Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You're a mean one, Mrs. Boldman

The day of our Lord and Savior's birth (or at least the day we CELEBRATE it) is upon us, and I am feeling more than a little bit Grinchy. This should be my best Christmas so far, because it is my precious baby's first one. I certainly started the season off in the Christmas spirit, even going so far as to finish my Christmas shopping early. But to be quite honest with you, the pressure of the holiday season is really getting to me. Why is there so much to DO? I feel the weight of the expectations of what Christmas must be as an enormous weight on my shoulders, rather than enjoying the lightness and joy of cookies, carols, and more cookies. I just want to slow down and enjoy this Christmas with MY family--Josh, Rachel, and Zeke, while still loving and enjoying both of our OTHER families. My Grinchy spirit (which is not to be confused with a Scrooge-y spirit) really bothers me. I wonder why we put so much pressure and place so much importance on the Christmas schedule, and going going GOING through the whole season, rather than slowing down and enjoying the tiny things that are going on around us. I am really enjoying watching Zeke discover his presents and learn how to open them. The look on his face when he sees his new toys is so precious. It makes me smile, just thinking about it. So that's what I'm trying to focus on--simplicity. I hate that Christmas is stressful, but that's what the world has turned it into, and I live in the world, so I have to deal with it. But for the next few hours and days, I will be attempting to live like the Savior was born for me, and has forgiven me, and loves me, even though I am a Grinch right now.



I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven;
I'll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.
I know my name is clear before my Father;
I am His child, and I am not afraid.
So greatly pardoned, Ill forgive another;
The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion;
I’ve been so loved that I'll risk loving, too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I'll dare to see another’s point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then Ill be there to care and follow through.

Your kingdom come around and through and in me,
Your power and glory, let them shine through me.
Your Hallowed Name O may I bear with honor,
And may Your living Kingdom come in me.
The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,
And may You feed a hungry world through me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You Don’t Have to be a Duggar (OR a Hilton, Thank Goodness) to Live A Simple Life

Oh come on, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. In fact, I doubt I even need to explain the title because you’re nodding your head thinking, “Love those Duggars, but MAN I don’t want to wear their clothes! And dang it, I like my eyeliner! I NEED my eyeliner!!” Calm down, I need my eyeliner, too.

I LOVE the Duggars. I watch “17 Kids and Counting” on TLC and have followed them since “14 Kids and Pregnant Again!” way back in 2004. When I first saw them on TV, I was impressed, to say the least. Here’s this woman, Michelle, who has given birth to all of these children, and she still has a sweet smile on her face. I would consider it an honor to meet her and her family one day. I admire the way Michelle and her husband have trained their children to behave and cooperate. I am in awe of their financial prowess and ability to live debt-free. In their first TV specials, they were living in a normal house, all 17 of them (more kids have popped out since then) and were content. They were truly living a simple life of frugality, faith, and love.

As much as I aspire to live like the Duggars, I do not aspire to emulate them entirely. At the time of one of their specials (I can’t remember which one) Michelle explained their clothing philosophy: They make their own clothing, especially for the girls, and it is plain so that it brings attention to their countenance (face) and not their bodies (that’s a summary). I am ALL ABOUT taking attention off of my body and up to my face—can I get an amen from the sista’s who just had babies?! Woot! But I can’t make my own clothing, I like to wear makeup, and I can’t stand it when my hair is long!!! (DISCLAIMER: I dress modestly, and if I ever have a daughter, she will too.)

So here is my short-haired, makeup-wearing, skirt-hating version of living a simple life…while still being a modern, fabulous, hip mama:

  1. My family is completely credit card debt-free, and we do not use any credit cards. We did this through teachings by Crown Financial Ministries which included paying off our highest-interest cards first, and working our way down to the lowest ones. It took us about a year, but we did it!
  2. We downsized our living arrangements from a 3/2 rental house to a 2/2 apartment, which has saved us a boatload of money, both in rent and in utility costs. Speaking of utility costs, we have saved on those by programming our air conditioner, using the squiggly light bulbs, and hooking up all of our “fun” appliances (TV, computers, my breast pump—sorry, too much information!) to power strips that we turn off when we’re done.
  3. We only have one car. If you’ve read my blog at all, you might think I’m a bit obsessed with this fact, but I deal with it every day, so it’s on my mind a lot. And what’s on my mind, you guessed it, goes on my blog. We save money on insurance, gas, and a car payment by only having Bertha (that’s the car’s name and she demands respect) to get us around.
    1. One of the benefits of having one car is LOTS of “togetherness.” If we’re going somewhere, we’re either going together, or one of us is dropping the other one off and picking up. Cooperation and communication is also a fringe benefit. Both my husband and I have to be flexible and willing to give up a little bit of freedom for this to work.
    2. Another benefit—humility. I know what it’s like to walk across, or down, the street just to get out of the house. I know what it’s like to get honked at. And I know what it’s like to smile and wave at the honkers and be proud to be walking my stroller and my happy butt to Chick Fil-A.

So if you watch “17 Kids and Counting” or, God forbid, “The Simple Life” with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie (is that show still on?!) and think, “I just can’t do that—I’d go insane from all the rural living, and skirts, and I NEED MY EYELINER!” you’re not alone. I was there, but I decided to keep my eyeliner, shorts, and tank tops (MODEST tank tops) and create my own version of Duggar-style living. So tell me, how can you opt to live more simply? I KNOW you’ve got some ideas…spill ‘em!

Peace, love, short hair, and EYELINER,

Rachel

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bloggy giveaway!!

$20 Challenge 4 Charity is giving away a Jillian Dempsey bag filled with awesome AVON products. You can find the post here....and surf around the blog. It's a great concept!

love
Rachel

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

I CAN'T HOLD IT IN ANY LONGER!!!!

I'm about to bust, because I've been holding some stuff in. I just can't hold it in any longer, because I am SO EXCITED! Once you're done reading this you'll probably be like, "What the heck, Rach? This stuff is NOT important at all!" My answer to that is--right now, they're important to me!

#1. I am completely done with my Christmas shopping for family, except for Josh and Zeke (we may get him one more gift, but maybe not). This is an incredible feat, because usually we are scrambling for gifts at the last minute. Not so this year! I've had the time to be creative AND find great deals.
#2. A special thanks goes out to Jordan, who tipped me off to a great website with ideas for affordable and creative Christmas gifts. And SO, I ended up making these awesome plates for all 4 of my sister's kids:
I drew a picture on each of their plates of something they are interested in. It was tough for Dustin and Austin because I don't know them that well yet, but Bethany gave me great ideas for them, so I hope I got it right! I had one plate leftover, so I was able to make a birthday gift for one of Zeke's little friends from Story Time at the Library. Her birthday party was Saturday and it felt great to be able to give a thoughtful gift. If you are reading this and you are related to me, don't show the kids this picture! I am always super excited to give gifts, but this year because I'm done so early, the anticipation is killing me! It's all I can do to hold back from giving everyone their presents right now!

So there you go... I feel a little bit better now that I was able to get that off my chest and out into the open. :) But shhhhhhh...don't tell the kids!

Rachel

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Current Happenings

Hello everyone!

I'm coming to you live from my living room, inspired by my mocha spice latte from Dunkin' Donuts--a new favorite! There are men working on something or other outside (the street lamp?) and whatever they're doing involves a constant, rapid pounding on something in the ground. It actually shakes the entire apartment, especially the floor. So I'm blogging to take my mind off of it. Wait--they stopped! Ahhhh dang, they started again.

Today's post will hopefully provide you with an update on what's going on in our lives. I'm going to try to make it as clear as possible, as there is SO MUCH going on...I really don't know where to begin.

First of all, we are planting a church. I'm writing that in the present tense, even though we are some time away from the actual launch of this church, because the preparations for this new venture begin immediately in our minds and hearts. After a little while, Josh will no longer be in charge of Youth and Worship at Westside Community Church, and will be focusing full-time on developing the church. Basically, it will begin as a ministry of Westside, and continue to grow into a separate church. That is the bare-bones 30-second explanation of the whole thing. We are not sure what this looks like yet, which as you can imagine, is scary for both of us. We do know that since God has called us to plant, He will guide us and take care of us. Phillippians 1:6 (ESV) says "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." I firmly believe that no matter what happens, God will bring it to completion in the way He wants it to be done for His Kingdom. That may be COMPLETELY different than what we have in mind at this point, but I am also trusting that God will give us His vision. At this point, our focus is on the North Apopka area, by S.R. 429. This will allow us to continue to work with Westside once our church is established, and carry out their mission and vision, which we believe in strongly.

