Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Exploration. Adventure. Bravery.

"'What if I fall?' Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?" -Erin Hanson

I have this quote beautifully framed and waiting to be hung in Samantha's room. It's one of my favorite parts of her room. This particular quote reminds me of so many of my hopes for her. I want her to explore and learn. I want her to take adventures, real ones and imaginative ones. I want her to not be held back by fear, but to be brave and take chances.

Samantha is at the age [9 months] where she is constantly falling, bumping her head and getting stuck. I carefully monitor her, however, I am not going to be able to prevent her from everything. I want her to learn to get herself out of difficult [for her age] situations and how to get back up after falling and how to stop crying after she gets hurt. All currently in an environment where she is safe and I can supervise. Never do I want to foster fear of the wrong things in her heart.

This is harder said than done because as adults we know everything that could go wrong. So as she is walking next to the hearth in my parent's home I am thinking about how she could smash her head into it, blood will be everywhere and she may need stitches. So inside, I cringe as she stumbles. On the outside, though, I just stay nearby and let her laugh and enjoy standing up slapping her hand against the bricks.

But why did I choose exploration, adventure and bravery as hopes for Samantha? There are so many different hopes and goals I could have made for her. Well, here's a few insights into my thoughts:

EXPLORE.  What an amazing world we live in. The things we can learn are endless. I want to promote an environment where Samantha can curious and explore the things that interest her. Exploration is a form of learning, and I want to cultivate an enthusiasm for learning. And obviously, I would especially want her to learn what the Bible says about who God is, and find that exploring the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ is an eternal pursuit that will never disappoint.

BE ADVENTUROUS.  I think of our life as adventure. [Currently, our life is on an adventure that I never anticipated or hoped for, but nonetheless, an adventure.] That is exactly how I want Samantha to think of life. Life isn't something to sit around and watch pass by, but an active journey in which to participate. I hope she doesn't take herself too seriously. I hope she is excited about where life will take her. I hope she has a passion for living her life to the glory of God. I hope she is anxiously looking forward to all that she can do for the kingdom of God.

BE BRAVE.  Oh, how I pray that my dear daughter will be brave. The world she is growing up in hates Jesus, and it will only continue to grow more hostile toward Him and toward those who follow Him. So, I want to teach my daughter to not fear man. To not fear failing in the world's eyes. To not fear the earthly consequences of a holy life. To not fear the unknown. To not let fear cripple her and keep her from succeeding. But instead to fear God, and to let that guide her life. If she does this, she may "fall" in the world's eyes, but she will be "flying" in our Savior's.

And then I step back and realize that the only way she will learn these things if I show her. So, I want her to see me explore and learn both in the world and in my Bible. She needs to see how exciting life can be and how we are to enjoy what the Lord has given to us. And the big kicker - she needs to see me being brave and fearing the Lord instead of man.

I've given myself very large shoes to walk in. I have no doubt that I will fail to demonstrate these things to her, but then again, that's something else I want her to learn. How to get back up again.

And now, for the best video you will ever watch. Already she has learn to laugh at the littlest of things!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Glimpses of Grace

I was in the grocery store today, next to the meat department and I looked down at the baby in the car seat, sleeping away despite the very noisy store, and I realized, like it was something new, that she was mine. There are random moments when this happens, even 20 weeks in. I look at my daughter and think, "Wait, this is MY daughter." It still shocks me sometimes that I am a mom. And the mom of the cutest baby there ever was!

In the grocery store when I was suddenly amazed that I had a daughter.

I'm not sure when that will stop surprising me, but I kind of hope that it doesn't. It makes me stop and be thankful for her. It makes me pause to remember that just a little while ago, we weren't even sure if  I would ever bring a child to full term. So, my heart overflows with great thankfulness to the Lord that I can look at my little sidekick and be shocked that I am a mom. Because she is a picture of grace in my life - I knew I didn't deserve to be a mom, but graciously, God gave her to us.

Seriously, the boppy pillow is great for photo ops.

Some days it is easy for us to despair. Our future is uncertain, our goals are constantly crumbling and we don't even know what plans we should make because they always seems to fall apart. Hubs and I have never been through a life situation that has lasted so long or worn us down so much. We are constantly renewing our mind in God's word and spurring each other on to trust the Lord, to pray and to press on. But to be honest, when I let my mind dwell on the situation too long, I become depressed and listless.

The mornings are so fun.

The Lord must have known that we would need our daughter to be a bright spot in our life. To remind us that He hears and answers prayers and that He loves us and has not forgotten us. With each smile, laugh, squeal and, even every cry, we can be thankful that we are parents. And we can see God's grace.

What kind of mom of a girl would I be if I didn't put her in a tutu at least once?

We didn't even know what her name meant when we picked it, but her full name means "God hears" and "God is gracious." Such a perfect fit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The pups and the babe

I was unsure of how Ransom would respond to a baby in our home. He's never been the best with kids, and he gets so nervous with any type of change. Kids have always made him nervous and when we have had babies in our home, we have never let him get near them. We figured we would let him learn about them when we had one. And he isn't normally a "mounting" type of dog, but whenever I held a baby, he would mount my leg, and I would have to tackle him to the ground while holding the child so that he realized he was not the dominate one.

