4 Dangers of Being too Busy

Have you ever took on too much? Said yes to too many things or too many people? That’s what I did this month. Maybe I got a little too gung-ho about it being a New Year with a new start. I said I’d participate in 3 book clubs, made some big goals and plans for my blog including writing a devotional on the book of Esther (stay tuned to sign up for that in the next few weeks!!), took on a pretty difficult crochet project and decided to do a new wellness program. Oh yeah… and as if that’s not enough, we’re moving next month!! Busyness!! But there are many dangers of taking on too much! Here are my top 4 Dangers of being too busy.

4 Dangers of Being too Busy

1. Burnout

I’ve been there… I’ve reached the end of myself and burnt out. I know God wants us to reach the end of ourselves in order for Him to do His work, but there’s a difference to surrendering that and working ourselves dead to the bone. I’ve seen others go through burn out as well and it’s tough. Sometimes, we have to make really hard decisions to take care of ourselves and avoid burning out.

When we first decided it was time for my Dad to move into a nursing home (due to his Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease) my mom was nearing burn out. She was his full time care giver and he required 24/7 care. That’s a lot for one person to do. My siblings and I tried to help as much as we could, but she was with him the most, so most of it fell on her plate. It was time for him to go into a care home, but it was still a hard decision. It was the right decision, and I believe it helped my mom avoid burnout.

Girl with hands on face by computer- 4 Dangers of Being too Busy.

2. Exhaustion/Insomnia

Staying up late to finish up a project, getting up early to get a head start. Burning the candle at both ends. It’s a dangerous thing! Sleep is so important to our health. Our bodies need that time to rest and be restored. Here’s a WebMD article outlining 9 Surprising Benefits of Sleep. Hello decreased hunger! That alone is worth it for me (I can be a bit of a stress eater.) I know too, at least for me, when I have a lot to do, my mind races at night. Rather than getting a good nights sleep, I’m planning out my schedule for the next day, or thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong, or trying to remember what that guy on that TV shows name was. My mind will do anything but sleep when it’s overworked and overtired! It’s a never ending cycle of tiredness!

3. Short Temper

When I have too much to do, the people around me who mean the most to me get the worst of me. I’m either so tired (see #2 on the list) or so consumed by what I have to do, that heaven forbid you interrupt me! Even if you are my 3 year old daughter asking me to play with you. I get short tempered and I yell more than I like or want to. Not just my kids, but my husband doesn’t get the best of me either. I’m so busy trying to complete everything on my to-do list that I end up with no time for him. It’s not fair to anyone, and it just makes me feel guilty in the end (which is another thing I’ll be thinking about at night now!)

4. Paralysis

I don’t mean physically, although I’m sure with enough stress you probably could become paralyzed. I mean when you sit there looking at all the things you want to accomplish and you just don’t know where to start! It’s easy to get so overwhelmed by everything that you never really get anything done! Fear can also be our worst enemy in these situations. It can be so paralyzing. Fear that we won’t be good enough if we don’t accomplish what we set out to do, fear of what others think about us, fear of failure, even fear of success. These are all things that can paralyze us and leave us completely ineffective. So, instead of getting a few things crossed off your list, you get nothing done.

Scrabble letters spelling out Fear

So, I know I need to watch myself. I know I need to get my sleep and say no once in a while. I hate when I say yes to something only to realize I can’t actually do it. I’ve had to drop 2 of the book clubs I was reading with just to avoid burning out.

What are somethings you do to avoid the dangers of being too busy? What do you do when you reach a level of busyness that is too much for you?

4 Dangers of being too busy

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

Joy

This year, I chose the word “JOY” as my word of the year ( Word of the Year 2019.) Well, it’s only a week in and I feel like the word is jumping out all over the place! Seriously, I’m seeing it everywhere; books I’m reading, shows I’m watching, random Facebook posts. It’s EVERYWHERE!! It’s like God said “Ok, you chose to word Joy, now I’m going to show it to you all over the place!! But, finding joy in cleaning up was not something I expected!

My Top 2019 Resolution- Word of the Year is Joy

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Recently, I started watching the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” What an eye opener! The very first episode the husband is more bothered by the clutter and mess than the wife. The thing that keeps coming up in the show is, when looking at items of clothing, or collectables, or books, to ask yourself “Does it spark Joy?”

My husband and I have different expectations when it comes to being clean and tidy. It’s opposite of the “typical” gender roles. Pete likes things much more clean and organized than I would do for myself. Believe me, we’ve had our fair share of fights over the state of the kitchen (he’s usually right, but don’t tell him that!!) I just honestly sometimes don’t notice how chaotic it’s gotten, I guess I got used to it living on my own before we got married. And sometimes at the end of the day running after 2 toddlers, dishes are the LAST thing I want to do! Pete has told me multiple times, that getting rid of clutter would help decrease some of my stress. I always just sort of brushed it off. Honestly, until I watched this Netflix show, I never really understood how much it stressed him out.

In that first episode, the husband says that his family is not getting the best of him because he’s always stressed out about the clutter. Wow. I feel like I’ve been putting Pete through the same thing.

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

We are moving next month into a smaller place than we have now. Now is the PERFECT time to start de-cluttering and finding joy in it at the same time (seeing as Joy is my word of the year!) Yesterday, I went through the majority of my clothes. Each item I looked at and asked if it brought me joy. I have a garbage bag to bring to the thrift store. There were things I was just holding on to for no real reason! If the only items I have in my closet are things that bring me joy, I’ll be able to feel joyful in what I’m wearing every day rather than being overwhelmed by choices and not knowing what to wear. The next thing I want to tackle is books!

Finding Joy in Cleaning - mopping the kitchen

I never considered how keeping a tidy, uncluttered house would bring joy to our family. But, I can see it now. Sparking joy in my husband and having him less stressed will help me in finding joy in tidying up. Bringing him joy brings me joy! Not having as much “stuff” makes it easier to keep things clean. So, unless something brings me joy, why keep it? We have a coffee table downstairs that was my family’s when I was growing up, so I have a sentimental attachment. I asked myself last night, does it bring me joy? Not really.. I told Pete to sell it!

