Photographs

IMG_5222

I have never been very good at taking pictures. I look at those “other” Mommy bloggers and I see their gorgeous pictures taken with their expensive cameras, and I think that I must need a $1,000 camera so that I can take good pictures too. They apologize for their iPhone photos-that’s as good a camera as I’ve got. Except for my mom. My mom has one of those expensive cameras-she even has an expensive, expensive camera. When she’s around, I forget to even pick up the iPhone to take inferior pictures. Why is this bothering me?

IMG_5224

Jordyn’s 10th birthday party was last Saturday. One of the things I wanted to do for her was to put together a slideshow of her life. So, I started searching through my computer’s photographs and gradually it became clear that I don’t take pictures of my children. When we were living with my mom or very close to my mom, I could see many pictures taken of my precious firstborn. But, there were very few pictures that were taken from my old point-and-shoot, or even my iPhone once I had it. In fact, there were entire holes in my child’s life (such as year 5) where I had only a handful (literally, like 10) of photographs from the entire year! Why????

I have been following this mom whose daughter, Jennifer, passed away from cancer at the ripe ol’ age of 6, and the grief she exposes is truly heart-wrenching. Isn’t that every parent’s worst nightmare? That a beast will come in and steal your child from your arms and leave you powerless to prevent it from happening? Well, she posts pictures, lots of pictures of her forever 6 year old and her other three children. Most of the pictures are your classic photograph, with smiling faces, looking at the camera, in focus types of things. But there are some, and it’s these ones that haunt me, that are less impressive. They are out of focus, or the clothes aren’t on, or she’s not looking at the camera. The “bad” photographs. They are precious to her. I’ve been deleting them for years. Even worse, knowing that I can’t compose a “good” photograph because the floor is messy or my kids are (still) undressed, I don’t even pick up the camera (or phone). And once that moment is gone, its gone forever.

IMG_5210

So, I’m going to try to take more of these “candid” photos, in the hopes that when it comes time to put together Bekah’s slideshow, I have ample material to choose from, for every year of her life.

Even if the floor is dirty.

IMG_5206

Even if the kids aren’t dressed.

IMG_5159

Because that is a moment from their life, and that makes it extremely valuable to me.

Thankful

 

 

IMG_4546

One of the things not part of my challenge that I’ve always wanted to do is to take pictures every day for a month. I don’t know if I’ll make it everyday, but I’m really going to try. By goal is to post something for which I’m thankful each day. Today, we had the most awesome looking storm come through. It didn’t do any damage, I’m not even sure that it did more than sprinkle, but I love seeing the beauty and splendor of the Lord especially in the sky. The first picture is a view of our backyard (and neighbor’s barn- oh, how I love their old barn!) and the next one is from our front yard, where we witnessed the dancing sun through the clouds. It is always uplifting.
IMG_4537

Introducing Rebekah Leann


IMG_8597 Rebekah

Rebekah was born at 10:41pm on January 5, 2013. She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 19 3/4 inches long.

IMG_8599kids

We had her at home as planned, which was good because I don’t think I would have made it to the hospital- I didn’t even know that I was in labor! Everything went well and we are so blessed to have this little girl in our lives.

IMG_8585family

 

Failure to Thrive

Are you familiar with those useless, boring, obligatory doctor visits? I always hated them and felt that they were a complete waste of time. For the most part with the previous two children the visit was basically about getting vaccinations. Since I’m not especially thrilled with the vaccination process, but go along with it anyway, doctor visits take on somewhat of a negative view. I know that the idea is that if you see a doctor when you’re well, he might actually catch something BEFORE it becomes a big deal. I know that they aren’t there to evaluate my parenting style and choices and judge me. I know that it can be valuable, but in my experience, it’s been nothing but a waste of several hours waiting in a waiting room, then stripping your child bare to measure them, more waiting in a cold office (with your now undressed baby), and then a visit with a nurse, and a quick minute or two with the doctor, and the shots.

I have to say though, Andrew’s doctor has been completely pleasant. It’s still largely about waiting around, but I can easily blame that on our modern medical system rather than the doctor himself. Dr. Davidson is a soft-spoken man and, unlike other doctors I’ve seen, not prone to overly alarmist speeches. He makes a funny face when I’ve said something I think he disagrees with, but he calmly states his counterpoint or ignores it. I like that. He has reassured me a number of times that Andrew seems to be progressing fine developmentally, but starting around the six month mark, he began to express some concern about the lack of growth for both height and weight in Andrew. Still, he reassured me that he looked completely healthy. He brought us back in for a 7 month weight check and ran some standard lead tests seeing as we lived in an older home that had verifiable amounts of lead. Andrew made some progress for his weight check and the lead test came back normal.

