Why We’re Still Breastfeeding

In case you don’t already know, I have a 15 month old baby boy. Well, actually, he’s definitely a toddler these days rather than a baby! He’s happy and healthy (well, actually, right now he’s pretty miserable as he’s got his first really bad cold – we’ve been invaded by the Great Green Snot Monster) and growing every day. He’s also still breastfeeding for about 50% of his nutritional needs.

Pre-Nap Post Breastfeeding Snuggles with Momma

Pre-Nap Post Breastfeeding Snuggles with Momma

Yup. That’s right. He eats anything and everything, as he feels like, but he still is breastfeeding anywhere from 4 to 10 times a day. At least 2 of those times is in the night. He LOVES it. I love that he loves it. But not everyone around me loves it or understands it. And that makes me wonder sometimes why we are still doing this.

Then we have days like today.

As I mentioned above, our house has been invaded by the Great Green Snot Monster x 3. All 3 kids have been down for the count for a few days now although Liam only just succumbed to the Monster late yesterday (Sunday). I don’t know if you’re supposed to feed a fever and starve a cold or starve a fever and feed a cold but either way, Liam’s appetite for food has been obliterated in the last day. I’m not worried about that though because he’s not stopped nursing at all. He’s getting the liquids he needs and the nutrition he needs at the same time and I can rest easy as he works hard to fight this virus off. Which leads me to another reason why we’re still breastfeeding – I’ve been fighting the same virus and I know that as my body fights it and produces antibodies, he’s getting those antibodies which are helping his body as it fights. He’s not fighting alone and that’s so cool!

There are other reasons why we’re still breastfeeding – Liam derives comfort from it when he’s upset or out of sorts. He finds it soothing when he’s tired and trying to sleep. He thinks it’s yummy. It’s good for him. It’s guaranteed cuddle time with Momma every day.

Then there are the more selfish benefits for me. It means I need to eat a lot more calories than I usually would have to. This allows me to freely eat anything I want. I eat the healthy stuff but honestly I can’t ingest enough good-for-me food to get the calories I need which means I get to eat candy and chocolate and chips as much as I want too! I know this is going to end when the breastfeeding ends but for now I am totally embracing and enjoying it! The other benefit is that I finally have boobs! Or rather I have bigger boobs! Silly, I know, but when you’ve spent most of your life as part of the itty bitty club it’s kinda fun to be frustrated by clothing because they are too big for once!! Again, I know this won’t last so I’m fully enjoying the experience despite it’s frustrations!

There are all kinds of technical research out there for why it’s good to keep on breastfeeding past 1 year and while I value all of that, I don’t have time to read it nor do I wish to bore people with it so when I’m asked why we’re still breastfeeding, it’s days like today that I refer to and reasons like these above that I list.

And now I need to go and feed my baby again. He’s miserable and wants his momma.

The Day Between

Woman-Grief-Painting-150x150Saturday afternoon I sat on my bed, trying to make sense of the thoughts in my head. Earlier in the day I had gotten the news that a friend’s sister’s battle with cancer had taken a turn for the worse. They weren’t sure what that meant, still aren’t just yet, but they knew it wasn’t good and I could only imagine that they were feeling rather devoid of hope, confused and unsure of what to do next. As I thought about that, and about the crucifixion of Jesus, I couldn’t help but consider what those around Him felt that day between…and as I thought of that the words flowed. This is what I wrote:

“Darkness descended yesterday late in the day, taking with it all hope, certainty and confidence in what tomorrow would bring.

All we are left with are questions – what do we do now? What do we BELIEVE now? How do we move forward from here? He said “It is finished.” but WHAT is finished?

I am empty, feeling drained of thought and emotion. Frozen in place, unable to comprehend what has happened or to sort out what it means.

My heart aches, weeps, physically hurts, as I watch the family grieving this loss. So much pain contained in their faces. My life has been affected by this and it hurts me but how much more it must hurt them. I know the pain they are feeling, having lost loved ones of my own – different circumstances and certainly different reasons but loss none the less. So I know the pain but there is a huge difference between my losses and this loss. My losses, while hard, have also made a certain amount of sense. At least there has been reason to explain them and make them easier to accept. 

This, THIS loss makes NO sense.

He was INNOCENT!! The most right man any of us has ever known or will ever know. I realize it sounds impossible but He NEVER DID ANYTHING WRONG! EVER! Not one bad thing or thought! 

