Monday, August 19, 2013

Support For the Webb Family

In my last post, I linked to a blog and mentioned an old friend. Growing up, I knew her as Amber Thomas, but now she's Amber Webb, married to the love of her life with two beautiful babies; Benjamin, who's 2, and Alexis, who's just over a month old.

Amber is a woman of God; one of the strongest I know. That much has always been true, but the last few years have really tested her faith. Benjamin was born with an extra chromosome, something she lovingly calls a designer gene and we all know as Down Syndrome. Family and friends cried and prayed along with her when she broke the news, but even in the midst of that trial, Amber's motto was God is good.

We followed along on her journey as she raised Benjamin with a husband who was serving our country; gone more often than not, but never once did Amber complain. She let us in on her thoughts and prayers, sometimes questioning but never doubting.

Then Micah, her husband, came home from having served in Afghanistan, and their family was complete.

When she announced that she was pregnant again, everyone celebrated. Another perfect addition to a beautiful family. Alexis Tara Webb was born on July 3rd, 2013, weighing 6 lbs. 5 oz. And just as everyone imagined, she is beautiful, with dark curly hair and a big smile already gracing this world.

No one could have anticipated the news that Amber would soon tell us: Alexis has cystic fibrosis.
To mention that it isn't fair would be a point made in vain. Again we are brought to our knees in tears and prayers for Amber and her family. Here is a link that will tell you more about the disease.

I'm writing you, not only to ask for your prayers for Amber and Micah in this hard time, but also to ask that you would consider making a donation. They are without health insurance and will be making the 3 hour trip to Dallas, Texas to pursue treatment multiple times a week, sometimes staying overnight.

They need a miracle from God and support from you. We know He has a plan. Help Him carry it out.
Amber's Blog has a donate link on the sidebar, which will lead to a Paypal account. Just in case that doesn't work, the Paypal link can be found below as well. Anyone can donate. Anyone can help. Everything, every cent, is appreciated.

Paypal Account for Alexis Webb

***Please share this post with everyone you know!

***UPDATE. The Webb family has been able to procure some sort of insurance since this has been written, but it's still not enough. Treatments for CF can be costly and overwhelming.

Friday, August 16, 2013

God's Perspective

I was in 5th grade when the Twin Towers came crashing down, broadcasted for all of the world to see. It was in Ms. Luce's creative writing class, surrounded by friends, that I remember thinking, what does this mean?
I knew that things would change, that the world would change; that the catastrophe surround by smoke and bodies would effect even us down in South Florida, but I didn't know what it all meant. Why it happened, what would come of it. While everyone else was wondering if it would happen again, I was wondering why it happened at all.

Later that week, maybe even that same day, my dad and I went to this little store somewhere off Military that sold american flags. Huge ones, the kind that fly high over buildings, and small ones, the ones that connect to the antenna of your car. We weren't the only people with the idea; the store was packed with others buying the symbol of freedom to hang above their houses, on their motorcycles, to proclaim to the world that We are one. We are united.
As we were leaving the store, a film crew from a news station stopped my dad, asked why it took a national crisis for us to come together. I remember thinking, she's right. We didn't have a flag already. These people didn't either. We're pretending.

A few years later, when my mom was sick and after my dad had been let go from his job, things got hard. There were times when we didn't know where dinner was going to come from, or if there would be a lunch to pack for the next day. There were times when we had no water in the house and we had to shower in our bathing suits with the next door neighbor's hose. I remember thinking, what does this mean? What is this for? But I put a smile on my face, went to school in my used uniform and pretended.

At this point, I had gotten it in my head that life was all about pretending. That we had to exist in this world where we had it all together, because we were less if we didn't. 

In December of last year, a close friend of mine passed away in his sleep. Twenty one years old and just...gone. A moment of time that slipped away and took him with it. When I got the call early Saturday morning, I remember asking, What does that even mean? I thought it was a joke. I thought, this can't be real. But as the news spread and the reality of it sank like a knife into a warm chest, twisting and turning and demanding to be felt, I acquiesced. I accepted, but it didn't make it okay. Acceptance didn't make it easier to understand. As I sat at his funeral, surrounded by the same friends from that fifth grade creative writing class, it hit me.

Understanding was never the point. And pretending to understand is like walking in circles. It never leads anywhere.

