wiping and waiting

My friend Tiffany has this hilarious bit where she talks about when she finally figured out her true call in life as a mom. She says that when she reduces everything down the her actual work as a mother, it all comes down to one task. Wiping. She wipes noses, wipes up spills, wipes off counter tops, wipes butts, wipes crayon off the wall, wipes toothpaste off the bathroom sink, and wipes tears. She calls herself a professional wiper.

Oh that makes me laugh so hard. And I think of her words often, like when I'm down on the floor trying to pry off dried banana under the kitchen table. Cement could be made from dried banana.

This week I've been thinking a lot about waiting as I am now officially 41 weeks pregnant. I'm waiting for a baby to come, but there are so many other ways mothers wait.  I can think of a few friends who are waiting for a good guy to marry so that they can have kids of their own. I have friends who are waiting and wanting desperately to get pregnant. I know a woman at church who is waiting and praying for her wayward son to turn his life around. I've watched mom's cling to the picture of their child, living in an orphanage in another country, waiting for paper work to be sorted out so they can bring their baby home. Some mom's have to send their kids off to war and wait for their return. I've even thought of the grandma's at the nursing home I worked at, and how they would wait and anticipate a visit from their adult children. Or how one of my dear friends is waiting with full expectation to get to hold her babies in heaven that she carried, but never got to raise.

Few things are as monotonous as wiping. Few things are as taxing as waiting. And yet the wiping and waiting of motherhood lead directly to the complete joy of motherhood. It's all a part of the same thing. And I can think of no greater calling.

cupcakes, combines and so much crying

I woke up this morning, once again surprised that the baby is still on the inside. We are three days past the due date now. I lay there and thought about the open day ahead of us and could hear the kids talking in their room. When I go into labor they will go with my folks for two nights and then to Rory's folks for two nights. And suddenly I just wanted to shower them with love and time and tenderness, knowing that our daily routine is going to look very different, very soon.

They came down and we snuggled. Rory built the first fire of the season in our stove and we sat by it. We had bagels and cream cheese and then put warm clothes on for the day.

And then I told them our plan.

Today I was going to take them to the river to build sand castles. We have a beautiful arboretum by us with trails and it leads to a sandy bank that we love to frequent. They loved that idea. And then I told them we'd go and get cupcakes to eat as a treat when watching the combine working in our field. I couldn't think of a more perfect morning and was personally excited for a carrot cake cupcake.

We loaded the car and when Ivar got into his carseat his pants slid down a bit. He got out and tried to pull them up, but then back in the seat they had slid down a bit again. And he absolutely fell apart. I tried to help but he screamed with so much frustration. I told him I'd go find other pants.

I was digging in the dryer when he came in the house, sobbing and angry. He kicked off his crocs and took off his pants. I told him he needed him to go upstairs to find different pants, as I had already gone up and down the stairs four times this morning and was tuckered. Instead he rolled on the ground and I sat on the couch watching. Elsie was still in the car, buckled in and eating gold fishes so I knew she was okay.

I sat there and recognized that I had time to deal with this. All we have is time. So I asked him what he wanted to do with his day. He told me he didn't want to do any of my ideas. He said he wanted to stay home and read books.

Which sounded so awesome in my tuckered state, I could hardly handle it.

I went out to get Elsie who was delighted to tell me that both kittens had jumped in the car through my open door and had been drinking from my water cup. I told her the new plan and then she fell to pieces. Obviously. I mean, the word cupcake had already been spoken. No doubt she was angry with the changes.

So I unbuckled her and she cried and I told her she could come and read books with us for just four books, and then we'd go find an adventure again. It took her a long time to come into the house.

Which was good because it was in that time that Ivar cried into my arm while sitting next to me on the couch. And then he said the thing that finally explained everything. He choked out, "What is going to happen when the baby is crying and I am crying too?!!" He was sobbing at this point.

Our whole family is feeling so much right now. Change is just around the corner (or so we've thought for about a week now...) and Ivar sort of summed up all the questions of not really knowing what it's going to look or feel like. I showed him how I had one arm around him in that very moment, but that I had another arm that can hold the baby. And I told him this is why God gives kids a mom and a dad, because I will be able to snuggle with him when Dad helps the baby. And I told him sometimes he or the baby will have to wait a minute until I can get to them. But I will always get to them.

Elsie came in the house and we talked about it all over again with her. And she said confidently, "I will hug the baby when you are crying, Ivar."

We read four books, all snuggled together. And then we made three glasses of chocolate milk and drank those at the kitchen table. And then I asked them what they wanted to do next and they both knew: "Go to Target to buy Elsie her high heels!"

Apparently they had discussed this plan last night after we tucked them in. Elsie had birthday money to spend and has been talking about getting cinderella high heels for weeks. I just hadn't been informed of their plan when I made my own this morning.

So that's what we did. On a glorious, stunning, fall day in Minnesota, we went to Target for two hours. And found the high heels. And then found all sorts of other things we never knew we needed. Mostly I kept running into friends and was enjoying the fellowship that can be found in random Target aisles all throughout the store.

We came home and ate cheesy chips for lunch (microwave nachos!) and now they're up for quiet play time.

