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Precious: Monthly Portrait 10

05/21/2012

Precious daughter, you are 10 months old. It’s getting harder to remember how small you used to be. You look so different now that you have a beautiful head full of black curls. This month has brought an explosion of new tricks. You’re now rolling both directions and slithering/pulling yourself along the floor which means you’re all over the place. Looks like crawling is going to happen any day now. You eagerly pull yourself up to a stand if I offer you my hands. I haven’t seen you attempt to pull up on a table or chair yet but I’m sure it’ll be soon. You can stand on your own, holding onto something, for several minutes before you fall now. As I suspected, now that you’re moving around a lot you are starting to even out and get more slender and muscular. The 18 month pants that fit snuggly around your waist last month are now a little loose. You have an arsenal of silly expressions, ready to pulverize anyone’s bad attitude. Your favorite seems to be Oh!/Whoa! with big eyes and O-mouth. You do this when you notice a new thing—The ceiling fan? Oh!—or meet new people—Hi, Baby. Whoa! You’re so funny. Sometimes you play peekaboo with your arms. Our favorite new trick is your baby wave. Sometimes you mimic our sing-song “Hi-eye” and other times you say “Diya diya diya diya” (for bye-bye) as you wave, because you haven’t mastered “b” yet. It’s super cute when you put it together and it sounds like “Hi Dada.” Strangers love the waves and Oh! face—please don’t stop making people’s day; you have the gift of contagious joy. You are still a great sleeper and eater and so easy to take out. You’ve just cut your fourth tooth—two on the bottom and two on the top now. You’re still loving peas, carrots, green beans, cheerios, apple sauce, peaches, pears…pretty much anything we offer you will eat. You even had some black olives, artichokes and mushrooms off my veggie pizza the other day! You are a very special girl and a delight to your dad and me. Now that you’re standing up a lot, I’ve started putting shoes on you more often. These are one of the 3 pairs that stay on your feet. (Mad scientist hair courtesy of the pool.) It’s exciting to watch you grow and change and learn right before our eyes.

Update for my own records: At your 9-month checkup (at 10 months + 1 day old) you weighed 19.1 lbs (50%) and measured 29″ tall (75%). You really have stretched out!

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Phone Photo Friday

05/18/2012


New Home Update

05/17/2012

I wish I had more exciting news to report. I was really hopeful that we’d be breaking ground this week. We’re working things out with the bank, trying some different options to see who/what/where will be a good fit to finance our new home. In the meantime, our contractors have the building permit in hand and are ready to go as soon as we close on the construction loan…which could be a few more weeks. Boo. We’re really eager to start moving forward.

I have some samples of countertops and wood flooring on my desk. This is honed granite, which is an option we’re considering for the kitchen countertop. The wood sample is hickory. Jason picked it up at the hardware store because he likes the fine, straight grain and the variation of colors. I do too. We’re still quite a ways away from needing to make those decisions but we’re looking at options as much as possible now so we can decide quickly later on.


New Home: Nursery Plan

05/16/2012

At our last house, I designed a combined nursery and kids room as we were becoming foster parents. It had to be suited for 1 or 2 kids, either gender, newborn up to age 5…all within a 10×11 bedroom. In our new house, we’ll have TWO bedrooms for set up for kids. Hooray! (And another bedroom that we’ll set up as a den/playroom for now.) Here’s my plan for the nursery, which will be for our daughter. She will be about 1.5 when we move in. The room is approximately 10×11 (not including the doorway). The only new purchase for us in this room will be the curtains.

Sources

1. Sherwin WIlliams Rosebay – accent wall color

2. Sherwin Williams Greek Villa – other three walls

3. Petit Collage Animal ABC – Basic $40

4. IKEA BARBRO curtains $15

5. Lamp – vintage, thrifted

6. Dresser – vintage (changing table height)

7. Mr. French Poster Pop-Tone Monkey $30

8. Mobile – handmade by me

9. IKEA SOMNAT crib – no longer available

10. IKEA RIBBA picture ledges (to use as book ledges), x2, $10 each

11. IKEA GOSSIG SPANIEL – no longer available

12. Braxton Studio Letterio White Cradle Chair $80-120

13. IKEA TOFTBO bathmat (x4, taped together, MACHINE WASHABLE!) – no longer available in this color $13

14. Nightstand – vintage, refinished by me

Floor Plan (to scale)


Peas

05/15/2012

“We’re like peas and carrots, you and me,” Jason said. A sixteen year old romantic.

“I don’t like peas,” I typed back on AOL chat.

“You don’t like peas?! Peanut butter and jelly, then.”

“Ok then.”

It was 1999 and we were young and freshly in love.

13 years later, we have an almost 10-month-old daughter that loves peas as much as her daddy.


Our Love Story – 1:6

05/14/2012

I thought it would be fun to record Jason’s and my love story—at least the beginning of it—starting with when we met and fell in love back in 1999. This is part 6 of 6.

Jason and I started talking everyday after school on the phone and on AIM chat (the text messaging of our day…) late at night. We shared everything with each other about our struggles at school, drama with friends, tension with our parents, dreams for college and beyond. It was clear that God had answered my prayer.  I got my best friend.

From the beginning, Jason shared with me that he wanted to take it slow and not rush into anything. It hurt. I assumed that meant he liked me, but he didn’t like me like me. But he kept calling. And we kept getting closer.

Jason had a job at a McDonalds inside of a Wal-Mart (talk about double-yuck!) and as my mom and I were on one of our frequent mother-daughter shopping dates, I suggested we stop by and say hi to him. She kindly obliged. We probably ordered fries or a milkshake. That I don’t remember, but I do remember seeing Jason in his purple hat and polo shirt and thinking he looked so cute!

