Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"To the country I'm going/ Lay and laugh in the sun/ You can bring, bring your guitar along/ We'll sing some songs, we'll have some fun"

It’s that time again….time where I have a few moments to update you all on the daily goings on around here.

We had a very eventful Sunday night (Oct. 17). I’d like to preface the story by telling you all that Charlotte is doing very well. In fact, she is snoozing away on our bed. I’m hoping the nap will last long enough for me to write this blog!! Two Sunday nights ago Charlotte was unusually wakeful. Typical she is starting to snooze pretty good by 7pm, and we put her in her crib at around 8pm. Well, she was so wakeful that it was more like 9pm when Ben went to take her downstairs to bed. I remained in our upstairs bonus room as he headed for the stairs. On his way down he slipped and fell…with Charlotte. He fell back so most of the impact hit his back but it was enough of a fall to knock Charlotte out of his arms and onto the steps. By the time I got there (heart had pretty much stopped), he was getting up and she was still on a step…not crying. When a baby gets hurt or jarred I expect them to cry, in fact I want them to cry. I picked her up. Her arms were rigidly held out from her body, and her eyes were staring at the ceiling. She was nonresponsive, and it was extremely scary. I called my parents who advised me to either call an ambulance or go to the hospital immediately. Charlotte stayed in this odd state for at least five minutes and then fell asleep in the car seat.

I drove to the hospital very fast, and the only words I could utter were “please God” over and over and over. We reached the hospital at about 9:30pm. After telling the doctor and nurses the situation, Charlotte received a physical exam and had to have a CT scan. To make a long story short, at around 1:45pm we were discharged when all exams came back normal. I will say it was the longest 4 hours of my life. My mom, who had driven down very late that night, came with Charlotte and me to a follow up pediatrician appointment the next morning. Our doctor gave her a clean bill of health but told me we did the right thing by taking her to the emergency room.

I have been praying for God to teach me many things, but I did not expect Him to do it through my child. Often I ask Him why it can’t be me, but I will admit that nothing brings me to my knees faster than issues with my daughter. I am daily repeating the verse: “For Thou hast tried us, O God; Thou hast refined us as silver is refined. Thou didst bring us into the net; Thou didst lay an oppressive burden upon our loins…we went through fire and through water; Yet Thou didst bring us into a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:10-12). Unfortunately, I don’t get to choose how I reached the “place of abundance.” I must merely hold all with an open hand and allow God to refine me the way He sees fit. I question God when He involves Charlotte in this refinement, but then I must remember that He created her for this purpose. And it gladdens my heart that Charlotte, who is still so young, has already glorified God.

On a lighter note, I was able to have an incredibly wonderful weekend with my parents. They came up late Thursday night and stayed through Saturday. During this visit, we found that Charlotte has a favorite. Is it her mother who feeds her and gets up in the middle of the night with her??? NOPE. Is it her father who plays with her and helps sooth her when she cries??? NOPE It is Papa (my Dad) who we have also dubbed Baby Hog. Friday morning she smiled like she has NEVER smiled before at him. Her face lighting up with every word he said. My mom and I tried lots of baby talk, but she only had eyes for my dad. We were all pretty jealous, but if she has to like a man she picked a great one!! She has finally started to smile at me more but I still have to work at her grins unlike my father.

Saturday, we all headed up to Gorham’s Bluff for a box lunch. Charlotte was pretty unhappy the whole ride up. She does not like her car seat and will rarely take a pacifier, so road trips are a bit long and stressful at the moment. However, once we arrive I fed her and put her in the Moby where she was happy as a clam. We ate delicious fried chicken and fresh crisp apples on the back porch over looking the valley. We then headed for a little hike which made my mom neurotic when we were any where near a cliff edge. It was wonderful to get away from the house and outside into the beautiful fresh air. I was beginning to get a bit stir crazy cooped up in the house 24-7, and the trip was the perfect antidote.

My parents had to hit the road after our adventure. But I wasn’t too sad, because we are head to B’ham for a doctor visit and then I’m headed to Covington with my mom for the WEEK!!! I’m so excited. We are going to have a late celebration of my brother’s birthday, sew Christmas stockings for Charlotte and Lia, and I’m even going to get my hair cut which I haven’t done in months. Oh, and I forgot; Charlotte’s first Halloween will be in Covington. She is going to be a ballerina because I’m in love with her TuTu. We’ll be getting back into town Nov. 4. The following Monday she gets her first round of shots which mean FREEDOM. Not that we’ll be gallivanting around town all day, but it will be nice not to be quite so house bound.

