Saturday, October 31, 2015

My First 5K

I did it!

I ran my first 5K today. 

I had no expectations of doing very well. Mostly I wanted an excuse to keep myself in shape, and jog three times a week. I'll tell you, pushing a child in a non-jogging stroller about two miles isn't easy. Still, I really enjoyed getting outside, starting my day on a healthy note, and having time to myself.

And do you know what? I actually did really well! I would have been happy to finish under 50 minutes, with my reach goal being under 45 minutes.


I finished in 39 minutes and 46 seconds! I guess not pushing that stroller makes a big difference.

I still don't see myself as a runner. But maybe there will be more 5Ks in the future. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

MOPS


Sorry it's been a while. I've been busy recently, in a good way!


I've been diving into MOPS leadership, and loving it! Our church started a Mothers Of Preschoolers group this year, and I joined as their Crafts and Service Project leader. I'm loving it! It's so great to have a creative outlet, and to be able to share it with other ladies.

I love having a group of moms in the same stage of life as me that I can hang out with, plan events with, and grow with.

I've got lots of plans for this year: chalkboard pots, cupcake decorating, and sandal hangers are upcoming. I'm hoping to have fun but useful crafts every month, so even moms who don't feel like they are artsy can enjoy the cool things they make!

Roy Lichtenstein painting and Mario

We just had our first service project, too. We gathered at our local assisted living center and had a costume parade for the residents. Lots of little kids (and a few moms) dressed up to pass out candy and cards we had made at our previous MOPS meeting. The residents had candy for our kids, as well. It was so much fun to see everyone, even if we didn't get much time to talk with them. I'm hoping that a couple of moms might feel led to volunteer more time with these great people!

Our church's pumpkin patch

Pray for us as we plan more events, and strive to reach out to unchurched moms.


Family of pumpkins! (pardon my thumb shadow)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Running

Here's something I never thought I'd say: I'm training for a 5K.

I've never really liked exercise. I like to be healthy, but up until recently (read: two pregnancies) exercise hasn't been a necessary part of that equation. Now I'm a little older and exercise needs to be a part of my routine.

I've tried going to the gym, but ours has "Kid Kare" fees, and my mom isn't always available to watch August during the day. I lack self motivation. So I gave myself some extra motivation.


I'd been walking with August in the morning fairly regularly. It's nice, spending some technology-free time outside before it gets too hot, just enjoying nature and the sounds of cars passing. Occasionally we stop at our neighborhood park and use the swings for a while.

That's all well and good, but walking simply isn't good enough cardio. So I downloaded a couch to 5K app. It's a simple training program over eight or nine weeks to get me up and running. I shared with my mom and cousin about it, and over the course of the conversation we decided to try to run a local 5K together.

5K is only 3.3 miles, but it's still more than I ever thought I'd run. In grade school I always brought up the rear when the coaches made us "run the mile."

So why the change of heart? Honestly, it's for my family. I want to be healthy, and live a long time for them. I want to be a good example. Whenever I get pregnant again I want to avoid as many health risks as possible. So I'll run now.

Well, jog. Sort of fast walk. It's hot out. I'm working on it. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Allergy Guilt

Yesterday was going to be fun. We were going to go to play group, and August was going to swim in a pool for the first time in months. We were going to join Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A donned in spotted cow t-shirts.

Instead, August had another allergic reaction.

I gave him some scrambled eggs for the first time with breakfast, and he developed a rash on his face within five minutes. I got out the Benedryl right away. I carry it with me everywhere since the first reaction. I struggled to get the dosage right, because I'd rather give him a small dose than an overdose, but who can remember the difference between 1.5 mLs and 2.5 mLs when their kid is turning red and spotted and he's scratching his face and what if his throat starts swelling? I called his doctor, and she told me what to watch for, and that I could give him a slightly bigger dose of medicine. Like the pediatrician told me, I watched him all morning for swelling and difficulty breathing. He fussed because he was itchy and uncomfortable, and took a nap on my chest. We snuggled and watched Cars as the medicine did its job, and he started feeling back to normal.


