Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saying No To Scrooge

It's taken me a quite a bit to get in the Christmas Spirit this year. I usually love this time of year (doesn't everybody), but this year things just didn't go as planned.

It started off well and good. All I really wanted for Christmas was a new kitchen (that's all I really wanted last Christmas too, so I've been waiting). I was pretty excited when my dad said he would have time to come help my husband work last week. I just didn't realize that when they said my kitchen would be a mess that they meant it would be completely unusable for over a week. So I started out this Christmas season with my kitchen all boxed up in my living room, not fun! Plus, my washer and dryer are in the kitchen which means that for several days I was unable to do laundry for fear of getting paint on our clothes.  By the time my dad left last Thursday my kitchen was almost done, my living room was a mess, and the laundry was out of control.

No big deal! In fact that is pretty normal around here. I knew we had all this week to finish and get things back in order for least that was the plan. We went to a wedding on Saturday, participated in the live nativity at church on Sunday, and I was going to clean, clean, clean on Monday.

Except that didn't happen. Instead my week looked like this:

Monday: I spent all day in bed convalescing from being oh-so-ridiculously sick the night before.
Tuesday: I tried to clean, but I still felt a bit rough, and Reuben wasn't cooperating (see my Baby Juggling post).
Wednesday: Remembered at the last minute that we had to go to Shreveport to pick up my matron on honor dress for my sister's weding. While we were there we decided to fight the crowds and do all of our Christmas shopping, because despite the best of intentions I realized I wasn't going to have time for homemade gifts this year.
Thursday: My husband spent all day working at the church getting ready for our Cantata dress rehearsal that evening, so while I did get some cleaning, grocery shopping, and bill paying done, I also had a little man to contend with all day. Then we had the dress rehearsal for the Cantata that evening.
Thursday Night: Disaster struck and my husband got sick. He was up all night while I stayed with Reuben which means none of us got much sleep.
Friday: Evan was sickish all day, and I was just so tired I think I walked around half the day crying (that's my response to lack of sleep, uncontrollable sobbing).

I tried my best to rally my Christmas Spirit, but every where I looked there was messiness, dirty laundry, sugar (have I mentioned that we've had lots of Christmas sweets given to us this week, and I've eaten well over my fair share, ugh!), oh and not to mentioned a kitchen that still isn't finished. I wrapped presents and tried to be productive. I even left Evan alone with Reuben for an hour (yes, even though he was sick, I just needed a break!) to go Christmas shopping. I ended up buying Evan several unplanned presents just because I thought it would make me feel better (it did it a little).

When I got home, I moped around a little more until my husband had the great idea that we should actually decorate our Christmas tree, something we weren't planning on doing. I've just been too busy. I figured Reuben would be too young to remember his first Christmas anyway, so what was the point? I needed to spend my extra time putting my house back in order, not dragging out boxes of decorations that I'm just going to have to put away in a week.

But I didn't want to shoot a sick man down. After all, he was just trying to make me feel better. So in the Spirit of Christmas, I squelched the Scrooge inside of me and told him to go get the box of ornaments while I put on some Christmas music.

What followed was nothing short of magical!

And no, I'm not just saying that. It really was a Christmas miracle. I didn't think anything could make me like Christmas yesterday, but decorating our tree with my husband was just more than my grinchy attitude could handle. I spent thirty mins laughing and telling stories about all of my old ornaments (something he's heard every Christmas we've been together, I'm sure) before Reuben woke up. When Reuben saw the tree, his face lit up! He loved all the lights and the pretty jingly sound the bells make when you shake the tree. I showed him his first Christmas ornaments, and even let him chew on a few. Sitting on the floor with my precious family, I realized what this Christmas had been missing: good memories.

How in the world did I think we were too busy for this???

