Showing posts from 2014

a little holiday cheer!

We are fighting some wonderful winter illness at our house.

So, from our now-sanitized-to-the-max-home to yours, here is a happy Christmas moment that warms my heart.

And seriously. Don't come into my house unless you are going to go wash your hands.

a quick comparison

i have a sick baby, a house that looks like a tornado came through here, 100+ Christmas cookies to make, and 2 parties to go to this weekend (and gifts to wrap for both of them. I DON'T EVEN HAVE WRAPPING PAPER).

so why not spend precious time while sick baby is sleeping to blog? procrastination makes us all efficient.

for your viewing pleasure, i submit a photo comparison of Joe to robert and to me at similar ages.


all this shows is that you can feel like death for 41 weeks and that baby will have the audacity to look just your husband. except maybe kind of your eyes and some of your smile.

our advent

Unwrapping the Christmas ornaments for our Christmas tree, I kept thinking, "Didn't I just do this?"
If pregnancy was an eternity, the months of having a baby have been in fast forward.
Life thinks it's smarter than me by racing faster than I can keep up with, but  I am on to it.
I am on to how fast the first months of our son's life have gone. I am on to how fast his first Christmas is approaching. I am on to the fact that my little baby is slipping into toddler hood day-by-day. I am on to it.
In a world full of fast and now, I remind myself to stop. In a season normally packed full of events and cheer and business, I take deep breaths and remind myself that my hope and joy aren't quite yet fulfilled. In a time in life when part of us honestly can't wait to get the first set of holidays without a loved one behind us, I am trying to find a way to enjoy them, too.
When I put Joe down for a nap today, he turned into me as he fell asleep. I sat with him inst…

my life: a summary

I don't know why or how or what, but my left shoulder is completely messed up.

I can't breathe without it hurting.

Since we have a long car trip ahead for Thanksgiving, I called the chiropractor yesterday and they worked me in so that we could try for some relief before I left.

After, I asked the chiropractor what I could do to help.
He laughed.
He looked right at me and laughed.

"Why are you laughing?" I asked.
"Nothing will help." He responded, still laughing. "The only thing that will help it is rest. And I am looking at your son in his car seat and I know the minute I am done you are going to hoist it up and then spend the rest of your day picking him up. You can't rest it. So you will have to deal with the pain. Do your best." He then carried Joe and his car seat out to the car for me.

I fought back tears this morning lifting Joe into his high chair. Picking him up to change his diaper. Cradling him as he drank his bottle. Unloading the d…

and then God threw me a bone

I realize there is no actual theological basis for saying, "God threw me a bone".

Seriously. It's been a rough couple years at the Brack house between my nightmare pregnancy and everything that's happened this year, and I'm not seeing any metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel.

But one of my very best friends in the whole wide world whom I have known since I was 7is moving {back}to the Indy area (and she would appreciate my use of "whom" there).

She both knows me better than 99.9% of the population, loves me the way I am, and absolutely refuses not to hold me accountable. And she's fun and we both love coffee and wine (nothing could wrong there). Friends like this aren't a dime a dozen.

She laughed at how excited I was, and all I could say is, "No really, my life has been that depressing". I mean that in a very retrospective, narrative way. I am not depressed but things have been kind of depressing around here and good news is a sw…

happy halloween!

5 years ago today, robert asked me to marry him.
we already had a wedding date (nice, right?)

but in that moment, we forever sealed our lives together.

i may have said "no" because i was getting off a flight and really hungry and feeling lightheaded, but i still married him, and i think that's what counts.

5 years later, we are still saying yes. or no. either way, we are embracing life together. the pain, the challenges, the joy, the heart bursting moments.

there's no one else i would rather say no to for the rest of my life.

the exile {part ii}

"The history of Israel revolves around the double foci of exodus and exile. At the exodus, Israel began the process toward becoming a nation. The exile, however, signaled the loss of Israel's status as an independent nation, and even after the exile Israel was merely a political backwater in the Persian province of Yehud." - M. Throntveit

I value my independence. It's not a secret around here that I think I am in charge. I have my house clean. I dress the way I want to, and before I had a baby, I was the size I wanted to be. I have lists of things to do, the order to do them, and when they are done, I want them to impress you.

It's gone.
All of it.
I was never more lost then I was those first few months after Joe was born. Overwhelmed, confused, with no answers or sleep... I needed things. I needed meals at my house. I needed help watching him, feeding him, so I could rest. I just needed help.

