This month, I’m participating in the Oola Challenge. I’m sharing my reflections on the daily assignments. If you are joining me on the challenge, share your reflections in the comments.
May 3: It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts. We overthink, re-think, over generalize, and jump to conclusions. The patterns of our lives and the world we live in make it easy to do. We wake up thinking, and we have a hard time falling asleep because our minds are running. So…Today’s #OolaChallenge is to pray about something as often as you think about it. This will require us to pray bold prayers. The things that take up so much space in our mind and thoughts usually make for the boldest prayers. Pray about your worries, your stresses, your fears, your questions, your blessings, your loves ones. Nothing is too great for God. Start by simply starting your day with a prayer and ending your day with a prayer. And if you really want to challenge yourself, whenever you find yourself thinking about something, let that be your cue to pray about it. Use today to try and pray about things as much as you think about them.
Ugh. I needed this one. Because it is a hard. Because it is such a departure from my daily mindset.
I didn’t used to be bad about praying. Prayer was an ongoing part of my day. Prayer was a spiritual discipline that I was very intentional about cultivating. Oh to be young and childless!
Prayer was easy when it was just me and B. He’s largely self sufficient in a way similar to how I’m largely self sufficient but sometimes I get tired of being an adult and cease to be self sufficient. T and W are not yet in that place and in the trenches of being desperately needed, it is so easy to let prayer fall to side to be forgotten. Prayer is reduced to the simplest of prayers. As I learned from Anne Lamott, “Help me help me help me” and “Thank you thank you thank you” are two of the most important to fall back on.
So today I prayed. I may have prayed my quick and dirty desperate prayers of motherhood but I also prayed my slow, intentional prayers. I prayed for my husband while he completed his weekend away at the church men’s retreat. I prayed for T, that he would make good decisions and grow into the person I know he can be. I prayed for W, that his body will continue to improve and that he is able to crawl. I prayed for W’s neurologist and the rest of the team that supports him. I prayed for T’s teachers. I prayed for my mother. I prayed my prayers of thanksgiving and I shared my joys and concerns.
Today was the first step in reintegrating prayer into my daily life.
This month, I’m doing the Oola Challenge. I’ll be sharing the daily assignment here and my reflections on it as well. If you are joining me on the challenge, either for one day or for all of them, share your reflections in the comments.
May 2: It’s easy to see transformations in our bodies. We commit to a fitness plan and in a few weeks our abs are leaner and our biceps are bigger. It’s transformation we can measure. By inches, by pounds, through calories and reps. But so often we forget about our mental transformation. We get caught up in comparisons and complaints. We focus on how far we are from our goal instead of how far we’ve come. Just as energy fuels our fitness, positivity fuels our feelings of self-worth. So today we’re going to exercise our bodies AND our minds. Today’s #OolaChallenge is to walk or run for 7 minutes and during those 7 minutes, we want you to come up with 7 things you love about yourself most. This might be tricky. You may have to be disciplined about catching your negative thoughts and turning them into positive ones. But it’s important, so even if you have to go a little longer than 7 minutes to get to your 7 things, we hope you follow through.
I made two lists. I completely failed at making my list while walking, since my exercise for the day was chasing a three year old around Sesame Place with an eleven month old strapped to my hip (ring sling for the win or Wynn). Instead, I made my list after getting both boys down for a name but I found that I needed to make two lists.
The first list I made was about my physical self. My postpartum body. I needed to make this list because as a mother, I hear the message that society wants me to erase all signs of a very physical process that changed who I am. I need to celebrate life beyond the 4th trimester and not lose track of the ways that I am wonderfully made. So, in no particular order…
The second list I made was about the qualities I love most about myself. What are the aspects of me that I want to be remembered for? What are the words I want my sons to use to describe me? Who is my best self?
As I write this, you are curled up on my feet watching Handy Manny. At three years and four months old, you are fascinated with anything related to tools. Anything. You want to know about each tool, what it does, if Daddy uses one at work, how old you need to be before you can have that tool, if Mommy has ever used the tool and so on. We discuss tools at great length. I love seeing your passion develop and I love encouraging you to pursue the things that excite you.
