Monday, December 15, 2014

Confessions No.1 - First Moments Blues

These past ten months as a new mom haven't gone exactly as I always expected. While Addison has brought me such inexplicable joy, there have been too many first moments that didn't hold up to my expectations. There were countless moments that I have imagined and daydreamed about sharing with my first born. What I never imagined was having to share these precious first moments with grief. I've always thought that the one-year mark was the hurdle to pass after losing a loved one. I never realized how prominent this grief would still be during my daughter's first year of life.

"So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." (John 16:22)

Losing Sharon has left a hole in us that can never completely be filled. Addison has brought joy and love where there once was only sadness and heartache. Yet, the pain is still an ever-present part of us. These first moments with Addison have been bittersweet. Instead of experiencing pure happiness during these once-in-a-lifetime moments, I have been too melancholy and sad, wishing for things that I can never have. Wishing for the presence of the mother, grandmother, friend who is always present in our hearts, but no longer present in our lives.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

I've often imagined Sharon's reactions and joy to these first moments. In my mind, I've seen her smile and excitement when Addison learned to crawl. I've heard her laugh when Addison is being silly. Sensed her pride whenever Wes dotes on his daughter. And felt her love each day of Addison's life. My heart aches when I think of all that we have missed out on, all that my husband and daughter have lost. No one will ever be able to love us as she could. We have lost out on one of the best gifts that can be offered only by a mother and grandmother. My heart cries out in knowing that we will never be the family that I've always imagined. We are forever, and irrevocably broken.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. (Lamentations 3:19-22)

The holiday season has been worse for me. So many more joyous occasions to celebrate in, with smiles and laughter that aren't completely heartfelt. I can feel the joy, and I can feel the love, but I also always feel the sadness. The terrible, overwhelming sadness. These past ten months have been filled with a whirlwind of emotions, highs and too many lows. I have been praying desperately for God to work in my heart. To ease this sadness, and to help me be able to focus on Wes and Addison, and our joy in the moment. These moments are so fleeting after all.

After much prayer, and too many months, I can finally feel myself changing, emerging from that darkness. I've been better able to treasure the moment I'm in, to embrace it and love it without as much melancholy. I'm still afraid of how tough Christmas might be, and Addison's first birthday. But I finally think I am on the right path.

Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I had an incredibly intense memory of Sharon the other day. I could perfectly see her face, and feel her joy, exuberance, love and personality. Oh, how I miss her! Days later, in a conversation with Wes, I realized how similar he is to his mom. In so many ways, he is just as unique, special, and amazing as Sharon. And I realized, that through him, I will always have a piece of Sharon alive and with me. And I hope and pray that my daughter will grow up to be like her daddy and grandmother. My family is amazing!

I truly am blessed to have them in my life, and to be able to share in their lives. I'm grateful for the time I had with Sharon. I love her, and I miss her. But I have two of the greatest pieces of her. Her son, and her granddaughter. My husband, and my daughter. Her greatest treasures are my greatest treasures. Through our love for them, she is always in my heart. I will get to live each day loving those who mattered the most to her. I am humbled by how greatly my God has blessed me.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

Sometimes I get lost in my own troubles and sorrows, and too easily forget to see all the love and blessings He has given me. Yet even in my selfishness, my grief, and my darkness, He is always with me. He is leading me back to the light. And it is filled with great hope, promise and love.

Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. (Psalm 119:50)

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. (Psalm 18:28)

May your Christmas be merry and filled with love. And for all who are struggling through the holidays like me, may you feel God's love and blessings in your lives, and may He bring you out of the darkness and into the light.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cooking - Chili

I love cooking, but since baby girl was born it's been a challenge to find the time for some of my more complex recipes. Since then, I've been searching through the web for different simple, quick meal ideas; the best way to make cooking easy in my busy life!

