Thursday, May 31, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge

I came across this idea from a few different blogs. I read through all the days and on none of the blog challenges that I found did I like all 30 days. So I concocted my own 30 day blog challenge. The concept is simple really, write a blog a day for 30 days. However for me, it will take 34ish days because I will not be blogging on Wednesday's due to our "Without Wednesday" routine. If other ideas come up, I may post them, or I may just write them and back burner them until this challenge is done. I hope you enjoy it.

1. 15 facts about me

2. My favorite song

3. A recent photo and a photo from 10 years ago

4. My favorite movie

5. My favorite book
6. Quote of the day
7. My hobbies
8. My favorite vacation

9. My favorite songs that match a certain mood.

10. My favorite memory

11. What I’m currently reading

12. My favorite place

13. My wish for the future

14. A habit that you wish you didn’t have

15. Favorite super hero and why

16. A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
17. Short term goals for this month and why

18. Something you’re proud of in the past few days

19. Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why

20. Plans/dreams/goals you have

21. A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?

22. In this past month, what have you learned

23. 3 things you are proud of about your personality.

24. Things that make you scared.

25. Something that never fails to make you feel better.

26. Describe a dark/turbulent moment in your life.

27. Describe a truly spiritual moment in your life.

28. Something you hope to change about yourself and why.

29. Top 5 Favorite Bible Verses

30. Epilogue: Write a letter to yourself.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A friend loves at all times

What is a friend? Who are your friends? What makes someone a friend? This seems like such simple questions, but then I really started to think about it. My definition to my husband of what a friend is, is someone I know aspects of their day to day life. But then I realized that many of the people I consider friends, I have not spoken to in weeks (or longer). And that really got me thinking...what exactly is a friend?

Webster Dictionary defines it as "one attached to another by affection or esteem" or "a favored companion". Well I guess with that definition I have many friends.

Facebook defines friends as someone who can read your facebook posts and can see your pictures. And who knows the last time I spoke to some of my facebook "friends".

My dictionary would be more specific. A friend to me is someone who I can turn to and know they will have my back. A friend is someone I call for support, when I am bored, for prayer. A friend is someone I would make a special trip to see if I am driving through your town (I have many "out of town" friends). With my definition, I have much fewer friends.

But with my first definition I told my husband, "someone who knows (or I know) aspects of their day to day life", I have maybe two friends.

I am fine with my friend situation though. The people I call friends, I love and depend on. So whats the point of this post? The bible's definition of a friend is found in Proverbs 17 verse 17, "A friend loves at all times". So with that definiton I think I would encourage you to look at your "friends" and who do you have that "loves at all times" and who do you "love at all times".

What does it mean to "love at all times"?

I believe that means to forgive at all costs, never abandon, there when you need to talk. And I can only think of a handful of people that fall into this catagory on a daily basis. Look at yourself this week, and examine how good of a friend you are and what definition of a friend are you using?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Find Friday

Great way to start the day! Mama was 4 days past the due date with TWIN boys.
Her husband said, "My wife and I trying to induce twins by dancing to "Let's Get it Started" by Black Eyed Peas, at 40+ weeks pregnant after trying everything else. She went into labor two days later and had a natural, unmedicated hospital birth (with the support of our amazing midwives)".

What ways did you try to get labor started? We tried EVERYTHING! Castor oil, walking, bathes, bouncing, squats. My new philosophy, he will come when he is ready. Until it out!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Juggling life

Being a wife and a mother means juggling many different things at once. Tending to the baby, keeping the house cleaned, getting dinner done, and of course I strive to be the best I can be, so I am adding on there more things. So how do I do it? There is no magic potion. The way I think that made things a bit easier is adding a little at a time, and definitely accepting help.

I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, a housekeeper, and a cook. And I want to do all these things well. I have learned that if I allow Charlie to help, then I can be better.

Charlie and I read our bible everyday, but since Ethan's arrival it was harder to find time to do it. So instead of us finding time (besides right before bed when we are both exhausted) when Ethan is asleep to read, we have gotten in the habit of Charlie reading to me every night when we bathe Ethan.

