Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Toby: God is Good

14 lbs and 8 oz of snuggle-able baby: my "Tobylicious" is 6 months now!  (You will hate that this was your nickname one day).  I love love love this age.  He is becoming his own little self but is not yet mobile, remains baby-sized, and is on a more predictable routine.  Phew.  Got through the first 6 month craziness of life with a newborn.  What is Toby up to these days?  First of all, we dedicated him at Church on Sunday and here are a few pictures and the words we shared with our congregation:

The verse we chose for Toby is Romans 15:13:
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The name Tobin means “God is good,” and Emmanuel means “God is with us.”  We chose these names with the hope that Toby will come to know these aspects of God in a significant way: His goodness towards us, and His presence with us. As Toby gets to know God, we pray that He will learn to confidently trust Him, and as a result that he will be filled with a deep joy and peace that the world can’t offer and can’t take away. Our hope is that in this way, Toby will show the greatness of knowing God, and will attract others to Him as well.
May Toby never be satisfied in anything other than Christ.  

 Snuggles with Nana!  
 So far it seems that Toby is his Mama's boy.  He loves mommy snuggles and is a much more sensitive little soul than his brother.  He loves being held and definitely gets anxious when we are apart.  If someone else holds him he squirms to see me and cries pretty quickly without me.  I don't mind the extra snuggles though!

He is a touchy baby which is awesome and overwhelming at times.  If you miss his naptime window he cries and cries and cries and gets super worked up.  He's easily overstimulated, jumps at loud noises, and if he's overtired he will not want to be held or seen by anyone other than mommy.  That being said, he is also much more generally content than Silas was.  He loves to sit in his stroller (while it's moving) just looking around, loves being carried in the carrier- will go for a hike without a peep, and loves to just sit in his 'happy spot' (on the floor with cushions and toys).  
Brothers playing together =)
 Likes the jolly jumper okay, but not like Silas did
 Loves throwing toys off of his exercauser 
He is ultra grabby and of course, puts everything is in his mouth.  Very drooly but no teeth yet. He is much more intent on toys than I remember Silas being.  He looks it over, passes it back and forth, and notices if it gets out of reach or someone takes it.  He loves grabbing at my hair and is fascinated when it's curly.  He is really quick too.  Before we know it cups are on the floor and plates of food on our lap.  Oops!

He can almost sit on his own and can roll from front to back but has yet to really roll from back to front.  He loves watching Silas and Silas is soooo good with him.  Silas will bring toys back to Toby when he drops them and loves to play peek-a-boo with him.

Toby sleeps 3 times a day (one nap being 20 minutes or so, the others each being 1.5 hours or so) and is a pretty good night sleeper.  He is in bed by 8 and sleeps usually until 6 or 6:15.  One thing that's a bit frustrating is that if Toby falls asleep he cannot really be transferred.  I used to scratch my head at moms who would wake up their sleeping baby or keep them awake but that's us!  If Toby falls asleep for 15 minutes in the car he won't go back to sleep at home so it's really best if we're home for two of the three naps (and if we can stick close to the same time every day he is a happy guy).

He's not a great solids eater yet.  I keep trying different things without much success.  He is more intent on chewing on the spoon than eating!  He just clenches his lips tight.  Hmmm. Still has never taken a soother or bottle.  He refuses.  Oh well.  He sucks on his 'blankie' to go to sleep.

He still sleeps in a playpen.  We cannot figure out how to get him to sleep in the crib at night with Silas.  Silas is just too noisy at bedtime and if Toby wakes up in the night he wakes up Silas.  Any suggestions?

His giggle and dimpled smiles are worth the work and he laughs with tickles to his neck or arm pits.  He doesn't laugh or smile as easily with strangers but when he does it's rather contagious!

My favourite:  even though Toby seems a bit shyer and more sensitive, sometimes he'll just be grunting and making noise SO loudly that we can't even have a conversation over top of him!  He gets like this especially if music is on (and during Bible study!)

