Sound Familiar?

I would like to share something with my little blogging neighborhood. This is something that I would probably bring to the discussion table if all of you were to come over to my house and sit on my porch to share stories of mammahood over a cup of coffee and a hot slice of banana bread. Have you ever had a traumatic eating-out experience with your almost 2 year old? Our sweet little family was invited to another family's house to eat dinner a few nights ago. I will admit that we were out a little later than usual, but the hour was not unreasonable. I knew we were in for it when Olivia disobeyed daddy and stood up on her chair anyways, only to slip and knock her head on the table. This was followed by the scream of great suffering and death. The whole evening went downhill from there. I was mortified. On the way home, I tried to lighten the mood by suggesting that at least our friends know how to pray for us now, but nothing I said could manage to lift the thick cloud of despair I felt in my heart. I felt like a failure as a mom. I was bothered by the fact that the ordeal was so embarrassing and that revealed fear of man issues in my heart. In fact, I was so upset by the whole ordeal I couldn't sleep that night and woke up the next morning with a parenting hangover. Tears came to my eyes everytime I thought about it. My spirit was so restless, and I couldn't seem to snap out of it. Finally, the Word ministered to my heart. "Be not weary in well doing, for in DUE SEASON ye shall reap if ye faint not." I will get weary. I will stumble. I will be overwhelmed. I will be stumped. I will be embarrassed. I will be pressured. My greatest concern should not be FAILURE, my concern should be FAINTING. So I go forth with my little one. Amy Carmichael says it best in her poem The Last Defile

Make us Thy mountaineers---
We would not linger on the lower slope.
Fill us afresh with hope, O God of Hope,
That undefeated we may climb the hill
As seeing Him who is invisible.

Let us die climbing. When this little while
Lies far behind us, and the last defile
Is all alight, and in that light we see
Our Leader and our Lord, what will it be?


AJ's Room and Story

In the hustle and bustle of moving, having a baby, hubby getting ordained, Thanksgiving, Christmas, learning Spanish, feeding clothing and nurturing Olivia, and New Year's I failed to post AJ's birth story.

Olivia came into this world via C-section because she was breech, and therefore we faced the decision with AJ-- another C-section or VBAC. When my OB welcomed me back the second time around, she explained to me the risks of having a VBAC. Since C-sections carry their own number of risks, and Olivia was a C-baby simply because of her breech position, we decided to go for the VBAC. My OB here was supportive of that decision, but we agreed that if I din't go into labor by my due date then we would proceed with another C-section (patossin (sp?) is a no no if you've had a previous c-section- so being induced was out of the question).

I was 3cm and 90% by the time I started my weekly appointments. On Friday, October 13th, I went out to pick out fabric to re-cover the cushions on AJ's rocking chair. That was something I had to do before the baby came, and that day I felt like I really needed to get that done. Looking back, I spent that whole day getting ready for the baby as if I were to go into labor that night. I did go into labor that night. It started that evening with a few contractions. Alex was sleeping, and I was sitting up finishing off the last few pages of Baby Wise. The contractions quickly went from "oh- a contraction" to "OOOOH -a contraction!" I started timing them at about 10:30 p.m. They were about 10 minutes apart, so I called my mom. She said that I should call the doctor. Alex was still sleeping. I called the doctor, and he said to wait until the contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasted for about a minute. Well, 8 minutes later they dropped down to 4 minutes apart. I went upstairs and woke up my husband while I was getting my bags together. He apparently did not sense the earnestness in my voice when I said "Honey I think that I need to go in tonight-- should I call ....". He nodded his head and rolled back over. I called a family friend and made arrangements for Olivia. I hung up the phone and threatened to drive myself to the hospital. Alex suddenly perked up. By the time our friends arrived, we were both standing at the door with the suitcases in hand. We headed off to the hospital. The contractions were still about 4 minutes apart, and I called the doctor while we were on our way. I was excited, and I know that I sounded a little more chipper than a woman about to give birth should sound while talking to the doctor, so I imagined that he probably thought he was dealing with an over-reacting rookie. He told me that I could go ahead and come in if it made me feel any better. Great! Because we were pulling into the parking lot. Now, Alex and I had never been to this hospital, never taken a tour, and never taken a class. So, we drove up to what we thought should be the entrance. The door was locked and there was a handwritten note on the side that said "push button and security will come and unlock the door". We pushed the button and waited and waited and waited. No security. We started walking around to see if there might be another door we should go through, but I was really hurting and could hardly walk anymore. I thought "oh great- I'm going to have the baby right outside the hospital". Finally a cleaning lady saw us and opened the door. It was about 12:30a.m. when I was settled into my room and already 7 cm. I told the nurse that I wanted to go ahead and sign up for an epidural. I wasn't looking to win any metals that night, so I unashamedly asked for any pain meds they could give me as I waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive. She gave me something that took the edge off the pain, but made me a little loopy too. She was such a great nurse. The epidural arrived around 2:30 a.m. and when all was said and done, I couldn't feel a thing-- on one side of my body! Great. It would be my luck for the epidural to only work on one side. The nurse propped me on my side for a few minutes, and the epidural worked its magic :) After that we waited and rested for a few hours. At 5 a.m. we were ready to go. 30 minutes later, AJ was born. TaDa! Everything went so smoothly (except for my eyes swelling up the next day because I sort of forgot to mention I was allergic to naproxin)! When I saw my beautiful baby boy and his head full of black hair-- it was love at first sight.

