Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BLW Update

Man, it's been a while since I've updated you guys on Wren's eating habits.  I guess truthfully I kind of do a quick update on the monthly posts, but thought I would spend an entire post on it today.

I LOVE THIS!!!  Meal time is, mostly, quite enjoyable in our house.  Not to say that we don't have those moments when she's totally not into sitting in her high chair or devouring what is on her tray, but more times than not we all sit down to dinner at the same time and eat the same thing.  I don't have to prepare her food separately.  I don't have to feed her before we eat.  I simply make dinner & we eat it.  It's fantastic!

We never did baby food or anything mushy.  Her first food was green beans...ones from my plate!!  Gary took her to her 9 month check-up and the doctor said the only thing she couldn't have is honey, so we pretty much live by that rule.  We let her try EVERYTHING!!

I kind of grew up a picky eater and at times those tendencies tend to peak back into my life.  Gary has a much more diverse pallet and I've learned over the years that I actually do like more things than I thought.  It kind of helps that he's a phenomenal cook too :).  We tend to try new recipes quite often to excite our taste buds, but also get Wren used to eating all kinds of different flavors and textures.  Pinterest has assisted a TON with the plethora of recipes that are at our fingertips!  I pin recipes that sound good to this board, then I edit it with any notes on how I might improve it or cook differently next time and move it to this board.  I get rid of any of the ones we don't like.  It's an awesome way for us to try new things and keep up with what we've tried and liked!

Some people ask how I feed Wren things that need to be eaten with a spoon since we don't spoon feed her. Well, there are times when I will spoon feed her now, but not in the beginning.  I let her feed herself for several months before I started feeding her.  I wanted her to feel confident when she ate.  She loves cottage cheese and can totally feed herself, but sometimes she just likes eating from the spoon.  I know that she will get to where she can spoon feed herself soon too, but for now I usually put the food on the spoon for her and then give it to her to put in her mouth.  She does pretty good, but still sometimes dumps it in her lap because she tries to put it in her mouth upside down :).  I sometimes fully spoon feed as well.  If we're at a restaurant and I don't want her to make a huge mess I'll just feed her the soft foods like guacamole.  Since she's already learned how to feed herself I don't feel like it's a regression to feed her this way every once in a while.

Yes, she still has favorite foods.  I don't think there's anyway to deter anyone from having favorite foods.  However, that doesn't mean that she won't eat other things.  She loves any kind of pasta!  But she doesn't only eat the pasta and leave everything else.  She eats it all.  There are times though that she eats more pasta or less pasta.  The Baby-Led Weaning book said they know what their body needs.  Sometimes you will notice they eat more carbs.  Sometimes you will notice they eat more protein.  Sometimes you notice they don't eat much and just want to nurse...this is normal!  We definitely notice this stuff!  It said don't force them to eat.  Let them go at their own pace.  Let them decide when they're done.  They will definitely let you know.  Sometimes she'll be fussy and reach out.  Sometimes she'll start tossing food over the side of her chair.  Sometimes she'll sit happily and play with her cup while we finish.  I normally have to sweep under her seat after every meal, so if she's content I'll let her stay in the chair even if she's throwing food over the side. It's a great time for Gary and me to talk or to get our Bible reading in.

She's not big on any type of 'baby food.'  She doesn't really care for puffs anymore.  She doesn't like the yogurt bites (I still have the very first package I bought).  She definitely doesn't like baby food.  My sister left some of my nephews baby food in the fridge and so that it wasn't wasted I thought I would feed it to Wren.  She did not like it!  In the past I've given her some of his baby food and she'll eat the few bites I give her and even reach for more sometimes, but she wasn't digging these mixed veggies.  Cook her up some fresh or frozen mixed veggies and she's all over it :).  She will eat some of the graduate foods, but I don't normally buy them because it's an extra expense.  As of yet, we haven't had to increase our grocery budget because we don't really buy anything additional.  We buy the occasional baby item (storage milk bags, snacks, diapers), but since she eats what we eat and we use cloth she's pretty much a free baby!  Now I know that will change as she gets older because I've seen the crazy grocery bill of households with teenagers, but for a year of someones life not being a burden financially that's pretty cool don't ya think?  I think we can have 20 more of these!!  TEHEHE kidding...not kidding :).

