A New Wonder

“When will you guys try for another one?”

“You need a baby sister for Elise!”

“Have you guys thought about more kids?”

Now that Elise is walking and no longer a tiny, wrinkly, fist-making, suckling baby.. We’ve been getting “the question” about another baby.

Honestly, the first 6 months she was alive, I was fairly certain that I might never want to do that again. “That” being the 18 weeks of intense nausea. The 16 weeks of bed rest. The 5 weeks past 37 weeks of “will I be pregnant forever?” The healing from her tiny head coming out so very crooked. The intense hives until she was almost 3 months old. I was terrified of even the thought of finding out I was pregnant.

People told me that “it” would be natural. That my body would know what to do when the time came, just as I would know how to breastfeed my baby the moment she was born. They were wrong about both.  I had to be induced for labor to even begin, possibly due to the wacky position of Elise’s head. I struggled with breastfeeding and fought to continue for weeks after Elise was born. And as I look back I realize that while the process may be natural, that doesn’t mean that we will know exactly how to bring about that process. That does not mean that we won’t need help.

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I required assistance to stay pregnant and I required assistance to not be pregnant.

I required assistance to learn how to nourish my baby. I required assistance to latch her on, to heal from her latch, and to teach her to latch again. Yet every day, I am grateful that we figured it out.

I really thought I would waddle my way to the birthing room, work through the process with my husband and our doula, and emerge with my daughter. I prayed in the weeks leading up to her birth that I would not need to be induced and that I would not tear.

Yet, both happened.

I was dead set against as well as terrified of an epidural.

Which also happened.

For many months, I was ashamed of my story. I felt that having the epidural made me weak. That needing to be induced after all of the desperation and effort to stay pregnant was a slap in the face. That I was not strong enough to handle labor.

Realistically, I was physically weak. Being in bed for hours and days and weeks on end does make you weak.  I was horrified at how exhausted and lethargic I was in the days immediately following her birth. I tried to justify and qualify my story as I saw other women that I knew, out of bed and enjoying their new child just hours after their birth. I struggled watching people with “normal” pregnancies who would ask when we wanted another, because I didn’t think they understood the fear and overwhelming sadness the thought of repeating the past year brought to me. Yet as the days between 9/27/16 and where we are today slowly increase, I have grown to be at peace with our story.

Yes, I wish I had gone into labor naturally. Yes, I wish that I had not been in such pain or felt so helpless immediately after she was born. I have heard stories of home births and hospital births that seemed less traumatic than mine. Yet as with anything else, whenever I get caught up in what I don’t like about a situation, I forget the blessings… And our story had so. many. blessings.

I forget that we had wonderful support from our physician and our doula.

I forget that we had the entire birth ward to ourselves.

I forget that we were able to laugh and sway and move to worship songs the first night of induction.

I forget that the epidural was God’s grace – that with it I avoided emergency surgery to repair the damage done by Elise’s head.

I forget that our most favorite physician was there when we delivered, coaching and encouraging me through every push.

I forget that I was able to catch Elise with my final push and bring her on to my chest.

I forget that Tyler and I were able to laugh and smile on our drive home from the hospital.

I forget that I brought my baby home, while some Momma’s leave with broken hearts and empty arms.

I forget that we avoided every single NICU day we thought we would need.

I forget how great of a blessing receiving a hemoglobin transfusion was, instead of iron pills for months.

I forget how relieved I was to no longer be pregnant.

I forget the grace of God in each and every moment in our journey.

I enjoy each and every day with our daughter. She is still changing by the hour and has brought new wonder to my eyes as I see her pride in the things she does! Simultaneously, watching her grow has brought me a peace about our experience. A peace about the bed rest. About the overdue-ness. About the recovery (except the hives). About the weakness and fatigue that accompanied recovery because of the bed rest.

And yet over the last year, I have seen that every part of our story from the first positive pregnancy test, to the afternoon we met Elise face to face, shows the hand of God. He was with us in the scariest moments, the longest hours and days, and the most painful things I have endured.

