Monday, 26 January 2015

Elliott: Ten months

This year is closing in on me much faster than I expected! I'm starting to have that feeling that you get on Sunday afternoon when you know you only have a few hours of weekend left. I'm not going back to work in the traditional sense, but I am opening a Dayhome in our home and I know I will be very busy! For now I'm treasuring all the quiet cuddles and times he falls asleep on me, knowing these sweet little moments may come a little fewer and far between once I have four other littles to run after!

This has been a big month for us! Elliott start crawling and pulling himself up on everything. I find I rarely get to sit down these days as I spend all my time chasing him and stopping him from touching/pushing buttons/pulling things down on himself. I think we have our work cut out for ourselves with this one. He knows exactly what he isn't supposed to touch and finds it hilarious. That's right, the word "No" now brings giggles, and when you remove him he thinks you're "getting him" and will crawl right back to where he was so you'll do it again. I know things could be worse and I could be dealing with a stubborn screamer, but I'm not sure that this is all that much better! I do wonder how this will play itself out in his personality as he grows..

Thursday, 22 January 2015

How I Beat Mastitis Without Antibiotics

Elliott is ten months old now, and so imagine my surprise (and annoyance!) last week when I came down with a case of mastitis. You may remember that I had mastitis twice before- once when Elliott was less than two weeks old which hit in full force. As much as I resisted at first I had no choice but to take antibiotics to clear it up. And then I got it a second time a few weeks later. I recognized the warning signs and was able to nip it in the bud with Vitamin C before developing a fever.

This time around it hit hard and fast, but I was able avoid antibiotics. I wanted to write a post detailing exactly what I did in the hopes that it will be helpful for someone else in the future.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Balancing Needs With A Baby In The Mix

A few nights ago night Chris and I were both fairly exhausted. Myself because Elliott hasn't been sleeping well this week, and for Chris because he is back in school after a month off. We're both feeling this adjustment period - he has 8 am classes everyday of the week which is hard on both of us. No more nudging him awake at 7 am after a hard night of multiple wakings so I can sleep in (It was a good run while it lasted!) He also has more classes than he did last semester which means staying on top of homework is a nightly task.

We had some company over for a short while after dinner, and then after Chris did bath time and I put Elliott to bed we both collapsed on the couch for a few brief minutes before he started writing a short assignment. Once he finished around 10 pm I was having trouble keeping my eyes open and announced I needed to go to bed early.

I decided to first prepare a lunch for Chris, which was interrupted by Elliott waking up. Groan. Into his room I go, and pat his back for a few minutes until he falls back asleep. This doesn't bode well for the rest of the night.

Now it's 10:30 and I am actually going to bed. It isn't uncommon these days for me to head to bed before Chris, but he always tucks me in and we pray together. I tell him I'm heading to the bedroom and ask for the usual 5 minute buffer for me to brush my teeth and get changed before he comes in to pray.

"Do you mind if we don't pray together tonight?" He asks

What?? My mind races. Well. Umm. Yes I do mind. I instantly feel upset, but I'm not sure why.

"It's just that if I come in in 5 minutes and we take 10 minutes to pray together, I really don't have any time to myself before bed" (we typically stick pretty close to an 11 pm bedtime for ourselves)

It's true. It was now 10:35. By the time we would be done praying it would be almost 11. I feel upset though - I just spent the last half hour doing some very unselfish things. Soothing our son back to sleep and making a lunch for Chris (cute notes attached and all!) All I want out of him is 10 minutes or less to pray with me.

"But, I love when we pray together. I don't want to get out of that habit." I say, not really wanting to reveal my selfish thoughts.

"I love it too, but it's just one night. I could just use a little time to rest and unwind before bed."

"If I stay up until 11 with you, can we go to bed together and pray?" I ask


And then approximately 1.5 minutes later after sitting there feeling frustrated, I announce once again that I am tired, and now my stomach seems to hurt so I am heading to bed. And off I go. No kiss goodnight, no embrace to reassure him I am not upset.

Because really, I am still upset.

As I am brushing my teeth I start to think more about how selfish he was being. After I made him lunch! Doesn't he realize that I need time to rest and unwind too? I spend my entire day with Elliott, and he doesn't understand that there is no "time off" when you're a Mom. My eyes are always on that little man. Even when he's sleeping my ears are tuned in to hear if he stirs (Which lately, is a lot) I sure wish I could have some quiet time where I didn't have to think of anyone but myself.

Me me me me me me me me ME.

