raising my ebenezer

Boys Reading

Before the arrival of each baby I have gone into a season of mourning. Great upheaval justifies such. From newlyweds to never-alones. From party-of-three to a de-throned first-born. From ‘the boys’ to a practical herd of babies. Each time we lost what we had. Each time I cried a lot about that loss. Each time I knew that yes, it will be good and lovely and better even, somehow, but what we had was still being laid to rest.

As we prepared for ODear’s arrival I was grieving the comparable simplicity we were about to lose to the apparent logistical nightmare that would be three children. I treasured nap time, for example, and I knew that would change. I do not mean those beloved moments of quiet in the early afternoon when everyone under 4ft tall was asleep, although those moments were at times my very hope and stay. Yes, those would be harder to come by, too, but I mean the moments right before those quiet ones. The ones where I would lay down next to my second-born tucked chin-high in blankets with his chosen ‘stuffy’ of the month and stroke his little head into dreamland. And the moments just after that when I would climb their bunk-bed ladder (which was increasingly difficult given my ‘condition’) and lay next to my first-born and he would inevitably whisper a question about something four hours ago and we would chat until it was time for him to close his eyes and rest. The season of being fully physically available to my boys at nap time was fading to a close because babies have unpredictable needs and well, we don’t have much longer that both boys will nap. Rightly, I assumed that laying with them as they fell asleep would be infrequent at best after the baby arrived.

It happened. There were poorly-timed nap times where I sat against the wall in their room nursing a newborn in the dark (hashtag talented?) or rushed through and exited before my job was ‘done’ because ODear was squawking in the other room. Rarely did I see them both off to sleep anymore. That stage was over and I was so, so sad to lose it.

Then God turned my mourning into joy.

About three months into our new nap time shuffle, I began singing to the boys. I would stand in their dark room bouncing a baby and singing hymns. I started with the one I knew best, Be Thou My Vision. We sang that at our wedding and I will never not get teary-eyed when I hear it. Then we sang Come Thou Fount at church on a Sunday shortly after and I added it to my repertoire. I could be found sitting in that same spot against the wall nursing a baby, but now I was looking up hymn lyrics on my phone and singing them to the boys as they fell asleep. Great is Thy Faithfulness. I Surrender All. Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. It is Well with My Soul.

It was awesome. I knew this much, and sometimes I would get glimpses of what a great thing this new singing nap time tradition was when OBoy would ask me a question about the lyrics and we would talk about Our Jesus. But this morning I was blown flat over by the awesome. As he was assembling legos on the ground in the living room, OBoy began humming How Deep the Father’s Love for Us and singing about half of the words. DanO, who has picked up his fair share of hymn-sing nap shifts over the last few months, began singing with him. Together they sang the first two verses with some call-and-response.

Flat. Flat on the floor from the glory.

I need you to know this, friends. I need to show you my ebenezer. Look how faithful! Look! He has done a good thing! The old is gone, but look at what a joy and blessing I have been given in its place. His love is vast beyond all measure.

how deep the father's love

{^^ I made that. It’s not fancy, but you are welcome to print it/use it however.}




don’t look now, but I’m shrinking

I have big thoughts about the idea of getting one’s “body back” after having a baby. The conversation that surrounds post-baby-bodies frames it as though nothing but damage occurs during pregnancy and birth; that it is solely something from which to recover. It’s reminiscent of getting in a car accident and taking your vehicle into the body shop: a damage and repair equation.

If that doesn’t short-change the empowering experience of pregnancy and birth, I don’t know what does. It wasn’t until I gave birth to my oldest that I truly realized just how much my body is capable of doing. My birth experience was what made me ask the question: If it can do THAT, what else can my body do that I don’t think it can?

8 miler crop

So I began running. Not to recover my body from damage, but to discover my body’s potential. That girl up there? She just finished running 8 miles on a treadmill and is kinda giddy about that accomplishment. I began to see that having a healthy, strong, and fit body was not only within my ability, it was such a gift to myself and my family. This wasn’t at all like going to the auto body shop, wincing at the estimate and begrudgingly forking over a couple grand in order to take care of the damage. After each workout I felt good. After starting Medifast and watching the pounds fall off I felt good. After finishing each half marathon I felt amazing (and sore). It was all good, not just the result. Learning portion control. Breaking through the proverbial running wall. Having mental space to think. This isn’t to say that there weren’t times that I wanted to eat my way to the bottom of a brownie pan, or times that I would have rather stayed home in my jammies than go to weight lifting class. I was careful not to say “It was all easy”, but I did say that it was all good.

I am eager to keep those benefits coming, to keep discovering (and being surprised by) my own abilities, but I am not going to treat any fitness journey I am on as ‘fixing my damaged body’.

