Love Buckets

I just feel so compelled to blog and blog and blog lately. My kids are growing up so fast, and I don’t want to forget a thing. I want to hang onto every memory and every moment. I have to keep reminding myself that there is great joy in every stage of life. It is wonderful to have them while they are still little and completely dependent upon me, but it will be wonderful to watch them grow and mature and make decisions based on what we have taught them (prayerfully). It will be wonderful to get back a bit of freedom in my life and be able to go on a date with my own husband without it being a major ordeal or even take a vacation without having to rush home. Dare I even dream of the day when I can sleep through the night without having to change wet sheets or deal with a fussy baby or teething or stomach bugs or the constant pressure to keep up with my never ending to do list? Maybe I could even have a hobby or go to the bathroom without being asked if I am going poop or pee or seeing tiny fingers slip under the door in desperation while accusing me of abandonment? Whoa. . . These thoughts usually keep me together and focused rather than depressed at how fast these days slip away.

Stephen has been traveling with Avanade for nearly 4 years now from Monday to Thursday. It is a good arrangement for us. We see him for 3 day weekends every week rather than only getting a sliver of time with him each evening 5 days a week like most dad’s who have to commute in Atlanta traffic. He is home 4 nights a week to hug and kiss the kids goodnight. We have frequent flyer miles and hotel points out the wazoo, which like I said above, we might actually be able to use for something awesome some day as our kids grow up a bit, and I go a length of time without getting knocked up or caring for a nursing baby. Usually being alone 3 nights a week doesn’t bother me much at all. Single moms survive all over this world without a single break from solitude. At least I don’t have to balance another job outside of the home and all of the other responsibilities that come with being 2 parents in one, or deal with the grief children suffer from not having a wonderful father like my children have.

However, a couple of weeks ago my peace was shattered a bit. Harrison woke up crying in the middle of the night, and when I traveled down to his room I could hear Gus, our 120 pound Labrador Retriever, going crazy with barking and growling in the garage that is just below Harrison’s bedroom. I calmed Harrison down as quickly as I could and then ventured back down the hallway. My house is VERY loud at night. It creaks and squeaks and even bangs at times. It can be unnerving if I let it get to me, but this night with Gus acting psyco in the garage I was very concerned. I wondered back to my room to retrieve my hand gun, which according to Stephen is very cool and very powerful, but to me is just a gun, and perched myself at the top of the stairs. I decided that trying to go all commando in my home and slink around corners to check things out was probably pretty stupid in my condition so I decided to wait to see if someone would head up the steps. We have a security system, but by all accounts they are relatively useless to a trained intruder. I have heard it said that a security system alerts the cops they need to show up and take pictures of your dead bodies. A gun ensures it is not your dead body they are photographing.

Anyway, I had already had a long day and had gotten to bed entirely too late. Now I am sitting at the top of the stairs, exhausted, big hand gun in hand like a doofus waiting for someone to head up the steps while I listen to my dog go nutso in the garage for an entire hour. Finally Gus calmed down, I said a prayer, and checked the house out for any sign of invasion. Truth be told, I was thinking of just using the hand gun on my dog after about a half an hour of his spazz attack, but I showed restraint and wondered back to bed. Nothing ever turned up, though it has robbed my peace a bit. The next week I heard another infamous boom and ended up touring the house again, gun in hand, this time on the phone with a shaken Stephen at 3:00am only to find nothing. Really we live in about the safest place on earth, and I believe we are totally covered with heavenly protection, but there is always that nagging part in the back your brain that says, “what if”?

Harrison News Update:
-Started doing puzzles by himself between 19 and 20 months old. Is now incredibly fast at putting them together. One day he dumped several puzzles into a huge pile and proceeded to put the appropriate puzzle pieces in the right puzzles.

