Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Avocado

Today Nola ate avocado for the first time.  To my complete surprise, she loved it.  I had heard other Mamas include it in the lists of things their babies ate, so I did some research.

Did you know that avocados are considered a "perfect" food?  It's true.  You could eat ONLY avocados and get everything you need to survive.  One medium avocado contains around 320 calories and 30 grams of fat, which is perfect for a growing baby brain.

Interesting facts:
  • Avocados are one of the 15 foods least contaminated by pesticides so if organic is your thing, don't worry if you can't find organic avocados!
  • One tree can produce between 150 and 500 avocados per year!  Lots of green mushy goodness!
  • Avocados have the highest protein content of any fruit.
  • Avocados contain more potassium than bananas.
  • On average, 53.5 million pounds of guacamole are eaten every Super Bowl Sunday, enough to cover a football field more than 20 feet thick. (haha...couldn't resist)
I plan to use avocado for Nola in all kinds of ways.  I have found recipes that blend avocado with anything from bananas and peaches to pumpkin and yogurt.

Gotta love super foods!


2 Corinthians 4:17-18

"For our present troubles are small and won't last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."

I love it when the Holy Spirit speaks to me.  This is something I've been struggling with for quite some time - really, my entire life.   I get so focused on a problem that my attitude stinks.  I've noticed this especially in my parenting lately.

I guess I should be more aware of the fact that new problems come and go very quickly with young children, but sometimes the tedious little issues that come with everyday life seem to last far longer than my patience does.  For example, Natalie's sudden mean streak that has reared it's ugly head.  Or Nathan's refusal to stop jumping on his bed long enough to take a nap.  Or Nola's strange and less comfortable latch during feedings which is brought on by the two new little teeth that have made their grand entrance.  The truth is that probably by this time next week, these problems will be history and a new set of issues will be front and center.

Father, help me to look past these problems and focus on the things that You've laid before me to do.  Help me to realize that all these minor annoyances will pass away and that there will indeed be a time in my life that I miss having these issues.  Draw my eyes and thoughts to You so that my attitude toward my children reflects Your attitude toward me.  Thank You for the things that I can't yet see and the faith to believe in them.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

who am I?

This is a question I've been pondering quite a bit lately.  I think God has put it on my heart to really dig in, get hungry, and find my place in His kingdom. 

Last night was Holy Spirit Night at church.  I went even though I was unsure of what my true expectations were.  (By the way, this was an excellent way for God to write on the empty slate that was my mind last night.)  I really enjoyed worship and listening to the speaker, Tim Brasic, with Nola in the Moby on my hip, and when ministry time rolled around I finished up the feeding we had started and made my way down to the front to get prayer.  For what, I wasn't sure. 

But while I was there, I stumbled upon a girl who was crying.  I asked her if I could pray for her, and she said yes and that she felt she was led to be a missionary but that life had gotten in the way.  So I laid hands on her and prayed a simple prayer that apparently held great meaning for her because she began to cry.  At this point, Nola has decided to lay hands on the girl too, which I was discouraging at first because normally Nola grabs and scratches as opposed to touching nicely.  But this time was different.  Nola was so gentle, and the girl said she was so blessed by us that I just kept praying and Nola kept touching her hands.  We had such an amazing experience that I had never had before. 

We finished praying with her, and moved on to find others to pray for because by this time I had realized I was not there to get prayer but to give it instead.  I turned around to see another woman looking expectantly, and as I reached for her she turned away.  But I felt like God said, "get her back."  So I did, and when I asked her if she needed prayer, she said she was looking for others who needed prayer and asked if she could bless me and Nola.  God had flipped the script on me again.  She prayed a sweet and beautiful prayer over us - for supernatural strength and endurance to make it through the fatigue I'm feeling as a mother and to be the best mother I could be - that I continued to pray all the way home and as I went to sleep last night. 