You love school. You go to the On My Own program at school, twice a week. You love your teachers, you love your friends and you get so serious about telling me about your day. I wish I could be there to drop you off and pick up but fortunately, you still want to tell me about your class when I pick you up from your Mumma’s house at the end of the day. I’m so excited that school is a place you are excited to go and that you feel encouraged in your learning journey.
You absolutely adore your little brother. You call him your “Wynnipynn” or “Wynn Pynn Pynn”. One of your favorite activities to to tell Wynn about your tools or to give him your old Megablocks while you play next to him with your Duplos. You are his biggest cheerleader during his physical therapy appointments and are very well attuned to his state of being. When he is sick, you want to know what Mommy is doing to fix it. When he is happy, you are usually the source of his mirth.
I can’t believe you have been mine for so long. My life before you seems like a distant memory. I remember it fondly, it was wonderful and it shaped me into the woman I am today but the present day with you and your brother are so much more vibrant than the life I once lived.
I love you.
I’m a creature of habit. I wake up each morning, I stumble down the stairs to brew a cup of decaf coffee and diffuse a few drops of cedarwood before work. The warm, woody smell takes over my kitchen each morning and gives me a sense of grounding before I start my day.
Cedarwood plays a role in how I manage my ADD. While many people find that cedarwood is relaxing and calming, individuals with ADD may find that it helps them to channel their energy and focus.
It is also documented as an insecticide (add it to an oily bug spray in summer, anti-fungal, an expectorant, antibacterial, anti-infectious, antiseptic, astringent (great for oily skin or dandruff prone scalps), diuretic, sedative, lymphatic stimulant, and oxygenator.
I recommend diffusing cedarwood for one hour, up to three times a day or appealing topically. Remember to always dilute if using on your children.
Much like lavender, this is a multitasking oil that will earn its place in your oil stash. At less than $15 a bottle, cedarwood is an oil that gives you a ton of bang for your dollar.
Have a great testimonial about using cedarwood for you or your family? Please share it in the comments section below!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult with your primary care physician before using any essential oil.
In my naive, only-child ways, I truly believed adjusting to life as a family of four would be easy. B and I have kept a tiny human alive for the last two years and seven months who has become more and more independent. People far less equipped than us have done the same. And the same less equipped people managed to add additional tiny humans to their families. B and I should have had this in the bag.
But here’s the thing. Your independent, creative, funny toddler may start to resemble the Honest Toddler. Suddenly there are temper tantrums coming out of a child that previously kept good listening ears on all day. He’ll only want to eat when the baby is eating and the rest of the time can be found orchestrating a hunger strike with a level of enthusiasm that makes you wonder if Child Protective Services will be appearing at your house soon. When he eventually caves on his hunger strikes, he’ll refuse to eat anything but strawberries (which isn’t helpful because you don’t have any in the house).
Navigating sibling relationships is such a strange journey for me. This is the closest I’ve ever been to siblings before. Even though W is only two weeks old, there is a dynamic relationship forming between him and T. It is fascinating to watch and such a heavy responsibility when I think of all the ways that my behavior will influence that relationship.
If there is one thing I want for my boys, I want them to be close in adulthood. I want them to feel like they always have each other. I want them to be the best man in the other’s wedding. I want them to always have a sense of family because of the other. I don’t want them to feel alone like I frequently do.
On May 20th, at 9:29 in the evening, Brian and I joyfully welcomed our second child, Wynn William. We are so grateful for a healthy boy, a safe delivery and the blessing of becoming a family of 4.
Wynn weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 20 inches long. I was in labor for less than 9 hours and pushed for less than a half hour.
While I’m still a bit tender today, my birth experience with Wynn was absolutely incredible and I can honestly say it was everything I ever dreamed of.
I’m waiting. Five days away from my due date with Baby Number 2 and I am waiting.
I am contracting. I am dilated to 3 centimeters. My body is doing everything it is supposed to do but still I wait.
