Tuesday, December 1, 2009


A snapshot of my morning for the past 21 days.

Me: Do you want milk?
Gabriel: Waaaaahhh!

Me: Do you want some cereal?
Gabriel: Uuuuuhhhhh!

Me: Let's play with your blocks.
Gabriel: No!

Me: Let's read a book.
Gabriel: Mmmmaaaamamamamama!

The whine.

I hate whining. I know I'm not alone. In fact, most people probably find this part of childhood particularly annoying. But for me, it's on a whole different level. Constant whining is my idea of life in hell.

Dictionary.com defines "whine" as:

1. to utter a low, usually nasal, complaining cry or sound, as from uneasiness, discontent, peevishness, etc.
2. to snivel or complain in a peevish, self-pitying way

Peevish, self-pitying. Yep. That would describe what I've been hearing on a constant basis for the last 3 weeks. The sound of that "uuuuuhhhhhhh......" all day long in that distinct pitch of voice makes me want to set myself on fire.

Right now I'm working on a cure for whining. So far I'm 0 for 458. Is there hope? Is there relief from this stage? If your answer is "when they're 18 and out of your house," you are not helpful. Try again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"I love being a girl"

I'm such a girl sometimes. I cry, I pout, I produce more drama in my life than I have executive rights for. I usually say way too much and have a difficult time saying no. I over-commit. And in the end, I usually feel completely overwhelmed.

But thank the good Lord above for girlfriends. Yesterday was a textbook case of the female breakdown. I called a bestie yesterday afternoon to discuss the said crisis for the week and completely melted in the car. There I was, driving down FM 407, mascara running down my face, wiping my nose on my sleeve, bawling into the phone, trying to get to my internship (a major source of my stress). I told her that I think I'm like Mrs. Incredible minus the "incredible" part. You know the part in The Incredibles where Mrs. Incredible has to save her children from the burning plane and so she has to stretch herself out like a balloon? That's me. Not the life-saving, courageous part. The stretched out to the limit part, with people clinging onto you, wanting something from you. (Dramatic, I told you.)

After sobbing to my friend for way too long, I said, "Do you know what I mean?" And she said, "Yes. I feel that way, too." Now, I'm not happy that she's neck deep this crap. I hurt for her. But, it is comforting to know that I'm not alone in the foxhole. I've got someone beside me that understands where I'm at and what I'm going through. And, after talking with her and asking for some prayer, I felt like I could be Mrs. Incredible just a little bit longer...but just until May.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Move in the Right Direction


Finally, I have peace about what's going on with Gabriel's lack of walking. Today, Michael and I had a chance to meet with three ladies who work with the ECI program (Early Childhood Intervention). They came over to our house around 1:00 this afternoon and took about two hours getting to know Gabriel. They asked LOTS of questions. And because of this I can finally rest a little easier knowing that my baby is going to be okay.

As I said, after asking us a slew of questions regarding Gabriel's development, it seemed to them that Gabriel is behind in his gross motor skills by about 6 months to be precise. And due to the gross motor skills lacking, his language skill development has taken a backseat. Thankfully, this has nothing to do with his brain development. In every other area he came back right on or ahead. He's just a SUPER TALL kid. (Just as a side note, we learned that Gabriel takes after me on the social front. The kid has the social skills of 27 month old! HA HA!) According to the very sweet and knowledgeable ladies (Ms. Lindsay, Ms. Liz, and Ms. Kim) that evaluated Gabriel, he's having a difficult time supporting himself because he's very tall and has a lot more weight to distribute that most kiddos his age. Ms. Lindsay reminded me (and I hit myself for forgetting this, being a development major), that when motor skills are lagging behind, language skills usually put on their breaks. Now, Michael and I suspected this for a while. We knew he wasn't walking, or even talking as much as other kids his age. But it was assuring to hear it come from a professional's mouth. The problem has always been where do we go from here. We get it. He's behind. But what do we do to catch him up? That's where ECI comes into play.

Gabriel qualified for their physical therapy program and will begin seeing a physical therapist, hopefully starting next week. Ms. Lindsay and Ms. Liz will be coming by twice a month to check on Gabriel's progress and to help us out in any way they can. In the meantime (before we meet with the PT), Ms. Lindsay gave us some exercises to do with Gabriel to get the ball rolling. Things we hadn't even thought of, like have him sit on a stool and put a desired object above him so he has to stand up and reach for it. We tried it today and he really tried to stand up on his own. We had lots of topples and spills, but after a while, he was getting better! AND, to show off, Gabriel decided to take FOUR steps while the ECI ladies were there. (Figures.)

Needless to say, I feel better about the situation and am relieved to know that someone is going to come and help us get Gabriel caught up. Thank you for those of you who have prayed for us. I'd like to ask that you keep praying that my Littlest improves each day! I'll keep you posted. Until then, here's to lots of bumps and bruises ahead!


We made it. Our first trip without Gabriel was a success. No, scratch that. It was FREAKIN' FANTASTIC! It's difficult for me to begin describing how incredible it is to take a trip post baby, with just your husband. I don't know how many people (if any people) read my blog, but if you do, you're a parent and you haven't taken a trip with just your hubby, stop what you're doing right now. Go online. BOOK A VACATION. This trip did wonders for my marriage. And there is nothing wrong with my marriage! I have an amazing, devoted, loving husband. But this trip re-energized us. We stayed in a phenomenal cabin (check out this website if you want to vacation in Colorado), ate great food, drank good drinks, and played, played, played! We went to Garden of the Gods, Cripple Creek, Cave of the Winds and Pikes Peak. We even got to have lunch with my cousin, Christina Von Fange Culver (awesome name, huh?) and her husband Randy. We had a blast. Here are just a few snap shots from our little adventure.

The love of my life!

Garden of the Gods. Breathtaking.
Our cozy "little" cabin.

The view behind our cabin.

Another view from behind the cabin.

The aspens outside our cabin. Beautiful!

A few visitors that stopped by our cabin.

Scary, I know.

It snowed the last night we were there!

My cousin, Christina Von Fange! Can you tell we're related?

Our our way up the Cog Railway to Pikes Peak!

The view atop Pikes Peak.

Who's having a better time? I don't think it's the sawdust stuffed ram.

Flippin' Cold. 18 degrees, -7 degree wind chill, 35 mph winds. Thought I was going to die.

Delicious hot donuts and hot chocolate at the top. Only $100 million dollars.

Alright, back to the story.

Now, I won't lie, it was hard leaving Littlest behind. I missed him every day. And every night when I would get to talk to him on the phone and all I could make out through the babbling was "Mama," I would almost cry. But then we'd say goodnight, it was done and we were back to having fun! Do you remember what it's like to go to dinner just with your husband? Stay out as late as you want? Go somewhere that doesn't require a kid friendly atmosphere? Just do whatever you want? If you're having issues remembering what this part of leisurely life is like, BOOK A VACATION.

God created marriage before He created procreation. He wants us to make sure that our marriage is in good standing so we can ensure our family is in good standing. Michael and I accepted this challenge and fulfilled it joyfully this past weekend. Have you put some time into making sure your marriage is in tip top shape? If it looks like your marriage may need a little TLC right now, take it from me: BOOK A VACATION.

Monday, September 28, 2009


My husband reached a great milestone today. He crossed the threshold to wisdom and clarity. Ah yes, the threshold that is: Turning Thirty.

To celebrate this monumental occasion, we did what most people do: book a trip and leave the kid behind. That's right, we're going on our first trip without Gabriel. I have to admit, as the day draws near, I'm getting increasingly more anxious. Can we really leave Gabriel behind for four whole days? Will he survive without us? Will he even miss us or remember who we are when we return? (I never said my thoughts weren't ridiculous.)

