The Weirdest Lovey Ever

When I was a little girl my childhood best friend had a blanket that she took everywhere.

She sucked the corners of that thing, snuggled it in the car, and dragged it around the playground.

I did not have a blanket, or anything else that I was particularly attached to, but I really, really wanted to be like my best friend.  So I forced myself to carry a blanket with me all over the place.

This did not last long because, as a busy toddler, I was only passionate about things for approximately 3 minutes before moving on to the next more interesting thing.

Except for Saved By The Bell.  That I faithfully stood by all the way through the college years.

But I couldn’t cuddle with Zack Morris at night.

Even though I never had a ‘great enduring love’ (well, until I met the hubs), it still fascinated me when I came across kids who had loveys that they needed to have with them every second of the day.

There’s just something so endearing about the way a little buddy calms down with his Blankie or Baba or Binkie or Lala or MooMoo or Fuzzy or whatever.

And since you always want for your kids what you never had, I made it my goal for the Happy Buddy to have a lovey.

I thought how excellent it would be for him to learn to self-soothe with something other than my boob.

So I picked out a small zebra that someone had given him as a gift when he was born and made sure it was in his crib starting Day 1 of his life and every night thereafter.

Unfortunately, the Happy Buddy never developed affections for ‘Zeebs’ the way I had hoped.

Instead he fell in love with pacifiers (which weren’t quite as endearing when he was still sucking on them as a 4 year old).

Now we’re dealing with the Happy Baby and his most recent lovey that doesn’t fit into any of your typical lovey categories.

This kid didn’t fall in love with a blankie or paci or small stuffed toy.

No, the Happy Baby fell in love with DVDs.

And DVD cases.

They go with him everywhere.

weird lovey 1.jpgAt the doctor’s office.

weird lovey 2.jpgAt the park.

weird lovey 3.jpgAt bedtime.

loveyWhile napping.

weird lovey 5.jpgIn the car.

weird lovey 6.jpgAt The Learning Express.

weird lovey 9.jpgAt breakfast.

weird lovey 7.jpgWhile watching Saturday morning cartoons.

weird lovey 4.jpgJust hanging around.

weird lovey 10.jpgAt the mall toys.

He’s OBSESSED.

I guess I can’t complain, though, as this lovey does not require any late night panicked runs to Target for replacements.

And they are easily cleaned with a wipe.

And his Occupational Therapist is in support because they help his little fine motor skills with all that opening and closing of the case.

I guess my only reservation about this choice of lovey, other than that it is a little weird, is that the Happy Baby can’t pronounce DVD.

So he walks around all day talking about his ‘ED.’

:-)

Do you have any unusual lovey stories?

- Julie

To Onesie Or Not To Onesie – That Is The Question

the great onesie debate 4

I was watching the Happy Baby play the other day and I had a super disturbing thought.

And it wasn’t about his health (which is shocking).

Rather, it was about his wardrobe.

the great onesie debate 1.jpgthe great onesie debate 2.jpgNow that he is 2 years old – is it okay for him to wear onesies?

Onesies look adorable on babies with all that chubby thigh chunk, but my buddy’s legs are getting long and they are skinny.

He is potty-training and onesies aren’t really conducive to the frequent dropping of his drawers.

Not to mention that the hubs said to me recently, “He looks a little weird wearing that,” then went on to say,

“There comes a time in a man’s life when it is no longer acceptable to bear his thighs.”

:-)

But in all seriousness, his words kind of touched on the heart of this issue.

Because you know what it really is – letting go of the onesies is like letting go of my baby.

And I don’t have any more babies!!!

You KNOW what this will mean.

Once the onesies get boxed, then the sippy cups will get tossed.

Then the big boy undies will fill up his drawers and I will be hauling bags of baby boy clothes to the thrift store.

Then the highchair will be given away.

Then we will be disassembling the changing table.

Then we’ll be putting the crib up for sale on Craig’s List and then it will be OVER.

