Saturday, November 1, 2014

Direction after acknowledgment

In His Great Master Plan, I think God wants us to have more children. You see, He pretty much placed an angel child in our laps via Naomi. She sleeps well, she eats well, she smiles constantly, giggles adorably, has great bed hair every morning, and wrinkles her nose when she grins. She is curious about everything, sprouted two teeth without a complaint, and loves the dog.  If she was ugly and screamed all the time we might be second guessing a second child.

But, OBVIOUSLY we've got this parenting thing down and our child recognizes the blessing she has in her parents and is showering us with thanks via cuteness and a great personality.

                                      Here is her old lady picture. Saggy, wrinkled skin and all.

This is her craaaazy eye face. (Name that movie)

Her first campfire experience! May there be many more!

Wook at that wittle face!!

The other day, I was proudly shoveling mixed vegetables, applesauce, and beef stew into her mouth. It was her first experience with the stew and she loved it. Applesauce. Yum. Beef stew. Yum. Vegetables. Yeah, okay. Beef stew. Yum. Applesauce. Yum. Vegetables. HOW DARE YOU PUT THOSE IN MY MOUTH?!?!

Jim and I stared at her in disbelief. She...she...she was throwing a fit. Over what she did and did not want to eat. What in the world?! How could this happen?! WHO TAUGHT HER THIS WRETCHEDNESS?!?!

Oh yeah. Adam and Eve. Thanks a lot guys.

We stumbled through our first obvious issue of a sinning child as parents. Don't give in. Don't yell. Don't respond to the screaming. 
I don't know about my husband's brain but I was almost in shock. What now?! What book did I not read correctly?! What book do I need to read? Should I call my parents? How would they have responded? Have we allowed her to act like this and just haven't realized it?! Why don't we know what to do? We should have known this would happen! We should have prepared for this! 

I remembered something my Dad said frequently to us as we grew up. "I don't know! I've never done this before. I've never had a _____ (14 year old son, newly graduated daughter, 10 year old youngest daughter, dog this sick...etc) before!" It made me realize that no matter how hard I try to prepare for life as a parent for my daughter, there are going to be moments that hit me like a rock between the eyes and leave me staggering with bewilderment. Maybe I sound a little dramatic over a 9 month old crying about her vegetables but it truly was a wall-crumbling, eye-opening moment. We don't "got this." We never have and we never will. I have a feeling that parenting is right up there with marriage in the sanctification process. If we don't lay it all down before His throne and then come, broken and humble to His feet, we will always be one step behind in understanding. We will always be trying to plan and analyze and be ahead... when He wants us to submit, wait and slow down. I read earlier this week that instead of waking up with an "What am I going to get done today?" attitude, wake up with a "What is God going to do with me today?" attitude. Parenting is going to get much much harder than loss of sleep, diaper rashes and vegetable tantrums. What will the next rock be? Because it's a guarantee that time has one hurtling towards us. It could be severe allergies. It could be severe stubborness. It could be cancer. It could be death. I know I sound morbid. I don't mean to. And believe me I pray every single night over that little warm, sleeping human that we will be spared that particular rock... but I have no idea what God's plan is for our family. Because as much as I beg God to spare us from certain things, I don't know what He has in store. But I do know that I'm going to need strength and grace and trust always. Especially if there are big rocks coming. I'm not trying to dwell on dark "what ifs." God's grace does not exist in what ifs. But what I am trying to dwell on is my need to pray without ceasing. That "in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."

Sidenote/Footnote/Whatever : I apologize that more often than not, my "devotionals" become long-winded, meandering rabbit-trails. I don't put hours into these blogs. Yes, week go by in between them, but it's not because I'm wrestling with the layout of the next one. So, if you reach the end of one and are all, "?!?!?!?!?!" I am very sorry. Often, as I type, the lesson I'm learning is only hitting me just then. And so I attempt convey all the new realizations of my brain and 2 paragraphs later, I'm on an entirely different tangent. I can't promise that that will change. Often they end so abruptly because I know that I do not have the time or the talent to convey what God just taught me. I type, delete, type, retype, delete...for the eternity of 30 minutes... hoping it will read like a Jonathan Edwards sermon. Ridiculous, I know. Even this S/F/W note is about to end. I just wanted to apologize for abrupt endings, confusing trains of thoughts and... and... dang it. No third thing to apologize for. 
The End.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The life of today

It's October. Y'all. I've been a mother for nine months. Even though my little daughter was only handed to me yesterday for the first time, eyes wide with embarrassment over her mother's she is sitting up, days from mastering the dreaded crawl and giving anyone who will look at her a little chin-stick-out-wrinkle-nosed grin.

