Friday, August 26, 2016

I Know That Day Will Come

My excitement was maybe a little premature.

One night as Dan and I were heading to bed, he asked me if I wanted my house coat (feel free to laugh, I call my robe my house coat) set out by the door for WHEN (not IF) Mazy woke up. I said no. To his surprise, I told him that I am going to have faith to believe that God will help her sleep through the night. Even though she did wake after we put her down, but before we went to bed, what did Mazy do? SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT. I thought oh ye of little faith...why have I not just had more faith?

Then the next night happened. She woke up twice before we went to bed, but Dan successfully got her back to sleep without having to pick her up. Then midnight struck and that was the end. She woke up and was then awake for the next 3 HOURS. Wide awake. Wanting to play, wanting to talk to me, wanting to show me things around her room. After about 1 1/2 hours I started to get a little frustrated (never losing my cool), but wondering what in the world I was doing wrong?

In those wee hours, I tend to go into self-pity mode. I start to think about how much sleep I need, but then realize really, Mazy needs the sleep all the MORE! After 17 months, our FAMILY just needs sleep. I can't say I ever valued a good night's rest as much as I do now - when those good nights of sleep are hard to come by.

I must say though, I feel guilty for even writing this post. 

I really do. I remember thinking back to 6 years ago, just dreaming and wishing for sleepless nights with a child. We desperately wanted a child. I mean DESPERATELY, yet were told we couldn't have one. I did not understand and anytime someone complained about parenting or about their child, I would start to fume inside, wanting to tell those people that they should be thankful for what they have. Those complaints for some reason, hit my every emotion.

Yes as hard as these long nights have been, I often do just sit there and praise God for my beautiful little child. Sometimes I even start crying. I don't know if it's the lack of sleep, or just the realization that she truly is here in my arms. It just brings me to tears, even to this day. She is so perfect to me, yet I see the brokenness of this world getting the best of her too though. I see her struggle to sleep, to get comfortable, to stay asleep, and I can't help but see the brokenness of the situation. All I want is what's best for her!

And that is what I failed to see when I heard others talk about their struggles in parenting. I failed to see the raw emotions of the struggle. I failed to try and understand where they were coming from. I failed to see that they too, were just trying the best they could, but to no avail. I failed to see that parenting is just not that easy. I failed to see that talking about the struggles is actually one of the best things you can do - to relate to others who may be going through the same thing.

So if you have ever felt judged by me in any way, I apologize!

HOW WE GOT HERE:
I honestly don't have a clue why Mazy struggles in the ways she does. But isn't that every parent's question? I went into parenting thinking that I would try the Baby Wise method. I was going to stick to that plan because it just made sense to me. Well, after the first few weeks, I realized that something just wasn't right. The "plan" wasn't working like I thought it would.

When Mazy arrived, she let out a big ole cry. The doctor's first words that I remember were "Boy she sure has a set of lungs on her!" At the time I didn't think much of it, but as the nurses handed Mazy over to me, she just cried and cried, and cried. It didn't really phase me because our beautiful little girl was finally here!

While in the hospital, as visitors came to meet our sweet little miracle, there were a few times that the nurses suggested I take her out of the situation and into the bathroom. Mazy had been crying and crying, and they were thinking she was overstimulated and overwhelmed. They were so right! She would immediately calm down when I did.

Well, then life at home happened. My health declined quickly and rather severely, and we were now home with a child who was far from content. By week 3, I was desperate. Desperate for sleep, desperate for good health, and desperate for a break from the crying. We took her to the chiropractor and that seemed to have helped. I took her back a few more times, and each time, things seem to improve - but just for a day. Then at another appointment, a lady observed how much she was spitting up. She mentioned that she had acid reflux and sure enough, she did! The medicine definitely helped with her spitting up issues - she stopped screaming during and after every feeding, and when she spit up. I know some parents are against medicating their children, but what relief Mazy received!

After 5 weeks of breastfeeding and after realizing that the medications I was on were drying me up, I stopped. Hardest, but BEST decision I made as a first-time mom. But then constipation hit. Formula seemed to help her "thicken" up a bit since she was getting the food she needed, but the constipation was painful to watch. After putting prune juice in her bottles consistently, we felt that things were improving.

But Mazy was still not sleeping. We tried the cry it out method between 5-6 months and though it seemed to help for about a week, it always declined. And when I say cry it out, in my mom mind, I felt that we let her cry it out long enough. As in 45 minutes at times, most often about 25 minutes at a time. It was so hard, but we felt it was making a difference.

