August 30, 2007
Here's a link to some pictures.
He's living just outside Chicago (where his new job is) and his wife is still in Michigan with their three kids. The Michigan housing market is looking grim, so if you think of it today pray for the quick sale of their house so their family can live together again!
August 29, 2007
In retrospect, I probably could have started fitting into regular clothes around 6 weeks but elastic waistbands just felt more comfortable. You go through 7 months of elastic waistbands so anything even slightly fitted feels tight. Pants still fit a little funny . . . tight in the waist and really big in the legs. It's getting better every day, though.
I went into the spare bedroom where I've been storing all of my regular clothes and it's honestly like I just went on a shopping spree. I had NO IDEA how many clothes I had until I stored them for a year and came back to them. I swear I'm queen of khaki pants . . . I guess that's probably a prerequisite for working at a camp. Going through those clothes is the motivation I needed to lose the rest of this weight. I really can't afford to replace the ones that still don't fit, so I need to get moving on that.
August 28, 2007
However, the tivo downstairs was still set to record the Hills . . . and it did. So, when I was nursing Jack today, I started watching the new episodes. I am, once again, hooked. Also, some of "The Hills" the recorded must have been scheduled wrong because "Newport Harbor" (the replacement for Laguna Beach) recorded instead. Now I'm sucked into that sad little show too. Stupid MTV programming geniuses. I think teenage girls watch the show because they want to be the kids that they see. I watch the show to make fun of them.
Where am I going with this? Well, as I was fast forwarding through the commercials I noticed that they were geared toward people my age. Lots of diaper and Disney video commercials. I was surprised by this. I thought they'd be gearing commercials more toward teenagers. Maybe I'm not the only one in my age bracket watching these shows. Or maybe there are more teenage parents watching than I'm aware of. Mothers probably shouldn't end sentences with prepositions either, huh?
I know that the day when I need to stop watching MTV is coming, but I'm allowed one more season, right?
For those of you who apologized for being "stalkerish" when you asked . . . please don't worry. I'm sure I can beat most of you at blog stalking.
Kyle almost dropped Jack, so I'm going to go rescue him. :) Now he's reading over my shoulder and yelling, "I did not." And now Jack's spitting up on him. That ends today's narrative.
August 26, 2007
Jack was so happy all morning that we decided that we didn't need to sit in the balcony at church. We sat in our usual old area of the sanctuary. He sat on my lap and just looked around and observed during the opening announcement time and singing. Then, he fell asleep in my arms during the sermon. We went to lunch at the Beach Bar following the service and got a little fussy, but calmed down within a minute. He went 5 hours between feedings!
I took him with me to a bridal shower today. It was the longest trip the two of us have made alone. Kyle rigged up the little toy bar that goes over his bouncy seat to hang over his car seat. He played with that for about the first 30 minutes of the trip. He's really started to grab things well . . . but I was so excited when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw that he had a toy elephant in each hand and was banging them together and squealing with excitement over the fact that he could make that noise! Then he kept grabbing their ears because they made a crinkling noise. Ok, maybe that's not genius status, but I am ready to start downloading his college applications.
I've never seen him smile as much as he did today! He was so happy. He fussed a total of about 10 minutes combined all day. It has been great! I wish every day were like this one.
Happy birthday, Kyle!
August 24, 2007
While I was in the examination room waiting for the doctor, I could hear muffled voiced in the room next door . . . followed by the sound of a baby's heartbeat. I had forgotten what a fantastic sound that is. I always teared up a little every time I heard it at my monthly appointments. I remember hearing it for the first time when he had only existed for 7 weeks and was the size of a grain of rice. It's so weird to think that my little boy was the same kid whose heartbeat I listened to from the outside. I was telling Kyle this week that I can't really remember what it was like to be pregnant. Not in an amnesia sort of way, but I just don't remember what it felt like to have him kick me or even how badly my wrists and hands bothered me.
My nostalgia has been heightened even more by the fact that Kyle took the bassinet out of our room and put it in storage down in the basement. Kristen and Brett have the same bassinet as we do. When they put theirs together, they discovered that the weight limit on it is 15 lbs. Jack's definitely beyond that. Plus, he's almost 3 months old and we don't use it that often anyway. My baby's growing up! Did you know that size 3 diapers start at 16 lbs!? He's only been in size 2 for 3 or 4 weeks!
Alright, time to get some shut eye. Good night!
August 23, 2007
Jack stayed with Kyle's mom and we went to see the Tigers' play the Indians. Our mortgage company gave us free tickets (which I don't really consider to be free, considering how much of our money they swindled us out of). It was blazing hot and our seats were right in the sun. We were sweating buckets so we watched half of the game standing in the shade on the concourse. Shamefully, the Tigers lost in the 10th inning. Even with the heat, we had a lot of fun and it was a good game.
The game was not my only source of entertainment. In a stroke of pure public relations genius, the first 10,000 guests to Comerica Park today received hats that were supposed to assist fans in their quest to resemble this man:
Tigers outfielder, Magglio Ordonez
Here's what the fans actually looked like:
I feel sorry for Magglio, because the hats make him out to be much trashier than he actually looks.
Speaking of Magglio, he had a lot of fans. I suspect that his biggest fan was sitting behind us. She was probably around 4 or 5 and when Magglio was up to bat she would stand up behind us, put her head right between Kyle and I, and screech, "Magglioooooo!" Her parents told her she couldn't do that, but really did nothing to stop her. I found it mildly humorous.
