Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful or something like it

Today is November 1, which means that 30 Days of Thankfulness posts started popping up on my Facebook stream shortly after midnight (Baby Love wasn't sleeping well last night, despite how utterly exhausted he had to have been from all the Halloween fun, so Mommy was on Facebook a lot.) I have done 30 Days of Thankful in the past because I do think it's crazy important to have an attitude of gratitude, and when you actually have to think of your blessings daily, it brings them more into focus. But this year feels different and substantially more difficult. Team Green is in Month 13 of the hardest year ever. satan is relentlessly pursuing our family with a vengeance. It's been difficult to blog about it because it's painful and so super sucky that why would I want to document it? But I'm going to, because I need to explain it out so I can get to my place of gratitude.

Hubs has been unemployed since October 2011. He got severance pay, we liquidated his 401K, and were blessed with a huge gift to get us through Christmas. We were so hopeful that it would be max only a few months before he found a new job, and life would go on. Fast forward to February. All the money was gone, since it wasn't like it was a million dollars to begin with, and the unemployment payments didn't even cover our rent (especially since ex-wife kept having mediation delayed so she was getting almost half of it for child support each month...) so we tearfully packed up our life, put most of it in storage, and moved in with Hubs' family. In March, he received a conditional job offer, but unfortunately it fell through. In June, he started taking classes towards a certificate (possibly associates, but right now we're focused on the certificate) and has been applying for jobs the entire time to no avail. There are a lot of people living in this house (the 3 and sometimes 5 of us, Hubs' parents, his 12 year old brother, and his 16 year old sister) with very distinct personalities, and it's not a recipe for peace. We don't have the same ways of doing things and that further stirs the pot. Needless to say, there has been conflict. It is incredibly stressful, which has caused strife in our marriage and ultimately landed me in ICU with DKA 2 weeks ago.

I know that God loves me and loves my family. I know that He isn't the source of all of this garbage. I know that satan is. And I know that some of the things that we've been dealing with are our fault, the result of something one of us did or didn't do. But the vast majority is so obviously satan testing our faith and commitment to God. Has it wavered? Of course it has! And we've had to ask God to help our unbelief.

My hope for this life to ever improve is dwindling. That's not me saying I don't have things that I love and am grateful for, but when every day dumps another truckload of dirt on the pile, burying you further, its difficult to hold on to that optimism. I don't care who you are. And sure, it's a lot of "first world problems", but the reality is that I live in the first world. I know that there are so many people who have so much less, etc etc, that it could be worse (and we are well aware of that since it frequently has gotten worse) and honestly, being reminded of that doesn't make our situation less crappy. It actually makes the person throwing that at me look like a jerk. It's kind of like, "Oh you feel terrible because you have the flu? Well, you shouldn't complain because at least you aren't dying of cancer!" Does saying that make the flu feel less awful? No! But it makes you look like an insensitive jerk for saying it.

In the midst of all that awful year, Cherie turned 10 (and has entered puberty full time), Eli turned 1 (is 33 inches tall, 32 pounds heavy, has 16 teeth, talks all the time and is dabbling in sentences.), and Owen turned 7. I love them so much, and I think that makes it worse. I can see how they're suffering from this, too. Say what you want about how resilient kids are, but I've seen how other things have affected them, so I also think that's a bunch of crap. And as for Eli, yea, he's pretty oblivious to a lot of it, but I can't raise him how I really want to, and I feel like as smart as he is, he would be further along if we were living in our own home again. It adds to the frustration.

So with all of that, I'm having a hard time with my attitude of gratitude. Noah and his family lived on the ark for 1 year and 17 days. Then God remembered Noah. I'm hoping our year and 17 days is just about up. I'm just waiting for our dove to appear...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breezing through life, counting blessings...

I really really wish we were independently wealthy so that Hubs never had to go to work and we could always just hang out together. Its terrible as far as routine and schedule go, but its been amazing just BEING together. We've both had birthdays, some great times with the kids, and God never ceases to amaze us with His goodness and faithfulness.