My parents have been gracious enough to make the 7 hour commute to watch him while we're away and although I know he's in very capable hands, I still have worries. What if he gets a fever? What if he breaks a limb? What if he, God-forbid, gets the swine flu? Then there's the other irrational side of the coin. What if we die in a car wreck? What if we get mauled by a bear? What if a mountain lion eats me in the middle of the night? What will Gabriel do?

With these preposterous ideas floating around, we decided that God was trying to tell us to be prepared. Okay, maybe God wasn't really saying that...He was probably saying, "Trust me," but my initial interpretation (and they say you should always go with your gut instinct right?) was to be extra cautious. We'll trust Him AND be prepared. So, we created "The Will." (dun, dun, dun!) Definitely not the most fun conversation to have with your husband who is reaching a pivotal moment in his life. But a necessary one to have nonetheless. Good news is, it's done.

Now, with only 4 days left until departure, I must get in loads of hugs, kisses and snuggles with my favorite Littlest Buddy. Even though I know I'll see him again in only a few short days, I'm going to take each day to love him like it's the last time I'll see him. And then, live it up with my husband, my lover, my best friend, my everything for a well needed and well deserved vacation sans child. Here's to new "firsts".

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Warning: This posting is going to be a frustration vent. Nothing more. If you're the type of person that only likes to read happy-go-lucky things on a blog, look elsewhere today, my friend. I'm disgruntled.

Alright, now that the warning has been served to the masses, I'll begin. As many know, my son is not walking. This frustrates me. Gabriel is now 16 months old and sporting a very healthy and trim 30lbs, but still manages to elude walking. It's not that he can't do it (or so I think), it's that he won't. 90% of kids his age are already walking. It frustrates me that my kid is in that 10% group that isn't. There's nothing wrong with his development, I know that. I just want him to pick up the pace and catch up with the 90% of other kids his age that are moving on two legs!

Now, please refrain from telling me, "Oh you just wait until he is walking, then you'll never be able to catch him. You'll be sorry you even mentioned it. You'll wish he was still crawling. Your life will be over once he's on the go...blah, blah, blah." To those folk who love to give this sort of unsolicited "advice" (is that what it would be called?), shut up. I don't want to hear it.

My back hurts.

My son can't go to the playground with kids his age because he can't walk.

He gets called "the bouncer" at church.

These things irritate me. I'm sure some mothers out there are thinking, "Well, she's being a little irrational. My brother's sister's cousin's next door neighbor's nephew didn't walk until he was 18 months old and they're just fine." Great for them. If you are one of those mothers though who likes to discredit my frustrations with generalized responses such as that, put yourself in my shoes. Would you enjoy having to carry a solid 30 lbs of anything around with you all the time? Would you enjoy having to constantly hear your son or daughter be called "the heavyweight, or the bouncer" in their "baby" class at church because they can't move up with the walkers yet until their actually walking? Would you enjoy having to dope yourself with Excedrin and Extra Strength Advil every night just to go to sleep, because your back is screaming in pain? Would you enjoy having your son/daughter not be able to participate in various activities with other kids their age because he/she can't walk? My guess is your answer would be, "Well, no..."

Now, as I said, I'm venting. I know things could be worse. I know he'll walk eventually. But I never said patience was a virtue for me. I'm a fallen woman and embracing the cultural norm of "I want relief now." That's all. Hopefully in the next couple weeks it will come.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spinning Plates

And for my next trick, I will balance a full cup of coffee on my head while carrying a 30lb toddler in one arm, ironing my husband's shirts with the other, and testing the baby's bath water with one foot, all while studying for my three exams that will be given the next day.

That, my friends, is an understatement. My life feels like a three ring circus and I'm the final clown trying to squeeze into the car with all the other clowns whose work loads are similar to mine. Practicum started last week and school starts this week. Someone pass the Valium.

When I signed up to do three classes and a 20 hr/week internship, I thought, "No problem. It'll just be like having a full time job and being a mommy at the same time. Tons of people do it everyday. I can do it too."

Holy crap. How do you people do it? How do you manage to raise your kids, attend to your husband, keep your house clean, keep the dog fed, dishes and laundry done and work everyday without developing a drug or alcohol problem? I feel like I should sign up for an AA meeting now, even though I haven't started drinking.

Last night after I got home from the Advocacy Center, I laid in bed next to my husband, desperate to go to sleep. But all I could do was look at him and think, "Did I make the right choice? Is all this work, all this sacrifice, my family is enduring for me, worth it?" With tears streaming down my face at the thought, my husband took his hand, wiped away my tears, and said, "I love you." In that moment, I knew he was saying that he's in this with me. It's going suck, sure. I know there will be plenty of long nights and definitely more tears. But we're going to go through it together and when I'm finished in May, I'll be able to stand there in my cap and gown and say, "I'm no longer one of the clowns in a tiny car. I've graduated. I'm now the ringleader."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The New Toy

So, I have a new toy. My husband and I are not ones to spend money on ourselves. Nor are we the type of people to purchase the latest and greatest technology.

But after a YEAR of researching (and procrastinating) we have bought...dun, dun, dun: iPHONES!

And they're fabulous. I won't lie. I probably play with it and am on it WAY more than I should be. Am I now too connected? Probably. But am I'm having fun being WAY too connected? Oh absolutely. Just ask Facebook.

Here's just a sample of the fun we've been having with them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Internship

Got some great news this week. I nailed down my practicum site. WOOHOO! I'm so excited. You may or may not know, but I'm working on my master's degree in counseling right now. I've now reached the point in my program where I actually get to try out what I've been learning to do. And, starting in August, I'm going to be working with kids and their families at the Children's Advocacy Center. It's a little scary to think that I'm really going to be responsible for counseling people, especially children. But, I'm hopeful that I'll be well trained, supervised and will get a LOT of feedback on how to improve my craft.

My heart beats strongly for the kids that come through this center. For those that don't know what the Children's Advocacy Center does, let me enlighten you. The CAC works with children that have been sexually abused. These kids come to the center to tell their story and to work with counselors, the police and child protective services. The goal is to offer a service that assists in the healing process these kids so desperately need. The staff works hard to prepare these kids to testify in court when they have to face their perpetrator(s). They not only use individual and group counseling techniques, but they offer special services to the children and their families, such as dog and equine assisted therapy. They also team up with a group called BACA. Click on the link to learn more about this awesome program. I'm telling you, this center does amazing things.

I know that this practicum experience is going to be hard. I know it's going to be challenging. But, I also know that it will be rewarding to be apart of the healing that's going to take place in the lives of these children that have been so unfairly wounded. Here's to learning and to helping others.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We have arrived

It's time to unbuckle our seat belts, step out of the car into the baking hot sun and take a look around. We've done it, kids. We're here.

Our family has been going through some "stretching" as of late. Much of it has been needed, but I won't lie to you. It's been a hard thing to go through. Often times, things don't go as planned. Some things don't work out. But one thing I know for sure. After going through this forced stretching, you will come out a stronger person and better off.

This week our lives start anew. We're going to be experiencing some firsts. And we're excited about it.

Alright, enough with the vague reflections. For those that know what's going on: we're doing great, things are looking up, and we're ready to move forward.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Take a right at the fork in the road

Thus begins a new journey for my family. We're getting ready to go into uncharted waters and I'm nervous. Do we have enough food? Did I remember to pack an extra pair of underwear? Did someone remember to let the dog out? I have a feeling we may be stopping at some gas stations along the way to ask for directions, even though my husband cringes at the very thought of it. We knew this trip was coming, but it snuck up on us. Hopefully we've got enough gas in the tank to make it where we're going...even though we're not really sure where that is yet (hence asking Joe Bob at the 7-11 for directions). If anyone has any ideas on where our final destination should be, we're open to suggestions.

