Remembering Eleanor

 

I knew today was August 1st, but I didn’t even remember the significance of this date until I was reminded by a shared article on Facebook of a somewhat artsy description of going through miscarriage.  The author described her vision of her baby she had so early on, who she knew was a girl named Eleanor.

I have an Eleanor.  She also was going to have curls and big brown eyes.  I could picture her as a toddler so clearly in my head, laughing and playing in the grass.  She was my first baby, and I miscarried her on August 1st, 7 years ago.

I feel guilty that I didn’t remember until this evening.  I know in part it’s because I’m in such a better place now, since M, and prefer not to dwell on the grief I had to live with for too long.  I also have so many dates to remember.  But I am thankful for having seen that article so that I was reminded to spend some time remembering my Eleanor.  I am the only one who can remember her.

♥♥♥

Girliness

So I’ve never been a girly girl, and when I was a kid up into college even I actively disliked girly things just because. I used to worry about ever having a girly daughter because I didn’t think I could get into that. I surprised myself by actually liking to get pink and purple baby things for M, and M being girly (as much a 1 year old can be, which turns out to be a surprising amount) is actually being fun for me! It’s funny, really, that M is making me get into girly things.

Like, not super frilly, I still don’t like that. She’s never had any headbands with flowers anywhere near the size of her head. But I will put a random tutu on her, she now has a Disney Princess potty seat, and it’s very hard to not buy her ALL the pretty clothes.

No really, my hobby lately is Matilda Jane. Which is expensive. Especially if you pine for something that is sold out. There’s this one outfit that’s like the cutest thing ever, but the dress is sold out in M’s size and the leggings are sold out completely. I can find them on ebay occasionally, or on a BST (buy/sell/trade) group, but they’re each like $55+. NOPE. I wish I could throw that kind of cash around…

So I feel silly now, all fawning over articles of boutique clothing. I mean, it’s clothes. But they’re just soooo pretty and soooo cute. Totally addicted now, le sigh. So far all I have for M is an older dress I got during a clearance sale for $15, and an older outfit (skirt + shirt) that I got on sale at a secondhand store and then from a seller in a FB group. I have started a fund for any spare money or money from making an art sale as my MJ fund. Hahaha! I’m currently trying to find some ruffle pants for me for less than retail… I don’t want to spend retail price if I don’t have to!

Aaaaand I’m totally going to have a Girly Party for my birthday, I have decided. As in, add birthday money to my MJ Fund and have a Trunk Show. It makes me laugh because it so doesn’t sound like me! But it’s all novel, so it’s still fun.  I’m disappointed I have to wait all the way until October! :)

 

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ETA: Ohhhh man I found a new MJ outfit for M that I am majorly swooning over! And all the pieces are still in stock in her size!  It’s 3 pieces though–leggings, long-sleeved shirt, knot top.  I’d try to aquire them in that order. ;)

18 Months (and 1 week)

I haven’t done a general M update in awhile, and figure 18 months is a good milestone to do that.  Yes, 18 months!  Crazy.  She still seems like such a baby to me, but she really is getting to be such a big girl!  She is such a ball of sunshine!  She’s so happy and silly!  Some things about her:

At her appointment last week she was almost 28 lbs. (90th%) and 32 1/2″ (75-80th%).  And some of her favorite things: dolls and stuffed animals (all of which she calls “Ernie”), getting dressed, putting on shoes, socks (“zzzAH!”), pink things, farm animals, crackers, chips, pretzels, anything you’re eating, putting things in other things, purses and tote bags, tea parties, chasing B around while making high pitched noises, folding diapers, when people come on down on The Price is Right, building block towers, crushing crackers with a toy screwdriver, the Cozy Coupe, books, picking apart the desk chair, baths, singing and dancing, yelling “poo” when she gets her diaper changed, Princessy things (oy, who woulda thunk it), absconding with electronic devices, and of course mamanumsnuggles.

She’s starting to talk a lot!  She’ll say 3-4 word sentences.  Like “I wan seel” (I want cereal) or “I no wan down.”  She’s a smart cookie!

Here are some of her 18 month pictures I took (at 17 months).  Such a cheeseball.

