Friday, December 26, 2014

It was from Santa

My favorite part of today was during gift opening, as the kids took turns opening their gifts, Lochman announced he'd be right back and he ran downstairs to the basement. Something he never does alone as he's usually "scared". But on Christmas the excitement must have overcome his fears. He was gone just minutes and came running upstairs with a green paper with a single pink flower sticker attached to it. "Merry Christmas, mommy" he said as he handed me the paper and leaned up on his tip tee toes with puckered lips. I leaned down, kissed him, took my present and said "thank you". 
Later in the evening I was thanking him for my thoughtful gift he took time to make me in the hustle  of opening his own gifts. He looked at me and said, "mommy, that gift wasn't from me, it was from Santa". Santa told me to give it to you. He made it for you. 
It is in this season that magical things happen. Not just for the children, but it's magical for us, the parents too. It's magic to see Christmas through the eyes of children and to be apart of their little hearts and souls who believe. They just believe without question. And they remind us how special and selfless this season is. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kindergarten sucks

Starting kindergarten is harder than I thought it would be! It sucks. My little girl, my first born is unhappy going to school every day. My first instincts is to pull her out, put her back into a small living school setting so that she'll "love school" because let's face it, if she's unhappy now, in kindergarten, then she'll always be unhappy in school, right? Probably wrong! I need to gain a grip, hold back from my instincts and look at the big picture. If we are always running away from what's hard, if we are searching for a place that's comfortable where we always feel loved and feel important, then what do we learn from that. Maybe it's ok to be stretched. Maybe it's ok to watch my little girl be unhappy and just maybe this is my opportunity to teach her to rely on JESUS. If she's scared, let's PRAY! If she's not happy, let's PRAY that she'll meet a special friend! If she's afraid of her teacher, let's PRAY that she'll form a connection with her teacher soon. 
And God forbid she gets I trouble and has to pull her name card off the wall...maybe this is my opportunity to teach her that we all do things wrong and it's our chance to learn from what we did and how the next day her ticket will be back on the wall and then we can discuss second chances! 
Maybe Kindergarten IS hard and and my instincts to run away from anything "hard" are wrong! What am I teaching my kids if I continue to let them "ride the gravy train" where they are the center of the universe and the world revolves around them. Is it okay for me to teach them that sometimes things are hard and we are stretched and we can learn to purser ere through the hard stuff, overcome our fears and be better equipped as adults when we face hard situations. 
I don't really have the answers. Every child, every school, every parent is different. But I do know my first instincts are wrong. We are where we are because God ordained it. It doesn't mean we have to stay here, but we do need to look around and see what battles are worth fighting and learning from. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Day Axel was Born

The end of the first year of Axel's birth is approaching. This means we get to have a big First Birthday Party. Upon this milestone approaching I realized that I failed to write down his birth story.  This is something I did after the twins were born and I am so grateful that I did that for them and specifically for me to remember that day. I began to write down the things I remembered soon after he was born, but then I left it alone and never went back to finish it. Today I went back and wrote his birth-story. Forgive me because it is long...

The Anticipated Day

I had a new determination Saturday, February 2nd to get this baby born.  My husband’s alarm when off that morning at 5:00am. He planned to wake up and go swimming, but I had other plans. He once joked that the “baby-getter-outter” was the same as the “baby-getter-inner” and while that hadn’t worked yet I was desperate and figured I’d try and try again.  I got up with him and needless to say he never made it to his swim class. I noticed a few contractions right away that morning that were pretty intense, but I wasn’t able to time them yet. Later that day, we took the kids to Costco to stock up on some food and stopped at the bike shop. The bike shop owner asked me if I was going to have the baby in his shop. It had been asked that question a lot lately and was getting tired of people telling me how big I was, or I looked like I was going to pop or was I going to have that baby there. Frankly, I knew I made people uncomfortable, especially men. They saw how big I was chasing three little ones around and all they could think was that I might drop a baby out in front of them! I smiled and said “It is possible considering his due date was yesterday, but I doubt it.” He gave a little laugh and said, “Yeah, after having 3 you probably would know if he was coming.” If he only knew that I actually did know he was coming that day. And as I hid the intense contractions I was having during my conversation with him, I thought it was surely possible my water might break on his shop floor. We got home and put the kids down for their nap. While intense, my contractions seemed to be slowing down so I decided to see if Paul was up for round two and since he rarely says no to an opportunity he agreed.  We were now one day past this baby’s due date and about two weeks past the date I thought he would be born, so I was serious about getting this baby out.  

