Honey, I should have let you take the car (aka the great poop fiasco)

Standard

You know what they say about the best laid plans, yep i experienced that this morning. Today marked the beginning of what was to be the equivilent of turning over a new leaf in our household. Those of you who know me well know that I am nothing if not a procastinator of epic proportions. So you will not be suprised to learn that Michael and I delayed our New Years “resolutions” until January 26. Why this particular date? Because Michael officially started Nursing School this bright winter morn. (He had some classes last week, but his Monday ones did not meet b/c of MLK day.) We decided to use this as a jumping off point for some other changes like going to bed earlier and for me it involved pushing back Ephraim’s morning nap and heading out to the gym first thing instead of waiting for him to wake up from his first nap (usually around 10:30) and then going.

You see I took the great advice most new moms are given “sleep when he sleeps” to heart. He wakes at 7:00ish and then goes back to sleep about 1 1/2 hours later. Again, those of you who know me well know that I am a night owl and that I love to sleep late. Not really conducive to having a baby anymore. I cope by going back to sleep when Ephraim does in the morning. I know …right!

I have known for awhile that this is something I need to change and have been “gently prompted” to do so by my husband, so today was the day. The plan was that when Ephraim woke up I would feed and dress him, eat breakfast and get my gym gear on and head out by 8:30 or 9:00. Simple. He woke up at about 7:30 (normal time) and I retreived him from his crib. I noticed while giving him his bottle that his sleep sack felt damp. Further investigation revealed that his diaper had leaked though and his pj’s were wet as well. While changing and dressing him Michael came in to say goodbye and asked if he could take the car (rather than his work truck) this morning. I reminded him that E and I would be leaving right after breakfast so I would need it.

Sidebar here: Last week while at Target I decided to comparison shop and found that the Target Brand diapers are significantly cheaper than the Pamper’s Cruisers that I buy. I have used Pampers his whole life based on Alexis recommendation. First, the Swaddlers (which they also used at the hospital) and then the Cruisers. I decided to try the Target Brand because some people who used to go to church said they are just as good as Huggies. I never used Huggies but I figured they were comprable to Pampers Cruisers. I wanted to see if the $7 price differential was justified. Rest assured, IT IS! I am not saying that Pampers have never leaked. I tried the regular Pampers when he was smaller and they didn’t have the flex grip sides. They leaked. Also, when he was smaller and laid on his side to sleep they would occasionally leak, especially if I forgot to point his penis down in his diaper (those moms of boys know what I mean). But for the most part i have been extremely pleased with the Cruisers and have recommended them to other new moms. I just hate to pay $20 for them if i could something just as good for $13.

I first noticed a difference yesterday when I went in to get him up from his nap. He sleeps in a sleep sack and I had put him down without his pants on. Just his shirt, diaper and socks. When I unzipped the sleep sack to change him his diaper was unfastened on one side. At first I thought I had forgotten to diaper him before putting him down, but then I realized it had just come undone. He was dry so no big deal and i thought maybe he pulled it lose himself somehow. Then, when he woke up this morning wet I figured the diapers just weren’t as absorbment and the Pampers and made a mental note to get some more Pampers later today. End of sidebar, sorry it was so lengthy.

After his diaper change I dressed him for the day. Usually he just stays in his pajamas until he gets up from the first nap, but since we would be leaving for the gym right after breakfast into shirt and pants he went. I would wait to put shoes on him until we were about to leave. He seemed a little perplexed by the change, but rolled with it. I fed him breakfast and then made my own and ate it. I left him in his high chair with some Cheerios to snack on while I started to get ready. I put my contacts in and came back to check on him. I could smell that he had pooped as soon as I got 2 feet away from him. I teased him about being smelly and mentally debated whether to get dressed first or to change him now. I opted for the later. Good thinking.

We went to his room and I laid him on the changing table. His nose is till boogery so I reached for a wipey and realized the warmer was empty. Praise God for realizing that when I did. I even joked with him that it was a good thing I knew it was empty before attempting to change him. I refilled it and pulled his pants off and tossed them aside. When I looked down his left leg was smeared in poop from thigh to his sock foot. YUCK! The crappy diaper had leaked (no pun intended). Before I could do anything he crossed his ankles and got poop on his other sock too. Acting as quickly as possible I pulled his socks from both feet. I must have used quite a bit of force because whenI did poop rocketed across the room and onto the floor. Then he starts wiggling his legs and gets the right leg, previously unsoiled, covered too. It was a poop fiaso. All you new moms that are still breast feeding have no idea how nasty those little ones diapers can be once they start eating formula and/or real food. Poop is disgusting, period. No matter how small a body it comes from.