Thanks for listening to my preamble. Now I can get to the real thing I wanted to share:

I have started following the Medifast Nursing Mothers Plan and have lost 20lbs since New Years. 

To be honest, I’m feeling a little sheepish about the actual numbers, but well, I guess I’ll just out with it. Last time I started my weight loss with Medifast at 187lbs. This time I started at 202lbs. To be fair to myself, I was much more recently postpartum than I was last time; OBrother was 7 months old when I began the Nursing Mother’s Plan and ODear was 2 months old. Also, strangely, I feel like I look better than I did at the start of my journey last time. This could be because I have more muscle mass under all that extra padding, I’m not sure. I did continue to run a few miles a week until I was 36 weeks pregnant, so maybe?

On the Medifast Nursing Mother’s Plan I can eat unlimited fruits and veggies and am never ever hungry. Here is a pdf of the plan.  I also  know that my milk supply is doing well; I was happily surprised by the amount I got in an evening pumping session last week. I am so excited to be back on this journey with Medifast not to ‘repair’ my body but to challenge it further, and I’m glad to have you along for the ride!

My Journey to Health:

March 3, 2014: 182lbs

February 28, 2014: 183bs

January 30, 2014: 192lbs

December 30, 2013: 202 lbs

20 lbs lost!

:: :: :: :: :: ::

How am I losing that weight, you ask? Medifast!!

Medifast has some deals for you! If you use my code, OFAMILY56, and sign up for Medifast Advantage when you order $250+, you’ll receive 56 free Medifast Meals and free shipping! You’ll receive 28 free meals with your first Medifast Advantage order and ANOTHER 28 free meals with your next order! This offer is only valid if you enroll in Medifast Advantage, and it’s limited to one per customer. It’s not valid with prior purchases, any other promotions or discounts, or for Medifast Ready-to-Drink Shakes.

Not ready to enroll in Medifast Advantage? You can use code OFAMILY28 to receive 28 free meals with your purchase of over $250. Limit one per customer. This offer is limited to new customers only and not valid with prior purchases, Medifast Advantage, or any other promotions or discounts. Both codes expire on 12/31/2012. See website for complete details on program and discounts.

And, obvs: consult your physician before beginning a weight-loss program.


it’s good that I’m quiet, promise.

boys and baby on my lap

The boys are currently sliding blocks under the couch, giggling hysterically, and coming up with ways to get them out {“Use this book, Ikey!” “No, my use DIS book, My-kah.”}. The baby is upstairs sleeping, but she will be woken up in 20 minutes because we are headed to the YMCA. I’m sneaking in a few minutes to wave ::hi!!!:: and to share that life is the fullest, busiest, and awesomest it has ever been for O My Family.

My quietness here is partially a product of having so very many small people to take care of, but it is also, beautifully, the product of taking care of myself. I am running an average of 15 miles a week, have been voraciously reading young adult fiction novels, and am intentionally getting out of the house for playdates or coffee dates nearly every single day. In all of this time and thought put toward my own self-care, writing and blogging has not come to mind as a desire of mine. I cannot put a finger on it. Part of me wonders if it is an unidentified fear – of what people think, of not being [good, knowledgable, funny] enough, of (vulnerable honesty coming up:) not having as “big” of a blog as I once had.

O, sorry, did your eyes just roll all the way back in your head? Because mine sure did.

So many things are going well for us here. The boys are head-over-chubby-toddler-heels in love with their baby sister. ODear is far and away the easiest baby we have had. DanO’s company is taking off and I get to watch him turn his passion into success. There is room in my life to take care of my own body and mind. And yet when I sit down to write and share here, there is a sudden deafening silence between my ears.

If we were sitting at a coffee shop, like I did with my friend Leah this week, I could talk your ear off. We would get into the realities of mothering, the difficulties of living in community, the shining glory of adoption. We would hash it all out, and that’s how this ‘lil blog used to be for me. Just a few readers who are friends I just haven’t met yet and myself, chatting it up about life.

I’m not ready to give up on that yet. I have gained so much from you, friends, and I don’t want this little space to float away into the ether of the interwebs. Not yet. I still need this community to tell me that it’s ok that I’m now shopping in the kid’s section for clothes for my first baby ::sob sob sob:: and to giggle with about the time yesterday when I bent over to wipe the tuckus of one child while holding another child in my other arm. I’m going to exercise this muscle a bit, see if I can work out the knots and maybe we can get back to having good chats around these parts more often.

I’m still here. I’m quiet, yes, but I’m good. It’s good.

And you? Are you still here? Are y’all good? I sure do miss you friends.