Monday, November 28, 2011

Trip To Logoly

This weekend Evan and I took Reuben for his first trip in the wild outdoors! We went to visit Logoly State Park, and as always, had a great time. While everyone else was fighting for good bargains at black Friday sales, we were enjoying beautiful leaves on a peaceful stroll through the woods. Now that is what I call a good deal!

Reuben and I in front of the Logoly sign.

Evan got to try out our new baby carrier. 
Reuben seemed pretty content with his free ride through the woods.
This is our favorite sign marking the dead tree...R.I.P.

Oh Look! Somebody stuck a leaf in my back pocket...I wonder who it could be...

The leaves were beautiful, and the weather perfect for picture taking. I have dreams of being a photographer one day, but for now I take about 2 million pictures and just keep the ones that turn out well. I've sometimes wondered what people did before digital cameras came around and gave us the ability to delete bad pictures. I guess people just had lots of bad photos lying around the house!

One of my favorite parts of going out to Logoly is having time to think. When I'm surrounded by nature and quietness, it's easy to let my mind wander onto spiritual things. Evan and I often spend time walking in silence just thinking about things. Sometimes we talk about the weightier matters of life, our dreams and visions for our family, struggles we're having or things we really need to pray about. Other times we quiz each other on scripture we've memorized and share some of the things God's been teaching us recently. And sometimes we just take a break and rest. I think rest is one of those things that we take for granted a bit. Most of the time when I say, "I'm going to rest for a minute," I really mean "I'm going to get on Pintrest and check Facebook." Evan's version of rest always includes a movie, brownies, and a glass of milk. I think for most of us rest usually means be distracted and entertained, but I don't think that's what God means when he talks about rest.

"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: 
because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:3
When studying the creation account in Genesis, we often read this verse and think about the Sabbath day, the day of rest. For New Testament Christians Sunday is the day of rest, a day to gather together and worship.  But when we think about this first Sabbath day, I have to ask myself what did God do all day? The Bible doesn't say what he did, just that he didn't work. I think it's also safe to assume he didn't go to church or choir practice or a Sunday School class fellowship. If you ask me, it's very likely that God took a day to enjoy what he had made. In six days He created the world and on the seventh day, I think he took time to simply marvel at his greatness (because if anyone can take time to marvel in themselves, it's God). And I can think of nothing more truly restful for you and I than spending time surrounded by God's creation, giving thanks to him in our hearts. It's a beautiful thing!

Oh yes! He is just that cute :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving- Part 3

17. My home- I am very grateful for my house. I'm even grateful for my house on the days I have to clean it. There are definitely things about it that I am not a fan of (like my 1960s kitchen) but it's home.

18. Church- I know that technically church is not a place; it's the people. However, I am grateful for our church building. It's nice to have a comfortable place to work and worship every week. We are very blessed to have such a beautiful church building and lots of great people to fill it.

19. Zoo- My favorite place to go for fun is the zoo. It started when I was in college. My best friend took me to the zoo for my birthday freshman year, and it's kind of become a tradition ever since. Of course, we don't just wait for my birthday each year. I go anytime I get a chance! I've been to the Little Rock Zoo, Tulsa Zoo, Monroe Zoo, St. Louis Zoo, Dallas Zoo, Colorado Springs Zoo. I could easily spend hours in a zoo, observing the animals and reading the signs. I think one of the best parts about having kids is getting an excuse to visit the zoo more often!

20. State Parks-Another one of my favorite places to spend time are state parks. I didn't really visit state parks until I met Evan. His family used to spend a lot of time on Mt. Nebo camping and so of course they took me up there when we were dating, and I fell in love (with the boy and the park)! There is something relaxing about being outdoors, and since we don't have much of a view from our back yard, a state park is the closest thing I get to real nature. The other great thing about state parks is that they are free! Visiting a state park is one of our favorite cheap date ideas. When I'm having a rough week, Evan will take a few hours off one morning and take me to Logoly (our local state park) to walk or run trails (okay, we only really ran one time and that's because we were being chased by bees, true story!). If we just want some quiet time, we'll take our books and go sit out by the pond and read. So relaxing!

