Tuesday, August 30, 2011


So the peanut is officially walking. And when you don't clap for her she walks around clapping for herself. And yelling YEAH! which comes out Yah-ehhh, Yah-ehhh!

I hope this is not a phase. I hope she always claps for herself. And why not? Why not celebrate your victories, be impressed with something you just learned how to do? So it is something that most people do and everyone expected her to do it. So what? She didn't do it before and now she does. And that is worth celebrating!

When do we stop doing this, being impressed with our own ability? Do we learn it in school, or as teenagers? Why not celebrate our own personal victories, no matter how ordinary? So what if everyone else is already doing it, now you are too! You've joined that party! Good for you!

Recently in my life, I've started blogging again (YEAH!), One of my students told me they noticed I was trying to make learning fun (YEAH!), Christian with the help of Thomas fixed the Volvo without ever having to take it to a professional (YEAH!), I've been reading my Bible more regularly (YEAH!)

What is going on with you that you should be cheering about? (That isn't rhetorical, I really want to know!)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Birth Story

DISCLAIMER: I think that birth stories are important. I know they have recently become maybe a little cliche. I also know that I am so so blessed to have a natural non-medicated birth. That while some of it was my planning and desire, ultimately (like so much if motherhood) it was by the grace of God that I could have the experience I had.

On Wednesday, April 28 I was pretty sure my water had broke. Every time I stood up it felt like I had wet my pants. So I googled this (hey, it is what I do....) and found that in some cases this probably meant I had sprung a leak. I called my sisters and my mom to let them know that I thought my water was leaking and I had an appointment that afternoon and I was sure we would have the baby today.........Except I didn't. My midwife checked and whatever was leaking wasn't my water, so I went back home and had to call everyone to say false alarm. Did you know there is a condition called hydra-rhea where your pregnant body is retaining so much water your body simply can't take it anymore and it leaks out? Sometimes down your leg while you are standing in a high school library media center causing the librarian media specialist to FREAK OUT? I had an occasional contraction here and there but they would subside.

Friday Christian and I met Jill and Calvin at the Savage pizza. We were trying to find the best pizza in Atlanta, it was good but not the best. After dinner we went back to our house to play wii and hang out. I was having strong enough contractions that I called the midwife. She told me to try to get some sleep. How the heck was I supposed to go to sleep? I should have trusted my ability to sleep through any situation. I did fall asleep as Calvin and Christian continued to play Mario Kart. Occasionally, Christian would check on me. The guys went to sleep at about four in the morning and I woke up at 8 or so.

Jill and Calvin had spent the night expecting that I would want to go to the hospital any minute. Jill and I went for a walk in the hopes that that would really get the contractions going, and they did get stronger as I walked around my neighborhood. We may have broken into the back door of a house for sale around the corner. Then we headed home because I was uncomfortable enough that I thought I should go home. So we walked home. We went in the back door, and there sitting on my tree that shades my deck there was a very large owl.

This owl was not deterred by my sisters very large dog. He looked straight at us, and Jill and I both immediately recognized as something more than an owl. I had been receiving a word from God that I was going to have twins, boy twins. I knew I would come home from the hospital with either 2 boys, or the girl who showed on the ultrasound. The owl reminded me that God was in charge. That He knew what was coming.

After breakfast, Jill and Calvin went to go get some Saturday errands done while we went to the hospital, we would call Jill when it was time. I went into the hospital they put me and Christian in a room and had me fill out my own paperwork. Apparently, I had plenty of time. They didn't check me or anything, but I apparently was showing very early according to my face. So I filled out the paperwork and waited in the room, Christian was counting through the contractions for me at this point. But it still wasn't anything I couldn't handle.

So the nurse came in and she was chatty, and I am chatty, and so we were chatting, till she checked me. She looked at me and asked "Honey, are you sure you are okay?" (She was very southern.) and when I said yeah she responded "Honey, I am so proud of you! You are at 7 centimeters!" I started laughing and made some phone calls. I wanted to let people know I was for sure in labor this time. We also called Jill to tell her to get back to the hospital. At this point I was still trying to chat up the intake nurse (I really, really liked her. And I talk when I am nervous, or excited, or doing something new, or awake.) and she finally had to cut me off, explaining that at seven centimeters I needed to get my midwife and move to an actual delivery room pronto. But not so many rooms were available right this second, and they were hoping for a big one since I was asking a for a tub.

