so a while back i was asked to give a devotional/words of advice at the baby shower of a really dear friend. so i was like, um, me? i have 2 years of experience. and most days i feel like i have no idea what i am doing. i told will i was feeling like this and he said, “then say that. and there ARE things that God is teaching us along the way. talk about that.” so, here’s what i said:
Eternity. If my focus is truly eternal, does it matter if my boys are athletic? How early they walk or read? If they are stylish? Does what I want for them look so much like the world around me that I blend right in with the lost mom next to me at the grocery store? I want to be so focused on things unseen and eternal that I take greater risks and make greater sacrifices as a mom and woman because I know greater things are ahead.
Conviction. Every day parents make countless decisions about our kids’ wellbeing. From discipline, to diapering, to vaccinations, to sleep routines, to staying home, to schooling, to food choices…we make lots of decisions. Friends we respect and trust, people at church, even experts and doctors disagree about the “best” things to do. Ultimately, all we can do is pray, communicate well in our marriage, make sure we are well-informed, obey God’s word and make the best decision we can for our families. Which will not always be the same decision as those around us. In an area the Bible isn’t explicit about, we need to look up rather than around as we come to our own convictions as parents. And give other parents the freedom to do the same, without judgment.
Trust. Hold my boys’ lives and the things I want for them with an open hand. In Psalm 127, the psalmist compares the blessing of children to arrows in the hands of a warrior. If we, as parents, are warriors in God’s army, I want to pray and trust and raise up little disciples who love the Lord their God more than their own very life. I want to let those little arrows fly…Send the disciples out to make disciples of their own.
Weakness. God often gives us more than we can handle. I’ve experienced this more as a mom than any other time in my life – sometimes I feel like I can’t handle any of it. His power is made perfect in our weakness. Being a fabulous mother, who glorifies God, has obedient children, keeps eternity in mind, and raises up a little disciple is completely BEYOND your capability. BUT God is gracious and powerful and victorious. His power is made perfect in our weakness. Embrace your weakness so that God’s perfect power can be present in your family as you raise your precious children.
Pep talks. Develop yourself a good pep talk. When you’re at a friend’s house and your kid repeatedly does the thing you’ve asked him not to. When you’re driving home from Sonic and your kid pukes all over the car, carseat, and his clothes and your car stinks and you’re about to barf yourself and your husband is out of town. When it’s 3 a.m. and your kid has been up screaming bloody murder for hours on end and you feel like death and you have to work the next day and you have tried everything you can think of. When you go into the grocery store and your baby cries loudly the whole time and you NEED groceries cause your house looks like Mother Hubbard lives there and every person in the store is giving you the stink eye and you want to crawl in a hole and die because you are “that mom.” Get your pep talk out. Memorize that bad boy cause girl, you’re gonna need it. This is mine: “It’s time to supermom the CRAP out of this. Lots of women would give their left arm to HAVE a kid to clean up their puke and lose sleep because of and take the stink eye from strangers for. So, chin up buttercup. Embrace this crazy beautiful life cause did you really want a boring one?”
Provision. It is our sin that makes us think “I just need SLEEP.” God is our rest. It is our sin that makes us think “I just need a break or a little “me time” or a girls’ weekend or a trip to Target – by MAHSELF.” God is our portion and our refuge. When you hit the roadblocks and feel like you don’t have what it takes – take heart. God is all we need and he gives us all we need.
***in related and VERY exciting news – these dear friends of ours have since welcomed the sweetest little gal into their family. she’s absolutely beautiful. we went to visit claire and on the way home gregg said, “mom, dabid and jenny’s baby cware is so CAHYOOT.” couldn’t have said it better myself, buddy.
sometimes i haven’t written anything for a long time so i put it off even longer cause there is too much to write. this also happens with my laundry and dishes. it might be a problem in my life. anyway. here’s a list dump of random information so that i can move on and get over the hurdle.
-anthony turned 3 months old and 4 months old (16 lbs, don’t remember how many inches). he eats easy, sleeps easy, smiles easy, and is just the most content, sweetest little love bug i could dream up.
