Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well even though Aed was still a bit fussy, through some perseverance I got him to eat better today and we found he thoroughly enjoys gumming a cold teething toy. I am thankful that we are finding ways to provide him relief and affirmation in our suspicions that he is having teething pain.

And you know what? He is darn cute. I am so thankful for that. Even when he is only making serious faces or is crying when it's time to eat, it's all pretty cute :) And it turns out he is really studly in yellow.

I am unbelievably thankful that it has been two whole days since my computer last went on the fritz and I have actually been able to get some work done!

I am also really thankful for all the encouraging women in my life. They are near and far, and they come and go in the frequency with which I interact with them, but they are many and they are wonderful. And the Lord uses them with his perfect timing.

I am thankful for Christmas music!

And, I am thankful for a stunning view of the sunset this evening, reminding me that this world, this life.. It is all bigger than me. I am a blip, a vapor that is here and then it is gone, but the Lord is forever. He is forever and he is faithful. That is something to be thankful for.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Well today was a tough day.

Exactly what you might expect after having just committed to finding things to be thankful for every day :)

We suspect based on these symptoms that we have a teething baby. He is doing every single one of those things all day long. Not exactly a walk in the park and kind of overwhelming when we have so many things to accomplish right now with the semester coming to a close!

But, there have certainly been things to be thankful for..

After a really discouraging morning and lots of prayer, the Lord answered one of my prayers by giving me grace to take on the remainder of the day with a refreshed attitude. I was able to find patience and compassion for my baby despite feelings of inadequacy and frustration in not knowing what was wrong with him.

Also, Ian has tons of stuff to get done right now, but he has been really helpful in running errands for me and making dinner while I tended to our fussy baby!

The dinner that Ian made was DElicious! One of my faves :)

And, after a day of little sleep and lots of fussing, I am SO thankful that Aed went down for bedtime without a hitch. It's hard to be uncomfortable and tired at the same time, but he is sleeping away - praise the Lord!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some of you may remember that I had a baby a few months ago..

(side note: I love saying things like that. When I do it in real life, I almost always get a bug-eyed look until the person I’m talking to realizes that I don’t actually think they had forgotten whatever monumental thing I was talking about)

As these things go, our lives drastically changed as soon as we brought him home and had a few hours for reality to set in. Did we love him? Yes. Were we amazed by him? Yes. Were there moments when we seriously freaked out in a what-were-we-thinking kind of way? Oh yes.

You see, having a baby establishes a new order of business in a household. Your life is no longer your own. Your days are no longer your own. Your nights are no longer your own. In fact, at the beginning, any precious time you might find for yourself is often interrupted and no longer your own. If you’re the mama, chances are all kinds of people have seen your boobs no matter how modest you really want to be. Not to mention the readjustment of your body after the mass exodus of all kinds of things.

I think what I’m saying is, if you’re new to it, you can expect having a baby to throw you into a tizzy for a while.

I loved being pregnant and imagining life with our little baby. The thing is, my imagination didn’t cover things like doing a million loads of laundry every day, getting spit up on about every 20 minutes round the clock, trying to figure out why my baby is still crying, wondering when I’m ever going to leave the house again because my baby takes forever to eat and it really hurts, and on and on and on.

It’s like any big anticipated change in life. It is amazing, but there are a lot of ‘unexpecteds’ thrown into the mix. How many of you can say that college is exactly like you thought it would be? Marriage – did that turn out to be the perfect, daisy-pickin experience you imagined it would be? Buying your first home.. Perhaps more trouble than you had thought? That job you’ve always dreamed of, maybe not exactly what you had hoped?

As humans, we have this amazing ability to focus. We focus and we dwell and we are driven. And that is good. But, often we lose out on really appreciating so much of our lives because we love to focus on all the ‘unexpecteds’. And then we have the whole ‘why didn’t I appreciate that while I had it??’ thing that inevitably happens when these big changes come and, you know, CHANGE everything.

In motherhood, I am finding that I am still human. Some days I really don’t like feeling like I live in a three hour cycle on repeat and can never get anything done. I don’t really like feeling like I am letting people down or I don’t measure up because I don’t have the free time to accomplish things that I used to. I don’t like having to sacrifice for my child and my husband because gosh darnit, I just want to do something I want to do for once and YOU go clean up the kitchen and feed the baby! (I often encourage Ian to start lactating so he can help out a bit more..) I want to maintain my carefree life of yesteryear and throw my responsibilities out the window.

