Thursday, September 7, 2017

New Blog!

I've recently started a new blog!

You can check it out here: https://kelseyloring.wordpress.com/

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Job Description of a Stay At Home Mom

"What exactly do you do all day?"

For the longest time, this questioned annoyed me. Maybe it's because it feels belittling. Maybe it's because I can never think of an answer to the question leading me to feel frustrated and that I'm proving the stereotypes of stay at home mom's right. Maybe it's because I wish I had a profound answer that would instantly make that person respect the "job position" I've accepted. Maybe it's because for the longest time, I swore I would never be a stay at home mom. Maybe it's also because it is typically asked by career driven men who I assume will never be impressed, so why bother? (See how a lot of these things are my own insecurities that manifest themselves into perceived intentions of others? Yikes)

Because of this, I decided to make a job description of my life of a stay at home mom. I feel like it'd be hard to list the day by day activities (even with a routine), but just like any job, things pop up, schedules change, and adjustments have to be made.  So, here's a quick overview to hopefully speak to those who often ask this question :).


If I missed anything, let me know. :)


Job Description
Stay-At-Home Mom


Stay- At-Home Mom Job Duties:

  • Inventory Management: Maintain and stock inventory of household goods in a timely manner. (Nothing worse than running out of diapers mid blowout...or running out of coffee.....)


  • Conflict Resolution: Responsible for all at-home conflict to include: temper tantrums, resistance to authority, and a misunderstanding of instruction/end goal. This also includes the ability to discipline as needed. 
  • Relationship Management: Connect with existing and new family and friends by various forms of communication: face-to-face, email, texting, etc. 
  • Financial Management: Responsibly spend money based on wants/needs. 


  • Ensures peak mental/physical performance of all in household by planning, preparing, and serving three meals a day. (take-out counts ;))
  • Attend daily/weekly/monthly (as needed) meetings with co-manager (spouse) to ensure communication, teamwork, and objectives are in place (and running smoothly) 
  • Primary instructor of mental and physical development of littlest employee(s). 
  • Primary caretaker when employees are sick. This also includes administering medicine/treatment as needed.
  • Maintain family calendar and schedule appointments as needed. 
  • Plan and execute outings for employee development and team bonding.
  • Build and maintain a routine that best suits employees.
  • Prevent an abundance of insects or other interesting "sciencey" stuff from forming by maintaining a clean(ish) house.
  • Physical and Mental Development: Exercise as employees (dog and baby) and weather permit. Make attempts to read and study as time allows (ha). 


Stay-At-Home Mom Skills and Qualifications:

  • Excellent researching skills. Applicant must possess thorough data-gathering skills regarding poop, sleep, etc. 
  • Ability to say "no." (to employees AND others)
  • Ability to find means other than sleep to have energy and execute daily duties.
  • Ability to LAUGH and enjoy fellow employees.
  • Ability to multi-task. (duh)
  • Bilingual. (ability to speak in baby talk/hand motions)
  • Patience and the ability to smile and nod at unsolicited advice. 
  • Must accept terms regarding vacation/sick days (IE: DOES NOT EXIST).
  • Ability to work independently. (while there is no direct overseer giving annual performance reviews, thankfully there is prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.)
  • The desire to love, forgive, and ask for forgiveness on a daily basis.
  • Ability to lovingly support and encourage other (stay-at-home OR working) moms. 
*ALL "TRAINING" IS DONE ON THE JOB*

*THIS LIST IS NOT EXHAUSTIVE AND DUTIES MAY ARISE AS EMPLOYEES GROW AND/OR OTHER EMPLOYEES ARE ADDED TO THE COMPANY*



Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Prayer Journal: Psalm 51:1-4,10-12

I recently shared a prayer journal entry I did here, but I want to continue sharing them from time to time. This prayer is guided by Psalm 51: 1-4, 10-12. The Scripture is in quotations/italics, my response is in regular font.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge."