I literally pulled what felt like an endless stream of wipes from the warmer and piled them alongside said crappy diaper. I cleaned all his little crevices created by his chubby rolls as best as I could as well as his twig and berries (as Michael calls them). I knew he needed a bath after this type of blow out. I decided to use the kitchen sink. I scooped up his naked body, took him to the kitchen and bathed him. He seemed completely confused by the days events thus far. He is, like most Babywise babies, very accustomed to his schedule. I had already thrown a major wrench in it by dressing him when I did this morning. There is no telling what this type of disruption will cause.

So needless to say since it is 9:30 and I am blogging away that we have not made it to the gym this morning. He is napping (hopefully) and I am still in my pj’s about to enjoy a second cup of coffee. I am awake though and in the den. Not in my bed enjoying a little more sleep. It is progress I guess. Baby steps.

I just texted Michael and told him I should have let him take the car.

Hair today, gone tomorrow … (aka My Weave)

Standard

Or really gone last week. As many of you know, about 2-3 months after giving birth to Ephraim and the first 20 or so extra pounds of weight that I gained had been shed (I gained 55 total) I made a fatal error in judgement. I needed a change. I wanted to look different than I had during the whole pregnancy. Because weight-loss seemed unattainable, especially instantly, I decided that I would chop off my hair. I wasn’t going to go super short or anything, just something simple and light for summer. I looked for pictures everywhere and finally decided on this …

110205_ritchie_0305

I am going to chalk this decision up to severe sleep deprivation and body dismorphic disorder. I will grant you that it is a great haircut. It looks fabulous on her. She weighs 12 pounds. I weighed, well lets just say A LOT more than that. Also, she had not recently given birth and still been holding onto twice her normal volume of hair. Seriously, my hair got so thick while pregnant that it was a struggle to get a rubberband to loop around it two times. I have really thick hair anyway and it is also course and naturally curly. What the HELL was I thinking …. probably that a CHI iron is a miracle worker. It is not.

So I made the appointment, took my pictures in of Nicole’s chic bob and here is where the saga and trail of tears and money begins. The cut was okay. Not great, but ok. I came home and figured if I played with it some I would like it better. I paid the $40 to my stylist (who had been doing my hair for about 2 years) and left. I met Alexis for lunch and we both agreed that my hair needed to be thinned out. It was looking to mushroomy. I also felt that I needed to add some highlights just to give some added demension. I made another appointment. I left a little bit happier and $55 bucks poorer. Something still was not right. I realized when some well intentioned woman at church commented on my “cute mom bob” that I had to immediately begin the process of growing it out. As I mentioned earlier, the CHI iron is not a miracle worker alone so I would have to blow dry my hair straight first and then flat iron. Wearing it curly was impossible. My head looked like Sputnick. I also realized that my round brush was too big to use so I made a trip to Sally’s Beauty Supply to get a new brush … or three. I probably spent about $35 there. Then I decided I also needed a new blow dryer that was ceramic and had tourmaline (what the???) so I could reduce my drying time. I was the mother of a new baby you know. A few less minutes of drying time was worth its weight in gold. That was another $50 or so.

 

My first attempt at blow drying the new do without a round brush.

My first attempt at blow drying the new do without a round brush.

 

Trying to grow out the bob

Trying to grow out the bob

 

 

 

 

About 2 months later I called and scheduled another appointment. All I needed was color for my roots and the ends snipped. It was July 18. I remember that day both because it was Ephraim’s 5 month b-day and because it was the day my hair was cut into a mullet. A mom mullet if you will. You be saying to yourself, “She is exaggerating.” You would be wrong. I knew as watched the previous mentioned stylist clip away that it seemed like an awful lot of hair for just the trim I had requested. I felt that nervous feeling where you think, “Should I say something?” but I pushed the thought away. I reminded myself that in the past I have been so phobic about receiving a bad haircut that I have questioned every move the stylist would make and often times keep them from doing a good job. It helped calm me that my older sister, Samantha, was there to get her hair cut too (by the same stylist) and she kept chatting with me and holding Ephraim. It was a distraction that kept me from realizing I had been butchered. I could tell when the woman begin drying it that something was wrong. After it was dried and flat-ironed I could see there was way more weight and volume in the crown than in the middle. I asked if she could thin it out a little to help. She did and attacked me with the razor to “texturize” it. It made a bad situation immediately worse. That one is on me I guess. I was so distressed when I left the salon that I actually forgot to pay her the $60 I owed for cut and color.

