Sunday, January 22, 2017

I have failed. . . and I will continue to do so

This evening I feel like a mom failure, with a big, capital F. Malachi and I attended his buddy's one year birthday party, a joyous occasion to be sure. The party was held in a room at a park. It was tight corners, and there was not room in the room for baby's play. I held Malachi on my lap for most of the time, only to let him crawl on the floor a few times with my eye on him. At one point, a lady almost stepped on him -- (failure number one.) "Good thing, I looked down before I took a step" she said loudly. Yes, good thing. And I get the point: "get your baby off the floor."

My baby is now quite stout. In the past 2 months, he has really packed on the pounds (especially in the belly region.) It's no small feat to carry him anywhere, much less feed him and myself lunch single handedly out out of disposable paper plates. After painstakingly cutting up fruit and cheese into small bites for him, he proceeded to try and turn the paper plate upside down- his new favorite game. This wasn't woking. I then tried to give him some noodles from the noodle soup. He spit them out. I then gave him wild mushroom soup-- he delighted and cooed for more. And at this point (failure number two) I just kept feeding him wild mushroom soup because A: he was finally eating something (without trying to throw it on the floor) and B: he was sitting contentedly. If my transgressions had ended there, I don't think I would have felt the need to write this post. But they don't.

Jump ahead with me to one hour later. I have been juggling holding Malachi and letting him crawl with trying to sneak bites of food for myself. It's now time for cake and ice cream. I am still hungry, so you bet I am going to enjoy a sugary piece of cake. As I hold Malachi on my lap and get ready to sink my teeth into glorious marble cake, he starts reaching for my bowl. I push it further away, and he looks up at me and whines. Oh fine-- one little bite won't hurt? I give him a small taste of the ice cream. He loves it, and he is sitting contentedly on my lap. Sold! I give him several more bites of ice cream in between sneaking bites of the delicious cake.

Jump with me to 5:30. The party has been over for awhile, and we are at home. Malachi is crawling happily about the living room. Then I hear him grunt and hear the gurgle from his stomach. I change his pants only to find an explosion. Poop up to his shoulder with chunks of wild mushroom soup laughing at me. And I feel so terrible. I allowed my own "convenience" dictate what I fed my child, and now he has diarrhea. Lesson learned- I have failed, and I will not make that mistake again. But the thing is, I know that more and different mistakes await me as a mother. I am only human, and failure is part of my humanity. So I roll up my sleeves, wipe away the poop, and prepare for our next great adventure: this could get messy.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

When your baby becomes a toddler. . .

There’s a certain sadness that comes when your baby crosses over from being a cuddly infant to being a wiggly toddler. The feeling was so subtle that I almost missed it. But no, there it was nestled right below the business of caring for a one year old. I noticed it when I realized that I could still squeeze out an ounce of milk even though Malachi has been done nursing now for 3 weeks. I noticed it when I went to snuggle with him, but he wanted to climb out of my arms and play with his toys instead. I notice it everytime I pick him up, and he is half my length and 23 pounds already. 

As a new mom, I foresee that all of Malachi’s growth milestones are going to feel somewhat bittersweet.  Of course, I am happy that he is developing and reaching those milestones. And it will not be too long before he is walking yet too. But I also miss the stage of cuddling him and letting him nap on my chest. For as long as those mid-night feedings seemed, I almost cant remember how it felt already, and it leaves me a little sad. My husband and I don’t know whether or not we will be able to have more children. God alone know these things, and we don’t assume that even though it might be our plan, that it is necessarily a given.  


And now even as I mourn cuddling with my sweet baby boy, I am trying to also embrace this new stage of toddlerhood and all its possibilities. The world really is their playground! Especially the kitchen. 