Lord, You know the ugliest parts of me- I am a sinful person who needs cleansing. When I choose harsh words, gossip, bitterness, selfishness, etc, I am sinning against You. That is me declaring that my will is more important that Yours. I need to be cleansed by You---because only You are capable of doing it. Condemnation and a guilty verdict are absolutely justified when you judge my heart and life, but I thank You that through Your Son, You cleanse me and draw me near to You.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Lord, please create in me a pure heart as only you can do. Cleanse me so that I may experience MORE of you. I long for Your presence in my life.


When we take time to meet with the Lord, He eagerly meets with us. Even when I think I am completely unlovable or have sins to big to forgive, He meets me where I'm at and declares that I am loved and forgiven. I pray that Your heart would be open to receiving that love today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Prayer Journal: Psalm 119:169-176

I am currently reading "Uninvited" by Lysa TerKeurst, and it has been such a blessing to me. In Chapter 14, she shares 10 prayers that are guided by different scriptures. I was encouraged to try that myself, and the Lord has met me during these times that I spend reading and praying through His Word. 

I've had friends mention their struggle of reading the Bible and feeling like they aren't taking anything away from it. There are lot's of great methods to study and spend time in the Bible, but I wanted to share how I spent some time reading Scripture and praying through what I've read. I am so thankful that the Lord meets me and reveals Himself to me as I sit and read His word and pray to Him. 

Psalm 119: 169-176
(the versus are in quotation and italics, my prayers are underneath)

"May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your Word."

Lord, I am sorry that I often don't come to you---that I often seek understanding from a friend, article, book, etc---I long to come before You and to seek understanding from Your word.

"May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise."

Supplication: the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly

I know that you know the desires of my heart. I know that I often think my desires are what will lead me to true joy. I thank you that you listen, but I ask that you would deliver me according to your promise-I ask for peace and understanding when I am told "no" or "not yet."

"May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous."

Lord, I want to praise You for Your goodness--Your perfect will in the midst of a broken world. Your commands are righteous and bring restoration, peace, and love. Your grace consumes me and I am so thankful for your pursuing and unending love.

"I long for your salvation, Lord, and your laws give me delight. Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands."

Lord, I am constantly straying--yet you constantly seek and find me. I long to keep that perspective so that I may live a life of praise to you. Your laws and commands are not in place to hinder me, but to point me to Your Perfection---A perfect God who loves me in spite of my imperfections.



Have you tried this method of praying/spending time with God? If not, and you decide to try it out, I'd love to hear about what the Lord reveals to you! If you have another method you like to use to meet with the Lord, I'd also love to hear about it!


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Eleanor's Birth Story

I'm going to give you an option.

You can read Alex's version of the birth story, or you can read mine. If you like things to be short and sweet, I suggest you stick with Alex's. If you like reading about birth stories, I go into a bit more detail ;).

Alex's:

We went to the hospital, doctor said push, she (Ellie) came out.

Mine:

At my thirty-nine week appointment, I asked them to check to see if I was dilated. I was convinced Eleanor would be born BEFORE her due date of February 29, 2016. I was dilated a whopping 1 cm. one stinking centimeter. Seriously? I was fully expecting to be checked and then told to go check into labor and delivery across the hall. Nope.

I walked up to the front desk to make my forty week appointment to which I explained, "I'm just making this appointment just in case. I probably won't end up needing it."

That next week, I checked in and waited to see the doctor.

I didn't even ask to be checked. I hadn't been having ANY contractions and I didn't want to get my hopes up (or be extremely disappointed, which I knew was more likely the case). He measured my belly and then we talked about potential induction dates. My appointment was on a Thursday and my mom was coming the next day.

We scheduled my induction for Tuesday, March 8. That would make me 41 wks, 1 day pregnant.