I have a closet full of beautiful, perfect clothes... and it doesn't lo…

the exile. {part i}

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Whew. Doesn't that feel great to read? Welfare? Hope? A future? Sign me up! Good old Jeremiah 29:11! I have heard this verse quoted so many times. I have seen it on cross stitches and graduation cards. It's so great, let's just keep reading!

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes"

Yes! God will hear our prayers? He can be found by us? Did you say fortune? Sounds so good! Let's keep reading!

"...and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."

If you didn't have some mental breaks screeching there, you may want to re-read…

stories for joe

Baby boy. We will have so many stories to tell you about your first year of life.

I will tell you about how it was just you and me. Family had a boatload of life dumped on them. Daddy had so much crazy work to do. And it was you and me. We went everywhere together. Everyone loved you when I brought you into Daddy's work, or dragged you to the grocery store, or unloaded you at church.

Baby boy, you were held through so many tears. You had a "funeral outfit". You went to 2 funerals while you were only months old in my womb - I wore the same thing to both, because you don't have a lot of funeral outfits while pregnant. You went to 2 funerals within your first 8 months of life -you also wore the same outfit.

When I held you over a grave site yet again, I held you tighter. I don't want to think about how many times you've heard me sing the alto lines to "Amazing Grace". You've heard me sing it next to Grandma Karen, next to your Uncle Rob, next to &q…


A friend and I recently were talking about how everyone's parenting looks so perfect from the outside. This can make you feel pretty inadequate as a mom pretty fast. The truth is, having a small child or children is really all about survival.

I recently posted a picture on Facebook of my homemade baby food. Yes, I make 90% of Joe's food.

This could lead you to believe that Joe eats a perfectly healthy and organic diet. Some times that's true. And some times, I let him self feed baby cheetos because it's the only food he will self feed. Speaking of which, how are babies born knowing how to eat baby cheetos? A mystery for sure.

Additionally, I often let Joe watch music videos when I feed him. While I feel guilty about the screen time, it makes the job about 100x easier. Joe is on the move and super squirmy. I've had veteran daycare workers ask me how I change his diaper. So being confined in a highchair often results in him acting like he is being tortured/stuck in …

What Worked: September

Happy October, everyone!

What worked in September?

-Church community: our small group re-launched for it's fall session. We never really took a break, but there's something nice about a fall kick off

-Women's Bible study: this fall, I joined our women's Bible study at church. I've participated 2 other
times and it's always a blessing. Plus, it's a great break for me mid-week, and gives Robert a designated night home with Joe... if he can make it home (I have a back-up sitter if he can't!)

-Giving up on the house hunt: No really, this was huge. We decided to build, which I had (or have?) mixed feelings about. But I do NOT have mixed feelings about giving up the house hunt. It was a lot of extra stress to search for houses and to find times that worked for everyone. Between Robert's work schedule, Joe being a baby, and our {kind} realtors' schedule, this was no small task. I am happy to put it all behind us.

-Sleepers on sleepers: Joe has gotten …

the name

A friend of mine recently posted about how they picked their daughter's name, and I love hearing name stories, so I thought I would share ours.

You get pregnant. You anticipate finding out out boy/girl. You get excited to pick a name.

Then you spend 9 months arguing with your spouse about what name sounds good or bad, old person-ish, irrelevant, or just plain stupid. You will wonder how you married a person with such terrible taste in names. 

That's the story of Joe's name. Getting Robert to think of names, discuss names, or consider names was like pulling teeth. So I approached the subject with a lack of enthusiasm one December evening on our way to a Christmas party. 

"What about Joseph?" He said, out of nowhere. 
I just about fell over - because I also liked that name.
"Sure! Let's put it on the 'A' list" I said. "What made you think of Joseph?"
"Matt's sermon about Joseph, Jesus' earthly father. The story of obedience, hu…

i've lost the TV remote

not kidding. i don't even know where it is right now. Robert is going to be mad if i've left the tv on all day because i can't find the remote.

anyway. that's not what this post is about.

If you know me well, you know my not-so-quiet disdain for Mark Driscoll.
My small group at church won't even say his name because they know they will be in for an hour long discussion of my issues regarding him and his practices.

"He's your brother in Christ, Chrissy. Don't judge him. Love him"
"He's reaching so many people, and people the church wouldn't normally catch. Isn't that honoring to God?"
"That's just Biblical teaching. Of course you aren't going to like it {you crazy liberal, you}."

