Monday, June 29, 2009

we're ba-aack!

It was a wonderful, whirlwind week - and we're (all three/four of us!) home again.

Not much time to post right now - my lovely Nut is WHINING with all her might and I'm still in jammies... but if you really want to - I have a guest post up over at SortaCrunchy today (about natural childbirth and why I made the choices I did).

Check it out!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm fresh out of jet planes...

So instead, we're leaving in a Nissan. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it...

Hazel and I are hitting the road today - headed to Nana and Papa's house in IL until Sunday (Mark is in Nashville all week, and there's nothing like grandparents to love on a little kiddo with a preggers mama!)

We'll be a bit out of the loop during that time - so don't worry that I've gone off the deep end or anything (the hormonal, crazy lady who wrote the last post has left the building and been replaced by my much more moderate, rational, generally capable self. It's nice to have her back).

Enjoy the week (it's gonna be a warm one around here!) - we'll "see" you when we get back!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

just humor me for a minute

Warning: this post is written by a tired, hormonal pregnant Mama whose husband is about to leave for 8 days, come home for 4, then leave for 9 more.

People love to give advice - almost no one likes to receive it (I fall into these categories myself, so think not that I judge!!)

I find advice during pregnancy to be one of the most obnoxious things - and I've posted about that a bit before - but because of the weird, often-unhelpful things people tend to say to me during pregnancy, I try to avoid giving advice to others. All kids are different, all mamas are different, all situations are different - it's really hard for advice to not be condescending or misinterpreted. If pressed for it, I try to offer encouragement - not exactly advice.

But today, I'm going to offer the one thing that I wish someone had told me before I became a mama. This has, by far, been the biggest "surprise" for me of parenthood - and one I do wish I was a bit more prepared to handle.

I wish someone had warned me how often I would feel completely incapable, ill-equipped and unfit.

I expected parenting to be hard - but I didn't expect to feel so very NOT-good at it. I've always loved kids - I was a good babysitter and felt taking care of little ones to be very natural... I felt competent.

Something about being The Mother changed that for me... being responsible for another life, and often being the one people look to for answers. "What do you think we should do about (fill in the blank)?" How do I know? I'm new at this!!

And I'm just amazed at how infrequently I feel like a "good mama." It sounds kinda funny to say that I expected to feel like I was "good" at my job... but honestly - I did!

Right now, I don't want Mark to leave because I'm afraid Hazel will get the raw end of the deal - no Daddy, and stuck with a Mama who is tired, hormonal, getting bigger by the second... There is so much to do here before BabyMon comes - and so much of it I cannot do on my own. I am overwhelmed and certain that my kid deserves better than I'm giving.

And top all of it off - I really detest feeling this way. I like being able to handle things and help other people and come through in a pinch... I don't like being the one who needs. I just want to get my act together.

So there you have it - this Saturday morning, I have already once dissolved into ridiculous tears over pretty much *nothing* - and really, it all boils down to this overwhelming sense of not being/knowing/doing enough when it comes to being Mama. And I'm absolutely terrified that I won't be able to handle TWO kiddos.

Don't get me wrong - I ADORE being a mama... nothing on earth is like loving your kid(s). And however crummy I feel, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've never had a job that I love like this, and I covet the time that I get to spend caring for our children. I just wish that a fairy would wave a wand and give me a bit more ability, a bit more competence.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

speed racer

Methinks my daughter has propellers on her rear end, because MERCY! has that child gotten fast!!

She started toddling at 13 months, took off with I-Mean-Business-Walking at 14 months, and now, at 16 months, is simply a 2.5 foot tall blur with curly hair, zipping around my house.

We try to eat dinner at the same time we feed Hazel - not always possible, but it makes for a much better eating-environment, but she often finishes up first and wants to get down. So we clean her up, set her chubby little feets on the floor and say "Mama and Daddy are still eating dinner, so can you go into the living room and play for a bit?"

