Abiding in 2017

Happy New Year’s, friends! I’ve started 2017 off with some soul-searching and thought I’d pop in to share my thoughts with you.


I often times look at my son and expect him to serve me in some way.

Be in a good mood so we can laugh and smile.

Sleep all night so I can get some rest.

Don’t scream while I’m in the shower so I can enjoy the hot water and steam.

 

Everything essentially revolves around me. What I feel. What I expect. What I want him to do.

 

And I suppose, in a way, he could say the same thing (although he obviously couldn’t admit it at this stage of life.)

Give me that toast you’re eating because it looks yummy to me.

Feed me now. I am hungry. I do not care that you are showering because I am hungry now.

My gums hurt and all I want is for you to hold me and make me feel better. I don’t want to play by myself.

 

We are truly selfish beings, huh? When you look at that picture—of what I want from my son and what he wants from me—our selfishness is laid bare.

Except, the only difference to this stage of life is that my son legitimately needs me to meet his needs. I’m all he has. And he doesn’t understand when he might be inconveniencing me or doing something that makes me upset. All he knows is that he is hungry or sleepy or tired or hurting or _______ and he looks to his Mom and Dad to fix it.

So in this stage of life? I have to lay down my wants and desires. I have to be humble and extend myself to serve him. I can’t label my days as good or bad based off of what my child did or didn’t do. I can’t allow my emotions to swing in a pendulum that’s driven by a tiny 18-pound force of gravity that has no control over his own feelings or needs.

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It sounds like a simple equation but obviously it is not an easy one. This consistent laying down of all that I want to do is exhausting and frustrating at times. There are moments where I catch myself envying my friends on social media when they post their cozy moments relaxing on the couch with a book and warm cup of coffee in hand. Because I have a one-year old. Those moments are not mine in this season of life. And if Roman and I have more children sometime next year, they won’t be mine for the years to come.

Yet I am acutely aware of how quickly time slips by. Jackson is a year and one month old. I feel like I’ve only blinked and suddenly 13 months have come and gone. I have followed a blogger for almost six years and today her oldest daughter turned 17. I do not even know how this is possible. Yesterday she was just a pre-teen and now she is about to graduate high school. I’m not so naïve that I think time won’t slip by just as quickly for me. I’ll look around and suddenly be teaching Jackson how to drive a car or balance a checkbook.

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Friends, whatever season of life you’re in whether you have kids or not, understand that it is short. I think we forget this. We get caught up in the details of our circumstances and maybe even a little bit of envy as we watch others around us and we forget that time quickly slips through our fingers. I want to be a woman who perseveres through all seasons…..even if they are trying or sad or exhausting. I want to recognize that the season of life I’m in now is probably not the same season I’ll be in within a few short months. I want to remember to look for God’s strength and kindness and grace and face each day knowing that it is a gift.

2016 was a year of change for us. We started out the year with a three-week old baby who despised sleep and had awful reflux issues. We overcame all the little challenges that being a new parent brings. We started a small group together. We bought a house! (More on that in a later post.) I grew my at-home business. We ended the year celebrating our son’s 1st birthday.

I’ve never really given much thought to Resolutions or “Word of the Year” movements but this year I am. My word is ABIDE. 2016 was full of changes but I want 2017 to be a year where I simply abide. Where I stay engaged and present in my moments. Where I recognize that life is short and don’t wish it away.

I hope that 2017 has gotten off to a great start for all of you, my dear readers. But even if it hasn’t let me encourage you today: the seasons are short. While we don’t necessarily have to enjoy each season I think we are called to look for the Lord’s gifts of grace and goodness in the midst of them. That’s my goal for 2017 and I hope you will join me. I hope we can all look back on the year and see a shift in our perspective and way of living and be able to say “I lived in 2017.”

Happy New Year!  ❤

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Because We’re Crazy.

Hello, my dear friends. Man, I have missed this space so much! I think I have about 2.7 trillion words I could share with you all so forgive me if I jump around a bit. But so much life has happened over these last couple months and I just have to share! So when Jackson, in a rare moment of glory, fell asleep at 9 last night I knew that one of my top to-dos would have to be sitting down to finally write this post. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Can you believe our little miracle will be a whole entire year old in less than three weeks? I think I may pass out. Someone come hold me. To make matters so much worse, he’s been walking for almost three weeks now. Let me just say, I thought this kid was destructive enough when he was crawling…..but walking? That just ups the ante by like, infinity. Heavens.

