For better or for worse, in the shop and out…

Well, maybe those weren’t our EXACT wedding vows. But lately a plague has visited the vehicles of our house. It started a month ago with my hero and I on a trip home from the airport. Our flight had landed at midnight and we were halfway through our two hour drive home when out of the inky blackness, two deer appeared in the highway- right in front of us. We missed the doe. The buck took out the front of our Suburban pretty handsomely. My hero pulled off the highway into the grass, muttering choice words about the buck’s parentage. Steam was spewing from the punctured radiator, and our front bumper dragged on the wheel. We weren’t going anywhere real soon. We turned on our hazard lights and went back to find the deer- he was in bad shape. On the other side of the highway I heard a lone eighteen wheeler hitting his Jake brake, slowing down as fast as he could. I idly wondered if he saw us in tbe dark… was stopping to help? Then another pickup with four guys stopped and all of them got out screaming “Fire! Fire!”

Fire? Where?

Oh crud. That orange glow on tbe front of the disabled Suburban was NOT the emergency flashers. The front of it was in flames, and the drought- seared grasses that we were parked in were already burning. My hero and I sprinted back to the Suburban, he grabbed a soda he had been drinking and doused the fire ON the truck, while I snatched a gallon of water out of the back and took care of the grass. The four helpful guys had continued to yell “Fire! Fire!” “Get away from there, it’s gonna blow up!”

We studiously ignored them. Took care of business. Because we were NOT going to be responsible for the next round of wildfires that wiped out Central Texas. Well. The fire department and police showed up as soon as the fire was out, and one officer stayed with us the entire four hours it took a tow truck to find us, out there in the middle of nowhere. Hats off to those guys who take their oath to “serve and protect” so seriously. We made a friend that night.

Once the Suburban was towed home, my hero switched to driving my Expedition as his commuter car. Which was great, until the brakes went out. A week later. He changed them in our driveway, because he is awesome like that.

Four days later, I drove our bus to a meeting in town. When I came out of the restaurant, it didn’t want to start. At all. After trying to rescue me and being unsuccessful in starting the bus, my hero decided we should call a tow truck. But by this time it was 11:00pm so we did it the next day. The shop said it was the fuel pump. 48 hours later we were on the road again.

While the bus was gone I was driving our old farm truck. Nearly t-boned someone in an intersection when the brakes AND power steering went out as I was trying to turn… That was exciting. There may or may not have been a zebra stripe in my underwear  once the power steering kicked in again… so we have an intermittent hiccup with that truck. It decides when it wants the brakes and power steering to work.

So after this saga, my dear hero decided that we needed a reliable, fuel economical car to save money. I concurred. We bought a used diesel VW Jetta, cars that fairly routinely go 450k miles. Drove home the 60 miles like a dream. The next morning we took it into town for an appointment,  and when we were done… it wouldn’t start. At all. Had THAT car towed into the shop. Turns out it needed a new starter AND a new engine head. Fabulous.

I am seriously considering switching my main mode of transportation.  After our luck with vehicles lately, I’m thinking maybe horse and buggy. Do those come in 15-passenger?


The Care and Keeping of a Marine

Congratulations on your newly acquired Marine. This model will provide many years of fun, protection, and enjoyment if treated properly. Please follow these instructions; any failure to do so will void your warranty and may result in a malfunction of your individual Marine unit. 
1) Never ever disrespect the Marine Corps, its origins, motto, etc. No matter how much your Marine may complain about the time spent or the hardships endured in the Corps, they have a fierce loyalty to their “brothers” and the fire that forged them into what they are. Disrespect or disregard for this important aspect of your Marine may cause a short circuit in the unit. 

2) Some level of addiction to weapons, esp. firearms, is normal. Do not be alarmed if your Marine occasionally expresses a need to shoot something. If participation in this behavior is not your thing, make arrangements for him to do so without eye rolling or fussing. It’s a normal part of your Marine’s functioning- don’t fight it.

3) Under no circumstances should you try to give him orders or tell him what to do. These units are very sensitive to respect, and a lack thereof may cause a major malfunction or even complete shutdown of the unit. 

4) Every individual unit has the same “born on” date: November 10, 1775. This is important. Put a reminder in your calendar and do not forget. A favorite dessert is in order, along with a high degree of sensitivity- if your Marine has lost some of his brothers to combat or other tragedy, this is a bittersweet day for him. Just love on him.

