Monday, June 30, 2014

It's not about the bow

There’s a lady at church who has 2 daughters.  One in high school.  The other entering high school in the fall.  

I remember when I was younger and visited this congregation with my family, I would see these two girls with their BIG OVER SIZED BOWS.

At the time I was a tomboy.  Bows were way too girly.  I would never make my kid wear those.

Fast forward several years…

I want Wren to wear bows.  Like even with her pajamas.  And THE BIGGER THE BETTER!

She goes to my sister-in-law’s house every day and for the most part stays at home.  My sister-in-law isn't really into bows and I don't want to make her job harder than it already is.  So I don’t feel bad that she doesn't wear a bow while she’s there. 

But come church time, grocery time, any other time I want her to have a bow in her hair.

However, she feels differently.  She rips it out any opportunity she gets.  Especially when she’s tired.

The other night I went up to this mother of two daughters who wore big bows and let her know that Wren needs to come to bow boot camp.

This lady also baby-sits kids throughout the school year and I've heard that she has trained many a child to keep a bow in their hair.

She tells me, “You have to be consistent.  You have to smack her little hand when she takes it out.  You have to be stern.”

I reply with, “But sometimes I get tired of doing it over and over.  I feel silly because it’s just a bow.”

Then comes the wisdom…”It’s not just a bow.  This is setting you up for discipline in the future.  This is you showing her you mean business.  Practice your consistency with this, something that seems small, and it will make it better in the future when it comes to bigger things.  You can do it!  It’s not about the bow.”

So, if you see me in public getting onto my child because she won’t keep her bow in her hair, now you know that’s it’s not about the bow. 

This is the beginning.  The beginning of our journey.  The beginning of our journey through discipline and raising a respectful, gracious young lady.


Friday, June 27, 2014

My Spades Partner

In the summer of 2006, I was 21 & would be a senior at Freed in the fall.  My aunt and uncle were going on a 6 week vacation and asked if I could house sit.

So, I moved to Smyrna.  Found a job.  And attended the church they went to.

In the beginning, I didn’t really have friends.  I hung out with my grandparents A LOT.  But it was awesome because I got some of my grandmothers yummy cooking!

About half way through the 6 weeks, the church had ‘a day at the park’ and all the members were invited.  As I stood in line to get my food the guy in front of me started talking to me and invited me to his house that night for his birthday party.  He had invited several people from church so I was anxious to actually hang out with people my own age.

We played many games that night, but the one I remember the most was spades.

I can’t remember the score.  I can’t remember if we won.  But what I do remember is my partner.  I even left the party at the same time as him hoping he would ask me out on a date when we walked to our cars.

But he was clueless.

The next day I got a phone call from my aunt.  She said, “So I heard you went to a party last night.”
“What?!  How did you hear that?  You are on the other side of the US.”

Long story short, one of the guys at the party was interested in me and contacted a lady at church who knew had my aunt’s number and got her to call my aunt to get my number.  I thought that was pretty clever and was anxious to hear who it was.  Fingers crossed it was my spades partner.

Well, it wasn’t.  It was the guy who hosted the party.

He and I hung out for the next few days.  We went out to dinner, to the movies and we had people over to the house to grill out.  But I just wasn’t really into it.

On the following Sunday night a group of us went to the movies and on the way back to my car I ended it with this particular fellow.  I told myself I couldn’t use the phrase, “I’m not ready for a serious relationship,” because I knew that wasn’t true.  But in the heat of the moment that phrase popped out of mouth.  WHOOPS!  Didn’t mean it!  Oh well.  Can’t take it back now!

That Tuesday, my spades partner and I went on our first date.  It was his birthday, June 27th.

Today is June 27th.  Exactly 8 years later.  Do you want to know what my spades partner and I are doing? 

House sitting for the same aunt and uncle!!

Coincidence?  Probably, but it’s still a cool story!

Happy birthday to my most favorite spades partner in all the land!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Does my hair really matter?


I got mine cut.

Like. A LOT!

I was stressing over it and wondering what people were going to think. 

I cried.  I made my hairdresser cry (sorry Nichole). And I asked people to only say kind words.

Of course everyone has been kind and I can tell those people who don’t really like it because they just don’t say anything.  And I’m ok with that.

But here I am worrying about my HAIR.  Hair?  Really?

The stuff that sits on top of my head.  The stuff that everybody most people have.  The stuff that grows back.


When I woke up this morning I got on Facebook to read the kind comments that people were saying about my new do.

But then I saw it!

I saw that sweet baby.  That sweet baby laying in a casket.

The first time we went to India this family took us in.  They fed us.  They clothed us.  They were our family!

We keep in touch the best we can being oceans apart, but knowing they are going through this major loss and not being able to hug them.  Stand with them.  Just be with them is killing me!

