Many changes of season both physically and metaphorically seem to be upon our family right now.
I said a very tearful goodbye to my sister a couple weeks ago as she headed off to do an 1 year internship at a church in New Zealand. She is going to join my brother there that works full time at the church she will be interning with and while I absolutely know that she is going to love her time there… I already miss her dearly. I prayed and prayed that before she left home I would live close to her again. The Lord very graciously answered my prayer, but now of course I realize that there would have never been “enough” time… I would always selfishly want more. We had a small “Bon Voyage” party for her before she left.
We had games and a few small activities planned which never ended up happening because people just wanted to visit and talk and love on Hannah… which was perfect. I even held it together during the party and only started bawling once I arrived back home. Win.
I made some decorations themed around hot air balloon travel (Hannah loves hot air balloons) which I then forgot to photograph at all. Trevor snapped a couple pictures with his phone before everything got taken down for the night so that was nice, but not the best quality ever. oh well.
these were probably the biggest flop of the night. I had helium balloons that I foolishly thought would be strong enough in their buoyancy to hold up the thinest tule that I could find at the store… I had seen something on pinterest of course. Well, the idea was to cut off the basket handles and make it look like a hot air balloon. Well, long story short, the standard size balloon is not made to hold up even the lightest object and I resorted to holding them up with twigs I gathered. It didn’t really look like a hot air balloon or… anything really. I made one and started laughing… but what can you do? It was the day of the party and I didn’t have anything else planned. I’m not sure it falls into the pintrocity category, but it sure as heck didn’t look like a hot air balloon!
Oh my Hannah. Be brave baby girl… You were made for greatness.
If you’re anything like me you tend to be a little wary of change. Even in my anticipation of change I tend to cling to my familiarity; kissing the old goodbye and greeting the new with a stiff handshake.
We are also saying goodbye to Trevor’s childhood home that we have been renting from his mom since we moved to Michigan which is so bittersweet. It has been such a great home for our family to live for the last year and a half, but we are excited to build memories in a place that we can truly make our own.
We have been on the lookout here and there for houses to buy in the last several months. It’s been a while in coming for us as we had a certain downpayment goal that we wanted to hit before we purchased another home. But a couple weeks ago we decided to go look at an older home that had just come on the market in our desired neighborhood and we just fell in love. We love to do projects, but we weren’t necessarily wanting to take on an entire home remodel. This house felt perfect for us. It’s also ideally located about a block from the park, a few blocks from the lake, library etc.
It’s an older home with the charm or quirks that an old home brings, but the first two floors have been completely remodeled. We will paint and decorate, but focus our TLC on the basement and third floor. Everything has been happening so quickly and we close on the house in 1 week… about three and a half weeks after we first walked through the house. I will be showing our updates as we do them and I can’t wait to share them with you! My pinterest boards are brimming and I can’t wait to tackle new projects as we make this house into a home!
Our house is overflowing with boxes and chaos as the moment as we get ready for this move. The kids are having fun making forts from the masses of boxes and have yet to discover that a lot of boxes of toys have been “packed” for Vinnies (the local resale shop).
I’ve done the majority of the packing during nap times and in the evenings and I’ve discovered NPR’s Serial series on podcast… I’m OBSESSED. Oh man, did Adnan do it? Did jay? You need to listen to it now. So good.
Even in the midst of all this clutter right now, it’s been so good to be able to sort through our things and start to take stock of all the things we need and don’t need. We still have saved a lot of things that we don’t need, but many boxes of unused things will be given away this week. It’s so good to clear out the excess and seems to be a theme of my life at the moment. Find the valuable, lost what you don’t need… lighten the load.
Ok, off to pack more, and obviously listen to the next episode of “Serial”. Genuinely glad I discovered this after the final episode had aired and I don’t have to wait for the next week for the next part of the puzzle. Aint nobody got time for that.
Pizza, popcorn and pancakes are the three P’s that bookend the nighttime and morning of any great childhood sleepover. Two of our nephew’s were in town this week staying with my parents and Judah and Eleanor soaked up their time with them like they had never had friends around before. They are the first generation of cousins in our family and I’m excited and curious to see how their relationship grows in the coming years.
We wrapped up our week with playtime and pancakes. Confession: up till a few years ago I just couldn’t even eat pancakes. It’s my dad’s favorite morning breakfast, and I know that this is probably the whiniest thing I’ve ever said, because HELLO, how many kids have their mom cook a hot breakfast for them all the time?!, but I just got to the point somewhere in my teenage years where I couldn’t eat one. more. pancake.
