Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Being a mom of two part 3

Let's see, what did I do today? Today was potty training. This past week has all been potty training. And laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. I also nursed, rocked children, cleaned the bathroom, changed several diapers, cleaned poop and pee off the floor as well as fixed breakfast, lunch and dinner for hungry mouths. To be honest, I'm kind of exhausted. And yet, I love what I do. Levi woke up early from his nap and was still cranky so I rocked him in the recliner for a while. I remember thinking to myself, "I am so lucky, I love this job. I don't know that I would do anything else except care for my kids and clean my house." That's totally crazy, I know. I don't feel that way every day, but today that's how I felt. I want to do my work heartily as unto the Lord. I want to be content in every circumstance, I want to overflow with thanksgiving. Lord, help me to do those things.

All of that to say, however, that potty training hasn't gone so well. I mean, kind of well. I have decided that we are not doing diapers anymore with Levi. We are doing nothing. No underwear, just naked from the waste down. I have him sit on the potty about every hour and make him "try" to go potty. He ends up peeing into it nine times out of ten. Then we get out M&M and he's happy. He has actually taken himself to the potty maybe twice and surprised me. The poop has been another story all together. He does not want to go poop on the potty. Not at all. Usually he tries to save it for when we put him in a a diaper at night. This tells me that he CAN, in fact, hold it. I try to encourage him as much as I can that pooping on the potty is a good thing and he won't have a hurt bottom from diaper rash. I bribe him with videos of trucks, if he poops on the potty he can watch them, I tell him he can't get on mommy and daddy's bed until he can poop on the potty, I'm about to take more and more privileges away... The M&M's don't seem to do much so, I might go get him some little presents at the Dollar Tree that he can unwrap.

Wow, I am literally falling asleep as I am writing this post.

I think I'm done.

That's being a mom of two for ya. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Being a mom of two part 2

Each day is a new adventure with new quandaries, new things to learn. Sometimes being a mom is really hard. It's difficult to stay home and discipline all day long. It's difficult to hang out with a two year old who isn't able to converse just yet. It's difficult when he is trying to communicate something that he wants to do and you don't want him to do it. When he doesn't know his needs, just his wants...

He makes Aria feel like a breeze.

All I really have to do with her is nurse her, change her, burp her, snuggle her and then put her back to bed... every couple of hours. Yes, she cries and sometimes I just have to walk out of the room and let her cry herself to sleep, but really, she is nothing.

I love Levi. I just want to be clear on that. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I love him. When he is disobeying for the same thing that I've already spanked him for ten times I have to remind myself that I love him.

He can be very frustrating sometimes. Today it was kind of non-stop movement. It's all right there under my feet too. I'm trying to fix an egg and he is right there, attacking the butter with the knife. I am trying to wash the dishes and he is right there dipping a mug he found into the dishwater and DRINKING it! Yuck!!! I pretty much screamed at that one. He has also drank out of a puddle in a parking lot before... this kid is going to have a killer immune system if he survives. He wants to drink my coffee, he wants to be right there while I'm trying to nurse Aria, today he (I don't know if it was accidental or not) kicked her in the head. I went ahead and spanked him because we do not kick people. I have explained to him over and over that we can kick balls but we do not kick people.

In all of this he can have the most brilliant moments. Today he started singing part of Jesus Loves Me, he has never done that before. He only sang "For da Bible tells... me... so!" over and over, but it was still Jesus Loves Me  in my book :).

I finally bit the bullet this morning when I was changing yet another poopy diaper and his bottom was so red with a rash. He couldn't walk without crying yesterday because of the rash. After I saw this I said, "No more diapers, that's it Levi." I was so tired of it, I thought, I will clean up anything as long as it's not his red, hurting little bottom. There were several times when he asked for a Pull Up, but I stood strong and didn't give it to him. I even put him down for his nap without a Pull Up. I have done that before and that's when he took the opportunity to poop in it. This time I decided I could clean it up. His mattress is covered in plastic anyways.

