Friday, October 31, 2014

Spooky Night 2014

Queen Elsa.
Pretty proud of the braiding I did.
Maurie was a bunny, or any animal with ears. Really, she wasn't anything but a cute baby.
Mac, Jane and Sophia at our church trunk or treat.
Jane's preschool class. I was super impressed with her teacher's ninja turtle costume.
Taking Jane treak or treating in our neighborhood. It was cold!
Our "picnic" while we watched Hocus Pocus...a seasonal favorite!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Ins and Outs

Today is very ordinary, and I am loving it. Jane is having her quiet time right now and Maurie is fast asleep. I have just finished folding laundry and I am thinking about how I wish I didn't have a double chin in the family photos I just spent hundreds of dollars on. I just changed my Facebook cover photo and I uploaded the one that makes it look the least like I have a good fifteen more pounds to lose. When the pictures were taken Maurie was about a week and a half and I was most definitely in the recuperation period; I still am.

Anyways, enough about my double chin. I have been thinking about what I want to dedicate my blog writing to, now that I have rededicated myself to writing on my blog. I have read so many awesome mommy blogs, and I frankly don't think I would be very good at that subject. I don't think I have anything new to say on the matter, but I do want to write about things that I think about during the ins and outs of my day. Sometimes that will involve writing about my family; other times it will be something I read in a book, something I watched on television or even a conversation with a friend. So, what I am really saying is that my blog is going to have random subjects, but all with the intent to uplift and enlighten. I also have to publicly commit to writing on my blog once a week. That helps me stick to it. Also, I want to share something else in regards to my writing. If you don't already know, I teach English. I have taught English for seven years now, and I like to be an example of proper grammar, mechanics and smart, concise writing. With that being said, I am also a mom with a very limited amount of time to write. If you have ever written a paper (think of one that got good marks or that really moved your audience) you know that writing requires time--rewriting. My disclaimer is that I am sacrificing perfection so that I can actually get words onto a page. I have thought about how I tell students that in order to improve their writing they need to keep writing. Well, this is me practicing what I preach and I hope that when you notice that I missed a comma or that I am rambling, you will forgive me and try to get the message.

Today my subject is creativity. Yesterday, I helped a friend cut out some photos and put a paper border around them. It was truly a mindless activity, but I was taking raw materials and making them into something more beautiful. It felt wonderful. I felt like I had accomplished something. I want to create something everyday, but I feel so lost sometimes about what to create. I like to create spaces--decorate, but I have never had any formal training on how to do so. I like to write poetry, but I have received two rejections out of my two poetry submissions, and like I said, quality writing takes time that I have not had. I like to sing and dance, but the last time I did either for the benefit of others was when I was in high school--which is officially ten years ago now. I bought a really nice camera and took a photography class to become more professional, but I don't know enough yet or feel I have the time to practice. The list goes on; I seem to have an excuse for not cultivating my interests, really. So...I need to pick one thing and work on it.

I choose creating loving, capable human beings. I decided this as I looked at Maurie sleeping peacefully on the couch. I started to think about how perfect she was and how miraculous it was that I helped to create her. (I feel pretty good about who I decided to mix genes with.) Making a baby might not be an art, but something beautiful was born and I helped to make it and I still do. Everyday that I help Jane remember to write her J with the hook facing to the left, teach her to share, and remind her to be kind to her friends I am creating a loving, capable human being. Everyday that I snuggle Maurie, rock her to sleep, whisper my love, nourish and protect her, I am helping make something beautiful, To make loving, capable human beings requires work, patience, dedication and vision. So, during this season where time really is short, I will relish the chance I get to create something so much more beautiful than any space, dance, song, poem or photograph, and it is mine forever. I am an imperfect artist; I make many mistakes, but I am an artist nonetheless.

To all the artists in the world...what are you creating? Whatever it is, make sure it is worth your time and don't stop sharing with us.