We've had some great summer thunderstorms lately, and the cool rainy weather made me crave chili! I started looking through my collection of recipes for chili, and was disappointed by the ones I came across. Some were too basic, some were processed foods, and others were too spicy. So I decided to combine ingredients from a few different recipes until I basically came up with an ingredient list that I found simple and delicious.

The best part was, this recipe turned out to be utterly scrumptious, and I was so pleased I wanted to give myself a pat on the back. I'm normally the kind of cook who sticks pretty strictly to a recipe and doesn't vary much from the directions, other than omitting certain ingredients. To take the risk of mixing multiple recipes is so not me ... but turned out to be a risk well worth it!

We loved this easy, quick chili. It was the perfect meal to enjoy with the smell of rain and thunder roaring outside. Add some corn bread, and this is one amazing meal!

Chili Recipe

1 Tbs olive oil
2 lbs ground beef
1 white onion, chopped
2 Tbs garlic, minced
28 oz tomato sauce
1-1/2 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 C water
1 can chili beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
shredded cheddar cheese, optional
sour cream, optional


Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add beef and season with garlic salt and pepper, to taste. Once browned, drain most of grease. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, beans and seasonings. Mix thoroughly. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until heated through.

Serve hot, with cheese and sour cream if desired. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Addison 0-4 Months Old

The first four months since Addison's birth have been both amazing and challenging. After four months, being a mother feels more natural and I'm more confident, but for a while I felt so inexperienced and unsure of my self and my abilities in being able to care for this tiny human. There were times when I couldn't soothe her crying, and poor Wes would find us both in the living room sobbing. I was so tired so often that I could no longer remember what it was like to function without exhaustion. For the past few months, my house looks as if it's been struck by a tornado, and I am just now starting to finally put it back together, piece by small piece. I used to love cooking; now I always try to find the quickest meal that requires the least amount of prep. We eat with paper plates and plastic silverware. My washer and dryer is constantly full, and piles of clean, unfolded laundry cover every spare surface of my house. My only down-time is my twenty-five minute showers. When she goes to bed, I go to bed. I have become ambidextrous and an expert at eating my cold meals one-handed. I am a pro at juggling and multitasking. I miss sleeping in, or sleeping in general. If I could have one night of uninterrupted sleep, I guarantee that I could sleep for twelve hours straight. I have many jobs: mother, homemaker, wife, bookkeeper, photographer, maid, chauffeur, chef, chew toy; and more responsibilities than I can count. Town days are an adventure. White noise is my best friend. Her attempted laughs and talking are my favorite sounds in the world. Her smile makes everything better. Her cheeks are chubby and kissable. She is my little chunky monkey. I love staring into her big, blue eyes. I have gladly spent too much time acting as embarrassingly ridiculous as possible in order to get her to smile. She is my favorite snuggler. When she holds my finger with her whole hand, I wish that she would never let go. The past few months have been full of challenges indeed, but full of amazing, once-in-a-lifetime moments as well. And absolutely worth all the tears, both hers and mine.

Addison has experienced many firsts these past months. First bath, town day, dining in a restaurant, holiday, church, beach trip, cattle branding, family vacation, zoo, picnic, camping trip, art work. My favorites have been her first smile, cooing and laughs. She is very alert and curious about the world around her. She holds her head up well, sits up assisted and loves standing with assistance. I have a feeling that she will be moving and grooving before we know it. She loves her pacifier. She talks, but mostly when she's upset. She tries to laugh, and occasionally succeeds, but most of the time it's a coughing laugh. She is full of smiles and enjoys playing with her toys. She likes looking at faces and chewing on toys or blankets. She grunts and snorts. Since three months, she's slept 4-6 hours at night before needing to be fed, which is nice because in the beginning we were lucky if she would sleep for one hour at a time. She wouldn't nap in her crib until four months; before then I used to have to hold her while she slept or else she didn't sleep. Breastfeeding was a challenge until almost four months old, when I started supplementing with formula. With the formula she's received the extra calories her body needed, and now she is a happy, and content little baby. She was small and slender for the longest time, but has finally put on weight and now she's my little chunk-a-monk. She does well in the car, and enjoys riding in the stroller or baby carrier. She watches TV. Before two months old, she always cried when taking pictures with mommy. Her lip quivers when she cries; it is the most pitiful thing I've ever seen. She's loves Sophie the giraffe. She used to always cry during bath time, but is starting to enjoy it. She loved being swaddled until four months old. She used to have a crying squeak. She is so fascinating to me.

