Week 5 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 5

How you are feeling: Tender nips, especially if the baby you are still breastfeeding is teething. Lil punkin’ is just asking to be weaned. You also increasingly notice your heightened sense of smell. Like, to the point where you can tell your husband everything he ate that day because you can smell it seeping from his pores. It’s as if you are a Super Hero. With a really crappy super power. This week you are definitely tired, because it takes a lot of work to create love handles, er…I mean, a baby.

An amazing thing about this week is your baby’s circulatory system is already pumping blood and if you were to have an ultrasound this week you may be able to see the heart beating. That beautiful flutter on the screen will make you forget the fact that the technician is not waving the ultrasound wand over your belly this early in pregnancy. Huh uh. You are seeing that miracle whilst wearing a paper gown during a very awkward encounter happening south of the border. Just focus on the pretty heartbeat…

Perhaps you are wondering why in the world a person would have an ultrasound so early. There are many reasons a doctor might choose to closely monitor your pregnancy early on, oooooor maybe it’s because you literally have no idea how far along your are. If you are breastfeeding, you may not have had a return of Aunt Flo. Understand this: the absence of the crimson wave does not mean an absence of pregnability. You hear that, young people? You can always get pregnant!

This week you discover how big of a lush you are in the eyes of your friends and family.  Seems like everywhere you turn, someone is offering you a glass of wine. Actually, the more you think about it, maybe THEY have a drinking problem! You could think that, except when you turn down wine, you notice your in-laws all exchanging a knowing look.  Or when you quietly decline a glass at a girl’s craft night and your friend hollers, “UM, COULD I TALK TO YOU FOR JUST A MINUTE?” while half a dozen of your closest friends nonchalantly follow you both down the hall for what promises to be as enthusiastic and giggly of a convo as when you and your 15 year old friends discussed french kissing and Leonardo DiCaprio. Now, you could blame the excessive number of these imbibing encounters on the holidays, but let’s be super honest; you have 4 kids, of course you drink! Just kidding.

Not really.

Just kidding.

No, but seriously.

Week 4 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 4

How you are feeling: tender nips, heightened sense of smell, and kinda tired. (Though, to be fair, you can’t really be sure if you are tired because you are pregnant or because you already have several other tiny humans to chase around.)Your baby is smaller than a seed and looks nothing like a baby. This week also sees the return of your muffin top, because with subsequent pregnancies you first carry the baby in your love handles. This is science, y’all. I’m not making this up.

This week you are taking your prenatal vitamins which are roughly the size of a horse tranquilizer. You don’t mind, though, because your gag reflex hasn’t become an issue yet. You also call your obstetrician’s office and chuckle to yourself as you realize you have never referred to your obstetrician as your gynecologist. You have a very strange conversation with the receptionist and finally realize she thinks that you are STILL pregnant from the last baby. That’s crazy talk.

“No no,” you assure her, “I already had that baby. I am pregnant again.” To which she very knowledgeably and with great understanding says, “Wait. AGAIN??? Thelma**, Amber Park is pregnant AGAIN!!” You hear Thelma** cackle and respond with equal HIPPA law awareness, “OH MY GAWWW! AMBER PARK IS PREGNANT AGAIN?? HOW MANY IS THAT NOW? DIDN’T SHE JUST HAVE A BABY? ASK HER IF SHE KNOWS HOW THAT HAPPENS!!”

After you explain that yes, you do own a television, you just don’t have cable, Thelma** and Regina** allow you to speak with the nurse, who snickers with a sense of professionalism, and schedules you to come in for blood work.

Not much more to report for this week except you will cry during commercials for The Biggest Loser. One strange observation from this week is how every member of your family are all going through some sort of  weird hormone shift, causing you to laugh, cry and become angry simultaneously. The important thing to understand is that this has nothing to do with you or anything chemical happening in your body. This is their issue and all you can do is wait for them to all balance out. Oh, and your husband might be drinking more, probably to cope with the stress of his hormone imbalance. Don’t worry. They’ll all get better.