21. Antique Stores- This is another one of our cheap date ideas! There are several good Antique stores in town, and we love to go browse for cool old things for our collection. Evan like books and old army stuff. I like dishes and jars of buttons. It's a match made in heaven J

22. The Airport-Okay, so actually being in the airport isn't all that great, but I do love to travel. So if I have to put up with the airport for that to happen then so be it! So far I've gotten to travel to Romania, Hungary, Northern Ireland, and Mexico. It's been a fun adventure every time. I can't wait to see the rest of the world!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Thanksgiving- Part 1

I’ve decided that every Thursday this month (well in this case, it’s Thursday eve, aka Wednesday) I am going to post a thanksgiving blog in honor of Thanksgiving.  I’ve given a lot of thought to the things I’m thankful for, and honestly, the list is just never ending. I thank God every day for my husband and sweet little boy, our families, my church family, my health and my wealth, and of course my salvation. However, I would like to spend some time giving thanks for the things I don’t think about as often.

1.       Laundry Machine- Yes, like most American housewives and am forever thankful for my washing machine (can you imagine washing in a tub of hot water in the back yard, yikes!). As a cloth diaper mommy, I have even more reason to give thanks.  It’s amazing the nastiness of the things I put in there, and they never fail to come out clean.  It’s something worth giving thanks over.

2.       Contacts- I am grateful to the inventor of contacts.  I have terrible (seriously, terrible) eyesight. I have to squint to see a foot in front of my face. On top of that, I do not look good in glasses.  I’ve worn contacts since Jr. High and I can tell you that they are a lifesaver. They make me feel practically normal (well, as far as my eyesight is concerned).

3.       Iron and Ironing Board- Don’t get me wrong! I don’t like to iron, but I am very grateful for the iron and the ironing board.  I don’t like wrinkles in my clothes (my husband hates wrinkles in his clothes!).  However, I also hate folding and putting away laundry.  9 times out of 10 our clean laundry sits for several days in the laundry basket before it either gets worn or finally put away (usually because I need the laundry basket). This is why I am thankful for my iron. It allows me to have wrinkle free clothing and be lazy about putting away laundry.  It’s a win-win!

4.       Baby Plugs…ummm, I mean pacifiers… Yeah, I really like pacifiers. I’m not sure who invented them but I imagine a mother handing a screaming baby to her husband and saying, “here, you fix it.” And of course because we know that men really like to fix things, her husband out of desperation devised a nipple shaped object to shove in the baby’s mouth and the first ever pacifier was born, praise the Lord!

5.       My bed…okay this isn’t a real one, at least not one I intended to write about. I told myself when I sat down I had to think of at least five things to be thankful for. However, I’m so tired all I can think about right now is how warm my bed is going to be when I finish this post! I’m not sure why I decided I had to pick five things except that an art teacher told me once that things are more interesting in groups of odd numbers.  See I’m pretty sure that you read up to number four on my list and were like, “yeah, this is lame,” but now that you’ve read number five you are thinking “this post is awesome and so interesting.”  Yep, it’s the  magic of number five J

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving- Part 2

This week I've decided to be thankful for my family and of course my church family. However, as I started making my list I quickly realized just how many people there are to be thankful for, so in the spirit of November I decided to limit myself to 11 (yes, just 11, this is going to be a long post).

6. Evan- My husband may not know everything, but he is an expert in loving me. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but at times I can be a little bit unreasonable/cranky/emotional/whiney, well pretty much unpleasant to be around. However, Evan has perfected the art of loving me even when I am quite unlovable. He is quick to listen and slow to speak, and he always keeps his frustration with me in check. He's never yelled at me, never belittled me, never made fun of me. He always sees to my best interest, always puts my needs first, always looks for ways to make me smile. He is truly my best friend. 

