Friday, October 31, 2008


We had a wonderful night taking Brooke trick-or-treating! John unfortunately had to work but his parents came over and helped me out. First I took Brooke out with John's dad for a bit while Patty stayed behind and passed out candy at our house for us. Then John came home for his dinner and Brooke helped him pass out candy for about half and hour. After that she went back out trick-or-treating with John's parents while I passed out candy to our 150 trick-or-treaters. Brooke came home with TONS of candy and she was so wired from all of the sugar. Lol! Some things in life are just worth it though:-) You should have seen the sparkle in her eyes and how giddy and silly she was. She was seriously running into the walls and cracking up hysterically over everything. I found myself laughing pretty hard too!

These pictures tell it all! Enjoy....

My little Buffalo Bill's cheerleader

Just look at those blue eyes!

Strutting her stuff!

Brookie and mommy

Brooke with her grandpa

Scoping out her massive stash of candy

Enjoying the fruits of her labor!

Just look at how sticky those hands are...

It's almost 9 and I FINALLY got her settled down and ready for bed. It took some effort on my part but now my little princess is sleeping soundly. I think I'll go watch a Christmas movie now. Fun times!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Musical Baby

Brooke sings the most precious songs and it seriously melts my heart every time! A couple of weeks ago she was really into There's Just Something About that Name, but now it's Jesus Loves Me. All throughout the day she says, "Mommy, sing Bible tells me so." Lol! So of course we sing it constantly. This is her rendition...

Jesus loves me, know.
For Bible tells me so.
Him belong,
Weak but strong,
Yes, Jesus loves Brooke.
Yes, Jesus loves Brooke.
For Bible tells me so.

I'm telling you, each and every passing day this song sounds more and more like the real thing. It's so amazing to hear it! Listening to Brooke's little raspy voice sing is the most adorable thing ever!

Another song that Brooke has been singing lately is Happy Birthday. It's weird because her obsession for the song came out of nowhere. She'll be sitting in the middle of the room and sing, "Happy Birthday to you, Mommy." She usually inserts the name of the person in the room. Lol! Sometimes she'll sing one phrase for each person or object in the room... This morning she sang happy birthday to Lamby and to oatmeal. It's hilarious! We've been talking a lot about Christmas so I told Brooke that it was almost Jesus' birthday so now she's really into singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Too cute:-)

At church one night we were singing I've Got the Joy, and since then Nathan has been super into it. It's hilarious (and extremely cute!) when he sings it, too. I guess Brooke caught on because on the way home from church tonight, this is what I heard in the backseat....

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy (and so on and so forth!)
I'm so happy!

Way to go, Nathan, for teaching your cousin something so special! I think it's really sweet that she picked up on it.

I know how happy I get when I hear Brooke and Nathan singing songs to Jesus, but I can't even imagine the joy that He must get in heaven when He hears little toddlers singing praises to Him. I imagine that that it has to be some of the sweetest music to His ears. These kiddos are so impressionable and they're like sponges... It's so amazing to see when they are picking up good things, in a world full of so many "bads." I so look forward to more songs in the future!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I would like to share a classic "Jillian moment" because it's so typical of me. It's quite hilarious to me, but to other characters of the story, I'm not sure how funny it really is. Enjoy....

Today we took Brookie to Barnes and Noble to play in the kids' area. We LOVE going there because it really stimulates Brooke and there are lots of fun things to play with. While we were there a little girl, who I found out was 26-months-old, joined us with her mommy and her older brother. The mom and I got into a conversation so John wandered off to find sometime to read. He came back with 60,000 Baby Names. We were looking for different ways to spell "Adrienne" so we began to flip through the book. John got to the page with all the different variations of our beloved name that we've chosen (IF it's a girl) and he stumbled across the name "Adrianna." He said, "Hey honey, what do you think about Adrianna?" I said, in my less-than-tactful way, "YUCK! That just sounds stupid. It's taking 'Adrienne' one step too far." The mother of the fellow toddler that Brooke was playing with looked over at me and said, "Well that's my daughter's name and WE really love it." AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I wanted to hide underarock!!!!! Do things like this happen to the rest of the world... Or just ME?

Minutes later the lady took her two kids to the bathroom. She looked over at me and said, "We'll be right back." However, I took that opportunity to high-tail it out of Barnes and Noble. I even bribed Brooke with a cookie from the Starbucks shop in the front of the store to prevent any opposition from her. I didn't want to confront the lady who I just insulted. Lol! Would you???!?!?!?!?

I got to thinking, though.... I love the name Brooke. John and I thought long and hard about what to name our princess and when we came up with the name, it didn't matter to us what anyone in the universe thought of it. So, similarly, why in the world would this lady care about what I, a totally ignorant stranger, thought of her daughter's name? Let's hope she thinks like me!

The moral of the story is... Think before you speak! Lol! I've always been guilty of saying exactly what I think and not really giving it too much forethought (though I can say that I've gotten better with age). This is ust another example of how I should sometimes bite my tongue and bite it hard!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Losing My Identity

My mom and sister took Brooke to the children's museum in Rochester today. They left yesterday afternoon, spent the night, and then headed out to the museum. I seriously couldn't wait for the moment when we were reunited, which was around 4 this afternoon. I did nothing but miss her for the entire 24 hour period and she was all that I could think about.

