Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts on Weaning

So I just had a friend message me and ask for posts on a few different topics. Honestly, I was totally flattered. Then, I thought, "I want to blog right NOW!" It's kind of crazy how when someone asks you about something that you totally want to give your opinion or experience. So, thank you friend, you know who you are :)

One thing she asked about was weaning and how that went with Levi and what I'm planning on doing with Aria. I think the only thing about me giving my experience is that my body is different than anyone else's. It's been interesting to discover things about my body, mainly my fertility and all that womanly stuff, as I go along. For me, breastfeeding and fertility go hand in hand. So, this is part of my motivation for extended breastfeeding. With Levi we stopped using a diaphragm (our only form of birth control) when he was around 8 months. I was sure I would get pregnant even though I hadn't started my period. Also, I knew I wanted to try to breastfeed him for at least a year and I would re-evaluate after that. I ended up making it to about 14 months. He was toddling around and I was just tired of it. I also honestly wanted to get pregnant again and I wondered if that was a hindrance.

As it turns out, it was.

Along came Aria. Second time around I wondered if my body would do the same thing. So far it has. I started my first period around 13 months again. I'm wondering if I will get pregnant because we are not using any form of birth control, but if it's like Levi, I won't. Who knows? The only thing that is holding me off is that I would really love to have a spring baby. Having a baby in the winter time can be depressing, and worrying about keeping a newborn warm and it's cold and flu season... not cool. I'm a huge fan of spacing kids close together, just because I feel like they will be better friends the closer in age they are. I mainly just don't want to have another winter baby, but if I do, I won't complain for too long.

I've been different with nursing Aria than Levi. With Levi I did more on demand, we nursed for comfort, I nursed him to sleep a lot, I nursed him many times a day. Maybe sometimes 9-10 time a day. It was more so something we liked to do. I was his pacifier. He has never sucked his thumb or taken a pacifier. I think that caused me to want to wean him in the end though. If there had been more boundaries I think I could have held on a little longer.

With Aria we have done the SEW (Sleep Eat Wake) Cycle. I heard about it from a lady with nine kids. You feed them as soon as they wake up and then they play and then learn to fall asleep on their own. Aria also sucks her thumb when she's sleepy. I love this in some ways because she's not using me. It's been different with her. I haven't enjoyed nursing her as much. For one thing, she pinches a lot and so I'm always telling her no or trying to distract her. I've almost lost my supply twice. The best thing I've found for regaining supply is drinking beer. Again, that's my body. Everyone's body is different.

So, I'm mainly just continuing to breast feed for two reasons:
1. I want to get pregnant in the summer so I can have a spring baby
2. I want to give her immunities and some good nutrients from my body

Here's my last thought on weaning.

This made me want to weep the other morning.

I was reading in 1 Samuel where Hannah prays and prays for a child and then promises God that she would give him back to the Lord. My heart aches for women who cannot bear children, absolutely aches. She becomes pregnant with Samuel and has him. She decides that when she weans him she will give him to the Lord. I suddenly had this picture of her with her newborn baby and the depth of joy and pain she must have felt as she looked at this child she would eventually have to give back. Don't you know, she probably did everything she could to keep her supply up and to keep breastfeeding as long as possible. I look at my three year old and think of how that might have been how old Samuel was as he went to live in the temple.

I just have to think about that for a while.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Confessions of an Over-Eater

Rule number one... blog while your children are sleeping, it's the only way you will be able to write a semi-comprehendable post.

So many things to blog about.

I guess I will post about my most recent eating struggle.

Yesterday I had sort of a weird day. First of all, I hate cloudy days. For some reason when the sun doesn't shine my mood likes to go in the direction of the gutters. So, that's where I was already. I also realized that I get stressed out when I think I have offended people or there isn't something right between people. I'm trying to stay vague because I don't know who reads this and I don't want to give the wrong impression. Anyways, I just remember calling Ben and telling him that I was just stressed because of some awkwardness.

I feel like I'm awkward... a lot.

I think the weird thing about awkwardness is that maybe you're the only one who thinks you're awkward. I remember really being taken aback when someone said I was "cool" because in my head I'm this majorly weird, not knowing how to have friends person.

Kind of stupid, I know.

