The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.
Just sitting on this thought today.
The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.
Just sitting on this thought today.
I found these notes stuck to Juno’s fan (she sleeps with it blowing directly in her face, so it’s the first thing she would see upon waking). The writing was her brother’s, so I asked him about the notes. He is usually not the most free with his feelings (understatement). He looked a little flustered and said, “well, I DO love her, but she does make me crazy a lot.” Bless my boy, he comes by his stunted emotional expression naturally.
2 more top teeth are about to burst through, so I’ve been trying to capture a good grin with the 4 she has now. Almost got it. You have to see her cheeky smile in person to really appreciate it. Gosh, Every inch of this child is edible. She giggles when her daddy comes home because she is so excited to see him. She giggles when she sees her favourite blanket at nap time because she is so excited to see it. She giggles when she hears anyone else laugh, because it’s just so lovely to laugh apparently.
The only thing neither of us laugh at are middle of the night bouts of teething. So as much as I ache at the thought of her smile getting even more grown up– come on teeth.
And now in un-Adelaide related news- I have found a new podcast I really like. It’s called Stuff you Missed in History Class and it seems to have been going on now for years. They put out 2 new podcasts a week discussing historical people and events. It’s fascinating! They aren’t all safe for little ones, but it’s reasonably easy to figure out which will be ok, and they also do have warnings before the more colourful episodes. Staying at home all day with children, I find myself hungry for adult voices and information. Ive listened to sermons and Christian radio online for years, but for some reason never even thought to check for other podcasts. And there really is only so many sermons you can listen to in a day. I’d love more suggestions if you have one you love! I really enjoy listening and learning while I cook, clean, bathe… you name it. Much easier than trying to read while doing any of the above, which of course I’ve tried- many times!
The resort we were staying at had 5 pools that descended over 7 stories with the waterfalls between, and overlooked the ocean down at the bottom. Was very nice to say the least! Our kids are little fish and just swam, swam, swam all day every day, even in the rain!
That last picture was of Adelaide after she became used to the pool, her first dip wasn’t quite as happy! I think she was intimidated by the large pool and cool water. This is her disapproving look after putting her toes in the first time.
This is all out of order now, so I’ll go back to the beginning and post a few pictures!
At Toronto checking in! We went with some new friends from church, the Parker family.
These pictures are when we arrived in Holguin, Cuba. Tired, but WARM!
Breakfast in Cuba looked a lot like this everyday:
It’s blurry, because no matter that she spends 99% of her days with a big smile on her face, its impossible to capture on camera! But its so cute!
She’s so social and happy to be with people that sharing a room meant she needed lots of extra snuggles to help fall asleep.
I didn’t mind one bit. Though she is somewhat addicted to the snuggles now.
On Sunday we had the enormous pleasure of attending Harvest Holguin and spending the day at Pastor Rafael’s house with his family. Such a wonderful and warm group of people! And such a precious opportunity to meet the people I’ve heard so much about. Jon has been connecting with them to help support their church plant, and has visited several times (and is back there right now actually!).
At Pastor Rafael’s house
My little girlie with the gift giving love language was so thrilled to share her present with Alex, Pastor Rafael’s daughter.
I love this picture of the girls.
One of the girls brought over a pet turtle.
All I could see was the salmonella he was probably covered in, and it didn’t take the kids long to discover that I am very uncomfortable in close proximity to little critters like that, which of course didn’t make them want to keep him away from me.
He had quite an eventful day with all those girls mauling him. He even tried to fly (was dropped out a second story window- thankfully not by my child!!!!).
So much more to say- but I just want to get these pictures up and then enjoy a nice cup of tea and some tv while I fall asleep! 5 more sleeps until Jon is back home again!
Insert all the posts here! Haha, I was going to get back to blogging, wasn’t I? Oops.
Well here’s a post! I have no idea what I’m about to say, but if my fingers keep moving something will materialize, right?
