Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dedicating My Little Jewel

1 Samuel 1:27 "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him (her) to the Lord..."

This past week Julianna Faith Alcala was dedicated. My amazing brother in law love Joey dedicated Jewel at our Invictus service. For those of you who do not know Invictus, is the young adult group my husband John is the pastors. We chose to have Julianna dedicated at Invictus because so many of the most important moments of our lives have happened at Invictus. Is what actually at Invictus in Midland, TX in 2003 where I first saw John lead worship & speak (yes John use to be the worship leader at Invictus!) After that night, I just knew I had to some how get to know John (boy did I have a crush on him).  To be honest, as I watched him on that stage I actually had a strange feeling that he was going to one day be my husband. I was only 18 years old at the time but I guess it was sort of love at first sight :) 3 years later John proposed to me at an Invictus service and together we have lead that ministry for the past 8 years. Two years ago our 1st baby girl Josselyn was dedicated at an Invictus service so it was only appropriate that Julianna be dedicated at an Invictus service as well.

There is something so special about dedicating your child to the Lord. Words can not even begin to express the love I have for my children. They are John and mine's greatest blessings. My heart's desire is to see my girls grow up to be strong, passionate, world changers for Jesus. My prayer daily is that they would serve the Lord with every ounce of their being and live out their amazing callings. Being a parent is the greatest yet scariest job in the world.  It is so incredible to have these 2 beautiful girls who I know have been called to greatness but it can also be scary because I can not control the choices they make or paths they choose to take. There is nothing I want more in life than to guard and protect them from any pain or harm. But as much as I love them and want what is best for them, God, their heavenly father, loves them even more and wants what is best for them even more than I do! God has graciously entrusted me with these two girls on earth but ultimately they are HIS. 

Photo by: Emily Moore Photography

A baby dedication is really for the parents if you think about it. It is a time where we as parents publicly give our children back to God, for they are His first anyways. It is a time when we have to make a decision to trust God with our babies no matter how hard that may be. I can not control everything that happens in my girls lives but I can submit them to Him, and pray daily for the Lord's protection over them and guidance and wisdom for me as a mother.

Tuesday October 22nd we dedicated Julianna Faith back to the Lord. We were blessed to have my mom, my sister, my in laws, my brother and sister in law on the stage with us. Joey spoke a beautiful word over Julianna and said that she will "saturate" everyone she meets with the love & joy of the Lord. He talked about her sweet spirit that will refresh those around her and ultimately direct them to Jesus. He read Jeremiah 31:25 which says, "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." He gave her a beautiful perfume bottle to represent the fragrance of the Lord that she will saturate the world with. I believe that word was right on for Julianna. I believe her sweet refreshing fragrance and gentle spirit will saturate everyone she come in contact with in her life. She will bring hope to the hopeless, she will love the unloved and she will be-friend the lonely.

Being a parent is truly the best job in the world. It may not always be easy but we can all cling to the promise the Lord gave us:  Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Photo by: Emily Moore Photography

Here is a look at Josselyn's baby dedication. I thought it would be special to put Julianna in the same dress that Josselyn wore for her dedication.  For This Child I Prayed...

 Josselyn to the (left) & Julianna to the (right)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vegas = Mastitis

Oh Mastitis how I loathe you...

Some how I went an entire 12 months nursing my 1st daughter Josselyn and I never once experienced a clogged milk duct, thrush, yeast infection, mastitis or any other type of breast related issue you can get while nursing. I probably never had any problems because Josselyn refused to take a bottle (I blogged extensively about that problem).  So I basically breastfed her every 3 hours for 12 months!!! (well near the end it wasn't quite every 3 hours but close). Now Julianna is a champ and totally takes a bottle without any problem. I do not give her bottles often becasue I am always with her but she will definitely take one. In the past months I have not pumped a ton but I did manage to stock up about 3 days worth of breast milk which came in very handy a couple weeks ago.

Some of our dear friends the Arringtons invited us to join them in Las Vegas to celebrate David's Oil & Gas Company (they sold 1,000,000 barrels of oil in a 12 month span). So about 300 of us came to Vegas for the "Million Barrel Bash". When we were first invited we said that we unfortunately could not attend becasue Jewel was only going to be 6 months old and I was not to sure about leaving her at such a young age. Well, after my husband convinced me that he NEEDED a mini vacay without babies crying I decided that 3 nights away from the girls might not be too bad. We decided to join our friends in Vegas and my brother and sister in law Joey & Stacey were more than happy to take our girls for the 3 nights (plus John's parents live close so they were there helping every day as well).

