Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Least Favorite: Mother's Day, An Epiphany

Mother's Day is often a day of bitterness for me. This last week leading up to Mother's Day has been rough, and I've been so emotionally drained that I haven't wanted to sleep or carry on with my daily duties. Of course, this week I had more on my plate than usual, since that is how life works. I barely made it. If it weren't for the great attitudes of the kids, and their optimism with life in general, I would have spent all day online while they ran wild and starving.

In meditating upon my life, I am wondering why Mother's Day is so depressing for me. It's not like the day is horrible or anything. I am thinking that it has something to do with a selfish desire to be appreciated and honored for the role I play as mother. What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, sometimes in my heart I do this job because I want to glorify myself. Secretly I want fame, fortune, to feel "successful" and have my worth come from the commendations of those I serve. Having said that, I am now thinking I'm in the wrong line of work.

Day to day, I fight the uphill battle of housework. The mounds of laundry are endless, the crumbs on the floor relentless, the dishes and sticky counters invasive. Then there is the daily training of the children where persistence, patience and perseverance are musts on a minute by minute basis. On top of that, the maintenance of marriage requires more patience, constant forgiveness, diligent discernment, open and kind communication, respectful and loving behavior and humble submission. There is not a moment to relax and breath. Every moment, every thought must be dedicated to others.

But on Mother's Day, I want the day to be about me. What would I like for breakfast? What would I like to do after church? What would I like for a gift, and what should the children make for me? I want everyone to show their appreciation for me by joyfully and willingly and lovingly doing my job for a day. The house stays clean, the children are off playing nicely and the husband is doting on me and hanging out chit-chatting. It would be all about me. Me, me, me, me, me.

My expectations of having a perfect day dedicated to honoring me are way too high. The whole problem is my favorite word, "me". Simply put, it is not about me at all. Life and the universe do not orbit around me. I am not in this profession for glory or fame. In fact, the above description of my job goes to show me that I fall short of being the perfect housewife and mother. I do my best, but I wish my best was better.

Mother's Day is depressing for me because I want to feel special. I want to be treated special so I can feel worthwhile. You might not see the fault in that. You might even say that I should deserve to be especially treated. But every Mother's Day, I am not treated any differently than if it was a normal day off. And I want to be Queen of the Day. I practically want my husband and children serving at my beck and call, and know that I deserve it. Therein lies the problem. I am relying upon people to fill in my bucket of self-worth. And sadly, that bucket is always left nearly empty.

I must refocus my lens and stick to the Truth. My job has been assigned by the Big Boss. He has given me one of the most honorable jobs that a woman could be entrusted with. He understands how hard the job is. In the Bible, it says in Isaiah 40:11--
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes. (

Mothers are near and dear to His Heart. And there I should be placing my worth. To Him, I am worth sacrificing and dying for. To Him, I am worthy enough to be blessed with husband and children. My worth comes from humbling myself, releasing my desire to conform to the world and seek man's approval. Instead, I realize my fallibility, my sinfulness, my imperfections, my daily struggles and I give them up to Him. I focus in on His Blessings, His Trustworthiness, His Strength, His Power, His Sovereignty, His Faith, His Undying Love, His Personal Investment into my life through Jesus. There is none like Him, certainly nothing created.

Here and now, I let go of all those selfish desires to be acknowledged as that perfect mother who knows all and does all. I release the desire to be worshiped, and turn my own worship to God above. I know how He feels about me, and He is Perfect. He is Not Wrong, and by bowing at His Feet and obeying Him and serving Him by fulfilling even the most mundane of duties, He fills my worth bucket until it is overflowing. Through Solomon, God says in Proverbs 31:30--
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Suddenly, Mother's Day doesn't seem so bad. I give honor and praise, not to myself, but to the God who created me to be specifically a wife and mother. Drawing upon the Holy Spirit for comfort and peace, the burden of selfishness has been lifted. To be God's good and faithful servant is all I need.

So I may not be Queen of the Day, but by acknowledging His Love and Plan for my life, I become God's Princess. Nothing could be better than that.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

End of an Era

In less than 3 short months, Henry will be a one year old toddler, likely walking around and saying his first words. I will be entering into a new era in my life. A baby-less era. I will be done being pregnant, done nursing a babe, done with infant clothes, done with multiple night feedings, and done with squeezing little baby booties. Forever. It's kind of sad and happy at the same time.