At 2:00pm I was having hard contractions. They were spread out but regular. I was however, not ready to acknowledge them just yet nor tell anyone about them. After having timed contractions two nights earlier that never intensified and then dissolved after four hours I was not about to jinx myself. I left the house just after 3:00 to pick up my mom from the airport. I had several contraction now that seemed to be getting closer together but again, deep down I was worried they were going to go away as they had 2 days prior so I didn’t want to get anyone excited, including myself. I hid them and ignored them the best I could. I think I mentioned to my mom that I was having a few contractions, and that today could be the day, but I left it at that. Even though I knew it was the day.

On our way back to the house I decided I’d run some errands with my mom. I thought if I kept moving the contractions would keep coming. And it was easier to handle the contractions if I was busy doing other things rather than concentrating on the pain.

We stopped at Hobby Lobby to pick up a photo I had framed and then headed to Target for some grocery shopping. I saw a friend as we pulled into the parking lot and we chatted through the car windows and right through a piercing contraction. I was in no hurry to get home. We took our time in the grocery store. This was probably my third or fourth trip “stocking up” for when the baby comes since I had been thinking he would come weeks ago. We saw more friends inside Target and chatted. I felt rude, but I abruptly left a conversation with one of Lucia’s friends dad because my contraction was way too strong for me to be talking and I didn’t want to tell him so I quickly said, “nice talking to you” as he was still talking and turned and walked the other way.

As we walked in the door all the kids greeted Nanna with pure joy and excitement. I began putting groceries away and then started on making dinner. I began heating up some lasagna I had already made and boiled some water for broccoli. It was probably close to 5:30 and as I sat everyone down and began to serve their plates, I realized that I just couldn’t hide my contractions any longer. They had been strong all day, but not they were getting closer together. So while Paul was getting ready to go work out downstairs in the garage, I asked him to stay with the kids for a minute while I showed my mom where everything was. My mom watched my stop in my steps, hold on to things and she knew this baby was coming. She got very excited. I began to worry that there was just no time to show her everything before this baby came.  I quickly called my Doula who said she would get in her car and meet us at the house. I called the hospital to tell them I was coming and for them to warn my doctor. They said they couldn’t call me doctor until I got there; I begged them saying I had been in labor all day and he was coming, but they refused. I frantically called our babysitter to see if she could come over and help my mom since she already knew where everything was and thankfully she was available and rushed over.

Paul and I got in the car where I phoned my Doula and said not to come to our house but to just meet us at the hospital. I hung up the phone and began to cry. I cried because I was in so much pain. I cried because I had been in so much pain all day and was holding it in, hiding it from everyone and I finally felt that I could release it. I felt free to be in pain and for the first time that day show someone I was in pain and show myself it was OK to be in pain. I cried because I knew in the next minutes or hours I was going to meet this baby.

We got to the hospital and I made Paul park far out so I could walk in and carry my own bags figuring this would only help push this baby down more and keep things moving along. I got a room and got dressed and my doula was there in minutes with her exercise ball, hair ties, her soothing voice and her magic massaging hands. She reminded me to stay focused, to keep my moaning tones low and the continued to rub the wrinkles out of my forehead telling me to relax and let my body do the work.

I was thrilled to see that the nurse on duty was D’nel. He was my nurse when Lucia was born and he was fabulous. I wanted to hug and kiss him. But then I was disappointed when they said my doctor was not on duty that weekend and a different nurse would be filling in. At that point I wanted to cry. But my doula assured me the doctor on duty was a really good and she would be great. So I felt a little relieved but still disappointed. Then the front desk came in the room and said they got my doctor on the phone and he would be there to deliver Axel. And then I felt a huge relief and was ready to get this baby out.

I had assumed with having three previous children in the last three years and with all the hard contractions I had all day I would be around 8 cm dilated. That was my prediction. D’nel went ahead to check me to see what our starting point was and wouldn’t you know, I was barely 5 cm dilated. I just couldn’t believe it. My contractions were strong and timed minutes, sometimes seconds apart so I knew this was it, but I knew I had a lot of work to do. I’m pretty sure I checked into the hospital at 6:30. Axel was born at 8:53. Here’s what happened in the next two hours.

I squatted. I yelled. I pushed.I walked. I laid down. I cried. I squatted more, walked more, pushed more, yelled more and cried more. I took a lot of deep breaths and I was reminded many times by my doula and husband to focus and keep myself together. I was ready to be checked again. D’nel checked me and he looked disappointed. He said, “you are an 8 and I might be able to stretch you to a 9, but I’d have to keep my fingers in here during your next contraction.” He shrugged and said it in a tone as if he knew I would say no to that. But I didn’t, in fact with more enthusiasm than anything, I shouted, keep your fingers there. Please, please, please get me to a 9, I want this baby out. And just like that, my next contraction did not just bring me to a 9, but brought me to a 10 which brought a panic in the room and a nursing staff who frantically tried to get my doctor on the phone. They brought in an assistant for D’nel and began prepping the room for the baby because they frankly did not think Dr. C would make it. They said they had finally gotten a hold of him and he was out on a run and would get there as soon as he could get to his car.