The good new is Josselyn had a blast while we were gone. She got to hang with her Aunt, Uncle, GiGi, PaPa & 2 cousins! Jewel was great and slurped down 7-8oz every 3 hours the whole time and John & I had a blast in Vegas up until the morning we were heading back to Dallas. The morning we were going to be coming home I woke up in excruciating pain in my right breast. I had never experienced this kind of pain and I basically had the most miserable flight home. The next day I went to the doctor and found out that I had a clogged milk duct that turned into Mastitis. My doctor explained that even though I pumped religiously every 3 hours the whole time I was in Vegas my body is not use to me pumping like it is to breastfeeding so all of the milk was not being released and it caused me to get a clogged milk duct which then turned into mastitis. They started me on antibiotics and they told me to continue to massage, take hot showers, use a heating pad and nurse as much as I could on that right side.

Within a day or so I started to feel better but my milk completely dwindled down! I tried pumping and I could not even get 2oz of milk. I quickly posted a status on Facebook to see what to do and I got a ton of great feedback from some experienced super moms. I immediately went out and bought fenugreek, oatmeal, coconut oil & all the ingredients (ground flax seed, brewers yeast, etc) to make lactation cookies! I began power pumping every hour, trying to nurse as much as I could and I ate oatmeal cookies like there was no tomorrow.

I can finally say that after a week of having no milk my supply is back to normal!!! I learned that it may not be the wisest thing to leave a 6 month old breastfeeding baby for 3 nights while you jet off to Vegas lol But John and I did have a wonderful time spending some much needed quality time together. For now, I am going to stay very close to little Jewel. But this whole experience did teach me that: Mini Vacay + Nursing Baby = Mastitis

Having brunch together in Vegas (pre-masitis)

Here are a few more pics from our little trip to Las Vegas 

With David & Shelley Arrington

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Nap-time Stike...


Well for the past two weeks my 2 year old Josselyn has tried to boycott her naps! Actually she has tried to boycott sleeping in general. We have never really had issues with her sleeping before this. Sure, occasionally she would cry when it was nap-time or bedtime but these past couple weeks she has decided to not only cry for over an hour every time I lay her down but she started climbing out of her crib!!! I am not talking about climbing out once I am talking like 3+ times each time I lay her down. It really has turned into a total Nightmare at our house!

Someone does not want to take a nap!

I started to worry that maybe Josselyn was out growing naps. I had no idea when kids stopped taking naps now days. I remember having nap-time in kindergarten but maybe times have changed. I decided to do what any mom now days does when she has a question or needs advice... I posted a "status" on Facebook asking all the moms out there when their kids stopped taking naps! To my surprise within a couple hours I had over 40 comments and most all of them were from experienced mothers who were offering up some great advice! Sure there was the occasional mom that missed the part in my status where I was ASKING for advice & tips and instead proceeded to tell me how great her kids were sleeping during their naps haha but I really was utterly grateful for all the feedback  and advice I received! Sure, every mom has a different parenting style and we moms all do things differently but the consensus I got from the 40+ comments was that a 2 year old should most definitely still be taking naps and a large majority even went on to say kids naps (or have quiet/rest time) until Kindergarten! Wow!!!! I had no idea but I was thankful to hear that.

With the help of some of the comments I have come to the conclusion that Josse may just be "testing me" and the whole idea of naps/sleep. Josse has started a few games during sleep time. For example, when it is time to lay her down she all of a sudden decides that she wants to be rocked, or she wants a story read to her, or she needs milk, ice water and a snack. Plus she now refuses to even get in her crib without: her pink bear, her Minnie Mouse, Jewel's Minnie Mouse, her baby, baby's blanket, 2 of babies bottles, her pillow, 2 books, her water bottle and Jewel's blanket (it has to be one of Jewel's blankets!). It really is crazy but if we are missing even one of those items then Josse has a total melt down! I can not really change these crazy habits/games/routines that have been started but I am going to start the whole bed time routine 30 minutes earlier that way we can rock, read stories and make sure she has EVERYTHING she needs in her crib/bed and still be in bed by around 8ish. I am going to be consistent with nap time and really make sure that Josselyn knows that it is not an option. I also think I am going to lay her down between 1:30pm - 2:00pm because a lot of moms mentioned that as their kids got older they went down for naps later. I am hoping that all of this will help, so wish me luck!!!

