Thursday, April 29, 2010

Running around having fun outside.  His favorite thing to do.

Our Loving Challenge

Our child is CHALLENGING.  Not that this is bad, but some days it makes me want to rip my hair out or sit on the floor and just cry.

Carson doesn't sleep and then he doesn't stop moving during the day.  Carson is full of energy and he's smart.  This all leads up to some pretty exhausting times.  Like today!

Although, how can we not love him for who he is!?  He is our goof ball, full of fun and joy.  We have never laughed so hard or worked so hard in all our lives.  Any bit of laziness I had before Carson came into our lives is gone.  I have been cured of idleness!  

I daily have to work on stretching my patience which is helping me to grow into an all-around better person.  Although some days it's hard not to want to yell..."just stop freaking moving so I can get your socks on!" 

Yet for how active Carson is, he is equally as great of a snuggler.  He will climb in my lap and just cuddle.  Gosh, I love that.  It also gives me the chance to just sit and catch my breath.

I know this time is flying by.  It already has been.  It felt like just yesterday when I was holding my tiny little newborn and now I can barely pick that same boy up!  That has been emotionally difficult...I can barely pick my boy up.  Holding him for long periods of time starts to physically hurt.  It makes me sad that those days might be over sooner than I was expecting.  Thank goodness for the Ergo!  That carrier is the only reason I can still bounce him to sleep when need be or carry him around a store while he's sleeping. 

Carson has challenged our preconceived notions of what parenthood was supposed to be like.  He was supposed to fit into our box and really, Carson wouldn't fit into anyone's box.  We have had to devise new plans to meet his needs and rid ourselves of narrow mindedness.  We have had to rise to the occasion of each of his developmental stages.  I am excited to see what kind of man he grows up to be!

I hope he knows how much I appreciate and love this time with him.  No matter what exhausting challenge he presents us with each day, it is an honor to be his parents and we couldn't imagine life without him.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daddy Time

I enjoy watching my husband father our child.  Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like he doesn't do things "just right" or rather how I would personally do it.  I am trying to learn to be more relaxed and let him figure out what works for the two of them. 

Yesterday, I went out to coffee with my sister who I hadn't seen in awhile.  She just recently got back into town from spending the winter in California as a bee keeper.  Anyway, Starbucks is not really the place to bring a crazy energetic toddler.  As I was leaving, Josh started worrying about Carson getting cranky and wanting Mommy.  I didn't have many answers.  It was probably going to happen.  Luckily for the majority of the time Carson was a peach.  But as any toddler will, he went through a time of screaming unhappiness.  When I came home it was pretty cute to find baby carriers strung all over the house.  The Moby was stretched across half the living room and leading into the kitchen.  My Maya Ring Sling was undone and disheveled on the living room floor and unfortunately the one carrier he actually could have used, the Ergo, was in the car with me.  Even though he couldn't figure either one out, it melted my heart that he tried.  He obviously was able to get Carson through the Mommy withdrawal time because they were both happy by the time I got home.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Caffeine Withdrawal

I just finished snuggling my baby boy to sleep and laid him down in our bed.  It felt good cuddling him.  No matter how long it takes me to get him to go to sleep I love the peace that comes when I watch him sleeping in my arms.  It always amazes me how fast the frustrations from the day fades away.

Tonight, however, I was able to get him down for sleep by 8pm, which is technically his bed time, but it doesn't always work out like we plan.  Since I am soooo exhausted today, it was a blessing.

I boycotted coffee this morning.  It was a spontaneous decision and my day went rather well despite the fact that I am fully addicted to caffeine.  I drank some green tea this morning to help combat the withdrawal headache and it did dull it some, but not completely.  It felt good to take this step because I have been wanting to for a long time now.  During Carson's pregnancy I stopped caffeine cold turkey and didn't pick it up again until he was about 6 months old and quickly became addicted to the effects like I had never had a break from it at all.

Well, this morning I realized that yesterday I had used my last packet of Starbucks Via and I just didn't feel like brewing a cup. Then I decided that by golly, I'm just going to be done with coffee all together.  I like the way I feel in the morning after a cup of joe, I'm ready to attack my day.  The downside is that I hate needing it to get started and then I especially hate the crash a few hours later.  I also hate to be addicted to something.