Dear time, please stop. I know it's cliche, but my heart hurts as I hear over and over again that it only gets faster. That tomorrow she will be potty-trained and bicycle riding, Sunday she will be reading Jane Eyre, and by Monday she will be married. That those little dimpled arms will slim, those smiling gums will sprout teeth, and her fat feet will become calloused. I put away clean little onesies today and realized with horror that half of her closet no longer fits her. I don't want to replace the small things with larger things. I put away the little baby tub because the sink can no longer contain her splashes. And I could go on and on.
I've realized that if I'm not careful, my unrealistic wish for yesterday to pause will cause me to miss that today is playing. That God has showered me with grace in the form of this little human being TODAY. I've followed the advice of a friend almost to a fault. "Don't push for the next milestone. She'll roll over. I promise. One day she will master that sippy cup. Whether she's 7 months, or 14 months, Lord willing, she will walk. Love where she is at TODAY." But I'm enjoying today so much I'm almost not enjoying tomorrow. I'm almost robbing myself of the wonder life and how human beings were created to develop like this! We think a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon is amazing? Watching a baby learn how to live is mind-blowing! God made us that way. And He has granted Jim and I the opportunity to see it unfold. Each new phase shouts glory to Him. What a wonder to be allowed front seats.

So yes, the baby stage will probably be my favorite. But I am praying that I will not dread the next stage because it means an end to the current one. Because God gave me yesterday, is giving me today and has made tomorrow... and He created me to live today. And when I want yesterday back or wish to know what tomorrow holds I am falling into the sin that so long ago entrapped Eve: wanting to be like God. I want to enjoy the delight of the past again and again because surely nothing could be better. I want to know that the future is safe and healthy because anything else couldn't be for my good. When I believe that deception I am pulling away from the trusting, child-like faith God desires of me. I cannot control what happened, happens, or will happen. I can control my response. And I am trying trying trying to respond with thankfulness. And I am thankful! I am! Every day! But it's called sanctification y'all. And it means that every single day I am to be striving to improve what I learned yesterday. That I will never "master" anything. Am I alive? Then apparently God isn't done with me yet.

And so... today, if she crawls, I will try very hard not to cry, but take great delight in it. And today, if a tooth pops up, we will probably both cry out of frustration, but I will be glad that they are coming up. Because it means she is growing in God's image. Just like she was created to do.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yay! New Clothes!

I was putting away Jim's t-shirts the other day and I realized that he had been wearing the same ones for about 4 months. He just pull out the one that's on top... I wash them and put them back on top... he pulls it out again... I wash... you get the picture. So, I rotated them.

Two days later:
Jim- "Did you unpack some of my clothes? Like, summer clothes or something?"
Me-"Umm, no. Why?"
Jim-"I've got t-shirts in my drawer that I haven't seen in a while."
Me-"They've been there all along, babe."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

When 0330 is sweet

God has blessed us with a (so far) good sleeper. More nights than not, she sleeps from 8:00 to 6:30 without a sound. So, as a typical sinner, I get used to the blessing of it, stop thanking God for it, and when she gives me a rough night (wakes me more than once), I'm grouchy.

So, this morning, when she startled me from sleep at 3:30, I wasn't thrilled. But she wasn't just hungry fussy... she was really crying. Pain or fear I didn't know what and I hurried to her room, twisting up a quick topknot, as those little fingers are quite skillful at yanking it out.

Her tear-filled eyes glistened from the nightlight and her swaddle was a loose sack around her. I pulled her free, expecting her to start trying to nurse (shoulder, neck, or wrist, if it's mommy's skin, surely it will produce milk!). But she didn't. She nuzzled close, arms up. If they were longer, they would have probably clasped around my neck. I held her close against the coolness of the room and started to rewrap her, then decided against it. She was so glad that I was there. I wanted to hold her against me... not the soft burrito she becomes when she's swaddled.

