"Nuffing but da bwud of Je-jus"

Sunday, October 18, 2015

(Audio only)
Dear Liam,

In a little over a week, you will be 3. How on earth did that happen?

The other night before bedtime, I was rocking you in your big brown chair and singing hymns to you when you started to sing along. I secretly pulled out my phone and recorded your singing because my heart was just bursting open. Hearing those words spill out of your mouth is more precious than anything in my world. And if this is all you learned for the entire year of being 2 (as difficult and exhilarating and beautiful and tantrum-filled as it was), it would be enough.

May these words soak deep into your little heart, even now.

I love you,

9 months with Lane Eliette.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dear Lanie,

It's Fall, Lou! It's your family's favorite season of the year, and your first one outside the womb. So far, you've eaten pumpkin baby food, played in leaves (and put a few in your mouth), sported leather moccasins, and now, worn a plaid scarf. Your Fall 2015 baby bucket list is nearly complete.

This month, you're becoming more and more social. You've started waving to neighbors and friends on our walks. You say, "Mamamama!" when I enter your room in the morning. And when I brought you into a church service last week and you saw your dad singing on stage, you yelled, "DADDA?" and the whole row in front of us turned and smiled. 

You smile constantly. Seriously, we thought we'd met the happiest baby in Liam two years ago, but you've marched right up there with him. Speaking of Liam, you've started to speak your mind about him. You're always thrilled to see him, but when he takes something from you, you shriek and then you pout. If Mommy or Daddy take something from you, you don't even seem to mind. 

You abhor diaper changes and try to flip over and crawl away. You also don't love eating avocado, but there's no other food you've met and didn't like. We just started to feel a tiny tooth on the bottom poke through, but you've barely missed a beat. You sleep 13 hours a night and take two solid naps during the day and we thank you for that, from the bottom of our hearts.

We couldn't ask for a sweeter, more beautiful girl. You are beyond precious to us. 


PS - Your 7 and 8 month updates coming soon. 

Baby moccs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Size 0-3 months on the left, size 6-12 months on the right
Like lots of you (I assume), I love baby moccasins. They're stylish, warm, and tend to stay on baby's feet. But I just can't bring myself to pay $60 for baby shoes that will be quickly outgrown. 

So I found this Baby & Toddler Moccasin downloadable sewing pattern on Etsy - $8
+ 12" x 12" leather from this shop (one piece was plenty for one pair of moccasins) - $6 each
+ a small piece of sherpa fabric for the cozy lining, purchased at Joann - $2

(I already had leather sewing needles, clips to hold the leather pieces together, and elastic. But those are minimal costs if you need to buy them, too.)

I've now made three pairs of moccs and have spent a total of $28, making each pair $9.33 (with leather left over for other small projects). I'll take that over spending $60 any day!

The pattern by NoriChild on Etsy is pretty perfect. It includes sizes from 0-3 months all the way up to   2T/3T. It's possible Lanie has small feet for her age, but she is 8 months old and wears the 3-6 month size comfortably (the 6-12 month size was huge on her). The pattern also goes into detail about sewing leather, if you haven't experimented with it before (I hadn't). The shoes feel well crafted, sturdy, and will seem to last a long time. We've already gotten lots of use out of ours. Just thought I'd pass it along!
Lanie, checking out her new shoes

The kitchen counter.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Dear Liam,

These photos were taken a couple months ago, but I love what they represent: our every morning together.

You: Sitting on your knees at the counter, chatting a mile a minute, negotiating our plans for the day. You flash those dimples and can suddenly convince me of just about anything. A trip to Target to buy (another) Hot Wheels car? You got it. Make cookies at 8:30am? Well, ok.

Me: Brewing tea, listening for Lanie, and trying to keep up with your vivacity. Oh, and falling a little more in love with you.

I hope we have a kitchen counter in every home we ever live in together. And I hope one of the stools is always kept warm by you.