**Names have been changed to protect the identities of people in charge of my billing.

Week 3 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

This week is super emosh.

If this is your first pregnancy it may not have crossed your mind yet that you could be pregnant. If this is your second pregnancy you might have a tingling sense that you might want to grab a test the next time you are at the grocery store. If this is your third+ pregnancy you started retaining water 24 hours after conception. This gives you pause until you remember that you ate an entire bag of Lays potato chips the day before because your kiddos were being so ornery that you literally never had a moment to eat an actual meal.

Later in this week, if you are breastfeeding, you notice that your baby is showing signs of dissatisfaction with the meal you have provided (your boobs). Your once affectionate baby, who is not capable of articulating feelings yet, is showing displeasure by hitting, scratching, pinching and oh-for-the-love-of-suddenly-tender-nipples BITING. Now you begin to wonder if the elusive Aunt Flo may be returning to your life. You can’t be sure as you have only seen her twice since 2009 due to pregnancy, nursing, pregnancy, nursing, pregnancy etc…

You toy with the idea that you are about to start your period, but you already know you need to buy a test. This is not like the first or second time when you and your husband buy a test whilst holding hands and you tinkle on the stick while he waits outside the bathroom door and you squeal, “We’re pregnant!!!”

This time you grab a test at Target since you are already there buying a cart load of toilet paper, diapers, and Clorox wipes while your four small children orbit you and the grocery cart and the cashier looks at you and says, “um…good luck??”

On the drive home you realize this fifth child you are pretty sure you are carrying is going to ensure you will never again jump on a trampoline. Not because you are physically incapable of jumping, but your bladder control has become more precarious with each pregnancy and this one is sure to end it completely. There are surgical options to fix this issue, but let’s be honest, as you survey the damage done to your body post partum, do you really want to spend all that money making sure you don’t pee pee everytime you sneeze ooooooor would you like to have your breasts lifted and sewn back to the place they were originally positioned before you started making people?

Once you unload the car of kids and groceries, put everything away and make everyone a snack, you sneak off to the bathroom and take the test. It is super faint, but it is positive. You are pregnant. Again.

You happy and ugly cry simultaneously, throw up, and call your husband.

Husbands have two reactions in their manly emotional arsenal to this kind of news: shock or elation. You need to mentally prepare for their shock, and recognize it is not a reflection of their feelings toward you or the child you made in love, but their fix-it-provider mentality kicking in over-drive. Try to remember you are thankful for that. Or he may surprise you with a joy that is tangible and infectious. 🙂

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Dear reader,

I recognize this week’s post wasn’t as much fun, but it aligns with the feelings that week brought. So.Many.Feelings. I promise to make you giggle more later.

Hugs and Giggles,

Amber Park

What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

So, here I am, pregnant again for the billionth time and like any neurotic, er, I mean, normal type lady human I find myself interested in all the weird things happening in and to my body, and I like to follow the progress of our lil punkin from cells to fully formed miracle. Here’s the thing, when I google 18 weeks pregnant my internet machine sends me to precious little baby sites telling me all about how much energy I now have and how I *might* be showing. Um, I am dragging my butt out of bed everyday with the promise that bedtime is only 14 hours away, and people have been asking me when my due date is since I started wearing maternity clothes again at roughly 72 hours gestation.

Everything I read was all unicorns and rainbows, how to keep your sex life hot (snort) and how glowing and adorable life is growing another human. How much you are enjoying your decaf coffee and how fun adapting your yoga routine to your burgeoning body is. Meanwhile, I’m trying to find out if my hemorrhoids are still an acceptable size and if there is such a thing as an antigravity belt to support my enormous belly, or if I should just flood our house and conduct life underwater.