Instead of me feeling that it is completely my responsibility to keep the house up, I have learned that if I share the burden with my wonderful husband than we are both less stressed. If we both do a little, it is not overwhelming for either of us and we feel like more of a team.

This next step, was/is probably the hardest for me. Sometimes Ethan gets so fussy that there is nothing I can do to stop him from crying (crazy I and I get frustrated. I am still learning, that it is OK to call Charlie and have him take over for a while. I mean after all we are a team.

So my biggest tip to how to juggle life is don't feel like you have to do it all yourself. You got married to have a partner, and a partner shares responsibilities. Let your spouse help.

Second of all, don't try to do it all at once. Start with what you are comfortable with. If you can't handle reading the bible everyday, do it once a week. If after dinner you are to tired to do dishes, do them in the morning. If the baby won't stop crying and nothing helps, skip bath time tonight and head straight to bed. Do the minimum that needs to be done and add a little at a time.

When you are comfortable, try adding another thing you want to do to make "you" the person you want to be. For example, I want to be the best mom I can be, so I added "Without Wednesday" to our schedule to try to focus on Ethan (and Charlie) more. I want to do more "do it yourself" things, so I am SLOWLY adding things to try to do myself (first cooking spray, then laundry detergent, bathroom cleaner, etc). I want to live more green, so we started with cloth diapers, and now we are hang drying our clothes.

I am by far an organized woman, but I love my family. This is what I have wanted my whole life, so I strive to be all I can be. It's fun to see how the little things add up and before you know it, you have implemented many things that you wanted to do. One at a time.

It all can be done, if you don't overwhelm yourself or your family. Remember, clean dishes don't mean more than a happy family. Make time for family and build that relationship. I am certain you won't think back and wish you did the dishes (this doesn't mean keep your house trashed, just focus on priorities).

Do you have any tips on how you juggle life? How do you make things run organized? I would love more tips.

Friday, May 18, 2012

18 Years too long

Today is the anniversary of my dad's death. He died 18 years ago, leaving behind an 8 and 6 year old daughter, and a one year old son. Thus began, in my opinion, the first life changing trama I have experienced. 

I have very little memories of my dad and not all the ones I have are good. But I am told continuously that without a doubt, my dad loved me very much. My dad was a good guy. Everyone that has ever spoke to me about my dad, has never said anything bad about him. And I have been told, that the one bad memory I have of my dad was brought on by drugs and was not his real personality.

Just for fun, I want to share the very few memories I have of my dad (excluding the one negative, because I don't find that important to remember).

~We were on a small boat fishing. It was just the two of us.
~The house we lived in Oklahoma had a hill down the road, and in one of my memories, my dad was riding his bike home from work. I saw him coming from the one side of the hill, he disappeared and then on the other side of the hill.
~ My dad airbrushing a shirt in the back breezeway type room.
~It was Christmas, and I was sick. We had bunkbeds, and dad was bringing me Sprite.

Well thats it. That is my dad, in my first hand experience. I know a bunch of other stories about him because of friends and family members (for which I am thankful for), but thats all from my head.

It hurts me so deep that I don't have either parent anymore. I look to my little guy and he smiles at me, and it just makes my whole day. It makes me wonder, did my mom and dad feel that same joy? Did they feel that same deep love? I am sure they did, but I would love to just talk to them about it.

I am 26 years old, I have been without my dad for 18 years. Thats 10 years longer than I had him in my life. I don't even know who I would be today if he was still around. His death changed my life.

It took me a very long time to no longer be angry at my dad for his choice (he committed suicide). I still have abandoment issues because of his decision. I felt for a long time, that it was my fault. That I wasn't good enough. That he didn't love me enough. That his children just wasn't enough for him.

As an adult, I am able to see now that it was the drugs that just overtook his life and it had nothing to do with his love for me or my siblings, but it took a very long time and I still have some very deep scars from that.

The point is...I miss my dad. I miss my mom. And today, is a sad day for me.
18 years fatherless
4 months 6 days motherless.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Love the Lord your God

The bible shows it pretty simple. The way to heaven is to believe in Jesus. But what does that mean? Does that mean anyone that says "I know that there is a god" or "Of course I believe in god" is a Christian?

