Friday, November 5, 2010

The A Word...

Ooh, this is such a touchy subject but it is something I feel so strongly about that after reading this interesting fact today I had to write about it.

***Warning-the nature of this subject is graphic and there are also pictures at the bottom of this post***

Did you know that our wonderful country will happily lock you up in prison (a maximum of 5 years) for breaking open a bald eagle egg?  The government considers our once endangered national bird as precious and worth preserving and have classified that egg as no different than a full grown eagle.  Why is it so different when we try to classify humans?
We are happy to save trees, protect unborn animals, and shout about saving our whales yet when it comes to the most precious form of life, human life, it is wrong to tell a woman to save her child.  It is her body, her choice right?
Wrong.  I mean, if we were talking about a boil that gets in the way of wearing her favorite high heels and she chooses to remove that from her body, then fine.  That truly is part of solely your body, remove away!  When you are pregnant, that baby is being grown by your body, but it isn't your body.  You didn't just develop a new internal organ or something, you are the new grower of a completely separate human being.  Just look at yourself for that greatest example.  Look in the mirror, search your thoughts and ask yourself, "am I just a replica of my mother? No different, nothing of my own.".  Of course you're different.  You are an entirely new and unique individual.  There has never been someone exactly like you before.  Do you think you only became different when you were born and before that you were just an extension of your mom; a nameless, lifeless blob that didn't form into "you" until pushed through the birth canal? No way. Just like that eagle egg being classified as no different from a born eagle in the eyes of our laws a human being should be no different.  Plus, in some states if a pregnant woman is murdered the law allows prosecution for two murders, not one.  To me that makes it seem like a life is only worth protecting if it is wanted by the mother.  If that same mother had gone into an abortion clinic she wouldn't have been prosecuted for the murder of her own child.
I think we are so concerned on "self" that we are focused on conserving our own way of life and making it as convenient as possible.  Not the "right time", get rid of the baby. Don't want to get fat, get rid of the baby.  Forgot to use a condom, get rid of the baby.  Afraid to tell my parents, get rid of the baby.  How selfish.  Here comes the age old adage- give the baby up.  No where in life does it say you have to become a mother.  Just take the baby to a fire-station, contact an adoption agency, or ask your doctor for help finding another family.  You don't ever even have to meet your baby, but you have the obligation to let this human being that has been created to safely carry them to term and deliver them.  They don't have to disrupt your life, just don't keep it. Simple.  You don't want the discomfort of having people know you got pregnant, too bad.  We all have to own our choices in life and pregnancy just happens to be a very visible one.
Plus, as a believer in Jesus Christ His Word is very clear about when we are considered human, his children.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16



Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:3-4).
And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength (Isaiah 49:5).
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:4-5).
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:41-42, 44)


He also tells us murder is wrong.  Murder is willfully taking the life of another human being (not to be confused with killing, which is having to take another life to preserve your own or someone elses'
Now for the classic objections.  What about if a woman is raped or forced into an incestuous situation? If you are raped, you go to the police or at very least the hospital.  When there they will give you the choice of a pregnancy prevention cocktail and you should take it if you do not want to become pregnant.  This is much like the birth control pill and prevents pregnancy, it doesn't get rid of an already made baby.  Anyone who has tried to conceive a baby knows that "conception" does not always happen on the same day as the deed.  It can take up to about 5 days afterward to result in a fertilized egg.  If a woman is too ashamed to go to the hospital or to a police officer and gets pregnant is a hard scenario.  While rape and incest are terrible, awful situations that I would wish on no-one you take the risk when not going to the hospital that you may conceive an unwanted baby.  I have much sympathy for those women, but they should not have decided to take that risk if they were not prepared to have to give birth to the product of such an awful crime.  Adoption.
Abortion is the way to ensure we don't get too overpopulated/humans are a dime a dozen.  If this is the way you feel would you like to be the first to jump off the cliff to allow more resources for others? No?  Because you are important?  Yes you are.  So is every other human.  God will provide.
There aren't enough people to adopt these babies.  So false.  There are so many families that are jumping thru hoops trying to get a baby to love and finding it difficult.  Believe me, you decide to give up your baby they will find a family.  The big problem is trying to find foster families, that's what you see in the media with waiting children.  It is much harder to find a family willing to go through the adventure of taking care of an older child that they may have to give back to their birth families.  We need many more foster families, but really there are plenty of adoptive ones.


Would it help if you knew how babies were aborted?  If it makes you uncomfortable to read or think about than somewhere inside you you know that what they are doing is wrong and that this fetus is really a human.  It should make you uncomfortable.  It should make you sick.  


**warning there are pictures, but if you don't believe they are human it won't other you**


In a medical abortion (usually performed before 9 weeks) a woman is given a ton of medicine that basically forces the lining of your uterus to expel itself (like a period) and eventually forced the placenta to detach from the uterine wall.  The placenta is what passes blood, nutrients, and oxygen to your baby.  With that detached your baby dies.  It's like someone putting a bag over your head. This is really a slow process and can take up to five days for it to die and you to expel the baby from your body.
In a surgical vacuum abortion the baby is literally sucked out of your body.  It is much quicker, but has the same result.  Many times, though, it doesn't work completely and the doctor will need to do a D&C to remove the body parts and tissue left behind.  Yes, you just ripped apart a human being and left behind the pieces.  Not the way I'd want to go.  
In a surgical dilation and evacuation a baby is  given a shot that kills it in addition to the medications given to the mom (similar to a medical abortion) .  Then the babies head is crushed so that is can be more easily divided into pieces to be removed. God forbid the shot didn't take and the baby was ripped apart alive, but they never really know.


