On My Baby Turning One

 

I haven’t really sat down yet to write about the elephant in the room this week.

My baby boy will be one year old on Saturday.

I’m feeling surprisingly calm about it.  I haven’t cried.  I haven’t felt overly emotional or sentimental.

Maybe it just hasn’t hit me yet.  It’s very possible that I’m feeling so calm because I’m just thinking about his party right now.  It’s possible that I’ll sit down after the party, look through pictures from a year ago, and bawl my eyes out.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve been struck many times in the last several months with how much he’s grown.  I’ve watched his birthday orchid, which Danae brought to me in the hospital, go from a barren twig to a full bloom once again, and I knew his birthday was coming the second I realized there were new buds sprouting (thanks to my husband for keeping it alive, by the way – if I had been in charge of it, it would have died by now).  So now, with his first birthday in just a few days, maybe I’m already used to the idea.

 

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What I do know is this – I’m not going to use this day as some sort of marker of the end of his babyhood.  That’s not what the first birthday is.  Sometimes people get in a rush to start calling their children toddlers, but children don’t turn from babies into toddlers with the passing of some magical date on the calendar.

I see more and more of the little boy he will be coming out in him, but he’s still very much a baby too.  The ending of babyhood is not some milestone to be reached.  Babyhood ends gradually, and the process began months ago.  I think the Lord made the transition from baby to toddler gradual on purpose, to make it a little easier for a mother’s heart to take. 

I won’t make it harder on myself by psyching myself out and telling myself he’s not a baby anymore.  He’s still part baby.  And even as he grows and loses all traces of baby-ness, there are joys with each stage of his life.  I won’t rush any of the stages.  And I won’t grieve too much over the ending of any of the stages either.

Because he is a gift in any stage, and no matter how he grows, he will always be my baby.


Root Beer and Crop Tops (Q and A)

These are the questions from Julie. I thought this set of questions was really fun!



1. If you could be anything (professionally) what would you choose?

I would like to be a microbiologist. I'm not sure where I would like to work, but I loved my micro class, especially the labs, and I would love to do that for a living. Not a good profession for having a family, however, because it's not really something you can do part time.

I also think it would be cool to write for a travel magazine and get paid to take trips and write about it - maybe after my kids are grown!

I'm fully aware that the last one is a pipe dream and everyone would like that job, so you don't have to tell me that.

2. What is your current favorite song?

Hard question! It changes weekly, but I think this week my mood is:

"Singing Me Home" by Lady Antebellum
"Keeping Me Guessing" by Francesca Batistelli
"Satisfied" by Jewel
"Give Me Jesus" by Todd Agnew
"Hundred More Years" by Francesca Batistelli

. . . which if you know all those songs, it might seem kind of weird for me to describe that particular combination as my mood. They don't really match, because the first two are more upbeat, and the rest are more melancholy and thoughtful. But that really is my mood this week.


3. What is your go-to dinner- one that you can make without a recipe?

Hmm - probably chili (canned chili beans, tomatoes, beef, and chili seasoning, throw it all in a pot and heat it up), or spaghetti (I cheat and use the canned sauce), or my made-up honey-mustard chicken recipe (cook the chicken, mix together some honey and mustard and spices, smother the chicken with it and add some steamed vegetables on the side). All quick and easy with very little ingredients.

4. When you go out to eat, what is your drink of choice?

Right now, root beer. I drank it alot when I was pregnant because it doesn't have any caffeine, and since then it just stuck. If not root beer, then water with lemon.




Yes, I realize that is a cupcake, but it's a root beer float cupcake. And it will be making another appearance on the blog soon - a little clue for you.

5. What is one fashion trend that you don’t ever care to see again?

This was a hard question for me, because I've come to learn that if I really want to participate in a trend, I can pull it off. I used to think if tapered-leg jeans ever came back it would be ridiculous, but now everyone wears skinny jeans, and I do too. I thought the crop-top trend would be a little "out there", but I participated in that one last summer (with a tank underneath, of course - no mid-drifts please!).

I think the one trend that I hope never comes back and that I would never participate in would be the wear-a-colorful-bra-looking-thing-with-a-padded-shoulder-jacket trend from the '80s. Yuck! I did see it on a manaquin last summer, but thankfully I didn't see anyone actually wearing it. Just stay away from that one, People!

6. Have you ever traveled overseas? If so, where did you go?

No. (I'm really tempted to put a little frowny face after that answer, but I have a strict no-emoticons rule on this blog.) Unless you count the Caribbean or Dominican Republic, but when I think overseas, I think Europe or Asia or the Middle East.

