Thursday, December 27, 2012


Mom + observation. See what I did there? You're welcome for the unnecessary explanation.

Voltaire said, “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while Nature affects the cure.” This is my life right now, amusing two children with lingering colds until they feel better. This is a problem because I'm just not particularly inclined to be an amusing mother. My sweet babies were blessed with the economy car of mommas. I get the job done, I just don't have backup cameras and Satellite radio. I love and kiss them like they're the beloved ones that they are. I keep them from drinking from the toilet, playing in the street and indulging in other self-destructive tendencies that babies and toddlers seem to have. I try to make sure they eat more avocado and fewer m&m's, and that they read more books and watch less TV (I'm losing the avocado one, but the other things are going okay). 

I'm just not the type to make daily schedules, playdates, or those adorable quiet time busy bags. (I do, however, have friends who do and give them to me - Lord bless them). 

Maybe this is a character flaw. Maybe it's just how I was raised. I'm pretty sure if the words "I'm bored" came out of our mouths, my mom sent us to wash dishes or clean the bathroom. Hopefully everything works together for good and my little guys will be all the more independent because of their non-amusing mom. I see these cute, cute mommies who have activity stations in their home and a daily itinerary on the wall (that their two-year-old can already read). Really, they rock! I'm trying to find the balance of being teachable and learning some tips from these families and just accepting how I'm wired. 

I don't think I'm wavering on this one though: in the future, if any of my kids complain about being bored, so help me, they will be scrubbing every bit of grout I can find!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Postpartum Repression (Part 2)

My last post joked about expectations I have of myself and my tendency to have some very rose-colored glasses when looking back at my baby-having experiences. These expectations haven't fit well with the unavoidable fact that for the past three-ish months, I have been a wreck. Like, if I gave into every urge to just curl up and weep, I would need to schedule the rest of my life around them. It didn't make sense to me. I was happy and content with life, with my sweet kids, with my great husband, with his exciting new job. Life holds great promise for us - for me, and yet I seem to be stuck in the place of hyper-sensitivity to the pain around me. What the heck? I used to have it under control, but now I hear a story about a broken marriage and I'm ready to sob. We pass the homeless in the city and I'm overwhelmed with a sadness and empathy that I physically feel. I sit in church and that pastor-man is talking right to me and about me. I don't know if the truly lovely people of CCC Yorkville are ready for a full on ugly-cry from Jenni, so I (mostly) keep it together.

This week, I realized it's getting worse. I was riding a carousel with my four-year-old. We were the only ones on the ride who weren't from a local school. Looking around, I could see that every other child was handicapped in some way and had a teacher holding them. There was one boy, probably seven years old, and I could hardly stop from staring at him. His head was laid back on his aide's shoulder, his face was upturned as the carousel spun around and around, and he was smiling with complete delight. He was precious. He was someone's baby, and as I looked from my healthy, happy boy to the special needs boy whose momma had a lifetime of hard work ahead of her, it was all I could do not to bawl. I dabbed at my tears and murmured something about allergies (not a lie, I promise).

For weeks I had been just attributing my teary state to some late-onset post pregnancy hormones, but then I came across some journaling I did over the summer. There was a recurring prayer I wrote that went something like "Break my heart for what breaks Yours."  


I had been praying that for a few months, and somehow I was completely unprepared for God to answer, "Okay." So now I find myself in a place of wondering what to do next. The frost of indifference around my heart has thawed some, and I'm wondering where to go from here. A few years back, my husband got to meet a 9/11 survivor named Jerry Molnar. Jerry has a crazy story. His circumstances would have derailed the faith of most people; but his encouraging words to us are, "God doesn't waste pain." I'm confident the same is true for sadness and heartsickness. I don't want this season to be wasted, but for this to be a time when I understand God's big, big love a little bit better and I get to be a part in acting it out. 

So, I guess the moral of this story is be careful what you pray for - you just might get it.

