Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Blog Has Moved!

Thank you all for being loyal readers of These Are My Reasons. It is with great excitement that I announce that the blog has moved to www.thesearemyreasons.com.

While this site will remain, all new content will be posted to the new site.

If you are a follower, please remember to change the address of the blog in your blog feed.

Thanks again! I look forward to seeing you over at www.thesearemyreasons.com.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


What a busy week! I'm well on my way to recovering. When I finally got home tonight with the kiddos, it was bedtime. But one look at this house told me otherwise. I was in severe Kenmore withdrawal. So out came the sweeper, and I got down to business. Lower level straightened up and swept; kids played out; momma satisfied.

And then, after I actually did get them all to bed, I had the rare opportunity to chat with two of my best friends on Facebook. And now, the hubby's robe, my gray fleece slippers and a creamy cup of chai tea.

I was stressed two hours ago? Really? 'Cause I'm totally chill now.

Last weekend we took the big kids (that now includes Colby!) to an indoor waterpark. We traveled with family, and it was a great time! I'll let the photos tell the story...

And then I rolled right into the week. Blog excitement. (Still in the works!) Work. Mothering. Work. Dinner with a dear friend and fellow mother of four. (Yes, we staved off eight children to finally meet!) Work. And then... this.

A beautiful rendition of an awesome song by a stunning friend at a St. Jude benefit named after her daughter on the beautiful campus of my alma mater and workplace. And then this, even more beautiful, awesome and stunning than anything else...

Girlfriends in child form. Little women changing the world. Hope. Faith. Love.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

52 1/2 Months...

Luke and I, around this time last year...

Fifty-two and a half months. Yep. 

That's how long I've nursed babies, altogether. I've been selfless, enamored, annoyed, exhausted, mesmerized and content. It's been an amazing experience, to watch my babies grow on my milk alone, to see them calm down in a nanosecond, to be the one they want the most. And now it's done. I have no plans to nurse again, ever, either Luke or a new baby. I'm done. And it's bittersweet. 

I am also in physical pain. I'm about two cups sizes bigger than normal. It neither feels nor looks good. I'm thinking I might have another day or two of this, before my breasts actually become my own again. Before it will be too late to turn back, although I already know I'm down the road I will follow. I'm not wishy-washy. I make up my mind, and I follow through.

And that's why I nursed for 52 1/2 months. I promised each baby a year of nursing, and each one got it plus more. It was really hard in the beginning. Lilith and I had a traumatic birth experience, and neither of us knew the way. I called on lactation consultants often, once even in the middle of the night. I closed the books that insisted I needed to nurse on a schedule. That wasn't working. I closed my ears to those who swore formula was the answer. I listened to my heart and to strong nursing women at the local La Leche League meetings. And I didn't give up. 

Before long and every child since, I have nursed with confidence and without apology. Breasts are for feeding babies. The rest is a bonus. Nowhere in the world have breasts become the sexual objects they are in the States. In reality, they are very functional and efficient, very vital parts of women's bodies, with very specific purposes. 

And so, I nursed. I nursed at home, in stores, in church, in cars. I nursed at all hours. I nursed when I didn't want to nurse, when others were visiting or barhopping or playing volleyball. When I wasn't able to be with my babies, during work mostly, I pumped. I have pumped in offices, in restrooms, in airports... in cars, in bars and in campers. I've pumped in a "deluxe" Porta-Pot and a sympathetic stranger's tent at Jamboree in the Hills. (Don't judge.) And, thanks to Ohio University, I've even pumped, many times, in a lactation room. What a novel idea!

I've learned a ton about human milk and how to express/transport/store/freeze/use it. I've cried over spilled milk. I've had to dump milk due to spoilage and, sometimes, when I've had too much wine and spirits. I've forgotten pump parts and whole pumps and been more than an hour from home at work. In those times, I've used my email account to connect with other moms, who have been generous in loaning parts for a session, a day, and, in one case, a year. In October, I transported more than 30 ounces of breast milk on an airplane from Denver while on a business trip.

I'll admit it. I'm proud.

I'm really proud of myself and of the support network that helped me through it. I'm proud of my husband, my babies, my fellow lactating women who believe, as I do, that breast is best. 

And now, it's done. I'll mentor and encourage and advocate. I'll remember the time I put in, the nights of babies snuggled close and the safety we both felt. 

I leave this place with great hope and great reverence and great memories. And two very large, tender reminders of my days as a nursing mother warrior.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Climbing Back Up

I have random happiness tonight. I'm not sure why it's surfacing, but we don't question brilliance now, do we? I am in awe of the weather, though I know rain is coming. I am in love with my children. I am making peace with my job. I am so blessed with amazing girlfriends, incredible relatives, a community I am proud to call home.

But wait. There's more. I played volleyball tonight, just saw the righteous season finale of "Parenthood," and I'm 2/3 through Mockingjay, book 3 of The Hunger Games trilogy. Oh man, oh man! Am I Team Peeta or Team Gale? Well, I'm Team Katniss. I want her to win.

And today I looked up the coordinates of my heart. True story. I now know the coordinates of Lake Tweet, which isn't just a place, but a living thing comprised of family, history, memories, fun. The best of times. The place I think of when I need a haven, a hope.

And I've needed that lately. These past few months have been a little trying for me. I'm still sorting through the reasons why. But my life has ebbed, my flow crippled a bit. It wasn't just work, or winter, or wanderings. It might have been all three or none of them. It just was.

I'm not going to try to explain it. But I am going to keep propelling myself forward, keeping my priorities in mind, my heart in armor when it needs to be and blazing like the sun when it doesn't.

