Had to share

My heart is full today.  I’ve also had some caffeine but I’m pretty sure my Joy isn’t coming from the McDonald’s Caramel Mocha I drank (don’t judge!).

Yesterday my friend and I made a huge batch of cinnamon rolls.  This morning we loaded up the kids and delivered them to 3 families in our church.  Our criteria:  folks we don’t know well or anyone going through an especially difficult time.  We challenged ourselves to not give to our best friends or folks we interact with often.  I set out this morning excited to “surprise” people and also afraid to “surprise” people.  If someone ever decides to surprise me, they’ll find me and my kids still our pajamas and me frantically trying to clean the house in 2 minutes it takes them to come to the door.  Again, don’t judge! ;)  I believe that we really did surprise these families – in a good way, I believe.  It was amazing to see 1 family in particular that God lead us to.  To hear their excitement that we came out to “surprise” them at a time when they were feeling really isolated and perhaps even lonely.  My friend and I were wiping away tears on the drive between houses.  As stay at home moms we understood both the “surprise” that someone would spend their invaluable time on them and also we understood how it feels to be isolated and lonely.  But more than anything, it felt amazing for us to be doing something beyond ourselves and to see first hand how God had lead our hearts to give to those specific people that we could humbly bless today.  And when I say “humbly” I mean it!  We were so insecure about our popping by unannounced.  We weren’t sure how it would be met.  And in those moments when we were vulnerable (afraid of intruding) was when we were able to bless others.

This post is not a pat on the back for our ourselves.  Please don’t take it that way.  If you do you will miss the beauty in this story.  This post is to encourage you to take hold of those moments when your heart wants to give – when it NEEDS to do something for someone else – someone outside of your immediate circle(s).    Our plan was extremely simple considering all the huge amounts of need in the world.  But we left today’s outing so amazingly full – overflowing hearts – Joy all over the place.  I know that my kids can even see it in me.  I can’t ask for much more than that.

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Solomon walked (a little)

Kelli was out with some friends and I was watching the boys last night. Eli and I were throwing the small football back and forth, “like Aaron Rogers and the Packers.” Solomon was standing bravely between us, reaching for the ball, when he turned and took five deliberate steps! He hasn’t decided to repeat the stunt yet, but we know he can do it now.

I was excited to see it, but also very sad for Kelli. She also missed Eli’s first steps. This isn’t really “fair” for her because she spends so much more time with them than I do. I’ve just been lucky enough to be there when it happened.


Solomon with his Dad

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With a large amount of Molengo.

Since I can’t just change the font on the website I work on every day. I decided to give it a try here. I really like the L in this font. It works well with our name.

Check out the Google Font Directory.


What’s goin’ on??

Seems that I fell off the wagon with my new years resolution….BUT, I’m hopping back on!  My disappearance reflects good changes in our lives and not bad.  Let me see what I can sum up from the past several weeks.

Hours after my last post G-G and Papa Al (Nathan’s parents) came to visit and help us out.  Thanks to Papa Al, who held Solomon nearly all weekend, Solomon miraculously started taking some short snoozes in his crib.  A Christmas miracle!….er, well, a February miracle anyway.  Since then Solomon has taken baby steps towards better sleeping.  Just last week he jumped into a growth spurt, nursing every 2 hrs. and also taking morning naps AND afternoon naps in his crib.  His morning naps are still a little sketchy, starting with barely a 45 min. nap and then nursing and going right back down to finish with  30 min. – 1 hr more.  His nap also never seems to begin at the same time from day to day.  This is ironic since Dr. Weissbluth says the morning nap (starting at 9 or 10 am) is the first to develop.  Obviously Solomon is challenging the norm.  This really should be no big surprise to me, yet I still find that I get frustrated.  At least this frustration points out that I’ve got some buried expectations that I need to dig up and resolve.

Also last week, I decided it was time to get moving.  For several years I’ve wanted to run a 5k.  To some of you this may sound like not such a big challenge.  To me, however, it is.  I have never been a runner. Never.  Most of the time I actually hate it.  I chalk that up to being “untrained” in the sport.  So, using this goal as motivation to lose the baby weight, I downloaded a training schedule and started last week.  So far so good.  I’ve noticed a remarkable boost in over all energy and also attitude.