Our decision to be done and satisfied with 5 children has left me feeling odd. I almost don't know what to do with myself without a babe in arms. It seems that my identity for the last 9 years has included being pregnant or nursing. Maternity clothes still hang in my closet, my nightgown has clips on the straps so I can nurse in the middle of the night with ease, and let's just say my under-garments are not those of the fancy boutique kind. I have worn the same outfits over and over, seeing as I've always anticipated large fluctuations in weight. I've attached myself to neck fat and love handles as if they were family. And I've resigned myself to being tired and exhausted always, as if I'm a "functioning lack-of-sleep-aholic."

But now I'm reaching the light at the end of a very long tunnel. A large part of my parenting journey will have passed, and I will be on to new and bigger things. It is bittersweet. No longer will I be someone's favored person. No longer will I be the sole source of nourishment and comfort. I won't be the only one to decipher different cries and new words. I won't be witnessing the miracle that is the beginning of life. And, of course, the first smile, the first laugh, the first discovery of toes, the first sound, the first word, and the first step.

I gotta say, though, there are many things I won't miss about the baby stage. I won't miss the runny poops 4 times a day, the inability to stay on a project for more than 2 hours at a time, the crying as the only means of communication (from baby, not me), the lack of energy and time for exercise, the odor of poop and pee following me everywhere, and the moodiness that comes with nursing (from me, not baby).

So I have resolved to cherish these next 3 months and enjoy my baby boy. I'll enjoy the baby elbows, the toothless grin, the smashing of food on the high chair, the beginnings of sibling bonds, the belly laughs when I kiss his tummy, the splashing in the inflatable bathtub, the teeny toenails, the teeny toes, the first teeth, the fuzzy hair, the cute outfits, the first shoes, the delighted squeals, the first dancing, the napping schedules, the little squeezes, the open mouthed and slobbery kisses, and so much more that I can't think of now.

Because next comes the tween stage, with the funky teeth and the first chapter books. Then comes the junior high stage, where they will start breaking off and developing their own person. Then the teen stage, where they will physically mutate and the training ends and the practicing of adulthood begins. And then they will be adults and out of my home. I'll have to give them away to someone else. They will start their own phases of marriage and parenting. I will officially become a retired professional mother.

Time goes by so quickly. I think I'll savor every moment as best I can. Every day is a day I'll never get back.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Happy Sad Tale of a Housewife

In the last couple of weeks I attacked the weeds in the backyard in preparation for the Rosendale Dream Backyard. I have been obsessing, shopping around, pricing things out and planning our backyard. I have so far succeeded in de-weeding almost the whole yard and hoeing the side yard so the kids can plant their vegetable seeds. I have also lost a couple pounds and strengthened my hips and back in the process. Win-win.

But, there is a down-side to all this awsomeness. And that is: the inside of the house. While I am outside reveling in` the awesome smell of fresh dirt, the satisfying sound of a stubborn root coming out of the ground, the production of Vitamin D as I soak up the sun, a demon comes into my home. The messy demon that comes in and leaves brownie trails, dried mud paths, piles of tiny Lego pieces, dirty laundry, clean laundry, and whatever else he might have a mind to mess up. He allies himself with the dust bunnies, cobwebs, sticky drippings, stray pencils, dirty cloth diapers and sometimes the three year old girl. He attacks when the war front on his side is left unguarded. I can't wage war on the weeds and on the messy demon at the same time. I just don't have enough man-power. Literally.

*sigh. I guess that will just have to be life as I know it. I cannot put all my resources into war on both sides. I will have victory in my backyard and rest in the knowledge that I will live to fight another day. Until then, messy demon: You Win. For Now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Watching Your High Child

Today I witnessed my first tooth extraction as a mother. Well, I didn't see the actual extraction but I watched most of the prep. It was Lela who had the procedure done on an extra tooth growing behind her front teeth. I'm glad she was the one for my first experience because of all the children, she's the calmest and most mature when it comes to medical/dental procedures.

So I woke her up this morning at 7:30, just in time for us to leave for her appointment at 8. We got there just a bit late, and then it took about 20 minutes to get the payment and billing squared away (more on that later). . .We were in the waiting room for a bit before they took us to the prep room. I asked Lela if she was nervous, and she said, "A little" but with a smile on her face. She was more nervous about the shots. I explained to her that she would be asleep when they gave her the 3 shots on her lip. She didn't quite understand.