He's fine, and this just means we need to watch what he eats even more, but I still feel guilt about it. I'm his mother, shouldn't I be able to feed my kid without his body attacking itself? Why would I give him eggs, am I crazy? How could I give him something that makes him feel so badly?

It is a little crazy to feel like that. How could I have known? But I feel that responsibility as his mother. Like I need to protect him perfectly, while still letting him make his own experiences. I feel like my experience as a child caregiver should give me a heads-up, but instead I'm still broken and making mistakes that my child carries the punishment for. That is something I need to repent of.

I need to recognize that my parenting can't save me, and especially can't save my son. This is something I need to surrender to Jesus, even though it's hard. Please pray for me, and for August's health. He's young enough that he may grow out of these food allergies, or we may become a fully nut-free, egg-free household.

I do know that I'll be making his birthday cake myself this year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Motherhood Controversy

There's a lot of controversy surrounding motherhood nowadays.

In all fairness, it was probably around before, but the internet has a way of bringing conflict to the forefront. I have a love/hate relationship with that sort of thing. I like to be informed about these issues, but I don't like how these inflamed articles bombard me.

We have to breastfeed, or our children will grow up with allergies.

We have to have natural childbirth, to experience the fullness of feminine power.

We have to have a career, or we aren't reaching our full potential.

We have to feed our kids homemade, organic, local food, or our kids will be unhealthy.

We need to only expose our babies to wholesome, educational, Christian media, or else no media at all.

We need to have perfectly clean homes, or our kids will find that one piece of dirt and choke on it.

We need to be careful about vaccinating our kids, because who knows what toxins are in them.

I even talked to a mom at play group who was afraid to put sunscreen on her kids, because of chemicals leaking into their skin. SUNSCREEN, people.

We seriously need to lay off ourselves and each other. There's no such thing as a perfect mother or perfect kid. We're going to make mistakes, and what's good for one mom isn't always good for another. Jesus can redeem our families, whether or not they wore cloth diapers and breastfed until they were two.

By the way, I don't intend this to be another internet rant, so I'm sorry. It's just been on my mind lately.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mothers Days

2012: I was excited. Mother's Day this year was going to be so fun. When we got to surprise my mother-in-law with that ultrasound picture and celebrate together with my parents, I was so happy. I was going to be a mom! I couldn't wait.

2013: The emotional wounds were very raw that day. I was still grieving my baby girl, and the last thing I wanted to hear about were happy mothers in church. I spent that Mother's Day service in the women's restroom crying. Some friends sat with me and comforted me, but the pain was real and poignant that day. I wasn't even sure I could call myself a mom because I never got to mother my daughter.

2014: I stood in church that day, smiling and round. I was happy to be pregnant again, this time with what appeared to be a very healthy child. I thought about the year before, and the child I missed, but the brighter horizon was coming.

2015: My family of three laid in bed early yesterday morning, and my husband slipped a card into our baby's hands to pass to me. I was told "happy Mother's Day" as I dropped off my kid in Sunday school. August cried because he's teething and fussed because he was tired. I changed diapers and clothes, cleaned messes, and planned meals. It was the best. 

Happy belated Mother's Day. Every year won't be a celebration, but it's nice to acknowledge all the states and stages of motherhood once a year.

Friday, April 24, 2015

What I Mean to Say Is

Sometimes I talk like Penny never existed.

Sort of. I've never forgotten her, although the pain of mourning her passing has dulled. There just aren't the right phrases to explain our family in short conversations. In particular, I notice it when I'm talking about my first child, or the number of children I have, or child order. 

For example, when someone comes up to me and August at church or in the grocery store and, usually as an excuse to spend a few moments with my cute baby, they start a conversation with me. A question that naturally comes up is "Is he your first?" Or, "Is he your only child?"

