Thursday, December 5, 2013

We all have to deal somehow...

Today was a long day.  It included 3 infants, a crazy three year old, a dog with a foot injury and inability to control his bladder completely, and later, a very excited six year old who was simply bursting to relay to anyone and everyone how completely amazing her day was, oh, about twelve thousand times.  Not a bad day, just a very long one.  I had a conversation with my mother earlier that went like this:

Mom: Your sister got to go home at 2:00 today (because of weather, she's a school teacher).
Me: Yes, I saw that. I considered texting her to say that I got to be home all day but thought she wouldn't appreciate it.
Mom: Probably not.
Me: Although, I imagine that if she spent a few days here taking care of babies she would be eager to return to work.
Mom: She probably would.  I know I would.

Gee...thanks mom.  To be fair, I know my life isn't ideal for many.  That may be why I know so few stay-at-home moms.  It's hard, and not just financially.  I recently read an article about the hardships of staying home all the time.  You can find it here.  What I got from this piece is this: We are trying so hard to be the perfect wife/mother that when we fail, or feel we fail, especially when comparing ourselves to others, we come down so hard on ourselves.  Yes, there are so many blessings to this lifestyle, but the hardships are very real and sometimes we need help, in whatever form we can find.

Zach was home most of the day today, doing homework and getting ready for a banquet tonight at the Wesley.  He was a great help, holding a baby when I just didn't have enough hands or secure places to place one.  Before he left, carting his white elephant gift and fixings for enchiladas, he kissed me on the forehead and said, "Rest if you can. You've worked hard today."  I LOVE that my husband understands that my days are spent busily taking care of my family, and other babies on certain days, and doesn't take it for granted.  I'm blessed by that.

So, here it is the end of the day, the kids are asleep, the house quiet and I finally have time for myself.  I could busy myself wrapping the pile of gifts hiding in our closet or cleaning the house again, a never ending job.  I choose not to.  My sanity and my body demands rest.  For me that means three things.  First, a bubble bath.  Second and third, a cup of Celestial Seasons Sleepytime tea in my favorite mug and my Nook, as I sit propped up on my pillows in my nice warm bed.  Awwww.... A breath of renewal.  The really hard days also may require a Patty Griffin radio station on Spotify.

This bedtime routine is so special to me that I actually wrote a note of appreciation to the Celestial Seasons company, thanking them for contributing to my ability to continue doing what I do.  I got a nice letter in response and a couple of coupons for more tea.  Now I feel convicted to make deliberate efforts to tell others that I appreciate them and the things they do more often.

I love this cup.

Truth be told, I live a blessed life.  I love being home with my children.  I enjoy caring for the other two babies.  I like having the flexibility to pack up and leave town on a Monday, like we did last week.  And lets be honest, if a cup of tea and a book can bring sanity to my day, it's not all that bad.  

Thanks for reading, you are appreciated.  Blessings on your day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yep, it's the Spirit Bus, Folks!

It's been a while since I've last written.  It's not for the lack of things going on, that's for sure, but more from the lack of energy or coherent thoughts.  The other day I seriously had trouble remembering my own address.   To say the least, life has been crazy lately.

Of course, everyone's life is a little crazy it seems.  It seems that around here everyone is a little more stressed, a little more exhausted, and a little more frustrated.   There are times I wish to shut my family in the house and hope for the world, and the people in it, to return to normal by morning.  Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way and we have to learn to cope.

So, how do you handle the chaos of life?  What helps you deal with the people around you that are just driving you batty?  For me, it's my family.  Interesting that one of my biggest stress makers can also be salvation.  I've been trying really hard to be very conscious of how I react to situations in front of my children.  I'm very intentional about practicing not raising my voice or over reacting in front of my children.  To pat myself on my back I am making great strides in this area.  I'm not completely there yet, but every day I can go without losing it is a victory.

I'm also trying to make every day, especially for Noah, who doesn't get to go out much, something special.  It doesn't always happen, some days I feel we are just trying to survive, but that's my intention anyway.  I want to make the most out of these precious days I have with my kids, because, I know, the time will go by too quickly.

It's in this spirit that we have already begun to celebrate the Christmas season.  Yes, we have already put out some lights on the house, our tree is up and lit (though still awaiting ornaments) and, yes, I have already begun listening to Christmas songs in the car.   We know, with our past experience, that this season passes too fast, and often will come and go without us truly enjoying it.  Every year I have a list of projects and activities to do as a family, and every year the season comes and goes with several of them left undone.  So, we start a little earlier and enjoy it a little longer.

