Answers to *those* questions {FF}

5faves answers

And by *those* questions, I mean the ones that larger than average families tend to get asked on a regular basis.

Disclaimers before I start:
1) I don’t think most of these questions are really anyone’s business except for the husband, wife and God. So why am I going to bother to answer them? Because people are curious (I know I am), and I genuinely think most people (note: I said “most” not “all”) aren’t asking to be mean or rude.
2) These aren’t going to be “snarky replies”, I’m really not that kind of person, so these are my in-real-life answers.

1 ~ Are you done yet? / Is this the last one? / Plans for more? / {things like that}

Real life answer: I dunno.
{I find this totally throws people for a loop. Like, they know what they’d answer if I said “yes” or “no”, but indecision… they get nothing!}

I don’t answer that way because I’m undecided about whether or not to have more kids (well, I am undecided… depends on the day). But I answer that way because I honest and truly don’t know if I will have more children. After this baby is born, I will be a grand total of 30 years and 3 months old. That leaves me with approximately 15 years (???) of potential fertility. Guys, thats a long time. That’s a long time to never “accidentally” get pregnant. A long time to chart perfectly. To me, especially, it seems a long time to never get pregnant.

But, I’ve also seen the other side (albeit on a shorter time line). I could try every month of those 15 years and never conceive again. The fact is, whether we have another baby or not is not totally up to me; I have my husband to consider as well. But ultimately it’s not up to us. We can make plans, but God can open and close wombs at will.

Why not just use birth control? Read on…

2 ~ So, why not just use birth control?

This is a multilayered answer.

First, non-religious answer: I don’t like it. The two times I was on it, it totally screwed up my cycles. I’m not 100% sure, but I also think it did something to my body which made it have a harder time getting pregnant (with Zachary). I also don’t believe it’s is good for a woman’s body.

Second, Jared didn’t like me using it (completely for religious reasons). The combined five months I was on it, we argued almost daily about whether or not I should be. That gets old. And at one point I realized I needed to make a choice between what was better for our marriage. Combine that with my first point and I quit.

Third, religious answer: I belong to a Church that clearly says “no birth control”. I’ve made a choice to live by these teachings. Usually if I just say something like “I’m Catholic” they say “Oh” (like, she’s one of those guys… And yeah, I am, but it’s also the reasons above.)

{Side note: complete strangers have never asked me this, but plenty of doctors, nurses, midwives, etc… have}

3 ~ Are they all yours? / You’ve got your hands full.

Real life answer: Yup, they are. / Yup, I do.

I mean, my kids all look pretty alike. And I’m told they look like me, but I don’t always see that. So…… what do want me to say?

This is especially where I want to reiterate my point from the opening that most people aren’t asking to be mean. I’ve never gotten this question asked in any way except wonder and awe and genuine happiness over the fact. Surprise maybe, but nothing negative.

4 ~ Are you trying for a girl?

Real life answer: No. {I like to beat around the bush, can you tell?}

I believe children are a gift. All of my pregnancies I’ve been truly thankful for the blessing of another child, long before I knew the gender. I think it was after Karl, where I was wishing a little more for another girl, that I realized “who am I to tell God what I need to have”. I’m not God. I didn’t designate the gender of my children. Doing something {trying} so that you can get a specific thing {gender} from God starts bordering on territory where you, as the human being, are trying to dictate to God how the world will work. Not a place I’m willing to venture.

Someone asked me with Z. if I was hoping for a girl. I respond “If God wants to ask me what gender I’d like, I’ll be more than happy to tell him I think I’d like a girl, but God hasn’t come asking, so I’m fine with him making the decision.

5 ~ Do you have a TV? / You do know how this happens, right? / {that particular list can go on and on…}

Real life answer: Yes. I have a degree in Biology.