I hope everyone has a fun Halloween…I’m hoping to eat ridiculous amounts of candy!

P.S. I forgot to say that my Chunky Monkey was a whopping 9 lb at her pediatrician’s appointment. This growing up stuff happens way too fast.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One"

Another blog written while Charlotte sleeps on my chest. Things haven’t changed much since my last blog, except my perspective. I want to thank all of you who responded to my last post. Your words were so encouraging. To know that each of you raised your children in different ways and they are all thriving is so comforting.

I’m realizing that I’m in a new season of my life, and with each new season comes changes. I was fighting the fact that my days couldn’t follow my old schedule. Now I realize that this new season is filled with so many blessings, and I need to enjoy them. This past week I spent some great time with Charlotte, playing instead of vacuuming. I relaxed with Ben at night instead of worrying about laundry, and I spent time praising God for how much He has blessed me. I tried rejoicing instead of complaining. I also realized that there are many qualities of a Godly wife that I can do now because they do not require time but heart changes. I am praying to be more patient, seeking Godly wisdom even in the mundane tasks, trying to support and lift up my husband, striving to find joy in the small things, and asking God to reveal the areas in my life that still need to be broken.

This week I didn’t get tons done, but I tried to quit being bogged down and take comfort in the few accomplishments I did make. Those small accomplishments were mainly limited to feeding, soothing, bathing, playing, and loving on Charlotte. However, I did manage a major grocery run and a few dinners. I made the decision to buy organic chicken. I know, big step for me, especially since the meat ran at least $5 more. I decided that if I purchased the organic version, I would have to find a way to “make up” or recoup the extra spending. Well, I typically eat a sandwich everyday for lunch and buy prepackaged deli meat. This meat is not cheap and is packed with sodium. So, I cooked an organic fryer to use for sandwich meat and to make chicken salad. The carcass is still in the fridge because I plan on making bone stock. Homemade bone stock is not only cheaper but also filled with more flavor and best of all more nutrients.

My healthy cooking efforts also extended to sweet potato chili. I am sure some of you are thinking the combo sounds odd. But here was my thinking: I was looking for recipes that were relatively cheap and easy to make while being healthy and good sources of protein. It’s a lot to ask of a recipe, but I have to say the chili met the bill and tasted great to boot. Next week I’m going to do some grilled chicken and roasted cauliflower, and maybe some Brussels sprouts for diversity. If anyone has some recipes that fit my above criteria, I’d love to here them!!!

Before I go, or more correctly before Charlotte starts to demand food, I’d like to share a praise. The other day I was feeding Charlotte. Often while I do this, I stretch her feet out because she is keeping them flexed in at all times. I started tickling her leg, and there it was: MOVEMENT in her big toe on her left leg. I tickled her again to make sure there was actual movement and I wasn’t just seeing what I wanted, and YES it moved again. Near to tears, I ran upstairs to show Ben!! Some of you might think “calm down Ess; it is just a toe.” But I have never seen her toes wiggle like normal little babies do and didn’t know if I ever would. She does not respond to me touching her feet. Hopefully, this new movement will continue to get stronger. It is a very small movement, but to me it’s a huge miracle. That is one of the things I love about being Charlotte’s mom. I feel like I’m experiencing miracles daily. Every new thing she does amazes me, and I praise God for His “fearfully and wonderfully made” creation. Just the other day I was reading my bible out loud while Charlotte slept in my lap. All of the sudden I heard her giggle in her sleep. It was the best sound I have ever heard.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"We can't see what's ahead/ And we can not get free from what we've left behind"

Well, I had planned on writing this blog yesterday, but fatigue, laundry, and the demands of a baby kept me at bay. I had planned on writing this blog earlier today, but thank you notes, gathering addresses, and once again, the demands of a baby kept me from the plan. Ah, the best laid plans, right?? Charlotte is currently napping on my chest as I try to barely reach the keyboard and type. This is not the optimal situation, but every time I have moved her from napping on my body to some other area she has lasted about five minutes before wailing. Some might say let her cry. Well, I am weak and guilt motivated, and she is entirely too cute. So, I just pick her right back up and give her what she wants. Lord help me when I have to start disciplining this child, because right now I’m a total push over!

