Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Midnight Ramblings

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Tonight, you looked up at me while daddy nuzzled his nose into your neck. He was tickling you. Your face was full of laughter’s wrinkles and dimples. You squealed in delight “Do it again, daddy! Do it again!” I smiled down at you, my heart bursting with love, as I committed your tiny face to memory. Motherhood is pure joy. And it is equally painful. This season is fleeting, and that’s perhaps the hardest part of it all. Not the sleepless nights, tantrums, teething or sicknesses. No, the hardest part is that it’s passing by at an alarming rate, with nothing to be done about it. It’s like water flowing through your hands. You can never really stop the flow. No matter how you arrange your hands, the water always finds a way to flow out, as it should, and disappear. And so this season of motherhood flows away from me. Each day, you grow more independent and you need me a tiny bit less than you did the day before. It hurts, but I also know it is good. Perhaps bittersweet is the word to use here? I am thankful for the nights like tonight, when I can feel God nudging me to commit you to memory. I know I’ll cherish who you are in the morning, but I also want to remember every little detail of who you are right now. I want to remember the way you look: the dimples that appear when you smile and your mint green eyes, covered up by those long, black eyelashes. I want to remember the tangy scent of a toddler boy, mixed with that faint baby smell that is all too quickly fading away. And I want to remember how you’re just tall enough to turn on the lights by yourself, but still small enough to fit into my arms. I want to remember everything. My hope is that when you’re grown, I’ll be able look back, without regret, and know that I fully cherished who you were today.

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Final Thoughts.

I’m only 37 weeks, but I decided to go ahead and blog my final thoughts/feelings on this pregnancy. I just don’t think I’ll feel like blogging again before Emrist gets here. I don’t feel like blogging now, but I’m making myself, because I did it with Harper, and that post is something I’ve enjoyed going back and reading over since he has been around. You can read it here, if you want.

So…what/how am I feeling? Calm, surprisingly.  I remember being sort of panicky right before Harper got here. I had a lot of doubts and fears. Would I be a good mom, or would I totally suck at it? Would I enjoy motherhood, or would I hate it? What would labor be like? WHEN would I go into labor, and how? And perhaps my biggest concern: would Benji be able to make it in time (he was living in Memphis)?

For the last month of that pregnancy, I had several staring contests with the ceiling that went on late into the night, and sometimes well into the morning. My fears kept me awake often. Well..my fears, and trying to remember who to send a thank you card to, and what to put in my bag for the hospital, etc. I guess it’s unfair to say it was always fear that kept me awake. It’s a shame you can’t drink when you’re pregnant! That would’ve calmed my nerves right down 😉

This time has been completely different though. I have a peace that I never really had with Harper. I’ve definitely thought about the when, where and how of everything, but I haven’t worried about it like I did with him. I just feel like everything will come together and work out somehow.

I’ve also just enjoyed being pregnant this time. Last time, I was so anxious to meet Harper and to experience motherhood, that I wished the time away while pregnant with him. Towards the end, I REALLY wished it away because I was miserable. I’m not doing that this time. Don’t get me wrong. I’m miserable and some days just plain suck. I joke about evicting her and getting her the hell-o out of me, just like any other mom nearing the end, but truthfully, I don’t care how long she stays. I’d be happy to hold her tomorrow, but I’d also be happy to hold her in 3-4 weeks. When I look at the big picture, I see that this time is such a tiny portion of my life (even though it feels like an eternity sometimes!)…and then it’s gone. I don’t know that I’ll ever get to experience carrying a baby again, so I am trying my best to remember and enjoy every little detail. Even the not so fun ones!

Let’s see. What else?