But then ear trouble started to happen. We suspected something might not quite be right, but until the end of May when she got tubes, we struggled with infections (one that lasted 2 months straight). And of course during those times, we did not let her cry it out much because we knew she was in pain and screaming would only inflame.

EVERYONE told us that after she got tubes, she would start walking and start sleeping through the night. Well, unfortunately she came down with pneumonia a few days after, which didn't help, and then the next month had a nasty virus that landed her in the hospital, which also then caused her to pull out her hair.

Now, we are in routine and back to "normal" life we feel like!

But Mazy is still not sleeping well. Some nights are better than others, but she can at times, wake up 5 times and sometimes she is up for 2-3 hours at a time, WIDE awake. I feel we have done all we know to help her sleep well. Here are some of the things we have tried:

Crying it out
White noise - we have a fan going on at night
Music - she listens to Twila Paris the whole night
Pacifier
Blankets
Heavier blankets
Stuffed animals
Darkening curtains
Sleepers
Onesies with pants
Rocking
Reading books
Nightlight
Warmer room
Cooler room
Chiropractor
Getting tubes for her ears
Minimize sugar intake (though we don't give her much anyways)
Blanket that acts as a pillow
Different detergents
Make sure we are home at night
Give her the same snack and milk before each bedtime
Watch Praise Baby DVD
Melatonin
Massaging her legs and arms
Going into room without picking her up
Rubbing her face
Brushes for her skin
Routine - sticking to a set time EVERY night
Baths
Baths with lavender soap or bubbles
Love, hugs, kisses, and more love
Praying and PRAYING God will helps us help her sleep through the night

I am sure we have not tried it all, but at times I feel like we have. Many ask if we've REALLY let her cry it out and like I said before, we have. She throws everything out of her crib and gets even more worked up! If you've heard her, you know what I am talking about. I truly feel like prayer is one of the best things we can do, but at times it feels like we are saying the same prayer over and over. But God truly is listening. We know He is.

I was talking to a dear friend the other day, and first of all, one of the best gifts one can have as a mom is to have someone else to talk to. Not to necessarily compare, but to both share how we all have no idea what we are doing, but just trying to navigate this journey of motherhood together. She knows our struggles that we have with Mazy sleeping, but what she gave was an ear to listen. At times you feel like you have tried everything. At times you feel desperate.

But I KNOW THAT DAY WILL COME.

I admit that sometimes I live in fear thinking that something bad is going to happen and that I am going to wish for these difficult times back. I still dream of one day holding our two little twins in heaven, and showing Mazy that she had a brother and/or sister waiting for her there. I know one day I am going to want these days back. She is just too precious to wish this time away!

But sleepless nights are no joke! To see her struggle to sleep at 3:00am makes me tear up because I just want what's best for her and at that moment, it's sleep. She knows I love her and that's why she doesn't want to leave my arms.

Like my wise mother says, "you do what you have to do." I love that because it's so true. We get up because that is what she needs. We love her because that is what she needs. We give her comfort because that is what she needs. I know that day will come and our little sweet girl will not nuzzle into our arms - let alone even fit. She will one day sleep through the night and we will be waiting by her door for her to wake up because we miss it (I actually had that one time!).

So for all those moms out there, THAT DAY WILL COME.

On the other hand, if any mama has any suggestions for this mama to help Mazy sleep through the night, I am all ears - we are all in this together and I know there are 1,000s of mothers out there who struggle with the same thing!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Urge To Purge



Do you ever get that feeling? The urge to purge?

Unfortunately, I get that feeling all too often and wonder how in the world I still have things I can get rid of? Being someone who enjoys living life with less, it amazes me really how much I still have. How easily I slip into the mentality of the culture I live in, that is more is better, and the bigger, the better.

Everyday, I have to stop myself and ask "is this the life I really want to live?"

Is what I own, what I feel led to own, without having too much excess. And that's the very thing that gets in the way - the excess. The excess cans of food. The excess pieces of clothing. The excess books. The excess kitchen utensils. You name it - I have excess.

That is why these urges to purge do not bother me. It makes me rethink what I own. Rethink the way I am living. Taking those moments to look back on my life, glance over everything I own, helps me live the life I really want to live, which is a LIFE WITH LESS.

So what do those urges look like? Typically I head to my closet to keep tweaking my wardrobe. Then I usually move on to our storage closet downstairs, where it is packed with things, but are things I am not quite yet ready to let go of, like our baby items. Then I usually bug my husband to go through his dresser drawers. Keeping our home in order, organized, and simple is a work in progress, but we are making progress. Slowly, but surely.