Marie Kondo

This lady is amazing! She even has her own YouTube channel with tons of tips including how to properly fold your laundry. I’ve been doing it wrong all along! the amount of room I saved in my drawers yesterday was amazing. And I can see everything without having to pull everything out. That brings me joy!

She also has a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I’ve downloaded it as an audio book and can’t wait to start listening to it!

I’d love for you to join me on this journey of finding joy in cleaning up. You can help keep me accountable! Does having a tidy house bring you joy? Are you less stressed out with a clean place to live?

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up - organized pantry

Word of the Year 2019

My Top 2019 Resolution- Word of the Year is Joy

New Years Resolutions

Do you set New Years Resolutions? I’m not a big resolution setting person, but I’m going to share my Word of the Year 2019 with you today!

I used to work in a few different gyms. January 1st was always the busiest day of the entire year. I would always laugh. What made January 1st different than any other day of the year? Why do we wait until a new year to set a resolution? By the 3rd week of January things would always die down and the majority of people started would quit coming in. So I’ve always found resolutions kind of silly because no one really keeps them!

Last year, I decided to make a bit of a resolution. I resolved to make God more prominent in my life and to actually believe in Him and what He says. 2018 was another rough year for us and I was really finding myself worrying and doubting too much and not believing God was who He said He was. So I started making conscious decisions to believe in Him and choose to trust Him.

I also really want to make sure my girls know who Christ is and how much He loves them. If I’m doubting and worrying so much, what does that show them? They can choose when they are older what they believe, but I at least want them to know Christ and be able to model my faith in Him to them.

What is a Word of the Year

So that brings me to this year! What is my top 2019 resolution? I have heard a lot of people lately talking about choosing a word for the year. The website My One Word describes choosing a word as “My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond this cycle. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.” So this year, for my word of the year 2019, I have chosen JOY.

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Choose Joy

I wrote about Joy as part of my Advent series. Week 2: The Secret to Joy this Christmas. Joy is something I feel has been lacking in my life recently. I find myself being grumpy a lot more than being joyful, yelling at my kids a lot more than I’d like to, not appreciating my husband as much as I should. I find myself focusing more on circumstances than on the One who walks through it all with me.

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

So, this year I am choosing joy. I am choosing Christ and the joy He brings. I already have the joy within me as a fruit of His spirit, now I just need to let that overflow into my life rather than looking elsewhere.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 & 23

“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

So what is your word for 2019? What are you choosing this year? I’d love to hear from you and we can keep each other accountable!!

Word of the Year 2019

Happy New Year from my family to yours! Thank you for sharing so much of 2018 with me and I look forward to all 2019 has in store.

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Christmas Crochet Projects

I was a little last minute with my Christmas crochet projects this year. Who am I kidding? I’m a little last minute every Year!! I’ve been working steadily on 4 projects since the beginning of December and finally finished them all on December 19. Too bad two of them were being sent to Ontario! They’ll be getting New Years presents instead of Christmas gifts this year!

Christmas Crochet Project 1: Cozy Crochet Blanket

Blue and grey cozy Christmas Crochet blanket project

This one is for my Dad! I’ve actually been working on it for a while now. I think originally I was going to give it to him for Fathers Day, then for his birthday in September. Well, it’s done for Christmas! Since my Dad is now wheelchair bound and it’s gotten colder out, I thought a lap blanket would be a great present for him. It’ll keep him nice and warm during these winter months!

Christmas Crochet Project 2: Penguin Toque

Crocheted Penguin Toque

Yes, I’m Canadian, I call it a toque!! My sister in law is obsessed with penguins, so I made her this adorable toque! As usual, I didn’t really follow a pattern, but got my inspiration from Pinterest and Craftsy . I found a simple Penguin hat pattern and then just kind of did my own thing. I should really write down how I do things and start making my own crochet patterns!!

Also, don’t I have the cutest model?!?

Christmas Crochet Project 3: Scarf

Grey and Blue stripped scarf

This one is for my brother in law. It’s a trendy navy blue and grey skinny scarf. I didn’t follow a pattern at all on this one, just whipped it up out of my head. Super simple double crochets across, 2 rows of each colour. Then I added the fringe on the ends once it was the width I wanted.

Christmas Crochet Project 4: Teacher Gifts

Christmas crochet project, teachers gift. 2 crochet cup cozies.

I had a hard time deciding what to get Lily’s preschool teachers for Christmas. I had an idea, but because I wait until the last minute, there wouldn’t have been time for shipping it here. So finally I decided on a coffee gift card and cup cozies! I got some reusable cups to go with it too. I liked the snowflakes for winter/Christmas time.

I do love making Christmas crochet projects. Maybe next year I’ll remember to start earlier because I always end up causing more stress for myself, but maybe that’s half the fun of it!

Have you ever wanted to learn how to crochet?

You can find a ton of classes on Craftsy that can guide you! They have a so many of resources available. Craftsy also has a subscription service called Bluprint where you have access to thousands of courses on a ton of topics (crocheting included!!)

Bluprint get started now

Love Came Down at Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!! What a day to celebrate how love came down at Christmas.

I pray you have a Christmas full of love and light! God is love and love came down at Christmastime through His son, Jesus Christ.

 

I’ll be taking a bit of a hiatus until the New Year to spend time with my family, other than a few posts I have scheduled. I’ll “see” you all in 2019!

Looking to get your own Bible this Christmas season? Want to know more about this Jesus who came to show us all love? Please, don’t be shy, I’d love to talk more about it. You can contact me directly through my About Me section. Another great place to start is to get your own Bible (I recommend this Easy to Read Bible you can get from Amazon. Look for the section called “John”. This is a great to place to start learning more about Christ.