Someday, I'm going to write a book, I think. Maybe more than one. And maybe I won't. That's hard to admit, but it's an option. I might never get my mind around it, but getting anywhere is the journey. And I'm having such a good trip.

My crowning glory in this life might be my children. They're beautiful.

And they are learning how to be aware of others, how to be grateful. How to live well. 

I took the older two and the baby to the fairgrounds to ride bikes, scooters, and strollers while Colby napped with Daddy on Sunday. At one point, Lily wanted a drink and then kept riding her bike. She was across the track from me, and we kept missing each other near the water station. I finally left the bottle on the ground and borrowed rocks from a slag pile to spell out her name where she would see it. 

I knew my girl would love this trick. What I didn't know is that she'd be smart and patient enough to return the gesture. When I came back around, I was touched to see her response. Where her name and the water bottle had been, I found this:

Raising her and her siblings up right. That is the goal, the struggle, and the reward. Most of all, it's a blessing. And I'm back up, ready to soldier on.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Surely, I have something to say. Some cute pictures to post. Some wit or fire or feat to share with you.

(How about just one cute photo of Colby and Ava's adorable new puppy, Faith?) 

A feat? Oh yes. How about this? I keep forgetting to tell anyone that Max ate an American cheese single that was sitting on the table a couple of days ago. It had been in the diaper bag with another piece for ... oh, say... a week? I was cleaning out the diaper bag when I found them, put them in a 'trash' pile and then got distracted. When I turned around, only one slice remained.

Well, he's fine. Said it tasted fine, and what was I to do?

There are other things going on around here too. Luke is a full-fledged toddler now, toddling all around with one, sometimes two, arms in the air for balance. Totally adorable. He is a happy guy with an infectious laugh. One of his tricks is to attack his big brother Colby, grab on to his shirt and hang on for the ride while both of them giggle. Good stuff!

Tonight I got to do about ten minutes of yoga with Lily before the babies tore me down. But man, it felt fabulous. A good reminder to me that I need to take care of myself. I love yoga. It loves me. We should be together.

Marriage is kicking along just fine too. Hubs surprised me by hitting Valentine's Day right on the head this year. We went on a little date last night, and we're sharing some kind of sinus ailment. The kids get bathed, the laundry and dishes get done. We work together. And we still kiss several times a day. True love. It's all good.

I am feeling a bit lighter the past four or five days. And that's a good thing too.

And it's late. The merry-go-round starts again around 5:45 a.m. (And, in truth, it never stops.) So I guess that's all for now.

Good night, loves.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Grows Everywhere

So I know Valentine's Day gets a bad rap. It's certainly commercialized, and I remember it not being the best in my single days. But it's kind of sweet too.

Because love grows everywhere. On so many trees and in so many different ways. It's the friend you call after you get a promotion or a pink slip. It's the person you want to hold on to when you are feeling as though you're spiraling out of control in this crazy world. It's that bowl of chicken noodle soup someone brings by when you're sick and single or away from your family or the only one in your family left in this world.

It's someone having your back, your history, your standing invitation for that Thanksgiving meal. It's showing your kids that you love them bunches and that they'll always be your Valentine. And later, when they're in high school and single (hopefully at least one year, if not always,) they'll remember that  it's okay to not have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, because that's not what Valentine's Day is all about. 

Because love grows everywhere, on so many trees..... in so many different ways. 

{Watch out, Elvis... Luke, a.k.a Bedroom Eyes, can't seem to keep his eyes open in photos.}

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This Camel's Back

I won't deny I've had trouble stringing a post together this week. I am all right, but I am in a bit of a personal struggle. There's a lot on my plate, as is usual. But I think I've reached a place where every new dilemma feels like the straw that breaks this camel's back.

Today, a couple of things pulled me from my rumination. The first is a sight I always welcome on my long walk up the hill to my office from where I park. You have to look closely to see it here....

"Don't Freak Out."

This is good advice. It's the graffiti version of one of my most simple mottos: Keep Calm and Carry On. But this works. Especially when I'm making that transition from long solo commute full of million-detail thought up the hill to office and email inbox and colleagues and work.

Another item that shook me emotionally and slapped some sense in to me was this beautiful post, this beautiful mission from my new favorite blog to follow: Momastery. Blogger Glennon has my admiration, my attention, my utter astonishment. And just now, as I surfed over there to search for the post link to add here, I found a new post from Glennon about just how successful today's mission was. And as I read and marveled, I had that wonderful sensation of every pore on my body, from my toes up, giving me chills because, yes, we all matter. Each one of us can make a difference. And I know that $10 I sent to the cause is the best $10 I've spent all week, maybe all month.

I am thankful for these things that pull me out of my silent reverie of worry, of misery, of uncertainty. Tonight, after we got the kids settled into bed, Shrek came down for his ultimate trifecta: popcorn/loveseat/TV, but I stayed upstairs to think, to clean, to shower, to regroup.

And my brain started working a little better. While I really don't think I need to be adding even the tiniest thing to my To Do list, I have decided there are some things I need to do, pronto! Here, in no certain order, are things I MUST do soon:

  • I must schedule and keep an appointment to see an old, dear girlfriend. Rector, you know who you are. I need you. 
  • I must connect with Shrek. There must be a date and heels and aftershave. Just us. Soon.
  • I must help others every chance I get. I must step out of myself and my worries. I must alleviate those of someone else. 
And that's enough for now. Because I am really looking at the kids. I am really enjoying these days of mothering. I really do know what is important. But sometimes the burden of keeping all of it running, my whole life, under duress, knocks me into mental paralysis. And the worst thing I can do is what is most natural to me: to be my own worst critic. 

So, I see you, self. You're OK. You're doing fine. Don't freak out. We'll make it.


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