Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well even though Aed was still a bit fussy, through some perseverance I got him to eat better today and we found he thoroughly enjoys gumming a cold teething toy. I am thankful that we are finding ways to provide him relief and affirmation in our suspicions that he is having teething pain.

And you know what? He is darn cute. I am so thankful for that. Even when he is only making serious faces or is crying when it's time to eat, it's all pretty cute :) And it turns out he is really studly in yellow.

I am unbelievably thankful that it has been two whole days since my computer last went on the fritz and I have actually been able to get some work done!

I am also really thankful for all the encouraging women in my life. They are near and far, and they come and go in the frequency with which I interact with them, but they are many and they are wonderful. And the Lord uses them with his perfect timing.

I am thankful for Christmas music!

And, I am thankful for a stunning view of the sunset this evening, reminding me that this world, this life.. It is all bigger than me. I am a blip, a vapor that is here and then it is gone, but the Lord is forever. He is forever and he is faithful. That is something to be thankful for.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Well today was a tough day.

Exactly what you might expect after having just committed to finding things to be thankful for every day :)

We suspect based on these symptoms that we have a teething baby. He is doing every single one of those things all day long. Not exactly a walk in the park and kind of overwhelming when we have so many things to accomplish right now with the semester coming to a close!

But, there have certainly been things to be thankful for..

After a really discouraging morning and lots of prayer, the Lord answered one of my prayers by giving me grace to take on the remainder of the day with a refreshed attitude. I was able to find patience and compassion for my baby despite feelings of inadequacy and frustration in not knowing what was wrong with him.

Also, Ian has tons of stuff to get done right now, but he has been really helpful in running errands for me and making dinner while I tended to our fussy baby!

The dinner that Ian made was DElicious! One of my faves :)

And, after a day of little sleep and lots of fussing, I am SO thankful that Aed went down for bedtime without a hitch. It's hard to be uncomfortable and tired at the same time, but he is sleeping away - praise the Lord!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some of you may remember that I had a baby a few months ago..

(side note: I love saying things like that. When I do it in real life, I almost always get a bug-eyed look until the person I’m talking to realizes that I don’t actually think they had forgotten whatever monumental thing I was talking about)

As these things go, our lives drastically changed as soon as we brought him home and had a few hours for reality to set in. Did we love him? Yes. Were we amazed by him? Yes. Were there moments when we seriously freaked out in a what-were-we-thinking kind of way? Oh yes.

You see, having a baby establishes a new order of business in a household. Your life is no longer your own. Your days are no longer your own. Your nights are no longer your own. In fact, at the beginning, any precious time you might find for yourself is often interrupted and no longer your own. If you’re the mama, chances are all kinds of people have seen your boobs no matter how modest you really want to be. Not to mention the readjustment of your body after the mass exodus of all kinds of things.

I think what I’m saying is, if you’re new to it, you can expect having a baby to throw you into a tizzy for a while.

I loved being pregnant and imagining life with our little baby. The thing is, my imagination didn’t cover things like doing a million loads of laundry every day, getting spit up on about every 20 minutes round the clock, trying to figure out why my baby is still crying, wondering when I’m ever going to leave the house again because my baby takes forever to eat and it really hurts, and on and on and on.

It’s like any big anticipated change in life. It is amazing, but there are a lot of ‘unexpecteds’ thrown into the mix. How many of you can say that college is exactly like you thought it would be? Marriage – did that turn out to be the perfect, daisy-pickin experience you imagined it would be? Buying your first home.. Perhaps more trouble than you had thought? That job you’ve always dreamed of, maybe not exactly what you had hoped?

As humans, we have this amazing ability to focus. We focus and we dwell and we are driven. And that is good. But, often we lose out on really appreciating so much of our lives because we love to focus on all the ‘unexpecteds’. And then we have the whole ‘why didn’t I appreciate that while I had it??’ thing that inevitably happens when these big changes come and, you know, CHANGE everything.

In motherhood, I am finding that I am still human. Some days I really don’t like feeling like I live in a three hour cycle on repeat and can never get anything done. I don’t really like feeling like I am letting people down or I don’t measure up because I don’t have the free time to accomplish things that I used to. I don’t like having to sacrifice for my child and my husband because gosh darnit, I just want to do something I want to do for once and YOU go clean up the kitchen and feed the baby! (I often encourage Ian to start lactating so he can help out a bit more..) I want to maintain my carefree life of yesteryear and throw my responsibilities out the window.

But, you know what? The reality is, my responsibilities have morphed into something that cannot be thrown out the window on a whim. The other humans in my daily life are depending on me to help, support, and meet their needs. And these responsibilities will grow as our family grows. And you know what else? This is exactly what I was made to do.

I am not suggesting that I should lose who I am for the sake of these humans. No, I am suggesting that we function as a unit. That we encourage one another to be the individuals that we are and take the time to foster and grow the gifts and interests the Lord has given us. It is a give and take.

Herein lies my problem. I focus a lot on the take every day. I focus on what Aed takes from me and what Ian takes from me, what working from home takes from me, etc. As I feed Aed for the millionth time, I focus on all the things I wish I could do but can’t because I’m pinned to the couch again. As I wash Ian’s clothes for the three-millionth time (he’s been around longer than Aed, you see), I focus on how annoying it is that I am the only one that ever does laundry and no matter how many times I put it on the stairs, I am the only one that will take it upstairs and put it away without being asked.

I have learned that it is easy to focus on the take all day long. To consider how undeserving I am of such take, take, take. To know in my self-righteousness that I am too good for such tasks and I need to make this feeling clear by bringing a cloud of negativity over our household. Ian is the leader of our family, but often, because my hands are in most everything that goes on in our home, my attitude sets the stage for how positive or negative everyone’s attitudes are.