7. Reuben- My baby is my sunshine! I love him when he's happy and smiling. I love him when he's crying and hungry. I love him when he's sleeping and when he refuses to go to sleep. I love him when he spits up all over my clothes. I love him when he's naked (he's got the CUTEST baby bottom!). I love him when he just wants to be held (and I just want to do something else). Basically, I think he's the greatest thing I've ever done, and although sometimes I just can't wait to get away, I miss him like crazy when we're apart.

8. My Mom and Dad- My parents are a great example of a Godly marriage. They raised me right, love me unconditionally, and bought me a car when I turned 16. What more could a girl ask for?

9. Laura & Trey- I'm very grateful to have such an outspoken sister. I know that one day when my parents are old and we need to take the car keys away from them, she won't mind being the bad guy. I'm also thankful she found such a great guy like Trey Emory to spend the rest of her life with! With Evan, Trey and my dad around our kids are destined to have all the fun they can stand.

10. Anita, Allen, and Archer- (yep I just realized their names all start with A, neat-o!) They are the greatest in-laws I've ever had, and I'm glad to know they will be the only ones I ever have! I'm so blessed that they have welcomed me into their family with open arms. You know someone loves you when they make a point to get you a diet coke every time you come to visit just to make you feel at home. Love them!

11. Bro. Micah- I am very thankful for the Preacher. Bro. Micah does a great job pastoring at Calvary. He loves people, and he loves to preach. Plus, he's fun to be around! I'm very grateful to be working with such a mighty man of God.

12. Megan & Julie- These ladies are my heroes! We have lots of great workers at Calvary, but I don't think anyone puts as much into Children's Ministry as these ladies. They are leaders in Awana and Children's Church and in their spare time (you know, in between working, keeping house, and raising kids) they plan trips and activities for the little ones and paint the nursery (okay, the nursery was all Megan). They are two super great ladies!

13. Mrs. Cindy and her Nursery Crew- I'll admit. The first few times I left Reuben in the nursery I just about cried. It's tough to leave your baby with other people. I mean what if he hiccups and there is no one there to marvel at how cute he is??? However, our nursery workers at Calvary love my baby like Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents would. I know I'm leaving him in very capable hands and that's a good feeling!

14. Calvary Musicians- If you want to hear some good music, you need to hear our pianist, Judy (not Mrs. Judy), play an offertory one Sunday (and if you want something super amazing just add one of our trumpeters). God has blessed Calvary church with several excellent musicians who put time and practice into making the worship music great each Sunday. It's a blessing to have so much talent at our church and all of it being used for the glory of God!

15. Awana Workers- Well, after another great Wednesday night how could I not be thankful for the wonderful Awana Workers at Calvary. Awana is our weekly Wednesday night Bible program for kids and it takes a lot of workers to make the night run smoothly. We have 27 adults who give their time each week to teach these kids about Jesus. And amazingly enough, it takes all of us to corral about 40 kids. Yes, that's an adult for every 1.48 kids. We like those odds.

16. MBSFers- Last on my list, but certainly not least are the MBSFers. These are the college students that Evan and I have the privilege of working with. These students face the incredible challenge of being a Christian in a very non-Christian environment, and they do it while having lots of fun! Plus, hanging out with college students helps keep me young. I don't know many adults that stay up late playing board games with friends, but we do all the time!

Whew, well, you made it through my list in one piece. And even though I said I was only going to have 11 points, I want to add one more. I'm thankful for you! When I started this blog a couple of months ago it was on a whim because I really had nothing better to do; however, it's grown to be a part of my day I really look forward to. I love to write, and it makes me feel accomplished to know there are people that take the time to read what I have to say. So, thanks! You just made my day J

Monday, September 26, 2011

Two Week Update

So our little Reuben is two weeks old today! He had his two week check-up and everything looks great. He’s growing a little every day which makes me super happy because he is starting to fit into some of his cute baby clothes.

