Thursday, February 27, 2014

*The Song of Motherhood*

"Listen, my favorite song is about to come on!!"

I can't even tell you the name of the song but I really do like it. It's one of those songs that makes you want to dance and gives off the feeling that it's going to be a great day.

You might be thinking I was referring to a song we all know on the radio, but I was actually referring to a song from baby boy's exersaucer he was playing in.

You know you're head high in the phase of early motherhood when you actually know which song comes next on a toy. I've tried to avoid baby DVD's and other things with kids songs because I know I'll have my fill in the years to come. I don't know why but after watching some DVDs of my nephew's one too many times, I got this nervous twitch and sometimes have "Hi, Sweet Baby" stuck in my head on repeat against my will. It makes me feel like I'm going crazy and that's why I'm trying to wait until he really cares. But this certain toy isn't nearly as fun without the song because it makes the animals move, so I made an exception. And I really do like the song. It's just part of the song of motherhood.

Things are SO much different than they were a few months ago. Five months is a glorious phase because they are old enough to sleep through the night and interact and get chubby, but they are still too young to teethe. It's this oasis of month five that is incredible. He really only cries over two things…people picking him up that he hasn't seen in a while and when I clean the bottles while he's in the room. When I do the dishes and his bottles are involved, he acts like I am the cruelest person on earth. He gives me this "Mom, how could you do this to me?!" look on his face like I don't feed him. I try to stuff him full before so he won't want it, but even that doesn't work.

I've finally figured out that waving something aqua blue (his favorite color) in his direction makes him happy. Not navy blue, not just any blue, aqua blue. He also likes it if I turn around suddenly and make an oversized smiley face like a crazed clown and bounce my head around. You'd think that would freak him out, but he loves it and will whine talk until I do it again, and then laugh really hard. I've finally found a way to do the dishes without him thinking I want to starve him on purpose.

There's so many things you think about and do after becoming a mother that you never even knew about before. I remember just thinking about babies and motherhood with this blanket of thoughts that covered it all, not knowing that a yellow lion pacifier would soon be a major part of my life. I didn't know that his favorite toy would be a blue dinosaur or that he would smile at my hair being blown everywhere by a blow dryer. I didn't know that even at 5 months he'd have to be talked to and would crave interaction and love to talk back and forth already. I didn't know that I would be able to know what he wanted so easily even though he can't talk in english back. I didn't know that my baby would love to burp on my shoulder in the big chair so he could talk at a picture of his dad. I didn't know that clipping baby fingernails would be extremely frightening or that the scent of freshly washed baby hair is the most wonderful smell in the world.


Friday, February 14, 2014

*A Very Happy Valentine's Day!!*

It's Valentine's Day!!! One of my very favorite days of the year even when I was single. It's so fun to look and see how loved everyone is and to get a glimpse into other people's love lives. Couples that are in love and make it in real life are so much more romantic to me than movie ones. Even though I've always loved this holiday, it's much more meaningful now that I have two of the best Valentines in the whole world!!! I love my boys so much.

This is actually one of my favorite Valentines Days so far because the first one I had after being married I was super sick, bedridden, and pregnant. To be honest…the only memory I have of last year is dark curtains covering the sunlight and the bathroom floor. I also have a letter Brian wrote me that I don't remember reading, but it's really nice to read later. I definitely am on the other side of the mountain where the sun is shining and things are great. I even fit into my old jeans on this holiday which is even more reason to celebrate! haha

We've had a third wheel with us all day today, but we love it. Beau is the perfect extra present on Valentine's Day. I keep thinking about how parenthood is a series of presents we get to open over the years. There's so much to look forward to each day and in the years to come, the anticipation for the future and enjoyment I get everyday is so overwhelming.

Like…when I was at the revenue department today there were some moms with their sixteen year old sons waiting to take the driving test. I couldn't help but imagine myself with baby boy in sixteen years. I'll be 41 years old taking my taller than me son for a big day in his life. It's such an exciting thought!! And right now I'm opening the present of the miracle of how fast a baby grows. Next week he will only be five months old yet he can grab his pacifier from beside him and put it in his mouth. I mean SERIOUSLY, after only five months on this earth!! How do human beings go from newborn to that in such little time?! I still have a hard time getting a straw in my mouth sometimes, so that is truly impressive to me. No wonder all parents think their kids are prodigies…because they are impressive to them. I don't blame them anymore! I mean, seriously…it is absolutely astonishing what babies can do and how they interact at such an early age. It's truly a miracle.

