Just like riding a bike

choose faith instead of fear

My sweet, eldest son deals with anxiety and has had to work on overcoming many fears in his life so far. We have an ongoing conversation in our family about choosing faith over fear that started a few weeks ago when my boys asked an innocent question that got them a very serious answer they didn’t see coming. I shared the story on my personal Facebook account:

A couple days ago, the boys were telling me about the lockdown drills they had to practice at school. They wanted to know why it was important. I tried to be honest without completely frightening them, but I probably overdid it telling my kids that shootings can happen at school. {My oldest son} started having a little panic attack despite my efforts to help him calm down. It about broke my heart and I didn’t know what to do. Then I felt inspired to talk to him about choosing faith instead of fear. We talked about how faith feels a lot like trust, and how he trusts Mom and Dad but he can trust his Heavenly Father even more. I told him he could pray any time he was afraid and ask for the Holy Ghost to comfort him. He said the sweetest prayer and was able to calm down. We are trying to study about faith this week. Luckily, God is the ultimate parent, and He knew what to do even when I didn’t. I’m so grateful that the words were given to me when I didn’t know what to say.

So, yeah, initially not the best parenting moment on my part (it’s so hard to figure out how much detail to share with kids when you want to answer a question honestly, but gently) but luckily, it turned into a teaching moment instead and everyone is ok now, and hopefully, my boys learned something about faith.

faith

Last weekend, my son again was faced with something that frightened him: riding a two wheeler bike, no training wheels. He got the bike for his birthday over a year ago when he turned 6, but after trying it out a few times, he had decided that he wasn’t ready and it sat unused in our garage until this summer. A couple months ago, my son was feeling bad because his younger brother started riding a two wheeler with little difficulty and he was feeling left out. My husband took the pedals off his bike and encouraged my son to use it to just balance and cruise around. My son tried it, and made a little progress, but still maintained that he was too afraid and that he would try again next summer. We were all frustrated. We let it go for a while. This past Saturday, I got a wild hair and told my son simply that I wanted to see him balance on his bike again and that we were going to practice coasting for 20 minutes. He very reluctantly agreed, and I could see that he was doing much better than I had expected. I went with my gut and very excitedly proclaimed that he was balancing amazingly and that I felt that he was ready for his pedals to be put back on. At this point, he joined me in my excitement, feeling ready to start riding, and it was like a weight was lifted from his little shoulders. He continued practicing until his dad got home, and put the pedals back on. As soon as the pedals were on, I saw a shift in my son. The fear was back. My heart dropped at the thought that this wonderful experience we were having might end in frustration like all the other bike riding attempts for him. I desperately wanted him to feel the thrill of success after working so hard and practicing so long. My husband and I stopped him, and looked him in the eye, and said,

“Son, nothing has really changed now that the pedals are back on. You are still ready for this. You need to decide that you are not going to let the fear hold you back. I know you can do this.”

And you know what? He took about 25 deep breaths, and then he did it. He rode his bike. I ran along side of him, encouraging him, cheering him on and reminding him that the faster he rode, the less he would wobble. I wanted to cry tears of relief and happiness for him. I loved the look of hard-won triumph on his face, and I will always remember that look.

Just like riding a bike

I am so proud of him each and every time he decides that he is going to try something that is good for him, even if it is terrifying at first. I have a feeling it is the same for us. Don’t we all have to choose faith instead of fear each time we are in a new situation- especially when we are doing something we don’t necessarily want to do, but feel led in that direction? I wonder if God says the same thing to us, if we could only hear it- ” My son,” or “My daughter, nothing has really changed now that you are in this new situation. You are ready for this. You need to decide that you are not going to let the fear hold you back. I know you can do this.” And then when we choose to be courageous, he is running right there beside us, ready to catch us should we fall, and cheering us on the whole way. Maybe he feels just as proud of us as I was of my son that day- or more so.

I guess I am saying that being a “responsible adult” isn’t all that different sometimes from being a 7 year old trying to overcome the fear of riding a bicycle. Sometimes it feels like we have to do lots of hard and scary things, but the more we choose faith instead of fear, the easier it becomes to rely on God to keep us upright. Its… just like riding a bike.

