Monday, August 31, 2009

What to Post About???

I find this so hard what to post about! I feel like I have a ton to say!!! I am afraid of missing too much, so if you guys don't mind, I'll post "bullet-point" style so as not to overwhelm you all with wordiness! Also, maybe if I don't, I'll never get to it.

- I feel like I've been making super good meals latey. Everything is good! And more healthy in terms of vegetarian, or using the fresh-caught fish Jonathan's got this year, or relying on spices instead of butter/oil for flavoring. :) For example, some recent meals:
- Black Bean, Caramelized Onion, and Orange Tortillas - so yum! It's from Cooking Light, but I can't find the recipe online.
- Susi's Florribean Shrimp with Island Rice (notes: more curry, coconut milk instead of water in the rice, and use basmati wild rice mixture instead of plain white rice)
- Russian Black Bread - this went well with Borscht, as well as cream cheese/capers/smoked salmon!
- Grilled Honey Shrimp from Joy of Cooking
- Beef and Pumpkin Shepherd's Pie (very autumnal, used our venison instead!)

Anyway, all those turned out to be quite tasty (the mahi mahi needed some extra oomph, but still delicious). I'm sorry I don't have links for everything!

For all of June and July, I pumped 6-7 days a week and was able to save all of it, with a little set aside for "popcicles" for Elyana. I was sending it to a dear friend who has twins and wasn't succeeding in breastfeeding both of them (they were premature and in the NICU for a long time). All of August I feel I've struggled to do 3-4 days a week. I just don't enjoy it. But now I have to, since I add my milk to all of Elyana's cereal and pureed veggies/fruits. I just feel "behind" on it, even though I have stuff in the freezer and enough for each day, I feel I should be stockpiling more. :(

I was convicted that my complaining attitude about my workload was not due to the fact that I have too much to do (though I do have a lot!). But it would be solved if I did two things. #1 Rise Before Elyana! (which means setting an alarm and getting up) and #2 Having my time with the Lord first thing to pray and read Scripture to set Him as my Priority for the day. It's made such a difference. Getting up at 5:30 to get time with Him, then workout, and even get a shower in sometimes before she gets up, really helps. I feel ready to meet her, awake, happy, and as if I've at least gotten the two things that weigh really heavy on me if I miss them (quiet time and working out). And I am so thankful that my knees, which seemed hopelessly damaged from all my working out last deployment, haven't given me a bit of trouble! I don't do chair squats, but I do everything else. So grateful!

We have been out of milk for something like 4 days. I feel really bad about that. But we haven't been out to get any. I do have my Almond Milk around here, but nothing J will drink. He's been having oatmeal and fresh fruit in the mornings. Better that cold cereal in my opinion anyway. But I *do* need to get some.

Jonathan and I did learn he'll be gone for the next deployment this Christmas and Elyana's 1 year old birthday. I'm thinking if it makes any sense to do Christmas early, delay, or just forget it? Elyana's birthday I know we'll just do together after she celebrates big with all her uncles, aunts, and grandparents! The only thing I'm "looking forward" to this deployment is really working hard to get my post-baby body (or better) back. I feel like I can do it with another 10 weeks to work very hard and eat very clean.

I know I post pics of Elyana all the time, but she's just so CUTE! So I'll close, even though I have tons of other thoughts in my head.... Just means I should post later this week as well!

She has fun playing in water!

We've taken her in her push-buggy up to Dollar General, about 1.5 miles from our house (all sidewalk). She loves it!

J's hat (and patches)

Mommy, I love peas! They match my bib!

Love her faces!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nursery Follow-Up

I really want to thank ALL of you for your comments, messages, etc. It meant so much to me to hear from you, as I respect your opinions and thoughts on matters of motherhood. I really wanted to comment to each of you personally, but lack of time and effort has prevented me thus far. Karen: I love how happy your little children are with strangers and friends alike, and I reall value you opinion as a pastor's wife, so please when you get time, let me know what you do with your little ones and how you and your hubby view it. :) You can email or comment, whichever you prefer.

I really felt similar to what Lisi said, about wanting her children to feel a part of the Body of Christ, and learn to participate in the worship, prayer, and message. However, it would be misleading if I didn't say that my hesitancy about putting Elyana in nursery had much more to do with not wanting to leave my precious baby. But I do think that as she is older, it will be important to talk with her and ask her what she learned about the message. I think my dad did this at young ages, to where even at 10 years old, I felt my opinions and observations were given importance and were valid rather than "silly." I don't know what age we'll choose church instead of Sunday school, I guess that will depend on where we're attending church at the time, what they offer, and our children's own preferences.

