Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A simple revelation

As I read back through my last few blog posts, I am taken aback.

I posted on Wednesday about Nancy Guthrie's article about moving through the holidays with grief close at hand (thinking about several dear friends who have experienced deep grief recently), not realizing the grief that would envelop my own family through the death of my sweet grandmother. We had not even a hint that she would pass when she did, especially not last Wednesday.

And yet, Someone knows all about what's coming. Every one of our days is known by Him. Sometimes I forget - and then I see little provisions along the way that remind me that Someone is paying attention to my little life, the things that have passed and the things that have yet to pass, and in a way that only He can, He weaves himself through my past, present and future all at the same time. And for a minute I try to understand that God is not limited by time - that He sees ALL all at once. No surprises, no regrets, nothing lost.

What a privilege to bow my knee to this Savior, a Father who loves me without end, who holds my little world and this great big world that we share all in His strong, gentle hands.

What joy it is to sacrifice praise to Him even as we sow in tears.

What undeserved blessing it is to draw closer to Him because He has left me His Word, His Spirit, and more promises than I can count or recall so that I can know His heart even when I can't understand all of His ways.

Praise God. The advent season that starts tomorrow has new meaning for us this year. Come Lord Jesus.

Maddie is 8 months old!

Guess who's 8 months old?!

This pretty baby!

*Peek-a-boo, her new favorite game.

Forgive me for feeling a bit sentimental as I compose Maddie's 8 month old post.

When you lose someone you love, it makes those you still have with you all the more precious. It also makes you overly attached to photographs, as if they impart the ability to rewind time and make it stand still.
(Sometimes that's all we really want, isn't it?)

Madeline, you are 8 months old. For the few times I've wondered if we were a little nuts-o for adding you to our family so quickly, I've been thankful 100 times over that you have been with us exactly when you were supposed to be.

You have always been a source of joy and peace in our home and to our whole family.

You are growing so fast, although I don't know exactly what you weigh or how long you are.
You are in 6-9 month pj's, size 3 diapers, 6-12 month clothes (although they're big on you), and yet again this month who knows about shoes! You rarely wear them.
(Can you blame me? Don't hide these adorable toes!)

You are so expressive. Lately you've become more assertive about what you want and if someone takes something from you, or you can't get to a toy you're after, you fuss.

Yes, I just used the word fuss in the same sentence I was talking about you. There's a first time for everything.

Overall you are content, happy, expressive, and interested in all that is happening around you.
You still love to sing with me, even if it's not bedtime.

Your favorite people are Robbie and Ellie, hands down. You love to try and get your dad's attention when he's home from work in the evenings, and often flail your arms, wiggle, and make faces at him across the dinner table until he looks at you... and then you beam.

You will sit and play with toys by yourself for extended periods of time. The exersaucer is great fun for you, but you're getting a little rambunctious in it.
(What, this sweet little thing?)

We all still think you are the spitting image of your mommy when she was a baby.
Give or take 20 pounds.
(I was a huge baby. Like National Enquirer would have paid my mom for my photo, huge.)

A few months before you were born, your great grandma Jessie moved here from Cincinnati. Just weeks before your birth, she moved into a nursing home not far from our house. We loved taking you and your brother and sister over to visit her.

These are the last pictures I have of you together.
You had to know Jessie to really read her expressions and how she was feeling. In the picture below, she is looking up at me as if to say, "Can you believe this sweet little girl!?"

She adored you and would hold you for the duration of each of our visits. She would smile the entire time, gazing lovingly at you, holding you ever so tenderly but securely. I would periodically ask her if you were hurting her (she was very frail), and she would never admit to it if you were.
(I think she would tell me anything I wanted to hear in order to keep you on her lap!)

Just after this picture below was taken, you became interested in her oxygen tubing and pulled it out of her nose. Little stinker.

Madeline, when you look at these pictures as you get older, I hope they speak to you in many ways.

You were always loved, even by people you'll never meet or remember.
You are so important to us, and your worth and value isn't based on anything you can do.
You have the ability to soften hearts and bring joy to places that are dark and hopeless.
Words, especially eloquent ones, are not necessary to communicate.

Thank you for being even more accommodating than usual (if that's possible) each time we went to visit Jessie. I swear babies, or maybe just you, have a sixth sense about situations like that.

A little attempt earlier in the month at getting Christmas pictures at Mima and Papa's house...

You and your brother have a special little bond - he has a soft spot just for you! And you laugh the hardest for him.

And these folks? Head over heels for you. You're even forgiving Papa for being male and have warmed up to him more recently.