Well first of all, the good news is, I don't make that choice. I am so thankful not to have to choose who is "worthy" to go to heaven and who is not. But I do read my bible, and I do think that it is pretty obvious about certain topics. Most of these topics that the bible is black and white on are hot button topics, but that is not the point of this blog. My goal in this blog is to hopefully open the eyes of my readers and see that it takes more than "knowing" that there is a god to be accepted into heaven. The bible says that even the demons know that there is a God and shudder (James 2:19).

I don't think that's enough. I think that what God is asking of us when he asks us to believe in Him is to believe in the God that is portrayed in the bible (Jeremiah 29:13). I believe that He wants you to make a decision to follow Him, but not the "Him" that you think you are following, but the true God. The God that is plainly laid out in the bible. The God that plays hard ball when he has too (Matthew 21:12), but is also loving and kind when you are hurting (Psalm 109:21).

God is never changing. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). He doesn't change for you. The bible is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), and it doesn't change just because you don't agree with something in it. You don't get to pick and choose what you believe in the bible. It's all or nothing.

Now that statement gets people all crazy because they argue "well you eat pork", "you wear clothing of mixed materials" etc. My rebuttal to that (whether you agree or not) is that Jesus Christ came to the Earth to help bridge that gap. The Old Testament is full of rules. Those rules had there place, they were to help the Israelite people. Where I do not think we can fully discredit the Old Testament, I do believe there is ton to learn and grow from it. Jesus' coming and dying fullfilled those rules for us. He stepped and and became the sacraficial lamb so we don't have to keep "doing" to be saved. Now all we have to do to be "saved" is to believe in the Lord (John 3:16).

Now back to my original point. The Lord that you have to believe in, is the Lord that will be saving you. Any other lord, would be your own creation and in essense a "idol". For those who say things such as "I don't believe that a loving God would _______ (fill in the blank)" it confuses me. My God, the God that is protrayed in the Bible, the Christian God, does not want you to hurt. But because of a mistake that Adam and Eve did forever ago, we are given free will. We decide how we live our life. Our decisions dictate how God reacts to us. I believe fully that He doesn't "want" any of us to hurt. But when we mess up. It happens.

For example, you tell your child don't play on the furniture he could get hurt. He continues to do so, until one day he falls and hurts himself. You didn't want him to get hurt, but he failed to live by the rules you set out, so he was hurt.

(Side note: This does not pertain to death, or illness. I believe that God allows people to get sick and/or die for a purpose that I am not smart enough to understand, nor do I want that responsiblity. I know my God is a loving God and choose to trust his judgement).

So if you live a life that is not how God calls you to live, and you are hurt in the process, I would argue that it is not God's doing, but your own. God knows that we will not be sinless, He knows that we will mess up. That is why He sent His son to die for our sins. He doesn't expect perfection. But I strive to live a life that is so thankful for the gift God has given us that I do not want to live any other way than how he has called us to live.

So in conclusion:
Find out who God is
Believe in His salvation
Follow His Word 
Be Eternally Grateful

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Without Wednesday

Charlie and I are constantly aiming to be better spouses and parents. The other night I was thinking about how I could be a better Mother, and I had an idea. I thought, "What if I took one day a week and turned all technology off and just spend the day with my family?" I asked Charlie what he thought of it, and he said "let's do it". So thats our plan.
From this week on, on Wednesday (we set a specific day, because I never work Wednesday's and its much better than rotating days. If we rotate days, there is a chance to forget).
On this day, which we are calling "Without Wednesday" (Charlie's creative juices there) we will have
~ NO Facebook, pinterest, blog, etc, in fact no computer at all
~ No TV shows, or movies
~ I also want to add something cleaning unless Ethan is napping.

