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wife. mom. adjunct professor. we homeschool. i'm a little bit OCD. i love math. bright colors and geometric designs make me drool. we live with a medical rarity, and Jesus saved his life. through that, Jesus is changing us. The american dream and status quo is overrated...and sometimes just plain wrong. our lives, our family, our careers, our faith are all now filtered through a new lens-- thank you Jesus. welcome to our crazy. feel free to take some of it with you, we have plenty to go around.
It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
-- Lena Horne

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-- Jesus Christ

Saturday, May 28, 2011

advice and dis-advice :)

While I wait on the boys to fall asleep so B Dawg and I can find a late night movie to rent on TV...I thought I'd blab a little.

Today has been delightfully uneventful...picked a few things from the garden. The boys played in their new little swimming pool.  I mopped my kitchen floor with my homemade concoction (no...not bleach and ammonia...i'm smart, remember!) and homemade swiffer pads... :)  And now I'm sitting here just waiting to veg out on the couch and watch a movie.  I'm a go-getter.  Idle hands I do not have.  So I don't take nights like this very often, and when I do, I eat all the snacks I can find and stay up as late as my eyes will stay open.

I have a lot of friends who are new moms...or moms going through things for the first time (of which I am one, since my 4 almost 5 year old is new territory every day- never raised one of those before...) and I have seen a lot of questions lately, or musings by other experienced moms or mommy blogs or whatever whatever about advice needed now, or advice you wish you would've had- or wouldn't have had... so I thought I'd compile a list here--- hopefully you will nod in agreement, or shake your head in dismay, or laugh, or whatever.  And when you're all finished reading this little diddy, you can leave a comment if you have one.  I mean, you know, if it's nice.  Because we all received that advice at one point-- if you can't say something nice.... :)

So. advice, musings, regrets, mistakes, whatever this list becomes, here it is.

