Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dear Little One-- Brudderly Love

Dear Silas,

I took this picture of you this morning. I have dozens of others just like it. From day one, your brother (or 'brudder' as we like to say) has studied you. He quickly figured out how to soothe you, how to make you happy, and my favorite-- how to get you to sleep.

Dare I say it, some days he's better able to soothe you than even I am.

There is an incredibly special bond between the two of you and that really took me by surprise given your 11 year age gap.

Each and every day he asks if he can get 'pinned' during your morning nap. This is a code word for, "Mom, can I please hold him and let him sleep on me while I watch something on my computer?" Lest you think he only asks to hold you when he can get computer time, be assured that he also asks to hold you while you nap even when he can't have screen time.

Your brudder has literally figured out how to get you to fall asleep in seconds and some how he manages to get you to stay asleep for hours. It's almost magical to watch. You start to wake up and he resumes bouncing you with your bum sticking out. He burries his face in yours, shushes you, and gently closes your eyes with his hands. Then he kisses your forehead and you drift back to sleep. We call him the baby whisperer!

He loves his little brudder. A lot. It's so evident.

He's also fiercly protective of you. Since day one he has double checked to make sure your carseat and stroller are buckled properly. Okay, okay, one time I forgot to buckle you in your stroller and you almost fell out and it turns out to be a good thing Titus double checked. I'm sure you can ask him about it because I'm pretty sure I will NEVER live that one down!

When you were tiny, your brudder would sneak in close to your face and ask me if I was sure you could breathe. He checks for choking hazards and falling hazards, and if you cry he will rush to wherever you are to assess the situation. He's even been known to do that when you are fussy at night, even though he's long been asleep himself. He'll stumble out of his room and through tired eyes ask, "Mom, would you like me to get him to sleep?"

He can hardly walk by you without touching you, kissing you, and telling you he loves you.

One of the most significant ways he's taken care of you is by taking care of me. Since the moment he found out I was pregnant, this kiddo literally turned from a boy into a young man. He selflessly asks what he can do, what he can get me, and how he can help. He fetches water, food, burpies, blankets, binkies, diapers, wipes, and sometimes even chocolate. Whatever your mama needs, whenever she needs it!

You are getting bigger and bigger by the day and I'm not sure how much longer he can cuddle you to sleep with his magical hold. Though, I have a sneaky suspicion that even when you can't snuggle up on his lap you will still be snuggled by his side. This bond is unbreakable. And it warms my heart.

Love,

Mommy

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dear Little One--The Little Things

Dear Little One,

I haven't chronicled much of your life here on the blog yet in spite of my best intentions. Why, you might ask?

Well, my hands have been full, but not nearly as full as my heart. There's been so much to write about but so little time time to do so. Because really, would I rather write about you or sit down with your sweet head snuggled up on my chest while I stroke your back and smell your sweet baby hair? Option #2 clearly wins out almost every time.

What can I say... I adore you. Not just in an, "Oh, look at that cute little baby!" kind of way. Nope, this is the fierce, determined, heart bursting out of my chest kind of adoration.

Right now I'm sitting on a chair in front of your swing just watching you sleep, unsure of how long I have to write. As much as I'm excited to have a few minutes to sit and pour out some thoughts, it's hard for me to not just pluck you up from your peaceful sleep and cradle you in my arms.

But, the other day your siblings were reading stories from their childhood on my blog and they both insisted that I write more about you so you have fun stories to read some day as well. So here I am.

Just in case I never get to chronicle the nitty gritty details of the past five months let me give you a quick recap:

You sleep a lot. Your preferred sleeping position is curled up on someone's chest. As much as you like sleep, you also like to wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason.

You seem to always just want to be where your people are. Sometimes you are fussy, but you are usually content as long as you've got one of us nearby. Just like your mama, you're not a big fan of being anywhere by yourself.

