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!

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Dreaded Task

I put it off all weekend.

The task was too monumental, too difficult, too stressful.

Every time I thought of it, I got that almost sick feeling in my stomach. What would they think? Was I asking too much?

Finally, I could put it off no longer. It was Monday, and I had to do it.

What was this task?

Make a phone call. To someone I had never met. To ask about a tax related question.

Surprised? If you know me, you probably aren’t.

I am terrified of the phone.

Why? I’m not sure. I would rather give blood than talk on the phone, unless I know the person I’m calling and have called them before so I know that it’s not an interruption.

Where does this fear come from? I have no idea. I was probably a junior in high school before I was comfortable calling friends, and usually only if it was pre-arranged. Calling a friend out of the blue? Nope, not me!

So today I picked up the phone and called D. Carlson at Miss M’s school to ask for the employee identification number and my total I paid this year for her to go to school. I want that tax deduction, and that was the only way to get it. I paced the entire time I talked to her. I stuttered when I talked to the receptionist to ask for her.

And you know what? She didn’t mind in the least. She was very helpful and nice about it. I think it’s not the first time someone had requested that information.

So, I stressed all weekend for nothing.

And most of the time, that’s how it is. I have a client who likes to discuss work over the phone rather than through email. I hate that. Hate it. The days I’m expecting him to call, I can’t focus on a thing all morning. Yet the call usually goes well.

I had a friend who was going through a difficult time and I wanted to call her and see if I could help with watching kids or just praying. I emailed. I texted. I took a week before I called. Probably I could have been a help earlier in the week, but I was too scared to call. What if I was interrupting her at work? What if she didn’t want to talk about it? Those were the things I was thinking.

Yet, my friend who called after I lost the baby just to see how I was, I appreciated that more than I could say. Even though I didn’t want to talk, and she was fine with that, it meant a lot that she thought of me. So why can’t I return the favor?

So how do you cure phone-o-phobia? I’m not sure. I guess I will always be a little trepidatious about picking up that thing and calling someone out of the blue. But I will keep trying.

I have a friend who also has a similar dislike for the phone. She has said before that she knows she is walking in the Spirit when she makes phone calls. I guess that’s a good way to look at it. Maybe I need to walk in the Spirit more often.

For now, the deed is done, and back to work I go!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Letter to Miss M's Future Teacher


Dear Mrs ____________,

I know we do not know each other, and that you have a full class of little people to love this year, but I just wanted to give you some insight into how my Miss M works, because it just might make your job of teaching her a little better.

I hope you have a good sense of humor, because once she is comfortable, Miss M is likely to be your class clown. She doesn’t have much care for what others think about her, as long as they are laughing. Even at two, she has an excellent sense of humor, and loves to play jokes and tease to keep us laughing.

She doesn’t tolerate being bored easily, and if she is bored, she will find her own ideas about what to do. Like today for instance, when I was busy in the kitchen, she found her own entertainment by repeatedly pumping the soap dispenser in the bathroom until her hands were drenched. Thankfully today it was just her hands. You have to keep her mind busy, or she will find a way to keep it occupied herself.

Miss M needs to be moving at all times. She has no desire to sit and watch TV or listen to books. She will climb up and down in her chair at meal time, even though she is still hungry, just so she can be moving. I think she might be one who needs to sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. Will you be willing to consider this? If she is not moving, she will have a hard time learning.

She loves to figure out how things work. Do you have any electronics in your classroom, like a radio or computer? You might want to put those in an off-limits section, or the next thing you know she will be taking them apart. Give her science experiments she can do to figure out how things work.

I think she’s going to be good at math. She could count to 10 one-to-one before she was even two and a half. She loves numbers and will count just about anything.

Even though she is incredibly smart, she has to be really motivated to do something before she will. If she thinks the task is dumb or pointless, she won’t even try. We will need to be creative with ways to keep her motivated for work she might not find value in.

