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Monday, January 30, 2012

Halle's Birth Story ~ Part 1

Prior to having children, having an unmedicated birth experience was never even on my radar. Never. Still, as many of you moms know: motherhood brings about many changes. I  initially thought that women who actually wanted to have unmedicated, natural births were just plain crazy. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why these poor women just didn't take advantage of the breakthroughs in modern medicine (that the good Lord had provided) in order to escape the "torture" that we call childbirth. Little did I know, after having a "epidural-fiasco" with my first baby and a "pitocin-fiasco" with my second baby, I would become one of these "crazy" women.

In addition to my dissatisfaction with my first two birthing experiences, I was inspired by my friend who gave birth to her first-born naturally. Remember that? If not, you can read about it here. I was also inspired and awakened to the downside of birth interventions after watching The Business of Being Born. You can see the trailer here

So, while pregnant with my 3rd child, I got a midwife and a doula and prepared for my first unmedicated birthing experience. Boy, did I have high hopes! I pictured myself after having the baby feeling a sense of accomplishment and strength. I had thoughts of a deep sense of affection I would feel for my baby right after birth. 

To my dismay, I ended up in a ridiculously long labor, felt a horrendous amount of pain in my lower back, and gave birth to a posterior baby. I walked away from the experience convinced that "torture" was indeed the appropriate term for an unmediated birth. If you think you can handle the gory details of that one, you can read about it here.

So, why on earth would I try to go for another unmedicated birth with baby #4? (I did mention I was crazy, right?) I figured that if I prayed alot and took the proper precautions needed in order to make sure my baby "spinned" I could avoid another posterior birth. Then, I could finally have my ideal birth experience.

My faith that God would help my dream birth become a reality was increased after I read this birth story. I thought that if God would have that much mercy and love toward this woman, why wouldn't he do the same for me. I also found a website called Spinning Babies, in which I found a ton of information on positions and exercises I could do to turn my baby. I did them and I did them often in the weeks leading up to the birth of the baby!

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Halle!

My baby girl turns 1 year-old today! 

Here are some fun facts about Halle:

1. The name Halle means "unexpected gift" and that she was!

2. Halle already has 4 and 1/2 baby teeth!

3. If one of our children could win an award for "The Messiest Eater" she would most definitely win. She doesn't just like to eat the food, she likes to feel the food (a tactile learner perhaps?). In fact, here's what I found her doing with her oatmeal this morning:

cwdR89 on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Girls Room Inspiration

This photo added to ideas for what I might want to do in my girls room. I love the photo and the shag rug!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Kitchen Playdates

When I spotted this book at the library, I immediately thought of a friend who has a knack for making a simple recipe come alive! I thought that some of you might also find it useful! Lauren Bank Deen, author of the book, Kitchen Playdates, explains how she did a little reinventing after having children;
"The arrival of my children changed an aspect of my life that I was pretty happy with: the opportunity for social spontaneity, including the occasional nightcap or a long Sunday brunch at a restaurant. Of course my husband, Anthony, and I are absolutely crazy about our kids, Mathias and Natasha, and can't imagine life without them. But we have both had a little pang for certain aspects of the way things were.  
 Family life is chaotic-there's just no way around it. So, I decided, why not embrace it? I'm a problem solver by trade and temperament; how hard could it be to do the family thing and see friends, too? Through a little trial and error I found that I didn't have to give up my former life, just reinvent it a little."
Deen decided to write a book that would provide parents with the tools and inspiration they needed to have Kitchen Playdates. She defines Kitchen Playdates as, "a playdate that includes the grown-ups, complete with great food and if you're up for it, a cooking project with the kids." Doesn't that sound fun!?

You can find out more about Kitchen Playdates here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Goals, New Habits

In order to reach new goals in 2012, I know that I am going to have to embrace new habits. Nevertheless, many great points are brought up in this article about the need to try and tackle one new habit at a time. I don't want to get over ambitious by trying to tackle 30 new habits only to burn out after a week! So, I am going to try and focus on a few that I know will have major impact. 

I am embracing 3 new habits that will help me achieve some broader goals I have for 2012.

2012 New Habits

1. Be 15 minutes early. - If you know me, you know I have a habit of being notoriously late. In highschool, this was not the case. I was usually early for school, church, and other engagements. I think it may have been the freedom of college that ruined me. Of course, with each new baby I only get worse and believe you me: being late is the pits! The stress of having 4 small children in tow and running late with them is enough to wipe you out! Having a  habit of being 15 minutes early will force me to plan and prepare more. This will help me achieve a broader goal  of being better about planning my time and money.

