Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stubborn Girl

Emma has always shown her stubborn streak in her nursing habits. She loved to nurse, but if something did not go her way, she would refuse to do it. She went on about 5 nursing strikes during her first year of life. She once got a stomach bug, nursed, threw up, and then refused to nurse for the rest of the day. I was in panic mode. She wouldn't even drink water. I called the pediatrician and they suggested supplementing with pedialite. I said, thank you very much, and proceeded to not take their advice. I know how much better breastmilk is for sick babies than pedialite. Pssh. She hadn't even had apple juice yet. So, I wooed her back. She was starving and tired. She was so hungry, she couldn't stay asleep for very long without waking up to cry to be fed. When we would try to feed her, she refused. So, I wooed her.  I laid her down in our bed and nap nursed her. It took a very long time to get her to eat, but she finally gave in. We slept together for a long stretch, then she woke right up and started back to nursing like normal. Her stomach bug was gone, and she was back on track.

Our family has come down with another stomach bug this week. So, guess what Emma did? The same exact thing. Only this time she is 14 months old. She only nurses 3 times a day- first thing in the morning, at naptime, and bedtime. The past 2 days, every time I try to nurse her, she turns her head and starts crying. She remembers nursing the first morning she was sick, and throwing it up. I wonder if she's done nursing for good. At this point, I just move onto breakfast, or put her down in her crib and she cries a bit and then goes to sleep.

She still isn't eating a lot and has had some yucky diapers. All signs that she is still sick. I'll keep offering to nurse for a few days and we'll see if she's really done. I don't want to take something away that she and I both love and has been so good for us. I won't push too hard though. If she's done, she's done. We'll see how it goes. 

I know most American women would tell me how great of a stretch this has been. We have gone a very long time breastfeeding. I know that I could just stop offering now and be done. But, for me nursing Emma is about a relationship I've developed with her. I can calm her down in a way no one else can. I can rock her, put her to sleep, and hold her while she snores. I can help to ease her into the morning after being asleep all night.  I don't know if either one of us is ready to give that up yet. 

My Baby Girl

Getting Bigger

Big Girl!

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Book Review: 7 by Jen Hatmaker

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

I just finished reading the book 7. I first stumbled upon this woman, Jen Hatmaker, through some friends on facebook. My friends live in Texas and Jen lives in Austin. She is a Christian writer, pastor's wife, and speaker at Christian Women's conferences. I had never heard of her, but found myself really enjoying her sarcasm and writing style. I, naturally, liked her page on facebook and start to get her status updates regularly.

Here are a few for your sampling:

Oh sure, everyone is laughing at us Texans who utterly cannot handle this snow and freak out and close down everything, but we'll cast the side eye at you northerners who spaz out when the temps go over 88 in August and we are weathering summer LIKE A BOSS.

You know what I love? Teachers who are so fabulous and love your kids so much that when one is acting outside of his mind in class, she tells him: "I'm not writing you up. I'm not sending you to ISS. I'M CALLING YOUR MAMA RIGHT NOW." And then she assures me that he is precious and will be fine by the time he is 24 like her son. Boom. Awesome teachers for the win. We're in this together, man.

With all this "Smart TV" business we have in this house, I KNOW there is some way to make my TV play my music. There is some magical connection and fairies will make my Pandora station come out of my television. I cannot figure it out for the life of me. This is Brandon's territory and he won't answer his phone because he is in "staff meeting" and doesn't seem to understand that I AM HAVING A CRISIS.

I discovered she also has a blog. Her blog is a million times more entertaining than I am, and she updates it more regularly than I do.  Plus, I saw her on the Today show where she talked about one of her entries that had gone viral.

My church streamed a Women's Conference recently where Jen was a speaker. I really enjoyed her teaching and was moved by her call to love the least of these. She talked through her experience with submitting to the Lord in this and how her family came to adopt 2 Ethiopian orphans.

The book was on kindle for $2.99 and I have, of course, heard some chatter about this book from friends in Virginia and Texas. I decided to download it and read it later. *Ahem.* We then went on a trip to DC, where I found myself in a car with 2 sleeping kids. Where was the book I was reading?- at home. Where was my Kindle?- in my hands. So I started to read her book.

All this to say, I think Jen is very powerful in how she teaches. But here is the caviat-- to people like me. She is a working/stay at home mom to kids. She is white. She lives in the suburbs. She does not live in poverty. She spends the majority of her time with her family and friends. They do ministry together-- and it is so fun to look into her life and see how the Lord is stirring her. And teaching her. And using her.