I was complaining to my husband about the lack of info out there for women in my stage of life and he suggested that I chronicle the weeks of pregnancy for those of us who are on our multipleth child. So we can feel celebrated and not berated by the cutesy pregnancy sites and books that throw us a bone every once in a while; “If this is not your first pregnancy you *might* start showing a *little* sooner.” Ha! Because after a few babies you realize you don’t get to store breastmilk in Victoria’s Secret’s worthy boobs, you store it in your thighs, cankles, and nose. At this point, you have already had pretty much every common weird pregnancy symptom, now you need to know that the weird hairs you are growing and/or losing and the strange brown mask happening on your face is, in fact, pregnancy related and not that you are starting to look like your husband like how people start to look like their pets.

I want to share with y’all things I have learned through all my pregnancy experiences. Things the Dr. is too busy measuring and weighing to tell us.

Things like how your feet may get bigger, forever. I have always had ugly Hobbit feet, but my saving grace was that they were at least small ugly feet. With each pregnancy my feet have gotten a little bigger. They are now a full size and a half bigger. Giant Hobbit feet that my husband lovingly refers to as “capable” and “athletic”. Oh, and do not, under any circumstances, shave that dark line that starts happening. It will clear up after pregnancy. Or so I am told. Because I did shave it. And I will continue to shave it until the end of time. And if you don’t know what line I am talking about then you would probably better enjoy the prettiness of Giselle’s blog or Goop, but if you are a sasquach like me, welcome!

Weeks 1 &2:

You’re not really pregnant, but when you actually become pregnant you are real thankful that science has decided you ought to count these weeks because to the uninitiated 14 extra days of baby growing *might* explain why you are waddling only a few months in. These are the weeks when you buy new clothes for yourself because you finally feel cute and fit and someone bought you a subscription to a fashion magazine and you realize no one wears capri pants with platform flip flops anymore. You didn’t know this because you haven’t paid attention to non maternity fashion since 2004(?). But now you are paying attention and you actually have a favorite boutique (who knew?) that you really like and you just got real gutsy and bought yourself a pair of leopard print leggings because they will look fabulous with the sexy LBD you bought and you even know what LBD means.

These are also the weeks when your husband comes home smelling like a marathoner who subsides exclusively on onions and garlic, and you find him irresistible. Then he’ll say something like, “Babe, you look cute in those yoga pants.” and…

It is important that you take note of these paradigm shifts cuz your paradigm is about to get majorly shifted.

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Y’all, I am so giddily excited to write and share the beautiful and the disgusting parts of baby growing. I turn 18 weeks tomorrow so I definitely have catching up to do, but I hope to do each week justice as I recall what they have entailed. Please feel free to share your stories, too, so we can ensure this is a comprehensive guide. Thank you for reading! I sure hope you enjoy this journey with me.

Muchas smoochas,

Amber Park

“Florida Vacation” or “Die Trying”

Because I am a prepper (doomsday and day to day) I have spent a good deal of time perusing articles about traveling with children and making the most of family vacations. I have polled friends who have revealed amazing secrets and tips for happy airplane rides. We have gum and gummy bears for when the plane ascends and descends to help little ears adjust to changes in cabin pressure. I have packed several different types of toys, crafts, and games to engage their ephemeral attention. I have packed in such a way that only the eldest has a bag to carry and it is light and full of fun. I have coordinated their outfits as a safety precaution in case we are separated. I have everyone wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and off to make going through security as easy as possible for everyone. I have explained these new experiences to our timid child and we have acted out some of these scenarios. I have bought every type of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipe ever created. I have bought specifically TSA approved 3.4 ounce liquids and packed them in The Official TSA Ziplock Baggie. I even bought products we don’t normally use because they had the words “Airline approved” stamped on the box. So if anyone needs a 3.4 ounce container of Tide, Old Spice, or Maalox call me.

Every question I had for trip prepping was answered swiftly and completely. What a lovely fairy tale of trip tralalalalala-ing! Now all we needed to do is ride our unicorn to the airport, sprinkle fairy dust on the plane and fly over the rainbow off into the sunset.