But how adorable is he??

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We got to take our very first family vacation two weeks ago to visit some of our sweet friends in Florida. It was so much fun taking him to the Magic Kingdom for the first time and watching his eyes light up at all the new sights and sounds. We got to spend a day at the beach as well {and my momma-heart had numerous panic attacks because this fearless babe wanted to walk straight out into the ocean.} Shout out to the Pollocks and Seymours for hosting us that week: you guys are the absolute best.

While we were in Florida we were also finally able to get some family photos taken. After we pick which ones are going on our Christmas card I’ll share some more of my favorites here. BUT GUYS. I have all the feels right now looking at these incredible moments captured of my beautiful little family. We used one of the shots for his 11 month photo (see above) and I just cannot even deal with life right now.

It was so great for us to take a vacation because in less than two weeks now we. are. moving.

Yes. Roman and I are taking the ultimate adulting leap and buying our first home. Insert all the crazy panicky emotions here. Some days I am overjoyed because after over six years of rental houses and lease agreements I finally get to own my home and do whatever I want with it. Other days I am freaking out because what in the world is even happening? How am I even old enough to buy a house? Still other days I get all sad because our current house is where we brought our baby boy home to and I don’t ever want to leave.

I’ll share some more of our story and how everything came to be at a later date {because you guys, the Lord has truly blessed us with this house and the story of how it all came together is kind of nuts.} And I hope to also share a video tour of the inside of the house before we move all our crap stuff in. We plan to do some big updates over the years and hopefully those adventures will be shared in this little corner of the internet with all of you!

And, because we’re crazy, we’ll close on our house on the 30th of November and have Jackson’s first birthday there just ten days later. Probably a very dumb decision that I will hate myself for as I frantically unpack boxes late into the night but I figure 1) it will force me to unpack and settle quickly and 2) it will help me feel more attached to the house if we start making big memories right away. And having a first birthday party for a miracle baby who was never supposed to be conceived in the first place feels like a pretty great start to making big memories.

So here’s to Thanksgiving this week, buying a house next week, and celebrating our son’s birthday the week after, right??!? {I’m not even going to talk about Christmas yet because my brain might explode at the thought of it.}

I hope this post finds each of you healthy and happy and well. I can’t wait to enjoy this holiday season despite all the chaos that will be happening in my life. But isn’t that how it tends to turn out sometimes? We all are so busy during this time of year. My goal will be to find some quiet time of rest in the midst of the noise and just enjoy this beautiful season. I hope you all can do the same.

Until next time, sweet friends.  ❤

Living in the Tension

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My little guy is 9 months old now. Oh my gosh, how time has flown. This week he has started letting go of whatever he’s holding onto while standing up….and he’s not falling down. Yesterday he tried to take a step towards me twice. I’m just not ready. I’m not ready for him to walk. I’m not ready for him to grow into a toddler. The more he grows the more I realize: parenthood is learning to live in the tension.

Actually, I think we all live in the tension….whether we have kids or not. Only I think that I’m just now realizing it.

When I was a senior in high school, I can remember being simultaneously thrilled and terrified at graduating. I was so ready to be done with high school. Freedom! No dress code! Adulthood! {Man, that last one is so overrated. Bills, anyone??} But I also knew, graduating high school meant my life would never be the same again. Everything would change.

The “big day” came and went and just like that I was thrust into a new season of life. A full-time job….online college courses….my first car payment. But it doesn’t take long for our human hearts to yearn for “the next big thing.” I was ready to be married. Building a life with my soul mate.

It was only a couple years later before I would accomplish that dream. And I found myself living in the tension of wishing for easier days–graduate college! better jobs! children!–while also trying to enjoy my fresh new marriage.

So when I really stop to think, it’s no surprise at all that I find myself still feeling that same tension. The tension of being excited and hopeful for the future, while also not wanting my current days to end, while also missing the days that are behind. I look at this grinning little boy and think all the same thoughts together, “No! Where did my little tiny baby go??!?” “Oh, he is so adorable. I don’t ever want him to grow any bigger ever ever ever.” “I can’t wait to see him continue to grow and learn. I can’t wait to see the man he one day becomes.”

