Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year

A few years ago I stopped having resolutions for the new year - they enver worked and weren't worth the eventual guilt. This year, however, Ben and I are planning something new for the new year.

We're going to do a 3 month no-spend. Inspired by this blog we're going to stop spending money. Thankfully, Ben and I don't have a debt problem - the government is paying back my school loan via my child tax credit and universal childcare benefit (take THAT people who refused to give me a government loan!) and our mortgage is less than a lot of people pay for rent. We don't have cable or cell phones and so have no guilt with our phone and internet plans. We're already fairly frugal with spending, but do have a weakness for junk food and Starbucks.

So here is the plan:
- groceries once every two weeks, max 150$ each trip.
This is higher than our usual grocery budget (120 every two weeks) but we usually eat out once a week and make weekend runs for snacks. I figure raising the groceries slightly will still cost less than what we were doing.

- 120$ a month for bulk.
This includes meat (we shop at Costco) and pasta, rice, nuts etc. I get at Bulk Barn. I doubt we'll spend that much, as we don't get everything every time we shop, but that's the max I can spend at one time to replenish.

- Formula for Eli and Diapers for Hana
Eli is full time in cloth, so that's not an issue. Hana was in cloth, then potty trained, and then peeing on my floor. We're trying different methods of pottying with Hana, but she needs disposables at night, otherwise she and the bed are both soaked in the morning.

- Go to the Gym
I have a membership and I will use it twice a week minimum. I'd like to be going three times a week, but we'll start slow.

Everything else is off limits. There is nothing else we need. At the end of the three months we'll see how things are going and move forward from there. I'm hoping I'll be able to cut back even more, but again, we're starting small. The hope is that we'll save enough to be able to get new flooring and paint for the house. We've been here over a year and the walls are still bare.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas is very different than it has ever been for me. It has more meaning, more wonder, more awe and mystery. I look at my kids and I think of the sacrifice of God - incarnate, helpless, sent to be killed. I can't fathom it. It seems so odd, so wrong. I can't imagine an existance away from my kids, can't fathom sacrificing them for anything. And then I have a profound thought.

I am not God.

It's easy for me to become cynical about things this time of year, I admit. It's hard to reconcile peace on earth while war rages, hard to reflect on sacrifice while lives of excess are glorified, hard to celebrate the birth of a baby when so many children are starving to death. There are so many things I don't understand, that I can't even begin to reconcile, things I would do differently if I was, but I am not God.

And that is what brings me to my knees, gets me to a place where I can worship, where I can trust, where I can reflect on who He is. God incarnate, God who heals, Father God.

And the God who will make a way.

No matter what the cost, no matter how long it takes, God will make a way. There will be peace on earth, there will be comfort for those who mourn, those who ask will receive, because God will make a way, has made a way and is making a way each moment that passes.

I worship a God of mystery, of wonder, a God who seems illogical, who is above my understanding, a God who cares, who lives, a God of love, of sacrifice, a God who weeps, a God who understands. I don't have to understand, or agree, or be able to explain it. No matter how much I question, how frustrated the process makes me, I am always brought to this place. He is God, I am not, and I worship Him.

Friday, December 19, 2008

No one can call me lazy

Well, actually they could, and some days they would even be right, but not lately. Lately I've been crafty, and not even in the diabolical way.

I've been crocheting diaper covers for Eli, here's one, isn't it cute


And I made a sock monkey for Hana

(face to come later)

I've got another cover made and I'm going to start another one tonight. In other words, I'm trying to justify putting off wrapping Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Unwritten

My blog is getting neglected.

It's not for lack of ideas - I have so many things I want to say. In fact, there is more than one half written draft just waiting for me to finish and publish. But I don't.
I get halfway through a thought and then wonder if it really matters, if it's worth my time to write about it, or yours to read it.

Plus I'm averaging about 6 hrs of sleep a night, and so I've been taking advantage of the days when both kids nap at the same time and sleep myself. When Hana is up and she sees me on here, she asks to play the typing game too. Ah well, it's good for her letter recognition I guess.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Why I Like Yarn

- Yarn allows me to be in control and does not require a detailed explanation in order to feel it has a say in what I'm going to do with it
- Yarn does not demand anything from me and then punctuate that demand with "pah-leeze!
- Yarn does not make any sort of mess on itself and require me to clean it
- Yarn does not wake me up in the middle of the night and then sedate me with an adorable little coo
- When interacting with yarn I have no fear of being covered in bodily fluids (aside from my own)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Feminism

Sparked by a discussion on one of my message boards, and reading this article, I want to share the following:

I am a feminist. I tried to convince myself (and others) that I wasn't for a long time, but then I realized that it was the way feminist ideas are presented that I didn't agree with, not the ideas themselves.

For instance, I think women and men are inherently equal partners, but different partners with complimentary strengths and weaknesses. These aren't just the obvious physical differences either. Men and women are so vastly different and these differences can show in any way imaginable and still be distinctly feminine or distinctly male. So many times it seems that the feminist movement tries to make women more masculine - "stronger", more forceful, less emotional and sympathetic, basically stripping them of the things that make them feminine. Except for their sexuality, of course.

Sexuality is portrayed as some sort of power card that equalizes. Unfortunately women don't realize that this is just another way for men to think they own us. There's talk of women being free to express and share their sexuality freely with anyone they choose, but if really given the choice, would they share it so freely? Sensuality should be celebrated, not used.

I fully agree that men and women should get equal pay for equal work, and that there shouldn't be vocational limits put on a person because of gender roles. At the same time, I believe men and women have inherently different traits (that manifest to different degrees depending on the person) and that these traits should be explored and used in whatever vocation a person chooses, not hidden or undermined. No doors should be closed based on gender as gender has no ties to ability, intelligence, skill or desire.

I believe in "girl power" - the power to create life, to birth, to nurture, to think with the heart. There is so much about being a woman that has been forgotten and overlooked. In Western culture the power of the feminine has been pushed aside and hidden to the point that those who talk about it are seen as some sort of fanatics. Even the power to be sensual has been taken from us and exploited to the point where women feel uncomfortable in their own skin and ashamed of their sexuality.

I feel that the cultural view of women, especially "strong" women only compounds the problem. Women are constantly feeling pressure and tension, torn between their emotions, their desires and the ideals they feel laid out in front of them by traditions, beliefs, media and society. At times it can feel that no matter what choice she makes someone is being let down or betrayed, usually it turns out that it is the woman herself.

I am a feminist. I am a woman with a degree who has chosen to stay at home with my children. I am a wife who chooses to submit to her husband and defer to his decisions, even when I disagree. I am slowly finding peace with my body and my sexuality as it is and not comparing it to the standard that the male-driven world tries to hold me to.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

So not boreing

With all the chaos that goes with American politics, Canadian politics (like the Canadian version of far too many things...) often get overlooked. Well, no one can say that Canadian politics are boring now.

Not when the Governer General - the Queen's figurehead in Canada - is required to cut a trip short in order to settle things down in Parliament. It's basically the equivalent of mom turning the car around.

Harper's strategy of "agree with me or go dissolve government" backfired, and now things are getting messy. Everyone else has an idea how to clean up the mess - a proposed coalition government - but we're still a democracy, and it's up to the GG to decide if the Canadian people have a say in this.

I do not envy her position right now.

I was surprised when I heard about the proposed coalition, especially after the NDP focused so much on how Dion was not fit to be PM. Hrm. Kinda shot themselves in the foot there, haven't they....

The majority of Canada didn't want Harper back in power (actually, the majority didn't want him there in the first place), but since we can't agree on who we do want leading the country, Harper is what we got. There is no guarantee that if things go to vote as they are (with the Liberals and NDP as separate parties) things would be any different.

I talked to my dad about this (my personal political scientist) and his dream would be for Harper to step down and his Deputy to come into power. Then there's no more Harper and no Dion, everybody wins. Well, in his mind at least.

THis is just a bad time for this to be happening. Any decision the GG makes will postpone government taking any action on the economic crisis. To go to the polls again costs an astronomical amount (tho not nearly as much as the US elections).

It's such a mess I don't even know what I would like to see happen, it seems either way we're screwed.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hana - 25 months

The last month has been an interesting one. Sleep is hard to come by at night again - some nights we're up two or three times. Yesterday she technically slept all night, which is great, except that it was 4 am when she got up. Ah well, like all else this is a phase I'm sure. Naps however are going great. For the first time in a long time Hana is asking to be worn for her naps. It's wonderful to be able to snuggle and comfort her as she drifts off to sleep, and heartwarming to hear her ask for it.

Language has taken a huge leap forward this month (which we suspect is the reason for the lack of sleep). She has conversations now, tells stories, comes up with funny things to say. It's wonderful and so much fun. I have to keep reminding myself that she's only two, that she doesn't always know how to say what she means or ask for what she wants. We don't always understand what she's trying to say, and it's very frustrating for her.

She shows so much compassion and love for all of us. When Eli cries she talks to him or offers one of her toys and says he needs a big hug or some milk. She's stuck on Ben right now which can make things a bit difficult when he's at work and all she wants is a hug from Daddy. She's also quite taken with the giraffe with the shiny nose (aka Rudolf).

She is so much fun right now - challenging of course, but fun. Right now she would much rather watch Sesame Street than have me type, and so I'll have to cut my praise of her short. Just one of those days.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Eli - four months

Wow, what a month. It hasn't been easy. Actually, it was very stressful - I spent a lot of time in prayer, too much time very worried. In the end, I learned a lot.

