Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My funeral dress

So, please ignore the post-pregnancy super chubby face and focus on the dress I am wearing in the picture below.

It used to be a fun, cute black dress that sort of hid my "problem area." Now, it's my funeral dress. Do you have one of those? Your go-to wedding outfit, your go-to church outfit........and now, there have been enough deaths this year that I finally have a go-to funeral outfit. The thought of this alone makes me want to lay down, cry and give up. Nobody should have a funeral dress.

This Sunday (actually, for like the last month and a half), I was ready to pull my hair out. I never really understood why people used to say they were going to do that, but now I get it. Sometimes your life just gets to such a crazy point that all you can think of that would make any sense is to pull your hair out! But I digress. Tommy is teething (which explains his recent craziness) and on Sunday, there was no way I was taking that kid to church. I left him at home with his dad and went with my mom. It was nice to actually be able to LISTEN to the sermon instead of letting him bounce on my lap, trying to find his paci or passing him back and forth to Nana the whole time. The pastor started talking about how better days are yet to come. It was like a soothing balm to my nerves to think about the fact that you shouldn't look back because better things are coming. Hallelujah! He asked a question and at first I was like, "Duh." He asked if we had hope. Well, I thought about it and of course, as a Christian, we have hope--hope that things will get better, hope in a Savior that loves us, that eventually, we will be in a better place, that the hardships of this life are not for nothing. But then he asked another question. He asked if we were EXALTING in our hope. For me, that would be a gigantic no. I was NOT exalting in my hope. I was not seeking God the way I should. Instead, I was wallowing in my big, fat hole of frustration and exhaustion. I had begun to enjoy and find comfort in being angry with my job, my car, my friends, my house. It was easy to complain, rather than try to find the good in a situation. I was throwing a great big pity party and inviting everyone within listening distance.

So then and there, I decided to exalt in my hope. We had a great youth group session, I got to spend the afternoon with my baby and my wonderful husband and then I got to lay in bed and read a book. This exalting in my hope business was easy as pie! And then my mom texted me that my grandpa went to be with Jesus. What?!? Um, excuse me God, I just made a decision to exalt in my hope, so what's this junk about my grandpa dying?? It felt like Satan grabbed ahold of my hope and beat the ever-loving crap out of it. Have you ever heard the saying that God will not give you anything more than you can handle? Well, I'm here to tell you I don't think that's the truth. Who is strong enough to handle this? That's doesn't mean He won't get you through it, but sometimes, I think God lets us carry burdens so big that we have no choice but to crumble to our knees and hand it over to Him. Losing one person in our family was enough---enough sorrow, suffering, disappointment and pain to last a lifetime or longer. But to lose two people in our family in a matter of 4 months? That's enough to make you want to be like Job in the Bible who  rips his clothes in despair and sits at the city gates in a pile of ashes, weeping for days on end. We had actually just dicussed in youth group how mourning like they did in the old days is no longer acceptable. We had a good laugh thinking about what it would be like if someone did that now--sat in ashes, ripping their clothes and crying out to God. But I completely understand why he did it. What other way can you express how hurt your heart is?

I cried for a long time and kept thinking about the past (instead of looking forward to better things). A few weeks ago, my Grampy was holding Tommy and talking about how him and all of his cousins are going to be "quite the gang." I could see the pride in his eyes, but I could hear the sadness in his voice. He got teary eyed and said he wished he would be around long enough to see them grow up, but that he knew that wasn't going to happen. I kept thinking about how last Christmas was the last one we had as an entire family. The last one where everyone was alive and present and in the moment. At one point, my grandpa was sitting in a rocking chair and my aunt Becky sat on his lap and they just sat there together, her head on his chest. They were resting, taking in the laughter, the fellowship, the kids running back and forth. I just keep seeing that picture in my head, over and over. It's like God knew they were coming home soon and so did they, so they were soaking it up. Now, I picture her still sitting in Grampy's lap and both of them being held in the arms of God. THAT is the only thing that makes it all bearable--knowing that neither of them is hurting or suffering or sad or shedding tears.

So knowing that they're in Heaven, waiting to greet me with open arms whenever I get there makes me think that just maybe I'll continue exalting in my hope. Just maybe I'll BURN that ugly funeral dress and after I burn it, I might just sit at my city gates (or gas station, in my case) right in the middle of a pile of ashes from that dress and rip my clothes (look out Benton residents--if you see a weirdo covered in soot, it's just me, doin my thing!). But probably not. Probably I'll just soothe my pain by spending more time with those whose hearts are hurting with me--with nights like last night, where me and my cousins, mom, aunt and grandma sat around laughing and remembering and enjoying eachother.......by trying not to let things like annoying patients or expensive electric bills ruin my day....by appreciating the things my husband does for me instead of pointing out what he doesn't.......by trying to exalt in my hope.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

7 months and we're still alive!