She is incredibly loyal. Win her affection, and you will have it for life. She's not always sure how to show that affection. She will often "pat" her loved one on the back, and it very closely resembles hitting, but the truth is, she's just trying to show affection. Please be patient and teacher about soft touches. She will love you if you let her. She has a good memory, too, so keep that in mind.

Together I hope we can help her become all that she is meant to be, and I hope you see in her what I do. She can be naughty, but she is so full of life and love too!

Sincerely,

Nicole

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goodbye Twenties, Hello Thirties


Today, I embrace my 30s and say goodbye to my 20s. I think it's pretty cool that my 30th fell on 1-11-11. It's going to be a good decade, right? In honor of going "over the hill," I decided to sort of revamp my post at the beginning of 2010. It's amazing how many life-changing events occurred in my 20s. I guess this is the decade when we really "grow up." Here are the amazing milestones I have conquered in my 20s.

1. I toured Israel.
2. I graduated college.
3. I got my first teaching job.
4. I discovered freelance writing.
5. I got married to my best friend and moved to Rockford.
6. We bought our first house.
7. We had two beautiful children.
8. I had my first major surgery (c-section with Megan).
9. I traveled to the island of Guam (farther than I have ever gone, and probably the farthest I ever will go).
10. We made the hard decision to leave on church and join Heritage Baptist Church. It was very much the right thing for our family. God has blessed.
11. I discovered FACEBOOK!
12. I learned what it really means to be an adult (can't I go back to being 13 and having the biggest problem in my life being my frizzy hair and the fact that so-and-so didn't want to sit by me at lunch?)
13. I lost two grandparents - the first close loved ones I have lost.
14. I spent my first time in the ER with my child - an experience I don't wish to repeat but probably will someday.
15. My oldest child asked Christ to be her Savior.
16. I participated in my first ever 5k and ran a full mile for the first time in my life (still working on the running the full 5k bit.)
16. I learned what true grief is and how it can age and change you. I still miss my baby.

Through it all, the good and the bad, God has been faithful, as He promises to be. He has taught me, stretched me, humbled me, and hopefully changed me. I am ready to head toward the next "hill" with gusto and faith.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Learning from My Child

Sunday morning I was helping Miss N get ready for rest time. I was removing some dirty tissues from her nightstand by her bed, when I discovered her glasses, which were broken, carefully hidden underneath them. She has two pairs, and earlier that day I had noticed that she changed and found it odd, but didn’t think anything else of it.

Swallowing my first instinct to get upset, I asked her if she had broken them, realizing her sister could very easily have been the culprit, and she admitted to it. After coming to the conclusion that she was not doing anything wrong and it was an accident, I then asked her why she hid them instead of telling me. She looked down at the floor and said, “I thought you would be disappointed in me.”

After assuring her that I love her no matter what she does, even if she did something really bad, I would still love her. I also explained that telling mommy right away, rather than trying to cover up the problem, is always better. Even if I am upset, and I going to be more upset if she doesn’t tell me.

This episode made me feel very sad. Why didn’t my little girl feel like she could tell me when she made a mistake? Am I that hard on her that she thought I would be upset over a simple accident? Or was her vocalizing, “I thought you’d be disappointed” really the truth? I never wanted to disappoint my parents as a child, and she is very much like me. However, my gut tells me she thought I would be angry.

Which brings me to one of two things I learned from this event, which I have been thinking on and praying over since Sunday afternoon (not a long period of time, I realize). First, I need to be more careful in my approach with this child. She has a sensitive heart, and I am too quick sometimes to assume she’s being naughty or acting out, when perhaps there is something I am not understanding that she is trying, in her own way, to communicate with me.

Then I got to thinking, how many times in my Christian life do I do what Miss N just did. I do something wrong that is disappointing to my heavenly Father, and instead of going to him in humble prayer asking for forgiveness, I instead try to cover my sin and hide it. I’m not saying Miss N was wrong in breaking her glasses, because it was an accident, but the principle is the same. As much love as I have for my daughters pales in comparison for the love the Father has for me, yet so often I hide my problems from Him instead of seeking His forgiveness and restoration.

