Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Review and 2012 Goals

I thought that I blogged about my 2011 goals but it looks like I didn't. I set the bar low this year so that I wouldn't be too disappointed at the end. I may have had a few goals that I don't remember, but here is what I can remember.

2011 Goals:

  • Host 3 reviews and giveaways on my blog
  • Attend doula training
  • Attend 1 birth

2011 Accomplishments:

  • Hosted 10 reviews/giveaways on my blog
  • Attended my doula training
  • Attended 6 births in 6 months
  • Completed my first 5K

2012 Goals-the "Biggies":

  • Attend 1 continuing education type workshop to increase my doula skills, such as the Spinning Babies workshop in February
  • Attend 5 births
  • Complete my DONA certification
  • Complete 1 5K
  • F.A.C.E. our finances

I have a few little teensy goals right now such as checking the mail every day and organizing and decluttering our bedroom. I was just thinking about how I am disappointed in myself that I don't have goals to read my scriptures more regularly and pray more, but I suppose I just think of those things as part of who I am rather than things to check off a list. Although, I really do need to read my scriptures more regularly and pray more. I think I'll reflect on that and come up with a separate list of goals and commitments for my spiritual life. 

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wean Me Gently

"Wean Me Gently"

by Cathy Cardall

I know I look so big to you,

Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing -

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don't break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother  father*,

And my heart is tender.

*editing is mine

Last night as my husband was rocking our daughter to sleep, he had a breakthrough moment. Our little girl's sorrowful cries pierced his heart and he decided that we did not need to rush her in the weaning process. "She can take her time growing up," he said. We have been trying to gently nudge her to give up her nighttime ninnie a little bit faster than she is ready by having Robbie rock her to sleep instead of me. He couldn't stand even five minutes of Lily's poor little broken-hearted cries and sniffles. It was the sweetest moment. What was a moment of embarrassment to him was a feeling of pride for me. I was so proud of his breakthrough! 

You see, we have been having a funny little argument that it is time for Lily to wean. She is nearly 19 months old, and, well, according to Robbie, it's time. I have done very little to persuade him to come to the "extended breastfeeding" side. I have just said, "We'll just see what she has to say about that." At the same time that he has been pressuring me, albeit, very teensy weensy pressure, to wean, he coos, "Give her ninnie, " at the slightest indication that Lily is interested. Mixed signals?

As Robbie was having his breakthrough moment, I thought of this poem and how it could be his voice saying these words. This breastfeeding journey has not just been Lily and me. Robbie is the third member of this breastfeeding triad. He is our protector and our advocate. He is our support. Any time I needed to feed our baby, no matter where it was, whether it was at the mall or at Schlitterbahn, he sat beside us as our protector. He had that "I dare you to say something" look about him as Lily and I nursed. At least that's how it seemed. No one ever bothered us when Robbie was around. Come to think of it, no one ever bothered us ever. The only people to approach us as I was nursing Lily were women who were nothing but complimentary and encouraging. 

He is our advocate. He made sure that our family knew that we were a breastfeeding family and that was that. He made sure that it was clear that Lily was not to receive solids before six months and with his matter-of-fact way about him, there was no arguing with it. I could always say, "Well, Robbie and I decided..." Having the "Robbie and I" in front gave me the courage I needed to stick with our convictions. He is an advocate of breastfeeding, period. I have seen him defend other women who have been attacked for breastfeeding, even if it's a silly attack over facebook. I couldn't be more proud when I see that. 

He is our support. I could not have made it this far without Robbie. And now I know that he wants to allow Lily to wean when she is ready. It's the sweetest thing. So maybe, even after all this time, it's not Lily that asks, "wean me gently?" It's not me. It's Robbie. Her father. Her protector and guardian. 

Her Daddy.

More Christmas Preparations

I have been having a difficult time feeling the Christmas spirit this season, but I may be getting closer to feeling it. I think it is similar to feeling like I can't possibly do anything special for Valentine's Day because I love my husband all the time.

After attending my dear friend's birth, I drove home on Friday last week. That night Robbie, Lily and I did a little Christmas shopping and Saturday we spent all day Christmas shopping. I know presents and shopping isn't the reason for the season, but it helps to do those things that we traditionally do at Christmas. And shopping is a part of Christmas whether I like to admit it or not.