Speaking of little kids, there were A LOT of babies at the game today! Young babies. Many younger than Jack. Granted, most babies less than 6 months old look younger than Jack, but there were a lot of babies that looked only a couple of weeks old. It was so hot. Their parents looked so miserable.
It was funny to see how many women thought they were going to the prom but accidentally ended up at the game. I can only guess that they thought they were going to a prom, rather than a baseball game, because of the way they were dressed. I'm talking dresses and heels . . . who would wear that stuff to a baseball game?! I don't think people need to dress like scrubs (as I was dressed), but if they wanted to dress up wouldn't a sundress or a nicer pair of pants suffice? I guess I'm not really much of a fashionista, so who am I to judge?
On our way home from the game, we made a couple of stops (including a short trip to IKEA) and came home to reunite with Jack. He was really tired when we got home and was relaxing on Aunt Kristen's expanding belly (I like to think of it as him playing with his cousin). I was so excited to see him. He had been so fussy for the last week or so, and has kind of returned to his normal, easy-going self.
It was a busy day, but a good day. I really do feel refreshed and I'm ready to jump back into things tomorrow!
August 22, 2007
Over the course of the next few months, my like of tivo turned into my love of tivo. My only complaint was that if I recorded something in the basement, I couldn't watch it while I was cooking in the kitchen or while I was working on stuff in my office. What's a girl to do? It was at this point that we made the decision to bring two more boxes into our family. Only this time we took the cheaper route and bought them off of ebay.
Here's where we were blessed by good fortune. We purchased one of the boxes on ebay with a lifetime subscription . . . meaning that we didn't have to pay a monthly service fee for it . . . ever. The previous owner had already paid a lifetime service fee (this is an option that tivo no longer offers . . . probably because of how it cheap the service ends up being for us). Therefore we are charged the "additional box fee" of $6.95 a month for our additional two tivos. We have three tivos for very little a month.
I know that some of you are sitting there shaking your head thinking, "How could anyone possibly watch that much television?" That's the great part! With tivo we actually watch less television. When we have time to actually sit down and watch TV, we get to watch the shows we actually want to see instead of just settling for whatever happens to be on at that time. PLUS, we can fast forward through commercials. I'm pretty sure the only live television I watch all week is the news. Even then, I usually pause that a couple of times during the morning and end up still being able to fast forward through commercials. I'm not sure what we did before tivo. The bad part . . . we get addicted to certain shows because we never have to miss an episode. Also, we find ourselves covering our ears a lot as people are talking about the latest episode of a particular show that we haven't seen yet.
If you're not yet praying for the salvation of my tv-watching soul, just wait. When we were in Chicago this weekend, we walked into my sister's apartment and I saw it. It was the orange box with the little tivo man on the front. MY SISTER BOUGHT A TIVO! I assumed because it was still in the box that she must have purchased it minutes before we walked in the door. Why else would it not be set up yet? However, we came to find out it had been sitting there for seceral days. Nedless to say, Kyle helped her set it up and I gave her a "tivo lesson." I introduced her to the world of season passes, tivo suggestions, and the now playing list. I told her all about how it would change her life. I was pretty much a tivo-evangelist. However, I'm realizing that we should have received reward points for referring her . . . and I don't think she put my e-mail address in as the person who told her about it. Oh well.
August 20, 2007
For better . . .
He's no longer just batting at objects in front of him. He's really beginning to grab on to things well. They usually go directly into his mouth. The other day, Jack was staring intently at an object hanging from the handle of his carrier. He kept moving his hand toward it to grab it, but missed. Someone came up and began shaking the toy. His eyes got wide and his hands dropped back to his sides. I could just see him thinking, "I'm doing it! I'm moving the toy with my mind!" Crazy kid. He's also holding his head up really well and when I pull him from a laying down position to a sitting position by his arms, his head doesn't hang back at all. He's talking A LOT and we have dozens of pretend conversations every day . . . and we love it.
For worse . . .
He's gone back to waking up twice each night. What happened to the 8 hour stretches? Is he going through a growth spurt? If this kid goes through any more growth spurts, he'll be too heavy to hold by the time he's 9 months old! Also, he has two times during the day in which he fusses and cannot be consoled. It's frustrating because we can't figure out what's causing it. I suspect teething, because when I put a finger in his mouth he just gums it. It also seems as though he's spitting up a lot more than usual. Every shirt that fits me has spit up stains on it. Par for the course, I suppose.
I've taken on some more (temporary) responsibility at camp and I think I might be getting myself into more than I bargained for. Kyle was at home with Jack all day and it was killing me that I couldn't be with him. I really do think these new responsibilities will only be stressful for a few weeks until I get the hang of things. At least that's what I'm hoping. I'm excited about the things I'm doing there, but I had looked forward all summer to being home with Jack more. I hope that once I get settled in, I'll be able to still do that.
It occurred to me this week that I have to go back to writing my thesis too. The summer was a nice little break from that, but I'm dreading having to get back into it. Do I really need a master's degree? If I hadn't put so much money into it, I probably wouldn't be as motivated to finish it. I hate it that this degree takes so much time and effort when so many other programs (resulting in degrees that will actually get you higher paying jobs) don't require any sort of thesis. How is this fair? When I look back at how much I've learned though, I do think that makes it worth it. It's just this stupid paper . . .