The point of this day, and I think its important to remember, is to be more focused on my family. Spend time together, and engaged. Go for a walk, play outside, play with eachother, read, it doesn't matter, just make sure we are engaging.
This week at church, Pastor Dave talked about how we, as mothers, will never be as good as we want to be. I know that, but I do not see why I can not strive to make one more step in the right direction. There is nothing online, on TV that is more important than spending time with my son, but yet I see that I am focusing on the computer and just letting Ethan chill by himself.

I am very excited for this. I will tell you how it goes. There is nothing more important to me than my family, and especially not Facebook or TV shows. When Ethan grows up, I will look back and miss this time in his life. I will not however, miss what happened on Facebook.

Priorities. So many of us have them out of line. I know what is important, and we are going to start setting them in place.

Is there anything you do to make sure you have time set aside to specifically spend time with your family?

Fighting for your Marriage

Let me begin to say that I am not an expert on marriage. Some may say that I have no room to talk, because I have been through a divorce. But I went through a lot in my previous marriage to help me in this marriage.

To give you a quick back story, I was married for almost 7 years to a high school boyfriend. For most of the marriage I was a Christian "in name only". I claimed to be a Christian, but my actions did not represent that. We were both very abusive to each other in very different ways. After 7 years, 2 deployments, many acts of infidelity, different forms of abuse, our marriage ended. Where I completely believe that God did not want us to divorce, I have asked for forgiveness and believe that God has taken my sin and forgiven me, and is blessing my life now that I have given him full rein of it. (Let me state for the record, he filed for divorce, but once he did..for the second time...I completely gave up and allowed the marriage to dissolve.) I only tell you all this because I am not perfect, and I have a background of fighting in a Christian marriage, AND a not so Christian marriage.

So the question at hand is, how do you deal with fights in your marriage if you are a Godly woman? Well let me first say, the bible does not say that you can't fight with your spouse, nor does it say you have to be happy all the time. The bible specifically states "Be angry, and do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26) This means, it is ok to be angry. But it is not ok to sin. Anger is not a sin, what you do while you are angry could be.

In my previous marriage fights were just that, fights. We yelled, screamed, pushed, and more. There was a lot of sinning in the marriage, and a lot of sinning in the fighting. I never felt respected, and I am certain he didn't either. We just constantly tore each other down and didn't spend much time building each other up. This kind of fighting, just does not work. It makes you both have regrets, it makes you both feel bad, it makes you both just miserable all around.

So how should you fight?

Charlie and I have been married just about 10 months, and have not once yelled, screamed, or physically touched each other in anger. I definitely am not saying we have perfected the art of fighting. But I can promise you if you try to do these small tips, the lows in your marriage, will seem not so bad.

Never yell at your spouse. I don't care if your spouse is screaming at you. If you keep a calm voice and attitude, it will help the whole situation calm down. If your spouse is screaming, and you scream, then they scream louder....vicious cycle. Keep your voice low and attitude calm and you will easily keep the fight smaller.

Never say anything that may be regretted later. Never call your spouse names. Unless they are sweet pet names. Never put your spouse down. Attack the issue, not your spouse.

Never lie to your spouse. I have learned this first hand. Lying never helps. No matter what the truth is, always tell it. Better to go through hell now trying to get over something big, than living a lie for years, and it possibly coming out later and having to deal with it then. In my previous marriage, I lied a lot. I don't know why, or what possessed me too, but it hurt the marriage so much.

Never fight in front of the kids. Your children should always see you and your spouse treat each other with respect, and never hear you two fight. There is no reason. Just as intimate time should happen behind closed doors, so should disagreements.

Lastly, NEVER EVER EVER threaten divorce. You married your spouse, you swore before God that you would stay with your spouse "for better or for worse". Don't think divorce, don't say divorce, and don't divorce. From the first month of marriage, my ex-husband had put divorce on the table, and the entire 7 years we were married, I never felt confident it would last, because he was always threatening (and then finally going through with) divorce. Make sure your spouse knows without a shadow of a doubt that you are staying put, that through thick and thin, no matter what happens, you two are a team. And make sure YOU believe it too. Divorce is not an option.