Oh boy. The Lord (thankfully) convicted me pretty quickly on this one. Because here's the thing friends:

My need for rest does not negate his need for rest.  Let's take this a step further. My needs do not negate his needs, even if I selfishly view my needs as greater. The only reason I was accusing him of being selfish was because I was feeling incredibly selfish in that moment. The fact that I am tired does not disallow him from feeling tired. My need for rest does not minimize his need rest.

In marriage there can be a constant tension of his needs vs her needs, and adding a baby intensifies those needs, and on top of that creates brand new needs. We're still figuring it all out. I have a feeling we'll be figuring it all out for a while. In the meantime we are thankful to the Lord for the ministry of his Holy Spirit who leads us in the right direction - towards a sacrificial relationship that mirrors Jesus and the church.

Chris came to bed only a few minutes later and apologized. I also apologized for how I reacted and for how I manipulated him, because if I'm really honest I went to bed with the hopes that he would feel guilty and follow me.

Conviction. Sanctification. This can be a tough gig sometimes.

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Friday, 2 January 2015

An Argument Between My Spirit and Heart on Christmas Day

It's amazing how having a child will make you reevaluate everything. What (and where!) you eat, how you spend your leisure time, how much TV you watch, how often you get outside, and most recently, how you celebrate Christmas.

I love Christmas. I love just about everything about it- the eggnog, the delicious treats, the tree, the decorations, and finding just the right gifts for my loved ones. I even love the hustle and bustle of the malls as Christmas Day draws near (and intentionally do my Christmas shopping in the last week like a crazy person!) Of course this year we have something extra to celebrate - what a special time to celebrate Elliott's first Christmas with our family!

We decided not to get gifts for Elliott this year. We weren't trying to make some big statement about Christmas and gifts, instead we just recognized that he would get just as much enjoyment from playing with the boxes and tissue paper from our gifts as he would his own, and he has no clue what it means to receive a gift. When he needs things (or when I happen to pass by something I think he needs) we buy them for him. For this year we felt there was no need to wait until Christmas morning to give him those things. Next year will be a whole new ball game I'm sure!

On that note however, I did find myself feeling a brand new tension this year, particularly on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was a fight between my spirit and my heart. At first, it seemed fairly black and white for me - I was seeing picture after picture posted on social media of parents showing off their Christmas tree laden with gifts underneath. Some had few, and some had many, and while I'm quite sure not everyone's intent was to showcase the gifts, I know a couple most definitely were. When I saw these pictures, my spirit felt uneasy. Why is this the focus? Why is this image what we are choosing to "share" with our friends and families? Christians and Non-Christians alike all seem to agree that Christmas is so much more than gifts. Even if you don't believe that the season is all about celebrating the gift of Jesus, you likely believe that time spent with friends and family is far more valuable that what is found under that tree.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that is all I saw on social media. I saw plenty of pictures of families gathered around a meal, and selfies taken on Christmas morning in Christmas jammies. I know the giant boxes wrapped in metallic paper with red and green bows is not all my friends care about. I am also not saying I am anti-gifts. As I said above, one of my favourite parts of Christmas is finding the perfect gift for someone. I love the joy of giving! I'm not a crazy person either- I certainly enjoy receiving as well.

But back to that tension- I'm sitting there on Christmas Day feeling a little uneasy about seeing these gifts, and honestly I'm even thinking about writing this blog about it. There I am scrolling through Facebook as Elliott naps, silently writing a post in my head about how I don't want my children to grow up thinking Christmas is all about gifts, and I see one picture that flips my black and white ideals on it's head. One friend took a picture of her kids coming into the room on Christmas morning and seeing the gifts under the tree for the first time.

My heart grew three sizes for those gifts.

On one hand I still feel all the same about not wanting the gifts to take front and centre in any celebration, but my Mommy heart understood it all so much more after seeing those sweet little faces filled with surprise, excitement and pure joy.

You know, I only put this together as I was sitting here typing, but I think the Lord has already been teaching me something in this.

I've never been one for making New Year's resolutions, but this year I was challenged to ask the Lord for one word for this next season of our lives. Not necessarily the full year- just this season we are entering into. I want to know what he has to show me- it might be something he wants to grow in me, or something that he wants me to experience.

He answered me with two words. Extravagant Love. I look forward to seeing how Jesus wants to reveal this to me in this season. I think he has already given me a taste for it in the eyes of those sweet children seeing their gifts for the first time. All they knew in that moment was extravagance. What they found under that tree was so obviously more than they had expected or imagined, and I can only imagine that our Heavenly Father enjoys seeing that reaction even more than a parent on Christmas Day.

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