Saturday, January 30, 2010

A new day

That's what today is....a new day. 

We had a very sweet night of sleep after many nights of very little sleep. Samuel is healthy and I believe Lauren is finally getting over her cold as well. Praise the Lord!

The coffee is brewing, and waffles and sausage are cooking. 

We just danced around the kitchen to Keith Urban's Somebody Like You. 

Life is good. 

No, life is grand and God is good.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This picture says it all....



Why, oh why, do we live in this state? It's dropped 6 degrees since that picture was taken 5 hours ago.

Two little kids, frigid temps....not a great combination.

Spring please come quick. Very very quick!

Monday, January 25, 2010

We're a team

As I was not-so-kindly yelling at my dear husband this morning, he reminded me of something that I think I've been forgetting lately:

We're a team.

We're in this together.

And together could be just about anything.

For us together is...

  • reducing our spending so we have money to pay for the kids, home and hospital bills
  • making time for one another when opportunities and energy are lacking
  • helping, encouraging, growing, and teaching one another as we journey through parenthood

From the very beginning of our marriage - almost 9 years ago - Ryan has approached our marriage as a team. He has taught me that we're in this together. There is no I. There is no me. There is only us.

When we lost our babies, we grieved together (although in different ways). When we waited on the Lord, we did so together - serving, loving and living while we waited. When we became pregnant (all 3 times) we celebrated together. When we unexpectedly became parents to our precious son, we quickly learned how to navigate the waters of adoption together.

Genesis 2 talks about man and wife being united and becoming one flesh. One flesh.

There is a cheesy saying that states, "There is no i in team."

It's true. So true.

Yet sometimes I forget that and I am only focused on me.

How grateful I am for a husband who gently reminds me (as needed) that he's always by my side, cheering me on, and fighting for our team.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A lot to learn

This week I've been thinking about and contemplating the parenting challenges I'm experiencing these days. I'm trying to put my finger on what exactly is so difficult for me.

Sickness? Exhaustion? Two kiddos under 15 months? Personal expectations?

I'm sure it is a little of all those things....but what I've landed on is this: I'm new to parenting.

Brand new.

I became a mom in one day.

Then I became a mom again, just 11 months later.

I have babysat and taken care of friend's kids and all, but I am realizing that the learning curve for parenthood is high. There is a heck of a lot of stuff to learn. And once you learn the infant stage you move on to the pre-toddler stage and then to the toddler stage.

Every week and every month things are changing. Therefore it's a continual learning curve.

Of course, every day I'm praying and asking God to make me the kind of mom that Samuel and Lauren needs. I am continually praying, "Help me Lord because I cannot do this without you."

And the beautiul thing is that there are so many resources out there! Books, web sites, blogs, podcasts (love em!), and other parents who have gone before me.

This past week I've been gobbling up information trying to figure out how to make things run smoothly at home during the day. How do I get Lauren to sleep through the night? How do I take care of their colds? How do I begin to guide and mold Samuel in this pre-toddler stage?

The books I am currently reading are: Baby Wise II - five to 15 months for Samuel and Baby Wise and Secrets of the baby Whisperer for Lauren.


The Associated Content has great parenting articles such as this one and this one . I love web sites like Growing Kids God's Way and I am a stalker of this web site where I can look up any topic in the index: Chronicles of a Baby Wise Mom.

Thankfully these resources have much to offer... because
I have a lot to learn.

A lot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I haven't blogged much lately.

To be honest, time has been short and when there has been time, I've been struggling with what to write or what not to write.

I have a lot of post ideas in my mind, but these days I seem to be consumed by my role as a mom.

Motherhood has been hard lately. Really hard.

Harder than I want to admit.

And for some reason admitting that makes me feel like a failure.

I KNOW I'm not a failure, but I FEEL like I'm failing.

A friend once told me that having an infant and a toddler is the most tiring season of life. Today I would not argue one little bit with that...

The kids have been sick - again - and sleep has been short. I am trying to be upbeat in the midst of the exhaustion and I'm trying to be patient with my little ones.

I wonder how I can feel frustrated or angry or impatient when this is what I've wanted for so long?

And then I feel guilty and ashamed for feeling so tired and frustrated. And the crazy cycle goes on....

I'm not looking for words of encouragement or affirmation. I'm just sharing why I haven't posted much lately. I'm continually writing posts in my head, but it is very rare that I can get those posts from my head onto the computer.

As I was driving today I was contemplating why these days are so difficult for me and what I meant when Ryan walked in the door from work and I said, "I can't do this anymore."

I knew having babies 11 months apart would be hard...I just didn't understand how hard it was going to be. The truth is, I CAN do this and I WILL do this.

Someday soon my sleepless nights will be a faint memory.And I will struggle to remember why motherhood was indeed, so hard.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Go Vikes!

