Friday, December 13, 2013

You Run After Me


The Christmas season is one of my favorite, but I have found myself not quite as allured by the standards. I like the lights and the cold and the festivities, but as I get older I need the meaning to be central. Stuffing stockings and shoving cookies down my throat only offers so much satisfaction, then the January doldrums hit. I need something more complete, and it’s been there in front of me the whole time: what Christmas is, the King and Creator coming to earth for us. Even January doldrums and the ten pounds I’m going to put on in the next two weeks can’t mess with that.

I haven’t listened to standard Christmas music the last couple of weeks, but I’ve found other music screaming out to me what Christmas is, what life is, in a more direct way.

Discovering the song "And I Don't Deserve You" by Plumb a couple of weeks ago on 101.7 has just about shattered me. These lyrics specifically hit home:

I don't deserve your love
But you give it to me anyway
Can't get enough
You're everything I need
And when I walk away
You take off running and come right after me
It's what you do
And I don't deserve you

Full lyrics here:  http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/plumb/dontdeserveyou.html

The reason I’m so moved is because I have not previously been a Prodigal’s Son or leave-the-99-sheep-to-find-the-one kind of gal. I was a rule follower. I understood why the Prodigal’s son brother was a tad tissed when Mr. Party Pants ran home, out of money, looking for dad. I mean, the other brother had been there the WHOLE TIME! You’re killing the fattened calf for this misfit? And the sheep, oh my gosh. Sheep are stupid. I can’t believe when the one sheep ran off the other 99 didn’t just go with him because they are that gullible. But I had no sympathy for the one sheep. If I had been one of the other 99 I would have been saying to the sheep next to me, “Seriously, we are stopping and the shepherd is going back for that fool? If he’s stupid enough to wander off, let him find his way back. This does not even seem logical. Whatever, I’m taking a nap.”

But in previous years, it’s hit me like a ton of bricks in the face: I am a sheep, and I am not really that smart. And sometimes I have been the son who was hanging out at home close to dad, and sometimes I’ve been the prodigal. And God loved me anyway. In fact, according to Plumb and the Bible, He runs after me. He takes off after me. He comes to get me. Even when I’m stupid and making bad decisions. Even when I’m the hypocritical brother who can’t be happy to see someone else stumble back home. Still, He comes after me.

And that’s Christmas. I can’t think of a better explanation of someone running after me with all their might than what happened when God arrived on earth, a child, Jesus, sinless but leaving Himself open to every hurt and temptation of this world. So God could be glorified. So He could come get us, arriving knowing that on earth He was going to be crucified. He took off running and came right after us anyway. Merry Christmas, indeed.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The True Test

As a novice parent, I used to think success meant my kids not having problems, complaints, or unhappiness of any kind. I saw all of the above as signs I was somehow failing as a parent instead of the reality of rearing little people in a big world full of sin and enormous feelings.

Luckily, four wee ones in I think I’ve graduate from novice to at least aware I don’t have a clue and okay with it. It’s a good thing, because one of my favorite people ever has had a hard week: Sammy.

Sammy loves all the girls. He dotes on the twins and plays with Wren, even agreeing to play Barbies as long as he gets the naked ones. And she plays super heroes. They have a grand time. However, this week a realization fell on Sam: he is the lone male sibling. It was strange to watch this awareness take place.

Wren: I can’t wait until Asher and Eowyn are older so we can play dolls.

Sammy: They won’t want to play with me. I’m just a stupid little boy.

Me and Wren: What?!?

I have no idea where the phrase “stupid little boy” came from. I have no idea why Sammy would think anyone wouldn’t want to play with him when Asher and Eowyn smile at the mere sight of him walking in their general direction. I have no idea why suddenly it was the most awful thing on the planet to be surrounded by all that estrogen. I am only certain that he became very sad and started asking when Dad would be home.

This would have leveled me in my previous parenting life. I would be playing back every thing anyone had ever said, done, or implied to make him feel this way. Now, I don’t have to obsess over that. He is loved, told he is loved, shown love. I’m sure of it. I’m also sure he is having some big feelings about where he fits in as a boy, a middle child, never the first to do anything and not the baby. He doesn’t have a built in bestie like the twins and he can’t go to AWANAS like Wren because he’s not old enough. I think he’s having a very stuck in the middle moment. Add to that he’s the only one without ovaries when dad is at work, and I think it got to be too much. This was bound to happen with the immense amount of change we’ve dealt with in the last year, and it’s okay.

In the past, Sammy stood the chance of just fading when he was sad. Sometimes he would tell you, but as someone who does not particularly look for conflict, he’d more than likely just do his own thing and wait until you realized he had a need. I’m proud he said what he did so at least we can work on fixing it. A man date with daddy was ordered stat, tonight in fact.

Now I know that most of our parenting will probably be judged by our children on how well we managed issues, not on never having them in the first place. How do we deal when someone needs some special time? Do we prioritize the needs of everyone as best we can? When conflict or problems arise, how is it handled? Do we follow the principles we say we believe? Do we reflect Christ in our behavior?

This is the hard part, but I think it’s the part where the good stuff can happen. The good stuff tonight includes burgers for the boys (they are grabbing take-home fries for the girls who have teeth to eat them!) and some quality time doing whatever Sammy wants. It won’t fix everything. It won’t mean we never have another issue. But it means Sammy shouldn’t have a doubt that our little boy is precious, that we will stop the world to let him know that. These girls he’s surrounded by will break down walls for that kid. His dad will do the same. And when he needs us, we are always there. I hope that’s something my kids say about me when they are grown. She may have been half-dressed, never wearing make up and generally a mess, but she was there, never a question. One can hope.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Family Illness and the Invention of Hooter Shooters

Five out of six of us are sick.  Sammy is good, so far.  Maybe it's his habit of running in the bathroom while I'm drying my hair and demanding I blow dry his bare butt.  Maybe it's because when you get pneumonia at 10 days old and survive, illness just doesn't mess with you anymore.  Either way, he's holding steady.

No one is in awful shape.  It's a head cold with tons of annoyances like snot, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and for Wren, fever.  D and I have the added issue of all these sweet wee ones needing us to care for them when we don't feel like caring for ourselves.  Parenting teaches you what it means to selflessly serve others, and we're lucky to have these sweet peas to serve.

I'm amazed in such a short time how much my reaction to illness has changed.  Here's a quick outline of where it's been in the past:

Pre-children:  Getting sick means a few days off to sleep, read books, drink hot chocolate
After Wren's birth:  The sniffles means crying for days because I'm sure she's going to end up in the hospital.
As Wren ages the first year:  I laugh at my prior self and we just deal with it when she gets sick.
Ten days after Sammy's birth:  CRAP!  All my fears have come true because my kid has RSV and we are in the hospital!
Two days later:  Well, I had no idea what fear was because now my kid has pneumonia, and it had never occurred to me to actually fear that happening to a kid who isn't even two weeks old.
Since then up until maybe a year ago:  Please just don't ever let anyone get sick again!!