Which is why I understood that he was really concerned when we discussed failure-to-thrive at Andrew’s 12 month check-up. Andrew still hasn’t gained weight. What used to be a healthy 50-75% baby has now dropped to 1%. He’s energetic and healthy, not prone to diarrhea or vomiting, has a good appetite, sleeps fine, walks, and screams to communicate a point. But he’s small and that is a concern. Really, seeing his growth chart really does it. So here it is:

Of course, like any parent, they begin to do research the minute they’re out of the doctor’s office. What I found is that failure to thrive (FTT) is really a symptom, not a disease. The causes are usually obvious: you’ve got a sick baby. In Andrew’s case that doesn’t apply which means that the odds are that his FTT is caused by… me. At least, that’s what the research seems to indicate to me. Sure, there are rare issues of growth hormone disorders and other endocrinological issues. There are many things that can still be causing it, but the research says that the odds are high that some “inorganic” reasons are to blame. As in, the parents are putting their child on a diet or some other form of abuse. Now I know that I’m not abusing my child nor withholding food from him. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking that the doctor might be thinking it.

The good news is this has helped me view my parenting and habits from the outside in. You know how when you are having company come over, you suddenly see all the things that aren’t clean in your house that you’ve been living with anyway? (Please tell me that it’s not just me!) I decided to begin to track Andrew’s habits- everything from sleeping and eating, pooping and playing. Though I was almost done weaning him, I (thankfully) was able to get my milk supply going again and have been feeding him (more or less) on demand. He nurses three to five times a day and again once or twice at night. I began to weigh and measure his food intake and how he behaves after a meal. Just like using a food journal for yourself helps you to identify food patterns and weaknesses, tracking Andrew’s diet has helped me see where I’ve become lazy (from having older children) and respond accordingly.

The other good that has come of this is that I’ve had to look very carefully at what I’ve been eating. For one thing, Andrew almost always refuses food if we aren’t eating the same thing with him. The other big deal for me is that I feel judged because of my weight. I’m embarrassed by it and this leads me to feel like other people are judging me using my own yardstick. I feel like, in this case, the doctor must assume that Andrew eats nothing but junk, since clearly his mother has over-indulged regularly. Out of my deep desire to lose this weight (AGAIN!), I’m going back to my couch-to-5K workouts and then from there into a half-marathon training program (with an adjustment period to build my weekly mileage in between) Ideally, I’ll get pregnant in there somewhere (yes, we’re praying for more children), but developing good work-out habits is good for every pregnant woman. In addition, I’m planning on juicing/juice fasting to include some nutrients that I know I’m not eating enough of. I would really like to have some crazy-fast weight loss just so that I can look better and feel better right away but I know that I only have enough discipline for the minutest of changes.

I’m still praying that the doctor’s up at Children’s Hospital in Denver will find out that there’s nothing wrong with my little one, but I’m still determined to be thankful in all things. After all, Andrew was created in the image of the Father and is perfect just as he is.

Insta-Friday: My First Edition

So over at one of my favorite blogs, Forever Folding Laundry, (don’t ask me how I found her blog, cause I have no idea- but she’s cool, and her husband works at Pixar!) on Fridays, she links up with the folks at Life. Rearranged and the Instagram App for the iPhone/iPod and posts an Insta-Friday post. Whew, what a set-up! I rarely take photos and even less frequently, post them on my blog, but that’s what I want to do more of; so here’s my first attempt. Hopefully, this will become a simple weekly tradition. See, I (almost) always have my iPod on me, and if I can remember to take a few pictures during the week, then perhaps I will be able to have something (just something!) to post every week. Now wouldn’t that be cool?

So, here it is, from our mid-week, end of summer (free) trip to the rinky-dink Pueblo Zoo.

Jordyn and Noah. Isn’t it nice when both children stop and look at the camera and sort of smile?

Andrew smiles. And watches the kids. And animals. And he drools, but we love him anyway.

The sun was hot that day…why does that sound like the opening line to something, somewhere? But, seriously, it was hot. And we picked the hottest hours of the day to be at this zoo. And we forgot to bring water so we had to pay through the nose to get some. Oh, yeah.

Jordyn and Noah watched the penguins eat their meal. They were jumping around and playing and not listening whatsoever to the woman talking about feeding the penguins, perhaps because she was standing behind everyone, but then, they decided to be cute.

Jordyn jumped. She jumped as far as a bullfrog.

Noah jumped. He jumped as far as a spider (that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her).

Andrew did not jump. He slept. And he refused to sleep laying down, so smushed into the cupholder he became.

And that was our trip to the zoo and my first experience playing with Instagram. Whatdya think? I kinda like it!

Check it out yourself!
life rearranged