But, you know what? The reality is, my responsibilities have morphed into something that cannot be thrown out the window on a whim. The other humans in my daily life are depending on me to help, support, and meet their needs. And these responsibilities will grow as our family grows. And you know what else? This is exactly what I was made to do.

I am not suggesting that I should lose who I am for the sake of these humans. No, I am suggesting that we function as a unit. That we encourage one another to be the individuals that we are and take the time to foster and grow the gifts and interests the Lord has given us. It is a give and take.

Herein lies my problem. I focus a lot on the take every day. I focus on what Aed takes from me and what Ian takes from me, what working from home takes from me, etc. As I feed Aed for the millionth time, I focus on all the things I wish I could do but can’t because I’m pinned to the couch again. As I wash Ian’s clothes for the three-millionth time (he’s been around longer than Aed, you see), I focus on how annoying it is that I am the only one that ever does laundry and no matter how many times I put it on the stairs, I am the only one that will take it upstairs and put it away without being asked.

I have learned that it is easy to focus on the take all day long. To consider how undeserving I am of such take, take, take. To know in my self-righteousness that I am too good for such tasks and I need to make this feeling clear by bringing a cloud of negativity over our household. Ian is the leader of our family, but often, because my hands are in most everything that goes on in our home, my attitude sets the stage for how positive or negative everyone’s attitudes are.

As you are reading this (if you still are..) you have probably noticed that it all seems really ungrateful and complaining and there are 47 things in the paragraphs above that I have to be thankful for that I just blew past like they weren’t even there. And.. TADA!! You have discovered the whole point of this post!

Rather than taking the easy route day after day and letting myself sink into the terrible state of selfishness and ingratitude, I have decided to challenge myself to set up an ebenezer every single day. While I actually do often consider the things I am thankful for, I want gratitude to be the automatic attitude of my heart every day and not the complaining spirit that habitually seeps in. I am going to take time at the close of every day to consider at least one thing that I am thankful for from that day and post it on this blog for the world to see in hopes that it will spur me on to recognize all the things I am given that I so easily overlook.

On this fair Thursday, My Daily Thankful is this: I am beyond thankful that I am not a single parent. Having Ian alongside me in this new role is so important. He builds my confidence, encourages me when I feel inadequate, takes Aed off my hands and plays with him as soon as he gets home, listens to me talk through my various concerns and quandaries when he could easily ignore me and accomplish something else with his time. I am thankful for Daddy :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tales from a 3-Month-Old – My Baptism, My New Clothes, and A Few New Tricks

Several weeks ago, we had our little man baptized. We couldn’t have been happier that it was Alasdair that got to perform the baptism, and he really made it such a special occasion for all of us. The Free Church has become very dear to our hearts and we are so grateful that this is the congregation Aed will know as his first. We are beyond humbled by the graciousness of the Lord in allowing us to shepherd Aed for this time. We hope and pray that the Lord will use us in his life to point him to Christ day after day, to come alongside him as he learns and explores who he is in this wide world. He got a special certificate memorializing the day, as well as a Children’s Bible that we are looking forward to diving into!

He was looking pretty snazzy as well! This is the same little white tux that his cousin, Ben, was baptized in just four weeks after he was born. We got quite a few comments about how much everyone loved the little outfit :) We might be a little biased, but we thought he was definitely the most handsome guy in the room.

Last week I decided it was finally time to make a clothing swap as he just barely fit into most of his 0-3 month clothes. I did it just in time too, as he proceeded to impress us by gaining an inch of length one week and almost 12 ounces of weight the next! Daddy has decided that all the weight Aed gains goes straight to his neck.. can’t imagine why he might think that..

I have to admit as I pulled onesies out from the back of his drawers, I got a little teary eyed folding them away into storage.. The outfit he wore home from the hospital, the super cute overalls he wore every other day, all the onesies he used to swim in that I can hardly snap anymore..

It did make the transition slightly easier when I began pulling 3-6 month outfits from the suitcase and found that they are CUTE! He has so many great outfits for this stage of his little life, and I can’t believe that he already fits into so many of them perfectly! I don’t think they’ll last as long as Mama hopes they will :) He is just growing like a weed!

Now.. onto the new tricks and some new photos!