However, my husband really likes them, so I finally went on a kick of finding the perfect pancake recipe… I tried tons of recipes and I think this one is the best. This batter is great for waffles as well. So here is my perfect, super fluffy always perfect pancake recipe!
1 1/2 Cup Milk
4 Tbsp white vinegar (this sours the milk to make it like buttermilk)
2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp melted butter
Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside. You can substitute lemon juice for vinegar if need be. In separate bowls, combine dry ingredients and melt your butter. Mix it all together. It is a really thick batter, so if you would like a slightly thinner pancake, thin it out with some milk.
So about 2 weeks ago I completely lost my mind and decided to potty train my two year old. Actually its going really well now! After nearly a week of no accidents I’m starting to feel fairly confident that it actually worked, by jingo! I decided to start after talking with a friend who was thinking of starting with her son who is a few weeks older than Judah. I had some good friends who had told me to not even attempt to potty train a boy until he was closer to 3, but this conversation got me curious. I came home and read several blogs as well as googled lots of “how do I know when my kid is ready…” articles. I felt like this article provided a pretty good checklist. Judah seemed to fulfil pretty much all the suggested guidelines, so I figured, eh, why not give it a shot?
I’m not about to write a book any time soon on my 10 sure fire methods or anything, but here is what has seemed to work for us:
Be consistent! I honestly did not realize how hard this process was going to be on me until we had already started. If I had had the opportunity, I would have probably tried to have Eleanor watched by someone else for a day or two because I needed to be SO aware of Judah. Especially the first 3 days. Day 3 was by far our hardest day. The excitement and novelty of the potty chair had worn off, and both Judah and I were pretty tired of the constant trips to sit on his potty chair. He had 2 accidents on day 3 and both were because I got distracted for a couple minutes. I also ended up staying home from a night out that we had planned because I felt like he needed me there to stay consistent with the training. I’m really glad I did, because once we got over that day, it became much, much easier.
Treats! We cycled through various treat options before landing on the winner: fruit snacks. For a while we were giving him one every time he “tried” to go to the potty. Poor kid was being shuffled back to his little seat every 15-20 minutes that first day or two. But then he caught the jist of it, and we were off. Also, the first couple days, I bought a ton of salty snacks that I knew he would like (goldfish, pretzels, crackers etc) and then loaded up on the fruit juice. Normally if he has juice I water it down… not for this week. I wanted him to be thirsty and enjoy what he was drinking because I wanted that little bladder to fill up a LOT. Plus, these first couple days were kind of hard for him, so I wanted the rest of the day to be filled with fun treats. He got one fruit snack if he tried to go; two if he pees; three if he poops. It was raining sugar in our house… and I think it was totally worth it. I didn’t feel like this was the time for me to stay super principled about the amount of sugar my kid is allowed daily. For the record, most of the time we eat healthy, but c’mon… pick your battles, right? I have a friend who’s daughter loves stickers, so they drew a picture of underwear and everytime she used her potty, she got to decorate the knickers. Within reason, if it works for your kid, then I would do it! I also let him watch a ton of cartoons on my laptop as long as he was sitting on the potty those first couple days. Again, I just felt like a lot of the normal treats that we limit in our household were worth splurging on during that first week.
Like I said though, the first few days we were on the seat all. the. time. So, mostly he spent the day naked. This was also a new wondrous experience. He spent a while strutting around the living room and admiring his willy from all reflective surfaces our house offers. I also didn’t put a diaper on him when we went places. I never chastised him if he did have an accident, but I wanted him to know the feeling that he had wet himself and even the hassle of having to change his clothes when he might be in the middle of a game that he was playing. I would just say, “uh oh, we wet ourselves, we have to change our clothes now. Next time you have to go potty, let mommy know, ok?” Mostly we just highly praised him whenever he went to the bathroom. We told him we were so proud of him, we would call nana and tell her the news… we made a big deal of his achievement!
Also, Judah really likes the PBS show, Daniel Tiger, which is super cute and based one the world of Mr. Rogers. They are always singing little catchy jingles that go along with whatever lesson they are learning in the episode. And they have a potty training episode! We have sang, “if you have to go potty, stop and go right away! Then flush and wash and be on your way!” so much that Judah sings along with us. We stream it off of netflix.