The advice given to me about all I have to accomplish this year was to take it on like I'd eat an elephant . . . one bite at a time. First of all, I'd never eat an elephant. Second of all, I feel as though the tasks that lie ahead of me this year are more comparable to being blindfolded and told to find an elephant somewhere within a 300 mile radius of where I am now, and then eat it.
August 19, 2007
We ate breakfast at the Deluxe Diner on Clark this morning before we headed back to Michigan. If you're ever in Chicago, I highly recommend eating there . . . great breakfasts!
A little background information: Jack hasn't been real fond of his car seat carrier . . . ever. So, I do my best to make getting buckled into it a game of sorts. Today, the game was, "How many arms do you have today?" I exaggerated counting his arms as we put them through the straps. This game involved me saying things like, "One arm. We have one arm in the strap. How many arms do you have though? Do you still have two arms? Did we lose an arm? We wouldn't want to lose an arm? No . . . there it is! You still have two arms. That would have been so bad if we lost one of your arms. What would we do if you only had one arm, silly boy?!" You get the idea.
The part of this story that makes it anecdotal comes next. As I'm clicking the last strap into the buckle and ending the game Jack and I were playing, I looked up at the two men in the booth right next to our table. One of them was looking right at me. He had a prosthetic arm. That's right. He really did lose an arm. Seriously? What are the chances of this happening to anyone but me?
Suddenly, I felt compelled to add statements to our game such as: "But even if you did lose an arm, you would play a meaningful part in our society" or "Having two arms doesn't make you any better than someone with, say, only one arm." I didn't, though. I just hastily put the carrier in Kyle's hands and hurried us along.
August 18, 2007
August 17, 2007
August 16, 2007
Camper: How were you able to work at camp all summer and take care of a newborn baby?
Me: I'm amazing.
This bit of conversation place this week and I realized afterwards that anytime someone asked me how I was doing balancing everything this summer, I relied on the illusion of confidence that I've had to lean on during many times throughout my life. It seems that I rarely made it to breakfast each morning without someone saying "How are you doing?" without actually wanting to stop and hear how I was doing. Nonetheless, I'm proud of how well we did this summer.
Here's what a typical day's schedule looked like for us this summer:
Sometime between 3 & 5 AM: Jack wakes to eat . . . again. Kyle changes him and then brings him to me and I nurse him while checking my e-mail and sometimes updating my blog . . . with one hand. Sometimes he goes back to sleep, sometimes he doesn't. If he sleeps, we put him in his bassinet or in bed between us (don't tell the AAP). If I couldn't go back to sleep after I nursed him, I'd get up and work on folding laundry, packing the diaper bag for the day or something else equally as mundane.
Sometime between 6:30 - 7 AM: Kyle and I get out of bed and get ready for the day. Depending on how late we get up, we decide if we have time to put regular clothes on Jack. Most of the time, he stayed in his PJs until after breakfast. Depending on how long ago Jack nursed, he may nurse again a little after 6 AM.
7:20 AM: Kyle leaves.
7:30 AM: Kyle has his meeting with the Red Oak Lodge counselors.
7:35 AM: Jack and I pack up the car, I try to catch Murphy and put her in her crate, and leave for camp. Jack is usually sleeping or screaming. There was no middle ground.
7:42: Jack and I meet Kyle at Red Oak and trade cars.
7:45: Kyle takes Jack to our office while I have a meeting with the Applewood Lodge counselors. I try to stay as long as possible, because this is my only "break." But the counselors usually just sat and stared at me without much to say, so the meetings didn't last as long as I would have liked them to. THey didn't really get to know me this summer, so I guess they didn't have a lot they wanted to talk to me about.
8:00: I meet Kyle in the Cedar Center. He usually has Jack changed into regular clothes and in the stroller. Jack's usually pretty happy at this point.
8:15: The first breakfast group arrives. We eat after they do, and before the second group arrives. While we eat, one of a number of people holds and plays with Jack. We have to track him down when we're done eating because we don't always know where he ended up . . . usually with Grandma Luke or GG, but sometimes one of the kitchen "Aunts."
9:15: Kyle heads off to take care of his morning responsibilities and I take Jack with me to the office. Sometimes, he sits on my lap and enjoys looking at the colorful things I have pinned up all over. Sometimes he lays on my couch and bats at toys. Sometimes, he rides with me in the baby bjorn if I have a lot of running around camp to do. Often, he naps in the bjorn or in his little infant bed set up on my couch. We throw several mini-playtimes in there. There's another nursing slot in here somewhere.
11:30: Kyle's usually pretty open until lunch so he takes him so I can do all of the things I could do with a baby strapped to me (namely, go to the bathroom).
12:00 Lunchtime! Again, we eat between the first and second lunch groups. Lunch always seems to be the most interrupted meal of the day. Again, Jack is passed around and loves every minute of it.
1:00 I pack up work to do at home, pack up the car and head out. Again, Jack's either screaming or sleeping. He's not a big fan of being in his carseat. Once we get home, he's usually ready to eat.
1:45 We play! Activity gym, bouncy chair, blocks, tummy time . . . really, whatever he's in the mood for. We both have a lot of fun.
2:30ish If I catch all the signs that he's tired just right, I can put him down for his nap awake and he drifts off. If I wait to long, I have to rock him to sleep for his nap. I work while he's napping.
4ish He wakes up and eats again. His feeding schedule changes pretty much every day.
