Settling In

Even with all of the craziness that has been going on, we are really starting to settle in.

Tennessee is really growing on us. We will always miss AZ and there will probably be things that are always going to be ‘better in AZ,’ but it’s finally good here too. We’ve made some friends, joined a small group at church, gotten to know our way around and now bought a home!

The place we rented was in a great location and it was in the perfect place to get to know the area. And it was a huge blessing, but we were ready for something that was ours.

We’ve been in our house for a little over a month now and it’s perfect! We still have to really make it our own, but that’s ok. Knowing that we are actually living on a budget and have a plan for our money makes this time around so much more fun! I still have to wait to do things like paint and get a real dining room set, but there is actually a budget category for it and not just a “I hope we can do that someday.”

These are just the pictures from the Realtor, so it’s not our furniture, but you get the idea!


An Emotional Miscarriage

Part of the craziness of the past summer included 2 miscarriages for me. Before the 1st, I knew a few friends had had one, but I didn’t get it. I probably even said, “It’s because something was terribly wrong. It’s a good thing.” Or some version of that dreadful line. I didn’t know what to say. And I definitely had no way to relate. Our two boys’ pregnancies were smooth sailing. But now I get it. At least a little bit. Having a miscarriage is one of the most emotional things that I’ve gone through.

Unfortunately, it’s a special club that only those who have experienced it can understand. And then for some reason we never talk about it.

I had a missed miscarriage. That means I found out by ultrasound that our baby did not have a heartbeat and that I would be miscarrying sometime in the coming weeks. That day was full of mixed emotions. Disbelief. Hope that they were wrong (I’ve read lots of stories where that has happened). Guilt that something I had done caused it. Fear about what would happen. Heartbreak that we had lost our baby. Over the next few days life went on as normal in many ways. I still had to be mom, D still had to go to work and yet lingering over me was the threat of a miscarriage at any moment. I had the ultrasound on a Monday and I had the miscarriage that Friday. Those days passed like a haze. I know I was delusional because I went to the zoo one of those days. Thank goodness nothing happened then!

A dear friend was my ‘on call’ buddy. I knew I needed someone to be here, but Damien couldn’t just wait indefinitely for something to happen. My girlfriend had had a miscarriage and she was so kind to be with me. God orchestrated that day perfectly. My friend was here when I needed her, D was able to come right home, the boys were able to take their naps right in the middle of everything and the miscarriage was resolved by bedtime. I don’t understand why miscarriages happen (well, scientifically I do). But I do know that God is there. Even in the hurt and the heartbreak and the disappointment. He is there and He is good. I can’t explain that, but I can tell you beyond any doubt that I have experienced it.

Throughout the whole process, one of the biggest blessings was that I had announced the pregnancy before the ultrasound. And so then I told everyone that our baby did not have a heartbeat. The support and prayers and messages from friends who had experienced miscarriage too was overwhelming. I know that those prayers helped carry me through. I was stunned by how many of my friends knew exactly what it was like to lose a baby. Why don’t we talk about it more? Why don’t we support each other? Why do we not announce pregnancies before the end of the 1st trimester? Every baby matters. Every single one. Ask any mother who has lost one.

If you have had a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you. Your baby(ies) are loved and you are loved. If you haven’t had a miscarriage, I am so glad for you! Find a friend who has and give them a hug. Pray for them. Get them some small token to remember the little ones they have lost. And don’t try to say anything to make it better.

And announce your pregnancies. Every baby matters. Just because they are lost before 12 weeks does not make them any less in God’s eyes. And definitely not in their mother’s eyes. Get the support that your heart will need.

And with that……

I just found out that I am pregnant!

I would love prayers for a healthy pregnancy and for peace.


They are Sleeping!

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I’ve shared our various sleep issues over the past few years and I have a victory to report!

Both boys go to bed easily (on most days)!

Every time we would slack off on our routine, then they push the boundaries. If we keep at it, they are great and they know exactly what to expect!

Here are some details:

  • We bring the boys upstairs, change into jammies, go potty, brush teeth and go into their room.
  • We read one story (sometimes more) or D plays guitar
  • We tuck the boys in, pray with them and spray the Bad Guy spray.
  • If they call us, we go check on them, but tell them it’s bedtime and we won’t be coming in again. (Man, they used to abuse this. “I’m still hungry” “I have to go potty” “I want another story” and the best one “Pray with me again”)

The best part is that Big C is not scared anymore. The hardest part of transitioning from sitting next to him to being able to walk out of the room is we knew he was genuinely terrified. I am so happy that we were finally able to find a combo that worked! Little C is a sleeping ninja (other than waking up at 5am!), but he has never struggled to fall asleep.