So, we rocked. And rocked. It took 45 minutes to get her back to sleep. But she was a warm little body of coziness, content to just be. I would glance down occasionally, only to see two dark, wide open orbs gazing at me or around the room, little hands splayed against my collarbone. And I wasn't even halfway sleepy. I tried to bury the feeling of fulfillment deep, deep into my long term memory box. These days will be over soon. Very, very soon. A crawler, then a toddler... and just sitting in my lap isn't going to be  desirable when the whole house is your's to explore.

Baby daughter, let's just freeze time. Right here. At 3:30 am. I'll rock you forever and my wee little child you'll always be.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Home sweet home

In a pee-in-your-pants kind of surprise, I was offered a Buddy Pass (I'll explain later) and GOT TO TAKE NAOMI TO ALABAMA!! The husband man was already going to be gone for at least ten days due to Coast Guard training and I was dread dread dreading being home alone that long with the wee one and the dog.

Firstly, the dog. Edel. I love her. And as I type and look at her sleeping on my feet, I know what a good, sweet dog she is. Her world has been turned upside down by Naomi and Edel has still welcomed our baby into her box of loyalty. The other day, a strange man pulled up in a brown truck, and, in his brown uniform, carried several boxes up to my door. Obviously, he was there to kill us. Edel has never appreciated the UPS people, but she has never responded so viciously as she did to this one. And never will I tell another UPS man that, "She's very friendly!" She scared ME. Anyway... she still wears me out. Because, you see, every morning is Christmas morning. She's all, "Oh boy! We're getting out of bed! Now we're going downstairs! Oh oh oh OOOOHHH!!! FOOD!! I 'm so glad that I have FOOD!! And now let's go play ball!! No? Okay... I'll just follow you around until you decide to go outside and play ball! Why else would you get out of bed? Oh oh oh... what are you doing? You're walking towards a door that goes to the great outdoors? That must mean we're going to play BALL!! Hey look! The kid is asleep! Let's go play ball! Like, A LOT!!"

It's funny and annoying and lovable and exhausting. And one big guilt trip when I haven't done anything with her at the end of the day (and vacuuming up the endless amount of black dog fur doesn't count as quality time in her book). And newborn baby + snow storm after snow storm  = not a whole lot of exercise for Edel. Jim's arrival home from work was a transfer of the guilt. She would now follow HIM around, running excitedly over when HE approached an outside door, and then look mournfully up at HIM when HE didn't throw the ball. And no, that is not the only reason I looked forward to his homecoming AND dread him being gone. But somedays, I feel like I can handle it all (laundry, supper, vacuuming, feeding, entertaining, nap times and more!) EXCEPT the dog.
So, ten days of just me and the poop machine and the furminator was rather frightening.

So. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Alabama. So, the offer was made and I took it like a fat kid taking candy. Now... to prepare for flying with Naomi.
Fortunately, my mom borrowed a baby bed and carseat and said she would buy diapers and wipes. I would just need enough to get down here.  I packed carefully. Tediously carefully. I was the only one on this trip capable of carrying anything. The other person can't even hold on to her pacifier. Heck... the other person can't even carry herself. Babypack, check!

Another story... and it is regarding poop. You have no idea the freedom I feel getting to talk about poop all the time. A baby is such a great excuse for such a topic.

The kiddo, sleeping peacefully as I packed until midnight the night before our flight, had not pooped in about 36 hours. Adults, thought possibly getting a little worried, are usually okay with this. Babies poop multiple (MULTIPLE!!) times a day. I was terrified. As my last post shows, she is capable of blowing the foul stuff two-thirds up her back. Planes don't exactly have changing stations, bathtubs, or high pressure hoses. I was praying for poop before we left. Praying. My mother and mother-in-law, understanding the fear, prayed as well. She had one in her diaper when I got her up that morning... but I knew there was more to come. We headed out, as planes don't wait for empty bowels. She slept most of the drive there and I pulled into the parking lot, got out and reached in to pull her out. My hands came back wet and brown. THANK YOU GOD!! Seriously. I pulled the suitcases out of the back of the car and a bus stopped to pick me up. I walked over, he opened the door and I said, "Thanks... but I've got one major poopy diaper to clean up!" He laughed and rolled on. See? The word poop, because a baby is involved, is sociably acceptable! I climbed into the cargo area, spread a disposable paper pad, and went to work. Twenty wipes later, I bagged the salvageable clothes and stuffed them in my luggage. The basic white onesie that took the worst hit was getting tossed. Though a little worried about time, I was singing praises to God the whole time.