Spit up. Let's talk about this. It's a little out of control sweet boy. You spit up. All. The. Time. We soak through a huge stack of burpies and blankets each and every day. Some days I think all I do is snuggle you, feed you, change you, and wipe up spit up. Actually, some days that really is all I do... or at least that was the case early on. I don't have that luxury as much now that you're getting older. It turns out other people in the house sometimes need me too!

This picture was taken by Eroica when you were one
month old. It captures the intensity of your eyes so well!
Your eyes. You have the biggest, brightest, most beautiful blue eyes. I get so lost in them. I seriously feel like I could just stare at you all day long. And your sweet little smile. Don't get me started!

Well, you have now woken up so I'm going to have to end this here. I just wanted to take a few minutes to capture a few of the little things that I hope never to forget. These days can be so long sometimes, but they are oh-so sweet. I'm beyond grateful for you sweet Little One. So. Very. Grateful.

Love,

Mommy
 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dear Little One-- A Labor of Love (Your Birth Story Part 1)

On Wednesday November 9th, the night before you were born, your daddy and I crawled into bed and spent some time discussing how lovely it would be to have you outside of my womb, as the discomforts of pregnancy had taken quite the toll on me--and therefore, everyone else as well. 

Little did I know that would be the last conversation we would have until our lives would forever be changed by your impending grand entry into this world.

If you're not a fan of reading about birth stories or bodily fluids, feel free to wait for future updates, as the rest of this post will contain the story of the day you were born, and well, that's hard to do without including at least a few of the messy details. 

Your Birth Story

I bolted out of bed at 5 am feeling like something was off. As soon as I stood up I found myself stepping in a puddle of liquid so I waddled to the bathroom. "Oh great, let's add complete loss of all bladder control to our list of lovely pregnancy symptoms," I thought to myself. After about 15 minutes of trying to clean myself up to no avail I realized that there was a good chance that I didn't actually lose control of my bladder. So I made my way back into the bedroom and turned the light on and told your daddy, "I think my water just broke." To which he replied, "That means hospital, right?" "Yes, not only does that mean hospital, but that means baby. Wake the kids up and have them help pack."

You see, I had made packing lists for everyone (the day before), but I hadn't yet actually packed our hospital bags because we still had 3 weeks and 2 days until your due date. So we all scurried around while I showered and tried in vain to control the copious amount of liquid that kept making its way to the ground. Let me tell you, it's not a one time event like what you see in the movies!

A friend of ours came over to watch the big kids (she, as a well seasoned mother of 7 already had her bag packed) and Daddy and I eventually made it out the door and somewhat leisurely made our way toward the hospital which is about an hour away. It was nothing like I'd pictured that moment to be like. 

I was convinced that you were going to be born on the side of the road in the middle of a snow storm, Or, I would have fretted all night about whether or not it was "time to go". I had pictured a miserable drive as I was attempting to breathe through contractions while daddy would be speeding along praying he wouldn't have to deliver you in the car. 

Instead, we left our house about 6:30 am after a full night's sleep and leisurely made our way toward the hospital. The skies were blue and the sun shined brightly in the sky. I think it was an unheard of November high of 64 degrees. It was a beautiful day! I made a few phone calls on the way up, including one to the hospital. I let them know that my water broke and that you were still breech, as that combination would mean that you would be born via c-section. As much as I'd hoped for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) I marvelled at the thought of meeting you in just a few short hours!

We settled into a beautiful birthing suite and the doctor on call came in to confirm your position via ultrasound. With one swipe of the wand she looked up at me and said, "He's head down, fully engaged, right where he should be. Would you like a VBAC?"

I excitedly told her I would love a VBAC and she and I discussed how this day might unfold. Daddy and I settled in for the long haul, clueless as to what we needed to do next, except to sit and wait.

So we did. We made some more phone calls, watched t.v., walked the halls, and waited impatiently for the contractions to come. They were slow and irregular, which was a problem because I was put on an "invisible time clock" the moment my water broke. They don't like you to go more than 24 hours after your water breaks before giving birth to reduce the chance of infection.

