Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hallowed Ground

Today I'm keenly aware of how fast Caleb is growing up. I looked at him in the cradle this morning and was shocked to realize the cradle that once seemed so large was now filled end to end with baby. During floor time today Caleb mastered playing with a toy he's been fiddling with for a month. This week we've moved nursing from every 3 hours to every 4 during the day. Nursing sessions that once lasted an exhausting 45 minutes now fly by at only 10 minutes. So when my (not so little) boy fought his nap with every ounce of his 3 month old being, I set aside my to do list. I stopped worrying about dishes to be washed and laundry to be put away. As I leaned over his crib and patted his bottom until my back ached, I realized something. I was standing on hallowed ground. This moment wouldn't last forever. This moment was a sacred moment of just me and my son. He won't need me forever. He won't want to snuggle forever. Then I thought of my friend with empty arms because Jesus called her baby home too soon. I thought of my friend who is being called home to Jesus and her babies won't have their momma to rock them to sleep. I thought of my own mother who can't rock her babies to sleep because they're rocking babies of their own. So there I stood, on holy ground, knowing how I'd longed to be a mother, knowing how blessed I was to have not just any baby but THIS baby, knowing how lucky I am to stay home while Caleb is young. There in that moment I had 2 options: continue to attempt to get Caleb to sleep in a cold crib, all alone; or scoop up my bundle of joy and hold him for as long as he'd let me. Now here I sit - on the hallowed ground of my rocking chair - while my baby fights nap time in my arms. I wouldn't dream of my day going any other way!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pioneer Woman I am not...

My son spits up. He spits up a lot. Sometimes it's cute because he smiles while it runs down his chin. Sometimes it's not so cute when we're running late and he soaks us both. My original plan was to use receiving blankets to wipe up dribbles and use an occasional cloth diaper to clean the bigger spit ups. The reality is that I now own 31 burp rags and never leave the house without 2 tucked in the diaper bag, one in the car seat, and usually one across my shoulder. We have them everywhere!!! Therefore, it's rather frustrating that one package of burp rags isn't as thick and absorbent as the others. I dread when those are at the top of the pile and I end up with one of those across my shoulder. I just know it's one good spit up away from soaking through to my shirt. So when someone mentioned to me this morning that I could make them more absorbent by boiling them for 10 minutes I was thrilled. I immediately put it on my to do list! Therefore, when I was folding laundry this afternoon and discovered that all 10 of the bag rags were clean at once I quickly pulled out my largest pot. The story of my adventure follows:

So there we were, enjoying a quiet Friday afternoon. Caleb was peacefully napping and I was ready to get these burp rags in the pot! At first I attempted to stuff all 10 in one pot, but I quickly discovered they wouldn't fit. I figured 5 rags at a time wasn't too bad so I shoved them in there and filled the pot with water. I turned the stove on high, poked the burp rags with some tongs a few times, and walked away. Then, my ADD exhausted new mommy brain took over and I took total leave of my senses. I began putting things away around the house. I picked up the stuff that mysteriously accumulates on the coffee table, I examined my hair do in the mirror, I told myself if I was a good stay at home mom I'd hang up those clean clothes thrown in the chair, I sat down and began reading blogs of people I don't even know. And then I heard it. That unmistakable sound of water boiling over and hitting a very hot stove top. I'm not sure how the lap top got to the floor - I may have thrown it, I may have dropped it, or I may have set it down gently - I just know that I high tailed it to the kitchen to assess the damage. The water was boiling over so violently that I wasn't quite sure how to grab the pot and pull it away. I reached around and turned off the burner and then managed to grab the pot and slide it to a cooler part of the stove. And then I just stood there, staring at my steaming pot of burp rags and water boiling away on a hot burner. (Praise the Lord for a glass-top stove!) Suddenly I realized I had no plan for what to do with the burp rags now that I'd boiled them and I had no idea how long they'd been boiling. Should I let everything cool and then try again with the next batch? Should I keep boiling this batch? Should I try to remove these burp rags and try to use the already hot water for the other batch? When I did remove the burp rags where in the world was I going to put them? So I stood there, literally scratching my head, and wondering what I'd gotten myself into...

