About Me

I am a proud wife and mother, and a born again Christian. I work from home as a writer while taking care of Miss N, our six-year-old, Miss M, our four-year-old and Miss C, our newest bundle of joy. Life is crazy but so much fun!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Decisions Decisions

For the past two years, my girls have gone to Mom's Day Out, giving me a couple of mornings I can work without kids in the house. We love the program and couldn't beat the price. Miss N stopped now because she is in preschool, but Miss M loves it.

Well, now I have a dilemma.

They are raising the price by 50%.

It's only like a dollar cheaper per day than preschool.

So now, I must decide, would it be better to put Miss M in preschool next year when she's (gasp) three, or continue going to MDO for another year like I did for Miss N.

When Miss N was M's age, I was NOT ready for her to go to "school." Now, I depend on that work time desperately. I feel much differently.

Preschool has to be three days per week, so that is a negative (MDO is as may days as you want per month, up to two days per week).

MDO will be utilized in the summer when they can't go to preschool, unless I decide to do daycare, but I doubt I would do daycare at their school since it's all day and they need to nap.

Having them at the same school would cut down on driving and transportation time - it would also allow me to start working earlier in the day, giving me another virtual hour of work time.

Yet, I have this sense of dedication to the wonderful ladies at MDO. I was really hoping baby #3 would be along before I pulled anyone out of MDO. Since they already knew us and had a small group, Miss M was able to start going before she turned one, which was a huge blessing for me! Well, not sure when/if baby #3 will happen, so that's out of the picture for now.

What to do, what to do.

Good thing I have 6 months or so to decide, right?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Obeying when Tired



My children require a lot of sleep. I have tried letting them go days with less sleep, and it is not pretty. For some reason they won’t sleep past 6:30 or 7, so staying up late is not compensated for in the morning. Likewise, our family’s schedule does not allow for bedtime any earlier than seven, unless someone is ill, so naps or at least quiet rest time are also a necessity for them to get sufficient rest, even though I have one child who is nearing the age of five. Incidentally, I am told regularly that she is too old to nap, but when I am tucking her in at nap time, she is usually rubbing her eyes and falling asleep while I sing to her. She still needs a nap.

One thing I have been thinking about as a parent is behavior and tiredness. For example, on Sunday afternoons, by the time we are home from church and lunch, my children are extremely tired. The drive home is typically torture, and getting through stories and songs and getting tucked in brings many instances of sassiness, crying, and downright disrespect.

Any other time of the day we do not tolerate this behavior, but I find myself excusing it when they are tired. Then, when I excuse it, I find it creeping into other times of the day when they are not tired. So, I am left wondering, what is a person to do when trying to parent biblically?

I see in the Bible that we are not given a verse that says, “Obey and honor the Lord at all times, except when you are tired.” As a mature Christian, I am to obey God, even when I don’t feel well or am tired. Ultimately I am teaching my children to obey their earthly authorities so they will learn to obey their God someday. But, at the same time, they are little, and they are tired. I know I struggle with my reactions and attitude when I am tired.

For now, I am still thinking on it. Outright disrespect or disobedience I am dealing with, but some of the sassiness I have been letting slide. I am also going to work on modeling proper behavior. With all that has happened in the last month and my own less-than-ideal emotional state some days, I haven’t been modeling good responses to my children, and that is wrong on my part. So, modeling proper responses to others, even when tired, and nipping disrespect and pure disobedience in the bud are my two goals for now. Hopefully after Christmas when our lives get back to our own crazy version of “normal,” I can spend a bit more time thinking about this and discussing it with Tim.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder

If I am normal?

Ok, I know the real answer to that, and what is normal anyways?

Two weeks ago I was wallowing in grief, sadness, and, in a way, self-pity.

Today I am fine.

Of course, my hormone levels are leveling off, and the drug is out of my system. That makes a big difference.

But still.

Shouldn't I still be sad? Shouldn't I still be grieving?

I remember when I had my first loss, I hardly grieved at all. And I felt guilty.

And I feel guilty right now too.

Of course, it's not totally back to normal. I have two friends on Facebook who are in early pregnancy, about where I should have been or a little past. When they post updates, I can't comment. When my photographer posted a contest for moms expecting in 2011, I had a hard time holding back because it hurt. I SHOULD have been able to join that contest. I SHOULD have been able to commiserate with my expectant mommy friends. If you are one of my expectant fb friends, please know that I am as happy as I can be for you. I just can't post on your ultrasound pics and your status updates, because it just hurts. I have a feeling I will think twice before posting said updates after what I have been through if we are able to have another pregnancy. I will probably still post them, but I will think twice. :)

I also have to almost physically force myself not to think too much about it. I still have questions, and they probably will never have answers. So it's still on my mind.

But in general, I am fine. Life has moved on. It never stops, does it? I'm already thinking ahead to "next time" with some good news from my doctor (that she's never had two ectopics in a row in any patient). Other than being extremely tired, I am my normal, frazzled, too-much-on-the-plate self.

And in the back of my mind I wonder if that's OK? Does that mean I didn't love my baby fully? Does that mean I shouldn't have had him?

Sometimes, being analytical in nature is torture.

(N's first christmas program ever post to follow when I find the time).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Honest Questions for Santa Families

So, we have chosen not to "do Santa" in our family. We don't have any moral problems with Santa, nor do we feel "better" than those who do Santa, nor do we feel that those who do Santa are wrong and bad. We just have chosen not to "do Santa" for our family, and it works for us.

But I am curious about a few things, and I haven't found a way to ask them without sounding judgmental to my friends who do "do Santa."

If presents are coming from Santa, how do you handle the massive requests? You know, the little one who wants, say, a pony for Chistmas. Or maybe something more reasonable but still out of the budget, like an American Girl Doll? What happens when Santa disappoints?

The next question is this: If Santa loves all kids equally, how do you explain why some kids don't get any gifts? Is that something your kids just don't notice? What if your kids are the ones who don't get anything becuase, say, your husband was laid off and there is no money this year? How do you explain the inequality when your kids go to school and their friend got the xBox and your kid got a new remote controlled car, although he did put the xBox on his list? Why did Santa choose the $20 toy for him and gave the other kid the $100 gaming system?

If you read this and do "do Santa," can you please chime in? I am simply curious, as I have thought of these questions before and wondered what the answer would be. Thanks for giving me some insight!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Even more to be thankful for

So last night I was doing a little research on ectopic pregnancies to get some of my questions answered. I found something yet again to make me incredibly thankful for God's hand watching over me.

During ectopic pregnancy, aggressive exercise, like running, makes it more likely that you will have a rupture. Women who are treated with the shot, like I was, are not supposed to exercise until they are certain the pregnancy is over. My doctor didn't tell me this, but I have even more to thank God for.

See, my appointment, that i almost cancelled, was on November 15. November 20 I was scheduled and signed up and registered to run my second 5k. Had i missed that appointment, I would have run that 5k, and I would have been pushing myself the week prior to improve my time.

Now, my doctor didn't tell me not to exercise, but I just felt to yucky to do the race. Then, I was too far behind on my paying work to run last week. I would have, though, had I not been so far behind. God was protecting me once again.

Today I talked to my doctor about the financial end of things and got some good news. First, she said they would back date my bills to charge the maternity coverage when I get it, and if that didn't work they would work with me to get a discount or something. Second, she assured me that they would take my maternity plan when and if we have another baby. This was something I was worried about too, because I like and trust my doctor, but I didn't have any certainty that she would take the maternity plan we use because they only do sometimes.

I had some periods of sadness towards the end of the weekend. I've decided that I'm just going to be sad sometimes, and that's OK. I will make it through this, but I will be sad. But I am so thankful for the Lord sparing my life so providentially. It makes you stop and think about how much you are truly serving him with your life when you face a potentially life threatening situation like this.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Cuteness


(Sharing some sister snuggles before Mommy and Daddy got up)

My kids constantly crack me up. This is the first holiday ever that we did not have family to go to. It was strange, but also nice. Growing up once we moved away from California, holidays were almost always just us. While I would have preferred not to have the circumstances that forced us to stay home and would have loved spending time with Tim's sister and family, today was nice.