Don't you love it when people talk in metaphor?

Monday, June 8, 2009

I took a crazy pill

I think I'm going insane...I'm throwing around the idea of trying out a spin class. Anyone have any advice on whether this would be a good idea?? Would I "enjoy" spin class or loath it like a mosquito bite behind the knee?

I made a new friend in my Aqua Fit class. Her name is Candice and like me, she has a baby Gabriel's age. First of all, I'm happy to be making friends MY AGE in Aqua Fit. Second, we are throwing around the idea of trying out the spin class. But we're both a little nervous about it. We both decided it might be wise to be at the back of the class in case we die of a heart attack (as to not interrupt the other people in the class trying to stay alive) or if we spin right off the bike.

Thoughts? Advice? I need some motivation and words of encouragement!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Little Surprises

Two postings in one day. I'm on a role.

I've been taking my meds for my ankle and knees for a week now and WHOOWEE do I feel better. My ankle is almost pain free and my knees are no longer aching. Something has really possessed me to not put off the gym. I have continued going, despite the pain. But now that the meds are working, I'm feeling good.

If you remember, one thing my doctor told me to do at the gym was water aerobics. And if you'll also remember, I mocked it quite openly. Well, folks, I'm eating my words. I LOVE IT! And all the geriatrics that are in my class! Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I'm going to Aqua Fit at the gym. (Tuesdays and Thursdays are for the Eliptical machine...not a big fan of that yet...) Sure I'm usually the youngest person there by about 20 years, but occassionaly a new, semi-wrinkle free person will join me. I guess it's not too surprising but the younger crowd doesn't strike up conversations with anyone. It's the older folks that are super chatty and fun!

I treated myself to a new swimsuit last Friday (although I learned today that the super cute halter top tankini probably isn't the best suit to wear for high intensity bobbing up and down...ehem....). I am also the proud new owner of AQUA SOCKS. Oh, yes, you read that correctly. They're hot pink and black. I now see why Edith, Erma, Glenda, and Matilda all have a pair. Those shoes are saving the bottoms of my feet!

So there you have it. I'm now a proud member of Aqua Fit. Here's to getting skinny and finally finding another exercise that I love. (Yoga, I still heart you the most.)

Turning the page

Well, it's done. Gabriel is officially weened. I DID IT! Our last nursing session was last Tuesday, May 26th. It was tough though...tough for me, that is. After weeks of pain in my knees and ankle, I decided to start taking the medication the doctor prescribed. But in order to do that, Gabriel had to be fully weened. I had been holding onto our late night nursing session for weeks. It was such a special, precious time we had together. But I needed to be rid of this pain and nursing was going to have to come to an end eventually. And now it's done. Forever.

I had no idea that concluding a season of nursing my baby would be so difficult. Gabriel really didn't seem phased at all. It was a pretty easy transition for him. However, it is more difficult to calm him down before bed, even with a sippy cup of milk and a story. I know this is all part of growing up, not only for him, but for me as well. It's part of letting go as a mom and ushering my child into the next phase of his life. And now, I can look back on the past 12 months with pride and joy. I did it. I nursed my baby boy for 12 months. And it was totally worth it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Dilemma

Yesterday I called the genius doctor back to complain that my ankle is still torturing me. A few friends have suggested I get a second opinion, but frankly, I don't really have the money or the time to go see another doctor. It was already a considerable whip to see the doctor the first time.

After waiting all day for the doctor's office to call me back (typical), the nurse calls me back and asks, "Are you still nursing?"

And here is the moment of truth.

Gabriel is down to nursing once a day at night. It's not for very long, nor is it really of any nutritional value to him. But, selfishly, I'm not ready/not wanting our sweet little sessions to end. I know that once they do, the ability to rock Gabriel to sleep, to have him be still and calm while I sing lullabies to him will come to an end. It would also be the end of a chapter of Gabriel's story of growing up.


I am in a vast amount of pain. I am on the verge of amputating my foot. These drugs would give me some relief, and allow me to get back to the gym.

So.... do I hold on a few more weeks for those sweet little moments? The ones that I'll NEVER get back? Or, as I thought I was doing last night, nurse him ONE LAST TIME and then get some relief?

My answer to the nurse was....


I am done nursing.

A little white lie so I could have the medication on hand when I did stop nursing. But when will that be?

Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can I at least get front row parking?

The doctors office visit was, let's say, interesting. Thankfully I was able to get a friend to watch Gabriel at the last minute. And good thing too. I don't think I would have lasted long at the doctor's office with him, especially since I had to be there for almost TWO HOURS!!!!!!!!

Seriously, health care professionals, are you trying to piss everyone off? I wait for eons in the regular waiting room, and finally you call my name. I think, YES! I'm up! I've been patient, reading a good book to pass the time (Pillars of the Earth, if you're interested...very good), so I'm not too irritated yet. In fact, I feel a little bit of excitement and anticipation in seeing a doctor. For me, there has never been fear. I actually look forward to our 5 minute long, $150 chats. But after being escorted back to an even tinier waiting room, I expect to be seen fairly quickly...otherwise, WHY CALL MY NAME IF YOU AREN'T READY TO SEE ME?

Super-not-so-friendly-I-wish-I-had-another-profession-nurse-Lisa takes my vitals, gripping about this and that. After finding out when my last period was and learning that my blood pressure is normal, she slaps that super fake smile on her face and says that stereotypical phrase of, "The doctor will be into see you in just a moment." Just a moment...ha.

As I sit on the squeaky exam table, legs dangling over the side, I think, I wonder if she's going to tell me my foot's fractured. Maybe I'll have to wear an air cast. Ooh! Maybe they'll take an xray or two. I wonder what's going on with my knees...Then 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 25 minutes pass... I'm eyeing my purse sitting on the opposite side of the room, containing my book. I thought the doctor was ready to see me. What the heck? I hesitate on moving from my perch. Not only do I not want to wake the dead with the squeak of this table (remember, it's a sin to make noise at the doctor's office), but was quite painful to even hop up here and will surely be painful to get back down and then back up again. But it's approaching a 30 minute wait now...I'm starting to die of boredom, wondering if that's a diagnosis she'll put on my chart. Ah, screw it. I hop down and grab the book and decide to sit in the more comfortable chair on the other side of the room. Just as I settle back into the dark tale of Tom and Ellen, in comes Dr. Henderson. I've now been at the doctor's office for an hour and a half.

The next thirty minutes are full of painful stretches, three xrays, and more waiting. And the verdict, you ask? I'm old and bruised. Huh? I'm 28. How is that possible? According to this super smart genius with a medical degree, I have degenerative arthritis in both knees and a very badly bruised ankle.

Okay, doc, is there anything I can do about it? Pain meds perhaps?

Oh no, silly 28 year old. No pain meds for you. You're still nursing your son, so you're going to have to live with it. You need to stay off those knees for three weeks.

Oh, and no more running for you.


But joining the geriatrics at the gym for Aqua Fit is an super alternative. Thank you for your $20 copay. Our office will be happy to collect the other $150 from your insurance company...hope you've met your deductible.

