Back From Maternity Leave

A couple weeks ago, I had a bit of an emotional meltdown.

And then, of course, following the emotional meltdown, I had an epiphany.

I started back to work at the beginning of the year, and I haven’t had the easiest transition coming back. I love my job and the people I work with, but it doesn’t feel right that I’m spending my days away from my babies. It’s been a very emotional return, and fortunately the Lord has blessed me with many friends (old and new) who have been so understanding and have reassured me that I am not alone in this. Being a working mom is hard enough without my own pressures, guilt, and longings to be with my kids flooding my mind most days.

To make matters worse, when I get home, I am overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” that needs to be done. Housework needs to be done, dinner needs to be cooked and eaten, kids need to be bathed, and it all needs to be done the moment I walk in the door. This is in my mind, of course. Caleb is a wonderful husband and is more than supportive and helpful–but he can’t change the things that sneak into my mind every evening.

We had a night of prayer at youth group a few weeks ago, and everyone shared the things in their lives that needed prayer. Some were needing physical healing, some were struggling with things, and I shared that I needed help managing my time. That was the only thing I could come up with to describe my constant dilemma, but it’s more like I feel the need to try and control my life, when I really don’t have any control at all.

I can’t clean my house every day. Not the whole thing… that’s so unrealistic. I need to be smarter in the way I do things so I’m not running around doing a whole lot of nothing. In the midst of trying to clean (or saying “I’d really like to get THIS done before going to bed”), I’m trying to spend time with my kids, but sometimes I get so distracted that they get even less of my attention. I’m already gone all day, and I come home and try to get a bunch of other stuff done. I can’t do it all. I hate that it bothers me, too.

I am going to try to not stress about some things in my life. If the laundry doesn’t get folded, it doesn’t get folded. I’d rather spend my energy on my kids. Until our life circumstances change, I will make the most of what God has blessed us with.

I know I’m not alone in this. I know many other moms who feel the same way. I’ve been reading Esther recently, thanks to the SheReadsTruth app (which I love, by the way), and one verse really stuck with me.

“…And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Mordecai was talking to Queen Esther about how she could be the one to save her people. Basically, no one knows why we’re put in the positions we are in, but we need to be brave enough (or strong enough, or humble enough, etc…) to accept the task God puts before us. I need to remember this as well. I may not have the role I want to be in, but God never promised I would be perfectly happy in life, based on my definition of happiness anyway. This may still very well be where God wants me, and until that changes, I need to be joyful in my position and make the most of my time with my kids. And until then, I need to pray for contentment and that I would desire his plan over my own.

 

Happy Babies Have Tears Too

Dr's Visit

Yesterday was Ava’s traumatic 15-month checkup. Traumatic isn’t even an exaggeration. Nothing happened out of the usual… she just knew what was going on.

She knew she didn’t know this lady. She knew the crinkly paper was loud and not nice. She knew she didn’t like the cold stethoscope on her chest. She knew it wasn’t normal when mama held her head still so this lady could stick something in her ears. She knew this was not fun.

And then the shots happened, and that didn’t help her trust the Dr any more. Three shots, to be exact. MMR, chicken pox, and flu. One of those they said really hurt, and even left a bruise. Poor thing.

The nurse practitioner we saw today explained that this is completely normal, and most kids even go through phases of trusting/not-trusting the doctor, but that this age and 3-year-olds are the worst. At least we made it through the first “worst”.

Long story short, Ava is “perfect” weight-wise! I guess we no longer need to fatten her up, huh. We were actually told to “keep doing what we’re doing” and not worry about her weight. She’s found her new curve at the 10-12th percentile, and she’s 20lbs 4oz. She’s 30.5″ long, at the 50th percentile. She’s walking and talking (31 words!), has 6 full teeth and is working on her molars. She likes reading and picking out hair bows and shoes to wear. What a big girl.

Just for fun, I wanted to share Ava’s list of words. She says these on almost a daily basis, and it doesn’t include the words she repeats just because we say them.