In four months, it's amazing to see how much and how quickly she's grown. In ways she still seems so small, but looking back, I realize that those newborn months have passed so fleetingly. It's a challenge to remember to enjoy and cherish each day, to relish in the present and each precious moment. Before I know it, these days will be gone and my baby girl will be all grown up. There are many moments I look forward to experiencing once she's older, but I'm trying very hard to enjoy the moments I have with her now. It's very rare that I hold her while she's sleeping now-a-days, and during those few sweet embraces, I savor how small and lovable she is. It's those moments that I wish would last forever. Sometimes my heart is so full of love for her that it's near to bursting. How can we possibly love one tiny person so much? The amount of love that my heart is able to hold for her and Wes astounds me. It is a love like no other. Life is never as exciting, or challenging, or rewarding as when you become a parent. My life has changed completely. My whole world has been altered so irreversibly that I can't remember anymore what my life was like before her, and can no longer imagine life without her. She is my greatest blessing, requires my greatest sacrifice and rewards us with the greatest of joy. I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store for my little family!

first bath

first holiday: Valentine's Day

1 month
first beach trip

2 months 

first Easter 

first cattle branding 

3 months
first art work

first Mother's Day
first camping trip
love Sophie giraffe

4 months

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Our Baby Story

Wes and I found out that we were pregnant in June 2013, and have since been anxiously awaiting the arrival of our precious bundle of joy. In September 2013 we found out that baby Bergman is a girl, and celebrated with a Gender Reveal Party for Addison Faith Bergman.

I was blessed with a smooth and easy 9 months of pregnancy. During that time I worked hard to prepare for labor and delivery, and for caring for baby as best as I could by reading nearly everything I could get my hands on, and listening to all my mommy friend's stories and advice. I worked tirelessly to set up the nursery by 35 weeks, just in case baby decided to arrive early. I cleaned and organized and decorated her room in less than a week. We were ready, and yet, no where near ready. By 34 weeks, I tried very hard not to dwell or agonize over the impending labor and delivery. I'd researched as much as I could about the event, but still had no idea what it would really be like, since labor and delivery is different for each woman. I couldn't wait to meet my baby, but I was terrified of what I would have to do to get her here. I made it to 37.5 weeks of pregnancy before my water unexpectedly broke at 3:30 AM on Monday January 27, 2014. After 5 stunned minutes of trying to absorb that fact, I woke Wes to break the news, and we both took another 5+ minutes to process what this meant. We were both in shock, shaking uncontrollably with nerves. It was time! Within 24 hours, Addison Faith would be born. After 9 long months of anxiously awaiting our precious blessing, D-day had finally arrived.

