Saturday, April 28, 2012

Letter to Jade

Miss Jade,

I can't believe I'm writing this. In less than 2 hours, you will be two years old. This time two years ago I had been in the hospital for about an hour and was doing everything I could to get you out of me. It seems like such a short time ago; I can remember it like it was yesterday and yet it feels like you've been here forever. Like you've always been a part of our family.

You have brought so much joy to our lives in your short little life. Your laugh brings a smile to my heart and I melt every time you run to me to give me a hug or kiss. You have such a sweet heart and I'm loving watching you grow up and your personality developing. You are a very cautious kid... you generally hang back until you're sure you can do something. You are super smart and I'm loving watching your excitement as you read your books and I pray that excitement never fades. Some days you seem to want to do nothing but read and color and you truly remind me of myself in that way.

Watching you grow into a big sister has been such a joy. One day, you and Piper are going to be the bestest of friends and I cannot wait. Right now, she's more of a fun doll to play with but one day soon she'll start fighting back and that will be very interesting :)

You love your daddy. When he gets home from work you run to him with such joy and play with him until it's time for dinner. About two weeks ago, you got all dressed up and went to Chick-fil-A with him for a date. It was so adorable. You had no clue what a date was but you were so excited to be going somewhere with daddy and I know that's something y'all will do for years to come (although the location might change!).

You are just such an amazing little person. I never knew how hard being a mom would be, but it is so beyond worth it. Every day, you make me super happy and super frustrated. I have decided that if I had this range of emotions daily and wasn't a mom to a toddler, that I'd be diagnosed as bi-polar. But somehow, after one of your tantrums that makes me want to pull my hair out and cry, you giving me a hug and saying "sorry mama" makes everything all better.

I pray every day that I am doing the right things in raising you. Teaching you the right things. Encouraging you in the right things. Setting the right examples. Your little world will be rocked soon when we uproot you from everything you've ever known and move you across the country, but I know that you'll be fine. God has a big plan for your life little miss, and right now that plan means moving to Oklahoma and making new friends and doing new things. I can't wait to see what's in store for us.

Saying "I love you" doesn't even do it justice. If you become a mama yourself one day, you'll get it. You are my heart outside my body.

with lots of hugs and kisses,

Friday, April 27, 2012

Family photos

I try to get professional photos done of my girls on a regular basis. Both have newborn packages from an amazing local photographer, Amy Sandoval, and then we go the cheaper route for a while... 3, 6 and 9 months. Jade had a one-year session done with Amy and I fully intended to get her two-year done with Amy as well. But since we just had some pictures of Jade done when Piper was born, it seemed like way too big of an expense. But I really didn't want to go to a cheapo studio- I wanted to get some family pictures done outside like we did with her one year photos. Especially since we're moving.

After Chuck gave me the stink-eye for suggesting Amy again (we love her- it's just not cheap!), I called my dad. He was already coming to town for Easter and I figured taking the pictures a month before Jade was technically 2 wasn't a big deal. Luckily, my dad takes awesome pictures and he agreed to attempt to photograph the four of us.

I'm in love with them. We went down to the Lion's Bridge/James River again. This is one of my favorite spots in the area and something I'm going to miss terribly when we move. It's so good to have these pictures taken right before we go :)

It was hard, but I chose 4 of my favorites:

One day, we'll have pictures where I'm not tickling one to get her to smile and the other ones hand isn't in her mouth. Oh, and they'll look at the camera :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wait. What?

Friday both of my girls went to mother's morning out, which gave me 3 whole hours to myself. I'm sure there's something else I should have/could have done, but I went to Panera and drank coffee and just relaxed. When I first sat down, I wrote my blog post about God telling me that I'm not supposed to be enough. When I finished that, I picked up "The Resolution for Women" by Priscilla Shirer (have I mentioned how amazing I think she is??) and read the first two chapters. Where she shares that what we have on hand is enough.

"God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

Pricilla says, "Your God can be trusted to grant you the supply you need to excel at His purposes." She goes on to say that if God has set a task before you, that He has already matched that task with an equivalent-to-overflowing supply of His grace.

As I'm sitting there in Panera reading along, I'm thinking "this is awesome! I have everything I need! I'm enough for my girls!" And then I thought, "wait. what?" I mean, didn't I just write that post about not being enough? Didn't God just comfort me with that truth yesterday? That I'm human and flawed and that I don't have to be capable of everything?

I'll admit that I probably laid my head down on the table in frustration. I felt so encouraged after my walk Thursday. So free after realizing that I wasn't designed to be fulfilling their every need. That I'm not supposed to do everything. And here I was reading that God's given me enough grace to accomplish every task before me. The two seemed contradictory.