OVER.

And at this point, it will take an act of Jesus to change the hubby’s heart about adding a fifth chair (or sixth, or seventh…) around our kitchen table.

I mean, there might be serious conflicts going on in the Ukraine, but this is a CRISIS, people.

onesie dramathe great onesie debate.jpgMy gut says to keep my baby rockin’ those onesies as long as the good people at Carter’s allow me.

I mean, he is still wearing size 18 months and I am pretty sure they don’t stop making onesies for kids until they graduate to 2Ts.

So we should be okay until then.

the great onesie debate 3And, besides, I guess people aren’t really noticing his onesie when there’s all this cuteness happening on his face.

:-)

What do YOU think?

- Julie

18 Months – Pancake Encouragement

pancake encouragementDo you remember THIS POST?

Well, we were eating our traditional meal of pancakes last Saturday morning when suddenly the Happy Buddy burst out saying, “MOMMY!  The Happy Baby is putting his pancake on his fork AND sticking it in his mouth AND he isn’t spitting it out!”

I smiled and nodded at this wonderful bit of news.

Then he turned toward his little brother and said, “Brother, I see God working in your life!”

:-)

I couldn’t agree more!

- Julie

R.I.P.P. – Rest In Peace, Pump

Last Saturday night, I pumped for the very last time.

After 14 months of exclusive pumping for the Happy Baby, it was time to lay that thing to rest.

funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.comfuneral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com2funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com3funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com4funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com5funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com6funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com7funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com10funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com11The Happy Hubby gave a moving eulogy.

Note - We had to bribe the Happy Buddy with a bag of graham crackers in order to get him to participate in this ridiculousness. :-)

*Adorable Boys Tie Shirts from HERE*

funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com8funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com9But, let me tell you, that pump didn’t go down without a fight!

I nursed the Happy Buddy until he was 2 years old and I never once touched a pump or a bottle.  When I got pregnant with the Happy Baby I decided to do the same thing because that is what I knew.  Pumping and bottling seemed too complicated for my tiny brain.

I even said, “I will never pump.”

Hahahahaha!

Within a few hours after the Happy Baby’s birth and he was whisked to the NICU in respiratory distress, a nurse rolled a giant Medela pump into my room and told me to get busy.

And boy, did I.

Every 2-3 hours.  20-30 minutes each session.  Pump, wash, sterilize, dry, bottle, label, store, repeat.

Pumping became this precious lifeline between my baby and me.  It made me feel like I was doing something for him even when I couldn’t always be at the hospital.  It gave me mission and purpose to get out of bed when many days I wanted to just pull the covers over my head and give up.

Some of my most memorable and worshipful times with God during our 3 month hospital stay were in the middle of the night, hooked to my pump, Bible open in my lap, tears running down my face while reading through the Psalms.

While my exclusive pumping journey began with pure motives and a sincere hope that one day he’d eventually nurse, somewhere along the way, though, my controlling, perfectionist, fearful nature took over.

Our world puts a huge amount of pressure on us mamas to give our babies breast milk.  Breast is best.  Breast is best.

But is it always best?

I believe with every fiber of my being that God created breast milk to be an incredible source of nutrition for our little bundles, but I do not believe God intended for us to make an idol out of it.

An idol that says, “I can control my child’s health if I give him/her breast milk.”

An idol that makes you fear the alternative – formula.

An idol that has you chained to a Medela 7-8 times a day hindering you from hearing sermons, playing with your other kids, having date nights longer than an hour, your sleep, time with friends, etc.

An idol that makes you feel like less of a mom if you choose not to/can’t nurse.

An idol that makes you think you won’t be able to bond with your baby if you can’t nurse (which is SO not true).

Now I am NOT saying that if you choose to make the commitment to pump exclusively it’s because you’ve made breast milk an idol.

No, no, no.  :-)

And I am also not saying that we should all throw in the towel and give up on breast milk completely.  Good heavens, no!  If you can, nurse, do it!  If you want to pump, do it!  Whichever works!

