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Joshua’s First Week

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I wanted to post this Monday to replace my weekly pregnancy updates, but…yeah.  First time Mom who got four hours sleep the first week after her son was born…I think you understand.  And thank you to those whose blogs I’ve neglected and who continue to visit mine – I will return as soon as I get a routine established that allows a bit of time for blog reading.

Joshua’s first week was such an emotional roller coaster.  My water broke two weeks , two days early and after the initial shock wore off, it’s been huge highs and huge lows.

As I was falling deeper and deeper in love with this new little man in my life, he was getting sicker and sicker without me realizing it.  Joshua was not doing well with breast feeding and was losing weight so I went into the lactation clinic across from Wesley, which was free for me since I delivered there.  The  nurses were alarmed at his glow worm coloring (we knew he had jaundice but couldn’t tell how bad until we were outside our home with different lighting).  When they weighed him he had lost a pound and an ounce in the four days since his birth, which was another red flag that our little boy was not doing well at all.

We went immediately to our doctor to get his bilirubin tested and it came back at 33, which is critically high.  We had to return to the hospital and admit our precious newborn to the NICU, and they told us he may have to have his blood replaced several times if they couldn’t lower his level quickly.  I was devastated and assumed responsibility since he might not have gotten to this point if I had been willing to supplement with formula.  I thought I had been doing what was best for him, and almost killed him instead.

The NICU isn’t set up for parents to stay there, unless you want to sit in a chair all night, and it was so awful to leave our son after only having him for four days.  He received the best of care, but that didn’t help the longing in my heart to have him home.

After two days under UV lights, we finally got to hold him again when his bilirubin was low enough and the lights were removed.  Saturday night we got to move into a family room with him and it was pure bliss having our baby with us again, even if it wasn’t at home.  And Sunday we got to take home a much fatter and healthier baby!  I took this video at the hospital while Dennis was gone to take Jessie for a walk.

I wasn’t the typical weepy pregnant woman, but I’ve made up for it in spades this week.  Even though my tears have been mostly justified, I cry at anything that makes me happy or upset in any way.  Now I know how my Dad feels – after his stroke, everything makes him cry.

But now that we have our little one home, what makes me cry the most is how wonderful my husband has been.  He has changed so much since Joshua was born.  I didn’t think he could improve, because he was as close to perfect in my book than anyone has a right to be, but he’s become even more perfect than I could have imagined.  He has been my rock, always leading us to prayer during the hard times last week, holding and comforting me when I had to cry sob, and loving our son so much it hurts me in a good way.  I didn’t know how he would be after having a kid he took 45 years to feel ready for, and I have to say he’s surprised me in the best way.

He was beside me during the delivery, pushing one of my legs back (knee towards my head) while a nurse did the other with every contraction, giving me leverage to push against.  He said it was amazing to watch another human come out of me and it just makes me weep to think about how he talks about our son with pride, describing how cute he is when he did something, etc.  Dennis never thought any other kid was cute, so this is a huge deal.  He actually loves to hold him!  I know that seems like it would be a given, but this seems very profound for a guy who has only held babies a couple times in his life (his nephews, and probably because Joan made him – lol).  He even thanked me for Joshua, because if it weren’t for me, he never would have had children, and now he’s so glad I changed his mind over the years.  I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

Yesterday was a big day for me, because it was my first day alone with Joshua.  Dennis, the baby-whisperer who I have totally relied on as a partner in figuring out parenthood, had to return to work because he’s already a week behind for his supervisor training.  I was so nervous.  I have been feeling really inadequate and inept as a mother, and this also left me in tears, but I prayed to God through them Sunday night as I fed Joshua, asking for help as I faced motherhood alone.

