The day my niece was born

Yesterday was the 8th Birthday of my sweet niece, Jaidyn.  How in the world is she already 8? 

“JJ” as all the cousins call her, was the first little one of my four siblings that grew up in our house.  The baby was having a baby!  We had older siblings that had children in Waco, but we were young ourselves when it happened. We became Aunts and Uncles before we were even 15 years old.  Jaidyn was extra special.  Not only because she was the first, but because she was the light in so much darkness in 2010.  I will never forget the call from my dad that my grandfather, “Daddy Bob” had died.  I remember throwing the phone across the room with an intensity and anger that my husband had never seen in me before.  Following with uncontrollable sobbing and hyperventilation.  I couldn’t breathe.  My hero was gone and I didn’t even get to say goodbye.  The man that carried a peace about him that no one else to this day has ever had.  My sweet Daddy Bob had been changing a light bulb on the front porch of their Houston home and had fallen off the ladder and died instantly.  Heartbreak.  I believe that we always thought my Granny would be the first of the two to go.  She had been battling health issues for years and my Daddy Bob was always clean on his health bills.  How in the world did this happen?  The days and weeks that followed were that of extreme sadness and exhaustion.  My grandmother no longer had the love of her life and the man that took care of her every need.  She was in shock and heartbroken along with the rest of us.  I went to stay with her and then my step mom did also, but she just wasn’t the same after he died.  Her will to live wasn’t there as it was before.  She was transported to San Antonio via ambulance to be admitted into a rehab facility and was closer to all of us.  It was good to have her physically near us, but she was never the same.  She was able to make my sisters baby shower and was excited for this sweet little Blessing to come earth side.  A week before my sister was to give birth to Jaidyn, Granny made her way up to heaven into the loving arms of her precious husband.  Sadness again filled the family as we had officially lost the heads of our family within months of each other.  

The day of Jaidyn’s birth was a happy one.  The entire family was there and waiting as the birth had been a scheduled c-section.  Even though the recent grief, we were all ready to meet this little miracle that God had given my sister.  There were a few things they wanted to look at on her once she was born and it took what seemed like forever for her mama to hold her for the first time.  And for all of us to finally meet her.  She was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever laid my eyes on.  A tiny little thing at 5.3oz and just perfection. I will never forget that my uncle Eddie refused to leave until he got to see her and hold her.  He absolutely loved children.  He was so excited to have a baby in the family finally!  Once he held her he told our Nana & Papa that they could go home.  Uncle Eddie had special needs and was truly a gift from God. He wasn’t supposed to live past 3 and with my Nana’s strong will and Eddie’s determination he beat all the odds!  Leaving the hospital we were all so excited and happy.  My other siblings and our spouses all went to our parents house to celebrate the arrival of this precious baby girl who had changed our family.  Then the call came… My Nana.  Hysterical.  She had gone upstairs and found my uncle Eddie unresponsive.  Heart Attack.  He was gone.  On one of the happiest days in a very long time, it was also the darkest. On the day Jaidyn was born, Eddie died.  An extreme roller coaster of emotions that were almost too much to bear for all of us.  

Every year on her Birthday I think back to the months that preceded and followed Jaidyn’s birth.  I remember my Grandparents, my uncle and thank God for the Blessing that is my niece.  It is a reminder to me that even during the darkest of times, there is light.  Even if you have to struggle to find the light, it is always there.  It may not be in the form of a beautiful baby girl, but God will show up.  He always does.  2010 was one of the hardest years of my life to date, but I don’t wish that it never happened.  I keep thinking of the sermon that I heard at church last week on the book of Judges.  God sometimes has to weaken us before He uses us.  (Judges 7:1-7)  At the ripe age of 29 I had seen more death happen than I had ever experienced before.  I learned how short life is and also what a great God we have.  Even when the days seem hard, you feel like that you can’t seem to get out of “the yuck” as I call it.. look up.  Look to Him and know that once you fully rely on God, the peace that comes is indescribable. 

“Consider is pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  (James 1:2-3)

Blessings,

Tk

Healthy Banana-Zucchini Mini Crumb Muffins

As a stay at home mom I find that most days are spend giving my kids snacks.  I mean, how many snacks can a kid have in one day?  When my kids are at pre-school surely they don’t eat this much right???
I digress… I am always looking for ways where I can give my kids a healthy alternative than just buying processed foods as a snack.  This recipe was a winner!  Easy, tasty and a way to sneak in a vegetable!  Enjoy friends!
Original recipe was found at: www.yummyhealthyeasy.com 

Healthy Banana-Zucchini Mini Crumb Muffins

Yield 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. Truvia sweetener (or 1/4 cup granulated sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (can replace with butter if desired)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil (can replace with butter if desired)

Instructions:

!.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas and shredded zucchini. Beat in the egg, Truvia (or sugar) and 1/2 cup melted coconut oil.