I kind of expected to feel a little sad at this point, but I’m not. I had a period of “mourning” right before Harper came because I knew it wouldn’t just be me and Benji anymore. I guess I was worried about how a baby would change our relationship. I expected to feel that same sadness before having Emrist. I expected sadness over no longer being a family of three and over it not just being me and Harp together during the day anymore. But I haven’t felt any sadness at all. I haven’t worried about how Harper will adjust, and I haven’t worried about him not getting 100% of my attention anymore. I know he will do great, and will love having a sister, so I am feeling nothing but excitement. If there’s anything that would make me wish the time away with this pregnancy, it’s my excitement over Harper getting to meet his sister. He just loves people, and I know it will be the same with her. I can’t wait to see them together.

So. That’s that. I’m excited, hopeful and calm (oh, and my back hurts). Everything a soon-to-be mom should be feeling! 🙂

Hey! I Love You!

I’m actually posting about my hot, bearded husband today! I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a post JUST for him. I post about Harper all the time, but when it comes to Benji…well, I’d rather spare the world of the mush I have locked up inside my heart for him.

I think it’s kinda gross when people PDA online, so I try my best not to. But today, I’m stepping out of my anti “online PDA” box, and I’m writing about Benji in hopes of making you all gag. I just want to shout from the rooftops how much I love this man!

We were cute, weren’t we?

I actually decided I wanted to blog about Benji last night, but it was so late, I decided to put it off until morning. When I woke up, I noticed the date: 10/18/12. A very special date in my book! Benji asked me to marry him on this day, six years ago. How appropriate!

I’m so happy that he asked, and even happier that I said yes. I wouldn’t have dreamed of saying no, btw. I saw his awesome qualities back then, and I just knew he would one day grow a beard for me. Seriously though. I am SO glad it happened.

Last night, I went to bed fighting back tears of gratitude for the man that was laying next to me. I fell asleep saying silent prayers of thanks for him. That’s not the first time that has happened, either. Over the course of our marriage, I’ve fallen asleep or woken up in the middle of the night several times, with the sudden urge to just tell God thanks for him. He is seriously awesome.

Don’t get me wrong. We are just like any other married couple. We sometimes drive each other nuts. We roll our eyes at one another (he makes fun of me when I do it though, because apparently I do it wrong). We fight over stupid things, and we fight over serious things. He lets me know when I’m nagging, and I let him know when he has put Harper’s diaper (or clothes) on wrong. But at the end of the day, he is seriously the best husband I could’ve ever asked for and I love him to the moon and back!

So this is my post proclaiming it to the world 🙂

I love you, Benji! Thanks for being an awesome husband to me and an amazing dad to our two littles. Thank you for working hard, and for letting me live my dream of being a stay at home mom to our children. Thanks for coming home each day with a smile on your face and for suggesting we take Harper to the park, even though I know you MUST be exhausted from waking up at 5AM and working all day. Thanks for your hugs and kisses, for holding my hand when we walk and for still opening doors for me. Thanks for reading to Harper and praying with him every night. Thanks for your love and support during this pregnancy and for picking up the slack on days that I’m drained and just want to sink into the couch. Thank you for letting me be me in front of you without fear of judgement. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you so much, and I’m just thankful for YOU 🙂

Alright. You are all free to go gag now!

Son of a Breech.

Like that title? I did.

I had an “extra” ultrasound this past Wednesday. I guess that’s one perk to switching doctors and insurances mid-pregnancy: the new OBGYN practice wanted to perform an anatomy scan of their own, and the new insurance company had to pay for it since it was my first ultrasound under their policy. Nice.

I’m sure you’re all smart enough to gather from the title of my post that we found out Emrist was breech during the ultrasound. I wasn’t surprised. I’ve suspected it for a couple of weeks now just because everything feels so different compared to my pregnancy with Harper. Things are actually a little bit more, dare I say…comfortable? Sure…there’s back pain, but I’m not having to pee ALL the time like I was with Harper. I’ll take back pain over that ANY day.

We also found out that I have an anterior placenta during the ultrasound. This explains a lot. I don’t feel Emrist from the outside very often. I actually was beginning to think that maybe she was just one super chill baby. Umm…no. She’s just got a giant pillow of placenta (nice mental image, right?) in front of her, and when she kicks, it absorbs most of it.