There are so many emotions under this roof right now. And in the end, today ended up playing out exactly how it needed to because we had the time to talk about some big feelings that had been hiding under the surface. It felt good to all cry a bit, to feel the feelings and talk about them. And isn't this the whole point of motherhood? Today I was grateful for this waiting time and the added time to get to mother and reassure and cuddle with my older two.

Though I still am craving that carrot cake cupcake...

just twiddling our thumbs

So here we are! I really thought that whole lunar eclipse thing might have started things up, but I woke up this morning startled to be getting the kids ready for preschool. But they're off now, and the house is quiet and I can handle this. Just don't come and make a mess in my kitchen. Then I might lose my mind.

These hilarious pictures were included with the hundreds from Marlene and Madison's 50th Anniversary Party. They made me laugh so hard. I promise to show the lovely pictures too...but until then, these are sort of my favorites. You know how I love a good family blooper.

Until tomorrow...

family of four

We just got a CD of pictures from Marlene and Madison's 50th wedding anniversary party. I have to go through them first, but I can't wait to share them! It was such a fun night. This picture above is from that evening and I love this little capture of our family, my belly, and this little slice in time before we add another. 

My technical due date has always been the 27th. But when the ultrasound tech said the 23rd, I grabbed hold of that date because it was our anniversary and I liked the sound of that...a baby on our 10-year. I also liked it because it was sooner, and every pregnant woman ever will pick the sooner due date versus the later. But that 27th date was the more accurate, the one my midwives have stuck to, and so the 27th it is. I'm not even overdue yet. I could easily still be pregnant on Monday. 

I told Rory I am fine waiting. I actually am really enjoying these days. The kids and I are having some sweet time together and I'm trying to love on them as much as possible. I'm fine waiting. It's the doing that's bothering me. I wish I didn't have to do anything! Like walk up the stairs to help the kids work through a sharing issue. Or unload the dishwasher. Or make any meals for anyone. 

But it turns out, that's my gig, and a girl can't just sit around and blog all day (though you'll notice I've been quite wordy lately! I have a feeling that will come to a screeching halt here when there is a baby in my hands instead of a laptop.)

Last weekend I told Rory, "If this baby is still inside of me next Saturday, let's take the family to the Renaissance Festival. It's supposed to be a gorgeous day." Rory looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "Gross. I cannot think of a more unsanitary place for you to be if your water were to break." And that's said by a guy who loves the Renaissance Festival, used to work there, had his bachelor party there and has been telling Ivar all about knights and armor and castles all summer getting him ready for their father-son outing. But I am definitely not invited. We'll see what we do with ourselves instead. This morning Rory asked what my plan was for today and I said, "I'm going to go look for gourds and little pumpkins to decorate our book shelves." Then I heard myself and confessed, "Clearly I'm at the stage where I am just making up things to do."

So we'll keep making them up. Always aware that something very painful is just around the corner, followed by welcoming the newest member of our little family.

Until then, you can read Ivar's birth story here and Elsie's birth story here. (I just read through these myself and realized Elsie came 3 days after her due date! I have been telling everyone she came one day early. Good thing I wrote out their birth stories!)


If I could go back ten years and talk to myself I would say, "just walk down that aisle. You are making the best decision of your life." Because all day long today I've been struck with one thought, over and over: I am so content. I think sometimes I overthink our life, but today I got a birds eye view, sort of taking a step back and looking at my life right now. And it looked pretty great.

Our day today was pretty lay low. I brought the kids to the cupcake shop where we bought cupcakes to celebrate Rory and my 10th anniversary, as well as Rainbow Bear's birthday. I didn't know it was Rainbow Bear's birthday until I woke up this morning, but Ivar knew, and as a result, Rainbow Bear got his own three dollar cupcake too.

We came home and I made ham sandwiches and we ate our cupcakes for dessert. The kids played on couch cushions most of the afternoon and I wondered where I thought I'd be in ten years, back when we got married. And did I know I would love my family this much?

In the afternoon our neighbor girls came over to watch the kids and Rory took me shopping to look at Pioneer Woman's dishes. We got a few things, but I was most excited about the pastry cutter that I needed to make pie dough for the apple pie I want to make tomorrow.

And then we went out for Thai. And when I ordered my pad pak the waitress whispered excitedly, "and do you want it super spicy?!!" It made me laugh, and I told her no, we weren't there to induce labor. We were celebrating ten years of marriage.

Our conversation was fun and excited, our gifts were each handmade and I felt so peaceful and comfortable in my own skin. That is the gift I didn't see coming...contentment and comfort. I feel them so strongly, just before this sweet bundle is about to join the mix. I can't wait.

It dawned on me that in another ten years, I will have a 14, 13 and 10 year old. And maybe more. And the only difference is that I will have grown in love with them for another ten years. And ten years after that I'll love them even more and more and more. Isn't that a crazy thought?!! That these kids, God willing, aren't going anywhere. Rory and I just get to love and enjoy them in every single season. And there are no two people on planet earth who love them more than we do. It's the shared joy of a mother and father. A true gift to our marriage. And the best thing we can do for our kids is to continue to love and serve each other first. We made the right decision ten years ago. And it's only going to get better.