Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My New Job

After the last post, I figured it was my turn to write something a little more light and fun! So get ready for some details of my life as a mommy to the sweetest 11 week-old boy in the world. Has it really already been 11 weeks?!

Knox at 1 month old 
Knox FINALLY arrived on May 28, 2012, and our life has changed drastically...for the better. We can’t imagine our life without him now. Billy was able to stay home for 2 weeks or so which really helped us figure out this parenting-a-newborn thing. We watched MANY movies on Netflix while I figured out how to breastfeed, and Billy became a PRO at changing poop diapers. We were so very blessed to have dinner brought to us by our River Stone family for most days of the first month we were home. I don’t know how anyone brings home an infant and manages cooking/cleaning at the same time! We were pretty spoiled. However, our house DID look like that of a family with a new baby.  I swear it took weeks for me to find places for things and clear clutter off the coffee table. Things finally started to calm down once Billy went back to work, we overcame engorgement and pre-mastitis, I was able to start working out again, and Knox SORTA KINDA figured out the difference between nighttime and daytime. Oh yeah, and we had to start making dinner again...bummer!

When Knox was around 3 weeks old, we decided to take the plunge into the world of CLOTH DIAPERS!!! We had planned to use them all along, but wanted to wait for Knox to get the meconium out of his system and grow into our one-sized diapers a little better. So many people have asked me about cloth diapers and our routine, so I figured now was as good a time as ever to share!

2 month old Knox rocking his BumGenius dipey.
Why we chose to use cloth diapers: Despite many opinions, we did NOT choose the cloth route just to make our lives more difficult or to appear more natural/granola/crunchy/hippy/San Martian/fill-in-the-blank. We mainly wanted to save money in the long run. Since the diapers we chose were one-size-fits-all (8-35 lbs), he should never need other diapers as long as he is in them.  There are other benefits you can read about in the link above such as the material being better for his skin, less diaper rashes in most babies, and helps them potty train earlier. Knox actually had a small rash from being in disposables for 3 weeks, which vanished after 2 days in the cloths. But our decision was mainly save money. Oh, and it is better for the Earth...but we don’t really care about that as much. hehe

Our pale aka trash can with planetwise liner.
How it works: Cloth diapers have come a long way since the time when our parents or grandparents may have used them. They are super cute and durable. We use two kinds of BumGenius diapers, some with built in flaps to absorb liquid and some with an insert you have to stuff into it to absorb liquid. It’s really simple. You put the diaper on, the baby poops or pees in it, and then you stick it in a pale with a lid. Once the pale is full, you dump them in the wash and then hang to dry. We change Knox every 2-3 hours unless we know he pooped...and there’s no mistaking that! What about that poop you may ask? Well, since Knox’s only form of nutrition is breast milk, his poop dissolves in water, so you don’t have to clean it off before throwing it into the washer! Once he decides he is ready for solids, sometime after 6 months, then we will have to use a sprayer to knock off the poop into the toilet. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Wet bag in our super cool diaper bag. 
What about when we’re out and about: We use cloth exclusively, so when we change him while we are out, we just put the dirty diaper in this cute zippered wet bag and dump it in the pale when we get home. No harm done.

Cloth wipes aka washcloths rolled up.
What about wipes: We cheat a little here and use regular wipes when we are out or travelling to see our parents. Technically we could just bring some rags and a spray bottle, which we may switch to once we run out of these wipes. At home, we wet about 20 baby washcloths from Target, fold and roll them up, then place them in the wipe warmer. I use one per diaper and toss it in the pale with the diapers. They are washed with the diapers and dried with the inserts in the dryer.

All in all, our system works for us. It’s all we know.  It doesn’t seem hard or time-consuming. I actually enjoy it for some reason. Maybe because of how cute they look on his fat butt. 

Cloths drying & sun bleaching outside!
Photo credit: Savannah Menchaca Photography via iPhone
This brings me to another new Wells family decision. I am now a full time stay-at-home wife & mommy. This decision was made very recently. I was planning on returning to work as a physical therapist 2 days a week on August 20th.  As the date quickly approached, both Billy and I did not feel at peace about our past decision. I would have been working 8am-6pm on those 2 days, having to be away from Knox, and pumping multiple times to keep up my supply. Knox would have had to go with Billy to work which means running errands and being in an office while B made phone calls, etc. At the time it seemed like that would work, but then we met Knox. He eats when he wants, which is not a scheduled event. He takes naps, but not at certain times yet. And when he is awake for 1-2 hours at a time, we want to be stimulating him, talking, singing and playing. Thus we began praying for God to lead us to where He wanted me to be. After specifically praying this, I read through Titus. I came across Titus 2:4, “...and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled”. There are a lot of things in this verse that I am constantly needing the grace of God to work towards, then there is the obvious answer to my recent prayer. Billy and I both decided that God currently wants me to be with Knox. After much investigation/budgeting, we decided that it was possible and we would MAKE it work. There will be sacrifices that have to be made, but it is worth it for us to follow where He leads us.