Indescribable Peace This Christmas

Indescribable Peace

Welcome to week 3 of my Advent series, Indescribable Peace this Christmas! I realize I went a little bit out of the traditional order doing Joy last week and Peace this week, but I’m sure there’s some reason God had me write it in the order I did, even if it was just for reminding myself to choose joy last week!

My Story of Indescribable Peace

Our oldest daughter, Lily, was born 11 weeks early (you can read her miracle birth story in my blog post here).  We spent 10 long weeks in the hospital with her before we could finally take her home. We ended up taking her home on Christmas Eve of 2014. To this day, no other Christmas present has been able to top that. I don’t think it ever will.

Indescribable peace with our little miracle baby, Lily
Pete and I holding Lily for the first time

Anyway, as you can probably imagine this was the most stressful thing Pete and I had ever been through. From not knowing if she was going to survive birth or come out breathing, to suspected brain damage, to continual eye exams due to her prematurity, to her stopping breathing and turning blue one night. It was, quite frankly at times, a nightmare I just wanted to wake up from.

But the weird thing is, through this entire journey I felt this indescribable peace. This deep sense of peace that couldn’t be shaken. This sense of peace that no mater what happened, she would be OK and we would be OK. That this whole thing was something larger than ourselves.  It really is inexplicable, because I don’t think I could ever do it justice to explain this deep feeling of peace.

Phillipians 4:7

Where can we find this Indescribable Peace?

This peace can only come from one place; knowing that God is in control and we are not. He’s not just in control, He’s in control and He cares about us. He’s not plotting or planning bad things to happen. Bad things happen sometimes, like our daughter being born WAY earlier than we thought, but He is right there to walk through the whole thing with us and He wants to do the same with you!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4

Friends, if I could wish for one thing for you this Christmas, I hope you find this peace within you. Christmas is not supposed to be about the hustle and bustle, or Santa and Rudolph. It’s not about the concerts and cookies, parties or presents. Christmas is about that little bitty baby laying in a manger, who grew into a man that chose to die on the cross for us to bring us peace. Because no matter what, He is with us!

Indescribable Peace

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Hope this Christmas
~ The Secret to Joy this Christmas

The Secret to Joy this Christmas

It’s the second week of Advent! This week in my Advent series, we’ll be focusing on Joy! This has been a very convicting post to write as joy is something I still struggle to find day in and day out. I don’t find joy in doing the laundry or washing the dishes. So, there has to be something more, right?!? What is the secret to Joy this Christmas?

What is Joy?

What does joy look like? Pure, unadulterated joy. Here’s a picture of my daughters playing together this summer… this to me is joy.

What pure, unadultered joy looks like ~ my girls playing together

Why do we call it unadulterated? Adultery in a marriage is cheating on your spouse. Adultery in the Bible is seeking idols or other gods besides the One True God. So how do we commit adultery on Joy? Committing adultery on Joy is when we look somewhere other than Christ for our Joy.

The Secret

We look to all sorts of other places to try and find joy.

  • Marriages
  • Likes and followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest
  • Our Children
  • Being accepted by others
  • Having a successful career

These are all things that can definitely bring us feelings of joy. But feelings don’t last, they change. I want to know that joy that is in my heart and doesn’t change based on circumstances. What’s the secret to finding that Joy?

Jesus.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) Joy is in us because Christ lives in us. My girls like when we sing the song I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart, the end of the chorus says joy is down in our heart TO STAY. It’s there, it can’t be taken away because it comes from Christ in us!

The Secret to JOY this Christmas
The Secret to Joy this Christmas

Finding Joy

How do we find joy, how do we choose joy? We look to Christ. That is part of the beauty of Christmas; Christ came down to earth to restore our relationship with God. Because of this, we can have the Holy Spirit living in us and experience Joy every day. Joy that doesn’t change when things aren’t going as we had planned. Joy in the midst of sorrow.

Satan will do anything to steal our joy, to take our focus off Christ and try to find our joy elsewhere. We are so much less effective when we aren’t joyful, at least I know I am. It says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Notice how Jesus says He wants to have life abundantly? That includes joy. He wants us to have an abundance of joy!

So, this Christmas I choose Joy. This Christmas I choose Christ. This Christmas I celebrate Christ’s birth that has given this unending Joy down in my heart TO STAY! What will you choose this Christmas?

JOY!

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Hope this Christmas

So I’m sitting here in my living room, finishing up a cup of hot chocolate with the fireplace on, and I’m thinking about Hope. Here we are in the first week of Advent already, the week of Hope. I honestly don’t know where to start or what to write about. I’m having a little bit of writers block to be honest! So I started Googling, because that’s what we do when we have questions right?!? I came across a couple definitions that really got me thinking.

The dictionary defines Advent as “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” In this case, the arrival of Christ. But that happened over 2000 years ago… where’s the hope in that? Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” We can’t have a feeling of expectation or desire for something that has already happened. That doesn’t make sense.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13 NIV

Our hope, this feeling of expectation of the arrival of a notable person, this Advent; we wait patiently for Christ to return again. He came once, God in the form of a human baby, to live among us, forgive our sins and give us eternal life. Our hope is in the fact that He will come again! He will fully restore this world to His original plan and design.

“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

This Christmas as I reflect on Christ’s first coming, I also wait with expectation for His second coming.

So how do we do this? Especially with our kids? How do we describe the hope we have in Christ?

Last year, we bought our girls Shepherd’s Treasure. It’s like Elf on the Shelf, but not. Instead it’s the story of a little shepherd boy and his journey to find the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Kids learn about God’s great love for them when he sent his son into this world to save us! Each day a new verse from God’s word is read on the Advent card. So, basically you hide the Shepherd Boy each night for your child to find the next morning. When they find it, you can all read the Bible verse on the card, as well as the explanation or activity or action on the back on the card. I was flipping through them today and came across the one based on Luke 2:8-16 (the birth of Jesus). On the back of the card it says “We are almost there! I can’t wait to see Jesus!” The Shepherd boy is talking about Christmas, but isn’t that an amazing thought for right now as well… we’re almost there!