I usually pause before answering this question. The fully truthful answer is "No, we had another daughter who passed away." Sometimes I'll say that, especially at church, but it leads to a longer, not very happy, conversation. Sometimes I just don't feel like getting into it. Then I'll often say "He's our only baby at home right now." It's an odd way to phrase it, though, and again might come across as evasive or confusing for someone who was just trying to make light conversation.

But what can I say? The right, short phrases don't exist in English.

How do I explain that she never felt like ours, at least not solely ours? She was a true gift from God for us to love briefly and struggle over for a lifetime. He warned us, through doctors, about her pending dramatic arrival. She flit into our lives for a short three days to change it forever. We had made a place for her, but her true home was in God's hands.

So yes, August is our first that God gave us to raise in our home. He's my firstborn son, who I love. Any of his future siblings, who we pray will be as healthy as he is, will be our second, third that fit that description. But they will be our third, fourth overall.

But August has a big baby sister, with God in heaven. He'll learn about her as he gets older. She will be a non-present member of our family always. She may have made our lives complicated, but we will always, always love her.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Peanut Butter Fiasco

So, August is allergic to peanut butter.

I was eating peanut butter off a spoon, and August leaned in and licked some off. Sneaky kid. At first I wasn't really concerned, so I just kept an eye on him because I knew peanuts can be an allergy risk for babies. No one else in our family has any peanut allergy. Sure enough, within a few minutes he developed a rash around his mouth, under his nose, on his chin. 

My hand was shaking when I called the pediatrician, who told me to head to urgent care. He was salivating more than usual, and they were concerned that it could progress into anaphylaxis. Fortunately, no swelling happened, and by the time the urgent care doctor saw him, the rash was mostly gone. They confirmed his allergy, and gave him a dose of Benadryl. 

At least he was a good sport about the whole thing.

The doctor said he might have a rash on and off for the next few days, and he broke out all over his body around bedtime. Poor boy was so itchy, but I'm trying to keep him from scratching. I wrapped him tight in a sleep sack and socks so he won't ruin his skin. He's sleeping soundly, and that's reassuring to me.

This is a scary sight for a mama.

This whole thing really shook me up, though. My big, healthy baby was breaking out in a rash and I had to take him to the doctor. He won't be able to eat peanuts, or anything produced in the same factory as peanuts, at least for several years until he can be allergy tested. That's a shame, because we make some good recipes with peanuts, and we may need to de-nut our kitchen. But mostly I'm worrying about my kid. I worry that he could relapse in the night. I'm worried about accidentally exposing him when he gets older. I'm worried about things I can't even think of yet.

The good news is that we now have Children's Benadryl in the house.

As the nurse said, "that's one way to identify an allergy." 

Please pray for us. It's been a stressful evening.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Big News for Us

We made a big decision this week... We're staying in Florida!

For nearly a year we've been thinking about moving to San Francisco. That's where my brother in law lives, and it's where the tech industry is happening. Initially, I hated the idea. But with prayer God softened my heart and we became excited about a change as a family. 

My husband went on many interviews in several cities. None of them panned out or was a good fit until this month. A startup in San Francisco began courting him, and it seemed perfect! We were prepared to up and move... Then his current company began courting him as well. It became a difficult decision between two very good choices. We were changing our minds five times a day, weighing pros and cons, trying to figure out what God wanted for us. 

I'm convinced that both decisions could have been the right decision. But, for several reasons, we chose to stay here. We're mourning the California dream right now, even though I'm convinced our choice was good. Maybe we'll reassess in a few years and end up in San Francisco. 

But for now we're happy to be close to family and friends, and to carry on with living the life we've made here. We've been in a bit of a limbo, thinking, "why do this? We could be moving in less than a month" for nearly a year. It's time to do those things we've been putting off - planting the garden, hanging pictures, replacing our mailbox, etc. it's time to dig in to life here.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Homemade Baby Food

I love making August's baby food! I don't know what it is about it - if it's using the food processor, if it's knowing what's in his food, if it's his enjoyment of eating what I make - but I love it. 