Like, a real live university degree in Biological Sciences, not like a Univ. of Hard Knocks degree in Bio. Well, actually I may have that one too by this point… But… really. Yes. I know how it works. You can’t get through a biology degree without studying the reproductive cycle of every single organism on the planet (that includes human beings… and those weird little microscopic things at the bottom of the ocean, because really, knowing that will change your world.)

~~~~~

If I could just keep asking for prayers for Z. he’s having some sort of reaction to something/skin breakout of unknown origin. Its weird. Like bumps all over his face. We’re seeing a dermatologist tomorrow.

Linking with Jenna for #5faves

P.S. Sorry for the length… thanks for reading to the end! ❤

On not being super excited for this current pregnancy {WIWS}

WIWS104
WIWS: Comfy sweater that I now realize doesn’t exactly match the maternity “T” underneath. Beige pants that still fit! {And sandals and a veil, but this was after Mass and those things were long put away}. Photo in K’s room, yes, it actually is that pink. #Zphotobomb

There. I said it. I have not been super excited for this current pregnancy. I *thought* I would be excited, way back at the very, very, very beginning when I first found out we would be adding another baby, but then…. I don’t know. It seems to be taking longer than normal for the excitement to build up this time.

Maybe it’s because I had a teeny tiny bit of spotting that the doctors and nurses blew up into “worst case scenario” (an ectopic pregnancy)… which it turned out not to be thanks be to God. But those two times I spent at the ER, and the second time especially were so super stressful that I think it really put a damper on things.

It probably also didn’t help that I had friends who lost a baby at birth literally days before I found out I was pregnant.

I didn’t have a horrible time of my normal night-time “morning” sickness (it was there, but it wasn’t terrible). I did feel incredibly exhausted. Like, the go-to-bed-every-night-at-7:00PM kind of exhausted.

I know from past babies that it does take time to get used to the idea of another child. I know that was especially the case with Katherine. It took me all of those nine months to get used to the idea of a baby and I still don’t know how “ready” I was once she was born. Even with Zachary, I had people ask me if I was excited right after we found out, and I was like “Woah. Wait a minute. I just found out we’re having another baby. You gotta give me longer than a day to get used to that… THEN I’ll let you know if I’m excited”. But with him, it didn’t take weeks and weeks and weeks for that excitement to build.

I guess all this lack of excitement has me really not feeling connected to the baby just yet. Even with seeing baby move on the 8-week ultrasound scan (which I’ve never seen before)… And hearing the heart beat with the midwife saying “there’s a baby in there”… They were special moments, yes, but once they were gone so was the connection. Even the fact that all my regular clothes no longer fit hasn’t really made the fact sink in.

15+ weeks
15+ weeks (pretty obvious there’s a bump there!)

I have been feeling little tiny flutterings the last few weeks. Not many, but a few. And that has helped. I also happened to glance through some old photos on the instagram feed and seeing the newborn pictures of Zachary has helped too.

But… through all this, the few times I’ve gotten worked up and stressed out enough to pray about it I get an almost instant little reminder that this precious little soul has already been created by God. Already has a purpose. He (or she) is already loved by God…. even if his mama is taking a little while to catch up. 🙂 God’s big enough to hold him (and me) and love him (and me) and care for him until I find myself ready to take my part.

~~~~~

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for WIWS

P.S. If you’re paying attention and reading closely, I know on Friday I stated I was 16 weeks… but I recounted and realized I arbitrarily added a week… so I’m really somewhere like 15 and a half. Baby’s still due at the end-ish of March, right after Jared’s birthday 🙂

P.P.S. I don’t know if I’m having a boy… it just feels easier to refer to baby as a boy, since… you know that’s what we seem to be good at making 😉

Washing the truck and Finding Joy

We’ve got a lovely tree… well actually, let me rephrase… The neighbors behind us have a tree that spreads primarily over our yard and driveway. It casts lots of shade so the garden has a hard time growing and it produces a good amount of pollen which covers the driveway (and the birds enjoy nesting in it so we have their droppings as well). Anywhos, it’s warm today and Jared got inspired to get his truck washed. So of course water + kids = a whole lotta fun!

The Blessed Is She Link-Up topic this week is: Finding Joy. And I’ve been thinking it over, trying to find the words I want to say. At first I thought that I’d just take a few pictures and call it a day, because thats usually what I do when I “find joy”. But then I realized that capturing joy (taking photos) and finding joy aren’t necessarily one and the same.

Well, it is but it isn’t. I’ve been doing a 365 Project  for close to six months now, and it’s been great. I’ve become a bit more aware of my weaknesses as a photographer, and I’ve been able to capture just those everyday moments with the kids and that’s been great (and I’ve also managed to fill my computer with roughly 7000 photos, but who’s counting?) But at the same time it’s also becoming routine. Dare I even say, mundane?

I’ve realized this week that I have to put some additional meaning behind those photographs for them to NOT become mundane. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states

The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator…”
(341)

Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty… But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God… “from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator,”
(2500)

By remembering each time I take a picture that I’m in a sense taking a picture of God, how much more respect can I be giving to my Creator? How much more awe inspiring can that process be? How much more can God speak to me?

Everything then, down to the tiniest drop of water becomes something to find beauty in. It becomes a pathway for finding Joy in our Creator!