Susi and my friend Angela both were pointing out how good it is for the child to "fellowship" with their friends or be loved on by nursery staff during church. Also how it's good to get time listening with your husband to the message, undistracted! Especially since this was Jonathan's desire, I wanted to please him and respond positively to this. Even if I don't "mind" the distraction, this is an issue of honoring his wishes and trusting that he has our baby's good in mind as well. Angela also mentioned I could get comfortable with the workers and policies by working there myself! I have been meaning to do that for a long time, and have done it in our previous churches (2 year olds, though).

Oh, and we do keep her with us for the worship, and once the last song is being sung, I took her out. She really enjoyes the singing, and gets into it and "sings" (babbles in a long sing-songy way). This minimizes the time she can get fussy, lets her participate (she adores music), and lets me check her in when it's not so rushed at nursery.

That said, Elyana did pretty well actually. I was shocked to check her in and see three nursery workers and (including Elyana) only about 3-4 babies (I couldn't see for sure). Pretty much a one-to-one ratio. They were very kind and the room was super quiet. Peaceful. Of course it was just one week. Anyway, she did cry some toward the end, they said, but she was resting in a lady's arms as we got her. She came easily to us and was just ready for her nap. It really was nice to sit next to Jonathan during the message and listen with my full attention. I was very ready to go get her, though! I miss my little munchkin, even if it's only 30 minutes apart! (J and I have only ever left her twice for dates, and with family each time.)

Anyway, it will be a good thing, and I intend to watch her each week to see how she adjusts, how her immune system handles it, and if she begins to enjoy it. We both are at peace with having her there, but have agreed that were she to start getting sick a lot or cry a lot, we would reevaluate. For now I know it's good.

She did amazingly well with the shots, never even getting fever. We used tylenol one time the next day, as she seemed fussy in a way unlike herself. The Pc shot left a hard little pink spot that took longer to get rid of, but now it's gone as well. I feel so relieved that now she's gotten the first in a series of three of the 3 vaccines we'll let her get until she's 1.

I know I post a bunch of pictures of Elyana, but she's so cute and she gets the bulk of photo time now (especially since J works a lot more hours now than he used to, booooooo).

Look at her teethies! Two now. They are so cute!

Jonathan likes giving her lemons. Not often and not for long. And I wash her hands right afterwards so she doesn't get acidic juice in her eyes.

Downtown Savannah... Our Georgia Peach we call her. :)

On the boat ride with the uncomfy life preserver.

Reading to herself.... (well, turning a book's pages at least)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Humbly Asking For Your Thoughts

Time has come for me to seek out advice from my dear friends who read this blog. I wish I could actually talk to you all in person, face-to-face, as our little ones play on the floor together. But as that will have to wait for another time, I'll just pretend we are sitting in my living room, toys spread across the floor, inteacting with our children as we try to hold a steady conversation.....

[Now imagine if you will, we're sitting on the floor, because heaven forbid we sit on the couch while our not-perfectly-steady babies explore and reach for the myriad of toys we have out. We must be in range of little baby-hands, that sometimes accidentally claw and push each other. Where were we? Ah yes. We also have Vanilla Lattes in hand, as I've lovingly made them with my Breville espresso maker. We begin a conversation.]

So, I have this concern. My heart is torn about what I should be feeling, and how to have the right perspective on it.

[Do go on...]

It's about church.

[Worried look.]

No, no. More specifically, about Church Nursery. You see, if I had "my" perfect way, Sunday service would not involve separating from my child. Church feels anti-family to me! Not all churches, but ours and many I've attended do. I definitely see the value in a "Nursing Mother's Room" and "Baby Cry Room", but I don't understand the idea that church is for adults and older children only. That babies should be "removed" because they are always disruptive. That it's unacceptable to sit in the back or top balcony and let your baby play quietly, and if they start getting noisy, to take them out. I am not advocating screaming, yelling, or even happily-squealing babies in church. But I do not see why it's inacceptable for generally quiet babies/children to be present if the parents want. I have heard from the pulpit, "we have places for them" (nursery/sunday school), where it's clear they aren't really accepted in the service.