He was faithful to sustain us. To sustain me. To sustain our daughter. And as a result of His faithfulness, I believe that someday, we can do it again. That we can trust Him to guard and protect yet another blessing to our lives. That we can one day, anticipate another child and know that He will continue to be who He always has been, for He will never change.

Bringing a new life into this world is a gift not only to all those who assist, but to the Momma who watches the tiny, wet, wriggling child emerge from her body. In those moments we are able to understand a measure of God’s love for us that nothing else can parallel. God knows best. He is best. And Elise will always remind us of that, as we look at her and remember His great faithfulness.

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12 Months ~ 9/27/2017

Dear Elise,

You are a year old. One year of new experiences, sleeping through the night, being awake all night, learning how to nurse, how to drink from a bottle and a sippy cup, figuring out you can roll over, sit up, and then crawl, taking your first shaky steps, and finding your voice.

Falling in love with you has been easy. You have brought us joy beyond anything that we could ever have imagined, and even more importantly, a deeper understanding of how tenderly and joyfully our Heavenly Father loves us. Your curious little fingers and eyes, your abundant joy, and sometimes your heartbreaking sadness, has allowed me to understand Scripture with a whole new perspective.

You have given us a run for our money this past month! You are taking 3-4 steps on your own, furniture surfing with increasing speed, and crawling your way around the house to investigate everything. You can open and close all the kitchen cupboards and pantry door, and this quickly became your favorite hobby while I cook dinner. You turn into a shrieking and stiff legged little bubble of spit when I redirect you from something you are not allowed to play with, usually a toilet or the oven. You understand the difference between a kiss and a bite (finally!) and like to try and kiss me when I am looking you in the eye to correct you (I’m on to you, sweet girl!).

You like to crawl around the house with things in your mouth. A puzzle piece, a toy, your sippy cip straw, sock, or even a hair tie or pen you found. You clap for yourself after walking across the living room with your walking toy, and like to give me a heart attack by going up/down the stairs on the deck. You still do not have any depth perception and would leap off of our bed or the couch if we allowed you to do so.

You babble and chatter, “Mama”, “Dada”, “moo”, “hi”, and a variety of other syllables and happy noises are heard throughout the day. Everything that walks on four legs and is large is a cow, and you have figured out how to throw Ruger’s ball to him. You love to dance by shaking your head and waving your arms up and down, and will play the song on your standing play station over and over again while you do this. After each ‘performance’ you look at me for praise 😀 Aunt Teresa taught you how to dance originally, to her Ugandan style Jesus Loves Me. I’m going to continue letting her lead your singing abilities!

You love pictures of people. All of the pictures on our walls, your Grandma’s walls, and even the walls at the doctor’s office get investigated. You will happily ride in the arms of anyone who will carry you around to look at each individual picture as you happily exclaim “Mama!” and point at each picture! If they stop too quickly, you will quickly sign “more” to them with a very serious look on your face.

Along with signing “more”, you think that clasping your hands to pray is a sign for food! If you want more food while in your high chair or you want to nurse and I am not responding quick enough, you give up on signing “more” after about 2 minutes and switch to clasping your hands tightly in front of you and going “eeeeeh!!!” I laugh every time, and we pray again before you get more food 🙂

Physically, your little hands are still chubby, but you are tall and lean. From 9 months to 12 months you gained only 6 ounces and grew an inch! You need 18 month clothing just for the length, but the pants are usually too big around the bum. That’s just another reason we have continued to cloth diaper 😀 Your hair is finally beginning to really grow, and it still has a reddish tint to it. Your eyes settled at hazel, and look very similar to my one hazel eye. But overall, you are definitely a Little Miss Trout, looking like your Daddy. I love it!

My darling girl, I love you. You are a bubbly, curious, joy-filled, observant, smart little girl. This year flew so quickly, and I am honestly a bit sad that we are moving from the baby days, yet excited to watch you grow and learn over the next year. You have changed so very much from that little 7 pound, 10 ounce bundle we took home from the hospital on September 29th. You have grown so much, and you have grown me as well. Thank you, for being the daughter to make me a Mommy. For enduring all my guesses during your crying. For loving me, even after I reprimand you. For crawling over to me to lay your head on me and suck your thumb when you are tired.

