Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stand Up

Dear Violet,

I know that today you are frustrated. I see you trying so hard. You get up on your knees and try to pull yourself up. You want to stand. I can see it in your eyes. Right now you are sad because you fell again. It's okay to cry. The floor is hard and every time you fail to stand, you fall and it hurts. Don't worry little girl. Your legs are strong and I can see that you are determined to figure this out. You will. You can do it. Just keep trying. It may not happen today, or tomorrow, or the day after, but when it does, I will be watching and cheering for you.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

An Arugment FOR Black Friday... and even shopping on Thanksgiving

Alright, I've seen many people post articles about how Thanksgiving shopping is horrible for several reasons. From what I've read, the main arguments seem to be that it takes away from family time and being thankful for what you have and a few throw in that it really sucks for the people who have to work.

Here's the thing: I agree that for some people it's  all of those things- but as with most anything, I really believe it has a lot more to do with how you go about it.

For me, shopping on Thanksgiving Day is as old of a tradition as watching the Cowboys and having seconds on dessert. I can remember going to Kmart on Thanksgiving after lunch for about as long as I can remember. Whether we were at home, or we went to visit family it's just something I've always done. I don't go for anything in particular, it's just something the women in my family always did to get out of the house and walk off a little of what we ate. I think most years my mom ended up buying me new pajamas for the season since they always seem to run those on sale. The point is, going shopping wasn't taking away from our family time- it was CONTRIBUTING to it. It had nothing to do with consumerism or being ungrateful for what we had. It was just something to do, and we made memories out of it.

Black Friday is something special for my mom and me. We always spent the afternoon on Thanksgiving looking through ads and making a "game plan." It was usually elaborate with several stores, a schedule, list, and some color coding. Sure, we were out buying things for Christmas, but we were doing it with our family and friends in mind. We knew we could buy things later, but going to bed dressed and waking up in the middle of the night to go shiver in front of a store waiting for the doors to open came with a little magic. I don't remember many of the things we bought over the years- but I remember standing in line with my mom. I remember laughing and getting along even during the rough years when we didn't always get along. I remember being exhausted and sitting at IHOP with mom when we finished and having breakfast together. We have so many stories from the years that we spent shopping on the day after thanksgiving.

Personally, I am glad that stores have moved away from the 3am openings and instead opted for opening in the evening on Thanksgiving instead. It means that I can eat lunch, watch the Cowboys, sit around and talk with family, and then go to a few stores and come home to sleep before going back out the next morning. I always hated the zombie headache from not sleeping.

I don't think shopping around Thanksgiving has ever been about the "stuff" for us. It's always been about the tradition and memories. Sure, being able to afford slightly better gifts for friends and family was a nice plus, but it was never really about that. It's about the time we stood in line outside toys r us freezing off our bums and noticed one of our pastors in line just a few spaces away from us buying things for grandkids. Its about the year that target greeted all of their earlybird guests with coffee, cocoa and let shoppers in early because it was so cold . It's about the conversations we had while standing in line. It's about the people you meet in line and the sense of community we felt with those closest to us in line. For every person out shopping who is just there for the stuff, there are two other people who are there for the tradition- I know. I've met those people every year. For people like me, once a year, shopping isn't about the stuff- it's about all the people in the store whose story I learn. For all of the bad things I've seen, I've still seen so much more kindness on Black Friday in stores than any other day. The news doesn't ever show the guy at the front who passes something to a pregnant woman or the lady who passes her extra coupons out to other people in line. I have had so many strangers look out for me and lend a hand on Black Friday. For all those who watch the news and lose faith in humanity, I challenge you to go out and see if there isn't more to the story than just what you see on the news.

As far as the people who have to work go- I'm sorry. I know it stinks. Although in all fairness, you knew when you applied for the job that there was a really high possibility you might be working during part of the thanksgiving holiday. That's just part of retail. Most stores aren't opening on Thanksgiving until later in the day- so if you're like my family and have the big meal for lunch, you aren't missing out on the whole thing. If you work for Kmart- well, what can I say? They've opened early on Thanksgiving Day for as long as I can remember so anyone working there should have known.

These days the tradition has changed so that instead of making memories with my mom, I'm making memories with my husband. I hope someday that I will get to include Violet and make memories with her that she too will cherish for years to come.

So there you have it. Shopping doesn't have to be evil or take away from family time or fuel consumerism. It can just be about the experience. I'm probably replacing some tupperware and spending birthday money this year. I'm sure I'll make some great memories and maybe even meet some new people along the way.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I should rename my kid awesome

I'm constantly blown away by the things I learn from Violet. She is so small and innocent and has no idea how her little actions and my vain attempts to provide for her have opened up my eyes to so many things about myself and the world. Some days, her revelations are world shattering for me. Other days, they are awesome in a whole different way.

Today we took her to the library for story time. It was our first time to ever take her and during the time, they sang a song that pretty much sums up my philosophy in regards to education in such a simple and happy way. I burst out in gleeful laughter (I was practically giddy inside) when I heard this song:

The more we read together, together, together
The more we read together, the happier we'll be
Cause books make you smarter
And smarter kids go farther
The more we read together, the happier we'll be

It's like the book nerd's theme song. Perfection.

She has pushed me to see that I can do things I didn't think I could. Not just mommy things like changing diapers that make me want to puke and putting up with screaming and crying that seems endless at times without ever once losing my cool, but bigger things. She pushed me to believe that I can be creative. She made me find my silly. She challenges me to be all of the things I never thought I could be but always hoped I might. She makes me awesome.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


When we grow up, we learn that life is grey. The right answer isn't always easy to find, and often, there is no right answer: just a small handful of choices, each with their own consequences.

I accepted this from the beginning in relation to parenthood. I know that even if I did everything "right" (as if that exists) it wouldn't matter, because if my child doesn't perceive my actions in the same manner that I intended them, then even the "right" actions could be wrong for my child. Are you with me? Rather than find this concept depressing or stressful, I find it freeing. It means that I can accept that my actions will at some point "screw my child up" in some way or another. It means I don't have to worry. I can parent according my convictions without worrying about every choice I make.

While I find it easy to accept the grey in regards to raising Violet, I have a harder time with it in other areas of life. Recently, we've found ourselves in the midst of financial turmoil. We've stressed over how we will pay our bills and feed our family and have gas in the car for Cameron to get back and forth to work. We've talked about him getting a second job (which is a bad idea right now since he's getting very little sleep working the night shift) and looked for other opportunities to earn money and reduce our bills. There is an "easy" solution to our financial woes: Cameron could go to work in the same industry he just left. The wrench comes in this: we need each other. Cameron and I NEED each other. DAILY. Violet NEEDS her daddy at home. We aren't the kind of couple who does well apart. We each make the other better, and without each other, we each become the worst versions of ourselves. The industry he just left required A LOT of travel. Too much. We can't go back to that.

You see, we have convictions about how our family ought to operate. For us, we need to be together. We need to see each other every day. We need time together regularly. We both believe it is best for all of us if I am a stay at home mom. How do we get it all? How do we manage to have family time AND enough money to pay the bills and feed our family? Enter the grey area.

We made choices that will effect our future. We are trusting that God has provided us the resources to make it through today and that He will continue to provide for us each day- even if that means walking into the future without knowing exactly how things will work out.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Try shining a light down by your foot in a dark room and see how far the light reaches. I can tell you. It's just far enough to take the next step.