4.  Stir in the flour mixture into the banana- zucchini mixture.  Don’t overtax!  Spoon batter into mini muffin tins.

5.  In a small bowl, melt 1 Tbsp. coconut oil.  Stir in 2 Tbsp. flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle crumb mixture over the tops of each muffin.

6.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until tips spring back when pressed.  Let cool on wire rack and then pop them out and enjoy!

*I like to put in a ziplock or airtight container for a day and then split up what is left (which there isn’t ever usually any) with a bag for the fridge and possibly one for the freezer.  Zap a cold one in the microwave for 10 seconds for a warm tasty treat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Present

A  few days ago I had a conversation with a girlfriend about this stage in our lives.  The constant entertaining of a toddler, wiping a behind and all of the other stuff that goes along with keeping a small human alive on a daily basis!  Being a stay at home mom is hard on so many levels.  I also always have the feeling of “not doing enough.” Either with my business that I help run from our home, keeping the house picked up or keeping up with a girlfriend.

The thought hit me like a ton of bricks.  My kids will only be kids for a short amount of time.  In just a few months my son, my baby, will start attending a 2 day a week Mother’s Day Out.  Granted that is only a few days a week, but time is moving fast.  I will not beat myself up over helping in our business, having all the laundry folded or being MIA on friends.  God has entrusted me with a beautiful family that I have the honor or loving and leading.  At this point in my life that is all that matters.  So today and everyday after this one I will be more aware of being present in the moment and enjoy this stage of parenting and soak it all in.  Everything else can wait.

Visiting a Grandma with Alzheimer’s Disease

 

Yesterday while my two youngest children were asleep I decided to take my oldest to visit her Grandmother.  I sadly have not been able to visit my mom twice in one week in quite some time and figured it was the perfect opportunity.
On the way I picked up some ice cream for the three of us to enjoy together.  One thing my mom has always LOVED is ice cream.  My daughter and I have also seemed to have inheretated that gene.  🙂
Before arriving at my mom’s facility I had a little talk with my daughter about Grandma.  It had been a while since it had just been the three of us and since I didn’t have her brother and sister with us, I knew we would be spending more time with just my mom.  Usually “the talk” involves me telling her about how Grandma is sick and may act different, but that we still love her very much.  I have no clue what to say and honestly never thought in a million years I would have to have this talk with my 3 year old child!
My daughter was initially all about Grandma.  Interacting with her, hugs, kisses and singing her songs. As the hour or so wore on Addy started to become afraid of Grandma.  Mom’s erratic behavior and her not making any sense was making her nervous.  At one point my daughter said, “Mommy Grandma talks like Evie!”  Evie is my two year old daughter.  For the last year or so my mom has also decided she hate shoes and takes them off every opportunity she can get.  Addy was not happy when I had to explain to her that it was ok for Grandma to have one shoe, but she had to leave hers on.
There was also an “incident” while we were there that really put the icing on the cake.  I had gotten napkins with our ice cream and had them on the table.  Here recently the facility has been struggling because my mom has been “pocketing” things/food/you name it.  The problem with that is the fear of aspiration.  Mom could easily choke on objects and it is a serious risk.  She also is having problems swallowing and eating, but that story is for another day.
I turned around for one minute and by time I realized it she had eaten almost an entire napkin!  My first reaction was to look to the left at my daughter.  The look on her face broke my heart.  My focus then turned back to my mom and the fact that I needed to get it out of her mouth!  I tried to open it and she refused.  I tricked her into saying “Ahhh” and tried to fish it out and CHOMP!  She bit me!  This really didn’t go over well with Adalynn.  She was then super concerned that her mommy was hurt.  My heart was torn in half.  Help my mom and this large ball that she was now chewing or comfort my young daughter who was now terrified that Grandma bit her mom.
I quickly jumped up and grabbed a few staff members and explained what happened.  Long story short it took FIVE of them to get mom restrained enough to get in her mouth open and get the large ball of napkin out.  All the while she was screaming and hollering “NO, NO, NO PLEASE DON’T!”  Addy was done.  Officially terrified.
We left soon after and my heart broke all over again for my mom.  Here she was at 66 years old, not able to enjoy her Granddaughter and at this moment in time scared her to death.  When we walked out the door my mom gave me a precious goodbye that left me and many of the workers in tears.  I am learning that seeing her more often and when I don’t have all 3 children help her to connect with me.  My precious daughter however did not want to say goodbye or even hug her Grandmother.
Today my daughter was still talking about Grandma and the napkin incident.  My prayer is that the Lord gives me the right words to speak to her and that the memories that the does have with her Grandmother are good ones because my mom deserves that.  My job is to make sure all of my children know what an incredibly strong and loving woman their Grandmother was and to do everything in my God given abilities to fight this horrid disease!
Blessings,
Tk

Breastfeeding Hell – The finale

laura-and-z

My incredible lactation consultant, Laura Grueber with Breast Feeding House Calls here in San Antonio, Tx.