The last three hundred and sixty-five days have been some of the most precious of my life. I have done my best to ponder the moments with you and store them in my heart, but I know that as you continue to grow I will wish I was even more purposeful about it, because it will go too quickly. Before I know it, I will be writing you a letter on your 2nd birthday, followed by your 10th, 16th, 18th, and 21st.

Elise, may the God who created the Heavens and the Earth continue to grow you in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May you grow in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and men. And may the peace that surpasses all understanding guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus as you grow.

Happy first birthday, sweet girl.

Love, Mommy.

 

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Afternoons on the deck with you are my favorite. It has been abnormally warm this September, and we soaked up every ounce of sunshine we could!
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Your new hat and baby doll, both of which intrigued you for days.
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You are always eager to “help” me bake. The KitchenAid still captivates you!
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The one time I did not put you in a swimsuit to go to the beach, was the only time you instigated going in the water!
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Your Daddy loves you dearly, Elise. Never, ever doubt that!
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Your amazing puppy chair, which is the softest chair I’ve ever felt, is your favorite place to sit. You were thrilled to have a chair your own size!
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And just like that, you are 12 months old!

11 Months ~ 8/27/2017

Dear Elise,

You, my dear, are hysterical.

Really, most days, we spend more time laughing at you than anything. The dangerous part is that you know that and love it. I dare say we are raising a little ham! The changes in you this past month are obvious as you move from baby to toddler ( 😥 ).. and I am trying to be brave as we approach your first birthday.

You babble and talk, and it is beginning to more closely resemble real talk. You added Da-da to your repertoire (finally!!) as well as “mooooo” or sometimes “booooo”, but both mean cow. Or deer. There’s a little confusion about which is which! Waving hello and bye-bye is common, and you also excitedly wave your arms during worship at church. As I type, you are in your crib (supposedly it’s bed time) talking to your stuffed animals. Your deer, monkey, and puppy are all very patient to listen to the “hi! babababa, mooooo… hi! hi! bababababa!” followed by thunks and bumps as you roll around with them, stand up, sit down, and then snuggle up next to them with your thumb in your mouth, blanket tucked under your tummy, and little bum up in the air.

You could walk, if you wanted to, but you enjoy pushing around your pink walker in the living room and your red wagon on the deck. You surf around the furniture and occasionally stand for a few seconds here and there, but trepidation takes over when you realize you aren’t hanging on and you quickly sit down. In the mean time, you travel quite fast by crawling. Particularly to get to me if I am out of the room, to greet Daddy when he gets home from work, or to beat me to the open dishwasher so you can crawl up onto the door and pull the racks in and out.

Snuggling still requires too much stillness, although I have been able to get a few here and there if we look at cow books or you are extra tired after an early wake up. One of my favorite parts of this past month has been you learning how to “kiss”, which is more like an open-mouthed, slobbery contact, as you come over to me and go “ahhhh” while you lean in for the kiss. You prefer to go for the mouth (I can’t blame you, since that’s all Daddy and I do!), or sometimes the neck, and you also still require occasional cuing that kissing doesn’t involve biting. Regardless of all the slimy danger involved, I have to pick my heart up off of the floor every time you do it.

We had a busy month, including your final helmet visit (woot!!), a trip to the Cottage with your Aunt/Uncle/cousin, birthday parties for friends and your Great Grandpa, and you cutting two more teeth (while at the Cottage). Thankfully, you decided in the last few weeks that sleeping through the night really is a wonderful idea for everyone involved, and I didn’t even have to work on cutting out that last feeding! You did it all on your own.

You are precious, sweet girl. From your nose wrinkled up while you stretch your neck out and grin at us from your high chair, to the eager “hi!” I hear first thing in the morning when you wake up, you make your Daddy and I so proud already. You are learning quickly, always watching, eager to experience new things, and full of independence. I love you, with all of my heart. Thank you for being my baby this past year, and know that you always will be… Even if you are almost a toddler.