I know this is going to be healthier for me and any future pregnancy but I'm already dreading another morning without it.  Thankfully this should only last for a few days and hopefully I'll remember exactly how I feel now if I ever want to start drinking coffee again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trusting your instincts as a mother (example involving circumcision)

Recently Josh and I were discussing a parenting issue that many have to face with their baby boys and that’s circumcision. This has been on my heart a lot lately because if I were to get pregnant again, I would love another little boy, yet the thought of dealing with the circumcision issue was stressing me out.   For many reasons, I regret choosing circumcision for Carson.  This is my mental process on the issue:  God says he formed us in the womb (Psalm 139:13: “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb).  If this is true, then why did He form little boys with foreskins?  This one really gnaws at me.  Secondly, I had found out that the foreskin is rich in nerve endings and an extremely sensitive part of the penis.  Then why are we cutting it off?  Is it because the Old Testament says so?  Circumcision was a physical covenant between Abraham and his decedents.  During that time, if you wanted to be a follower of God, it was something you had to do, but once Christ came and became the ultimate sacrifice and died for our sins, we were no longer bound by the law in order to receive Salvation. So therefore it is my belief that it is not required of us as Christians.  Is it done for medical reasons and hygiene?  My husband’s grandpa had a circumcision at 80 years of age.  We took this into consideration.  Although, women suffer from infections all the time and yet we don’t cut off any of our baby girl’s parts to prevent them.   Most infections boil down to lifestyle and how that person cares for themselves.  How much sugar do they eat?  Studies have also shown in the last few years that after the first year of life, circumcision only prevents about 1% of infections of which most can be treated with antibiotics unless recurrent and severe. It may have other health benefits, but are they enough to warrant a routine surgery? Is it to be like Daddy?  I think that plays a big role in the decision.  When Josh and I were discussing the issue, he admitted a concern of his was one of his sons being different from him and now his older brother, Carson.  It also brought up the issue of will he be teased for being different?  Still, are those big enough reasons to warrant an unnecessary procedure, especially since circumcision numbers are going down so drastically?  Also, why would I choose a natural birth free of interventions and then have an unnecessary intervention done for my baby boy just a short time later? It just doesn’t make sense to me.  As I was talking this out with Josh, we decided it is done because of cultural influence.  It is a medical fad probably very similar to routine tonsillectomy.  (Although this has to do with a much more intimate part.)  Regardless of all these facts, Josh and I both know the biggest reason that has shaped my opinion is that Carson had complications from his circumcision.  Thankfully it seems like everything is okay, but only time will tell if there are any long-term effects.

I’ve done a lot of mental head slaps since Carson’s surgery because (and I’m getting to my point finally)   I had this nagging feeling deep in my gut that circumcision wasn’t the right decision for him.  That it was a bad idea.  At the time, I had no facts to back up my intuition and was responded to with statistics on how safe it was.  Yet I kept feeling uneasy about it.  After his circumcision, I knew why.  Hence the mental head slap.  While I was holding my inconsolable screaming two-week old, I silently kept thinking, why didn’t I listen to that feeling?  I cried buckets of tears as I helped hold him down while the doctor tried to fix the issue which then had to be fixed again days later causing even more pain physically and emotionally.  Mostly, my tears came from the fact that even though others assured me that this was the best decision, I, as his mother, knew better for him.

While Josh and I were discussing what our decision would be if we were to have another boy, he mentioned that my mothering instincts are abnormally strong and through our laughter he explained that’s a good thing.  He values my opinion more highly because he knows my opinion is coming from the desire to do the best thing for our child and future children.  Therefore, he left the decision up to me and will support whichever way I choose.  I really appreciated that.  Why hadn’t I sat Josh down and had this conversation BEFORE Carson was circumcised?  Why did I keep quiet about my true gut instinct on the issue?  Josh would have listened, I am blessed with a wonderful husband who respects me.  The answer is because I was not yet secure in my place as a mother.  I trusted other opinions over my very own.  Becoming secure in my instincts as a mother has been a building process.  My heart has been a construction site and the pieces have slowly come together.  I now consider myself a mama bear and Carson’s circumcision experience laid the cornerstone of my confidence.  

I’m sure others reading this have had similar experiences in which you didn’t trust your gut and regretted it.  Where does that “feeling” come from?  I had a conversation with my Dad recently and he shared with me that a woman’s intuition is God given and something to be honored, respected, and trusted.  I’m thankful he shared this with me because it furthered my confidence in following my own intuition.   We are empowered as caregivers.  How could we properly care for our family without this necessary tool?  What would life be like if women were emotionless robots?  It wouldn’t be a pretty picture.  So follow your instincts!  If you have a strong feeling about something, it is definitely for a reason, even if that reason is never known and above all, pray about it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Teething - I hate you!

Why must teething last so long!?  I'm thankful Carson is developing molars because I am really tired of him swallowing his food whole.   However, this process has been long and exhausting for the whole family.  After three weeks of a few molars attempting to come through, they finally broke free.  Hopefully that means this round of teething will soon be over and we can have a break (please God!).