But what I AM saying is SEEK GOD about your decision.  Put Him first.  Make sure you’re doing it with the right motives and what’s best for your Happy Home.

If I had truly laid my fears before the Lord and surrendered everything at His feet, I probably would have saved myself about 6 months of feeling like a cow prisoner as well as 6 months of stress/sleepless nights trying to force my way instead of listening to God’s.

After all the Happy Baby went through in the hospital – all the unbelievable amounts of antibiotics and heavy drugs – I took it upon myself to be the sole provider of his health once we got him home.  I convinced myself that it was my purpose in life to cleanse his little system.  And by cleanse his little system, I meant to fill it up with the purest of medications – breast milk.

Y’all are so sweet and probably thinking, “There is nothing wrong with that, Julie!”

Yes, I know…  But if you knew how I almost had anxiety attacks every time my milk supply dropped, or my pump malfunctioned, or even just thought about having to give the Happy Baby formula…  There is definitely something wrong with that.

God’s plan for us never involves fear.

Studies show that breast milk has a ton of antibodies that protect babies from illness, so I went about striving and striving to protect my weakened-immune-system boy’s health.  What is interesting, though, is that my precious boy still got sick about every 4 weeks.  It was almost as if the Lord was saying, “I am Lord over the Happy Baby.  Not your breast milk.  Trust me.”

I also had it in my head that formula was a very scary thing.  Which is so ridiculous because I know SO MANY babies on formula who are perfect and thriving and FINE.  I was on formula, for pete’s sake!  My counselor even told me that their firstborn, who was the only one out of 5 kids to receive formula, is their smartest kid. :-)  It’s even more ironic because if you read THIS POST, you know that the Happy Baby was getting lots and lots of supplemented formula when we were in the hospital – when things were so completely out of my control.  But, like I said, as soon as he came home, I made it my mission to be in control.  And formula did not fit into my idea of what was best for the Happy Baby.

Then there’s just plain ole’ pride and perfectionism.  Everyone says to nurse for at least a year.  So I had to pump for a year – at least.

And if you are wondering why I would still be thinking of formula now when the Happy Baby is a year old, it is because he has not yet transitioned fully to solids.  His reflux, sensitive gag, and feeding issues (puts everything in his mouth, chews, chews, chews, then spits out) make him dependent on liquids for nutrition until he gets a little stronger.

Yes, I gave the Happy Baby a beautiful thing for 14 months that I don’t doubt God used to help the Happy Baby grow.

But at what cost?  It pains me to think of all the opportunities I missed because I had to pump.

And it pains me to think that I might make some of you feel pressured to pump for as long as stubborn me!

Ultimately, after the last year of pumping and washing and sterilizing and storing and sacrificing, I can say with confidence that what it really boils down to is this - It doesn’t matter what your baby eats (breast milk or formula) because God is in control of your baby’s life/health.

God doesn’t want you walking around all anxious and stressed.  God wants you to live in freedom.

I finally, FINALLY faced my fears last weekend.  I finally believed that no matter what, God would be with me (and the Happy Baby).  I went out and bought some formula.  I gave it to the Happy Baby.  And then I put my pump away.

And you know what?  My skinny little, often-malnourished-looking Happy Baby gained like 2 pounds almost instantly and was suddenly all like, “Take THAT, Hypotonia!” and started standing up (with support, but without his legs buckling underneath him).  I am not even kidding.  It’s like the Lord wanted to prove to me just how wrong I have been!!!

No, He wouldn’t do that – He is far too loving and gracious and so, so patient.  But what He would do is bring a whole lot of glory to Himself out of my finally learning to fully trust in His goodness and ability to care for my son – breast milk or no breast milk.