I finally decided that my best bet was to pull the burp rags out with some tongs and put them in a bowl. However, when I got to the cabinet I realized my biggest plastic bowl was in the fridge full of yummy leftovers. So I had no choice but to use my large stainless steel mixing bowl. As I stood there holding steaming hot boiled burp rags I realized a metal bowl was not my best option. But what was I going to do? I couldn't really wander around the kitchen with a drippy cloth diaper clutched in my tongs... So I loaded up the metal bowl and careful drained out the excess water. I left it to cool on the counter and added the other 5 burp rags to the pot. I was determined not to make the same mistake this time, so I didn't add any water and I never left the stove. As I sat there poking at my pot of fabric I wondered how many homemakers had done this before. How many women had boiled their clothes in an effort to clean them? Suddenly it dawned on me. I am no pioneer woman. I'm so firmly attached to my 21st century luxuries I would make a horrible pioneer! I smelled something burning and furiously began stirring the burp rags around in an attempt to stop the fabric from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot, much like cheese or noodles tend to do. Then it hit me - the fabric wasn't burning. It was the water and minerals on the bottom of the pot that were cooking off as the burner heated up. I rolled my eyes and thanked the Lord for putting me in this century and not the 1800s.

I carefully watched the clock to know when the burp rags would be finished, but completely forgot to remember what time they started boiling. I just knew what time it currently was. As I stood there attempting to stir fabric, I left my wrist over the pot a little too long. I now have several small red spots where the bling on my bracelet heated up and burned my skin. (I'm telling you - ADD exhausted new mommy brain is the worst!) When I got tired of poking at the burp rags I decided that enough was enough and took them off the burner. Then I was met with another debate - what bowl did I use now? The first batch was still steaming so I knew I couldn't touch them quite yet. Then suddenly I remembered! We had several large plastic bowls we keep for serving chips at all the many wild parties we throw. I could use one of those!

So now I have 2 bowls of steaming burp rags sitting on my counter. One bowl is way too hot to touch and the other is pretty and purple with little polka dots around the top. I'm not sure what to do from here. I attempted to pick up a burp rag, only to discover that the top had cooled nicely but the bottom retained its heat like you wouldn't believe! So I turned the burp rags over like the strangest tossed salad anyone has ever seen, and left them to cool. I don't know if they're more absorbent or not. I know they're hot! I know that pretty purple bowls work better for hot things than stainless steel. I know that I am not a pioneer woman. And that's how I narrowly escaped death...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Today, I had big plans. Special, wonderful, amazing plans. My dear friend Brandi was supposed to come visit. She and her husband were going to spend the night. I was supposed to get to spend two days in a row with her! We were going to have uninterrupted visiting. Visits that weren't interrupted by a nurse coming to draw blood or another bag of chemo hooked up to an IV. I had dreams of telling her all of my adventures in mothering and hearing the latest updates from her 2 sweet children. It was going to be a little taste of heaven right here in my living room.

But yesterday, Caleb started coughing. The doctor said it's probably nothing major. It's probably just a cold. But it could be much more. It could be something as scary as RSV. So Brandi can't come.

You see, 16 months ago Brandi woke up and had some trouble walking. Thinking she'd had a stroke, her husband took her to the hospital. The doctors said it wasn't a stroke. It was cancer. Brain cancer. A scary, aggressive tumor that had taken hold of her precious brain. The details of that day are forever etched in my memory like some horrible, awful, never ending nightmare. In the past 16 months Brandi and her husband have thrown their heart and soul into the fight against the tumors in her brain. A month ago, the scan showed what no one wanted to see. The tumors were growing. When I found out my heart dropped. Growth? There couldn't be growth! We'd been praying! We had a connection with a God bigger than cancer. How could there be growth?!?!

Brandi immediately started aggressive chemo. In the past month, she hasn't been feeling well. Everything looks like the cancer is winning. I wish I had words to describe how I feel. Because Caleb has a little cough, Brandi can't come see me. It's just too risky. I spent a good part of the morning crying in my selfishness that I wouldn't get to see Brandi today. Then I cried that Brandi might be called home. I wanted to kick and scream and beat my fists against the chest of an almighty God. God, being the amazing Father that He is, let me throw my temper tantrum, then quietly sat me down in my favorite chair and told me to pick up my Beth Moore Bible study. I rolled my eyes at the sight of the book because I'm so far behind on the homework assignments. (Life with a newborn is more of a challenge than I thought it would be!) But I couldn't shake the quiet whisper in my heart that said I needed to pick up the book and get in the Word. So I did. And in big, beautiful letters across the top of the page were words that I know were written just for me.

"Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Him there is no shadow or change." (James 1:17)

It's one of Brandi's favorite verses. Her blog is built around it. And suddenly, it felt like Brandi was in my living room - that little piece of heaven I'd been longing for. The Lord reminded me that my life was full of good and perfect gifts. Brandi and I have been friends for years and I've been blessed by her wisdom a thousand times over. She's a good and perfect gift in my life. I know that I'll get to spend eternity with her praising a God who never changes!