So I prayed. I told God that I know that Priscilla Shirer girl is awesome, but she was obviously wrong this time. I told Him that I do *not* have everything I need to accomplish every task before me. And then He, with His everlasting patience, told me I had it all wrong. Again. Priscilla wasn't saying I had everything I need to be perfect. She was saying I had everything I need to fully participate in my life. That although I certainly am not perfect and cannot do everything both girls want me to do, that I can be fully engaged with them. That I don't have to hold back my time or my energy because God will continue to replenish me.

So really, I think it's a balance. After my "freeing" walk, I wasn't planning to go home, throw both kids in their beds and sit on the couch and read because "I can't do everything they need anyways". I was still trying, still striving, still reaching and growing in this thing called motherhood. And God used Priscilla to remind me that no matter how tired I am at the end of the day, God will fill me back up and I can continue to pour myself out to these girls.

God's good like that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Piper grows up- 5 months

Piper girl,

Your short little life has been so much fun so far! This month, you got to see your grandmama and grandpapa again, wear a really pretty Easter dress, and go Easter egg hunting. Ok, you mostly just watched your sister on that last one, but still.

You are such a sweet little girl. We've found a couple ticklish spots and you have the cutest little laugh. You've started to play with some toys and you're getting good about reaching out and grabbing them... and putting them in your mouth, of course. I *think* you might be getting some teeth because some days you just seem angry and don't want to sleep. Silly baby :)

You take a couple good naps every day, but nighttime sleep has been Luckily, I've been down the sleep deprivation road before so I'm good at it. We just stopped swaddling you and you're doing alright with it.

You are consistently rolling from belly to back and are super close to rolling from back to belly. Your grandmama told me that you did it once, but I refuse to acknowledge that it happened since I didn't see it. So far, I've seen you get up on your side and you just kind of get stuck and then fall back on your back. I might be a little mean, but I think it's hilarious. Your sister always cheers you on though. She's quite the parrot these days so she says "so close! Piper, roll over" anytime I put you down on your back. And then she steals your toys and screams "mine!" Such a good big sister, she is.

You are super strong... and I'm not sure if I've mentioned this in your other letters, but you don't like to bend. It's quite strange kid, I'm not gonna lie. You like to stand. Not sit... stand. At your four month appt, I asked the doctor if there was something wrong with your hips. When you're laying down and I hold your hands and try to get you to sit up, you stand up instead. It's hilarious. I'm assuming eventually you'll sit up, but I don't know when that's going to happen.

You LOVE your daddy. Seriously, you can be super fussy before he gets home and he walks in the door and you give him the biggest smile. That doesn't mean that you won't be screaming again 5 minutes later, but it's so sweet to watch you get excited when he comes home. I know that in no time you'll be yelling "daddy's home!" and running to the door with your big sister.

I took you to get shots this morning and you were right at 15 pounds. I don't know what percentile that is, but you are getting to be such a chunk! I LOVE it :)

Mama and daddy love you so much sweetie, and are so glad you're in our lives :)

No smiles this month, but I love this face!

Lots of love,

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Yesterday, I felt the "need" to be social. If we don't have any plans in the afternoon, I typically go for a walk, so I decided to ask a friend to join me. After the fourth friend said that she couldn't, I realized that it wasn't meant to be and headed out for my walk solo. By the time I got home, I knew that my solo walk was God-ordained. He had some things He needed to say to me and I hadn't been giving Him the time to say them.

Lately, things have been pretty rough around here. I've posted about my frustrations with my inability to do it all, about my mama guilt and my utter exasperation with the situation in general. I felt like no matter what I did or how hard I tried that I couldn't get it all done, couldn't meet everyone's needs, couldn't be the mom and wife that I felt I need to be.

Yesterday, God took the opportunity of a quiet walk (well, as quiet as a walk can be with Jade's narration, but that's another story) to whisper a sweet truth into my ear.

I'm not supposed to be enough.

Of course I can't fulfill all my girls' needs. I'm not supposed to. Of course I get frustrated in my desire to do it all. I'm not supposed to do it all. Of course, I get angry and yell despite my desire not to do that. I'm human. Not perfect. And just as I need God's grace to cover the weaknesses in my life, my girls' need it to cover my weaknesses in their lives.

Perhaps they're a bit young to learn this lesson the hard way. Obviously, I do everything I can to show them the Gospel in my words and actions. But it was so refreshing, so freeing, to be reminded that even if I got everything done that I set out to do every day, that I still wouldn't be enough. Because I'm not supposed to be.