DSC_0223 DSC_0230 DSC_0231

Healthy Banana Oat Muffins

I wanted to share a recipe I altered, and oh well if it doesn’t technically fit this blog!  Both of my kids love them, so there’s that.  There are a few recipes I’ve switched up for us that I’d like a place to share, so a few more may be coming. :)

For today, here are our family’s current favorite snack:

Healthy Banana Oat Muffin

The original recipe can be found here, at Mindfully Frugal Mom.  You can of course use her suggestion of making it sugar-free by using honey (she forgot to mention in the directions where to put the honey–it would go in the wet ingredients) and dairy-free by using your non-dairy milk of choice.  But here is my version, which is kept egg-free (the main attraction for me!) and I made oil-free.

 

Healthy Banana Oat Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. ground flax
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/2 c. Stoneyfield Banilla Yogurt (plain, vanilla, or Greek would work too)
  • 1/3 c. applesauce
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 very ripe bananas

Directions

1. Combine all of the dry ingredients besides sugar in a large bowl.

2. Put the ground flax and water into your mixing bowl.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients plus sugar and blend well.

3. Add dry to wet until just mixed.

4. Put big spoonfulls into a greased muffin pan (should make 1 dozen).  Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

 

Ta-da!  I love to eat them spread with peanut butter.  You could add cinnamon, walnuts, chocolate chips, or whatever to it too.

Somewhat-Vegetarian

So I’ve never been a huge fan of meat, and then since having B I’ve been grossed out by it a little more (as well as milk and eggs) and more.  Pretty much if it’s raw when I cook it, I can’t eat it, with the exception of ground turkey.  I’d still make meat on occasion for N and B though.  A few weeks (or months?) ago, I decided to stop fighting it and started looking up what non-meat proteins we should up and more non-meat recipes to try.  On top of that I also got back to my keeping the sugar intake down and sticking mainly to healthier sugary alternatives when I do want something of that nature (homemade date-nut bars.  Pretzels in melted almond butter/dark chocolate.  NOM).  Oh, and I started remembering to take my vitamins again.

After a week I felt SO much better!  My digestive system was happier, I felt like I had more energy, and I felt more positive.  I’m not sure which it was, or if it was a combination of everything.  But anyway, we’ve stuck to it ever since!  And I have to say, I don’t know why I didn’t do this a long time ago.  Meat.  Ew. :)

Heck, the only bad thing about it is that everything tastes SO GOOD.  Ha!  I’ve found some amazing new favorite recipes.  Roasted Garbanzo Bean Fajitas.  As well as altered some that I used to like so that they’re meat-less.  Sweet and Sour Tofu with Veggie Fried Rice.  Just sayin’.

Anyway, I’m not entirely vegetarian.  Just somewhat.  I’ll still use meat broths in cooking, or eat meat cooked by someone else, or eat lunchmeat/hotdog/sausage type things.  For that matter I guess I could call myself Somewhat-Vegan too.  I’ve mostly given up on eggs and cow’s milk.  I use cow milk for my coffee and in some cooking, but otherwise we (being B and I) drink almond milk.  And I use coconut milk on cereal.  And I’ll bake and cook with eggs, but can’t just cook them and eat them anymore.  I still do plenty of yogurt and cheese too, those don’t bother me.

Poor N, he likes meat.  Too bad for him, he’ll have to eat it elsewhere!  I have been trying to make a sausage-related food weekly since I can do that just fine.  I love those Apple Chicken sausages.

Out of the Valley

This is a little article I was suddenly inspired to write last night as I was going to sleep.  It just sort of flowed out this morning, even while having a little munchkin distracting me (and then edited for blog-o-land). :)

I want to tell you about how I survived my walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  When I was closer to the beginning of my journey with recurrent miscarriages and infertility, I was in what felt like the darkest time.  I was completely broken and struggling to find the way to keep moving forward.  Then one Sunday the sermon was about Psalm 23: “Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death…”  That was the turning point in my journey through the dark tunnel I felt like I was in.

I had been visualizing my emotional place as trapped in darkness, trying to focus on the tiny speck of light that I knew was ahead of me.  I was trying so hard to move towards it on my own.  I learned all I could about my physiology and how to influence it and try to make my body do what it was supposed to do.  I learned a lot about how my body worked, but it wasn’t getting me out of that tunnel.

