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December 30, 2011

NIP - The Big Debate!

NIP = Nursing In Public

Here we go.....the big debate.

If you haven't heard about the nationwide Nurse-In at Target stores that happened on December 28th, 2011 then you have been living in a hermit shell.  It all started by one woman, Michelle Hickman, who was shopping in her local Target store when her infant woke up hungry.  She found an area in the women's clothing department, sat down and began to nurse her hungry child - completely covered by a blanket.  A Target employee asked her to move to a dressing room & when Michelle said no the harassment began.  You can read more about her story here.

Now, many of you may not understand what the big deal is.  Just stop what you are doing, get up and move to the dressing room.  Right?  Wrong - You try unlatching your barracuda who has already begun to scarf down his meal.  Not only that, but the process of milk let down, foremilk & hindmilk - its kind of a big deal!  Interrupting the entire process could make for a very unsatisfied baby, leading to crying & crabbiness.  Which would you rather have in your public place?  A satisfied, relaxed baby or one that is crying and fussy?  Mmmhmmmm....I think I know the answer to that one.

So why not just head to a private place when your child is hungry instead of starting to nurse in such a public area?  Babies don't understand "You have to wait until I can make it to a more private area, sorry!"  When they are hungry they are hungry NOW.  Making them wait any longer than what is necessary to pull up your shirt and get latched on will seem like FOREVER for your baby.  Not only that, but usually when you are out and about with your child you are doing so because you need to - like grocery shopping or Christmas shopping.  You will, more than likely, have a cart full of items that you don't want to leave.  If its groceries - there is probably dairy or frozen foods.  If a mom can shop & nurse at the same time, doesn't it make more sense for her to do so instead of leaving her cart full of perishable items to go "nurse in private"?

Besides all this - Nursing is Normal.  It is not sexual, it is not the same as showing your butt, having sex in public or running around naked.  The act of nursing is about nourishing a child.  Giving a baby sustanence.  A baby cannot live without food....drrrrrr.  Comparing breastfeeding to anything is just ridiculous & absurd.

NIP is legal in the state of Indiana & almost all the others. 
Breastfeeding Law:

Not withstanding any other law, a woman may breastfeed her child anywhere the woman has a right to be. Source: Indiana Code 16-35-6-1 Chapter 6, Sec. 7
http://www.in.gov/

But what about a woman showing her breast in public?  That isn't right!


 
You're Absolutely Right!
 
God forbid we try to do something right for our children & provide them with nourishment!  We may just show too much skin.
c/o Melissa Morgan
c/o Melissa Morgan
 
 
My challenge to you: 
 
Give a little thumbs up or smile next time you see a mom nursing her child.  Ask her if there is anything she needs - perhaps she needs the burp cloth that is buried in the diaper bag.  Help us normalize nursing in public instead of giving dirty looks or making a scene.  This is about our children - not anything else.

December 23, 2011

Odd Man Out

Odd Man Out

Have you ever been somewhere & felt like you just didn't fit in?  Like everyone was in this special club and you weren't a part of it?  Or you didn't get the "invite" to the party?  The butt of every joke was you?  Everyone stops talking when you enter the room.....?



Yeah....that is how I've felt since coming back to work. 

Everyone seemed so excited for me to come back.  I felt my self-worth fill up a little.  My knowledge of our system at work is something many people would compliment me on & it felt good to receive those compliments.

I don't know what happened within my 2 months of being back at work, but whatever it is has put me in a rut...a darkness...a sadness...somewhat of a depression.  Perhaps it is a combination of a couple things - 1 definitely being missing my kids.  The other....well....feeling like I have disappointed everybody's expectations of what I should know how to do here at work has definitely contributed.

Many of you have seen my posts about "Middle Child Syndrome" and because of this, disappointing people cuts my chest open and rips my heart out.  I strive to perfect my skills & when I fail, I fall hard and it takes a lot to get back up out of that pit.  So when I get those glaring eyes looking at me in disappointment I can't help but break down.

I feel I have let down my children by leaving them to go back to work - I feel I have let down my boss & co-workers for not being "all-in" at work - I feel I have let down my husband by not being able to do things I used to be able to when I stayed home - I feel like a complete failure.

Luckily - an opportunity has opened up for me to be able to take a part-time position.  This seems ideal for many reasons.  The most important reason - being able to be home with my kids more often than I am now.  Yes, all of you who thought I was crazy for going back to work full-time can tell me "I told you so."  I thought I was ready but it is completely apparent that I wasn't.  Some of the other reasons are mostly work related.  Not "taking my job home with me" like I have been with this position, still having an income, getting out of the house, etc.  Still being able to be a wife & mom while doing a little work....this part-time position has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders (along with a lot of prayer). 

Hopefully there will be less posts about "woe is me" here soon.  I don't like this deep & dark rut I'm in but its hard to get out of when I am as unhappy as I am with the position I am in.

Oh the life of a former stay at home mom................

September 17, 2011

The Beginning of Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, long ago, before Twitter, Facebook & Myspace there were chat rooms on a place called "America Online" (AOL).  Many people, often lonely, would go to talk trash, act like people they weren't, entertain themselves & look for love - or their version of it anyway.  


This, my friends, is how Ryan & I met.  The fabulous world of AOL!  It was completely by chance (or...by God!) too.  The chat rooms had so many different categories, anyone could create their own room if they wanted to & anyone could go in and chat from anywhere.  But, on one boring night in 2002, both Ryan & I just happened to be in the same Christian chat room (out of hundreds) at the same time looking to fill the void with entertainment, friendship and, possibly, love.

