Saturday, January 3, 2015

Enter: ED

When they first placed that newborn baby girl into my arms I instantaneously wanted to shield her from harm. It was fascinating really. I didn't entirely know this little person yet, but I desired that she enjoy every happiness and never suffer or fear and I was willing to do anything to make that happen.

Fast forward 13 years and that fierce love still abides. However, my ability to shield has drastically diminished. My tiny baby girl has peeked over my walls and into the world. A vast lonely place where people are mean and judge and are ruthlessly selfish, while simultaneously being alluring and interesting. In an instant, this world has scorched my sweet little baby girl and scarred her tender mind. Impossible standards and harsh judgments have stolen her innocence and maimed her confidence. It was a slow-motion collision that I stood by helplessly witnessing. Now we live with the pain and fear of that collision and I am dumbfounded on what I could have done to prevent it.

ED has entered our lives. Bringing with him the voice of the world's impossible standard's of beauty and happiness. Promising far more than he can ever deliver and leaving a wake of pain and frustration. Our entire family is forced to endure his wrath.

ED, also known as "Eating Disorder" (Anorexia in our case) has taken our daughter hostage. He is efficiently corrupting her mind with views of "thin" and "good" and pacifying her with empty promises of safety and security. In reality, he is emaciating our daughter before our very eyes and our punishment is to standby and watch it happen.

Weekly visits to a therapist and dietitian and each time I feel ED laughing at us. Re-enforcing his hold with each strike we wage. Two steps forward take us three steps back. We re-evaluate our lives and decide to shrink our world. Never leave her alone, don't go anywhere unless we have to. ED pushes us apart in our own house. Steps away, but enduring the pain alone.

Loving and supporting Kylee means pulling her out of school and privately preparing each meal, to sit and watching her eat every crumb.  Then desperately try to convince her that it won't make her fat. It means pushing her in a wheelchair when we run errands to ensure she doesn't burn the few calories she has consumed. Getting blood work every 3-4 days to check if the food that is trying to restore her health isn't actually killing her. Reassuring our 6 year old that the irritation her sister is directing at her isn't really her fault, it's ED attacking us and hurting us, not our sweet Kylee.

The worst of all, is ED's morning terror. Waiting and wishing for Kylee to come out of her room on her own.Watching the clock and pleading in your mind that she just wake up and come out! Most mornings she doesn't. That means we have to take those fearful few steps into her room. Terrified and wondering...has she passed in the night? Has her already slow heart given out while we've slept?  It is a daily torment I can barely endure.

My mind is swimming with questions. How did this happen? Why? Who did this to my baby? What did I do? How could I not have seen this coming? Why didn't I do more to protect her? Why are these efforts failing? All aimless and pointless, I understand. Regret is merely one of ED's gifts personally bestowed on me.

HELPLESSNESS is the world ED has brought us to.  In his book Oliver Twist Charles Dickens eloquently defined this word:

“The suspense: the fearful, acute suspense: of standing idly by while the life of one we dearly love, is trembling in the balance; the racking thoughts that crowd upon the mind, and make the heart beat violently, and the breath come thick, by the force of the images they conjure up before it; the desperate anxiety to be doing something to relieve the pain, or lessen the danger, which we have no power to alleviate; the sinking of soul and spirit, which the sad remembrance of our helplessness produces; what tortures can equal these; what reflections of endeavours can, in the full tide and fever of the time, allay them!” 

That is how I feel. Suspended in mid air to watch, desperate and anxious to see where ED takes us. Fully aware that I am powerless to stop him.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

One Year Old!

This sweet little boy is one whole year old. Since I haven't detailed every waking moment of his life in this journal like I have with the other two I thought I should get something down so years from now he too will know how much he is loved and what a sweet little boy he was (let's hope that part sticks).

The first year of Rhett's life has been a dream. He came quickly into this world and nestled right into my heart. He was a snugly and loving baby. I actually didn't mind late night feeding because I could just hold him and snuggle him and love him. He rarely fussed or cried for no reason-I'm telling you, literally my dream baby.