That's enough for me.

Monday, October 7, 2013

It took this long

I am a writer. I'm 26 years old. I spent my elementary years at home filling journals with ridiculous stories (mostly about animals). I spent my middle school years filling journals with really bad poetry. I spent most of high school and college writing about my life and using it to learn to deal with my past and the things in life that have challenged me most.

Yet, until yesterday morning, I never once would have said that I am a writer. I didn't believe I was talented enough to even try out for the high school newspaper. While many teachers read my academic papers aloud while growing up, I never considered my work worthy of notice. I'm published in a few academic journals that I don't really consider worth much. When I was in high school I even had a member of the administration believe in my ability enough to contact a personal friend, and send samples of my writing to a professional who wrote back to me and offered assistance. Still, I never considered myself a writer.

I felt like I wasn't good enough. Why? Because there was always someone better. Because the words never came out of me as beautifully as they did for Charis Boylan, and I couldn't come up with metaphors like Charlotte Dunlap, and I wasn't as creative as Elise Barret. I've never kidded myself into believing that I might ever write anything of consequence.

Yesterday morning,, while I was at church sitting in a room full of people, I found myself wishing for just a moment that I could be the person I am on paper. That was when I realized that being a writer doesn't mean I'm the best, or even that I'm good. It doesn't require notoriety or even being published. It just means that I write. I write because it's the only way I can express myself in a way that feels true to who I am.

I'm overly verbose, I need every piece edited about a thousand times, and by the end, almost every sentence has to be rewritten, but I am a writer. I may never finish the book I've started, and even if I do, no one may ever read it. I am still a writer.

It feels good.

P.S. note I did not claim to be an editor :) I am fully aware of my MANY editorial mistakes in my posts

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

One of those

Today is already one of those days… the ones where things just seem to go wonky. Yes wonky. Don’t judge my choice of words. It’s not that things are necessarily wrong, but rather that they just aren’t quite how you expected them to be. 

This morning when I woke up (after 8am) I quickly realized that my husband must have accidently unplugged the baby monitor last night. I could hear my baby crying across the hall … meaning she must have been awake for quite a while. She had a leg sticking out of the crib.  She spent an entire hour eating her bottle (which is just ridiculous). Afterwards, she pooped in her just changed diaper. While changing her diaper, I got poop on my finger. Totally didn’t freak out. I’m pretty proud of myself for that one. I went to the bathroom after getting her changed and realized that my underwear was on inside out… I put them on in the dark. Yeah. Oh, and at the moment, I’m typing this in Microsoft word with the intention of pasting it into my blog later because apparently my internet has no intention of working this morning. Yep, this is definitely one of those days.

I’ve had quite a bit of “wonkiness” in my life lately. For those of you haven’t heard, my husband is currently unemployed. Oddly, our incredible lack of income and increasing reality of not being able to pay the bills isn’t really bothering me. I just assume that God is going to work it out. The day he found out “officially” that he was losing his job, he was offered the opportunity to work with a guy from our church while he’s in between jobs and the guy has the extra work. It’s not a long term job, nor is it one that will actually support our family in the meantime- but it is something, which is more than nothing- and it reinforces my belief that God will take care of us. 

Monday was my first time to go to MOPs.  I’m going to try my best not to make any opinions on the program based on my first time. I will say this though- I hope they are serious about the whole “bless this mess” theme, because my house (every single room and hallway) is a complete disaster, and on my way out the door, I wiped my baby’s face with a clean diaper because it was all I could find. (Monday was also one of those days).

So if you’re having one of those days, weeks, months, or even years… you’re not alone. I’ve had this little kid song stuck in my head for over a week now:

(From “My First Hymnal: 75 Favorite Bible Songs”)
Look at the flowers in the field
They don’t sow or shop for clothes
If God takes care of flowers in the field,
He will take care of you.
Don’t worry, don’t worry
God will take care of you.
Don’t worry, don’t worry
God will take care of you.

P.S. if you happen to know of a job opening with great pay and benefits, feel free to pass on the info :) 

Friday, August 23, 2013

What it's really like

I just got off the phone with Cameron. He isn't coming home tonight.We thought he would be coming home for the weekend. I had planned special meals and went to the grocery store so I would have everything we need. I cleaned the litter boxes so he wouldn't feel like he needed to when he got home. I worked on getting Violet's laundry done so the washer and dryer would be free for his clothes.  I really wanted to see him. I was looking forward to waking up with my husband for a night or two. I HATE having him gone.

I love my little Violet, and I appreciate that I have her to hold when I want a hug and her to distract me when I'm desperately missing my best friend, but at the same time- she's a lot of work by myself. It's hard to have her 24/7. I'm still new at parenting. She's not even five months yet. The girls in my lifegroup do an evening bible study- something I'd really like to be able to do- but I can't, because I have Violet. I'm tired in the evenings and really just want to take some time out for myself, but that's right about the time when Violet needs to eat, and take a bath, and play, and read a story... and on and on and on. Don't get me wrong, I love singing with her and cuddling her, and taking care of my baby. I love her. She brings me great joy- but it's still work.She's teething right now, and fusses a lot, and needs a ton of attention to distract her from the pain she's experiencing. I get tired.

I wanted to seem like I was alright on the phone- because I know he's not. But as soon as I hung up, know that I cried like a baby, thankful that Violet was asleep in her room. I just want him home. I want to feel like I'm not alone.

His job is a blessing. His job is a blessing. His job is a blessing. This is what I have to remember over and over. God gave him this job. This job provides what we need in a way unlike anything else we can think of would given Cameron's experience and education. Until God
tells us Cameron needs to go in a different direction work wise, this is where we are. Traveling is part of the job. Last minute changes to "the plan" is also part of the job. His job is a blessing... It's just hard.

If there is a song in the world that describes my life at almost all points it's this one:

"Strong Enough"- Matthew West

You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through

Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up

Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

Friday, August 9, 2013

Surprisingly Good

How did this happen? Somehow I, Amber Jaeger, major homebody, anti social, lazy girl have stumbled in a happily active life.

This week alone Violet and I have been to the dentist, chiropractor, several walks, several stores, the gym 4 times already, had a friend over, and went to Tyler for a funeral (btw, NEVER take a 4month old to a funeral). This amounts to about the same amount of activity I would typically have in a MONTH... usually with help from my mom and Cameron.

At the same time, Violet has become insanely active. She can now roll both directions and on her side, she can scooch around in circles and short distances... apparently with Lola bunny in tow, and she is constantly squirming. She plays more, talks more, sings, and has lots of fun in the morning before I come in for her- I can only assume she is telling jokes to Lola bunny that crack her up, because I hear her giggling over the monitor.

For reasons beyond my own comprehension, I have also become more active. Did you note the 4 times to the gym this week already? For my entire life I have HATED physical activity. I am scared of balls, which knocks out most sports, I hate running, which knocks out most other sports, and I live too far from snow- so skiing isn't an option. The only consistent physical activity I've ever been able to do is walking. Yet, for some reason I decided we should suck it up, make room in our budget, and join a gym. Then, I went... and liked it. I actually feel good after working out. It's like it makes me happy. Weird. I know. Endorphins, blah blah blah... I suppose people were right.