Well, I only had to be alone at home, because God sent me Mom to go to Joshua’s doctor appointment with me and to mail a package, and Dennis took part of his lunch to meet me at the lactation clinic (and no, I didn’t ask him to.  He has been so supportive of me trying to breast feed, and supportive of our family in general, I just have to cry!).  Everything went so smoothly, it helped boost my confidence immensely, especially how well it went at home without my rock.  (Although of course I was leaning on God, an even bigger rock than my husband.)  Joshua ate and slept well, and I managed to get the dishes and several loads of laundry done.  I’m gaining ground! :)

Maybe I won’t be so terrible at this motherhood thing after all.

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Thankful Thursday #115: living a romance novel


I married a good man.  I thank God every day for him because I know there are a lot of bad ones out there that I could have ended up with, but instead I got one of the best, IMHO.

I’ve dedicated many Thankful Thursdays to him, and have mentioned how he is perfect to me, even in his imperfection, like how he isn’t really a romantic, but I consider our love to be true romance.  Real.  It wouldn’t work in a romance novel, but it works for us.

Well, now that I’m pregnant, I’m seeing another side of this good man.  A side that would totally fit in with the men in romance novels!  And I’m so loving it.  Truthfully, it’s one of the reasons that I’m enjoying being pregnant so much and am in no rush for Joshua to come.

From the beginning, he has been doing more to make sure that I don’t overexert myself.  He watches out for me in a protective way that I find so sweet, but don’t dare tell him I think so for fear of messing it up. LOL!  I’m weird like that.  I thank him for his kindness, but don’t tell him how he’s turned into a romance-novel character because then he might freak out and stop being all sweet and concerned.  OK, probably not, but I’m not going to push it by embarrassing him.

So here’s my new romance-novel husband.  He rubs my feet and back whenever I ask.  If I say I’m hungry when we’re out, his #1 mission in life becomes feeding me.  And not because I get all crazy, I really don’t go into the “I NEED FOOD NOW!” mode, he’s just awesome like that.  He makes sure I don’t carry anything too heavy and strains himself to carry the bulk of the weight of furniture and other things we’ve moved, so that I don’t have to. The bigger my tummy gets, the nicer he gets.  Maybe he is just grateful that he doesn’t have to grow the baby? lol!

One night I went to Walmart late to refill our 5 gallon water jugs and he was so tired I told him to stay home and go to bed.  He didn’t like to, but he was just totally depleted and told me to wake him up when I got home so he could carry the jugs inside.  I told him not to be silly, that I could do it, but he insisted, saying he didn’t like me lifting the jugs even long enough to put them in the cart after refilling.  Because I knew he was worried, I accepted help from the sacker to bring my groceries to the car for the first time in my life.  I didn’t let him put the sacks of groceries in the trunk since I could do that myself, but told him my husband would appreciate if he put the water jugs in for me.  I was kind of proud of myself for stepping down where I knew I should, but wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t known how much Dennis wanted me to do it.  I guess we make a good team. :)

So my good man is spoiling me even more than he did before and I don’t know how I’m going to recover once things are back to normal and he doesn’t have a reason to be all super concerned about me any more!  LOL!  But I’m sure at that point, our new baby will distract me enough to make the transition easier.  For now, I really am enjoying living in my own little romance novel, and am always, always grateful for my man.

Thankful Thursday #80: beyond white light

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(10 Points if you can name that album!)

It’s been a while since the (in?)famous Dennis Miller wrote a guest post for me.  But truly, it is hard to come up with so many Thankful Thursdays, and I begged his help this week. He graciously agreed to help me out.  Please welcome my hubby back!

***

White light, when seen through a prism, shows that it is really made up of the entire visible color spectrum.

This proves to me that even plain things, when looked at differently, can show great beauty.

It’s not white light that I’m thankful for, it’s the ability to see what is more.

Anyone who has had a baby knows theirs is the cutest, smartest baby in the world. Pet owners love and adore their pets, even when they have chewed up all their owner’s shoes.

I laughed out loud reading this...

It’s the mind’s ability to see more than meets the eye that makes life much more fun.