As I look at my son sleeping next to me in his bassinet my heart wants to explode with love.  Seriously how did I not believe moms when they told me that a love for a son is so different than a daughter?  I keep wanting to put it into words, but can’t.  Zander makes me feel complete.  Even though he has only been on this earth for 3 months, I can not imagine life without him.

Not so very long ago I was going through one of the hardest times that I had ever experienced as a mom.  A non- latcher.  He wouldn’t breastfeed.  I went through a gamete of emotions surrounding this and was closer to giving up than I ever had been at anything.  My son is my 3rd child in 3 years.  This breastfeeding thing was not new to me!
 

We had 3 in home lactation consultations, had a lip tie revision, chiropractor adjustments.  I tried everything.  Around 5 weeks something changed.  We were at the lake that weekend with family.  He successfully latched the first time the night before we left.  I remember that I decided not to push the breastfeeding agenda while we were there because it would just be too hard.  Walls are thin and with 10 adults and 9 kids it wasn’t worth them hearing our struggle for 4 days.  I tried a few times and he would latch, but wouldn’t stay for long.  My conclusion was that maybe the flow wasn’t fast enough for him since he had been used to the bottle for the last month.  My patience was wearing thin and no matter how bad I hated pumping I felt as if I was losing an uphill battle.
 
During this time I had some wonderful supporters.  Friends that would text or message me with encouragement, my precious midwives and a lactation consultant.  Thank you to those friends.. having a cheering session really did make the difference for me. Before we left for the lake one friend mentioned a SNS (Supplemental Nursing System.)  After some research I knew this had to be my last option.  The thought of a tube attached to my breasts with tape and have it feed into a contraption that hung on my neck was very daunting.  If you have no clue what this is.  Dr. Google it.  It really is genius.  I emailed my INCREDIBLE lactation consultant, Laura Grueber with Breastfeeding house calls.  I wanted to schedule my third visit and I wanted to try this thing. She told me that she would pick one up for me and bring it the next week.  Side Note: This woman is an angel and does so much for the breastfeeding community.  My wish is that every mom and especially the new ones, have a Laura in their life to really help them with their dream of breastfeeding.

 

On the day of Zander’s 6 week Birthday Laura came to my house.  We did our usual routine and hunkered down in my bedroom and got all of the necessary supplies.

 

The bottle with pumped breast milk, a pacifier, boppy, nipple shield, burp cloths & syringe.  She once again tried many different holds to get him to latch and nothing.  After using all of her “tricks” she decided our last option was to try to SMS.  She said she very rarely uses it or even offers it to her clients.  When she does offer it she insists she be there because it is quite the contraption.  She explained that if it did work that we needed to work hard to make sure it wasn’t for long because it isn’t meant for long term use.  Z had always been such a special case for her.  He had no medical reasons to do what he was doing and she was about out of ideas to help me be a breastfeeding mama.

 

We hooked up the SMS and in my head I remember thinking that it was insane.  Tubes everywhere.  Milk dripping out of the tube all over me.  It was TERRIBLE.  I prayed and hard.  Asking God to give me strength and to help me through this.  Once the SMS was attached we put him on my breast and he latched!  He stayed on for at least three seconds.  I was elated!  Laura and I were grinning ear to ear!  She then unhooked everything really quick, took off the nipple shield and latched him on.  He latched to my bare nipple immediately and started to nurse.  When I heard the “gulping” sound I started crying.  When I looked at Laura I would like to believe she was a bit misty eyed herself.

 

And that my friends was the end of my breastfeeding battle!  From his 6 week Birthday on we haven’t skipped a beat.  I packed away the breast pump the next day and he has been on the breast ever since! It took 6 weeks, but my son is nursing all day everyday.  Thank the Lord!

 

My encouragement for mamas that may be wanting to give up, don’t!  If you are really passionate about it then don’t throw in the towel until you have exhausted all of your options.  Know that when you have gone to bed that night that there was nothing else that you could have done to help make it happen.  It all sucks.  Believe me, I know.  But after all of that pain,  we are victorious!  We are no longer spending hours washing bottles and breast pump junk.  Now I can quickly and easily feed my precious son when he is hungry with the flip of a nursing bra strap. 🙂

Praying for all you mamas out there that may be fighting this battle!
Blessings,
Tk

addy-feeding-jenna
In my first post about my breastfeeding hell I had a picture of my youngest daughter and the breast pump.  She would always try to imitate me because all she saw me do is pump and feed her brother a bottle.  This picture of my oldest “breastfeeding” her baby doll, Jenna shows how far we have come!  My girls now nurse their dolls instead of try to use the breast pump!