Friday, November 30, 2012

seventeen

17 weeks and consistently rolling to his side, as is evident by this weekly photo. He's still sleeping through the night and is now up to four 8- or 9-ounce bottles ( / boob) per day. He is toeing the line between size 2 and 3 diapers, but will probably be in his size 2's for another month or so. We've gotten more giggles out of him. In addition to checking out his surroundings and bath time, we can add reading (or rather, us reading to him) to Elden's favorite things list. He will happily sit through 3-4 books at a time and just quietly check out the pictures as you read to him. We officially see a little tooth on the front/bottom/left side of his mouth but it hasn't cut through the gums yet. We're hoping that explains the resurgence of cranky that seems to have reared its head the past few weeks. Other than that he is as fun as ever and I could smother him with kisses all day, every day.

guilt

Over the last several weeks, work has entered crazy territory. I find myself going in early, staying late, and putting in additional time at home at night/on weekends in an effort to meet ever-growing deadlines. As it stands lately, I see Elden for about 20 minutes in the morning to nurse him before I rush out the door, then again at 4:30 pm to nurse him (although lately Jon's had to give him a bottle as I've been leaving work after 4:30 with a 40-minute commute home). Usually after he eats in the evening, Elden goes down for a nap that lasts between 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on how decent of a day he had. When it's all said and done, I'd say best case scenario I get to spend somewhere on the order of 2.5 hours with him in the evening on weeknights, so maybe 3 total hours per weekday. If you do the math, that means I spend about 16% of the week with Elden.
We broke our own rules and nap-cuddled in bed while daddy was at school
Since Jon usually works weekends, I am typically alone with Elden on Saturdays and Sundays. Two full days of uninterrupted time with my baby? Yes and please. Which leads me to my next dilemma: I never want to take a date night to nurture our marriage or any "me" time to help ground myself because I feel like I already spend so little time with Elden. I am well aware of how detrimental that can (and at times, has been) to our marriage. But when I'm away it's nearly impossible for me to enjoy myself because of the ever-growing feelings of guilt. And truthfully? I'm beyond burned out. During Elden's naps on the weekend, I am running around like a madwoman attempting to do the laundry, cook for the week, and tend to other areas of the house that are in dire need of some TLC. I feel like I haven't been able to slow down enough to take a deep breath for myself, no less connect with Jon, in over a month. But how do I let the guilt subside when I choose to be apart from Elden more than I already have to be to support our family?

The things I already have and will continue to miss due to being away from him so often during the week haunt me. What I probably need more than anything is a few hours to genuinely relax--no housework, no crying baby that refuses to be consoled, no looming deadlines hanging over my head. But then reality smacks me in the face and I realize I will never have all three of those things--at least not at once--and I want to crawl into my bed, pull the comforter over me, and pretend like real life isn't hard. But then the baby cries and we run out of clean pajamas for him and there's nothing to heat up in a jiff in the fridge and I find myself hungry, flustered, and despondent.

So how do I deal with the guilt? How do I nurture myself and my marriage when I often forget to brush my hair (don't get me started on my teeth), don't view cosmetics as enough of a priority on my constantly growing list, and don't have the energy to carry on long conversations to reconnect with my best friend at the end of the day? I don't. I bury my chin into my chest and I push forward through each monotonous day, cycling between guilt of being away, exhaustion of being home, and fear of not being present.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

prayers for lee [3]

I can only imagine the thoughts racing through Laura and Josh's minds right now. I thought a good way to encourage them might be to show them just how many people are praying for them.

I created an interactive Google map that allows you to add a placemark to your town to physically display where prayers are coming from. Would you take a minute (seriously, that's all it takes) to add your name or city to the list? Here's how:

1. Click here
2. To add your location, click "EDIT" in the left bar.
3. You will see 3 options appear on the top left of the map to select/edit map features, add a placemark, and draw a line. 
4. Click to Add a Placemark.
5. Drag and drop it (it will appear on your mouse) on your city.
6. You can then enter a title (but don't have to) - feel free to enter your name, your town, etc.
7. Click "OK". 
8. Make sure to click "Done" on the left sidebar to save your changes.

And please keep praying for Lee's surgery tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

prayers for lee [2]

Baby Lee had his contrast study done today.

It is with a heavy heart that I'm here to report he needs surgery again this Friday. They will likely be in the hospital for another 3 weeks following surgery.

