Tuesday, July 31, 2012
excerpt from Out Of The Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load
by Jen Hatmaker
An ode to the marvelous woman called “Mother”
Though not one of us is exactly like another.
From the second we’re born to the minute we die
Our preferences are as limitless as stars in the sky.
We might have been perfectly gracious before
But childbirth entered us in the Mommy War.
Rather than letting everyone else be
We criticize parenting that isn’t exactly like . . . me.
So once and for all let me put this to rest
None of us owns the title of “best.”
Natural childbirth does not make you a hippy
Epidurals are not just for women who want to feel trippy.
In a bathtub with a doula or in a hospital bed
We all got a baby with limbs and a head.
Nursing is great if nothing goes wrong
But some nipples turn inward and refuse to play along.
This is a choice for each mom–it’s her route
So it’s just A + B and everyone else can C their way out.
Schedules and timers do not make you cruel
Feeding on demand does not make you a fool.
In the nursery with a monitor or in the family bed
Every chick gets to pick where her baby lays his head.
If I see one more mom roll her eyes at “organic . . .”
“Partially hydrogenated” throws some of us into panic.
But neither judge Sonic burgers and fries
Some of us just want to enjoy food before we die.
Preschool, home school, public, or Montessori
Listen, my friends, and I’ll tell you a story:
Two moms differed on favorite school trends
Their kids turned out pretty much the same. The end.
If a girl gets the title of “mom” accidentally
The worst thing we can do is treat her judgmentally.
How about some love, some help, some advice?
She needs our love and we shouldn’t think twice.
Discipline through various methods will prevail
Look, we’re all just trying to keep our kids out of jail.
These things are just preferences, not right or wrong
What matters more is teaching our kids to get along–
To love and to share, to speak gently and kind,
To obey so that mom won’t go out of her mind.
Showing them Jesus is our common ground
Teaching them how he can always be found
He’s present in public school and Waldorf (so trendy)
He’s over at Whole Foods but also at Wendy’s.
Jesus never cared about these sorts of things
It’s our hearts that he wants and the worship we bring.
It’s time for us moms to declare a truce
Regardless if we buy Capri Sun or 100 percent juice.
My way is not your way, and your way isn’t mine
But both of our kids will turn out just fine.
Rather than judging and looking down our noses
Let’s enjoy the common ground motherhood poses.
As believers, we all love the same good Lord
We all have children who tell us “I’m bored.”
We all need more sleep than these tiny five hours
Most of us struggle to find time for a shower.
We haven’t been to the bathroom alone in an age
Our mothers have all told us, “Relax, this is just a stage.”
We all love our babies so much we could die
We’d take a bullet for each one without batting an eye.
Though we are different, we’re in the same tribe
Motherhood requires a similar vibe–
Love and affection, sacrifice and grace
Laughter, which keeps the whole mechanism in place.
Though different, by the grace of God, I suspect:
ALL our children will rise up and call us ... collect.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Claire is FIVE MONTHS old! Well, now 5 1/2. I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. I feel like it was just yesterday we brought her home. She is getting to be such a big girl! (Bittersweet sniffle). I love watching her conquer new feats daily. I look at things completely different now as I experience her taking in every detail of the world around her- to which she pays extra close attention.
Claire is getting big! Well at least to us... She is still weighing in at around 13 pounds, hanging out in the 5-10th percentile. We just this week were able to start putting her in her extensive 3-6 month summer wardrobe. We were stressed it wasn't going to get much use, but with temperature above 100, there is no end of summer in sight. Our pediatrician has given us continued reassurance she is growing just fine, it is just her genetics- both parents being the runt of the litter :)
Claire is so incredibly alert! She perks up to every noise, will pause to listen anytime someone speaks, and loves music toys. She also loves to talk- we wake up every morning now to her sweet little voice gabbing away in her crib and quickly report to her side to hear about (what we assume are) her dreams from the night. Claire is full of smiles, kindly giving them out to everyone she sees for free or, complete opposite, will get in moods where you have to really work for it (jump, sing, or just look like a total goof!). She has also started laughing fairly regularly and has become quite ticklish. Claire will laugh at everything from a simple diaper change to moments in a conversation to make you feel as though she had to of known what was said. She will also quickly jump into a talking a frenzy if you create an awkward silence by just staring at her :) Claire adores her growing library of books and has even lately taken to anxiously "turning" the pages.
