30 June, 2014

What I Wore Sunday {1}

So I am pretty excited to join this link up for the first time.  I've seen some of my favorite Catholic bloggers participate and I've decided it's time for me to join the fun!


The point of this series is to encourage dressing up for Mass!  In reading these posts I've learned of fun new places to shop for modest, church appropriate clothing.  I hope to share the love :)  Check out the link-up by clicking the picture.


This Sunday our friend (now) Father Brian celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving.  We were so excited to be there for his very first Mass as a priest!!  I forgot to snag a selfie so our post-blessing family photo will have to do.

Dress - Old Navy
Cami - Liz Lange Maternity
Shoes - Kelly & Katie (DSW)
Necklace - Etsy
[not pictured] Cardigan that I wore for Mass before Maggie puked all over it - Canvas by Lands' End

20 June, 2014

The Cloud Sand Disaster

Once I hit the third trimester but especially when Maggie was first born I turned to Ye Olde TV to babysit and entertain Evie.  But lately we've noticed the days she watches a lot of TV are the days she is the most defiant.  Certainly there is a time and place for television, but Eric and I knew now that we're a bit more adjusted to life with Maggie it was time to cut back on singing animals and normally inanimate objects.

Evie's preschool learned about the Earth, Water, Space, Beaches the last month of school.  The teachers made "Cloud Sand" as a sensory learning activity.  The kids LOVED it.  In fact they made it each week for a month.

On the last day of school the teachers gave us the recipe for this beach in a box.  You mix 8 cups of flour to 1 cup of baby oil.  It makes a sand-like texture that's moldable.  Noted.  I  stocked up on supplies, ready for a rainy day.


One of the afternoons after VBS I was totally and completely done with Dora Dora Dora the Explorer and decided to give the Cloud Sand a try.

Evie was SO excited.  We found a bin I wasn't using.   She helped pour in the flour and then she used the whisk as I squirted in the baby oil.  I was so proud of myself that I decided to take pictures and blog about how awesome of a mom I was.


Evie had a great time mixing up the sand and then molding it.  We even built a snowman (he likes warm hugs).
Evie built a castle.  And I patted myself on the back for being Mom of The Year making one of her school activities at home.
 But what I didn't consider was the carpet.  A two year old + Flour + Baby Oil = DISASTER.  I was in the room with her, but I was so distracted by making dinner that this happened right under my feet.


It was Thursday afternoon. We had a dinner party Friday night.  Crap.  My rug smelled like a Cabbage Patch Doll threw up.  Good grief.

I knew if I had any chance of getting this cleaned up it was going to be a bit of work and take a while to dry.  I rolled up the rug and took it outside.  We swept off the big chunks.  But then I was trying to figure out how to get the flour AND the greasy oil out of the rug.

I started by getting it wet.  But water + flour.... IT MADE A PASTE!  IT MADE A PASTE!
We needed to pull out the big guns.  Blue Dawn.  Seriously, if OxyClean or Blue Dawn can't clean it, you should probably just throw it away.   I gave the rug a good squirt of soap and brought out the scrub brush.
  

We scrubbed and sprayed and scrubbed and sprayed. It took a solid 30-45 minutes but we finally got it all cleaned out.  I left the rug outside to dry.

What I didn't factor was the summer humidity.  Or rain.

Guess where the rug is now?




17 June, 2014

I Tried Carrying The Weight of The World -- My Career Discernment & Becoming at SAHM

This post has been in the queue since before Maggie was born but I did not have the emotional energy to finish it.  It's now been four months since my discernment to leave ministry to become a full-time mother.


Ever since late high school I knew I wanted to work in Religious Education of some sort. I didn't know if that meant in the classroom of a Catholic school or in youth ministry, or what.  After a few years of college education in Religious Studies - focus on catechetics - and a lot of hands on ministry work, I discerned that youth ministry was the starting point for me.

I was hired at the second parish I interviewed, my parent's home parish.  I was a part-time high school youth minister and I nannied for two families, and eventually went full time youth ministry while still nannying for one family.

A few years later I moved into a different role that was two different hats and two different age groups:  Middle school youth ministry and 10th grade Confirmation.  I had over 300+ teens in my charge.  I loved the chaos.  Well, for three years.

