...after spending a long weekend over the 4th of July in New Jersey with Rob's side of the family. Everyone was able to be together, which is really amazing given our schedules and phases of life. We spent the time together laughing, playing, talking, eating, and deepening our relationships. We were so sad to leave, especially since it was the first time some family members were able to meet Robbie. I am in LOVE with the pictures we have from the trip, and couldn't wait to put a fraction of them up on here for you to see!
Rachel (Rob's older sister) and I have been waiting for the day we could get our boys in matching outfits for their first 'Cousins' picture! Obviously, I am the one who chose what they wore, being the first time mom that I am, and picked white shirts. Consider me wiser now.
This picture was Rachel's idea - and it turned out so cute! Great way to chart their height in comparison, since my guy can't stand yet. We joked that it looks like a cell phone commercial with the 'bars'.
Aunt Christine held Robbie every chance she got, and he loved it (often falling asleep in her arms). I thought this picture was beautiful of the two of them. And no, we aren't at a botanical garden - that is Dad Livingston's BACKYARD. It's stunning!
Our little family picture.
Nicholas, Robbie and James on the 4th of July in their Red, White and Blue.
(When Rachel told Nicholas that morning that he would be wearing a red, white and blue shirt for the 4th since those are the colors of our flag, he said to her "You can't put me on a stick!", thinking that she intended to actually make HIM the flag. Don't you love how literally kids take the things you say sometimes? I think we will all remember that comment every year around the 4th!)
Christine, Brad, Ryan, Me, Rob, Rachel and Marc
(Ryan gets his holidays mixed up sometimes... 4th of July, St. Patrick's Day, whatever)
"Ma Block" as Nicholas calls her - Marc's mom, Anne, meeting Robbie for the first time. She is so wonderful and gracious, I always love when we get to see her.
Baby James, toting the bubble wand I brought to him. What a CUTIE!
Speaking of cuties, Nicholas with Grammy
It got unusually quiet one day, so I went looking for James, and this is how I found him! Pulled up in front of the big TV, lounging in his Elmo chair, watching a kids show. Don't you love how he's got his little foot propped up on his knee?!
Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma Maas meeting and getting to know Robbie. He LOVED them - they both held him and really enjoyed him. They even made a special trip back to the house to see us an hour before we left to catch our flight. They are precious and this picture just melts me.
We put Robbie's feet in the grass for the first time, and he liked it!
All of these little 'firsts' just seem so monumental to me - I know it's ridiculous, but maybe you mothers out there know how this feels? It's like re-discovering the world yourself as you introduce your child to it.
Hmm... which reminds me of a funny moment in the airport when Mom Livingston spotted an unusual (unnatural?) event taking place. She leans over towards me to tell me what she spotted, and then in the direction of the stroller says "I apologize for this crazy world, Robbie" - or something to that effect. It was lighthearted and hilarious to me at the time, but the more I think about it the more it actually makes me sad.
I know there will be discoveries and 'firsts' that are not joyful or pure, and I want to protect Robbie from all of them. Oh, this fallen world. I know I can't do that, so instead I pray that he will be equipped with the knowledge and wisdom he needs to be a light in this dark world for the sake of Christ. I'll enjoy these little innocent moments with a grateful heart, because God reveals himself everywhere in everything if we just learn to look for Him. And that is a blessing.
Grandpa and Grandma Livingston with Robbie just before we parted ways at the airport.
After this weekend, it really hit me how blessed we are to have each other. It's easy to take family (and time together) for granted. There was a subtle heaviness in all of our hearts over the weekend because of the death and funeral of a relative, and in a way it was like this nagging reminder to soak in the time together.
To be a part of a family is to attempt to love each other unconditionally and constantly; not to be perfect, but to seek Christ wherever you are at, and to seek Him together too. Our goal as we seek Him should be to become more like Christ so that He is glorified. Marriage presents the opportunity to do this with 2 families at once, which is not always easy but promises to shower you with blessings along the way. This weekend we experienced the blessing part.
That may or may not make sense - it's getting late and it's really hard sometimes to put words to spiritual moments. To summarize, Rob and I could not be more thankful for our parents and siblings and extended relatives. We are thankful for those who know Christ and are able to encourage, mentor and walk alongside us in our faith - and we ask God to continue reveal Himself to those who do not know Him yet and draw them to Himself.