Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Have you lost that lovin' feeling?

I have historically not been a huge Valentine's Day fan. In high school, I just cringed at all the flowers and jewelry being given to girls in between classes. All that "love" in the air was just enough to make me want to throw up. I know I sound like the grinch of Valentine's Day and truth be told I probably was. My disgust for Valentine's Day was probably rooted in some jealousy and some self-protection...if I don't want it then it won't hurt as much when I don't get it. But despite that, I still felt that so many people were missing out on TRUE LOVE and reveling in the feeling of LOVE. 

When Ross and I started dating and eventually were married, we both agreed that Valentine's Day was kind of annoying and a "made-up" holiday, however we still enjoyed using it as an excuse to dress up and go out to a nice dinner. Ross, being the free-spirited one, does not like the idea of "one-day" designed for all people to express love for one another. That is too confining for him. At the same time, he still allows us to celebrate it because we do love each other.  

Fast-forward to this Valentine's Day...I am married and have an 8 month old baby. I have the two loves of my life. I am often tired, disheveled, running behind, and forgetting things. I feel like I am constantly a day late and a dollar short. And that "LOVE" feeling isn't exactly what I was feeling on Valentine's Day. I wasn't even sure I wanted to go out to dinner. 

But is LOVE really something that can be limited to a "feeling". Let's take a look at what the Bible has to say about LOVE.  

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Hmmm...that doesn't sound like a "feeling" at all. It sounds more like an action. So maybe the reason I wasn't FEELING love is because I was neglecting to ACT in love. It is sure easy to be in love when everyone is happy and healthy, the house is clean, we are well rested, and getting along...but what about when are circumstances are less than perfect? What about when REALITY hits and the dishes are piling up and the trash is beginning to stink? What about when you've been up all night with a teething baby? What about when you and your husband have been so busy that you've barely had a chance to talk outside of whose turn it is to entertain the baby? And the list of challenges goes on...

It is in these tough moments though that TRUE love can be displayed. Isn't it true that while we were still sinners, Christ DIED for us? Isn't that the perfect example of love? Wow, I've definitely missed the mark with God SOOOO many times, yet he doesn't hold it against me and even DIED for me knowing that I would sin again and again.    

A friend recently asked me, which of these characteristics of love resonates most with me. I looked at each one and was blown away that I hadn't been acting in love in ANY of these ways! Many examples flooded my mind of "being easily angered", "being envious", and "keeping records of wrongs". I realized that instead of focusing on how I'd "lost that lovin' feeling", I needed to be LOVING my family the way that Christ loves us. 

I am so thankful for God's powerful word and specifically for this reminder of what LOVE really is.  Happy Late Valentine's Day. :) 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Patience and Breast-friends.

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (February). For this month, we focus on back to basics. Participants will share advices - either the best breastfeeding advice they received OR/AND the best breastfeeding advice they can give to new moms.  Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries."

All throughout my pregnancy I knew that I wanted to nurse Julian for a long time. My mind was made up about nursing because I knew all the health benefits for myself and that there was not a SUPERFOOD on this earth that I could give Julian that would compare with my own breastmilk. It was a no-brainer!

Breastfeeding has certainly brought it's share of challenges to me and to our family, however it has also brought us a lot of JOY! Today as I was cradling my little wiggle-worm and nursing him...I thought of all the hugs that I would have missed out on if I wasn't nursing him. It's hard to keep up with my little boy who is always on the move...but I get the special privilege of having extended time holding him up against me and cuddling with him several times a day and even at night. 

As a participant in the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival:

One challenge I had in the early months of nursing was being able to wear the right clothing and being able to nurse with ease in public. One of the most simple suggestions that a friend gave me ended up being some of the best advice. Here it is: TARGET nursing tanks and breastpads. This simple wardrobe change allowed me to be able to nurse him discreetly in public and always have my torso covered. It eliminated having to take off a shirt as well as a bra. Why didn't I think of that?? Now I just lift my shirt up and unsnap one side of the tank and we're ready to go!  

My 2 best words of advice for women who are breastfeeding would be: 

1. Be patient with yourself AND your baby. You are both learning something new and it may not flow perfectly the first time. For me anyway, it took a LOT of practice, patience, and persistence. 

2. Surround yourself with your BREAST-friends. These are the family and friends that encourage and support your decision to breastfeed. They are your cheerleaders when you have a cracked nipple. They are your support group when you are criticized by un-informed extended family members. It is Kelly-mom. It is all the breastfeeding blogs. It's your LC. My BREAST-friends have been out of this world amazing and have helped me push through tough times and make it to 8 months of breastfeeding and counting.