And then I found out I was pregnant with Evie. Something had to go.  I couldn't be a wife, mom, and youth minister to two groups of teens.  So I joyfully passed off the middle school hat to two great women who have grown the program beyond my dreams.

 For the last two years I've been a part time Confirmation coordinator, while try to juggle raising a baby girl and prayerfully growing our little family.

The first year was fine.  We had an in home nanny  as part of a nanny-share at another house.  Evie was just a Little Bit.  There were lots of naps where I could work from home and not feel guilty.  Eric's job had great hours and a better commute.

Being a working and stay at home mom taught me so much about life, who I am, my faith, my relationship with my husband, my relationship with my work, and how I defined myself.  I would venture to guess that I grew more that year that I have any other year of my life.

And then this past school year happened.  There were last minute child care plan changes but we found something that worked.  The church confirmation program went from 180 to 220 teens (the growth difference is the equivalent of a normal sized parish's entire program!), increasing my workload by twenty something percent,  Eric's new job is an additional 15-25 minutes longer commute each way.  And Evie is of the most impressionable age, of which nap times are sparse (and a fight!) and she needs much more conscious attention.

The hours were really hard on me this year, and it wasn't just because I was pregnant.  My spirit for ministry was being worn down too.

I had to fight battles with coworkers and parents that I'd never had to fight in over 8 years experience.  I also had to fulfill my duty as a "mandatory reporter"- the single most difficult thing I've ever had to do -- times two, because I had two cases.  And I missed my daughter's first school performance and Thanksgiving luncheon because of it.  Other people's problems were directly affecting my family's life.

Because of my off the charts INFJness, I feel the weight of the world with utmost sensitivity.  I want to help ALL THE PEOPLE.  Which is why I do what I do, and why I love it.  However, I lack the ability to turn it off.  I bring it home with me.  Their aches, their pains, their stress, etc.  And I bring it home to my family that needs the opposite.  They need excitement, joy, and my presence, not just a warm body to head up dinner in the microwave.

This Fall I worked an average of 65 hours a week, for a job I get paid 19 hours a week to do.  (Keep in mind, in other parts of the year I work like 10 hours a week, so it averages out..but still).  I would literally lay in bed at night convulsing in tears because I wanted to do more for the teens, more for their families, more for me, more for MY family.  And I just couldn't do ANY. MORE.

I clung to regular prayer, confession, and spiritual direction for the first time in my life.  Which *should* bring about a restored enthusiasm, or at least a little more joy in fulfilling ones vocation(s).

It did not.

In fact, it made me question all the more -- "What am I doing?" "Why am I doing this?"   "Who am I doing it for?" "Is it worth it?"

Initially, I was so closed off to the idea of quitting my job. I felt like I was a failure... throwing in the towel.  I had too much pride to be THAT youth minister that was burnt out, overworked and underpaid, or that lacked boundaries. I refused to even entertain the idea.

But the semester went on.

One afternoon, about three or four weeks into the most intense time, I was working on our home computer and Evie came over to me.  She pulled on my arm. She took my hand, looked me square in the eye and said, "No more work, Mommy. Play with me."

I still cannot recount that moment without tears.

That was it.  That tiny encounter with my two year old was Jesus in the flesh begging me to listen to Him.

It was the beginning of November.  I had a few weeks of preparation left.  The kids were to be Confirmed a few days before Thanksgiving.  I couldn't pause to discern what the Lord was asking of me until then. I just didn't have the time.

Just two days before the Confirmation Mass I was putting the finishing touches on the Mass programs, (which would have been done the week before if it weren't for a coworker's tardiness), when I looked at the clock.  I had just enough time to race over to Evie's pre-school to see her Thanksgiving performance.  As I walked into the preschool's chapel the two year olds were walking off the stage and the teacher sorrowfully said, "You just missed it!"

A loud and angry thought ran through my head, "You just missed your daughter's first performance because you were kicking a copy machine"

I have spent hundreds of heartbroken hours harping on the fact I work with a bunch of teens whose parents are too busy to be present for their children and here I just became one!

This too weighed heavily on my heart, but again I didn't have time to entertain it.

The big day came and I was so, so proud of the teens.  All 212 of them who ended up getting Confirmed.  The auxiliary bishop who had been our pastor the year before came back to Confirm them.  As I sat in the choir loft watching them each be Confirmed, I was full of that pride that mamas have for their children.  That day makes every lost sponsor form, late permission slip, or complicated parent worth it.  The Holy Spirit shows up in such a big way!