So the first thing they did was let her pick out a movie. She picked Shrek. Then, Nurse gave her this orange liquid in those little medicine cups made for meds. I asked what it was, and Nurse gave the real name. I don't remember it, of course, but I do remember its nickname: Happy Juice. My only thought was, "I want some."

Anyway, the Happy Juice started working quickly to relax Lela. It also gave her the giggles, which was the first weird part of the whole experience. I could see in her eyes that she thought her giggles were strange, too. Needless to say, she thought the first 30 minutes of Shrek was hilarious.

Nurse came in as all the fairy tale characters were moving into Shrek's place. We were taken to another room. Instead of feeling nervous and anxious, Lela giggled as she got on the chair and sat on the large cushions. It was chilly, so Nurse gave her a warm blanket. Nurse hooked Lela up to the oxygen, put the blood pressure cuff on, and placed the blood-oxygen monitor-thingy on Lela's finger. Lela was now ready for the shot that would put her out. Another nurse came in, and she led me back to the waiting room. Having had plenty of teeth extracted in my lifetime, I was a little nervous for Lela (but secretly glad it wasn't me, don't tell anyone).

I went next door to Delta of Venus and got myself a Soy Chai and a breakfast burrito with no peppers. I took it back to the waiting room, burnt my tongue and throat with my first sip, and chowed the burrito down. I finished the huge burrito, wishing my drink wasn't so hot so I could wash the onion taste out of my mouth. Shortly after, Nurse came out to get me and there was Lela in a comfy chair, with her comfy blanket and a piece of slightly bloody gauze hanging out of her mouth. Oh, and did I mention that she had crazy nystagmus from being high?

I had to wait 15 minutes while they monitored her blood pressure before taking her home, so my main job was keeping her from falling asleep. So I asked questions, called my husband to let him know we were coming home soon, and kept Lela from getting up. She was very irritated at being dizzy, and it was a little disconcerting to listen to her slurred speech through the gauze. And she kept telling me about how the blinds were right behind me. They were about 4 feet behind me, but apparently she saw them directly behind me. She even tried to kick them, which made me want to bust out in nervous giggles. But being the good mom I am, I kept my composure.

I was already feeling awkward sitting next to my oldest child, who was high as a kite. And to make it worse, she kept looking. . .gaping. . .at me and saying, "You have 4 eyes and 2 mouths".

Finally, we were able to go home. Nurse took the gauze out of her mouth, and thankfully we didn't have to put anymore in. I pulled the car to the door, where another nurse had carried her out. We put Lela in the front seat (don't worry, the airbags turn off) and Lela and I left for home.

The creepiness got worse on the car ride home. I kept glancing at her to make sure she wasn't going to keel over. One of these glances were met with another one of those gaping, open-mouthed looks and she told me as she pointed, "You have one eye here, one eye here, one eye here and one eye here." Her voice was very loud, and very drugged. I glanced at her again and she had them same look with a smile, "Here, here, here, and here." Then, she chuckled.

So that was my first experience watching my child flying high.

PS When Johnny found out how much the procedure was going to cost, he said, "Well, if any of the other kids have problems with their teeth they'll just to have fugly teeth."

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Today I worked on the backyard for 3 hours straight. I can barely move. All 3 of those hours were spent digging and pulling out weeds. I discovered that one of the many weeds out there operates on an extended root network. To say the least it was my greatest foe today. And it reminded me of many things.

These weeds reminded me of the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13. These weeds had taken root so far into the soil that I had to dig a foot down to pull them out. And judging by the offshoots and root I left in the holes, the plant would recover and grow again. I thought of how we are to grow in the good soil, ie the Bible, so that we can produce a good crop. Not to mention growing in good soil, you'll have strong roots that grow deep, making the weed strong against enemies who try and dig them out.

The other thing the weed reminded me of was Star Trek. Yes, Star Trek. This type of weed had small baby versions that were hard to pull out. Then I tried digging out a big one, at least 3 feed around, and I saw the roots growing in all directions in the dirt. I felt like I was attacking the queen. Remember that episode in TNG with the bug things that crawled into everyone's ears and took over their brains? And the only way to get rid of them was to kill the queen, who was in one of the admirals at Starfleet Academy. .. .Yeah, I felt like that. So wierd, I know.