Oh I know. Today I started a new experiment. It’s inspired half from watching a new friend last week talk about healthy choices that are actually really simple, but we just have to implement them by ACTUALLY DOING THEM and not just talking about them. That was an awkward sentence, sorry. I’m too tired to fix it. The other half is from one of those random advertisement articles that pop up on Facebook all the time about someone else doing the same experiment. It’s a really novel one. For one month I’m going to drink the recommended amount of water (96 ounces) every day. That’s it! I’m taking pictures the whole way along, and I’m going to see if anything happens to my energy levels, my skin, how I feel, possibly even my weight!
I’m a chronically dehydrated person, often I lay down at night realizing all I had to drink was coffee all day long. So that’s not the best. We were in Cuba (that’s another post!) last week and my milk supply sky rocketed and I felt way better, but it was because I had bottles of water nearby, orange fanta, unlimited virgin pina coladas on tap, and teeny tiny coffee cups. It could have just been the sunshine, but I really did start feeling better. Then I got home and bam! Headache city again. And my lips are so dry I have cracks and sores. ewww, right?
So today before 7am I already had 16oz of water down the hatch. Then 32oz before breakfast! By late afternoon I was starting to feel thirsty (I’m very rarely thirsty) and I had already drank like 4 days worth of my normal fluid intake. Craziness. I’m a little excited to see what a month of healthy fluid intake could mean. I took my before photo about 10 times and still couldn’t come up with something that showed the state of my skin, but that my pride could handle sharing. So unless the afters are incredibly dramatic, you’ll have to just observe my glowing skin in person, ok?
The only foreseeable problem is that I forgot to buy toilet paper today when I got groceries and there is only one roll left in the house. But on the plus side I only went pee like 800 times today. And I’m probably only exaggerating by 700. It was record breaking, I’m sure.
The aforementioned new friend also listed off some other great disciplines, like getting up early before the kids, reading the Bible every day, going to bed early at night, and we had a lovely chat about how mature Christians know that Spiritual Disciplines are key and that there is no trick, you just have to actually DO THEM. And I heartily agreed all the while the word HYPOCRITE must have been flashing across my forehead. I used to be on top of some of those. When did I lose my way and give in to the chaos? Argh.
Ok, it’s late. I’ll have to organize some Cuba pictures soon for another post.
“I used to feel guilty about idle moments. Time spent splayed out in the lawn chair, staring at the sky, was time “wasted”. A walk in the woods with a friend and her dog, meant that I wouldn’t get my aerobic workout for the day. When Henry, at three, wanted to hear the same story every day for a month, and have the same conversation about it every time, I could not help thinking about the stack of unread library books that was gathering dust in the meantime. But I have come to believe that all of these activities are essential. They are what is meant by “nurturing”. As the writer Julia Cameron reminds us, “So much of what we need, so much of what we want, is to be savored, cherished, cared for and cared about. So much of what is missing is tenderness.” Our children do not need any more possessions to be happy; they need only to feel sure that they possess our hearts, our attention, our acceptance of who they are.”
I need these reminders almost constantly. Why doesn’t this ever feel like enough? It’s both the best job ever, and also the one I want to run away from the most. Thank goodness HE is up to the task, because I’m really really not.
Miss Adelaide’s 8 month photos. The child doesn’t hold still, and I have a maximum of 1.5 minutes to complete the whole “shoot” before she tips the basket and speed crawls away with various items stuffed in her mouth like a puppy. I feel like this shot is nothing less than a miracle actually.
This one shows off her personality a bit better though…
She is currently an incredibly happy, content baby. But there is something hiding there under the surface of all that easy baby business. A flash of temper, an insatiable curiosity, a cheeky glint in those smiling eyes… I think we might be in for it with this one!
And then one with my precious little helper-
Juno told me this week that being a big sister was the best thing in her life. HEART WARMED.
Ok so, that’s blog post one after a hiatus and redesign. I’m fighting the urge to try to make it something spectacular. Instead, I want to reclaim this space to record our little family moments and memories, and find again the joy I once felt in just writing it all down.
