Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday (8/29)

Today, I'm thankful for grandparents.

The Husband lost his grandpa today, and he loved him very much.

Jack has two wonderful sets of grandparents!  They love him beyond words and lavish him with hugs and kisses and kind words whenever they're around him. How blessed we are, and I know those grandparents will leave a remarkable impact on his life!  Jack will always know he's loved, just as I always knew my grandparents loved me. 

My maternal grandparents lived in my hometown, so I saw them pretty regularly. I spent days and nights at their house often, especially during the summer months. I have such sweet memories of them. Going on afternoon walks with Grammy. Playing in the refrigerator box that Papa had turned into a playhouse in their living room. Making mud pies on their back patio. Helping Grammy shell peas. Watching Papa draw in his home office.  Having tea with Grammy and her friends, the nuns, who came to visit.  Laughing with Papa at the silliness of soap operas.  Sitting quietly with Grammy as she quilted. 

My paternal grandparents lived about 5 hours away, so I really only got to see them a couple of times a year--in the summers and at Christmas. I ALWAYS looked forward to seeing them. And, I have lovely memories of them, as well.  Marveling that I had an inhaler like Grandpa.  Sitting with Grandma as she worked on crossword puzzles.  Driving up to their house and seeing Grandpa shelling pecans on the front porch.  Playing card games with Grandma late into the night.  Walking with Grandpa in his garden and seeing the orange cat that seemed to think he belonged to them.  Getting to sleep in Grandma's room with her because she knew I'd be lonely. 

They're all gone now. Grandpa, first, when I was a little girl. Grandma, next.  Papa and Grammy my third year of teaching.  
But, I can still hear their voices. 
I can still see their faces. 
I can still feel their love. 

They were loving, kind, generous grandparents, and they left an incredible legacy. What a blessing!  

And, that's the kind of grandparent I'm thankful for today. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two Things Tuesday (8/27)

1.  This little boy has an assortment of nicknames. I'm a little afraid he'll respond to those more than his actual name :)

Bright Eyes
Sugar (and many derivations of that...Sugar Pie, Sugar Britches, etc.)
Little Man
Cutie Pie
Sweet Boy

2.  Tomorrow, The Husband is meeting with someone who is interested in leasing the condo. Prayers are appreciated!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday (8/22)

Today, I'm thankful for The Husband. 

Of course, I think he's handsome and funny and strong and brave. 

But, these are the things I'm most thankful for...

He is my partner in life, and I trust him.

He can say just a few words and make me believe I'm beautiful. Even when I know I'm looking particularly unkempt. Or slightly horrific. Or falling to pieces (which, as of late, feels like often).

Currently, he's working tirelessly to get the condo ready to sell.  Mostly by himself. He's sanded and scrubbed and painted and moved heavy objects. He met with the realtor. 

He's making a plan to provide for us the best way he can.  I know God's going to clear a path for him to be able to do so. 

He loves us with his whole heart. 

He is a wonderful husband and a GREAT father. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two Things Tuesday (8/20)

1.  Jack is learning to sleep anywhere.  
And, apparently in any position. 

On the couch at Tina's house on Saturday
In his car seat on the way back to my parents' house yesterday - he slept like this for almost 2 hours.
2.  He loves bath time now! 

Side note - he got a bath yesterday because he had two major blowouts within the span of a couple of hours, and I felt like the wet wipes just weren't cutting it :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thankful Thursday(8/15)

Today, I'm thankful for a growing little boy.

His two-month well-baby visit was this afternoon.

He weighs 12 pounds and is 22 inches long. Looks good!

He is doing really well, and we're really pleased with his pediatrician (here in my parents' town).  He's on board with us (& even recommended) delaying vaccines. It was nice not having to explain our decision on that subject, and it was even nicer having a doctor back us up. 

Jack refused to nap before our appointment, so as we waited he got a little fussy. He nursed and then fell asleep while we chatted with his doctor. Although, he's been fighting a few naps recently, he usually sighs/coos with contentment when I put him down to rest. It's pretty cute. And, it makes the sleep-training these last few weeks worth it. 

