Controversial Cover

Saturday, July 29, 2006 21 Comments A+ a-

Ok, I'm genuinely curious, what was your initial reaction to seeing this magazine cover? Did you want to stand up and applaud the decision to publish it? Did you want to gasp in horror and click far, far away? Honestly, when this magazine arrived in my mailbox last week, I didn't even think twice about the cover; I may have thought what a gorgeous baby but that's it. It wasn't until I read an article in our local paper about the controversy surrounding this magazine cover and I admit I was surprised. So, I'm curious to read about your reaction.

Balance is Key

Friday, July 28, 2006 10 Comments A+ a-

I was going to write about something else today but my friend, Sarah, forwarded this article to me and I must admit that I'm dumbfounded as to why this woman ever had children in the first place. I hate to judge another woman and her parenting but when the article is entitled "Sorry, but my children bore me to death!" it makes one pause and question. You can click on the title to read the entire article but I've paraphrased for you below:

To be honest, I spent much of the early years of my children's lives in a workaholic frenzy because the thought of spending time with them was more stressful than any journalistic assignment I could imagine. While all of my girlfriends were dropping important careers and occupying their afternoons with cake baking, I was begging the nanny to stay on, at least until she had read my two a bedtime story.

It's as though motherhood is an exclusive private club and everybody is a member except for us few. But then kids become careers, often the Last Career, for millions of women who have previously trained for years to enter professional fields of business. Consequently, few of those women will admit that they made a bad, or - worse - a boring career move to motherhood.

My children have gotten used to my disappearing to the gym when they're doing their prep. They know better than to expect me to sit through a cricket match, and they've completely given up on expecting me to spend school holiday taking them to museums or enjoying the latest cinema blockbuster alongside them.

When I brought it up at lunch yesterday, my friend June, a stay-at-home mother of three young children admitted that 'children are mind-numbingly boring' and the act of being with them all day and night is responsible for many mental breakdowns. 'Looking after children makes women depressed,' she concluded.

All us bored mothers can take comfort from the fact that our children may yet turn out to be more balanced that those who are love-bombed from the day they are born. Research increasingly shows that child-centered parenting is creating a generation of narcissistic children who cannot function independently.
I literally sat there in shock as I read this article. However, my friend Sarah issued a response that was so eloquently written that I'm just going to print it verbatim.

Wow! That's honesty for you. A few of my thoughts, motherhood IS a self-sacrifice but it doesn't have to be, nor should it be a self-death. I think balance is the key word. Yes, there are times when staying at home with a 2-year-old is boring and monotonous, but I can't say that is any other job I've had, there weren't just as many momentboredomordom and monotony. And as we follow Christ's example of laying down our lives for those we love, not just our children, I would hardly call tmartyrdomrydom".

The thing is no one every told us that full-time motherhood would be blissful and constantly mentally stimulating, but I can only say from experience that I'm so thankful that my own mother listened to God's calling on her life and decided to raise me herself, instead of paying someone else to do it. And besides, its mainly the early years that are a big self-sacrifice. As we encourage independence in our children, which we should by all means, not being "child-centered", our sacrifices will pay off.

We just have to be careful not to lose ourselves and our marriages along the way. We need each other for support, we need to nurture our hobbies and loves, and we neenurtureuture our minds as well. Either extreme is wrong and damaging, child-centeredness to the mother and self-centeredness to the children. I've seen "retired" full-time mothers who are products of balance and imbalance, and the difference is astounding. Those child-centered "martyrs" have no idea who they are, and continue to smother their children into adulthood. The balanced moms find themselves celebrating their increased time and independence as they expound the hobbies, activities, and careers they've been nurturing along the path of raing their children. And you know, doesn't it always seem greener on the other side?

Bottom line, I think anything we are seeking to bring us fulfillment, other than our relationship with the Lord is going to end up fall short of what we hoped it would be, including full-time motherhood or a paid career. As we make life choices about how we spend our time, what we value, and what we love, we have to constantly make those choices after seeking the Lord and feel content and confident in our decisions. Its between each woman, each person, and the Lord, it is for no one else to judge. I think there are scriptural calls on a woman that hint at the Lord's desire for us to raise our children but people always seem to forget the the Proverbs 13 woman was also a business woman, intelligent, and strong. She was busy taking care of her family, but also busy using her skills and talents, which I'm sure gave her some joy and satisfaction.

