Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ah ha!

I've discovered why Nola is considered "small."

Different growth chart!  The WHO (not the band) has an international growth chart which is based on weights and lengths of babies who are breastfed exclusively for at least 4 months and at least partially until 12 months with no solids until 6 months. 

And by those numbers she's exactly average for weight and a little above average for length.

Check them out here for girls and here for boys

Nola's 9 (and a half) month check-up

Best thing:  NO shots!

Size thing:  18 lbs 6 oz and 27" long

Crazy thing:  She's only at the 30th-40th percentile for weight and height.  Someone please explain to me how my long and chunky girl is into 18-24 month clothes when she's only in the 30th-40th percentile for height and weight.  Does this mean that 9 month old girls who are at the 50th-60th percentile are in 3T clothes?  Nola hasn't fit into her 9 month clothes in like 3 months.  I don't get it. 

Worst thing: Nap refusal day for Nola was yesterday which resulted in her crying every time somebody at the doctor's office touched her.  Or even when they looked at her at one point.  Did I mention how glad I am there were no shots yesterday?  That would have been complete disaster.

Side note thing:  Nola got her third tooth last week - her first on top.  And she's working on the other top front tooth right now.  Can't wait until they're both through and she's gotten used to them in her mouth so she doesn't need to use me as a teether every time she begins to eat.

John 17:4

"I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do."

Reading this verse makes me realize how close to (or maybe even still behind) the starting gate I am.  Finishing well is a goal of mine.  A very long term goal.  But a shorter term goal is to begin the work God is giving me to do.

Just recently I started to feel led to form a small group as I prayed and read my Bible on a more consistent basis.  Can I just say how much easier it is to hear God if you're actively listening?  What a revelation, right?!  Then at the last VLT training at church, I received some words from some friends and fellow M2M leaders that have really begun to push me.  Some of the words were leadership, responsibility for others, influence, and teaching.  After leaving VLT, I prayed the whole way home.  And I got a clear answer that I am to start a small group.  So I sat on that for longer than I probably should have, but I did finally reach out and talk to and exchange emails with one of the small group pastors.  And I filled out all the information for our group to start in February.  Phew.  My assigned work commenced: check. 

So now what?

I wonder every day who (if anyone) will show up.  I wonder if we'll even make it through the first month with any regular participants.  I fear failure.  I worry about how the kids will behave.  I know that I'll have to be stubborn enough to push through when Kevin wants to quit because his expectations for immediate success sometimes supercede any patience to see it all the way through. 

And despite all the anxiety that I feel, I know that it's not my plan.  It's God's.  And in a way, the anxiety is comforting because I know that I'm feeling this way because I'm doing the right thing.  It's like being crazy-nauseous when you're pregnant.  At least for me when I was without that awful feeling, I would worry that the pregnancy is okay since the nausea is a clear sign to me that things are going according to plan in there.  In that way anxiety is a great thing.

I'm already getting ideas of certain people and families that we should invite to participate in our small group.  I know God already has people picked out for us to get to know and do life with.  And every once in a while it's like He lets me in on his secret plan by showing me somebody that I should be pulling into our circle.

I can't say enough how excited I am to see where this goes.  So pray pray pray for us as we begin this new work that we would enjoy it, have amazing times with new people, and stick with it no matter what.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This is just too dang early

4:30 am ... Nola wide awake.  Roll over to other side to attempt to nurse back to sleep.
4:45 am ... Realize this is probably going to be the end of my night.
5:00 am ... Take Nola to her room to nurse because it feels like she's going to tear my poor, thrush-laden nipples off (Curse you antibiotics.  Screw you ear infections.) while simultaneously scratching the skin off my chest and face with her sharp little fingernails (Stupid Mommy fear of nail clippers).
5:10 am ... Get her wrapped up and under control.
5:15 to 5:30 ...  Nurse nurse nurse.  Ow ow ow.
5:35 am ... Nola pops off and says, "Mamamamamamamamamama!!!!!"  Crap.  Now she's being cute.
5:40 am ... Turn light on in her room.  We both do the squinty eye thing.  Change diaper and admit defeat.