I learned that just because you try really hard doesn't mean you'll succeed. I learned that no matter how strongly you believe in something that there are still times you need to compromise. I learned that things are not always all or nothing. I learned how strong I can be and what it means to put my child ahead of myself. I learned just how much fun a baby boy can be.

Eli got through the whole mess much better than I did. He never stopped grinning and giggling. In fact, he learned to belly laugh. He also grew. A lot. As of this morning he is 12lbs 6 oz - more than 3 lbs in one month! His growth has slowed a bit, which is good, it seems he's just about caught up to where he should be and we have the all clear from my doctor and don't need to go back until his 6 month check.

Eli is doing great. He's almost sitting. He's also reaching for things and gets such a proud look when he grabs on to something. He still loves to nurse to sleep, and has cut back to only one feeding a night. He's friendly, content, and loves to laugh. I'm so relieved, so glad he's gaining and that all is well. I can't wait to watch him over Christmas and see what this next month brings.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

THe good Life

Insert big sigh of relief here.

Hana has been going to bed much easier the last few days. We wrap her and she's out in a few minutes. Much better than the two hours of alternating screaming and being awake. Part of the problem was our expectations - getting her to sleep 7-7 just wasn't reasonable, especially if she was napping through the day. So we pushed bedtime back by an hour and a half and things are much smoother. She was going to sleep at that time anyway, so really the only difference is in how frustrated we get before hand.

Eli is growing so much now! He's like a different baby all of a sudden. I'm so so thankful that he's healthy.

So right now it's a little after 10 pm, both kids are asleep and I'm sitting on the couch spending time with my husband, watching him play a game. We're both relaxed, the house is reasonably clean, life is good.

After all the stress of the last couple of months this feels so good. I can think again. I can learn, I can interact.

I can also get so much more done! It's almost Christmas! hrm...maybe I'll get the decorations out....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Updates

- Last Monday Eli weighed 9lbs 4 oz, today he weighed 11 lbs 10 oz. He's still under percentiles from where he was a birth (above 50th then, just below 25th now) but is doing much better. He has rolls now and a weeka go I could see his ribs. Praise God he's gaining and the issues we had didn't affect his development.

- Hana is going through a developmental spurt. She's talking in full sentences, beginning to tell stories and has learned to open doors and jump. As always these are exciting times, but they also cause an interruption in sleep for everyone.

- Ben's meds have made a huge difference. I have my husband back. We're able to relax together, to talk, to function as a family. There is much less stress in our lives right now. It's so good.

- I can't believe it's just over a month until Christmas and I haven't started playing Christmas music yet. Let's not even talk about Christmas shopping.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Drop Out

Once again I am a NaNoWriMo drop out. With Eli being so underweight until recently my time has not been my own - pumping, feeding, weight checks, prayer, worry, time with Hana, supplimenting, washing. It's been a struggle, but we're good now. I'll do an update after our appointment tomorrow, once I'm sure we're in the clear.

I've mentioned before how I'm an idealist. I see the world the way I think it should be. I've often joked with people that if everyone would just do things the way I think they should do things, the world would be a better place. Needless to say, I've gotten used to disappointment, and I know the world just won't work like that.

It's harder, however, when my own life doesn't live up to the ideals I've set. I want to be the parent whose child never throws a tantrum, is never left to cry alone. Who breastfeeds until the child is ready to stop. Who is always there to nurture, teach, gently discipline. I want to be the friend who is considerate, available, open. I want a clean house, a satisfied husband, a vibrant spiritual life.

My life lately has involved a two year old who hasn't gotten enough of my undivided attention, a 3 month old who had only gained a pound since birth because my breastmilk isn't enough to sustain him, let alone make him thrive. A husband who gladly works hard to provide for his family and then comes home to help out with the kids because I'm stressed out. I've pulled away from friends because I'm not comfortable with letting them see me failing - leftover insecurity that I just can't seem to get rid of. My spiritual life is no where near what I would like it to be, but has been exactly what I've needed to sustain me. In short, I'm not measuring up.

So I've had to let go of some things. And really I'm ok with that. I own my decisions, and I realize what I want is not always possible and sometimes isn't the right choice for my family. But it's still hard - hard to set aside the ideal, hard to admit to others that I'm not doing what I thought I'd do, that what is important to me just can't happen. I guess I'm more concerned about appearing a failure or a hypocrite than I am with living my life the way it needs to be lived. I'm ok with not being perfect, but it's still hard when the rest of the world finds out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lessons Learned

I've learned that just because you try really hard does not mean you'll succeed. I've also learned that sometimes succeeding isn't the most important thing.

Eli is now being fed formula. My poor son has only gained an ounce (30 grams) in the last month - and he had been underweight at that time too. We thought it was different things, we tried different things, but what it comes down to is he needs to eat. A combination of weak suck, low supply, and inadequate glandular tissue makes nursing exclusivly unrealistic for us. Even with meds, pumping every two hours, feeding every two hours and using a supplimental system we were unable to get enough into him.

It's hard, and heartbreaking, but not nearly as much as it was with Hana. I had much better support this time around. I had two wonderful LCs that I saw two or more times a week. I had family and friends I could talk to. And as much as I want to nurse him, it's more important that he grows and is healthy.

Eli weighs (as of yesterday) 9lbs 4oz. He's 3.5 months old. He's malnourished, and that has it's own concerns, tho we're pretty confident it hasn't (and won't) had an effect on his development. When the problem was discovered a month ago his small weight was an issue, but not a real problem. After trying everything we can and still not getting it up, it is a concern. I will be taking him for another weight check on Friday to make sure he is gaining and that there isn't a problem with his digestion or his ability to gain weight.

I"m still pumping 4 times a day and nursing for comfort (after a feeding to put him to sleep etc.). Pumping isn't very effective for me - even on the herbal suppliments and the domperidone I was only getting about 16 oz a day. He'll get one bottle of breast milk a day and the rest I will freeze. Now that I'm not taking the domperidone (which causes mood swings and depression for me) I know my supply will start to drop. By freezing my milk now I'm hoping he'll get at least some breast milk his whole first year. Not much, but some. I'll continue pumping until my milk is gone, hopefully at least until he's 6 months old.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Two

This time two years ago I was full of anticipation. I was waiting for Hana's birth - what it would be like when I got to the hospital, praying the surgery would go well, what she would look like, how I would handle those first few days.

We had a rocky start. Nothing went the way I had planned or hoped for. Thankfully everything was fine physically, but emotionally I was a wreck. My bond with Hana is one that didn't come easy - we both had to work for it, and it was so worth the effort. I wouldn't change anything that happened because what we went through made such a fundamental impact on who I am. Until I became a mother I had no idea how much one person could change my life, change who I am. Going through that rough time and having the relationship we have now assures me that we will make it through anything.

Hana is a light in my life. She's quirky, kind, sensitive, fun, loving. She's spirited, persistant, determined, creative and imaginative. She has a huge heart, an amazing mind and some of the oddest habits I have ever seen. Every day she makes me laugh, makes me thank God for how blessed I am to have her in my life.

Over the last year she's grown so much, she's a completely different child. She is a child now, not so much a baby any more. Last year she was getting up 3-5 times a night, now she puts herself to sleep and we usually don't hear a peep out of her until morning. She was just starting to self-feed finger foods and transitioning to a sippy cup, and now she's using open cups and feeds herself with utensils. She was just getting the hang of crawling and now she runs.

When I play with her and she grins at me and asks for a kiss, or when she's laying on the floor colouring, or even when she's in the middle of a fit and then realizes I'm there to help and she asks for a hug, I'm blown away. I never knew being a mother would be this good, that watching her grow up would be this conflicting. It makes my heart swell and break all at the same time knowing that each day she needs me less and less, but chooses to need me more and more.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Eli Update

I had another appointment with the LC yesterday. The bad news is that Eli hadn't gained. The good news is, we think we've figured out the problem.

Our guess is that he has developed a lazy suck. I have a very strong let-down, so he would gulp that down and be satisfied. At least, that's what used to work until he had his last growth spurt. Now he's not getting enough fatty milk because he's not working for it. As a result, my supply dropped and he stopped gaining weight. I also have odd anatomy that makes it hard for him to draw the milk out - even when it looks like he's latched properly he's not deep enough. That's also why I have such a hard time pumping.

So with the use of a larger shield, larger pump horn and a supplemental nursing system, we're trying to get his weight up. The good news is that so far I've been pumping more than he's needed for a supplement. I go back in on Monday to see if what we're doing is working. If not, I'll need to supplement more (and right now I have some in the freezer for that purpose) and perhaps get a referral to a pediatrician to see if there is another reason for his not gaining.

Be praying my supply increases quickly - medication isn't really a possibility for me in that area because it has odd side effects for me (extreme mood swings). I'm doing everything I can with herbal remedies, hopefully they'll work. Also be praying Eli starts gaining and we don't need to use formula.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Confessions

- I've been known to tuck toys under the couch instead of picking them up. Makes for less mess the next day, and Hana gets all excited when I finally dig them out months later.

- The TV is on for hours a day. There used to be no tv at all, but that was before the second child was born.

- I bribe Hana with my computer when I want a few minutes to myself.

