Friday, August 16, 2013

see you again



There is something so therapeutic about music for me.  I love the ultimate Creator gave it to us to rejoice, connect, or heal.

My precious grandmother left this earth 3 months ago.  My heart has not allowed itself to accept it.  She was so dear to me...felt more like a mother than a grandmother.  It feels like a piece of my childhood went with her, and being in denial has allowed me think somehow that she's not really gone.

It's all so confusing.

I heard this song and it opened my heart to beginning the healing process.  I still feel my heart closing the door to acceptance, but I know I must open it to move on.

Grandma, I will always carry you with me.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Zech's birth-day

Tax day, due date, had came and went.  We enjoyed Jason being around more and honestly I was thankful that baby was overdue!  I always presumed that baby would come before tax season ended...I guess that’s my pessimistic mind.  However, the day after tax day, Jason took a day off and we got to enjoy some time as a family.  So refreshing!  


Of course, when you’re overdue, everyone is impatient...except me!  We enjoyed the week and the weekend.  Sunday morning I was lying in bed feeling early contractions.  For whatever it’s worth...since I tend to have long early labors.  I felt sporadic mild contractions throughout the day.  We went to church with impatient friends who wondered when baby was going to come.  Out of my control, people!  Talk to the big man!  We enjoyed the day, but honestly I had all my to-do’s done and told Jason that I felt a little bored.  What should we do with ourselves!  That afternoon I took a walk with a friend.  I’d been having contractions but nothing worth stopping for.  


That night they got more serious.  I ended up moving beds so that I wouldn’t wake Jason and the girls up while I was working through them.  It was nice to sleep between and I knew that sleep was the best thing for me.  This birth, I had the mindset of following my instincts.  I woke up and just wondered how long it would take.  My previous 2 labors were long...and they felt really long when I was going through them!  With Bella I had 52 hours before my eventual c-section.  With Geni, I was laboring 2 full days and then active labor set in.  Of course, I have since learned that there is labor...early labor and active labor.  And I tend to have long early labor!  However this birth I was deliberate about freeing myself from fears that may hinder my progress.  I dealt with those, prayed and also ate dates which had been recommended to provide a shorter labor.  


So Monday morning I woke up feeling somewhat rested.  We had breakfast and then Mom took the girls somewhere (can’t remember!)  We let the midwife and our doula know that I was in labor.  Of course we prefaced that with the fact that I have long early labors.  The midwife asked us to time the contractions.  I am not one to focus on the contractions...I prefer to stay oblivious so I don’t focus on the details and get overwhelmed.  Jason and I decided to go for a walk and he could time then and report back to the midwife.  


We had an enjoyable walk.  It was about 10-11AM when we walked.  It was a beautiful spring day, and it was nice to hang out with my sweet husband.  The labor was not too intense at this point.  I would typically stop for contractions and looking back my contractions were about 2-5 minutes apart lasting on average 45 seconds.  Jason made some comment that eluded to the fact that this could go on for a couple days.  Boy, those were not the words I needed to hear...or maybe they were!  Because, we got back home and the button seemed to click and labor seemed to get more intense.  We let the doula and midwife know and also our photographer.  


It seems like everyone got here around 1230-130.  It always feels silly of me to think this, but to me once everyone shows up there’s the expectation that I need to perform.  Like I’m having guests over and I have to have a meal ready.  Except the meal is actually labor and a baby!  I prefer not to be checked so that I don’t find myself disappointed if I’ve worked hard and I’m only at a 2.  It reminds me of my college days when I would get a test back and stick it in my backpack and not check the score for a week or so.  I am a strange one, I know.  From how I was laboring though, one of the midwives predicted I was around a 5-6.  


This labor I had the mindset of really focusing on God, worshiping Him and trusting Him through the tough times and the wonderful times.  I had made a sheet of scriptures and also a playlist of worship music.  It was nice to listen to the music and just focus on Him and be in the pain and not run from it.  I contemplated the pain that Jesus suffered for us, for me.  And it comforted me to know that Jesus knows what pain feels like.  