Crazy thing is, people have actually given us criticism for it.  Or, if not us specifically, anyone who gets in the "spirit" a little earlier than is deemed appropriate.  Why does it bother people?  Lately, and I attribute this to those things I said above, people seem to be more negative about things.   I've seen those memes that make fun of those doing the "30 days of Thanksgiving" by accusing them of only being thankful in November.  Why would anyone let the fact that someone chooses to be intentionally thankful bother them??  Shouldn't we be glad that some are choosing to see good things, even if it may only be for 30 days? Isn't one month better than never?

So why get upset about Christmas being seen earlier than Thanksgiving?  Who cares if stores may be doing it to increase profits?  Shouldn't we instead be thankful that, despite intention of others, that some people are going to be a little happier, a little more in the Christmas spirit, a little longer than the month of December?  Why do we let what we perceive to be the intention of others bother us, and instead focus on our reactions?

I guess that's my rant for the day.  Lets worry more about how we act, and less about the motive of others.  Only one of those things do we have any control over.

Now, for a random bit of cuteness, here is little Ryann.  She is six months old already.  Today was her first time riding in the cart like a big girl.  She is growing way too fast!!

And yes, we are in the Christmas aisle....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

For Zach...

Well, Father's Day has come and gone but it's never to late for me to take a moment and try to put into writing how wonderful a father my husband is.  If you wish to escape some mushiness feel free to exit this page now.  For those of you remaining, consider yourself warned...

Zach was a young one when we married.  Many would say he was too young, perhaps they would be correct.  I was older, by six years, and was desperate to start a family.  I didn't want to push him into something he wasn't ready for but my clock was ticking.  We got pregnant a year after our marriage and I prayed earnestly that Zach was up for the task.  I shouldn't of worried, he was more than up for it.

Zoe came along and I could see immediately how much he was in love with her.  She reciprocated and has ever since had him wrapped around her finger.  Zoe is certain that her Daddy hung the moon. 

Noah came along during our most trying days as a family.  Work was leaching the life out of Zach on a daily basis.  One thing about working in ministry, it's never  just a job.  And when/if it does become "just a job" it ceases to be a ministry.  Zach was so preoccupied that I was worried that he had the energy to be a father to another little one.  Once again, Zach rose to the task.  I can't wait to see the relationship between father and son develop over the years, especially living in a house full of girls.

The next few years were a whirlwind.  Zach lived apart from us for a month, we moved twice, and suffered the loss of a little one.  Zach was gone often and money was tight.  It would of been so easy to let the little things, those precious moments that seem so insignficant to adults, but are so precious to children, go by the wayside.  Despite long work hours, Zach still made time for his family. 

Now we have a new precious gift.  Our family is now complete.  As I type this Zach is traveling to Dallas for Bishop's Week, an honor that I couldn't let him pass up.  He hated to leave us, that was clear.  The next week, and the weeks to come, will be difficult, for sure.  We miss Zach when he is gone but the moments we have together are so precious and dear to all of us.

I had hoped to do a special project with the kids as a special Father's Day gift to Zach, but time didn't allow it.  However, today I decided to get some pictures for Zach, to frame and have in his office.  Taking pictures with three kids can be a huge challenge as any parent knows.  I think a got a few good ones and I hope Zach likes them.  I dressed the kids up in their Rockies gear to make it even more special. 

I hope Zach always knows how much he is appreciated and loved.  We love you!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Afternoon project

Zach is spending the week at Annual Conference so the kids and I hitched a ride and came to visit family while he's gone.  It's been nice to see everyone but the days have been a little long with everyone having to work.  I decided to use this afternoon to do a project I've been meaning to do for a while.

Back when I first joined Pinterest I came across a picture of a little girl photographed in her mother's wedding dress and just fell in love with the idea.  My wedding dress is at my parents house and every time we have come I have returned home kicking myself that I didn't take Zoe's picture in it.  Today I decided to just go for it.  I still don't have tons of energy (some of that the result of a three week old that thinks sleeping is for chumps) so I didn't plan the shoot as well as I would of liked.  I considered doing Zoe's hair up fancy but in the end I kind of liked the innocence of her pigtails.  Here are some of the pictures:

Again, not the greatest, but she enjoyed taking them and I will be glad to have them one day.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

Blessings to you all!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The best is yet to come...

Well, Ryann has been here for a little over a week and I'm not going to lie, life has been hard.  Living far away from family has made this new baby experience different and a lot more challenging than the other two.  It's easy to take that extra help from family for granted!