Once again, I am no expert, but I have learned from first hand experience that following these few tips will help so much! The other day Charlie and I were getting ready for bed, and he said to me, "I am sorry we had a bad day and fought today", I looked at him, and with all sincerity said "when did we fight?". That's how it should be, fights should be that calm and loving still.

What about you? Do you have any tips that help you in your marriage to keep fights at bay? I would love to hear them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I miss you Mom!

After my last post about my mom, I decided that I would take the words my sister, aunt and I (I would include my brother but he didn't write anything down, he just spoke from his heart) wrote for my mom's funeral and post them as a blog too. But life happened and I just kept pushing it off. And now with it being Mother's Day and all, I figured its the best time to do it.

From Kari

The last time I spoke to my mom was on Tuesday January 10, two days before her death. I had a very silly notion that Ethan was going to be born on that date.

She called me in the evening and said "I know the day isn't over yet, but any signs of labor yet?" I reluctantly had to tell her no, he was staying put a little longer. She would start to joke that he was going to wait until Valentine’s Day.

 Well he didn’t, but he did stay put a while longer. He was two weeks late, born January 22.  That’s how mom was; she tried very hard to support us in everything, especially the small silly things.  

Mom was trying desperately to make a trip to Texas after Ethan was born. She was so worried that I was going through such a life changing experience with no family around.

 I tried to convince her that I was fine, with friends and Charles, but there was none of that. She was certain that I needed family and soon she had me convinced.

 I was very much looking forward to that trip; however, she would never have a chance to make it. I was hoping to bond with her, show her the great husband I had found and just have some quality time together.

We had not spent more than a couple hours together in years. It was definitely time to have some good family bonding time together.

It breaks my heart that at a young age of 26, I have now lost both parents. I thank God that even with those circumstances, He introduced into my life, years ago, someone that I have considered my dad for over a decade. But I am deeply hurt of all the things will be missed by her passing.  

Charles will never have met either of his in-laws and Ethan will never know his grandparents.

I think one of the things that saddens me the most is when I have the inevitable "first time mom" questions..... "When was my first step?" "what was my first word?" "when did I become potty trained?" and so many more questions that a daughter would normally turn to her mom about.  

I have no-one to turn to.

My mom and I grew our relationship so much during my pregnancy. She called me all the time to see how I was doing, especially the last month. She would tell me all the time how things were when she was pregnant with one of us.

She was so proud of Stephanie and Aaron and the job they were doing as parents, I was anxious to show her that she could be proud of me as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew my mom was proud of me, but I wanted to show her I could raise my boy right. That the goal I have to be a mother, was obtainable for me, I would do great and she would know as I know, that I was made to be a mother.

As I think about who my mom was, it has been hard on me to look at the situation with the rose colored glasses of grief. I have been looking at the situation as what it was, and not sugar coating it.

But yesterday Aaron said to me and Stephanie that he tried to look at who mom was as a mother and not her individual decisions. That got me thinking of “who mom was”.

Well the biggest thing I think she taught me was Integrity. Mom always said that the definition of integrity was “doing the right thing no matter who was watching”. That didn’t matter if you were getting paid for a job; doing chores, or just helping others out.

Integrity was in everything you did, and it showed who you are. My mom was a hard worker that was for sure. I know that there were times in our childhood where she worked 2 or 3 jobs just to keep a house over our head and food on the table.

It is common knowledge that my mom and I had a couple years where we did not have a relationship because of the characteristics my mother and I share; her stubbornness was definitely in there.

I did not agree with many of her life choices and it took me a long time to realize that those didn’t matter. What matters is she was my mother and we needed a relationship.

For a while I forced it, and "checked the box" and I made sure I called her at least once a week. Sometimes the only thing I could think of to talk about was books, but at least it was a start.  Over time I looked forward to these chats. Sometimes Stephanie and I would laugh at something silly she would say, and other times she was just a comfort, the way a mother should be.

The daughter moment I will forever find comfort in happened a day or two after she died I found myself thinking "I need to call mom and ask her that".

The relationship was finally there, and I will miss what could have been, but I know we were both headed in the right direction.
I love you mom.