John had to work last night so it's not like we could even do anything romantic or fun together while Brooke was away so I ended up going out with my friend, Elaine, from church. We went to The Outback for some awesome steaks and then we did some shopping. I found myself thinking and talking only about Brooke. We could be discussing something and Brooke's name or a cute Brooke story would come up out of nowhere. Elaine has a 10-month-old little boy, so she knows what it's like, but who really wants to listen to someone carry on and on about their kid all night? Lol! I'm afraid that I'm turning into one of those mothers.

This morning John and I slept in until 10 and we woke up to the most beautiful rain ever. We laid around in our PJ's watching scary Halloween movies on the TV together. It was the perfect, romantic morning... Except, we just missed Brooke the whole time:-( I felt so lost without her. It was NOT the same watching TV without playing with blocks!

After John went to work I ran some errands and missed the presence of my princess as I was driving and shopping. The extra work of toting her and all of her stuff around is so worth it just to have her precious little smile beaming up at me or to hear that little raspy voice of hers. She just melts my heart so much!

Motherhood is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it scares me how much it has stolen my true identity. Do you know what I mean? I often feel that I'm nobody or that I do nothing important... unless I'm Brooke's mom. She is my total purpose and my life revolves around her and meeting her needs. I often forget that for the first 21 years of my life that I had other interests and purposes other than Brooke. Isn't that hard to believe? I used to work at a job that I loved (even though to many people it was stupid), have hobbies (such as acting, playing the piano, going out with friends), and be able to communicate about myself or my feelings without thinking of someone else. Never again, for the rest of my life, will I be able to be selfish again.

I love my life, but it's crazy to me to think that life can never go on as it was pre-baby. I am forever changed and the funny thing is that's okay:-) I truly feel like God created me just to be a mommy and there is no greater satisfaction than knowing that I'm accomplishing His will for my life by raising Brooke.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The BIG Appointment

It's with great joy and excitement that I inform you that our baby is doing great!!! He or she has a strong and healthy heartbeat and it was music to my ears to hear it! According to my ultrasound I'm 8 weeks, 6 days, but we're going to go by my LMP date, which makes me 8 weeks, 1 day and gives me a due date of June 4th! That will be such a nice time of year to have a baby. I can't wait:-)

I have the strongest sense (like I did with Brooke) that we're having another little girl. In fact, I just know we are. Every time I pray for the baby I always seem to naturally refer to it as a her. I seriously will fall off the table at my 20-week ultrasound if they tell me we're having a boy because I'm so prepared for another little girl. Don't get me wrong... I would love to have a little boy, I just don't think that I am. If my suspicions are right, our baby's name will be Adrian Reese and I've been mentioning that name an awful lot lately because I am so positive. I'll look pretty silly if it's a boy! Lol!

The doctor talk to me at length about my desire for a VBAC. I told him that I knew we had time to talk about it because I still have 32 weeks to go, but it's something that I think about a lot. He told me that he will support me in a VBAC if it's something I want to do, but he thinks that my best option will be for an elective C-Section. He said that I am not an ideal VBAC candidate and that he's afraid that I'll end up laboring and pushing to have a C-Section anyways. It's hard for me to accept that an educated doctor doesn't think that I can physically do it, but it's something I have to work through. If we do end up electing to have a C-Section, he said that we'll end up delivering the baby at the end of May. That's a lot to think about...

Okay, I'm going to go relax with John before he goes to work. I just wanted to share our happy news with everyone:-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feeling Kind of Anxious...

Tomorrow is my appointment with my OBGYN. If we hadn't have had the hiccup in the road last week then it would have been our first check-up for the baby. Part of me feels glad that the scare happened because as a result of that we've already seen the baby's heartbeat and had our first ultrasound. On the other hand, however, the spotting that I had has made me feel kind of neurotic about things. I obsess over my symptoms... If I'm cramping (or not cramping), if I'm not throwing up as much as I think I should be, if I have other distinct pregnancy symptoms, etc... I seriously over-analyze everything because I'm so anxious about losing this baby. I hate it because I know this is wrong!

I would like to say that tomorrow will "fix" all of my worrying problems and that I'll instantaneously have every little worry stripped away from me, but I'm pretty sure that I'll come up with new worries. I hate how I do this to myself. The Bible says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things prayers and petitions." If I trust the Bible and believe it to be absolute truth (which I definitely do!), then why am I continually plagued with worry? I'll admit, pregnancy is a very scary thing at first because there are so many unknowns, but that does NOT mean that God can't handle it. Gosh, Jillian, let itgo! I'm working on that...

I'm thankful that my appointment is at 9 tomorrow so I'll have it out of the way first thing in the morning. That will leave me less time to stew over the possibilities of what could be wrong. My mind likes to wander away from me while waiting! Please be praying for me tomorrow. I'll update as soon as I possibly can!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Love My Husband:-)

I just want to take a minute and brag on my wonderful husband. A girl can do that from time to time, right?? Anyways, this is why I am extra appreciative of him today...