Dilation and extraction.  This one should make you want to vomit.  I couldn't sleep for days when I first heard of how this worked.  The baby is delivered feet first up until the neck (if the head is delivered it is considered a live birth). The doctor makes a hole in the neck, inserts a tube, and -get ready for it- sucks out the babies brains.  When the head collapses it is delivered, dead.

And what is done with the babies?  Most clinics (including planned parenthood) sell the babies to research facilities and often they are "parted out".

Murder.  No doubt about it.  Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Day of Praise

Outside it is a little windy and gloomy (perfect for the Halloween month) but it's all sunshine inside.  The Hubbs is FINALLY here and a huge weight is off my shoulders.  I have been fully taking advantage of him and letting him take care of the kids while I literally do nothing.  It has felt so good.  The first few nights were a little rough, though.

Night 1-Saturday.  We tried the Expedia mystery flight thing where it only costs like $50 after tax, but you don't know what time or airline you will be flying, but you do select the day.  All the other flights were $160+ one way so it was worth a shot.  Luckily it was a non-stop flight on Frontier but it came in at 11:00 PM!  That means after getting his bags and driving the looooong ride home we got in at 12:30 AM or so.  So late!  Plus, he had only had 3 hours of sleep in the previous 48 hours from crazy work events so he was a bit delirious.  When we got home, The Hubbs had to check on Little Man and then the poo hit the fan.
Once it clicked in Little Man's head that he had seen his Daddy, there was no sleep to be had all night.  He didn't want Daddy out of his sight and he was so excited that he just couldn't calm down.  It was about 3 or 4 in the morning before he passed out.  Then both kids woke up at 6:30am as usual.  Rough night for The Hubbs!

Night 2-Sunday.  We had a wonderful day (pictures tomorrow!!) going to Westcave Preserve in Round Mountain, TX and eating at this awesome Mexican restaurant that had a huge yard area for kids to play while we eat to reduce the screaming and let them run.  Great day.  But we noticed that all day Little Man didn't want to eat or really drink either.  By the time we got home and tried to eat dinner he was horribly upset.  We thought he was just overtired from not participating in nap time and maybe it was time to go to bed. 
Within minutes of going to bed we heard crazy screaming and run into his room.  What do we see??  He had puked allllllll over the room.  The couch, his bed, and all over the floor.  And he wasn't done.  I felt so horrible because he had never, ever vomited before and he was very upset.  He spent the next several hours being attended to on the couch and relieving his stomach several more times.  At around midnight he had one final relieving and immediately fell asleep.   Sitting up.  So we laid him down and took shifts sleeping next to him in case he woke up and was sick again.  Very little sleep that night too.

Thank the Lord Little Man was perfectly fine yesterday and last night we had a great sleep.  Little Miss is still getting up every few hours at night, but it still felt like heaven. Today I am sitting here, finally attending to my blog (like the new style??) and relaxing a bit while The Hubbs runs around after the kids he has missed so much.

Ahhhhhh this is the good life.



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Door to Door Organics

Well I am chock full of awesome issues these days and I have to really watch my diet.  I have found it next to impossible to get to the grocery store with the two kids to get fresh, healthy fruits and veggies.  Let me paint you a picture of our usual shopping trips.

First, I have to get both kids ready and sloooowwwwwwllllyyy walk down three flights of concrete stairs because Little Man is learning to do outdoor stairs independently.  Yet I still hover around him because those stairs are more than brutal and I can't stand the thought of him breaking something. Half and hour later we are in the car.

Second, the store.  If you have two or more little kids you know that they are never well behaved at the moments you really need them to be.  Forget about checking over the produce to find the best with two screamers and a ton of dirty looks.  So we race through the store and no doubt end up with a lot of frozen and processed foods.

Third, the trip up the stairs.  Because I don't have a garage attached to my home or anything I have to carry the kids and anything else I purchased up the death stairs all at the same time.  So picture a wiggly, screaming toddler, a floppy baby, and several bags of groceries.  I am half way to the nut house by the time I am in the door.

Needless to say I was pretty excited when I saw a Facebook post about a friend who was trying Door to Door Organics.  I looked it up and the price is more than reasonable (same as I pay at the farmer's market) and they deliver.  So no juggling kids and groceries and pulling my hair out just to get nourishment.  Plus, this would ensure that I would eat what my body requires.

I got our first box today and it was full of beautiful organic produce.  Plus, they let me make substitutions to our box so the Hubbs got the avocados he craves.  I am so excited to start making healthy, fresh meals and start feeling better all around.  I think everyone should give this a shot if they are in a delivery area!  (plus, if you search Google, there are plenty of coupons to save you money!)

Have any of you tried anything similar?  I'll keep you updated on what I make with it.

(Today I made a toasted chicken sandwich with an avocado relish for Hubb's work lunch.  It looked so yummy!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Wednesday Word

Have you ever felt like you were so worthless that not even God wants to hear you?  I have.  I have had those moments where I am so stresses out living on two hours sleep, tripping over toys and laundry, trying to breastfeed a screaming baby while cleaning an explosive toddler diaper, and tried to hold back tears.  I have felt so alone, invisible, and unimportant.  To make matters worse, you run into an old friend who "has it all".  Well behaved kids, a large house with a yard to let those well behaved kids run around in, no financial stresses, and friends/family abound to help when they need it.  Then come the angry prayers of "why, God, do you forget me?  Why do I have to go the hard way?". 

I was feeling this way when I read Psalm 4.

(Passage courtesy of http://www.BibleGateway.com)
 1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
         You have relieved me in 
my distress;
         Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
        
 
2 How long, O you sons of men,
         
Will you turn my glory to shame?
         