We made a special Target run where we picked up his little (frog??) toilet and he got to pick out what kind of “big boy” underwear he wanted to wear.
He is perfectly capable of saying, “train”, but he has decided that these are only to be referred to as his, “choo choo” underwear. I think having a potty seat for him was really beneficial for the training aspect of that first week. He isn’t really scared of going on a larger toilet now, but I think in the beginning, it was really great to have a potty seat that could be in whatever location we were currently playing in, and also, I think when he pooped it really helped for him to feel like he could brace his feet on the floor.
Seriously, I cannot get over how cute his little butt looks in his “choo choo” underwear.
We have slowly fazed out snacks until he really isn’t getting them anymore. We didn’t really take them away, we just stopped offering them unless he remembered. He doesn’t ask for them anymore, so that’s just fine with me.
After a few days I asked him less and less. And I believed him when he said he didn’t have to go. We were nearly a week into it before he actually came up to me to tell me he had to go potty. He was pinching the front of his pants and said, “mommy, snack! mommy, snack!” haha. I still ask him when I think about it and remind him before we go out anywhere, but he’s doing awesome, and generally will tell me when he needs to go now! I’m really proud of our little boy and super excited for the money we will be saving on diapers!!
This is Judah getting annoyed with me for taking too many pictures and saying, “cheese”.
What worked/didn’t work for you in potty training?
Every summer Trevor and I find our “summer jam”. Its the song that we turn up when we are driving down the road and sing a little louder because, well, its our summer jam! This year, Judah chose the song for us. This is his favorite song… the one that earned its place as our 2013 jam because Judah breaks out his best dance moves and wiggles for this song. He loves it. In honor of our little boys second birthday, Trevor put together a video for him. Dance strong little man.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure how we got to 2. He has made the leap from baby to toddler to little man with so much grace that it feels as though we suddenly landed in here with a boy who teases and counts and is so eager to “help” mommy or daddy in our every day tasks.
And just a side note: I’m seriously sick of the phrase, “terrible two’s”. Judah is at my favorite age so far right now. I’m not saying that we won’t face challenges, but I love the things that he is learning and growing in right now! I love the way he can communicate with us. The words he chooses and the ideas he forms for things. Since the day we found out we were having a boy I’ve waited with anticipation to watch some of the things that he’s doing now. I love watching him push his cars around on the floor. And he just knows the kind of sounds that they should make. I love that he now wants to help pick his own clothes and decide on the cartoon he gets to watch before bedtime.
The way he shows me the sounds that thunder makes and how excited he gets when I let him jump in puddles or play in the rain. His fingers stretched to the sky reminds me of the joy I need to find in the small things. And his smile starts in his eyes… I love that smile… it starts in his eyes and makes me feel like I’m on the inside of a wonderful joke that we have shared.
I cherish the small amounts of baby left in him. The way that he is still shy when he gets around new people and will sit quietly in my lap… the safe place. But I also cherish the moment when he tentatively steps away from me and goes to play with his new friend. Because at this age, there are no enemies; only friends you haven’t met yet. There is so much to learn from our children.
I can’t believe that God gave Judah to us. I will never stop thanking him for that.
Trevor and I had an awesome date night earlier this week (hello grandparent baby sitters!!) where we walked along the beach and made our way down to the international food festival that comes in every year for the 4th of July week. I seriously love this city, but it does make me laugh about going to an “international” food festival, where all of the stalls are local food vendors selling a marked up version of a mass produced item from their normal menu. Still… There is something about the experience and the atmosphere that makes it so fun. Wasn’t it Humphrey Bogart who said, “a hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the ritz”? And as Trevor reminded me last night, “Heather! Its awesome because you pay with tokens” Humphrey and my husband… they get it. Its all the little things that add up to make a memory.
We made a lot of memories this week. We went to the Marquette City parade, which for a small-ish city was actually pretty decent.
We managed to find a space that had a good view and didn’t have a lot of other kids around us… Stick our cute nearly-two-year-old out on the curb, and boom, we were in candyland paradise. I have picked through most of the better cheap candy by this point so we now have about 3000 tootsie rolls to finish before they go bad. Given the fact that I think they are comprised mostly of wax, I think we have a bit of time on our hands.
After we left the parade we grilled out with our family and generally overate. It was a great day.
Ella with her uncle nay-nay
Holidays in general are taking on all new meaning for me now that I get to see the wonder and excitement of these experiences through my kids eyes. Eleanor is still too little to get anything out of a special day yet… for her, as long as mommy is around, everyday is special and worthy of gummy smiles.