Along with that miracle is how he sleeps from 6:30pm-7:00am putting himself to sleep now. HELLO…yes, please…life, you are back! I feel like my old self again which is amazing because I thought I'd feel like a zombie for the rest of my life. I thought that having a newborn was easy, but now that I'm at the VERY easy phase, I'm like…woa, how on earth did we survive that?! It felt pretty easy at the time despite a few emotional meltdowns at 3am, but now looking back, I'm not sure why I felt that way. haha Because, it does sound hard looking back.

This Valentine's Day feels extra special because of all we've been through together in such a short amount of time. It's amazing what those survival mode times do for a marriage and how it brought us that much closer together. Not necessarily in the middle of the night when I had crazy eyes, but when it's all over and done with…we are closer than ever. That's what will be so neat about being married for many, many years. With each passing life phase we will get that much closer. I feel our connection is much deeper now that we've survived something together. We are a team and have stayed completely in love through it all. We made it and it feels good!! This Valentine's Day, I truly celebrate that. Bringing a baby into our family has brought us together and been an extremely good thing. I know I talk and talk and talk about my baby and motherhood, but I'm serious…it's the BEST THING EVER. I have yet to experience the bad parts that I keep hearing about. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. I just really love it. I'm not desperately seeking a break or a future day…I just love my life right now.

Our lives this year are fuller, richer, and more deeply joyous because of our growing family. I didn't think I'd be able to post something like this so soon in my life, but I'm so thankful I get to. I have the best husband and son in the world!!! This is truly a happy, happy Valentine's Day. :)




Monday, February 3, 2014

*How?*

Lately, it seems like more than ever I am bombarded by worldly things. I feel like I can barely turn on the TV anymore to be honest. With every passing year it seems to get worse and worse and the narrow road seems to get even smaller. As I look around and see what this world values, I start to wonder how I am supposed to parent in a generation like this.

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
 and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

I think of that verse often and of the promise that it gives. I think about how thankful I am for these years that my baby doesn't know about all that's out there and how he still thinks the world is only good. The biggest problem in his life right now is waiting that stressful five seconds when he sees the bottle and has to wait until it makes it to his mouth. 

I think of the word "train" and how training for something is always hard. Nothing about getting my child to hold tightly to the way I raise him will be easy. I have many important years in my future where I will cling daily to the promise that God will help him not depart from the road we are teaching him to love. 

How do I teach my baby to love the word of God? How do I teach him to let all other voices in his life fade away in comparison to what is written there? My prayer for my son is the same prayer that God prayed about the disciples before he was taken prisoner:

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." John 17:15-17

How do I teach him how valuable he is and that God made him because he wanted him as his own. How do I make sure he knows the importance of being an adopted child of God? 

How do I teach him to love and enjoy God? How do I show him the fun side of God? How do I let him know just how much He loves to be a part of his laughter?

How do I teach my child in a world that wants acceptance that being rejected by certain people is a GOOD thing? There are some people I know that would say my thinking is completely backwards and I'm extremely relieved for that. If they did think I was right, then I would not be in the place I wanted to be. Not at all. 

How do I teach him that the things we should do are the things that don't come naturally? How do I teach him that there's a war raging inside of him? How do I teach him that the right thing to do is not always easy, in fact it can be really hard.

How can I make him understand that sometimes feeling bad can be a good thing because it teaches us right and wrong. How can I make the most of discipline and do it in the right way? How can I let him know that being told NO can be the best thing that ever happened to him.

How do I tell him who God is? How can I even begin to be equipped enough for that? I ask myself questions like this all the time and I've come up with a few answers so far: 

1.) Pray a lot and ask for help
2.) Show him with my life and not ask him to do anything that I don't do myself. I need to constantly be working on myself  and seeking God first. How can I expect him to be something I'm not and to have a passionate love for something I don't? (Scary thought!)
3.)Rely on God to open his spiritual eyes and ears and give him a love relationship that I can't. Because the true change in the sinful human heart is an encounter with Jesus Himself.

I feel so ill equipped for all this, but that's where God comes in. At least I have a little time to figure out exactly what the word "TRAIN" is referring to. Right now he's still just Mr. Smiley with no sign of ever doing anything wrong. He still believes that the most important thing in life is his mom which is pretty fun, but I'm ready for him to know the true meaning of life. Because it sure isn't me.




