We had the most pees on the potty today than... maybe ever. We also had one poop on the floor. He ended up not sleeping for his nap. I realized around 3 that he never really got that great of a lunch, so I just got him up and we fixed green smoothies. He had one poop on the floor but thankfully it wasn't that hard for me to clean up.

Well, I am very tired from a very loooong day. (I really hope Levi doesn't drop his nap soon.)

I'm going to go to bed now.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Losing Pregnancy Weight part 7

Since I am now writing a blog series on this subject I am now supposed to be the expert right? I'm supposed to be perfect in my eating and exercise. Absolutely perfect.

That's the thought that I wrestled with last night. Truth be told, I have been anything but perfect. I was folding back the covers to get into bed and just felt depressed. I don't know if it was the weather and how it rained or was cloudy all day yesterday. I don't know if it was the fact that I ate ALL of the Valentine's chocolates my parents gave us plus some of the chocolate chips in our pantry. I don't know if it was the way my size 14 jeans were just super tight (you know, so tight that they are just not comfortable, but you wear them anyways... what is that? Why don't I just wear something else?). Then of course when your jeans are too tight no shirt looks okay on you because you have major muffin tops coming out... you just feel like a marshmallow that's been squeezed into... well, I can't think of anything right now. You basically feel like a marshmallow.

Sorry, that was a bit of a rant wasn't it?

Here's what I wrote in my journal last night.
"Lord, what a terrible day. I feel so fat, I feel like a cow. My jeans are not fitting. I did not heat healthy today. I did not exercise. Lord, when it's summer time and I just don't want to get out and exercise in the mornings, help me to remember days like today when it is just impossible to get out.
I don't want to hate myself. I'm tired of hating myself... and I don't think I'm there anymore. I already know where that ends up. All I really know is that I need You. "

There you go.

I wish I could say that I was perfect, but I most certainly am not.  I think I have realized that I need to watch my focus. If I am only focusing on exercise and eating and my body all day long I probably will get depressed. The more I focus on my eating, the more I just want to eat ... just this one piece of chocolate... just this one cookie... and then it kind of becomes this huge spiral downwards. I want my focus to be elsewhere. I want to focus on my kids. I want to focus on my art projects, on cleaning my house, on scripture I am memorizing...

I have realized this whole weight loss thing is not a one-time thing. It's not something you do for a day or a week or something like that. It is a change in lifestyle. It's not a perfect process and I am not capable of being perfect. That's why I need Jesus. :)

It's one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. Okay, that was a bad day, so what went wrong? How can I do better next time? More than anything I want to refuse to beat myself up. I used to be the queen of beating myself up over the way I ate or didn't eat or the way I would exercise. I remember trying to make up for the way I would eat by going to the gym and getting on one of those elliptical machines for an hour. If it was really bad then I would get on the stair machine for another thirty minutes. After that I was soaked with sweat and absolutely exhausted. I remember not being able to play in my piano lesson because my arms were so fatigued from the elliptical.

I don't need to pay penance like that. I need to repent, talk to God about how I put food ahead of Him and then just ask Him to lead me. I like what Gwen Shamblin says in the Weigh Down Workshop, to just wait for the next sign of hunger. If you messed up and overate, then wait until you feel hungry again. Then when you feel that pang of hunger ask God what He has given you to eat. I have found that I need to follow my body for what I need to eat. God has designed it to crave and to experience hunger so that I will feed it how I need to.

Okay, I have to go, Levi is crying in his crib.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Losing Pregnancy Weight part 6

It's snowing. I should be having my quiet time right now but all I can do is complain. I literally opened my journal and started writing complaints to God... and then I thought, "Jody, your heart is in the wrong place, what are you doing?"

Lord, please turn my heart towards You. I don't want a complaining heart, I hate my sin, help me to give thanks in ALL things.