- Eli's laundry doesn't really get folded, just folded in half once so it's not a complete mess when I throw it in his drawer.

- I get Ben to pick up take-out when my day doesn't leave me enough time to think about planning a meal, let alone cook one.

- I leave my browser open to my favorite sites so I can feel like I have time to read things that interest me, and to make it quicker to actually read them while Hana is distracted by above mentioned TV.

- Crackers, cheese and pickles sometimes passes as lunch.

- I keep Hana naked from the waist down most of the day and put her in a disposable for her nap so I have less diapers to wash.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eli - three months

Time is flying by. If it weren't for the change of seasons I wouldn't believe he's three months old already.

Eli is doing great - he smiles and coos all day long. He loves his sister, and gives me the cutest grins while he's nursing. He sleeps great, all nestled close beside me, and has learned to love being on my back while Hana plays outside.

We had a trip tot he lactation consultant today because he's about 500 grams (a little over 1lbs) smaller than he should be. He has a great latch, and a strong suck, but doesn't like my heavy let-down. We had just weaned from the shield, but the LC recommends I keep using it to help fully empty my breast and boost my supply a bit. My hemoglobin was really low after he was born (so much that my mother was shocked they didn't transfuse me) and that has made it harder for my body to produce milk. I'm starting to take fenugreek and pump and hopefully by Friday we see some improvement.

The struggle with him gaining weight has been hard on me. After everything that happened with Hana it's just heartbreaking to think I can't feed him. A mother's job is to nourish her child, and it felt as though I was failing. The LC assured me that he is healthy, just small, and there are things we can do to fix it before it becomes a real problem. I know so much more this time around, and even if I do need to suppliment, I'll keep nursing him as long as I can.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ranting and Raving

I'm not so happy with life right now. Hana has been banging around in her room for over an hour. SHe was up until 10 last night and awake at 6:45 this morning - the child is tired and will be a bear tonight if she doesn't sleep. But she doesn't sleep, story of my life. She's waking up at night again, I'm telling myself it's just teething, but really I'm wondering if I'll ever get a decent sleep.

Eli isn't gaining weight. In the last two weeks he hasn't even gained an ounce. He's content and nurses great, but he's not growing. I can't even feed my own child, do you know how heartbreaking that is. We're ging to see a LC tomorrow, and I'm hopeful that we'll figure out what's wrong and be able to fix it, but it just kills me to know he hasn't been getting enough and I didn't notice. I thought we were doing so well. I thought he was growing - clothes don't fit anymore, isn't that a good sign? There was no indication there was a problem, he was just small - so is the rest of my family! I can't believe how stupid I was not to realize it was a problem. I'm so broken over that.

I'm stuck in the house all the time. In the evenings Ben is tired and doesn't want to go anywhere, plus we have to get Hana to bed. On the weekends I'm so exhausted it's hard to do anything, and Ben would rather stay home anyway. I'm feeling isolated from people - the only time I really see anyone is when they come here, and that doesn't happen often. I want to get out, I want to get to know people. I don't want to have to rely on the internet for social interaction, it's not good for me.

I haven't been to the gym in weeks. I feel so guilty leaving both kids with Ben, even tho he tells me not to. And then there's such a mess that needs to be cleaned up when I get home it doesn't seem worth it. But I have the membership so I'm just wasing money. Good thing this month was free.

My house is a mess. I just can't stay on top of it lately. No, not that I can't, I just haven't been. Lazy.

I've been neglecting God. THings were going really great for a while, but just haven't happened lately. No time to myself, no time to htink, let alone ready, study, meditate, reflect.

And to top it all off, I know God is still there, still faithful, still seeing me through this all. With Ben's illness, and Hana's spirit, and Eli's weight, I'm so scared and worried and guilty and ashamed and God can still handle it all. And handle me. Comfort me, give me hope and get me through it. I just need to let Him.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get it done

I realize that as a born-and-raised resident of New Brunswick that really should say "Git'er done!", but meh.

I've been slacking in my responsibilities lately, not getting as much done around the house, or for me, or for Hana as I should have been. I'm not sure exactly what was filling my days, but it wasn't nearly enough of what should have been there. Every time Eli fell asleep Hana would wake him, she was getting more than an hour of TV a day, laundry was piling up and it was just not right.

Today, however, is going much better. We played upstairs for a bit, everyone was happy, no tantrums. Breakfast went great, then I got Eli on my back for a nap. Got a load of laundry put away and another started, tidied the living room, danced with Hana, vacuumed the rug, coloured with Hana. Then I made lunch, we both ate and the got Hana ready for her nap. Now Eli is playing beside me, my livingroom is presentable, my kitchen is passable and I'm not stressed out.


See, don't we look happy?



Now hopefully I can keep this momentum, get the kitchen and bathroom cleaned and go play outside with Hana again this afternoon. But first, a nap.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Choices

A while ago when I wrote about my evolving thoughts on abortion, I balked at the idea of being called pro-choice. That was kind of dumb of me.

I like having choices, I like giving choices. I've found giving Hana options is a great way of finding compromise and avoiding melt downs. Toddlers like having a sense of control over their lives. Apparently this trait doesn't go away with age, we just get better at being disappointed.

There are times tho when giving options means giving people the opportunity to do something we don't like. Last night Ben gave Hana the choice of having dinner or playing with play-doh. Guess which she chose? The only way to avoid situations like that is to limit choices to things that are pre-approved. While I think this is a wonderful way to pick baby names, it doesn't really sit well with me in other areas.

Take birth for example. There is a lot of talk (well, at least in sites that I spend time on) about giving women the ability to choose the birth she wants. I strongly believe that a woman should be supported in any situation where she feels safe - water birth, home birth, lotus birth, hospital birth. But then what about medical birth? Elective Cesarean? Early elective induction? Those things make me more uncomfortable. They are choices I wouldn't make because the possible consequences seem too risky to me. I would rather people didn't make those choices, but can I really say I support a woman's right to choose while wanting to limit her options?

So many people see abortion as such a black and white issue - choose to birth the baby or choose to terminate the pregnancy. It's not. Babies don't just appear. There are appointments, tests, sleep issues, pains, nausea, bloating, complications, hormones, ultrasounds, emotions, cravings. Anyone who has had a baby will say it's all worth it (a lot of us even choose to go through it more than once just for kicks), but pregnancy is hard on a person. When talking to a mother about her choice to birth her baby, all of the above need to be taken into consideration. Sure, if she feels she can't support her child adoption is an option. There are even avenues that keep her from having to pay legal fees. But what about the time off work to have the baby, or go to prenatal appointments, who pays for that? Or the transportation, prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes.

It's not just an issue of money, there's also the havoc pregnancy can play on emotions. I am blessed to have Ben as my husband, I don't think anyone else could survive living with me pregnant. What if that mother has a fear, substantiated or not, that she won't survive the pregnancy because of the people in her life - the father, her father, her pimp, her employer? It's hard to see clearly through the fog the hormones cause. Possible, yes, but hard. Who will be there to offer council, a place to stay, to act as a liaison between support organizations, rehab, shelters? These are things that Christians should be doing, but they're too busy holding signs and spewing hate.

I don't like abortion. The idea of it makes me sick, breaks my heart, makes me hold my babies close and never want to let them go. At the same time, I have to be realistic - there are times when a mother doesn't see the choice as black and white, she sees all the things in between, agonizes, weighs the few options available to her. To me, it is far more necessary to give those women more options - more support, more finances, more understanding, more jobs, more maternity leave, more legal aid, more medical insurance - than it is to take options away, even the ones that make us uncomfortable.

We can't erase the things we don't like from the world. We can't control everything in a way that makes us feel more comfortable. There will always be situations we don't like, choices we say we could never make, things that we know will needlessly make life harder. We can't stop those things, we can only offer alternatives and do all we can to make the bad choices obsolete.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let Down

That last post was a hard thing for me. As open as I try to be, it's always easier to be open about tough times when they're over, not when I'm in the midst of them. I was hoping for some encouragement, some support, something to show I'm not alone in the world.

No, this isn't one of those pity party blog posts saying how horrible it is that I don't get comments. I did briefly consider abandoning this blog, but who am I kidding, I need the outlet (I just can't shut up, in case the length of my posts didn't make you aware of that). It's just the mumblings running around my head after realizing that I can't look at my blog as a means of socialization or to validate my existence - if I did I'd be left in a sadder state of mind than I am on my own.

Instead, this introducing the new phase of my blog. Yes, it's taking another turn (and hopefully not for the worst) - I'm going to treat it more as a journal. Yeah, that means a lot more family stuff probably. I'm aware this may affect my readership (the faithful 20 or so of you, and that random Irish visitor, I appreciate you all, hence the explanation), but as my readership doesn't bring any interaction, I'm not sure I'll notice the change.

Of course, comments and interaction are still welcome, and strongly encouraged.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Diagnosis

Last week Ben was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

This actually comes as a great relief. The whole time I've known Ben he's always been tense, nervous, shy, a worrier. There were times he couldn't let go of things and would focus on negative posibilities. THat's what made him so quiet in social situations - he was afraid. Afraid of saying the wrong thing, afraid of what people would think of him. Worried about normal things that people think about when in new situations, but for him it was something he couldn't ignore or put aside.