Jesus is coming again! I’m going to read this card with my girls in the morning and we can talk about the Hope we have in this time leading up to Christmas and always of seeing Jesus.

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Top Christmas Gifts for 2-4 Year Old Girls Under $30

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Shopping on a Christmas budget this year? We sure are! I was asking my daughters the other day (Maggie is 2, almost 3, and Lily just turned 4) what they wanted for Christmas. We had a few flyers out with options, and other things they just told me what they wanted. I thought I’d compile a wish list of gifts for 2-4 year old girls at a reasonable price (not the $240 Barbie Dream House they wanted!!) Here’s what they came up with…

  • PJ Masks Figurine Set ~ Lily is obsessed with PJ Masks thanks to her cousins!! Maggie watches it with her, but she’s still more into Paw Patrol. These are the perfect size to play with.
  • Paw Patrol Skye Set or Paw Patrol Everest Set ~ at 4 years old, Lily is sort of starting to outgrow Paw Patrol. She still LOVES Skye though and would love anything Skye related. As I said before, Maggie still loves this show! My girls favorite pups are Skye and Everest which isn’t surprising seeing as they are the only 2 girl pups and they wear pink and purple!
  • FurReal Pets Kami, My Poopin’ Kitty ~ Lily wants a cat, she loves cats. We had 2 cats when she was born, but we had to get rid of them shortly after Maggie was born, they were jealous of her! Pete also developed really bad allergies to them. But, Lily still wants one. This is the next best thing, she still has to feed it and she has to clean up after it as well. Give her a taste for having a real pet!! (mind you, she does help me feed our dog Winnie almost every day)
  • Who’s kids like to help them in the kitchen? My girls LOVE helping me bake, do dishes, make breakfast etc. Sometimes I get a little impatient because I know I can do it 10 times faster by myself, but they just love it and it’s so good for them to be and feel involved. Check out Flirty Homes (used to be Flirty Aprons), they have the cutest aprons for everyone in the family. Lily loves her little apron and I know Maggie is getting one for her birthday in January too! (They also have some other adorable decor for the home and natural cleaning products… great site all around!) www.FlirtyAprons.com
  • Disney Princess Anything ~ here’s a few ideas Disney Princess My First Bedtime Story Book , Fisher Price Little People Disney Princess set of 6, CandyLand Disney Princess Edition (the girls are just starting to get into board games, this one would be excellent for them!). Pretty much anything Disney Princess they would be happy with. They love their Shimmering Princess dolls too. We’ve also asked for a few of the movies: Frozen, Tangled and Tinker Bell
  • Barbie ~ They’re just starting to get into Barbies… Lily a bit more so than Maggie. They LOVE the Barbie Dolphin Magic movie. We’ve watched it over and over and over (see my blog about that here). I know either of the dolls, the Mermaid or the Barbie Snorkell doll would make them 2 happy little girls!
  • Finally, if you’re looking for some awesome devotionals or inspirational stories for young girls about females in the Bible, check out Bible Belles. Their books aim to teach our daughters their worth through Biblical stories. These are great for this age to build girls a solid foundation of how God sees them.

What are you getting for your kids this year? Any other great ideas? I’m not done my shopping yet (not even close!!), so I’m always looking for great ideas!!

Easiest Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

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Have you jumped on the  Instant Pot bandwagon yet? If not, you should! I’ve had mine for about a year now and I absolutely LOVE it!!! I use it probably 2-4 times a week. It’s so great to just be able to pop the food in there, walk away and have a meal ready in as little as 20 minutes. I can make an entire meal in just the one pot, so there’s less clean up afterwards too! I’ve never considered myself to be a good cook, I always stuck to the recipes I knew how to do. It doesn’t help that I married a man who used to be a cook in restaurants. Needless to say, I have never been super confident in the kitchen!

Since getting the Instant Pot I have become a lot more experimental. Everything from soups and chili’s, to roasts and applesauce. I never would have tried some of these recipes before. I’ve had some fails, but for the most part the meals I’ve tried have turned out pretty well.

Anyway, I wanted to make Chicken Noodle Soup last week. I love soups in the fall! I came up with an idea to make it, my hubby tweaked it a little, and then I made it and it was delicious!!! It’s made using rotisserie chicken. You can make this in the Instant Pot as well (here’s a recipe from Cooking with Curls). I use store bought as my husband buys a rotisserie every week for his work lunches. You can also just use chicken breasts or thighs.

So, I started by sauteing the onion, carrot and celery in canola oil using the saute function on your Instant Pot until the onions become translucent. I added in the chicken and then I added in the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and turned off the saute mode. Finally, I added in the chicken stock (which you can also make in the Instant Pot using Aileen Cooks recipe) and noodles. Set the Instant Pot to manual for 8 minutes (Note: it can take up to 20 minutes for the pot to reach cooking pressure). Once the timer went off, I did a quick release and we were ready to eat!! So, in under half an hour, we had delicious soup for supper!!

Click here to download printable version

What are your favorite Instant Pot soup recipes for the fall and winter? I need some more to try out! Drop your fave recipe in the comments section below!!

Crochet Tinker Bell Hair

This year Lily wanted to be TinkerBell for Halloween. We watched the Disney Tinker Bell movie a few months ago, and ever since she saw it, she wanted to be Tinker Bell. I thought it was adorable, she kind of looks a little like Tinker Bell… big blue eyes, blonde hair.

Last year she was a Princess and I found a pattern on Pinterest to make a crochet crown with a long braid coming off. Her and Maggie call it their “Elsa” hair now even though it’s purple and white. I would think Rapunzel makes more sense, but whatever they want to call it is just fine with me!

So after Lily decided to be Tinker Bell, I went looking again for a pattern to make her a crochet wig to wear. I love the hats because they are adorable and keeps them warm if it’s a cold evening of trick or treating. I couldn’t really find anything that I liked other than a few pictures. But I thought to myself “hey, I can make this!!”