My delivery nurse came in, looked at my face, looked at the contraction charts, didn't believe the first nurse that I was in fact seven centimeters, and asked if she could check me. She was not as encouraging or as optimistic. I knew immediately I didn't like her. I wanted a cheerleader and she was more of a pragmatist. What I really wanted was to keep the first nurse. I found out later that I could have asked for another nurse, that apparently you can trade? Who knew. Now you know.

I had been hooked up to a monitor this whole time. The baby has to get some kind of awake and moving reading for a certain amount of time before they will let you get into the water. I wanted in the water. Margaret, my midwife, walked into the room, looked at the test and tossed me some ice water and twenty minutes later I was ready to roll.

I spent the next hour or so slung over the tub squatting on my knees. I was doing really well moaning through the contractions as long as I kept my tones open and low. The second I started panicking was the second my tone would rise. Christian spent a lot of the contractions chanting at me looooooooow loooooooow looooooooow while pointing his finger down. It helped a lot.

When transition came I completely freaked. I felt helpless and that I COULD NOT do this. The fear took over. My midwife flipped me over when she realized that Christian and Jill were unable to talk me down this time. "What are you afraid of?" she asked me. We went through everything, the pain, no, being a mom, no. Well then if you aren't afraid of anything then you can get rid of the fear. And I did. The other thing that helped  me in transition was the other birth stories that had been shared with me. The first time my cousin Kim was giving birth she got up and started re-packing her bag  when she hit transition. The feeling of "I have to get out of here!" Was so great that she tried to leave, insisting she was not in fact going to have that baby. That was exactly how I felt. And having an anecdote of how someone else felt and reacted reminded me that the feelings I were having were normal. This is what was supposed to happen.

Pushing took longer than  my midwife expected, but about an hour later I felt the shoulders slip out and exclaimed "that's a baby." And it was. My baby, the girl I knew that God wanted to give me first. And every single story that you have ever heard about how that moment is magical, beyond anything you could ever experience presents itself as true.

And then your body gives you this awesome euphoria and you don't sleep for hours because you are too entranced by this perfect thing, that God gave you. You are too busy staring at her.

Maybe I can do this again.....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sisterhood of the traveling....sisterhood

This past weekend Jill moved into my neighborhood! Her and Calvin closed on a sweet house with a seriously sweet price in a great little neighborhood ( I may be partial...) YEAH! We are super excited to have her and she has promised not to move again in a year and a half and I have promised to not be eight months pregnant if she does move in a year and a half (please Lord!). Jill and Calvin moved to Atlanta about a month before I was due with the Peanut.

The interesting thing to first, Jill moving to Atlanta, and second, my serious joy that she lives 1.4 miles from my home is there was a time growing up where this did not seem likely. We couldn't be in the same 170  person marching band marching in completely different sections that never actually had to talk to each other and not have a couple of yelling matches (two that I recall).

Recently I read a line about mother hood. This mom was lamenting the fact that her family was done growing, and she remained daughterless. She described the mother daughter relationship as uniquely complicated. I was taken off guard. I don't think of my relationship with my mom as complicated. Maybe I am just part of a ridiculously lucky minority, but I just hope I can do as good of a job as she did.  I always felt (and still feel) loved and accepted. I know my mom is always rooting for me. There were no big battles to allow me my adulthood. It just was.

But sisters. Those were complicated for me. I wanted to be just like my sisters and at the exact same time completely different. I sometimes resented being "The third France" but know I would have been heart broken had I not been linked to the previous two.

I find myself thinking about sisters a lot lately. I am about to have a pair of them in my home after all. I find myself fretting over what to buy new just for the new baby and what is it okay to share? I want to make sure that the little one knows she was wanted and special and got everything her sister did. I want the big one to know she is wanted and special and not being replaced. And I want them to share well. And each have special things to pass down to their daughters but still have enough that mostly belongs to everybody.