5:00 Head back to camp for dinner. Same thing. We eat. Other people hold him.
6:00 I tie up any loose ends before I leave for good. Some nights we stay later, depending on what the evening activity is for the campers. If he's sleeping, I can even sneak into a little bit of the evening service. He usually isn't sleeping.
8ish We head home for the night. Bathtime, short playtime, more eating.
9ish Again, if I play my cards right, I can put him down awake and he'll fall asleep on his own. I was a lot better at that by the end of the summer.
I usually waited up until Kyle got home between 11 and midnight to debrief the events of the day and decide what we needed to change for the next day. It was exhausting, but it worked. And Jack was so loved and well taken care of . . . by us with the help of the community that surrounds us. By the last two weeks of camp we had finally fallen into a rhythm, just to have it end . . . and we'll have to start all over from the beginning next summer.
I still have a little trouble fathoming this. I used to change his diapers. I used to sing horrible renditions of "Silent Night" to him so he'd fall asleep in his car seat when he was crying in the car. I used to drop him off at kindergarten every day on my way to school. And now he's flying planes.
He had his cross-country solo flight today. He flew from Willow Run Airport to Coldwater, which happened to take him right over camp! He told his the approximate times to look for him and we were. And when I say, "we" I mean a lot of the camp staff. We all waved and I took pictures. I was surprised that I felt a little emotional. I think I was just amazed and proud that my little brother was flying a plane all by himself.
Here are the pictures I took this afternoon:
Watching for Uncle Jeff
The first fly over
Jeff ready for take off . . . but this picture was from a different day.
He most often poops when I'm nursing him. When it starts, he'll jerk his head to the side (making it feel for a brief moment as if my breast will be ripped from my chest) and start making low, throaty grunts. This continues for 3 or 4 minutes while he tries to remain latched on while thrashing around (ouch) on the boppy pillow I use for nursing. Finally, with 10 - 15 seconds of rumbling from the bottom half of his little body (a sound that can only be compared to the thunder of an approaching storm) and one last jerk of his head (again, ouch), it's over. From that point, he either continues sucking or falls into a short deep sleep. Relief!
For 24 hours or so, we went through all of the above, without the final 10 - 15 seconds. No rumbling. No thunder. Just grunting followed by squeals and moans of pain. My poor baby.
Fortunately, he had a blow out last night during dinner (ours, not his) that seemed to have solved the problem. It seems he is regular once again.
August 15, 2007
I read in our information that Jack's "Well Baby" visits and immunizations were covered 100% by our insurance company. A part of the reason I wanted to have a baby was just so that we could get something from our insurance company that was covered 100%.
So, imagine my surprise when I get the EOHWGSYO from the insurance company and it says we owe $273 for his latest check up and immunizations. "How could that be?" I asked myself. These check-ups are clearly marked as "Covered - 100 percent of the approved amount, no deductible required" in benefits guide. I had several people tell me how lucky I am to have that coverage, and I agreed. We're already trying to figure out how to pay off the thousands that we owe for hospital costs and other debt in our life, so having something covered 100% was . . . well, it was just nice not to have to worry about it.
However, tonight I saw the fine print. Isn't it funny how bad news is so often in the fine print? On our benefits guide it says, "Preventive Care Services - Payment is limited to a combined $500 annual maximum for covered preventive care services." $500. Why even say you'll cover these visits and immunizations 100% if you'll only cover it up to $500? You can't get 2 well-baby visits and all of the immunizations for $500 . . .so how can you possibly get all 6 that the insurance company allegedly covers? It's impossible. The real kicker is that if these "preventive" visits were billed as regular office visits, we'd only have to pay our usual 20% co-pay. The other thing that really gets me is that the doctor's office that told me I was going to cause brain damage to Jack also billed my insurance and will be sending me a bill for the remaining balance. How is this fair?
So, I lost it tonight. I broke down into the ugly cry again. I kept thinking about how if Kyle had a teaching job, we'd have a lot less hospital bills, Jack's doctor's visits would be covered, plus we'd have more money. I kept thinking about how if we had saved our extra money three years ago, we wouldn't be in so much debt now. I keep thinking about the horrible, horrible mortgage that we got fooled into signing off on and how the market's so bad right now so selling or refinancing are years away from being options. I kept thinking about how the camp doesn't provide housing for us and how nice it would be not to have a house payment. I kept thinking about how we may literally never be able to retire. I cry even as I type this because I feel a little like I'm drowning. Kyle keeps reminding me that God has always provided and will continue to provide, but at what point is the issue not God's provision, but us having to live with the consequences of spending rather than saving during the earlier years of our marriage.
I love Jack and know that he was worth every penny that went (or will be paid) toward infertility treatments and hospital bills, but I wish I could go back 5 years and change a few things. I know it's crazy, but I keep hoping we'll just win the lottery (which means I'd actually have to go buy a ticket) or have all of the debt erased. I constantly come back to to this recurring thought of how great I'd feel to have all of our debt erased.
One day as I was dreaming about what it would be like to be debt-free, I realized that the freedom that would come from having our financial debt erased is nothing compared to the freedom that we have from having our sin erased. As trite as it may sound, Jesus died to pay a debt far greater than anything we owe to any hospital or credit card company. I'm blessed just to not have to carry the burden of my sin any longer. I need to live each day realizing that there is a freedom greater than financial freedom that is already mine. Praise God!