After that, we just mingled through the group that had gathered for ministry waiting for direction.  Then Tim spoke through the mic, "I feel a call for people who are losing sight or going blind altogether."  Immediately, I knew of a friend who was there who would be answering that call.  So I made my way over to the area where they were to lay hands on her as he prayed.  Side note...I love that at the Vineyard they teach us to pray with our eyes open.  This came in handy last night because as Tim was praying for my friend I began to notice a red spot on the bottom of the right palm of her hand.  As he prayed for healing of her glaucoma, the spot became larger and brighter red.  When he was through praying for her, I pointed out my observation and when she turned her other hand over we noticed it there too.  I prayed a blessing on her hands and her eyes because I felt like those spots were signs of a healing that would be forthcoming.

I say all of this to lead to where I am this afternoon.  I know, make a point already.  Believe me, I'm getting there.

I left there last night feeling a little empty.  Even though I had seen some amazing things and heard some incredible stories, something wasn't sitting right.  Today has been much of the same - feeling a little out of sorts and "itching" to fix something.  After laying the kids down for their naps, I came up here to the living room to get down to business on some homework.  But I didn't even make it to the Parkland website. 

Instead, I was led to the website for the School of Kingdom ministry.  Enrolling in the this program is something I've been considering ever since I heard about it a couple months ago.  But I feel like at this time in my life I need to focus on getting my schoolwork done for my nursing degree.  So while I was on the website talking it over with myself and God again, I decided I would look at the application to see what all was involved in that process.  Pretty standard information, essays, letter of recommendation, etc.  And then they ask something very interesting.  They list about 7 or 8 spiritual gifts and ask you to rate your experience or comfort with each of them.

Looking at that list got me thinking...who am I?  What are my spiritual gifts?  Am I using them without even knowing it or are they just going to waste?  So I googled a couple different ones they listed, and then googled spiritual gifts and found an entire free online workbook explaining what each spiritual gift is, how it might manifest, etc.  And it also included a self-assessment.  Sensing prompting by the Holy Spirit, I eagerly printed it, filled it out, and scored it.  And what I found in some ways totally surprised me.

Here are my results: (each gift has a total score possible of 15)
1. Administration: 7
2. Discernment: 5
3. Encouragement: 8
4. Faith: 4
5. Giving: 13
6. Healing: 10
7. Helps: 15
8. Teaching: 12
9. Leadership: 8
10. Knowledge: 3
11. Mercy: 15
12. Miracles: 5
13. Prophesy: 7
14. Service: 12
15. Wisdom: 3

So after I finished scoring myself, I went on to read the descriptions of the ones I was most gifted with.  As I began reading about Helps, I began to cry.  I know this is me.  It was almost like meeting myself for the first time.  Reading about Teaching and Mercy had much the same feeling.  I feel validated in the Body of Christ.  I truly have a part to play.  Those descriptions match me to a "T."  In the Mercy description, it mentions obtaining further training toward a career in nursing as a way to make mercy my ministry.  Talk about a beacon in the night pointing me on the path God has chosen for me. 

I'm so overwhelmed by the love of God right now, and I'm just grateful for the "me" that I met for the very first time today.

Now let the real work begin!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I could watch this ALLLLLL day

video

My sweet little sleeping baby and the song that finally put her out...

Nathan chillin' in his new bed

Natalie and her new bed

Nola and her bright beautiful room

Beds, days 2 and 3...

So we got the kids' beds on Monday.  The first night wasn't a total disaster, but the following morning appeared to be the beginning of the end of my sanity.  Natalie and Nathan were up at 6:30 after going to bed just a little before 10 the night before.  So naturally by about 9:30, Nathan was a complete mess. 

Thankfully, Natalie had her Head Start screening yesterday (which already feels like 2 weeks ago), so Kevin was able to take Nathan for a ride in the car all by himself.  He fell asleep and slept for....count 'em...3 WHOLE hours.  And I figured last night would be extra difficult because of the long nap, but it really wasn't too bad.  Especially considering that I upped the ante and put Nola in the crib for the first time last night.

This is how our evening routine now looks...and I PRAY that it doesn't look like this very long!  I miss my evening!

