Monday, September 27, 2010

Something

Some things lately:

playing with my little girl, seeing the world through her eyes


remembering what a good life my granddaddy had- he passed away last week at the ripe old age of 90


eating Chick-fil-a: only two around here- coming from a smallish town with five!

watching my husband grow and learn more each day

talking walks as Fall comes round again

meeting new friends

being a part of something special

watching Hannah Mae explore and learn about the world around her

learning how to cook dinner again

reading God's Word

experiencing the beauty of simplicity


sharing Owen with new friends

(thinking about) exercising again *har-de-har-har*

listening to the kids play outside my open window

trying to find good Mexican food in St. Louis (FAIL)

reveling in the normal, 'little' things that come with having Hannah in our arms


wondering why in the world I'm auditing a class this semester- ask me how many times I've made it to class so far... we made it to class the other night and thought I'd document it with a picture... this is what it looks like to take a 5 month old to class with you



celebrating five months with our Hannah Mae!



and since I edited this post with a class picture, I'm just going to add one more... ;)


ok... two more!


The shirt Hannah is wearing above is her big brother Owen's...
'A surprise will appear in my pants' and it sure did.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bleeding with Hope

These past 2 years and 10 months have been full.
I thought I would finish that sentence much differently than that, but full is the right word. 

Full of grief, pain, sorrow, searching, questioning, learning to live again; full of tears and longing.


"But few of us enter the tragedy of living in a fallen world and simultaneously struggle with God until our hearts bleed with hope. We either give into pain with a hopeless cynicism, or we settle for an artificial resolution that insists that things really aren't too bad and we need not muck around in the 'negatives' of life."

"Healing in this life is not the resolution of our past; it is the use of our past to draw us into deeper relationship with God and his purposes for our lives."*


My life these past 2 years and 10 months has also been full of love, comfort, and a closeness to my Heavenly Father that I never thought I would have. Feeling love, comfort and closeness is not my goal. It (the feeling) does not always come, but it's a part of growing in an intimate and deeper relationship with my God. The end goal is not a feeling, it is not healing; it is a sweet and deep relationship with the One who made me. 

I love what the author says above about bleeding hope. Oh, haven't we all desired hope, but to bleed hope? That indicates a wound; a hurt that penetrates and scars. It sounds painful.

Reading these words has validated my grief in a way that I've been longing to hear. I've always run towards my grief with my arms open, ready to feel and hurt. Whatever grief needed me to do, I was ready. I knew it was the right thing for me to do. I knew I needed to feel every part of my loss. I needed to grieve. I didn't want to put my grief in a box and hide it away because I was a Christian and should just 'let go and let God.' It's been suggested to me in conversation, in looks, and in other sorts of non-verbal communication that I should just move on, get over, and stop dwelling on the past (as if Owen is my past and not a part of me). 

I think it's important to understand that we shouldn't (and don't need to) throw the blanket of God's sovereignty over our suffering and pretend that we aren't hurt or deeply affected by our grief. 

We need to open our hearts to the pain and sorrow and take it all to God. Run to him with our arms open and fall at his feet with all our baggage. He's not pretending our grief/pain/suffering/sadness doesn't exist. He sees it more clearly than we do. He sees the whole picture; the beautiful story working itself in our lives and in the lives of all his children. And he's making all things new and beautiful.


Hopefully, I haven't come across self righteous- like I know it all. Because I surely don't. This is just what I've learned in almost 3 years of carrying the weight of grief and I hope it benefits and validates you as you struggle with whatever is causing pain.


*The Healing Place by Dan B. Allender, PH.D.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What is Hannah Mae doing these days?

I doubt this will be a highly interesting/exciting/fun-filled post, but I really want to remember these days well.

Lately, Hannah Mae has been trying to set her own schedule, which is great because I'm terrible at trying to make her follow a schedule, but I do think she needs some predictability in her days.

We usually get up around 8-8:30 and have a diaper change and breakfast. She sometimes falls right back to sleep after this, but some days she'll want to play for a half hour before her first nap. She naps for about 45 minutes to an hour and is awake for her second breakfast or elevenses. We have another diaper change and put our clothes on for the day before eating and then we play.

So, playing for a 4 month old seems like it would be mighty boring to me, but apparently it's super fun to watch your mobile spin, listen to mommy sing and dance around, sit in your bouncy chair while 'talking' to your blue owl, and play in your new exersaucer (which does look kind of fun, actually).
Sometimes she'll cat nap before her next meal (lunch) which is usually around 1-2.