And that was just one side of the craziness.
5:00 am ... Natalie is up, FULLY DRESSED, TV on, and ready to start her day.  I growled something at her like, "Turn that off and go to bed.  grumble grumble grumble."
5:02 am ... Pretty sure she already had the TV back on just a few minutes after I told her to turn it off.  Because, you know, Natalie can do whatever she wants and I'm powerless to stop her at 5 am and she knows this.
5:05 am ... Natalie wakes Nathan up.  Nothing to say but....grrrrrr.

Amazingly, they stayed pretty quiet while I finished with Nola.

At 6 I put cinnamon rolls in the oven.  Kids ate, I ate, Nola started rubbing her eyes.  When we were done I put the kids back in their room, put Nola to sleep, and went back to bed.  Thankful for my awesome husband who got up with the kids when they started getting noisy so that Nola and I could sleep until almost 9.

Nathan is spending the morning with Grandma since he's usually the one who stays home.  They're going grocery shopping, so I'm hoping he'll come home tired enough for a nap.

Here's to a better day than what I started with!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Daily Devotion

I've started doing a Bible reading plan through YouVersion by Joyce Meyers.  There's a piece of scripture along with a short devotion, and so far I'm loving it.  It is exactly what I need to "hear" right now.

Yesterday's devotion was about keeping the presence of God close to me to help me focus on what He would have for me rather than all of life's extra distractions.  She referenced John 14:23 which says "Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them."  I love that it's that simple.  All I have to do is obey.  Strangely that's what I keep telling Natalie..."Life will be so much easier for you when you just do what I say!"  And then I read something like that, and I feel about as big as a peanut and my response is, "Ok, God.  I guess that applies to me too."  And then the best part is that Jesus promises that He and God (and the Holy Spirit) will come and make their home in me.  Love that!  I'm so thankful for the renovations that are going on in my heart right now to make a home for Jesus.

Today's devotion blew me away.  It's something I've been thinking about and having lots of visions and direct instructions about lately.  Dreams.  Not sleeping dreams so much as dreams of who I want to be and who God wants me to be.  For a really long time, those two dreams couldn't have been farther apart.  But I'm starting to see who I am in the Kingdom, and it's really, really exciting.  The verse for today is Proverbs 29:18 which says this: "When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.  But whoever obeys the law is joyful."  Oh my goodness do I remember running wild thinking I'm running this show that is my life.  Still do sometimes, but not like I used to.  I'm enjoying the joy that comes with obedience, and I have a feeling it's only going to get better as I continue to follow the instructions I've been given.  In the devotional part of today's reading Joyce Meyers wrote this: "That means you...need to find a balance between contentment and ambition. Here's the key: Learn to enjoy where you are on the way to where you're going."  All I have to say is thank you God. 

Growth is an amazing thing.  And it's something that I'm finally seeing in myself while I'm going through it instead of seeing it in hindsight.

So thank you God for all you're doing in my life and in the lives of those around me.  Help me to stay focused on you and what you have for me so that I can remain obedient to your instructions and see the promises in your word.  Help me to live my dreams even as I do the footwork to make it all happen the way that You see it.  Thank you for loving me Jesus.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

John 14:27-29

The enemy is all over so many people I know lately.  People are sick, dying, sinning, imprisoned, depressed, confused, desperate, crying, and hurting.  Everyone from young children to older adults, no one is spared.  I ran across this verse tonight in the book of John.  Some context: Jesus was giving instructions and promises to his disciples before his capture and eventual crucifixion. 

And this is what he says John 14:27-29  “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.  Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am.  I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe."

I pray that Jesus will bring his peace to everyone I know who is suffering right now.  I pray that they would not be troubled or afraid but would instead rest in knowing that the peace of Jesus is covering them.  And I really feel like God is saying that He is going to use all these horrible things for the purpose of building stronger faith and making a lasting impression on those who do not believe yet.  I pray that He shows me the way to minister to all those that I know are hurting.  And that I'll be bold and obedient in stepping out to pray with them.  