I'm so thankful for a snuggly, super-sweet, healthy, growing, learning, cooing, smiling, tongue-sticking-out little boy. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two Things Tuesday (8/13)

1.  I forgot that today was Tuesday and therefore forgot to do this post until Lena ( me a virtual hug. Thank you!  I needed it! 
A big virtual hug to you, too! 

2.  Yes, People. It's official. Jack is now even more adorable than he was yesterday.  He coos when we talk or coo at him, he sticks his tongue out when we stick ours out, and he's been giving some very sweet smiles. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Private and oh so public

This is my blog. I come here to write public things often. Rarely do I post things that are super personal.

Tonight's post is one that's like a diary entry. I don't know why I'm making it public. I suppose because I'm hoping against all hope that God is doing something amazing through these trials.  I will in all likelihood close the comments section though because, although I TRULY value your opinions, I just can't handle much more right now. 

My heart is heavy. I feel its weight crushing my insides and rising up in my throat. 

The Husband has yet to find a job. 

Our home needs to be sold or leased out so that we don't foreclose on it.  We have a few options but they all involve incurring more debt than we already have. 

Our cats need a home.  Like tomorrow. They can no longer be cared for, and there's just not enough room for them where we are. I've checked into the shelter policy on bringing animals to them. Y'all, my oldest cat will in all likelihood not be a "candidate."  Not because he's vicious or ill. No, he's just old. As I'm sure you're aware, old cats aren't that popular in the adoption arena. It's just killing me. And, yes, I know they're "just animals."  But I made a commitment.  I fully understand that people are simply more important.  But, I also know that when I adopted them, I committed to take care of them. I promised to shelter and feed them. And, I can no longer do those things. And, I'm sad. Just so sad. 

Oh how my heart hurts these days. 

It's so easy to say, " I trust."

It's also so hard to keep hope alive when the walls seem to be falling down around me. 

I'm weary. So weary. 

I'm ready to rest. 

Rest from the fear that we're going to lose our material possessions. 

Rest from the anxiety. The sadness. The frustration of not knowing how we'll make it. 

I can only imagine the strain The Husband is under, but I do carry a burden, too. Others have told me of several teaching opportunities in the area. They are good (I assume) schools.  I'm sure they would treat me fine. The salary, I'm sure, would help ease the burden.  But, I can't do it. No, that's not right. I choose not to do it. I choose not to step into that world again and out of the one I've just so recently stepped into.  Is that selfish? I know it is. Should I go back to being the main bread winner again? Should I leave my new baby in the care of someone else? Should I give up this dream I've had since I was a little girl?  The shoulds could go on and on. In my mind, it's not an option, but I know several people think I'm being foolish.

Y'all I hate this. Hate it with everything in me. I want it to go away. I want to wake up tomorrow in our home. With our cats. With The Husband in a perfect job. 

In the grand scheme of things, this is all so trivial. I know it is.  

But right now it hurts. 

A lot. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Two Months!


You are 2 months old today! 

You weigh 12 pounds. 

You rarely cry during diaper changes or when going down for a nap (sometimes you cry when you wake up mid-nap and have trouble falling back to sleep). 

You have the sweetest, craziest, funniest facial expressions. 

You've started to interact with the world around you by cooing, by batting at things (though it's probably not on purpose most times), and by being aware of the lights and colors you see and sounds you hear (you cried so hard when Daddy sneezed the other day!)

(Sometimes you are so sleepy after eating that you even sleep through getting your nose suctioned out!)

We love you more today than we thought possible!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Thankful Thursday (8/8) A Day Late

This post is a day late. Yesterday morning/early afternoon was busy, AND then we didn't have Internet access yesterday afternoon/evening. And, honestly, I was having a tough time being thankful. 


Today (yesterday), I'm thankful for no's. 

I'm thankful for all the times I was told "no" as a child. It taught me there are boundaries.

I'm thankful for all the times God didn't answer my teenage pleas of having a boyfriend. I would have made terrible choices. I would have regretted them.  I likely wouldn't have met The Husband. And, I wouldn't have Jack. 

