Sunday, November 22, 2009

Reclaiming My Body - this is for nursing mom past and present


I know it seems like a weird title, but in truth, I have spent the last few months doing just that. I have been "Reclaiming My Body", I was a breastfeeding mom for two years and I nursed Lizzie too when she was a baby until she was twenty months.
Now I enjoyed nursing Beka, and I loved the bond of nursing Elizabeth, although not the actual process itself with the first child. It was nice to listen to the girls glug away as them got the important stuff they needed. I am all for breastfeeding, it is good for you, good for your baby and it is supposed to make your kids smarter - which my kids needed the extra push anyway (just kidding). I loved snuggling them close to me and how they would fall asleep after their pretty little tummies were full. I loved to smell them and listen to their individual noises - Lizzie always cracked me up as she would begin to hum/snack at the same time - mmmmmm . . . .mmmm. . . mmmmmm. . . mmmmm . . . This would continue for several minutes as if she were humming herself to sleep and in a rhythm no less. Beka made similar noises, but hers had their own rhythm and cadence as well. I especially love that fresh clean baby smell. It's the best smell in the world.
Now that I've said all that, I also should point out that I am positive I am done having children, because as much as I enjoyed all of those things, I don't think I have it in me to go through pregnancy again. More importantly, I like that my breasts are now my own again and my hormones are starting to thankfully level out again so I feel like a real person again.
I have several friends who are still having babies and some who have just had babies and of course, we all talk about breastfeeding, because most of them try and succeed or at least try. Sadly, they all have the same problem - low milk supply so they pump and they do what they have to in order to up their milk. I cannot say I would have loved to have that problem, but I would absolutely been more thrilled, had I produced maybe a little less milk.
You know that scene in the film, "Look Who's Talking?" where Kirstie Alley is staring at her chest in the movie and wondering how it happened and making comments - well I've been her. I was told with Elizabeth that I should expect my milk to come in within the first three to five days. I had her on Wednesday and Sunday morning I woke up to the Grand Teton on my chest. Chris ever the loving husband he was, commented about liking it - while I wondered, where the Grand Teton's supposed to spurt out milk? Of course, we didn't have a breast pump - we were young, stupid and didn't know I'd need one. So my loving husband ran out to grab one. I spent hours pumping with the hand held pump and I expressed a full bottle on each side - after I nursed Lizzie. Of course, as time went on, the milk supply dimished to what Lizzie needed. Thank Heavens, but until that happened I spent many hours hand pumping milk - I could have ended third world hunger with the amounts of milk I expressed. It was insane.
Then we had Rebekah (the cutie in the photo at the top) and I thought I was ready for the insurgence of milk that came. As it turned out, I was not prepared to wake up engorged and sore with cannon balls attached to my chest. God bless my husband and his pointed head, he wanted to touch them! I almost killed him - especially when he asked me why I was so crabby. Gee I don't know honey, it might have been because my chest felt like I had 2 tons sitting on it and Beka couldn't eat enough to sate the aching in them. And I had a doctor's appointment that day to check on my blood pressure. Chris, the good man he is who probably also valued his life stopped at the mall first and bought me a Medela. I love the Medela - it is my friend. Sadly it had to stay in the car whilst I got the blood pressure checked. So we sped home - after he asked if I wanted lunch I think I didn't kill him because he was driving and I needed to get home and pump - otherwise, he may have met his maker that day.
I never knew it could be such a pleasurable thing to drain your breasts. Honestly, it was almost better than being intimate with Chris. I have never been so relieved to do anything in my life. I pumped 8 oz off each side AFTER I fed Beka! It stayed like that for quite a while too - it didn't taper off for months. In retrospect that proved a good thing - it meant that I was able to have plenty of milk for Chris and the sitter while I was in college.
I also didn't enjoy feeling like a milk cow. One time when Lizzie was small I had just finished in the shower and was standing by the bed when she crawled up to me and latched on and began nursing - I looked at Chris and remarked, "Look honey, I'm a crawlthru." He thought it was hilarious, and enjoyed joking that I was the food supply. Then again we always joked that Lizzie was never happy til she had her morning cup of boob. We found funny names for it, like boobin' or getting the good stuff. Actually the "good stuff" stuck around so much with Beka that no matter how I tried to teach her to call it a cookie or something else, she actually would tell me she wanted "Good".
I enjoyed nursing both girls (more Beka than Lizzie but I was more of a pro with Beka so it was smoother getting started), but I also have enjoyed reclaiming my breast for myself again. It's nice to put on a bra and not worry if I can give Beka access to my breasts. It's nice to not worry about leaking milk in public. I also must admit, I don't miss letdown and if you've ever nursed you remember the feeling of millions of pinpricks going through your breasts like when your foot falls asleep and it's got blood recirculating through it. I don't miss not being enthused at the idea of letting Chris touch my chest, because I could start leaking.
However, I will add there are certain perks with breastfeeding. Like, bonding with your baby, but I am also talking about the ability to be a bit mischevious. When I was nursing Lizzie and my milk first came in, Chris was laying on the floor watching TV while I pumped and so I would periodically squirt the back of his neck. It took him 30 minutes to realize what I was doing. It was perfect, I enjoyed that moment a lot. I also enjoyed knowing that because I nursed that Chris had to hand me the babies at some point in time when he wasn't working, but even then if he could have nursed, I would never have been able to hold the girls. He was gaga over them from the moment they were born. He's a great husband and father - even when he does make me nuts.
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.
In Christ,
Maureen

