Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Rest of the Story

If my Facebook and Instagram posts were truly the summation of my life, they would be a lot messier, and I wouldn't get nearly as many "likes." For example, tonight as I put my overtired, cuddly toddler to bed, she reached for and held my hand as we said prayers. The adorable, quippy and true Facebook status version of that story is: "Having a daughter who can say prayers aloud with you while holding your hand is a new level of awesome."
And that's true. It is. But that's also a sanitized shortened version of why that moment was so meaningful to my mom-heart. Because the moments before that sweetness involved me putting her to bed by myself after a long day of attempting to parent her by myself. (My husband is awesome and working hard for us, but that doesn't make the days shorter. :) I ended up physically holding her down on the changing table and forcing her foot into the footie pajamas after trying unsuccessfully to negotiate with her (rookie mistake) and give her my "I'm serious, child" mom eyes. And after all that impatience and frustration and struggle, she reached for my hand and repeated after me as I asked God for more patience for her tired momma and thanked Him for our day, our family, and Jesus.
Even that expanded version of the truth doesn't encompass all my mistakes, triumphs, and epic need for grace today. We watched too much TV, I got frustrated when she refused to wear her jeans, and I told her with my actions that sometimes my work is more important than her, and it goes on. So, today I am immeasurably grateful for a God who hears our prayers and metes out bushels of grace before we ever know to ask. And I am beyond blessed to have a forgiving baby girl who seems willing to love me through all my trials as a first-time parent. Oh, and as a side note, hearing her little voice say "Jesus" gives me all the feels. I am not good enough to be her mom, but He has me covered in grace. And since all of that just won't fit in a status update, I decided to write it out here. Here's to all (parent or not) of us striving to be our best and awash in His mercy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


I love my Husband. I felt tempted today to post one of those sappy I love my Husband. He's the best and the way he loves our daughter... novels on Facebook. And then I realized that I had more to say than standard Facebook posts allow. Because today isn't our anniversary and he hasn't done anything extraordinary like cleaning the entire house while taking care of our toddler while I was at the spa.
Today is just an ordinary day, and his actions lately haven't been heroic. But when our toddler heard a car engine rev, she ran to the back door with a huge grin, shouting "Dada!" Like she does every day when we hear his car pull into the driveway after a long day of work. She loves her Daddy simply because he is her daddy. 
And today I find myself loving my Husband for being himself. For sharing his dreams with me and letting me take them on as my own. For leading without ever making me feel less-than and for genuinely consulting my opinion and taking my two cents in all matters of importance to our family.
And yes, while I have been dealing with an upper respiratory infection, he has stepped up and done more than his usual "share" of toddler and household care. But he does most of that stuff on any given day. And I hope I don't need a grand gesture like a dozen roses or a spotless kitchen to remind me that we are good together, and he is so good to me.
So today I am indulging in the sap and sentimentality afforded to those who are on NyQuil and antibiotics. :) And taking a moment while our beautiful little girl entertains herself to write out how much I truly love my Husband. On days like today, I can say without sarcasm that I also like and appreciate him, which makes for a pretty good day.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Eleven months

