And How

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

If Mama Ain't Happy...

I think that most people who know my mom would describe her as "tough as nails." This is by far one of her most stubborn qualities. I remember when I was little, if she was sick enough to stay home from work, I thought she was dying! Crazy lady! So we knew something was up a few weeks ago when she started letting on that she was having some stomach issues. I kind of didn't think a lot of it because she seems to have some food sensitivities sometimes and we let it get by for a few weeks without addressing it too much. Finally, she started having fever, chills, and a sensitive stomach to the touch and we knew something was up. Karen and I nagged her to death to go to Urgent Care about it (she hasn't seen a doctor for a check-up since she donated a kidney over a decade ago). They saw her and diagosed her with "diverticulitis" and put her on some antibiotics. When I asked her if she wished she had gone earlier, she responded, "Well, I suffered with hives for two years before going to a doctor and I had already diagnosed myself with this anyway!" She still wouldn't concede that she had let it get out of hand!

After a week or more on antibiotics, we thought she was on the mend. Unfortunately, the symptoms returned and we pressured her some more to go see another doctor. She made an appointment for yesterday afternoon, took a half day of work, and FINALLY went to see "her" doctor. He sent her for a CT scan at the hospital and told her that if everything looked okay, he would send her home with some meds and make a follow-up appointment. After the CT scan, she waited around for quite a while until she told the nurses that she was going home and they could call her with the results because she had to be at work in 10 hours! At this point, the nurses knew that the doctor would be less than happy if they let her go home because they could see something was up. They told her to wait and shortly after, they told her she would be admitted.

She finally got into a room at about 11 last night, but didn't actually see or speak to a doctor until this morning. The verdict was that she has an abscess on her intestines and possibly a hole in addition to the diverticulitis. The doctor was shocked, he said, because she wasn't yelling in pain when her stomach was touched and she was able to work and go about her regular activities. That's mom for you...tough to a fault!

Anyway, I just went to see her and she looked as normal as she's looked at home for the past few weeks and still maintaining that she's not really in any pain...WHATEVER! I firmly believe that if they had let her go home last night, she would have gone to work today, even if she had known the diagnosis. I'm so thankful that they decided to keep her. I just wanted to keep everybody updated and for those of you that are praying...THANK YOU and KEEP IT UP!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Found this...loved it!

A Child's Ten Commandments to Parents

By Dr. Kevin Leman, from his book First-Time Mom, published by Tyndale.
  • 1. My hands are small; please don't expect perfection whenever I make a bed, draw a picture or throw a ball. My legs are short; please slow down so that I can keep up with you.
  • 2. My eyes have not seen the world as yours have; please let me explore safely: don't restrict me unnecessarily.
  • 3. Housework will always be there. I'm only little for such a short time - please take time to explain things to me about this wonderful world, and do so willingly.
  • 4. My feelings are tender; please be sensitive to my needs; don't nag me all day long. (You wouldn't want to be nagged for your inquisitiveness.) Treat me as you would like to be treated.
  • 5. I am a special gift from God; please treasure me, holding me accountable for my actions, giving me guidelines to live by and disciplining me in a loving manner.
  • 6. I need your encouragement, but not your praise, to grow. Please go easy on the criticism; remember, you can criticize the things I do without criticizing me.
  • 7. Please give me the freedom to make decisions concerning myself. Permit me to fail, so that I can learn from my mistakes. Then someday I'll be prepared to make the kind of decisions life requires of me.
  • 8. Please don't do things over for me. Somehow that makes me feel that my efforts didn't quite measure up to your expectations. I know it's hard, but please don't try to compare me with my brother or my sister.
  • 9. Please don't be afraid to leave for a weekend together. Kids need vacations from parents, just as parents need vacations from kids. Besides, it's a great way to show us kids that your marriage is very special.
  • 10. Please take me to Sunday school and church regularly, setting a good example for me to follow. I enjoy learning more about God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Sound of Silence...

Since Pack's out of town so much, "Mommy time" has really been lacking lately. So much, in fact, that I have actually been looking forward to my dentist appointment today because that means going out in public sans tots! I called Mrs. G. last week (the most awesome babysitter in the universe) and lined her up to keep both the boys for me during my appointment, which is around two in the afternoon. She, very graciously, offered to meet me at the library this morning and let the boys ride home with her after Story Time (which today, by the way, reminded me a little of what my worst nightmare might be like), saving me from having to drive all the way out to Coward and back, and giving me a few lonely (not in a bad way) hours to play with. Boy, did I need it! I shopped at a bookstore, swung by Starbucks, and headed home to eat my lunch without having to balance Jude on one knee and my lunch on the other, or keeping Penn from feeding all of his lunch to our dog. I felt like I was at a spa eating my chicken patty between bread (okay, maybe not a spa, but definitely a relaxing place). So now I'm waiting for my appointment time, reflecting on this most welcome blessing of relaxation time. Mrs. G may never read this to really understand the depths of my thanks, but I'll make sure to tell her..."Thanks a million...interested in moving to Virginia???"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Selling Houses Stinks!!!

Pack and I are going crazy. We kind feel like we're in real estate Limbo. We have found several house/neighborhoods in Richmond/Chesterfield that we really like a lot, but we can't take any action because our house in Florence is still for sale. Any bites? Yes, a few "nibbles." Basically, we haven't had any serious lookers and we're starting to get really frustrated with this whole process. Pack has officially started his new job in VA and he's traveling there during the week, which puts me home alone with the kids. And let me make it clear that I am not cut out for single parenting...NOT FOR ME! I can't wait to have my family under one roof again!

Now that we've got that rant out of the way, let's move on from things we can't change...

Jude is getting SO BIG! I can't believe how much he's grown and he's catching on. He's waving and kissing and I'm enjoying his baby days sooo much! I remember with Penn being so excited and eager for him to crawl, walk, eat solids, you know...milestones, that I really didn't get to enjoy his baby-hood the way I'm trying to with Jude. I try to hold him a lot because I know he doesn't get held quite as much as Penn did (consequence of being the second child, I guess). Anyway, one day, I set him down on the rug and he flipped right over onto his belly, tucked his legs under his body, and started rocking back and forth on his chubby little thighs! He might have been doing that for a while, but Mommy didn't notice because I was too busy trying to keep him as my baby forever! Can I freeze frame him right here??? Even as young as Penn is, I miss the downy soft hair, non-smelly feet and breath, completely unscarred, unblemished skin, gummy grins...I could just eat him!!!

