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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Final Countdown.. to MOPS International Convention!

Shoes- Check. (Let's hope I did better than last year in this arena)

Black pants- Check (after 6 days of searching every store in Michigan for pants that don't make me look like a buffalo in drag from behind..) (well thats only kind of a CHECK...I finally gave up looking in the three-way mirrors.. funny how little I mind my backside if I don't LOOK at it...)
527 tops of which, I will wear exactly: 5. Check (I never know what I'll FEEL like wearing- so I need to bring options.. I need to wear my purple MOPS Polo when "on duty" so the actual times for wearing my "options" will be minimal...)

Laptop and enough electronic cords, chargers and devices to power a third world country- Check. (a girl's got to stay connected for pete's sake.)

Knitting that I know I will have no time to work on- check. (ok- so MAYBE on the plane...)

Name tag- Check (For once I didn't even have to look for it.. someone told me to keep it on the fridge with the magnetic backing- works like a charm!)

Breakfast bars and instant coffee (gross- I know) in case of dire caffeine and calorie emergency- check. (I might pick up some chocolate covered espresso beans to replace the instant coffee-- starbucks has them- the calories would be worth the taste and caffeine:)

Shemergency kit- cause it should have everything I may have forgotten- Check.

My To Do list is shrinking - and my excitement is growing ... I wonder what it will be like? I wonder what God will say to my heart while I'm there? I wonder what weird things my hair will do in the Dallas heat? I wonder how much laundry will accumulate in my 5 day absense? I wonder how my 4 guys will survive on Banquet Chicken and Velveeta Shells and cheese, and pizza carry-out? I'm about to find out all the answers in T-minus 20 hours... the final countdown has begun!

BIG NEWS! I've been asked to "live blog" from the convention- so if you want to know the scoop and see what MOPS convention is really like- make sure and watch the MOPS International Convention Blog for updates!

Dear Lord- I pray that you'd prepare my heart and the hearts of the thousands of Moms who are preparing to come and be refreshed and challenged at MOPS Convention- I pray that you'd be with the MOPS Leadership team- the speakers and families-- Most of all- I pray we see you in everything at convention- I love you lord- amen.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Mom's day out-- gone right and wrong....

My hands trembled just a bit as I buttoned the pink silk blouse. I felt like a busty- rebel. For a nursing mom- DRY-CLEAN ONLY was not just risky-- it was downright DANGEROUS. (Just how dangerous I was about to find out. The Hard way.) This day was special. I was going to a MOPS event, just over the state line. (A regional event in Toledo- Ohio) I was looking forward to entire day devoted to building up MOM'S. That's ME! It was within driving distance and more importantly, within the range of security for a nursing mom. (Just over an hour from home.) A Mom's day out- a Mom's day of refreshment.. The first since my second child had been born.. I needed it-- BAD. I'd been planning and pumping extra milk for days. But, now? I was nearly ready.

I stepped back to take a look at the over-all effect. "Not too bad" I said to myself. Black dress pants.. pumps... pink silk blouse, full make-up AND hair both washed and styled on the same day (*gasp* amazing...I know!). I grinned at myself in the mirror. I double checked that breast-pads were in place and well secured and hidden in my NON-NURSING BRA. (... a bra without flaps-- this was truly a big day out..) I made sure I had an extra set in my purse.

I checked my watch, "Just enough time, for one more nursing before I leave." I grinned at my preparedness. For a nursing mom- "empty before leaving the house" is just as important as for a mom getting a potty-training toddler into the car for a long ride..

I tiptoed into the baby's room sat down in "our" chair and we both enjoyed one more for the road....quiet early morning nursings were some of my favorite times. When we were done- I took him in to a sleepy daddy, I kissed them both.. then went to the kitchen to go over my list one more time.

1) Pumped Milk in freezer- check.

2) Formula and bottles on the counter in case of emergency- check.