Since birth he has been quick to smile and loves to laugh. He has brought so much completeness to our lives that I find it humorous now that it was this long debate about whether or not we should have another child. The wholeness he brings reassures my heart that he was meant for us. It was by divine design that I get to be his Mommy and I feel immensely blessed.

Having a boy is quite different than having girls. He likes rougher play, he is loud and he is tough and this boy can EAT! After bath time we will chase him on our bed, lift him up and throw him on the pillow pile. He laughs and laughs. He yells to get our attention...and to signal that he wants food-NOW! He will fall and hit his head or bump his little body on the ground and he doesn't cry. He'll usually make an "owie" face, rub that area and keep on keepin on. He is very mischievous and is constantly testing his boundaries. His favorite havoc to reek is playing in Roxy's food bowl-dumping, throwing and sometimes eating the little pebbles. Ha!

Right now he is trying soooo hard to walk. He can take about 6ish steps before pile driving onto the floor. It looks like it hurts so badly, but he just picks right up and tries again. He has showed very little interest in walking until recently. Probably because he can crawl about 20 miles an hour. He loves, loves, loves to be outside. We'll put him out on the back porch and he'll play with the dog and explore for hours. Cold, wet or hot...outside is his favorite place to be!

Rhett only has two teeth at nearly 13 months that are just barely popping through-one on the bottom and one on the top (on opposite sides of each other). However, that doesn't stop this kid from gumming everything from grilled cheese to steak. He loves food and if you eat anything in front of him, be prepared to share!

A few other fun tidbits:

  • He knows what "hot" means and will blow over and over again if you tell him "that's hot"!
  • He said his first word that other day, "Go!"
  • He loves to through various round object and go chase after them. He'll do this over and over again. 
  • Besides being outside he loves Aubrey's bedroom (there are so many fun things in there). 
  • He just learned to give kisses, but he'll make you work for one. 
  • He loves the trampoline. 

This little boy is the light of my life right now. He is so happy to see his Mama and wants me to play and hold him as much as possible. I marvel that he is here and he is mine. How truly blessed our
family is to have this sweet little guy in our world.

                                     Nicknames: Bugga, Buggy, Bug and Bubba.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Life Lesson From My Children

Here we are with baby number 3. He and I spend a lot of time together. He likes to keep me up late into the night and in the delirium of sleeplessness I find my thoughts turning to my children and how each of them have taught me and molded me into the woman I have become.

When Kylee was born it was a violent shove into motherhood. It felt sudden and foreign and I was ill prepared. It’s funny because you see other Moms while you are single and childless and you don’t think much of it because this women are graceful and organized and they make it seems like, “yeah, anyone could do this”. Then one day this baby you have been dying to come into the world actually does and noone prepares you (or they do and you can’t hear them) for what motherhood is really like.

Kylee and I had a rocky start. Nursing was hard, going to work was hard, sleeplessness was hard. I read parenting books and did everything they said-TO THE LETTER!

·         “Feed your baby every 3 hours”-check.
·         “Don’t hold them too much”-check.
·         “Let them cry it out”-check.

My newness as a mother and my lack of skill blinded me from the seemingly obvious:
1.       Your baby could be hungrier than every 3 hours
2.       That baby time is fleeting and you’ll regret not lovin on them more
3.       Sometimes your baby wants you to hold them until the end of time, but do it because the time is fleeting.

My introduction to motherhood was hard. I suddenly saw all my personal flaws in Technicolor simultaneously! I was selfish and I saw motherhood as the end of Misti and the beginning of my new persona “Kylee’s Mom” and it frustrated me. I saw all the things I was giving up in order to be a mother and felt guilty for feeling that way. I was young and I needed to finish school and we were poor and so I had to continue working. The weight of my responsibilities was crushing, let alone adding motherhood to the heap. So what did Kylee teach me? She taught me that I am a crazy, controlling, “by the book” nut job-at least up to that first year.