5) Colorful language comes standard. Most will try to speak politely while in the company of women or children, but it slips out when emphasis is required or under stress.  It is what it is.

6) Marines are confident, to the point of cockiness. They walk and talk like they are the baddest, toughest things on God’s green earth because… well, they are. Any attempt to challenge their supremacy will result in swift correction of any misconceptions about their abilities.

7) A Marine is NOT a soldier. Soldiers are in the Army (also lovingly referred to as ‘Army pukes’). Marines are very proud to have earned the title “Marine”, and they do not surrender that title upon resignation from the Corps. There are no “ex-Marines”, no “former Marines”. They aren’t born Marines- they are forged by pain and duress, and they will die Marines.

These individual units are designed to be fully operational on their own, but they function best as part of a team. They DO NOT NEED A MOMMY. They need a partner, someone who is also fully operational solo, but chooses to integrate with them. There is no better friend- and no worse enemy- than a United States Marine. 

Glossary of terms and phrases:

  • Devil Dog/ Teufel hunden- an affectionate nickname given to the Marines in the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918 (WWI). The nickname was bestowed upon them by the German army whose butts they kicked soundly… the Germans thought the hounds of hell had been unleashed upon them when the Marines showed up.
  • Jarhead- nickname referring to the stiff white collar of their uniform. 
  • Leatherneck- see above
  • “Oo-RAH!”- the literal translation is ‘to kill’, but is generally used by Marines to express excitement, approval, or motivation.
  • Semper fidelis- the Marine Corps motto. The Latin phrase means “always faithful”. A true Marine will never betray their brother or their country. They tend to carry long grudges against the enemy (whoever that happens to be) and have a short fuse when provoked by the same. 
  • Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome- the unofficial motto of the USMC. Marines tend to be very tenacious in accomplishing their objective, and very creative in surmounting obstacles. Don’t be one of those obstacles. It won’t end well.

War and Peace

Few roller coasters are as exciting as the hormonal ones. And with three teen boys and four girls in puberty and beyond, we get to ride that up-and-down adventure daily. Wow. Did you know that someone sitting in a chair you occupied fifteen minutes previous warranted a meltdown? Now you do. Oh, and it is fine for you to spit water on other people, but the minute someone spits water back at you, it’s grounds for bodily harm. All the training we did when they were toddlers is getting a refresher lately. 😲

But on the other hand, teenage children are da bomb. I can assign one to cook dinner and know that it will be done AND edible. Another can mow the yard and it will look beautiful when they are finished. The animal care is all their responsibility; and they are truly wonderful babysitters for their small siblings when needed. 

This has been a bittersweet time for my hero and me. Realizing that our babies are no longer babies, but young adults needing to stretch their wings… I will neither confirm not deny that there may have been some sniffles and tears on both our parts. Our oldest two are working hard; one is a construction helper and the other is waiting tables. Our next two have smaller jobs; one works as a mother’s helper and the other builds lawn furniture and sells it. Drivers licenses are looming large in our future. 

Part of me misses the days when they were small. A BIG part of me is so over having a young person tell me that I don’t know how the world works (not in so many words, but if you have ever debated someone less than half your age who knows more than you do, well…. you get it.) And an ever increasingly large part of me is excited. I am watching the unfolding of some seriously stellar individuals. They are demonstrating a solid work ethic, a kind and generous disposition, and a sense of team work that will serve them well in life. 

Right now I have many seasons of parenting going on simultaneously. Hurricane Baby promises to live up to the circumstances of his arrival… his daddy calls him a perpetual motion machine. Even if I am holding him and he is watching the others play, he is kicking and squealing- he is walking with help, and as his daddy says, he’s “a going concern”. Whatever that  means. But it seems to fit. He is learning the meaning of “No, don’t touch”… and as the youngest of twelve, is fully capable of holding his own against older siblings. Yesterday his brother took a toy away from him, so he screeched and bit him back. Ahem. Hard not to laugh… the older one had earned it, after all. But I am getting a refresher course in baby training  and chasing. It’s been a while. Then we have the tooth losing group… tooth fairy payouts are going to break the bank, lately. The tooth losers are also the most intense as far as schooling goes; LOTS of repetition, but so much fun to watch the lights come on. The tweens… whoa. Going to take out stock in a deodorant company. We will be using truckloads for the forseeable future. Also considering starting a drama company, with these as my primary actors. And of course the training and guidance that goes into mentoring our teens into independence is a new adventure… my dad used to say that  his task was to work himself out of a job when it came to parenting. We are figuring out how to do that. Learning to not be needed, but building a relationship with our young people so strong that we are valued long after we are needed- that is our task. You can pray for us if you think of it; I think this may be our most challenging season yet.