Judah however, is old enough to get caught up in the excitement. He was thrilled with the parade although a few of the people in costumes were enough for him to slowly back up into my lap and slip his hand into mine.
But the fireworks… no contest were the highlight of the day.
Before they really kicked off several smaller ones were lit by people nearby and Judah was beside himself, “light! light! Mommy, light!”. Once the big fireworks started he was more intimated by the booms that you felt in your chest. I placed my hands over his ears and watched his little mouth form an unheard, “oh wow”.
I’m grateful for this country where I can worship God, love my family and find our memories along the way. Happy 4th of July week everybody.
I’ve started far too many posts with… its been too long since I’ve blogged… blah, blah, blah. So, I won’t go on with that, but we have had so many changes happen the last couple months, that its hard to catch up with it all. Sometimes I wish we could grab time by the tail and just slow it down a bit. The truth is that I AM crazy busy with my littles, and the truth is also that I am prone to procrastinate when I don’t absolutely HAVE to do something. The blog falls into the category of things that if it doesn’t get done, nobody will suffer bodily harm, so often it gets chopped from my to-do list.
I’m sure many people who know us, but incase you haven’t heard, the Flynn’s are moving back to Michigan! I hope Michigan is ready for this much awesomeness… or, you know, something more humble-ish.
We sold our house in Memphis in February. We have felt for a long time like we would like to move back to Michigan and closer to our families. We also feel very connected to a church there, but for a long time, God didn’t give us the “go ahead” to list our house. Finally, last fall we felt like we were released to list our house. Our realtor had warned us that it would probably take quite a while to sell the house given the current market, so we weren’t really discouraged when we didn’t have any viewings right away. Then all of a sudden, we had two viewings, and three offers on the table. Did I mention that all 3 offers came on the same day? Long story short, we were given a full price offer. Our appraisal came back lower than our asking price, but we were able to throw some savings at it and get out of our house. Thank you, God.
It was a sad process. Saying goodbye to our home represented saying goodbye to a lot of things for me. It was the largest obstacle holding us down in Memphis, and represented the good and bad parts of why we wanted to stay and go. It was our first house. A lovely place that became beautiful in my eyes as time, memories and our personal touches made it a home. Both of our children were born in Memphis and brought home to Coleman Avenue.
I cried as I packed up our boxes, laughing at my tears and chastising myself for growing too attached… But more than anything, I knew this was the beginning of the end of our time here in Memphis. Its true that I’ve never felt particularly loyal to this city… I know this is the dumbest, lamest excuse in the the book, but the weather absolutely kills me here. I do NOT handle the heat and humidity well at all and I’ve always been so impressed with the people that really rallied behind this city, seeing the diamond in the rough. Generally, though I’m ashamed to admit it, I only saw coal.
But the people. We LOVE our friends and family here and will miss them so very dearly. Goodbyes truly make me long for heaven and I get some small glimpse into God’s heart and the reason that Christ endured the cross. I hate separation too. I can’t wait for heaven.
Its amazing how God can bless you with friendships that truly challenge you and build you up. Community, when done correctly, is one of the most beautiful things that God has created. The fabric of our friendships has been tightly woven with prayer, encouragement, and laughter.
I have realized though that the move itself has been easier for me than anytime we have relocated in the past. Trevor, Judah, Eleanor. These people are my home.
There is so much more to say, but the gist is that we are moving, we have some mixed feelings, but mostly we are excited. I can’t wait to be near our families… have them love on our children and share life together. Marquette is a wonderful place to raise a family and we are so excited to settle down roots there!
There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
-Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith
Last month, our twins would have been 2.
I know miscarriage happens to a lot of women– you find out just how many when they emerge from the corners of your life to give you words of encouragement as it happens to you; but sharing the experience doesn’t negate the terrible loneliness you feel– because, there are some kinds of fire you must walk through alone.
“Do you think about them mom?.. the babies you lost?” I asked my mom one day, not too long ago. My mom has had three miscarriages. She paused and then said, “yes, I think about them. I remember when I would have been due, and I still get bluesy when their due dates come around”, she answered. “Even all these years later”.
I still think about our babies when this time of the year rolls in. Wondering what they would have been like, looked like, sounded like… our precious children, born into the arms of Jesus.
