2 Months

Paige turned 2 months yesterday.  She started looking cross eyed at her hands in front of her face, and if she could talk I think she'd say, "What are these? They feel like they are attached to me!"  She has started cooing, smiling, and laughing by making a little coughing sound.  She is getting more lovable as the days go by (even though I didn't know it was possible to love her more.)

Met up with a friend from the past today.  She moved away for a few years, but even before that we had lost touch.  I've gone through similar situations with some of my other friends: we are very close and things are wonderful and then for whatever reason (honestly I don't even remember anymore) we drift apart for a little while -- only to find each other again.  I hope this is the case with Cassie.  We've had such good times!  She really is a true friend, with whom I've shared a lot of my life.  I think maybe I had some growing up to do, and that's why we lost touch.  It was so nice to see her, her husband, her parents.  Nice to be in their home.  Nice to be welcomed like the last time I saw them was just yesterday, and not years ago.  They are wonderful people and amazing friends.

I don't have much to say, but I wanted to get something down to remember today.  The weather here in Oregon is breath taking!  70s, sunny, blue sky, colorful leaves.  I love this time of year!

A few things I'm grateful for:

1) My husband.  I don't know how single moms do it!  I couldn't!  He is an encouragement, he makes me laugh, he provides for us, he loves us.  I'm so grateful for him!

2) My babies.  It is so hard to have 2 kids...the hardest thing I've done.  But the blessing outweigh the hardships, and I'm doing my best to be present in each moment with them.

3) Chai tea. (life saver every morning!)

4)Autum.  Did I already mention that I love this time of year?  There's something about just walking outside that makes me smile.  It smells so good.

5) My washer and dryer.  I know that a lot of people don't have the luxury of owning their own machines. I am so thankful for mine!

What are you thankful for?


What it Feels Like

...it feels like being a kid again.  Like I'm 10 and she's 16 and we just get to laugh, sing, dance.

At church it felt like a warmth bubbling in my heart when I heard them singing "Old Rugged Cross" beside me.  Looking over and seeing my sister hold my daughter while standing next to my mom -- it felt perfect.

They are gone now and I'm struggling.  Back to their homes, far away.  Despite the sadness that's very real, I'm trying to hold onto the fun times we had and move on like I've always done before.  Move on without them.

My parents, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew came to visit for a few days.  My parents live in California and my sister in Pennsylvania.  They came to welcome Paige into the world, and spend some time with their 2 year old grandson and nephew.  Isaac couldn't have been more thrilled to have live-in visitors for a week and half.  He's miserable now that they're gone (but I know that it will soon pass.)

My mom, Paige, Isaac, and I went to The Pumpkin Patch when it was just her here (she flew in first and the others followed a few days later.)

We got "blue babies" and saw the farm animals.

When my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and dad arrived, I picked them up from the airport by myself.  It was weird to just get out of the car and go, with no kids to tend to.  It was kind of nice :)

It was nice to have everyone together in my house.

The next day we went to McDonald's and then the park on the water front.

On Monday we just chilled and went to the park.  The boys had fun!

Tuesday we went to the zoo.  It was Paige's and the Furman's first time at the Oregon Zoo.  By the end the boys were tired and hungry, but they did so great!  Paige slept the WHOLE time, strapped to mine and then to my sister's chest.  I think I liked the Zebra best (surprise, surprise.)

Wednesday we just chilled at home.  We played outside in our back yard and enjoyed each others company.

Thursday we went to JJ Jump in Clackamas.  Isaac wasn't thrilled when I pushed him down one of the big bouncy slides, but he had fun in the "5 and under" play room.  My nephew had lots of fun on all the big bouncy castles.  Paige was her sweet, easy going self the whole time.

 Friday we went to The Pumpkin Patch to see the farm animals.  The patch itself wasn't open yet, so we piled back in the car and went 30 seconds down the road to Bella Organic Farm.  They had a free hay maze, a free jumpy castle, and my sister paid for the boys (and me, since Isaac wouldn't go alone) to ride the cow train.  We ate a lunch that we brought with us, and left with some gourds and strawberries.

I took them to the airport the next morning.  It was a tearful goodbye before we left our house.  My nephew didn't want to leave, and I didn't want him/them to leave!  But, we know we will see them again soon and that we can skype with them and talk on the phone.

God is so good to me!  He has given me such loving, generous family. 
I'm so grateful that they spend their vacation time with us.  Until next time :)


Nobody Said it Was Easy

I have so much to say.  I haven't written in a long, long time.  I constantly think of things that I want to write about: experiences I have and the way they tie into my faith, life lessons I have learned and ones I wish I could learn already (!!), new and exciting things happening in my life, etc, etc, etc...

