Monday, February 28, 2011

Renewal of Faith

Growing up my family always went to church.  We marched through the doors of Emmanuel Episcopal Church religiously every Sunday morning and occupied an entire pew with our clan of six.  We were also very much involved in church activities - choir, acolytes, Sunday school, youth group, organized sports, etc.  Church and God were an integral part of my childhood.  I began learning the lessons of God from a very early age.  I said prayers to God every night before I went to bed.  Even during high school when our church attendance began to dwindle (my parents gave up trying to drag us out of bed) I still had a strong faith in God and never questioned my relationship with Him.  I never had a reason to. 

When my brother passed away my faith in God crumbled.  I began questioning not only Him, but religion as a whole.  How could a kind, loving God let something so devastating happen to my family?  Why would he take away such a kind, loving person who was deserving of a better life and even more deserving of a chance to live that life?  "God has a plan for everyone" is what I learned long ago.  "He will take care of you and everyone you love."  So why is it that I'm still hurting?  Why is it that my mom must battle two wars?  Why is it that my family feels such disconnection?  All of these questions have been swirling around in my mind for the past year and a half and every day feels like the day that they are gonna break me.  You see, I still have not dealt with my brother's death.  I am one of those who bottles it all up inside and as the bottle begins to crack I allow my entire life to be affected.

I learned quickly that talking to someone does not help.  Death and losing someone you love is so much bigger than us and there is nothing another human being can offer me in terms of guidance.  I realized that the only way to find comfort for myself and for my brother is renewing my own faith in God and finding peace from within.

I went to church yesterday for the first time in over 10 years (with the exception of holidays).  I sat stiffly in the pew clutching Robert's leg.  Tears welled up in my eyes continuously throughout the service.  These were tears of joy for being there, tears of sadness for the memories that came pouring back and tears of fear for what I was trying to accomplish.  The pastor's sermon was sweet and simple and resonated deeply with me. He spoke about worry and anxiety; how they are both unnecessary and futile.  "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own (6:25-34).  It's kind of a "Don't worry, be happy" philosophy, but definitely one that I needed to hear and in that exact context - I guess Bobby McFerrin didn't quite get through to me.

I knew walking out that I made the right decision showing up.  I believe it's the right choice for me, our kids and our family.  I feel not only will I begin to deal with my own inner struggles, but it's also a learning experience for our kids so they are able to choose what is right for themselves in the future.  Robert and I both experienced church as children; now we want to experience it as adults.  Relationships change over time - even with God.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Numbers Are In

And here are the numbers from Mattie Jane's 4-month well visit...(drum roll, please)...

Weight:  16 lbs. 1 oz. (90%)
Height:  25 3/4 in. (95%)
Head Circumference:  44 cm (95+%)
(*Mattie Jane also rolled over for the first time a few days ago)

We might as well just make a recording and save the doctor her breath because without fail she always walks in and says, "Wow - what a big girl."  She then makes it clear that "big" does not mean "fat," but rather she is well proportioned.

I'm not sure if I should actually write this for fear that I might be jinxing myself, but it seems like a good time - so...Mattie Jane seems to finally be a happy girl.  Whatever has been bothering her for the past 4 months may have finally relieved/outgrown itself.  A fluke?  Maybe.  But I am literally jumping with joy over this miraculous change.

I switched MJ to formula last week thinking that maybe she was highly sensitive to something I was eating.  And I'm not gonna lie - breastfeeding was becoming troublesome due to three breast infections and having to exclusively pump, so the switch was not compromised by my own reluctance.

After a couple days she was spitting up more than ever and was extremely fussy.  She was inconsolable for at least 36 hours.  It was possible that the formula was aggravating her reflux since we discontinued the Zantac the doctor prescribed her at her 2 month well visit (the Zantac didn't seem to have an effect on her either way while breastfeeding so I stopped giving it to her after a month).  I decided to start giving her the Zantac again hoping it would provide some relief.  Within 24 hours I noticed an improvement.  After 48 hours, not only had the spitting up improved, but Mattie's demeanor did a 180.  For the past five days we have seen nothing but smiles - unless of course she's hungry, tired or has a dirty diaper - the normal baby reasons.  I'm crossing my fingers this trend continues.

There.  I said it.  Now, please don't let this be a cruel joke.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What a Beautiful Day

My kids are most content outside so I am ecstatic that February has brought such beautiful weather - and today is no exception.  The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and we are literally soaking it all in.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wonder Works Coming Soon

Wonder Works is hoping to open sometime in April and the media is knocking down the door for interviews.  Being in front of a camera is not always comfortable, especially one that is broadcasting live.  But once again my husband has proven me wrong - he actually can pull off a hard hat.

Amazing job, babe.  You're my celebrity.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

4 Months

This baby is large and in charge...and just turned 4 months old.

Feelin' the Love

This is who I was smooching on Valentine's Day...

There wasn't much else to do considering I was crammed in the backseat of Kylie's Honda for 10 hours doing my best to keep Miss MJ content on our journey home from Florida.

We took a girls trip down to Florida this past weekend to surprise our other bestie, Amanda who is getting married in April.  This trip was meant to replace the bachelorette party/shower that Kylie and I were not gonna be able to attend in March - and in my opinion, our visit was waaaaaay more exciting than any silly party could hope to be.

The trip down didn't seem nearly as painful as the trip back.  Kylie and I had a lot of catching up to do so we certainly weren't lacking in conversation.  We chit-chatted for 10+ hours and MJ chimed in every now and then.  She traveled relatively well which allowed me to sit shotgun a good portion of the trip down.