Today, Carson had to be held the entire day.  Even washing my face was a challenge.  Our lack of sleep has just gotten worse (poor hubby almost fell asleep at work).  I've already decided that tomorrow, I will be getting a double shot in my rice milk latte.  Thank goodness I'm not preggers yet! 

Today was also a growing experience.  I finally stopped worrying about what Carson was keeping me from doing and sat my bum on the couch and just cuddled him, caressed his face, and played with his hair.  It felt pretty darn good too.  The stress of getting our home perfectly clean and the laundry folded melted away.  I was able to just dissolve into that moment with my child and comfort away the pain from his swollen gums. 

This was something I had been fighting for days now.  I was putting my "chores" before my very own son.  How many things do we put before our children each day and not even realize it?  What about our spouses? From now on, I'm going to be paying a little more attention to the details of life instead of my polished furniture.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Developing Patience

I smacked Carson's little hand twice yesterday and I so desperately wish he could understand my heartfelt apology.  He understood my hug that followed but it would have felt good to have heard "I forgive you mom."

I acted out of frustration and the desire to stop the behavior fast.  The first time was at the park when he was shoving fistfuls of rocks in his mouth.  Not just once, over and over again.  Hiding under the play gym to eat them thinking I wouldn't see.  He was trying to swallow and refusing to spit them out, I was scared and frustrated so I took his hand and smacked it.  What did he do?  His mouth went rigid and still and he looked down at his hand and back up at me with sad eyes.  He didn't understand.  Did it stop his behavior, absolutely not.  I had a harder time getting those rocks out after I smacked him than before. 

The second time was at a friends house.  He was eyeballing their wine rack which he knows to leave alone.  I could see him pacing back and forth thinking about touching that tempting glass.  He walked backwards, did a spin and came back to them.  Finally, he reached out with one little finger and I said no.  Instead of stopping, he frantically grabbed a glass and tried to bang it against the other glasses decoratively hanging there.  I ran over, grabbed his hand...and smacked it.  Did he stop or learn a lesson?  Nope.  He immediately ran to the other side of the wine rack and tried banging those other glasses against each other.  So instead this time, I put him in time out.  Did this stop his behavior?  Yes. 

So many times I act out of frustration with Carson.  He doesn't need short-tempered reactions to grow.  He needs consistency, a steady heart, and patience.  He needs to learn that this action equals this consequence, not frustrated outbursts from mom.  It can be a challenge with such a lively child.  He never stops moving and eventually, I just get tired.  My patience gets depleted.  Although, I know I can muster more.  My exhaustion is an excuse to my quick reactions.  I spent extra time in God's words last night because one of the best ways I know of learning patience is from our very own creator.  I also know knowledge is power and practice makes perfect.  The more times I discipline Carson correctly, the more it will become second nature.

Elimination Diet Part 2

We are on to the no wheat part of our elimination diet.   Cutting out dairy was a piece of cake compared to this!  We have only been doing this since last Thursday and we have already had to resort to eating wheat a couple of times.

We ate at Subway trying to be healthy and when the Subway employee asked me what kind of bread I wanted, I froze.  Crap, I didn't think this one through.  I stood there processing options in my brain.  Could I say no bread?  No, that would be weird, what would they put all the toppings on.  Maybe there is a bread that would have less wheat, no, not really.  Okay, I'll just chose whatever and then toss the bread aside after we get ready to eat our sandwiches.  "Okay, I want honey oat."  You could tell the employee was a little peeved.

There are so many wheat alternatives like oat flour, barley flour, rice flour, and much much more.  It all requires to be made at home though.  So we've done fine in our own kitchen, it's just tough when we go out.  It has forced us to eat in more often however and that's a good thing.

We also went to dinner at a buffet with friends the other night and for some reason it was dairy and wheat night.  Almost every entree they had to choose from either had diary or wheat.  I was feeding Carson chicken and green beans but finally did give him some bites of other stuff because how bland is that!  Well, we paid for it.  Carson immediately had diarrhea and it continued through part of the next day.  I can't believe how sensitive he is.  Not just to diary and wheat, but to processed foods in general.

I am using this amazing cookbook called The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal.  I love it!  It's great to use even if you don't have allergies.  Most of the recipes are wholesome, healthy, and easy plus she has a section of more gourmet recipes as well.  All of her pastries and deserts are made without sugar and she uses healthier substitutes like honey.   This is going to be a cookbook that I use a lot.