A little motherly wisdom from Cloverlane: Link here
Finishing Adelaide’s birth story the other day made me feel very introspective on the whole thing. I wanted to write out exactly what I remembered as it happened and as I felt. Looking back over though I kind of sort of hated how many times the word epidural came up and also the theme of fear that ran through it. It makes me want a do-over! Actually, all of my births in one way or another have made me want another chance to “get it right”. Which reveals I might have a hint of unachievable perfectionism hidden away in here, and also perhaps a crazy mindset- since I might actually think there is a “right” way to have a baby. I can’t examine that one too closely because I’d be going around in circles all night. Is there actually a right way? Or is it more of an experiential thing in that the only right thing is having control over the way you do it? Or is it just what it is? lol Now I’m confusing myself. And I kind of think I should insert a firstworldproblems hashtag here.
I overdosed on Ina May when I was pregnant with Justus, and now 3 epidurals later I still can’t shake the guilt. 😉 No matter how much I like the experience of having an epidural, it’s always going to feel a little like cheating.
The fear on the other hand… that was new. And as a believer it does disturb me a little actually. There were prayers being said during my labor, but that out of control pain really overwhelmed me in a way I’ve never experienced. Made me feel animalistic (though my version of animalistic is just not being able to put together a clear thought and very very quietly whimpering). At least… I think I was quiet. Maybe the roar of pain in my ears just drowned out the screaming. 😉
I also felt very alone this time. Which is odd and kind of unfair to say because previously and usually when I am in pain I want everyone to go very far away and don’t even think about touching me. Jon was under strict instructions to just let me handle it. But this time I felt lost and alone and then the midwife took hold of my hands when the epidural process wasn’t going well and I was suddenly grounded again. The wildness in me calmed and I could rise above the pain somehow. That’s what makes me want a do-over this time. I want to sit calmly on the bed holding Jon’s hands and just rise above it all. It’d be perfect of course. I’d be perfect. And all natural. lol seriously. Someone please make sure I don’t get pregnant again just so I can get a better grade on my delivery skills.
Us women are crazy folk.
But wow, on a more serious note… What a part of us these birth stories are, eh? Start talking about birth with any women and we all start talking over each other trying to share ourselves. Whether beautiful or devastating- those moments change us. Someone posted a link to these beautiful photos of birth around the world today on Facebook and I loved this quote from the photographer-
“It’s so interesting to me,” she said. “It’s so exciting to be part of a transformational process; it has a rhythm to it in that there’s a probable series of events … but every time it’s different.”
“The experience is strange and powerful and frightening and it can be really beautiful.”
Transformational. Yes, exactly.
And then this…
“We have ideas about what women’s bodies are for and it’s not this,” she said about American views on birth. “You see a woman naked but her body is performing functions that are intense. Our culture has a weird thing about images of women’s bodies doing this kind of physical work that isn’t young and sexy; birth has elements of struggle, power, transformation and mortality that don’t fit with our ideas about women’s bodies: they’re ok to look at when they’re sexy but when they’re working it’s something else. Birth is uncontrolled and that freaks us out.”
I struggled so much over including that photo of me reaching down for Adelaide. It’s not graphic in the sense that it shows no more than (if not less than!) a bathing suit would, and yet it’s also so intimate. I’m still not sure if I crossed the line in regards to modesty, but I want to mark and remember the incredible work God has created our bodies (my body!) to be capable of doing. I don’t tend to look at photographs of myself and marvel at God’s design, except for those. I can’t help but wonder at the way God allows us to be part of His creating.
And lastly… because this is far longer than I meant it to be… what a precious gift we received early that May morning! Thank you Lord for this new life and the way it is changing and growing our family!
When I finally went into labor I didn’t actually believe I was in labor. Until the moment the midwife said “5 cm” I was expecting them to say “false labor” and send me home.
It started on thursday May 1st. I had cramping the days before and was showing some early signs that my body was getting things ready, when the midwife told me I was 1 cm dilated. Doesn’t sound like much, but to a woman who never has ANY signs of labor before the big event it meant something. The next day we did a giant house cleaning and I packed the kids bags and started getting things ready for the baby. Over the weekend the contractions and other signs continued, but didn’t intensify until 3am Monday morning. I woke up having strong and painful contractions. I tried to keep sleeping but each contraction would wake me up again, so I finally went downstairs to watch tv and sit on the exercise ball. I was contracting every 10 minutes and had other significant signs of labor (don’t want to get too graphic, lol). And then suddenly around 8:30am the contractions just stopped. For the rest of the day my contractions were only about 1-2 per hour.