Today, as I read the words of an old friend, I tried again to understand. Tried, in vain, might I add, to see things from God's perspective. 
Not too long ago, on a Sunday morning at Christ Fellowship, Pastor Todd talked about the way we perceive things, and how we most likely have a different perspective than God. How our perceptions are skewed by our judgments, our insecurities, our expectations and life in general. When I closed my eyes, I imagined God up there looking down at all of us like tiny ants, watching us navigate through a world that he could see all of, while we're down here with just a fraction of his view in our sight. He's got the bigger picture. 

Even knowing that, I got frustrated, and then I got angry, and then I realized I was walking in circles. 

I will never stop wondering why the trails and tribulations of life are thrown at good people. I know that God only gives us what we can handle, and I know that a woman like Amber is the strongest there is, but it still doesn't solve the riddle of what it all means. It doesn't shed light on what will come of it all. I guess that's the human side of us, wanting to know the answers and understand the motives when maybe there aren't any at all. Motives would mean intentions, and I'm not sure that God is an intentional kind of guy. I think he's more of a realization kind of guy, one that, instead of presenting you with a reason to have faith, expects that you will realize that it's been there all along. I don't know if that makes sense. All of these words and memories and emotions are bouncing around my head like that little guy from Flubber.

In theory, I understand that one's emotions or pain doesn't devalue another's. If my back hurts, but yours is broken, it doesn't make mine hurt any less. And yet I can't help but sit back and slap myself mentally for ever complaining about anything. It's sad that someone else's trials cause us to become aware of what we have.

It's sad that a national crisis calls us to stand, when we should have been standing all along.

I know I'm rambling now, but the point of this post was to do just that. And also to encourage you to take stock of what you have. Sit down, grab a pen and paper, and write down all of the things you have to be grateful for. I'm sure when you intentionally think about it, you will realize that the amount far exceeds your expectations.

It put things in perspective for me. I hope it does for you too.

Cartoon Craze

I know I'm not alone when I say this: What is up with kid's cartoons these days?!

It's a very general statement to say that I hate them, but sometimes I really do. Who comes up with these things? And who decides,  I want to be a member of The Wiggles?

Some of them aren't so bad. Bubble Guppies is cute and educational, the songs are actually pretty catchy, and there is some witty dialogue thrown in there, I'm sure for the adults that are inevitably watching.

Then there's Team Umizoomi, which, yeah, can be annoying as hell, but besides their super irritating voices and the insanely bright colors and strange patterns, it's not that bad.

Dora the Explorer and Diego, which have been around forever, have some sort of appeal, since it's bilingual. It happens to be Aubrey's favorite, because he's bilingual too and he really likes the whole song and dance thing.

PBS of course has some decent stuff too, like Super Why and Sesame Street. Oh and that one show where everything is made out of words. I think that one's pretty clever.

But then Yo Gabba Gabba comes on, and I want to throw something at the TV. Were the creators high when they thought of it? I can see it now, a bunch of stoned college guys sitting around in a That 70's Show kind of room, and one of them is like, hey, let's make a show for kids with a bunch of colors and a really strange guy and some really creepy...I don't know, what are they? Puppets? People? Animals? Whatever they are, it's creepy. The songs are creepy, their voices are creepy, and the way that one green thing moves his arms freaks me out.

And The WigglesThe freakin' Wiggles. Maybe it's normal over on the other side of the Atlantic, but a bunch of grown men singing and dancing around with a bunch of little children is...weird.

Does anyone else find it weird that someone, or something is always trying to eat Peter Rabbit and his friends? Seriously. They're always worried about being made into a pie. Is this PETA's way of subliminally implementing animal equality? I think so.

Max and Ruby. Am I the only who wonders where those rabbits (are they rabbits?) parents are?? Why is she always yelling at him? He's a baby, right? She's always like, Max, don't do that. Max, stop doing this. Poor Max. Parentless and stuck with a dictator as a sister.

I feel like there are so many other's I could pick apart, but I can't remember them all. We are currently watching some Dora movie for the twentieth time and I can feel my brain turning to mush as I type. But we do anything for our kids, right? Even if it means forfeiting a few (or a million) brain cells along the way.

What are your kids' favorite shows?

Hopefully it's not Yo Gabba Gabba...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Religion of Motherhood

A long time ago, when I first started this blog, I had this idea in my head of what it would be like. Aubrey was just born, maybe not even yet, and I wanted to write about inspirational things; things that would let women know that it's not all about the kids or the husbands or the housework. I wanted to talk about good foods and face products, and yeah, there would be some baby stuff in there, but I wanted to keep it pretty women-oriented.

I look back now, and I laugh. Because it is ALWAYS about the kids and the husbands and the housework.