Best,
Lucy

Watch this inspiring video about creation:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Seeing my Glass Half Full

Cody is a leader in the young men's organization at our church. Last night he went to watch a young man play in his playoff football game; I wanted to go really bad. I started to get ready...I threw on a pair of maternity pants (the only pants I owned at the moment). I looked in the mirror thinking that I wouldn't look too bad, but you couldn't tell--at all--that I had actually taken a shower that morning and that I had even blow dried my hair. I had spit-up on my shoulder; my hair was knotty and I looked tired despite my makeup. I thought of my morning of making a special effort to shower and get Jane to preschool on time. We had ended up getting to preschool early and then we found out there was not any preschool because it was fall break! Jane started to cry and call out for Mrs. Moe (her teacher). I felt like calling out for her too since I knew that we would be heading home and I would be trying to entertain Jane for the next five hours before her quiet time. Anyways, despite my efforts I looked a wreck and I began wondering how my life had got to this point. I shrugged off my appearance and my disappointment long enough to get me and Maurie bundled for the football game, but then I got a sick feeling and knew that it was going to be better to stay home. I began picturing Maurie crying hysterically to eat, me fumbling around underneath a breastfeeding cover with my nipple shield, Maurie then pooping all over her and me blaming it on Cody because he wanted me to come. I usually like to picture things going more smoothly than that before I commit...I guess I see worst case scenarios right now, just to be safe. So, I stayed home with baby while Cody and Jane went to the game. I watched a movie, felt sorry for myself and then called my sister Holly for some sympathy...she had a baby exactly a week after me. She was home too. =) We discussed that even washing dishes, making dinner and grocery shopping are a break for us and remind us of our old freedom, our old life. So, Saturday afternoon I went clothes shopping, bought a pair of jeans that fit like a dream and went to get a few groceries. I now see more clearly that I do miss a life full of more time and control, more outings, but I can't bear to think of a life empty of a beautiful gift...my daughters.

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Angels

So, survival has been possible through the love and help of Cody, his parents, my mom and so many other people!

We so enjoyed having our parents to visit us in Wisconsin. Cody was able to take a week off from work to help me right after the baby was born. Cody has been super dad lately. He cooks meals, cleans, hold baby, plays with Jane, and runs errands and really does anything I ask of him. Seriously couldn't do what I am doing without him.

After Cody's week was up, thankfully Cody's parents arrived to help. My mother-in-law cleaned my entire house, cooked meals, played with Jane, got her to preschool and held the baby (Papa helped with driving and the baby too). It was a huge help. We also got to go out a few times. We went to a nearby park, the Houdini Museum, and High Cliff State Park. A good friend of ours also took them to pick some apples. They were able to stay for 10 days and I cried when they left. Jane asked about Grandma and Papa for a long time after they left.

A couple weeks later, Cody had to go to Ohio for a work trip, so I asked my mom to come to help me during that time. I am sooo grateful she was with me. She, too, cleaned, helped with meals, held baby and played with Jane. I got a lot of things on my list done and caught up on laundry. We had an "adventure" going to Walmart together; it involved Maurie having a diaper blowout, spending an extended period of time in a Walmart bathroom, me throwing a fit, buying a new outfit, Maurie crying, and me breastfeeding in the Walmart parking lot. On a more positive note, I was also able to host preschool at my house and our Fall Kickoff. I could not have done any of this without her. Because the weather was bad and Maurie can't handle being out too long, we were only able to go to High Cliff State Park to view the changing leaves and Lake Winnebago. There was a stretch of the drive that left my mom and me breathless...bright yellow leaves mixed with rich browns of the tree trunks made the woods look like they were on fire.  I wish my mom could have stayed longer and done more while she was here, but she said she came to be with us. I was able to drop her off at the airport and get my cry in on the way home. I am so thankful for the mothers that have given so much already and continue to give so much. I am so blessed. I will post about the Fall Kickoff in another post.

Then, there are the angels (other friends from my church) that have helped me with watching Jane, meals and emotional support and encouragement from the very beginning. I have been so humbled by all the help. It makes me feel like I can't be grateful enough. My thank yous don't seem sufficient. All I can do is vow to pay it forward!

Photos to come.

Sincerely and gratefully,

Lucy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Whirlwind

Proud Daddy! Brand new Maurie Lu!

Sisters!

Well...Maurie Lu will be six weeks old tomorrow! The last few weeks have truly been a whirlwind and I am certain that new challenges and joys are ahead of me.