Along with turning those pages, Claire's motor skills have grown tremendously! She is rolling all over the place, which is now her mode of transportation. She is a pro at her baby push-ups, ensuring she never misses a thing. Claire has also developed her own (what we call) opposite army crawl- she walks her legs up until her little bottom is high in the air then pushes forward (while dragging her face along the ground/crib/etc.) with her feet. She has a favorite end of her crib which she has to turn sideways and travel a couple feet to get to, but makes it every night. Claire is starting to attempt to sit up, unfortunately only when being strapped in her car seat and eating. Her true preference is standing, which she wants to do alllll the time! While standing she has made it a habit to "walk" backwards. During playtime, we have most recently had to take away several hard toys and rattles due to repeat self inflicted abuse from over excited flailing arms. Claire has no teeth yet (or evidence of any soon!), but LOVES to chew on everything from biting at Dad's nose to attempts at devouring an entire hand or foot. She has been known to attempt fitting her entire hand in her mouth at the cost of choking.
Other things Claire has come to enjoy are her sippy cup and food samplings . Jason was never able to have much success with her bottle feeding, so we decided to give a sippy cup a try- thank goodness! She is a pro at (again) chewing on the spout and swallowing what she gets to leak into her mouth. Unconventional, yes, but it works! Claire has become quite the mooch and wants everyone else's food and drinks- especially if it is accessorized with a straw! Since she expressed such interest in food, we have gone ahead and let her start sampling one food item per week. So far she has tried and loved bananas, peas, pears, carrots, and peaches. I hope this liking for all foods continues :)
Here is a link to our updated summer photo album on Facebook:
We hope you enjoy the videos and pictures! We will surely have more coming soon :) Also, please forgive Claire's lack of clothing in all the videos- she has more clothes than we do, it has just been one hot summer! Make sure to watch for a blog post about our cross country venture to Seattle with Claire in just a few short weeks for her Uncle Owen's wedding.
Jason and Crystal
P.S. I found this on Pinterest and loved it! We can only relate to a few right now, but I am sure the rest is to come :)
Sunday, May 27, 2012
For pictures, here are links to albums currently on facebook. For some reason they won't work as active links, but will work if you copy and paste into your browser.
Here is album full of pictures from Mother's Day and family get togethers.
Here is the full album of three month photo shoot
And now for all the videos:
Thursday, May 24, 2012
First, the positive!
Claire is getting so big- with the "step on the scale with baby" method, Claire is weighing in at around 11 pounds. She is now officially fitting decently into her 3 month wardrobe (almost too decently) and the newborn clothes are packed away (there were no tears involved in that packing. ha!). Her hair and eyelashes are also coming in very nicely, as well. In fact, I am quite jealous of her abundant eyelashes :) It is amazing to see the difference in her sweet little hands and feet, which can now wear newborn size shoes!
Socially, she loves to smile and talk, almost half as much as listen, but only when she feels like it. If you want a smile, you had better plan on working for it! I think this a direct result of having Jason as a father- he is just way too entertaining :) Otherwise, she will always smile at the T.V., when she first wakes in the morning, or (surprisingly) when you change her diaper- it is as though she is thanking us for a clean tush. Her changing table is also where we have some of our best "conversations". Claire is a huge fan of the television! She will relax in her rock n' play to watch intently and chat at it as though the characters are speaking to her. Her favorite these days is the Backyardigans.... I give Jason full credit for her loving television!
Then the negative...