I think I am trying too hard to control the stuff because it is the only thing I can control. I cannot control the Peanut's reaction to her sister, or the temperament of the new baby. I cannot control the ways they will inevitably attempt to torture each other or the hurt they may inflict. I cannot control whether or not they will think of each other as their best friends as adults, like I think of my sisters, but I can hope. And I do.

I sometimes worry that I will put too much pressure on them, to be best of friends from day one. I need to remember it takes time. I didn't even choose my own sisters as my maids of honor (though I regret that now) that somewhere along the way push came to shove and it occurred to me that the people who understand me best are the ones who were raised in the same house as me. God built in my adult best friends, it is an amazing gift. I pray that the same will be true for my girls.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mixed Feelings

I have been having some mixed feelings about welcoming this new baby recently. I know, I know, I am considered full term so really.....it is kind of late for all of that. She could literally come at any moment, and medically speaking that would be just fine. But me? In the spring I was all, "I could have this baby tomorrow, and I wouldn't need to do anything! Yeah for another girl!" and now I am all "I could have this baby tomorrow and I wouldn't have done anything! AAAAH I am having another baby!"

Yesterday I did manage to go to Target and get a diaper bag that is big enough for two kids, and a sizing stuffed animal for Priscilla. I don't want to make the Peanut share her bear. Teddy is the only thing she seems genuinely attached to. So now there are just a few things that are on my MUST DO list. They are not things like get the newborn clothes in order or set up the new crib and pack and play upstairs so the baby has some places to sleep. I guess I figure if I don't do that someone else will.

I did find out yesterday I have to take the water birth class again, so that sounds like a heck of a Friday night! (I really want to bring a flask....just to see what would happen.....). I suppose I should be grateful North Fulton had an opening this Friday. Because for a minute there last night it looked like if I wanted a water birth, it was likely to happen only in my own tub....and my midwives don't make house calls. But as is so often the case with me I was freaking out about one things because I did not want to deal with the other.

Then I read this amazing post and suddenly I understood what I was really freaking out about. My family is about to change. Forever. And that is scary, and a little sad. The weeks before my wedding I cried a lot more than I thought I would. But looking back it made sense. I knew this would be the last time I would celebrate Christmas with the family I had always celebrated with. I would no longer be calling the house I grew up in, home. I no longer claimed exclusive rights to my bedroom, because it wasn't anymore. My bedroom, my life, my family would now be the one I shared with my husband, not the one my parents provided for me. My new life was what the Lord had for me, and I am so grateful He did. But the old one was no more, and sometimes, even when it is good change, change is sad.

The Lord allows for that. Besides Ecclesiastes, where I am assured there is a time for my sadness, many times the psalmists mourn and grieve. So here it is. While I am thrilled to meet this perfect little girl who the Lord has picked out exactly for our family, I am sad. I am sad that Juliet will no longer be the baby. I am sad that there will be parts of her journey that I will miss because I will be focused on her sister. I am wistful that this marks the Peanut as a little girl who is quickly leaving her babyhood behind. That while she will always be my  baby, she will no longer be the baby. And while I know how very amazing the sister relationship can be, I am a little sad that Juliet and Priscilla will not always share their secrets with me. They will have each other to run to, it may not always be Mommy who best soothes those bumps and bruises. Sisters only is an important creed. I know. I have said it....to my mom. I am so glad Juliet will get to be the big sister. And I know that God has designed her to fill that role. But I am sad that that means that she is growing up, in a way that is more concrete to me than weaning, or a first birthday, becoming a big sister is a line in the sand.

Lately she has been cuddling more. The Peanut likes to lift up my shirt, pat my belly and say "baby, baby" (granted she also does this with Christian so maybe it isn't as impressive as it sounds.) She likes to cuddle with my bump, wrap her arms around the sides, her torso around the top and rest her head on her sister. I wonder if she knows this time where she does not have to wait her turn is coming to an end. She still is not walking, she could, just no interest. It is as though she is reminding me that she is still a baby, still needs me to hold her. I do feel guilty changing her existence like this. With little warning and no input from her, her family will be altered. Another little person is coming to live at our house......permanently. How will this change her?

Ultimately I know that this is what the Lord wants. Not just for me, but for my daughters. Both of them. And I trust His judgement infinitely more than my fears.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How do you ask?