With all these changes, it is still hard to tell whether it is helping Carson's nighttime sleep.  For the last three weeks he has had a stuffy nose which gets worse at night and makes it hard to breathe, which of course wakes him up.  Plus he's cutting about 5 molars right now and has for the last several weeks.  (He is such a slow teether!)  With all of that going on it's sort of clouding the results of the diet change.  I'm hoping for some positive results soon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

God's Curve Ball

We have been flipped upside down, backwards, and side ways and maybe we're still upside down. All I know is I'm hanging on for dear life. It's amazing how you can have things all planned out and then God throws you a curve ball. This time we didn't see it coming and got smacked in the face and now we are holding an ice pack to our cheek while processing what the heck just happened.

This isn't because His plan is bad. God's plans are never bad. It's because His plan is so perfect we are in shock. I see it so clearly now. I see every little and big thing that He has done over the last year to bring us to this point. Really the only word I can presently say that expresses how I am feeling is - wow. There are some things in this plan that we are having a harder time with. Which is the fact that we will most likely be selling our tiny home. The thought of it brings tears to my eyes. We just painted the living room and now more than ever it feels like a place of refuge.

I've never leaned on God so much in my life. I do believe that during the last few months, God has been using our experiences to grow and refine us. We have never been under so much stress and I'm pretty sure we both have ulcers now, but the process has drawn us closer to Him. We are on the same path, just on a much smaller and less stressful scale. I'll share more details later as we try and figure everything out.  One thing is for certain, God's plans are always better than our own.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Routine and structure are something I value. My thought is that it is an innate desire for us all to have structure. God designed life with structure, the sun comes up, the sun goes down. Unless you live in Alaska, that is something you can expect. Expectations help relieve stress, we know what's going to happen, and can prepare for it. Sometimes, a break from the routine can be fun, but a life filled with unorganized chaos can wreak havoc on health & home.

For the last few months, we have had a lack of routine. Mostly because our schedule has not allowed for one and also because I have been too stressed to frankly give a darn. Well it's made a big difference. We're beginning to substantially feel the effects of chaotic living. We're all ready to rip our hair out. Thankfully, we received a break in the form of an employee helping in the mornings at the Adult Family Home instead of me. The change in schedule will be starting this week. This will give me the ability to bring routine & structure back to our lives. I'm hoping this will benefit everyone, including Josh, even though I know he'll miss me at the AFH in the mornings.

So I finally get to plan a routine and this time it will be more realistic! Every time I plan one, I set lofty goals. So this time I decided, why not create a routine that I can actually follow! Silly me, why didn't I think of this before!?

I'm not a fan of rigid schedules. My times are flexible. The idea is that Carson can expect the same thing each day which will hopefully create a more peaceful environment. I'm also planning our routine around Carson's natural inclination for wake, nap, outdoor, and bed time. I don't want to fight his natural biological clock. That would just be creating extra work and frustration for both of us.

So this is our brand new daily routine:

6:30-7:30ish: When Carson wakes up, get him ready for the day and then breakfast.

8:30ish: Interactive play/reading time with Carson. Quick clean up of house. Mommy hops in shower and can hopefully get ready for the day ;).

11:00ish: Lunch and then down for a nap.  This is also a time that Mommy gets to relax and have some personal time (if not napping with Carson and catching up on sleep, then this is usually when I get my Bible time in)

12:30-1ish:  When Carson wakes up, it's time to get any errands done for the day and if no errands then off to the adult family home to help Dad. 

3ish: Back home to accomplish any daily chores and outdoor time for Carson (If weather permits)

4:30: Start dinner & quick clean up of house
5:30: Daddy gets home!
6-6:30ish: Dinner & then clean up
7pm: Family time. This is our time for devotionals or we all get on the floor and play with Carson.

8pm: Carson to bed!
8:15pm: Finally some relax time! Then to bed myself to start all over again.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Process

You know Carson has digestion issues when after Josh changes a dirty diaper and then stands there intently staring at it, I ask him if there is something moving in it. Honestly, I wouldn't rule out any possibilities at this point.

In all seriousness, his digestion is getting better. Although, it is hard to tell if it's effecting his sleep yet since he is massively teething and presently has a cold. Just from cutting out diary, his diarrhea has vanished. Woohoo! We know he's probably sensitive to other foods so we'll be carrying on with the elimination diet. This next week we'll be cutting out wheat and corn. We have a hunch that he's actually allergic to soy which sucks because it's in EVERYTHING.

Dairy has been fairly easy to cut out. I hadn't missed it all that much until I got stressed out yesterday and desperately wanted to guzzle a glass of milk. Never thought of milk as comfort food, but I suppose it probably is. Especially since our first experiences with milk in the form of breast milk or formula are comforting, not jut nourishing.