Tommy, you are 7 months old!!! ALREADY!! I can't believe it. I can't believe you're that old, I can't believe it's gone by this fast and I can't believe we're both alive and thriving :) I wasn't sure I would make it through the first year of parenting, but so far, so good!

At SEVEN months old, you are:

*22 lbs!! Whoa boy! You're getting so big and sometimes when I look at you, you look like a little man already.

*28 and 3/4 inches long. The other day, your aunt Brooke was holding you, and you were longer than half her body! You're gonna be tall like your daddy!

*CRAWLING!!!!!!!!! ALL OVER THE PLACE!! You crawled for the first time at about 6 1/2 months old (August 12th). And man, once you figured it out, you were gone. For the first few days, you were really funny because you just couldn't figure out how to coordinate your left arm and right leg, so you would kind of just drag one or the other. But you sure have it figured out now!

*pulling up on things. Let's just say you keep mom and dad (and aunt Brooke) VERY busy! You pull up on things that aren't quite stable (like the laundry basket, for example) so you're taken a couple spills already. But as long as we don't freak out, you don't freak out. You just grunt a little and then move on your business.

*hearing a couple of new words--one being NO! and the other being THOMAS JAMES!!! They're usually used together :) Now that you are mobile, you gravitate towards the fan we have and towards any cords you see. Yeah, we say those two things a LOT. (See the fan in the picture background? He's rarely any further from the fan than that!).

*wearing size 3 diapers. They're a little big on you, but the size 2s just weren't big enough. Too bad there aren't half sizes :)

*wearing 6-9 month clothing for the most part. You can wear a few 6-12 month things but they're kind of big on you. I think we're going to have a problem with pants. I put a pair of 12 month jeans on you and they were too big in the waist and already too short for you. Mom might have to break out the sewing machine!

*wearing size 3 shoes. Some of them don't fit because your feet are big like height wise if that makes sense. But I bought you some of the CUTEST little shoes and I can't wait to make you wear them in the winter. You don't seem to mind having them on too much.

 *doing a few things that you think are REALLY cool tricks :) You constantly do little push ups just with the front of your body and you smile like you're just the best thing since sliced bread. You also do push ups where your butt is just straight up in the air, which you also think is hilarious and cute. And it is!

*have said your first word! Haha, okay not really. But you're saying Dadadadadada all the time. You don't quite know what it means, but your dad loves it! You also said Nana....which was on accident, but coincidentally, she was right there beside you when you said it :) The other day I was saying, "Tommy, say Mamamamama." You looked me right in the eye, laughed and then blew spit on me. Hmmmm, this better not be a pattern for the future!

 *meeting lots of new friends! Aunt Brooke started baby-sitting Mal Horyna and you LOVE her. You guys have already had a few little squabbles, but it's pretty funny and cute :) I don't think you're to the stage yet where you KNOW you're hurting eachother but you are. You just get so excited and start swinging your arms and you guys end up hitting eachother. But I think you'll be besties for life (and get married someday, too, right?). You also met Mr. Landon Hobbs! You guys didn't hit it off so well....you weren't wanting to share your teddy (we're working on sharing) and Landon REALLY liked your bear :) But that's okay. I know you'll meet again in the future and get along great!
Mal and Tommy

Tommy and Landon
*sleeping pretty well. The last week or so you've been putting up a fight at night time, but it's really random and seems to have no pattern to what nights you do it, so we're working through it. I think the few times you have, you were just so tired but didn't want to miss any excitement :) For the most part, you sleep 9pm-7:30am and wake up once between 2am-4am for a bottle.

*easy to entertain. Your favorite toys are empty water bottles, aunt Brooke's Zumba sticks and hangers. I literally have an empty water bottle in your toy box because you love it so much. You just sit and crinkle it for hours at a time. Sometimes you just randomly freak out and scream at the bottle and then bite it. Scary, but funny!

*loving baby food more and more. You see the jars and get super excited and start bouncing up and down. You're still kind of picky and get a little gaggy if you don't like what you're eating. But for the most part, you enjoy it! You've started eating five star meals like ham, pineapple and rice, chicken and garden vegetables, cinnamon raison granola, and the list could go on and on. Who could resist meals like that?!? You don't drink too much formula anymore. You have maybe 3-4 bottles a day that are 4 oz and then 1 8 oz bottle to go to sleep and 1 8 oz bottle when you wake up at night. Okay, so that sounds like a lot, but it feels like you aren't drinking NEAR as much :)

Your little (or not so little) personality is really starting to come through. It's fun to watch and crazy how much you change in so little time. It's like you figure out one little milestone and then you're just going nuts with learning new things. I can't wait to show you all the new stuff the rest of this year will bring!! We love you, sweet boy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

You are my sunshine.....right?