Now here is his room. It is still a little plain, but this is about as far as we are going to get for now. He seems to like it!

We bought this rocking chair for $10.00 at a rummage sale. It was dark brown and the cushions were orange. Yummy! Alex spray-painted it with Fusion spray paint, and it looks beautiful. Grandma made the cushion covers.

I still need to hang curtains in there, but I can't find red,1/4" gingham 100%cotton material.


Little Buddy is Growing!

"My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice"
Proverbs 23:15
Still warming up to Olivia
Yeah! Team Millan!

Our baby burrito.

Chilling out on sister's lion chair

All scrubbed and ready for bed!


Mission Simplification- Part 1

The "toy closet" (actually it should be the coat closet) was attacked today. Olivia thought that we were having a free-for-all when all her toys were being scattered around the living room. I am on a mission to do some major purging around here. So much time is wasted "keeping up" with things we don't really need and frankly, don't really care about. I sorted the toys into 4 groups

GROUP #1- Toys to save for AJ
GROUP #2- Toys to play with with mommy (i.e. play doh)
GROUP #3- Toys that Olivia actually plays with
GROUP #4- Special Furry Friends

Everything else went into either the yardsale bag or trash.

I would be curious to know how you keep toys organized and under control. Several year ago, I heard a statement that stays in the back of my mind when I consider the toy situation around here: "PLAY IS PRACTICE FOR LIFE". I want Olivia to have quality playtime. Not everything has to be abc's and 123's, but having too many cheap little odds n ends toys around can overwhelm and discourage her from playing with her toys altogether.

Now that the toys are under control, on to the next MISSION SIMPLIFICATION!


A Birthday Blessing

Happy Birthday Danielle!!

I look at this picture in amazement because I cannot believe that fourteen years have passed since it was taken! Danielle, you were such an adorable little baby! You were a bright light in my wacky early-teenage years. I was just beginning the ninth grade in a brand new school when this picture was taken (sorry, I couldn't locate a picture of the two of us together at that time, though let me assure you -- you were so much cuter than my lanky self). The thought of coming home to my adorable new little sister helped me through that miserable time!! As you grew, your distinct no-nonsense personality gradually began to surface. But beneath that tough exterior (I have never met another child who could break her arm at recess and not shed a tear over it!), is a sensitive and caring sweetheart! You love to give to others, and you are the first to stand up for someone who is being mistreated. I am so proud of you! Keep your testimony bright and clear. Don't settle for anything less than an uninterrupted walk with our great and faithful God! Have a wonderful birthday my sweet sis!

Love your guts!


Odds n Ends

AJ and daddy relaxing on Saturday morning while...

Mommy and Olivia are busy making cinnamon rolls!!! MMMM! By the way, the hat was a gift from great-grandma and Olivia now wants to wear it around the house all the time.