I think Jen knows her audience. She knows how women like me, and her, think. She knows daily struggles and things we try to say to ourselves in our flesh. She knows how the power of the Holy Spirit and how it can speak to our hearts.

Her book is not a classic. It is not an Utmost for His Highest or Pilgrim's Progress.  She is not a pastor trying to write to a mass of people in today's time. She is not John Piper or Francis Chan who write for different races, stages in life, cultures, and genders.

This book to me read like I was doing a Bible Study with a close friend. A friend who bared her most intimate struggles and faults. A friend who was humbling herself to meet with God right where she was. That is what drew me in.

I went to a thing at my church where all the Pastors were doing a teaching to all the women who are in a leadership role in our church. I was like "Yeah, sign me up! I am ready for some teaching to us women folk!" When I got there, I found that it was basically a Biblical hermeneutics class. It was a good time, but I was hoping for something different. I was hoping for teaching on things like: ideas for doing devotionals with your preschooler, or what does being the wife of a Community Group leader look like, or what are some ideas for counseling the women in your immediate circle of life who are struggling. I know that reading the Bible is how the Lord speaks to us, but because the class was all women, I was hoping for some teaching that was more woman centered and from the Bible.

Jen gave me some teaching that was very centered on what my life is like right now. She took an idea she had and fleshed it out. How much do I have that I don't need? Can I actually live with less? Will that make me understand people who are not like me better? Will it allow me to see my flesh more clearly? Will it draw me nearer to my Lord Jesus?

The book inspired me to live with less. Not because I need to because it is the Christian thing to do and some such that we've all been taught. But she taught it. You know? Like smack you in the face with it. I see the gospel so clearly in it. Jesus has an abundance of divinity and bestowed it on me when He interposed His precious blood. How much has the Lord given to me? I have an entire closet full of clothes. I have a pantry full of food. I have, I have. Do I need all of it? If I were to live more in line with what I need and what I want, I could be a better steward of what God has given me. Offering my excess to help those who really need things. Like food and clothing and shelter. Do I really see them? Or do I see myself and what I want more? It was a convicting book.

I think for me to be so convicted, it took someone writing it that I could relate to. I couldn't just brush it off and say-- that's for them and not me. My life is not like that. Because my life is so like that.

I appreciate this book and what it has taught me about myself. I just pray I have the courage to start living it out. To really love my neighbor like I love myself. Not just love myself and the end.

The thing that is so powerful about this, is that it's not about how much can I do? How much can I give? But it's about having the mind of Jesus in how we consume, why we consume, and how much we consume. It's not about how we do for others and go me, but about how God moves through us and go Him.

I hope you will look into it if you are like me. Don't be scared of what it might do to your life. Welcome the idea of being more like the Good Samaritan who helped his neighbor rather than the Priest who walked right by his neighbor. And by doing so glorify your Father in Heaven by loving your neighbor in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 10:25-37
The Message (MSG)
Defining “Neighbor”

25 Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”

26 He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”

27 He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

28 “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”

29 Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”

30-32 Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

33-35 “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

36 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crazy Love

I have noticed that my mom friends sort of disappear for a while when they have their second child. I am very familiar with how that could happen. I had so much time when Ethan was a baby. I was sleep deprived, but had lots of time on my hands. I could clean things, take showers, even eat food- all when he was asleep and I had some free time and hands.

Now, there are 2 schedules to balance. Baby schedule and preschooler schedule. Ethan does not have the politeness to let Emma sleep when she needs to. Last week in the car, we were driving home from visiting Redskins Training Camp. Emma so sweetly fell asleep in her carseat on the way home. I told Ethan not to scream because he might wake sister up and we wanted her to sleep and not cry. 10 minutes later he starts screaming, "Wake up Emma! Eyes open! That's funny!" at the top of his lungs. Needless to say. she woke up. When she cries in the car he says, "Emma. Stop. That hurts. That's too loud. It's ok. You don't need to cry.". They wake each other up constantly. I have never spent so much time trying to get children to go to sleep. It's part of the territory with two small kids.

There is really only once a day when they are both asleep at the same time. I like to take that opportunity to sleep myself.

There is really only one time a day when they are both awake and ready to go do something together. I like to take that hour or hour and a half to spend some time with both of them outside our house.

