Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stationery card

Scrappy Frames Christmas Card
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quiet Renewal

Over the past 2 years, just about all areas of my life have been through a renewal.  As a result, my blog has been quiet.  I am hoping that will change, as a result of many other changes. 

I am grateful.  The past 2 years have been full of challenges.  I choose to be thankful for them, for the growth and struggle and joy and tears, every last bit of it.  Lately, my life has been such a whirlwind of positive change that I haven't had much time to reflect on things that permeate my reflections this time of year. 

This is the time of year, many years ago, when I met my husband and knew God had just thrown me a huge curve ball.  This is also the time of year my son went from being a Christmastime baby to being a Halloween time baby, and then proceeding to bring both his parents to their knees less than 3 weeks later.  This year, amidst the chaos of a new house, new job, and grasping for togetherness with my family...the reflections came late.  When November 5th rolled around this year, it wasn't until late evening that I caught my breath and remembered the significance of the date.  To most, I am sure its just another day.  To me, that day is a reminder of some of the greatest life lessons all rolled into one moment.  That day is the day I experienced God's most amazing grace (our son lived), got the greatest lesson about Who is in control, and experienced the hardest lesson in parenthood--my son belongs to God, who is only loaning my son to me for this life on earth and each day with him is a gift from God and it will be on God's time that my son will leave this earth, not mine.  Those are not the type of experiences you forget and they don't fade as much as other experiences might.  To say life has been so busy that I didn't have this date front and center in my line of vision this year, well that is saying a lot. 

Over the past two years, we have done the following:
  • My husband started a new career that included attending 16 weeks of training and being away from us most of that time.
  • I went on bedrest and then maternity leave for the birth of our daughter, who refused to be ordinary and chose instead to be dramatic at birth like her brother.  She spent 3 days in the NICU for being raspy, which ended up curing itself.  While she was there, they checked out her heart, which is fine. 
  • When our daughter was two weeks old, we rented out our house and quietly moved halfway across the state to the area near my hometown.  When she was five months old, we moved again to a neighboring town.  When she was 17 months, we moved again, for what we hope is the final time for many years.  Our five year old, who thinks he is in charge most of the time anway, has declared we are not allowed to move again.
  • After my maternity leave was exhausted, I walked away from an amazing job with great benefits and pay.  In our new location, I accepted a new job that God threw at me just as my maternity leave expired. The pay was substantially less.  The work environment was toxic at times.  It only took a few months for me to realize that I would slowly lose my mind if I stayed at this new job.  I didn't like the fact that everything there was reactive instead of proactive, systems didn't make sense and nobody saw fit to change them much, and most folks who stay there for any length of time seem to have become complacent with everything that goes on there.  I also didn't like the way that it started to affect my perception of people and my compassion towards others.  Quitting wasn't an option, never has been for me, as that would have placed us in dire financial distress.  I searched and searched for the right job.  I was miserable.  I went to job interviews, sometimes to second round interviews, but nothing was the right match. 
  • We found a church home.  This is a first for us.  We have searched before, looking for the church that felt comfortable to both of us.  We had yet to find a good fit, until we found our current church.  One Sunday, there was a song played that really got my attention.  As a result, I googled the song and then made a Pandora station from the song.  I quickly found that I felt truly uplifted when I listened to that station.  I listened when I could at work and even though I was still miserable there, it seemed to help lighten my mood.  Then I started listening to Christian music in the truck.  I found myself singing praise songs frequently. 
  • We joined a community group with our church and I also attended a 7 week women's Bible study.  Both uplifted me and continue to do so.
  • My job search continued.  There was a specific Sunday when I applied for several jobs.  By Tuesday afternoon, I had tears rolling down my cheeks because I got to tell my husband that I had not one, but two interviews to attend by the end of the week.  One of those jobs was the right fit, they saw it and so did I.  With this job, I found renewal.  I once again can take pride in my work, am respected for my professionalism and creativity, and am paid accordingly. 
None of this is really extraordinary and all of it is within the normal flow of life.  The one thing I am most thankful for is something that often gets overlooked.  Through all of this, in the mayhem of keeping ourselves and our children afloat, our marriage strengthened.  Most couples seem to do one of two things when they walk the stressful road we have walked the past two years--they either cling to one another and work as a team or they become selfish and push away from one another.  I am thankful to be on my husband's team.  God above knows that I haven't been easy to live with during many of these transitions and my attitude/mood wasn't usually anything to jump up and down about, yet my husband has not only stood by me and encouraged me but has actually somehow managed to draw me closer and our bond is stronger than ever. 

