What Melts My Heart!

I captured this photo a few weeks ago while we were visiting a friend. She has a little dog, and Miss Crankles is intrigued by the dog, but at the same time, she is very afraid to get close to him. Bubby noticed that she was afraid, so he excused himself from his friend to help his baby sister. He eased her fears about the dog, and she ended up petting him.

I couldn’t help but feel my heart swell with emotion. Those two have eleven years between them, but they are buddies. Bubby understands her and always wants to be close to her. It is one of the most beautiful treasures for which I am very thankful!

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Bubby, Crankles, and a little doggy!

Breastfeeding Your Own Way

Tomorrow, Miss Crankles will be 3 months away from her second birthday, and we are still going strong with the nursing. However, if you would have asked me when she was a newborn if we would have been doing this, I probably would have laughed.

You see, when she was a few days old, she would not latch. She didn’t want to nurse. She had jaundice, which probably didn’t help. I remember feeling defeated when my husband got formula for her because we didn’t know what else to do. I began to pump and feed her that way, but I was afraid I would not be able to produce enough. I kept putting her to my breast with little success. I even contacted a lactation consultant in hopes of getting some answers. I remember her telling me I needed to pump once an hour, and I cried because I knew there was no way I could do that. I had two other kids and a husband who was in the oilfield. I decided to go every two to three hours with pumping. By the end of the first month, and after a trip to the hospital for exhaustion, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I made plans to abandon the effort and just feed her formula. Then the funniest thing happened the night after I came out of the hospital.

I was holding her close to my chest, and it was late. She began to root around like she wanted to nurse. She hadn’t done that in weeks. I decided to humor her and see what would happen. She latched! She nursed for an hour! At the time, I shrugged it off because I didn’t want to get my hopes dashed. However, she wanted to do it again the next morning, and then she became my best nurser out of the three.

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My husband captured this picture of me and Miss Crankles one night around Christmas. It is one of my personal favorites!

I never figured I would be nursing past age one. I didn’t have great experiences with my other two and hadn’t nursed past six months. Nursing Crankles was one thing that really helped me with my PPD though. By the time she turned one, I was slowly starting to get better. Nursing her was therapeutic. It helped me gain a bond with her that I felt I missed because of the depression. She is now over a year and a half, and I still nurse her several times a day. It is our cuddle time. I love the closeness. I love being able to breathe in the baby smell on her head. I love holding her. It is healing.

I don’t know how much longer I will nurse her. I figure I will let her decide when it is time to stop. For now, I am enjoying our time nursing. Going through this experience though, I will say that I don’t think there is enough support still for breastfeeding. There is still a stigma against it. Whether someone decides to formula feed or breastfeed, it is a personal choice. As moms, we are all doing what is best for our baby. Some of us can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. Then there are those of us that just can’t find support. That is the biggest reason why I didn’t make it to six months with the other two. With Crankles, I got some advice, but I was made to feel that if you didn’t do things a certain way, you couldn’t nurse. I would like to say that is not true, and my nursing experience is proof of that. My best advice is to talk to your friends and ask experts, but don’t get hung up on things if nursing isn’t going as planned. If you are getting stressed, you might need to re-evaluate your decisions. You have a little person that needs you, and you are probably not getting enough sleep as it is.

Nursing turned out to be a beautiful way of bonding for me and Miss Crankles. However, if it is not for you, there are other ways to bond. The important thing to remember is that as mothers we want the best for our babies, but we also have to be at our own best too. So try not to stress!

Do you have any breastfeeding experiences to share? If so, I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

 

Little House in the City

(It’s been difficult to write because of working on the house and migraines, but we are still here, and I am hoping that my migraines will be getting less.)

 

A little over a year ago, our house hunt began for a new house and subsequently a whole new life. The process of coming to the decision to move was a long one that actually started about three years ago, shortly after my husband changed companies and I had lost another baby.

My husband worked in the oilfield as a geologist, which meant he was often gone for long periods of time. When I lost my first baby, he was stuck in Canada for the whole ordeal. He couldn’t come home until a few weeks after it happened. While I had some support, what I really wanted was my partner in life to hold me and tell me it would be okay. When I lost the second one, we were having issues with neighbors that eventually escalated by the end of that summer to a scary experience (that I don’t feel like sharing) before they were removed from the neighborhood, much to the rejoicing of the ENTIRE neighborhood. My husband had a few days off from work when the miscarriage happened. However, I felt lost when he went back to work. There was talk of office positions with his company if we lived closer to the actual office. We did some searching but didn’t know enough about the area to pull the trigger on a house hunt, so we tabled the discussion. I busied myself with my kids, my eventual pregnancy, godchildren, and other things. I started gaining confidence again that I could make the oilfield wife thing work. Then we had Crankles. She didn’t sleep. I ended up having postpartum depression. I felt like I was coming apart at the seams. I couldn’t do it anymore. I bawled every time my husband left. Then he ended up on a rig that lasted about two months. By that point, I was just done. The subject of moving came up again because we wanted to be a family again. While Crankles liked her daddy, she didn’t have a strong bond with him. The kids missed having him home, and I wanted my husband back!

