Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Loving the Little Years

I am so thankful that a friend of mine, Laura, so highly recommended a new book to me. She quoted a few lines on her personal blog a few months ago and it completely intrigued me. I finally got around to ordering myself a copy.

I am oh-so-thankful that I did.

If you are the mother of a little one, or plan to become one some day, I implore you to read "Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches" by Rachel Jankovic (find it here). I have devoured it over the last two days, and am almost finished.

There have been several parts that have spoken directly to me, but I was reading today during my lunch hour and my heart strings were pulled so tightly that I had to share with you, my two very loyal readers :) (forgive the length, but I felt it needed to be shared in its entirety...)

The world has a very muddled perception of "self." They think and tell us to think that we are all little separate entities who might need to go off somewhere to get to know "ourselves," or that a mother needs to get back to her corporate job to be herself again. Marriages break up because people don't know who they are anymore. They need to find themselves.

But the Christian view of self is very different, and you need to make sure that it is the one you have. We are like characters in a story. Our essential self is not back in the intro, waiting to be rediscovered. Who you are is where you are. When you are married, your essential self is married. As the story grows, so does your character. Your children change you into a different person. If you suddenly panic because it all happened so fast and now you don't recognize yourself, what you need is not time alone. What you need is your people. Look out -- look at the people who made you what you are -- your husband and your children. Study them. They are you. If you want to know yourself, concentrate on them.

Those women who try to find themselves by stripping away the "others" will find that they are a very broken little thing. This will lead them to resent the people who they think made them that way. She may say, "I used to be so energetic, but all these people take, take, take from me and now I have no time to just be me!" And the world gathers around and comforts her and says she needs some time to follow her dreams.

But the Christian woman needs to see, "I used to be so boring! Now my character has some depth, some people to love, some hardships to bear. Now I have some material to work with." A Christian woman's view is always forward and never back. Your identity is to be found and resting in other people.

This was so profound to me. I never thought about the fact that as we grow and change, our true selves do too. We don't each have a previous, better version of ourselves that somehow gets forgotten in all the mess of living. That person no longer exists, and I for one am very thankful for that truth.

I am honored to be Lance's wife and Andrew's mother. Those roles make me my true self. The person I was before was fine and dandy -- but God knew this time and place would come, and that I would be fully me by being full in them (and in Him). I hope and pray that I will have the honor to be the mother to more children someday, and when that happens I will become an even greater version of myself because I will get to know myself as their mother too.

I am so grateful for this book, and can't wait to see what other lessons God will reveal to me through its pages.

Thanks Laura!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thoughts on Life and Mommyhood

This may seem like a completely random and rambling post... but that's okay. The two of you who read this know me well enough to know that's just how I roll :)

- Everyone told me this would be the case, but I didn't realize how true it was: every single stage that Andrew has entered has been my "favorite." When he was still little, but just starting to look around and be aware and was becoming more interactive, I told someone that it was just "the best" age. She told me to wait until the next stage -- and that would be my favorite... until the next one. It's completely true. Every time Andrew grows and matures and explores and is able to do more things for himself, it overwhelms me how much I absolutely love him at that exact age. Until the next time I stop and realize how much I love this age too. Mommyhood gets better each and every day!

- How lucky are we to have so many friends who love our son as if he were family?!? We are blessed to have incredibly wonderful friends in our lives. Some with kids of their own, some who are using him as their "practice child" until the time comes for their own. We get together on Wednesday nights with two families, and every time Andrew sees each these people he lights up! And the feeling is mutual: those friends treat Andrew as if he was their own, and love him fully. It's amazing to watch. We have a fantastic Sunday School class, full of families around our age, several of whom have young children as well. Andrew loves seeing the other kids in the nursery on Sundays, and it's heartwarming to see so many people stop us at church to speak directly to Andrew and love on him.

- I had no idea I would have to start "disciplining" my child at 10 months! Andrew is such an incredibly laid-back, happy baby -- but I am seeing him start to push boundaries and feel out exactly what he can get away with. He has started throwing his food whenever he's not in the mood to eat. It can be five minutes into lunch or dinner, but if he's decided he's done, the peas and strawberries start flying! It usually only happens at home, but this past Sunday he started throwing his food while we were out at lunch with Lance's family. We've been working on telling him no with sign-language (which our babysitter, Granny, uses with him) and looking him directly in the eye and saying it very firmly -- but when he's on a roll, that doesn't matter. So after three or four handfulls of food went flying, we packed up his food and he went without the rest of his meal. He's also discovered a new "toy" at home -- the doorstops near the floor, which make a really fun sound when jiggled by a little baby hand :) There are two just inside our front door. The reason I don't like him playing with them is that he's managed to pull off the little rubber caps off of both of them, and Momma doesn't like to find her 10 month-old with windpipe-shaped anything in his mouth! He can be playing on the living room floor, with literally dozens and dozens of toys and books -- but if he remembers the doorstops, off he goes! He gets halfway across the floor in 0.5 seconds flat, and when I call out, "Andrew?" he turns, looks me straight in the eye, pauses and waits for me to say, "No, Andrew" -- then turns around and continues on to his goal while I follow after him to bring him back to the safe zone. The little (loveable) stinker!