-gregg turned 2 (36 inches tall, 32 lbs).
-we got termites at our house. it was easily, albeit somewhat expensively, remedied.
-we went to Kennedy Campout. i am ridiculously thankful to be married into this family. they love big, laugh big, eat big, play hard, work hard, love hard.
-we went on a fishing trip with my family. no matter where we are, i always feel home with my parents. plus my siblings were there and we relaxed and fished and laughed so hard we cried.
-we took gregg to urgent care for another ear infection – indicated by a 105 fever while on vacation. the tubes are helping, but still…poor guy!
-we took anthony to the doctor a couple days before his appointment for an eye infection. then again because the antibiotic was making him vom.
-soon i think the nurse hotline will know me by name and my boys’ birth dates by heart. salright. i’m okay with being a crazy lady who is a hypochondriac about my kids.
-we went on a family lake trip with will’s family. gregg and his cousin had a BALL chasing each other around and enjoying laughing together and communicating through their newly acquired language skills. i had a ball just being together. first of many trips.
-gregg got a new bike.
-i had my gall bladder removed. my mom and sister and husband and other mom (marcia) were heroes for helping keep our house in order and our kids in order.
-i had a girls’ weekend with two of my dearest friends from college in kansas city. it was good for my heart.
– went back-to-school shopping with my A-team first grade teachers who also happen to be amazing friends to me. we got stuff for our classrooms and did some back to school brainstorming. i really love working with those two and after 4 months away from them, i’m reading to get back in gear!
– gregg is in full swing two year old form. seriously adorable. fiercely independent. completely stubborn. bringing mom and dad to our knees asking for wisdom in parenting, loving, disciplining this boy and pointing his little heart to jesus.
-sad about the end of summer but looking forward to meeting my next set of kiddos. work days start tomorrow and kids come the 13th.
little buddy went to the doctor a while back for his 2 month checkup. here’s the rundown:
24 inches long
13 lb 9 oz
sleeping: 9p – 6a most nights
nursing: 6-8x per day, and wants nothing to do with a bottle. we’ve tried 7 different options. finally i’ve found one that he will sort of take. we’ll have to keep practicing so he doesn’t starve in august at his babysitter’s!
smiling: much more easily, especially at his brother
crying: pretty much if he’s tired or hungry, and sometimes in the stroller, the jury is still out on his verdict about going for walks…we’re on a 50/50 chance of calm or crying
loves: his swing, looking out the window, looking in a mirror, when people (especially gregg) make funny noises
sometimes things happen with my sons that i want to remember forever. keepsake memories. already in the first two years (almost!) of gregg’s life i’ve thought many times, “i never want to forget this.” and i forget. words and pictures and videos are a treasure box full of my keepsake memories. i wish there were a way to bottle how soft anthony’s little cheeks are and how sweet his neck smells.
last night was a sweet little keepsake memory with my big boy. after his bath, we put on his jammies and he said, “mom, chair.” we sat down in the chair in his room, him on my lap, snuggled with his head against my shoulder.
he said, “mommy, my pray.”
“okay, buddy…say dear God,”
“thank you for my daddy,”
“sank you daddy.”
“thank you for my mommy.”
“sank you mommy.”
“and thank you for my brother anthony.”
“sank you ampeemee.”
“amen. mommy. pray.”
he sat so quietly as I prayed and thanked God for letting me be his mommy. among other things, i prayed that he would love, follow, and obey God and that he and anthony would have a strong relationship. when i said amen i said, “okay, night buddy.” he said, “no, mommy, stay.” so we sat in his chair a little longer. i could feel his soft warm cheek by my neck. feel his sweet little breaths begin to slow as he tired and smell his bubble bath. after a few minutes, when i thought he might have fallen asleep, he whispered, “mommy?….i lo lou.” i thought to myself, keepsake. burn this in my mind forever. i never want to forget this sweet moment with this sweet boy as he is right this very minute. “i love you too, greggy.” i responded.
these are actually almost a year old. his chubba thighs, facial expressions, and pride about walking in his dad’s size 13 shoes (and our messy living room!) are forever captured here!