Thursday, December 19, 2013

*Three Months Later*

On a rainy September morning just a few days before Beau was born, I sat in the car listening to the wipers go back and forth in front of the hospital and wrote these words:

"In only a few short days I'll be in the hospital that stands before me right now meeting my son for the first time. It's so surreal to even be saying those words right now. So many emotions wash over me from excitement, joy, and anticipation to fear, anxiety, and apprehension. There's so much unknown with what's about to happen and the pain and weeks to come really scare me. I can't even fathom what a love like that will feel like. It's so good to be reminded that it's God's plan for me to be a mom and that He will be present with me along the way. God, thank you for reminding me that you know my shortcomings, yet decided to entrust me with this precious soul of Yours. He is even more Your child than he is mine and I'm so thankful that You the most perfect parent are here to help us along the way. Please come and be the parent to your baby with me and show me how to be what he needs."

It's crazy to think just how different the person is writing right now than the person who was writing then. Nothing in my life has ever changed me like becoming a mother has. I had so much unknown, fear, and uncertainties flowing through me then that have all but disappeared by now. It's hard to imagine what life will be like and how you will handle it when you don't KNOW that child yet.

God REALLY answered my prayer and has been with me every step of the way. The first few weeks weren't that bad because I was on many, many meds, but week 5-8 were extremely hard. That's when the narcotics faded and the help left. God helped me through those weeks and got me through them by His strength alone and it truly brought us closer. I couldn't of done it without Him. Those weeks are important though because it brings the bond between a mother and baby closer. Anything you sacrifice so much for becomes even more important to you.

After that things got so much easier, and now things don't feel hard at all. (Unless his routine is thrown off, then it's all another story! haha Prayers appreciate for Christmas week!!!) I have gotten up every single night for three months now and have survived! I have figured out so much that I didn't think I'd be able to and it's amazing how much more naturally this life fits me than I even thought.

Every time I look at my son and he is just staring at me with loving eyes, I know that there's no other job I'd rather be doing. I am extremely thankful to my husband for understanding and being behind me when I said being a stay at home mom was important to me. I am so thankful that I get to spend every day with my baby because one day he will have a whole new life and dear old mom won't be his number one favorite thing like I am now.

I mean...I am literally his favorite thing of all time. When I'm cheering for him in the stands when he's in fifth grade or waving at him obnoxiously in the school parking lot, it may not be the same. Brian is already telling me I have to tone it down for the poor fella. I love to cheer on people...I'll really have to restrain.

But not yet...today Beau loves for me to cheer him on and thinks I'm the coolest person ever. He also thinks I'm one of the only people on this planet. He thinks life is all about ME and I'm okay with that. He doesn't know any different and I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

I think way too far ahead so I find myself being sad over the fact that I won't get to spend all my time with him because one day that would be considered crazy. I can't stalk him at college or make him stay home with me forever. But for now...for now he's here. And mom says by the time I need to let him go, It'll be okay because I'll be tired of parenting anyway.

I hope she's right.

My thoughts on parenting three months in as you all probably know from my insane amount of pictures and chatter is that it is AMAZING. And much, much, MUCH easier than I originally thought. I think I'll probably have my kids far apart so I can keep saying that statement, haha. It's probably like juggling...it's easy to just throw up and catch one ball but when you add more to the mix, I bet it gets pretty tough. One baby is not bad at all, though. In fact...it's a truly wonderful life.



Monday, December 16, 2013

*Let's Talk Body Image*

There's a fancy looking cup in my kitchen that I always thought was extremely valuable.

I keep it in a safe place on the shelf and barely use it because I'm afraid I'll break it. I've held it in such high esteem thinking that it's a costly item that cannot be replaced.

Well, two days ago I went to the grocery store and got a bottle of sparkling red grape juice. (That's about as crazy as we get around here.) I decided to get down the glass just for fun and poured Brian one, too. I went in for an over the top cheesy "clinking" of the cups only to hear a very different sound than I was expecting. "Are these...plastic???" Brian said looking at me with disbelief. We clinked again and then again just to make sure. It WAS plastic. A very thick and good looking plastic in my defense.

I think sometimes we have things on our minds and in our lives that we treat like the cup in my kitchen. We hold it in such high esteem and make it so important when really it should be treated like what it truly is...plastic. And maybe we treat our true valuable things like they are paper cups without even realizing it at times.

