Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mommy Lessons; regrets, faith and ability

I’ve been a Mom for 9 months and 11 days… not that I’m counting or anything  This has been probably the most fulfilling and challenging role I’ve ever played in my life.  Unfortunately, in such a short time I can already look back and see where I wish I would have done things differently. 

Growing up, my Grandma Brown always told me – don’t live life with regrets.  Acknowledge your mistakes, failures and decisions you would change looking back – take those moments and choose to learn from them.  If you live life with regrets, you will eventually regret your life away. 

So, I choose to learn from my parenting choices and drive forward being the best Mom I know how to be.  I have learned a few Mommy lessons I thought I’d share.

1.       Take pictures, video, scrapbook, blog, write things down, etc…  10 years from now or even next week, you’ll barely remember that amazing-silly-random thing that your child did, that happened to your family or that you just want to remember.  People have always made fun of Jeremy and me for taking so many pictures.  We literally have 1000’s of photos documenting our relationship and now, Harper.  I will never regret.  Nor, will I regret this blog.  As high level as it is, it is my way to remembering my Harpsicle.

2.       Find a support system.  Ask for Advice.  Neither makes you weak or a bad parent.  But, you should not parent by yourself.  Even if you are a single mom, you should always have a support system; your mom, your grandma, your pseudo-mom, your best girlfriend who’s had a baby or is going through motherhood at the same time, your sister, your neighbor, a stranger you meet at the bus station.  I don’t care.  Millions of Moms are out there, and willing to share their experiences, offer advice and mostly, just listen when you need to cry, laugh, boast or find out how someone else survived another sleepless night. “it takes a village”

3.       Don’t lose yourself.  Remember who you were before getting pregnant.  Hold on to whom she is for dear life while embracing your new role as a mom.  Someday. you will have an empty nest and what will you do then?  Search for your identity again?  Sure, there will be adjustment to being an empty-nester, but you will look back wistfully wishing you were still that young and amazing woman you were before becoming a mom.  You can still be that amazing woman AND be a mom.  It will take work, but your children will benefit from it.

4.       Let the things go.  You will make mistakes.  You will let your baby cry too long, you will forget diapers at home, you will miss a soccer game… life has moments you wish to re-do.  But, you cannot dwell on the bad.  Cherish your accomplishments and learn to redirect after a mistake.

5.       Do not compare your child.  Your child is your own.  They will learn, grow and develop at their own rate.  Comparing to someone else’s child will only disappoint or cause you to be prideful.  Celebrate your child for who they are and their accomplishments.  This will carry you as a parent until they are old… and you are too.

6.       Sometimes you’ve gotta get dirty.  Whether you let the kids run in the puddles, finger paint or just plain skip cleaning the bathroom, your life will pass you by if you do not enjoy it.  You can wake up someday and look back without memories made.  Enjoy your child(ren).  They will not be yours to hold forever.  Someday, they will be grown and on their own… as will you. 

7.       Cherish your spouse.  You cannot redo your relationship after your kids are grown.  As you should take care of yourself, take care of your spouse.  Make them a priority over your kids.  Yes, that sounds strange… but your kids rely on parents who are in a strong, caring relationship.  If you aren’t with your child’s parent anymore, you must have a good relationship.  It is the only way to raise a child well.

8.       Trust God.  God has given you the ability to raise a child.  Every moment of life as a parent, is based on trust that God will provide, guide and guard.  God says he equips up, guards up and directs us.  Are you looking to Him?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Eating Mommy Crow

As I write this, I am blushing.  As the sayings go; I ate dirt, ate humble pie, ate my words, eat S#!+, swallowed my pride, tucked my tail…  I ate Mommy crow.  I.Was.THAT.Parent. 

You know, the parent at a wedding, with a crying baby.  Oh, my word.  My whole life this has been a vow to NEVER be that parent; taking your child to a wedding, when truly they should be left at home.  At home with a baby sitter.  Then, September 29th happened. 