First of all, he is a super active little baby. Constantly moving, kicking, wiggling, and reaching. He has started grabbing for things and holding on tight to them! He loves playing with his Freddie the Firefly, pulling on his legs and crunching his wings. Aed loves to stand up and bounce up and down. If we put him on his tummy, he pulls his legs up under him in a crawling position and tries to scoot himself forward (I seriously freaked out the first time he did this), fortunately, his head is so darn big I don’t think he’ll be crawling any time soon :) When he pulls his legs up under him, it essentially brings about a face plant. He has also started rolling from his back to his side, though we haven’t gotten the full roll onto the tummy yet. I think in my head I’m just expecting him to always be a baby, so every time I see something new it surprises me :)

And we can’t forget his growing vocabulary! :) He makes SO many different sounds now and has really upped his communication if he is happy or upset. He gives us squeals and funny little laughs, he makes it very clear how much his dislikes having his shirts put on, and I promise you, the other day he gave me a nice big ‘MAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ :)

A new favorite past time – hand sucking!

Also attempting to suck on anything he might have in his hand, including Freddie, my hands, rattles, clothes, etc. This seems to be soothing when he is tired, but it makes him unbelievably angry when he is actually trying to get to sleep and his hands keep ending up in his mouth (not to mention the fact that he also frequently gags himself by sucking on the fingers a little too enthusiastically). I’d laugh at him if it weren’t so sad (ok, maybe I’ve laughed a few times :) So, needless to say, he still gets swaddled for sleeping. This actually has come in handy because swaddling = sleep time, so we can wrap him up and get him to sleep fairly easily regardless of where we go. (Fortunately, Mama is now an expert swaddler and does it so well even our little Houdini rarely gets out!)

Another thing that seems to soothe..

Sucking on the lower lip. He started doing this out of the blue one day when I was changing his diaper, and he will do it pretty much any time he’s getting sleepy now. Ian and I both think it’s hilarious and yet another quirk of his little personality.

He has become very stable in the last several weeks and has to be very tired to really lose control of his head (or on his tummy, in which case, he tends to face plant, as previously mentioned). This has been really fun because it means we can play with him a little more freely. It also means he now sits very well in his Bumbo and has a new view of the world around him!

I plopped him in there the other day and he enjoyed it for his entire playtime! He quickly discovered how delicious the doggies on his outfit were and that became quite the distraction..

It turns out though, that they are much harder to chew on without the assistance of the hands..

He certainly keeps us on our toes and provides us with lots of laughs and so much joy. Ian frequently struggles with the desire to go get him up again for cuddles after we’ve put him in bed for the night :) Fortunately, despite his active nature, he has become a pretty cuddly baby, something Mama is very thankful for!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Speculation: What crazy things might I do for my children one day?

My dad sent this to me a little while ago, and I knew eventually I’d have to share it :)

Some of you ladies out there may have memories of girl scouts or brownies or something else.. Not I. No, I have memories of hanging out with my dad being an Indian Princess.

I have no idea if this program still exists. I think it was through the YMCA, and I’m pretty sure it would offend a lot of people if it is still going on (at least when I tell people here about it, their eyes usually get real big :). We had a tribe, the Huron Tribe. We met on a regular basis, daughters and dads, and had various activities we did at those meetings – including taking the wampum. We could do things on our own to earn ourselves patches on our vests, feathers on our walking sticks, and I think feathers in our headbands as well. We had weekend trips away to camp and canoe (most of my memories of this involve being very wet and cold.. so wet in fact that once instead of trying to maneuver peeing in the woods, I just decided to pee my pants, because what difference did it make, really?), and had competitions with award ceremonies and everything. In fact, I think we even had feasts.. The Feast of the Blue Moon perhaps? My memory is faulty..

Obviously, the whole point was to foster a good relationship between dads and their daughters. To get them out doing things together, especially in the case of dads that worked during most of the week. At the same time we got to learn more of the history and culture of Native Americans (although I’m not sure how much we really appreciated that at the time, being 8 years old and all) and we got to do fun activities with other girls and all of our dads.

If you were really dedicated, you could continue on into 4th grade with these activities and progress to be a Trail Blazer. Yeah. We weren’t that dedicated.. Something about Dad’s vest getting so full of patches after doing this with his two girls, and needing to leave space for when Mitchell joined Indian Guides..