In a lot of ways I feel like I failed Kylee. I failed to be the kind of mom I hoped I would be for her during those early years. I was preoccupied with trying to pay the bills and obtain a diploma to be a really good Mommy. Kylee taught me humility. She helped me realize that everything isn’t about me. I grew up never feeling like anything was about me. And I certainly didn’t want my child to feel that kind of unimportance. Kylee helped me learn that I can change. She helped me realize the potential of the kind of Mother I could become and made it seem attainable. While Kylee and I had a rough start, I’m certain our finish will be wondrous. Through her I have transformed my vision of the perfect by the book Mom to the perfect Mom for Kylee Stoddard. A hard lesson, but one I never would have learned any other way.

I’ve mentioned it before in this journal, but Aubrey opened my eyes to the gift of motherhood. Following a very difficult family trial, I prayed desperately about how I could possibly heal and move on from this tragedy. My answer came and shockingly was, “Have a baby”. Um yeah no, so I prayed again. The answer again, “Have a baby”. Honestly, I prayed several more times and finally got it that we should really HAVE A BABY. And so we did.

Aubrey came and she really did heal my heart. She taught me that love can heal all wounds no matter how deep or wrenching. Holding her little baby body warmed my heart to what this life is about-FAMILY.  I felt blessed to have this “fresh from heaven” child as my tangible band aid. I rejoiced in her dependence on me because I had equal dependence on her, to help me forgive and to reconcile from recent anguish.

Aubrey taught me to appreciate the baby time. To trust myself as a mother and let the little things go. To accept my mothering faults and work within them and just simply live in the moment. Her baby-toddler years were a joyous time, which says a lot following such deep despair. Even now when I look at her, I am reminded of all she healed just simply by her presence. She is my miracle worker baby and brought healing and great joy to our lives.

I joke that we like to wait a minimum of half a decade before we contemplate having another child. Honestly, Rhett was a hard decision. It seemed like I would be ready and then Paul wouldn’t. Then Paul would be ready and I would not. We were just could not get on the same page.

 My best friend Christy had her first baby girl in mid December. I was blessed to witness her birth and the utter joy that encompassed her and her husband as they welcomed their little sweet Emma. It was really one of the top 10 moments of my life. I went home and couldn’t stop talking about what a miracle it was and how that special experienced touched my heart.

Being Christmastime, Paul and I were up late wrapping presents and we discussed, yet again, having another baby. Finally, we were both on the same page.  The very next month we were pregnant. This baby was READY and was simply waiting for us to realize we were too!

Rhett really was ready to make his debut! He came into this world quick (3 hr labor) and I instantly new that he was for us and was encompassed with a feeling of completeness. He was the last piece of our family puzzle and he has made us all feel whole.

Rhett has taught me to slow down and truly relish the baby time. Getting up in the night was not a chore, but a joy. A time set aside for him and me to be alone. I loved it, I loved it all. I have felt a strong and instantaneous bond with this little boy that I can’t quite describe. It is best said that I am simply in love with him!

After coming home from the hospital Mom and Jill and Ryan were at our house and were hogging him. I had just spent 2 days in the hospital with him all to myself and having to share was hard. I went to lay down to cry (remember I’m coming off those crazy prego hormones) because I wanted to hold him. Luckily Paul went and rescued me and brought him back into my arms. I guess that really describes it all. Rhett and I are bonded. Without him, I wouldn’t really be me.

Now that he is here I am counting down the days to when I can quit working and be with him and the girls full time. A desire I never had before. Rhett has shown me how much I love my children and how much I love being a Mommy.

My children continue to teach me about my short comings and where I need to change, through their ever changing needs they show me how to be a better person, how to laugh and enjoy the little things. But best of all, they have helped me feeI am good enough for them, which helps me think that maybe I’m not such a bad Mommy after all.

Rest assured my 3 sweet children I am screwing you all up, of this fact I am sure! But I am doing it to the best of my ability and I am doing it with all the love I can muster! 