On the other hand, the starting solids phase has been a little rocky for us. I started letting him taste baby food at 4 months (just as I did with Penn). I was kind of hoping it would help him sleep better at night, but he didn't take to it well, so I waited a week and tried again. No luck. We did this little dance off and on until he was about five months, at which time, I started feeding him more regularly. Now he's six months old, and is just getting past apple sauce and rice cereal. I am constantly reminded of how different every baby is, but it's so hard not to compare.

I've also been having some anxiety over my breastfeeding experience. I started working as a long-term sub for a co-worker at DLC (just for six weeks, approximately), and I had built of up a nice little stash of frozen breastmilk that I had pumped off and on since Jude was a couple of months old. Well, my little monster tore through that "nice little stash" in a little over a week and even with me pumping twice during the workday (and it isn't easy to get out of my classroom and find a private spot for 15 minutes twice a day), I wasn't keeping up! At one point, I had to start pumping FOUR TIMES A DAY! I cannot even begin to express how much I hate pumping, so this only lasted three or four days before I came up with my solution. I still pump at work, but usually only once or maybe twice, and I'm sending formula to the babysitter to feed him when he drinks all his milk. This ends up being the equivalent to about six ounces of formula a day, but I feel like I'm digging myself a hole. I'm planning on nursing full time, once I'm home again in another couple of weeks, but I'm concerned that I might lose some of my supply. I'm hoping that just as my body adjusted to different feeding shedules with Penn, I'll also adjust flawlessly with Jude too (I know...comparing again!), but we'll have to see.

Now for my sweet Penn...oh how I love him! He's still as rotten as ever, and sometimes we see a little bully creep out of his personality, but this kid always amazes us! Just last week, we discovered he could count backwards from 1o and he knew his left from his right! Let me take this time to say he's got the best babysitter in the world who always reads to him, teaches him about nature, and has the most fun house ever! He always makes us laugh too! I think the phrase, "Kids say the darndest things," was written for our little Penn. He's addicted to bouncy balls, carries around a red cooler filled with balls and other toys, and loves to snuggle with his mommy and watch "Ant Bully."

I could go on for days about my sweet babies. I never imagined I could love two little people like this. A taste of God's love for us. I would give my life for these two precious boys and I can't wait to get to know them more.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Earlybird Special!

My parents split up their child-bearing years by 13 years. Growing up, I obviously didn't have a lot in common with my older brother and sister, but thankfully I've gotten to know them better as I've gotten older.

As you can imagine, we haven't shared a lot of life experiences...until recently!
When I was at the very end of my pregnancy with Jude, Amy announced to the family that she was pregnant to (this was a huge surprise, not only to us, but to Amy, Perry, and 15 year-old brother Dustin, as well). To add to the surprise factor of this pregnancy, the baby had to be delivered by c-section after Amy was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 35 weeks.

My newest nephew, Dylan Macon Hodge was born last night tipping the scales at 3 pounds, fifteen ounces and 17.5 inches long. By far, the tiniest baby I have ever seen, but oh so cute! I am now the proud aunt of six nephews ranging in age from 1 day to 18 years (and one 20 year-old niece). Our family is so blessed!

Here I am scrubbing up to go see him for the first time!

To top it off, little Dylan came into the world in a very significant way. Besides the obviously cool birthdate of 9-9-09, he is my parent's 9th grandchild, which means he's going to be just fine. God has such a sense of humor!

I'm going to end with a picture of my precious new nephew. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Praying for one night....just one!

I'm up right now, scared to walk to my bedroom for fear of waking the beast...aka...sweet baby Jude. The past couple of nights have left quite a bit to be desired and I feel like a zombie at this point. Daytime Jude is AMAZING! He's got an easy smile and I can still take him basically anywhere without any problems. He's not even super-attached to me...in the daytime...

Then, the skies darken and screams erupt from his little body that sound something like noises you might hear during a car accident. We had just had several nights of him sleeping through the night (basically) and I guess we got a little too over-confident thinking that we might get to experience sleep once again.

Wrong!

Jude has decided that he wants to sleep only with me, only on my arm, only while he is nursing. He's also pretty much been on a paci strike for over a month now. Trying to slip that in during the night is equivocal to slapping him in the face. The biggest insult ever!

Please pray for him to remember how nice it was to sleep through the night...for all of us! Here goes...

Monday, August 17, 2009

So, Virginia...

I cannot believe that after so many months of wondering and waiting, we finally know something! Pack and I are scared, excited, anxious, and eager in thinking about our upcoming move. This is such a big deal for us. Pack has lived in Florence since he was a very little boy and I have been in Florence my WHOLE LIFE! This is going to be a major change for us. I'm so thankful that I started this blog so I can organize my brain a little better around these circumstances.

Today we met with our second realtor and it's got me even MORE nervous! She seemed to think that our house will sell within days of showing it, which means I won't have a place to live while I do a maternity leave at DLC that I have obligated myself for. I really thought we had plenty of time before our house sold. I guess this would be a good problem to have, but still...

Pack and I are also in cahoots on what we want to do when we get to Richmond. Should we rent for a while until we get our bearings, or should we go ahead and buy something we like so we don't have to move again in a few months at our expense? ESAB is paying for our movers and helping out a lot with the relocation process, so I am not sure what we'll be doing. We're not exactly on the same page with what we want to do, so I told Pack I would leave the decision up to him. I'm praying that I'll be okay with whatever he decides (although, he can expect my input...).

This whole process seems to be going so quickly! It's only been a week since we found out he got the job and already he's ordered his company vehicle, we've been preapproved for a loan, realtors have been contacted, and our house is very nearly on the market! All this and we still haven't had time to tidy up our closets or do other little things around the house that we always said we would do before we sold it.

Please pray for calm nerves, understanding families, and discernment for us to do the right things for our family! This new change in our life is quite a roller coaster, but hopefully, we're ready for the ride!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Richmond, VA...Here we come!