I wish I knew why I struggle with asking....but I do. I really struggle with asking for stuff. I don't like to feel like I am bothering anyone. In my head I convince myself that the thing that I want or need is some huge inconvenience to the person I am asking. And even if I really want it or kinda need it I really hate asking. Which is ridiculous I know, because I would always tell a friend: Ask! what is it going to hurt? Let people bless you!

But me? No way. I think it must be a self esteem issue....or maybe some leftover baggage from the fibromyalgia. Either way I want to raise my daughters to speak up for themselves and feel like the Lord has made them and want them to not just have what they need, but get the things they want too. Not that they deserve it, but because they are the daughters of a king who wants to bless them.

But this week I have made some strides. I got assigned a parking space that was quite a bit further from the building than another open parking space. And I this baby has put some serious precious on my pelvis, so a couple times a week, every single step hurts. So.....I went to the parking guru and asked her for a closer spot. I know it seems like it isn't a big deal. Especially because I so obviously am pregnant and I feel like if you saw me waddling around you would know that walking is currently taking a serious effort. But for me, it was a big deal. I got really nervous about asking. But I did, and I didn't back down when she asked if it was that much closer. Instead I rubbed my monstrosity of a belly and gave her sad eyes. Because it IS important to me right now. And I got my spot, no big deal! It seriously took a less than two minutes. But I did not like having to ask.

I have been praying recently for a camera. Not a fancy SLR or anything, but just a high quality point and shoot that we can take pictures with. I managed to kill ours by getting it wet at Friends Lake at the beginning of our vacation. With baby two coming in 30 some odd days (wait, what? I NEED MORE TIME!) and the Peanut changing so often, now is not the time to be without a camera. Could you imagine in 15 years when I have at least a picture a day for the first few months of the one daughter and none of the other? No good. Well, ask and you shall receive. Somehow I mentioned that we needed a new camera on my way home and my awesome carpool buddy said something like, Oh I think I have an extra. 12 mega pixels and 5 times zoom later I am the proud owner of a new free camera. Thank you Megan! Thank you Jesus!

But now I have to ask someone to take my new camera and shoot some pictures. I don't want anything fancy. Just some shots of me and Juliet and Christian interacting. The ones of just Juliet and Christian I can do. Vice versa for Juliet and me. I suppose I should take some maternity shots since I had them done with Juliet....and because I look much better this time around. But the thought of asking one of my friends to take these pictures feels like a REALLY BIG DEAL. Even though if I put myself in the position of being asked I would think it would be really fun. And I am talking about maybe 20 minutes or so of picture taking. And yet....

I am learning that God wants us to ask for things, rather than simply providing before we ask, because He wants us to understand that He thinks we are worth blessing. That He values us. Not just so we will understand our dependence on Him. I am glad He is patient with me. God, I'm working on it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Whats up with the Peanut?

A lot happens in a month when your kid has only had 15 of them. I read somewhere that there are different types of mom, and you shouldn't feel terrible if exclaiming of itty-bitty baby toes and waiting in line to hold the youngest member of your extended family isn't your gig you shouldn't sweat it. Not everyone is ALL ABOUT BABIES! I seem to fall  into this camp. This summer I feel like the Peanuts personality is really starting to show through and she is so, so funny! She really is quite a ham. If she finds out something will make you laugh or clap for her, get ready to see it repeatedly. Her new tricks include:

-Standing up all on her own. She then proceeds to clap for herself and yell "Ya-ehhh!" If you don't join the cheering the first time she will cheer louder until you join in.

-Singing the EIEIO part whenever Old MacDonald is sung or played. If she wants to you to sing it because nothing else is going on she will look at you and repeat EIEIO until you figure it out and start filling that farm.

-Using many things as a walker so she can tool around the house but NOT walk. She seems to be adamant about that not walking thing......

-Counting to three, and leaping on top of you at three (her dad taught her this one). If you don't brace to catch her or hold out your arms she will repeat two. twooooo. TWOOO until you comply

-And the trick I am not a fan of... when things aren't going her way she pitches quite an impressive fit. She throws herself on the ground and bangs her hands and head on the ground screaming. At church we tried to ignore it so she rolled until she was hitting Christian's shoe and proceeded in the screaming.