In admiration of Dads

It has been a while since I posted. Three of my oldest children are now gainfully employed, but not yet driving… which keeps Momma’s Taxi Service in constant swing. Baby is trying to walk and giving me more gray hairs, summer schooling has relaxed our schedule aMomapmpmMomapmpmommpItle, at least school-wise- socially we are going and doing more than ever.
Today, though, I was 301 W. LOUIS HENNA BLVD.
AUSTIN, TX 78728 about my hero aqndlio the difference that he has made. Not just in our lives, but in the lives of countless others. He exemplifies the selfless leader to his core. His Marines knew that he was tough, but fair; he had to bust one for bad conduct, but he was also that Marine’s advocate. With his friends, they all know that he is as faithful and dependable as the day is long. If you need something, he will be there. His co-workers can trust that he will pull his weight on his shift and then some, making sure that the shift following him is taken care of too. Everyone that knows him understands that he is a man of his word- his work ethic is second to none- and he makes THE best hamburgers. Ever.

I don’t know how a man like this ended up in my life, but I am so very thankful. Because he just lives, and leads, and our boys are watching. They see him go to work tired, and come home more tired, but with a smile on his face- providing for the family that he loves. They are learning to take care of others first by watching their dad. They see him make crazy science projects with them (they just made a vortex cannon that shoots smoke rings out of a paper drum and bungee cords). They are learning to be creative and that school doesn’t have to be boring! They see him treat me with more love and respect than I deserve- and they are learning the secret to a happy, healthy marriage.

The most dramatic thing I have observed over the past three years is the difference in my blue eyed boys. The father in their lives before was an angry, impossible-to-please figure. They modeled that behavior on varying levels, according to their age and maturity. But this past month, I realized that they are modeling a different set of behaviors. My thirteen year old blue eyed boy is serving the family by doing his chores just because it is his job- not because I hound him or because he will be punished, but because that is what he is supposed to do. Wonder where he gets that? My eleven year old blue eyed boy is fascinated by science and how things work. Looks an awful lot like someone I know and respect. My eight year old blue eyed boy wants nothing more than to be a Marine when he grows up. And that little guy can work harder and longer than his big brothers, he is just limited by his size. Again, modeling what he sees in his daddy.

Men, please never underestimate your worth to your family. The weight of your position is impossible to gauge. Moms get lots of recognition and gifts and attention on Mother’s Day, and sometimes it feels like Father’s Day is an afterthought. But the family unit was designed to be led by a team; neither half more valuable than the other, but one half bearing the weight of leadership, and the other the burden of nurturing and managing. The head and the heart. Ever notice that both of those are things you can’t do without? You don’t live long without either one. And for those of us who have done or are doing both jobs by ourselves- there is special grace. I think that God makes special provision for circumstances that are less than ideal, and for that I am thankful. But having been both mom and dad for a while, I see even more clearly how vital the dad’s role is in our home. As a single mom, I knew that I couldn’t teach my boys how to be men. That is a skill set that only comes from watching and observing and participating… with men. My hero is exactly that- a hero- to me and to our boys, because he leads our home by example. He is harder on himself than on anyone else, and serves and gives better than anyone else. That servant leadership is what enables him to leap tall buildings in a single bound, at least in our eyes.

Today is Father’s Day. One day out of the hundreds every year that these selfless men quietly and unassumingly go about the enormous task of saving the world- one family at a time. May your service and your sacrifice- and your incredible importance- never be taken for granted. Thank you for everything you do.

It’s just not for me

Ever used that line? I know I have. That color shirt just isn’t my thing, or that style of doing church just isn’t what we are looking for, or that activity isn’t for me. We use it to state a preference to others (hopefully) inoffensively.

But earlier today I was dragging myself to the living room for an early morning workout session. Getting my body back after baby takes WORK! And since I was alone (!) and the house was quiet, I was complaining to the only intelligent individual around: myself.

