Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Story

(Pictures in this post are mine, faces and names are blurred out for obvious reasons.)

When I wrote my first post in January, my heart was very heavy.  Changes at work were being made quickly, and it was hard to wrap my head around what that meant for my family.  I was pretty vague in what was going on because I couldn't share too many details at that time.  But, the path has been cleared again and now I can give a little more insight into the first month of 2015 and what's been happening in our family.

If you've read very long (which I understand most probably haven't, I have a tendency to start and stop my blog depending on how busy life gets...oops!), you will know that I am a nurse.  For the last 3 1/2 years, I have been a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse in a Level III hospital.  It is my dream job.  It was the job I got after graduating nursing school.  And it is a job I love.

I have spent countless hours bathing, changing, and feeding other people's children.  I have spent hours upon hours soothing upset babies who miss their mommas, rocking and singing them back to comfort.  I have placed IV's in the tiniest of veins, taken blood pressures with the tiniest of cuffs, placed the tiniest of leads on the tiniest of bodies.

I have consoled scared parents, taught parents how to change trachs, trach ties, ostomy bags, and the physiological and psychological aspects of kangaroo care.  I have loved extra hard on babies whose parents have simply given up on them and done more post-mortem molds than I'd like to remember.
I have done compressions on the smallest bodies while witnessing the most extraordinary of miracles in the survival of the baby next door.  The same babies have taught me what it means to be a fighter, an advocate, and humble compassion for the lowest of these.

To say that these babies and families have my heart would be an understatement.  Which is why leaving them on February 11th will be so difficult for me.  

At the very end of December, we got wind of changes in the NICU effective February 22nd that would effect what we wanted for our family.  Change is inevitable and in the long run, these changes will benefit the babies I love oh so much.  So I completely understand and support the changes!  But I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place.  The changes will affect how my family runs.  Right now, Hadley isn't in daycare, but these changes were going to force us to put her in daycare.  David and I spent hours and hours analyzing every single option for our family.  I was frantic because I didn't want to throw Hadley into just any daycare--and finding a good daycare takes time and research!  Time we didn't have.  Hence my frustration and worry.

If you've made it this far, congratulations!  To make a long story a little shorter, I received an offer for  a position elsewhere in the hospital that I am really looking forward to!  Hadley will not have to go to daycare (yay!) and I will get to work some Saturdays and some evenings (not even all night...yay again!) meaning Hadley is going to get some quality time with her Daddy--and I know they are both looking forward to that!

God is good.  This was a huge test of faith for my family.  Financial burdens are a real thing and we need my paycheck.  Plain and simple.  Not working wasn't an option for us, but neither was paying a fortune for daycare.  We literally had to go to God for this whole request and he more than provided for our family.  This new position is not one I had ever thought about nor a road I ever thought I'd go down.  I don't know that I would have always been with the babies, but I didn't see myself leaving them so soon.  But God has other plans for me now and I am excited to embrace this next step in my career, while continuing to care about my sweet family I love so much!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Picnic and a Goose Attack

Do you know what the beauty of living in the South is?  70 degree weather in the dead of winter.  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the last few days and we have taken full advantage here.  David was off work for Martin Luther King day, so while he was doing some fix-it stuff around the house, we pulled Hadley's little tikes slide outside on the grass for her to play on.  This girl had a ball!  We were all covered in dead grass before all was said and done and Daddy sprayed us off with the leaf blower!

Playing outside on our slide!

Yesterday, I met my friend Erin (Yep! Same name!) and her sweet baby girl at Furman for a picnic and a walk around the lake.  We sat on the ground around the amphitheater and had our packed lunches, while Hadley ate some of hers and fed the majority of it to Cheyenne--the dog.  Bless her sweet heart, she seems to think that every animal is going to starve because she always feeds Marley, too.  And in her defense, Marley probably looks pretty malnourished compared to all the other dogs she's met in her short 15 months of life.  (15 months! What?!  Where did all of that time go...)

I can't get over this beauty.

After lunch, we loaded the girls up in the strollers and walked around the lake and just talked (and walked) our butts off.  It was so. much. fun.  I hardly ever get adult conversation anymore so that mixed with sunshine and exercise--it was a good day.

