Sunday, January 31, 2016

Our Family is Complete

I thought there was another baby meant for our family. Mother Nature and Heavenly Father have convinced me otherwise. We attended the temple this past week with the express purpose of finding out the Lord's will for our family and it was made clear that it is time to move on. With the decision officially made, I organized all our baby gear and clothing to donate to friends who will use it far more than I will. It may be because I hadn't slept for several nights due to nighttime congestion or because Matthew was gone or because I realized my babies will never be that little again and no other babies of mine will fill those clothes but that Friday night was excruciating. When I felt a prompting that there was one more for our family I never expected nor wanted it to end this way. I didn't expect to try for a year and a half, have a miscarriage and then be told that we are done. We were supposed to have another baby dang it, preferably one named Tabitha Ann!! I have cried more in the last few weeks than ever before, and started to wonder if my testimony would ever recover. Grief and bitterness have been my constant companions these few weeks.

But a few things have happened that have brought peace back to my life.

  1. I feel sure the Lord is pleased with my offering of the last year and a half. I have gone back to this on numerous occasions when I have felt myself being dragged down by my new frenemies.
  2. Once the offer was made to my ward family for free baby gear I have enjoyed seeing my babies' things going to appreciative new homes.
  3. My husband has been nothing but supportive. And even though he did try "fixing" my grief one night, he made up for it when I told him that all I wanted was a hug and a kiss and for him to tell me that everything would be okay. This man is a keeper.
  4. This past week, I invited one of Boy Howdy's friends (who's mother is a dear friend of mine) over for a playdate. It could not possibly have gone any better. Totally a tender mercy from a very loving Heavenly Father. Not only did I get to momentarily visit with a wonderful woman whom I hadn't been able to connect with for some time but our children played beautifully. Little friend C was the perfect complement to Boy and Girl Howdy and they all played happily together for two hours leaving this mama to cook in blessed and merciful solitude. It seems so small but I truly felt the love of the Lord in those few hours of peace.
  5. I may not have three babies like I wanted but I do have two. And though my patience is tested and fails on a regular basis, I am oh so lucky to have them. And I know that the size of my family is not a reflection of my husband and my efforts.
  6. Finally, today in my primary class we discussed Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life. We discussed how the mists of darkness and the great and spacious building do a great job of moving us away from the path to the Tree with its most desirable fruit. But when we hold firmly to the iron rod we keep on course. In the last two weeks, I may not have had my heart totally in my daily scripture reading or prayers but they were observed, keeping me linked to the iron rod and moving in the right direction, even if I moved a bit more slowly than normal.
And now that I feel myself leaving my frenemies behind, I am beyond grateful for that iron rod and the foundation I've built on my Savior. I honestly don't know how those without a relationship with their Savior manage life's disappointments, pain and grief without losing their minds.

So, with all that said, our family is complete. And now that the decision is clear and we are at peace, we are looking forward to our fun future as a family of four. All hail bright and exciting things to come for the Marlers.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Boy Howdy: more than I would like, Mama: less

My son is at an exasperating age insomuch that he is testing limits at every possible opportunity but two in particular with independent abandon.

The first one is a determination to wear his PJs ALL day. I'm not sure that it's just because he likes to be comfy since he has sweats and other equally comfy pants that are just as abhorent to him as, gasp, jeans. It doesn't matter what we want to accomplish during the day, be it grocery shopping, not his favorite thing or going to OMSI or smoothies. Nothing is exciting enough to tempt him out of his PJs.  I don't understand the obsession but it got so bad (I may have put myself in time out a few times to avoid slamming him into the floor) that we had to institute a new no-PJ policy. PJs are now only for bedtime. If he wants to stay in his PJs past breakfast he has to stay in his room until he is ready to comply.

The worst day, post rule, was Saturday. We were doing our morning cuddle time and Boy Howdy asked what we were doing that day. When given the option to choose our activity he opted for the Gilbert House. Fine fine. We can totally do that. But when it came time to get into "regular" clothes to leave he changed his mind and promptly and serenely took his punishment of going to his room for his confinement. Cheeks was ready to go, the rest of us were ready to go but Boy Howdy was adamant that he no longer wanted to go since it would mean not wearing his beloved PJs. I told him I was going to leave without him and we would probably go get a smoothie and muffin afterwards that he was going to miss out on, but he didn't care. My mother suggested making something fun since he loves to help cook so I offered up making blueberry muffins with his father but even that was not enough to get him dressed. I've never seen a more happy yet determined child.