(Disclaimer: I made that excuse up, though I’m sure his was equally convincing :)

You can see in the picture we were kind of delinquents anyway, not wearing our headdresses and all.. And, I think there was some rule about how Indians didn’t really perm their hair and were forbidden from wearing oversized t-shirts. Disney actually called and said they would have let me be Pocahontas if it weren’t for that. So close.. and yet so far.

(After I wrote this post, I did some further research.. I found the website of a tribe in Ohio that I thought you might enjoy seeing.. you know to give you a tiny taste of the amazing-ness of Indian Princesses. Of course, unless you were one, you’ll never really know what it was like to be a princess..)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Please forgive any typos – no time to edit today!

Even though I have a million other things to do (actually a million.. I counted), I thought I would take some time this morning to think about some things I am thankful for. You know, just to see what happens..

First of all, I am thankful for a holiday that celebrates being thankful. We have lived out of the States for 2.5 years, and still, every time I return I feel the materialism sucking me back in with greater force than the time before. Because things are CHEAP and AWESOME and TARGET FOR PETE’S SAKE!! (Why the UK has not embraced Target, I do not know) I think it is hard in our society to realize how much we have and how little we need.. To keep in perspective that your bathroom will still function with out that cute candle or extra bottle of lotion.. and whoa.. your bathroom functions.. that is something to be thankful for!

I am thankful that every day is not a rainy, grey day. Most of them are this time of year, but the sun still finds its way through the clouds every now and then.

I am beyond thankful for my husband. He knows me better than I do, he is so patient, he works hard for us, and every once in a while, he does the dishes :)

I am thankful for a good marriage to my actual best friend. We have intimately seen each other through more pre- and post-marriage joys and struggles than anyone else.

I am so thankful for our little boy, for his health and his cheery nature. I still look at him and cannot believe he’s real. I am thankful that the Lord has allowed us to endeavor into parenthood together and is willing to risk letting us screw up a few people in this world. They may be screwed up, but they will be loved more than they can know. (‘They’ being Aed + future children :)

For this next part, you can stick with me or you can leave now and forever hold your peace. I find myself wavering more than I am comfortable with in my faith these days. Not really whether I believe or not, but just battling a complacent, bored, or scared spirit on any given day. I suddenly remembered yesterday that during my senior year at Taylor I took a pilates class. Interesting, no? Probably not.. well the interesting thing is not the class, it is what we had to do for one of our assignments. I had this professor during my freshman year and my senior year, and she does it with all of her classes. Our assignment was to take a full hour and sit down and write all the things we could think of that the Lord has given us. Then, the last few minutes we were to write a response to the question, “So what?”

I brought this with me to Scotland because the Spirit really moved in me while I was writing it that day in March 2007. I pulled it out and thought I would share it with you on this day of Thanksgiving in hopes that it will encourage you, as it does me, to give thanks for the things we have been given that are not necessarily visible in this world.

The Lord has given me…

First and foremost, life. He brought me into being by His creative hand and knew that He would do so before the world began. He breathed into me a life, a soul, that is uniquely ours as humans. He knit together every fiber of my being. Not only this, but laid forth His plan, upon my creation, that would guide my every step and every heartbeat.

He bore me into a family of believers, who He used to provide for every need I had until He allowed me to see Him. At first it was very muddy and dim, but slowly He is cleaning my soul, heart, and eyes.

He gave me Himself. He knew that I would fail no matter how hard I tried. He knew I wouldn’t just fail once, but that I’d fail daily, continuously. He knew I’d let Him down. But, He gave me Himself. He took everything I deserved and instead gave me everything I don’t deserve.

He gave me the ability to breathe deeply in contentment and assurance. He lifted my burdens and loosed my chains. He gave me a reason to live, a reason to surrender, a reason to hope, a reason to love. He took what I could not be, and was that Himself, then He gave that to me.

And this is what He sees when casting His gaze on my heart. He sees purity, He sees a cleansed soul, He sees a righteousness that is not mine. He sees my Salvation. He has put Heaven in my hands. He has set aside a place for me.

He has given me every reason to love and has taken any reason not to. He has given me great desire to understand Him deeply. He has given me encouragement after I realize how distracted I’ve become.

He has given me a strong hand when mine quivers in fatigue. He has given me His legs to stand firm when mine are tempted to buckle. He has given me a heart soft, malleable, tender, and steadfast when mine begins to harden. He has given me His own beloved words that hurl the soul into intense awe and gratitude when mine are brittle and cold. He has given me joy when my mouth wants to sing disharmonious woes. He has given me calm and peace when my heart and mind cannot understand. He has given me trust and assurance when it hurts beyond belief. He has filled my heart with courage when I want to run and hide. He has given me gladness in walking with Him through the darkness. He has carried me all the way.

