Setback Part 2

Hang on a second while I go ram my face into a wall. Advice to a would-be home-builder? Kill yourself.

Or hire a contractor. And do mountains of homework ahead of time. We are experiencing some annoying (read also: frustrating beyond belief) setbacks in our construction progress.

I dare not go into extreme detail but I will tell you that one sort-of funny problem involves the city limit lines recently being re-drawn to possibly include our house and NOWHERE ELSE AROUND IT–all our neighbors’ properties and 80% of our yard is not inside city limits, but our house might be. So we can have farm animals, just not in the middle part of our front yard (or in the house). Go home, city-limits drawer, you’re drunk.

It’s kind of just the icing on the cake to an incredibly long and way-more-difficult-than-expected process. Oy.

So it very well might be Christmas before we’re in there, flushing toilets like we own the place.

And I say I’m aggravated, but really? It’s fine. I’m annoyed, Caleb is stressed, but we really do have everything we need. Having to sort things out, having to wait longer than we planned–these things are absolutely no big deal.

All the seemingly big problems that we stress to death over are not the end of the world.

We have each other and we have our friends. More importantly, God sees what’s in store for our family and He’s got it under control. This may involve giving up everything we own and moving to Timbuktu. I think it’s important to keep that perspective when the pursuit of earthly luxuries start to overwhelm my thinking–and I can’t say that I haven’t been pre-occupied and anxious with all the work and planning that’s gone into this farmhouse.

People tell me “You needed a bigger house, remember? You wanted land, and animals, right? You guys have poured so much time and effort into this thing. Aren’t you so upset?” Well, there are people living with so, so much less–and they’re happier than most people I know.

In Luke 12 vs 13-21, Jesus tells his posse about a rich man with a plan. He owned a ton of property and had more grain and food than he could handle, so he decided he would build barns and storehouses to hold all this mad abundance of stuff. It seems like a reasonable enough action in this day and age, where everyone works hard for what they have and we’re all so frugal and proud of ourselves–but Jesus tells the crowd that the man was a straight-trippin’ fool, because that very night, he would die, and everything in all his extra storehouses would be pointless rot.

I can plan and plan, and build and dream, but none of it is important, especially in the end.

So with that in mind let me always remember to be grateful, no matter where we live, be it a big fat farmhouse (outside the city limits), or a tiny apartment in a booming metropolis. Pray that we will always use our home to love and serve others.


And in 3. 2. 1…mastitis.

This is happening right now.


I’m totally kidding. You won’t ever catch me wearing a cabbage bra.

Actually, ask me that in 2 days, because mastitis sucks and if I’m not feeling better, I’m liable to try anything.

For those of you who don’t know, mastitis is a boob infection. You are achey and fevery like you have the flu. Plus also your boobs feel like they’re about to fall off, and you kind of wish they would. And you stop making as much milk for your baby and she gets all huffy because she’s starving or something.

I seriously get why women quit breastfeeding. I’ve been so exhausted and weak and in pain that I’ve contemplated quitting myself–except then I remember we can’t afford hundreds of dollars a month in formula. I’m on strict orders–yet again–to sit on my butt and rest, something I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about once the baby was born. Apparently this is God’s way of telling me to chill out during her first weeks.

My doctor called in some antibiotics and I will soon be on the mend. Arbor is eating every hour on the hour. Mia and Merrick have been total champs in
dealing with my neglectfulness as a parent. And Caleb is taking up the slack, and making a craft out of it, and then spanking that slack and putting it to bed as Mr. Mom/Dad/Husband/Coach/chauffeur/builder/maid/cook/nurse/doer of all the things.

We are managing. Everything is going pretty well, aside from my technical difficulties. I feel so utterly blessed by my family, and our friends.

I now leave you with a picture of Arbor in a baby maxi skirt I made out of an old t-shirt. Notice how stoked she is to be wearing it.


She can’t even.

The good stuff

Here’s what’s up: I’m about to get so fat y’all. People have been bringing us the most delicious dinners and desserts; my family hasn’t eaten this good since…the last time people brought us dinners and desserts. Church meals after childbirth: they’re a beautiful thing.

Last night I managed to get in a full 45-minutes of sleep. I deal with the fatigue by thinking of my BFF who has not one, but TWO babies to feed and change and rock and burp, and change again, in the dark of the night–I actually feel energized just thinking about my solo baby and her cluster-feeding ways.

Other stuff that is awesome:

Spice World is on Netflix.

My mom and my sister are visiting one week from now.

Caleb is wrapping up on his share of the brunt work on the house. Nothin’ but hired help from here on out, at least for the big stuff. We are this close to getting insulation and sheetrock installed–after that, we will slowly begin the transfer of clutter from this place to that place in the hopes of selling this place in a fast way. If you know anyone that needs a 1700 square foot brick house on a 1.5 acre lot in a growing suburb of the greater Oklahoma City area, stand by. We’re almost there.

Highs in the 70s: Glory be to God in the highest, maker of heaven and earth, of all things seen and unseen. Fall weather is probably the weather in heaven. I can’t back that up; some things you just know, you know?

The kids are out at the property shooting watermelons and pumpkins with BB guns as we speak. Quality time with dad–a long overdue necessity after a boring week at home with a new baby sister and an exhausted, temperamental mommy.