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Moms

If you read this blog, then you know that I am a mom. Actually I am a stay at home mom who enjoys being at home. And I have other women who I am friends with who wish they could stay at home or who understand that they are better moms because they work.

This got me to thinking - what have you learned from your own mother? I ask this, because it has become aware to me in the passing years that not everyone had a great mom like my cousins and my siblings and I had to observe and learn from each day. Between my mom and her sisters and my dad's sisters as well as family friends I was able to decide what kind of mom I wanted to be, what was important (i.e. taking kid to dr and dentist to name a few things), but there are so many women who didn't have positive, strong examples of good mothering.

I know of one young woman whose children have been in and out of foster care for drug abuse (on her part, the kids), neglect, etc. . . but that is an extreme case. I also know of young women who just didn't learn the little things - like how to talk to your kids even when angry, schedules are important for children, etc . . . Those may seem like no brainers to some of us, but for others, they aren't - they never saw these things modeled and so they may or may not learn them the hard way or even learn them at all.

Then I also see the problem with women tearing each other down and judging each other. I am an older mom and one of my sister in laws is a young mom. Now I am by no means a perfect parent and I don't have all of the answers, but I have structure and discipline - they are important for our household. We also have a child with autism - hence the importance of having structure and discipline. My sister-in-law didn't see this modeled and she is young and learning. She is also a very good mom who loves her children a lot. She is making the effort to learn, but this isn't always the case for many young moms.

I also see women tearing each other down over the "is it better to stay at home vs. the working mom." Not everyone woman is good at staying at home - they need that interaction away from their children so that when they are with their kids, they can give them the best of themselves. I also know of moms who would give or would have given anything to be able to stay at home, but it was not possible. These are the dilemmas that we as women face each day, month, and year and yet instead of being supportive, we are fighting each other. Why? Does it help us or hurt us? I propose it hurts us.

So here is my challenge to you . . . and to myself. The next time we as women catch ourselves trying to judge another woman harshly for her choices, let's try to put ourselves in her shoes. If possible talk to each other become a support system to each other, stop being the enemy or playing the game of "I'm a better mother because . . ." If you see a working mom who is in need, talk with her, see if you can help. If you see a stay at home mother who is in need of help - help her. If we work at this together, we can raise great children who are well mannered, aware of consequences and who can live product, and God centered lives, but we have to stop fighting each other and work together as a team.

I hope you all have a good week. I will get off of my soap box now.

In Christ,
Maureen

Monday, November 16, 2009

You've Got to Love Winter

Winter has come to Kansas finally. Today we had a rain and snow mix and the temperatures were downright chilly. It was wonderful. We have entered tea drinking, bake cookies, make soup, and snuggle with the kids for story time and popcorn seasons and I love this time of year. I love the cold and the good excuse to stay inside instead of feeling like I should be out running errands and taking care of things. It's a nice respite from all of the daily grind of going and going until I can't take it anymore.