I also felt a lot more comfortable in labor this time...not to say that labor was comfortable, but that I knew what I needed.  I enjoyed walking around, being outside, just moving.  I actually even felt like through labor, it could’ve just been Jason and me and it would’ve felt right.  However we felt really blessed to have all the help we did.  


A little later I felt really nauseous.  This surprised me because I usually was only nauseous close to the end of labor.  Jason was so sweet to help me in the bathroom and support his pitiful wife while she lost those larabars she had enjoyed earlier.  


One of the midwives suggested taking a shower to just allow my body to relax.  We did have a birthing tub, but I’ve learned from previous labors that if I get in too early, it can sometimes slow me down.  And I did not want another long labor!  So I got in the shower and OH it felt so good!  I stayed in there a long time...and squatted and lunged and just labored more.  I decided to get out because I didn’t want to test out our hot water supply and be surprised with a cool shower...that sounded like the opposite of relaxing!  


I continued to labor and then what happened next could only be described as a God-hug.  The music was playing through the house.  We were all sitting in the living room and a song I hadn’t heard before came on called You are for Me by Kari Jobe.  Words can simply do no justice to describe the overwhelming presence of God I felt through this song.  My spirit just felt Jesus saying, “I’m here...I know this hurts, but I’m here with you through it all.”  I cried through the song.  Turns out later that everyone thought I was crying because of pain.  Oh, but it was a special moment and my favorite part of this labor.  God is so big, and yet so intimate. I wish everyone could experience what it is to go through a journey, a challenging journey of labor and walk in it with God.  It is transforming!  


We all decided it might be nice to get in the birthing tub.  And it was nice.  Water is wonderful!  I moved around in it and labor progressed nicely.  The girls were with me a lot during this time...probably because they wanted to get in the tub too!  I stayed in there for at least an hour.  I began to feel the pushing urges at the end of my contractions.  INstinct told me that I should probably get out to help pushing along.  


I started squatting and pushing was just really painful.  It’s interesting how every labor is different...with Geni’s labor, transition was TOUGH and pushing didn’t seem hard.  This time around, I don’t even know when transition happened, but pushing was a BEAR!  It was really painful (or I like to call it HARD WORK) and I kept wondering when there’d be a little head to feel.  There was a contraction I pushed hard and my water bag broke.  I knew that was good but knew it would be work of pushing this little one out!  I was pushing all the while feeling like not much was happening.  I was still squatting while holding on to Jason and it required a lot...my legs were started to cramp up a bit since I’d been in that position awhile now.  Plus it didn’t help that I always gravitate to the most cramped spot in the room...with Geni I gave birth right next to the doorway to our bathroom.  This time around I was at the door to our bedroom.  I guess that’s my “special place”.  


They encouraged me to scream because it hurt so bad.  I screamed loud and finally there was painful progress.  Poor Jason was such a trooper...I leaned on him so much and he was sweating so hard but never relinquished.  At one point, bless his heart, I bit his shoulder because it hurt so bad.  He said one time I squeezed his belly so much that he had to reposition so that I wouldn’t squeeze it again!  Strong husbands in labor are such a blessing!!!!  Hard to believe that our grandmother’s generation were forced to do this with their husbands in the waiting rooms!  


Anyways, I was pushing hard and one push was so hard (the midwife told me later that’s probably the point I tore) and we had progress and a head came out.  The next push produced the sweet little body.  Our midwife set the baby down and we got to see what this little one was!  My eyes went instantly to the parts and discovered we had a BOY!!!  Everyone was saying how big he was and I thought he looked so little!  Someone told me to pick him up but I didn’t even have the strength left!  Jason graciously handed him to me and I was in love.  Instantly I knew what all those moms had said about how little boys are so precious!


