Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation Day – July 11th

CAD CFADon’t miss out on your free meal this Friday, July 11th at Chick-fil-A. All you have to do is dress in cow attire and you can either get a FREE MEAL or FREE ENTREE If you attempt partial cow attire you can get a free sandwich, but if you go all out you can get the complete meal for free. The only thing I love better than Chick-fil-A, is FREE Chick-Fil-A

We did this last year and it was great. What better use for my cow costume is there?

I’ll admit I was a bit self-conscious, but it was totally worth it. FREE is FREE.  So who’s with me?

Motherhood: Breastfeeding

In regards to breastfeeding, I am thankful Maddie had no trouble latching on. She’s been a good eater from the beginning. I truly believe that was only by God’s grace. He had mercy on me, who was already suffering another complication, and He gave me an easy time in this regard. I acknowledge that this is not the norm for so many and my heart goes out to you.

I didn’t realize breastfeeding would be so time consuming. I guess I didn’t think much about it other than I knew I wanted to do it if possible for the benefits to the baby and the pocketbook. Especially in the early weeks when she was feeding every 1.5 – 2 hours it was easy to feel like I was a 24 hour milk buffet. Now mind you, when I say every 1.5 – 2 hours that is the time from the start of one meal to the start of the next. So if she feeds for a half hour or longer, well, you can do the math. You can understand how it can feel like that’s pretty much all you are doing.

It’s a little easier now. She goes for longer stretches 2-3 hours during the day and 4-6 hours at night. I get a break and it’s not painful like in the beginning. Sometimes it can even be good “me” time, as I let her eat and I tune in to a tv episode on Netflix.

Now we are working on getting her to take a bottle with my milk. She will take it from John, which is good, but she definitely doesn’t settle as well after eating. We’re working on that.

I am still leery to wander too far from home, as I am not too keen on breastfeeding in public, even though I do have a cover. I would much rather feed her at home where we can both be comfortable. At the same time, it’s hard to stay holed up for 6 months or plan every outing around her sporadic schedule. We’re learning as we go with most of it. Do breastfed babies ever get more scheduled? Can you put them on a schedule as they get older?

Overall I find it amazing and miraculous that God designed women’s bodies to produce just what their babies need to grow and thrive. What a great design!

 

Forgetting the Why

Thank you so much to those of you who commented on my last few posts. It has been a reminder to me of why I enjoy writing and wanted to write in the first place. Sometimes it’s easy to be generic with everything and there’s a time and place for that kind of writing but I definitely want to bring so much more. I want my writing to be genuine and courageous. I don’t want to hold back for fear of what others may or may not think. Thank you for reminding me that honesty and transparency is always best. It’s been a challenge and encouragement!

Motherhood: The Beginnings

DSCN0342After 9 months of carrying my baby and reading lots of books and forums on what to expect I realized that no book can really prepare you. Madeline came almost on time. Easter Sunday morning. She was due Saturday. I didn’t have painful contractions, until my water broke in the early morning hours and labor began just like that. That is one thing that was accurate. You will know. There was no guessing.

So was labor what I expected? Yes and no. Contractions did hurt – bad. The pain from my back was the worst, but I was getting through it. However, the nauseousness put me over the top and I decided on drugs. I was thankful I did because I think it helped things progress more steadily. And when my baby finally came out it was a wonderful feeling to see her for the first time and know life was forever changed. This was a baby, our baby, and it was hard to believe she just came out of me. The joy was what I expected.

However, I didn’t expect the pain of getting stitched up. I didn’t expect the pain I experienced in moving my legs or putting pressure on them. I thought some pain would be normal, but this was not what I was expecting. In my mind, the labor was a piece of cake compared to the recovery. And here about a month later – I am still recovering. No one talks about that. Granted – I am experiencing some additional complications, but either way – It’s painful, much beyond the labor itself. No book mentioned that.

It’s hard. I am exhausted. I still have some pain with certain movements. Breastfeeding doesn’t allow me much of a break. Sometimes it seems like I have a baby that eats what feels like all the time, day and night. I try to sleep when she does. I eat when I can and sometimes while feeding her. The novelty of the newborn has worn off. She’s cute, but cute doesn’t tell me how to console her when she seems to cry for no reason. Cute doesn’t  feed her in the middle of the night. She’s cute and I adore her, but I don’t really care for this phase of her life. Anyone who loves the newborn stage. Kudos to you. I’m just not you.