May 14, 2015

Dear child of mine,

You have two bottom teeth! And more and more hair, and you're taking a couple of steps at a time! This month has been another one for the record books in terms of your milestones. You are babbling exuberantly and learning animal noises in addition to your favorite words "Momma," "Dada/Daddy," "hey/hi," "bye-bye," and "uh uh oh." You wave your arms now when we ask you to tell someone hi or bye, and you say "hi ya ya" when we FaceTime with LaLa, which she loves. You also threw your first little fit in her presence when I took something away from you. You are generally sweet tempered, always on the move unless you're asleep, and so enthusiastic about everything you attempt. I am so excited to see how God continues to develop those traits in you and how your unique personality fits into our family and into His service.
You took your first solo steps at Grandma and Granddad's house on Mother's Day, and you have been adding a few more steps to your repertoire each day. You still prefer to crawl because you are speedy and can get to the houseplants, trashcans, and electronic devices much more rapidly that way. Basically, you understand what you're not supposed to get into, and you make a beeline for those few things whenever given the chance. You shake your head "no" and then proceed to do whatever you're not supposed to do, so we're working on that. Your general adorableness doesn't help with my resolve to discipline consistently, so tone it down a bit, ok?
Oh, my baby, you love food just like the rest of us, and I'm working so hard to keep you eating healthy foods most of the time. You enjoyed a few bites of bread pudding this month as your first sweet treat, and you requested several follow-up spoonfuls. You have also enjoyed roasted butternut squash, chicken pot pie, tortillas, black beans, blackberries, and lots of cheese and yogurt. I cut back on your nursing sessions, so you're down to 5-6 per day in addition to three hearty solid food meals, and your adorable thighs attest to the fact that you're well fed.
Your laugh is still the best my sweet girl, but more often than not it makes you choke and gag when I really get you laughing, so I have to be careful. You love music and have discovered which of your toys make noise and activate them often. You also have discovered that several toys are hidden in the living room ottomans, and you take them all out multiple times a day. I'm limiting myself to picking them up twice a day while you nap so that we can start the process again when you get up. :) You FaceTime like a champ and smile so sweetly when you see people you love on the phone screen.
Most days are spent wandering around the house calling for Daddy (you adore him), helping Momma with the laundry (which never ends), running an errand or two, napping, playing, and eating. We keep our schedule pretty simple right now, and I love having my days with you at home. I try not to be too distracted by my phone or housework, but I'm a work in progress. Seeing your joy when I drop everything to play on the floor with you is a good reminder, and Daddy has graciously told me that my priority is to take care of you and anything else that gets done is a bonus. He's so good to us, and we miss him when he's busy at work, especially when he misses bath time. I could write an epic novel about all your adorable quirks and brilliant achievements, but I will close with how much I love you and how proud I am to be your Momma, You are my sunshine, little stinker, and we are so grateful that God entrusted you to us,

All the love,

Ten months

April 16, 2015

Dear child of mine,

You are growing up so quickly, and you're making me love you more each day. You get into everything these days, especially the stuff you know you aren't allowed to have. The TV console cabinet is opened dozens of times each day, little fingers are stuck in the VCR (yes, we still have one), and dirt from the kitchen plants is consumed regularly. Basically, you are a beautiful mess. And we have completely rearranged our furniture and lives to accommodate all of your precious antics.
You have started to be discriminating with people and sometimes you still smile beatifically at strangers, but sometimes you give them your "stink face." It basically involves curling your lip and looking like something in the room is beyond putrid. It's not a very nice way to respond to people, but it's pretty funny.
Speaking of things that are funny, I'm pretty high on your list. Which is the thrill of my life because your baby giggles are the best. You went to the zoo for the first time and celebrated your first Easter. It's been your best holiday so far because you didn't get sick or refuse to sleep. :) There are too many firsts each month for me to remember, but I'm so glad that I get to experience them with you, my sweet girl.
You are eating so much more solid food now and still nursing 7-8 times per day. Your favorite foods right now are pears, blueberries, bananas, and cheese, but you've been a trooper and eaten pretty much anything we give you, including chicken, broccoli, and peas. You are getting faster and more mobile all the time, and we're just waiting for you to take off walking. You have a tooth! It teased us for a few days by peeking through your gums and then retreating again, but now it's here to stay, and just like everything else about you, it's pretty adorable.
Our days are busy and yet simple, and I think that suits us for right now. You love to eat and play, and your naps are fairly consistent most days (finally). You're sleeping longer stretches at night but still wake up once or twice to cuddle and nurse most nights. Basically, we think you're wonderful, and we love you all of it. Keep growing and learning, but don't forget that you're still my baby.

Love you to the moon and back,

Nine months

March 20, 2015

Dear child of mine,

You are the most delightful child, and as I tell you daily, you're my favorite girl in the whole wide world. There aren't words to describe how your smile can melt my heart or how wonderful it makes me feel when you crawl over to me and lift up your arms. You are starting to show definite preference for some people, but you're still easy going and happy to be around almost anyone.
You like to steal things from other babies in the church nursery and literally eat the Bible in Bible class. So, we have some things to work on, but at least you feel at home in the church, right? You are generally happy and have such a pleasant disposition. I love cuddling with you and feeling your precious little fingers pat my arm. You also like to pull my hair and pinch my arms, which is significantly less precious. But we have a lot of fun together playing with your little kitchen, crawling into your tent, and making sure your toys are strewn across the living room every day.
You consistently say certain sounds that I have determined are words because of my sincere belief that you are brilliant. Included in that list are Momma, Dada, your name, and nigh-nigh.
And your laugh. Oh, my sweet baby, your laugh could be the key to world peace. It makes me want to hold you tight and keep you safe from all pain for the rest of your life, and it prompts me to use the most ridiculous voices and sounds to evoke a giggle. You frequently try to dive off your changing table, but sometimes before your bath I can get you to laugh uncontrollably and be super still. It's awesome to have that kind of effect. It's also extremely gratifying to be able to calm you down when you do occasionally get upset. (My sure fire method is to nurse you, but I still get the satisfaction of soothing you.)
You're getting more fun all the time, and Daddy and I love you beyond comprehension. You are made in the image of God, and countless prayers are said over you that you will be a woman of peace and that you will be kind, compassionate, and generous toward people. I want you to know how much Jesus loves you and the power of His Spirit, and I pray that you will feel secure in our home and be courageous in the world.
You are my stinker, my precious baby girl, my sweetie.

