Winter time is here…..

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I used to dread winter time. I struggled so hard with Seasonal Depression that I swear as soon as the leaves started turning I would want to take to my bed and stay there until it warmed up again.

This winter is different though.

I’m feeling good. And it is all because of my wood.

Double entendres aside, knowing that you are going to be able to keep a warm house the entire winter season when your bank account is too low to fill up your propane tank does a lot to put a smile on your face.

Another thing that has been a lifter is the time that my Dad and I spent together stacking this wood.  It was no small task, and it took even longer because we talked nonstop the whole time, but growing closer to him is a blessing.

So when my fireplace is burning bright I will remind myself to smile, even though the days are short. My joy can still be long.

 

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(Not shown is the HUGE stack by the house!)

 

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She cried when she breastfed…

This is part one of The Pappy’s series about breastfeeding.  This is an important topic that is emotional for my family.  I, of course, talked to my wife before sharing our story, but we know we can help others.  If you have something you would like to share with my readers about breastfeeding, I encourage you to send me a message at thepurposefulpappy@gmail.com.

 

As my wife and I prepared for the birth of our first child we didn’t talk a whole lot about breastfeeding beyond the fact that she planned on doing it.  Although I made it a point to educate myself as much about birth and what she would go through as I could, I didn’t think too much about breastfeeding.  I took for granted that it would be easy for her.  I will admit something that in retrospect seems dumb, but I thought because she had big breasts it would be easy for her.  I guess in my mind her cup size indicated that she would have tons of milk which would in turn mean that Asher would be able to drink to his hearts content.

Our birth experience was long and emotional but beautiful.  We had a Doula who held our hands from start to finish and my wife was a tiger!  In the moments after Asher was born I think I forgot that my wife had any vulnerabilities because I had just seen her thrive under what were unimaginably painful circumstances.  I was in awe of her and I knew that she could do ANYTHING, so I never thought twice about the moments soon after birth when she would go to nurse our son.

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We cleared the room and with our Doula at our side she placed our son to her breast.  It was a beautiful moment of bonding between the two of them.  Asher, though, didn’t latch.  We didn’t worry though, and knew we would try later.

While we were in the hospital my brave wife tried. And tried. And tried.

We asked every nurse, every doctor, our Doula, and lactation consultants.  Asher never seemed to be able to latch.

My wife cried a lot when he would try and fail. No fail is totally the wrong word.  There was no failure involved.  She would cry a lot when he would try and be unable to latch.

She pumped in the hospital and on the way home we stopped and rented a hospital grade pump from a lady referred to as the Nipple Nazi.  We were afraid of her fervent commitment to breastfeeding at the time, but in a week or two we would be so very comforted by her encouragement.

Mecalah pumped day and night it seemed, all the while working with our son to try to latch. I spent a lot of time laying next to her on the bed holding our small son while she filled little bags full of milk.  I felt kind of useless during this time because I wanted so bad to be able to help her, but aside from breaking down the breast pump and cleaning it, followed by transporting her milk to the freezer I felt powerless.  So did she.

Long story short, we tried many things, but Asher never latched.

As I look back, I see many things I did right and some things I could do better. I look forward to sharing both with you.

Fatherhood is a Septic Tank

Yes, I am about to compare fatherhood to a septic tank, but stick with me for a moment because it all meshes together very well in the end.

I love to work in my yard.  Now that it is summer I am out there all of the time.  We just got a free trampoline off of craigslist and I can’t get my kid off it. Living out here in the middle of nowhere you have to create your own entertainment, and part of how I entertain myself is by working in my yard.  My flowers are blooming, the mulch is fresh, and my grass is green.  

To the side of one of the two huge trees in my yard, nestled beautifully in the shade, is a large patch of grass that is so thick and lush that it makes the rest of my yard pale in comparison. I love to cut that spot because when it is all the same size and free of clippings I can almost imagine my whole yard looking like that.

As I was cutting my back half acre, I kept pondering that patch of grass. Why is it so green? Why so thick? Then I realized…poop!

Living here in the country we don’t have city sewage, we have septic.  Now if you aren’t familiar with a septic system, and I will save you the gory details, but what happens is that your poop sits in a large tank while it is eaten by bacteria, then slowly leaches back in to the earth via your drain field.  

That patch of grass is in my drain field.

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I know you must be wondering where this is going, and no it has nothing to do with dirty diapers. Parenthood is a drain field. You take all the ickey, annoying, frustrating things about having a small human that depends on you for EVERYTHING, you process it through your experience, time, love, and compassion and pray that it makes the little patch of grass you created thicker, lusher, and happier than all the grass around it.

Like my septic tank, parenting isn’t always pretty. But in the end, something that isn’t always bright and shiney will have a part of creating something beautiful and lasting.

 

DIY Marble Maze!

Asher thought that this Marble Maze was awesome!  It is one of those crafts that can be as complicated or as simple as you like, depending on what you have time for!

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Keep on reading for a full list of the supplies I used and how we put it together.  We did it before his nap today, but he made me promise not to take it down so that he can keep playing when he wakes up.

 

{Click on Page 2 below to see more!!}