Friday, April 8, 2011

Falling In Love With Jesus

God is truly amazing. He could not have orchestrated this evening any more perfectly! My little girl is falling in love with Jesus right before my eyes! : )
 This was my Facebook status this evening.  Several people have asked to hear the story behind the post.....
Josh was given two tickets to the Nationwide race at Texas Motor Speedway for tonight.  He found out last night & when he called to tell me he was so sweet & offered for me to take Spencer because "I never get to get out of the house."  As thoughtful as that was, & as much as I would have LOVED to take him, I just didn't feel right about it.  Josh doesn't get to spend much time with the kids & NEVER any time with them alone.  Plus, Josh loves it was really a no-brainer.
I had a wonderful night with the other three.  They were all really good for me; the weather was great & we all just played together in the backyard until bedtime.  I put Syd to bed, then Sawyer & finally Sam.  Sam is never one to just get up in her bed, stay there & go to sleep.  She likes to know what's going on & make sure that we are still there.  I think she is going through a stage where she is a little fearful at bedtime.  I certainly remember that time in my childhood.
Tonight I just happened to be walking through the hall when she got to her door & we met there.  My norm would be to put her back to bed with some irritation.....but I just really felt the Lord pressing upon my heart to take some additional time to let her know how much I loved her.  We don't get much uninterrupted alone time.  This is where God orchestrated things so beautifully. Typically Spencer is also up running around needing some more water or for me to tuck him in again or SOMETHING.  Tonight it was just her & I.
I knelt down, & told her how much I loved her & how precious she is & what things about her make her so special.  I could tell that everything was going straight to her heart & she was soaking up the individual attention & specific praise she was getting.  It made me a bit sad that I don't make it more of a priority to carve out more time alone with each child individually.  (Although I do have to say that not all the time I spend alone with her is as precious as this time was.)  It was obvious that the Spirit was really moving in both our hearts.   
She started playing with my hair & just sharing her heart as I shared mine.  Just sweet mother daughter conversation.  
She finally sat down......I could tell that there was something stirring in her that she wanted to talk about, so I followed her lead & sat also.
We talked about how God is my Daddy & she talked about how everyone has 2 Daddy' like Josh & God.  We talked about how Mommy has to obey God just like she has to obey Daddy....& how if she does obey that her life will be better because Daddy knows what's best for her. 
We talked about how everyone does bad things & because we do bad things that we can't go to heaven to be with God.  But that God sent Jesus to die on the cross & rise again so that, if we believe that & ask him to come into our hearts that we will get to go to heaven & live with God forever.
We talked about how God is bigger than everyone & everything & how she can't wait to get to heaven & see God......but that she doesn't want to go to heaven right now.  
We talked about how all the people that she loves that have Jesus in their hearts will be in heaven after they die & how we will all be together again. 
I think you get the picture......we really talked about alot of stuff.
Then she wanted to know more about how Jesus comes into your heart.  I explained to her about the Holy Spirit & how we can feel it when he talks to us & we went through the basics of the gospel again.  She told me that she felt Jesus speaking to her & when I asked her what he was saying, she said that he wanted to come into her heart & wanted her to be in heaven with him one day.  
I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to walk through the "prayer of salvation."  She was so excited when we got done!  She overwhelmed me with joy!  
We talked about how important reading the Bible & memorizing scriptures is.  We talked about how she can talk to Jesus when she is scared or hurt.  Etc, etc.....
Whether or not she is truly saved, I honestly do not know.  I can't know to what extent she truly understands that she is a sinner & that she needs Christ to save her. I can't know if the Holy Spirit is living inside her & convicting her heart.....right now.....though I do think that fruit will come, even at such an early age.  
What I do know is that she is falling in love with Jesus.  I know that she is extremely interested in spiritual things & that she can offer up an innocent blind faith that I am not capable of doing.  Not sure anything could be more exciting than that.
I love that little girl!  She is amazing & such a huge inspiration in my walk!  I am so blessed to have a child with such an amazing heart.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Boy

Today was a frustrating of many, actually.  I am beginning to wonder if there is something more than just straight up two year old behavior going on.  It just doesn't seem right.  Maybe it is simply because I have so much else going on that this age seems more difficult......but I am really beginning to wonder.

Spencer sets the mood of each day in this house.

If he wakes up in a good mood the day is FANTASTIC in so many ways.  The kids all get along.....the day flows smoothly from one thing to the next.....I spend quite a bit of time just hanging out with the kids, having fun......I rarely have to send someone to time-out.....he goes to sleep without getting up a hundred times.....

He is seriously an angel.  He is thoughtful & loving.  He is obedient.  He likes to help & enjoys sharing. 

If he wakes up in a bad mood, I can just go ahead, buckle down & prepare for a frustrating & exhausting day.  The kids fight verbally as well as physically all day.......every time we try to do something I end up getting frustrated because Spencer is causing some kind of issue that ends up in total chaos, which in turn causes me to play with the others less because I know it will just be too much trouble to deal with Spencer, which in turn causes me to feel guilty over spending so little time with them that day.....he will be sent to (or drug to) time-out 8 billion times......he will get ANGRY & there are times that he literally frightens me......

I know this sounds ludicrous to put the mood of the whole house on the shoulders of a two year old but it is true.  I have tried every way I know to get around this but the facts remain.

And if you don't know me, I run a fairly tight ship as far as a schedule least the basics like eating & sleeping.  I have considered that maybe it has to do with him not getting enough sleep but I have not noticed any correlation between his mood & a change in the schedule.

The days he is in a bad mood are just crazy.  He is so the point it seems he can't control even when you think he is trying to be loving, it can so quickly turn into something else.  He throws things, hits, pushes, screams......& these are not when he is mad......he is just doing it to do it.