I was scheduled for a 10:55 flight out of New England. Okay, really quickly. A buddy pass puts you on standby. The person (an employee of Southwest) who gives you the Buddy Pass lists you on a flight, and as soon as you get there you let them know that you would like to be added to the standby list. If there are enough seats available, you get one. If not, you wait until the next flight. Praise God I made it on every first flight! And because there were more than enough seats, I was allowed to board with the other families with children (between zones A and B).
I was now a receiver of the stares (oh, I'll just say it... glares) of people waiting to board the plane with me. I lined up, little one strapped to my chest, with the rest of the baby toters. Business men and women, hoping for peace to work, counted all of the chillun' repeatedly, wanting the number to decrease magically every time they counted. Older, retired couples, hoping for peace to sleep, would do the same thing, raise their eyebrows, look away and sigh. Young people, hoping for peace to listen to their music/movie, would stared sullenly in our direction. Read it and weep, people. Read it and weep.

I marched myself straight to the back and took the middle seat of the very last row. If she was going to cry, let it be in the back where she would disturb fewer people. Also, more privacy for me as I was going to attempt to feed her. The flight attendant, on hearing my plight, actually stood in front of my row and as seats started filling fast, actually directed people to start taking middle seats. I was a little horrified. I practically tugged his sleeve a couple of times. "It's okay if someone sits here!... I can move over and just have the middle seat empty! Oh my goodness, let someone sit here, I don't want everyone to hate me!" He finally turned to me and said, "If you say one more word, I'm going to call security. Now let me handle this. You should get a whole row." He was awesome. And I got the whole dang row to myself! Not only on that flight, but on my second one (AND on the two flights going home!). But, thankfully, she slept the majority of our time on the plane. At the end of our second flight, the row of teenage boys turned around and said, "Whoa! We didn't even know there was a baby behind us!"

It was wonderful to be home. Home and warm. The first day or two was a little overwhelming for the baby (Saturday night's table count: 13). But c'mon. New sights, lots of new sounds and lots of new smells. And new temperatures. Little girl got to hang out in her diaper for a couple of days. It was like, 74 degrees and she couldn't handle the heat. Get use to it, baby. One day, Lord willing, we'll be back here. I definitely overpacked.

Uncle Jeff was pretty busy working, but I managed to get one photo of him. I think she bonded with Uncle Asa pretty well. And Aunt Eleanor. And Uncle Ryan? Well... she's going to have to get just a smidgen older before she can handle the man's energy. And Aunt Alisa and Aunt Anna were old pros with her.
It was such a pleasure to get to see her held by three great-grandmothers. We are so very blessed to still have them with us.

Uncle Rob was a little scary.

Cousin Dex's hair was hard to figure out.

And she decided to be a Jedi Knight.

Pa said she was going to need to pin her ear down, it was sticking out so far. And of course, Grandmama said that her ear was beautiful. 
It does stick out a bit. She's got this little gnomish knob on her right ear, and it catches on everything and folds down. And folds down. And folds down. And now it just kind of sticks out there.

She was starving for attention the whole trip.
What a rough life.

This is her signature face. Just can't take in enough detail. If anyone walked past our seat on the plane, this would be her face. Priceless.

This one reminds me of the dramatic squirrel.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Diaper fail

I go back to work tomorrow. I'll be cleaning adult butts again. 
But oh my... sometimes what this little butt is capable of is quite startling.

Just a little on the front, right?


By the time I peeled this soggy mess off, it was on her neck.
You, little lady, just earned yourself a bath at 2 pm.
And though it slowed down my plans for the afternoon...with that little face, I don't even care.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's True

Warning: Breastfeeding is talked about in this post. 

Warning again: Breastfeeding may be mentioned in many future posts.