For instance...many of us as women focus A LOT on body image. Even super skinny girls that I think would never think of it are constantly thinking about it. We treat this search for beauty as the most expensive glass cup in our kitchen when really it's just a plastic cup. It shouldn't be as important as we make it and I'm NOT talking about a healthy lifestyle. I think it's good to lose weight and try to be healthy and stay away from foods that aren't good for us. I'm talking about when it overtakes our minds and gets to a place it shouldn't. I'm talking about the search for perfection and when body image takes up more of our mind than God does. I'm talking about the moment when we think we are worth more if we weigh less.

I know I've been guilty of treating body image like the fake glass cup in my kitchen, like it's more valuable than it is. I let too many times in my life when boys would pick the skinnier girl than me affect my thinking too deeply. I would see even the good Christian guys only go for the bomb shells and that would really get me down. In those moments when I thought the only way to get attention was to be smaller, my thoughts about God became more like a paper cup.

I have learned a lot by my weight gain during pregnancy believe it or not. I learned that there are more important things in life like self sacrifice and a baby that are truly worth it. I have learned that before I got pregnant I focused entirely too much on how I looked and put it in a place that it shouldn't have been. I am working hard to get back to where I was and I truly believe in a healthy lifestyle and exercise, but it will all be meaningless if I make it TOO important again. It will put me in misery if I believe the lie that the better I look, the more people will accept me. If my reasoning for doing it is wrong...it's meaningless. If it takes too much of my thought life and overshadows my thoughts about God...it will be in vain.

I guess I just want all of you to stop judging yourselves because it's exhausting. And there's much more important things in life to focus your mind on. Besides, if your mind and heart aren't doing well and you start treating it as more valuable than it is...no amount of weight loss or beauty product will ever be enough.

(BTW..the links in orange are NOT my doing...the internet is just making it a link.)

Monday, December 9, 2013

*My Winter Goal and Putty in Our Hands*

I have a confession to make….

I haven't been out of the house for eight days and it would've stayed that way with or without the snow.

Not only am I incapable of this thing called "Cabin Fever", but I have a goal this year that I plan to meet. My personality is not very motivated by goals according to personality books and well, my own everyday living but this time I'm really serious about it.

My goal is to NEVER get cold this entire winter.

Now, if you know me that well you know that I have not faired well in the frigid weather in the past. I've never been able to escape it because in elementary school I had to go to recess and my brother's football games. In high school the team was extremely good so I was still on the sidelines cheering in December. In college I had to walk to class or be heating up my frigid car in the parking lot at 7:00am after a long and windy hike. When I finally became an "adult" I was braving the elements in my nice clothes for recess and carpool duty. Not to mention, many times along the way I had incredibly scarring moments on the ski slope that I'm not even ready to talk about yet. Let's just use the word desperation to give you a feeling of how "fun" I think skiing is.

But this year…this year is DIFFERENT. This year my job IS at my house and I'm taking the term stay at home wife/mom to the next level! I will literally STAY AT HOME whenever possible!! I no longer have to face my enemy winter like I once did before…I even have a car that heats itself up before I leave which means I can close the door on that old way for now. The future will hold years where I will have to brave the elements again, but the goal for this year is to never get cold. Not once…not even for five minutes. Wish me luck.

I think I'll be able to do this for sure because I never get bored. I don't even know what that means…I may have my mom to thank for that one because when I was little if I would say: "Mom, I'm bored!" she would get this look in her eye and go: "Bored, huh? Ohhhh…I've got PLENTY of laundry for you to fold to cure that!" *Scared face*…I was so afraid of boredom.

I do think her tactic was pretty good and I will use many of her techniques for my own kids. It's funny, though…me and Brian talked about our different parenting ideas long before the baby was born and Beau is way more putty in our hands than we even thought. We had all these strong opinions about how not to spoil him etc. until we saw his face. The little prince just pooped on Brian's pillow because that's where he likes to be in the morning and who am I to say no to that face?! I am sooo hoping this whole not spoiling thing will work out when it's old enough to matter cause right now we just want to give him the world. Maybe it gets easier when they are old enough to learn the word NO and aren't just staring at you with chubby cheeks and sparkly eyes and a loving smile.