 

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Mother and Baby Shower

I mentioned very briefly in my last post that while in Oregon, we had a baby shower.  What I didn’t mention was that it was a shower (or, more accurately, a mother and baby shower) for my sister Marissa!  My mom, my sisters and I collaborated and planned it all, with Marissa’s help and input, and I think it was a success!

 

Marissa wanted frilly, lacy, pink-y loveliness as the theme, and so that’s what we did!

Marissa and I got together and laughed hysterically- as we usually do- while we designed the invitations.  We were able to make them entirely out of what we had on hand already. :-)  The pink part is a sleeve which the invitation slides out of.  The umbrellas, clouds, and hearts were cut using my Silhouette machine.  I designed the text part of the invitation in Inkscape.

If you are going to ask people to RSVP, it is a good idea to not only include your phone number, but also your email address- some people (including myself) don’t like to call.  We also created a facebook event.  Hey, we just figured that the easier it was (and more ways there were) to RSVP, the better response we would get.

I had read about an idea of a “mother blessing shower” in one of my favorite new books (The Gift of Giving Life– seriously an amazing book; I would say that reading it, along with their blog for the past two years has changed my life and the way I think about motherhood- I’m not paid to say that, it’s just true.  Go check it out; you won’t be disappointed, even if you just read through the archives of some of the positive birth stories).  I was charmed with the idea that while it is great- and really fun- to focus on the baby, a shower is also a great opportunity to celebrate motherhood.  So, taking the suggestion from the book, in our announcement we invited people to bring a blessing or good thought for Marissa and a bead or charm to represent it, which would be put on a charm bracelet for Marissa to wear and feel happy vibes! 😉

This was a blank paper we included in the invitation for people to bring their written good wishes on.

The shower was fun (I really enjoyed seeing people I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting with for many years in some cases) and lovely of course.  We used pieces from our mom’s wedding china to hold flowers and candy.  My mom also had a great collection of crystal and glass serving dishes, and glass snack sets which she inherited from her mother.  I had picked up mini- chalkboards from the craft store recently, and those were fun to use, along with ribbons, and tons of tissue paper that we turned into flowers and pom-poms.

Ooh, before I forget, the menu included assorted fresh fruit, gluten/dairy/egg free brownies (which were amazing), oreo truffles, jordan almonds and Dove chocolates, dark and white chocolate drizzled popcorn, and heavenly pink sorbet punch.  Mmm.

Here’s the cute pregnant mama… I wonder why I couldn’t get her to look at the camera?!

Something else we did that I have seen done at other showers is pass around a basket of blank envelopes for people to address to themselves to make it that much easier for Marissa to send out her thank-you notes.  (Whoops, don’t have a picture of that one, but you can use your imagination…)

A few nights ago, Marissa and I got together, and we added jump rings to all the charms, and attached them on to a bracelet that we made.  I think it is adorable, if a bit crowded- but you can never have too many blessings, right?!  Some of the charms were meant for the baby some day, so ultimately, a few charms will be removed and it won’t be quite so crowded.

Here’s what it looks like on.  Artsy, unique, lovely, and a reminder of all the love, blessings, and good wishes from friends and family!

As a gesture of gratitude/ favor of sorts for those who attended, we made about 30 of these crocheted friendship bracelets with a bead in the middle.  The idea was that people would grab one as they walked out the door, but of course we forgot until half of the people were already gone.  😛  Oops.  Maybe they will go out in some of the thank you notes.