Not only are we physically active, but I, of my own volition, have planned two trips for Violet and I in the next month:one to west Texas to see some of my extended family, and then one to Idaho to see some of Cameron's extended family. I am voluntarily leaving my safe, comfortable, little home to see other people. If you know me at all, you're probably wondering where Amber is and seriously considering the validity of alien abductions.

I really think God has used Violet to bring me back to life. I read my bible more, pray more, sing more, read more, move more, eat better... and I don't even think about it. These aren't conscious decisions, but rather, the logical consequences of being a mommy.  I don't know what I was doing before, but I really believe it was NOT the abundant life Christ died for me to have. This life: being active, giggling with my daughter, spending time with my family, flirting with my husband, and remembering God's word...this is good.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Spirit of Truth

For a change, this has nothing to do with parenting aside from the fact that one of the best things you can do for your child is to make your marriage a priority. 

A while back Cameron and I had a serious conversation about our relationship. We have these from time to time where we evaluate where we are and where we've been and where we want to be, and how we feel about all of it. I think it's important to do this at least a few times a year. During this conversation, something came out (truth) that had never been said before. Our life has been pretty hectic with the new addition of Violet and being back around family and friends, so it took a while for the new truth to set in and for my mind to wrap around its implications. Once it finally settled in, I got into a bit of a funk. This past weekend I couldn't stop thinking about it and finally spoke to Cameron about it Saturday night. I expressed to him that the new truth I was living with changed my perception of the past. I was mourning memories that were put to death by the truth. I was very sad.

We know that areas of our marriage need work- we knew going into marriage that we would struggle in these areas. We want to not struggle. We want to have the kind of marriage that is described in the Bible. It's the desire of our hearts. We often get discouraged because we fail so many times, and even when we don't, we still live with the consequences of past failures.

Sunday, at church, the message was about the Holy Spirit, also called the Spirit of Truth. To be honest, I was tired from our late night conversation. I had a hard time listening to the message, but God still had something to say to me. The Spirit of Truth comforted me. It's okay to mourn, but better to rejoice that we now live in the truth.

I am a huge advocate for marriage: for "til death to us part," God can heal ALL things, marriage. I believe in communicating, supporting each other, and being best friends. I believe in a biblical definition of marriage. I believe that the description of the relationship in the Song of Solomon is something that God intends for us all to have and enjoy. I believe that all of the descriptions about the roles of husbands and wives in the Bible are exactly how we ought to live, and they are what I want. I WANT that marriage. We both do. However, as much as I support and firmly believe in God's description of marriage, I often forget that God is a much better advocate than I am. I forget that what He describes, is what He wants for us.

We don't need to despair over the trials we face, because we know that God is our advocate. You see, when our desires match up with His desires, we can rest assured that our God is a good father and will give us the desires of our heart. How lovely is it to know that the marriage we long for is exactly the marriage that He longs for us to have?

That is something worth rejoicing over. When we live in the truth of God's word, He turns our mourning into praise. That's the work of the Spirit of Truth. Praise God.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sweet Time

I realized a few days ago that it has been several weeks since I have written a new blog post. It's not that I haven't had a million different ones in my mind that I intended to write, but lately, I'd rather spend time with my Violet.

I think we've hit the sweet spot. I feel like we are currently at the magical period of time where Violet is the easiest she will ever be. Right now parenting is a complete and total joy. She is gorgeous and smiley and laughs and loves to just chill with us.

She really likes it when Cameron and I sing to her so I've been trying to jog my own memory to recall the songs I learned in VBS and day camp at church to expand our repertoire. Yesterday we were going through compilations of children's songs on Spotify and came across "My First Hymnal:75 Favorite Bible Songs." Violet heard the little kids singing and her face lit up with a smile. We started singing along, and seeing my sweet baby smile as her daddy and I sing songs we learned when we were little is one of my new favorite memories. She even makes sweet little sounds as if she were trying to sing along :)

She has grown into such a happy and sweet little girl. She sleeps for 10-12hrs every night, takes at least 2 naps a day, and just smiles as big as she can when I go in to pick her up in the morning. She giggles and kicks and splashes and coos. Sometimes I just can't get over how much I love her. She's becoming a real little person. My only real complaint anymore is that she spits up her new formula so much... and loves to get it all over me. But hey, that's part of being a mom right? We wear our hair up so it doesn't get pulled, we wear clothes that are easy to move around in, and our earrings rarely dangle. Makeup is ALWAYS optional. Oh yeah, and all of those little vanity sacrifices... we don't care about them. I like looking nice, and feeling clean, and getting dressed up, but right now, that gets to happen like once or twice a week and that's okay. Laying on the floor with messy hair pulled into a ponytail while making ridiculous faces and singing songs to make my sweet baby laugh is totally worth the trade off. I know the nasty milk smell isn't permanent.

So if you see me at the store in my t-shirt and stretch waist band shorts with flip flops and a messy ponytail hunched over, talking to my baby girl as I push the cart... feel free to laugh. I know I look ridiculous, but she thinks I'm hilarious and I'd do just about anything in the world to hear her laugh and see that giant smile.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hi, My Name is Violet and I'm 3 Months Old Today!

Violet Grace:
3 months old
12lbs 7oz
23.25in long
Wears 0-3 and 3month clothes.
Size 0 shoes.
Size build-a-bear sunglasses

Violet loves smiling really big and is laughing more and more each day.
She likes taking walks through the neighborhood in her stroller and she enjoys being close to mommy/daddy in the sling when they go shopping.

Violet spends most of her day (when she isn't eating or napping) playing with mommy. Practicing standing and bouncing are her favorites along with making silly faces that involve sticking your tongue out. She also is VERY interested in watching mommy talk to her- sometimes Violet even tries to join the conversation with her sweet little voice :)

While Violet has a ton of fun with mommy all day, she can't wait for her daddy to get home every evening. She loves bouncing with daddy and cuddling up on his chest when she's tired.

Violet has recently become interested in mirrors, watching mommy play with her toys, batting at toys that hang, and sucking on her hands.

When it's bedtime, Violet takes a bath, puts on jammies (PJs), and sits in daddy's lap while mommy reads a bedtime story. Then, daddy has her fold her hands and they all say their "bedtime prayers." Mommy and Daddy kiss her and tell her how much they love her, then put her in bed and turn on her sleep sheep. Violet curls her legs up under her, puts her thumb in her mouth, and goes to sleep.

Now, all of the loveliness aside, she does whine quite a bit. She HATES a wet diaper. She can only handle being awake and entertaining herself for about 5-10 minutes before she starts crying for someone to come play with her. She does not like taking naps during the day even though she gets very tired, so she cries for 15-20mins almost every time she is put down for one. She fusses late afternoon-evening every day and we're still battling colic the rest of the day (so random bursts of inconsolable crying for no apparent reason). It's getting better though. Since seeing the pediatrician a few days ago, she has greatly improved and is crying less and less and smiling more and more.

I love my baby girl.

Monday, June 24, 2013

No Lie

"No lie" is a phrase that was really common towards the end of my high school years and the first few years of college. I feel like my roommate and I both said it incessantly. The thing is, I feel like the idea behind the trend is something we need to re-embrace. I'm tired of the lies women tell. 