When you're feeling forgotten.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Here in Raleigh, I'm lucky to have a few friends who gave birth to babies around the time that Lanie was born. One friend even had a baby within 24 hours of Lanie's birth, just down the hall. It's been precious to be surrounded by many new mommies who are just a text away, day or night. In the early days after we got home from the hospital, we'd text encouragement to each other through long nights, breastfeeding woes, and sleeplessness. That connection was the thread that kept me going through many difficult nights. Knowing someone just across town was also sore and recovering, bleary-eyed, and soaking up the newborn days as best as one can... it was a comfort. It felt like a small slice of community in an otherwise isolating season of being sequestered at home with a tiny babe during flu season.

Fast forward 3 months. Lanie's baby buddies seemed to be leaving her behind in one glaring area: sleep. Because of issues related to her tongue tie, she was only sleeping for 2-hour increments. So when I heard updates from my friends that their babies had begun to sleep through the night, to eat on a schedule, and to be somewhat manageable as far as babies go, I wanted to be so thrilled for them. I wanted to say, "That is so wonderful!" without a blip of jealousy in my heart. Instead, I sulked. I felt isolated, forgotten, even bitter at times.

For months too long, I allowed Self Pity to befriend me. She lurked in the shadows, poised to whisper lies when I trudged down the hall for the fifth time in one night to scoop up a screaming baby. She was there at the messy lunch table while I sat alone, discouraged from a never-ending morning of cleaning up leaky sippy cups and shouldering the wearisome monotony of the day. Self Pity was quick to agree with me that what I had wasn't enough, that I worked too hard, and that I didn't get nearly enough credit for my efforts. She commiserated with me as I scanned social media to see sunny vacations and smiling children that felt so far from my reach. I let her keep me company for far too long. I welcomed her seductive, sorry presence. It's as if I believed the same lie that Eve believed in the Garden: that God was holding out on me. Thing could've been so much better, and He was withholding goodness from me.

But here's the thing... even as I've moved out of the sleepless season, it's still so easy to fall back into sulking. Easy to say, "I can't believe I just worked 10 hours at the hospital and now I have to get up with babies in 6 hours. It isn't fair." Easy to compare myself to so-and-so who surely gets 8 hours of sleep every night and has plenty of time for her morning devotions.

This kind of thinking is so isolating. Aren't we all dealing with something that can isolate us or pull us into the shadows of self pity if we let it? Maybe it isn't a difficult baby. Perhaps it's singleness. Maybe it feels like all of your friends have walked down the aisle and you've been left behind. Maybe you've been trying for a baby for years and keep hearing the news that another friend just accidentally got pregnant. You feel isolated. You feel forgotten.

One thing I've learned over the years of walking with Jesus is that He doesn't promise specific things like a marriage or a baby or the career you've always wanted. He doesn't promise me that I'll get more than 6 or 7 hours of sleep in the foreseeable future. He doesn't even promise comfort. Or happiness.

What He promises is His presence. He promises His peace.

In Psalm 32:8, He says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you."

Did you catch that last part? It's like honey to me: With my eye upon you. He doesn't treat us as one big lump of humanity. He looks at you, sister. He looks at me. He knows our vulnerabilities, our temptations, our desires. He chooses to know your inmost being.

Can you imagine walking into a counselor's office and, without even telling the her what you were there to talk about, she just starts doling out advice? It would be absurd. God doesn't do that either. He isn't a removed, untouchable Being in the sky who makes rules and then leaves us to figure the rest out. Look at that one tiny verse in the psalms. He will counsel you with His eye upon you. Does that make you feel loved? Known?

I don't know who this post is for, but you, friend, are not forgotten. Not forsaken. Not alone. If you believe in Christ Jesus, you have Him. And in Him, you have more than everything you need.

I'm tired of the isolation. Of the self pity. Of course, I'm tired in general right now - but I'm choosing to acknowledge His sweet presence today.
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