...but there's never any time.  Yes, I am a stay at home mom now.  I've wanted this for a long time.  God has blessed me by making my dream a reality.  With that said, I find that I don't know how to be a stay at home mom.  What do I do with the baby who wants to constantly nurse while I'm trying to change my 2 year old's poopy diaper?  How do I feed both of them, give them baths, entertain them, love them unconditionally, teach them how to live life, comfort them, and be silly with them while making sure that I'm taken care of too?  I've gone 5 days without showering, doubled the amount of laundry because of baby spit up and cloth diapers, and all the while haven't even been able to take a breath and sit down and really connect with my husband for more than 2 minutes.

I don't want you think that I'm complaining.  I'm not.  These are just facts!  Facts that I don't know exactly how to digest.  Some days I'm so sleep deprived and overly stretched that I feel like I can't enjoy anything.  I'm watching the clock waiting till I hear the garage door open, because that means dad is home. 

There are sweet moments here and there, like Isaac finally saying phrases like, "I love you, Mama," and, "Watch me, Mama!"  He's growing up and changing so quickly, and I don't want to miss it because my brain is in a complete sleep deprived fog.

I've wanted to sit down and write out Paige's birth story, but every time there is a free minute there are just so many things to do.  I can only ignore the laundry so long until I have no clean shirts to wear.  I can only ignore the dishes so long until the house starts to stink.  The animals need to eat, the cat needs to be groomed, the bathrooms need to be cleaned.  (Again, just the facts!)

Andrew is a complete God send.  I watch him sometimes, when I snap out of the fog long enough to see clearly what's around me, and he is such a good dad.  He holds the baby while playing with Isaac in the backyard.  He sings to them, he reads books, he does the yard work and he helps with the inside chores, too.  I'm so blessed to have such a willing and selfless husband.  I'm not sure how I would have any kind of sanity without him.

That's all for now.  I hear the baby stirring.  I should have been sleeping, I suppose, but I wanted to feel the keys under my fingers just for a few minutes, if for nothing more than to get a few things out and be able to breathe a little easier.


The Issue is Trust

The lesson I've been struggling to learn for the past few months is trust.  Not the kind of trust where someone stands behind you and you trust them to catch you when you fall backwards, no, no, that's on too small of a scale.  This kind of trust is as if I was standing at the edge of a cliff, everything hanging in the balance, and trusting that I will not stumble and fall off the cliff, but if I do, I will be caught.  Not only will I be caught, but I'll be held.

I've always been afraid of lots of things.  I've always been nervous.  I've always worried, agonized, fretted.  Becoming a mom only magnified those worries.  People tell me, callously, to get over it.  So I try to get over it.  I don't watch the news.  I don't look at MSN.  I don't read the paper.  I avoid negative conversations about bad things happening.  But I'm still not "over it."

I suppose I've been learning to trust all my life, but the first big challenge of trust happened when Isaac was born 2 years ago.  I had to trust that we would be safe driving to the hospital.  Trust that the nurses were taking care of me while I was in labor.  Trust that the doctors (because there were about 4 in and out over the course of labor/delivery) would catch Isaac as he entered the world.  Trust that the nurse knew what she was talking about when she helped us take care of our newborn.  Many trust situations followed: trust that my milk would come in, trust that I would eventually know the feeling of being rested again (even if it wasn't for years to come), trust that Isaac would keep breathing as he slept, trust family to take care of him when I made that painful move back to work.

Then Isaac was in the hospital at 16 months, and again at 2 years.  My ability to trust was stretched farther than I thought it could go.  I came to a point where I didn't even have the ability to try anymore and I had to let it go, and that's when I felt something click.


It was like a light bulb turned on inside of me.  I had been trying to trust for so long.  I had been willing myself to trust for so long.  Only when I got to the lowest point was I actually able to "get over it." (Did I mention that I hate that phrase?  So unfeeling.)  It was nothing that I could do in and of myself.  I had to stop trying completely.  It wasn't like I heard an audible voice, or saw the clouds part.  I just didn't feel worried.  My son was hooked up to multiple machines for breathing, monitoring, medicating...and I was able to sit and watch it all without falling apart (well I did cry at one point from sheer exhaustion, and because I missed my husband, but that's a little different!)  Something inside me (nothing of myself!) knew that it was going to be ok.  I didn't long for someone to come and hold my hand.  I didn't need anyone else to be there at all.  God was with me.  I have a feeling He was smiling.  If I could have heard Him, He might have said something like, "it's about time.  How long you've been holding onto this.  So long I've been trying to show you that you CAN trust me."

I can't explain the feeling of it.  It was like a huge weight was lifted off of me.

The past couple days have tested my ability to trust God.  Isaac has had a high fever for no apparent reason, and that has caused me to worry.  I slipped back into my old self, thinking thoughts like, "what if his breathing is affected?  What if he has to go to the hospital again? What if, what if, what if..."

