A habit of life.

Monday, May 8, 2017

"It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life." - Elisabeth Elliot

When we moved into our house three years ago, the one drawback was the lack of outside entrance to the backyard. Sure, we could wander out the side of the house or through the storage room to the yard to watch the kids play, but it wasn't exactly convenient. So we just didn't use our backyard. We'd almost always pile kids in the car and drive a few miles to a nearby playground.

So Shawn and I began to dream in color, knocking out a window and turning it into French doors in our minds... and adding a deck that would lead to our unused backyard. After a year of saving up and another year of hiring out the work, that dream became a reality. A glorious, life-changing reality for our little family. The kids see it as another room in our house, freely moseying in and out at their leisure while I make lunch or catch up on laundry. We build a gate with a hidden latch so we know they aren't going far, and it's been such a luxury to enjoy the Spring outdoors. 

The Elisabeth Elliot quote about gratitude streamed across my Facebook page the other day and I couldn't help but think of these happy kids and our new deck. We live in a small house, much smaller than most of our friends. We try to live simply, well within our means. So when I watch Liam and Lanie and how they appreciate things big and small - from a new lunchbox to a new deck, a sunny day to a newly discovered popsicle flavor - I am convicted and enamored by their gratitude. And I'm inspired to have the same perspective: choosing awe and wonder at our very good, very generous God. 

PS - Lanie was also part of this near-daily pool party, but wasn't adequately clothed to make an appearance on the internet. ;)

Easter 2017.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I've become that mom (every mom?) whose plea on major holidays is, "Can we please just try to get one picture of all of us?" And thankfully, thanks to my willing husband and father-in-law who was able to take pictures, we got more than one - and a host of outtakes. Our Easter together was sweet and full of celebrating: a joyful morning at church, a peaceful afternoon, and a fun outdoor dinner at Shawn's parents' house where they hosted an Easter egg hunt around the back yard for all three grandchildren.

But I'd have to say my favorite moment on Easter was when Liam brought me this sheet of paper:
It was totally unprompted and unassisted and he said, "God said, 'I love Liam' and so He died on the cross." Yes, little love. Day made.

30 weeks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dear Baby of mine,

We've been in this thing together for 30 weeks now and you're just now getting a letter. Welcome to third child-dom, my littlest love. It doesn't mean I cherish you one ounce less than your brother and sister. It's just that I never get a chance to sit down and pen a letter to you - or even sit down in general. Until now.

You're growing like a weed, and I adore the feeling of your rumblings and kicks and hiccups all day long. Our doctor has been quick to warn us that because of the anterior placement of the placenta during this pregnancy, I may not feel quite as much movement - and not to worry if that's the case. But just the opposite has been true. I think you've been our most active baby yet, and your Daddy and your brother love to watch you roll and tumble under my skin.

You've been my constant companion at the hospital and the center of many conversations with patients. The other night at work was an especially heavy one as one of my patients neared the end of his life. The medical team and the patient's family were in agreement that he should be transitioned to "comfort care" and his tube feedings (his only source of nutrition as he wasn't alert enough to eat by mouth) would stop. It fell on me - his nurse - to actually stop those feedings.

My legs felt heavier than lead as I walked to his room to stop the feedings and remove his IV. As I entered the room, I rested my hand on his smooth, bald head and whispered the words of Numbers 6:24-26:

The Lord bless you and keep you; 
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

He continued to sleep peacefully as I reached up to turn off the feeding pump. As soon as I did, you did a giant leap in my belly. It was one of your biggest movement yet, and was such a stunning reminder of life in the midst of impending death. You brought tears in my eyes with the realization that that's what we all, as believers, are called to be: a stunning reminder of life - of joy, hope, resurrection, and our incredibly bright future - in the midst of a dying world. I pray you continue to do just that, little one. Continue to remind us all of Jesus, the only true Source of life in this passing world.

I'll admit that there's a piece of me that's anxious about what life will look like as a family of five. Will we be able to handle the sleepless months, the noise, the mess? But then I remember what a gift you are: hoped for, dreamed about, prayed for, deeply desired. I know the instant you're out, I'll never be able to imagine our family without you in it. If you come along the same timeline that your siblings did, we've got less than 9 weeks with you on the inside. I can hardly wait to see your face.

I love you, little rainbow baby,

The pregnant nurse.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

These days at the hospital, the very moment I walk into the patient's room with a cinched maternity scrub top and a bit of a waddle, it's as if I'm holding a sign that says, "Does anyone here have some baby advice to share? I'd love to hear!"

I've been collecting my patients' stellar advice for the past few weeks and thought I'd share it here. (By no means am I offended by any of this - most if it just makes me laugh, and sometimes shudder. My growing belly is definitely an easy conversation starter!)

"For a girl, you should name her Harriet. I've always loved that name. And for a boy, how about Frank? It's such a strong name."
"The baby's heartbeat is in the 140s? It's definitely a little girl. Boys would be in the 110s."
"The heart rate is in the 140s? It must be a boy. Girls are always higher."
"Wow, it looks like you've only gained weight in your belly! Well, and maybe your face."
"You definitely want a little boy. Girls are too much drama. You just wait for the teen years!"
"Babies are a gift from God and it doesn't matter if it's a boy or a girl as long as it's healthy." (This is one of the few comments I've actually responded to... because I've heard it So. Many. Times. I just politely say, "Well, even if it's not healthy, it's still such a gift and we will love and nurture it no matter what.")
"Are you really planning to work after the baby? Two kids is one thing, but three? Three is a whole different ballgame."
"You're carrying so high! It must be a little girl."
"Wow, you sure are carrying low. It's a boy."
"You're having your third? What are you trying to do, start a basketball team?!"
"You're only halfway there? You sure you aren't carrying twins?"
"You're 22 weeks? You're so tiny! Is the doctor concerned?"
"Oh, let someone else empty my urinal. You're pregnant! Go put your feet up."
And possibly the most disturbing advice of all... "Just make sure you have a C-section. My daughter walked into the hospital at 40 weeks pregnant and they asked her, 'Do you want a C-section?' And she said, 'Yes.' I kid you not, 45 minutes later the baby was out and bathed and being wheeled down the hall and my daughter didn't feel a bit of pain. She said to me, 'Ma! I can't feel anything from my neck down! It's amazing!' It's 2017, you know? You shouldn't have to be in pain just to have a baby."

So in case anyone asks (and they sometimes do):
I'm 22 weeks along. I'm measuring big, but I promise - it's not twins. We aren't finding out the gender, but if I had to guess, I think it's a boy because of the lower heart rate and the way I'm carrying. I'm craving sweets and citrus, just like I did with Liam. Yes, I'm planning to work after I give birth. Not only is it financially necessary but I love being a nurse, and I think it actually makes me a better mom. And whether or not it's healthy, this baby is a gift. We are so thankful He has blessed us with a third little life, and we are so excited!

Lately, in pictures

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A second birthday for our spunky Lanie Lou. A family birthday party. A growing baby. A visit from dear out-of-town friends. This winter has been flying and I've been doing my best to keep the camera handy for precious moments like these. 

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