It has been at LEAST five years since Robbie and I bought each other a Christmas present. I know we started the tradition of only getting our family presents way before we got married and we have been married for over three years now. Since we have been married, we have never exchanged gifts. I'll admit, I got a little tired of that this year. I really wanted to get him something and he felt the same. We already "did Christmas" for each other, and exchanged our gifts already. Now we can focus on doing something nice for our families. We are still of very modest means, so we can't go out and buy huge presents like my step-brothers can. They always seem to see who can buy the bigger, better gift while I am stuck crocheting scarves or making gifts of some sort. I try to at least make something meaningful since we have a modest budget.

While I was still at my Mom's I was able to help her with her Christmas tree. We went to Wal-Mart to buy decorations and she asked, "What colors should we do this year?"

"Really?" I asked. "Purple and Gold of course!" LSU colors.

My mom picked out all the purple and gold decorations she wanted and we started to head back to the craft section to gather a few more supplies for the birth I would be attending that night. On the way to the section I noticed a really funny game.

Yes! Yes there is. There really is a game called Doggie Doo and I must have it! Somebody get it for me!!! Ha ha ha!

So that night I did nothing but try to sleep as I prepared to attend the birth. We never had a chance to decorate the tree beforehand. After the birth, we decorated the tree.

Lily really wanted to help somehow, so my mom, Lily and I came up with a little system. Mimi (my mom) would hand Lily a decoration and I let her hand it to me and I would place it on the tree. We had to do it this way so Lily wouldn't try to eat any hooks. My child likes to eat anything sharp and pokey.

Step 1: Mimi hands decoration to Lily

Step 2: Lily hands decoration to Mommy

Step 3: Pyran (my dad) teases Lily with a decoration

Step 4: Lily gives Pyran a dirty look for teasing

Step 5: Tada! Finished tree

The next day, Lily and I drove back home. We always like to make a stop half way at a certain Raisin' Cane's that I like. Lily loves the Cane's sauce and who could blame her?

As we get closer to the actual day, I hope that I can feel the spirit of Christmas more and more. There have been several bumps in the road, especially today, that I hope I can overcome. We shall see. In case I don't make it back until after Christmas, Merry Christmas, Y'all!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Awkward Social Interactions

I'm shy. I've always been shy. I always will be shy. No one believes me. It's true though. I am never quite comfortable socializing with people. I always wonder if what I am saying is stupid or weird or awkward. I wonder if I said too much, or not enough. I like talking to people, and I especially appreciate those that I consider easy to talk to. Usually that means they talk a lot and I can just sit and listen. That makes things really easy on me. Occasionally, I am that person, but it makes me feel weird to be the person who does the talking while the other person listen. Even when it's my husband who is doing the listening, and he says it's relaxing, yeah, relaxing, I feel kinda awkward.

And so it takes a lot of courage for me to say hello to someone when I see them outside of the normal arena of our social interactions. For example, my mom and I went to Wal-Mart today in my home town to look for purple and gold Christmas decorations for their LSU themed Christmas tree (my idea thank you very much) and some extra items for the birth I am attending tonight. While searching for cute cellophane bags, I saw someone I used to know who I only saw at church crouching down in the craft section. I went through the crazy, "Should I say hello? Or should I pretend I don't see her?" debate in my head before blurting out like word vomit, "Now, that looks like Fanny Fannerson*!" She looks up at me and says, "Actually, it's Suzy*. Hey Kristi." Oh man. So the very awkward situation that I was trying to avoid happens anyway. You see, Fanny and Suzy are twins. Yup. Twins. And I can't tell them apart unless they have their kids with them or are standing right next to each other. Sometimes Fanny has the longer hair, and sometimes Suzy has the longer hair. And I suppose I would be able to tell them apart better if I spent more than ten minutes a year with either one of them.

So I furiously apoligized for my error and tried in vain to save my face, but yeah, I did the same thing to her that all those other twin mistakers do that she probably gets really sick of. Of course I spent the rest of our trip thinking, "I should have thought about this or that before blurting out her name!!! Argh!!!"

And I must include this information because I know this story has been so interesting to you. I am scared of the phone. Yup. I have to really pump myself up to make a phone call. I have to set an appointment to do it and force myself to do it. I will use any excuse in my head to justify not talking on the phone. It's awkward. And I'm talking about those just-calling-to-talk-for-fun phone conversations. I just don't do well at that. I suppose once I get over the initial anxiety of dialing the number and finally am on the phone with the person, then it usually goes well. Unless we get to one of those awkward pauses. You know the ones. The ones where you're just listening to each other breathe and you're both trying frantically to think of something to say until one of you says, "Oh, my kid just climbed out the window and is now on the roof and thinks she is superman and can fly. I think I need to go now. Bye!"