He is so inconsiderate & me & to the other kids.....& this isn't because he doesn't's because he just doesn't care.  ie.  tonight he wanted me to get him some water but I was rocking Sydney to sleep.  I told him I would get it as soon as I laid her down & he totally flipped out because he wanted it right then (which he wouldn't always do....alot of the time he would be totally okay with that answer).  I went to lay Sydney down & he followed me in there, incessantly calling my name & asking for a drink.  He not only woke Sydney up but Sawyer also.  When I tried to tend to them, to get them back to sleep he just screamed & screamed because he wanted his water TRYING to irritate me by keeping them awake.  It seems as if he can't process a different answer than the one he wanted.  This is so different than a normal tantrum.....I wish I could explain it better.

He IGNORES me.  This one makes me crazy but if I try to talk to him or tell him something he just completely ignores me.  It is as if he doesn't even hear me.  He is SOOO good at the point that I think he actually tunes me out.   And again....this is unusual in the fact that it isn't always when he's into trouble.  It's like he is so focused on A that B can't exist until his focus is broken.

He picks.....he picks at Sam, he picks at Sawyer.  He does things with the express purpose of getting them riled up.

No matter what mood he is in, he is a cuddler & just plain sweet.  He likes for us to touch him, hold him, hold his hand, rub his arm.....even if he is sitting in our lap. He will randomly come to me with a big smile wanting a hug & kiss.....just because......even if he was in trouble & angry with me 5 minutes earlier.

He is incredibly sensitive & gets his feelings hurt very easily.  He takes most everything personal.  He is so emotional & will run off crying & hide if he feels hurt (& sometimes the things he gets upset about seem so insignificant).  He doesn't want you to console him.....he just has to take some time to be upset & then he just gets over it & is fine.

The difference in a good day vs a bad day....... Let's just use playdough....... If it's a good day the majority of the playdough stays on the table......he & Sam will sit there for a long time playing together, sharing & having fun.......when they are done the playdough is picked up & the tools put back in the box.  If it's a bad day there will be playdough everywhere.......I will have to come in to the kitchen a zillion times to supervise the chaos because someone is screaming over someone not sharing or Spencer is throwing playdough or......when it comes time to pick up, Spencer will run away & if I ask him to help pick up he just refuses & joyfully goes to time-out instead.  You get the picture.

I don't know......I'm just ready to be in control of my home again.  I don't feel like any amount of discipline does any good.  I don't feel like any amount of rewarding does any good.  I don't feel like any amount of consistency in scheduling does any good.  I have prayed & prayed for wisdom (& patience....which thankfully he has supplied in abundance).  I am at a loss......

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Busy At Home"- My Home Management Binder

So, I promised a post about my Home Management Binder like 2 years ago but I never got around to it.  While reading my OYOL blog, she asked anyone if they had ever used one & if they had blogged about it.  This lit the fire again & so, here it is!

I must admit that I really love my binder.  I made it purdy so that I might actually use it & it has really helped!  I have gone from a 2" binder to a big fat 3" binder though.  I store a bunch of stuff in it.....but it is doing the job of my brain while the real one is taking a hiatus.  It really helps to have a central place to put stuff.  I new it was a winner when my husband asked me where the referral the doctor had written him (6 months earlier) was & I walked right to my binder, turned to his pouch & pulled it out!!!!  Before the binder it would have been lost in one of the 50 piles that magically appear around my house.

I used many different sources when coming up with the perfect binder for my household.  I will list a few at the end of the post if you are interested in building your own. 

Without further ado......the contents of my binder.

Zipper Pouch

Super Mom vs Abiding Mom

Family Divider-
  • Clear sleeve for each member of the family.  Put things like birthday invitations, doctor's notes, a running list of their personality, likes/dislikes, etc. at different points in their lives.  Basically anything I want to keep for that person.  Much of the time I will move the things in those sleeves over into their personal file but that is a good temporary place to keep things.
  • A sleeve for business cards, phone lists, etc.  
  • My master address list.
  • A running list of random phone numbers/addresses.
  • Our medications (Name, RX #, Dosage, What pharmacy & a pharmacy phone #)
  • A list of accounts
  • My wish list

    Meals Divider-
    • 30 Meals Plan master list
    • Menu plan blanks in a page protector
    • Fun ideas, random interesting food related articles
    • Coupon clipping information
    • Pantry Inventory (which is still blank.....I keep thinking that if it stays in there it will eventually get done)
    • Menu planning information

      Schedules Divider- this section is completely out of date in my notebook.  With so many kids being born in the past several years I just haven't gotten to a place where I have a consistent schedule to type up.
      • My Daily To Do Checklist
      • My Daily Schedule
      • Scheduling articles

        Home Divider-
        • Paint chips with the name of the room
        • Plumbing, cable etc. receipts
        • Organizational tips & tricks, articles, etc.
        • Decorating stuff
        • Cleaner recipes
        • Stain removal guide

          Calendar Divider- I could probably actually take this out now that I have a smart phone.  I did use it before that time though.  It just contained a monthly calendar that I printed from outlook.

          Gardening Divider- This is one of those wishful thinking, for the future dividers.  I would love to one day have a garden, so right now I am storing ideas, articles, tips, tricks, pictures, etc.  Eventually, when I actually start the garden I plan to have my garden plan, my seed packets, my time journal, etc. included here.

          To Do Divider-

            Kids & Training Divider-

              Holidays & Gift Giving Divider-
              • Birthday planning pages
              • Christmas gift list
              • Holiday activities for kids
              • Advent list
              • Contents of gift closet

                Crafts, Sewing, Etc. Divider-
                • Inspiration & ideas from magazines
                • Project list

                  Faith & Ministry Divider-
                  • Prayer request list
                  • Weekly prayer sheet
                  • Handouts or sermon notes that don't really have another place
                  • Ministry ideas
                  • Mission newsletters

                    Budget Divider-
                    In the back are the 3 to a page photo sleeves where I will eventually (hehe) put all my 30 recipes & some blank notebook paper.


                    I use so much of Simple Mom's stuff.  I use many of her downloads & have printed many articles to put in my binder.  She has a ton of great information on her site.

                    This is basically where I started & every idea I got branched off, in one way or another, from this post.

                    Also, you can take a look at my Busy At Home board on Pinterest for some additional resources.

                    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

                    I love my job. I don't love the stress.