One more time: This means that the words breast, nipple, boob... etc might be used. Read on at your own risk.

It gets better.

That's what everyone kept saying about breastfeeding.

Give it some time, it gets better.

In about six weeks, you'll feel better.

Just keep going, it gets better.

Six weeks. It all starts getting better at six weeks.

I remember the magical "six weeks" being talked about before giving birth. I remember thinking, "That's not bad. I can do that."

And truth be told, now that the little booger is 8 weeks old and eating well, sleeping well, and smiling back at us, it wasn't all that bad.

But during those first weeks, I had many moments where I wasn't sure if it would ever get better. I dreaded each and every feeding. The two hour between feeding windows would fly by and I would still be throbbing as I picked her up. I would say a quick prayer, curl my toes, and pull her close. It felt like there was an angry monkey, clamping down hard, off on off on off on. Because as I was learning, so was she. But good gravy, her sucking would go from sippy, sippy... sip... sip.... to LET'S PLAY TUG OF WAR WITH MOMMY! Tug of war was the worst. It was TUG aaaand pop off. And scream because apparently it was all my fault that she had pulled off and that must mean I wanted her to starve. TUG pop scream. TUG pop scream. During the night, in my half awake reasoning, I would not appreciate Jim's sweetness. I would be breathing through my teeth as she chomped away and he would wake up and dreamily tell me what a good mom I was and if there was anything he could do? I wanted to shout, "YOU CAN START LACTATING!!" But I wouldn't. I would look at him with gritted teeth, say no thank you, I love you too, now go back to sleep. Because, really, what could he do?

And then came the breast pump.
First of all, you pray an uncle in England dies and leaves you some leftover cash. These ain't exactly cheap, sister. I stressed myself out reading reviews on Amazon, Target,, and everywhere else. I think I've said this before but reading reviews is initially helpful, then it becomes overwhelming. The first one gushes how this is the best purchase of her life and she can't imagine going on without it... and the second bemoans that it stole all her chickens and soiled her quilts.
After reading reviews and comparing prices for four days and making a final decision 5 times, I called the local breastfeeding center. Yes. There are such things. I wanted advice. So, seriously... just tell me which one is the best. Oh, everyone prefers different ones? I didn't see THAT answer coming. So I asked her who had the best prices. I even jokingly asked about a "breast pump black market." She told me to, get this, check on Amazon. Also, Target and Babies 'R Us carry them as well. Lady, thank you! I had NO idea such places existed! I mean, is Amazon, like, a store that came from South America?!

Second, a prized Jersey in a dairy farm was never a wish. But if any of you have ever desired to feel like a cow, attach yourself to one of these things and live the dream. The first time I turned it on, the dog was frantic. She ran circles in our room, her panic evident. "How can you be so calm?! There's an animal in the black bag sucking your life away!" My humiliation was made justifiable only with the thought that this will allow me to escape the house without the fear of my baby shrinking into nothingness.
The instruction booklet for it was written by Kali, the 4-10 armed Hindu goddess. Seriously. It's best to double pump it says. Okay... but it also says it's best to detach the hose from the suction cup thingys first before removing them from your boobs. How, if I'm already using both hands? I DON'T CARE, screams the instruction booklet, BUT IT'S BEST!! Right. Okay...detached but they fell to the floor. KEEP THEM STERILE! Well, too late. OH MY WORD!! YOU HAVE EXACTLY TWO MINUTES TO GET THOSE THINGS IN BOILING WATER OR THE WARRANTY WILL BE COMPLETELY NILL! The booklet also harps on the importance of putting a lid on the bottle of milk as soon as you pull it off. Do not try to dry yourself or try to catch any drips from wetting your clothes. IMMEDIATELY PUT THE LIDS ON. LIKE, YESTERDAY WOMAN!
So there I am, clutching two air horn looking contraptions to myself, trying to detach hoses while keeping them from falling to the floor, breaking the seal with my fingers (NEVER JUST PULL IT OFF!), taking off the suction cup thingys, and immediately covering the precious nectar of life, whilst it also drips into my lap. If Jim is anywhere near I request that he leave me be. Leave me alone with my shame.

