From An Awakened Eye

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays: Peas and Quiet





Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo shoot with mommy


So I have felt like Eli and I have been challenged with our photoshoots. I really haven't been happy with any of them until this one. He was sleepy and grumpy, but I said to myself, "We are doing this!"
So I grabbed Eli, my camera gear, his blanket and his favorite toy and headed outside.
I love seeing his true personality through the pictures. This is truly who Eli is.












Can't you see why he melts my heart?
So {Blessed}
Beyond {Measure}!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Worth it All: 6 months old

     This time last year I was 13 weeks pregnant. I felt like he would never get here. I remember seeing his little toes and fingers on the u/s here at work.  I can NOT believe that is has been 6 months since my little Eli entered our world. I remember wanting to savor every moment in the hospital. Even the ones that contained contractions.  I was conquering a fear of mine... a fear that I would never experience child birth.  I was so excited to be in labor and have the whole "hospital experience". I remember sitting on the birthing ball and having major contractions thinking... "it's going to be worth it". A phrase I had told my self over and over during the wait to getting pregnant. Then the monitors started going off while I was on the ball and I jumped up (as much as a girl in labor could jump) and looked at the monitors to see Eli's heart rate drop to 69 then quickly come back up to the 140s.  Being a nurse you just know too much during this process. I obviously was pinching his cord in some way that caused his heart rate to drop. You know I never feared for his life during the whole process of labor. I had overcome fear in the beginning of the pregnancy and thought it may revisit during labor, but it didn't. I'm sure it's because of all the prayers that were going up.
   It was a long labor, but it was so worth it. No one ever talks about how tired you are for weeks afterward. I guess you just learn it all with the 1st. I remember his 1st day of life and laying in the bed with floods of family and friends visiting and being so overwhelming. It truly was a dream come true. Let me rephrase that...it was a promise come true. I remember looking at my friend Mary and telling her that it was more wonderful than I had imagined. I had a perfect healthy beautiful baby boy and he was all mine.
   I'm glad we took pictures of every one that visited and held Eli. I honestly don't think I would have remembered everyone. I'm also glad we took his baby book. I have his 1st foot prints in it and a list of everyone who visited and the gifts they brought. Something I will truly cherish.
I want to remember each month and savor each moment. So I want to document his first 6 months with us. So here goes:
2 days old...
   The first month was a learning experience for sure. Breastfeeding was a challenge and I remember at 5 1/2 weeks I was ready to give up. I was so exhausted all the time. I felt like I just needed to sleep 4 straight hours. I felt like I couldn't be a good mommy being that delirious. After talking to a good friend of mine, Avery,  said she wished she had stuck with it and gave me all the encouragement she could. So I continued the best I could. It was still all worth it.
2 months...

 
  The 2nd month started to become fun. He started smiling and cooing. He changed so much. I loved being with him every day. And did not want to go back to work. Nursing him was going okay, we did have to supplement due to my low milk supply. I'm glad I continued nursing though. We took Eli to church and to the park for the first time.
3 months...
  The 3rd month I went back to work and really enjoyed being back at work. It was good to have a routine. With nursing Eli I had to just nurse on demand and some days that seemed like all day. We never established a scheduled like I had planned. I should know by now that nothing will go as I "had planned".
4 months...

  The fourth month seemed to fly by. He still loved bath time, but moving was a huge adjustment and he didn't want to sleep through the night. Hard on me, but oh so worth it. I loved looking over into his crib and seeing his smiling face beaming back at me. He started laughing and cackling out loud. It was so worth it.



  The fifth month we took him to the beach. He loved the beach and fell asleep every time we took him.  He love laying on his back and playing with his toys in his tent. He rolled over for the first time at the beach. He started laughing so loud when you tickle him that you just had to kiss him all over. His hands always covered his big toothless grin, until 2 teeth popped through.

  So now we begin the 6th month and I can not wait to see what unfolds. I love being his mommy and I love this experience of mommy hood. I am so thankful for our miracle baby. 

Just a post to help me remember all the fun little details of his little life that is flashing before my eyes.
I am finally at pre-pregnancy weight! Super proud of myself and hoping to get it all back in shape. It was all worth it!

EWO,
Jennifer

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Still here... and baby product We are blessed to have

It has been a while since I've posted. I did manage to loose several pounds since my last post and I am happy, happy, happy to be back in my favorite pair of jeans!  Thanks to Shaun T!  Whew he has been making me work hard. Plus a good friend reminded me that weigh loss is 90% of what you eat. So I've been eating better too. Any way... I just wanted to encourage anyone who may want to shed a few that you can do it!