All the love,

Eight months

February 19, 2015

Dear child of mine,

I'm about a week late in writing you this month because of life. Someday you'll understand that and hopefully be better equipped to deal with all of life's surprises than I am. You have been acting like you're in the throes of teething for some time, but you still don't have any teeth (for which your primary source of nutrition is grateful). 
This month has included some huge milestones. You are crawling across the house faster than your sleep-deprived momma can chase you, and you are pulling up on everything in sight and cruising around. It all happened within about a week, and your sleep has suffered greatly. :) But your brain is making some big connections, which requires more frequent feedings and makes you restless. I'm trying to be understanding of that, and sometimes I succeed.
Another sleep-depriving event this past month was a viral cold, followed by a mild case of croup two weeks later, followed by an extended feverish runny nose spell. Needless to say, you and your first time momma are recognized by the doctor office receptionist now. Maybe next month we can try not to be so sickly. (I am beyond thankful that your illnesses have all been minor and that overall you are a healthy, thriving baby.)
You like to say "ma", and sometimes you string several together in a row, so it sounds like you're saying my name. You have also decided that Daddy is "ba," and we'll see how long that lasts. You consistently look at his picture or at him and say "ba" for now.
Your beautiful smile is biggest when we come to get you out of your crib, and you get the giggles when we make growly noises or toss you in the air. You are aggressive with your love and have left little scratches on my face, neck, and arms multiple times. We're working on "being gentle" and trying not to throw ourselves off the changing table. You are just a very active little lady.
I love you more every day, and when your eyes light up in recognition of me, it validates all the sleep deprivation and smelly diapers and then some. :) Daddy will do just about anything for you, but we can't afford a pony, so please quit asking. There are too many adorable things that you do to capture in a letter, so suffice to say, you are our favorite little girl, and we love you all of it.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Seven months

January 14, 2015

Dear child of mine,
Life with you just keeps getting better. You're seven months of wonderfulness, and we are having so much fun getting to know you. You have had a big month filled with holiday events and schedule-wrecking festivities. You also got your first colds, one requiring a trip to the doctor on your seven month birthday, so I know that you weigh 18.5 pounds.
Speaking of illness, you threw up at 4 am on Christmas. LaLa and I got you cleaned up, laid you down in your crib, and then you threw up again. I've decided that the excitement of holidays leads you to some sort of existential crisis and you try to sabotage them because you didn't sleep at all over Thanksgiving, threw up for Christmas, and then screamed your head off on New Years Eve. In spite of all that, you had a good time opening presents and playing at home with PJ, LaLa, and KitKat on Christmas. And you were adorably disgruntled at your aunt KitKat's wedding on January 3 after being kept away from momma most of the day. You have so many people who love you and have taken good care of you through the holidays, and you loved having Daddy home so much. However, I'm beginning to suspect that you thrive on routine.
Thankfully, we are through the major holidays now, so you're settling back into your routine and happy to be home. You've tried several new foods this month, and you love pears and zucchini. You're rocking back and forth on your hands and knees but still prefer to roll everywhere you need to go. When sick, you just want to be cuddled and held, so we watched Pocahontas together on Monday. You can turn the pages of your Big and Small book at the right time, and you're starting to try to turn the pages of other books. You wear mostly 9 month clothes, but some 6-9 month and some 12 month stuff fits.
Basically, you're a joy. And I love being your momma. You fill me with pride when you sit or stand in my lap at church, and I love how your face lights up when I come to get you up from a nap. I'm trying to balance my desire to protect you from any harm or discomfort and my ardent hope that you will experience life to the fullest. Parenthood has turned my life upside down, but I'm so blessed that I get to learn how to mother you. Daddy and I pray for you continually, and we love you beyond measure. You're my precious sugar booger, stinker, baby girl.

All the love,

P.S. Maybe next month you can leave your sticker on the onesie long enough for me to get a picture, ok? Stickers are not for eating.