Being a stay at home mom means being a mom 24/7. During the day, I'm needed and sometimes wanted, but mostly not. There isn't that time where I go away; where I think about other things and focus on other tasks. My day proceeds as follows:
  • Wake up (usually to Aubrey screaming, Get up Mommy!)
  • Get Aubrey up, change him, brush his teeth, make him breakfast, all the while I'm holding my pee and putting off brushing my own teeth and making my own breakfast.
  • Once he's strapped safely into his high chair, I'll do my morning routine; pee, brush teeth, wash face, change clothes, eat breakfast.
  • If it's Monday or Tuesday, I'll clean and do laundry while Aubrey watches TV *gasp* colors, fingerpaints- whatever. Wednesday is grocery shopping day, and Thursday and Friday are park/movies/something out of the house, days.
  • All of this happens before 1pm. 1:30-2 is nap time, if I get lucky, where I'll either read or write or send emails. If there's no nap time, then we go in the pool if it's nice or play games or do puzzles or anything, really, to keep him entertained.
  • After nap time, when Daddy's home (YAY!) we'll run some errands, lounge around, or play outside until dinner time.
  • Dinner time for Aubrey is 6:30ish. Dinner time for us? Whenever Aubrey is done eating and/or sleeping. I'll make his food and then feed him, and while Todd is putting him down (changing him, giving him his milk) I'll make our dinner.
  • By 8:30, Aubrey is asleep and we are eating and I can breathe.
And every day is the same. I always joke around that I never know what day it is, but I'm not kidding. I never know what day it is. To me, they're all the same. That may sound horrible to say, but it's so true. Granted, Aubrey is entertaining as hell and there's always something new to learn from him, but it's just him and me. The most human interaction I get on a normal day is from the cashier at Target. Unless, of course, my friends are off of work and grace me with their presence. ;)

I'm saying all of this to lead up to this...

I go out at least once a week, sometimes twice. Sometimes Todd comes, but mostly he doesn't. The baby goes to sleep and I leave and I don't come back before midnight. I go on trips, like the road trip to Tennessee or the weekend trip to the Keys. Sometimes Todd comes, but mostly he doesn't. I leave, but I always come back. Yet, people seem to have a problem with this. They seem to have this idea that a mom stays home; that a mom can't go out, that she can't drink, that she can't go on trips because god forbid she leave her child(ren) for a few days and nights.

But they forget: I don't work a 40 hour week. I don't leave him in daycare or with the nanny or the babysitter and come home at 6 and see him for a few hours. I wake up with him, I am with him every single second of every single day, and I am there when he goes to sleep. Twenty four seven.

Please don't take this as me saying that the working mother is wrong- she's not. I consider going back to work on a daily basis. But the circumstances I'm in have prevented me from doing this, and yeah, a part of me would rather stay home, too. I just wonder why there is so much judgment and intolerance between woman in the same position; mothers.

It doesn't make me any less of a mother, or a wife, or a person because I choose to spend my time away from my child differently than you do, just like it doesn't make the working mother any less of a mother to drop her child off at daycare.

I am lucky enough- no, blessed enough- to have a husband who encourages my girls nights and parents who watch Aubrey when the both of us need to get away. I know that some people don't have that or understand that. I know that my situation is abnormal. I get that.

But when it comes down to it; we're all mothers. We all sacrifice and give and love and live the same way. Instead of judging each other over our decisions- to breastfeed or not, to work or not, to babywear or not- we should be supporting each other, lending out advice but never pushing it down someone's throat. It's kinda like religion- there has to be tolerance, or else everyone loses.

I know that this sounds like a rant- it's not. I'm not concerned with clearing my name or explaining myself. If it comes off that way, I'm sorry. I'm just hoping that, in writing this and being honest about a subject most women don't want to touch, you can find yourself relating and understanding. There's nothing more satisfying (okay, almost nothing) then reading someone's thoughts and screaming, ME TOO!

I hope you're doing that now. And if not, that's okay too. We may all be mothers, but that doesn't mean we're all the same. Some of us believe in God, some of us believe in Allah or Buddah or Mother Earth or Science, but we all believe in LOVE.

There. That's my dose of inspiration for the year. Good deed- check.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Survival of the Fittest

I'm always learning new things about and with Aubrey, but last week I learned two specific things:

  1. His survival instincts have developed.
  2. He's fast. Like, don't blink, fast.

In the past few weeks, Aubrey's been hyper aware of his surroundings, mostly noises. If we're outside, and he hears a loud noise, he'll ask what it is.