We love you dear Toby.  Such a sweetheart.  We are so excited to see you and Silas become best buddies.  

p.s. he looks soooo much like Jason!

May the joy of the Lord always be your strength little man.  We are blessed blessed blessed to have you in our lives.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Into the Awkward

I have crossed over.  I am no longer a 'new' mom but am becoming a 'seasoned mom.'  I am not quite at pro status but I have adapted enough that I am becoming that awkard mom.  I used to be a prude.  I used to think certain things were inappropriate, rude, or just downright awkard.  

Now I catch myself doing these things out of convenience, necessity, resourcefulness and in sheer desperation. 

Take the following for example:
1. I hardly use a nursing cover.  I used to be so concerned, made sure to have a nursing bra, shirt and cover and hide away.  Now?  Forget it.  Wrestling a 6 month older under a cover is the least of my concerns.  Hiding my woohoos from view?  Sorry.  I just don't have the energy.
2. I have used my shirt sleeve to wipe my kids' nose.  Gross.  But whatever.
3. I forget to shut the bathroom door.  I mean, usually I remember.  But during the day it's wide open to keep my eye on an ever mischievous child so if I remember while I have company, you should feel special!
4. Any surface is fair game for changing a diaper.  I remember cringing when a mom changed her child's diaper on my coffee table.  Ha!  I don't even use a change pad anymore!  (I'm just that quick, like a ninja... or maybe lazy).
5. I no longer hold in my farts while running, when there's people around.  We all do it people!  I've been desensitized by a farting, belching, "I pooooooped!" shouting 2 year old.
6. I've walked around whole days without half of my nursing bra snapped into place.  Oops. Lopsided.  Used to be awkward. 
7.  Close all the blinds in order to nurse Toby?  Nope. I figure if you're peeping through my windows you deserve to get a shocker.
8.  I've walked around with tags on my new shirt without noticing- you know the sticky kind along the front of your shirt/pants which says the size?  Why don't they make them more noticeable anyways?  I figure, why wash something that's new?  That's just more laundry...
9.  I didn't have socks to wear at a kids play place.  So?  I crammed my 2 year olds' socks onto my feet.  They fit somehow! 
10. Nursing pads?  They work as bum wipes, nose wipes, and if you use two together: pads.  I'm not gonna lie.
11. Bathroom talk.  I have a double dose of awkward: I'm a nurse and a mother of a potty-training toddler.  I no longer realize I'm talking about poop or pee mid conversation.  It's always relevant.  Always.
12. I try on clothes overtop of my clothes at stores.  I remember thinking that was so awkward and weird.  Now?  Soooo convenient.
13. I still use a half-eaten chapstick.  Who has time to buy more?
14. I eat slobbered on, half eaten, mushed and mashed leftover food bits from Silas.  Even off the floor.  Or the ground.  Or (gasp) even out of a car seat.  I'm not gonna lie.  It's been done.  When else do I get a chance to eat these days?
15.  And the piece de resistance: I don't care if I change in the public section of the change room at the gym or pool.  It's a body.  It's naked.  Whatever.  I used to FREAK about this: "That's so awkward!  How do moms let everything just hang there for everyone to see their lumps and bumps?  Gross!"  Now?  I can't be bothered to hide away. 

The Shannon of 10 years ago would have been grossed out about the Shannon now.  Motherhood in all its awkward glory. What are some of your awkard habits?

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Bucket List

Bucket lists. There are a lot of people posting them these days.  I'm not above them.  In fact, I have a few of my own.  I recognize the pleasure of making a list of things and actually ticking them off to say: "I've seen, I've done, I've conquered."

There's the usual things on mine like: "travel to Asia, learn a second language fluently, write and publish a book, go trekking, eat chocolate every day for a year," etc. But lately I'm realizing that I have a better bucket list.  Okay, maybe not better.  Perhaps more overambitious, more ambiguous, perhaps more somber, but a bucket list nonetheless.

