Warning: read at your own risk.

I have had a hard week filled with every emotion possible: overwhelming sadness, loneliness, rejection, exhaustion...and I have been torn about whether or not to discuss the subject on my blog. But tonight I suddenly realized-as I was sitting on the couch, watching Law & Order, and trying to finish up a last-minute project at work-that it would be OK to vent, to share...

Charlie randomly decided to quit nursing last week, last Friday morning to be exact, on Day 2 of our vacation. I didn't realize it at first, as he had just come down with a fever and an ear infection. He's done this before, not nursed well due to ear pain, so I thought he'd rally after starting on the antibiotics, after returning to our normal routine. But no, that has not yet happened. He's made it perfectly clear that he's finished, done, no longer content to be a nursing baby. I suppose he's ready to grow up, to move on to more exciting things, like crawling and destroying our home on an hourly basis. And I'm devastated, heartbroken, lost.

If you would have told me 11 months ago that I'd be saying this, I would not have believed you. I thought I would suffer through nursing for the standard 6 months, counting down the days until I could be "set free" from the burden of constant companionship. In my lactation class, the instructor asked me why I wanted to nurse. Without batting an eye, I answered, "To burn 500 calories a day." The health benefits for the baby was a side benefit in my selfish, selfish mind, the thought never occurring to me that nursing Charlie would become one of my most treasured memories and accomplishments. But it has, well, did - over the past 11 months I learned things as a nursing mother that I never would have learned otherwise. First and primarily, I learned to be *still*, something that does not come naturally to me. I learned the value of taking time to breathe in life, to stare into the precious eyes of my adoring son, to pray for his life and his salvation, to pray for myself and Ryan in our quest to parent Charlie and his future siblings and to just rest. Secondly, I became a much less selfish person, will to sacrifice my schedule, physical demands and just general preferences for someone else. It has been very sanctifying. And lastly, I learned that doing what I was made to do can bring so much fulfillment, joy, peace and happiness.

Was nursing inconvenient? Yes, sometimes it would have been nice to get away for longer than 3 or 4 hours, to have a night away with Ryan or a full night of sleep as a mother to a newborn. But it was absolutely, 100% worth the price. I loved every minute of nursing my precious little son and I am so sad that this part of our relationship has ended. I wasn't ready for it...I had planned on weaning him slowly, one feeding at a time. I had imagined how our last feeding would look and had started preparing myself emotionally for that day (since I was planning to start weaning him when he turned 1). I've spent the last 2 days hoping that it wasn't really over but tonight, I know in my heart that it is. So I'm grieving (and undoubtedly dealing with some hormonal issues :)) and learning how to be a mom in this new stage of life we've just entered.

Side note: I do not apologize for broaching a sensitive topic in a public forum. God made women for this, physically and emotionally. And even though nursing is not for everyone or every baby, it is a beautiful thing. Our culture may disagree but that does not change the reality of the situation. And as a woman in 2007, nursing (and talking about it!) is my right. :)


Road tripping!

This week-end we are going skiing in North Carolina, at a ski area near Boone - Hawk's Nest Ski Resort. We are definitely excited - hopefully the slopes and tubing areas will be open. We are sharing a condo with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew but the whole fam is going (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc). It should be fun and hopefully my parents will get to spend some extended time with Charlie, since we don't normally stay with them when we visit Savannah.

Cheers and happy week-ending!



Happy Birthday to me! I can't believe I'm 28...

We spent the week-end in Savannah, primarily because Ryan had a job interview yesterday (more on that later) but also because I wanted to spend my birthday with my family. We had a wonderful week-end - shopping, eating seafood, going to church, visiting old friends, etc. On Sunday (my actual birthday) my mom cooked a big lunch and my aunt brought a cake for me - my first cake in years! It was red velvet cake, my favorite. (Aside: learning to make red velvet cake from scratch is at the top of my list of culinary projects.) A few pictures from the week-end...

Charlie with my Uncle Hunter, my 10-year-old brother

A slightly blurry shot of my sister reading to Charlie and Tyson, my 17-month-old nephew (isn't he cute?:)) -

Charlie and his Grandmommy -

Ryan is now looking for "real" jobs, I can't believe it! It has been a long road (and it's not over yet - he doesn't actually finish until June '08) but the end is in sight. He spent yesterday at a practice in Savannah, hanging out at the hospital and getting a feel for the rhythm of the practice. There is a a lot of variety in pulmonary/critical care practices so this is going to be a big (and quite difficult) decision for us. Fortunately, he LOVED this practice so we are both relieved that we have at least one option on the horizon. In addition to this practice in Savannah, Ryan has also interviewed with a group here in Augusta and plans to interview in Greenville and Atlanta for sure, Charlotte and Columbia, SC are a "maybe" at this point.

Moving back to Savannah would be wonderful in many ways but also quite different from how I've always imagined our future. Having Charlie has made the possibility so much sweeter - he and Tyson are exactly 6 months apart and in addition to grandparents, Charlie will have a plethora of aunts, uncles and cousins to love and grow with. I never really thought we'd end up back there but Ryan admitted to me last night on the way home that he has always considered Savannah to be a real possibility. Time will tell...


Little Vipers

One of my most beloved college professors, Dr. Krabbendam once said that children are "Little Vipers in Covenantal Diapers." Oh, Dr. K you were right - they sure are. My sweet little baby has morphed into a back-arching, temper tantrum-throwing little viper!