We definitely had fun with this baby shower, and I really liked the “mother blessing” part.  It seems appropriate to me that this portion could be done for any mother- regardless of how many babies she has had, or if she needed an actual “shower” for the baby.  Honoring motherhood and womanhood is always a good move in my book!  Tell me what you think in the comments!

eBook Review: Unbound Birth

Pregnancy, labor, and childbirth… women love to talk about it, whether it’s comparing notes on aches and pains, reflecting on our deliveries, sharing hospital horror stories (have you ever noticed when someone announces they are pregnant, the nearby women start topping each others’ crazy childbirth stories?!), or just plain amazing stories (like my friend who had her baby in the car).  Or maybe it’s the great debate between proponents of unmedicated childbirth and those who love their epidurals.  In fact, I can’t count the number of times I have been conversing on this very subject and someone says something along the lines of “Well, you don’t hear of too many unmedicated births in hospitals, and I would never have a home birth, so I guess “natural” childbirth isn’t for me.”  In some ways, I have to agree with them, in spite of myself.  Let me give a little background… with my first son, I had planned to have an unmedicated birth, but complications arose and plans changed.  I had a very difficult and painful recovery and felt sad for quite a while about how things went.  With my second son, I knew I wanted to try for an unmedicated birth again, but I knew how easily things could change.  I prepared myself as best as I could, hoped for the best, and felt blessed to be able to deliver a nine pound boy (I’m just over 5 feet) without an epidural.  There was a huge- positive- difference in my recovery afterwards, and although it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I felt strongly that doing it that way gave amazing benefits to both me and my baby (My doctor agreed, but that’s another post).  I was pretty convinced that this was the best way for me personally to birth my children, but I also knew from my four months as a nurse working on a labor and delivery floor (it was my nursing residency, right before I graduated) that things pretty much have to go perfectly for a mother to be allowed to deliver without many interventions pushed on them (that’s also another post entirely…).  I considered home birth, but felt unsure about it given some of the complications my babies and I had experienced.

Maybe those of you who are mamas or anticipate having children someday
have been in a similar boat- having the seemingly impossible goal of an unmedicated childbirth- in the hospital.

Enter Jennifer Yarbrough and her new eBook: Unbound Birth: How to Have a Natural Birth in the Hospital. This is an awesome resource for expectant moms, first time or sixth time, who would love some support in achieving that now-not-so-impossible goal of natural childbirth in the hospital!  I was able to review Unbound Birth, and I was happy to discover valuable pregnancy and childbirth information in an easy-to-read format- as if I were just listening to another mom talk.  Jennifer (who also happens to contribute to the crafty blogosphere over at The Southern Institute) shares her own natural birth stories, and she details information that is really good on a variety of subjects, including childbirth education, using a doula, tips on relaxation and pain relief during labor, and how to help your baby stay in the optimal position for birth (anyone who has had a breech or posterior baby knows how difficult and sometimes impossible it is to go through labor normally).  Jenny also covers creating your own birth plan, and gives tips for good prenatal nutrition and exercise.  Unbound Birth is all about empowering you to be able to have the experience you want, and it is packed with great information to know if you want to give yourself the best chance possible to birth naturally in the hospital!

In case you’re wondering, the eBook is about 60 pages (it is a quick read) and it costs under $5- not bad!  If you’re thinking of buying it, it is available as of today, and you can get your own copy by clicking here.  (Also check out the Unbound Birth website or follow Unbound birth on Facebook and Twitter.)

I learned long ago that everyone has the right to choose what kind of experience they want while giving birth- and there is no right or wrong way to do it as long as everyone ends up healthy.  If you decide that unmedicated childbirth is right for you, and you have concerns, then I suggest checking this book out, and best of luck to you!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this eBook in return for reading it and posting my review; however the opinions expressed here are my honest feelings and reactions to the eBook.

Interesting Medical Study for Moms-to-be

I read an interesting article that I think pertains to any woman who may ever get pregnant in the future. A one (okay, two) sentence synopsis: We already know that taking 400-800 micrograms of folate before and during the first few weeks of pregnancy is instrumental in preventing neural tube defects in developing embryos. This observational analysis study shows a correlation between supplementing with folic acid for at least 1 year prior to conception and a 50-70% reduction in premature delivery rates.
Bottom Line: If you are planning on trying to get pregnant in the next year or two, start now with folic acid supplementation, and the chances of neural tube defect and preterm delivery will be significantly reduced.

-Bukowski, et al.

Read the full article here or a synopsis here.