And she nods her strawberry blond head and meanders to the living room to remove every single toy from its place and put it somewhere more interesting - like in our shoes, in between couch cushions, and down the basement stairs.

Last night followed much the same pattern - although as Mark and I finished up, we realized that her little voice (because she chatters NONSTOP while she plays) didn't sound like it was coming from the right-next-door living room. And sure enough, her little head poked out at us through the railing at the top of the stairs (we have a split level house - it's only ever 7 stairs at a time, so it's not a HUGE climb)... she had climbed the stairs, raced down the hall to her bedroom, pulled her beloved blanky from her crib and was bringing it back downstairs to play.

We chuckled about how fast and sneaky she is, secretly thanking God that while we didn't know she was up there she did not decide to pull anything heavy onto her head, or flush anything down the toilet, or shut her fingers in a door.

She did the same stinking thing to me this morning. What am I doing that I have no idea my child has ventured to another FLOOR of the house??

And last week, she managed to climb to the tippy-top of Aunt Martha's half-spiral staircase before anyone realized where she had snuck off to (and this one was probably 15 or more stairs, and if you know spirals, you know that the steps don't always have the most surface area for unsteady toddler feet...) Mark said his body temperature jumped about 15 degrees when he saw her at the top of the stairs. Nothing like inst-sweat to make you feel like a top-notch parent.

But really - I just adore watching her zoom around on her own, exploring and playing and imagining things in her little mind. Even though my ever-increasing waddle isn't the most convenient when it comes to chasing her around the house - I am simply enthralled watching this little gal grow up right before my eyes.

What a thrill. A chatty, blurry, chubby-cheeked, blue-eyed thrill.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the other love languages

I think lots of people have heard the phrase "love language." You know - the things others can do for you that make you feel most loved, and the things that you likewise tend to do for others (whether it's their love language or not). Gary Chapman wrote a book (or two or three) about it.

Here's the thing:

Neither Mark or I fit the mold.

Me - While I definitely have tendencies (quality time and physical affection probably being tops) - I respond well to ALL the love languages (quality time, gifts, acts of service, physical affection, words of affirmation). Mark likes to pretend this makes me trickier to figure out, and teases me about being high maintenance... I prefer to think that pretty much ANY NICE THING you do for me will be appreciated. Can't get much easier than that, can you?

Mark - In honor of my hubby's bizarre personality - I have decided that the wonderful Dr. Chapman actually (unintentionally, of course) excluded two love languages... instead of 5, there are truly (at least) 7 distinct love languages. (Lucky for me) Mark speaks the Missing Languages of Love: Entertainment and Anti-Time.

Allow me to explain them both....

Entertainment - Mark loves to be entertained... he likes to go to movies and to have people over and to go out with people and "do" lots of "things." It speaks to his heart when I arrange these things to do with him. Or send him out to do them on his own (which leads me to the second Missing Language of Love...)

Anti-Time - Being an extremely social creature, Mark is loved well when I send him out to do things with friends - whether it's out for ice cream, playing tennis, or taking off to visit friends that live in other states... when I send him outside the home with "my blessing" (haha) - that's one of the best ways I know to show him that I love him. (You may have noted that it's possible that a married couple with two competing love languages - quality time and anti-time - may be in for a fun ride... and you might be right. Loving each other this way takes some suck-it-up-sacrificing... but that's what love is about, right?)

Anyone else discovered some Missing Love Languages??

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

change of heart

One of the things I struggle with (and always have, honestly) is patience. I don't like to wait for things. Sometimes, it's not such a bad deal - it's more anticipatory than impatient (waiting for a package to arrive in the mail, or being excited for a trip or holiday). Most of the time though - it's just not one of my admirable qualities.

I've known for a long time, obviously, that this is something I'd like/need to work on - but it's becoming more and more apparent these days. Motherhood has a way of bringing light to character issues, I think.

Patience seems central to my ability to have a good day - because really... any day with a toddler is going to try your patience at least a wee bit.

