My child does not talk yet

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Tomorrow marks 3 years of motherhood for me.  Elijah came into the world in true Elijah fashion on November 10, 2013.  My labor was only 2 hours, this little boy was in a hurry to get here and hasn’t slowed down since.

Of course you have expectations for you children, and some of those things I think you even take for granted.  Age 2 has been challenging for us.  I know it’s hard for everyone, terrible two’s right?  But Elijah has had some speech delays that have made some things extra hard.

I wrote a post called “My child does not sleep through the night” about our challenges in getting him to sleep and stay asleep awhile ago.  I guess what I’m finding out is that he has his own way of doing things.  I’m learning to love and embrace the wonderful child that he is, instead of the one I thought I’d have.  I’m also just accepting the fact (with bleary eyes), that I haven’t slept more than a few hours at a time since little Liam joined the fam 7 months ago.

We’ve entered into this “world” of therapy, one I just assumed we would never be a part of.  You always think it’s someone else’s child.  Or that you’d be taking him to gymnastics twice a week, not different clinics.  We made the decision to do speech therapy because up until recent weeks, Elijah didn’t have any words.  The few he knew, he lost.  For awhile, he wouldn’t even attempt to imitate us which frustrating and sad.  It took me 3 weeks of trying everything just to get him to stick his tongue out.  Our speech therapist said Apraxia, a motor planning problem.  He know what he wants to say and do but has a hard time saying it.  I’m happy to say he’s come along way in a few months, knows about 25 signs and is finally saying some words and imitating us.  But as you can imagine, it hasn’t been without it’s challenges.

We started Occupational Therapy too.  All of it has been humbling.  Sometimes you wonder what you’ve done wrong.  Everyone else’s kids just start talking on their own.  Why do we have to work so hard day in and day out just to teach him sounds?  And of course lots of people have said their kids didn’t talk until later, I think it’s just hard when you are in it day to day.

And then there’s his legendary energy 😉  It makes me laugh and somedays it makes me want to sleep for a month.  We are learning that he requires incredible amounts of sensory input, whether it be jumping, climbing, crashing, throwing, chewing, swinging, etc.  You can imagine what this looks like if he’s cooped up inside for any amount of time.  Bringing him places is hard sometimes too.  A lot of other kids his age are talking in full sentences and sitting in one place doing an activity.  Elijah?  Well he has things to do, people to see, places to go, and not much to say.

On the worst days we wonder, is it something serious, something with social stigmas.  On the best days, is all this therapy really worth it?  Won’t he just eventually regulate himself and start talking?  Sometimes I feel sorry for myself.  I never got to hear him say he was ‘two’ , or hear him say that ‘mommy had a baby in her tummy’, etc.  But then I think about Liz.  A girl we see at Occupational Therapy.  Confined to a wheelchair, unable to control her movements or speak.  I see her mom carrying her as my Elijah zooms past her on his own two feet with a smile that lights up the whole place.  He’s my gift from God.  Its not my place to compare.  Something I think I’ll always struggle with.

I almost cried tears of joy the other day when I went to take his picture and he said “CHEESE” with a big grin.  All on his own, no prompting.  I felt so proud!  Maybe that moment wouldn’t have been as special without some of the struggles.

Maybe he isn’t ‘normal’, but maybe the world has enough ‘normal’.  Maybe one day I’ll be so happy he didn’t fit the mold.  That instead of coloring outside of the lines, he colors on the back of the picture (true story).  Sometimes I wish things about him were different, sure, but then, he wouldn’t be him.  And I’m completely in love with this little boy.  He’s funny and bright and so very loved.  Instead of worrying about the unknown future of his development, I want to be excited to learn what he’s good at.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this therapy, these delays, are more about teaching us how to love and raise Elijah than to ‘fix’ something that’s wrong with him.

It’s a hard thing to navigate, professional opinions, prayer, input from people who love him and know us, our own gut sense as parents.  I think all parents have felt the weight of the responsibility of raising humans.  What if I don’t get it right?

What if I overlook my little Liam in this season?  What if I miss soaking in how cute and little they are because I’m so worried about the dishes spilling out on the counter?  Do I pray enough?  Am I good example or just a hot mess?

Can’t be perfect, but I can be present.  I can give them 100% of what I have today.  I can trust that God has a plan for their life and rejoice that I get to be such a big part of it.  I can encourage Eddy, my partner in crime, and bring love and laughter into our home.