How long will you love worthlessness
         
And seek falsehood?  Selah 
 
3 But know that the LORD has set apart[a] for Himself him who is godly;
         The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
        
 
4 Be angry, and do not sin.
         Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.  Selah 
 
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
         And put your trust in the LORD.
        
 
6 There are many who say,
         “Who will show us 
any good?”
         LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
 
7 You have put gladness in my heart,
         More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
 
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
         For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.



I realized that I'm not alone.  Even David felt like he got the short end of the stick at times, but he always had faith that God heard him.  In truth, I know He hears me I just usually don't like the answers he gives me.  I feel like I deserve some financial relief, better health, and a yard.  But God says, "no, no, and no" for right now.  I don't know why.  I don;t know why this is my journey while others seem to have to "so easy" but there has to be a reason. 


I need to be silent and reflect in my heart to who I'm meant to be and stop focusing on what I don't have.  What have I been given?  Healthy children, my husband has a job, a roof over our heads, and family who loves me.  Yet even while I listed those things, I couldn't help but think about the negatives.


Healthy children, my husband has a job (a job that keeps reducing pay, not paying overtime, time demanding, and putting us in a really rough spot), a roof over our heads (with a too-small house we don't fit in that is upside down thanks to the real estate bubble bursting, we'll never be able to get out of it, and carrying two kids up and down three flights of concrete stairs is difficult to say the least), and a family who loves me (but lives too far away and is unable to help me when I really need it.  They are just too far.).


I need to really clear that garbage from my head.  No wonder God doesn't bless me with things I desire, maybe He feels I won't appreciate them.  I don't know... I just need to focus on Him I think.


What about you?  Have you ever felt this way?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Wednesday Word

Homosexuality. There is a word that can conjure up all kinds of feelings in a person of faith. Many of us don't want to discuss it amongst one another because we are not sure if we should be "tolerant" or "condemning". Are those really our only options?
I admit, I have struggled with how I feel versus what people tell me is "right". I have sat in my seat at every church I have been to and heard the fleeting mention of homosexuality and that it is wrong, then quickly passed over so as not to stir controversy. So is being homosexual okay? Is it something that automatically sends you to hell? Should I not spend time with my gay family members? Are they all filled with demon like some pastors have suggested? But I don't feel they are choosing this lifestyle, why is it so wrong?

Now, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe in the Bible to be whole and true. That said, I think we really miss the point of the Bible. The front cover does not say: "The Bible. A guide to condemning those different from you and to make you feel like a worthless person.” At least, mine doesn't. I have noticed people taking clips out of the Bible-one verse here, another there, and making an absolute blanket statement. "God says it is wrong". But, does he?

Where in the Bible does it say, point blank, that homosexuality is wrong? And before you start typing passages from Genesis, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, and Jude let me state my case on those passages. They all refer to rape, orgies, molestation, adultery, beastiality, sex in a temple, sex as part of a pagan ritual, sex before marriage, or purposely forcing sex to humiliate someone. The same thing is said about heterosexual behavior throughout the Bible. God believes these things are wrong and I am right there with Him. But none of them say, "Jake and Johnny became one, living out their lives in a committed relationship and were condemned to eternal damnation." I saw nothing like that. And before you start quoting Leviticus you need to remember a few things about the laws/prophesies in the Old Testament. 1) They were put in place to set Jews apart from the rest of the world to not be tempted and to more easily spot the Lord when He came, and 2) Jesus states in the New Testament that he came to fulfill those laws and that we are no longer bound by them because we don't have to look for the Lord anymore. He's here! That is why we can eat pork, cut our hair, wear blended fabrics, and get tattoos all of which were before forbidden by levitical laws.

Then there are the Ten Commandments. Let's go thru them together shall we?

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'
TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'
THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'
SIX: 'You shall not murder.'
SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'
EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'
TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'
So we have gossip, envy, murder, adultery, lying, disrespecting your parents, swearing, and not worshiping God. Where is the commandment about which sex we are allowed to marry? It isn't there. God was very specific with his very basic commandments for us all to follow. I don't think He would leave something out just to confuse us. I think it wasn't the issue we are making it now. Where are the picket signs that say "God hates gossipers" or "You like this bracelet? That envy will send you to Hell?" or other ridiculous nonsense like "God hates Gays". We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, have we not? We have all failed to honor the commandments and we are all forgiven. There is no single sin that in an automatic sentence to hell, nor is there a clear cut passage that even states that homosexuality in and of itself is a sin.

Plus, in the New Testament when Jesus was asked which of these commandments was the most important to follow he said to love Him with all our hearts and to follow Him. He also says that the ONLY way to get to heaven is to have faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord, Savior, and Redeemer. There are no works that will get you in and no sin that will kick you out. You either believe or you don't, the rest is obedience. That is why His sacrifice is so important. He died to cover all the sins we commit on a daily basis so that those sins are not the basis of our salvation.

Now you may say that there are no passages showing a committed/married homosexual couple or courtship in the Bible so it must be wrong. True, I don't know of any but there also aren't many passages about a plain heterosexual couple that just love each other, the end. All the passages are about struggles, obedience, finding the Lord, and loving each other despite ourselves. There isn't much in regards to romance either way, just how we should treat our spouses.

I beg of you out there, please think twice before shunning someone based on whom they love. If they profess to be Christians, than absolutely hold them to God's standards as listed in the commandments as well as not raping, molesting, having orgies/sexual rituals, and not having sex before marriage (or, I guess commitment ceremony as the case may be) whether they are gay or straight. If they do not profess to be believers, than regardless of their orientation you cannot hold them to God's standards that they don't subscribe to, only the standards of the world, which is who they belong to.

So, yeah, I'm going to say it. Homosexuality as a sexual orientation is not wrong; it is not a sin. God loves them just like he loves me. Just like he loves you.