*sigh* I wonder if I can start getting my 10% discount at Kohls and IHOP...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I wish my doctor made house calls

It's officially been a week since I screwed up my knees and my ankle. To top it off, I stubbed my pinkie toe in a door frame this morning. How's that for karma? I'm off to see the doctor this afternoon at 4:30. Hopefully after an x-ray or two there will be some news on what's going on and if I can get back to the gym. In the interim, I've been throwing around the idea of going to water aerobics. However, the idea of joining the geriatrics at 9:00am makes me feel a little odd. It may be my only option though until these other aches and pains heal. Heck, I'll probably fit in with my arthritic knees and bum ankle. I'll worry about that tomorrow. For now, I have a great appointment with Dr. Henderson to look forward to...as well as waiting in a small room full of sick people with a one year old who has a TON of patience...this is going to be a fun afternoon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Wee Bit Discouraged

I started going back to the gym at the end of last month. I'm really trying hard to get my fat butt in shape. So far, I've been doing good. I'm taking a stab at running (an exercise I have previously loathed) and it wasn't going too bad...until I woke up this morning...and I wanted amputate my legs off. My knees are killing me and my ankles aren't really enjoying any weight being put on them.

I understand that when you get started with a fitness program, there is a high probability that you will experience some pain. But this is not "gain-pain"...you know, the kind that you know is just your body getting used to slap in the face to get in shape. No, this is "ouch, I don't think I'm supposed to hurt there" pain.

So I'm a little discouraged. I tried to rationalize the situation and say maybe this was God's way of saying, "Running isn't for you..." However, when I told my two best friends my theory, they said, "Ah, no. That's not what it means. It means you need new shoes." So, after wrestling with this discouragement, I think they're probably right. If I shell out $100 on a pair of shiny new Asics or Nike's, then maybe my fitness journey will continue with less pain. Maybe...I'm trying to be optimistic. I'm still holding out hope that God will give me another sign that running isn't a good idea. One can dream, right?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Precious Moment

I've been feeling smug about the fact that my baby doesn't snuggle with me. He's a typical boy. Always on the go, not wanting to be still (except to watch the occasional Baby Einstein DVD), being obsessed with tearing my kitchen apart. Sometimes I just want to hold him and have him hold me back, to cling onto me like a little koala. Instead, he usually leans far away from me, begging to get down and crawl away from me as fast as he can. It's as if he's saying, "Not now, Mom. I have more important things to do."

Deep in my heart, I've been praying for just a few moments of attention from him. Everyday he demands my attention, but this time, I'm demanding his. My attempts have been futile...until his birthday.

The night of his birthday, after nursing him for a few minutes, I pulled myself up from the rocking chair and held him, expecting the squirming to start any minute. Just as I was about to lay him into his crib, he did something unexpected. He laid his little head on my shoulder and I felt his little fingers grasp onto my t-shirt. He was snuggling me. I held him a little tighter, hummed a lullaby, and fought back the tears. Thank you, God, for my son. Thank you for creating us to be affectionate. Thank you for this precious moment that I will forever cherish.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Let the Weening Begin!

It's been a year since my little guy, Gabriel, graced us with his presence and it's been a year since I began the journey (and I don't say that lightly) of breastfeeding.

Nursing my children was always something I'd dreamed of doing. From several classes and studies, I knew that it was the best nutrition for infants and it was an incredible way to bond with my baby. What I was not prepared for was how much work it was going to be. I did not have the typical nursing experience. It was hard and didn't come naturally at all. The first several months of Gabriel's life, I was constantly worried that he wasn't getting enough to eat. The doctor, as well as other moms, suggested that I supplement with formula. But I really didn't want to go down that route. Primarily because of the cost and also the concern that if I started him on formula, he wouldn't want to nurse anymore. That was an experience I didn't want to cut short.

But after many tears, long days/nights and the help of metoclopramide (Reglan), I can say that I've done it! Here I am a year later and I've been nursing Gabriel the whole time. We made it through our rough patches and he's a happy, healthy little boy. Now, before any of you get your panties in a bunch, I don't think there is ANYTHING WRONG with using formula. For some mommies, it's the only option. It was almost a reality for us. But I do think that if you can breastfeed, you should. For those mommies who are struggling, there is support out there!! Don't give up!! Persistence, medication and utilizing a ton of resources saved my breastfeeding experience. And it's been worth ever amount of frustration and ever tear that's been shed.

Now that journey is coming to an end. I'm in the process of weening Gabriel, which is proving to be hard, physically and emotionally. I think what's going to be the hardest to let go of is the last feeding of the night, where I get to nurse him off to dreamland. I'll miss the closeness that we have shared, having him fall asleep in my arms. But he's growing up fast, becoming more independent and it's time. I'm proud of myself that I made it a year. I think the American Academy of Pediatrics would be proud too.

If you have a second, say a prayer for me. Say a prayer for him. And say a prayer that we don't have to put chocolate in the cow's milk to get it to go down his throat!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009


This weekend is "clean your butt off" weekend at our house. Gabriel's 1st birthday party is just a week away and with 20+ people coming, I want to make sure my house looks great. Why is it suddenly so hard to keep my house looking orderly with a kid under one? It's not like he's writing on the walls yet or tipping over potted plants. So if it's not him, then it must be me. Maybe I've gotten a little lackadaisical when it comes to cleaning.

My whole life I've been a cleaner. Every time I would make a trip home to my parent's house, I would clean. They love clutter, which is exactly the opposite of me. I can't stand it. It makes me nauseous. After we were married, and we'd travel back to Mom and Dad's, my husband would find me scouring their sink and organizing spice racks at 2am. Alright, I'm not just a cleaner...I'm a freak.

I've always tried to keep my house as clutter free as possible. But since giving birth, my personal rules have fallen by the wayside. As I type this posting, I can glance into my living room and it looks like Fischer Price, Little Tykes and other random toys made in China threw up all over the floor. The bar in our kitchen seems to grow paper and other clutter weeds every day. It's not like I don't try to keep my house orderly. At least once a week, I try to purge the bar of all the things Michael and I have a hard time putting away. Receipts, magazines, mail, random articles of baby clothing, cups, etc. We do a load of dishes each night. And each night we pick up all of Gabriel's toys, but usually they just get shoved in front of our fireplace, making it yet another Clutter Zone. I just can't seem to get a handle on it. Is there hope? Is there a clean life after baby?

My answer is: I don't know. Right now, the outcome looks bleak. Soon Gabriel will be displacing more things and my carpet will inevidibly endure more stains. And what happens when we have TWO kids? I'm going to have to go back to work just to hire a maid. Oh well. For now, I'll just focus on getting the house looking good for next weekend. It's only got to stay clean for a week. That's manageable...right?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flying under the radar

This morning began promptly at 4:40am. I was pulled out of my slumber when the baby monitor sitting next to my bed began wailing, the little red lights blaring a strong level 5 red. Something was wrong. I waited my standard 5 minutes. Maybe the baby had just bonked his head on the crib slates. Surely he would doze back off to sleep. I mean, it was only 4:45am…normal people are still sleeping and surely he would want to be like a normal person and go back to sleep. Oh wait, I’ve forgotten. I have the child who has odd sleep patterns. After switching off the monitor in our room, I laid in bed, still able to hear the cries coming from Gabriel’s room, which is all the way across the house. I threw off the covers ready to go in, when the crying stopped. The house laid silent for about another 5 minutes. YES! Success! He went back to sleep. 5:00am rolls around and I’m still struggling going back to sleep, wondering why Gabriel woke up screaming in the first place. I decide that I’ll just go in and sneak a peek at him. Make sure he’s okay. Maybe he was cold. I’ll cover him up with his blanket and then my mind can be at peace with the situation. Then I’ll be able to go back to sleep. I pull myself out of the bed, floundering around my nightstand trying to find my glasses. After shoving them onto my face, I creep across the house, trying not to bump into anything in the dark or make a noise. I’ve noticed that as I get older, I have the occasional bone creek in my bones or joint pop. So, I move extra slowly trying to avoid making any noise that will wake my sleeping baby.