I love you!

Love, Mommy

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When everyone is dressed up for a wedding, you take a picture!
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Your FIRST NIGHT sleeping WITHOUT your helmet!
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Hamming it up at Great Grandpa H’s birthday party.
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The obligatory first spaghetti picture. I was not impressed by the lack of mess! But you seemed to enjoy playing with the noodles.
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Final helmet appointment at Mary Free Bed.
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PB&J on the lake with Daddy.
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You and your steering wheel obsession continues, even on boats! Uncle Joe let you captain for a little bit and you were intently serious the whole time.
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Your monkey is your new BFF around the house. Especially when Momma swaddles him up like a baby.
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Preferred sleeping position 🙂
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Last but not least, your first ever quad ride!! Daddy was beyond excited to make this happen!
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Happy 11th month, bug!

 

Fear

I am working on a post that has verses broken down and cross referenced about writing God’s Word on your heart. It is a good post I think, but every time that I have gone back to it today to finish it I have felt my heart break a little bit more.

I fear for my daughter, that she will be surrounded by disagreements and fights over religion. Yes, religion. Laws, rules, methods, and practices. I fear that she will get caught up in arguments over the trivial things. Trivial things such as sunday school verses small groups. Coffee hour verses weekly luncheons. VBS verses AWANA. I fear that in Church she will hear so much of man’s opinion on Scripture that she will confuse it with truth. Or that there will be so much opinion that there is no room left for God’s Holy Word.

It is too common now to gather with other “believers” and find yourself in a debate as to whether or not homosexuality is smiled upon by God (that’s another post all in itself. But it’s not, in case you were wondering). It is common to sit in a circle and have to wonder if you are going to get nailed to the wall if you speak out against a popular teacher who is teaching heresy.

I want my daughter to know Jesus Christ. I want her to hunger for His Words, not mans. I want her to rest in confidence that He paid the penalty for her sins on the cross and she has been covered by the sacrifice of His blood, and does not have to work to earn His favor. I want my daughter to see the body that a church can have, rather than the quarrels and fights that arise over second and third circle items. I want my daughter to understand that God is three in One. That the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all important and necessary. That you cannot have one without the other. I know that ultimately, she has to decide to believe. I cannot force her to believe, but I can show her, teach her, and admonish her, to the best of my ability.

Jesus called the little children to Himself. I pray every day that my daughter will know Him. Every day before her nap, beffore she goes to bed, and when I am alone. I do not want her to know a religion of cold rules and thou shalt nots. Likewise, I do not want her to think that she can do whatever she pleases because Jesus died for her, and forgave her sins. I long for her to understand the balance between grace and law. I pray that those we surround her with while she is little will show her that balance in their lives, rather than demonstrate how petty those who call themselves members of a Church can be.

This is why I am writing. Why I am studying. Why I am striving to know Scripture before I know anything else. Why I am striving to know God before I know anyone else. Because if Elise cannot see Him while she is at home, so young and so broken already, how can I honestly expect her to see it anywhere else? Show your children grace from a young age. They need to see it even more than we do, in order to understand it as they grow older.

I’ll finish that post with the verse breakdown and discussion eventually… for tonight, I am going to focus on praying for my daughter and pouring truth into my heart and mind. If you have fallen into the trap of focusing solely on man’s words, whether they are good or not, I urge you to take a break. Stop reading the books and articles and simply go back to Scripture. Get it from the only true and dependable source. The only source that will never change. And the only source that can bring healing to the hurting, hope to the desolate, and answers to the questioning.

Get in the Word, friends.

 

Where to Begin?

When I transitioned from my full time professional job to a full time stay at home mom (SAHM), I really thought that I would be able to find time to do all the things that I love to do. More time to play piano, to exercise, to bake, to read, and most importantly, endless quiet times each day.

Go ahead and laugh at me! I was an idealist!