On Leave

I just went to print my pay stub via a website at work and noticed next to my name it stays “On Leave”. What a wonderful phrase that is! I really am on leave. I’m at my house enjoying my new baby, hanging out in my yoga pants, occasionally hanging with my friends during the day time and taking a nap on my every whim. I never though the “stay at home mom” thing was ever for me, but now I see the amazingness of it. This is really the life and I could get easily adjust.

I love it ALL! Making breakfast in the morning for my kids and being home when they rush in from school. Walking with the baby to pick them up and being able to attend school field trips. Don’t even get me started on the joy of going VTing during the day. I love everything about this time.

I’m ON LEAVE people! And I love it J

Happy Birthday: Rhett Warren Stoddard

On October 15th  at 11:20am my sweet little baby boy rushed into this world-totally excited to join our family.

Our induction was scheduled for 8am and we were all hooked up and ready to go. We had a rough night with Aubrey being a little nervous anticipating the baby’s arrival. She was up vomiting all night and Paul and I got little sleep so I was excited to have hours upon hours to sleep. We were hunckering down for the long haul since Aubrey took 8ish hours to get here.

Every 30 minutes the nurses would come in and turn up the Pitocin. It wasn't even an hour in and those contractions were getting really intense. Paul was OUT shortly after I got all hooked up so I didn't want to wake him since there was little he could really do. We both tried to sleep while every 30 minutes those faithful nurses would come and crank things up.

About 9:30 I decided I was ready for that epidural so we called and by 10ish the nurses were back and I was in the most pain I had ever experienced. Pitocin was KILLING me. We mentioned that I called for the drugs more than 30 minutes ago, but no one came. They rushed and got the anesthesiologist in and by 10:30 I was hooked up. However…the edge was off, but I could still feel everything. It was awful.

The nurse and midwife left and said that I would start to feel a lot of pressure and when I did to call them. They no more than walked out the room and that ton of pressure was ON. Our midwife came in checked at I was a 9. That was not even 30 minutes following my epidural. P.S. I could still feel everything.

She sat in the room and got things ready and the nurses came back to. And said I would be pushing soon. I was freaking out because I could STILL FEEL EVERYTHING. I hadn't felt more than slight pressure with the girls so I was in panic. I was trying to get a crash course from the nurse or midwife or anyone who was willing to give me any bit of advice on how to get through this next scary part.

Everyone was too busy to help me. Finally the anesthesiologist came back to give me a “rush dose”, but at that point it was really too late. The midwife, finally seeing my panic, told me not to worry that I had already done the hard and painful part to labor to a 10. That little reassurance was all I needed and a few minutes later (literally) we welcomed our 8 pound, 19 inch completely adorable little boy into the world. It was painful, but so very wonderful.

3 hours flat from set up to delivery. This baby was as ready to come out as I was to have him out!

Welcome to our family my sweet little boy! 


I’ve been contemplating life lately. I figure since I am approaching my 35th year of life I could be considered to be somewhat of an expert in contemplating ;).

There have been many blessings that have come from this pregnancy, but one of my favorites is feeling taken care of and having a deeper love and appreciation for my husband.

 I love Paul and when we married I loved him, but I had no idea how much more I would come to love him as we journeyed along life’s path together. The past several months the ailments of pregnancy have forced me to slow down and really do a whole lot of nothing. The fruits of nothing are spending time with your kids and your husband who get to accompany you while doing nothing.

My favorite has been sitting with Paul. Talking about and anticipating our new baby. We walk a lot too and discuss the past, the trials we have endured, sprinkled here and there with ideas about our future. This, right now, is how I have seen marriage played out in the movies, but what I never though could be reality. But it’s actually happening in real time. I have a loving husband, who I can trust, who takes care of and loves me unconditionally. And the best part…this wonderfulness is reciprocated! Creating a Utopian state for me. This closeness with him has made me consider heaven and premonitions of what it will be like. I anticipate it will be much like my “now” with Paul. A great and vast feeling of love and appreciation and part of me can’t wait for it!