3) Diapers- clothes and necessary baby supplies phone numbers and instructions - out and visible so daddy could find them even if he were truly..blind.. check.

4) Cell phone charged and ready.. check. (this was an old school cell phone- about the size and weight of my current laptop.. It's been a while)

I was as ready as possible.

Time to go. I felt a twinge of sadness as I pulled out of the driveway. I headed over to meet my girlfriends - and we drove on together. Guilt and giddiness fought for control of my postpartum emotions as we crossed the state line. Giddiness won. I was out for petes sake!

We arrived on time.. (something rare for a groups of nursing moms) We took our seats- and enjoyed the entire day. There were laughs... there were happy tears as I heard things that reminded me how much I love being a mom... and a few happy tears of relief as learned I wasn't "the only one".

The day offered up everything I'd hoped for, and needed. Fun- encouragement-something to challenege me and make me think, girlfriend time and mommy time. I missed my guys- but was relieved that everything went so well. My check-in calls (oh, probably enough of them billed one minute at a fund the current economic crisis relief plan...) revealed that the frozen milk supply was holding out.. and the diapers were too. Added bonus- I didn't hear crying in the background. (much). SCORE.

When my girlfriend asked if I wanted to stop on the way home to eat... I should have known I was pressing my luck. But- I was having sooo much fun..... and I had everything "covered" with my preparedness...and things were well at I figured, "why not?"

There was one thing I hadn't counted on.. A newborn baby crying at the restaurant.. and the power of milk-let-down on a pink silk blouse. The baby's cry sounded like "Danger, Danger Will Robinson!" But, it was too late. My milk let down like a bad levy.

HELLO. DRY CLEAN ONLY? More like GARBAGE ONLY. There were not enough extra breast pads in North America to soak up that mess. When that tiny baby started to cry-- my Mom-ness kicked into overdrive. In record time- I drenched the entire front of my blouse, which- promptly turned see through. I was now busty- (a bonus to nursing) and see through- OOPSY. Not the look I was going for.

I ran into the bathroom- ""GREAT.. no papertowel" Save the trees, but soak the moms" I thought to myself..I aimed the hand dryer down my blouse in an attempt to dry up the mess.. it didn't exactly work. I made powdered milk. Yuk.I hadn't planned for this. I didn't know what to do... My tears flowed just a little slower than the milk.

The moms I was with, found a sweater for me in someone's bag.. and together- they brought it into the bathroom for me. (Friends, don't let friends, drive soaked.) I slipped it on. It wasn't my sassy pink dry-clean only-- but it was DRY. That's when the silly began. The other moms had all been there- or somewhere like it in the land of Mom...They rolled out breast feeding horror stories that made us all laugh until breasts weren't the only thing at risk of leaking....the bathroom turned into an impromptu MOPS Meeting...

It didn't take long before I felt better. Soggy- but better.

We drove home still laughing.. and talking and giggling... I wondered if my hubby would notice that I had changed my top.. (He didn't,of course.) I arrived home to a hungry baby.. and plenty of milk to feed him. (apparently it doesn't take THAT MUCH milk to soak the front of a silk blouse..)

At the end of the day-- I wondered if it was worth the work..

preplanning- and milk pumping- 10 + hours

writing out instructions and worrying in advance- countless hours..

cost of a trashed clearanced pink silk blouse- $24. (I just couldn't figure out how to explain a breast milk stain the size of Texas)

A day of encouragement, refreshment and connection with other moms?

If you can make it to a MOPS event in your area-- I can't recommend it's worth the time the expense and the preparation.. a hundred times over... - I also recommend wearing wash n wear.. and maybe a raincoat for a blouse if you're nursing:).... you won't be the only one.. that's for sure:)

PS- if YOU ARE at a MOPS event- or anywhere else for that matter- and see a busty woman in a soaked see-through top---don't hate on her... offer your sweater or jacket to her-- really- she's probably not holding her own wet-t-shirt contest... she's just a nursing mom at the end of a mom's day out....:)

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