Thursday, April 30, 2009


That's how I've been feeling lately. The drawback to staying at home full-time. Yesterday at least I was able to get out of the house with Colton and go for a walk since it was so nice out. Today, not so much. It's back down in the 50s again.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade being a SAHM for working 8 hours a day in some office and being away from my baby. It's just... a little lonely sometimes. I feel a bit like I'm in the movie "Groundhog Day" where every day is exactly the same. What makes this even harder is that I still don't have my own car. I do have friends I could call and hang out with, but I feel lame asking them to be the ones to always come over or pick me up to do something. The farthest I can go on my own is half a mile in either direction of our house. I can't run to the store for something. I can't meet up with a friend at the mall. I can't go to Bible Study every week because it's too far a walk. I can't even drop Colton off at my mother-in-law's for an hour or two while I get my nails done or something.

I love my son to pieces and wouldn't want to leave him in daycare if I could help it (which right now I can). It's just that I'm with him all. the. time. I feel like I need a break from the constant cycle of feeding, changing, screaming (and screaming some more). It's nerve wracking when Colton is crying or whining and I'm trying to get dinner made on time. Or fold laundry. Or clean the bathroom. Or talk on the phone.

It's frustrating when diaper changes turn into a wrestling match between the two of us. When he wakes up an hour early from his nap and won't stop screaming until I pick him up, and all the plans I had of actually doing something productive during that time go out the window.

The positive thing about being with Colton all the live long day, however, is that I know what he needs and when & how he needs it. Back when he was first born, I felt a lot like I kept being given an exam I hadn't studied for and knew for sure I was going to fail. And it was the most important exam of my life. Now, I can change a diaper and prepare a bottle in my sleep. I've realized that the knowledge I need to do this mothering thing well comes from watching and studying my son's cues, much more than reading any book. (Not that I can't learn anything from a well written book on parenting, or even another mother's blog for that matter).

I'm also still bummed about our church situation, my concerns about the nursery being what they are. We haven't gone to service in a few weeks, and I am not okay with that. We've talked about attending another church that we're interested in, a little farther away. But still, we're not entirely comfortable leaving Colton in their nursery where we don't know anybody. We could take him into the service with us and I'd leave if he got fussy, provided they have a crying room with the service actually broadcasted. Our current church has no such thing, unfortunately.

All these things combined have me feeling a little lost to be honest. Not to sound cliche, but becoming a mom has left me wondering just who I am anymore. I'm not the same person I was before having Colton. There was a definite line drawn on August 14, 2008 between the old me and the new me. For the longest time, I felt deeply that I was supposed to be a mother. I never really felt called to do anything else. It was going to be my great purpose in life.

But as I sit here, I wonder what great purpose there is in changing the 1500th diaper or preparing a bowl of cereal that will mostly end up either on my baby or on the highchair. I know, I know. All of this adds up to taking care of another human being so that he can thrive and grow up to become something great and eventually fulfill his purpose. And I'm staying home with him so that he won't be raised by somebody else. I know this, and yet it's hard to see through all the feedings, changings, tears, laundry and dishes.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Who knew we would have a heatwave in April?? It was in the high 80s and low 90s over Saturday and Sunday, and we were completely unprepared for it. I had to go digging in a box for some short sleeves, which I hadn't worn in almost two years since last summer I was wearing all maternity clothes. We finally caved in and turned on the air conditioner yesterday after coming home from Gregg's parents', because the temperature in the house had gotten up to almost 90 degrees!

Despite the heat, we still managed to have a pretty nice weekend. On Saturday we went by my mom's for dinner as planned. Colton didn't have a good nap in the afternoon (figures), and earlier that day he ate one too many Cheerios or something and threw up his entire breakfast all over himself, me, and the high chair. Then about an hour before we were supposed to leave, he was sitting in his bouncy seat and rocked back & forth so hard that it went over and fell on top of him. He wasn't hurt thankfully, but he gave himself (and me) a real good scare. Needless to say, we're not using the bouncer anymore. I felt like I deserved the world's worst mother award that day. I almost called my mom to tell her we weren't coming.

But around three, we ended up leaving anyway. Colton was cranky from the second we walked in and dinner wasn't ready until shortly after six, even though my mom had gotten several Italian covered dishes which only needed to be reheated in the oven. It was so uncomfortable in their house since she wouldn't turn on the air, but kept insisting that all of us go outside on the deck where there was a breeze.