On the job front... There weren't all that many jobs out there that are along the lines of what he's been doing (and despite the schedule and always being outside, he really enjoys the work) but in the last week or so, the listings have been exploding. Our goal was for him to find something by the end of December, and we're still trusting God for that. Financially, we have been blessed bigger than we could have ever hoped for. Thanks to the extreme kindness and generosity of others (which they informed us was 100% God led), we are not hurting. I'm 97% done with our Christmas shopping and the kids will be having a super awesome Christmas. Being able to get them new jammies and tick off the items on their lists is important to me. Its worldly and a privilege so many people don't get, so we are extremely grateful to be able to do it. Jesus is the reason for the season, but at the same time, I am determined to keep the magic and traditions alive with them. When they grow up, I don't ever want them to look back and have anything but amazing warm memories of Christmas. Every other year, I do everything I possibly can to exceed their expectations on December 25th.

On the baby/birthday/Thanksgiving front... Since I last posted, Eli has turned 6 and then 7 months old. He blows me away every day. Since Daddy started being home all the time, it's a total free for all on sleeping, but I can't be sure that he wouldn't be doing that anyway. From what I hear, so many babies are inconsistent sleepers. He's healthy, and that's more important to me. When we took him for his 6 month check up and shots, we were so relieved when that scale said he was still under 20 pounds. Sure, it was only 2 ounces under, but we were scared! His carrier is only rated for up to 22 pounds, and we're just not ready to move him to a car seat and give up his grocery store/Walmart naps...

For Halloween, we took him to Boo at the Zoo. He could not have cared less about the entire thing. I'm hoping next time he's more interested in checking out the animals. Maybe if it's a little warmer he'll be more interested... We did, however, get him the greatest costume ever and so a lot of the other zoo patrons were EXTREMELY interested in HIM!

On November 7th, Hubs turned 32. I am a birthday person, and I had desperately wanted to make a bigger deal about it and make it more special for him. I am so blessed to have a husband who values my intentions and desires as much if not more than my actions.

The week of Thanksgiving was pretty big time for our little family. On November 20th, Eli turned 7 months old. On November 19th, he busted out his first word! We're pretty sure he's been saying "Hi" for a while, but since that's a very breathy sound, it can go either way. But he does it in response to someone saying it to him, so... Anyway, that's not what we're calling his first word. He was in his exersaucer, and I was packing up his diaper bag. He looked up, saw the bottle in my hand, and started jumping and yelling, "Ba ba ba ba ba ba!" Since we've been calling it his "baba" (to encourage him to say it, too), it was OBVIOUS what he was saying. Love my little nugget learning food words first! We also think he's trying to say "Mama", which makes my heart just about explode. On the 23rd, he got his 1st tooth! We were out running errands and when I went to give him his bottle, I noticed a little white spot on his gum. Stuck my finger in his mouth for confirmation, and yup! A tooth had FINALLY broken through!! For his first Thanksgiving, we introduced meats (turkey, obviously.) and he did just fine with them (the only thing he hasn't liked is green beans). He had a sleepover with Aunt Katy and Uncle Bernie that night so Mommy and Daddy could hit the sales (Toys R Us was the big winner this year.) He slept like a champ for them! Saturday night, he went and spent some time with some sweet friends from church so we could go bowling to celebrate my big Dirty Thirty birthday. He is seriously the greatest baby EVER. When we picked him up, his little eye was gooey and swollen. Was he cranky and crying? Nope! He was smiling and babbling and his happy self. (Our friends felt absolutely AWFUL, but we know it was nothing they did, and kids get sick so why would we be mad?) He'd been that way (happy and babbling) all week, despite a runny nose (which we blamed on the weather change. We both had it, too, but found out we were actually sick. I had a sinus infection and Hubs had bronchitis.) Sunday morning his eye was literally crusted shut and he still woke up smiling! His pediatrician called in some antibiotic eye drops and by Sunday night, his eyes were almost all the way back to normal. Monday he had another little surprise for us in the form of a 2nd tooth (over achiever!). He's just growing up so fast, which I hate but less than I thought I would. He's so fun, and we're having a blast interacting with him, so it's kind of hard to be that upset about him "growing up". He's still my snuggly little baby, so it's okay. Hubs was gone so much when he was working, it's been the biggest blessing for all of us that he was here for all of these firsts with Eli. Watching our son grow TOGETHER is beyond words. Just God blessing us over and over through a seemingly terrible situation!