Anyway, I had 3 hours to think about this. It was one of the only things I thought about. I'm not sure what that says about me, but there you go.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bedtime Shenanigans

Right now I really want to start my new book, but for some reason I just can't pick it up. I am just too annoyed. I love my children, but when they are not sleeping when they are supposed to, it drives me insane! The girls are having a slumber party right now. Mind you, every night seems to be a slumber party. I have spanked, yelled, cajoled, threatened, talked sweetly. Everything in the book short of duck-taping their mouths shut or dosing them with Benedryl. Does that make me sound like a bad mom?

I need to keep it in perspective. There was a time when I had 3 kids ages 4 and under and the bedtime shenanigans when there are 3 toddlers is just crazy. I remember passing out at 11pm with them still running around laughing. Those were not good times. You'd think their little thighs would be sore from the spanking, but it didn't even phase them. I even heard them giggling one time after I left. WTH?

I wonder what is so exhausting about when the kids don't sleep. They are in their beds and not coming out of their rooms. I guess it's that we can't see them but still have to keep an eye on them. I know I feel like I can't "clock out" if they are still awake. And at the end of the day, I just want some peace and quiet to go with whatever snack I don't need to share with grabby hands.

I know you are supposed to cherish these times when the kids are small, but I can't wait until I no longer have to deal with these bedtime shenanigans. Please God make them sleep!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Joyful Reflections

My friend told me the other day that I was "joyful." It's been a long time since someone has told me that I was joyful. I guess I have finally pulled through a very difficult season of my life. A season where every moment was a struggle, every situation needed to be worked through, and every corner had an obstacle to overcome. The very air I breathed was thick and heavy. The future was uncertain and my confidence was at its lowest. This "winter" was survived by some basic things, though at the time I didn't view them as simple or easy. These were tools that Christians often advise other Christians to use, almost to the point that they're cliche. But they worked!

One was relying upon God and looking at the bigger picture of what He is doing: "God has a plan." It's not something you necessarily want to hear when going through trials, but realizing that everything has a place and every place has a purpose can give you hope in hopeless situations. When I had three kids under three years old, barely enough money to get by, and severe post-partum depression, remembering who was in charge of my life and relinquishing control to Him was all I could do to get up in the morning. And, as promised in His Word, He came through and is still unfolding the lives of my children before my very eyes! Not only that, but I have seen the fruit of seeking God and where He wants us to be and that has landed us in a beautiful house in a welcoming neighborhood able to minister to families we are meeting and working with. Because of Him I am joyful!

Another tool was remembering the character and expectations of God for my life. "God loves you the way you are." It's probably a phrase that every Christian says so often that we believers start forgetting the meaning. We forget that God is love. During those dark days of post-partum depression, and plain ol' depression, I forced those destructive voices telling me of my worthlessness out of my head and replaced them with the voice of truth: In Philippians it says:
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (

It is this Jesus that gave me hope, that brought me closer to God, who told me in His word that
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)

I traveled through a difficult journey with God by my side. Sometimes He carried me when all I wanted to do was quit. Just as two people bond when they share an experience, so I bonded with God during the past few years of stress and uncertainty. I can't help but to be joyful.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cloth Diaper Review

Yesterday I got the privilege of going grocery shopping all alone with no time restraints. Costco was closed, so I ventured out to the local Nugget Market and started my slow perusal down the aisles. In the diaper aisle, I discovered that our local grocery store sold a brand of cloth diapers I've never seen before.

I use cloth diapers because not only are they environmentally sound, they are better in the long run for your budget. My all-time favorites are Fuzzi Bunz with one each of fuzzi bunz and joey hemp inserts. They are not as cheap as using Proraps and Chinese Pre-folds, but not as expensive as name-brand all-in-ones. But these diapers, "g diapers", caught my attention because they seem to be the best of both the cloth and disposable diaper worlds.

I bought the starter kit in size large, which is supposed to fit babies weighing 26-36 pounds. It comes with 2 cloth pants, 10 flushable refills, a plastic stick for swirling in the toilet and a hook to hang said stick. The cost was $24.99 plus some for sales tax. I couldn't wait to try it out since I was thinking to spend $30 on one Fuzzi Bunz diaper.

The appeal for me was the flushable liners, and the reusable cloth pants. They feel like undies and the inside plastic part snaps in and fits around the liner like a fitted sheet on a bed. And when I opened the diaper, I found they put an extra plastic part with each diaper. So at each change you can have a clean liner ready to go.