How does a person condemn a perfectly good man to die in such a way? Where is the justice in that? And if they can do such a thing with someone so free of guilt, couldn’t they also do this to me or any of the others?

I am afraid.

I thought I would spend the rest of my life with Jesus, working and living alongside Him and His family and friends. But now I don’t know what I am going to do or where I am going to go. I don’t want to leave these people – I really have no place to go – but I can’t imagine they will want me to hang around for too long. I’m not really one that is welcome in most circles given my past. With Jesus gone, I’m sure it won’t be long before they realize that.

Jesus was the only one who knew my past and truly did not care about it. It’s like He saw who I really was, what I had done, and then forgot all about it. I have changed since I started following Him and I know I will never be that person I used to be again, of that I am certain. But I am uncertain of what the others see.

The only one I was certain of is now dead.

Oh Jesus!! I don’t understand!

I feel so alone. So afraid.

How does life go on when the one you have loved the most, been loved by the most, has been killed and now lies in a tomb?

My heart is breaking. I cannot wait for Sabbath to be over so that I can go to His tomb. I just want to be close to Him, even if just His body. Maybe things will start to make sense then.”

I wrote this from the perspective of a woman, one who had a sullied past, who wouldn’t be accepted as equal in society of those days. We know Mary Magdalene was such a woman, and she was the one who found Jesus’ tomb was empty and the first with whom He spoke. The despair she must have felt the day between would have been erased in a moment!

So often we are faced with loss, with hardships, that don’t make sense. The days following are dark and so very hard. It can seem impossible to move forward. And yet the day comes when everything changes. We have to live through the Friday and experience the Saturday in order to get to the Sunday. I am certain that what Mary discovered on Sunday was nothing like she imagined she’d find and the same is often true for us. Friday is always so very dark, Saturday seems impossible to move beyond but Sunday always comes. And for that I am so very thankful.

Making Memories

Yesterday was cleaning day around here. On Tuesday I made lists of what was needing done and my charge and I decided who would do what. We let the other kids know which tasks would be theirs on Wednesday and at the assigned time on Thursday morning, we all got started. It was a success…and Liam found a safe place to hang out during the proceedings….

Am I safe here mom??

Am I safe here mom??

I “paid” my laborers fairly and in a way that made them very happy!

Mmmm...sure I'll work for Chocolate Mom!

Mmmm…sure I’ll work for Chocolate Mom!

That was yesterday! And today…we had a little more work to do today but then it was play time! My mom started a tradition with my kids called “Ice Cream Friday”. I’ve recently resurrected this tradition and so today, being Friday, we headed over to Dairy Queen for Blizzards and then we headed to the park.

Mommy & Liam selfie!

Mommy & Liam selfie!

Here I Come Momma!!

Here I Come Momma!!

Gonna get Daddy...

Gonna get Daddy…

Um, what are you doing, Daddy? (Daddy is helping Emily fly a kite)

Um, what are you doing, Daddy? (Daddy is helping Emily fly a kite)

Autumn wanted to join us for the fun!

Autumn wanted to join us for the fun!

And our day ended with Pizza, hockey watching, tub time for Liam & an early bedtime and now relaxing with the hubby and big kids. Tomorrow will be a day filled with family and fun & hopefully a little bit of work – my office/craft room is a DISASTER that needs taken care of ASAP!!!

The current state of my office...EEEEEK!

The current state of my office…EEEEEK!

A Little Catch-Up!

It’s been a crazy week or so around here! But there has been much fun had by all! The highlight of the last couple of weeks? CHOIR TOUR with Emily!

Emily has been in the school district’s Honour Choir for a few years now and this was her final year. Every year the choir goes on tour to a different area of the province to participate in performing arts festivals, sing with and to other elementary school choirs, and participate in learning workshops with different choir directors. It’s always a highlight of the year for the kids and parents who get to go with. This year we went to Squamish, BC and it was so much fun! We stayed in a FANTASTIC hotel – all suites with full kitchens. I had 4 amazing girls in my room/under my supervision who made my job so very easy! I was able to get away with a couple other parents to Whistler while the kids were doing a workshop on Thursday morning, spent a few hours touring around Horseshoe Bay on Friday (enjoyed some fantastic fish and chips at a place overlooking the ocean) and enjoyed Science World. I gotta tell ya – traveling with 52 kids between 10 and 13 years of age can be crazy but this year we had a great group of kids and it was a lot of fun! I’m a little sad that this is the last time I get to do this with them but it also means new things for Emily which is exciting and the natural progression of life that needs to happen!  (SEE BELOW FOR PICS FROM OUR TRIP!)