This afternoon we were really busy running errands and Brooke fell asleep on the way home... NOT GOOD. I was feeling very sleepy and looking forward to my nap, but I knew that she would wake up as soon as we got home. This is a new phase that she's been going through lately and it's VERY frustrating. Anyways, just as I predicted, she wouldn't go back to sleep and I was so extremely spent so John sent me to bed. Hey, I wasn't going to argue with him! I reluctantly went upstairs (feeling kind of guilty) and I told him to wake me after a half an hour, but of course he didn't listen. I woke up 2 hours later from the most restful, amazing nap that I've had in a long time. It was heaven sent!!

That was incredibly sweet of John and all, but what really made me smile was the amount of fun he and Brookie were having when I woke up. I swear to you... Every single toy that we own (and we have A LOT!) was either on or in use. I don't think I've ever heard so many toys going off at the same time:-) On top of that, the two of them were reading books, wrestling, and laughing hysterically. They enjoy each other when I'm awake too, but sometimes it's nice for them to have a couple of hours of one-on-one time with one another. It was a priceless scene that put a huge smile on my face!

When I tried to join in on all of the action Brooke was NOT having it. It was clear that she and daddy were having far too much fun and I was crashing the party. For the rest of the afternoon she was glued to John's hip and he had to do everything for her. I hate to admit it, but she really is a daddy's girl. I've pretty much known that since the first few hours of her life.

John was so happy that I got a nap and that made me feel good because I tend to beat myself up for taking time for myself. I always try so hard to be "super mom" and in my silly mind, "super mom" certainly doesn't need abundant amounts of rest. Lol

I am so blessed to have such a wonderful and helpful husband. It's like he lives to please me and help me as much as he can. I know I've said it before, but I seriously don't get how single moms do it! My husband is my rock and my number one support system!

Well, John's off tonight so I'm going to enjoy a nice, relaxing movie night with him. Have I mentioned lately that I love that guy??!? :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Adventures of Lamby and Brookie

When we took Brooke to the ER for her sprained ankle they gave her this adorable little stuffed lamb. I wish I had a picture of it that I could post on her, but I just don't have one right now. Darn! Anyways, I had no concept of how attached Brooke would be come to this little stuffed animal, but she's completely hooked to the thing. Here are some Lamby facts for you:

*Brooke must sleep with Lamby 100 percent of the time. She gets VERY upset if we forget to put Lamby in the crib with her. She cuddles with it (or she, whatever) orholds it by the ear. It's really precious to watch!

*Each morning when Brooke wakes up she yells, "Mommy, Lamby hungry. Want oatmeal!" So of course we bring Lamby on downstairs for the breakfast routine and we have to pretend to feed her and everything. Lol! At least she's concerned about her lamb's nourishment!

*Lamby goes everywhere with us.... Church, grocery shopping, car rides, visits to see family members, restaurants, etc... Luckily Brooke can be convinced to leave Lamby in the car sometimes. I don't mind the silly stuffed animal tagging along with us, but I always fear that it will get lost or filthy when we take out and about.

*Yesterday John's parents took Brooke (and Lamby too, of course) to the pumpkin farm. Apparently the whole way there Brooke begged for shoes for Lamby to wear. So after they were done at the pumpkin farm, the went to the dollar store and purchased pink shoes for Lamby. They are such a pain because Brooke likes to take them on and off but it's kind of cute, I must admit!

*I was fixing Brooke's bow for church tonight and Brooke said, "Lamby wants bow!" So guess what I did? I found a way to attach a bow on that silly stuffed animal's head. It looks pretty darn nice, if I do say so myself!

*Brooke has been known to "nurse" Lamby. She sometimes asks me to but I always encourage her to do it instead. :-) Hehe

*Lamby plays with blocks with us. Brooke says, "Lamby want play blocks!" It's hilarious because she will sit there and give the lamb a huge pile of blocks, while only rationing 2 or 3 blocks for me to play with. I've been replaced:-( Lol

*When Brooke wants a treat, she uses Lamby as her "scapegoat" by saying, "Lamby wants treat!" I haven't quite figured out if she truly wants the treat for the stuffed animal or if she's using Lamby as a front to con me in to giving her a treat. Hmmm...

*Lamby has her teeth brushed and hair combed. She's a very refined stuffed animal.

*Whenever Brooke has a sippy cup with milk in it, guess who else has to have a cup? You guessed it! Lamby!!

*Lamby probably gets more hugs and kisses from Brooke than John and I do combined.

I think this attachment to Lamby is absolutely adorable! I know it's just a stuffed animal, but she takes very care of it. Lol! It's really precious watching her obsess over the lamb and I hope that she doesn't grow out of this stage quickly because I'm having a lot of fun observing all of this!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Miss My Piano!

This may sound pitiful for many of you, but for several years I would play the piano for sometimes more than 5 hours a day. (Yes, you read that right!) There were some days when I would even play for up to 7 hours... Not because I was under strict training or anything or because I had to, but because I loved to play more than anything in the universe. I would get out my favorite music... Classical music by great composers like Beethoven, Bach, Rachmaninoff (my favorite!), Mozart, etc.. I would also play all manner of other types of music such as love songs, church songs, modern compositions, Broadway theater music, Elton John, Billy Joel, etc... You name it, I played it.