I ache for them. 

I can’t sympathize with them.

I can’t imagine what they are going through.

I can only pray.

Have you realized that’s what it always comes back to?

How do people that don’t believe in God ever survive?  How do they make it through the tough times? 

Who do they confide in?  Who do they pour their heart out to?

I am Grateful.  Grateful we have a God.  Grateful that he hears our prayers.  Grateful that he is now kissing this sweet baby!

Please pray for this family, my India family. 

We love you Teja and Sirisha!  We are praying for you and wish we could be with you!
We miss you very much and hopefully God will bring us together again soon.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Let's Talk About Weaning Baby

As more of my friends continue to have babies and ask me questions, I have realized how much I've actually forgotten about the newborn stage.  

Yes, I still remember bits and pieces and I did write this blog.  But some of the more specific details are just gone.  Vanished. I just can’t recall.

So, I’m vowing to write more.  More about the current situation I’m in as a mother.  More about my feelings.  My emotions.  How these steps take a toll on my physical body as well.

With that said, let’s go on a journey through weaning…

You might remember that I have a hefty supply of breast milk due to immediate & frequency in pumping. 

You might also remember that I have an increasingly strong desire to be a stay-at-home, so Gary and I had actually talked about and briefly considered selling my breast milk.  People do this. And people buy it.  We thought this could help supplement some of my income for the time being and allow me to reach my goal. 

We researched it. 

We prayed about it.

We decided that we couldn't do it. 

There are too many women out there who can’t breast feed that have a strong desire to do so and too many babies that need breast milk that can’t get any. 

So, we waited. We waited for someone we knew.  For someone that needed this.

I was first introduced to Jessica through a former co-worker, Angela.  They were both in the same mommy group on Facebook.  Jessica posted that her milk donor was starting to wean her own baby and could no longer supply Jessica’s baby with breast milk.  She wasn't necessarily trying to find another donor, but to get feedback on goats milk and if any other mom’s had given it to their babies.

However, Angela had something else in mind…

Jessica first contacted me on March 6th.  She told me about herself and breastfeeding…

I was able to nurse Tayla and pump for the first 4 months but then my supply dwindled and she started losing some serious weight and was almost hospitalized.“

She told me about her daughter, Tayla…

She gets very sick whenever she has to take a formula bottle.  Phlegmy/chest cough, runny nose, acid poops, yucky vomiting, and screaming.   She is miserable and I hate that for her. She is on meds for her reflux. But formula just turns her world upside down despite the meds.”

She asked me questions about my diet, my milk and my overall health.  Some of the questions I wasn't really sure how to answer and I was a little intimated, but she finished with this…

I know that if it isn't you that can help her, God will put someone else in our lives to help her.  :-).  Please let me know if you are still interested.  I hope I didn't scare you off. :-)”

Her parting words pretty much sealed the deal that I wanted to at least try.
I chatted with one of our elder’s wives at church who donated milk both times she nursed her own boys:  “Is it weird having another baby drinking your milk? I’m scared I won’t have enough milk to supply for both babies.” 

She was so positive and told me, “It’s just milk, but it’s the special milk that helps some babies survive. God will provide if you decide this is what you want to do.”

After several back and forth emails with Jessica, we were sitting in their home for dinner on March 13th

Jessica and I immediately hit it off!  And you know who else did too?  Our husbands! 

We ate, laughed and I got to feed that sweet baby a bottle of my breast milk.

Oh my goodness it brings tears to my eyes!  I’m sad that we didn't capture that moment, but I will remember it regardless. I felt honored, but I also felt nervous. 

Nervous that she wouldn't take it well.  Nervous that it would hurt her tummy. Nervous that all of this just wouldn't work out.

The feeling can almost be compared to when a new mom starts breastfeeding her baby.  That nervous in your gut please let this work feeling.

And guess what!  It did! 

Jessica was shocked when Tayla got about half way through the bottle and she hadn’t even spit up once.  She was amazed at the fat in my milk, which is what babies thrive on.  She was grateful and hopeful that this was going to work!

Fast forward to today.  The DeYoung’s are our friends.  We have dinner together. The boys have lunch together. And they came to Wren’s first birthday!

Tayla and me
pic via

Jessica and her 3 kiddos

Statistics from 2010 say that 27% of women breast fed their babies for the first year.  Four years later, I’m sure that number has increased.

I always had the plan that I would breast feed Wren until she turned one (if I was able), but once Tayla entered our lives I wanted to be sure she had breast milk until her first birthday as well.

Everything has worked great so far!  When we first met Tayla, in March, she was 7 months old.  I knew making a commitment to get her to her first birthday would mean I would have to continue to pump 2 months longer than my original plan.

My photographer and friend, Shonta, asked me at Wren’s first birthday party if I was sad about nursing coming to an end and to be honest I really hadn't thought about it at that point because I knew I had until August before I really started weaning. 