Walking around the Bell Tower

The Bell Tower at Furman University

Little Maddie needed a snack break so we stopped at the bell tower on campus while she ate.  Hadley enjoyed the time getting to run around and quack at all the ducks.  This was her first time seeing a duck "in real life."  She's seen them in books, but of course they are much more fascinating in 3-d.  And of course she thought they were all starving, so she kept feeding them her gerber puffs from her snack cup.  They were eating it up!  Literally.  There had to be at least 40 ducks, geese, and swans surrounding us.  Fortunately, they were in the water and we were up a little higher on solid ground.

Eating a snack while the ducks congregate in the water.

Out of no where, this huge black swan came swimming up and you could tell he was a bully.  All the other ducks backed up and he gobbled up all the snacks.  And he was really close.  Really close.  And he had that evil look in his eye like he would try just about anything to get those snacks.  I was a little wary of him and kept an eye on Hadley.  I had my camera and wanted to snap a shot of my girl sitting down, so I walked a little ways towards the water and turned my back for a split second.  Before I knew it, I heard a lot of squawking behind me, Hadley is SCREAMING bloody murder, which made me scream--which interrupted Maddie's meal and made her cry, which made the squawking continue in the water.  It was such a hysterical mess!

Evil black swan.

I knew that swan was bad news and I was right.  As soon as I turned my back on it, that thing jumped out of the water!  I think Hadley screaming scared him, though, and he hopped back in pretty quickly.  And we put the snacks away after that. ;)

My beautiful friend Erin and Maddie!

Unfortunately our warm weather will end soon-- I think I heard they might be calling for snow this weekend-- but I am grateful for the chance to get outside without a chill and for good friends to do life with!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Principle of Sharing

Hadley is learning something new every day.  I love it.  She soaks up every piece of knowledge that comes her way and I soak up all the enjoyment of watching her learn.  Now that she's almost 15 months old and interested in other children, we've started to work on sharing.

This girl has some serious God-given spirit and spunk and she knows what she wants when she wants it.  And by golly, you better be prepared to get it or she will really get onto you.  (Literally, she tries to climb up your leg to get to whatever she's wanting.)

See?  Spunk.

She's not in day care so the only time she's around other children is 1) church nursery 2) gymboree class 3) MOPS nursery.  2 out of the 3 I'm not around to witness how she's acting, but I always get good reports so I'm going with it.  At gymboree, she's pretty independent.  I'm pretty sure she has a little monkey DNA in her (ha..) because she climbs on everything by herself and she's good at it!  But when they bring out the bucket o' out because she will knock you over to get to them!

And she loves sharing the balls!  So weird, right?!  I've seen kids come up to her and take balls right out of her hands and she just looks at them.  (She takes after her Daddy that way.  Me personally, I would have probably grabbed the ball back and bitten the kid for good measure.)  She's recently started putting up a little fuss about it.  No tears, just reaching for the ball and signing "please".  And she's very good at giving the ball away if prompted.

I do work with her at home as well.  As in, she has to share toys with me, I share toys with her etc.  She shares her soggy, already chewed food with me, and begrudgingly I have to share my un-chewed food with her, too.  (Can't I just eat my oatmeal in peace?!  Only if I want it at 10:30 after I've already been up for 4 hours...!)

Just sharing Mom's water...

But, Hadley and I are going to have to have a serious talk here soon.  She's gotten a fever 3 times in the last 3 months (all 3 times have been after she's been in MOPS nursery/gymboree) and I'VE gotten sick every. single. time.  She's hardly been super ill, which I am SO thankful for.  She spikes a pretty nice fever for a couple hours, may be a little extra whiny, sleeps it off and--bam-- she's like brand new.  A day later, I feel a little weird just keeps getting worse.  

Fevers just stink.

She's getting so good at this sharing thing, she's sharing her germs!  I love that she is so smart and learning things so quickly! But, I need her to to learn that germs is just something we don't need to share! ;)

Really, though.  I can't imagine how it would be if she were in daycare.  The horror.