“But I’m tired! I only got 5 hours of sleep last night, and the baby was up three times in those five hours! I really deserve a nap before the kids get up. Yep, I’m going to make a cup of tea and settle back down for a while…” And I stopped. Images of the dresses I want to rock again- summer and swimming at the lake- being able to out work my kids again- all those images flashed through my sleep fogged brain.

There is this horrible truth in life; that dreams and goals are great, but unless you take action you won’t ever reach them. I won’t get abs again without putting in the work. I won’t educate my children well by just throwing books at them. I won’t build successful friendships by wishing for them. All the good things in life take work.

Our oldest children are learning this lesson in earnest. High school is much more challenging than elementary school was- especially Biology. This class requires lots of reading, critical thought, papers to be turned in on time and LEGIBLE, good study habits… good grades in Biology are not given based on your good looks! And one young person readily accepted the challenge, while the other messed around all of the fall semester and ended up practically failing at Christmas break. We had a come-to-Jesus moment, and once said young person realized they would be retaking biology next year instead of moving on to chemistry with all of their friends, they decided to put in the work. To actually use the “S” word… Study.

So. Working out is “not for me”. It isn’t fun or comfortable. Hot brownies a la mode are FOR ME. But they are counterproductive to my health goals. Sadness.

Studying is “not for my kids”. Playing with horses and building things from scrap wood is FOR THEM. But they had darn well better do it if they intend to graduate from high school any time this century. The goal is worth the discomfort of the work.

What about you? What goals and dreams in your life could become reality with a little hard work and consistency? You can do it- you were made for excellence. Don’t settle for the guilty comfort of mediocrity. You are able to win. Go out there and do it.

Holiday Season Stress Disorder

Otherwise known as HSSD. It’s a thing.

Ever feel inclined to just boycott Christmas and Thanksgiving altogether? No matter how hard you try, keeping everyone happy is an exercise in futility. The reason for the holiday gets lost in hectic activity. 

I confess, my HSSD is acting up something fierce this year. I considered getting the flu just to get out of the insanity. While I can’t quite go that far, I am fighting hard to maintain some sense of balance. I want to celebrate with family, but the scheduling to try to make that happen is destroying any sense of celebration. My hero and I have decided that when our kids are grown, we will celebrate Christmas a week or two early so that the holiday itself isn’t so crowded for our kids. Christmas Day will be for us to be quiet and enjoy each other.

But for now, there is a lot of choosing going on. I have to choose to keep a positive focus so that the kids don’t stress. I have to choose which activities to prioritize. I have to choose not to be angry at his ex and her demands on the brown eyes which makes schedule planning sooo much more difficult. Lots of choices.

And as usual, my hero helps me stay centered. Last night with yet more demands on our time and kids going different directions, I was in tears. He brought home pizza and we shut our bedroom door and ate a sort of quiet dinner sitting on our bed, laughing at the baby and his happy little squeals. A little peace and sanity in the middle of the maelstrom. No demands, no expectations,  just enjoying each other and a half hour of quiet.

And today, I choose peace. I choose joy. I choose to be still… and to focus on Jesus, who did NOT plan a huge fanfare or hectic busyness to announce His arrival among us. He slipped in quietly, surprising the cows and sheep with His occupation of their hay feeder. And the one public beacon announcing his birth, the Star… was silent. Heaven shouted for a moment, witnessed by a few astounded shepherds- and then all was calm and bright again. 

May your Christmas be a reflection of the One we honor on that day- a glorious celebration of the King who came so silently, and who will come again very publicly. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

He has made everything beautiful…

Ever wonder what that phrase means, when it is used in Ecclesiastes 3:11? I have wondered, because there are many, many days when mommying 12 kids is anything BUT attractive. I mean, “WHY?” has become my most-oft-repeated question, three year old style. The boys come in crying because dirt got in their eyes. Turns out a dirt clod war is in progress. I clean up the injured party, he goes back outside, clocks his big brother in the back with another clod, receives return fire, and comes in crying again. “WHY?”

I entered the bathroom the other night and nearly screamed. Toothpaste adorned the mirror… the walls… the tub… the toilet seat… the floor. “WHY??”

