Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Public Service Announcement

This afternoon was going well.  Ainsley was cute, albeit a little tired from her long day at school.  David was cute after a late afternoon nap.  We were having fun.

And just like that the switch flipped and both of them entered into cranky pants.  David was cranky and fussy.  It might have been a mixture of tiredness and hunger.  Ainsley threw an epic screaming fit over whether I wanted a red or pink topper on my pretend cake in the sandbox.  I swear the whole neighborhood heard her scream.

This was followed by me trying to get a dinner on the table in time for my husband to come home late from work.  We sat down at dinner, to which my husband informed me was cold.  Ainsley was eating at her oh so leisurely pace as usual frustrating both of us. 

We have gone a different route with feeding David.  We don't feed him baby food.  I actually just feed him off my plate.  There is an official name for it, Baby Led Weaning.  They talk all about gagging and choking.  99% of the time they are just gagging and can get whatever it is up by themselves given time.

Tonight I was not paying close attention to the amount of food I was putting on David's plate.  I was just trying to get through my dinner fast enough so that I could get him to bed.  Before I realized it, David had way too much in his mouth and began what I thought was gagging.  It quickly escalated to what both Ryan and I knew as choking.  We both looked at each other hoping that the other remembered that Infant CPR class we took when I was pregnant with Ainsley over 4 years ago.  Nope.  But we had to do something. 

Ryan's instincts were pretty good.  He threw him on his knee and started hitting his back.  Out came piece after piece of food.  Finally he was crying.  The obstruction was clear.

This is by no means going to dissuade me from continuing on with Baby Led Weaning or even encouraging other people to do the same.  What it made me do is look on You Tube for Infant CPR videos. 

I strongly urge you to watch this, even if you don't have an infant in your life.  You never know when you might need it.

Conscious Infant Choking
Unconscious Infant Choking

David got a few extra cuddles tonight. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Support

I was talking with my sister the other day and I told her how Monday is now my favorite day.  I purposely don't schedule anything on Monday and it's a time to just catch up on from busy weekends and just breath.

But for my husband, it's still filled with the same anxiety that used to plague me.  He heads off to work every Monday and does what he does so well.  He provides for this family so that I can enjoy my Mondays and live in this season of life.

It also has me thinking about how little I talk about him on here.  I usually post on his birthday or our anniversary.  But today is neither of those.  It's just a random Monday in September and I am feeling overwhelmed by the love and support he provides me. 

From the point that I got pregnant with Ainsley he has been 100% supportive of my decisions as a mom.  Through all the normal things like pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding he had my back.  I remember saying that I never felt more in love with him than I did after he led me through Ainsley's epically long labor.

But he also supported every decision that I made in respect to my career.  When I decided I wanted to go back to work after Ainsley was born, he was all for it.  He and I researched childcare options and we found one that we were happy with.  He supported my desire for a career when we live in a culture of stay at home moms.  I was a rarity among our peers but yet he supported me.  He encouraged me through the hard times and rejoiced in my success with me.

After David was born and God started to call me in a different direction, I kept asking for his opinion.  And he told me that no matter what I decided he would support me.  I knew this was true but I was looking for him to tell me what to do.  But he knew that if he told me what to do, I would take it as his decision and he really wanted this decision to be mine.  And so he would let me bounce thoughts off of him and he would listen as I processed. 

When I finally came to the conclusion that I should leave my career, he didn't skip a beat.  He said ok, let's do this thing.  And just like that, he took on all the financial responsibility of the household and didn't say another word about it.  He doesn't complain about that responsibility.  He just does it.  And his job is hard too.   

I couldn't be in the position I am today without a very supportive husband.  I couldn't be the one who drives my daughter to preschool and hears all about her day when I pick her up.  I couldn't be the one who puts David down for naps and gets the last few snuggles before he drifts off to sleep.  I couldn't be the one who gets to go to a fantastic Bible study every Wednesday. 

Without the support of my husband, I couldn't say that I am happier now than I have ever been. 

And that is a gift worth talking about on a random Monday.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dear Me at 16 Years Old

Dear 16 year old Tracey,

A friend of mine just wrote a book addressed to teenage girls.  As part of her promotion she wrote a letter to herself at 16 and asked her friends to do the same. 

First things first, stop wearing so much flannel and grow out your bangs.

Seriously, I wanted to talk to you about a couple 3 things. School, Church, and Family.  But before I do, I want you to know that I am not asking you to change anything.  Every experience you have had and will have has shaped you into who you are today.  You are a better person now because of what you are going through now.  I just want to give you some encouragement and some insight into the future.

Right now, you really don't like school.  You spend your time there pretending like you are shy and quiet.  You are very aware of your complexion and your clumsiness.  Your complexion gets better.  Unfortunately you still walk into walls and tables all the time.  Sorry. 

You are going to school at a really good high school.  I mean it's a 10.  What this means for you is that you are not quite the smartest but you are above average.  It puts you in a very weird in between place and you can never really find where you fit.  Just know that there will be better days ahead.  You are going to go to college where you are one of the smartest people there.  They will reward all your hard work with lots of scholarships.  Your 34 year old self is really thankful for this and so is your future husband because it means you don't have college loans to pay back.  Nice work!  You and Matt can continue to joke about the "dumb corner" of the honors classes because deep down you know it's not true.  Trust your instincts and keep working hard.