Over the past three years our lives have changed a lot. It seemed with each change Ben's anxiety would get worse. Over the past year, and especially since Eli's birth, it got to the point where he couldn't function. He physically slowed down because too much was going on in his brain. He couldn't relax because he was alwys thinking about htings that needed to be done, but he couldn't do them because he couldn't focus on any one thing. He was obssessing over small, meaningless things (like thinking our neighbours were stealing our cat), and couldn't even talk to me anymore.

It was rough on all of us. He would get short tempered with Hana, he couldn't have a conversation with me, things around the house weren't getting done and he was stressed out about work. We would have arguments over the same small things over and over again. They would always come down to the same thing - he couldn't think, he couldn't control his thoughts and everything gave him more reason to worry. Once he realized it wasn't normal and wasn't something he could control on his own he felt a bit better. It sill took him weeks to make an appointment with our doctor - even taking time off for the appointment made him worry.

Knowing what the problem is really is a relief - he is on meds that will help. In the meantime however there are still frustrations. As his wife I need him - I need my husband to pitch in, to talk with me, to show me he cares - and sometimes that just doesn't happen. THen I'm left frustrated, hurt and angry, but with no outlet for it. I end up having less patience with him and with Hana than is fair. It's hard on the whole family.

He has another appointment in a couple of weeks to discuss how the meds are working. So far he's experiencing a couple of side effects - mostly nausia and dizzyness, both normal and should go away once his body adjusts. Already his head feels clearer most of the time, so we're very hopeful we're on the right track. I'm so excited to have Ben back, to see what he's really like as a husband and father without always being so anxious and tense.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mirror Mirror

I have issues.

Wait, I've mentioned that before. Have I mentioned my self-image issues? Not that it should come as any surprise, there are very few women I've met who haven't had some sort of inaccuracy in their view of themselves at some point in their life.

Like most women, I place a lot of my identity in my relationships. I'm a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend. Success in those relationships means I'm doing well as a human being, turmoil and disharmony can really mess me up. Like if my daughter is screaming at me for no reason other than she's almost two, or I'm stressed out and ask Ben to pick up something for supper instead of cooking for him like a "good wife" should, or when my mom (hi mom, don't know if you still read this) annoys me and I lash out at her, or when I haven't heard from friends in a while (it's ok friends, I know I hear from you as often as you hear from me).

When those things happen I start to get anxious, confused, stressed out and insecure. I try to hide the insecurity with defensiveness, and that just makes things worse. I try to do something tangible to handle perceived problems, but my stress and anxiousness just turn it all into worry. My house gets (more) messy, I raise my voice and watch too much TV (and then get mad at myself for yelling and being lazy) and end up having a bad day (and sometimes causing bad days for those around me...sorry Ben).

And all of that mess happens just because I place too much value on things that change and are out of my control. Things that are part of me, but aren't really me.

It's so hard for women (I'm using women now because I'm really hoping this isn't just a problem I have) to compliment themselves, to admit their good traits, their strengths (inherent strengths, not those that exist only because of our relationships and thus are dependent on those relationships). I think it's because we don't want to be seen as bragging, or full of ourselves, or to have it proven wrong. Kinda like how you can't ever say you're humble. But then we internalize it too much, and we end up having trouble even thinking of our good qualities, and then when the external things get crazy and messed up it's hard to find anything solid to hang on to while we get it figured out.

I'm trying to get to know myself again. Over the last few years so much has changed and I've felt so swept up in it that I've lost touch with who I am and with what makes me tick. I know what I do, I know where I fit, but the rest of it is kind of jumbled sometimes.

I'm hoping that as I find these things about myself - my gifts, my passions, my strengths and areas where I have the opportunity to ask for help and utilize the strengths of others (how's that for positive wording). I want to be able to help others again, I want to engage in the world around me instead of just observe it, I want to get rid of these insecurities and doubts that take me away from my family and friends.

Monday, October 06, 2008

5 minute cake

supplies:

microwave
cerial bowl
6 tbs flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 or 2 tsp coco
2 tsp sugar
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp oil
water to make it cake batter like

microwave for 90 seconds, let sit until you can hold the bowl without burning yourself, enjoy.

All measurements are approximate. I think it's the ratio that's more important than the actual amounts. I use a dessert spoon, not an actual measuring spoon. Flour and coco are heaping, baking soda is just the tip. Sugar amounts vary by mood. I taste test before I cook it. Be careful, it's addictive, I've warned you.

This is actually a very flexible recepie, feel free to make your favorite cake. Carrot, almond, vanilla, marble, spice, orange chocolate. mmmm, cake

Saturday, October 04, 2008

23 Months

Really? She's already that big? Are you sure?

Hana is such a big girl right now. As always she's talking up a storm. Sentences are the norm now - rarely does she put less than 3 words together at a time. She's also extremely independent. She knows how to ask for help, and until she asks it's best just to leave her be and figure it out on her own.

New accomplishments this month include learning how to strip and potty training. Yes the two are related. Ben put her up to bed one night and later went to check on her. She ran over to the bed and said "Diapy!" while pointing at the corner. She was naked. So far she's doing great with the potty - only a handful of accidents all week! I'm so proud of her, and thrilled that my days of changing toddler diapers are soon coming to a (temporary) end.

She knows most of the letters of the alphabet now. One of her favorite things to do is give us a pen and get us to write the letters so she can name them. She also has started singing along with us when we sing kids songs - probably due to the never-ending kids music we endured for a few weeks after Eli was born. We've also started playing "I Spy" with her picture books and she's getting really good at finding shapes, colours and different objects.

Every day she needs me less and less. It's exciting - as a parent that's a great accomplishment, to be able to equip my children for life without me. It's also a little sad to realize that she'll never need me like this again, that already her need of me is a choice and not always a necessity. I'm so proud of her, amazed by her and thrilled to see the wonderful child she's becoming.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I've just had a realization. I'm sitting here watching So You Think You Can Dance Canada and realized it doesn't have nearly the press or hype or following that the US version has. It's a bit disappointing. There always seems to be a stigma that Canadian TV isn't as good as it's US counterpart. Unfortunately, that carries over to Canadian talent, and many artists, performers and athletes get overlooked.

I know that the CRTC requires a certain amount of Canadian content from all of it's broadcasters, but that doesn't apply to the American channels that we all watch on a regular basis. It's possible to not see Canadian content at all and still catch all the popular prime time shows.

I think that's part of the reason Canadian athletes have so much trouble finding sponsorship (which translates into less funding, less press and less training). We're so close to the U.S and so inundated with their stars that we don't notice our own. I wonder if this happens less with other countries because there are usually either physical or language barriers, pr perhaps less media carry over.

I'm a huge supporter of Canadian talent - what can I say, I'm proud to be Canadian and local support is something I'm working on (local sports, talent, farmers, everything). I just find it so disappointing that the U.S. media has blinded us from seeing what wonderful things our country has to offer.


(of course, the way the government has cut funding to the arts might have something to do with it too....)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eli -Two months

I honestly don't know where the time has gone. IT seems like just last week I was in the never-ending labour and it was summer. Now it's fall and he's already two months old!

He's doing really great. Like Hana, he's a slow gainer, about 10lbs right now. He's lean like Ben is, but still has rolls on his thighs and a cute double chin. When he's awake his eyes are so bright! He coos and kicks and flails his arms. He loves smiling and sticking his toungue out, and when I talk to him I can tell he's trying really hard to say something back. I can't wait for the stories he's going to tell!

He sleeps great - going 5 or 6 hours at night! We're working on nursing without the shield and so far it's not going too bad, so long as he isn't tired. WIthin a couple of weeks we should be fine without it I'm sure.

He seems so laid back, so curious. He's very content, so long as I'm in the room at least. He hates the car, but will sleep in his swing. He loves Hana and smiles and coos at her when she tries to make him laugh. I can't wait to get to know him better as more and more of his personality comes through.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Worth It

With raising Hana, Ben and I have made a commitment to always respect her feelings and do what we can to offer her comfort and teach her how to handle them. That means no yelling, no leaving her to cry alone, no spanking and doing what we can to walk her through issues. We're not always so good at it - especially the no yelling part, that one is really hard for me some days.

A lot of this we've realized is absolutely essential for Hana - she has very big emotions for such a small little girl. We don't indulge her tantrums - part of helping her walk through things is teaching her how to deal with frustration and disappointment. There are times she ends up in her room to have a tantrum, but that's her choice and she's free to come for a hug whenever she wants. We're teaching her she doesn't get what she wants by screaming and yelling, and that using words is the most effective way to communicate. We name her feelings for her, letting her know it's ok to feel angry or frustrated or sad when she doesn't understand or can't communicate. It can make things more frustrating for me at times, but I keep telling myself that showing her this level of respect and empathy will be worth it, and will make her the kind of person I dream she will be.

Today, my little girl amazed me. After her nap she was very cranky. I needed to change her, which she didn't like at all (and I think was the reason she woke up, she definitely could have had more sleep!). She was crying and just needing some love, so we curled up int he rocking chair and I rocked and sang to her. After a few minutes, Eli woke up and I could hear him crying through the monitor. I felt myself tense - I figured I' have two crying kids on my hands and that's never an easy thing to handle.

To my surprise, Hana popped her head up and said "Eli cry, sad, go get!". I was amazed. She had my full attention, and she was upset, but she also knew Eli needed me and didn't want him to be sad. She wanted to make sure his needs were met too.

