Archive | April, 2015

Not Good Enough

28 Apr

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I’ve been struggling lately with feeling like I don’t measure up. That I’m not enough. I hear Travis and the grandparents having so much fun with Emma and I feel like the most boring, uncreative mom ever. I act cold and unforgiving toward Travis and feel like the worst, most unenjoyable wife ever. I spend my days worrying about laundry, dishes and unwritten blog posts while others are struggling with cancer, death and finances, and feel like the worst Christian ever. Weeks and months pass without a prayer, text, email or phone call to friends and family, and I feel like the most self-centered person ever.

What to do with thoughts like that? In the past, those thoughts would have plunged me into a downward spiral of self-pity and I would end up lamenting that I suck at life and will never be the person I want to be.

I am still often tempted to go there.

But I’m learning to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” instead of just letting my emotions run rampant and drive me into the ground. So these days, when I have thoughts like the above, I stop and think. And it has been in thinking about what the godly reaction is to those thoughts that I started pondering a question:

Does Christ’s work on the cross make me “enough / good enough” OR does His work make it okay that I’m not “enough / good enough”?

You might consider it only semantics, but I think it’s an important distinction – and I believe God’s glory is at stake.

There are 2 things that I think are erroneous about saying, “In Christ, I am enough”:

  • It puts the emphasis on me, instead of Him.

Saying that I’m enough in Christ uses Him as a way to bolster my self-esteem. While I do wholeheartedly believe that I should embrace and rest in who God has created me to be, that doesn’t mean I turn a blind eye to the ways that I sin, fail and fall short. Instead, I can be honest about where I need God’s sanctifying power, and pray for God to accomplish in me what I cannot accomplish myself.

  • It removes my need for constant dependence on Christ.

Nothing drives me to my knees in prayer faster than feeling insufficient, or “not enough”. If I have the mindset that I’m enough in Christ – that whatever I bring to the table is acceptable – my main motivation for walking through each day in dependence on Christ has been removed.

My flesh naturally bristles at hearing “I am not enough.” It’s not surprising, considering how the human race wants so desperately to earn our salvation through works instead of just accepting the free gift of God through faith in Christ. We want to be enough. We want to be sufficient.

But “grace permits us to come (nay, demands that we come) as empty sinners to be blessed: empty of right feelings, good character and satisfactory record, with nothing to commend ourselves but our deep need, fully and frankly acknowledged. Then grace, being what it is, is drawn by that need to satisfy it, just as water is drawn to depth (by gravity) that it might fill it. This means that when at last we are content to find no merit or procuring cause in ourselves and are willing to admit the full extent of our sinfulness, then there is no limit to what God will do for the poor who look to Him in their nothingness.” (We Would See Jesus by Roy and Revel Hession)

So what do I do in response to these self-pitying thoughts, combined with the truth that I’m not enough?

I don’t stop caring about these things. I want to love and serve others.

I don’t stop desiring sanctification. I want to grow in Christ-likeness and show God to be the radiant, glorious God that He is to this world through how I live and act.

I don’t try to improve myself on my own. Even though I yearn for sanctification and groan to put on my heavenly dwelling (2 Cor. 5:1-4), I know that I am fully dependent on “him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to [His] power at work within us” for transformation (Ephesians 3:20).

I don’t focus on how I’m doing compared with the “standard”. Satan wants to keep me preoccupied with my own performance, instead of looking to Christ and His work.

I DO repent of my sin and selfishness, trust God to change me, and focus on what is now possible in my life through Christ’s death and resurrection.

Annabelle Lyn: 1 Month

27 Apr

Our little Annabelle is already a month old!

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The last 4 weeks have gone by really fast. Annabelle is still a really good baby. She has gotten a little fussier and needed a little more help getting to sleep (if she doesn’t fall asleep nursing, which she does about 75% of the time), but she still sleeps most of the day.IMG_6381

During the day, I often have to wake her up to nurse every 3 hours. At night, I let her wake up on her own. Most of the time, she wakes up after 3-4 hours, but she’s given me a 5-6 hour stretch a few times. It is SO HARD to get up in the middle of the night and I am loving my coffee these days, but overall, having a newborn is a lot easier this time around.IMG_6383

I’m excited for Annabelle to start staying awake longer so that we can start discovering her personality and interacting with her more, but I will say that it has been nice that she sleeps so much because then I can play with Emma a lot easier. I’m sure we’ll figure it out though.IMG_6399

At her 1-month doctor appointment, Annabelle weighed 9 lbs 5 oz (59%), was 20.6 inches long (32%), and had a head circumference of 14.76 inches (85%). Her pediatrician was happy to see that she had gained 2 pounds in a month — and so was I! IMG_6401

IMG_6404 IMG_6407 On Sunday, April 19, we dedicated Annabelle to God at church in front of the whole congregation. We did this with Emma too in lieu of baptism, since we believe in believer’s baptism. It’s just a way to declare publicly that we recognize our responsibility and honor as parents to raise Annabelle up in the knowledge of God to the best of our ability. Annabelle needs to decide for herself whether or not she will follow Jesus as her Lord and Savior. We definitely pray that she chooses to do so!