I guess I need to stop stressing about retirement and start praising God for how he provides for us each day. My prayer for tonight is that God will use us despite our financial woes and that we will be able to make wise financial decisions. And that we will win the lottery.
August 14, 2007
Anyway, today was a little different. It wasn't bizarre as much as it was sad. I have never seen so many badly behaved children in my life. I know I should never say, "My kids will never act like that," because I'll surely live to regret it. But I do hope to never react like their parents did. I heard screaming parents pretty much the entire time I was there.
The saddest story began when I saw a little boy (probably around 3 years old) wandering down an aisle yelling, "Mom?! Mom?!" I was about to pass the aisle when I saw him. I stopped and began looking around to see if there was a mother looking frantically for her child. I started walking toward the boy.
That's when I saw her.
There was a lady standing at the end of the aisle, with her back to the end cap. She seemed to be hiding but I knew that she couldn't be the mom of this little boy . . . who was crying by this point.
I walked to him, knelt down and said, "Hey buddy . . . I'll help you find your mom. Do you remember what she was wearing?"
Before he could respond, the endcap lady swung around the corner and shouted, "Don't help him!" I looked back and was completely stunned. This lady couldn't possibly know this little boy, could she?!
She grabbed the little boy (who I soon discovered was in her care) by the arm and said, "Were you scared?" He just sobbed and couldn't seem to get any words out.
"Huh? Were you scared? I hope you were scared," she grumbled. "That's what you get for walking ahead of me!" Then she proceeded to drag him down the aisle by his arm while telling him that he got what he deserves for going down the aisle ahead of her. I wanted to ask her what she deserves for letting her toddler walk ahead of her without stopping him and then deserting him.
I know that I haven't been in her shoes and I shouldn't judge her, but I was so sad for that little boy. He was so upset and there was no comfort, forgiveness or grace in his mother's eyes. He was so little.
As I was on my way out to my car it took me forever to find it. I walked up and down the parking lot lanes trying to figure out where I had parked. Unfortunately, this was not my first time ever having to do somthing like this. I kept seeing cars that looked like mine but with a different liscense plate. I finally resorted to walking up and down the lanes pressing the panic button. When I saw my car start honking and flashing, I was surprised to see it was one that I had passed several times. I had forgotten that Kyle had changed our plates over to our new ones. By this point, people were staring and wondering why I was pushing a cart full of groceries back toward Walmart. I kind of wonder if someone is blogging tonight about the bizarre girl they saw wandering the parking lot at Walmart. I guess the people I see at Walmart are probably a lot like I was in the parking lot this afternoon . . . normal people having bad days.
So, the last time I had a milk dud, I was sick. I'm sick again and have another. Coughing, achy, etc. So, which came first? Are the blocked milk ducts causing me to be sick (which is a possibility), or is the sickness causing the blocked milk ducts (which is also a medical possibility). Either way, I'd like them both to go away.
Also complicating things is my chronic shoulder pain. I hurt my shoulder my senior year of college doing "the wall" . . . a group building element in which you hoist your entire team up over a wall. I was with a bunch of girls who had no upper body strength (the fact that I ever had the most upper body strength in any given group of people is very amusing to me). I pulled most of them up and over. My shoulder hasn't been the same since.
I've been to specialists, spent thousands in (worthless) physical therapy, seen a chiropractor regularly for a couple of years and nothing has helped. When I got pregnant, my shoulder problems disappeared! Weird, right? My uneducated theory is that the hormone your body produces during pregnancy to loosen your joints to prepare you for delivery helped to loosen my shoulder and reduce the pain. Anyway, about two weeks after I had Jack, the pain returned. This week, it hurts more than it ever did before. This is not good when you're trying to take care of a 15 lb. baby. I have a hard time lifting his carrier in and out of the car or rocking him for a long period of time.
We're heading to Chicago this weekend to visit my sister. I'm hoping that all of my issues clear up by Friday . . . fingers crossed, but I'll have tylenol packed just in case.
Well, Jack's sleeping in the bassinet next to me (he's almost too long to sleep in there anymore) so I should be sleeping too. Good night.
For Kyle, it means this:
I was in the other room and heard Kyle laughing and walked in to find him and Jack playing "dress in dad's clothes." I couldn't help but laugh!
Speaking of Kyle, the flowers he got me for my birthday last Thursday are BEAUTIFUL. I love stargazer lilies:
August 13, 2007
(5 minutes later)
Me: Kyle, I'm done. Will you change him?
(Absolutely no movement.)
Me: Kyle, will you change him?
Kyle: Yeah, I said I will.
(5 minutes pass. Still no movement.)
Me: I'd really like to change him. Is it ok if I do it tonight?
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August 12, 2007
I knew that having you would bring change, but no one could have prepared me for everything that I've experienced in the last 8 weeks! I didn't expect that you would grow up this quickly! I find myself constantly saying, “Remember when he was little . . .?”
I was so emotional during your first couple of weeks home. I had such a hard time describing what I was feeling at that time . . . and in retrospect, the only word I can use to express those seemingly hormone-induced emotions is “full.” I was completely full.
Full of love.
Full of wonder.
Full of fear.
My heart was full, and because of that I cried incessantly.
Sometimes I cried out of happiness. Your dad and I were so happy to finally have you after years of longing for you. Sometimes I cried out of worry. I worried that I wouldn’t be a good enough mom. I worried that I couldn’t give you everything that you need and deserve. I worried that you’ll marry a girl that I disapprove of and move half way across the country and never call or visit.