More sweet moments from our 8th month with you:

Your buddy Hannah (and her mom and brother) came for a play date the other day. Her mommy is a special friend of mine and we are lucky that all of you kids enjoy each other. No one is ever left out when we spend time together!

Quiet moments with your Papa.

I am savoring these feeding times while I still have them with you.

Teething on everything, even things that gross us out.

Prunes. We have a lot of jars of prunes.

Typical mealtime.

Waving goodbye as I leave you for sleep with your paci, lovey and teddy bear.

The sweetest cheeks I've ever seen.

Oh, honey. You are so precious to us. How did I get so lucky to be your mama? I love you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our version

Madeline has shown a stronger affection for being sung to than either of the other kids did as infants. It's been fun to choose sweet lullabies each night for her, and she settles the quickest and smiles the biggest when I start in on "Jesus loves me". However, I have found this ritual to be soothing for me as well. As her body relaxes into mine, and her quiet humming accompanies my voice, I too relax and invite the Lord into this sweet time of the day. My favorite song to sing is "He's got the whole world" but I always make up my own verses depending on my mood, the kind of day I've had, and what is troubling me or weighing heavy on my heart. Quiet tears always seem to come with the reminder that the Lord is bigger than anything in my life, and as He faithfully releases me from fear, worry or heartache.

I found comfort in tonight's rendition, proving that even in the midst of great sadness, He really, truly does hold us. Each one of us.


He's got the whole world
In His hands
He's got the whole world
In His hands
He's got the whole world
In His hands
He's got the whole. world.
In. His. hands.

He's got the itty bitty babies
In His hands
He's got you and me, honey
In His hands
He's got great grandma Jessie
In His hands
He's got the whole world
In His hands.


Thanks so much for praying for us today as we said goodbye to my last dear grandmother. I intend to write more about it when I'm better rested, to remember and honor her but also because God was so good and merciful to us in the way that everything unfolded. We will miss her so much.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thoughts on grief and the holidays

Nancy Guthrie is one of my favorite writers, and this article (link below) is among the reasons why. I learned a lot from reading these words, but I also gained a new perspective on grief and how others move through this holiday season. Most importantly, I was reminded of where our hope should really be - and how important it is to share my faith and hope with others who don't know the truth of the Gospel which really IS the hope of the world.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Imaginative play - we're there

All morning Robbie and Ellie have been occupying themselves in the living room. After overhearing dialogue involving buckling up, pilots, and maps I decided to risk breaking up the party with my presence and snap a few pictures.

As it turns out, they were playing "airplane", Robbie was the pilot and Ellie had the map (a small instruction booklet from a toy) and when I asked them where they were flying to, Robbie replied, "To New Jersey to give Grammy and Papa a hug!". Ellie seemed to think they were flying to the donut store. Sweet girl always has food on her mind.

Bad momma

You know how at a certain age, the baby starts to look longingly at whatever you're eating, and you actually start to feel guilty for not sharing? The other night it was Nilla wafers. Harmless enough, I thought. Similar to those nasty 'Mums' teething biscuits but with some flavor. I consulted Auntie Cheryl who was present and witnessing Maddie's silent begging, and we decided it was time for her to road test her new pearly whites.

She was not a fan. She turned the cookie over in her hands and we had to help her figure out that it was for eating {honestly, I thought all kids exited the womb with a finely tuned cookie radar}. Then after a few long moments of gumming and sucking, a mushy chunk fell off in her mouth. Oh dear. A few gags and sour faces {where in the world did she learn those?} later, she was still recovering. We helped her wash it all down with some prune juice {the fun never stops in our house!} and she was a little out of sorts for the rest of the night. Is it possible that half of a Nilla wafer could constipate a little girl? Easy does it with this little one... Lesson learned.

Monday, November 21, 2011

His first picture day

This one's a keeper.
(The picture, the kid, all of it.)
I'm just not sure who tucked his shirt in!?... It kills me. Related: I had no idea anything more than head-and-shoulders would be photographed. Might've made a different outfit/shoe choice. I'm such a rookie mom.

Regardless, I love how this turned out. It's so HIM. And that's what I'm more into these days - authenticity.

They just keep talking

Ellie: "I don't WANT to eat my breakfast... I QUICK!"
{she means to say "I quit" but learned the phrase wrong, and you know I'm not correcting her}


Robbie: {yesterday while watching 'Cars' on my laptop with headphones on, he removed the headphones and says to me...}
"Mommy, Lightning McQueen just said he 'hated'. We need to go in there and tell him that 'that's not a nice thing to say, we don't say that', but he's just so far inside there (pointing to the screen)..."