This has been a really healthy time for us. We're eating more whole foods than ever before. I will also be picking up a cook book for people with allergies and I'm honestly tempted to start by cooking cover to cover. I've never done that before and it seems like it would be a fun challenge! Plus it would help us avoid more of the allergy prone foods. It's tough coming up with recipes that have no dairy. Pretty much all of my casseroles have gone bye-bye. Thankfully since there are so many substitutions, it has made cooking fairly easy.

I'm excited to get Carson's allergy problem solved. Unfortunately it's not the quick fix I had always been dreaming of.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Little Prayer

Thank you Lord for the sunshine this morning. You knew I needed it after the night we had with Carson. It was the third night of barely any sleep. That sunshine gave me energy to continue on with my day. Although sunshine is nice, Lord, could you pretty please help Carson to sleep through the night? Give us wisdom to find the culprit in his food so his digestion no longer bothers him. Also, I know every parent goes through this but Father, Carson is teething right now. He has a tooth up top that's giving him a lot of trouble and that coupled with no sleep has brought me to my breaking point. Thank you today for the sight of watching my baby boy eat strawberries and fake whip cream. It's by far the cutest thing I've ever seen. It rallied my spirits enough that I think I might make it through another night of no sleep. After all, you have gotten me to 16 months and I know with your strength I could handle much more. Thank you Lord for listening to my woes, especially since I know others out there have it much worse. Amen.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Finding Humor in My Crazy Ways

Yesterday, I had a good laugh at myself. Josh and I had errands to run and I also had phone calls to make so I thought I would multi-task and get my calling done while Josh was driving us around. As I started calling the first person, I cracked my window. It was cold out so Josh looked at me funny and then finally asked why I cracked my window. This is how the conversation went:

Me: I mouthed "radiation" and I raised my hand by my head and did circular motions.
Josh: "Did you fart?"
Me: "No honey, the radiation," once again my hand gestures of the radiation flowing around the car.
Josh: "So, you farted"
Me: "No, honey the radiation from the cell phone gets trapped in the car and I'm letting it out."
Josh: "What!? Lololololo..." He almost had to pull over he was laughing so hard.
Me: "I'm not a nut, it gets trapped within the metal of the car...
Josh: "Hahahaha"
Me: "Would you let me finish... and the radiation can't disperse through the metal so it gets trapped in this small space so by opening a window it has a way to get out."
Josh: More laughing..."you've got to be kidding me"...more laughing.
Me: "Okay, I admit, spoken out loud it sounds a little crazy...laughing...but I swear it's true!"

So my views are a little on the extreme side, but if I had it my way I'd live in a cabin in the woods, grow my own produce, raise my own meat, be completely self-sufficient and rely on no other corporation for power or water, and have absolutely no phones. I'd communicate the good old fashion way by using the post office and drop my letters off once a week when I drive into town to go to church which will also be how I get my need for socialization in...I have this all planned out.

My Sponge

It constantly amazes me how observant Carson is. Sometimes I forget because he doesn't yet have the words to describe what he sees, but he sees it. He only needs to see something once before imitating it. We are very careful when we mess with our electronics because we know it will only take once for him to witness how we get in and out of the locked up area before he'll be able to do it himself.

Yesterday Josh and I were pretty zonked out so we broke our cardinal rule which is the TV does not get turned on until Carson is in bed. I felt like zoning out in front of the tube so as the day was coming to a close, I watched Robin Hood, the one the BBC did. It's a cute show and Carson was sitting on my lap watching it with me. After sitting for awhile, Carson jumped down and I figured it was time to play. He can only handle sitting still for so long, even when he's tired. Well first thing he ran to his toy basket and grabbed a toy sword that was leftover from a Halloween Costume. It's a toy that really hasn't seen much action because he never knew what to do with it. Well after watching Robin Hood, he knew exactly what to do with it. He ran into the middle of the living room and started swinging it around like he was fighting the air. It was unbelievably adorable!!! I started laughing even though I was somewhat conflicted as to whether it was an okay thing or not for him to learn. I couldn't believe he put together the fact that hey, I have that, that thing they're swinging around, it's in my toy basket right over there, I can do that too! He was so pleased with himself that he figured it out. As he was fighting the air and making adorable noises (because fighting the air is such a challenge...he picked up that fact as well), he had a gigantic smile on his face.

It did remind me how careful I need to be. Sometimes I let some words go in front of Carson because he can't technically repeat them yet but someday soon he will be able to. Plus he can copy so much more than words. Like bad attitudes, a spirit of ungratefulness, work ethic, and oh so much more. This is probably my favorite thing about being a parent, it really forces you to become a better person.