You came home from the hospital and only stopped at home for a few hours before heading to camp for staff training. You are one of very few people who can say that you’re your parents made you go through training during your first two weeks of life! Grandma Wietholter came to stay for a few days while dad went on the campout with the staff. We missed him a lot, but I learned a lot from grandma about how to take care of you. I’m not sure if I’d know how to give you a bath if it weren’t for her!
As tired as I was during your first week of life, I’ll always treasure those first days together. We talked about how much your dad and I love you. We took tours of the house. I told you about God and how he gave you to us and has good things planned for you. We danced to our song about a hundred times and it always seemed to calm your crying.
Watching your dad take care of you has been so fun. He loves you so much, Jack. You look so much like him. I watch him hold you and can almost hear him thinking about how much fun it will be to play catch with you in the back yard when you’re older. Please don’t disappoint him by taking up gymnastics or ballet. But if you do, let him down gently.
You’ve changed so much over the last 8 weeks and I’m scared that you’ll grow up too quickly! After all, you already look about 4 months old! I've changed a lot too over the last two months. Being a mom is more challenging and more rewarding than I ever expected. I love you more than I expected I could love someone that I’ve only known for such a short time! I’ve learned to trust God more than I did before and I know that I can only be a good enough mom for you if I’m letting him show me how.
I’m sorry that your first 8 weeks have been so chaotic. I worried a lot that you’d be somehow affected by our activity, but you don’t seem to mind. Though I suspect that you might hold your head up better like the doctor wants you to if we had given you more tummy time and less baby bjorn and stroller time.
Your dad and I love you more than we could ever adequately express . . . though we’ll do our best to try.
But let's be honest. I probably shouldn't commit to a monthly letter. At camp, I'm responsible for posting weekly camp pictures on the website. Our information for parents used to say, "Pictures will be updated regularly," and I changed the wording to say, "Pictures will be updated periodically." It's a much more attainable goal.
Therefore, I'm going to post periodic letters to Jack. My first one will be posted shortly.
Carrie: Maybe we should hook up the trams so that the campers don't have to walk down to breakfast in the rain.
Me: This is camp. Not "Miss Jan's School for Little Girls Who Want To Stay Dry. "
Carrie: Oh. Sorry. I guess you're right.
Me: I'm kidding. Kyle's hooking up the trams now.
Carrie: Oh. OK.
First of all, we tried on three "church outfits" before we found one that still fit. There are two outfits that he never even had a chance to wear because he outgrew them so fast. The last time we put him in them, they were way too big.
When we arrived at church he was asleep. We made our way to the balcony (with all of the other parents of small children) and he stayed sleeping through all of the opening songs. As soon as we were all seated, he woke up. He wasn't loud or fussy . . . just awake. So Kyle hold him for a few minutes when we heard it.
Let me back up and give you some important background information. Doctors say that when a bottle fed baby has a full diaper you can smell it and when a breastfed baby fills his diaper . . . you hear it. As soon as we heard Jack start his "I'm pooping my pants" grunts, Kyle and I just looked at each other and laughed because we knew what was coming. In no time, there was a rumble from below and everyone around us knew that Jack (or at least I hope they knew it was Jack) had filled his pants. Kyle took him to the bathroom to change him.
He returned a few minutes later with a freshly changed baby and I decided I could hold him for a while. As soon as I took him, he spit up all over me and the pew. After that, he got fussy.
Kyle walked him around in the foyer and the fireside cafe until church was over.
The rest of today was difficult. He was inconsolably fussy. He cried for most of the afternoon. He was great at camp when we were at dinner, but continued to be fussy when we got home. I don't know if it's diaper rash, something I ate, his congestion . . . I just know that there's something wrong with him. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little bit easier.
August 11, 2007
I walked into his room to make sure he was ok and he was just wide eyed and looking around. I looked at him and said, "Good morning, Jack." And he just flashed me a big grin. What a great start to the morning.
Don't get me wrong . . . I think God is faithful in every situation but I don't think that retrospect always brings total understanding to every situation. When someone dies, you grieve. When someone hurts you, you feel pain. I don't think you ever look back 10 years later and think, "If I knew then what I know today, I wouldn't have spent so much time hurting and healing." I'm merely speaking of not worrying so much because God will take care of me . . . even if it's in a way different than I would expect. There are other situations in which good comes in spite of the circumstances rather than through them. I hope I'm not too confusing.
There are some pictures posted below, but click here to see more.
Here are some links to past blogs:
Jack at 10 weeks old:
My feet on a normal day:
My feet when pregnant:
I can still remember what they felt like everytime I stood up or put any weight on them at all. I probably gained half of my pregnancy weight in my feet!
August 10, 2007
Today he rolled from front to back for the first time. I put him on his tummy, grabbed the camera and he rolled over like he'd been doing it for years. We wish we'd had it on video, but I have pictures:
Rolling over seems like such a simple thing, but I now understand why parents are so pround when their child does it for the first time! This could make tummy time a little more difficult.
So, before you get all worked up thinking that we're putting Jack to sleep on his stomach (gasp!), let me explain.
As you may recall, we were told at Jack's check up that he wasn't holding his head up well enough. So, today was day one of making sure Jack has enough tummy time. We put him on his tummy, he pushed himself up a couple of times, got a drunken look on his face and fell asleep.
Better luck next time, I guess.