Let me preface this; a few years ago I attended a wedding with my sister, Cari.  I was her date, because her husband was at home with the flu.  She and I attended an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception with her two young children.  Jackson and Emilie were well behaved during the ceremony, attentive and quiet.  But, the night went to hell in a hand basket at the cocktail hour.  During the appetizers, Jack was eating a cracker and choked.  He coughed and coughed... until he threw up - in front of the entire wedding who was standing four feet from us, in the line for appetizers.  I was mortified.  Then, if that wasn’t enough, during dinner Emilie straight up had the flu and threw up all over our table.  Luckily, I tossed a plate in front of her just in time, so she didn’t cover our table with vomit.  Cari ran her to the bathroom, where she emptied her stomach and then some.  I apologize once again to those who shared our table that day.  Thankfully, the bride and groom never knew the better… but, that is the day I vowed I would not be the parent with a child who shouldn’t have been at the wedding. 

I was my cousin, Michelle’s, personal attendant.  She and Garland started dating around the time Jeremy and I got engaged.  They have worked hard to earn their degrees before getting engaged and married.  Their wedding was a hot, sunny Fall day in MN.  But, my Harper was sick.  Ugh. 

I left home at 9:30 AM and didn’t go back. With all of my family attending the wedding and Jeremy’s parents in California, we didn’t want to leave a shick baby with almost strangers watching her.  Jeremy had her sleep late for her midday nap to see if she could sleep off her stuffy nose.  She woke happy and attended the ceremony happy (mostly because she saw Mama then).  But, as time wore on after the ceremony Harper became wheezier and crabbier.  We left the church because it was musty and old, hoping that would cure her worsening condition.  During the reception I ran around and made sure the bride and reception was taken care of.  Jeremy watched a fussy, inpatient, squirmy almost-9-mo-old.  He kept her attention and happiness, as long as he could.  Finally, she broke.  Cries of, “Mama, Mama, Mamamaaa” and “Baba, bababaa” (asking for either her bottle or to nurse!) were screamed in the reception.  Ugh, I was so mortified.

Finally, as late as we could push it we left.  I felt bad for the bride, but this Mama had her duties mostly accomplished and had a higher duty to tend to.  My poor girl just wanted her Mama holding her.  I have to say, I will still aim to keep that vow in the future.  I don’t want to ruin someone’s ceremony or reception with my children misbehaving, whether they know it or not! 

Disclaimer; Harper was happy and content, entertained by her Daddy, Kurt & Kayci Charter and her cousins.  She even ventured into a photo booth for the first time and loved it!  J

nine month FAVORITES

Harper has really grown and advanced over the past month.  She is learning many, many new things and has begun to excel in her playing and learning skills.  So, here’s an update on her/our favorites right now.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn™ Stride-to-Ride® Puppy.  This is an awesome toy which will stay with her for a while.  Right now she just sits beside it and plays unless we set her atop it; but eventually she can ride and walk with it.  (Thank you Auntie Jess & Aubrey!)

Harper has gotten into different sounds and noises… with that I want her to learn musical sounds and noises.  She loves to sit and play music with her little tikes Baby Tap a Tune Piano and LeapFrog Learn & Groove Alphabet Drum.  I especially love the drum because it has different play options:  alphabet, dance along and musical play.  It also has a Spanish setting!  She will learn a lot playing this drum.

Baby on the go became a new challenge when Harper started eating food regularly.  Food had to be ready for on-the-go, a bib and definitely a change of outfit were necessary (once again).  I have made most all of Harper’s food.  But, Plum Organics have these awesome baby food squeeze pods which are mess free and easy to use.  Plus, they’re organic!  Who can pass these up on a $1.25 sale for a 6 or 4-pack!  Happy Baby/Happy Tot also carries their varieties of baby pouches which are organic as well. 

As Harper is growing, she will require more water and gaps is getting old enough to use a sippy cup!  I didn’t think we were anywhere near close enough, but that’s what is planned for her learning and development.  Since she has bottles down to a pat (this girl “lounges” while downing her bottle.)  Avent sippy cups are awesome because they convert from a bottle to sippy cup which help ease the learning process for your babe.  Harper can chug her some water and loves acting like a big girl with her sippy cup. 