Malachi T: Age 1 year and 1 week

Milestone: Crawling into oven drawers

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Secret Language of New Moms

The Secret Language of New Moms
(Originally posted on March 17, 2016 on lifeinbalanceblog.com) 

We’ve been parents now for a little over two months (now almost a year). It feels like the fogginess of sleep deprivation has started to lift, and I’m just now feeling whole enough to write again. One of the things I have wanted to share is the meaning behind what new moms are saying. I’ve found that even moms of older children (been there, done that moms) seem to forget the shock that is new parenthood.
I can only write from my experience, and I don’t expect that all first-time moms have the exact same feelings.  But from talking to other first-time moms, I think it’s safe to say that some of these feelings are universal.

1. Hey, baby and I are just hanging out at home tonight and could use some company. Wanna come over? Translation: I’m too proud to say it outright, but it’s been a hard day, and I think I’m going to lose it. PLEASE come over!

2. Being a new parent has been tough / challenging / difficult.
Translation: I’m really barely making it. I have already cried two times today and peed myself once when I sneezed. When will I feel normal again and be able to carry on a normal conversation?

3. Breast-feeding has been a challenge.
Translation: I have already had a breast infection, plugged ducts, and low milk supply. Baby and I have visited the lactation consultant about 4 times in one month and if you suggest another supplement that I’m not already taking that helped someone else you know, I am going to scream.

4. We think he’s pretty cute. / We may be biased, but we think he’s pretty cute.
Translation: We think he is the most beautiful baby in the world.

5. Being a mother brings me so much joy.
Translation: Being a mom is really an amazing feeling. You cannot explain the love you have for your child. It flows out of you and grows everyday, and you would make all the same sacrifices ten times over for your little one.

6. I’m so in love.
Translation: Remember when you were falling in love with your your significant other? It feels like that only it happens instantaneously when you see your baby’s face. You feel so vulnerable like your heart could break at any moment because it’s so overwhelmed with emotion.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!  Life in Balance Blog 

I am excited to share with you that I have purchased a blog name, set up word press, uploaded some posts and plan to launch my new blog in this next week. I could not be more happy with my decision to finally take the plunge and be self-hosted. Even the process of taking this risk and pouring myself into this blog has been good for my soul.  

The timing for this blog is also divine. In this past month of December, I have been very easily discouraged and melancholy as I anxiously await for little T to arrive. My hormones are no doubt elevated from pregnancy, and my emotions have not been very good company as of late. But the other day, after feeling sorry for myself all morning, I decided to purchase the domain name and get started on my blog. Before I knew it, two hours had passed, and I no longer felt like crying. I felt so mentally challenged and inspired that I completely forgot about my pity party of a morning.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that this pleasant distraction of a self-hosted blog is a gift from God, and I am excited to see how he is going to use it and challenge me through it. I believe that God puts new adventures in our life to remind us how to trust in Him again. I also believe that it is not a coincidence that the beginning or “birth” of this blog coincides with little T’s birth. My logical mind would not purposely take on a new project as a first-time mom, but somehow the timing worked out that way, and I believe that this is also part of God’s plan. Just like I trust God’s timing with this blog, I trust him to also show me how to be a loving mom to little T. I trust God to show me how to love little T without making him an idol in our lives. I trust God to help me overcome my insecurities as a person and my anxiety about becoming a mother.

I am not sure what will happen to my Life From Here blog, but my guess is I won’t update it anymore. It served a purpose for about 9 years, and I am grateful for all the adventures I got to write about on here. If you want to keep following me at my new blog, I would be most honored. Just head on over to http://lifeinbalanceblog.com. It should be up and running soon.   

Saturday, December 26, 2015

When you want to go shopping, try this instead. . .

It's the day after Christmas, and my inbox is flooded with door buster deals from all my favorite stores: Target, Bath & Body Works, Barnes & Nobles. "Think of all the money I could save by purchasing now?" my spend happy fingers yell at me. 

But wait-- what do I really need? Haven't I just received some really special gifts from my husband and friends? Will I even want to put up Christmas lights next year? Do I really need all the $3.50 Christmas fragrances from Bath & Body works? No, no I don't. In an effort to de-clutter my life and live as simply as possible, going shopping right now just to get the deals is counter-productive.