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There are plenty of blog posts out there encouraging women to “enjoy the moment” and “be present.” Those are all well and good, but I think we all know that those are simple cliches that don’t really answer the broad range of emotions we feel on any given day. I think that yes, we should enjoy these days and we should be present in our lives, but we should also recognize that there is a lot of tension in that. And that’s totally okay.

There will be times when we wish for days past or days to come, and there will be times when all we want is for time to freeze in place. I think this is part of our human condition. I think this is part of the Lord’s design. Because one day? One day we will live in eternal bliss. We won’t wish for days past or days to come. We won’t wish for time to freeze, either. We will live in perfect content and will want for nothing.

I believe that living in the tension is a life-long lesson–that this world is not our home. That we were created for more. We will one day have more. And that’s a truly comforting thought, no?

Even still, don’t grow up, little baby boy. I want you in my arms forever. But at the same time, I can’t wait to see who you become.  ❤

Lessons from a Baby–Vol. 1

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When I found out I was pregnant, one of my very first prayers was for the Lord to teach me more about Himself through my child. Despite having a fantastic father here on earth, I have always struggled with the “fatherhood” characteristics of God. The Lord promises in His word that if we will seek Him we will find Him, and this promise has certainly been true in my own life as I watch God over and over answer this prayer. This new series will be a place where I can share these “lessons” and thoughts with you. Perhaps the parallel between earthly parenthood and heavenly parenthood can help someone else as well. 

Jackson is super squirmy, fast, inquisitive and daring. He first started trying to crawl right before he turned six months old. Fast forward about six weeks and he was zooming around the house. With his new talent of crawling, he immediately started pulling up on everything. Bar stools, doorways, clothes hampers, the cat….you name it and he’s probably pulled up on it. I learned my lesson fast that I couldn’t take my eye off of him for even a second–and I learned it the hard way.

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To keep him somewhat “contained” while I’m showering/getting ready for the day, I put him in his walker in the bathroom with me. At least this way he can’t fall down or pick anything up he’s not supposed to get into, but obviously it doesn’t keep him completely out of danger. One day I was straightening my hair and realized I left my make-up bag in my purse, so I turned around to get it. In less than five literal seconds, my child rolled up to the side of the counter and grabbed the straightener cord hanging down. Had I not been close enough, he would have pulled it down on his head and that would have probably resulted in an immediate rush to the emergency room.

I’ll spare you the level of mom-guilt I felt in that moment…just know it was intense. But once I calmed down and realized that no harm was done and that I had just learned my lesson to never take my eyes off of him, the Lord spoke and revealed that this was a lesson I could learn about Him as well.

Jackson didn’t understand why I grabbed the cord out of his hand. He didn’t know about the intense danger he was about to pull down on himself. However I had a view of the entire picture. I knew that if he continued to pull on that cord, he would certainly injure himself. As his loving mother, I knew he simply could not have the object that he wanted.

My, how easily this compares to our spiritual lives! How often do we see the Lord shut doors in our lives? How often do we get mad at Him when He does? We think we know what we want and how our lives should go, but I wonder just how many times the Lord in His sovereign and loving mercy has actually saved us from a terrible disaster by not allowing us to have what we wanted? The house we thought we needed to buy, the guy we wanted to date, the dream job we never got….what if they actually were going to cause us harm in some way? And what if, in His perfect providence, our loving Father didn’t allow us to go down that road because He sees the whole picture and wants to protect us from that harm?

(Note: Sometimes we can push and push to get our way and our loving Dad will decide to let us learn a lesson the hard way. But even then He will pick us up after our fall. That’s a lesson for another day.)

This is obviously not the end-all reason when life doesn’t go our way. Sometimes the Lord just has different plans for our lives. Sometimes we lose something or someone because we live in a fallen world and as a result of that, bad stuff happens. But I think there is a definite lesson to be learned here, and it’s certainly something to consider as we walk through life. Because maybe sometimes when we don’t get the job or the guy or the house or the _____ we shouldn’t pitch a fit, but instead thank our Father and trust in His plan for our lives.