I approach his door, slowly pushing it open. There is still no noise, aside from the hum of the ceiling fan overhead. I tip toe up to his bed and am extra careful, ready to make a dash for it in case he hears me. I hold my breath and cautiously pear into his bed. There is my little angel, sleeping peacefully on his tummy, blanket tossed to the side. Being the overprotective mom that I am, I think, oh, I’ll just cover him up and then I can have my sigh of relief and go back to bed. As I bend over to pull up soft warm blanket that Grandma Von Fange made, it happens. CRACK! My elbow couldn’t handle the pressure and gave way, cutting through the silence of the room like a Ginsu knife. Not missing a beat, Gabriel’s head immediately pops up.

Now, a normal person would deal with being caught, suffering the consequences. But not me. I’m definitely not normal. As soon as his little head raised up from the mattress, I hit the deck, literally. My whole body went flat on the floor. I laid in complete silence, willing my body to not to twitch. Gabriel knew something was afoot in his room. Out of the corner of my eye, there suddenly was a little hand coming through the crib slates, waving furiously, along with random moments of quiet gibberish. I was determined not to be discovered. I held my position for a good 10 minutes. After that time had passed, I was 70% sure that Gabriel had at least gone from sitting up and sensing danger to laying back down. It was time for me to make my move. Saying a quick prayer for my body to be silent, I slowly slithered out of the room, my presence still undetected thanks to the crib bumper.

When I reached the hallway, pulled myself to my feet, breathing a sigh of relief. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had just gotten in and out of Gabriel’s room undetected. SUCCESS! Gabriel was no longer upset and was sure to go back to sleep in a matter of a few minutes. I crawled back into my bed, pulled up the covers and just as I put my glasses on the nightstand, I heard it.


So much for stealth.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I hate ironing...or do I?

Recently I got into a little tiff with my husband about ironing. Growing up, Michael's mom always ironed shirts for his dad. It was never a power struggle or bone of contention. It was just expected that she would iron the shirts. So, when Michael and I got married, I think he thought that I would end up doing the same thing. And why wouldn't he? That's what he had grown up thinking wives did.

But here's the dilemma...I don't do ironing. I don't even iron my own clothes. In my family, the ironing board was only brought out for special occasions like ironing the Easter or Christmas dress or possibly pressing a pair of slacks for church. But ironing shirts? On a regular basis? Who do I look like, June Cleaver?

As I was saying, a few months ago we got into an argument about Michael desiring that I iron his shirts. He rebutted my firm NO, I WON'T DO IT with the idea that it would really help him out in the mornings and that he would really appreciate it. But I didn't care. I was wrapped up in the idea that if I conceded to pressing his wrinkly shirts that I would be pigeonholed as a little housewife. I started to fear that he thought I needed to iron shirts because what else did I have to do all day now that I was staying at home with the baby? I didn’t want to be labeled…next thing you’d know, I’d be wearing “mom jeans.” I stood my ground, telling him that I was NOT his mother (not such a wise thing to tell your husband, ladies) and that he could iron his own dang shirts.

Now let's fast-forward 4 months. I was sorting laundry (something I absolutely loath doing) and began putting all of those wrinkly shirts on hangers, ready to shove them into the mess of a closet that we have in our bedroom. As I'm scrounging around for more plastic hangers (don't worry Joan Crawford, his shirts don't go on wire hangers), I realized how selfish I was being. I hadn't stopped to think that by ironing Michael's shirts for him I could not only save him time in the mornings, but I could also show him that I loved him. It was something simple that I could do to show him that I didn’t want to make his life harder but easier, and that I wanted to *gulp* serve him. Proverbs 31 talks about the Wife of Nobel Character. This is a woman that I’ve always wanted to be like, striving to match what she does to take care of her family. If this was my model, how was my egotistic attitude reaching this goal? Proverbs 31: 11-12 says this:

“Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Was that what I was doing? When I stopped and meditated on this verse, I found that I needed to change my tune. So I stopped fussing about not having enough plastic hangers, went and got out the ironing board, and started pressing away. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad! I even got to watch an episode of the Biggest Loser. Definitely a win-win!

I’m still not the perfect wife by any stretch of the imagination, but little by little, I’m becoming a better wife. And at least now my husband will look a little cleaner cut when he goes to work.

If you love food...

...then you need to check out this blog. My friend Sarah from MOPS started it and it has a ton of easy and yummy recipes. She just recently asked me to start contributing to it and I happily obliged. :) You can check it out here : http://ourfriendskitchen.blogspot.com/

Try my Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas. They're oh so yummy!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The fog is beginning to lift

My son has a tendency to test my patience with his napping abilities. Since day one on this planet, he has made it his mission to not take napping seriously, only sleeping for 45 minutes at the most per nap. But the tables are starting to turn.

Last week, for the entire week, Gabriel decided to take at least hour and a half naps, some lasting two, even THREE hours! I think my daily prayers of nap extension have finally been answered. And what a sigh of relief it is. But this new habit (I'm praying it turns into a habit!) has made me think: I wonder if God sighs relief when we finally get our act together and start being obedient to what He wants us to do? I know God is a loving creator, but I sometimes wonder if he throws his hands up in the air when for the umpteenth time we don't do what he asks of us. Does he ever want to thrown in the towel? Probably not,considering he's still around and pouring out his blessings on each one of us.

I realized that the relationship I long for with my son is one that I need to have with my heavenly father. I need to work on being obedient to the will of God, trying my hardest to do things that are pleasing to Him. Maybe then He can breath that sigh of relief more often when it comes to dealing with my behavior.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I think I'll keep him

After being with someone for almost 10 years, it's easy to get caught up in the routine of your life. You wake up together, eat breakfast, kiss each other goodbye, go about your day, greet him with a kiss when he gets home, have dinner, put the baby to bed, watch a show, go to bed, and the routine starts all over again. The pattern is not one you stray away too far from because it's comfortable, it's what you know. But occasionally, you or he, may decide to stir things up a bit. That's what happened to me yesterday.

We were busy getting ready to head out to McKinney to see Michael's brother, sister-in-law and kids, throwing ourselves together, trying to keep Gabriel content before we headed out the door. I had just gotten out of the shower, hair still up in a towel, and Michael says to me, "You need to pack an overnight bag." Huh? After razzing him about his secretive plot and learning nothing of his plans, I obliged and threw something together in a bag. Michael casually threw in that I needed to pack something nice to wear for that evening. So after having to make a quick decision on something a little more upscale, I threw my bag into the car and buckled the baby in, hoping I remembered contact solution and my underwear.

After a fun afternoon with the Paul, Rachel and the kids, Michael instructed me to change and Rachel took my sad little baby away for his afternoon nap, instructing me to give him kisses since I wouldn't see him until morning. Again, huh? I did as I was told, and then away we went. Michael surprised me by taking me to the Dallas Arboretum, a magical place of flowers, colors, and scents. We strolled around admiring the tulips, roses, snapdragons, and various other plants that I can't name and it dawned on me. My husband is "dating" me right now! We held hands, not straying far from one another, stole an occasional kiss or two and enjoyed just being together, alone.

Next up was a crazy tour of Downtown Dallas (we had a couple of hours to kill before dinner) and we both decided that navigating Dallas was not something we wanted to have for a day job. We found a cute little place called the Idle Rich Pub and enjoyed a tasty treat while having adult conversation that didn't consist of diapers, what Gabriel had for dinner or how many naps he took. We talked about our future, and our goals and what we wanted to focus our lives on. It was a deep connection neither of us had felt in a long time, especially since adding our son into our family.