I felt so depressed, disappointed, confused, and anxious.  I’d had one miscarriage before having our son, then another one when he was 14 months old, and then month after month of my body’s painfully long cycles and heartbreaking negative tests as we were trying to have another child.  It seemed like everyone around me was easily and happily having babies, and I had to start avoiding friends, family, and Facebook because it was just too painful for me to handle.

When our pastor described the Shadow of the Valley of Death, I knew that’s where I was.  But the point was to let us know that as dark and hard as the walk through that valley is, God is walking along with us the entire way.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I had never abandoned God, nor did I feel angry with Him at that point, but it hadn’t clicked yet that He was walking beside me.  When I realized that, I felt Him closer to me rather than looming above me, and I could feel the strength that His shoulder lent as we were walking.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

I still had a long and hard journey to go before I got to the light at the end of the valley.  Every time I had a glimmer of hope in a new doctor, a new medication, a new cycle, a new pregnancy, it was crushed and dashed back against the jagged rocks in that valley.  But now I knew God was picking me back up and helping me to keep slowly moving forward.  He gave me comforts where I could find them, in my son and in learning how to find even the simplest bright spot in every day.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

And then finally, after over three and a half years, four consecutive miscarriages, 13 cycles of injecting myself with hormones, more blood draws and ultrasounds than I can count, and IVF, our perfect little girl was born.  It was blinding coming out of the dark valley I’d been in for so long.  I was very tentative to enjoy the light.  It took months for me to adjust to it, and to fully do so I’ve needed an antidepressant.

Our daughter is 15 months old now, and I’m finally feeling like I’ve healed enough from the journey through that darkness that I can appreciate this light that was on the other side of that tunnel.  Because of God I survived my walk, even though I have lots of scars.  And even though I’m out of that valley, I now know that God is always beside me, leading me, through even the lesser difficulties and hardships in life.

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Answered Prayers

I’ve had the draft of this post sitting around for a long time, and want to finally get it out there!  I’m awed by all the ways God answered prayers about M-related things.  I’d been meaning for awhile to make a list and share them, even before I wrote this draft.  Some were specific prayers, and some were things that weren’t that important in the scheme of things so I only occasionally prayed them as an “if” or just held them in my heart, knowing God knows the desires of our hearts anyway.  So, the list:

  • M is a girl
  • I had a full night’s sleep before labor started, so was well-rested which made a huge difference.
  • My active labor was fast (4 hours).  I had only prayed for 10 or less (after B’s 21 hours), I didn’t dare imagine it could be that short!  It’s even marked as “precipitious” in my medical record.
  • I had the unmedicated birth I wanted… even at the point I was only at 6cm and suddenly felt like I was going to die and caved and asked for an epidural, within 1 contraction I was at 9-10cm so it was too late.  God rushed things along for me!
  • I was terrified of the pushing part after the trauma of B’s, but M came out in 2-3 pushes, even though she was also posterior like him.
  • From the second she was born M wouldn’t sleep unless I was holding her, so I’ve been able to have lots and lots of M snuggles these last 15 1/2 months!
  • Speaking of snuggles, B has never been a snuggler, even as a baby.  Never wanted to come sit on my lap or anything.  M grabs a toy or two and comes to sit on my lap frequently.
  • The first few months M was such a distractable eater and didn’t comfort nurse like B always had, so I began to have lots of anxiety that it would cause me to get my period back much sooner than I hoped and that she’d wean herself much earlier than I hoped.  But then one day in the midst of that it all stopped and she started to need and want the comfort aspect, so both of those worries are gone.  And I still don’t have my period back, but I’m now in a place where I feel like when I do have to start dealing with that again, I can handle it and not feel so anxious and afraid.
  • Her personality is so perfect after all we went through!  She’s so upbeat, joyous, and entertaining.  She smiles and laughs often and easily, and it’s just the happiest thing you’ve ever seen or heard.  After how easy-going of a baby B was, I figured we’d have a high-needs baby next… but in some ways M has been even easier!  (In others, not, but still not hard!)
  • Also about her personality–M does not run around like a crazy kid.  She can sit still sometimes, and she’s a watcher–like I think we’ll actually be able to take her to the zoo or fair and she’ll LOOK at the animals.

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