7. Do you collect anything?

I don't. Wow, these last two answers are making me sound really boring! I've considered collecting several things - teacups or glass eggs (I have a couple of pretty ones) to name a couple, but I don't actually collect anything.

Wait, I take that back! Derek and I do collect ornaments from all the different places we visit on vacation. That counts, right?

8. What is your favorite date to go on with your significant other? Do you have a special place?

Well, our first date was at a fancy Italian restaurant in town, so it has a special place in our hearts (even though we haven't been back their since). But other than that, we just do whatever we feel like doing - no real significant special dates.

We do have a tradition where we go stay overnight somewhere special for Valentine's Day weekend. Last year that trip got cancelled though, because we ended up having Wyatt that weekend instead! We pushed it off to our anniversary weekend for 2011. And this year it will probably have to be a different weekend than Valentine's (Wyatt's birthday - I think we may have to permanently pick another weekend), but we are planning on going! It's important to us to get away as a couple every now and then.



A picture from our first Valentine's Day trip in 2009. We did one of those Old West pictures.

9. Name your favorite movie of all time.

Oh, I have a really hard time with these "favorite" questions! I have different favorites for different moods. If I had to pick two (I really just can't pick one), it would be Pride and Prejudice, and October Sky. I love the music in Pride and Prejudice and the story is just classic, and October Sky leaves me with a happy feeling.



Image from IMDB.

10. I’m Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?

I always say green or blue, but it's probably some mix of the two. Like teal or turquoise. Those kind of colors just make me happy. Now, if we are talking color combinations, I could go on all day and include every color in the rainbow, but for single colors, I'll stick with blue and green.



Turquoise palette from Design Seeds.

11. Who would you pay a LOT of money to go see in concert?

Probably Taylor Swift. I'm a fan, and from what I've seen her concerts are pretty cool!

I should clarify that to me, $100 a ticket is a "LOT" of money, and I really couldn't bring myself to pay more than that. And only if I've been saving up for months. What do concert tickets go for these days anyway? I hardly ever go, because I'm not usually a big enough fan to justify the price. But for Taylor Swift I might.


More questions and answers coming up soon!


Matron Of Honor Update


We had a wonderful time for our girl’s night last weekend!  It was our last hoorah before my sister gets married, and it was a great time.  My sister treated us to massages, and it was so nice.  She was so sweet to surprise us with a little pampering! 

I desperately needed a massage.  When the massage therapist was asking me about my pain, I mentioned that I was a dental hygienist and she interrupted me and said, “Ah, say no more.”  Back problems are notorious for hygienists, because as my massage therapist said, there is just no good position for doing our job.

I did learn from the massage therapist that my right shoulder is rolled forward because of my work, and I need to stretch it.  Now I’m self-conscious about it and worried that it will become permanently hunched.  I’ve been focusing on rolling it back.

After our massages, we ate at Panera, swam in the hotel pool, and watched a movie together.  It was fun! 

On Sunday we had my sister’s bridal shower, and it turned out really well!  Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, but it was nice.  And remember how I was trying to come up with a unique gift?  I made her these Mr. and Mrs. pillows (I got the idea from Andrea originally):

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I just used pillow forms and this tutorial for making the pillow covers.  I used natural linen fabric, because it reminded me of burlap, and my sis is going for a western feel in her living room.  Then I printed up the letters and made my own stencils for the “Mr.” and “Mrs.”  I just painted the “Est. 2012” without a stencil - it turned out to be a little off-center, but I still like it.

I also got a frame and used pictures of letters from this website to spell out her soon-to-be last name.  It turned out really well, and her fiance really liked it!  It turned out kind of like this:

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Except her last name won’t be White.  I got the idea for using photo letters for her last name and the above image from a website called Full Of Great Ideas.

Overall, both gifts were a big hit, and it made me feel like I did something special for her, instead of just buying her things from her registry (though I did that too, but there’s nothing like a personal touch).


Shimmering Beauty

 

Last week my little corner of the world was swirled into a snowstorm.  I could feel the air turn chilly as the clouds rolled in.  The breeze had a cold bite to it.  Snow gently began to dance to the ground as I arrived home.  In the morning I woke up and looked out the window to see a thick blanket of white.

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I love snowstorms.  I love everything about them.

Even though there is danger associated with snowstorms, as long as you are close to some warm refuge there is a sense of adventure when you are out in the snow, .

There is that cozy, safe feeling as you sit on cushions, or under a blanket, watching the storm from your window.

And my favorite part about snowstorms is how they turn a dreary, gray landscape into one of the most beautiful scenes you can imagine.  One stormy, cold, dark night and everything is magically transformed into pure, gleaming beauty by morning.  All the chill chaos is worth it to see what will result.