After killing sometime in Dallas, I asked where this secret was going to lead us to...in other words, what's for dinner? Mum was the word and after finding our car, we skipped across the street (not literally, Michael doesn't skip), and we had dinner at an amazing restaurant called Sambuca. Then the feast began. We started off with delicious bruschetta tapenades, then moved onto a nicely prepared Ribeye complimented by candied sweet potatoes, prochuttio macaroni and cheese, broccoli crunch, and dill infused tater tots. OH MY WORD! I have never eaten so well in my life! Then to bring the meal to a close, we enjoyed a delicious creme brulee. I almost had to be wheeled out the door.

The night ended on such a high note. We enjoyed our dinner without feeling we had to shovel our food in, hoping to get our money's worth before Gabriel melted down. I got to focus all of my attention on the love of my life, not having to share it with anyone else. It was a perfect evening, with a perfect guy.

All this to say, we realized that we needed to do this more often. Dating your spouse and pushing out the distractions to focus on each other is important. Our next date might not include a Ribeye and live entertainment, but it sure as heck will include childcare. Thanks for a great night, love. It was wonderful.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The lightbulb has been replaced

So someone finally put in a new halogen at the end of my tunnel. This week I found out that I am set to be done with my master's work in May 2010! That's only a year away! PRAISE GOD!

For those that don't know my sad story, here it is. After finishing a grueling four years at K-State (it really wasn't grueling, I just wanted to use that word), I was swept away by my husband to be to this hot, humid state of Texas. I enrolled at Texas Woman's University, working towards completing my master's in family therapy. I took the maximum amount of classes I could take my first semester which ended up being a mistake. Although receiving all A's my first semester, I was BURNT OUT. I was trying to be a successful college student, work full time, plan a wedding two states away, build a house, and attempting to be civil to my future groom. It wasn't working. So I decided that I would take a semester off. I needed a break. I was owed a break. I had been in school since I was in preschool. Taking six months off would be good for me....

Six months turned into four and a half years. I got lazy. Plain and simple. MY plan was to always go back and finish, but I had other things I wanted to do. In May2006, Michael and I decided that we were ready to expand our family. But after over a year of trying and planning, as well as having to live through a miscarriage, I decided I needed a distraction and that I was going to finish what I started. So in August 2007, I enrolled at Dallas Baptist University, set out to complete this degree that had been hanging over my head for years. God decided to be funny and we found out we were pregnant with Gabriel two weeks after I started school. Funny how life works out that way isn't it?

I won't lie, I was tempted to quit again. I even took the semester after I had Gabriel off so I could adjust to being a new mommy. It was nice. My only responsibility, aside from being a good wife to my husband, was to take care of Gabriel. But God kept pressing on me that I needed to complete this opportunity He blessed me with. So here I am, still trucking away, trying to finish up this degree. And after this past Monday, I can finally see the light at the end of my tunnel! Only one more year of tough weekdays and hard-pressed weekends. In May 2010, I'll have my degree and will be well on my way of becoming the therapist that I've always dreamed of becoming.

God, thank you for putting that desire in my heart. It's only through you that it's becoming a reality.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Frugal Freeland

I believe I have reached a point of frugality that is cool. The days of Swedish Massages from Olga and pedicures from Hong Hanh (whose American name is Lisa) are LONG gone. About 10 years ago, being frugal was like wearing plaid with stripes. It just didn't work. You were not considered "cool" if you clipped coupons, shopped the clearance rack, or used freecycle.org. Now we're in the present day. Times are different. Both Michael and I are busting it to try to keep our little family of three afloat on one income. I'm a nut when it comes to the Grocery Game, following Slick Deals on Twitter, and am a frequent peruser of FreeCycle. No longer is there shame or stigma attached to hauling in 40 coupons with you when you check out at Kroger or Tom Thumb. Far off are the times when buying anything in a resale shop would consider you of lesser socioeconomic status. Times have changed. Everyone is in the same boat, the Gotta Get a Deal boat.

Earlier this afternoon, one of my best friends and I were talking excitedly about planning a day date of going to Thrift World (the best Resale/Goodwill-esk type store this side of Dallas). I told her I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and she suggested we make a trip. What a great idea, Carissa! The money had been put aside for some new clothes anyway, but the thought of buying actual "NEW" clothes made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I can't pay full price for anything anymore. So what if it's gently used? If I'm getting it for a $1, vs. $40 at Macy's, who's the sucker?

My transition into Frugal Land has also made my husband thrilled beyond belief. We both get a feeling of joy after planning out our grocery list, taking the time to clip the coupons, and ringing up a whole cart of groceries, having the check out lady hand us a receipt saying we saved 50% or more. (Thank you Grocery Game and my coupon ammunition) It's our way of sticking it to the man...although I'm not quite sure what man we're really sticking it to...and what exactly are we sticking to him?

All of the hipsters are now on the cheap, tightwad train just like me. I actually feel like I'm finally in the cool crowd, sitting at the popular table of prudent, penny-pinchers. Who knows, maybe I'll get nominated for prom queen this year. I'm pretty sure Thrift World has prom dresses on sale in March.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Addiction

Hello. My name is Kristina. [Hi, Kristina.] I'm addicted to TV.

I admit it. I'm completely enthralled with this little box that lights up. Michael and I have always joked around about our perfect date being dinner at home and watching a movie together on the couch. But the more we think about it, the more it's not a joke. We really love TV. What's funnier than just being addicted to television is being addicted to television when you don't have cable (or satellite). Our new best friend, offering loads of prime time drama, is hulu.com. Have you heard of it? It's fabulous! Most of the shows we enjoy watching can all be found on hulu (minus Lost). And now that Michael has figured out how to hook up our MacBookPro to our rather large television, the enjoyment of TV watching is even greater.

Here is just a sample of what we're addicted to. (Don't you love that I'm throwing him in this addiction admittance, too?)

In no particular order:
1. Lost
2. The Office
3. Battlestar Galactica
4. Chuck
5. House
6. Heroes
7. Fringe
8. Lie to Me
9. 24 (although your days are numbered Jack Bauer...you've jumped one to many sharks as of late)

Wow. That's only 9...that's not too bad, is it? I mean, we're not even in double digit territory. Maybe I'm not as much of an addict as I thought.

Well, even if I'm not an addict, there is no denying that I LOVE to watch shows with my handsome groom. Although the story lines seem to go no where sometimes (House and Cuddy are never going to do it, Hiro will always think he's meant to save the world alone, there will always be tension between Jack, Sawyer and Kate, and Michael Scott will NEVER learn to be socially appropriate) it's a dang good source of FREE entertainment. Thank you, television networks for feeding my addiction with quality programming. I heart you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I think I have an Anxiety Disorder....

I've been prepping for several weeks for 3 things at school. One has been to write a rather large term paper on a Christian counselor named Paul Meier. Next, has been preparing to give a presentation on the paper and third was to take a very difficult test in my Psychopathologies class. Now, if I was single and sans child, I think this would be pretty do-able. But, goodness. Trying to find time to write, prepare, and study, not to mention keeping up-to-date on my readings for both classes, is next to impossible when you're a wife and mother. The laundry is piled up almost 3 feet high, dinner from 3 days ago is clinging onto dear life in the bowls still sitting in the sink, and my house looks like Romper Room. (do you guys remember that show???) How do you find balance to make it all work?