I know that eventually they will both either sleep at the same time or not sleep during the day at all and it will all be easier. Everyone will be potty trained. Everyone will be able to understand basic things ( like the books that we just checked out do not immediately go into the return slot at the library) and not have meltdowns because of them.

I will sleep again. I will eventually get to sleep in.

That is why we disappear, because we are just trying to make it.

Here are some things that have happened recently that I may not get around to blogging about.:

Ethan can ride a scooter now.
Emma is sitting up for a few seconds and then loses balance and falls over.
Emma is trying to crawl and can push herself up on 3 appendages.
Ethan is obsessed with PBS kids and learned how to sing the "ABC song".
Ethan got impetigo.
Ethan got his first pet fish. It's a red fish that he named "Blue".
Jason and I have begun seriously discussing adoption.

Having 2 kids is not all sleepless nights and crying. There is so much love. Emma spends a lot of time staring and laughing at her brother. Ethan wants to be where Emma is. He wants her to play with him, sleep with him, bathe with him. He loves that he has a sister. It is so sweet to see them interacting more and more each day. To see them loving each other each day. It makes all the craziness seem worth it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

8 hours!

8 hours! My little girl slept 8 hours last night. Wow. It took Ethan about 8 months to master that. Emma is ahead of the game in that department.

When we first brought her home from the hospital, we were unprepared. We had the pack n play set up but couldn't find the bassinet part. We thought- "Ah! It will be ok. We'll make it work. " Wrong. The first week she ended up sleeping in bed with us. We couldn't get her to sleep anywhere else and we had a snow storm that knocked out our power. We stayed at Grandpa and Grandma's house and I just kept her with me in bed.

About a week in, we put our swing in our room. She would spend the first part of the night in the swing and then she would join us in bed just for the last few hours. It was a hard adjustment having her in our room with all of her noises. But after a few weeks she was more quiet and slept longer stretches in the swing. She would sleep 5-6 hours in it. We didn't want to change that!

At about 2 months in, I decided to try moving her to her crib. I tried a friend's Arm's Reach Co-sleeper and it was apparent that was not going to work. So, I moved her into her crib for the first stretch in her bouncy seat. She did ok, but woke up more often. She slid down in her seat and would arch her back in it- waking herself up.

The pediatrician suggested trying to swaddle her and put her in her crib. Both of our kids have hated the swaddle. Ethan flat out cried when we put it on him and then wiggled his way out of it. And by wiggle I mean  he was completely out of the swaddle in his diaper. Emma would wear it for a few hours and then wake up screaming until I undid the swaddle. Then she would look at me and smile. I decided the swaddle was not the way to go.

At about 2 1/2 months, I started putting her down earlier- when Ethan went to bed- so Jason and I could have a break. That was nice. One night she started screaming an hour into bed time with the arching and sliding down in her bouncy seat in her crib. So, I took her out and she woke up. I rocked her to calm her down and then put her in her crib just to see what would happen. She rolled onto her side and started to suck her hand. She started closing her eyes. I let her do that until she put herself to sleep. Then, she slept until 4 that night.

I have learned that if she is exhausted and nurses to sleep at bedtime, she will wake up about an hour later. But, if she gets a short evening nap, she can stay awake through nursing before bedtime and put herself to sleep in her crib.

Last night was the best night. Ethan didn't wake up, she stayed asleep until 5:15. I nursed her and she went back to sleep really quickly. I put her in her crib and she kept startling herself awake. It was 6 already by that time. No big deal. She came in bed with us for the last hour or so before the household is set to get up. I know there will come a time when she won't be in our bed at all and I will miss that snuggle time with her in the morning.

With Emma, sleeping has been a progression of steps. I think we tried to force Ethan to be in his crib away from us too soon. It was nice having Emma in our room for a while so that we could learn how she slept. We learned what noise meant what in the middle of the night and she got prompt attention if she needed it- often before full out crying. I think this helped her to be less anxious about sleeping all night and helped her to do it better for longer.

Ethan at 3 months- in bed at 9, up at 12, 3, 5 or 6, and then at 9.
Emma at 3 months- in bed at 9ish, up at 5, in bed with us until 7:30 or 8.

I'm a happier lady this time around. We'll see if this routine sticks or gets muddled with milestones and growth spurts. :)

Emma sleeping at the hospital.

Sleeping in bed with Mom during the snowstorm.

In her swing.