The first night he was miserable, so neither of us slept much.  I had the urge to check on him, literally, every 5 minutes.  I wanted to put my hand on his chest and feel his breathing - too fast???  I wanted to put my hand on his forehead and feel the heat coming off him...had it lessened at all?

I realized I couldn't check on him that often.  He wouldn't get any sleep and neither would I!  So I laid in my bed and I sang the song based on this verse: "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

I sang the song probably 50 times in my head until a miracle happened!  I fell asleep! 

The other issues of trust are ones that I'm not permitted to talk about yet, because they are still in the works.  But they are going to require me letting go completely, not trying to hold onto them, and possibly repeating the above verse, or singing the song it's based on, 100 times a day. 

I'm not trying to say I've mastered it.  On the contrary!  I realized I will NEVER master it, and the only way to really trust is to rely on God's strength to get me through.  I can't do it alone, and that, somehow, is very comforting.

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.


A Monday to be Thankful

I haven't done this in awhile, and I need to get back into it.  It helps me so much to be thankful in all things - even when those things are tough.  So, here we go.

This Monday I'm thankful for the easy things:
-Cherry Coke
-Toddlers that take naps
-Strawberry Wafers
-My iPhone

The not-so-easy things:
-being very uncomfortable because of pregnancy
-dealing with a two year old
-how weak I am, knowing that it means I NEED God

What are you thankful for today?  What things can you give thanks to God for, even if it's not easy?

Here's hoping you have a splendid week!


Cast your cares

 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.  Psalm 55:22

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.  Psalm 94:19

 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18  


What Isaac might say about being 2

Hi, I'm Isaac.  I just turned 2.

My dadda is my hero and best friend!  Mama is pretty cool, but she always makes me take naps when I don't want to, and encourages me to use the big boy potty when I'm not quite ready yet.  She also doesn't like me to eat stickers, which I really love to do.

I love playing and Grandma and Papa's house.  I have a sandbox, a basketball hoop, and many other great toys there.  I also get to watch Cars 2 as much as I want, although I think Grandma is getting pretty sick of that movie!

I have to use something they call "an inhaler" twice a day now.  I guess it's because I spent a few nights in that big building with all those nice people constantly checking on me when I was trying to sleep.  At first using it really scared me, but now I don't mind it so much.  The little mask tickles my nose.

I know some colors: red, blue, green, yellow, purple, orange, white, and black.  When I'm not sure what color something is, I guess them all until Mama or Dadda smiles and says, "yes!"  My favorite colors are yellow and green.

I love to play outside with my dogs Leela and Kate.  I like to play in my little blue pool with water toys, too.  The weather has been rainy lately, so I haven't been able to go outside very much.  Mama tells me that I will as soon as it gets warm and sunny again.

My obsession is cars.  Green cars, red cars, Jeeps, trucks, cars.  Anything with wheels!

I still use my lovey and pacifier when I take naps and go to sleep at night.  I see Mama eyeballing them like she's going to take them away soon...but I think I can convince her otherwise.

I don't understand, yet, that soon I'll have a baby sister.  I know my Mama has a big belly and she points to it and says, "baby," but that doesn't mean anything to me right now. 
I like going to church, but I don't like when we have to leave.  I love playing with all my friends!

I'm a toddler.  I want that piece of pizza now, I don't care if it's going to burn my mouth!  I want to run, play, yell, laugh, and be free to explore.

I am very loved.


I don't want you to have asthma

I've been in denial - for awhile.

My almost 2 year old son has been coughing every night since he was 6 months old.  Sometimes it last for a long time, over an hour.  Sometimes it is only 2 or 3 coughs and he's done.  We have had a couple nights of no coughing, but for the most part it is an every night event.  The only time he didn't cough for an extended amount of time was the week we took antibiotics for a double ear infection.

We've seen doctors about it, but we haven't seen specialists.  We've tried eliminating certain foods from his diet. We've done cod-liver oil, probiotics, homeopathic remedies.

And still we've been in the hospital, twice.  Once last November, and once this past weekend.  Anytime he gets anything that causes him to drip mucous in any amount, it happens.  Now, it doesn't always land us in the ER.  He's had a few colds that have just been miserable and then passed.  But it's the ones that get into his chest that cause the problem.

Small airway+small lungs+lots of mucous = reactive airway disease, bronchiolitis, RSV, viral pneumonia....you name it.  They never know exactly what it is.  The doctor explained that a lot of those things look exactly the same on an xray.  Top all that off with what they think he has - asthma - and it can turn into a deadly situation.  Fast.

Asthma.  No.  I don't want to hear it.  How many times have I heard all the negative, long term effects of inhalers?  How can he have weak lungs when he's related to me?  Andrew and I don't have it, so why does he?