I have tried to run, I’ve tried to hide, I’ve tried to escape. I’ve wriggled as hard as I can to avoid His Truth and His gaze, but He has given me patience and compassion. He does not condemn. He does not seek my life as the enemy does. He restores my soul. He holds fast.

He has given me a Father pouring forth with love beyond measure. He has poured it into my heart and made it welling over for the people in my path. When I think I cannot love anymore, He reminds me of His raging waterfall. If I ignore it, He prods me. If I turn, He catches me with His staff.

He gives me the gift of anguish. We know that I did it wrong. We know that it hurts. He gives me healing water to refresh, cool water to wash me clean. Sometimes it hurts more than anything to have my eyes cleansed and see the gash I have put in His heart.

“But Lord, I was so blind! Forgive me!”

He does.

Before I have even asked He has cleansed. He takes my breath away. He has given me such a desire to behold His face, to fall to His feet, to feel His arms, to see His eyes. I want so much to feel Him. To feel His True touch.

He has give me anticipation of His return. He has given me His promise that He will come back. When this causes me to fear, He reminds me of His goodness. When my heart is lost in confusion, He promises that He knows the way. He gives me His hand and asks me to follow. When I’m too afraid, He lets me close my eyes and be carried. When I then cannot see, He opens my eyes to His face. He calms my spirit.

He has given me His presence. He has given me His Comforter. He has given me companionship when I am alone. Sometimes I tell Him it doesn’t seem like enough, my heart tells me I’m still alone. He rocks me to sleep.

He shines His sun down on my face and reminds me He doesn’t change. Even though I shift like the sands, He remains steady. Even though I perceive Him changing, He reminds me it is I who am changing. He gives me hope that maybe tomorrow I will be better, stronger, faithful. Somehow this hope doesn’t leave me even though I’m always failing.

He gives me the knowledge that all things good that live in me and emerge from me are Him. I know that I am not capable. He has given me true life. He has given me growth. He has given me change.

He is refreshing me until I am as pure, precious gold. He has given me that promise. He has planted my feet, covered over my doubts, been gentle when I am broken, been firm when I resist.

He has washed me of my filth and drawn me to Himself. He has changed me from within and without. He has opened my heart to receive His love and joy. He has opened my hands that I might also give it. He has opened my eyes to see Him all around me and throughout me. He has poured me out and filled me. And He has promised that He is not done.

So what?

I have been given much. I have been forgiven, cleansed and am being transformed. Because of this, I have no right to withhold from others. I am to give it all, because He will never stop replenishing me. I am to live set apart, wholly understanding what has been done for me. I am to see that this is real even when I want it to go away. I am to fall to my knees before a God who has saved and worship with all that I am.

I am changed. May I live differently.

Monday, November 23, 2009

2 + 1 = 3.. A quick equation to show that this is not as easy as it used to be

We rented a car last weekend and decided to take a little excursion on Saturday. We had hoped we might go away for the whole weekend, but quickly realized we were both too busy to spend that much time planning something, so we found a couple castles not too far away, and spent the day taking in some history.

I was pretty nervous about this whole thing.. Knowing that traveling would mean Aed would not sleep as well and that we would be guaranteed a grumpy baby, but you’ve got to start somewhere!

So we loaded up into the car, trying to think of every possible need, but at the same time having the assurance that we were only going to be gone for the day and the world would not end if we forgot something. Aed had just been fed, and so unfortunately, was not quite ready to sleep, but got a bit of a nap since it was about an hour drive to our first destination: Castle Campbell!

It is in a beautiful location overlooking the town of Dollar. (I learned on this trip that almost every time I hear the word ‘dollar’ I immediately think ‘McDonalds’. Is that sort of weird? I think so.)

We got out of the car and immediately had a screaming baby on our hands. He was very upset to have been awoken, put into a carrier, and moved out into the cold, wind, and rain. We weren’t real sure where we were going and I had to pee really badly, so we were kind of a mess. If any experienced parents had witnessed the situation, they would have been laughing hysterically. Guaranteed. I was about to start crying (and I sheepishly admit, I had the urge to curse a few times. I know! That just goes to show how bad it was) and Ian sprouted 17 more grey hairs, but we decided to trek on and just see how things went.

