Saturday, September 28, 2013

Needing Sleep and Jumping Fences

Many days I'm tired. Few minutes are spent doing something for myself. And let's get real... we are celebrating if I brush my teeth before 2:30 in the afternoon. But guess what? It's ugly yet beautiful. I'm exhausted yet ecstatic. It can be frustrating, yet I'm the happiest I have ever been. I spend my days charting the date and time of feedings and diapers while potty training a headstrong two year old. I can cry at a drop of a hat (my poor husband) or laugh hysterically a few minutes later. The house is a mess... like a super mess... like I found a used diaper in my dirty laundry hamper today (which also shows you how tired I am) and dried apple sauce in the carpet. But what a BEAUTIFUL mess things are right now. I am blessed by this mess (Isn't there a red neck prayer that sounds something like that?)! Don't get me wrong, many days I am not singing the praises of this chaotic life BUT I should.

This summer I read a book by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson called Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. Sarah Mae is a young mother who gives an honest account of her daily frustrations, exhaustion, and questions about this thing called "Motherhood". Many books, blogs, and expert advice can leave a momma wondering what's wrong with her, but this book is different. It's honest and it makes you feel "normal". One of my favorite parts of the book is shared in the beginning of the introduction. It reads:

"Anxiety struck me immediately. It was too early to be up but "too early" didn't matter to my sweet little boy who was ready for the day the minute the sun shone through his bedroom window. My daughter Caroline needed milk and  a new diaper, and all three of my little ones were, of course, hungry. After forcing myself to sit up, I stared at the wall, then fell back down into my bed. I pulled my knees to my chest and the blanket over my head as tears came down and these words tumbled out to my God: "I can't be a mother today, Lord, I'm just too tired."

... and then she went back to sleep and left her children to fend for themselves. Ha! Not really.

But Can I get an Amen!? I was sold on this book after reading this line. This reminds me of just a few nights ago. I was up at 2:30 AM all by my lonesome. While I have gotten used to waking up for the 2:30 feeding, I always fear that Molli will want to stay up to party after having a few swigs of her bottle... and on this night she did just that. I remember saying in my head (and possibly out loud... I really don't know what's coming out of my mouth these days) "Molli Grace, I will give you $5 if you go to sleep baby girl." And then I chuckled and realized I'm losing it. I know all you mommas out there have had these moments. Those moments of  "what the heck Lord?" and "Really?". And for all you new mommas out there that don't know this yet... These thoughts are completely normal and you're not alone.

It takes 27 attempts to get one decent photo these days, but boy do we have fun trying to get that one! Dysfunctional fun... Like "stop choking mommy" (as she is pulling on my necklace) kind of fun, or "Oh my word, she has a string of snot coming out of her nose" kind of fun, or "Paysli Faith Matthews if you don't smile at the camera, no ice cream" kind of fun. Love my Friday nights these days!

Here's another recent happening in the Matthews' household that might just make you feel pretty good about your child rearing skills compared to what goes on here some days. It was a normal morning that started with my toddler waking up. I was already up with Molli because honestly I am just always awake with her, and it was time to let my two rambunctious dogs outside in the backyard. My morning was going smoothly... so smoothly I might have thought a few times "I've got this! I can care for a 2 week old and a 2 year old. Some women have a bazillion kids. I can do two." Just about that time I hear my dogs going completely bazurko. I quickly ran to the back door with my 2 week old nugget in my arms, in efforts to calm my pups before the neighbors called animal control. My toddler, in normal fashion, followed my every step to the back door. I took a few steps onto my back patio to find the cutest, sweetest, fluffiest little puppy I have ever seen. This little guy had just about the sweetest personality too. He put Bambi to shame. I quickly shooed my dogs and my two year old in the house, and then walked further outside to figure out how this little thing crawled into our backyard. I had no luck figuring out how this cutie got into our backyard, but I figured I would go back in the house to grab some water and food for the little guy (It was the end of August by the way, which means it was HOT!). I walked to my back door to find my little girl and my two dogs looking out the back window watching all the action going on. I went to go open the door... AND IT WAS LOCKED! No, my door wasn't stuck and just in need of a little WD-40... It was LOCKED! I had a 2 week old sleeping in my arms and a 2 year old on the other side of that locked door. Also on the other side of that locked door was my phone and any form of communication with the outside world. I quickly ran to my back gate, in which I quickly remembered Tim and I just bought a lock for. This lock has a code to unlock it... a code in which I could not remember for the life of me. So now I was locked out of my house, locked in my backyard, holding my 2 week old, can't get to my 2 year old, in the summer heat. oy vey!

