Friday, October 28, 2011

I failed tonight as a mama. :(

Note: This post was written several nights ago and I wrote it so I can stay accountable to God, others, and myself (as I often go back and re-read things I post). Oh and because writing is therapeutic for me.

Tonight was not a good night. I failed in so many ways as a mother. Everything I stand for as a mother was tested to the max tonight.

And I failed.

I was so far from attachment parenting with my one daughter who just refused to go to sleep tonight, along with many other nights for the last two years. I lost it. I raised my voice. I screamed. I was not calm. I looked over at her big sister who was watching me and saw true fear in her eyes.

And I realized how wrong I was.

I hugged my baby tight, prayed over her exhausted little body, apologized to her, laid her down, and walked away. She whimpered for the thousand time, but I knew I had to leave her.

When her tiny body finally gave in to sleep and I saw her sleeping on our video monitor, tears streamed down my face as I realized this is not how I wanted to end my night.

Not how I want to be as a mama. Not how I wanted to behave.

You see I've been working so very hard on changing who I am as a mom. One area I especially struggle in is staying calm and speaking life to my girls. This picture that I recently shared on my facebook page spoke volumes to me.

For our words really do have the power of life or death don't they?

However tonight, as I found out, my actions also have the power of life or death. The image of my oldest daughter's fearful eyes is the image that comes to mind when I think of "Your actions have power use them wisely".

Sometimes when I fail as a mom, my past parenting mistakes come back to me and I feel as if I will never change or never learn. I feel defeated, guilty, and embarrassed. But then I remember that I am more than my past mistakes.

So tonight as I failed as a mama, I cried out to God for forgiveness and vowed to Him, to my husband, and silently to my girls that I will do better tomorrow.

Oh I know I'll fail at some point once again. But tonight I am so very, very thankful that His mercies really are new every morning.

Image sources: Pinterest

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homeschooling in the Fall

We have had an absolutely glorious Fall here. Warm temps, sun shining, lots of outdoor play. Thus school in the traditional setting has taken a back burner. I feel as if we will have a hundred days, in the dead of winter, of freezing temperatures, wind blowing, and snow falling down. We can buckle down and do "traditional" school then. Being that Zoelle is 4 and in preschool, I'm not too worried about it. I've done a few days of school here and there with her, but I haven't pushed it when she would rather be outside. Besides she is learning as she is outside.

When I went to school for my elementary education degree, the classroom I student taught in is an outdoor classroom meaning that most of our schooling took place outside.  It is currently one of very few outdoor classrooms in the country. I learned more there than I think I could have ever learned in a traditional setting and I vowed to allow my girls to do the same whether they are homeschooled or not.

We did however finally finish up our preschool Heart of Dakota Publishing curriculum and we will be on to the Kindgergarten curriculum as soon as I get it ordered (yes I'm a bit late on that). My goal is to get it ordered this week and hopefully start on it in the first week of November!

I'm really looking forward to what the Kindgarten curriculum is like. I felt as if  Preschool was very easy for Zoelle from the beginning, so I am hoping she will feel challenged and not bored at all from this new curriculum!

Meanwhile, if you are curious as to what exactly Heart of Dakota is and you want more reviews on it, or a different age reviewed, feel free to check out One Little Word She Knew! I am part of a blogroll over there along with over 50+ other bloggers, all who use Heart Of Dakota!

Friday, October 21, 2011

What I want you to know about being a blogger

A couple of weeks ago I met up with a blog reader who had recognized me at our county fair this summer and after chatting back and forth a bit by email, she asked if we could meet up! We finally were able to align both our schedules to do so a few weeks ago. I had a wonderful time and it was really neat meeting a young girl who has such a solid head on her shoulders (Hi Brittany)! :)

I'll never forget the first time I met someone, outside of those I know, who read my blog. It was a year ago and I was many, many hours from where I live. I was actually at a small country church and I turned to introduce myself to someone and before I could even get a word out of my mouth, she said, "I already know you, you have a blog!". I was a bit stunned and think I managed to just mumble and nod and say, "Yep, I do!". I'll admit, it freaked me out a bit. Here I was sitting across the table from someone who knew everything about me and yet I knew nothing about her.