Please continue to pray for healing, comfort, sustenance, and peace for the Scheutzow family.

elden's first tree

Elden is typically mesmerized by lights so I was beyond excited to put our tree up. I had this scene in my mind where we'd light 'er up and his eyes would get as big as saucers, in complete awe of what was in front of him. Aaaaand here's what actually happened:
Anyway, we continued with our Christmas tradition of listening to old Nat King Cole Christmas albums on our record player while decorating the tree. We had Elden in his bouncer seat for the whole process. On the whole he seemed most amused by his hands and watching his daddy. Here are some pictures:
2012 annual new ornament
2011 annual ornament - was kept a secret at the time (because we found out we were preggo the day after Thanksgiving)
be still my heart
We need to get some sort of a tree topper and once that's done I will post an official tree/Christmas decor picture.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

so many thoughts

Lately we've been preparing the house for Christmas (tree to be put up tonight!), trying to get through each hectic day intact as Jon rapidly approaches finals, and loving on our becoming-talkative boy. In this hectic season Jon and I have typically grown distant due to our daily grind, but a few nights ago we put away our computers and cell phones, shut off the television, and talked for three hours--staying up 'til 10:45 pm voluntarily! It was beyond needed and we are going to make more of an effort to nurture our relationship in that way.

Elden's first Thanksgiving was great. We spent Thanksgiving day in Youngstown with Jon's family then headed to my parent's to drop Elden off for the night so Jon and I could hit the outlets at midnight with my sister. After shopping for three hours (a record for me... I hate shopping) we went back to my parent's for the night then celebrated Thanksgiving on Black Friday.

I failed to mark our preggoversary on Sunday. One year ago Sunday we found out Elden was cooking in mah belly. Hands down the most life altering news we ever received, but we are so abundantly blessed by this tiny human.

I also had a Favorite Things Party with some girlfriends on Saturday night and it was a blast! There was a ton of food, really awesome favorite things, and some serious girl talking that went down and that was the first time in a while (aside from Black Friday shopping) that I voluntarily saw 10:30 pm. I am SO glad we got together for this! I wish I would have gotten pictures but I totally forgot.

And now, a photo dump:

I'm working on another responsible consumerism blog for this Christmas season, so keep an eye out for that!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

strawberrybutton giveaway winner

Is... Maria!

I'll send you an email to get your mailing info! :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

sixteen

We're a little late on this post thanks to nonstop family time this Thanksgiving. Lots to update on this week! Elden now regularly accepts a pacifier... and I think this is in part due TEETHING! He's got the classic signs--fussy, waking at night to nurse, slobber mania, and chewing on everything. He's also been rolling from his back to his side but he can't quite get over to his belly just yet. Last night was his first night not at our house because the three of us spent the night at my parent's and Jon and I went Black Friday shopping. He handled it like a champ and only woke once to eat at night. We're getting more giggles out of him each week and we really are starting to adore this interactive age.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

thanksgiving hair

I wanted to do more than my go-to pinned bangs/low pony hairstyle that I always seem to default to out of convenience and ineptitude to do much more this Thanksgiving. I opted to curl it on up (sang to The Jefferson's theme). Here's a quickie how-to.
Ignore our awful, streaky mirror. That's on my Saturday cleaning list. This is the "before" shot. Hello, morning hair!
Pull hair into 4 separate sections--2 in back; 2 in front.
Before you begin curling, run some smoothing serum through your locks--I used Aussie and I LOVE it
Curl in one-inch sections (or, if you're like me and have no reference of what an inch is, just grab chunks and go)
Do this one section at a time, repeating the smoothing serum for each of the 4 sections. I alternated directions of which way I curled because my hair is notoriously flat.
Marvel at how simple it was/how great it turned out (even if you dripped smoothing serum on your boob)
I got this tutorial from P&G Beauty and it only took me about 25 minutes from start to finish. I have a deceivingly large amount of hair so I was pretty impressed. And now, my thankful list:
-Jon, without whom, this life thing would not be going so well for me and our family (nor would I have my family!)
-Elden, the first person to give me the title of "Mom."
they grow up so fast, don't they?
-family and friends
-my job and the ability to provide for our family in this crazy season of life
-a roof over our heads, food in our tummies, and the ability to worship freely
-chicken pad thai and general tso's chicken (and all the other crazy foods my marriage has introduced to my life)
-a napping baby!
-our health
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Don't forget the StrawberryButton giveaway ends tomorrow night!