Destroying a tower is every child’s dream, right?  Well, Harper looooves to have a tower built and knock it down.  The Shure Cutesie Wooden Blocks are wooden and have the best designs on them.  They have the whole alphabet and numbers up to 30 I believe.  I love their look and feel.  Easy for Harper to hold, but also will grow with her in counting and alphabet. 

It’s Fall in MN and the cold weather is just around the corner.  We’ve not pulled out full on Winter gear yet, but Harper’s Baby Gap Sweatshirt fits sooo well and it is fleece lined which keeps her snug as a bug.  Shoes are every Mom’s nightmare.  They are pulled off, fall off and are a pain to get on!  Robeez go on easily and stay put.  Babies can tug and pull, or even chew on them while wearing.  They also aide in learning to walk because they form to the child’s foot instead of a hard-soled shoe which are difficult for a new walker to wear.  Similar options are sold at Target on the cheap!

I toss those Robeez on Harper and let her have at it in the Graco Walker.  This car will pass her driver’s test first go at it!  She’s got parallel parking down like none other.  She pulls right up next to anything and everything (she isn’t supposed to – the wine rack, the dvd shelf, etc…) and literally runs about the house, all while giggling!  I love seeing her mobile, yet contained.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Up All Night

Fun Fall Day!
When we watch Up All Night, Jeremy and I can’t help but laugh just a big louder and cry just a bit more because we wonder how the writers have so correctly duplicated our lives.  It started with sideways glances at each other.  Caching the other person waiting for a reaction about a scene or phrase used in the show.  Awkward laughter after Chris or Reagan did something that exactly mirrored a recent mishap in our lives.  Sigh… then, we just accepted it.  Now, we try to embrace it and when ridiculous things happen in our lives, we truly just wait for an Up All Night episode about it.
·         Reagan is fiercely competitive, she and Chris cannot handle game night, except playing on the same team.  I hate to admit this flaw strength of mine, but I shall.  Thank you to my Goodmanson jeans.
·         Chris is a stay-at-home-dad who left his job to watch Amy, he was previously very successful at his job.
·         Chris is now going back to work.  Jeremy, too is signing a contract for a new job… both, hesitation about losing their time with their daughters.
·         Reagan had issues going back to work and balancing motherhood.  Weird, I never felt like that.  Ever.  Ok, don’t judge!
·         Post baby realignment to life had its bumps for Chris & Reagan, but doesn’t every relationship?  Right?  RIGHT?
·         As Jeremy rose to daddy duties, he mistakenly stepped on this OCD, independent Mama’s toes.  Remember Reagan and the junk door?  We never had that fight.  We just fought about messing up the organized junk drawer.
·         Jeremy complains about the lack of POPS groups.  Chris struggles to find Daddies to connect with.
·         Remember the “couple friends”.  Yeah, we do too…
·         Baby Fever.  It comes and goes.
·         Oh home office.  Yes, it is interesting to have Jeremy “work” from home.  Sigh…

Monday, October 8, 2012


How 9 months have passed, I will never know!
·         ON THE MOVE!  You are crawling everywhere, pulling yourself up and in the walker, you are unstoppable!  Our house is nowhere, near baby-proof and Mommy isn’t ready for you to be walking yet!  You still army crawl… are you going to jump straight to walking??  You have mastered standing for about 8 seconds before a fall.  You giggle and beam with pride at that accomplishment!
·         First Daddy’s Birthday!  You gave Daddy hunting gear and KEEN shoes and lots of sloppy kisses.
·         Speaking of, you now give kisses when asked and your favorite thing is kissing Harper in the mirror.  You crawl over to the mirror in your room and are constantly kissing yourself.
·         High fives, waving and clapping.  You love to show off your talents.