The girls came in almost immediately and saw their new little brother.  They were just in awe.  Geni asked if he needed a paci.  And she proceeded to come back with one and she was so diligent in finding one that wasn’t pink of course!


This moment is just so precious and words can’t describe the emotion contained in witnessing a new life sent from God.  I think the hard work of it makes it even more special.  I sat there on the floor for awhile just holding him.  My midwife told me that I tore; my immediate worry was whether I would have to go to the hospital to get it stitched.  Thankfully she said no.  Home truly is the only place I want to be before birth, during birth, and after birth.  


The cord stopped pulsing and Jason cut the cord.  I tried nursing him but he wasn’t interested yet.  The midwife suggested I move to the bed.  I walked gingerly to the bed and nursed him and then pushed the placenta out.  


The worst part of the day came when they had to stitch me up.  My mom held Zech while the midwives worked on me.  Bless their hearts. the midwives were wonderful.  After delivering a baby, the last thing I want anyone to do is touch down there.  One of them started singing.  When I commented that it took my mind off things, the other one chimed in with It is Well with my Soul.  And now every time I hear that song, it takes me back.  It might be well with my soul, but not my vagina!  Anyways, they finished, and I was able again to hold the fruit of my literal labor!


Later on, my midwife explained that pushing was difficult because he came out with his hand by his head.  That and he weighed 9 lbs, 14 oz.  Zechariah James Anderson was (to quote Mary Poppins) “practically perfect in every way.”  So perfect I’ll forgive his shenanigans of coming out with his hand on his head.  


Praise God for another blessing!


Zechariah James
9 lbs 14 oz. 22” long
Born at home

22 April 2013 6:25PM (Jason won that wager!  And lucky for him, he gets to live with the prize!)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

His presence during labor

For baby's birth, I had read a great book called Redeeming Childbirth which focuses on recognizing God's presence in pregnancy and in labor and delivery.  She had suggested using music to help worship while in labor and she had included some songs she liked.  I discovered Spotify (which rocks by the way) and went ahead and made a playlist exclusively for labor and birth.  One of the songs she had suggested was You are for Me by Kari Jobe.  I had never heard the song before labor, I just included it because it had a good title.

I was well into labor and was in the living room with Jason and our birthing entourage (they're wonderful).  I was sitting on the floor when this song came on.  Words cannot describe the overwhelming presence of God with me at that moment.  God shows up at unexpected times.  Most would expect His presence to feel strongest at the moment of birth.  But it was in this quiet moment while I was laboring that He was saying to me, "Brandy, I know this is tough.  But I have never left you.  I will never leave you.  You are mine, and I'm walking through this with you."

God is HUGE.  And yet God will come down to our small little lives and show up in big ways.  I am humbled.  I am blessed.  I am so loved.  I hope and pray everyone can feel this in their lives.

Friday, December 7, 2012

I feel like a natural woman



This post is in honor of my sweet friend Sarah who had asked for my natural cleaning solutions.  I'm not an expert in this field by any means, but I'm slowly on a path!  Since having small kiddos in the house, I have felt pulled to everything being more natural.  Here is what I have tried, liked, and some not so liked.

House Cleaning:

Natural Febreze:  Mix 5-10 drops of favorite essential oils (Orange, Lemon, Lavender, Tea Tree, whatever you like) with 1/2 c of water.  And spray just like you would with febreze.  I know Tea Tree and Lavender have disinfecting properties, and I love the house smelling more like nature, and less like chemicals!

Dishwasher Detergent:  This  (find the dishwasher detergent on this list...this is also a very comprehensive list of cleaners) is what I've used.  I can't say I'm a huge fan, because I tend to have residue on my dishes.  I tend to swap this cleaner and an eco-friendly detergent.  I will say just use 1 tablespoon of this...don't fill up the whole cup in your dishwasher.  That's a tip I found from reading the bottles of conventional detergent also.  Most of the time, you don't need to fill up the whole cup.  This can save you a lot of $$, especially if you buy the more expensive kinds!