While I was eating, my mom came over and offered to babysit for Colton sometime when Gregg and I want to go out. I looked at her like she was crazy. In fact, I almost said those very words out loud. My mother's house is not baby/kid friendly at all. She is never of any help to me with him, either when we go there to visit or she comes here. When we still lived in PA and she was visiting for the weekend, she admitted she didn't even know how to feed him a bottle or put him in the bouncer. There is no way I would ever leave Colton alone with my mom because she doesn't know how to take care of him. I'm really surprised that my sister and I actually turned out as normal as we are.

The only saving grace of this visit was getting to see my sister and stepsister. Since my mom unfortunately always makes Gregg feel so unwelcome at her house, it was good for him to interact with my brother-in-law, Bill, and Willie, my stepsister's husband. Colton enjoyed the attention he got from everyone, especially my stepsister's kids who played with him and fed him Puffs. After being passed around like a bag of chips for three hours however, he desperately needed to go to sleep. We left a little bit after seven since we were also both pretty spent ourselves, and took a plate of desserts home since we didn't get to eat any there.

Yesterday afternoon, Gregg's aunt, uncle, and cousins joined the usual Sunday dinner crowd at his parents since we were celebrating two anniversaries and two birthdays. It is amazing the difference between my mother's home and my in-laws'. Since my MIL watches our two year old niece, she has a crib, a high chair, and changing table which is fully stocked. She even has a supply of formula, diapers, and baby food for Colton so we don't have to bring all that stuff with us every time we come. It's hard enough to pack up a baby and go somewhere without worrying where you're going to change him or where he'll take a nap. The time we were over at my mom's in February, she said we should come more often. My response to that was, we would if you'd make your house a little more baby friendly!

During the visit to my mother's Saturday, both my sister and stepfather asked when we were going to have another baby. I told them both the same thing: probably not for another two years at least, please let me get through this first year with Colton. I am nowhere close to wanting a second child right now. To facing another nine months of nausea, constipation, soreness, restless sleep and irritability that will end with another painful surgery. And possibly another bout of depression and anxiety. Only this time it will be with a toddler in tow.

I never wanted to be that woman who poo poos the idea of having a second kid after only one. Sometimes I wish I could be like Mrs. Duggar, and wholeheartedly embrace the idea of having 18 children (and then actually have all 18 of those kids). Yes I agree with her that children are a blessing from the Lord, but that doesn't mean I want to have 18!! I'm struggling with the concept of having two.

Anyway, it'll be a while yet before I have to think about being pregnant again. Currently I'm sitting here in the air conditioning hoping this heat breaks soon. I wanted it to get warmer, but not like this!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Update and Pictures

Colton's "tummy troubles" from last week have improved a lot. After a few nights of me going in to put him on his back again and sticking the binky back in his mouth, he just learned to deal with being on his stomach. He only cried a little bit the past couple of nights when he found himself on his tummy, and then eventually he started sleeping through the night again. On Sunday morning I found him sleeping with his hands crossed, his face resting on his hands. It was so cute! He did roll over onto his back Sunday too, but hasn't done it since.

Later that afternoon while we were at Gregg's parents, it looked like Colton was going to start crawling. He didn't quite get the hang of getting his knees up under himself, though, and got frustrated and cried. It was time to eat lunch anyway, so we picked him up and put him at the table in his highchair. I'm not really worried whether he crawls or not. It's not even considered a milestone anymore now that the "Back to Sleep" program has been in effect. It would make me feel a little better if he does start, to just be more confident that he's headed in the right direction developmentally. On my August 2008 Mommies Forum at WTE, I've read that a lot of other babies Colton's age haven't started crawling yet either. Reading what other mothers have to say about various topics like feeding and napping makes me feel pretty confident that he's right on target for this stage. We're all trying to figure out this mommy thing together, and it's nice to know I'm not alone!

Other than that, things are going pretty well. Colton is eating and sleeping great. We had a bad thunderstorm last night, and he didn't even wake up. He's still more interested in eating stuff off his highchair tray than off the spoon. Yesterday and today he put both hands in his bowl of cereal and shoved fistfuls of the gooey mixture into his mouth. What a mess. Thankfully he's washable.

I haven't gotten around to calling anybody at the church yet to discuss my concerns about the nursery, since every time it crosses my mind I get distracted. Either a baby cries, or I think about all the one hundred other things that need my attention. We didn't go to church on Sunday. Instead, we slept until 8am (Colton too) and made pancakes for breakfast.

I'm looking forward to the weather being nice again this weekend. It's been gray and dreary the past few days, boo. Last weekend was gorgeous, in the 60s and 70s. On Saturday, we had my dad over for dinner. Gregg grilled up some steaks and I made some mashed potatoes & veggies to go with, as well as a cake for dessert.