I was scoring tests and the answers on one led me to believe that the child submitting said test had not even read the directions, let alone put any thought into the answers. Called the guilty party over, issued verbal correction, handed them the test to do over. When it was turned back in, the answers were erased and changed… but still incorrect. The method of test taking had NOT changed. Issued sterner and stiffer correction. Tears and howling ensued. Test comes back somewhat corrected… somewhat. Half still was obviously skipped and/or ignored. “WHY???”

Well, this past Sunday my consternation with that particular passage of Scripture was eased. ‘Beautiful’, the pastor explained, doesn’t mean ‘attractive’… in this context. It means ‘appropriate to its time and place’. Aha. Suddenly, dirt clod wars make sense. Sin nature rears its ugly head in my boys when, outmanned and outgunned, the desire for revenge prods the little one to attempt retaliation- and big brother thinks he’s still playing. Beautiful. Makes perfect sense. 

The toothpaste smeared on mirrors and walls was the product of a small person exploring texture and cause and effect. Beautiful- he is learning his world. Also learning how to apply a wet cleaning rag to fix the results of his exploration. Definitely appropriate to its time and place.

The howls and tears and corrections of the test taker were the medium through which a character flaw (laziness) was able to be addressed. Painful? Yes. But also beautiful. We are able to address a habit before it costs someone their grade or their job or their marriage. So very good in THIS time and place.

Mamas, the days with little ones are long. They are draining. They are frustrating. Your “WHY?” may not only be about the messes, but: WHY am I not doing something grand and significant with my life? WHY am I wasting my time and talents with small people who obviously don’t appreciate them? 

There was a comment that Jesus made that I take comfort from. He said that whoever is faithful with the small, insignificant things will be trusted with the great and important things. But whoever is not faithful with the small things- even what he has will be taken from him and given to one more responsible. (Matt. 25:29) These crazy, insignificant days are the arena in which we prove our greatness. Our most formidable enemy is ourselves; the temptation to look for importance in grandeur, not in faithfulness. So battle on, brave mamas. These days are more significant than you know. They are ‘beautiful’ days.

Hurricane Baby

I guess I wasn’t really surprised that baby decided to arrive in the middle of Hurricane Harvey. 

Nor was I entirely dumbfounded that he insisted on keeping his little self turned posterior, refusing to descend properly and wearing mama out. Yes, I said HIM… baby #12 brings the grand total to 7 boys, 5 girls. He has been a crazy active little person from the get go, painfully so in this last month. My money says he will be a soccer player with a powerhouse of a goal kick. And his wiggles and kicks kept him turned absolutely backwards until he started going into distress and mama was nearly exhausted. So in the driving rain with creeks and rivers rising all around us, the midwife made the call. We were heading to the hospital.

I was a little disappointed, I will confess. I have only been able to deliver two out of my seven births at home, for one reason or another. But God went ahead of us and scheduled a fabulous doctor to be on call- one whose style of practice was uncannily midwife-like. God followed behind us and made sure they didn’t close the highways until AFTER we made it through to town. And God hovered over us and fixed little Mr. Hurricane’s distress, so that he was born completely healthy and energetic and LOUD. 

I don’t know why we were supposed to be at the hospital, but I honestly saw God’s hand driving us there. I have learned to accept His swift kick in the pants rather than waiting for the 2×4 upside the head. Did we meet someone we were supposed to meet? Did we avoid something that we will never know, because we didn’t stay home? I don’t know if I will get an answer to those questions or not. But I am so grateful for excellent medical care, both through the midwife and the hospital. So thankful for a healthy baby and relatively easy delivery. Blessed that our area only experienced minor inconveniences compared to our near neighbors in Houston. 

We are so blessed, y’all. Our dozen crazy kids keep us hopping. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank You Lord for each of these gifts, and help us to be wise parents and mentors for every one of them.

The Longest Days

I have been pregnant during the hot Texas summers. But never hugely, ready-to-give-birth pregnant. And as staunch an advocate as I am for natural childbirth and all that, a big part of me is ready to just schedule a C-section and be DONE. 

This week in particular has been challenging. I have a condition during pregnancy called SPD, which makes my pelvis very painful. Walking, sitting, standing, lying down, moving, not moving… it doesn’t matter. Life just hurts at the moment. It doesn’t help my impatience that I know that as soon as this baby comes out, the pain will begin to subside. 

Living with the suspense of not knowing when baby will come… dealing  with the heat and the pain… trying so desperately to manage the children with kindness and not allow the complaints and sharp irritiation to creep out… these last days of this pregnancy are full of character building opportunities. 