The Saturday after our first double date, Jason and I went out again, just the two of us this time. We went down to the peninsula to watch the sunset over Lake Erie—my favorite place in Erie, PA. I remember sitting on a lifeguard chair together and talking about the awesomeness of the sunset and how the sky changes colors. We pondered the marvels of God and the complexity and beauty of Creation. This guy was a deep thinker and I loved that we could share this awe of our Creator together.

Back at my parent’s house we watched TV with my dad. When he left the room, I let Jason pick what he wanted to watch. He landed on Emeril on the Food Network and I learned that he loved cooking and was considering becoming a chef. Seriously? This guy is an amazing musician, writes poetry, can spend an hour marveling at the sunset AND he loves to cook? I was in heaven. Emeril’s show was just starting to get popular back in 1999 and he would say he needed to “kick it up a notch” every time he was adding more spice, and “bam” as he tossed it into the dish.

As we sat there on the love seat together, across from Emeril Lagasse on the TV, Jason asked if I thought we should “kick it up a notch. You know, make it official.” He was asking me to be his girlfriend! I don’t think Jason was certain of it quite yet, but God had answered his prayer, too. He didn’t want to date another girl unless she was his future wife.


Mother’s Day Hurts

05/13/2012

I don’t usually blog on the weekends but it’s Mother’s Day and there is so much going on my head, I need this space to sort it out. (OK?)

It’s technically my first Mother’s Day today. Yay! I love being a mom. It’s even more fun than I expected. I say it’s technically my first Mother’s Day because last year at this time I was expecting. Not pregnant; we were in the midst of training to become foster parents.

At what point does a woman become a mother? Is it the moment of conception? Is it the moment her child is born? Is it the first time she sees her child’s face? Is it the day they meet for the first time? Is it when she’s aware of her child’s existence? I pondered these things one morning last Spring and I asked God. I felt His answer wrap around me, You became a mother the moment you decided to become a mother.

So, you see, a year ago, I already felt like a mother in a lot of ways. I had a car seat installed in my minivan, for crying out loud. I just didn’t have any kids to buckle into it yet. But I could feel their existence like an ache inside of me. I prayed for them and cried for them as I arranged childrens books on ledges, painted a nursery and stretched a sheet over a new crib mattress. Last Mother’s Day was full of excitement and preparation.

Mother’s Day has never been a hard day for me. Never a sad day. I know it is for a lot of people… women who long for children, children who long for mothers, mothers who have lost children or lost touch with their children, children who have lost mothers or lost touch with their mothers. I’m not one who was brokenhearted on my childless Mother’s Days because I never doubted that I’d be a mom one day. I was not in any hurry. I knew God put it in me to be a mom and I didn’t care that much when and how it happened.

This Mother’s Day is sad for me, though. I am crazy in love with my little girl. She fills my days with joy with her sweetness, giggles and gigantic smiles. Her baby browns pierce into me and melt my heart. She’s everything I could ever want in a child. She is a blessing. But I am her mother because she was taken away from another mother. And that is why I am sad this Mother’s Day. On my way to church this morning, I’ll drive past the hotel where she lives—the woman who carried my precious daughter for 9 months, who decided not to abort this one, who brought her into the world hopeful she could parent this time, that she would be able to be the mother her daughter needed. But it didn’t happen. She messed up. Again. And a child was taken from her. Again.

(photo: beth rose photography. bethrose.com)

I have an irrational amount of respect for my daughter’s biological mother, her first mom. “How could someone give up such a beautiful child?” a friend once asked me, without thinking of the implications. Before I met her, it was much easier for me to judge her, too. She wasn’t a “real” person to me yet. I knew on paper what she had done and I was angry about what had happened to Precious, what she had been put through. However, getting to know this woman forever changed me and my perspective about the parents of children in foster care. She was not a monster. She was not an evil child abuser. She was not a heartless, selfish, careless person. We all make mistakes, some with more serious consequences than others. I can say without a shadow of doubt that she loved, and still loves, Precious deeply. She has dreams and hopes for her future. She misses her terribly and I hate to think of what she might do to try to cover the wound left by the children that were ripped from her. She’s a hurting woman—just like many others on this day—and my heart breaks for her.

So that is on my mind today.

Then, there is the problem of orphans. There are thousands of kids in this country who have no mothers to celebrate today. I’m not even going to try to carry the weight of that burden because I would be instantly crushed. Lord knows I can only handle so much. But I weep for them, too. We’re making more room… I whisper into the wind. Our new house will have 4 bedrooms. FOUR! But there are so many motherless kids. So many more than our home will hold.

I read this awesome blog post on Friday called Where is the Mommy-War for the Motherless Child? and wanted to run around shouting, YES! YES! Why are we moms not more outraged about the number of motherless kids around the world? I get that stay at home moms are offended that working moms think they don’t work hard and working moms are offended that stay at home moms think they’re doing better for their children. I get that some moms advocate for breast feeding while other moms choose formula for valid reasons. In all these situations, these kids have moms who love them and are providing what they believe is best for their financial, nutritional, emotional needs. In light of the fact that there are thousands and thousands of kids WITHOUT mothers, IT DOESN’T FREAKING MATTER. Kristen says it better than me, so please read her post.

So there’s my broken heart this Mother’s Day.

I will be happy today, I promise. I will savor the sloppy wet kisses of my baby girl and hug her a little tighter, endlessly grateful for the blessing she is to my life. I will thank my mom for setting an awesome example for me and for continuing to love, encourage and support me as an adult.

Who knew Mother’s Day could become such a tangled mess of emotion?