This got a bit long-winded, but I just had to respond to this poor woman's article. How sad that she's depending on self-centered activities to bring her fulfillment, just as sad as a woman who is depending on her children to bring her the same fulfillment. Balance, balance, balance!
Isn't Sarah a wise, wise woman?! I couldn't have written this better myself and I see God's truth in every word she wrote. The moment I find my children boring, the moment I don't take joy in watching their explorations and moments of learning, the moment I choose self-fulfillment over milestones in my child's life, will be a sad, wasted day in my life. I think the biggest difference between the original article and Sarah's words is seeing what the world values vs. what God values. I, for one, am so grateful to be on this side and to have the hope that He offers us in an other-wise sad world.

Thump, Thump, Thump

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 10 Comments A+ a-

On Monday Jon and I went in for an appointment with my doctor, to follow up on an Urgent Care visit over the weekend. The absolute highlight of this appointment was being able to hear the heartbeat of Baby #2. Jon reached over and squeezed my hand and I felt the tears starting to well-up. There is always something surreal and magical about hearing the heartbeat of your unborn; it offers concrete proof that someone is living and growing inside your body. Now I’m a firm believer that life begins at conception, no surprise there, but as a mommy, it’s really hard for me to connect with the baby until I’ve heard the heartbeat and this was no exception. I’m so thrilled and happy to be adding to our family, despite my many fears and concerns, and now I’m able to start talking to the baby, making plans for the future, sharing my hopes for their lives, etc. It’s an incredible gift to hear that heartbeat and I’m so grateful for it.

The surprising thing about hearing his/her heartbeat is that I’m only 11 weeks along; when I was pregnant with Devyn, we couldn’t hear the heartbeat until I was 14 or 15 weeks along. But it was a wonderful surprise. The heartbeat seems much slower than Devyn’s heartbeat was and according to the old wives’ tale, it could mean that we’re having a boy. Once I shared this tidbit with Jon, he jumped all over that and is insisting that it must be true. Only time will tell…

I was in Urgent Care over the weekend due to abdominal cramping and pain. The Urgent Care doc made the mistake of telling a nervous mama that it was probably her gall bladder and “don’t worry, we remove gall bladders all the time during pregnancies.” The thing that annoys me the most about this diagnosis is that it was made without doing any blood work or doing an ultrasound. Argh! Hence, the reason we went to my regular doctor as soon as I could get in. My doctor, bless her heart, doesn’t think it’s my gall bladder (although blood work results should come in today to verify that) but gastro-something, which translates into severe indigestion. It has been almost unbearable and would explain the constant burping and cramping. The doctor would like for me to tough it out during the last couple weeks of the 1st trimester and then she’ll prescribe a much stronger antacid medication.

So, that’s the latest on this home front. We’ve had a gall bladder scare, constant gas, and the beautiful sounds of a beating heart, all within the past five days.

Beating the Heat

Monday, July 24, 2006 5 Comments A+ a-

It has been soooooo hot lately and so we decided to run to Walmart and buy a cheap, plastic swimming pool. It was a great way to help Devyn cool off and we had some enjoyable moments watching her play around. Now we just need to get some water toys, instead of the measuring cups.

Importance of Self-Esteem

Friday, July 21, 2006 12 Comments A+ a-

One of my strongest desires for Devyn is that she’ll grow up with a healthy self-esteem; sure of herself and who she is; to have the ability to overcome obstacles without falling to pressures from the outside world. This is so important to me that it’s quickly becoming a passion of mine.

I’ve mentioned before that my sister, Allison, struggled with anorexia between the ages of 14 and 16 years old. At her worst, she weighed 58 pounds and was hooked up to heart monitors for the doctors feared her heart would stop at any moment. It was one of the hardest and most trying times in my life; seeing her laying there and knowing that there was absolutely nothing I could do to help her, talk about feeling incredibly helpless. I can’t even begin to explain the hurt, the fear, and the pain that my family went through watching Allison slowly killing herself but not having the strength to heal. My heart hurts at the mere memory of it.

Do you want to know how it started? Her 14- and 15-year-old friends decided that they all needed to go on diets to lose weight, only Allison’s “diet” escalated out-of-control. I don’t know a single 14- or 15- or even 18-year old that “needs” to go on a diet. For the most part, these are young girls in the prime of their life, they should have been talking about make-up, boys, giggling about the latest heartthrob from Hollywood, playing sports, going on bike rides, or heading to the beach; anything but exchanging diet tips!

I’m afraid, however, that this nightmare has hit my family again. A few months ago, my youngest sister, Courtney, finally admitted to the family that she’s bulimic. With encouragement from her therapist to become more public with her eating disorder, Courtney has finally given me permission to write about it.