In my failings, I can teach my girls that we need to look to God for fulfillment. In the next few years, they'll learn over and over again that mama and daddy will let them down. I hope to use those moments to teach them how to turn to the only One that will never let us down. I hope those moments translate into their teenage years and that they won't look to some silly boy to fulfill them. I hope that when they become a mama themselves that they can look to my example and take comfort in the fact that God's strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. That His grace is sufficient. More than enough.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Easter- egg hunt

Like I said here, we had a great Easter. It was so nice to have my parents in town and I love that Jade is getting old enough to really enjoy stuff like this. I can't wait until both the girls are, but I'm trying not to wish this time away and be really present in this moment so I won't talk too much about that :)

After we scrubbed all the egg dye off and Jade took a nap, we let her hunt eggs. She had SO much fun. In fact, she demanded that we hide them multiple times and was not very happy when I cut her off after 4 times. And for the record, she was hunting the dyed eggs so it wasn't like she was enjoying it because she was getting candy. She was getting nothing. Except for eggs. Yeah.

Very excited when she first came outside

Found one!

Smelling the flowers :)

Another one smelling the flowers- it doesn't get much cuter than this

Very excited!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Easter- dyeing eggs

We had a great Easter around here. My parents came to town the Thursday before and stayed through the weekend. Jade is at the age where she doesn't quite understand what's happening yet, but she knows that it's something exciting and gets excited about it.

Sunday morning, I told her it was Easter Sunday (she has a book explaining Easter- in a very simple way- so she kind of gets that) and we had an Easter basket downstairs for her with some presents and she said "Christmas tree?" So apparently she remembers more than I think she does! Of course the rest of the day she kept asking for the Christmas tree. Oh well, I tried :)

Somehow, I have no pictures of her "opening" her Easter basket. Honestly, it wasn't all that thrilling- she mostly wanted to play with Piper's. But I do have pictures of her dyeing eggs. I decided to just strip her down and let her have fun and I'm so glad I did because she had a blast. Just a couple highlights:

The beginning- one cup and using the "spoon"

Piper watching :)

Getting dirty...

Licking the spoon

Not a fan

Towards the end: 3 cups, an egg in each hand.

Basically every egg was put in every color and they all looked camouflaged by the end, but she had a great time. Later that day, we did an egg hunt in the front yard and took family pictures, which I'll post soon. 

We made sure to tell her about what Easter is all about, but I can't wait until she's a little older and we can do some more hands-on activities for Easter. Easter should be just as big of a deal as Christmas and I want to treat it that way in our house. I want my girls to know how big of a deal it is and how we need to
spend that day reflecting and being thankful for all of the amazing gifts Jesus has given us.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mama guilt

The last (almost) 5 months have been quite the adventure. We've had lots of visitors-- grandparents, and my freds-- gone on a road trip and had a lot of days at home where I was cleaning like a madwoman trying to get the house ready to put on the market.

And in that time, I've learned a lot about my kids. One handles change pretty well. One doesn't. I bet you can guess which is which! Jade was a tough baby from the day she was born (she was less than 12 hours old when the hospital's lactation consultant told me she was stubborn!) and Piper started off pretty easy and has just gotten easier.

But that combination comes with a lot of mama guilt. When every transition (changing clothes/diaper being the number one issue currently) with Jade takes a LOT of time, Piper gets left to entertain herself and I feel bad for her. I find myself longing for Jade to be in preschool so that I can have one-on-one time with Piper. I tell myself that neither one of them will remember this time, but I can't help but feel that I'm a failure because neither one of them is getting everything they need.

Jade obviously misses being mama's #1 girl because she has turned into quite the little tyrant. Piper is a baby and needs stimulation and cuddle time, not countless hours staring at the mobile in her sister's crib while I'm fighting Jade into clothes for the day. I realized yesterday that I have basically no control over Jade in certain situations. Unless you count control as grabbing her and carrying her kicking and screaming to a safe spot. Makes me feel like a stellar mama, let me tell you.

But ya know what? I can't be the only one that's gone through this. I think some of my "mama guilt" stems from the fact that so many mama's aren't honest with each other. We don't tell anyone about what goes on behind closed doors- about us losing our tempers, having tantrums of our own, or letting our babies cry for extended periods of time while dealing with other babies. People talk about making muffins with their babies, crafting, and planning elaborate parties but don't talk about the day-to-day crud.

Arguments can be made for either side, but I'm just more of a tell-it-how-it-is gal. So this is me admitting that I don't have a clue what I'm doing most of the time. That I feel like a failure and am just trying to keep myself and my children alive. Are there better days? Sure. Do I actually accomplish things sometimes? Definitely. But yesterday was NOT one of those days and it's left a bitter taste in my mouth. I will try to post about happier things later this week :)