Friday, January 23, 2009


I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to certain things. No surprise to most of you I'm sure. I guess that is why I ended up becoming a Project Manager. I like to feel in control, to know that if something goes wrong it was because of something that I did, something that I had control over. This way I know what to do better next time. I think that...scratch that...I know that I am this way with Dean too. I try to be more relaxed and go with the flow, and for the most part I think I succeed (at least I'm better than in many other areas of my life), but I still spend a big part of my day organizing and manipulating what happens with Dean. I am pretty aware of when I'm being overbearing and controlling, and I'm pretty amazed at how relaxed I actually am with him, but I've noticed that it's mainly because I am always there to right any "wrongs" that others may introduce. For example, I can "fix" his daily routine if someone else rocks Dean to sleep when it's not necessarily nap time. It's not that others are wrong, it's that I haven't told them exactly what the "right" thing is, that thing that I have already set up in my head as what needs to happen. Poor Josh. He's so patient with me, and I really do try not to "correct" him when he has Dean and does something that I wouldn't normally do. (Notice I am using a lot of quotation marks here. I don't think I need to explain why.)

I was talking to a friend about this yesterday. About how I have to surrender my control to Josh when he is with Dean - my way is not the only way. That conversation led to a much bigger one...other ways we surrender to our spouses. Those of you that are married can understand the difficulty that is found in knowing when to surrender and follow your spouse, and when to step up and lead. We all know what leading is. We study it in college, practice it in work, and read about it in just about every book and magazine we pick up. "Take charge. Go for it. Make the change you want happen." Lead. But what you don't hear nearly enough about is how to follow successfully. How to let someone else be in charge and to accept their decisions and actions as your own. When Josh and I starting dating he was living in Raleigh and I was living in Hilton Head. After knowing each other for a few months we both knew that we wanted more out of the relationship, so Josh moved to Hilton Head to see where this was going (oh, and to start a business). He was only there for 3 or 4 months when he was offered a job back in Raleigh. After much deliberation and prayer he decided that it was the best thing for BOTH of us and our relationship for him to take the job and move back to Raleigh, AND for me to follow him. Now, I wasn't necessarily the happiest camper in Hilton Head, but I also wasn't thinking about moving at the time either. I liked what I was doing and the friendships that I had made there. Josh asked me to trust him and follow him. I pitched a little fit like the brat that I am, and said some hurtful things that thankfully he has forgiven me for. I didn't have a job in Raleigh, I had no idea where I was going to live, had ZERO money...I was about to follow a guy that I was dating, not engaged to, not even talking about getting married to, just dating. When I finally gave in and said I would go with him, it was like a weight had been lifted. That one instance of trust and surrender to Josh changed my life and God truly blessed us both. I don't know that I have had any more big choices like that since then, but I know that God is asking me to surrender to Josh surrender my control freak side, my obsessive need to organize our lives, my stupid belief that I know what's best at all times. Now maybe 1 out of 30 days I actually succeed in this, but it's so good when I do. I am sure that Josh could write a similar entry to this one about his surrender to me. (Obviously, this is not a one-sided street so don't get huffy and think I'm saying all women need to surrender to men, ok?) Just imagine if we could actually surrender - whether it's to our spouses, to our bosses, to our friends, or to God - without spending so much time agonizing over what might happen, or trying to figure out how we could do it and still get what we want. I think we'd have a lot less stress, emotional eating, and wrinkles.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow in the South

I love how everything shuts down when it snows in the everything shuts down when there is even a PREDICTION of snow. I just came inside from sitting on the porch with Dean. I couldn't resist it. I bundled him up (and myself), grabbed a cup of hot coffee, and dragged the rocking chair out on the porch. We sat out there for about an hour just watching the snow fall and the dogs run around like mad men. Dean was so still and wide-eyed, taking it all in. The dogs were dancing around like mad, digging their noses in it and throwing the snow up in the air, running and sliding on the deck, trying to get the neighbor's dog to jump the fence and come and play with was beautiful! They have such unbridled joy. You can't help but get excited about what they get excited about. They have become little sissies though. We take them backpacking with us, even in the winter, and both have been on many snowy trips. The first trip we took Cooper on he fell asleep in a pricker bush in the snow and we had to drag him into the tent. Now he gets cold and acts so pathetic. It's pretty funny to see a "tough guy" like him (all show) with his butt tucked in, picking up one paw at a time so all 4 aren't touching the cold ground at the same time.

Now Dean loves the cold and the outdoors. When he was a newborn and would be really fussy we'd just take him outside and he'd immediately calm right down. Josh and I love this about him, since we are both outdoor nuts, and we take him to the woods whenever we can. It seems to put him completely at peace. When he was like 6 weeks old we had a cold snap and the high was something like 38 one day. Being down here with the 60 degree winters, I try to get outside when it's cold and pretend that I'm back up north (I don't want to live in that again, I just like to pretend). I put Dean in so many layers that he was like the kid on A Christmas Story. (In case you are wondering he has on socks, a onesie, a sweatshirt weight onesie, a hat, and a fleece jacket. He was sweating when we got home.)

Today my plan is to get Dean and the dogs and head to the woods. There are few things more beautiful than the trees covered in snow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My First Mullet

Have you ever seen a baby mullet? My son has the best one! He was born with a full head of red hair. All of it on the top has fallen out, but the hair near his neck remained and has continued to grow. He's rubbed that nice ring of hair on the back of the head off, like most babies do, accentuating the red mullet. My mom and husband want to take the clippers to it, but I haven't let them yet. It's so soft and it's the only thing left from when he was born. The belly button stump fell off, his initial "tan" went away (I swear he came out so tan looking), and now almost all of the red hair is gone. I want to leave it. Maybe it will fall out on it's own like the rest, or maybe it will all continue to grow and the mullet will get longer and longer.