Now that we are in the throes of almost everyone being in some state of yuck, I have an odd peace.  I know it's because my spiritual life, my walk with Christ, is in a much better place.  I've matured a little, I really believe God is sovereign no matter what happens in my life.  I'm praying for healing and doing what I can on my end which has included:

>  drinking apple cider vinegar;
>  all of us taking enough vitamin C and D to qualify as drug addicts;
>  amping up on probiotics;
>  obsessive hand washing and giving air hugs, which did not work because we still passed it around;
>  hooter shooters

What are hooter shooters, you ask?  Or maybe you don't because the name alone makes you sure you don't want to know.  Well, stop reading if you don't want to know because I'm about to tell you:  breast milk in a shot glass.  I gave Sammy and Wren hooter shooters this morning because I didn't want to give them a big glass of breast milk in case they freaked out and wouldn't drink it and then no one else could have it because of germs and then breast milk would have been wasted which would have resulted in me completely losing what is left of my mind.  So, hooter shooters.  They were a success.  Wren had two.  Sammy wanted the milk from the actual spout and got straight up rejected because he has been weaned for a year and I don't even have a third boob and the twins are dominating the two I have.  Nursing is all infants with the sniffles want to do.  And apparently it's all almost-three-year-old-weaned-for-a-year-likes-warm-air-on-the-butt-first-thing-in-the-morning toddlers want as well.  Sorry about his luck. 

Anyway, we are good for now.  I'm confident illness has hit us now so we can be completely well during the holidays.  This is like a test for our immune systems.  We will pass; we will prevail.  How could I be wrong?  I'm the genius behind hooter shooters.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rebirth

My mind is everywhere, and I am reading Blue Like Jazz, the book of Romans, I am trying to absorb so much and plot my thoughts; it's great and heavy and freeing, and I think I understand how people can make a living of reading, writing, thinking.  Not much laundry would get done, but it'd be a good life.  Maybe not getting paid for it would stink, but still.

I have wanted to write, and I probably will still keep up with the blog at some level, but lately I've felt I just needed to absorb and listen and focus on something outside of my own voice.  I tire of my own voice, my own self-centeredness.  I tire of it easily lately.

What made me write today is that Sunday was hugely eventful, and I don't want to forget any of it.  Wren  entered into a relationship with Christ. 

We were home Sunday after church when a song came on the radio talking about lifting up your life to God.  Wren asked what it meant to lift your life up, and I said it meant to have a relationship with God, give Him your life, praise Him.  This wasn't a new concept to her.  She's been asking questions, thinking hard, dissecting and putting back together for months now.  Her response on Sunday surprised me though.  She started bawling and said, "I don't think I can do that."

Me:  Why not?

Wren:  Because of the sin.  I have a lot of sin.  I just keep sinning, and I know Jesus died for my sins, but I keeping killing Him.

If you will remember, miscommunication, or rather adults communicationing something and kids not understanding it, is not new in our house.  Wren previously thought because Jesus died on the cross we were all just waiting to be crucified.  She was surprisingly okay with it.  We are still working that one out since every once in a while she'll still say, "Man, I want to see Jesus, but that cross thing, ugh" and D and I explain that she probably will not be crucified for real, so maybe don't keep telling her little brother that after the nails are hammered into your flesh, you get to see God.  Poor Sammy, he was confused enough last week when he refused to go number two for four days.  We thought he was constipated.  Turns out when D was telling him to "stop holding it or he would get sick" Sammy thought he wasn't supposed to hold onto the toilet while he made number two.  That scared him because he's not a fan of free falling into the toilet having done it a couple times, so he just quit pooping.  Words have power, and I think explaining things you wouldn't imagine you'd ever have to is probably 99% of parenting. 

Anyway, we explained to Wren how Jesus died for our sins once and for all, how Wren's relationship with Jesus wouldn't mean she never sinned again, but she'd have the Holy Spirit within her, she'd always be forgiven, she'd grow more like Christ because of the relationship they would have.  We do die to our old selves when we enter a relationship with God and get a new heart that wants to be more like Him.  She wanted that.  Broken down to its simplest form, the true beauty is beyond appealing, and she understood.  She came to the Lord like a little child. 

Having kids is heavy.  Being a disciple for Christ is huge.  I spend so much time fearing I'll say or do something wrong, misrepresent the Lord.  I'm sure I have many times.  Having kids added to that fear, but Sunday was a change for me too because talking to Wren about God, about what she already knew and what she had questions about, made me see the true simplicity of it, how falling in love with Jesus makes you want to please Him, seek Him, how true love does that.  It's the easiest message, the one about someone else paying the price for me so I could spend my life in a love relationship serving God and others.  Love, pure love.  I hope I never find a way to make it harder than that, and I hope Wren doesn't either. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Babies by Number


We have been thoroughly enjoying the babymoon to the point that I have not shared much of anything about the girls’ birth.  Asher Evelyn and Eowyn August had a wonderful entrance into the world.  Here are the basics:

Born at 37 weeks
Day of delivery


June 19th



6:10 pm
Eowyn technically emerged first, but when Asher realized her sister was on the move she put her hands up like all the single ladies and they had to grab her too.  They were born seconds apart.

Eowyn weighed 5 lbs, 5 oz and Asher weighed 5 lbs, 9.6 oz

Zero NICU time



The whole experience was amazing.  We had great nurses and doctors, and the c-section went smoother than my first two.  We came home on June 22nd with both girls having passed all their tests and breastfeeding like champs.





I know we were covered in prayer throughout this time, and God is good.  We felt everyone’s prayers and the presence of God as every situation fell perfectly into place.  As the respiratory therapist said in the OR when we realized how well the girls were doing, “Of course they’re fine; they are warrior princesses!”  I think he recognized Eowyn’s name and was a Lord of the Rings fan, but he was right; they are warrior princesses, and we appreciate all the love and prayers sent their way.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My 19th Little Thing

Recap:  I did increase my endurance after being released from official bedrest.  It was trial and error, which basically means I really screwed up and did too much some days and paid for it with insane contractions that are apparently not leading to birth.  They're just fun reminders that I really shouldn't be making laps in the HOA pool.  Whatever.

Week 19:  Teach Wren about money

We live in an insanely privileged area.  Appearances and keeping up with material things means a lot to some people around here.  I'm not entirely sure how we made this home.

Our goal has always been to steer our kids away from materialism and the allure of buying "stuff".  We rarely buy our kids anything, though you wouldn't know it if you came to our house.  They are showered with everything in the world by family, and that is okay.  It's just that we want their minds where money and materials are concerned to be in the right place.

This week at Target, Wren found a sticker book she wanted.  We said no.  She said, "Okay, no big deal.  I'll just wait for my birthday."  Her birthday is six months away.

