Thursday, April 19, 2012


Poor Belle. Being that she is one active child, she tends to find herself covered in multiple bumps and bruises. Her most recent injury takes the cake.

As many know, we have been struggling with Belle to stay in bed at night. This particular night, Paul sat outside of her door to walk her back to her bed if she came out of her room. Belle opened the door and saw Paul. She quickly turned to run back to her bed. Her room was dark and the poor girl didn't watch where she was going. She ran straight into the corner of her dresser.

Within seconds her eye bubbled up to the size of Mount Everest and she was crying screaming "my ball!". She could feel the huge swollen mass on her eye. Of course, as parents, your heart breaks when you see your kid in pain with one massive shiner. However, we were quick to bust out the camera to take pics and video. We didn't want to miss the opportunity for a picture of this for her wedding slideshow someday ;) It has been a week and the swelling is gone, but she has been left with a very purple eye and a big red spot on the white of her eye.

Thankfully, it no longer seems to bother her, but I must say I am a little embarrassed to bring her out in public!

5 Months (whoops, forgot to post this!)

Today Evie turned 5 months old. Where has the time gone? There have been a lot of changes this month.

First, i have finished nursing. For being a SAHM, I had to supplement and pump way more than I should have for having the luxury of always having Evie there to nurse. I was working really hard to keep my milk supply up. It is bittersweet, but this month I weened Evie. My doctor told me I needed to be careful of post partum feelings when I quit nursing, and I understand why! It has been an emotional time for me. There is guilt over being done, as well as the sappy side of me that knows it is one more milestone for her that is complete. Nursing is done :(. At least I still have bags in the freezer to get her through a few more weeks.

Second, Evie has begun to like cereal more and started a couple of foods. She likes sweet potatoes A LOT! She does not like peas. She is also all for applesauce and pears.

Belle can make Evie laugh at the drop of a hat. She thinks Belle is hysterical, and Belle loves to play with her. It is adorable! Evie has also started to notice Mac and she watches him whenever he is near.

Evie is doing better at night and only waking up once finally! Thank goodness! We are still working on getting her to nap easier, but hopefully she gets there soon. At this point she shows no interest in any sort of movement (doesn't even roll over), and I'm perfectly okay with that!

We fall more in love with her everyday. She smiles nonstop and laughs at everything! Now for pics and videos.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jesus Calling

After another rough night in the Thompson household I knew I needed encouragement somewhere. So, I decided to open my Jesus Calling book. I read this:

"TRUST ME, and don’t be afraid. Many things feel out of control. Your routines are not running smoothly. You tend to feel more secure when your life is predictable. Let Me lead you to the rock that is higher than you and your circumstances. Take refuge in the shelter of My wings, where you are absolutely secure.

When you are shaken out of your comfortable routines, grip My hand tightly and look for growth opportunities. Instead of bemoaning the loss of your comfort, accept the challenge of something new. I lead you on from glory to glory, making you fit into My kingdom. Say yes to the ways I work in your life. Trust Me, and don’t be afraid."

Wow, if that wasn't on point for what I needed to hear! I then realized this was for yesterday, so I moved onto today's message:

"I am calling you to a life of thankfulness. I want all your moments to be punctuated with thanksgiving. The basis for your gratitude is My sovereignty. I am the Creator and Controller of the universe. Heaven and earth are filled with My glorious Presence.

When you criticize or complain, you are acting as if you think you could run the world better than I do. From your limited human perspective, it may look as if I'm mismanaging things. But you don't know what I know or see what I see. If I pulled back the curtain to allow you to view heavenly realms, you would understand much more. However, I have designed you to live by faith, not by sight. I lovingly shield you from knowing the future or seeing into the spirit world. Acknowledge My sovereignty by giving thanks in all circumstances."

I think it was meant to be that I read both of those today! Time to give up my control and "let go, and let God." It's going to be okay and He will take care of us. Belle will be fine. I will get some sleep again. It's time to TRUST and GIVE THANKS. God has this.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Refreshing New Perspective

Anyone who has read a few of my recent blog posts or is a friend of mine on Facebook is no stranger to the sleeping issues I have had with Belle. It has made me a crazy person at times and has brought me to tears often.

Finally, I decided to make a doctor appointment and seek some professional help. My poor girl has been exhausted and unable to handle her emotions, resulting in massive tantrums. Paul and I get frustrated, which means we yell at Belle, and sometimes we yell at each other.