7:00...showers for Natalie and Nathan, bath for Nola
7:45ish...Natalie and Nathan in their rooms (sort of), nurse and sing to Nola
8-8:30...Nola (hopefully) lays down, but sometimes this takes until after 9
9-9:30 until done...lay with Nathan in his bed to hush him and send "NO!" hand signals to Natalie every time she tries to provide a distraction
9:45ish...lay with Natalie and sing her bedtime songs (a new thing since she sees me laying with Nathan now)

10:00...BREATHE...I survived.  And now I'm exhausted, so I get about 5 seconds worth of interaction with Kevin, take my vitamins, drink my water, and head to bed so I can get up to feed in a few hours

A quick note on Nola...she loves her crib.  Thank goodness.  She slept from 9 to 1:15 and 1:30 to 4:30 and then was up at 5:30, 6:30, and 7.  No nap this morning due to sleep training and then "background" noise, but she's been down for 2 hours already this afternoon. 

I'm totally wiped out, but we'll get there eventually.  I joke that I'm crazy for making everybody transition at the same time, but I think I would rather have extreme chaos all at once rather than a series of chaos as each one has to adjust to something new.  And maybe, just maybe (please, God!) we'll have it all sorted out before I start school on Monday.  Or maybe at least by the time Natalie starts school after Labor Day.

Maybe....

Please...

Pleeeeease....?

Milestone city!

I actually wrote much of this on Monday, but didn't finish until today.

Today was a day full of new things.

Natalie and Nathan each got a new bed, and we moved them back into the same room.  I had very low expectations for sleeping - especially naptime.  But tonight they really did pretty well.  Nathan took until 9:40 to fall asleep, and Natalie fell asleep around 10 which isn't entirely unusual for her.  I'll be getting them up at the regular time tomorrow morning so that tomorrow's bedtime will go even better (hopefully!).

And tonight I noticed Nola has her first tooth!  I had thought for the past couple nights she had been a little extra needy, but she goes through phases like that so it didn't really strike me as odd.  And then today she started latching funny when she nursed, which also happens on occasion.  So I really didn't suspect anything when I let her chew on my fingers while the kids ran off some energy at the playplace at McDonald's.  Until...owwwwie!  OMG!!!  A tooth!  I'm so happy that she seems to be an easier teether than the other two were.  I just pray this continues...but not too quickly so that I have time to toughen up before she gets more teeth!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

passion? what passion?

So I had been feeling like God was telling me I am supposed to speak sometime this year at a Mom2Mom meeting when I got an email asking me to do so.  Thank you, God.  Just what I needed to put me over the edge from considering it to committing to it. 

But then reality struck about 18 hours later when I was recalling what Holly had said in the email..."share any part of your testimony that you'd like or speak on an issue/area that you're passionate about."  Sounds simple enough, right?  Until I realized I have no idea what it is I'm passionate about.  So all yesterday in the moments between feedings, diaper changes, and chasing Nathan through the house in a futile attempt to rid his hands of applesauce before it got all over the walls, I was thinking, "what am I passionate about? what will I say if I can't figure out what I'm passionate about?  how will I fill the time if my passion turns out to be so small that it only takes about 5 sentences to describe it?"  And so on...


And then it hit me.  At this very point in my life, I'm passionate about my children.  I'm passionate about breastfeeding and cloth diapering and finding a deeper and more tangible relationship with Jesus.  And if there is nothing else that I can define as my passion, that there is enough.  And then (and this is totally a God thing) I was led to a facebook friend's profile page where I found an blog post that she shared.  And this part of it totally blew me away.


"Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values...because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel."

from http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/motherhood-is-a-calling-and-where-your-children-rank

Remembering to make parenting my real passion is my goal.  Laying down my life for my children in any moment is my goal.  And Lord knows I fail at that daily...sometimes hourly.  But I truly believe with God's help I can give my children the mother they deserve - the mother I was called by God to be.

So I'm putting to rest my anxiety about what to say at the meeting in October.  I know that it will come to me if I concentrate on the most important job I'll ever have.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Natalie's morning routine

6:30...wake up
6:35...go to the bathroom to go potty, brush teeth, and make mischief
7:00...back to her room to play quietly
7:15...begin making sure Nathan is waking up
7:30...begin tapping on wall or door and singing some made up song about being hungry

and this continues until someone gets up to serve her breakfast.

This morning, however, we thought she was sleeping in because I hadn't heard her in the bathroom.  When we came out, we found that she had been up in the living room playing in my scrapbooking stuff.  And tonight we found out she was playing with my camera...haha and grrrr all at the same time.