I always wanted to be popular growing up. I tried in high school, tried in college, and even in my adult life at church. The truth is that I just don't fit with the popular girls. I refuse to smile and pretend like my life is perfect and laugh off any small incidences that might make it look like my life is any less. I refuse to pretend to be a dog person. I love my cats. I don't say "God bless you" to people on a regular basis and I don't tell people I'm going to pray for them very often because the truth is that my prayer life is selfish at best (working on it, but honest about where it is). I rarely look "put together" and I haven't had my hair done in almost a year. I don't like to commit to very many things. I guard my time because it's precious to me. In college, when I was still trying to fit in with the kids I thought were popular, I tried to be involved in all kinds of organizations, projects, even a sorority. One day I realized that I was so busy doing things I had committed myself to, that I was missing out on all of the fun things my real friends were inviting me to do. That's when I decided that there are enough things in life that we are obligated to do, everything else that we do, we should do because we are passionate about it. So I quit a whole bunch of stuff, dropped a class or two, and changed my major. I don't regret one bit of it.

So here I am, years later and I see the adult versions of these people I so wanted to be friends with and I can't decide if their lives really are what they make them out to be and they are really that different from me, or if it's all just some facade that I can't bring myself to create to fit in. 

Here's the truth: My husband and I have both made HUGE mistakes in our marriage- the kind that people get divorced over. We forgive each other and move on. We heal slowly from the hurts we cause each other. We make it through because we made a commitment with God and He never fails even when we do. As parents, we get annoyed by our child. We get annoyed by other people's children too. We let our baby cry it out sometimes and we feel like it's what's best for everyone in our family. We let people hold her- friends, acquaintances, whoever. I let animals touch/lick her. I take her wherever I go. I take my kid out in the heat. She'll live. Between the shade of her stroller and water when I think she needs it, she will survive Texas heat just like everyone else did before air conditioners were invented.  I turn down the monitor so I don't hear her crying the first 10-15 minutes after she has been put down. We sometimes struggle to pay our bills and I'm not sure if we will ever get ou
t of debt even though we keep trying.

Honestly, I think a lot of parents put too much pressure on themselves. When did we become responsible for our children's psychological well being? I love my baby. I think she is adorable and when she smiles, she melts my heart. I hate the idea of her being in pain and I want to give her every opportunity for success in life. I don't, however, feel that she should be put on a pedestal. I should not have to sacrifice my life for hers- she is an addition to my life, not a replacement. I'm not going to show her my frustration (mostly because it becomes a vicious cycle) but that doesn't mean I can't be honest with other moms about the truth of how hard it is to take care of someone's every need/want. I called my pediatrician's office this morning because there is something wrong with her and I don't know what it is. That's okay. I don't have to know how to deal with everything parenting brings my way and I'm going to mess up in some areas. But at the end of the day, if my child is loved, and being trained according to God's word, then I succeeded. Why do some make it all so hard? Don't do this or that, and make sure you do this or ____ will happen to your kid. I feel like there is an insane number of rules you have to keep to be a "good" parent. I wish everyone would just be honest and we could go back to helping each other out- truly raising our children as a community instead of this ridiculous notion that mom's are supposed to do it all. I know I've mentioned some things we do in our home that others judged us for. I don't really care though.

That's the point. I'm not trying to impress anyone. I'm a wife and a mom and I'm doing things the best I can without stressing out over whether or not it fits someone else's definition of the "right' way. I refuse to lie about my life. I refuse to feel bad if it doesn't match the picture everyone else tries to paint of their families. I love my picture. I think it's beautiful. No lie.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It gets easier, but it doesn't hurt less.

I've been looking forward to having some time alone: time  to myself, as well as time alone with my husband. My mom has been asking for quite a while when I would let her take Violet overnight again. Last time my mom took her, it felt like I spent the whole time she was gone crying. I knew that it would be hard to be away from her, but I had no idea the sort of doubled-over, gut-wrenching pain that letting her go would cause. It's fairly terrible.

This time I thought it might be different. You see, last time I let her go I knew I needed the time, but I didn't really want her to go. This time I WANTED the time. I thought that because I was looking forward to the time alone, I might feel differently about seeing her leave. I was wrong.

It hurts to turn around and know that your baby is going away in a car without you. I trust my mom with Violet more than anyone else in the world (besides Cameron of course). I have no doubt that she uses the utmost caution with her, and that she would do anything to protect my child including give her own life in a second without even thinking about it. I know my baby is as safe as she can possibly be with my mom. However, it doesn't erase my fear that something uncontrollable will happen, and I will never see my baby again. It doesn't change the fact that I worry she will be looking for me and wondering where I am, sad that I haven't come to hold her or play with her. She can't ask for me. She can't tell my mom if she's sad because she misses mommy. That kills me.

Last night I got up to use the restroom and had the urge to check on Violet, but remembered that's she's not in her crib and decided that it would be neurotic to wake up my mom and ask her to check on my baby because in the middle of the night I needed to know that she was okay.

This morning I woke up when Cameron left and laid in bed awake for an hour or so instead of sleeping in. I'm used to waking up then because I'm afraid if I don't, I won't hear her on the monitor when she wakes up. 

I miss my baby. Yesterday, I completely melted into a puddle of ugly tears on the the floor after watching her leave. But after crying it out, I put on some makeup, gathered my things, and went out to get some errands done I'd been putting off because I didn't want to do them with Violet. Last night Cameron and I went out to eat and didn't have to take turns eating while the other one held the baby. This morning, I'm updating my blog because I don't have to feed her and change her and play with her and convince her to take a morning nap so I can get ready for the day and do a few chores. No, today I'm going to put on my housework clothes, turn on some music, pour myself a glass of wine, and clean my house. Then I'm going to take a long shower, and put on something that makes me feel pretty and wear dangling earrings because I don't have to worry about my child trying to rip them from my ears. I'm going to take breaks to do nothing. I'm going to have a quiet evening at home with my husband.

Today I'm going to trust that my baby is doing fine. She is taken care of and happy. She loves Nana. Most importantly, I'm going to trust that God is in control of whatever happens.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Everything Changes

Welcome to life with a baby: everything changes... all the time. Or maybe that's just what we think is going on, and it feels like it's changing when we are the ones changing (or better yet, learning).

Tonight is the first night since we started giving Violet tub baths as part of her bed time routine that Cameron wasn't here for it. He had to work this evening so I did it myself. We both thought that Violet absolutely loved being in the tub. She is always so happy in there and doesn't seem to want to get out. Tonight it wasn't that way. She cried and screamed and turned bright red and it took me constantly singing in a frog voice with a puppet wash cloth to get her to calm down long enough for me to finish her bath. It was during that time that I realized it's not the bath that Violet loves... it's the undivided attention she gets from her daddy during bath time. Cameron has been giving her baths since she was born. At first I was too scared to hold a wet squirmy baby, but then it just kind of became his thing. She absolutely loves Cameron and lights up in a special way when he holds her and plays with her. It wasn't until she was crying in the bathtub tonight that I realized bath time is the only time when daddy isn't distracted by me or the tv or the cell phone or anything else. The moment he puts her in the tub, it's all about her. Maybe that's why she hates getting out: she knows that her special daddy time is ending and she will have to go to bed.