So, I'm 30 now. For a long time (we're talking YEARS.), I've looked forward to my 30's. I went through so much in my 20's. Some of it was so wonderful (it's when I met my best friends), but so much of it was horrible, and I'm ready to leave it all behind me. I truly believe that God has mind blowingly wonderful things planned for me in my 30's. These are going to be the best years of my life, my "glory days" for reasons that no one thinks of when they're young and imagining their glory days. I'm looking forward to growing in my faith, and seeing how that makes me a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. Ooo warm fuzzies just thinking about it!
Happy Thanksgiving!

So yea, life is far from perfect, but we are perfectly blessed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

the good, the bad, and the ugly

The Good

Groupon came through again for family fun. We got half price admission to Dewberry Farm. I love watching the kids run around and play in barns.

Let's be real here. We all know that everything else in this category is going to be about the baby.

Eli is a really good eater and hasn't had any reactions! He's had bananas (currently his favorite), sweet potatoes, green beans, sweet peas, and apples. He didn't care for green beans until I mixed some of his bananas in, then he was all about it. When he eats them, he ends up looking like a big grass stain, which cracks me up. He LOVES the peas, and was kind of "meh" about apples. I know, what a weirdo! Who loves peas and is "meh" about apples? Oh, right. His mommy. Overcoming the tongue thrust has been amazing. I love when he makes this adorable serious face while swallowing then immediately opens his mouth for more. We'll be trying carrots and squash soon. I'm learning a lot about making baby food. Some people thing that if you just puree anything its instant baby food. Not so much. When I make his bananas, its a blend of fresh banana, formula, and rice cereal. Same for his sweet potatoes. I cheated and bought the peas and green beans (although I have fresh green beans and will be making them into baby food tonight!) and the apples I just baked an apple and ran the meat through the food processor until it was nice and smooth. My amazing friend Christina is sending me a cook book of baby food recipes because her baby has moved on to finger foods, and I'm a lot more excited about it than I probably should be. Its a lot easier to buy baby food, obviously, but I love the idea of making it myself. Maybe part of that is me trying to reconcile some of the lingering guilt of him not being exclusively breast fed, or really breast fed at all. I don't know. But even if it has nothing to do with the breast milk issue, its cheaper and since my job is to take care of him, it makes sense. If I worked outside the home, I seriously doubt I'd be making his food.

Last weekend, we had him dedicated at church. Dedication is a form of Christening, basically. Sheldon and I don't believe in infant baptism, although it is offered at our church, because Jesus was baptized as an adult in the Bible. Instead, we chose the dedication route. This means that we stand at the front of the church, before our family, friends, and other members of our church, and commit to raising him to follow Jesus. Our pastor leads us in prayers of thanksgiving for being blessed with our child, prayers for Him to equip us as parents, and prayers for God's blessings on his life, all with the hope that he will make the decision to accept Jesus as his savior and be baptized. Its a really special experience, and we're extra glad the big kids could participate with us. Oh, and apparently Eli now has the distinction of being the 1st baby our pastor has dedicated while taking a bottle. The kid loves to eat.

I can't believe he's almost 6 months old! He's so big and busy and changing every day! And seriously, people, stop encouraging him to crawl and telling me how much he wants to walk. My Christmas tree says he doesn't want to walk until 2012, thankyouverymuch.