The last couple of weeks, as I shed off the depression caused by my former job, I have only just now realized how much of myself had been lost the past two years.  I am thankful to be back. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thank you? Right back at you woman!

A few weeks ago, another "heart mom" (a mom who has a child with a heart condition) posted a huge thank you to many folks outside her immediate family and friends.  My name showed up in that post and I suddenly realized that she had NO IDEA how much she also helped me and how much I owed her a huge thank you in return.

Here is what she had to say directly to me:  @Marcia Fletcher - THANK YOU! I remember stepping off the elevator at ACH and just hugging you. Thank you for coming to the aid of a mommy in need when you didn’t even know me. You reached out to a stranger and helped me so much. You guided me through my hospital stay and helped me deal with that one bad nurse. I love you, girl!

What follows is my response to her.  I felt it deserved a post of its own, especially since I doubt she has any idea that she helped me while she and her son (and their entire family) were in the worst struggle ever.  It is proof, that when we can't possibly see the world outside of our own mayhem, we still may have God working through us when we don't even realize it.  I firmly believe that is what happened and God led me to her for more reasons than just my opportunity to help her, for she also helped me.  

What she does not realize is that I was still desperately seeking a way to "make good use" of my experience with Kale and his heart condition and all that transpired with his heart journey (which still continues) at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH).  You can read more about that here:

Back to the story at hand...I took a break at work and checked facebook.  A friend from back home had posted something about praying for a family who had a newborn who had just been taken to ACH and the problem was in the baby's heart.  I don't remember who the mutual friend was between this other heart mom and myself.  God was working and that is all that matters.  I immediately felt compelled to go see this family whom I had never met.  I am pretty sure I got the contact info from the friend and called the "new heart mom".  Truthfully, its all a blur.  I can't fully describe the feeling I had that day.  It still brings tears to my eyes, 3 years later.  There was a surge of emotions and fulfillment that overwhelmed me.  Finally, there was an outlet of good use for my experience of having my baby nearly die and then be diagnosed with a heart condition.  I had been waiting and needing that opportunity, God knew it, and it came that day.  

I went to the hospital, waited for an opportunity to meet the mom and just hug her.  In that hug, I hoped she would find compassion, understanding, and a sense of not being alone in her new journey.  I couldn't completely understand her exact experience and her child was definitely in a lot worse shape than Kale had been (her child had required immediate surgery), but I did know what it was to have the shock of your supposedly healthy baby being admitted for a heart condition.  I understood how hard it is to grow this child inside you, and then have to stand back feeling defenseless and completely incapable of helping as your child fights for his life.  Its a lot of emotions and feelings, but most of all its numbing.  Your world, outside of what is happening to your child, seemingly stops.  In the aftermath of our experience with Kale, I tried to seek out other parent's of children with his condition.  I found very few, and none were local.  Kale's condition rarely shows up in young children, let alone a newborn.  I wanted more than anything for someone who had "been there" to hold my hand because I had felt so thrust into the experience, blindsided, and I knew that I had survived on pure faith from the moment I stepped off the ambulance with Kale.  In that kind of experience, you don't know which way you will go with your faith until the moment comes, when you make the choice.  I never questioned mine, I had no time, I simply started praying in the ER and didn't stop until they said he was stable enough to transfer upstairs.  In that moment, I was completely humbled as I realized who this child truly belonged to--his Father.  For the past 17 days, I had thought he simply belonged to us and in this moment I realized how ultimately hard it is to let go of your child and have complete faith in God to either let you have more time with the child or realize the child's life on earth is complete.  There were times after the fact that I talked to God about needing a purpose of my child's struggle and our family experiencing this journey with Kale's heart.  God heard me.  