Then again, I am a person who enjoys well earned relaxation time. I have never been a person who feels like she has to try to juggle so many things that her head could possibly spin. I hate being so busy that I don't know if I am coming or going. I don't mind it occasionally, but not continually. It makes me nuts and I don't like being super stressed out. Maybe it because Mom didn't like it either so I didn't know any other way, but I tend to lean more towards the idea that I am this way because between both parents genetics, I got the mellow gene. I know I could have been different, because there are little things that remind me that I can be like Grandma Taylor and a stickler for things. I know this often when the little things begin to get to me and I have to step back and take a deep breathe and ask myself, "In the grand scheme of life, how important is this really going to be at the end of the day?" I find that tends to put things in perspective. There are little things I also do to stay mellow, like I purposely don't take on too many projects, because I don't like to be so busy it isn't funny.

When I found out that Chris was deploying, I began making a mental list of the things I knew I would need to consider cutting back on while he was away. So I backed off of several things I did for church and I was the FRG leader, but when Lizzie and Sarah were not doing well, I decided that I needed to let that go. Fortunately, there was someone to step into my place so I didn't leave them high and dry. I have found that in doing these things they help me stay calm and cool when things get tough. I can stop and take a deep breathe and look at things rationally and sort them out. It might not work for everyone, but it works for me.

These are the things that I know would make my Grandma nuts, but I also know that I need to stay this way for my sanity. I need to mellow, especially since high blood pressure runs in my family. I am 35 and need blood pressure medicine - that stinks. It isn't because of stress either, for me it's about sleep. When I don't get the sleep I need, then my blood pressure elevates. Of course, there are times when my stress level is high and it sends my blood pressure sky high. However, those times are few and far between. Those are also the times when I tend to step away from my life for a few moments and try to take those deep breathes too. Sometimes, it works, other times, not so much so. I hope someday to not need my blood pressure medicine, but sadly, that may not happen until I get to Heaven. Grrrrr . . .

Well I hope you all have a good week. I promise to try to write again soon.

In Christ,
Maureen

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sorry for the Delays

I am sorry for the delays in posting a new blog. If you are on my Facebook and a friend of mine, then you know why. For those of you who aren't and don't know what is going on - in a nutshell, my husband's soon to be former company (he was one of the almost 9,000 who got layoff notices in April from Cessna/Textron - and yes it's legal because his entire area is either being laid off or put somewhere new) overpaid us a nice sum of money. The problem - it was a mistake. So now we are in the process of attempting to work out all of the details and fine print to pay them the cash back since we spent some of it. We paid off our minivan, paid up our car insurance until February, and other bills that needed our attention. The good news is that we are now in a good place bill wise. The bad news, it was a mistake so now I have to come up with this amount of money so I can pay them back the overpayment.

That was my week in a nutshell. I spent Monday and Tuesday working on damage control because we thought we were -$6,000 in our banking account. So I was working with our bank to make sure it wouldn't ruin our credit. Then on Wednesday I discovered that the money had been returned to us again because you can't reclaim what isn't there. So now I am working with the company to fix this lovely snaffuu that they created and honestly, I prefer to deal with them than to deal with the bank. At least, working with Cessna won't ruin our credit.

Now for some very interesting developments - Chris is looking for employment and we are 89 days as of today and counting until he comes home. There are several opportunities that are opening up. I am not at liberty to discuss these options, but I will ask that you please keep us all in your prayers. Please pray for Chris as he searches for gainful employment, myself that I can be patient as we wait on God's timing, and that God will help Sarah and Elizabeth as they face the possibility that we may have to move. There are some opportunities here, but there are more likely possibilities that we will be able to pursue out of state. We could end up anywhere, but the neatest part is watching as God is opening doors for several job opportunities with people who can help Chris get hired on in these areas.

I will blog again in a day or two about something preferably of lighter fare. After all, it can't all be doom and gloom right?! Right. Now help me figure out how to tell Sarah that and make it connect in her brain.