Wow, do I wish I had scheduled the appointment earlier! The doctor gave me no new remedy or life changing tactic to keep her in bed. He gave me facts, information, and some renewed hope!

My doctor informed me that there are two times in our lives where the synapses in the brain can and do malfunction. The first is during that 2-3 year old stage, and the second is during adolescence. He says that it is often the "terrible twos" we hear about because our sweet, sleeping children now seem to start acting much different. So, turns out Belle is having brain synapses malfunctions :). In many ways this relieved me. I was not doing something wrong. Belle was not having a complete breakdown, and she really was a product of what her body is going through.

The doc then proceeded to say that I could totally use meds (which he wasn't promoting first and foremost, but definitely as an option). He said it is putting a band-aid on the problem, but understands that sometimes it is needed. By meds he means tylenol, benadryl, or melatonin. In fact, they used benadryl with their son often (they also had to purchase ear plugs because he would keep the rest of the house up by being so loud)!

He then said that I must keep her on a strict routine, because children function best with routine. Thankfully, I am kind of a sleep nazi and have usually been very structure with Belle's nap time and bed time.

Lastly, he told me to let her be in her room until she falls asleep as long as she doesn't hurt herself. Turn the monitor off and forget about it. She will eventually outgrow this. I have heard this from others (Kristin Slater, you wrote me a note about doing this and your encouragement really brought me to tears because I had been feeling so lost and alone). So, basically, I need to relinquish a bit of control on her and let her just put herself to bed.

Much more was discussed that made me feel so much better. He stated that some of the most irritating parts of parenthood are when we feel our child isn't getting something they need, and we notice it. Belle is not getting enough sleep and she has meltdowns. He told me to look at those meltdowns as her body responding appropriately. If she was docile and non responsive that could be a much bigger issue. The fact that she is lacking sleep, exhausted, and melting down really is a sign that her body us functioning as it should. Obviously, she needs sleep to prevent the meltdowns, but it simply means her body is telling us what it needs. Does that make sense? It does to me, but I don't know if I am explaining it well.

All in all, "this too shall pass." I feel less guilt that I am doing something wrong, and more encouraged that this is a stage that we have to go through. Honestly, we won't change much around here, but this new mindset is a huge sense of freedom.

On another note, we stopped by her preschool to get her all signed up and on board for next fall...hopefully sleeping issues resolved ;)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Motherhood Woes (Holy Long Post!)

I'm just going to say it. It has been hard being a mom the past few weeks. I have found it physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Oh, how I love my girls. They truly are blessings and joys in my life, yet the task of raising them these past few weeks has been wearing on me.

My friend, Liz, made a comment to me awhile ago that has stuck with me. The first year of our children's lives we are just keeping them alive. They are hungry, so we feed them. They are naked, so we clothe them. They are cold, so we keep them safe inside a warm home. When they are tired, we place them in their cribs to sleep. During this first year they are not able to talk back, hit their siblings, or run away from us when we need to get them dressed. We are simply keeping them alive. It's the years after this that involve disciplining them and teaching them how to be good, God-fearing individuals. This involves teaching them right from wrong, while allowing them enough freedom to grow into the person God has created them to be. This means we allow them to paint, but teach them they may not paint on the couch. We allow them to sing, but teach them they can't scream at the top of their lungs when their sister is trying to sleep. We allow them to wrestle with us, but teach them they can't hit us in the face when they are mad. It means we enforce rules and consequences and just pray that those consequences are scary enough to prevent them from misbehaving.

I got that first stage covered. Keep my children alive? Got that. Easy breezy. Now, the second stage? Let's just say that I just pray my chidlren don't remember me as the screaming tyrant mother who made her children live in time out while spewing out empty threats. Anyone else out there ever feel this way? Please, someone tell me I am not the only one!

I had always heard of the terrible twos, but had always assumed by the time I reached this point of motherhood I would have a good system down of how Paul and I would handle discipline and as long as we were consistenT it would alwAYs work (at least 98% of the time). I have a masters degree in school counseling, right? Obviously, I know how to handle behavioral issues in children. Ha!