I listened to her story...her child's story and my heart broke for them.  They had a factor in their story that we did not.  Her heart child was the younger brother--there was a child trying to make sense of this madness that didn't even (does it ever?) make sense to adults.  I let her know I was there, that I wouldn't hover, and that she could call me anytime, day or night.  Then I left the hospital.  

There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think of her, her family, and pray for them.  She called me at once point, we talked, I reassured her that she was in charge of her child's care.  When your child is hanging on the thin balance of life/death, its easy to sink into a pattern of just agreeing with the nurses/doctors and never knowing when to question treatment and when to let them just do what they have been educated to do.  During our stay, we had a nurse with Kale who just wasn't a good fit for us.  It was hard to know if we were doing the right thing, but we requested a change of nurse.  Turns out that experience helped me when this heart mom experienced a similar situation.  I just remember reminding her that she was in fact in charge of her son's care and that she could request a different nurse too.  

In all the struggles, even the smallest of asking for a new nurse, I was able to take those experiences and use them to help someone.  I am not saying her child was only here to serve that purpose, in fact, what I am saying is far from that.  Her child, Jonah, had a much bigger purpose.  He taught his mom (and many others) so much in his short life on earth.  It just so happens, he gave someone else a chance to fulfill a need as well.  

I still keep in touch with Jonah's mom.  I haven't reconnected face to face since we moved back to the area where she lives.  Yet, thanks to social media, I know what is going on in her life.  I know she celebrates Jonah in every way possible.  She fights for him still, even if its just for decorations to go on his grave.  She has taken that motherly love and found a much needed (from every side) avenue to use her talents and her loving heart.  If I have my information right, her family is in the final stages of becoming a foster family.  She doesn't know it yet, but we will have a bond with that as well.  God works funny that way.  

She has a blog and lately she has been going "back in time" and looking at the days of the life of her son, Jonah.  You can check out her posts here:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Challenging the Egg

It amazes me how much my kids can be alike, yet so very different.  When it comes to food, the similarities and differences are glaringly obvious.

Scout LOVES to eat.  She will eat and eat until her belly looks like she swallowed a antelope.  She loves vegetables and fruits.  Kale, on the other hand, will only eat a small variety of things.  He despises all vegetables and most fruits.

Milk has challenged both my kids.  Kale had a very hard transition to milk, as it upset his tummy.  He had a tolerance problem with milk.  Scout doesn't tolerate milk either, but her reaction is a pure allergic reaction that causes her to sneeze, itch, and be blotchy.  This was verified by the allergist.  Do you know how many products contain milk or its derivatives?  Ugh.

Eggs challenged my kids as well.  At 16 months, after a lunch containing every major allergen (he had already been exposed with no previous reactions), Kale freaked us out by sneezing nonstop, becoming itchy, and turning red across his face.  Boom, he is allergic to eggs.  Fast forward to the testing for Scout to verify the egg allergy.  A week before the test, Ep asked if he could give her a bite of his eggs.  I asked if he wanted to spend the day at the emergency room and reminded him we would be paying later in the week to find out the safe way if she could eat eggs.  Sure enough, she is allergic to eggs (to which she reacted more strongly than the milk).  At the same time, over the last few months we have noticed no indications from Kale  that he was still reacting to eggs.  At one point, he was so sensitive that he would react after eating things made on the same machinery that processed another product with egg.  So, despite eliminating all egg products from his diet, he would still sometimes have a minor reaction.

Kale was again recently tested for egg allergy, and got no reaction.  To verify, the allergist wants to do an egg challenge which would require Kale to start with a very minute portion of eggs and eat more and more to see if he reacted...all at the doctor's office and for three hours.  Just getting Kale to try eating egg would be a challenge in itself--we knew that and so does the doctor and his nurse.