Here’s a rundown of our bedtime transition:

  1. From the time I can remember, Big C needed us to rub his back, sit near him, or sit right by his door for him to fall asleep.
  2. When we moved to TN, we couldn’t even sit on the other side of the room – we had to be near him.
    1. We tried moving slowly every few nights. We tried a book that talked about Mom leaving. They didn’t work.
  3. We introduced Bad Guy Spray and were finally able to leave the room.
  4. He called us back constantly so we implemented the “We’ll be back in 3 minutes since you are 3 years old.” routine. It worked like magic!
    1. At the beginning, I was VERY intentional about holding to that 3 minutes. Even if I thought he would fall asleep anyway, I checked on him. I knew that I needed to build up the trust that if I said I’d check on him, I would. For naps, he’d often be asleep between 6 and 9 minutes. Bedtime took longer but, not too much.
    2. Because he was so good at nap, we were able to change what we said at night. “We’ll check on you in a little bit.” “I have to go do xyz, I’ll be back.” He started to go longer periods without freaking out so we went with it.
  5. It’s been probably 6 months of transition from checking every 3 minutes to being able to kiss him goodnight and walk out.

6 months seems like a long time, but we had 3 years of bad habits to correct. And the 6 months really went quite smoothly, not to mention SO much easier than before. I don’t regret our choices at all. We probably could have made him tough it out, but it would have broken my heart. And honestly, 3 years is just not that long. 3 years of spending extra time comforting, holding, or hugging our little boy. At times it was frustrating. Infuriating. Exhausting. But I know that he is not scared and that he now knows how to go to sleep on his own.


Trusting God

It’s been too long since I posted. And SO much has happened.

But I want to start with Trusting God.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time and sometimes I feel like I’m in this rut of doing the same things over and over. Like I’m not growing or changing or becoming more like Christ. I mostly just felt stuck in my safe, comfortable little Christian bubble. And moving to the Bible belt to work at a Christian company magnified that beyond compare.

But how could I grow? My deepest wish is to show compassion and grace and love like Jesus did. But what does that look like? Where do I start if I just feel blah inside?

This summer, God has taught me to trust Him more than I ever have before.

Trust Him with two broken feet right before my first ever Half Marathon.

Trust Him to show me a new passion in exercise.

Trust Him with feeling like we belong in TN.

Trust Him with finding a house.

Trust Him with growing our family.

Trust Him to bring me friends that I can really connect with.

Trust Him to give me comfort in my darkest times.

Trust Him.

If you had asked, I would have told you I did trust God. I would have been sure of it. But over the past 15 months we have had more challenges thrown at us than ever before. And over and over and over again God showed up. Not always how we wanted, but He has been there.

My favorite thing to do is drive somewhere alone. I turn off the radio and I just talk to God. As if He was actually sitting in the seat next to me. Often times, I’m crying. But that time has been so healing for me. I know that this is exactly the journey he has for us. Each thing that happens open the doors for new things. It doesn’t make the pain of two miscarriages disappear, but it provides hope. I hope and I trust and I know that God has a plan for my life. It’s not the plan I have for my life, it’s better.

Trust Him.

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Disappointment

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Ever since we moved, I’ve been running a ton. I really enjoy it and I had officially signed up for my first half marathon. The Country Music Half in Nashville! I felt strong and wasn’t even worried about being able to finish. I was hoping to just enjoy the race, push myself, and maybe get a great time.

Around October or November my left foot started hurting after runs. The pain would subside but I started to notice it after days with just a lot of walking. I had recently switched shoes and resolved some pain in my right foot so I figured this was similar. At first. I think I’ve known for awhile, but wouldn’t admit it.

My foot is broken.

I had done a 10 and 12 mile run where my right foot swelled and was painful along with the ‘normal’ left foot pain. After the 12 miles, I could barely walk for two days. I knew, and Damien insisted, that I needed to go see a doctor.

So I did. And they told me exactly what I knew I’d hear. The reoccurring pain in my left foot was actually a stress fracture. And a big enough one that it showed up on the x-ray. My right foot was having a stress reaction – the precursor to a stress fracture.

I have to wear a boot for two more weeks (3 total) and then evaluate from there. It’s a break on my 5th metatarsal right where the tendon attaches. If it doesn’t heal, I’d need surgery to remove the piece of bone and reattach the tendon to the remaining bone. I really, really DON”T want surgery!

So I’m doing my best to rest my foot and get it to heal.

And obviously, I won’t be running at all, much less a half marathon.

I’m super disappointed, but it’s a good lesson to learn. Pay attention to your body! Don’t ignore pain that continues for months!

 


Essential Oils for the Win

I’ve been interested in essential oils for almost a year now. I have friends who use them and the researcher in me has read just about anything I could find about them.