I can remember it being beautiful outside and my brother and sister would be out and about playing, but I would find comfort and refuge behind my faithful piano. Nothing really enticed me enough to pull me away from playing my heart out. It was a great way for me to release so many different emotions... If I was sad, I played very slowly and softly, and if I was happy I would play loud and fast. My mom always said that she knew when I was mad because I would play "angrily!" I usually dragged out a good Rachmaninoff prelude for such occasions as that!

My freshman year of high school I got really involved in my school's drama and choir program, which pulled me away from the piano a lot, but I would still manage to play for maybe 5 hours a week or so (many times more). When I was a sophomore I got my job at Red Lobster, where I ended up being a host manager and trainer, so I was VERY busy with that. That left very little time for the piano which was the big downside to be successful at my job. When I was a senior I started dating John, who obviously captivated the majority of my free time. The busier life got, the less time I had to enjoy the piano. Before I knew it, I rarely got to play for pleasure.

When John and I moved into our first house we took my childhood piano with us. It was never quite the same though because the piano was so old that the move did not do it well. It never felt like my same old piano every again. When Brooke came along we got rid of the piano altogether because our house was so small. Now, however, we have all of this room with nothing to fill it with and I want a piano SO badly!! I can envision my nights filled with music and relaxation behind the piano. Nothing sounds more relaxing to me than that! I've decided though, that I would really prefer to have a weighted keyboard (like I use at church) because I can control the volume, which would mean that I could play it however late I want to without waking up Brookie. The other advantage to an electric keyboard is that they require no tuning. I'm all for that! The prospect of me getting this beloved keyboard is not good though because it's like $600 for a cheaper one and I can think of many other things that I can spend that much money on other than something for ME.

I have been my church's pianist since I was 11, so at least I still get to play on Sundays. I play (and sing too) in the worship team and then I play a solo piece for the offertory each week. I enjoy that time so much because I rarely get to sit behind the piano and play anymore. I get so many compliments on my music while I'm at church and it really embarrasses me because it's GOD's talent and not my own. I literally pick up a piece of music two minutes before the offertory and play it without practicing it. That's not something that I am capable of... It's totally God working through me.

So yeah, if you're Bill Gates (or someone with his amount of money), feel free to ship me a nice Yamaha weighted keyboard. You wouldn't be giving me just a piano, you would be giving me countless hours filled with joy and relaxation. :-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Politically Incorrect

I am so sick of this presidential election campaign!!! I am very patriotic and I advocate voting and being well informed about the candidate I choose, but the constant slandering and debating just starts to get to me after a while.

I have been feeling this way for a while but last night when I heard stupid Barack Obama insult John McCain and the republican party over and over and over and over again, I seriously just wanted to punch him. I found myself wishing that I could immediately find him and his snobby looking wife and trip them or something. UGH! What got me extremely ticked off was when Obama was insulting Rudy Giuliani. Hello Obama! Have you forgotten that he's not even your opponent anymore???? Get a life and talk about something/someone that's actually RELEVANT to this election. What else really got to me is that I heard Obama give the same speech at two different locations... Once at a memorial dinner and once at some rally in VA (or somewhere like that). You would think he could get some more original material? Nah, that's too much to ask.

I just don't understand the hype over Obama, anyways. I'm not sure why girls gawk over him because I think he looks horrendous. I dare say that John McCain is more attractive than him! (Okay, maybe that's stretching it!) I don't think that he has a very charismatic personality and I also think that he gives horrible speeches. Just listening to him seriously makes my skin crawl. Yuck!

Obviously I have more issues with Obama than his appearance or his foolishness... I have BIG issues with what he stands for. The fact that he supports abortion really, really kills me and I dread what will happen to unborn babies in America if he is, in fact, elected. God help us when that day comes. The sanctity of human life is evidently something that's not important to Barack Obama and that's a crying shame. He is also for gay rights, which is another thing that I struggle with. I fear the peril that his standards on homosexuality will inflict on the institution of marriage. Again, God help us. Our country is in turmoil as it is and I seriously can't imagine what will happen if this man with "feel good policies" is elected president. I know that God's hand is on this election and that nothing takes Him by surprise. I'm trying to take peace in that but seeing the country flock to such an ungodly candidate really scares me.

I was really raging over the election yesterday when a Christian girl (who I know through the computer) was ranting and raving about how she wanted to vote for Obama for his good economic policies, among other things. Each person is entitled to vote for whoever they want and I realize that there is not a perfect candidate, but how in the universe can one vote for someone who is pro-choice and pro-gay rights and have that align with your belief in God's word? I just don't get it. Don't we, as Christians, have the moral and spiritual obligation to be "The light of the world" and uphold the values of our Father??? If Christians vote, and vote according to the scriptures, Obama wouldn't have a chance. VOTE Christians. Our country needs you!

I realize that this post may seem rash and I know that it's extremely politically incorrect, but I'm just so sick of God being pushed and pushed farther out of the country that I love. People on the opposite side of the spectrum as me don't hold back their displeasure and I am no longer biting my tongue either!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Confess, I'm In OVER MY HEAD!