One night, we were talking over Facebook when he said that if we moved closer to his company’s office, he could eventually get in the office. He kept being passed over for the office because we were in another state and about 400 miles away. We decided to just go for it. We didn’t know a lot about the area. What I knew was from visiting one of my best friends from college during breaks. However, I lost contact with her when my oldest daughter was younger. She wasn’t on social media, and I didn’t know how to get in contact with her. As luck would have it, one of our mutual friends, who lived somewhat near to her, WAS in contact with her. I got her number, reconnected, and got information on where to look and a great realtor.

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We spent the latter part of spring loading the kids in the car on weekends that my husband was available, driving five hours, and looking at several houses. By the end of May, we settled on one. Granted, it wasn’t the one I really wanted. THAT house was almost finished and had beautiful bathrooms. (I am vain in wanting pretty bathrooms with spa-like features. I don’t know why. It is not like I get to pee alone anyways.) However, the house we chose was a few minutes from my friend and near an awesome park that had tons of playgrounds and trails for hiking, biking, and walking. It was also pretty cheap because it needed some love. We could move into the house and fix it up as we had time and money. It sounds like happily ever after right? Roll credits. Bring out the rainbows, chirping birds, happy faced suns, and Julie Andrews singing in a field. Well…since this is real life, things didn’t quite go as planned.

About the time we found out that we actually got the house, my husband got a notification from work saying that they were laying people off. Those that still had jobs were forced to take a pay cut. Because he worked 12 hours a day for however many days he was on the job site, his daily rate was figured with what he got for overtime as well. It was supposed to be a 25% pay cut. It ended up being close to 40% instead. Oh, and those office jobs…well some of those in the office were now going back into the field. There would be no more openings there. Basically, we were now going to be moving to a new area where we knew hardly anyone, and we would never see my husband because he would have to work almost constant to put food on the table. It really is no wonder I ended up in the hospital almost a week later. I think my body just kinda said, “I give up.”

We decided to go ahead with the move anyways. As much as I loved my friends where we were, my husband and I had been saying for years that we really didn’t fit in to that area. Moving to the new house would put us in a metro area, and right between our sets of parents, about three hours in either direction. With my mom having breast cancer and other health issues over the last several years, I liked the idea of being closer to her. We would still be within a decent driving distance from my husband’s dad who was having health issues as well.

Financially, it seemed like a good idea as well. Things are just cheaper here. The utilities are cheaper, groceries are cheaper, and even the taxes are cheaper. It would allow us to be able to live on my husband’s pay cut. Because of my stint in the hospital last summer and problems post-hospital stay, we were unable to do what we wanted to get our old house on the market to sell. I also had no idea who to use as a listing agent. Luckily for us, that never became an actual issue. A friend of mine knew a family that was looking to rent, and I had met them already. The house seemed like a perfect fit for them. They may even eventually buy the house. The whole thing just felt right. At the end of August, we said goodbye to our home in Pennsylvania and hello to our new life in Ohio.

We have now been here for a little over eight months. We moved on Crankles’ first birthday. It hasn’t been easy, but we finally feel settled here. It is starting to look and feel like our home. We are now loving our little house in the city!

My kids make me feel old sometimes…

So the other day, my son sat playing on his calculator. His sister asked what the best calculator was, and he started talking about the Texas Instruments calculators and how you could program stupid little games into them, like we all did! I heard him talking about it and chimed in how I had games programmed into mine and asked how he heard about it. With a straight face, he said that he saw it on a You Tube video about how it was back in the old days. OLD DAYS? REALLY???? I am not THAT old. I said that by the way. He stammered and said, “You aren’t old.” Of course, I was all like, “But you just said…”

Yeah, he really inserted his foot in his mouth on that one!

So what are your Friday Funnies?

When you feel like your child is being overlooked

By Delia, contributing writer

(Delia’s story starts before Christmas break. Enjoy)

I graduated from college more than fifteen years ago. During my years spent receiving my degree in special education, the paper that I learned the most from was one that I wrote for my class on learning disabilities. It turned into the largest paper I had ever written- 35 pages with fifteen pages of appendices.