The Bad

My dad's health has had us pretty worried for a few weeks. He started seeing a nephrologist because his rhematologist ran some blood work and noticed his kidney numbers were bad. Several more tests later, they found that his kidney function was at around 35% and they didn't know why. Thankfully, they ruled out cancer, but its still terrifying! A week or so after that bomb was dropped, my dad went to the ER. He was in horrible pain and had started to vomit. They found 7 (yes, SEVEN) kidney stones, the largest of which was 7mm large. He stayed in the hospital for a few days and left with a stent. He had it in for a week, and the day they removed it, they also pulverized the stones. Our prayer is that all the stones were impairing his kidney function and that he should be recovering nicely.
My dad's health scare was not the worst, unfortunately. The worst is that Sheldon lost his job last week. I don't work. Do the math. It's a very scary thing, but we're choosing to do everything we can to stay positive. The obvious immediate perk is that Eli and I have been enjoying having him home with us the past few days. There was a decided lack of integrity at the company he was working for, and the constant lies, shortcuts, and general crap he had been enduring for several months now was really wearing on him. Eliminating that is amazing. Our obvious hope is for him to find a new job (quickly) that pays as well if not better and has a more consistent schedule. It'll make things easier with visitation with the big kids, plus it'll help Eli and I with our routine. So yes, we're obviously worried about making ends meet until he gets a new job (and health insurance... insulin is expensive!), but God has never let us down, He has always provided for us, and we have to believe that this is going to be an opportunity for us to move forward and for God to put better things in our lives. We've canceled our big birthday trip to Missouri next month, and Christmas is going to be very tight, but we'll get by and someday, it'll just be another memory of something we made it through.

The Ugly

The same day Sheldon lost his job, we discovered a leak in our apartment. On Monday, I noticed the carpet where the foyer and living room meet was wet. I figured someone had just spilled something and let it go. I didn't really pay much attention to it again until Wednesday, when I saw that the carpet was SOAKED. Then I looked over and saw that the wall was wet. The maintenance staff arrived and the ugly began. They started cutting out drywall (there was mold in the coat closet) and pulling up carpet. So we have holes in the walls, missing carpet, and generally a huge mess. Its YUCKY and I will be very happy next week when everything is put back together (and all the mold is gone.).

All in all, I'd say we're blessed. And I love so much that when adversity comes our way, it honestly makes our marriage stronger. We've been through stuff that would cripple relationships much older and more established than ours. But they always make us stronger, and we truly feel that it's a testament to the fact that we were made for each other.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Its the most wonderful time of the year!

I. Love. Autumn. It is hands down my favorite season. I love that its okay for everything to be brown and orange outside because "winter" is coming (and not just because its 110 degrees for the 25th day in a row, and it hasn't rained since March.) Its finally starting to rain again (keep it coming!!) which is fun. Eli is 5 months old, and it's literally rained like 4 times since he was born. If you don't live in Texas, really take a minute to think about that information. Its not pretty. Anyway. I love just about anything pumpkin scented or flavored (proof: I celebrated the 1st day of Fall with pumpkin pound cake for breakfast. It was AWESOME.). The weather is finally not surface of the sun hot anymore (you know its been bad when 92 feels like a really nice day.). On some magic days, and most evenings, there's this delicious crispness in the air that is my faaaaaaaaavorite. Football is back. Big time back for my fellow Longhorns. We were so terrible last year. And this year we are SO NOT. YES!! HOOK 'EM!! Oh yea, and Christmas stuff is starting to be in the stores for me to ooh and ahh over and plan and dream!