Well, the closer we get to August the more sad I get. 

I currently still nurse Wren.  Only at bedtime during the week and as many times as she needs on the weekends.  However, she is starting to show signs that she doesn't really want/need it much anymore.  I really want her to wean herself as much as possible.

On nights that I am away and Gary puts her to bed he will sometimes forget or just not feed her milk before bedtime and guess what?  She’s totally fine and sleeps through the night. 

Our little girl is growing up! And it’s sad.

Sad to think she doesn't NEED me anymore.  I know that she really does, but not in the same way that she needed me as an infant.

Weaning has been something that has scared me for some time.  Really ever since the meeting in the hospital about ‘taking your baby home’ and they talk about the women who choose not to breast feed.  They tell you to use cabbage leaves and ice to suppress the pain.  They say it will be painful.  I know weaning and just stopping cold turkey are two different things, but it still scares me!!

Will it hurt? Will I wake up in pain? How do I do this?  When do I start?

Thankfully I have a lot of examples around me and I ask a lot of questions!

I do use google from time to time, but I would prefer to get information from people I know.

A girl at work only pumped and bottle fed and when she started weaning from her pump, immediately after her baby’s first birthday, she simply started cutting out the pumps that ‘got on her nerves the most:’

The one right before dinner

Then the morning pump at work

Towards the end she only had her early morning pump and was only doing it every other day. 

She said once she got to where she was pumping less than an ounce she would quit.

Just this past month she finished pumping completely.  She said the only pain she had was a couple of random pains, which she thinks was just everything clogging up and going back to normal.  She said other than that she was completely fine and doesn't miss her pump at all!  She had a good supply built up and has enough to get her baby to 16 months!

My friend, Rachel, did the same thing I do…

pumped when she was away from her baby and nursed him when they were together.  

She had built her supply up early on, therefore, even had to pump once a day on the weekends, which is the same as me.  Around Preston's first birthday, she slowly started cutting back time on her pumping, but continued to nurse him at night. 

When he was 15 months he actually weaned himself from nursing. She had to pump a little more over the next month, but continued decreasing the length each time. She said it was a smooth transition with zero pain.  She was able to save enough milk for him to have until he was 17 months old!!!

I’m pretty much still on the same schedule I've been on since the beginning…

  • 20 minutes in the morning (around 9)
  • 20 minutes in the afternoon (around 3)
  • Wren's just recently cut out the evening nurse before dinner, except the past 2 nights (I think she’s teething)
  • Nurse before bed

My weekend schedule is nurse on command and pump for 20 minutes once a day.  I still have to pump even when I'm nursing her all day I get too full and start getting some pain in my right shoulder and blade. 

My right side is my biggest producer and I think it’s because of that pain that I have in my head that weaning is painful.

I still have a couple of months before I really start this process, so until then I'll just keep pumping.  Just keep pumping pumping pumping


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Final Wedding


Some love them.  Some hate them.  Some plan them.  Some avoid them.

I. LOVE. Them

I didn’t really start loving weddings until after my own. 

I remember the very first wedding I attended post marriage.  It was 2 weeks after Gary and I got married.  It was a girl I grew up with at church and I bawled through the entire thing! 

The words, they meant more. The details, I actually noticed them. 

I love weddings so much I decided a few years ago to purchase a nice video camera and start a small business on the side.  It allows me to tell a story.  Your story.  Your happiness.  Your love.

I love to video weddings, but I also enjoy going and being a guest.

Signing the book.  Picking a seat.  Chatting with those around me about how I know the bride and groom.

I will be attending my third wedding in 3 weeks this coming weekend! 

2 weeks ago I videoed a wedding for a girl at church 

This past weekend Gary and I hit the road (baby-less) and attended a friend’s wedding in east Tennessee

This coming weekend Wren and I are hitting the road to attend a wedding in Arab.

When I was in college I didn’t go to many weddings because there were just too many!  I hated feeling like I had to pick one friend over another friend.

But now, if we are available we do our best to make it to weddings that we are invited to.

The Bride. The Groom. The bridal party. The flowers. The cake. THE UNION AND THE HAPPY EVERY AFTER…Oh it just makes me giddy!

Don’t Miss It!  That was the title of Sunday night’s sermon.  Wayne talked about Heaven.  He talked about how we will all get new bodies, the custom built house that God is preparing for us and the opportunity that we will have to visit with Bible characters! 

His very last point. THE WEDDING.

The UNION of Christ and His church.

Where will I be on that day?  Will I be videoing it?  Telling someone else’s story?  Seeing their happiness?  Their love?

OR will I be a guest. Watching from my seat.  Telling others that I know the bride and groom.

OR will I be among those that will be called the BRIDE OF CHRIST?