Have you ever wondered why it is the hard things that build who we are as a person? Why can we not learn just as deeply, mature as readily, when things are going well? But some perverse twist in our nature demands that our growth- the hardening and refining of our character- happen in a crucible and not in a bed of roses. 

I don’t know about you, but my children have been the largest instrument of  character building in my life. Bar none. I will never get over how you can love someone so deeply and be so furious with them all at the same time. How they can keep you young and give you gray hairs simultaneously. How you can be at your wits’ end with their crazy shenanigans, and they can smile and say “You’re so pretty, Mommy”…. and you melt. How you can be so done with the noise and bickering and squabbling, but when they’re gone for the day the house is eerily quiet and you’re so ready for them to come home.

It is a growing-and-becoming season here, for all of us. My hero and I are becoming better parents and better managers of our time and resources. Our teenagers are becoming young adults with responsibilities and a faith of their own. Our tweens are learning by doing, being faithful in their small chores and lessons. Our littles are losing teeth and gaining stature- some days I wonder if I’m not raising weeds rather than children, they grow so fast! And the newest one… needs to come OUT.  Yesterday. Character building is great and all that, but at this point, Mama is DONE. 

The Home Stretch

Six weeks is not a long time. Unless you’re waiting for Christmas and you’re five years old. But six weeks is all we have left to wait to meet our newest baby! And to this busy mama, it’s almost not enough time.

It has been five years- almost six- since I did the baby thing. And after him, I gave away EVERYTHING. I knew I wouldn’t have any more….right?  Ha. 

Life is predictable only in its unpredictability. So I have my check lists, my to-do lists, my must-haves and my get-this-done-before-baby lists. Implementing a new system for managing school work and assigning school buddies (a big to a little). Training the crew in said system. Creating meal plans and menus that the kids can cook (I am SO GLAD I taught them to cook!). And halfway through my must-do list, I have begun to feel almost… ready. Almost. 

The three ‘babies’ of the family are excited about the new baby, but clingy and weepy too. Emotionally, it can be exhausting. WHY are you crying? You had a nap, you had food, nobody took your toy…??? Or if they aren’t crying, they are RIGHT under my feet. Which can be hazardous, because I can’t see my feet. I will be glad if we make it to D-day without Mom falling on someone.

My hero and I wonder and prognosticate. Will baby have blue eyes or brown? Will he/she be tall or short? All the women on my side of the family are small, all the men are tall. On his side there is more height across the board. Is baby a boy or a girl? He thinks girl, I’m not so sure. Reflexively, I keep saying “he”, maybe because I carried twice as many boys as girls. People keep asking “Do you know what you’re having?” To which I usually reply “…um… baby?” Then I laugh and tell them we wanted to be surprised. 

Baby is due to arrive at a super busy time for us. The beginning of the school year, the beginning of football, midweek church and 4-H resume in August… maybe we could have planned this a little  better. Not to mention the heat. Oh my word.

Texas summers are hot. Really hot. But a Texas summer while 8-9 months pregnant is a level of  misery that is unparalleled. You’re happy about the baby, but when I can’t cuddle my kids because their hot little bodies push my thermostat over the already-exceeded limit… yuck. I’m an outdoors kind of girl, but I hide inside where the a/c is to just make it through the afternoon. Even dusk is in the mid 80’s, so I come out long enough to water my plants and then hide again. 

Funny, though- as hot and miserable as it is, this pregnancy has been easier than all but my first. Who would have thought that 11 kids would be less stressful than 6?!? But my hero spoils me, affirms my efforts, pitches in when he’s home (and sometimes when he’s not, if someone needs correction and he is on his lunch). One of the thousand reasons he really IS my hero, and more than half of the reason that this equation balances. Yes, I’ve been teaching algebra. Bear with the math analogy. Sometimes he seems like Atlas, carrying my world on his shoulders. Regardless, this pregnancy has been a very physical demonstration of the difference a good man makes. My body still looks… pregnant. My bones still hurt from being too loose. I still get tired easily. But I am never in trouble for any of those things, so I don’t stress over them. I just keep moving forward, at a snail’s pace some days, but forward. I know that this season will pass, baby will arrive, and after a sleep-deprived few months I will hit my new stride. 

It is well, and it will all be well.