I'm not quite sure of the exact wording but this is possibly how it went down:
WORL211:  Anyone here from Indianapolis?
WCDiver77:  I am!  19/F/Indy
WORL211:  22/M/New Orleans You know of anything going on up there?
WCDiver77:  hmm..nope, y?
WORL211:   IMing you (that means "instant messaging" lol)

And so it began.....our friendship, our relationship, our love.....our happily ever after.

Ryan was stationed in New Orleans as a Corpsman in the U.S Coastguard.  So our long distance friendship began.  Over the months we got to know each other while still living our own very separate lives.  I was still looking for love in all the wrong places & he was still "having a good time" in New Orleans.  The moment came....he was coming home for Christmas to visit his family & we were to meet up.  He was going to call me when he got into town & had a free moment.  I think the plan was for him to come to my apartment & hang out.  This was not new to me, I had met many people in person off the internet.  Never at my apartment, though...for some reason I felt Ryan was different.

Ring....Ring....Ring....heart pounding, OMGosh its him...he's calling me....what do I do??  Answer it?  Should I?  Oh no...second thoughts - I'm not ready for anything serious...is he wanting something serious?  Have we already gotten more serious over our chats on the phone than I'm ready for?  Oh My Goodness - WHAT DO I DO?!?!?  Crap......go to voicemail.


 
That was it - Christmas of 2002 - we were supposed to meet up and I chickened out.  That was the end of it.....

Or was it?



Fast forward almost 2 years to August 2004.  I went on a trip to Cancun, Mexico with a guy I thought I knew well enough.  Turns out I didn't & what I thought was a friendly trip to Cancun turned into him leaving me halfway through our trip to go home to his girlfriend (whom I did not know about).  Before you get all judgmental let me inform you the sleeping arrangements & my thoughts about what the trip was supposed to be was different from what he thought/wanted them to be.  I reserved a room with 2 beds & I slept by myself, in my own bed, every night.  Three days into it & he left me.  I rode out my vacation & made it home safely - Thank God!

Why did I tell you that little story that seems to have absolutely nothing to do with our little "happily ever after"?  Well, because it has everything to do with it.  You see, since that day in December, 2002 when I ignored Ryan's call to meet up we hadn't chatted.  He must have been a bit miffed from my ignoring of his call & we both had moved on with our lives.  Or had we?

Soon after I returned from my vacation with myself, Ryan & I reconnected.  I was SO anxious to tell someone about my trip - probably looking for him to feel sorry for me.  We both kept each other on our "Buddy List" on AOL which made it easy to IM when we were both on.  One of us IMed the other (not sure who did it first, probably me!) & we started chatting again.  I told him all about my vacation & in that moment it happened - we had rekindled whatever feelings we had planted 2 years prior. 

I remember chatting with Ryan on the phone one time while I was driving home to get ready for a date.  Haha, yeah....I was going on a date - but, come on, I still hadn't met this guy (Ryan) in person & I had already had this date set with a guy I had a crush on for a while so I was going!  Anywho - this guy called for directions while I was talking to Ryan.  I put Ryan on hold, told the guy how to get to my house, then clicked back over and said my goodbyes to Ryan.  The date obviously didn't go well - we just didn't "click."  I honestly think the reason we didn't click was because deep within me I was already connected to Ryan - even if we had 'just' reconnected a couple weeks before.  The seed that was planted 2 years ago had started to take root.

First picture I ever saw of Ryan
 Weeks went by & our conversations got deeper.  This time it seemed a little different because his time in the Coast Guard would soon be completed.  He was planning on being discharged at the end of the year.  We had a better grasp on what we wanted with our lives & saw an actual date when we would finally be able to be together.  By September 15, 2004, we decided we would be exclusive - we would not see other people & would focus on getting to know one another even more.  Remember, we still had yet to meet in person.  All we had were pictures of each other & what we knew from chatting all the time.


The weeks turned into months & we learned more & more about each other & even ourselves.  Our friendship turned into a relationship & our relationship turned into a deep bond neither of us really saw happening - but it did.  We learned more about each other from our chats than anyone will ever know.  We opened up about our fears, regrets, mistakes, happy moments, what excited us, our past (even if it hurt the other person), our plans for the future, our families & on & on.  Everything you learn about someone over the course of dating them but we didn't have the distraction of physically being next to one another.  When we may have just been making out or watching a movie we talked.  We began to tell our secrets & be honest with each other which some relationships never have.  I can remember Ryan calling me after Halloween & telling me he hadn't been completely honest with me about his partying but he was now done with it.  He didn't want that lifestyle anymore.  That had to take guts & trust to be able to tell me something like that.  I also recall telling Ryan about my past & us both breaking down on the phone.  I hurt so badly knowing this man had saved himself for me & he was broken over the fact that I hadn't saved myself for him.  My heart felt like it was ripped out of my chest, I thought I was going to lose him.  It was awful - but we grew so strong from then on out.  These conversations had to happen & in the way they did.  Had we been chatting eye to eye I'm not so sure they would have ended the way they did.


Thanksgiving rolled around & Ryan always spent it with his Aunt & some family friends in Florida.  By this time we already knew we would spend the rest of our lives together.  Kind of strange to everyone around us since we still had yet to meet in person & lets be honest here, my family & friends had seen my history with guys that I eventually got bored with & dumped.  I can only imagine what their thoughts were about this whole relationship.  Anyway, the day after Thanksgiving came - Black Friday.  Ryan went shopping!  Guess what he bought??  I don't even know why he told me but he did - he bought an engagement ring.  Now....I know this sounds completely strange for us to have felt this amazing connection before ever meeting in person, but we did.  A connection so deep Ryan bought a ring.  Yes, as shocked as you all reading this probably are, I was too.  But, it just showed how sure he was about us - that felt amazing.