Visits with my father are always... interesting. When we get together, he tells the same stories I've heard since I was born. All about his days as a plane mechanic in Vietnam, and how he fixed up the house I grew up in. My dad is retired and lives alone. He doesn't have many social engagements throughout the week and doesn't even own a computer. We actually showed him how to use the internet and let him view the blog we started when we found out I was pregnant. He was a bit overwhelmed, to say the least.

This Saturday, we're supposed to go to my mom & stepdad's. My sister and her husband will be in town visiting and my stepsister and her family are joining us too. Having other people there we want to see always helps "cushion" seeing my mom, who I've already mentioned can be... tough to deal with. So it should be a nice time.

I love his eyes in this photo.

The young and the... well, old.

Enjoying bathtime. Colton has a blast playing in the tub with his toys and splashing water!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Enough With the Changes, Already!

For the past few days, Colton has been waking up from his naps and overnight screaming for me because he's flipped over onto his tummy and doesn't know how to get onto his back again. I found him this morning struggling to turn over, but he was trying to go in the direction of the bumper and kept getting stuck! I feel so bad for him. It makes me think that he will probably skip crawling and go straight to walking, since he can't stand to be on his belly. I plan on at least attempting to help him get the hang of rolling from his tummy to his back during tummy time by guiding his hands and feet the way they should go.

There isn't too much else to report. Except that I've been extremely frustrated with our church's nursery lately, to the point where I won't bring Colton there until some problems are resolved. For the past several weeks, the beepers have all had dead or dying batteries in them. How can you reach a parent when you need to with defunct pagers? Sometime last month, one of the nursery workers fastened Colton's diaper so tight that he was crying when we came to get him and his onesie wasn't even snapped. In fact, it was kind of sloppily sticking out of his pants.

Two weeks ago when I went to pick him up and asked how he did, the frazzled lady holding him informed me that he had been really fussy the whole time so she decided to feed him. Even though I specifically said when we dropped him off, that he had just been fed and changed right before we left the house so he wouldn't need a bottle. I elaborated by saying that he'd most likely need a nap during that time. As far as I know, nobody put him down in one of the cribs or swings to snooze though. I was told that after eating, Colton seemed okay but still a bit fussy and they assumed he had gas. Nope. People, he was just TIRED. I wondered what in the world they fed him since I hadn't prepared and packed any bottles for him. Then I saw the empty Similac container on the edge of the changing station. It was one of those ready-made bottles I got in the hospital and just chucked in the diaper bag in case of an emergency.

I am glad that they tried to soothe him and were resourceful enough to feed him something, had he really been hungry. What concerns me is that my instructions, as his mother, were ignored and that since it sounded like he was in distress and they had no idea what might be wrong, nobody bothered to come get me in the sanctuary. It always seems a bit chaotic in there when we pick him up after service, too.

So we're faced with a real dilemma. I don't feel comfortable leaving Colton for an hour in nursery anymore, but I also know that he would be a huge distraction if we brought him into the service with us. I'm sure the nursery volunteers have the best of intentions; I'm just not confident most of them actually know what to do with a baby. GPBC is a great church, but it is run the old school way where it relies heavily on volunteers for everything. There is no paid children's coordinator, even though the congregation consists of many families with four or more children.

Gregg and I have discussed that GPBC might not be the place for us anymore, for other reasons. Our needs are different than they were four years ago before we left NJ. Our family is different. Still, I'm having a hard time accepting that we seem to no longer "fit" there. After all that looking for a church during last year, I was so relieved and glad to be able to plug right back into the church we had already been such a part of. Shortly after we moved back here all the pieces started falling into place, and they had been so disjointed for such a long time. I know that where we're living right now is also only temporary, and we could end up finding a place that is too far away from our present church home.

So I guess I just have to roll with the punches and deal with the fact that life changes. I just want some stability after all the moves we've made recently. To fall into a familiar, predictable routine. To not have to figure out how to belong in yet one more place.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

8 Months

Today my baby boy turns eight months old. He is definitely not a helpless little infant anymore.

He started feeding himself Puffs and Cheerios a couple of weeks ago and is now a pro at it. He can pick up his sippy cup in both hands with no problem and slurps the juice vigorously as it dribbles down his chin and onto his bib. Colton continues to grab the spoon away from me at the beginning of every mealtime. He loves waving it around and chewing on it, while I feed him with another. I think it may be time to introduce more finger foods because he doesn't seem too interested in eating what's offered on the spoon.