Yay! Awesome news this week after a couple of months of big, fat nothing! Pack got the job he interviewed for at the beginning of the summer and it appears that we'll soon be truckin' it to VA. I'm on my blackberry now so I'll keep this short until I can update more later.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Perspectives

When I first got pregnant with Jude, Pack bought me two books to read. Once was called Twice Blessed and the other was called Beyond One. Both books discussed the hardships and joys of choosing to make the decision to grow your family after already having one child. When I first read these books (especially at the beginning), I was terrified. Both books discussed the reality that with each additional child added to a family, more arguments take place between the parents. Also, they said that the stress levels of mothers tend to skyrocket and obviously the work load increases. I was really thinking that I should have read these books before we actually got pregnant. Well, that was not to be, and as I finished both books, I was left thinking...maybe we won't have those problems!

Months (almost a year) later, here we are. A family of four. I have noticed glimpses of the scenarios the books described in my own home...we didn't escape it. Simple tasks and disagreements can go nuclear and turn into all-out battles sometimes, and I'm left feeling ashamed and lonely. I would have liked to think that I wasn't going to give in to the stereotype of the nagging wife, but alas, I have.

Now for the good news...

This past week at Vacation Bible School, we were learning about Peter. One of the lessons I taught was about Peter and Jesus having a heart to heart about the depth of his love for the Lord. Without even realizing the words were even coming out of my mouth, I was instructing the class of adults to "Follow God now!" and I was asking them to think about in what ways Jesus wanted each of them (and me) to tend or feed his sheep. So I figure that God laid that on my heart for a reason, and I needed to really seek out what that meant in my life.

I was thinking that the best place to start this ministry would be in my own home. It seems that I have gotten so wrapped up in mothering and and my other roles, that I had become a wife that made very little effort to minister to her own husband. (I haven't talked to Pack directly about this because I'm wanting to see how any changes will affect our marriage, but I figure blogging about it is safe, because he rarely reads it unless I ask him to.)

It's actually kind of humorous. As my first step in becoming more like the wife I want to be, I asked Pack to start letting me know one or two things he would like done around the house during the day. Ha! He was floored! He mentioned something about making our living room look less like a playroom and sorting through/throwing away some toys, but immediately was suspicious of me. Our conversation went a little something like this after he had a few minutes to think about what I was doing:

Pack: Why do you want me to give you some things to do?

Me: I don't know, I just thought I could work on some things around here that have been bothering you for a change.

Pack: Ummmm....are you trying to trick me?

Me: What do you mean???

Pack: I mean, are you trying to get me to do your back at night or something?

Me: Well, if you did, that would be a bonus, but no.

Pack: You just want me to do whatever you ask me to do, right? Nevermind, don't do the toys, it's not worth it.

Me: Pack really, I'm not being tricky!!!

Pack: This is awesome!

So this same conversation has gone on several times besides this initial one and he still thinks I'm trying to get a gift out of it or something. We'll see how long I can hold out without telling him what's up, but he might be getting wiser since I asked him where the UNREAD copy of Love Dare was that I got him for Christmas...haha!

Just in the few days I've been doing this, I've seen us fight less and I've been able to do things for my family and especially my husband with more of a willing heart. I am thankful for the changes that I am already able to see and I can't wait to see how this goes!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tickle Time

I can't believe how fast Jude is growing! In a few days, he'll officially be four months old and I'm trying to soak up every baby minute. Pack's been getting frustrated because he feels like we don't take as many pictures or videos of Jude as we did with Penn (I'm pretty sure this is not a problem unique to us, though.). Anyway, I took this this morning as documentation that I'm trying, and you can see this precious laugh that Jude's been practicing lately. So cute!

*Note: Please excuse my singing at the beginning of this video...maybe that's why he's laughing!*

video

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh yeah...

I almost forgot...Saturday night is mine and Pack's first official date night with no kids for the whole night, since Jude was born. I'm really nervous about leaving Jude so young (Penn won't even miss us), but I've been pumping every morning for like two weeks so I've got a stash of milk built where we could almost take off for the whole weekend:)

My husband is super-amazing, but I've been getting really stressed about housework, childcare, and no sleep lately and he's gotten the brunt of it all, so we're really looking forward to a night for us. The man deserves it after putting up with me for so long! Just wanted to share the excitement!

Bathtime Solution!

So one of my "new mom again" dilemmas has been with bathing Jude. I cannot for the life of me remember how we bathed Penn when he was Jude's age. I know we didn't have any special bathtub for babies or anything (because we didn't have the space) and I know we actually did bathe the kid! I remember that we showered with him sometimes, but Pack and I had to do it together so one of us could hold him and the other could wash him and get him in and out. This is not feasable now that we have an active set of little feet running around the house unsupervised. I've even tried bathing him in the sink in the kitchen and I just can't figure it out. I'm so worried I'm going to drown him until he can sit up!

Well, as I was thinking about this a few weeks ago, I had an idea...maybe I could bathe him and Penn together while Jude is in the Bumbo. For those of you that don't know what that is, it is one of my favorite baby thingies. Here's a pic:
Well, as wonderful as the Bumbo is for most circumstances, it sucked in a bath. This is because I found out that a Bumbo floats...very dangerous in a tub with water and a wiggly toddler. I still thought that there might be some way to use the Bumbo for bathtime though. This week, I figured it out. When Penn was in bed, I put the Bumbo in the tub and took a shower. I was able to bathe the baby with me and not have to hold him the entire time! It worked like a charm:)

So now that that problem is solved...I can actually bathe Jude more regularly and more peacefully. I just though I might not be the only one dealing with this problem and thought I would share.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More breastfeeding

I just thought this was funny. I had Karen take a picture of me at the zoo because I was so proud of how far I've come. I went from chasing down fitting rooms and finding places to sit comfortably when I was nursing Penn to walking through the zoo, not wanting to miss seeing anything. It's amazing what having a toddler and a newborn requires you to be able to do. Maybe I AM a breastfeeding snob, Karen:)


Oh and PS...that's my cute, super-simple nursing cloth that I bought when I was preggo with Penn...15 dollars very well spent!