So, Ep and I have somewhat done our own egg challenge.  A few weeks ago, Kale was with his daddy and ate cookies that had egg as an ingredient.  No reaction.  So, this morning, I reintroduced Kale to pancakes--not the egg free kind that are similar to pancakes but just not quite the same--real pancakes made from batter that contains eggs.  The kid who never cleans his plate managed to quickly clean his plate and ask for seconds.  I looked him over--no splotches, no sneezing.  He finished that second pancake too.  He just walked back in to the kitchen asking if we had more pancakes...anybody know the best way to hide vegetables in pancakes?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Mother Letters

I don't know about you, but I find myself often looking at another mom and wondering to myself "how in Heaven's name does she keep it all balanced"?  I know that I suffer from mom-comparison and I know I am not the only one.  Each mom struggles, celebrates, and wrangles her way through this adventure in motherhood.    There is comfort in knowing another mom has been there, done it, and for the most part survived--regardless of the trial or tribulation.  Now, there is proof.  Want the proof?  Then check out this book, The Mother Letters  which just so happens to be co-written by a guy who I knew back in high school.  He needed a "not store bought" gift for his wife...and ended up co-authoring a book.

Here is a HINT for all of you...they say mother's of all ages will enjoy The Mother Letters...and Mother's Day is just around the corner!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

He is a leader!

My son is, well, my son.  I remember once being told as a teenager that I was a "natural born leader".  It seems my son has taken my "natural born leader" genes that got mixed together with his daddy's strong leadership skills...and become the only thing that can come from that mixture...a leader.

Kale is strong willed.  He is a fighter.  He is stubborn.  He is persistent.  He is always thinking ahead.  He wants things his way (who doesn't?) and is relentless about that fact.  He wants to be in control.  He often brings his strong willed, stubborn, fighter, persistent mommy to her knees.  Sometimes his daddy gives up before Kale ever gets started.  There comes a time, when as a parent, these little traits stop being cute and start being a mixture of humbling and exhausting.  We are past that point.  Or, at least we were.

I have been trying to work with Kale on not being so loud (Kale won't need a megaphone to be heard...ever!), not throwing fits to get his way (and I am working on not giving in), being respectful, obeying, and all those other skills and behaviors that result in a good balance between parents and children.  I said we are working on it...and I know its going to take a while...oh, say maybe about 20 years.

A few Saturdays ago, my mom and I had taken the kids to Chick-fil-A so Kale could burn off some energy in the play area while Scout and I had a late breakfast.  Just after we arrived, a child made a mess in the floor.  It was a gross mess.  I was trying to keep Kale either in the booth or in the play area to keep him from stepping in the mess (EW!) or slipping in the freshly mopped area.  As we were in the booth, Kale gave some kind of command or direction...either to me or the woman mopping, I don't remember which.  I immediately started correcting him.  Kale, you don't talk to adults that way.  Before I could make it to the next sentence, God spoke to me through the woman who was mopping.  I don't really remember if her words were "he is going to be a leader" or "he has leadership skills".  I was too flabbergasted by the realization.  The woman moved on with her mopping and I tried to pick my jaw up off the table.  I am pretty sure my mom laughed at me.  As a parent, I was failing to see the strength my son was showing because all I could see was frustration, disrespect, and a kid who never keeps his mouth shut.  I am constantly reminded that I am raising a mini-me.  Kale is me in male form.  In case I needed reassurance of that fact, I heard Kale's daddy say this last night in a frustrated voice:  You are SUCH your mother's son.

Thank you God for reminding me of the leader my son has the capacity to be.  Please help me remember to help him use in a positive manner the traits you have given him.  Help me remember that the same traits that are frustrating to experience as a parent from your child are the same traits that will help them become the great individual God created them to be.  (Geesh, my mom could write about three books on that one!)

God shows up all the time in our lives.  For me, He showed up a few Saturdays ago in the form of a lady who was mopping and made a comment that may have forever changed the way I look at my son's "frustrating behaviors and traits".

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Way behind

I am way behind on here...this poor blog has taken the back burner to motherhood, work, and a year of change.  I am hoping to start carving out a little more "me" time as Scout becomes a little more independent and we slowly move away from me being her sole food source.

A little update on us...

