If God Exists

April 16, 2013

This is a question we will no doubt hear over the coming weeks and have heard over the years, “if God exists, why do bad things happen to good people?” The simplest answer I can give for this is, “because evil exists too.” I don’t really believe in coincidence. I’m sure there are a few things in life that are coincidence, I’ve had examples in the past that I think might be coincidence, but I can’t think of one right this minute. Rather I think God and Satan are both at work in our lives and the good is from God and the bad is from Satan. God is good, all the time, and satan is bad, all the time. They are at war and sometimes satan wins a battle here and there, but I promise you this, God wins the war.

I’m sickened and saddened by this tragic event. As some of you know my brothers have participated in many races and we have had the privilege of spectating at marathons and an ironman competition. Just a few years ago we attended the Boston marathon to share the accomplishment with my brother Kevin. It is a joyous occasion, the entire city shuts down for this fun day where everyone comes together and cheers on the runners. I can only imagine the sheer panic, fear and chaos of the days events. While evil created this event God was in attendance. The stories of good have started coming out. God was in the hearts of the people that sacrificed their safety to help others. I watched 100s of people stick around to help, pushing wheel chairs and seeing what they could do. I saw on twitter that runners ran to the hospital after they had finished to donate blood. I’ve seen a quote going around the Internet from Mr.Rogers, “when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

God is in the helpers. I urge you to strip the glory from evil and not dwell on the tragedy, rather praise God for the good that has been happening, pray for the victims and families, and pray for our country and the decisions the government has to make in the coming weeks. I’ve seen a lot of people post that they are “praying for Boston,” let’s really do this, not just say we are doing it.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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Cause for Silence

March 5, 2013

I haven’t been quite sure what to write, how much to share or how to tell about the whirlwind we’ve experienced over the last few days, but I decided while Ellery watches her shape DVD I would attempt to tell you about the roller coaster ride that has been our life over the last few days.

We decided kind of last minute to make a trip up to Champaign/Peoria area on Friday. If you were not informed you are not alone we only told like 3 people. We just weren’t sure what our house hunt would look like and we definitely didn’t want to over commit ourselves, so I apologize for any hurt feelings, they were completely unintentional. We left after we got word from the realtor that the couple would be making reasonable requests and we figured it was safe to drive up before their option period because we really needed to pick out a house and put in an offer if this whole thing was going to go as fast as it appeared.

Saturday when we were about 3 hours from my parent’s our realtor called and informed us the buyer had backed out because they were freaked out about a couple things in our inspection report. We were shocked. We literally have done almost every single line item from our inspection 2 years ago and the others we had appointments to fix over the coming week or two. We were appalled that they were unwilling to let us fix the couple issues, but they would not work with us and decided on Sunday that they definitely wanted to back out. We signed our termination papers over lunch and our house was officially listed. In 24 hours we had 9 showings. One of which revealed that it appeared we had carpenter ants in our attic, which obviously was not there when we left on Friday! I’m so thankful this realtor contacted our realtor to let her know the issue. We had the pest people out and they think when we had our roof replaced on Monday it disturbed a nest and that is why we suddenly had an issue. Luckily it’s a quick cheap fix, but before we had the resolution it was very stressful.

The reason cited for the couple backing out of the contract was a minor water leak in our showers, $150 and an hour later a plumber fixed those two issues. This couple lost out on our house over a one hour repair that we were absolutely willing to fix! Now we can see that it was such a blessing they backed out. We signed off on an even better offer last night and feel confident about this next inspection now that we’ve had a plumber fix the issues. Also because we didn’t have an offer on Sunday when we looked at houses we couldn’t put in our offer on the house we really want and yesterday they lowered the price for a second time. In 10 minutes we’ll be signing our offer with the realtor and hopefully we’ll be buying the house that I’ve already started decorating in my head. We are on quite the ride right now, but I’m so glad that Andrew is in the car with me and we are holding on together! We close April 30th now instead of the 9th and I’m great with having a few more weeks to pack and spend time with friends and family in the Austin area. I hope to have great news in the next few days!!

Setting the Record Straight

January 29, 2013

(This post is about lady things, men feel free to come back tomorrow.). The other day I posted about Ellery losing weight last month. My milk was seriously drying up, as in sometimes she would eat 1 ounce in 3 hours. A reader very politely commented and asked if I could expand on this so I private messaged her and told her what I thought was going on. Then I realized I have at least a handful of readers that have requested my nursing notes and I would be doing a dis-service to not share what happened. I also know that I have anti Babywise readers and readers considering Babywise so I just want to set the record straight.

I am pretty sure I lost my milk for a lot of reasons, Babywise was not one of them, here is what my research has shown me.