·         Dancing and jumping.  When Mama asks, “How do you dance, Harper?,” you get your groove on!  You love to jump, especially holding someone’s hands or in your exersuacer.
·         WIGGLE WORM!  Changing diapers and your clothes is a race against your patience.  You cannot be contained and will not stand for it.
·         Oh child, testing Mama’s patience is, fearfully, in my future.  You’ve already begun to bite and giggle (child after my own heart) or touch something you are not supposed to.  Repeatedly.  Mama will tell you no and redirect you.  You look at me with those gorgeous, calculating eyes and rush yourself back to the hot plate.  Mama swatted your hand the other day and you laughed.  Then, the second swat was a bit more… you decided to tattle on me to Grandpa.  Unfortunately, he had no sympathy for you.  Testing boundaries.  You are your Mother and Father’s child.  Lord, give me patience and strength. 
·         “Yeah!” You respond and shake your head yes, to just about any question.  I LOVE this.  It’s adorable. 

I am so thankful for you, Harper Kendall.  I pray God gives us the wisdom to raise you right, to lead you well and the knowledge to allow you freedom to make mistakes and be yourself.  I pray we never judge you for who you are, but love you for who you choose to be.  I pray you choose to be the woman God has called you to be.  I know you are going to test boundaries, be bold in who you are and lead others.  You will love passionately and strongly, I can see that already.  You will be someone joyful and fun. I cannot wait to learn more about you and the person God created.  I learn patience and trust from you daily.  I will never father where the love I love you with comes from as it is fiercer than any love I have known and is more abundant than anything I can comprehend.  Be passionate, about something and anything love.  Don’t let life pass you by, live it.

I call you are healthy, whole, wise and happy. 

We believe:
You ARE smart.
You ARE beautiful.
You ARE important.
You ARE special.
You ARE the best!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Girlfriends & Your Health

As a new working mom, it is easy to just “get through the day”:
change diaper, work, baby kisses, play with baby, sweep the floor, work, dust, change laundry load, stare at the pile of clean laundry still in the basket, cook dinner, pump, try to find a moment to kiss, ahem, baby daddy, clean the toilet, take a shower, go to your fourth meeting of the day, clean the shower while taking said shower, watch Ellen-Dexter-The Walking Dead or any TV show at that - try to watch the news, pump, change another diaper – fight to change baby in 3.5 seconds before she crawls away, clean bottles, nurse, cuddle sleeping babe to get just one more minute of the day with her, visit parents-siblings-or some family, make baby food… you get the idea.  Once you’ve gotten through the day, you think back and realize, you forgot to respond to four texts, three voicemails, eight emails and two Facebook messages… ugh.  Where have your girlfriends gone? 

They’re still there… waiting.  Some, less patiently than others.  Trust me. Sadly, I’ve already lost a few. 

I hate to jump on my 2012 soap box again, but I haven’t had the best 2012… thank God 2012 has turned the corner into being a good end to the year having my new baby (incredible, life altering experience) shortly preceded my dad having a major stroke and Harper being hospitalized (both horrific and terribly difficult situations).  Life hasn’t really made time for girlfriends and fun.  I have tried to take moments for girlfriends.  But, I haven’t succeeded very well. 

A Stanford study has proven that men, they live longer when being married to a woman hmm… interesting point huh?.  (You’re welcome Jeremy!)  Women?  We live longer nurturing relationships with our girlfriends.  Good solid girlfriend time is as vital as working out! (We have to make time for that too??)

That is why, I am officially taking a “girls trip”.  Sans baby daddy, sans baby.  Sans diapers.  Praise God!  I know I will desperately miss Harper and Jeremy, but a trip that includes nothing but girl talk, wine and a pool sounds amazing, let alone sleep and being allowed not to think, plan or make decisions for five whole days.  Blissfully planned.  I cannot wait to take some time to realign my life, body and soul.  I am thankful for a good group of girlfriends surrounding me who truly invest into my life and allow me to have a small place in theirs.  I could not ask for a better group of ladies to be surrounded with!

Thanks for all of your love, support, kindness and putting up with this crabby, MIA lady for the last 7.5 months!