Their first photo together

So, we did what everyone says to do - we sent Hubs home with the hat that she wore immediately after being born. He sniffed it and wasn't interested. But, he must have known something was going on because his little nervous self gave us an unexpected homecoming.

Sometimes he would lay nearby while I fed her, which could be sweet or just that he wanted outside as soon as I was finished.

Hubs worked 12 hours the day I came home from the hospital. He went home to change, let Ransom out and clean the house before coming to get me. He was so sweet and wanted the apartment to be perfect when we got home. Unfortunately, Ransom had diarrhea-ed in his crate. [Let me just take a moment to say, "it is these rare occurrences that remind us why we do and we think everyone should crate their dog when they leave the house.] It was so odd that he had been sick. So, Hubs lit all the candles and cleaned up the mess and finally got to the hospital to get us around 8:30 pm.

Christmas Day 2014 - We haven't been able to get him to cooperate for a photo like this since.

I had just started to experience postpartum hormones at this time and was weeping because I had missed him all day. But, we buckled our tiny baby in the giant car seat and headed home, stopping at Freddy's for a super unhealthy, but oh-so-good, dinner. We walk into the apartment and it was so clean and beautiful, but there was this smell. Sure enough, Ransom had been sick again in his crate. We got him out and he proceeded to throw up 5 times on the floor. So, Hubs took him out on a walk in the snow/sleet, and I got on my hands and knees and started cleaning up the inside mess. (Which my body did not thank me for the next day.) The sickness, we can only assume, was the anxiety from having me gone for the previous days, having a strange schedule and just knowing something was different.

Sometimes he wants to be too close.

When Hubs returned, Ransom was feeling better and was interested in the bundle we brought home. At one point, Hubs was holding her and Ransom went to mount him. Knowing this was possible, we were prepared. Hubs quickly gave her to me and tackled Ransom to the ground. He went and laid down on his bed and we sat on the couch and ate our food from Freddy's.

That was the first and the last time Ransom mounted either of us or showed any dominance towards the baby. Since then, Ransom shows little interest in the baby. He chewed on one pacifier, but after a few firm "no" commands, he hasn't shown any further interest. He does always try to lick a bottle when we give her one. I think formula must have a smell he likes. He randomly gives her a lick about once a day. We are careful to make sure that he doesn't do a somersault on top of her and try to keep him off any blanket she is laying on, but I will admit there have been a couple of times where he has walked right over her head (without stepping on her).

Most of the time, he sleeps. But sometimes he just wants to be right next to us.

Anytime she plays on a blanket or comes home in her car seat, he gives those items a thorough sniff, but really he is better than we ever could imagine. I think he does like her, but I know he also wishes to go back in time when he was the center of attention. When we walk, he checks the stroller to make sure she is still there, and when she and I leave the house, he sits by the door and watches us walk to the car. She has now gotten to the point that she watches him if he walks around the room, so I hope this meant a future of friendship.

He's so much happier now that we get out for walks with the nicer weather.

I know a lot of people wondered if I would still love Ransom after having a baby. I do. It's true that, at first, it was so annoying to take him outside and feed him and love on him when all I was doing was similar things for the baby, but now that we have gotten into a routine and the weather is nicer, I am getting over those frustrations. Ultimately, I wouldn't have it any other way and am so excited for her to grow up with our pups.

Watching us leave

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Not Finding Out {good or not so good}

Eight Weeks Old

When I found out I was pregnant, I wrestled with whether or not we should find out the gender or not at our ultrasound. I had always thought it would be fun to not know, but at that point in our life we really didn't know anything about our immediate future - where we would be living, where Hubs would be working, if we would start or buy a practice, etc - so it sounded nice to at least be able to plan one aspect of life.

I'm sure most of you that know Hubs think he is the Type A personality of the family, however I tend to be WAY more Type A. I love to plan things from our future, to a vacation, to a simple dinner party. So, when Hubs said he didn't want to find out, it was probably harder for me than him. But, I agreed and it was decided.

I know it isn't for everyone, but I really loved the experience of not knowing. So if you are ever considering either way, here are my thoughts about it:
  • After our 22 week ultrasound, I regretted not finding out. I mean, as a mother, shouldn't you want to know every bit of information about your child that you can? After a day of that, however, I was fine. That one day was the hardest it ever got to not know the gender.
  • One of my concerns was that I originally wanted our first child to be a boy, and I didn't want to be disappointed if it was a girl. Guess what - I wasn't disappointed at all.
  • Because I love to plan and I love to shop, knowing the gender of our baby would have tempted me to spend a lot of money getting her room ready and getting adorable Sperrys and Toms from Zulily. Instead, we spent our money on wiser purchases like a crib and dresser.
  • I was worried that our poor child would only be dressed in neutral clothing. But, people were oh so generous and brought us adorable girl clothes in the hospital and I even had a shower after Samantha was born, which, by the way, makes showers even more fun for the attendees!
  • It was fun to tell random strangers that I didn't know what I was having. It's not the mainstream thing to do, and I think that is why I liked it so much. People either responded with, "Good for you," or "I could never do that."
  • I'm sure there is a different type of anticipation during labor when you know the gender, but the anticipation for us was two fold - we wanted to meet our child and we also wanted to know if it was a boy or girl! When it was almost time, my doctor asked us to guess what it was. Hubs guessed boy and I guessed girl. I think all the nurses and doctors (all 8 of them that were in the room) had a little more fun, too, because they wondered what it would be!
  • It was fun and special to have Richard tell me it was a girl after she was born.
Ultimately, I think either way it is a surprise and it depends on the couple as to whether or not they should find out. But, if anyone were to ask me whether they should or not, I'd say to do it at least once. For our time in life, it was a really good thing to not find out. We had a lot of other things occupying our mind, so I didn't have to stress about having the room ready or having cute clothes (that all came after she was here).