Every day as I wake up I have two little lives that reflect the person that I am.  They reveal my character with all its true flaws.  The longer I live the less naive I am about my faults.  There is no easy escape, I cannot fight these behavioral habits alone.   They require time, attention and divine intervention. I am literally powerless to change some of these weaknesses on my own.

But oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if these areas I struggle with could be changed?  I pull at them from the surface by trying harder, doing better, making new years' resolutions.  But this is like ripping off the leaves of a weed without truly uprooting them.  They come back.  Again.

I need God's Spirit to do work in my heart, daily.  Maybe, just maybe, by the end of this life my rough edges will be smoother, more weeds will be uprooted, and Christ will be more apparent in my thoughts, words, and behaviors.  That's the goal isn't it?  Is a better me, possible?

I'm a bit tired of hiding all my faults behind a veneer of perfection or superficiality so here goes:  

My bucket list of character traits I'd rather do without, and ones I want to have:

1. Be a more contented, joyful person. What if I were content for a change?  As my default? In whatever my circumstance?  Wow.  Imagine.
2. I want to stop seeing the negative in every situation, all the time.  I wear negative lenses through which I seem to view all things.  I am kind of tired of my whining voice that constantly relays every bad thing that happens every day to every listener.  I'm a complaining, moaning, grumbling person by nature.  Could I not just automatically see the positive?
3. Have a posture of thankfulness and gratitude that flows into a spirit of generosity.  Aka: less materialism, less envy, and more giving.  Rid myself of this attitude of entitlement, be more humble and give even at a cost to myself. [Is that like 6 things?]
4. I want to learn patience in affliction.  [Okay, patience in general.  Anyone who sits in front of a microwave cursing the seconds has serious issues with this- aka me].
5. See others' needs as more important than my own.  I'm. So. Selfish.
6. Be less controlling, less of a perfectionist.  [Good luck with this weed God- it goes deep!]
7. Learn how to respond thoughtfully versus react out of emotions.  Oh, never mind, I've accomplished that one.  [Kidding].
8.  I want to be okay with discomfort and abandon this notion that God and His whole world exists to make me feel comfortable. 

Okay.  So this list is not exhaustive.  The more thoughts I think and days I live the more I realize just how innately sinful I am.  I hardly believe for a second I will ever be able to look at this list and simply cross these off, "Done! Prize please!"  I also don't think that God will accept me more or somehow I will be more worthy of Him if I achieve these character attributes.  However, I do dream and hope for a day that my character will be more like Christ.  I cannot wait until heaven when, in seeing Him face to face, I will be made more like Him.  Finally.  I will rest from my flaws which become ever more frustrating, limiting, and burdensome.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cleaning the Closets

I have written random poems, reflections, rants and ramblings that are crammed into computer folders.  They are hidden away, shoved behind a closed door marked "writings."  I've decided to fling wide the doors of my 'closet' and air these collections out.  

Who knows:  maybe I'll find a treasure. Maybe some of these wrinkly messes will bless others. Or, maybe they're back there for a reason.  Help me clean out my closets.  

I'll be posting some writings.  Let me know what you think!  If I suck at poetry, let me know (gently).   Let's see what is back there, dusty in a corner, ignored and unfruitful.

Here's the first one. It's probably not my best, it's probably cheesy, but here it is. [You'll note that when I wrote this I only had "4 limbs" to mother but this amount has doubled!  If I were to re-write it I would add an additional paragraph about 2 year olds, there would be more mention of laundry, and the hum of a dishwasher and a crying baby would be somehow heard above the beating drum of my predictable rhymes].

Just Another Day

I awake, get dressed, and fight the fatigue
a little boy greets me, running at full speed.
Smiling and talking 100 miles per hour,
“tractor, truck, cookie, train, cake, and tower.”
Breakfast and dressing, diapers, and tag,
dishes, and laundry, one more dirty rag.
Rooms to be organized, owies to kiss
4 limbs that want wrestling, an appointment to miss.
I groan and I sigh, “If only today,”
“could be something different: extra-ordinary,” I say.