I now had 2 options: jump the fence (I just had a C-section 2 weeks ago) or break a back window (and completely freak my 2 year old out). Well those options flippin stunk! In effort to keep my 2 year old calm, I went with the latter. But can a momma jump a fence while holding a newborn in their arms while not ripping their C-section incision open? Ummm I'm going to go with a big fat NO! Sorry Molli Grace, I'm going to have to desert you for a bit. Here, have a seat on this outdoor patio furniture while mommy hurdles over this 8 foot wall of wood. And y'all, I did! And don't tell my doctor because I'm pretty sure I broke his golden rule of "no strenuous physical activity for 6 to 8 weeks".

Once over the fence, my panic increased ten fold because now I am locked away from my newborn and my toddler. Every window and door of my house was locked. My next options were to either scream until someone heard me or find a phone. To make a long story short (this story is still long), I used a neighbor's phone and my sister brought over a spare key. My toddler was enjoying her morning episodes of Bubble Guppies, and my 2 week old was sleeping soundly on the back patio (The Martha Stewart Patio collection cushions are apparently super comfy and soft). So if you think you are struggling... I dare you to beat that! Ha!

So now that I have proven to you that I have it together and you should listen to my advice (sarcasm), here are some things I recommend for you mommas out there, particularly those that are tired (oh yea, that's all of you), and those that have no time for themselves (oh, all of you again?), and those of you who love your precious babies but have "those" days every so often (no way, all of you again?):

1. Get some help and words of wisdom from a friend/mentor. Particularly from a friend/mentor that has been there and done that. And one that will tell you the truth while staying positive and cheering you on. 

Titus 2:3-5
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

My mom and sister have been a huge blessing to me during this time. They have been my biggest cheerleaders and given me practical advice. They have also given me the "suck it up" and "pull up your big girl panties" speech just when I needed it. They have prayed for me, watched my babes for me, and even just sat with me so I could remember what it's like to have an adult conversation. And if you know a momma out their that is needing a little encouragement or just a warm body to talk to, go help her out! You will bless her in so many ways just by showing up.

2. Find ways to get help caring for your family and the home. A few days before I had Paysli, Tim was asked by a friend what my "push present" was going to be. Tim quickly told his friend that technically I wouldn't be "pushing" since I was having a C-section... not cool Tim. Not cool at all. Tim later surprised me by having someone come clean the house while I was in the hospital. We now have someone come clean the house every 6 to 8 weeks and oh lawd how great it is! I would give up a lot of "extras" (the occasional Starbucks, random spending at Target, etc.) to have extra help keeping our house somewhat straightened up. I get back a little piece of my sanity each time our house is cleaned. Don't get me wrong, the clean house thing lasts a total of 2.3 seconds, but I savor every single bit of those seconds!

I have had a few nights where Tim or my mom will just tend to the kiddos while I "catch up". And what I mean by "catch up" is get the laundry from the washer into the dryer before the clothes start smelling like mildew. Once again if you know a momma, more than likely she could use just a few minutes of you entertaining the kiddos so she can get caught up.

3. Run to Jesus! Because we are filthy, messed up, sinful creatures who need us some Jesus. Surround yourself with Him. I am currently reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young daily (or trying to) and following up in His Word. I am constantly blaring my Anthony Evans, Hillsong United, Bethany Dillon, Kari Jobe, and Shane & Shane... because honestly who can lose it on their toddler when they choose to wet their britches vs using the potty when Kari Jobe is playing in the background? If you can't get to a church service, I suggest finding a podcast or YouTubing sermons from your favorite pastor or your local church (I am loving Andy Stanley currently).