We had moved back from the UK in May of 2010. We had been working at a music and bible college over there for 3 years and moving back was hard. Really hard. We basically were in a season of decisions. Do we move back to the U.K.? Do we stay here (in Memphis)? Or do we go somewhere else entirely? After a lot of prayer we finally made the decision to stay in the states. During this time, God kept bringing up to me back to the story of the Israelites entering the promise land in Joshua 4.
1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
I felt like he was saying to me, “you may be in the middle of the Jordan, but pick up the stones in front of you. Make preparations to worship me now, while you are still in the middle of the river… In the middle of your crisis point. Make an altar that you can look back on and remember that I am faithful” I thought God was telling me this because the move back to the states was so hard and heartbreaking to say goodbye to friends who had become like family.
In July we found out we were pregnant. We were thrilled… and terrified. In one sense, it came at the worse possible time. We had just left a country with free health care and we had no insurance to speak of in this country, let alone secure jobs or a 5 year plan. We didn’t have a 6 month plan, but we were so excited. We waited to tell anyone for 3 weeks because we had planned to take a trip to Michigan to see our families and we wanted to tell them in person. Those 3 weeks felt like they took ages. I counted down the hours and days and dreamed and dreamed of what the future held. I had the room decorated and several name options already picked out in my mind. I could already see them in my mind, feel the weight in my arms. I was ecstatic.
This was taken the night we saw those two pink lines.
Finally, it was time to drive to Michigan. We made the trip with in a Chevy Blazer that Trevor’s dad had given us when we moved back to the U.S. The air conditioning was broken and it was unbelievably hot. I remember the sweat running down my back and shivering– then laughing because for a brief moment I felt relief from the heat.
We crept across the states, and as we heading north, we slowly started feeling some release from the heat. I felt like I had finally figured out why the south has become the bible belt; its because every summer, all the southerners get a tiny taste of hell, and its enough to cause at least a mild case of repentance.
My parents met us in Wisconsin where Trevor would be staying to work for a few days and we were able to joyfully announce our news to my parents and sister. I left with them while Trevor stayed to work for a festival and we talked the whole way back… dreams for the future, who the baby would look like, names etc. etc.
I had been at my parents for 2 days when I went to the bathroom and noticed some spotting. I frantically checked everything as fast as I could but there didn’t seem to be any more blood. I yelled for my mom to come upstairs. She came up and her smile faltered a bit as she saw my face. “What is it?” she asked. “I found some blood” I said and showed her the tissue. She looked at it for a moment and then looked up at me, “don’t worry honey, I’m sure its nothing– but we will maybe take you to the care clinic just to get you checked out. You may have just overdone it a bit”. Her voice was steady but I saw a trace of uncertainty in her eyes that was enough to cause me to go into a mild panic in my mind.
We were able to make an appointment at a pregnancy services clinic and though they were beyond kind, I hated being there. I hated the colors and smells of a perfectly lovely waiting room. I hated that I was taking a pregnancy test again… even though it slowly came up positive. I felt a bit better after that and I called Trevor with the news. They were going to give me an ultrasound a few days later once Trevor got back.
Nothing else happened for two days and I felt the fear uncurl in my stomach and excitement grow again. Soon Trevor was done with the festival he had been running sound for and came to Michigan where we told his family of our news.
Fast forward to the day of the ultrasound. I sat anxiously at the edge of the examination bed, clutching the thin hospital sheet around me and the backs of my dangling feet thumping periodically against the drawers of the examination bed. I’ve never been able to figure out why they don’t make anything but stirrups for you to put your feet on. Finally the ultrasound technician came in and introduced herself. I laid back and she squirted the warmed jell on my stomach and started to look around. Trevor and I glanced at each other with nervous grins. She tapped on her keys and then looked at both of us. “Well, here’s the thing… I’m seeing two babies”. “what?!” I shouted. I sat strait up and grabbed the monitor. “but… but”… I floundered. “We only ordered one!”. Yes, yes. I know that’s the dumbest thing I could have said, but there you have it. Trevor just had this stupid grin on his face. “You sure there are just two in there?” he asked. I couldn’t believe it. twins. She told us they were in the same sack, meaning that they were identical. Twins. I had never expected this news. She took us to another room of the pregnancy services center and gave us two small blankets for our babies. Our babies.