I feel like I'm learning more about her everyday. She has likes and dislikes and she is different with me than she is with Cameron. He is her fun partner and he's entertaining. Mommy is more serious. We've been trying to read with her after bath time before bed but it never works because she is so upset about the bath being over that she just cries and doesn't pay any attention to what's going on. Tonight she wasn't so upset when the bath ended and I was able to sit down with her and read to her and pray with her. That's something we've never been able to do before bed.

I love getting to know this little girl. I love that every "change" lets me know a little more about this little person God gave us.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Sleep Saga

Now that we seem to be moving out of the horrendous zombie phase (fingers crossed) I feel like I can relate the past few weeks of our little lives.

I want to preface with this: we absolutely love and adore our little girl- we couldn't be more happy that God blessed us with her and no amount of strife could ever make us feel otherwise. However, until about a week ago, she had become more like an angry little monster than a little girl.

About two weeks ago I would say we were in our own version of newborn hell. She fussed all the time, was almost never happy or even just content, and at night, she was near impossible to get to sleep, and even when she did go to sleep, she would wake up 3-4 hours later and not want to go back to sleep for the rest of the night. Because I'm with her all day (and at that point she was fussing most of the day, required me to hold her the ENTIRE time or would cry/scream, and she was eating an insane amount so I spent half the day feeding her), Cameron takes care of most of her needs after he's had a chance to shower after work (so in the evenings I could fix dinner and attempt to pick up a few things)- he was even pulling the night duty solo. What this means is that I was spending about 14 hrs 1 on 1 with her, exhausted, and still healing from the whole having a baby thing, and Cameron was working all day to come home to an exhausted wife, fussy baby, and a night of very little sleep. Needless to say, we were both getting cranky.

We were looking for solutions, talking to friends, and trying everyone's suggestions. Nothing seemed to be working, then someone said we should try taking her to a pediatric chiropractor. We did. The first night after taking her, she wasn't sleeping better, but she was more content. So while Cameron was still up with her a good portion of the night, at least she wasn't crying that whole time. Each time we've taken her it seems like she's more content and it lasts longer.

 In addition to regular visits to the chiropractor, exactly one week ago I skimmed the entirety of Baby Wise and immediately put the principles into practice. Violet responded right away. She has steadily worked up in just one week from the above stated night-time torture, to now sleeping 6 hours at once and then wakes up once, gets changed and fed, and goes right back to sleep for another 3-4 hours (it's beautiful). Plus, she doesn't fuss when we put her to down to sleep at night. She's ready to sleep and when she wakes up the one time, after being taken care of, she goes right back to sleep. This means that we put her to bed and we get a little time to ourselves before calling it a night and once during the night Cameron goes in, feeds her and changes her diaper, and within 30min she is put back in her crib and falls back to sleep. I don't hear her until between 7-8am.

To all of those who told me to read Baby Wise before she was born, and to those who mentioned it afterwards, you were right. While I am sure there are babies and families out there who do better with a different system, this one works wonders for us and I am soooo thankful!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

There's nothing like a baby...

Six weeks ago today I went in to my OB for a regular check up at 36weeks and he told me I was going to have my baby and needed to go to the hospital. I had her about 14hrs later. Today I went back to my OB and took my precious little one with me. In regards to the (official tomorrow) 6 weeks of her life I've come up with a few "sayings" that are kind of like "you might be a redneck if..." except I'm not a comedian, so don't expect these to be funny.

There's nothing like a baby to make you lose weight.
     -no joke... I am down now 12lbs from my prepregnancy weight (although before you read this and feel jealous if you didn't have a similar experience please note that I STILL look 4 months pregnant). I spoke to my doctor about this today because the truth is, I don't actually mind being fat. So long as I'm not in plus sized clothing, I'm pretty okay with my appearance. What I'm NOT okay with is looking like I'm pregnant when I'm not. So, it's time to start doing some crunches :(  (and maybe buy spanx for between now and whenever I have done enough crunches to no longer look pregnant)

There's nothing like a baby to make you appreciate 4hrs of uninterrupted sleep.
    -if you've ever had a baby, there's no explanation needed here.

There's nothing like a baby to make your standards of "good" go down so far.
    -we've come to measure our status of being "good" parents by the fact that she's alive and healthy... and our new definition of a "good" night or day really just means our kid didn't scream the whole time and at some point she slept long enough for us to put her down and go pee.

There's nothing like a baby to make you stop caring what other people think.
     -I don't care if people look at me when my baby screams. I also don't care if they think I'm crazy for having left her two nights in a row with my mom at just 5 weeks old, or for putting her in the church nursery at 5 1/2 weeks. I also don't care that pediatricians think I shouldn't put a little cereal in her bottle at night, or that I let her sleep on her tummy, or use the adorable crib bumper on her bed. I'm her mom. I get to decide what's right for her and us. The only opinion in regards to my parenting that matters to me (other than Cameron of course, we are a team) is Violet's. So if in 20 years she comes to me and tells me that I somehow damaged her in my parenting decisions, I will gladly explain why I did what I did and apologize for my failures. I don't make decisions lightly and her safety is at the top of my priority list, but I'm also an intelligent human being who doesn't feel the need to follow every "rule" put out there by people who think they know what's best: I do the research, take time to find out why they think I shouldn't do something, and then decide what's right for us.

I love my daughter with all of my heart. Getting her cost me a greater amount of pain/torture than I ever would have imagined, but she's worth more. However, as precious as she is to me, she isn't #1 in my life (aside from God of course). My husband comes first, my marriage comes first. When we are both exhausted and start snapping at each other, it's time to take a break and have someone else watch Violet long enough for us to rest and remember what it's like to just be "us" because twenty-something years from now, it's just going to be "us" again.

There's nothing like a baby to make you appreciate "us" time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mommy Issues

So, in becoming a new parent there have been a few things I've had to learn to accept. Most of them
I expected, but there are a few that I didn't.

1. Regardless of what I choose to wear, my baby will find a way to make me immodest.
2. It is impossible to wake her up when she wants to sleep.
3. It is also impossible to put her to sleep when she wants to be awake.
4. Baby throw up is 100% unpredictable. There are no signs it is coming, and no matter how much you prepare, you will always find that you needed more of something to clean up the mess.
5. When a little baby cries, it is cute. When a little baby screams, it is headache inducing.
6.  Baby farts DO smell. I always think she did something in her diaper only to find that the fart really was that bad.

The one thing I really didn't expect is the disconnect in relationship. I love her more than anything, and that was instantaneous the moment I realized she was mine. However, most days it feels more like I have a puppy than a child. I feel like I understand her needs better than anyone else, but I don't feel like there is much of a relationship because at this point, she isn't much of a person. I can't make her laugh, or tickle her, or really elicit much of a response from her for anything other than her basic needs. It feels pointless to read to her and she isn't interested in toys yet. It's hard to think of her as part of our family when my cats currently exude more personality. I understand that these things will change in time, but it doesn't make it easier now. I read about the development of babies and knew that it would be like this in the beginning, but I think that I somehow had it in my head that there would be some sort of magic bond when she was born that would make me feel like there's more to our relationship than there is right now.

