Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Three Months Later

I may as well give in and accept quarterly updates as a "thing" right now. How have three months gone by? Surely not one day at a time??

Since my last post, I've begun working weekend nights at a local restaurant after I swore 10 years ago that I'd never wait tables again (funnily enough, for the same boss I had 10 years ago, but at a different restaurant) while Deej wraps up his thesis (one more week. ONE MORE WEEK.) I'm not sure how people survive grad school and children and working, but apparently, they do. Even though his doctorate has been a labor of love for us, the last year or two has felt like a lot more labor and a lot less love, which is probably normal when you try to tackle what we did in a year with the moving and the babies and the child-wrangling and the pudding and blah blah blah people do it every day with a much better attitude than I do, I'm sure. Bless em.

As much as I've grumbled (and it has been SO much and I have been SO sick of hearing my own complaining these past months, which is partly why you've been spared updates), we've actually been so blessed - really - in this season. I got to go back to work with a boss that I really love working for. I'm pretty sure I add grey to his head, but he's fun and so very accommodating to all the call-outs that happen during the wonder years. In a span of two weeks, I had to call out to take my oldest to the ER for a fun round of 'let's see how many heart palpitations this round of croup can induce in mom', which was followed by a completely random lung cancer scare d/t a bad xray reading (negative, folks), followed by another call out to take care of my youngest when she caught big brother's croup. Add on family issues, and the same money issues everyone in America faces, and the subsequent fights with your spouse, and it's so easy to become bitter and cynical in these situations, and to forget the bigger picture. I really failed hourly in this, and threw some ridiculously obnoxious pity parties, but I was daily convicted by Phillippians 2:14; "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God.." Again, I failed pretty miserably at this, but I want to get better. So every day that I'm awake and I DON'T have lung cancer, I'm going to try real hard to not grumble. Every day I'm awake and my children are both healthy enough to scream with laughter and make messes and bicker and snuggle, I'm gonna try real hard to find nothing to complain about. Because frankly, besides being obnoxious and displeasing to God, it's so fruitless. Nothing gets better by complaining, and it almost always makes everything worse. 

Anyway. It's been a hard few months, but it's had some real bright spots, too :) At work, I've made genuine new friendships, which is always such a gift at any stage in life. I look forward to working with my girls every week, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to be salt and light (another reason to not be whiny. Nothing salty or lighty about a whiner.) The money has helped put food on the table, which is always something to thank God for. And my husband and I have grown closer, by his patience (sorry babe, thanks babe) and by God's grace. 
I've learned the teeniest tiniest bit to knock my Martha-Stewart-fantasy-standards down a few hundred notched and adjust my expectations of my house and life to the reality of the season we find ourselves in. That comparison thing will kill ya, which I'm sure is news to no one but me, but it's been nice to give myself some grace, again at the prompting of my husband. I've lost 12 pounds after seriously curbing my sugar intake, and limiting my white bread from 37 servings a day to about two. Reading "Foodist" by Darya Pino Rose was very helpful and practical to start making some changes, because I'm a sciencey nerd and need to know exactly HOW I'm shaving years off my life before I do something about it, so there's that. If you struggle to wonder why most everyone on the Standard American Diet looks and feels similar, it's a great book that breaks it down and gives practical solutions to a lifestyle (healthstyle) overhaul. Anyway, I feel great and my clothes are starting to get big, so good things all around.
My now out-of-state mom gets to come down and stay with us about a week out of every month, so every time that happens it's like a little holiday where we make memories and revisit old ones and generally add richness and delight to our years. Bright spots all around, I tell ya.

Most exciting in this season where Deej is about to finish "The Theese" as we call it, is the future unknown. I'm somehow this dichotomy of a homebody that thrives on structure with an underlying thrill for adventure and travel, but only if I can still maintain a measure of control, which sometimes/mostly I can't, but I can always trust God, so it works out somehow. I love stability and need roots, but I've always wanted to travel and I love learning new cultures and have a knack for learning new languages. Before marriage and children, I wanted to be a pastor/nurse so I could do medical missions. I've been begging Deej to consider a postdoc or position overseas for the last three years, and even the hint of that potentially happening is thrilling to me. Imagine the kids with accents! The schools! The churches! The foods! The weather! The landscapes! The people! The shopping! The broadcast programming! The architecture! The friends we haven't made yet! Imagine being 90 minutes from Paris, or being able to take a long weekend in Brussels or Prague or Cyprus! (Of course you never imagine the friends and family and church you leave behind for two years, so I'll pretend that part doesn't exist because IT'S NOT REAL IF YOU DON'T SAY IT or something like that.) Temper that excitement level with vaguely ethereal fears of the unknown and that's pretty much the mix causing my resting heart rate to be in the low hundreds these days. He's applied at a few good places stateside, but a few are a really good match overseas, too. I have come to utterly trust the God that ordains our steps, and I have made so many poor choices and mistakes in life to know that even if I think I want something in the moment, it does not follow that I will still want it when I get it. I don't want to take even one step off the path He has laid before us, and to come full circle, I aim to be content in the riches He has given us in the gift of the every day, no matter where, or how, or with how much. Still, one can dream...