That one day is normally enough to carry me through an entire year of trials and tribulations.

But this year things were different.  It took three weeks for my blood pressure to level off.  And I suffered three debilitating migraines, two of which I had to call my sister and mom to come help take care of me.  I had zero energy for the joy of Christmas.  I was so emotionally and spiritually exhausted from this year's Confirmation season.

I felt like my ministry-job robbed me of the joy of my primary vocation:  I completely forgot my Dad's birthday, I was on the Confirmation retreat during my daughter's second birthday, and Eric had confessed he felt like our marriage had been reduced to a relationship of mere roommates.

I had been so busy taking care of 212 teenagers and their family's baggage that I did not have the time or energy to care for my own growing family.

During the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas I wouldn't let myself entertain the idea of even prayerful discerning if the Lord was calling me to be a full time SAHM.  Part of me was afraid of the answer.  Part of me was afraid my emotions were talking and I knew this had to be an objective decision:  was I running away or was I running towards something?

We're blessed with almost two full weeks off for Christmas.  This year I put up my out-of-office-reply and vowed not to even think about work until the New Year.  I needed complete rest and relaxation if I was going to begin discerning this with a level head.

On January 2nd I decided to open my email in search of a particularly timely email I look forward to each year.  It was there sandwiched between nearly a dozen requests for information for the next year's Confirmation program!  I hadn't even filed away the last year's.

My hands started shaking. I could feel my blood pressure rising.  My heart was racing.  I began to sweat.

I quickly realized I was having a post-tramatic-stress-disorder / anxiety attack type reaction to these emails.  What the heck?  I LOVED my job!  Working with the teens was seriously so rewarding, fun, and worth it.

It took this reaction for me to really pause and ask myself if working this job was where I was supposed to be right now.

I brought the subject up again with my spiritual director and with a close priest friend.  They both encouraged me to separate the issues:
1) Did I need a new job? or 2) Did I need to stay home with my family

They had me work through a series of questions over the month of January.  I filled an entire journal debating all sorts of issues.  Hours were spent discussing possibilities with Eric.  I called a few of my SAHM mom friends that I find to be incredible mothers to talk to them about what they love about staying home.  I even reworked my resume and nearly applied to a job.  Finally, Eric and I worked on our budget.  The numbers weren't perfect or easy, but they worked.

I think working out the budget put me at ease. Having those numbers balance without my salary gave both of us a sense of peace.  And then we had an immediate answer.  I needed to stay home.

I needed to answer that call the Lord had been tugging me to answer - I needed to be a fully present mother to my two girls.  I had discerned that while yes, it would be a huge break in juggling other people's emotional stress that was weighing on me - I was not running away from work, but running towards a life of being a stay at home mom.  Not that it would be easier, I just wouldn't be juggling so much.

With a deep breath and sigh of relief I called my spiritual director and my close priest friend to tell them.  I could hear them smile with that snarky smirk of "I knew it"

I turned in my two months notice (because we all know how quickly the Church works) and started cleaning out nine years worth of memories out of my office.

Those two months would be very bittersweet. Saying good-bye and handing over my treasured teens to the unknown was difficult, but with growing intensity I was urning for the future -- meeting miss Maggie and my future of staying home with her and Evie.

During the months of discernment the song "Wake Me Up"  by Avicii was my theme.  Specifically the line "I tried carrying the weight of the world / But I only have two hands" hit me hard.  I feel so intensely and so deeply but I could no longer have all the emotional struggles of being a good youth minister AND being a good mother.  It was time to admit that I only had two hands.  I can only do so much.

And being a full time mom fills my two hands perfectly.

Read about my last day of work here.


16 June, 2014

Seven Quick Takes {5}

1. Summer is in full swing here at the Buergler House.  We're making the most of the weird weather (what I like to crudely call: Shit or Get Off The Pot). Basically, it's sunny for an hour then it rains for 15 minutes and then it can't decide what it's going to do. So, what's a toddler + newborn mom supposed to do? You can't exactly pack it up and go to the pool. You never know when the lightening is going to strike again.

So we've made the most of it around the house.

(cloud sand disaster post coming soon!)