I found this simple double crochet toque pattern on Craftsy and figured it would be the perfect base for what I wanted to make. I just wanted a straight forward hat, nothing too fancy. Sometimes I wonder why I even get patterns though as I don’t often stick to them. For instance in this one, I decided to work in rounds rather than joining every row. It’s probably just me, but I can’t stand joining rows, I’d rather just keep going!

Once I was done that, I started adding the hair. I looped a piece of yarn from my hand around my elbow and back up and then cut about 30 more of those! Because Tinker Bell’s hair is swept over, I started to add the hair just off center. Here’s  a great tutorial on adding hair to crochet dolls. Same applies for hats. I decided to actually knot the hair in place rather than using a glue gun at the end. If it’s on a doll it’s fine, but I didn’t think it would be very comfortable on something to wear. I added hair in the first 5 rows, the next stitch over I did 4 rows, then 3, then 2, then 1. I found it filled it in a lot better than just doing a few strands in each row. When I was done that, I filled in a few more spots I thought looked a little bare. I swept the hair over until it looked about right for Tinker Bell. Then I secured all the strands to the first row on the hat by taking one strand through the loop and then tying it tight a few times. I’m not 100% sure if this is the best way to do it, but I found it the easiest to get the look I wanted. After that, I did 5 or 6 strands of hair on the other side and attached them the same way.

Finally, it was time for the bun. I took an old, holey sock (clean) from my husband and cut off the foot part. Then I rolled the ankle part into a doughnut. I just started wrapping yarn around it like crazy. Once it was all covered, I wove strands through the middle so it wouldn’t be a big open hole. Then I sewed it on to the top of the hat! And VOILA… the finished project!

Needless to say, I think she liked it!!

It’ll be interesting to see what she wants to be next year… and if she keeps wanting me to make “hair” for her! One thing I would change is to make the toque part a little longer. It didn’t cover her ears, which is fine because Tinker Bell’s ears show, but I just think it would have looked a bit better with a few more rows.

xoxo

Caroline

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Fighting a Panic Attack: 4 Practical tips

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This past weekend my husband, Pete, and I went to Calgary. It was a quick trip and we did A LOT of driving around. He showed me where his childhood home and elementary school was in North Calgary, we caught a movie at the VIP Cinema in South Calgary. On Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive out to Chestermere just East of Calgary. It’s a beautiful little community, there’s a gorgeous lake with cute little parks and beaches. I was really looking forward to looking around when I started having a panic attack. It started out slowly and I was just trying to control it with deep breathing. It wasn’t long before it turned into a full fledged panic attack, heart beating super fast, nausea, sweating. It was horrible. I told my hubby to pull over and puked in the parking lot of one of the cute little parks. I haven’t had a panic attack like that in years. I’ve known Pete for over 7 years and he’s never seen me like that.

So, what do I do when I’m having an attack? Here are some very practical things I do to get through my anxiety.

1- Ginger Ale, Gravol  and Gum ~ I’ve never gone onto any fast acting anxiety medications like Ativan, I haven’t felt the need to especially in the last few years as my panic attacks have been fairly well controlled. I take my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant every day, but nothing to take when I feel an attack coming on. So Ginger Ale and Gravol are my go to’s. They both help cut the nausea and the Gravol helps me settle down and pass out for a little while (see tip #3) I get very physical reactions to my panic attacks, so gum is always helpful after throwing up.

2- Remind myself of what I can control ~ The only thing we can truly control is ourselves. How we react, what we think, what we do. When I feel so out of control I find it helpful to picture myself in a box and remind myself over and over that I can’t control what people think of me when I’m like this, I can’t control the circumstances that led to the panic attack, I can’t even really control whether or not I throw up, but I can control myself and my thoughts. I had an instructor once explain it as the hula hoop. We can only control what happens in our hula hoop, not in anyone else’s.

3- Go to Bed ~ Getting some sleep make a world of difference for me! Thankfully the Gravol leaves me sleepy, so if I can get an hour or two of sleep, I usually wake up feeling refreshed and with a better outlook on life. I find having a weighted blanket or at least a heavy blanket or comforter helps me settle as well. I tried just throwing a small blanket over myself at first, but it really didn’t help. Once I put something heavier on, it seems to help control some of the reaction to anxiety (shivering, shaking, wakes of panic etc.)

4- Pray ~ Prayer helps to remind me of the bigger picture. God is ultimately in control of everything… the small things and the big picture things. It also reminds me that I am not alone. I am never alone, God is always there walking with me through the good times and the bad.

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” ~ Psalm 139:7-10

Finally friends, I want to remind you (and myself) anxiety does not define you. Let me say that again, because if nothing else helps you from this post, I want you to know that anxiety does not define you. I was really worried I would have another panic attack the next day, but I didn’t. I was fine, my anxiety attack did not define me or how the weekend went. I still had a great time. I am just a regular person who has panic attacks sometimes. There is nothing wrong with you if you have anxiety like me. It’s a sickness and it can be dealt with and overcome to live a happy, healthy and fruitful life. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it, it is nothing to be ashamed of.

What are some of the ways you cope with stress/anxiety or panic attacks? I’d love to hear from you! The more “tools” we can have in our belts to fight these kinds of things, the better! We’re in this together.

xoxo,

  Caroline

Obsessed with Picture Perfect

Fall is here and that means Pumpkin patch season!! I love going to our local pumpkin patch to get pumpkins and pick apples. I’ve been twice in the last week! As long as it isn’t raining, I’m game to go! Shopping local is awesome and I love to support local. Plus, the fruit always tastes better and lasts longer as it’s straight from the farm!

The other day I was on a field trip with Lily. I was struck by how many people were snapping photos after photo after photo of their kids rather than just enjoying the time with their kid. Moms were stuck behind their cameras or cell phones moving their kids around and telling them to sit still to get the perfect picture. Kids were fidgeting and trying to run away making moms more and more upset.