The moment came again when we were going to finally be face to face.  Christmas of 2004!  Exactly 2 years after our first chance at meeting that never happened (whoops, lol).  The plan was for him to be able to come home for Christmas & not have to go back since he would be discharged, finished with his time in the Coast Guard.  The Coast Guard, however, had different plans.  They simply said, "No, you'll have to wait until after Christmas."  

ARE      YOU     KIDDING     ME??  

Ugh....all of this built up excitement & anticipation lost at the hands of the Coast Guard.  Fabulous.......this sucks.  Now what?  I'm going to be sad on Christmas & my man has to spend his all alone.  Who wants to spend Christmas alone?  Hmmm......then came the bright idea!


I'm flying down there....I'm gonna do it.  I'm putting my butt on a plane & flying to New Orleans to spend the weekend of Christmas with Ryan!  The man I will someday marry is NOT going to spend Christmas alone!  And - maybe this will make up for 2 years ago when I chickened out! ha ha  Ignoring my family & friends' thoughts about flying down there, I bought a ticket.  They all thought I was crazy & I'm certain were scared for my life.  They had never met Ryan, heck, neither had I, but I knew him.  I really KNEW him.  I felt like I knew him inside & out - I had gotten to know his heart, his mind, his soul.  They just didn't understand.

Actual email between Ryan & I before we finally met in person


The plane ride had to be the shortest & longest trip ever.  I was so excited & anxious to finally be able to put my arms around Ryan but once I landed I was SO nervous.  What if all these months of falling in love with each other were for nothing & we just don't click in person?  What if we aren't really attracted to each other?  What if?!?!  I can't exactly ignore his phone call this time - I'm on a freaking plane to New Orleans!

Oh crap....the plane has landed.  I actually have to get off this plane.  Its like 10:00pm - maybe later, I can't remember.  I just remember sitting in my seat...looking around as everyone was anxiously waiting to be able to get off the plane & I was a nervous wreck.  I called Ryan as soon as I was able to tell him we landed.  He told me where he was, what he was wearing & I told him I'd be carrying a pink pillow, you couldn't miss me.  I also told him I was going to wait until I was the last person off the plane just to make him wait that much longer.  Honestly, I just didn't want anyone around when we finally did meet up.  I was afraid it would be completely awkward & everybody would be looking at us.

Here it goes - the last person off the plane.  I'm still talking to Ryan as I get my luggage out of the overhead bin, grab my pillow & head off the plane.
 
Ryan:  Are you off the plane yet?
Me:  I'm off the plane headed your way.
Ryan:  Where are you? Where are you?
Me:  I'm carrying a big pink pillow, you can't miss me.  Where are you?
Ryan:  I'm standing right outside the doors waiting on you.  Oh, I see you!
Me:  I see you too!
Ryan:  Come & get me! (with his snarky little tone, lol)

 
Pretty sure I started walking faster at that moment.  I passed the doors to where Ryan was standing, dropped everything I had & it was "movie moment" time.  You know, when the two actors finally reach the much anticipated embrace & the camera circles around them.  Yeah, it was like that.  Exactly like that.  I'm sure if someone was there who knew what was going on they would have gotten butterflies in their tummy, smiled that smile, got that "awe" look in their eyes & possibly even shed a tear.  

That moment we embraced solidified everything we had felt over the past several months.  Feeling his arms around me for the first time is something I will never forget.  The strength & softness - I felt safe, secure, home.  Next was our first kiss.  WOW....this was it.  THIS is what the movies are like in real life.  THIS is what every girl dreams of.  THIS is everything.  

There is something amazing about falling in love with someone before seeing them in person. I think every mother can relate - we love our child in our womb before ever seeing them. Then that moment comes when you finally get to meet them face to face & you are overcome with emotion. Yeah, that's exactly what it was like.

And so began our happily ever after......


Our First Picture Together

Our First Date



A Letter From Ryan Soon After He Was Home For Good


September 8, 2011

WE made it!

It's here - the 1st birthday of my baby girl.  Now, I know that is a celebration in itself but that isn't what this blog is about.  This blog is about 
BREASTFEEDING!

Yes - I want to celebrate the 1 year mark of breastfeeding! 

I had my struggles at first, but I was determined to battle through them.  I made it 5-6 weeks with Declan & I wasn't going to be overwhelmed this time & quit.  I knew if I took it 1 week at a time, then 1 month at a time it wouldn't seem so bad.  My first goal was to make it past 6 weeks.  Next it was 3 months - then 6 months - then 1 year.  We are here.....1 year of breastfeeding.

Of course, I did give expressed milk in a bottle to Averley but I still think that is considered breastfeeding since she still only got mommy's milk.  Some may disagree but I don't care. :)
I don't write this blog to try to make anyone feel bad.  This is strictly about me, my battles, my struggles & overcoming them all.  Yes, I am tooting my own horn....because I can & I want to.  I am PROUD to be able to say I breastfed my daughter for 1 year.  The commitment in itself can be overwhelming, then you add in daily tasks, taking care of other children, trying to take care of the house & have dinner made.  I did it!  Thank you Jesus for giving me the strength to get through each day to be able to give my daughter the best thing she could ever get.
There were so many times throughout Declan's 1st year that I felt so sad that I gave up.  I felt like I somehow disappointed him.  My friends were going strong breastfeeding their kids & I gave up.  It hurt me.  

