Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012: the year of achievable new years resolutions?

Another year.  More New Years' Resolutions.  I actually had written down goals last year. And the year before.  Eeek.  But where are they?  Tucked in the back of some old journal, scribbled down in a moment, never to be reflected on or reviewed again.  Was it that they were not realistic?  Not achievable?  Not memorable?  

Well.  Even though this is for sure a new years cliche: "not this year!"  This time, the goals are here: in permanent ink, on the computer, the internet no less, to help me be more accountable.  [Gulp].  Better make these easy goals!  

Here goes:
1. Pray more.  Not just in quantity, but in quality.  Not because I should or because I have to but because I want to. I want to learn how to pray, how to actually connect with God daily, intimately, in moments of free thought, when I'm washing dishes, when I'm driving in my car.  It can't be that spiritual life is seperate from physical life.  So how do daily habits of living become spiritual events where I do the things that sustain life for the glory of God instead of for duty?  On this topic, I especially want to pray more for my husband and sons.
2.   Learn to be content.  For me this means a few things that might help towards this aim:

  • complain less.  I am such a whiner.  I whine about aches and pains, daily chores, my house disorganization, a broken washer, a sick child, a sleepless night.  I complain all. the. time.  Not just with my words, but in my mind and heart.
  • worship more.  I figure if I am giving thanks more often for all I have, for who God is, this will help me be more content.
  • serve others.  If I give to those with less, I will be more thankful for what I have.  If I help take care of someone else who is sick, I will be more thankful for health.  If I serve and give and offer and help- I think it will contribute to my overall sense of contentment.

3. Find a mentor and mentor someone else.
4. Let go of having a perfect home.  [What?]  I will take the advice of a dear friend and aim to keep one space of the house clean.  One.  Not the whole thing.  One.  That way, when I need a reprieve from the disaster, the messes, the chaos, I can have one space to think, rest, journal, pray and well BE, where I am not utterly frustrated at the mess.  Thing is: people don't have it all together so why do I pretend to be by making such a fuss about cleaning incessantly.  

Okay, how do I make that possible?  Maybe have a 1-chore-to-do-per-day and a 1-chore-to-do-per- month?  Maybe prioritize it less- below prayer and other above activities?  Hmmm, will have to think on this.

5. Get creative.  I LOVE being creative.  Baking, making, crafting and well exploring the world through creativity.  How come I don't do it?  Because I'm either a. cleaning or b. dulling my mind with mindless entertainment (such as perusing useless internet information, rechecking my e-mail 16 times a day, or watching stupid shows or movies).

which leads me to:

6. Limit my internet/screen time per day.  What am I modeling to Silas if I am constantly on the computer?  For me, this means taking and keeping the computer off of my dining table and putting it in our office so that I am not on it constantly throughout the day.  I'm not sure if I should limit it per day or per hour or how to keep track.  Maybe set a timer?  For me it should be maybe 1.5 hours a day maximum.  Or less?

7. This one may seem silly but I'm tired of complaining that I don't know anything about fashion or don't know how to do my hair or don't know how to do makeup.  I kind of want to learn how to do these things.  As a woman, I want to take better care of myself and learn how to wear things that are becoming and feel better about myself in general.  Comfort gives way for style every time with me.  This doesn't, however, mean that I want to spend more money on all of that, but I want to be wise, to study and learn how to do these things. 

8. Shop better.  This one I am especially terrible at.  Blame it on upbringing or laziness or I dunno, greed... no matter what way you slice it I am not good at being patient when it comes to shopping.  I need to be better, for my family's sake, at shopping around for better deals, keeping closer to our budget with grocery shopping, and just living more frugally.  How do the dutch do it [?]  I know it takes precious time, but maybe if I'm spending less time on the internet I'll have more time to prioritize this.

which leads me to my second to last goal:

9. Give more.  I would love to challenge our family in the way of giving.  Giving away things we don't need,  sharing meals with others, sponsoring another child or two, etc.  I want to give until it hurts.  

last goal:

10. Get informed [and do something about it].  Jason and I kind of live in a bit of a bubble.  We don't read newspapers or read the news online (sorry Cheryl, isn't that terrible?)  We don't really know what's going on in the world. The problem with this is that we don't hold ourselves responsible then, to do something in response.  This quote just hit me last night : 

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."  
- Edmund Burke

Ouch.  That's me right now.  I get so overwhelmed about big issues like sex trafficking, or obstetrical fistulas in ethiopia, or whatever is going on in the news.  Because it's so overwhelming, so appalling, I don't read about it, don't get informed about it, forget about it, and walk away.

But what if I didn't do that.  What if I did read about it, and heaven-forbid got moved by it, and then actually did something about it.  Not anything big, maybe just pray about it consistently.  But something is most certainly better than nothing, isn't it?