Zoe and Noah getting sick, the sickest Zoe has ever been, on top of having a new baby and recovering from surgery, made last week the longest week I have ever experienced.  Nights seemed unending and our minds turned to mush.  Trying to keep Ryann from getting the plague from the other two meant Zach was on throw up detail, bless his heart.  He changed sheets, did laundry, wiped up messes, made trips to the pharmacy, and did Doctor duty.  Thank the Lord that he was able to be home all week!

However, despite the trials of this past week, we have so much to be thankful for!  So far Ryann has avoided getting sick, Praise the Lord.  We only had to stay in the hospital one day, which is unheard of for a c-section, Praise the Lord.  We have a baby who is easily content and so, so precious, Praise the Lord!

It's easy to get overwhelmed, and I admit to more than one occasion where I just had to put my self in time out and "cry it out."  The knowledge that there are people who love us, who have been praying for us, has been incredibly helpful.  It doesn't hurt that I can look down in to the sweetest face and relish in this little gift that we have been so blessed by. 

Ryann at one week.
We are still adjusting to this new addition to our family.  Some of us are adjusting better than others.  Noah was asked yesterday if he liked his new baby sister.  He simply said, "No."  Well, at least he's honest folks.  Before Zoe got sick she was always asking to hold Ryann.  She even mastered the jiggling maneuver to calm Ryann down if she started fussing.  She's a great big sister.
As for me, I feel like she's always been a part of us.  Our family is now complete...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Nightime Revelations

It's quiet in my house tonight.  Zach is out of town for a preaching engagement and the little ones are sleeping soundly.  Sleep for me, as with any pregnant woman in this stage of her pregnancy (3 1/2 weeks left, yay!) is not easy to obtain.  Even if I'm able to quiet my mind enough to fall asleep I'm awakened several times by leg cramps, night sweats, bathroom trips, and baby gymnastics.  The night sweats are a recent addition to my night time routine, but as I thought back to previous pregnancies in my "this pregnancy is soooo much worse than the others" mind set, I was reminded that I did have the same malady with Noah.  I was surprised that with this revelation came an almost overwhelming feeling of comfort.

That time of our lives, living in Plainview, working full time, not to mention only having one child, seems so far removed from our current day to day existence.  I rarely, if ever, think back to that time.  It wasn't an unhappy life we lived then, but neither was it as good as things are now.  When that very vivid memory of having night sweats while pregnant with Noah hit me, so many other memories hit me too.  It's as if I could feel our old house again, I saw our old bedroom, smelt the odors that made that home distinct.  It was a nice reminder to me of how far we have come in the past three years.

Memories are good for that reason.  I can look back, and even on nights when I'm doing the single parent thing once again, realize that I love where we are now.  Sure, I miss certain things about that time - family close by being the main one, but what we have now, with all it's trials, trumps all that. 

Life is good here in Las Cruces.  May I never forget how much we are blessed...

One of our favorite views from our new "home."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lessons in Retreat

As a lot of people who work in ministry do, we live our lives in semesters.  In our house the Spring semester is our hardest time of the year.  Zach is insanely busy at work which means most days the only time he sees our kids is after they are already asleep.  Having lived this life for a while we realized that we need time, in the midst of the chaos, to retreat together as family.   It was a year ago that we booked our weekend away and I had been counting the days.

Last Thursday we loaded up the car, checked Zoe out of school and headed up to Sacramento, NM for a couple of days of fun with the family and (per doctor's orders) some rest and relaxation.  I can proudly say that our agenda was met, with a little help from our Father.  He sent some glorious rain on Friday which kept this accident prone pregnant lady indoors and out of harms way.

Enjoying the beautiful weather.
One thing we did do, before the rain began, was take the kids up on a little hike to a place called Serenity Peak.  We took our time heading up and once we got to the top, we just sat on the benches and chatted for a while.  It was so serene (see what I did there?), for a brief moment.

Serenity Peak with the family.

My darling daughter of five years was always such a sweet thing.  We never had to really deal with the terrible toddler years with her, just some stubbornness.  It seems she was storing up all of her past tantrums to unleash on us once she started school.  While she is close to perfection at school, when she comes home its battle royale time at Bechtold Manor.  She chose a moment, coming down from Serenity Peak, to express this, and boy, did she express.