[Horrified Look]

Let me get a little more specific. I do want my (or any) children to have the opportunity to be in nursery/SS if they want it and like it. Growing up, in every church we went to, from the time I can remember (6 years old or so?), I did not enjoy Sunday School. I hated being away from my parents, with a strange teacher with strange classmates. If the Sunday Schools weren't age-separated, and I got to be with my siblings, I wouldn't have minded as much. In contrast, even as a young child, I never remember thinking church was boring or disliking it. I was glad to be there.

Also, my child is still little and cannot communicate what is wrong. As her mother, I know and can read her best. I want to make sure she is happy where I leave her. If she is crying or upset, I want to be able to come attend to her. Tell me, would a nursery agree to tell you pretty quickly if your baby fussed, or would they try for 5-10 minutes before contacting you? Because that seems like a long time for my baby to be upset for "no reason." (i.e. something avoidable) I guess that question depends, but what have your experiences been?

With all that said, we are putting Elyana in the nursery next week. I'd been delaying until she got her DTaP, Pc, and HIB vaccines. By tomorrow she'll have the other two, and that's been my agreement with Jonathan. He wants her in nursery. He wants an uninterrupted service sitting with me (not apart from me) and listening to the message not distracted by her. He is the leader of our family, and I trust his judgement and his desires/preferences on this. So nothing we say here will change what we do.

I just want to know what are your thoughts, as mothers, on this? I am looking for perspective as well, for how nursery can be good for our children. I want to hear things other than what's rattling about in my own head. My heart does not like this, but I trust the leadership Jonathan has in our family is a perfect balancing out of me and my tendencies and weaknesses. So we move on to this new event next week. But until then, I'd appreciate some wisdom from my friends.

[I put my cup to my lips, turn my head in a listening pose, and await your responses....]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Teething Girlie!

Well, a LOT has happened since the last post. Elyana is growing by leaps and bounds. More on that later. But seriously, this teething thing deserves a post all in and of itself.

So remember how I said on her 6-month birthday, I saw the indentions of a tooth all ready to pop up? It was mainly reddish, but with the craggy outline of a baby tooth beneath. That was on a Sunday. By that Wednesday, the cute little white-cap was up! And it could have happened invisibly, had you only been observing our little Elly-bear. It was so cute. "Aww, the little toothie," we would gleefully exclaim. We never knew the enemy that lurked in the future...

Fast-forward to our beach trip with my family to Tybee Island. 7 glorious days. On this past Sunday, I notice the very same red, toothy-outlined area in her mouth, this time on the bottom left (the other was bottom right). By now her first tooth is a beautious thing to behold, making all her smiles that much cuter! So I was rather happy to see the appearance of another one. But literally, about 10 minutes later, DOOM set in. Without exaggeration, she was like another child! She cried, she fussed, and was upset! Then, by the time she got up from her first VERY short nap (45 minutes instead of her predictable 2 hours), she had a low-grade fever. Add in baby diarrhea (going #2 10-12 times a day instead of the 1 time). This tooth was a bad boy! All day she refused solids, nursed not very well, and needed lots of holding. When she's feeling bad like that, the best way to comfort her while awake is putting her in the wrap so she's near me by comfortable enough to rest. She only gets her paci at nap/night/car, but we let her have it all day, when she'd take it.

This continued all Sunday and Monday. The fever, even with tylenol, was still there occasionally. I was suppose to take her to get her 2nd round of vaccinations (pc and HIB), but called and we decided to get an appointment to see the dr instead. I just didn't want to be "assuming" it's teething and ignoring something else. It probably was just her tooth. The fever was never there Tuesday, but all the other symptoms were, except she'd gotten better at sleeping and nursing.

Today, Thursday, she is almost her normal self. Still rather fussy, but she takes her little pointer-finger and "feels" on her new tooth. It is adorable!

I'm misplaced my camera, so these are all a little grainy since they're from an iPhone.

Playing one day with "Pouf" - a gift from Uncle Carter

In Savannah, Jonathan took us on a boat and we motored downtown, ate, shopped, and walked. Elyana hated the life preserver, but loved the water.

Mom & Elyana downtown Savannah

Jonathan picked a morning-glory and stuck it behind her ear. What a cutie!

Her Daddy took her on her first carousel ride! Nummy, let's eat the pole!