It always amazes me when she does things like that - she is so compassionate and loving towards others. Yes, it gets exhausting and the constant whining makes me scream, but it's worth it.

And now I have it written down to remind myself next time we have a day like today.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My local mall has instituted a new rule - shopping carts are not allowed to leave their "base" stores: Sears, Wal-Mart, Sobeys and Toys r Us. That means there are no carts available in the main mall, and there are posts at the entrances to each of the base stores preventing you from taking the carts out.

There are (limited) strollers available at one kiosk in the mall - they have baskets and you can even get double strollers.

I think this is the worst idea ever. I am a mother of two. We do not take the infant car seat out of the car, nor do we have a stroller that's appropriate for an infant, I wear Eli in a carrier. We do have a stroller for Hana, but it has a rather small basket. WE normally go to the mall at least once a week, for the change of scenery if nothing else. When the weather is bad we go more often. A usual shopping trip at the mall would involve picking up a few things at Wal-Mart (one end of the mall) and then getting groceries at Sobeys )opposite end). With the new rules, these are my options:

1 - put Eli in a carrier and bring the stroller for Hana, only pick up a few things. This means more trips to the mall as I can't get a full grocery order.

2 - put Eli in a carrier and pray one of the strollers are available. So far there have never been strollers available when I've been there, but the mall keeps saying they're going to get more.

3 - Park at Wal-Mart, put Eli in a carrier and Hana in a cart. Shop, bring everything to the car, drive over to Sobeys and repeat. This means not going through the mall (which means not getting my tea at Starbucks or checking any other stores)

4 - Carry purchases through the mall while keeping track of Hana while I go to the other base store.

So which will I choose? None of the above. All of the options either require more stress or more driving, and none of them are worth it. Instead, I'll find another place to shop. Not far from the mall is another smaller shopping center that has a grocery store, Zellers and a dollar store, so I'll do most of my shopping there. When I do need to go to the mall, I'll either make sure Ben can come with me, or leave at least one of the kids at home with him. I think this is absolutely ridiculous. Whomever decided to make this change didn't realize the impact it would have on families or on their sales. I know I'll be spending much less time there - good for my budget, bad for theirs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are you kidding me? HFCS

When I first saw the following commercials, I sort of chuckled - they're corney (sorry...) and the acting is um...great. But then as I thought about it, they kind of scare me.




You know what they say about HFCS? that it's in a whole lot of processed food (in Canada it appears on labels as "fructose-glucose", so keep that in mind); that it is supper processed itself (how else would they get sugars out of corn). Some people also claim it's more of a health risk than sugar, but I have to admit the corn refiners association is right - it is the same amount of calories.

What bothers me about this campaign is that people are going to forget that consuming large amounts of sugar isn't good for you, especially processed sugars (did you know table sugar comes from sugar beats and isn't naturally white?). Western society (myself included) is addicted to sweets, and sugars have virtually no nutritional value.

There are alternatives - honey and cane sugar can be used to sweeten things and aren't over processed - a much more natural route. You can also use fruit juices, or get used to things not being so sugary. Our palates have been trained to expect more sugar than there should be in things. For example, apples are a very sweet fruit. In fact, there is the same amount of sugar in an apple (13 grams) as in the average cookie. Naturally occurring sugars may not be better for you, but they are in foods that have more nutritional value than the average prepared food that is full of processed sugars.

So no, HFCS won't kill you, but it's definitely not the best choice out there. Advertising like this only contributes to the bad state of health in North America - this is another example of the media misleading public opinion for cooperate monetary gain.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For my American Readers

Have you seen this?

It's information from Oprah.com about contacting your local senator about Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act. The purpose of this bill is to secure funding and make tracking child predators online a priority.

Please, I'm begging you, take the two minutes to copy and paste the letter on the Oprah site and send it to your senator. I've been online since I was 12, using chat rooms and messengers and I was propositioned more times than I can count - thankfully I was old enough to recognize pedophiles (most of the time...eventually), but not every child is so fortunate.

We need to make protecting children from pedophiles a top priority. The pedophiles themselves band together online in forums and web communities (even Christian ones) where their feelings and actions are not only understood, but normalized. Through participation in these forums the men (and women) involved loose their feelings of guilt and feel justified in their attractions to children. It's not a far step from normalization to action. With all the support and encouragement these pedophiles get, it's vital that we stand together against them to protect children from them.

Please pass on this information to all Americans you know - I can't really think of a reason why someone would be against this bill passing, regardless of their political affiliation.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So now what?

Through another blog, I stumbled on this article. Yeah, I know, you're not going to read it. It's about Ray Boltz (you know, "Thank You", "The Anchor Holds" etc.). He's gay.

This has me wondering what the Christian community will do about it. I know a lot of people won't care, but for others it could be a tough spot. Will those songs be banned in churches now? Will people feel a need to criticize Boltz or publically denounce his career (and all the good it has done for the Kingdom)? Basically I'm wondering how much of a mess the North American church will make of this situation.

I could be optimistic and hope that it will enlighten more Christians to the fact that homosexuals are not evil, God hating individuals, but that might be too much to hope for.

I guess my frustration is the fact that so many people seem to hold homosexuality as this huge horrible sin, worse than murder. Never mind that the Bible states not to hate, a homosexual relationship is worse. If we treated every other sin the way we treat homosexuality (yeah, that's going to get people riled up on the other side of the issue, isn't it. No, I don't think that homosexual relationships are what God intended for His people, and I define sin as knowingly acting against a known law of God (yes, it's the act, not the attraction) I don't, however, feel that living a homosexual lifestyle means that a person is cut off from God. Like any other habitual sin, it will impact a Christian's life, but it doesn't make it impossible for someone to have a relationship with Christ, make sense?) then our churches would be empty - no one would qualify.

Why can't we be about celebrating that someone has a desire for God and helping them along that journey with Him, trusting that He loves them, knows what is best for them and will convict and change them as he sees fit. Yes, it is our job to correct an errant brother - to bring them back to seeking God when they go wandering away from them, but if someone is actively seeking God then it's not our place to push them where God hasn't asked them to go. I think if we're honest, we all have things in our lives that we know wouldn't be there if we were perfect, but we don't go railing on each other about them.

Ok, so most of that made no sense, and I'm sure I've offended just about everyone and haven't expressed my own views properly. This post may be edited as my own stupidity is pointed out to me and I have more time to think about this.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Budget Builders

I joined a gym. I'm super excited ab out this - it should improve not only my physical health, but mental as well, plus improve my family dynamic. It gets a little rough being home all the time, just me and the kids. Ben works long days and likes having time to himself, so this works for him too.

Thing is, it's a luxery, and money isn't something we have just laying around. We're getting by, and building a bit of savings too, but there's not a whole lot leftover.

So I need to find 55 extra dollars a month in our budget. I figure not eating out once a week (because I'm too stressed out/tired to cook) will cover most of that, but any extras I could find would be great too.

And so I'm asking for ideas - what are ways you save money or cut back expenses? We don't have cable, but internet is a must (I need to connect to the outside world somehow!). We try to avoid processed food, but I do pay a bit more for some organic items.

Give me more ideas people!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My kids

First of all, not only does it still feel odd using the plural of that, there is still a part of me that has a hard time understanding that I really am a mom.

It just seems so surreal sometimes to believe that I have the full time responsibility of two tiny people. It feels wrong sometimes - I'm only 25, right? On bad days it's easy to think of all the things I "could" be doing instead of changing poopy diapers and listening to Elmo sing the alphabet song. Sometimes my head is so full of kid stuff that it can feel like I've lost myself. Sometimes I don't have the time I need to think or process what's going on around me. Sometimes it feels like I've lost the ability to just be me without being a mom, to have a conversation with adults (let alone a conversation that doesn't involve kids). It can be overwhelming and frustrating.

But then I look at these two beautiful children and I'm just in awe - that I've been trusted with these two lives, that I've been part of the process of creating these two people, each with their own personalities and ideas and futures, it blows me away. They challenge me and help me grow, the amaze and entertain me. They fill me with so much joy I couldn't imagine being as fulfilled any other way.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Working on it

Notice some changes? I'm playing around with things, this isn't the final product, but at least I'm getting started, finally

Sunday, September 07, 2008

House of Prayer

I heard a very good message lately that used Jesus' cleansing of the temple as text. The key point was that God's temple was intended to be a house of prayer.

That stands in stark contrast to most churches. It's long been established that prayer nights are the lest attended events at a church. How often do churches want to be known for their programs, their music, their preaching or multimedia. How many churches are known for their prayer?

I know how hard it is to get people to pray, and how other things, preaching, worship etc. are also important. We must keep in mind, however, that worship, sacrifice, teaching and community were part of temple life as well, and yet it was still to be known as a house of prayer. All interaction that happens between people is limited and crippled if there is no interaction between the people of God and God Himself.

If we put as much time and effort into prayer as we do the other aspects of church life, I think three things would happen. First, we'd have to spend less time, energy and stress on the other things and put them into better perspective. Second, relationships would grow deeper - it's hard not to connect to those you pray with and pray for. Third, and most important, we'd see and experience the power of God because we would (finally) be open and available to it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Politic Policies

I usually keep my mouth shut about politics. That is partially because I spent a lot of time around Americans the past few years and realized it was just easier to be quiet, and partially because I don't really care enough to have more than just a surface opinion about most subjects.