I actually worried the day before the ultrasound that something might be physically wrong with her since I rarely feel her kicking on the outside. You’re going to laugh when you read this, but I started thinking that maybe she was a midget baby and her arms and legs just weren’t long enough to produce the amount of force that Harper’s kicks produced. I’m embarrassed to admit that I thought that. I haven’t even told Benji. Don’t judge me. Pregnancy makes you crazy.

So why am I blogging about all this? Well. Because it could lead to a repeat c-section for me (yippee!). And I just feel the need to write it out somewhere. The midwife said that if the placenta wasn’t anterior, and Emrist stayed breech, they’d be willing to still let me attempt a VBAC. However, with it being anterior, they will not let me attempt a VBAC if she does stay breech.  I don’t even know why positioning of the placenta matters, but apparently it does. I don’t think I would feel comfortable attempting a VBAC with a breech baby anyways, so it doesn’t really matter much to me.

It’s been two days since the ultrasound and I’m just now beginning to really process how I feel about everything. I’m 31 weeks, so Emrist still has time to turn, but with each passing week, the chances of that happening will get smaller and smaller. I have read a couple of stories about babies turning just before labor so maybe she’ll be one of those if she doesn’t flip within the next couple of weeks. Who knows.

There are all sorts of things that you can supposedly do to make a baby turn: acupuncture, inversion exercises, mentally imagining your baby turning, etc. But I’m just tired. I’m tired of caring. I’m tired of stressing. I’m tired of clinging to control I never had in the first place. I’m just tired, and I’m over it.

My birth experience with Harper was awful and traumatic. I’ve done so many things in the time since his birth to ensure that this one would be different (losing 50 lbs, reading, researching, using a midwife in place of an OBGYN, etc). And the thing I’ve recently realized is that this experience will be different no matter what I do. Regardless of whether I get to have a vaginal birth, or if I end up having a repeat c-section, this experience will be different. Only my attitude/perspective can ensure that it’s better.

I don’t know that I’ve every voiced this to anyone other than Benji, but here it is: when I had the c-section with Harper, I let it define me as being broken. As a woman, my body couldn’t do what it was created to do – give birth – so I have since struggled with feeling like something is wrong with me. I’ve been fighting for a VBAC to heal that wound, but I’m starting to realize that I’ve been looking for healing in the wrong place. Isn’t Jesus the Great Physician? Why have I been looking to a certain experience to heal my heart (and that’s ONLY if I get to have that experience) when Jesus can heal me, regardless?

For the past two years, I’ve equated having a vaginal birth with victory. I’ve equated it to a better, less traumatic birth experience. And that’s just not always true. A vaginal birth does not guarantee a better experience and it certainly does not make me victorious. Only my attitude can guarantee a better experience. And Jesus is the one who makes me victorious…not an experience.

So…this is me letting go of everything. I am surrendering to whatever experience lies ahead of me. I will live and I will learn. And hopefully I will be a better person because of it 🙂

The end.

24 Weeks. And the name change.

So this will be a quick update, just for the sake of updating. I played around with Benji’s Mac and made this little collage! Nothing has really changed since my last update, except for the sciatic nerve pain. I can’t remember if I dealt with this when I was pregnant with Harper – I’m guessing not. I’ve had spurts of it for a few weeks now, but it really started to hurt me last week. I usually don’t have any problems with it until later in the day, so fortunately, it’s not an all day thing.

I don’t really mind the pain part. I mean…it’s not pleasant, but it’s bearable. What I’m really worried about is busting me butt in public. A couple of times while I’ve been walking, the nerve has caught on something (I don’t know how to describe it?) and I’ve almost fallen over because of it. Eh…that should be fun to deal with as I continue to get bigger and bigger!

Everything else is going lovely though. I honestly can’t complain.