Do you ever get the urge to purge? What area of your home needs the most purging?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Around The Home

This upcoming week sure is going to look a little different now that the Olympics are done! I confess I had the Olympics on All. The. Time. I am quite obsessed and no shame there. I can't tell you how many times I got choked up and maybe even had a few tears because of the emotions and stories behind the Olympic athletes. Pretty sad I know, but I just love for those two weeks, as ONE world, we come together - I honestly see the Olympics as a glimpse of heaven - all cultures under one roof, all cheering on the same event. And in Heaven, we will ALL be sitting at the feet of our Father, as ONE, praising our Father.

This past week seemed to fly by, but in a good way. This coming week I head back to school and many ask if I am ready, and I must say I am. I feel I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer with my family, and am ready for the new chapter of work and school again! Plus, it's only 2 days a week, so it is just PERFECT!

Not too many pictures this week - must have been a slower week I guess!

Mazy loves to color, so we bought her some bath crayons. She sees the whole bathroom as her bathtub too, it seems!

In hopes of distracting her from pulling her own hair, we bought her a My Little Pony!

Wednesday night we had a youth group leader's meeting out on a pontoon on Green Lake. We could not have asked for a more beautiful night!

Our youth group crew

This is one of Mazy's favorite places to go - the booooat with daddy. She never asks me to take her out to our fishing boat. It's a daddy thing.


Mazy LOVES to wear her "eyes" still - she giggles everytime she puts them on


 I was able to get a night away with a friend while Dan watched Mazy! Of course she slept REALLY well that night, but hey, it was so well worth it! To have a night of not getting up, to shop and not have Mazy pulling down racks, and to just take a breather. I must say, but the next night, I was ready to see that little squirt again!

Dan wore Mazy out that night!



Friday, August 19, 2016

Becoming A Professional Picker-Upper


I had to chuckle.

When I jumped on google to see how to "spell" picker upper (for fear there was some weird way of doing so), this definition popped up:

"something that restores one's depleted energy or depressed spirits; pick-me-up"

Well that wasn't necessarily what I was going for. Though I laughed because really, becoming a professional picker-upper I felt, was FAR from restoring my depleted energy.

Let me explain.

Mazy and I stepped back into the house after playing outside for awhile and she found our spice drawer. I though "eh, not a big deal, they are only plastic. She doesn't know how to take the covers off."

I was wrong.

I walked back into the kitchen and saw this:





After I had that cleaned up, she was playing with our lazy susan in the kitchen and found the saltine crackers. Again, I thought "eh, she won't be able to make too big of a mess because they are hard to get out."

I was wrong.

Her little sneaky hands got a few out and though she was enjoying an afternoon snack (fine by me), she managed to get one stuck to her bottom. As she scooted, it just left a crumb trail.





Really, I laughed. It was rather funny, even though I got our handy-dandy hand vac out for the 4th time that day. But I still chuckled because it was so cute.

Then I thought to myself, sometimes I feel like I am becoming a professional picker-upper. Do you ever feel that way? Do you feel like the only thing you accomplish in a day is just picking up after the messes? Do you feel like your energy is depleted because you are wiping hands, brushing off, picking up, for the 100th time that day?

Well, it really matters.

Our little cream of tartar incident in the kitchen, had me on my hands and knees, but I treasured that moment. I WANTED that moment for so long. When I first saw the mess, for 2 seconds I thought oh my goodness, what a MESS, but then I laughed. Mazy looked up at me like "what Mom?" She was having a blast. She was proud that she figured out how to unscrew the cap (yeah, don't ever think your child doesn't know how to do something!)

It really was a proud moment. She tested her fine motor skills and succeeded. She was having fun rubbing her feet in it since it was a different texture she hadn't felt before. To her, there was no harm done. And to me, the only harm done was now I am out of cream of tartar. NBD (no big deal for you non-texters).

When my husband came home, I told him I didn't get much done, but really, I had. Our house was fairly picked up and if I tallied the number of times I cleaned up, wiped up, or picked up something, I would need a bigger chalkboard. And I was okay and thankful for it. My child had fun that day. Minimal tears (except when she woke up hard from a nap), and she learned new words, new skills, and we had a blast doing it.

Maybe you feel like you are becoming a professional picker-upper. Well, I hope that this post is truly a "picker-upper" for you, in it's true definition. Picking up those toys is a big deal. It's actually a life-changing deal. It shows that your child was well-loved that day. That maybe they were learning something new that day. That you took the time to sit down with them and interact on their level. You may feel like that's all you do, but beyond the act is LOVE.

