Saturday, December 21, 2013

Getting ready for baby

What does pregnancy mean to me?

It means the hope of a baby.
It means the challenge of surrender.
It means letting go of some things for the embrace of a new life.
It means a gift to be shared between Steve and I.  And the brothers.
It means another opportunity to feel our weakness and rely on God alone.
It means nausea.  It means a leg that really hurts.  It means painful nights.  Broken sleep.
It means less trips out.  Less time with friends.
It means more time at home and more time with kids.
It means dreams of babies and birth and "what will he look like?"  
It means imagining the feel of his soft wrinkled skin against mine.
It means anticipation of a baby growing and smiling and bringing us all delight.
It means seeing a little more of God.
It means love and more love...a gift undeserved but graciously given.  
It means thankfulness and humility.
It means a little less self and a little more Jesus.  
It means joy.  thank you.  God.  for a baby.  
It means a gift.


We are always so grateful for the kind gift of meals that others sacrifice to bring us after the birth of our children.  I have also found myself to be so thankful for a freezer stocked full of meals when I'm back on my own.  Having the main dish prepared is a huge help.  I do struggle with the sleep deprivation of the first few months.  Those days typically are a blur in my mind when I try to recall them.  The lack of sleep typically brings on some tearfulness and emotional ups and downs and just makes life that much more challenging.  So whatever I can do ahead of time to ease the stress, I try and do.  Even with this broken body.  I finally realized I have not only been struggling with aggressive sciatica, but also a condition known as "symphysis pubic dysfunction".  Basically the joint where my pelvic bones connect has become separated to the point of causing significant pelvic pain.  The pain is felt the most at night, when lying down and makes it very hard to sleep.  Any movement in bed, such as turning over, is excruciating, as well as is getting up out of bed for my many trips to the bathroom.  Changing positions, such as sitting down on the floor or getting up, or turning to the side, all bring pain.  But I'm certainly not complaining.  I'm grateful.  And I think it has been good for me to experience this suffering.  It's so small compared to what much of humanity is suffering.  And there is an end in sight and at the end is great joy.

Steve is planning to take two weeks off of work for the first time after this baby comes.  Typically he takes just one.  I'm so thankful for this.  I got to thinking about how to make his days more fun with the boys.  I pulled out all my craft/science experiment/play idea books, and found activities that I could gather the materials for ahead of time, and have available for Steve to do with the boys.  The activity above is so simple and Benjamin was just in his element.  It's just a clothes line tied accross my living room, with matching scraps of fabric.  I hung the first set and he had to match up his scraps with those that were already hanging up.  Clothes pins, a dollar, clothes line, a dollar, fabric scraps I already had.  And a cute little basket to store it in, I already had.

Here is the basket of instructions for the activities with the individual materials in each bag.  If he will need an item that is common to many of the activities, I highlighted those materials and there is another basket with commonly needed items like white glue, markers, scissors, hole punch, etc.

Some of the activities I changed a bit.  Like this one.  Instead of using chalk to draw clouds, they will glue on to their blue construction paper cotton balls.  Simple but fun.  And I ordered the cutest little book for them to read along with the activity.  I will go through all the different activities and find books that go along with that activity so he will have a story to read them as well.  Some of the activities include things like making a volcano, making sugar crystals, and painting snowmen with sponges.  I typically don't do a lot of crafty things with my kids and I realized if I did this for myself as well, it would make me do it!  Planning and preparing ahead of time is my key to doing special "extra" stuff with the boys.

On these shelves is the activity basket that I prepared for Steve, as well as puzzles, and other fine motor activities for Benjamin and Samuel.  This room is just off the kitchen so perfectly accessible from the kitchen table.  This is a great resource for times that they just need some centered, structured activity.  Benjamin is pretty high strung, but not so much when he is kept productively occupied.

I also thought through and made a list of places Steve could take the boys for fun and posted it on our tack board in the kitchen.  Next to this is a calendar where I am penciling in activities coming up in the month of January, such as an exotic reptile show that is coming to the Gwinnett Fairgrounds.

I finished the crocheted blanket that I started for our little guy several months ago.  I really like how it turned out!  I've never put a scalloped edge on a blanket before but it was so easy and is definitely a good finishing touch.

I actually needed to order a new diaper bag.  My friend Julia from church has one like this and when I saw it I knew it was the one for me!  I really love how you can open it like this and it stays open.  There is also a cool little compartment for wipes on the side to make diaper changes super easy.

My side table has three baskets in them.  Typically they don't have much in them, but when I have a baby they are perfect for keeping the babies clothes, socks, hats, diaper changing stuff, etc.  Our room is the babies room for the first six months typically, so it makes sense to have everything in there.

I also put together a basket of diaper changing stuff, along with burp clothes, and changes of clothes for the downstairs.

I ordered the book "Delight-Full" and I'm saving it for after I have the baby.  For encouragement while nursing!  The "Mother at Home" is sort of like a mothering manual written in the 1800's.  It's been a great help to me.  I will never stop needing to be challenged, exhorted and instructed on how to be a godly mother!

Along with these things I have been hitting trouble spot after trouble spot and feeling so satisfied in the afterwards.  Let's see, I've organized my jewelry drawer in the bathroom, my clothes in the closet, I finally went through all our nasty and mis-matched towels and set aside the particular ones for cleaning/dog, for the boys, for the guest room, and for our room.  All these years we've never had nice, dedicated towels and wash clothes for guests.  We do now!  I cleaned up the hooks that had collected too many things in the kitchen, the tack-board by the kitchen table, hmmm....I even cleaned and organized Steve's office!  Next up---school plans for after the baby comes.  Maybe I'll post about that next!

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