Monday, November 19, 2012

strawberrybutton giveaway

One of my concerns about living in Ohio in the winter with a baby is his little hands getting cold. Since Elden is much too little for standard mittens with thumb holes, I checked out a few stores on Etsy. One of these stores, StawberryButton, had the cutest (not to mention affordable!) fleece mittens for babies. When Krista so graciously offered to send me a pair for Elden and an additional pair to give away, I was thrilled. I got them in the mail today and wasted no time trying them out on Elden.
These are are perfectly snug on Elden's wrist so he couldn't wriggle free of them, but they also weren't overly tight. He also didn't mind them at all and wasted no time snacking on them. Plus that pattern... so dreamy!
I'm actually planning on using these at night, too, since Elden no longer sleeps in a swaddle but rather a sleepsack with his little hands exposed. I am so thrilled with them and they can be machine washed which is a much-needed design requirement for a baby. And now, onto the good stuff... I will be giving away one pair of these adorable mittens in size small (6-12 months) to one lucky reader (U.S. and Canadian entries only please): 
To enter, leave me a comment with your email address and your favorite item from Krista's store (required). For one bonus entry, share this giveaway on Facebook, your own blog, or Twitter, and leave a 2nd comment (with your email address) telling me how you shared it. Giveaway ends Friday (11/23/12) at 11 pm EST and I will announce the winner using random.org on Saturday. Good luck and make sure click over to StrawberryButton to see all of her cute designs! Thanks for sending us these, Krista!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

family pictures

Our friends, Patrick and Betsy, took some family pictures for us on an unseasonably warm day a few weekends back that we were hoping to use for our Christmas card.

We got the edits back and I am thrilled. Here are some of my favorites:

I've been playing around in Picasa trying to come up with something. Here are some of my drafts:
and, my personal favorite:
So which card do you like best? Have any suggestions for modified or entirely different designs? I'm all ears!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

closer

This has been a week of extra kisses, closer hugs, and humbled gratitude of everything we've been blessed with.

Other things:
-Last night we tried our hand at putting Elden to sleep in a pack n play for the night at Jon's parent's house (first time going to bed for the night anywhere but home). While he went down easily there, when we got him home and attempted to transfer him from carseat to crib he had a melt. down. Nothing some boob can't fix!
-Laura has been able to post a few entries of those early days as they figured out just how sick Lee was. You can click over to her blog to read those stories here. Please continue to pray for them and for healing for Lee.
-We have packed up a majority of Elden's 0-3 month clothes. He is too long for his 0-3 month sleepers now but still fitting in some of his pants and onesies. This is happening so fast.
-This week is sure to be a marathon food week. I can't wait. This is one of the reasons Thanksgiving is my fave holiday.
-I have some giveaways coming up in the next few weeks for ya'll. Keep an eye out for that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

prayers for lee

A friend of mine, Laura, has a sweet baby boy named Lee who has been facing all sorts of serious medical issues since pretty much birth (they just didn't know it at the time).

In a nutshell, the blood supply to his small intestines was mostly cutoff without anyone realizing it. Lee had digestive issues since he was first born (spitting up, apparent food allergies so Laura restricted her diet as she was breastfeeding) but it all seemed like typical infant reflux so nothing warranted grave concern. One day he had blood in his diaper, so they took him to the ER where he was rushed into surgery. Since he was so tiny (just a few months older than Elden) they had to leave his incision open to allow the swelling to go down before continuing other operations. During the transition from surgery to recovery in one of his surgeries, Lee's heart stopped. They performed CPR for 2 minutes and were able to bring him back.


Lee when he was in the NICU on life support
After 33 days in the hospital, numerous surgeries, and a yet-unknown fate of the small intestines, Lee was released from the hospital in early November. It has been a waiting game to determine whether Lee would need subsequent surgeries or if his intestines would return to normal functioning.
Lee's homecoming!
Well, after 4 appointments in the past 2 days the general feeling is that they will have to redo Lee's surgery. He has a contrast study of the intestines on the 28th and if their suspicions are correct, Lee would be re-admitted on the 29th with surgery on the 30th. That being said, Lee has also been fussy and hard to help most of the day so Laura and her husband, Josh, are hurting since they can't do much to alleviate Lee's discomfort. 

Will you please pray for him to experience total healing by his contrast study date? Would you please also lift Laura, Josh, and their elder son, Merit, in prayer in these coming weeks? Laura has a blog that she has begun updating in this crazy season of life, and it gives you a great overview of her heart and her boys. Please stop by her blog to leave her some encouragement and show their family some love.

With Laura's permission, I'll post updates as they come in, or you can check her blog to see if she has been able to update. You don't have to be a parent to know how heartwrenching it is to see such a young child in pain and with so much uncertainty ahead of him. We know God is good and that He can use this and turn it into something joyful. But for now, we wait.

fifteen

At fifteen weeks Elden is figuring out how to entertain himself (lifting his legs up perpendicular to the ground then dropping them dramatically so they make a loud 'thud') and can tell if you aren't paying attention to him, such as to write this blog post. When he realizes you aren't paying attention he will fuss and whine until you give him lots of kisses and love. Jon's also been doing this super fun game where he lifts Elden in the air with his tummy parallel to the ground and Elden makes this squeaking noise as though he's trying to squeal but hasn't quite figured out how. It makes my heart melt every single time. Other than those things, the only noteworthy item is Elden has rolled from his back to his side a few times, but he has yet to consistently roll from back to tummy or vice versa.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

sacrificial giving

"I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusement, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our giving does not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say it is too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our commitment to giving excludes them." -C.S. Lewis

Some recent events in our lives have Jon and I looking in on our own hearts in this giving season. Far too often, our giving is conditional. Sure, I'll help you stock your fridge since you got laid off and are on hard times, but I'm making a mental tally of this so when I ask for help on something you better pay up. Or, as is often our case, sure, I'll help with that if/when it's convenient for me. 