As you are reading this (if you still are..) you have probably noticed that it all seems really ungrateful and complaining and there are 47 things in the paragraphs above that I have to be thankful for that I just blew past like they weren’t even there. And.. TADA!! You have discovered the whole point of this post!

Rather than taking the easy route day after day and letting myself sink into the terrible state of selfishness and ingratitude, I have decided to challenge myself to set up an ebenezer every single day. While I actually do often consider the things I am thankful for, I want gratitude to be the automatic attitude of my heart every day and not the complaining spirit that habitually seeps in. I am going to take time at the close of every day to consider at least one thing that I am thankful for from that day and post it on this blog for the world to see in hopes that it will spur me on to recognize all the things I am given that I so easily overlook.

On this fair Thursday, My Daily Thankful is this: I am beyond thankful that I am not a single parent. Having Ian alongside me in this new role is so important. He builds my confidence, encourages me when I feel inadequate, takes Aed off my hands and plays with him as soon as he gets home, listens to me talk through my various concerns and quandaries when he could easily ignore me and accomplish something else with his time. I am thankful for Daddy :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tales from a 3-Month-Old – My Baptism, My New Clothes, and A Few New Tricks

Several weeks ago, we had our little man baptized. We couldn’t have been happier that it was Alasdair that got to perform the baptism, and he really made it such a special occasion for all of us. The Free Church has become very dear to our hearts and we are so grateful that this is the congregation Aed will know as his first. We are beyond humbled by the graciousness of the Lord in allowing us to shepherd Aed for this time. We hope and pray that the Lord will use us in his life to point him to Christ day after day, to come alongside him as he learns and explores who he is in this wide world. He got a special certificate memorializing the day, as well as a Children’s Bible that we are looking forward to diving into!

He was looking pretty snazzy as well! This is the same little white tux that his cousin, Ben, was baptized in just four weeks after he was born. We got quite a few comments about how much everyone loved the little outfit :) We might be a little biased, but we thought he was definitely the most handsome guy in the room.

Last week I decided it was finally time to make a clothing swap as he just barely fit into most of his 0-3 month clothes. I did it just in time too, as he proceeded to impress us by gaining an inch of length one week and almost 12 ounces of weight the next! Daddy has decided that all the weight Aed gains goes straight to his neck.. can’t imagine why he might think that..

I have to admit as I pulled onesies out from the back of his drawers, I got a little teary eyed folding them away into storage.. The outfit he wore home from the hospital, the super cute overalls he wore every other day, all the onesies he used to swim in that I can hardly snap anymore..

It did make the transition slightly easier when I began pulling 3-6 month outfits from the suitcase and found that they are CUTE! He has so many great outfits for this stage of his little life, and I can’t believe that he already fits into so many of them perfectly! I don’t think they’ll last as long as Mama hopes they will :) He is just growing like a weed!

Now.. onto the new tricks and some new photos!

First of all, he is a super active little baby. Constantly moving, kicking, wiggling, and reaching. He has started grabbing for things and holding on tight to them! He loves playing with his Freddie the Firefly, pulling on his legs and crunching his wings. Aed loves to stand up and bounce up and down. If we put him on his tummy, he pulls his legs up under him in a crawling position and tries to scoot himself forward (I seriously freaked out the first time he did this), fortunately, his head is so darn big I don’t think he’ll be crawling any time soon :) When he pulls his legs up under him, it essentially brings about a face plant. He has also started rolling from his back to his side, though we haven’t gotten the full roll onto the tummy yet. I think in my head I’m just expecting him to always be a baby, so every time I see something new it surprises me :)

And we can’t forget his growing vocabulary! :) He makes SO many different sounds now and has really upped his communication if he is happy or upset. He gives us squeals and funny little laughs, he makes it very clear how much his dislikes having his shirts put on, and I promise you, the other day he gave me a nice big ‘MAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ :)

A new favorite past time – hand sucking!

Also attempting to suck on anything he might have in his hand, including Freddie, my hands, rattles, clothes, etc. This seems to be soothing when he is tired, but it makes him unbelievably angry when he is actually trying to get to sleep and his hands keep ending up in his mouth (not to mention the fact that he also frequently gags himself by sucking on the fingers a little too enthusiastically). I’d laugh at him if it weren’t so sad (ok, maybe I’ve laughed a few times :) So, needless to say, he still gets swaddled for sleeping. This actually has come in handy because swaddling = sleep time, so we can wrap him up and get him to sleep fairly easily regardless of where we go. (Fortunately, Mama is now an expert swaddler and does it so well even our little Houdini rarely gets out!)

Another thing that seems to soothe..

Sucking on the lower lip. He started doing this out of the blue one day when I was changing his diaper, and he will do it pretty much any time he’s getting sleepy now. Ian and I both think it’s hilarious and yet another quirk of his little personality.

He has become very stable in the last several weeks and has to be very tired to really lose control of his head (or on his tummy, in which case, he tends to face plant, as previously mentioned). This has been really fun because it means we can play with him a little more freely. It also means he now sits very well in his Bumbo and has a new view of the world around him!

I plopped him in there the other day and he enjoyed it for his entire playtime! He quickly discovered how delicious the doggies on his outfit were and that became quite the distraction..

It turns out though, that they are much harder to chew on without the assistance of the hands..

He certainly keeps us on our toes and provides us with lots of laughs and so much joy. Ian frequently struggles with the desire to go get him up again for cuddles after we’ve put him in bed for the night :) Fortunately, despite his active nature, he has become a pretty cuddly baby, something Mama is very thankful for!