Example: Charlie is beyond obsessed with his toothbrush (of all things). As soon as he can get his little hands on any part of the handle, it's over. He releases piercing screams so loud you would think that he was on the verge of death. He then begins choking and coughing - nearly to the point of throwing up, he's crying so hard. It's UNBELIEVABLE. He cries so loudly and for so long that his normal before-bed reading with Dad routine has been disturbed. He can't even stop crying to read. And tonight he took it to a new level: as usual, he started crying and coughing and arching his back as soon as Ryan took away the toothbrush. So Ryan got him out, dressed him in his PJs, all the while Charlie was escalating...he kept getting louder and more upset, not catching his breath, etc. for a good 10 minutes. So Ryan skipped the reading, trying to calm him down with some rocking and singing. Still the kid screamed and arched. So in I go, ready to diffuse the situation with milk. But for the first time in his little life, milk did not do the trick. He arched and screamed and pulled and punched and all out refused to nurse. He screamed his little head off until I laid him in his bed. I rubbed his head for a minute or two, he turned over and feel asleep. As if to say, "If you won't give me what I want, I don't need you! Leave me alone!" I had to admit I was heartbroken. I sat on the couch and cried a few tears for my stubborn, independent little boy. who must learn that he does not always get what he wants...and for myself, mother no more to a sweet angelic baby, who sleeps and eats on command. Instead, here I am with a little sinner who needs love and discipline. I guess BabyWise was right when they said that getting them to sleep through the night was not the ultimate parenting prize. :)

Those who say people are born good certainly are mistaken. Ryan and I, miserable sinners that we are, do not throw ourselves into the floor/wall/tub and scream...and scream and scream and scream. His recent behavioral digression was not learned - it is deep within his dark litle heart. I'm now more convicted than ever to pray for his salvation and trust in the Covenantal promises that God made to me and Ryan. And to pray for us as parents - whew, there is so much to teach him!


Charlie's new trick

Look what Charlie learned how to do!


Being a perfectionist

I'm a perfectionist. Yep, it's true and it DRIVES ME NUTS. This quality often prevents me from doing things that I want and should do, since I'm too stubbord to try them if I don't have time to completely, fully and competently execute them. *sigh* One of those things that my perfectionism keeps me from doing is blogging because, being a wanna-be writer and employee of a publishing company, I want every post to be profoundly thought-provoking, beautifully written and superbly entertaining. Yeah, right. So this post is dedicated to imperfection: random thoughts and tidbits hastily thrown together, all revealing the benefits of me bucking my personality and trying to do things even if I know they won't be perfect! Yeah, me! :)

Being a perfectionist often keeps me from praying and reading scripture because I think that I have to have a huge chunk of dedicated time carved out and set aside for my "quiet time." And if I don't (which is all the time :)) I just avoid it all together. But lately I've tried to dedicate a few precious minutes to praying/reading/thinking and as a result, I've had some sweet time with the Lord, time during which he's made himself very real to me:

"Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you." Is. 49:15

I've loved this verse for years but now that I'm a mother, it has become even more real to me. And this week the Lord brought it to my mind, reminding me that he loves me more than I love Charlie and that he's not "out to get me" as I so often think during hard times...

Being a perfectionist has also kept me from really getting down and dirty with my sewing machine. I made an envelope pillow cover a few weeks ago and that was fun but I haven't done much since then. But on Saturday, I went to my sewing lesson and learned alot - satin stich, zigzag stich, how to make a buttonhole. It was a blast! So I signed up for 2 more sewing classes, one of which begins next week! I then came home and "made" (read: decorated) 2 burp rags for a friend who just had a baby. Aren't they cute?

And here's a picture of my first pillow!

Letting go of my perfectionist tendencies by using my machine has a ripple effect - it stops me from having my beautifully decorated table because the dining room table is the only place I have to sew...but it's worth it! Tonight I'm going to make a toile tote bag, if all goes well...we'll see! The fabric is barely visible in the bottom left-hand corner of the picture below, at the bottom of the fabric pile.

Finally, one tidbit not related to being a perfectionist: tt's been so cold here that Charlie has been wearing his hat quite often and his hair is really feeling the effects. Check it out!



I don't do well with chaos...at all. I am a very "structured" and "organized" person who thrives on schedules and predictability. I've always known this about myself but motherhood has really opened my eyes to the extreme nature of my personality. And I'm not sure what to do about it. Every single day of my life looks a little bit different and every single day is just packed with tasks and activities to the point that I don't even have time to eat. And along with the business has come some of the most intense guilt I've ever felt. I feel so guilty because it seems that life is just flying by and I'm not taking the time to enjoy it or the people who mean the most to me. I am most of the time too busy to even play with Charlie. I feed him, change him, love on him and take him on walks but I just don't have time to work full-time, cook/clean/launder and read with him or play with him. And by the time Ryan comes home, I'm too tired to even carry on a coherent conversation.

January has been especially difficult. Work has been very demanding as the pace of the new year picks up in corporate America. I've also been putting more pressure on myself to get more of XX done, to workout more, to clean more, to spend more time with Charlie and Ryan, to be a better friend/wife/mother, etc...

So what to do? I'm not sure. So right now, today, I'm praying for wisdom and the ability to rest. Something needs to change and I'm sure it needs to be me and my heart, always wanting more instead of being content with the, in actuality, beautiful chaos that is my life. Please pray for me. I need it.

To be continued...