On a completely different note, my blog is getting a mini-makeover.  Hubby is working really hard at making things look a little cleaner and I love him for it!  Thanks, babe!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Christmas 2014

Hadley and I headed home to family the Monday before Christmas.  (David had to work Monday and we decided we'd need 2 cars to get all of our gifts home...ha!) We had some fun stuff planned and couldn't wait to get into the Christmas spirit!

During Christmas, Charlotte has a production called The Bearstein Bears at Founder's Hall downtown.  It's a chorus of mechanical bears that sing Christmas songs.  It's really pretty neat.  My mom, Grandmom, Granddad, and I took Hadley to see the bears because we knew she would love them--and she did!  But I think she loved running around even more!  The atmosphere was so great; there were so many kids, Hadley could run some energy out, and we just had a really good time.  I'd highly recommend it if you are ever in Charlotte during the holidays!

Christmas Eve, we did our typical Christmas Eve dinner at my grandparents house, pajama search, and sat around and talked.  It's always such a blessing when we are all able to be together!  The times are few and far between now so the usual games and puzzles got pushed to the side and we enjoyed just hanging out with each other.  We also enjoyed early bed times because, you know...we're old now.

Christmas morning, we all got up and had bacon and cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  I made Hadley eat before she could open any presents.  I'm not sure how many years I'll be able to pull that off, but I knew she'd be grumpy if she didn't get some grub.  This girl loves to eat!

And then we opened gifts.  This girl is such a gracious little gift receiver!  She wanted to immediately play with whatever she opened and didn't want to open anything else until she had played enough with her toy.  (Except for clothes.  Those she threw right over her shoulder.  I guess even one year olds don't like to receive clothes as gifts!)  Hadley had so many gifts, she had to stop and take a nap before she could finish opening them!

I loved Christmas being in the middle of the week.  After all was said and done, the family was all still around for the rest of the week.  We got to spend a lot of time hanging out, catching up, and everyone got to love on our baby girl.  I don't know how, but our Christmases seem to keep getting better and better!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A New Beginning

Well, I wish I could say that I rang in 2015 with the excitement each new year should bring.  In the literal sense, I guess I did.  We had some couple friends over and we ate yummy food, played games, and laughed until we cried.

But in the bigger sense, 2014 went out and 2015 came in with a lot of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety.  My first thought was, “I’m already not a fan of 2015.”  Surely, it will redeem itself, right?  I mean, there are 359 days left in the year!

I wish I was the optimistic type, but I’m a realist to the core.  I don’t look at the glass half-full or half-empty.  The glass isn’t full and it isn’t empty.  That’s it.  

I don’t want to go into too much of the story right now, as I’m sure details will emerge over the next few weeks.  But our family life is going to have to change due to unforeseen circumstances.  I’ve looked at every option imaginable (realist, remember?) and things are still uncertain.  Ahh, I want an answer and I want it now!

On the morning of December 31st, I grabbed my bible and was scouring verses looking for something to make me feel better.  Not an answer necessarily, but just begging God to speak to me…let me know everything will be okay.  (Dramatic much?!)  I read a bunch of good bible verses, all about anxiety, about stress, about relying on God. But nothing really stood out. I closed my bible, feeling a little defeated.

Until my bible study on January 1st.  If you are a She Reads Truth fan, like myself, you know what bible study I’m talking about.  It referenced John 1:1-51.  It was a very great read, great devotional.  I could already feel my soul stirring and then, there it was.  The very thing I had been asking for just mere hours before.  

“Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” (John 1:50)

My breath left me.  I could literally hear God saying, “Erin, here I am.  This is only the beginning.  I’ve got it all covered, you will see greater things than the beginning of this year.”

God is good.  That verse had nothing to do with anxiety, or uncertainty, or dealing with stress.  It had everything to do with looking to the future.  I went looking on my own for verses to make myself feel better and I wasn’t even looking for the right thing.  He knew just what I needed and He provided in His own time.  And I know He will provide, in time, just what we need as a family.

Yes, I’m still anxious and worried, but it will work out.  I’ve got God on my side! (And this beauty, she's on my side, too!)