Then there are lactation consultants. I have called them several times and I really do love them. They calm hysterical mothers down with the age old, "That is completely normal!" and of course, the ever reassuring, "You can do this." But I have been given the advice to pump while I feed Naomi to increase my milk supply. ....   ....  I'm sorry, what? I can't imagine adding a baby to the above scenario. Sometimes, Naomi eats like Animal the muppet, while riding a bicycle and playing the drums. Sometimes the highly commercialized pictures of mothers calmly and lovingly holding their little babies as they nurse, surrounded by an ethereal glow make me want to smash a mailbox.

But... I did it. I've done it. I used one arm to pump and one arm to hold her on AND lift her up to burp. I almost called Jim in to watch so he would be impressed with my new set of skills.

All this to say that it gets better. It really does. It is still getting better. And I realize that tonight she may decide to wake me up every hour to be fed. That next week she may decide to forget how to suck. I know that in 2 or so months, teeth will enter the picture and that's going to be a whole 'nother ballgame. But for now... it's better.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The questions of sleep

I feel like so much of my life right now is questioning every decision I attempt to make.

SHOULD I put her to bed now? Is it too early? Should I wake her up and try to stick to a normal waking morning hour? Or (yes PLEASE!!) just let her sleep and enjoy it? Am I scheduling her sleep during the day correctly? If she WON'T cluster feed before bedtime, should I just give it up? Is white noise during naps a bad decision? Am I a terrible mother for not changing her 40 lb wet diaper in the middle of the night since she's sleeping?

Actually, I feel like so much of my life right now involves questioning sleep (or the lack thereof) decisions.

Sleep. Unbroken, unadulterated sleep. It's like this heavenly, yet foggy memory of the past. I won't lie, the little booger is a terrific sleeper compared to many many horrifying stories I've heard. But by terrific sleeper I mean her nights have become this: 5-6 hour stretch, then a 3 hour stretch, then a 2 hour stretch. In between each stretch is a "please stay awake long enough to really fill that little belly, oh my word, now you're done eating and WIDE awake please go back to sleep and please please please don't poop because then I HAVE to change your diaper and then you'll really be wide awake" struggle. Sometimes I look at my husband, eyes closed, blissfully unaware of the happenings around him and my jealously runneth over. Don't think he doesn't help. I TOLD him that because he has to get up and go to work and that, if able, I will be taking naps, that I would handle the night goings on. And I meant it. I mean it still. But the other night, at 2:30, when Naomi was all OH MY WORD THAT WAS THE BEST MILK EVER I FEEL LIKE I COULD POOP A MARATHON AND THEN DO TEN WHOLE MINUTES OF TUMMY TIME... I could have sat on his sleeping head.

And we have no idea what happened to our evenings of "just" doing anything. Read? Sure! Movie? Okay! Game? Absolutely! 
Now a 1.5 hour movie becomes a three-hour endeavor. Naomi takes one look at us starting to settle on the couch and she's like, "No way, dudes! No FREAKING WAY!" 
I looked at the clock the other night and it was 7:30. "Oh my word! It's gotten late! I haven't even started her bedtime routine!" Late? What kind of old farts have we become? And why do I feel so guilty about a bedtime routine? And sleep schedules? I know that when they really work they are amazing, but did my parents and grandparents jump through these hoops of scheduling and routines?

To quote Jerry Seinfeld: The bedtime routine for my kids is like this royal coronation jubilee centennial of rinsing and plaque and dental appliances and the stuffed animal semi-circle of emotional support and I gotta read eight different moron books. You know what my bedtime story was as a kid? Darkness! My parents would yell, "Go to bed!"

And that's what I'm beginning to realize. Chill out. She will sleep. She will eat. And she's probably going to get sick one of these days. But guess what? She's gaining weight. She's cooing and smiling and soiling at least 6-8 diapers a day... so everything's looking okay. God's got this. I'm just so glad He's giving me a chance to enjoy the ride.

And nap time just officially ended. I think her pupils are dilated. Good gravy, she's adorable.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Milestone alert!

We've been rather busy lately. So I'm sorry to all of my adoring, rarely-commenting friends (seriously. comments make me happy. don't you want me to be happy?!). But for once, I have a good excuse.