I watched the clock tick on without my contractions picking up. My cervix wasn't dilated and it didn't appear that labor was going to start on its own, so the doctor tried a minimally invasive technique (Foley bulb) to help me along. Then we waited some more. Early evening my contractions started to become more intense and slightly more regular, but not regular enough to be considered "active labor". This really threw me off because it was so painful. If this wasn't active labor, I couldn't imagine what "real labor" would be like!

Finally, around 10:00 pm, nearly 18 hours after my water broke, the nurse was trying to hook me back up to the monitor after I had gone to the bathroom. She was having trouble getting your heartbeat to stay on the monitor (as had been the case all day), but then she suddenly got a little more forceful with her words telling me that I needed to turn to the other side "for the baby". She was asking me to do this during a painful contraction which I thought was odd, as the nurses had all previously just let me be while contracting. This happened a couple of times in a row but it was a new-to-me nurse, so I thought maybe she just had a different style than my previous nurse. The doctor came in and during the next contraction she was also telling me to position myself differently "for the baby". I was confused, but did my best to comply, as clearly they were seeing something I wasn't.

Soon the doctor was checking my cervix so we could make a plan for how to proceed for the remainder of the evening. Suddenly she and the nurse started to exchange words in hushed tones. Next thing I knew the nurse was putting an oxygen mask on my face. The moments that followed were all a bit of a blur, but I recall the doctor looking at my husband and telling him that we had an emergency situation on our hands and that she suspected that you and I would both be okay, but we needed to get you out. Now.

She looked at me and told me that your cord had slipped out of my cervix, so as your head was bearing down you were cutting off your oxygen supply with every contraction. She hopped up onto my bed and explained that she was going to continue to hold your head up off of the cord and they were going to have to put me under general anesthesia, but that everything should be fine. Next thing I knew there was a flurry of nurses in my room, unhooking cords, hooking up monitors and moving my bed toward the surgical suite.

At that point I realized all I could do was breathe. I closed my eyes and focused on one breath in, one breath out, wondering what would be the last thing I would remember. I asked the doctor how long it would be before I would wake up so I could see you, but she didn't answer. I was trying desperately not to panic because I knew that wouldn't help you and it wouldn't change anything. All of my visions of minimal interventions, of holding you as soon as you were born and nursing you right away flew out the window. I just wanted you to be here. Safe and healthy.

In mere moments, I heard a code come over the loud speaker, I felt bright lights on me, and I heard equipment beeping. People were scurrying all about the operating room, each doing their job as if they were seasoned actors in a well choreographed parade.

The anesthesiologist was on my left hand side, talking to me each step of the way about what was going on. I don't remember a thing he said, but I remember his presence being a calming one. I grabbed onto his hairy arm and held on for dear life as I was being told to scoot from my bed to the gurney, all while people were poking and prodding and prepping me in a hasty fashion. It was overwhelming.

At one point they were trying to do some very uncomfortable things to me that I was instinctively fighting against and I finally heard the scary blissful exchange of words between the doctor and the anesthesiologist that indicated it was time for me go under general anesthesia.

I prayed that my next memory would be that of you, safe and healthy in my arms.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Perspective— Learning to love the little things

Perspective. 

It's a little word with a big impact. 

I recently began feeling a little down when I realized that I have no big plans or dreams for 2017. I have no resolutions in mind. No lofty goals. No huge projects to tackle. Nothing.  

In years past I've entered the new year determined to do all the things

Not this year. This year I simply want to savor all the good things that are already in my life. I want to be—not do

I want to be present. 

To be joyful. 

Grateful.

I want to be mindful of all of the good things that God has already placed around me. I want to find joy in the everyday circumstances of this beautiful life I live. I want to count my blessings.

Somewhere along the way I feel like I've lost my sense of gratitude. And with it went my optimism. And my joy. I let the aching of this life overshadow the beauty that is all around me.