Elijah changed my life forever.  Liam did it again.  Most days I’m exhausted by the end of it, but I think of their faces as I’m falling asleep and I can’t help but smile.  And thank Him for mercies new every morning. Not that I’ll get there without seeing one of their faces at least once in the night 😉

This quote says it all today: Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you’d have. It’s about understanding your child is exactly the person they are supposed to be. And, if you’re lucky, they might be the teacher who turns you into the person you’re supposed to be.

 

For Those Who Still Wait

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Waiting can be a form of suffering.  Waiting for a diagnosis, for someone to come home from duty, waiting to be married, waiting for something you’re praying and hoping for every moment.  It can be one of God’s greatest tools for shaping our character to be like His.  It’s a vulnerable place.  For me it was waiting for a 2nd pregnancy.  I won’t begin to say that I truly ‘suffered’ in our 6 months of praying and waiting.  But I will say that the Lord taught me so many things and I have such a deeper compassion for the disappointed.  Then the good news, we were pregnant!  Told our families, couldn’t have been happier.  Why did I ever get so impatient or worry???  God had answered our prayers, His promises are true!  And then, the unthinkable.  A month later I was staring at an empty ultrasound screen where days before there was life, now emptiness.  We had lost our baby.  I had written this post originally right after we found out about the pregnancy.  My waiting was over.  I could share all that I learned now that it was.  But then I felt compelled to share some of my journal during this process, even after the loss.  Not when things were sunshine and roses.  But in the middle. Talking about it is both hard and healing.

I have good days and bad days.  This has been a devastating loss, one of the biggest in my life.  But life goes on, sometimes that hurts because I don’t want it to, I’ll never be the same after it all, and sometimes I’m so thankful it does.  There’s still a reason to get up every morning, God is still faithful, unmovable.  New mercies every day.  He already gave me everything, He doesn’t owe me anything.  I’ll probably write more about this loss as time and prayer bring clarity but for now, this is what I know.

If you are suffering, or waiting for answers, or both, this is for you.  If you aren’t, you will soon.  I’m right there with you.  Here it is…

So many times I wished away the waiting, in our instant society we’ve lost the value of waiting.  If it’s not right away, something is wrong.  And I personally am a planner who is very goal oriented. Much of my life, I’ve decided I wanted something and went after it.  But this was out of my control.  Your true character comes out when someone tells you no or you don’t get what you want.  My 21 month old son, scratches and hits and throws his binky when things don’t go his way.  I get jealous, competitive, feel sorry for myself, impatient.  But God in His graciousness draws me to Himself.

Because “God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you.” (My Utmost for His Highest)

He didn’t give me what I wanted, when I wanted.  Because He wanted me to want Him more.  “Think of the last thing you prayed about – were you devoted to your desire or to God? Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. “ (My Utmost for His Highest)  My motives and my heart needed to be adjusted, the Lord needed to be my first love, not even my children or desire for children given to me by Him.  Prayer is not just presenting a request and hoping for an answer, it is to know God.

I’m learning that life is so much less about me and more about God’s purposes. What have we lost in an instant society? Anticipation, surprise, patience, discipline, and delayed gratification resulting in maturity and a deeper appreciation for things.

“ And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character and proven character produces hope. This hope will NOT disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5

I had to learn to be content and to trust.

“Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?” Matt 6:27

Worry is the antithesis of joy, it robs you of peace, takes away precious time and energy, it is a statement of distrust.

“It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives.” (My Utmost for His Highest)

“I wait for Yahweh; I wait and put my hope in His Word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning – more than watchmen for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord. For there is faithful love with the Lord, and with Him is redemption in abundance.” Psalm 130:5-7

Contentment can be in regards to material possessions and also in regards to present circumstances. Propriety, modesty, and contentment are not valued in our culture, it’s all about newer, bigger better. Advertisers succeed if they make us discontent. Contentment can’t be given, it’s a choice. It comes from humility and is the opposite of entitlement. However, it is not settling for less than God’s best or being apathetic.

Perseverance > Endurance > Character > Hope

The end result is Hope!

“Hoping does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions…It means a confident alert expectation that God will do what He said He will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let God do it His way and in His time. It is the opposite of making plans that we demand that God put into effect, telling Him both how and when to do it.” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson)

Even knowing all these truths, waiting is still HARD and not very FUN!  Focus on God’s goodness to you, what has He already done?  And get to know His character.

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is compassionate…Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you…How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me? I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of Yahweh.” Psalm 116

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. Happy is the person who trusts in You, Lord of hosts.” Psalm 84:11-12

And know that He is answering you, “Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer, He had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered…God answers prayers in the best way – not just sometimes but every time. However, the evidence of the answer in the area we want it may now always immediately follow.” (My Utmost for His Highest)

I am doing my fair share of sowing, and you may be too, but don’t forget His Word and His promises.

“Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves.”

Psalm 126:5-6

 

 

Possible Side-effects of Motherhood

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Don’t you think Motherhood should come with a warning label? Caution!  Contents may provide extreme lack of sleep, changes in body structure, confusion, weight gain, weight loss, weepiness, hysterical laughter, colds and flus, an inability to stop taking photographs, and joy and love that you’ve never known before.  If you’re a mom then you may have experienced one or all of these side-effects, if you are a mom to be, well then have fun reading and rubbing your sweet tummy 😉

Today was a long day.  Elijah is teething (I think), when in doubt just blame it on teething.  I’m pretty sure its a perpetual thing until about age 5.  One of those days where I tried everything to get him to sleep tonight and finally I sang to him, rocked him and put him in the crib.  He commenced screaming and I set a timer so I would know how long he had been crying and started to eat something.  Do not attempt to mother on an empty stomach, very dangerous!  Anyways, after 2 minutes he finally went to sleep.  It got me to thinking about all the things we think we will never do until we become a mom.  Like I said I would not use a pacifier.  My child would self-soothe and be able to fall asleep without any comfort objects.  Now I bless the person who invented binkys at 3 am when he falls right back asleep.  Or how I was only going to feed him homemade organic food.  He loves ice cream, oops.  But it’s not just about all the things you thought you would never do.

As I reflect on the last 14 months, and even as I read my last blog post, I can see how much being a mom has changed me.  I mean for one, I cry at EVERYTHING.  We watched ‘The Giver’ the other night and I almost had a panic attack every time the baby cried or was in danger, for real. Physically I’m different, I finished breast feeding and the good side effect was that I’m 10 lbs lighter than before I got pregnant, the bad news is, so are the girls :{  Deflated balloons.  But I digress…

But it’s more than surface things.  Unexpectedly I’m more sure of myself.  I know what my baby needs and when I don’t, I pray for wisdom and God gives it to me.  I know what my priorities are, my relationship with God, my husband, and my baby.  It’s so crystal clear.  I used to spend so much time wondering about what I was going to “do with my life”, what big things I was going to accomplish for God, grandiose dreams.  And I don’t think that was bad.  Sometimes I laugh though because so much of my time is spent cleaning up bodily fluids.  But I know I’m right where I need to be.  All the things I want to accomplish, dreams, places I want to travel, they will be there.  A little one in my home, he wont’ always be.

I can do anything after an unmedicated childbirth, the newborn days (I liken them to being in a war, blood, sweat, tears, puke, messed pants, no sleep, etc.) 13 months of breastfeeding, pneumonia, molars, growth spurts, you name it.  Sometimes I’m surprised by how selfish I am, wanting to surf facebook rather than sit down and play with my child.  And sometimes I’m surprised at how much love I have in my heart and how I can always change one more diaper, get up one more time, wipe one more runny nose, pick up one more block, wash one more onesie.

I’m learning to let go.  Not just of my child as he grows up, but of expectations that I will be a perfect parent, that my house will be spotless, that every day will start out with exercising, a gourmet breakfast and worship music, that my child will exceed every milestone and be better than everyone elses baby.  It’s ok to leave things undone, to nap when the house is messy, to not answer the door.  It’s ok to stop comparing your body to models and you kids to your friends’ children.  Do the things you need to do to be a great wife and a happy mommy.  Sometimes reading a book just for fun, or an hour of uninterrupted browsing in Ulta (dangerous) is actually more ‘productive’ than cleaning the floor, again.

I think what I’m trying to say is that in the midst of falling more in love with my little one, I’ve come to love myself more too.  Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said ‘Whoever loses his life will find it’.  There’s so much beauty and meaning in laying your life down for someone else. Sometimes I think it’s actually more heroic to lay your life down moment by moment rather than in some single instance of grandeur and fanfare.  So you know what, I’m awesome!  I’m a great mom and I love my baby unconditionally.  And so are you!  And so do you 🙂  Remind yourself of it and do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest.  And what a beautiful harvest it will be.

 

My child does NOT sleep through the night

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Are there support groups for this?  T-shirts?  Seriously!  Elijah is 11 months old and it has been months, MONTHS, people, since he slept all the way through the night.