The hopeful-fish-and-chipper. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Things I've Missed

I'm going to come right out and say it - in the year since my littlest dumpling was born, I've let some things go. We're not even going to bring a mirror into the picture here. Just take my word for it. Granted, we house shopped while 9mos pregs and with newborn Grace, completely renovated a filthy hovel of a short sale into our current Home Sweet Home when she was 4 months, Halloween'd/Korb's birthday'd/Thanksgiving'd/Deej's Birthday'd/Christmassed, almost-aced a full course-load of classes, anniversary'd, Gracie's bday again, and look, we're back where we started! It has been a very full year, but, after finally getting into a "routine" again now that Gracie is down to "only" one wakeup a night, I find I've really, really missed some regular's that I don't want to let slip again with the next peanut, whenever that may be. Let's talk!

1) Quiet Time. Are your eyes rolling? Keep rolling, don't care. I don't mean quiet time as in shhhhhh. I mean quiet time as in I'm awake before my household and I get to lay my heart before God, and rest in His Word. When I have that abiding time, I get to cast cares, gain peace and assurance, grow in sanctification, and devour more of the Word. I get to be still and know, I get to be reminded of promises and commands and I get to relate to thousands of years of mankind in recorded history, in their failures and triumphs and weaknesses and joys, and in our common strength; The Lord. I love the Bible, and always have in the almost 11 years I've had as a Christian. One of the great comforts I have is that "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." When I have young children who are up 4+ times a night, I don't get to set aside that morning time anymore because I feel like I'm constantly hovering on the brink of sleep-deprivation-induced insanity. So, I take my "quiet time" as I can get it, which means on-the-go. I know God's grace is sufficient in all seasons, and I know there is a special grace for weary mothers of young babies, but let me tell you - I crave that undivided, uninterrupted time with God like nothing else in those years, and I'm always thrilled when I can carve it out again.

B) Sleep. Sleepity-sleep-sleeping-soporific-sleepdingity-sleep. Sleep, I want all of you for all my life.

3) Cooking, and taking pictures while cooking, and talking about it afterwards. I used to think I had a problem with food, because when I wake up, I think about what I'm going to cook for breakfast, and shortly after breakfast, I plan lunch, and before we've finished lunch, I'm already thinking of dinner. I look forward to meals like some people look forward to...? I don't know. Does anyone else do this? Anyway, despite my lack of self control when it comes to certain sweets (I'm looking at you, Leo's Famous Yum Yum), and almost certain weakness in the face of hot bread and marinara (I'm looking at you, entire history of food), I've concluded that I don't have an "issue" with food. I just really like to cook :) In fact, my favorite type of cooking is for others, which I get to do tonight (reprising my Blue Letter Chili minus the beer for some great friends)! I love being hospitable, and I'm a homemaker so, hey, cooking takes up a lot of my life. And then I get to eat it :)

Summer Corn Soup from Corncob Stock. It was ridiculous.

30-minute rolls. These guys pretty much sucked, honestly.

My new favorite post-Hershey Park inspired breakfast. Poached egg with side salad. AMAZING.

4) Sewing. I was a few months late and a few sizes short on this one, but I love to sew. Sew for me, sew for you, sew for my kids, sew for your kids, sew for your friend's kids. But not for your house. Never for your house. I hate curtains.

E) Reading. 

Is there anything better than curling up with a good book/kindle/mag?

Ok, maybe one or two things:

This guy...

This girl...

Definitely this gift of a man.

These times with my momdamy...

followed by more time with this critter...

...and this 30 minute gift of a nap where I got to snuggle my babe the whole time...

..laughs like these... like this..

..splashes like this.
Yeah, it's all worth it.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yee Haw

Back in the saddle again. School is finished for the semester (read: till the kids are grown), babies are growing and growing and growing and you know. We're starting to get into a household routine again where everything feels possible, and do-able, and I remember a blogger once saying she gave herself a whole year to get back into her routine after having a child. I used to think that was crazy. I now know she's spot on.