Big list.  Short year.  Better get on it.  And if, for some reason, I am super-woman and conquer that list [ha ha] and am looking for something else to do, here are some more goals [just for kicks]:

permanently organize my tupperware, join a cycling club, travel to Asia, learn another language, finish my quilt, lead a missions trip, take a counseling course, run a marathon, be a better nurse, learn how to garden, host an international student, eat more organic, record an album, write a book, sell a photo I've taken, help someone find Christ, invite a homeless person to live with us, start a home know, and end hunger and poverty.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Better late than never

So, this is old news, but I dug up this unfinished post and decided to edit and complete it.  I was starting to feel insecure again about the fact that I had to have a c-section and couldn't 'cut it' going au naturel with labor, so decided to review what actually happened and I feel much better: [Aka how did Toby enter the world?]

Baby Tobin Emmanuel Brink arrived at 7:15 on November 16th weighing in at 6 lbs 13 oz.  Why did we choose his name?  Tobin means "God is Good' (a form of Tobias) and Emmanuel means "God is with us."  We really believe that the meanings of names are important and over these last few years especially, we believe and know even more that God certainly IS good, and He certainly is always near to us.  Even in difficult times, or when things don't go as we expect God is still good and is our shelter and refuge in the storm.

God's goodness to us and presence for us were also true for us during this particularly challenging labour.  For weeks and months we planned and prayed and hoped that I could be able to deliver Toby naturally instead of by C-section.  We met with specialists who told me there was no reason I shouldn't be able to deliver naturally, I tried to be conscious of posture, we read books, and practiced relaxation and other birthing tactics.  We hoped and expected that this time I didn't have to have such a harrowing birth experience.  THIS time, it would be on our terms and we wouldn't feel bullied or pressured to have a C-section.  THIS time, we were going to have a better experience.

And, although the outcome was not as we hoped, we are certainly glad we gave this labour our best shot and are thankful nonetheless that Toby was born healthy and whole.

Here's how it went down:

I was having a large number of braxton hicks contractions on the night of the 13th but was able to fall asleep.  However, by 4:30 am I couldn't stay in bed anymore because they were too frequent and strong.  From 4:30 am onwards, I was having these braxton hicks- type contracts every 10-15 minutes.  They continued on for awhile but then would stop for awhile.  Frustrating because they would increase especially while lying down so I wasn't really able to rest.  I suggested that Jason work from home just in case since these were a bit stronger than braxton hicks and I wasn't sure what was actually going on.  By 9 I was exhausted- so took a bit of a rest but again, they just increased in intensity every time I laid down.  We went out for a walk in the early afternoon thinking that maybe this would either pick up the pace of things or not which it didn't seem to. They were just as erratic.  Once we got home I had some lunch and watched some funny internet clips for awhile and Jason worked while Silas slept.  While sitting and watching they got stronger and more frequent.  By this point they were every 8 minutes or so apart and continued that way for quite awhile.  By the time Silas woke up around 3 we had called the midwife and called my Dad to come get Silas as it seemed that they were getting stronger, were definitely NOT braxton hicks, and more frequent.  They were every 6-8 minutes apart and already fairly strong.  When the midwife arrived she checked me and said I was maybe 1 cm dilated, but maybe this was not labor so to try and rest and see what happened...  We did have my dad take Silas though (and thank the Lord we did!)

Soon after the midwife left the contractions really started to increase in strength and intensity.  I ate some dinner and tried to take a bath to calm them down hopefully enough so that I could get some rest (since it was around 8 and looked like it was going to be a long night!) but they didn't seem to calm down at all.  Stronger, more frequent, more intense...labour was certainly happening for real.  I really tried to stay calm, breathe, relax, and Jason and I did a lot to keep me in that state.  We walked around, we tried a variety of different positions, listened to some relaxing music we'd picked ahead of time, read scriptures that are real encouragements to me, prayed, and I mainly just tried to breathe.  By the time we called the midwife again at around 11 pm or so I was unfortunately only maybe 2/3 cm  dilated.  We decided to try and wait another 2 hours or more at home before thinking about going to the hospital.

Strong. Hard. Lots of work.  Labour was full bore.  By the time we checked me again I was around 5 centimeters and the midwife said everything looked really good.  My bag of waters was 'bulging' the head was lower, and I had progressed!  SO, even though things were getting very intense and the thought of getting in a car was not a pleasant one, we packed up and headed to the hospital around 2 am.  I breathed, I grabbed the uh-oh handle in the car like I had with Silas and somehow made it.  We got there, and I was optimistic that a. I wasn't going to use drugs and b. I was going to make it!  However, it was H.A.R.D. work to stay calm with the intense, intense and frequent contractions.  This time around, like last time, I had quite a bit of back pain.  But so far it looked like Toby was in the 'right' position instead of as posterior as Silas so that was encouraging.

I tried a bath in the hospital, different positions, continued to drink lots and stayed as calm as I could.  Next time the midwife checked me, another 2 hours later, after about 23 hours of labour at this point, I was less dilated, and the baby was higher up than before.  Huge. Downer.  At this point, after having strong contractions every 2-3 minutes for the last number of hours, this news took my focus and determination away.  I couldn't do this anymore if this is how it was going to be.  The midwife was convinced that since I was becoming less dilated, I had to try something else and an epidural was the best option.  I couldn't carry on as intense as it was for much longer without it.  SO, we called the anesthesiologist, I started to suck back the gas, and waited for him to arrive.  He came, did the epidural, and it didn't work!  I was still feeling the contractions on one half of my body.  It was horrible.  SO he had to do a whole other one.