From Stephanie

When I think about my mom I think of either music or gardens.  As children we always had to work in the garden weather we were being punished or earning the right to go and do something or just doing it to spend time with mom.  I always remember how happy mom was in the garden.  I think it is one of the only things she truly loved to do. And anyone who ever went to any house my mom lived in they know she squeezed as much garden in the little space she had, so therefore there was always more work then she could handle, and if you knew my mom she always said the reason she had kids was to help her with all the work around the house.  So if us kids got in trouble at all it was, do you want to spread dirt, weed the garden or plant more plants.  Consequently, we got the same options if we wanted to go over to a friend’s house or do any social activity.  I remember at Chuck’s house we had a HUGE garden, we had to number the garden beds to know which one we are being directed to. In the garden we had a swing with a sign that had the lyrics to mom’s favorite Kid Rock song on it.  Even though every house we lived in had a garden, every garden we had, had a butterfly garden, one that we would arrange rocks in the shape of a butterfly and then put plants that would attract butterflies in it.  It was my favorite part of the garden that is just because I am such a picky eater that I didn’t like any of the veggies we grew, which was my mom’s favorite part of the garden HER VEGGIES!!
Mom also loved music, one of the most annoying things she would always do was when a song would come on the radio she would always say, ROCK TRIVIA, in which she would want us to name the artist singing the song.  And don’t let the name fool you it wasn’t just rock music she would do this with, anything she thought we didn’t know the artist of.  She definitely insisted we have a love of music, which most of my memories of my mom I can link to one song or another.  Just like mom’s love of running out of gas.  Weather the car had a gas tank with a hole in it, or on pay day running out of gas on the way to the gas station.  I could not count the amount of times that we ran out of gas and had to walk to the gas station.  There is a song we would sing every time we would walk, Timmy and his cousin Kelly wrote it, it said “I could walk for miles, I could walk for days, I could walk for miles in the rain” and it is true we walked rain or shine because mom never had a cell phone till us kids had all moved out. And due to walking so much with my mom I now refuse to let my car get below a quarter of tank.  I never want to walk if I have a choice.  Which makes me laugh because Kari Rose HATES putting gas in her truck she would always say “my truck says I have 10 miles before empty do you think I can get to work and back before I get gas”   I remember the summer we built the house with Chuck, there were a couple CD’s we were addicted to, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, SheDaisy, and Jo Dee Massina.   That summer was one that I don’t think any of us kids will forget.  We lived in a tent that summer not because we didn’t have a house to live in but because we were always working on the house. 
Mom also loved anything outdoors.  We would go camping for every holiday it was warm enough to go camping and some that it wasn’t quite warm enough. I remember camping for Father’s Day every year because that is what dad would have wanted to do.   I feel we were always camping.  I remember when we lived in a house on the lake mom and I would have fishing tournaments, which probably weren’t very accurate because we would let the fish go as we caught them so who knows how many times we caught the same fish.  But I remember spending HOURS fishing with mom, a drink in one hand and our poles in the other.  There was many hours spent out on the docks fishing, drinking, just wasting time.  Even though my mom had a lot of struggles throughout her life she was still my mom and I will always love her. 
From Aunt Tammy (my mom's sister) 

It’s strange how I can remember my childhood
Yet can’t remember playing together
I can remember young adulthood
But we never hung together

I remember stories of how we stood
Side by side, for one another
We never let our sisterhood
Be trespassed on by another

As we went into mature adulthood
The sisterly bond became stronger
Unbreakable is our sisterhood
Even though you’re here no longer

I love and miss you so very much
I wish for one last touch
It hurts so very much
To know there will never be another touch
No matter what, I will always love and miss you mommy. I ache for you today. Happy Mother's Day. My first one as a mother, and without my mother.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Unanswered Prayers

Dear Charlie,
Oh my love, how could I be so blessed as to have you love me so deeply? How did God see me as worthy, even as I was living in sin, to grant me the love I have begged for years to have?

My life has been so chaotic, and has so many low points. It would be very easy to fall into a "woe is me" outlook of life. I could easily curse God for all the pain that I went through. But I see it all as a way to help me grow and make me who I am. There are so many scars in my past that I wish were not there. However I can see each step brought me right into your arms.