Rinsing Agent:  I just use plain white vinegar instead of Jet-dry.

Wood Polisher:  Mix olive oil with lemon juice and water.  I usually do equal parts, but you can adjust to your liking.  

Toilet cleaner:  Sprinkle in borax and clean with toilet brush.  

Carpet deodorizer:  Simply sprinkle on baking soda, let sit for 10-15 minutes and vacuum up.  If you want to get fancy, mix your baking soda with some essential oils and do the same thing.

Laundry Detergent:  This  liquid laundry detergent is what I want to try, but have not made yet.  My laundry tip which has made my life so much easier, is I throw the colors and whites in together, put in 1/2 c of vinegar and colors don't bleed and it makes sorting so much easier!  I still sort our delicates into colors/whites, but for everyday clothes, it all goes in together.  

General cleaner/abrasive:  I'll use plain baking soda to scrub.  Vinegar can be used for glass cleaners, etc.  Baking soda and vinegar are really all you need to clean so much in your house!  Cheap and natural.  Yea!

Natural toiletries:

Lotion:  Straight coconut oil.  It is solid at about 75 degrees, so I just rub it in my hands to liquefy.  It's nice to know there aren't any scary ingredients lurking.  Coconut oil, straight up!  FYI:  For the best coconut smell, buy the least refined kind.  The more refined can be used for higher temperatures in cooking.  We love coconut oil in this house!

Makeup:  I am pretty simple when it comes to makeup.  I love Bare Minerals and Everyday Minerals.  

Makeup Setter:  I think a makeup setter really helps when using mineral makeup.  This is what I am going to make for it.  Cheap and simple ingredients.

Eye Cream:  This is what I'm going to make.  I had been using straight coconut oil until I found this.  Seriously, eye cream is so expensive!  But with not always getting the most sleep (love those little people we live with, even though they are sleep stealers!), I think eye cream is a great benefit.  So, this is the best of both worlds...eye cream, done naturally and cheap.  :)

Face Wash:  I've been using the Oil Cleansing Method for over 2 years now and love it.  Simple, moisturizing, and you control the ingredients.  I currently use extra virgin olive oil and castor oil.  

Face Scrub:  I hate hate hate blackheads, and more than that I HATE, HATE, HATE my blackheads.  This milk/nutmeg scrub is a scrub I like.  

Moisturizer:  I want to try making this.  My face really doesn't get that dry.  I think the Oil Cleansing Method is a big reason for that.  

Toothpaste:  My dear friend Amy shared her recipe and I have combined it with a little coconut oil when I read this recipe.  Jason told me he actually prefers the homemade toothpaste.  I'll admit that it takes a little bit to get used to the baking soda, but I do like it and it feels like my teeth get cleaner.  

Shampoo/Conditioner:  I tried to love the no-poo method.  I did.  I really did.  And there were parts I liked...my hair held curls better, I loved using simple ingredients.  But I seemed to develop a buildup I couldn't get rid of.  So the combo I've found that I like (for the time being) is these shampoo bars.  They smell super-yummy and I love that I'm not using chemicals that strip my hair.  

So, there are what I like to use.  I'm sure there are many more that are amazing out there (and if so, I'd love to be informed!) but this is what makes our life a little simpler, more natural, and more economical.  










Thursday, October 18, 2012

a year

It's hard to fathom it's been a year...a year since I had my last conversation with Dad.  A year...seems like a lot happens in a year, and yet it feels like he has only been gone a week.  I don't know that I'm processing it all very well.  Does anyone ever process loss perfectly though?  I don't know where I thought I'd be a year later,but I can't say this is it.

I don't know that it's sadness that I feel, because I have such a peace and joy of knowing exactly where Dad is...he's with the Big Dad, our true Father.  He is restored to health. He is in complete joy.  Seriously, what else could I want for him?  And yet, I just feel bummed that I can't just chat with him.  But just to know that my earthly dad is here.