IMG_6357 And that’s Annabelle at 1 month!

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Pregnancy #2: 4 Weeks Postpartum

24 Apr

I keep having good intentions of blogging but for some reason, whenever I have time to write a post, that’s the last thing I feel like doing. So even though I had wanted to do a postpartum update before now, almost a month has already gone by since I gave birth.

Physical Recovery

I didn’t need any stitches this time, which I was extremely thankful for, because I developed this horrible cough after being in the hospital. Coughing a lot is not what you want to do after giving birth, not only because it surprisingly involves pelvic muscles, but also because you need all the sleep you can get and laying in bed hacking up a lung does not help.

Similar to my recovery with Emma, I again found it hard to be up walking around for about a week after giving birth — I’m guessing that’s from the lack of ab muscles? Luckily, that resolved itself and I went for my first postpartum run last Friday, at 3 weeks postpartum. I took it really slow and conservative, but it was nice to be back out there. I am so ready to get back into shape! I’ve also done yoga and pilates a few times each. In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to put together my triathlon training plan and start crack-a-lacking once I get the official green light at my 6-week followup.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m more used to being sleep deprived or if I’m getting more sleep with Annabelle than I did with Emma, but I actually feel pretty energetic and awake most days (after the morning fog wears off). I have more energy now than I did while pregnant with Annabelle, which has been nice. But nursing takes up so much time, and Emma is so busy busy busy, that I’m still accomplishing next to nothing each day besides surviving.

Speaking of nursing, it’s going really well. Annabelle has gotten a little fussier as she’s gotten older, but nothing like Emma was when she was this age. Nursing still involves plenty of tenderness and discomfort the second go around, but it’s so nice to know what I’m doing and not have to fumble through the first couple of months!

The most lasting effect of recovery from birth is that I am sweaty all night every night while sleeping. It is getting old. I’ve tried wearing less warm clothing and putting a lighter comforter on our bed, but then I’m freezing. I’ve also had a few instances of extreme temperature swings — I’ll be shivering, teeth-chattering cold one minute and then roasting, peeling-off-all-clothing hot the next. Hormones are crazy.

Body Weight / Image

At 4 weeks postpartum, I’m about 7 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.
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Soft stomach aside, I actually feel pretty good and normal. But my pre-pregnancy pants beg to differ. None of my pre-pregnancy pants/shorts/skirts fit yet, even the ones that I bought at about 3 months postpartum with Emma. So I’m embracing the maxi skirt trend, and I also bought a new pair of capris that fit me right now. Hopefully once I get into tri training, my old clothes will start fitting again. Until it’s capri weather, maternity pants it is!

Emotional

The emotional adjustment to having another baby has been so. much. easier. than adjusting to the first one. Yes, it is challenging having a toddler with a newborn, but in my experience, it’s nothing compared to getting used to just being a parent for the first time. I had such a hard time adjusting to being a mother with Emma that this feels like a walk in the park.

The best part about not being an emotional wreck with a newborn is that I get to actually enjoy her! It sounds horrible, but I hardly enjoyed Emma at all during this stage because I was having such a hard time with everything. But Annabelle is such a good baby and so cute, and I’m so happy that I can enjoy her, even at the 2 am and 5 am feedings. And after dealing with a strong-willed toddler tornado that throws a fists-clenched tantrum over me not wearing the flip flops she picked out when it’s 40 degrees outside, even Annabelle’s little newborn cry is just adorable.

Travis and I are also handling this addition to our family better than we handled Emma. It helps to be getting more sleep! Since Annabelle nurses and goes right back to sleep most nights, I get up with her and Travis gets to sleep for a full 8-9 hours. For the relatively few times she doesn’t go right back to sleep, I ask Travis to get up and get her back to sleep, so that I don’t have spend precious night time hours doing something other than nursing. He’ll also get up early and take care of the girls so I can sleep in on Saturdays. It has worked well for us so far!

And that’s life at 4 weeks postpartum with baby #2!