So Cheeks and I left to have some mother-daughter time while Matthew was left to wonder if Boy Howdy would ever emerge from his room. It is reported that 45 minutes after the girl and I left, he finally emerged, in the next best thing to PJs he could find, ready to cook with Daddy. Since then changing clothes in the morning has slowly gotten easier. But he is still super duper excited to get back into PJs (preferrably short sleeves - boy is he excited for short-sleeved PJs) after dinner.

The second limit testing is preschool. This child was in love with preschool until December but then we had a two-week break and going back was anything but rosey. Again it didn't matter how much cajoling, manipulating, bribing, Boy Howdy didn't want to have anything to do with preschool. He'd cry that he didn't want to miss me, that preschool wasn't a nice place. It broke my heart, but the few times I was able to get him to stay he wouldn't want to leave when it was time so I was pretty sure preschool wasn't the problem. Once or twice in the last few weeks I have had to literally pry him away and leave him crying in the arms of his preschool teachers while taking my screaming Cheeks with me who desperately wanted to stay. It was all I could do to not take up drinking and swearing.

It's a phase right? Not wanting to go to preschool, obsessing over PJs? His childhood won't always be a battle right?

Finally, to make matters worse, Cheeks has started into the terrible twos in an awful way. Lame Lame Lame. Just breathe mama. Breathe.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Snow of the Season

We got our first snow of the season. And while it wasn't much, the ice that came a little later in the morning, was enough to cancel church. So the kids, still in their PJs and sporting their rain boots, because Oregon doesn't justify snow boots, went outside and played in the snow. 

This morning as we were doing our morning milk and cuddle time I told the children we had gotten a LITTLE snow during the night. Boy Howdy almost immediately got up and having checked for himself exclaimed that there was SO MUCH snow outside. It was on our driveway and the sidewalk and the roof and the neighbors roofs. SO MUCH snow. He asked if we could make a snowman. I told him there just wasn't enough snow for that but he was still excited to go play and proceeded to accumulate his winter things from around the house. How excited is that little face??


The fun and games, however, came to an abrupt end when Boy Howdy discovered ice and it's slippery nature. Ah snow day.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 in Review

It's interesting what a little reflection will do. Matthew's brother and sister-in-law (Aaron and Marie) came down for New Year's Eve and after we put babies to bed (after a super fun night with my sister, Melissa and her family) we were discussing the highs and lows of the year. And when I was discussing it with them that night I thought, meh, not too shabby of a year. Yeah, there were some hard things but overall, a solid year.

The next evening I looked at a video my tablet made for me of the pictures I took from the past year. As I watched a whole flood of sad emotions came in as I realized just what we had really gone through. In 2015 we experienced:

  1. Continued infertility.
  2. Stress over uncertainty at work.
  3. Applying for new jobs.
  4. Selling a house that did not go remotely as well as I had hoped.
  5. Moving from one coast to another.
  6. Saying goodbye to an area, ward, friends, house and grocery store with which we had fallen madly in love.
  7. Being homeless (ok unsettled) for 6 weeks (4 of which I was a single parent).
  8. Buying a new house with multiple things breaking down shortly after we moved into it.
  9. Transitioning to a new ward, friends, house and grocery store and having it be way harder than anticipated (is it getting older that makes it so much harder??)
  10. Miscarriage.
  11. Doing all of this while raising two children deep in the throes of terrible 2 and 3-ness.
I'm not saying that my year was harder than anyone else's year, but for me that is a lot of stress to go through in so short a period of time. I look at that list and think how did I make it through that with my sanity, marriage and testimony in tact. The answer? A very loving Heavenly Father who graced me with many tender mercies along the way (mainly through amazing and heaven-sent loved ones). The healing power of the Atonement that somehow makes hardships easier to bear. A wonderful husband who stepped up and became even more stupendous and loving and tender and thoughtful. 

And so while I never want to relive this past year ever again, I am grateful to have been able to come out the other side a bit more polished, a bit more sure of Heavenly Father's love for me and a lot more in love with my husband.