I have heard these things over and over and over, but I never really shut up about it. When I found out I was pregnant, and pregnant with a boy, to say my hea…

6 months

We have officially kept Joe alive for half a year.
Go team!

Joe loves music.
Joe loves his feet.Joe loves the dog. Joe loves his Ferrari.
Joe loves moving - wiggling, bouncing, walking, car rides.
Joe loves playing with his momma, daddy... or anyone. Joe loves that everyone loves him... but he does love everyone back.
Joe is a happy, lively, energetic, attention-loving little guy.
We love him so.


for Michelle

Be ready in season and out of season.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith.
{from 2 Timothy 4}

Our pastor preached on this passage this Sunday. At one point, he spoke about the verses just before this, about preaching the word, and how some times preaching the truth upsets people, and they may send you a mean email. They may accuse you of calling them out, speaking directly to them, when in fact, as a pastor, you have no clue who your message will impact in what way.

Then he moved on to the passage above. He said, "If you are in a place this morning where you are tired and feel like giving up on Christianity, keep fighting. You have to finish the race well, you have to keep the faith." (well, I am paraphrasing. I am sure what he actually said was more articulate and interesting than that)... and I felt like he was talking to me. (don't worry, no mean emails will be sent)

If you had asked me before the service that morning if I felt like…

working it out

I remember the old me. The me that would run 4 miles without blinking. The one who did HIT workouts daily.

What happened?

I'm going to say it, and hold on before you get all angry with me: pregnancy ruined my body.

I was so, so, SO sick while pregnant. I would just lie on the couch, waiting to throw up. Some times I could manage to walk, a little. I had already enrolled in one dance exercise class before I got pregnant and fought to finish those 12 weeks.

I really could not move while pregnant. Next time you have the flu, go for a jog and let me know how that goes.

To make matters worse, the only foods I could eat tended to be the worst things possible: potato chips and French fries were often on the list. To make this even worse, if I let my stomach get too empty, I was in deep, deep trouble. Our church small group can attest to the amount of Sweetarts I consumed. I can't even look at one now. *Shudder*

So there I sat, on the couch, drinking lemonade, eating potato chips one …

cleaning it out

as i start to clear through and clean stuff out, as we prepare to move, i find myself asking over and over again...

why do we have this?

we have so. much. stuff.

i am 100% disgusted with my own materialism, my own belief that this stuff was worth our money when there are people in need. people who don't eat dinner. children who don't have diapers or formula. people who struggle to have a home.

and i have 3 coffee makers.


we need to downsize. right now. i'm not doing this anymore. i am not believing this lie any longer. i am not packing this stuff up and moving it. it's not worth my time to pack and unpack. it's not worth my time to keep up with this house. it's not worth our money to pay for a mortgage for a house much bigger than we need.

i feel almost sick looking around here. we have to change. we have to change for joe. we have to change for those people in need.

anyone else doing a clean out, both spiritually, physically, emotionally right now?

what's working: June & July

Sleep. Joe has been doing better at nights (though we still get up, don't be fooled). It's amazing how much a few hours of consistent sleep can change your life.

Family. In the wake of the sudden loss of Robert's dad, all of his siblings and their families came to town. It was such a comfort to be together. It was so fun to watch Joe interact with his aunts, uncles, and cousin. Seeing them all together, it may or may not have convinced this hyperemsis momma to consider giving Joe a sibling... one day. Via adoption.

Food. Our house got flooded with food & alcohol (we have good friends). I've been cooking and baking. A hot dinner can go a long way.

Letting go. I feel like I will always view Joe's first year of life as before Don died and after Don died. After Don died, I stopped caring. I don't care about naps, a schedule, sleep props, breastfeeding, or anything. I make Joe eat much as possible and try to help him sleep when I know he needs to sleep…

We were feeling bored?

You may (or may not) have heard that we decided to list our house for sale.

There's a lot of reasons why, and a lot of them are kind of complicated to explain. In case you were worried, we are fine. Robert's job is fine. On the financial end, seeing what our floor plan is being built for (much more than we paid) was a big motivating factor, but we don't want anyone to think we are in trouble or anything like that - we're fine.

We realize moving with a baby is sort of a stupid idea. Why would we do it? I don't know. We were feeling bored, maybe? JUST KIDDING. The truth is, Joe isn't the only baby in the world, and while Joe is loved and cared for, there are plenty of babies and people who need our help. Help we could give to them instead of our mortgage payment.

We love our house. We know everyone who knows us knows that we love our house. People who have stayed with us or lived with us love our house. We definitely pictured ourselves living here a long time. Bu…

it's hard.