Easter 2015

14 Apr

Even though Miss Annabelle decided to arrive early, our Easter plans pretty much stayed the same and were executed with success! We ended up going to the second church service at 10:45 instead of the first one at 9:00, and only planned to stay for the worship at the beginning. Emma had thrown up the night before (from teething mucus we think) so we didn’t put her in the nursery like we usually do, and she doesn’t have a very good track record of making it through a church service. But when the worship was over and both girls were still content, we decided that we’d just stay until one of them started to crack. And we made it through the whole service! Annabelle ended up being held by Travis, and I had to entertain Emma with games on my phone but I was impressed that we were able to stay for the whole thing.

After church, we headed back to the house to pack up the rest of our stuff, I nursed Annabelle, we loaded up the dogs and girls, and were on our way to Nevis by 1 pm. We got there an hour later and poor Emma woke up the minute we parked the car, so her nap was very short. She rallied though and had plenty of energy to enjoy her new toys from G&G and Auntie, and do her first Easter egg hunt.

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She also went on the swing and slide.

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Annabelle met her Aunt Carolyn, Uncle Matthew and Cousin Drew for the first time.

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We ate Easter dinner around 4 pm. It was delicious. After dinner, the guys went out to move snowmobiles into storage and jockey boats. We bought Travis’ parents’ old fishing boat and were going to tow it back but didn’t have the right ball hitch. (We tried towing it back last weekend too but couldn’t get the trailer lights to work. I told Travis, one more strike and it just wasn’t meant to be. 😉 )

Around 6 or 7, we ate strawberry shortcake for dessert and then packed up our stuff to head home. It was a short but sweet trip! Both girls did really well.

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Without fail, Travis always makes a goofy face in the best picture of the rest of us.

Annabelle Lyn: 2 Weeks

10 Apr

Our little Annabelle is 2 weeks old already!
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So far, she is a really good baby. She is nursing well every 3-4 hours during the day and usually gives me a 4-5 hour stretch between feedings once a night. The last couple of nights, she’s been nursing every 2-3 hours and hard to get back to sleep, but I’m hoping that just means she’s going through a growth spurt, and will go back to longer stretches soon. Otherwise, Annabelle sleeps pretty much all the time. She doesn’t seem to mind her carseat at all (yet…), is totally content to sleep in her swing with the vibration on both day and night, and doesn’t wake up even when Emma is yelling loudly and standing right next to her. I don’t get to hold Annabelle as much as I would like (since I’m chasing Emma around) but I’m thankful that she is as content as she is to sleep on her own. Emma wanted to be held all the time.

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Annabelle went to her first pediatrician appointment the Tuesday after she was born. She had been discharged from the hospital at 7 lbs 8 oz, and at her appointment was up to 7 lbs 9 oz, so we don’t have to go back to the doctor until she’s a month old. Her eyes turned a little yellow from bilirubin, but she is peeing and pooping a ton (which helps get rid of jaundice) so I’m not worried. I don’t remember this with Emma, but Annabelle’s farts/poops are SO loud and wet! I keep expecting to see a total blowout when I change her diaper, but there’s usually just a little squirt of something in there. It’s impressive that a person that little can make such a loud noise.

Annabelle doesn’t cry much (yet…), but when she does, it’s because she’s getting her diaper changed, her clothes changed (she really doesn’t like being cold), wants to be swaddled (loosely — she does not like a tight swaddle!), or is uncomfortable from gas or an air bubble. Most of the time, though, she wakes up to nurse and falls back asleep right afterward. When she does stay awake for a little while, she is mostly content to just look around, whether she’s being held or not.

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Big sis is adjusting to Annabelle well overall. Emma loves checking on “Baby” as we call her (since Annabelle is a little tricky) and is obsessed with making sure that Annabelle wears a hat at all times. She also loves to “hold” Annabelle — meaning I place Annabelle on Emma’s lap and hold her there while Emma “holds” her. Emma has been pretty good about being gentle, though there have been plenty of times already that she is too rough. I’m sure they won’t be the last. Nothing too serious though. Annabelle has only cried a few times from things Emma has done.

So far, the hardest part about having 2 young kids has been Emma’s need for attention while I’m nursing Annabelle. Poor Annabelle gets her nursing sessions interrupted fairly often. Just today, Emma emerged from her room with a sheepish grin as I was sitting on the couch nursing Annabelle. I called Emma over to find out what she was getting into and discovered that she was buck-naked. I had taken her clothes off for lunch (we had spaghetti and I hate dealing with sauce stains) and she had then removed her diaper. Other problems during nursing have been Emma getting into lotion, toothpaste or soap (she is getting very clever in reaching things she couldn’t before!), wanting to sit on my lap or cuddle, wanting a refill on food or drink, or needing me to do something for her and refusing to be patient.

