Friday, June 27, 2014

Nursing Ellie: Weaning with a purpose

I've always wondered what weaning Ellie was going to look like.  What age?  Would it be because of her or because of me?  Would she cry a lot?  Would she tell me when she was ready?  What will this look like?

this looks means "I should be laying on my tummy in my crib!"

Back in May I wrote a post about nursing Ellie.  A few things have changed since then, but not a whole lot.  You see, I had a plan A on what weaning her was possibly going to look like.  Then I had to go with Plan B.  Not because of her or me, but because we lost our babies.  I had put some thoughts together when we were expecting.  I had thought to help Ellie adjust to "sharing" Mommy I would nurse her small amounts during day if she needed and once before bed.  I would slowly get rid of those feedings and have Jon put her to bed to have some bonding.  Our first two would have been less than 14 months apart.  Then when we lost that baby we got pregnant again and the next age difference was going to be around 18 months.  I figured Ellie would possibly not be interested in newborn milk and prefer the big girl milk.  So that would also help the weaning process.  I was expecting almost anything because I didn't know what she would think when it came to sharing attention or just that special bonding nursing gives.

Ellie 20 months

But when that wasn't going to happen I had to go to plan B.  Weaning my first born but still nursing a newborn was going to be easier on my milk supply.  However Ellie only nursing right NOW for comfort and the routine.  She is so much like me when it comes to routine.  (So at least I understand her having to process this all.)  The issues I'm having are: I wanted her to tell me when she was ready but she doesn't seem like she's going to come out and say "Hey Mom I'm done with nursing."  She is still saying Momma nigh-nigh (which means bed time and nursing time).  However she is not emptying me completely on one side.  Which could cause some discomfort (and it has), but these past few weeks makes me really ponder weaning her sooner rather than later.  Because of this lack of being emptied, I have gotten mastitis twice.

Ellie 20 months

Mastitis is not something I want to have a third time.  It brings on a lot discomfort (like close to labor pains but in different location), fatigue, nausea, body aches, fever, and little sleep.  As soon as I get this mastitis taken care of I'm going to start weaning Ellie.  It's weird to think of the moment she's completely done with nursing, but it has plenty of health benefits.  Here's to hoping she adjusts well.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Community: My Thoughts

Community posts part two.  Go to Part One if you haven't read it yet.

Jon and I are looking for a church that isn't a huge lists of "hopeful things."  Yes, they are preferences but it's not necessarily bad to prefer certain things.  However some things are certain.  There are a few things that MUST be there.

1. Good solid foundation of their faith (The Gospel is clear.)
2. The Pastor reads Scripture and speaks his sermon based off of it.
3. Welcoming, safe and a solid children's ministry/nursery (Does Ellie feel safe beyond her typical cries because she loves Daddy so much?  Do we feel like Ellie is just a number or a sweet soul to teach her about Jesus?)
4. Worship focused.
5.  The community is focused on people being real.

We would also like to get involved once we feel like the church is the right "place" for us.  I would like to get involved in the children's ministry (but that is probably at least 2-3 years away, long story).  We would like to get involved in a small group with other people who are parents of young kids.  I would like to meet some moms who want to have playdates and meet outside of the scheduled group time.  But I can't say yes to these involvements until those top 5 things are found.

I have not yet entered a church in Ames where I felt that.  Why did I enter one church one time and felt that way in Cedar Rapids and in Urbandale?  Why were my preferences and must-have's for where I was at in life "fit"?  Have I changed?  or is it just going to be 'that much harder'?  I don't know!!

And the longer I struggle the harder it is to feel connected at each visit to a new or the same church as the week before.  The more unplugged-in you are the harder it is to grow to a point where you are able to branch out and meet people, take the time to look around and focus on those preferences.  When those top five things are not quite there it's hard to you keep looking or "settle"?

But I don't want you to think I'm just settling.  It's not like I'm thinking all churches should be perfect.  I'm just saying why is this so hard?  Are my preferences so out of whack?  Please tell me I'm not crazy.  And if you think that I am....pray for me!!

