Day 31- The Coldest Day of My Life (literally)

Well, tomorrow is going to be the coldest day of my life. Note Tuesday's forecast. Yes, I have been in -20 degree temps, but that was as a low. The HIGH is -2! At least we'll be back up into the 40's by the end of the week. I.hate.cold. I'm praying for a snow day so that I don't have to go outside!
PS- To demonstrate how bipolar Denver's weather is- on the news they said that between Tuesday's low and last Friday's high, there was a 71 degree difference!


Day 28- 4 Months!

I can't believe that Caleb turned 4 months old on Wednesday! I waited to post about it until he had his 4 month check-up today. He now weighs 14 lbs 13 oz, is 25.5 inches long, and his head is 16.75 inches around. His percentiles evened out a bit this time. He's now in the 75th percentile for height, 50th for weight, and 50th for head circumference. He is right on target with all his milestones! He did get a referral to the neurosurgeon about his crooked head (plagiocephaly) just to make sure that it's not being caused by premature closing of the sutures. Dearest Caleb,
I love you sooooo much. You really bring joy and meaning to my days. Sometimes I need a little coffee to enjoy your smiles (since you stopped sleeping regularly through the night when we stopped swaddling you). But, you still sleep through the night about 1 time a week and go to sleep easily in general. You tend to get tired around 7 or 8 and wake up around the same time in the morning! You LOVE to put things in your mouth and drool is your new best friend. You're quite the trooper. You've been on hikes with mom and dad, you've hung out while we painted, you've gotten used to going to Grandma's and taking a bottle 2-3x's a week, and you've been easy going through it all. You still love standing and sitting with support, you've just started rolling from tummy to back and onto your sides from your back. Bathtime is not your favorite, although you love being changed these days. Poop is sometimes an issue (or not an issue), since you only do it every 7-10 days! You love your links, looking at lights (still), playing in your jumper, reading books, and singing songs. You're now wearing 6 month and 9 month clothes! Every morning we read about Jesus and how he came to earth to rescue you. Recently I've been thinking that I want my life to show you that truth, in addition to reading you stories. I hope and pray that your daddy and I will be instrumental in helping you understand and accept Jesus' love and grace for you. And in showing you how to live in that love and grace. This is such a fun stage in your life and I can see you learning everyday. Sometimes I almost think I can see neurons dividing and sending connections in your brain as you observe the world around you.
All my love,


Day 24- How to prevent "mom jeans butt"

So, I stole this link from a friend, Julie, but I'm sure she won't mind. She's been in the hospital and apparently had enough time to find a hilarious article about "Mom jeans butt" and how to prevent it. Thanks Julie!

The original article demonstrates how this horrible faux paux can be avoided or caused by the type of jeans you select. The sequel demonstrates how mom jeans butt can be avoided in women over 50. Since, I have recently become a mom, this is of great interest to me. I now have the compulsive urge to go through all my jeans and examine pocket placement, length, etc :). Hopefully you all find this as humorous/helpful as me. Friends don't let friends wear mom butt jeans :).
An example from the article. These two pictures are of the same person- a 27 year old mother of 1. The first picture is her in mom jeans. The second is her normal jeans. Admire the difference!


Day 23- Hiking (and vanity)

Hiking in Boulder during Sarah's last weekend in Colorado:

Caleb even came on the hike- we had him super-bundled.The whole group
The girls
(The vanity part of the post is that I'm so sad that my hat was pulled so far back on my head in all the pictures- not sure why :). My husband says I'm too vain, and I probably am. I was hoping to get some frame-worthy pictures, but I seem to have ruined that opportunity. sigh. Oh well, life is best lived in the moment and not in pictures. And we had LOTS of fun. By the way- this is not a cry for affirmation, just being real.)


Day 21- I heart MOPS

I truly do heart MOPS! Something changes when you have a baby. Something more than just the physical change. You have this whole new, crazy world open up to you, but at the same time the old world gets closed off to a certain extent. I think we connect so well because we've all taken the dive and embraced the land of mommy. It's a beautiful, exhausting, growing, precious thing. We need each other for encouragement, reassurance that we're not the only one that feels that way, and for ideas to take better care of ourselves and our kids. We also know that over everything else, Jesus is the one that we really need.