And one last thing. Most of the people who read my blog, get there from Facebook, so I’m sure most of you already know! We decided to change the name a tiny bit. It’s not a big change. In fact, we’re keeping the name I previously posted about, and just adding an extra name into the mix. So…she’s going to have three names. (If I decide not to hyphenate that sucker).

Benji and I had a bet on the gender. If it was a boy, he’d name it. If it was a girl, I’d name it. We did this with Harper too. Anyways, although I have naming rights this time around, we did agree that the other person couldn’t hate the name that was picked out. Well…Benji didn’t really like the idea of calling Elm by her initials. SO…to compromise, we decided to name her Emrist Elizabeth Laine Martin and call her by Emrist. God be with her when she has to learn how to spell and write her name. I’m probably still going to use Elm as a little nickname, just like I call Harper by Harp, but the name everyone else will know her by is Emrist.

And that’s all, folks!

Reflections Before Moving

Before you start, know this is LONG. I just needed to write it. I’ve been working on it for three days, and I don’t feel like rereading it for grammatical errors or misspellings. I’ve got a bad case of pregnancy brain, so I’m sure there are lots of mistakes, but I’m tired…so try and look past them for me…okay? 🙂

We move in three days. It seems so surreal. Especially considering that a little over two months ago, I thought we’d be living in Virginia for the rest of our lives.

I’m glad we get to go home. I’m glad this season is finally coming to an end. It was a rough one…possibly the hardest of our entire marriage. So many times over the past year, I wondered if it really was just a season. I prayed it was, but I honestly wasn’t sure.

It’s definitely something I’m thankful to be walking out of, but also something I’m thankful I walked through it in the first place. That sounds weird, but it’s true. This past year was a challenge, and I’ve grown in so many ways because of it.

When Benji and I got here, he was unemployed and we weren’t really sure what we were going to do. Although he wanted to work in a library, he applied any and everywhere that was hiring. He’s such a good man. After many interviews at schools, public libraries and retail locations, God blessed him with work in his field. We were so excited. The pay was awful – it was almost exactly HALF of what we had been living on in Memphis – but it provided insurance, which is what we really needed.  And it was a position with plenty of opportunity to move up into a higher paying position…or so we thought 🙂

When he landed the job, we knew I would need to work to make up the difference in our income. We talked about me getting a night or weekend job until Benji could get into a higher paying position. However, when he got the full details of his job, we realized that his schedule wouldn’t allow for me to have a “real” job. Not unless it was one that paid well enough for us to be able to afford daycare (about $700 per month here) and still make up the difference in his salary. After some thought, I decided to try babysitting instead so that I could make money while avoiding the expenses of daycare. I was blessed with a job almost immediately after beginning my search.

When August came, both of us started work. I guess this is when life got hard. Benji had to commute over the mountains to work and it made for some extra long days for the both of us. On most nights, he didn’t get home until right at, or after, Harper’s bedtime. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays were always the hardest (and loneliest) because I was alone with Harper for nearly 12 hours a day.

Our finances didn’t really allow for many date nights – I think we’ve had 3-4 in the year that we’ve lived here – so we weren’t able to get away and de-stress very often. I’m a firm believer in taking time out for yourself (and your marriage) on a regular basis – I just think you have to in order to have something left of yourself to give to others – and we couldn’t very often.

There were so many times when I just felt like I had nothing left to give to anyone, including Benji and Harper. Our finances hung over my head 24/7. We didn’t have money to do things to take my mind off of it, so I’d just sit and think about it CONSTANTLY. It was a nasty cycle and I’m sure I was very unpleasant to be around.

Sometime in the fall, the cycle broke…a little. On paper, we didn’t have enough money to pay all of our bills, and yet…we were. We were making it, and paying for everything and I didn’t really know how. I slowly began to realize that DUH! God was providing. I started to see a pattern of God meeting our needs. And I don’t mean we were getting random checks in the mail either (although we did a few times).  I mean, whenever something would unexpectedly pop up, God would provide extra work for us to pay for it. True story! I began to relax and let go. Not completely, of course, but one by one, my fingers withdrew from the control I was so desperately clinging to.