So, yeah, home a grand total of about 15 hours and encountered my first social weirdness. Grrrr.....

*names have been changed to protect the innocent

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Seeing Christmas through New Eyes"

I have had trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I know why, but I am trying not to admit it to myself. I am getting caught up in the "should's" and that is not fair. I keep thinking that things are just not how they are supposed to be, and it is making it difficult to find joy in the way things are.

Long before Robbie and I got married, or even engaged, or even graduated high school, I envisioned how Christmas would be for us. After he invited me to that first Christmas over at his Mawmaw's and Pawpaw's house, I wished with all my might that one day, somehow, I could be a part of that family and enjoy those Christmas celebrations. I hoped and prayed as hard as I could, that my children, that Robbie's and my children, would be among the little children playing in the floor. I had an image in my head, and my little fingers were crossed that, one day, I could have that. I hoped and prayed that I would marry Robbie so that we could have cute kids together and fun Christmases. And other fun holidays!

But that was not to be.

Over the past six and a half years, those special people who made those Christmas celebrations what they were-namely Robbie's Mawmaw and Pawpaw and Mama, have moved on to the next life, where they are hopefully watching over us and enjoying our little Lily in whatever ways they can. Everyone else has moved away. Things are not not not the same, and I don't even recognize what they are now.

At least we got to tell Ms. Judy that we were pregnant with Lily. We told her at Thanksgiving time. I was so excited to make the announcement because I couldn't wait to see her reaction. She knew how to really celebrate people and their fantastic news. I knew she would really celebrate the pregnancy. We spent one last Christmas together and I imagined Lily sitting in the floor playing with the boxes and wrapping paper the very next Christmas. However, Ms. Judy died before Lily was born. They didn't meet. She didn't get to hug and kiss her, and that makes me very sad. I was really hoping Lily would get here before it was "too late."

Last Christmas, Lily's first Christmas, was unrecognizable. At least half of it was. I brought her along for the annual Holiday Pops concert with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra, where she was able to meet Santa Claus. That was fun. Things with my family are the same as they always were, thank goodness. Then we celebrated Christmas at a different house, with different people. Nice people, but....different. It was hard for everyone involved. I don't know what everyone else was thinking, but I was just thinking about how much I missed Ms. Judy and how I wished we were over at Robbie's Mawmaw's and Pawpaw's house celebrating Christmas the way it was supposed to happen when I wished it long ago.

I haven't said any of this out loud to Robbie. I've just complained, "I just can't get into the Christmas spirit," to which he replies, "You need to focus on the family that is instead of the family that was." I guess he knows what my problem is without me even saying it. Yes, girls, he's a mind reader, and he's all mine!!!! But me being a girl and all, sometimes I just need to get the thoughts out of me. So here they are. Sorry Robbie.

I am trying. I really am trying to feel something different. Something special. Something Christmasy. I have hung decorations. I have performed in the holiday concert that usually gets me in the Christmas mood. I have listened to Christmas music during my spare moments. My latest attempt is reading a talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf from the 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional entitled "Seeing Christmas through New Eyes." From the title, I figured I could use a dose of "seeing Christmas through new eyes." He suggested three things we could do to study, ponder and prepare for the upcoming Christmas season.

1. Rejoice in the Birth of Our Savior

I'll admit it, I am a birth junkie. Lately my mind has been on Mary and what she must have been thinking during the birth of the Savior. Hers was the ultimate unassisted birth, I think. When I was younger, I used to feel sorry for her that she had to give birth among a bunch of animals and in some hay. At least that's how I imagined it. When I was a kid, I imagined her birthing without pain medication, moaning through her contractions, and her breath creating little clouds in the air. I imagined her being scared, and acting in the typical way Hollywood would have me imagine she would act. Now that I have experienced the birth process, I admire her. I almost envy the fact that she was able to birth without extraneous people and equipment around. I still wonder if she was worried. Did it bother her that she gave birth around animals? Or did it give her strength? How long was her labor? Did Joseph catch the baby? Did he massage her? What positions did she labor in? Did she move a lot? Did she moan or was she quiet? Did she feel powerful? I know I should be focused more on thinking about what the Savior's birth means, but so far this Christmas, I have thought a lot about Mary's role during this time.