I got in the car and tried to reassure myself that once I got home and played with it, it would be okay. I called Alexis and asked her to come look at it. She walked in and said, “It is kind of a mullet”. My worst suspections were confirmed. I called my friend Natalie who had mentioned before that her hairdresser had gone to LA and learned how to do extensions. I called the girl, Jenni Rea, and explained what had happened. She had me come in the next day for a consultation where she would explain the procedure and then look at my hair to see how many “bundles” of extensions I would need to fill in the sides. She also said the bundles were $200 apiece. I went for the appointment and she combed through my hair and began asking questions about who had cut it and what I had asked them to do. She recognized the name of the stylist and new her by her reputation for being a great hair dresser. She could not figure out the cut. She kept asking me, “What exactly did you ask her to do?” I said, “I told her that I had not liked it short and was growing it out. All I wanted was a trim. She asked if I wanted long layers and I said yes.” That seemed unreal to Jenni when you consider that the layers cut into the top were only about 2-3 inches long. And the hair was so over texturized that it appeared frizzy. She confirmed that I would need at least 3 bundles of extensions. I went home and prepared myself to explain to my husband why I needed to spend $600 dollars to fix my hair. I simply told him that weighing 20+ pounds more than before and adjusting to my new role as a mom was enough. My self esteem simply could not take the blow of walking around with a mullet. To my amazement and delight, he agreed. Even he knew I had a mullet.

I called and scheduled the appointment. She ordered the hair and on the afternoon of July 29 Jenni Rea glued someone else’s hair into mine. The company she trained with is called Great Lengths and they pioneered this particular type of extensions. I asked a lot of questions about the hair. I had assumed it came from women who grew their out and then sold it, like people do for  Locks of Love. She said this hair all came from India. Women there grow out their hair and then go to the Hindu temples and offer it as a sacrifice to one of the Hindi God’s. The temple then sells the hair to Great Lengths and it goes through a process of dying it and other stuff and then is sold. Oprah featured it on a show earlier this year. It took about four hours to put the extensions in and then she had to explain to me how to take care of them. It was very high maintanence. I had to use a special brush to brush through it 3 times a day. Whenever it got wet I had to put this special spray onto the bonds to prevent them from breaking down. It is better to dry the bonds immediately rather than leave them wet. On and on. Other than that, treat it just like normal hair. I could wear it curly or straight because the hair is naturally curly. I could also color it too. The better care I took of it, the longer it would last, somewhere between 4-6 months.

Well friends, it has officially been 6 months and the extensions came out last week. It was brutal. They first put some solution on the bonds to break them down and pull them off with a pair of pliers … literally. Then it was combed out with a fine tooth comb. OUCH!!!! My head was so sore. I think I understood in part what black women go through with their hair. Anyway, this post got way long. Here are some pics. I don’t have any good mullet ones because I refused to be photographed for the most part.

 

The mullet (wet) the night before the extensions went in.

The mullet (wet) the night before the extensions went in.

 

 

Extensions in

Extensions in

 

 

 

 

 

All Me!!!

All Me!!!

Some of my extensions. We'll call them souvenirs.

Some of my extensions. We'll call them souvenirs.

So if you total this all up, one bad decision to cut my hair in the first place, combined with a really bad day at the salon. cost me pretty close to $1000. Not to mention what it cost me in tears and frustration. You may be asking yourself if the $600 (without tip) for the extensions was worth it. Every Penny!

Where the heck have I been?

Standard

So it was brought to my attention by sister, Alexis, that it has been almost two months since I have blogged. I checked and indeed it has been quite awhile. I hope that since the last post I made was about Ephraim falling off the changing table that no one assumed there was permanent damage! Little man is doing just great. We did have a rough patch over the holidays but he is back in fine form now. So, Since my last post was in November I will do my best to catch you up on the past  8 weeks.