I am officially back to work. The work isn't so bad, it is the leaving Claire that has led to few to many tears :( I do feel as though I look at patient situations much differently- especially ethical dilemma/quality of life issues. Honestly, I fared much better the first weekend than the second, but maybe that had more to do with her mixed temperament when I am gone. Jason and Claire have a great time playing and doing things their way without having Mom hovering :) The only downfall during their bonding time- Claire refuses to eat when I am gone! She would rather starve than latch onto the plastic foreign object intruding her mouth. Jason has resorted to feeding her with a medicine dropper or just spraying the bottle into her mouth. I hope for both of their sake she gets it all figured out. I am just so blessed and thankful to have a job where I can support our family and only be away two days a wee. I could imagine working full time right now and missing out on the joy of waking up to spend every week day with Claire.
Claire is calling my name for playtime and a much needed diaper change, so it looks as though pictures will be on separate blog post. I will (hopefully) get that done today :)
Jason, Crystal, and Claire
Saturday, April 28, 2012
1. Chicco travel system- We love our Chicco car seat! From it's simple base installation, wonderful newborn insert (Claire is actually still using), and #1 is its simple strap tightening. The stroller harness is still a little big, but we have been able to use it as a 3 point harness and with the car seat. Best of all, it one of the highest safety rated options for newborns :) http://www.chiccousa.com/gear/car-seats/keyfit-30-cubes.aspx
2. Fischer-Price Rock n' Play sleeper- This has been a life (well at least sleep) saver! Our sweet little snuggle bug fights sleep into the wee hours of the morning due to her waking up every time we would try to lie her down. Plus, she still has a tendency to spit up if she is flat soon after eating. This snugly cocoon, with its mesh sides, provides a safe, inclined, cozy sleep spot where she is happy to lay when our arms aren't available. Another great feature is how compact it folds for easy portability- we toted it from house to house on Easter to give Claire a cozy familiar place to relax :) http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=900004&e=storeProduct&pid=64684
3. Boppy pillow- This thing is incredible! We use it for everything- from positioning while she eats, plays, enjoys story time, sleeps (this is a no no- only allowed when I am sitting there), and most recently it is our tummy time pal. We have one pillow and two covers, which meets our laundry day needs, ensuring it is always available :) http://www.boppy.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/21/products_id/84
4. Bamboobies- Sorry if any Dad's are reading... These are wonderful for nursing Moms. They are so amazingly soft with the velour side, great absorbency due to the hemp layer, leak-proof (they really are!), and who can resist the heart shape (which actually fit quite nicely). Best of all- they can't be seen through clothes! http://www.buybamboobies.com/Breast-Pad-Day.html
5. G diapers- It took a lot of convincing to get Jason on board with the idea of cloth diapers, at least until I found this hybrid diaper. They are so easy to use and really not as huge of a burden to launder and care for as anticipated. The best part is how wonderful they are for Claire's sensitive bottom- they are so breathable, we have not had a single rash while using them! Plus, I love the flushable inserts for when we're on the go as opposed to toting around a dirty diaper. You also cant beat how adorable they are :) http://www.gdiapers.com/
6. Chicco You & Me Deluxe infant carrier- This infant carrier wins out for one big reason- lumbar support! I know she is still small, but I can carry her for prolonged periods in this without getting even the slightest backache. Also, the several adjust options (carry high or low, forward or backward facing, etc.) make it something that can really grow with her. The other huge bonus is how easy it is to get her in and out- we have strapped her while sleeping and she was none the wiser :) http://www.chiccousa.com/gear/backpacks-carriers/you-me-deluxe-carrier/you-me-deluxe-carrier-black.aspx
7. Babyganics product line- In the beginning, we had a love/hate relationship with this company due to its name and branding leading consumers to think they were organic products, which is not true. Reading more on the products we learned they are a natural derived product we prefer to the highly chemical alternatives. Best of all, they work wonderfully! One of my favorites is the stain remover which even removed set in stains from a year ago. We also use the dish soap,fabric freshener, multi-surface cleaner, and diaper creme (made her rash from wearing Pampers in the hospital disappear in less than a day) http://www.babyganics.com/
