Susie did this design, as well as the design of my first blog; she is wonderful to work with and is an amazingly talented designer. She can do designs for blogger, wordpress, and I believe typepad. Please visit her website and check out her design portfolio.
So, here's how it's going to work. Leave me a comment on this post by Thursday, May 31st, 9:00pm (MST). With Devyn's help, I'll draw a name and post the winner on my blog on Friday. Good luck to all!
The basement floor has been poured; you can see Devyn and my dad (Papa) in the background standing on the three-car garage that has also been poured.
The floor joists have been put into place!
We have walls; we can literally walk inside the house and envision what our house is going to look like!
September cannot come soon enough…
When Devyn was born, my love for her was instantaneous, all-consuming, and overwhelming. From the moment they laid her on my chest, there was nothing that I wouldn’t do for her; I wanted to give her the world. I’m certain a lot of those feelings had to do with the fact that she was my firstborn, my push into motherhood. It was awe-inspiring, the feelings that this tiny, little person evoked in me. What a rush! So, I was a little surprised upon Hudson’s birth, when I didn’t feel the same intensity of emotion; instead, it felt like a sweet warmth spreading through my body. This love felt soft, tender, and nurturing. But I kept waiting… waiting for that punch of protective, all-consuming love. It didn’t happen that way.
When Jon and Devyn left for their weekend away, I was excited about the idea of getting time alone with Hudson. As a new mother with Devyn, there were days that I did nothing but stare at her and get to know every minute detail of her. I hadn’t been able to have those days with Hudson because I was so busy chasing a two-year-old around the house. So during that weekend, Hudson and I took naps together; I sat and watched him for hours; we interacted with peek-a-boo and smiles; we even took a couple of baths together. It was heavenly. And in the weeks that followed our weekend alone, I realized something. I love him! With every beat of my heart, with every breath in my body, I love him and this love had grown into an all-consuming, overwhelming, protective love. It wasn’t instantaneous like Devyn, but had grown until I can no longer distinguish between my love for Devyn and my love for Hudson. It’s all a part of me, no beginning and no end.
Hudson is my little man, my buddy, my son. I was not, in any way, prepared for his presence in my life. I thought I would figure it out as I went along and eventually get the hang of mothering a little boy. But I was not prepared for the fact that he would be so dependent on me. Devyn was more the independent one; as long as she was being fed and held by someone, she was fine. Hudson is a different story altogether. If he’s upset and I’m in the room, I am the only one that can console him. He prefers me over anyone else and his head whips around when he hears my voice. I have a little mama’s boy on my hands and I couldn’t be happier about it. Having him in my life is incredible and I can officially say all my fears about his arrival have been laid to rest.
I hope you enjoy this list as much as I do.
- Salvation – Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
- Growth in Grace – I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- Love – Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them.
- Honesty and Integrity – May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection.
- Self-Control – Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do.
- Love for God’s Word – May my children grown to find your word more precious than pure gold and sweeter than honey from the comb.
- Justice – God, help my children to love justice as you do, and act justly in all they do.
- Mercy – May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful.
- Respect – Father, grant that my children may show proper respect to everyone, as your word commands.
- Biblical Self-Esteem – Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.
- Faithfulness – Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the table of their hearts.
- Courage – May my children always be strong and courageous in their character and in their actions.
- Purity – Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions.
- Kindness – Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
- Generosity – Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.
- Peace-Loving – Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.
- Joy – May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
- Perseverance – Lord, teach my children perserverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the race marked out for them.
- Humility – God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show truly humility toward all.
- Compassion – Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.
- Responsibility – Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load.
- Contentment – Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength.
- Faith – I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them.
- A Servant’s Heart – God, please help my children develop servants’ hearts, that they may serve whole-heartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men.
- Hope – May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Willingness and Ability to Work – Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work at it with their heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
- Passion for God – Lord, please instill in my children a soul that “followeth hard after thee”, one that clings passionately to you.
- Self-Discipline – Father, I pray that my children may acquire a discipline and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.
- Prayerfulness – Grant, Lord, that my children’s lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
- Gratitude – Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.
- A Heart for Missions – Lord, please help my children to develop a desire to see your glory declared among the nations, your marvelous deeds among all peoples.