two mother’s days in the book. two sweet boys i have the pleasure of being their mama. you know, before i had kids, i used to think of mother’s day as a time to make moms feel special and appreciated. i don’t necessarily disagree with that now, but my perspective has turned. instead, i have felt like it’s a day for me to think about how special my kids are and how thankful i am for them and how blessed i am that i get to be their mommy. over the past week as i’ve seen facebook posts and target advertisements and tv commercials and internet banners, i have been thankful to have so many reminders of my favorite job ever.
gregster: you have a zest for life unlike anyone i know. it rivals your daddy. you give smiles freely to anyone. you are eager to please your parents. you have a ridiculously great memory. you love suckers, candy, ice cream, and pizza. we love how you are thrilled to be outside and enjoy wildlife and outdoors. sharing a love of sports with your dad delights my heart. your growing ability to communicate has shined light on your precious sense of humor and personality. you have the sweetest little heart toward your friends, your little brother, and your parents. i love your slobbery kisses and how you say i lo lou. we ‘lo lou’ too buddy; our big boy.
amp: you are such a good, happy, content baby. i love that you are learning to smile. your movements and stretches are about enough to melt my heart. i could stare at you for hours with your chubby little rolls and big eyes and chipmunk cheeks that i kiss about a million times a day. as you get older, i can’t wait to watch your relationship with your brother and daddy grow – and for you to get to join in the fun – running, catching, laughing, fishing…i can’t wait to kiss your owies and tickle your neck until you giggle the laughter i wish i could bottle forever. i can’t wait to hear you say ‘mama’.
mom and marcia: my capacity to love my boys has grown because of your beautiful example of motherhood: sacrificial love. servanthood. lots of laughter. adventure. boundaries. a few messes. kisses. just the right amount of independence. asking good questions. prioritizing family. celebrating successes. reflecting on failures. unconditional love.
thanks. you guys are amazing. thanks for being fabulous moms. my love for each of you has grown even more as i experience the way you love our boys. we are lucky to have fabulous moms and they are lucky to have two fabulous grandmas. happy mother’s day.
38 days ago we met our little anthony. will calls him A-tone. also, i’m hoping he always goes by anthony and not tony. lots of people have asked. a month or so before he was born, will said to me, “alright, if we’re going to name him anthony, you’re going to have to be okay with it if a teacher, coach, friend starts calling him tony and it sticks.” i’m OKAY with it, but i most certainly do not PREFER it or HOPE for it. so, readers…if you can help it…let’s try to stick with anthony, k?
moving on. i want to record a little about the day we met the sweet little man. it didn’t go as i planned/hoped, but not everything does. the result is all i could have dreamed of and more, so i can’t complain.
after going to bed saturday, i woke up in the middle of the night feeling not so good. i tried to go to the bathroom, took a couple tums and went back to bed. at 7:00, we heard gregg stir in his room and will asked, “do you want to go to early church today (8:00a)?” i said, “you know, i am really not feeling well and i’m not sure i can sit in a pew for an hour this morning.” so we stayed in bed a bit longer. at 8:00, i’m glad i wasn’t in church, because i was in the bathroom trying to get my giant pregnant belly near the floor to empty my stomach into the commode. nasty. and difficult. i mean, it’s not fun to vom when you’re NOT pregnant…and it’s really not fun when you’re 9 months pregnant.
every hour, this continued. i spent the whole day in bed. will asked if i thought i was in labor. since i wasn’t having any contractions or even resemblance of them, i said i didn’t think so. i also didn’t have a fever, so i thought possibly it was food poisoning. i was supposed to work another week, so i called and scheduled my long term sub to come the next day because i wasn’t going to school after a day like this. around 6p i started having cramps. ongoing cramps, not spaced like contractions. at 6:45, i had my first contraction. then again at 7:00, 7:10, 7:15, 7:20. they just kept getting closer and more painful. i called my sister to come over and stay with gregg…she said she could be here by 8:15. at 7:30, we put gregg to bed and he fell right asleep. i told will we needed to pack up quickly and get ready to go, because at this point, contractions were about 3 min apart.