We’ve been doing well this last week. Charlotte made her first trip to Covington to see her Little grandparents. She seemed to greatly enjoy her time. She hardly slept a wink during the day for all the exciting activity. I was also able to attend a shower for my sister-in-law Dana while I was there. My first social outing was great. Many of the same women who hosted the shower for me where hosting this one, and they once again out did themselves. The food was divine and the fall d├ęcor was stunning. I left Charlotte in the care of Ben, my father, my grandfather, and my brother Henry. Four men and a baby is pretty scary, right??? But, she seemed fine when I got home, so I’ll deem them responsible babysitters J

After our wonderful weekend in Covington, Mary, Charlotte and I headed to the pediatrician for Charlotte’s one month check up. She was doing great and weighing in at a whopping 7lb 9oz. I swear she has had a growth spurt this week because for six days straight she was demanding to be fed every 2 hours!!! Now I love my little girl, but this is a lot of feeding. It flat wore me out. The little chub-O finally seemed to slow down while visiting with her Bratton grandparents and great grands in Hollywood.

Maybe I am speaking to soon. She has just started making sucking noises and is now awake and crying, and it has been exactly two hours since her last feeding!!!! Oh goodness, will my life always be limited to 30min intervals in between feedings!!!!!!!!!!!!

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An hour and a half later: Well, after feeding and bathing Charlotte, feeding Ben and myself, and losing a bit of hair in the process (she has quite a death grip) I’m back to finish what I stared.

This is going to make some of you laugh. I had read Baby Wise before Charlotte was born and thought it made great sense and was determined it would be our feeding method. Hahahahaha. Surgery, days in the NICU and low birth weight seemed to ruin those plans. I flipped through it the other night to see if I was doing anything right, nope. Actually that is how I feel a lot these days, like I just can’t do it right. I don’t know; maybe all new moms feel this angst. Baby Wise confirms that my feeding methods leave much to be desired.

I have also been reading Creative Counterpart by Linda Dillow. I started reading it to try to get on the right path to becoming the wife and mother that God has called me to. The book is great and very convicting, but often times after reading it I feel like a failure. I wonder why I can’t do all those things that make it into the author’s week (she has three children btw). She exhorts women to spend time with God (memorize scripture, bible reading, prayer), revere their spouse (write them letters, date nights), spend quality time with children (do crafts, play), keep an orderly house (clean and plan time wisely), maintain self (exercise ones body and mind), and devote time to others (volunteer, church programs). Now, I agree with all this but am utterly overwhelmed by trying to accomplish it. I have trouble getting out of PJs and into real clothes some days. I always feel insufficient and guilty. If I’m playing with Charlotte, I wonder if I should really be cleaning the bathroom. If I’m writing thank you notes, I wonder if I should go play with Charlotte. If I’m chilling with Ben at night, I think about how I should be ironing laundry. Also, I know full well that God does not get the time He deserves, though I am working on that. As I’m blogging, I’m wondering if I should be using my time in other ways.

I know that we can not do anything God call us to on our own. I’m praying and trying to lean on Christ but still end up feeling that hardly any of the things I wanted to get accomplished happen in a day. When you are feeding a baby every two hours you have maybe 45minutes in between, and even if it is every three hours you only have about 1hr and 15min to accomplish all the tasks at hand. The time between feedings seems to slip through my fingers and I have no clue what happens to it. Not to mention that I’m typically exhausted most of the day. I really want to start working out and getting back into shape, but how on earth do I find the energy to do that??? Am I just lazy???

I have friends with children and I read blogs of mothers who seem to be doing all this. Am I just missing the boat??? I’d love some tips from you moms out there. How do you all delight in God, submit to your husband in love, wisely raise your children, look nice, keep an orderly home, and give to others? ANY advice would be much appreciated. I think some times I just worry too much. I have an emotional battle every time I buy chicken wondering if I should spend the extra on organic or be frugal and buy the stuff pumped with hormones; either choice I make I’ll leave wondering if I acted wisely.

Don’t misunderstand. I love this new role of motherhood and wouldn’t trade it for all the designer shoes in Saks J. Charlotte is such a joy. I can’t believe she is 6 weeks old today. The time goes by way too fast. I just desperately want to raise Charlotte in a home that glorifies God and am wondering the how to apply the traits of the Godly woman in proverbs to my life.

The following song has really spoken to me lately:

HARD to GET by Rich Mullins

You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt

Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away
Well I memorized every word You said

Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
While You're up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then

Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat

Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You're up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained

And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know

Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind
I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret

I can't see how You're leading me unless You've led me here
Where I'm lost enough to let myself be led