Tuesday morning around 3am once again I woke up to intense contractions. They were every 5 minutes apart and very painful. I stayed in bed as long as I could and then decided to take a bath. I had been told that often a bath could stop or slow false labor, and I really wanted to find out sooner than later if this was another false alarm. Instead of slowing, the contractions got even more regular and intense. I got out and started quietly packing my hospital bag so that everything would be ready when the kids woke up and we could head in to the hospital. As the family started getting up around 7am my contractions suddenly became irregular. First closer together and shorter, then a bit farther apart but longer (2-2 1/2 minutes long each).
We stood around trying to decide what to do. It seemed like it was a repeat of the morning before, except the contractions were so painful and long and we worried that if Jon went in to work I would actually go into labor and it would take too long for him to drive home to get us and get back to London to the hospital in time. So we decided I would go in and stay at my parents house for the day. On the way to London the contractions slowed right down and from that time they continued throughout the day at about 1 every half hour.
At mom’s I had a nap, went for a walk with the kids, we met Jon for the Pizza Hut lunch buffet (a final craving I had been dying for). By 5pm I was still only having 1 contraction a half hour. They were strong and painful, but didn’t seem to be going anywhere. My friend Lisa told me she didn’t think I should leave London, that when labor hit it could be fast and strong, but by that point I felt like it was never going to happen. It’s amazing how when you are actually the closest, emotionally it feels like the farthest and like labor will never ever happen. So we went home.
At 6:30pm I was on Facebook reassuring friends I wasn’t in labor (I had missed Bible study that morning, and being so close to my due date that makes everyone suspicious). At about 6:40 I had a strong contraction. Then at 6:45 I had another. At 6:50 another. They just kept coming and coming, every 5 minutes, lasting between 1-2 minutes in length and taking my breath away each time. I tried to get the kids some dinner, put some laundry in and then we got the kids in bed. At 8:30 I finally admitted it might be time to call the midwife and she suggested we leave immediately for the hospital and she would meet us there. We had to drop the kids off at my parents, so we didn’t arrive at the hospital until 9:30pm. I was in agony, but still couldn’t allow myself to believe that this was really it and my contractions weren’t just going to stop again like they had twice before.
Jon took great joy taking pictures of me trying to get my bag out of the trunk to head into the hospital. When I was moving the contractions came faster and harder.
We made it upstairs and headed into a room where I heard those words “5 cm”. WHAT?! I couldn’t believe I was so far already. With both the other kids I could never make it past 3 cm without an epidural. I seem to fight progress in my attempts to manage the pain, so until I relax with the epidural I get stuck.
The midwife didn’t say much and just sent us out to walk the halls and climb stairs. I was still afraid things were going to stall, so even though I hated moving and climbing I felt like I had to or they might send me home.
I think we were gone about an hour, and by the time we came back to the room I felt like I was at my max of what I could handle pain-wise. I wanted to get an epidural and curl up in bed. Once back in the room the midwife and her student just kind of looked at me. I wasn’t sure what they wanted me to do, and they seemed to be waiting on me like I was in charge. That’s like the worst thing in the world to me, I hate to be stared at and was feeling confused and vulnerable. By this point with both the others I was hooked up to pain meds and stuck in bed. I had expected this birth to be the same, so I had no plan for what was happening. I couldn’t take the staring, so we went back out to climb the stairs again. We made it to the stairwell, but I just sat on the bottom step. I didn’t want to climb anymore stairs. Everything hurt so much. I just wanted relief. So we made our way back to the room. Jon was ready to help me ask for an epidural, but I felt like the midwife would be disappointed, like I still had things I needed to try before I “gave up”.