Her distraction technique??

She comes into my room right away and shows me her teeth.  "See Mom!  I brushed my teeth!  They're bright and shiny like the sun.  And diamonds."

How do I respond to that??

After that, she had a really good day listening and behaving.  Sometimes I wonder if misbehaving is just an itch she can't help but scratch, and once it doesn't itch anymore she just stops scratching.  We've been working on listening and respecting others, so it's nice to see her start to do that more these past couple days.



At 4 years, 5 months, and 26 days here are the things Natalie loves (in no particular order):
    • her brother and sister
    • helping
    • macaroni and cheese
    • learning (YES!)
    • spelling her name
    • singing
    • anything sweet
    • the McDonald's playplace and cheeseburgers
    • playing in the water in the backyard
    • talking about future events (when, where, how much longer...)
    • ham and cheese sandwiches
    • riding in the gray car
    • "Rice Krispies with no milk but sugar"
    • Visits to Rural King with Papa-Daddy for popcorn
    • the "dinosaur park"
    • iCarly
    • riding her bike and scooter in the driveway
    • fish for supper
    • Subway...she asks for this almost every day
    • bedtime stories

    My beauties after bathtime....Natalie LOVES Nola!

      such a softie...

      All you oldest children out there know what I'm talking about when I say that when we grow up and leave home and then come back, it seems that our younger siblings are getting off WAY easier and getting sympathy more than we ever did. 

      In my experience with my kids, this is occurring already.  I took Nola for her six-month check today.  And when she got her shots there was this sick feeling in my stomach like I was going to throw up with anxiety over having my baby in my lap in obvious helpless pain.  Never have I had that feeling with the other two.  The closest I've come to that prior to today was Natalie's first set of shots when she was 8 weeks old.  But I psyched myself up saying it was for her own good, she won't remember, etc etc.  And even though Natalie threw up the entire rotavirus vaccine and screamed so hard during shots that she threw up again, I stood strong.  In my vomit-soaked shirt I was steady as a rock.  Today, I was a total wimp.

      Maybe it's because I know how fast babyhood goes by.  Maybe it's because I'm breastfeeding this time, and I never had that bonding experience with the others due to difficulties with reflux, jaundice, and low supply.  Maybe it's the fact that as a new new mother, I came into it like a lot of people do - with a fantasy an idea of what parenting would be for me.  I had all these things I wanted to do like cry it out and time out like Supernanny where you calmly explain why they have to sit on the naughty chair even though they're kicking you and screaming in your face.  Sadly, the scenarios I worked out in my head don't always play out in my life.

      The truth is, it's never as we expect.  I think that's the biggest thing I've learned in my 4 1/2 years of being a mom.  For me, parenting is best approached with no expectations - at least no hard and fast expectations.  Of course there will a way that you expect your child to behave, but we can't put our parenting experience into a box before it even begins.

      I'm so grateful to have Nola to help me learn the lessons that I missed with Natalie.  It's my hope that my efforts to let Nola teach me instead of the other way around will help me be a better mom to all my kids in the long run.

      Thursday, August 4, 2011

      Nathanisms

      My little boy is 27 months and 13 days old, and he can carry on a full conversation.  He blows me away with everything he says.  He asks intelligent questions, describes objects by color, size and shape, and remembers events that happened a few weeks ago or more.  He is so amazing.

      This morning he threw a fit because "I don't want that blue one bowl."  WHAT?!  Since when does he care about which bowl he gets for breakfast.  "Ok, Nathan, which bowl do you want?"  "I want the green one bowl, Mama."  Ok, buddy.  You got it.

      This morning, he was playing in the living room and opened the cabinet on the tv stand to look for his box of toys.  Upon opening the cabinet, he realized the lid to the box was missing. 
      "Where's the top, Mama?" 
      "I don't know Nathan.  Where do you think it is?" 
      "It's hiding in the wall, Mama." 
      "Ok, Nathan.  Go look." 
      He goes and looks behind the couch that was pulled out to get to the laundry. 
      "It's not there, Mama!  Is it in kitchen, Mama?" 
      "I don't know Nathan, go look!" 
      He checks the kitchen. 
      "Not there, Mama!  Is it bye bye bye? (by the door)" 
      "Go check, Nathan." 
      "Not in there, Mama!" 
      "I think it's in your room, Nathan." 
      "Go the back, Mama?" 
      "Yes, Nathan.  Go check."
      "There it is!!"