Side note: mid-epidural I had been sucking back the gas so much I got ridiculously woozy, light-headed and so relaxed that I was laughing hysterically. It felt amazing and was a light break to the pain and intensity of the moment.  

After I got the second epidural, at this point it was about 2 hours later and I was still not dilating.  And, JUST as with Silas, not only was Toby not descending and I was becoming less dilated, but with the epidural on board he started having heart decelerations.  This is exactly what happened with Silas.  Scary stuff. The midwife got really worried when his heart rate started dipping so much so had to call the OB right away.  After hearing about my case: 27 hours of labour, going backwards in dilation (now only 3/4 centimeters), the head going up, Toby exhibiting signs of stress, and  now repositioning himself to be upside down like Silas = game over.

C section.

After all my careful planning, reading, practicing, hoping, praying, dreaming, I was at the end of the road again.  At this point however I knew two things: 1. I didn't want to have a better 'experience' of labour at the cost of my son's life or health and 2. I knew that I had done everything I could  to make it happen how I hoped it would.  I ate, I drank, I rested, I stayed calm and focused, I stayed positive, I stayed at home as long as I could, I walked, I stayed upright, I changed positions...  I did it all.  We didn't need to get induced, I was before my due date which was a great + for having a VBAC, my uterus continued contracting so I didn't need augmentation with drugs which would have caused greater risk for complications with a VBAC and well, I laboured mostly without drugs and the outcome?  The same as with Silas.  Almost exactly.  It wasn't even that Toby was a different size- he was only 1 oz bigger so that wasn't the issue.  I kind of resigned myself at that point that apparently, I just can't deliver a baby.

It was still a scary journey to the C-section suite.  They were very concerned for Toby, the OB seemed to take forever to come, and the epidural started to wear off making me ultra concerned but Toby was okay and I was okay.

Overall I'm very thankful.

Where I saw God's grace:
1. I had to be in the recovery suite for 2 hours, alone, seperate form Toby and Jason because of hospital policy so I couldn't breastfeed right away
  however: I had great nurses and had no issues breastfeeding even though there was a long delay
2. I had to stay in the hospital for 4 days, which we didn't plan
  however: friends and family helped watch Silas, visited, brought food, and we felt very supported and blessed
3.  I had a hard and long C-section recovery with tons of incision pain and it's still not completely healed
 however: Jason had a pre-booked paternity leave which was a God-send, we had such a great time with friends visiting, being showered with gifts and food, prepping for the holidays and just spending time as a family that it hugely made up for the hard recovery
4. Even though the outcome of labour was not as I hoped, Jason was so incredibly supportive, and I am so thankful that I was able to stay calm, focused, and positive.  I am generally at peace with the c-section and that, in itself is an answer to prayer.
5. I live in a country where I CAN have a c-section.  After watching some horrific documentaries about obstetrical fistulas and women losing babies and developing long-term physical complications after obstructed labours like my own, I am so very thankful that I live where I live and worry/pray for women who live in places where they cannot have c-sections.
6.  Toby is turning out to be a tricky baby, fussy, not falling asleep in the day well
 however, I am more relaxed [generally] and optimistic  this time knowing that this season won't be too hard for too long, and I can't complain because Toby only feeds once between 11pm and 7am due to a wonderfully helpful husband!
7. I am finished with my injections!  (Yahoo!!! 250 blood thinner shots later and no blood clots in pregnancy!)

And the biggest, and best, and greatest gift so far is a wonderfully healthy baby boy [thank you Lord] and a bonus gift that I wasn't expecting but am so ever, ever grateful for is that I am sleeping okay and that my thyroid levels so far have remained normal [thank you, thank you Jesus].

God is most certainly good and God was and continues to be with us.


Monday, December 19, 2011

A Month with Baby Toby

A whole month?  Already?  Here's the scoop on how this month with baby #2 has been:

Toby's weight: 9 lbs 2 oz (started at 6 lbs 13 oz) way to go!
[Since everyone's gonna ask anyways] Toby's sleeping: he does pretty well at  night- with a few 5 or 4 hour stretches between feedings.  That means usually 3-4 hours (max) at a time of sleep for us.  Not bad!
Toby's health: had a few finger infections courtesy of his terrible mommy.  I trimmed his nails and although I thought I was an experienced pro-star nail cutter, I trimmed his finger tips a bit too which turned into nasty infections.  A round of antibiotics, 2 trips to the clinic, and some probiotics later and his fingers are all better!
Toby's personality: week 3 Toby had been acting super colicky and fussy, always needing help to get to sleep.  Jason and I were thinking "man, this is one tough baby, Silas was so much easier!"  (Then we reviewed actual facts and discovered that Silas was the same way.  Aka: we forgot how tough these little newborns can be).  Needless to say, he loves to be held and rocked, so we do that a lot to get him to sleep, and he spends much time in the swing and in a carrier.  We're getting used to this pattern and trying to roll with it...
Differences from Silas: we cannot get this kid to take a soother.  Silas was a soother baby from day one in the hospital but so far Toby just gags on it (bummer).  Toby doesn't spit up!  [What?]  Silas was a major horker. I mean, 6 receiving blankets a day kind of spitting up.  But Toby?  Nada.  {Yay Toby!  Yay Mommy's clothing!} We think Toby's generally gonna give Silas a run for his money.  He's growing faster, is super strong, and rolled over from his tummy to his back the other day {not sure this is normal, but am refraining self from worrying}
Similarities to Silas: fussiness, alertness, size {generally small} and well, he looks IDENTICAL to him.  I mean, so much so that Jason and I were wondering if it is scientifically possible to genetically produce identical children at different times [is it?]

Highlights of this month: all the awesome social time we've had and the numerous visitors, outings, and part-ays.  We never got out this much with Silas this early!  I guess cause Jason's off, because of this time of year, and because Silas just NEEDS to get out, we have been off and running:
Christmas parties (2), date night dinner for Jason's birthday, Christmas shopping, tree-chopping down, a birthday party, visiting great-grandparents, visiting with cousins, visiting Nana and Papa, Captain kids trips, swimming trips...the list goes on.

Lowlights: stupid C-section recovery.  My incision is still not healing and I'm not too keen about it.  3 trips to the OB and all he keeps saying is 'here's some more gauze.'  Nice.  Silas has also been pretty challenging lately too with discipline.  Cute.  But challenging. Can say his alphabet almost independently.  But challenging. Able to repeat anything he hears.  But challenging.

My health: besides the aforementioned incision and general C-section pain, my thyroid has so far remained okay.  PRAISE the LORD!  I'm sleeping as much as anyone can with a newborn {thanks to my incredibly awesome husband who helps in the night} and I feel generally optimistic about the fact of God's healing in my life.  What a huge relief!

Goals: Jason goes back to work this week [gulp].  I am a bit nervous about it but here's my plan: stay positive, laugh, lower my expectations, celebrate my accomplishments, make lots of social engagements to keep me from being isolated, and be glad if I get to shower once a week.  Achievable?  Hope so.

Can't believe it's been a month because it's flown by but there's been a lot of activity and change.  Overall, even though some days I wonder how we will ever do this again [if that's God's will] I feel like since this is our second I can tell myself that 'it will only get better,' 'this is just a season' and 'one day I'll feel like this is manageable' again.  Yay for second-time-a-round confidence!

Sneak peak at some photos we had taken by our dear friends the Macphails:

p.s. look at how similar these brothers look!
{Silas is above, Toby is below...or is that right?}

One more highlight.  Seems silly but I discovered Pinterest and this has made me super happy because it's given me lots of ideas for activities to do with Silas.  I am more and more excited about teaching him things at home and not just trying to work around Silas, or finding toys for him to play with, but instead being more intentional about planning fun and educational activities for him.  Check out a few things I've tried:
stacking cheerios on playdough

pipe cleaners + colander.  Didn't last long.  Silas just dumped out all the pipe cleaners.  

'sensory' bucket of puffed rice.  He LOVED dumping, measuring and dumping some more

Lunch in an ice cube tray. Note to self: do things he likes AFTER he eats things he doesn't like as much

Favorite: homemade finger paints in the tub.  SO fun.

Love it!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Raising Men

It hit me today in Church and I was almost crying, the whole service.  There were two young adult men a few rows up, with their backs to us. Broad shouldered brothers side by side, taking communion together, worshiping together, praying together.  Every time I looked over at them I practically started bawling.  Why?

It hit me.  I'm not merely providing nourishment for little babies and toddlers.  I'm not simply raising little boys.  I'm raising men.  I mean, like, these two little bodies will become grown men one day.  Wow.  That's an incredible responsibility.  I don't want to just survive this thing called parenthood (as per previous post) but I want to excel.  Therefore: I need to pray.  A LOT.  And certainly a lot more than I have been.  Because this world needs more godly men in it.  It needs more men who:

[and this is my prayer for my two little boys.  That they will...]:
Know God personally and love God unashamedly, boldly, and honestly
Be honorable, faithful, and courageous.
Be defenders of the defenseless, preachers of the truth, and will love others as they have been loved by their heavenly Father.
Be humble, and recognize their need for God's grace through Christ.
Be servant-hearted and compassionate.
Stand firm on the truth of God's Word, and fight against injustice.
Be valiant, righteous, and strong.
Be worshipers like David, leaders like Moses, and prayer warriors like Jesus himself.

Maybe it's too much to hope for but I certainly don't think it's too much to pray for.  This world needs men who will be godly and strong and I pray that my boys, my little men-in-the-making will be such as that.