You might wonder if you do go the baby food route if you can still have a good eater and my answer to you is YES!  Absolutely!  I have a friend that made all of her baby food & once he was ready to move to more solid food she simply kept making the same foods just not mushing it up.  He does great and eats a lot of peas of carrots.  She said he won't touch green beans, but I think we can all agree that if your child is eating peas and carrots that we are going to be happy campers!!  Oh and I probably need to add that she's raised another child to get broccoli as a side instead of fries, so I think she knows what she's doing :).

Good luck out there mommas!! You're doing great!!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

11 months

This little stinker is such a ham!!  She definitely has personality flowing out of her ears!  She loves to wave, loves to play peek-a-boo & loves to be chased.

She says duck and quack quite frequently and I'm pretty sure she says 'gog' (dog).

She loves to pat beat the Bible or any book that is in front of her.  Her favorite books right now are Five Little Monkeys & Bathtime Peek-a-boo.

She has done pretty well the past month with sleeping.  There were a few nights here and there that were rough, but I think she's getting her two top teeth in.  

She still only has 2 teeth, but I can start to feel the top ones a little.

She takes more and more steps every day.  She can pretty much walk across the living room now, but still prefers to crawl because it's faster.

She still eats like a champ!  This past weekend at Makin' Music one my friends who has a 1 year old couldn't believe that she was sitting there eating chili.  I love it when people are amazed at her eating habits :).

SHE CLAPS!!!  It only took a few days of practicing before she had it down.  Remember last month I was really excited for it?  Yea it's still really exciting!!  Now she does an air/silent clap.  She makes the clapping motion, but she doesn't actually clap her hands together.  It's just as great!!

She's going to be 1 before we know it!!  We went to Gravel Road Traditions with our photographer and we got some ADORABLE pictures!!

This is like her new favorite face.  She makes it all the time!!  I love it!!

She gets so excited and tenses up too!!  I love it!!

Seriously!!  Isn't that the cutest little booty you've ever seen!!  Those chunky legs!!!

We are having her birthday party on May 3rd at noon at a farm some people from church own.  I'm sooooooo excited!!  A girl I used to work with has a design business on the side and they are going to do her decorations.  I'm doing all the food and Shonta will be there taking pictures!  It's going to be awesome!!

So next monthly update she'll be ONE!!!  AHHHH say it isn't so!!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Young Widow

How do you deal with this?

How do you approach them?

What do you say?

What do you not say?

A friend from college lost her husband last night in a tragic car accident.  I don't know the details.  I don't know the arrangements.  I simply know she is now a widow.

She is my age.  She's been married around the same length of time as me.  She's young.  She's beautiful.  She’s a widow.

Widow.  That word is hard to say.  It’s even hard to say about women who are ‘of age’ to be a widow.  Not that there’s ever a good age to become a widow, but when we think of that word we typically think of older women.  Not a 29 year old.

Over and over today I’ve scrolled through my Facebook news feed to find different people’s reactions to this news.  The common denominator is prayer for the family.  The thing I’ve been studying about.  The thing I’m supposed to be good at because I’m a Christian.  The only thing that might bring comfort to her.  But when I start to say a prayer I don’t have a clue where to begin.  I don’t have a clue what words to use.  I don’t have a clue how she feels.

Saying things like “bring her comfort and peace during this time” just don’t seem adequate enough for the massive loss that she’s going through.

When we say our vows “until death do us part” when do we really think death is going to come?  When we’ve been married for 50+years, right?  Not 4 years.  Brittany and Bradford would have celebrated their 4 year anniversary on July 10th.  I was looking through their wedding pictures earlier today.  I wasn’t at their wedding, but I can imagine it was one of the best days of their life.

Marriage - leaving your father and mother and become one flesh (Matthew 19:5).  She no longer has a spouse.  Who does she cleave to?  Part of her is now missing.

Even though Brittany and I haven’t talked for some time and I don’t know the next time we will talk I wanted to be prepared.  I did a little research from other young widows of things to say or not to say.  I know we get wrapped up in the moment and just start blurting out things, but I hope to keep this in mind for any future encounters with her or any other grieving spouse.  Also, every person is different so some of these things might be ok to say to one person and not ok to say to the next.  Regardless, I want to be aware of the words that I use in times like these.

Not to say:
"Let me know if there's anything you need." – I’m the world's worst about saying this.  I’ve heard it before, but I need to begin following this rule…don’t leave this as an open invitation for them to call you because they probably don’t know what they need.  Instead tell them what you’re going to do.  For example, “Hey I’m going to bring you dinner.  Which night works best for you, Monday or Tuesday?”