I have been reviewing EVERY baby product that I love. When we were registering for baby stuff the reviews made a huge vote in the decision. Plus I want other moms and to-be-moms to know what I couldn't live without. There is just so much hype and push for certain brands and endorsements for advertising that it is just overwhelming to find what will work best for your little one. Hope this helps.

So here goes on a few things I couldn't live without the 1st 6 months of Eli's life....

#1 My breast friend... pack it with your hospital bag. Best nursing essential out there! Don't think you need an extra cover though. Helps with positioning and latching. A friend gave me hers and I would say it's the best gift to give someone who wants to give breastfeeding a good try.

#2 Diaper Dekor... best diaper pail out there!  We have 2... one for upstairs and one for down. It's like a kitchen trash can... you step on the pedal, the lid opens you drop the stinky diaper in and the other lid opens and closes behind the stinky diaper. Never had a problem with stinky diaper smell. Love the locking feature. Love that you can use regular trash bags. Love it! No smashing the diaper in and twisting a lever, are you kidding me? Who has 3 hands these days? Hands down way better than the diaper genie. Looks better too.

#3 Pack and play with Newborn napper... Eli spent the first 3 months of his life sleeping in the napper. If you have the room for something more than a cradle in your master bedroom, this thing rocks! The napper has a vibration feature that is great for soothing. It also has a little night light that shines into the napper which was amazing for trying to find the paci in the dark. I love that we can use this as he grows too.  Travels nicely. Also cool because it has the changing table feature... great for travel as well.

#4 Mobi wrap.... Love this wrap!  Kinda hot in the summer though, but what isn't in this 100 degree heat? We use it around the house too. This was awesome when Eli was tiny and I wanted to go in public without fear of him getting every ones germs.... like church! We still use it and love it! I have it in brown and love it. I wash it with my clothes and it's just like a huge t-shirt. I can totally see this coming in handy with the second child.


Now I'm on the hunt for a good baby food maker. Any suggestions?

Also looking for a baby carrier that is small, compact and cheep... like under $40. May have to find one at a consignment sale.... but what should I look for?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A new outlook... goals, dream and ambitions

So I've been thinking... and I have come up with a plan...lol  I need a new routine and I am super excited for what the future holds. So much change is coming our way and I am excited and at the same time feel lost in a whirlwind of the every day dull routine. I feel like E's first 5 months have slipped through my fingers and I don't want the rest of his first year to feel the same.  I need goals. I need a check off list. I need a dream. I need ambitions!

For this almost 30 something girl, I am grabbing a new outlook and strapping on a new look with our new life changes. I am super excited and super pumped. So here goes...
   1st and foremost... Find a way to have more time through the week to enjoy my little family:
        1. Take walks to the park with the hubs and lil' e {lets make some memories with this lil boy}
    As for the weekend:
        1. Spend more time with the 3 of us instead of being apart most weekends.
        2. Make memories with friends & Family
        3. Revisit {date nights}

Personal goals:
     1. Scrapbook at least one page a month of Eli.
     2. loose 15 lbs by my anniversary.
     3. memorize more scripture verses- 1 a week... at least.
     4. develop a new sense of style... I feel like I have lost it and I need a new one anyway ;)
     5. spend more time in prayer

ok so that's 8 things on the list, I think that is a good start. So wish me luck.

In the mean time I have several girlies on my mind today... one of my besties Julie. She has been struggling with infertility for 12+ years and it is my hearts desire that she not feel left behind. I am praying that God opens new doors for her and her hubs soon. She is such a trooper and I admire her optimism. It will happen!

Also a dear childhood friend, Heather, lost her mom 8 weeks ago to cancer. My heart just aches. I feel as though they were just both at my baby shower standing at the bottom of the staircase watching me open presents. Insert deep breath here. Life is just so precious. I am reminded of that every day I pass by the cemetery where we laid Donna to rest. It's just all to surreal.

So as I pray for them I am reminded of why my eyes are wide open and how quickly life can change. If you are reading this post and need me to add you to my prayer list, please leave a comment. I will help you pray for anything that may be your hearts desire.

I also want to share a precious website that is deer to my heart... Stepping Stones. This site is so precious in sharing support for those who have experienced loss, infertility or death of a child.  I couldn't find this post on their site, but I wanted to share this email I received from them. If you or anyone you know could benefit from this please share.

Blessings,
Jennifer


Dear Stepping Stones Readers,

In addition to the regular issues of the Stepping Stones newsletter, we are sending you this brief Stepping Stones Extra for August 2011. We hope you are blessed by this Extra!


