Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nothing in Particular

Isn't she cute?

Jeff offered to go shopping for me on Saturday and guess who he saw there (or rather she saw them)? Macy! My brother Jonathan had also offered to go shopping for Laura (what a great Valentine's gift from both husbands) and Macy discovered Jeff and Lily at the store. It was a happy reunion. While walking around another customer mentioned to Jeff that she had seen so many dads with their baby's that day. Jeff told her the other dad was his brother-in-law. Just like the time when Laura and I were at J0-Ann's together and a woman commented that my baby was so good and in fact all the babies in the store were good that day. I told her the other baby was Lily's cousin.

And speaking of being in the same place at the same time with Laura, today I went on a walk (it was gloriously beautiful out) and I thought, I bet Laura is out on a walk too. So I called her as I walked past her gated complex and guess what? She was indeed on a walk and coming towards me. So we met up 2 minutes later and had a nice walk together which was great. It was especially funny to me because last night I was saying to Jeff that the next time Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum discount tickets were offered on Groupon we needed to buy them, since I was mad at myself for not buying them the last time they were offered and I wanted to go. Well, I woke up this morning and guess what Groupon's discout of the day was? $6 tickets (reg $21) for Madame Tussaud's! So I felt like today was just one of those great days when everything worked out peachy and those coincindences were fun little blessings.

And here's another cute picture of Lily. Her onesie says, "It's fun to be me" and I think she really believes that. She is such a smiley, happy little girl and we just love her so much. Right now she's smiling because I'm singing Jackon Five's "I Want You Back" (it was on American Idol last night and she seemed to enjoy my rendition of it). Really she enjoys any music so if you want to make her smile just sing her a tune.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lily's Free!

Lily was born with a curved left leg/foot.

Jeff noticed it from birth, but we were told it would straighten out as she put weight on it. Well, she has been putting weight on it and no straighty-outy. The result was that her right leg became VERY strong (what a kicker) since her left leg couldn't bear her weight since she only used the outer edge of it. Luckily Jeff went to her last check-up and asked about it. The doctor asked if we had consulted an orthodpedic surgeon., we were told to not worry about it. Long story short, we saw a specialist and boom....she got a cast.

She hated having it put on, but she tolerated it VERY well. She had it on for a total of 3 weeks and I was dying for her to get it off more than anything. We made sure to get some signatures before it came off: The black pen is from Addison and the markers are from Caleb. And of course mommy and daddy signed too. Don't you love all her chub? Those are some amazing legs.

She was finally able to have it off when they had a special brace made for her that she only has to wear at nights. Hallelujah! It was the best to be able to give her a proper bath, none of this sponge bathing business. And changing diapers and putting on clothes was wonderful. The biggest blessing out of all of this was that Lily did not have any blow outs that whole 3 weeks (blow out that goes in the cast means she has to get re-casted....and mucho inconvenienco for moi since each visit has lasted a couple hours for 10 minutes of work). But, within 1 hour of being home, guess who had a blow out that went all down her left, previously casted leg? LILY! All I did was laugh and say a prayer of thanks for the poop to show all its glory after the cast was off.

She now has a perfectly normal left foot, that can go flat with the best of them. The first thing she did once she realized she was free was kick her legs like crazy and has not stopped kicking them since.

Lesson learned from all of this? You have to be your child's advocate and it's a wonderful, wonderful thing to have simple solutions that can have an amazing lasting effect on your child.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Can Read!

I love to read, always have. Growing up my favorite books were the Anne of Green Gables series, which I read 3 times. I of course loved Pride and Prejudice, which I have read multiple times as well (I'm not sure if I have met a woman who does not love Pride and Prejudice), Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators, The Babysitters Club, The Work and the Glory series, The Scarlet Pimpernell, The Count of Monte Cristo, Jane Eyre, Ender's Game, and Ender's Shadow. However, the older I got, the less I read outside of school. And by the time I got to college, I think the only non-academic books I read were the Harry Potter series and The Chronicles of Narnia series. That's it! And if read something else I don't remember it now, so it didn't make a lasting impression.

So after one graduates college, there is loads of time, right? I should have been reading up a storm, but unfortunately I was not. I'm not sure how I passed my time, but it was not reading books. I think this was partly because I never knew what I wanted to read, so I just didn't do it.