August 9, 2007
Anyway, it was really fun to just sit and talk (and eat). Joy, Debbie and Kyle put it all together and had some great food and an amazing TCBY ice cream cake. Throughout the night I reminisced back to the first time we had our staff over to our house and how miserable it was for Kyle and I because Jack wouldn't stop crying and it didn't help that our house was so loud. He was only 1 week old then . . . it was back when he was little. It was back when we had no idea what we were doing. Tonight went so much more smoothly. Jack went down to bed at his bedtime and the evening continued. It's so nice to know that we don't have to be to camp until 8:30 tomorrow and that our schedule is now flexible again.
Today was also the last day of camp for 2007. I have mixed emotions . . . I'm so glad to be able to get into more of a routine with Jack, and to be able to get more sleep. I'm glad to not be working 12 hours a day and take care of an infant. I'm excited that I'll be able to give Jack the tummy time that I've deprived him of over the last 1o weeks and play with him more. But I'm always bummed when a summer ends because no two summers are the same so you always have to say goodbye to what was here this summer. My whole world changed this summer and nothing is the same. I have a feeling that the world won't stop changing for the next 18 years or so.
I spent so long wondering what it would be like to get through the summer with an infant and now that it's over I realize that I hadn't really thought much past summer. When I was pregnant, I always tried to visualize what it would be like to run camps and take care of a baby, but I hadn't tried to imagine what the fall would be like with a baby. I haven't really given winter much thought. For the last 11 months, I had just thought about what the summer would be like . . . and now it's over. I'm excited to see what lies ahead.
August 8, 2007
We're seriously considering finding a new home for Murphy. We really feel like we do not have the ability to train her beyond where she is now. She sleeps in a corner of our bedroom because she'll cry if we put her in her crate and night and that keeps us all awake. But when she sleeps in our room, 9 times out of 10 she pees in the doorway sometime before we wake up. She's also chewed up several of Jack's blankets, sleepers, onesies, burp cloths, etc. I just don't know what to do but our carpet is trashed. I'm at a total loss.
I turn 29 in 1 1/2 hours. It's a little scary to be this close to 30. I'm pretty sure this is the first birthday I've had where I haven't been announcing it to everyone for two weeks leading up to it and marking it on everyone's calendars. I don't think it's because I'm feeling old, but I do think with all of my recent stress I just haven't wanted to think about it.
I'm getting ready for bed and I'm going to have trouble falling asleep because of how messy it is. I've been pretty good about keeping things picked up all summer, but knowing that I'll have plenty of time to do it next week has kept me from staying on top of things.
Our last day of camp is tomorrow and it's bittersweet. I'm excited to be able to spend more time with Jack, but everyone leaving is always a little sad. Only 42 weeks until staff training.
I thought he had been doing really well with head control and sitting up, but I guess he's a little behind. Who has time for tummy time with 134 campers to look after? I guess he's supposed to be getting an hour a day. I thought he was supposed to be getting 15 minutes. Whoops. So, in his lifetime, he's never had a single day of enough tummy time. I'm hoping that next week we can start to become regular about these things. What I'm trying to say is that I'm hoping that beginning next week, we'll become better parents.
It's amazing how much faster I can type when I don't have a baby in one hand!
I was a little worried (and still kind of am) about Jack's hearing. Last night I was burning a candle and the wax caught on fire and set off the smoke detectors. When one goes off, they all do, so I ran down to his room to get him because I was sure the noise would scare him (after putting out the fire, that is). I had just put him down about 2 mintues earlier and he was awake, so I was sure he would have been wakened by the screeching alarms. But he was laying there, sucking on his pacifier with his eyes closed.
So, I did what any responsible parent would do . . . I googled "infant hearing loss" and read about all kinds of worse case scenarios for about an hour. However, the nurse didn't seem to think there was anything wrong, but you know I'm going to be making loud noises for the next few days to see if he reacts.
Speaking of googling things, my sister saw a report on the Today Show about something called "cyberchondria" and said it made her think of me. Matt Lauer defines it as "people turning to the internet for answers instead of turning to their doctors." If you'll remember the internet ban of 2006 instituted by my husband in our household during the first trimester of my pregnancy, you'll know that I could be one of those people. In fact, the first thing I did after I got of the phone with my sister was google "cyberchondria." You know what? Doctors aren't as available (not to mention as cheap) as the internet.
I do a lot of research on things. I like to consider myself well-informed. I hate it when people say, "You're so lucky to have such an easy baby." I know that there is some element of luck that comes from a combination of your circumstances and your baby's temperment but I really do think that all of the research and reading I did about taking care of an infant had at least a little to do with it. I feel like I know what I'm doing a lot more than I would if I hadn't read much at all. Maybe I overdid it at times, and I know that nothing beats experience and common sense, but I really feel like I do better than I would have without it.
Speaking of being well-informed . . . I had read that there was some concern over plastic baby bottles and the chemicals in them leaching out into the breastmilk or formula that was being fed to babies. I had read somewhere (though I can't remember where) that this issue was resolved and there was no danger. I was misinformed. Lissa called tonight to let me know that she heard a report about the danger of plastic bottles, including the avent ones that I use. It's interesting that the cheaper plastic bottles are actually the safest. Needless to say, I'm shopping around for glass bottles. Too bad I just bought three new Avent ones.