      Later, he was sitting on the arm of the sofa reading a cloth ABC book that my mom made.
      "Where are the flowers, Mama?"
      "I don't know Nathan, where do you think they are?"
      "There they are the woof-woof, Mama!"
      "They're by the dog?"
      "Yeah!"
      "There's a sake (snake)!  I pet a the sake, Mama"  (True story)
      "Where did you pet the snake, Nathan?"
      "I no know!"
      "At the zoo with Grandma and Grandpa?"
      "Yeah!"


      He is just incredible.  A true sponge.   

      thrush season

      So apparently we have not totally eradicated our thrush.  Nola and I went to see Theresa Hardy at Christie Clinic again today.  Sadly, after 3 weeks of medication to get rid of it, it has not yet left the premises.  Theresa says this is thrush season, which makes sense because at least 5 times a day I feel like I'm wringing wet from sweating in this heat because my poor air conditioner cannot keep up.  So we'll do another week of diflucan and PRAY that it GOES AWAY!  This is not exactly the way I wanted to celebrate World Breastfeeding Month, but we'll survive.

      Bonus: I got to see what Nola weighs now, and the results were staggering.  Sixteen pounds, two ounces.  Oh my goodness!  She's huge.  She has her official six-month check-up on Friday, so we'll see what her specs are then.

      Tuesday, August 2, 2011

      6 months old

      Nola will be six months old in eight days.  Where did it go?  Today I saw a picture of her from the end of March, and it occurred to me that I can't even remember how she felt in my arms when she was that size.  So here are some of the awesome new things she's doing:

      • laughing...like big belly laughs
      • babbling - especially at 3:30 am
      • sticking out her tongue and making spitting noises
      • reaching for and sometimes eating my food - tonight she had a home made french fry
      • looking at cloth books
      • interacting more with Natalie and Nathan
      • SLEEPING....yes!  Not totally through the night yet, but definitely an improvement.
      • playing with her feet
      • rolling over
      • grabbing my boob with both hands when it's time to nurse
      I love this stage in Nola.  She is such a delightful baby, and I'm sure the other two were too.  But it's one of those things with motherhood that you just don't fully realize the first or second time around.  It takes some time (or at least it did for me) to get past the learning how to cope with every new little thing before you can completely enjoy them.

      days go by

      Inspiration for the title of this blog is a Keith Urban song.  Don't ask me how it came into my head because I have no idea, but it seemed fitting.

      The past couple years I have felt like my life consists of making it from one day to the next, waiting for something to happen with no idea when to expect a change or what to do to make it happen faster.

      That is, up until July 22, 2011 when during the More Love More Power conference at church I got a word that this period of my life is precious time.  I had never looked at it that way before, and I've spent the past week and a half examining my life in search of things that are precious.

      And this is what I've found:

      1. Three beautifully healthy children that need me to act like time is precious.
      2. A husband who loves me and desperately wants to see me grow to become more of who God made me to be.
      3. The Holy Spirit within me urging me to take a risk, make a move, do SOMETHING that will ignite my passion and restore the hunger that has seemed to disappear through the everyday realities that come with being a mother.
      4. I need to stop saving things to do another time.  Like scrapbooking, probably my most favorite activity.  And playing the piano...I really need to find a piano somewhere.  These things were a big part of who I am, and I miss them terribly.  Here's to making a concerted effort to reincorporate one or both of these hobbies to my time.
      5. I need to value myself.  Taking the extra 10 minutes to do something with my hair or picking out something to wear that is a step above jogging pants (because let's face it, I don't jog) will do wonders for my self-image.
      6. I need to start documenting (ah-ha, blog!) milestones for the kids, keeping track of cute things they do and say, and writing a birthday letter to them each year.

      So in an effort to really value the precious time I'm in right now, I'm making some changes.  Buckle up and enjoy the ride.