The glasses have been fixed already, and we have conversed a few more times about coming to mommy when something goes wrong, and hopefully the lesson will stick. I think a lesson is sticking with me too, and it’s time to reevaluate some of my parenting habits and realign them with God’s word and the way in which my Father deals with me, His precious child.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Conclusions to my Overwhelming Thoughts of Late

I have come to a few conclusions.

Miss N has pneumonia again. A-typical pneumonia (walking), but still pneumonia. Thankfully, she's not "that" sick this time around. Although I'd almost prefer if she had a fever because then her body would be doing more to fight it off.

This makes the third time in her life she's had it (or second, one time was a bit inconclusive). Plus she had bronchiolitis, which led to a scary episode ending in wheezing and a breathing treatment and an inhaler at home. The bronchiolitis and the last pneumonia situation were within the past 12 months, making three events in the past year. That's too much for my comfort level.

Something is causing her to have this respiratory issue over and over.

I know some kids are just more prone to problems, but I want to get to the bottom of it if possible.

So I have come to a few conclusions.

The first is that she needs more regular chiropractic care (hi Melinda). If you have read my blog for a while, you know how much of a proponent I am for the chiropractor. I actually have one I love and trust very much, and he has adjusted my kids since birth. N was actually the first newborn he adjusted (under the eye of the senior chiropractor in the clinic, so I was confident it was OK).

I made the decision to stop going to that chiropractor. While I love everything (everything) about their office and staff, it is an hour away. By the time I drive there, have the appointment, drive home, and take the necessary time for potty breaks, it is an hour. I don't have enough time in my week to commit to that to have N seen more regularly. This was a very hard decision and I agonized over it, honestly, even spending some time in prayer. While it might seem like a small issue to some, it was a big decision for me.

I'm not saying that going to the chiropractor will "cure" her or "fix" her if she has, say, asthma, but I do believe the body functions better when the nervous system is communicating properly. And that is what chiropractic care does. I've seen it time and time again in my own girls. For instance, one time last year M had a runny nose/congestion thing she couldn't kick for weeks. She hadn't run a fever, I took her to the chiro and he warned me she might start running one. Sure enough, by that night she was, but within a day or so she was better. Getting her spine in line allowed her body to "do it's thing" and get her better.

The second conclusion is that I am going to ask a lot of questions when we go for her checkup at the pediatrician after two weeks to make sure she's better. I have thought of these:

  • What could be making her so prone to respiratory problems as compared to her sister and the rest of the family who get the same cold and are fine?
  • Does being premature have a role or is that a misconception in my head?
  • What can I do to boost her immune system and avoid this? Vitamin D? Probiotics? Vitamin C?
  • Is it asthma? How will we know? Do I want to know? On one hand I don't want to subject her to a bunch of tests for no reason, but on the other hand I do want to know before we have an emergency (aka asthma attack) and are unprepared. My brother had slight asthma and Tim had it as a child.

Anyone who has a child with similar problems know of another question I should ask? I always leave thinking "I should have asked xyz."

I do wonder about allergies. I want to find a homeopath in the area who could do a little more testing into sensitivities than what the medical doctor would do. But that's a hurdle for another day. Today, we say goodbye to our beloved "Dr. Pete," at least for Natalie (I'm not ready to give him up totally yet until I am sure we have found someone who will give us the same level of care) and start the search for a new chiropractor and wait the chance to talk to her medical doctor again.