There are things I like to do to remind myself of him.  They may seem silly but they bring me comfort...whether it's making his yearly peanut/candy corn mix that was always so yummy.  Or decluttering...Dad would be proud I know!  Or saving that special carrot cake recipe.  Or going for a run.  Or smiling about Jason wearing my dad's hat.  It's good to remind myself of him.   I miss him.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

30 days

I wish I felt more passionate about journaling on here.  I'm such a random blogger.  I'm glad I don't do this for money!  I do wish I would chronicle more life for future reference.  I do an online journal which I enjoy too.  I should be inspired by my grandmother who has kept a journal for over 50 years.  I think it's timeless.  I want our children to be able to look over our lives and realize that we are more than their parents.  We are individuals who are just trying to serve the Lord in our daily lives.  We are certainly not perfect, just forgiven, Praise God!

Anyways, one of my best friends turned me on to ted.com.  A website full of talks...maybe I'm the last one to know.  Regardless I have loved learning and I stumbled onto this one:  Try Something New for 30 Days    And it had me inspired.  I've decided I'd like to do a few different approaches.

#1  Learn my camera, taking a different picture everyday.
#2  The Love Dare...I've started it a few times, but never finished it.
#3  Purge an item or more everyday
#4  Endless possiblities...

Monday, July 16, 2012

cinderella



I just began reading Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman...this book has so touched my heart.  I mentioned to Jason he had to read this one chapter about the story behind Cinderella.  I then had to find the song so we could listen to it.  I played it and chatted with Jason while he washed dishes.  When I walked back in the kitchen, I noticed Jason had tears welled up in his eyes.  Jason's not a very emotional guy, but in that moment, I was able to see my wonderful husband who just adores his daughters and truly grasps how important it is to savor this time.

Friday, July 6, 2012

not many can say...

that they just ate breakfast with 2 cute girls wearing nothing but their birthday suit, but today I can indeed say it.  kinda makes me feel like i'm eating breakfast in las vegas or something.