Anyhoo...as "experienced" as I think I am, I'm definitely not an expert. Recently, I don't know if I've enabled Jude to develop a lazy latch or if something bigger is wrong, but for some reason, feeding him is soooo noisy lately! I'm not just talking about slurps, gulps, and sighs (that's always been noisy), but he's started clicking while he's eating almost the entire time! It's really driving me crazy because I know he's not nursing properly, but I can't figure out how to correct it.

One option I found out seems like it might be the root cause. I discovered early on that I had a very strong letdown ejaculation reflex that actually gags him while he's eating. Basically, when my milk lets down, it pretty much chokes him and causes him to gasp for air and even makes his little lips turn blue...scary! I tried some different nursing suggestions and positions and I figured that it corrected itself or that Jude just adjusted to it. Now I'm thinking that may not be the case. The clicking is him losing suction time after time after time... This in turn causes pretty sore nipples and aside from that, the noise is driving me crazy! Any advice?

Monday, June 29, 2009

All about lately...

So I was waiting to post until I knew something about Pack's interview, but guess what...NO NEWS! We still have no idea if he got it or not, but we are realistic in thinking he would have gotten a call already if he got the job. We're okay with that though because we figure that whatever happens will happen for a reason and we'll be fine.

On to other things...

We have had a blast lately with summer activities. Karen and I have been going to the Splash Pad at Lynches River once a week lately (with the kids, of course). I think I have a tan for the first time in like three years, thanks to my new favorite place! We also talked my parents into letting us put a cheap above-ground pool in their backyard for the kids to play in with us. I do realize that I'm an adult now and have my own house and yard, but we felt their house would be a central location and we wouldn't have to fight the redbugs there. We've also checked out the free movies at the Swamp Fox Theater once a week (Penn loved it....Jac, not so much!). Between those things and Library Story Time on Tuesdays, we are staying really busy!

This past weekend we celebrated a couple of things. First of all, Jude officially turned three months old. I can't believe it's been three months already! He's such a great baby, and I'm trying to soak up every minute of his babyhood. I love the simple smiles, bald head, and sweet smelling breath (don't take that for granted...it doesn't last long!). He's so precious and I'm such a lucky mom to have two beautiful, fun boys! Life doesn't get any better than that! And to document the day, here's my little precious pumpkin...couldn't you eat him up???


Our next celebration was my cousin (and one of my BFFs) Beth's surprise graduation party. Getting together with family is always fun, but especially so when we can surprise someone...and that's not difficult with our family. Beth just earned her master's degree and everyone wanted to do something special for her...I think the party did the trick. She really deserved it after working so hard!

Sunday was my church's annual Patriotic service and potluck. Absolutely one of my favorite services of the year. We start out in the yard with cannons and musket fire with re-enacters from previous wars and move inside for a time of worship and patriotic music. Probably my favorite part is when current and former servicemen are recognized. I get misty every year seeing uncles and other ordinary men from my church stand up and be recognized for the sacrifices they've made. My in-laws came this year and Pack's father was able to be recognized for his service in the Army. I kept thinking how strange it will be next year when Cam stands up as a veteran...so weird, but I'm definitely proud and thankful for him! After our service (which I was called out of to feed Jude), we enjoyed the biggest buffet lunch you've ever seen in your life! Seriously, that much food in one place is insane, but oh so good!

Pack sitting with Penn waiting for the cannons and muskets to start firing.

So anyway, that's what's been going on lately. I'll try to post some pictures later. I'm hoping that in one of my next posts I'll be able to tell everyone more on the job front, but for now, no news is no news...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just my boys...

These are a couple of videos that we've taken this week. The first one is my sweet little Jude who has been the social butterfly lately. He's been smiling for a while now, but it just keeps getting cuter.
The second video is Penn eating celery...yes...the child that will eat no other veggies will eat celery. This video is the second cut. The first one (I will spare you from) ends with him gagging because he kept talking with his mouth full. Manners are for a reason!

video

This second video is Penn eating celery...yes...the child that will eat no other veggies will eat celery. This video is the second cut. The first one (I will spare you from) ends with him gagging because he kept talking with his mouth full. Manners are for a reason!

video

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ahhhh!

What a great day! This is a pretty non-eventful post, but one of those days that I just might forget unless I write about it. Days like today help me get through afternoons like yesterday (which started out great, but had a rough few hours later).

Jude and I got up right as Pack was leaving for work and we left Penn snoozing in the bed. He wakes up in a much better mood when no one else is in the room. So he teetered to the living room about 30 minutes after we did with a chipper, "Hey Mommy...I waked up!" We sat around for a while and had breakfast then decided to call Karen and see if she and Jac were interested in going to the Y for a swim before lunch. Penn had a blast in the pool and I even had him putting his head under the water for a second or two. We went down the slide together twice and then decided we needed to split for lunch. Both Penn and Jac left the pool like champs! I took Penn to "Old McDonald's" drive-thru and we got our lunches and headed home.

At home, I realized that when you get apples and caramel in a kid's meal, the slices are already peeled...woo hoo! Five minutes saved and minus one throw-up fest! It was as I was noticing the apple slices and how well Penn was eating that I also realized that Penn hasn't thrown up in weeks! I guess the medicine is doing it's job...and Penn is getting an appetite again and actually eating some more veggies. A miracle! Penn ate ALL of his food, and then we took a bath and laid on his floor until he fell asleep for his nap. Wow!

Let me not forget to mention what an angel little Jude has been. I haven't heard him get really upset in almost a week (besides when he's hungry and I can't feed him immediately). I thought Penn was an easy baby (although he's giving me a run for my money now...), but Jude is a breeze! I can take him anywhere (like I did last week at work). He's so content to just sit or lay, kick his legs, and smile his face off. Much more independent than Penn was at that age (which is great because Penn still requires so much attention!). God sure knows how to put together families perfectly!

So I realize that it's just about 2:30 now and we have a lot of day left, but I'm hopeful. We did something right today and I'm actually at the point where I can fathom the thought of having a third child one day (not any time soon, but you know what I mean...). As a matter of fact, if every day were like this, I'd probably have a baseball team in a few more years (I realize that a cheerleading squad is probably not in our future). Oh well, thank God for days like this when I can really appreciate being a mommy! Life is good!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summertime!!!