Currently, we are still dealing with a lot of sleep issues. We finally began to give Belle melatonin because she just could not shut off her brain. I was so relieved to find out that many other parents out there do the same. It made me feel so much less alone and less like we were doing something wrong. Melatonin was working great, until recently. We have had to up the dose to get the same effect, and now it does not keep her snoozing all night. 3-4 nights a week Belle wakes up around 4am or so and she is wired and wide awake. She has more energy at 4am, than I do hyped up on an entire pot of Starbucks coffee! So, we spend the hours between 4 and 6am trying to get Belle back to sleep....which many times involves another dose of melatonin.

Once the day starts, I am tired, and Belle is tired. We go into our day both kind of crabby and not well rested. Belle is easily upset over small things and I have a short fuse. Lethal combination. I do my best to enforce time outs and she does her best to avoid time out. She flashes her cute dimples at me while she says "I'm sorry," in hopes that I won't make her sit on the steps. I work hard to redirect her attention to something else when I notice she is becoming upset. This does often work, but it sure isn't fool proof.

Another difficult issue for me is allowing Belle to be creative and curious without holding her back. For example, recently I can't hardly leave her alone downstairs for 5 minutes while I get dressed upstairs. Take today for example. I went upstairs to get dressed and when I came downstairs she had somehow found two eggs in the fridge, climbed onto my counter to get a bowl, cracked the eggs in the bowl, and had begun to fill the bowl with water with the sprayer from our kitchen sink. Raw egg water was flowing all over my countertops. When she saw me she was more than proud of herself stating, "I got water for my eggs!" She clearly did not seem to think this was something she should not do. Later, I went back upstairs to do my hair and when I came down she had the tube of A&D out (if anyone remembers our vaseline incident you understand how fast my heart was beating) and had been wiping it all down her legs. Thankfully, it was only on her legs! She again looked at me very proud and said "I have a rash, mama!"

Belle loves to explore and experiment. I truly feel it is part of her character. Many mornings she looks at me and says "what can we make, mama?" She wants to paint, build, bake, draw, etc. I never want her to stop having this desire, nor do I want to discourage her by yelling at her every time she uses this gift. I, do, however know that I need to really dig deep into every creative bone in my body to find structured ways for her to express herself. Many days, I feel like my creative bone is exhausted and drained. I might need to peruse Pinterest a lot more for more ideas to keep this little girl busy!

My last frustration is how to handle Belle's blatant boundary testing. It seems each activity is a task. Getting dressed involves multiple time outs and me chasing her around the house. Doing her hair involves me putting a million things infront of her to keep her attention while I quick try to whip out something that doesn't look too awful. Even playing outside has become a challenge of wrangling her back inside when it is time to eat or teaching her that the road is not a playground! I feel that every time I say "no" right now, it has to become a power struggle.

Then I think to myself, "Bets, she is a 2 year old! You are 28! Who is in charge????? Why is she getting your blood boiling?" Yet, I know why. It isn't so much that she gets my blood boiling, but that each blatant refusal, boundary testing, and power struggle we face I feel like I am failing her in some way. Like I said before, this is the time when I teach her right from wrong. I know I can't be perfect at this discipline thing, yet somedays I just wish it came easier. I wish that I could see the results of my labor even just a little bit. Somedays I wish I wouldn't "give in" because I have just become mentally and emotionally exhausted.

I see other chidlren who seem to obey effortlessly and I think to myself "what is that mom doing that I am not?" Other times I read peoples' facebook statuses about how their child just recited the entire Bible by memory, gave away all of their toys to charity, and is writing their speech to accept the Nobel Peace Prize next week. Unfortunately, my life looks more like a child who paints all over her body, slams her sister's door when she is trying to sleep, would rather jump off the couch than do a puzzle, and inevitably covers herself head to toe in whatever she is eating for lunch that day...and that is on a day I feel like I was Mother of the Year!

I guess, this post is more for me than anything. It is therapeutic in a way. I know this motherhood role can be a tough gig at times. It's so hard to be a mom because I want SO bad to do right by my kids and I will inevitably make mistakes. There are times I will let my children down and be disappointed in myself. I guess it's reminding myself that my mom probably felt the same and made mistakes, but I feel I turned out pretty good.

My own personal definition of motherhood? THE SINGLE most difficult thing I have ever done, while simultaneously being THE MOST rewarding thing I have ever done.

(and on a side note...I just purchased "Love and Logic for Early Childhood." I figure a little literature and a lot of prayer can't hurt, right?)