Scout now has two teeth, loves trying food from the table, has been caught several times standing without holding on to anything (yet super close to something to grab when she realizes what she has done), and also "walking" her horse and other toys.  If you take both her hands and try to get her to walk...she will not cooperate.  Guess its got to be her way or no way.  Gee, wonder where she gets that trait?  Her daddy gets up with her every morning and they are very well bonded as a result.  He also is the one who gets up if she cries in the night.  Scout adores her brother and can't manage to sit still when she sees (or hears) him.

Speaking of Kale, he is turning into more of a big boy each day.  He constantly loves on his little sister, wants to hold her, and also likes to aggravate her (where do these kids get these traits?).  He loves anything related to a construction site, farm, train, or airport.  We are in the flight path, so he often gets to see a close up view of airplanes as they fly over the yard.  He is becoming more independent each day.  Yesterday, I took the kids to the park before coming home.  I let him out of the truck and he immediately wanted to go play.  He did patiently wait for me to walk him closer to the playground, but off he went and it wasn't long before I heard him asking a little boy about his name.  He knows how to spell his name and can count to ten in Spanish...and mostly gets the numbers in the right order.  He is still waking almost nightly to come crawl in our bed.  I am still joining him in his bed until he falls asleep each night.  I know the time will soon come when he won't want either of those things to happen anymore.  I know his daddy can't wait for that day, but I dread it.

Ep and I are doing well.  We both stay busy with work.  Not having him around all weekend (he works) is tough at times.  We have once again become dedicated to attending church and are really enjoying that and the impact it has on our family.  Outside of being parents and working...the rest of our time is mostly devoted to watching a little tv together each night as Scout falls asleep in my lap and when we get the chance for an extra hour of solid sleep, you can bet we don't have to think twice about crashing!

That is us for now...boring and daily.  I will take it.  I had hoped this year wouldn't be as hectic as last...and this year seems to be cooperating so far!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The officer at church

Growing up, I was used to an armed officer being at church--and sometimes I even road to church with him, as he was my dad. It never once occurred to me that other people took note of it.

When my husband and I recently discussed getting back into the swing of things with church, I reassured him that it wouldn't be an issue for him to show up in uniform for service. He works Sunday, and if he is working then he is on call for all 24 hours of that day.

So, last Sunday, off to a new church we went.  He met us there.  We got the kids situated in their respective classes and found a place at the back of the auditorium that felt comfortable.  We chose the back for two reasons: if his work phones rings, he MUST answer it and because our kids in a unfamiliar place almost guarantees we will be summoned for one of them (and Scout fulfilled that guarantee).  We worshiped, we praised, and we truly enjoyed the church service.  About half way through the service, Scout joined us in the auditorium.  We kept her mostly quiet.

After service, we retrieved Kale from class and headed out the door.  I noted that next time I should park closer to the entrance by the kid's classrooms.  Sunday went on without much flair.

Turns out, somebody either inside or outside the church took note of my husband's uniformed presence.  Within the next 24 hours, someone placed a call and it became apparent that at least one person questioned my husband's right to attend church in uniform.

The first thing I did was laugh.  Good try devil.  Not gonna work.  We are still going to be going to church.  My next thought was shame on the person so poorly representing the church and being so blinded by the devil to believe that a church would ever stand behind the idea of rebuking a uniformed officer.  I have never heard a police agency refusing an officer the opportunity to attend church regularly.  Sure, things come up and the officer may be unable to attend from time to time due to performing work duties (read: keeping the general public safe).  I have known many an officer who used "lunch/supper hour" to attend church.  No big deal.  Nobody expects the officer to run home, change clothes, attend church, and then run home to change again.  Since when did church have a stringent dress code anyway?

So, another call was made and it was made very clear to our family that we were welcome at the church and with my husband being in uniform.  We knew we would be headed back to church there again this morning.

This morning, off we went.  We met my husband at church.  We were VERY reassured by a church leader that we were welcome there with him in uniform.  We signed our four year old up for baseball, despite him yelling/screaming the whole way back to the car that he doesn't to play (he does, he just doesn't know it yet...he loves to hit the ball and loves to throw!).  We went on our way.  Life goes on.  And we will continue to go back to church there.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

January 9th

I'm starting to have a general "dislike" for January 9th.