Fast forward to post-partum. So much time spent nursing and getting up in the middle of the night. I watched all sorts of shows. I gained a love for the PBS channel, all the cooking, travel, craft shows were fun to watch. I watched some Ken Burns documentaries on DVD and enjoyed those. I felt like if I was going to watch all this television I wanted it to be somewhat educational. But then I hit a wall. I hated turning the tv on. I needed something more engaging.

So I talked with some people and got some recommendations. I started with the Fablehaven series and Hunger Games, and my love for reading was rediscovered and I took off. Now I can't stand not having a book to read and my only problem is I need to make sure I don't read too much. But can I just say how much I love it? I love being so wrapped up in characters and stories and enjoying the descriptions, writing styles, creativity, and talents of amazing authors. I love finding a book that is bittersweet to finish.....happy to have made it through but so sad to say goodbye. So long live reading.

And now that I have an awesome e-reader, reading is so much easier! I can read easily during late night feedings and in bed if I want (I will admit I have gone to bed later now that I can read in the dark). I thought I would miss having a book to hold, but it does come in handy and I feel like I read so much faster. I still will buy books and will read books, but it is nice to have the e-reader option. Plus, all the classics are I have a whole library at my fingertips! And this will definitely make travelling with books much easier.

I thought I'd make a little list of books below that I have read recently so that if you are ever looking for something to read then here are a few suggestions...and if you have any suggestions let me know!

Left To Tell: Amazing true story of a woman who survived the Rwandan Holocaust. So inspiring. Jeff read this one too and couldn't put it down and kept making all these notes and underlines in the book (sorry mom, he marked up your copy).

Fablehaven series: This consists of 5 books written by a BYU grad. I actually remember seeing him play Gandolph in BYU's comedy group, Divine Comedy. These are about 2 kids who help save reserves that house magical creatures. Very creative and fun to read. Good for kids.

Hunger Games: Series of 3 books about a futuristic world where kids have to fight in games to the death, as tribute to the "capital." Very interesting and IMPOSSIBLE to put down. This is a great one to take on a lounging vacation, or where you are going on a long flight. Otherwise you kind of take a break from reality until you finish it.

Unbroken: Another amazing true story written by the author of Seabiscuit. It is about an Olympic runner who, as an air force pilot in WWII, gets kidnapped and detained as a POW in a Japanese camp. Incredible story of survival, also very inspiring.

The Help: Written during the time when Martin Luther King was just becoming popular. The help refers to the black help white people had in the south. Commentary on the south during this time, great read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society: Delightful read! About German occupation on the Channel Islands during WWII. The book is written in the form of a series of letters, which is unusual but works wonderfully. Very quick read (so sad it ended).

Walk Two Moons: An adolescent book that deals with loss. Another quick read, but very touching I thought.

Sherlock Holmes: All I have read is the Hound of the Baskervilles, but it was very entertaining. I'm just starting another story today. Didn't know stories were written from Watson's perspective, but it's fun how smart Holmes is, wish I was like him. Plus, since I loved Nancy Drew and The Three Investigators, I am a sucker for a good mystery.

North and South: Written in the 1800's, this is kind of Pride and Prejudice-esque. During the industrial revolution, a commentary on the hard working conditions of mill workers. A Darcy/Elizabeth love story. The language was a little hard for me to follow at first, but once I got the hang of it I enjoyed it. There is also a movie which I'd like to see.

The Secret Garden: Love this! I knew I enjoyed the movie so I read this the other day and thought it was just wonderful. Such a beautiful story.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lily's Birth

Okay, so I'm kind of going back in time, but I figure I'll backtrack when I can, but try to focus more on being current.