I am ready to have this little boy. I am ready to see his face. I am ready to hold him in my arms. I am ready for this family to become a family of four.
I am tired of waiting in this time of transition.
I went to a baby shower this afternoon for a girl I had grown up with at church. I am a few years older than she is so at times I felt like there was some confusion from other people about why I was there but there was always a closeness between the two of us.
Part of what makes a baby shower weird is the number of women who around my mother’s age and older who like to make comments about how “they didn’t have that when I had a baby and my baby turned out fine”. Which may or may not be true, depending on who you ask but that is another topic for another time. What makes it weird is that these are basic safety items. Or items that they wished they had when they were young mom’s but didn’t have available.
The other part that makes the shower weird is how it prompts women to ask those of child bearing age when they are going to have a baby, have another baby or stop having babies. If you have a boy, you are asked if you want a girl. If you have a girl, you are asked if you want a boy. You’ll be asked how many babies you want and questioned about your work status. I always love the question “So you’re a full time mom?” because it implies that for the 40 hours a week that I’m at my employer’s place of business, I stop being a mother. As if it is a switch that I can flip for 8+ hours a day.
For the most part, I’m able to remind myself that these questions come from a kind place. People aren’t asking these questions to make me feel uncomfortable or put me on the spot. They are asking these questions to form a bond, to feel a human connection. They are trying to take an interest in my life. And for that, I am grateful.
Every once in a while, a moment happens that blows my mind. Someone asked me today if I was pregnant as they touched the part of my belly that I’m not quite sure will ever go away even though I’ve been working hard at the gym to lose it. When I smiled and said that I hoped she didn’t know something I didn’t know, she asked if I had plans to get pregnant soon. Apparently, when you pass thirty, time is ticking.
It made me wonder if my uterus if falling down on the job. I had thought we were okay on time. T is only 20 months, full of energy and at a point where he can feel like a full time job. An adorable full time job but much like a job in retail, you don’t get the chance to get off your feet.
The worst part if knowing that I’ll probably forget all of this in 30 to 40 years and still ask these awkward questions.
So my mom threw her back out. Like call the doctor, beg for muscle relaxers, hide at home threw her back out. Which is problematic for me because my mom watches Baby T during the day so I can work.
Of course yesterday we had friends offer to watch T for us but that’s when we still thought my mom would be okay for this morning so I turned them down and then woke up to the realization that it might be too late to call and ask for help. Because they have a little girl who does not sleep through the night with the same level of skill as T and they were probably exhausted.
So we went to the office because I had two or three things that I just had to get done. And then we went to the supermarket. Mainly because I have this idea that Stay at Home Mommy has the time/energy/sanity to bake and I refuse to pay $45 to order lactation cookies online. We get home. We have a nurse and a cuddle. I put T down for a nap.
And nothing. The boy won’t sleep. He’ll cry. He’ll wrestle sleep sheep (who is playing whale noises at the moment). He’ll make desperate sounds I refer to as “Raptor Noises”. But he won’t sleep. Apparently, my baby boy will take epic naps at his grandmother’s house for three hours every morning but if I just want him to sleep for an hour and a half so I can make lactation cookies, that is way too much to ask.
He prefers to sleep on his boppy with my nipple in his mouth. I call it sleep nursing. He’ll sleep as long as he can drool out breast milk but the second that nipple is put away, he’s awake and he’s angry and I have failed as a parent (in his perception, fortunately, not mine).
I read somewhere that babies save their worst behaviors for their mothers and I wonder if T is testing that already. I suppose if he truly knows my love is unconditional, he can unleash the crazy that he might not want to share with the rest of the world.
Its a good thing I love his face.
On October 20th, Brian and I welcomed Tristan Thomas Morgan into the world after 31.5 hours of labor. He was 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 22 inches of awesome. He looks just like B but with my proportions (seriously, this boy has ridiculously long fingers for someone who can’t even use fingers yet).
Needless to say, I am completely in love with this beautiful creature.