Dennis and I felt kind of weird.  I mean, we don't let them get something when they go to the store, and they don't expect it.  It's exactly what we hoped for.  But still, waiting six months for a $6 sticker book?  What's the solution?

We figured it out:  Wren is going to start getting an allowance.  She's only four, but we've got everything ready to teach her how to allot money for giving, saving, and spending.  It's our first time doing this so we don't really know what will work, but here's the plan:


  • We are not connecting chores to allowance.  Basically, kids need to do chores because they live in the house rent free and they need to learn to manage money because it's a life skill.  We're not connecting the two.  
  • Wren will receive $4 every week.  The amount will increase as she ages, so she'll receive $5 a week when she turns 5.  From that, 10% will go to giving, 20% to savings, and the rest she can spend.
  • We actually expect Wren to spend her own money.  Of course, we will still pay to feed her, clothe her, sign her up for extracurricular activities.  Plus, D takes the kids on a Half-Price Books run twice a month because we never really refuse them literature.  But for toys, trinkets, dolls, items that are not necessities, she will have to use her spending money.  That's the only way this will work in teaching delayed gratification and in her deciding what's worth her money.  
We're new at this aspect of parenting, so we will see how it goes and if we need to change anything.  I'm excited because it means if she does want something, my answer doesn't have to be no.  It can be, "well, do you have enough spending money?" which is much more pleasant.  It gives Wren some ownership, and she's ready.  We think.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Family Outing

I am 36 weeks pregnant today.  Somehow, some way, this pregnancy will be over by the end of  next week, so we decided to spend tonight having a family outing before the girls get here.  We rarely go out to eat, but it was super fun.  Though I have vacillated between feeling great being off bedrest and feeling awful moving around or sleeping, there's never been a time Twisted Root and Paciugo haven't made me feel better.


Notice the marker on Sammy's face.  Further evidence of how low our standards
have fallen.  We call that artistic expression instead of lazy parenting.  


Like father, like daughter

Sammy dominating the train table at the mall.

In case you're wondering, this is pretty much the
only shirt I have that still covers my stomach.  It
gets washed a lot.

I don't know how much longer the pregnancy will last or if I will have anymore really feeling great days, but I am trying to focus on enjoying the moment and surviving until the girls arrive.  Sometimes it's easier than others, but I am grateful that we've made it this far.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Coming Clean

We’re in a pretty dangerous place right now.  It’s a food rut.  That’s right, we are in a rut with our food menu, and the side effects are starting to show.  We’re being unfaithful to our usually healthy diet, instead grabbing peanut butter on GF toast, GF mac and cheese (mommy food), and other questionable items that are not staples in our diet.  It’s a symptom of a food rut.  You start stepping out on the one you’re usually faithful to.

Though we have by no means reached extreme measures, we know what happens when we get tired of the same old recipes but do nothing to change it: we crave other foods, naughty foods, foods that are less nourishing and more just addictive and something to shove into our faces.  Thankfully, our kids can’t have 90% of these foods, so D and I are way farther off the deep end than they are.  But we are sinking, snacking on gluten-free junk and aiding each other in our addictions.  I could go into a million reasons why this has happened, some which sound extremely valid, but I’m going to skip to what we’re trying to do to fix it:

New recipes:  This is the best way out of the rut.  Find new recipes that look yummy and are good for you.  This week D created a deep dish Mexican casserole that was AMAZING.  I’ll post the recipe and pictures this week.  We are trying this from PaleOMG this week. 

Cookie cutter shaped chicken:  Cookie cutters are not made for chicken.  However, when my kids started rolling their eyes at every chicken cutlet they saw, I took extreme measures.  Chicken shaped like a heart, star, or flower topped with bacon, mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach and called a sandwich?  Everyone got on board with that chicken.

New good GF products:  A very enthusiastic sample woman at Whole Foods attacked us trying to get us to buy Royitos salsa that boasted only four ingredients.  Upon closer inspection, it was actually gluten free.  And it is DELICIOUS.  It’s also very hot and you will need to have water very close at hand when you eat it.  We put the salsa on Dennis’ Mexican casserole creation, and greatness was born.  Sometimes to curb a sweet teeth, you just need to eat something so hot you can’t taste anything else for two days.  And I mean that in a good way.


The doctors are praising me for eating so much and gaining so much weight, and I am honestly doing a lot of that by means I don’t love.  I know it will stop when the girls are born and I no longer have to get grilled at every appointment about if I’m placing any unnecessary dietary restrictions on myself because, just a reminder, your kids are kind of tiny.  And I am honestly looking forward to food being a bit more straight and narrow.  The recipes and products we’re trying so far don’t make me worry that giving up dairy and GF grains and sugar (always the stinking sugar) again will be a hassle.  They are making me look forward to it.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My 18th Little Thing

Recap:  The kids enjoyed purpose-based learning and play all week.  I didn't finish our homeschool plans for the year, but I have a good start.  Here are pics of some of their fun:

Train created for every Little Person figure in our house.

Wren pushing her boat around the block castle/farm.  We also
used the blocks as counting toys.


Week 18:  Increase endurance while resting

Due to the great appointment today showing Asher and Eowyn looking awesome and being over 4 pounds and the fact that I am over 35 weeks pregnant, I was put on relaxed bedrest.  My specialist's instructions were that I can move around, but don't go crazy and sign up for a Zumba class.  God bless her for thinking I could even dream of taking Zumba with an extra almost 50 pounds on my body.

I was instructed to still rest, and I really don't have a choice.  The added weight, the six weeks on bedrest, the overall physical craziness it is taking to continue this pregnancy have taken their toll.  I have no endurance. I walked Sammy to sit in our special chair so he could deal with his big feelings after a tantrum a couple of days ago.  The walk to and from the special chair convinced me that unless his big feelings led to someone bleeding, I wasn't making that walk again.

Sure, I can get around, but I feel it.  I feel it majorly.  My OB has warned me that c-section recovery will be more of a trial this time around because of the toll the bedrest has taken on my muscles.  She's encouraged me to do as much as I can in a very limited way to try to build myself up to make it better later.  Limited is the key word.

Seeing how bad I am at balance, this will take some work.  I feel I will want to sleep all day or I will want to attempt to take up jogging.  There has to be somewhere in between, and I need to find it.  I will err on the side of caution and go slow and easy, mainly because I really have no other gear right now.

Here are some pics of today's awesomeness:

35 weeks, 1 day
Eventually, I will block the whole door.

Asher, we think.

Eowyn, we're pretty sure.




Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trying New Things: Decluttering

I am actually a big fan of decluttering.  I can't stand having items in the house no one uses, and I'm not the kind of person who keeps something because it might be useful one day.  It needs to be useful today or it's gone.  Except books.  Books I hoard.

