I haven't had much time to write lately. Life continues to be so blessed and busy. Teresa continues to wake at night and I continue to be tired. Life with an infant. But she's not an infant any longer. And she no longer looks like all of our other babies. She looks like Teresa!
Veronica nursing her baby :)
Teresa in her swing, covered in all of the toys her siblings got her
Tonight at St. Luke began a several week program about prayer. I was really hoping to make it there. Wednesday nights I usually try and get to the Y for Zumba class, but I was willing to drop that for a while so that we could participate in this program.
Teresa seems to have other plans. And earlier today, Jenny let me know that so does the Lord.
I had thought that things would be easier with an almost five month old baby than with a five week old. But honestly, with this baby, they're not. I am trying to accept that with grace, with humility and with thanksgiving for all of our blessings. But in the middle of the night, I often fail at that. In fact, lately in the middle of the day I am so tired that I often fail then too.
Right now, Teresa has a cold. She was crying last night for the most part between 9:00 pm and 2:00 am. She wouldn't nurse. All I could do was walk her around, try to comfort her and pray. Prayers for her. And prayers for myself, that I may have the grace to give her the comfort, love, patience and understanding that she needs.
With extreme fatigue today, I realized that making it to Church tonight to learn more about prayer was not going to happen. I am disappointed.
I have been trying to read my 20 minute Bible reading each day so that by the end of the year, I will have read the entire book. I have also been trying to read my Jesus Calling devotional each day. This week it hasn't really happened.
Yesterday's devotion explained that Jesus is the ultimate time manager. We cannot withhold spending time with Him through His Word and through prayer because we are too busy. For when we do make the time, we will see that our time is much more easily managed. I know this and I have experienced it. I believe it to be true. And yet this week, I have not been able to make the time for my Bible reading and devotional.
Earlier today I felt like I was failing, that I was in a way, standing Jesus up for our date, each day that I missed my time to read the Bible.
Jenny explained otherwise.
She said that I am not being called to learn more about my prayer life at Church right now. Right now, Jesus is calling me to pray with Him at 2:00 am as I hold a crying, inconsolable baby in my arms.
How simply put. And how true.
And rather than feel guilty when I miss my Bible reading or can't make it to a Church lesson about prayer, I can take comfort in knowing that if I can't keep our date, Jesus will reschedule.
No Friday night Zumba class for me. It's as if my body has hit the wall. I have been SOOO tired. At random times recently, I have found myself dozing off on the couch. When Jason tries to talk with me at night after the kids go to bed, I feel like a brain dead zombie, unable to understand the strange noises coming out of his mouth or articulate a coherent response.
At the beginning of this month, I began counting calories and working out about 3 times per week. I've given myself 2000 calories, what I think to be a generous and healthy amount while I am breastfeeding. I've lost about six pounds so far, which is great.
However, for the past week, my energy level has been very low. I think even possibly lower than when we first brought Teresa home. Hmmmm. This has got me thinking about what I need to change.
First, I am adding another 200 calories to my diet. Hopefully, this will help some. I do not need to be losing weight as quickly as I have so far since the beginning of the year. On average, I have lost about 2 lbs per week. I was aiming for more like 1 pound per week. I am hoping that if I add some more fuel to my diet, my energy level will go up.
If it doesn't go up, I may have to pause on the whole calorie counting business for a while. It might just be too soon for that. I am still getting up in the middle of the night with Teresa and she is still breastfeeding exclusively. While I am so anxious to lose the pregnancy weight, I may have to just wait a few more months. In a few more months, she will be eating solid food and HOPEFULLY sleeping through the night. I was hoping to get the majority of the weight off by this summer, but that just might not be able to happen.
It's really only for vanity reasons that I want to lose the weight right now. In terms of my health, a few more months won't really matter. It's just frustrating and discouraging to have to wait. They say that it's harder and harder to lose pregnancy weight with each baby. I have definitely found that to be true. With Joshua, all I really had to do was breastfeed for the weight to come off. But with each baby, my weight has plateaued at a higher and higher number and I have had to work harder and harder to get those pounds off.
I also need to manage my day better. Because I've been so tired, I have been sleeping in more. While this might seem like a good idea, it's not. It means that the rest of my day is like a hectic race that I never get to finish, with no time for any breaks. If I could be disciplined enough to go to bed by 10:00-10:30 and get up each day at 6:00, this would make my day much more relaxing and calm. It would also make time so that I could get in a much needed afternoon break each day.
It's crazy to me how much time, energy, thought and discipline it takes just to take care of myself. It can be so difficult and is such a balancing act. This week it seems I have fallen off the tightrope down onto the trampoline. Thank goodness I can bounce back again on Monday.
For the zillionth time in my career as a homeschooling mom, I will be working this weekend on a daily schedule that includes time for rest, cooking, teaching, prayer, eating, laundry, cleaning, etc, etc. This exercise will help me to visualize my week so that I can be the most efficient without completely wearing myself out.
When I think about it, it seems obvious that I would be tired at this juncture in my life. Sometime I feel dumb for being surprised or frustrated with it. OF COURSE I'm tired! A four month old baby, four children and homeschooling? This is a recipe for exhaustion! It reminds me of when I get annoyed at how much laundry there is. OF COURSE there's a lot of laundry! Did I really think we could have four kiddos and not have a lot of clothes that need washing?
But even though I knew motherhood would be hard, I didn't realize how hard. And I didn't understand how much laundry there would be. And I didn't know just how tired I would be.
What seems important now is how I am going to respond to these things. How can I handle the mountain of laundry? Get at least one load of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away six days a week. How can I handle my tiredness? Eat well, manage my time, exercise, and get enough rest.
How can I deal with the difficulties of motherhood? Talk with Jason and other moms, pray every day, read about the specific issues I am facing, be patient and forgiving with my children and myself, receive God's grace through the sacraments, and pray, pray, pray some more for even more of God's grace. For with God's grace, anything is possible.
"I want to give Jesus a big hug," Veronica told me this morning as I brushed her hair. "At his house. I am going to go give Jesus a big hug."
She was picturing hugging the statue of Jesus at our Church. Knowing this wasn't really possible, I told her to close her eyes and imagine Jesus' arms around her, holding her tightly, His cheek against hers. I told her Jesus loves her very much and wants to be her best friend.
A few minutes later, she walked out of her room, dressed for the day.
"How did you get to be so beautiful?" I asked her.
The months keep slipping through my fingers and yesterday, Teresa turned four months old. She really isn't an infant any longer.
Yesterday, I pulled clothes out of her dresser that are now too small for her to be put away in the garage. My heart is pulled in two directions, stretched between the excitement that I feel for watching Teresa grow up and develop her own personality and the sadness I feel as I watch her infanthood pass by. With each tiny newborn outfit that I set aside, I would smell the newborn smell, tears streaming down my cheeks.
I thought about each one of my babies. This spring, Joshua will turn 9, Noah 7 and Veronica 3. For about nine years now, I have watched my children grow, stretching my heart further and further between excitement, pride, love, joy and sadness, reluctance and fear to witness them grow closer and closer to the day when they will no longer be children. In another nine years, Joshua will be eighteen.
If only I could press the pause button. If only I could turn the sand running through my fingers into something more graspable.