(Miss M said, "More?" at this point - she wasn't so sure about the way the tree looked :) )

Our plan: Buffet restaurant for lunch, Thanksgiving craft, putting up the tree, watching Toy Story 3. I am happy to announce all were accomplished.

At the restaurant, my kids pigged out. They haven't been to many buffets, since mommy finds it silly to spend that much money on food when you can't take home your leftovers, but they loved being able to pick and choose what they ate.

(Can I just say she looks way too grown up all of a sudden? Love this kid)

But the cuteness came later. Before we sat down to the movie, we did a video chat with my family. My grandma, who is now living with my parents, has this little tiny dog she was holding in her lap. Just last week, Miss M and I went to the mall. They have a puppy store there, and the worker was gracious enough to let us get out a puppy and take it in the little stall where you can play with them. As soon as Miss M saw the tiny dog, she sat down and said "my blap" (lap) and patted her lap. She wanted to hold that little dog. It was very cute.


(Helping Daddy)

We then watched Toy Story 3. I will have to say that Movie Night for the mom of littles is not relaxing. I had to go upstairs to get drinks, chapstick, popcorn, potty brakes, you name it. I was very thankful I had already seen the movie. But Miss N loved it, and I guess that's what matters.

If you have seen TS3, you know that at the end, Andy, the boy who owns the toys, leaves for college. His mom gets a little teary when she sees his room all empty. At this point, I could tell Miss N was feeling some of the emotion in the movie. She was really into the entire thing, in spite of its length.

She snuggled close to me for a hug, which I of course obliged. Then she said, "But mommy, I don't want to leave you. I want to stay with you forever!"

Even at four, she understood the sentiment of the movie. I held her close and assured her that she could stay with me as long as she needed to. Then she said, "I love you so much mommy."

I needed that. I haven't been the mom I want to be this past week. Miss N has sensed that for sure, and I'm sure Miss M has too. It's good to know they still love me, even when I am not at my most "loveable." And it melted my heart to know that she wants to stay with me forever. I know that will change, and I know that at some point she will enter the dreaded Junior High years when mom knows nothing, but for now, I will cherish the fact that she loves her mommy and wants to be with me.

Two Things

Unless I have to have another shot next week, this should be my last post about this situation. I am doing much better, honestly, and am ready to move on.

But two things are going to haunt me, probably for a long time.

First, did I do the right thing? The doctor never saw the pregnancy, even inside the tube. My numbers were high, not low which is typical for ectopics. Something was wrong, since the numbers were so high and they never saw anything, but how can we be sure we did the right thing?

Second, when going over my risk factors for ectopics, my doctor asked me if I smoke (never), drink (never,) have had pelvic infections (nope), and have had c-sections (check!) Megan's birth was via c-section, and honestly it was elective. I had my doctor's advice about it, and she said after seeing M's size and position that it was the right decision, but she was head-down and I could have tried a natural delivery. So, if the c-section caused scar tissue that blocked baby's trip down the tube, in an indirect way, my choice caused this.

It could happen again. That's also scarry. But, I have two healthy children, which is more than many women, so even if I never have another baby, I am blessed beyond measure in that regard.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last Night I Dreamed

The crazy thing about this process is that my body still has pregnancy hormones coursing through it. So, in some ways I am still acting like a pregnant woman with many of the symptoms (thankfully no nausea or vomiting), even though my baby is gone. I am hoping that does not mean that I will need another shot, but we will know that early next week.

Last night I dreamed that the doctor made a mistake and, by some miracle, my babe was still growing inside me. It was a beautiful dream, and waking to the reality that it was just a dream was, well, painful. I am ready for this to be over, ready to get the go-ahead to move on and start planning the future.

On the other hand, knowing that I am at an increased risk for this happening again (about 25 percent) gives me pause. Tim and I will need to pray and discuss the realities of our future.

I'm also very (VERY) worried about the financial aspects of this. To make a long story short, we do not yet have maternity coverage. That should be in place by mid-December, when I would have needed to go for my 10-week checkup. But all of these blood draws, ultrasounds, and the actual drug, our insurance probably will not cover. I am VERY concerned about seeing these bills when they start coming in. I think the hospital will post-date and bill our maternity plan when it comes, but the doctor will not, which I know for a fact from when I was pregnant with Megan. So on top of my hormonal state, I am very, very concerned about upcoming financial issues. I am glad to be alive and you can't put a price tag on that, but it's a very real concern.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful

This past week has been a whirlwind of emotions, many negative. I lost my baby and could have lost my life. I have struggled to respond to my chlidren well, and the results of the chemotherapy shot made me literally crazy. But, I need to be thankful. There is so much to be thankful for:

  • I kept my checkup on Monday, even though I almost cancelled it since I was pregnant. If I hadn't gone to the checkup, I would not have found out about the ectopic until it burst and my life was in danger.
  • My little girl, sensing my emotional struggle yesterday, threw her arms around me and said, "I can tell you are having a tough morning, Mommy. I love you very much."
  • My friend had invited my children for a sleepover last month. The date - this past Friday. The day after the big day, when I was an emotional mess, my kids were at someone's home having fun and being loved on by someone who had the ability to do so.
  • A gal in my church has also had the medication they gave me, and she was able to help me know that I am not crazy. The drugs made me crazy but it won't last.
  • We hadn't told Miss N about the baby. So there was no need to explain about the baby. I think that would have been too much for her to understand.
  • My pastor's wife was able to help me on the darkest day last week.
  • My husband has been a rock for me through all of this. I am sure he doesn't understand my emotions, but he hasn't made me feel bad about them and has been there for me.
  • I didn't have any huge work deadlines looming this week, so I could take a few days off, and our finances are fine in spite of that.
  • My baby never suffered, and he or she is in heaven where I will see him again.

God is good, even in the midst of a very difficult time. I am thankful. I am also doing much better today and am able to approach life with joy and laughter again, even spending some time wrestling on the floor blowing raspberries on my little one's tummy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Seeing God's Hand in Grief

PS 14:8-10a, 11 "I have set the LORD always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoicesth: my flresh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

The intensity of the grief I have been feeling has surprised me greatly. One minute I'm fine, and the next some thought comes into my head and I am reduced to the hugging my knees to my chest on the couch, sobbing giant tears. I told tim, "I'm a blubbering mess" and he said, "Don't say that, it makes me think of fat whales. Whales have blubber." He's been so good to me and so strong and I love him so much.

It doesn't make sense - I have walked the path of pregnancy loss before and I was fine. one day of crying, and it was done and I moved on with my life, we got pregnant with Megan, and our hearts were full. I rarely think of that pregnancy and that baby.

Is it because I have such a deep longing for another child right now? With Megan, I knew it was a good time to add another child, but it wasn't such a deep longing.

But this is different. For ways I understand but do not wish to write, and also because of my body. My hormone levels were very high. They injected me with chemotherapy. Physically things are happening that affect my emotions.

In spite of it all God's hand is still seen. Yesterday I could barely function. after googling my condition and finding some pro-life sites that said a few painful things, I had convinced myself we had done something horrible. Google is a dangerous tool when you are dealing with a physical health issue. Everyone has an opinion.

I managed to get three press releases done for clients, but that was all I could do. About a month ago a friend from church with girls my girls' ages invited them over to sleep over, and the date was last night. this was before we knew of the pregnancy or anything. God knew what was coming, and He knew I would need a quiet house in which to grieve.

My pastor's wonderful wife came over and listened to me and assured me we did the right thing. She hugged me and helped me understand what my body is going through. Then she cleaned! I don't know if she will ever know how much that helped me - coming home last night to a liveable kitchen and living room just really made a big difference in how I was feeling.

Tim and I went out last night. We watched a stupid movie and ate at Olive Garden (we had a gift card). I had fried lasagna. Can we say probably the most unhealthy thing on the menu? But it was good. It was the best thing I had tasted all day, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. I did eat salad - doesn't that help?

I am going to be reading Psalms for a while until my heart stops hurting so intensely. Revelations, which I had been reading before Monday, just isn't cutting it right now.