*dump truck driving by*
Aubrey: What dat from Mommy?
Me: What's what from, baby?
Aubrey: Dat noise.
Me: That's a truck.
Aubrey: Ohhhh.

It's really funny, because he uses this weird voice whens he asks, and he always asks the same way. It's actually kind of frustrating, because we'll be outside, where there are a million noises, and he'll be like, "What dat from?" And I'll name a million different noises- a car, the wind, people talking, whatever- until he finally decides one of the answers satisfies him and he'll stop asking. (He doesn't do the whole Why? thing yet, but I'm thinking this is his version of it.)

Well, just in the last week, those noises that he was so curious about before have begun to scare him. Thunder, the dogs barking, garbage name it. He clings to me with his iron-man toddler grip until I'm forced to pick him up to keep from tripping.

So the other day, he's in the middle of a nap- one of those good naps where he'll probably sleep for 3+ hours cause he was exhausted- and the lawn people decide to come. Well of course they weed wack or whatever it's called right outside his window, and I kid you not, Aubrey hauled ass out of that crib.

First of all, one second he was asleep (I was watching to see if the wacker would wake him) and the next second he was straddling the top of the crib.

Second of all, he's never climbed out of his crib before. I wasn't even aware he knew how to do it. I'm convinced he was still asleep when it happened, because he hasn't tried since.

So I'm sitting there with Todd, watching all of this happen, and I jump out of bed and practically dive into his room to save him from falling out of his crib. He's screaming, barely hanging on to the slats, and I'm lunging, trying to save his life, and I'm kind of laughing, too, cause his eyes are still closed and he's just frikkin bolting.

Survival instincts- check.

That had him all riled up for a good half hour, and now any time he hears a lawn mower/leaf blower/weed wacker/outdoor grooming equipment, he breaks out into hysterics. He's traumatized for life. I actually think he had a nightmare about it the other night, cause he woke up saying something about noises.

They grow out of this, right?

And yes, he still sleeps in a crib. He even still uses a noise machine. Say something about it.

I suppose it does make things pretty interesting when we're out. I'm forced to actually notice the different sounds surrounding me instead of just blocking it all out. You don't realize how much you do that until you have a child and you're made to see the world around you.

You get the chance to see the world through a child's eyes.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Silver Linings

I don't who it was, but someone once told me that Mom's don't get sick. Something about how God doesn't let us get sick, because then who would take care of the kids?

That's a bunch of baloney. 

Cause I'm a mom and I'm sick. As I type this, I am sitting in bed with a roll of toilet paper on one side of me and a box of Dayquil on the other.

Even though I feel like shit poop, I have enough sense to know that I am lucky, for many reasons. I shall present those reasons to you in a list format.

  1. I am NOT throwing up my guts, which is probably the worst punishment known to mankind. I'd rather birth a child. Yeah, I said it. (and I get some sort of sick satisfaction from the fact that men get to experience vomiting, too. Thank God for that!)
  2. I got sick on a weekend, which means I had my lovely husband home to take care of Aubrey the whoooole time! (maybe I should get sick more often...)
  3. Said husband also decided to use his precious vacation time to take today off. He is currently running the errands I would be running. Right now, at this very moment, he is at Whole Foods buying vitamins and organic milk for Aubrey. And then he's getting me a blueberry muffin from DD because I'm sick and the ONLY thing that will make me feel better is a blueberry muffin from DD. ;)

In all honesty, this weekend has made me ponder various things. The main thing being that I am so incredibly blessed to have a husband, much less one who is as patient and kind as Todd.

I'm not gunna lie, I take things for granted. I think everyone does, but it always takes something to help me realize just how great I have it. This weekend has been successful in that aspect.
There have been times in my life when I've questioned...everything. You know that whole, what if I had done this.. or what if this had happened...

I hope you don't judge me for admitting that. If you're one of those people who has never questioned the decisions you've made, than power to you. Really. Though I have never once regretted the choices I've made, I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I had stayed at NSU, and if we had waited to get married like everyone told us to.

But then life slaps me across the face and tells me to shut-up because if I had done things differently, I wouldn't have what I have today. Aubrey and Todd are two things I would never, ever change or give up.

So even though I have a painfully crusty nose and I sound like a forty-three year old man, I'm thankful that I was reminded to see the silver-lining in this situation.


And to all you single moms out there, high frikkin' five. I don't know how you do it. Because the truth is, mom's do get sick, and when you have no one there to help, you put on your superwoman panties and you get the job done. I hope you know that you make the rest of us look bad.