Also, I would like some waterproof mascara for Christmas, please.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Postpartum Repression (Part 1)

I have had this mental list of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior from hormonal/pregnant/in labor/postpartum women. The list consists of, but is not limited to, the following:

Appropriate - Getting teary eyed while watching Hallmark commercials. This is also appropriate anytime, ever.
Inappropriate - Being mean as a feral barn cat.
Appropriate - Craving chocolate.
Inappropriate - Demanding that your husband/boyfriend/sympathetic family member go out at an ungodly hour to purchase aforementioned chocolate for you.
Appropriate - Admitting you don't feel well, but using vague phraseology like "under the weather" or "out of sorts".
Inappropriate - Using words like "period" or "cramping" around guy friends, guy coworkers and guy family members. It's just not classy, and I'm fairly sure it freaks them out.

Appropriate - Needing some affirmation that you are not, in fact, the size of a barge.
Inappropriate - Acting like a diva, and/or expecting to be waited on by others.
Appropriate - Admitting you don't feel well, but using humorous phraseology, like "beached whale" and "forced eviction".
Inappropriate - Forgetting that words like "dilating" and "mucus plug" are not actual everyday words. These should be used in conversation only with people who are family, BFF's, health care professionals, or Michelle Duggar.

Appropriate - Crunching those ice pellets as loud as you dang well please.
Inappropriate (unless you are starring in a made-for-TV movie) - Screaming, wailing, flailing appendages, 'accidentally' striking hospital staff, or verbally abusing your husband. It's called an epidural, honey. I'm telling you, it's the STUFF.
Appropriate - Dropping your best friend's phone in ice water/the toilet/the afterbirth (whatever is most accessible) before they can post sweaty and swollen pictures of you to Facebook. In this situation, it is also appropriate to have them escorted out of the hospital by security.

I know a lot of my opinions about these things are based on my "postpartum repression", which I will define as "A magical haze of wonder and selective memory enshrouding the pregnancy and delivery experience". Or more simply, "forgetting the bad stuff and remembering the good" or "God's way of making sure humans don't go extinct".

More on that later...

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Lots of Landon!

This almost ten-month-old has turned a corner to being possibly in the most high maintenance phase I have experienced yet! 

But really... couldn't you just eat him up?!  

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I love this picture. It's Landon with Aaron's grandma, and (in my opinion) is the perfect combination of sweet and funny. When I worked in Alzheimer's care, I always said I would bring my babies (when I had them) to visit the residents. Babies are such a bright spot anywhere, but especially in that environment. Time has gone on and I now have TWO babies. Sadly, I can count on my hands how many visits we've had like this. It's just too bad, and I'm resolving RIGHT NOW to not let so much time go by before we visit Granny Pat again. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My favorite four-year-old

Here is my favorite four-year-old.

He's just a little goofy, if you couldn't tell. 

If you let him choose between mud and sticks or awesome new toys, I'm pretty sure he'd pick mud and sticks every.single.time.

He is a sweet big brother.

He's my traveling buddy. I kinda miss him and his chatter when he falls asleep in the back seat.

I think all the high scores on our Angry Birds belong to him - he's pretty good with the ole' iPad.

He still loves hugs and kisses.

His favorite is when we make popcorn and watch a movie as a family.

I'm learning to not interfere and just let him do some things on his own. making his bed...

He's rough-and-tumble, but softhearted.

He going through an anti-pants phase. He claims, "They're boddering (bothering) me." Oh, wait - except for the ugly old sweatpants from Goodwill that have brown paint stains. He doesn't mind those at all, and he could wear them every day. Sigh.

He likes to pray and it's sweet to listen to him.

He's growing up way too fast for my liking, even though I love the little boy he's becoming!

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Four Reasons We Eat Bread

This is just something I've been thinking about, especially after doing a whole-foods eating month that (for us) included homemade breads.  Grain is a big no-no in the Whole9, paleo, whatever-you-want-to-call-it community. I just haven't been ready to jump on that train for reasons I can't seem to articulate. So I'll let someone else express it for me! :) This post is heavily copied from stacymakescents 'cause I like the way she thinks about a lot of things!

What did bread to do get such a bad rep? It smells delicious – it tastes delicious – and it just looks pretty.
Let me take a second to say that I realize not everyone can eat bread. I have friends who are severely allergic to gluten, so they don’t eat bread. I also have friends and family members that have medical conditions that don’t allow them to eat wheat. I think that’s the smart and responsible thing for them to do – they have a hard job and I give them GREAT respect.  I also have family members who are allergic to bees…so they try to keep their distance. Does that mean everyone should be deathly afraid of bees? Heck no! If you don’t have an allergy, why not enjoy the lovely gift of bread that God gave us?
NOTE: This is my view for my family. I’m not telling you how to live or what to eat. I’m simply giving you the reasons why we eat bread and why we think the anti-bread age is possibly kind of silly. If you don’t want to eat bread, that’s great. Can I have your piece?