Another cause for my over-all better attitude: How to Behave So you Preschooler Will Too, by Dr. Sal Severe.  I know, I know, we read a lot of books for our kids.  I think the moms at my play group laugh at me with their inside voices.  I’m always saying, “You know I read such’n’such…” or “This one was rated the best according to such’n’such article” or whatever.  We do do a lot of research.  Usually though, it pays off in the end.  Anyway, back to this book.  I’m only half way through it (borrowed from the library) and I’ve rechecked it and probably will end up purchasing to use as a reference for the next few (well many if we’re including Solomon too) preschool years.  So far his techniques have worked.  And when I say “techniques” I really mean “parent training”.  Most of his suggestions center around how parents behave in order to help their preschoolers make good decisions and learn self-control.  As I’m reading this book I’m finding that in reality adults are just large preschoolers who have to make harder decisions.  Just like Eli looses his cool when he has to do something he doesn’t like, so do I.  When Solomon is screaming in the other room and I’m rushing to finish making Eli’s lunch and 30 seconds after serving him his Mac’n Cheese I hear a crash and see his bowl face down on the floor….lets just say that my tone veered toward the loud and angry side and the dishwasher door got slammed.  I had myself a wee little tantrum.

Nathan continues to work very hard.  The company website required a total makeover.  Bad timing.  The project started January (Solomon was 2-3 weeks old) and hopefully will end at the end of March.  The deadline has already been pushed back twice.  This is a blessing and a curse.  The initial deadline was impossible for Nathan to make but pushing it back 4 weeks means that we get to live another month in full stress mode.  He usually comes home, eats dinner, helps get the kids to bed and then works.  He also works a lot on the weekends.  He actually set up a boundary this Sunday to not work b/c he just really needed to have some rest.  He dreams about work most of the time.  We think his boss is going to give him some time off when the project is done.  This sounds amazing to us and too good to be true!  We’ll see what ends up happening.

What’s ahead??  Spring!!  Grammy & Papa Chuck arrive this Sunday for a visit!  Hopefully, more and more sleep and some much needed R&R.  Eli’s 3rd birthday in a month and a half – crazy!  More smiles and giggles from Solly!

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This must be short so that I can get a nap in while Eli is down.  Just wanted to report some good progress on Solly’s part.  Last night he slept 8 hrs and the night before that, 9 hrs!  I got him down to sleep 45 min. late last night and I expect that’s why he slept only 8 and not 9 again.  But that’s the first time he’s been consistent in his waking time, 3:58 am.  Hopefully this will stick.

Also, last night in desperation I put Solly in the swing while I cooked dinner and he liked it!  He was in the swing for about 45 minutes just talking to his fish.  He’s been in there a while this morning too while I cleaned the very dirty floors.  He even fell asleep in there for a bit.  This from the kid who would tolerate the swing for about 5-10 minutes for the first month of his life!  Yea!!

Ok, off to nap with the wee one.  He still needs me to hold him during naps so I have to take naps too.  Bummer. ;)


Coaxing a smile out of Solomon


Little Boys Blue

Little Boys Blue

Little Boys Blue

Despite some unsuccessful attempts at sleep training, Solly has been taking a regular nap this week.  He goes down when Eli goes down and sleeps in his bouncy seat for a good 3-4+ hrs.   He also usually sleeps a 6-8 hr. stretch at night – although we still have the occasional night of waking every 3 hrs. or less.  Wednesday night Solly slept from 8 till 4 am and Eli slept through the entire night.  That was our best night so far!  So thank you to everyone who has been praying for us to get good sleep this week.  It’s helped a lot. :)

I wanted to post some fun experiences that we’ve had this last week.  I fear that I get bogged down with the negative and that’s what I project on the blog.  Times are hard for us right now but I believe both Nathan and I are very aware of how blessed we are and we linger as long as we can in those priceless moments of laughter and joy.

Solomon has been practicing his smiles this week.  At least every morning I get to have a little conversation with him while he coos and grins at me.  Those few minutes help carry me through the day.  Eli really adores Solomon and always talks of sharing his toys with him.  Its a little sad because he doesn’t understand that Solly is just too little to really enjoy the sharing.  Last night I asked Eli to go get Solly’s Monkey toy to entertain him while I finished dinner.  I was not specific enough because when I turned around I saw the 16″ stuffed monkey in the bouncy seat! Solomon was buried underneath.   I know that when Solomon is a bit older and those smiles are near constant that Eli will find much more pleasure in their relationship.  Part of me can’t wait for that to happen and the other part of me wants to just be in the moment with no wishing for the future.  They do grow up to fast.