The snow reminds me of the winter that Levi was born. He was born in November of 2009 and if you were in Arkansas in January and February of 2010 you might remember when it snowed like 12 times in two months. I remember I was finally okay-ed to be able to exercise after my six week check up and I was anxious to get out walking again. All of the sudden it was like the North Pole just dumped on us. There was no way I could take my eight week old baby out in that stuff. I was so frustrated.

Another thing I realized as I watched the snow is that it doesn't necessarily bring back happy memories for me. I'm going to be really transparent here and say what I usually do on snow days... I usually just sit around and watch TV and eat. Now, this might be enjoyable while you are doing it, but after a day of eating... Oh yeah, and this isn't good, healthy food, this is usually junk food.  It just ends up being a day of regret. I remember doing this in high school, in college... I don't know, something about being cooped up all day. My husband always gets excited for snow days because he gets off of work and I just never really realized why I don't get excited about them until now. It's not until I sit down and write all this out. ... This is like a therapy session or something... I guess you guys are like my therapist. Thanks.

I think I need redemption in this area.

I think I need to redeem this snow day. This yucky weather snow day... Lord, help me. I cannot redeem it without You. On my own I will just want to go back to my old habits, please put something new in my heart.  Please guide me and direct me today.

So I guess I can make a plan for this snow day. I can make a list of things I want to do today that would be healthy and give me a better outlook.
-Listen to worship music
-Listen to Revive Our Hearts podcast
-Make sure and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
-Play blocks with my son and just enjoy him
-Do some sit ups, and push ups, walk in place just to keep moving and get my blood pumping (that always helps my mood)

Okay, those are my plans. Proverbs says "Man makes his plans but the Lord directs his steps." So I will be open to whatever the Lord leads, but for now these are the steps I will take :)

I'll try to post and let you know how it went.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Postpartum thoughts

I was talking to my sister in law today and it has inspired some thoughts about childbirth and doing it the "natural" way. :)

She asked me if I had this feeling after giving birth... I don't want to sound negative or anything like that, but I was surprised that she felt this way too because she has had three natural childbirths (all VBACs which has been an inspiration to me!).

She didn't know how to word it but she said after she had this most recent one (which happened to be a week ago today) she thought, "That's it, we're done, we don't need any more." She asked me if I had a similar feeling. I remember thinking even a few days after I had Aria that I would never do that again. I thought I was the only one, maybe that's why I was so glad that she asked me that... it made me feel less guilty I guess. Right after I had her I just could not picture myself going through it again, it was just that hard.

The beautiful thing however, and I guess this is just God's mercy, is that I don't remember the pain. Seriously, even though it took three days and those last 12-18 hours were pretty rough, I look back on it thinking, "It wasn't that bad... I could do it again." I have the head knowledge that it was difficult, but really, now that I have my sweet baby in my arms and no incision on my belly I am totally glad I did it just the way I did it.

It was hard, but it was holy as well. There is something so miraculous about giving birth and this little person coming out of your body, and you did the work, you pushed them out, it took all of your strength and effort and it was the hardest, most painful thing you have ever done... but there is something SO beautiful and miraculous about it... I would do it ten more times if God so blesses me. Seriously, I would. I'm not even joking or saying that I do or don't want a lot of kids, we are kind of leaving that whole birth control thing up to the Lord right now.

I just wanted to post those thoughts out there. If you are about to have a baby and are wanting to go natural I just want to encourage you that it is amazing. It is not easy but it's beautiful.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Sacrifice of Worship

This morning I read this:

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.
"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her."
Mark 14:3-9

This passage hit me in a new way this morning.

Have you ever been rebuked harshly for your sacrifice of worship? I have. I'm not saying I am pure and holy and this amazing worshiper as this woman was, but it is a difficult thing to worship publicly in this way.  I was thinking about how the room they were in was filled with people. People who don't understand why you brought in your most expensive perfume and are now pouring it on Jesus. Isn't this supposed to be a private, intimate thing, and yet it is in the presence of all these people? But really, Jesus was in the room. I mean, Jesus was there and she was so intent on showing him how much she loved him that she didn't even care. She pushed those other things aside because her King, her Lord was there. He was the one who redeemed her and showed her truth in the midst of all her lies. She didn't care.