Will you pray one thing? Pray that I don't have to have that shot again. I want my body to get back to normal, and if my levels haven't dropped enough on the Monday after Thanksgiving, I will have to have it again. Both my doctor and the nurse at the hospital told me it was a possibility, which makes me worry that it is a strong possibility.

I don't think I've ever been through the grieving process like this before. I have lost grandparents, but this is so different. Maybe because I expected them to pass on? I don't know. Grief is intense and hard to understand, but God is good and I will rest in that as we enter this season of life. I know one thing is true - Thanksgiving is going to be bitter sweet for many years after this one.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The What If

The morning after I am plagued with "what if".

Did I do the right thing? Was my doctor right? SHE NEVER SAW ANYTHING. I trusted her, but was she right?

Lord, you know my heart. You know I was trusting in my pro-life, Christian doctor. Please, forgive me if I did something wrong. You know I wanted my baby. You know my heart.

Will this feeling be part of me for the rest of my life?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Final Potential Pregnancy Post

Today as I was getting the girls ready to go to my husband's shop so he could check the fluids in the van before our trip for Thanksgiving, my doctor called. I have been seeing the nurse practitioner up until today, but she was off today so it was the doctor. She said the numbers were not good and I needed to come in now. Her words, "Assign someone to watch the kids, and come here now. I am very concerned."

I was shaking the whole way to the town where Tim works. In the back of my head is the "what if" because she didn't actually see the tubal pregnancy. The protocol for this is to inject you with a drug to terminate the pregnancy so that your body will reabsorb the cells before the tube ruptures and has the potential to kill you.

I took the girls to Grandma's, got Tim, and we went over. The doctor confirmed that it was an ectopic pregnancy, even though they couldn't see it yet. She said that what the ultrasound tech thought was a sac was not and that with the numbers I was having with my blood work, they needed to deal with the ectopic pregnancy today or risk a rupture and internal bleeding and a life threatening situation.

While I completely understand that medically there was no chance for that baby to survive, it didn't change the fact that it was my baby. It didn't change the fact that the shot that saved my life also stopped the growth of my baby. I lost it when that realization hit me. I was signing my consent for my baby to be killed. I think that was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I am so thankful that I am fully confident that my doctor is pro life and that she wouldn't have told me to do this if there was any chance of an actual viable baby being in there. But it still hurt.

After I got over that somewhat, we were able to see some humor in some things. I think part of it was nerves, but the nurse was surprised how calm we were. I can't say that I was happy about it all, but by the time (over an hour we were waiting) the shot arrived, I was over most of my tears and was able to calmly accept the medication. I will say I had to force myself not to think about what the drug would do when she was injecting it, and I started to feel a little dizzy, but I did OK.

In spite of all of the negative emotions I am feeling, I have much to be thankful for. I almost cancelled my appointment on Monday since I knew that we would be going in at 10 weeks, and I figured that they could just do the annual exam then. If I hadn't, there is a good chance the rupture would have occurred next week when we would be out of town. God protected me by giving me the desire to go ahead with that appointment.

I am also thankful that Tim asked me not to tell many people about the pregnancy. When I had an early miscarriage before Megan, that created a few uncomfortable situations with people not knowing and saying something that was uncomfortable.

God is good, but I am still hurting. I now have two babies waiting for me in heaven, assuming the chemotherapy shot I got today did its job already. we will not be going out of town for Thanskgiving, as sometimes people need to have the shot twice for it to work, and if the baby is still growing in the wrong place in spite of the shot, I need to be here near my doctor.

Dear Baby,

I will never get a chance to meet you in this life. I only knew of your existance for two short weeks. For some reason God wanted you with Him instead of here on earth with me. Even though you were a surprise, I wanted you very badly. I cried when I knew I couldn't have you yet. I know God is in control, and I know you will be waiting for me someday. Until then, please know that your momma loved you very much for as long as I knew about you. Hug your brother or sister that I never got to meet for me, and I will see you some day.

Love,
Mommy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Possible Pregnancy Post 3

Well, this drama just keeps getting more interesting.

I wasn't expecting any call back from my doctor's office today, as they need two separate blood draws to make any conclusions from what I understood. However, she did call today. She said my numbers were really good, as in high. She said that this means they should have seen something on the ultrasound. I saw the nurse practitioner, and so she went to the doctor to see what to do. The doctor also said something should be visible based on the numbers in the blood work.

So, tomorrow (wednesday) I go back in for another ultrasound and more blood work. According to my hormones, I am pregnant. According to the ultrasound on Monday, we don't know.

I am feeling a bit anxious. I want to know what is going on - is my life in danger or is there a baby in there that's just too little to see? It's hard to concentrate on work today. I am thankful I have a Heavenly Father I can turn to in prayer when my heart starts to get anxious.

I am also thankful. First, I am thankful we discovered this potential problem before we leave town for Thanksgiving. I am also thankful for friends. I needed someone to watch my girls during the appointment, and I contacted three friends, and all three were more than willing. It is such a blessing to have friends who are willing to help you out in a crunch!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Potential PRegnancy Post

Well, it has been about two weeks since I first got the positive test. Ok, well, maybe a week and a half. It's been a long week and a half since Tim asked me not to tell until we were more sure!

I went in today for a routine appointment with my OB, but since I was there I mentioned the positive test. During the exam I had some pain she thought was odd, and I was explaining some other pain I was having. She opted to do an ultrasound. I was excited. According to my calculations I should be about 6 weeks, and at that time they can often see the heartbeat via an ultrasound.

The ultrasound was inconclusive. They didn't see much at all, except the potential for a gestational sack.

My doctor is concerned about a possible etopic pregnancy. So I had blood drawn and will return Wednesday for another blood draw. If my levels are doubling nicely, then that means I am most likely pregnant and just not as far along as I thought. If my numbers are not doubling nicely it is possible it is an etopic pregnancy, which is potentially life threatening. She didn't say what the steps would be after that. I know what the traditional line of thinking is on etopic pregnancies, and that is the removal of the pregnancy.

I don't know what ot think or feel. Regardless of what is going on inside me, it is more waiting. I am not good at waiting.

I am writing this all down and not telling many people. When I miscarried about three years ago, it was hard to tell everyone after telling them I was pregnant. I don't want to cause my family undue stress as they are going through a stressful time. If it is etopic, the good news is we are o nteh right path of figuring it out before it ruptures and creates an emergency situation. If it is a baby, then I am very happy, although a bit surprised and wondering what will happen in several areas that were the cause of us waiting a little longer.

Please, next three days, pass quickly!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Test

SO,

I just took a pregnancy test.

It came back positive.

I am not ready to announce this to the world yet. Last time I did that, well, we miscarried.

I'm elated.

I'm not sure when I should tell Tim. See, this wasn't our "plan."

But, I've had the "baby bug" for a while now.

It's not going away.

And, well, knowing it was a possibility this month made me a very happy, albeit nervous, woman.

Now we shall see if this little babe sticks.

Whew, our house is going to be crowded if it does.

Crowded, but full of love.

So many thoughts. I guess I will just save this for now and see what comes. . .

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Of Goosebumps, Dizziness, and Hypersensitive Children.

So I have determined that my eldest has hyper-sensitivity issues. Not a “disorder,” but an extreme sensitivity to pain and textures. Lately, she has refused to wear jeans because they hurt her belly and pinch her thighs, even though they are definitely large enough. So I have indulged her and purchased khakis or stretch pants for now.

The last few days she has been getting goosebumps. The first time it happened she was warm as toast in her fleece sweat suit, but she was covered in goosebumps. No fever, no draft in the room – it makes no sense. Now, a normal child would probably grab a blanket and cover up and be done with it. Not my sensitive one. She had to cry and call me. This has happened at least four times in the last week – unexplained goosebumps that bother her enough that she has to point out to us.

I just called the nurse and they didn’t have any “red flags” from the goosebumps, but they did say I can “bring her in” if she is really bothered by it or if I am worried.

I don’t want to be “that” mom who is always bringing in her kids. I often feel like I am.

And when you have a hyper sensitive child, it’s hard to know when an issue is a real issue, or when they are just being sensitive. I don’t want to change her, but when there is something going on it’s hard to tell. Like she fell yesterday and has a NASTY bruise on her knee (landed right on a rock) and she will limp like crazy, then run the next second, so it’s hard to know if that’s really hurting as bad as she says.