I had a conversation with a friend recently, and I was talking about losing my father-in-law, watching my husband mourn, and watching him pick up the pace at work since he was in business with his dad.

"I could worry, but I'm not in control anyway. I can either trust that God's plan is bigger than mine, or I can worry. Honestly, I don't know how people do it without faith, without Jesus. I'd be panicking."

My friend looked right at me and said, "But isn't it hard even with him?"

If I have led you to believe that living our life of not-so-dull moments is easy, I'm sorry.

It is hard.
This is hard. Even with Jesus.

This is the moment where my heart is broken.

This is the moment where I sincerely, honestly, truly regret picking a study of the book of James for our small group this summer.

Count it all joy, my friends, when it is hard. That's what James tells us. Not, "Hey, you could have some tough things coming" or "go ahead and whin…

what we learned about Joe

There is nothing like trial by fire to learn about your 4.5 month old.

The past 10 days, as I mentioned before, Joe has been taken completely out of his little world and did great. Here's what we got to learn about him...

Joe is an extrovert (at least at this stage of his life). With all the people around to entertain, Joe smiled, babbled, and hardly wanted to stop to eat or sleep. I've never seen him light up so much and be so social.

Joe is a flirt. He is waaaay more smiley for women.

Joe gets slap happy when he's tired. It's pretty hilarious and pretty goofy. Until he comes unglued.

Joe wants to eat solids. My child has fought nursing, bottles, formula, etc. But he loves food. Right now he's only allowed avocados 1x a day. When I put him in his high chair, he leans forward and start licking and smacking his lips. He will sit quietly in his chair, even when he's super fussy, because he knows food is coming. He stares longingly at cups, forks, and the food tha…

my word.

Over a year ago, a very dear mentor and friend gave me this verse to comfort me during a time of transition.

Over a year ago, I had no idea how much our lives were about to change.

90% of our family that lived in town moved away.
I got pregnant with Joe.
I got hyperemsis gravidum while pregnant.
My last living grandparent died.
We started a new small group at church that changed our lives (and I hope theirs!).
My husband lost his job.
My husband started a new company with his father and a family friend.
Joe was born.
I quit my job.
My father-in-law died.

12 months, friends, is not a long time. Some times I close my eyes and I picture myself 15 months ago, not even pregnant with Joe yet, living a totally different life. 15 months ago, I was hosting a surprise 60th birthday party for my father-in-law, probably drinking a glass of wine or something in my perfectly clean house, relishing in how good God was and is to us.

But God is so, so gracious. He gave me this Word to hold on to for dear life when…

our son

He's a pretty cute kid.
And he's been the ideal baby these past few days, despite a lack of sleep, food, mommy-time, or any type of normalcy.

He's got some big shoes to fill.  Carry on the legacy, little Joe.

kick them in the shins

I can't even process losing my father-in-law.

I don't know if I have ever loved someone quite the way I loved him.

But to honor him, I will say this...

My mother-in-law's reverend came over yesterday to help us plan the service.

"People will say, 'It gets easier with time.' Just kick them in the shins. It doesn't get easier. It gets easier for them, maybe."

I keep coming back to this and it keeps making me laugh. And my father-in-law would be happy to know that we are still finding ways to laugh.

finding our joy.

I am not someone who would describe myself as someone that does well on little sleep. I would tell you that it's a struggle for me to have a good day on 7 hours.

Oh how things have changed.

I meant to write a post on my first mother's day, but honestly, I was so overtired and wracked with post partum depression and anxiety that I could barely function. After an intervention from my husband and the help of countless family and friends, a check in with my ob, we've turned a corner.

What did I not expect in motherhood? The sleep deprivation. The constant second guessing, the constant feeling that I'm doing something wrong or should be doing more.

We are reading "Be Mature", a study of James, in our small group. It's all about embracing the trials, knowing that God is shaping you. I did not expect for my faith to be stretched so much. But it brings so much joy.

I can't do more. I don't know what I'm doing. But this is a calling. I have to trust tha…

what's working: may

-We found the golden goose of parenthood: the perfect babysitter. You want to know what's working for us? THAT. She adores Joe. Her parents drive her one way. She is polite and perfect. I basically want her to move in. Bonus? Her sister cuts our lawn and loves our dog.