And she was rebuked harshly because of it.

But I think it was because they didn't understand. But Jesus understood. I imagine others in the room understood but didn't speak up. Jesus said that she has done a beautiful thing for him.

I want to worship in this way. Yes, I may be misunderstood. I pray that I would be pleasing to the Lord, that my heart would be pure in what I do.

Please help me Jesus. I want to give a sacrifice of worship that is holy and pleasing to the Lord. I want to give You everything that I have and hold nothing back. Why hold anything back?

Whom have I in heaven but You? The earth has nothing I desire besides You.
My heart and flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my life and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Being a mom of two

A friend asked me to write about how Levi is adjusting to life with a new baby. Really, it's an adjustment for all of us.

I will say this though, it has been an easier, smoother adjustment from one to two kids than it was going from no kids to being parents for the first time. I remember crying while nursing Levi as a new baby and thinking, "My marriage will never be the same!" We couldn't go and do all the things that we did before babies, it was just a huge adjustment. New moms, just expect your marriage to change in some ways because of your new baby, but don't freak out, just adjust. Remember to put your husband first. It's really difficult at first because your baby needs you every two hours+ and you feel like you will never have time for your husband. Those first six weeks are difficult too... pray a lot, do what you can to draw as close to the Lord as you can. Pray with your husband, and pray for him and his protection from the Enemy. Ben and I are trying to memorize scripture right now, it has been so edifying for our marriage and our walk with the Lord.

I'm also going to say this for new moms. Sometimes (or a lot of times, especially as your baby gets bigger) it's okay to let your baby cry. When they are fed, changed, burped and you know they are okay, sometimes it's okay to just let them cry themselves to sleep on their own. We did that a lot with Levi and he is fine. Maybe the longest he cried for was 45 minutes, maybe an hour and he is totally fine. Babies are made to cry, God made it so that they cry perfectly from their diaphram and they don't wear out or hurt themselves when they cry. It's good exercise for them too, they are working out their lungs and when you think about it, they don't get much exercise on their own since they just lay around all the time. I say that because sometimes you can rock a baby ALL DAY LONG and you will be so exhausted by the end of the day and have gotten nothing done and you won't have any energy for your husband. I'm not a total subscriber to Baby Wise or Attachment Parenting, I feel like there is some kind of middle ground there. I definitely always want to put my husband first and here's why: marriage is the foundation of a family. It is the soil for which your kids grow out of and so if it is broken up your child's identity is broken with it. The way you can truly love your child the best is to love your husband and make sure that relationship is firmly in place. If you start to put your child above your husband in a way you are putting cracks in the foundation for your child. Does that make sense?

Okay, I really was going to talk about Levi and that adjustment, but I just had to put that in there.

Levi has been doing well with Aria. He seems to be very interested in her and what she is doing. He is still working on his pronouns so sometimes he calls her a "he" or an "it" ... we just laugh and tell him she's a "her" :). He asks "I wanna hold it!" I think he just wants to hold her so that I will get out my camera and take a picture of him holding her because the first thing he asks for when he holds her is "picture" and then he wants to see what he looked like on the camera and Aria is dropped to the side so he can see himself in the picture.

I will say that for the first week after Aria got home Levi had a short fuse. Nothing seemed quite right for him. It was like he knew his world was changing. I couldn't move very well, couldn't really hold him or do much with him, there was this new baby and Ben was having to deal with him and growing more and more impatient. Thankfully mom and dad were able to take him every once in a while so we could have a breather. Before Aria came he was perfectly fine with going to bed but all of the sudden he would scream and cry at going to bed, each nap and bedtime was a battle to get him down. We didn't know what was wrong. But after about a week something clicked and he was finally okay with life. That seems to be our only trouble with him so far.