So, with all of that in mind, will you please partner with me in praying for a few things:
1. Please pray for Westside, as well as Josh and I, as this transition will probably be much more difficult than we expect it to be!
2. Pray for our living arrangements. We currently live in the Altamonte Springs area, which is close, but not close enough, to the area we wish to serve. Also, if we are going to begin small groups and meetings and such, we need a place to meet--a two bedroom apartment is not the place! I so desire to open up my home to others and make it an inviting place, which is just not possible where we are now. We have explored a few options, including renting a home and buying a home. I found an amazing home for rent in the area we are looking at, and it has been reduced from $1600 per month to $1450 (a CONSIDERABLE increase from our current rent), and they are desperate to rent it and will consider all offers. We have also looked at buying, and found an amazing new development steps away from Apopka Elementary School (which we will probably try to use as a resource or meeting space) called Clayton Estates, but would need the prices of these new homes to come down in order to afford it. With new home construction this is sort of unlikely, but we have seen several developments' prices come down in the recent months due to the housing "crisis." We also have no down payment. Ouch. But we know that this "crisis" could help us out as it makes it more likely for prices to come down. Plus, when we spoke to the agent at the sales center, she told us that the builder is throwing in TONS of extras for free, like tile, cabinets, appliances, etc.
3. In a completely unrelated prayer request, please pray for me this Friday (11/21) as I testify in a Termination of Parental Rights trial. You may know that I was a Family Case Manager in the child welfare field before having my son. This is the TPR trial from my very first case, which is now two years old....which means the child is now two years old. I have been hoping and praying for this day since I first received the case, as awful as that sounds...but this little boy needs to be adopted by his foster parents, for many reasons. So Friday is a big day, two whole years in the making, for all of us involved in his life.

Thanks for reading and praying if you are able...I hope you have a wonderful day! I'm excited because I'll be going to my old office to see some of my friends in a little while!

Rachel

Monday, November 17, 2008

Giveaway on The Homespun Heart

Monica at The Homespun Heart is giving away a necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs. The necklaces are so charming! Please check out her site...and if you want to enter, go to The Homespun Heart!

love
Rachel

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adventures in Homemaking

My occupation, officially at least, is "homemaker." On most days, I don't feel much like one. It's not that I don't enjoy all of the homemaking activities, because I do. I really really really do. It's just that a) it's a lot of work and b) it's hard to home-make in a 2 bedroom apartment. There's a lot I could clean around here, but there is practically no room to run the vacuum or dust, or whatever. I'd love to sew curtains and such, but I don't have a sewing machine. So I guess I'm just low on resources at the moment. Monica over at "The Homespun Heart" has issued a challenge of sorts, to work on "Making Your Home a Haven" this week. Each day she has posted a new idea that goes into making the home a peaceful, inviting place. The first two days were exactly what I needed--tidy and clean! I'm not exactly going through day by day and completing each concept on the day it's assigned...I'm just working on what I can, with what I have.

The first thing she suggests we do each day is pray and spend time with the Lord. So far, I have been successful with that...and because of that one triumph, I consider the whole thing a victory! Yesterday I worked on both "tidy" AND "clean" because I didn't get much done with "tidy" on Monday. So I went around our little living room and dining room, picking up papers and throwing things away. I felt quite accomplished! I haven't mentioned anything about this challenge to Josh, so imagine my surprise when he came home yesterday after I had tidied and cleaned up and said, "After dinner, why don't we spend a little time cleaning this place up?!" Well, first of all I was honored that he would offer to help me clean because he knows how important it is to me, even though it is neither of our favorite things to do. Second...I thought I had already cleaned!!!! He had no idea that I had spent time that very day cleaning up--so he didn't mean anything by it--he was just being his sweet self. I agreed that there were more things around the house that could use tidying and cleaning...so we set about our tasks. The apartment looks GREAT! We were able to clean more junk off of the coffee table and dining room table, I swiffered (or is it swiffed?) the floor and then swiffed/swiffered it with a wet cloth. Squeaky clean! I am so blessed to have such a thoughtful husband. I thank the Lord that He gave Josh the desire to help me out yesterday. I don't think it was a coincidence that he wanted to clean on the same day I was trying to make our home a "haven!"

Today's theme was "cared for" and since there's not much to care for in the apartment that we didn't clean yesterday, I thought I would show Josh that I care for him--with food! I made banana bread this morning, and Zeke helped by chewing on a small bowl and babbling in his high chair while I worked. The bread is pretty good, especially since it's my first time making it!

Well, I hope your days have been as blessed and filled with love as mine have been--not that they haven't had their challenges. But the good far outweighs the bad!

Rachel

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Check it out!

Check out this contest--I love that people give things away on their blogs!

Plus, I get an extra entry for telling you about it! :)

To enter, click this link:
http://from-my-life.blogspot.com/2008/11/be-warned-just-for-ladies-giveaway.html

Frugal Mama Adventure #2

COOKING WITH WHATEVER THE HECK YOU HAVE IN THE PANTRY

Disclaimer: I don't actually have a pantry.

Yesterday, Josh and I had "the talk." You know the one I'm talking about--the one where you "discuss" the upcoming holidays and the strategy for buying gifts AND feeding the family at the same time. I'll write more on our discussion and the results in a later post. Basically, our talk got me thinking about what I was going to cook for dinner. I had chicken defrosting in the refrigerator and was planning to make my usual chicken-in-the-oven-with-basil-on-top dinner. But then the need to be creative struck me out of nowhere! So I looked at what I had on hand....TONS of random stuff! So I started with a can of creamed corn. Okay, I thought, I could bake the chicken in the creamed corn. Awesome! Then, I found a can of 98% fat free cream of celery soup. Okay, mix the corn and the soup together and voila...casserole!!! But that sounded a little bit thin. RICE! I have rice! Alrighty, throw some rice in there. I've got a big baking dish to fill up, so we need something else. BEANS! Great white northern beans--I've been saving them for White Chicken Chili, but they'll work for this, too! And Josh loves biscuits, so why not plop some bisquick on top and make like a dumpling-type thing? Sounds great! Now, how to make this all quickly enough so the chicken cooks and the biscuits bake but don't burn? Cook the chicken first! By this point, I was feeling like a stinkin' genious! So here is the recipe...there really aren't many specific measurements. Keep in mind that I was throwing things together.

Ingredients:
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
cumin
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 can creamed corn
1 can cream of celery soup (cream of anything will probably work, as well as a combination of creamed soups)
1 can great white northern beans
1 to 1.5 cups of brown rice
Bisquick mix, prepared as if you were making biscuits

Directions:
Cut the chicken into cubes, season with salt, pepper and cumin, and cook in a little bit of olive oil in a skillet, until cooked through.

Mix together the creamed corn, cream of celery soup, beans, and rice. Once chicken is cooked, add it to the mixture. Pour into a 9x13 (or whatever size you have) baking or casserole dish. Drop the biscuit dough on top of the casserole by large tablespoon-fulls. If you are using a smaller baking dish, the biscuits will probably cover the top--even better! Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.

Voila!!! There you have it--cheap and easy dinner. And we have a little bit left over, too!

I'm pretty proud of my second frugal mama adventure--I can't wait to tell you about the Christmas present ideas I found thanks to a friend's guidance :)

Right now I'm relaxing at home on this gorgeous Sunday morning, I've already taken Josh to church, and plan to join him for 11:00 service--he is preaching today!

Have a great Sunday! Remember to thank the Lord for all he's given you!

And check out this recipe swap!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't hate...

...Just because I'm done with 98% (possibly 100%) of my Christmas shopping! Yes, these are wrapped Christmas presents, for Josh's brother's kids, Crystal and Susan. I will be blogging more about this in a little bit...I just wanted to show you this wonderful sight:



Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas ideas needed desperately!