At my seven week appointment as I was getting ready for my exam I discovered that Aunt Flo decided she was tired of not visiting and she had arrived. This means had I not been following the rules I possibly could have shown up pregnant to this appointment. So when people say nursing is a good form of birth control the first 6 months know that it does not apply to everyone. I was still nursing through the night at this point. When my milk really decreased I was having the worst period of my ENTIRE LIFE. Nothing I could do about that.

My sweet baby has a condition that is caused by low estrogen, not going to expand on this because some day she will be an adult and this post might still be flying around in cyberspace. Low estrogen can cause babies to eat less. This condition resolves itself by age 6 and she’s perfectly fine, but potentially contributed to the weight loss.

My pump broke in October, I had been pumping frequently before that. Since Ellery had quit taking a bottle I decided I didn’t need one anymore and couldn’t afford to replace it so I stopped pumping, that was a bad idea. Luckily our new insurance is amazing and I got a free pump a couple weeks ago. (On that note, call your insurance before buying a pump, I got a medela $300 pump at no cost to me).

Around the time Ellery started sucking her thumb her weight started dropping. She was always a fast eater so when she put her thumb in her mouth after 5 minutes of nursing I figured she was finished. I didn’t realize 5 minutes really wasn’t enough. Now I know she needs to eat for at least 5 minutes on each side regardless of what she wants.

Besides her weight dropping there were literally NO SIGNS. She never acted hungry, she was still sleeping for all her naps and still sleeping through the night. She hadn’t become anymore fussy than her one hour witching hour so if we didn’t have a scale we probably wouldn’t have really noticed. Also her skin started getting lose.

And after playing around with increasing my supply I have found this to be the number one thing that helps. I decided I was tired of having this pooch belly so I started cutting myself off of food at 8:30 PM. BIG MISTAKE. Going to bed hungry completely zapped my supply. If I eat a small bowl of cereal before I go to bed I wake up leaking and she eats 6 to 7 ounces for the first feeding. Feeding my kiddo is obviously way more important than fitting back into my skinny jeans. So eat up nursing mamas your milk depends on it.

The reasons I don’t think Babywise played a role in this. I never let Ellery go hungry, I would stretch her 15 minutes max. Dropping the night feedings was led by her. Once she went a couple nights not eating at one of the feedings we got rid of it. By getting rid of it I mean I let her fuss in bed for a couple minutes until she went back to sleep, this lasted for a few days each time. I didn’t ever let her scream or even cry in the night, if she did I would feed her. Fussing and screaming are two very different things in my book. Still to this day I have never let her go more than 4 hours during the day without eating and most of the time she eats within 3 hours. Since she was 4 months old I haven’t needed to ever hold her off from eating for even a few minutes. I talked to my doctor and based on the way I personally do Babywise she assured me that it had nothing to do with my lack of milk.

And while we are setting records straight I want to say one thing about not co-sleeping. I read a blog post written by someone I don’t know who is an attachment parent. She was writing about how sad she is for babies who have to sleep in their own cribs and how she would hate to have to sleep alone. She talked about how when she gets scared from a dream she loves that she can reach out and touch her husband for comfort. I felt a little angry because I feel like she is really misinformed. Last night Elle woke up around 9 o’clock screaming bloody murder, I jumped up and ran to her bedroom, picked her up and rocked her until she was calm. Then I laid her down and without a peep she put herself back to sleep. Just because we don’t sleep with Ellery in our room doesn’t mean we are heartless monsters, I’m not saying anyone of you thinks that, I just had to get that off my chest because I was sad that some people might think that about mamas who don’t believe in co-sleeping.

So there you have my incredibly long list of things that hurt my milk, likely TMI, but oh we’ll. I’m happy to report we are on the upswing and it looks like I’ll be able to nurse until we are actually ready to give it up.

I Needed That

December 12, 2012

I’ve written about this before, but it’s been a long time so this first part may be a repeat for some of you. I’m a rule follower. If there isn’t a rule for something I create one. I like boundaries, I function very well within them. I have always enjoyed this about myself, but the older I get the more I am seeing this just might be a flaw. I live my life in black and white, my husband’s entire life is gray. You can imagine the kinds of “heated discussions” we’ve had over the last 5 years. Enter baby Ellery, talk about a game changer. I still think kids need boundaries, and you will never convince me otherwise so don’t even try. However, I am finding that sometimes my “rules” are completely lost on her. Take sleeping for example. Doctor says always put your baby on their back to sleep. She sleeps through the night every night on her back. Put her on her back for a nap and you’re lucky if she sleeps for 20 minutes. Yep, I’m just as puzzled as you are. Guess what, my little lady sleeps all three of her hour and a half naps on her tummy. This was super hard for me because it was breaking a rule that is supposed to insure the safety of my sleeping infant. After a week of her not sleeping I bent the rule and we are all so much happier!