[Tear].  Help me Lord to pray faithfully for these little lives and to model a real and authentic walk with you.  Not to model perfect religiosity or 'pretend' righteousness, but to model a real relationship with Christ.  In humility, to love Christ and love others.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly [aka Parenting]

Parenthood.  Sigh.  So much to learn.  So many years yet to input.  I look at people with many children and I shake my head going 'how do they do it?'  I'm not sure yet how many children God will bless us with but this I know: it's a lot of work raising kids!  Case in point:

the bad parts [of parenthood]
-when your child learns to say no and says it with every question you ask.
-when your child is getting too heavy and too big to effectively pin them to the floor to change their bum
-when your child refuses to eat and there's nothing you can do about it
-when your child picks a 'catch phrase' and repeats it. ALL. DAY.
-when your child learns the word 'cookie' and 'video' and somehow doesn't forget these wonderful experiences and begs, pleads, and begs some more for these things 
-when your child has a fit. Every. 10. Minutes.  And each time it's something different, and each time it's something that's seemingly inconsequential or that you cannot control "the lights are off......." [fit ensues] because the neighbor turned their Christmas lights off.  [Sorry?]
-when your child smiles when in time-out or seems to laugh off your discipline.  arg.

the good parts [of parenthood]
-when your child comes running to give you a kiss and hug for bed or when they haven't seen you
-when your child randomly says words that you don't think you taught them and they just learned
-watching your child do a puzzle you didn't know they could do, or get excited about building a tower on their own
-when your child prays or sings a song about the goodness of God, without prompting
-when your child reminds you to pray before a meal 
-when your child's eyes sparkle when they see christmas lights or a snowman, or something else new
-when your child laughs, hard, at something that you did

the ugly [of parenthood]
-trying to coordinate two children's needs of feeding, diapering etc, while at the mall or stuck in the car
-strapping children into carseats that they hate, then listening to them scream and not being able to do anything about it [I know, safety, yadda yadda, it still stinks]
-learning about yourself that you, as a parent, aren't patient, are not always loving, are innately selfish, and that you look forward to your children sleeping sometimes for peace and quiet.  
-also learning about yourself that you forget to be intentional and that the teachable moments are fleeting and momentary and can so easily be missed.  Lord help us!

Other recent parenthood thoughts:
1. My toddler is a giant.  I cannot get over how BIG he is compared to his new little brother.  How DID he get that big???
2. How/when did my toddler get to be so smart?  
3. or independent?  He refuses to hold my hand at the mall, or wants to wash his face himself....what??  When did he get so old?
4. Time passes so slowly [at night, when you're awake for the 4th time to breastfeed] but SO fast [when you think that your first child is almost 2 years old].
5. What. Did. I. Do. With. All. My. 'FREE.' TIME [before having children?  clearly.  I wasted it].
6. How does a small, itty bitty newborn poop so much?
7. I cannot believe I actually forgot about how physically demanding and difficult it is to have a newborn. So tiring.  [God's way of ensuring you have more than one child...]
7. What am I going to do when Jason goes back to work?  No seriously.  What AM I going to do?  So far he gets the toddler and I get the newborn.  Done.  But what happens when I am in charge of BOTH [at the same time].  Eek.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Predictable and Not

2 kids.  Phew.  12 days.  Phew.  The hardest part is over right?  (Kidding).  It's been an interesting transition so far to parenting 2 children.  I can see what people mean when they say that transitioning from 1 to 2 isn't as bad as 2 to 3.  Why?  Because right now, it's man-on-man.  Course, Jason and I haven't so much as exchanged a full sentence since Toby arrived, but at least he can be taking care of Silas and I can be taking care of Toby and we're covered.  That also means that the house goes largely neglected...  What I think will be a much larger transition will be when Jason goes back to work.  Then what?  Game over.  I'm in for it!  Silas is a constant blur of activity and Toby looks like he will be just as spirited.  Oh boy(s). Here's a bit of a recap over these last 12 or so days in terms of what is not so different, or predictable, and what has been unexpected.

Predictable: Toby feeds every 2-3 hours and gets up every 2-3 hours in the night too.  Not surprised.  Been here before, know that it will get better. 
Unpredictable: However, despite our first impression that he was a 'sleepy' baby, he doesn't settle without being rocked or held or stuck onto one of us.  Yikes.

Predictable: That Silas would have a hard time with having a sibling and not be himself.  We expected that.
Unpredictable: Just how much Silas has been acting out lately. He is testing us left, right and center.  Every time we have to change his diaper or put on a jacket or anything of the sort- he has a fit.  Sigh.  He is in full on toddler-hood.  [See this hilarious post on another blogger's site, this is exactly what Silas has been like lately: Sunscreen or this one: yogurt].

Predictable:  We knew that we'd have a harder time getting out than before
Unpredictable:  But, it takes us so much longer than we thought it would!  Are we all dressed in clean clothes?  Have the kiddo's diapers been changed?  Has Toby been fed?  Do we have extras of everything?  Has Silas eaten?  Do we have snacks?  [30 min later] Silas pooped again, Toby is awake now, do we have _______.  Gah.