Day 19- Waffles and baby love

So, I don't really know what to blog about today. I don't feel like talking about my rude neighbors, how tired I am, the snow, Biggest Loser, work, or what I did today. So, here's a super healthy/yummy recipe I made yesterday for whole grain waffles:

Ingredients (makes about 6 large waffles):
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups skim milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Beat in whole wheat pastry flour, flax seed meal, wheat germ, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until batter is smooth.
2. Preheat a waffle iron, and coat with cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron in batches, and cook until crisp and golden brown.

Add smoothies or fresh fruit on the side and it's the perfect breakfast (or dinner- hehe)

PS- I LOVE Caleb so much. That little guy seriously grows on me daily. I'm not sure my heart is big enough for how much I'll love him a month or year from now. I don't even want to think about 18 years from now!


Day 17- The In-Between

The in-between...
... is exciting, confusing, crappy, fresh, thought-occupying, hard, sad, open.

Sometimes I wish that Alan and I hadn't told anyone that we were moving because then we wouldn't have to change anything. We could just pretend that things are going to stay the same and bask in all the things God has blessed us with during our time in Denver.

The in-between is hard. You can't check out of life for 5 months. You can't fully engage either. How can you ask people to fully engage with you if you're leaving? It doesn't make a lot of sense on either side, but I still need relationship. I still need accountability. I still need encouragement. But then again, does what I need really matter? I am the one leaving after all. What if the whole leaving thing isn't even really my choice? Yes, we made the choice together, but it does come with sacrifice. Especially on my part. That's what marriage is about though, right? Alan has been sacrificing his career ambitions and lifestyle choices to get me into a career that I love for the past 5 years. I know it's now my turn. I know it's what God is calling us to. I know that he will provide, not only in KC, but in the in-between time.

Tonight we talked about our small group splitting up. Too many people going too many different directions. I just feel the reality of change setting in. I'm not sure I like it. I've never really been one to embrace change. I always dream about the future, but when it gets here, I "paint pictures of Egypt."

I don't want to leave here
I don't want to stay
It feels like pinching to me
Either way
And the places I long for most
Are the places where I've been
They are calling out to me
Like a long lost friend

It's not about losing faith
It's not about trust
It's all about comfortable
When you move so much
And the place I was wasn't perfect
But I had found a way to live
And it wasn't milk and honey
But then neither is this

I've been painting pictures of Egypt
I've been leaving out what it lacks
The future feels so hard,
And I want to go back!
But the places that used to fit me,
Cannot hold the things I've learned
Those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned!

The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy
To discard
I was dying for some freedom,
But now I hesitate to go
I am caught between the promise
And the things I know

I've been painting pictures of Egypt
I've been leaving out what it lacks
The future feels so hard,
And I want to go back!
But the places that used to fit me,
Cannot hold the things I've learned
Those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned!

If it comes too quick
I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?
If it comes too quick
I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?

-Sara Groves

Don't get me wrong, there are many things that excite me about moving, but there are also a lot of really.hard.things. I need a balance of mourning and celebration.


Day 15- Good times

Thursday- productive paperwork and student treatment
Thursday night- yoga
Friday morning- breakfast with husband
Friday afternoon- lunch with a friend
Friday evening- dinner with the in-laws and movie date with the husband
Saturday morning- lazy day with baby and husband

Loving life!


Day 11- Tired

Oh man, I forgot how physical my job is! Every bone in my body is aching. At one point today I was carrying my walmart recycle bag full of toys, my laptop bag, my work bag (where I keep all my students files), my breast pump, and my purse! I also did all my exercises with my kids (bridges, squats, getting up and down from the floor), sat on the floor in the hallway to write notes, and lifted some heavy children. I really do enjoy it all- I'm so glad I don't have a total desk job (I don't mind a little office work thrown in there). I just need to get back into PT shape! I guess this will help me get back into my pre-preggo form, since I don't have a ton of time to exercise!
I didn't move from the couch all evening after Caleb went to sleep (which turned out to be at 7:15- he's going to sleep earlier and earlier every day). I'm going to try to muster up the energy to get things ready for tomorrow, something I haven't fully been able to accomplish yet (in my 4 total days of work so far this year).
Have a good evening!
PS- love biggest loser!