In Mom and Dad's bed in the morning. 
Don't worry she couldn't roll yet, and I held her close.

Emma in her bouncy seat in the crib.

Double trouble before Ethan's nap.

Ethan in the co-sleeper we borrowed for Emma. 
Notice the ball and owl in it with him.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I love me some Baby Girl Emma! Just look at her. How sweet is she?

I am so glad that we have made it to 3 months... on Saturday. She is doing so well! 

She just started to put herself to sleep on her back at night. She has never liked to nurse to sleep at night. She will cluster feed and then have me hold her while she falls asleep. Last night she nursed at 9:30, put herself to sleep at 10:30, and then slept until 4:15. Wow. Way better than her brother.

The only thing is when I nurse her at 4, I put her in the crib on her back and her startle reflex kicks into high gear. She spends a while trying to fall asleep and having her reflex wake her up. I pick her up and comfort her, she falls asleep and I put her back down, only to have that startle reflex wake her up again. 

I've read that that reflex goes away at 4-6 months. I don't swaddle her, because she hates it and I've read so much about how it hinders their development. So, I'm not pushing it. Just like the pacifier. She won't take one and I'm not making her. I'm just going to ride it out and keep trying every night until she can put herself back to sleep once that reflex goes away. 

I'm just so proud of her. She is so happy and is doing so well!

Her little personality is starting to come out. She is so relaxed, laid back, and happy. She loves to splash in a bath. She loves to sing songs. She loves to watch what her brother does and smile at him. She is so happy. 

Now, don't get me wrong. There are some times when she is downright unreasonable. Like anytime she gets sleepy in the car. She cries so hard. Nothing I do can make her stop. She stops when she falls asleep. She cries so hard and then is suddenly quiet. She cries really hard when she wakes up in the morning too. She is usually tooting a lot and waking herself up. So, she cries. She also cries after being in the Bumbo for more than 10 minutes. Who can blame the girl?

I am loving getting to know her. She is so fun and I can't wait to see what the next few months hold.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nighttime Parenting

Parenting children at night is a very stretching task. Fatigue easily leads to anger and grumpiness. Last night may have been one of the most challenging in our parenting careers yet.

Emma is almost 3 months and has spent those few months sleeping in a swing in our room. We did that so that we would avoid waking Ethan up at night. But, it's time to move Emma. She has been trying to roll over during the day. She still doesn't seem to care where she sleeps. I want to move her before she starts hitting some milestones... like crawling and rolling over. I know she will be practicing those things at night. And I want to move her before she gets so attached to sleeping in our room that it is hard to put her in a different room to sleep at night. Right now she doesn't know the difference and I would like to not have to fight that battle.

So, last night we tried putting Emma in her nursery (the room that shares a wall with Ethan's room). This is how it went.:

9:30- Ethan and Emma go to sleep. Emma is put in her bouncy seat in her crib.
2:30- Emma wakes up to nurse.
3:00- Ethan wakes up to see what is happening, Jason puts him back to bed.
3:30-4:30- Ethan gets up at least 2 more times.
4:45- Emma wakes up again to nurse.
5:30- Ethan wakes up one last time, Jason puts him back to bed.
6:00- Emma wakes up and needs help getting back to sleep.

This morning, Ethan told me,"Baby sister sleep new bed!". "Baby sister crying.". I think he knew something different was happening and he wanted to check it out. I told him that he didn't need to get up to help us. He could stay in his room and that mommy would take care of Baby Sister. We'll see how well he takes to that instruction.

I hope that tonight goes a little bit better. I remember when Ethan moved to a toddler bed. That was a rough night. Hopefully, this too will pass.Here's a glimpse of our wild and crazy but super fun children.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ethan vs. Emma

Now that I am a mother of 2, I can compare one child to the other. Here are some ways they are different.....

Ethan- took right to a pacifier at one month.
Emma- hates a pacifier and gets very mad if you try to put one in her mouth.

Ethan- would let you put him down to sleep in his swing or bouncy seat.
Emma- will only let me put her down to sleep in her swing at night. During the day, she prefers to nap in the Baby Bjorn.

Ethan-LOVED tummy time.
Emma- moderately tolerates tummy time.

Ethan- loved to fall asleep in the car.
Emma- hates her car seat and cries practically the entire time she is in it.

Just when you think you know it all because you've done it before.... the kids pull a fast one on you! :)

Baby Ethan @ 2 months

Baby Emma @  2 months

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