My next post I will tell you a story about what I learned on my first trip to the grocery store about being flexible. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Losing Pregnancy Weight part 5

I was sick all week. That's why I didn't post anything... sorry about that. I hate being sick. I realized that I always get really depressed when I'm sick because I can't do anything or see anyone and it feels like it will never end. On top of that I was awake a lot at night from coughing, not so much my three week old daughter, but from hacking up my lungs and throat. Not cool.

I'm better now.

I talked to a sweet friend on Sunday. I just found out last week that she is pregnant and she's all of 21 weeks. That's when you wish you were a better friend. It's her first baby and she's full figured so I couldn't tell by looking at her so much. We were talking about how she had only gained six pounds... six pounds at 21 weeks!! That was awesome. I was kind of like that with Levi. I would only gain a pound or two each month and then put on a little more at the end. I had been a little heavier when I got pregnant with him so it was almost like the weight just redistributed itself. I felt like my face got thinner and my belly got bigger. Then when it came time to lose the weight I lost all of it fairly quickly and then just kept losing weight. It was awesome.

I'm going to take a moment here and talk to any pregnant girls who are reading this right now. I know you are interested in how these pounds will come off, I know you are scared because you have heard horror stories about women just gaining and gaining and then it never comes off... I just want to encourage you right now to just TRY. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to be amazing, but, you do need to try. You don't have to walk 5 miles every day. Just walk around the block. You don't have to forgo dessert for the rest of this pregnancy, just forgo it tonight, choose healthy today. That's all. Don't get overwhelmed and think, how am I going to keep from gaining 60 pounds with this baby? Just think, "I am eating for two, yes, but I am eating for a grown woman and just a little baby. I want to give my baby the best, I want him or her to have strong bones and a good heart. My eating and exercise is no longer about me."
Know that whatever you don't gain on this side of your baby coming, you won't have to lose later. On the other extreme, know that you will probably have to gain some kind of weight, especially if you were at a healthy weight before you got pregnant. If you are overweight I have heard of a girl who didn't gain any weight during her pregnancy (my doctor's nurse told me about her after we discussed the fact that I had gained 50 pounds:)), so I guess it's possible. Mainly I just want to encourage you to take care of yourself. Eat if you are hungry, stop when you are full. Make wise choices. Get some kind of exercise, every day if you can, or just a few days a week.

I know for the next time I get pregnant (yes, I do want to have another baby in the Lord's timing) I want to be healthier than I was with Aria.

A word about clothes (to the non-preggers)... about two weeks after Aria was born I couldn't wear my maternity jeans anymore. Mine are the kind that go all the way up over your belly, they look kind of like this (except I didn't pay 88 bucks for them). They are great for when you are huge and pregnant and in the winter time, but once you don't have a belly to hold them up they don't work any more. So instead of constantly trying to pull up old maternity jeans or being depressed about not being able to fit into my "skinny" jeans I decided to go out and buy one pair that I would actually feel good in. I paid $35 for some jeans at Khols. Dark so that I could dress them up or down if I wanted and also because dark jeans are slimming. I say this to encourage any woman who has just had a baby to find some clothes that she can wear in that transition period, those months until you get back to your regular size. Just something to get you by until you can lose the rest. And then KEEP them. :) I'm thankful I didn't throw out all of my clothes from when I was overweight because there are some shirts that I'm digging out of boxes that I can actually wear and they don't fit me like a sausage link.