I'm not trying to be overly dramatic or anything, but I seriously think I'm having a nervous breakdown! I have been pretty sick with this baby and I feel like my whole house is in shambles because of it... In reality, I need to vacuum, organize Brooke's playroom, fold some more laundry, and mop the floors, which isn't TOO bad, I guess. It's so hard to get to everything I need to get to when I'm busy throwing up and feeling nauseous constantly, on top of chasing a 20-month-old around the house.

Right now I want to vacuum upstairs so badly because I haven't done it yet this week but John threatened me within an inch of my life not to carry the vacuum up here. People hear that your doctor tells you to take it easy and they go gaga! Lol! I have a wonderful husband who has been truly amazing and helpful, but I just feel like I'm slacking. I keep reminding myself that the first trimester is exhausting with the sickness and everything and that it will pass, but I'm getting so discouraged. John has offered to take over the laundry but the man works so much that I like to be the keeper of the home that I'm supposed to be. I do NOT accept help well from others and I have to keep reminding myself that John and I are team and I'm not some failure to let him pick up my slack a little more.

With Brooke I was sick like this until about 14/15 weeks and then life got a lot easier. I specifically remember still being sick until then because we went to a graduation party in Buffalo when I was 14 weeks pregnant with Brooke and I threw up at McDonald's. The things we never forget! Lol! I hope and pray that maybe the morning (or all day) sickness goes away quickly. It's horrible but so very worth it to carry a healthy baby.

With all this being said, I think I'm going to go fold some laundry and slowly but surely my house will hopefully be up to my standards. I am constantly learning that housework isn't everything but it still drives me insane!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Miracle

I was going to wait until I was further along to let the cat out of the bag, but I'm pregnant! I have a very special story that I would like to share because God has provided my family with a miracle today and I simply can't wait another x-amount of weeks to share! So, without further ado, here goes nothing...

I found out about 3 weeks ago that baby #2 is on it's way. I have been throwing up every day and feeling extremely nauseous, tired, and awful for most of the time. Because I always heard that sickness meant strong HCG levels, I rejoiced in that and it gave me a strong sense of security. Well, this morning at about 8 o'clock, my world came crashing down when I woke up to light spotting. I saw the minuscule amount of blood and freaked out. I called the doctor and they were able to get me in immediately. On the way to the hospital, I kept telling John, "I do NOT want to go down the miscarriage road again. I CANNOT do this." He reminded me that it was in God's hands and that we needed to rejoice regardless of the situations we encounter. That was hard for me to put into practice as we waited to see the doctor.

First things first, the doctor did a pelvic exam and felt around. He said that my uterus was obviously growing and that everything seemed to look and feel perfect. That was encouraging. Then he told me he wanted to do an ultrasound but he needed a few minutes because the machine was being used. As we sat in the waiting room, many thoughts were running through my head, but God's peace truly reigned over me. I told God that it was HIS problem and I that I trusted Him to do what was best for my family.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, the doctor called me in for the ultrasound. He first got a view of things and I didn't see much going on in there. I was freaking out (internally, anyways). Only seconds later my eyes feasted on the most beautiful thing ever... My precious baby's heartbeat!!! The doctor looked at me and said, "Your baby is measuring right on track, it has a strong heartbeat, and things look great!" Tears of joy filled my eyes because I felt like a true miracle had been performed by God. Life is so fragile and my baby is so seemingly delicate, but knowing that God's got it figured out gives me great hope that things will be okay.

We have another appointment next Friday and until then I'm on restricted activities and am supposed to take it easy. I am NOT good at resting but he suggested that I do just that. We're about 7 weeks along so far, giving an estimated due date of June 4Th. He said that we can be "cautiously optimistic" and that we'll monitor things very closely over the next several weeks.

The doctor printed out a picture of the peanut today and Brooke grabbed it. We told her it was her brother or her sister and she kissed it. Lol! She held onto the whole way home and said, "Show Naynay (Nathan) brother/sister." Ha! One day when Brooke is picking on her younger sibling we'll be able to remind her that she loved him or her at very first glance so she should shape up and be nice:-)

So, yes, it's been a very long, emotional day. It's hard not to freak out over every little pain or discomfort I feel because I'm still nervous, but I know that paranoia is only going to make things worse! I would appreciate prayers right now that God would send comfort my way, that only He can give.

Monday, October 13, 2008

All Done Nursing?

I never, ever thought that I, of all people, would be an extended nurser. I always knew that I wanted to nurse Brooke and wean her on her own terms, but I never envisioned 20 months worth of nursing! Honestly, now that it looks like we're done, I'm so, so proud that I held on for 20 months. It wasn't always very easy (especially in the beginning) but the breastfeeding relationship between Brookie and me has been amazing.

For a few reasons, over the past couple weeks I have felt that it's time to wean Brooke of her last feeding. She's been weaned down to the the morning feeding for probably about 5 months now. It's been the hardest feeding for me to part with because 1) it's extrememly emotional for me to think about this special thing we do being over, and 2) there's not greater way to start off the day than to snuggle and nurse with my princess. I was really torn and I didn't know what to do so I just prayed about it and told God that I needed help! Then this happened... Saturday she woke up at 8:30 and was super happy so she didn't ask to nurse. Sunday she woke up at 7:30 (while I was getting ready for church) and she didn't ask nurse. Finally, this morning she woke up arond 7:45 and didn't ask to nurse. It just kind of happened. Who knows though, tomorrow morning she might wake up at 6 and ask to nurse and I'll be pretty tempted to give in!! Something tells me I should stick with it though... :-(

It's odd because yesterday afternoon Brooke woke up from her nap and I was resting so John put her in bed with me. She looked at me and asked to nurse, which is typical for her immediately after waking up. I told her that she couldn't nurse because she was a big girl and then she look at her stuffed lamb that she was carrying and said, "Lamby nurse!" So yes, I had to pretend to nurse lamby and then she took a turn pretending also and all was well in the world. Today, the same exact thing happened, except Brooke didn't even mention the word "nurse" and was content to snuggle on my chest and relax with me. That's what makes me think that we're done.