I know what I’m feeling is normal. You get sent home from the hospital and feel completely unprepared to care for this life. What a responsibility! Somehow you are supposed to know what to do. It’s so overwhelming. I cried. Alot. I know some of it was hormones, but it’s just so tiring and hard.

My crying has mostly subsided now and I’ve realized that you do figure it out. I still feel clueless most of the time, but I am getting to know our daughter.  I’ve stopped worrying about every little sound she’s making at night because I’ve heard the same sounds for weeks and she’s just fine. I know that even when she cries and is fussy it will eventually have an end. I don’t flinch at the sight of a dirty diaper. I am still tired, waiting for an end and some mornings just not ready to get up and do it all over again, but I do.  Somehow, I just do what I have to do because I have a little life that needs me to. And I would do anything for this little life – even if it means being smelly and exhausted.

 

A Costly Mistake and the Power of Grace

I have to tell you up front that this is not a post I wanted to write. But God wouldn’t let me alone. This post has to do with a large failure on my part. It’s not fun or easy to admit to others your failings and to expose your frailty and faults. It’s not easy to admit the stupidity you are capable of. And yet, it’s not fair to only show strengths and successes. I make mistakes just like everyone else. I have lapses in judgement, regrets, words spoken I wish I could take back. So here goes…

The call came at work. I can’t say it was a huge shocker, but it confirmed a lurking fear at the back of my mind that I wasn’t ready to admit. One google search later crushed any hope I had of making this right. How could I be so stupid?! Why did I not research this before I cashed the check? Questions I would ask myself a million times in the days ahead.  Unfortunately I had no answers, just a big dent in my savings that was not supposed to be there.

I was a victim of fraud, an email scam. I never thought it would happen to me. I’m smarter than that, or so I thought. As it sunk in, I cried and went over the scenario a million times in my head. “How could I do this? We could have done so much with that money. It’s not coming back. How do I tell John? If only I had done this, or that. How could I be so dumb?”

Thankfully I had a half day of work. As soon as I got home I cried more. Unfortunately this was also the day we had another doctor appt. for our little one and I didn’t think it would be good for me to be hooked up on the monitor and hysterical in front of my husband. Not quite the time or place. So I stuffed it in, but it was not far from my mind. Part of me was tempted to not tell him. I take care of most of the everyday finances and he would really never know it was missing. It was a brief temptation because I knew I would never be able to pull that off. Plus, I needed him. I needed him to tell me it was going to be ok.

As soon as we were home I broke again. I blurted out the scenario between a hundred I’m sorry’s and tears. I let him have some space to process and I cried more. During my alone time I really sensed God’s presence and saw things for what they were. First of all, it was only money. I needed to trust in God’s provision, not my own financial savvy. Obviously that doesn’t mean I should be dumb with decisions, but ultimately He is the provider. Not me. Secondly, I need Him. In everyday decisions, little, big, everything in between. I need His guidance more than I often admit to myself.

After John and I had our time to think and came back together, more tears were shed. It was a hard conversation but a good one. We both realized that although we are on the same page financially, John needs to be more involved. We also realized that God was using this situation differently for each of us to bring certain things to the surface that we needed to deal with. One thing that did not happen was accusations, insults or yelling. He didn’t tell me how dumb I was. He didn’t yell at me for being so stupid. He didn’t make me feel worse than I already did. In those moments he loved me well. In those moments we each felt God’s love and grace. And those moments drew my heart even closer to my God and my husband.

In the days that followed I would still dwell on my mistake and play it over and over again. I filed a police report, which was an interesting process, and for me, the final closure. I’ve done what I can do. I will not see the money again. It’s time to move on. And for once, the forgiving myself came a little easier. I either trust God or not. He knows we are like lambs, dumb creatures that need constant supervision and guidance. He knows my heart and how hard I try to be a good steward of what He gives us. If John can forgive me and extend so much grace how much more God has already done just that. And I am so thankful!