Interestingly enough something so simple and yet so out of my control, has become a big part of my life. I’ve read the books and the articles on sleep training, I’ve tried nursing + bottle, binkys, warmer pj’s, cooler pj’s, lots of solids before bed, less solids before bed (so no poops to wake the wee one and mommy), nighttime diapers (what a cruel marketing scheme preying on sleep deprived parents to make a few extra bucks, shame, shame!), the cry it out method, sending in the husband method.  Mombies are real.  I is one (although contrary to the official definition I do not drink coffee or wine). I have come to greatly appreciate make-up, although it’s October, so maybe the walking dead look is in right now?  I don’t know how, but I’m pretty sure I could get from our room to the crib, pick him up and get in the rocker without opening my eyes.  My neck is permanently creased from the drooping head and my ambitions for the day ahead go from 21 super productive tasks to #1 – NAP.

I find my heart rate going up when I try to figure out WHY he keeps waking up.  Is it something I’m doing? Is it something I’m not doing?  Does he have gas?  Are his sheets too scratchy?  Is he actually hungry or just comfort nursing?  How much milk is he actually getting?  How long should I let him cry?  What time is it? What day is it?  Why I am so mad while I”m trying to feel for the binky in his sheets?  Why does his diaper always leak?  Is this the 3rd or 4th time I’ve gotten up?  Am I a bad mom?  Why is it so easy to have the negative things our children do automatically be a statement about our worth and performance as a mom?

Maybe he’s just a baby with a very energetic temperament who loves people and would rather have his mommy come in the room and spend a few minutes with him so that he can go back to sleep for a few hours.  And when I do stumble into the nursery (can we talk about the wall of fruity poop smell that hits you like a ton of bricks?) and pick him up and he stops crying, maybe that’s actually a victory instead of a failure.  Because he knows that he’s safe and he’s loved and that someone is there to take care of his needs.  I’ve told him since he was little “mommy will always feed you” and night after night, I’m fulfilling that promise.  Now, when I said that, I didn’t envision that months down the road I’d still be feeding him 1-2 times a night, but then again, I promised.  Babies who are unloved and uncared for will actually stop crying because they’ve learned that no one will be there.  Let that be an encouragement to all of us mom’s when we feel like we can’t get up one more time, when just one night of sleep would renew us in ways that we couldn’t begin to explain, when you’re lying there in bed, holding your breath and praying that God will help your little one go back to sleep.

I was reminded recently that those little crying, needy, smelly, messy, noisy, disruptive little kids, are blessings.  He’s my blessing.  He wants to remind me that I’m blessed multiple times a night and I will be reminded.  I do find myself cherishing those sweet night time moments where he’s back asleep in my arms and all is still.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that one day I will look back on those moments in my creaky rocker with fondness, when the memories of sheer exhaustion have faded, and what’s left is a longing for the simplicity of the relationship between mother and infant.

I’m blessed because I’m not losing sleep wondering if he will survive the night, wondering if I’ll ever be able to have a baby, wondering if he’s going to make good choices, grieving, or any number of reasons you could be losing sleep.  I’m just doing what God made me to do and someday he will sleep through the night.  I have faith!!!  Can I hear an AMEN?!  And that day, I will cry because I miss him needing me. Because every day after the first day, they need you a little less.  He was never really mine, he’s always been God’s and He just saw fit to loan him to me for a few short years.  And isn’t that the dance of motherhood?  Learning to let go and embrace all at the same time.  We pack up the newborn clothes with a twinge of sadness, but then we laugh at the toddler antics and anticipate baby’s first word. We get up every day to live for someone other than ourselves.  You think you’re selfless until you have a child, and then you become more selfless than you could ever imaging yourself being and yet glaringly selfish more often than you would like to admit.

I will keep trying to help him sleep through the night and I will also schedule naps into my day.  I will try to remind my frustrated self that “this too shall pass” and there will be new challenges, so to praise God that His mercies are new every morning.  The sorrow may last for the night but the joy comes in the morning. And I have to say, there’s no greater joy than that toothy grin and little arms reaching for you as the sun comes up and you get to begin again.

 

What The Welch’s Are Having For Dinner

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Wondering what to make for dinner? Here’s what we’re having this week!  I’m always looking for new recipes, I try to make at least one new one every week.  So I thought I would share the meals we are having this week and what I’m doing to make them more healthy and more delicious 🙂 Click on the photos for the links!

Grilled Chicken Bruchetta

a7cd107a2b6d263e9b4612b9e5178504We just got Eddy’s new grill (Father’s Day gift) set up so we are going to try this one out!

Italian Chopped Salad

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I made this last week and it is delicious!  And super healthy too.

Tortellini with Pesto & Snap Peas

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Turkey Cream Cheese Sandwich

April268This is a delicious sandwich borrowed from a friend’s blog.  I’ve been making the cream cheese (with the Greek Cream Cheese that has half the fat and 2x the protein) and then just making individual sandwiches with whole wheat bread and then adding tomatoes, green onions and cucumbers.  I will also make roll ups without the bread for an awesome low carb snack!