I can't tell you how many times I think about this scripture. Such a weight is lifted when  I remind myself I can come to Him when I am exhausted and have nothing left:

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

4. Get out of the house. And if you can get out of the house for a few minutes a week while someone watches your babes, even better. On Mondays I feel great and then by Thursday or Friday the walls are caving in. The theme songs of Bubble Guppies, Dora, Sesame Street, and now Paw Patrol (new show on Nickelodeon) are playing on repeat in my head all day long. I am living in poo and spit up, and I just need to get out! I know that I am a better momma, wife, and friend after getting out for a few hours here or there. I remember thinking it was hard to get out because honestly I didn't have the money to get out and just do anything I wanted (especially since we had someone coming to clean our house now). I then started training for 5k races and later a half marathon because running is FREE! And I was multitasking; exercising to lose the baby weight while being reminded what outside looked like and regaining my sanity.

5. Laugh at yourself. When you put your kid's shoes on the wrong feet... laugh. When you burn the toast, which was the only gourmet meal you had time to cook for the day... laugh. When your kiddos completely lose it in that public place that you braved and ventured out to ... laugh. And know that those women staring at you when your trying to scrape your toddler up off the ground, are staring at you because they've been there. They are not judging you nor rating your behavior management skills. They are simply thinking "girl, it will get easier!"

6. No formulas. Some of the best advice I received was about this particular topic. A mom of 3 told me to put away all the baby books and blogs. While I think its great to get some foundational information on how to care for our babies, I think one can go way too far in trying to live up to some of the unrealistic advice and formulas out there. For example, I fell for the "Potty Train Your 18 Month Old in 2 Days" formula. And folks, it was a complete disaster. I was frustrated with Paysli. She was frustrated with me (and probably wondering why mommy is making me walk around the house with her booty hanging out). I went to bed frustrated with myself and my sweet Paysli. If the experts say I should be able to do it, then why isn't it working? What is wrong with Paysli? What is wrong with me?  Those few days of trying to live up to a plan or formula were not healthy for me nor Paysli. A mom of 2 elementary aged kiddos I spoke to during that time of frustration reminded me that "kids don't show up to Kindergarten in pull ups." I needed to chill out and do ultimately what was best for my family vs what I read by an "expert". And does anyone else read some of these "expert" tips and advice and think, "have they ever lived with a toddler before?", "Do they know what it's like to be exhausted and have a few babies living under one roof?", "Who are these people and what planet do they come from?". But in all seriousness, don't try to live up to unrealistic expectations and formulas. We all learn quickly after our babies are born that many things come naturally when it comes to learning how to care for and raise our kiddos.

7. Brush your teeth. Yes, I said it. Brush your teeth... maybe even shower. Because if you stink your mood probably reeks too. Every momma needs those moments of feeling good about themselves. So put those skinny jeans on and get it girl!

What is your advice and words of encouragement to young moms out there? Have any tricks up your sleeve you'd love to share. Well share in the "Comments" because we mommas will more than likely  have a day we are willing to try any trick/advice given to us.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Molli Grace is here!

That's right! Miss Molli is here. Well, she's been here for over a month. I'm just a little late getting to my computer to update everyone. But can you blame me? I now have a newborn, a two year old, and a husband who's a football coach starting up the football season (Which means... What husband? Who's Tim?). But back to Miss Molli and her birth story...