There are tons of other good things going on in our lives, no matter how tired we get or how post-partum deppressy we feel: 1) We have a Good God. 2) We have a loving and supportive network of family and friends. And 3) This baby:



It’s almost here, fall is. Because today is the first day that temperatures are not rivaling the surface of the sun–and of course, my kids are fresh out of cool-weather clothes that cover their ankles and forearms.

So yesterday me and Arbor miraculously pulled ourselves together in less than 4 hours and ventured into town for a little hoodie shopping. Arbor was looking super-fly in a preciously pink ensemble complete with a matching up-cycled headband; I was stylin’ in my 3-day old bed-head ponytail, nursing tank, and surprisingly, my pre-pregnancy (ahem, stretchy) jeans. I’ve never been one for looking good that first week out after giving birth, but darn it, I was excited about dem jeans! I swaggered my way around Kohl’s, looking to score the perfect jackets for the perfect price for the perfect kids with the perfect mom.

Except Kohl’s doesn’t have big carts that one can stick an infant carrier in. And I forgot the stroller at home. And so I carried Arbor. And shopped. And sweated. And my legs hurt. And those jeans started to feel a little (a lot) snugger than they originally felt when I left the house. And with the baby cuddled up close to my chest I started to leak all over the place. And then she pooped, like, big time.

I knew I was covered in all kinds of bodily fluids by the end of our shopping excursion; I did not realize until after I had paid for the jackets and changed Arbor’s diaper in the backseat that I forgot to zip my fly.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is the way of the first outing: tricky and usually less adorable than you hope.

But at least my kids are warm today.

I’m so winning Mother of the Year.

Post-partum suckage.

Day 1 of crying in our jammies. Oh hello, hormones. I’ve been expecting you. I’m taking deep breaths and giving thanks for these moments.

It’s nothing I haven’t been through before, but let me just speak to new moms right now: my skin is crawling. I’m sweaty and tired and achey all over. I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything and I feel like I could maintain that position for at least another year.

I kind of want a healthy salad but I also want a big fat piece of chocolate cake. Everything is overwhelming, even simple things like taking a shower or making a sandwich for lunch. I can’t even begin to tell you how I feel about house construction or house repairs or cleaning/packing/moving/selling right now.

My eyes are constantly brimming with tears. One minute my heart is breaking for no apparent reason, and the next it’s singing Frozen songs and getting ready to go for a walk in the sunshine. Except I forget that Frozen songs make me think of Cheyenne and then my heart breaks again, and I’ll never stop crying.

Little Arbor is hardly a challenge. She’s so sweet and tiny and soft and she’s the highlight of everyone’s day around here. I’ll take her chubby cheeks and soft murmurings any day over…anything at all, pretty much. There’s no better medicine that having a cuddly baby gently snoring on your chest.


Dat Name

Things here on Day 4 with the baby are awesome. She sleeps a lot, poops a lot, and eats a lot. And she sprouts shark teeth at feeding times.

I’ve been praying too–because that first month of breastfeeding is agonizingly painful, and going to the bathroom (well, really even making it to the bathroom) after delivering a 9-pound + baby requires a radical devotion to God.

No matter how many kids I’ve had, I forget what a fun-suck those first post-partum weeks can be, physically.

So let me tell you what a blessing my kids are instead: my kids are such a blessing.

And, since we’ve gotten so many comments on it–mostly positive–I will now share with you our thought process in choosing this baby’s name.

Confession: I wanted to call her “Harbor”. Confession nĂºmero dos: Caleb is the one who actually came up with our daughter’s first and middle names. (What kind of flighty weirdo artist mother am I?)

I don’t know if it was divine inspiration–he was sitting on the couch watching tv and eating his 11:00 p.m. nachos, so it might very well have been–but I was in love with it from the moment he casually uttered it from his lips. And also? In shock, because it’s taken me years to break him out of a nasty “Madison” fixation.

Y’all, my husband is just not creative when it comes to the baby names.

So I took that bait like a friggin’ rabid piranha in the dry season, declaring it top contender, name above all names.

Arbor. There was really no way to go wrong with it: it was unusual, maybe even slightly romantic. It was nature-y . It was sturdy.

Sigh–Arbor: for if she’s into trees…or selling herbs (um…). Or making wine. Mainly I like to think of the kind of arbor that people build in their gardens. The beautiful, strong and solid kind of arbor that provides support for climbing roses or some junk.

Anyway you look at it, good things come from arbors.

And so far, that’s turning out to be true in our case:


Quiet time.

Here’s our newest kid!


Her name is Arbor, she weighs over 9 pounds, and she is pretty much the bombest baby you’ve ever seen.

Also: we all feel like we’ve been hit by a train, because Arbor is not really into sleeping.

Well I mean, she does sleep, just not when I want her to. But that’s the way it always goes, and that’s why Netflix streams episodes of The Office.

We’re tired but all very happy. The one person who could make it even remotely cooler is in West Virginia, which is unfortunate because only she knows the good kind of Starbucks coffee I like. I won’t even tell you how it feels to have a newborn and a college-aged kid to worry about at the same time.

Labor went okay. I came. I saw. I blinked my eyes and pushed out a great big giant baby. The hospital people were beyond sweet and helpful.

God is good. Like, all the time.

It’s been the best 3 days.


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