I had a blind spot where magazines were concerned.  Every month between "Suburban Parent", "Dallas Child", "Frisco Style", "Living", "Natural Awakenings" and all the other magazines that land in my box or that I grab for free, I was becoming quite the magazine hoarder.  The problem is I read most of them the first day they are in the house then keep them because there are two or three articles I want to reference in the future for information.  This was taking up too much space.

My new plan worked much better.  As I'm reading a magazine, I flag articles I want to keep and come back to cut them out when I finish.  I made a bulletin board to keep the articles on so they are easy to reference.  If the articles are many pages long, I just staple them together and place them in the newly organized file cabinet.  This way I can recycle the magazines and not have to find places to put them.  Plus, there is a much better chance I'm actually going to look at the articles I was interested in because I know where they are and can see them.  Keeping 50 magazines, I never went back and looked at the information I was once interested in.


Overall result:  Good and much more practical

Also, just for fun, here's a link to another song on the Asher and Eowyn playlist.  It was a Pandora discovery last year, and I love it.  It's haunting and perfect and the voices of the singers mesh in a unique style.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

My 17th Little Thing


Recap:  I have been horizontally productive, completing many tasks on my list from last week.  I have also napped a lot and grown larger.

Week 17:  Encourage purpose-based learning

Sophomore year I had to take geometry.  I made it through algebra the year before and did well.  Geometry is not algebra.  Add to that I also took chemistry the same year (math in science is not okay), and there was the TAAS test and it’s math portion to contend with. (TAAS was our STAAR test back then and stood for “multiple choice ways to make you feel like a dumb-@$$", same as what STAAR stands for.)  I barely passed geometry with the main focus being on just that:  passing.  I learned close to nothing because I was so behind by the end of the first nine weeks I could not have crammed all that junk in my brain no matter what.  As opposed to having the option of slowing down to really learn, I was fast tracked to pass so I wouldn’t be a “failure” who had to repeat geometry.  God bless my teacher for all her hard work and for helping me slide by with a C-.  It wasn’t her fault I learned nothing, but I am so scared of geometry I had panic attacks trying to teach my children shapes.  I also dropped out of chemistry the first nine weeks.  I passed the TAAS math test by one question.  Tenth grade taught me an important lesson:  It stinks to feel stupid.  And hard work forced on a person by standardized testing and other people’s timelines does not particularly amount to success.  It amounts to a person working hard, still feeling like a failure, and not sure what went wrong. 

I carried this lesson with me, opting out of all higher level math classes in high school and college.  I opted out of any science classes that might somehow sneak math in as well. (I took anatomy because I can count bones.)  I decided I was stupid in math.  I was called artsy.  The label was fine with me because at least it meant I wasn’t bad at everything.  Just things with numbers.

My daughter taught me this week what I may have missed:  I did not see a purpose in geometry and I wasn’t ready for it.  I still tried because of the fear of being called a failure.  That wasn’t enough to make it stick.

This week Wren was working on a connect the dots book when she reached numbers she could count but did not recognize the looks of.  For instance, counting to 50 and knowing what 50 looks like are two different things.  Attempting to figure this out on her own led to her saying, “Look what I made” and me responding, “Oh, um, yes a…possum?” 

Wren:  I think it’s an owl. 

Me:  An owl possum?

Wren:  Hmmm…

Realizing some lines were connected to the wrong places, she started asking me “what’s 1 next to 6” and I would say 16 and so on.  After a few times, I decided to make her flash cards to help her out.  By the time I finished, my daughter had completed another page of number connect the dots perfectly with every line in the correct place from 1-30.  She figured out the pattern.  Why?  Because she did not want to create another picture that looked like a possible owl possum.  She wanted to see what the picture was supposed to be.  She saw a purpose in figuring it out, so she did.  No threat of failure.  No force from an outside source.  She wanted to learn. 

 As we continue in our very early and primitive homeschool endeavors, I want to remember this lesson.  Sure, I will introduce some ideas and concepts and basics and wait for the kids to be ready to latch on, but purpose and readiness are key.  When they are ready they will learn, and when they see a purpose it won’t have to be a struggle.  And if they need three years to understand proofs and theorems, whatever. (Does anyone use those?  Please chime in; I still don’t get it.)


I am focusing on this specifically this week because I am mapping out a very loose plan of what September-August for homeschool will look like, and I don’t want to get overly wrapped up in the details.  If we try something and no one is ready or finds purpose at that time, moving on.  I don’t want my kids to have the sophomore year experience if possible.  They will be challenged; they will learn to do difficult things, but I would like it to not be at the cost of their dignity and self-worth.


Wren telling Sammy, "I am rolling you up in a manger."  We may need to work on the
definition of manger.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Trying New Things...Maybe Next Time


I tried a couple of new things I was going to blog about this week.  Quite frankly, I am too large and exhausted to put forth the brain power to document anything I tried.  I am so glad my girls are still cooking;  I am also so OVER being pregnant.  Tomorrow is the 34 week mark where doctors will not stop me if I go into labor.  We've hit a milestone, and I am super grateful for that.  Thirty four weeks is still early, but it is not 28 weeks or 31 weeks or any other time before now when my body decided to try early eviction so I could see my feet again.

This may be (according to my plan, though God has a funny way of laughing at my plans since His take authority) the last time I am ever pregnant, so I want to enjoy and soak up all the beauty of pregnancy in what will be the last days.  Thirty seven weeks has pretty much been deemed the latest I will carry due to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) affecting both the girls.  They are fine but they are tiny, and tiny towards the end of a pregnancy with two kids sharing a placenta can be a problem.  Even my not-quick-to-intervene doctors see 37 weeks as it, and they are supported by so much research that I got a headache reading it all.

So, sooner or not so later, I will be through this pregnancy with two beautiful girls in my arms, God willing.  I need to soak up the kicks, Sammy and Wren kissing my belly, eating dairy with wild abandon.  I love pregnancy, and even this one, which has been out of the ordinary for me because of all the aches and pains and bedrest and all day first trimester sickness, has still been joyous.  I don't want to take that for granted here at the end just because I am hugely uncomfortable and so sick of peeing every five minutes that I would almost willingly endure a catheter.  Seriously, getting up to pee is the biggest threat to my bedrest!

I'll leave you with a picture.  Honestly, from a strictly logistical standpoint, can this go on much longer?

Torpedo babies

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Best of Gluten-Free


It’s been two years since Celiac disease entered our lives, or since we found out that’s what had invaded our intestines.  May is Celiac Awareness Month and I’m happy to say after two years, we are much less aware of Celiac.  Of course it’s a lifestyle change, something that requires daily awareness.  However, after two years, it just is.  We live with Celiac.  It does not define us, and we are all healthier than we have ever been.  Celiac is one the few diseases where food and supplements are the cure, and it’s possible to see first-hand how God built our bodies to heal themselves and be taken care of as temples.  Not bad for a chronic disorder.