The family newborn visits are done for the most part now. I absolutely loved it and am sooo thankful to have had my mom and then Cameron's mom here to help us get through these first few weeks. I don't know what I would have done without them (there is no way I could have taken care of Violet by myself when Cameron started going back to work so soon after the c-section).  As thankful as I am to have had so much help, I am also thankful that we are now finally to the point where it's just us and I can start establishing a new normal for life. I'm ready to be the one who takes care of Violet during the day, and runs errands, and makes dinner, and does a few chores in between. I'm still rebuilding strength ( I mean hey, they cut through abdominal muscles to get her out, you don't rebound from that right away), but I'm strong enough and ready to start taking on the responsibilities of my home again.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Our birth story.

I didn't cry the first time I held my precious baby girl. I didn't cry the second, third, or other subsequent times when she was placed in my arms. Perhaps I should just be thrown into the bad mom club for that, but it's what happened.

The entire experience of having a baby was difficult for me. I was constantly sick, tired, and felt like I had been reduced to a second class of being. I was unable to do for myself things I had always done and beyond that, I struggled the entire time with truly believing that I would get to meet my little girl. I had a hard time letting go of fears and really felt like things were going to go wrong in the end.

Even when my doctor told me to go the hospital I didn't believe I was going to meet her. I didn't think it was time yet and that I'd soon be going home to sit in bed for at least another week or two.

At the hospital, I did pretty well progressing on my own and dilating. After having been in labor and stuck in bed for a week, I changed my mind and decided that I wanted an epidural (contractions had gotten pretty strong and close together by then)l. I had no issues when I checked in, I was definitely in labor, and my first check at the hospital had me dilated 5cm. The epidural went in easy, I had been in bed the whole time I'd been there anyways, so it wasn't horrible having to stay there. I spent a total of 13 hours at the hospital in labor. A few hours after the epidural my progress had slowed, so I agreed they could give me a little pitocin. It didn't seem to be doing much of anything, so they increased the amount they were giving me. My little girl's heart rate steadily crept up and stayed high for about 6 hours with a few very dangerous spikes. They tried stopping the pitocin and I went back to progressing well on my own and made it 9.5cm. We were so close and her heart rate had been elevated for so long that they had me start pushing to see if we couldn't get her to push through that little bit left. Her heart rate wasn't going down despite stopping the medicine and they couldn't figure out what else might be causing it (all other things had been ruled out with tests, constantly turning me, and my lack of fever). Pushing wasn't getting her through without dilating that last little bit and after 6 hours of her heart elevated so high they didn't believe we could afford to continue waiting for me to progress. My baby was getting tired and so was I. I was told that we needed to make a decision as soon as possible before we no longer had a choice because her heart rate wasn't getting better.

Having to decide after all that time of contractions and getting that far and having pushed and actually felt her moving down was the hardest thing. I had no idea in the moment what choice to make and I looked to Cameron for what to do. I left the final decision to him because I trusted he would make the right one. We told them to go ahead and prep for the c-section.

They started giving me anesthesia for surgery and took me into the room and strapped me down. It was freezing. They started to do a few tests poking me and I could feel the pain from it so they gave me more anesthesia. I started feeling faint and looked up at the anesthesiologist to ask what would happen if I passed out... and that's all I remember.

I woke up an hour after the surgery. My little Violet was born at 2:59am on March 27, 2013. By the time I woke up from the anesthesia, she was clean and already measured/tested/etc. I was handed her wrapped up in a blanket and I remember being very confused. It hadn't registered in my head what had happened or that she was delivered. It really felt more like being in a state of shock. She came out 7lbs 13.4oz despite being qualified as a "premie" coming one day before 37 weeks. My doctor said it's highly unlikely I would have been able to deliver her if we had chosen to wait because she was so big.

No one ever really came and told me step by step what had happened to fill in the blanks for me of her birth. I was extremely medicated from the surgery and it took a long time for my brain to catch up to fuzzily fill in what must have happened.

 The second time I held her and knew what was going on felt more like the first. She is so beautiful. She smells so good. I can't believe it's possible to instantly love someone so much. I love my husband very deeply- but it was a choice that I made to love him, and God has grown that love, but this little girl... I didn't have a choice: it was just there, bursting out.

I was stapled closed and had to be (and still am) on very good painkillers... not that they really keep me from feeling the pain (I'm pretty sure the only way I could have gotten out of feeling extreme pain would be to have them put me under and leave me there until I've healed more than I have so far). In the hospital I couldn't hardly move. I held her as much as I could, but my arms were weak with so much medicine and fluids being pushed through them, plus bruised from constantly having my blood pressure taken. Most of the time I just had to have someone sit her between my legs and I'd touch her hair or hold her fingers.

Being so limited in movement just subconsciously reinforced the idea in my head that she wasn't really going to be mine. I was blessed to have not just Cameron, but my mom and dad present through the whole birth and next day. My mom has stayed pretty much ever since then with me. Their celebration of her birth and encouragement through the whole process was huge for me. I desperately needed them.

The majority of the experience was a lovely, extremely painful blur. However, it wasn't until we were checking out that it all became real to me. March 29, at about 1pm all of our bags were packed, and we had seen all of our nurses and doctors for the last time. Cameron had gone down to bring the car up to the door, and while he was out, a nurse came in and had me sign the last paper and take off my baby's security band. The nurse then handed her to me and said "It's all yours now."

That's about the moment that I lost it. As soon as they left the room I burst into tears, feeling for the first time that this little girl was truly ours. Of all the people in the world, God chose us to be her parents. Best feeling ever.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Did someone say NEXT WEEK?

Today I had another regular OB appointment. Did I mention we're to the point now where I go in once a week for an ultrasound and 20 mins where they do fetal monitoring and also monitor contractions? I'm technically 35 weeks and 5 days today- leaving exactly 30 days until Violet is "due." Now, I've been telling people for quite some time that she isn't waiting until April 18th. I've just known that she would come early.

After today's appointment I just want to shout to the world "I WAS RIGHT!" Of course, sure enough if I do that, I will end up eating the words. But... after monitoring contractions and fetal movement, the nurse decided that my doctor should "check me to see if anything is happening." Yeah... like that wasn't cryptic and alarming to a pregnant woman. I then had to wait for him to come which took like 20 minutes. Do you know how many scary/crazy things can run through your mind in that amount of time?

Well, as it turns out, I am about 2-3cm dilated and the contractions were such that he said I may already be in early labor. His exact words after that came out sounding almost like a blur so I had to say "HOLD ON, can you repeat that slowly?"  He said "I wouldn't be surprised if you have the baby in the next week." NEXT WEEK! Can we just stop there for a minute. She isn't due for 30 days, and while I was sure she would be early, I didn't think this early.  He followed that with telling me that I officially need to be on bed rest now and that I should be watching closely for signs of labor.

Just being dilated doesn't usually mean much.. but the contractions... which haven't stopped by the way... do tend to mean a little something. I've been having them consistently for at least the past 4-5 hours, but possibly longer. I've been having little ones off and on for weeks now and, while noticeable and slightly uncomfortable, they don't hurt so I don't pay much attention to them.

Either way... I'm glad we went out for the last of the "necessities" yesterday. My mommy is coming over tomorrow to help since I have a bunch of laundry that needs to be done and even more that is clean and needs to be put away. I sure am glad we did so much this weekend to prepare. I have three weeks worth of dinners pre-made in my freezer, the car seat is installed, and Violet's room is almost completely ready- we've even prewashed all the blankets, sheets, bibs, etc and newborn sized clothes. My kitchen is mostly organized and with a few little things here and there that Cameron could get done tonight, I think I could go to the hospital feeling relatively good about being prepared.