I think last Sunday was the best day of our week.  It was Solomon’s first day to really shine the smiles and he, Eli and Daddy had a great time while mom tried to get some more rest in the morning.  Later, before church, Daddy and Eli played baseball in the house and I think we may have a slugger in the family.  Eli hit 5 or 6 balls!  One right after another.  We were pretty impressed with the improvement in his hand-eye coordination.  Then when Eli dropped a book on his foot (OUCH!) he and dad had some snuggle time and Eli said he needed a band-aid.  Nathan said his foot wasn’t bleeding so he didn’t need a band-aid but snuggling would make it better.  Eli said matter of factly, “No, that does not work but Band-aids ALWAYS work.”  A good laugh had by all.  He catches us off guard with the things he says, the logic that comes out of his head.  And EVERYTHING he says contains a hyperbole. ;)

Eli’s favorite thing to do these days is to help us cook.  This is a love hate thing for us.  He’s a 2 yr. old (almost 3 yr. old) and that doesn’t leave room for much patience on his part or our part.  But we do try to involve him with little projects that are appropriate for him and try not to blow our tops when he has his hands in everything while our backs are turned for 2 seconds.

Monday morning (or was it Tuesday???) Eli and I got to sled outside together.  Solly was down for a nap and Eli was out playing in the snow.  He needed help sledding so I put on all my snow gear and we went down our little backyard slope several times.  Wish I could have stayed out longer with him but couldn’t leave Solly alone for too long.

Tuesday evening I had a hair appointment.  Nothing like a new do (& an hour out of the house) to lift a girl’s spirits.

There’s our week in a nutshell.

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Breakthroughs & Breakdowns

Our lives are full of these lately.  Luckily though, we’ve had no break-ins or break-ups.  Also, no break-dancing.  However, I suspect that the later would greatly reduce our cortisol levels… and probably leave us in the hospital.

Last Thursday, after basically holding Solomon for 24 hrs. straight, we’d had enough.  Any time we put him down, within 2 minutes he was wailing.  So, we let him wail in his crib.  I believe the phrase is “cry it out”.  It was heart wrenching for me.  Nathan said he’d lost his compassion.  Because Sol was in his 6th week and that’s supposed to be the “turning a corner” age when fussiness reduces and sleep organization begins, we decided we could let him “cry it out” for a bit.  He needed to get some good uninterrupted sleep.  Also, it was probably the best decision for everyone’s mental, emotional, and physical health.  My back was in a lot of pain from carrying Sol in the Moby wrap all day and there was a monster growing inside of me that wanted to throw him across the room.  Gruesome, I know.  Not easy to admit on a blog for all to read.  However, I want to be totally honest about how easy it is to become the “monster” that shakes the baby or hits the baby, etc.  All those “monsters” you see on the local news could so easily be you or me.  I don’t want to hide the truth or sweep it under the rug until it over comes me.  God’s grace is good and sufficient and he provided what we needed to get through the rough times (that still happen from time to time).

After Sol cried for a while, it was time for him to eat and we decided to try to put him down to sleep through the night in his crib.  I needed to have some good undistracted sleep (i.e. not sleeping with a baby in my arms).  So we did a gradual extinction method, letting Sol cry for 5 minutes and then going in to sooth him, letting him cry for 10 and then soothing him, etc.  Near the end of the 15 min. cry he stopped and fell asleep.  Glorious!  He slept for 4 hrs. and then woke for a feeding and then slept until 6-ish a.m.  We were amazed!  The following day he took naps in his crib with little fuss.

Since that night we’ve had a couple nights when Solomon woke every 2 hrs. to eat (growth spurt??) and Eli woke up in between Solomon’s wakings.  Those have been our worst nights, getting only 45 min -2 hrs. max sleep at a time.  Fragmented sleep is just as bad as little sleep.  The days following those nights are almost as rough b/c I have 2 over-tired boys who can’t settle themselves and a mom who is hardly functioning herself.  However, inter-mixed with those really hard nights we have nights when Solomon sleeps for 7-8 hrs. straight and an occasional night when Eli doesn’t wake up wailing at 3 a.m.

At this point I am devouring our Happy Sleep Book (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Marc Weissbluth) – the book that worked like magic when Eli was 4 mos. old.  However, my main concern at this point is not with Solomon’s sleep habits but with Eli’s.  Solomon is young and still working on his schedule.  That will get better as he matures.  I understand that and am patient.  But Eli is perplexing.  We’ve already pulled his bed time to an hour earlier.  He seems much better tempered during the day but it’s not helped his night waking(s).  Anybody have any ideas???  Like I said, I’m getting through the Happy Sleep book as fast as I can to try to find an answer or another suggestion to try.