Are we so obsessed in today’s world with getting the perfect picture to put on our social media rather than the moments in time we get to spend with our loved ones? We’re so concerned about portraying our perfect life on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter that sometimes I think we forget to enjoy the time we get to spend with our kids. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of it too. As soon as I snap a cute picture of the girls I start thinking about how I can put it on social media. If I don’t like the picture, there is no chance I’m posting it! We “airbrush” our lives to make them look how we want rather than actually connecting to people on a human level and relating to them in our struggles and weakness, joys and strengths. He wants us to be authentic. It’s sad really how disconnected our world is becoming. There are more and more ways to connect with others, but is having a device in our hands or in front of us really connecting with people?

When Christ died for us, He did it so He can have a relationship with us and we can have one with Him. God is all about relationships, that’s why He’s 3 in 1, that’s why He created us in the first place. He wants us all to live in relationship. His greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31. There is nothing more important to God and there should be nothing more important to us.

I just pray that as I snap my pictures my images won’t be more important to me than the subjects I’m taking pictures of!

xoxo

   Caroline

Overcoming Mom Guilt

This is the time of year my “Mom Guilt” kicks into high gear. It’s almost Lily’s birthday, she’ll be 4 next week. I still can’t believe that, but it’s true! You can read all about her miracle birth story in my post My Preemie Miracle.

First time holding my precious baby girl!

4 days before Lily was born, I was in the ER with severe upper right abdominal pain. It was my third time in the ER in the 6 and a half months I was pregnant. I had gallstones and the way Lily was sitting in my tummy was causing them to be pushed out. Talk about pain! I was 13 weeks pregnant when it first happened and I was sure I was miscarrying. The pain was unimaginable. Thankfully it was just gallstones and not the baby! Anyway, when I got to the ER that third time, they did the standard tests of temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. My blood pressure was through the roof… I remember seeing 184/something. When I was in at 19 weeks, the nurses had told me that after 20 weeks any woman who comes in to the ER with stomach pain automatically gets sent up to the maternity ward. Even though I was almost 29 weeks, I was not. I was kept in the ER. That was my first mistake. I knew they had said that to me on my last visit, but everyone just kept putting my high blood pressure off as being from the pain. I should have pushed to go up to the maternity ward. Both of my sisters also had early deliveries due to preeclampsia (Don’t know what Preeclampsia is? Read my post: What is Preeclampsia?) Not 11 weeks early, but still early. I should have known better. I knew the symptoms of preeclampsia. I wasn’t having some of the more common symptoms, such as headache and vision problems, so I guess I just ignored it.

There are so many “what ifs” that run through my head! What if my preeclampsia was caught earlier? Would they have been able to keep Lily in longer? What if I didn’t have a routine prenatal appointment 4 days later when it was finally caught? What if I had a seizure, or a stroke? I was at home by myself for those 4 days. Anything could have happened in those hours Pete was at work. What if, what if, what if…

What if’s cause guilt. We second guess what we did. We think of all the ways we could have done things better. We strive to be perfectionists (at least I do!) and when something doesn’t go perfectly as planned, we heap on the guilt. I believe we are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. We need to learn to have some compassion on ourselves as well.

So, how do we move past that Mom guilt? Thanksgiving.

I am thankful Lily is a lively, active, smart and challenging. She is a completely typical 4 year old! I am thankful nothing happened in those 4 days between when I was in the ER and when Lily was born. I am thankful I had that doctors appointment set up already. I am thankful for Lily’s safe delivery and for my safety that day. I am thankful for our time in the NICU, I really am. It’s not how I would have planned things to go, but we were so blessed by our time there by seeing our family and friends come around us and support us, by feeling God right there with us and being completely confident He would provide for us no matter what the outcome was. We had the best possible outcome, but I know there are others who do not. But there is always something to be thankful for. There is always something other than guilt that we can focus on and be thankful for, even if it is just the fact that God is walking through this time in our life with us. He will never leave us or forsake us and for this reason we can be strong and courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6).

So, if you are feeling Mom guilt today, think about all the things you are thankful for. Write them down! Start a gratitude journal! Tell them to someone! Tell them to God! The more we are thankful for, the less we feel guilty for.

xoxo

Caroline

Lessons Learned while Whale Watching

Do you do daily devotions? I try to. I’d love to say I do it every day, but I don’t. I should, but it doesn’t always happen. Lately I’ve been using the First5 App. I set the alarm on it to go off at 7:30am. I’ll admit though, I am NOT a morning person. My First 5 minutes of my day are not my best minutes to give to God! So, I usually do my reading at night, I’m much more coherent then.

The other night the devotion was based on Psalm 42 with focus on verse 5: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?”

Basically it was about not fixating on our emotions or anxious feeling, things that are forever changing, but instead to fix our eyes on God who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8.)

When I was in my early 20’s, I went off to Bible School (Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre) for two years of Biblical studies. That was a big time in my life of learning about the Bible and myself as well as a time of God revealing His character to me. As part of my second year of studies (Leadership Training) we went on a retreat to Tofino, BC (which is one of my favourite places in the entire world! The beaches are gorgeous and there is so much to explore!) One afternoon we went on a whale watching tour. I’d been on another tour out of Victoria before, but not Tofino. Tofino boasts seeing some amazing grey whales and we saw one after a bit of a bumpy ride out of the sheltered cove.  Now, I tend to get a little sea sick from time to time. I was fine on our whale watching tour in Victoria, so I thought I’d be OK on this one. I was wrong, terribly wrong.

We were quite far out, so after I got sick, we had to go all the way back with frequent stops for me to “feed the fish” as they say. As we headed back, our tour guide told me to keep my eyes focused on the mountains on the horizon. He said the more you keep your eyes focused on something that was not moving, the less sick I’d get. He was right, if I focused on the waves around us, or my friends on the boat or the other boat, I’d start throwing up everywhere.