-We had about 25 kids and 9 moms over for a play date today. It was a warm, sunny April day. One of the older children (a kindergartener) came running across our backyard and told us someone had fallen into the creek. At 8 months pregnant I sprinted across the yard as fast as I could, but was quickly passed by my friend, Laura, who was only 6 weeks pregnant. I saw Harrison struggling to push himself out of the water, screaming, crying and coughing just before Laura leaped into the creek and pulled him out. My whole body ached from the stress of seeing my baby like that and from the sprint across the yard as I carried him back into the house to clean him up. For the rest of play date we cuddled on a lawn chair while we watched the children play. He didn’t want to get down, and I didn’t want to let him go. The thought that he could have been knocked unconscious from the fall and floated off in the creek before anyone noticed a thing has haunted me ever since. I live in constant gratitude that God has always been so faithful to answer my prayers to protect my children from my own stupid mistakes and from their own. In the 19 months since we have been in the house, and the boo-koodles of children who have played out there this was the first incident of someone falling into the creek. Harrison was riding around on his little push tractor, and we never were sure if someone pushed him in or if he just decided to go over the edge, but I do know the 4 foot drop into 18 inches of water on top of that tractor could have ended very tragically if things had not played out exactly like they had. Harrison recovered more quickly than I did. I could not relax my muscles the rest of the day and I can still barely think about it without crying. After a nap Harrison was none-the-worse for the incident.
-That last story cannot be told without replaying the phone conversation I had with Stephen after the creek incident. I think it speaks clearly to the differences in moms and dads and why kids need both parents; one to comfort and one to toughen them up.
I said into the phone (a bit hysterically), “The baby fell into the creek! I don’t know if he was pushed or rolled over the bank on his tractor or what happened, but Laura had to jump in after him and he was face down struggling to push his head out of the water and I don’t know how long he was in there and he was so upset and I was shaking and nauseous from the stress of seeing him like that and he was upset and crying hysterically for a half an hour until I could get him dry and cleaned up and then sat in my lap the rest of the afternoon and cuddled. . . “
Stephen says calmly, “Ok. . . Harrison is ok”?
Me, still shaking and upset 2 hours later, “Yes. . . but he could have been knocked unconscious by the tractor and the fall off the edge and floated off face down the creak without us noticing if Kavante had not seen him in the water and we wouldn’t have even known what happened to him”!
Stephen says perplexed and unfazed by my scenario, “But he didn’t, right”?
Me, still worked up and overemotional, “No”.
Stephen, now disinterested in my story completely, “Ok. . . Are you going to be ok”?
Me, “At some point”.
Stephen, “Ok. . .I’m going back to work now”.
What is my response to this? What any woman would do my situation! I called my mother and she got all emotional with me, and I felt better.

Julia News Update:
-Turns 3 years old on the 25th! (deep breath and think of freedom instead of doom)
-Talks all of the time about how little girls like such and such or little girls don’t like such and such. Whatever she wants or does not want is because little girls want/like them or don’t want/don’t like them.
-Has developed a passion for salad. “Little girls like salad”.
-Has mad sorting skills. Can sort silverware from the dishwasher into the tray, clothes in the laundry pile, puzzle pieces into edges and middles, and toys with great ease. “Little girls like sorting”.
-Prefers candy to ice cream. . .not sure where she got that. Stephen and I could live on ice cream alone, but “little girls like ice cream”.
-Is in love with her newest baby brother already. She has never ending patience to put her hands on my tummy and wait for him to move. She tells everyone everywhere we go what we are going to name him and has plans to wash and feed and care for his every need.
-The first day it was warm enough to wear summer clothes I was dressed in a white T-shirt and shorts to take the kids outside. JULIA, who mind you is actually Punky Brewster JR., actually said to ME, “What in the world! You are wearing silly clothes, mommy”!
-Has started inventing imaginary friends to play with.
-Makes up her own words to old songs. For example, on the way to my mom’s last week she sang, “The more we go to grandma’s, to grandma’s, to grandma’s. The more we go to grandma’s the happier we’ll be”!

Evan News Update:
-Loves photography. Begs to take pictures with our camera all of the time. I have made note of some of his pictures that I have posted below. My mom got him his own child friendly camera but we have yet to figure out how to use it.
-I had a friend over for lunch one day recently. We have been friends through for most of the 8 years we have been here in Atlanta, but this was the first time she had been to our new house since we move in 18 months ago. I was telling her the story of how we found the house just days before Harrison was born and the crazy summer and fall that followed until we were finally settled in. Our children were eating their lunches while we visited, and seemed kind of zoned out when Evan suddenly pipes in, “Yeah, we had to stay at the YMCA while the guys finished building our house.” Now you can imagine the look of shock and horror on my face as he tells my friend this completely fabricated story from nowhere. She burst out laughing that a 4 year old had even come up with such a story. Fortunately she knows me well enough to know that this was not true, but still, where did he get this idea? We are not even members at the YMCA. He has never stepped foot in one, let alone know that it used to double as a homeless shelter for bums in the 70’s. . .That’s when it dawned on me. He has this toy truck with buttons on the top to make it drive forward or backward or even drive back and forth and flash it’s headlights to tune of YMCA. It says at one point in the song “It’s fun to stay at the YMCA. It has everything that you need to enjoy. . . ” It’s the best explanation I could come up with. . . A child’s mind is a mysterious place.
-Loved to help daddy with the bunk beds. Ran errands all over the house for him and tried to assist him as often as Stephen could let him. He was always saying things like, “Daddy, if you need me to use the drill/hammer/table saw, I will”. Stephen just said, “Ok. Thanks, Buddy”.