And that was my first real glimpse into how large (yet small) the blogging world is.

Since that time, I've met two others who have been brave enough to approach me in public and introduce themselves as readers of my blog. My mom has also told me of people she will run into around town that will tell her they read my blog.

It's still strange for me because I don't consider myself a "big" blogger and to have even a small number of people recognize me is different. At the same time, it's made me really look at who I am both in real life and on my blog.

Image Source

I definitely want others to know who and what I represent myself as on my blog is the same person I represent in real life. If anything I probably am a bit more bold on my blog than I am in real life because it often is easy to hide behind a screen. :) That in and of itself is a whole other blog post for a different day!

At the same time, I want those who meet me to know that I am human. If I blog about cloth diapering and you see my baby out in public in a disposable, please don't think I lied. I really do cloth diaper, I just happen to not use them that often in public. If I tout myself as a babywearer and you see me carrying Xiomara in to a store in her carseat, it is because that is what works best for me.

No I'm really not this crazy, just silly sometimes! :)

I'm not perfect, but I'm me. I guess I want you to know that I'm real. I'm not a celebrity. Not even someone special for that matter. I don't know it all (even if I sometimes come across that way in a post), and I'd really love to meet you.

So if you see me, please introduce yourself and then let's plan a time we can take our kids to play on the playground or leave the kids at home and have a cup of coffee and chat. For I would love to get to know you just as much as you know me! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Her Special Heart

Zoelle has an extra special heart.

No seriously. She really does.

She was born with 3 holes in it!

But first, let's back up.

At my very last appointment with my midwife before Zoelle was born, we went to listen to her heartbeat and my midwife noticed that it almost seemed to skip a beat. We didn't think much of it because she assured us that the heart is still growing and that by the time we came in to deliver, it would be totally normal.

Fast forward to the day before birthing day. I was in labor. I wanted this beautiful, natural, water birth with Zoelle.

I did not get it.

The instant they first hooked me up to the monitors, they noticed something was wrong with her heartbeat. I could tell they didn't want to worry me, and to be honest, I was so focused on getting my natural birth that I didn't really seem to care.

When my midwife came in the next day (birthing day-yes I had a LONG labor), she was very concerned that I was no closer to delivery and that the baby's heart seemed to be going into distress with each contraction. She gave me an ultimatum: either get the epidural in the hopes that I would dilate in order to get this baby out, or get a c-section.

I choose the epidural.

Thankfully it worked and Zoelle was born a few hours after receiving it. It wasn't what I wanted for birth at all, but it was necessary for Zoelle.

When she was born, they immediately put oxygen on her. Her oxygen levels were extremely low. By some miracle, they let me take it off and try nursing her for 5 minutes or so on one side. Then she was whisked away for all sorts of tests, echocardiograms, heel pricks, etc. I remember her pediatrician coming in and drawing me a picture of her heart and circling 3 spots where there were holes. My mom says I was pretty out of it and just smiled and was like, "Oh she has 3 holes, ok no big deal!". I was definitely out of it, but looking back that was probably a blessing in that I didn't worry as much. I now know that she had a VSD and a PDA.

About half the team of doctors and nurses working on Zoelle right after birth. Daddy standing by completely nervous and unsure of what was going on.

After two straight days of being in their constant watch, they let us take her to our room with her oxygen tank and lots of other machines monitoring her heart. After 4 days in the hospital, we got to go home. When they removed that last wire from her I remember thinking this is the first time I've truly seen my baby. I could finally hold her without getting all tangled up. It was wonderful!

The view we had of Zoelle for days.

For a year we monitored her heart with steady echocardiograms. She continued to have a heart murmur because of the holes in her heart. At one year old, she had an echocardiogram done that showed that one hole had closed, one they could not find, and the third was still wide open. She did not lay still for that echo at all, thus the picture wasn't very clear and there were no real answers for us, or her doctor on what was going on. The only way to get a great picture was to sedate her, something that her doctor nor we were comfortable with being that she was living life normally on the outside.