8. Aden and Anais muslin blankets- These blankets are so amazing! Beyond being to softest we found (they actually get softer wash after wash), they are a great larger size. This makes for super easy swaddling or a substitute nursing/car seat/stroller cover. They are on the thinner side, but I feel this makes them that much more versatile- we fold them for a warmer blanket and keep them a single layer when only a light blanket is needed. We use them more often than all her other blankets combined. http://www.adenandanais.com/shop/itemdisplay.aspx?ID=18&SKU=2023
9. Skip Hop Via Messenger bag- After much searching, we finally found a diaper bag that met both of our (very picky and particular) needs. Jason insisted on a messenger bag in a neutral style, while I insisted on simple organization and durability- this bag meets both! It looks great, has pockets galore, easily wipes down, and has a great strap design (padded shoulder and stroller attachments). I don't mind at all packing my purses away to sport it :) http://www.skiphop.com/product/21000.html
10. Bebe Au Lait nursing cover- Again, sorry Dads... This cover is wonderful! It is a great size to provide plenty of modesty, bowed neck to keep an eye on Claire, two terry cloth pockets (great for storing bamboobies), and several great patterns available. Even with the plastic bowed neck, it folds small for great portability. The thicker fabric is great for it keeping its shape and staying in place, but can get a bit warm at times. http://www.bebeaulait.com/products/bebe-au-lait-nursing-covers/papillon
11. Bright Starts Ingenuity Automatic bouncer- This is one of the only entertainment toys Claire will actually calm with. We were skeptics, but it really does bounce on its own! The soothing sounds and hanging toys help her to love it that much more :) http://www.kidsii.com/brightstarts/p-212-ingenuity-automatic-bouncer.aspx
I hope this list can be a help to new parents, as well as those with experience, in the market for baby products. I am sure there will be many more products we come to love as Claire (and we) continues to grow and has ever changing needs- we will be sure to share when we find others we find amazing :)
Crystal and Jason
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
That afternoon I woke up and had lunch while the contraction continued at about 1-4/hour. I decided it was time to take things into my own hands and help coax things along :) We went to Sermon Center where I decided to do 1 1/2 miles on the elliptical, hoping that the rocking motion might help things along. Unfortunately, there was no change in my contractions. I wasn't about to give up, so we spent the night running errands- stopped at Subway for dinner, went to Best Buy to get new phones, then walked Walmart (as they were the only place open that late and it was to cold to walk outside). We arrived back home at 11pm and my contractions quickly increased to every 6-8 minutes for 45 minutes! I was so excited thinking I had won and this was it, but, much to my dismay, my contractions spaced back out to every 8-30 minutes and I decided at midnight to go to bed L
A very short TWO hours later, I woke up at 2am to a very PAINFUL contraction! I was so frustrated at this point and just assumed I was being teased again and tried to get back to sleep. Much to my surprise, the contractions started gradually increasing- coming every 7-14 minutes. I let myself get excited/hopeful that this could be it, and decided at 3am to get in the shower. That is when the contractions really hit, now coming every 3-8 minutes-they were much harder and stronger! I got out, got ready (even did my hair), and told Jason it was time to get ready, we needed to go to the hospital :)
We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am and they did my first check, deciding I was dilated 4cm, 70% effaced. I was slightly disappointed hoping for more progress and crossing my fingers I wouldn't be sent home. The overnight doctor decided to go ahead and have me admitted at 6:30am. I was transferred to a room and they wasted no time (as it was coming up quickly on change of shift) getting a saline locked IV started and labs drawn.
At 7am I was able to meet Abby, whom in my opinion, is the most incredible labor and delivery nurse ever! She brought in a birthing ball, discussed my plan of care, as well as reviewed by birth plan that she said she was in full support of. That was a huge weight lifted, as my biggest fear was being judged and cared for by people I had annoyed before they even met us.
After she left the room, I was able to close my eyes and even fall asleep for an hour. At 9am I woke back up, but I was unfortunately starving! I had opted to go without an IV, so it was up to me to keep myself nourished and hydrated. I spent the next hour eating crackers, drinking water, and pacing the room, and rubbing my back, through contractions . I also spent 30 minutes bouncing on the birthing ball.