When she was a newborn, our bug monopolized my time with frequent feedings, constant changes in sleep schedules, and diaper changes.

Around 6 months, sleep training and introducing solid foods took far more time than I thought humanly possible. I spent my days constantly looking for my coffee cup to make up for the frequent wakings at night. This gave me the utmost respect for those who return to work and have a regular work schedule to maintain after being up most the night with a teething child!

Now, at almost a year old, I simply cannot stop watching her for 3 seconds without losing track of her. Just a few days ago, she demonstrated that she knew how to climb the stairs on our deck, and I almost had a heart attack when I left her by the van to pull the stroller out of the back, and turned around to see her sitting on the deck waving her arms at me!

There isn’t enough time for anything that I do not purposefully and intentionally make time for. Recently, I have realized how vital it is to make time to study Scripture. I was able to implement a habit that allows me to actually read Scripture each day. But to truly study and meditate upon it without a sticky, drooling, chattering interruption, that takes perseverance and diligence. It may mean less sleep and an extra cup of coffee. It may mean giving up a long relaxing shower in favor of a quick rinse. It may mean letting her fuss and play with her blankets in the morning when she wakes up 30 minutes earlier than normal, so that I can finish. What it may mean, could very well look different on a day to day basis.

Yet God gave us no drop of doubt when He gave us His Word, that it is important. He gave no doubt that we need to make His Word a priority.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.                                                                                                                                     Deuteronomy 6:5-9

As I have studied this passage, I have been breaking it down and praying and pondering what is most important.. I’m still in the breaking-it-down phase, but one thing stands out to me that I will leave here. God and His Word are to be a constant part of our lives. And not even a part, but the basis and foundation for every single thing that we do!

In my next post (which will not be as delayed as this one was! Thank you sickness) I’ll share how I’ve broken down this passage as I have meditated on it and memorized it ❤

Good Mom?

The podcast played as I lifted weights during her morning nap.

“What is most important to you today?”

I hefted the weights again as I thought. It was an easy decision. Today, I want to be a good Mom. We had a good start. We both woke up happy, enjoyed breakfast, played for a while, and she went down for her nap smoothly. Success!

As if she had heard me, she kept talking.

“Young Mom’s listening, it is more important to be a good Christian than it is to be a good Mom.”

The Mommy shame is fierce. The pressure to compare ourselves to what everyone else is doing and attempt to fit into the standards we think those around us hold, even if we have never talked to them long enough to know what their standards really are, is real. As we are in the ever continuing journey of looking and searching for a new church home, it has been incredibly easy for me to fall into this trap. To watch those around me and feel like I am not enough. Not dressed well enough. Not good enough at keeping my wiggly little kiddo still during conversations. Just simply, not enough.

Yet as I listened to the podcast, the truth of what she said seeped into my heart and brought me peace.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if my daughter ate three meals including protein, carbs, and fats. It doesn’t matter if my house has vacuumed floors, the dog hair is out of its massive clumps in the corners, the kitchen sink is clean, or the baby’s blankets are all folded and put where they belong.

It doesn’t matter if the kitchen counter is a pile of unread mail, empty packaging from the most recent Amazon order, or a few cups of half-downed coffee. It doesn’t matter if we both were dressed cutely, cleanly, and had our faces washed and hair done (or bow on!).

What really matters is where my heart was during the day. Did I do my best to love and encourage my daughter, making sure she feels safe and loved? Did I correct her with gentleness and firmness each time she attempted to play in the toilet or eat the dog’s food? Was I quick to listen and discern what she might need when she cried out instead of being quick to become angry at the interruption?

I do my best to be a “good” Mom. But if being a good Mom comes at the cost of focusing on what really matters in our home, then it isn’t worth it. I’d rather have a daughter who remembers a Mom who was joy-filled and read the Bible with her, than a Mom who was always pressed and polished. I’d rather have a daughter who grows up with me teaching her how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, instead of a Mom who snaps at her because she interrupts my Facebook time.