Here is Paysli's "Big Sis" outfit.
My momma made the pants!
So talented!
I was scheduled for my repeat C-Section on August 15th. Tim, Paysli, and I had been enjoying an amazing summer together just having a blast and some days just letting ourselves just be bored because those days are few and far between these days. With Paysli, I had to have a C-section because she was large... I guess I should say that her head was large (like 99th percentile large). Honestly, all you momma's out there know that the head is the measurement we are ultimately most interested in when thinking about labor. Paysli wouldn't drop and my body became frustrated with that little nugget that was taking over my body . I think Paysli would still be hanging out in utero if my doctor wouldn't have gone to get her. So most of my family and friends expected the same from Molli. I on the other hand, I felt differently about Molli. Tim and I were a bit surprised during all of the sonograms that showed Molli's measurements were in the 50th percentiles throughout my pregnancy. I knew this little girl was going to be different from her sister. My third trimester hit and I consistently started feeling Braxton Hicks contractions, which I never had with Paysli. I also could tell that Molli had "dropped". With Paysli I swelled up like a blowfish and with Molli the swelling wasn't bad even in the Texas summer heat.

Around 37 weeks my Braxton Hicks contractions began to intensify, and I began to think that Miss Molli wanted to be different from her big sister. I continually told Tim that I thought Molli was going to come early, and I'm pretty sure he just brushed off this assumption due to our first experience with having a baby. I soon had some major nesting going on, which honestly I thought was just an old wives tale (It's real people!).

How do you entertain a 23 month old, a 2 year old,
 and a 3 year old at a hospital? Doctor's gloves!
And then August 12th came and Molli had plans of her own. I went and had lunch with a few friends from work (We went to Chipotle if there are any pregger ladies wondering what food might have put me into labor.) and then returned home to lounge on the couch like I had done so many of those August days... I'm pretty sure there is an imprint of my pregnant body in our couch if you look real close. I came in to check on Paysli and Tim, and while walking to go see Paysli in our playroom I felt something. It felt like I hadn't put the top of my Chipotle drink on all the way, and it spilled  on my shorts... But I had already drank every last bit of my drink. Or, in Tim's words of explaining what it felt like, "It was like I peed myself." (Classy right?) No Kati, you didn't spill your drink nor did you "pee yourself", but your water is breaking. I quickly told Tim what had happend, called my doctor, and anxiously waited for him to call me back. I had no idea what to do, especially since I never went into labor with Paysli. She was all planned out and my type A personality was okay with that. My doctor called back a few minutes later and said "We are going to have this baby today." Um what? But doctor, this really messes up the itinerary I put together for August 15th. I freaked and Tim... well he laughed . I remember looking over at him in my frozen state of panic and him giddily smiling and saying "This is exciting!". I ignored my big kid of a husband and began throwing anything that  looked like it was maternity-ish, labor-ish, or baby-ish in our SUV. And then we looked at our nearly 2 year old daughter and threw her in the car too. In efforts to keep this post from becoming a long chapter book, all to say... God blessed us with Molli Grace's healthy birth that Monday evening.
This picture sums up who was and wasn't excited about the
birth of Molli Grace. (From left to right: Paysli, Luke, Kynli, Wendi)

My momma and Molli. How cute is my
 mom in turquoise and yellow? Way to go mom!
Molli weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. She is a beautiful little baby, and I am once again amazed by God's miraculous creation of life.  I see a little baby, but I also see the work of our Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord for allowing us to care for your child that we are blessed to call ours. Thank you for breathing life into her. Thank you for surrounding us during our times of fear and anxiety throughout all our pregnancies. You have taught us to trust in You throughout this season of growing our family. And we have learned that through loss and sorrow or birth and celebration that You are a Sovereign God. You are sufficient and all we need. You are going to do big things in the lives of Paysli and Molli and thank you for allowing Tim and I along for the ride.

Paysli's first time meeting her little sister. So blessed!
Molli Grace, your mommy and daddy love you more than any words that I could ever type. It's our prayer that you first and foremost love and believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Our second prayer is that you stay out of trouble and take it easy on us during those teenage years. Ha! But really, we love you sweet girl. We love you now when you're a precious baby and we will love you until the day you lay us to rest. Just like God's love, we love you unconditionally. There is nothing you can do or say that will ever change or erase the love we have for you. We love you baby girl!!