“No. It’s just another day.”

But then I think upon that statement and wonder how it could be
that I’d want more than my life, even at its same speed.
Food in the pantry, roof overhead,
clothes for our covering, sheets for our bed.
A husband and father who works, receives pay
then comes home to kiss me at the end of our day.
Our nation's not at war, our health: intact.
Our family is supportive, our wealth: a fact.
Some have no peace, no hope in the divine
And me? I have both. Ingratitude is my crime.

How can I possibly complain in remorse
that today is simply ordinary, a typical life’s course?

I’ll choose joy and be thankful once more
for the balls thrown right at me, and food on the floor.
I’ll laugh at the experience of moments like these
I’ll smile, and I’ll savour, and I will this breath seize.
I'll awaken to my life, the one that I hold
it is fragile, it is blessed, it’s a mystery to unfold.
Even when I wonder what life is like ‘out there’
as I stare out the window and feel it’s unfair:
I’ll remember to praise the Giver before this day ends.
because even if this day’s ordinary, God did for me send:
Hope for my future in chaos and pain
a savior, His presence in the dark, dreary rain.
Provisions, protection, Christ: my hope and my source
And He is the ‘extra’ in every ordinary days’ course.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On a Day Like Today

7:30 am.  Usually Silas is up already for the day.  But he wasn't.  "Perfect, I thought, I can get Toby down for his morning nap before Silas wakes up!"  8:00.  Silas is still sleeping, "That's odd, but I'll do some chores..."  8:30 am.  I go in to check on him and find him beside a puddle of puke.  Uh oh.  By 12 o'clock it had been a warzone of projectile vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, loads of laundry and lysol wipes.

I'm not sure this is possible, but it seems that Silas has bounced back hugely this evening.  I'm not holding my breath but in the meantime, I'm going to count my blessings.  I've super thankful because...

1. I have a washing machine and dryer.  I did 9 loads of laundry in the past 2 days.  Imagining this same scene whilst having to wash things by hand is,well, horrid.
2. Information and an education at my fingertips.  As a nurse, I know some basic things like hand washing, replacing fluids, and how to manage a fever.  Even if I didn't have a nursing education (which in itself is a reason for praising God), the internet is right here at my fingertips for clues on how to manage a sick toddler.  Many mothers worldwide don't have this kind of information at their fingertips.
3. Family close by.  I'm thankful for a Nana, Papa and Grandma who texted today and for a Grandma who lives close enough to run out and get some Pedialyte and Gravol for Silas (since I was car-less).
4. Medical help is only a phone call away, or a 10 minute drive to the hospital.  Knowing that I have access to help if things go sour is incredible.  So few around the world have this luxury with their sick kid. [Shout out to all you missionaries out there: you are a-amazing that you give this 'security' up for the sake of the call].
5. Clean water.  I know that if I give Silas water, the water is clean.  It won't make his sickness worse.
6. Access to medications.  Tylenol and Gravol helped us out today.  How much worse to watch your child suffer without these helpful aids?
7. Flushable toilets.  Enough said.
8. I'm grateful Silas is potty trained (mostly) at this point.  This meant that his D-train went down the D-rain rather than in a diaper.  (Shudder).
9. A husband, who works close-by, and who could come home early and bring me a happy-hour-frappe.  All of these things could make 4 different thanksgiving points.
10. My child will most likely get better. [In fact, miraculously, he seems to be MUCH better this evening]. Some parents have to watch their kids get sick. Every. Day.  And are not able to do anything about it but watch.  This alone makes me overwhelmed with how blessed I am.

Thanks God.  So much to be thankful for on a day like today.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Scary title.  Sounds like a horror film doesn't it?  Okay, maybe only to me.  

Those of you who have been reading my blog have definitely been on a roller coaster with me as I've written about some pretty low lows of insomnia and other thyroid havoc.  Postpartum with Silas was rough.  Maybe more than rough.  Try: "the hardest time of my life."  Anyways, you might be wondering what has been happening this time.  Has it been as rough?  What's my thyroid doing these days?

