Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dedication is more than just a day...

My oh my, poor blog, how I have neglected you. Or rather, I have neglected the five of you who read it. I hope you are sticking with me. :-)

Life has been good. I feel like I have hit a good, new normal. My work load has evened out, for the most part, & I am able to delegate the time for each part of my jobs: wife, mom, homemaker, part-time employee. My house is even clean! How about that! I have definitely learned to extend grace to myself for the times that I just can't do it all. Josh & Elliot are my priority, & so if something else doesn't get done perfectly, that is okay. Life will go on! I am thankful to work for someone who cares about our family, & understands when I need to put work on pause to tend to Elliot. I feel like I have a good balance going on right now - well, minus exercise, that one is still lacking a bit. But as time goes on, I get a little more energy, so high hopes for getting back to some kind of exercise routine.

We dedicated Elliot to the Lord on Sunday at church. It was a special time for us to stand before our church body & say that we will do everything we can to lead him to the Lord, & for them to agree with us to come along side us & do what they can as well. I know God has created Elliot's life for a good purpose, & our role is to try our best to raise him to know God & to love His Word & obey His leading.

Part of that, that I am having a hard time with, is knowing that Elliot's life is in God's hands. As a mom, I take care of his basic needs - feeding him, keeping him clean, helping him sleep, etc. I protect him as best I can. But this has also brought a heaviness on me, an anxiety. I am responsible for this little person's well-being?! What if I mess up?? What if I do something terribly wrong? Oh, what a heavy burden to carry! It is not mine to carry! I am taking on more than my role. His life is NOT dependent on me. He is God's, & God will protect him regardless of my actions. Now, I'm obviously not saying I have no responsibility - but I am not fully responsible for him. I can't be. I do what I am supposed to do, & make decisions as best I can, but I am not going to mess up God's plan for Elliot, I'm just not.

I'm trying so hard to walk in faith, trusting God fully. A result of that will be peace & joy over my role as a mom. I haven't succeeded yet; I still deal with a physical feeling of anxiety. I have always struggled with fear, in different ways, & this is just a new version of it for me. But I know that this is something God wants to do in me, so I am prayerful in it. I want to trust Him with my children. I know I can. It's just walking that out, day by day, in my actions & emotions.

In other news, Elliot is five months now. He is continuing to grow like a weed. He is at least 27 inches long & about 16 lbs (these are my measurements so I know they are not exact) - 91st% for height, 32nd% for weight. Our little string bean! His weight had dropped off a month ago to 20th%, so I'm glad he bumped it up this month. He loves to stand (it's really hard sometimes to get him to sit!), loves having his fingers in his mouth (or anything, really), & has developed some fun new squeals & talks a lot more now. I think he may be teething - he has had some super grumpy moments lately, which is sad for our normally happy little guy.

Jason & Paige are coming to visit us this weekend, so we are very excited to spend time with old friends. I also got to spend time with a couple of friends last week. I am so thankful for the friendships that we have & are able to keep up with, though we don't live close to each other. I also love to see them loving on our little man. It is a blessing!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Walking in the Name of the Lord

For all the peoples walk, each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God,
forever & ever.
Micah 4:5

I love flipping through my Bible & reading verses that I have underlined in the past. I've had this Bible for at least 5 years now, & there are a lot of verses that have been significant during that time. I came across this verse above this morning. For me, it is one that I could easily read & agree with it & the truth it holds, then move on. But in the midst of the things I was thinking about this morning, I really read it - I will walk in the name of the Lord my God. This scripture points out that all people walk in the name of a god, whether they know it or not. Some people profess to be Christians, but do not "walk in the name of the Lord."

For our family, in this time, it could be easy to walk in the name of planning - the name of financial security - the name of good intentions - even the name of trying to make God's plan happen. Ah! We could so easily be deceived to think that we're doing what is good & right. But what does it really mean to "walk in the name of the Lord?" Seeking to know Him & to serve His purposes on earth - Matthew 6:33. & verse 34! "Do not be anxious about tomorrow... sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Don't concern myself with the future. As someone who desires to know Jesus & walk with Him, I am called to TRUST His plans for me. & I do not get to approve of them first! But I know that His plans for me are good (Jere. 29:11) & that He will provide for our needs - back to Matt. 6:33 - when I seek Him & His purposes first, "all of [the things that I need] will be added unto [me]." & He doesn't need my help!!

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7

"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, & we cannot take anything out of the world."
1 Timothy 6:6

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists & that He rewards those who seek Him."
Hebrews 11:6

So... walk in faith (I could go into what it means to do that, but I only have so much time!). Trust Him with our needs, our future, our desires. I pray that He gives us the desire for what He has for us, then the patience & faith to wait for His provision. I pray that He gives me the desire & ability to please Him in my actions, thoughts, & intentions, & to walk in obedience to what He has for us, "giving thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thess. 5:18).