Not this time!
It was a struggle, like everything is when you have a newborn but WE made it.  I didn't give up on her & she fought through our struggles with me.  It actually took me until she was 6 months to enjoy nursing her - 6 months!  She is now a gymnast breastfeeder!  She will latch on no matter her position as long as she can get to it she will take it!  She likes to rip at my shirt in the most improper places (like the state fair, middle of Walmart, out to dinner) - she doesn't care where we are, when she wants it, SHE WANTS IT!


We are now at the point where people ask me when I'm going to stop.  Well - I don't really have a choice in that matter.  Its up to Averley to decide when she doesn't need/want to anymore.  No - I'm not going to be nursing her until she is 6 you crazy people, but stopping at 1 year???  Its not necessary.  The AAP actually recommends breastfeeding as long as it both mutually desired. So get it out of your heads that its "gross" - cuz its not.  Many sites say a child will "self-ween" when they are ready - usually around 18 months.


We will see how it goes - one day at a time.  I'm not going to lie, it will be nice when I can be gone overnight or even just for a day & not have to worry about nursing my daughter or needing to pump.  However, I LOVE seeing her look up at me with those big blue eyes & then smiling with milk dribbling out of the side of her mouth as she giggles!



Here's to us Averley!!!  Love you baby girl!!
Happy Happy 1st Birthday!!

August 27, 2011

Breaking Point (Warning: Trigger)

We all have it.  We've all been there.  The "Breaking Point."  That moment in a situation when you cannot take it anymore & something snaps.  Some are better than others at handling it, some...not so much.  Some people have short fuses while others seem to have the never ending fuse.  But that moment in time still happens.  Its a part of our sinful human nature.  Some people yell, others cry.  Some people run to others while some go off on their own.  Some people hurt themselves, while others....hurt....helpless....innocent....perfect....babies.
I'm holding back the tears while writing this.  Its something so deeply a part of my heart that I cannot...no, I REFUSE to hold it in anymore.  Something HAS to be done.  There are far too many news articles telling of a death of an innocent child due to "blunt force trama" or some other awful wording.


The National Child Abuse & Neglect Data System (NCANDS) says "based on the data received, a nationally estimated 1,770 children died from abuse & neglect in 2008."  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!?! "The number & rate of fatalities have been increasing in the past 5 years."  SOMEBODY RIP MY HEART OUT!  "46.2 percent of child fatalities were younger than 1 year..."  OK...NOW I'M....I'M...UGH!!!  I don't think there is a word that describes the amount of hurt & anger I am feeling right now!

www.everychildmatters.org says "According to the report, nearly five children die in America every day from abuse or neglect. In fact, federal data show that 10,440 children in the U.S. died from abuse and neglect between 2001 and 2007, but experts say the real number may be as many as 5,000 higher."  I need a punching bag right now....

Now this may come as a shocker to some of you - the highest percentage of child fatalities goes to........which race do you think it is????  Please, take a wild guess.

WHITE/CAUCASION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you surprised??  Is your jaw on the floor?  Why should you be surprised??  White people sin too!  Did you know that?!?!  At a 39.2% white people ring in with the highest percentage of child fatalities - next in line is African American with 29.1%, Hispanic comes in 3rd at a 17.0%, unknown race is at 11.2% & you cap it off with 3.6% for everything else including mixed race.

Are you angry yet?  Seriously, as I've written this blog, so far I've gone through so many emotions I've lost track. 
Ok...so, I get that rallies have been done & organizations have formed & politicians have spoke about, and on and on and on.  But what can I do??  WHAT CAN I DO?!?!  Educating young parents is one thing, giving them brochures & articles about parenting, yeah, okay - that's all fabulous.  But, someone please tell me what happens when these parents go home with their newborn child and cannot take the sleepless nights, the crying that happens & you can't stop it, more sleepless nights, exhaustion, more crying & nothing you do stops it, and all you want is to get some sleep, then more crying....and then it happens....THE...BREAKING....POINT.  Then its too late - the child has lost his or her life because that person who is supposed to protect & care for him or her met The Breaking Point.
 

What if....
What if....
What if....


What if that person had someone to call....someone who could be there in a matter of minutes no matter the hour?  Someone who could say - put the child down in a safe place, go outside and wait for me to arrive....What if?  What if.....?


I read an article today - 8/27/2010 - about a mom, 22 years old, who's baby, 2 month old innocent, perfect, helpless baby boy died of "multiple blunt-force traumatic injuries."  This woman lives right down the street from me.  RIGHT DOWN THE STREET!  WHAT IF?!?  What if I could have saved this child's life IF IF IF IF IF she could have called me before she met The Breaking Point? IF IF IF IF I could have been there within 3 minutes!!  What if........would this baby still be alive?  What if......


Somebody - anybody - email me.  I can't take this anymore, something has to be done.  I want to start a movement - I want to start a revival - I want to start ANYTHING THAT WILL HELP THESE YOUNG INNOCENT BABIES!  I have my idea on how I can help but I can't do it alone....if you are interested please contact me.  If you have any type of know-how on how to do something like this please contact me.  No more.....It stops now....join me, please, I can't do it on my own.



August 1, 2011

Boo Boos :(

It happened during bath time July 28th - Declan's first really big boo boo :(  He's had his scrapes & bruises, nothing that has ever needed a band-aid (amazingly enough).  This was way worse than anything we have ever seen him do.