Olivia had her own special cinnamon rolls!

Sunday was a good day. We were actually about 20 minutes early for church. I am a stickler about having EVERYTHING ready the night before, but it still feels like it takes 5 hours to get everyone ready and out the door.

"O.k. Olivia, Mommy lets you take a buddy with you for the ride to church-- but don't you think Lion is a bit much??" She LOVES her lion chair! She wanted so badly to take it with her. Alex and I found it at Sam's for 13 bucks!!! Woohoo! I've always wanted to get one from Pottery Barn, but those are like $99 (unless, of course, you are an expert e-bayer like my friend Stephanie!)

Thanks for the cute sweater Grandma! Olivia looked extra cute on Sunday. I wanted to get a picture of her, but the child cannot stand to have her picture taken.
No, Mommy didn't forget about you AJ! He looked adorable on Sunday with his little collared shirt and vest. Dad slicked his hair-- Mommy's little man!!! (This isn't a great picture of him-- he was a little fussy before we walked out the door)


Yard Work!

Olivia got her first taste of yard work today. I am hoping she becomes a little more efficient as she gets older :)

Ummm...I don't think that's the way it is supposed to work sweetie!

The Glory of Children...

I remember my grandma waking me up at 4 in the morning to see the Royal wedding of Prince Andrew and "Fergie". As I sat there with a cup of "coffee" (milk, sugar, and a drop of coffee) and watched all the events unfold, I remember thinking how special it would be to be a princess! What girl doesn't ever dream of being a princess? How special and unique! When I walked up stairs last night, I caught a glimpse of something far more glorious and unique than a position of royalty. I watched my daughter sitting in her daddy's strong arms as he prayed for her life. She is so blessed!


My Morning Buddy

"A sound heart is the life of the flesh; but envy the rottenness of the bones" Proverbs 14:30

AJ is my morning buddy. He is so happy and sweet during that time when the sun is just beginning to come up and the house is quiet. It is just the two of us. He is a great listener, and thinks I am so funny. Right now, I see no light at the end of the sleep-deprivation tunnel, but my morning buddy seems to make that all o.k.
How does a mom get through so many restless nights and action-packed days? Proverbs 14:30 has been my meditation recently. It reminds me that my heart, those inner thoughts and attitudes about being a wife and mom, are connected to the "life of my flesh"! The ever-present temptation to envy those "easier" times in the past (remember the days of sleeping in on Saturdays or going shopping on a whim-- uncumbered by baby carriers and strollers?) is rottenness of the bones. Try chipping away at your to-do list with that handicap! So, when I stumble into the nursery to meet my morning buddy, I might be tired, but my heart is rested knowing that this is God's good and acceptable and perfect will for my life. I am so blessed!!


A Lesson from Amma's Nursery

The following is an excerpt from the book:
Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur.

[Amma writes] It was the hour between lights, and five little people under two years old were waiting for their food. Sometimes the cows belonging to the adjoining village from which part of our milk comes saunter home with more than their usual leisureliness, and then the milk is late.
The babies. . . were all very fractious. To add to their woes, the boy whose duty it is to light the lamps had been detained, and the quickly gathering twilight fell upon us unawares as we sat together on the nursery veranda. The five fretful babies made discouraging remarks to each other and threw themselves about in that exasperated fashion which tells the experienced that the limits of patience have been passed. And the more depressed began to whimper. At this point a lamp was brought and set behind me so that its light fell upon their toys-- a china head long since parted from its body, a tin with small stones in it which when shaken makes a charming noise, several rattles and other sundries. If anything will comfort them their toys will, I thought, and these illuminated treasures caught my attention. But the babies only looked disgusted. . . Then I took the lamp and set it in front so that its light did not fall upon the toys but upon myself, and in a moment the whole five were tumbling over me, cuddling and caressing -- and content.
Are there not evenings in life when our toys have no power to please or soothe? There is not any rest in them or any comfort. Then the One whom we love best takes the lamp and puts it so that the toys are in the shadow, but His face is in the light. And then we know that that is what we wanted all the time. And He makes His Face to shine upon us and gives us peace.