In honor of the day, I wanted to offer of a list of gluten-free products and services that have helped us survive and indulge the last 24 months.  Understand that in the food department I didn't include a ton of our protein-powered staple foods and regular meals on here.  This list is a tad more celebratory.

Best places for GF food
We don’t eat out a ton, and we interrogate restaurant managers about cross-contamination practices.  Seriously, we question them until they almost want to refuse us service on principle.  We have found a handful of places that truly know what it means to feed someone with Celiac.

PF Changs/Pei Wei-Both have amazing GF menus, delicious food, and the entire staff can answer questions about their cross-contamination procedures.

Twisted Root Burger-Best burger ever, and I’m not the only one who says so.  They have been voted best burger many times by many different organizations.  Again, they know what Celiac is and what to do take care of those who must consume no gluten. 

Local Oven-They are a dedicated gluten-free facility with amazing burger and hot dog buns, biscotti, croutons, and more.  Most of their products should be available for purchase at grocery stores soon.  Until then, it is totally worth the drive to Carrollton.  Dairy-free and corn-free options are also available for most items.

Tu-lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery-As I type this, my family is at Tu-lu’s picking up gluten-free, dairy-free cupcakes for a party Wren is going to this weekend.  Again, they are a dedicated gluten-free facility, and everything there is amazing!  Did I mention we ordered extra cupcakes so I could eat them?  I mean, I am growing babies!

Best GF Naughty Food
We eat pretty healthy most of the time.  Our grocery cart is full of lean protein, fruits and veggies.  However, everyone has to be naughty now and then.  Below is a list of foods we slip in the grocery cart when we're living on the edge.

Kinnikinnick Donuts-Do not waste your time with any other gluten-free donut.  Kinnikinnick got it right, so just buy all their flavors and enjoy!

Against the Grain Pizza-Finally, we found a regular size frozen pizza with a crust that actually tastes like pizza crust.  This is a date night go-to for me and D.

Applegate Organic Uncured Hot Dogs-These only qualify as a naughty food because they are hot dogs.  They are gluten free, grass-fed, organic with no added nitrates or nitrites.  This is the filet mignon of hot dogs, so if you are on bedrest and your kids must eat a hot dog for lunch, eat these.  They are delish!

Best Gluten-Free Make up list
Have you met my daughter?  She’s just a tad girly known to sleep in tiaras, wear heels around the house, and demand not being allowed to wear a princess dress so fluffy her car seat can’t be buckled is child abuse.  Since I can only imagine what my future holds in the primping department, I feel lucky to have found Gluten Free Makeup Gal.  She does all the hard work in determining if companies that make beauty products are gluten-free, and if you subscribe to her site an updated list will be sent so you can keep up with what products you want to buy.  She sniffs out these companies and holds them accountable if they claim gluten-free status, which saves me tons of time.

Best Place to Heal
Texas Functional Wellness, LLC-Healing a body from damage due to Celiac requires more than diet change for most people.  That’s why being referred to Brenda Osborn was such a huge turning point for Wren; she had done everything possible through diet and still could not completely heal.  With the help of Brenda, the Asyra scanning, and supplements, it’s hard to tell Wren’s growth ever stopped, that she was starving, that she got sick regularly even after adhering to a strict gluten-free diet.  Now she just looks and acts like a kid who happens to take supplements and lives on a pretty awesome diet.  Like Brenda's page on Facebook and receive daily information on food, supplements, and how to live a healthier life one step at a time.


For all of you with Celiac, it gets better and time really helps.  For all of you without Celiac, you may still partake in all of this gluten-free goodness.  Just don't try to get D to share a donut.  I usually just wait until he's asleep and then steal them!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Questions, Questions


I have no experience with fertility treatment.  When we were trying to get pregnant with Wren and were not successful for six months, my history of endometriosis led our doctor to recommend we get our equipment checked, and they made Dennis go first.  I’ll spare you the details, but basically D had the pleasure of doing something majorly personal in a cup and then we found out before the test results were in that I was pregnant.  Well, at least he has the memories.

Anyway, we were not sure if we would have fertility treatment if the results came back less than great or if we would pursue adoption or not have kids.  Doesn’t matter much now because we’re obviously fertile.   I haven’t thought about it much since then. 

That is, until I became pregnant with twins.  Now I wonder how people who do conceive by fertility treatment feel about being public about that information, how constant questions make them feel, if they ever just want to tell people, “you’re kind of asking if I had lots of crazy, stand on my head sex with the hubs and still couldn’t get pregnant so I then went and had to deal with a lot of other invasive junk, and you expect me to tell you though I don’t know you”.

The reason I wonder is because I sometimes don’t know how to take immediate invasive questions that accompany revealing a pregnancy with multiples.  I didn’t expect it.  Maybe it’s not supposed to be offensive and people are just curious because twinning has increased as fertility treatment has.  Dennis seems to think these questions aren’t meant to offend and that the people who ask them assume they aren’t being intrusive.

Me:  You’re not looking at this from a woman’s perspective.  It’s like asking if you were able to get pregnant on your own.  If you weren’t, that might be a sore spot.

D:  Would it be like someone asking if I could get it up?

Me:  More like if you were shooting blanks.

D:  Hmmm…still don’t think I’d be offended.

Maybe it isn’t supposed to be offensive.  I don’t know, but here are some of my favorite ways for people to ask if we had fertility treatment and some of the responses I have either given or have thought about giving.

Were your twins spontaneous?

This one threw me at first.  For some reason I thought this person was asking me if I was just walking down the street and BOOM two babies just appeared in my uterus.  My first instinct was to say, "actually I had sex", but then I realized what they were asking. 

Were you trying for twins?

Yes.  Want to know how?  Well, you slaughter a chicken at noon, have the crazy sex after that (don’t worry I’ll draw pictures for you and we made a video), then you fry the chicken for dinner.  You’re very hungry after all that sex.  Anyway, do this for a week and you’ll be pregnant with twins.  Easy stuff.

Are your twins natural?

As opposed to alien?  Really?  Are you asking me if they are organic and grass-fed?  Do some children come out looking less natural? 

Did you know you would have twins?

Yep.  The magic eight ball told me when I was seven.  I’ve just been waiting.

Did you receive fertility treatment?

This one I’m cool with.  It’s a straight forward curiosity question, and at least the person probably does not believe this question is offensive or they would go to the trouble the other people do to pretend they are asking something else.

I’m sure like most issues, people have different reactions to these kinds of questions.  The question I am getting most frequently right now when I am allowed to venture out for appointments is, “Are you going to birth on my foot?”  It’s a fair question.  I think I am going to put a sign on my stomach that says TWINS STILL BAKING just so people will know. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

My 16th Little Thing


Recap:  Well, it’s been a couple of weeks, but we are making preparations to try to ease the stress of the c-section.  Oddly enough, I think the week-long hospital stay may have helped me relax about the c-section more than anything.  I made it through steroid injections, terbutaline shots, side effects of Procardio, IVs, blood tests, and a few super fun exams to check my cervix.  I remembered that when you’re doing it for your kids, it may still hurt, there may be wicked side effects, but at the end of the day you do it.  I am going to try to take that attitude with me. 