                    I feel like I am being pulled in about 50 different directions.  I've got a house who is screaming, clean me, fix me, stage me to sell.  I've got a group of 11th grade girls that I need to contact every week & prepare a lesson for.  I've got all kinds of home business; bills to pay, budgets to keep, menus to plan, groceries to get, doctors to visit etc.  & most importantly I've got a 4 year old who loves to play with her Mommy & most likely has a love language of quality (& quantity) time.  I've got a 2 year old who loves to cuddle but, more than that, is at an age that requires a ton of supervision.  I've got a 2 year old who is so in love with his parents & wants them to hold him ALL. THE. TIME.  & finally I've got a 3 month old who relies on her Mommy for her every need, who isn't sleeping & is struggling with eating, who is crying all the time & can't seem to get comfortable.  & on top of that I have to find ways to make being a wife a top priority.  ALL of these things are blessings in and of themselves.  I am SOOO blessed to have all of these things in my life.....BUT I am running thin.....I am getting stressed.....I am shutting down.  When I get to this point I seem unable to get ANYTHING done.    I wish there were something I could remove from my life that is just "good" but not "great" but pretty much all these things are the bare minimum.  And this doesn't include any time spent away from the house with friends or family; playdates, Bible studies, birthday parties, etc.

                    When my Mom shows up to my house or my friend stops by & the pile of laundry that was being folded on the couch is still sitting a perpetual state of in & out.....I know they wonder what in the world I do, that I can't even get my laundry folded & from the couch to its home.

                    I am having a hard time figuring out how to balance housework & selling preparations with spending time with my kids.  I have heard over & over from Mom's that no longer have children in the home say that their biggest regret is not spending enough time with their kids.....& then what do they say?????......the laundry will wait, the dishes will still be there, etc.  BUT, BUT, LONG can you say that?  As of right now, I have a schedule that cleans my house every 2 weeks.  Nothing is ever clean at the same time & each room only gets cleaned once every 2 weeks......HOW CAN I DO ANY LESS THAN THAT?????

                    I know that things will get less hectic as the kids get this way (& yes, I know.....more hectic in other ways) but what about right now?  I can't just blow off the molding & shaping of my children's character because it's too hard to figure out.  I can't just put teaching them their ABC's & 123's on hold because I don't have enough time to fit it in.  & most of all I can't forget that their self confidence is being formed by my ability to show them love & express who they are in Christ.

                    To be really honest, I have put WAY to much time into stupid games on my phone & "bargain" shopping on the internet is what I do when I get overwhelmed.  If I can just step out of this world, into another, I can forget my stress.  In reality, it is my drug.  It is my idol.....what takes me away from throwing myself into God & letting Him take care of things.

                    I know everything will be OK.  I know that we will all live.....make it to the next day......but I want so much more than that.  I want my children to thrive, I want my house to be put together, I want my bills to be payed on time, my couch to be clear, to be able to keep my grocery bill down, to be the go-to girl for my high school girls, to spend so much time with my kids that they remember me playing with them more than anything get the picture.  I want more than to just survive.  Scripture says that anyone who is lacking wisdom can ask & it will be given to him.  I am praying for wisdom. 

                    Sunday, February 20, 2011

                    The BIG one!


                    Seriously......I can't imagine another birthday being as depressing as this one.  Ya ya's just a number.......You're only as old as you act.....blah blah blah.  None of that means squat when you are facing the big 3-0!  I just can't believe it's here.  It makes me feel all grown up.  Like a real adult.  You would think having 4 kids would have taken care of that but it just hasn't.  Sometimes I wake up & think, "am I really in charge of all these kids?  Like, to not just take care of them but teach them about Jesus, & life & character & all that other important stuff?  I always remember people like that having it all together & being so mature."  Just doesn't feel real sometimes.

                    And then reality hits me like a freight train when I look in the mirror & see that gravity has already left its pretty little imprint on my body.  THIS my dear friends is not a happy realization.  But, I then remind myself that beauty is fleeting & a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  And I am able to rejoice once again!

                    I feel so blessed, at the age of 30, to have all that I do.  To God be the glory!

                    I attended The Great Marriage Experience this weekend at my church.  It was good......but even before I have had much time to process all that was taught, it was such a huge affirmation of where God has taken Josh & I over the past 7 years. 

                    I think it would be safe to tell you that Josh & I had a very rocky first 5 years of marriage.  There were several instances where I honestly didn't think the marriage was going to make it.  Close family & my best friends could certainly testify to the fact that we did not have a "good" marriage. 

                    Thankfully, the bad has turned to good as a supernatural transformation of our marriage has taken place.  I was AMAZED when the speakers went through things that we should be doing to have a great, lasting marriage & we were already doing SOOO many of them.  God has sooo blessed our marriage & I am just so grateful for a wonderful, teachable, loving husband who has humbled his heart before the Lord.

                    On my 30th birthday I will celebrate a wonderful marriage & an amazing husband.  I will celebrate 4 incredible children who fill my life with joy.  I will celebrate awesome parents who have been such a HUGE blessing in my life & to whom I am so grateful for the example of perseverance. I will celebrate a group of friends that I can share my heart with & do life with.  And finally, and most importantly I will celebrate the fact that 10 years ago Christ came into my life & turned it upside down & inside out & that he now resides in my heart & is Lord over my life!  Hallelujah!

                    I am truly truly blessed on this 30th birthday!

                    Happy Birthday to me!

                    Friday, January 14, 2011

                    Sydney Jane Martin

                    Sydney Jane Martin
                    November 21, 2010 @ 8:35 pm
                    7lbs 12 oz, 18 1/2 inches

                    My unexpected, scared out of my ever lovin' mind, 4th child in 4 years!  My little ball of sunshine!  As I have with the others, I am sharing her birth story! 

                    I honestly thought I would fly right through this pregnancy without any problems (I know, I know, what was I thinking?).  I made it further than the last time without bed rest, but it came inevitably.  Mom was a CHAMP...once again!  I couldn't have done it without her!  She stayed at the house while J was out of town & was completely exhausted but somehow made it through!

