Monday, July 22, 2013

Ellie {9 months+}

So, yeah, Ellie is 9 1/2 months old and I'm now just posting her 9 month post!  I've gotten worse at these updates, and I'm sure it's only going to get worse the older she gets and more siblings are added to the fam!  But this month was kind of tricky.  She turned nine months old when we were painting the new house that weekend (and it was the fourth of July).  Then the next weekend we left for a week for family camp.  So now I can finally sit down and take a moment to update you all.  And a nice post to look back on some day.

In some ways, Ellie hasn't changed much since my last update on her but in other ways she has changed so much!  She still has a "facial expression" she likes to give but it has changed.  I don't have a picture of it, but got a good video of it on our way home from our unplanned trip to IKEA after Jon's family's family camp!  She likes to bow her head and make eye contact at you at the same time.  It's pretty funny.  For awhile she stopped making the scrunchy face smile and these past couple days she has brought it back nonstop!  It's enough to make you laugh SO HARD!!

She's starting to use furniture to pull herself up to a standing position.  So far I've only seen using it with the TV stand at my parent's house, but while at camp she used the bunk beds while playing on the bed.

When you say "YEAH!" she will start clapping (or sometimes don't have to say anything).  As soon as she learned how to clap she was pretty proud about it! :)

She still LOVES music.  At church I have to give her to Jon sometimes to give me a break because she bounces around when I'm holding her during worship.  She has even started to try to "sing" too (aka making loud noises).

Ellie still enjoys crawling under the coffee tables.  She thinks it's pretty fun!

Our sweet Ellie is known my strangers, friends, family, and anyone else that sees her that she is such a sweet baby.  She has a sweet personality, cute facial expressions, and everlasting smiles.  She really, truly is such a good baby!

typical Ellie :)

can't get enough of her sweet faces :)

However, like every other month (and other babies too) when she is tired she wants to sleep.  If she can not sleep and she hears a sudden noise from someone nearby it makes her jump and she frowns and starts to cry.  That sad, pathetic cry.

Our little peanut can still wear 3-6 month pants thanks to her tiny waist and summer heat.  The pants are not long enough but capri pants are perfect for this weather!  She is also wearing 6-12 month mostly and some 9 month tops.

taken at family camp hanging out in the shade
*I had to stop writing this post as my dear Ellie decided to take a short nap.  She seems a little under the weather these past couple days.  Let's hope it's just recovering from camp and off a routine rather than sickness or a new phase of "sleep less and crankiness."  :p

She is still army crawling to get around.  However if she doesn't mind how long it takes to get to her destination she will crawl for REAL, but if it's time to be as speedy as possible she will army crawl since she's got that down FAST. :)

our little family. camp 2013

About a week before we left for camp, Ellie decided to suddenly get used to to the idea of eating food (before than she wanted nothing to do with it).  She wanted to try something from our plate.  My mom was usually the one with open arms to hold her and give her small pieces of green beans, sweet potato, banana, etc.  However, by the time we got to camp she was THRILLED to eat something while we ate at the table.  We had to get a highchair set up at camp at the table and I luckily packed some bibs.  She let everyone know at the table she certainly wanted something to eat too!  Luckily almost every meal had something her little tummy could handle.  She is still getting used to how to "chew" and swallow (she only has two teeth!).  She would certainly pick veggies over fruit as of now.  Which is certainly surprising to me, but I'll take it!  Her favorites at camp were: cooked broccoli (she grabbed them off her tray and put them in her mouth!), green beans, cooked carrots, watermelon, apple slices, peaches, and pears.

Sorry, no pictures at camp while eating.  I was too busy to go over to the stroller and get the camera.

*P.S. now that Ellie has finished nursing, and I got her interested in toys, she is finally more "herself."  Hope this lasts the rest of the day!

We love our dear Ellie and so happy to have her as part of our family!  So this is what it feels like to be a Mom?  The best feeling, hardest job, most rewarding, greatly tested, and a good example of the love God has on His children. :)

Love you sweet girl!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Speaking Truth in Love

So about a month ago I posted this link on my Facebook page.

It's a mom and wife talking about what not to do when someone is facing something HARD.  And as I reflect on it from time to time, there are a few things that I would say are different for me personally.  So, with each person if the grieving is different what's the best way to respond?  Sounds tough if people respond different to grief, and for those who are trying to help, right?