- My sister Erica will be checked into the hospital tonight, followed by induction early tomorrow morning to give birth to her second son, Maddox. Lance, Andrew and I are driving to Dallas on Friday -- so we will get to meet our precious nephew when is only 1 day old! How special is that?? I am so in awe of my sister. She is such a calm, loving, fun Mom. She doesn't realize how much I have learned from watching her these past (almost) five years, as she has mothered her oldest son Quentin. I only hope I can be half the Mom she is. If Andrew turns out to be as sweet and fun-loving as Quentin is -- I will be one very happy Momma!

- I am getting so stinkin' excited about Andrew's upcoming birthday! On his actual birthday, we'll all be in Houston for a party with our Texas family and friends. We'll also be celebrating our nephew Quentin's 5th birthday, my cousin Aaron's 3rd birthday, my second cousin Joey's 10th birthday, and our new nephew Maddox's "coming out" to the family! It's going to be an incredible day. The week leading up to his birthday, Andrew will be in Houston for the week staying with his YaYa (my Mom), his Aunt Cynthia (my little sis), his GG Mary (my Grandma who now lives with my Mom) and his cousin Quentin (who will be coming down from Dallas for the week). It will be soooo hard to be away from our sweet boy for so long, but we know he's going to have an incredible time. We want to start this important tradition of having special time with my family every summer. The weekend after his birthday, we'll be having his big party here in Memphis. I've been working hard the last week on lots of party things: designing the invite, ordering decorations, deciding on the menu, and buying paper products and party favors. It's going to be a fun-filled day with our Memphis family and friends. I always thought we'd have a low-key first birthday for Andrew (I've never been big on kid parties for 1-, 2- or 3-year olds because I didn't think they needed a big to-do!) -- until I became a Mommy myself, and realized how many people we want to share the day with. That's a blessing -- and it's one to be celebrated and embraced!

That's all for today, folks. Can't wait to share pics with you after our Texas trek this weekend. Love you all!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

10 Months Old

Yes, that's right -- I have a 10 month-old! Wow, where does the time go?!

Riding on his first rocking horse (pants-less!) on his 10-month birthday!

Here's an update on what's going on in Andrew's world these days:

Mornings: You are still such a happy boy in the mornings! We have some Momma/son alone time while Daddy gets ready for work and before it's time for me to leave, which is becoming one of my favorite times of day with you. After your morning bottle, we play on the floor and have some tickle-time. Your belly laughs are absolutely the best way to start the day!

Bedtime: Now that you're pulling up, you're having a hard time putting yourself to sleep. Everyone that I've asked says it's just a phase. We're hoping you'll go back to your easy-to-sleep ways very soon!

Naps: You're not a consistent napper, but on those days you really need one -- you always get a couple of good ones in :) Granny says you're sleeping well for her in the mornings. It's the afternoon nap that is a little troublesome for you.

Food: You are still such a great eater! Some of your new faves: corn, watermelon, Cheerios, vienna sausages and peas. You have a wonderful appetite and love to eat -- just like your Momma :)

Developmental Milestones & Firsts: You've had a very big couple of weeks! You are now crawling, pulling up and standing on your own! It seems like in the past two weeks you have grown leaps and bounds. You love to stand at your activity table and walk around it to play with every possible button. You have crawled halfway across our house to come find me when I went "missing" -- you love being in the same room as Momma and Daddy. A friend told me last night that you're starting to look less like a baby, and more like a little boy -- which is exciting and soooo sad all at once. Where did my baby boy go??

Favorite Toys: You still love books; now you love to pull them off of the shelves and go through the pages yourself. You're absolutely loving your activity table. Two new toys that you're starting to spend a lot of time with: a rocking horse (thanks cousin Quentin!) and a push toy that you're practicing walking with. But of course, the classics -- balls and trucks -- still rule.

Sizes: You are growing like a weed! You're wearing almost exclusively 18-month clothes now. Your 12-month wardrobe will soon be relegated to the tubs of clothes with your newborn stuff. That makes this Momma very sad.

Momma's Final Thoughts: You are the happiest, most joyful, most exuberant little boy I have ever been around! I am thrilled every day that I get to be your Momma. You make me laugh when I've had a tough day. I can't help but be overjoyed every second I'm around you. You make me want to be a better person, and I pray every single day that I will be the best Momma you could possibly deserve.

Kisses, my sweet sweet boy!