Our plan was to wait until she was older to try again. Older came this year. With a still very persistent heart murmur, we went in for her echo a few weeks ago. This time, there was some apprehension on her face, but none for us as the echo technician is the same one we have had for the past 4 years and he is wonderful at explaining things to us, and making Z feel comfortable!

It literally brought tears to our eyes when the technician told us that he could not find anything! While he could still visually see her murmur, there were no visible holes! When I look at the medical books of what those holes could have meant, it is scary!

I read somewhere shortly after Zoelle was born that heart babies tend to have extra special hearts. They are sensitive and care deeply for others. I smile now when I think that our Zoelle, the girl with the 3 holes in her heart, is just that: sensitive and cares deeply for others.

Her heart is special: with or without the holes! But I'm praising God those holes are now gone!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pregnancy Loss in the Eyes of a Child

I still remember that early Fall day that I got off the bus. My dad was video recording my older sister and I as we came down our long driveway. We knew something was up. They sat us down on the couch and after some guessing finally told us we were going to be big sisters. My mom was pregnant! This is something I dreamed of for a very long time. I wanted a baby brother...badly.

I was 6.

Not too long ago I actually ran across that video at my parent's house and it brought me to tears remembering how excited I was for that baby.

I don't remember how much time passed, but one day I remember my mom was in tears when she came to pick my sister and I up from daycare. On the short drive home, she told us that the doctor couldn't find the baby's heartbeat.

For a long time I was in denial. I prayed and dreamed that somehow by my mom's next appointment that baby would be alive.

It never happened. Instead I was awaken one night, 3 days before my 7th birthday, by my dad telling us to get up. We were heading to the hospital. Ingrained in my mind is my mom on our laundry room floor with blood everywhere. The trip into town was painful for not only her, but also my sister and I, who had no idea what was happening to my mom.

I thought she was dying. In the midst of the realization that my baby "brother" had died, I thought my mom was dying too. They dropped us off at a co-worker of my mom's house. I couldn't sleep. I could only cry. One of the teenage daughters took me in her arms and rocked me in their living room. I still remember the time on the VCR clock flashing 12:27 before I finally drifted off to sleep in her arms.

In the days that followed, I vaguely remember learning that my mom almost died (looking back and figuring out dates she was somewhere around 18 weeks pregnant by the time her body actually tried to miscarry). Most of all I had so many questions I wanted to ask, but no one wanted to give me the answers.  I wanted to name him. I wanted to know if they knew for sure it was a him. I wanted to know if they saw him.

But there were no answers. I don't blame my parents for that at all. They were grieving just as my sister and I were.

Eventually I was so worried about my mom still dying and so hurt by the loss of my baby "brother", that I made myself sick with a bladder infection. I never wanted to go to school for fear my mom would die while I was gone and when I was there I spent a good majority of the time crying. I felt that maybe if I had behaved better, or had not been so loud with my sister, the baby would have lived.

Thinking back to that day in my 7 year old mind brings back a lot of emotions and many, many tears even today.

For those of you who have lost a baby, whether in pregnancy or after, know that I am thinking of you tomorrow on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I share a sliver of understanding what that must be like. Know that your child(ren) are not forgotten and that they are loved. Many hugs and prayers from this big sister of one who was lost.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: 4 in a row

Chris took this yesterday at a local state park and he had no idea until we got home that he had lined up the shot like this! Pretty neat! From front to back: Xiomara, Zoelle, Myself, and Meridian in the Ergo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Truthful Tuesday: Are you still running?

Hi! Welcome to Truthful Tuesday where you ask the questions and I answer them truthfully. If you want to play along, feel free to answer your own Truthful Tuesday in the comments of this post or in a post of your own! Then make sure you come link back to tell me all about it!

Today's question comes from my friend Jill who asked me this privately, but becuase I want the accountability, I figure it is time to answer it truthfully on here for all to see.


I've been wanting to ask you...are you still running.


No, I'm not. :( If you remember last year at this time my friend Tara and I trained together and then ran our first ever 5K. I swore then that I would keep running and eventually run another 5K. For awhile I did keep running. Then I stopped. Then I started up again. Then I stopped and summer came and I got lazy and I never ran again.

You get the picture.