It's getting real people.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Baby shower!

I am so thankful for all of the generous gifts we have been receiving for Violet. I'm thrilled to be blessed with friends and family that not only send things that are beautiful, but useful. I'm learning so much from my mommy friends about what to expect and what I will actually need. I'm so thankful to have such great resources and honest friends to help us transition and have realistic expectations.

 The shower was lovely. It was nice to spend some time with friends and Amanda G. did such a great job with decorating and food! I loved having friends decorate onesies for Violet.
I received many lovely letters of advice and encouragement from family that was meant to be a part of the shower, but I figured out quickly I was too emotional to read them in front of friends (especially on so little sleep) so I'm excited to have this one part to share just between me and Cameron.

I feel like we have received so much more than I ever thought we would for her. I can't wait to hang up all her little clothes and put away her blankets and booties and start packing the diaper bag. We're installing her carseat this week and packing the hospital bag : ) Thank you to all who were able to make it for coming : )  I know I was less than gushing and wonderful and you were all so sweet. I especially loved getting to meet baby Kate.

I'm 34 weeks and 3 days today. I had another ultrasound and started fetal monitoring this past Thursday. She's healthy and growing exactly as expected with a strong little heart and incredible energy- she moves and grooves all day long. I've been noticing contractions almost daily for a few weeks now, but my doctor isn't worried about it. I've been really weak with a few other symptoms due to continued steady increase in my blood pressure. We're having to watch it closely, but at this point it's still in the safe range. We have a little over a month until she's due, but I have a suspicion that she isn't going to wait that long. I could be wrong... I mean, I thought she would be a boy (we had the ultrasound tech check again Thursday just to make extra sure before we paint the walls pink).

I'm starting to feel much better about everything. I feel like it's all starting to fall into place. My home is on it's way to being truly organized, my little girl's room is to the point that I think it will be finished in the next week, and I have almost everything I need for her when we bring her home. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Personality Ponderings

The closer I get my due date, the more I find myself wondering what this little girl will be like. More importantly, will she be an introvert or an extrovert?

I'm an introvert. That's why I don't know my extended family very well, I haven't built relationships with my husband's family, and I have very few friends. It's taxing for me to be around people. Participating in social conventions and pleasantries is draining for me. Groups make me nervous, team sports are beyond frightening and any sort of sporadic communication is stressful (this could just be running into an acquaintance at the grocery store). I don't like being away from what's familiar. I didn't want a baby shower because of the large amount of stimulation and pressure to participate in social conventions, but I felt in the end that I might regret not having one and it seemed that there were several people in my life who really wanted one for me. Even so, I've insisted on having it in my own home- at least that way I have some familiarity and I know where I can retreat.

It's not that I don't like people, or small group activities... I've often longed to feel like part of a group, but it's hard. I have to plan things ahead of time. It's important for me to have a heads up about things- if someone is going to stop by I need to know about when... I need to know when my husband is coming home each day even if that just means he texts me and tells me thirty minutes ahead of time. I even need to plan phone calls. It helps me to receive a text to plan a phone call for a certain time (I LOVE that my dad does this for me). More important than having things planned, I need down time. I have to have an escape route where I can regroup away from others before joining back in- like I said, it's draining for me to be around others, so I need time to refill.

I've noticed this all more and more since being pregnant- probably because I've been able to have so much more alone time. I don't wish introversion on Violet because it makes living in our society more difficult (this wouldn't be a problem in certain other countries). Any wish for her to be that way is selfish on my part because I understand the world of an introvert. Also, if she needs time to herself to recharge, it means that I will also have time to myself for recharging- not the case if she's an extrovert. I worry about my ability to handle being a stay at home mom if I have extroverts for children. I am easily over stimulated- and before you take that to mean something bad, it means I keep my phone on silent, my computer on silent, and I don't ever have the tv on unless I'm specifically watching something. I can't have music playing while the tv is going and I can't have a conversation while the tv is going. I can only have one stimulating thing happening at a time or it gives me a headache. Sometimes just watching too much tv at once can drain me. I even have issues with my husband's incessant need to make noise- usually humming. I just wonder how on earth am I going to deal with a child 24/7? I know they aren't quiet unless sleeping or getting into trouble...

I'm blessed to have Cameron. He's not like me- he likes stimulation- he would have music playing all the time and his phone is almost NEVER on silent. He needs people. He thrives on social interaction especially in larger groups where he can bounce from one person/conversation to another. The constant noise kids seem to make when they are awake is much less likely to drive him insane- really it's more likely to make him join in. I can just see him emulating all of the sounds and humming when he holds Violet. She's going to think he's the greatest. He will be.

I know that God will equip me to handle any challenge that Violet and I face, it's just that I want to know ahead of time what I'm up against. Will she be stubborn? shy? silly? sassy? quiet?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Today I was in a car wreck

Well, to start off I'd like to thank everyone who answered my call for prayers while on the road today. I am a firm believer that God not only hears, but responds to our prayers. I believe that today I was extended a great amount of mercy and grace, and I'm very thankful that God chose to protect little Violet and I from harm.

Late this morning I had a wreck on northbound I-35 just a few miles south of Waco. If you are unfamiliar with this stretch of road, the interstate shrinks down to two lanes and there is a stretch with no shoulder on the left side. There is a big concrete median on either side of the road (however the right side still has a shoulder between the road and the median). I hate those medians. It makes me very nervous to drive so close to the median when it's a big concrete barrier like that. This particular stretch of interstate also has some curves. They aren't really big, so you have to really watch the road to notice them and stay in the lines.

Note: last night Cameron and I stayed up past 2am packing. I was then unable to get to sleep. I rested in bed for several hours before getting up because I simply wasn't tired anymore and felt alert. I left our apartment just before 8am. I've been suffering from insomnia for quite a while now.

Ok, so here I am, driving down I-35 super nervous about the median, but I always drive in the left lane on I-35 and I've made this trek a million times before. All of sudden I believe that I've hit the median and I overreact (read over-correct) and begin swerving between lanes having lost control of my vehicle. On this stretch of road I would have been driving anywhere between 65 and 75mph. I try to slow down to regain control and instead my vehicle does a 90 degree spin. I'm now perpendicular to the road and blocking the right lane. A black SUV is coming right for me. He hits my car and I spin an additional 90 degrees and land on the right shoulder facing the oncoming traffic.

I took a few minutes to make sure I was calm enough to make a call, and then notified authorities. At that point I believed that my vehicle was probably still drive-able and it appeared that the SUV had also sustained only minor damage. A police officer arrived on the scene and helped me get off the interstate to a safer place.

As soon as we are all safely tucked away on the side of the access road, the man from the SUV came over to my car. He was an older gentleman who expressed great concern... but for me. He showed no concern for his own vehicle but only insisted over and over on being certain that I was not harmed. The officer spoke to the man by his vehicle about the wreck, and then came over and asked me what had happened. I told him that I really wasn't sure. I had hit the median and then lost control of my vehicle from there. The officer said gave me a different version of the story though. (His makes a lot more sense).