Anyways, I got home in the afternoon, laid Aria and Levi down (which has been going pretty well) and then just went to the cabinet and ate. I didn't want to do my yoga, I didn't want to read the Word, all I wanted to do was eat. I wasn't hungry for sure, I just wanted to eat.

When Ben got home I confessed to him. He was disappointed in me, maybe more than usual. I think because this is a reoccurring thing. We talked through it and I realized I had all these decisions that I needed to make, I needed to draw something to a close and pick up a new chapter... I just hated it. I hate ending things. I hate saying "no" ... maybe this is the people pleaser in me.

I think sometimes I want so desperately for people to like me and think that I'm awesome, when really I just need to do what the Lord has called me to do. I don't need to worry about what this person or that person thinks. I need to only consider the Lord and His plan and follow my husband's leadership.

I'm so thankful for Ben's wisdom. I know he does everything out of love for our family. I'm thankful that he's good at saying no and is less concerned with the opinions of others.

Lord, the way You have set up this whole family thing is good. It is good that I have a leader to follow. Thank You for such a strong man. Help him to see Your will clearly. Thank You that he is so wise. Teach me to submit and honor him. Thank You that he listens to me and receives my input. Your ways are good, they are right. Please help me, I am frail.

Monday, February 18, 2013

This Happened Today

It's President's Day? Did you know that? The only reason why most people care is because the mail and trash men don't come. Also, the library is closed. Most importantly, my husband got the day off. So, happy Presidents Day to us. :)

We decided to put our kids in the same room. Levi is approaching three and a half and Aria is thirteen months. She might be a little young, especially since she occasionally still wakes up at night. Ben and I knew I needed a place to be able to do my art and music and (fingers crossed) to sew. Maybe my fingers shouldn't be crossed, maybe I just need to be more diligent in learning to sew. I'm sure some youtube videos would do me good.

Naptime went pretty well. At first we tried to lay them down at the same time. We put them in their beds and told Levi to just ignore Aria, that he was to set a good example by going to sleep. She, of course started squealing with excitement that he was in the same room as she was. I heard, "Aria, be quiet!" and opened the door a few minutes later to him hanging onto the side of her crib and her laughing with joy. This was getting us no rest. So I took him out and we read until she fell asleep (about ten minutes later.) I adamantly told him to be as quiet as possible and go right to his bed. The first time he woke her up (she wasn't quite to sleep, but she sure wasn't going back to sleep when she saw him), the second time it was successful. I think they napped together for maybe an hour and a half. She was the first to wake. She started crying, but her tone changed probably because she realized her brother was in the same room as her. In Aria's eyes, Levi hung the moon.

Another thing that happened this morning was that Levi ate half a container of gummy vitamins.

I needed to take a shower and so I left him (Aria was taking her morning nap) at the kitchen island eating cheerios. I forgot to put up his vitamins and when I stepped out of the shower there he was with the last handful of them in his mouth. His eyes wide as he exclaimed through a mouthful of gummies "I ate all the bitamins!" I desperately tried to pull them out as he chewed and swallowed them as quickly as possible. I think I managed to get one. Just one.

I texted some friends and they said to call poison control. I called and we confirmed that there was no iron in the vitamins so it shouldn't be too harmful, he should be fine, maybe some upset stomach or diarrhea.

He threw up tonight.

I was ever so feeling. I comforted him, told him this is why we don't eat so many vitamins and that he should never do that again.

It's always good to have a learning opportunity.

Also, Aria has the worst diaper rash I have seen yet.

These are the things you think about as a mom.

Happy Presidents Day.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Letters to Littles

Daddy got home this morning on a red eye flight. Everyone is sleeping but me. Time to blog. 

Dear Aria, 

I have been needing to write for a while now. I don't think I ever got around to posting on your one year birthday. I am so sorry, in the future I will try to do much better for your birthdays, at least then you will be able to remember and understand what is actually happening. 