I'm not as emotional about this as I thought I would be. A few months ago I thought she was done and I was absolutely hysterical but I'm pretty much fine this time around. I think I've had time to prepare myself for the end of nursing and I'm so extremely grateful for the hours upon hours of time we've spent together nursing.

All I have to ask is HOW DID MY BABY GET SO BIG?????? It's so fun to watch but man, they grow up way too quickly!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Insanely Busy, Crazy (but Wonderful) Life

We have been going non-stop this week, it seems. I love to get on here and update but I haven't been able to do that since Tuesday. That's a long time for me! Here's what we have been up to...

*One of John's co-workers had a heart attack on duty last week:-( He's only 34 years old and he has a wife (who's 27) and a 3-year-old little girl. He was transferred to a hospital that's about 2.5 hours from here and his wife is really leaning on the support of the police force so we went up to be with her from Wednesday to Thursday. We had a great, great time with this lady, Lori, and we were truly encouraged by her optimism and enthusiasm. It's going to be a long road for this family, as he's going to be in this hospital for at least several months and a heart transplant is in their future. Wow... I can't even imagine what they must be going through. We felt that the time we spent there meant something, which is always a great feeling.

*We had to rush back on Thursday because John had to testify in court for one of his cases at 3. He didn't end up getting home until a little before 6 but when he got home we grilled some steaks, got ice cream for Brookie, and then watched a movie. It was so nice to have John home and have a "normal" night without being interrupted by the horrible evening shift that he works.

*Last night I went out with a friend from church. She heard that I was really lonely and has been trying very hard to keep me busy, which makes me so extremely happy. It's so nice to have friends and family that care! I didn't end up getting home until 9, which is super late for Brooke. I had TONS of cleaning to do around the house because today I hosted a baby shower for John's aunt and I was trying to prepare for that.

*As I just said, today was the shower. It went really well and John's aunt got a lot of nice stuff so I was happy! I still have a little bit of the aftermath downstairs so I'm going to go get all nice and cleaned up.

Other than being busy, life is wonderful. We're still adjusting to this shift and it continues to be hard, but I have to try to find God's purpose in this. Brooke is doing great and she never ceases to occupy me with silly things she does. I love that baby so much:-)

Alrighty, time to go clean and then iron clothes for church tomorrow. Does the work EVER end?!?!??!?!??!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Overcome with Sorrow

Today I was made aware of a family that lost their precious son only 16 minutes after he was born. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face because I just read the lady's blog and there are no words to describe the anguish I feel for her. I want so desperately for this all to be a dream for her, but it's reality and it's something that this family actually has to face. I can't comprehend what they must be going through at this moment.

I know that I am blessed to have Brooke, who is healthy, strong, and thriving, but I guess that when I thought of this family today that I felt an extra measure of gratitude towards God for allowing her to live in our home. The silly things she does and the little facial expressions she makes are constant reminders to me of how precious and beautiful life is. Life is also a fragile thing, as we saw today with this tiny baby, and that scares me so bad. Our very lives are only sustained by the grace of God and He can chose to take it from us in a heartbeat.

I am weeping for this family because I can't imagine missing out on all of the wonderful things that parenting Brooke has brought forth in my life... Staring at her while she sleeps, tucking her into bed, singing to her, praying for her, holding her, kissing her, hugging her, laughing hysterically with her, and just being able to experience the world through her inquisitive little eyes. Brooke is my world and I can't imagine how different my life would be without her to love.

It's crazy to think that God is still sovereign, even in the midst of death and heartache. Only He knows the bigger picture and only He has the capacity to make an impossible situation, such as this, work out for His honor and glory. I am really questioning God's purpose in all of this but I still recognize that it's in His hands and that this precious baby is resting safely with his creator, free of pain or fear.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thoughts on the Duggar's

I consider myself to be a very conservative Christian woman and I value the Bible as absolute truth and strive daily to apply its standards and values to my life. With that being said, I just watched the Duggar's (the family with 17 kids) on TV and it was all about their son courting his girlfriend and then asking for her hand in marriage. It evoked so many thoughts that I just had to write them down...

First off, I absolutely, 100 percent, no-questions-asked believe that sex should be saved for marriage. That is not negotiable and I think our society has totally perverted sexuality. However, as strongly as I feel that way, I do NOT think that it is wrong to kiss before marriage. As I watched the Duggar's son and his fiance awkwardly gaze into one another's eyes without kissing, it almost felt uncomfortable watching them not take that step with each other because it was so obvious that they wanted to. I kept thinking to myself, "How the heck do they do that?????" Even when he proposed they didn't even kiss. Crazy, huh?