In other news, Isaac is working his butt off on his project for Heritage Fair, the annual history event that kids grades 5 to 8 participate in. He’s chosen a subject that totally interests him: The Avro Arrow Planes…You’ll have to ask him what they were and how it impacts Canadian history. I for one have been so impressed with his organization, focus and level of work put into this project. Isaac is often taking shortcuts and doing just what is required to get by when it comes to homework but this project is showing me a side of him that I am just loving! When he is totally engaged with a subject and is given room to explore it as his brain sees it, he does AMAZING work! I’ve known for years that he’s a really smart kid but he’s struggled in a traditional school environment partly due to his tendency to turn off when subjects or methods don’t interest him. It’s so great to see him succeeding in this! I’m excited to see the finished project and hear how he does when it comes time to present. Even if he doesn’t get chosen to go to the provincial level fair I am so proud of him!! He’s such a great kid! (And this only solidifies my desire to partially homeschool him through highschool…we’ll see how he does next fall before we make that final decision).

Liam is growing and changing and developing more and more every day! It’s so much fun to watch his personality take shape! Such an easy-going kid! He came with Emily and I on tour this last week and was an ANGEL!! So very charming and pleasant with everyone! He won the hearts of parents and students alike…not to mention a few strangers he decided needed to be friends! Today we laughed a lot at his antics as he relished being in his own environment and surrounded by his familiar things – he was one very happy boy today! Happy yet somewhat clingy as he didn’t get a lot of momma snuggles the last few days – hours spent driving around and then being passed around meant things were a little disrupted! He is definitely showing a very determined side to his personality and I am thinking one of those special backpacks with a “leash” to connect him to us might be in our future – I wore him most of the times we were out and about walking around but he also likes to walk and does NOT like to hold hands!!

Well, that’s the update on the kids. Sorta. A snapshot, at least, into what life is around here these days. It’s going to be a busy, full week here as we prepare for family arriving for Easter weekend. I’m ready – lists are being done up, plans put into place and as long as I can execute them efficiently, we’ll be in good shape by Friday! 🙂 Wish me luck!

Itinerary page 1

Itinerary page 1

Itinerary Page 2

Itinerary Page 2

Liam & I in Whistler, BC

Liam & I in Whistler, BC

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Coastal Mountain Range behind me…SO BEAUTIFUL!

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“My” Girls – quiet time in our room on Thursday. Pretty sure this was the ONLY time they were all quiet!! 😀

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Thursday evening at Festival – Liam LOVED watching and listening to the kids. The fishy crackers just helped him sit still during adjudication! 😀 (His T-Shirt reads “I am with the Kamloops Thompson Honour Choir”)

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The Choir – they looked and sounded so good!!

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Thursday evening – MOVIE TIME!! The girls were thrilled when I told them they could watch “Highschool Musical” and that I had the technology to put it on the big tv for them! Pretty sure they had a 3 night sleepover rather than just being on choir tour! (Later that night they all slept in the same bed together!)

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BC Ferries at Horseshoe Bay – I just love this little part of our world! So beautiful!

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Lunchtime in Horseshoe Bay – Liam was letting Pam know she should have the fish! 😀

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Best “no pooping on my lawn” sign I have ever seen! Thank you Horseshoe Bay!

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Friday afternoon shopping – Liam was being a little imp! YES his eyes really ARE that colour!!

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Babywearing in North Vancouver…

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Saturday morning came bright and early for us – Liam decided 6 was a good time to be awake!! Good thing this face is a cute one or he’d be in big trouble!

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Liam encounters a spaceship…

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Liam “drives” the spaceship…Science World is a great place for young and old!

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200 pound hippo was no match for 4 teenagers! 🙂

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Ikea…he tolerates my shopping trips here just like his father does.

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He might not be thrilled by the shopping required there but Liam sure does love the things Ikea gives him! Loves his new chair!