Hi everyone,

My sister recently got remarried to a man who has two children, so now I have two extra Christmas gifts to buy! I love giving Christmas gifts and always like them to be thoughtful. The boys are 11 and 7 (I think) and I have no idea what to get them! Obviously money is tight for us right now. Does anyone have any ideas for homemade gifts or something inexpensive for my new family members?! I'm having enough trouble finding gifts for my OLD family members! :) I just want this Christmas to be a blessing to all 4 of the kids--they've been through some tough stuff this year!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Frugal Mama Adventure #1

I am starting a new adventure as a mom, and that is...being more frugal! It's extremely important for me to be a good steward of what God has provided and creatively use my resources to care for my family. Yesterday was a busy day. After dropping Josh off at work, Zeke and I headed to a doctor appointment for me, then we rocked the vote, then came home so he could eat. By the time we got home for his "lunch" it was 11:30 and I realized that he missed most of his first nap because of the doctor appointment. I needed to find a way to keep him awake JUST long enough to give him a decent afternoon nap. So I decided to step out of my "comfort zone" and go to our newest grocery store, Aldi, which advertises reasonable prices and green-living. I was nervous about this adventure for a few reasons, including the fact that the store does not regularly stock name brands. I have nothing against store brands because I grew up on them (hooray for Janet Lee brand Magic Twinkles Cereal!), but have grown to recognize and love my brand names. They're comfortable and I trust them! But prices on things like produce and meat are ridiculous at most grocery stores. I have found amazing ways to save at Albertsons especially, but I feel like I could be doing so much more to help out our grocery bill. Hence, my trip to Aldi.

The first thing I noticed as I pulled into the parking lot was an employee standing outside by the shopping carts. "That's strange," I thought, because you usually see most of the employees inside rather than outside a grocery store. I get nervous going to new places with the baby, because I never know if his carrier will fit in the cart, or if it's a kid-friendly place. You moms know what I'm talking about. So I hauled my mammoth child out of the car in his carrier and got up to the cart lady. She greeted me warmly and explained how to get a shopping cart out of Fort Knox, I mean the shopping cart area. You deposit a quarter into the little slot on the cart, and the lock releases, allowing you to take your cart. When you return and lock up your cart, your quarter pops back out. Awesome! The cart lady also helped me figure out how to best get Zeke's carrier to fit in the cart. We ended up just putting it in the big part of the cart rather than propping it on the handle bars. This arrangement was not a problem because I knew that I didn't need to fit too much into the cart. On future trips he's going to have to sit in the front of the cart like a big boy.

So, thanks to the cart lady's help, we were all set to shop. My first impression of the store is that it is extremely small! By reading information on the website, I knew a little bit of what to expect, but man...it's tiny! As I walked around the aisles, I noticed that the store is extremely simple. There aren't 16 choices of brand for a single item, there are MAYBE two. And yes, they are mostly private label brands, but they do stock some big brand names. I think their brand name choices just depend on what they get each week. While the small size was shocking at first, the simple nature of the store is a welcomed change for me. I have ADHD. I get extremely distracted by too many choices. And the prices are incredible. It was refreshing to walk around in their tiny little produce department and actually be able to buy some fresh food! Again, the selection is simple. They stock very common seasonal items--zucchini, squash, lettuce, cucumbers, grapes, apples, bananas, etc. So I didn't have to look at things like swiss chard and kale while hunting for a simple head of lettuce. There is a sizeable freezer section, and their meat looks very good. I ended up with ground turkey instead of beef only because the ground beef only came in packages of over 2 pounds, I have no room in my freezer right now! I was also able to get paper towels at a reasonable price, which is not possible at Albertson's. All of this, without the frustration of Wal-Mart! So now that Zeke and I had stocked the little bit of room in our cart with some goodies, we were ready to check out! Aldi does not provide your regular plastic grocery bags. You can buy paper bags, or reusable plastic bags. I'm not sure of the cost of each of these. I brought my own reusable bags from home. The cashier scanned our stuff, and switched carts with us, putting our groceries in an empty cart that was already at the end of the line. That was a little bit annoying because I then had my groceries and my baby in separate carts, and the one with the baby was going to be used for the next customer. Since there is no bagging, the cashier puts each item individually back into the cart. Once you pay, you are responsible for bagging your own items at the front of the store, which the cashier described as the "bagging area." Basically it is a waist-high shelf that you use to organize everything. So after I paid (with a debit card, because Aldi does not take credit or check--just cash, debit or EBT food stamps), I proceeded to the bagging area and bagged. So I have no one to blame for the crappy bagging job but myself! With Zeke's carrier carefully perched on the handle of the cart, we were now ready to get everything into the car and get going! Throughout my shopping experience I was trying to figure out how I was going to return my cart and get my quarter back with a baby in tow. I figured that I had a couple of options--one was to take the groceries to the car, put the baby in the car, and leave him there while I returned the cart. Not the greatest option, because I don't want DCF at my door because I left my baby in the car. Another option was to put the groceries in the car and wheel the cart back to the cart lady with the baby still on it, then take the baby and my quarter back to the car. Hmmmm...that's a long way to carry my gargantuan son in his carrier. So I came up with a third option, which may not have been the easiest, but served me well. I put the baby and the groceries in the car, then took the baby out of his seat and perched him on my hip while I wheeled the cart with one hand back to the cart lady. Another shopper tried to help me with the cart and take it from me while I was struggling with the carrier back at the car, but I told her not to take it because I wanted my quarter back. She looked at me like I was crazy, so I told her the cart lady would explain the process to her...and she walked away, CONVINCED I was crazy. Anyway, the cart lady helped me maneuver it back into the line and connect its chain back to the other carts, thus releasing my precious quarter. So I strapped Zeke back into his carrier and we headed for home.

Overall, my experience at Aldi was very positive. I found the staff to be extremely helpful in explaining the process of shopping there. They were also very friendly and greeted all of the customers with a smile. The quality of the products seems to be great--I cooked the turkey last night and it was really good! The apples and bananas I bought are also really good. So now I bet you're wondering how much I spent! Were the prices really, truly lower than other grocery stores?! Well, you can decide for yourself by taking a peek at my receipt:

Choose-a-Size Towels: 2.99
100% Wheat Bread: 1.09
Ground Turkey: 2.49
Golden Delicious Apples: 2.69
Gala Apples: 2.69
Bananas: 1.07
Skim Milk: 2.79
Baby Carrots: 1.09
Seasoned Mashed Potatoes:
0.89
Lite Yogurt: 0.46
Lite Yogurt: 0.46
Lite Yogurt: 0.46
Pretzel Sticks/mini: 1.29
Dried Berries: 3.49
________________________
Subtotal: 23.95
Tax: 0.21
Amount Due: 24.16

That's right, I spent $24.16 on all of those great groceries! At Albertson's I would have spent $5.00 on each bag of apples--that's right, it was $2.49 for each THREE POUND bag of apples!

Hooray for my first frugal mom adventure! This is only the beginning--there will definitely be more. I'm going to try for once a week. If you have an Aldi near you, be sure to visit--I think you'll be surprised by the good stuff you can find...and the money you can save!

And does anyone have any ideas on how to make grocery shopping with an infant easier?!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Falling short

Today I have been thinking about the many ways I fall short of what I truly want to be. If you know me, you know that I don't have the GREATEST self-esteem in the world and I tend to beat myself up on a regular basis (I think most women do this). But that's not what I'm doing right now. I am thinking about the ways I fall short because I've run across some inspiration to do better.

My best friend Kim is a year older than me, so she got to Stetson before I did. One of her very first friends when she arrived on campus was Brian Douglas. I was able to meet Brian when I visited campus the Fall of my senior year. When I arrived in the Fall of 2000, I immediately had some acquaintances, which was nice. I was able to meet Brian's then-girlfriend Jordan, his friend Adam, and another friend of theirs whose name I can't remember, but we were convinced he was a Jedi because he could seriously climb up completely vertical walls with nothing to hang onto. Now that I look back, this group was the group I SHOULD have gotten to know better. They were all Christians and hilarious and just kind, in general. Oh, to go back and live life over again--but I digress. I did not know any of these people that well, but thought (and continue to think) very highly of them. Through the magic of Facebook, I have been able to "friend" Brian Douglas. Through his facebook, I have stumbled upon his now-wife, Jordan's blog. What an amazing woman of God. I so admire her for everything she has been through and the way she has allowed the Lord to carry her and use her. Through her blog, I found some great money-saving blogs. I will do my best to add them to my blogroll for your enjoyment :) And please, please, check out Jordan's blog. Her story is wonderful and I really enjoy reading what she has to say. She is an inspiration to me as a mom and wife, and reminds me that I can do better.