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I wish it were always so easy for me to look at life that way.

Storms roll into our lives all the time.  They threaten us.  We feel the danger so keenly when we are in the middle of them.

We forget that we have a Refuge close by, and the wind howls, and the cold bites, and it’s terrifying when we don’t know what will happen. 

If only we could just turn around and see that there is Someone who is close by, and Who is waiting to be our Shelter.  Who is waiting to cover us with His wings until it passes by. 

If only I could remember to take that Refuge instead of so often trying to go it alone.  And if only I could remember that when the clouds roll away, they leave behind a shimmering beauty, something that I would never be able to see if I hadn’t endured the storm first.

The chill still lingers.  But the beauty lives on long after the landscape fades back to grey.  Flowers bloom and the summer is fresh with color.

Yes, there is beauty after every storm, because the One who holds the world and commands the clouds has it under control, and He has a plan. His plan may not always be safe, but it is good because He is good*. And He will hold us until He chooses to reveal it.

In His time.

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*Paraphrasing from a conversation in the Chronicles of Narnia.

Snow Day and Questions

Well, this is an unusual situation I'm in.

Normally I would not be blogging on a Friday morning. Normally I would be on my way to work, and Derek and Wyatt would be headed in the opposite direction so Derek could drop Wyatt off at my mom's and go to work himself.

But this morning we have blizzard-like conditions, and my boss just called me to say she's just going to reschedule everyone. Unfortunately Derek doesn't get the day off, and he and Wyatt have already left, so I'm here alone, early in the morning, blogging.

I'm kind of hoping the roads are alright later, because my sister and mom and I had a spa day and girl's night planned this afternoon and evening. We are going to meet up and get massages and stay the night at a hotel. Hopefully we can still do that.

I'm thinking I might just head over to my mom's today since I'm not going to work, because then I can see my baby before we head out later! But I thought I'd compose a blog post first.

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One item of business - Top Baby Blogs reset their stats, and I'd really like to stay on the board.

I kind of hate the whole voting-to-be-on-the-site thing, because I hate asking for votes every few months. But I'm torn because I have met several blog friends through the website (shout out to Michelle and Lauren, and all of you who found my blog through the Top Baby Blogs directory!).

So I want to be listed if only to keep meeting new bloggers, and I need at least two votes to show up on the website - so would you mind terribly clicking through and voting for me? Gracias!

Vote For Us @ topbabyblogs.com


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Okay, enough rambling, and on to the fun stuff (brownie points for you if you actually read my ramblings above - boring, but hey, it's early and it's the best I could do)!

I'm going to answer a few of the questions I received in the "about me" tag. And this set is by far the hardest set of questions, so read on.



Katie asked:

1. If you could only own cats or only own dogs for your entire life, which would you choose?

Oh, most definitely dogs. I'm a dog person. Dogs love you no matter what, whereas cats could take or leave you. I'll take unconditional love, thank you.

2. What was the last dream (sleep dream) you had that you can remember?

I dreamed that we had some new neighbors that I thought were going to be our friends, but when I went over to visit the girl she cheerfully informed me that she had submuitted a "retraction" (where did I get that word?) on our property. Meaning that she and her husband were applying to legally steal a couple acres of our land (we had 13 acres in my dream) and build another house on it so they could sell it and make alot of money.

I woke up and sleepily asked Derek if that was even possible, and he said no, unless it was the government and they decided it was "best for the people". Which I think is so wrong.

3. If you had no fear of failure, what would you do?

Oh, this is a really hard question. Hmm. I think I would like to organize some sort of fundraising campaign for a pro-life organization (like those drives to raise money for ultrasound machines for crisis pregnancy centers), because the life issue is something that weighs heavily on my heart, or I might run for some political office. Something to help change society (or at least some corner of it) for the better.

Actually, the only thing that is stopping me from volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center or helping with political campaigns now is the ever-present "finding time" problem, especially now that I'm a mom. But I've always wanted to get more involved in those areas.

4. If you could save only one photograph, what would it be?

Well, you know I can't pick just one!

If we're talking of Derek and me, it would be one of these two:




Of Wyatt:




Of all three of us:




Ask me this again in a couple weeks though and I might have some more favorites!


5. Deserted Island: What three books would you take?

Only three? Let's see - well, obviously I'd take the Bible. I know I'd want a Bible with me (especially since I'd probably be depressed being on a deserted island all alone, and I'd need some encouragement). And then maybe the Lord of the Rings complete set volume that I have (three books in one - it would last me a while), and then I'd probably get a Chronicles of Narnia all-in-one volume (since I'd somehow know I would be stranded - that's probably cheating, isn't it?).