I put the ensemble onto wiggly Henry, and it seemed a bit big since he's not quite 26 pounds. But the velcro adjusts (and in reading the box for this review I discovered you can put it on backwards so baby can't take the thing off. any experienced mom knows that when they discover they can take the diaper off they usually manage to do it only when they are alone and only when poopy. so SCORE!) and it truly did fit nice and cozy like undies. I loved the design of the inside plastic part, which when stretched fit around the baby booty quite nicely.

After one naptime, the disposable part was pretty wet but not leaky. In order to flush the thing, you are supposed to rip it apart and swirl with the stick and then flush. Well, after having my 5th baby my post-partum depression is manifesting itself in the form of germ-phobia, so after one look at the toilet I decided to just toss it. It's plastic-free and biodegradable so though it's not as green as flushing, tossing it can be earth-friendly. You can even garden compost the wet ones. Now came the next test: nighttime wearing.

I was happy this morning when I checked his clothing after breast feeding. Dry on the outside, a good sign. In changing, the liner was beyond soaked and the pants slightly wet. Henry's onesie was slightly damp around the bottom edges, but not enough for this mother of 5 with mounds of laundry to care. So overall not bad for a nearly 12 hour stint. Putting in an extra liner for the night-time isn't a problem at all.

The next thing I tried is putting a Fuzzi Bunz liner and Joey Hemp Insert into the plastic thing. As we say in the Rosendale household, "Winner winner chicken dinner!" Now I can save the life span of my Fuzzi Bunz pants since they get a little stretchy from being washed and dried. The g diaper pants are cloth, so they are much more durable than the plastic on the Fuzzi Bunz. And, since we are on a corset tight budget, I don't have to buy the flushable refills, which are more expensive than regular disposable diapers.

So overall I am pleased with these diapers and plan to buy more. To read more about g diapers and check out their entire line, go to Here are my final grades for this product:

Comfort and fit: A (Large fits fine on my 18 pound 5 month old)
Convenience: A
Color and style: A
Accessibility: A (can order online)
Durability: Let you know in a couple months.

Friday, January 1, 2010

on Good Parenting

Considering myself a good parent is a struggle. I feel like I have all kinds of opinions, books, advice, etc thrown at me. I am constantly being pulled in all directions with the expectation that I can take care of it all. And when I do lose it and show my human side I get funny looks in the grocery store, family members with hurt feelings, and a guilty conscience. Well, this being the start of a new year let's start off right by wiping our slate clean of all guilty feelings. So repeat after me:

--I will not feel guilty if the baby spits up on my shirt and I don't change.

--I will not feel guilty if I only take showers two to three times a week.

--I will not feel guilty if I never take my children to the grocery store. And when the marshmallows run out and hubby is working crazy overtime, I will not feel guilty about yelling at them while I am shopping and they are squishing the bags of bread.

--I will not feel guilty for having children. They are blessings, not diseases.

--I will not feel guilty for putting my marriage first, for that is the essential tool to good parenting.

--I will not feel guilty for the noise level, the toy clutter, the handprints on the tv, the little pieces of paper on the carpet, and the use of the dryer as a dresser.

--I will not feel guilty at not being able to do everything that everyone demands of me. Which means I will not feel guilty if I lock the door when I take a shower and I will not feel guilty if I don't share my In'N'Out with the family.

--I will not feel guilty at being slightly overweight while my children are very small. I have the rest of my life to get back to pre-pregnancy weight.

--I will not feel guilty at teaching my older children to help out. "Family first" is an important attitude to have that needs to be made a priority.

--I will not feel guilty for making my children a priority. They might always remember that we had to eat small, boring meals at home. But they will also remember that I was the one who made it for them with love.

Happy parenting, and remember that you have the hardest but most important job in the whole world!

Parenting 101

So I started this blog during my pregnancy for no particular reason except to write down my thoughts. But my thoughts were either depressing or made no sense at all. I blame pregnancy brain. Now, 5 months after the birth of Henry, my brain has started clearing up, life has been returning to normalcy, and I've acquired a new Twitter addiction.

All that to say that I am going to put my Twitter addiction to good use. Instead of just following up on celebrities that I'll never meet in real life, I decided to start tweeting helpful and useful parenting tweets in combo with this blogsite. From now on I'll be available to discuss any and all topics on parenting. And as a mother of 5 I'll be here to let other moms know that they are not alone in the daily grind of raising the world's youth. So let's get this party started!