The part that really baffled me the most was that they had to ask their parents for permission to hold hands. In my eyes, there is nothing inappropriate with a couple in love holding hands. A funny thing that people said in my Christian high school (some jokingly, some not) was, "Holding hands leads to babies." I guess that's true if you practice no self-control, but all I have to say is that I held John's hand for years without having a baby...

I also was amazed at how the son and his fiance had to be CHAPERONED while they went to dinner. I think that when a couple is trying to stay pure and save intimacy for marriage that they shouldn't put themselves in precarious situations in which mistakes are more prone to happen... Such as being alone in the house, laying together in the dark, sleeping in the same bed, etc... However, what the heck is a couple that hasn't even kissed yet going to do in the car, at the movies, or at the restaurant? It's great to be held accountable to someone in the area of purity, but I truly think that not being alone EVER is taking it way too far. How are you supposed to get to know each other more deeply if you always have somebody hovering over your conversations? If John's mom (or mine, for that matter) had gone on all of our dates before we were married, I think that we would have carried a lot of baggage into our marriage. There's a word in the English dictionary called "trust" and if your 20-year-old son cannot be expected to take his fiance to dinner alone without fooling around, then really, how well have you raised him in the first place?

I do have respect for Joshua Duggar for his convictions in this area, though. I truly do not think that I did anything wrong by kissing my husband before I married him, but for this guy, he thinks it's not appropriate. I guess that even though I disagree with his standard I definitely think he has integrity because his talk seems to match his walk. That's a rarity in this day and age. Truthfully, I think it's fantastic that they wanted to save that first kiss for their wedding day, but I just don't think it's wrong to not save it. There are plenty of other special, wonderful things to enjoy on your wedding days, even if you have already been kissed!

When it all boils down, I think was irks me about the Duggar's is that I feel like their legalism and extremism towards courting makes me, the conservative Christian that I am, seem like them. Do you know what I mean? I almost feel like people will associate ME with being like that because we share similar religious values. I get very defensive about legalism because it has burned me before and I have no respect for that type of rule structure.

I was raised in a very Godly home by wonderful parents and I kissed my boyfriend (at the time) and held his hand right in front of them. There was never an argument or a discussion about that but my parents did want to know where we were and what we were doing. I am thankful that my parents didn't try to hold me too tightly (like trying to stop me from kissing John) because I seriously think I would have eloped or something!

Again, I seriously have respect for the Duggar's because they value purity, but the level in which they take it is what has the wheels in my head spinning. Again, if you want to save kissing for marriage, my hat goes off to you... I just know that I could have never done that and I don't think it's fair to expect that people do!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What's Bugging Brooke?

I don't know what's going on with my baby and I'm starting to get very sad for her. She was up several times last night crying (which she NEVER does) on and off and then she woke up this morning with a runny nose. She was a COMPLETE grump while we got ready at church and during Sunday School and the sermon. This is so not like her!

She is getting her final eye-tooth but she has never, ever been a fussy baby with teeth. Besides, I've been giving her Ibuprofen regularly to help with that and it seems to make no difference one way or the other. I would definitely think it was an ear infection or something but she's not running a fever and she always runs a high fever with ear infections. I'm stumped...

I took her home from church and put her down for her nap, assuming that she was just very sleepy, but when she woke up she was literally uncontrollably angry. She wouldn't let John or me hold her and she screamed hysterically, bashed her head against the wall repeatedly, and hit herself in the head over and over again. That's what causes me to think that she's in some sort of pain and extremely frustrated. It was also weird because after a bit she automatically flipped the switch and became the world's most lovable, content baby ever. This adds to my confusion over what's bugging her!

I'm wondering if Brooke, like me, is adjusting to our schedule change. If it's killing me, a grown an adult, then I'm sure she notices the difference as well. I bet she misses her daddy every bit as much as I miss him.

If she sleeps like garbage tonight and is still grumpy in the morning then I'm going to call her doctor. Hopefully tonight will provide restful sleep for her and tomorrow she'll be back to herself.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Madness Begins

John started his new shift today. It was really hard because he hasn't worked since Monday night so I'm missing him HORRIBLY right now. This transition is going to be difficult in many aspects, but I'm really trying to have a positive attitude. It's not easy though...

I often wonder why God placed ME, of all people, with a cop. I love my husband dearly and I would marry him over and over again without thinking twice, but his job is so isolating at times and I'm the type of person that NEEDS to be with people constantly. I don't enjoy down time or solitude... I like to be going, doing, talking, laughing, etc... I look at other people who have normal schedules and it's hard for me not to envy the time that they have with their families. They don't have to spend nights, weekends, and holiday alone like we do. I can't even imagine that type of lifestyle. Through the mist of this all, I'm trying to discover what exactly God wants to teach me. Maybe he wants me to depend more on Him and less on John? I just don't know but I'm praying that God grants me peace as I try to live according to this new schedule.