Me & My Boy
People may think, why did you put yourself through 6 years of college/grad school, get your doctorate and license JUST to be a stay-at-home mom. Well, there will come a time when I WILL go back to doing PT. I will probably never work full-time again, but maybe part-time or PRN. That’s the great thing about my degree. Hey, at least I have 11 months of experience! Ha-ha

So that is where we are. Billy will continue working full time for River Stone and part time for Links USA. I will be with our son. It really feels too good to be true. My day consists of waking up to a sweet baby boy, feeding him off and on ALL day, catching every smile he decides to give me, and trying to make sure he feels loved. I love that I am able to clean and organize the house like I have wanted to for so long. I am learning new recipes and actually cooking for Billy!! He used to be the one who cooked. Also, I am able to spend time with local mommies who can teach me from their experience. I am so thankful for all they have taught me so far via demonstration, books, etc.

2 month old pretty blue eyes.
I pray that God gives me the wisdom to excel in this new position of mommy. I pray that I can love him even a fraction of the amount that God does. I pray that our little boy grows up knowing who Jesus is because we tell him and show him in the way we live our life. And most importantly, I pray that God leads Him to himself by the Holy Spirit so that Knox can experience true love and true life.


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Jessica and I have always talked about how we want to give a deeper explanation of our views on homosexuality as Christians. Every time we see facebook posts, tweets, articles, and headlines on the subject the views are always exaggerated (as one should expect), and saturated in the belief that the marginal extremists hold the same opinions as the whole. But it wasn’t until the most recent chick-fil-a debacle that we decided maybe we could voice our thoughts and they might actually be helpful. This is not a defense of chick-fil-a. We don’t know Dan Cathy or the exact views he has. We don’t know every organization he gives money to: what they do, who the leadership is, what their views are, etc. But we are Christians, which is the title that Mr. Cathy and those non-profits share. We have the same bible. Interpretation of it can vary to multiple degrees, but the heart of God does not. This subject could be covered in a small book, so we’ll try to be as succinct as possible.

The following statements are what we hold as our beliefs as Christians based on our interpretation of the bible, our relationship with God, and our relationship experience in the world which is all guided by the Holy Spirit:

1. Christians are not anti-Gay or homophobic. Anti- means “opposed to.” We are not against or opposed to gay people. Gay people are not our enemies. A phobia is an irrational fear or aversion to something. We are not afraid of any LGBT people or homosexuality. However, the word homophobia has taken on a broader definition in our culture: negative feelings towards or hate of homosexuals. Those are untrue as well.

2. Christians believe that marriage is an invention of God. God created a man and a woman. He created them for each other’s joy, for each other’s help, for a way to see His love for us in a very specific relationship on earth. He created them for procreation. The bride and groom metaphor is the defining example of the relationship between Jesus and the body of Christians on earth. Because of those beliefs we don’t “see” gay people as being married to each other. We can see a civil union and contract of partnership. This affects taxes, insurance, medical rules, and a multitude of other legalities. But as far as the term “marriage” goes: the man/woman relationship representing the relationship between Christ and His Church; It’s not the same to us. What the government defines as marriage is not what a Christian defines as marriage - so whatever the government decides does not change what Christians believe. It is not that we are trying to discount relationships or show rudeness toward gay people, but it is that we have a specific definition of the word marriage that we get from the bible.

3. We believe homosexuality is a sin. Sins are the thoughts/actions of humans that cause separation between us and God. We believe they are not of God and only of evil. This is where the tension starts to build. And this is where the word “tolerance” starts to get overused and skewed (I’d like to expand on my feelings about “tolerance” in another post). Christians say homosexuality is a flaw that God can “fix”. This is what some of the organizations work towards and why many people have said that chick-fil-a supports “hate groups.” This will be very hard for a non-christian to ever understand, but the source of wanting to “free” people from homosexuality is LOVE. I will try and explain our view:

As Christians, the ultimate in life is communion with God. Sin cannot be in the presence of God. That is where Jesus comes in. He paid for our sin in His death on the cross, and by rising again he also gave us the power to rise from our physical deaths and live eternally with God. On earth, when people find out about this truth and turn to it as their life purpose they begin to move further from sin and closer to God (we call this sanctification). A simple example is an athlete: the more he/she practices - mistakes become fewer. Once a Christian realizes that the purpose of life is to be with God, and if they love people, then they truly want those people to have the same thing. The same with sharing favorite music, food, tv shows with friends - You want to share these things because you know it will benefit them to have it in their life. To want to “free” someone from homosexuality is the wrong way to think about it. The purpose is to connect someone with God, and as a result someone is freed from their sins.