Wait what is with this sudden shift in tone, you ask? Perhaps you had your pen and paper and were taking copious notes as I spouted trip advice. That is because you and I were asking the wrong questions. Who the heck cares what the friggin flights are like?? It’s like three and a half hours of your day cramped with strangers who may hate you by the end, but they’ll just tweet about how much they hate you and be on their merry way. Here is the question we should have been asking, “Is it possible to survive the week leading up to the non refundable flight?”

I cannot answer that question yet.

We have not yet boarded the plane.

We are still in that week.

Allow me to break this down for you:

Seven days before the trip we all woke up healthy and happy. Our count down to Florida was one week away!  Eight hours later our youngest woke up from a nap with the highest fever I have ever seen in all my baby raising days. We had to give her a cool bath and Motrin and continue Motrin and Tylenol to keep it at or below 104. Once it stopped climbing the nurse gave us a doctor’s appointment for the next day. It was a long and scary night.

Six days before the trip she tested positive for RSV. As a mommy who had a newborn spend time in the NICU, that diagnosis terrified me. I was assured that it most likely would just be like a really bad cold and that the rest of our fam would probably catch it, but it shouldn’t be as bad.

Five days before the trip she started doing better, but her sister started to seem a little off and one of my boys’ eyeballs turned pink just for poops and giggles.

Four days before the trip our second daughter started running a fever. I figured it was the RSV starting to happen. Why wouldn’t I think that?? We had a highly contagious virus currently happening in our home. Of course that’s what it was.

Three days before the trip I happened to catch a glimpse in her mouth. And then I grabbed a flashlight and started taking pictures of the back of her throat. This was not RSV. And our pediatrician is out of town for Spring Break, so I texted my friend who is also an amazing doctor and asked her what she thought was going on. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. Another highly contagious virus. I immediately ordered our boys outside for the day so I could disinfect and TRY to contain all of this whilst also packing. I’m not sure when my fair, blonde haired, blue eyed boy stripped down to just his underwear, but it was definitely after I fed them lunch. He came in at 3:00 looking very lobster-esque. This child does not tan, he only burns. I think his bare, unsunscreened skin has seen the sun twice in his life.

Two days before the trip. Well, that’s today. Daughter is mean and covered in the Hand Foot and Mouth virus. Son is mean and a violent shade of red. Baby is grouchy. Oldest boy is stir crazy and full of excited(loud) energy. And I am writing to you. Save yourself! Never tell your children your travel plans. Do not give them even the smallest hint that anything is happening to disrupt life as they know it. It is like when you announce to your children “We are in a hurry!” and suddenly they all “NEED TO GO NUMBER 2 RIGHT NOW”. Only instead of a five minute delay, you wake bleary eyed a couple of days before your trip wondering what fresh hell this day will bring.

You know you have too many kids when…

I was challenged by my friend Christie to finish a sentence. She is the unflappable mother of SIX and one of my personal heroes. Her lighthearted sentence beget this post.

You know you have too many kids when*…

…on the rare occasion you find yourself hanging out exclusively with adults you take it as a personal affront when no one asks your permission to go to the bathroom. I mean, the very least they could do was make an announcement so we wouldn’t worry about them!

…between pregnancy and breastfeeding you realize you have been eating for two, sometimes three, since the Bush Administration.

…you are not sure what a Kardashian is or how it came to be.

…5 kids really doesn’t sound like that much.

…leashes for children no longer seems like such a bizarre idea.

…you have found yourself lusting after minivans, googling their features, trying to convince your partner that embracing this could really spice things up.

…you have a really intense dream about being at a Bon Jovi concert (google him! and yes, i really am that old) and you catch his eye and he invites you backstage and you (wait for it) talk about each other’s marriages and kids. (Actual dream)

…you not only tolerate the word “fart”, it is now a part of your vocabulary.

…you think it’s cute when that the grocery store sells individual rolls of toilet paper.

…when someone says they have a hard time falling asleep at night and you literally have no idea what they are talking about.

…Costco is your grocery store.

….you become afraid for your children’s safety when they don’t barge in on you while you are in the bathroom.