Today was my first "official" day as an unofficial stay at home mom. Woo hoo! This is what I always wanted to be when I grew up! Now let's see if I love it as much as I always hoped I would...

Now...about the goings on in our family. We've had some big things to think about lately and it's pretty exciting. Pack has an opportunity to take a job with ESAB in Richmond, Virginia soon. Nothing's definite yet (he still has to interview next Monday), but we're pretty stoked about the possibility. Basically, if he gets the job, that will mean more money and a definite on me getting to stay home indefinitely. If the job's not meant to be, then I'll probably be putting in applications come August (or sooner) and have to leave my precious boys for hours on end every day to work. We took a step of faith in agreeing to not signing my contract for the 2009-2010 school year and now District One is not hiring, so we've gone nothing else to do but wait on God to take care of us. So far, God is good (and his track record's not too bad either!).

In other news, Jude's baby dedication was this past Sunday. A lot of our family was out of town for the occasion, which was a bummer, but we still had a great day. Penn stood with us in front of the entire congregation and we were pretty nervous how that was going to go. Well, he was absolutely as perfect as any two-year-old could be and both my boys looked precious! Here's a glimpse of our little family after the service.

Thank you, God for my precious family and help me to cherish every day!!!

Liquid Gold

Note: If all you're interested in is the goings on of the Packard family, stop here. This post is about breastfeeding and reader discretion is advised. This is a fair warning!

Okay, so I've been thinking a lot lately about breastfeeding (considering I spend a good portion of my day and night doing it) and I've been doing some research on different and facinating things. I'm curious what some people I know think about the issues.

First of all, here's my background (my limited readership is probably already aware of this). Breastfeeding Penn had a rocky start. After feeling like he was pulling needles out of my breasts for three weeks, I finally visited the lacatation consultants at McLeod. They didn't know what the problem was (why I was hurting), but they gave me a recipe for a miracle cream that had me feeling totally normal after a little less than a week. I probably wouldn't have made it more than those three weeks without that cream (ask me if you're interested in the "recipe"). So, I breastfed and pumped with Penn for 6 months before I started supplementing with formula. After that, I continued to breastfeed when I was with him on the weekends and weekdays after work until he was a little over a year old and he decided to wean himself off his one or two feedings a day. I am now nursing my second son, Jude and plan on doing so exclusively with no formula for a year or more since I won't have to send him to a babysitter during the day and pump regularly...hopefully. Basically, I'm pretty experienced in the breastfeeding department.

My first issue I can't get off my mind is the issue of cross nursing. For those of you that don't know, that's the act of nursing a baby that isn't yours. Think of Salma Heyak breastfeeding the starving African baby. There's a lot of controversy over this. In the afore mentioned example, you're talking life or death (not so controversial), but in most cases, it's neighbors or family nursing one another's children for convenience sake or as a bonding/community ritual. I really can't decide how I feel about this issue. I can't honestly say that I would be a participant in it because I don't know how I would feel about someone else nursing my baby, but on the other hand, it doesn't sound so bad. An article in People magazine described a situation in which the mother of a baby had died during childbirth and the father wanted to keep the mother's wishes that her child be breastfed. He started buying frozen milk over the Internet, but then neighbors and friends of friends with babies started voluteering to actually breastfeed this baby for the first year. I think they said that there were about 25 women who rotated feeding the baby every three hours during the day and then the father gave bottles of frozen breastmilk at night. In a situation like that, I'm still not sure how I feel.

Here's another new tidbit I learned...from the Bible. I'm sure you all know the story of Ruth and Naomi. Ruth was Naomi's daughter in law, but after Ruth's husband (Naomi's son) died, Ruth had the choice to go back with her family. Instead of returning, she remained loyal to her mother-in-law and stayed with her. Ruth eventually remarried and had another son...that was breastfed by her mother-in-law! So this says to me there is nothing at all wrong with co-nursing, but then why am I still really weirded out when I hear about some other ordinary examples??? Thankfully, unless I happen to come across a starving baby, I doubt I'll ever breastfeed someone else's child!

This leads me to something else that I'm definitely a fan of. Selling breastmilk! Seriously, this stuff is a hot commodity on the Internet! If I weren't breastfeeding my own son right now, I would be totally on that! I would never take my child's milk, but women who sell their milk can make almost as much as I make teaching! So anyway, once Jude decides he's done, I may convince myself to live green and share the wealth. What a waste of resources if I don't because I could probably feed triplets on what Jude eats, lol. And here you can read about a philanthropic effort to get breast milk to AIDS orphans in Africa...what a unique opportunity to save lives!

Lastly, in my recent research, I have come across some high and mighty breastfeeders. Don't get me wrong, I'm really proud of breastfeeding and I'm thankful that I'm able to do it, but I don't judge anybody for stopping. My own mother tried to breastfeed her first baby and ended up with mastitis, which pretty much scared her from ever trying it again. After my minor "inexperienced nursing" pain, I can't imagine what that must feel like. I was ready to let that ball drop after a couple of weeks! I feel that the most important thing for babies is not what milk they are getting, but how confident their mothers are in caring for them. A women who breastfeeds and cries and dreads every feeding is not doing their child any favors!

To close, here are my top 10 tips or things I've learned about breastfeeding...

1. Breastfeeding is almost always convenient, but it takes a long time before it's easy!

2. You can't beat the calories you burn while nursing. Once I stopped, I gained 15 lbs in no time!

3. Breastfeeding sometimes hurts. Everyone I know that has breastfed has dealt with pain at some point. When you aren't used to it or aren't doing it perfectly, it does hurt! I say to give it a month or as long as you can. Usually, you and the baby will get the hang of it by then.

4. It takes a long time for milk to dry up when you stop nursing gradually and it won't happen overnight just because you aren't feeding regularly.

5. Nix nursing bras. They are a total waste of a lot of money, you can only wear them with granny shirts (and personally, I like to show off my curves...however temporary), and you're better off wearing built-in-bra camisoles under everything. If you double layer your clothing, you can nurse anywhere and you really don't even need a cover (although I LOVE my nursing cover and use it a lot anyway)!