At our last visit to the hospital (2 days ago), we saw a total of 6 doctors.  They all hear things a little different, and have slightly differing opinions on most things.  The one thing they all agreed upon was this: as a little kid, Isaac needs to be able to run around, play, and enjoy life, without having to worry about being hospitalized for breathing problems.

When they put it that way, I get it.  I agree.  I'm on board.  I don't want to keep him inside because it's a little on the cooler side and he might start coughing.  I don't want to keep him from running and playing because he might start wheezing.  If an inhaler can help him live his life, and live it well, who am I to object?

I'm looking forward to seeing a specialist about this.  He'll be able to tell us his professional opinion, help us make an action plan, and hopefully keep him safe from anymore visits to the ER for respiratory problems.

And if he has something, I guess it's good that it has a name.  That way we can take care of it.


Freak Out

I never thought I'd be this much of a freak as a mother.

I can remember friends saying, "I can't wait for you to be a mom!" and, "I know you'll be such a fun mom!"

Maybe I am a fun mom sometimes.  Most of the time, though, I'm a freak.  I freak out about everything.  Don't stand on the couch!  Don't walk over there by yourself!  Don't get too close to that dog!  Don't, don't, don't...

I'm trying so hard to let go a little.  My baby is almost not a baby anymore.  In less than 2 months, he'll be 2!  He is capable of so much more than I give him credit for.

I think the reason I freak out so much is because of all the bad things I hear about.  Constantly.  This happened to this child (even if that child happens to be 35 years old and fighting a war...he is still someone's child) and that child went missing and at a public school there was a shooting and the list goes on and on and on until it's all I can do to bring my trembling hands up to cover my ringing ears.  And I don't even watch the news!

The amount of information out there is staggering.  The speed at which we receive it is incredible.  Everywhere I go there are tragedies screaming at me.  Even when I close my eyes the images are still there.  This is the stuff of my nightmares.

I have to trust.  It's not something I'm good at.  I can't keep my son locked inside this house forever.  There is a reason, a purpose, a plan.  I don't know what that is, and I might never know.  I have to trust.  Then maybe I can be a little less of a freak and a little more relaxed.  Maybe.


It's a Girl! (and we're half way there)

What a privilege to see the baby that's inside me - thanks to an ultrasound machine. 

She's squirmy and uncooperative - just like me!

At 20 weeks along I'm feeling overall a lot better, but the last few days have been a little rough on me.  Heartburn raging and headaches flaring...I consider it all part of the pregnancy game.  I try not to complain; I know that others have it a lot worse than I do.  This sounds so cliche, but I really am just thankful that every thing is well and good with little baby #2.  The ultrasound tech told me that the baby weighs about 10 oz.

Her dad and I got to peek at her little life, however black and white it was.  It was exciting and shocking and overwhelming and relieving.  It is times like this when I'm especially thankful for technology.

More than that though, I'm thankful for my heavenly father who plans everything just so.  Nothing surprises Him.


Mixed Messages

Faced with a tough decision.

One that I feel has already been made for me.  Maybe even before I was ready.

And now that the decision has been made - I'm unsure.  My gut is messed up.

The doubts that I'm having could be the Holy Spirit, right?  Nudging me in the right direction.

But the doubts could also be from life's circumstances that seem especially tough right now.

Which is it?  How can I tell?  What if I do the wrong thing? 

I'm trying my best to trust in blind faith.  You've always gotten us through before.  I want to take the path that is narrow, is that what I'm doing?


Back from Somewhere Far Away

The grass is still green here.  It is almost all year, except sometimes in August when the sun gets hot enough to sizzle it down to its roots, and some of us don't want to spend money on the water it would take to make it green again.

Green grass doesn't equal blue sky.  I see it sometimes, almost everyday...it peeks through the thick, heavy gray clouds and stays for a minute or so, and then it's gone again.  When it goes, it takes my hope with it. 

Around March I start to hate the rain.  I feel like it has soaked through my very skin and is trying to drown me from the inside out.  Call it seasonal affective disorder, call it depression, cabin fever...what you will. Whatever it is, it makes me want to crawl under the covers and never emerge.

And then comes the snow.  I love snow!  I love snow in the winter, when it's supposed to be there.  I love snow during Christmas time.  But snow at the end of March is almost too much.  It makes me feel like spring, however close it seems on the calendar, is a long way off.

I wonder if this happens to everyone.  Does everyone get down?  Does everyone feel inadequate as a friend, a wife, a mom?  Or is it this rain?  This soup that I'm constantly swimming in - does it bog me down with inside things, like burned toast and past regrets?

I'm waiting for the sun.  I need it.  Just a little.  It sheds light on all my failures and short comings.  It shows me that I'm not good enough, and that's ok. I have help, I have grace, I have forgiveness.  And although this rain feels like it will be here forever, it will not.  In a month or two the weather will warm a bit, and the flowers will freckle the always-green grass.

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