Saturday, May 24, 2014

How I've been blessed in my trials lately

Tommy will be four weeks old tomorrow. I have asked for many blessings in prayer in the last four weeks. I've had physical and emotional problems that have been really hard for me. I just want to write that Heavenly Father has given me many blessings and help during this time. In Priesthood blessings, I was promised that I would feel the love that God has for me during this time. That has always been something that didn't come naturally to me--feeling the love the Lord has for me. But, I think that the blessings he's given me have been to remind me of His love and care for me personally.

For example,
When I was deeply depressed and felt I couldn't come out of it by myself, I prayed and asked for help. I was able to sleep, but awoke the next morning still feeling sad. A talk by Elder Holland came to my mind, so I found the Ensign it was printed in and read that talk. It helped me so much. I was reminded that I've had these episodes of depression and anxiety before and that they didn't last forever. It gave me hope that I would come out of it this time too. Also, it gave me instruction that I needed, to care for my mind with rest and protection. I was deeply touched by the testimony of the Resurrection and thought of myself in that day, resurrected as myself, but "grand" and "glorious" in mind and body. I felt that throughout my life I have and will have periods of depression and anxiety, but I have felt rescued by the Lord. At these times, He has brought me back to myself and it's like emerging into a brighter light. Sometimes it has seemed like my eyes literally let in more light. It occurred to me that these times are like miniature Resurrections throughout my life. The Savior has rescued me before and I can always be rescued again. I'm prone to damning my personal progress by telling myself how awful I am, how unfair that my children don't have a better mother, among other things. I was impressed that I need to be kind and nonjudgmental to my own self. As I give myself a  break, I feel better because I'm not hurting my own feelings.

(And, I'm so much easier on Brandon when I'm easier on myself.)

Since then, I've noticed that when I'm not well emotionally--even when I'm feeling happy--unexpected disappointments, and incidents that make me worry or make me nervous seem monumental to me and I feel negative feelings (like fear, anger) more deeply. Just realizing that has helped me to recognize in the moment that while I'm truly feeling things, that doesn't mean that it's proportionate to the circumstances and it helps me calm down.

I have been pumping breastmilk. The baby started out as a great little nurser, but now he has realized that drinking out of a bottle is less work and he doesn't nurse anymore. I had a really healthy, realistic outlook on breastfeeding when he was born--I'd try to nurse, but no pressure; a happy mother is best for baby, better for baby than breastmilk. But, now that I'm in the thick of it, I've felt so guilty and so sad to stop giving him breast milk. But once Brandon goes back to work full-time, it will be impossible for me to continue pumping. There's just not enough time in the day to pump and feed the baby with a bottle, much less do all the other things that I need to do, like mothering my other kids, homeschooling them, and doing laundry and making dinner. I've felt very distraught about this and have prayed about it, "What should I do?!" I was reading the current issue of the Ensign one day and came across a talk about revelation by Elder Richard G. Scott. I was very surprised to find communication from God to me in that talk. But, as I read, I was reminded that I already made a list of pros and cons of nursing verses bottle (formula) feeding and saw that the lists of pros of formula feeding (for me) was longer than breastfeeding and I had already felt peace about stopping breastfeeding. Elder Scott says that we need to ask ourselves if God has already answered our prayers, and I felt that God had already answered mine, that I could stop nursing and stop pumping and it would be okay. So, I'm starting to wean from pumping, by letting more time pass between pumping. So, eventually, I won't be pumping anymore. I'm still sad, but I don't feel as conflicted or upset as I did. What really bothers me is that I won't nurse the baby, not that I won't spend so much time and energy pumping. But that ship has sailed and it's really not my fault. Also, it bothers me that he won't get breast milk. I feel so protective of him and want the best for him. But, Brandon thinks he will be fine and I can honestly say that the Lord hasn't told me that this baby needs breast milk and I need to make sure he gets it, so it feels best to move forward and not worry about it.