If we have another child, will we do it the same way? I honestly have no idea!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What I didn't expect

I had decided to give this blog up, but Hubs doesn't want me to. So, we will see if I can post more frequently in the coming months.

Lots has changed in our life since I posted last. Actually, lots has happened that I haven't shared since June 2013. It's been a roller coaster ride for us, with lots of disappointments, questions, searching, unknowns and confusion. And that's about all I can share on this public blog, but as we begin 2015 it looks likes his year is going to start off with more of the same. But there was another major change in our life that I will post about.

We have a daughter! On December 8, Hubs and I stared in shock as a screaming baby girl was placed on my chest. We had been waiting for that moment for months, but when it actually happened it felt so surreal with so many thoughts and emotions all at once. She may look like a typical newborn, but we happen to think she is the most adorable child on the planet!

In the days that followed her birth, there were many things that I didn't expect. Many of those were things that other moms leave you in the dark about until after the baby comes, but I'm not going to get into those things on this blog. (A little heads up would have been nice, though, but I am starting to see how those memories can fade after a few weeks.)

But there was one thing I didn't expect that was surprising and lovely: I love Hubs even more than I did when I walked into that hospital. Which is saying a lot, because I loved him so much before! Going through the process of having our daughter, though, made me love my husband so much deeper. And that was a welcomed surprise.

Perhaps it was spending the time together while in labor - although I sent Hubs out for two hours to take Ransom to the dog park. It could have been the way Hubs was making sure I got the best care possible. Seeing Hubs look at our daughter for the first time had to contribute to it. And seeing him excited to hold her was part of it, too.

Hopefully this is what happens for everyone when they have a baby - that they love their husband 10 times more than they did before. Because I believe that one of the best things for our daughter is that we love each other.

As for the other things I didn't expect, well, this is such a new adventure for us that there is bound to be a lot to learn. The learning curve is high, but when we look at her we know that it is all worth it and are excited for the time we have to be her parents!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Are you sure?

Sometimes people will ask us, "Are you sure you are ready for this?" Or, "Just you wait." It's usually when they are changing a dirty diaper, or telling a story about how little sleep they get, or their child is disobeying, or just want to remind us that we aren't used to life with little people.

We always smile and say, "Yes."

I don't blame anyone for pointing out the changes we will face. We are well aware that our life will change drastically with the addition of our son or daughter. We know our life is simple and quiet and freedom abounds. And we also understand that we will have to make some changes, things might be rough for a while and sleep will not be near as peaceful as it once was.

But, I doubt everyone has put the thought into why we should have children as we have. Having children wasn't something we both wanted right away when we got married. We both figured that the desire would come later. For me, the desire came naturally and more quickly than for Hubs, and so we talked about it for a long time. We asked others, "Why did you have kids." People said different things: "We wanted to," or "We didn't make the decision," or "God commands it," or "Companionship." None of those were bad reasons.

Ultimately, we had to come to our own answers in our minds, though. And at some point, I knew mine.

One pastor said, "We need to raise our children to be martyrs for the Lord." At first that sounds depressing. I would never desire for anyone, especially my own child, to be martyred!! However, I do desire that my child's love for the Lord to be so great that they will follow Him at all costs.

Then, I started understanding the concept of being salt and light in the world. As salt, believers somehow preserve the world from become totally corrupted by the rottenness of sin. And as light, we stand out brightly in a world that is darkened. At that point I knew; I wanted to help raise the next generation of godly men and women. The goal of Christian parenting is not moral kids. Morality will change, we know that. If we create moral kids, they will change with morality. But our goal is to raise a generation of adults who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit, committed to God's Word and devoted to our King. I knew that whether we had biological, adopted or foster children in the future, I wanted this to be my aim.

This has been my prayer as we head into parenting. I know that it isn't going to be easy. That I don't understand all the things that will be hard. That this child will be as sinful as I am from day one. That my sinful self will keep me from loving him or her as God loves me. That I'll fail to put Christ on display. That I'll fail to live out the gospel in my child's life. But, we have eight years of figuring out our marriage that has set, what I think, is a good foundation for us to be parents. And we have lost two children that has made us cherish the life of this third one even more. So, yes we're ready.

And it is just lovely when someone tells us, "You're gonna love it."

"Just you wait..." We have waited.
"Are you sure you are ready?" Yes, I'm sure.