May 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Juniper is 7 months.
Let’s just let that sink in for a moment.
Seriously, people told me it would go by fast, but I guess I did not believe them.
In the last seven months I have gleaned some pearls of wisdom. Nuggets, if you will, of encouraging wisdom, spoken over me by trusted family and friends.
Are you ready?
1. Do what is best for your baby and family.
This advice almost made me cry when I heard it.
Here’s the story – Juniper loves to wake up at night. Her routine is as follows:
12am First feeding
3am Second feeding
6am Third feeding
When we took June to her six month appointment the doctor told us that she did not really need that 3am feeding. She told us that Juniper would probably scream at us when we ignored her at 3am, but to stay strong and after about a week she should be sleeping right through it.
We tried. We really, really tried. But when Juniper would scream for 1-2 hours and we watched the first week come and then go without any change, well, we were exhausted. I also felt extremely defeated, especially because on top of the sleep issue she had a nasty diaper rash that would not go away. Changing her diaper, giving her a bath, changing clothes was a NIGHTMARE! Her little hands would swoop down to scratch every inch of her skin. I felt bad for her, but I also felt bad for me! How was I supposed to change her diaper while holding her hands down while feeling utterly exhausted?
Around this time, Lesta came to visit, and Forrest and I shared our woes. Her advice: do what is best for your family. If that means that what is best is bringing Juniper into bed at 3am to give her that feeding then DO IT.
So we did.
And we all slept so much better.
Then, of course, we had the night where Juniper woke up every hour after 12, so we went back to a modified version of crying it out at night. At the moment we’re back to the 12, 3, and 6 routine, and we’re doing pretty good. Then again, who knows what tonight will be like.
Which brings me to…
2. Forget about controlling a situation and thinking you have it all figured out.
As soon as I think we have something figured out, something happens to throw us off our groove. The sleep situation is a perfect example. One night she’ll sleep from 7pm-3am and then the next night she’ll be up every hour. I have relinquished the idea, wait… I am continually relinquishing the idea that I have figured out anything, and I am learning the art of flexibility.
3. No two babies are alike.
What works for one baby might not work for another. Similarly, I have learned, wait… I am continually learning to stop comparing Juniper’s development with other babies. While I could get worried that she hasn’t crawled yet, has no teeth, and still does not sleep through the night, I am not going to worry. I am going to be thankful that she is not into everything just yet, still has a heart melting gummy smile, and lets me cuddle her in the middle of the night.
This parenting stuff is not for the weak-hearted.
And on that note…my little girl is just waking up from her nap, which is my cue to go. I’ll leave you with a lovely picture that gets me choked up every time I see it.
ps: Juniper’s rash is all but gone. Turns out her skin was reacting to the detergent I was using for her cloth diapers. We’re still struggling with her excema, but it has gotten a lot better.
March 9, 2013 § 4 Comments
I have had a few people ask me how my makeup fast is going, so I thought I would share an update with all of you.
I have gone 21 days without makeup.
I am a little over half way done.
Let’s be honest, do I feel more comfortable today, on day 21, than I did on day 1?
Yes, because today I have only interacted with Forrest and Juniper, whereas on day 1 I was still working at the library and was nervous about a lot of “are you tired?” comments.
No, because I still really, really miss makeup.
Despite my desire to swipe some mascara on my pale eyelashes, I have had some thoughts about the use and purpose of makeup.
I think that makeup is a medium that we, as women, can hide behind.
Now, I don’t believe that is the sole purpose of makeup, but I think it is definitely part of it, at least for me.
When I used to put on makeup I could control how people perceived my well being. Putting on makeup tells the world, “I’m doing great! Look at how put together I am!”
When I don’t wear makeup I am presenting my true self, my vulnerability.
For instance, earlier this week Juniper went to bed earlier than normal but then woke up about 4 hours later. I fed her, she fell back asleep, but then proceeded to wake up every 1 to 2 hours after that. Miserable, miserable night. I think Francie is the only one who slept through it.
The next morning, I went to work (work for me right now is one morning a week at a software company where I help out with office work) and saw a few dear friends. I left feeling a little discouraged because I definitely did not look my best. My tired face had nothing to hide behind, and that made me feel sad and embarrassed.
As I write and reflect on that morning and those emotions I think, “Geez! It’s just makeup! People still like you for who you are!”
True, but do I like me? Embarrassing to admit, but true.
Sometime around puberty, most girls/women start to paint their faces and learn a new normal.
A new normal.
I have to wonder, if I do not wear any makeup what will strangers or possible employers think about my personality, ability, and competence based on the first thing they see – my face?
You might say, why should you care what strangers think about how you look?