In other news, please keep Kayla in your prayers--she is one of our former youth group members, 16 years old, and just had a baby. He is still in the hospital with Jaundice. I was blessed to run into her today and she is doing well, but has limited support and resources.

love
Rachel

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How and Why

Hi there! It's been a while! I haven't been blogging recently, mostly because of the fact that anything I want to blog about might get me excommunicated from my family and/or cause my husband to lose his job! SO...I will refrain from blogging about those things (you're welcome, Josh) and blog about other interesting things. :)

As you may know, my little family only has one vehicle, a 1995 Ford Taurus. We've had "Bertha" for over a year now, and she is thriving. Really, she's not a bad car. She runs great. There are obvious challenges with having only one car for two people and a baby. First, we can't always be two places at once. We have to travel together to a lot of things, or one person has to be dropped off and picked up, or one person just stays home. Usually, that's me. I walk with Zeke in the stroller if I need or want to go somewhere during the day. Josh usually takes the car to work in the morning, but he occasionally rides his bike so I can have the car. People we know sometimes see him riding his bike either to or from work, and will call one of us or catch us when they normally see us and make a comment such as: "ha ha, I saw Josh riding his bike while I was driving to such-and-such-a-place" like it's so cute and funny that he rides his bike to work. These comments rank right up there with ones like:

* "Did someone hit your car?"
* "Did you know that you have a huge dent in your car door?"
* "Why did you get rid of the Mazda?"
* "Oh my goodness! Someone hit your car!"
* "If I were you, I would've kept the nicer car"
* "How's that car running for you?"
* And on and on and on......

As you can probably tell from my tone, I am not fond of any of these comments. So here is my answer to some of them...

Yes, you did see my husband riding his bike to work. He did this so I could have the car today and not go out of my mind staying inside the house with the baby all day. I am thankful for this today, and am honored that Josh would humble himself to ride his bike for me. But I wish he didn't have to. He doesn't do this ENTIRELY by choice, so I don't think it's funny or cute, and I don't think you should think so either. One of the reasons we have one car is so I can stay home with Zeke. We don't have a car payment, our insurance is cheap, and our car is NOT nice. You should not think this is cute or funny. Many of you don't realize that Josh does not make a whole lot of money in these hard times. We are extremely fortunate that he even has a job. Yes, we know that our car has a LOT of dents. We have no idea how they got there, because we bought the car like that...on purpose. It was what we could afford at the time, without taking out any kind of loan. Yes, someone hit our car. MANY people have probably hit our car. The only person we know for sure hit our car is the woman who hit it TWO HOURS after Josh bought it, completely destroying the bumper. Yes, the duct tape is on there for a purpose, not just because Josh has an awesome sense of humor. Again, you should not think this is cute or funny. Living on one income and sharing a car is HARD. Following God's will into His service is HARD. It requires that you give up a lot of things, like a car, or extra money, or furniture. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. But the next time you see Josh riding his bike, please don't call us or tell us that "ha ha, I saw Josh riding to work." Tell him how awesome it is that he is willing to give up a lot of social status so his wife and child can be together all day. And say a little prayer that he stays safe while he's on the road--he's already had one accident while riding home from youth late on a Wednesday night. Don't make comments about our car--we're proud of that car, even though it's not pretty to look at. Say a little prayer that it keeps running, because it's the only one we've got and we don't have a whole lot of money to have it fixed! If you see me walking somewhere with Zeke in the stroller, like the gym, or The Daily Grind, or Chick Fil-A, don't honk your horn. We can talk about you seeing me walking when I see you next, and I'll tell you all about where I was going and my experience while I was walking (because something interesting ALWAYS happens to us while we're out!)...but at the moment I'm too busy trying to ignore the other people who honk and whistle and yell obscene things out their windows and keep me and my baby safe to wave!

I know someday God is going to bless us with another car and the finances to provide us with all the things we are currently doing without, but right now I wouldn't have our life any other way. I don't want another car or more THINGS. And I would appreciate your help to keep me content. All the questions make me feel like we "should" have more/nicer things. Right now we have each other and time for our family...and that's enough for us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Casey Anthony Indicted....

http://www.local6.com/news/17715337/detail.html
....But her hair and makeup look FABULOUS!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Something in common....

I've refrained from blogging for a while because there is SO MUCH going on in the world that I WANT to blog about....but I'm afraid I'll offend someone. Or everyone. Or get my husband fired.

But I really couldn't pass this up.

I have a B.A. in Communication Studies. Do you think I'd be a good Vice President?!

Discuss.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

10-1

I found this on an old friend's myspace, and thought I'd give it a shot:

TEN things you wish you could say to TEN different people right now:


1. You took such good care of him...he was so lucky to have you!


2. I was actually quite honored and felt very special when you acknowledged me by name in Cycling last week.


3. You might be ruining their lives.


4. Your child is like that because of you--there is a better way, but I can't bring myself to tell you that.


5. I feel completely abandoned by you--you've skipped out on all my major life events--my wedding, the birth of my child.


6. I think you're going to end up hurt in this situation.


7. Next time you're trying to walk somewhere I'm going to stop you and tickle your feet and get all up in your face.


8. You are not your *blanking* khakis.

9. Get off your butts and DO SOMETHING (yeah that one is for a group of people--that still counts, right? Wait--this is MY survey so I say it counts!)


10. You think you know, but you have no idea who Jesus Christ is.

NINE things about yourself:


1. I am actually really smart.


2. I don't know what I want to be when and if I grow up.


3. There are things about me that only my husband knows.


4. I am absolutely terrified of lizards.


5. I want to run a marathon, but don't think I can pay attention for that long.


6. I'm not all that concerned with the state of disarray my home is in right now.


7. My left foot is slightly bigger than my right foot.


8. If given the opportunity, I think I could actually win an eating contest.


9. If I told you what size jeans I wear you might kill me.

EIGHT ways to win your heart:


1. Be Josh Boldman.


2. Make me laugh.


3. Make me feel special.


4. Make me feel smart.


5. Show me who Jesus is.


6. Scratch your armpit.


7. Assure me that someday, I will get to have cool toys.


8. plaaaaaaay wiiiiiiith me!


SEVEN things that cross your mind a lot:


1. Jesus--and how I don't spend enough time with Him.


2. Zeke


3. Josh


4. Lost friendships--this one burns me up inside.


5. When can I have some mommy time?


6. I wonder how my former clients are doing.


7. am I going to finish my Master's degree? Am I going to go back and get another one? aaaaaarrrrgh!


SIX things you do for fun:


1. Starbucks


2. Shop but don't buy anything

3.
Read


4. Waste time on the internet


5. Play with Zeke


6. Do nice things for my hubby.


FIVE turn offs:


1. bad smells



2. putting pressure on me


3.
lying



4. acting like you're better than me or anyone else.



5. Being intrusive


FOUR turn ons:


1. Be Josh Boldman


2.
Be Josh Boldman


3.
Be Josh Boldman



4.
Be Josh Boldman


THREE words that describe your life:


1. Guided



2. Important



3. Loved


TWO things you want to do before you die:


1. Travel more



2. See Zeke grow up


ONE confession:
I'm convinced that Netflix exists for the sole purpose of allowing me to watch Tyler Perry's movies.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Meme!

Here it is, everyone! My first Meme! I had to look up what a Meme was and how to actually pronounce it, just in case someone asks about it in real life :) Here goes:


The "I" Meme


I am
: home alone right now

I think
: my husband is the greatest pastor ever

I know: too many people.

I have: so much to be thankful for!

I wish: I could figure out what's wrong with my sweet baby when he cries.

I hate
: that my husband has to be out late.

I miss
: California

I fear
: disciplining my child someday.

I feel
: like I shouldn't have had real milk in my cereal

I hear: my husband's car pull into the parking lot

I smell: . that's it. I smell. :)

I crave: anything sweet!

I search: for the Lord's will.

I wonder: when's the next time I can have cake?

I regret: past decisions

I love: helping people grieve.

I ache: for the grieving and bereft.

I am not: superwoman...but you can't convince me of that.

I believe: I have a purpose

I dance: ballet

I sing: a lot.

I cry
: less now than I did 2-3 months ago

I don't always: have the right answer; but I act like I do.

I fight
: injustice

I write: to help me sort things out in my mind

I win: nothing when playing against my husband

I lose: EVERYTHING!!! I can never find my keys! In college it was my meal card! Arrrrgh!

I never
: have cash

I always: remember things that other people don't

I confuse: easily

I listen: to other people's problems

I can usually be found: at home with Zeke

I am scared: of many many things

I need: to read the bible

I am happy about
: my family

I imagine: a world where my child can grow up without fear

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Starting today........