The officer said that it was much more likely that I only thought I had hit median (perhaps I had come very close and then over-corrected in fear). There are no scratches on the front or driver side of my car where the median was. Given the range of speed that I would have been driving when I hit the median, there would certainly be evidence on my car of the collision. The reality is- I didn't hit the median. The only impact that my car suffered was from the SUV that hit it.

The man in the SUV saw the entire thing happen and while unable to avoid hitting me, he was able to slow down his vehicle to what was estimated to be around 20mph upon impact.

His vehicle only had a minor scrape with a little bit of metal that had been pushed in near his tire. He was able to safely drive away and agreed to not press any charges, only to exchange insurance information.

My rear passenger door is completely crumpled. The metal was pushed in around my tire and I was told that I would not be able to make it back to Longview with my vehicle the way it was due to the metal rubbing the tire. I called AAA for a tow truck. While I was calling AAA and Cameron to let him know what had happened, I believe that the police officer called a friend. Not long afterwards, a man pulled up with a large truck that had tools I'm unfamiliar with. He seemed to recognize the officer and came over. The man used a tool to pull the metal away from my tire making it safe to drive. I asked him what I owed him or could do for him, and he refused any payment, but wished for my day to get better.

The officer (although he certainly could have) chose not to write me any tickets. He instead gave me tips on dealing with the insurance company to ensure they didn't try to get me to pay for things I shouldn't have to.

There are a million parts of this whole scenario that could have gone differently. I could have actually hit the median. I could have been hit by a driver who was paying less attention and was not able to slow down so much. I could have been hit by more than one driver, or a driver who was interested in getting as much as they could out of the deal. I could have been hit by a larger vehicle (read: one of many semi's that passed by after I was safely on the shoulder). I could have had a less kind officer come to the call and been charged heavy ticket fines or dealt with in a less kind and considerate manner. I could have had to have my vehicle towed and waited for someone to fix in Waco and been stranded. Violet could have been hurt.

However, none of those things happened. Violet and I were protected. We were shown great care, and offered kindness from strangers in an otherwise scary situation.

Thank you Lord for protecting us. Thank you for responding to the prayers of friends and family, and thank you for reminding me that I am here for a reason. You have a plan for the life of my family, and apparently, at least for today, that plan involves a little more time here on earth.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

So I figured it was time for a donut : )

Today was my last time to see my obgyn here is San Antonio. I'm going to miss him.

After the appointment, I dropped by a dear friend's house to deliver an incredibly late birthday gift for her little boy. He was super cute and started talking about donuts and how his grandma often brings donuts when she comes over. It got me thinking...

At the appointment, I tried my best not to whine about my symptoms, but when it came to talking about sleep I just nearly started crying. I'm so tired. I really don't think I've managed more than 3 hrs in a single night over the past two weeks. After discussing the contributing factors with my Dr., we concluded that there isn't really anything more I can do about it (I've already tried everything)- he said that it's good training for having a newborn and to remember that it won't last forever. That was the down side of my visit.  Upside: All is well with little Violet. She's crazy active (which apparently is a good thing- although my sleep deprivation might try to argue). Her little heartbeat is steady right where it needs to be, and my "fundal height"- whatever that is- is right on track. In spite of drinking cocoa daily, I did somehow manage to lose a little weight between my last appointment and this one... which isn't really what you're hoping for when you're nearly 28 weeks pregnant. So, in light of my earlier conversation with a cute little boy, I figured it wouldn't hurt to stop for a few donuts on my way home : ) 

Now I'm eating Krispy Kreme donut holes, a burrito from taco bell (we're not even going to talk about where that craving came from), and drinking apple juice- that ought to tip to scales the right direction. Don't worry, I promise to snack on some fruit later and eat all my vegetables at dinner : )

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Congratulations, You're 26 and Don't Have Diabetes!

I know, the glucose test is one of those things that at some point over 90% of pregnant women pass... and beyond that, those who don't still usually manage things well and have perfectly normal pregnancies with healthy babies.

The truth is, I wasn't really worried about my glucose test because of the pregnancy... more like the fact that I've had an insane sweet tooth since I was born (my first word was cookie... no joke). I love red meat, and I believe if you're going to take in a bunch of dairy, you might as well go all out and use real butter (I'd rather deal with fat which is something I can understand over a huge list of chemical crap that is sure to have a more interesting way of killing me in the future). Short story, until recent years, my diet has been totally setting me up for heart failure by the age of 30.

To know that I consistently have normal everything (cholesterol, blood pressure, thyroid whateverness, etc.) and now blood sugar, is quite a relief. Perhaps the insane amount of fast food I inhaled as a kid and processed foods that I loved and still sometimes indulge in won't be the death of me. Ok, so I eat them a little more than sometimes... I'm blaming pregnancy... we hadn't eaten hamburger helper in over a year until I got pregnant and suddenly started craving a strange mix of horribly highly processed foods (although fast food still makes me sick) and natural fruits/juices... sometimes together. Yesterday I dipped slices of organic apples into a spicy meat queso made with velveeta.

So congratulations to me... a car wreck is still the most likely way I will die if I go before age 34.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

and the countdown begins...

100 days. According to my lovely little bump app, Violet is due to make an appearance in exactly 100 days. I figured that since I'm certainly on the downhill side of pregnancy it was time to read about what's to come.

That was a HORRIBLE idea. I feel like someone should have told me. NO... held me down and forced me to listen to what it's like AFTER birth. Why was this not a part of the my "sex ed" in high school? I mean, they show a million disgusting pictures of stds, but they leave out the one thing that most women WILL experience? I chose to save myself for marriage for spiritual reasons- but seriously, had I known what comes with birth- I may have just chosen a life of celibacy. 

Pads the size of diapers... burning pee... lack of bladder control... the desire for crazy creams, numbing sprays, and ice all packed down there? Losing tons of blood and passing clots? Not to mention all the swelling making things down there appear deformed? I don't even want to say what some of the women on the pregnancy boards said it looked like. Plus they described the pain of when the baby crowns as a "burning ring of fire." Oh... and it's not uncommon to have your tail bone BREAK? Lots of women rip down there, and so you also have stitches in such a sensitive obviously war damaged place to deal with?

I now understand why I had to beg my mother for a younger sibling. And in the midst of all the horror tales on the pregnancy boards are crazy 2nd+ time moms saying they forgot about all of it, but that they are looking forward to going through it again??? Some of them seemed to find the horrific comments laughable?!

The thing is, after reading through all of this and thinking that surely these women are lying- it can't be that bad or else women wouldn't do it more than once, I checked a more reliable source. My pregnancy books confirm that yes, all of these things can happen. My question is this-while if I can, I'd like to try a natural birth, when it's over will I get meds? I mean, surely they prescribe you something awesome to help deal with the recovery pain right?

My mom keeps telling me that the experience is horrible, but that it's all worth it in the end. Someone please tell me she's right. Tell me that those women on the pregnancy boards are being over-dramatic and that it's not really that bad. Tell me that between having my little Violet to snuggle and some awesome pain killers I won't really notice the horror down there.

I wasn't looking forward to the birth part, but now my countdown is an equal amount of anticipation to meet Violet, and incrible fear/dreading of the phsyical consequences of her coming out.