Similarly to last time with Silas my thyroid started to be 'attacked' by my immune system starting at about 5 weeks postpartum.  

I guess with a lot of women, their immune system is 'suppressed' in pregnancy as you carry a baby in your womb.  Once pregnancy ends, your immune system rebounds and can cause many women all sorts of problems (lupus, graves disease etc).  For me, my body rebounds with postpartum thyroiditis.  

My body attacks my thyroid and in response, my thyroid unleashes all of it's stored thyroid hormone: hyperthyroidism begins.  The best way I can describe it is that I'm frantic.  I'm jittery, anxious, scurrying, worried, easily over-catastrophizing, more emotional, 'on speed.'  

For those of you who know me well, I already have a tendency to be anxious, a worrier, maybe a bit fast-paced, ambitious etc.  So for me, on speed is, well, crazy.  I get sweaty, I get hyper, I am spring cleaning at 10:30 pm, anxious and alert.  

Sounds not so bad right?  Maybe we all need a little bit of thyroid 'pep' in our step?  Not so much.  The anxiety my thyroid can cause led me to some pretty serious moments of personal crisis.  However, this time around all I can say is that God has bathed me with His grace.  I know this period will pass.  I know that He is faithful.  I know that this is a season.  He is with me.

I went to the specialist last week and turns out my thyroid is now exiting the freaking out stage and entering the slug stage [non medical terminology].  After your thyroid unleashes all its stored hormones, in response to the crazy surplus of thyroid hormone your pituitary (which controls your thyroid) says "woooooah there, slow down" and stops stimulating the thyroid.  [Are you still with me?]  What's the result?  Hypothyroidism.  No kidding.  Now my joints are stiff.  I've had days where I couldn't hardly move I was so achy.  I am tired.  A lot.  I am slothy (is that a word?)  However, compared to me on speed, I prefer this particular swing in my hormones.  I'm starting to get a bit more objectivity about the last 5.5 months and today I realized that the best way to describe me right now, at this moment is "I can see."  Ever gone to get glasses and once you put them on gone, "Aha! there is definition!  People have facial features!  I didn't even realize I couldn't see, until I could."  That's how I feel right now about these past months.  I realize how much of my anxieties over this time has probably been related to my hormones without me even knowing it... hormones are funny that way. They trick you into believing that you are freaking out about little things for legitimate reasons.  

So what does this mean?  My body will swing the other way for awhile (hypothyroidism) and then hopefully go back to normal.  Like last time.  It took 9 months before I was in a 'normal' range last time so it will probably run a similar course.  Will this happen again?  Most likely with any subsequent pregnancy.  How is my sleep?  Well....that's another post.   I can say that being 'prepared' has helped me mentally a lot.  I am still dependent on sleeping pills though and would like to get off of them as soon as possible.   I wake up a lot and have a hard time returning to sleep.  I often wake up too early at like 5 am or 3:30 or 4.  But it's been okay.  God's grace has been sufficient- I can honestly say that.

One perk about hyperthyroidism? I eat a lot but lose weight!  [Although, now I have to be careful cause hypothyroidism causes weight gain. Sigh.  Eating frenzy is over].
One downer?  I have a goiter.  No joke.  Look it up, cause I'm not posting pictures of my own.  Gross.  [Looks especially pronounced if I am]
But I praise God nonetheless- for His grace in this trying season.  Somehow, through the dark and dreary winter, with a busy and difficult toddler and a touchy newborn, with a roller coaster thyroid and a C-section recovery, God has been working in my heart and has provided me with much of Himself.  I have felt so supported by family and friends and my incredible husband.  They are all gifts to me. My bubbly, hilarious son Silas is a gift.  My cuddly, smiley bouncy baby Toby is a gift. This postpartum period has been SO much better than the last even though some of my issues remain the same.  
Glory to God.
Will post about my 10 k race separately...if I ever get around to it...

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