Finally, I am going to make a greater effort to stop eliciting advice on facebook. I would love to say that I am going to give up fb altogether, but that would be unfair to the grandparents who enjoy looking at pictures of their great-granddaughters. I was talking with my friend Janna about it, and the problem is that you cannot control who responds. I know what most of my friends feel about health issues, and when I have a question about something, I am going to go directly to the source. I was making myself crazy trying to follow everyone's suggestions and tips and such and research all of these things for myself.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sick Day

Since Miss N has pneumonia (again, but that's another post altogether) today was a stay home day to help her rest and recuperate. Here is how we spent our sick day. Not too bad, if I do say so myself.
Pretending to be a "ball" in the ball bucket (ignore the poor photography, first day with the new camera) playing with the coolest-ever bath toy that makes huge bubble globs

See?

Playing playdough

Mommy played too. Quack

Making a craft (note to self, when the box says ages six and up, believe it)

And dressing up. This picture cracks me up. She's like a mermaid, cowgirl, punk rocker.

How do you spend your sick days?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sometimes I want to Curl Up in a Ball

The Internet is a curse for me sometimes.

Miss N has a cough and sore throat she's had for a few days, and I am debating about taking her in to get it checked out since Strep is going around town. Most likely she's entering into her endless cycle of colds that happens this time of year all of the time.

Yes, she takes a probiotic and a daily vitamin. The probiotic is an expensive fancy one. The vitamin, not so much.

But I am not a fan of antibiotics, and she just finished a round for her ear infection (I know, not always necessary for those, but she was in tremendous pain and her doc thought it was a bad one).

Well meaning people who I respect have offered a variety of natural methods to help her.

Therein lies my frustration. Garlic oil in the ear, thieves oil in the house, Vitamin supplements (oh and of course only certain ones are effective enough), even a special silver that kills bacteria. HOW IS A MOMMY SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT"S SAFE AND WHAT"S NOT?

Sure, garlic oil in the ear is harmless enough, provided the infection doesn't cause hearing loss. Thieves oil is EXPENSIVE, but also harmless, except for the ol' budget. I haven't taken the time to research some of the others. I know she needs to be on Vitamin D with it being flu season and all, but I can't find anyone who will tell me how much to give them! Do I take someone else's natural doctor's recommendation for her kids, who may be smaller or larger than mine?

We don't do flu shots, but we do do vaccines for maiming and killing diseases. So we're not consistent.

I can't afford organic food most of the time, but I try to feed my children whole foods whenever possible. We also have cut much of the High Fructose Corn Syrup from our diet, and all pasta and breads (within reason) are whole grain. They just aren't organic, but I know that there are chemicals in them so every time I put food on my children's plate I feel like I am poisoning them. But have you seen the price of organic chicken? Produce maybe I could swing (maybe the dirty dozen), but meat and dairy, nope.

In the end I know they are my children, making it my choice, but what frustrates me to no end is the fact that I can't find a resource I can truly trust to give unbiased information. Why can't the medical doctors and the naturalistic doctors (whatever they are officially called) and the chiropractors all agree on things? I don't think antibiotics are poison, and I do think they have their place, but they are so overused we are getting these super bugs. Yet, when you try to research natural healing options, all of the reputable medical sites (aka, Mayo Clinic for one) say there are all these risks.

What's a mommy to do?????

Monday, January 3, 2011

Taking the Plunge

She stood on the edge, willing herself to go, but not quite able to take the leap. Her hands shook with the adrenaline pumping through her body. She started to leap, then stopped and took a step back. She looked to me for reassurance. I nodded my head. She started again, then stopped again. She willed herself to go, but reached for my hand. Just one hand this time, not two, but she still needed mom.

She climbed the tower again, this time willing herself to go. I could see the heart pumping in her chest, the nervous smile playing in the corner of her lips. “Count for me mommy,” she said. So I did.

One. Two. Three.

She jumped. She landed on her feet on the squishy carpeted surface and ran as fast as she could to me, a huge smile spread across her face.

“I did it Mommy, I did it! I really did it!”

She was still shaking from the excitement of it all, but a sense of accomplishment and healthy pride were there too. After many months of wish, she finally took the plunge and jumped from the top hay bale on the stack at our mall’s little play area. What seems like no big deal to the rest of the kids was a major milestone to my cautious daughter. And she did it over and over and over again, sealing in her heart and mind that she COULD do it.