I held the blankets in my arms stroking the silken edge of the fabric as we made our way over to my dad’s office. We walked in and he smiled. “how’d it go? Did you get to see the baby?”. There was a pause and then. “babies.” I said, holding up two fingers. “She said there were 2”. “No way!” he shouted. He started laughing. I should explain that my brother had twins earlier that year, so I think we all figured he had won the lottery on that front and the rest of us were safe. We showed him the ultrasound and then made the rounds calling family to tell them the news.
Around this time I started spotting blood again. It was just a bit at first, but it didn’t stop. We hadn’t told very many people at this point, but I started asking for those we had told to pray with us. My best friend Louise arrived from the U.K. to spend a few weeks with us. A week later the three of us drove back to Tennessee stopping in Illinois and Indiana to see family. All the time, the symptoms were getting worse, but my mind just refused to believe what I knew my body was telling me… I was losing them. I had them for so little time and they were slipping away from me already. I frantically googled anything that would give me hope. Stories of women who had bled and remained pregnant, but deep down, I knew why God had been bringing me back to Joshua 4… telling me to remember his goodness and prepare my heart to worship from the middle of a crisis point.
Two mornings after we arrived back in Tennessee I woke up at 3 in morning and I knew without a doubt that I was losing our babies as waves of contractions came on me. I clutched my stomach and sobbed into my pillow. I went and sat in the living room because I didn’t want to wake Trevor. I knew he would hold me… that he would love me and share this with me, but selfishly I didn’t want to tell him yet. It made it more real, somehow.
Finally I just went into our bathroom and sat in the bathtub with the shower running. Draining and filling it up over and over again as the water grew lukewarm, and then cold. I just cried and cried. I begged God to make me be pregnant again. To make me wake up and it all just be a dream. “Why did you allow me to be pregnant in the first place?” I yelled at Him.
I stayed in that bathtub for I don’t even know how long… hours possibly. The hot water ran out and I just waited for our water heater to refill and reheat, over and over again. Finally, I had no more tears for that morning and nothing left to say that could be put into words. I pulled the plug up and just sat there as my body became heavier as the water drained from the tub. And I swear, in the silence, I heard God cry with me. I told him, “God, I don’t feel like worshipping you. I’m close to not feeling anything right now. But I do worship you… I don’t know if saying those words is enough, but I know you are good. I will say you are good when I don’t feel it. I will put my children on the altar and someday I trust I will look back and say that you are faithful”
I came out into our living room to find Louise reading her bible. “Will you pray with me Lou? I… I lost the babies”. We cried together and she prayed words that were balm on my soul. I don’t remember what exactly she said, but truth was spoken. Love was spoken. I remembered things about God that I had forgotten in the darkness. This is why community and Godly friendships are necessary.
One of the hardest times for me was when Trevor came home that afternoon. He asked how I was doing and I just shrugged with tears in my eyes. “As good as can be expected I guess. I think the worst of my miscarriage is over now”. He just stood there. “You are sure you are having a miscarriage?” he asked. It had never occurred to me that he didn’t know for certain just because I knew for certain. “Yes, love… I’m sure”. Then he crumpled. Oh, to watch your soul mate in pain.
The next few days were hard. We got a congratulations card in the mail that said, “a baby changes everything” and well intentioned friends called and asked about details I wasn’t ready to talk about yet. I also didn’t expect the shame I felt. Like some part of me had failed at being a woman. Even at the time I knew that was foolish and a lie, but I still felt it. I also struggled with resentment towards any woman that had ever not wanted her baby or friends that complained about their pregnancies as I stared with envy at their beautiful round bellies.
But God is good. He is good. And every day the haze of my pain cleared a little bit more and I remembered his goodness. I remembered his beauty. Joy became a little easier to find until it wasn’t a hard choice.
C.S. Lewis is my favorite author. He is a master of marrying deep principles with simple concepts. One of my favorite books from the Chronicles of Narnia series is the Horse and His Boy. Its about two talking horses and two children that escape captivity together. They finally arrive in safety at the house of a hermit only to be terrified by meeting Aslan, (Lewis’s Lion portrayal of Christ) in the garden of the safe house.
Then Hwin (one of the horses), though shaking all over, gave a strange little neigh, and trotted across to the Lion.
“Please,” she said, “you’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”
And that is the crux of what I came down to. I walked through the fire and arrived where I had always been: joined with the frailty of humanity, and dependent on the grace of God.
I had never learned so much about my relationship with God or the choice of joy before. I had never learned more about worship.
I wrote this in my journal a week after I miscarried: I can’t wait to meet our children someday. But I choose to raise my ebenezer. The Lord is faithful.