Over all it has just been really fun to be her mom lately. I am beginning to see what the Bible is talking about when it says that God delights in His children. I know all this stuff that the Peanut is doing is developmentally appropriate. But I can't help but think because she can point at the cheese dip and yell mmmmm MMMMM that my child is not only the cutest thing in all of Atlanta, but also a communication genius.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm back! and talking about love?

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus. Apparently between the summer school, the just over one year old, and the growing a baby, I needed a break. So, I took one. Next time I hope to at least actively decide instead of spending a month promising myself I will write tomorrow.

Something this week really caught my eye. Don Miller, a Christian writer and blogger, wrote a 2 part series about how to write your love story. I wasn't a fan. Rachel Held Evans, a Christian writer and blogger disagreed with him, in a post I loved. Since then Don Miller has taken down his posts and issued an apology. I have always had a lot of respect for him as a writer, but never more than I do know. He really and truly exudes grace and truth....even when he gets it wrong. Rachel Held Evans is quickly becoming "my girl". Everything she writes I love and I can't wait till her new book is out!

Anyway, this whole dust up was about the incredibly controversial subject of....love stories. Right, not something I think of as controversial either. But it did get me thinking about love stories, how God writes them, why does he write them, who is the star etc. I was a teenager when the book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" came out. And suddenly, every youth group was doing a series on courting vs. dating, love, purity. And every Christian author had something to say about Godly love stories and also how to not have sex outside of marriage. In fact, one summer we talked so much about what the Bible has to say about sex I remember telling my youth group leader if we continued to talk about NOT having sex and NOT thinking about sex I would start having it because all this talk about not having it made me think about it a whole lot more than I normally did. I don't know how well that went over, but really how much can possibly be said about how to keep your pants on?

But love, and love stories....I think there may be more to say on that. I have read more than one book on Christian dating that basically says the man needs to make all the moves, and the woman needs to wait...and wait... and don't say anything and wait. It is the man's adventure and he invites the woman to join him.

Surprise, surprise I never really followed those rules. I don't know....I guess it was just the whole waiting thing. I wasn't great at. Also, the not saying anything. I am terrible at that. Though I didn't ascribe to this whole thing, I had an opportunity to watch this play out a lot in college. I was involved in a major campus ministry that supported this model. Plus, I had an absolutely adorable roommate who fit more easily into this romantic mold than I did. And quite a few boys wanted to date her. So....every once in a while (but DEFINITELY more than once a semester, usually more than twice) a boy would show up to our room and I would make myself scarce because the boy would want to DEFINE THE RELATIONSHIP, or DTR. One of two things would happen. Either my roommate would be totally taken off guard and have to let this poor boy down gently, or she would ask for the opportunity to get to know the boy better and his feeling would be all hurt because he had really wanted to date my roommate and she just didn't know him well enough to say "Yes! I want to be your girlfriend." The other thing it did was encourage girls to pine away for whichever random boy caught her eye. She would build this boy up in her head as her perfect guy and maybe just maybe he would show up at the door one day and "define the relationship." On the occasion that the boy DID show up....the relationship was a disappointment because the girl was into the boy in her head and not the boy that actually existed.

It just all seemed so...confusing...cloak and dagger in a way. It also leaves the poor girl with no agency while the poor boy has to figure out if this could potentially be marriage material when he didn't even know if he liked eating pizza with her. It seemed to confusing to me. Not that this method hasn't worked for thousands of couples. I am just not a big fan.

Instead I have started to think that there is one great love story. The love story between God and man, creator and creation, Redeemer and me. A person who needed (and needs) desperately to be redeemed. And yes, God made the first move, but I responded. And love stories between two people are as unique as the love stories people have about how they met Jesus. Sometimes God shows up and says "I love you, love me" and you do. Sometimes God has been in your life forever, always being there for you until one day you wake up and realize He is who you have been looking for all along. Most times God shows up right when you are ready to be with Him.

However it starts, and at whatever pace. True Christian romances are all uniquely the same: God grows two people in a way that suits both the person and the partner. If you let Him, Christ uses all those imperfections you once thought of as impossible to get around to serve another person, sometimes it makes you uniquely qualified to love each other. God is a romantic and a pursuer of the church. And our love stories point to that.