First, Thanksgiving. We spent the day with my family and Michael’s. Everyone came to my moms for lunch and the Cowboys game and ended up staying well into the evening. For the first meal it was Michael, me, Ephraim, my mom, Michael’s mom (Kay), his brother and his family (Matt, Stacey and Taylor) and his sister Amanda. My sister, Jessica, was also there. Michael’s dad died six years ago so since that time his family has been grafted into mine for holidays. We feel really blessed that our families get along so well and hey, it makes deciding on whose families turn it is this time really easy. My sisters were with their husbands families for lunch, but everyone met up at Mom’s later that night. Here are some pics:

 

My contribution ... A Harvest Cake!

My contribution ... A Harvest Cake!

 

Our little family. My hair was bad that day. I look like I am in a beauty pagent.

Our little family. My hair was bad that day. I look like I am in a beauty pagent.

Ephraim (sans shirt) feeding himself sweet potatoes.

Ephraim (sans shirt) feeding himself sweet potatoes.

 

The day after Thanksgiving we went and picked out our tree. We always get a real tree, although we seriously reconsidered it this year. We actually went and bought one at Hobby Lobby and then decided to return it. I figured we would just have to keep an extra close eye on E around the tree. He did great. The first tree we bought and brought home turned out to have a severely crooked trunk so we returned it and got an even better and bigger tree for the same price. (Shout out to Sutherland’s!). Usually Christmas is my very favorite time of the year and I can’t wait to deck the halls and all that. For some reason it just didn’t feel that way this year. Maybe it had to do with 70 degree weather. Anyway, here are some pics from around our house at Christmas.

 

The Den Fireplace

The Den Fireplace

 

Fireplace in living room

Fireplace in living room

 

The living room all decked out

The living room all decked out

 

Our Tree

Our Tree

 

Ephraim and his obsession

Ephraim and his obsession

As many of you know, Ephraim was briefly hospitalized right before Christmas. He got the dreaded stomach virus that blazed its way across the whole country. It was brutal. He started throwing up on Thursday, December 18. I tried to keep him hydrated and took him the doctor. She prescribed Zofran for the nausea and told me to keep fluids in him. He refused a bottle with pedialite so we had to try and administer it through a syringe. He kept throwing it up faster than we could give it to him. We ended up in the emergency room on Saturday, the 20th. They made Michael and I leave the room while they put in an IV and a catheter. It was awful. We could here him screaming from the hall, but they said it was better that he not associate us with the experience. We came in after and he practically leapt into my arms. They gave him fluids, ran tests ( all clear) and sent us home. He did good the next day (Sunday) and we really thought we were in the clear, but he started barfing again Monday morning. At that point, I was done. Feeling totally defeated we called his pediatrician and she said he needed to be admitted into the hospital so we could rehydrate him. We found out then that he also had double ear infections. So we got to spend a glorious 2 day stay at Baptist Saint Anthony’s hospital in Amarillo. They kept us until December 24th and then discharged us that morning. Praise God we did not have to spend his first Christmas in the hospital. I know there were many families that were not so lucky.

We always spend Christmas Eve with my family at my Mom’s house. My sisters and their families are all there. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I love my family!

 

Ephraim and his cool present from Aunt Lex and family

Ephraim and his cool present from Aunt Lex and family

img_1045

Hawks and the shirt we got him. So, so true!

img_1043

Boaz in his big truck!

Boaz in his big truck!

 

Holland and her daddy

Holland and her daddy

We spent the first part of Christmas morning just “us” as a family. Ephraim was still pretty weak and tired from his ordeal, but he liked his new toys. I look forward to many more Christmas Eve’s putting kiddos to bed and Mom and Dad staying up setting the stage for Christmas morning. Michael and I still have not made a decision about whether we will do the whole Santa thing or not. I figure we have some time. 

 

Barely awake and what the heck is going on?

Barely awake and what the heck is going on?

 

Toy take down

Toy take down

img_1084

His face says it all ... "Enough with the pictures!"

His face says it all ... "Enough with the pictures!"