…you have argued with more than one of their imaginary friends.

…an entire generation knows you exclusively as someone’s mom.

…your obstetrician, who gets paid piles of money for every baby you have, throws her hands up and asks, “So are y’all done, yet??”

…you are alone in public and people have a hard time recognizing you because you are not dripping in children.

…you see an adult indulging in a habit you have tried to break in your child and you have to physically restrain yourself from redirecting their behavior.

…you looked four months pregnant three days before you got a positive pregnancy test.

…the number of children you have exceeds the number of arms you have by more than a factor of two.

…you consider asking the tooth fairy for a loan.

…you are pretty sure Jay Leno still hosts the Tonight Show and has mostly black hair.

*Please recognize this is a humorous blog. I wouldn’t trade my enormous family for all the vacations in the world. Unless the drinks are free.*

*Again, I’m kidding.

The Crazy vs. Hot Matrix

Last night my boys and I had a very important conversation:

Zeke: “What I don’t understand is, how come the prince in the movie Cinderella is so in love with her and wants to marry her? They didn’t ever talk and they don’t even know each other’s names!”
Me: “I have wondered that too, Zeke. Very wise of you to pick up on that.”
Connor: “Yeah. Cuz she is really weird. She talks to mouses and puts clothes on them.”

Exactly. May they always see the crazy before they become enamored with the pretty.

I shared this little snippet on the Facebook. My father-in-law replied with a link of a man discussing the “Hot vs. Crazy matrix”, whereby women are generally regarded in varying levels of crazy and the relationship a woman’s cray cray has to her attractiveness. The important take away from this very scientific video is that all women are crazy. I’ll concede.

With a caveat.

That matrix works with men, too.

Our family is going to go on vacay

(P.S. go ahead and expect me to mention this ALOT for the next 4 weeks, because it is a HUGE deal, not to you, but to this manic-planning-pregnant mother of four the idea of loading these tiny booger eating humans on an air plane, coaxing them to be quiet and not talk loudly about farts for hours, then convincing them they do not actually want to wrestle an alligator in Florida…<sigh> I really am excited…and also trembling.)

So I made a list of everything everyone needed for vacation attire and Amelia and I went shopping. We went to Carter’s and they were having an amazing sale and I had a coupon and then I remembered Easter is coming up and I might as well pick up a few back-to-school items and…I called the firefighter as we were leaving and before giving him my total I shared with him all the details, how I had a coupon, and everything was on sale, all the money saved, all the thoughts and planning, all the…

“So how much?”

“Uh, are you asking how much did I save?”

“No. How much did you spend?”

He was not super impressed.

I assured him that I would go thru our hand-me-downs and use a very discerning eye and return what we didn’t really need at this time.

All good, yes?

As Amelia and I drove home the firefighter called to let me know he was working in our little garden area and was burning an area for reasons that make sense to people who know stuff about land.

Cool. See ya soon!

As we got closer to our house, we smelled the burning, saw the smoke. Our ENTIRE YARD WAS ON FIRE. Flames licking greedily a perimeter that was steadily closing in on our home, leaving a black void in it’s wake. I first see my little boys; shirtless and soot covered, whooping and hollering at this wild scene. And there’s the firefighter, grinning sheepishly, holding our garden hose. He said it was a perfect day to do this. That he called the sheriff’s office to let them know he was going to burn off our lawn. He had it all perfectly under control.

Now, he can deny it all he wants, but I saw a very direct correlation in the SETTING OF OUR ENTIRE LAWN ON FIRE, and my spending all that money.

Clearly, mathematically, and scientifically the Crazy vs. Hot Matrix proves the firefighter is smokin’ hot. (soooooo many fun puns in that, my nerd brain is exploding)

And y’all better believe I made a substantial return to Carter’s today.