Most of you know that I am a fan and follower (although VERY flexibly so) of Ezzo and Bucknam's "On Becoming Babywise." I also read the "Chronicles of a Babywise Mom" blog, for answers to my deepest, burning Babywise questions. And there are a lot of them! The authors suggest in their second book, "On Becoming Babywise II" (super-creative title, team!) that parents introduce structured playpen time to their children (it is also briefly addressed in the first book). Basically, you get out your playpen, get baby a few toys, put baby in the playpen, and walk away for a little while. The idea is to introduce your child to an increasingly large space where he can be safe, and at the same time, teach him to focus on just a few things at a time. This is thought to produce children who play independently and learn limits and boundaries. The next step, as the child gets older, is introducing this "independent play time" in increasing doses of freedom--next is a blanket, then the bedroom (once it has been properly baby-proofed). Playpen time also allows baby to get used to sleeping in another environment, as they suggest that you allow him to take some naps in it. I invite you to read the Babywise mom's blog for more details about independent play time, because she has a lot of experience with it, and her son Brayden loves it!!

Not long after Zeke was born, some awesome friends of ours blessed us with their old Evenflo Pack and Play playpen. Their son, Joshua (who is partly named after my husband!) is about to be two years old, and only used the Pack n' Play a few times. The gear came to us in a big Evenflo carrying case, and had a lot of metal parts rattling around in it, so I was extremely intimidated by it. Today, I resolved to set up the darn thing and start Zeke's independent playpen time...darn it! So I opened the case, and there it is, all folded up neatly, and it took two stinkin' seconds to set up!!! It just unfolds like an umbrella! The metal pieces that were rattling around were for the bassinet insert, which Zeke is too big for, anyway. There's even a changing table that attaches!!! This thing is so cool. Anyway, so I put Zeke in it in his Bumbo seat first, since he can't really sit up on his own. He needs a little work on sitting in the Bumbo and really just leans over to the side to balance himself, so I decided to take the Bumbo out and lay him on his back with his Baby Einstein Octopus (thanks, Brandon and Miranda!) and favorite rattle (thanks, Auntie JB and Shauna!). I'm close by so I can watch him, which still counts as independent play time, since he can't see me. Until he can sit up, I figure it's best if I keep an eye on him. Of course, I started this venture incredibly nervous that I would be causing my son some irreparable emotional damage by leaving him on his own for any length of time. Although, I've been giving him short spurts of time without me on his gym and in his swing for some time now, but whatever. Well it took him a few minutes to warm up to it, as it does with most new play environments, but he is now giggling, cooing, and rolling on his side, trying to kick the Octopus and (I like to think) make it play its music. He's doing great! This post, however, has taken me FOREVER to write because I keep looking over at him to make sure he's okay!!! Zeke really has no problem with playing independently. It's me who has the problem, but if I didn't have any guilt, I guess I wouldn't truly be a mother, right? I guess this is another example of how motherhood can be difficult, but we have to do some uncomfortable things for the good of our children. Zeke is seriously having a ball over there--I'm having to stop myself from picking him up, so he can have some more fun!

I'll post some more from the front lines of mommyhood soon!

Rachel

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Be Strong and Courageous (Subtitle: Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes)

Did I get the right amount of "ch's" in there? I can't seem to remember how many there really are in that song--I LOVE that song! And I don't even know what it means to "turn and face the strain" if that's even what the guy is saying. Anyway............

It's no secret to anyone who knows me or my husband that he is definitely called to church planting. One of the coolest things about our interview process at Westside Community Church was when one of the search committee said, "Now, we're looking for someone who wants to serve here as youth and worship pastor, but also someone who wants to plant." I remember hearing that and smiling SO BIG and looking at my husband like, "That's us! That's us!" I cannot honestly tell you that church planting is MY specific calling, BUT I am DEFINITELY called to follow and support my husband in ministry. Another question during the interview process at Westside, posed by a congregation member during our dessert fellowship question and answer time, was "Do you feel called to be a pastor's wife?" And after telling a story about how a friend of mine definitely felt that call and did not marry a pastor and I had told her "no way I'm ever marrying a pastor" and did, I said, "I don't feel called to be a pastor's wife, but I am called to be Josh's wife." So that means I get to do and be all the things that go along with him and his calling.

However, I'm not as bold as Josh BOLDman. I wasn't born with that name, I married into it. So I married into the bold-ness too. Being married to Josh, the amazing man who is called to church planting, means that unlike other young married women with little babies, I have no idea where we will be in 5 years. I am unable, at this time, to put down "roots." Because of this, I can't have a backyard, I can't put in new cabinets, or plant flowers. Oh, and even though I hate it, I'm going to have to eventually move. There's a part of me that's absolutely terrified of the possibility of leaving my family behind, losing my free babysitting (thanks mom and dad!) and the connection my baby son has with his extended family. Again, I am not as bold as Josh Boldman. But I am starting to find my calling and my own ministry (that's a whole different post), and I'm becoming more courageous. I just started a bible study called "Living Fearlessly: A Study in the Book of Joshua" and it's fabulous so far. God is calling me to be courageous, no matter what, because HE is with me (and Josh) wherever we go. He is calling me to turn to HIM when I am afraid and read HIS word for strength and guidance. In my translation (New Living Translation) God tells Joshua to be courageous 3 times in the first chapter, and the fourth time he is told to be courageous, it is by his own army, as the Lord worked in them to cultivate respect and honor for their leader. I can just imagine the Lord telling Joshua what he needs to do ("Be strong and courageous") and Joshua saying, "But, But God, I just..." and the Lord saying "HAVE I NOT COMMANDED YOU??? BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS, AND THAT'S AN ORDER, YOU WIMP!" I added that last part about Joshua being a wimp. He may or may not have been. You decide.

So I guess I've written all of this to say: I may not be specifically called to church planting MYSELF, but I'm called to follow my husband, who IS called to church planting. And even though I'm afraid of ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (I think I got all the "ch's" in there), the Lord is with me and is calling me to rise above my fear for Him. I am loving this study in Joshua, and can tell that God led me specifically to it. If you want to pick it up and go through it with me, it's available at Family Christian. I'm going to try to link to it in this post.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh I, Oh, I'm still alive....

Hello!
As you can see, I haven't been posting every day. Nor have I been posting every other day. I am a blog-posting failure! Oh well. As you can see from my subject/title line, I'm still alive! Zeke is now sleeping at least 10 hours at night. This isn't a HUGE change from what he was doing before, but it means that I don't have to feed him at 10:00/10:30 p.m. anymore, so if I want to go to bed early, I can. Has that happened yet? Nope! But still, if I wanted to, I could!

The gym where I am a faithful member, Lifestyle Family Fitness, has their own little music video channel that plays out on the gym floor, so if you don't have your own source of music or you're not watching TV on the elliptical machines (I'm convinced that the only reason we re-joined the gym is so we can watch cable), you can listen to/watch music. One morning last week, one of the videos caught my eye. It was the video for one of my favorite songs, "Like a Stone," by one of my favorite bands, Audioslave (That's right people, I don't ONLY listen to Christian music--let's take a second to get over that, shall we? Okay, are we good? Good.). Audioslave is made up of some members of other, older bands. The lead singer is Chris Cornell, formerly of Soundgarden, and the other guys are from Rage Against the Machine. The video was pretty straightforward, just the band playing in a really cool location. What caught my eye was the fact that one of the band members was holding his baby (probably about 6 months old) in the scenes in-between the band playing. And I got to thinking, wow. We're all growing up, aren't we? The guys in this band are at LEAST 10 years older than me, so they got a later start than I did, but look at them--they're starting families too. I thought it was so awesome to see these tough rocker guys playing with an adorable little baby, and clearly loving her. I guess when you grow up and have kids, you become a little softer and gentler. Besides being totally pumped because "Like a Stone" is one of my favorite songs, I was really touched by the sight.

Well I guess this is growing up!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pictures of Zeke

Well everyone, here are some new pictures of Zeke. They are actually from earlier tonight during his play time. I am a super-excited mommy right now because he grabbed his lion all by himself for the very first time! My son is a genius! He also, uh, made out with the lion for a good 15 minutes. Don't ask, don't tell, people! The rest of the pictures are available here!


Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Live and Learn and Then Get LUVS..."

....and then probably go back to using Huggies.

I'm turning into a bit of a diaper snob. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I have about a million $1.00-$1.50 off coupons for Huggies diapers. Some of them expire later this month, while others expire in 2009. I typically buy diapers every week, except for the past few weeks, as my son has just grown into the size 2 JUMBO-GINORMOUS pack I was given at my baby shower. So last week the time came to buy diapers, and I had my Huggies coupon in hand, and I marched my happy little butt up to the diaper aisle at Wal-Mart. There they were, Huggies size 2, with Winnie the Pooh characters and all sorts of fluffy cuddle-weave-y stuff all over them. $9.99, as expected. And then, of course, I had my coupon. Suddenly, my eyes were drawn to the left, where I saw LUVS brand diapers, for $7.50. And there's 50 of them in a pack! Suddenly, I was torn between two diaper brands. I stood there for, no lie, about five whole minutes, deciding whether or not I should take a chance and get the LUVS diapers this week. I had this horrible anxious feeling in my chest, like I was about to be a bad mother for switching diapers on my son. I was reassured by that voice inside my head--no, not THAT one--the one that said "You live and learn, and then get LUVS." That's right, I was ultimately swayed by their advertising--good job, LUVS PR reps! Your college degrees earned you a new customer! So now I've lived and learned, I got LUVS, and I'm not all that thrilled with them. Here's why:

1. LUVS have a scent. It's not an unpleasant scent, but it is a scent, nonetheless. It's kind of a baby powder-y sort of smell.