There is one thing in the current election race that has stuck out to me tho. Normally, I find it repulsive when opposing parties try to bring up dirt about the past, family or personal life of their competitors. Unless it relates directly to the issues at hand (and it rarely does - people are allowed to change their minds over time), it isn't relevant.

But now there is this controversy involving Sarah Palin and her family life. Her seventeen year old daughter is pregnant and her son has Downs Syndrome. On a forum I'm a part of, it was brought up that perhaps spending more time with her children during this time would be wiser than running for office.

My first reaction - leave her family out of it. Honestly, unless she feels politics are interfering with her family (or vice versa), then it shouldn't be an issue - we shouldn't even know about it unless she's the one who tells us.

Then I got thinking. She (and McCain) have built her up as such a family woman. A hockey mom etc. It's obvious her family is important to her, and they're trying to use that as a selling point to get more votes.

So now, what becomes worse - using your family as a bargaining chip (and thus leaving them (justifiably) open to exposure, or trying to find dirt on your competitor?

Either way, Obama gets points for considering the whole thing off limits. I wonder if McCain/Palin thought about that.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

22 Months

I'm trying not to think how close Hana is to two years old. Time is flying by and it seems like I can't catch my breath. It's just so hard to believe that my babygirl is almost two!

She has been doing really great these last few weeks. She's learning (through plenty of reminders) that she doesn't get what she wants through screaming and crying. The biggest issue right now is that her vocabulary never matches her desire to communicate - she knows so many words, but still has trouble. Yesterday while nursing Eli I sat in the rocking chair for a minute to answer the phone, and when I got up Hana had a bit of a meltdown. She calmed down and said "Sit, chair" and was very adamant about it. We're trying to help her understand she can't tell people what to do, so I said no. A huge tantrum followed, and I couldn't figure out why. Eventually she ended up upstairs to calm down. When she came back down, she went over to the chair with her soother and blankie and said "Chair, snuggle, pleeeese" with the most sincere look on her face, and it finally clicked - I had been rocking Eli in the chair and she felt left out, she wanted some snuggle time too, but couldn't find a way to get me to understand that, especially because she was upset. It was a reminder to me that tantrums happen for a reason, she's really not just trying to drive me nuts.

In her quest to communicate, she's also become very observant - picking up new words and gestures from us. One thing we often do is say "OH!" when we figure out what it is she's trying to say. So now, in what I think is an attempt to get us to understand faster, she asks for something, repeats the word and then says "oh!" nods, and repeats it again. It's cute.

She's really loving colouring right now, and looking through books on her own. The other day I sat nursing Eli with Hana sitting at my feet looking through a book and singing to herself, it was so perfect.

She's so gentle and loving with her brother - she plays with him, gives him kisses, and loves it when he looks at her or does anything(so long as he doesn't touch her, her clothing, or my hair).

This is such a fun age - she's so full of energy and curiosity I find myself looking for ways to keep up with her and fill her mind. We're having so much fun learning together.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Disclaimer

The oppinions expressed on this blog are soley those of of the author - there is no expectation that these oppinions be held by the general public (altho at times that would be really nice). Also, the expression of these oppinions is not in any way judgement towards those who feel, think, or act differently, altho there may be some confusion on the part of the author as to why that is so.

Understood?

Basically, I'm not mad at you for disagreeing with me, so it would be nice if you didn't get mad at me for disagreeing with you. Sure, I might question things you do, might even wonder at the thought process behind it or not understand it, but not constrew that as passing judgement. Everyone makes their own decisions for their own reasons and I am not delusional enough to think that I have any control over anyone else.

So if you, for example, enjoy eating ants and I happen to write about how I find ants themselves rather icky and list illnesses that are attibuted to the practice, that doesn't mean I think YOU are icky or that I expect you to agree with me and stop. The information here is just that - information. In fact, if there were great benefits to eating ants I'd appriciate if you shared them - information works both ways. If I were wrong about my thoughts on ant-eating I'd appriciate being corrected so that I could change my oppinion on the subject. No one likes being wrong, and I'm not so stubborn that I can't admit when I am and quickly change my positon before anyone notices.

So long as things are said in a respectful manner without personal attacks (an idea can be crazy but the person who holds that idea doesn't have to be) then we can all learn from one another, even if it's just gaining perspective on the opposing side that leaves us firmer in our own. Yes, I express my oppinions strongly and I will back them up, but I expect you think my ideas are as wrong as I think yours are, so you can be just as strong as I am. And we can still be friends (or become friends as the case may be).

If comments do become personal or fall into the "flame" category, they will be deleated and you can feel free to either email me (perryDOTstephanieATgmailDOTcom) or try again with wording that more clearly reflects your oppinion instead of your emotions.

Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eli - One month

Time has been flying by. I can't believe he's been here for a month already.

He's absolutely precious. It's so different this time around without all the stress and issues that sorrounded Hana's birth. In a way it makes me grieve over what I missed with her, but at the same time I'm thankful for that experience because it's made me really appriciate things this time.

Nursing is going great. He was dehydrated and not latching well at 4 days old, but a trip to a wonderful LC (after a compelte emotional breakdown on my part) and the use of a nipple shield has solved the problem completely.

His eyes are still dark (I think they'll be hazel like Ben's), his hair feels like silk, he smiles when I talk to him and when Hana kisses him, and he loves being in carriers. In short, he's perfect.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We're renovating

No, we're not doing anything exciting to the house (aside from the bathroom blowing up we haven't had the chance to do anything yet). I'm using we in the royal sense and referring to the blog.

For a while I've been half wishing this were an anonymous blog and that I didn't really know most of the readers (altho the amount of readers seems to be in question lately - where did everybody go?). then I realize that any other time I've had that feeling and ignored it, people have appreciated my openness and transparency.

So I say screw it (not out loud tho - Hana would very quickly add it to her vocabulary). I'm going to start posting more (hopefully - typing while nursing is an art I haven't quite mastered yet).

Change does take time however, and that seems to be something I don't have an abundance of. I'm working on it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mother of Two

Things are starting to settle into a rythm now. Hana had a bit of a rough transition, but we figured out most of that was because she's working on her second set of molars - not such a fun process, but at least there's a reason for her screaming (I was worried she just hated me, so it's good to know that's not the case).

She loves Eli to pieces. She wants to hold him, and rubs his head, puts stickers on his clothes and gets all excited when he wakes up. There are moments of jelousy, especially around sleep times, but in all she's handling everything really well. I'm very proud of her.

Eli is doing great - he's already outgrown some clothes! He spends most of his day either nursing or sleeping, with some great arm and leg flailing thrown in between.

And now Hana's up, so the rest of this will have to wait until later.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

WORLDWIDE MOMENT



Eli and I relaxing.
my number is 32422

Monday, August 04, 2008

21 months

Hana is 21 months old. I can't believe how much she has grown lately, especially during the two weeks she was with her grandparents. I look at pictures of her from a year ago and I'm just amazed - she's almost not a baby any more. Every day she looks more grown up.

She's learning so much. She can count to 5, knows some letters and colours, and knows our daily routine. She is always so excited about life, every experience is just an amazing thing to her. When she laughs, she laughs with her whole body, heart and soul.

This transition has been a little rough on her, as we expected. She loves her little brother - she points out his eyes and nose and mouth and hair, she gets excited when he's awake, she calls him "'Li"- it's adorable. I can't wait to see all the wonderful things she teaches him.

She is the child who made me a mother, and her personality, her uniqueness and gifts have made me the mother that I am, and I am so greatful to her.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

a vbac story

Prodromal labour started at 37ish wks. I was 2cm dialated and everyone (Dr, doula, family, myself) figured baby would come pretty darn quick. It didn't. July 11th we sent Hana to her grandparents and Ben started his parental leave - again thinking things would start soon. We figured this would be the best way for me to be able to relax and prepare myself for labour. I also wanted to labour at home as long as possible, so having Hana underfoot would have been difficult.

And so things remained until my 40wk appointment. At this point I was getting regular strong ctx every night from about 11-2, and also through the day depending on my activity. I was missing Hana like crazy, but it didn't make sense to bring her home as MIL and FIL live 3 hours away, and labour could still start at any time. It was getting frustrating. To top it off, at that appointment the Dr (one in the group I hadn't seen yet) informed me my cervix was still very long. She wanted to induce me that Friday (25th), but said instead I could just go for a NST and u/s and talk with the gyno and go from there.

So thats what we did. I wasn't happy with the thought of induction for a VBAC, but at least they hadn't scheduled me for a section. I spent the days between appointments doing all I could to encourage labour to start.

Friday morning before my appointment I was woken up at 6 by the ctx. These were really strong and unprovoked - that was a really good sign. I put off calling the hospital until the afternoon, just to give as much time as I could for things to pick up on their own.

At 10 the hospital called me and asked I come in at 1:30. We called our doula and let her know - she decided to come with us, just incase they decided to induce. The appointment went really well - the gyno said baby had lots of fluid, the placenta was still working (tho had started to calcify) and that she'd rather have me go on my own than induce me. Still, an induction was scheduled for Monday, just in case. She said I was nice and soft and less than 50% length, so she stripped me and said she hoped I went on my own over the weekend.