Check out some other supportive and encouraging breastfeeding posts in my next post!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

First Time Mama Drama

Things that are on my mommy radar:

1. Sleeping at night: Julian is now 7 months old and just this week has shown us that he is capable of only waking up 2 times at night. I know many of you are wondering if you read that last sentence correctly. Yes...ONLY waking up 2 times a night. For us, that is a miracle. Even just a couple of weeks ago, he was waking and crying sometimes up to 6 times a night!! Sure, I've probably made my share of mistakes in precipitating this matter, but as a first time mom I didn't (and still don't) have all the answers. I have a lot of shoulda-coulda-wouldas, but I'm done dwelling on those now. It's a new dawn and a new day. We're proud of Julian's accomplishments in regard to sleeping this week and continue to hope and pray that it just keeps getting better.

2. Food: We've found a winner: Banana Puree! He LOVES it! Finally, something he will devour! We are also so thrilled that our doctor is completely on board with using breastmilk as his primary source of nutrition for now if that's what we want and just supplementing his diet with fruits and veggies as Julian shows interest. Our doctor made it clear that introducing fruits and vegetables is just to create Julian's palette for different tastes but his only nutritional requirement is breastmilk. He said eventually we can replace a feeding with an avocado since it has healthy fat in it that baby needs. The doctor supported not giving Julian grains yet as well. It felt good to know we're on the right track and I'm no longer worried or wondering if there's something different I should be doing.

3. Germs: OK, so how dangerous are germs? I can't spend my whole day cleaning and wiping down Julian's toys that he drops. When you think about it there's a lot of nasty yuck on the ground...but really do I have to wipe down everything everytime? Is it just a wive's tale that the germs will build up his immune system or am I just being naive?

4. Babyproofing: OMG, this has recently become such a battle! We knew our house wasn't babyproofed, but I am just shocked at the things Julian manages to find! Shoes, papers, cords, dvds, wii controllers, remotes, phones, magazines, vases,...and the list goes on! If it's not meant for him, you can bet that's the first thing he'll migrate towards. I am finding myself saying "nonono", but all the while realizing it's my fault for setting him up. You should see some of the makeshift babyproofing gadgets we've come up with! Why does he love crawling into the bathroom of all rooms? Why does he like hiding behind the couch? Why does he insist on kicking the papasan chair over? Why does he seem to enjoy hanging out right at the corners of shelves, tv stands, cabinets, etc? I could make an entire post on this topic...which I plan on doing soon...including all the hilarious pictures of Julian getting into places he shouldn't be.

Here's a pic of our sweet boy trying to scoot underneath the couch at a playdate with his cousin.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Who would have thought I could be a "lactivist"?

Who would have thought that I would become a "lactivist"? How is it that something that I really didn't give much thought about my entire life could be such a hot topic for me now? I guess because prior to having a baby and being a nursing mom I didn't pay much attention to the way that each mother chose to feed her baby. I think I remember times as a child that I witnessed women nursing in public and got the nervous giggles...because I was a child and thought it was funny to see part of a boob I guess. Thankfully once I became an adult, I matured beyond that and ceased to find humor in seeing a baby being fed. Now that I have taken a ride on the motherhood rollercoaster, I have a whole new perspective on the issue and am blown away by our society's views and often ignorance on breastfeeding. Case in point...the recent Target Scandal. And reading the almost 800 comments, mostly negative and hateful, towards breastfeeding mothers.

Here's how I see it: The way a mother chooses to feed her baby is her own decision and thankfully we have a legal right to nurse in public or I'm sure places would be kicking us out left and right. I personally would LOVE to always have a private place when I'm in public to nurse but unfortunately that is typically not the case. I have found back corners of restaurants, back hallways of businesses,  have sat in my car on numerous occasions, and have made all sorts of curtains/shields on airplanes thanks to whoever sits by me.  Of course, I think it's a good idea to cover yourself as much as possible; I am a modest woman. However, I do realize that sometimes it's hard to wear a nursing cover with a fidgety baby like my own. I just want people to know that as much as they don't want to see a nursing woman in public, I don't want them looking at me anyway....so wouldn't the world  be a more peaceful place if people would mind their own business and not look! That would benefit us all!

So, does it make me a "lactivist" because I want to be able to feed my baby when he's hungry despite where we are? I wouldn't think so...but it seems I've had to become one. There are too many nay-sayers out there and this is a cause worth fighting for. It's hard enough to make the decision to breastfeed without all the negativity from people who should not have a say in the matter and women need support, encouragement, and praise for making a healthy choice for their babies.

Here's my sweet boy after being nursed to sleep on a flight. I'm sure the same people who are annoyed that I nursed in public would have also been annoyed to hear him cry the whole flight had I not nursed him. Thankfully, God has blessed me on every flight with a pro-breastfeeding person to sit by...how blessed am I!!