I’ll admit, this one was even harder to grasp than Allison’s, because even though Courtney was only 12 years old at that time, she saw what the anorexia did to our family. She remembers the pain, the hurt, and the fear and yet, this is the only way she can deal with problems in her life. We’ve known for some time that Courtney has had some weird food issues; constantly double-checking calories, refusing to eat anything over a certain calorie-intake, and exercising like a woman possessed. While I’m glad that she’s finally admitted to it and is trying to seek help, I’m absolutely terrified at the sister I now see in front of me; skeletal, jumpy, unsure of herself, and hurting. The hurt is so obvious to me and as the big sister, I want nothing more than to reach inside her, pull out the hurt, and take it all away. And again, it’s completely out of my control.

This time, it started with innocent comments from friends mentioning the “freshman fifteen” (where college freshman gain, on average, 15 pounds during their first year), or as I mentioned before, comparing herself to other friends. What started out as trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, has turned into something that is quickly spiraling out of her control. The hardest part is that I can tell she hasn’t even reached her breaking point yet, its going to get worse before it gets better. But at the very least, she can admit that there’s a problem, is seeking help, and is even moving back in with my parents for added support.

So, back to the first paragraph, maybe you can understand a little more why my desire is so great to raise Devyn with a healthy attitude about her body, herself, and who she is in God. I really don’t think I can survive going through this a third time…

Moving On...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 5 Comments A+ a-

We've been inundated with baby news left and right. Shamree and Josh, my sister's in-laws, found out they're expecting a girl in November and everyone is so thrilled for them. It appears that Christine and Caleb are going to have two nieces to spoil now; how fun! We came home to the wonderful, exciting news that our friends Pete and Rebecca are expecting their first child approximately two weeks after our due date. We are SO happy for them and we all chuckle a bit at God's timing, they're getting ready to become missionaries in India and should be leaving sometime in the next six months. We know that God will place His protection over them and this pregnancy. And last, but certainly not least, we get to announce the birth of three new babies within the past few weeks.
Taeya Belle was born on Saturday, June 24th at 12:25pm to proud parents, Michelle and Josh. She weighed in at 7 lbs, 6 oz, and was 20 inches long. My sisters have already been to visit her and say that she is one of the prettiest babies they've ever seen.
Annelise Sierra was born on Wednesday, July 5th at 6:16am to proud parents, John and Lorena. She weighed in at 7 lbs, 9 oz, and was 20 inches long. She is beautiful!
Noah Thomas was born on Monday, July 12th at 9:13pm to proud parents, Jeff and Colette. He weighed in at 7 lbs, 2 oz, and was also 20 inches long. Devyn cannot wait to meet her newest cousin. Congratulations to all!

My 1st Troll

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 5 Comments A+ a-

So, apparently, it seems as though I have a troll lurking on my blog. My sincere apologies to all of my friends and family that view this blog and have to see her comments. I've asked her (or him) to go away but apparently she is here to stay. I'll continue to update as I usually do and hope that she'll tire of this eventually. I find it incredibly sad that she feels the need to question my mothering or judge my life but that's how it goes when I lay everything out in the open.

We're Back!

Monday, July 17, 2006 16 Comments A+ a-

Whew! Whatta trip! We’re back from an eight-day vacation to Yellowstone National Park, was I missed?! I have surely missed reading all of your blogs and catching up with your families. I’m constantly amazed at the friendships I have formed in blog-land and I was going a little crazy without being able to check-in. At the same time, it was wonderful to spend some quality time with family and friends in one of the most amazing places on earth. Jon, Devyn, and I shared our own pop-up camper but we had a number of family and friends join us on this vacation too; my sister, Allison, Christine and her husband, Caleb, my parents, Jon’s Dad and brother, Josh, and one of my best friends, Marianne and her new husband, Dennis. All in all, it was a fun-filled, packed, and boisterous week!

We arrived in Yellowstone on Friday, July 7th and set up camp in one of the campgrounds around Yellowstone. I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical about an 8-day camping trip but my fears were soon put to rest when we saw our first buffalo meandering down the road. I was in awe as this huge, lumbering animal made no apologies about hogging the road or stopping traffic, he was after all, King of the Road. Needless to say, I was hooked on the wildlife from that moment on. During our trip we saw countless buffalo, elk, deer, fawns, mountain goats, a black bear and her two cubs, and Jon was even fortunate enough to see a wolf.

The scenery in this place is absolutely amazing! Jon and I constantly sat back in awe and tried to imagine how God would be able to top these views in heaven. The rivers, waterfalls, the "painted" canyons, the trees, the mountains, the lakes, etc. were just gorgeous. These photos don’t even do the park justice, so I highly recommend a vacation to Yellowstone to see it in person. We even spent an afternoon at Old Faithful, watching the geyser go off at the appointed time was fun. One of the best parts of the whole trip was watching Devyn take in the views and the different animals, we definitely have an outdoors girl on our hands.