Predictable: That we would be up lots in the night with Toby.  
Unpredictable: That we would be up in the night with Silas and that he would change his rising time from 8 am until 6 am.  Not. A. Good. Time. For. This.  Please oh please don't tell me he's ready for getting rid of his nap (?)  Heaven forbid!

Unpredictable: How much Silas is interested in Toby!  I had thought Silas would largely ignore Toby but he always asks about him when he first wakes up, wants to 'see' what Toby is doing, and is constantly in his face touching or kissing him!  [And poking his eyes, pulling his arms and pretending to hit him.  We're working on that whole 'gentle' concept].

Unpredictable: How much pain I'd have postpartum.  Arg.  So much to get done and so little energy/ability to do it all!  Stupid C-section.

That's enough for now.  It's been an interesting time over these last 12 days getting used to another member of the family.  We love this special time we get to share together.  I LOVE having Jason around to help out and spend so much time with Silas.  Silas is changing all the time and has us laughing by his antics and we are often  amazed at all the vocabulary he is picking up.  He's a sharp little man!  One of these days I have to blog some of the funny things he's been saying.  I look forward to seeing Silas experience Christmas this year and seeing Toby and Silas play together (one day).  For now though, back to basics: one day at a time!  Sleep, eat, breastfeed, repeat.  Back to the grind =)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Today I attempted to take both children out with me, by myself.  Okay, I'm taking too much credit.  I simply went to our Church's weekly women's event and Jason drove me there, unloaded the kiddies, and helped me get them ready (so I'm not a superhero or anything).  But just as Jason left- Silas had a big fit, throwing himself on the floor.  He wanted to go see the Christmas lights and didn't want to go hang out in the nursery even though he loves it.  I had to discipline, and pull, and encourage, and cajole this little boy to walk to the nursery (as I cannot lift him for another couple of weeks because of my incision).  We got there and he had another huge fit at the thought of leaving me.  Poor fella.  There's been so much change for him recently!  But he went eventually to his favourite nursery worker Kelly and off I went with Toby to enjoy some community, coffee, and well, to show off my new little boy.  

All in all it went well!  Toby slept the whole time, I never got paged to rescue Silas, and somehow I made it through the whole event without needing to feed Toby or my chest exploding (not sure how).  But by the end of the 2 hours I was ready to go home as my incisional pain increased.   I felt really blessed by the encouraging words of the women there, and their oohing and aahhing at my little boy.  Came home, and had two visitors- both bearing incredible meals and who both spent some time chit-chatting.  It felt great seeing friends and family and even being dressed and 'up' enough to greet and host them.  All this to say, I feel so incredibly blessed!  Our community has come around us and supported us in the last week of change and I feel so inspired and encouraged.  I want to be that type of person that blesses others in this way!  How amazing it feels to be part of a Church and family that take care of us and help nourish us with prayers, words, and FOOD.  Sigh.  Thank you Jesus!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I forgot...

So labour is done (PTL), we're home (phew) and we are right in IT.  Life with a newborn that is.  We are knee deep in breastfeeding (more accurately- I am), and are spending our days in pajamas trying to discipline a toddler, soothe a newborn and not go stir crazy in the process.  Funny how you forget this newborn phase.  Actually, maybe that's how God ensures we have more children- if we didn't forget we wouldn't do this again.  But here we are!  Course, it's not all reward-less and awful.  There are perks too- which I also forgot.  

Case in point:
I Forgot: just how dreadful labour is.  Eeeeek.  Hard.  Ugh. (story to come)
But I Also Forgot: the incredible relief, the joy, the emotional high of meeting your little healthy baby finally.

I Forgot: how awful and painful recovery after C-section is (but then, I was hoping for a VBAC and hadn't planned on another C-section so got to have 27 hours of labour AND a C-section...more on that later)
But I Forgot: how amazing it is to hold and cuddle a newborn which makes the pain more bearable.

I Forgot: how exhausting feeding a newborn is.  GAH. That part of my body has not been used like that for 2 years and is seriously out of shape.  In fact, it's like they've been run over by a tractor or been through war, or get the point.  OWWWIE.
But I Forgot: how lovely it is to see a little babe staring up at you and trusting you to meet his needs.

I Forgot: about nights.  Oh the nights.  They are looong, repetitive, blurry, and ugh.  Every three hours we do the same thing.  Over and over and over again.
But I Forgot: just how wonderful my husband is (if that's even possible to forget).  He helps me in the nights, makes sure I get the rest I need, and I don't know how I'd do it without him.

I Forgot: that I'd spend my days and nights with reckless hair, in pajamas, stuck in the house, looking and feeling icky (visitors welcome but beware)
But I didn't forget: things will get better.  One day at a time.

This is a different time for us this go-around because of Silas.  He is a new added person to this mix.  He makes sure that we don't stay in the house too long (or else he goes crazy) and keeps us entertained during the long hours of the day.  He also makes sure we keep our wits about us as we have to, at a moments notice, make sure he is not hitting baby, pulling his arm, poking his eye, or kissing him too aggressively.   Parenthood is upon us!

