Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If you want to go into labor, just blog about how you haven't gone into labor...

if you want to go into labor

That's right, friends! I had a baby today. Abram Joseph entered our world at 1:20 a.m. this morning - 7 lbs, 15 oz (exactly a pound bigger than his sister at birth) and 20.5 inches long. It was the best labor and delivery I could have possibly imagined, and we are all doing great. Hannah is beyond thrilled to be a big sister! Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes!

And my darling husband Clint owes me a dollar (see previous post).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Birth Plan? Psh…What’s the Point?

I should have learned by now that expectations are nothing but mischievous little imps who sneak into your brain and somehow keep you convinced that your plans are always going to go according to plan. And then one day they release their spell and laugh at you as you realize the truth – life pretty much never happens the way you expect.

Throughout my first pregnancy I assumed that the baby would arrive late. After all, first time moms generally end up overdue, right? And the statistics say that only about 10 percent of moms experience their water breaking before going into labor. It usually doesn’t happen until somewhere in the middle.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning at 38.5 weeks and felt a gush on the way to the bathroom.

So of course now that my due date is two days away, I realize I should not have foolishly believed that second babies arrive earlier than the first, and I probably should also let go of the hope that second labors are faster and easier than the first.
But you know what? I’m okay with the waiting and the not knowing. The anticipation is kind of exciting. The discomfort of pregnancy is not so exciting, but I know my little one will get here at just the right time. And in thinking back to some of my fondest memories, I realize that many of them are results of the unplanned. And that’s pretty awesome.

sweet little face
I loved the vacation this photo is from. We dealt with flu-like illnesses and getting snowed in on the trip back home, but it was such an adventure. I barely remember the inconveniences. What I mostly remember is this sweet face.

I hope to have a natural birth. I hope to be at the birth center and not the hospital. I hope for no complications. But what am I planning? For a healthy baby and a healthy mama. Let the rest of it keep me in suspense.
Not that I’m not anxious. There is definitely a lot of restlessness in my excitement. And don’t even get me started on the husband. This morning he told me he’d give me a dollar if I went into labor today.

I think I’ll hold out for at least fifty.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

In All Things

I’ve been trying to come up with a clever idea for a blog post for Thanksgiving, but it never really worked out for me. I’ve decided I’m just not that clever.  But I didn’t want to do the traditional list of things I’m thankful for because it always ends up sounding like everyone else’s lists… family, friends, health…you know, the usual. And also, I have much to be thankful for.

Then I got to thinking about what it means to be truly thankful. It’s so easy to be thankful for blessings, for the things that make our lives easier. The challenge is trying to see the value in the things that we see no reason to be thankful for.

The dirty dishes after the meal – The mess means you have friends and family to celebrate with.
The long lines in the stores during the holidays – They give you the opportunity to practice patience, and they show that families everywhere are taking the time out of their busy lives to celebrate too.

Those people in your life who let you down and disappoint you – They make you appreciate those who don’t, and more importantly, the God who never does.
The clothes that fit a little snug – They mean you have enough to eat. (Or you’re nine months pregnant) ;)

Each trial, every ache and pain, all of our woes – They mean we’re still alive and kicking…fighting the fight…running the race.
I would love to be someone who always gives thanks in all things, in all circumstances. But I’m not. It’s too easy to hold on to the stress. So this post is for me – a reminder to appreciate everything in my life, even the small things and even the hard things.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Building a Life in a Decade

So another ten-year milestone has come up – our dating anniversary!

Yep, tomorrow the hubby and I will have been together ten looooooong years. But the truth is it sure doesn’t feel like that long at all. It just feels right. And that feels good.

In honor of this exciting point on our timeline, I have put together a brief year-by-year playbook of the last decade.

First, it should be said that we were clearly family long before we actually became family:

It was meant to be.
And so here's how the story goes.

2001 – Senior prom. Couple of dates. Nothing serious.
Then I went off to college, and we missed each other lots. Got serious.
2002 – Smitten. Enough said.

2003 – Tough year. Lost a close friend. Had an incredibly strong man by my side through it all. Realized what a good thing I had. So glad the feeling was mutual! Proposal…on our dating anniversary. J

2004 – The time of our lives. Marriage, Caribbean honeymoon, Irish vacation!

Married on June 5th. Beautiful outdoor ceremony.
Adopted our first "child". GIANT mistake. :)

2005 – Year of the Big Move! Headed west.

2006 – Ups and downs. Opportunities. New house. Exploration.

2007 – The good life! Camping, travel, family fun!

2008 – Hardest one yet. Sorrow. Hardship. Made it out alive.

2009 – Best one yet. Bundle of joy.

2010 – Little girl grew. We grew…into some pretty amazing parents.

2011 – Baby boy expected. Sweet family. We’ve come so far.

As we’re looking forward to expanding our family again, I think back on all the obstacles, thrills, challenges, and surprises, and I’m so glad we’ve had each other through it all. Here’s to the next ten years and many more beyond!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Out of Control

You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours”?

That has pretty much been my life over the past several days.

It seems like it always begins with something minor, and you think, “Meh, that was kind of annoying, but I’m tough!”  And then it’s followed by one thing after another…and another.

The worst has been an unfortunate and stressful situation with a family member. I’m just having to distance myself because it’s a painful situation that I need to learn to let go of. I have to realize that I can’t control other people’s actions; I only have power over my own battles.  
Then I thought the kicker was Hannah coming down with a cold. Since her brother’s birth is quickly approaching, I’ve been saturating her in antibacterial hand sanitizer for the past few weeks in order to avoid illness, but apparently to no avail. Serves me right. Once again, I’ve been trying to control something that is ultimately out of my hands. I can’t help it that I have this vision of her meeting her brother for the first time, and holding him, and kissing him…and now I’m hoping he stays put for a while so she can get well first. But as we all know very well, birth timing is definitely something I have no control over.