He can now pass an object from one hand to another effortlessly and understands that when a toy falls on the floor or rolls out of his sight, it hasn't disappeared. My little guy finds his binky after it's gotten lost somewhere in his crib and pops it back in his mouth. He's such a smarty.

He's begun protesting in the mornings and evenings when I get him dressed. He gets all worked up and it can be really stressful to change him in and out of clothes. As soon as I pick him up off the changing table, he's just fine and dandy though! Colton has certainly learned how to voice his opinion and say (in the only way he knows how) "I don't like that, Mommy!"

On the flip side, he has also learned how to show his affection by reaching out to touch mine and his daddy's faces. Sometimes he'll grab my cheek or hair just to see what will happen. I want to be mad at him because it really really hurts, but then he squeals and grins and I end up smiling too! He doesn't understand the word no yet. Sigh.

Colton's still getting over his cold from last week. He's got a runny nose, which is kinda gross, but sleeps through the night okay thanks to the makers of Vicks.

Here are some more cute pictures of him over the last month, including a couple from Colton's first Easter:

Who is the fairest baby of them all?

All dressed up for Easter Sunday

Checking out the Easter goodies he got from Grandma

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I'm Not Such A Bad Mother After All

I am in a fog right now. Colton woke up twice over night, badly congested. So I turned on his humidifier and used the snot sucker, which he tried to grab out of my hand and put in his mouth. Ew. Then I rocked him back to sleep and crawled into bed, praying that he would stay asleep until it was time for me to get up.

I saw this coming. Gregg caught something last week, then I began having a sore throat. I knew it was only a matter of time until our sickness got passed onto our offspring. Colton had a pretty cranky morning. After changing his second poopy diaper of the day and having him scream throughout the changing, I got him down for his nap. Thankfully, he's been sleeping peacefully since about 11:45.

It didn't help that last night we took him to the pediatrician (a.k.a. "the owie place") for his 6 month-even though he's almost 8 months-visit and he got three shots. Overall, the appointment went very well. Colton is in the 90th percentile for weight and 75th for height. He tipped the scales at 21 lbs. and is 27" in length.

We were given the requisite "How To Not Kill Your Child" pamphlet and a book about what to expect during baby's first year. Or as I see it, "The Do's and Don'ts of Motherhood"- reading that is both useful and anxiety producing, as I ponder whether I've done irreversible psychological harm to my kid by not getting down on the floor with him every day to play.

I discussed Colton's daily mealtime schedule with the doctor and she didn't have any concerns, other than my giving him meat before 9 months. She said that if he's tolerating it well (i.e. not constipated), meat is okay once a day at this stage. She told us that he appears to be growing and developing as he should, instead of "you have a freakishly large baby", which is always a relief to hear.

After she left the room, the nurse came in to administer the shots. Colton screamed of course, but he was over the trauma by the time I picked him up off of the exam table. He had fun ripping the table's paper cover to shreds while Gregg dressed him in his pajamas. On the way out, we were given free samples of Similac (yay!) and scheduled another visit for the beginning of June.

It was great to be reassured that I'm doing something right and that my son is thriving because of the choices I've made. This mothering thing sure isn't easy, but it's nice to know I'm not totally failing at it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

One of Those Scattered Posts

As I sit here looking out the window, I'm wondering what this weather is up to... it seems like it's 60 degrees and sunny one day, and then 40 and rainy the next! I can't wait until it's consistently warm and bright outside. I did take advantage of one of the really nice days last week by taking Colton for a walk in the stroller. It was almost 70, and as we walked up and down our street I envisioned us being able to go soon to the park or zoo as a family. I am really looking forward to all the warm weather activities we can do with our little boy. I can't believe he'll be 8 months old next Tuesday!

So Gregg recently had his 90 day review at work, and they are so pleased with his performance that they gave him a raise already!! In a time when companies are laying off people and cutting back spending, my husband was given a pay increase. We are both blown away. God just keeps showering us with blessings.

This past weekend we decided to cruise through some neighborhoods that we'd like to move to so that Gregg can cut down on his commute. He wanted to show me where he works so we went there, and then ended up stopping by my dad's place on the way home and surprising him. We took him out for a bite to eat and talked for about an hour and a half. It was a really good visit, and I know that he appreciated us taking the time to come around to his neck of the woods.

On Sunday we went to the second service at church so we didn't have to rush around trying to get ready. During service, I was reminded of how I should be reflecting on Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for me as this week leads up to Easter. After church, we went to Gregg's parents' like usual. We stayed for a while after dinner was over and talked while Grandma played with Colton.