After that, I came home and slept, then went for a walk. In the early evening things started picking up again, and at one point (don't remember the time) we decided to call the doula again. I was having trouble focussing through the ctx on my own and thought I could use the help. Around 3 (I think) things started slowing down again and we all slept. By 8 they were back to the ctx I had been having for weeks and we were all tired and exhausted. The doula went home, Ben and I went back to bed.

We woke up at 12, and as soon as I sat up things were much different. Ctx were more intense (not really more pain at that point, just deeper) and coming ever 7 minutes. I laboured on my own between the birth ball, the bed and the shower until 6 - ctx were 5 minutes appart by then so we called the doula back. After she arrived we walked, focussed, massaged and walked more until the ctx were 2 minutes appart - showtime!

We got to the hossy (less than 5 minutes away). I had a ctx in the car when we arrived. I had another in the parking lot and another inside the door of emerg (it was past 8 so thats how we had to go in). Another on the way to the birthing unit and one more when I got settled in the labour room - it was roughly 9 pm. The nurse checked me and I was a "streachy" 3. I had so been looking forward to the whirlpool tub, but had to wait until I was at least 4.

So we walked. And showered. And went on the birth ball. And walked. They checked me at 11 - no change. More walking, more birth ball, meditation, massage. My hips and back had been killing me for weeks (sciatia and an old muscle injury), and each ctx made the pain in those areas more annoying. Pressure on my back and hips during the ctxs helped, but I was really looking forward to that tub. Ctx had slowed to almost 3 minutes, which didn't surprise us. I had to get a hep-lock (hossy policy to have a line available for a VBAC) and two blood draws, and I'm really nervous about needles. Still, we figured slow progress was still progress, so we had the nurse check me again at 1.

And there was no change. I was slightly more effaced, but I honestly think she just said that because I looked like I was going to cry. She suggested we all try to get some sleep.

Yeah, sleep. With ctx coming every 3 minutes. So we tried. Ben and our doula got a bit (they brought in a cot for Ben and there was a reclining chair in the room, it was nice), but I was having issues. Just when I thought I might drift off I had another ctx and felt something move in an odd way. A few minutes later I really had to pee. As I stood up, the room flooded.

Ok, not really flooded, but it was certainly more water than I had expected. After I felt that ctx before I waited for water, but none came, so the realization that yes, my water HAD broken kind of surprised me. So glad this didn't happen anywhere but at the hospital!

So from that point sleeping was out. We had the nurse check me, I was now 3 and a half. Well, at least there was progress. I laboured on the toilet for a while, then the tub, then the shower, then walking, then the ball. My doula kept commenting how great I was doing and how if I could see myself in a video later I'd think it was so beautiful. I told her I didn't think it was very beautiful. The ctx were coming HARD and at this point seemed like there was barely a minute between them. I was having a very hard time staying on top of them and nothing seemed to work.

At 7 I asked for gas and air. I needed something to take the edge off and nothing was working. The gas was nice, helped me relax through the ctx instead of fighting them. I really thought I was making progress. At 9 I was checked - no change. 12 hours of intense labour and I had gone about half a cm. I was not ok with that. There was no way I could keep going at that pace - first of all it was a VBAC and they wouldn't let me. Secondly, my water had broken so I was on the clock (18 hours and baby needs a NICU stay, 24 hours and it's a c/s). Thirdly, I couldn't handle it emotionally.

After the prodromal labour, the lack of progress and how badly I felt I was dealing with the pain, I felt my body was going to fail me and I would end up with another c/s. I was given two options - pit and an epi, or a c/s.

I took the first option - I was wanting a drug free birth, but more than that I was wanting to avoid a c/s (unless medically necessary, of course), so I chose the epi. Ben and the doula were a little surprised and tried to encourage me to keep going, but I knew that just wasn't going to work. 6 hours with no change, even with the gas and working hard to accapt the pain didn't give me much hope against the clock. I have no regrets about my decision.

It took almost two hours to get the epi. There was a miscommunication between the anestatist and the Dr (wonder what would have happened had I needed an emergency c/s....). In the mean time, I kept on labouring, sometimes with the air, sometimes not. Right before they gave me the epi they checked again - 4 plus! We all found it kind of ironic (and sad in a funny way), but I didn't care, I was so looking forward to some relief!

Remember my fear of needles? Yeah, that includes tubes being inserted in my spine. I didn't cry tho, I was just too excited to get a break from the constant pain. It took no time at all to get it in, and it took effect just as another ctx was coming. Bliss.

It was odd being able to move my legs but not having any real control over how far I moved them - different from the spinal for my c/s where I couldn't move at all. I profusely thanked the epidural man - he was my new best friend. Then they got the synthetic oxytocen going along with an IV line. At this point I was happy to have the hep-lock already in, it just made it one step faster and I didn't have to think about it.

Because of my previous c-section I had to be constantly monitoured, so I had a nurse in the room the whole time and was hooked up to the machine. Didn't really bother me at all seeing as I couldn't move anyway. The only problem was the contractions weren't registering on the monitor very well - I could feel them happening (the pressure) but they just weren't showing up right. No big deal tho - I could still feel enough to know if something went wrong and the nurse was there to watch for signs of rupture or if my uterus couldn't handle the drug.

Once that was all done, I fell asleep. Sleep was good. I'd half wake up every now and then and adjust, but mostly it was just sleep for two and a half hours. When I woke up, I was shivering and felt very nauseous. They figured the nausea was because of the drugs, but couldn't figure out why I was so cold. I got a couple warm blankets, they checked my temp, everything seemed normal. Out of curiosity I mentioned transition (remember I wasn't even 5 cm (after being there for 14 hours!) 3 hours earlier), and the nurse said she'd check me.

So she checks me, and gets this odd look on her face, and I'm thinking "great, still no change, how long will they let me go like this?" and she gets a big smile and says "you're 10cm, you can push with the next contraction".

At first I didn't believe her. There was just no way I could be ready to push already, pushing was still far away as far as I was concerned. I asked her if she was sure, I was excited and a little scared. This was at 2 pm. She started taking the bed apart, let the Dr. know I was ready and at 2:30 I started pushing.

That part was odd. I couldn't feel it at all. My left leg/abdomen was completely numb, my right side had a bit of sensation around my hip and inner pelvis, but that was it. So I did what I thought was a push and everyone said "Great job" so I figured I got it right and kept on going.

The spot on the inner pelvis that still had feeling hurt a lot while I was pushing (found out later there was a loop of cord beside Eli's face on that side, so I'm guessing that's what was causing the problem), as was my hip, but otherwise there was no pain at all. It was a very slow descent - he'd come forward, slide back, over and over again. Ben did so great here - he'd hold my leg while I pushed, feed me ice in between and let me know baby was still coming. I kept asking if there was progress and if baby was tolerating it alright - I wanted to go nice and slow, but knew a lack of progress would be a bad thing. It was so exciting every time he came forward just a bit, and when his head finally didn't slip back there were cheers.

During the pushing there were a couple of bleeds - vaginal tears, nothing serious, but the Dr. still had to check them out. He was wonderful - very patient, laid back, never made me worried about rupture or anything else. Once he was sure the bleed wasn't serious he'd step back and let the nurse take over again. I was really glad of that - so long as he wasn't worried no one else needed to be.

Once we got to the point where he was below my pubic bone I had already been pushing for two hours. They started pushing me to pick up the pace a bit and get him out. I pushed as hard as I could (at least I think that's what I did, I still couldn't feel anything) and then all of a sudden there were more people in the room, there was a warm towel on my chest and the Drs (there was a resident there as well) were getting ready. I was in shock, it seemed so surreal. Then someone said he was crowning, and someone else said there's an ear, and I felt him turn inside me and then slide out.

And I cried and there was this little perfect person on my chest. And he was whimpering and coughing and breathing and turning pink. He didn't cry right away (but was breathing, so not a problem) and I just couldn't believe it. And then I lifted his leg and saw it was a boy and started crying. It was the most beautiful moment. I didn't care that I was naked and splayed, that there were tons of people in the room, it was just me and this perfect little person I had just brought into the world.

Ben cut the cord and after 10 minutes or so they wiped him down and measured him. While I was getting stitched up (which btw seemed to take FOREVER!) he nursed for the first time. They were a little concerned about my bleeding and so had to massage my uterus for a while and start another drip to keep me contracting, but it wasn't too horrible.

I had a second degree tear and a few minor tears that didn't need stitches. Eli had a little trouble regulating his body heat for the first day, but lots of skin to skin time helped with that - he didn't need to spend any time away from me at all. We were discharged on Tuesday and have been doing great since. There was a little trouble with nursing, but a trip to a wonderful LC helped with that and now things are just perfect.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The short story

Sorry I haven't given much information, it's been an exhausting week! There will be a (much) longer birth story coming as soon as I get time to finish it.

Elias James was born at 4:59 on Sunday, July 27th. He weighed 8lbs 2 oz and was 21 inches long.

Labour started (and didn't stop for a change) at noon on Saturday, contractions were 2 minutes apart by 8 so we headed into the hospital, at 9 I was all settled in. At 2 am my water broke, and at 7 I had only progressed about a cm from where I had started. At 9 I decided to get oxytocen and an epi, those were started at 11 (I was then 4+ cm). At 2 I woke up shivering and was 10 cm! I started pushing at 2:30 and he made a nice, slow entrance into the world!

He's perfect!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Labour

This has been an interesting week.