PSS-Question for all you moms out there- What do you do if your kid stops taking a bottle or only takes it irregularly? My mom-in-law has been having trouble getting Caleb to take a bottle lately and Caleb is off and on for Alan. Any suggestions? He used to be better about it. I'm stumped. We've tried a few different types of bottles.


Day 10- Travel bug

States visited- 30/50 (including all that I've been in- counting driving through, but not airports)

create your own personalized map of the USA

Countries visited 8/who knows how many

create your own visited country map

So, I have the travel bug again. I found these fun create your own maps on Sarah H.'s blog. You can tell I'm midwestern by the USA map. I need a trip to the east coast to knock most of the remaining states off the list. I could also handle visiting a friend in Washington state to finish up the Pacific coast. As far as countries... well that's just sad. Actually I shouldn't say that. I've been very fortunate to be able to travel as much as I have. I hope to be able to travel more. I love learning about cultures and seeing amazing natural beauty. As of right now I have 3 continents down (North America, Asia, and Africa) and 3 to go. Hopefully, I'll be able to travel to at least one of the remaining continents some time soon. Al- when are we going to the Greek Isles? :) Haha. With Alan heading towards grad school, visiting more states seems more likely than countries in our near future. Here's to travel!

Day 10- A Talkative Guy

Caleb loves to have "conversations" with me. Pretty sure he just likes to hear his own voice :). Here's a cute video of him "talking."


Day 9- A Few Realizations

I've had a few realizations today...

1) I'm going to be a mom for a while. In fact, for the rest of my life, God willing. I've got to stop using it as an excuse. I've just realized that I've basically been halting my life because I have a baby. But today I realized I won't be able to live life without doing anything for the next 8ish years (depending on how many babies we decide to have hehe.) Now, I definitely think that some boundaries are good. Especially when healing from labor and when it comes to me wanting to be selfish versus taking care of my child. However, I shouldn't stop serving God just because I have a baby. I shouldn't stop caring for my house, my friends, and my community just because I have a baby. I can't hole up in my house for the next few years. For some reason I subconsciously thought this situation was temporary.
I'm not exactly sure what this means or how I will change my life, but I think it's good to realize that having Caleb is not a pause in my life, it's a beautiful change that I need to learn to embrace.

2) I am a perfectionist. Okay, okay... I already knew this about myself. But, I didn't realize that everyone is. That everyone thinks that everyone else is more put together, more polished, more good at heart, more energetic, more... fill in the blank. Our pastor read a passage someone wrote about perfectionism today at church. About how everyone's perfectionism basically drives everyone else to put on a show so that we all appear to have it together. I don't want to live my life smoothing my outside to hide the insecurity and anxiousness on the inside. I especially don't want to place the perfectionistic tendencies that stem from my own insecurities on those I love (especially meaning my husband and children). I don't want everyone in my life to feel like they have to put on a show or a smiley face just to match the show and smiley face I've plastered on. Now, I think that to a certain extent, I value realness and try to be transparent. But on the really deep things, on the truly painful insecurities... not many people know about those. Not even sure I'm ready to be real about those things. But, the point of transparency is not that we're all messed up and should dwell that. The point is that we have HOPE. That Jesus has given us and our messed up lives the chance to be new and to be transformed. However, if we can never admit our weakness, how are we to truly accept his gift and to truly explain the immense value of it to others?

3) If getting married makes you a woose (sp?), having a kid increases the woosiness factor times ten :). I guess my reasoning in this is that you have a lot more to lose when you love someone. I get teary when I think of car accidents, surgeries, sickness, and loss. Mainly because it comes too close to home sometimes. Love is a beautiful thing, but it also leaves you raw and bare sometimes. Even when you least expect it.

Well, that's my ramble for the evening. Not sure if any of it made sense, but sometimes it helps me to write these things out.


Day 8- Naturally cool

So, Caleb had a mohawk this morning when he woke up. I wonder if headbanging, heavy metal, or rock and roll are in his future :). Or maybe he'll tame it down to a faux-hawk like his daddy :).
A few more pics this morning

Mom's finger is apparently his favorite chew toy. Don't expect me to oblige you any more after you cut your first tooth!
In other news... I'm wanting to go somewhere. Any suggestions for a long weekend trip with baby?