Yes, my children are adorable, beautiful inside and out, and I am one blessed mama. But do I always enjoy being a mom? No. Sometimes it’s really, really hard. There are days I want to throw my hands up and be done with it. There are days when I count down the hours until they’re in bed so I can just have some peace and quiet.
I love my husband, he’s my best friend, but are we the perfect spouses? No. I struggle with letting him be the head of the household; our fights can get really mean; and there are moments when I don’t even like him very much.
And last, but certainly not least, do I convey that I’m a stronger Christian than I really am? Am I being real in that I find it hard to sit and have a quiet time with God? That I wonder if I’m allowing God to use me to my fullest potential? Do you know that God has to curb my tongue and my temper?
These are just some of the issues that I’m dealing with right now. As I get to know you wonderful women through blogging, I find myself wishing for things. I want Amy’s thirst for God’s word; I want Elise’s intimate relationship with God; I want Stacey’s faith; I want Amanda’s assurance that I’m living within God’s will; I want Sarah, Katherine, Rachelle, and Christine’s wisdom; I want Erin’s tender heart; and I could go on about so many of you who have a sincere heart and desire to be the women God has called you to be.
As I look over what I just wrote, I realize there were a lot of wants in that paragraph and you need to know, I’m not comparing myself to you; I’m just learning from each of you and you challenge me to go further, to be stronger, to be… more. And I’m thankful for that. I’m sure God is smiling at me and chuckling because He knows that with my personality I want to tackle everything… right now. But as He told me the other night, let’s do this one step at a time, starting with your heart.
And so that is where I am right now; working on my heart attitude. God whispered in my ear a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been called to serve my husband and children. Does that mean I get to let them walk all over me? No. Does that mean that I do everything for Devyn? No. It just means that in everything I do for Jon, Devyn, and Hudson, I need to have the right heart attitude. Am I doing this out of love? Or am I harboring bitterness and anger? I’d LOVE to say that I’m getting this right every time but that’s far from truth; I constantly have to double-check myself and pray for patience.
But this is me, the real me, and this is my daily struggle right now. I guess it’s just a matter of baby steps, huh?
When Devyn was born, we took her in for pictures at three months, six months, nine months, a year old, and then every year after that. We never spent much money; we always used those coupons from Sears and JC Penney’s. I found a new portrait studio and I thought they had a similar amazing deal, and took the kids there instead, which was a big mistake. My first clue should have been that they don’t post any prices anywhere. I was planning just to get the $15-deal and a couple of 8x10s of the two kids together, but the sales lady mentioned, “Well, if you get this package for only $$$, you get fives times the amount of portraits.” Doh! They saw me coming…
However, with that said, I am constantly amazed and surprised at the beauty of Devyn and Hudson’s relationship. Their relationship is growing, changing, and flourishing on a daily basis and I find myself a little envious that I did not get to experience the bond of brother and sister. Devyn has grown quite attached to her little brother and vice versa. I love sitting back and watching the two interact.
Yesterday, my sister, Courtney, relayed a cute story. Devyn was on the couch watching TV and Courtney was doing her best to quiet a fussy Hudson. She said that nothing seemed to be working and finally Devyn looked at her with an exasperated look on her face and gave a sigh. Devyn then patted the couch next to her, indicating that she wanted Hudson by her side. So Courtney walked over, laid Hudson on the couch next to Devyn, and watched as Devyn quieted her little brother down. She caressed his cheeks, “talked” to him in a soothing voice, and he responded in kind. He knows his sister’s voice and adores her!!
Then last night I had both kiddos with me as I tried to put everyone to bed. Because Hudson was wide awake, I laid him between Devyn and I as we read our bedtime story. Devyn held his hand as I turned the pages and both listened very well. We said our prayers and then Devyn asked for a special prayer for “baby”. So, I prayed again over Hudson. Then as I rose to get up from Devyn’s bed, she cried as I picked Hudson up. She wanted desperately for Hudson to sleep in bed with her. I smiled as I explained that he was too little right now, but someday they could sleep together in bed. She nodded at my explanation and turned to go to sleep.