  1. Zorro (or ZorZor)
  2. pancake
  3. highchair
  4. mama
  5. dada
  6. hi
  7. bye
  8. cat
  9. dog
  10. milk
  11. up
  12. hotdog
  13. baby
  14. stir
  15. cupcake
  16. ball
  17. bow
  18. shoe
  19. hat
  20. no (“nooo nooo noooo” while shaking her head)
  21. book
  22. nose
  23. toe
  24. eyes
  25. knock (she says “knock knock” while knocking on her head. Thanks, Granny!)
  26. head butt (Daddy taught her this–she actually bumps heads with him)
  27. sock
  28. Hey Jack (yeah… Daddy is a Duck Dynasty fan)
  29. night night
  30. bath
  31. star

Avie’s also working on using tissues, and it coaxed a smile out of her after her tear-fest at the doctor’s office. Enjoy your day! May you have someone this adorable to wipe your tears, too.

tissue

The last time I take my toddler camping.

Sorry for my brief absence. I was too lazy to turn on the computer. Seriously.

But here I am! I follow the blog Cloudy with a Chance of Wine, and she just started a series called Priceless Mom Moments. After ready a couple of her posts in the series, and just her blog in general (seriously you guys, this chick is hysterical!), I decided it would be kinda fun to document some of my less-than-proud moments as a mom.

Last weekend we decided to take Ava camping for the first time. Tent camping. Roughing it. Outdoors. Overall, she did well. Except for the sleeping part–that was pretty awful.

Let me start at the beginning of the evening. We got to the campsite where we would be sharing a 10 person tent with our friends and their two dogs, and we began setting up camp. Rather, everyone else started setting up while I tried to keep Ava on a blanket (I didn’t grow up outdoorsy, so I kept freaking out about bugs, etc). That was pointless. Once everything was set, we started on dinner. It was a delicious meal of smoked sausage, red potatoes, and green beans, and Ava enjoyed it. Next came bedtime.

Ava is a fantastic sleeper.

In her own crib.

Anywhere else, she prefers to scream instead of sleep. And I couldn’t (or I chose not to) let her scream at 10pm in the quiet campground. So instead of keeping her in her pack ‘n play, I decided to try letting her fall asleep on the air mattress next to me.

It was an hour of her sitting up, sucking her fingers, then falling over due to sleepiness. She would toss and turn, try to get comfy, then sit up again.

At one point, she flopped down on me, noticed I was there, and gave me kisses, which she found hilarious and made us both crack up.

Daddy and our friends heard us laughing in the tent, so he came in to see what was going on.

Here’s where I mess up: Caleb joined us and I told him what happened. Ava, of course was more awake now, and was back to exploring all corners of the air mattress. As Ava approached the side of the mattress, Caleb told her to come away from the edge. I said “Oh, she’ll be fine. The mattress is pushed up against the side of the tent. She’s been doing this all night.” No sooner had the words left my mouth did Ava go right over the edge–literally head over heels. Like, I saw her fall, and her feet went straight into the air.

I peeked over the side and saw her sprawled out on the floor, and all of a sudden, the shrieking started. At 11pm. In a SILENT campground. I gathered her up, took her outside, and gave her kisses and distractions (and made sure she was okay… holy cow I felt awful!).

Caleb was able to get her to sleep a while later, and she slept until 4am. We did more of the tossing and turning on the air mattress (safely lodged between two adults) before Caleb took her home.

I think it’ll be awhile before we attempt camping again.

Stroller Parents

It’s taken me awhile to write this post… I wanted to make sure I wasn’t writing a whole lot of hot-headed words I didn’t mean, just because I was irritated. I think this is actually a level-headed rant now, so read on. 

Remember Ava’s first trip to the zoo? It was a memorable experience for us, not only because it was Ava’s first time at the zoo, but also because I realized that stroller parents are a thing.

I can’t stress this enough, I was shocked at how rude, impatient, and aggressive stroller moms (mostly) and dads are. We were waiting patiently in a line of strollers to get to the front of the walrus window, so we could see one swim by, and as we were nearing the front, about three families rushed around us and took the spots that were there. I assumed they just didn’t see that we were waiting, so we tried to find another spot, and sure enough, it happened again. What. the. heck.