The Bible often refers to God as being our rock (2 Samuel 22:3, Psalm 18:46, Psalm 40:2, Psalm 94:22, Isaiah 26:4.) As I was focusing on the mountains, those beautiful unmovable rocks, I was reminded of this. God is our steady rock. As long as we fix our eyes on Him, it doesn’t matter what else is going on around us, we won’t “get sick.” God is like a rock, unchanging, steady and immovable. His character is always the same, and He is always faithful, even if we are going through emotional turmoil or an anxious time in life. Keep your eyes on the Lord, He is our refuge in times of trouble.

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:2-3

What are some things you do for daily devotions? Is there anything you use to remind yourself or keep yourself accountable? I’d love to hear what you do… it’s definitely an area in my life I’d like to improve on.

xoxo

Caroline

 

Loving Discipline

I wrote a post a few weeks ago called 3 Words to Stop Arguing with your Toddler. I feel like I’ve gotten into a bad rut of yelling at Lily and Maggie when I’m “disciplining” them. That’s not real discipline, they get nothing out of it, I just end up feeling bad for yelling. It makes me feel even worse when they are playing house together and whoever is playing the Mom yells at whoever is playing the child.

Anyway, one of the techniques I’ve been using lately to diffuse the situation, both for myself and the girls, is taking a little breather and reminding myself and them that I love them. Just saying I love you makes a huge difference.

Here’s a little piece of what I wrote:

“Rather than yelling or getting upset, I stop and tell them I love them. It doesn’t mean they don’t get a time out or have to say sorry for their actions. There are still consequences. But it really just resets the whole situation. It reminds them that I am doing this because I love them, not out of spite, or being mean or just because I feel like it. I love them and I want them to know right from wrong. I love them and I want them to learn to be kind to each other and others. I love them and I want them to know whining is not going to get them what they want in life and that sometimes they’re going to have to work really hard to get what they want. I love them and I want them to be able to share with others and make friends. I love them and I want them to learn to be responsible and work hard at whatever tasks they are given.”

My Aunt, one of my most loyal followers, sent me an email the next day. In it she said “I am currently in the prophets for my daily Bible reading, and reading your blog this morning so resonated as to the heart of God for us – His love is always at the core of necessary discipline and consequence.” I hadn’t even thought about that when I wrote the post. It’s absolutely true though.

“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” ~Proverbs 3:11-12

“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” ~Job 5:17
I’m not going to pretend that I understand God’s discipline. How can a loving God allow bad things to happen to us? How can I discipline my children?I love them!  If you are going through a tough patch in life, in no way would I ever suggest it’s God discipline on you. Have you ever read the book of Job? Yeah, his friends got quite the scolding from God for suggesting Job’s struggles were because he had sinned against the Lord, even though Job insisted his innocence throughout. Besides, who am I to judge. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in life. We live in a fallen world. Bad things are going to happen. But, God uses those things for our good. Was Lily born prematurely as God’s discipline to us? I have a hard time believing that. But I do know that God used that extremely difficult time in our life for good. God taught me a lot about Himself and His character during our NICU stay. He showed Himself as love, peace, healer, provider, miracle worker. He loves us and He wants the best for us. We were created in His image and He wants us to grow into that more and more each day.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
xoxo
   Caroline
If you don’t already own a Bible, here is one I recommend: Life Application Bible (New American Standard Bible)
Its easy to read language and easy to understand and apply to life.

The Lame Walking

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” ~Revelations 21:1-4

I don’t often write about my Dad. I guess I’m still in some sort of denial. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease the week before Pete and I got married. In the 5 and a bit years since then, his health has drastically declined. He’s got dementia and they believe he has some other neurological diseases that have contributed to how fast he has gone down hill. My Dad was always the big 6’6″ gentle giant. He was my hero (he still is, it’s just different now). He is now confined to a wheelchair as he is a severe fall risk. When he was standing up before, his blood pressure was dropping so low he would pass out. He went in to the hospital after my mom called 9-1-1 when he passed out in March of this year. They transferred him to a car home as soon as a bed was open. So, yeah… seeing your Dad who was always larger than life to you now wheelchair bound and hardly able to communicate has been difficult.

My Mom and Dad

Lily and Maggie really don’t know my Dad any other way. It makes me so sad that they didn’t get to spend time with him before this disease stole so much of his life. I know my older nieces and nephews have memories of my Dad when he was still relatively healthy (looking back now we see some signs that he’s probably been sick for a while). I wish so bad my girls had this!

A few weeks ago after we had visited my Dad, Lily was asking about Pake (this is what my kids call my Dad. It’s Frisian for grandpa) being in a wheelchair. I explained that it wasn’t safe for him to stand anymore. Honestly, it’s been so long I doubt he’d have the strength in his legs to get up anymore. She seemed OK with that answer and we just carried on. Later that day as I was putting her and Maggie to bed she asked if we could pray for Pake to walk again. Talk about breaking my heart!!! She’s so precious and thoughtful sometimes, it just blows my mind coming from a 4 year old. I almost said no, we can’t pray for that, it won’t happen. But, God is the God of miracles and I don’t want to doubt Him or her faith in what God can do! We talked a bit about it and I said that Pake likely wouldn’t walk again until Jesus came back and healed all the sick. We still prayed Pake would walk again, even if it was when Jesus returned.

“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” ~Malachi 4:2

Earlier this year there was a major bus crash involving a hockey team here in Canada, the Humboldt Broncos (you can read about it here if you don’t know about it). We’re a big hockey family. I have nephews and nieces who play hockey and we were raised on Hockey Night in Canada. Hockey was one of the things that Pete and I instantly bonded over when we first met, although he unfortunately cheers for the wrong team. That’s a whole other story though. Last week, the Broncos played their first game since the accident. I was glued to the TV, it was just so emotional, both sad and happy. Most of the surviving players were there in attendance. A few of them are now paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Lily was watching with me and looks at me (I was probably crying) and says “He’ll walk again when Jesus comes back, right Mom?” Talk about faith like a child. For her to put those conversations we had together, is incredible.