An example: Say I have a dear friend that I love, and they are not a Christian. Because I love them I want them to know God more than anything. When they see the truth of God and trust in Jesus I am ecstatic for them. Then they start to move closer to God by the sanctifying of the Holy Spirit. They begin to see little lies, cheating, and treating people with disdain, etc in their lives and that it hinders their relationship with God. They’ve also always been gay, but as they move closer to God in reading scripture, prayer, and counsel with friends, they see that it also hinders their relationship with God. Albeit, in a deeper way because it is a constant identity, and not just specific actions in time. Over time, by the power of God, they either begin to see attractiveness in the opposite sex, or they simply decide to be celibate so as not to sin against God - because their relationship with God is more important than their own desires (desires of their flesh).

That is an example of what a Christian would say is being “freed” from homosexuality. It isn’t that we hate homosexuals and think they’re gross and want people to stop doing it so we can like them. It’s that we love them and want them to find joy in God and we know that sin blocks that.

As Christians we believe that we have desires of the flesh and desires of the Spirit. Desires of the flesh are the temptations that lead us to sin, whereas desires of the Spirit are the guidance by which God leads us in sanctification. A desire of the flesh/temptation is not sin unless it is acted upon. We are all born with different leanings and capacities for sin, and all of these are consequences of the fall. Whether it be the desire to steal, lie, engage in sexual immorality, or any other sinful desire. We believe homosexuality is just one of the many ways a person can sin in a sexually immoral way. It is no different than premarital sex, addiction to pornography, adultery, etc.

The ultimate issue is that the Christian belief says homosexuality is a sin, and is “wrong” before God. Yes, our bible says it. The root word for sexual sin in the bible is usually the greek word “pornea” which is a single word that includes all sexual activity other than sex between a married man and woman. So, even though the word “homosexual” may not be explicitly stated, it is very clearly implicitly stated. Here’s a dumb example: If one day extraterrestrials come to earth - a sexual relationship with them is sin against God, though that is obviously not explicitly stated in the bible.

We do not hate gay people. We love gay people. We do believe homosexuality is just one of many sins. If it comes off as hostile, intolerant, or anti-equality, then that is a backlash we face. Our allegiance is to our God and His word, and though we fail all the time we try to love all people the way that Jesus did.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Knox Ezekiel's Birth Story

This post is partially to share with all of you the story of Knox’s birth, but it’s mainly so that we can document the process while it is so fresh on our minds. Pregnancy had been a breeze. I loved it! I was able to work as a physical therapist with primarily young children until I was 39 weeks and 2 days. We had been waiting for what seemed like forever for my body to start going into labor. We were beginning to wonder if I would be pregnant indefinitely. It wasn’t even past my due date yet, but I had decided to stop working to rest in the days leading up to the birth. I expected the process to be similar to a marathon. They tell you to prepare for active labor to last 24 hours at least for your first baby. However, I didn’t want to waste my days off before Knox was here. Thankfully I was only off for 2 workdays before I had him! Praise God.

Days Before Knox's Arrival
It seems like Knox has been talked about and anticipated for a very long time via prayers, discussion, facebook, twitter, and instagram. He even has his own hashtag, #knoxezekiel, which has been used regularly by our close friends and family. One of our friends described it perfectly, it’s like he has been our imaginary friend all this time and now he’s real! People have been praying for Knox’s health and development, making and buying him beautiful gifts, and talking to him through my belly for months. This is one reason the end of my pregnancy seemed to last forever...we just wanted him out already to love and cuddle.

Knox Smiling in 3D at 34 Weeks
So that brings us to the weekend of May 25th...I had gone to my OB on Wednesday the 23rd to try and get things started via separating my water bag from the cervix. It is a natural way to try and encourage labor, but if your body wasn’t ready, it would do nothing. Apparently Knox wasn’t ready to leave the belly yet, because nothing happened. Billy and I went walking on San Antonio Street, our favorite street in San Marcos, almost every evening. We even tried walking stairs, driving the jeep over speed bumps, drinking a ton of Pregnancy tea, eating eggplant parmesan on our date night, eating pineapples, bouncing on a big ball, and other natural labor inducing activities. Ha-ha. But Knox was going to come on HIS terms, his and God’s, not ours. Nothing happened.