A friend recently stated to me, "Ugh, Why couldn't you and Charles find each other sooner?" and it was so easy for me to answer, "Because we would have been a mess for each other". God knew better than us. God knew what we needed to go through in our individual lives before we could come together and love each other so fully and completely.

From the first moment you looked at me and said "I love you" I have never doubted it. During our lowest low, I still knew. The biggest doubt I had ever had was, "will this intense deep love last?" "will I ever be good enough to deserve this, and keep you around?" Well my love, I still doubt myself, but you have spent everyday out our last year together building me up and making me feel more love than I ever knew was possible. I believe in you. I believe in your love. I believe that those eyes look at me with as much love as your words profess. I believe it, and I love it!

For years I prayed to God for a family, I begged God for a Christian husband, I cried to Him regularly to fill my womb with a child. And finally those prayers have been answered, but no where near how I thought they would be. Thank God, He knows better than I do. Thank God that He knew that there was a man waiting for me, and was going to fulfill ALL of those prayers.

I am in complete awe with how God has orchestrated my life. And I thank Him daily for allowing me to have a husband who strives daily to show Christ's love to me, to lead this family the way God calls you too, and to be a better man.

I am so proud of you and the man of God you are becoming. You're growth and change that I have seen in the last year is admirable. You are growing in the the man God wants you to be. I cannot wait to see who you become and stand next to you as you grow.  I love you Charlie.

Your devoted loving wife,
Kari Rose

Garth Brooks
"Unanswered Prayers"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The joys of breastfeeding

As many of my friends know, I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. I didnt realize how much I would love it until now. My little Ethan is 3 1/2 months old and we still breastfeed on demand. I breastfeed him if he's tired, hungry, achy from teething, whenever he needs it, which is on average ever 2 1/2 - 4 hours (less often at night).

Before he was born, my reasoning for wanting to breastfeed were all health related. You know the normal reasons (it helps with there immune system, lower chance of obseity, allergies, etc) and some personal more selfish reasons (to help me lose weight, lol). And these reasons are still a giant reason I breastfeed, but more reasons are one's I didn't think about before I had Ethan.

Such as, its one less thing I do not have to remember when leaving the house. As a mother, you know the laundry list of things that you need when you are getting ready to leave the house (extra diapers, extra clothes, toys, medicine, etc) and I am grateful that remembering to pack a bottle is not on the list. I do have the thought "when was the last time he ate" and "should I feed him before we leave". However I do not have to plan and think about how long we will be out, and how many bottles he will need, and make sure I have everything. I just whip them out, and he is ready to go.

Another, and very big reason I love breastfeeding, is middle of the night feedings. When Ethan wakes up in the middle of the night, I don't really have to. I zombie walk to his bedroom, pick him up, lay on the couch, and close my eyes while he goes to town. Twenty minutes later (or longer if I actually fall asleep) I open my eyes, he's done eating and back to bed we go. It's not like formula, when you have to wake up, prepare the bottle, make sure its not to hot/cold and then hold it in the infants mouth the correct angle/way so he/she can eat. (Now, I will say that the one downside to breastfeeding is mama does all the middle of the night feedings, daddy is off the hook. But I do not mind, like I said, I don't really wake up).

Another pro to breastfeeding that I would have never thought of before is worrying how much they eat. I know many formula fed mama's and they stress about how many ounces of formula their baby ate last. And I have no idea how many ounces Ethan eats. I know that he eats 15ish minutes, and every 2-3 hours.

Lastly, he can eat whenever. Ethan can use nurse to sooth or eat. There is no worry about overeating. My body and Ethan knows what he needs and when Ethan nurses to sooth, he's not really sucking out milk. He more just suckles for comfort and nothing really comes out.

 I know that most mama's start out with the desire to breastfeed; some cannot, some quit. I read a statistic in a parenting magazine saying only 30% of mom's breastfeed past 3 months. Whatever the reason for stopping, I do not condemn. I just thought I would share why I love it so. I could not imagine our life another way. Breastfeeding is easy to me, its a joy of mine, and it is creating a bond unbreakable.