So, I'm pretty overwhelmed by all the newness of the Little Big Man. He's returned to sleeping through the night, which is amazing in and of itself, but he's going to sleep earlier. Most nights he's down for the count between 11 and 12. He usually sleeps until between 7 and 8. The other night, Hubs and I got 8 consecutive hours of sleep, together, in our bed. I can't lie. That hasn't happened since before I was pregnant. MIND-BLOWING. He likes to take a looooong nap in the morning (2-4 hours) and then cat naps until dark, when he'll usually sleep for about an hour or 2, want a bottle, then go down for the night. He's sleeping in his crib most of the time (except that long nap in the morning... Mommy learned that when she wants him to go back to sleep, if she puts him in his swing, he'll take the longer nap. I'm not ashamed.) The other morning, I woke up to him crying on the baby monitor (because he's a big guy and needs to eat a lot to stay that way...) so I stumbled into his room and saw 2 fat legs sticking out of the side of the crib. I put him in the crib longways, so he had scooted around to the short side. The kid is a wiggler. When he's on the floor in his baby gym, he never stays even remotely close to where I put him. This is adorable, obviously, but it makes me very nervous about how insane its going to be when he's legitimately mobile in a few months. Pray for me!! I've noticed that he appears to have nightmares. Twice now I've heard him crying on the baby monitor, after he'd been asleep for an hour or 2, and when I go to check on him, he's still asleep and the crying stops. The other day, he was napping in the swing, and I heard him whimpering. When I looked over, his forehead was furrowed and his bottom lip was sticking out like he was upset about something. Anyone else have a baby with bad dreams? Anything you can do to prevent them? Will they go away on their own?

We had planned to wait until 6 months to start him on cereal (we also planned on him having breast milk until 6 months... we all know how well that went.) but the closer he got to 5 months, the hungrier he was. He was taking a 5-6oz bottle every 2 hours from 4pm until he went to bed at night. That's just insane! Plus he would scream like he was dying until he got that bottle every 2 hours. So a few days before he hit 5 months, we started it. He likes it, but he's still fighting with his tongue thrust and so he likes to 1. not allow the spoon into his mouth and/or 2. blow bubbles in the food on the spoon. He's getting better. More food is starting to make it into the baby than ON the baby.
People kept telling us that feeding him cereal would help his sleep. We experimented with feeding him the cereal at different times of day to test that. We quickly discovered that when we fed him cereal, then did bath, then did last bottle, he slept TERRIBLE. He woke up in the middle of the night for another bottle. So we make sure he eats it before 7pm and then he sleeps just fine at night. I'm thinking we're going to start him on veggies October 1st or so. I'm stoked to FINALLY start using the Magic Bullet Express that my mom got us for Christmas 2 years ago to make most of his food myself. I will buy some prepackaged stuff, because there are some foods that I don't even want to try and will be good for him. Feel free to share recipes and tips with me!!

Physically, he's growing so fast! In the span of a week, he started rolling front to back (back to front is close behind... I keep seeing him practicing) and sitting up. He's not a completely unsupported sitter just yet, but close enough. I had him in his bouncy seat while I was in the kitchen last week. I walk out and he's completely upright with his head against the toy arch. Crazy! He's super strong and constantly trying to do new things. I'm not ready for him to pull up or crawl, so I'm not encouraging it. Not for a little longer anyway. He's just becoming such a big boy and I miss my little baby (who was never all that little it seems).
5 months

My back had been bothering me pretty much since he was born. I knew it was normal for the first month or 2. After 4 months of painful cramps so bad that I frequently couldn't stand up straight, I asked my doctor about it. She was like, "Oh, yea, that happens all the time when you have a baby. Your back and hips get all crazy." So I started seeing a chiropractor. Turns out my hips are out of alignment and the muscles in my back are doing crazy stuff to compensate. So I get electrodes on my back with ice or heat (I've had both.), massage, and then alignment. OH. MY. GOSH. It hurts. It HURTS. The first time he was adjusting my right shoulder, I almost started to cry. It literally hurt worse than hard labor. Granted, I apparently had a pretty easy labor, but it still hurt. Anyway, he didn't believe me when I told him it hurt worse than labor. Well, Cool Guy, you've never been in labor so you don't really know, now do you? So, the adjustments HUUUUUUUUUURT. But they're working! My back pops a lot lately, when I move or take a deep breath, but that's apparently a good sign. And I'm not in agonizing pain anymore (well, except when he's adjusting my shoulders...) So, yay for chiropractic care!