Being naptime, I am going to actually start dinner and straighten up before hubs comes home, but I wanted to post something, anything, to get back into posting, because I miss it, and frankly, the vapidity of facebook is wearing so, so thin these days. What do you think for that sentence - more commas needed? Not enough, right? That's what I thought too. More to come soon!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fluff for your stuff!

Fluff. That's what I've got for you. A big fat stuff o fluff.

Honestly, since I've segued into school again, life's been a bit circus-like (read: never updating ye olde blog ever-ever), so I'm just trying to keep my head above water long enough to swim back to shore so we can set up camp on the beach like nice little island-strandees. Approximately 1% of that analogy made sense, and the rest did not. YOU get to pick which 1%. Occupy that, sucker!

Aaaaaaanyway. School is rad, and I really really really love to learn. It's lots of fun, and the kids are always happier to see me when I've been out of their line of sight for longer than 7 minutes, which usually never happens except on the longest of 'bathroom breaks'. Also, except Gwace. She screams at me but we all know it's because she missed me, and wants her milk :) I DO miss them when I'm gone, so I'm not sure how that all works out with an actual j-o-b but I've got a few degrees between then and now, so I'ma just worry bout sorting my leukocytes thankyaverymuch. Also: try determining a basophil from neutrophil while colorblind. Just try. Have fun with that.

I've hit that 8-month post-baby stride where I feel like we're getting a 'thing', a legit family 'thing' going where we're not ALL running around like headless chickens; we wake, we eat, we play, we go, we lunch, we nap, we zzzzzz, we make dinner, we eat, mommy and daddy stare blankly and drool, then bed. Well, with more fun and joy and sometimes yelling and all that.
I distinctly remember googling '7 month old schedule' at this stage with Korb, because, while he was old enough to show appreciation and dislike for certain things, he mostly just yelled a lot because he couldn't crawl or get to what he wanted. So we sat, surrounded by pillows, and switched toys, books, and games until he screamed his "I wanna play alone" scream, followed by him happily occupying himself in his exersaucer.
While the above yields very tender memories in hindsight, in the moment, it wore on me because I thrive on routine. I just don't HAVE one. I thought he might like routine too, so I asked Dr Google what he thought, wrote down some schedules, put them on the fridge, then broke them after three days. I think I'm an excellent starter and an awful finisher, but I'd like to change that. It's like dieting (more on that in a mo).
Anyway, we somehow made it to Korb being 3 without any real schedules, but now that Grace has hit that stage, I am yearning for some order to my days. I only know TWO real live people that schedule their kids (I'm looking admirably at you, Leehar and Mashka), and they are two of the calmest, peaceful people I know. I think I'm missing a gene or three there.
So, I've gathered my "things" in the day. I wrote them on paper. IT'S NEARING THE FRIDGE. Scintillating updates to come on that development.

Completely unrelated - Weight Watchers. Weight watchers has been my BFF in the past, and once I get myself in a routine (SEE! SEE!), it's easy to stick to. Like jogging. Or anything else. Anyway, if you know me IRL, you know that when I get pregnant, I get thin. Real thin. You may have even commented "Oh Chels! You look great!" during my pregnancy, to which I will have replied "I'm actually losing weight, and it's stressing me out." Then I stared at you. Then you gave a nervous laugh.
After gaining no weight until 30 weeks, then slamming it all on at the end, I'll have a baby, then promptly lose it all while in the hospital. More rounds of "Oh, you look fantastic! How did you do it? You look great!" To which I will have replied "Thanks, but it's not real." 'Not real?' "Not real. Find me again in 4 months." For some reason, I thin out during pregnancy, lose it all at birth, then gain 30 pounds while breastfeeding. If I don't gain weight while breastfeeding, my milk thins out and my babies get scrawny and yelly. If I try to lose weight while breastfeeding, my milk thins out and my babies get scrawny and yelly. I've been following weight watchers for four days, lost four pounds, and my milk got all thin and watery. Guess who's been yelly?


I just think that's real rude of my babies to do to me. And that's the end of that delightful anecdote. You're welcome!

The points whisperer.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And a partridge in a blog treeeeee.

Well hello theren.

Long time, no see, kiss kiss, smooch smooch. Squeeze. Cough.

I have no strength to segue here, so we'll just jump right in.