Brooke and I had a VERY rough go of it tonight. We were in the car with my parents on the way to the mall and somehow Brooke got angry with me and smacked me on the face. Obviously that is NOT something we tolerate so I told her to say sorry. No lie, for about 20 minutes the child REFUSED to say it. She looked right at me in the eyes and said, "No sorry." I was shocked at her audacity. Every time she refused to say sorry I would smack her hand and finally she cracked and said sorry. I was crying by the time we were done because I was so hurt that I had to hurt her hand and it killed me that she was so blatantly disobedient. It was the most frustrating thing ever. Times like that really make me long for John...

Well, I'm off to go occupy myself. I guess I can mop my clean floor or iron John's outfit tomorrow. I'll figure something out, I'm sure.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Brooke's Odd Obsessions

My baby cracks me up! She goes through these phases where she picks certain things (many of them are seemingly weird things for a toddler) and latches onto them SO tightly that it's impossible to pry her away from them. Here's the current list of thing she's obsessed with....

1. Sweaters/Jackets- Anytime I put a sweater or jacket on her, it's impossible to take it off because she arches her back and refuses to remove it. I'm not sure what it is but she is adamantly opposed to being without her sweater/jacket, even if it's hot. She says, "No sweater off!" Lately I've been avoiding putting them on her at all costs but it was 40 degrees this morning so I kind of had no choice. This one cracks me up!

2. Oatmeal- The first thing I hear in the morning, snack time, and dinner time is "oatmeal." I guess there are worse foods to be addicted to but I happen to think it's an awfully weird food to eat all throughout the day.

3. Brushing her teeth- We're still in the "B's brush" faze. She steps on her step stool near the bathroom sink and brushes her teeth for sometimes 20 minutes. Getting her toothbrush away from her is merely an impossibility but my rule is that it stays at the sink and nowhere else, which she seems to obey. It's hilarious because now she pretends like she's spitting and it's the most funny thing ever.

4. Rosy Cheeks- Otherwise pronounced as "O-zee cheek." It's not even worth me wearing makeup anymore because she loves to "help" me with my makeup and anytime she goes near my cosmetic bag she makes a disastrous mess. I cleaned out an old compact and gave her, along with her own special brush, but it's not good enough for her... She wants the real thing, which of course she can't have. I always pretend to put some of mine on her and she gets a kick out of it, but it doesn't keep her satisfied for long. She also likes when I pretend to put "shadow" on her. Lol! I don't want to teach her that makeup is a necessity and that she needs it to be or feel beautiful so I'm not sure if I'm setting a good tone here. What do you think?

5. Blocks- Yes, we're still hooked on blocks. Our days are pretty much occupied by building towers.

6. Princess Baby- This is her favorite book, by far. All you mommies of princesses out there need to get this book. It's so cute and perfect for any little girl! All throughout the day I hear "Read it, Princess Baby." Brooke says this phase very mechanically so it's wicked cute to hear. I always ask her, "Brooke, where's princess baby?" And she points to herself and says, "Right there!"

Life with Brooke around is certainly busy, but I'm loving this age so, so much. She's at that point now where she says and does the most precious things that I laugh constantly. She definitely fills our days with so much joy!

Speaking of the princess, she's awake from her nap now. I'm off to play with blocks!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trying to Make Lemonaid out of Lemons

John got a phone call from his lieutenant yesterday informing him that he was switched from the night shift to the evening shift:-( This is a HUGE deal for our family because it changes our schedule drastically and we'll be seeing a whole lot less of each other. He was working from 11 P.M to 7 A.M. which made for lonely nights, but he would be up around 3 or 4 in the afternoon and we would have hours together. Now, with this new shift, he'll be working from 3 P.M. until 11 P.M. When John was on this shift the last time he never got home until 1 or 2 because it's so busy that most of the time he's required to stay late.

I'm dreading that we won't be able to have dinners together anymore. I think that that's so important to the family dynamic and I'm really going to miss that. It's also a really hard shift because I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to wait up late for him when Brooke is now waking up at 7 or so. In my head I just can't figure out the logistics of how all of this will work and I'm really scared of how our life is about to change.

This shift is going to drain or relationship, I'm afraid, because John and I won't get much alone time. With his schedule now, Brooke goes to bed at 8 and we have from 8-10:30 to ourselves. Now, we'll be up in the mornings (John will most likely sleep several hours later than us though) and have the afternoons together, but it won't be one-on-one couple time like we used to have... It will be 100 percent infused with Brooke. However, I'm just now thinking this, maybe I can put her down for her nap around 12 and John and I can have a few hours of relaxation together before he goes to work? We'll have to figure something out. As much as we love our baby and enjoy parenting her, we really do need a little bit of adult time each day so we can openly communicate with one another and have time to connect.

So, to think of the positives, I'm brainstorming some GOOD things about this shift:

1. We get to go to Sunday morning church together (never mind that he can't come on Wednesday nights now).

2. We get to sleep together at night... Which is awesome!

3. John won't be so tired all of the time so hopefully he'll be able to feel semi-normal, which I really want for him.

4. I'm going to make us a nice lunch every afternoon (which will replace our nice dinner) and we'll have that to look forward to.

Wow, I really had to reach for those positive things but I'm trying so hard. God will never give us anything more than we can handle, but right now, I feel so burdened by this and like I don't know how I'll carry the load. This is a HUGE change for us and I'm praying that God will help us get through. It could be worse, right? He could be in Iraq or something awful like that, so I have to keep it all in perspective!