What a ray of sunshine you are. You are a quiet ray at times. I never had the problem of things getting too quiet with Levi, but with you it is certainly true. Things are too quiet probably means that you are getting into something you shouldn't be. I come in and all the books are off the shelves or you are getting into some cabinet (we never get around to baby-proofing around here). Your favorite things are the refrigerator and the silverware in the dishwasher. I prefer you play with it while it's clean but you will take it any way you can get it. The refrigerator is difficult because you don't know that standing there with it open isn't very good for our electric bill. You don't understand why this magical chilled box filled with beautiful things has to be kept closed. Thankfully, Levi is usually there to pull of push you out of the way so he can close it. He has good intentions but not as diplomatic in his approach. 

One reason I wanted to write is because this past week you have started to walk! The other day we were at a friends house and you probably took 6-7 steps all on your own. Oh the elation and joy on your little face. You kept waving your arms around happily afterwards just to keep letting everyone know what you had done. I kept trying to make videos of you walking to send to your daddy but I was always too late in my efforts. You do this thing after you are done practicing where you stand up and then almost jump/fall on your knees. You think it's hilarious. So does Levi. 

The other day we were listening to music in the van and the two of you were waving your arms (dancing) and clapping. You were laughing so hard, it just made my heart well up with joy. I know Levi loves having someone to laugh alongside. 

You seem to know certain words now. The other day I opened the oven and you were crawling too close and I could only say, "No!" and you said, "Ha" which translated means "hot" You know that the oven and the space heater is "ha" The way you say it, you drop your jaw as far as you can and breath out the H almost from the back recesses of your throat. I need to keep track of what other words you say. 

I think you might be a bit of a dare devil. (As much as a baby could be). You seem to be unafraid of heights even though you have taken several spills. The other day you were complaining about being strapped into the cart seat so I put you in the basket. You loved grabbing the the front and standing. You had the wind in your hair and you knew you were steering the boat. Oh how I love secretly laughing in my heart as you do these little things. It's definitely a proud laugh that thinks my daughter is amazing because she is so big and brave and I just love her. 

Aria, I'm praying that you will be brave. I'm praying that you will be brave and bold for the cause of Christ, for the sake of the Kingdom. You are quiet, yet you are persistent and passionate, these things I am familiar with. I pray that you would persistently pursue God. I pray that your life will be marked by purity, that you will be unafraid to be pure. I pray that you would be a comfort to those around you. I pray that you would be a welcome place for them to be. 

I love you my sweet, precious baby girl. 

Your Mama

Friday, February 15, 2013

Excuses, Excuses.

I so don't want to blog right now.

But I always want to blog at the most inopportune times and this happens to be an opportune time. Really, I just want to have a bowl of ice cream. If you read this blog much you will see that this is a re-occuring struggle.

Sometimes when I want to overeat (usually when I'm alone, maybe this is why we need community so badly??) I come up with all kinds of excuses. It's interesting because this has been kind of a "gross" day. You know those days when you look at yourself in the mirror and you're like, I am so fat and gross and look at my belly, every time you look down you just feel like maybe someone will think you are pregnant or you yell at yourself for not doing more sit ups and crunches? Okay, maybe I'm the only one who does that, welcome to my head.

So all day I was thinking about that and then tonight after I got the kids in bed I started to think about how I wanted a bowl of ice cream and I started to rationalize. It doesn't really matter... I'm a lot skinnier than I used to be... I'll lose weight eventually... I'm really tired... I deserve this...

I'm so glad I'm blogging right now, it's kind of in the heat of my struggle. It's always when I'm alone.

Now that I sit here and think about those thoughts I realize that they are just lies. Maybe they come from within me, maybe they come from the pit of hell, it doesn't matter. They just need to be seen for what they are and they need to die. Usually when they come into the light it kills them... like a zombie... I think.

I find myself in this cycle of not being quite as healthy as I want to be. I do okay because I'm active and I do eat vegetables and fruit, but still, I eat a lot of sugar and things that are not good for me. More than anything, I think I just spend too much time thinking about it. I also spend too much time hating on the body God has given me. I also spend too much time comparing and contrasting myself to others.

Lord, I want my eyes to be off myself. Help me not to go to food with my feelings. Help me to discern the lies that keep me weighed down with guilt and fear and all kinds of just... well, junk. Help me to love others and see them as more important than myself. This is really what Christ did. He walked in humility and valued those around him far more than himself or the food in front of Him. Help me to be like him. "Who being in the very nature of God did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of sinful men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Phil 2:6-8 I'm in awe of Christ's example. Thank You for it.