I really hope to hear your thoughts on this one. I'm human and know very little, I could be wrong...




Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chaps and a diaper? Yes please!

Just to show you how much fun we have in Texas, here is my next story in pictures.  I could try to describe this, but really... the pictures do it the only justice.  Within the first few days Little Man decided to wear his Woody hat (from his Toy Story costume he wore last year), the came out the diaper jeans, then the chaps, then the laughs....


This may sound silly, but I couldn't help but hear the song from The Full Monty that goes "you can leave you're hat on...".  Feel free to do the same :)








Love it all!  Do any of you have a great diaper moment to share?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"No One Told Me" Thursday

...I would shed like a dog.
During pregnancy there are some pretty amazing benefits from the hormones and prenatals.  One of which is a lush mane.  My hair seemed to feel fuller, silkier, and shinier.  Then you have your beautiful little baby and it all goes down the drain.  Literally.
When Little Man was born I distinctly remember standing in the shower two weeks later, shampooing my head, looking down and what do I see?  Hair everywhere!  I ran my hand through my hair and looked at my hand.  Even more hair!  I felt like I was in the middle of a beauty shop horror film. For days I shed like this. 
I don’t know if it was the screaming baby or the long nights, but I swear my hair just freaked out.  It either went grey or just jumped ship completely.  I was so upset.  I had enough to deal with, being a first time mom and all.  I thought something was wrong with me and that I was going bald.  
Luckily that wasn’t the case.  I didn’t go bald and I was completely normal!  When looking online I read that while pregnant your head stops shedding hair.  When your hormons change after your baby is born all those wonderful hairs that held on for 10 months decide to make a run for it. So don’t worry if this happens to you!  You’re just shedding the hairs you would have lost all those months and it will slow down.
Why didn’t anyone tell me so I could have saved myself from a hair heart attack?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Wednesday Word

Do you see the signs?

Due to my vacation I have really been thinking about driving.  With my silly thoughts the way they are I naturally went from thinking about the super long drive with two teeny kids to thinking about the signs on the side of our life's "road".  There is always something in every event in our lives that we can find God in if we pay attention.  I believe he always tries to tell us, "hey, I'm here and you are not alone".  I wanted to share with you one of the events in my life where I was shown a sign of His existence.  I've had many other signals from God, too, and sometimes those signs were ignored.

I can remember being little and talking in my head to Christ.  I didn't grow up in a religious home so I didn't grow up with the knowledge of something greater than myself out there.  Yet I knew who it was I was talking to.  So I think we must be made with a longing to know our creator just like we are naturally instilled with the knowledge of right and wrong.  Okay, so maybe this isn't an exact "sign", but just knowing He was there was pretty huge for me.

Fast forward several years and past several signals to my being a teenager.  I had just moved from Idaho to Colorado and started a new high school towards the end of the school year.  I had only lived there a month or so when I started dating a boy who was not really my type, but very fun.  I had been ditching my science class for the first week we were together so we could hang out for two hours (that class was right before lunch).  It wasn't like we were doing anything cool- just "hanging out" in the library or cafeteria.  I was only a freshman after all- where else could I go?  One day my boyfriend wanted to ditch again and go to the library to hang out with some other kids from church.  For some reason I felt really strongly that I had to go to science class.  I didn't want to go to class, there wasn't any assignment due, I wasn't falling behind or anything, but I felt strangely compelled to go.  So I went to class and so did he. That was a day that would change my view on life and confirm my belief in God.

That day two students went on a rampage at my school and killed 13 people and themselves.  And where was most of the carnage?  The library.  One of our friends was killed, many others experienced something that I believe I am not mentally capable of handling.  I could barely handle what I went through that day and I know in my heart of hearts that Christ was looking out for me that day.  He knew what was going to happen and spared not only my life, but a total mental breakdown.  I got down on my mental knees that day and said "okay, you're there- I'm not alone.  I have faith in you".  That couldn't have been just me.  It wasn't just a coincidence.  I'm not psychic.  I had no idea what was going to happen that day, but I knew I couldn't ditch that day.  

I've learned to follow that pull within myself.  I know what it is and I know what it means.  I have also found out the hard way what happens when I ignore it.  Now I look for the signs.  I try to see where God is in every situation and am often shocked by how obvious He is, and yet how easily I can oversee it.

What about you?  Has there been an instance in your life, whether big or small where you saw the sign? I would love to hear it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"No One Told Me" Thursday

...About the Jell-O Belly.

Okay, I did not expect to pop out a 7 pound, 3 ounce baby and have my stomach bounce back to a size 4 but I didn’t expect what was to come.  
When you are fully pregnant and ready to pop all there is in your abdomen is baby.  Everything else has been moved out of the way, most are up towards your ribs or hovering around your bladder.  I don’t know why but I fully assumed that all those organs would just kind of fall back into place pretty much immediately.  Not so!  I felt strangly empty in the ab area and when I pushed on it, it felt like pushing on a ball of dough.  I was afraid my hand would get sucked in there never to be seen again if I pushed too hard.  Plus it was really unflattering to look at. Just like, you guessed it, a bowl full of peach Jell-O.
Have you ever seen that Simpsons episode where the scientists are measuring Homer’s body fat?  They smack his belly to time how long it jiggles and it just keeps going and going with little waves of fat all over his tummy.  That is exactly what my stomach looked like!  I had to wear my maternity pants for what seemed like forever just to keep the fat from exploding out into the world in a Jell-O sunami.  I wished I could have kept wearing my maternity pants to keep my stomach in for longer, but you really only have so much leeway after having your baby.  It would probably be a faux pas to wear maternity clothes on my childs first birthday.
In the weeks that follow childbirth your trusty organs move back to where they belong and I felt more solid.  The Jell-O may have been gone, but my stomach moved on to another tasty treat.  The ever hardy, ever present muffin top.  Oh how I wished I could have zapped back into my pre-pregnancy body like the bionic-bodied friend of mine who was back in pre-pregnancy clothes just two weeks after her first baby looking like she never gave birth!  (Oh and she just had another baby and zapped right back into her pre-preggo jeans. Ugh. Hey Jealousy.) The evidence of my birthing a child can be seen just by glancing at me from across the room.  You can see that I greatly represent another food in overall appearance now, an overripe pear.
It does get better.  I’ve noticed with this baby I have lost the weight much faster and am on my way to being at a comfortable size.  While I may never again see a size 4, I am seeing the jiggle leave my Jell-O.  I just need to somehow get my hips to come back together and maybe then I'll be able to fit at least one leg into my old jeans.  Heck, at this point I'd settle for just my calf to be able to fit in those things!  But that’s a topic better left to another day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Wednesday Word