That day it was a simple playground toy. Tomorrow it may be reading her first word, something she is too afraid to try yet, even though she is capable. The next day it may be making a new friend or saying lines at a Christmas program. In a few years it may be trying out for a sports team or auditioning for a play.

She is timid and unconfident, and as her mommy, I want to be there to hold her hand all of the time, and make life easy for her. But I can’t. There are some things in life she is going to have to experience for herself. And that's a good thing. If Mommy is doing everything for her, she will never learn to experience life for herself.

Parenting a sensitive child requires a special hand. You cannot force her to do something she’s not ready to go. You can push to hard, and then she will freeze and never try the thing again. Yet, she requires a measure of push, and a measure of confidence from mommy.

It’s a delicate balance, but the rewards are so great. Seeing that look of accomplishment, hearing that pride in her voice cause my own motherly love and pride to come surging to the surface.

That day it was a playground toy, but I can’t wait to see what it will be tomorrow, and I hope to be there for every minute of it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Hodgepodge

I've had so much on my mind lately, but not enough time or enough coherent thought to make a blog post. Sometimes I wish I could write beautiful posts like my friend "A" does on her blog (read it if you love beautiful writing), but I guess this is just my dumping ground.

And I guess it doesn't matter since no one reads here anyways.

I'm still sad. I'm functioning almost 100 percent normal and now that my pregnancy hormones are gone I am feeling back to normal, but I am still sad. I don't really understand it, and it's difficult to accept. And it's difficult when the world seems to be moving on around me unaware of this constant dull pain. I think I have never really thought about the pain others carry until this. Like the random stranger who was rude in the grocery store could have had a horrible diagnosis, lost someone they loved, or had hopes dashed. I guess it puts into perspective others around you. Sometimes I feel mad that those around me have forgotten, but then I realize that it was only to me that it was so incredibly personal.

I guess I'm doing a lot better, though, because Pastor mentioned baby loss this morning and I didn't cry.

Part of me thinks I will continue to be sad until and if we are able to have another baby. Who knows. I didn't feel this sad with my first loss. I still can't get over how different this is. But then, we were pregnant with Miss M so fast after the first loss, it hardly had time to get sad. We are two weeks away from the two-month mark from my first doctor's appointment. Oh, I'm not depressed or anything, I know personally what that's like. I'm just sad. I've started taking my prenatals again because the medication depletes all Folic Acid so I want that repaired, but it's so strange to be downing horse pills for "no reason." At least my two girls LOVE their own vitamins, so they are always reminding me to do them and that helps me remember.

I have been thinking about Job (in the Bible). Partly from my Sunday School class study at church, and partly from this blog post from my friend Michelle. Job asked God "why?" in regards to his myriads of sufferings. He didn't have the window into heaven that we are given as the modern day reader of Job. He didn't know why it seemed God had suddenly abandoned him.

I have been asking God "why?" also. In the end of the book God answered Job, but not with an explanation. Rather with a demonstration of His might and power through creation. Job's theology was off. God does not owe me an explanation. Rather, He is God, and because He is God, He does what He does. It's not always my place to know why. It's my place to accept, obey, and continue to honor my Lord even through pain. Maybe someday I will know "why," but God does not owe me an explanation.

I've learned a lot about myself recently. Good and bad. I am thinking on blogging about it, but I don't know if self-discovery is the point of a public online journal. Oh, and having an emotional crisis coupled with a physical crisis that forces you to stop running right before the biggest eating season of the year does not do good things for one's waistline. Oye, I've got my work cut out for me, but thankfully I have a working treadmill and I know how to use it!

My house is clean. Really, really clean since we had company tonight. Why won't it ever actually stay that way? Why is it impossible for me to keep it tidy? Contrary to the way it looks, I do try, but I do get overwhelmed.