Then, she has been waking up dizzy – at least three times this week. Dizzy and cranky. Usually after she eats it gets better, so I chalked it up to blood sugar. Well, I mentioned that to the nurse on the phone, and she said a four year old shouldn’t be having such a drop in blood sugar that she gets dizzy, and that they would be concerned about the dizziness. She didn’t say I have to take her in, but she did say it is a concern. So if it happens again I will take her in, I have decided.

But see, these kids are also very badly due for a chiropractic adjustment. Usually this crankiness goes away after a trip to the chiro. But we don’t have the funds for a trip to the chiro right now, so I have been putting it off. I don’t prefer to go to the pediatrician until I have ruled out an alignment issue.

All of these dilemmas are exasperated by the fact that she’s so sensitive! Tim thinks I worry too much. Maybe I do. But I don’t want to miss something that is wrong and can or should be fixed. Not sure why I’m writing it all, just to get it off my chest I guess.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Firsts - First Months of Marriage


Tim and I were married on June 27, 2003, a month and a half after my graduation from college. We spent a week in Colorado for our honeymoon, and then rushed home to Illinois for his grandfather’s funeral. His grandfather passed away while we were returning from our honeymoon. I returned to an apartment jam packed with boxes containing all of our earthly belongings, and no time at all to unpack any of it because of all of the family responsibilities surrounding the funeral. I distinctly remember sobbing as I had a can of soup to open because I was not feeling well, but I had no clue where in that mass of boxes I would find a can opener. As a young wife, I wasn’t sure what my husband, who truthfully I didn’t know all that well after dating long distance, needed while he grieved.

As newlyweds, we were happy. However, I was miserably lonely. Janna was halfway across the world, and Melody was still in college. We didn’t have cable, I hadn’t discovered facebook and blogging, if they even existed, and we only had slow dial up Internet. Our small apartment only took so long to clean, and I didn’t have a job. The church my husband grew up in was big enough, but everyone had their groups, and I never really fit. There weren’t young couples to hang out with, and we tried to go do things with the singles and college kids but it was obvious we were not welcome. I can’t remember a time in my life when I was that lonely.

I poured myself into cooking for my husband and setting up a home. I got movies from the library to fill those endless hours while he was at work, and I started looking for a job.

Truthfully, it was only two months before I was working again and the loneliness wasn’t so intense, but those were a long two months.

I realized quickly just how different my husband and I are. We are polar opposites. He would (and does) watch sports all night long, and while I taught myself to like baseball and the Cubs for him, I could really care less about sports. I LOVE sci-fi movies and TV shows, specifically the Stargate series, but he cannot stomach them. We had to negotiate over the TV and the computer, which we only had one of when we were first married.

I distinctly remember one night when our differences came to a head. We went to the county fair with his parents, and I was so excited about riding rides. I love amusement parks and grew up with a large one in my town that we always got season tickets to. Tim, on the other hand, cannot stomach rides, as they make him sick. He, however, loves tractor pulls, something I cannot stomach due to the smell of body odor and diesel fuel.

I just wanted to do something with my husband. I went to the tractor pull and read a book, just so I could spend time with him and try to appreciate what he appreciated. I enjoyed my book, but not the nasty smelling man next to me. On the way out, I begged him to ride a ride with me. I chose one that seemed simple and non-scary. It wasn’t a scary ride, but it did spin in circles, and it made him sick with vertigo. He didn’t talk to me the whole way home, and I choked back tears because his parents were in the car.

That night I sobbed. I couldn’t imagine how we would make a marriage work with such different personalities. While I was in love with and committed to my husband, I wasn’t sure how we would make it work.

The next day I called my mom. I am so thankful for her reminder. My dad and mom are completely in love and have always seemed stable to me, except for a brief time when I was very young. They were not Christians nor grounded in any way when they met and married as teens, yet they have had an amazingly beautiful relationship. She reminded me that my dad and my mom are complete opposites. Sometimes they even spend their entire evenings on opposite sides of the house, dad upstairs watching sci-fi bug movies, and mom downstairs in the basement scrapbooking.

It took us a while, Tim and I, to find our groove, but I am so thankful to say that we are making it work and are still as in love as we were the day we were wed, even after two kids, two dogs, and a mortgage. Oh, we have our differences, and he still won’t watch sci-fi with me, nor will I watch football with him, but we have learned to appreciate and love each other for who we are. We still don’t have a lot “in common,” but we compromise, enjoy our little family, and pour ourselves into our new church together.



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Traveling the World

These are My Young Adult Years from Mommy's Piggy Tails.



In my college years, I had the opportunity to travel internationally twice. I consider myself very blessed to have had these opportunities and to have my eyes opened to the world outside of America.

Spain
Our hosts, the Campos family.

The summer after my Freshman year, I boarded a plane with absolutely no one I knew and flew to Olot, Spain. There I served with one other gal and some missionaries, playing piano in their church and helping with a summer camp. The language barrier made it difficult to truly communicate with the people, but the opportunity to travel allowed me to see another culture and understand the way God works outside of America.

Michelle, the girl I travelled with

The Missionaries we stayed with, the Campos family, were not Americans. He was a native Spaniard and had been serving as a pastor while working full time. When some American missionaries saw how stretched he was, they advised him to seek support in the States. He was able to raise support and come back to minister to his people full time. He had (and still has) a tremendous passion for the people of his small town. I was blessed to see how hard he worked, and I was challenged to eat foods I had never had before in order not to offend my hosts.

Helping with VBS


While in Spain, I fell in love with Nutella (not what they called it over there, but the same food). It is as common over there as peanut butter in the States. While we were at the camp, they served bread for breakfast with a plate of Nutella formed into a square. I thought it was odd that they had formed the Nutella like that, but I spread a heaping serving on my bread and took a huge bite. Oh no, it was not Nutella. It was pate. Pate is ground up and seasoned . . . . Liver. ICH!

During one drive, Mr. Campos pulled over at this farm, where the man bred pure Spanish horses. They were gorgeous!


Israel

Standing at the site of Calvary, the place of the skull. Can you see the skull?


A couple of years later my college hosted an Israel tour, and any student who went received two of their required Bible class credits. I jumped on this amazing opportunity. With some of my friends, I toured Israel with two of my favorite Bible teachers, Dr. Oats and Dr. Radford. Dr. Radford had done this tour many, many times before, and he knew many of the sites intimately. While on this tour, we boated across the Sea of Galilee, floated in the Dead Sea, and dipped our feet in the Jordan River.


When we went to the Jordan, many of our tour mates decided to fill empty water bottles with Jordan River water. I didn’t’ have the desire to do this, because these sort of trinkets were never important to me. Dr. Oats, however, did.

After we got back on our bus and went to the next site, Dr. Oats could not find his River water. Come to find out, someone had accidentally drunk the river water! We all ended up getting this nasty stomach virus, and I feel that was the culprit!

I have so many wonderful memories from that trip, but I must share one that only fellow MBBC grads will truly appreciate. At one point we drove to the top of this mountain and then climbed down using these hand grips. Many of us were lagging behind the tour guide because we stopped to take pictures of the harrowing journey once we got to the bottom. The tour guide was getting a bit upset. I turned around, and here was Dr. Oats, the president of our Bible department and a very serious-minded teacher, sliding down the mountain (not the steep part) on his rear end through rocks and briars. It was a hilarious sight I have never forgotten, and I didn’t let him forget it later when he became my pastor for a short period (twice).

I don't have a picture of Dr. Oats and the mountain, but here we are swimming in the Dead Sea.


On the way home our entire group was getting ready to board the plane when we were informed it was broken. We were divided into three groups and sent different ways home. Because of this delay, I was sent through Belgium instead of the original European country (France I think). My flight was nine hours delayed! As a result, I almost missed my connection in Chicago to come home. Let me tell you, trying to find someone who speaks English well enough to understand my plight and a phone I could use my calling card on to call home in a European airport was very challenging, especially when I was all alone at that point because of being split up. I bought some Belgian chocolates at the airport, but promptly after eating them got sick with the stomach bug, so to this day I cannot eat Belgian chocolates.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We're Going on a Field Trip

The work-from-home routine drains me sometimes. Like right now, I should be rewriting an article about HCG hormones, not blogging. Oh, and let’s not get started on the house (which is almost clean since we’re having company tomorrow, thanks to my husband’s help, but typically it’s a scary place).