Fetuccine Alfredo

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This is our cheat meal for the week!  Yum!  I’m going to use brown rice pasta, and add minced garlic, broccoli, and shredded chicken.

Happy Cooking and Happy Eating!

 

10 Things I’m loving on Pinterest

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I LOVE Pinterest.  I resisted joining for so long but now I’m a huge fan, I use it for ideas and inspiration and yes, time wasting 😉 Here are some pins I’m loving right now.

Super Cute DIY Centerpieces – as a bonus make crockpot chili and then use the cans!

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Killer Treadmill Workout – not sure what a Brazilian Butt is but I think I want one.  This workout is no joke, and for someone who gets bored on a treadmill, it mixes it up every few min!

6cd87e7a6329890a48bb272727c583b7I’m loving free printables and think these kitchen ones are adorable!7734661b15e9cb068b35e6c3ec44efb0

If the piano we were just given wasn’t such a nice shiny black, I would totally do this!

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Totally doing a Winter Onederland party for Elijah’s birthday in November.  No one steal my idea.  Wait…it would have to be my idea.  2195a3ddc74ccec077c6ef41bc171706

 

How to make tissue pom-poms.  I have used this tutorial and they turned out cute!6f8bfc21de7189e3eb4c62cdb6268daaI love mint green and right now it’s everywhere!  Here’s a fun palette with a muted shade of mint.

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This chopped Greek salad is delicious and so good for you! Definitely add feta and maybe about half a can of garbanzo beans instead of a whole.

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Olive Garden Gnocchi Soup.  YUM!  I’ve made this many times and it is delicious.

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Best cupcakes EVER!  And they have fruit in them so they are healthy. *crickets*

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Just keep pinning, just keep pinning, just keep pinning, pinning, pinning! 🙂  Enjoy!

6 Things I learned from my Kitchen Cabinets

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Operation Cabinet Transformation commenced last weekend and I had lots of time to think while I was scrubbing, deglossing, painting and top-coating all the doors, drawers and frames in our bathroom and kitchen!  The kit we used was Rustoleum’s Cabinet Transformation and it got me thinking about lessons in transformation.  Here were some things I observed while knee deep in this DIY project and a couple before and after photos for fun!

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1) There is a point of no return.

If you want to change, there comes a point where you have to step out in faith knowing you will never be the same, whether for better or worse.  I realized this when I pulled all the cabinet doors off and started deglossing them.  I wasn’t sure what the end result was but I knew they would never be the same.  It was both terrifying and exciting ha ha!

2) Transformation is extremely messy.

Things definitely get worse before they get better.  Our house was littered with rags, chemicals, paint brushes, and all the stuff we had to take out of our cabinets and drawers.  For about a week it was pretty chaotic and messy.  It certainly made me appreciate our usually orderly home.  But I knew that it was all part of the process.

3) If you want to change you might have to dig up some old dirt

Before we could even start on changing the cabinets, we had to deal with what was already there.  Years of dirt, grease, grime and water damage had left them in a less than desirable state.  However, I wasn’t even really aware of what all was there until I rolled up my sleeves and started scrubbing.  Holes needed to be filled before we could continue, much like I think past wounds from relationships need to be healed before you start a new one.

4) There are no short cuts to transformation.

It took a long time.  And we even had awesome friends who spent the whole weekend helping us.  There was no way around the fact that if we wanted to change the entire look of our kitchen, and not have it look like Elijah did it, than we needed to do it the right way, following all the steps and directions.

5) There is no substitute for time.

As much as our culture (and myself included) value efficiency, there is no substitute for time.  No matter how quickly we got the paint on, we still had to let it dry for 2-3 hours for the next coat. We want transformation in an instant, and yet if we want transformation that lasts, it needs to happen over time.  Letting it sink in to our souls.

6) It’s worth it!

Wow!  I love the finished product, it has changed the entire look and feel of our kitchen, has updated our home and added value as well.  Plus I love knowing how clean and shiny everything is. Not to mention, I was able to do some organizing as well.  I also feel more motivated to keep the kitchen clean because I have ownership of those cabinets.  Those are my babies!  I scoured every square inch and then watched them being transformed before my very eyes.  Much like sometimes I swear Elijah is literally growing up as I watch him.  I think that’s part of the powerful bond between parents and child.  When you have been there since there first breath and seen them every day since, well how could you not be invested?  Overall it was a great project but I am happy to say it’s done.  Well almost…I think true transformation is never really finished.  Since by nature of it’s definition it is a process!