Onto Christmas with the Neagles. We joined up with Michael’s family later in the morning. Ephraim was fried, so he napped through present opening and cousin Taylor was more than happy to open his presents for him! Thanks T!

img_1095

Amanda, Taylor and Grammy

Amanda, Taylor and Grammy

 Later that evening, after some long naps, we were all back at my Mom’s for dinner. My mom makes the absolute best turkey and dressing ever! It is so good. We dream of it all year long. It is nice that we get to have it back to back for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all stuffed ourselves. The kids played. And the little ones took baths in the kitchen sink and then crashed into bed. It was a great day!

Feeling better!

Feeling better!Uncle Michael and his best buddy Boaz

Nothing better that a chubby naked baby!

Nothing better that a chubby naked baby!

Boaz let me do his hair!

Boaz let me do his hair!

Bronwyn and India and their endless play!

Bronwyn and India and their endless play!

 So that is about it for December. Michael was able to take almost two weeks off. Ephraim and I felt so spoiled having home all day. It tooK E about 3-4 days to fully recover, but once he did he has never slowed down. He has crossed some major milestones this week, but I will save that for another post. This one was too long already!

Humpty Dumpty sat on a changing table…

Standard

It was awful! That is all I can say. I don’t think I will ever forget the sound of the thud his body made when it hit the hardwood floors beneath. Then, the cry … or lack there of for an excrutiating 30 seconds. His first fall and it was all my fault.

Last night, after bath time, I carried Ephraim into his bedroom and placed him on his changing table as I have almost every night for the past nine months. I can admit I was a little preoccupied. He hardly napped yesterday so he was really ready to go down for the night and we held him off as long as we could. He loves his bath, but as soon as we pulled him from the tub and wrapped him in his towel he was done. We follow the same routine every night (bath, bottle, bed) so he knows as soon he is on that changing table that he has to endure be slathered with lotion and stuffed into his pajamas before he gets his coveted bottle.

I was distracted last night because our schedule was off and he has a small red bump on his hip and I cannot figure out what it is. When I carried him in and sat (that’s right I said “sat”) him on his changing table, I stepped away for two seconds to turn on the lamp so I could get a closer look at his bum. The worst part is is that I sensed it before it even happened. It was like when you know someone is about to hit another car or something, but you can’t react in time to stop it. I pushed the button for the lamp and I heard the thud almost simultaneously. My heart and stomach dropped.

I quickly turned to see what I already knew, that he had fallen from the 4 footish high chest and was laying sprawled and in a silent scream on the floor. I scooped him up (Michael says I screamed but I don’t remember it) and tried blowing in his face to force him to take a breath. He did and then let out a heartbreaking scream. Again and again. I clung to him, he clung to me and we cried together. His first fall and my inability to make it all better. It was horrible.

I screeched at Michael to get the phone and call my sister, Alexis, who is a nurse and ask what to do. My first thoughts were not of broken bones but concern about a possible concussion. She was very reassuring in explaining just how resilient they are, soft bones that don’t break easily. She told Michael about the many falls her kiddos have had and it is always okay. She reminded us that this would be the first of many falls, bumps, scrathes and owies to come. In my head I knew all of this, but in my heart I was so unprepared for the feelings of guilt and helplessness.

He was still crying and naked so I gently laid him on the table to diaper and dress. He clung to me so I let him and slowly got him ready for bed one handed. In the midst of this some measure of the reality of parenthood weighed on me and I was overwhelmed. I have to admit that the only thing “good” (if you can call it that) was knowing that he needed me for comfort and reassurance. I breifly feared that I had Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, but pushed past that and just held my little man. We fed him, prayed over him and put him to bed. Basically we just carried on with the routine. He was out instantly.

Michael and I went into the kitchen and immediately opened a bottle of wine. I needed my little red friend to steady my still shaky nerves. During the choas, Michael also called the pediatrician who called back and offered further reassurance. We held each other and I cried some more and realized this was probably one of the real welcomes to parenthood. It is true when they say it is not for the faint of heart.

On barrenness

Standard

I just finished reading “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini. (He also wrote “The Kite Runner” if any of you are familiar with it.) The book was amazing and it touched my heart on so many levels. It is an absolute “must read” in my opinion. It is hard to pinpoint all of the poignant things about this novel, but there is one issue in particular that especially struck a chord with me that I would like to share with you …barrenness.