Thanks for everyone's support out there!  I'm determined to remain positive and optimistic that as we go along, it will get easier and better!  We have much to be thankful for: healthy boy #2, and he's actually so far a pretty good baby.  Even went 5 hours between feeds at night last night letting us sleep longer!  One thing that remains a mystery is: will my thyroid want to jump up and down and demand attention soon, or will it remain dormant.  Please pray for the latter!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Latest

out walking (what a cutie!)

Silas has the best dad in the world!

figuring out how to get the goods

 out walking on the MR dikes with Oma and Opa (Silas stealing Daddy's hat!)
love the dikes

Hiking at Minnekhada- taking a banana break

 Beautiful day for Minnekada

pre-bathroom reno (had already removed the old, old rusted sink and cabinet)

reno a box (don't ask me how Jason squeezed in there!)

almost completed project- just have to paint over little holes in the wall (our first attempt at placing the TP roll), and maybe change the rug and add a little stand (?)

Friday, November 11, 2011

How to stay busy when 9 months pregnant

Step 1:  Decide that you just HAVE to finish basting your quilt before the baby arrives.  Which, by the way, entails being on your knees on a hardwood floor, crouched and crunched while contracting with braxton hicks.  It means holes in your fingertips and a sore back from leaning over for a few hours on end.  And in my case, since I'm not good at researching FIRST and then beginning a project, after basting the whole quilt with my gracious mother-in-law's help, we found out that we needed to take it all out, wash the back and front, fix some holes in the quilt, re-iron, and re-do the entire quilt's basting.  Ugh.  

Step 2: Convince your husband that he absolutely MUST begin (and finish) renovating the bathroom.  So far that has meant:

  • removing previous vanity
  • repainting walls
  • painting trim around mirrors a different colour
  • cutting numerous holes in the new vanity to fit plumbing
  • reworking the plumbing
  • removing some baseboard pieces and putting in new ones (oh yeah, and painting them)
  • and hopefully putting up some fun decals on the wall

What this actually means is that hubby is very occupied (thanks dear!) and Silas must be watched by mommy (while at the same time basting a quilt that a busy toddler is not allowed to walk on- ha!)  Thanks to Oma and Opa this is possible!

Step 3: Get sick
That will help keep you busy!  Somehow I've acquire a burning sore throat that has me a little terrified. Oh boy.  Lord- heal me before I go into labour (wouldn't that totally suck to be sick and in labour?!!!)

Step 4: Convince yourself you must finish Christmas letters before the baby arrives
That means, for me, 160 hand-written notes.  Why?  I dunno.  But on principle, I want to continue the tradition I've had for over 12 years.  Really, we should have planned a baby for a different time of year for a change!

Step 5: Also try to complete every odd, half-finished project in the house that has been on the list forever.  Enter grandparents.  Thankfully Jason's mom and dad have been in town and have been a huge help toward this end.  Our side tables in our bedroom are painted after they have sat there unpainted for half a year, a curtain rod and curtains are now hung in our office, covering over a closet-door-less closet stuffed with boxes and books.  It feels good.  But busy.

Step 6: Write a blog post about it.

All this to say that I am eager for baby's arrival but feel the 'pressure' to get 'er all done before he/she arrives. I guess I will surface again at some point after the baby's born but I still feel like somehow I should do all of this before I am a mother of 2 and not 1!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Full Term: Countdown Continues!

I cannot believe that this baby could come any day now.  Part of me feels like I am just so ready to be done pregnancy so 'bring it on' but the other part of me, probably the bigger part of me, is very anxious about this go-around.  Will this labor experience be everything I'm hoping that the last one was not?  Will I have thyroid issues again?  How will Silas do with a new little warm body around the house all the time?  

I also cannot believe that we will no longer be a family of 3- but 4!  That means two carseats, a double stroller, two little mouths to feed, 2 bums to clean, are we ready?  Like last time, is there anything that could possibly make you ready for a change like this?

I feel very unsettled as the day approaches.  I have work shifts yet to complete and furniture yet to buy, cupboards to organize, and Christmas to plan (yeah right).  I guess in some ways that's better than 'sitting around' on my thumbs waiting for the baby to come.  How to spend these last days?  

Lord prepare me in the ways I cannot, give me peace to cover my anxieties over things I cannot control anyways, and fill me with all I will need to be a mom all over again!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Young: a 'poem'

I'm certainly not a poet.  Nor do I have all the answers.  But I had another one of 'those days' as a bedside nurse that has to be written about in some way.  The things we witness, well, let's just say, help to put things in perspective. So here it is, a wordy,muddled mix of my thoughts on the meaning of life (or something like that):

She was too young
And another life slips through my fingers
I am but a bystander
Helpless as the rest
Wordless, for what can abate this climax of suffering?
This corner of humanity
Face to face with our enemy:
Awaiting in the shadows
Snatching, stealing, devouring
tearing down what took a lifetime to build
Accompanied by pain, an ocean of sorrow
Who can watch and not cringe?
Who can stare at this hollow shell and not long to look away?
Soon her days will be forgotten, dust in the wind
Her pronouncement echoes against the walls
Is it for me too?
For us all?
How can this be?