-Accepting help. This is hard for me, super type A, super I always have it together. But it's a necessary reality in my life that I need weekly, some time daily help

-Daddy time. Robert coming home at a decent hour and spending time with Joe. Robert taking Joe when he wakes before 7am (he's getting ready for work anyway). Robert taking Joe on errands on the weekend. I have mad respect for single parents. I don't know how they do it.

-Formula. I know. Super controversial. But we now do what's called "combo feeding" (where you both breastfeed, pump, and give formula) and it's saved my mind and kept us breastfeeding when I was ready to give up. Plus, Joe has gained more weight, sleeps bett…

what's working: april

-Cartwheel Target App
Do you live at Target? We do. This app has special offers & coupons. PLUS you can scan stuff in-store and see if there are deals.

-Reading on the Kindle
I finally started using the gift R gave me for Christmas. I love it! It's way easier to manage than a paper book when I'm nursing or pumping and it makes the time go fast. What am I reading? Jen Hatmaker's Step Out of the Spin Cycle and I am Livia

-Facebook garage sale groups
I buy everything for Joe on these. Baby stuff, clothes, etc. all for dirt cheap and it's barely used.

-car seat swaddle
What did I buy that was super useful on these sites? SWADDLES. Joe loves to be swaddled and he is getting too long for his newborn ones. I found some bigger ones for $2/each and they can be used in a car seat!! BONUS. They are very thin and keep him warm (I know you all are like "PUTTING STUFF IN THE CARSEAT ISN'T SAFE. I assure you this is thinner than a sweatshirt would be for him). They help …

our super advanced baby

Since it seems to be all the rage to have your child be super advanced, Robert and I have started a little joke in which we take everything Joe does and blow it way out of proportion. Apparently, we are NOT the parents who are looking to brag that our child did x by z age, or did xyz early, or go around telling people how ahead our baby is. All I can tell you about Joe's head involves my experience pushing him out, and you don't want to hear about it.

So, here is our super advanced baby, you know, driving a car, and, of course, talking up a storm.

packing up the newborn clothes.

today i packed up the newborn clothes (well, minus the pants because you are so skinny that's the only size that really fits you).

today i packed the newborn clothes. you still seem so tiny, yet they are impossibly even smaller than you.

today i folded the first outfit you ever wore and i remembered that strange, sleepless, dream-like hospital stay in which you entered the world. where we met face to face for the first time.

has 10 weeks gone by? or has it been one? or a thousand? it's so fast, yet so much has changed it's hard to imagine it's been only 10 weeks. it's hard to imagine a time you were not here.

as you drifted off to sleep in my lap, i traced the outline of your face. i'm looking down at my forehead and eyes, yet you look just your father. but then you flinch, i see your aunts, your father's sisters. but if you half grin as you dose off, you pull your mouth back on one side like my nephew, like my father.

today, after i packed up your newborn cloth…

what's working: new momma edition

A fellow blogger friend of mine does a super sweet blog segment called "what's working" each month. She includes cute pictures.

I'm not that organized, but I love the idea - so here's our "what's working: March 2014".

This one is dedicated to all my momma-to-be-friends.

Gatorade. I got a stomach bug last week, and the only things that would stay down where Gatorade and Sprite. Guess what? Gatorade almost doubled what I can pump when I have to. That's a big win.

Books. The Baby Whisperer, Baby Wise, Bringing up Bebe. These are my go-to's as I navigate being a new momma. Joe has been to our library many, many times in his young life.

Buying in bulk. It's not easy getting out with an infant. I buy doubles of a lot of things: gas drops, diapers, etc. I buy snacks at Costco (I snack a lot while nursing). I know individual packs are wasteful, but they are so handy to stash around the house and in our diaper bag.

The boppy. Joe loves being propped …

sweet joe.

These two words are how we describe our 6 week old son:

sweet joe.

When I was feeling like I was on the verge of death while pregnant, a fellow HG survivor friend repeated this mantra to me: Tough pregnancy, easy baby.

Not a chance in my never-a-dull-moment world, I thought.

Friends, I hate even to type this... we have the sweetest, easiest baby ever.

We are very, very blessed.

See this serene picture? I know, parents all over the US fight for this achievement, a passed out infant. What did I do? Swaddeled him up, stuck in his paci, turned on some music, turned on the ceiling fan, and hopped into the shower. Watching the fan amused Joe until he passed out.

People ask me how Joe sleeps. "Like his father." I respond - like a rock. He's slept through the night a couple of times.
People ask me if he sleeps in his own room yet. "He's never spent a night in ours. He prefers his crib." I say, and I am given looks of total shock. I finally moved the pack-n-play out …