Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It Takes A Village.

Baby Sister is already spoiled rotten.  And so is her Mama.

This past weekend, Baby M and I were showered with love by lots of dear, sweet ladies.

Who gets all this love and attention, for their second baby?  If you've been around here long enough, you know that I also had a fabulous shower before Carter came home.

To be honest, I was SO hesitant to be the center of attention again.  My friends and family said everyone would be supportive and excited - but I just wasn't sure.  Would people think I was greedy?  Would they even come to a shower for a second child?  Would it just be awkward and weird the whole time?

Guess what?  I'm crazy, apparently.

OR I'm surrounded by an amazing, beautiful, supportive, loving, caring, incredible village of women.

My awesome mom-in-love (Carter's MiMi) put everything together with the help of a few ladies from church.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked in.  For me?  All of this?  Really??

Remember, we aren't sharing.  We're horrible.
But we've given 2 clues!
It starts with an 'M' and it's 5 letters long :)

Of course my mom made the cake - the picture doesn't do it justice.  It was covered with glittery 'snow'...absolutely perfect.

Jake and Carter dropped me off, and of course Carter was totally diggin' the little candy 'bar'.  Isn't this picture of him kissing his mommy just adorable?!

Actually, that's not a kiss at all.  It's Carter saying "nooo".

Sort of like he does when we ask if he wants a baby sister :)  Get ready, dude!  Ready or not, here she comes!

And now, thanks to all these ladies, we are actually ready for her!  Look how blessed we are.

Before I opened any gifts, I warned everyone that there might be some tears.  Those ladies who have known me for a long time have probably heard me say that "I'm not an emotional person!".


Being Carter's mommy has changed me.  And now being this little lady's mommy has changed me even more.

There were tears, for sure.  How could there not be?!

There were lots of laughs, too.  We are a group of ladies who know how to laugh.  We love to laugh.

That's called joy.

I was so overwhelmed with each gift.  And I couldn't help but think about our first 'gift'.  Oh, how he has changed us.  We are different people than we were at our first baby shower.

Thank goodness.

I was so excited to open this quilt - made by MiMi!  I had picked out the pattern, and we decided on the fabric together.  Jake and I decorated her nursery around it, and I've been so excited to see the finished product!

It's exactly what I had envisioned.  I can't wait to snuggle her up in it.

So ladies, if the goal of this shower was to make me feel loved, special, and cherished - then, mission accomplished.  

Everyone was so thoughtful - right down to considering Carter when buying gifts (like the ladies who bought elephant themed baby sister gifts because they know big brother loves elephants) - and even many ladies bringing separate gifts for me to take home to Carter.  

Say huh?!  Cars, books, bubbles, and so much more.  All for the special big brother.


There you have it.  If you didn't know it before, you know it now: I've got a pretty amazing village.  I am so grateful.  I'm not naive - I know this isn't the norm.  I know it full well.  

Many, many tears.

We are so loved.

See the bump on my belly?  Just below my left hand?
That's her.  She's grateful, too.

Want to hear something even more incredible?  This Saturday, I'm going to have a house full of more ladies - all coming to shower me with love.  Again.

How is this possible?!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Grateful for my village.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Looking Ahead.

The past several weeks have found us doing lots and lots and lots of this.

See how focused he is?  He's even choosing to sit there at the table.  Begged for 'colors, paper', even. He'll color like this for a good 30 to 45 minutes (as opposed to 30-45 seconds...).  He'll even tell us what to draw, so he can color it.  

This is a miracle, to be honest. 

Carter and table work have been like oil & water.  And we haven't pushed it.  We knew that someday, when he was ready, he'd find enjoyment in things like this.

It's someday.  

I don't know what has changed in him.

Maybe he sees his friends at school enjoying themselves as they color and write and draw.  Maybe he spends so much time working on it at school that something clicked within him, and he realizes that creating is fun.  Maybe his hands and words have finally caught up with his incredible, soaring, wild  imagination.

Maybe I don't really care why.  I'm just so, so grateful that our little boy is starting to enjoy little boy things.

Every little boy should love spending a sunny winters day at the table, creating.  Imagining.  Laughing when dad draws a motorcycle, or when mom draws a bath tub.

These pictures do my heart so much good.  There were many times that I thought he'd never want to do this.  I thought it would always, always, always be a battle.  I thought he'd always have to be bribed to sit at the table to do work.  I wondered how a kid who hated table work could ever enjoy school.