                    I was officially taken off bed rest Thursday, November 18th.  I stopped my meds the day before & went back to life as normal.....well, not exactly.....I was completely uncomfortable in a thousand different ways but I was officially allowed to resume normal pregnancy activity.

                    Saturday, November 21st was my nephew Carson's birthday.  We didn't have much going on that day.....we were pretty lazy actually.  Josh was more than excited that I was off bedrest, if you know what I mean.  So, we had a nap date!  Apparently the last doctor was right when he told us that there was only one thing he knew of that could truly induce labor.  I honestly thought all those things...walking, baths, sex, etc.....were nonsense since we had tried them all several times with the other 3 to no avail.  Clearly I was mistaken.

                    Carson had a party planned for that afternoon at Chuck E Cheese from 4-6.  About 3 o'clock I started having pretty heavy contractions but they were very inconsistent.  This was nothing new & I just assumed that the "interaction" had irritated my uterus & got the contractions going.  As I was getting the kids ready for the party I started to wonder if I was really in labor.  I just had some inkling that this was it (although doubt loomed large because of all the false labor previously).  I hesitantly made my way to the back & started packing my bags to take to the hospital.  I wanted to be 100% sure because I didn't want to totally ruin Carson's party.  As we were loading the kids into the car I told Josh I was bringing the hospital bag, to which he replied, "Oh, I doubt this is it.  If we need to, we can just run back by here & get it.  If you bring it, it will just jinx it."  Thankfully, I didn't listen to him this time & threw the bags into the back of the Burb. 

                    We headed out & when we got there I immediately had to sit down.  I was exhausted & the contractions were picking up in intensity.  After sitting for a bit they seemed to die back down & I thought it must just be false labor.  But it wasn't long before I was having to focus through the contractions & decided it would be smart to start timing them.  After 30-45 minutes of them coming fairly regularly I decided we needed to head to the hospital.  I was embarrassed, disappointed & felt horrible for crashing the party but I was also TERRIFIED of waiting too long & delivering in the car or something crazy like that.  So, Dad took Spencer & Sawyer back to our house & Samara stayed with Aunt Kacey while Josh, Mom & I headed to Baylor All Saints.  I remember glancing at the clock when we left & it was 5:18pm.

                    Things were much less chaotic this time around.  It took FOREVER to get me checked in & on the monitor.  I was only 5 cm dilated when she finally checked my cervix (which isn't very far along for me but enough to be admitted) so things did not move nearly as fast as they did with Sawyer.  I actually stayed in triage for about an hour while they got me admitted & monitored me. 

                    I had not decided for certain whether or not I was going to have an epidural prior to coming to the hospital.  I wanted to be strong & do it without because I knew my labor would be short but I also DID NOT WANT TO GO THROUGH ALL THAT PAIN AGAIN!  I am not big on pain & I didn't go through any natural child birthing classes or anything.  I had an epidural with the first two & they were both pleasant experiences.  Josh wanted me to get an epidural if at all possible. I figured I would just see how things went & honestly I thought I would end up getting one. I remembered them offering me pain medication with Sawyer when I refused the epidural so I figured that would be an option as well. 

                    When the triage nurse asked me if she needed to call the anesthesiologist I told her "no"......I kind of surprised myself, ha!  She asked if I wanted any medication & I told her sure, that I was not opposed to medication.  When she told my L&D nurse I wanted some IV meds, she baulked.....thankfully.  She told me that they just make you really groggy & in a fog.  Um, no thank you!  I was so grateful she told me instead of just assuming I knew what they would do.  So it was all me!!!! Ahhhh!  I was scared....not gonna lie!

                    Sue, my midwife, checked me again once I got into my delivery room & I had only progressed to 6cm.  I wasn't progressing super fast so she asked me if I wanted her to break my water.  Sure, why not!  Though I really didn't want her to because I knew my contractions would hurt much worse.....but that was coming sooner or later anyway.  I completely forgot in this process that the paranatologist told me I had excess amniotic fluid.  Wow people....this is not something you want to forget!  It was insane!  I definitely should have warned the nurse!  She might have had a boat handy to help her outta there!

                    It was a only a short time before I really started hurting but Suzanne was an AWESOME nurse & hooked me up with a birthing ball.  Josh thought this was hilarious!  And I did not care because it was such a huge help for me! 

                    The birthing ball!

                    Here I am on the ball! 

                    And here I am actually USING the ball.....
                     About 8:20 I told them I had the urge to push so the nurse got me up on the bed, prepped the room & Sue checked me again. A 7....ONLY A 7!  I seriously wanted to die....I thought, "this can't be happening."......I just knew I had to be close!  I honestly thought that I would be able to start pushing.  It was such a huge bummer to hear I was only at a 7.  I'm sure she could feel my disappointment because she told me to give it just a little longer, that things would probably progress quickly.

                    Breathe Reagan breathe!
                    The next contraction I really had the urge to push & I told the nurse, "she's coming, I know she is."  She rushed out of the room as I was pushing. 

                    I told my Mom that I couldn't stop & she reassured me that it was OK.  A few seconds later Sue rushed back into the room.  The nursed asked if she was coming & Sue told her, "yes."  Sue was trying to calm me, telling me to breathe & let her get her stuff on.  Oh!  So hard not to push but I did a MUCH better job this time!  It's quite funny actually because it felt like an eternity when I was trying not to push....I kept thinking, "what the heck is taking her so long?"  But when I went back to look at the video I was surprised to see how fast it all went!  She quickly got all her gear on & I pushed Miss Sydney out! 
                    Haha!  Every time I look at these pictures it makes me laugh.  It looks like soap opera drama.  But let's be clear.....THIS WAS FOR REAL!
                    It took me 3 minutes to go from a 7 to delivery!!!!  They immediately put her on my chest which was wonderful!  That was a first for me & I feel so blessed I got to experience that!  
                    Yuck!  Did anyone elses kids look like this when they were born?  She was covered in this nasty white stuff......none of my other kids were like that!