1. Your offspring WILL poop in the bathtub.  Maybe not as a baby, or maybe so...but it will happen. Brace yourself. Get some latex gloves or an aquarium net...and keep some bathroom cleaner under your sink.
2. child-proof cabinet things are annoying. But if you don't have them, because they are annoying, the removal of all your cabinets' items becomes even more annoying.  In addition, everyone who comes to your house who does not have children or is not familiar with such new-fangledness as child proof latches will become incredibly frustrated trying to open your kitchen cabinet to get to the trash.  I mean, why do you need a latch on the trash cabinet?  It's not like your 1 year old is gonna open the cabinet and eat an enchilada out of the trash.
3. your one year old could possibly eat an enchilada out of the trash.  mine did.
4. You will get frustrated. You don't think you will. You might even judge those moms who do.  But you will get frustrated at some time.  I mean, you're the most awesomest person around, so you will probably hold your frustration in supremely and never yell or cry or just need to shut yourself in the laundry room with a box of zebra cakes while Jr. cries it out....but you will still get frustrated. gracefully.  or maybe not so gracefully.  that's okay.  it's super okay because if you are AWARE that you will get frustrated, YOU can lay baby down or put child in room with some toy, and step away, even if you are letting said child cry it out...because when you do get frustrated, it is good to know when you need a break. and those zebra cakes will make you feel sick later, and might even make you get a little fatter, but it's worth it.  just make sure you say grace before you eat each one.
5. you don't know everything. you don't.  you might know a lot of everything by the time you have a second child, but with your first, there is no way you know everything.  neither does everyone else- even if it's your grandmother who birthed 17  children in the same day with no anesthesia.  every mom is different. so is every baby.  so take advice when it's offered, and throw it out the window if it's advice that sucks.
6. sometimes weird advice might be right...for you. even if you don't think it is/will be. like how i read of someone giving their kid goat milk and i thought they were the wackiest people ever until i met someone else who had to give her kid that, and then someone else...and then i realized that even though i'd been giving my kid cow milk like a normal mom, so much better than those weird moms, he had super bad eczema that was always worse the more dairy he ate/drank.  and i had another baby, this one with a lot of medical issues, who would be doing semi-fine when he was breastfed but when it came time to switch him to another form of milk, dairy messed him up inside every time we tried it.  so even though i thought it weird, i gave it a whirl- the goat milk, that is.  and it's worked beautifully in my son.  so even if someone tells you something and you think "that's stupid. she's weird."  you better smack yourself in the mouth, because you might just be wrong, and you might need the weirdos advice one day.
7. you don't have to do what everyone tells you. in fact, don't.  but tuck it away in a file-- figuratively...or literally if you are THAT type-A.  but maybe you might need that goat milk advice.  or maybe you might need to talk to that mom who is educated about vaccines. or maybe that strange sounding website that weird mom at the park told you about might have exactly what you are looking for.  or maybe jane from down the street planned a super cool birthday party on a tight budget and you wanna know where to score those awesome party favors.  don't be afraid to ask, and don't be too rude to listen with an open mind.
8. you are the parent. your baby can't talk. it can cry. it can laugh, sometimes. it can pee, poop, burp, and pass gas with the best of em.  but you gotta know your stuff.  you are the advocate.  i don't just mean you get to do whatever you want, no matter what hippie mom down the road tells you.  i mean, i guess you DO...but i am saying- you call the shots.  this puts a HUGE ball in your court.  you HAVE to know your stuff.  and all that random advice people give you, that's part of your stuff.  no one knows everything. not the lady down the street, not your coworker, not you, and not even your doctor.  so ask questions- especially at the doctor.  don't take the first random thing you are told as gospel truth- if the only thing wrong with your kid is that she has a red dot on her leg, even if the dr told you it was chicken pox, you might not believe the doctor.  if the only thing wrong with your kid is a fever, if the doctor says it's a virus but you think it's something else, you have the right to ask-- you're paying the copay!  you can have the doctor look at the ears...the throat...the whatever. you're the boss.  yeah, you don't have 50 years of medical school under your belt, so you gotta bow the knee a little bit, i mean, they ARE the doctor.  But they aren't God. They aren't psychic. They can't see through flesh.  Just because they SAY something doesn't make it true!  We've been misdiagnosed-- humongously but also on smaller scales. "no it isn't strep throat, it's a virus."  oook.  a week later my kid is still feeling bad, still having fever, tonsils swollen to kingdom come, can't talk normally..."it's just a virus."  3 days later, still no better.  antibiotics given...and within 24 hours, normal child is back. coincidence? maybe.  maybe not.  YOU are the advocate.  love your doctor. give them respect. appreciate the knowledge they have. But don't take it like you're stupid and they're smart.  YOU'RE smart.  and your kid can't tell you what's going on, so BE persistent.  If I could harp on one thing, this would be it!  I can't TELL you how many times I have known something specific is wrong with one of my kids and have been told- not by one doctor, but multiple- that nothing was wrong, or it would pass in a few days, etc....and then a week later, we return to get the diagnosis i suspected in the FIRST place. And I can't even count how many other parents have told me "oh it's just this" and then "just this" becomes something else.  And it isn't the parents' fault. It isn't the doctor's fault. Just be educated. Don't take things at face value JUST bc of someone's degree status.  *disclaimer here- i am NOT anti doctor. I love our doctors. All 23875976387456 of them. i am PRO-parental education and advocacy. And as far as I know, so are ALL of our doctors.  so SPEAK UP, mommas and daddies!  YOU are your child's voice. YOU!
9. Breastfeeding isn't easy. It isn't sunshine and roses and constant cuddles.  It is going from a tiny chested individual to dolly parton with your first baby and figuring out how to get comfortable with that engorgement and figuring out how to work a fandangled contraption called a breastpump...and is that kid latching on right?  WHAT? I can't have ANY milk at all bc it's making my kid's belly hurt (this was my case, with BOTH children).  Heck no, I'm having my ice cream!  And then I'm paying for it being up all night with a baby arching his back in pain. Nope, no dairy for me.  But it is worth every effort you put forth- it is FREE, it IS better for your kids than formula, and unless there is some physical reason or medical reason you CAN NOT do it, it is totally worth the effort. I know there are exceptions to EVERYTHING, so don't take this personally- your situation might be an exception. That's fine. But in the average jane person, breastfeeding does not go splendidly at first.  Baby might latch on, baby might not. You might need some weird nipple shield.  You might have to pump.  Don't listen when people tell you you aren't making enough milk, especially at the very first, when your baby is brand new.  What you ARE making is what that baby needs. I know that's a lot in one paragraph and I didn't even camp out near as much as I want. You find someone who is supportive and knowledgeable about breastfeeding if that's what you choose to do with your baby...find a friend, a LaLeche leader, a Lactation Consultant...and you ask all the questions you can think of. And don't listen to the naysayers.  As with anything new, it is difficult at first. It takes awhile to get used to it, but then it is second nature, even with all the hoops some of us have to jump through.  Promise....I made it 12 months with my first baby and 18 with my second. (again, no one get their panties in a wad- i KNOW there are exceptions).
10. Keep pens and permanent markers out of reach- your couch will either look like a Pollock original or your child will have a Hitler moustache.  And kids are really good at finding stuff, so you know...hide things somewhere super duper good- out of reach...or you know, in those child safety latch cabinets.
11. kids give the best hugs and the sweetest kisses, and if they are your kids, take all that lovin you can get.
12. children draw really funny pictures and if you need a laugh, give your 4 year old a crayon and some paper and tell them to get to work.
13. unless you are wonderwoman (and i know a few who are!)-- your body might never look as good post baby as pre baby.  i know this can seem like an excuse for laziness, but i don't mean it as one.  sure, get up and dance, go to the gym, lift some weights, do some cardio...get in shape- you owe your kids that. so do i.  but you don't have to look like Barbie...remember what usually happens to Barbie anyway- she gets her hair cut off in some awful chop job by a 3 year old.  hot? i think not.
14. sleep when the baby sleeps.   work fast and furiously when the baby sleeps. sleep when the baby sleeps. or don't. do what you have to do. if you wake up from a drool producing deep sleep, buried in a pile of laundry you can swear you already folded...well, that's okay too.  babies make you tired.  and they create a lot of laundry.  you know...just do what you gotta do.
15. have fun! you don't have to be june cleaver, and i hope you aren't peg bundy, but YOU are the mom (or dad) God gave to the child He gave YOU.  yes, you're gonna get frustrated.  yes, you're going to mess up sometimes.  make it right when you do that.  make playdoh with your kids sometimes. bake cookies.  let them help.  when you've had too much, go out for a night with a friend- THAT is important and FAR too many people are unsupportive of stuff like that. You deserve that.  And when you come home and find your prince(s) or princess(es) tucked in bed, fast asleep, kiss them on their sweet foreheads and breathe in that life, that youth, that innocence, that is just beaming out of them!