What this looks like in real life will take many different versions over the years, I am sure. Yet over the next few weeks (maybe longer?) I will be looking deeper into what attributes and characteristics God shares with us in Scripture that can challenge me to grow as a Christ follower first, wife second, and Momma third. I’m eager to see what Scripture says. Because I know the more that I look at Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, the more inadequate as a good Mom I will feel. Scripture however, will show me the truth of who I am to be as a believer, wife, and Momma…

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Photo Credit: Laura Crowe Photography

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbandsso that the word of God will not be dishonored.  Titus 2:3-5.

 

(The Podcast was Revive our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth! I highly suggest you look into it. It has encouraged my faith and my walk with Christ deeply over the past half a year as I have adjusted to life as a SAHM!)

10 Months ~ 7/27/2017

Dear Elise,

Oh my sweet girl, you are so precious to us right now! Your sweet little adventuring and discovering everything you see fills our hours together. You especially enjoy pulling yourself up on the couches, chairs, tables, and toilet. Yes, the toilet fascination continues :/ You also have decided crawling in and out of the shower is especially fun, and it is also exciting to pull dishes out of the dishwasher! Your curiosity abounds, and I love it! We have begun to find a balance between letting you explore as well as correcting you and training you. You clearly understand the word “no” as well as “on your bottom” (heard frequently in the pool and bathtub) and “do not touch.” You’d like us to think you don’t know what we are saying, but thankfully we know better!

You are thrilled to see your Daddy every day when he gets home and throw yourself forward out of my arms so that you can hug his chest and he is forced to take you. You play Peek-A-Boo whenever we lay you down in your crib,  pulling your purple and white blanket up over your head, saying “eyyye!” (hi) and then pulling it down quickly with a massive smile on your face. You suck your thumb to sooth yourself, and have just begun to crawl over to me occasionally during the day and lay your head on me (chest, leg, arm, whatever you can reach) and suck your thumb while you lay there. I absolutely love it when you do this, as does your Daddy, but it has never lasted longer than about 60 seconds. There is simply too much to do to cuddle!

You babble and talk with much enthusiasm, and we recognize “Mama”, “mo” (more), and “eyeee!” (hi, with a high pitched emphasis on the “i”!). You also just started signing back and saying “mo” (bringing your hands together) when you want more food while in your high chair. This is practiced frequently, as you continue to love food, especially with your 2 new teeth! The top two teeth broke through within a week of each other, and it’s already making you that much cuter.

We were blessed to have some good family time this past month, just you and me and your Daddy. We went out to breakfast at our favorite place, spent the afternoons relaxing together, and even hit up the local ice cream spot a few times. Those times are my favorite. They’re simple, laid back, and abundant with memories. It was one of these afternoons that you discovered you could give Ruger his rope toy, and he would play with you! It’s a comical exchange of you getting his rope and attempting to hand it to him, followed by him getting the rope and gently tugging a few times before you let go. Once you let go he desperately tries to get away, but you crawl after him as fast as your little arms and legs can take you! You’ve also recently tried giving him his frisbee, as well as bits of food or trash you find on the floor. He’s not quite sure about that!

Other exciting events were swimming with your cousin (technically he’s a 2nd cousin, I think), hanging out at your Aunt’s house and observing your other little cousin (also a 2nd cousin) who is not too interested in you yet, traveling downstate for a funeral and keeping me up until 3AM after driving down after your bedtime backfired on us (somehow your Daddy managed to sleep through it all!), going to the beach for the first time, traveling up to the Garlyn Zoo with Grandpa and Grandma A, and seeing your first Independence Day parade. This next month will hold even more family time, but hopefully in a more relaxed, and slightly less rushed manner.

Keep on growing, sweet baby girl. We love you to pieces!

Love,

Mommy

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Watching the 4th of July parade with all seriousness.
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You love all of your grandparents!!
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Matching Momma/Baby day 🙂
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Seeing the Tiger at the Garlyn Zoo with Grandma and Grandpa A and Uncle Tanner.
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Grandma and Grandpa A
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Picnic on the bay with Daddy! This is where Mommy and Daddy would go while we were dating, married, and then the one time on bed rest we were allowed to escape. We love to grab a meal and sit and watch the bay!
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Playing with Ruger
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Just chillin’, watching your cousin swim. Notice your crossed feet!!
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Driving with Daddy!
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Happy 10 months, Bug!