Sure.  I was in that boat once.  I had not lived very long.  I was a young, married woman.  I have gone through many different things.  I've had to deal with trusting God plenty of times.  But what I had not experienced yet (something that changes your life forever) is becoming a Mom.

It can't be explained.  You just become one, and then you understand.

Once I became a mother my heart changed.  Love is different.  Heck, my sleep is different. :)  I've learned so much in these past 9 months (+9 months of pregnancy) that I can't quite explain.  However I know other moms can at least relate.

If I bring up tough labor pains, moms can relate.

Dealing with post labor hormones and getting your body back to normal.  Oh boy you can relate.

Trying to decide parenting day-to-day decisions, you can understand.

But what if the parent(s) are in a situation that you can't necessarily relate with?

A child with a learning disability, a miscarriage, a stillborn, adoption complications, financial complications, divorce, etc?  How do you respond or "be there" for them?

Today I can tell you a few ideas, but I have only dealt with one of the above examples.  So take my words lightly and openly.  Over a month ago I lost my baby through a miscarriage.  Here are some thoughts on how to openly express your help through a crisis.  Like this one.

1. Ask questions
Unlike the post I linked above where she said don't ask for details....I don't mind sharing.  It actually helps me process and continually get stronger.

2. Don't use common phrases that all I can reply with is "duh" 
Even though it's easy to say such things, try to stay away from using these phrases. ("It's part of God's plan" or "Your baby is with Jesus" or "in a better place" etc.)  Unless I already bring that subject up, it's all ready obvious where my baby is, I don't need the reminder I never got to meet them.

3. Stay away from awkwardness
Just bring the subject up if you want to talk about it.  If I'm not ready my response will show it, but me noticing you want to bring it up and see how I'm doing is just awkward, if you are not mentioning it.  Just ask.  How can you tell if I'm not up for explanations or updates?  My response will be simply, "I'm fine or I'm doing better."

4. Maybe you're just not the person I want to give the details to, and don't take it personally.
Maybe I would just rather talk to someone who can relate.  I'm sorry, but maybe you'll understand one day too.  I hope you never have to, but just so you know.

5. Sometimes grieving is good, but I need help.
Maybe the person grieving a lost baby needs an afternoon coffee/ice cream date, a cooked meal, or someone to run errands with them.  Some times company is the best medicine.

6. If you want to help, don't say "just call me" or "just let me know if you need anything."
Just say what you want to do to help.  Or just seriously DO IT.  I was so thankful to have people give me words of encouragement, let me know they were praying, gave me a real hug, their listening ears (without speaking their thoughts quickly), gifts, etc.  Just doing what you want to do for someone who is hurting is better than telling them that you want to do something for them.  A hurting person does not want to have to ask for help.

7.  Give them time.
It's not like they can snap out of it quickly.  If weeks have gone by and they are still grieving maybe give them a foot rub instead of letting them know in some way that you think they should be better by now.

8. Find something you can possibly relate to help understand their situation.
If you haven't lost a baby through miscarriage, maybe you have lost someone close to you before you thought it was "their time."  Or maybe you know of someone who has, and you could get help from them.  It's always the thought that counts.

9. If you still can't relate maybe the one thing in common you have with the person who is hurting-- is Jesus.  Pray.  Send the hurting Scripture.  Be willing to pray some more.  Ask for prayer requests.  Seek their heart.  Anything is better than being fearful in what to do.
Allow the hurting person to speak.  Listen.  You might be surprised.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)


*These ideas are my own from my own experience whether I've had people respond in this way or not.  It is not meant to be speaking up for one person in particular in their response for my miscarriage.  This post is meant for others who can understand and need of healing, you are not alone.  That's sometimes the best thing you can hear while are NOT ALONE. 

God's blessings on you and your little one.

Blessings to our sweet Taylor as well.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Summer!

Wait, it's July?  When did that happen?  Oh yeah, we had May weather in June!  I'm so happily enjoying this season though!  I love this weather!  It's so much better than being stuck in the snow.  I love how it's light out so much later at night.  I love how I can just throw on a t-shirt and head outside!

We've been getting the house ready to move in!  Spending more time at my parent's house until it has all of our to do list accomplished....

