Friday, March 15, 2013

Too Great Expectations

These are just some random thoughts from one very exhausted mama. They may not be very coherent.

Lately I feel like no matter what, I can't get enough sleep or enough to eat. My fifteen month old still prefers to nurse rather than eat solid foods, so I am still his main source of nutrition. Then he'd been sick for two weeks--that meant very little sleep during the night. And even the last few nights between the three kids I think I've gotten up about eight times during the night--I've only been in bed for 7.5 hours. My husband has been work super long hours this week--which that really seems to have become the norm in the last months. And I've had my own work to keep me busy even after the kids are in bed. So all this whining to say, I'm have become one very impatient, crabby lady.

Our home has become a very unrestful place, as I mentioned in my last post. I'm discontent with it, but I can't seem to summon the energy to do anything about it. I think one of the greatest problems is that I've set greater expectations on my kids than I have on myself. I correct them for being crabby with each other. I correct them for whining and fussing. I put them in bed when their attitudes are unbearable. I tell them that even if they're hungry or tired they can't just throw a fit, but need to just wait patiently for their food. Yet, at the same time I'm crabby, whiny, and fussy because I'm exhausted and starving. I'm snappy with my kids, and excuse my bad attitude because of my hunger or sleepiness. True, I can't just go lay down and take a nap to help adjust my attitude, but I do very little to practice self control in my circumstances. How can I expect my children to learn self control and how to have a proper attitude no matter their condition or circumstances, if I can't (or won't) even do the same myself? I find myself praying even in the middle of the night that God will help me to be the proper example to my children. Instead  I catch myself snapping my kids' heads off. And sadly, I watch my the older siblings mothering their younger siblings, and I'm ashamed of some of the attitudes and actions I watch them repeat. They portray the sweet mothering behavior. But they will also snap at their sister and say, "Well if you're not going to quit fussing just go lay on your bed." I want to portray grace and patience with my children. I want them to know that I love them and care about them. I don't want to breed contention, strife, anger, and bitterness in my home. I don't want my children to ever feel they can't communicate with me. I don't want to cut my children off.

I just keep praying, and we're working on verses for all of us to help with our responses and attitudes to each other. I don't want to keep correcting my children by saying, "Be kind with your voice when you talk with others," when I'm snapping at them because of something they've done that I don't approve of. I want to be the example that they need, so that my expectations on them don't seem so great.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Return to Harmony

Today there is a mom-in-training. I'm sick of blowing up at my kids and being upset and irritated all the time. I'm tired of the fact they don't respond anymore until I get upset. 

So we had a chat this morning, and we're spending the day doing extra jobs around the house to focus in on them obeying right away--even odd things that don't seem to make sense. I randomly in the middle of something told one child to run down the hall and come back. Or I'll randomly just say "sit down" just to make sure they'll do it right away. 

While focusing on their response, I'm focusing on myself and my response. Making sure I don't get upset and making sure I immediately correct them for not obeying right away. I know I've improperly trained both them and myself, and hopefully we can retrain ourselves. This isn't the first time I've made a decision to do this, but I am now determined and resolved to see this through so that we can once again have a peaceful and happy home.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Breastfeeding Journey

I keep promising myself I'll do a better job keeping up with this blog, but then I get carried away with life, and before I realize it weeks or even months have passed.

About this time four years ago I was quickly approaching my due date with my first child. I had researched and studied, and was eagerly anticipating a completely unmedicated, natural birth. And I had resigned myself to breastfeeding. Resigned? Yes, resigned. I knew that breastfeeding was the best thing for my child, and I was all about doing what was natural and best for my baby. God had desinged our bodies for child birth and for nurturing them afterwards. Not to mention there was no way on earth we could possibly afford formula. But these were my reasons for breastfeeding. In my mind breastfeeding seemed gross to me. The thought of exposing myself--even if it were just around myself--and then putting a mouth up to my breast and having that baby sucking off of me just seemed...perverted, somehow in my mind.