movie time. I could keep going, but I'll give you a turn!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

terribly busy, no blogging, thoughts, ramblings...

Well, considering the blogging front is dwindling at my fingertips (my blogging front, anyway), I figured it was time for some updates.  Thankfully, there isn't a lot to report!  We are still doing well- Ridge has been transfusion free for the past 9 and a half weeks-- holla! He's the sweetest boy around, kissing everything in sight-- momma, daddy, brother, the dishwasher, the bathtub, you know, just whatever.  It's hilarious. He is sort of learning to run, which is quite funny because he throws his arms behind him and then just stomps really rapid-fire.  He has learned to stick out his tongue, so he thinks...but really he is just opening his mouth really big.  It's hilarious. Every single time.

Allergies are kicking our tails right now.  The oldest child is all puffy eyed and congested, while the youngest is all faucet- nosed.  yucko.  But everyone seems to feel okay, which is good, because as an allergy sufferer myself, I know how bad allergies can make one feel at times.

What else is new? Oh, yeah..I have a job!  I will be teaching two developmental math courses in the fall at a local community college!  I am nervous and excited, and so thankful for the opportunity that presented itself through a friend. I totally consider this an open door provided by the Lord.'s new, it's scary, but I think i'm really going to like it-- it won't change our schedule much at all, and I will get to be back in a classroom.

Other than that, no big news to report here.  In light of the new job, I have really been thinking back on the last two years and how much the Lord has done for us.  I mean, two years ago, I had to leave my job because of circumstances.  It was a tough decision but an obvious one.  I didn't have to battle internally over what I would do, I knew what I had to do, even if I didn't want to.  Things got really bad with baby and we were clinging to faith that seemed impossibly small.  And...God came through.  In spite of our small faith.  Because it isn't about us.  And things stayed difficult for kind of a long time.  And things still aren't normal.  But gradually, things got more normal, and they are continuing to become more and more normal.  And I am often reminded of that.  Of the times we have been brought through, of the promises that have been made to us by a faithful and loving God, of the lessons we have learned and are still learning, of the faith that has grown and will continue to grow.  I find it fascinating that even as adults, we don't have to/get to just be "done" with stuff.  Life keeps coming at us, and God isn't finished with us, and lessons are still learned and faith is still tested, and miracles can still happen- in us, through us, around us.  In my own life right now, I am being challenged to realize/recall/remember/learn for the first time, I don't know-- to see that in this one life that we've been given- in this one life that I've been given-- there IS something great that God wants to do not just IN me, but THROUGH me, for others, maybe for just one person, maybe for the world! I don't know.  But I know it's true for all of us who are believers-- just floating around through our life, doing everything like everyone else, blending in...well, that's weird.  That isn't how it's supposed to be!  There are GREAT things in store for us-- we have to seize them!  I am reading a book by Steven Furtick right now that reminds us of having a Joshua like faith.  Before God is going to do a "sun stand still" type of miracle, there will be challenges-- there will be obedience that is tested.  There will be difficult decisions made. THere will be things done that I/you/we may not want to do.  But that doesn't matter.  Because to walk through those things in faith will bring us out on the other side to see the glorious things God has in store for us.  And I don't want to get so caught up in the junk that's around me/us that I miss that.  And I don't think we talk about that kind of stuff enough. I don't think that living our faith is important enough to most of us.  I'm not pointing fingers- well, if I am, I'm pointing some back at me, too, anyway-- I'm just saying, it doesn't seem like faith is an integral part in our life as much as it should be. I don't want faith only when I "need" it.  Because...that isn't faith.  I don't want a genie God-- "what can He do for ME?"  That's stupid.  I don't want a generic God-- "well, I'll be prayin for ya...crossing my fingers too.  God's good!" Then turn around and forget that was ever even said, not give it another thought.  I want THE God.  You know, the one who split the Red Sea, made the sun stand still, created all the earth and space, raised the dead, turned water to wine, died and rose again- THE God.  And I don't like how we say those kind of things and then forget about them.  We shouldn't just want this on Easter, or tomorrow, or 5 times a year, or when things get tough.  Every day. Because He's the same. Every day.  And unfortunately, so are we, a lot of the time.  If I'm gonna be the same every day, I don't want to be the same as everyone else is the same!   I know I'm rambling...sometimes my thoughts go down clearly, other times I'm working them out. I'm still working this out.  How about you?