Today is not what I dreamed it would be. But today God had a fantastic plan that was bigger than my little plans. So I'll trust that whatever happens at her doctor's appointment tomorrow is a beautiful part of His plan. I'll trust that His healing is complete and perfect - whether it's on this earth or in a beautiful homecoming. God is still God. That's all I need to know...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2 Months

Dear Caleb,

You are 2 months old! Wow! I'm amazed at how much you've grown this month. You are still a very easy going baby and seem to grow happier with each passing day. I love seeing your sweet smile several times a day now. You even rewarded us on your 2 month birthday with the most precious little giggle! Thank you for waiting until we were both with you to laugh for the first time. :- )

Your outfit here says "So Big!"

Note to Mommy: Don't wait until AFTER you get shots to take the monthly pictures!

At the beginning of the month you were still struggling with some awful gassiness and cried like you were in horrible pain. I hated every moment of it! Not long after your 1 month birthday I realized that you were fussiest after I had a glass of milk. (My absolute favorite drink!) As soon as I stopped drinking milk, you stopped crying. Over the course of the month I've cut back on more and more dairy and you've nursed better and better. We hardly ever have any problems with painful gas now! Even though I've had to give up some of my very favorite foods, it's all worth it just so we can continue breastfeeding. You are a champion nurser and are growing like a weed! At your 2 month check up you weight 15.5 pounds - that's the 98th percentile! However, you were only in the 9th percentile for height at a tiny 22". (That's less than an inch of growth since birth.) Your daddy and I are pretty convinced they measured you wrong because we can see your growth in your car seat, bouncer, and swing. You're also quickly growing out of 0-3 month clothing. Mommy is shocked to see you fitting comfortably in 3-6 month outfits!

Where is Caleb?

I still love staying home with you. We make a pretty good team throughout the day. Some days we have a fantastic routine, other days that routine is right out the window from the first moment of the day. We go to ladies Bible study on Tuesday mornings and you are a HIT! The ladies love passing you around. You usually nap through the teaching time which is perfect. Every other Friday we go to MOPS and you get to be a Moppet. Right now you're staying with me, but you'll eventually go to the nursery with the other Moppets.

What a cute little boy you are!
You like tummy time a lot more than you did last month - especially now that you have a lot more neck strength! We've tried playing with toys but you're not quite ready. I don't mind. Just seeing you smile when you see my face (or the ceiling fan or window) is more than enough for me! This month has been full of smiles and it's wonderful. You have lots of coos and talk more each day. I feel you're destined to be a talker with the mom and dad you've been given.

Enjoying some tummy time with Daddy! Look at the strong neck!

What a sweet face!

When I was pregnant with you we prayed and prayed that you'd be a good sleeper. (Mommy doesn't do too well with a lack of sleep!) The Lord answered our prayers with a clear, resounding, "YES!" You slept 8 hours through the night at 5 and a half weeks. Now you're consistently doing 8 hours each night with a few 10 hour nights thrown in the mix. I must admit, I love it! After a quick feeding you're usually back to sleep in a few minutes and sleep for several more hours. You generally get a total of 12 hours of sleep each night. I'm so glad you're a good sleeper! Just like your momma, you love to have a handful of blanket when you fall asleep. You still enjoy being swaddled, but you seem to get your hands out of every swaddle we put you in! So you've taken a few naps on your tummy and napped really well. Our biggest struggle right now is keeping that silly pacifier in your mouth! With your arms tightly swaddled you can't do much to help so we've spent lots of late nights holding that paci in your mouth until you finally fall sound asleep. We are ready for you to learn to suck your thumb or stick the paci back in your mouth all by yourself!

Finally passed out!
All swaddled up! You look so snuggly!
That didn't last long! (Don't worry I moved the blanket away from your face shortly after you put it there!)

iPaci - Daddy's solution to the pacifier falling out!

Both hands wiggled free of the swaddle! You're like Houdini!
This month Gaga pulled out my baby photos and we discovered something shocking! You look just like me at your age! We found several pictures where we have the exact same expression on our faces. It's crazy! Until that point we had really thought you favored your daddy. Now when I look at your face I see a little mini-me. Your face is a little longer, your nose a little wider - but there's no doubt that you're mine! When I was little I always felt like no one in the family looked like me. I dreamed of having a baby that looked like me, even when no one in my family did. I'm so excited to see your blonde hair and big blue eyes. (I also love, love, LOVE those fat rolls on your arms and legs. You're just so precious!)

Mommy at 6 weeks

Caleb at 6 weeks

We are falling more in love with you each day. It is so fun being your Mom! I love watching your little personality develop. You are such a happy, easy going baby. There are days that I'm absolutely shocked that the Lord has blessed me with you. The Lord is so good to us and I can't wait to teach you all about Him! I love you sweet pumpkin doodle!

Your shirt says "Daddy's Best Friend"

Sweet, sleepy cuddles