i went in to use the restroom before leaving and there was blood. bright red blood. i told will we needed to leave NOW. we called my friend ashley to come to our house and wait for my sister to get here, and we took off for the hospital.
we checked into the labor and delivery floor at 8:04. i told the reception desk lady i wasn’t sure if we were having a v-bac or a c-section. they brought me into the triage room, where my nurse checked me and i was 6 cm dilated. there was a lot of blood again. i was hooked up to monitors and everything looked good for me and the baby, but i wasn’t feeling comfortable about the blood. she asked if i was planning to have a vbac or csection. i said we hadn’t decided. she called my doctor and put me on the phone with her. i was 38 weeks along, and we had said if he came early, we would try a vbac since he would likely be smaller. my doctor asked if i wanted to try a vbac, but i told her i wasn’t comfortable with the bleeding and contractions were less than 2 min apart at this point and i wanted her to come do a c section.
the anesthesiologist came in and put in my epidural. he would add heavier anesthetic for the c section in the OR. after the epidural was in, i felt pressure. the nurse checked me again and said i was 9+ cm dilated. they unhooked the monitors and went quickly to the OR since time was of the essence if we were going to have a c section. they handed will some scrubs and said someone would be back to get him.
when we got to the OR, they called my doc and she was almost to the hospital. they hooked up the monitors and a nurse quickly and loudly asked another nurse to move a machine closer. i knew something was not right. she said, “i have no baby heart tones!” the nurses finally found heart tones around 40-50 beats per minute. they’re supposed to be well over 100. people started walking quickly and more and more people came in the room. except will. (he was waiting in the hallway, watching people quickly come and go, listening to nurses get on the phone and saying, “I need you in OR one NOW!”) finally a nurse walked by and let him in. he came and sat by my head. his eyes were red. he understood that things weren’t going well. in the midst of it all, as quickly as things were happening, i don’t know that i ever really realized the danger until much later.
a doctor who was at the hospital for another delivery came in to do my surgery. right as he was ready to start, my doctor walked in and made the incision. my epidural had not been in as long as we all would have liked at this point and the feeling was not gone. i remember being in a lot of pain and will touching my arm and saying, “it’s worth it, hon. it’s worth it.” then i felt the weight of our boy lifted from me, but i heard no cry. all i was listening for was his cry. i heard will ask the anesthesiologist, “when do you think they’ll get him out?” he answered, “actually, he’s been out for a couple minutes, he’s right over there, the nurses are working hard to get him to breathe.” i could hear voices saying, “come on baby, come on buddy…”
finally. finally. we heard him cry. the nurses quickly showed him to us and whisked him away to the NICU. then i heard my doctor say, “look at her placenta.” she explained that my placenta had abrupted (tore away from the uterine wall). when that happens the baby is without oxygen and it can be very dangerous for the baby and also dangerous for the mother because of potential hemorrhaging.
she closed my incision and we went to recovery. after checking on me, will went to see anthony. my doctor came in to check on me and then she went to see anthony. both came back with great report. that he was doing awesome and didn’t even need to be on oxygen – he was breathing great on his own. after monitoring me in recovery for a little while, my nurse wheeled me down to the NICU to see anthony briefly. he was 7lb 11oz, 21 inches long. and perfect.
then we went up to the postpartum floor. it was really strange to lay in the bed with will in the chair next to me, knowing we have 2 sons, and neither was really under our care. i didn’t sleep a wink that night. i was missing my boys. both of them.
at 8am, the NICU called and said i could nurse anthony at 11:00a if i was feeling up to it. my epidural was still in, so i wasn’t allowed out of the bed until it was out. i buzzed the nurse immediately. “please, call anesthesia and get my epidural out ASAP. i want to go see my baby.” they did and i did. and he was beautiful and perfect. he nursed well and over the next couple days he was a champ. he regulated his temperature and nursed well enough to get out of the warmer and off his IV.
he was discharged the same day we were, and then we got to introduce him to his big brother (who hadn’t been allowed in the NICU). i looked around at our family and thought to myself, “i am so happy in this moment. my life could not get any better. my heart is overflowing.” and we went home.