It was actually these family pictures that made me realize that I need to get back on the exercise bandwagon. While I loved them, I was rudely awaken with how out of shape I am.

I've said it before, but while nursing I typically hang onto anywhere from 5-10 extra pounds. Before we adopted Xiomara I was within 5 lbs. of my pre-pregnancy weight with Zoelle. However, tandem nursing really shot me up a good 10-15 lbs. overweight. I was ok with that knowing that once I'm done nursing it would probably come off. However, this summer I got lazy. I quit working out, I wasn't watching what I was eating, and all around I didn't take care of "me". I gained another 10 lbs. Putting me 20-25 lbs. over my pre-pregnancy weight with Zoelle! :( Yikes! Not okay at all.

So last week I decided I was going to take care of "me". I was going to set an example to my daughters of healthy eating and I was going to change. I have been exercising steadily for a week, I've cut out almost all sugars, I've been drinking a ton of water, and eating healthy portion controlled meals. This week paid off, I lost 2 lbs.!

For now I've decided I am not going to run. I needed something that was more consistent for me and something I could do on my own. Running was very hard for me to do on my own. Thus, for now, I'm not running. I still however would really love to run another 5K one day.

I'll probably be sharing more in the coming weeks what I am exactly doing for exercise. But for now I'd love your encouragement and tips if you have them!

Don't forget, if you have a question you have been dying to ask me that you want answered, just e-mail me at: jewelsntreasures (at) yahoo (dot) com

Do you exercise regularily? If you do, what do you do? Was there ever a moment in time that you had to reclaim you?

Thank you to Sarah at Treasures of Faith for designing the blog button featured in this post!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Adventures & Making Memories

I don't know what it is, but each time Fall comes around, I love to go hiking. Maybe it's because I grew up in the country and it reminds me of the hours I spent in the woods with my sister and our dog.

I miss it.

The simplicity. The smells. The hours of pure joy!

So when Fall comes around, I am itching to get out into the woods and explore. We love going to State Parks, so on Sunday we did just that.

We hiked, talked, snuggled in the Ergo, ran, enjoyed the scenery, pretended we were big deer, ate supper over the fire, and also snuck in a treat of Twizzlers!

At the end of the day, just as we were preparing to go, the girls' Papa (my dad) showed up in his airplane. The girls have never taken an airplane ride before and I've never pushed it. We chatted for a bit, and then I asked Zoelle if she wanted to ride home with Papa (and me too) and at first she was all excited saying she wanted to do it. But as she was getting ready to climb in she says,

"Meridian do you want to go? I think I should let you have the first turn." :) What a nice, generous big sister she is! ;)

If you know anything about Meridian she is fearless and so she automatically said "yes" and in we went. She got to wear the special headphones and sit on my lap. She got to see a big fire, and the start of the moon. She saw multiple lakes, and many beautiful Fall trees. But through it all, I never heard a word out of her mouth. Instead, she sat there with the biggest eyes I've ever seen. The first words out of her mouth when we landed and shut off the plane were,

"Where is daddy? Where is Zoelle?"

I'm pretty sure she was confused as to why they weren't at Papa's house when we got back. In the days since, she has only been able to talk non-stop about her airplane ride in Papa's yellow plane.

It puts a smile on my face because I have many fond memories of flying with my dad as a kid and I look forward to my girls making those same memories!

Have you ever flown in a small engine airplane before? What are some memories you like to make with your family?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kashi Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bars Review

One of my favorite parts of being a blogger is getting to review fun items that work for both mom and child! Moms Meet recently sent me some Kashi TLC Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bars to try for myself and with other moms.

As a mom, I have the important job of providing my girls with a healthy snack. Yet somehow my girls are like almost every other child out there and want candy! Candy is something of a rare treat around here, so when the girls got their eyes on the chocolate goodness of this granola bar, they were in love! So was I knowing that they were eating something healthy. Myself and a few other moms did feel as if they granola bar was a bit dry, but we all agreed that if it passed the kid test, it didn't really matter. :)

As a mom, I can say that Kashi has done a fantastic job of providing both moms and kids a healthy alternative to snacktime! Be sure to keep up to date with the latest on Kashi's Facebook page!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.