It started with a stumble, which lead to her standing there screaming like she was seriously maimed and refusing to take one step further.  We calmly (at first) told her that she must calm down, her injury was not serious, and she could, in spite of her proclamation that she could never move again, make it down the mountain.  We would take a few steps, turn wait for her, and she would scream bloody murder and take one measly little step.  This continued for a while, even after her announcement that she had to potty "so bad" which, regardless of what a sane person might think, did not result in her choosing to suck it up and start walking.  Finally, when mommy and daddy were close to their breaking point, little brother stepped up to save the day.

Little sweet, almost three year old Noah, looked up the hill at his big sister, screaming like a banshee, and calmly proclaimed, "I'll go get her."  He trucked himself up there, gave his sister a comforting hug, took her by the hand and lead her down the hill to us.  It was the sweetest sight and it humbled me.

As parents Zach and I try to teach our children to have strength, to make wise choices, and to be good examples for others.  Sometimes, in the midst of these lessons we forget that we also need to teach them compassion for others, especially those who may not be receiving compassion from anyone else.

I've previously blogged about how I know I have a weakness when it comes to showing others compassion, as well as allowing myself to receive it from others.  My husband preached a sermon on Sunday, which I didn't get to hear much of (pesky kids :) ) but in which he spoke about how important it is that we always show love to others and allow them to show love to us in return.  It's about humbling ourselves.

Our time in the mountains was indeed refreshing, allowing us to connect again as a family and to rest our bodies, but, as usual, I came away from this time of no distractions, learning a lesson from my little ones.

May you also find time to refresh, rejoice, and perhaps, learn something...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm not as smart as my kids...

Things have been hectic here at Bechtold Manor.  Zach has kicked off his busiest time of year and I'm having to get used to many nights of putting the kids to bed by myself.  I'm okay with it though, at least I know he will be here in the morning. :)

Baby Girl Bechtold is baking well, practicing her kicks and punches on my internal organs like a boss.  I have found that with baby number 3 I'm not as impatient as I was with the other two.  I need the next few months to prepare us all for her arrival.  As I was folding laundry yesterday I was hit with the realization that I will soon be doing laundry for five people.  Yikes!

We told Zoe that if she didn't mind switching bedrooms to the guest room that we would redecorate with paint, new furniture, and new bedding.  We started with the painting last week and she loves it.  We still have a long way to go but we are getting there little by little.

I cant get over how much my kids have grown this past month or so, both physically and mentally.  I like to think God is helping them to prepare for the little one to come, for both of them to be older siblings again.  They make me so proud.

For Christmas Zach and I gave Zoe a new "big girl" Bible.  We chose to get one that she could grow with so we opted not to go with a child's Bible.  The one she got is one I would give my youth students at church.  We knew that it would be a while before she would grow to appreciate the gift but we still wanted to get it for her.  The other night I went to tuck her in to bed and saw the Bible laying beside her.  I picked it up and noticed the ribbon marker had moved.  She said, "That's where I am in reading it."  Now, Zoe is five years old.  She is a pretty good little reader, but, let's be honest, she's not that fluent, especially when it come to reading Leviticus.  However, I love that she spends some time every evening "reading" her new Bible.  What a great habit to get into.

Once again I feel shamed by my children.  Here's my sweet girl, faced with so many new changes, who is going, on her own accord, into the Word.  I know she's not getting much as far as reading goes, but I also know God has His hand on her.  With all the busyness and chaos that has consumed our world lately, and will continue to for the weeks and months to come, I have forgotten at times to go to Him who can deliver peace, understanding, and wisdom.  I go to bed each night and, instead of grabbing my Bible, I reach for another book, the remote control, or the laptop.  I need to be more like my kids.

Here's another little reminder, that no matter how grown up we may feel we are, there is always something we can learn from those around us.

May you see those who can teach you, no matter their age...

My sweet girl.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013! Holla!

I have spent the first of 2013 in bed, watching Big Bang Theory, drinking coffee, and all-in-all enjoying some quiet time.  Zach is playing x-box and the kids are playing nicely together in Zoe's room.  Soon, I will get up and fix lunch, black-eyed peas and ham!

I've been reflecting, not so much on the past year, but instead on what this new year will hold.  Lots of changes are coming up for this Bechtold family.  May will bring the addition to our little family as well as the beginning of Zach's back-to-school endeavor.  In the coming months we will also see what changes come with Zach's path to becoming a local pastor.  Things will never be the same as it is now.  I love that!

As our lives continue to grow and evolve I'm able to see the great promise that comes with change.  I feel confident in God's plan for our family and that brings me comfort.  Times may become difficult this year, but I know we will get through it.  This is our path!

I pray that each of you will also see God's promise in change, for in it, we all will truly grow...