I love this! I was not prepared for the joy I’d feel in watching their relationship unfold. This relationship has nothing to do with Jon or I, it is solely between the two of them and it is beautiful. Devyn is constantly trying to protect Hudson and make sure he is ok; and Hudson is enthralled with her. His eyes follow her around the room, his face lights up when she comes near, and he calms down at her touch.
I know the day will come when I’ll be separating fights and soothing hurt feelings, but at this moment in time, with the relationship just budding, I am truly blessed!
This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's alright honey, Mommy's here." (or organic yogurt and applesauce) Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.
This is for all the mothers who show up at work (or get off a plane) with spit-up in their hair (and down their front) and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.
This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes. And for the mothers who lost their baby in that precious 9 months that they will never get to watch grow on earth but one day will be reunited with in Heaven!
This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.
This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat. For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."
This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.
This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.
This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college.
This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.
This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.
This is for all the step-mothers who raised another woman's child or children, and gave their time, attention, and love... sometimes totally unappreciated!
For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14-year-olds dye their hair green.
For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.
This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.
What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time? The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby? The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home? Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?
The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation...And mature mothers learning to let go.
For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.
Single mothers and married mothers.
Mothers with money, mothers without.
This is for you all.
For all of us.
Hang in there!
In the end we can only do the best we can.
Tell them every day that we love them.
This morning when I bent over Hudson’s head and his baby scent filled my senses, the tears started streaming again. How could I leave this sweet, innocent babe? I wanted so badly to pick him up and soak in every moment of his infancy. I worried so much about Devyn’s adjustment to my return to work. I wanted to continue our days of playing with sidewalk chalk and scaling the highest playground equipment.
When I got into the car, my friend Mandy called to check on me. She listened patiently as I unloaded my fears, worries, and tears on her. She offered encouragement and support. She heard the pain in my voice and tried to ease it. When we hung up, the tears wouldn’t stop. I was listening to a Beth Moore bible study on CD and on it Beth said, “God has brought you to this moment, right now. He knows your burden and wants to carry it for you.” Ahhhhh… Sweeter words were never spoken!
The day passed uneventfully. I called numerous times to check on the children; after a ten-minute meltdown Devyn was doing fine and only asked for me intermittently. Hudson was adjusting to expressed breast milk in a bottle. And I was at peace. I never, never want to forget these feelings of loss; I always want to remember these feelings so that I do not grow immune to spending time apart from my children. And I will continue working towards my goal of working part-time. But the day went far better because God eased my burden.
Even now, I sit with my son sleeping on my chest, in front of the computer and all is right in my world. Thank you, dear friends, for your support, encouragement, and your prayers!
“Munchkin, tomorrow Mommy is going back to work.” She looked at me and nodded her head solemnly, as if she understood. I continued, “I won’t be here when you wake up tomorrow, ok? Will you be good for Nana and Aunt Alli?”
Her face brightened and said, “Uh huh!”
“Will you help take good care of Bobo?”
“Bobo! Uh huh!”
I pulled her into a hug as the tears started welling in my eyes. I pulled away and cupped her face in my hands. “Mommy is going to miss you so much!” And with that, the tears started falling down my face. Devyn reached out with her small, toddler hands to wipe them away and my heart dropped a little lower in my chest.
I turned on the small light next to my bed and just watched my sleeping son. I caressed his fingers with my thumb; I smiled as he murmured in his sleep; I watched him stretch his pliant, little body, his bottom curving into my belly; and I planted small kisses over his face and neck. For an hour I memorized every movement he made and committed them to memory.
In an hour and a half, I’ll feed him one last time, hand him over to my mom, get in the car and drive 15 minutes to work. And my heart will break…
Dear Abba, I need you this morning. I need your comfort and I need your peace. Father, I need you to give me the strength to walk the path you’ve laid before me. Help me God; I cannot do this without you! My heart is in this home, with these children you’ve lent me. I pray that I can concentrate on work, when I am at work. And when I am home, that I will have the energy to play and have quality time with Devyn and Hudson. Abba, you are so good to me and I know you feel my pain. Help me to remember this feeling as I start to get into the routine of work and home. Help me to not forget so that I will relish the day a new job is provided to me and I can rejoice in spending more time at home. Into your hands, I commit this day. Amen.