At 10am, Abby returned to help me back in bed to do 15 minutes of fetal monitoring and do another check. Much to our surprise, I had progressed to 7cm dilated, 100% effaced, but my water had somehow still not broke . Abby decided it was time to call Dr. Steiner and make sure she would be at the hospital soon, and her reply was that she would be there within the hour and we would break my water to move things along!
At 10:30 my Dad, brother David, and my Mom arrived to visit for a few minutes and wish us well. On a side note, I must say, the lack of allowing visitors during my labor is a huge part of what gave me the strength and level head to concentrate and make it through without an epidural. We chose to keep the lighting down, TV off, and door shut to maintain a peaceful environment, as well as use a saline locked IV and intermittent fetal monitoring to allow me to remain mobile and not spend my labor on my back in bed.
By 11:15 the doctor had arrived and we were ready to get things going. She came in and broke my water, which was quite the experience! First of all, I was so relieved when they were able to tell me that the fluid looked great and there was no staining- a huge occupational hazard fear! I honestly had no idea just how much there would be or that it would continue to slowly trickle for so long. At that point I also decided I was ready to start a bag IV fluids to help with hydration.
At noon I decided I was desperate to get back in bed to get some rest and took a half dose of Nubain, a mild pain medication. At 12:30, Abby returned to check in on me and we decided to go ahead and do another cervical check. I was now at 9.5cm dilated and 100% effaced. Abby suggested I move to a hands and knees position to try and dilate my anterior cervix, as that was the only area left to go. After maintaining that for about 15 minutes, I moved to side/tummy position to finish dilation and get some rest.
At 2 pm, after some much needed rest, Abby returned to do another check. At this point I was so excited to hear that I was fully dilated and effaced. She called Dr. Steiner in for a double check. The doctor agreed with my progress, but feared Claire had rotated. She suggested we do a few practice pushes to see if we were ready to go, but they confirmed that Claire had in fact rotated and was lying sunny side up L I had been having pretty intense back pain most of the day, which I now found out had been back labor! Both the nurse and doctor were surprised how well I had tolerated that pain. We all discussed the options and decided to reposition me to attempt to get Claire to rotate.
I spent the next half hour in bed, in the most awkward position I had ever been in. Jason was so sweet, he bravely spent the whole time in bed with me massaging my back and giving encouraging pep talks. At 2:40pm Abby came back in to check and see if she had rotated. She proceeded with a scary "be prepared" conversation- typically, mothers are not able to endure the pain of pushing a baby out in this position; they feared I would tire out and require an emergent c-section. We were all crossing our fingers as she she checked Claire's position- she had turned! I thought I had felt quite a bit of movement, which was far less than comfortable- there is no feeling like a baby moving inside you without amniotic fluid.
At this point, I could feel pressure, but not the urge to push. This was true for much of late active labor for me. I was incredibly fearful of the pain I would experience choosing to deliver without an epidural. I was shocked by the true power of adrenaline (and the many other natural components of pain control)! I was able to use breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and (thanks to Jason and Abby) massage for pain control. This combination, with a whole lot of mind over matter, got me through the process fairly comfortably.
Abby went ahead and called in the doctor, and what seemed like an army, to begin preparing the room for Claire's arrival. By 3:05pm, I was ready to start to pushing. My contractions at this point were still 5 minutes apart, as they remained throughout my whole labor. That made pushing a little more tedious, working hard pushing three times, making progress, only to sit back and wait several minutes before I could try again. I had pushed for about about 30 minutes, they had saw Claire's head crowning with last several pushes, when much to everyone's surprise, Claire got the hiccups! Everyone else in the room took great pleasure in laughing and enjoying watching my belly bounce with each hiccup. For me, it was a much different experience :( It was the most painful part, that is until I actually delivered Claire! The pain was so incredibly intense, but luckily, very short lived.
Ten sets of three pushes each and 49 minutes later, Claire was here! She was quickly wiped off and went straight to my chest where she lay wide eyed. The doctor coached Jason while he cut the cord and the nurses stepped in to check her out. She wouldn’t cry (which is still her norm), but she had great color and bright red lips. She was so wide eyed!