Tonight after caving and giving her Tylenol after she cried most of the day and slept about half of her naps I felt really guilty. I never wanted to give my babies medicine. I don’t take medicine unless I am really sick so I figured I’d be the same way with my kids. Then your sweet baby looks at you through tear filled eyes and you realize she has no choice. She can’t ask for the medicine and likely she would beg you for it if she could. Right after I gave it to her I saw THIS article via Emily and I felt so much better. (Warning there is some profanity in the article.) I am never going to be the mother people think I should be. But as I’ve said before and will say again and again, I’m doing my best and that’s all I can do.

Like a Joke

December 8, 2012

I asked a friend yesterday if she was having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit because of the weather here. She is from a cold climate so she understands what Christmas “should” feel like. She put it into words that succinctly expressed how I feel, “it’s like living a joke.” It really does feel like we are trying to celebrate Christmas in July. Last night Andrew and I decided to go on a “Christmas cruise” to look at lights after dinner. We had the windows rolled down and Andrew said, “if you pretend really hard it kinda feels sorta crisp outside.” We are trying! We listen to Christmas music, turn the tree on anytime we are home, burn an evergreen candle in the evenings, watch lots of Christmas movies, but nothing seems to be working. Everyone thinks living in a warm climate is so amazing, but I’d trade it tomorrow for a little cool air or some flurries of snow! I guess it’s Mele Kalikimaka for us this year (yeah i know it’s Texas not Hawaii, but you get the idea) maybe next year we’ll celebrate in snow, at least it’ll be cold in Boston. Any tips for enjoying Christmas in the heat?

Never Say Never

November 28, 2012

Monday stunk! After two weeks at home I had no desire to be back in Texas. Usually after 2 weeks of being away you long for your bed and routine, etc, this time I did not. Life was so much easier, everyone wanted to hold Ellery, I was never lonely and I got to spend tons of time with my honey. Even a couple really long dates!! Obviously vacation isn’t reality, I get that, but I just wanted maybe one more week. Lucky for us Ellery stayed almost exactly on schedule while we were home and slept great in her crib at Mema and Papa’s. So the hard vacation with a baby wasn’t hard at all, I was expecting to have to be super flexible, but life was the same, just in a different locale. The trip up wasn’t bad, we stopped 6 hours in the first night and drove 10 the second day. Elle had her moments the first day, but day two was pretty much smooth sailing. We decided to power through on the way home and do the trip in one day. This is typically a 16 hour trip, baby probably added 2 hours. 18 hours on the road, 16 of those strapped in a carseat. Someone told me I was brave, I responded that in fact I was crazy. First 8 hours were a breeze. Ellery surprisingly stayed pretty close to schedule with her awake and sleep times and I thought we were going to get away with no tears. Then bedtime came and our poor little girl screamed for 30 minutes and there was nothing we could do about it. I finally resorted to a pacifier and held it in her mouth until she fell asleep. Oh I forgot to mention I had a headache for the last 6 hours of the drive. At this point I texted Jenna,”I will NEVER drive this in one day again!” Then I quickly added, but just like childbirth I will forget this and do it all over again. It’s good to be home!

Thoughts on Preppers

November 24, 2012

Have you seen the show Doomsday Preppers? We don’t have cable so I hadn’t seen it until we were visiting my parents. Some of these people are crazy. I don’t want to say all because I haven’t seen them all, but my word the people we did see have gone coo coo for coco puffs! Here are some of my thoughts on prepping.

If I was a Prepper I would want NO ONE TO KNOW. The Preppers will die first in a disaster because they will get killed for their food and water supply.

Is it sinful to store stuff up like that? I thought the Bible says to take what you need for this day?Do not worry about tomorrow? From what I can tell some of these people are “extreme Christians” so that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

Do you want to live through the disaster you are prepping for? Pretty sure I’d rather reside in heaven. Some of these people are preparing to stay under ground for something like 4 years, pretty sure I wouldn’t survive through that. Cabin fever anyone?

These people want to survive so badly, but they aren’t really living now. One family has taken on extra jobs in order to pay for the preparations.

My best advice: live your life and prepare a backpack! FEMA suggests you have a 3 day backpack in case of emergency, that seems reasonable.

Are you a Prepper? Am I missing something?

The Countdown Begins

October 12, 2012

In 11 hours my love will be home.  My husband travels.  I don’t talk about it much and I’ll never tell you when he’s gone because it feels unsafe, I feel vulnerable if people outside my close group of friends know when my man is gone.  This was the first trip since Ellery arrived where I’ve been alone, my mom was here for his last trip and Elle came at a time when he didn’t have to travel so we were extremely blessed with that.  He left Monday morning at 4:00AM and I’ve missed him just about every minute since then.