Happy Fall Y'all!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So we had summer...

I keep meaning to blog and then Eli always has other plans. I can't say I mind, because, well, he's seriously cute. There's a whole lot that I'm going to shove into this blog, so just know that the flow is going to suffer. And there is gratuitous use of the word "love".

July wasn't at all what I expected. Cherie obsessively loves Eli. Owen has a lot of jealousy. He's not jealous of the attention Eli gets, like you'd expect. He's more jealous of the fact that Cherie can do more stuff for him. He loves being a big brother, but he forgets he's still a little brother, too. She's 3 and a half years older than he is, and subsequently can handle more stuff (a lot of it being just because she's taller and stronger). His behavior wasn't great, but I don't know how much of that stems from his jealousy and how much of it is just ongoing behavior issues (and a desperate desire for attention). He acts up in a lot of the same ways at his mom's house, so I know its not all baby related. Anyway, we got a good routine going for the big kids, which saved me because Eli has no desire whatsoever to be on a schedule, and he started teething at 10 weeks (those teeth are taking their sweet time coming in, though. In the mean time, I have a super drooler who chews on EVERYTHING and gets otherwise inexplicably cranky.) Cherie was a huge help, helping us make bottles, unloading the dishwasher, and holding Cranky Baby so Mama could take a shower. Don't think I don't shower when they aren't here. Its just harder to find time to wash your hair when you have 3 kids to take care of instead of just 1 cranky baby. I love having them, though. Our family feels whole when they're here. Good days and bad days, I love them and love them in my life.

I really enjoy serving in children's ministry at our church, so I was thrilled when they announced last spring that we'd finally be having a VBS. Our church has something like 2000 members and regular attenders. Maybe more. I don't know. Anyway, its a HUGE church. VBS needed to happen. I signed up to teach Owen's class. I will not be signing up for the younger kids again next year. I had about 12 kids every day and 10 were boys. 10 6 year old boys in a room was draining to say the least. VBS also brought a new milestone for Eli and me - separation anxiety. No, not for Eli. He was an angel for the sweet ladies in the nursery. It was all Mommy. I had never been away from him for more than an hour (not counting when he was in the NICU at the hospital...) and it was HARD. Its still hard. I just miss him. But he does great in the nursery at church (he went again during a meeting and has been a few Sunday mornings since Sunday school started back up in August.) Overall, though, the kids and I really enjoyed the experience.

The week after VBS brought torture to our house in the form of lice. Cherie has battled lice for the past 2 years, through no fault of her own. The weekend after VBS, they spent a weekend at their mom's house. She came back with lice. It took me 5 days of pure misery to finally end their reign of terror on sweet girl's head. I wanted to shave her head so bad, no joke.

The last Friday of the month, we were given a gignormous blessing. An amazing photographer wanted to use the talent God blessed her with to bless a family, and she offered to let us be that family. So we had a wonderful session with JME Portraits The resulting pictures literally made me cry they're so beautiful. She's just really fantastically talented, and we have been and continue to be overwhelmingly blessed by her gift.

I love being a stay at home mom. I never ever thought I would. I always wanted a job, and I felt like if I didn't work, I would be one of those women who have nothing to talk about but their kids which is kind of annoying. I needed to work to have something to define myself, as if "I'm a wife and mom" was insufficient. God has shown me that this is what He planned for me. I never got a career. I never found a job that I could grow in and was proud of and felt like that was my calling, until now. I love watching Eli grow and change. I love making sure Hubs has clean underwear and work clothes. I don't really love cooking, but I love making sure everyone's eaten. I never got a career because I was meant to be a Mommy. What an overwhelming blessing. Financially, it is HARD. I wasn't making much before, but we're for sure missing that little bit. Fortunately, we're prayerful and God is getting us through (through the kindness and assistance of others.) But man. To spend every day with this face?