6. Special nursing clothes or pj's are more trouble than they're worth...seriously. Wear v-necks and criss-cross necklines with stretchy fabrics and you're set!

7. Everyone expects you to answer the question, "Could he be hungry?" Sure he could! I finished feeding him 10 minutes ago, but anything's possible!

8. Buy Playtex nursing pads (if you need them). They have the best adhesives and they aren't quite as big as some others. They are thick though! While you're at it, buy Lansinoh breast milk storage bags. They don't get holes in them when you freeze the milk!

9. Always have a drink handy when you're feeding. Nothing makes me thirstier than when I sit down to start feeding. As a matter of fact, it's worth it to learn to breastfeed while standing, walking and any other position that keeps you from being trapped on a couch with pillows!

10. Very few people are bothered by breastfeeding. As a matter of fact, I think most people are interested in it or don't care at all! Don't assume people are disgusted by breastfeeding.

I guess that's it...it seems I have to stop here anyway, as I have a hungry baby to feed...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back to reality...for a week at least

I'm typing up this quick post before I go back to work today...ugh! I can't believe I let Karen talk me into going back to work for one week! I'm at least hoping I don't cry leaving my babies today. My MIL is keeping Penn for the day and Karen volunteered to keep Jude...and to bring him to me to feed so I don't have to pump...I hate pumping! Hopefully they'll do great and I'll have a few little breaks during the day. I warned her that he may want to eat every 45 minutes to 4 hours...haha! Oh well, off to work I go!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I have a 2 year old!

So, Penn's birthday was on Friday last week and as luck would have it, he woke up with fever. He pretty much slept through his birthday and he seemed to be feeling be feeling better by nighttime, so we took him to Chuck E. Cheese's for his birthday supper. He ate nothing, but he and Jac had a blast running around and playing games. I was so glad he was feeling better!

On to Saturday...we got to church early to set up and decorate and finished just before six. Everything looked great and mom was still clueless that the party was for her too. I felt bad that she worked so hard, but she wouldn't have it any other way. Karen said that she could write a book, How to Throw Your Own Surprise Party! Anyway, the party began and everything went super-smooth. Karen made a great slideshow of Mom and Mrs. Barbara and the food was delish! I can say that because I didn't make any of it, besides the cake. The kids had a blast playing basketball and running around the gym and except for the noise factor, I think they stayed out of the adults' hair.


Penn got so many great gifts and adorable clothes (I especially liked the MagnaDoodle, as it came in handy today at Penn's check-up). From looking at the gift table, you would probably think how present hungry our family must be, but in my defense, we have a super-big family and they buy great stuff. I'm going to have to think how to do things differently in the future, though. I feel so bad that he gets so much and other kids have nothing. Maybe we need to start a pre-birthday tradition of giving away good-condition toys and throwing away broken or missing pieces. Maybe we can even come up with some theme parties. Does anybody have any ideas (Book parties are out because we are already overflowing with more books that he'll ever care to read.)?

So, Penn's second birthday has come and gone and next year, I'll be having to plan for two spring birthday parties....sheesh! I guess I better start buckling down and getting ready for the craziness to come. As difficult has having a newborn and toddler is, it's probably only going to get harder and busier. Below are some pictures from Penn's party...enjoy!

Gift and cake tables are all decorated!
The Elmo/Basketball Birthday Cake I made...no easy task!

Opening presents...Samantha and Jac helped him get through this long 15 minutes of being held down by Mommy.
The Famous "Elmo Pimp Hat"
Mommy and Daddy with the Big Birthday Boy!!!

I leave you with one picture of sweet Jude (with Aunt Karen)...unfortunately, we don't have a lot of pictures of him from the party because, well...he wasn't doing a whole lot. Fortunately, he's precious and adorable all the time, so this should do:)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birthday Countdown

I'm soooo excited about Penn's birthday this weekend. I know he's going to have a blast. I'm so glad that I've been able to lighten up this year by choosing to have the party at my church instead of home. It makes some things a lot more complicated, but overall, much less stress in the housekeeping department. Also, since it's a surprise party for some relatives that shall remain nameless, a lot of my family is chipping in on the food. Okay, so they're just buying all of it and I'm just getting paper products, decorations, and Penn's cake (which I would have done anyway). Have I mentioned how much I love my family???

As you may know, I am NOT a domestic goddess or anything, but I do like trying my hand at doing some things myself. For example, since this party is an Elmo/Basketball themed party, I'm making the cake without a mold, which is kind of scary. I also saw a cute Elmo "pimp" hat at Sesame Street Live, but I could bring myself to pay twelve dollars for a party hat that he would probably destroy, so I bought a red, fuzzy hat at the dollar store and I'm making Elmo's face on it. I hope Penn likes it...I tend to go a little overboard on cutesy sometimes, but whatever! Here's how I hope, it's going to turn out (and I do not know this child, but this is the result I got when I typed in "Elmo Pimp Hat"):
More exciting news...Penn has not thrown up since we've upped his medicine. I also got him to eat a soft taco and apple pie the other day. This may not seem like much to some of you, but trying something new and not throwing up are two very excting things for our little Penn. I'm a happy Mama!

Oh well, enough for now. I'm not planning on posting anything for the next few days as I get ready for the party, but you never know...if something comes up, I may need to.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Smarty Pants!