Bath time with Declan & Averley - Declan is in the back of the tub, standing up, pouring water on himself & Averley (he thinks its hilarious).  I leave while Ryan takes over & I hear a thud...a squeal, then silence as Declan holds his breath in because he is in so much pain and has no idea what the heck just happened....that silence before the scream.  Breathe Declan, Breathe!  SCREEEAAAMM!!!!  He was NOT happy - and rightly so, I mean, he just busted his face on the hard bathtub!  I run in there, thinking he must have just fallen and scared himself - it was way worse.  He sees me "Oh its mom, mom makes everything feel better, I WANT MOM!"  All he really said was, "Ma" and reached for me but we all know he was thinking it.  His gash looks pretty bad - Ryan & I both agree he needs to be taken somewhere to see if he needs stitches.

I get Declan put together - diaper & clothes put on while Ryan calls the on-call doctor - it was around 7pm.  Oh CRAP!  Averley is still in the bath...alone.  Dear Lord please tell me she is safe.  RYAN!  Averley is still in the bath!!!  He gets her out, we switch kids - he heads to Immediate Care with Declan.

Not even a mile away from our house....sirens.  Ryan's getting pulled over for...you guessed it...SPEEDING!  Well, DUH!  Declan is in the back still crying with blood on his face.  Mr. Officer "Take my time" finally arrives to Ryan's window despite him waving the officer up there to get him to come quicker.  They exchange words, the story, where he was headed and the officer follows him into the parking lot to make sure that is where he was going.  As if the gash & crying toddler wasn't enough proof!

Immediate Care - here's my son, this is what happened, here's the insurance card.  "We don't take your insurance so we can't see your son."  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?  My goodness - this night is just getting better!  Off to the hospital they go!

They arrive at Hancock Memorial Hospital - check in and do what everybody else is doing - sit & wait.  Its 7:30pm - Declan normally goes to bed at 8pm so its already getting close to his bed time.  Not to mention he has a gash on his forehead!  They give Ryan an ice pack - because a 2 year old TOTALLY wants ice cold anything on his face.  Sure...thanks.

Fast forward to 9:30pm - they still have not been seen by a doctor.  Declan is tired, his gash stopped bleeding so Ryan heads home.  We figured we would call the doc in the morning and see what he says.  I ended up taking him up to the office where Ryan works so the docs there could check him out.  They said it looked great, was starting to heal and didn't need any stitches.  

That was a crazy day!

June 30, 2011

Why Trash the Dress??

Recently I was able to be a part of what is called "Trash the Dress" - its where you get in your wedding gown & do the unthinkable....trash it!  The photographer from our wedding had asked for brides to do it & I was all for it.  Why you may ask? (Which, a lot of you have with very concerned & disapproving looks on your faces!)  A few reasons....


The first reason I will get to in a bit as it is why I am actually writing this blog.  The second reason - What else am I going to do with this dress?  It's not like I have this desire for my daughter to hopefully wear my dress on her wedding day - not to mention it will probably be out of style by then anyway (even though I feel my dress is super awesome). The third reason - WHY NOT?!?!?!

Channeling my inner "Bo Derek"
Okay - to get to the first reason I wanted to "Trash the Dress".  I need to preface this with I am sorry if I hurt anyone for saying some of the things I am going to say.  I will keep everything & everyone anonymous in order to protect you because I love you.  I have forgiven you & this is not to "bring it up again" but to help me work through emotions that I have felt since then.  Okay - hope you understand and here we go.

I chose to trash my dress mainly because I needed to.  I needed to do something to signify letting go of some of the things that went on before, during and after my wedding day.  My wedding was beautiful, don't get me wrong, but what I found out after the fact kind of tarnished my memories.  Thank God I did not know these things before or during my wedding because the day probably wouldn't have happened or certain people who are important to both Ryan & me would not have been allowed to be there.  We all know how important it is to have those we are close to & love to be there on such a significant day as a wedding so that would have been so difficult if that was the case.

Looking back on that day and those leading up to it, I see all of the signs that I should have noticed.  These people, whom I love dearly, hid certain things from a lot of us.  Maybe more people knew what was going on & I was just too ignorant to see it, I don't know.  I just wish things were different.  My wedding day - it was amazing, I had a wonderful time, things didn't go perfectly - which is okay, I'm married which is all that really matters....but learning things after the fact have made certain aspects of my wedding day tarnished.  Special parts of it that are supposed to be the best moments of your wedding....tarnished.  

Trashing my dress was a release.....a release of all these feelings I've been keeping bottled inside me since I learned of these things.  It was therapeutic even.  I am hoping I can move on from these tarnished memories & have a "re-wedding day" on our 5 year anniversary.  Just a little renewing of our vows, something little.  I feel I deserve it - yes, I said that...I deserve it.  Some may think I'm crazy when I say that because, truly, my wedding day was gorgeous - but I think those who are involved and know what I am talking about may understand what I mean when I say that.

I think all brides should "Trash the Dress" - even if you don't have a reason to like I did....because it was so much fun despite almost drowning a couple times and being completely sore from trying to channel my inner Bo Derek. :)

 
















  There you have it.....the reason I "Trashed the Dress".

I do need to add - I am in love with these pictures.  I do not say that to "toot my own horn" because I honestly never in a million years felt like I could look the way I do in these pictures.  Especially after having 2 kids and seeing my body morph into a giant blob with skin that looks like a road map from all the stretch marks.  I've had my fair share of days in which I have felt nobody could/did find me pretty.  If I ever feel the slightest bit ugly or unattractive all I have to do is look at these pictures and I will feel like a supermodel again.  I can't thank our photographer enough, Joshua McCoy, for allowing me to be a part of this.  It was amazing in so many ways.  I may have been sore for 5 days after because apparently swimming in your wedding dress is extremely tiring for your muscles, but it was SO worth it.
This is by far my favorite picture

June 13, 2011

Bad Mommy Award Goes to Me!