And that’s when the shit hit the fan. Am I allowed to say that here? It’s just so appropriate for the next sequence of events!

I’ll be quick:

November: We moved. Our car was broken into and my purse was stolen. We found my purse, and everything was still inside. Our deductible was too high to make filing a claim worth it for the window repair. We got a ridiculous quote to repair our window and knew we couldn’t afford it. Prayed and bam! God provided through a wonderfully generous friend of mine. The next day I found out I was pregnant, even though we hadn’t been trying. Holy shat nap! We were filled with lots of joy and holy craps…because obviously, we could not afford a baby at the time.

December: Benji gets a speeding ticket. Harper gets RSV and a double ear infection. I get a $100 ticket for not having our car inspected because well…we couldn’t afford the $800 worth of repairs required to pass the inspection, but I still needed a way to get to my babysitting job. Two days later, I have a miscarriage at 10 weeks pregnant. Almost immediately after my miscarriage, Harper comes down with pneumonia. I miss three weeks of babysitting because of it. We’re short on money because I’ve missed work and we’ve both gotten tickets. My precious friend Jenn asks us to housesit and dogsit for her while she goes out of town for two weeks. The money she gives us makes up what I lost from being unable to babysit.

January: Besides the emotional trauma of my miscarriage, it was a relatively easy month. I think God was allowing me a break because it was my birthday month 🙂

February: I unexpectedly lose my babysitting job without any notice. Unbeknownst to me, the parents had been looking for a replacement ever since I had missed the three weeks in December.  I understood, but felt very hurt and betrayed simply because they didn’t tell me until the day they let me go. It was Benji’s birthday and he came home to a crying mess of a wife. I ended up cashing out my savings account to make ends meet until something else lined up. And another God-sent miracle: a friend from back home who knew I had been fired sent us a $250 check in the mail. What a blessing! My grandfather also paid for a MAJOR car repair on our Matrix without us even asking him to.

Mid-February through March was pretty much just filled with me trying to obtain employment. The miscarriage made me desperately long for home, so my search was mainly focused on Alabama. I had a couple of interviews, but they fell through. I was actually relieved when they did.  Although I wanted to go home badly, I didn’t feel peace about the route I was taking to get there. I didn’t know why there was a lack of peace, and at times it made me SO angry, but I finally came to the conclusion that God must not want us to move to Alabama and I gave up.

That was basically the end of the crazy period. At this point in time, we felt like we were staying in Virginia for a while, if not forever. I made peace with the idea and we stopped looking for employment in Alabama.

Sometime in mid-March, I was out in the backyard with Harper and I just had a moment with Jesus. I was truly happy. As I sat watching Harper play and laugh while sniffing flowers, I yearned for even more of that joy in my life. I found myself praying for God to provide us with more children, and to provide a way for us to financially support them. The miscarriage had left a longing in both mine and Benji’s hearts; however, we had decided we could not handle the emotional rollercoaster of trying to get pregnant again. We also recognized that we couldn’t handle it financially. “Trying” had been on the shelf, and hadn’t even been discussed when I found myself in the backyard praying for more children.

After my backyard Jesus-fest, I told Benji I wanted to start trying again. I remember telling my friend Theresa that I felt so stupid for wanting to try because I knew we couldn’t afford it, but I also knew in my heart that it was the right time. I thought Benji would slap me silly when I brought it up, but surprisingly, he was on board too. Looking back, I know it was the Lord and here’s why: I was ALREADY pregnant! That’s right, folks! There I was, praying my heart out for more children, and there was already life growing in my womb. Does anyone else think this is hilarious? I do!

