 minutes to get there (we timed it last night), which includes dropping off the kids at Mimi & Palfs (blessedly it's on the way!) I really want to make it there in time to get to experience a mother-centered labor. They even had birth balls, mats, a rocking chair, and a chart showing you how to use all of them to help you labor! It was pretty awesome. Much different than the lay on your back and remain hooked up to 3 monitors and an IV at David Grant...

Anyway, that was the we are all ready...just have to wait!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursdays are Great!?

Okay, normally I am rather fond of the Thursday in the middlish of the week...however, today, after a fitful night of tossing and turning and trying to breathe through my irritably-sore throat instead of much massively-congested nostrils, I woke up with a headache, still-sore throat, and extremely stuffy nose. Coffee can't even touch this!

Guess I shouldn't really be surprised at this point, after having the stomach flu and being incapacitated for a few days, feeling so desperately heavy with baby that I'm actually wishing for a February baby...when it rains, it pours, right? Then there is that nagging little tooth in the back of my mouth that had a root canal and is patiently awaiting a permanent crown...and it will have to wait until that money tree I planted a couple years ago grows some crisp greenery...okay, I'm done

Tonight Jeff and I are going to tour the Birth Center at Sutter Davis - which I am very excited about! We will get to see the birthing suites (with TUBS!) and where we are supposed to come rushing into in full-blown labor...which is good to know, because I like to be fully prepared! Speaking of fully prepared, I didn't quite get my labor bag packed, but I did make progress! It has some things in it at least. I made the "target list" of things I still want/need to get to bring with me - like new slippers, modest bikini-top (for in the water), some cozy pj's for know, all the cozy stuff. In my push to get some things prepped for baby I brought the bassinet and the changing table in our room and dug out all the baby progress has been made!

I had this strange dream last night that I ran out of lotion and resorted to crisco for my all of my emollient was really strange, slathering crisco on my hands and arms...I was thinking "this really needs to smell better!!!" Ha, ha. Pregnant dreams are crazy some times.

Marge and Ralph came over last night, with dinner, which is always nice! I had been doing my marathon cooking and freezing meals all day, so it was a very welcome interruption! Yes, the cooking and freezing is all baby prep, too. I made Pasta e Fagioli, Veggie Chili, Chicken Fried Rice (with lots of veggies), Shredded Chicken Taco sandwich meat, Chicken tortellini soup and a loaf of banana bread. I still have a few more recipes, but the freezer is almost at max capacity right now.

Almost forgot. Luke has created a new name for "Fig Newtons"...yesterday, Jeff came home with some, left them on the counter, and later Luke was asking me for "Toot de finootens" (which is a version of the italian? phrase "tut de finut" (which I still can't find in my italian dictionary!)...but it is something that Marge and Ralph always say to Luke. He is hilarious, and he was serious...he thought that is what they were called.

Alrighty, time to bust out some of my to-do list items...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The waiting game begins!

I've been feeling a tremendous amount of pressure to get my "baby bag" packed - but I guess the pressure just isn't enough to catapult me into action, because my labor bag sits pathetically empty in my bedroom corner. Of course I think about it at night, when I'm feeling contractions and I run down the "list" of things I still need to do before we make our momentous trip to the hospital...but the next morning, the panic subsides and I get nothing done!! So the goal this week is to get my bag packed!

In related news, we are going to be delivering at Sutter Davis. Tricare approved a referral so we could go there and try for a water birth....that is until I got the "approval" letter and it states that my request for a water BIRTH is denied. BUT, I can still go there to deliver. I was all sorts of worked up about this, but in the end I realized I can still labor in the water, I just have to get out before the pushing starts. I can see how this is going to go...can you imagine trying to get out a birthing tub when you are ready to push?? Anyway, God has a plan here...we may not even make it to the hospital this time around (Sutter is about 30 min away)! (Don't worry, I've been watching some home birth videos just in case this happens...!)

At my last level 2 ultrasound (Feb 1st), they said the little guy is NOT so little anymore - proof positive that PRAYER (and a scare of gestational diabetes!) really works. He is measuring right at 34 weeks and there isn't a difference between his head and abdomen circumference (before there was a 2 week lag in his AC). They told me he was "approximately" 5 lbs, 14 oz, and was on track to be an 8-pounder! I couldn't believe he is that big already! His cheeks are so cute and his lips are so pouty (just like luke's!)...I can't wait to meet him outside of my uterus. He sure has been beating stuff up in there - so restless, but still head-down (yay!).

Although I am only 34 weeks, I am sooooooo ready for him to get here. He is so heavy in there - and I'm just really tired of all this extra weight I'm toting around! I started taking Evening Primrose Oil (taken at 34 weeks+ to help soften the cervix and prepare for labor), because I'm hoping that was one of the keys to Josh's smooth (albeit FAST) entrance...with contractions I handled like a champ. I'm not dreading labor this time around, I'm excited and hopeful for a repeat healthy delivery.

More to come later, but I need to go break up a wrestling match in the living room.