This week was all about family. My mom came for a visit from Sunday to Thursday. Then, on Friday morning we left for Alabama to visit with Josh’s family for the weekend.
We had a good visit with my mom. She loves to cook and prepared all of the meals while staying with us. One evening she cooked a shrimp boil. She put red potatoes, onions, corn on the cobb, and jumbo shrimp in a large pot with crab boil; then served it with a side of homemade cocktail sauce. It was so delicious, and reminded me of when she would make this dish for me and my brother when we were kids.
We also had a good visit with Josh’s family. We arrived around 6pm Friday evening. Josh’s mom had also prepared a delicious dinner for us. We got to visit and catch up around the dinner table. Saturday morning, we went to see Josh’s great Aunt: Aunt Carol. John Luke’s great great Aunt. She is 92 years old and is in extended care at the nursing home. She still continues to amaze me. Aunt Carol was so alert and spry, she commented several times on John Luke’s smile, and what a big boy he is to be 6 months old.
That afternoon Josh’s brother, his wife and their four kids, came over for a cookout. We grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, and Josh’s dad made us homemade peach ice-cream. Sunday was Josh’s birthday, so we celebrated early, and Josh’s mom made his favorite. A sour cream poundcake.
They have a longstanding gag gift that gets passed to a different family member every couple of years (either at birthdays or on Christmas), and Josh got it this year. It is a Jimmy’s Heating and Cooling Jacket. There is a story behind re-gifting the jacket which is a family joke.
The kids marched with musical instruments: a drum, cymbals, and a tambourine. They also sang the Star Spangled Banner, My Country Tis of Thee, and sited the Pledge of Allegiance; led by Josh’s mom who is a retired music teacher. They also made up a song, and put on a show for us called “About Beach”.
It was a good visit, I just wish we all lived closer, and could see each other more often. We plan to go back in August for a five day visit, with more extended family. It’ll be here before you now it, but I already can’t wait.
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During my six years of infertility, I had packed on about twenty-five pounds. Much of the weight gain was from emotional eating, craving something I didn’t have. That something was a child. That something was a family to call my own. I’d love to chalk it up to being on infertility drugs for so many years. Some of that is true. But, if I am honest with myself, much of the weight gain was due to poor choices.
Yes, the emotional roller coaster of infertility (and the hormonal effects of the drugs) did contribute to the weight gain, but let’s keep it real. I craved comfort foods. And, comfort I would find. Temporarily. I think I was under a false sense of security, too, because I walked everyday. “I’ll just walk this one off.” I would tell myself.
It happens slowly. Weight gain. A pound here, a pound there. You don’t notice as much, when you put it on a little at a time. There was a void in my life that could not be filled. Sometimes sweets and good cooking were substitutes for those lonely places. Loneliness from times, such as being at a cookout where everyone would have their little ones, and me and Josh would be the only childless couple there.
I actually lost weight during pregnancy. Having gestational diabetes forced me to be conscientious about my diet, for the health of the baby. I limited sweets and carbs, and incorporated more protein and fiber into each meal. Also, I didn’t have much of an an appetite while pregnant. I felt so full from the baby pushing on my belly, I would eat smaller meals. To keep my bloodsugar from dropping, I’d eat a protein bar, nuts, or wheat crackers as in-between meal snacks.
My friend commented, I was the only girl she knew that looked like they had just done a P90X video, after having a baby. (I love that friend , I think I will keep her)! I was ALMOST as skinny after giving birth, as I had been in college. But since the birth, I have started to put some of the weight back on slowly. A little at a time. So, I have to be careful to keep it off, this time for good.
Now that I have John Luke, the void is gone. And so is the diabties. I still walk almost everyday, but I am adding in zumba classes and strength training with weights. Josh and I have been cooking healthier meals for dinner, eating earlier, and cutting our portions.
I have many new reasons to keep the weight off. The best motivation is this precious little boy that I want to be able to keep up with. I will be 52 when he is 10. (Not that I am complaining, just sayin…:)
I want to play ball with him, and run around, and play chase with him. I have so much to live for, so many reasons to stay healthy, and so much joy!
John Luke had his 6 month well-baby visit and vaccinations this week. He is 18.4 oz, 27 inches long, and is in the 75th percentile of growth rate. By all accounts, he’s going to be a big boy. Let’s just say…I think he will be able to “hold his own” on the playground. He’s outgrown many of his 6 month clothes and already fits into most of his 9 month clothes.