Week 16:  Be productive while in a horizontal position

Hmm…that sounds kind of dirty and is totally not what I meant.  I’d say considering my current situation, I may have mastered productivity in that department already.

Anyway, the days start to kind of drag when you stay on the couch and aren’t allowed to leave the house.  The kids keep it interesting, but they will be out and about with D this weekend while he is off work.  My default when alone has been napping or something pointless like surfing the web or Sudoku.  There’s a time and place for all that, but I can feel the need to nest setting in, and I’m going to try to find a way to satisfy it without breaking bedrest rules.  So far I plan on:

  • Organizing the documents in our file cabinet so they are easier to access
  •  Figure out how to make my blog format prettier/more accessible
  •  Write for the purpose of submission
  • Find ways to serve in the community while on the couch or in the future when off the couch

These may not be baby nesting related, but at least I will feel like I am accomplishing something tangible while just hanging out.  

33 weeks, 1 day

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma


I got through December 14th, 2012 fairly intact.  School children were attacked by a gunman, and I had found out four days earlier that our twins were expected to be mono-mono with a 50% survival rate (which thankfully proved to be false a month later).  It was awful, but some sort of bubble went around my brain and heart.  I prayed for the tragedy, but I didn’t dwell.  Without constant television coverage, I would have had to put forth effort to seek out the details, and I didn’t.  I tried to stay insulated. 

That approach continued to work through natural disasters, bombings, explosions, and all the other catastrophic events that seemed to splatter the news regularly.  I care about others, I pray, but I needed to shield and build the unrealistic so-sorry-those-things-happen-to-other- people mindset. 

For some reason, the tornadoes that hit Oklahoma shattered that illusion.  I finally turned the computer off at 8:30 last night and attempted to sleep, but I was up by 10 with the excuse of needing a snack, sifting through the news pages on the computer again.  I tried to absorb it, to make sense of it.  I couldn’t. 

This morning an acquaintance from a mono-di twin online group I’m a part of asked to be lifted up in prayer on Friday as she has her twins.  One is alive; one is not.  She will say hello and goodbye the same day and then try to pick up the pieces.  I will be on a NST monitor at 7:30 Friday morning for half an hour with all that time committed to prayer for her family. 

Sometimes I feel my faith is so strong.  I cling to the belief that God is good all the time, that I don’t  live for this world, that I should glorify God in all things.  Sometimes things that happen make me feel so far removed, spinning and weak.  But I remembered something as I cried tears for children and people I’ve never met this week:  Jesus wept.  My God who came down to this earth and exposed Himself to every trial, temptation, and pain of this world wept, and He did it over people.  Lazarus’ death, Lazarus' family's reaction to the death, caused Him tears; seeing those who loved Lazarus suffer hurt Him.  He willingly exposed Himself to that kind of anguish so He could then willingly die on a cross for me.  Why would God, who could have skipped this kind of pain, do this?  It was the only way, and He accepted it.  I follow that God.  And I know that God was in Oklahoma just like He will be in Arkansas on Friday when a mother delivers her stillborn son.  He is there when we hurt; He subjected Himself to pain.  He is not silent or indifferent to anything that happens.  And He is always with me.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Back from the Antepartum Floor



I have not forgotten to blog; I just didn’t have access to my laptop in the hospital, and I spent most of my time there trying not to give birth and sleeping.  I did learn several exciting lessons, so I thought I’d get back into the blogging groove by sharing them.

When you have Celiac, you should not have TV      
           
After having hours of nothing to do and access to television, I now remember why we don’t have any channels on our TV.  There is no way to control that at 2 o’clock on a random Tuesday I was exposed to sex, cursing, and just overall crude nastiness.  I cannot imagine my kids being able to flip through this.  Add to that I am not a rom-com girl, so 24 hour marathons of The Vow, The Notebook, Knotting Hill and the like made me want to puke.  However, I discovered a new reason I had never even thought of:  commercials advertising food none of us can eat.  Granted, I know what’s in that junk and I don’t want to put it in my body, but it still was not awesome watching Braum’s sundaes, pizza with cheese rolled crust, and Whataburger sandwiches flaunting their goods at me for seven days.  It made me realize how easy it must be to fall into the trap of thinking eating like that is normal when you see it all day.  And I am so glad my kids don’t even know that food exists. 

Know when to say no

The hospital I was in was awesome, but it’s a hospital.  They prescribe medicine for things; I generally just drink water, take long walks, up my vitamin D intake.  I realized quickly that if I did not say no to every medicine offered, I could end up leaving with a drug dependency.  When I couldn’t sleep, I was offered sedatives; I was offered stool softener, just in case; I was offered pain meds.  I must say, I’m not sure it’s wise to offer someone super strong sleep meds and then offer them something to make them poop, but lucky for whoever cleans the sheets, I said no to them. 

Stick to your dreams, even if they don’t make sense in the context

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised when my refusal to take unnecessary drugs was honored, especially since the request may have sounded odd.

Nurse:  Your contractions are right on top of each other.  Are you in pain?

Me:  Uh, yeah, everywhere.

Nurse:  Let me go get the pain medication.

Me: NO!  I am going for natural childbirth.

Okay, so everyone was actually hoping I was not birthing, and I had just signed a consent form for a c-section, but this made total sense in my mind, so I tried through my pain to explain it to the nurse.

Me:  Uh, okay, I know I’m hopefully not actually birthing, but I always wanted a natural vaginal delivery.  This is probably my last shot to get as close as I can without experiencing the whole thing.  I’m taking it.  No pain meds for me or the girls.
   
The nurse was awesome.  She did not laugh at me, she got me heating pads and pillows and built a kind of fort where I could roll into comfortable positions while warming my lower back.  It was appreciated.  (Also, I may never be able to claim my children found their way out the good old birth canal, but I have been contracting for over a month daily and have possibly five more weeks to go.  If anyone asks if I’ve been through labor, I feel somewhat entitled to say yes.)

If you’re getting tired of bedrest, talk to the NICU doctor

I can do bedrest, but I’m not stupid.  We’re three weeks in, and it is not easy.  I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the weeks to come and asking the Lord to help me get in the right mindset for this.  God answers prayers because the same day the NICU doctor dropped by to prepare us for what the future would look like if the girls came early.  When he finished telling us we were probably past the point of brain bleeds and blindness, he began discussing lung issues the girls could have.  That hit a little too close to home; D and I knew all the terminology from Sammy’s battle with pneumonia and were able to recall some visuals to go with the descriptions.  Then he talked about blood sugar issues.  When the doctor left the room, I told Dennis to hot glue me to the couch on my left side if I started rolling over too much.  I am totally committed to rocking bedrest as long as I can.