                    My sweet baby nice to finally meet you!
                     Actually, she had a really short cord so they cut it before they put her on me.  It was so cool because my Mom was there for this delivery & she got to cut the cord
                    I love, love, love this picture!  Doesn't Mom look so excited!?
                    J has never had any desire to do that but my Mom was super excited about getting to.  She had no idea she was going to but when Sue asked J if he wanted to & he said "no", Mom asked if she could do it!  It was a sweet moment for me, especially considering all Mom had done for us!
                    After Sue delivered her she kept saying, "Wow, she's so big"...."Oh my gosh, she's a big baby"....."I had no idea this baby was going to be so big."  She didn't end up weighing as much as they expected but she was certainly my biggest yet.

                    A sweet moment that I am so very proud of.....When I was close to delivering, the nurse said, "This really feels like a first baby.  Usually by the fourth baby they don't even bring a camera & there certainly aren't all the visitors (Josh's parents & Joey & Melissa were there)!  Oh how that made my heart smile!  I pray that I can love ALL my babies as if they were the first.  Children are not a burden in my home!

                    Oh....& did anyone catch that my midwife & my nurse both had "S" names!?

                    Also, just have to mention that Sawyer & one of my nephews share a birthday & now Sydney shares a birthday with another one of my nephews! 

                    And can't go without saying what an ENORMOUS blessing it has been to have Josh home for every. single. birth.....could have been so different with him out of town so much!

                    Here are just a few more pictures.....


                    Trust me, I know there are some out there wondering if we are ever going to end this will be happy to know that J had a vasectomy & is OFFICIALLY shooting blanks.

                    Thursday, January 13, 2011

                    A Candid Look

                    I ran across something very interesting.
                    I mentioned previously about packing up my "memory" chest.  What I ran across is actually something I believe the hand of God placed in that chest supernaturally.  If you have read my story you might remember me mentioning that I threw away all my journals from before I became a Christian.  I'm not sure if these papers fell out of something or if they were just tucked away in between books but as I was pulling everything out, a stack of papers, folded in half fell out onto the floor of the chest.  It was clearly a handful of papers that had been torn from a spiral bound notebook because the tattered edges remained.

                    My life before I knew the Lord.  That is what lay in my hands.

                    It was not pretty.  Gut wrenching actually.

                    This was for real.  This was not some fiction novel I was writing.  These were my feelings, raw & uncensored.

                    I want to share some of what I found with you.  I think it's important for people to see inside the head of a teenage girl who grew up in a great family but didn't know the Lord.  Just consider as you read this that someone you might know might be feeling the very same way.  Don't forget that you never really know what is going on with someone.  Don't forget that you have an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life.

                    *I am posting what was written in my journal & sometimes my language is foul.  I apologize ahead of time but I didn't want to leave it out because I feel that it would take away from the reality of the situation.*

                    Jan 31, 1999

                    I don't know what to do, or what to think.  Just tonight (my boyfriend) & I got into a semi-fight because I had one of my little self-esteem fits again.  He doesn't understand so I just pretend like nothing's wrong.  It's so hard.  I can't decide if it's (my boyfriend) or the fact that I'm so f**cked up!  It just seems to trigger when I'm with him because I'm not as pretty or "mature" as everyone else.  He pulls that sh*t on me all the time! I really don't know what it is that makes me feel like sh*t, but every time we go out, that is how I feel on the way home!  I feel like I am always having to compete against someone or something.  I don't know.  I thought maybe joining a church, reading the bible would give me something to fit into, but I just feel like an outcast there also.  It's like if I kill myself I'm hurting all these other people & I don't want that.  I would never want anyone to be hurt because of my actions.  So what is the answer?  Going on with the rest of my life being constantly depressed, worrying about everything, being treated like sh*t, not being anything in life but taking up space.  Nothing is ever right for me, I don't know what would make things change anytime soon.  I don't even know what I want because I don't know what it is you have to have to feel special.  I wish I could forget about everything & have fun in life, but it's just not that easy.  I'm too busy worrying about pleasing everybody else to worry about myself.  I don't know what it is that all those other girls have, but I wish I could borrow some.  I'll never be pretty enough, skinny enough, rich enough, anything.  So what is it I am supposed to do to build up this self esteem thing?  I don't have anything to strive for, I'm not good enough at anything to be somebody.  It's so hard for people to understand how I feel, but what am I supposed to do?  It's easy to pretend nothing is wrong because I do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  So when does the time come that I don't have to pretend anymore?

                    And there it is people.  I'm not saying that every teenage girl feels this way.  I just wanted to share who I was.  There is a VAST difference in who I am today & it is only because of the Lord.  The darkness you feel here is not a short period of depression.....this was my life.....& the only thing that changed was Christ coming into my heart.  Does this give you a desire to share his goodness?  It certainly does me.  I don't share Him enough.  He transformed my life!
                    This was right around the time of the entries.  Do I look like I have anything to worry about?  Boy what I would give to look like that again!

                    There was one more entry that I found quite interesting.

                    My brain feels like a brain on drugs.  I remember VERY little.  I have a difficult time remembering to get my daughter something to drink when she has asked me only 5 minutes earlier so the rest of my life is pretty much a blur.  I have often wondered what I thought of God before I knew him.  I wondered if I even thought about it or what I thought about the "Christians" at school or if I even gave it all a second thought.  This entry answered some of those questions, at least at this point in my life.  As you will see, this was 9 months later & I was still struggling with the same things.

                    October 15, 1999

                    I wish I knew how to have all the confidence in the world.  I envy Shelby so much sometimes.  She is so confident in herself.  There is no one that could break her down.  I just don't understand!  I don't know how to have that.  People that are confident in themselves do not understand what it's like to be someone like me.  They take for granted that they are happy with their life.  The worst part about the whole things is, I am terrified to have children.  What if they turn out to have the same problems I do?  Those poor babies, I could never wish it upon anyone.  I think it has to be worse than being blind or deaf, or having cancer, because at least those people care if they live or die!  The have something to look forward to even after they die, & what do I have?  I don't have any idea, because I am completely uneducated in religion!  Do you go anywhere if you don't know if you believe?  I'm sure that question will remain unanswered because no matter how many times I have tried, have asked, have wanted to learn, it just hasn't happened.  How are you supposed to believe when you don't know how?  How are you supposed to ask for help when you don't know how to pray?  It's so amazing all the things that are running through my head.  It seems like I go through the same thoughts & questions day after day.