I give him about two new foods a week, spaced about four days apart to be sure he doesn't have a reaction to it. So far he's had squash, green beans, carrots, sweet potato, avocado, and applesauce. He didn't care for the avocado or applesauce, so we'll try those again in a few weeks. I already have banana, pears, and strawberries puréed and frozen for when he's ready. It's easy to just shop for the produce that's on sale, and it does help us consume all the vegetables we buy weekly. 

I can't wait until he's older and I get to try new food combinations for him. In just a couple weeks we'll be able to start him on protein, too! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Saying No To Pasta

August is four months old now. He's growing, thriving, learning, and loving. It's time for me to start healthier routines.

Right around the new year I made that decision, and I feel better for it. I've been taking August on morning walks, which he often falls asleep during. I've been trying to get out of the house and do things and see people.

One big change is my diet. No, I'm not dieting to loose weight yet, but I am trying to make healthier choices in what I eat. More vegetables, less sugar, even cutting out pasta. No pasta! That's been my staple food since I started cooking for myself! But I've been intentional about it and I've found a lot of healthy foods on Pinterest. Who knew so many tasty meals didn't have pasta? Or even rice or potato as a main ingredient? I'm liking avocado and eggplant and zucchini more and more.

I'm pretty proud of myself. I haven't been overly strict with myself, since I am still breastfeeding and August needs my calories. It's about balance. 

I'm hoping some of these habits will stick around.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

It's So Fun To Get Mail

I've signed up for several subscription boxes over the last few years. I love it! I get to try things I never would have thought of myself. Sometimes it's great, and sometimes not, but the fun is in the surprise. Here are a few subscription boxes I've tried:

This is probably my favorite. It's a clothing service. You fill out a (fairly extensive but fun) style survey, and for a $20 styling fee a personal stylist sends you five clothing items or accessories. You can set your preferences to receive a box twice a month, once a month, every other month, or when you request one. Keep what you want and send the rest back. Your $20 styling fee goes toward any purchase you make, and if you keep all five items you receive a 25% discount. Usually I'm pretty impressed with their choices, both in style and size. I almost always keep at least two things from my box. All their pieces are designer brands (so a bit more expensive than I'd spend in a store) but great quality. Often times it's only the cost that keeps me from keeping all of it! I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to step up their fashion game, or round out their wardrobe with fun statement pieces. On a side note, I wish they had a once-a-season shipping option. Once every three months would work better with my budget.

This is a box for babies and children. You receive a box monthly of toys, products, or snacks based on your child's age and gender. You can get monthly boxes for $29/month, three months for $27/month, or six months for $24/month. We've gotten two boxes from them so far, and August has found a couple favorite toys from them (although I'll admit at this age he's equally interested in my hairbrush or a Triscuits box). They often include coupons for Mommy, too. They give you a chance to customize each box, but usually that just means choosing a color or type of a pre-chosen toy. It's a nice subscription for trying new brands and getting a good quality set of toys for your little one.

This is a beauty box subscription. For $10 a month, you receive five samples of various beauty, makeup, lotion, or perfume samples. I tried it for six months, and discovered several new interesting products, including Eyeko liquid eyeliner, Chuao chocolate, and Tocca lotion. The best thing for me was their points system. If you do a short review of each product from your box you try, you earn points toward products in their store. For me, the ratio of wins to just "meh" samples was just off enough to not make it worth continuing. Ipsy is a similar service I may consider trying sometime in the future as well.

This is another clothing subscription box I've tried. Granted, I've only gotten one tote from them, but I'm looking forward to doing it again! Each month you can choose to buy the $49 Tote with 2-3 clothing items (one you choose, the others surprises), or the $149 Tote with 5-7 items (two you choose and the rest surprises). You fill out a very short style and size survey, which they use for curating the tote. Unlike Stitchfix, Golden Tote is an all-or-nothing deal. You can't return single items from your Tote, instead you would have to return the entire Tote. It's probably a better deal than Stitchfix, but the designer styles are different and less personalized.