Most of you are up to speed on the events that took place after all of this because I actually blogged about them. Benji got an interview for a professional position here, and we were about 110% sure that he was going to get it. And then he didn’t. We were baffled. He was one of only three candidates selected to interview for the position, and he was the ONLY internal candidate, meaning he was already in their system. He knew everyone at that particular branch. It seemed like the next logical step for him, and he’s an amazing librarian, so why wouldn’t he get it? I believe it was because there was another, even better job that he was supposed to have and it was back HOME 🙂

So…what exactly is the reason for this blog post? There are a few.

#1 I want to remember….both the good and the bad things from the past year. I tend not to share publicly when we’re going through a tough time. Of course, I share with close friends, but I try not to write about it here until I’m out of it because it’s very easy for me to get all “woe is me” in the midst of trouble, and while yes…that’s a very real part of me, it’s unpleasant to see and read about, in my opinion. So I just save it for my poor, poor husband and friends instead! Sorry guys! Now that I’m (thankfully) walking out of this season, I feel comfortable sharing about it here.

#2 God has done so much for us over the past year. I just want to publicly acknowledge and thank Him. We haven’t been rich, financially speaking, but he’s blessed us beyond measure with love and relationships. We were able to spend a whole year with Benji’s precious family, and I met a wonderful group of moms that supported and loved me through everything I went through up here. I developed two, very meaningful, life-long friendships while here, and I will always be grateful for that.

#3 And lastly: I wanted to share a “simple” lesson that hit me like a ton of bricks. Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  The lesson? God’s definition of good is different from my own sometimes. Simple and pretty obvious, right? Not for me, considering it took a year for me to truly “get” it.

In the past, when I’ve heard that verse, I’ve always pictured my definition of good: healthy pregnancies, healthy children, financial security, retirement, a nice house, nice neighborhood, etc. But God’s definition of good for my life could be me experiencing the opposite of every single one of those things. I don’t know, and all I can do is take him at his word, and trust him through a seemingly bad situation.

Today would have been my due date if I hadn’t lost the baby in December. Obviously, I will always mourn the baby we never got to meet, but for now, I’m trying to focus on the good of it all. There’s another life growing in my womb. And we are going home on Saturday. Instead of being 40+ weeks pregnant for the journey, I’ll only be 21. Moving so far away would’ve been nearly impossible at 40+ weeks pregnant…not to mention unsafe and stressful. Just thinking about being in that situation makes me tired.

So today, instead of focusing on the bad parts of the past year, I’m focusing on the good that came out of it. I’m saying prayers of thanks for everything God has blessed me with, and I’m thanking him for his definition of good, and for knowing better than me!

Umm…Hi! Remember me?

Yeah…so it’s been two and a half months since my last update. WOW! I think that’s my longest stretch for this blog. Oops. It wasn’t intentional. I just got way behind! I had some cool things to share and I wanted to share all the cool details tied into each story, but there was so much to say that I just kept putting it off and putting it off. And then more cool things would happen and well…you get the picture. I ended up not sharing any of the stories because I didn’t feel like it anymore.

So I’m going to give a brief update on our lives since March 25th – without all of the cool details because I’m just way too tired.

#1: Baby Number Two

This is probably more to blame for the lack of updates than anything else. I’m now 14 weeks along and past the worst part, but the beginning was a little rough. Not as rough as my pregnancy with Harper, but it was rough enough that all I wanted to do was nap in my spare time. And nap I did!

With Harper, I was sick almost 24/7 until 20 weeks, but I wasn’t really tired. With this pregnancy, I’ve been extremely tired (toddler chasing could be to blame!) and not as sick. I didn’t start feeling the nausea with this one until six weeks, whereas with Harper it was immediately. That’s actually how I knew I was pregnant with him. I’ve only had a few toilet huggin’ sessions this time and for the most part, I feel almost completely better now. Side note: every time I say that, I end up puking within 24 hours so I’m going to lie here and say I’m still sick 😉

#2 We’re moving back to Alabama! 