It was a little disappointing that my body hadn't gone into labor sooner. I cried every day from weeks 39-41 because I just wanted our baby to be here. It seemed like everyone around me was having their babies (women due at the same time OR after me).

On Monday night, Alex and I took care of all the last minute things we could think of- double checking the hospital bag, laundry, tidying up, etc. I was feeling completely fine with minor cramping. Maybe a little cramp once or twice an hour. We ended up going to bed around one in the morning. (I think it was nerves). I woke up a two-thirty in the morning with intense, shooting pain. It would last for about a minute, go away, and then come back five minutes later. (I, of course, had a contraction timer on my phone :)) I called the labor and delivery until around 3 am under Alex's advisement---he had woken up from me squeezing his arm and moaning in pain ;). Because I was scheduled to be induced that day anyway, they told me to go ahead and come in.

As we drove there, my contractions were coming 2-5 minute apart. I was then convinced she would be here by 10 am. I wasn't experiencing what I read I would probably experience, you know, the contractions that start 10-15 minutes apart and then progressively come closer and closer together. From the get-go, I was having INTENSE contractions VERY closely together.

We checked in around 3:45 am. The doctor there said she wasn't going to start the induction process because my doctor was scheduled to be there around 7 am and she didn't want to start something that he may/may not want to do. They started the IV of fluids and measured my cervix. After the morning I was having, I thought FOR SURE I was at least 3-4 cm. Nope, still 1 cm. I knew I was in for a loooong day if that's how my body wanted to do this whole labor process. (I finally got an explanation for the intense pain with seemingly little progress later in the day)

The doctor offered a painkiller that I initially refused. It was waaay to early to even think about an epidural and because I was so early in the process, it was still safe to give me without harming the baby. After tossing and turning and trying to breathe through contractions coming 2-3 minutes apart, I decided to take them up on their offer around 7am. I finally was able to get some sleep, and around 9:30 am, the midwife came to check me. In those two and a half hours, I progressed to about 3-4 cm. I was so excited. This was MY BODY doing this without pitocin---something I was open to, yet I really wanted to go into labor on my own. When the doctor came in to see me, he said he wanted to let this progress naturally as long as we could and that he didn't want to rush things along if he didn't need to. I really appreciated that,

A little while after that, the anesthesiologist came in to discuss with me the benefits and risks of the epidural and asked if and when I wanted to get it. (I had expressed to the nurses that I was open to getting an epidural-I'm happy with my choice, just like others are happy with their choice to do it all natural :)) She made a good point--if I already had my mind made up that I wanted to get one, there is no point in waiting all day in pain to get it. For whatever reason, I told her I wanted to wait.

Around 11:30am, I decided I was ready and the nurse called her up. When she came in, she told me she was thinking I would call her any moment because she was watching my chart and said my contractions were going crazy. (The painkiller I had earlier completely wore off by this point).

Around 12:30pm, they checked me again and decided they were going to break my water to which they discovered that there was no water to break. Because of that and because he didn't know when it broke, he decided it was time to start the pitocin (of course I agreed with that decision) to keep things progressing and to minimize infection. I then remembered the "pop" I heard that Sunday before...sometimes your water breaks and you aren't sure. That lack of fluid was part of the reason my contractions were as painful as they were (the other reason was because contractions are painful ;)).

I know the nurse came in frequently to check my vitals and to see if I needed anything, but from about 1pm-4pm, I had a glorious nap. The doctor woke me up because he wanted to check me again because he said my contractions were starting to spread to 5-8 minutes apart and he was worried we would have to do something else to move things along. He checked me and I was at 10cm,  fully effaced, and ready to start pushing.

They sat me up and were starting to get everything ready for me to start pushing. I started shaking uncontrollably and feeling incredibly nauseated. I had to chew peppermint gum (my first trimester helper) and hold a bag in case I was going to get sick. The nurse assured me that those symptoms were normal and that I was just in transition. While I believe it's a normal process my body goes through during labor, I'm also convinced I was having a minor panic attack---it was all becoming real. The thing my body had been preparing for for the last 41 weeks was about to happen. Before I started pushing, I asked my mom to pray over me and that was a sweet, tender moment. During the actual delivery process, my mom left the room. Alex and I wanted it to be a special moment for just us two for this baby.