Shifting Over

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A few months back, Tyler and I were curled up on the couch late at night while Elise slept, catching up on life after a particularly busy week. I was sharing with him some of my struggles of the week as well as some of the joys. Because of his job, there are times in our schedules I don’t see him except for between 12 and 6 AM, and Elise doesn’t see him. This was one of those going-on-seventy-hours weeks.

The topic of our discussion that night was our marriage, as well as the couples we know who are entering into marriage this year. We talked about our strengths. We talked about what we did in the beginning of our relationship that we are thankful for, such as the things that guard and strengthen our relationship. We talked about our weaknesses., like the things that stress us both deeply and avert us from our greater purpose. We talked about what we’d like to share with those couples, the things that we learned the sticky-rough-painful way..

At the end of our conversation (because it was after 10 pm, and I was falling asleep), he looked at me and said “babe, you should write a blog about marriage.” I didn’t, and still don’t, know quite what to think of that! We are just past our 3rd anniversary, and I know enough to know that everything I know is simply a drop in the bucket. Yet what we know has come through much prayer, much counsel, and many, many late night talks (because I married a night owl!).

As this blog has unfolded it has ultimately been a story about our daughter. It began as a way to update everyone about our high risk pregnancy, and then moved on to an overabundance of adorable baby photos. Recently, my focus in life has (thank the Lord!) shifted from “stay pregnant and don’t move” to “figure out how to keep the baby alive” to “learning how to glorify God as a Wife and a Momma.” I’ll continue with my monthly posts about Little Miss until she turns one (which is only a few short months away!), but I will also be adding in other posts.. The topics will depend on what God is teaching me, which can vary by the day. I am grateful, honestly, to be out of that pregnant and newborn stage of life for now. I miss it, as it was a precious time with much to be learned, but I am enjoying where we are right now immensely with our little family and the adventures that we have.

I have always been able to process and think better when I write. Journaling has been a huge part of my life, and during my recovery from Elise’s birth, it helped me work through the myriad of emotions and frustrations. It has also helped me as I was single and anticipated being in a dating relationship, as I traveled away for school, and as I joyously dated, was engaged, and then married, who I believe is the best man in the world for his daughter and I.

That man has encouraged me to continue writing this blog and shift my focus onto more marriage and Momma related things. I don’t have an idea what I am doing in the grand scheme of things, except that it’s always a good idea to be able to apologize when I get frustrated or short-tempered. Which I do quite frequently, it seems. This will definitely not be a “how to” blog, because I am learning “how to” each day! But it will undoubtedly contain a little bit of everything, from A to Z (except, I went from a Z to an A… thus the new headline. If you have a better idea, please let me know!).

All that said, here’s to a shift as we have exited the newborn stage of life and are so very close to the toddler stage. As I am ever learning how to balance being Momma and wife. I’m not a crunchy Momma, except for the parts that I am. And I’m not a modern Momma, except for the parts where I am. We have a mix of methods and techniques, but we have an idea of what is working the best for us for where we are right now. That may change tomorrow! But the important thing is that our choices and decisions are based on the Word of God, and that influences every single decision we have made regarding our lives.

I hope you enjoy what is to follow! And if you don’t, no offense taken. I am sure there are plenty of things you could do besides scroll through my musings! If you do stick around, may the Lord bless you in your journey, wherever that may have you right now!

9 Months ~ 6/27/2017

Dear Elise,

You are on the move. There is no stopping your pudgy little legs from crawling all over the floor as fast as you can go. There is no keeping you from pulling up on the couches, chairs, trash can, toilets, or piano. There is no calming down your gleeful splashing in the tub or pool. And there is now no keeping you content while you are restrained in your car seat, unless I continually hand you food. Which isn’t always possible, and in that case there is no quieting your protests.