However, the moment my daughter was born, before the cord had even been clamped, I asked, "When can I nurse her?" In that moment of childbirth, during that beautiful transition into the real world of motherhood, all of my prior notions and discomforts vanished. My God-given maternal instinct took over and my greatest desire was to nurture my baby.

From the moment of her first latch--and that beautiful bond formed between mother and baby--I have been a major advocate of breastfeeding. I look back on my earlier thoughts and laugh at myself. I nursed that babe until she weened herself just after 18 months. Six weeks later her baby sister was born, and I nursed her for nearly two years until she weaned herself shortly before her baby brother. Now my youngest girl still asks to nurse, and though I would love to tandem nurse her, and had planned to, I just don't have the energy to. I have allowed her to nurse a few times, and it was a sweet time for us. Telling her no has brought me to tears, but trying to nurse two was very draining. But we'd have to double our grocery budget for me to eat enough to keep up with nursing two!

I love breastfeeding! I love the sweet moments of being one-on-one with my baby. I love the bond that is formed as a result of that time. I love the continuation of the nurturing that I provided for that sweet babe in the womb. I love knowing that I am helping my baby develop a healthy and strong immune system. I enjoy hearing comments like, "What are feeding that baby?" And I take pride in knowing that my baby is healthy and growing well as a result of my decision to breastfeed.

Now I want to pursue, along with a doula certification, becoming a lactation consultant and volunteering time to help other women understand the benefits of breastfeeding and to help them be successful. A far cry from resigning myself to the task!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A New Pet In My Pocket - Michael's Birth Story

God has once again blessed our family with a new little pet in my pocket. I think every birth story is beautiful and full of excitement, and of course ours would be no different. But this time God threw in a few extra bits of excitement to remind us to count our blessings.

I had been having contractions for weeks, but had been assured that because this was my third kid this was normal (by the way, someone needs to write a pregnancy book for women on their third+ kid, because everything that's normal signs of concern with your first two pregnancies are considered normal happenings after the first two). I also learned with my second child that my body does not feel contractions the same way they are described in books or by most care providers. While being monitored, my contractions may be reading off the charts, and I'm not even really aware of them, or they feel so insignificant that I ignore them.

On Sunday, December 11, around 3pm I noticed that the contractions I was having seemed to be a bit more consistent. So I tried to focus on them so that my husband could time them--this was a first for us. (We'd never had the opportunity or need to time contractions with our first two.) They started out at seven minutes apart, and 1 1/2 later when we were ready to leave for church they were 3 1/2 minutes apart. So we decided to skip church and go to the hospital in stead. As soon as we got in the car, they slowed back down to 7 minutes. We still went to the hospital and spent a few hours being monitored. My midwife checked me, and I hadn't progressed from when I'd been checked two weeks prior, so I decided to just go home and wait it out. By the time we went to bed, I was actually feeling pains that I could associate with labor, but they stopped just after midnight.

Monday was a long day as both my husband and I had anticipated being back to the hospital to have a baby by mid-morning at the latest. But as it was, my contractions didn't even start again til mid-morning, and there was no consistency to them. By the time my husband got home from work they had regained a consistent pattern, and if I had to rate them on a pain scale, I would have given them a one. So, I put together my shopping list and we headed to Publix. I can't say I was completely comfortable throughout our shopping trip, and I knew I was technically in labor, but I wasn't miserable either. We got home close to 9, settled the girls into bed, and around 10 when we headed to bed I told my husband that I might be pushing a three on the pain scale.

At 12:40 Tuesday morning I woke for my routine potty break and realized that I was still having contractions. I climbed back into bed and watched the clock, then I realized they were starting to hurt. I laid there and debated whether or not I should get up or just see if I could ride it out til morning. I also prayed that God would let me know when it was time to go to the hospital, but planned to wait til my water broke. At 1:00 I noticed an intense difference in the contractions--and that they were only two minutes apart! I woke my husband and told him I was in transition. He moves pretty quick in the middle of the night! We called our neighbor to come sit on the couch and headed to the hospital. I called the hospital as we pulled out of our drive and told them we were on the way--my phone said 1:31 a.m. I remember glancing at the clock at some point on the way to the hospital, and it said 1:44. I don't know what time we arrived, but we walked up to labor and delivery. For the most part I was still walking and talking through contractions, and only had to pause three times to wait them out.