One thing we have done with Emma that has proven helpful is buy child safety knob covers. We put one on our bathroom, one on Travis’ office, and one on the door that leads to the stairs from the basement (so that she can’t go upstairs without me). I’m thinking about buying some more so that we can keep her out of the other two bathrooms and the utility room too. Otherwise, Emma can get into any room she wants and to truly childproof everything would be sort of ridiculous.

The dogs have adapted to a new baby well. Katy pretty much ignores Annabelle and Charlie just sniffs her every once in a while.

I plan to do a postpartum update soon so I’ll save the details on how I’m adjusting to being a mother of 2 for then, but for now I’ll just say that it’s going WAY better than I thought it would. I know a lot of that has to do with Annabelle being a good baby, but I think also that it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about a new situation before it happens, but once you are actually put into the situation, you find a rhythm or routine that works for you and your family, and realize you were freaking out unnecessarily. It’s also easier to respond to the specific reality of a situation when you’re actually dealing with it, instead of just thinking (and worrying) about all the different “what ifs” ahead of time. (And can I just say that after having an extremely busy toddler to chase after all day, the days that Emma is at daycare and I have only Annabelle seem like a walk in the park? That’s not meant to discredit the major life changes a new mom goes through — because I had a hard time with them myself — but to just muse on how different things are the second time around. Like that Luvs commercial where they contrast the mom’s actions with the first child and second child. First child: Require anyone who holds your baby to douse themselves in hand sanitizer. Second child: Ask the car mechanic to hold your baby while you write a check. They’re funny because it’s true!)

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Emma’s 2nd Birthday Party

8 Apr

Today was Annabelle’s due date. Since Emma’s actual birthday was just yesterday, we decided to have her party early so that we didn’t have to worry about having a newborn and throwing a party (or having to cancel the party because I was in the hospital). Good thing we did because Annabelle arrived the weekend after we had Emma’s party!

Since Emma loves dogs, we decided to have a puppy theme. We kept things pretty lowkey, though, because she’s only 2. There’s plenty of time for more elaborate parties later on. For party decorations, we did balloons, streamers and paw prints that I printed at home (and colored in by hand, since our printer is out of yellow ink).

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We invited all of our immediate family, as well as a few of Emma’s friends. We had a great turnout! My parents, Travis’ parents, Trav’s brother, and Emma’s friends all came — so there were 6 kids under 5 including Emma (though one was a baby). (I now realize we didn’t take pictures of Emma with all the grandparents or her friends that day! Bummer.)

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For the one activity that I planned, I cut dog ears out of paper that the kids could decorate with markers and stickers, and then make into a hat/headband, but the kids were much more interested in playing with toys, so that’s what we did for the first hour of the party.

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Then we ate lunch — again, we kept it simple with Papa Murphy’s pizza, fruit salad, carrots & dip, and puppy chow.

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For Emma’s birthday cake, I made a pawprint — which was just a 2-layer round cake with 4 cupcakes for the toes. The red frosting did not turn out how I had envisioned. Next time, I will just buy the can of frosting with a cake tip instead of trying to squeeze it out of a ziploc bag! At least it tasted good.

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After the kids were done eating, we sang Happy Birthday and had Emma blow out her candles (she had help from mommy).

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The kids ate cake and then we opened gifts. Emma received fun toys from her friends, a pair of rain boots from G&G Kluthe, a Radio Flyer trike from mommy and daddy, and a stool from G&G Moen.

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The party ended “on time”, but I told everyone to feel free to stick around as long as they wanted, and they left about an hour later. We gave each kid a goodie bag with a couple packs of Scooby Doo fruit snacks, puppy stickers and a small bottle of bubbles.

It was a great party!

Emma Grace: 2 Years

7 Apr

Emma is 2 today! Since we celebrated her birthday with a party a few weeks ago, today will be a pretty normal day. Emma’s at daycare and I’m home with Annabelle. But I did let her have fruit snacks for breakfast and I’ll make her some of her favorite foods for dinner — probably macaroni & cheese with fruit. She’s been sick lately so her appetite is kind of unpredictable right now.

Here’s what been happening this past month with Emma:

* She now has 2 of her 4 2-year molars (the bottom ones). I am so ready for the other 2 to come in and for teething to be over!