I also blog about this so I can look back and see where God has taken us over the years.  It is helpful to remind myself God is faithful.  He will lead us to where we "fit."  Jesus walked on this earth and didn't really "fit."  He also understands the need for relationships (He had 12 disciples for a reason).

What experiences have you had with church-searching?  What are your preferences?  What are you desiring today?

I'm desiring a strong Scripture-based message, meanwhile my child happily playing with sweet people watching her, worship that focuses on no one but Him, and community.  We need people in our lives to walk beside.  We can't do this alone.  We need each other.  Who's with me?

Community: Behind the Scenes

Part One: Behind the Scenes.  Felt like I needed to share where I was coming from before I gave my thoughts.
Part Two will come soon. :)

Have you ever found a church where you attended weekly and felt like it just "fit?"  Then life changes and well, everything changes.  Just like life changes so does your "community."  Here's a blog post I wrote about fellowship that corresponds with this one.  Read it first if you don't know my/our history of community/fellowship.

When Jon and I first got married we went to three different churches (not intentionally).  Long story but depending where we were there was a different church to attend.  All three of them were great (are great).  We weren't able to focus on "community" and getting into a small group but we were busy with other things.  Jon was still in school and I became a nanny.  Then we got involved in a small group with our friends who all got married within 15 months of each other (and the group grew from there).  It was fun to have married couples in a group together (no kids yet for any of us).

Then Jon got his job that moved us to Cedar Rapids.  One of the things that popped into my head was, "I'm about to have a baby.  How will I meet people?  What church will we get involved in?"  For those of you who don't know, when you move to a new place two hours away from family and friends it's not easy.  Especially a home body like me.  Then put a baby in the mix and it makes you stuck in an apartment for a cold winter.  This Momma was stirring with all those "Who will be our friends?"

Our trusted Pastor gave us a good suggestion (and might I add five minutes away from our apartment)!  We felt like it fit us the first week.  There was no question.  We went again to make sure....and nothing made us question.  We got involved in a small group and gained "community."  Our friend's parent's live nearby and took us in as if we were their own kids.  My new "mom" helped me get involved in a women's BSF and took me out to eat.  She got baby cuddles and I got mom-chats. :)

Then Jon quit his job and we moved into my parent's house while looking for houses in Ames.  Couple weeks after starting his new job we found out we were expecting our second baby.  I didn't go out much (in case you need a reminder why).  When I started to feel better (then miscarried) we got involved with the church I attended before getting married and into a small group.  We gained community while Jon was constantly driving back and forth to Ames.  Then we bought a house.  Then we got pregnant with our third baby.  (Can I add here that this paragraph is less than four months of my life?)

Life got hard.  I was caring our baby.  I was sick all the time.  Then the unpredictable happened.  Just give me this moment to say it.  We saw our little baby on the heartbeat.  [If life gives you lemons, try to throw them at your gut.]

but anyways, about community.  I eventually got "better" where I could be around people.  I needed community.  We were returning to our small group like normal and we had people to hang out with.  My parent's babysat Ellie for us so it allowed us more time to just unwind and relax kid-free.  It was great.  Meanwhile I was helping Jon with getting things ready on the house to move in.  But in the back of my mind I knew....I just knew it.  Community would again become a focus.  How do we find community in Ames again?

We both knew we needed to search around for the church that "fit."  The church we attended in Ames when we first got married, didn't quite fit what we were looking for now. (Note: We're not saying it's a bad church.)

And this is where Part Two of my Community posts starts and part one ends. :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Touching Moments {This is hard}

Ellie's 20 month old post!

After a rough day--who am I kidding a rough week, month, year you name it....I am exhausted.  I feel tired from the first moment I wake up until the moment I put my head on the pillow--Too late I might add.  (insert: hash tag night owl problems)

No matter how tired I am in the morning, I still have the ability to chill at night and keep my distance from my bed.  Why?  Because night owl goodness is all about the moments your toddler is in bed and you can just BE.  It's amazing how fast time flies when you're not trying to stop a one-year old from all the fun things they like to do.