Simultaneously, while in this moment, I realize its delicacy. Change is looming on our horizon and this “season” of closeness and contentment will be replaced with adjusting to life with a newborn. Still, I can’t help but appreciate this glimpse into what life and marriage can be like. This moment has been seared into my heart and I feel utter gratitude to even experience a marriage like this; to feel loved and cared for in this way has been momentous for me and I’ll cherish it always

Thank you Paul for making me feel like the center of your universe during this wonderful season. You are truly my everything and I look forward to eternity with you!

*Readers: feel free to roll your eyes now. This is dripping with cheese, but it comes from the sincerest part of me! 

Thoughts on Pregnancy

In Genesis 3:16 we read this gem, "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children...". I spent much of my 9 months of sorrow angry with Eve. I was certain that her decision to eat that apple was a direct result of my misery.

Sorrow is defined as a sadness or grief. This word doesn't begin to touch pregnancy for me. I experience agony and pain, deep despair at the longevity of what I must endure, and the seemingly endless road ahead. It's close to a feeling of tourture for me really.

Early on, I felt the utter loss of my stength and ability to endure. I kneeled to pray one night and just sobbed. Pleading with all I had for strength to come from somewhere, anywhere. I knew I, alone, had nothing else to muster. I flopped back into bed and dozed off for what seemed like minutes, but was really hours. I awoke suddenly and felt a nearly palpable push to email all my girlfriends, sisters and family and tell them of my needs and to ask them to pray for me. I sat and contemplated what this really meant. It meant I had to admit to all these amazing women I knew and loved, of my weakness and lack of strength and what a baby I really am. Not really what I wanted to do. I tried to talk myself out of it-listing all the reasons why no one would care about this and how through some other unknown avenue I would get through the next 6 months. I lost that battle and succomed to the prompting. I emailed the following:

A Little Help From My Friends
Hello ladies! I have thought of a dozen ways to word this email, but nothing sounds right so i'm just going to get right to it :). I'm in need of your help.
As you know we are expecting and while it's a very special and happy time, it's also been quite a struggle for me lately. My physical ailments are mounting as they tend to do with pregnancy and as much as I hate to admit it they are taking a toll on me mentally as well. The past 5 days it is all I have to get out of bed. Every minute awake I am utilizing all I have to just be present. Not to carry out my responsibilities-just to show up. Every day is a struggle. I feel very unequal to the task before me of bearing these burdens and enduring what the next months have in store for me. The journey seems long and I feel too weak to endure it. I need help!
So as difficult as this is to admit to all of you I know it will serve a great purpose. I believe there is great power in prayer. Prayer has worked miracles in the lives of many and I have faith it can do so in mine. So I ask each of you; my sisters, my friends to pray for me. Pray that I will be strengthened during this time of great challenge...that I will have the courage to face each day with hope...that I will be able to seek help when I need it. That is truly all I need right now-your faith and prayers. Can you please do this for me?
I love each of you! Thank you for being someone I can confide in, someone I can be real to. Thank you in advance for your prayers on my behalf.
Lots of love,

Once sent, I felt a relief-like my lifeboat was coming. Help was on the way!In the days that followed all my sweet friends and family sent emails of love, encouragement and support. Not only did I feel loved, but slowly and surely that strength came. Through prayer and love, I was lifted and made equal to the task before me. Definitley one of the many miracles I have been blessed to experience in this life.

My pregnancy went on and it was rough! Morning sickness, diabetes, headaches, hemmeroids along with several hemmeroid sugeries, pain hand over fist. One night (admittly toward the end) I reacalled that Eve's decision to eat the fruit was based on the fact that we needed to pass through sorrow that we can know joy. There is nothing more joyful than holding your sweet newborn baby. A joy I am blessed to experience and a joy I really do relish. So I'll forgive Eve and instead thank her for her courage to do the hard, but neccesary thing, so that I can endure the sorrow and also adore the joy.

About Me

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Paul and I have been married 10 years. We have two beautiful little girls, Kylee and Aubrey. We are blessed with a great family and amazing friends. Life is good!