Friday, October 24, 2014


Ride 'em Cowgirl!

... And eat that horsehair!


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tracey Ann's Birth -- The Hours Following

I have been meaning to revisit the story of Tracey Ann's birth for months, since I finished the (VERY LONG) tale of birth.  There are so many other precious memories of our time in the hospital immediately following her birth that I want to remember, and share.

Obviously, nearly nine months later, my memory will not be as clear as it was, but I'd like to share what I do remember.

After Tracey Ann's birth, and the doctor attended to my medical needs, my parents came in.  I wrote about that here, and that led to probably at least an hour of phone calls and sharing our story, and joy, and soaking up the new addition to our family.

After my parents left (maybe around 9:30 or 10pm?), the night nurse began mentioning that we would eventually want to move to our different room.  We were still in the labor and delivery room, but we would have a different hospital room for the remainder of our stay.  There was no rush, but we would want to move before we went to bed that night.

As soon as my parents left, I wanted to TAKE A SHOWER!  I hadn't had an epidural, so there was no reason to stay in bed... and I wanted to get cleaned up.  I had taken a shower the night before, when my water broke, and I was in a bath tub for much of my labor... but the nature of labor and delivery being what it is... I needed a shower.

I was so excited to get up (slowly) and move to the restroom, and begin to get cleaned up.  It was only after I got up and moving that I realized how weak and exhausted I was.  The doctor had told me that I lost a lot of blood and she would be keeping an eye on things to determine if I needed a transfusion -- she said redheads notoriously bleed heavily, and moving to the bathroom it became clear just how much energy I had spent.

The nurse had offered to help me both in the restroom and taking a shower, but my modesty had come back following labor, and I did not accept her help.  Before getting in the shower, though, I called Chris in to be nearby while I showered to make sure I didn't pass out.  He gave Tracey Ann to the nurse and began attending to my needs just as he had during labor.  I think this was when the novelty of Tracey Ann's arrival -- certainly hadn't worn off -- but we both began to understand the reality of the healing and recovery I still had ahead of me.

Following the shower, the nurse and Chris got me back into bed, laying down (still in the labor and delivery room) asap.  I didn't even dry off from the shower, or comb my hair (a compulsion for me almost immediately after getting out of the shower).  The nurse wrapped me in a heated towel, and I curled up in the fetal position, on my side, on the bed, and they brought Tracey Ann back over to lay next to me and nurse while I was laying down.

While I was laying and nursing and trying to regain strength, Chris went about the task of finding me something to eat -- I hadn't eaten since lunch, and we both knew I needed iron, and protein.  I was in major labor when dinner was served at the hospital, but Chris had had the wherewithal to order dinner, so that we would have it and could re-heat it later.  I'm so glad he did -- the cheeseburger hit the spot.

A little time later, stronger, dressed in pjs, and finally having combed my hair, Chris and I walked to our new room.  They offered me a wheelchair, but I was so proud to, just 2 or 3 hours after delivery, walk through the halls, pushing Tracey Ann in her tiny hospital crib, to our room.

Hubby did a wonderful job moving all of belongings from the labor room to our new hospital room, and all I had to do was crawl in bed, and rest until the next feeding.  At least that's what I thought was the plan... little did I know another surprise lay in store before we would head to bed.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Joy and Fear

These days I am learning first-hand that fear robs joy.

The Bible tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, be content in all things, and have a joyful Spirit.  It specifically tells us NOT to fear.  It tell us not to fear something like 365 times -- that number has always stuck in my mind, because it has a different verse every day telling us not to fear.

I am using the word "joy" much often these days, because when people ask me how my baby is, I tell them the truth -- she is an absolute joy.  I have been happy before... but, for me, motherhood is a JOY like I have never known before.

Since I am experiencing, and acknowledging joy more often in my life, I am trying to become a more joyful person in general.  It is in this effort that I have realized that fear robs joy.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, that my hope and prayer is to, eventually, be home with our children full-time.

I am realizing when I am joyful in my job, I am filled with fear about feeling it.  If I am joyful in my work, then I might not get to stay home someday.  If I am joyful in my work, God (or my husband) might not enable me to stay home, and I will have to work outside the home forever.