A blogging friend, Abbey @ Surviving Our Blessings, said this about an instagram photo project she was doing during Lent:

The important thing isn’t to do this one {project}. The important thing is to remind ourselves that God is always working, even in the most ordinary, mundane moments.

That is what I’m striving for when I take these thousands of photos. That’s what I was looking for today while my husband and kids joyfully washed the truck.

This is how I’m trying to Find Joy.

washing the car-17

…even when the baby isn’t happy to be left alone in yard while the others have fun in the driveway!

~~~~~


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Reading ’round these parts

reading

I’ve been feeling in a blogging slump lately. Not with the photo posts, there’s been plenty of those, and I have been trying to add little details of what we’ve been up to in those posts, so those of you that follow the blog to keep up with us should be somewhat in the know. But other stuff hasn’t been written about.

There are things that I’d like to write, but some days I feel a big lack of confidence in the writing department. Writing in and of itself isn’t something that comes easily to me (why start a blog then? I dunno.) But, I’m stubborn.

Anyways…. tonight I thought I’d share with you what reading looks like over here. We certainly do our share of reading. I realize this may not be how or why your family does read alouds, and that’s ok, this is what works for us.

When We Read:

I’ll admit, with the weather turning warmer (Thank you God!), we’ve been spending almost literally every spare minute out of doors. Which has lead to a slight decrease in the amount of time I’ve  been reading aloud to the kids. Most days we end up reading before bed, and somedays we read a few books in the morning.

What it Looks Like:

Generally speaking I mostly read without Zachary. I know, I know, start them when they’re young and all that… and I do think I’m going to start him soon, but… when I’m trying to read to the older kids and they’re all scrunched up as close as they can get, add in Z trying to grab and eat the book and it just makes it too much wiggly in not enough space (while trying to hold a book so everyone can see…). So, I usually leave him laying on the floor so at least he can listen. And honestly, sometimes if he’s tired and fussy, we just wait until he’s in bed.

If we’re reading picture books the kids all squish next to me, and take turns switching to sit next to me. Sometimes Karl still sits on my lap (not so much in the sticky weather) and that erases the “outside” person (not sitting next to me).

Jared reading

If we’re reading a chapter book, which doesn’t happen every day, (but, I’m *trying* to get it back to a more regular schedule) I usually have them spread out just a little. I have my limit for how much I can be squished by little people, they can be close, just not on top of me.

So far, with the chapter books, I haven’t had any issues with them getting antsy, but we haven’t tried more lengthly read-aloud times with those. I’ve found with the longer read-alouds it’s a skill to learn. With the picture books there’s a lot of starting and stopping and they’re usually pretty simple (and half memorized), but the chapter books I actually have to pay attention to and it’s a work out for my mouth. But, baby steps 🙂

Why We Read:

Way back a long time ago, I was complaining to my mom about one of the boys (I think it was John), not wanting to sit and read a book (I think he may have been just over a year?), she told me:

Well, you should have him at least finish the book before you let him get up and walk around, that way he learns how to finish something. He also learns how to sit still, because there will be times when he’ll have to sit still, and there won’t be a book, but he’ll already know how to do it because he’s had the chance to practice it.
{or something to that nature}

Now, when you’re expecting a, lets say 12-month-old, to sit still and listen to a book start to finish, be reasonable, don’t start with Blueberries for Sal. A shorter board book such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar would be much better option. I think sitting and being still is a learned thing, so if you’ve started reading to them young (and requiring them to sit still while doing so), they’ll get better at it. True story: I didn’t think it would happen, but now John (and Katherine) can sit indefinitely while being read to.

Another reason I read to the kids, especially before bedtime is the calming-down factor, for them, yes, but probably more for me. Usually by bedtime, my mama-tank is empty and has been running on fumes since about dinner time. So, needless to say, my mood from dinner time to bed time is usually a little on the short side.

But. When we sit down to read those last stories before bed I can feel the tension letting go. I’m still tired and I still need them to go to bed, but the shortness usually starts fading away. Which then leaves me free to tuck them in, say their prayers, kiss them goodnight and actually not be all flustered. And no, this doesn’t mean that every night is perfect, because there are definitely those nights where them asking for their 37th sip of water/fingernail cut/blanket adjusted/he’s talking/etc…. really gets to me. But, for those few minutes we’re sitting and reading, we’re able to just be without anything getting in the way.

And I know that, THAT is what they’re going to remember. Because I remember reading aloud with my mom and siblings when I was littler and those were some of the best times ever. {And I still wish my mom could come read aloud to me sometimes 😉 }

~~~

Do you have any favorite read-aloud memories or stories? Do share!