I got this one for my mom's dog this Christmas. (Beware! If you don't tell me what you want for a Christmas gift, I may get creative! Lol) You tell them the size of your dog, and they send you toys and treats for your fuzzy friend. All the treats are grain and corn free, which is good for dogs with allergies. My mom received a rope toy which fit her dog's small mouth, a pleasant surprise.

I just signed up for this one, thanks to a 60% off coupon in this month's Citrus Lane box. Kate Hudson is a founder of Fabletics, which offers stylish athletic wear. With the VIP subscription membership, you choose an athletic outfit every month starting at $49.95. You can choose to opt out on a monthly basis, but you'll be charged if you don't reply to the opt in or out email by the 5th of the month. This is a great subscription to expand your workout wardrobe (read: casual Mommy clothes for me). I just got my first outfit, and it's full of nice touches, like a secret pocket in the workout leggings. 

This isn't a box subscription, it's an online meal planning subscription, but I love it so I want to mention it. Dave Ramsey approved, Emeals sends you weekly specialized meal plans based on dietary and store preferences. You can choose Paleo, Classic, Clean Eating, Mediterranean or more plans. Some plans offer store specialization so you can shop the sales and BOGO deals. It costs $30 for three months, $48 for six months, and $58 for a full year. (Note: I think these prices are a bit lower than usual because of a two week free trial deal they're running right now). I love it because I get bored of making the same meals all the time. None of the meals require tons of ingredients, and they're conscious of limiting food waste. I'd definitely recommend it. 

*Note* I included my referral link on some of these, so if you sign up via my link, I can get credit towards their service. Yay!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hair

Y'all. My child has crazy hair. It's like he has 16-year-old hair in the back, 60-year-old in the front, and it's thinning on the sides. 


Part Mohawk, part combover.


A mo'over. My baby has a mo'over. 


It's kind of ridiculous.

But ridiculously cute.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weird Things to Tell a Mommy

When I was pregnant, I was pleasantly surprised how few weird comments were directed at me. I almost never had to answer too personal questions and no one tried to touch my round belly. 

Then I had the baby. 

Babies seem to break down social barriers. Random people come up to me just to look at him. I don't usually mind - I love looking at his sweet smile, too. But sometimes people say the weirdest things around newborns. Here are a few recent gems:


1. While shopping, I've been asked several times by several people, "What aisle did you get him on?" Ok, I know they were trying to be cute, but it's a pretty weird thing to say if you think about it. It implies that I bought (or conceived!) him in the grocery store. Or even that they want to buy my baby. So inappropriate. My baby is an independent person, not property. Even in an adoption situation, in which money is exchanged to bring the child home, parents are paying for the services and paperwork required, not for the child him- or herself. I feel like people need to think about the implications of their words before they speak them - especially to a stranger.


2. "I just want to eat him up!" Cannibalism. Enough said.


3. "She is so cute!" Gender doesn't have to be an awkward guessing game, y'all. Feel free to ask me "What's your baby's name?" or "Is your baby a boy or a girl?" I love answering questions about my child! But don't assume that he's a girl because he has a lot of hair. Or if you can't tell from his name, please ask me to clarify. Gender is a know-before-you-go subject in my book. By the way, August is a boy's name and Augusta is a girl's name.


4. This is more of a "weird thing to do." Strangers touching my baby. One of the perks of baby wearing is that fewer people try to grab my son's hand or foot when he's attached to me. Look, I know my kid is cute, but it's never okay to touch without asking. I don't know you and you don't know me. I don't know if you're healthy or have the flu. You don't know if my son is immunosuppressed from a long stay in the NICU. So (little old ladies in Publix), unless you're a good friend of mine, never touch my adorable baby without asking first. 

***

These are just some of my pet peeve things about my son. I'm sure other moms have their own red-button topics: what or how they feed their children, a mom's choice to work or stay home, criticism of their kids' clothing... I've been blessed not to deal with anything too offensive! I'm sure I've accidentally offended other moms from time to time. But I hope each of you are sensitive when talking to mommies you may not know!