Gosh, it’s something I still struggle with so much. Which is funny, because my kid still struggles with it too. He still reaches for any cord he can get close to and it will be quite some time before he’s old enough to finally learn why he can’t play with them. But that’s okay, because I’ve got my eye on him and I’m here to keep him from injuring himself. And you know what? The same holds true for our God as well. He watches over us every moment of every day and is always there for His children.

Looking back on your life, do you recognize a time where you didn’t get your way that was actually the Lord protecting you from something? Did you see those moments as the Lord protecting you, or were you angry that you didn’t get what you wanted? Have you ever struggled with seeing the Lord’s protection in your life?  

Rules of Parenthood

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You ever heard of Murphy’s Law? You know, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Well the same holds true in parenting. I’ve learned that there are very concrete “rules” within parenthood. Here’s just a few:

If you have an appointment, the baby will have a blow out right before it’s time to leave.

If you need to get up early in the morning, the baby will not sleep the night before.

If you’re getting ready to leave the house, the baby will decide to take a nap. This leaves you with the crisis: to wake the baby or to not wake the baby? {Hint: don’t wake the baby.}

If you want the baby to take a nap in the car, he won’t.

If you want the baby to stay awake in the car, he won’t.

If you don’t want the baby to eat that thing on the floor he found, he will.

If you want the baby to eat his own food, he won’t.

If you put a white shirt on, the baby will throw up on it.

If you put a white shirt on, the baby will poop on it.

If you put a white shirt on…..well, just forget about the white shirt. Okay?

If you want your baby to smile/act friendly to a new person, he will mean-mug instead.

If you dress your baby in a nice outfit for church, he will throw up and/or poop on it. {Bonus points if it’s right as you’re buckling him into the car seat.}

If you want your baby to stay quiet, he will decide to test his yelling abilities.

If you want your baby to stay little forever, he most certainly will not.

 

We love our little rugrats, right? But I’m sure all of my parent-readers out there can agree with pretty much all of these laws of physics. Solidarity, you guys.

Any other fun “rules” you can come up? Share ’em in the comments!  🙂 

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Can you believe our little nugget is almost eight months old? I’ve said it to two expectant mothers in the last week: they tell you time flies, but really. Time flies.

Some days, I sort of take comfort in those statements. We have spent the last 22 nights {yes, I have been counting} trying to get our sweet little angel to sleep in his own crib at night. After three weeks of re-visiting what it felt like to have a newborn in the house, I think I can confidently say we are finally on the up and up. During some of the really awful nights where I was treading across the living room floor to soothe a frustrated baby almost every hour I would say, “The days will fly by. These days will soon be over. He will sleep better soon. Better days are ahead.” And that would give me comfort.

But those are the only times those words have given me comfort. The rest of the time they make me sad and fill me with longing. I find myself going back to his newborn photos and reminiscing over how tiny he was. How much I miss that new baby smell…..those itty bitty fingers curled around mine. Oh man, the time flies.

And yet, the future is so bright! This little guy, he is changing by the day. So while I am sad he is no longer so very tiny, I am also celebrating his growth and his discovering. And you guys: this kid is trouble.

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He started crawling this week. He can already pull up and take steps as long as he’s holding onto something. He dumped out the bathroom trash can and tried to eat the bag while I was taking a shower. He opens the kitchen trash can to look inside. He pulls out the cat’s fur {while she lets him} and has yanked my earring out twice {adios my cute little dangly-earrings.} And as shown in the photo above, he thoroughly enjoys dumping out his dirty clothes bin.

This. is. so. much. fun.

And I don’t mean that sarcastically. I already know that I will reminisce these days one day and think “those were the days.” Watching this kid discover the world around him has brought us so much joy. The other day I cleared my throat and he just laughed and laughed. So for the next ten minutes I continuously cleared my throat so I could listen to his hysterical giggles.

Oh yes, these days have been hard. The moodiness that accompanies teething and the vast sleep deprivation tests my nerves at times. But this happy little troublemaker makes up for it with his intense cuteness and silly squeals.

I can’t wait to see what’s next!  ❤

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My Advice?