I didn’t care if he was there. I didn’t care who the assistant was. I didn’t care if D’nel delivered my baby or if the baby just fell out and someone caught him. I just knew I needed this baby out. He was coming. D’nell put my legs in the stirrups and kept telling me NOT to push yet. This is the same thing that happened in my last deliveries. It is horrible to tell a woman in the 3rd stages of labor not to push. But I tried to wait. As soon as I gave up and told D’nell I had to start pushing he got his gloves on and sat down and just at that moment Dr. C walked in the room. He put on his skin tight colored gloves, I made a few jokes like it was nice of him to show up and he said down and told me I could push.

I pushed. With my previous births I only had to push once or twice and the baby was born. I was expecting the same thing with Axel. So when I pushed the first time and Dr. C said to me, “great job Jenny, his head is out, now I need you to push again to get his shoulders out.” I was shocked. In my previous births, when the head was out that was all it took. So I pushed again and Dr. C said, “great job Jenny, his head is out and one of his shoulders is out. I need you to push again to get the other shoulder out” I was almost mad at the baby. So I pushed again and that when Dr. C guided me to hold Axel under his shoulders and pull the rest of him out of me. I was overjoyed. I brought him to my chest and kissed him over and over. I delivered the placenta and while Dr. C made sure I didn’t need any stitches,  I thanked him, made a few more jokes and then spent the next two hours holding him and feeding him before they took him for his vitals. I did, however let them take him for a few quick seconds to be weighed before I fed him. He was 9lbs and 4 oz. No one could believe it. They weighed him twice, then checked the scale and weighed him again. He didn't look like a 9 lb baby, until they measured him. He was 22". Apparently they couldn't remember the last time they had a 22" baby born there. Lots of 21.5" babies, but not 22". This just reassured my feelings that his due date was off by a few weeks. I'm pretty certain he was born around 42 weeks, not 40.
Paul asked our babysitter to stay a little longer so he could bring my mom over to meet Axel. Axel was only minutes old when my mom got to see him. He was finally here. My “Father of Peace” my “Axel”.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


It is a big house. I feel undeserving. I feel embarrassed to ask for so much when we already have so much. But it's the desires of my heart. To have a place to call home for me , for Paul, for "us" and especially for our children. It's a steal. We can afford it. It's a lot if work. A lot of time and money. It's the desires if my heart. I have feelings of fear and insecurity; it's just not going to work out. I've already begun a conversation in my head telling God it's ok it didn't work because He has other plans for us. Those fears and insecurities need to be overcome by the hopefulness I have. The rejoicing I already feel that this is our house. Ours. Our home for our children. A place they can grow up. Make memories. Have security. Feel settled; safe. These children are Gods children. His gifts. His gifts to us.  God wants a home for them. He wants to provide. Abundantly. For them...and for me. I want to accept it. His gifts. And then I want to give it all back. I want to serve. I want a home to serve in. What's been given to me is mine to give back. Am I giving back what I've already been given? Am I a good servant of serving already? It's the desires of my heart. But I'm afraid I've failed. GRACE. God's grace. God please grant me, grant us, the desires of our hearts. You are a perfect God. You are unchanging. You are a sovereign God. You are amazing; full of grace, all powerful, beautiful and you are The Almighty. God hear my prayer. Hear. My. Prayer. I know you love me. I know you care for me. And yet...It is hard to believe you want to bless me abundantly. Us abundantly. The blessings come each morning and I know without a doubt they are from you. But abundantly? God bless us abundantly. And teach me how to give back abundantly. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Running With Four Kids

I didn't actually run with four kids, but I have four kids and have to find time to run around their schedules. The three "big" kids go to Day School on Tuesdays and Thursdays less than half a mile up the street.

I loaded my two year old twins into the double jogging stroller, strapped Axel, who will be 8 months tomorrow, into the Bjorn and took Lucia, my 4 year old by the hand. I loaded all the back packs and lunch boxes into the back of the stroller and off we went to school. We try to walk to school on nice days and the kids really enjoy it. I use a Sit and Stand Stroller sometimes because I can fit all four kids on it if I need too! The only problem is pushing all four, or even three up the street is a work out in itself since it is an incline all the way to school. We have to cross a busy main road, so I need control of all my little people. You never know what is going to set them off running, so it is important for me to have them all contained incase someone drops a hair bow or a toy or see's a leaf or a squirrel, they can't stop or go running after it on such a busy street if I have control of each of them.