Teach me to live in You.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm Thankful For...

Ben left today on a surprise business trip to Seattle. When he told me a few days ago that he might have to go I was actually pretty optimistic about it. It won't be too bad, the kids will be difficult but I can do anything for a short period of time.

And then he up and got called and the next day he had to leave. You'd think we were in the military or something... But we're not.

This morning was so dreary and wet, it probably just made things worse. The weather tends to have huge effects on my emotions... I hate that. Can I please live where it's always sunny? That way I won't struggle with depression? Oh well.

I was just having a pity part for myself. Struggling with the fact that I wouldn't get to see him at the end of the day. Struggling with the fact that he wouldn't be near or home for lunch and I would have to take care of the kids and somehow get them into bed. It was really just one big, fat pity party. I called him to tell him about it on the way to our mom's group at church.

I realized in that moment that I was wrong. Who was I to be feeling sorry for myself? I have it so good. My husband is actually around most of the time. I wasn't being grateful. I could see so clearly the sin in my own heart. How it comes from deep down inside of me and says, "I have a right to be here!" but really, it's just my own pride. If only I could kill my pride and walk in humility. Lord, teach me to be humble. Teach me to be humble as Jesus was humble and took the form of a servant and was nailed to a cross, not for his own sin, but the sin of the world. For my sin. Jesus, I need You to reveal this in my heart.

Nap times didn't turn out the way I wanted them. As soon as Levi fell asleep, Aria woke up. Needless to say, it was not the most relaxing afternoon. I struggled with a lot of anger.

Finally, I was laying in bed with Levi trying to just get him to go to sleep. If only he would just relax and go to sleep. I realized I just need to make a list of what I am thankful for.

So, here is my list. These are the things that God has given me, I deserve none of them but all were freely given in love.

- Good health. No one is sick right now (aside from some occasional snotty noses).
- A warm, comfortable, beautiful house. I too often see the inadequacies of my house, or I despise it for being "too nice" when really, I just need to get over myself and be thankful for it.
- A loving husband (these are in no particular order of course) who doesn't look forward to leaving us for another city. He misses us, he empathizes with my struggles when I call him. He is a good, strong, loving man. Oh how I miss him!
- My vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer ... all of these things helped me today. How often I forget what kind of work I would be doing without them.
- Good friends. Especially tonight with our small group over, I have got to say that I love them. I love the community of people God has given us. Given US! They love the Lord, they have a desire to serve, they are honest with their sin, it's just good.
- My children. Why in the world am I putting them so far down on the list?! They are some huge gifts. Aria is almost walking. The only problem is that right now she just wants to get up and run! We watched her so much this evening get up and fall down again. I hope my faith is as persistent as her desire to walk. Levi, sometimes I don't know if I want to kill him or if I just want to laugh my head off. Mostly I just want to laugh. He poured a pitcher of water onto the table and created lake eerie. He's ridiculous. What would I do without him? Lord, help me to mother him as You have called me to mother him.
Help me not to worry about what other people think of my parenting and whether or not they think I'm a "good parent" because that doesn't matter. What matters is what You have called me to do for my child, You see my actions done in secret, You know every thought and motivation of my heart. Let me remember that.

The list should be so much longer. But really, I just need to go to bed. I'm praying the kids sleep in so that I can have some time in the Word.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thoughts on Motherhood

Yesterday was a bad day.

How do I even start this blog post? I want to give enough detail but not get bogged down. I struggle with that in storytelling.

At the end of the day (which was like 5:30) Levi hadn't napped, Aria napped longer than usual, I was angry at myself for allowing Levi to do this, frustrated with him having every excuse for getting up, angry that I had not been fully present as a parent and aware what was going on instead of randomly checking Instagram or Facebook or whatever was convenient. Angry that I could not just cook in my usual contemplative silence, frustrated with Levi at every turn... All I wanted to do was post on Facebook how my day was going, I wanted to call Ben and tell him how lucky he was that he got to work with reasonable people all day. I wanted to have a big, fat pity party. But I couldn't because a three year old kept asking me to play cars with him.

And so I played cars with him. I played so well that he didn't want me to stop (I do really good voices). But what I really wanted to do was cook dinner. I wanted to cook all by myself. I wanted to listen to a podcast or a sermon while I cooked. I wanted to enjoy myself.