He's so fun these days. He laughs and smiles and babbles. He wants to be sitting up all the time, looking around and taking it all in. He's so curious! He loves to play, usually with his feet. He's perfectly healthy, and for the most part, an incredibly good baby. Now if only he would sleep through the night again... He was doing a good job on that for a while. He'd take his last bottle between midnight at 1 am and be down for the count by 1:30. He'd sleep until sometime between 7:30 and 8:30. It was fantastic! He decided he's over that now. Mommy would like to see that return. I've been good about taking his monthly pictures. Sure, they're not always right on the 20th every month, but I get 'em within a few days. Here they are!

2 months

3 months

4 months

My little baby is 4 months old, weighs about 17 pounds, and is about 26 inches long. So really, he's not so little of a baby. He never did get the hang of (or maybe inclination to? I'll never know which.) nursing so I pumped. For 4 months, I pumped. The week before he hit 4 months, the factory was barely even limping along. It took me 3 days to pump the 3 ounces he drank as his last breast milk bottle, on his 4 month birthday. Its been a very emotional journey, breast milk. I've mostly made my peace with never getting that amazing bonding time of nursing and mourned my desire for him to be exclusively breast fed. At the end of the day, I did my best and he had breast milk for 4 months. He got as much benefit as I could give him, and I'm proud of myself for that. I don't miss pumping, and making formula bottles is a ton easier than making breast milk bottles, so at least there's something positive about losing my milk. Plus it means the saga is over.

Every single day, I thank God that I get to be his mommy. Seriously. Being a mom is nothing like I expected, and the greatest thing ever. I mean, people talk about trusting your instincts, "he's your baby, you'll know what's best" and until you're in it, you kind of think they're full of it. But then the strangest thing happens... you have a child and you just KNOW him. I never ever feel like I'm a great mom (thankfully, my amazing husband tells me almost daily that 1. He loves me. 2. I am an awesome wife and mother. and 3. He is grateful for me. I'm so blessed to be his wife.) and yet I feel like I can care for Eli better than anybody else (including Hubs, but in his defense, its because he doesn't spend nearly as much time with Eli so he doesn't know his quirks as well.) I've learned the way he acts when he's hungry, when he's sleepy, when he's uncomfortable, when he's happy, when his tummy hurts, etc. I know that when he cries in the car its not because he needs anything, its just because he hates when we stop (the boy can't stand red lights or the drive thru at Sonic.). I can predict how he'll react to just about anything. Its amazing! I'm sure this is normal for moms, but its all still new to me, so every day brings a mind-blowing realization about motherhood.

There's a million other things I want to write about, but I'm tired and Eli's been asleep for a while (maybe he'll sleep on through until morning... he did get pretty tired out taking his 1st bath in his big boy duckie tub tonight...) so I'm gonna follow his lead.

So. Stinking. Blessed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

trucking along

I'm starting to get more settled into the mommy lifestyle. My laundry doesn't get backed up like it did when I was pregnant. The dishes are almost always done. The boxes are finally getting unpacked and we actually have pictures hanging on the walls. We've lived here for 6 months.

Eli is growing so fast. We had him weighed on his 5 week birthday and he's up to 11 pounds 6 ounces. He also grew about an inch in 3 weeks. My brother in law is on the sports medicine faculty at a university in West Texas and he was incredibly impressed with his muscle tone and reflexes this weekend. He holds his head up and has a really strong back. Sometimes when he's hanging out with Daddy, he tries to roll. Slow down, baby! Slow down!! We're going to take pictures of him every month next to a stuffed giraffe to show how much he's growing. I don't particularly like the idea of making onesies for every month with the number and a friend did the stuffed animal gauge with both of her kids so I took the idea.