Have a good week and God bless.
In Christ,
Maureen

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Planning for Christmas? Already?!

Getting ready for Christmas? Already?!

Okay, I get it. The stores really want you to shop for Christmas, but why do they have to put Christmas decorations up the same time they put up Halloween decorations?! Of course, this means that whenever I take Lizzie or Beka with me to the store, they see said decorations and I get to hear them squeal with delight about how they can't wait for Christmas.


Now please understand. I really, really love Christmas. I mean I really do love it a lot. I get as excited as the kids do sometimes and I enjoy planning their presents, etc . . . What I don't enjoy is listening to talk about Christmas from October until February when it finally sinks into Lizzie's head that Christmas is over and done with and she needs to focus on something else. This year the thing she will be focusing on, is Disney World, and Daddy coming back from Iraq. So while I really do love Christmas, even I have a saturation point and I usually hit it about two weeks before it comes and in worst case scenarios - one month before it comes


So here we are, it's only the first part of November and Elizabeth is talking about presents. Now I would normally not be thrilled by this, except for this one thing. She isn't talking about what she wants, it's about her buying presents for her sister! Now that is a good feeling.


Obviously, this means I will end up spending a little more than I originally planned, but I will happily spend it in order for Lizzie to learn that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I will take her shopping, just her and I and we will find a gift for each of her sisters and one for Daddy to open when he gets home. So I think this Christmas will be wonderful. The girls are learning to give, they are learning to put others first, and more importantly, they are learning to keep Christmas talk to a minimum until tomorrow anyway.
I hope you all have a very nice day and a great week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!


I hope you all had a good Halloween. We started our Halloween on Friday afternoon by going with Sheri and Damion and the Trotter clan to Walter's Pumpkin Patch outside of El Dorado. This is Elizabeth, Saidra, Jonas, Sheri, & Kiernan on the first row, then Asher by Damion and Canaan. The kids had a blast and really enjoyed themselves and Sheri discovered the joys of pumpkin salsa there.
They have a very neat kids area and playground area that the kids really enjoyed. We might have gotten more bang for our buck but we got there an hour before it closed, so we didn't get to enjoy everything they had for entertainment.
Afterwards, we took the kids to Wendy's for dinner and Sarah and Damion went across the parking lot to Twin Lake Terrors which wasn't so much terrifying as amusing to Sarah. Either way they all enjoyed themselves and had a good time. I then drove to Mom and Bud's place to check the mail and to also to watch Sanctuary whilst they are visiting in Ohio and Virginia with Bud's family.
Halloween morning I awoke at the usual time, because I am on a sad schedule and wake up each morning out of habit or due to the alarm at 7:10 a.m. So I got up and drove to Wal-Mart and grabbed a few things for the kids. I also purchased a firepit so we could roast marshmallows with the kids that night. Then I picked up Sheri and we ran to the commissary and grabbed the food items we needed for the nights plans. Sufficit to say by the time we finished getting everything we needed for the evening, I had to lay down and take a nap. I think we used more energy planning and getting everything than we did trick or treating with the kids and the party itself. That includes the time and energy it took to cook, assemble the firepit and get the fire going, which I don't think ever actually happened completely.
So we got everyone dressed and took them trick or treating and they had a blast. The houses in our neighborhood did some neat stuff and one house actually had a puppet show where the puppets looked like real people and they danced them to the songs, "Thriller", "Ghostbusters", and "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." It was very entertaining and the kids all enjoyed the show a lot and had a good time. So after all of that was said and done, you would think they would be exhausted today - nope. They are looking a little ragged around the edges though, so I am considering keeping Lizzie at home. She is pale and has circles under eyes really badly. This has been going on for a while and she's complaining of a stomach ache. In fact, Lizzie and Beka are currently snuggled under Beka's blanket on the couch next to me as I am writing. I am considering letting her stay home and have a quiet day and work with her on her homework and with some workbooks I purchased for her to use.
I hope you all have a good Halloween. Happy Birthday to Sandy, my brother-in-law in Edmond, OK. Today (Nov. 1st) is his b-day.
In Christ,
Maureen