Sometimes, I focus too strongly on the work aspect of working from home instead of the home aspect.

When Miss N brought home a paper from preschool about her first-ever field trip and the fact that they needed helpers and drivers, my first thought was “but I have to work. I wonder if I can afford to take the morning off?” The only thing that makes my workweek possible is my full days on Mondays and Fridays while the girls are at school (N to preschool, M to Mom’s Day Out).

Then it hit me.

This is why I work from home. So I can drive to the fire station with a bunch of three and four year olds. So I can be home with my child when she’s sick. So I can help with the Christmas party.

So I signed the form, and tomorrow I go with Miss N on her first ever field trip, filling my van with little people and car seats, and touring the fire station with my girl.

And I’m so excited.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Friends for a Lifetime


This is post number 2 in my young adult years from Mommy's Piggy Tails



My college years were all about my friends. I didn’t get a boyfriend until my second senior year, although I had a couple of male interests, so my friends were my social group.

It seemed that most of my friendships revolved around church. In fact, the three gals I considered my closest friends through my college experience all attended the same church as me while we were in school.

I could write about Janna and our friendship, as of my college friends she’s the one I’m still the closest to and the one who I had childhood connections with, but I have already done that. Suffice it to say she was (and still is) a friend I could count on to tell it to me straight and kick me in the gut when I needed it, yet still supported me when I needed that too.

My freshman and sophomore years I hung out with Edy, who I mentioned in my previous post. We attended the same church, along with Janna, Paula, and a few other people. She was a history major and completely adored everything about history. She and Paula set me up on my first date my freshman year with a young man they worked with. I was so scared! They literally had to physically push me out the door to meet him for dinner! I was clearly unprepared at age 18 for the world of dating! But, I am thankful they thought enough of me to arrange that.

Edy and Janna were roommates my freshman year. That year Janna’s mom ran for a political office in our hometown. I remember sitting around the computer screen in Janna and Edy’s room having an “election party” and watching the election results. Mrs. B didn’t win, but it was fun to watch the results with good friends and food!

After Edy and her now husband got engaged, our friendship drifted a little. Not long after that, Janna and I decided to room together during my junior year. Little did we know that a beautiful three-way friendship was about to develop. When we arrived at school we found we were going to have a third roommate. That gal, Melody, was instrumental in my meeting my husband.


We had such fun as a room! We were all upperclassmen and focused on our studies, but we still had a blast. Somewhere along the way that year we ended up with a poster of one of the Three Stooges with a milk mustache. When we had our room birthday party (our birthdays were all within a month of each other) we thought it would be fun to paint our own milk mustaches with the whipped cream from our ice cream cake. Mel and I served as door greeters/ushers at Janna’s senior recital, cheering our dear friend on as she sang melodious tunes and looked fabulous in her floor-length blue gown. Us in our milk mustaches

One memory in particular always brings a smile to my face. We were talking one night about a dream I had had in which the rapture occurred (this is the time when the church is caught up to meet Christ in the clouds at the end of this period in biblical history). For some reason in my dream I was sent back to the earth because God had forgotten someone, and I was shocked to see Dr. Oats, one of our most prominent Bible faculty members, had not been raptured. After relaying this dream to my friends and roomies. We all proceeded to go to sleep. Moments after we shut out the lights, a semi truck drove by and blared its horn. I sat bolt upright in bed and yelled “It’s the trumpets!” We spent the next hour giggling over that. Somehow after the conversation and in the fog of early sleep I thought the trumpet had sounded and we were on our way.

After Janna graduated and moved to the far away island of Siapan, Melody and I had the opportunity to move into a dorm house rather than a dorm. We had such a blast setting up our own house with our other roommate. We took many a road trip together. I remember one time in particular we decided to head to downtown Chicago. On our way back to her house, we got lost in the ghetto. It was incredibly scary, and we were not sure what to do because we were not about ot ask anyone for directions. Mel called her dad on her cell phone and he got out his paper map (they didn’t have Internet at her house), figured out where we were, and guided us back to Rockford. Two very naive white college girls lost during the night in the ghetto of Chicago – not a good thing at all! Thankfully we can look back on that and laugh.

I will leave you with a final memory. Every time Mel, Janna, and I had a party, we broke out the lime chips. These are tortilla chips that have a ‘hint of lime’ according to the package. Something about the chips made us giggly and crazy. If we really wanted to get hyper, we would break open a bottle of sparkling cider or grape juice. To this date, if I drink or eat those things, I think of my dear friends and our awesome college experience.

Friday, October 15, 2010

On My Mind


Now that Miss N is in school, I have at least one day per week where just Miss M and I spend the morning together.

I am learning something.

I don't really know my toddler.

She is very naughty, and I'm beginning to think that part of the reason she is always into things that are dangerous or not for her is because she gets my attention.

See, with Miss N, she loved to read books, snuggle, color, and do things I enjoyed doing, so nurturing and bonding were much easier.

I don't know what Miss M loves to do with me. She likes to wrestle with daddy, and she loves when I swing her up in the air, but she's so heavy I can only do that a few times. She only snuggles when she is sick, rarely wants to be read to, and has a mind of her own about what she is going to do with her time.

I need to find a way to bond with my baby. This is a matter I am going to make a matter of prayer. I love her, but I find myself exhibiting frustration and anger toward her more often than love and support, primarily because I don't know what to do with her that she enjoys.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Time!


Today was our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. I always enjoy seeing how the girls have grown with this sign. I know it's not an "accurate" measure, but it's fun nonetheless. Enjoy a little trip down memory lane!


Natalie's first Pumpkin Patch trip - One year old

Natalie, Two Years Old

Natalie, Three Years Old

Natalie, Four years old (is it just me, or has she not grown at all?)


Megan, three months old

Megan, one year old

Megan, two years old.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Lifelong Dream Fulfilled

I was born bald. When my hair finally came in at close to three years old, it was curly. Not the tight ringlets that are oh-so-cute on little ones today, but curly nonetheless. Throughout my growing up years I fought those curls and waves, until finally as a teen I embraced them because, frankly, I had no choice.


This picture of me, Janna, and Mr. Moorehead shows how my curls normally looked


While many people have dreams and aspirations of grandeur, and I had my share of those, one less glamorous or spiritualized dream stood out throughout my young adult years. I wanted to know what it was like to have straight hair. I wanted to have the ability to run a comb through my hair without completely wetting it down, throw it up in a perky ponytail, and run out the door for class with moments to spare.

While I never truly got that wish, as my hair is and always will be curly, I did get to experience life with straight hair for 24 hours.

My freshman year my two very good friends Edy and Paula helped me realize that dream.


For two hours they worked their magic with a huge round brush and blow dryer, until my capricious curls were flattened and I had straight hair.

Knowing it would only last until I once again submitted to the waters of the shower, I went to work, chatted with my male interest of the time, and slept on straight hair. I even postponed my shower until the afternoon of the following day so I could enjoy the silky tresses just a little longer. I was amazed at how much longer it was when straight!


I have only straightened my hair one other time since then, and my husband hated it (a hairdresser insisted on doing it for me even though I said no thanks). It was a lifelong dream fulfilled, and something I look back on fondly. I did decide then and there, however, that straightening my hair was way too much effort. There was no way I was ever going to spend two hours on my hair just to get it straight. So embrace my curls I did, but it was fun while it lasted.


I am participating in the "My Young Adult Years" portion of Mommy's Piggy Tails this time around. Check out the link below for more information!



Saturday, October 9, 2010

I Did It


I am one of those people who finds life somewhat easy. Sure, I have my struggles, would like to have more money, and would love to be skinnier, but for the most part, the major things I have accomplished in my lifetime were easy for me.

I graduated with the highest GPA in both my high school and college classes, and while I realize that was something to be proud of, it was something that was not difficult for me. Getting good grades came naturally.