Yep, that’s right! When Benji and I found out we were pregnant and that he didn’t get a professional job in C-ville that he had interviewed for, we knew we were going to have to do something. He started sending out his resume to schools/libraries all over the country. Long story short, he e-mailed his resume to the Head of School at a private school in Montgomery, Alabama (only about 1.5 hrs from our hometown). They contacted him right away, flew him down to Alabama over Mother’s Day weekend, and hired him later that week. You can read a better and more detailed version of this here: My Mother’s Day Weekend Adventure.

It was AMAZING. Have you ever tried to make something happen on your own, gotten to the point of giving up and then had it happen right after you finally surrendered? That’s what this was like for us. After the miscarriage, and losing my job in February, and just being plain miserable and homesick here, we had tried everything we could think of to get back to Alabama. I had applied for jobs, Benji had applied for jobs, and nothing ever worked out.

We talked and decided to stop trying to go home to Alabama. And then yet another job (here) fell through for Benji. Instead of focusing on applying for jobs in Alabama, Benji decided to apply everywhere in the country. The job in Montgomery just came out of nowhere. It happened and it was so effortless because it was God. It felt so different from our earlier failed attempts to move back to Alabama. There was peace this time. No only that, but it is literally the BEST job Benji has ever gotten. It pays more than any job he’s ever held, it’s the perfect fit for him (elementary school librarian…need I say more?!), and the hours are phenomenal! We….are….pumped!

#3 Harper

I don’t even know what to say about Harp. There is just so much! It’s amazing to watch him learn new things every day. He’s a very fast learner and loves figuring out how things work. His vocabulary grows every day. Here lately, I’ve only had to tell him the name of something once or twice before he has it. It’s amazing. And he almost always tries to repeat us when we tell him the name of something. I love that he loves to try! My favorite words that he says are owl (this one is adorable!), apple and night night. Out of everything he says, those three are by far the cutest! Whenever he is tired, he comes to us and says night night. It melts my heart.

He loves being outside. We actually can’t say that word in our house (unless we’re really going) because when we do, he goes to the door and starts asking to go out. If we don’t follow through with it, all hell breaks lose lol. That same goes for walks. He loves going on walks with us!

He still loves fruit. Any and all kinds of fruit, really. Well…except for bananas. He loves broccoli, spinach, squash, zucchini and cucumber. And that’s about it for the veggies. He only drinks water nowadays. He randomly stopped drinking milk recently. He’s never been overly fond of it so it wasn’t too much of a shocker.  Fortunately, he does like cheese and yogurt so we give him those things instead.

He walks everywhere and climbs everything. He loves the stairs. He also loves to jump! Especially if daddy or mommy is jumping with him. We play lots of games with him. Our favorite game right now is getting him to make all sorts of animal noises. The best ones are monkey and sheep noises. He does them both perfectly and it’s HILARIOUS!

I could seriously write forever about the things he has been doing. It’s bittersweet because with each passing day, he seems less like a baby and more like a little boy. He has such a kind heart and amazing sense of humor. I can’t even imagine the laugh lines and wrinkles we’re going to have because of him!

#4 Pictures

Just thought I’d share a few pictures from the last few weeks:

Hopefully it won’t be another two months before you hear from me again 🙂

Nothing Gold Can Stay

I never get to hold my baby anymore. If he’s awake, he’s roaming around, discovering, touching and destroying things. If he’s asleep, he’s in his crib – he won’t go to sleep if we’re holding him. Just won’t do it. 

He fell asleep in the car today and I managed to get him out without waking him – what an achievement! Instead of putting him straight into his crib, I decided to sit in the rocking chair with him and do that creepy parent thing where you just stare at your child and think “how are they mine?”

I was reeeeeeeeeeeeaaaally soaking it up – the sounds of his breathing, the innocence of his face, the small jerky movements of a person falling into deeper sleep – and then I started thinking about stuff crap.

“I need to fold the towels. I need to do the dishes. Man…I REALLY need to wash my hair…it’s gross. This is me time. I need to use it while I have it.” etc. etc. etc.