You are loving your child to the fullest. You are loving them for who they are - their exploring and curious side. How else are our children going to learn if we take everything out of the cupboards? How else are our children going to learn if we don't let them make a mess of our homes? How else are our children going to learn if we don't get right down there with them, showing them and loving them at the same time?

I am happy to say that I am working on my degree of becoming a professional picker-upper.

I have a ways to go and a few more years of "schooling", but before I know it, I will be graduated because so will my daughter. She will no longer need me to pick up after her b/c she will be able to do it herself. She won't need me like she does now. Our house will no longer be messy. And I will wish for those days back.


And that is when I will wish I had never graduated.

Need to find a safer place for the toilet paper roll. 

Yup, that is ink by her bottom lip on the right. Oh how I love that little girl!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mazy Is 17 Months Old!






It took me a second to remind myself that the perfect picture of a 17 month old doesn't mean a perfectly posed picture. These pictures are PERFECT because they define her perfect personality! Her eyes and smile just light up our little world!

Stats: 
 ~ Not known

Food:
 ~ Favorites: lasagna, mac 'n cheese, raspberries, strawberries, cheese, pizza, peanut butter and jelly, beef jerky, oatmeal cream pies, taking cereal out of the bag

Size:
 ~ 18 month-2T clothes
 ~ 18-24 month pants
 ~ 24 month onesies
 ~ Size 4 diapers

Routine:
 ~ Wakes up between 7:30 and 8:15.
 ~ Goes to bed between 8:00 and 8:30. 

 ~ When Mazy wakes up, she is usually standing up, has thrown everything out of her crib, and is ready to go. She doesn't like to eat breakfast right away, so we wait an hour or even 1 1/2 hours, where she will have toast or a muffin. Then we will get ready to go to town if needed, otherwise will go for a bike ride or walk. Then play outside for a bit, go to the park, then eat lunch. We eat lunch at about 11:30 or 11:45, then right after she goes down for a nap. Usually she will sleep on average 2 hours, but can be closer to 3 at times, depending on the day. After that, we will go outside for a bit or she will watch an episode of Thomas or Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I then get supper ready and after we eat, we go for a family bike ride. At about 7:30, we give her a bath, give her a snack and milk, brush her teeth, read her a book, then put her down for bed a little after 8:00.

Milestones:
 ~ Favorite Words: eyes (sunglasses), keys, bo, bane (plane), weese (swing), pay (play), bah (bath), dadee (daddy), sooze (shoes), eeshee (blankie), wubs (wubbanub), gawk (milk), mum (mommy), woof (dog), bahsh (brush), ehwhoa (hello, phone), babee (baby), beebeebee (praisebaby dvd)
New words: eyes (for sunglasses), keys, bo (for motorcycle)
 ~ WALKS! She finally decided one day she wanted to walk and hasn't stopped since.
 ~ Has 13 teeth - just starting to get her first top canine in
 ~ Loves animals! Especially bears, cows, pigs, horses, cats
 ~ Really is starting to comprehend what we are saying. Can get something if we ask her to.
 ~ Loves to dance and sing
 ~ Can bend over and pick something up off the ground if hanging onto something
 ~ Pulls herself up by furniture
 ~ Can get off the couch on her own

Other Things To Remember:
 ~ Has been doctor-free this past month - first time in a LONG time!
 ~ Still pulls out her hair; doctor believes it's a result from the hospital stay
 ~ Loves to play in the boat and flip all the switches
 ~ Enjoys swinging and playing in the sandbox
 ~ Getting the mail and holding the keys is a highlight of the day
 ~ Sometimes sleeps through the night, but sometimes wakes up 5 times in a night
 ~ Loves to take things out of the cupboards
 ~ Would watch Praise Baby DVDs all day if we let her
 ~ Always asks to pray before meals - holds our hands and she squints her eyes shut
 ~ Went to the zoo for the first time and Mazy LOVED the bears! Said "roar" when she saw them and even got a stuffed animal that she now calls "roar"
 ~ Favorite toys: riding elephant, busy board, My Very First 100 Words block books, coloring, record player, bristle blocks, any book, baby, cell phone, EIEIO book (can say it too)
 ~ Has the cutest curls in the back that we can put into pigtails, has the brightest blue eyes, and is definitely our crazy Mazy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Kicking the Kitchen Gadget Clutter - Day 14


Have you ever tried to open your kitchen gadget drawer and it gets stuck halfway? Or dig through to the bottom of the pile and realize that it was tucked way in the back? Kitchen gadgets clog our drawers and when we really need something, it takes a few tries to find exactly what we need. So how do you purge down to just the essentials?