I'm just going to start out saying it - Averley fell off our bed. :(  It was all my fault too.

Lately, when Averley wakes up at 5 or 6am, I bring her into our room & nurse her so I can still get a little bit more rest until she is really up for the day.  She usually falls asleep while nursing & I don't get up again until she wakes up (or Declan wakes up, whichever is first).  This morning, however, I had to wake up at 6:30 to get ready for *GASP* work.  Ryan gently wakes me up so not to disturb Averley sleeping in my arms.  I free my legs from under the sheets as quietly as I can & then I'm left with Averley's head laying on my right arm.  Hmmm....how am I going to maneuver this one without waking her up?  Ryan comes over & lightly lifts her head as I pull my arm out from under her.  She rustles a little bit but once Ryan put her head back down on the soft bed she was right back asleep, laying on her left side with her left arm under her head and her right arm flung back behind her (looked totally uncomfortable but it worked for her).

As I got up out of bed, I told Ryan I was afraid of her falling out of bed while I was in the shower.  He said he would stay there with her until I got out & he had to leave for work.  She stayed asleep the entire time I showered & got dressed.

Then I had to go out of the bedroom because the babysitter had arrived & Declan had woke up.  I kept checking in on her here & there making sure she was still sound asleep - each time she still hadn't moved.

It was now 7:30am, I was in the kitchen pouring Declan some milk when I heard it....the loud THUD that every mom hates to hear but knows what it is.  The THUD of your child falling out of bed. :(

I'm pretty sure I said a curse word & ran into the bedroom as Averley catched her breath so she could scream as loud as she knows how.  She's on all fours, face down to the ground, head hanging low, sad as can be.  I picked her up and held her as she screamed in fear of not knowing what the heck just happened.  All she did was roll over a couple times to see where she was as she slowly woke up from her deep sleep.  She sure did get a "wake up call" when she rolled right out of bed and hit the floor.  Awful....I feel awful...I'm a horrible mom.

I walked around with her for a little bit, walked into the living room where the babysitter was with Declan.  Averley reached out to her - "Get me away from this lady, she let me fall out of bed!"  She wasn't calming down so I took her back into the room & did what I knew would calm her down - nursed her.  She was still trying to catch her breath as she latched on - she just sat there, tears still on her face and welling up in her eyes, staring at me, still not knowing what the heck just happened - but she knew now that she was safe, secure, in her mommy's arms, cuddled up next to her favorite place :)

She sat there for a few just looking at me, trying to pick at my moles/freckles (apparently they are just so fascinating), then sat up & smiled.  All better!

She may have been all better - but I am still a bit traumatized.  I still feel terrible that I left her on my bed - I knew better.  I just didn't want to wake her.  Never again will I let this happen.

There you have it - after all that and I still had to leave for work...seriously?  Oh - and Aunt Flo arrived, the day just can't get any worse right?  UGH!!!!

May 20, 2011

A whole lot of nothing turned into something

Where do I start?  When does it end?  That is kind of how I feel some days.  I am tired but can't sleep, so I'll write.

There are many things on my mind lately - especially with the death/murder of my sister's brother-in-law.  He was just 27 years old.  So young....wait, that's how old I am.  I can't imagine it.  I don't want to.  He is the youngest person I have ever known personally that has lost their life.  27.....it sucks.

Seeing someone that young lying in a casket really puts your life into perspective.  It can be gone in a matter of seconds.  One decision, one choice, one mishap, one wrong turn, one minute later, one minute sooner, running the almost red light, rolling through the stop sign, stopping at the stop sign, saying no, saying yes, choosing to go out instead of staying in....it doesn't matter what you do, any decision you make can possibly put you in the wrong place at the wrong time.  You just never know.  That sucks.

So what do you do?  Live life as a hermit, be scared for your life every single minute of every day?  Go crazy from the thought of not being safe if I step foot outside my door?  Some people say yes.....but will you truly be living?

This world sucks.  I have been talking to God a lot lately and one thing I have been saying over and over is the best & worst thing He ever did for us was give us a choice.  We ALWAYS seem to screw it up.  Well, maybe not always but we do screw up.  But, would I rather make my mistakes & learn from them or be a robot?

Its 11:20pm - I don't know the last time I saw that hour unless I was being woken up by Averley to snack on some mommy milk.  These past 2 weeks have been emotionally draining for a lot of my family members, so stressful many have lost more weight than they should in 2 weeks time & I don't know if they will ever feel like it will get better.

I feel like people take their family for granted.  We just assume we will get to see them tomorrow.  We assume they will be there.  We assume nothing will ever happen to them.  So we forget.....forget to call, forget to visit, forget to make time to get together, forget to say I love you.

One thing I love about my family is we always say "I love you" - always.  When we end a phone conversation, when we are (always) hugging goodbye, when we just drive by for a little visit - doesn't matter.  Even my 25 year old brother says it - even if he is at work or around his buddies.  We have a bond that most families never get a chance to know.  Its this underlying "thing" that we all feel, we all know is there & we all nurture every chance we get.

I should go to bed...but I want to leave you with one thing.  Don't take your family for granted.  Take as many pictures as you can, call them every chance you get, go visit them as much as you can.  You never know if you will get to see them tomorrow.  Good night & I love you!

April 25, 2011

Not so Happy Easter :(

Easter weekend - filled with food, fun & family.  Egg coloring, egg hunts, candy, Easter baskets, getting together with family, getting dressed up for church - all a part of the fun Easter weekend.  Unless you lived in our house this weekend!