I pushed for about 15 minutes for the midwife (she called them "practice pushes" in the hopes they would actually be real pushes ;)) until she decided I needed to wait a little longer for my body to be completely ready for it.

At around 5:15-5:30pm, my doctor came in (the midwife's shift had ended) and I started pushing again. Alex was holding one leg, the nurse was holding the other, and the doctor and a med student in residency were doing other delivery stuff ;). Alex was also my counter...he would count in 10 second intervals 2-3 times each contraction for me to push to.

Pushing is such.hard.work. I thought I would pass out a few times. I felt like I couldn't do it at other times. After a while though, I didn't have to wait for them to tell me when a contraction was coming to start pushing, I kept feeling the urge to push and would tell them I needed to. I was also happily present during the whole time I was pushing. We were exchanging jokes and life stories between them.

After about an hour and thirty minutes of pushing, the doctor told me that her head was stuck underneath my pubic bone and started talking about what he typically does in that case - the vacuum. He said he likes to wait until it's absolutely necessary to use it and that he would give me 10 more pushes to see if we could get her head out. 20 pushes later, she was still stuck (he kept letting me try...), so the vacumm came out. A few pushes later, out she came. (6:53 pm) Luckily, she had no bruising or complications from it.

She weighed in at 9 lbs, 5 oz and was 22 in long. They were initially worried because right before pushing, they checked my temp and I had a 101 degree fever, so naturally they had to make sure she was okay. Luckily, she was perfectly fine and she loved skin to skin time and snuggles.

The hardest things for me were the uterus "massages" and the first week or so of breastfeeding (ouch!). I was expecting breastfeeding to initially hurt a bit, but NO ONE told me about those "massages." THEY DO NOT FEEL LIKE MASSAGES EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE CALLED THAT.

I love my birth story. Every story is unique just like every baby is unique. I'm a big believer that mom's should support and embrace EVERY story, even if it's not necessarily what they would have done. I think it's beautiful the sacrifices mom's will make to ensure their baby gets here as safely as possible.




Friday, April 29, 2016

I Need Be Reminded Of This Daily...

Life is constantly teaching me lessons.

For example, yesterday, I thought I had finally nailed this whole “life with an infant” thing. Baby girl was super smiley and happy. She napped plenty-giving me time to exercise, eat actual meals, and get stuff done around the house.

It was a great feeling. I was finally doing something right! I figured out how to properly soothe her to sleep. I figured out the difference in her cried from wanting to nurse vs wanting to just be held and rocked. I pretty much nailed it.

Then today happened. She cried.. A lot. I tried everything I could to soothe her…nursing-NO, rocking-NO, walking around -NO, burp her-NO, change her diaper -NO. I quickly realized that I don’t have a foolproof method to having a constantly content and happy baby girl. Sometimes, it’s just out of my control.
 I’m very fortunate that her “normal” temperament is typically pretty chill and content, but it’s not attributed to anything I’m doing “better” than  the next mom.
Also, sometimes I have bad days. Days when I’m more tired than usual, days when I’m just feeling cranky. Eleanor is allowed to have days like that too, but I still  want to help comfort her in any way that I can.
I can do everything in my power to be there for her and try to make things better, but I’m learning more and more to lean on the Lord’s strength during those days when nothing I do helps. There are plenty of times when  I’m also exhausted and my patience is being tested more than it ever has been before. Giving it to Him helps to change my perspective from myself and my preferences to loving and caring for this little girl I’ve been blessed to call my daughter. I hope that as she grows, she will know and experience the love of Christ -but also that she will be filled with  the capacity to love with gentleness and patience as he transforms her heart as well.