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The Horror

So we are pregnant with baby number five. I realize this isn’t the cutest pregnancy announcement, but some people seem pretty over it:

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But, that bit of information is highly pertinent to today’s latest adventure. I say “today’s latest adventure” because everyday is FULL of adventures. Never take my blogging absence as a lack of adventures, rather, it is an indication of a surplus of adventures. On any given day we are positively lousy with adventures. Drowning in them, really.

Back to today’s story:

We are going to Florida in 27 days!! Yep, the whole crew! Off to visit my family in sunny, beachy Florida. Today was a sunny day here in Texas, and I thought I would do the Floridians a favor and only be a really big pregnant woman in a bathing suit, rather than a really really pale and also really big pregnant woman in a bathing suit. Because I care about people. Oh, and I also care about pictures. So, after a considerable amount of effort I managed to hike and fasten a two piece swimsuit -bought before I had babies- around my burgeoning body parts, then covered all exposed flesh with a blanket -I was thinking of the children- then while the kiddos played on the playset, I sprawled out on the trampoline and invited the sun to enhance my barfing-up-my-toenails pregnancy glow. As I basked in the sun like a beached whale, er… mermaid, the air was suddenly rent with the shrieks of my children.

It was terrible. Their screams were the stuff of nightmares and I sprang from the trampoline to help my darling children. Sans body covering blanket.

I watched as my son LOST HIS DANG MIND and hit his sister in the head and knocked her down, while he and she continued screaming. Finally, after we all ran a great distance, I was able to ascertain that my son saw a wasp. Saw. Was not stung. Just had a wasp have the audacity to fly within view. This child has never been stung, has never known anyone to be stung, in short, it is a very irrational fear. And there stood his crying little sister, covered in dirt and scrapes from the actual real thing that just happened to her-her cray cray brother had Tazmanian Deviled all up in her business.

So, I laid into him. Not physically, but for sure with my words. And there he stood, looking up at me with gianormous eyes that seemed to be silently begging Jesus to come take him from this moment. I’m not sure what disturbed him most:

A) the wasp.

B) the gripe out.

C) that the gripe out was coming from his pasty, pregnant mother wearing a 2 piece swim suit.

Thirsty Soul

Sometimes theology smacks me in the face.  Until recently, I hadn’t really considered how God specifically designed our need for human relationships as a reflection of his desired relationships with us.  I had, in my modern human-egocentric-individualistic way, thought He just referenced our relationships as a way of helping us understand vast and abstract concepts. Today I was thinking about His relationship with us as a Parent.

One of our darling daughters is sick. Big nasty cold, with a super crunchy cough. The kind that makes me want to clear my throat for her. And through this experience she has been…utterly unpleasant. I change her diaper, she cries for the dirty one. I give her a bath and change her bedding after a night spent with fever, she cries. When she coughs during the night I take her water, and she cries because I make her drink. I refill the humidifier during the night and she cries because I used a light. I put vaseline on her nose to help heal the irritation, and she cries because she just doesn’t like it. I sit and hold her, and she cries because I am not daddy.

Sometime before dawn, when I was up for the fourth time offering her water and she was calling for anyone but me, my thirsty soul was awakened to truth. Here I was, with no ill will, out of the grace of motherhood, with deep love and concern giving everything I could think to help my ailing daughter to her utter displeasure. My presence was making her angry. The water I offered her was thrown down in a tantrum. She cried for Daddy, Nana, Aunt Laura, Aunt Katy, Kelby, Ms. Rachel, GranMary… anyone, but me. I was present. I ached with her. But I could not take her pain away. So she reached for anyone, anything that was not given by me. I would have held her and carried her through it all, unable to take this part of her life’s journey away, but present in it. Grieving as I watched her suffer. And even after her anger at me, I am rejoicing with her as she is gradually feeling better.

How often do I blame God for the bad in my life? For pain and sadness? Cry out, “Why are you doing this to ME??” In darkness, when I feel Him speaking truth to my angry heart, I have pushed, thrown tantrums, sought solace elsewhere. I didn’t get my baby sick. I hated how she felt. I knew if she would surrender, I could help her through this difficult season. But she had to let me.