There is a local Christian curriculum publishing house in our area and in April they sent out an email to their staff asking for a newborn male to be “Jesus” for a photo shoot. Apparently, Group Publishing is putting out some Christmas materials and they wanted a nativity scene for it. My uncle, who happens to work for them, told them about Hudson and then gave them a link to this blog to view photos of the little guy. Within a week, they gave me a call and asked if we’d be willing to let Hudson be the model for Jesus. Without hesitation, we said yes.
We showed up at the photo shoot on time and I was given some forms to fill out. Basically they were consent forms allowing Hudson to do this, giving the company permission to print his photo, etc. We then moved to a nearby park where they had set up some tents and “Joseph” was waiting in full costume. “Mary” had yet to arrive and the assistants had no idea where she was. There was talk among the photographer and assistants that if needed, I (me) could fill in as the role of Mary. “Huh? Wait a minute…” was my first reaction. I hate having my picture taken, much less for something as public as this, but I knew I would have done it. Just as I started filling out the paperwork for myself, the real “Mary” called and said she was on her way. Whew!!
The photo shoot went amazingly smooth and lasted approximately an hour. Hudson did a phenomenal job; he was awake and alert for the first half of the shoot and sound asleep for the second half. It was fun to stand there and watch as Mary and Joseph cuddled my newborn son, who was wrapped in white, itchy cloth. I enjoyed listening to the comments from the production staff and the models about what a good baby he was; I loved that in-between takes the photographer would call “Mom” and I’d rush onto the set to hold Hudson or comfort if he was getting fussy. All in all, it was a fun day and I’m glad that we were given the opportunity to do it.
So, yes, for an hour’s work, my dear, sweet, newborn son earned $30 and the chance to say that he once played Jesus.
(Once I get a copy of the photo from Group, I’ll be sure to post it on here. I was told that I’d get a copy once they were ready to put the curriculum on the market.)
I'd been fighting a virus since Thursday and this virus is nasty! Suffice it to say that it knocked me flat on my back. (Going into details seems like cruel and unusual punishment for those with weak stomachs.) In times like these, I am so glad that I'm living at home. My sister, Allison, was a HUGE help that day. She took over the care of the kids, only bringing Hudson to me when he needed nursing, and even forced me to eat some chicken noodle soup and drink water. All of her care and effort allowed me to have the rest and sleep I so desperately needed. I'm really not sure what I would have done without her. On Friday I felt a little better but even now I'm battling an extremely sore throat, which is fast approaching laryngitis.
On Saturday morning, around 3:00am, I woke to Jon jumping out of bed and the sounds of retching coming from Devyn's bed. [Side note: I can't wake this man to save his life, but at the first sound of Devyn throwing up, he's up like a lightning bolt?!] It was Jon's turn to keep his end of our I'll-handle-poop-he'll-handle-throw-up deal. He promptly removed her from bed and had in her in a bath before I could blink an eye. Devyn's pitiful cries for "mama" roused me out of bed and I trooped upstairs to join them in the bathroom. In the midst of trying to offer comfort to Devyn, my stomach started pitching and rolling. Soon I was also retching and Jon was trying to comfort both of us. It felt like stuff nightmares, or the very least comedy routines, are made of; a child repeatedly throwing up in the bathtub, with her mom retching into the toilet right beside it.
During the whole day, Jon and I tag-teamed Devyn and her sickness. He pulled the 5:00 - 7:00am shift; I pulled the 7:00 - 9:00 shift, and so on. For 16 hours straight Devyn repeatedly threw-up between sips of water, or Jell-O when she went a 2-hour plus time frame without puking. Around 6:00 that night, her temperature went above 101-degrees and my sore throat was killing me, I'd decided that it was time for a trip to our Urgent Care. I bundled us both up and away we went, leaving Jon and Hudson behind. On the way, while I was telling Devyn the doctor was going to make us feel better, she looked at me with a pitiful look on her face and threw up all over her car seat and herself. The smell of Jell-O permeated the car and Devyn was crying as she held up her red-Jell-O-vomit-covered pajamas. It was then that I was ready to hand in my mommy-card.