Never forget how good you have it

I missed my kids and my husband.  I am always grateful for them, but returning home after seven days, I know I’m not grateful enough.  They met me at the door with hugs and screams.  We cuddled all day.  I bedrested on the kids’ floor for a while when they slept last night just to hear them breathe.  I’m a blessed girl.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trying New Things: Homemade Cough Medicine


When looking for any children's medicine that contains no gluten, dairy, corn, soy or sugar, it's tempting to come home with a strong desire to down a whole bottle of Benadryl just to not have to think about how much you failed.  The first, second, or third ingredient is almost always corn syrup.  The rest of the ingredients are generally so hard to pronounce that I just give up.  Add to that many companies lack of full disclosure on their gluten-free policies.  Here's an example of a conversation I had with a company who manufacturers medicine:

Me:  I found a list that shows your company's medicine is gluten-free.  I just wanted to verify.

Drug person:  We neither classify our medicines as gluten-free or not gluten-free.

Me:  What?

Drug person:  Yes.

Me:  What?

Drug person:  We may not particularly put gluten in the medicine, but not all our ingredients are made here.  We can't say what our partners do before sending us their ingredients.

Me:  What about cross-contamination within your factory?

Drug person:  We can't promise our products listed as gluten free haven't come into contact with gluten at our facility.

Me:  Why are you on a gluten-free list?

Drug person:  As far as we know, no one here knowingly, specifically puts gluten in the one product you're asking about.  However, that doesn't mean there's not gluten in there.

Me:   Forgive me if I start weeping.

It's pretty much like this all the time.  So when Sammy developed a cough from either allergies, teething or a combo of both, I set out to make something with ingredients I knew to help him sleep through the night.  Here's the link that offered the awesome good stuff, and below is a picture of what ours looked like when we finished.  There was actually much more of it once it sat for a few hours.


Three ingredients, the kids pretend to cough just to have some, and I don't want to get drunk on Benadryl every time someone coughs.  

Overall result:  Fabulous!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Signs Your Kids May be Absorbing Bible Stories



  • The stuffed animal dog in the house is named Isaac;
  • Wren frequently puts her baby doll in an empty basket, calls him Moses and “sends him down the river”;
  • There is a stuffed cat named Jerusalem, and Sammy at two years old has no problem saying Jerusalem;
  • Wren can recite the story of Sarah and Abraham.  Her main concern right now is how Sarah’s hair gets grey and how she gets “so old”.  I say, “But God blessed Sarah with old age and with baby Isaac, even though she was old.”  “But mom, she got old.  Am I old?  I am four.”
  • Sammy constantly asks to read the story of Samuel and smiles every time he sees  pictures of Samuel in his book.

Hoping to amp up the kids’ Bible study a bit, we checked out some Bible story books from the junior non-fiction section of our library.  Wren and Sammy both have Bibles with stories, but they were at a point, especially Wren, where we needed some more detail, more depth.  God just sort of plopped me in junior non-fiction shelving one day, and I found a plethora of materials. .

(Note:  Flip through these and make sure they are appropriate for your child’s age.  While Sammy and Wren know the story of David and Goliath, their children’s Bible doesn’t go into Goliath’s head being chopped off.  One of the junior non-fiction books showed Goliath’s head detached from his body.  I do not need my kids refusing to sleep for the rest of their lives, so I put that one back.  We’ll get there, but for now they are okay with, “Goliath was a bad guy and got hit in his big head with a rock.  Ha!”)

I am impressed with how much kids retain from books.  I’m also kind of shocked at how these books are helping me as I attempt to wrap up reading my Bible in a year.  Honestly, I am still learning and trying to remember details, and the children’s books have been a blessing.  By my birthday in August, I should be through the whole Bible, and then I will go back for some in depth study on each book of the Bible.  I think I’ll actually have much better understanding due to the simple visuals, direct detail, and repetitiveness of the children’s books.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Playlist

There is no logic to the playlist for the girls.  Basically, if I like it and enjoy hearing it, I'm hoping it will offer some sort of peace during c-section prep.  As you can tell by the videos below, I can be a person without much of a pattern.  These are just a few from the list, so feel free to click the links for videos if you're interested.  Sorry for the ads before the videos if there are any.

"Umbrella" by Marie Digby

I'm not a Rihanna fan.  Maybe it's all the nudity, making a career of being a bit too in your face, mainly singing about raunchy stuff.  However, I love Marie Digby's version of Umbrella.  Just sitting in a living room with a guitar, fully clothed:  that's talent I can support.


"Stillness of Heart" by Lenny Kravitz

As previously mentioned, Lenny sings about Jesus and spiritual issues a ton. I consider "Stillness of Heart" one of those songs.  I love the beat, the words, the instruments meshing in the background.  Always mellows me out.


"Read My Mind" by The Killers

I've always loved this band.  Their music has a kind of poetry to it and phrases like "Rebel diamonds cut out of the sun" and "Magic soaking my spine" have just always helped me feel or see their music.  Actually watching the video was a trip.  I now have visions of Elvis impersonators, a big green I'm not sure what kind of creature and a whole bunch of hilarious going through my head.  Shouldn't hurt the attempts to relax.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bedrest Developments


Wren put her baby doll in her shirt this week and said, "Look at my baby!"  It was cute, and I thought it was just an imitation, because I obviously have a huge belly under my shirt.  I took pictures.




 Then she got kind of serious and said, "Oh, mommy, I have to go lay down on the couch.  My baby will fall out if I don't!"  So she went and plopped down on the couch in  the exact position I plop down in, covered herself with a blanket and stared at me.  The look basically said, I'm calling bull on your little couch routine! Even four-year-olds know babies don't just start falling out, and I think your couch routine is crap!

I said, "Wren, your baby's feet are actually already falling out.  I think you may have a problem."

She shoved them back in.  "It's fine, mom.  You just shove her back up there."

So, Wren is definitely a problem solver, but I think she is done with all my logical reasoning about bedrest.  That's why I let our sweet sitter who usually keeps them on the days I have to work mornings come over today.  I left, parked the car in a parking lot and bedrested there.  I figured it would be nice for her to have an adult around who wasn't trying to stop babies from free falling out of her uterus.  She and Sammy have been pretty mellow about me loafing around looking like a lazy, negligent parent.  I guess I can't blame her for questioning it.  And at least she provided a reasonable solution:  you can always just shove the babies back in.

They are really lucky to have D because when he gets home, it's almost a guarantee the night is going to end with our children looking like this:


Sammy flipped his hat where his hair covered his face and then chased
Super Girl around the house completely unable to see.
How no one has concussions is beyond me.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

My 15th Little Thing


Recap:  I have relaxed.  Bedrest comes with good and bad, but none of it really matters as long as the girls are okay.  We heard beautiful heartbeats today.  They are good, so I am too.