Its been cold in Memphis the last month, which I have loved (sorry native southerners). I waited so long for it to actually cool off and I’m loving the fires, hot drinks and fuzzy socks.
We had one day of warm weather last week while Trevor’s mom was in town and we took advantage of it by breaking out our new double stroller for the first time and meeting up with our brother and sister in law and their dog, Riley, at a local dog park. Judah LOVED it. SO much to look at, so many dogs to point out and watch. He made sure we didn’t miss a single one.
I am excited to have slightly warmer weather though because it means I can get out and walk/jog off the rest of this pregnancy weight. I’m not really a fan of jogging, but I’m even less of a fan of having a muffin top, sooo jogging wins.
So, I’m within eight pounds of pre-pregnancy weight, woop woop! I really wasn’t scared about weighing a bit more… mostly, I’m just scared of the dreaded frontal butt syndrome. Millions of women suffer from this in silence every year. I will not be a statistic, people! Ahem… At least I don’t really have to deal with the high wasted jeans that my mothers generation had to contend with, that called so much unneeded attention to this tricky post-pregnancy area.
Because of the nice cool weather we have been indoors quite a bit, but I’m just enjoying my kids and finally finding a pattern and routine out of the chaotic transition from 1 child to 2. Judah is 18 months now, and I’m sure even if we didn’t have another baby, that the age he’s at would bring many challenges of its own. He has received Ella so wonderfully and been amazingly sweet with her. That, in and of itself is such a huge answer to prayer! But he has definitely started acting out in other areas and its been difficult to discern whether that was out of a desire for attention or simply a new phase that we needed to deal with.
I remember feeling that 5-7 months with Judah was a very difficult stage, because he wasn’t crawling yet, but was absolutely desperate to be mobile. As soon as he started crawling, I felt like I had my happy baby back. And essentially, that’s a lot of where I feel like we’ve been with his language for the last couple months. He’s getting to the point right now where he’s desperate to start communicating with us, and when he can’t get his point across through his limited words or signs he gets frustrated.
He has started saying and repeating a lot of words lately though, which has been really fun. What’s hilarious though, is how he can start off saying something really clearly, and as we ask him to repeat it, it becomes worse and worse. For example:
Me: “play doh”,
Judah: “pay doh”
Me: “yeah! play doh!”
Judah: “pah dah”,
Me: “play doh… ?”
Judah: “paah deeeeahhhhala”
Me: “how did this happen?!”
I’m finding that for Judah’s needs right now we function so much better if we have some sort of planned activity to fill part of our day with. This is giving me a good kind of nudge to make plans with people that I’m always meaning to make plans with, get out and go to the the park, go on a walk etc. I think its way too easy to become shut up within my little home and activities, especially when it feels like there is so much to do during the day already, but generally I find that when I push myself to be active, to see a friend, to get outside, to do the grocery shopping etc… these activities are life giving and very rewarding.
Ella has been such a content baby so far, but even the most relaxed infant still required lots of time and attention. I’m happy to oblige and I’m slowly learning how to juggle playtime, nursing, meals, naps, baths etc for two kids throughout the day. I’m loving our little family right now and finding joy in the transition.
Things that bring me joy lately are:
Time with Trevor — this is a constant, but still something that I’m always grateful for.
Saturday mornings… For over a year now, Trevor has taken Judah on Saturday mornings and declared it his “Daddy time” with his son and now with Ella too. I know that this is half because he is an amazing father, but also half because he’s an awesome husband it allows me a chance to sleep in, or read something, or just generally have some alone time. Did I mention that a lot of times he wakes me up with a latte? Tell your men to take notes, ladies.
The little, “ahh” Judah lets out after he’s taken a drink, like he’s on a coco-cola commercial. Gets me every time.
Falling more in love every day with my beautiful violet eyed daughter. Her eyes may change in the coming months, and whatever they become, I’m sure it will be my new favorite shade, but for now, I’m enjoying the bluish purple hues.
Co-sleeping. No, I don’t sleep quite as well as I do without my child in bed with me. But its one of those give a little and receive a lot scenarios that so often come with parenting. The joy of how her tiny body fits next to mine. Her tiny chest rising and falling next to me and the sweetness of knowing how calm and comforted she is because she is next to her mommy. Thank you God.
Judah’s jumping and dancing… is there anything better than a dancing toddler?
Ellas beautifully delicate hands. Oh my word.