I'm thankful the answer was "no" to the job The Husband interviewed for this week.  I don't like it. Part of me wishes it were a "yes" instead. But, I'm thankful because I know God's in control. I don't know what He's doing specifically, but I do know He works out everything for our good.  I know He has something even better in store for us.  Even better than the what-seemed-like-perfect job. 

Today, I'm thankful for "no."

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Monday, August 5, 2013

Two Things Tuesday (8/6)

1. Jack-Jack is 8 weeks old today. 

According to my mom's scale, he weighs 11.5 pounds. 
He's been going through a growth spurt. Lots of nursing and very sleepy. Until yesterday. Yesterday, he had trouble napping, and then we saw our first "witching hour" incident--he was up from 4:30pm until after 9.  He was so exhausted from being overtired that he had the hardest time going to sleep. He fought it tooth and nail. He's fought sleep before, but never like that. It was hard to listen to. We all took turns trying to soothe him, but he was just so upset. Nursing helped, but once he was in bed, he'd startle himself each time he'd start to doze off.  Poor guy.  He also had to be swaddled again and again. He's way to persistent when it comes to getting those arms loose! We certainly had an interesting night-- I'm hoping for a better day. 

2. The Husband has an interview at 10:00 this morning. 

It's with a really impressive company.  We like what they stand for, and we both believe they would be a wonderful company to be a part of.  We've got lots of people praying :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Not for the Faint of Heart

Sleep training.

It's a touchy subject. 

And, it's definitely only one battle in the "mommy wars" (Google it.  Sadly, it's real.) that are raging full-force these days. 

Nursery sleeping versus co-sleeping. 
Breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding. 
Working outside the home versus working at home. 
Cloth diapering versus using disposables. 
Vaccine administering on schedule versus delaying.
Crying it out versus being rocked/bounced/held before each nap. 
Public versus private versus home-schooling.

The wars rage on. Mothers pit themselves against other mothers because "they know what's best."  

In my 8 years of teaching and in the 8 years prior to that of babysitting, I saw examples of good parenting and bad parents.  Or what I deemed "good" and "bad."  

See?? Even as a non-mother at the time, I was among those who judge mothers. I, of course, did it with the best intentions.  It was all under the guise of, "How could they think that was a good idea? When I'm a mother, I won't EVER do that.  I'll do (insert mountains of "wisdom" here) instead." 

Why are we so unkind?

As a new mother, I have seen and heard that unkindness (though as of yet, nothing ugly has been thrown my way...although lots of advice has been shared), and I think I know why we mothers blast one another so often. 

I think deep down we're scared. 

We're scared we didn't do it (whatever our "it" might be) correctly when it was our turn before or aren't doing it correctly now.  We're scared we could have done a better job. We're scared we messed up.  We see others going about "it" a different way, and the mommy guilt sets in. Instead of being pleased that something is working for someone else, we sit in judgement to mask whatever guilt we may be feeling.  Because we know what's best.

We do, or try really hard to, know what's best for our OWN kiddoes, but we certainly can't deem someone else's child-raising choices (unless they involve drugs, alcohol, neglect, or violence) as bad or wrong.  We're simply doing the best we can do. We're doing our best with what we know, with what wisdom has been given to us, with the abilities we have. Not one loving, devoted mom out there is intentionally trying to screw up.  

But, unintentionally, we sometimes do.  And, we have to give ourselves, and others, grace when we miss the mark. We have to forgive and learn from those things. 

This week, The Husband and I have been working on creating a pleasant wake, nurse, play, nap schedule for Jack now that he is almost two months old.  It's usually about a three to three and a half hour cycle with him awake for 45 minutes to an hour each time. 

When we put him down for a nap (after watching for his sleepy cues--yawning, relaxed body (or flailing arms if he's overtired), rubbing eyes on our shoulders), we use the 4 S's (set the stage, swaddle, stand/sit, and shush/pat as needed). I have heard and read good things about the 4 S's (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems) and decided that we would give them a go.  They work best if the baby isn't already overtired, so we really try to be aware of those sleepy cues before it's too late. 

I set the stage by making sure he's fed and has a clean diaper.  We walk calmly into the bedroom and make sure the lights are dimmed.  