Last January 9th, I told my husband goodbye for a week as he started his training for work.  For the following 16 weeks I saw my husband for maybe 48 hours each weekend.  Most weekends it was less.  He did get to call most nights.  As I have said in other posts, I was pregnant, chasing a three year old, and working full time.  I kept my sanity and gave myself reality checks by reminding myself that it could be worse--my husband could be a soldier who was away from home for much longer with less contact.  Our daughter was named from one of the shows I watched to help me keep that reality check going.

This time last year, I had no idea I would be spouting off the "May mantra" again, but yet it stares us all in the face again.  If I can make it through today, I can make it until May.  A friend once shared that with me when I was struggling with a commitment I had made to work somewhere until May.  Last year, I shared that mantra with my husband.  We both repeated it several times throughout last spring.  I am not sure who will sing it loudest this brother, my sister in law, or my mom.

Tomorrow is January 9th and my little brother takes off for basic training with the Army National Guard.  My sister in law is pregnant, about the same place in her pregnancy as I was this time last year.  She chases an almost 18 month old little boy around non-stop.

Yep, I am pretty sure that I will just cross January 9th off the calendar next year...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Product Insight: Moby, Erog, Baby Spoon

I have had a few mom's recently ask me for insight on wraps, specifically the Moby wrap.  When I was still pregnant with my daughter, I polled people on wraps, slings, and carriers.  I had given away the carrier I used on my son because it never seemed to feel comfortable enough.  I ended up with both a Moby wrap and the Ergo carrier.

First off, do you really need a wrap/carrier/sling?  Well, if this is your first child, then you don't necessarily NEED one.  If you have a small child and are ever going to need to shop at Walmart or the grocery store with both children with you and not have someone to push a second cart...then HECK YES, YOU NEED SOMETHING!  I have a four year old and 7 month old.  I recently made a trip to Walmart by myself.  Before I left the store, I stopped an assistant manager and asked him how in the world Walmart expects any mom who has to bring more than one child to put her children AND her groceries while she shops.  By the time you put one child in the seat and leave an infant in the carseat in the big part of the have NO room for groceries.  Unless you buy all your groceries at Target and enjoy pushing around a card the size of a semi, then you are probably going to want something for that one time when you have to go shopping and take all the kids with you!

That are my thoughts on the wrap and some other products...

Moby Wrap
What I love about it:  the concept, how it works when I get the wrap on in a comfortable hold, there are many different holds and you can adjust them to what best fits you and your baby, easy to wash, easy to store (wad it up, fold it up...whatever works!), you can use it from infancy through toddler years, and one size fits all!  There are lots of youtube vidoes and online support from Moby on how to position for the different wrap holds.  The fact that you can custom the holds to what works best for you and your baby is great.

What I don't love about it:  I have yet to figure out who to put on the wrap without half the wrap being on the floor when I start to put it on.  At home, this is fine.  Out in public or in a parking lot, um, not so great.  I really don't want to be wearing something that I just had on the floor or ground, much less putting my baby in it!  The stretchy material is great, until you have been wearing the wrap long enough that it stretches out and your hold starts to not feel as secure.  I am not a small girl.  Warning:  I am about to mention my boobs. My boobs aren't small either.  When my daughter was smaller, it was like I couldn't get the wrap tight enough to really feel she was super secure, still accommodate my boobs and yet not feel I was going to smother her with my boobs.  I recently wore her and at almost 18lbs, we had a great hold and the fit felt right without feeling like my boobs were going to smother her.

I will say that the one time I wore my daughter facing outward in the moby wrap, she seemed to feel a little overwhelmed, overstimulated, and wasn't sure what to do with her flailing arms/legs.  I need to try it again now that she is a little older.

Side note, some moms can nurse while wearing the Moby...I have NO IDEA how they do that at all.

Overall, I am glad to have this as a baby-wearing option.