That's what happens when you focus on the negative instead of the positive. In 2017 I need to re-focus. I need to choose to look at life from a different perspective.

I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of
moms about perspective last March.

This is a doodle I created as I was preparing
for that talk. 
I'm sure there will be future years where I will set big goals. There will be years I dream big dreams. God willing, there will be years I set out to influence the world.   

This year, while it isn't the only thing I want to accomplish, I am choosing to focus on one goal and one goal only. 

I want to learn to love the little things. The simple, every day, beautiful things. 

As I find the time to write this year I will share glimpses of the everyday people, objects, and moments that make life amazing—even if it means I have to work harder to look at things from a different angle to find the beauty through the mess and the mundane. 


Today I am grateful for perspective, for it is through a right perspective that I can see God's hand at work—even in the little things. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dear Little One-- My hopes for the future in the midst of chaos


Dear Little One, 
Today is November 8th, 2016. You are blissfully unaware of the current state of our nation, and frankly, I'm a little jealous. If you want to know what this post was all about, do a quick search on the 2016 election. Better yet, watch some of the debates. It's like a three ring circus around here.
I don't yet know how the circus will end, as the newest ringmaster has not yet been revealed, but he or she will be by the time you enter this world. Either way, I feel like I can say with confidence that you are entering a far different world than the one I grew up in. Even one different than the one your older siblings have been born into.
Your siblings went with us to the
polling place as we cast our first
ballots in a non vote by mail
state. 
But that's what happens. Times change. People change. Culture changes. And here we are just trying to navigate our way through the troubled waters, unsure what lies around the river bend.    

In time I will do my best to teach you all about politics, because politics are important. But, it is my sincere hope that some way, somehow, I will do it in such a way that will help you to understand that people are more important than policies, that souls are more valuable than soundbites, and that living in faith is better than living in fear. 

If this election has taught me anything, it is that our world is anything but predictable and stable. 

I have no idea how much time I am granted here on Earth. When all is said and done, I haven't a clue what difference my life will have made. Goodness gracious, I don't even know what tomorrow will bring! But, I do know one thing— my greatest legacy will not be in the vote that I cast today. It will not be in the person I did or didn't sway to see my political point of view. I am utterly convinced that the greatest contribution I will make to this world will be through who I point to Jesus, and through the legacy I will leave behind through you and your siblings. 

I have so many hopes and dreams for you. 

Dear sweet Little One, I pray that you will grow up to be a man of faith, a man of character, and a man of wisdom. I pray that you will be strong, kind, and courageous. I pray that you will be selfless and compassionate looking out first for the best interest of others, especially those who are unable to speak up for themselves. I pray that you will be able to see past the colors red and blue, and be a force to help bring people together instead of tear people apart. I pray that you will be a man who leads. As you grow I hope you will lead your peers, your classmates, your family and who knows, maybe even someday your country, in a way that honors God and people.

But until then, I pray that you will flip head down and that you will ease up on simultaneously punching my esophagus and kicking my bladder. 

One thing at a time. 

I realize that a lot of who you will become rests on my shoulders. No pressure, right? I pray that I will be the kind of mama who is somehow able to instill these things in you. I pray that I can gently guide your heart, mind, and soul toward becoming the man that I hope for you to be. 

It's with a heavy heart for our country and a hopeful countenance for the future that I find myself writing this letter to you tonight. I pray that your hope (and mine) is built on nothing less than Jesus's blood and righteousness, because in the end, everything else is sinking sand. 

Love, 

Mommy

p.s. If this post seems a bit scattered, just know that it is a reflection of the state of my weary heart and mind. And it resembles the state of our country. We are all tired and worn out and disheartened. Sometimes, that's just the way life is, but there always seem to be brighter day and clearer skies ahead. I look forward with the greatest anticipation to meeting you face-to-face... my hoped for bright spot in the midst of all of the chaos that surrounds me!