On the way home, we stopped to look at some apartments. They were nice, but too expensive. The cheaper one was kind of small and I really just couldn't envision us actually living there. Unfortunately, the rent in this part of the state is ridiculous. We have to rent right now because the house prices in NJ are still too high even with the housing market in a slump. Then you add property taxes and insurance which are both through the roof. We're hoping to find something decent that doesn't break the bank. Wherever we go, we plan on staying for a number of years so the school system also has to be good.

It would be so much cheaper to live practically anywhere else, but then again Gregg wouldn't have the kind of job he has now and we wouldn't be close to family. I'm feeling once more that desire to be settled. I'm tired of moving and getting used to one place only to be uprooted yet again. I just have to focus on and remember all that the Lord has done and is doing for us. It's so easy for me to become disgruntled.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Winter Wedding Story

So, Angela has asked me to share the story of why Gregg and I were wed in the frigid month of January. The sweet, poor unsuspecting girl.

Got an hour? Or two??

We were originally planning on getting married the last Saturday in May. However, it just so happened that my mom was going to be remarried this same year at the end of April. She felt that our wedding date was too close to hers. She actually told me that she didn't think it would be fair to ask friends and family members to attend two such big events practically back to back, and would I be willing to consider pushing back my wedding to maybe sometime in the summer or fall?

So I go to Gregg (who, bless his heart doesn't back out even though he's slowly beginning to realize just what kind of mother-in-law he's getting) with the idea. He says he does not want to get married during the really hot summer months because the thought of sweltering in a rented tux for ten+ hours is less than desirable. He also does not want to push our wedding date back any further than that, since it would then be about a year away and he didn't want to wait that long to marry me (awww, how sweet). He thinks my mom is being unreasonable and that I should tell her so.

So we're back to May 31. I tell my mother that after discussing it with Gregg, we've decided to stick with our original date. She's not happy. At all. Have I mentioned previously that she wasn't thrilled about me getting engaged to begin with? She thought I was too young at 23 (she was married at 21) and that I hadn't dated Gregg long enough (we had only been together about two months).

She is adamant that my wedding be far enough from hers where it won't "cause any conflict for relatives". I go back to Gregg and explain the situation. He begins to get frustrated that I'm caving in to her pressure. By now I'm feeling torn between pleasing my overbearing mother and my fiance. Gregg and I get into our first real fight. I think very seriously about eloping.

A week went by without us nailing down a date. It was the beginning of October and we had gone out to dinner like usual. Over Italian, we talked about when the blessed event would actually take place. We went back and forth, throwing around every single weekend in 2003 it seemed. Then I had an epiphany. I said, "Why don't we just get married in January?"

And the angels sang.

It was perfect. Far enough away from my mom's wedding and we wouldn't have to wait so stinkin long to be hitched. We settled on the 11th because my sister and another bridesmaid would still be home from college on winter break.

I pitched the idea to my mother. She almost had a heart attack. I think she would have been more okay with us getting married in May at that point. To say she flipped out is an understatement. She said there was no way I could put together a wedding in three months. And don't you know that's only three weeks after Christmas? What if it snows?

I was pretty irritated and asked her what she expected me to do when she was making it near impossible to pick a date that suited everyone. I told her we were getting married in January, and that was that. She backed down, but did make sure to mention that she wouldn't be able to contribute anything cost-wise since, after all she was planning her own wedding.

Whatever, that was fine. We paid for the whole thing by ourselves (and it turned out pretty darn good), except for the flowers which my stepfather was actually nice enough to offer. Gregg's parents ended up giving us a check for about half the total we spent, which was a huge blessing.

My mother did the same thing to me last year when she chose not to throw me a baby shower, because my sister was getting married in July and again she did not want to burden family with having to attend two big events so close to one another. Gregg's parents once again picked up the slack, though. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law planned and hosted a shower for me. I found out later on that my mom was even reluctant at first to give my MIL a list of our relatives to invite.

This is why my mom and I have such a poor relationship. She is a very hurtful and selfish person. She only does things when they're convenient for her. She would rather "save face" with our extended family members than choose to celebrate a special occasion in her daughter's life.

I do not spend time with her alone anymore because the words that come out of her mouth leave me devastated. Long before Colton was even born, Gregg & I decided that our kids would never spend the night at her house because we don't want her negatively influencing them. We visit now and then, as a family, and that's really only after my mom hounds me to come see her.

I don't wish my mother harm. I do pray for her and try to show her Jesus the best I can. But I distance myself from her for obvious reasons. I've come to a point in my life where I need to protect myself and my family, which is now Gregg and Colton.

So that is the long-winded version of why my anniversary falls in January, instead of May. All because my mom threw a hissy fit.