                    It's obvious that I wrestled with the bigger questions about life but I always came up empty handed.  I think the term "lost" for those who aren't saved is a perfect description.  I was LOST.  It wasn't that I didn't want to find my way, I did....desperately.  It was simply that I didn't know which way to turn or where to look.  Thankfully a little over a year later the Lord CHASED ME DOWN! 

                    I honestly feel like the Lord kept telling me to post this.  My flesh did not want people to see this part of me....even if it was a long time ago.  I believe that someone needed to read this.  If that someone was you, please feel free to contact me.  reagan_martin @ (minus the spaces).

                    Toys Galore

                    So, in all of this organizing business I ran across a website that is challenging everyone to pick out 52 things you could do to organize your home & do one of those things each week for the next year.  I initially thought that was ridiculous because she suggested breaking big tasks down over several weeks.....such as cleaning/organizing a drawer rather than the whole bathroom.  Though, after thinking it through I realized that it was a brilliant idea.  I'm pretty sure I can think of a dozen things that needed cleaning/organizing LAST year that I thought, I can't wait 6 months to do this, it needs to be done now & yet a year has past & it never got done.  The house remains in the same condition because I didn't have a plan in place & I simply did whatever it took just to keep up each day.  Another year rolls around & the same old things are on the to-do list.  So, I am breaking those things down & tackling them over the course of the year.

                    I suppose I am actually starting with Week #2 because I just learned of the challenge yesterday.  First on my list was to take my "memory" chest that my grandfather handmade for me & repurpose it into a toy chest.  We are in desperate need of some toy storage in our living room.  We have tried so many different things in there & haven't found anything that really works & looks decent.  At the same time we are running out of room in our bedroom since it has become the bedroom, craft room, home office & temporary baby we figured this would be a good switch. 

                    So today I packed up all the "memories" to put into the attic & moved the chest into the living room.  We filled it up & the kids thoroughly enjoyed digging around, finding toys they hadn't seen in a week or two.  I think I like it.  It is quite large & I'm not sure there is really enough space where it's at but I like it better than what was going on in there before.

                    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

                    Back to the Basics

                    So, on to week two of this OYOL.  She suggests that we should figure out the bare minimum that needs to get done each day & post those things in a prominent place.

                    I actually have something very similar to the worksheet she offers already in place.  I have an index card box that I have divided into several different categories.....Everyday, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Seasonally, Twice a Year & Annually.  At this point I just need to implement that which I have written out. 
                    My everyday tab has things like put away dishes, 2 loads of laundry, sweep kitchen, bedtime pickup, etc.  I do think I am going to add some of the things that are even more basic that I somehow keep forgetting like brushing the kids teeth, bathing them & making sure they take their vitamins. 

                    Yes, I realize those things should just happen daily but somehow the day will come & go & I will have somehow missed getting those things done.  I will think about having the kids brush their teeth but about that time Sydney will start screaming or Sawyer will need immediate help with something & I just won't ever get back around to helping them get it done.  As far as bathing goes....the reality is that I just hate it.  Finding a time when both girls are awake, Sydney's not eating & I'm not fixing someones breakfast, lunch or dinner has been a challenge in itself.  Then trying to keep the boys occupied & out of the way while the girls get their bath is difficult & fielding Sam's 10,000 questions & taunts from the sidelines while bathing the boys just gets frustrating.  Sometimes I have Sam take a shower with me but then it seems like Syd doesn't end up getting a bath until the next round of girl baths!!!!  If J were home every night baths would not be such a daunting task but the reality is, he's not there 4 nights out of the week.  If only they could go without a bath those 4 nights! 

                    I could even add "get the kids dressed" to my basics but then I would just feel guilty that I didn't do it & frankly dressing the kids on a day I know we aren't going anywhere just seems counterproductive seeing as I have a hard enough time keeping up with the laundry as it is! (Mom, just hush it)

                    I'm thinking I might write out a basic daily do-or-die with check boxes, laminate it & put it on the kitchen counter so I can mark off things as I do them.  Simply remembering has been an issue as well.....have the kids brushed their teeth today?, that had to have been yesterday......or maybe even the day before.....

                    My goal this week is to get the bare bones done each day.....& the rest....well, lets hope it happens in time.

                    Friday, January 7, 2011

                    My Purpose

                    My "One Year to a More Organized Life" homework for the week?  My purpose.  This is the million dollar question.  What is the purpose of me becoming more organized?  Here is what I have come up with....

                    -To remove myself from solitude- A very timely devotion hit my inbox this morning.  The writer is a mother of 6 & is a self-proclaimed loner.  She told how she felt that God had placed her in such a large family to stretch her natural tendency to spend her time in solitude.  As she points out, you can't be very effective for Christ if you live in solitude.  When I get overwhelmed, I find myself doing one of several things....zoning out, getting consumed by the internet, or enveloping myself in some sort of craft.  All of these are time wasters & seriously eat away at valuable time. 

                    -To be a better steward of the things God has blessed us with. Ie. my kids got a new water toy during the summer & only a couple of days later I found it destroyed because someone had run over it with the four wheeler.  Things are also simply left out to be destroyed by the wind or rain, etc.  One would look in from the outside & simply say that we are unappreciative.

                    -I want my children to grow up & say they had a wonderful Mom who was calm, took time to play with them, made them feel loved, & kept their home so that they wanted to invite their friends over & their friends enjoyed being there.

                    -I want my husband to come home from a long week & be able to relax in a clean, organized home. This is extra important for us because my husband has ADHD & frequently loses things WITHOUT the chaos of a disorderly home.

                    -I want to be able to use the school supplies I have spent time & money on to teach Samara at home.