Gracie does NOT have my alpha-gallergy (new word. I made it. It's mine.) - or if she did, she outgrew it as I did - that's right, I am back on the cow. Well, the udder. No meat. Just milk. All day. JK, not all day. After 6 months-ish of abstaining from meat and dairy (poultry was ok), I sorta lost a taste for it. I still eat it, but definitely as an accessory, and not as an all day deal. I love my veggies and I'm never giving them back. Anyway, she's fine when I eat dairy, and although she won't take formula, she IS back on the growth chart. The petite-est of petite peas slipped right down the growth chart till she fell off, then she jumped back on after I increased my calories roughly threefold last month. So now, I look like a house, and she's all the way back up in the 3rd percentile. Golf clap, Grace. Persnickety habits aside, she is the absolute sweetest child. She is so gentle, so sweet, so mild, so observant, so loving and lovable...I am so in love, can you tell? She also happens to have the world's best older brother, except when he's yanking her legs or clamping her ribs with his toy pliers.

We moved into our first home. It was a very difficult transition for me, simply due to the difficulties of packing and moving with a 3 month old and almost 3 year old with a husband in grad school while he renovates the entire new place. It's over. It's too recent to revisit. Just know, we moved into a house that had to be stripped to the subfloor (and even that had to go) because the previous tenants had piles and piles of dog feces EVERYWHERE. And urine soaked into subfloors and walls. And awful things. And now it's lovely, and done, and I'm thankful to be in. But I still get tired thinking about it.

I'm tired a lot. I have a 3 year old and a 6 month old, soooo...I think it's yes. I've had Phillippians 2:14 in my brain for a few days, specifically the not-complaining part, so I've been counting my blessings like Bing Crosby said.

In a few short weeks (like, two), I'll be heading back to Ye Olde Alma Mater; BCC. I took a year (oops) off to have Gracie, and although I would TRULY and sincerely love nothing more than to stay home with my kinderlings all day and continue to have a new one every few years (Lord willing, that latter part will still happen), it looks like I'll need to go back to work for the time being. Rather than continue to get short term jobs, I figure if I have to be away from my kittens, it better be doing something I love. So, nursing school it is. I love people. I love science. I love biology. I love to figure out puzzles. That last part probably fits better with diagnostics rather than nursing, but let's see what happens. I figure I can get my RN, work suuuuper part time (1-2 shifts/week) while finishing my BSN online, and then take it from there. I'm nervous, but very excited. Mostly excited. I talked to Korban today about it and he said "It's good!", so, that's encouraging. My husband is the most supportive man walking around on the Earth's crust, so that makes it a lot easier. He always believes in me. He always thinks I can do more than I think I can (he's been pushing med school for years). He never thinks our children would suffer (that is my top and single concern with returning to work). He always goes the extra mile and is such a good father. He makes me think I can go to school, work, and be a good mother. I am so very blessed to have him.

God has been so generous to us. We have seen prayers for our friends answered in miraculous ways. We have a beautiful home. We have loving family. We have our health, our faculties, beds to sleep in, food in the fridge, and meaningful work. Above all, we have a God Who loves us, a living Savior who never forsakes us, and the Holy Ghost abiding in us. It truly is a wonderful life.

"14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless." 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Write down ALL THE NEWS!

There is so much to catch up on, it just ain't happenin' right now. But, for quicksie's sakes:

1. My daughter is pretending to have caught my alpha-gal allergy in utero. She hates when I have dairy. She hates when she has dairy (which happened in all of two bottles that I tried to introduce since my stupid tick diet has her hanging around the 3rd percentile in height and weight. Awesome job at being HORRIBLE, tick.) I say pretending because if I even let myself think for 14 seconds that she has it, I'll cry ALL THE TEARS. Or at least two. Because if you know me (and you don't, but howdy, interwebs stranger!), you know me and soy are anti-BFF's. So I don't want it coming near my daughter. So that limits her protein to about four things. Sigh. No time for this.

2. We're moving. (We moved?) A mile up the road. TO OUR FIRST HOUSE! We're moving, to our first house, with our first mortgage, with an (almost) 3 year old and a 4 month old. With major dietary changed from food allergies. Do you know what my house looks like right now? Like someone came by and shook it. It's why I'm avoiding finishing packing. So here's the deal - next time I think of something like this, do me the sweetest favor and punch me right in the face.

3. I might have to start working. I. can't. even. handle. the. thought. I LOVE staying home, I love being a SAHM and homemaker and if I even think about it for three seconds, I pout and tear up. I can't talk about it right now.

But I had those three big things hanging around my bwain, and I needed to write them down so I could write them out at a later el-date-o. As always -

God is ever present. He is so near to us, always. He is GOOD and faithful to work all things for good. I trust Him. I love the safety and comfort of His sovereignty. And that makes all of the above okay :)

The Silver Fox (I pulled out a grey hair this morning. I'm not 30 yet.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

I spit tea out of my nose writing this post.