Monday, May 7, 2012

C-section -- the "easy" birth

The last few days I have been overwhelmed with blogs, facebook posts, or people just saying to me that they either wished they had a C-section birth, C-sections are easier, or that I am lucky because I had a C-section. This makes me want to scream!

 I envy those who were able to give birth vaginally. I honestly feel like I failed myself because I was not able to give birth vaginally. My anger has many parts to it. First of all, a C-section is not easy and painless, C-sections SHOULD be emergency only, and the miracle of vaginally birthing your child is how God intended and therefore should be everyone's desire.

To begin with, I can promise you that C-sections are not easy, and definitely not painless. Now I realize that I have one child, born via C-section, so I can only first hand speak of the pain and suffering I went through and not what those who have birthed vaginally go through. During the C-section my body was cut open, and the doctor said I would feel "a little pressure". Well, let me tell you, that "little pressure" hurt like my insides were being torn out (and they kinda were). If that wasn't enough, I was unable to get up and move around for 24 hours, my legs were strapped in these things to pump blood through them so I did not get blood clots. My incision hurt so bad that I could not have a bowel movement without crying for 4-5 weeks. I could not cough without wincing for weeks. I could not get out of bed to get my baby and feed him easily and without pain for 3 weeks. I could not lay comfortably in bed because of my incision also for nearly 3 weeks. My incision still has a numbing feeling to it (my little guy is 3 1/2 months old). Not to mention that for the rest of my life I have a scar that constantly reminds me that I could not birth my child naturally, and I had to have a doctor cut him out of me. It was not physically easy on me. It hurt. It still hurts. And I am only speaking of physical pain.

Also, C-sections should never be a choice "just because". C-sections are major abdonimal surgery. And to have one because you are scared of labor, or because the doctor is lazy, or because YOU are lazy, is a ridiculous idea. You are willing to submit yourself to major surgery because you didn't think about the consquences of having sex COULD end in pregnancy, and if so, WOULD end in labor. You are afraid of pain, and don't think you can handle it? That is not an excuse. And neither is a "big baby". Women have been giving birth naturally for centuries. Women have been giving birth to 9+ (even 10 or 11) pound babies without drugs for a very long time. (Yes, even now, with modern medicine, some women choose to give birth naturally, and give birth to a big baby). Elective C-sections make me so angry. More could go wrong having a doctor cut you open, then giving birth vaginally. And why would you take that chance with a new baby (once again, I am speaking only about elective c-sections).

Lastly, I have cried over the fact that the birth of my son turned out the way it did. I was looking forward to giving birth to him naturally. I was not afraid of the pain, I looked forward to feeling my body do what it was made to do. I wanted to feel that. I did not want to be numbed up. God made me (and every women) with the ability and the strength to give birth naturally, and I strive to live up to what God made me to be/do.

I think that the worse part of me having to have a C-section is that it will be difficult for me to convince a lot of doctors to allow me to have a vaginal birth in the future. Now trust me when I say, it is not impossible, and as long as my body healed correctly I will be doing it. But there is false information that is being put out (by people in the medical community) that if you have a C-section, that you can never safely have a vaginal birth in the future. This is not true. It will be harder on me though, for example, my home town in Michigan has two hospitals in it, neither will allow women to have a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesearen).

I think women need to step up and if they decide to have a baby, to be prepared for what that means. That means pushing a baby out of your body. That means taking one day of your life and being in as much pain as it takes to give your child the start that he/she deserves. That means sacraficing you. And if you are not willing to do the work, maybe you should think twice about forever changing your life and getting pregnant in the first place.

Now to finish this off, I know that the people who think that C-sections are the "easy way" are not the majority. But I have heard it enough to be angry. Also, realize that any reference to drugs during childbirth is my opinion, and I strive not to force my thoughts about this on others. If you believe that pitocin, epidural, etc is right for you, I beg you to do your research as to what that means for your child, and make an informed decision that is best for your family. And do not judge my family for the informed decisions we make.