For two weeks I had been in "prodromal" labour - meaning irregular (but productive) contractions. Wasn't too bad, just a lot of waiting for things to get regular.

Things got regular Monday night and through Tuesday my contractions were coming roughly every 10 minutes, but were still rather mild. I had graduated into "early" labour.

And that brings us to today. Contractions are still (mostly) 10-15 minutes apart, strong enough that I notice them but not horrible by any means. So far it's been a long, slow process, but not a bad one at all. It's exciting to let my body do this on it's own, slowly preparing for the birth of my child.

Tonight Hana will be taking a trip to Woodstock to visit her grandparents, and we're hoping that will give me one less thing to worry about and might kick things into active labour. I saw the Dr. on Wednesday and she's pretty confident I won't make it to my appointment next Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

20 Months



My baby girl is growing up so fast!

I had the most wonderful experience today. I went to my OB appointment while Hana had a play date with one of her friends (Thanks Christina for watching her for me!). When I got into the office, one of the other moms looks at me and says "oh, you don't have your little girl today!" - I explained and she turned to a friend who was waiting with her and started talking about how sweet and well behaved and polite and fun Hana is. Now, when I have my appointments, I let Hana just wander around the waiting room. She colours, talks, looks through magazines etc., never getting into any trouble, but definitely isn't one of those kids who sits quietly and waits. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to hear such positive things about my child from a stranger.

Hana is learning to set boundaries and express her will. There are plenty of opportunites for power struggles, but we're working really hard at avoiding them, empowering her with her decisions as much as possible, and letting her know we understand it's frustrating when we can't. At the same time, she's learning to share and to take care of others, as well as (hopefully) learning to contain her impatience when she has to wait.

She knows something is going on with me right now. She's been very protective of me, and has needed a lot of touch and re-assurance lately. Once again I am so glad I invested in good carriers! I don't know how I'd ever get anything done otherwise!

Her newest thing is playing pretend. She'll spend a long time standing beside the night stand in our room "cooking" and then pretending to eat what she's cooked. She always shares it too. She mimics a lot of things she sees us doing - like tonight spooning imaginary powder into a water bottle just like Ben does when he makes ice tea. She's also taken an interest in dolls - especially my cloth baby doll from when I was little. One day she picked it up and said "Maymay. Back. Wrap. Wrap Maymay back!". It was a proud moment for me! I cut a strip from some leftover fabric and now she has her own little sling. It's precious - see!



I love this child more than I ever thought possible. We have our moments when we both get frustrated, but it's always temporary and ends with hugs and kisses and lots of fun. I'm so amazed as i watch her grow and so proud of the child I see her becoming.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Things are moving

I had a wonderful appointment today. Apparently those contractions I've been feeling for a week are actually accomplishing something - I'm 1 cm and 40% effaced, and the Dr was touching the baby's head - all very good signs!

So now I'm getting anxious to meet this little one. I know, it could still be two or more weeks, but I really feel baby will be here before my EDD (July 18th).

So, help me guess. I set up a poll, just click here


and guess gender, date and size of baby.

This pregnancy has been SO different from Hana's, but she was also breech the whole time, so it's hard to say if that's what is making the difference or not. I'm still carrying on the high side (even tho baby is engaged), but that's mostly because I'm short. Baby's heart rate is always over 140, usually around 145 (resting). Hana was 6lbs14oz and was born at 39wks, but she was scheduled. I was just as sick each time, but in less pain this time around. Don't know if any of that info helps with the guessing, but there it is.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Affirmations

God designed my body for birth, all I need to do is trust and it will happen.

My baby knows when to come into the world.

Pressure I feel at my incision is not a reason to worry, just a reminder that I am a mother.

I can birth my baby.

I can breastfeed my baby.

I am strong and powerful, I can do this.

Right now my body is getting ready for birth, I will trust and listen to it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Birthright

As I get close and closer to the birth of my second child, I'm feeling compelled to reflect on Hana's birth.

It's something I haven't talked about with many people, mostly because many people don't understand. And those who do understand wish that they didn't.

Hana's birth, according to most, was perfect. She was breech through the whole pregnancy and so a cesarean section was scheduled for 39 weeks. I was prepared for the surgery - the IV, the spinal, the incision and what recovery would be like. Aside from being delayed over an hour, everything went according to plan. There was a bit of tearing to my abdominal muscles, and the anesthetic numbed me to my collarbones, but otherwise it was textbook. Recovery was fairly easy - I had no morphine as was able to control the pain with extra strength Tylenol. It was a successful surgery.

And that is exactly what it felt like - a surgery. I had gone in for surgery and came home recovering from surgery, and the by-product of that was this tiny little human that they had taken from my womb. In some ways it felt like I was bringing home my appendix in a glass jar.

Yes, I know, be thankful for medical technology, at least we were both healthy, that's all that mattered, right?

Except it wasn't all that mattered. I suddenly had this child that I was not emotionally, physically or hormonally prepared for. Don't get me wrong, I loved her from the first moment I saw her. I adored her and thought she was beautiful. But I wasn't connected to her.

For the first few days I tried to hide it, ignore it, anxiously awaiting that moment when I'd feel she was mine. As we struggled with nursing it got worse, to the point where she would start crying and I would just hand her to Ben. My inability to feed her just confirmed the feelings that she wasn't my baby.

For weeks I would casually remark to Ben that it felt like at any moment someone would come to the door to pick her up. Like she was just on loan to me and her real mother was somewhere else. Again, I loved her, cared for her, thought she was beautiful and wonderful, but wasn't attached to her.

I missed the first 12 weeks or so of Hana's life. I was present for it, but I don't really feel I was part of it. It wasn't post-pardum depression - it only involved her, and I wasn't really unhappy. we just had attachment issues.

I had used a sling every now and then from the time we got home from the hospital, but as I realized the feelings weren't going away, I started using it more. We also started bringing Hana in bed with us, and I would nap with her during the day. Most days, she spent at least 20 hours either in the wrap or sleeping beside me. I could smell her. She could feel my breath and hear my heart. I got to know every movement, every face, every noise she made.

That's when it happened. That's when it clicked for us. I was her mama, and she was my baby, and everything was finally right in the world. We spent months attached like that - even when she was 6 months old she was still in a carrier for 4-8 hours a day. She took at least one nap either beside me in bed or in the sling until she was 9 months old. Even now, at almost 20 months and 36 wks pregnant I will still lay down with her, hold her, or put her in a carrier when we're feeling disconnected. We have such a strong bond, such a wonderful connection. She's so secure, so independent, but when she needs it she knows she can always go to her mama for a snuggle.

This is probably the biggest reason I am doing things differently this time around. I don't want to miss that precious newborn time. I don't want to feel like a failure from my first moments as a mother with this child. I want to know, to prove, that my body, my heart and my spirit know how to bring a child into this world and connect with it. I want to know for sure that it wasn't because of me - some lack of compassion or whatever on my part - that we had such problems in the beginning, but that we were victims of misinformation and circumstances.

Monday, June 16, 2008

To my Unborn Child

First of all, know that you are loved. You were loved since the moment of your conception, and before that, we loved the idea of you. We planned for you, hoped for you, prayed for you, and were thrilled to hear of your pending arrival. All day long I feel you moving, I usually have a hand over you, anxiously awaiting when I can hold you with my arms instead of my womb. Your father falls asleep nightly with his arms around us both, keeping us safe and secure. Your sister cuddles and kisses you every chance she gets. If nothing else in life, know that you are loved and wanted.

I know that through this pregnancy I have complained about the aches and pains, the pokes and prods, and the fact that you stand on my bladder (Which I had suspected and had proven on ultrasound). Never have any of those complaints been a sign of regret or unhappiness on my part. You'll learn through your life that sometimes I whine, but only in an attempt to share my experiences with those that I love. Feeling you move inside me brings me so much joy and excitement. I love watching my belly dance, love seeing how full of life you are. I can't wait to meet you.

I'm so anxious for that moment when I'll wrap you in my arms, close to my heart where you belong. You'll hear my heartbeat just as you have for your whole existence, and I will feel your movements just as I have these past few months. We'll look one another in the eye for the first time, but it won't be a meeting of strangers. We have always known each other.

I see your sister as the ocean - a powerful, determined force full of beauty and assurance. You I picture as a tree - strong, comforting, firm and beautiful. These are things I pray for you. I pray for you to be strong, to have a strength that comes from within, from your knowledge of who you are, of right and wrong and how the world works. I pray for you to be a comfort to those around you, to share their load without being overcome with it. I pray you will be firm in what you believe and in what you know, that the paths you take will inspire a passion in you that you could never dream of forsaking. I pray you will be beautiful in who you are, in how you treat others and in how you live your life. That you will see the beauty in all that is around you, never taking it for granted.

My precious child, through your life things will not always be perfect, they may not even always be good. There will be times when you'll be broken, or feel alone or afraid. There are times that I will be the cause of that, and I want to apologize in advance. No matter what happens, we'll find a way through it. We are never alone in this life, and there are times when it is not our responsibility to act, but to believe.

I so deeply want to instill in you a sense of spirituality, a desire to connect with the Divine, to seek Him out with all of your heart and soul and find your ultimate rest with Him. When I can not carry you, He will. When I can not comfort you, when I can not share your joys and sorrows He will be ever with you.

With all my love
mama