Working from home as a freelance writer is a challenge, especially finding the right balance between work and homemaking, but it is work I enjoy and work I find easy. I rarely apply for jobs I’m not highly qualified for, because I can’t stand the feeling of rejection.

And I like life that way. I love living in my comfort zone, doing things I excel at. After all, when you attempt something that you are good at, there is little room for failure. I don’t do failure well.

Today, for the first time in my life, I accomplished something that was not easy. In fact, it took work, and lots of it. It took about six months of hard, not-so-fun work.

For the first time in my life, I know the feeling of accomplishing something that I worked hard to attain.

Today, I ran a 5k race.

Well, truthfully, I did not run the whole thing, but I FINISHED a 5k race.

Sitting here typing this, tears are welling up in my eyes.

In May we bought a treadmill (I think it was May). I knew after my first time using it that just walking was not going to give me a sufficient workout. I am overweight, but I think underneath the pudge and baby fat I am more fit than I appear, and that walking was doing nothing.

Now, I am not a runner. Anyone who knows me from junior high or high school probably remembers all of the lame excuses I came up with to get out of running. I practically wished I had asthma just so I could still get an A in PE class and not run.

But, I found a program called Couch to 5k. It starts off with just 60 seconds of running intermixed with long periods of walking, gradually (over nine weeks, but longer for me) getting you to the point of running a 5k. I figured I could run for 60 seconds, so I started it.

I was supposed to run a 5k on the fourth of July, but that was on a Sunday and I couldn’t figure out how to make that work. Then I was going to do one on Labor Day, but I chickened out. On Saturday last week I thought I seriously injured me knee (heard a pop and lots of swelling). I had no one to run this race with, and Tim and the girls couldn’t even be there because he had to work. But, I didn’t chicken out. I paid the money and I showed up.

My friends assured me that I would not be the only fat, unfit person there. They told me people of all shapes, sizes, and ages would run at a 5k, and there would be lots of walkers.

That was not the case for the race I picked. It’s a new race, apparently, and most of the people were quite fit. There were a few walkers, but I was feeling very intimidated when we were waiting for it to start. I was thinking I was a fool for even trying this.

The race started and I wasn’t sure what pace to set, so I kind of ran ahead of some people who appeared to be in about the same shape as me. They must have been going a good clip, because my time at the first mile marker was 10:13. I have NEVER in my life run anything close to a 10-minute mile. I knew then that I would make my goal – under 45 minutes. I told myself my goal was 50 minutes, but really I wanted to break 45.

My other goal was to run the whole first mile. I did that. After the first mile I decided to walk for two minutes to catch my breath and bring my heart rate down. Then I ran probably half-mile and walked for two more minutes. At the second mile marker my time was 23:23, I think. Still really good for me!

The last mile was a killer. I had gotten behind the ladies I had paced myself with at the beginning and could no longer see them, and the people slower than me, mostly walkers, were way behind me. I wasn’t certain what the course was since I had never been here, and the one place wasn’t clearly marked. That threw me off a bit. For the last mile I alternated three minutes running, two minutes walking. There was a big hill that I walked, and then I sprinted toward the finish. I finished in 38:35.

My time shocked me! It is close to, if not matching, my best time on the treadmill. It beats my best outside running time by a lot.

But most of all I have accomplished something I never thought I could do. I have accomplished something that was beyond hard for me. And I did it.

This is a feeling I never want to forget. It is a feeling I want to repeat again. It is a feeling I want my children to experience someday – the joy of accomplishing something you worked for.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Mommy "Gut"


If you are a mom, you have likely experienced something like what I have recently experienced.

It’s that gut feeling that something isn’t quite right with your kid. You can’t put your finger on it, but you know something isn’t right.

But, because you can’t put your finger on it, you wonder if it’s all in your head.

I tend to be a hypochondriac about my kids. I see a spot that could possibly be a rash, I am googling pictures of rashes to make sure we don’t have something highly contagious. Miss N starts coughing during the night, I get the inhaler out so I know where it is if it gets bad like last time. My kid has “the runs” for a few days, and I start researching dietary sensitivities.

Because I know that I tend to be a hypochondriac about my kids, I also tend to take two or three steps back before calling the doctor. Thankfully, I am raising kids in the age of Google, so most of the time I can reassure myself that, while a 102.5 fever seems scary, it does not warrant a call to the doctor.

Yet, there are those times when I know something is not right. Like the last time Miss N had pneumonia. I just knew she needed to see the doctor. Or when Miss M wasn’t talking right. I knew she was behind and would qualify for intervention, even though everyone assured me she was “fine.” (For the record, she is doing amazingly with her speech and did end up being “fine,” but I was “right” in that she was significantly behind at the time.)

Anyway, I have been wondering for a while if Miss N needed glasses. I’ve been trying to put my finger on why, but I can’t. She’s never outright struggled to see, but I just had this gut feeling. In Illinois, kids have to get their first eye exam at kindergarten. I decided to see how the beginning of school went and see if her teacher mentioned any concerns when we had our first conference. There were a few little things, like getting headaches when playing a hand held video game or insisting I hold books a certain way when reading to her, but nothing huge that would have warranted a trip to the eye doctor.

But that gut feeling wouldn’t go away.

So on Tuesday she had her first eye doctor appointment. The doctor asked me my concerns and I couldn’t really tell him much. The whole time I was sitting there thinking I was crazy and being hyperactive or overprotective.

Then he started the exam. It was clear that one eye she could not see well out of when he did the first test for seeing far away. He measured and took pictures and did all sorts of tests, most of which I had never seen done, and most of which did not involve having her say letters or identify pictures. They were mostly all measurements.

Turns out Miss N is quite farsighted, which means she can’t see things close up. The doctor commented several times that she has a very strong prescription, and that she should wear her glasses all the time because it is affecting her distance vision because it's so bad.
That’s why she gets headaches and has to have the book held a certain way. In fact, a year ago I had a vision screening done and she showed some signs of having an issue, but they said not to worry about it until she was in school. The eye doctor said she’s has significant problems and also some permanent vision loss, which indicates she’s had trouble for a while, at least a year.

So my mommy gut was right. In just a few days my little girl will be sporting her spectacles. She’s excited about it. I am glad she will be able to see properly, but I am a little sad. It will change the way she looks and it will be a big responsibility for her. She also freaks out if there is any sort of smudge on her sunglasses, so teaching her to keep them clean will be interesting. Keeping her sister’s hands off will also be a challenge.

So wish us luck as we enter into the world of glasses!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sisters!

As Miss M gets more and more vocal, Miss N is starting to enjoy being a sister more and more. They are waking in the morning and crawling into bed with one another to wait for mom and dad to get up. They are starting to play WITH one another, and Miss N has been rejoicing with us over Miss M's potty training successes. It's wonderful to watch what i pray will be a lifelong friendship blossom.

But, they are still siblings.

And the little one gets on the big one's nerves a lot, usually intentionally.

Like the other day. I can't remember what Miss M was doing, but Miss N had had enough. After I reminded her to be loving, she looked at me and said, "WHEN will we have a baby BOY!!?!?!?" Very funny!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Learning about God


Miss N has had a lot of questions about God and the Bible since she got saved. It’s been fun to try to answer them. Here are a few I wanted to remember:

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Miss N (while listening to the Barney theme song): Mommy, this is bad music. It says “if we just believe in him.” We shouldn’t believe in anything but God.

(I did tell her the song said, “If we just MAKE-believe him,” and that make believe is a bit different.)

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Mommy: Miss N, you need to trust your daddy when he tells you something.

Miss N: No, Mom, we should only trust in our LORD.

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Miss N: Mommy, I have a mysterious question. Does God wear shoes?

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Mommy: Mommy is tired and is having a hard time with my attitude. I need to pray that God helps me to change my attitude and speak in a loving way.

Miss N (a few minutes later): Mommy, did you pray yet?

Mommy proceeded to pray out loud.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Potty Training

If you are my friend, you are probably already tired of hearing about this, but this is my blog and, well, I need to put some things out there to get them out of my head. So if you're tired of hearing about it, stop reading now.