2. Ponder His Influence in Our Lives Today

Lately, I have been thinking about my relationship with my Savior and it has nothing to do with the fact that Christmas is coming up. I've noticed how other people think about Him and talk about Him. I admire how some people truly trust Him. They really really do. They talk about Him like they know Him, like He is their very best friend or brother. They make it seem like Jesus Christ is their life. It appears as if every waking moment they spend contemplating him and living life as if He is walking every step of the way right there with them. I feel like I used to be better at that. I used to be more devoted and I used to feel closer to Him. What has happened? What can I do to get back? I need to get back.

3. Look Steadfastly for His Coming

I don't think about this one very much. I should, but I don't. I suppose what I get from this, is that I need to live my life in such a way that if He were to come right this minute, I'd feel good about it. I suppose that's the entire point, huh?

So here's to getting into the Christmas spirit!

How have you prepared for Christmas? What can you do to  see Christmas through new eyes? 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Help!!! Ideas for activities for an 18 Month Old????

I'll admit it. Sometimes Most of the time, I run out of ideas of things to do with Lily. Anything we try to do together, she gets bored really quickly or she has no interest in. She'll run off and do her own thing after a few minutes, so I take that as my cue to go run off and do my own thing. WRONG! She has a Mommy-is-doing-something radar, and as soon as I start a new activity, she tries to climb all over me. I'll be honest. As cute as it is that she wants my attention, it is kind of annoying that she won't play with me until I start doing something else. I'd really like to be able to play with her, so I looked up a few ideas on the internet. One idea that I really liked was making a necklace out of Cheerios. She loves necklaces! She loves Cheerios! She loves eating her necklace...that she can eat? Why, that sounds perfect!

All we needed was a bunch of Cheerios and a piece of string. Easy peasy.

As you can see, it's very hard to have a piece of string around our kitty, Rustie. She loves string! In this last picture, Lily has stolen a Cheerio to eat as Rustie is batting at the piece of string.

They were playing together and Lily was cracking up laughing until she saw me think about taking a video.

Finished necklace

This activity took a grand total of five minutes. Sigh. What activities do you like to do with your toddlers? 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finally Loving Yourself

Hey fluties!

Just a quick note before Lily wakes up and we hit the road for another Christmas Concert with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.

Have you heard of Flylady? I hope so! I discovered her as a new mom when I needed something to help me with the C.H.A.O.S. of new motherhood. I started out on a roll, receiving daily emails and trying to keep up. Even though it's not about "keeping up," I needed to stop receiving emails and just do what I could do. I tried keeping up with the Monday House Blessings, setting my timer for 10 minutes to complete chores, especially dishes, and I tried to put myself in a situation to follow, "One load a day keeps C.H.A.O.S. away." I have finally gotten myself if that situation with the laundry and I am so proud. My sink is shined. Well almost. All the dishes are clean, but the sink is a little icky. Everything in the living room has a place. We have organized Lily's nursery the way I want. The last area of concentration will be the master bedroom.

The biggest part that I wanted to talk about today was our Finances. I have felt like we have been trying to run from our finances and that created a lot of fear. Biting the bullet and doing what we needed to do is really lifting a burden! I am so happy about how we are doing. I needed to pay some bills which were a little behind due to Thanksgiving and my lack of organization, and I admit, a little bit of fear of not wanting to see all the money in our bank account disappear in an instant of paying boring ole bills. But this morning I took care of it. We are so much more ahead of where we have been since getting married. I'll admit, we are receiving so many blessings from Heavenly Father right now to be in this situation, and we are in a much better place financially now than we ever have been since getting married and moving to Texas. This wouldn't be possible without Heavenly Father pouring out His blessings upon us.

I think we are finally!


C.H.A.O.S.-Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome

F.A.C.E.-Financial Awareness Creates Empowerment (I may be wrong on this one. Someone correct me if I am!)

F.L.Y.-Finally Loving Yourself....and in our case today it could be Financially Loving Yourself

Go Fly!!!!


Flybaby Kristi

P.S. Flylady has no idea I am writing this. I realized it started to sound like a commercial or something, but these are my own thoughts and my own words. It is just a testimonial of how awesome she is, and also of how great a mood I am in right now with this weight lifted from my shoulders.