It began Friday in the early morning hours, somewhere around 1:00am - Averley is crying.  I go & nurse her back to sleep, back to bed I go.  2:15am - Averley is crying.  I go & nurse her back to sleep, back to bed I go.  3:15am - Averley is crying.  I go in to give her her pacifier, she's burning up.  I go get the Tylenol, give her a dose, nurse her back to sleep.  I'm exhausted at this point.  She wakes up again at 6:30am - still very warm.  Declan wakes up with a cough & a slight fever.  And so it begins.....


Friday:
Declan starts out with diarrhea & a temp of 100.4.  Averley has a temp of 101.5.  This day wasn't too bad, Averley slept quite a bit but Declan only napped for an hour.

Friday night into Saturday morning:

Kids are in bed by 8pm.  Declan sleeps through the night with the occasional cough disturbing his slumber - but ends up sleeping 13 hours.  Averley is up so many times throughout the night I lost count.  At one point Ryan is up with her for an hour as she sleeps on his chest until the dishwasher that was on a delayed start turns on & wakes her up.  Ryan had stripped her down to just her diaper because she was so hot - when the dishwasher woke up her he noticed she had pooped & it had gotten all over his shirt, pants, the couch & her.  Diarrhea.  Yuck.  I wake up & take over to give him a break.  Throughout the night we just keep rotating each time she would wake up.

Saturday:
We called the pediatrician's office & found they were actually open!  Declan had acquired a croupy cough & Averley's temp topped out at 102, Declan's at 101.4.  We took the kids to the doctor around 10:30am.  Ears look fine, breathing sounds ok, throats look good - only thing is they are running this fever, have diarrhea & Declan's cough.  We were told they more than likely have a virus that hits children across the nation around this time of year.  They had seen a lot of it that week (along with strep throat).  They gave us a prescription for a steroid for Declan to help with the inflammation of his vocal cords & told us to continue what we were doing.  Gave us some things to look for in case they didn't get better but for the most part we just have to wait out the virus.


Saturday night into Sunday morning:
Declan slept through the night again.  Averley was up around 2am, I gave her some Tylenol, then she was up again at 3:15 for an hour with Ryan, again at 5:30am with me - at this time she actually fell asleep in my arms while I was rocking her.  I tried to sleep in the chair in her room with her but it was just way too uncomfortable.  I put her down, she wakes up but I leave the room.  I guess she fell asleep because I didn't wake up again until 7:30am.


Sunday:
Oh man - today was the culmination of lack of sleep for everyone.  I don't know if there was a point during this day that Declan was not whining about something.  But it wasn't his fault....he was over tired.  We had Easter lunch at Ryan's Aunt's house at 1pm - only we didn't actually eat until 1:45pm.  Had we known lunch was going to be LATE we would have stayed home a while longer & let the kids take a nap.  Declan was so tired he didn't even want to eat - would have much rather cried.  Poor guy.  They both fell asleep on the car ride over but woke up as soon as we opened the van doors.  By the time we got home at 2:30 both kids were exhausted, crying & I was at my wits end.  I was frustrated that we weren't given a heads up about the late lunch, I was tired from lack of asleep, I was annoyed by all the crying - I needed a nap myself.  Thankfully Ryan was okay with my taking that much needed nap.  I slept for about 2 hours - I probably could have slept longer if I didn't feel a little guilty about taking that nap.


My side of the family was having Easter dinner at my brother's house - I drove over to drop off a broccoli casserole & pick up some left overs for us.  I called everyone in the house & not one person answered the phone....I was already feeling sorry for myself & then nobody answering their phone just made me even more sad.  By the time I got there I was about ready to crack.  My mom, sister & nephew met me at the door & I was so into how awful my whole weekend had been that I couldn't even crack a smile & say Happy Easter to my nephew.  Ridiculous!  I couldn't even really make eye contact with anyone or I would have burst into tears right there.  I got hugs from my mom & sister, grabbed my food & left.


I let it out on the drive home - I let myself cry.  I didn't realize how not being with my family on a holiday made me feel.  Just thinking about how much fun they were having while I was at home with crabby, sick kids.  Then I started feeling sorry for myself again.  Pathetic!


I was so thankful when the kids went to bed - EARLY!  I don't think I could have taken much more.  I'm certain there will be more days/weekends/holidays just like this one & patience for these trying times probably comes over time.  I am so thankful the weekend is over.


It is now Monday - Averley woke up with no fever.  Declan is still crabby but I am putting that on the steroids he is taking, which this is the last day for them.


I'm sure nobody really cares to read my hour by hour weekend, haha - but this is really more to have documentation than anything.  Some day the kids can read this & see everything they have put us through! haha :)~  I love my kids!

April 21, 2011

So many thoughts.....

Well, its been a while since I last posted.  The reason being - I've been busy.  In all of my free time I have been working on a secret project that still has to remain a secret until I finish it.  I will post pictures as soon as it is finished.  What kind of project you may ask?  Well, that is a secret too.  If I tell you what kind of project it will give it away.  So - look for my big reveal in a few weeks.  YES - it is/has taken me this long to work on it & get it finished!

On to my next thought:  Breastfeeding!

A while ago I blogged about the struggles I have had with breastfeeding.  How I didn't really enjoy it & it was just difficult for me so I moved on to pumping & feeding from a bottle except at night.  About a month after that post I met with someone & she talked to me about the importance of having the baby at the breast & the little extra stuff that happens with the baby's saliva & some other stuff I don't really remember.