Well, here is another for instance: I had a job interview last Monday for an On-Call Librarian position at the Clackamas Library. When I got the interview, I immediately wondered, makeup or no makeup? After a conversation with my sister-in-law about first impressions and societal norms, I decided to wear makeup for the interview but wash it off as soon as I got home. But I wonder, if I had gone sans makeup would I have presented the same professional impression, or would it have looked like I was not trying my very best? Who knows.
Maybe I am making too big a deal of this, but I am frustrated that making up our faces can hugely determine our success. It makes me wonder, why don’t men have to wear makeup? Why do women, at least some of us, feel like we have to? Why do we need or want to look a certain way, and who determines what the ‘certain way’ is?
All this to say, this commitment to go 40 days (not including Sundays) without makeup is a lot more exhausting, vulnerable, and discouraging than I thought it would be.
It is also eye-opening, thought-provoking and a darn good thing for me to do.
I am thankful for the last 21 days and the next 19 days because I am still reminded daily about the reason for my sacrifice – small and silly though it may be. Even when life gets busy, any time I see my face I can remember the beauty of the gospel and the sacredness of this lenten season.
I am also thankful for these days because I am learning more about myself, and, more importantly, I am able to reflect on the message I want to share with Juniper someday about self-worth, makeup, and the beauty of a face that is au naturel.
Thanks for listening.
How is your lenten fast?
February 21, 2013 § 2 Comments
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”
“No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.”
“but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
-1 Peter 3:4
Lent. Forty days of remembrance. The remembrance of the forty days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before the start of His ministry. It is a time to give something up, or add something new, in order to draw near to the Holy One and regain balance in our lives.
In the past I have given up Facebook, tv, or chocolate.
This year I gave up makeup.
The simple answer, I want to step out of my comfort zone, embrace the face that God gave me, and spend time focusing on inner beauty instead.
The hard parts so far:
- Not feeling “ready” for the day. Makeup has a way of making me feel like I have made an effort to look nice and be productive. Not wearing makeup makes me feel like I have been in my pajamas all day and done nothing.
- Worrying that people are going to ask me if I am tired or sick. The curse of fair skin and light eyes!
- I don’t feel like I look like myself – how crazy is that?
The nice parts so far:
- Rubbing my eyes without fear of smudging makeup. Heaven.
- Extra time in the morning.
- My skin feels healthier.
- I don’t have to take eye make up off at the end of the day. I don’t know why I hate doing this so much, but there you have it.
I struggle with how superficial this all sounds, but the last seven days of no makeup have been good for me. When I see my unadorned face I can remember Lent. I can remember the sacrifice made on my behalf.
What about you? Do you observe Lent? Are you giving up (or adding) anything?
…and because I can’t post without sharing a picture of this girl, here you go:
fyi: the date on the picture is way off. not sure how that happened.
January 31, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Ever since the strip turned positive, I have been mildly obsessed with reading about motherhood.
One of the blogs I have added to my daily reading is Cup of Jo by Joanna Goddard, specifically her Motherhood column. I love reading about her experience as a first time mom. One of her posts that really resonated with me is titled: “Do your eyes light up when you see your child?”
In it, she writes that whenever she calls her mom, even to just talk about something mundane, her mom will act like that phone conversation is the best thing to happen to her all day. Joanna tries to show that same enthusiasm with her son, Toby, whenever he comes into a room. In fact, she does this so well that sometimes Toby, who is 2, will enter the room and say, “Ta-da!” Love that.
My parents have always done this really well. They always show me through their voice, facial expression and attention just how excited they are to talk to me. I love them for that.
Before reading this article, I already felt pretty strongly about showing Juniper how excited I am to see her, especially when I get her from a nap. I make my whole face light up and exclaim over how happy I am to see her and how much I missed her, which is actually true! In return, Juniper gives a lovely smile of her own and does that full body stretch that makes my heart melt every time.
There is something so beautiful about knowing that there is someone in your life who will always be over the moon to see you or talk to you. I believe it is the foundation to healthy self esteem. Which is why I want to give Juniper my undivided and over the moon attention whenever possible.
I mean, look at this face…
January 30, 2013 § 3 Comments
Being a mom is hard.
Specifically, the lack of sleep thing.
To be honest, it has really been getting me down these days.
While Juniper goes to sleep like a champ, she is still waking up several times a night to feed. Once she is fed she will usually go back to sleep pretty easily; however, I have a more difficult time. It is 3 am and my brain simply won’t shut off. I start to worry about this and that until I look at the clock and it is 4 am and then 5 am. And just when I have fallen back to sleep….you know the rest.
I don’t want to make a habit of whining to you, but I also don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture of my motherhood experience. It ain’t all roses and rainbows over here.
That is why something like a hearty muffin, a hot cup of coffee and an amazing fella who takes the baby for an hour or two in the morning so I can get a little more shut-eye is just the thing to make life okay again.