"At least you're young..." – I liked how this young widow responded... “At least I'm young? Hmmm. Wow. I'm pretty sure that being young does not make this any easier. Every age of widowhood presents different challenges, but being young does not make it any easier. I was going to spend the rest of my life with this person and being young enough to be able to spend it with someone else is of no comfort at all.”

How are you doing? (in a slow, low, monotone tone) – another one I’m completely guilty of.  When we ask this question what answer are we expecting to hear?  Do we ask this out of true concern?  Do we ask this because we really care?  How many people actually tell you the truth rather than “I’m doing ok”?  I don’t necessarily think this is a completely wrong question to ask, but I do think this is one they probably hear a lot and have no idea how to answer.

"I know exactly how you feel..." - This response really made me think because this young widow has experienced several different losses - "Please keep in mind,  many individuals have gone through a family loss.  However, losing a spouse, it is a whole different ball game.  Words cannot begin to describe what we are going through.  Just because you lost a family member doesn't mean you understand how we are feeling.  Empathize with us, but don't take away our right to our pain.  To us, it is worse than an uncle, aunt, sister, father or mother.  I've suffered loss also. In fact I lost my mother to cancer just a couple years before my husband.  I will tell you now, it really hurt to lose my mom, but I can't begin to say how much pain I felt when my husband passed on.  It is the end of the world to us.  Realize this."

Things to say/do:
Please do stay connected. There is already a huge hole in our universe. Do not assume we need ‘space’ to grieve. 

Please do say you are sorry for our loss. We would rather you tell us you do not know what to say than tell us your story of loosing your friend or even close relative We may be able to listen to your story later, but not now. Do not tell us you understand. 

Do call and ask specifically, “Can we go for a walk together? May I run errands for you? Meet you for coffee? Do not say, “Call me if you need anything.” 

Do refer to our husband’s acts or words—serious or humorous. We are so comforted by knowing our husband has not been forgotten. Do not leave our husbands out of the conversation. 

Invite us to anything. We may decline but will appreciate being asked. Do not assume we no longer want to participate in couples events. 
Do not assume we go through the outlined grief process ‘by the book.’

Walk the talk. Do not make ‘conversation only’ offers. “We’ll call you and we’ll go out to dinner.”—and then not follow up. Yes, we are sensitive in our grieving, but we’d rather hear you say, “I’ve been thinking of you.” than make a ‘conversation only’ offer.

I loved what this young widow had to say about grieving:

"A safe general rule in grief is to let the griever set the tone for interactions. If the griever is in a calm, more content moment, share that moment with her. If she is weepy and taken over by a wave of sadness, stay steady with her but don’t try to fix her like a broken toy. I would have been insulted early in my grief if had anyone suggested that a future relationship would improve my happiness; it would have sounded to me like that person was saying my husband was disposable. However, as I healed and began to look up and past the clouds of the moment, I began to have hope for the future and that included the possibility that I might eventually love again, but I needed to get to that place on my ownHow a spouse processes the deep grief of loss is profound and extreme and primitive and very, very private. Trust the griever. Trust that she did the hard work whether it took her 5 years or 6 months to face down that dragon. Trust also that she doesn’t owe you any explanations about it."

So join me!  Even though I might not know exactly how to word a prayer on this matter, prayer is the most important thing that can be done.  Pray for Brittany.  Pray for the Higgins and Anderson families.


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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Heart is Heavy

In the Wednesday night ladies Bible class at our church they are studying about prayer this quarter.  Gary is teaching a SFT class at another local congregation, so I have been going with him over there every Wednesday.  However, I was still able to snatch up one of the books they are using on prayer for my personal study.  I started the study last night after everyone was bed, which is a rare occasion in my house because Gary and I usually go to bed at the same time or he stays up later than me.  However, last night was different and I decided that instead of watching episodes of Parenthood on Netflix it was a good time to start my study on prayer.  Man was I right! 

There are so many things going on with people I know and love right now that I need to be praying about, but sometimes it’s just hard.  It’s hard knowing exactly what to say.  It’s hard truly turning everything over to God.  And it’s hard to think about the outcome.

I recently did a short post about how God answers prayer and I definitely keep that in mind when I pray.  Just because I pray for something to go a certain way doesn’t mean that God didn’t answer it…he just gave me a different answer and that’s HARD!!

The final question in the study last night was “What do you hope to get out of this study.” 

My answer was simply that I could truly turn EVERYTHING over to God!