New Baby Boy:
-Kicks the crap out of me without ceasing just like his brothers did. It can even keep Stephen awake if I roll too closely to him at night.
-Is causing me a great deal of pain in my back and pelvis. I have become a fixture at my chiropractors office to find some relief.
-Is due in 6 or 7 weeks.

-Has a fleet of SUPER excited siblings waiting impatiently for his arrival.

Evan took this lovely shot. I try to be an equal opportunity embarrasing photo poster.

The kids REALLY like shucking corn on the cob. . .

Almost as much as they like eating it.

This picture really needs to be framed (That is if I had time to shop for a frame, print, frame and then hang such photos).

This is the kids’ chiropractor, DR Ken. When you have three little ones falling all over themselves all day long it does crazy things to their backs.

Evan getting adjusted. Julia and Evan just adore this special treatment.

Harrison is MUCH less sold on the idea, but his rather large head just pulls him down on top of it so often that he is a chiropractor’s dream patient.

We spend so much money on entertainment and season tickets to exciting places like the aquarium or the science museum, and they spend an hour watching At&t dig a hole in our front yard with twice the enthusiasm.
My burger kings.

Stephen putting the bunk beds together in the boys’ room.

Great-Grandma Hillman and Julia enjoying some precious time together at my mom’s house last week.
Evan and Harrison enjoying Grandpa’s bonfire with their first cousins once removed Benji and Bradley Hillman. They all love each other VERY much and enjoy being together.
I just found him like this. . . seemed cute to me.

After MUCH trial and error he finally figured out how to walk around on the carpet upstairs with roller skates.

My mom’s birthday party/St. Patricks Day celebration at a Mexican Restaurant.

Evan’s new camera. . . now if we can only figure out how it works. . .

Easter Sunday garb. This was honestly the best photo we could muster. They were in silly moods that morning.

Enjoying Daddy’s new bed as it was being built. They are jumping on the bed yelling, “I LIKE IT! I LIKE IT!”

Bumper Bikes.


4D Baby

Thanks to the fact that I can never manage to have a drama free pregnancy, I had some complications today that resulted in a GLAMOROUS 1/2 hour nap in an amazing lazy boy recliner at my OB’s office while they did some fetal testing on the baby followed by a 4D ultrasound. I have actually never had one done in 4D before, and it was pretty neat. I wasn’t all together sure what to expect, but up pops an image of a baby I have actually given birth to on 3 different occations as all of my children look exactly the same at birth. The baby weighs over 4 pounds now and is perfectly healthy with a little hair on his head.

They are still going to monitor my situation, but couldn’t come to any conclusions about it today except it probably isn’t going to be a big deal. I am terribly immune to worry about such things as it is always one thing after the next with me and none of it ever amounts to much after the first trimester which is why I could relax and nap while they did their testing. So many people are always praying for me and my children that I am able to just rest in God’s will and the glory He can attain in every situation.

I thought I would post the 4D pictures for all to see. You can see that something got in the way of his face a little bit in the picture of the front of his face. The other picture is a profile shot.

Also, just because I am so proud of Stephen and because several of you showed great interested in Stephen’s bunk bed project, I have included a picture of his beautiful beds. They are not done yet as he still has to put rails on the bed before Evan can sleep up there, but he did put them together in the boys’ room for my 5 and 8 year old cousins who came to stay with us on Monday night. I took a picture of all of the boys sleeping the bed. Evan and Julia spend nearly every waking moment playing on the top of them. It’s been a lot of fun. I wish the pictures did these beds justice. You will just have to come see them for yourself!