And trek we did.. it was a long walk to that castle! Quite literally over the river and through the woods.

But we made it and were welcomed by a nice lady and no one else! We were the only ones there. Can’t imagine why, being such a beautiful day and all. I got my potty break and we were on our way.

It was really a beautiful castle and our only lament was how lush the area would’ve been if we had come in summer time. But fortunately, we are easy to please.

As we wandered, Aed quickly expressed his desire to eat, and his usual unwillingness to wait for an opportune moment. So I fed him. I fed him in a little, old, wooden chair, in the cellar of the castle. The freezing cold, stone cellar. Sitting there with my nose running and my toes going numb, wondering if my son could feel his toes, I began to be oh-so-thankful that I have never lived in a stone castle.

Well, our hungry munchkin finished up and we headed up up up to see the rest of the castle! We found a beautiful view over the glen and the town of Dollar..

We were able to climb to the very tippy-top and were welcomed again by the freezing cold rain. The stairs were steep and stone and very, very narrow. This is where we learned that for some reason, Aed does not like narrow staircases. We had to climb up and down a few other narrow staircases and he yelled every time! It was kind of hilarious. Fortunately, Daddy is very comforting. :)

I managed to get one picture of myself.. I am always behind the camera, so sometimes I forget that I am a part of the family, but I promise, I was there too! :)

We enjoyed Castle Campbell, but we were all ready to get back in the car and out of the cold. We continued on with a sleeping baby to Dunfermline to check out the palace and abbey. Fortunately, we got a little lost (but only a very little) which meant Aed got to sleep a little longer. We really liked the town of Dunfermline! The area we were in was really nice and had a great variety of shops and restaurants that we are not used to coming from St Andrews! The palace is just on the other side of that big clock.

Before you get to the palace, there is a big, beautiful cathedral. I’m not sure if that’s the abbey or not. Ian is better at figuring these things out and would probably be better at writing these memoirs, but he procrastinates and never does it. That’s why you still haven’t heard about Rome, Glasgow, or London. I’m telling you – get on his case!


Aed was getting fussy to eat again at this point, so we found a little café to feed him in. I got a slice of carrot cake and a delicious hot chocolate to enjoy while Aed enjoyed his afternoon snack and Ian had some soup and then went out to snap some pictures.

I think this is the abbey of ‘Dunfermline Palace and Abbey’ but I am not sure. But I think it is since it’s ruined like the palace. It is just on the other side of the cathedral and the sun was setting beautifully behind it.

The rain cleared up, and though it was still cold and windy, it was much less wet!

My boys thoroughly enjoyed the visit (minus the narrow staircase). This is the palace area. There are lots of rooms down there below ground that was a guest house area that we wandered through. And I LOVED the windows! I’ve never seen stone windows with the ‘T’ in them separating the panes. I thought they were beautiful.

We saw the last few bits of the palace and abbey and decided to call it quits. We were all hungry and tired, so we journeyed back to our car. Not before, however, we spotted bird of all birds, a majestic peacock! Right outside a pub, just chillin’ on the sidewalk.

After we got over our initial shock, I mentioned to Ian how there are peacocks at Buckingham palace and he said, “Oh, do you think this one escaped?” I thought he was jesting, so, laughing, I said, ‘Yeah and wandered really, really far north.” It was only then, after the pause followed by a good belly laugh, I learned hubby thought I was talking about Dunfermline palace and didn’t realize he was suggesting such a monumental journey for such a little peacock.

We got in the car and Aed was thoroughly frustrated by all this movement and repositioning, so it took a little while for him to settle into a good sleep. It took great efforts from mama to hold his arms down (he startles a lot more when he’s really tired) and cover his face (he has trouble falling asleep if there is too much visual stimulation) aaaaaall the long way home, but we made it safe and sound and in one piece. We fed our baby and put him to bed, and then fed ourselves with some delicious, hot pizza, enjoying our warm, dry house and congratulating ourselves on the success of our first excursion as three instead of two.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ok, Ok, Ok, Your wish is my command..

Pictures, pictures, pictures! That's all you people want! :)

I suppose I can understand.. I mean he is a dashing young lad. Who wouldn't want to stare into those baby blues as much as possible!?