“Bad Advertising”
I was watching Last Comic Standing Monday night and felt incredibly convicted when a very non-politically correct comic made the comment that went something like, 
I hate it when people say ‘Jesus loves you’. If that were true then he would have sent someone else to say it to me.  You’re not a very good representation.
I should have been offended, instead I thought, 'oh my gosh it’s true'.  As a Christian and a follower of Jesus I have been there.  I have judged others for their actions and told them of a better way.  But I hardly ever find myself thinking, ‘if I was looking at me, would I want to be saved?’.  If someone was to see me on the street, in my car, or pushing my kids in the stroller would they be able to see the light I represent before I ever open my mouth?  What about when I do open my mouth, what am I expressing?  Is it love or is it condemnation.  
Let’s face it, we find it easy to judge.  It’s a heck of a lot easier to see and point out what others are doing wrong than to look into ourselves for faults.  I’ve done it.  I did it yesterday.  I found myself fuming in my head about a family member who I was thinking was so judgemental, unloving, and misrepresenting Christ.  So while I condem their judgement, I am judging too.  Where is the love?  That’s what we are called to do.  Love.  Why is it so hard?
If we were truly trying to lead by Christ’s example and bring others to God we should not be pointing out what will “drag them to hell” because no-one would ever listen.  No-one likes to be told that they are wrong (just see yesterday’s post).  And that is not what we are called to do.  Plus, let's not forget that we are all sinners.  We all deserve horrible things and not one of us is above another.  I am so thankful that someone better than us crazy people came along to save us and show us some love.  Okay, so everyone knows this verse I’m about to quote about God’s love.  I bet you’ll say it in your head the second you see the verse.  It’s on signs at football games, bumper stickers, and wrist bands.  It’s John 3:16
.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so who so ever believes in him will not parish but have ever lasting life.
But what about the verse after that.  Do you know it?  It completes this thought and is an incredibly important example of how we are to act and how Christ loves us.  I can’t say that I knew it previous to this weekend.  I’m glad I know it now.
For God sent His Son into the world not to condem it, but the world thru Him might be saved
Why don’t we know this?  Why don’t we follow this?  Let’s put down our signs (whether real or figurative) that say “God hates ________”.  Lets show love.  Lets show why Christ is different and why life can be better outside of the world.  We can only show that by not condeming people, but showing them love so they might be saved.  Boy, that would make family get-togethers a lot nicer! Heck, if Christ isn’t condeming anyone then who am I to think I can?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Competitive Talking





image from lifesnip.com
I think it’s human nature to stand fiercly behind a belief you have, even if what you believe in is shaky.  Take your favorite football team, for example.  So they haven’t won a single important game in years and can’t even spell the word P-L-A-Y-O-F-F-S yet you get in a room with someone who is wearing red and silver instead of your trusty orange and blue and they become the enemy.  You’ll rip apart their team down to the awful boots their cheerleaders wear while at the same time lording the immaculate nature of your precious team over their heads.  And admit it, in your head you’re listening to their points and thinking, “hmmm, that’s true, they can’t catch a ball”, but it comes out “the ref wasn’t looking and we were robbed.  We Rock!!”.  You stand firm in the slop that is your football team and shove their greatness down your friend’s throat.
Feeling guilty of that?  I know I am.  Maybe not the football part, but about a lot of things (mainly baby related things).  It’s almost like I feel that someone is trying to personally offend me when they prefer a different brand of stroller, sippy cup, or even if their baby rolled over before mine and I feel the need to defend my life, hoping to show how “right” I am.  Huh?  What’s up with that?  Who cares if Timmy prefers his Dr. Brown’s sippy cup when my Little Man needs a Nuk?  Aren’t they both happy?  Neither one is right, and I know that.  Why, then, when around another intelligent mommy I feel the need to defend the honor of my favorite products or my baby's development, when their honor isn’t even being questioned?
It’s got to be deeply ingrained in us moms somewhere way down deep that we must be right.  We have to be right. We have to be the best or have the best and somehow that makes us right and the have-nots wrong.  Is that why we feel “wrong” when we don’t have what they have?  I can’t tell you how many times I have felt that it is wrong for me to be growing my family in a small, 1100 square-foot condo with no yard or even garage.  Other women at my young age with growing families have yards, garages, seperate rooms for their kids, and don’t even have to go up three flights of concrete stairs while wrangling a screaming toddler, sleeping baby, and groceries just to get to their front door.  I feel like I need to get on the “right side” of this topic so I can be right and have all the right things.  And yet, when someone mentions my living situation I feel an incredible urge to defend my choices.  
Why can’t I just say, “yeah I love where I live, and your house looks so wonderful too”.  Instead it comes out snarky and a bit too fierce.  Then I feel like I have to show them all the other things I have right; like how great is this accessory or that product that I just happen to have.  Plus, the way I live is not wrong.  I shouldn’t feel the need to defend anything!  And why is it that while “defending” our silly possetions we have to try to knock down what others have or believe in?  I act like I am defending the miracle of Christ or something, not just the best diaper brand. It never actually makes me feel better or truly right and I leave the conversation knowing that I didn’t change their minds because when moms get together, sometimes we are unable to “hear” eachother and are just competative talking.
Plus, my team’s due for a comeback - your team doesn’t stand a chance.
(Oh boy, I didn’t learn anything)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"No One Told Me" Thursday