Monday, June 18, 2012

34

I'm wiping the dust off my blog as I celebrate a birthday.  I enjoyed writing some random ramblings for my last birthday so I thought I'd do it again.  It's kinda fun to look back and see what's on my heart and how I transform through the years.  So, I'm turning 34 (already turned 34)!  How did that happen?  In my mind, I feel like I'm still 10 years old!  But alas, I have been blessed with a precious family to love and nurture.  I'm glad the Lord trusts me!
Here goes...34 thoughts, unedited me
1.  I did not achieve my goal for my 33rd year.  I had wanted to read the entire bible.  Instead I did some indepth studies, so I don't have regrets.  I can honestly say at the end of this year, I have a deeper love and reverence for my Lord and Savior.
2.  I have read some uncomfortable books this year.  Crazy Love, Radical, 7.  It hurts to know I must die to myself to live the life I'm called to.  Yet, I know that is where true life is.
3.  I wish I liked kale.  Seriously it's just gross to me.  Tried kale chips.  Crunchy, salty disgustingness.  Kale=fail
4.  I wake up everyday and think, "Did Dad really die?"  It still feels like a dream.
5.  I miss our sweet Lucy dog.  It still hurts.  Who knew I could love a silly dog so much?
6.  I must admit, the girls are sleeping, I'm having me time and while I'm typing this, I'm watching The Bachelorette.  I gave up watching The Bachelor last season.  Not as painful as I thought.  You may wonder why I'm watching The Bachelorette...well, I try to justify it by the fact that Emily is different, traditional, a mom.
7.  I love staying home with the girls.  I just think at home motherhood would be more fun if you had a couple moms there all day to keep me company!
8.  I'm experimenting a lot with natural beauty products.
9.  So far, I love using cornstarch when my hair is a little greasy and I don't have time to wash it.
10.  The Oil Cleansing Method replaces my conventional face soap.  LOVE!
11.  I am actually right now using a system on my hair that uses baking soda and vinegar for shampoo/conditioner and nothing else.  I know, it sounds crazy.  I tried it before and didn't like it, but have now come back to it and am loving it!
12.  Coconut oil is my go-to lotion.
13.  I make our toothpaste and we love it so much more than regular toothpaste.
14.  The girls DO NOT USE my toothpaste...someday...MAYBE?!
15.  I make a homemade febreze that I love!
16.  Gosh, I sound crunchy, huh?  I never liked that word.  I like "natural".  Crunchy sounds like something that really needs to be cleaned.
17.  I have read so many great books this past year!  But I have to say 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess is probably my favorite.  Probably because the author is real, yet loves Jesus, but is real!  Check 7 out!
18.  I hate softball.  I know my mom and Jason would shun me for saying that.  But seriously... whoever thought having a hard ball thrown at you/hit at you was a good idea?  That and the fact that I got kicked off a competitive softball team in 3rd grade scarred me for life!  That and when I was 5, I walked up on my brother swinging a bat.
19.  I hope that we teach our kids to be independent thinkers.  I don't want them to ascribe to Republican/Democrat or Methodist/Baptist, but to just love the Lord and seek Him above all else.  To love and respect that we live in a country that we have privileges.
20.  Going through the death experience with my dad was such a glorious time.  I know that sounds weird and maybe insensitive, but really, to know without a doubt the Lord was present is indescribable.  To be able to tell my dad everything I wanted to say, to be able to ask him if he was proud of me...and to feel in my heart he was.  To be with him the moment he passed.  It changed my life.  I hope he could understand me and know how much he meant and still means to me.
21.  Our family has been drinking real milk (aka raw milk) for over a year.  I find it ironic that real milk is controversial in today's society.  Really?  Milk, straight from a cow is scary.  Yet we don't find it scary the crazy chemicals we eat in our food everyday.  Something's not right about that.
22.  A pet peeve of mine is when able bodied people do not put their carts back at the store.  Really?
23.  We have not had cable in almost 4 years now.  I have not missed it one day.
24.  When I was about 4, I was in a program at church singing with the other kids on stage.  I knew I had to go to the bathroom, but I was too embarrassed to say anything.  So I had an accident.  I still can feel the pain from that mortifying day!  The next day at church they had a fan blowing on the spot that I had my accident.  I can still remember my little heart being broken!  (Don't worry...it's funny now!)
25.  I love that Jason is riding my dad's old bike.  I love feeling Dad still with us.
26.  I love our quaint little town. I never want to live in a big city again.
27.  I wish my feet were smaller.
28.  I don't have many regrets in my life.  But looking back, I wish I wouldn't have been afraid to do some things that scared me.  Go out for track/cross country in high school.  Gotten a part-time job while I was in KC.  yada yada
29.  Some days I wish I could've gotten my P.E.  But most days I am so thankful to be at home and focused on my girls.  I don't miss engineering.  I miss working with people.
30.  Decluttering is a hobby of mine.  Less stuff makes me happy.
31.  I'd like to run a full marathon someday.  I'm going to run a full marathon someday.
32.  I miss Costco.
33.  I'm so passionate about natural birth.  I, in no way, want to force my ideas on anyone, but my heart sometimes aches for women to just be open to the idea of doing it the natural way.  To know how much it changed my life...I desperately wish that every woman could experience it the way it was meant to be.  (I feel like I can say this, because I have experienced an unnatural c-section and the natural homebirth...but I also know that when intervention is necessary, it is a blessing to have it available.
34.  I am listening to the book, So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.  I dream of the day where I would be completely secure!  Help me Lord!

I feel that's a weird one to end on, but it's me and I'm not going to edit myself to sound better.  :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

sweet



this made me smile