And then, Carter surprised us.  It's really what he does best.

Story of our lives.

So let this post be a reminder to Carter's Mama: Carter CAN.

Just you wait and see, Mama - that thing you're so frustrated with right now will one day be a distant memory.  That skill you are praying he picks up - that habit you wish he'd stop doing already - that one thing that keeps you up at night and brings tears to your eyes while you're in the shower....it will all be fine.  Carter will show you what he can do, when he feels like it.

This is Carter's way.

You and Carter's Daddy will look at each other one day, jaws dropped, eyes glassy, and you'll say "Look! Look at what he's doing! Oh my gosh!" and you'll remember again that everything will always turn out fine.

It always, always, always turns out fine.

And why do we sweat it?  Take a cue from Carter and just relax.

Advocate?  Yes.
Prepare him for life?  Absolutely.
Help him in every single way possible?  Of course.
But worry?  Stress?  Freak your freak?  No, no, no.

That's not Carter's way.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Carter CAN.  Duh.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 14 of 2014 :)

It's time for one of my favorite yearly traditions.  I sit down with my favorite drink (lately - orange juice), and listen to my favorite music (lately - this), and pick out my favorite photos from the year.

This year left me slightly disappointed.  It's been quite the year, folks.  Moving into a new house, an exhausting first trimester with an almost-kindergartener pulling me in every direction, and lots of other things in between.  

Which means that my camera spent most of the year in it's cozy bag.  Poor camera.  

But, I was able to find 14 pictures from 2014 that made me feel all the feels when I skimmed through them.  So here they are, in chronological order, with my thoughts on each one :) Some even have a blog post linked to the photo, if your coffee is extra hot and you're looking for something to do :)

A date night with my favorite, favorite person in the whole wide world.

Let's do more of these, mmmkay? Spending time with you is my favorite pastime.

Can I say 'favorite' any more than I already have?  You're my favorite.

A little boy, getting acquainted with his new lake, just down the road from his new house.  

Post Link HERE :)
Little did we know that all summer long, he would beg and plead for us to walk him to this special, quiet spot.  He'd even make a trip by himself...because he's so sneaky like that.

(Thankfully, he was dragging a garden hoe behind him, and we happened to have the windows open that day - otherwise, we would have never even known that he was running down the road. Parents of the year!)

Mommy's little helper.

The set up in our kitchen is perfect for a little boy who always likes to be in on the action.  Until the mixer comes out.  Then he's happy being anywhere but the kitchen.  I love this little smile - like he thinks he's really getting away with something stinkerish.

A little boy's (and proud dad's) first baseball game.

Post Link HERE :)
It was a season of trying new things - and Carter loved every second.  Baseball is definitely his sport - he loves watching it (and even asks for it now, in December), but playing it brought his love to a whole different level.

Goodbye '5' - Hello '6'!

Post Link HERE :)

Possibly one of my favorite Carter photos of all time.  I think you can see why.

Some exciting news from the Big Brother!

Post Link HERE :)
He has no idea of what's coming, does he?  But he's awfully cute, anyway.  We took these pictures quick before heading to a church event, and it was next to impossible to keep our lips zipped about the secret photos that we had just taken.

Which makes me think: one of the most exciting parts of the first trimester?  Having a super special, super big, super fun secret that only you and your 'favorite person in the whole world' know.

Happy little vacationing family.

Post Link HERE :)
Taken just after sharing the baby news with Jake's family in Saint Germain.  Carter's genuine, silly smile just knocks my socks off.

Summer Boating - Carter's favorite pastime.

Look at that cheesy grin.  He's a summer boy, for sure.

Last day before Kindergarten. Sniff.

Post Link HERE :)
Obviously, Carter helped himself to pretzels this day.  Which is part of what I love about this picture. It celebrates his growing independence.  He was able to get his own bowl, find the pretzels, pour them into his bowl which was waiting for him on the couch, and then put the pretzels away.  All while mom was in the bathroom :)

Happy 30th Birthday :)

Post Link HERE :)
My twenties were good and full and nearly perfect.  What will my thirties hold?

It's a girl!

Post Link HERE :)
Horrible picture - perfect memory.  Loved sharing this moment with you, Jaker.

A nice shot from our messy, complicated, life-filled Christmas Tree Day.

Post Link HERE :)
It wasn't a perfect day - and actually, most days aren't perfect.  But we're learning, right?