So into the tub I went. I asked them if I could be alone so they wouldn’t keep looking at me. I turned off the bathroom light and quietly sat in that tub and just shook from the pain. I think I stayed in the tub for another hour… and my teeth chattered uncontrollably the whole time from the tension and pain. The midwife’s student kept poking her head in; encouraging me to relax, trying to be helpful by reassuring me the pain was good, that it was my body doing what it should. All I can say is, PUNCH! But seriously, darling single girl in your early twenties… don’t patronize a woman in the throes of labor agony!
After about an hour the midwife came in to check my progress, was somewhere around 5-6 cm. In tears I told her I was done. Please call the anesthesiologist while I get out of the tub. I don’t know what it is about medical personnel, but I am at my most vulnerable with them. I felt waves of perceived disappointment wash over me. I love my midwife and she never said one unsupportive thing, so it’s quite possible I simply assume those feelings regardless of their truth. Maybe it’s my inner voice pretending to be her. Either way, in those moments I was absolutely terrified of the pain I was feeling, and ashamed of feeling terrified all at once.
As soon as I stood to move out of the tub the contractions came non-stop. I was shaking and chattering and feeling so out of control it really was frightening me. My midwife suggested that I would probably deliver shortly, and I did believe her. She told me I was coping so well, and I didn’t believe her. The fear was new and overwhelming and I decided to get the epidural anyway. It was at least a devil I knew.
A resident came in to give me the epidural. Alarm bells sort of went off in my head when she said “resident”. But instead of asking for the full blown anesthesiologist I just assumed the position and braced against the contractions. The freezing went fine, and then the trouble started. I was feeling shocks in my nerves down one leg. “But that’s not possible” I was told. If anything it should have been the other leg. She moved it around a lot and mumbled. Time ticked on and I grew more and more uneasy. She pulled it out and decided to try again. I wanted to yell at her to stop, that I changed my mind. Those side effect waivers you sign so thoughtlessly flashed through my mind… My midwife sat in front of me and took my hands. Even though the contractions were at their most intense yet, my entire body finally stilled and even my chattering teeth stopped. I sat for what felt like a very very long time perfectly still. I finally felt them taping the tubing on my back. I could feel one side going numb while the other felt relatively normal. I rolled to that side to help it flow that way, and then we upped the meds a number of times to try and get it even.
The extra nurses cleared the room and I was able to sit up again and suddenly I felt like myself. The wild, terrifying pain was over and I could think and smile and talk. I was myself again. Apparently being out of control is not my style.
And then, probably only a half hour later I began throwing up. I think I moved quickly (within minutes!) through transition and when they checked I had dilated to 10. I didn’t feel the slightest urge to push and the baby seemed happy, so my midwife told me to relax and we could wait awhile. I’m not actually sure how long we waited, maybe another half hour or even an hour? My second midwife arrived (who had also been the second at Juno’s birth! I quite liked that connection.), and everyone just kind of hung around chatting while we waited. Eventually I asked if I should start pushing? They very casually said I could if I wanted. We pulled my legs up and I began trying to push. In my other labors despite having epidurals I felt transition, pressure, and crowning. This time I could feel nothing, so I just tried my best to remember what muscles to contract from those births. It all felt so bizarrely casual that I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. They didn’t provide a ton of feedback, and there was no urgency to the pushing process. After only 2 or 3 pushes they said my waters were bulging (I had wanted to wait and see how close to birth they would stay intact before breaking on their own), and then with an audible pop they went and the next push (3:18am, May 7) my baby slid out. I say slid out because that’s exactly how it felt (or didn’t feel!). With my first 2 I got a little panicky at crowning and had to be sternly told to push the baby out. This time I felt only a slight release of pressure and everyone was so calm and casual that I was startled when they told me to reach down and pull my baby up!
And so I did! I reached down and grasped that slippery little lady and brought her up to my chest. What a surreal moment!