I remember a conversation when I was pregnant with Brian where he said very firmly a person should work hard for everything they get so when he's sixteen he will work for his car. I got my car from my parents so I'm more on the let's get him a car, but not a new/amazing one road. WELL…not two weeks after the baby was born I caught Brian talking to him saying: "And we're going to get you a lifted truck and a dirt bike and a four wheeler…" So much for that. Hoping we get a backbone by then cause it's important but oh my goooodnesssss that face just melts us.

Good thing you can't spoil a newborn as they say, let's just hope the terrible twos make this putty in our hands become a little more solid. We literally spent most of our snow days just staring at Beau laughing at everything he did. He is our very own play toy and we both talk about how surprised we are that we aren't yearning to get out more or wanting a babysitter. We don't want to give up any time with him!! We thought we'd feel a little trapped having 24/7 duty over a baby, but it's the opposite. It's our PRIVILEGE! There's no hope for us…this little boy has stolen every bit of our hearts!



Monday, November 11, 2013

*New Mom Diaries 4: Getting the Hang of it*

As I type this I can hear the washing machine filling up with water and the constant tick tick tick in the distance of the miracle baby swing. These two sounds often bring me comfort in the middle of the day. They are familiar noises that mean it's just an ordinary day and things are the way they should be.

In my last blog post I was pretty much drowning in the sea of new motherhood and talking about how I knew the time would go by so fast but I had no idea how fast they would really go. Beau already doesn't look like a newborn anymore and is twelve pounds making life a whole lot easier. He can hold his head up and is very easy to carry around because there's a lot more rolls to hold onto. He feels strong instead of a weak newborn and is able to sleep five and six hours at a time at night. He's finally gotten his days and nights figured out, so at night he only wakes up to feed once and then goes right back to sleep. It's made my life SO much easier.

I've been trying to teach him some things for sleep training later, one of which is not to rely on a sleep prop and wow, has he done REALLY well. Granted, I have a baby that likes his space so being in his moses basket when he's tired without being held is up his alley. I doubt it would work for all babies because of differing personalities, but he has been able to put himself to sleep lately and that has been really nice. I even put him in his bed after a night feeding with his eyes wide open and ten minutes later he's snoozing without one single tear or whimper. I'm so proud of him.

All moms have different ways of approaching these early days which I think is great, but what has worked best for me is just following him. I don't have any other babies or agendas so I can watch his cues and go with his flow. He has figured out day and night on his own, it just took a bit. He is only seven weeks old and doing so great in figuring out how this life thing works and it's been nice being able to go with the flow at whatever pace he feels like. A newborn knows what he needs much more than I do and they are built to tell us what they want and need in ways I could never figure out on my own.

My personality is the opposite of type A so a schedule this early in the game would just make me feel like a failure. Flexibility has definitely been my friend. And the odd thing is, even though I don't have a schedule schedule per say...he's starting to make one of his own. Though newborns will always throw you for a loop, so I'm not getting too cozy in our routine this week. You just never know and realizing that has made me a pretty relaxed new mama. That's my motto...just breathe and relax and let my baby's cues take the wheel. I don't want to get caught up in what I think should be happening and stress myself out. Each day I just take it as it comes and it's a very relaxed way of parenting a newborn, and I like that. I'm already too high strung as it is so I don't need to add anything to stress about quite yet. There will plenty of room for that in the future. He's a good little sleeper and pretty happy except for those dreaded few fussy hours at night before his longest sleep.

It's gotten so much easier now that I've taken most of my sleep back. He sleeps five and six hours at a time before waking up which has made all the difference. I feel like I'm becoming myself again and even started thinking about a second baby which I never thought I'd do after all I've been through. But when you're holding your precious baby in your arms and he's being and angel and you were somehow able to do the laundry, you think you just might be able to do it all over again.

So, it DOES get easier for any moms to be out there. I'd say weeks 3-5 are the absolute hardest because you're just so tired and they are still sleeping only two or three hours at a time. You have been tired and continue to be tired on levels you never thought a human could survive on...but then something during week six happens and it suddenly gets easier. At least for me anyway. I thought being a new mom would feel like more of a burden than it actually is. I knew I'd love it, but I thought all day would feel like a super hard job but it's really not when there's only one. I actually don't feel a lot different than I did before I had a baby because I still get my DVR's in and time to relax. I just get to hold a cutie while I'm doing it. And have to lug in a baby when I go tell the cashier I want forty bucks on pump seven.