Heading out for last walk on San Antonio St.
Then finally...I began pre-labor symptoms on our estimated due date, May 27th at 11pm. I had light cramping at regular intervals, but kept reading Mockingjay (which I have yet to finish). I finally woke up Billy to tell him at 2am; of course he kept asking me if I was sure and if this was REALLY happening. I called Tamara, our doula, who came over for a few hours in the middle of the night to try and help me get things progressing. We walked the streets of my neighborhood, tried using the breast pump, but contractions were just not increasing in intensity. Tamara went home to rest and I tried to sleep but couldn’t. The next morning we went to our OB appointment at 10am and I was dilated to 2 cm. We called CTMC to see about the birth tub room, but someone was using it; She didn’t end up using the tub so they asked if she would move. She initially agreed, but ended up staying in the room for her entire delivery, and so the room was unavailable. This terrified me since our entire birth plan was based around using the water to help with pain management. They told us they would call us when the room was ready. (They never did) We decided to labor as long as possible at our house. I kept eating like normal so that I would have energy for the marathon ahead. To help manage contractions I stood in a hot shower for about 2 hours. When I got out, the contractions started getting stronger. Billy came up to help me through them by speaking words of encouragement and putting heavy pressure through my low back while I sat on the ball and leaned on the bed.

May 28th Laboring at Home
At one point I felt a pop and figured my water had broken. I was sitting on the ball which kind of kept the water from gushing everywhere. Billy got me towels so we managed to not make a huge mess! After that I blacked out for a little bit. I assume it was from the pain of that contraction and a little panic from realizing things were about to begin moving fast. Billy called the hospital and told them we were on our way, with or without the tub room being available. When we got there the contractions were coming very close together. I had to stop walking multiple times on our way into the hospital and from the lobby to the room. When we got there, they told us the tub room would be ready in 5 minutes. What a relief! When we got to the room around 3pm I had to lie on a bed while they strapped monitors to my stomach, and read my vitals, and Knox’s, too. It was frustrating to wait through this while having really intense contractions. All I could think about was getting that part over with and getting into the tub. I was dilated to 4 cm when I got into the tub around 3:30pm. It was very soothing, like a hot tub, and I felt immediate relief. Tamara guided my vocalizations to be “low and open” so I hummed through the contractions. There were times I wanted to shriek in a high pitch because of the pain, but that would have been counter productive to the progress of my labor. At some points Billy, Tamara and I were all humming loudly together to help me stay on track.

Scripture hung on the wall behind the tub
We had created multiple playlists to play during labor, but we stuck with the calming songs by artists like Sigur Ros, Eddie Vedder, The Album Leaf, & Active Child. We also put up scripture on the wall to remind us why we chose this birth plan. The main verse to represent the labor was:

“But he said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Billy reminded me multiple times during contractions, “He is strong in your weakness” and “this one is going to end” which was encouraging.

So I labored in the water for about 2.5 hours before Knox was born at 5:47pm. This was pretty fast for a first baby. My water broke a little before 3pm and I was holding him less than 3 hours later. I believe this was because we had no interventions to slow it down and I could feel what was going on. I pushed for 45 minutes before they placed my sweet baby boy on my chest. He was 8 lbs 6 oz, 19.25 inches long and had a full head of dark hair. He looked so HUGE, and I couldn’t believe he came out of me. The song that played when he was born was HoppĂ­polla by Sigur Ros, which translates to "jumping in puddles". How ironic that he was born into water, and that song randomly played on shuffle at the time of his birth. You know how people say that when you see your baby, the pain just disappears? It’s true. Even without pain meds or’s true. When it was over, I really didn’t know how the heck he got out of me. There were times when I thought, “There is no way he is ever going to come out”. Giving birth is equally physical, mental, and spiritual.

Right after they placed him on my chest in the tub
God gave me the strength and endurance to get through the entire process. He blessed me with the most supportive husband who kept telling me how much he loved me and was with me every step of the pregnancy and birth. He also allowed us to meet a wonderful local doula who did so much to educate and encourage us, guide our planning, help control my pain, and provide support after Knox was born. I so highly recommend using doulas, especially if you plan on pursuing a natural childbirth experience, but regardless they are great for putting your mind at ease and giving you confidence.

So that’s how it all went down. Now he’s here and we cannot fathom the love and joy that we feel. He is so perfect, a gift from above which we do not and will never deserve. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Introducing Knox Ezekiel

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Born on May 28, 2012
Birth story to come!!