Day 7- A Quote

Here's a simple quote that I've been pondering the past couple days...

"The way we live our days, is the way we live our lives." - Annie Dillard


Day 4- The first day back

So, today was my first day back to work. It was good and hard.
I thought I would be fine dropping Caleb off with Kayleen. After all, he would be taken good care of and he knows his grandma. However, when the road blurred with tears as I drove back towards Aurora and away from Caleb, I realized this is going to be a little harder than I thought it would. Before having Caleb, I never really understood the connection that moms have to their children. "Sure, they love their kids," I thought. You can never really understand how much you love them and how much they are part of you until you are a mother.
I also enjoyed going back to work. I LOVE the organizational aspect of working in the school system (I know, I'm weird because most people despise that part). Today was mostly paperwork, so I did lots of organizing. Also, I went to my lifeskills classroom and saw my kiddos and a new one. I missed being in that place. I've spent a day there every week for the past 2 years. It's kind of like family. I am so sad though that one of my kiddos is in a coma and not expected to recover. She was such a character and a joy to work with. I'm so sad that I may never see her again. I've never had a patient die before. It really reminds me of why my job is so important. I get to provide physical access to the world of education for them- a huge part of their lives. No matter what their home lives are, no matter what limitations they may have in the community, I can help them achieve their maximal participation at school.


Day 3- The last day of maternity leave

Don't have a lot of energy to write a long blog tonight, but wanted to commemorate the last day of my maternity leave. Although Caleb was an unusually long sleeper and content baby in November and most of December, he's decided to turn over a new leaf for fussiness and night wakings. I'm pretty sure it might be related to 3 weeks of out of rhythm-ness for both mom and baby over the holidays. I'm so thankful for all the family we saw and friends who visited, but the poor guy just couldn't handle 3 weeks straight!
Hopefully my going back to work does not exacerbate the problem. He's actually not too fussy during the day, it just gets worse and worse starting about 5 or 6. He was actually too tired to eat after I got home from leaving small group early. He cried and then fell fast asleep without hardly taking a drink (and he hasn't really eaten in about 4 or 5 hours). I hope he's not getting sick! I think I might try to rouse him for a few minutes to eat around 10 before I go to bed. Anyway... mixed feelings about returning to work. I know I'm going to miss the little guy so much, even if he's been a little off lately. But, you better believe I'm going to take advantage of having both arms free, unlimited time in the bathroom, and uninterrupted lunch! Well, see how it goes...


Day 2- Revised resolutions

So, after looking at some reflective questions and hearing a sermon about the new year, I've decided to revise my resolutions a bit. I think I still want to do my earlier resolutions, but these are slightly less concrete, but more meaningful:
1) I resolve to LISTEN this year. I'm tired of hearing my own voice. I want to hear God, my husband, friends, family, and acquaintances. I want to hear what others have to say.
2) I resolve to be GENEROUS. With my time, giftings, energy, and belongings, even to personal cost when I hear God's call. This especially includes generosity towards my husband and son.
3) I resolve to TAKE CARE of myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically by practicing accountability, meditation, eating whole foods, and exercising. (and in keeping with this goal I resolve to help my husband and son be healthy in these areas.)
4) I resolve to LEARN this year. I want to educate myself through reading BBC News, reading books, traveling, listening to NPR, and researching PT topics.
5) I resolve to let go and focus on the GOSPEL this year. I resolve to let go of guilt and strife through thankfulness, confession, and meditation on Christ's sacrifice for me.


Day 1- The New Year

Well, 2010 is gone and 2011 has officially begun! I've been trying to think of New Year's Resolutions and here is what I've come up with:

1) Read my Bible, listen, and pray- should be simple, but for some reason it's not that easy!
2) Exercise consistently- something to the effect of 3 times a week and run either a 10K or 1/2 marathon.
3) Stay positive through all the chaos and change of going back to work and moving.
4) Find a church and some friends in KC.
5) Bless my 2 guys in whatever ways I can.
6) Keep in contact with my friends all over the US and world.
7) Make some time for refreshing my soul, whatever I may need at that moment, each week.
8) Travel somewhere neat.
9) Take a PT continuing ed course.
10) Convince all my friends to have babies and move to Kansas City :).