In Minnesota, there is Vikings' craziness these days. My family is nuts about the Vikings so there have been a number of football parties lately. We got the kids into the excitement with their purple and gold gear. We'll be cheering them on as far as they go. Go Vikes!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm gonna miss this

Maybe someday I'll write a post about all the things that I'm gonna miss from this season of life.

But for now I'll just link to MckMama (a local blogger and mother of 4 going on 5) because her post says it better than I ever could....and when you're in the midst of the chaos, this is exactly the kind of reminder you need to hear.

Check out her post
here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's your 4-month birthday!

Wow, time flies baby girl. I confess as a father I thought that I would have more time to spend with you in the early days of your life, but it turns out your big brother is requiring more attention then I anticipated. I am not complaining because I love spending time with him, it is just that you will only be my little baby for so long.

I am not ready to see you grow up just yet.

The truth is, Lauren Ruby May, I am extremely proud to be your dad. You always have a smile for me. I look forward to watching you grow up to be a beautiful woman of God just like your mother.

While I will miss holding you and rocking you to sleep, I know there will be other joys to come. Like going camping in the rain and ending up at a hotel because neither of us know what we are doing. Or eating dad's bad cooking because mom didn't leave anything for us to eat. Or teaching you to ride a bike and then bandaging your knee because you are as coordinated as your dad.

Yep, I look forward to watching you grow up. But today I want to make sure I say...Happy Four-Month-Birthday my little girl! I love you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Worth the wait

One year ago today I had a three-month-old son.

One year ago today I took a pregnancy test.
























I had taken many many many pregnancy tests in the years prior.

My first test was in 2005.

Then 2006.

Then 2007.

Then 2008.

Then 2009.

Twice before I had gotten a positive test result, but sadly a positive pregnancy test does not always lead to a baby.

But this time was different.

On January 10, 2009, the test was positive and my life was, once again, changed forever. 

I was excited, but I was fearful as well. Heck, I was freakin' scared out of my mind. I had a three month old!

But what I didn't learn in the years prior, I learned in the early months of 2009: my timing is not God's timing. I would not have planned a pregnancy when my son was only three months old.

But God - in His mighty, miraculous, amazing ways - decided His timing was better than mine. His timing would give Him all the glory and all the praise.

Many people say, "Just adopt and you'll get pregnant."

Yes, that does seem to happen a lot.

But it's not because you relax or forget your infertility or because there is some mystical pregnancy bug that invades your body once you adopt.

We were not relaxed - we had an unplanned adoption and we were caring for our young son.

We had not forgotten the pain of our infertility and miscarriages.

We had not been bitten by a pregnancy bug.

We serve a great, big God who opened my womb after adopting so that we wouldn't miss out on the incredible privilege of raising Samuel and being his parents.

Many people who adopt don't ever get pregnant and have a biological child.

I don't know why God allowed me to conceive and carry a healthy baby to term.

But He did.

And we are so grateful.

And we continue to stand in awe of His timing and His plan for our family.

And it was SO worth the wait.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Housebound

It's been very cold and snowy in Minnesota lately. Currently it is 7 degrees outside.Therefore I have not ventured anywhere with my two kiddos in days...and days...and days.

Samuel has not even been out of the house in 8 days. The last trip he took outdoors eight days ago was to the doctor due to being sick again. I have been out of the house for four hours in the last six days. Two 2-hour outings.

I'm not feeling too housebound at the moment since friends have come over to visit this week - thank you friends!

Here is a pic of the view from my front door and a pic of Samuel looking at the snow. It looks like spring is still a long ways off...





Thursday, January 7, 2010

Life as a toddler

Samuel turned 15 months on Sunday. He is definitely now a toddler!

He LOVES to play with his dad. I'm not so good at playing I've come to realize. I like to read books or put together a puzzle, but Samuel definitely needs to run and play in order to get his energy out. Ryan and Samuel chase each other around the house and no one can make Samuel giggle like his dad.

Beyond mama and dada, Samuel's regular vocabulary these days consists of: rocky (for rocking in the rocker recliner), uh-oh, and just this week he started saying wow. Ryan thinks it would be great if he could start saying a word or two that would help him communicate better with us :) I couldn't agree more. He does sign a few words: milk, eat, thank you, please.

Samuel's food choices depend on the day. He loves pasta with sauce, anything with ketchup, apples, bananas, pears, canteloupe and grapes. Veggies are a little tougher so I'm learning the art of hiding them in his food. He is very sensitive to textures so he might eat something Monday that he won't eat Tuesday. I am perplexed that he will eat paper from a magazine, a twig or cat food, but then spits out peaches or a turkey sandwich. I guess that's just what you do when you're a toddler.

I don't know how much he weighs or his current height because I didn't realize that I was suppose to bring him in for his 15 month appt. I thought well checks went from 12 months to 18 months - oops! By the time I get him in now he will be 16 months, so I figure I'll just wait for his 18 month appt.