Lily Dorothy Baer was born on August 29, 2010, weighing 7 lbs 3 oz. I just saw a newborn baby yesterday who also weighed in the 7 lb range and I cannot believe Lily was ever that small. She is a chunko now. We picked the name Lily because it reminded us of our trip to Israel where the red lilies of the field were in season and dotted some of the grassy areas, Gethsemane in particular. We liked being reminded that the Lord will always take care of us, just as he does the lilies, and how their red color symbolizes his atonement. The name brings back to us all the spiritual experiences we had on our trip to Israel. And the name Dorothy comes mama! She was honored to have us name her Dorothy, but then said, "are you sure?" I wanted to have my little girl remember her granny dot and all the good things about her and I wanted my mom to be represented in one of my children. It will be wonderful one day to tell her about who she is named after and why. The only problem is we sometimes get the name confused. When Jeff announced Lily's birth in testimony meeting he said Lily Dorothy DeVore (DeVore just naturally comes after Dorothy after having said it for so many years). So we were all worried he'd say the wrong name for her blessing. And then when I made my first post I wrote her name as Dorothy Lily Baer (not sure why), but the name has obviously been tricky for us to get right :)

Anyway, back to the birth story. The 28th was a very long day, we attended the temple, ran many errands and then went to the adult session of stake conference. I think this is one of my last photos as a pregnant woman.
I was extremely uncomfortable and told Jeff that I would be happy to deliver any day (I was due on the 31st). Well, Lily was seeking to be the perfect child and thought she'd start out by coming when I asked. So my water broke that night and I delivered the next day! Jeff and I were exhausted, but once that epidural hit I was going through those contractions with ease, until of course the real pushing started. Jeff was great and modeled breathing for me (he was a very good student in the labor and delivery class we took....though when we watched a video on giving birth I looked over and saw his eyes closed. I thought he was asleep but he was praying I'd have a good labor...he was a little traumatized). The only complaint came when he about fainted while I was pushing and the doctor and nurse had to attend to him just as I was getting a contraction. And let me tell you, you want your helpers around when you get a pushing contraction. We had a worry that I might have to have a c-section because Lily's head was not dropping, but after prayers and a blessing, she decided she was ready to take the plunge. My thumbs up is due to her head dropping.
I was so happy to have Lily out and to hold her. I kept saying "my baby, she's so beautiful" and other positive things. Turns out that Jeff was thinking she looked like an alien (I won't post the picture that shows how he could have thought this) so he was relieved to know that I loved her and was happy with her.

Because my blood type is B- and Lily is RH positive, there was a concern for jaundice, so we had to wake her up often and feed her. She also had to get her blood drawn to check her bilirubin levels and that was sad. She screamed and kicked and the lab tech said she was a strong one, so he thought she'd be smart and independent (funny how much you can tell by a scream and a kick!).

I was very happy my mom came for that first week home. She was a HUGE help and it was nice to just have a friend, a companion that first week. It's so lonely and exhausting, so I don't know what I would have done without her. Plus Jeff would probably not have had any clean clothes or food and that would have made him sad :(
That was a brutul week. I have never felt so tired emotionally and physically. Nursing did not come easily for me and I was not quite sure how I was supposed to keep doing it. And the nighttime feedings where I felt like I could not get up one more time. And a whole slew of other things. The wonderful thing is that now, while I remember how hard it was, there is no pain associated with that memory. Nursing is easy and while I am still tired, I can function like a semi-normal adult most of the time. I never thought I'd be to this point, but giving something time can really do wonders. I remember that for the first 6 weeks every time I thought about the whole pushing/labor experience I shuddered and quickly tried to stop thinking about it. But my PTSD is now resolved and I feel that I can indeed do this again.

We're Back!

So I have been meaning to update this post for awhile now, since I'm a mom and that seems to be what moms do. But like most of my resolutions, it has taken awhile to get moving. Everyone talks about January 1st being a fresh start, but why not February 1st? So hello 2011.

I guess I should start out by saying that Jeff and I are proud parents of Lily Dorothy Baer. Surprised to hear this? Don't feel bad, I never sent you an announcement, and she was born in AUGUST. Did I mention that I can be a slow mover? Well, yesterday I was thinking about all of my many deficiencies and slowness. I felt bad that I hadn't started exercising, that I wasn't as crafty, creative, organized, spiritual, motherly, friendly, smart (the list went on and on) as so and so. I felt like I didn't have many friends, like I always mess things up that I get involved in, and was feeling very sensitive to any perceived criticism that I reflected on. In essence, I didn't have the spirit with me and was in a funk. I tried to be happy, especially when Lily smiled at me, but I would smile back at her through tears. I was not happy with myself and I felt like I was not progressing to be the person I wanted to be.