Pavlov's Baby

I've noticed something recently. My child is conditioned to the sounds of bottle-making. He immediately turns his head towards the sink when he hears the water turn on. His eyes widen in anticipation when the container of formula is opened. And the drool begins to flow when he hears the magical sound of the bottle being shaken. He knows that this is all part of meal time, and soon he gets to gorge himself. In fact, if he does not get the bottle soon after hearing all of these sounds, he starts to get panicky. The arms flail, the head goes back, and the snorting begins. Yes, my son snorts when he is hungry and not being fed. This reaction repeats itself (but even more drastically) when his feeding is interrupted so that he can be burped. It's like he's convinced that we'll never give the bottle back to him and he's going to starve to death.

I have to say that with everything I've gone through over the last 3 months, it is nice to be bottle-feeding Dean. It is convenient, I do not have to deal with privacy issues, and I don't have to have Dean with me everywhere I go in case he needs to eat...but I am missing out on something so special. It is so hard to know that I am not needed in that way anymore. I am a caregiver, not a life-sustainer. That is very hard. I am so thankful for the recovery that I have had and for the health of my baby, but I DAILY mourn the loss of breastfeeding (as well as my right breast). It's hard to think that I will likely never even have the opportunity to try again with our next child. I keep wanting to plead, "I'll be better next time! I won't push myself too hard, I promise!" But it is for selfish reasons that I want it back, not because I think Dean is at risk. I have faith in modern day formula and medicine and I know that God has His hand on him at all times, but it's hard to see other women getting to do what I can not. I am in a women's bible study and there are 5 others in the 40-person group that have babies Dean's age. They all are breast-feeding. One woman came up to me yesterday while I was giving Dean a bottle and said, "You don't know how lucky you are." I wanted to shake her and scream, "You don't know how lucky YOU are!" But she's right, I am lucky. I went through something horrible and wonderful. I taught me that God knows what I need and what I can handle, not me. I came out no less a woman, no less a mother. I actually get to tell my son (although I think it would be awkward later in life) that his mom gave her right breast for him. I would do it all over again if it meant that he came out the way he did. I love my Pavlov's Baby!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Some of you mothers may want to throw things at me for this, but Dean has been sleeping through the night since he was 7 weeks old. He started by going from 4 hours at a stretch to 8 hours one night and never looked back. He's now a pretty consistent 10 hours a night and never gives us trouble when it's bedtime. Naptime is a different story. His daily routine, as you saw in my last post, is a pretty consistent 3 hour cycle. So I know when he's ready to go down for a nap. He takes 4 30-minute to 45-minute naps every day. It's not the napping that's a problem, it's the getting to sleep that is. I'm a sucker of a mom, I'll admit. I love having him fall asleep in my arms and get fairly selfish about it. I want him to depend on me (I know I'll regret this), but I think I'm creating a monster. I'm trying to get better about putting him in his crib when it's naptime BEFORE he goes to sleep, so that he has to learn to get to sleep on his own. Well, that means that he screams for 5-10 minutes (however long I can handle hearing it), I got in and pick him up and calm him down and he usually falls asleep in my arms pretty quickly at that point. I'm not sure if I should let him keep crying in hopes that he will tire himself out and fall asleep on his own or not. I don't want naptime or his crib to be a negative thing for him, but I need to break him of the habit of needing someone to hold him to get to sleep. I feel very fortunate that I am at home most of the day and have the flexibility and oppotunity to try out different things with this.

I'm running into another problem. I am not what you would call an ambi-holder. I can only hold him on my left side. I try t switch and hold him on the right side and it's like my arm is no longer under my control. So as the weeks go by my arm is getting stronger and stronger, but I think Dean is getting heavier at a more rapid rate. I am going to end up looking like that guy on "Lady in the Water" with the buff arm and the skinny arm. Attractive, right? I think by the time he's 1 I'll be able to do one-armed push-ups. Maybe I can make some additional income as an arm-wrestler.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Life with a 3 month old

This is my son Dean. As many of you know, I have decided not to return to work, but to be a full-time mom. Dean is 3 months old now and I often get asked what I do all day long. It's not all fun and games...there is nap time and feeding too! A typical day for me goes as follows:
6:30am - Dean wakes me up for his first of 2 breakfasts (lucky guy!)
7:00am - make large pot of coffee
7:05am to 9:00am - play with Dean, read to Dean, sing WITH Dean, dance with Dean
9:00am - put Dean down for a nap
Somewhere in there I manage to get dressed, brush my teeth, clean up a bit, do the laundry, wash dishes, and when I'm lucky, shower!

I'm so glad I get to be at home with him because I feel like I would miss out on so much right now. He is developing at warp speed, with new tricks every day. This week it is all about the hands. He discovered his hands recently, and then even better than that, his hands discovered each other. He spends over an hour every day playing with his fingers and looking at them in amazement. He looks at them, then looks at me, then looks back at them with a huge drool robe hanging down and his eyes as wide as saucers as if to say, "Have you ever seen anything so wonderful!" Then one of them breaks loose and he forgets they were ever there. In addition to the amazing hand discovery, he is becoming less and less of a bobble head doll. I don't know how he does it, but that boy can hold his big ole head up on that tiny little body without my help! As you can see in the photo, he can even do it laying on his stomach. Although that trick doesn't last very long right now.

One thing that I am taking immense pleasure in is that he is beginning to play with his ears and hold his blanket to his face when he's trying to get to sleep. My family can tell you that I did that...well, basically up until college. I love that he's following a habit his Mama had!