When you are pregnant women flock from what seems like the four corners of the Earth to tell you all the wonderful things to come, as well as some advise...whether it's wanted or not. Yet there are still so many things that happen when you deliver your first child that make you think - "why didn't anyone tell me this would happen???" So here I am, telling you every Thursday what you may not know or be prepared for. Today, lets talk about boobs.

No one told me....

Breastfeeding is lonely and hard. You hear it morning, noon, and night starting the second you realize there is a tiny being in your belly, "breast is best". Women, doctors, websites, and baby books sometimes go a bit overboard in pushing how wonderful it will be for both you and your baby, how natural it is, and how much easier it is than formula all in an effort to ensure that you keep your baby on the boob juice for as long as possible. Naturally, I thought it would be easy and maybe even fun. Then came Little Man.

I was so sure I would breastfeed for at least a year and when that little guy came out and attacked my mammaries with vigor I knew it was going to be a struggle. Your milk coming in is PAINFUL! Like full on, keel over pain. And what about the sharp stabbing pains for the first few weeks while your nips are getting used to the abuse of a baby sucking? I can't tell you how many times I cried. Before you ask, no it didn't hurt because he was latched on incorrectly. I had a lactation consultant look and said it is right, my breasts just need some "learning time" then the pain would subside. Plus I have a forceful letdown, meaning I spray like a fire hose. That is more of a pons-and-needles feeling that I can manage but it is uncomfortable at first. Don't even get me started on engorgement and clogged ducts. Childbirth is nothing compared to the pain of Mastitis (clogged ducts). I had that with each baby.

Don't let the pain scare you, though. I wanted to give up so badly that first month or so but I am so glad I stuck thru it. I was only able to feed Little man for just under 6 months (I had to quit due to milk issues) but I did treasure the time I spent cuddling him. He is a busy body and hates to cuddle so that was the only cuddle time I got. With Little Miss I'm going on four months with no end in site. It was still painful, and I still wanted to quit but it has been "easier" this time.

What I struggle with the most is the loneliness that comes with it. If you are like me and are very modest you want to ensure you don't show your ta-tas to the world, even if it is a natural thing. So I won't breastfeed in front of people without a cover. And even then it is difficult sometimes. Plus, my babies tend to feed close together (like every hour and a half) so I really can't go anywhere without kids. I can't go to the movies with my friends or just have an afternoon alone. Little Miss won't take bottles so that is especially difficult. And nighttime I feel overwhelmed at times because I am literally the only person who can satisfy her hunger and comfort her to sleep. The Hubbs gets to sleep all night and I have to get up as much as 6 times a night and it can be exhausting. I have cried many times. But I still do it out of love for them.

And for a lot of women (like the vast majority) you have to actually teach your baby to latch. Most don't do it naturally. This can be very frustrating and you may end up blaming yourself. It's not your fault! It's just that no-one told you it would be hard. And don't hate yourself if you decide to formula feed. Your baby will get all the nutrition they need and you may just save your sanity and marriage if things were getting really bad.

Now there are many, many benefits to breastfeeding. But you can read about those just about anywhere. Instead I will tell you how to ease the discomfort of clogged ducts of you are lucky like me and are plagued with these in the beginning. I don't know why it works, but it totally does.

Soak a wash cloth that is big enough to cover your breasts in hot water. Wring out the excess water and place it on your bare chest until the cloth starts to cool. Place a cooled piece of cleaned cabbage (yes cabbage) on the hard spot of your breast for 10 minutes or so. Then pump! Once you've pumped what you can, re-soak the towel in how water, wring out the water, and place it on your chest again until it starts to cool. Repeat the towel a few more times and pump one more time. You should be feeling a million times better at that point!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Wednesday Word

Have you heard the Jason Grey song "More Like Falling in Love"? I hear it on K-Love all the time, but this week I have actually started listening to the lyrics. I sing along with the songs all the time, but all too often I don't pay attention to what it is I'm singing about. The chorus just hit me.
"It's gotta be
more like falling in love
than something to believe in.
More like losing my heart
than pledging my allegiance"

When we fall in love (whether it is a husband, boyfriend, or even a new baby) what do we do? We tell everyone! It occupies our every thought and is a part of everything we do. We post endless pictures of this person on every website imaginable and tell our friends every little thing about this person. We just can't get enough! So why can't our faith be like that?

I have fears at times when expressing what I believe in. I always worry that I'll be viewed negatively or lose a friend (heck, even an acquaintance!). What I should be doing is shouting it from the rooftops in hope that others will fall in love with Christ as well and stand side-by-side with Him in Heaven.

So that is my goal - to try and fall back in full-on love with my Savior and not be afraid to tell everyone about him and how much he really does love us all. I need to get over these silly fears because, really, people won't hate you for what you believe. I greatly love people who have fundamentally different beliefs than I.

So let's fall in love with Him again. It's not something thats there to just "believe" in for the sake of believing in something and I need to stop treating it that way when I truly have faith. What about you? Will you join me?