Ellie has changed a TON in the past month or so.  It's really insane really.  How does life change so much in less than two months?  She went from walking around exploring things like "Hey I can finally walk around and do this on my own now!  How fun!" and now she's like.........

--look at that box of puzzle pieces let me throw them around the room and swish them around on the hardwood scattering them throughout the house.  And while I'm at it might as well carry some around the house and hide them.  It's a fun game I play with Mom so when she's vacuuming later she can say, "So that's where Ellie went!"

--Doing something she KNOWS is wrong and runs and hides.  Literally.  Behind the garbage can.  Behind her closet door.  Into the bathroom (which she knows is a no-no)

--Speaking of bathrooms, she took her Daddy's $400 phone from its charger to the toilet, dumped it and returned it to him soaking wet as in, "Here you go Daddy!  I cleaned it for you!!"  It is now broken and no warranty.  Merry Christmas!

--Sitting on the couch is not even an option anymore.  Climbing, falling off of it to leave marks on her face, and throwing stuff from the couch is much more amusing.

I just gotta watch Daddy mow! :)

--She screams.  Not just to say hi or anything.  It's the lungs that make it real.  More than once.  Not as a tantrum (usually), but more for the sake of just-because-I-can.  It's this constant scream and she laughs about it.  She smiles at you like "Whatcha gonna do about it?"

--She loves throwing her food on the floor.  She likes to pick up the vinyl table cloth and let things fall.  She knows it's a no-no but just seeing things fall is like the first snow.  (ugh finally summer so ignore that last comment.)

--Cheese!  She constantly asks for cheese.  We give her a cheese stick.  She peals it apart with her fingers leaving pieces throughout the house.  It's like a little mouse letting me know where she's night while nursing her I noticed a chunk behind the nightstand in her room.  Gross.  What kind of living thing is going to come eat that??? P.S. We have ants and spiders and other crawly things.

--Running is more fun.  I knew not to worry about her not walking until "late for her age."  I've never seen kindergarteners still trying to figure that out.  (Well, maybe some but at least they weren't crawling as their main source of transportation.)  We're still working on her "boundaries."  But we don't see anything good coming out of it anytime soon.  She would run out in the busy street if we let her.  She has no idea about "scary cars" or anything fast moving by her.  And it only takes a second.  For reals.

--She use to love being in a shopping cart.  I use to have fun running errands with her (unless it was too close to a nap or bedtime).  She use to make errands fun (besides the extra annoyance of diaper bag and time it takes).  She loved being in the cart and she would say "hi" to everyone she saw whether they heard her or not.   She use to smile at me and point at everything she saw.  I would help her learn new words as she tried to figure the world around her.  Now it's like torture.  If I don't let her get out of the cart she screams and cries and everyone knows where I am in the store (even in Target).  But if I let her out she doesn't walk with me.  She runs off and likes watching me chase her through aisles.  I let her do this ONCE because it wasn't her fault it was nearly her bedtime and Jon and I took her to Lowe's with us to pick up wood for our trim in the bathroom.  In the end I had to tell Jon, "just pick whatever and in the end I'll say if I like it or not.  But I'm sure you'll pick something nice."  So I let Ellie explore the store and continually had to keep her away from the nails & bolts aisle.
P.S.  If she spots anything Elmo she calls out "ELMO! ELMO!" and wants it in the cart!

--She eats her poop.  I'll be doing the dishes, going potty, changing clothes, folding laundry or picking stuff up to only find Ellie coming to me with poop on her fingers and smacking her lips.  EWW!!!  She's done this twice.  The first time I was like really?  But now it seems like it's her new "thing."  I constantly find her digging her hand in the back of her diaper All. The. Time.  I don't know why.  I don't know what started it.  She does it while nursing so I usually take her hand to hold it or have her grab my finger.  During the day I have to try to keep my eye out.  I hand her toys to hold onto.  Hopefully this stage ends....yesterday!