Miss M. For the past two and a half days she has behaved as a potty trained child, making all of her "business" in the potty. Today, she started pooing in her undies again.

I admit, I am tired beyond measure of changing these messes. I have been at this for about three weeks, and I'm tired of the mess.

Being tired is not a reason to quit, and i know that. In my heart of hearts I know that she can do this - goodness, she did it for 2 1/2 days without a problem, even "holding it" for a full 25 minute ride home from church and doing it successfully in the potty.

But then, I read things. Things tell me "Start at 2 and potty train for a year. Start at 3 and potty train for a week."

Honestly, it's cheaper for me to throw away a pair of underwear every 3 days then continue diapering the child (who wears the largest size diaper they make, and is still growing, so then what? diaper her in pullups?), and I know she can do it. She did it for 2 1/2 days.

So why did she refuse to do it today? I knew she needed to go, had her on the potty, and she would not do it. Moments after I took her off of the potty, she did it. I cannot have my eyes on her 24 hours a day, as much as I might like to.

I already started and stopped this process once. People are telling me to quit. I'm thinking about poop and pee all of the time. It's exhausting. But, if I let her "win" this time and quit again, she will remember, and starting again, no matter how old she is, is going to be triple hard.

So I am putting my "big girl" pants on and digging in my heals for the long haul.

Or at least until the end of the week. Then we will re-evaluate as a couple and see what we should do.

Potty training a stubborn child - perhaps it requires mom to be the more stubborn one?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Preschool Memories

Miss N: Mommy, today at recess me and Benjamin were playing Star Wars!

Mommy: That sounds fun. What's Star Wars? (She's never seen it)

Miss N: I don't know because Benjamin hasn't told me yet. We just chase bad guys with our pretend, um, gun hands.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Lovely Family Day at the Apple Orchard (otherwise entitled, Why I Hate Pullups)



It was the perfect fall day for a trip to the apple orchard. Slightly overcast and cool, with rain earlier in the day to drive off the big weekend crowds. Somewhat on a whim, we packed up the kids after nap and went on our way. Apple cider donuts and cold cider drinks were calling our name.

Miss M is smack dab in the middle of the potty training stage, and is doing fairly well. While we are primarily in underwear, we stuck a pull-up on her since the potties at the apple orchard are not very convenient. Off went to have some family fun. We arrived, did the potty thing, and then saw the animals. We played, we picked berries, we ate donuts. In the midst of all this fun we had several trips to the potty. Through it all Miss M stayed clean and dry.

Donuts were a hit, as was the “juice,” (cider). Miss N played reverse psychology on me, pointing out a toy she wanted and then saying, “But I have enough toys, right mom?” This is the phrase I always say when she’s begging for something (because it’s true!) I didn’t get her the toy, and as we were walking past it for the last time, she outright asked for it. I was proud of her for not pouting when I said no.

It was time to leave, and of course a trip to the potty was in order. Daddy went to get the van and pull it around, and I took the girls to the potty. Sounds simple, right? Only one problem with the plan – Daddy took the backpack with him.

We arrive at the bathroom, and in the midst of telling Miss N that “I know you don’t need to go, but we have a long drive and I want you to try” over and over and over, I whip down the pull-up and place the toddler on the potty, only to then realize that the pull-up was no longer clean and dry. Between the brown swipe down the toddler’s leg and the nastiness all over the toilet, I realized we had a very big problem. Then, I looked down at my hands and realized that they matched the color of the toddler’s legs. In my panic I had also touched my arms, which now had their fair share of the nastiness.

Leaving Miss M on the potty, I scrubbed my hands furiously. Then, opened the door to the bathroom (a one person model) and instructed Miss N to walk to the van to get a pull-up and the wipes. Miss N panics and does not want to walk across the path to the van. I stand in the doorway to the bathroom, keeping one eye half on Miss M, who has now climbed off of the potty and is tracking the brown stuff all over the bathroom, and the other eye on Miss N, who announces, “I know, I will just go very slowly to be safe.”

Everything in me at that point wanted to scream, NOOOOO, GO FAST, but I didn’t. Miss N kept taking a few steps toward the van, then running back to me in a panic. Finally, another mom with stroller in tow, who could probably relate to what was going on, saw my distress and got my husband’s attention. Meanwhile, Miss M has wandered into the hallway of the bathroom area, tracking her present all over everything. I tell her to get back in the bathroom, which she does but starts crying because she wants to see me and Miss N.

Finally Miss N got brave and went to the van to get the pull-up and wipes. I attempt to undress my now distressed toddler. Through all of the wandering around the bathroom, she has covered all of her clothing, except her socks, in poo. I strip off her pants after disposing of the soiled pull-up, and in the process she steps in the poo, soiling her socks as well. I give up, strip her to just her shirt, and clean her. Then I attack the spots on her shirt with wipes as best I can, because we did not, in fact, have a spare shirt. Finally, I wrap all of the soiled clothing in paper towels, and attack my hands and arms with soap and HOT water. With the wipes I clean the toilet and floors, and I place my naked from the waist down toddler in the crook of my arm and we leave.

Let’s just say I really hope they disinfect those bathrooms every night.

And I’m not a fan of pull-ups.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales: Our Love Story

When thinking about what to write for post high school, the answer was not as clear as you might think. I could write about God leading me to Maranatha, a small Baptist college in Wisconsin. That was, after all, pivotal in developing some of my friendships and my meeting of my husband. I could write about the spiritual journey I went on through my college years, discovering who I was and what I believed. I could write about the birth of each of my children, which was certainly life changing for me. But, I guess the most important event that has happened to me since graduation from high school was meeting my husband. Even in that story, God’s hand was clearly seen.

Most people in my circles meet their significant other in college. I went off to school, honestly, with that as one of my goals. I had a date my freshman year, arranged by two good friends, and went into the summer with hopes that it would develop into something. It did not, and that was OK. I went to several formal events, which were required at my school, with girlfriends. I was having fun.

Then, my friends started getting boyfriends. I did not have one. Then, people started asking me how they could date my friends. I remember one time in particular, a guy from the church Janna and I attended pulled me aside to ask me a very serious question. He wanted to know if Janna was open to dating anyone, because he was so impressed with her (his words). I could not believe the gall he had to ask me, a single girl, that question. I said, “I have no idea, and you know what, people always ask about Janna. I’m beginning to wonder this: What’s. The. Matter. With. Me.”

Not exactly a very spiritual response, but my pride and heart were hurting. I wanted to find “someone,” and it looked like it wouldn’t happen.

Toward the end of my junior year, a very nice young man asked me on a date. We had a pleasant time, and corresponded throughout the summer. I returned to college in the fall and we started acting like a dating couple. It went on like that for a month or so, until my parents came up to visit. He asked my dad if he could officially date me, and when my parents told me that, I started to bawl. I had no desire to date him, yet I didn’t have a good “reason.” I was miserable. He was a great guy, treated me well, and loved the Lord, but he was not right for me. Finally, I told him, and we broke it off.

Interestingly, a few days after I told him we were not right for each other, my roommate, Shelley, told me, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you laugh this much” when we were messing around in our dorm house. It was true. When I was dating the wrong one, I was miserable. I learned from that that I would rather be single for the rest of my life, than be with the wrong guy.

In January of that same year, my roommate for the past two years, Melody, had a birthday party. Mel lived in a town less than two hours from our college, and we had a tradition of going to her home for her birthday party. A young man I had met on a few occasions when visiting her was there. His name was Tim. He had come to the party in hopes of getting back with his former girlfriend, who was also Mel’s friend. At one point during the party most of the folks went to another room to watch a video. Tim and I had struck up a conversation about mutual friends I knew from high school that he met at college. As the party progressed, Tim and Mel’s brother were pressured into asking me and another single gal to the upcoming formal event at our college, just as friends.

After everyone left (I was staying the night at Mel’s house), I mentioned to her, “Why didn’t I ever notice before how cute Tim was?” She was utterly disgusted since she’d known Tim her whole life. I guess hearing someone you’ve known since preschool called “cute” seems wrong. I was humiliated later to learn that she had told her brother, who then told Tim, what I had said.