Samuel continues to love music and starts to sway or dance whenever he hears it. He brings us the same book to read 15 times in a row. Every night he helps dad get the mail from the mail slot in our front entry. He loves walking anywhere and everywhere. Taking a bath seems to be the highlight of his day - maybe that's because it allows him to splash to his heart's content. He gets into everything. And I mean e v e r y t h i n g. Recently Ryan's Blackberry and my car keys disappeared. It's likely we left them too close to the edge of the table, and their whereabouts are now only known to the little man in our house. Clearly Samuel has a curious and adventuresome personality. It is a delight to see him grow and a challenge to guide him as he learns new behaviors.

My little man is turning into a growing boy...



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A lesson from Samuel

These days I have been learning a lot from my one year old.

Samuel just learned to walk in September and I am amazed as I watch him. One of my favorite things to do is go for walks with him. Now that it's in the negative temperatures here we haven't been going outside for walks. Instead we go to the mall and let him loose.

While learning to walk Samuel falls down. A lot.

Step, step, crash.

Step, step, bang.

Step, step, trip and fall.

Every time Samuel falls he gets back up.

E V E R Y     S I N G L E     T I M E.

Sometimes he jumps back up quickly. Other times there are tears and it takes a little longer to get back on his feet.

But I am in awe that even though Samuel falls so frequently, he keeps getting up.

In observing his remarkable perseverance and determination, I have been challenged to keep getting back 'on my feet' in my own life. And I thought about others who might learn from my son.

You're sitting in the doctor's office and you get the diagnosis. Crash.

You grab the mail and it's all bills - that you don't have the money to pay. Bang.

You got little sleep, you're under the weather and the stress and anxieties of life are many. Slip.

Your employer calls you into his office to inform you your being 'let go.' Boom.

You wait, hope and dream, only to be disappointed once again. Trip.

Your spouse sits you down and tells you it's time for a divorce. Fall.

You're on your knees. Or maybe you're flat on your face. There might be tears or even a little blood.

It's decision time. You can let the crashes, bangs, slips, booms, trips and falls of life keep you down.

Or, you can take a lesson from Samuel and get back on your feet. You don't know what the next step might hold, or what's coming around the bend. But with perseverance and determination at your side, you just gotta take the next step.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Calling the kitchen fairy

It's 10:26 p.m. on Sunday night and here is a snapshot into the current status of my kitchen:


































Instead of putting away dishes this afternoon, I chose to nap while the kids napped. I'd like to say I'll be cleaner and more organized in 2010, but I think I might save that resolution for another year.

I'm determined to go to bed with a clean kitchen, so unless the kitchen fairy appears, it's going to be a late night....good thing I got a nap in.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Marriage

I've been pondering some of the questions presented to me last month and trying to figure out how to answer them.One reader asked last month: What is your best advice to those of us still waiting for our little miracles?


My best advice is to work on your marriage relationship during this time of waiting.

One author and parenting expert says: "The strength of the parent-child relationship is dependent on the quality of the husband-wife relationship. You might always strive to be a sacrificial mother, but you will never be a better mom than what you are as a wife."


Isn't that incredible? The parent-child relationship is only as strong as the husband-wife relationship. So now is the time to make your marriage strong. Build a great foundation for your future family.

If you're not sure how to do that, here are a few suggestions:

Pray - Pray individually and together. Ask one another what you can pray for and pray for your spouses needs and concerns. Pray together at night or in the morning. Get in the habit of praying together. Follow up with one another and ask about those prayer requests shared.

Join a small group or Bible study. Build relationships with other believers. Study the Bible, study Scripture, study marriage. Doesn't matter. Just keep growing and learning. Your spouse is not the same person you married. He/she is constantly growing and changing so you better be growing and changing along with him/her.

Read marriage books. I have a long list of books I/we have enjoyed reading and discussing throughout the years. I learn about marriage, my role as a wife and more about my husband. My mother-in-law always says, "When you love someone you become an expert on them." When you get married your assignment is to become an expert on your spouse.


Meet with other husbands and wives and talk with them (together or individually). Be accountable for working on different aspects of your marriage. Go out for coffee or breakfast with your guy friends or gal friends and learn from one another. Ask hard questions and be accountable to one another. Ryan and I have marriage mentors that we have met with every few months for the past 5+ years. We love them dearly and they have greatly contributed to the health of our marriage. We also have dear friends that we go to when our hearts our heavy and we can confidentially talk to them about our marriage struggles.

Learn to manage and communicate about money/finances as a couple prior to growing your family. Kids are expensive and financial challenges only add to marital stress.

Parenthood is hard. Really hard. Ryan said to me the other day, "I knew parenting would be tiring, but I had no idea how exhausting it would be." But Ryan continually reminds me we are a team and we are doing this together.


One of my favorite marriage quotes is, "Marriage is hard. Good marriages are harder."

Use your time now to take the necessary steps to make your marriage a good one. Your future family will be incredibly blessed.