The good, kind doctor simply told us that it was a virus, that it was going around, and expect it to last approximately 24-48 hours. I sighed and buckled Devyn back into her vomit-covered car seat and went back home. When I finally got Devyn to sleep for the night, I simply fell into Jon's lap and we lamented that this part of parenting was quite simply "hard".
I'm happy to report that Devyn seems much better today and we've gone over 24 hours without either of us throwing-up. Her appetite is back and she's back to dancing around the house. While I jokingly wanted to curl up in a ball and pretend it wasn't happening, there is something to be said about offering comfort to your baby. Despite the numerous baths, the constant bedding washes, and medicine giving, there is nothing better than picking up your child, cuddling her on your lap, and stroking her hair. Sometimes, all they need is to know that you're there...
Here are the rules:
- Each player starts with seven random facts/habits about themselves.
- People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules.
- You need to choose up to seven people to get tagged and list their names.
- I am the oldest of four girls, yes four girls. And as such, I tend to be bossy and opinionated. I feel like I know what’s best for my sisters and often have to be told to “knock it off”. I think I’m making huge strides in letting my sisters live their own lives but only they could tell you whether that’s true or not.
- I am not a girly-girl. Yes, I enjoy looking nice and I’ll wear some make-up (usually some cover-up for the bags and eye color) but I do not do anything with my nails or accessories, such as earrings, bracelets, or necklaces. Much to my sisters and mom’s chagrin!
- My husband and I first met on a plane trip to Guatemala when I was 16 years old and he was 15 years old. We were going on a mission trip with our respective churches. I’ll never forget the way he teased me about it being my first flight ever, or his dazzling smile!
- I am a spender… no surprise there. Whenever I’m feeling stressed-out or low, a quick trip to Walmart, Target, or window shopping of any kind, usually does the trick. It’s amazing how therapeutic a few hours of wandering the stores can be.
- Jon is the decorator in our family. I would love to say that I know just how to make a house feel comfortable and homey, and while I do put in my two cents, it is Jon who comes up with all of the decorating ideas. He is very good, so why mess with a good thing?!
- I am a laid-back mom. As far as I’m concerned, if they aren’t getting hurt or hurting something or someone in the process, who cares. I often wonder if my laid-back attitude is going to be detrimental to my children’s upbringing. My mom is very concerned that I’m not more diligent in my parenting.
- I try so hard to be a woman of God, but often come up short. I’m not sure if I don’t meet my own expectations or God’s. But I constantly have to remind myself that God’s grace is new every morning!
We dare you to watch and not laugh out loud at our little tap-dancin' fool!
The other night I cried myself to sleep. I was laying there with my husband sleeping next to me, the light weight of my son on my chest, and I started crying the tears of a woman whose heart is breaking. In nine days I return to work and my soul is heavy with the thought of it. Granted, Devyn and Hudson will be in the good care of my mom and sister, and I couldn’t be happier about that. But I won’t get the intimate knowledge of my children’s daily routines and it makes me sick.
I have been so fortunate to have these past 11 weeks with them. I have gotten to know my son so well; I love watching his face light up as he sees his sister, I love watching his brows wrinkle in concentration, and I love his beaming smile. I have loved Devyn through a difficult transition period, I have endured screaming tantrums, and I have cherished our many dates. Nothing has pleased me more than to hear my name being called from her two-year-old mouth, and watching as her inquisitive mind learns new things. I have loved the routine, the smiles, the laughter, and yes, even the tears. Most of all, I have loved just being here!
I won’t go into my reasons for having to work now; suffice it to say, we cannot live on one salary alone. However, there is hope for this mother and I ask for you to join me in prayer. I’m returning to work full-time until we close on the house, probably some time in August. Once we’ve closed, I’ll be approaching my boss about working part-time. I don’t know if they’ll work with me on this request but I pray that after working for them for eight years that they’ll do their best. If something can’t be worked out, then I get to start looking for a new part-time job. Regardless of how it’ll work out, I’m confident that God will honor my desire to be home more with our babies. In prayer, I have asked God to go before me and start preparing the perfect job opportunity for me and my family. Please join me in that prayer.
In the mean time, I need strength because my heart is not in the workforce. My heart is here, at home with the two beautiful children I’ve been blessed with.