This morning I woke up with severe back pain. I couldn't ease the pain no matter how I sat or stretched. I couldn't hardly walk. It was so bad that I asked Brandon to give  me a blessing. I was blessed that I would be able to get rest so my body could heal itself. I took pain pills and went to sleep (when before I couldn't find any comfortable position) and I slept for a few hours and woke up feeling much better. I'm starting to hurt and feel bad again, but it's been several hours and I just took more pills.

I've had other physical ailments that I won't write about, but Heavenly Father has blessed me with healing.

Every time there's a new trial, I've prayed and He has blessed me. I know we can't expect the Lord to just give us everything we ask for, but I feel like He's been helping me see that He loves me.

Here's my beautiful baby.

Tommy, 3 1/2 weeks
Photograph by Michelle Thurgood

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tom Ellison Randolph-Seng

Tom Ellison Randolph-Seng was born Sunday, April 27th at 4:09 in the morning, 6 lbs 15 oz, 20 3/4 inches long, light brown hair. Beautiful, beautiful boy. He looks like his brothers. Tommy is the sweetest baby. We love him so much. 

Tommy's middle name is my grandmother's maiden name and he is named in honor of her father and mother, Fernie Lee and Eliza Berta Ellison and their family. Coincidentally, Fernie had a brother named Thomas Ellison. Personally, I thought Fernie could be a middle name that was so uncool, it was cool. But Brandon kindly, but firmly, vetoed it.   .  

The boys love him. Luke wants to hold him every chance he gets and periodically, Pete comes over just to look at Tommy, then he smiles or chuckles and then goes back to playing.

Tommy has brought the nicest feeling into our home. Brandon and I are really enjoying this heavenly influence and are kinder parents and kinder to each other even though we are severely sleep-deprived. I think our experiences over the last week have tempered us a little bit.

We almost didn't get to bring home our baby at all, he came so close to dying. I am so thankful for our nurses and doctors--those who literally saved his life when he was born with a prolapsed cord, unexpectedly breach and with no time to perform an emergency c-section. Our little boy was born not breathing and without a heartbeat and they resuscitated him using CPR. Miraculously, he is alive and the acidosis resolved very quickly after birth and evidence points to acute trauma, not chronic.

Almost unbelievably, the only big problem they could identify was very low blood sugar, for which he needed continuous fluids through an IV and so he was transferred from Rockwall Presbyterian to the Dallas Presbyterian NICU. He stayed in the NICU for 2 1/2 days until he could keep his blood sugar levels up without extra help, then he was transferred to the Special Care Unit Tuesday afternoon. Then his bili rubin count was high enough that he needed light therapy. He stayed until Thursday afternoon when he was released from the hospital with a pediatrician appointment scheduled for Friday. On Friday, he was doing well enough that he didn't need another blood test and he was given a clean bill of health. I'm so glad he didn't have to have more blood drawn because his little heels have been pricked so many times this week.

We have been so blessed. The doctors and especially nurses who have cared for us this week have been like angels ministering to us. I am really, really thankful Heavenly Father protected my baby.

I do want to mention a few things that I hope I'm learning from: 
--When my baby was transferred to Dallas and I was left in Rockwall having only held him once, I watched him crying on a closed-circuit camera. My nerves were pretty frayed after two days without any sleep, and I told the Lord that I could feel that I was on the edge of losing it. After praying I looked one last time and found him peacefully sleeping and then I turned off the computer and turned him over to God.  
--When I arrived the following evening in the NICU, I saw a huge, gorgeous photograph on the wall of wildly happy children, but it didn't make me happy. My gut reaction to their laughter was...resentment. It was this gut feeling and I wondered bitterly, "How dare they be so happy when my baby isn't okay?" I knew the moment was fleeting, but it opened my heart to others and I thought, "Oh, this is why someone might feel that way and no wonder." The world keeps on spinning even through all of our personal tragedies.
--That night I held my baby for 7 hours straight, then I slept for 4 hours and woke up to hold him again. In the little bay across from his, was a tiny baby boy-not yet 3 pounds--in an enclosed unit with no parent available to sit vigil by it's side. It dawned on me that I didn't know before what survivor's guilt was, and I'm sure I only know it now in a small way.
--I just have a new appreciation for parents who have babies and children in the hospital. I never really gave it much thought, but it is hard. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It was bound to happen sometime.

