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Friday, January 31, 2014

Things I Learned in January

So I didn't do this for a few months while life was hectic, and we didn't have internet.  Then life got more hectic and we have internet again and I decided to join back up on this monthly review before I forget all the cool stuff that makes life so hectic.  However, the blog I usually link to isn't doing a link up this month.  So, just for writing memories' sake, here's what I learned in January (mostly the last half though, to be honest).

1.  Going past your due date is such a major bummer.

2.  Giving birth in a car is rather awkwardly empowering, and entirely unforgettable.

3.  We have a baby girl and no one can take her away! After losing our little girls in foster care, we both wanted a baby girl.  However, God knew what He was doing when he put those girls back with family.  If we had them right now, life would be so incredibly hectic and tough! A 3 year old, a 2 year old, a 1 year old and a new born - holy moly!  We are still very excited about adopting someday though.  I have no idea when, since you have to have a job and a home in order to prove you can provide for a child in a home-study, but I am confident it will happen in God's timing.  I often pray for our adopted child/children's parents.
She's a keeper!

4. I forgot how convenient it is to have a hands-free pumping bra (if you are a mama who pumps, you've got to get one - it makes it sooooo much easier).  I have been pumping and writing on my blog and reading blogs and articles like these:
This article made me cry because I think I'm just a hot postpartum mess some days and I feel like John and I want to treat each other like this, but we struggle. It is aimed at men and women who become parents: To Wives: Before You Were Mommy This follows the same lines: I'm Dating Someone even though I'm Married  Then this one has some really super random and totally unreasonable things, but they are just fascinating home ideas none-the-less: 33 Amazing Home Interior Ideas  Then this just lays it out there about how to put everything into perspective for everyone - whether you're a parent or not:  It's Not About Me  This one was very helpful on a particular yucky parenting day with lots of clothing changes for both kids: Because I Love My God

5. Those articles and others like them have all helped me to stay focused on the fact that this time in our lives is just a season.  We will only have a newborn and a 20 month old for a few short weeks.  We will only live with my father-in-law for a hopefully short period of time.  Jonah's temper tantrums and the baby going through 6 outfits in one day from poo/pee/spit up will not last forever.  Jonah's sweet toddler speech way of saying "I yuh yoooo" and Karis' absolutely adorable falling asleep smile will not last forever.  Jonah would never have gotten to know all 5 of his grandparents (and love them dearly) if we didn't live here right now.  Jonah reaching up to hold my hand as we walk down the hallway toward the kitchen and Karis looking at the whole world with big, new eyes will not last forever.  Having our parents take Jonah for almost the whole first week after having the baby was a truly priceless and helpful gift.  Jonah will not pinch, hit and scream and Karis will not cry nonstop after 9pm unless you stand and sway with her forever.  Jonah will not laugh when I blow a raspberry on his belly and Karis will not grin at my boob like it's the best gourmet meal on earth forever.  It is encouraging and sad all at the same time.  It is all a season.  I have mentally been telling myself "This is just a season" and "It's not about me" and asking if my actions are motivated by being able to say "Because I love my God."  These three little phrases have kept me remarkably sane and at peace with all of the life changes being thrown our way right now.
Jonah with John's dad, Stanley, looking at a google image search of 'combines.'
They do this every day when Stanley gets home from work.
It's just sweet.
6.  It is so stinking hard to get a good picture of BOTH of my kids at the same time.  I can get one of them all day, but I feel like my iPhone camera laughs and says "Oh how dare you try to get them looking cute together!" One has eyes half-closed, the other looks sweet.  One is a moving blur, the other looks happy.  One is screaming, the other is actually smiling.  Can you relate?  It is a little comical.  Here are a few examples:
Smiling babies! This is one of the better ones of them both actually smiling,
but I had Karis in the Moby wrap, so her little head is kind of hidden.
I laid Jonah on the bed next to Karis to try to get these.
Jonah looked so cute in the top one,
so I put in on facebook,
even though Karis is looking crazy cross-eyed.   
Jonah needs a haircut.
Several blurry headed shots here.
Thank God for Ashlea Chance at Southern Made Photography!  She did Jonah's one year pictures, and then our maternity pictures, and offered to do "Birth Photography" for free while she builds that side of her portfolio (unfortunately we didn't make it to the hospital in time for her to document the birth, but she got the first few hours we were there).  Then we went to her home studio to do Karis' newborn pictures.  Jonah would not cooperate at all.  He did not want to even sit near us, let alone smile.  We tried bribing him with candy and toys to no avail.  Then he saw Karis naked curled up on this chair, and he thought her little tiny naked butt was the funniest thing he had ever seen.  He kept grinning, and laughing and patting it and going "Bum bum! Bum bum!"  When we tried to get him to kiss her head, he just wanted to kiss her butt.  It was comical.  I cannot wait to see those pictures!  After that, John's mom took Jonah to her house for the rest of the day, while we tried to get cute pictures of just Karis.  However, the baby needed to be fully asleep to pose her in cute ways, and the girl would not conk out!  Ashlea was so patient and encouraging, helpful and kind.  She shared stories of how she couldn't get her 3 boys to make appropriate "photo worthy" faces either, and we shared breastfeeding difficulties.  For a mom of a six day old, it was very encouraging and I felt no pressure.  If you are in the Huntsville area, you should really check her out! These are her previews from the birth photography and the newborn shoot:

7.  Blood oranges are super cool.  They really do look kind of the color of blood on the inside, and dark fruit = antioxidants.  They taste like a regular orange, but slightly more sour, not even close to being as sour as a grapefruit, but just more so than normal oranges.  I'm sold! 
I'm not very good at food photography, lol. 

8.  Newborns can smile.  I really thought they simply were not able to until they got older, and then I had Karis.  This little girl has been smiling since the day she was born.  I remember seeing her smile in the hospital as she fell asleep that first night, and just thought it was like a little sweet miracle to accompany her whole neat entrance to the world.  However, it continued!  At first it was just while she fell asleep, as though she entered a dreamland between her consciousness being awake and asleep that was so lovely her little face couldn't help but to smile.  On her ninth day of life though, she began smiling while fully awake.  She smiles at my boob in the middle of her "meal" and she smiles at me sometimes with her eyes wide open.  It melts my heart.  It is not just gas.  Yes, we do see some gas smiles (like she fills her diaper up and then smiles with relief), but they are not all gas related. Jonah did not smile until he was five weeks old, so I never expected this.  I am hoping it means she has a sweet spirit, and will be an optimistic soul. 
5 Days Old
One Week Old
9 Days Old
11 Days Old
9.  I am glad I do not live in Birmingham right now, and am hoping this is not going to be what Huntsville is in for next week.  It is a sobering thought to think of all the people who had to stay at work overnight, away from their families, or abandon their cars.  I have been thinking of and praying for these people, in Birmingham and Atlanta, and enjoying reading about other births that happened in cars, so far learning of baby Grace.  Other than the snow, I can totally relate!

10.  My stomach so feels so empty without the baby in there.  I remember liking that after Jonah.  This time, I am a little nostalgic and sad about it because I don't know if we will have any more belly babies.  It is most noticeable at night, when I used to wrap my arm around my belly and tuck my hand underneath, holding the baby.  I don't remember what I used to do with my arm before I had a big belly.  It is a relief to be able to lie on my stomach again sometimes though.

11.  Just when I feel like I am at the end of my rope and cry out to God to help us, He does.  This jobless time has been hard on us emotionally, wondering, waiting, hoping.  We have 3 churches (in AL, FL, and TN) that are actively pursuing John right now for different positions.  PRAISE The LORD!  Two are for a youth and family ministry position, and one is actually to start a contemporary service within a traditional church and they want a guy to be the pastor/preacher for the contemporary service and focus on ministering to young families in the church and community.  Please pray with us that God would lead our family to the exact place he desires for us to serve.  We desperately want to plug in, get roots, and grow as a family in ONE PLACE for several years.  After moving 6 times in 5 years, we want to settle down and raise our family and serve in one place.  We covet your prayers for clear direction and peace about what to do if he is offered more than one of these positions, or if none of these is right, what to do next. 

12.  I want to teach again.  Not today, or right now, but I definitely do.  I see all my teacher friends posting things on facebook and pinterest and I know that is part of my life still.  My teaching years aren't over yet.  I just don't know when I'll begin again.  I dreamt I taught Kindergarten last night.  I was happy, and I loved my class.  Then my little crying baby woke me up, and I was still happy.  I loved my baby instead and prayed for former students while I nursed, until we both fell asleep in the recliner.  

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