I thought I would keep my feelings to myself because I really don't like crying to people, and just be secretly sad all day, but Jeff could tell (as he always can) that I was down. I told him on his drive home all my frustrations and sadness and he listened. He offered encouraging words and shared his love. He also offered to give me a blessing when he came home.

It is a wonderful feeling to be so full of sorrow and then to feel the embrace of someone who loves you without reservation. That was what it was like when Jeff came home. He gave me a hug and loving words, and then a beautiful blessing. As he spoke, I talked with God as He, through Jeff, was talking to me. I felt like it was a conversation. I was reminded of several things. That I have been given many gifts and talents, and to express gratitude often for my blessings. That I have a love for others and a desire to serve them, which is good, but to not give up on those desires to communicate, invite or serve others, even when it feels like those efforts are in vain. To stop worrying about all that I think I can't do, that God has given everyone different gifts and that people have different desires. That I CAN be given the gifts and talents I desire, but not without work, effort, and PATIENCE. I need to be patient with myself. That NO GOOD can come from comparing myself to others, it is not of God. Belittling myself is not being humble. Being humble means I have confidence in the Lord and how he can help me be perfected, that I can do all things with his help. In order to have a friend, I need to be a friend. That I have family who loves me. So many good things to be reminded of. How wonderful that God speaks to us, that we can receive personal relevation and that we can speak to him. We can find comfort when we commune with him.

Another thing I happily reflected on during this evening was my love for my own family. As Jeff spoke on the phone he said how happy he is to come home to Lily and me. That there is no place he'd rather be than with us and how as long as we're together, we have a home. And not only does he want to be with us in this life, but in the life to come. As he said these words I felt the same way. That may sound obvious or expected, but to really feel happy to be with your spouse and child and want to be with them forever is a wonderful feeling, a powerful feeling. And I reflected on our engagement and all the doubts and hesitations I had about getting married. Would Jeff and I be compatible, was it the RIGHT thing to do? And the first year of marriage was hard, well at times it still is hard. You are getting used to each other and realizing you don't know your spouse as much as you thought you did, and you see each other's faults, as well as your own, magnified. But, I can say now, and I say it more and more every year, that Heavenly Father knew how perfect Jeff would be for me. He knew that he would become my best friend. That I would come to find out how he is the perfect match for me. What a blessing to be able to say that. And while we both are not perfect, we are happy together and are happy to go through life together. The point is that even when life seems hard and marriage and family seem challenging, it always gets better. So many things in my life were VERY hard at first and I wanted to give up. But without fail, whenever I have put my trust in God and stuck through something that I knew God wanted me to stick to, he has made it easier and then the jewel is when that thing becomes a blessing in my life.

So I think it's a neat thing that by my having a very challenging day yesterday, all these good thoughts, realizations, spiritual experiences came from coming out of that dark place to a happier place. Heavenly Father really can make positive things happen when we turn to Him.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July Weekend

We made our way out to Carlisle, Pennsylvania for the baby blessings of Annabelle and Ainsleigh Shiffler. The two little girls were darling in their white gowns and their father gave them each a wonderful blessing. Nicole and Bobby also had a very fun open house with family and friends. Ayumi made an excellent cake, with an artistic flair of cookie babies, including matching hairstyles for the twins- very impressive and yummy.

We also had fun holding the kids and putting them to sleep.

Jeff got a lot of flack for looking like he was nursing. (He was just trying to keep the kids from spitting out the pacifier.)

Along the way, we drove out to Fort McHenry in Baltimore to be a little patriotic. It was here that Francis Scott Key penned the words to what later became “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

We watched a movie from the 60s and then put hand to heart as the national anthem played and, when curtains were drawn, we beheld the flag in the center of the fort. There was a very good feeling with that song that made us feel proud to be Americans. (It makes me think of the Olympics to stand and listen to it).

Because it was the 4th, we were able to witness special activities for parents and kids, such as a canon firing and the hanging of King George III.  
(While the King was just a dummy, it was entertaining/disturbing to watch kids hit it like a piƱata. What could be more patriotic then a lynching and beating of a dead monarch?) 

Also, tons of people dressed up in wool colonial outfits on a hot July day. Now that is patriotic.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stories from Israel

I was going though a Mac book we made on Israel from our visit last year and thought I should post some of our experiences and insights so they could be enjoyed by all. So enjoy!