2.  I love having two girls. Sisters are the best, y'all.


3.  We've been spending more time with my brother Alex and his son Connor.  Connor played his first season of baseball in a very family-friendly no-pressure league. We loved watching him learn!
4. My non-climber is finally taking off!  She's been much more adventurous with steps, the playground, and doing things "All by myself"


 5.  I've been experimenting with a photography technique called free-lensing.  This is my first attempt. It's a close up of a marigold. There are two ways you can free lens:  One, by taking the lens off and holding it backwards to the camera body or Two, by detaching it and separating it from the body just a little bit.  This was done using the first method.  i think.  now I can't remember. haha!


 6.  I'm excited for some up coming blog changes and new posts!  Amy from The Charming is working on a new design for me.  And I'm cooking up some posts on cloth diapers (my most requested topic that I've been putting off writing about!) and baby gear, as well as updating some photography work.   Wanted to give a quick shout out to Amy who announced her pregnancy today!! Congratulations :)



7.  It's Monday, y'all.  I hope yours is off to a better start than mine.  D'oh!


Linking up with Conversion Diary's Seven Quick Takes hosted by Kathryn from Team Whitaker this week!

11 June, 2014

Maggie: Two Months


Measurements:

Weight: from 7lbs 14 oz (birth) to 11lbs 5.5 oz (65%)
Length:  from 20.5 inches (birth) to 24 inches (97%)
Feeds: About 15-20 minutes about every 2.5-4 hours during the day, and every 5-9 hours at night
Diapers:  Tiny Fit Tots Bots cloth diapers, and size 1 disposables (at night)
Clothes: Fits great in 3 month clothes, but ready for 6 month in footie pajamas!
Shoes: none
Teeth: none

Firsts:

May 8 - Five+ Hour night time sleep stretch
May 16 - Non-family member babysitter
May 19 - Social Smile
May 23 & 24 - Spent two long days with Nana & Grandpa while Mom & Dad were at a wedding
 May 29 - Trip to the cabin
June 2 - Sleep through the night (9:30-6:30)
June 9 - First vaccinations

Milestones:

Following objects with her eyes
Grasping our finger or tiny toys in her hand
Social smiles
Can recognize Mommy, Daddy and Evie
Slowly outgrowing the crazy hiccups
Lifts feet and wiggles around

Likes:

A good bedtime swaddle
Bath time, especially if the water is really warm
Her swing
Looking at the animals on her play mat
Being held to fall asleep
Her MAM pacifiers

Dislikes:

Wet diapers
Being cold
When Evie plays too rough with her
Being startled awake

Other:

We've found our stride between the Moms On Call
super-structured schedule and the The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
the-baby-is-in-charge schedule.  Using the theories of Moms On Call we've had Maggie sleeping through the night for last 8/10 days.

With Maggie sleeping through the night I'm usually so full in the morning that she easily over does it with her first morning feeding. I have to be careful so she doesn't milk-barf all over us!

Maggie does her best feedings while in football hold. It's tricky now that she's getting so long. She's fine in other positions, but that's it. She's fine.

After trying eye drops to rule out conjunctivitis Maggie has been diagnosed with a clogged tear duct in her right eye.  We have to do a warm compress massage on the area between her eye and nose and hope she grows out of it.

We'd noticed her belly button was still enlarged. I just thought I didn't remember how long they take to go down.  Turns out she has a small hernia that is expected to go away on it's own.

We thought she was growing out of the snorts-when-crying thing, but she hasn't.  I wonder if this will be something she does her whole life?  Or if she'll be a snorts-when-laughing kid? It's cute now.  I hope it's not something she's self conscious about when she's older.

Our daily routine - A general idea
6:30 morning feed
shower, Evie gets up, breakfast
take Evie to school/camp/VBS
9:30/10:30 mid-morning feed + errands + Maggie naps
1:30 pick up Evie
2:00 afternoon feed
Maggie naps
Evie naps
Mommy naps/tv/blog/email
4:00/4:30 girls wake up
Evie shows + snack
5:00 late afternoon feed
make dinner + eat
Daddy gets home!
family play time or walk
7:00 snack feed
7:30 start girl's bedtime routine
9:00/9:30 Maggie bedtime feeding
Everyone sleeps!

What They Say:

So this is it, you're done right? Or are you going to try for a boy?
She looks just like Eric!
Got your hands full there, don't you?