We started introducing him to solid foods. Recently, he’s begun to lose interest in the bottle or breast, except at naptime/bedtime. The books say to feed formula or breastmilk first, as it provides more calories. Then offer solids second, or as a between meal snack. At times, he refuses the bottle. It’s as if he’s saying, “Hey, is this all I ever get? How about some of those sweet potatoes that were on the menu yesterday?” So, I will give in, and feed him solids first, then top him off with a bottle. I have tried the way the experts say, however, time after time, he’ll refuse the bottle. Then it derails his feeding schedule.
The one constant in our day is that he’s ready to eat every four hours. The only downside is, it’s even during the night. We put rice cereal in his bottle before bedtime, or use pre-mixed formula with added rice starch. He still wakes up about every four hours for a feeding. The books recommend 2 solid feedings per day at 6 months. We started doing one feeding of vegetables for lunch, and the second feeding of solids (oatmeal) around 8:00 PM, to see if it helps him sleep through the night. We will see how that goes.
His pediatrician said to feed one type of vegetable at a time, for three days straight, to rule out any food allergies. Then, after we have tried all the veggies, we can move onto “no sugar added” fruits. He also said to start him on a sippy cup of water with solids to keep him hydrated. So far sweet potatoes seem to be his favorite. He was not a big fan of the peas, but seemed to like the green beans. Maybe he likes the sweet taters because they were from “mama’s” kitchen. They were peeled, cooked, then pureed in the blender. The other’s were store bought.
It is amazing how much difference four months makes at this age. I saw a 2 month old newborn at a party Saturday. It seems like yesterday John Luke was that small. Everyday is a day of discovery for me and for him.
Josh, me, and my mom took John Luke home to Alabama for an extended weekend to visit family. On Saturday my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Ronnie hosted a cookout for everyone to meet the newest member of the family. My mom is one of eight children and I have twenty-three first cousins, so we are a rather large bunch.
We had an awesome time together. Everyone was so happy for us to finally have a child of our own. Being in a family of fertile myrtle cousins (except for one that is not married), I was the only cousin that didn’t have any children. They were thrilled our blessing had arrived, and to see us so happy.
We received many gifts, but the inscription in a card from my mom says it all:
“To John Luke Foster:
You were -prayed for -hoped for- and longed for-
And when you arrived you didn’t disappoint anyone.
When you smile you light up the room
And you love your groceries like your grandma Babo.
John Luke, you have the most loving and nurturing mother any boy could hope for. One day you will read your mother’s blogs and it will bring tears to your eyes.
Your father has so many things he will want to teach you: Duck hunting, playing the guitar, fixing a car, building blinds and tree stands. He will make you tow the line, but all with love.
The following day, I spent my first night away from John Luke on a girls night out with my two best friends from high school. We have stayed in touch and try to see each other every couple of years to re-connect. We spent the day at the pool with John Luke. Then, Josh took him to my family’s house, so that my friends and I could head to the hotel spa for some much needed pampering. We got pedicures, then I fell asleep for almost two hours in the “quiet” room. Feeling rested, we went back to the room to get ready, and go out for a seafood dinner that evening.
The last day of our trip, me, Josh and John Luke, went to spend the night with my dad and step-mom. It was the first time John Luke had met his Granddad and Granny. They took us out to dinner for more seafood (you can never get enough Gulf Coast shrimp) and John Luke had some laughs and giggles with his Granddad.
It was a wonderful trip home. We tried to see as many people as possible in a short time so everybody could meet John Luke. He won’t remember this weekend, but it is one in which I will never forget.
Mother’s Day had me thinking about what kind of mom I want to be to John Luke.
Here are a few random thoughts I want John Luke to know:
*I want to be a mom who nurtures.
*I want to be a mom who can act silly and make you laugh.
*I want to be a mom who disciplines but always with love.
*I want to be a mom who teaches you about family and traditions.
*I want to be a mom who lets you get dirty even if you’re in your good clothes.
*I want to be a mom who packs your lunch for school.
*I want to be a mom who teaches you values and right from wrong.
*I want to be a mom who attends PTA meetings.
*I want to be a mom who makes snacks for you and your friends when they come over.
*I want to be a mom who is a cub scout leader.