I almost forgot! Here is a video that I've been trying to get for months! Penn has been saying his ABC's since he was about 18 months old or so. My mom keep asking me to try and get it on film because no one believed that a child so young had learned his ABC's yet. Well, Penn refused to cooperate any time there was a camera around. I even tried to record just his voice on my phone, but he was wise to that too. I finally got him to start saying it in the car and I pulled out our flip video camera and started recording blindly. That's why you see my headrest a lot. I was trying not to turn around so he wouldn't think it was a big deal. Finally I saw that I could use the side-view mirror to see the view screen on the camera and I was able to line it up a little better. It's probably not that impressive now that he's officially two years old, but I still think my children are geniuses and cute as all get out!!

video

Sunday, May 17, 2009

CampinTrip

What a fun weekend! On Friday, I thought my excitement about the camping trip was going to be in vain because of the mass amounts of rain I saw soak my front yard. Alas, the rain stopped (as it always does) and the sun came out and pretty much dried it all out. Am I starting to sound like a children's song...haha? Anyway, we figured that we'd go out to Lynches River and see if everyone was coming anyway since we already had the vehicle packed and ready. The night saw one more little bit of rain, but the rest of the weather was perfect. The kids played and had a blast even though we had absolutely NO toys for them (oops). Penn ate a reliable meal of hot dogs and Cheetos (a meal we've named "Old Faithful" because we won't see it come back up) so we were happy campers...hehe. I'm pretty sure Jude only made a couple of peeps the whole time and never worked up a full-lunged cry the whole time. I'm a believer that you should take your children on the fun things you do too. It's not always easy and they don't always cooperate, but they learn to have fun with mom and dad and other adults and kids. I don't like to miss out on fun stuff just because I've got babies.

We were having so much fun that we didn't check the time and ended up putting the kids to bed at about 10:30 or so and it took a little longer for them to settle down. Pack actually brought an emergency TV with flashlight, siren, radio, and strobe (Thanks in-laws!) and Penn watched "snow" until he fell asleep. We woke up pretty early the next morning and got up and had breakfast. It was yummy, but we started seeing signs that they boys hadn't gotten enough sleep. We took down our tent and packed up the vehicles and headed over to the park for the boys to play. Once again, Jude was a super-sport. Not a whimper! After some wrestling, we visited the Discovery Center for Penn and Jac to look at the animal furs, bugs, bird nests, and anything else they had there. After that, we decided to head home and Penn was asleep in the car before we got out of Effingham.

So that was the camping trip in a semi-nutshell and here are a few pictures from the trip.

Here we are setting up. Penn's in orange because I was afraid he might wander off and I wanted him to wear something bright. Karen dressed Jac in camo...haha.

My sweet angel Jude on the new camping table that Pack bought us. I think he's got dimples!!!
There were tons of wonderful church people who helped me do some baby-holdin. This is Jan.
As you can see...Penn was not in the best of moods on Saturday morning. The Park helped to get his mind off he tired-ness.
Finally, a family picture. These are few and far between these days! I love my boys!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Penn update

At our one-and-a-half hour doctor visit yesterday, we had a geat revelation...I am the worst scheduler in the world...really. As we sat in the exam room and stormed through several temper tantrums from all of us except Jude, I realized that week after next...I'll be back...ON TWO SEPARATE DAYS!!! As if we weren't already wasting one afternoon on a visit where we decided simply to up the dosage on his Zantac, dummy me scheduled Penn and Jude's check-ups on two seaparate days in the same week! I hope my babysitter (aka...MIL) will be available. Oh well, I'll get through it.
Next up...Elim campout tonight. I'm so excited (obviously, right?) and can't wait until I can update with pictures. Let's hope all goes well!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Penn getting cozy


This is just a quick post to show a cute picture (if I can figure it out...). Here's the story...I basically do all our laundry on two days during each week because I'm lazy and that's the way I work. Anyway, Pack took all the folded laundry to our bed earlier in the day and stacked it up so we could put it up before bed. I haven't really thought much about it, as I've been up doing other things. So I just went to my bedroom and lo and behold, Penn had somehow managed to crawl over the mounds of laundry to find a cozy spot in our bed. There's just something comforting about sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bed, I guess. So sweet.

Yum!

On 89.7 WMHK (the Christian radio station) yesterday, one of their hosts mentioned a yummy after school snack she was going to make for her kids. I thought the concept for home-made granola bars sounded easy (and cheap, and yummy) so I looked up her blog to get the recipe. I am now a follower after I realized that she kept a blog of awesome mom-tips. I'm hooked! This recipe was so easy and even though Penn wouldn't try it (shocker!), I couldn't stop eating them and I'm worried that they may not make it to the church-wide camp-out at Lynches River County Park tomorrow night, as was originally my intention. So if the granola bar thing interests you, check it out the recipe here. Also, check out this awesome blog at Mandyofftheradio.blogspot.com. She posts pretty regularly so keep checking to see new stuff.

Anyway, on today's agenda is taking Penn to see our family doctor to re-evaluate the medicine he's on for what we think is reflux. He's never had any sort of test to confirm that's what it is, so the thought that we may be medicating him for something he doesn't have really worries me. I really trust our family doctor though, and since he sees all of us, he has an idea of what our family already deals with medically and that gives me some peace of mind.

Also, we're going camping shopping! Our church is having a campout tomorrow night at Lynches River County Park and we're going, babies and all! We already have a tent that can be set up in about one minute (which is awesome) and it works great for just the two of us, however...our family consists of more than two now. I'm a little worried that our little tent may get a bit stuffy with two bed-hog babies so we're looking for something we can stretch out in a little more. We also need to buy sleeping bags. I have no idea what happened to the bags we both had growing up, but they are nowhere to be found and I imagine they may be a little less than clean after being lost for so long. So, those are on the list to buy too now! This should be fun! If it goes well, we may do a camping family vacation this year so save some moo-lah! We'll definitely have to go up to the mountains though...or risk suffocating. Hey...if anyone knows of any cool (and cheap) things to do with the little ones this summer, let me know! It is of the upmost importance for me to stay occupied and not sit around at home all day.

Oh well, that's all I can think of for now. I'll hopefully be posting the outcome of the doctor's visit at some point (maybe tomorrow...). Pray for a solution!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

While babies are napping...

Halleluia! My angel husband decided to keep the night owl baby in the living room last night until he woke up hungry so I could get some sleep without having an infant on my arm. He stayed asleep in his swing until almost 2 am! Pack brought him to bed and I had to feed him again at 5 am, but that was sooo okay! In that time, Pack fixed our computer (another Halleluia), did some laundry (...Halleluia), and tried to get the throw-up smell out the couch (if it works...Halleluia!). So after a nice night, I woke up with the boys, sent Pack off to work, and went to the gym for half an hour (spent on the treadmill). *Note: I would have stayed longer, but when I had my six-week check-up after Jude's birth last Friday, the doctor wasn't totally ready to clear me so I not only have to go back in two months, he's also instructed me to stick to walking/light jogging and light weights (Does repeatedly lifting a 30 lb toddler count?). This works out well for me since my body's gotta get used to these workouts.