You continue to “point” at everything, and get lots of praises when you point out Mommy or Daddy in a photo. Grandma A discovered you could do this, and now you and I like to flip through the photo album in your room and point at pictures of Daddy when he is out working late. You also “wave” while saying “eyeee!” (hi) at the grocery stores. Your waving is done with two hands and you are very enthusiastic about flapping your arms. It honestly looks a bit like you are attempting to fly off somewhere. This is the same flapping that will drench whoever is giving you a bath, or fling food around in excitement after a new taste of something. You continue to love food, and so far the only time you haven’t been very excited about something was plain greek yogurt. After adding a bit of vanilla the next day, you were almost as excited about it as you are about ice cream! You eat everything Daddy and I do, and like to investigate what’s on the table to ensure you are not getting cheated out of something we have that you do not. You also still love to nurse, and I am grateful for that.

You are slowly doing better about going down awake for naps. Bedtime is usually fairly easy, but you have a difficult time settling down for your naps. After all, there is so much to do and see and chew on! I have tried to make the time before naps a focused time where we read and play in your room before we rock for a little bit, and then I lay you down. You aren’t too keen on being held while I read, but you like to sit and chew on something else (usually another book) while I show you pages. You’ve also recently started sitting and flipping through pages of your books on your own, which makes me so excited! I love to read, and your Daddy does not particularly enjoy it.. I have been hoping my genes and example would win that war 😉

We have enjoyed taking you to see and do new things over the past month (as if California wasn’t enough last month!). The fish hatchery, Lake Michigan, picnics, bike rides… Our home is surrounded by so many beautiful things, that we are trying to do it all! At least, Momma is. I think I still have some cabin fever left over from last summer! And so far, except for not liking both of your feet in the grass at the same time, you have been a trooper! We are already eager for next summer and going to family camp, kayaking, swimming, and doing even more fun things once you are a bit more steady with your mobility!

The helmet is still on your head, but we have a finish line!! August 10th you will be done, barring any unforseen problems with it. We had a scan shortly after you turned 9 months old, and were SO thrilled that you had grown and are now in the “normal” range for plagiocephaly. Our goal was to get your head under 6 mm of unevenness, and you were at 5.7 mm! The orthotist gave us the option to be done or to do 6 more weeks. Your Daddy and I talked about it for quite a while over the next few days before deciding that we should keep going. The tricky thing with these helmets is that if we take it off of you for even a day or two, we risk it not fitting well and giving you pressure sores. Because of that, we decided to just finish it out strong.

You are the delight of our days, and no foul mood in this house can continue when you flash us your toothy-grin while you wrinkle your little nose and raise your eyebrows at us. Thank you for being such a blessing to our home!

We love you, Bug!

Love,

Mommy

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Grass on your toes can only be tolerated one little foot at a time!
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Oh the smiles you give us first thing in the morning!
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Such a big girl, standing up by yourself!
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Watching Daddy mow the lawn with great curiosity. You pulled yourself up and stood to watch him for 10 minutes!
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9 Months of you!
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First burley ride with Momma!
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The “helping” has begun!

 

Family

Our first official family photos were done when you were around a month old. I was still moving very slow and was easily exhausted. Your Daddy had been struggling with health issues as well..  It had been a hard month for us physically and emotionally. And while we were thrilled with the photos of you, but we saw the photos of ourselves and were eager to do a new family photo when you had grown a bit older and we felt more like “us” again.

At a few days shy of 7 months old, we took these photos with our favorite photographer lady. We planned to take your helmet off seconds before we took a photo, since you were always so happy as soon as it came off… Except, of course, this time.

You refused to smile. Your Daddy, Laura, and I did not hesitate to stoop to any level of silliness to try and coax a smile from you. And somehow, we managed to catch a few, but for the most part, you just stared. But my goodness, are you beautiful when you stare!

My beautiful girl, I love you so. Thank you for the joy you bring to your Daddy and I!

Love, Mommy

 

Photos by Laura Crowe Photography, http://www.lauracrowephotography.com