So thank you, Jesus, for your promise of peace.  And thank you that you died so that we might live.  I lift up all my friends (who are really more like family) who are experiencing some hard times which are really more like impossible than hard.  Help their experiences to be faith-building and inspire new growth and belief in them and all those who surround them.  Thank you for giving me a heart for their hurts.  Help me to follow your lead in praying for and with them.  Give us all more of you.  In Your name I pray, amen.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

9 months old

Nola Grace is 9 months old.  She's the sweetest little baby who loves everybody in her family and squeals with delight when she sees each of us. 

It never ceases to amaze me how much a baby changes in such a short amount of time.  I mean, how do we go from this....

8 lbs 6 oz, 20 inches

to this....
18 1/2 lbs, not sure on length except LONG
in only nine months.  And yet, as far as animals go humans are some of the slowest to develop as babies and children.  If there's one thing I'm learning as a third time mom, it's that God's timing is truly perfect.  He orchestrates our lives to the smallest, most minute detail.  And as a mother, it's such a gift to be able to witness every second of my child's God-designed life.

Nine months was definitely a month of changes for Nola and me.  Here are a few of them.

Growth: Exact numbers to come next week when we see Dr. Schuster for her check-up, but she was around 18 1/2 lbs at a doctor's visit for an ear infection earlier this week.  Looking forward to the fun 9-month check with no shots. Woo hoo!  I'm hoping he doesn't make a big deal of her not gaining the half ounce a day, but with her chubby legs I don't see how he could really be too concerned.  Either way, it's still primarily mama's milk for Nola!

Clothes: Wait for it.....Nola's in 18 months clothes for the most part.  Especially now that it's colder and I really want her legs totally covered.  So we're rolling sleeves because her arms aren't as long as her legs are.  Love that I have one of those chunky babies.  And just in the past week, I've really started to enjoy dressing her in little outfits instead of keeping her in sleepers all the time.  It makes diaper changes more challenging since she has very little patience for those, but she looks so cute that it's worth the trouble. 

Eating:  Still primarily nursing, and I've really been enjoying a nice boost in my supply as a result of a growth spurt that she had a couple weeks ago.  It's such a satisfying noise to hear the milk splashing around in her mouth as she swallows.  Sometimes she gulps so hard that she gets ahead of herself and I have to stop her before she chokes.  She has also been eating a lot more real food.  She loves sitting in her chair at the table with the rest of us and munching on whatever we're eating.  She tried blueberries the other day and absolutely loved them.  She also loves bananas, apples, toast, cheerios, chicken, and beans.  Nola has mastered her sippy cup.  And she will very adamantly demand it when she needs a drink.  Next up for Nola to try are dairy products - cheeses and yogurts especially.  She had a little taste of yogurt off my finger tonight and seemed to like it.  So far, no tummy upset so we'll continue to cautiously try it. 

"This is yummy, Mommy!"

Even with only two teeth, she gets some apple....and she loves it!

Sleeping:  She's had some trouble over the past couple weeks, but that probably had a lot to do with a brewing ear infection which we caught early, THANK GOODNESS!  She's been much better the last couple days, so that's quite the relief.  Thankfully she sleeps well with me in bed if all else fails, so at least we always have that to fall back on.

Don't let the peacefulness fool you...this was only a 30 minute nap.

But she is soooooo beautiful, I can't help but watch her.

What she's doing:  This is my favorite thing...she's making sounds that I understand as words.  At bathtime when I take her back to the bathroom, she'll say "baaa  baaa" for bath.  When we finish a diaper change, she says, "ahh duh" for all done which is what I've been saying to her since birth.  And after getting dressed for bed, she starts saying, "buh buh" for her book.  Sometimes she'll say it at other times when we're reading a story, but I've mostly noticed it for her bedtime book.  All these verbal developments make me think of Natalie.  She was about the same at this age if not a little more advanced.  It's incredible that they're able to "talk" at this age.  She has also fully mastered crawling and pulling up on anything and everything.  She's beginning to cruise along furniture and has let go in an attempt to walk on her own a couple times.  Of course she lands on her bottom when she let's go, but it's fun to see her try.  She absolutely loves her brother and sister and shrieks and squeals when she sees them coming toward her.  She and Nathan are becoming good pals, which is so sweet to watch.  And she's really falling in love with her daddy.  She'll sit on his lap for the longest time -- especially when he has a snack for her. 