That was the question that I asked for years it seemed. My drawer always got stuck and I found myself putting gadgets in other places, but couldn't always remember where. It was time to make a change. That change meant getting rid of the kitchen gadgets I rarely used and basically just living with less of them.

Maybe you too, have the same issues I did. I must say that I have found a very easy solution and haven't changed how I store my kitchen gadgets for a couple of years now. Also, I have not had to buy anything new for quite some time because I feel like I have "completed" my inventory. Here's how:

Find

Take out all of your kitchen gadgets and lay them across a table. Everything from spatulas to bottle openers, to potato mashers.

Ask

  • Do I use it? Is it worth keeping for the number of times I use it?
  • What is it for? (if you don't know, out it goes)
  • Is it a pain to use?
  • Is it broken?
  • Is it in good shape? 
  • Do I have a double of it? Do I need more than one of them?

Ditch and Donate

Throw away or recycle what is not worth donating and donate what you think someone else could benefit from. I had spatulas that had seen better days, so I recycled those.


Organize

Gather what belongs together - spatulas with spatulas, wooden spoons with others, etc. At this point you may even realize that you have 5 spatulas, but do you really NEED 5 of them? Donate a few. Also find a system that works for you. I use a Pampered Chef Tool Turn-About for my kitchen gadgets and I don't think I will ever use anything else. It has worked so well for our kitchen and it fits what I need it to fit.



You can also use various sized boxes for the drawers. I use old cheese boxes, plastic containers, you name it. It just helps keep some order in the drawer so that the gadgets do not get stuck when I open the drawer.

Everything In It's Place

It is easy to just throw the gadget back in the drawer after you are done using it, not thinking about where it came from. You have set up a system for a reason, so taking the small step to put it where it belongs will save you the time of having find it when you need it again. Create order where you can!

How do you organize your kitchen gadgets?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Around The Home

Don't know about you, but we sure received a lot of rain this week! We had an incredible amount of rain - I heard 10 inches and then I heard 7 inches, but regardless, that is a LOT of rain! Needless to say, we got water in our basement, which only helps me just get even more organized! I am hoping to have a garage sale in September and with the water, it only made me get it into gear!

Mazy had a MUCH better week when it came to her anxiety over situations! I think things are looking up and hopefully we can just put the hair pulling, the outbursts, and the complete panic moments behind us. We have been trying to stick to a strict routine and keep things as "normal" as we can in hopes that it improves her situation. Unfortunately she has not been sleeping well at all, but hey, what can you do? I'd rather have her not sleep well than pull her hair out, so I will take less sleep anyday!

I have found myself just standing in amazement at who Mazy is, her little personality, and just the love she has for life! You want to get her to talk, just talk dogs, planes, and roar with her and she will talk nonstop! That's our girl! Oh, and maybe give her some sweet treats and she will be your best friend for life!

Our friend brought over their dog for Mazy to play with - she kept giving her bear hugs, which was adorable!

She likes to be like daddy

Mazy came into the kitchen telling me that she had shoes on. That's our Dutch girl right there!

Mazy loves to walk around the house with her "eyes" on. And the cutest thing is she knows that I always wear my sunglasses when we go for a bike ride, so when we are heading out the door, she says "eyes" as if to remind me to grab my sunglasses. Same with keys - if I say we are going to go bye-bye, she says "keys" when I am walking out the door. And to be honest, there have been times that I have forgotten and she reminds me!

While waiting in line at Aldi, a sweet lady pulled this ball out of her purse and gave it to Mazy. SO sweet of her. When I tried to give it back at the end, she said no, you can have it! Mazy just thought it was the greatest thing and kept saying "bah" for ball the whole time I was packing the groceries up. I am not sure why she was carrying it in her purse, but regardless, it made BOTH of our days!

She's got her mama's hair! Straight up front and curly in the back!

Who needs water? After all the water drained, Mazy still wanted to play in the tub - why not, right?

So Mazy like's jerky! Our friend makes the most amazing jerky. I forget who mentioned it, but they said to have Mazy try it. I said there is NO WAY she is going to like it. Well, not 2 seconds later Mazy says "mmm..." I was put in my place. Granted she can't chew it, but she just enjoys sucking all the good stuff off of it. That's my girl!


I never buy Oatmeal Cream Pies, but I know Dan loves 'em, and lo and behold, they were at Aldi. Bought a box and who loves to join Dan in eating them? Mazy. Who knew, once again?

I have always wanted Mazy to have one of these! A little busy board made out of knick-knacks from around a house. Dan put it together this weekend and oh does she love it! So much fun to watch her explore this board! 

Dan did a mighty fine job!