Part of my struggle is tied to the fact that I am an emotional and relational being. I have emotional reactions to MANY things throughout my day (this sounds bad, and it is sometimes, but not always). It really just means that it is very easy for my good day/bad day to slip out of my control - because my emotions are easily influenced by what is happening (ie, things I cannot often control) - I get out of whack.

On my patient days, I am much better at keeping my emotions under control - things that would normally be frustrating or inconvenient do not have much impact on my mood or my heart. On the not-so-patient days... well, I can turn into a surly, snarly, easily frustrated Mama/Wife... and no one has fun when she's around.

Given the impending arrival of The Littlest - I figure that a short emotional wick is something better avoided - especially when you throw post-pregnancy hormones and sleep deprivation into the mix.

And so, I begin a journey of prayer, reading, thinking, more prayer... all to try to figure out how best to train myself in Patience... also known as keeping my emotions and moods tied to things eternal, not to the things of today. And I'm finding great verses, good encouragement, and am enjoying my time of prayer...

But I'm finding myself wishing for big, sweeping, overnight change.

In other words, I am impatient.

I think I still have some work to do...

Monday, June 01, 2009

bring on Monday!


So far, I've already showered/gotten ready for the day, had some quiet prayer/reading time with God, made and eaten breakfast with my little lady, changed 2 diapers, gone grocery shopping, prepped lunch and some of dinner, washed dishes, loaded & started the dishwasher, started a load of laundry and made 24 strawberry muffins.

For some reason, Mondays are always my "Get Things Done!" day... I'm motivated and productive and I love it.

I think the afternoon will be slightly calmer, although there is another brief round of errands to run... but hopefully the Nut and I will be able to enjoy a quiet, rainy afternoon playing together.

And now, to answer a couple of questions about my post on the Cloth Diaper Whisperer (if you don't care about cloth diapers, you can stop reading now, and have a lovely Monday!):

- For the first few weeks, I used disposables on Hazel... it helped with the craziness of becoming a mama for the first time.
- Hazel did go through a growth stage or two where the cloth diapers just seemed to not fit her quite right, and were more likely to leak. We hung in there, tried using different inserts or snap adjustments, and used disposables a few days when Mama was tired of changing wet pants, and things worked out.
- Now - this time around, I'm hoping to mostly use cloth from get-go... and a couple of things that I think will help us with that are:
- Summertime - bulky newborn diapers don't have to fit under clothes - we can throw on a diaper and t-shirt and be good to go.
- Some new diapers in our stash - I've purchased Kissaluvs fitteds for the early newborn days, and am hoping to get my hands on some BG AIO (size x-small) as well. I'm hoping these fit a little bit better than the slightly bulkier one-size diapers. We've also still got a good stash of prefolds, and I've added a few other one-size fitteds (we'll see how those work on a newborn). I've been making some fleecey diaper covers (so cheap and easy!!) of my own, and have a couple of wool shorties as well. We're trying new things!
- I think it helps to have, at least in the beginning, a stash that is slightly less than complete - and that has several different brands and types of diapers. I had a pretty full stash, and only one brand (plus prefolds) and while I loved my diapers, I found myself eager to try new things and wishing I'd purchased a more eclectic beginner's stash. It can be easy to get carried away with different brands and cute colors - but having a few different ones on hand can help with those growth spurt days when things don't fit quite right, and you may find you prefer different brands/styles as your baby gets bigger.
- I'm buying diapers differently now - my BumGenius diapes are WONDERFUL - but so far, they only make the non-organic diapers with a velcro closure. And velcro is very easy and convenient - but it wears faster and your little one is more likely to be able figure out how to take it off (mine has). Now, I'm primarily buying snap diapers - since I want my diapers to last as long as possible (and who knows how many kiddos we'll have!). I've also come to really like fitted diapers with non-plastic (fleece or wool) covers - and I didn't even try those until a few months ago.

Phew (again)! Thanks for hanging in there... gotta run and get some more things done! :)