Now as for the climbing out of the crib issue I am still a little unsure how to handle it. So far I have decided to transition her crib into a toddler bed. I really don't want to do that but I do not want to risk Josse climbing out in her delirious half asleep state at 2am and getting hurt. I don't want to get angry or spank her every time she gets out (which I did try a couple times & then felt horrible!!!) I figure it is better/safer for her to climb out of her bed then a crib. I am still trying to figure out how to keep her in the bed but hopefully I figure out something very soon (I am open to suggestions!). As of right now she climbs out at random times 12am, 2am, 5am, 6:30am and then we hear her in the baby monitor say, "I need breakfast" or "I watch Abby & Elmo show". At 6:00am or later I let her have breakfast on the couch and watch a show but anytime before then John or I just put her back in her crib (there is definitely some crying involved) UGH!!!!

This 2 year old may just be too busy to slow down & sleep...

Well...that is what we have been dealing with at the Alcala household! This is a first for us and we are hoping it is just a short phase. Be praying that our high energy, little busy body, Josselyn Grace Alcala decides to put down her sign and stops protesting sleep! This nap-time strike has got to come to an end...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bye Bye DOC Band "HELMET"

Good Bye DOC Band!!!

Yippee...Today we were able to say our final good byes to Julianna's DOC Band aka "football helmet" "yucky helmet" "stinky helmet" etc. Now most people have no clue what the heck a Doc Band is (I had no clue what one was) and I am sure most of you were not aware that baby Jewel has been having to wear one 23 hours a day for the past 6 weeks!!!! So here is the story...

At Julianna's 8 week doctors appointment our pediatrician noticed that she did not like to turn her head to the left. For some reason she preferred looking to the right and resting her head facing the right. Well, Jewel had caught a little newborn cold when she was only a couple weeks old so since so ever since then we had been letting her sleep in a baby recliner called a Nap Nanny (BIG MISTAKE!) Jewel's doctor also noticed a little flat spot on the back right side of her head (baby who likes to face the right + Nap Nanny  = flat spot) so he wrote us a referral to a Cranial doctor.

When Jewel was almost 2.5 months old we went Cranial Technologies to have her head examined by a cranial specialist/physical therapist. After the examination they said that we needed to start exercises/stretches because she preferred looking to one side (right) and her neck was very tight when she tried to turn to the left. They also took crazy high tech 3D images of her head and they said that she had a moderate plagiocephaly (flat spot) on the right side of her head and they did recommend her having a Doc Band to correct the shape. FYI she developed the spot because like I said, she slept & napped in her Nap Nanny and she would find a comfortable spot facing her right and stay in that "comfortable positional" the whole night thus resulting in a flat spot :( I sure wish I would have known not to let her sleep in it all night. Well, she was too young for a helmet now but they wanted us to do all the exercises and stretches they taught us and come back in 2 weeks. 2 weeks later we came back & her flat spot had improved and was not as bad becasue I stopped letting her sleep in the Nap Nanny (she was up all night for 3 nights before she learned to sleep without it!) and I banned her from the swing, MammaRoo, etc but unfortunately, they still said she was borderline & they recommended her having the DOC Band for around 6 weeks. I was devastated and started crying in the office lol. I just could not imagine my precious baby girl having to wear this awful football helmet looking contraption for 6 weeks!!! I refused to let them take a mold that day for the helmet because I had to go home and really think about it.

A week or 2 past and I actually decided NOT to go through with the helmet. They had assureed me that she was such a mild case I could go either way but they did say it is better for your body and quality of life to be as symmetric as possible. New studies are showing that migraines, neck problems, etc may be linked to asymmetry. I still could not imagine sweet baby Jewel in a helmet and John couldn't imagine her in one either. However, after taking her to her 4 month well-check appointment we had a sudden change of heart. We love Julianna's pediatrician Dr. Mobly. He is such a great doctor and he always is looking out for our girls. When I asked him what he would do about the helmet he paused and said, "It is a hard decision, but if it was my baby girl I would probably just do it. 6 weeks is nothing in the light of her life and why not make her head as round and symmetric as possible since it is something completely correctable." I went home talked with John and we both agreed, why not correct this little flat spot if we can. Sure it will stink having her in this awful helmet but it really is just 6 weeks...