09 June, 2014

My Five Pregnancy, L&D, and Recovery Fears Revisited

Back in February I wrote about my rational and irrational fears of having a repeat end of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and recovery experience.

I wanted to revisit and follow up with how I did and how I am doing.

1. Preeclampsia 

Concern: Having preeclampsia again.

Outcome: While I did not have full blown preeclampsia I did end up with pregnancy induced hypertension.  I had to have urine tests and be monitored every 3 days for about 2.5 weeks.  At my 38/39 week check up the midwife said it was time to get the baby out.  I was induced again but had a much better experience.


2. Labor & Delivery 

Concern: Since Evie was induced, I feared spontaneous labor and making it to the hospital on time.  Also, I was knocked out on Ambien while I delivered Evie, so I feared the pain of being alert and coherent for the birth this time.  Would I be able to do it completely unmedicated?

Outcome:  Maggie was induced just like Evie.

I was completely coherent for Maggie's unmedicated labor and delivery.  The pain was awful but extremely empowering.  I think back on that day and want to high-five myself.  To me it was an even better sense of accomplishment than finish my first half-marathon!

I didn't do it to show off or brag but because it's what I believe in.  I could not have done it with out Eric or the BEST nurse at our hospital.  Now I know I can do it while awake, I will go confidently into labor when we (hopefully) have #3.

3.   Nursing

Concern:  After weeks of struggling, I ended up exclusively pumping and bottle feeding Evie. I was worried that Maggie wouldn't take to nursing either.  I was worried that I'd feel obligated to pump again while juggling a demanding two year old.

Outcome: Maggie took to nursing like an old pro.  The lactation consultant was impressed and just assumed I'd nursed Evie too!

I don't love nursing, as you read on all the breastfeeding support blogs, but I do it.  I do it because I won't want to wash bottles all day and I don't want to spend the money on formula if we don't have to.  I have no idea how long this is going to last, but I passed my first two goals:  one week and six weeks.  On our way to my next goal: three months!

4.  Recovery and weight loss

Concern:  I did not take my post-baby recovery seriously.  It turned into exhaustion, screaming fits, binge eating, depression and weight gain.

Outcome:  I took recovery seriously.  My mom was able to help out a lot more this time (THANK YOU!!) We ended up with enough meals from friends that I made it almost 7 weeks without major cooking.  I reminded myself that the laundry and dishes could wait, because my mental and physical health was/is THE most important thing.  I allowed myself plenty of naps.  I let Evie watch TV if we needed.  I can't say that I feel 100% back to normal, but for being 8 weeks post partum, I feel pretty awesome! My mantra has been "On an airplane they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, and then help others"  I use this to remind myself that I need to be healthy and taken care of before I can help my family.

As for the weight loss.  Oh the weight loss. I lost the actual baby weight as in the 15 pounds of human and placenta.  And then I plateaued. I've been stuck at the same weight for the last 4 weeks. After a long talk with the NP at my OB's office, we have a plan of attack.  And we also have some goals.  Long story short, I have a lot of work to do before she recommends we try for a third.

5.  Postpartum Depression and Anxiety


Concern:  Reliving the dark cloud of depression.  And the horrible panic attacks that would strike in the middle of the night or out in a crowd.

Outcome: Well, I am happy to say within an hour of the birth I told Eric that this recovery was going to be different.  By the end of the hospital stay I knew I was going to be fine.

I know there is no way to 100% prevent depression, but I know for me that long term exhaustion can be a major trigger for me.  I made sure to nap when both girls were napping. I got Maggie on a "schedule" at two weeks so we could leave the house. And made sure I took a shower first thing every day. If nothing else it gave me the sense of control over my life!  Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference.

The only little thing I've noticed that falls in the PPD&A family is having a touch of OCD.  I'm not sure if it's *actually* OCD or just a coping mechanism for needing to have control over something.  But I HAVE to be doing laundry all the time.  I walk around the house and find things to wash.

Overall -

First of all, y'all were so supportive with your responses to my original post.  Lots of great suggestions, sympathy and encouragement.  I went into the last few weeks of pregnancy with a much better game plan.  Thank you!

Secondly, man oh man, being a first time parent is so hard!  I had taken my cues for recovery expectations from mom-friends who were having their third or fourth.  That's such a different ball game.  I was really hard on myself after I had Evie.  Having experience with one plus the added research, going into number has been much easier!  Thanks be to God!