And then Sunday night I pulled up to the drive thru, just wanting to grab a burger for my sick baby and get back home to her, and I became the victim of a hit and run. There was only minor damage to the car, but seriously, who smacks into someone’s vehicle and then just speeds off? It’s just more behavior that I can’t change, another circumstance out of my control.
I’m sensing a theme here. Life is full of the “out-of-control” moments. And I think they teach us to step back and say, “God, I know this is in your hands. Help me to let go.” It’s a lot easier to do when it’s just the little stuff. But when the big stuff comes along…well, I guess that’s when we can look back and truly be thankful for the preparation that the little stuff gave us.

I know I’m lucky. I’ve been blessed with an amazingly strong and faithful husband to lean on and a precious little family that brings the rainbow in the midst of the rain. I can only hope that I never have to face some of the “big stuff” that I fear, but at least I have the tools to do so.
moments that make it all worthwhile
And thank God for those sweet “out-of-control” moments that make it all worthwhile.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Toddlerisms: Praise the Lord! And the Cookie Monster!

Sometimes I really think I got blessed with the sweetest child on earth. Just like any toddler, she has her moments, but I’m so delighted by how loving and polite she is. I could go on and on about all the sweet things she does, but I’ll spare you the details and just concentrate on one of our favorites: prayer.

We pray every night at dinner, and she always joins in with her version, which consists of folding her hands, closing her eyes, and mumbling. She has now started repeating certain things that we say, so our dinner prayers go something like this:
“Dear God, thank you for this food…”

*mumble mumble* “Food…”
“…and thank you for bringing Daddy home safe…”

*mumble mumble mumble* “Daddy home…”
“and for keeping Hannah’s baby brother safe…”

“Baby…” *mumble* “Brutha…”
“In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

So, so cute. But her prayer at church last Sunday takes the cake.

Since she loves music, we bring her downstairs from the nursery when it’s time for singing. (Plus everyone gets a kick out of her clapping and saying, “Yay!” after each song.)
Last week when the pastor started praying, she began her usual mumbling along with him. But at one point we heard some words that were clearly a very important part of her prayer.

*mumble mumble mumble* “Cookie Monster” *mumble mumble*
I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s good to know where her priorities are.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Very Special Day For Me

As most of you know, I just started blogging a couple of months ago, and it has been such a new and different experience for me. I was hesitant to start a blog since I have a tendency to be a very private person, but the more I thought about how important it is to build relationships in this life, the more I realized how great of an opportunity it could be.

When I'm browsing around on the Internet, the best articles I come across are the ones that are personal and moving, and that allow me to relate to a stranger in a way I never thought possible. That's what originally attracted me to blogging - the encouragement you receive when you find someone who has the same struggles, or the same dreams and desires.

This is why I'm thankful to have come across The Mommyhood Memos. Adriel writes about motherhood and raising little ones with such beauty and eloquence - I knew I had found something really special in her blog.

And today I'm so honored to be a guest blogger on her site - The First Year: Mama's Greatest Journey.

I hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think! And I hope you will all continue to join me in this beautifully complex journey we call life.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Newborn Alert!

Nope, he’s not here yet, but I’m starting to get super excited about meeting my son!

I can’t wait to see how his sister adores him. I can’t wait to hold a baby again and feel the soft skin and smell the sweet lotions. I can’t wait to watch his chest rise and fall as he sleeps and see him go through all the fun milestones.

Meanwhile I think I'm also trying to block out the tough stuff about having a new baby.

Apparently, newborns typically sleep up to 16-17 hours a day. I remember reading that while I was pregnant with Hannah and thinking, “Oh, that’s not so bad. I should be able to get a decent amount of sleep.”

HA! Ha HAH! Oh wow, I was na├»ve. Though I know it’s not entirely accurate, this is how I remember Hannah’s newborn days:

how often do babies sleep
This seems eerily similar to how the male brain works. (Ba-dum CHING!)
And then just when you think you can see the light at the end of the tunnel…WHAM! Here comes the four-month sleep regression that no one ever told you about. And teething. And the first fever. And growth spurts.
The good news is it’s all worth it. Now I’ve got this sweet, funny little person to show for all the hard work, and I’m about to get another one! He will most likely be quite different from Hannah in many ways, so it will be a whole new adventure.  A challenge, yes – but the most worthwhile one I could ever engage in.

So while I know there are going to be tough days, this time around I have the added benefit of actually knowing what to expect. Plus I’ll have Hannah to help me with diaper changes and spit-up laundry. Those aren’t unreasonable expectations for a two-year-old, right?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Life is Worth the Living

Sometimes I watch Hannah sleeping, and I can’t escape this tightness that forms in my chest. It makes me so sad to think that life won’t be like this forever. My little one is going to grow up, and although I’m so looking forward to watching her blossom, my heart aches over how quickly it’s all going to go by.

Now that we’ve reached November and her brother is expected to arrive this month, I can only think about how much faster it’s all going to go. There is so much that I hope comes true for each of them in this life, but if I could tell them my hopes and dreams right now, my message could be summed up like this:

I don’t care how successful you are according to the world’s standards. The world’s point of view is constantly changing and consistently wrong. This is why you will face heartache and pain, confusion and despair, but sometimes unspeakable joy and hope, and sometimes all at once. You were made for so much more than what the world tells you. Your worth comes from your Creator, and He gave you a mind for knowing Him, a soul for connecting to other souls, and a heart for loving all. Use those things, and you will be richly blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

2 Corinthians 4: 17-18

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.” Live the journey deliberately, and you won’t reach the end of your life wondering what it was all about.

Soon I will have two sleeping babies stealing my heart. This is going to be a beautiful month.