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months
9 months
After we got past our initial shock, we took showers to try to calm and relax our nerves, and finished putting together our last minute hospital bag items. By 5:30 AM we were finally on our way to the hospital, still stunned that the time had come. After a short evaluation, they determined that my water had indeed broke and I was 1cm dilated with 50% effacement, and admitted us at 7:00 AM. It was 7:30 AM before I started feeling any labor pains. Since my water had broken, we had approximately 24 hours to deliver in order to avoid possible infection. So they kept a close eye on my progress, and by 10:00 AM, since I was still only 1-2cm, they administered Petocin to help move the labor forward. The Petocin kicked in, and the contractions started to come quicker and more intensely, and unfortunately, so did back labor. Back labor was the worst! When a contraction was over, the pain from back labor would continue so that there was basically no break between contractions; the pain was constant. By 10:00 PM I was still only 7cm, so my doctor was considering Petocin again, as well as an uncomfortable/painful procedure that would determine how well the contractions were progressing the cervix dilation. After 19.5 hours of labor, my contractions were about 1 minute apart, lasting 60-90 seconds, and consisted of frontal contractions, back labor and the strong urge to bear down. By that point, I was more than ready to get her out. To still be only 7cm after all that time, I didn't know how much more I could take. I didn't know how much longer it would be, and did not relish the thought of Petocin, which would only make the already painful contractions even worse. I had reached the point where I needed some type of reprieve, especially since we didn't know how much longer it would be, so I requested an epidural. I had been so terrified of an epidural, but had finally reached a point after 19.5 hours where I couldn't take much more without it. So I received an epidural around 10:15 PM, and 10 minutes later I had dilated to 9cm! Finally, some quick progress! The epidural helped to take away the pain, including the horrible back labor, and all I felt was the tensing and pressure from the contractions. I was finally able to rest and relax between contractions, so that my labor progressed quickly, and somewhere around 12:00 AM Tuesday January 28, we were ready to start pushing. After 1.5 hours of pushing, we were ready for the doctor to come in to deliver our baby. Another 15 or so minutes, Addison Faith Bergman was finally born at 2:37 AM on Tuesday January 28, 2014 after 23 hours of labor. She was 7 lbs even, 19.5 inches long, with good healthy lungs and the most beautiful and perfect features. The cord was cut and she was quickly wiped down before being laid on my chest for skin to skin contact. When I got my first glimpse of her, the first thought that popped into my head was that she was actually cute! I was pleasantly surprised because I had wondered throughout my pregnancy if I would think she was a cute or ugly newborn, but from the moment I saw her, I thought she was beautiful and perfect, and looked like her daddy.

My 23 hour long labor was not ideal, and had not gone as planned what with having an epidural, but the overall labor had been good and positive, and ended in a natural delivery. My doctor later said that the epidural was the best choice, because I most likely would have ended up with a C-section otherwise. And when all was said and done, baby and I were healthy and safe. A complete win-win. We went home late Wednesday afternoon, and Addison slept on the entire drive home. Since we've been home we've been adjusting to breastfeeding and sleepless nights. It's been an adjustment from a family of two to a family of three, but has been well worth all the challenges. It is hard not to just sit and stare at her beautiful, perfect face, especially when we should be sleeping. At times I feel so vulnerable and helpless when I can't calm her crying, and a desperate fear sometimes surfaces when I worry over something bad happening to her. I want nothing more than to care for, and love her, and protect her ... to raise her with a strong faith and loving relationship with God, for her to know how precious and cherished she is. It's amazing to love someone so small and new to the world, with such a deep and abiding love. From the moment I first saw her, I've been so completely and utterly in love. The love I have for Wes has not diminished, but my capacity for love has expanded to envelop her so that the two of them are now the most precious and beloved people in my world. Being a mom is still so new, and I will face so many challenges. Sometimes Addison cries unconsolably to the point which makes me cry as well, and I'm so tired at times that I can fall asleep within minutes at any point in the day. I miss sleeping in, or sleeping for longer than 2 hours at a time. I hate the vulnerable and helpless feeling that is occasionally associated with the fact that this little person is completely dependent upon me, and the fear and worry I feel over something terrible happening to her. I miss having longer than 5 minutes time to snuggle with my husband, and the freedom to do anything at any time. My world has completely changed. But I wouldn't have it any other way. My daughter is our biggest blessing, and apart from Wes, the absolute highlight of my life. Being a mother requires sacrifice, but the reward is far beyond any price I will ever have to pay. I thank God every day for the blessing of our daughter, the perfect miracle that she is. She is the light in our darkness, the hope for our future. She is the most loved and cherished part of our lives. We are so beyond blessed by Addison Faith Bergman. Welcome to the world, my beautiful, precious baby girl!

first family photo

daddy's video game hold
lol, caught an unhappy moment
1 week old
1 week old

2 weeks old