This did not happen.

A few months ago I posted about baby superstition. I have also come to believe (and this is completely ridiculous I know, if you have children you might be able to sympathize) that if you have a plan, or if you expect something they will not do it. Yesterday Aria didn't wake up at 2:30 or 3:30 like she normally does, she woke up at 4:30! And she was so happy I could have left her in her bed until 5 I'm sure.

I remember thinking to myself as I'm trying to unload the dishwasher and get ready for dinner: my life is psychotic. I am going to go insane because every plan becomes thwarted and I have to adjust. I constantly have to expect the unexpected, I have to be extremely flexible.

This thought led me to an example our pastor used on Sunday. He said a study was trying to figure out why graduates from Westpoint made up the majority of CEO's and what was it about the school that made them trend to that. The first year the students learn to obey. They obey everything their authority tells them, if they tell you to duck, you duck. If they tell you to run, you run and so on. But the second year they teach them to be flexible. He said they live in such a chaotic environment where plans change and they have to be so adaptable to change that they could do anything.

So maybe someday I will be a CEO. :)


But what I do think is that this is a time of training. I am learning obedience to God. Every turn, every path must be in obedience to Him. I am also learning flexibility. Oh how I hate learning flexibility. But I really do think that I am developing nerves of steel. I can feel it as I swallow the yell that was about to come out of my mouth or the frustrating sigh I was going to heave in front of my three-year-old (I do not always swallow these things, so don't you dare think I'm perfect in this). I realize how much I have in common with a three-year-old and how when things don't go my way I want to scream and fall on the floor.

Help me Lord. I can literally feel you refining me sometimes. Holy Spirit, please continue to speak to me. Teach me when to hold my tongue. Teach me when to speak. Please give me the calmness You use with us. Thank You that Your mercies are new each morning. Thank You that my faith is being refined in You. Less of me, more of Thee.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Thoughts on Cooking

I really want to write about my growth from not cooking at all to basically cooking every meal. Well, I don't always cook breakfast and lunch is often just a sandwich and chips, but almost every evening I get to cook. Yes, I said get to.

Sometimes I hate cooking. Usually I hate meal planning. The old me still crawls out and says, I can't do this! I don't want to think about meals, I don't want to try to plan what groceries we will buy and what sales I will try to take advantage of, I don't want to think about what I will have to fix for the people who are coming for dinner this week... I can be really good at complaining.

 I think I just struggle with laziness. I also struggle with wanting to save money and not spend a million dollars at the grocery store. It's very easy to spend millions of dollars at the grocery store. I told Ben that my idea of wealth is that if you can go to Whole Foods and fill your cart up, that's when you are rich. Until then, I'll be content with what God has given me and do the best that I can.

Okay, I just have to say this... it's like word vomit, maybe honesty room: sometimes when people blog about food it feels like they are bragging. Why does it feel that way? I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm envious that they can cook so well or take pictures so well... I'm thinking that my own heart is the problem. It's also annoying to me when people gush.

Food is meant for our sustenance. I'm also amazed that God made it to be enjoyed. That is crazy to me. Three times a day (sometimes more... if you have little kids) you get to enjoy putting food in your mouth and just tasting it, it gives you a satisfied feeling, it's just incredible. Why do I not worship God every time I take a freaking bite?!

Hmmmm. Maybe it's because I have used food as an idol and gone to it for comfort instead of God. Moses told the Israelites in the second commandment not to be tempted to worship created things. He used examples like the sun and moon, but I wonder if it could be applied in my life at times as the sweetness of sugar or savoriness of salt. This is a difficult thing Lord. Your commands are good and wise.

But that's not what I'm talking about in this post.

Slowly but surely God is showing me how to feed my family, how to bless others with a meal, what is the meaning of cooking and serving in this way. He is teaching me about being prepared and having an open door to outsiders. He is teaching me that my time is not my own. There is a joy in giving good gifts to others.

This week I am fixing:
Spicy Penne Pasta
Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

Lord, help me to be humble and thankful for your good gift of food. I pray that our house would be a welcome, comfortable environment. Help us to be hospitable toward everyone. Help us to be focused on the people, to minister and love those around us.