Tuesday, August 16, 2011

3 years

~August 16th, 2008~

"From this day forward, I Rachel, receive you Jonathan, to be my husband. 

With kindness, trust, and unselfishness, I will walk by your side and encourage you as we follow God’s plan for our lives.

I promise to love you, pray for you, honor you, and always remain faithful to you. 

I promise to respect you and protect you from harm, to be truthful and to cherish you always,

By loving you Faithfully: In times of joy and in times of sadness, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of surplus and in times of shortage, in times of blessing and in times of doubt, until our Heavenly Father calls me home.                          

     This is my solemn vow.

Three years ago I put on the most beautiful dress I had ever laid eyes on and recited the vows we had written ourselves with a man that caputured my heart.  We wrote our vows because we knew what we wanted to commit to one another.  Looking back at these, we had no idea what God had in store for us in three short years.  Two career changes, a "new to us" car, a "new to us" home, two precious babies, financial struggles, relational highs and lows, unexpected personal and spiritual growth, the merging of two families & a kind of love I never expected to receive.  These photos highlight the most beautiful and shocking moments of marriage for us (um, two babies in three years?!)---and yet in them, I know the footprints of the struggles that have awaited us and that we have tackled painfully head on.  Marriage is hard....and it can certainly even be painful.  But I believe with all my heart that marriage is a gift, truly designed to bless us, challenge us & bring us closer in intimacy with our Heavenly Father.  It has certainly been all those things for me.

To the man that has seen me at my worst---and loved me at his best--words cannot express how lucky I feel to be your bride and the mother of your children.  Even in what seems like such an ordinary life, you make me feel extraordinary.  Every struggle has resulted in a triumph....I am ever so thankful to be your partner as we journey through life together.  I meant those words three years ago, and I mean them today.  I pray we will both feel freedom in the commitment we made before God to each other.  Can't wait for the next surprise......(another baby, perhaps?) :)

**wedding photos courtesy of Mark Sorenson Photography**

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two and four

Two years & four months, that is.

 On July 8th (yes, a month ago!) Lucy turned two years old!  Her special day started with streamers hanging from her door & her very own birthday balloon.  Jonathan took her out for donuts AND she got McDonalds for lunch.  We celebrated that evening with a zoo themed party.

 So what is she up to???  She is 30 lb (85%) & 33.5 in (45%).  She is talking up a storm & just starting to combine two words together.  She can make lots of animal noises, but her favorite is an elephant.  She walks around hunched over with her arms dangling pretending to be “george” (curious George) She insists on putting on her tutto, plastic dress shoes and cowboy hat EVERY SINGLE DAY.  She loves “chooes” and thinks saltine crackers are “coookeees”.  She loves her Daddy and insists that he crawl on the floor and play with her the moment he walks in the door.  She’s showing some interest in the potty, but we aren’t really pushing the issue.  She is still very attached to her Ellie and loves her “bay-beee ja” (baby jack!)  She is a funny, lovable & super sweet little girl.  I love seeing her personality unfold.  She is certainly outgoing, unreserved & easily excited.  She’s tough!  Even when she falls down hard she just brushes her self off and keeps going!  It’s an absolute joy watching her explore her world and there are several bittersweet moments we have experienced as she gains independence.  I am anxious to continue to see her learn new things!

On to Jack….
Jack turned four months old on the 26th.  He is our little guy in terms of weight but is the cuddliest and sweetest little baby ever!  At four months Jack is 11lbs 1oz (2%) & 23.75 in (15%).  (You'll recall that he was 9 1/2pounds at birth)  He’ll be checked again in a few weeks to see how he’s doing on weight, but that is the only area he seems “behind” in.  Jack loves to cuddle and will flash his smile at anyone!  He discovered his voice over a month ago and will talk at length with anyone willing to lay there long enough.  He started rolling over both ways at three months and has been on the move ever since.  He literally will just roll across a room if you let him!  He likes to follow people with his eyes and will track you wherever you go.  When up on his belly he lifts his head and will almost “belly crawl” enough to move himself as well.  It is a total delight to get to have a second baby in our home and see just how different he is from Lucy!  Earlier this week he started laughing officially which just brightens my day even more!

Friday, August 5, 2011

crying over poured milk...