Now I want you all to help me pray for some of the people that are heavy on my heart & that we can all learn to turn everything over to HIM!

Austin & Karen Mobbs are a couple at our church.  They are around our age and are expecting their first baby.  They prayed for this baby.  They enlisted prayers from some of us at church that they could have a baby.  They have been so good to involve, what has felt like, the whole church throughout their entire pregnancy!  First, they announced this news at our family retreat.  Second, they got everyone (at least those they could get to) to write on a piece of scrapbook paper whether they thought it would be a boy or a girl.  Lastly, once they found out news about their precious baby girl, Kinley they went forward for prayer from our entire congregation!  Karen started getting nervous that she wasn’t gaining weight like she should be.  Most of us would jump up and down for this, but for Karen it concerned her.  She expressed this to her doctor and they set up an ultrasound.  I don’t think anyone involved was prepared for the news that followed that ultrasound.  After meeting with 6 different doctors from Murfreesboro to Nashville, their sweet Kinley was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  There is nothing they can do until she is born and they want Karen to go as full term as possible.  Her due date is April 17th and they have scheduled her for a c-section at Vanderbilt on April 15th.  As soon as Kinley is born she will be taken to the NICU for further testing.  The neurosurgeon says he cannot determine how in depth the surgery will be but she will have to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. Once the tumor is removed it will be tested for cancer. Other surgeries have also been discussed for various complications they could be facing.  However, as I said before, they won’t know for sure how serious everything is until she is here.

Amanda Charles is an almost 20 year old that I’ve known for a very long time.  We attend the same church camp during the summer and her parents are heavily involved down there.  They also previously attended church with one of my closest friends from camp and when I would go visit her I would get to see the Charles’ family as well.  2 days ago, with only a recent thyroid issue discovered, but nothing serious, she fainted in front of her best friend and roommate, Sara.  Thankfully, Amanda and Sara have been attending training to become volunteer firefighters so Sara acted immediately!  She checked her breathing, nothing.  She checked her pulse, no pulse.  She yelled at her mom to call 911 and she started CPR.  By the time the ambulance arrived Amanda’s lips were blue and her skin was grey.  She was taken to the Alex City Hospital, but very quickly they decided to life flight her to UAB.  She has currently not been diagnosed as brain dead, but the most recent update from Sara said that her heart is getting sicker & is not working in a manner that is sustainable for life.  They have no idea what could have caused this.

These two situations BREAK. MY. HEART!  However, as I stated earlier, my goal for my prayer study is to learn to truly turn everything over to God.  What can I do that He can’t?

Please pray with me for these two families and please turn it all over to God!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

You're My Favorite Becady

"There's a snake in my boots."
"Reach for the sky."
"Somebody's poisoned the waterhole."
"You're my favorite deputy."

When Gary's oldest niece, Hannah, was a baby she said all kinds of silly phrases.  She loved the movie Toy Story and would quote Woody by saying, "You're my favorite becady."

I am a 'words of affirmation' girl and I know that because I use that love language on those around me.  So, I constantly tell Gary that he's my favorite, to which he replies, "You're my favorite becady!"

Gary doesn't necessarily care for the book The Five Love Languages, but I find it to be quite useful!  I've never read the book, to be honest, but I've studied up on the languages and Gary is quality time.  Some of his most favorite times are when we are in the car (pre or post baby) and he and I can just talk.  We can go on an 8 hour car ride and never turn the radio on!  He gets frustrated when I call my sister when we are in the car because he calls that 'our time.'

I find it be VERY important to learn your spouse's love language as well as knowing your own.  The more you know about the one you share a life with the easier your marriage will be!

Gary's dad was in graduate school when he and I were engaged.  He was taking some psychology classes and had to have volunteers to take a temperament analysis.  Gary and I volunteered and it was one of the best decisions we ever made.  A person's temperament is something deeper than their personality.

Temperament = innate or inborn, not learned. basic inherited style.

Personality = made up of certain characteristic patterns like behavior, feelings & thoughts.  acquired on top of temperament.

Therefore, your temperament is something that really can't change, so knowing that much about someone, especially your spouse, is beyond profitable!

When Wren was born I really don't remember getting that 'Oh my goodness, I've never loved anyone so much' feeling.  Does that make me a bad mother?  Does that mean I love her less than other mothers' love their children?  I honestly can't answer those questions.  I will say that I find myself loving her more and more everyday and squeezing her so tightly I think I might squish her and if you look back on my blog and facebook page you will literally see hundreds of pictures of just her, but I don't remember that feeling.  This doesn't mean that I don't love her and I didn't love her then I just mean that I didn't get that feeling that everyone talks about when their firstborn is welcomed into the world.  People say things like, "I never knew I could love someone so much!"