Ergo carrier
I was able to snag this carrier cheap from a online shopping site.  Let me rephrase that...I convinced my mom to buy me this carrier from an online shopping site.  I give credit where its due...thanks mom!

What I love:  soft fabric, comes with hood to cover baby if outside in foul weather, adjustable, fairly easy on/off for carrier with straps, lots of padding in straps and comfortable to wear for extended time periods, option to carry baby on back (but I haven't been brave enough to try this yet).

What I don't like:  I can't wear my daughter forward facing.  Meaning, if I use the carrier on my front, then baby is facing me.  There is no option for her to face outward. Not really sure if this is such a downfall, as I don't know how much I would use that option anyway...just thought I should mention it though.

Overall, this carrier is a little pricey, but I think its worth it...especially if you don't get a Moby.

I will put this in bold, just in case you missed the comment earlier:  If you have a young child already and are adding a baby to the family, you need a carrier/wrap/something!  Even if you aren't big on baby wearing...there are going to be at least a few times that you may have to do the grocery shopping with both (or all) kids with you and you are going to need somewhere to put the groceries!  I assure you that I don't leave my house without one or both of my Moby or Ergo with me.

By the way, nobody is paying me or helping me out because I am promoting these products...just trying to give my honest opinions and help some fellow mommies out.

The "NEW" baby spoon
Take a cruise down the baby aisle and you will notice that there is a new type of "spoon" that has a handle that doubles as the food holder.  Meaning, you pour the baby food into the handle and then squeeze the handle to release food onto the spoon.  I LOVED the concept and hate the reality.  So far, I have used mine once.  I have about four more that I need to return.  I just don't see us using these.  For one, we mix our daughter's baby food with cereal and this doesn't work as well with this type of "spoon".  Also, I like the rhythm of the dip, scoop, feed.  Once its time for our daughter to start using a spoon, there is no way she could use this to learn how to eat.  Overall, I am just not a fan.  Again, great concept but I hate the reality.  Just wanted to share that about this trendy little item.

I hope that helps and if you have questions, you can ask away!  Just comment here or send me an email or shout at me on facebook...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dear 2012

Well hello there 2012.  So glad to meet you.  If you see my old friend 2011, tell it I said goodbye and that it was a little too marathonish for me.  See, 2011 unfolded something like this:

Jan 9--my husband began 16 weeks of training that took him away from home every Sunday night through Friday afternoon.  He was allowed to call home each evening he was gone, but the timing was random and there were more than a few nights of waiting up past bedtime for his call because he was out in the woods dancing with trees, cleaning, holding books in the air, or whatever his "trainers" had him doing.  This wouldn't have been so bad if I wasn't 20 weeks pregnant and chasing a 3 year old...oh, and working full time.

Jan 18--my birthday.  Enough said.

Jan 25ish--we put our house up for sale...constantly keeping it "show worthy" clean in case someone called and wanted to view the house at the drop of a dime.

Feb and Mar--are just a blur as I tried to prepare us for having a baby, possibly moving, and not lose my mind.

April 7--went to doc for pregnancy check up and got sent home on modified bed rest due to elevated blood pressure...was determined not to flunk this time around.

April something or other--twice I got sent to the hospital for observation...once for four hours and once overnight.  At least I got to bond with the nurses for when the real deal happened.

April something or other again--I listed our house for rent, showed it, and rented it to the first family who responded to the ad.  We took our house off the real estate market.

April 28 or 29...I think the 28th--my husband became a fully commissioned officer who wears a gun everyday and I really started relearning my 10 codes (police language).

May 1--my husband started his new assignment 150 miles away while I stayed behind with the 3 year old and my pregnant belly.  He came home for his days off.  The other five days/week he was 150 miles away.

May 15--my husband came home so we could have a baby...and pack.  Somewhere in here, he rents us a house.  I am now moving to a house I have only seen in iphone pics.  No stress there.