I used to somewhat enjoy his trips.  They gave me a chance to remember who I was before him.  That sounds kind of bad, but it was a time when I could meet up with girlfriends for dinner, watch silly movies by myself, do crafts late into the night and never have to consider someone else’s schedule.  Don’t get me wrong, I still missed him, but it was bearable.  Now that Ellery is here it isn’t so bearable.

When she arrived we became a team.  I thought we were a team before, and maybe we were, but nothing like we are now.  Every parenting decision is made together, I consult him when she is crying, should I feed her, should I let her cry, should I pick her up?  We make decisions together on sleep training, bottles, baths, holding her, getting her out of bed, and the list goes on and on.  It is SO FUN to do this parenting thing with Andrew.  He is the best dad I could imagine for our little girl and I’m completely smitten when I watch him with her.  I have done an entire week of parenting without my teammate and it’s been really tough.

I made a decision that I was going to look at this trip in hours instead of days.  I wasn’t parenting 5 days by myself, only 14 hours.  Yeah I know that math doesn’t seem quite right, but I figure Andrew is home while she is awake from 5-8 everyday, the rest of the time I’m here alone or she’s in bed.  14 hours, I can do 14 hours right?  Well I’m in the home stretch and let me say it hasn’t been easy.  Babies are smart, my baby loves her daddy, and my baby knows daddy isn’t home and it’s made for some cranky evenings.  We FaceTimed last night while she was screaming and as soon as he started talking she was quiet until I took the phone away and then she was a total wreck.  Thank goodness for technology!

I took advice from a wife of a traveling husband, get dressed and go out everyday.  Monday we went to the outlets with my brother, Tuesday we drove down to a friends and took a long walk, Wednesday we went to the grocery store, Thursday we went to Mom to Mom and Kohls, and today we might venture out to the other grocery store to get the rest of my list if I’m feeling brave.  It definitely helps break up the days, but the evenings are LONG.  We’ve taken LOTS of walks in the neighborhood, at least 2 per day, so the exercise has been good for me.

Wednesday night I had to laugh at my situation.  Ellery had just cried for an hour which ended in a 30 minutes nursing session, clearly something was off because she is a 10 minute nurser.  Once she went to bed I went into my bathroom to get ready for bed to find a “roach” (probably wasn’t actually a roach) on my ceiling.  Of course I can’t go to sleep with that critter crawling around so I get the vacuum out.  We have 10 foot ceilings, one of the selling features of the house, one of the downfalls when trying to vacuum a bug.  So I get the step stool out.  The hose still won’t reach while I’m on the step stool so I get Andrew’s luggage and set the vacuum on top of that, I’m about an inch away from reaching and I decide against trying to suck it down because I can just picture it falling on me instead of going in the tube and then I’d be screaming and wake up a baby that had FINALLY fallen asleep.  Plan B, broom time, I get the broom from the garage, swat the bug down and then it’s gone.  I’ve looked for 2 days for this stupid bug and he is no where to be found.  This after our fire alarm started chirping earlier in the day during Elle’s nap where I teetered on top of a ladder with my dad on speaker phone just in case I fell and he needed to call 911.  Yeah I know what you are thinking…why didn’t you get the ladder for the “roach,” the answer is I don’t know!

Counting down the hours until our family is reunited again… thankful he has a job and thankful that I miss him!

On the Bright Side

October 5, 2012

We have a squirrel infestation in our attic. Ok infestation might be a little much, but there is definitely a family of squirrels that dig and scamper all day long up there. Of course they have made their home directly above Ellery’s bedroom and they are so loud they wake her up during naps even with the white noise turned up loud. On the bright side if you are going to have rodents in your attic these are the only attic dwellers that aren’t nocturnal so she sleeps amazing at night!! In fact last night was her first official sleeping through the night. Hoping that becomes the norm, but now that I posted that you know she’ll be up all night.

The Realization

September 26, 2012

While my BFF Steph was here I had this realization. Never in my lifetime can I ever have another friend like her. It hit me on her last day as she snuggled Elle for her last nap of the visit. Stephanie and I have shared almost our whole lives together. We weren’t quite babes when we met, but we were 8 years old and I barely remember life without her. Sure I will have other great friends over my lifetime and I do, but to have a friend like her that is once in a lifetime. Stephanie reminded me that some people never have this and for that I am sad for others and grateful for us. It’s just hard to live 1,000 miles away from the one girlfriend I don’t have to explain things to or can vent to without excuse. I miss her so much, but I’m so grateful that no matter what she will always be there. And thank goodness for FaceTime!!