It’s no secret that breastfeeding a child can be both enjoyable & terribly frustrating.  For me, my experiences tend toward the painfully frustrating.

I was convinced that breastfeeding would be simple, wonderful & effective.  I knew the benefits and I had seen plenty of mothers nurse their babies successfully.  In fact, when my daughter was born I hadn’t heard of a single woman that struggled.  Imagine my surprise when my nursing relationship with my daughter got off to a rocky start.  She was born at 9lbs & by the time we left the hospital she had lost nearly 10% of her weight.  She was very jaundice and had become dehydrated as well.  Supplementation was ordered in order to help kick start her systems. She had further problems gaining weight. She received at least half of her feedings via formula until 7 months when I decided I was over the frustration of making that little bit of milk I was getting for her.

 With my son I thought for sure things would go better.  By the time he was 48 hours old, he had already lost over 10% of his weight and by 3 days old he was down to 12%.  His problems were different.  No jaundice but somehow he had a lot of mucus in his little body that he was vomiting up…followed by anything he had ate.  Zantac started helping those issues and our exclusive nursing relationship was starting to look up.  He’s satisfied, happy & developmentally exceeding expectations.  But he’s not gaining….like at all.  At over four months of age, he weights 1 ½ pounds more than he did at birth.  We know I don’t have an abundance of milk, but there is milk.  We’ve “checked” all the ways (dirty diapers, pumping, skin color, etc) to see if he’s actually getting milk.  All systems say “yes”---for the most part.  But he is still not putting on weight.

That news is absolutely devastating.  As a mother who believes in the importance of breastfeeding….to know that your child is not gaining weight from YOUR milk…well, it can make you feel quite inadequate.  Toss in the fact that you now have a distracted eater, a grumpy toddler & a tired momma and that whole problem just escalates.

Yesterday I had had it.  Jack was hungry and I felt totally unable to sit down and feed him.  I had no pumped milk on hand---but I needed a break.  The formula companies thrive on these moments….and as I stood in the kitchen with my husband debating what to do, I decided I needed to give him a bottle of formula.  I NEEDED a break.  Jack NEEDED a break too. 

 And so I mixed that bottle, tears in my eyes feeling like a total failure.  Why couldn’t I work through this?  Why couldn’t I get over the hump?  My husband noticed quickly how upset I was and even his reassuring words weren’t enough to make me feel like I wasn't failing my son.

But I sat down with that bottle and Jack looked me in the eyes and gripped my finger tight through the entire feeding.  I immediately relaxed.  He was being nurtured from milk that I made…. even if it came in the form of a packet or can.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Head in the clouds...

August two. 

Whoa….how did THAT happen?!  July sort of just “took me by surprise…”  It’s been a wild month filled with fireworks, birthdays, challenges, new routines & lots of laundry. In fact, I only used three coupons the entire month and that happened on July 31st. You all only heard from me once in July, and that was in a desperate plea for advice.   Since Jack’s birth, we’ve struggled to maintain any sort of schedule around here, cleaning or otherwise.  I wanted to adapt our old schedule, but I also knew that I would just have to adapt…again…once new activities began.

 As a result of that and my husband putting in an extra twenty hours a week at a second job, keeping up with anything has become a huge struggle.

 We need order.  As much as I pride myself on things that are “anti-order”, I’m also very much an organized and detail kind of gal. I like things clean & organized, even with the chaotic clutter of children.  That’s been lacking here and I am tired of spending my days playing catch-up.

 So, august second becomes my fresh start.  We’re working on a new schedule around here, a new way to try and maintain some semblance of order.  We’re figuring out how to stay on top of laundry…even with three extra loads a week (or more!) of cloth diapers.  We’re deciding how to organize our time so that when my husband is home, we’re able to make that quality family time.  We’re challenging ourselves with new monthly goals that take us a bit out of our comfort zone and provide some good accountability. We’re tackling creative projects that have long sat on to-do lists. We’re focusing on essentials & shutting out the noise.  We’re engaging our minds with God’s word & books, and not just “resting” in the comfort of television and the internet.  We’re trusting God in the “in-between” of life right now….in the “what might happen” as we explore some new and exciting opportunities that will for sure add further challenges.
We’re getting back in the swing of things.