Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meditations on a Breast Pump

I wish MY legs were that skinny.

Jones never really nursed. (Still haven't crossed the threshold for "Too Much Information"?  Read on.)

Because I developed pre-eclampsia at the end of my pregnancy, Jones was delivered three weeks before his due date. At that point, he wasn't interested in eating anything, much less having to work for it, so in those early days of force feeding him through a syringe, I committed myself to six months of giving my sweet little man breast milk in bottle form, which, in essence, has amounted to "expressing myself" multiple times a day like some kind of dairy animal who's been removed from the farm.

Trust me. There IS a point to all this.

For the most part, pumping has been a pretty easy experience. I'm so thankful to be able to give Jones the health benefits of breast milk, while at the same time giving myself the convenience of, say, having his daddy give Jones his breakfast bottle. In fact, the only time pumping really presents a problem is when mealtime hits, and I haven't yet ... oh, how should I say this? ... "prepared" it.

That's what happened today.

I KNOW he eats at 4:30. This happens every, single day, but today, for whatever reason (ahem, Facebook), I wasn't ready. Minutes before zero hour, I snuck out of Jones's room, where I'd stepped in to check on him. Since he'd just started to stir from his nap, I thought I had time. Well, no sooner had I gotten connected to my "equipment" then my very sweet-natured son started to let me know, so to speak, that I was late with his lunch.

What could I do? I couldn't feed him what I hadn't yet produced, so I pumped on. As I sat there, I thought to myself, "If he only knew what I'm doing in here ... if he only knew, he could quit the crying, knowing that I'm preparing right now to meet his need."


As the thought sunk in, I could sense God saying to me, "Exactly."

If only I'd known about the UGA acceptance, I wouldn't have cried through three years of applying to doctoral programs. If I'd had any idea that Jeremy was waiting, I wouldn't have fought Him so hard for leaving me single so long. If I'd known in advance what He was up to in these and so many other situations, I could've just sat back and let Him do His job. Instead, I cried and complained, like my three month old son, sweating out whether or not I'd remember to feed him.

But the truth is, I DO know what He's up to. He tells me in Romans 8:28. He's working all things together for my good. Even when I don't know what He's doing. Even when I'm crying my eyes out. Even when I think He's forgotten to feed me.

He's always there, preparing right now to meet my need.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Double Shot of "AWESOME"

Who out there wants to stop being boring?

For you - and for me - I give you this little pep talk ... because if there really ARE two paths, I ALSO want to be on the one that leads to Awesome.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Broadway Peace Talks

Do you ever have those moments in your life when you just take a deep breath and wonder, "What did I do to be so blessed?!"

These moments in my life have been many. God has been beyond good to me, doing, as He promised, "exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ask or think." Precious husband. Healthy son. Passion for the Winningest Team in College Basketball History

If you ask me, I've got everything I need!

One of these "Wow!" moments came last spring in the form of an invitation to speak before each musical in the 2012-2013 Certus Broadway Series at the Peace Center in Greenville. When offered the gig, I had to clarify before accepting. "Hold up," I said. "You're telling me I get to prepare and present  a chat about musical theatre to people who choose to be there? AND THERE'S NO GRADING INVOLVED?!

The theatre professor in me has achieved Utopia.

I say all that to say, we'd love to see you there! The talks are held at 6:30 p.m. on the Wednesday nite of each show's run, and the public is welcome whether or not they're planning to attend the show.

So join us: next up this season is Billy Elliott (Feb. 13), followed by The Blue Man Group (May 8), and, Daddy's favorite, Jersey Boys (July 17). Each session is different - but it generally entails some form of historical background about the show, and, sometimes, a Q&A with members of the cast. On very rare occasions, I may even sing a bar or two of the score.

I get giddy just thinking about it ... and NOT just because there's no grading involved!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sleep in Peace: Lessons About the Father that I Learned from my Son

Jones has become a really good sleeper.

Call it luck; call it training; call it months of praying before (and after!) he was born that he'd take it easy on his sleep-greedy mama, but most nites in recent weeks, we put him in his crib at 7:30 p.m. and typically don't hear from him again for another 8 or 9 hours when he wakes up to eat before dozing off once more.

Truly, he is his father's son.

Thanks, Leslie Bell, for my threads!
Though we may not HEAR from him, that doesn't mean we don't see him. Until Jeremy and I go to bed a few hours later, we both check on Jones repeatedly.  In fact, I find myself making excuses to walk by his bedroom, just so I can peek in. Want to be sure he hasn't swallowed his paci. Got to confirm he hasn't, in the middle of the nite, learned how to roll-over, leaving himself face down on his bright yellow bedsheet. Irrational fears, I grant you, but these are actual thoughts that run through the mind I inherited from my mother.

Jones has no idea I'm doing this. I just do it, because I love my baby boy and want to be sure he's safe.

Just after he was born, I walked in one nite and stood there, watching him sleep. One hand on the white crib railing, I used the other to pull down a piece of his sleeper that'd gotten bunched up by his tiny nose. I threw that wascally pacifier to the foot of his bed, and I stood there, periodically putting my hand gently on his belly just to be sure I could feel the rise and fall of his baby breath. Just watching, protecting in case anything came up that my newborn couldn't handle for himself.