I am sure most of you reading this know that getting pregnant was not easy for me. I was not one of those women lucky enough to have their husband look in their direction and whammo blammo we made a baby. We never have truly understood the nature of why conception was so slow in coming for us. The doctors never found anything wrong with us and it seems like it was just a matter of time, a long time for us. I think if I had a window into the future and knew with absolute certainty that I would eventually conceive, maybe the waiting would not have been so difficult. But I didn’t have a window and the waiting was difficult. Painful. And heartbreaking.

I told Michael the other day, after reading about Mariam in the book and her own cycle of infertility, that I still feel very much like a barren woman. I think for some reason I identify more with that heart, than one of a woman whose quiver is full. After reading late into the night, just as I was going to bed, Ephraim woke up and so I decided to feed him. As he laid there in my arms, my heart became overwhelmed and the dam of emotions I have been carrying broke and I wept. My tears fell onto his face as he continued to nurse and I thanked God for this miracle in my life. It was a sweet moment, but I do not feel as though I have recovered from it yet.

In the few days since this moment, I have become aware of the struggles of several couples (some we know, some we don’t) to have children. Some of these women can’t seem t get pregnant. Other get pregnant, but lose the baby shortly there after. In both cases it is a heart wrenching battle. For these women, I know, feel as though their bodies are betraying them and they have failed in some way. I felt that way too.

In addition to the physical ache and longing for a child, there is the emotional saga as well. As Proverbs states so perfectly, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. Before you know it, your heart has become consumed by an emotional battle so entangling and suffocating that death might seem a relief. For myself, I turned so far inward that what I found was scary and lonely and selfish.

I sought prayer and counsel from others, but it still ate away at my heart. Finally, after meeting with a dear friend from church she gave me words that unlocked the death-grip of grief on my heart. She said I had to make a choice and the choice was this, “REJOICE with those who rejoice and MOURN with those who mourn.” She was right. I had to stop making it about me.

You see every time someone I knew got pregnant, especially if it was easy for them, I went into an emotional tailspin. I wanted to be happy for them and a part of me really and truly was, but eventually the question came …”But what about me God?” I felt forgotten and unloved. I wondered if I had committed some sin that was punishable by withholding a child. I reasoned that that could not be the case because it would unfairly punish Michael as well. So what then? Why? When?

I made a decision the day that advice was given and I chose to rejoice. During this time both my sister and sister-in-law had become pregnant within a week of each other and had due dates days apart. I was book-ended by impending birth, swollen bellies, and proud papas. I am not going to lie. It was one of the hardest thigs I have ever walked through. I tried my best to hold my head high and celebrate with these women the blessings that were soon to arrive. I gladly hosted baby showers and listened with real excitement and joy about sonogram reports and feeling the babies move. I was happy for them. And when those babies arrived 6 days apart I held those bundles of joy, I snuggled them, and smelled their sweet smell. I drank it all in and waited, in faith, hoping for the day when this experience would be my own. I rejoiced, inwardly and outwardly. 

Along the way though this journey I began reading a book called Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. In the book, she chronicles her own struggle to conceive and carry a child to term, for she had been told she would never be able to do either. She now has four children and with three of them experienced pain free childbirth. The reason I read the book was because she researched and wrote about every promise of God in the Bible concerning conception and pregnancy. I never knew there were promises about getting pregnant. Or not miscarrying. But there are. Lots of them. So daily I began reading through these scriptures and confessing them over my womb. One really stuck out. 

No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. Exodus 23:26 NKJV

A pocket of revelation began to open up in me that this barrenness was not God’s will or plan for me at all. His plan was established thousands of years ago when these words were written. No longer did I have to question His heart on this issue. It was there, written in black and white.

About two years before I got pregnant I read this:

Oh! Ephraim is my dear son, my child in whom I take pleasure! Everytime I mention his name, my heart bursts with longing for him! Everything in me cries out for him. Softly and tenderly I wait for Him. God’s Decree. Jeremiah 31:20

When I read it I felt like God was telling me, you will someday have a son and when you do, name him Ephraim. I thought, okay. Name is kinda different, but cool. Whatever.

On June 18, 2006 something happened. At church, i received a word from a man named Troy that my womb was being healed. I had similar words given in the past, but this was different. Troy is affectionately known as the “baby prophet” at our church, MORE, because he has prophesied several children, especially to barren mothers. It was the gift of faith I had been praying for. So we continued to wait. And wait some more. Whenever I was given over to doubt or despair, I would cling to the promise Troy had spoken and I prayed.