Oh Hope
We need you

He is so young
This life in my arms
I am his mother
Wordless, for what can describe this rosy cheeked and bright eyed wonder?
Face to face with love and
Like dawn triumphing over the darkest night
Sweeping over, around, and through every misery
My moments of earlier despair- forgotten, vague
Now I am accompanied by laughter, joy and a heart that is filled to overflowing
Who can watch him, this little boy, and not marvel?
Who can stare at his sweet self and not long to leap and smile?
His days before him, a future
A whole life

O Hope,
You are here.
Death where is your victory?
Death where is your sting?

[And that, is the gospel, the message of Christianity]:
Suffering it shall cease, sorrow it shall end
Triumphed over by life everlasting

Which is ours alone in the One
The One who died so we can live
The One who triumphed over sin and death with His very life
And He won
His name is Hope
His name is Jesus
The light of His love has engulfed death and despair, once and
for all
He is waiting
Who will choose Him?

O why,
Would anyone choose death instead of life?
Sorrow instead of hope?
Darkness instead of the light of dawn?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Sigh. Renovations.  Before starting out on some home renovations I was excited, thrilled, curious, etc.  Now?  I realize why people say renovations and then groan afterwards.  They take longer than you think, they cost more than you budgeted, and there are inevitable snags along the way.  Take for example, our office/guest room.  It was one of the few rooms in our townhouse that we didn't paint when we first moved in.  It had two colours (why?) and random pieces of wood attached to walls, holes, dents etc.  We decided to repaint a lighter colour and get a bit more organized.  "More organized" meant a trip to Ikea where we purchased their lovely floating shelves.  
Note to self: never. buy. them. again.  
I have  a love/hate relationship with Ikea.  Often things look so functional but they take more work to install than they can be worth sometimes.  SO we painted the room, it was all coming together, ALL we had yet to do was put items on this newly screwed in shelf.  On went the files and off went the shelf.  The whole thing literally ripped out of the wall and just about smoked me in the head.  It has now taken 4 + weeks to fix the wall.  The holes were huge and Jason had to:
 cut out the drywall, 
put in 2X4 in between the studs, 
buy new drywall anchors, 
put a new piece of drywall on, 
putty it, 
tape it, 
re-paint it, 
and THEN put up the shelf for attempt #2.  
These ikea shelves are stupid because 1. their screw placements don't match typical stud spots in a wall and 2. they hold very little weight.  GRRR.  So much for organizing the office better since these shelves can't hold much weight, tell me, WHAT in an office doesn't weigh much?

Finally my office/guest space has come together although there are a few things I'd still like to do:  I'd love to figure out a curtain to go over our closet-door-less closet and perhaps find a nice area rug?  We also have to fix our heavy bookshelf to the wall so that if Silas climbs it, he doesn't pull it on himself.  Sigh.  Renos are  NEVER done.  There's always more you want to do!  
our office when we bought our place 2 years ago. ugh.  we liked the built in desk though

prepping for paint

see how dark it was?
new paint, new shelves.  I was aiming for olive green- but the walls turned out mintier than I hoped for.  Oh well, it sure brightens it up though! 

new frames from thrift store (finally framed our university certificates!), re-covered cushions and garage sale finds, newly covered bulletin boards on the wall
kinda dark- but this is my 'craft' center.  I found jars on the side of the road which became my craft storage 
help!  What colour of cloth should I use for the closet cutrain??

Our kitchen is a similar story.  We started with tiling the backsplash which was a very involved process. We had to rip off the oak board that was there, prep the wall, put the tile up, put in the grout, clean it off, and then apply the silicone.  Phew.  We also changed out our sink faucet (cause it was terrible) and because there's always more you could to to make it nicer, we changed out our hood fan to be stainless steel to match the rest of our appliances.  NOW I'd love to make it more functional- you know, organize my endlessly chaotic tupperware cupboard etc.  There's lots we could do to make it our dream kitchen like change countertops and cabinets- BUT lets be honest, we won't fit in this townhouse much longer so we just want to make it nice enough to re-sell in a year or so.
Our kitchen when we bought 2 years ago.  Notice the green, the mis-matched white hood fan...the oak 'backsplash' or whatever that is
prior to demolition (we had painted the walls chocolate brown)

taking apart the old 'backsplash'
we had to apply an enhancer to the tiles.  The one on the left is how it looks with the enhancer and on the wall

prior to silicone
completed!  New hood fan, tiles up, etc  Cause I'm anal- need a new stainless steel coffee maker- the one I have is white and well, it's older than me =)

new sink faucet

chalkboard paint =) (ignore stuff on top of my fridge, gotta figure out where to put the clutter)

What's on our to-do list next?  Bathroom vanities- which will mean re-flooring, re-painting, the whole show... making nice curtains, changing out light fixtures for nicer ones, and you know, having a baby sometime in there.  =)  Nothing like nesting to speed up home projects!
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