I think the fiction, imaginary-world books would be the way to go, because it would keep my mind off of all the stuff I would be missing in civilization. Plus those are two of my favorite series anyway. Then after reading Narnia, I'd probably search my island to make sure there wasn't a secret passageway into Narnia - like the sailors who were stranded on an island in our world and found their way into Narnia, (and didn't they become the Telmarines? Or was it a different people group? I can't remember).

As I think more about it though, a non-fiction C.S. Lewis book might make the list as well, because it would give me something meaningful to think about - maybe I could sneak one more in my suitcase without anyone noticing.

6. What skill do you wish you had and why?

I wish I could drive a stick shift. I know I could learn, but I just feel so dangerous trying to learn the stick shift - I mean what if I need to stop suddenly? Can I just push the brake, or do I have to push the clutch and the brake, or do I have to down-shift super-fast? I can never remember. I feel like I should know how to drive a manual though.

7. What is your favorite meal to cook?

Hmm, probably honey-mustard chicken breasts with vegetables. Because it's easy to make, and it's really good.

8. How long does it take for you to get ready to go out of the house?

Well, if it's just me on a work day, probably forty-five minutes. That's with eating breakfast too. If it's Wyatt and me, probably an hour and a half, because then I have time to feed him before we go.

9. What is your favorite childhood memory?

It's so hard for me to pick a favorite memory. I have a lot of good childhood memories. I have memories of shopping with my dad for my mom at Christmas, the days out with mom one-on-one, horse-back riding together in the summer, going to rodeos as a family, playing games and watching movies together on Christmas Day. Playing "store" and "forts", "rock slide", hide-and-seek in the dark, and "Cowboys and Indians" with my brother and sister, and sometimes our friends too. I have many more good memories than bad of my childhood, and I know I am so blessed to be able to say that.

10. Deserted Island: What three movies do you take? (and yes, this strange island has a DVD player, don't ask!)

Let's see - I'd probably take Anne of Green Gables, Monsters Inc., and a light-hearted romantic comedy (can't seem to decide which one). I'd want something to make me laugh and feel happy if I was all alone on a deserted island.


11. How long on average does it take you to read a book?

I'm embarrassed to even admit how long it takes me to read a book these days. It depends alot on the book, how into it I am, and how much time I have to read. On average, probably two or three months. If I have alot of time and am really involved in a book, it could take a couple days - if it's one of those books that you can only take in small chunks, it could take several months. It took me around a year to get through "Knowing God" by J. I. Packer and "Revelation Unveiled" by Tim Lahaye, only because those are books that you need to think about every few pages.


Good questions, Katie! Those made me think. Alright, stay tuned for the next set of questions next week!


Moms And Babies–Lauren and Thomas





 

This week on Moms and Babies I’m featuring Lauren from Chatting With The Chicks!  Her little boy is so cute, and I love Lauren’s story of how he came into their lives, so definitely check out her blog to read about that!  Read her interview below to learn more about Lauren and her little guy (and take note of the fourth picture – I thought it was such a cute idea for a costume, considering their name!).

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! My name is Lauren, and I have been married to my husband, Brandon, for almost 8 years! I am currently a full time mom, and absolutely loving my job! Before I became a full time mom, I worked as a speech-language pathologist for 5 years at an elementary school.


What's your baby's name and how old is he?

Our son's name is Richard Thomas, and he is 11 months old! We call him Thomas.

 

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Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.


Thomas wakes up and has a bottle around 8:30-9:00

    He eats breakfast about one hour after he wakes up

    He eats lunch around 11:30-12:00

    Then he has a bottle and takes a nap. He usually sleeps for 2-3 hours.

    He has another bottle and a snack around 4:00

    Thomas has dinner around 5:30 followed by bath time

     He has one more bottle around 7:30 and his bedtime is between 8:00-8:30

We spend the majority of our day playing on the floor wrestling, singing, and reading books. I will run my errands in the morning before Thomas' nap if I need to run any. I try to do as much work as I can before Thomas wakes up in the morning and during his nap in the afternoon. In the evenings once Brandon is home, I try to unpack as many boxes as I can while he plays with Thomas. (We moved in July to Mississippi for Brandon's job. Then we moved to Kansas in December for Brandon's job again. We have been packing and unpacking for the past 6 months.)

 

If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?


Playful, determined, fearless .

 

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What's your favorite part about being a mom?

After struggling with unexplained infertility for several years and not knowing if/when I would ever be a mom, I enjoy EVERYTHING about being a mom! I love everything from hearing Thomas laugh, making him smile, watching him learn new skills to washing his bottles and changing his diapers!


Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

I do not have any tips on how to lose baby weight because our son was brought to us through the wonderful process of adoption!

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What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

We take time to talk once Thomas goes to bed in the evenings. We spend time doing fun family things during the weekends. Since we are new to the area, we have only been on a few date nights. (We just recently moved to Kansas, and our families live in Texas and Oklahoma.) Brandon and I were able to go to Bermuda this summer. It was difficult to leave Thomas with my mom but we had a ton of fun!

 

 Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

Some of our must-have products that we love are the following:

Sound machine- We have used this since Thomas was a newborn.

Play mat-Thomas used his play mat from the time he was 1 month-6 months old.

Walker-We have used this since Thomas was 8 months old.

 

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What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

It's hard to pick one. I loved the first time we took Thomas to our home town in Texas. Our holidays were extra special this year! I love our weekends together!

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Any advice for first-time mothers?

Enjoy every moment with your baby because time will fly by!

You will know your baby the best so do what you think is best and what feels right to you.  

 

Thanks Lauren!  Check out Lauren’s blog to read more!



Why I Vote (And Why You Should Too)

 

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That is the question . . .

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

With the primaries spreading their way across the country, I’ve been thinking lately about voting.  Voting has always been a big deal to me, and as kids my parent’s taught us how important voting is.  I know several people who don't vote, and I have a hard time understanding why some Americans choose not to vote, because in my mind there are so many reasons that people should vote. 

These are some of the reasons why I vote (and why I think you should too).

 

I vote . . .

1.  Because it is a privilege that we enjoy in America.  There are many, many countries that do not get the option to vote on their leaders, or to have a say in the way their country is going.  They are just rolled along on the whims of those in power, and there is not much that they can do about it.  Those people would love to have this voting privilege that we enjoy.  We have the power to change our government by voting, and as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility (yes, I’m quoting from Spiderman).  We are using it irresponsibly when we choose not to use it at all.

2.  Because there are countless people who have died to give me that privilege. From the Revolutionary War to the men and women who serve in our military today, there are many who have fought and died to protect our freedoms here in America, including our right to vote.  To not vote would be to ignore a large part of what those people fought for.

3.  Because it is my responsibility as an American.  Our Founding Fathers fought hard for us to be able to enjoy the freedoms we have here – and as Americans we cannot sit back and do nothing now that we have them.  There are still those who would like to take those freedoms away, and we have to work to preserve them.  For the average citizen, working to preserve the freedoms we enjoy here will not involve running for office or working on political campaigns – it will involve the one, simple act of voting.  That’s how the Founding Fathers designed our government, and we need to take our responsibility to preserve our freedoms seriously.

 

 

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I vote . . .

4. Because I am pro-life.  If I can’t convince you as my fellow Christians to vote with any other argument, I should be able to convince you with this one.  Millions of babies have died because abortion is legal in this country.  If you don’t care about any other aspect of the political discussion, you can decide on candidates on this issue alone.  We need to get men and women in office who are strongly pro-life (or even just more pro-life than the alternative candidate), or nothing is going to change in this country.  It’s great to volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers and donate to pro-life organizations, but it’s only treating the symptoms.  If we want to get at the heart of this problem in our country, we need to vote in consistence with our pro-life values.  Nothing else will propel real change on the life debate.

5.  Because I am a Christian.  I listened to this podcast recently (episode 207 if you are interested), and I felt the guest speaker put it very eloquently – in the Bible we are commanded to spread the gospel.  In this country we have more freedom to spread the gospel than many countries in the world.  We shouldn’t take that for granted, because there are those who will do what they can to take that away.  If we are going to protect that freedom so that we can continue to spread the gospel without fear, we need to vote.  If we don’t vote, we are taking that freedom for granted, and it could easily be taken away from us.

6.  Because every vote counts.  I think some Americans think that their one “little” vote isn’t going to make that big of a difference – but it does.  If you have never read the story on how Texas became a state, check out this article – Texas and California ultimately became states because of the vote of one ordinary American citizen.  This website also had a list of situations in which one vote counted, as does this blog.  Every vote makes a difference.  You never know when that one vote might be yours.

 

I know that some people don’t vote because they just don’t care much about politics.  I’m not saying you have to care about “politics” per se, but as Americans we should care about our freedoms.  As Christians, we should care about doing what we can to save unborn babies, and we should care about protecting our ability to spread the gospel freely in this country.  And we should realize that our greatest avenue to change this country for the better is to vote for those who represent our values, and who will do the hard work for us in Washington.  As Edmond Burke said so well:

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