Pinned Image

Imagination plays a part of this too. Instead of just going to the store with your family or wife, maybe you are with a small elite commando unit sent out by special order to obtain Miracle Whip and return it to base. You are not waiting on the mail man but waiting for agent MM to make a drop that contains vital intel of national importance.

Obviously I have gone from the objective (white light into colored) to the subjective with the last examples but I believe we mainly live in a subjective state.

So it is to you, oh reader of this mighty blog, (see I’m not just writing a blog but I’m William Shakespeare’s retarded cousin, the family calls me Binkie, penning a new missive of much importance)…what ordinary thing may you perceive today that has hidden beauty?

Thankful Thursdays #72: oh no he didn’t

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If Dennis had written today’s post, it would have been called “Thankful Thursdays #72: nose hairs.”

Every week I brainstorm with Dennis about what my Thankful Thursday should center around.  This week, he said, “One thing you’re probably thankful for, but not aware of, is your nose hairs.”

I lost it.  I think I laughed for a whole minute straight, doubled over, even while he continued on to explain his point.

“I mean, think about it.  They’re with you twenty-four hours a day and they’re always working for you, doing what they need to do.  But pretty much the only time we notice them is when a booger gets stuck in them.  They’re basically the unsung heroes of the facial orifices.”

Seriously, I could write another tribute of thankfulness for my husband based on how many times a day he makes me laugh.  But he has a point.  I mean, without nose hairs, who knows what kind of foreign objects we’d be sucking back into our lungs.  Nose hairs (OK, at this point, I’m starting to cringe whenever I say “nose hairs.”  Once is funny, but now it feels grody-lol.) trap dirt, viruses, bacteria and toxins until we blow them out, sneeze, or swallow.

Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like my blog was going this wrong before.  I’m really sicking myself out! lol

But I think you get the point.  NH’s (there, that sounds much better), just like every part of our bodies, serve a very necessary and important purpose.  People with not enough NH are three times more likely to suffer from asthma!  (Men, you can use that as an excuse when anyone gets onto you about your excessive NH.  It’s saving you from buying an inhaler.)  So let’s sing some praises to our nose hairs today, shall we?

And since we are completely crazy (as if you needed any further proof after reading this blog), we made two different songs to pay tribute to our lovely nose hairs.  Enjoy!

 

 

Black Bean & Butternut Squash Burritos

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Really, I don’t know what to tell you about these burritos.  They are fabulous.  And that sums it up.  Really, truly, seriously the best burritos I’ve ever made or eaten.  I have nothing else to tell you except that Dennis is losing his job.

WHAT?

Yeah, I know.  What a way to drop a bomb.  I guess I’m not good at breaking things gently.  Or very good at segues, apparently.  It’s something we’ve known about for several weeks and it’s something I’ve wanted to share, but how do you fit in personal information like that on a blog that usually only features recipes and reasons for thanksgiving?  So I figured I’d just fit it in where I could.

Burritos and unemployment.  Sure, it fits. :)

They no longer need him in the position he fills at his current job, and rather than move to a different department and take a pay cut and a position that would make him miserable, he accepted the soon-to-come lay-off.  He applied for a job with the state as a 911 emergency call-taker, which would be a pay raise for him, and something he would find fulfilling and rewarding.  He passed both his tests for the position with flying colors, and is scheduled for a “job information” session next week.  We’re not sure what that exactly means, but we think it’s a good sign that they’ve asked him to come back.

When our preacher says a prayer, many times he has thanked God for the doors he opens, and the doors he closes.  It is a good reminder to stay thankful not only for the good that God provides, but for things we perceive as bad as well.  In this case, the closed door may very well lead to a better future for us.

It is easy to become complacent when you can make ends meet, so it can be good to be forced out of your comfort zone to reach a little higher for  something that will allow you to provide better for your family.  In addition to some house repairs, I could really use a new car, because I’m not sure Baby will last much longer. (You can witness Baby in all her hooptie glory, and me in my Valley-girl glory, in this video.)  So this 911 job would be a step in a better direction for us!  We are hopeful, but we know that whatever may come, God will provide.