On June 18, 2007 I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. One year to the day the word was given. On my birthday I found out I was carrying a boy. A son, and we named him Ephraim. It was only then that I looked up the meaning of the name. When I read those words I laughed through my tears for Ephraim means “Fruitful, Fertile and Productive”. To thin that for two years I had been telling people that if I had a son I would name him Ephraim all the while speaking fruitfulness and fertility over my empty womb. Talk about calling things that be not as though they were ….

On February 18 of this year our little miracle and promise arrived (on Troy the Baby Prophets birthday no less!) at 6:54 pm. He was breathtaking and the sound of his first cry made the journey and the struggle worth it all.

So here I am, nine months later writing all of this down for who knows to read and the pain still feels as real as it did then. The struggle is over, but still seems so real. I am reminded of the scripture in revelation that says “we overcome by the blood of the lamb and word of our testimony”. I guess these are the words of my testimony and I hope in some way, by sharing them they will find there way to someone else who needs a gift of faith. I think maybe when we go through something difficult, perhaps God allows us to remember some of that pain so we never forget and are able to bear one anothers burdens. I am not trying to make theology out of that, I am just saying that if this remembering must be bittersweet than hopefully it is so I can help someone else who is in the midst of the battle right now.

If you or someone you know is walking this difficult path right now, please leave me a comment or email me (neagler@gmail.com) so that I can pray with you for healing and deliverance.

Also, here are some recent pics!

img_0770img_0826

All she wanted was a pair of summer wedges!

Standard

I love my mom! I do! There is so much to love about her and respect her for. She is one of the most intelligent women I have ever met. She has an amazing work ethic and thirst for knowledge. When I was in middle school went back to college and got her teaching certificate. She went on to be both a principal and a superintendant, before taking early retirement a few years back.

Over the past few years she tried her hand at financial planning and even delved briefly (thank goodness) into a multi-level marketing business. She never quite found her niche so she recently went back into the working world as a director of personnel for the juvenile detention center in Amarillo. She loves her job, loves the hours and all that it entails. The main challenge for her has been updating her wardrobe to re-enter the professional world. For the past few years, since she worked from home, most of her clothing purchases have been either very comfy or just plain practical. So she needed to upgrade.

Now, as I said before, I love my mom. There are many things to admire her for, but her style may not be one of them. I don’t say this to be mean, I am merely stating the facts. She is a beautiful woman and over the years my sister, Alexis, and I have had great fun dressing her up. We have taken girls trips to Dallas and hit up local sales and Mom is always eager for our opinions on things to try on and purchase. Last summer, before we took a trip to Israel, we spent a day outfitting her with new clothes for the vacation. My point in mentioning this is that my Mom respects and values our opinions, at least when it comes to fashion. So it was not unusual when, late last week, she asked Alexis and I to take a look at a few of her recent purchases. 

The other important thing to mention here is that my mom is cheap. Not thrifty or frugal. Cheap. She loves a bargain and often times has trouble refusing a purchase simply because it is a great deal. This has become a problem over the years as she has accumulated a few things that were inexpensive, but also hideous. This is valuable information.

Let me set the scene for you. Last Thursday night Alexis and I met at our mothers to help her clean her house for a shower we were all hosting there on Saturday. After hours of cleaning we broke open a celebratory bottle of wine and kicked up our heels. We started chatting and eventaully, inevitabley, the conversation drifted towards the holidays and the need to go shopping. I think this must have triggered her memory about the bargains stowed away in her closet so she beckoned us to her bedroom and showed off the new sweaters she had purchased at TJ Maxx (her absolute favorite store!). The sweaters were all great and Alexis and i complimented her on her good taste. emboldened by our praise she asked us to take a look at a pair of “summer wedges” she had also gotten on the same day. They were “a great deal” and she “really needed some closed toed summer wedges.” 

We followed Mom to the next room where she keeps her out of season clothes. She disappeared and into the closet and emerged with, well, these:

 

babyphat-toe-pic1

I know it is kinda hard to see, but those are pretty little gold kitty cats emblazoned all over the toe of the wedge. Some of you may recognize this as the logo for Baby Phat.


babyphat
This is the heel of the shoe. Now, i wish i could say that we reacted well and were mindful of my Mom’s feelings when we saw these beauties. I can’t. I blame the wine, but we burst out laughing and I made Alexis grab these pictures with her camera phone. My poor Mom. She had no clue what all the fuss was about. She just figured we didn’t like these shoes like countless others she has bought before. We explained that she could not, was not  allowed under any circumstances to wear Baby Phat. She said, “What is Baby Phat?” We showed her the heel of the shoe and explained …. as best we could. All I could imagine was her walking through the detention center and getting a lot of props of some from some of the detainees for her excellent sense of fashion. Sigh!