Image by BryanAlexander
Here are 4 reasons we eat bread (they might also be 4 reasons why we’re not popular. Ha!!)
1. Bread is very cost effective. In the big scheme of things, bread products are rather cheap to serve. They’re obviously less in cost than meat, dairy, or even vegetables. I can get a 25 pound bag of wheat berries for about $25. If you’re on a strict budget, bread fits in great. Since I grind my own wheat, I feel good about feeding my family whole grain. It’s good – it’s filling – and we enjoy it. Even if you don’t grind wheat, a 5 pound bag of white wheat flour isn’t that expensive.
2. We like it. This one is pretty obvious. However, there will be some who say “just because I like it doesn’t mean I should eat it!” You’re spot on. Just because I’d like to eat a whole loaf of french with real butter doesn’t mean I should. First, I’ll get sick…second, carbs in mass quantity aren’t good for you. But, I don’t think we should deprive ourselves of the things we like. Like bread? Eat it in moderation…just like everything else. Like chocolate cake? Eat a piece once (maybe twice) a week – it’s even better if you make it from scratch.
3. It makes a fast and delicious breakfast. If we had to cut out bread, I’m not sure what we’d eat for breakfast all week. Yes, there are eggs and meat and veggies and fruit…and gluten free oats. But really, I think one would get really tired of eggs or oatmeal all the time – and our budget can’t take the hit of serving meat at every meal.  So, to make my budget work I make muffinspancakes, or scones. Made with whole grain, they’re very filling and last us until lunch (except when I’m pregnant and eat every 20 minutes) – paired with some fruit, breakfast is done!

Image by Editor B
4. I REALLY believe that God intended us to eat bread. There are several foods in the Bible that God mentions – honey, milk, wine, meat, vegetables, etc. Bread is one of those foods. If bread were AWFUL for us and would kill us slowly, would Jesus have called himself the Bread of Life (John 6:35)? I don’t think so. He didn’t call himself The Sugar of Life or The Jelly Belly® of Life. (Believe me - I checked!)

I've heard people mention that the bread we eat today is not the same that Jesus ate – so I can’t compare the two. And I know that’s likely right…but I’d be VERY surprised if anything we eat in this age is the same as it was in Jesus’ time. Does that mean we should just give up eating altogether? I sure hope not…because I’m hungry. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ermahgersh! Conspiracy!

If you've never seen those memes with the retainer-lisp girl, I insist that you stop reading this and go Google it now. I feel completely justified in poking some fun at the aforementioned speech difficulty because oh.dear.lord did I go through some orthodontic h-e-doublehockeysticks. (This fake swear is especially appropriate here. I literally had some kind of hockey-looking mouth guard wired into my gums from 6th to 7th grade. I was hot.)

There's actually a point to this post, I promise. For about four years, I've been in this epic intellectual battle over vaccinating vs not vaccinating. Aaron and I always land on the decision that we aren't going to do any(more) immunizations for our boys. But then one of those foaming at the mouth anti-vaccine moms comes across my path. Mmmhmm, you know the type. Aggressive. Judgmental. Flippin' crazy. I usually get an irrational desire for a shingles vaccine after an encounter with one of these moms, which is only intensified when Walgreens offers $25 in coupons if you get the shot there. (!!!) If you know me, you know how I lo-ove a good coupon! But, no. I've done a lot of research, leaned into the knowledge of some really wise people, I've taken some fairly advanced science/microbiology - all of this plays into our (hopefully) well thought out and intentional decision.

Then there's this part of my brain that I don't often access. The part that may occasionally entertain a conspiracy theory or two. I'm pretty sure this is perfectly normal. (Nope. I'm pretty sure I'm a freak and this is my way of fishing for validation) At the end of the day, I can rest assured that conspiracy theories are for the birds. And Mel Gibson. (Is that movie on Netflix? I totally want to watch it again). This little bubble of good-feeling goes away real fast when I come across things like this. 