And then, you know how you’re driving along the road, and let’s say it’s a 2-lane highway. A car speeds up behind you and, although there’s no one in the other lane, they refuse to pass you, and instead insist on riding your tail?

Yeah, stroller parents.

Grrrr.

I didn’t think the zoo was a race track, but apparently there’s no leisurely strolling allowed. I can’t tell you how many times we stopped and forced those in a hurry around us to avoid getting our heels clipped. 

Caleb and I were talking about it after the fact, and he was just as shocked as I was. Are people so intent on getting their child “the best” that they forfeit manners to do so? I mean, they could just be having a bad day, or their kid is annoying them, and I get that, but do they have to be rude to the rest of the world? Or are we just so laid back and non-aggressive that we will never really understand how or why people insist on getting their way first? Who knows. Never once did we hear an “excuse me”.

I sure hope they realize their kids are going to act the way their parents do. These parents could very well be raising a generation of “me first” children. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means. In fact, I mess up daily just as much as the next mom. But I do try to be aware of how I’m behaving because my child is observing me. I don’t want her learning my bad habits, and even more, I want her to grow up respecting others, and caring about other people rather than always thinking of herself. It’s a hard task, and I wonder how aware parents are of their actions sometimes.

People, please remember to be kind to other people, especially when your kids are present. You never know how being nice could make someone’s day, or reversely, how being rude and pushy can make a memorable trip memorable for the wrong reasons. End rant.

2 years

wedding

Two years ago today, Caleb and I were married. It was a beautiful day, one I look back on with hearts in my eyes. There are so many details I may not always remember, but the most significant memories will remain in my mind forever.

Memories like how nervous I was to see my groom. Memories like praying together after we said our vows. Memories like singing in each other’s ear during our first dance. Memories like when we went off on our own and spent time together outside our gorgeous reception barn that night. And memories like stopping at the McDonald’s drive thru after leaving the reception. Yes, it’s a bit sappy, but it was such a special moment. 

wedding barn

The past two years have flown by; yet Caleb and I also agree that it feels like we’ve been married longer. Not in a bad way either. When you cram a wedding, a pregnancy, and the first full year of your baby’s life into two, I guess it has a way of doing that to you!

family

I have fully enjoyed everything about our marriage and life together thus far, and I anticipate  that it will get better in better. I love Caleb more and more everyday, and I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.

 

*First two photos are our professional wedding photos by Aesthetic Life Studio. Check them out!

Things you shouldn’t forget to tell your babysitters…

Even parents who stay at home or work from home have days where they need childcare.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Since Caleb works with the church, he has a yearly conference he has to attend. Last year, I was on maternity leave, so we didn’t have any problems. This year it snuck up on us, and we had one day to find someone to watch Ava.

We have fantastic friends and church family, so between three of them, we got the whole day covered. We wrote out Ava’s schedule, what to feed her, etc; she’s a pretty easy baby. We thought we prepared everyone well.

We thought.

Fail #1: Not telling your sitter how to turn off the motion-detecting baby monitor.My FAVORITE big ticket item we got for Ava is the AngelCare Movement and Sound Monitor. In a nutshell, when the monitor is on and doesn’t detect any movement in the crib, it makes a horribly loud beeping noise from the monitor base, and beeps and vibrates on the parent unit. Our sitter for this moment, our pastor’s wife, was not expecting that. Caleb forgot to tell her how to turn it off, so she just unplugged it to get the horrendous noise to stop! We got a humorous text explaining the situation, which kinda made my day.

Fail #2: Hiding the bibs.
This is pretty self-explanatory.

Fail #3: Hiding the disposables you bought for the day so the sitters don’t have to learn cloth. AND not showing them how to use cloth.
Yep. We hung our friends out to dry. But it was hilarious! Check out the picture. This is what totally made my day. I came home, started changing her diaper, and couldn’t stop laughing for about 10 minutes.

Diaper fail