*I want to be a mom who takes you to T-ball, and to soccer, and to music lessons.
*I want to be a mom who delights in having family time around the dinner table.
*I want to be a mom who drives you to school.
*I want to be a mom who can disagree without being disagreeable.
*I want to be a mom who is a mom first and a friend second.
*I want to be a mom who is understanding and compassionate.
*I want to be a mom who listens to what you have to say.
*I want to be a mom who takes you camping and hiking.
*I want to be a mom who teaches you to respect others and to be respected.
*I want to be a mom who instills confidence in you so that you can have it in yourself.
*I want to be a mom who shows you how to honor and value women.
*I want to be a mom who puts her child’s needs ahead of her own.
*I want to be a mom who mentors you to think positively and for yourself.
*I want to be a mom who shows you love and how to be loved.
*I want to be a mom of good character and moral standing.
Most of all I want to be a mom who you will be honored to say, “This is my mom.”
I consider this role as my highest calling and privilege.
We had a wonderful weekend starting off with Josh’s parents (Tahtee and Popee) coming up for a visit on Friday night. They drove up from Alabama with friends in a 1930’s Ford Model-A as part of a 10 day drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
John Luke has changed quite a bit since Easter when they were here for the Baptism. He is babbling and cooing more, and attempting to crawl. They were excited to see his progress.
Josh’s parents and friends left early Saturday morning for the rest of their trip. That afternoon John Luke and I headed off to a Mother’s Day Tea. It was a sweet affair where little girls wear their Sunday dresses and everyone wears hats. It was quite fitting since Saturday was Kentucky Derby day. The only thing missing was a Mint Julep!
I asked one of John Luke’s God mom’s (GaGa) to come with us since she doesn’t have any children. I remember before I became pregnant, I always felt left out when hearing about these type of events. I wanted to include her for this day and for her to be able to spend time with John Luke.
She remarked how special it was for her to be invited, and that it was the first Mother’s Day event in a long time that she didn’t feel a little down. She also mentioned that she and her husband (the God Dad or PapPap) had always said that if a child was meant to come into their life, it would it would happen when the time was right. GaGa declared, “This must be the time.”
John Luke has brought so much healing to mine and Josh’s life, we just want to share that joy.
While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
For those of you that have followed my previous blogs, you might know that I am ADHD, a slight perfectionist, with a little twist of OCD. I want to share some postings/or texts, I recently had with two friends.
This is a story from a childhood friend named Mary, who recently wrote the following:
“Sometimes I feel like my days turn into a story from the author of ‘You Give a Mouse a Cookie’ books. If you give Mary a vacuum cleaner she’ll vacuum, then a string will get wrapped around the vacuum. Then, she’ll bend down to untangle it, and notice how filthy the area rug is. Then, Mary will start to spot clean the rug. She gets so disgusted by how nasty the rug is, Mary decides to pull the whole rug up. She then decides she never really liked how her furniture was arranged, so she starts moving all her furniture around. One hour later everything is back where it started, minus the area rug. I blame my mom for these tendencies.:)”
So, dot dot dot… I am not alone.
Tamara decides to make cheese grits for a breakfast the following morning. Then, after baking a chicken and cooking dressing for dinner; Tamara decides to cook the grits in the microwave to save time. After realizing the grits have puffed-up, and no longer fit in the pan, Tamara decides to put them in a bigger pan- on the stove. Then, as the grits puff-up even more; and are not thoroughly cooked; the grits no longer fit in that pan either. Tamara decides to put them in yet another pan. Three pots, and a very messy countertop later, Tamara finally finishes the grits. Funny thing is: John Luke had just woke up and was ready for a bottle about the time we needed to leave to arrive on time. So we didn’t go. Now, I have a pot load of grits and a very messy kitchen to clean.
My other friend Kelly who has twins a few months older than John Luke, sends me a text saying:
“I’m exhausted. Downstairs basement: I’ve vacuumed, swept laundry room, washed and dried 5 loads laundry. Upstairs: cleaned oven, pans, dishes, bottles, countertops, refrigerator, swept twice, changed kiddos sheet where pee’d, changed bedroom sheet, fed kids 4xs, changed a dozen diapers, and pumped. Trying to gets things as they were pre-pregnancy.”
To that I replied. “Perfectionism is overrated. Trust me, I know.”