After lunch, we read or she plays on her floor mat and 'talks' to the strange looking octopus hanging over her head. Sometimes, the crazy octopus head with dangling arms makes her mad and she yells at him a little bit. That's something new she's starting doing and it's really entertaining listening to her yell. It's this fake mad (or maybe it's real) yell that usually turns to real fussing to be picked up and cuddled. We also try to do tummy time after lunch settles in her tummy. She doesn't always like it and is still not rolling over consistently, but she's getting a lot stronger and loves the new freedom she's found.

She usually eats every 2-3 hours during the day, so we're still going strong at about 6-7 feedings per day. We haven't started rice cereal or anything yet. I'm planning on waiting to start solids at 6 months and skip cereal all together. She has her 4 month check up next week, so I'll consult her doctor about it then.

In the afternoons we do a little playing, reading, cat napping, and sometimes we'll take a walk with daddy. Around 4pm, she eats an afternoon snack and then she'll usually go down for a nap for about an hour. I try to organize my thoughts on dinner at this point, but sometimes I just sit on my butt for a few minutes and veg out. When she gets up from her nap, I try to finish up dinner while she plays in her exersaucer in the kitchen. This new toy has been such a helpful tool for me and we've been eating more healthful dinners because of it. Around 6-7pm, we all try to eat dinner and then wind down for the evening. Hannah has been very clingy with me at night lately and won't let Chris hold her for very long before she starts fussing, and then all out crying. Evenings around here have been full of cuddling, reading, and watching something fun on Hulu.

She still has a fussy time during the evenings, but usually it can be solved with some nursing/cuddling. She starts to put her sleepy face on around 8:30-9 and at that point, we have our last diaper change and put our pajamas on. She usually nurses to sleep around 9-9:30 and is down for the night. (This is clearly not always how our days go- case in point: last night, she wouldn't nap at her normal 4-ish time, so instead she took a big nap at 6 and then wouldn't calm down for her normal bedtime, so she was up until 11.)

Hannah has been sleeping through the night for over a month now. Occasionally, she'll wake up at 4am or 5 or 6, but mostly she sleeps all night. Her little internal clock is set for around 8am though. It's so funny- no matter what time she gets up in the night, she'll still wake up for her 8am feeding.


I have no idea if I'm doing her a disservice by not having a more rigid schedule, but it seems to be working well. I read in a child development book yesterday that babies aged 4-7 months should be napping twice a day for 1-3 hours each, and then sleeping at least 8 hours at night. Um, there's no way Hannah would take a three hour nap. It's a good day if she'll nap (on her own) for one hour!
I still let her catnap on me in the afternoons. It's one of my most favorite things in the world. I love nursing her to sleep and then cuddling her in my arms or on my chest. If I have to put her down to sleep (other than her morning and late afternoon nap), she'll wake up exactly two minutes later. But if I hold her and let snooze on me, she'll get a good hour of sleep in. It's a lovely way to spend your time. Though, admittedly, it makes doing laundry and other chores hard. It all gets done though. Maybe not right away and maybe not exactly how I wanted it done, but it does get done- at least the important things do anyways (my house hasn't been dusted in about 3 weeks, but that's okay). And this is more important anyway...





notice the strange octopus head smiling down on her 











So, that's how Hannah Mae spends her time. Lots of eating, sleeping, playing with mommy and daddy, with a little fussing thrown in because, well, she's a baby and that's what babies do.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I was her

We went to a party tonight.

It's late now and I shouldn't be on the computer, but sometimes I just can't help myself. I want to go to sleep. I'm afraid to sleep. Afraid to lie awake in the dark and think. Afraid to sleep.
And so I'm on the computer. Blogs, google reader, Hulu, MISS foundation. Around and around I go.


Tonight, I met myself three years ago. Glowing, radiant, beautifully round belly. A perfect pregnancy and a baby boy growing safely in her womb. He's her first child. Due in one month.

I was her.
Three years ago, I was her.

When we got to her house, it was Hannah's feeding time so I asked for a quiet corner to nurse in. She showed me to her son's nursery. Blue and blue and more blue everywhere. I nursed Hannah in her rocking chair next to the crib.
I looked all around the room. I couldn't help myself. My eyes moved from the crib to the pack n play, the books and to the toys. The tiny blue hangers peaking out from inside the closet. Empty.
Waiting.


We were so close. I remember that night.
I remember the smell of his freshly laundered sheets as I put them on his crib. His precious clothes, all folded and tucked away. Blue and blue and more blue everywhere.
I was on facebook that night. I had just changed my profile picture to something silly and fun. We were waiting. Joyfully, expectantly, innocently waiting.

I was her.