So, I think I'm summarizing Bill Gates correctly here ... There are a lot of people on this earth and people require services (i.e. the production of food and clothing). These services require energy use, which emits additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, allegedly causing global warming and trashing the planet. A trashed planet really cramps the style of important people... like Bill and Melinda Gates. One of his points in this presentation is that a decrease in the human population in years to come would lower Co2 emissions, and I quote, 
"The world today has 6.8 billion people. That's heading up to about nine billion.
 Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, 
we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent."

In all fairness, there is an obvious bias to the link I posted, and there are probably a couple different things Bill could have meant here. In my book, none of them are good or humanitarian or ethical. What a good reminder that ultimately WE are responsible for our health and our family. Doctors are wonderful, but they are neither God nor the final authority when it comes to our health and well-being. Four and a half years ago, I got to decide about whether or not to immunize my little guy. When Landon was born in February, I sat with my pediatrician and talked about how I wasn't comfortable with my sweet little man getting 80+ immunizations by the time he's six years old. That number is just shocking to me and that is a heckuva lot of chemicals. The doctor kindly refrained from rolling their eyes (too much) and then told me that if we didn't follow their immunization schedule, we had to find another doctor. I don't know if this change in policy is related to a certain big political change that occurred about four years ago, but that, my friends, is not my idea of freedom. 

These are all just things rolling around in my mind as I try to be a responsible voter this next month. Once November 7th hits, my blog posts will regress to absolute drivel, which unlike politics and healthcare, I consider myself to be quite an authority on! In the meantime, ermahgersh!

Monday, October 15, 2012

On Christians and Chocolate...

I heard someone say once that God's reputation is woefully tied to how Christians represent Him. And Christians do funny things. Just to clarify, I definitely include myself in this group. We get ALL hung up on some issues and are really apathetic about others. God's been working on my heart about this a LOT. One of my Facebook friends posted something during the Chick-fil-a debacle, and I'm going to straight out quote him - maybe I'll tell him, maybe not. :)

For all these Christians who voted in favor of this (North Carolina gay marriage ban) why aren't they petitioning to ban divorce as well? That's against "the laws of God" too, just read Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:11. They can't even use the "well, it's in the Old Testament so I can ignore it!" excuse on this one."

Boom. Roasted. You know it's true. 

Or during the VP debate last week, my FB feed was filled with my Christian-ey friends saying things like "Joe Biden is so rude and disrespectful, I just want to punch him in the face!" Now, I enjoy mocking political ridiculousness as much as the next guy. If I'm having serious cognitive dissonance over these statements, though, I can only imagine what people who aren't sold on "the whole God thing" must think. 

THEN, there are those issues that only liberals and/or celebrities and Al Gore get excited about, like global warming and the Republican agenda against Sesame Street. Back in April I read. "It's Earth Day! Or, as evangelical Christians like to call it, Thursday." (Yes, this will be my FB status on Earth Day 2013. Please pretend I'm witty and original.)

Seriously though, the issue that's ripping my heart out right now is child labor. It started with reading this: 

The inconvenient truth about your Halloween candy

and this

Buying ethical Halloween candy

and this

Nestle child labor violations

So, what's a girl to do with Halloween right around the bend? I won't be buying any candy, as I am the Scroogey lady who turns out the lights and pretends we're not home on Halloween night. However, by just walking around trick-or-treating with my four-year-old, am I just causing more demand for candy, chocolate, workers and very probably trafficked kids? And why am I even wrestling with something so small as giving up non-fair trade candy? Shouldn't this be a no-brainer?       

Sorry, God. When it comes to being like You, I'm just terrible. I'm sorry Your reputation is so woefully tied to how I represent You. But don't give up on me - I hope by tomorrow, next week and next year I'll a little bit more like You and little bit less... me.  

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Every time I start to blog, I see these two really old posts that I wrote. The first is a blissfully happy "We are about to buy the best little condo on the planet! We will be so happy there!"


 Or you'll rue the day you signed the papers for those 560 very overpriced square feet. The next is from 2009 or so and is some nonsense about how I'm going to start blogging. I usually mutter something like, "The world doesn't need any more of THAT" and log off. Then I promptly update my Facebook status with something vastly more  important, like a picture of the salad I made for lunch.  Because who doesn't love a good salad picture? :)   But maybe this time I'll really start writing consistently? Either that or I'll be back in 2015 subjecting the world to another post :)