The Least Of These

I had a big post written earlier today about my thoughts on this whole World Vision debacle coming out of the US – I deleted it as it was too judgey. Instead I want to say this: I am saddened by the fact that over 10,000 children have lost their funding overnight because of people’s knee jerk reactions to a decision that was made that they didn’t agree with.  I don’t agree with that. I don’t necessarily agree with World Vision either but bottom line is this:

MY JOB IS NOT TO AGREE 100% WITH EVERYTHING YOU CHOOSE TO DO.

My JOB is to take care of the “least of these” in whatever way I can.

I am to utilize organizations and resources that have been put in place to take my dollar and stretch it as far as possible. If I have made a commitment to do so with one organization, I need to follow through on that. I am not obligated to enter into further commitments with that organization but I do need to honour what I have already world visionagreed to. Jesus, I think, would honour that even if he didn’t agree with the decisions an organization has made. It’s not my place to judge them – that is God’s. He’ll hold the leadership and the organization accountable for any wrong-doing they have done in HIS eyes. My job is to simply give to the poor and care for them as best I can.

So I will continue to support organizations that can take my dollar and make the best possible use of it. I will continue to do so even if I don’t completely agree with everything they are doing. I am called to be a steward of my finances and I know that organizations like World Vision are in a better position to help people with my dollars than I am. I’m choosing to focus on the least of these and trust that God will deal with the rest of it. If I decide I can’t continue my relationship with an organization for any reason, I am going to honour my commitment rather than break it and will simply not renew a commitment with them in the future. I’m going to think through my decisions and make sure they are not based on emotion and knee-jerk reactions. I am going to do my best to find an organization that I can support without reservation, however, if I cannot find one, I will not be absolved of my duty to others – I will simply have to find an organization doing the most good that I disagree with the least (if that makes sense!). I just cannot ignore the command to love others and care for the poor. Jesus didn’t put conditions on that – it was a straightforward command – and I can’t pretend that there are any loopholes to it. Hopefully others will be able to do the same.

Now, I’m off to find a child to sponsor – I hear there are thousands needing it right now.

Overwhelmed

A couple weekends ago I went to a really great conference on worship and the arts. I had a great time listening to the amazing speakers/teachers and interacting with others from my church, getting to know team members better and learning together. It was so worth going to but WOW! Talk about information overload!

Over the last couple of years I have found that my extrovert/introvert tendencies have balanced out a lot more and I actually require quiet time on my own to process things. Whether those things are emotions I am feeling or things I am thinking about, I need that space from people now in a way I have never needed it in the past. The weekend was great but there was zero downtime to process. And then it was home and back to reality!

It’s been two weeks and I still haven’t had a chance to quietly process my thoughts. My days are filled with caring for kids, running errands, taking care of the house, etc. I was getting some quiet alone time in which to get things done each day when Liam napped but I babysit now for a few hours each day and the timing usually coincides with naptime so that time is gone. The landscape of my days and my weeks has changed but my need for down time, for time with my husband, time with friends, time with by myself have not changed. I so badly want to have time to just sit and rest and ponder things I am learning but there isn’t any time.

A couple months ago I started reading a book called Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. The small print title is “Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe”. I began reading it feeling like “I want to read this so that I can help others” – at the time I wasn’t feeling like that mom who doesn’t know how she’s going to make it through the next day, the mom who needs just a few moments in which to breathe and recharge. HA! Joke’s on me! That is exactly how I am feeling this week!

What does this “joke” tell me? That we, our lives, go through cycles. We have those times when we are feeling free and relaxed and on top of things and in control. We breathe easy. We face each day with a smile and a sense of adventure. We go to bed tired from a day of activity but we awake refreshed and ready to go. We also have those times when we drag all the time. We feel like we can’t get enough rest. We go to bed exhausted and wake up tired. We feel like a heavy weight is on our backs, holding us down and preventing us from flying. We feel like life is no longer a fun adventure but something to be endured and survived. We can barely breathe.

I am so thankful that in those moments when I don’t feel I can breathe I know, even if I can’t “feel it”, that God isn’t far. He’s right there holding me up and keeping me going. I am learning to lean hard into Him when I feel overwhelmed. Often times my circumstances don’t change at all but my attitude or outlook does which makes all the difference.

So, overwhelmed self, remember you’re not in this alone. In the midst of the chaos and craziness of life, there are moments of quiet scattered through to allow you to breathe. These overwhelming days will pass. Just lean in and hang on! Tomorrow is a new day!