It's important in this transition to feel good about how you look, get clothes you are comfortable in and don't frustrate you. My attitude tends to plummet when I hate the clothes I have on. Now, I definitely wear my sweat pants/yoga pants and t-shirts at home when I'm with my kids and just doing house work, but it helps to have something I can get out of the house in. The mindset is to just have enough to get by, nice but not designer clothes. :) Save the designer for when you are at a size you feel like you can maintain. :)

And that's my blog for today. No updates on how much weight I've lost so far... no list of what I've eaten... except that I figured out that I can't eat salads for a little while, they are giving Aria gas. Eventually that will not be a problem, it's just difficult when you have only been eating for a few weeks to digest all the different foods we eat at adults.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Losing Pregnancy Weight part 4

The beauty of being a stay at home mom is the fact that when your kids finally go to sleep, yes, finally. Is that you are free to do anything you want during that nap time. You can lay on your couch, you can get on your computer, you can do whatever.  When Levi was first born I liked to eat ice cream. Those first weeks found me eating ice cream almost every afternoon. At first it just started out as an occasional treat, but then it led to a regular routine. I don't know when it was that I realized, this is not going to help anything. I had about 20 pounds to lose at that point (to get back to my previous weight) and I wasn't going to get into my old jeans while eating a big bowl of ice cream every afternoon. I also realized that whatever I was putting into my body Levi was getting through my milk and maybe I didn't need him to have a sweet tooth by the time he was 3 months old. I don't know exactly how all of that works, but it was some kind of motivation for me.

So I asked Ben to hold me accountable and with his help I soon broke the ice cream habit. I have maybe only done it again on occasion.

I feel like my life goes in cycles like that. I might start sliding in an unhealthy direction for a little while and then it will suddenly occur to me that I need to be healthier. Nothing does that like sickness. Yep, I'm sick. I have a cough/sore throat and it's becoming annoying. People have been bringing us meals which has been awesome, except for the fact that they also bring cake, cookies and brownies too, which I love. :) The problem comes when you start snacking on a pan of brownies ALL DAY LONG. So with this sickness has come a sugar fast. My chiropractor told me that sugar counteracts our absorption of vitamin C and so when we eat sugar it weakens our immune system.

So on this lovely afternoon I am eating salad. Yep. A nice spring mix with mushrooms and tomatoes with caesar dressing (because life's too short for nonfat/light terrible tasting dressing).

Lord, help me to make wise choices in what I put into my body. I want to glorify You in this, I don't want to damage something that You intended for good. Please heal me Father, I want to be able to take my little boy on the walks he has been asking for, I want to be able to wake up in the morning without a headache from this sickness and be able to meet with You and talk to You and read Your holy Word. I know that You have given us fruits and vegetables and natural remedies so that our bodies can heal themselves. Help me to be faithful in this. Thank You that You are a good and perfect creator.

Okay, I'm just going to put this in here because I'm going to be honest about what I'm thinking and feeling in this moment, lately. Yesterday was the first day since having Aria that I looked in the mirror and thought, "Wow, I really did gain a lot of weight." For the first few weeks I kept thinking about how wonderful it was to be able to bend over, suddenly I don't have a huge bowling ball for a belly, life is AWESOME. For the first time yesterday (it's been 3 1/2 weeks now) I became discontent. Jesus, help me. It's interesting, all the thoughts you can think in one day. The good thing about being a mom is that you don't think as many of those selfish type of thoughts when you have little babies demanding your attention all the time. It's actually really freeing not to worry about how you look as much, you are more concerned with keeping a little one alive. But that doesn't mean you are thought-free. Maybe that's good on some level. We need to have a healthy level of disgust so that we will want to get off the couch and make better choices, but it doesn't need to be something that I focus on. I don't want to be so preoccupied with trying to lose weight that I forget what my real purpose is, I have been there before and I hated it. I remember feeling so much in bondage to the fear of gaining more weight, the fear of never losing weight. Fear of what other people thought of me and how I look. I think that fear paralyzed me in many relationships. Wow, that sentence just made me sit there for a second... but it's true. I don't want that fear anymore.

Lord, You are the only One who can set us free. I don't want to go back to that old place. I know I am very close to that place as far as my weight is concerned, but I know that I am a new person now. You have made me new. I prayed and asked and begged for this freedom so long ago, please help me to walk in it.

It is for freedom that Christ has set you free, stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1