Enter Naomi Jeane. To be more specific, she entered at 7:26 am on January 8th. The little booger weighed 6lbs and 15 oz. The doctors were saying she was 42 weeks. We were saying 41 weeks. Being so small of a babe, I'm going to assume that we were correct. And yes, that is what your belly looks like AFTER the human has come out. I refused to step on the scales.

Birthing a baby has opened my eyes to this truth: You owe your mom a lot. I know it's a common joke: "I can't believe you're acting like this! Do you know what I went through to get you into this world?!"
Yeah, Mom, whatever.

Well, no more! Good gravy! 

We had taken the Birthing class and the Newborn class offered by the hospital. We felt ready to hold, feed, swaddle, change, shush, and bathe a baby. We knew the stages of labor and had an idea of what to expect. Jim was ready to coach. I was ready to breathe and try to freaking relax. 

Relax. Ha. I couldn't relax whenever I thought about it. Every woman, when asked how badly something hurt, compares it to labor. It's like THE pain of all. And I was going to start experiencing it any day now. 

So, at  2 am, on January 6th, they started coming in regular waves. I had been having them throughout the previous evening, but they weren't "regular." My appointment to induce (because I was "42 weeks") was that morning at nine. We walked in and the induction was canceled because God had decided to start my labor, not, thank goodness, Pitocin. So the day tick-tocked by. Imagine someone trying to blow up a balloon made of iron inside of you. I hissed air in and out like a snake, squeezing Jim's hands until they were white. 

To make a very long story short, my body stopped at 9 cm. You have to be 10 cm to push. The worst part is that you feel like you absolutely MUST push at 9 cm... but you can't. But, I was so close! It wouldn't take long to get that last centimeter!!

Four hours later it's 5 am on Wednesday morning... 9 cm. I was begging to push, crying as the balloon was huge and hard inside of me and only deflating for 30 second intervals. My doctor, knowing I had opted to not have an epidural, advised me to get one. "You haven't slept in over 30 hours. Your body is refusing to relax. The epidural will let you sleep for a few hours and hopefully when you wake up, we will be ready to push." The anesthesiologist was there in about 20 minutes... although it seemed hours. I tried not to think about a needle being inserted into my spine. Or that he really needed me to be completely still even though I couldn't control my shaking body. Praise God he got it in correctly and I had almost immediate relief.

But little Naomi was still going through labor. And she was tired too. Thirty minutes after my epidural, her heart rate dropped from 130 to the mid 50s. For the next thirty minutes, we struggled to get it to stay up. Nope. She was spent. Thus... C-section. Initially, when I realized they were really and truly prepping me for the OR, I was extremely disappointed. A C-section was the LAST thing I wanted. If I had wanted our baby to be cut out, we would have opted out of 27 hours of labor. But every time we thought about asking the doctor if we HAD to do this right now, our daughter's heart rate would plummet. Forget this. Get her out! Please! I was fighting tears and I saw my husband was too. It was terrifying.

But, thank you God!! She was pulled out safe and sound. Jim said he refused to look over the blue curtain because the doctors were yanking so hard in his peripheral vision.  The worst of it for me was my sleep deprivation. I had just been medicated so I could sleep. And now, any minute, I was going to see Naomi for the first time and I could barely keep my eyes open. You don't really realize how powerful the need for sleep is until you're fighting it tooth and nail and still losing. Thankfully, her cries saved me from drifting off. A few minutes later, Jim walked over, his eyes red and tired, his face a little pale from worry... but beaming. I love him so. Despite the attention I received for all of my effort through the labor, I couldn't have done it without him. He never slept and never left my side. I am honored that he asked me to be his wife.

And no, this is when she was a couple of days old. They didn't dress her up right out of the womb.

We didn't leave the hospital until Saturday. Jim's parents stayed at our house all week and came twice a day to visit. We had a "please bring" list for them pretty much every time they came, bless their hearts. And because my mother-in-law is awesome, she cooked many meals and put them in my freezer!

And so... we left home as two and came home as three. It was a fantastic feeling. A feeling that can only be described by a quick, Nehemiah-like prayer up to God of "Help! We don't know what to do now!"