After the first 3 nights  of Solomon’s sleep training, he’s gone to bed without any crying!  We have a routine; bath, baby oil massage (Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Apricot Baby Oil is my favorite), pj’s, nurse, burp and then to bed.  We’ve gotten pretty religious about it.  Also, I’ve been able to watch and recognize his sleepy signs to find the perfect bed time for him (for now).  AND he’s replacing those extra fussy evening hours with relaxed, alert & happy spells where he sits in his bouncy seat while we fix dinner and eat.  So, as you can see, we’ve nearly balanced out our breakdowns with breakthroughs and that feels good.

Special thanks to our friend Young who sent me links to these nifty youtube videos of escape proof swaddling techniques.  They really work!



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Solomon’s birth story

just out

just out

Warning: This is a long and rough post.  Rough in both regards; open discussion of bodily fluids/pain as well as grammatically so.  Just glad to get it recorded & posted before Solomon’s 1st birthday.

Early morning Wednesday, December 16.  I think that I’ve peed myself in bed.  Just a little.  Just a little loss of control with all the pressure going on in that region of my body.  Oh well.  Later that morning when everyone is up and about.  “Hmmmm, you know that’s kinda how it felt when my water broke with Eli.  Nah, nothing is happening now so I’m sure it was just pee.”  Nathan thinks I should call the Dr. anyway.  So, I talk to a nurse, tell her “I’m sure it’s probably just pee but thought I should call just to be sure.  Plus nothing is happening now anyway.” ” Ok,” she says, “call me back at

fresh baby

fresh baby

noon to give me an update.”  Noon arrives, …”eh, just a little dribble perhaps, but again, I’m sure it’s just pee.”  “Well, can you come in at 1:30?  Dr. B wants to see you.”  (feeling crazy and like a total moron for calling my Dr. about peeing myself) “Ok, see you then”.  At the Dr’s we find out that if we go up to OB to take the test for amniotic fluid leak (a $140 test) and it comes back positive, they will hook me up to pitocin for induction.  I would have to have the baby within 24 hrs.  Mmmmmm, nope.  Well, of course, I first ask what is the risk of not haveing the test.  Basically, there is risk of infection to the baby and I should watch for signs of fever or achy feeling.  Many women have gone up to 7 days with a fluid leak before they have the baby and everything turns out fine, says Dr.  Thinking back on my labor with Eli, long painful drawn-out labor that snowballed into complications after I had pitocin, I decide not to take the test.  Besides, I’m still convinced it was just pee.

Thursday, early morning, “OH!  I peed myself again!”  Nope, this time I know it’s not pee.  I won’t go into the details of how I know, but I definitely know it’s not pee.  All day Thursday, no leaking, nothing.

Friday, December 18th – I’d been having Braxton-Hicks contractions fairly

we're done

we're done

regularly my last trimester and a few episodes during my second.  However, my first “real” contractions started while Grammy Kate, Eli and I were at Wal-Mart.  They started rolling in from my lower back and into the front.  This is exactly how Eli’s active labor started.  I kept my cool since Eli’s labor was 51 hrs. long, I knew it was going to get a lot harder before I was ready to go to the hospital.  But, about 20 minutes later everything stopped.  I had Braxton-Hicks the rest of the day all the way through our last date night (before Solomon) when we watched Avatar in 3-D on opening night.  That was awesome.  Later that night around 3 am I woke up with strong contractions, to the point that I had to really work to breath through them.  I think I had a handful and then they went away.  They were about 10-20 minutes apart.

Saturday afternoon, walking on the treadmill.  Lots and lots and lots of contractions.  Some right on top of others but not strong enough to warrant my concern.  I was still having no problem walking.  After an hour of walking I get off the treadmill and nothin’.  They go away.  I maybe have 1 an hour after that for the rest of the day.

Early Sunday morning, I wake up again with strong contractions.  Focusing on my breathing, they are about 10-15 minutes apart.  They last from around 3 am to about 5 am.  Then they disappear.  Sunday goes much like Saturday minus the treadmill.  Sunday night we watch Jim Gaffigan, King Baby.  Laughter is a good “downward” breath and our Hypnobirthing instructor told us to find things to laugh at to help encourage labor.  Btw, I think Jim Gaffigan is so stinkin’ hilarious.  Check him out if you need some good downward breathing. ;)  During the video I have a contraction about every 20 minutes.  Still, I think, this baby is never gonna come.  He’s gonna be a 43 week baby.