-update and add more lighting
-remodel bathroom
-electrical stuff (no need to go into details)
-buying some new appliances (washer/dryer, and possibly others)

And eventually we'll be updating the kitchen.

I'm being kinda crazy (working on patience) and allowing my hubby to plan things (believe me I tried taking over).  Now this isn't all that bad.  He's money-cautious and that's great to make the right decisions for our budget's sake.  However if we were in need of making faster movements on the house, I would step on his toes more. ;)  However, unlike most men he DOES have an opinion on the decorative part of our home.  (Oh Lord, help me.)  For those of you who don't know or understand my words, he means well.  He's not a planner, but he knows what he wants.

So far our bathroom looks like this:

My hubby took the tub out (it didn't have a shower), and we have to do something about that window in the way!  The other side of the bathroom looks like:

It's not terrible.  Just could use some updating.  But we had to remove some of the tile for the tub/shower.  So might as well redo the walls and that tile.  But then there was some leaking under the sink.  And that sink is pink.  So might as well just change it all as long as you have the time to and not living there.  Plus it's the MAIN bathroom and only one on the main level.  It's worth it.  We'll use it OFTEN and for many years (hoping so!).  It will definitely add to the house!  We're excited to make it exactly how we want.  So far we have new vanity cabinets picked out (just need purchased).  And we need to decide on a counter top.  Can't wait for the finish product!!! :)

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get the crib to the house so we can easily put Ellie down for naps while we are at the house.  That's why we got her room painted first.  So it could be all done and ready for sleeping. :)  When Jon stays over night at the house (air mattress) he sleeps in that room.

A pretty yellow!  It's called something butter.  Anything called butter should be good, right?  It will look great with her crib bedding.  It's neutral and everything.  It will always be our nursery.

here's the colors
The curtains will be green.  It will look light and cheerful! :)

Last weekend we had great help from my siblings and mother in law with painting.  We got a lot accomplished.

My sister, Melissa in the guest room
her hubby John (we like John's in this family)
He was the power trimmer 
*not pictured: mother in law & sister Elizabeth painting
**my parents were at home babysitting 8 children ages 8 years to 8 months.

our baby girl (8 months)

Next step is tomorrow.  My parents coming (and Ellie too) with the crib!  It will be fun to see the crib and bedding in her room and see it slowly come together! :)  Then the plan is to do as much painting as possible.  Hopefully it will get done.  All we have left to do is four closets, living room, kitchen, and accent color on one wall and around kitchen cabinets.  Hopefully we'll get it done!  ;) Or at least close so we can get the rest of it done later this weekend!  Makes it tricky having the holiday mid-week.

Can't wait to see it all come together!  I'll try to take pictures to show you.

Some pointers on painting a house:
-have help
-wear socks you don't care about
-have plenty of brushes and rollers
-wet cloth to wipe up drips as you go
-have music going or else someone will start to make up cheesy songs (ahem, that was me. ;)
-plenty of lighting for late night painting (just cus we don't have any lights in a few of our rooms)
-use a 5 gallon bucket for rollers (at night you can just put the lid on!)
-wrap your brushes with plastic (we used ziploc sandwich bags) when not in use overnight, so you don't have to keep washing out your brushes [Thanks Liz for that idea!]
-have a designated area for all your paint cleaning whether it be your hands or brushes or whatever (we used our bathroom sink since we're getting rid of everything in there anyways, who cares if paint drips in there?)
-have cold, bottled water on hand (thanks Mom for your Walmart run when we went to clean the house!)
-Another thanks to Mom: have chocolate on hand for those minute breaks from working (great boost of energy, kept in fridge to keep from melting)
-don't judge the painting "job" until the next day, it needs time to dry before the color clearly shows it's true color (However I had such a great helper help me pick out colors.  I trusted her and I knew it would turn out well.  LuAnne from the Woodsmiths Store on Hickman in Des Moines!  Check into it for your next paint color decision needs!  Seriously, she has helped every woman in my family pick paint colors in our houses!  She really knows what the color will look like by your trim, wood, in the light/dark, etc.  Incredible talent!)  

Well, for now that's all I can come up with for helpful painting!! :)  I'm sure I'll come up with more after tomorrow.  Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!