And then… well she seemed very purple to me. My second midwife helped me rub her skin to encourage her to cry and pink up, but she stayed quiet and purple. Almost right away I began wishing they would take her and get her warmed. Everything was wet and slippery and a little awkward, so I felt like I couldn’t quite give her the rubdown she needed. Time slows in moments like that, so it felt like forever of watching the midwife’s face for concern then watching my baby lay still and purple on my chest. Jon was recording all this and you can see my face change and the worry build. I haven’t been able to watch the whole recording because the anxiety comes rushing back so intensely.
Finally (after a very short time in reality), they took her to their station by the bed to give her a touch of oxygen. They just passed the mask back and forth over her face (never held it to her face) and very quickly she began to cry and turn pink. Oh the relief I felt. There really are no words for those moments when your worst fears thunder through you and then are just as quickly abolished.
She was brought back to me and immediately latched for a very long first nursing session. That’s when I finally got to stare at this creature that had been growing inside me.
We announced her name: Adelaide Roslyn Charis Sodeman.
I thought it was Adelaide for the city Jon is from in Australia, but then I heard him tell someone it was Adelaide for the city where we met. And then I fell just a little more in love with him and decided that was a much better way to describe our name choice. Roslyn is for Jon’s mom, just like Juno has Cynthia as a middle name for my mom. And Charis means grace in Greek. I know it’s a mouthful, but Juno got the same treatment. She is Juno Cynthia Eden Sodeman. They each got a first name we loved, a middle name for our moms, and a special third name for the significant spiritual meaning. Everyone was waiting for a third J name, like it was a rule that the next name had to “go” with the previous 2. But we decided that using a name we loved trumped having 3 that went together. However, I did like that Adelaide shares the same naming pattern we used for Juno.
When I decided to take a break from nursing, they weighed and measured Adelaide. 7 pounds, 12 ounces, 20.5 inches long. She was bigger than she looked, but smaller than I had expected her to be before birth. And she was so darling. She looked so so so much like Justus did at birth, other than her dark hair (he was born with a tiny amount of white blond hair).
For some reason I had sort of expected a girl version of Justus, so her looks felt right to me. Though I have to say, Adelaide seemed more a stranger to me in those moments than the other 2 had. When Justus was born he stopped crying and turned to look for me immediately upon hearing my voice, and in that instant he felt like mine. With Juno I felt like even though I was just seeing her for the first time, she belonged to me. Holding Adelaide in those first moments, even with the strong resemblance to Justus, just felt so incredibly other worldly. Even her name felt awkward in my mouth when I tried to say it. I think Jon felt it too. We just stared down at this little girl and it was kind of like, “what the heck? is this even real?” Maybe we were just in shock that all our ideas and dreams was now a living-breathing-flesh and blood-in our hands-being.
I think I’ve used the word surreal far too many times to be able to even imagine this narrative has any literary good-ness, but I really couldn’t say it enough to truly convey just how surreal the whole birth was for me. I experienced massive levels of fear and uncertainty through my labor, and then the birth itself was on the very opposite end of the spectrum- so calm and casual that it didn’t seem possible that it was actually BIRTH. All in all it was nothing like what I had expected, but exactly as it was ordained to be.
Welcome to the world, my darling!
nothing more important to do!
This post is wonderful! Clock over HERE and read it!
I like her whole blog actually, but that post especially was good reading for a homemaker.
Another quote just in case you weren’t sufficiently enticed to click over!
“How would our attitude and actions change if we were to recognize that breaking up fights between our children, teaching them about forgiveness of sin, correcting them in love, and then repeating that entire cycle again and again–IS our jobs as mothers! And yet, we tend to want to get them behaving properly once and for all so that we can move on to something more important. We are disappointed and astounded when they are repeatedly sinful, whiny, impatient, or lacking self-control, when it’s for these very sins that God made you specifically to be your child’s mother. How humbling it is when I consider this reality and compare it to the attitude of my heart.”
I forget this A LOT. I just read another similar post on a different blog today, so I think I must need the message. For some reason my brain tends to think only the good stuff is what we are meant to experience. But all the good stuff really only comes through the drama and the chores and mundane repeat parenting moments. And having a kid with ADHD comes with lots and lots and LOTS of those mundane repeat parenting moments. But serving and coaching and prompting and loving her (and him) with patience is my big important job today.