As I have noticed these feelings, I remembered back to when I was single and I knew I was supposed to be "content" with my life before marriage -- but I never felt joyful about it.  If I was joyful as a single woman, then God would never give me a husband.

All of these years I have discouraged joy in my heart and my spirit for fear that it will mean something else won't bring me joy.

Here's my revelation -- joy in one area of life is not mutually exclusive.  In fact, joy breeds joy!  When I am joyful at work, I am a more joyful mother.  When I am a joyful mother, I am a more joyful wife.  When I am joyful wife, I am a more joyful teacher, etc.

Fear that I won't get what I want (a husband, the ability to work from home) has robbed me of feeling joy where I am now, and, let me tell you, that stops NOW.

Tracey Ann is such a joy -- but, from now on, I will be on a quest to find joy in the students I teach, the colleagues with whom I work, and the long commute that I make.

Welcome, Joy.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oh, You Know...

Oh, you know...

That time when you try to go for a simple 30-minute, 3-mile run with the baby and the dog... and then the baby starts crying 1.5 miles along ... which is when you realize you forgot her pacifier.

Your next 1 mile is spent balanced between getting her out of the stroller to comfort her, calling hubby to please bring you a pacifier -- but he is in a work meeting, so you're on your own for at least 30 minutes, and putting her back in the stroller and running as fast as you can thinking that maybe you can make it home really fast (while she's wailing).

Finally at 2.5 miles, you surrender.  The baby comes out of the stroller, and you walk the .5 mile left of the way home, with her on your hip.  Dog leash and stroller in one hand, and baby bouncing on the other hip.

My 30-minute run became a 60 minute excursion --  20 minutes of running, 20 minutes of soothing, and 20 minutes of walking.

Workout?  Yes.
The one you expected?  No.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Difference...

The Difference between Mama pajamas and Daddy pajamas.

Still the most adorable and most loved baby ever.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Big God

I serve a really Big God.  My head knows this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

That being said, why am I repeatedly surprised by His abundant faithfulness?

Last night, I had to drive to a nearby city (by nearby, I mean, over an hour away) to work on some professional development Braille tests.  I need to take 15 of these Braille modules (tests) by December 2015.

There are three parts to each modules including transcribing braille (taking print and creating braille), interlining braille (taking braille and writing the print), and proof-reading (taking braille and identifying the errors in a passage).  All three parts are allowed two or less errors, and must be completed in one hour.

Since I will have to take all of the tests an hour away, I lined up seven for Friday evening to try to knock out about half of them.

I use braille all the time, but I am not tested on braille all the time.  I have been trying to use any free minute this week to review and practice for these modules.

By the middle of the week, I said to Hubby that I really have not had the time to study like I normally would because Tracey Ann gets all of my attention, and that's how it should be.  She is pulling herself up now, and, for safety reasons, she requires constant supervision and attention.  I told Hubby that I hoped, and was praying that God would honor my commitment to motherhood and bless my memory during these tests.

Before I left for the test, Hubby prayed that I would "blow them away with my awesomeness in braille."  Meanwhile I chuckled in my mind, thinking, "Oh, you're sweet, Darling, but really, I'll just be happy to pass."

And yet, I serve a Big God.

Why do I chuckle or scoff when my loving husband raises up a Big Prayer, like that one?  I serve a BIG GOD, and He hears all of the requests of His children and works all things together for good.

I not only passed all seven modules I had planned to take, but I finished most every module in about half the allotted time.  When I was finished, the proctor (a colleague of mine) told me that she has never seen anyone sit down and just peel out seven test modules like I did.  She said that people might get through four or five, but then fatigue sets in and they begin making stupid mistakes.  On the contrast, the more tests I brailled, the less errors I made.  For the first five modules, I had a few errors here and there -- but modules five, six, and seven were my strongest modules with one or less braille errors.

My hubby's exact prayer was answer -- for lack of a better phrase, I blew them away with my awesomeness in braille.  Of course none of it is my awesomeness, but rather God blessing the way I spent my time this week -- trying to study when I could, but devoting myself to the demands of motherhood and accepting that braille had to take a backseat to all of my at-home demands.

Seven modules down, eight to go, and you can bet I will not be so quick to chuckle at my husband's prayers before the next one.

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