This post is an Ode to Aed's Tongue. He seriously has a thing for his tongue. I mean seriously. I tried to take some smiley pictures of him yesterday and I think I maybe got three where his tongue wasn't involved. So.. for your viewing pleasure.. Aed's tongue. :)

(reminder: you can always click on the picture to see a nice big version of it!)

This is by far my favorite of the day. If that doesn't melt your heart, nothing will :)

Doesn't he look like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes in this one?? That's all I can think about when I look at it!

By the way... Our little man is getting so big! He weighed 11lbs 8oz on Monday this week. Daaaaaaaaaaaang. He's outgrowing some of my favorite outfits.. on to the next ones! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Acid Reflux: It burns his throat, it burns my heart

I should be a poet right? I mean, is that a title or what?? You must know exactly what I’m going to say now.. ok maybe not, I know.. it’s not a good title.. whatever.

Moving on.

We thought we had a colicky baby. We thought maybe he had a prickly personality. We thought perhaps he just needed to cry in order to get himself to sleep. Every time.

We found various temporary solutions along the way.. Liquid to help him burp.. Gripe water.. This or that technique when laying him down.. They all worked for a period of time and then he just went back to his same old crying with no explanation.

Let me tell you that is a heartbreaking situation.

Words staring out from a computer screen do not even come close to doing justice to the bewilderment, guilt, tears, and struggle that come from knowing in your gut there must something wrong with your baby, but not having the slightest idea what it is.

When I went for my six-week check up, I had to bring Aed with me because Ian had meetings during that time. I didn’t know what to expect at the check up, but I knew that inevitably at some point, he would start crying and that could really complicate things. Fortunately, my GP is amazing and has three kids of her own and so is very sympathetic to the plight of the mother.

I was there for about 5 minutes being questioned about if I am feeling depressed, etc. and then the screaming let loose. I went over and got him, knowing he was not hungry, hoping against hope that he would calm down when I picked him up. He wouldn’t stop. The Dr. and I tried to talk over the crying, but if you’ve heard Aed cry, you know this is pretty much impossible. So, I did what any mother would do, I stuck my finger in his mouth. After a few minutes, this calmed him sufficiently so that we were able to continue well enough for her to be satisfied.

After we were done she said, “You know, that sounded like a really painful cry. I think he might have some reflux.” She proceeded to question me about various symptoms, some of which he did have, but I just couldn’t imagine that was the problem (in hind-sight, I have no idea why), I was sure that was just how he cried when he was tired since that’s how he always cried when we laid him down to sleep. She wrote me a prescription for an infant antacid, told me to talk it over with my health visitor, and fill it if I thought it was worth a shot.

I talked to the health visitor, and she felt very certain that he didn’t have reflux (not to discredit her, she is very good at what she does and had seen Aed many times and I still fully trust her in her position. The thing is, when he’s happy, he’s very happy and that is almost exclusively what she had seen). So I continued on in my plight to try and figure out how to soothe my baby. This went on for four more weeks.

It was week ten when he became utterly inconsolable and so did I. I don’t know what changed, but he was screaming all day long and absolutely nothing would comfort him. In desperation I called the Health Visitor (note: Ian was very involved in this process as well obviously.. I don’t want to overlook my blessing of a hubby!) and explained what had been going on. She suggested filling the prescription for the antacid, reassuring me that if reflux was the problem we would know right away and if it wasn’t, we’d be able to stop the medicine quickly so we weren’t putting it into his body unnecessarily.

So I filled it. And we started giving it to him. And he started crying less. And less. And less. And I started feeling guiltier and guiltier and guiltier. The thought that I had subjected my baby to ten weeks of unnecessary pain was awful. The first night after he had been on the antacid, he slept for almost 11 hours straight. We couldn’t believe it.

We were so grateful to have found a solution! The clouds were parting and things were getting better! Unfortunately, after a few days we noticed the fussiness returning and began to despair that, once again, we had found only a temporary solution. Fortunately, I had scheduled an appointment with my GP again to discuss the use of the antacid since it had seemed to be working, so in good timing (thank you Jesus!) we were able to have the appointment to look forward to rather than sinking into despair.

The other thing we noticed as this fussiness returned was that Aed had stopped pooping. The medicine we were giving him has a thickener in it, which was very obvious in his poo (TMI??), but constipation was NOT a side effect listed on the medicine (hello!!! Makers of Gaviscon, are you listening??). He did eventually work things out, but I was so disappointed because I wasn’t even giving him half as much medicine as he was supposed to be getting for it to work consistently, how was this going to work long-term?