You will go to a few dances and have one boyfriend who will break your heart.  You will go to college still broken hearted but don't worry.  It changes really quickly.  By October of your freshman year, you will have met and started dating the man you are going to marry.  You're welcome.

This is not the heart breaker.  But I had to post it because you are wearing a velour dress.  Lovely choice.

You go to a good church.  Your family is there all the time.  While your parents know that being at church is not being a christian, you somehow miss this.  You will spend the next 2 years making sure you are at every event and every service when the church is open.  You will quit track and basketball to make sure you don't miss any youth groups.  You will regret this, but it's ok.  Someday you will learn about how it's not about being at functions and doing things.  You will learn it's about grace and mercy.  Which reminds me, you should read Emily's book.  It would help you with all of this.

One really good thing that comes out of your church life is your friend Kate.  You have already known her for many many years and you are only 16.  You already recognize her importance.  Just know that she is still around in your life.  Actually she's the only one that you are close to from this point in your life.  You will have "Facebook" friends from this era but you won't really be friends with them. (Side note, Facebook is coming in the future and will be a huge time sucker.  It's ok though...I'll let you learn about that on your own when it comes)

Right now you don't really like being part of this family.  Your sisters are both at college and you are home by yourself.  You don't really have any relationship with them right now.  It's ok.  You will even though one lives 12 hours away and the other lives a continent away in Africa. 

Give GiGi as many hugs as you can.  She won't be around forever and you really will miss her.  When she dies, you will get a few random things from her apartment.  One of those things is her umbrella.  You will still have it many years later.  It sounds silly but you love that umbrella.

Your mom right now is pretty awesome.  You recognize that.  Be extra nice to her.  She is going through some rough times herself.  You really don't have a clue about any of it, but an extra hug or 2 from you might be really nice.

Which brings me to your dad.  If you hear nothing else I say to you, I want you to pay close attention here.  Right now things are rough.  Your dad and you don't get along.  You bicker and fight about little things.  It always escalates to screaming matches that end up with both of you with really hurt feelings.  Your mom will do her best to referee (again an extra hug for her would be helpful).  It's not going to get better for some time yet.  Don't worry though, it does.  And boy does it ever.  You need to think about this like you would Easter.  Easter is amazing.  It's the crux of the Christian faith.  It's about redemption and forgiveness.  But yet you can't get to Easter morning without first passing through Good Friday.  This is your Good Friday.  It's hard.  It sucks.  You both are miserable. 

But Sunday is coming.  You will reconcile.  You will learn how to love each other.  Your relationship will be one of your favorites down the road.  And I have a secret.  Someday you will have so much respect for your dad you will name your son after him.  Shocking, isn't it. 

Here's a little peak into how beautiful this becomes because you really need the encouragement right now.

I just want to finish up this letter with one last encouragement.  You are a really cool girl.  You will find yourself some day really soon.  And when you do, you are going to like who God made you to be. 

I love you and your bangs and your flannel.

Your 34 year old self

*This post is part of a promotion for Graceful by Emily P Freeman.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dead Plants and New Hope

It's Monday morning.  The house is quiet except for the sound of cloth diapers drying in the dryer.  The house smells like fresh bread coming from my bread maker.  I just poured myself a second cup of coffee. 

It's a rare moment of quiet these days. 

I just finished working in the garden.  Our garden has been nearly dead for a while.  We let it get overgrown with weeds.  It really looked more like a jungle than a garden.  Yesterday I was in there with Ainsley and she looked at me and said, "This is a mess."

No kidding my dear.

But today I put on my garden shoes and gloves and went to work.  I pulled out 2 huge garbage cans of dead and dying plants and weeds.  I only did enough to clean out half of the garden.  The other half will have to wait for another day.

And in its place, I planted some new crops.  I may be too late, but it's worth a shot.  I planted lettuce, broccoli, and kale.  All things that we use on a weekly and almost daily basis.

There is order among the chaos now. 

And while I was out there by myself in the quiet of just the work, I was able to do some reflecting on my life.  It's been 2 months since I have been home with my kids.  There hasn't been many days where I have had time to even pee by myself.  I hardly sit down.  The days are full and the evenings are full. 

It's almost like God saw me in the midst of my own chaos and just started pulling.  He pulled and pulled and it hurt and felt like I was being ripped out from myself.  You see I liked those plants.  They weren't all weeds.  Some of them were the plants that fed us for so long.  They produced the fruit of yesterday.  There is even still fruit there. 

But God had different plans for me.  And in order to make room for the new plants, He had to pull some of the old ones.  The plants that had produced so much fruit in there season were now dead. 

And in the new space, there is hope.  Hope of days of sloppy faces, crayons, Candy Land, nursing my baby to sleep, trips to preschool, Bible Study Fellowship, cleaning schedules, homemade bread, delicious dinners, and so much more. 

Oh and shoes that don't fit into any dress code anywhere.

Thanks be to God for changing my life.
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