I left the stroller at the base of the stairwell into the school and walked all the kids into their classrooms. Told them each that I loved them and would miss them. Told them I hoped they had a great day and then said goodbye. But by the time the first sentence was finished, they were all ready off into their preschool world and engulfed in whatever activity was already waiting for them. I'm pretty sure each morning I say goodbye to them once they are in the classroom, they have already forgotten I am even there. They love preschool!

I go back outside and now I am down to one child. I remove him from the Bjorn and strap him into the double jogging stroller. It would be easier to run him in the single jogging stroller, but that would mean that I'd have to take the kids to school in one of the multiple seat strollers we have, come home, get the single jogger out and then go for a run. I'm pretty sure I'd never make it out of the house a second time if I did that. So off we go in the double jogger with one child who seems a little uncomfortable, but doesn't complain too much.

The first part of my run is all up hill and then there is a lovely long gracious downhill. There are a few rolling hills after that and about the two mile mark I turn around to head home. Four miles with a big uphill right before I get home. Each terrain allowing different muscles in my legs and arms to be used, I can feel my stomach tighten and I can feel the burn. I love it. I don't love how much my back hurts when running. I flail my arms around in circles to stretch them out. I throw them side to side as I run; stretching my back. But it still hurts.

I love running. I have run since I was in middle school. I began running on the track team in seventh and eight grade. I ran track and field in high school as well, but it was really just to keep me in shape during the off season of cross country, as my passion was long distance running. Then I ran in college. And after college I began running local races, usually 5K's or 10K's. I have about 5 marathon's under my belt and a few halves. I have run in every city, state, town or country I have visited with the exception of Spain, since I was 7 months pregnant while there and I never run while pregnant.

When Paul and I found out we were pregnant for the first time we were so excited. At that time I had been running about 8 miles two or three times a week. My OB suggested that whatever I was doing before I got pregnant was what I should keep doing. So, in an effort to be the fittest pregnant momma ever I did. I was barely out of the first trimester when we lost our first baby. I will never know caused our miscarriage, but I never ran again during pregnancy.

I have run when I feel overwhelmed, hurt, angry, even tired. I have run when I've been excited, jubilated, and in celebration. One of Paul and I's first dates was out together for a run.

I know the back pain I feel during runs is not because I keep my shoulders too high nor is it because I tense up when I run. It's not because my foot placement is out of line or I'm straining certain muscles too much. It is the stresses of the days, the weeks, the months, the years. The stress of the hours and minutes of life that have kept my back tight and now are out for a run and are releasing all the toxins, all the tension. When I finally make it home huffing and puffing up the great big hill that was so gracious on the way down, I embrace the short down hill using it to cool down and then I take my sleeping infant out of the jogger and place him in his crib.

My back no longer hurts as a matter of fact it feels loose and all stretched. It's ready to absorb all the new stresses and anxieties a new day, a new week and month will bring.

Later, after I've fed a baby, folded a few loads of laundry, picked up toys, made beds and gotten dinner prepped to prepare later, I load the baby back up into the double jogging stroller and jog the short half a mile to Preschool to pick up my three "big" kids.

Their excitement and enthusiasm to see me is always overwhelming and keeps the weight lifted from my back for just a bit longer.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Enough Said

This is how the conversation went...

Ring, Ring, Ring,

"Hello, this is Charlene"
Me: Hi Charlene, this is Jenny Hardison, how are you?"
"Fine, yourself"
Me: I'm good. I'm actually calling to schedule a vasectomy for my husband".

Enough Said...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bed Time Conversation with my 4 Year Old

L: mommy, before God created everything, how did he create Himself? 
Me: he didn't create himself, he has always existed and he was very lonely before he created the heavens and the earth. That's why he created you and he loves you. You make him very happy.
L: mommy, I really want to see God one day. 
Me: me too baby. But God does show himself to us in His beautiful creation we just have to pay close attention to see Him. We see Him  in our friends and family too because He made us in His image. We won't see all of God until we die and go to heaven. 
L: mommy, I really want to go to space and see all the planets and the stars. 
Me: well then you can start studying science and space and when you get bigger you can be an astronaut and go to space. 
L: mommy, I really want to go to Disney World too. 
Me: well that my dear will not happen until you are at least 5 years old, maybe 6.