So instead of going shopping, I have made an aggressive to-do list. It goes like this: 
1. Work ahead on homework for the upcoming semester. 
2. Finish all thank you notes for Baby T. (This is a bit ambitious, but at least I can finish the majority of the notes.) 
3. Drop off clothes I don't wear at Goodwill. 
4. Host a friend for coffee and cookies this afternoon.
5. Start the laundry. 

I know that by taking care of things I should be working on anyways will feel good and help me reach my short-term goals instead of just using my time and money on my materialistic urges. How do you fight off the urge to go shopping when the deals are hot? Do you think it's a good idea to go shopping on these sale days? 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

All I want for Christmas is. . .

Rob and I enjoy exchanging gifts for Christmas. It's nothing overly lavish, but it's the one time a year when we can get some of those special things that we miss purchasing for ourselves during the year (like candles and DVD's-- see Five Things We Gave Up to Get Out of Debt.)

But this year, I asked for something a little different-- my own self-hosted blog. :) Rob agreed, and the blog fee will be the majority of my Christmas present. I can't wait! It's been a dream of mine for at least a year to have my own self-hosted blog.

What are the benefits of a self-hosted blog?
Mainly, it allows you to make money from your blog. I don't have dreams of becoming rich by writing my own blog, but I do think that I could monetize it by just adding some simple basic features that aren't available on blogger. I will also have rights to my own blog, so I will own the material I write and there is no chance of my blog suddenly getting erased.

I have some practical goals for my blog ambitions.

1. First, I need to pick a focus for the blog. I want my friends and family to weigh in on this:
 * I like writing about budgeting and living simply.
 * I predict I will also enjoy writing about raising kids on a budget.
 * I like writing about living intentionally.
All of these topics are interesting to me, and I feel passionate about each of them. However, I want to pick the topic that is going to be the best fit for me. I also need to pick something that I can continue writing about every week.

2. Next, I want to try to write one post a week.  I know that some weeks this might not be possible, but hopefully I will be able to take advantage of the slower days and get ahead of writing the blog posts.

3. I need to figure out how to add my blog to Pinterest. I'm sure you've seen the photos with blog tag lines on them on Pinterest. My goal is to figure out how to create these little links to also add my blog to Pinterest.

And that's what I'm getting for Christmas!  I can't wait. I don't have any grand expectations, but I love writing and I love sharing life through writing so why not try something new?

Friends, let me know what topic you think would be the best fit for my blog either by leaving a comment or by sending an email.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Letter to My Dear Friends

Dear friends and family,

Thank you so much for all the support, encouragement, and prayers you have given me over this past week. I was doing an okay job keeping the pregnancy emotions all in check, but last week-end, an incident happened that triggered an entire bag of compulsive thoughts, insecurities, and anxieties.

To say that I cried a few times in this past week would be an understatement. There were big nose-blowing sobs on several occasions and other small tears while driving in the car. There were nights of rough sleep, and I even had to go home early from work one day because I felt sick to my stomach (probably distressed from the lack of sleep and loss of appetite).

But, I think that the trigger event was part of a much bigger fear, anxiety, and desire for control that I am becoming aware of as Rob and are about to become parents for the first time. I worry that any poor decisions I will inevitably make might hurt little T in some way. I worry that I won’t be able to protect him all the time. I worry that I will mess up and mess him up in the process. I worry about his safety-- both inside the womb and even more so once he's born. 

I can't comprehend this delicate situation we are entering into as parents. I feel vulnerable like my heart could break at any moment, and I don't feel emotionally strong enough to handle it. I do not consider myself an emotionally strong person; I purposely stay away from things that pull too hard on my heart strings. And yet, here we stand ready to have our lives changed forever by this little helpless human-being that God is entrusting to us. 

Time seems to be standing still and propelling forward at the same time. With each back ache and cramp, I think of all the things I need to finish before he arrives, and yet there's little I want to do except rub my belly and look forward to his arrival. I also have no desire to go out especially in the evenings. I treasure the precious few nights that Rob and I have left to just be at home together.  

Thank you again for all the encouragement you have all been through this emotional, roller-coaster of a ride. 

Stay tuned, 

Portia