They had a room open for me and I walked straight in, grabbed the cup, and went to sit on the potty. As I went potty, my wonderful husband got the room readied my way. Not a single hospital light was on. Just my lamps. And he got me in the skirt I had had made myself for labor/recovery. Just as I finished leaving my sample in the cup, my water broke. With the next contraction I hit that moment that every woman in natural labor hits, and I told my husband, "I don't want to do this." I walked out of the bathroom and into the room, asked for the birth ball, and didn't make it any further. I hit my hands an knees, eagerly waiting for the birth ball to rest my upper body on. During this time a nurse was begging me to get into bed so she could check me, and I remember my husband telling her that wasn't necessary. She then asked if they could monitor me, and I told her no. I couldn't move. She wanted to get the baby's heartbeat, and I told her if she could get it without me moving, then go for. This is all happening in just a matter of moments. For the first time ever, I yelled in labor. It was more of a very loud moan, but either way, I was mentally berating myself because I knew that yelling wasn't going to help anything.

After what seemed like forever of a nurse trying to talk me into the bed, I realized I hadn't been saying any of what I was thinking out loud. Finally I managed to get out, "He's crowning, y'all." Well, that definitely changed the atmosphere. A very experienced nurse had already been summoned when the one nurse couldn't get me to cooperate. She came around the bed and said, "She's right, he is crowning." She then kept begging me to get up on the bed because she couldn't get to the baby. I didn't understand the problem. I had delivered my last child on my hands and knees and knew it could be done. I was mentally begging my midwife to walk through the door. (My husband told me later that I wasn't up on my hands and knees as I thought I was, but was actually resting my bottom on my heels, hence the reason she could not deliver me.) Suddenly the nurse called for the birth stool, it was there in a flash, and my husband lifted me off of the floor and sat me up on the birth stool. Another first happened for me then--everything stopped. Not for long, but for several moments there were no contractions, and time seemed to stand still. I'd never had that kind of break in my labors before. I'd heard of them, but never experienced it for myself. I remember questioning why everything stopped. Then the next contraction hit and at 2:04 a.m. my baby boy delivered!

During delivery, the nurse mentioned something about meconium, but I don't think he actually ingested any because he had no complications. His cord was also tight around his neck, and he wasn't breathing. Kudos to my husband who knew not to be alarmed because the cord was still attached, so he knew the baby would be fine. As soon as I started talking to the baby, he started turning his head. They clamped the cord when it stopped pulsating and took him to the heated crib. He then started crying. He was very bruised and swollen due to the very quick delivery. Due to the concern of meconium, it was a few minutes before I got to hold my baby. During that time I climbed into the bed. My midwife walked in a few minutes later, and I teased her about being late. She can be rather crabby at 2 in the morning. :)

I had studied and researched doing a hypnobirth and was really excited to implement some of what I had learned. I never had time to try to focus on relaxation. One thing however that I definitely knew I wanted to do this time was not push. I wanted to breathe my baby down. Well, I didn't actually concentrate on breathing my baby down, but neither did I push. My body did what God designed it to do, and naturally pushed my baby out.

So, thirty minutes after leaving my home that is twenty-plus minutes from the hospital, I delivered my son!Michael Joel ~ 9lb 6.7oz ~ 22in

I know this story may be a bit too wordy, but I've written it in bits and pieces as I've had time. There are probably facts I'm missing, but I think I have all of the important stuff that I want to remember. I doubt I'll ever forget most of the details.

Lucretia, the wonderful nurse who delivered Michael.
She wasn't too fond of having her picture taken.
She's been a L&D nurse for 31 years!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Memorial Days

Throughout the year we have several days that are set aside to honor and remember those who have sacrificed for our country's freedom and for the safety of our country--Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, etc. Yet it occurred to me over the course of this weekend that September 11 seems more like a memorial day to me than any of those other holidays. And then I realized that it's because, for me, it is actually a day with memories.

