Thursday, January 31, 2013

Becoming a Mom

Before I had Evie, I had lots of preconceived notions about what it meant to be a mom. Or, maybe I should say, preconceived fears. Would I ever have time to myself again? Would my body ever feel normal? Would I become freakishly obsessed with germs? Would I lose friends after I joined the Mom ranks?

Most of my fears were pretty selfish, in fact. I was so afraid that all the difficult things would outweigh the good things, and my life would be essentially forfeit. I would be stuck at home, wearing sweats, changing poopy diapers, and mourning my once dazzling existence (ok, maybe not dazzling, but you get the picture). I also feared that I just wouldn't be a good mom.

I'm so thankful to say that most of my fears were unfounded. My life has changed, but it has changed for the better. Becoming a mom has allowed me to grow and mature in ways that I probably would not have otherwise. It's a practical way to put someone else's needs above your own, and when that someone is a sweet little baby, it's just all the more delightful.

Sure, I do a lot more laundry than I used to, and a lot of days Evie and I just stay at home. But I feel a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment in life, and every day that I wake up to her sweet smile I am blessed. On the "selfish" side of things, I'm happy to say that my feet went back to their normal size (or at least pretty close), and I've been able to finally fit into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes (thanks due in part to Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred). My hips a little shapelier than they were before, and I have a stretch mark by my belly button, but I welcome those changes with open arms. To me, they signify the life that I was able to bring into this world, and they are beautiful.

I don't feel "normal" like I had hoped I would. No, it's even better than that. I feel like a new person. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


You guys, I have something so funny to show you. First, I must share a bit of a back story. I have never found a "doppelganger" for myself- you know, the actress that sort of looks like me, or just another person that other people say reminds them of me. Which is ok, I guess I'm just unique, but it is kind of fun to get an idea of what other people see when they look at you!

So the other day, my sister was over and we were having coffee together, just standing in the kitchen and chatting. I had my new JoAnne's catalogue sitting on the counter, since we were planning to go there later to get some craft supplies. Suddenly, Elsie gives a gasp and tries to grab the catalog off the counter, but it fell on the floor. I laughed because I thought she was gasping because she dropped it. But no, she was gasping because of this:

Do you see what I see? Oh look! It's me modeling some hand-knit mittens and a jaunty cap! Just kidding. It's not actually me. For those of you who don't know me well enough to see the resemblance, here's a photo that should help:

Is that not a little strange? And even a bit creepy? Somewhere out there is a JoAnne's model that looks exactly like me....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coffee, anyone?

Wow- I keep meaning to post and then the days fly by and here it is, a few weeks since my last visit here! Motherhood is sure keeping me busy. =) However, I don't intend to let this little haven disappear completely from my life, so I hope that you, my faithful friends, will check back in once in a while!

Today, I must introduce you to the newest member of our furniture-family. It is in fact, quite possibly the best piece of furniture we own. It was made for us by my soon-to-be-brother-in-law, David. He is incredibly talented at making all sorts of things, but especially furniture and woodworking. He asked what I wanted for Christmas this year, and I jokingly said "a coffee table." And guess what? He said "ok" and actually made one for us!

Here's a view into our lovely living room- how it looks most days, complete with pump, baby toys, bumbo seat, and cat curled up under the couch (can you spot her?). But on to the reason for the photo: the coffee table. The coffee table is made from cherry wood. I love the rough-hewn look, David and Morna (my sister) used hammers to weather the wood and make it look more old. I love it! 

Of course, this new coffee table makes everything else look bad, so it kind of makes me want to make-over our living room. We'll see if that actually happens...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mad about Cowls

Cowls are just all over the place this winter! I love them. They look cozy and yet fashionable at the same time. Plus, there are so many different styles out there that can go with just about any outfit you put together.

I've been working on crocheting a cowl for myself, but it's been so long since I last crocheted so it's taking me a while. In the meantime, I whipped one up using some soft faux-fur fabric that I had laying around.

I made it using a tutorial I found online (which of course I can't find now...). But basically it's just a long tube of fabric sewn in a circle. It's fur on both sides, for the ultimate in coziness.