2. They are extremely thin. Yes, they have the "leak lock core" or something like that, but they feel like tissue paper.

3. When my son pees the gallons that he does every day, the diapers end up feeling like a water balloon. They're all sloshy. Huggies just feel heavier. You can't actually feel the liquid in them.

4. Let's talk poop. If you've ever nursed a child or changed a nursed child's diaper, you know that their poop is the consistency of mustard when it's at its most solid. Other times, it's extremely liquid, and sometimes it's even gel-like. Sorry, I know that's gross. Being so thin, and only really absorbing ACTUAL liquid, LUVS doesn't handle the poop very well. Huggies at least absorbs it. I wonder if LUVS work better for formula fed babies, who have a more solid, sticky poop. Okay, no more poop.

5. LUVS have sticky tabs rather than Velcro. I like the Huggies Velcro tabs.

6. Because they are so thin, LUVS are loud. When Zeke moves, it sounds like he is rolling around in tissue paper.

So there you have it--I'm not sure if I'll stick with LUVS or if I'll go back to Huggies. The fact that LUVS are at least $1.00 less than Huggies, even when I have a coupon, is a major selling point. For now, they're all I've got. So I have to avert my eyes when I'm changing Zeke and he looks up at me with those puppy dog eyes as if to say, "Why did you switch my diaper brand, mom?! I thought we had a good thing going with Winnie the Pooh!" Oh, the guilt.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

UPDATE

Obviously, my efforts to once again participate in NaBloPoMo have failed on an epic scale! So here is the update from the Boldman household!

Zeke is fabulous. I mean really, REALLY fabulous. He is an incredibly sweet, content little (and by little, I mean absolutely enormous) baby. He smiles and laughs regularly and thinks we are just the funniest people he's ever seen in his life. He also loves his extended family: grandma, grandpa, and all the rest. You can see some semi-recent pictures of him at my picasa site. He has been sleeping through the night since he was 9 weeks old--so that's three solid weeks that he has slept at least 9 hours at night. People say that we're "so lucky" to have such a good baby and that his behavior is "not typical," but we know the truth. We started from day one with clear heads and hearts and a desire to parent in a certain way. Our main ideas came from the book, "On Becoming Babywise" by Ezzo and Bucknam. Don't plug the name of the book into Google or else you will come across some VERY negative criticism of the book. All I'm going to say about that is this: if you follow ANY parenting philosophy/method to the letter, you WILL receive negative results. Going to the extreme is never a good thing, in my opinion. So with that said, I can tell you that Zeke has been following the "flexible routine" outlined in the book since birth. He has steadily gained weight (LOTS of weight!) and grown above and beyond the 95th percentile for his age. He is a sweet baby and is an absolute joy for me and others to be around. Once I got past the stress of hearing the negative criticism of the book, I was able to relax and follow Zeke's lead on how his routine would work for us. With a little bit of parental guidance, it has come along quite nicely! And how did I get over the negative criticism? I took the advice of a dear friend when she said, "Don't read it!"

We are doing very well here in good ole' Apopka/Altamonte. Staying at home with Zeke is DEFINITELY the right path for me, as I've told you all before.

I swear, I'm trying to do better with the posting every day thing. Be patient with me! I have lots of laundry to do!!

More to come....
Rachel

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Today....

Today, my thoughts about food are the following:

I can't seem to get enough of it, and this "I'm nursing, so I've got to eat ALL THE TIME" is only going to last me so long!

As you can see, my posts are very short and not very thought-provoking. I'm trying to post every day, but is it worth it to post meaningless junk? I swear I'll post something good soon.

love
Rachel

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Today's food

Today I went back to Winnie Palmer Hospital to visit my friends in the Social Work department...and of course, there had to be food involved! We ordered from all of our favorite place, Incredibly Edible on Sligh Blvd. Today I had the "Gobble Me Up" sandwich (yes, all of their items have funny names!) and it was EXCELLENT. There were also yummy chips involved. Best of all, my friends got to meet Zeke! I've never seen a group of master's level clinicians talk so much baby talk! Before our excursion to the hospital, Zeke and I went to story time at the library, and before THAT, I went to cycling at 5:30 a.m. That's right, 5:30 a.m. I now get up earlier than my son on some days. I feel great but I am exhausted. So again, this post is short. But at least it's a post!

More fun details about my life tomorrow.

Rach

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

FOOD

Well I don't really have time for a full update...but...NaBloPoMo's theme for this month is food, and once again I'm going to try to post every day.

Today is Josh and I's second anniversary, which reminds me of our wedding cake...which was the BEST wedding cake I've ever had both on our wedding day and last year, when we ate the top layer. I love cake! So I'm really excited for my sister's wedding next weekend, where we will again eat awesome wedding cake. I went with her to taste cakes a few weeks ago, and she picked an awesome one! I'll post pictures after the wedding next week. But of course, I'll be posting every day in between! :) Here's to hoping!

Rachel

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Jealous God

It dawned on me yesterday that although Josh and I are not materially wealthy in any sense of the word, I was meant to be a stay-at-home mom. Here are some reasons why:

1. It is too expensive for me to work. If I were to go back to work (which, under "normal" circumstances, would be happening next Monday, June 23rd) it would mean we would need two cars. I would be driving all over God's green earth again seeing children, which would mean 2-3 times the gas that we use right now...and I only got paid $.38 per mile. We would also need to put Zeke in day care. In our area, the good day cares charge somewhere between $150 and $250 per week for infants. Basically, my whole salary would go to all of those expenses, not to mention lunches/dinners on the road, and all sorts of other incidentals like my mid-morning slurpee breaks.

2. Right now, I am an extremely jealous mom. I am entirely incapable of putting Zeke in day care. Not because I think they're dirty or I'm afraid he'll get sick, or bitten by other children or abused by his caregivers. No, I can't put my son in day care because I am extremely jealous. When I think about Zeke smiling at someone else, other than me, during the day; and laughing at some child care worker (even if it were a home day care), also not me, while she tickles him or changes his diaper, it literally burns me up inside. I get this anxious, "grrrrr" feeling in my chest like I need to protect my baby cub. As difficult as it is to be his full-time caregiver and sole source of comfort during the day, I love it and can't stand that these duties could be entrusted to someone else in my absence. I want to be the one entertaining him and on the receiving end of his smiles, coos, and snuggles (he IS my snuggle monster, after all!). I even feel strange leaving him at my parents' house (don't get me wrong, they are awesome with him and Josh and I LOVE going on dates alone!), knowing that he is going to play in his gym and I might miss a smile.

So last night I got to thinking about my jealousy problem, and I came to the following conclusion: if I am this jealous over another human caring for my child, and my child paying attention to him/her, how jealous must our God be of the things that take our time and attention away from Him? Being a parent, I have been given a tiny little glimpse into how much God loves us and cares for us. I believe that God reveals the things about him that we really need to know through our current circumstances. God needs me to know right now that he is a really jealous God--not because he is mean and angry, but because he can't stand the thought of us spending time with someone/something other than Him. Just like I can't stand thinking about Zeke loving and spending time with another caregiver because I love him and don't want to miss out, God is jealous out of love. I did not truly grasp the concept of God's love leading to jealousy until the other night. Now the question is, what am I going to do about it? Action is the hardest part. I need to focus on not giving God a reason to be jealous.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A prayer close to my heart

Prayer for Nursing

By Elisheva S. Urbas

God of our mothers, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, and Leah, You remembered me when I longed for this child and in the pain of labor, and You have brought me, rejoicing, to hold this infant in my arms. Now I turn to You again, hoping to feed this child as You feed all living creatures, out of Your boundless lovingkindness; and I trust in you, that in Your goodness You surely will not let my child lack sustenance, neither now nor ever, for the sake of Your great Name. Let any pain that I may feel as I nurse this child be submerged in my joy as I watch the miracle of my flourishing baby; and keep us from any misfortune that may cause suffering to my child or to me between now and the time that my child is safely weaned. May Your goodness teach me to help my child grow both now in my arms and in all the years You grant us together. For you are the God who has always given me good things. Blessed are You, God, who sustains all.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