So, be free, sweet mama who knows exactly what I am talking about!  If you are pumping like a mad woman and you are tired and afraid of letting go…  Seriously.  Let it go.  Put your pump away (or bury it in the ground – ha!).  Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy watching So You Think You Can Dance with your Happy Hubby without the obnoxious woh-woh-woh of your pump drowning everything out but Mary’s Hot Tamale Train screams. :-)

Dear Pump, may you rest in peace.

I know I am!

:-)

“Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in His commands.  Their children will be mighty in the land…”

Psalm 112:1-2

*If you’ve read this post and you still want to/feel called to pump, check out THIS POST for all my extreme pumping tips and tricks!*

Therapy

therapy

To Whom It May Concern:

We were told that our son, the Happy Baby, would never lift his head, sit up, crawl, or walk.

At the beginning of this year, several people encouraged us to get connected with your program so that the Happy Baby could receive free therapy services.  It sounded too good to be true!  FREE?!?

Then our wonderful coordinator, Simone, gave us a call to tell us that she had placed the Happy Baby under the care of Miss Stacey.

The first day Miss Stacey arrived at our house (which was another incredible blessing in itself!  After months of driving 40 minutes to the hospital for all of the Happy Baby’s health issues, I could not believe that she was coming to US!), the Happy Baby and I were just beyond thrilled.  Miss Stacey was so warm and encouraging.  She immediately made a connection with the Happy Baby and announced that she was going to do everything she could to see him twice a week instead of the one day we had originally agreed upon.

Most of the Happy Baby’s life we’ve had doctors tell us his limitations.  That first day we met Miss Stacey, she looked me in the eye and said confidently, “This little guy has great potential.”

I have clung to these words ever since!

Our twice-a-week sessions are the highlight of the week!  We can’t wait to see what color scrubs she is wearing that day or what new things she has brought for him to play with.  Most of all, I love how knowledgeable Stacey is about her field.  She will be working with the Happy Baby and she will say, “Julie, he is so close to sitting up. I’ll bet he’ll be sitting on his own by next week.”

Sure enough, her prediction came true – pretty much to the day!  She went on to predict his pulling up on things and even crawling.  She diligently works with the Happy Baby and gives him the tools he needs to be successful.  Her professionalism and expertise have brought great comfort to my soul as I have watched her help our son overcome so many of the things other doctors claimed would be impossible.  And I have learned so many valuable tips and techniques along the way to partner in her work with the Happy Baby on the other 5 days of the week.

Perhaps, though, one of the most amazing things about Stacey is that she is a mom herself.  As a young, hard-working single woman, she felt called to adopt a little girl from Guatemala.  Being married with 2 kids and feeling overwhelmed most of the time, I cannot express enough how much I admire this woman for making such a beautiful, selfless, sacrificial decision to give a precious little girl such a fun, incredible, love-filled life.  I so enjoy hearing stories about her daughter, their love for the beach, and their generosity and service to others.  Stacey’s strength and confidence have helped me to grow in my own strength and confidence as a mom of a child with special needs.

I seriously could not have imagined a more amazing therapist for our son.  Thank you so much for bringing Miss Stacey to our door.

Sincerely,

The Happy Baby’s mom :-)

A Baptism

Our little boy has had quite the last couple of weeks!

He turned 1, we celebrated with family and friends at a party, and then today, the Happy Baby was baptized.

Most people who observe infant baptism make sure that they do it when their baby is…well, a baby.

The Happy Baby’s life has been such a journey… and to be honest, I didn’t want to have him baptized until we all felt more of a peace about his well being.

I had a vision that his baptism – his welcoming into the covenant family and body of Christ – would be feeding tube and illness free.

I also had a vision that the pastor would hold the Happy Baby up like Simba in The Lion King and they would play The Circle of Life through the sound system and it would be the most glorious moment ever. :-)

The latter did not happen (as some thought it might be a bit irreverent :-)), but the first vision did.

And there was not a dry eye in the place.

baptism1The Happy Hubby spoke for a few minutes – giving a brief overview of the Happy Baby’s life.baptism2

While he was sharing, the Happy Baby started to get squirmy and decided that he no longer needed his socks.