So, Tommy has been pretty much the perfect kid. Very calm, mild mannered, giggly. Until lately. He seems to have.....found his voice, I guess you would say. This is new to me (obviously, since it's my first kid) and I don't know how to handle it. I love, LOVE this kid but he has figured out this new angry side of him that I DO NOT LIKE.

This is his new thing.....he shrieks. Not like, a cute little "awww, what a funny noise" shriek, but like an ear curdling shriek that makes you wonder where the heck your sweet little baby went. And to top that off, when he's tired of waiting on you to do something or he gets set down when he doesn't want to be, he stiffens his body and stamps his foot down (if he was standing, he would be full on stomping) and screams. What?!?! Where did this come from??????

The worst fit was when one night, he would NOT go to sleep. I could tell he was exhausted and right when he was on the verge of sweet zzzzzs, he would throw him self around to wake back up again. He cried and he cried and he cried. We went around and around for 45 minutes. Now, we have tried the cry it out method (where instead of feeding them when they wake up at night, you let them cry until eventually they stop waking up) and it is NOT for me. But when he's just plain being a brat and crying not because something's wrong but just because he can, I have no problem letting him cry. I had tried singing "You are my Sunshine" to him because it usually calms him right down, but it wasn't working that night. This is not to say it doesn't hurt my heart or make ME want to cry with frustration, but I definitely do not want him thinking he can throw a fit and get what he wants. So I layed down in bed, put him in his pack-n-play beside the bed and ignored him (for the most part). Every time I looked at him, he was biting the edge of his bed and staring at me like, "When the heck are you going to help me?"
Was it sad? Yes. Was it hard? Yes. Has it made him stop throwing fits? No. But it's one step at a time. My problem is, how do you discipline a 6 month old?! I mean, when he screams out of anger, what do you do? I get my "sharp tone of voice" going on, but does he really get that yet?  Anyone have any advice?

He finally fell asleep about an hour later and I have never been happier in my life. He was finally peaceful and so was I. For the most part, he's still my sweet, happy, calm baby boy. This fit throwing seems to mostly happen in the evening when he's sleepy, but that doesn't make it okay. We're working on it one day at a time, but parenting is SO hard!!!!!!!! And then I see this.........

......and I know I would go through a million more screaming and stomping fits to keep this kid in my life.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Banana puffs.....

....also known as the silent killer. That's right, I said banana puffs are a silent baby killer. Let me start with the beginning of the story so maybe by the end of it, you'll be on my side and ban the "melt-in-your-mouth" corn puffs that are so popular right now.

A girl that works with Brooke at Gambino's gave us a whole bunch of baby food, rice cereal and banana puffs because her daughter didn't eat them. This was a HUGE blessing because until about 2 weeks ago, we didn't have to buy Tommy any solids! It saved us a lot of money. But.......we started looking at the puffs a few nights ago and wondering if it was something Tommy could eat yet. We went through all the signs on the back that let you know when your baby is ready to eat the puffs. He met all the requirements, so we decided to give it a try.

Let me set the scene for you. Nick is sitting on the loveseat playing with Tommy while he was talking on the phone to a friend and I was lounging on the couch, watching my two boys with unadultured adoration. I'm telling you, it was a Norman Rockwell painting in the make. I had tried giving Tommy a few puffs ealier, but he hadn't really seemed interested. So Nick decided to try. And that's where it got ugly. I'll tell the rest of the story in pictures.

"Mom, what is Daddy trying to put in my mouth? I'm not sure I want it."

"Alright, alright, I'll try it.........but just a little bite. ONE little nibble."

"Okay, well it's a little more banana-y than I expected. I don't think I want this in my mouth anymore! Get it out!!"

"Well, the aftertaste wasn't TOO bad. Maybe I'll try just one more.....if I could just get them to stop sliding out of my mouth down this stream of slobber...."

Aaaaaaand, this is where he started choking.
What happened next, I will never forget. It was my child's first NEAR DEATH experience!! Dramatic?? Maybe. Scary?? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!! He made a few little coughing noises, so we both started watching him. Then he started full on gagging and gasping for breath. Holy cow, talk about adrenaline. Nick threw his phone down (after explaining to Kevin to "hold on just a minute, I think the kid's choking") and I leaped over the coffee table. Nick was patting his back and when I figured out that wasn't working, I shoved my finger down his throat, TRYING to dig the puff out, but ultimately inducing vomit. That's the only time seeing someone puke hasn't made me puke myself. Glorious chunks of digested banana puffs and formula were all over my hand and Nick's leg and I couldn't have been happier. My baby's air passage was clear!! Thank you Jesus! Then I held him and cuddled him for a really long time. He, of course, had NO idea what was going on and was immediately reaching for the can of banana puffs again. I, on the other hand had visions of chucking the can across the room. Actually, I'm pretty sure I said a bad word in reference to the puffs. Let's just say it was a very scary moment that Tommy lived through and I'm sure there will be many more to follow, but it made me hold my boy close for a little while.......stupid banana puffs.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

To the fellow moms.......