Some Highlights from Our Trip:
  • Watching buffalo forge the Yellowstone River from one bank to the next, had no problems swimming at all, despite the weight and girth of their bodies.
  • We found a swimming hole in the Firehole River and it was a ton of fun jumping into the rapid and being taken downstream.
  • Watching Devyn groove to the music, despite being confined to a car seat and not being able to move her legs. Hilarious!
  • Getting to see two deer and their two fawn, absolutely precious! Watching Mama Bear take care of her cubs, despite the relentless tourists with their cameras.
  • Just driving the different roads and seeing something new every day!
Lessons Learned During Our Trip:
  • We will not be taking another vacation during my first trimester ever again. I was hit and miss most days, most of the time phenergen did the trick but I still had my moments. On top of that, I needed a huge attitude adjustment which I will write more on at a later time.
  • It is nearly impossible to iron things out with a camping neighbor when you don’t speak the same language. After being told numerous times to "turn off" our campfire or the ranger would be called, my husband and brother-in-law called their bluff; after all, quiet time does not mean "lights out".
  • We will not go to Yellowstone until after July 15th in the future; Jon was extremely bummed that fishing did not "open" on the Yellowstone River until July 15th, the day we left. Poor guy!
  • We will bring more than one battery for the camper; we went without lights and heat in the camper the whole time.
  • Benadryl might be a good idea for future trips; a screaming toddler does not put people in the best of moods.

8 Weeks and Counting...

Thursday, July 06, 2006 12 Comments A+ a-

I had my first pre-natal appointment yesterday and for the first time with this pregnancy, I actually started getting excited. In spite of increased nausea, morning sickness, breast tenderness, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, and a growing belly, this pregnancy just hasn’t felt real to me. As I’ve said before, with Devyn I saw the 2nd pink line and that was all I needed. I have needed way more reassurances with this pregnancy (ten pregnancy tests later) and yet, I just started getting excited after yesterday’s appointment.

The appointment went well, despite Devyn wanting up on the exam table, wanting down on the floor, wanting to sit in Mommy’s lap, wanting to read books with Grandma, etc. Needless to say, I think it was the first and last time Devyn will be accompanying me on these doctor appointments. I seem to be measuring right on track for eight and a half weeks and despite my unhappiness, the doctor is glad that I’m nauseous because she says it’s a wonderful sign of a healthy pregnancy. We didn’t try listening to the heartbeat but will definitely do that at our next appointment and Jon will be joining me at the appointment.

Last week I finally broke down and called the doctor, begging for something, anything, to help with vomiting. I threw-up four times in one day and I was literally begging for relief. The good, kind doctor prescribed phenergan and it has made all the difference. I’ve been taking it before going to bed and while it hasn’t taken away the nausea; at least I’m not lying on the bathroom floor at work, doing everything within my power not to throw-up for a third or fourth time. (A lovely visual, I know, but that’s how bad it got with Devyn.) So, now I’m dealing with manageable, constant nausea and a severe case of indigestion and heartburn, my poor coworkers are dealing with non-stop burping. It’s quite gross.

The other fun (sarcasm) side effect I’m dealing with is bloating! I’ve already had to run out and grab some bigger clothes to get me through this awkward stage of between pre-pregnancy and maternity clothes. The bloating is so bad at times that I look as though I’m already four or five months pregnant. I know I’m going to start showing earlier this time around but eight weeks?! Give me a break! So, there’s the lowdown on this pregnancy thus far. I know that in the end, it’ll all be worth it and I’ll forget all about the first trimester pains once I feel this little one move. I just need to keep that in mind. I really can’t wait to hear the heartbeat for the first time! That is an incredible experience, every time!

Such an Honor

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 3 Comments A+ a-

Our friends, Malisa and Kevin, asked Jon and I to be sponsors for their 7-month-old daughter, Brooklyn Marie. Now, Jon and I aren't of the Lutheran denomination and for those of you who also aren't familiar with the Lutheran faith, sponsors is basically another word for godparents. When Malisa (or Missy) asked us this, needless to say I was both speechless and honored. What a huge priviledge for us! We were happy to say yes and almost two weeks ago, we joined them in the ceremony of Brooklyn's baptism. I'm thrilled that I was able to be a part of her big day, and we will gladly do our part to make sure that Brooklyn Marie knows all about God, Jesus, and the love they have her! Thanks Missy and Kevin; it was a beautiful and special day!

Brooklyn in her baptismal gown; this photo does not do justice to her gorgeous blue eyes!

Getting Jiggy With It

Sunday, July 02, 2006 14 Comments A+ a-

Our daughter, Devyn Paige, started boogying to Madonna's Vogue at a recent wedding reception. It was quite hilarious and she had quite the audience getting a kick out of her shimmies and shakes! I know I'm biased, but isn't it adorable?!