                    -I want my children to grow up in a home that glorifies God & is centered around Him.  I want them  to learn about his character day in & day out & fall in love with Him.  God is a God of order, not of chaos & I want our home to be a reflection of who He is.

                    -I want to be able to be hospitable at any given moment without being utterly embarrased by the state of my home.

                    -I want to improve the hygiene of our home.  (I want to bathe, wash my face, brush my teeth & put on makeup at LEAST every other day....although I would really like this to happen everyday) (I want to make sure the kids are bathed every other day & their teeth are brushed(& Sam's flossed) daily....although I would like for this to happen twice a day)

                    -I want to grow in my relationship with Christ....a daily quiet time & pouring out what God is putting in.

                    - I want to parent intentionally.  I am tired of just letting each day wander by.  I don't want to forget that, whether I like it or not, my kids are learning about God every waking moment by MY actions....or inactions.

                    A New Year

                    So, this has been much anticipated on my part. I have been yearning to blog. Every hour I will have a blog post pop into my head but it quickly gets written off. I have gotten so accustomed to using my phone for all my Internet needs that it makes it very difficult to get out my computer, plug it into the Ethernet cable & post. I want so badly to blog so I am going to try once again to find the time to make it happen. Now that Sydney is sleeping good I am hoping to be able to get on a more regulated sleep schedule, which will hopefully allow for time to do stuff like this.

                    I first want to take an opportunity to say how blessed I am. I honestly thought it would be YEARS before I would enjoy being a Mom of four. I just thought I would be way too stressed & sleep deprived to enjoy life. I honestly thought I would just be doing whatever it took to "get by." I was WRONG & I couldn't be happier about that. It has been wonderful! I have so enjoyed having Sydney. It is possible that I have spent time relishing her tininess because I know I won't be enjoying it least for a long time. Don't get me hasn't all been peachy....but are things always peachy when you only have one....or even none for that matter? least not in my experience. The reality for me right now is that my 2 year old is my biggest challenge......& my small house that creates problems that I would not otherwise have.

                    This being a new year, I have taken some time to reflect on the past year & I am painfully aware of some much needed changes. I am a pretty reflective person so it's not like I don't do this weekly, sometimes daily but I have been given some accountability with a blog I recently ran across. This blog is written by a Mom of 4 in 5 years so she deals with many of the same things I do. I was excited to run across it & have been encouraged by her honesty of what life can be like with four young children. Her goal for 2011 is to get her life organized by the end of the fulfill her purpose. I want that very same thing & intend to take this journey with her.

                    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

                    Pregnancy Update

                    So, I had an appt with the high risk specialist on Monday.  My Mom & my Aunt went with me.  My Mom doesn't think I should be driving & my Aunt just happened to be in town & had never seen a sonogram. 

                    I was taken a little by surprise by what was discovered.

                    First of all, they didn't even do a transvaginal sono to measure my cervix so I'm not really sure why I went.  BUT, the external sonogram ended up revealing another issue!  Surprise, surprise!  I have excessive amniotic fluid & the baby is apparently growing excessively.  A baby should be approximately 5 lbs 4oz at this time & they were measuring the baby at 6 lbs 12 oz.  Since I normally have small babies (the biggest was 7 lbs 4 oz) they seemed a bit concerned.

                    They put me on the fetal monitor just to be sure the baby was fine.....she was.  The doctor said that the glucose test given at 28 weeks to check for gestational diabetes is only 95% accurate & she thinks I am in the other 5%.  She told me to change my diet to that of a diabetic & wanted to see me back in 1 week.

                    Personally I don't think I have gestational diabetes.  I thought it sounded a little fishy when I was at the appointment but I went with it because she didn't act like she had an alternative explanation.  I tend to think that I got the Sunday School Big Baby curse : )  No, I really have no idea what is going on.  When I researched gestational diabetes there were several clues to the disease.....none of which I have.  One of the clues is sugar in your urine....never been a problem.  Some symptoms are excessive hunger or thirst, frequent urination, frequent vaginal infections, excessive weight gain......none of which I have. 

                    Some weird stuff going on that no one seems to have any viable answers for.  Please pray for my health & that of the baby.

                    By the Mom is a hoot watching the sono.  She has NO clue what she is looking at.  I am pretty good at picking stuff out now but Mom thinks I'm just making it's pretty funny!

                    Saturday, October 30, 2010

                    Spencer drama!

                    Mister all-boy-2-year-old scared the begebees out of J & I this summer.  Pretty sure I have never been that scared since becoming a parent.  This is where the Martin drama begins.....

                    It was a hot summer day, like any other.  J was home.  He was so excited about buying the kids a slide & couldn't wait to get in the backyard & set it up for them.  He brought it around to the back as the 3 kids played outside while he worked.  Sawyer was up in his swing because he was still only crawling but the other 2 were playing in the sand & riding the 4-wheeler. 

                    I was inside doing something.....couldn't tell you what....I'm sure cleaning.  I noticed Josh come in & go back to the bedroom to change clothes.  Just minutes later he went back out but this time he went out front.   It only took him a minute & he was back in, running to the backyard.  As he comes back in the door he says "Oh crap" & rushes out front again.  He ran out to the street looking around & yelling for Spencer, but got no answer. 

                    By this time I am realizing what is going & am beginning to freak out.  Josh tells me he is on the 4-wheeler but he doesn't see him.  He starts to run down the street but when he gets to the end he still can't see him.  At this time, I ran to the backyard to make sure Sam & Sawyer were OK & that Sam wasn't going anywhere.  I ran out the front door & down the street in the opposite direction, screaming his name at the top of my lungs. 

                    It was like something from the movies......that frantic screaming & crying, begging God for help!  I got to the cross-street & didn't see him anywhere.  I can't tell you the last time I ran anywhere.....much less, without any shoes on a burning blacktop.  It was clear that I was worthless on foot so I ran back to the house.  I got down in Sam's face & explained that Spencer was missing & Mommy & Daddy had to go look for him.....then I threatened her with her life & locked her inside.