 At 4 months old Julianna had her helmet put on. We were told to keep it on her 23 hours a day 7 days a week! She could only have it off for bath time and a break here or there (1 hour total). Honestly, I did a pretty good job having her wear it full time. I would say on an average she wore it 22 hours each day. But don't worry, I made sure to take plenty of pictures of her when the dreaded helmet was off! The first 3 nights were a living he**. Poor Jewel did not like having it on when it was bed time or nap time and it took a while for her body temperature to adjust to it. Luckily after a few days she was able to sleep and she stopped sweating like crazy.  It surprisingly, wasn't until maybe 2 weeks ago that she started noticing it. She started scratching at it and touching it more and then this past week she started arching back when we would go to put it back on her.  Now not only did the helmet start to bug Jewel but it started to let off a nasty odor! I read that they can get pretty stinky and boy is that true! Luckily it some how remained odor free for the first 5 weeks but this past week it started to smell like a stinky shoe. There is only so much rubbing alcohol can do when trying to clean a contraption that is being worn nearly 24 hours a day. One more negative to the helmet was that it made poor Jewel lose a ton of her hair! She basically has a mohawk now lol. The only hair that is left is the hair that was not under the helmet. Good thing hair grows back!

 Today we went to her regular weekly craniology apt and they looked at her head and said it was time to say good bye to the helmet! I was so excited that her head rounded so well in just 6 weeks. It is perfect timing to say farewell to the helmet right before the holidays. I am so ready to get to kiss my baby girl's head all day long again and smell her sweet scent when I brush my nose up against her baby fine hair. I never thought I would get so excited to just rub my baby girls sweet head!!!

Look at that little round head

 With all of this to said, if your little one does need a Doc Band it is not the end of the world. It is actually more common for babies to have plagiocephaly (flat spots) ever since the "BACK to sleep movement" which was when doctors started recommending babies sleep on their backs instead of their stomachs. The good news is that number of SIDS cases have dropped drastically since this movement started, however, more babies started getting flat spots from back sleeping. The good news is the DOC Band did a wonderful job of sculpting Julianna's head into a round little ball haha! And I can promise you she will no longer be taking any long naps in her Nap Nanny, swing, car seat or any other devise that can contribute to flattening baby's head!!!


All that is left to say is RIP helmet, may we never see you again!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tiny Tot Tuesday at the Dallas Arboretum

This Autumn Tuesday's have become one of my favorite day's of the week!

Our family are members at the Dallas Arboretum which means that we can go an enjoy 66 acres of beautiful botanical gardens year around. Autumn at the Arboretum is truly breathtaking and honestly one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Beginning the end of September the gardens transform with thousands of blazing colored florals and over 50,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash come together to form the nationally acclaimed storybook pumpkin village.

Look at all these precious babies!

On Tuesday's they have "Tiny Tot Tuesday". So not only do we get to enjoy the gardens, pumpkin patches & brand new Rory Myer's Adventure Children Garden but they bring in a petting zoo, face painters, kids craft & they have Kinder Music on the lawn that over looks White Rock Lake. We have already been to Tiny Tot Tuesday twice this year and it is only October 1st! It is so much fun to meet up with all my girlfriends & their precious little one's. Josselyn has been having a blast playing & running around with all of her friends. She LOVES pumpkins, seeing the animals & playing in the water in the Children's Garden (only in Dallas can your kids play in a splash pad in October!!!) haha

I have learned over the past few months that it is ok to venture out of my house with both of my girls. I will admit I still refuse to go anywhere completely ALONE with them (however, I am ok if we are meeting up with friends).  I really am still trying to get the hang of managing a barely 2 year old and a 5 month old but I am slowly learning how to do it. I have gotten braver in these last 5 months and I do go to a Baby Boot Camp work out class twice a week, various parks for play dates, museums, the zoo, the fair & of course the arboretum with both my girls! But honestly, the only reason I do it is because I have such amazing girlfriends who ALWAYS help me out when something traumatic is about to happen (poop explosions, Josse melt downs, feeding 2 girls at once, etc) I really am blessed to have such great "mommy friends" & "adopted aunties" in this season of my life.

Lately, God has been teaching me to just relax, embrace the chaos, cherish the moments & enjoy the season because far too soon it will pass right by. One day I will wish I could still hear the sounds of my babies crying, see tiny finger prints all over my glass tables & trip over baby toys strung all over my living room. I am finally after two years learning that it is ok to sometimes let the laundry wait and hold my girls just a little bit longer, take in their sweet smell and seize each day I have been blessed with.

 Happy Fall Everyone!

James 4:14 "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away"