WOW

So...wow. I guess there's a lot to catch up on here in the old bloggity blog. As you can imagine, life with a one-month-old (yes, he is one month old--actually just over 5 weeks to be exact!) is everything you think it is: namely, very busy and pretty exhausting. Right now it is just about 9:00 a.m. and I have already been mostly awake since 5:00 a.m. Zeke is amazing! He only wakes up once overnight, between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m. We don't have an ENTIRELY stable "routine" yet, because of his variable wake-up times overnight, but our day usually starts between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. Today he was already waking up when I went in to wake him up to eat, and so far, he has been all smiles. He fell asleep in the stroller when we took a walk around the neighborhood and went straight to bed when we got home without a fuss. Yesterday however, was a different story. Here's the background:

I am fairly certain that my son gets a pretty serious case of "the Mondays" every week. We had a CRAZY weekend this week, with Josh's mom coming down to Tampa from Alabama on Saturday to look at apartments, since his parents expect to move down within the next 30-60 days! Saturday was ridiculously crazy and exhausting. It also consisted of such fun as nursing in the car a few times and giving a bottle at lunch without being able to pump before or after! It was a great day even though it was tiring, and I was happy just to be spending time with my little family!

Going back to Friday night, Josh and I went on our first date without the baby! We're EXTREMELY proud of ourselves, since some people don't get out for MONTHS after a baby is born. We went out for dinner and a movie, and I only called my mom to check on Zeke once! He was very well-behaved at Grandma's house, but was a little out-of-sorts when he came back home.

So you can see, after a strange Friday and Saturday, why our little guy would be tuckered out on Sunday. He would barely wake up from his naps to eat, and by the time we got to the Chicken BarBQue at my parents' church, he was down for the count with a 3 hour nap.

Zeke's case of the "Mondays" started as soon as he woke up...and he stayed awake crying for most of the day. The poor little guy just couldn't settle down for anything. I remained calm while he was crying, but I just felt SO BAD! Not knowing what he wanted (which, in reality was probably nothing but the very thing he was fighting off--sleep) was very frustrating. By the time evening and late night rolled around, he was much better. It was such an exhausting day; trying to figure out what he wanted and how I could soothe him made time go by extremely quickly. Anyway, I am glad that today is a new day and we get to start over. My sweet little sleepyhead is sound asleep in his crib. Everytime I think he's making noise I realize it's just one of our nasty apartment cats outside. :)

In other news, I officially resigned my position as Family Case Manager at Kids Hope United. All I have to do is put it in writing. I am sad to leave a job that has given me such great experience and has incredible flexibility and variety, but God is clearly leading us to have me stay at home with our little guy. It will be difficult, but we will be trusting God to provide when we have no idea where finances will come from.

Okay, well I guess that's the update! Time for me to try to get a little bit of rest before I feed Zeke again!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tragedy...

I'm not the biggest Steven Curtis Chapman fan, but the story of his daughter Maria Sue's tragic death yesterday really touched my heart. Read about it here and keep their family (especially his son) in your prayers/positive thoughts/whatever. I think the song he wrote for this particular daughter is especially poignant, so here are the lyrics:

Cinderella

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,
Without a care in the world.
And I'm sittin' here wearin' the weight of the world on my shoulders.
It's been a long day and there's still work to do,
She's pulling at me saying "Dad I need you!
There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited and I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I'd approve of a dress
She says "Dad, the prom is just one week away,
And I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone
She will be gone.

Well, she came home today
With a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned
She says "Dad, the wedding's due six months away
And I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
(even one song)
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

Friday, May 16, 2008

:)

Dana is totally right. Pride is a sin, too. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Celebrate good times, come on!

That's right, even though my child cried straight through his usual 90 minute morning/early afternoon nap time, it's time to celebrate. What, exactly, are we celebrating? My return to normal clothing--normal clothing in a size EXTREMELY close to my old one, nonetheless! So to all the people out there who said that I would stay fat after I gave birth (and said they were happy about that fact, too)...nanny nanny boo boo, it took me less than a month to lose 95% of my pregnancy weight. And I'm pretty sure jealousy is a sin, so you better check yo' self! :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The last few days...

The last few days have been interesting.

My very first Mother's Day was great! Josh and I broke all of the rules and took Zeke to church! It was good to be there, finally out of the house, with friends. Everyone thought Zeke was SO CUTE (duh, he IS!) and were very impressed with how alert he was (until he zonked out--thanks, Pastor Biz!). After church we all did our share of napping, and we went to my parents' house for dinner.

Yesterday was a VERY rough day. Zeke was extremely fussy and would not stop crying for most of the day. He didn't get any of his naps except for a really long one at 12:30 (I think; it all runs together). In the morning, Josh actually came home from work to help me. Not only was the baby hysterical, but I was too. There's nothing like feeling COMPLETELY powerless to help your child. I HATE that feeling. When Josh got home for real at 9:15 p.m., the baby was still inconsolable. He gave me a break and was able to hold him for a little while. He finally calmed down after about 20 minutes of screaming in his crib (another thing I HATE--letting him cry), with the thought that I would get to sleep until his 11:30 feeding. Well, he didn't quite make it to 11:30 and Josh woke me up at 11:00. We decided to give him a bottle of pumped milk while I pumped. At this point, Josh and I have realized that the poor child has an insane amount of gas coming out of both ends. So I think back through what I've eaten over the past day or so and come to the conclusion that I need to cut out some dairy. You see, at my parents' house I ate ice cream, and then had cereal with milk for breakfast. Now that may not seem significant to you, but LAST week I ate ice cream at my parents' house, too....and Zeke had a bad Monday last week as well. SO I dumped the milk I pumped, and resolved to begin using soy milk with my cereal and watching the amounts of other dairy I eat. The idea came from my best friend Kim, whose baby (3 weeks older than Zeke) is extremely colicky--she stopped dairy last week and today she told me Abby has been doing MUCH better.

So today, Zeke has been a perfect angel. Last night, after taking his bottle, he woke up at 4:45 a.m. to eat again (He slept almost 5 hours!), and did just fine. All day he has been going down for his naps without any fuss (except for his first morning nap, but he calmed down SO fast!) and eating OKAY, although he hasn't been eating much at each feeding. ANYWAY, we're a little bit off of our routine today, but he's sleeping right now and is very peaceful. We've enjoyed each other's company. I think that's a fair trade-off.

Now I'm going to try to get a little bit of rest before feeding him again.

--Rachel

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More pictures of Zeke

Go to my Picasa site to see the full album and all the hospital/coming home pictures. :)

Pictures of Zeke!




Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My mothering skills continue to improve

Today I amazed myself...and the day is not over yet...there is plenty more amazement yet to be had. Allow me to explain:

For the past 2 and 1/2 weeks, Zeke has been working himself into a pretty decent routine. It's not always TOTALLY consistent, but for the most part, it actually is. He eats every 3 hours, is awake for a little bit, then goes down for a nap (he is still a total sleepyhead). Overnight we now let him wake us up. The past few days, he has woken us up at 2:30/3:00 a.m. at which time I feed him, change him, and put him right back to bed. He's been sleeping after that straight through to 6:00/6:30 a.m. This morning, I actually had to wake him up at 6:30 to eat. After that, he usually has a tiny bit of alert time, and then goes back down for a nap, as do I, until 9:00/9:30 or so. Not today. Today he cried and fussed, fussed and cried, lost his pacifier about 7 times (it wasn't that bad but it felt like it) and although he was quiet when Josh left for work, as soon as he left the house, he started crying again. I let him cry for 10 minutes, then went in to see what was wrong. He was fed, I gave him his pacifier, and still he spit it out and started crying. Okay, maybe he's got a diaper situation, I thought. Well, turns out he did. He had a wet diaper. I changed it, set him down, he squawked for a second, and then boom, he was out. So there ya go--I figured out what was wrong with my baby! Now he's crying again. and I have no idea what's wrong again. Back to square one.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Today