If you're looking for a cowl that's already been made, I would recommend these adorable infinity cowls made by GussySews. She has several colors, at very affordable prices! I love the Moss Envy color shown below:

Or, if you are awesome with a crocheting needle, you could try your hand at making one yourself! I would recommend this pattern shown below, available at Patterns by Marianne on Etsy.

Have you jumped on the cowl train yet? Are you like me and are sure to amass an entire wardrobe of them by the time Spring has arrived?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

To Pump or Not to Pump?

I debated whether or not to go into the details of my experience with nursing here on the blog, but I finally decided, what the hey! Hopefully someone out there can relate or benefit from my story, so I am happy to share it for that reason.

Starting out, it had never occurred to me that I wouldn't nurse my baby. I planned on it, took it for granted even. I made a nursing cover while I was still pregnant, bought nursing bras, and didn't think twice about it. Of course, I heard all the horror stories about the horrible things that can go wrong when you nurse, but I just figured I would stick it out and everything would be ok in the end.

Well, to make a long story short, it didn't work out for us. After a week of dealing with a screaming, kicking, non-nursing newborn who was losing weight faster than Jessica Simpson after her last pregnancy, I was done. I just couldn't take it anymore. I would lay awake in bed with the most profound sense of failure I had ever felt. Every time I tried to nurse Evie I would end up in tears, either from pain or sheer frustration. We tried everything, and I do mean everything, spending hundreds of dollars on various contraptions and consultants. Finally, we made the decision to pump and feed her a bottle. Although at the time I felt like a failure and it was the last thing I wanted to do, I can see now that God had a plan all along. So began my journey of pumping...

Josh and I found this gas station a couple weeks ago and we had to snap a picture because it so accurately sums up my life for the past few months. I remember feeling like I was basically one step up from a dairy cow. I started out pumping every 2 hours (every 3 at night), for 1/2 hour each time. I did that for about 2 months. Even when my baby was sleeping, I had to get up and pump in the middle of the night. Sometimes it was Pump, Munch, and Cry the entire time. But I stuck it out (by God's grace!). I was just so happy to see Evie start to gain weight and be a happier baby.
        I just want to take a moment to say that FORMULA IS OK. It is not a brew concocted in the deepest pit of Hades by the devil himself. It is, in fact, a God-given gift for babies who would not otherwise survive. I'm all for babies who are alive, I'm assuming that most people are. We supplemented with formula for a few weeks while my supply was low, even though the numerous lactation consultants we saw advised us to buy donor breastmilk. I'm convinced that most lactation consultants have never had to buy donor breastmilk. Do you know how expensive that stuff is? Sorry, we couldn't afford that, we had just had a baby for pete's sake.
       Once I started to be more open with people about our nursing troubles, I was amazed by how many other moms had gone through the same thing. I remember feeling so alone at first, and I just want other moms out there to know that you are never alone. I heard from at least 6 friends who are currently pumping and bottle feeding, or had to switch to formula. I also heard from several moms who said they had given their children formula out of necessity and those kids were doing just fine.
      Now, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm no longer pumping 7-8 times per day (down to 4), and we actually had to buy a deep freezer to store all the extra milk. So whenever I officially stop pumping, Evie will still have about 2 1/2 months beyond that of milk. I'm so glad we were able to make this work. A huge part of that happening was having Josh home with me for 6 weeks after she was born- he was such a huge help! I was pumping constantly at first, so he really took the lion's share of baby care on his shoulders. Moms who have to go it alone or have little ones to take care of on top of the baby probably would not be able to do that.
      Here's one last funny (or just ironic) fact- in the 60's when my parents were born, giving children formula was the norm. And do you know what the formula recipe was that my grandma used for her kids? Unsweetened condensed milk (from a cow) and Karo Syrup. Karo Syrup! Can you believe that? And guess what? My mom is doing just fine. She doesn't have cancer or an extra limb, and neither do her siblings.
       I hope I haven't opened Pandora's box here with this touchy subject. I think the bottom line for everyone to remember is that parenting is on a case-by-case basis. What works for one parent or child doesn't always work for another. I've learned through my experience that it's best to not question other people's decisions for their children, because they always know the situation much better than anyone else. And even if people do question you, you can rest assured knowing that God entrusted this child/children to YOU and no one else, because He knew that you would be the best fit!


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