As a mother, I have decided to write down the rules I believe it's ok to follow even though others may say it's not. So mom's, listen up!! I'm giving you permission to do the following, regardless of anyone else's thoughts about it.

It is OKAY to let your kid sleep in your room for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. Even if someone looks at you and says, "oh.....really?? He still sleeps in your room?!? Well MY baby was sleeping in his nursery by 2 weeks old." Guess what. People lived in 1 room houses where everyone slept in the same 5 foot area for HUNDREDS of years and they survived!! Imagine that!

It is ok to let a baby cry for awhile. It will not kill them, it will not hurt them, it won't even scar them. They will be all that much stronger and independent.

But on the other hand, it's also okay to pick them up when they're been crying so long it's physically killing you NOT to hold your baby. They won't be spoiled, they won't be brats---they'll know they're loved by a momma who wants them to be tough but doesn't want them to sad.

It is ok for your baby to sleep in your bed for one night! When my baby boy is sick and whiny and miserable, I'm not going to let him lay in his crib if he feels safe and secure and FINALLY goes to sleep right beside me and daddy in bed. And if you don't agree, don't worry about it! It's not your kid, so you won't have to deal with it if he becomes a cling-on later in life.

It is okay to give your kid their pacifier after it falls on the floor. Ever heard the term "a little dirt never hurt?" Well it's true. Besides, just imagine all the things toddler's have put in their mouths and lived through it. Gross :)

It's okay if your house is still a mess even though you just picked up earlier that day. You have a kid. It will NEVER be spotless unless you're constantly cleaning--and then you won't have time to enjoy your baby! Relax. If company doesn't like how your house looks, then they don't have to be there (it took me awhile to be okay with this, but I am SO there now!).

Your bouncy chair does not have to match your baby's playpen. And the playpen doesn't have to match the crib bedding. And the bedding doesn't have to match the curtains. Are you catching the drift? Sure, a cute nursery is great, but don't sweat it if don't have time to do it. I spent HOURS getting my nursery ready and I can honestly say Tommy has spent a total of about 2 hours in there since he was born 6 months ago.

It's okay if sometimes you just want to walk out the back door and scream or lock yourself in the bathroom and rock back and forth in the bathtub. It doesn't mean you're a bad mom and it doesn't mean you don't love your kids. It just means you're still adjusting to having a human being with you EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY!!!!! I used to feel so guilty for feeling this way, but God understands and if that's what you need to do, do it. Then take a deep breath, put a smile on your face and go back to being Super Mom!!

It's okay if your baby looks like a naked white-trash baby for a few hours. Before I had Tommy, I dreamed of spotless outfits, perfectly combed hair and a clean face at all times. Notice I said DREAMED. It never happened. He spit up on countless outfits, scratches his head like he's a 90 year old man pondering life's meaning (this is the funniest thing EVER, by the way)--which in turn messes up his hair, and has had a snotty nose for the last 4 days. No matter how hard I try, I usually lose. So I stopped trying so hard. Jesus loves my baby just the way he is, so I should too.

It's okay if you accidentally strap the carseat in wrong and the seatbelt locks up and you get a few blocks down the road and hear your baby squealing in joy, so you look in the back seat to see that the whole carseat tipped on it's side. Yes, I did that. Go ahead and judge. But be sure to laugh at yourself when YOU do it :) Because mom's can have moments like that. It just happens.

It's okay if you don't know how to open the new stroller and you spend 20 minutes in the parking lot trying to figure out which lever opens the damn thing. That's right, I said damn. That stroller makes me so MAD sometimes!! One time, I had such a hard time closing it that I just shoved it in my Jeep while it was still open. I bet I looked like I was a bat out of hell. It was 100 degrees outside, my hair was sweaty and curling up and I was panting when I got finished. If you see that happening to someone else, offer to help. I guarantee they'll accept your offer.

It is okay to cry when your kid does something for the first time--laugh, crawl, walk, goes to school, graduates, dates, gets married, has their own kid. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to be tough. There is a certain pride that comes with parenting and it is OKAY to enjoy the results of all your hard work and to have a good cry here and there because you're so dang proud of your baby.

And last but not least, it is SO okay to do things your way. As a parent, you will constantly be learning as you go--learning what works best for YOU and YOUR baby no matter how so-and-so did things. Because people will constantly be telling you what you should be doing. Ignore it (unless you asked for the advice). Do what works for you. You WILL survive. You WILL find the time, strength, energy and MONEY to raise your babies to be good adults.

Being a mom is hard but give yourself permission to not be perfect!!!!