Penn cried the whole time at the Y today, which was very unusual, but I think it was because I had to drop him off in a room he wasn't used to. So now, Jude and Penn are taking naps and I'm getting a little unexpected computer time! Tonight I'll be going out with my awesome cousins (and my best friends), Beth and Barbara without babies in tow. Then, tomorrow...Sesame Street Live at the Civic Center!

I'm looking forward to all the business of the week so I can try to get Penn away from the TV. I've done a few no-TV days (thanks to the inspiration of Chelsea), but when I'm by myself with two babies, it is kinda saving my sanity so I can feed the baby in peace. We'll see how it goes when I try to wean him off Noggin and ETV...

Monday, May 11, 2009

My boy...sigh

Today is one of the days when I normally think, "Man, I wish I had a blog to write about this and see if anyone can relate to me!" Well, it just so happens that today, I do, and this may be one of those posts that I mentioned you may not care to hear about.

Penn, my precious two year old (almost) is perfect in every area that I can think of. I mean, he definitely is turning that corner from baby to boy and is testing out effectiveness of the discipline department in our house, but that's amazingly normal. I have no complaints about his behavior (today, at least). My issue is with his digestive system, so here's the story...

Penn was a breastfed baby. After a rocky first three weeks (where I was in agony 12-15 times a day), Penn nursed like a champ and grew like one too. We noticed pretty early on that he spit up a lot, but kind of pinned that down to being a gassy baby with mild reflux. He was ahead of the game in the numbers department in height and weight, so the doctor wasn't too concerned about some projectile vomit and heavy spit-up once or twice a week. When I had to go back to work, I pumped until he was six months old. It was then, that I decided to start supplementing with formula. I hated pumping...especially at work...and he was still nursing a lot in the afternoons and at night, so I felt it was pretty natural. I always worried that my pumping wasn't keeping up with his needs because I only had time to pump once during an eight hour day. Anyway, it was about then that reflux started rearing its ugly head...

As Penn began sampling solid foods and adding formula into his diet, the spit-up and throw-up spells became more chronic. It would usually come during a meal and a coughing spell. It was embarrassing to go anywhere, not knowing if he would horrify other guests by this spectacle. After Penn was about a year old, he started to wean himself (although I would have liked to keep it up for about six more months) the doctor finally agreed to let us try him on Baby Zantac, twice a day. After two months, we thought we had witnessed a miracle. Our picky eater, was eating whole meals and weeks would go by without a throw-up episode. It was wonderful and we had hopes that one day, he might be able to be weaned off the medicine!

Unfortunately, now...it's starting up again. We'll notice a cough or sneeze and then see his eyes start watering during a meal or after. Within a minute, he can release the entire contents of his stomach. It's so gross and I apologize for the details again, but I'm losing my brain. Last month, we had to throw out the only piece of carpet we had in our house and today, I'd love to do the same with our couch (except we can't afford that...). My first problem to solve is how to get the vicious smell out of the fabric without making our house spell like the cleaning aisle at Walmart. Next is to make an appointment for Penn at the doctor to see what we should do next. A higher dose of the meds? A totally different med? Do we just have a child with a sensitive gag reflex? I think anyone who's seen these episodes knows how bad they can be, so I do hope this isn't just "his thing."

Any help out there? I really need it because I hate to admit it, but it's looking like we're two for two in weak-stomached children, as Jude seems to be following the same pattern that Penn did. Hopefully, someone can relate and offer some solace or even suggestions for foods or good cleaning products... Let me know!

Ahhh...I actually do feel a little better.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Finally blogging!

So, I've really been wanting to start a blog for over a year now. As a matter of fact, I already registered for a blog about nine months ago. Why is it now months later and I'm just now typing up my first post? That's because I couldn't come up with a title for my blog! Everything I came up with was either super-cheesy or super-cliche. Okay, so those of you that know me may be wondering what part of cheesy or cliche didn't work for me, but I wanted to be original...for once. Tonight, I finally came up with my title (as you can see), "Things I Might Forget." In my mind, my blog is less about milestones in my life and more about the scenery of things I feel or do along the way. Yeah...a lot of what I think about wanting to blog is basically pretty forgettable stuff, but I don't always want to forget some of the little things that life brings.

Here it goes...about my blog...

At this point, I think I'll be posting on things that I know best...namely my family (sorry guys...). Just to introduce the supporting characters, there's Pack (the studly hubby), Penn and Jude (my precious little boys aged approximately 2 years and 1 & 1/2 months respectively), my twin sis Karen (who also keeps a pretty interesting blog), and lots of other family members and friends you may hear about along the way (they're awesome too).

Now, about me. I met the man of my dreams in high school and we got married once he got out of college and got a job. At that time, I was still in college and jobless, so we were pretty broke for a while...okay, so not much as changed. Anyway, shortly after marriage I was hit with the baby bug. Once my husband conceded to "try" for a baby, we became pregnant with Penn who was born just after our two year anniversary. Now Penn was such an awesome baby, he made me want about 10 more. I probably would have been sporting maternity pants again at Penn's first birthday had Pack not requested to wait a little longer. Once again, when we "tried" to get pregnant, we were. So here we are now. We welcomed Jude into the world just a week before our four-year anniversary and he is now six weeks old. Basically, we stay super-busy. You can't have a toddler and an infant in the same house without having to deal with some sort of mild chaos. I think I'm handling the huge adjustment pretty well, despite the fact that I notoriously deny help when offered just to prove that I can do things myself (however haggard that makes me). Pack handles my daily meltdowns pretty well and once I can breathe again (or sleep again), life goes on.

Basically, that's pretty much it. I'm sure that through this blog, more things about my life will surface that you may even not care to know about (sorry ahead of time), but hopefully you won't mind. I'm hoping that through this blog, I'll be able to clear my head when I need to and share some of the funny/crazy/scary/sad/boring/thrilling happenings in my life. Please let me know what you think about things...I live for comments!!!

Well, here goes...it's blog or bust!