So we went to the Dr. and explained everything to her. All we had to do was say the name of the medicine and before I finished my sentence she said, “And how are the bowels?” (Makers of Gaviscon! Need I say more? How about a little warning please! Sheesh.)

We had a good chat and she prescribed us a real antacid (not just a coating/thickener) that would reduce the acid in his stomach and leave his bowels alone.

So here we are, coming up on one week later. We have a lot less crying in our house, and a lot more contented family members. He still has his grumpy days when things don’t feel quite right, but our ears are hearing a wider variety of cries and babbles and a lot less screaming, and we are seeing a lot more of this…

So are hopeful our little boy is on the mend :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Masterchef: The Professionals

You may have noticed that we have a baby. You may have noticed that he has kind of taken over this blog. You may think that he is the only thing we think about.

You may be right.. almost.

We have had the pleasure of having a TV license for the past two months that we have lived in our new house. It has been really fun to get exposure to British programming and learn all kinds of new things about fair Britain. For example..

If you watch a show one night and it’s on again the next, don’t just assume it will come on at the same time.

Shows about finding fabulous properties for people with money coming out their ears and shows about interesting and unusual people finding antiques are prime daytime television.

Soap operas are still not worth watching.

Very few commercials make any sense, let alone make us want to buy the product. (most of the time we have no idea what the product even is)

Game shows. Random news/let’s-find-ways-to-make-fun-of-the-news shows. Game shows. Food shows. Game shows. Come 5pm those are your options.

Ian loves British television.

Aside from the obvious (hello Xfactor!) the only show we managed to get hooked on was Masterchef: The Professionals. It was pretty much the best show ever. And it was inspiring. Professional chefs battling for their own restaurant. It was amazing to watch how they combined flavors I would never put together and presented them in an art form all their own. We started rooting for specific chefs and incorporating Michel Roux Jr’s critiques into our daily lives.. Words like ‘unctuous’ and ‘flavorsome’.. ‘I can’t believe you let your sauce split!’ and ‘Pretty as a picture’. Next thing I know, my husband has taken our boring breakfast and lunch combos and turned them into food presented in a way that you KNOW Michel would serve in his restaurant!

He brought me this little number one morning and got such good reviews he has repeated it many times over..

Is that not the image of a beautiful breakfast??

I also made a banana cake with cream cheese icing a few weeks ago for Bible study (DE-licious!) and, while I always enjoy making things look pretty, I have to admit I wondered what Michel would say.

I don’t think he would’ve liked the looks of it, but I think by taste he would certainly serve that cake in his restaurant! :)

Thank you Masterchef.. We will miss you.

p.s. don't EVER put potatoes and oranges on the same plate. EVER. Michel will never forgive you. I won't either.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Our Clean Little Pumpkin

We have started a nightly bath routine in the Church household! Aed LOVES taking baths. He kicks and splashes and talks and makes faces and is just generally lovable and cute. He and Daddy often play mimicking games.. For example, the sticking out the tongue game..

We play him nice music and listen to him tell us stories until we are all sleepy and ready for bed. He was in the middle of a story here, showing off to Daddy how he can make his vowels and consonants.

We aren’t much for Halloween.. we prefer to celebrate the impact that people like Martin Luther have had on history and their significance in paving the way for the Word of God to be a part of our daily lives. So we have a Reformation Day celebration every year on the 31st of October. We have German beer, treats, and usually watch the movie Luther with some friends.

However. We were given an adorable pumpkin outfit by some very dear friends and couldn’t resist the opportunity to put it to use! Our pumpkin filled it out quite nicely and gave us lots of cute little faces to go with it..

I call this one ‘contemplating the tongue’

We love play time!

This is a picture I didn’t even know I took, but makes me laugh out loud every time I look at it. Someone must have said ‘Boo!’

Then we thought since it was such a nice, fall afternoon, we'd take Pumpkin outside for some pictures in the leaves.

As you can see by his face, he didn’t think it was such a good idea.. No.. he was pretty much ready for a nap by then and wasn’t in the mood for smiles.

I still think he’s cute though, forehead wrinkles and all.

This was the closest we got to a happy/content face.. I can’t help but be reminded of making turkeys in elementary school when I look at this picture… all those leaves sticking out from his head.. :)

Don’t worry, we did take him inside and we did let him take a nap. And then he was a happy pumpkin :)