My mom has been making these muffins for years, probably because they are easy to make, they make a ton, and they are really filling. Forrest requested them the other morning, and I was more than happy to oblige. They make a gallon (WHAT??) so you can either power through and bake the whole darn mix at once and freeze the muffins you don’t eat right away, or keep the mix in the fridge for a couple of weeks and make them fresh each morning, or every other morning, or whatever strikes your fancy.
My Nana wrote out the recipe for me when I got married. I love her handwriting!
Here is the non-blurry version of the recipe:
Makes 1 gallon
1- 12oz box of Raisin Bran (Forrest does not like raisins, so I just use any bran cereal I can find. Trader Joe’s has a great one for $1.99!)
3 cups sugar
5 cups flour
5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 qt buttermilk
In a large bowl, mix together cereal, sugar, flour, soda and salt. To this mixture add eggs, oil and buttermilk. Mix well and cover.
Side note: Really make sure it is mixed well. The bran cereal I use has a lot of crevices so unincorporated flour/baking soda/salt can get stuck in there, which is not pleasant tasting. Trust me.
Store in refrigerator for 4-6 weeks. When you want to bake a few, spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
You could also add frozen blueberries, nuts, bananas, or anything else that strikes your fancy. This is a very forgiving recipe, and it is fun to adapt depending on the season.
January 29, 2013 § 1 Comment
I posted on Facebook that the Youth Media Awards equals Christmas for librarians. At least, it is like Christmas for this librarian.
This year, I was excited to introduce Juniper to the special event.
She was pretty riveted.
The Newbery committee chose three Honor books, which are as follows:
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
I actually thought this one was going to take the gold, but I am extremely happy it received an honor. This book is creepy and original with vivid characters, setting, and drama. It is rather long but so worth the time. As you can see from the cover, Ms. Schlitz is already a Newbery winner. She wrote, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, which won the 2008 medal.
Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinken
I am not the greatest at finishing non fiction. I try, I do, but I do not always succeed. I started this one, and really, really enjoyed it, but did not finish it. I think I am going to have to give it a second go. Can you guess what bomb it is about? Really fascinating stuff.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
I really enjoyed this book. It is a quirky mystery, which, in my opinion, there is not enough of in the world…at least for a middle grade audience. I am glad this one made the honor list because it is fun, light-hearted and definitely a book I think kids will pick up and read.
And the gold goes to….
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Okay, so I am REALLY embarrassed by what I am about to admit to you…
I did not read this one.
My book club did, but when I saw it on the list for discussion and then saw the cover… I decided not to read it.
Oh, judgmental soul!
I am sufficiently chagrined by my book cover snobbery, and I am currently number 8 of 50 holds at the library.
I’ll let you know what I think once I have read it.
In the meantime, what are you reading these days? What do you think of the Newbery choices this year? Was your favorite chosen?
Coming up: Bran muffin recipe of amazingness!
January 19, 2013 § 2 Comments
Yesterday I said goodbye to my twenties and hello to my thirties.
In other words, I went from this:
(Sorry the first picture is so small. It’s a scan, and I’m so old now that I don’t know how to do technologically savvy stuff like make pictures bigger.)
Yesterday was a lovely day. My family and friends made me feel oh so special, loved and celebrated. Forrest surprised me the night before with a “menu” that had 30 of my favorite things to do. I was to check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for each item, thereby creating the perfect day. Seriously, this was the sweetest, most creative idea. When I asked him how he thought of it he said, I know you like check lists. :)
What a man.
So, the day began with a skype date with my parents, opening an amazing gift from amazing people, coffee, and donuts. Then a trip to the rhododendron garden to feed the ducks, pizza lunch at Oven and Shaker, and a night of pecan pie, homemade mac and cheese, and hanging out with three pretty wonderful people – Forrest, Annika & Juniper.
My heart feels full, especially when I reflect on the last ten years. A lot has happened. Since I love lists so much, here is a list of my twenties…
- I have lived in Colorado, Arizona and Oregon; however, I have lived in Oregon the longest. Even though I am not an Oregonian by birth, I love, love, love it here.
- I have completed a two-year program at Ravencrest Bible College, a Bachelors degree from Multnomah University and a Masters degree from Emporia State University.
- I have worked as a nanny, teachers aid, data-base specialist, bookseller and librarian.
- I have had my heart broken….but…
- I fell in love!
- I got married.
- I had a baby.
- I got pulled over for the first time for speeding (no ticket though!).
- I have been to Paris.
- I learned to knit.
The list could keep going, but the point is, I am one lucky girl. I am so thankful for the life I have been given, and I am so thankful for the people the Lord has placed in my life.
Thirty, at first, seemed a little scary. I mean, now I am really an adult. But instead of feeling fear at the reality of growing older, I am excited to see what comes next. I am tired of living in a state of fear and worry, and I am determined to fully embrace the life I’ve been given and live boldly.
So, here’s to thirty!