 

One Benefit of Affordable Healthcare Act

Just let it be stated first and foremost that I am not a fan of the Healthcare Act. However, this post is not a debate about it. Instead I would like to highlight one benefit that you may or may not be aware of. Since I feel I am always paying into insurance and not really getting much in return this was a rather nice perk.

If you are pregnant and planning on breast feeding know that most insurance plans will cover the purchase of a breast pump. This is a really nice benefit because the high end pumps run a few hundred dollars. I can’t remember how I found out. Probably reading a magazine or baby blog, but I came across the info and decided to look into it. I am so glad I did.

We don’t have top of the line insurance – basic BCBS HMO. The cheapest we can get with John’s job. But it was covered. And it was simple. My doctor sent a referral. A few weeks later I got a phone call verifying my info and the next day I had a brand new Medela Advanced Personal Double Electric Breast Pump sitting in my closet. The claim has already been approved and processed with no hassles at all. Nice!adv medela

So all my pregnant ladies out there – check into your insurance coverage. You may have this benefit and not even know it.

It’s Not Rocket Science…Or is it?

The task seemed simple enough, put together the stroller and playpen. Many hours and much frustration later I plopped into the rocking chair while giving the incomplete stroller the evil eye. At least the playpen was complete so I felt like we accomplished something.

Picture 004The stroller was mostly put together minus the back wheels, which we couldn’t put on because we couldn’t find the pins in the box to lock them in place. No big deal, there’s always home depot. Then there was the matter of the infant car seat. Click and connect. It’s supposed to be so simple. And yet, every time we would try to connect, there was no click, no way to get it to stay put. It became painfully obvious that something was wrong. It was either us or the stroller that was not working properly and I wasn’t about to concede my intelligence level to a piece of plastic. I was angry. I walked away.

Picture 006We decided we needed a break from the stroller to think more clearly. We would come back when we were refreshed and try again, and if it didn’t work, take it back. Later that night, after dinner and a long break I did some research online. No one complained of having any troubles like we were so I was confused. I looked up the manual for the same model online and lo and behold I saw the light. The online manual, unlike our manual that came with the stroller, had much better pictures to clearly show how it connected. 1 missing part was all it took. I walked into the room and 2 clicks later we had a complete stroller with infant car seat securely connected.

Picture 005Now I have to ask what seems to be the most obvious question. Why were the instructions I found online, the clearly better and easier to follow instructions, not included in the box in the first place? That is something that I will not be able to understand. Oh, and I was able to find the missing pins as well, they came out of the parts bag and were just floating around under the cardboard lip of the huge box. I told that stroller I refused to let it get the best of me, and though it almost did, the human prevailed at last.

Thank you Lord for the internet!

St. Patrick’s Day – Plan B

John and I aren’t very Irish. If we have some it’s only a small amount, but who doesn’t love a good reason to celebrate. Last year we tried out corned beef and cabbage and really enjoyed it so we planned on it this year as well. It was actually one of the more expensive cuts of meat I’ve bought in a long time, but I figured it was worth it since it’s only once a year. It’s a fun meal and something different.

Got everything ready in the crockpot, left for work and had a great day because of all the treats there too. It was about 4:20 when I got a call from John. I figured he had a dinner question and I was right. Only what he said wasn’t what I was expecting. “Uh, Becky, the crockpot…” As soon as he started talking I knew. It hit me. I never turned the crockpot on. It was full, plugged in, room temp all day. Argggghhh! I was really upset with myself. That was a huge chunk of meat and there was no way I was chancing cooking everything with it sitting out all day.

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So what to do? We found some coupons and went to Culver’s. Burgers and fries aren’t necessarily Irish, but it was a nice impromptu date night and we did cap it off with a green mint oreo mixer.

Though I am still mad at myself I really have to laugh because I have been so absent-minded during this pregnancy. This is just the icing on the cake. And I also feel blessed, because despite having to throw away a very expensive meal we still have plenty of food in the house. We had money to be able to go and buy more food. We are blessed! I am also thankful for a husband who had lots of grace for me and didn’t get mad. Grace is a beautiful thing!