This has been a very exciting month for Nola in a lot of ways.  She was dedicated at church this past Sunday, and that was really special.  I had a new realization of how important this commitment is.  More on that in another post.

All ready to go on dedication Sunday morning

In the front of the church being introduced and prayed for
 Nola is such a joy, and we are so blessed to have her.  Here's to your nine months, baby girl, and many many more!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I need to get with it.

So here I am, going about my every day life, passing up all kinds of blogging material.  Don't know what my problem is, but I promise I will rectify the situation.

Perhaps it's that I've been processing so much lately.  Like big stuff.  Really big stuff.  Stuff that is still not processed enough to post on a public blog because I have yet to figure it out myself.

So a brief rundown of the past several weeks...

 I turned 27 on October 17th.  I've never really experienced any really big changes or transitions around my birthday, so this year is a major exception.  I almost feel like I've actually aged instead of feeling the same the day after my birthday as I did the day before it.  It's quite an interesting feeling, and I'm still getting used to all that it brings.

A week after my birthday, I spoke at Mom2Mom on forgiveness.  Even though that's a topic that I'm sure I'll never master, preparing that talk gave me a lot of new insight on what it means to really forgive.  We had some really awesome and honest discussions followed by some amazing worship, great words of knowledge, and powerful ministry.  And I'm still hearing from ladies that were touched and challenged by my story.  God is so good, and I'm so blessed to have this refreshed perspective on His goodness.

Following that meeting I've had all kinds of stirrings for changes in my life.  This is the part where it becomes unprocessed and personal, so I'll omit details.  But let me just say that this time next year and maybe even just months from now, my life is likely to look completely different in many ways.

Then the week of Halloween was really crazy and busy, and I really don't even remember much of it.  Natalie went trick-or-treating with her dad and Liz and (of course) had a great time.  Then this past weekend she was with them as they were joined in marriage.  Congratulations to the both of you, and I wish you all the best!  Natalie had a blast being the flower girl and getting to spend time with all of her out-of-town family.

This past Sunday we went to church where Nola was dedicated.  It's really special when I think about what that really means.  The promise that we make publicly to raise our children so they know Jesus is so important and profound.  Again, so blessed for a new perspective on that.  The message was amazing.  Love when Jeff Augustine speaks.

Yesterday was VLT (Vineyard Leadership Training), and it was literally life-changing.  Still processing, so I'll get back to you on that.  You ladies who were there, I love you.  I am so thankful for the influence each of you is having on my life.

Mom2Mom today, and again amazing.  This group of women is incredible, and I really feel a new sense of unity and togetherness this year that I didn't feel last year.  I don't know if it's because I was new last year or if it's just because it's really happening that way this year, but I feel it.  And I love it.

There's the update on me.  Sorry it's a little vague, but stay tuned for more later.  Kids post will come later.  For now, it's quiet in my house.  Kids are at school, and Nola is asleep.  Sounds like lunchtime to me!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Could I PLEASE get some sleep?!

Although this will not impress my friend Emily at all, I am really missing my sleep lately.  Nola is back to her completely unpredictable sleeping schedule which consists of one or fewer naps and "sleeping" in bed with me every night from about midnight on.  By 4:30 or 5:00 every morning, my back is killing me from laying in one position so long.  Sometimes I try to put her in her own bed at that point if she's asleep enough and all the stars align.  We had one amazing night this past week where she slept from 8:30 until 3:30, ate, and went back to sleep.  Can't wait until she does that again.  Thankfully she's still a pretty happy girl for most of the day and will play and crawl around without fussing much. 

She snuck up on me and started biting my toes one day...