When You Are Hoping and Coping: Four Dangers to Avoid*


By Sylvia Van Regenmorter


There are no simple solutions for dealing with the frustrations, disappointment, and sense of loss that infertility or miscarriage can bring into our lives. But unless we are careful, we can needlessly add to our own pain. Below are four suggestions for avoiding additional pain as you cope with fertility challenges:

No. 1: Avoid Isolation


Dr. Anthony Labrum, an OB/GYN who specializes in infertility, stresses that infertile couples should avoid self-imposed isolation. Husbands and wives need to feel welcome to talk to someone about their problems, he says, without fearing that they may make their listeners uncomfortable.
I wholeheartedly concur! It's vital to find other couples or individuals with whom you can share mutual concerns. Since about one in six couples will experience an infertility problem, there are probably people in your church or circle of acquaintances who face the same kinds of challenges you do.
At the very least, find one person with whom you can feel welcome to talk about problems in an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding. To carry the burden of infertility and not be able to share your frustrations with others who understand can add to your sense of desolation.
During the height of my struggle with infertility, I met two other Christian women through my contacts with RESOLVE, a national infertility support organization. We talked often. Eventually we formed a support group. It was one of the most helpful steps I took in coming to grips with the difficulties of infertility.


Stepping Stones, the infertility ministry of Bethany Christian Services, maintains a list of local support groups on its website. Check www.bethany.org/step for a group that may be meeting in your area.
If you can't find a good support group in your area, consider starting one. Yes, it's work, but you and those who join you will find that the effort yields new friendships that energize and heal. Stepping Stones offers a helpful resource guide for those who wish to start a support group. It's called When Two or More Gather: Starting an Infertility Support Group. For ordering information, visit www.bethany.org/stepstore.
Through the Internet you can connect with others a world away. Several chat rooms, discussion forums, and e-mail support groups are available, including the Stepping Stones discussion forum, stepforums.bethany.org.


No. 2: Avoid Energy Depleters


Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church tells a story that goes something like this:
One night he came home and his wife said, "Oh, Bill, don't forget-tonight we're invited over to the Millers."
His immediate reaction was to groan and say, "Oh, no, not the Millers! He is so boring! Besides, he always quizzes me about the church and how I think things can be improved. When I go over to the Millers, all I do all evening is sneak a look at my watch to see if it's 9 p.m. so we can decently say good night and go home. The minutes drag by when I'm with the Millers."
A week later, his wife told him they were going to a different couple's house for dinner.
"Oh, we're going over to Dennis and Judy's? Good! I always enjoy talking to Dennis. When I'm with him, I don't know where the time goes. Before I realize it, its midnight and we're still going strong, laughing and joking and having a great time. I leave Dennis and Judy's place feeling energized and not depleted."
Infertility is an extremely depleting experience. The last thing we infertile couples need is to spend time with people who'll deplete us even more. Don't be rude, of course, but carefully consider this question before accepting invitations: Is there a good chance that we'll leave this social event feeling energized and renewed? Or is there a good chance we'll leave feeling depressed, discouraged, and very tired?
Of course, there are some social engagements we can't avoid no matter how depleting they may be. But try to minimize interaction with energy depleters and maximize involvement with people who help you feel comfortable, relaxed, and ready to face life once more.


No. 3: Avoid Treatment Burn-Out


It may be healthy, on rare occasions, to take a short break from medical treatment if it becomes too emotionally draining. This should never be done without consulting your physician. But a month or more of freedom from a treatment routine may significantly improve your outlook on life.
As one person put it, "Suspending treatment for a couple of months was such a treat! It rejuvenated me physically and allowed me to reconnect with my husband emotionally and sexually. It was great to live like a normal married couple for a while. I felt better prepared to continue the difficult work of infertility treatment."


No. 4: Avoid Depending on Human Power


I simply want to encourage you with this thought: If frustration, pain, and difficult decisions are gnawing away at your emotional reserves, there's a power available to help. When you consistently take your concerns to the Lord, you plug into the power you need to cope effectively.
Evelyn Christenson, author of What Happens When Women Pray, tells a powerful story of the importance of prayer. One day her husband, who is a pastor, walked out of the sanctuary of the church and saw the church custodian dripping with perspiration. He was a giant of a Christian, but sadly, he was losing his ability to think clearly because of hardening of the arteries. In his hands was a vacuum cleaner, and he was busily vacuuming the floor of the sanctuary. The problem was that the cord to the vacuum was lying on the floor unplugged! The poor man had vacuumed the whole floor, but he hadn't plugged into the power.
When traveling down the road of infertility, it's easy to forget the power of prayer. But it holds the greatest potential to help you cope...and hope.


*Parts of this article were adapted from When the Cradle Is Empty (Tyndale, 2004)