You may or may not have noticed (I'm flattering myself here, but leaning towards the may-not) that my blog was down for a few days - I'm working on a new host and site design, while working on a "brand identity" that works for selling any textiles IRL or on Etsy, and still works as a blog name. Because you asked :)

Let me take you on a quick trip down immunology lane. (Very quick, and very ignorantly. I haven't come close to finishing my Biology degree, but I love to read, and if I ever had to research anything just for fun, it'd be immunology. Immunology, and theology.) So let's start with this:

Darn. Every. Tick. To. HADES.

Take all these guys:

And give them to this guy:

And then I'll be all: 

Honestly, I laughed so hard at the :16 mark, I spit my tea out of my nose AND EYEBALLS. Truly. Is there anything funnier than Kronk?

Alright, to be fair, I do believe that in God's sovereignty, there are aspects of Creation we will just never understand. Like mosquitoes. I wish birds would just eat flowers instead of mosquitoes, but they don't. So we have mosquitoes. Ticks are another mystery to me. Maybe someone can comment with a purpose for ticks, because other than making me so ma-yad, I can't think of any. I digress. Let me sing you the song of my personhood:
A few weeks ago (12 weeks, isn't that cray!?), while I was enjoying my 39th week of pregnancy, I took my eldest peanut to one of my favorite happy-places, Johnson's Farm. I sat under zero trees, walked through zero woods, and watched my kid have a blast on the plastic splash-pad. Upon returning home, I felt a bug bite me behind the knee. I searched for the offender, couldn't see anything, and went on my way. Five minutes later, I felt another bite an inch over from the first one, and while scratching, I found what felt like a teeny tiny scab. This scab would not come off, no matter how hard I scratched, so I took a closer look, which was very difficult considering it was behind my knee. I peeled the sucker off and to my dismay, it was hanging onto me by a "hook". A blasted tick fang hook. This tick was smaller than the tip of a sliver of thumbnail, so I knew it was a larvae. It was not black, so I knew it wasn't a deer tick. What larval ticks bite? Lone. Star. Mother. Farming. Ticks.
The Lone Star Tick is distinguished amongst its nasty deer-loving peers in that it does not cause Lyme's Disease, although it can give you STARI, which still sucks.
You' nasty, tick.
No. This dastardly fiend has been giving folks above and below the Mason-Dixon line a run for their BBQ-loving money by causing an allergy to Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, otherwise known as Alpha-Gal. This is a sugar (not a protein, as is the case in most allergies) found in the breakdown of meat. This manifests itself in fun forms such as anaphylaxis or generalized GI upset, not in the usual 2-45 minute timeframe after ingestion, but 3-6 hours later, so as to thoroughly confuse you as to what on earth you are allergic to. I had originally read about this last summer, in this CNN article, and then promptly forgot about it.
When, shortly after birth, I began to notice a reaction anytime after eating red meat, that stupid article was the first thing that flashed to my mind. I ignored my symptoms for a few weeks, then scheduled an appointment with my allergist so as to avoid dying or something less inconvenient. We did the skin tests, which showed a mild allergy to beef, pork, and lamb, along with my usual sunflower seed welt as big as my head, and my fall pollen buddies. He did a blood test to see what my IgE count would be; normal levels for Alpha-Gal are anything < 0.3, or undetectable. Mine came back at a 7.0. Well, nuts.

This means for the near future, all beef, pork, lamb, and their associated dairy products are out. The meat I can handle, but dairy? That one takes the cake (ba dum dum!). Do you know how hard it is to find anything not prepared by your own hands without some form of dairy in it? Sidenote, maybe that's why God gave me a love of cooking and baking some years ago, to prep me for the time when I'd have to cook my own food. Maybe!
Anyway, I shed exactly two tears over this, then brushed my shoulders off because I have no time to feel sorry for my sweet-blooded self, and there are plenty of folks in worse positions. And thank God for poultry, because those hens are quickly becoming my BFFs for life. There is a glass of whole milk waiting for me at the end of the tunnel hopefully - one of my doc's patients with an IgE of 12.0 outgrew her allergy after 6 months of total abstinence from meats and dairy. When she retested, her levels came back undetectable and she now enjoys normal food on the reg. That original CNN article gave a timeline of 3-5 years, so I'm taking this 6 months example in faith and counting down the days like it's Christmas time. Except that instead of snow, I'll be rolling in piles of Locatelli.
And that's more than you ever wanted to know about the tick that bit my knee. 

Until next time,
Your favorite tale-teller.