May 17--we went to the hospital for an everyday c-section delivery of a full term baby girl, expecting to leave the operating room with her resting on my chest.  Instead, she went to the NICU.  If it tells you anything, I just recently remembered to ask my mom what it was my husband said when he came to the waiting room to announce her birth.  At least I remember more about the day she was born than the day her brother was born.  Oh, and they took me to see her on my way back from the OR to my room.  Not sure they normally do that, but they did!  Maybe that bonding I had done with them earlier was part of that.  My husband and I didn't allow anyone back to see her because we knew she needed rest and healing, and that isn't compatible with lots of visitors and noise.  We did take our 3 year old back to see his sister.  He got to see her through a window.  He doesn't remember it, but I do.  The look on his face was incredible and he got so quiet...which NEVER happens.

May 18, 19, 20--pretty much a blur...I remember being asked if I wanted to room in with my daughter one night before heading home...all I could think was "let's get out of here".  So, about 10 minutes before I got discharged, guess who showed up in my room ready to go home with us?  Yep, a little baby girl.  And off we went.  I was home for about 3 hours when the stress, hormones, and a little bit of self diagnosed post traumatic stress syndrome kicked in on me.  I definitely wasn't me for a few days.

May 24--lets add a wreck to the fun.  My husband is with my dad, coming back from "taking a load" from our old home to our new one. I call the doc and tell him that something just isn't right and the medicine he prescribed isn't working and I am not waiting 6 weeks for things to level out.  I won't make it that long.  Doc tells me to come in at 4:30 and he will work me in at the end of the day.  My mom is driving because I am a week out from having a c-section.  We had picked up Kale, so both kids are in the back seat.  Traffic comes to a halt on the interstate.  We stop.  The car behind us doesn't.  Nothing like a rear end collision when you have a belly wound that is trying to heal, your week old daughter in the vehicle, and your 3 year old along for the ride.  Here is the irony...whatever it was that my body needed to get me back on track was found somewhere in the reaction to that wreck.  My nerves needed something to respond to at that point and they got it in a big way.  We were all deemed fine and eventually drove on to the doctors office.  I joked with the nurse that maybe the wreck shook loose whatever had ahold of me.  Apparently, I was right.  I suddenly felt like myself again and was moving forward.

May 28--the keys were handed off to the new renters, my husband was at work and anxiously awaiting our arrival at our new off we went.  Exhausted doesn't even begin to touch what we were feeling.  I think my parents are still trying to recover from those few weeks.

June--we settled in...sort of.  Kale started daycare because he would get up each morning, look at me and his sister and then ask "what are we going to do here today".  After three days of me telling him we were going to eat, nap, and change diapers...he needed something different.  He went to hang out with what he called "my kids".

July--we agreed that the rental house wasn't big enough for the four of us.  I also gave my two weeks notice at my former job and finished out my maternity leave.  I could finally tell people what had been going on in our lives.

July/August--the fields behind our rental house caught fire.  The first time, we didn't have to evacuate.  The second time, we evacuated.  Nothing like gathering up all you can and two babies and not knowing if the rest of your stuff will be charred rubble when you return.  I didn't unpack the back of my truck for a few days.  I hadn't had it unpacked the first time for more than a few hours when we realized the field was on fire and all of it went right back in the truck so we could leave...without my husband because he was off to help fight the fire.

Late July--I had applied for a job and got the awaited phone call that they wanted to hire me.  My "time off" suddenly had an end date and the worry about what to do when my maternity leave pay ended was for nothing because this job would pick up right where that pay would end.  Hello God. job, started Scout in daycare...then changed the kids daycare so they could both be at the same place...thats about all I remember about that month.

Sept--just a blur.

Oct--organized a birthday party for Kale (now 4) and then promptly started packing to move (again).  We were let out of our lease and found a larger house in a more convenient off we went. I joked that we could get moved in three days.  The joke was on me.  The calvary showed up to help us move and by golly we were moved in less than three days.  I am still unpacking.

Nov and Dec...a blur of holidays...mixed with Scout learning to crawl, sit up, and pull up in a matter of a few weeks.

There was some other stuff in 2011...but mostly what I remember was, 2011, I might be a few days late...but you were fun and adventurous but I am glad you are gone.  Dear 2012, I really hope we can agree to be a little slower paced...but knowing my kids and husband, I doubt it.