Ellie: {sulking around after being yelled at by Robbie for screaming at the top of her lungs}
"I need a time-out."
{Sits herself down on the step with her head down, hands crossed in her lap. I could not convince her to get up.}


Robbie: "Ellie, you have to stop making noise - be quiet! I'm trying to read my book and I need to concentrate."


Ellie: {grabbing my hand and leading me away} "Come with me! Come on, mommy. Let's color / go downstairs / play dollhouse..."


Ellie: "Put your phone / computer DOWN." {when she wants me to do something else for her or give her my attention!}


Maddie: "Wwwwwwaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!"
{Poor Maddie. I don't know if it was a bubble in her tummy, constipation, or teething but she was a fusspot last night at bedtime and was only soothed by me rocking her in her dark room, singing quietly. I told Rob after I had gotten her to bed, that was honestly the first time I have ever had to spend time soothing her like that. She has totally spoiled us! What a little love. To be honest, I enjoyed every minute. What mama doesn't want to be needed to rock and soothe every now and then!?}

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maddie is 7 months old! (What's she like)

You are 7 months old. I'm really late in posting this, seeing as how in 14 days you will be 8 months old. Details.

You've been busy this month! I have to agree with your Mima that 6 months is the perfect age as far as babies go. Up until now, you've been pretty content. Suddenly, you want to try and hold your own bottle (no complaints). You refuse to completely recline while feeding. When I feed you solids, you're all "I WANT TO FEED MYSELF WITH THAT SPOON, LADY!" and we end up flipping food all over your face in our spoon-power-struggle. I promise I'll let you feed yourself one day.

I dressed you in my favorite outfit I put your sister in at this age, and it fits you perfectly. Your head is smaller than hers was, and so the little knit hat that goes with the outfit sags a little. You couldn't look more different from her as a baby, in my opinion.

Click HERE to see Ellie back in the day, rocking this number.

Since we don't go to the doctor for a well visit this month, I'm not sure what your stats currently are.

I do know that solids are making you constipated. You like a little diluted prune juice in your bottle, the first thing other than breastmilk or formula you've been given to drink. It does the trick and I don't feel like I'm punishing you. Win/win.

You've grown less picky about what solids I do feed you. You will always take a bottle, and drink a solid 8 oz every 3-4 hours. You always give me one really good trucker-burp and a little chaser if I'm patient. If you're not burped, you spit up, but that's rare.

You cut your bottom two teeth this month!

You learned how to sit up on your own!

You take a paci at bedtime, often spitting it out after falling asleep and not needing it again. You fall asleep clutching a soft muslin lovey with hot pink satin trim. I've started putting you in Halo sleep sacks now that it's colder at night (otherwise you wake up with ice-cold toes!). You hate them. I'm sorry.

You are still my easy little baby, just slightly more determined when you have something on your mind. Like sleep. Or a bottle. Or getting out from under a tight spot you've rolled into (literally). You always pull at your socks. Maybe you have 'hot feet' like your sister!?

A regular at the Maddie-photo-shoot.
The boy genuinely loves his baby sister.

You have taken to singing recently. If I start to sing you a song, you lock in on my face and hold very still, and a slow smile breaks out across your face. You often join in, with sweet little "aaaAAAAhhhh!"s and find your own melody. It's absolutely precious! I wish I had every hour in the day to devote to this new hobby. We sing together when we can, although you only do it when it's just you and me. All the sweeter.

You still love your exersaucer, preferring to gently nibble the sun's rays or take a swipe at the rolling pieces and then sit back and watch them spin. If you're in a good mood, you'll try to jump and bounce in it, rocking the entire unit back and forth and giving us high pitched shrieks and giggles! I should have invested in a jumparoo.

Another new favorite hobby is finding the satin tags on toys and blankets, gently lapping them up like a kitten with her milk, and sucking on them. It is adorable. I'm not sure that anything you do isn't adorable, but this one particularly melts me for some reason. You are so intent on sucking on these little tags, and it makes me smile when I pick up the house long after you've gone to bed and grab a handful of wetness as I scoop up your blankets or toys.

Little sucker.

Maddie you continue to bring laughter and peace and joy to our home. You are an absolute doll, I could eat you up (cheeks first) every day of my life.

Happy 7 month birthday (for the next 2 weeks at least!).
And please stop growing up so fast. You woke up from your nap as I was finishing this post, and you are currently smacking your hand on the keyboard as I type. Future blogger?

A girl after my own heart. ;)