2. Wake up at least an hour before my kids. - Whenever I think of a time that I like I was minimally stressed and unusually productive, it was a time that I was getting up really early. I think better and have more energy in the morning. My entire day goes smoother and my attitude is better when my mornings are not rushed and I have some time to myself. By contrast, when I wake to the sound of crying, whining and sibling rivalry, I am not quite so pleasant. Waking up an hour before my kids will contribute to my goal of having a more consistent schedule and of taking better care of my health, since it means I will have to put the kids in bed earlier, go to sleep earlier, and will provide me with more time to exercise. 

3. Check my voicemail every week. - Now this sounds simple enough, right? Nevertheless, I have the hardest time keeping up with voicemail messages! Family and friends are always reminding me that my voicemail box is full. So, I have programmed my phone to call me once a day and remind me to check the voicemail. This habit will help me reach a broader goal of being better about returning calls and taking care of business matters.

As a way of motivating myself, I keep reminding myself of the new habits I started in 2011. Last year, we started having family movie night on Fridays as a way for the whole family to relax and unwind after the week. Of course, there were some weeks where we didn't have it, but we had it enough for the kids to really enjoy it and look forward to it each week. Things like this are important to us because we use them as a means to keep a close-knit family and to find balance between work and play. That has gone well, so I know I can add and follow through with new habits this year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Reinventing Myself in 2012

In Janurary 2006, I felt the need to "reinvent" myself. I had recently quit my full-time job, given birth to my first child, and declared myself as a stay at home mom (something I never thought I'd do). But, what did that mean for me? What was I supposed to be doing? 

My eyes were opened up to a world of possibilities after reading a book called, "Reinventing Ourselves after Motherhood: How Former Career Women Refocus Their Personal and Professional Lives after the Birth of a Child" by Susan Lewis. The book provided me with a realistic sense of both the challenges and possibilities that were before me as I scaled back from my original career path and tried to find a balance between work, family, and myself. 

I realized then that I needed to reidentify myself and to come up with a vision for what my life as a mother would look like. Of course, I spent alot of time reading books and blogs on parenting, marriage, and homemaking. I cooked. I cleaned. I tried to embrace my inner June Cleaver. I came up with countless, schedules and routines. I talked to friends and looked for mentors. I also stayed active at church and in my career field. I did consulting. I taught social justice classes. I volunteered on the board of directors for a small non-profit. I took up blogging. In the midst of it all, hubby and I added 3 more babies to our family and bought a house. It is now 6 years later, and I am once again feeling the need to  do a little reinventing of myself.

I'll admit that 6 years ago, I was naive to think that the reinventing of myself at that point, would be the last.  I took it as a once and for all process. Life has taught me otherwise. I know this time that there may be many more times that I undergo a "reinvention" of myself. In fact, I think it is a necessary and beneficial response to life's changes and challenges. Lewis explains it this way; 
Though every woman makes changes in her life when kids come along, this is not a book about every mother today. Nor is there any perfect way to balance our needs for work, family, and ourselves...
What these women have in common is that nearly all of them originally planned to make their careers their top priority, not because they didn't want children but because they grossly underestimated the emotional and physical commitment they'd want to give them. When expectations collided with reality, they adjusted, bucking social movements, professional training, and the expectations of their peers. They transformed not in intellect, ambition, or desire--none of these disappeared.
They had, instead, a change of heart. With that change of heart, they refocused their ambitions, reevaluated their priorities, and redefined success.
They reinvented themselves.

Essentially, expectations have collided with reality in unexpected ways for me. As a result, I have again started the process of redefining success in my life. This time, I have more experience to inform my conclusions. For example, I have learned:

1. There are some God-given strengths and passions that a person possesses that are usually present regardless of what season of life the person is in. Trying to suppress them won't work.

2. Although it may be challenging, you will have more peace, joy, and productivity when you embrace and employ your strengths and talents. 

3. People are different. So what works for one may not work for another. (Honestly, people told me this, but I didn't get it. I can be slow that way.)

4. Although God's word is clear about the overall essence of what a good mother and wife looks like (proverbs 31), there is still much flexibility when it comes to the specifics of how each woman approaches these roles. Again, I reiterate point #3.

5. The right "balance" of family, work, and self may change depending on what is going on in your life at a particular time.

In conclusion, I am going to be redefining new goals and habits in 2012. One of my goals is to share my this process on this blog and I hope you join me for the journey! 

I'm wondering about you. Have you ever reinvented yourself? If so, when and what did you do?