* Emma still has problems with getting nasty coughs that linger for weeks (she has one right now). It’s the worst at night, and over the past month, we’ve (well, mostly Travis) “camped out” in Emma’s room by sleeping with her on a mattress on her floor. We’re talking about bringing up her toddler bed so that it would be easier to lay with her while she falls asleep and then sneak out, but we haven’t yet. She just flops around so much in her sleep that I don’t know if she’d be able to stay in the bed. We’ve talked with Emma’s pediatrician about the possibility of asthma but she hasn’t been willing to confirm anything yet.

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* Emma is still obsessed with shoes and socks, and has now added hats. She changes her socks several times a day, wears shoes around the house for fun, and points out when Daddy’s wearing a hat, when Baby Annabelle is missing her hat (and runs to find it), and always need to find and put on her hat before going outside.

* Emma’s vocabulary is increasing exponentially. It seems she has finally figured out how to attempt to say words that she hears us say. A few new ones since last month are: “hockey”, “purple”, “papa” for grandpa, “ucky”, “poopy”, “peepee”, “pease” for please, “chew” for juice, “ba” for bottle or ball, “da” for down, “up”, and “hop”. Her favorite words by far are “mommy”, “daddy”, and “baby”. She says them all day long at random times.

* Emma still has practically no interest in TV. The only time she will sit and “watch” a show is when she has just woken up and wants to cuddle, or is sick. While I kind of wish she would watch a show every once in a while, I’m glad that Emma is more interested in reading books and playing outside. She has taken a liking to playing games on our tablet or smartphone though. I downloaded an animal matching game and she has gotten really good at it! She plays it for 5-10 minutes before getting bored.

* She still loves making messes (this was helping mommy make her birthday cake):

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* Emma LOVES being outside. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, rainy, windy, or nice outside. She enjoys swinging and going down slides, but she also loves just walking around picking up sticks and rocks, pointing out dog poop and ice, and “driving” the car. I can’t wait until the weather warms up and it’s also enjoyable for mommy to be outside! I am not as gungho as Emma is.

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* Emma still loves dogs and gets really excited about our dogs, as well as any other dogs she sees, even if they’re on TV. Whenever we go play downstairs, Emma wants the dogs to come with us.

* Emma can jump with both feet off the ground, run like the wind, spin in a circle and dance. She loves bubbles too (what kid doesn’t?) and can sometimes blow bubbles with the wand (not without ingesting some of them though).

* Emma loves her baby sister (though she doesn’t love to share mommy) and gives her kisses, hugs and pats on the head. She has been gentle with Annabelle for the most part, but is too rough every now and again. Emma will also give hugs and kisses to those who ask her (at least most of the time).

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* Emma loves looking at pictures of herself and people she knows on Facebook and my computer.

* She loves when we sing her songs and has started to sing the melody of ABC herself (as a request that we sing the whole thing). Her favorites are ABC, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, Choo Choo (a song from ECFE), and Baby Blowing Bubbles (from a CD that her speech therapist has).

* Emma has started to love wearing “jewelry”, as well as pointing out and inspecting other people’s jewelry. She points to my earrings and says “E” for ear and/or earring.

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* Emma is OBSESSED with drawing, especially with markers. She has a little table in a corner of our kitchen/dining room with her crayons, markers, stickers, paper and coloring books, and she spends hours there doodling, covering things with stickers and drawing on herself (mostly her hands, which I think is really her trying to trace her hands like her grandmas have helped her do). She also loves drawing in the tub with special markers and crayons made for bath time. She has been pretty good about only drawing on paper, though she has doodled on some of her toys, gotten marker on her clothes and accidentally made marks on some furniture. The washable markers come out of almost everything though, which is good. She has also decorated many things in stickers, including the floor, sliding glass door, dishwasher, books, other people and herself.

* Last but not least, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention anything about what a strong-willed, determined little girl Emma is. She is very curious and busy, and gets into a lot of stuff she shouldn’t (not dangerous things, just things we don’t want her to play with like our camera, cords, phones, chapstick, wallet, etc). This is even worse now that I have a baby to nurse several times a day. Emma has also started to be aggressive when told no (throwing toys and hitting) and throws tantrums frequently over seemingly small things (like being told that we can play in the car later but not right now). I realize that this is pretty normal toddler behavior, and that it’s a phase that we have to coach her through and have patience with, but man it is hard! I frequently find that I lack the patience I need to respond well. There are days when I feel like all I do is tell Emma no and listen to her throw a tantrum. On those days, I try to take a break from whatever I’m doing and just spend time with Emma, either playing with toys or cuddling with her before she goes to bed. I need those positive interactions to keep my heart from becoming bitter.

Anyway, that’s Emma at 2 years!