Family photo snuggles :)

I'm no dummy - I know that a time is coming soon when this little boy will be a big boy.  Snuggles like this will become few and far-between, until one day, when I suddenly say "I can't remember the last time I actually held Carter...".

So for now, I pick him up whenever I can.  I'm taking full advantage.

Carter's special visitor :)

Post Link HERE :)
"Hiiiii, Santa! Ho, ho, ho - baaaary kikiss!"


It's fun to think about what next year's photos might look like.  Hopefully my camera will spend less time tucked away this year, and more time capturing all the good stuff that lies ahead.

If you'd like to see my 'Favorite Photo' Posts from past years, click the links below:


Happy New Year!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Good stuff behind, better stuff ahead!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

{Merry Christmas}

Merry Christmas, sweet reader.  

This is Christmas.

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called 
Wonderful counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

John 1-9-14

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"

2 Corinthians 9:15

Truly He taught us to love one another - 
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother - 
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we - 
Let all within us praise His holy name!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born

One Thing I Know For Sure: "For God so loved the world..."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hello, Third Trimester!

We made it two-thirds of the way.  Which kind of sounds like I didn't expect to make it two-thirds of the way.  Which isn't the case.  But for someone who has wanted to have a baby for as long as I can remember, it's just downright weird to think that this is actually happening.  It's just...wild.

I feel little lady's hiccups at least once every other day.  Her kicks are getting stronger, although not painful.  Her head is down and she's in position for this 'birth' thing that her mama keeps telling her about. I've still only gained 8 pounds - but now that I'm in my third trimester, that number should spike up between now and D-Day! My belly is changing shape - although I still just think it looks like I'm extra chubby.  Especially with my winter coat on.  I'm sure people think I'm just a large lady who needs to use the bathroom (thanks to the obvious waddle, which is worse when I'm tired out) :)
19 Weeks (left) & 28 Weeks (right)
Our little lady is quite the sass, though.  She knows when her daddy puts his hand on her, and she immediately stops kicking.  Stinker.

We're all registered for our prenatal classes.  
The crib was set up this weekend.
I've got my nose in several 'how to push out a baby' books.
We've got our name picked out.  I think.  It starts with an - ha...just kidding! Not telling :)

You guys - we're having a baby.

We even had two whole days of practice as a family of four.  Granted, it wasn't our baby.  And she was a happy 9 month old instead of a screaming newborn.  But we were so curious to see how the soon-to-be Big Brother would do with a little lady in the house.

Working on setting up Baby Sister's crib - both kiddos were very 'helpful' :)
We saw so many good things.  I won't say that Carter loved her, but he absolutely tolerated her - and by the end of the second day, I'm pretty sure she was growing on him.  He pretended to feed her his ice cream after dinner from across the table....which is kind of like 'love', in Carter's world.  

Let's just forget about the fact that the next day when he saw her in church with her mommy & daddy, he made sure to tell us "No baby" :)

We found it so interesting that when little lady fussed, Carter went right to his room and shut the door.  He didn't want to hear it.  He definitely didn't like it.  At first, this made me sad.  It made me wonder what a screaming baby meant in his former, orphanage life.  It obviously triggered something in him, and he just wanted to get away.

The more I thought about it, though, I realized that this is probably a very good thing for Carter to understand.  He has an 'out'.  If it's just too much for him, there's nothing wrong with him sneaking off to his room for some quiet play time.  In fact, I can't really think of a better response for him to have.  He understands his limits, and he knows that he has a safe and quiet place to go when he needs a break.  

All good stuff.  

When 'nice baby' (as Carter calls her, when he's not saying 'no baby') left, I think Jake and I both felt relief.  It's going to be fine.  It will take some adjusting, for sure.  But just like we got into our groove when Carter came to our family, we'll get into our groove when Little Sister comes, too.

We talked about it the next day, and I admitted that before 'nice baby' came, I was a little nervous about what life would look like in 3 months.  Jake and I work well together.  We are in-sync 98% of the time.  We know each other - we help each other - we affirm each other.  And we also know our little guy.  We understand him and his quirks.  We can see what he needs before he needs it.  

What I'm saying is that we're like a well-oiled machine.  And now the well-oiled machine that we've worked so hard to perfect is being dismantled and will need to be rebuilt.  

That's a little daunting.

But after this weekend, we realized that it will be okay.  We're in this together.  And we'll just rock it. 

One Thing I Know For Sure: 28 weeks down, 12ish more to go!

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