I know that this path is what is best for my family. Eventually, I'll have the degree I've been facinating over for years and then I can go back to work, doing something I feel that God has purposed me for. But the journey of getting there is wearing me thin. Last night, as I was getting my #2 pencil out to take my Psychopathologies test, I was certain that I was about to have a panic attack. Was I ready for this test? I should have studied more. I shouldn't have fallen asleep reading about the medicial treatments to unipolar disorder. What is a neurotransmitter again? Do I remember the mneomonic devise to Obessive Compulsive Disorder? Did I leave the stove on when I left the house? AGH! Then, Dr. Cook (my rockstar teacher) said, "Let's say a prayer shall we?" He proceeded to ask God to bless our time together , to calm our anxious hearts, to sharpen our minds, and to allow us to recall the information we had studied. In that moment, God's peace washed over me.

Now, did I ace my test? No, probably not. (But I did remember the symptoms for OCD!) But God's peace came over me and allowed me to get through that test without going into convulsions or throwing up. I think I even gave a desent presentation. That's sufficient. And for that, I'm grateful.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Face lift

So I gave my blog a face lift. Thoughts?

Thursday, February 26, 2009


The economy is going to crap. Wall Street is out of control. I've got no money left in my 401K (and I'm only 28). Korea still has America in it's crosshairs. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and several other conservative personalities are telling me that this is the world I've got to get used to and that it's not going to get any better. But today, I'm not worrying about those things. Today I'm not going to be cynical, depressed, angry, or irritated. Today I'm going to feel fortunate and focus on how truly blessed I am.

I'm sitting on my couch, typing away while my 9 month old son is tearing up my magazines, having the time of his life. Am I annoyed? Nope. I'm blessed. I'm blessed that I get to watch Gabriel concentrate on a task and learn. I'm blessed that I get to be at home with him every day and watch him perfect his army crawl. I'm blessed that each day he'll crawl on top of my stomach, butt his head up to mine and give me the most slobbery kiss you can imagine. I'm blessed that I have a husband that pours his blood, sweat, and tears (although I have yet to see him cry) into his job every day so we can have the life we have. I'm blessed that I can stay at home and experience all the firsts that only come with your firstborn. I'm blessed that I can go back to school and finish up a long over due master's degree so some day I can counsel people and hopefully bless their lives. I'm blessed with amazing friends that encourage me, make me laugh, and will take time out of their busy lives to enjoy a good glass of vino with me. I'm blessed to have a family that loves me, even though I was probably a really crappy, disrespectful teenager growing up, and a mother that will talk to me any day of the week, dropping everything she's doing, just to chat about how much of a genius I think my child is. She loves me that much.

Yesterday I was pessimistic. I'm not sure what tomorrow holds, but as for today, I consider myself blessed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


All is well and quite. Gabriel is down for a nap, Michael is designing a lightbox and I'm blogging.

My parents just left from a long stay with us, well with me. They kept Gabriel and I company while Michael was busy working C3. I'm a little sad I missed out on all the amazing things that were said at C3, but I'm happy I got to spend some good, quality time with my parents. Having them all to myself made me realize how lucky I am to have two people who love me so much. Two people who would have moved mountains to help me achieve my dreams. I was able to sit down with my parents two nights in a row, after Gabriel had gone to sleep, and just reminisce on their lives as teenagers and college students. Sipping Orange Pekoe around the kitchen table, I learned some things about my parents that I didn't know. For instance, I didn't know my dad was such a scrapper in high school. Apparently he beat up his share of punks back in the day. My dad! The guy who might try to act tough on the outside, but who's a big softy underneath. And I learned that my mom and dad had very different tastes in music; my dad jabbing my mom about her folky-tree-hugging albums she owned, while my mom razzes my dad about listening to Jimmy Hendrix. It's funny how you learn to listen to your parents more after you've gotten older. How did I not know these things about my parents when I was younger?

I just wanted to jot down a note about what a great week I had with mom and dad. I certainly missed Michael a ton, but it was nice to have some time with just my folks. I love you, mom and dad.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Cook's Haiku

Oven full of food
Pulling out delicious treats
OUCH! Pass the burn cream

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Struggle

Alright, so this isn't some deep, philosophical struggle that I'm dealing with. In fact, it's probably quite stupid. Here it is. I love to sleep, as does my husband. Before Gabriel was even a glimmer, Michael and I would snooze the weekends away. Our Saturday mornings consisted of waking up around 9:30 or 10, watching an episode of Seinfeld, lazily eating a bowl of cereal, and then back to sleep we would go until about noon. It was heaven on earth. The weekends were about being lazy. And that's exactly what we were. I have no feelings of shame in regards to the life that was.

Now we're at present day. We have a wonderful 9 month old that doesn't change his routine much and gets us up promptly at the same time every morning, weekday or weekend. I'll get up with him, nurse him, feed him breakfast and play with him until about 9:30. Here is where we meet our dilemma. At 9:30, Gabriel takes a nap, for roughly an hour, every day. (I've been getting lucky lately, as we've bumped up our 45 minute routine by 15 minutes.) I am faced with the tough decision of staying up and being productive whilst my little one rests, or....going back to bed.

Now many of you may think, GO BACK TO BED. SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. Have I mentioned that I'm also a graduate student? Which means I have massive amounts of reading to do every day that can only be accomplished when my little darling is asleep and not demanding my attention. And, let us not forget, that I'm also a mom who finds very little time to herself and one of my greatest loves, besides a quiet night with my husband and a bottle of wine, is to SLEEP. So, here is the struggle....do I use the holy hour to rest and re-coop, or do I use it to squeeze in as much study time as humanly possible?

Logically, I know that I should probably use it for the latter, but selfishly I can only think about my bed being only 10 feet away, beckoning me to crawl inside my 600 thread count sheets, pull up the over sized down comforter and snuggle in for a nice morning nap....do you see why there is a battle going on inside of me? If you were in my shoes (I wear a size 10, in case you need to know if you'll fit), what would you do?

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Ah, February 14th. The day of love, flowers, chocolates, and romantic dinners. The night where men profess their love to the women in their lives and life is at an all time high.

I love you, Sarah.

I love you too, Robert.

(he gets down on one knee, opening the box containing the ring she has be waiting her whole life for.) Sarah, will you marry me?

(tears in her eyes) Oh yes, Robert, yes!

*insert screeching record here**
Riiiiiight.....In the Freeland house it works a little differently. Valentine's Day is just another day on the calendar. Michael and I have never really celebrated Valentine's Day. We don't bother with it, not to mention my husband is against buying flowers for anyone, let alone me. The thought of being expected to buy me flowers on a certain day because Hallmark tells him it's the thing to do, is repulsive. Second, both of us find it irritating that one day is set aside a year where you're supposed to declare your love for your significant other. Call me cynical, but when I said my vows almost 5 years ago, wasn't I suppose to show my husband I loved him every day of the year?

Now don't get me wrong, I love being wooed. Even though he finds it ridiculous to buy flowers that will eventually die, I enjoy receiving roses, daisies, and the like...I'll never turn those down. But I don't want my husband to give me flowers, chocolates, or ridiculously expensive jewelry because he feels obligated or guilted into it. I want him to show me he loves me intangibly and tangibly when he chooses to (preferably more than once a year!). I think this makes the gesture more genuine and appreciated all the more.

Whether your a cynic like me or you buy into the hub-bub of this commericalized holiday, Happy Valentine's Day. Hopefully your lover will continue telling you how much he/she loves you even after the 14th of February has passed. I know mine will, just not with flowers.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


In the face of tragedy, you tend to do a little soul searching. Here are a couple of things I've discovered this week.