We went to the date, and had a great time. We later went to a Buck’s basketball game together as a “date” and also had a great time. I quickly realized the difference with this guy over the first was that we could carry on a conversation. I recall one time that he called me and we talked for over two hours. Being someone who hates talking on the phone, this was surprising to me. We were talking, not the silly listening to someone breathe on the other end of the phone. We talked about fun things, we talked about the Bible, we talked about life.

Most of our courtship occurred over the phone and AOL Instant Message. It was perfect for me, as a senior in college, because I could focus on my studies while still conversing with this young man. He scared me on a few occasions, giving me red roses before we were “officially” dating, telling me to have “sweet dreams” at night. I was so innocent back then, and these seemed very forward to me! Unbeknownst to him, I forwarded all of his emails to my parents (isn’t that horrible!) so they could get to know this young man and help advise me on our relationship.

At the end of the semester I needed to move all of my things home. After four years in Wisconsin, I had a LOT of things. Tim offered to help, and at the same time meet my family. He helped me cart my belongings home and spent a week at my home with me. My mom said the moment she saw us together, she knew he was the one for me because we “fit” each other. During that week, he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. This was in May.
Making cookies together on that first trip. Tim still has that shirt - I, sadly, do not fit any of those clothes any more.

I was growing closer and closer to this man who lived 500 miles away from me. After seeing him go through a particularly trying circumstance, I was impressed not only with his looks and attention, but also his character and ability to stand when the crowd goes somewhere else.

I had one hang up, though. Tim was (still is) an auto mechanic. I had always had dreams of marrying someone who was in the ministry, a missionary in particular. Through much prayer and internal struggle, I finally gave that over to the Lord. I realized that character was more important than a “calling,” and this man had the character I wanted.

The view from the spot where he popped the question.

In August of that same year, just three short months after becoming “official,” Tim took me out for a date I will never forget. We went to the city’s World War I Memorial, overlooking the spot where he had first asked me to be his girlfriend, “our” fountain. He dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, and we had our first kiss. We then went to Skies, a restaurant on top of a hotel that rotates while you eat, giving you a panoramic view of the city. I don’t even remember what I ate, I was so enamored with him.
Here we are the night we got engaged. I'm calling Janna, who was in Guam, the only person alive awake at that crazy hour!

I spent the next semester sitting out of school, working to earn money for my semester of student teaching and planning my wedding. On June 27, 2003, I married my best friend, and I haven’t looked back after two kids, two dogs, and a mortgage.

How is God’s hand seen in this? Tim and I attended different colleges, in different states, over different years (he is older than me and got a three-year degree). Melody was not supposed to be my roommate. The year she was, Janna and I had requested to be roomies, not intending to have another roommate, and when we arrived Melody was added to our room. She became one of my closest college friends, and also the venue through which I met my spouse. Tim would not normally have been at her birthday party, but he was chasing that other girl and so he came. I normally was quite shy around guys, but I struck up a conversation with him. He asked me out on a whim, and it worked! I am so thankful for the attentive, loving, hard working man God gave me, who has turned out to be a wonderful father too!

This is the final post in the Mommy's Piggy Tales project. Janna will be starting a new session in the beginning of October - contact her today to get started!



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thankful for an All-Knowing God


I admit I don't fully understand prayer, it's purpose, and the way it works. Some day when I have some time it is something I intend to study further. However, I am thankful for the fact that God knows what we need, even when we don't, and sometimes when we don't even know how to pray.

About three weeks ago I applied for a writing gig (I work from home as a freelance writer) that I really, really wanted. It took hours to prepare the application and sample, because I wanted it to be just right. I knew the job would stretch my writing style, but it was a challenge I honestly welcomed. Sadly, I don't think I got the job. I haven't heard "no" but it's been long enough that I think I didn't get it. Often in my line of work you don't hear "no."

I prayed for that gig. I prayed that I would get it if it was something I could handle. I admit, I am disappointed, but I know God answered my prayer.

However, I do need more work. Just this week, I got two new gigs and a client I haven't heard from for about a year just contacted me with a new, rather large, project they are starting! Amazing! God knew the need beyond what i was praying for, the need to expand my work options, and answered it in a completely wonderful way.

Today, I find my heart heavy. I have friends struggling with abusive behaviors, chronic pain, and deadly cancers. People my age who have babies like mine. Old friends. New Friends. People I love.

In some of these scenarios, I don't even know how to pray. I know prayer is needed, but prayer for what? Healing, surgeries, therapies? Grace, humility, wisdom?

Perhaps, I am not meant to know. In Romans 8:26, it says, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

Even when I don't know how to pray, I should, and the Holy Spirit will intercede on my behalf. While I don't even attempt to fully understand that truth, it amazes me. And I am thankful.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Four-Year-Old's Prayer

"Dear God, please let me be a farmer when I grow up so I can have a pony."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wisdom from a Preschooler

My eldest shocks me with her whit and wisdom sometime. We've gotten past the endless "why" world of three year olds, the nonsensical world of toddlerhood, and are suddenly shooting into the world of young lady-hood.

My girls are both now in "school." Miss N attends a traditional K4 program three days a week, while two of those days Miss M goes to Mom's Day Out at a nearby church so I can work. Mom's Day Out gives the kids a small candy at the end of the day if they are good. Preschool lets the kids earn "Dinky Dollars," which they turn in on Fridays for a prize from the "Dinky Store." Both reward good behavior, but in different days.

This Friday when I picked up Miss N from school, she had a toy rooster she had purchased from the store. We drove to get Miss M, who got her candy. While we drove, Miss N was questioning me about whether or not I brought her a lollipop. I assured her I did not, and she was working herself into a state of discontent about the fact that sister would get a lollipop and she would not. I reminded her that she had a rooster and sister did not, but it didn't matter.

I decided to ignore her discontent. She was choosing to be miserable, and i wasn't going to be able to snap her out of it. After a few minutes of pouting, she turned on a smile and said, "I am going to be content with my rooster. I love my rooster!"

I was very happy to see that measure of maturity come from her. We've talked about being content with what we have. Mommy struggles with being content in our tiny house, but I remind myself, often within her earshot, that we have what we need and much more, so we should be thankful.

Lately my two girls have been playing and interacting better and better. Of course, they fight, but they are starting to behave like friends rather than enemies. One day Miss N said, "Mommy, M is my best friend in the whole world. I love her so much down in my heart!" AHHHHHHWWWWWW! I reminded her that no matter what happens in our life, Miss M would always be her sister, so it was good that she felt that way.

However, the conversation quickly turned. Miss N started crying. "I will be sad when Miss M dies, mommy." Then she sobbed, "I don't want you to die, Mommy." Huh? So, I reassured her that as far as I know, I wouldn't be dying for a very long time, and neither would Miss M. "But even when you are old, I don't want you to die. You are special to me." Then, "I don't want Daddy to die either. He's special to me in my heart."

I really was not able to comfort her. I guess the realities of life and death are becoming real to her. I really wanted to tell her, "I promise, I won't die any time soon," but I can't make a promise like that, for we know not what a day may bring forth. After a nap she was much calmer about it. I have not yet found a way to talk to her about this one, but I am sure it will come up again.

Even with all of these wise thoughts and questions, my daughter is still a preschooler. The other night she was not going to sleep. I reminded her she needed to sleep, to which she replied, "I don't want to dream, Mommy, so I am going to keep my eyes open forever."

I asked her if we should prays he has a good dream, and she said, "NOOOO, I don't want ANY dreams." My friend Michelle reminded me of this verse on her blog recently:

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee."

The idea is if we are thinking of God, we will be at peace. Of course, my four year old may not know enough about God and His character to think on him long enough to dispel her fears, but it is a good verse to introduce her too. So I did.

I explained that if we think about God, it gives us peace, which is the opposite of fear. I asked her, "What do you know about God?" Her response, "I don't know anything about God."

"Sure you do, let me help you think. What did God make."

Her response to this definitely showed she is still a preschooler. "Mommy, it's just that I'm too sleepy and I need to go to sleep." and with that, she rolled over and did.

Yet, the seed has been planted, and we will revisit the verse and concept again at a later date.