And out of no where “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost popped into my head. I saw Harper as a young boy, a teenager and then as a man on his wedding day. Before I knew it, I was crying because I realized a day will come when I won’t be able to hold him anymore. A day will come when I’ll have to let him go.

I’ve always known this, I just try not to think about it. It’s one of those truths in life that, while being good, still hurts like hell. Today I was thankful for the reminder though. My days are numbered and I need to live them. I need to soak up every moment with my little boy. And I need to cherish the moments that I am fortunate enough to spend holding him because I’m not promised anymore.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

 

Harper’s 1st Haircut!

I love my boy’s wild and crazy curls. The thought of cutting that beautiful hair just killed me! I didn’t think we would cut it for a really long time, but after we took Harp to see Santa and I saw this picture, I decided it was time. He was beginning to get a mullet in the back…crap!

I asked for some suggestions on where to take him and a friend from my Virginia moms group suggested that I take him to Snip-Its in Charlottesville. It’s a salon just for kids and they have a “1st Haircut” package. Your kid gets their picture made, they get a certificate and a toy, and you get locks of their hair for the baby book. It was pretty spankin’ awesome!

Here are some pictures:


Before


Haha…I love this one!!


Harper feeding the stylist his comb.


The certificate


The picture they took…he wasn’t interested in the camera at this point


And this is the finished product. He looks so grown up!

The stylist cut it shorter than I wanted her to, but I was prepared for this. Harper did really great while we were there. He never once freaked out and only tried to grab the scissors a few times. I’m really glad we chose Snip-its! It was a great experience!!

Traditions.

With Harper being a lot more aware this Christmas than he was last, we decided to start some traditions that we want to do with him (and our other kiddos) each year.

Tradition #1 – Get a picture with Santa

Harper had his picture made with Santa last year when he was itty bitty. It’s amazing how much he’s changed in a year! We’re going to take him for a picture each year until he thinks he’s too cool to do it anymore. After that, I’m going to make a scrapbook or maybe even a giant holiday frame to hold all of the Santa pictures. I just think it’ll be neat to see the progress between each photo 🙂

Tradition #2 – Five gifts


Source

I decided to do this for each of our kids mainly because I like the idea of setting limits for myself. I LOVE giving gifts and have the potential to get really carried away with it. With this, not only will I have an idea of what to get each year, but it will also (hopefully) prevent me from going absolutely nuts with my gift giving. The idea is that you give your kids four gifts: a want, a need, something to wear, and something to read.

This is a picture of Harper’s “four” things for this Christmas:

He got a green hairbrush that folds up into a ball (a need), a wooden block set (a want…although we did have to guess at it this year), a toboggan, winter coat and socks (something to wear) and two books.  And see what I mean?! We even went over a little bit even though we had limits.

You’ll notice that when I wrote Tradition #2 up top, I wrote five gifts, instead of four. That’s because I want to add a gift to the list – a gift to give away. When Harper and our other kiddos are older, I want them to be involved in giving to those that are less fortunate. We will have them pick out a gift for a needy child and then give it away, probably through Angel Tree, Toys for Tots or something like that. I think it’ll be a neat way to teach them to care for the poor.

Tradition #3 – Memory Jar

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When I was 18, I made one of these for a dear friend of mine. For the life of me, I can’t remember where I got the idea from, but I know it wasn’t Pinterest, as Pinterest wasn’t around in 2004.

For our family, I’ll have the memory jar set out in a special place throughout the year. It’ll have a pen and slips of paper beside it. Whenever something happy or funny happens, or just something we want to remember, we can write it on a slip of paper and stick it into the memory jar. On Christmas or New Years (haven’t decided which one yet) we’ll read through all of our memories from the previous year. I plan on buying some wine racks to display the jars on. The year will be written on the top of the lid, so you can pick and choose what year you want to read, and just pull it from the wine rack.

So…those are a few of our traditions. What are some of yours?