When Jackson was not even two months old, I had someone ask me for my advice. She was going to be a new momma soon. I sort of wanted to laugh hysterically in her face and walk way. Me? Give advice? I was still trying to figure out how to take a seven minute shower without listening to a screaming infant. And quite frankly, I never thought about what I would say to a new mom. I’m still a new mom myself, after all. But now I’ve given it some thought, so here goes. (Because obviously an additional three months of parenthood now makes me qualified to give advice.) Maybe this post will find it’s way back to that soon-to-be-momma.

  1. Some days all you will accomplish is holding a baby. That’s okay.

Seriously, it’s totally fine. As the momma, you are that little baby’s world. You are his comfort. His best friend. His source of nourishment. He went from a warm and safe environment to a whole new world and you are the only safe place he knows. So there will be many  many days in the beginning where you will literally accomplish nothing. You will sit on a couch all day holding that baby and think, “Wow. I am the worst. I did not clean or cook anything or put on decent clothes.” Trust me, as an OCD-perfectionist-workaholic, this was very hard for me. But give yourself grace. These days are short lived. {Example: Jackson is now five months old. We are now to the point where I can lay him on the floor with some toys and he will play for a good 45 minutes while I wash dishes/fold laundry/eat real food/put on make-up.

2. Freezer meals are your friends.

To tag onto #1, freezer meals will be your bff. We took a day when I was about eight months pregnant and packed our freezer full of meals. Some were already cooked and just had to be thawed and heated, others were ready to be thrown in a crock pot and cooked throughout the day. But let me tell you–they saved our lives. No one wants to come up with dinner plans after barely sleeping for a solid week straight. And for those days when you can’t accomplish much because your sweet angel just wanted to be held all day? Boom. You won’t starve. You’re welcome.

3. If people offer to bring you food/do things, SAY YES.

Now is not the time to be a hero. If people offer to bring you dinner, accept it. If people offer to do anything, actually, accept it. My mom was here for several days and as much as I hate not doing things myself, it was such a blessing to have the laundry done and the floors vacuumed.

   4. Never say never.

“I will never let my baby sleep in the bed with us.”

“I will never have the baby sleep in our room.”

“I will never allow my phone or the TV to be a source of entertainment.”

HA. I have eaten so many of my “I will never” statements and we are only five months into this gig. Flexibility is the name of the parenting game. Need proof? Here is a picture of Jackson watching Winnie the Pooh. Because mommy just. needed. ten. minutes.

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Those minutes were glorious, y’all.

5. Take some time for yourself.

You’ll hear this one a lot….or at least I did. But I never understood just how crucial this piece of advice was until after giving birth. You love your little bundle of joy. You really truly do. But sometimes after a solid week of crying through a growth spurt, or maybe after changing your clothes four times in one day because of an explosive diaper followed by bountiful puking, you will really need a break. The best gift Roman has given me was arranging a girls night out a few weeks ago. I got my nails done, tried a new restaurant, ate a stupid amount of chocolate, and it was the best replenishment for my soul. Do your whole family a huge favor and take some time out every so often.

6. Just get out of the house.

There was a day a couple weeks ago when I felt like I was going to lose my mind. I had been home all week. It was a Friday and Roman was still at work. Jackson hadn’t slept well the last few nights. He was being fussy again for the third day in the row. And while you can’t just suddenly “take time for yourself” in those moments, you can get a change of scenery. So I stuck the fussy baby in the car seat, loaded up the stroller and left. We spent the afternoon walking around the outdoor mall, and I got myself a gigantic ice cream cone. Getting out of the house was the best decision for a day like that. Sometimes it’s just what you need to hit that reset button. 😉

There’s tons of advice people like to throw out. I could talk about sleep training or nursing schedules or what the best type of equipment is….but honestly? That’s all stuff you have to figure out for yourself (refer to #4.) One of my best friends had both her kids sleeping in their cribs from day one. Jackson? He’s never even napped in his. (Although we are hoping to change that very soon now that he’s almost sleeping through the night. So maybe there will be a Part Two to this advice column? HA.)

I think at the end of the day, we sometimes just have to answer these questions:

Did I feed my baby today? Did I change his diaper? Are we all still alive?

Then guess what? You are rocking this whole motherhood thing! Now, go eat some ice cream. You super woman, you.  ❤