Jeremiah 31:3 (New King James Version)

3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:

“ Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

Bible quote from BibleGateway.com

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Stroller Wars

I have found myself inadvertently on the quest for the perfect stroller for two kids under 2. I never imagined myself to be "that person" with a different stroller all the time, but I can honestly say that I have had (gasp) SIX strollers in the last TWO years. Okay, so let's break this down and see how it started and how it's ended (with a little review of each stroller).

Stroller 1: Evenflo Single Stroller $60
When I found out I was pregnant with Little Man I knew that I was going to be buying my own stroller (my parents
and my in-laws already had other gifts picked out) so I chose an Evenflo stroller that would accept the Evenflo hand-me-down car seat that I received from my father-in-law. It was inexpensive and it looked terrific. I can't remember the model name, but it was a beautiful beige with a checkered print on the hood. I actually got compliments on it! It cost about $60.00 on Amazon. It worked really well and stains came out of it easily. My car seat clicked in well and it strolled around isles with ease. It also had a nice parent console with a cup holder.

On the negative side, it didn't fold super compactly, the wheels squeaked no matter how much WD-40 was on it, and it seemed like the wheel was bent easily. It really served us well for his first year of life.

Where is it now? I gave it to my sister-in-law who is expecting her first baby. It still looks great and has a lot of life left.

Stroller 2: Jeep Overland Jogging Stroller $80 (after coupon and sale)
My husband is a public servant and his physical fitness is very important to ensure he stays safe on the job. So before Little Man was born my husband was absolutely, positively sure that he would want to go jogging with Little Man to stay in shape. Thus, we got this stroller. It was so comfortable for my boy (once his head was steady enough to be in it), it had a neat "Music on the Move" console that you could plug your mp3 player into for you and baby to listen to some nice tunes, and it glided beautifully over bumps and grass. Also, the fabric was very breathable and released stains easily with minimal effort. And how often did my husband take it jogging? Zero. He was "too tired" or it was "too late" so he never went jogging at all, let alone with the stroller.

So I took it upon myself to take it when we went to the Denver Zoo or on walks to the store for groceries. I ended up not using it as often as I would have liked because of the fixed wheel. While a necessity for jogging, just walking around with a fixed wheel is very cumbersome as I rarely just needed to go straight. I had to pick up the entire front end to turn the stroller. And this thing is not light. Also, it folded up largely because of the large wheels and was very heavy to get in and out of the car. It ended up taking up all of the trunk of my Jeep Liberty because we don't have a garage to store these things in.

Where is it now? When I found out I was pregnant with Little Miss I knew we'd need a double and put it up on CraigsList for $100. It sold immediately, praise God.

Target Umbrella Stroller $19
When visiting my Mom in Texas she had one of these little umbrella strollers and it was handy, especially compared to the hulk of a jogging stroller that we had at the time. So when we got home we decided to pick one up for quick trips (or any trip where I wanted to turn, really).

This stroller was a very cheap price and is just that; cheap. It is uncomfortable to push because the handles are so low down, the straps are incredible difficult to loose or tighten, one of the wheel breaks broke almost immediately.

However, it is small and takes up nearly zero space in our trunk, is easy to open and fold, and is comfortable for my son. So it ended up being a wash.

Where is it now? In our storage unit. My husband wants to hold onto it for travel or if our other stroller ever breaks. Plus, I couldn't, in good conscience, give this to anyone.

Graco Quattro Tour Duo $100
After selling the Jeep Jogger I immediately bought this stroller off of CraigsList for a great price (the exact amount I sold the jogger for!!). It was all I thought I wanted. It had comfortable seats, two cup/snack holders for each kid (and two for the adults, too), a one hand fold, automatic lock, large basket, and was relatively easy to turn. It actually folded quite small in comparison to other tandem strollers I tested in the stores. Quite a bit smaller, but it was still large and took up most of the trunk in my Jeep Liberty. However, when we traded in the Jeep for our Honda Odyssey minivan, it fit perfectly into the storage well behind the third row of seats with plenty of room for other things. I was only 2 months pregnant when I bought this - I was a bit excited for my second baby :) So we had about eight months of strolling my son around in this solo and I loved it. It held so much and it was so comfortable for my son. Plus, the handlebars were at a comfortable height to allow my husband to push it around. It was heavy, but I didn't have a problem getting it in and out of the car while 9+ months pregnant. What a relief that was! So, what could possibly be the problem? Why would I want to get rid of this wonderful stroller?

There are some negatives. The canopies aren't very large, they do shade adequately, but there are no pickaboo windows to see how the kids are doing. There are clear panels on the sides of the canopies, but you have to be next to them to see thru it. Also, there is a mesh "window" in the back canopy, but you still can't really see thru it clearly; you just see a figure. When Little Miss finally came and we put her in the stroller in her car seat (a Graco SafeSeat) it fit well, but Little Man couldn't recline when he was tired. Not a huge problem, but an inconvenience. Also right around this time my son decided that he did not want to ride in a stroller. He was a big 1 1/2 year old and he wanted to walk! That combined with Little Miss wanting to be held meant I was constantly pushing around an empty stroller with just a diaper bag in it. The breaks were also a bit difficult. You had to get them in the grooves just right in order of them to truly lock. The wheels squeaked a lot and was both frustrating and embarrassing. It was seriously louder than it needed to be. Even with all of that I loved this stroller and I believe it to be the best tandem out there.

Where is it now? Well, this is sad for me. I actually listened to my husband's complaints about Little Man always walking and the stroller taking up space so I sold it. I really thought that was what he wanted. I sold it on CL for $90. He then told me it was "just talk" and he didn't care what kind of stroller we have. I was very sad.