Jason and I spent the next half hour alone with Claire cuddling and getting to know her. The nurse then came back in to give her initial shots and bath. After they were done and she was dressed, we welcomed our families in to meet our sweet bundle of joy!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
We had a wonderful, very busy, family filled holiday season.
We started November off with a bang, as we had the pleasure of being there as my sister welcomed our sweet nephew Rylan. I will be making a separate Aunt-bragging post in his regards :)
I had the pleasure of working Thanksgiving, but didn't let that slow us down in traditions. We had a great dinner Thanksgiving day with the Dodd family, followed by a second meal we hosted with my Mom and siblings. It was our first time hosting a holiday meal, and it went great overall. My brother was generous enough to cook the turkey and ham so I didn't have to worry about heavy lifting in and out of the oven.
Christmas was even better, as we were able to spend so much extra time with the Kent family. David, Brittany, and Owen were able to fly home for a couple of weeks which made the holiday all that much more special to all be together. We filled our time with family dinners, a ladies outing to The Nutcracker, baking/frosting what felt like 100 sugar cookies, and attending the Kent extended family get together for the first time a couple years. We also had some great quality time with my extended Dodd family on Christmas Eve, as well as spending Christmas morning opening gifts and enjoying the breakfast buffet my Dad prepared. I then volunteered to ring in the New Year at work (who could pass up time and half with maternity leave around the corner) while Jason spent the evening with his family.
We were also very blessed to have three baby showers in honor of little Claire's arrival. My sister-in-law, Kristen, hosted one in November, two great friends from work, Andrea H. and Andrea M. hosted one in December, and my sister, Shandi, hosted one in January. It was so wonderful to get to spend such quality time preparing for Claire's arrival with family and friends. I can definitely say that we are overwhelmed and beyond blessed by the amazing generosity of everyone :)
Here is the link to the album with baby shower pictures:
As for 2012 so far...
We started January out with celebrating Jason's birthday. Tradition landed us at Gojo's for a birthday dinner, followed by taking him to cinema suites for the first time (the only way to go to the movies 8 months pregnant), then had family over for desserts to celebrate. The following week was spent celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary. We had an amazing time spending one last overnight outing just the two of us (at least for a while) on the Plaza. We stayed at Sheraton Suites, had an incredible dinner at Brio, saw a movie, and headed to The Melting Pot for dessert.
Here are some pictures from our celebrations:
In other news, probably the most anticipated- I am officially 39 1/2 weeks pregnant! This picture was 3 weeks ago- we took some tonight that I will share soon.
I truly never thought I would make it this far along, seeing as how everyone around us seems to give birth in the 36-38 weeks range, and especially considering our concerns just a few weeks ago of incredibly intense Braxton Hicks. With my line of work though, I truly count my carrying to full term a blessing :) I can honestly say I still feel great, too! I know, this is the last thing any pregnant or previously pregnant women want to hear... But with the exception of fatigue/leg aches at the end of working the weekend (yup, I am still working two 12 hour shifts back to back), newly developed reflux, all of my shirts being waayyy to short, and interrupted sleep due to frequent bathroom visits, I am feeling just the same as usual.
Over the last week, I have started going to great lengths to help coax our little lady into arriving- Jason and I have walked miles (no kidding in just how plural that is), done a hip/hop dance cardio workout every other day, spent countless hours on the exercise ball, ran stairs, cleaned to whole house, and consumed every "labor inducing" food/beverage (except black cohosh- I am not even sure what that is).
Needless to say, none of this stuff works! Our sweet little Claire must have a plan of her own, and we are just going to (attempt to) patiently await her arrival. We do go in for our 40 week appointment on Monday and will discuss plans for a possible induction if she tries to wait to long.
Well, that is the official highlight reel of the last few months. I will also post some pictures soon of Claire's adorable nursery that is pretty much complete. Hopefully, a birth announcement won't be to far off, either :)
Jason and Crystal