Please send chocolate

Saturday, January 3?

Greetings, fellow humans, from the frozen tundra of cottonfieldland. I am writing these words as I gaze upon icy stalks of naked cotton plants, watching the whimsical dance of snowflakes as they meander toward the ground. What a lovely day to be snuggled in front of a warm fire, reading Tolkien and drinking tea…

That is not what is actually happening. Children do not observe snow days as opportunities to bask in coziness. Snow days are the day they cash in all the energy they have stored since birth. Snow days are the day they discover the most annoying sound they possess in their noise arsenal and perfect it for hours. Snow days are the days they plead to go outside so they can play in the snow. So you spend an hour looking for stuff your kids can wear to keep warm (like boxing gloves because the kid used his real gloves as a “time capsule” buried somewhere in a cotton field), they stand outside long enough to let snot freeze into their cheeks (ten minutes), then come in complaining about the taste of the yellow snow and demanding hot chocolate as you desperately try to remove all their wet clothing on the towel you have laid out.

I finally gave in and let the kiddos watch a movie, while I hide…er…sit in my room and write you these words. I am one snow day away from scratching lines into the walls to show future humans our distress and it’s duration. Speaking of the walls (which are closing in) I discovered yet another foray into booger wall art. I was most impressed by the use of color, awed by the various hues of that boy’s mucous. It was as if his body recognized his artistic need and acquiesced by producing colors outside the normal range. It was moving, really. It moved me to get the vinegar spray bottle and make that kid wash it off while I checked him for a fever. Boogers shouldn’t be purple, right? (P.S. they can be if one first sticks a purple crayon up one’s nose…)

It’s not that I want to squash their creativity. Nay! We gave these children musical instruments for Christmas to see if any of them have a nascent gift. During this week of staying indoors they have proven to have their mother’s prodigious skill of utter tone deafness and lack of rhythm. Oh, and their daddy’s sheer stubbornness to never give up.

Well, the power has begun to flicker, so I must wade through the legos, balloons, blanket forts and puzzles to bring in more firewood and put batteries in flashlights.

With Desperation,

Amber Park

P.S. Please send chocolate.

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Monday, Jan. 5

In retrospect, perhaps the biggest bit of insanity during those days stuck indoors was they coincided with my recognizing a need to be a more patient and gentle parent. I get so busy housekeeping and STUFF that I lack in the softer side of motherhood. I have been reading through Proverbs lately and felt a real conviction to be more gentle in my instruction and to intentionally and kindly listen with warmth rather than with a look that says, “For the love of mercy, child, you have been telling me this story for 20 minutes and it should have only taken 2 and, oh my lanta, I KNOW, BECAUSE I WAS THERE BECAUSE I AM ALWAYS THERE!!”…or something like that. Before I accepted this challenge, I should have checked the weather to make sure that I would still have the option of smiling sweetly and saying, “Wouldn’t you like to go play outside, darling-loquacious-child-of-mine?”

But I guess if I had checked to see just how difficult it would be, then it would have been a regular old resolution. You know the kind that comes from me. My power and MY ability to control the outcome. This is more than a resolution. This is a surrender. I believe in a higher power, and a higher purpose than me. Me will screw stuff up. Me always does. But He promises to listen to all my cares, and when my heart is pursuing more than MY moment and ME, when it yearns to love deeply and gently even the most undeserving, blessings overflow. Blessings like enjoying the moment rather than rushing to the next. Finally seeing exactly when that child’s dimples appear as he shares his WEIRD sense of humor. Having my eldest pull me aside to share how his feelings were hurt in a situation, when before he would have just held it in and moved on. Snuggling with my snuggle bug. Recognizing and speaking their love languages.

The result of our snow days spent indoors is we now have enough firewood stored all over the inside of our home to build a rather lavish log cabin, and the warmth of our family genuinely enjoying and respecting one another, even when we were stuck with one another 🙂

The verses that really hit me in the feels:

Proverbs 16:21 “The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.”

16:23 “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.”

16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”