And so far, we are all still alive. A little sleep-deprived...but our baby bathing skills improve daily, diaper changing speed has quickened, we are learning the preferred jostlings, and she's getting chubby.

Just look at those wittle wips.

We call this milk drunk.
And she just outgrew this outfit. I cried.

Her first doctor's appointment. She wants to be a boy scout. 

She's cooing right now. And I'd rather hold her than type. I will try very hard to log the trials and errors of this new stage of our lives. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014


During the month of September, Alisa and Jeff flew up to New England and we drove to Acadia National Park. Actually, we headed towards the Freeman house to spend the night first, Jim's truck broke down, made some changes in our plans, got to their house and ate lobster, went to church with them the next day, then they came to the park with us and helped us set up their camper that they were letting us borrow, along with lending us Ted's brand-spanking-new pickup. Unknown to us, they were already planning on lending us the truck (the camper was already in the plan). Unselfish people are great to know, you know?

But "we drove to Acadia" is a lot easier to say so that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

It. Was. Too. Much. Fun.

Family vacations where the family members actually gee and haw are great. Actually... looking back... I've had very few family vacations that didn't gee and haw.

We know Amy. Your life has been rainbows and blue skies. We get it.




Jeff and Alisa, when it comes to vacation, are like us. We're on vacation. Let's kind of plan on maybe going on a bike ride tomorrow. Sounds good. We'll pack a lunch? Sure. And tonight, let's just eat out. Okay! We were thinking hot dogs for dinner? Sweetness. And do y'all want to hike sometime this week? If y'all do, sure! Let's sit by the fire for two hours first. I'm way ahead of you.

We go home relaxed after these type of vacations.

We camped at Bass Harbor Lights which is on the island of Acadia, but not in the park. Which was fine. It was a great site. And they had great bathrooms. And there was hardly anyone there. Which makes for an even greater experience. This is why you don't see us heading to Universal Studios for vacation. TOO MANY PEOPLE.

On the way up, we had stopped at THE L.L. Bean store in Maine to buy two more pie irons. And while we were camping, we learned the beauty of these contraptions. Grilled cheeses. Breakfast sandwiches. Pizzas. Maybe even possibly a better smore experience! It's hard to do when it's dark because you really have to see your food to know if it's at that state of perfected grilledness. But, oh when it is... Burned tongues and fingers don't matter!

She's such a cutie patootie. And I don't care what Jeff says. I like your pajama pants.

Acadia's trails are incredibly beautiful. If you ever get the chance to go, do it!

To get all of our bikes in the truck, this was the process. Tires had to come off and then (obviously) get put back on. Jim would have to be in the truck to pull them in... and then worm his way out. Alisa gets the all time cycling award because her wheel was put on wrong and she pedaled the whole 8 miles (many of them uphill) without a complaint. She could barely even coast! We all felt pretty bad when we realized what was wrong

Jim hoped that if he stood there long enough, he would get painted into the picture.

This is Jim again... forgetting that not only does he have a wife who needs him, but that he has a wife with child.

This is my best friend. And what I thought (at the time) was an obvious belly bump.

 I know I will not be able to express what I'm about to type adequately. Jeff and Alisa, the sweetness y'all gave us during this trip was overwhelming. I don't know why God decided to put y'all through the trial of infertility. I don't know why He allowed us to conceive so quickly. I beg and plead to Him daily, sometimes fighting anger, to give you a baby. I don't understand. And it grieves me that He has decided to continue the wait for you. Yet... through all of this wretched disappointment, your resilience, your trust in Christ, the quick drying of tears, the quiet hearts and attitudes have blown Jim and I away. We ache with you. And we grow closer to God because of you. Not to say that your trial was for our sanctification. But... God has used it for us as well. We love y'all so very very much and continue to lift up your desires to Him every single day. And I'm praying specifically for twins.

 This is for Alisa because she thinks toes are gross... and she really hates it when people give "two toes way way up!"

Jeff talking about the first time he saw Alisa... and Alisa talking about when she finally realized that it was Jeff all along. They are so cute.

And so, we spent several days there and loved it. We even bought matching t-shirts. I'm dead serious.
The End.

P.S. I'm sorry. This post is seriously lacking in memories. But that's what happens when you blog 4 months AFTER an event.