It has been so good to be home. And even though I wish it were under different circumstances, I LOVE getting to spend all this time with my little sister, Hannah. I was two months shy of 11 when she was born and I remember awaiting her arrival with nearly the same anticipation that I have had for my own little ones. My mom was 42 when she had Hannah and I watched both of my parents go through mini midlife “how-could-this-happen” crisis’ before my eyes. My mom was incredibly sick through her pregnancy with my sister. They had hoped to wait until she was closer to 16 weeks to break the news to us kids because my mom had gone through a few miscarriages before. I remember when I was about 8 and she had a miscarriage; my dad sat us all down and told us that Mom had lost a baby and she would need some extra care and love from us in the coming days because she needed to take it easy. I remember wandering around the backyard and finally sitting on the edge of our patio watching my shoe laces arc up and down as I kicked my legs back and forth; my young mind tried to absorb thoughts as distant and unknown to me as death and even scarier: the thought that my parents might not be invincible. I didn’t really share in the grief though because I hadn’t known anything was happening before we had been told of the tragedy. My neighbor friend came over to play with me, and after I solemnly explained with my 8 year old words what my dad had told us, we had a few moments of sad silence together before running off to play in her treehouse.
So, all that to say, I think my parents were aware that it would hit us much harder if my mom were to lose the baby since we were older; thus, 16 weeks was the goal. But my mom was so sick that my older brother Adam and I knew that something was up. I remember Adam and I sitting in my bedroom one day having a talk that went something like, “either mom is dying… or she’s pregnant. I wish they would just let us know one way or the other.” In retrospect, its funny that they thought they could even wait till 16 weeks because my mom hid very little on her 4 foot 9 inch frame and was showing almost immediately.
We were ecstatic when they finally told us she was pregnant… partly because it meant that mom wasn’t deathly ill, but mostly for me because it meant I was getting a real life doll to play with. I went through every piece of clothing we were given, carefully picking out what I would dress her up in. In my mind, it was always a “her”. This was in the 90’s and before the days of automatic 20 week screenings and gender reveal parties, but I prayed so hard for a little sister that I just felt deep down that God would surely give me one. I’m not sure that God felt the need to give me a sister because of my self-centered prayers, but he gave me one anyway in spite of them. “Hannah Marie!!” my dad announced joyfully on the phone the night she was born and I can still remember my friend Becky and I jumping up and down and screaming for several minutes. Her dad poked his head in her room and grinned saying, “that must mean its a girl”.
Because of the age gap, Hannah often felt like half sister and half child to me. Because of this, I’ve always felt like it would be fun to have a few children now and another few in another decade. I’m sure I will probably feel different on the backside of the next decade, but it still sounds like fun at the moment.
The hardest part of leaving for college, without a doubt, was leaving her at home when I moved across the country to Tennessee. I was sad to leave the rest of my family for sure, but it ached a bit more knowing that I was going to miss so much of her growing up experience. Part of my heart stayed in Michigan with a little girl whose two huge brown eyes filled with tears every time I called home. Mom would hand the phone to Hannah and there would be a good 30 or 40 seconds of silence as she tried to get words out. Finally a breathy and high pitched, “hi” would come across the line while I replied in an overly bright voice to cheer her up while I quickly wiped away tears of my own.
I have watched from a distance as she has grown into a beautiful young woman who still possessed the most beautiful brown eyes in the world. It has been such a blessing to watch our relationship turn into genuine friendship. We are very similar in many ways, but different enough to learn things from one another. I love that we both love to make things beautiful, to decorate and create and sing. Her spirit is much more gentle and naturally sympathetic than mine is though… and I… umm… well, I am a better speller. So see? Things all even out in the long run, right? 😉
When I went on bedrest I couldn’t fully comprehend how it was all going to work. It just didn’t seem like an option with a toddler, but it has worked out amazingly well. Hannah is such a natural with Judah and has worked so hard to take care of our sweet son and our household with a servant like heart that I only hope I also emulate. I can’t wait to be off bedrest, but the silver lining to this cloud has been definitely been stolen time with my sweet little sister.
Its overwhelming to think of the ways that God blesses us with different significant people in our lives. Some are born in our families… others are brought in by bonds formed that grow stronger than blood. Either way, it goes to show that God meant for us to function together, to love one another and to be challenged and made more beautiful through these interactions.
Its definitely an added blessing when these people turn out to be so easy to love though.