Yesterday at dinner, Brandon told us that he swatted a wasp in our house with a magazine and he hit it so hard that it split in two.

Luke said, without skipping a beat, "Well at least ya killed the damn thing."

We were silent for a moment and then we cracked up.

I guess I haven't hidden my potty mouth as well as I thought.

He asked, "Did I just say a bad word?" He was repentant.
(I'll admit that I was proud at how well he used it.)

Unfortunately, his little brother sat across from me and repeated to himself, "Damn, damn, damn, damn." 

I wonder when, and especially where, he will use that choice word.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas, Matt!

Disclaimer: I'm so embarrassed about the following post. But I can't bear to delete it. Save yourself! Don't watch the video.

We made the following video for my brother Matt, who is far away from his family right now, not in uniform, but serving his country. I hope he can see this. We tried to send it another way, but it didn't work. Hope it works this way. Sorry the home tour is so long. I'd edit it, but I don't know how.

If you are not Matt, you can still watch, but it's long and very jumpy. Sorry my filming is really bad. But, it does include a tour of our new home, which we wish could see more of our friends and family in person.

We love you, Matthew.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Driving Home From Church

I pulled over twice on the way home from church to break up fighting in the backseat. The first time, I made them say something nice about each other. 

Luke: Pete's smart.

Pete: Nu-uh, Luke's the one that's smart! (smaht)

Carrie: (sing-song voice) You're both smart. That's wonderful!

Pete: (impatiently) Nooooo, Luke's da one that's smahter. 

Carrie: (not in a sing-song voice) Okay, say something else nice about Pete, Luke.

Luke: (not smiling at all, bored) He's funny.

Carrie: He IS funny. Okay, Petey, Luke is smart, now say one more good thing about him.

Pete: He has really long hair. (He has weally lond hay-uh.)

Carrie: Great! Let's get going.

Four blocks later, we pulled over again. This time I just made them apologize.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Metaphorically Speaking

This is an OLD post that I never posted. You can guess why. But, today I want to post it. 

 I visited the Pioneer Woman today, where I saw this sign.

I really like it and it reminds me of my hometown. Furthermore, I wish people in my life would follow its counsel. This afternoon little dirty boys tracked mud through the house across the just-barely-swept floor and into the just-cleaned bathroom.  The pristine bar of soap is now brown and the counters are smudged. I swept again.

Metaphorically, too, I'd like this gritty bit of wisdom to hold water. But, I think maybe it doesn't. I definitely want admittance even with all my metaphorical sh**. Maybe the true love sign would say, "Come on in, you'll get cleaned up eventually."

I'm not sure if this is my blogging rebirth. But, here's an update: In November, Luke turned 7. He's lost several teeth. Currently he's completely missing the top middle two and one on the bottom. On his 3rd or 4th tooth, he wanted money for his tooth, but he also wanted to keep the tooth. I made him write a letter to the tooth fairy. He wrote: To the Tooth Fairy. Hi I am Luke. "PLEES LEEF MY TOOCH. P.S. I DOTE BELEEF IN YOU."

The week before Christmas I told the boys that I hadn't done any shopping for their Christmas presents. Petey, age 3, said, "Tanta bings my peasants." Luke said, "There's no such thing as Santa." Pete replied, "Ya-huh. I taw him in da pawade."

One of the things Brandon gave me for Christmas was a bouquet of flowers. The card said, "I think 2012 is going to be a great year for us." I cried when I read it. I knew he was talking about his job search. 

Happy New Year. 