Sunday, 3 am, I wake up with a super strong contraction, move to the couch b/c the contractions seem worse when I lay flat.  Again, I wake up to a strong contraction and decide to get up and wake Nathan up too so he can share in my misery. :)  But as I’m walking I have another contraction.  Soon they are coming 2-3 minutes apart.  This is good.  I’m breathing through them but they still seem pretty tolerable, not as hard as they feel when I lay down.  So, we get up and pack and time contractions with the Contraction Master (so easy I was even able to time some of my own contractions).  But by 5 am I’m pretty exhausted.  Not getting much great sleep the 2 previous nights either and pacing the floor with frequent contractions for 2 hrs. makes a pregnant person tired.  So, even if my contractions are harder lying down I do it anyway cause I’m wiped out.  I lay and rest and practice my relaxation and breathing and eventually am able to fall asleep between contractions.  However, this isn’t the direction I want to be headed because soon the contractions are 10 – 15 minutes apart.  And by 7 am they are 20 minutes apart and hardly noticeable.  UGH!  Super frustrated.

Monday morning – we have a Dr. appt. scheduled – just one of the weekly check ups.  I go in and basically say, “I want some pitocin”.  I think (and after talking to a good Dr. friend of ours at dinner several night earlier) “a little bit of Pit will push me over into real labor”.  I also think I’m crazy for asking for the pit.  I’m just done, though.  Enough is enough.  The baby won’t let me sleep at night and he’s not even been born yet! (Interestingly enough, this was a foreshadowing and I had no idea!)

So we go for it.  Up to OB, get a room, talk to the nurse about the possible (definite in my opinion) amniotic fluid leak, watch some cable (like being in a cold and uncomfortable hotel room), get the test done, wait for results…they come back positive for amniotic fluid and then confirm that we’re going with the pitocin hook up along with antibiotics since my water has been broken for almost 6 days.  This basically took the whole morning.  They don’t get me hooked up to the IV until 1:15.  Btw, putting the IV in my hand hurt the crazy!  That was comparable to some of the harder contractions.  Anyhow, the pitocin starts to drip and I’m going along pretty well.  About 1/2 and hr. goes by and I plug in my Hypnobirthing relaxation CD’s and really concentrate on getting my whole body relaxed and breathing deep into my stomach, long breaths to expand and make room for the working uterus.  Then all the sudden I can hardly get control.  The contractions are really hard and fast and I’m hardly able to get control between them.  I switch to lay on my other side and all heck breaks lose.  No more composure, “I want the drugs!”.  Nathan keeps telling me to breath into it, etc-etc.  WHAT-EVER! (this is my thinking).  A new nurse comes in (nice timing for a shift change).  “I’m pushing!”  My stomach was pushing the baby down.  It felt just the same as when I wanted to push with Eli (but then I was only 5 cm. dilated).  So I listened to my body and let it push.  The nurse said, “No, don’t push yet!”.  “I have to – I’m pushing.  Can you check me?!  Nobody has checked me.”  I’ve not been checked since Dec. 5.  “OH!  You’re complete! You’re a 9, no, 9 1/2.  Go ahead and push!”.  She then frantically starts yelling orders out to “get Dr. B up here”.  Holy moly, I’m pushing and feel like I’m going to climb the walls.  All the sudden (it seems a matter of seconds to me) Dr. B is there and I’m on my back pushing like crazy.  I’m making some progress but the nurse (ours was a love-hate relationship) asks me if I want to “use the bar”.  Sure.  So I get up on my knees, hurl my large intense self over the top of the bar and push with the next contraction.  A huge huge difference in the amount of progress I make.  I’m feeling “the Ring of Fire”!  I think I had like 3 more contractions and Solomon was born at 3:51 pm.  A hospital labor of less than 3 hrs!  Awesome!  Above and beyond what I was praying for!  I still can hardly believe it went so well and so quickly.

I guess I tore pretty well and learned that with Eli’s delivery (assuming b/c they had to use forceps) they gave me an episiotomy (I had no idea – no one had told me).   So, with this delivery I tore down that very same line.  Cringe. Not even fun to think about after all is said and done and healed.  At some point while Dr. B was sewing me up, Nathan asked if I wanted to see the placenta.  No.  Didn’t even have to think about that one.

It was so nice to hold Solly and snuggle with him and then eat dinner and have a friend visit like an hr. after the birth and then actually walk myself down to my recovery room.  Total night and day difference in birth experiences between Eli and Solly.  I am learning too that it seems their personalities may be night and day different as well.  So far they are.

I praise God for all of these things!  He is so good.  So good.

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