I whole heartedly express my patriotism and appreciation for our military, both past and present, on our other specified holidays. But often times those days hold very little meaning to me other than the fact that I take time to be thankful.

However, September 11 has a different affect on my emotions and the reasons I am thankful. Every year, on September 11, people will ask, "Do you remember where you were?" And I think to myself, how can I not remember? How could anyone forget where they were and what they were doing at the time that they heard such tragic news? And then of course the aftermath--not just in the days that followed, but in the weeks, and now in the years. I have memories from this day, and so this special day, though not an official holiday of memorials, is still more of a memorial day to me than Memorial Day is. But that's exactly what memorial means--it's something that reminds us of a person or an event.

Through this realization came another sobering thought. All of those other holidays that are purposed as days to remember our soldiers hold the same meaning for others around me. There are numerous people for whom the date December 7 holds the same sacredness as September 11 does for those in my generation. I've seen footage from the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and it does affect my emotions, but there's something different when you have actual memories of such a day. There are many who could tell us where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. For many of us, Pearl Harbor Day may be just something we see pre-printed on our calendars and we fleetingly think of the tragedy of that day, and go on with our lives without giving that day another thought. But when September 11 roles around we spend the days leading up to it and the day of reflecting on the memories, the footage, and the fatalities still occurring as a result that tragic day.

I wanted to remember these thoughts I had, and to remember that while to me December 7 is another day to remember a historic event for our country, to others it is a day with memories and emotions attached. And while none of us have memories of that great day of our independence, I hope I can remember to better appreciate the full meaning of that day and to realize that it was a real day with real meaning, memories, and emotions for people gone before us.

May we never forget. A phrase almost to flippantly used, but full of so much truth and meaning if we really stop to think about it and pause to remember.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Honey Glazed Pork and Apple Kabobs

This was one of my many made-up recipes. I had something in mind and thought, why not try it? I love experimental cooking, and have found myself doing quite a bit of it recently. This recipe was SUPER easy, and my husband LOVED it. My husband isn't a picky eater, and he's not one to throw out compliments for a meal. He just eats food and thanks the cook. :) Easy to please, but it's nice to get a bit more feed back on a meal. :)

I think this was the first time ever I've gotten such a response from my husband. He took one bite of the kabob, closed his eyes, and sighed a satisfied, "Mmmmm." To top it off, he asked me to do another batch of just the apples, and that's what he and the girls had for dessert. So this was definitely a winning recipe with him!

I think it would probably taste good with some red or vidalia onions on the kabobs as well, but I didn't have any. So here's the recipe. (And my portions may seem small. We try to cut back on the amount of meat in a meal to cut on cost.) But make as much as you like!

Honey Glazed Pork and Apple Kabobs

1/2 honey
1/4 cup brown sugar

1 lb pork loin steaks cut into square pieces

1-2 apples cut in large cubes


1. Melt honey and brown sugar in microwave for 20 seconds. Continue in 5-10 second increments until mostly liquified. Stir together and put in ziploc bag.

2. Place meat and apples in ziploc bag with glaze and zip shut. Mix around to get everything well coated. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Put meat and apples on kabobs.
4. Grill and serve.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Black and White Cheesecake Bars

These were amazing! I've had this recipe sitting in my recipe binder for a few years, but due to my daughter's allergies I either didn't have the ingredients on hand, or chose not to make it since she couldn't have any. But since dairy is no longer a concern, I thought I would give it a try. Oh, boy was this yummy! Thankfully, I have a few more weeks to balance out the weight gained from this dessert before my next prenatal appointment. :)

Black n' White Cheesecake Bars

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers crushed)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring occasionally. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs. Set aside 1/4 cup for topping. Press the remaining crumbs into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in milk, egg and vanilla. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or until completely chilled. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.
By the way, if I were to ever write a recipe that used sweetened condensed, I would short the recipe by a few ounces so I could guiltlessly enjoy eating spoonfuls of the milk without concern that I was going to mess up the recipe. Mmmmm...I just love sweetened condensed milk!

After being refrigerated, the crust is very hard. You may want to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting in.

I just realized that I failed to get a picture of the finished product. :/