As I stood there, Psalm 4:8 came into mind:

"In peace, I will both lie down and sleep, for You Alone, o Lord, make me dwell in safety."

"In other words," God seemed to say to me, "This is how I watch over YOU, Kristin." Only, He's ALWAYS there, never slumbering or sleeping, keeping a constant watch for those countless things I can't handle for myself (can I handle ANYTHING by myself? Um, no). He Alone protects me from things that I - just like Jones - don't even know are hazards, because He loves his little girl and wants to be sure I'm safe.

"Sleep in peace."


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Three Must-Haves for Baby's First Three Months

What I wouldn't give to nap in a fanny-hammock like that!
So, obviously, I'm new at this motherhood thing.

Though I spent the better part of the last thirteen years acting as if - even wishing that - my sister's children belonged to me, I, technically, wasn't a mama myself until the recent coming of my sweet son, who is, at this very moment, whimpering like a dejected puppy dog, because I DARED to put him down for a nap. The nerve of me.

All that to say, anyway, that I'm not setting myself up as an expert here.  People - remember my sister? - have been at it far longer than I have. There are, however, a few things I've learned, since giving birth last October, and though most of my friends are well past the baby stage, there are some who aren't, and for those, I offer these "Three Must-Haves for the First Three Months."

1) The Britax B-Agile Stroller.  I tell you this: if I could, I would ride around in this thing myself. As smoothly as it strolls, it feels like the Lexus of travel systems, though at a Toyota price. Remembering my sister's hard-to-maneuver, circa 1999 stroller, I was determined to find one that was easy to glide. With the Britax, my mission was accomplished. Think cutting through butter - only not the hard kind of butter that's been in the fridge for a few weeks, the kind that's been softened by sitting out on the counter, because your mom forgot to put it up after making the mashed potatoes. Now, that's SMOOTH.

That fact alone is reason enough to love it. Imagine that ease, however, coupled with the convenience of two-step folding. You push a button; you pull a strap. As Velvet Jones would say, "It's as simple as that." I use this stroller for everything - I take it in to restaurants instead of using a high chair; I lay the reclining seat flat for emergency diaper changes. Occasionally, I even use it to stroll my son. I do not have the words to express how much I love this lightweight-but-sturdy piece of mechanical mastery.

Just as fantastic is the ...

Thank you, Aunt Belva! I love it!
2) Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper.  Soon enough, Jones will graduate to a Pack & Play for sleeping in when we travel. Until then, this little beauty has been all across the Southeast with our little family. He also naps in it here at home and, if you must know, sits in while I'm taking my daily bath(s). This one came HIGHLY recommended to me and with good reason. It's every bit as necessary as advertised.

As is the ...

3) Especially for Baby Bath Sling. Jones's first-ever bath was given in a tub. It was then that I realized if I'm going to do squats, I'll do them in the gym, thank you very much. Thanks to this lightweight, inexpensive sling, all subsequent baths have been given as God intended them ... at a respectable height in the kitchen sink, using this seat. This thing takes the stress out of wetting a soapy, squirmy newborn. And he seems to like it, too. He's big enough now that I don't have to hold on to him every second he's sitting in it. Tonite, in fact, the relaxed look on his face seemed to say, "Mama, how about turning on some Zac Brown and rustling up a paper umbrella to top off my bottle?"

So there you have it.

Babies R Us would have you believe that it takes WAY more than these. Things that sing and shake and vibrate in the nite are as necessary to their brand of motherhood as sugar is to sweet tea, but I'm here to tell you, they aren't. At least in my experience, they aren't. In my experience, all the tangibles you actually need are these.

Oh, yeah. And diapers. And a crib. And a swing. And ... well, nevermind.

What are YOUR favorite things for Baby?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Reunited, and it feels so good."

Have we met?

I'm Kristin.

Four major holidays, five Wildcat losses, and a three month old son ago, I used to blog here, periodically posting pictures of my family or the odd YouTube video to remind me of when things didn't seem so bleak around my old Kentucky home.

I'd like to try that again.

But first, there's somebody you've got to meet. Here he is - the boy who put the "... and Biscuit, too" in "Two Hues of Blue," my sweet little, itty bitty JONESIE BONES!

Robert "Jones" Pressley
born October 16, 2012
6 lbs., 1 oz.
18 3/4 inches long

That's not his real name, of course. His REAL name is Robert Jones Pressley, and he was named not for the golfer (no matter WHAT my husband says) but for his daddy (Jeremy Robert Pressley) and my great granddaddy (Philip Jones Leslie).

I'd blame my blogging hiatus on him, but it's not his fault. It's mostly the fault of my complete inability to figure out how to keep the house clean, the baby fed, and the friends visited, while still keeping the blog updated. To be honest, I'm STILL not sure I know how to do all that, but now that I have a three month old whose infrequent smiles are, in my admittedly biased opinion, too cute to not share, I'm sure gonna give it the old sporting try.

Won't you join me in the journey?