We took him on his 1st trip this weekend. Sheldon's cousin Karen got married down in Galveston. He was so good and was a big hit. He was lookin' pretty fancy afterall...

One of the groom's relatives fell head over heels in love with him. Seriously. He was walking around all night asking people if they'd met Eli yet. Incredibly flattering and yet if it wasn't a family wedding, I'd be creeped out.

One more month to get used to having 1 full time child before I have 3... I don't know if I'm scared or not. I think it'll depend on how much we're all sleeping...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

4 weeks?!

I don't ever want Eli to grow up. I don't ever want a toddler, or an elementary school kid, or (ugh) a teenager. I want to keep my snuggly ball of chubs forever.

He's an amazing baby. He cries when he's hungry and occasionally when he just feels lonely, but mostly just when he's hungry. Thank GOD. He's a good sleeper, almost always sleeping 2-4 hours in a stretch (this is great for naps!) As he gets older, though, he has 2 or 3 times in a 24 hour period where he stays awake for the 2-3 hours between feedings. I'm learning to cherish these times (except when they fall in the midnight to 3am window.) and spend time talking to him, snuggling him, and just watching him wiggle and look at stuff. I'm still in awe that this person grew inside of me, that God chose me to be his mother, and that I'm not the baby sitter. I've struggled with that a lot. There are a lot of kids in my life that I have and currently love so deeply. But they're always someone else's kids. And then there's the stepmom struggle. In so many ways, they're my children. But we are a part time family, because we share them. So now I keep somehow expecting Eli to be someone else's, too. He's developing the Mommy attachment, and it makes it even more real. When the sound of my voice or my touch are all he needs to calm down... there aren't words. Those are the moments that people are talking about when they say that motherhood is the most amazing experience ever.

The biggest struggle we've had has been with breast feeding. I was mentally prepared for him to be a bottle baby in case (for one of a number of reasons) my milk didn't come in. I never imagined the problem would be that he doesn't want to latch. He's capable of doing it, and he nurses every so often, but more often than not, he refuses. So I spend a lot of time with my best friend, the pump. Its so important to me that he has breast milk (although it only makes up about half of his diet... I can only do so much...) so I'm doing what I have to do to give him that benefit. Its kind of heartbreaking because that was the only thing I really desperately wanted for him. Oh what a blessing that special time with him would've been... It's not too late, and we're still trying (like I said, he nurses when he's in the mood...) but I know he won't ever be an exclusively breastfed baby. At least he's healthy!

I hate that these 4 weeks have gone by so fast. I have no concept of what day it is, really. My life right now is a timeless cycle of naps, feedings, and laundry. Eli doesn't have days and nights so we don't really have them either. I know that will change in the next few weeks as he starts to sleep longer (like the other night when he slept for 4 hours during the night between feedings!!) and we will work hard to make sure those longer sleeps are when it's dark outside. But in the mean time, the days all run together and it has just whooshed by. He's already getting so big, and changed so much from the little baby I brought home from the hospital. I just want to freeze him!!

As I've entered this new role of mommy, I have really come to appreciate my friends, especially the other mommies. I have these women in my life who have encouraged me, prayed for me, given me advice, and helped me feel normal and totally not crazy when I felt like I was losing my mind and failing at everything. It can get extremely lonely when you're tired, in pain, and alone with a new baby and not really sure what you're doing. Its REALLY easy to lose it. I am blessed beyond belief to have these women in my life to help me through it. It is getting better, it is getting easier, and I'm a bit more with it. I wouldn't be if I didn't have them (and an amazing husband who is very willing to be the more sleep deprived of the 2 so that I can take some pain medicine and a longer nap.). When we were kids, my brother HATED the idea of us having mutual friends. There was a family with a son and daughter our ages that we were friends with. I can remember him pitching a fit when I'd be over there playing with the daughter if he was already there to play with the son. Oh how the times have changed! His wife is one of my best friends, and most of my friends here were her friends first. She has graciously shared them with me, and my life is infinitely better for it.