Several months ago, I knew I wanted to start using them, but I was not sure exactly which ones I should start with. We had lavender, tea tree, and peppermint that we used to mix into our deodorant but we had not used them for any sicknesses or anything. Over the course of the last year we have been incredibly healthy (yay!) but that meant no real chance to start. And even if we did get sick, how would I try out oils I had not bought yet?

Well, this week we have had quite the round of sickness. Little C had a fever and developed a cough and he’s too young for any sort of cough medicine. Thankfully, I have a new friend who sells essential oils so I messaged her to see if she had a respiratory blend (called Breathe). She was awesome enough to deliver it to our sickly household and she also brought me small samples of Basil and Rosemary to try for his cough.

The next day the doctor told me that Little C also had an ear infection on top of the cough. I grabbed some garlic oil (not essential oil) drops from them and they also recommended using the Basil/Rosemary blend behind his ear.

Last for the Little One, he ended up with diarrhea and vomiting from some unknown bug. Another friend brought me a sample of a digestive blend (called Digest Zen) to try out on his belly.

To top things off, Big C started complaining about his ear and even had a hard time napping because of the pain. We did give him a dose of Advil because he woke up mid nap and I wan’t sure what oil to use right then. When he woke up, I used the same Basil/Rosemary blend on his ear and also put in the Gaia Kids Ear Drops.

And don’t you know? All of our issues are gone! Each one resolved within a day or two!! Obviously, I hate that the boys got sick, but I had been needing a chance like this to dive right in and I am totally blown away. I was interested, but definitely still a skeptic at heart. Not any more!

Here’s what we did:
*All oils were diluted with a carrier oil, especially since they were used on the kiddos.
1. Peppermint on the feet (covered by socks) every 30ish minutes to bring down the fever.
2. Next Day: Breathe on the feet for the cough and the Basil/Rosemary blend on the chest and around the back of the ears. (Make sure essential oils do not get in the ear canal.) Also the Gaia Kids garlic ear drops.
3. Repeat Day 2 routine. We reapplied the oils 3-4 times over these two days.
4. After Little C threw up at night and then had water diarrhea in the morning, I used Digest Zen on his belly and feet that afternoon. His next poop was partially solid and by the next morning it was no longer diarrhea at all. This was the most dramatic improvement in the shortest time and fewest applications!
5. We also used the immune builder/germ fighter called On Guard on the boys’ feet and my wrists while they’ve been sick.
6. For Big C’s ear we used the Rosemary/Basil blend and then we also used the On Guard blend around his ear. He stopped complaining of any pain during the first day.

Other than 2 doses of Advil for Big C because I don’t believe I have an oil that deals directly with pain, no traditional medicines were used. Little C had fever, cough (croup sounding), diarrhea, vomiting and an ear infection. We did not use a single traditional medicine and his symptoms went away faster than I would have expected from the traditional medicines. I am so excited not to have to pump his perfect little body full of drugs!


Ready to Hustle?

Back in January I joined the 30 Day Hustle. It’s a group of hard workers who are being intentional about working on their dreams – no matter what they are.

Each month new folks are invited to join. Are you ready to get to work? Sign up at Jon Acuff’s blog.

It’s an awesome group of hustlers who are there to encourage you on your journey.

Seriously, do it.


I am Proud

So this post is going to be a little weird. But I need to write it for me.

I am proud of the things I have been accomplishing.

I hesitate to say that. I don’t want to sound arrogant or like I am bragging. But all too often, I don’t take even one second to be proud of the things I do. It’s a vicious, defeatist attitude that steals the joy from every moment. “You can’t be proud.” It says. “You’re being a jerk if you say that.” “You’re not really that great anyway.” “Look at all these things you don’t do well.” It is really easy for me to get down on myself and doubt my roles as a mom and wife and friend. And I genuinely believe that Satan uses those doubts to keep me from becoming the person I should be.

So, I’d like to share a few things because I am proud of the changes I’ve been making.

I am proud that I can take the boys almost anywhere and they are really well behaved. Not perfect of course, but really good. And I have learned through trial and error a bunch of ways to make our outings go so smoothly.

I am proud that I have been teaching myself to cook. Over the last few months the quality and taste of my homemade meals has increased dramatically. I’m sure Damien appreciates that!

I am proud that over the last year I have actually blogged pretty consistently.

I am proud that I haven’t bit my nails since January. (Silly, but 29 years in the making!)

Thank you for allowing me to stop and be proud of myself for a few moments. Each positive change comes with baby steps. And failure before success. And during success.

The one major area I struggle with staying consistent in is spending time in Bible study. I had been doing really well and now I have lost focus. So time to restart and be proud of the changes I will make.


Stirring Up Trouble

I have to admit I like to stir the pot. (Shocker I know.)

I like to argue and I like to be challenged. I often learn new things and new perspectives when people join in the conversation.

But I want to apologize. I don’t mean to offend anyone and I’m not trying to be insensitive.

I hope you have a great day!


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