As for the burritos, really, there’s nothing else for me to say.  Best burritos ever.  I really hope you try them!

Black Bean & Butternut Squash Burritos

Roasting the squash and cooking the rice makes this a long process for a lunch. I recommend preparing these two things in advance, so that when you’re ready for lunch, you only have to proceed as the recipe directs: heat and eat!

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 (15 oz) can black beans (about 1.5-2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 of a medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed, & roasted*
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
4 large/extra-large flour tortillas

Toppings of choice: avocado, salsa, sour cream, spinach/lettuce, cilantro, etc

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, onion, and minced garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the salt and seasonings and stir well. Add chopped red pepper, black beans, and cooked rice and sauté for another 10 minutes on low. Add the roasted butternut squash to the skillet and stir well.  You can mash the squash with a fork if some pieces are too large. Add the cheese and heat another couple minutes.

Scoop bean filling onto tortillas along with desired toppings. Wrap and serve. Leftover filling can be reheated the next day for lunch in a wrap or as a salad topper.

*To roast the squash, preheat oven to 425F and line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Drizzle olive oil on squash and give a shake of salt and pepper. Coat with hands. Roast chopped butternut squash for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your cubes), or until tender.  I highly recommend using the second half of your butternut squash in Jenna’s Split Pea Soup. It is fantastic!

Recipe source: tweaked from Oh She Glows

Thankful Thursdays #67: ding dong, the glasses are dead!

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Happy happy, joy joy!  I never thought the day would come when I would be thankful for the death and destruction of Den’s glasses.  I often threatened to burn them, to run over them, to toss them in the trash, but alas I couldn’t do that to my hubby, who was hopelessly devoted to them.  He was bound and determined, it seemed, to keep them for all eternity.  But blessedly, the day has finally come when they snapped under the pressure of being the ugliest, oldest pair of glasses on the planet.  I think the shame of their ugliness led them to commit suicide.

Dennis bought these glasses in 1985, people.  I was five years old when he bought them!!  Who keeps a pair of glasses that long?  They turned gangrenous the way cheap metal does, and there is some really horrid-looking stuff seemingly growing beneath the nose piece. BLARF.

I can’t believe I even touched these. *shudder*

I feel the urge to soak my hands in bleach just looking at this photo.

By the way, on a total random note, but sort of related since I’m thinking of my poor hand, check out the wicked manicure I did for St. Patrick’s Day:

ANYWAY.  Although this style of glasses actually came back into fashion recently (seriously, who keeps something so long that it goes in and out of fashion before you get rid of it???), they were never a good look for him.

To prove my point, I submit exhibit A, B & C:

Not. a. good. look.

In contrast, here is Dennis wearing the glasses that I helped him pick out:

Much better.

The old glasses have made me gag since the first time he put them on in front of me.  He doesn’t wear his glasses all the time (though he’s supposed to), only for driving, so the first time we went for a ride together, despite not knowing him very well, I laughed out loud.

“What us UP with your glasses?!  They make you look like a beefcake.”

Unbeknownst to me, beefcake actually refers to a hot semi-nude male, which Dennis took great delight in telling me.

Only momentarily flustered, I countered, “OK, well, it makes you the opposite of a beefcake, then.  Like a beefy jock, and not the beefcake kind, that is illiterate and maybe was dropped on his head as a kid…and uses steroids that makes him look fluffy instead of defined.  Those glasses totally take away your definition.  They are so. wrong.”

Yes, I was harsh, but need I remind you how bad his glasses were???

Dennis never had any great rebuttals to my tirades, which he was exposed to many times over the years as my hatred of the glasses grew, as did the many ways I plotted to destroy them if he refused to throw them away, but he always found them hilarious.  (Honestly, I would have stopped if it hurt his feelings, but I did it mostly for the satisfaction of making him laugh.)