                    I got my keys, jumped in the truck & immediately dialed 9-1-1.

                    I guess you could say I was hysterical at this point......every awful thing that could possibly happen to him, racing through my mind.  I went down the street & around the next block while I am relaying info to the dispatcher.  I never saw him.  As I headed back up the street she asked if I was sure he wasn't at the house, just hiding or something.

                    By this time, I thought I ought to head back to the house to see if J had found him.   As I rounded the corner I thought I saw the 4-wheeler in the front yard.  As I got closer to the house I yelled, "the 4-wheeler is in the front's by the front door......the 4-wheeler is here!!!!!!!!!!"  The dispatcher asked, "Are you sure?  Are you sure he is there?"  I flew into the driveway, threw open the door & ran inside yelling, "is he here?  is Spencer here?" 

                    I have no idea where Josh was but Samara said, "yes, he's in his room."

                    Wow!  A rush of relief & frustration!

                    I told the dispatcher but it wasn't 2 minutes later that the police were knocking on our front door asking to see him.  I guess they can't just take your word for it.  He was adamant that they see him.  They talked to him for a bit, making sure he heard from someone besides his parents that he better not do anything like that ever again!

                    So, Josh found him at the far end of our street on the cross street in someones driveway.  Thankfully a woman stopped him & kept him there in the driveway.  She was truly an could have been REALLY bad.  Our dog went the whole way with him.  I was totally impressed!  I had blisters on the bottom of my feet from the burning street so I know that Maddie was hurting.  She was limping when she got home, poor girl! 

                    After the commotion settled I crashed in the rocking chair & just cried.  I was exhausted & so grateful that God had spared our family a tragedy.

                    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

                    Math Facts

                    (My Mom is my witness on this) The other day Sam came up to me & said, "2+2=4."  I said, "That's right, who told you that?" "Papa."  So, just to be silly I said, "Then what is 2+3?"  She thought for a minute & said, "5"  Uhhhhh, WHAT?  Mom & I looked at each other in total shock!  I might have even said, "That had to be a coincidence."

                    The next day Dad came over & I told him about what happened.  Sam was sitting in the kitchen & he turned to her & started quizzing her.......

                    Dad: What's 2+2?
                    Sam: 4
                    Dad: What's 2+3?
                    Sam: 5
                    Dad: What's 1+3?
                    Sam: 2 (which is obviously wrong)
                    Dad: Maybe this will be easier...what's 3+1?
                    Sam: 4
                    Dad: What's 2+1?
                    Sam: 3.  I'm done.

                    & that was the end of that.  But we were definitely all shocked.  I knew she was really good with numbers but to just bust out with the answers to abstract math problems was WAY beyond what I thought she was capable of.  I'm always doing that.  I just don't want to be one of those Mom's who is always pushing her kid to be the smartest.  I just want her to learn at her own pace at this point.  I guess the negative side of that is that I don't push her to try anything that is above her "level."  Anyway, I probably wouldn't have even shared that if I didn't have a story to tell that goes along with it.

                    I'll preface the story by telling you that we have been working on Sam using her "imagination."  She has a VERY hard time with this (as do I'm not a great example) so I have been trying to encourage her to use her imagination to play.

                    While we were at the doctor's office today I was trying to think of productive ways to spend the 2 LONG hours we were there.  I thought maybe she would like to do some "math facts" since she seemed to enjoy answering my Dad the other day.  The conversation went like this:

                    Me: What's 2+2?
                    Sam: 4
                    Me: OK, so what's 2+3?
                    Sam: 4!
                    Me: Um, were you even listening? How can 2+2=4 AND 2+3=4? 
                    Sam: With my imagination!!!!!

           daughter is so clever!.....or maybe a smart-aleck? LOVE that girl!


                    I feel like that's the best way to describe all that has taken place in the Martin household over the past 6 months.

                    It is like big thing after big thing.  It's so crazy to seriously feel like things are so chaotic, yet still be so at peace.  Things don't SEEM so crazy to me until I sit down to tell someone about everything & then it all just sounds so ridiculous!  There is only ONE reason for that.  The phrase that God had me write on my bathroom mirror when I was pregnant with still remains.....Where God guides, He provides!!!!

                    So, what's the latest goings on with us? 

                    As most of you know, I am on strict bedrest with bathroom only privileges.  Somehow I thought I'd scoot by it this time.  We had a great plan in place of doing the FFN every 2 weeks but they just grew more & more concerned as time passed & my contractions grew stronger, more consistent & closer together.  So I was sent to a paranatologist (high risk doctor).  They did a sono & nothing seemed WAY out of whack.  My cervix was a little short but with my history it wasn't a huge concern.  They scheduled me for an appt 2 weeks later & ended up not liking what they saw at that time.  The 1st appt my cervix was measuring 2.6 with pressure & 2 weeks later it was measuring at 1.6 without pressure.  Apparently this is quite a significant change so she placed me on bedrest until 36 weeks. ( I am at 34 weeks right now)

                    In the middle of all that mess I got that nasty stomach bug that almost everyone I know ended up getting (including ALL 5 of us) & ended up in the hospital getting pumped with 3 bags of fluid because I was SOOOO dehydrated!  Thankfully I just had to stay long enough for them to get the fluid in overnight stay.....WOOHOO!

                    I am BEYOND blessed and SOO thankful for all of my amazing friends & family that have just stepped right up & helped me during this frustrating & difficult time.  My Mom has been staying at our house during the week while Josh is gone so that I can have help with the kids. awesome is that?  I am blessed!  After posting about bedrest on FB I had lots of offers of people bringing us food.  So far we have had someone bring something every night except on the weekends & have a full schedule at least through next Tuesday!  Amazing.....REALLY!  It has been SOOO helpful.  My Mom gets tired after chasing kids around, house cleaning & running errands all day so to not have to worry about dinner is HUGE! 

                    A MUCHO, MASSIVE, WAY HUGE thank you to all who have helped us out!

                    I want to dedicate a post for each of the ridiculous events that have taken place over the past several months so be sure to check back for some exciting adventures.........HA!
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