Joovy Caboose Sit and Stand $100
When my hubby was talking about my son always walking and daughter always wanting to be held I came to the natural conclusion of a sit-n-stand. I thought it would take up less room in the trunk while also providing two "seats" if either child decided to sit, and a fun standing platform for a wiggly toddler. This was a huge mistake. I exchanged a bunch of kids items at a consignment store for this new, last year's model stroller. So it didn't really cost me anything (thank The Lord) due to the exchange but I have found myself wishing I hadn't listened to my husbands complaints.

Let's start with the positives. It was a bright orange color that my Little Man loved (I let him pick it, there were 3 other colors there), and the one time he stood on the back he said "weeeeeee". It is relatively easy to steer and is much thinner than our tandem, so although it took up more space in our trunk lengthwise, it took up much less width wise. The canopy is also great. It is large and can easily be maneuvered to block any sun. It doesn't have a window, but it isn't really needed because it sits up to high off the seat that I can see the top of his head. Also the stroller itself is much smaller than most sit and stand types.

Now for the negatives. It has an infant car seat adapter that is easy to use, but if you do there is zero room for your older child to seat in the back "seat"; same thing if the front seat is reclined at all. It only has 2 seat positions for the front seat, straight up and slightly reclined, not enough to be comfortable for a sleepy child. The seat is hard and uncomfortable. The straps on both seats seem flimsy. It is very difficulty to get up on a curb due to the odd center of gravity on this thing. The tray table is useless, it's cup holder is very small and it is difficult to get a child in and out of it with it attached. My son finds the standing platform scary and only rode it once happily. The basket is practically non-existent and difficult to access. There are no cup holder for the adults. I cried a little after using it the first time and thought "What have I done!!!!". This was my only true regret of a stroller. Also, my son and daughter both decided they wanted to ride in a stroller shortly after selling the tandem and purchasing this. Of course, right?

Where is it now? In storage with the umbrella stroller. We decided to keep it to try again in a year and see if Little Man will be more inclined to ride like that and less scared. We'll see.

Bumbleride Indie Twin $225 (we ended up paying $0)
After doing a lot of research, looking at every review for every double stroller, and testing doubles in store, this stroller became my dream stroller. Barring a miracle lottery win there was no way I was going to be able to get this $700+ stroller. It just wasn't worth spending money we didn't have on my crazy stroller obsession. But I did find myself praying that one would just fall into my lap. I decided that a side-by-side stroller was right for us and this one would just be perfection. Lo and behold I was perusing CraigsList (as I do daily) looking for a double when I saw the most beautiful words I have ever seen on this site "Bumbleride Indie Twin--$225". Any high quality double stroller has been selling on there for $500+ even at a few years old. And those have been snatched up in a days time! The only problem? It was a town an hour away and my kids were napping. It could be taken before we even got them into the car.

So we called my mother-in-law who lives just north of this town. Luckily for us she was driving back from a gambling anniversary trip to the mountains and would be passing by that town at any moment. She was very kind in picking it up for us. We went to her work the next day and looked in awe at the stroller that is in nearly perfect condition. It was hardly used. I tried to pay her, but she wouldn't take it. I guess they won some money and gave it as a gift to us. Divine intervention for a stroller? I think all things are possible with God and you better believe I was saying my thank-you's to Him all day and night. Okay, on to the positives/negatives. Just for reference, this is the 2008 model that you can still find for sale online for $600, but is not currently made and Bumbleride has made many improvements to this stroller since then.

It maneuvers like a dream! I can push it one-handed and it turns on a dime. It can get up curves ,over grass, through rubble and I barely notice. It is beautiful with very high quality fabrics which are also comfortable and easy to remove stains on (there was a chocolate stain that I removed). It has HUGE shades with attached storage bags to hold all the mommy-daddy essentials. Plus, it has great pickaboo windows. Both kids seem very comfortable and like to be able to see each other, too. Also, the basket is very large and can fit a lot. It doesn't take up much more space than the Joovy in the trunk, but is still large. Also, it came with the foot muffs that now have to be purchased separately and will be wonderful for Colorado falls and winters. It also feels lighter than the Graco tandem stroller when pushing and storing.

Negatives, there had to be some! The HUGE canopies can't be maneuvered too far down so sometimes you cannot block the sun well. There are no cup holders for anyone. I put the Bumbleride snack pack on my Christmas wish list for the kids. Then they'll have a place for drinks and snacks. I still need to figure out the parent part. The fold is seriously a 3 step process which although easy, is a bit time consuming. Plus, it doesn't have a lock to keep the stroller together when folded (Bumbleride fixed this on the newer models). Other than that, it is everything I thought it would be!

Hopefully that ENDS my battle for the best stroller. My husband says it is over and we have won. Lord, I hope so!

What about you? Any stroller battles to share?

Introducing Myself

Hello to all of you out in the blog-o-sphere! I have decided to share some of my experiences with the hope that I will help people just like me; people who don't "have it all" and have to be careful in choosing what to have and people who want to have an honest, christian opinion on products and experiences. My family of 4 lives in a third floor condo in the great state of Colorado where living in an apartment/condo with a family is not so popular.

Honestly, I have struggled at times with not having what "everyone else has", especially when I began having children. Seeing pictures of other children exploring their backyard or in their own room that they don't have to share has turned me into the green-eyed monster at times. And haven't we all been there?
"Wouldn't life be better if I had what the Jones' have?"
Well, I've looked deeper into myself and prayed for my being grateful for what The Lord has already given me. I have a healthy family, we own our home, and I have the ability to stay home with my babies (even if it is a constant financial struggle).

This blog is more of a fun look at products we can all dream about, but don't "own" us. I would love to hear you opinions on products and suggestions, too!