Everyone started laughing and the Happy Hubby got distracted and forgot all the carefully planned out things he was going to say.

baptism3

Then the second sock came off {more laughter} and he decided to give up and just pass the mic to me.baptism4baptism5

One of the beautiful aspects of infant baptism is that the Church promises to assist us in the job of raising our children in the faith, so I had a quick minute to offer our gratitude to the Church for the ways in which they have already done that – carrying us through one of our most trying seasons as a Happy Home.

But then the Happy Buddy started to pull my skirt up and I flubbed the rest of my little speech in an effort to keep everyone from seeing my undergarments.baptism6

Our pastors took over at that point and I began praying that the Happy Baby wouldn’t get upset when we handed him over for the baptizing.

Ever since he turned one, my content, easy-going Happy Baby has suddenly decided that no one but the Happy Hubby, my mom, or myself are allowed to hold him.baptism7baptism8baptism9baptism10baptism11Ah, well. :-)

baptism12

Today’s ceremony once again reminded me of the incredible calling that the Happy Hubby and I have as Christian parents.

May we raise our Happy Buddies so that they never know a day where they have not experienced Christ’s love.

baptism13Now, you might be thinking, we have done a lot of celebrating the Happy Baby lately – how is the Happy Buddy handling all that attention going to his baby bro?

Well, a precious little someone didn’t want to leave the stage after it was all over.

baptism14I think he was hoping to do a drum solo.

Maybe next Sunday. :-)

Happy Baptize-ing!

Slow and Steady – A Turtle Birthday Party

The last couple of birthday parties I planned were for the Happy Buddy and by ‘planned’ I mean I pinned a bunch of amazing ideas and then emailed them to my mom who made it all happen.  My mom is awesome and can do anything.

 You  can see the Happy Buddy’s incredible Monkey Party HERE and Train Party HERE.

For the Happy Baby, I didn’t want to have a big fussy party (plus, we couldn’t afford it), so just a few simple things came together for a really sweet turtle-themed ‘shell’-abration.

bday party cakeI made a turtle cake.

The phrase ‘valiant effort’ kept running through my noggin’ as I looked at my handiwork and then at the beautiful turtle cakes I had pinned HERE. :-)

bday party cupcakeI did ask my mom to make the cupcakes.

She got the recipe from HERE and totally nailed it!!

The rest of the party food was all stuff I pulled out of my pantry at the last second.  Chips and salsa, nuts, pretzels, and random boxes of raisins (turtle turds, I guess??? :-)).

bday favorI picked up these cute tin boxes from the Target Dollar Spot for party favors and filled them with leftover Easter grass and super simple turtle candies (recipe HERE).

All of the cousins worked on a fun paper plate turtle craft (idea from HERE), but I totally forgot to get photos of it.

bday songThe Happy Baby loved having everyone sing to him.

bday party candleBlowing out the candle was great fun.  You can’t see him, but big brother was standing right next to the Happy Hubby and I am pretty sure that 98% of the cake is covered in his saliva.

We got a few good photos of the Happy Baby going for the cake.bday party cake inspection

I like this one – as if he is contemplating whether or not he should go for it.

To smash?  Or not to smash?

Or praying to the Lord that it won’t make him throw up!  No birthday barfs in Jesus’ name! :-)bday cakebday party cake funbday party cake dropbday party cake face3He liked it for the first 3 seconds, then changed his mind.

bday smoochI got a big birthday smooch before we threw him in the bath.

You might be wondering why we did turtles… Whenever anyone asks me about how the Happy Baby is doing, I always respond with, “Slow and steady!”  This sweet little 1-year-old is in no rush.  He does things at his own pace.  He reminds me to slow down – to rest in the little, daily blessings and victories God gives.

And that, my friends, is the recipe for winning the race!

Happy Birthday Party for the Happy Baby-ing! :-)