And Pete is finally, finally, finally potty trained. 
2012 will be a great year indeed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

verse with blurry photos of boys

Little boys with hair of gold
Love me even when I'm old.
Love me when my hair is gray
Come and kiss me anyway.
Bring me colas, lemonade to drink
Come and see me week by week.
Bring your children, let them run
And I'll remember when their dads were young.
-Carrie to Luke & Pete

Luke, Pete, aluminum foil belts, wrist bands, and hats


In the photo above, Luke and I are in the background. I'm making dinner and Luke is keeping me company.
Lately Luke likes to sit cross-legged on the counter while listening to various cds to see which ones he likes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I think I have a problem with authority.

It's been more than a month since I posted.

A couple of weeks ago, Brandon said, "You haven't posted anything for a while." Then he said, "I think it's time."

Brandon might be joined to me at the hip for forever whether he likes it or not, but he only reads this when I tell him to. And I don't know why I tell him to. All I ever get is an understated, "I liked it."
So why does he have an opinion about how often I post, I'd like to know.

Anyway, two more weeks have passed and...nothin'. The muse is on vacation.
She doesn't like being bossed around.

 Today I got my Annual First of Spring Sunburn. It hurts when I scratch my forehead and I look a little bit lobster-y. I do this every year. Lovely day. Go to park. Stand in the sun and chat with a friend. Have lunch, push swing, collect sandy sneakers. Go home. A few hours later, roughly brush hair our of my face and damn it. Again.

My husband who never, ever swears said, "I dunno. That's a pretty common word." That's what I call permission. Oh, and now he's talking about Jay Golden Kimball. We compare ourselves to General Authorities in this house and...oh he's still talking, "Our Stake Presidency was talking about sex in the chapel."
Well, not sex in the chapel.

Have I successfully recused myself from any church callings yet?

I'm sitting here with waning courage, and Brandon says, "Go ahead Baby, share it with the world."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hello, my name is Carrie and

I really want another baby. And I think God wants me to have another baby. Because (mostly) going without sugar and processed foods hasn't been nearly as hard as it has every other time I've tried...and failed. But, I really want a baby and something inside of me has shifted.

But tonight I'm jonesin.'

And it doesn't help that Luke made a great big sign that read "COOKIES." And then I had to help him creatively spell every cookie we could think of. He came up with Fruit Loop Cookies (bleck.) But I still have chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, and coconut cookies on my mind. Get thee behind me!!

At least the sign isn't completely readable:

Can you read it?

Unfortunately, I can, and I wanna CH CHP OTML cookie (or ten) RIGHT NOW!
But I won't have one. Because I'm on

DAY 16

and that is nothing short of a miracle.

But I do stare extra long at pictures like this.

Wow, that really is torture.

But I must remember the reason I'm trying to eat real, whole foods and no sugary desserts: I feel that I need to be healthier before getting pregnant again with the hope that the pregnancy and post-pregnancy will be better for it. And really, so my scale doesn't break if I get on it after a new baby is born. Oh yes, and that epiphany I had that I want to be healthy enough -- not so I'll be one of the skinny women in the room -- but so that I'll be able to serve my Maker with full purpose of heart, and not have as many moments when I care that I'm not one of the skinny women in the room. That's right, that's what I'm supposed to remember.

(But if you are embracing and not eschewing Sea Salt Caramel Brownies, then by all means...The above photo with an accompanying recipe was found at CuisineNie.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

a day in the life

If you're interested, I've posted about what a homeschool day might look like for us over at my homeschool blog, Yellow, Green, Bwue.

Oh, how's that going? Let me tell you, it's a work in progress. I'm posting because I want to show some solidarity with one of my favorite places to visit: Simple Homeschool.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Randolph-Sengs

 Our Christmas Tree

 Our gingerbread house. 

Below: Pictures taken at Luke's Christmas Piano Recital.

 Christmas lights at our house.

 Merry Christmas! No cards this year. We didn't get pictures made and I imagined you opening the card and saying, "No picture? Lame." So maybe next year. Until then...

 Showing the loot from stockings with Daddy. 

Two of the videos we made for family on Christmas morning.