I am the farthest thing from a perfect mother, but I hope to always fix my eyes on the Perfect one,  and to point Eleanor to Him as well.

Monday, January 25, 2016

To Our Daughter

Dear Eleanor Jane,
From the moment I found out you were joining our family, I learned a valuable lesson. I learned the truth about how much “control” I really do possess. I could do all of the right things a pregnant woman is told to do-eat a nutritious diet, take vitamins, rest, etc, but I couldn’t guarantee another day of your growth and development. I couldn’t  (and can’t) dictate your life span or quality of life. I can do everything in my power to help along the way, but ultimately  your future isn’t up to me.
Because of this, it made me really start thinking about my role as a mother and the promises I want to make to you.
While your health and development are important to me, more than anything, I pray for your heart and mind. You are constantly being pursued by a loving and faithful God. I pray that you would have a heart and mind aware of and willing to accept the tremendous love of Christ. I pray that out of the abundance of that love in your life, you would openly and willingly love and serve others.
I pray that even though I can’t always keep you safe, that you would find our home to be a safe place. Not only in literal terms of protection from harm, but also that you would feel comfortable to come to us with any questions and doubts you may have. Also, if you do make a mistake (and you will), that you will always have loving arms to run home to. We are not capable of perfectly demonstrating the love of Christ, but because of His grace in our lives, I know we both will try our hardest to point you to Jesus instead of adding to any guilt or shame you may be feeling. He frees us from that, and I hope day by day, you choose that beautiful gift. I know we won’t always get it right, but I promise to constantly examine my heart and mind and seek repentance when I respond out of my own flesh. Love can be such a funny thing—you can want the absolute best for someone so strongly that you can so easily lose sight of how to be loving in order to get your own version of “the best.” This does not mean that there won’t ever be discipline or correction, but with Christ’s help, we will try our hardest to be loving during those times.
I pray that you would also give us grace when we mess up (because we will). I decided a while ago that I will not try to project a false image of “perfection” when describing my own life or when trying to teach you about life. While having morals and making good decisions produce many benefits (and help you avoid a lot of unnecessary pain), those are not the things that save us. It’s humbling to know that right now, in whatever state or situation we find ourselves in, we are loved. We do nothing to deserve it, but it is freely given to us.
I pray that we will raise you to think for yourself  and to speak with conviction and boldness.  We will raise you to the best of our ability teaching the Truth that we believe, but ultimately  your acceptance of that is up to you. I pray that we would help enable you to think and question, to research and examine, and to stand by your beliefs with strength and conviction. It is so easy to be swayed in so many different directions, and each direction produces it’s own questions and demands allegiance in one way or another. While I hope and pray you will choose the path of God and His Grace,  I don’t want you to be manipulated into that belief. Also, I pray that you would overcome any fears you may have about being different. I struggled with the prospect of being different -it scared me and it hindered me in many ways, not only spiritually, but academically, socially, and in a lot of the decisions that I made.
Lastly, I pray that you would have a life filled with joy. We want to give you plenty of reasons to smile and find enjoyment in life, but during the tough times, I pray that you would be filled with a security and  joy that God can provide. There is an unending hope for the believer that cannot be taken away during any circumstance. During our time on  this earth, suffering and trials are inevitable,  but with Him, we can overcome anything that comes our way.
While I haven’t quite met you yet, I am surprised by the amount of love I already have for you. You have filled a place in my heart that I didn’t know existed, and I know that place will continue to grow as you enter the world and become a huge part of our family. I’m excited to grow  and learn together. I’m excited to see the traits of your personality and how you grow and see the world. I’m excited to see how God uses you. I’m excited for giggles and snuggles. I’m excited to see your interactions with your daddy—you are going to be one lucky little girl to have him as your dad. I thank God that He entrusted us to be your parents and we are counting down the days until your big arrival.

Love,
Your Mom