I quietly swaddle him tightly (he is SO strong and often gets at least one arm free if I don't do it as tight as I can). This is particularly tough at night in the dark while I'm pretty groggy. We make it work though. Also, it helps that he doesn't fight it too much at night. 

Then, I pick him up and place him against my chest on my shoulder. I hold him there while I quietly sing "You are my Sunshine." When I'm finished, I stand or sit. I don't rock or bounce or move. We just stand/sit like that. He sometimes fights it (he REALLY fought it early on). I've noticed that he fights it really hard when I miss those first sleepy cues, and he's gotten overtired. But after a few minutes, his body relaxes, and I put him down. 

If he stirs and starts to cry, I shush him while I gently pat his stomach. When he's calm again, I leave the room.  

Sometimes, even after being calm, he'll wake from the ridiculously-light REM sleep and will cry. At first, he cried a lot. I would go in and shush/pat him until he was calm. 

The cry-it-out (CIO) method is not for the faint of heart. I can tolerate crying more than The Husband can.  He often has to go somewhere that he can't hear him. But, we both want him to be able to initially fall asleep on his own with minimal assistance and to be able to go back to sleep when the natural REM/sleep cycle of around 45 minutes has ended. To be a happy baby upon waking, his little body needs at least an hour and a half of sleep per nap. Two hours is best for him since babies this age need between 16 and 18 hours of sleep per day.

Sleep-training is TOUGH.  Sometimes, I have to turn the monitor down to where I can just barely hear him because I start to project my own feelings onto him. Maybe he's lonely. Maybe he's afraid. Maybe he's angry. Maybe.  Maybe.  Maybe.  

In reality, he's tired. I know he's tired. I can see it on his face when I shush him after the REM/sleep cycle has ended, and he's woken up too early. If he weren't tired, he wouldn't have trouble keeping his eyes open.  

As I began typing this, he was crying. He was crying because he was having to learn to be able to fall back asleep when he's woken up halfway into his nap. I shushed and patted. I watched him fall back to sleep. I walked out of the room, and as I made it back to the living room, that sweet baby jarred himself awake and began crying again. I heard. I sighed. I took a deep breath. And, then I sat on the couch and listened. He cried. And stopped. Cried. And stopped again. Each time, the crying was less and softer. He was learning how to relax and rest. He was learning that Mom and Dad love him and are there but that they won't pick him up when they know that he needs more rest. They will patiently wait as he learns to fall asleep and to sleep well.

He's learning and so am I. I've made mistakes. Over and over I picked him up when he'd cry. I taught him that if he woke within the first few minutes of his nap, I would rush back in and hold him.  I called it his "extra bit of loving."  But then, when he would wake mid-nap, he would expect that "extra bit of loving" and cry and cry and cry. I saw how that one thing I did made it ten times harder to get him down for the next nap.  

I learned that I have to be consistent. I also learned that if he naps well during the day, he sleeps well at night. If he only takes 45 minute naps during the day, our night is a long and tiring one. 

But, I'm learning something else. Mothering is hard, and I doubt myself often. Mothering takes a strength and courage I never knew before. It takes lots of grace. It takes a forgiving heart. And, having a strong friend- and family-base to support me as I walk that bumpy road?  Priceless. 

We don't have to agree with each other's methods. But let's not argue. 

Let's support one another when we see something isn't working out quite like we expected.  Let's offer compassion and help, not hurled stones. 

And, if we see something is going well for another mother (even if we didn't get the same results or we went an entirely different route)?  Let's offer congratulations, not guilt and ugliness masked by "wisdom" instead. 

Let's choose to not be part of the mommy wars.

What do you say?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thankful Thursday (8/1)

Today, I'm thankful for friends. 

I'm especially thankful for the friends we have who have given Godly advice, lots of encouragement, and several job leads. 

The Husband has applied for tons of jobs, a couple of which were shared with him by friends. He had a phone interview with one of those this morning. It went well!  He has an in-person interview next week. He's excited about the prospect of working for this company. They do work with lots of churches and Christian organizations and are a highly respectable company. 

Even if it doesn't work out, I know we're headed in the right direction. God is in control.