So, I went home & tried it again.  I grabbed Averley, sat down on the couch & attempted the dreaded task of breastfeeding that I just didn't enjoy.  Averley latched on like it was nothing & we had the best breastfeeding experience ever.  HALLELUJAH!  As long as she continues to latch on so easily & nurses well I am DONE pumping!

Two months later & we are still exclusively breastfeeding....AND ENJOYING IT!  I get it now - I get how a mother & child has that bonding time.  I get why some mom's don't want to give up that night time feeding.  I get how personal it is.  I get how mom's love breastfeeding.  It took me this long but I SO get it now.

Nursing Averley to sleep at night, watching her eyes slowly shut, listening to her cute little hums as she drifts into sleep, her arm flailing around like a crazy lady praising Jesus & then it smacking onto my chest leaving a little red hand print, her cold hands on my warm skin, her tiny sharp fingernails scratching places that I don't want scratched as she kneads my boob trying to get the milk faster, our eyes locked onto each other - I smile at her, she grins at me as milk dribbles out the sides of her mouth.  I love it...I love it all.  Why did I miss out on this in the beginning??  It is so beautiful!


On to my other thoughts......

Declan & his ABC's!
Declan is beginning to repeat letters & it is SO stinkin' cute.  Watching the way he moves his cute little mouth to form the letters is something I could watch all day.  When he says 'O' his little lips move to one side of his mouth & his sweet little voice sounds adorable.  He loves the letter 'T' & 'O' - he will find those 2 letters on our fridge magnets & bring them to me.  


He has also added a few more words to his vocabulary.  He now says pawpaw for Grampa (yes, I know that is spelled wrong but that is what it is!).  He says 'Bell' for Annabelle.  We think he said Ashton today too....not sure though :)


He is at the most fun age right now.  Wrestling around, cuddling, dancing, wanting to be independent.  Loves to be outside when the weather permits.  SO very much looking forward to the summer.


Averley
She is a rolling machine - which frustrates her to no end because she sometimes isn't wanting to roll but crawl & instead...she flops over onto her back.  Then she cries out of frustration.  Its pretty funny.  She will be on her belly, pull her legs in, butt up in the air & then for some reason will start to go onto her side & then FLOP, onto her back.  She's almost there - it wont be long & she will be crawling all over the place.


We are going to start feeding her some table food as long as what we are having can be "gummed" :)  She loves shoving those little puffs into her mouth by the handful & ate a graham cracker today pretty well.  Maybe its time for little pieces of food!


I think that's all for now - hopefully I will be able to write more often if I can get all the kids down for naps at the same time like I did today!  Woohoo!

March 28, 2011

"Dai of Hope"


This past Saturday - March 26th - our family was able to be a part of a wonderful event called "A Dai of Hope - Adaila Roach Benefit Concert".  Adaila is the 5 1/2 year old daughter of a good friend of mine & faces a multitude of health struggles.  Her mom, Megan, is who I have to thank for my relationship with Jesus Christ.  She was the first person who invited me to church when I moved from Muncie to Indianapolis.  It was her & her family who kept me involved in the church & were my mentors as I went through my teenage years.

I almost feel indebted to Megan & her family because I don't know where I would be in my life had they not taken the time to care about my salvation.  Being a part of this concert that will help pay for Adaila's medical bills & give her family one less thing they have to worry about so they can focus fully on Adaila (& their family) is the least I can do.

The whole day was so emotional.  There were lots of fun things to do, great bands, artists & groups performing, vendor booths, silent auctions, food - wherever you looked you could find things to do.  There was always that "thing", though, that we all knew why we were there.  The whole day was dedicated to a brave & strong 5 1/2 year old who has gone through more than most of us have gone through in our 20, 30, 40 years of life.  That is what made it so emotional.

During the event they had a Father/Daughter dance where Adaila's dad, Dustin, held his beautiful Princess Adaila & danced to the song "The Climb".  It was an emotional dance & "strong" me held back my tears - then I looked over at Megan's dad (Adaila's grandpa).....I lost it.  Don doesn't hold back his tears, and really, who could when you know how much your grandchild goes through on a daily basis but still has a beautiful smile on her face.  Goodness, I'm crying right now just thinking about it!

I was chatting with Megan at one point during the event & she was talking to me about some pictures that were posted on some of the collages put together for the event.  As she talked about some of the pictures of her baby girl from the many times she was hospitalized her eyes welled up & as a single tear dropped out of her left eye, I felt that thing in my throat...I held it back, swallowed it back down.  My heart ached for her & I so wanted to wrap my arms around her & just hold her but then I would have lost it & we would have been a sobbing mess.

Adaila was actually not feeling well on Saturday.  She had come down with a fever on Tuesday & with rest, pumping food into her & powerful prayer she was able to be well enough to attend this event & with her beautiful smile!  She never turned down a photo or hug & was in good spirits.  We are all so happy she was able to enjoy the day.  Her smile & the joy she has in her life despite the struggles she faces will make your heart smile.

I don't know what else to say about this amazing little girl, Adaila, or about the event except she is just amazing, beautiful & strong & the event was amazing, wonderful & successful.  Adaila is a blessing to every person she comes into contact with & redefines the definition of "strong" - you don't know "strong" until you meet this little girl.

If you want to be a part of blessing Adaila you can still donate at this site:  http://neccindy.org/?page_id=280

You can also check out this site to read more about Adaila's health issues from the "Letter from Dad":  http://www.orgsites.com/in/daiofhope/index.html



Thank you Adaila for showing me the beauty of God in the eyes of a child.  I love you & thank you for being such a blessing to all of us.