Alexis accompanied her to TJ Maxx this week and made sure the kittens were safely returned. All is well that ends well. Just wanted to share a little humor from my week.

My Little Sock Monkey and his pals

Standard

I had to post the requisite costume photos of my little one. Ephraim was a sock monkey for Halloween. We spent the evening at our sweet friend Claire’s 1st birthday party and then on to Jesus Jam (an event at our church) to show off our little man.

 

Ephraim and his monkey twin

Ephraim and his monkey twin

Finally a smile for Mama

Finally a smile for Mama

 

Cousin Boaz "the cow"

Cousin Boaz

 

With cousins Boaz and Taylor "the fairy"

With cousins Boaz and Taylor

 

On our way home ... one tired little monkey!

On our way home ... one tired little monkey!

Upgrade

Standard

Well, its out with the old and in with the new around the Neagle house this week. I am not sure if I am going through some kind of post-partum nesting thing or the reality of living in a small home with a new family member has set in. I always thought that once our little bundle of joy arrived I would somehow be able to avoid every square inch of my home being overrun by baby paraphernalia. It turns out I was wrong. The baby has won and we are quickly becoming outnumbered by all the accoutrements.

Case in point: The high-chair

I registered for a wooden one that looked more like a real piece of furniture but we didn’t receive it and waited to purchase one until we really needed it. I decided at that point that I was not ready to plunk down $150 bones for a highchair so I went to one of those “gently” used items for children shops and bought this lovely. She was $25 and I thought it was a good price. It looked a lot smaller in the store. It swallows Ephraim so much that he has to sit on a phone book in order to see over the tray. It also takes up way too much room in our already tiny kitchen. The only way we could position it left half the chair protruding into our den. The other issue is that there are too may distractions in the shared kitchen/den space and that makes for a frustrating feeding experience for mom and baby. Ephraim is one of those kiddos that needs a quite place to nurse and I think the same can be said for eating his solids as well. He rarely eats at mothers day out because there are just too many new things to discover and he cannot be bothered. 

So here is my new puchase:

It fits right onto one of our dining room chairs. We can actually all sit together at the table now as well. I can also move this easily between the two rooms and the little guy loves it too. Mommy happy, baby happy!

We have not quite decided on the best placement, it probably will come down to which spot is more conducive to easy clean-ups. 

Now what do to with the old highchair? She is being banished to grandma’s(or Darney as we call her) house. Since we now have three kiddo’s in the fam under the age of two this old girl will be put to good use. If you have extra, old, no longer useful baby and kid stuff I was sent this website as an alternative to selling/trashing the stuff. Check out Zwaggle if you are interested. Remember: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

In other big news, E graduated to his big boy car seat this week. It was time to upgrade from his infant carrier since his feet hung about 4 inches out from the edge and lifting him was becoming quite a task for me. We passed his carrier down to new cousin Holland. She came over with her mommy for lunch today and I picked up the carrier with her in it to bring out to the car. I nearly launched the poor thing out of habit of straining to pick up Ephraim in it. I will post some pics of the new ride later.

 

 

Meet Baby Holland

Standard

Welcome my new niece, Holland Hazel Wright. She was born October 1 at 10:47 pm and weighed 6 lbs. 10 oz. and is 19 inches long. She is the daughter of my sister, Alexis, and her husband, Kevin. She is welcomed by big sister Bronwyn and brother Boaz.

My sister is a trooper. She did it all natural, no drugs at all. She delivered about 2o minutes after arriving at the hospital. Since they had decided not to find out what they were having it took them several hours to decide on a name for baby girl Wright. The decision was finally made this afternoon and we all love their choice! Everyone had guessed they were having a boy so they had long ago settled on a boy name. I was the only one who thought it was a girl, but I have a lousy track record in this area … until now!

Mom and baby are both doing great and will go home soon. We are so blessed by this new addition to our happy family!