First, I am going to attempt to summarize Maurie's birth. I had the pleasure of being much more prepared this time around. My focus was putting my house in order and preparing mentally, physically and emotionally for having a new baby. My doula gave me three books to read and I got through two...Hypnobirthing and Birthing from Within. Both of them were great helps to me. The third book was Active Birth and I used it more like a manual. Anyways, all of the breathing and mental techniques I read about I used at the right time. There was a story in Birthing from Within about a mother who had made a goal of having her baby within the time it took for her friend to make a birthday cake. She had a small jingle to remind her and she was determined to work with her baby to bring about a positive and timely birth. I decided that I wanted to have my baby in three hours and I kept saying and thinking "Three will set you free." No one else would have understood this, but I did and I can say that I had Maurie Lu in about that time. My water broke at 10:05pm and Maurie Lu was born at 1:59 am. I labored at home until 11:45pm and once I got to the birth center I spent some time laboring on the bed and then I eventually got into the tub. I didn't labor in the tub for more than an hour before Maurie was born. Because it was so fast, it was also very intense. I was very composed at first and took the contractions very quietly because it seemed to help me cope. Towards the end, right before Maurie Lu was born, I was a lot more vocal and I started to get worried that the pain I was feeling would last a long time. Thankfully I was wrong and the non-stop contractions was me bringing Maurie Lu into the world and did not last very long (although in the moment it felt like a long time)! Cody was again my champion. He applied counter pressure, held me and encouraged me. I love him so much. My doula was amazing; she, too, gave me physical support, emotional and mental peace of mind and encouragement that I was doing a good job. Every woman who is going to give birth should have a doula!

Maurie Lu was covered in vernix (the milky whitish stuff that allows babies to live in water for 9 months) and she was very calm when she arrived. She took awhile to breath and had us worried for a moment, but all was well. She was patient and calm as the midwife cleaned her and weighed her. (She was 8 lbs 8 oz. and 20.5 inches long). She did not cry at all in the beginning. She is still patient and calm. She usually grunts when she is uncomfortable rather than crying. When she cries, I know that I am taking too long. Since breastfeeding has proven to be a major pain again, I again try to get as much time in between feedings as I can. I have healed much, much faster overall this time and I am so grateful for that. Overall, Maurie Lu's birth has been a blessing because I have been able to heal from my past, more traumatic experience with Jane.

Since Maurie Lu's birth I have experienced the normal sleep deprivation, pain--after-birth contractions were way worse this time--, weakness. emotional instability etc. I was anemic before the birth and have continued to feel the effects of that afterwards. My midwives were and are very adamant about me taking iron and controlling my diet, but it takes a lot of discipline.

The most surprising challenge of the last few weeks has been Jane. She is a very active little person and I cannot keep up with her at all. I barely could when there was no baby, but now I am very behind. Two is harder than one because Maurie is not old enough to play with Jane and I am not strong enough to play with Jane. Everyone says that before I know it they will be romping around together, but until then I have relied on preschool to help Jane get energy out and quiet time to help her unwind. Cody and I counseled together one evening and sought Heavenly Father's help in raising Jane and since then we have been small miracles...she sleeps in her own bed (a queen bed, mind you) and has quiet time for at least an hour every day. She is a much happier child and I am a much happier mom! Sometimes I forget that my children are on loan from Heavenly Father and that he can help me figure out how to help them and teach them.

To illustrate that life is not as structured and easy as I have made it sound, here is a little snippet...I was exhausted one morning and can vaguely remember Jane coming in and out of my room. At one point I knew I should I get up to check on what she was doing, but couldn't muster up the strength and courage to do it, so I slept. When I woke up I had a soaked bottom. I had told Jane earlier that the bottle of witch hazel was for my butt and she kindly administered the liquid in the proper place while I was sleeping. She also played with (pulled) my hair, I think. It was a blur. Then, when Jane saw that I was awake she excitedly told me about the stickers she had been playing with. I sleepily followed her to her room and found my brand new book of stamps applied to a small piece of paper. For a moment I wanted to scream, but then I decided to laugh instead. I explained that she couldn't use my stamps and then spent the next while trying to salvage the stamps...which I did! =) So, some mornings look a lot like this.

Anyways, this is the new me. Mom to a rambunctious three year old and a brand new baby. I love them to pieces and however new it is, I would never want my life without them. I spend most of my days at home trying to keep laundry and dishes clean in between naps (mine and theirs), breastfeeding Maurie at "my station" (an incredibly comfortable recliner), making dinner, getting Jane to and from preschools (YMCA and a preschool I do with some awesome ladies from church) and reading and writing in a spare, precious moment. Life is good. I have been hoping to be able to stay home with my children for a long time and now it is a reality. I appreciate it a lot more, I think, because I know what it is like not to be able to.

I hope all is well in your lives!

Best,
Lucy






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