It was entitled: Cerulean Sky- The Twice Exceptional. It documented the under-represented populations of students who are gifted with learning disabilities. It made me realize that every student’s intelligence is not a black or white issue but there are many shades of gray. A student can be exceptionally talented in art but struggle in academic pursuits or may be gifted in math but struggle to read.

Needless to say, I never imagined that 16 years later I would be struggling with my daughter’s school to get her the help that she needs. My daughter, Sweet Pea, is extremely intelligent. I had her tested for gifted the summer after first grade because she seemed to innately understand multiplication and division. However, as time went on, I noticed that she had difficulty focusing at home to complete homework and chores. As the years progressed, her problems with focus migrated into school as well. I started receiving notes from her teachers complaining about her distractibility.

Her teacher last year seemed to complain about her behavior more toward the end of the year. I figured it was time to seek some help. I had the school complete the ADD evaluation forms and I completed the parent form. I scheduled an appointment with my pediatrician and went in thinking things would be resolved. Unfortunately, I got into that appointment and was blindsided by the pediatrician that according to the teacher’s form there was no problem. Feeling utterly confused, my husband and I left that meeting and resolved to wait and see what happened in third grade.

Well, this year has been the worst. Within the first three or four weeks, I received more than ten notes. Sweet Pea was getting more and more frustrated with school. My husband and I decided it was time to contact the local psychologist that our pediatrician had recommended and start the process again. Many more forms were sent this time. We, including Sweet Pea, filled out the forms and returned them quickly to the doctor. As we waited to hear from him that the report was finished, things got even worse.

Sweet Pea started coming home upset about school. She whined about getting in trouble for talking and being off-task. She expressed to me that she was bored most of the day. Things escalated last week to the point where she felt physically ill Thursday morning. Luckily, my husband was on second shift that week and was able to calm her down before she had to go to school. Thank God that this is the last week before Christmas break. The activities they are doing in class are distracting her and keeping her interested.

I had contacted the gifted teacher at the beginning of the week about having a meeting before the break, but was told that wasn’t possible. I dropped off a copy of the evaluation report within an hour of receiving it Wednesday. I spoke with her teacher on Friday about more challenging work and received the answer that she needs to complete her third grade work first so that she can give her a grade. Needless to say that left me more upset.

It is now the last half day of school before the break and I have yet to hear about a time and date for our meeting. I am not feeling very hopeful about resolving this issue without a very angry Momma Bear coming out at the meeting. I hope that the administration is ready for a fight. They are not dealing with an uneducated momma here. I have a degree in special education and am doing my research. They better be prepared to change their archaic view of what gifted education is supposed to look like. I will not be satisfied until they do.

Toddler Logic

(Figured it is also time to bring back Wordful Wednesday…Besides, I take way too many pictures to keep them to myself.)

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Why yes, this is a My Little Pony eating a bowl of Cheerios. Why is her head buried in the bowl? Well apparently, Miss Crankles (the Toddler formerly known as Sweet Pea) decided that she was NOT going to eat her dinner unless Applejack was eating too. It wasn’t worth arguing with a 1.5 year old, so I pulled out a chair for the pony. I made her a bowl of Cheerios, and my daughter ate her chicken. I call that a parenting win!

When it all needs to change…

For those of you following my blog and social media, you may have noticed that I have been very absent from everything. If you have been following for a while, you know that I have had a rough few years, and over the last year and a half, it included having a baby, getting diagnosed with post-partum depression, ending up in the hospital twice, being life-flighted one of those times, moving to a new state, and having my husband get laid off and start a new career. I really tried to hang on there for a while, and I do feel I have a story to tell. I had brands that I had products to review as well. I didn’t want to let people down. However, I think I finally realized late last fall that I was doing no one any good the way I was, myself included and took a break.

I had intentions to start the blog back up again much sooner than now. However, I realized that my blog as it was no longer fit as I am going forward. I am no longer Bear Haven Mama. I no longer have a children’s shop or party planning business. I had wanted to start my business back up after moving, but I have made the decision to just be done with it for now. My heart is not in it. I do not have the energy for it. It is not who I am anymore.

So, now what? Well, I didn’t want to lose my domain, so I decided to change the name of the blog to something that would fit me, the contributors I am adding to the blog, and the feel of the direction I would like this blog to go.

Therefore, I proudly welcome you to Misfit Mama Bear Haven! It’s a place where we tell stories…about us, our kids, and our spouses too! It is where you can read about people who are just trying to go through life making it however they can. It is a place where being a misfit is okay and even celebrated.

So if you have decided to stick around to read this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and invite you to continue the journey onto the next chapter of my family’s tale, as well as some new tales from some new friends too!

Welcome to the Misfit Mama Bear Haven!