I'll be honest, I feel that way about my husband!

Some people might think that we are still in the honeymoon stage and that might be true, but you would be surprised at what we've gone through in our (almost) 5 years of marriage!!  We fight, argue and even disagree on several occasions, but at the end of the day he's the one I choose to spend my life with.  I confessed my love for him and vowed in front of God, our friends & family that we would spend the rest of our lives together.  That truly means something!!

In our society today I feel like there is more emphasis on the parent-child relationship than there is on the husband-wife relationship.  Just the other day I was sitting around a dinner table with some people from work and there was a girl there who has only been married for 6 months.  None of our spouses were there.  None of our children were there.  She was talking about what a great man she snatched and immediately negativity towards spouses and marriage started flying around the table.  IT. BROKE. MY. HEART!  They kept telling her she was in the honeymoon stage and she would get over these feelings.  I broke into the conversation and looked her straight in the eyes and said, "I truly hope you don't get over these feelings!  I've been married for almost 5 years and I feel the exact same way about my husband that you feel about yours & we have a kid!"

It seemed that before we had Wren people would always comment about mine and Gary's relationship by saying, "Just wait until you have children.  Things will change."  Now I know that we've only had a child for 10 months, but once I got past the postpartum stage (not depression, just getting used to a newborn) I feel like our relationship has gotten stronger.  And I also know that we have many more years together with children that can hinder our relationship.  But I don't feel like it's appropriate for ANYONE EVER to discourage newlyweds or new parents from having remarkable feelings towards their spouse.

Have you seen the movie Parental Guidance?  I highly recommend it!!  It's a fantastic movie with excellent moral standards.  Just a quick overview...Billy Crystal & Better Midler are considered 'the other grandparents' because their daughter doesn't like their parenting style.  It turns out they end up having to help her family out by watching the kids for a few days while she is supposed to go out of town with her husband while he receives some award.  The mom has a really hard time leaving her children because they are her life! My most favorite quote of the entire movie comes from Bette Midler when she says, "After your kids grow up, your husband is the one who stays."  Oh don't you just love it?!  It makes me so excited that Gary and I will get to be together even after we raise children!!

So how do you do it?  How do you keep that spark alive in your marriage even while you are running around taking your kids everywhere they need to go?  Don't underestimate the power of date night and I'm not talking about once in a blue moon date night I'm talking about making it a priority to spend quality time with your spouse!  Here's a little formula that Gary found that we try to stick to:

20 minutes a night - every day spend an uninterrupted 20 minutes (at least) with your spouse.  No kids, no TV, just talking to him/her.
1 night a week - send the kids to the grandparents or if you don't have family close find another young couple with kids and have different date nights than the other so you can watch each other's kids while they go out.
1 day a month - spend an entire day together.  Switch it up as to what you do.  One month do something she likes, the next month do something he likes.  Play hookie from work while the kids are in school ;).
One weekend every quarter or twice a year - Getaway or at least get the kids out of the house.  You don't have to do anything elaborate for your time together because, let's be honest, we can't all afford to go on a weekend getaway every 3 months, but just taking the time to plan something with your spouse.  Go to the zoo without the kids.  Get some sleep and cuddle all weekend!  Do some household chores that need to be done, but do them together (i.e. clean out the attic together...you never know what treasures you will find up there that might lead to a story that you never knew about your spouse).  Just be together!!

I want to end by saying the most important thing you can do for your marriage is keeping God 1st!!  I'm sure most of you have heard the rule and seen the diagram

the closer you get to God the closer you get to your spouse.  This isn't always easy because just like a marriage relationship can be strained from the busyness of life, so can your relationship with God.  Once again, you have to make it a priority to spend one-on-one time with God as well as time with your spouse & God.  Have a Bible study together that requires you to work separately and then come together to discuss what each other learned.  Hey!  That could be your 20 minutes a night ;).  See what I did there?

I can't say that Gary and I are the best at all of this, but keeping God & each other a priority in our lives is something we strive to do on a daily basis.  I hope and pray that we are able to sustain this throughout the remainder of our lives, until death do us part!  I pray the same thing for each and every one of your relationships as well!

Pray for your spouse!
Pray with your spouse!