Thanks to Scott's assistance, Amanda had zero knowledge of our plan.  We weren't sure how we wanted to present ourselves on arrival so we left it up to MJ to do the dirty work for us.  We arrived at Amanda's house around 9 pm and slowly maneuvered the car behind the front hedges.  I took Mattie's car seat out of the car (with Mattie still strapped in) and quietly walked her up the sidewalk.  I peered into the front window and saw Amanda in a trance in front of the tv.  Perfect, I thought.  I left Mattie on the front stoop with a note that read "need good home."  I knocked on the front door and bolted back to where we parked the car.  Kylie and I watched as Amanda opened her door, looked down and, with fear in her voice, said "Oh, my god!"  She immediately slammed the door and left my poor baby just chilling there on the porch.

Thankfully Scott came outside and then called for Amanda.  He began to clue her in by saying things like doesn't she look familiar and don't you know this baby.  The look of shock and confusion on Amanda's face had us laughing so hard there was no way to keep it muffled any longer.  We ran out from behind the bushes hoping Amanda could start making sense of things.  I'm pretty certain we were successful in surprising her and even more successful in freaking her out.  She mentioned she had just read an article about a man who was leaving babies on the doorsteps of women to lure them out of their homes and then kidnapping and raping them - clearly not our purpose, but the shock is now understood.

After the shock settled in we spent the rest our time just being together.  Talking, laughing, crying - everything you do with great friends.  We talked about old times and imagined the future and simply enjoyed each other's company for the two short days we we there.  We took Amanda out AKA style (inside joke) on Saturday night to celebrate the upcoming wedding rather than celebrating the last few months of single life.  We chose sushi and cocktails over night clubs and strippers - what a concept, right?

Even though the drive home was nothing short of torturous, I would do it again in a heart beat.  Unfortunately, we didn't get many photos of the three of us and the ones we did were poor quality, but we did manage to snap a few randoms.

Here's to lifelong friendships and future partnerships!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Funny Valentine

I always loved Valentine's Day as a kid.  I remember getting so excited writing the names of each kid in my class on a silly card.  Usually the card said something generic like "Be My Valentine" or  simply "Happy Valentine's Day" and I would have to be very careful who received which card.  God forbid if a boy received the "Be My Valentine" card.  Immediately rumors would swirl around about who I had a crush on and that was completely mortifying for a 10 year old.  That's what I get for passing out lame, store-bought valentines I guess.

To set the precedence I made the decision to go homemade this year with Evan's class.  I have no idea if this is something he'll buy into every year hereafter, but I'm gonna at least try and plant that seed.  I came across some cute ideas on Made that I thought would be perfect for a fun group of two year olds.

First, Evan and I made M&M-filled hearts.

Evan colored the back of each heart and helped me fill them with M&Ms.  Our pile of M&Ms was disappearing quickly due to a sneaky someone who was eating them just as quickly as we were filling up the hearts.  Of course I bought extra for just that reason.  Kids are so predictable.

We also made a Valentine card for each classmate.  No SpongeBob.  No Lightening McQueen.  We went way cooler than that...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunny Days

The weather has been so unpredictable this year.  Just in the last three days we've gone from highs in the 50's to reaching nearly 70 degrees the following day and then back to the 40's.  No wonder my skin is cracking and the sniffles won't go away.

We certainly try to take advantage of the warmer, sunnier days because I have a little ball of energy surging through my house that needs a release every now and then.  Blue skies and temps in the high 50's said today was a perfect day to do just that.

Market Commons has an incredible park equipped for exercising, dog walking, playing and relaxing.  My mom and I took Evan to the playground and strolled MJ around the lake.  I think the warm sun and the cool air put a smile on all of our faces.

The warm sun and cool breeze may be good for your mood, but dancing is good for your soul.  So we also did a little bit of that - Evan took the lead.

We strolled around the lake to let Evan explore.  Mom taught Evan that the sky is Carolina blue.  He now refers to the sky as the "Tar Heel sky."  (pssst - to my Tennessee family - please observe Evan's outfit - I'm trying to be fair :)

Would a perfect day like this be complete without a trip to Mickey D's?

I think not.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I wish I could say MJ was sporting this SpongeBob accessory because she has the same infatuation with band-aids as her brother - but sadly, I can not.  Instead, I have to take responsibility for this one.

Clipping infant fingernails is not at all like clipping fingernails of an adult, a child, or even a toddler.  The nails are literally paper thin and are so flimsy they can be bent in half.   These qualities make it very difficult to get a sense of how much nail you are actually clipping.  I always manage to carefully clip the first nine fingernails with no problem - but then comes the last one.  The dreaded thumb nail.  This is the trickiest one out of the bunch because it's typically the longest (meaning the quick is longer) and it seems thicker - even knowing all of this I still go in overly confident and "it" always seems to happen.  Yup.  I clip the nail and then some.

And we all know what happens next.

Lots of blood.  Screaming baby.  Horrified mother.

This is one of a few chores that make me extremely uncomfortable.  The possibility of causing my child pain, discomfort, or even worse, injury is about all it takes for me to shy away from a specific task - but unfortunately, they have to get done.  And for some reason I always have to do the dirty work. 

Other items topping my list of Extremely Nauseating Send Shivers Down My Spine Chores include:
  • Taking a rectal temperature
  • Using a bulb syringe
  • Administering Vitamin D drops
  • Dealing with bad diaper rash
Cleaning up poop?  No problem.  Vomit?  Piece of cake.  Busted Lip?  I manage.  But the ones I mentioned above literally make my stomach turn.