--She cries to get what she wants.  or at least she THINKS she does.  Jon and I are constantly, calmly telling her what she needs to say....but in a polite tone.  She gets very whinny all of a sudden and we just don't know when this started exactly.  For example she'll cry at our legs and we tell her, "Up please." and she responds with, "okay."  (She has started to say what we say when she says the "polite thing."   However she's missing the step of saying the polite thing.)   However it's so so cute hearing her constantly say, "oookaaay."  We have to stick to our guns and help her realize she won't get what she wants by crying and whining.  To add to this crying sometimes she'll throw a fit.  She'll drop to the floor in agony and cry her little heart out.  Breaks this Momma's heart but there's nothing I can do.  Life is rough sweetie.

from March, but still.....

~I tell you these things not because I want to point out to future Ellie her wrongs.  But I want you--whoever you are--to know our life isn't roses and chocolates.  (However Ellie thinks that's what poop is.)  I don't want you to see update pics on Facebook and think, "Wow her life looks so marvelous and fun!"  It's not.  It's messy.  Hard. Tiring. Lots of screaming.  (However with only one kid.)  Lots of questioning how to parent.  Lots of stuff on the new house.  Lots of late night "I give up" conversations. 

face-first dive off couch ouch!

And when life gives you rent Elmo movies so you can pick up the kitchen without tantrums.  You put a little bit of apple juice in her water after a short nap.  Give her to Daddy to take her outside for a bit while he does "manly things."  Hand her goldfish so you can shop in piece.

If your kid sits, let them! :)
parenting tip 101

It's not that I don't love her.  It's that this stage is HARD.  I'm looking forward to the day we can have a conversation, one beyond "yeah" and "no."  I'm sure that stage gets hard too.  It always looks greener on the other side.  I came here planning to type about this hard stage and how badly this age causes me to need someone's full attention and just BE ME.  But I don't have that.  I don't have someone around my age in similar shoes as me.  (You know the kind---where if you look at the socks it has smashed food stuck to it, probably been warn more than one day in a row, and feet in much need of a massage.  Heck a pedicure.  Scratch that.  My mom got us one for my birthday.  Oh wait.  That was a month ago.  Not too bad though, right?  Getting one once a year is a record for me usually.)

And come on Moms.  Let's cut each other some slack.  We can't do it alone.

Note:  And I know I don't have it as bad as it could be.  I only have one kiddo.  Matter of perspective.  She doesn't have learning disabilities.  She's not in the hospital needing assistance.  She doesn't have a sibling who keeps me busy or up every hour of the night.  But maybe note a few things:  Jon and I are still in search of a church, community of friends, and constantly getting stuff done around the house and still trying to "settle" here, and on top of everything else not able to keep up because of these new issues with Ellie.

I also need to add a few things.  Honestly I love my daughter.  I truly do.  She is the sweetest thing.  My heart is over flowing.  She fills my life with so much joy.  When you flip the switch she dances around the room in circles and smiles that big sweet smile of hers. :)

Ellie has so much joy about life.  She's just learning how to figure out her emotions and how to communicate.  If she's going to be anything like me in the emotions department then we have some tough years ahead! (Sorry Jon.)  She's also figuring out boundaries and what hers are....and right now they are limited for her safety.  

Even though there are times in the day where I have to step away from her to stay calm, there are so many more moments of happiness and love.  She constantly wants cuddled, hugs, and kisses (on the lips of course)! ;)  She helps put lotion on my legs and loves to tickle me.  She enjoys rubbing bellies and is amused with finding belly buttons.  She gets overjoyed when she sees someone she hasn't seen for awhile (Daddy, other family members, Elmo, etc).

First sunglasses!
lovin' that yogurt! <3

She is such a blessing to us!!

Can't believe she's already 20 months old!!

my sweet baby cuddles :)