Now that we have Elden, it is far too easy for me to cop out of helping those around me. Granted, he is wildly unpredictable and I can't be much help if I'm trying to console the screaming hot mess that he can absolve into at the drop of a hat, but sometimes I let me get in the way of helping others. I have to make lunches and meals for us for the week. I have to get caught up on housework. I am exhausted after another marathon work/housework week. But at the end of the day, I could truly give more of myself.

We have been reminded that one of the beautiful parts about giving to those in your community is the sacrifice you make to do so. Sure, I'd much rather be taking a nap or lounging on the couch watching TV under a cozy blanket. But then I'm reminded of the ultimate sacrifice: Jesus died on the cross because of my sins. Who am I to think I deserve a day to lounge around my warm, safe house as though I earned it? Everything in my life is a blessing. I think of Job--a blessed man who lived righteously yet had everything taken from him because Satan challenged God that he could break Job's willingness to worship God. Not once does Job curse God. I digress.

My point is that giving is meant to be uncomfortable and inconvenient. It's supposed to require you to put aside yourself and everything you'd rather be doing to help someone who needs it. To build up the broken. To lay aside your plans to go out to eat at your favorite restaurant in order to feed a hungry child in your community for a week. If giving was easy everyone would do it and it wouldn't mean anything to the people you're giving yourself to. Particularly in this season, I hope to remember this. I hope you'll join me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

camp relationships

Ya'll are well aware of my love affair with camp. I formed many lasting relationships through my numerous years as a camper, as well as the year I worked there as a CIT.

One of the relationships I formed when I worked there was with Ziggy and Alexis--two counselors that were dating well before the summer started. In fact, on one of our days off that summer I had the honor of being present when Ziggy proposed to Alexis at their favorite spot in Pittsburgh. Anyway, even though that was in 2006 we have kept in touch since then despite rarely getting to see each other thanks to the state line that separates us.

In June, they had two beautiful girls. And, as you know, Elden arrived in early August. We had yet to meet their girls and they had yet to meet Elden, so when Ziggy told us they were moving further into Pennsylvania at the beginning of December we knew a meet-up was in order.

Yesterday I took a vacation day and the 7 of us met halfway between here and Pittsburgh in the fabulous North Lima, Ohio. And Heaven help me, those babies are ADORABLE.
Elsa, Elden, and Lucia
We spent about 3 hours catching up over burritos that were as big as the babies and Dairy Queen. Clearly, two ladies was far too much for Elden to handle at once. It was so great to finally be able to hold those girls, not to mention see Ziggy and Alexis again. One of my favorite parts was getting to see babies so close in age to Elden with so very different personalities. Both girls were overall less fussy than Elden, and Lucia was hands down the most chill baby I've ever met. Elsa was calm and smiley except when she wasn't, and when she wasn't boy did you know it. We were proud of Elden because this was the first time we attempted a sit-down type restaurant with him without family to hand him off to and he handled it like a champ. While we were there was also the first time he has ever been able to bring his rattle to his mouth to suck on.

I am so grateful for relationships like these. Even though it will likely be a long stretch of time before we get to see the four of them again, to know when we do meet up it's like nothing has changed is such a blessing. Jon even said that was some of the most fun he's had in a long time--coming from my overall quiet and reserved husband that's a huge compliment. So, so grateful. We love you guys!

Monday, November 12, 2012

lately


1. Emo baby with mama's hair. 2. Attempting Christmas card pictures with an unhappy/tired baby. 3. Morning prayers. 4. Making art on Daddy's birthday card. 5. A dapper family portrait with a still unhappy/tired baby and a poor quality smartphone camera. 

In other news, we have a plumber coming by today to fix three leaks in the house (bathtub faucet and hot water handle; hot water valve in the basement; please sweet Jesus don't let it be terribly expensive). This weekend was productive with our gorgeous weather and getting the outside of the house ready for winter. We also rearranged some furniture (pictures to come... eventually) in the house, took down the pack n play, and stored Elden's swing. We got a nice little date in last night at Chili's (thanks for babysitting, Granny & Grey, and thanks for the gift card, Lawrence!) and due to said plumbing issues I showered at our friends' house. It was definitely an interesting night and we are so grateful to be blessed by friends who are willing to share their showers with us at a moment's notice.