I swear Zeke grew overnight. I was looking at him today (one of my favorite pastimes) and I realized that the kid really is huge. He doesn't present himself as such, mostly because he likes to have his little legs folded up like a frog, but while changing his diaper I realized (because he kicks his legs out straight to protest the nakedness) that he is enormous. I put him in size 1 diapers today--he could still wear newborn size, but he is definitely fitting into the size 1's too. I tried to put him in a Newborn size Winnie the Pooh sleeper outfit, and his feet are too big for it--also, when he straightens out his legs, the poor outfit stretches really bad! So I decided to get some of his Newborn non-shorts outfits out and take some pictures of him in them, since he mostly wears white onesies during the day. Once I find the connector cord for the camera that will hook it up to the laptop (I think it's in the car), I'll post some new pictures of my little (big) man. He is truly amazing. I don't know my newborn milestones very well, but he is starting to lift his head and turn it from side to side, which I think is pretty cool for only being 2 and 1/2 weeks old! He is still a sleepyhead and I wake him up every 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours during the day. But last night he slept from midnight (11:00 feeding) to 2:30 and then from about 3:00 to 6:15. That's really not too bad. He's really finding his niche, as far as routine goes. He's not known for his consistency, but each day is a new adventure, and I'm trying to just take it as it comes, one day at a time. He's also starting to put himself to sleep by crying for a few minutes. By the time I'm ready to rush in and rescue him, he's already calmed down and (sometimes) passed out. I am blessed to have this little guy in my family! Josh and I thank the Lord for giving him to us. We could not have asked for a more special gift!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ancient Voices of Children

My name is Ezekiel Boldman! You may remember me from older posts such as "Dear Everyone" (both of them), "Dear Body," "Dear Me," "Dear OB," "Dear Insomnia," and "My Adventures as a Stay-At-Home Mom." Basically, before I made my grand entrance, my mom was obsessed with the fact that I was inside of her and did not want to come out as early as she would have liked. She was tired, frustrated, anxious, and had to pee ALL THE TIME! On April 20, 2008, I entered the world in the usual way. Mom keeps telling people that it was a really easy birth experience and that she is really proud of herself for having such a short, painless labor. Apparently, she's a natural at this "childbirth" thing--I knew that all along, which was why I waited to come out. I knew she'd push me out really fast and well, I just wanted to stay in as long as possible. So now here I am. I've been here two weeks and I'm a big guy! I was 8 lb. 10 oz. when I was born, but now I am 9 lb. 14 oz.! I have grown an inch and a half, and am now 23 and 1/4 inches long. The nurse at Dr. Gross's office said that I am "off the chart" and I made her measure me again! She was right the first time, and I AM off the chart--the baby growth chart, that is! Here are some of the things I like to do:

* Eat
* Sleep
* Be swaddled
* Fill up an endless amount of diapers--especially when the poop comes with a really loud fart!
* Make my mommy worry about me because I don't follow the "typical" breastfeeding time limits--but it's all good, as you can see, I'm gaining weight at an astonishing rate!
* Make my mommy cry when she reads "Guess How Much I Love You" to me.
* Pick my head up when I'm laying on my tummy on mommy and daddy, or on their shoulders and look from side to side (I'm so advanced!)
* Wake up on occasion enough to look at my mommy and daddy and watch them make silly facial expressions (I have a few of my own, too!)
* Snuggle
* Do the hand motions for "Every Move I Make" with daddy (the David Crowder version, of course)
* Make daddy do the "Daddy Wake-Up Dance." This is why I sleep so much and so soundly. I really like watching and feeling mommy and daddy try to wake me up. I laugh on the inside.

At this point, my mommy is adjusting to being my mommy. She misses daddy during the day, but is super-excited to see him when he comes home from work and youth at night! She's still a little anxious, but I think that's to be expected considering the fact that she has never really cared for a baby before! I'm going easy on her right now--I let her sleep a decent amount. She's lucky.

Well, it's time for my nap again...then mommy will feed me at 8:00. Tonight she and daddy get to let me sleep as long as I want, until it's been 5 or 6 hours! Then they have to wake me up and feed me, if I haven't woken up hungry already. We'll see how it goes! I sure do like to sleep!

Thanks for praying for me while I was inside my mom. Keep those prayers coming! I've got a lot of growing, and mom's got a lot of adjusting to do!

--Zeke

P.S. "Ancient Voices of Children" is a piece by George Crumb. Very cool. You should check it out.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hello!

How sad is it that I just started crying during an episode of "Roseanne?" It was the episode where the dark haired girl goes into premature labor and delivers a 28 week old baby girl. Of course, the baby survives, but still. I cried a little. Keep in mind that I was never allowed to watch Roseanne, so all these repeats on TV 27 are new to me!

Anyway, this month's theme is "Voices," and I know I will not be able to keep up with the one post per day thing. However, today I would like to talk about the voice that called my phone this morning at about 10:00 this morning. We'll call her "Nora." She called me in broken english asking about my Jetta. At that point, I handed the phone to my knight in shining armor, Josh, who took it from there. He eventually gleaned that this woman was calling because she had test-driven (or was test-driving) my Jetta at the dealership. She somehow got my phone number and wanted to know how the car was when I had it, because she wanted to buy it for her son. She said she got my number from inside the car, but we cleaned the car out before handing it over to the dealer. If she had even gotten a number from the glove box, she would have gotten my OLD number from Volusia county. Josh called the dealer and they couldn't tell us anything. EITHER they gave her my phone number, OR, they left the return receipt in the car from when we turned it in. Either way, it's their fault. As you can imagine, especially if you've read my husband's blog at www.joshboldman.com, they are not taking responsibility for anything. Big surprise. So today's experience with voices was not good. That is all. Brain is fried. Baby needs to eat in an hour.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Welcome back, Boldman!

Well I'm back...and here's the lowdown on my childbirth experience:

It was NOT that bad! The epidural was TOTALLY worth it. I had a painless birth experience. The contractions BEFORE I had the drugs? Again, not that bad. I think I could have endured them for a while longer before getting the epidural. But when you're out walking with your husband in the labor and delivery floor and you keep stopping to breathe and "stick out" the pain and you see the anesthesiologist and he gives you a look of sheer pity, you know it's time to let him do his magic. Also, our Lamaze teacher was right--they don't even offer the "walking" epidural. They want you to get the whole shabang. Walking, Shmalking. I got the works. They even threw in a catheter, just for fun! :)

Our baby is BEAUTIFUL and could not be more perfect. Josh and I are so in love--not only with each other, because this experience has made us love each other even more than we already did--but with this new little life. I'll start updating about his daily activities (but don't worry, I'll spare you the details of his input and output).

Love,
A new mommy

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dear everyone,

Dear everyone,

No baby yet. Contractions have been virtually non-existent all day, but are coming back now. As always, I have no idea if I'll make it through the night--if I do, we will be calling the doctor at 9 a.m. tomorrow to see if we can get into the hospital. We WILL have this baby soon!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dear everyone,

Dear everyone,

The doctor says I should have this baby over the weekend, and she worked some magic to speed things up. YAY! So I'll post daily updates (in letter form, of course) until the pain is so awful I can no longer see straight. Once the baby comes, don't expect to hear from me much. :)

Rachel

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dear other bloggers,

To those who are also doing this "letters" challenge:

I've noticed that some of you blogs are quite depressing. I guess you've chosen to use your blog as a method of catharsis and write letters to your absent parents, deadbeat friends, old boyfriends, and others who may or may not have any idea that you have these feelings about them. In fact, some of them might not even know you (i.e. the absent parent). I admit, the prospect is tempting. We all have "unfinished business" with others that we would like resolved, even if the resolution is just to write it down so we can cherish the bitterness all by ourselves. That's great. Just make sure the person to whom you have directed the letter can't read it (unless you want them to, and then that's an awfully passive-aggressive way to get yourself heard, don't you think?). In my online journalism class years ago (see my first post for details on my way cool professor, Andy Dehnart), our first rule and warning was to not write anything online that we didn't want anyone to see. I'm not sure if the professor had experience with this, but he asked us to think about how what we are writing could hurt or influence another person. We were encouraged not to write about or to anyone if we thought there was any potential for hurt.

Take, for example, the case of a long-lost love (or hate, whatever). Say you write your letter to this person on day 22 of NABLOPOMO's "letters" challenge and then move on to the next letter until the month is over and there's a new theme. What if, months later, this person googles you (oh, we can ONLY hope!), stumbles across your blog, and discovers your true feelings (positive or negative). This could throw you into a whirlwind of questions you DON'T want to answer, or make someone who thought you were a pretty nice guy/girl actually hate you with a fiery burning passion because of what you said about him/her/his/her/mother/cousin/brother, etc. There's a fine line between censoring yourself and just watching out...but I suggest that we all pay attention to where that line is and walk it carefully.

The internets are a dangerous place, my fellow bloggers, so be careful out there!

Rachel