I personally cannot wait for the day I see my Dad and these young hockey players walk again!

 “Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” ~Isaiah 40:31

xoxo,

Caroline

Getting through the Scary parts of Life

It’s been a bit of a rainy week here in BC. On rainy afternoons (especially when I need to get some work done) I’ll sometimes put on a movie for Lily and Maggie to watch. Right now they are obsessed with the Barbie- Dolphin Magic movie. It’s a cute little movie about mermaids and dolphins and I don’t mind hearing it in the background as I work, unlike some of the shows they choose!

Its not a scary movie by any means, but at the beginning one of the dolphins gets captured. They both get a little scared during this part. I always have to remind them not to worry, that they know the end of the movie (dolphin gets saved… blah, blah, blah), they know what happens, so there’s nothing to be scared of.

I got to thinking today as I reminded them of this yet again, isn’t this so true of our lives as Christians? We know how the story ends, we know Christ has victory over sin and death! No matter what happens in this life, scary or uncertain, we can walk through it with the knowledge of what happens in the end.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~1 Corinthians 15:55-57

We’ve got a lot of things coming up in the next few months, a lot of uncertainties and unknowns. Pete is scheduled to have surgery on his elbow in the next couple months. He’s been in constant pain for months due to his arthritis and damage to the joint from him being a hemophiliac. So, he’ll be off on EI for a while recovering. We have no idea how long that could be. They’ve said anywhere from 3-6 months, and that’s provided everything goes as planned. Him not working will change things financially for us again. I’ll likely have to look for work again as we can’t afford to live without his full income.

We’ve been praying about and exploring different options for months now. It’s scary not  knowing what lies ahead of us. I’m a planner, I like to have things organized and know what is happening. Spontaneity is not my strong suit.  I make checklists all the time, especially for big events! But I can’t for any of this. I can’t plan if I don’t know whats going to happen.

But, I do know the ending of my story. Christ has given me victory over sin and death. Whatever else happens between now and the end of my story, no matter how unknown or scary parts of the movie might be, in the end there is victory! He offers this to all of us. All we have to do is believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and in His grace and mercy, He offers us this amazing gift of eternal life! Death will not have the victory over us, Christ has already taken the punishment for us. What an amazing comfort! It’s easy to get caught up in the details of our lives (and I’m not saying those details aren’t important, they very much are) without looking at the big picture.

“We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.” ~Psalm 20: 5
“O sing to the Lord a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.” ~Psalm 98:1
Take comfort my friends… we know the ending!
xoxo
   Caroline

Reflections of a NICU Mom

September is NICU awareness month. Before I had Lily I had only heard of a few people who had spent time in the NICU with their babies. But you never fully understand it until you go through it yourself. Its hard to explain the roller coaster of emotions that you go through when you’re there. Its a real contradiction; you’re excited yet terrified, happy yet sad, heartbroken yet thankful. Looking back now almost 4 years later, I still don’t know if I’ve fully come to terms with what happened.

The birth of your child is supposed to be an exciting time for everyone. When you are told your baby is going to be born prematurely, everything changes. We weren’t ready for her to come, emotionally or physically. We had literally just gotten her crib the day before she was born. It wasn’t even put together yet. Her nursery was no where near being done. I was supposed to have another 3 months to get ready. But she was coming whether we wanted to or not. We were both in danger, so she had to come out then (read my post about our Preemie Miracle ) 

I missed out on a lot of things I thought I would experience when having a baby. I missed out on labour and having a “normal” vaginal birth. I didn’t even get to be the first one to see her. Multiple doctors and nurses met her before I did. My husband saw her and spent time with her before I did. Even my parents and my sister could go and visit her before I was allowed out of the maternity ward. It was tough. Those are all things I would say I needed to grieve during our time in the NICU. It’s OK to mourn things not going the way you expected, as long as you don’t let the grief take over. I think it’s an important part of the healing process.

You see, it’s not just the baby who needs help, support and healing… it’s the parents too. Of course the baby is the primary focus, but our emotional health as new parents is important to. You can’t be a good parent if you can’t take care of yourself first. I had to learn this the hard way by leaving my daughter at the hospital overnight to go home and get a shower and a good nights sleep in my own bed. It was heart wrenching to leave her there. I had to learn this by taking the time to go for a walk or get a tea to drink even though my Mom guilt made me think I needed to be in Lily’s room 24/7. The only way I was able to do this was that I knew she had the BEST care possible. She was exactly where she needed to be. We had the most well equipped baby sitters ever, our NICU nurses and doctors. I can’t even begin to express the appreciation I have for these women and men. They would leave their families for 12-24 hours at a time to come and take care of my baby. They would talk me through all the medical jargon and explain to me in plain English what was going on and what the plan for her way; they explained all the beeps and lights on the machines Lily was hooked up to, they made me feel like a person… a normal person. Not just a zombie who was going through the motions (even though I felt like it at times!)

To be honest, I didn’t really feel like a real mother until Lily started breast feeding around 2 months old. I pumped religiously before that so she could still have my milk, but there was so little else I felt like I could do. The nurses let us change her diaper in the isolette and we bathed her, but that’s about all we could do other than cuddling her (I sure did enjoy the snuggles though! She does not like to cuddle anymore… maybe I used them all up while she was in the hospital). When I finally got to nurse her it was something only I could do for her. No one else, only me… her Mother. It is one of my most special memories.

The whole time we were there, even the day she was born, I was scared but I had this deep sense of peace. I knew that no matter what happened, we would be OK. We would just deal with whatever our new normal was. Whether she needed glasses from being a preemie, or was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, or needed heart surgery because of the hole in her heart… all I can say is I know God was with us walking every step of the way in our NICU journey. That’s the only explanation I can come up with!

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Phillippians 4:7

xoxo

Caroline

Read more related articles about our NICU journey:

A Day in the Life of a NICU Momma

Must Haves for Bringing Home a Preemie

Getting through a NICU stay

My Preemie Miracle

What is Preeclampsia