I rest in this promise:

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, & may your whole spirit & soul & body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it."
1 Thess. 5:23-24

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Hospital Bag

If you are a male, or if the thought of having a baby freaks you out, skip this post. For reals.

So I have several friends who are pregnant, & I wanted to write a post that would've been helpful for me in the last few weeks of pregnancy regarding -


Dun, dun dunnn.

What to pack, what to pack? That is the question. I'll answer what was in my bag (& some comments about why), so take it for what you will! Take my birth experience into consideration too; these things may not be necessary for everyone.

For you
* Comfy pants/shorts: like yoga pants, or goucho pants - you want to have plenty of space to be retaining water, & not getting anywhere close to where you just experienced much damage! I wore these when I left the hospital, & for a couple of weeks at home.
* Nursing bras, loose tops
* Warm socks: I heard you might need these for the hot/cold phenom, but in labor I didn't wear them, then afterward I was SO HOT I never put them on.
* Nursing gown: I stayed in a hospital gown from the time we got there until 36 hrs after Elliot was born due to not being able to stay standing up without passing out so no shower, but after I showered, a nursing gown was a very comfy option for lounging. You want to be able to hike it up when you're laying in bed so that you don't bleed on it!
*House shoes: I barely got out of bed while I was there, but did use them.
* Bigger-than-normal undies: I didn't wear them in the hospital but did when I got home. You want to make sure they wouldn't be right where a C-section scar would be, just in case. But in case you don't like the mesh underwear the hospital provides (I did!), take your own.
* Your own pillows w/ a non-white pillow case: it's nice to have them to sleep on, & you want to be able to identify them.
* Towels: their towels are like hand towels. Bring your own!
* Toiletries: shampoo, soap, etc. I didn't shave (sorry if that is gross but I don't care), didn't plan on blow-drying my hair (seriously, just gave birth, don't expect me to look good!).
* Breast pump: you never know if you might need it. You can leave it in the car & just send your hubby to run out to get it if you need it.
* Nursing pillow: we brought it but I am not sure I used it? I think I just used a normal pillow while there.
* Birthing ball (exercise ball): I did use it but it definitely didn't help my contractions, so I won't take it next time for sure.
* Chapstick: your lips get dry!
* Nursing pads & cream (though the hospital will probably provide a cream sample)
* I-pod: we brought a dock too so we could play classical music during labor. I definitely didn't pay attention to it the whole time, but it was nice to have something playing in the background - I wouldn't have liked silence.
* Computer: good for loading pictures for long hospital stays (like our 4 days!)
* Snacks/flavored water: definitely came in handy for labor! & good for in between meals.
* Baby book: I took it but never pulled it out. We just stored away the things we wanted to keep for it, like the footprints & other documents.

* Shirts/shorts/socks/underwear
* Towel
* Snacks
* Toiletries
* Camera: Josh was all over the place after Elliot was born, & I was useless
* Blanket: might be a good idea if you are boiling hot after delivery & want the room freezing cold
* Cell phone charger

* Pacifiers: we took I think 4 different kinds, which I am glad because the one that everyone said he would LOVE, he did not take! So glad we took more.
* Homecoming outfit
*Clothes: I don't think this is necessary, because they supply little shirts & hats for baby. You may want to take socks to put on their hands, or feet when they aren't swaddled.
* Receiving blanket: good for the ride home since the hospital provides them while you are there.
* Car seat

What you'll need at home
I've already mentioned a couple of things that you need (comfy pants, big undies), but here are some other things. I took them to the hospital but they provided what I needed, however it was good that I already had them at home because they definitely got used!
* Big, heavy pads: for those first few days, you need the big heavy-duty kind. (Not to mention, it was really great I had these at home when my water broke! Ew!)
* Lighter pads & pantiliners: need these for when "things" slow down a bit
* Witch-hazel pads, Dermaplast spray: while you are in the hospital, ask the nurses for an ice pack (or at my hospital, they froze wet diapers), then in this order from the bottom-up, make this combo: ice pack/diaper, witch-hazel pads, Dermaplast spray (in the mesh undies) = ahhhhh. Great relief when you HURT! When you get home, you should be okay without the ice pack, but still use the WH pads & spray on top of pads.
* Ibuprofen: my midwives provided me a prescription for hospital-grade ibuprofen (w/ 3 refills!) so I didn't need it, BUT you will if you don't get the heavy hospital stuff.
* Stool softeners: yep.

Some people use the sitz bath thing, & your hospital may provide you one, but I never did. Seemed like a lot of trouble... I probably should have used it though.

I think that's it... luckily all of this not fun stuff comes with an adorable little baby. :-)