August 7, 2007
Here's the other one:
I know it's good for his language development, but that's A LOT of talking. A LOT. This morning, I really just wanted to do what I had to do to get Jack ready and not talk about it. I was in a rather pensive mood. But he was just looking at me in a way that said, "Talking to me equals loving me." Ok, that might be a loose interpretation of the look, but I couldn't not interact with him. So we talked about changing out of his pajamas, putting on a clean diaper, packing the diaper bag for the day, going to camp, who we would see at camp today, what we would do at camp today, etc.
I love talking to Jack and spending time with him, and I guess I should enjoy this while it lasts. He probably won't always laugh when I talk about changing his diaper or about going to camp. Have you seen the commercial . . . well, instead of trying to explain it, here it is:
I'm sitting here watching my baby fall asleep in one arm, while I type with the other. I'll have plenty of time to work quietly in the future. I guess I'll savor these moments while they last. :)
August 6, 2007
Anyway, It's just one more thing to add to my "I'm an unfit parent because . . ." list. I thought for sure the appointment was on Tuesday, but it was today. The best part of the whole story is Kyle saying to me this afternoon, "Didn't Jack have a doctor's appointment today?" That would have been a lot more helpful if it had been said in the morning. So, we're out a $25 no-show fee and we're going on Wednesday now.
When I got off the phone with the nice lady who told me that I missed the appointment, I burst into tears. Not just normal crying, but ugly crying. You know . . . the kind where your face contorts into all kinds of unpleasant shapes and you get all red and blotchy. I'm still not sure why. Can postpartum depression begin at 2 months? I don't honestly think I'm depressed, but I've definitely been more down over the last week or two.
I also had my follow up appointment at my doctor's office on Friday. Except I was at the beach with our staff on Friday. Whoops. I'm getting pretty good about missing appointments.
I know that money can't buy happiness, but I honestly think I would be happier if I were independently wealthy. Kyle just entered us in a sweepstakes where we could win a new house or $125,000 in cash. Fingers crossed.
August 5, 2007
We went to bed around 10:30 last night. That's way early for us in the summer so we were really excited. When I woke up this morning, I looked at the clock and it said 6:48 (which was actually 6:28). "Wow, he slept a REALLY long time," I thought with pride. But I was a little suspicious, so I asked Kyle to check on him. Kyle got up, opened the bedroom door and we heard him crying. We both thought we had turned the monitor on, but it seems that one of us turned it on and the other actually turned it off. I sprinted down the hall and picked him up and he didn't seem like he had been crying that long. But chances are that he woke up in the middle of the night and cried himself back to sleep . . . hungry and alone.
He's been sleeping all day, so I'm pretty sure he was awake a lot last night. I felt (and still feel) horrible. I know he has no memory of it, but I will.
I guess if it's the worst thing we do, we'll be lucky. But you know we will both triple check the monitor tonight.
August 4, 2007
I found this prayer in a book of prayer that I've been looking through a lot this week. It's a book full of hundreds of written prayers and I've been using it this week to find words to pray when I have been at a total loss. I stumbled on this prayer tonight:
Oh Lord my God, shed the light of your love on my child. Keep him
safe from all illness and all injury. Enter his tiny soul, and comfort him
with your peace and joy. He is too young to speak to me, and to my ears
his cries and gurgles are meaningless nonsense. But to you ears they are
prayers. His cries are cries for your blessing. His gurgles are
gurgles of delight at your grace. Let him as a child learn the way of your
commandments. As an adult let him live the full span of life, serving your
kingdom on earth. And finally in his old age, let him die in the sure and
certain knowledge of your salvation. I do not ask that he be wealthy,
powerful or famous. Rather I ask that he be poor in spirit, humble in
action, and devout in worship. Dear Lord, smile upon him.
Johann Starck, 1680 - 1756
Leaving Jack was very hard and our goodbye was tearful. Well, I cried and he gave me that drunken look that he gives when he's about to fall asleep. I think it was harder than I thought it would be because I suspect that my milk supply is getting low for a number of reasons and I was worried about what being gone for a whole day would do. It was fun to play with him this morning. He's really discovering that he has a voice and it cracks me up.
If you haven't already, read the comment left on my post yesterday. It has a link to all of the structurally deficient bridges in the US listed by state and county. It's alarming. We drove over quite a few on our way to the beach yesterday.
Kristen has a baby shower today and Kyle and Jack are hanging out at my parents house, so it should be lots of fun. I'm so excited to have a niece . . . have I mentioned in any of my blogs that I'll have a niece sometime in late September or early October? It'll be fun to have another baby around and I'm glad Jack will have a cousin the same age.
August 3, 2007
My first thought was, "Who needs terrorists for these kinds of things when we have good ol' American carelessness?" But I guess that's kind of harsh. I won't pretend to be an engineering expert.
August 2, 2007
Having said that, I've had a lot of things I would have liked to write about, but I can't remember half of them. It was a good week at camp, but more exhausting than most. I probably shouldn't be up right now even writing this because I need my sleep. We're taking our staff to Warren Dunes tomorrow for our annual "end-of-the-summer" trip. I'll be leaving my baby for the longest I've ever left him tomorrow too. I was away from him a lot today and I missed him. But what I'm looking forward to even LESS than being away from Jack is getting into a bathing suit. Yuck. No one wants to see that.
Jack is now officially 2 months old! That's so crazy. The first two months of my pregnancy seemed to last two years. The first two months of his life seemed more like two weeks.
This is going to be a BUSY weekend, so I need to get my sleep. Good night!