I love my husband as much as I love to breath. I don't know how I would live with out him or how I would go on. My heart aches for two women right now that have just had to find out what this experience is like. Although this world is not the best place for us, as a heavenly reward awaits, my selfish-human nature is to cling to my spouse, my love, with all the strength I have. I want to keep him here as long as possible. I don't want a minute to go by that he doesn't know how much I love him.

Secondly, I've been reminded that family is absolutely key to getting through tragic loss. This week, I've been on the supporting end when it comes to dealing with death. It's hard to know how to support those who are grieving. What do you say? How do you help them? Do you serve as a distraction so they don't have to hone in on their loss? Or do you continually remind them how amazing their loved one was and how they're in a better place? Is that the right thing to say? Maybe you say nothing at all and stay close by to catch the falls and the tears.

Grief is but a chapter that must be read in the book of life. Sometimes it pops up several times throughout the novel. Other times, it just appears at the end. My prayer is that I won't be seeing another chapter like this one for a long time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wrapped in Chains

This is from a posting I did almost 2 years ago about Forgiveness. I was reflecting on it today and thought I would re-post to see if anyone had any new insight about it. Recently I posted about how it's hard to do things in love. How hard is it to do things in love when your foot is stuck in unforgiveness?

Several years ago, our pastor did a sermon series called, “The Real ‘F’ Word.” This word was “forgiveness,” a word and an idea that I struggle with. I’m sure those reading my post have probably never struggled with forgiving someone who has wronged you…

Being a Christ-follower, I am instructed to forgive others. Jesus tells us in Matthew that we are turn the other cheek rather than take an eye for an eye. We are to even love our enemies. What a strange theology to hold in this day of stepping on whoever and burning what ever bridge you have to, to get what you want. He (Jesus) says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” - Matthew 5:38-42. (NIV)

Jesus goes onto say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.” - Matthew 5:43-48. (NIV)

So first we are to turn the other cheek to those who offend us, and then we are to love them as well? This seems like an impossibility. How do we forgive the friend we trusted that stabbed us in the back? How do we forgive the parent that made our childhood a nightmare? How do we forgive a boss who belittles and is unappreciative? How do we forgive a spouse that cheats? I’m not saying that I have experienced all or any of these things, but maybe you have. So where is the hope? My answer is, Jesus Christ. I have seen supernatural behavior (that is behavior that had to be ordained by God) from people that have been absurdly treated. They have been able to speak of their offenders with love and compassion, and not fall victim to the evil one’s (Satan’s) plan for destruction. They have learned from these incidents and have grown as a result of them. Instead of being viewed as martyrs, I see them as teachers. It gives me hope that Christ enables me to take on the mantle of forgiveness and not be tethered to unforgiveness when dealing with issues where I have been wronged. Unforgiveness will eat your lunch. It causes you to harbor resentment, anger, bitterness and sadness, just to name a few. How can this be beneficial for the soul? Soon you distance yourself from your friends, your family and even God.

I want to encourage you, if you are reading this, to give forgiveness a chance. Our time here on earth is far too precious to be wasted away thinking of revenge, retaliation and retribution. I’m not saying that Christ calls us to be doormats. He does however teach us to forgive others, to seek our counsel wisely and to MOVE. Moving may look like this: being a bit more careful about who your chose as as your closest confidant. Maybe it’s having a healthy open conversation with a parent. Maybe it’s taking a leap of faith and sharing with your employer how they make you feel, even if you might get fired. Maybe it’s seeking a Christian counselor for you and your spouse. Maybe doing just one of these things will bring you closer to forgiveness. I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that Christ calls us to live a live worth living for Him and that includes forgiving one another as we have been forgiven by our Heavenly and Eternal Father. It is a bitter pill to swallow at times. My journey through forgiveness has just begun. But, I will continue to strive to be more like Christ who took on MY sins and the sins of the world, forgiving me and you, and building the bridge we need to reach our Father in Heaven. Rid yourself of the chains and the bondage of unforgiveness. Forgive your neighbor, or maybe even yourself, as Christ has forgiven us.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just say what you mean!

I'm trying to prepare for my Psychopathologies class tonight and find myself frustrated. Why is it that all textbooks have to read like a Swedish instruction manual? (And no, I'm not talking about the ones from IKEA...) We've been instructed to read 4 texts for this class and so far, two of the four could be considered torture devices. Here's just a snippet of what I'm talking about.

"Whether the transfer of authority is due to language and legislation, a shift from modernity to postmodernity, the role words play in shaping our character or all of the above, what keeps Christians in the mental health field from drawing on the language and explanatory framework of sin?" - Modern Psychopathologies, pg.93

WHAT??? I had to re-read this 3 times and OUT LOUD just to make sure this was a real sentence. The WHOLE book reads like this.

Now I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person (some may disagree), but why can't we just say what we mean when writing textbooks? Why does everything have to be a Thesaurus Challenge? I'm all about learning new words, new phrases, and new ideas, but smashing 35 of these things all together in one paragraph can be a bit intimidating. And when I find myself intimidated, it's hard for me to attack assignments with any type of fervor. It's hard to get myself motivated to read paragraph after paragraph and chapter after chapter when I know I'm going to have to re-read sentences 3-4 times to grasp their meaning.

So far, I'm achieving an A average in grad school....but when I struggle with something like this, I have to ask myself, "Am I cut out for this?"

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Doin' it for Love...

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I’m 100% mom. Always have been. I was the one taking in a friend under my wing throughout school. I’m always looking for ways to help out my friends. Be it listening to them lament about their marriages or kid, or be the encourager who says, “No you don’t look fat in that. In fact, I think you’ve lost some weight since the last time I saw you." I think God designed me to care for and nurture others. But sometimes when you’re trying to care for and nurture your husband and your own child, it’s hard to do in love 100% of the time.

I’ve been studying the book of 1 Corinthians and Paul specifically addresses that we should do all things in love. The greatest commandment is to love. But how difficult is it to do things in love ALL the time? Cooking dinner while trying to feed/entertain an 8 month old, changing yet another dirty diaper because the child couldn’t have done both businesses in the diaper you changed 10 minutes prior, cleaning a house that more often than not resembles PeeWee’s Playhouse minus Lawrence Fishburn…All these things are hard to complete in love when you feel like you have a hundred other things you should be doing, scratch that, want to be doing instead. Do you hear what I’m saying? Do you struggle with this too?

Just because I struggle with this doesn’t change the fact that God commands me to fulfill my role as a wife and mother; doing both with the utmost amount of love. I strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I know that’s the type of woman God, my husband, and my child want me to be. The key to being this kind of woman, wife, and mother is to do all things in love, which is an uphill battle; one I’m sure to win. But the only way to win the battle is by pulling out the only ammunition that never fails: love.

Some babies just...

Several months ago, my pediatrician told me that "some babies just don't nap" when I came to him, haggard and worn from not getting any rest from my screaming bundle of joy. After mocking this statement for months, I've learned that you could say this about a lot of things in life. "Some babies just don't nap." "Some babies just don't like to be cold." "Some babies just don't like to be small."

But this blog isn't about what babies don't like. It's about finding out what some babies are like. The babies being me, my husband, my own child, my friends, my parents, etc. It's about me figuring out who I am as a mom, a wife, a student, and a friend. Considering my son has his own blog (gabrielfreeland.blogspot.com) I figured that I should have one that's just for me where I can post whatever I want. Hopefully I can gain some insight from other people seemingly more qualified than I am. So join me in the trenches of parenting and life. Hopefully we can get to our final destination of the empty nest and retirement without too many battle wounds.