So…I’m sure you’re wondering how the last two weeks have gone.  Well, let me tell you they were nothing like what I expected. Looking back on those last few weeks of pregnancy, I realize that I had no concept of what caring for an infant day in and day out would entail. I was so ready to not be pregnant and to hold that little baby in my arms that I forgot that once I started holding him I basically didn’t get to put him down for several months.

Yes, caring for a baby is time consuming and tiring. I really don’t know what I’d do without my husband.  He says he can’t really help care for the baby right now, but he does an excellent job taking care of me.  We have food on the table at every meal (lots of sandwiches, but I’m not complaining). He watches the baby so I sleep better at night.  He even stays up late to wash dishes or fold laundry when they get really out of hand.  He’s pretty much my hero.

Really though, having Reuben here has mostly been good.  When I look into that little face with those wide eyes looking up at me, I completely forget how tired and frustrated I am.  I still have small break downs every now and then, but really even in the midst of crying I’m completely in love with that little guy.  I think that having to stop and feed him every few hours is one of God’s mercies in disguise. It seems like it would be the worst part of having a newborn. I mean your breasts get sore and uncomfortable, and it’s so time consuming!  But after a few weeks I’m starting to feel like maybe it’s been a good thing. It’s given me time to sit and rest. I spend hours a day holding his little hands and talking or singing to him. I get to see every funny face he makes and watch his drift off to sleep in my arms.  Mostly, I just get to spend all day loving he greatest thing God every created.  Yeah, I’d say it’s been a pretty great two weeks. 

Breaking the Rules

Before having a baby, I read several books about caring for a newborn and pretty much figured I had all the rules figured out for how to have a safe and healthy baby.  Well, let me tell you, some rules were meant to be broken! Here are just a few of the ways we have rebelled in the last two weeks.

Rule 1: Babies should sleep on their backs on firm surfaces free from blankets and pillows.  

We tried this for a few days, but seriously, since when has sleeping on a nice firm surface on your back ever been comfortable for you? I know it’s not my ideal sleeping conditions. I like lying on my side in a soft bed with lots of blankets.  I guess Reuben must take after me because he loves soft cushy surfaces like pillows and blankets.  If I lay him in his bassinet to nap he wakes up after a few minutes, but he will nap for hours lying in the middle of the bed.  I’ve also noticed that he tends to roll over onto this side (again, just like me) even if we place him on his back.  I do make sure that there is nothing around him that he could roll over into and suffocate with like extra pillows, but I figure beyond that we’ll just let the child sleep however he wants too.

Rule 2:  You shouldn’t give a baby a pacifier the first month of life because it could cause nipple confusion.

I think a man thought of this rule.  You see a women would know that a pacifier is mom’s best friend when a fussy baby isn’t exactly hungry, but just wants to suck on something to go to sleep.  I tried nursing him to sleep when he would get fussy, but then he would just end up sucking, spitting the milk out because he was too tired to swallow, and then waking up every time I tried to lay him down.  It seemed very much like a never ending process.  With a pacifier my husband can rock him to sleep, lay him down, and take a nap all with uninterrupted sucking.  Plus, mom’s breast get a well-deserved break and mom gets a longer nap.  I think this is what they call a win-win situation.

Rule 3: You should wake a newborn up every two hours to eat.

Yeah right!  I think only a crazy person would wake a baby up from a deep sleep on purpose.  We did try this the first few days, but it got to the point that I would just start crying when it was time for him to eat.  I hated trying to fight to wake him up.  It would take me 20 minutes to get him good and awake, an hour to feed him, and another 20 minutes to get him to go back to sleep.  That meant I only had about 20 minutes before I was supposed to start feeding him again. Seriously. You can see how that schedule didn’t work for me.  Instead, I just let him sleep until he acts like he wants to eat, and if that’s 4 hours from his last meal, it’s so much the better for mommy.

Anyway, you can call me a rebel or what not, but praise the Lord, we are happy and healthy and that’s what matters in the end.