My hatred for his beloved glasses became a running joke between us, to the point that when we witnessed the ear piece fall off when he tried to put them on before an errand, we both laughed uproariously.  Dennis asked if I was going to burn them the next time we went camping, a scenario I had vocally fantasized about on numerous occasions, but I told him no.  They had suffered enough.  They deserved to rest in peace.

Fare thee well, my tenacious gangrenous foes.  Enjoy your afterlife in the dump.

Amen and amen.

P.S. Can you tell what kind of recipe I’ll be sharing on Friday? :)

Dennis’ Blog Take-Over #3: Using Time Travel to Accomplish New Year’s Resolutions

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I have been posting my husband’s blogs without any introductions from me, but I’m going to butt in here just to say hi because I miss you guys!  And to apologize that this one doesn’t flow very well because I’m too tired to edit it further (yes, I have been editing Dennis’ blogs, and you would thank me if you could see the messes he hands me! But I AM appreciative of his help and don’t complain…at least not much-haha!), plus he is sleeping, and I feel like I can’t make too many changes without his input or it will be my blog and not his.  Thank you for putting up with Dennis in my absence.  Despite the title, he has a serious one for you today, if you can believe it, so you’ll get to see another aspect of him before I kick him off my blog and return next week.  I can’t wait!  :D

XOXO,

V

P.S. If anyone is interested in a monthly feature from Dennis, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

*******

As I write this, 20 days have passed since the New Year.  When you read this, 23 or 24 days will have passed.  In a way, that makes you a time traveler.  You are able to view a past event as though it is happening right now.

Time is an interesting subject.  For this blog, we are going to consider that for most of us, time is really arbitrary.

Quick!  What is your age?

Did you know you have at least three different answers to that question?  They are:  chronological, mental and physical.  What I always find interesting is people mainly focus on chronological age, but that is the only one you can’t do anything about.  You were born when you were born, and each second takes you closer and closer to the other extreme.  You can change your physical age by exercise, or the lack of it, and by what you eat.  Mental age can be decreased by too much television, or just a general lack of mental stimulation (like reading something I write).

I find birthdays interesting, because as far as I can tell, I really get just one day older.  People have asked me, “What does it feel like to be 44?”  And honestly, I feel one day older.

Every 365 days the Earth goes around the sun.  On day 1 most people decide NOW is the time to take charge of my life. This is THE year I’m going to lose that extra weight!  I shall master squid juggling by this time next year!

At the dawn of a new year, it seems like it can be done this time.  You are more determined, and with a stronger will.  You tell your friends, you write it down, even post it on the internet.  You make your goals, but to accomplish them, you have to realize that it’s a step by step, moment to moment decision and action.

Think of it this way.

You are sitting on your couch.  You want to turn the TV on. Your hand travels from where it is, to the remote, hand picks up remote, finger or thumb presses the “on” button.  That was four basic actions to get a simple result, and we could have thrown in hand-eye coördination, tactile sense, and a host of other things needed to perform the above task.

But the most important thing is this.  There had to be a steady stream of consciousness to make it happen.  If you were distracted at any time during the event, like if a giant purple sock suddenly appeared in front of you and launched in an explanation of the importance of the human knee cap, then the cycle of action would be broken and the TV would not have been turned on.

What I’m saying is this.  You have got to make moment to moment decisions to get to your goals.  You have to think beyond the “here and now.”  You’ve got be a time traveler.  If you are in your car, feeling like, “Hey, I really need ice cream,” the “needing ice cream” is a here and now thing.  What you have got to do is think ahead of that.  Will the ice cream make you feel better or worse one half hour from now?  Or will you be able to say a week from now, “I have not had any fattening foods in a week, and I feel great.”

You can practice keeping a stream of consciousness during the day.  When doing dishes, try just doing them for a while, don’t think of anything else but the dishes maybe for just one plate. What you will find is your mind will wander off.

Making resolutions is easy.  But the mind does tend to wander.  The best thing you can do is know that you have to make those resolutions again, again and again in order to make them happen.

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