Week 15:  Prepare for c-section and try to find ways to make it…um, not sure of the word.  Fun is not it, so we will go with less panicky.

I don’t know when these girls are going to evacuate or if we will have to go in and storm them out like my previous two.  I do know having experienced two prior c-sections, I am no closer to being mellow yellow about my uterus hanging out outside my body and my kids missing all the benefits a vaginal birth has to offer.   However, I’ve done the research since I don’t trust other people much, and D and I still feel this is the better route for the girls.

My goal this week is to find ways to try to stop the escape to the stairwell feeling.  The prep is generally the hardest part for me because of too much anticipation, drugs going through my body, and just not liking the medicinal set up of c-sections.  Plus, my feet get very cold and that trips me out.

To try to help with some of this I have packed furry socks for my hospital stay, I’m looking for pictures of the kids right after their births to remind me what’s on the other side of the scalpel, and I started working on Asher and Eowyn’s playlist.  With every child I have put together a playlist of songs that mellow me out, assuming I would use them during birth.  I could have used them during the c-section prep, but we were surprised both times and I didn’t have my ipod or the little speakers so I could play it in the room.  I hope to be more prepared this time because music seriously affects my mood and can drown out tons of stress and anxiety.  I may post some videos of songs on the list this week.  It’s completely random, but that’s my brain.    

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Trial by Fire Parenting Guidelines



Since we are about to have newborns again, I decided to review what I've learned since Wren's birth.  I have no specific advice on how to make all the right choices, like how you should feed your child, get your child to sleep, discipline your child.  These have more to do with surviving everyone else's opinions, because that was the hardest part. 

If it’s not a problem for you household, it’s not a problem

Best advice ever, and I did not come up with it.  It’s from this book.  I didn't even finish the book after reading this because I realized I did not have a problem.  Everyone else did.  

When you have kids everyone will be ready to tell you what your problem is, even if you don’t have a problem.  Wren slept in our bed until she was four.  This was not a problem for us, but it was to pretty much everyone else.  I breastfed my kids even when they could chew steak.  Again, not so much an issue for us.  Adults who could chew steak took issue with it.  Our kids didn’t sleep through the night until they were over one, closer to 18 months.  This sucked, but we knew our particular choices about not sleep training and nursing on demand caused it and we felt these decisions were best for our kids, so we were okay with it. 

This is not to say do it like us and you’re good.  If you choose not to breastfeed, co-sleep, and your kids sleep through the night when they are four weeks old (I hate you for this one) and these are not problems for you, then they are really and truly not problems.  Really.  If the people in your house are okay, it’s okay.

Just because someone has kids doesn’t mean their advice is valuable to you

No offense to every parent out there, but there are only about four million ways to parent.  Plus, there are about a million parents I can think of who I would never take advice from.  There are also at least that many who would never take advice from me.  Don’t assume because someone has the child accessory on their hip that you need to listen to them. 

Don’t feel like a failure if your reality doesn’t look exactly like your original vision, but feel free to shoot for your ideal

I was going to give birth naturally; I am now about to have my third c-section.  That’s a biggie for me and it just has to be okay.  Some parts of the big plan fall into place, and I’ve had plenty go just the way I hoped.  If something doesn’t go the way you wanted, make sure your child is still breathing.  If they are, you’re probably still good. 

That being said, don’t let others talk you out of what you want for your kids just because it isn’t what they would do.  I fought hard to VBAC Sammy.  It didn’t happen, but I appreciated the support along the way much more than the people who implied or told me straight up I was a moron for trying.  Get to the point where you know enough about the needs of your child and your family that you can blow off criticism that is unfounded.

Find transparent parent friends

It’s nice to see people have a great attitude about parenting and just really love time with their kids.  It’s important to be one of those people.  It’s also important to find people who will send you emails titled:

So this is why parents smack children

I am so done being covered in crap!

The next person who touches my boobs like they are public domain is going to get cut!

Find these people; love these people; they are your tribe.  You will spend hours talking about how much you love being a parent.  You will also spend hours talking about how the next time your daughter says picking up her toys is your job and she doesn’t feel she should have to do it you are going to send her to  boarding school ASAP.  If you are only surrounded by people who act like the parenting experience is always easy they are either a) on a lot of drugs b) drunk so much that you can’t actually tell they have been drinking, or c) fake. 

Lie or be very confident

This one is tricky because it sounds like going against being transparent.  I believe in being transparent, and I also believe there are people who can’t handle the truth.  For instance, a woman I worked with when I had Wren was obsessed with why Wren was not sleeping through the night when I came back to work.  She asked daily.  She said Wren had a sleep disorder.  She suggested I feed her solids at three months old so she would get over this “insane dependency” that caused her to wake at night.  She said outright that D and I were obviously not doing something right or our child would not be “ruined” this way.  I finally came to the point of extreme honestly and told her my child had a boob addiction, not unlike most men, and men weren’t required to seek treatment for it.  She likes boob.  She likes milk.  She wakes up to eat it.  I kindly told her if her breasts were not being affected by this, maybe the question asking should stop.  I could have just as easily told her Wren was sleeping through the night to shut her up, but I found my groove in the way we were parenting after being insecure for too long, and I decided to express that.  Besides, the look on her face was priceless.

Pray and follow your instincts

This is most important.  Trust your kids to the Lord and ask Him to guide you.  Know you were made for this even on the days it feels like your kids are going to be in therapy before they are seven and blaming it all on you.  Kids are durable.  Remember, if they are breathing, you are probably good.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trying New Things: Red Brick Pizza


Dennis and I used to eat at Red Brick Pizza pre-Celiac.  There was one in Addison close to where we lived, and it was good.  We found out recently that Red Brick has a gluten-free menu, and unlike many restaurants who offer a gluten-free menu but don’t know anything about how to avoid cross-contamination, Red Brick has been recognized by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and the Celiac Disease Foundation  When I called the one in Colleyville, the closest one to us since the one in Addison closed, they answered my questions about cross contamination without being prompted.  They know what they are doing.

We took the kids after riding Thomas the Train in Grapevine since we were close to Colleyville.  It was fun to eat out, and no one got sick.  The pizza was good, but we have found frozen gluten-free pizzas at Whole Foods that are just as good that cost about the same.  The only size you can order a gluten-free pizza in at Red Brick is small, which is true at most places that offer them.  Maybe the kids were tired from the whole day at the train, or maybe it's just not as exciting as going to Tu-lu's and seeing rows of cupcakes; either way, it wasn't as awe-inspiring of an experience as we thought it would be for the kids.  They are used to not eating out, so it pretty much has to be gluten-free sugar covered dessert items to excite them.  

Chowing down


Overall:  It's a nice option to have but not one we will probably drive that far to take part in much.