0

Priorities.

Dear baby girl,

As I sat at the kitchen table on my computer last night, I glanced out the back window and saw pink and orange flames lighting up the crystal blue sky.

I was so struck by the beauty that I stopped what I was doing and stepped outside. To get a better view beyond the trees in our backyard, I walked out in front of the house. The hues streaked across our quiet street, beyond the rooftops and trees. I continued to walk in the still silence of the late evening, feeling as though I were walking in a spotlight, yet with no audience watching. There wasn’t a person or creature in sight as I slowly strolled down the sidewalk, hoping to catch more of a glimpse of the magnificent sunset. I didn’t even get a picture, as I left my phone and everything at home, completely caught up in the moment.

This beautiful, peaceful moment was just what I needed. In the midst of the chaos that is life, sometimes we need these moments. Moments where we can clearly see beauty when all we want to do is focus on the ugly. There are times when I feel like God orchestrates special moments like last night to remind me of His presence in my life, even when I don’t always feel it or see it. Sometimes we need these little reminders from God that He created the universe – and us – and He loves us more than we could ever imagine.

I need these reminders because it’s pretty easy to lose focus. Distractions call, seemingly demanding my attention from the present. Instead of letting my heart be content, I choose worry. Instead of embracing where I am at, I compare my life to those around me. I let others’ priorities make mine feel inferior, wondering how I can make time to do or be more.

Last night the Creator reminded me that I am not inferior. None of us is inferior.

Throughout life, our priorities change. Circumstances change us. Life changes us – if we let it. We can face challenges and choose to be angry, bitter and remain the same person, blaming the world and being a victim. Or, we can choose to learn from hardships. They may feel like they define us, but really, it is the character that is shaped in us that defines us.

Priorities change. Seasons change. Our hearts, our passions and our priorities are what define us. It’s easy to get caught up in what we feel like we need or ought to be. I sometimes need the reminder that just because I am not the super-involved or Pinterest-cooking and crafting mom, doesn’t mean that I am not enough.

I look at you, and I know in your eyes, I am enough. In God, I am enough. And you, baby girl, you will always be enough.

You, family and God are my priorities. Why should I expect my priorities to match anyone else’s? We all have our own lives, our own stories.

I tell you all of this so that you might hold on to these reminders and truths someday. I hope to share a lot more with you here along the way.

With love,

Momma

Advertisements
0

Our big little girl.

Dear baby girl,

It’s been a pretty big week around here as we’ve tried a couple new things: swimming and solids!

I shared the other day about your first swimming experience on Father’s Day, and I anticipate we’ll be doing it again this weekend as the weather continues to be hot and humid this week. Summer has hit in full force!

We also tried solids this week, as we felt you were showing us all the signs you were ready (and let’s be honest, I was finally ready, too). I didn’t take this decision lightly, which is why we waited until longer than the typical six months.

After talking to your doctor and doing some research, we decided to offer you real food first instead of the typical cereal. The first thing we decided to try was bananas. You didn’t hate it, but your face said it all as to just how confused you were.

IMG_8730 cropped

But the more you tried it, the more you seemed to like it. You wanted to help Momma feed you. 🙂

IMG_8732

Day two went even better than day one, and you ate even more bananas than the first night. Tonight we did decide to go the cereal route before we offer you your first veggie. You loved oatmeal – you wore some of it but did eat all of it!

solids

Your daddy and I are proud of you! 🙂 Our big girl, growing up so fast!

In other development news, this week you are working really hard on pushing yourself up to sit up on your own. You get almost all the way up to sitting, supporting yourself with one hand, but then you decide to lie back down instead of pushing yourself all the way up. You’re so close; I have a feeling it will happen really soon.

You are also trying to crawl on all fours, rather than the scooting you have been doing for the past few weeks. You’ll get yourself up on your hands and knees, rocking back and forth for a few minutes. It’s pretty darn adorable, and I think you’re about to take off when you decide to lie down on your belly instead. When you do figure it out, we’re in trouble. 🙂

It’s been one adventure after another around here lately, especially now that you’re more mobile than ever. Your personality is really starting to shine, and your daddy and I are sure enjoying seeing you discover the world around you. We’re having just as much fun as you are – being your parents is pretty awesome.

With love,

Momma

1

First Father’s Day: Part Two.

Dear baby girl,

Today was a fun day as we celebrated your daddy’s first Father’s Day!

We started the day off by you sleeping through the night (!) until I fed you at almost 7 am. It would have been even better if I wouldn’t have been up until after midnight…why do I always stay up late?

Anyway, after letting Daddy sleep in, I gave him the gifts from us while you took your morning nap. Daddy promptly displayed your gift (a homemade card) on the refrigerator.

card

We enjoyed our morning at church, and you loved staring at your new friend Brooklyn, who is just a few weeks older than you. This afternoon we decided to try something new: your first swimming experience!

It wasn’t a super hot afternoon, so we had to add a bucket of hot water after filling the pool with ice cold water from the hose. After lathering you with baby sunscreen ($12.50 per tube – yeesh, but totally necessary) and suiting you up, we were ready to go.

You weren’t quite sure what to think at first…

10468679_10203331211736276_5417039714577192958_n

But you slowly warmed up to it.

10402635_10203331211696275_1140444314724704760_n

Then you realized it was like one giant bathtub.

10418357_10203331211616273_6769647040940842044_n

Then, we brought out some toys for you to enjoy.

10411721_10203331212376292_8642750802215922875_n

After eating your toys in the pool and your fingers and toes were officially prunes, we came inside and you crashed for another solid 30-minute nap.

For dinner, Daddy wanted to grill (even though I offered to cook), and we enjoyed cooking fajitas and rice together. (Okay, I’ll be honest — your daddy did most of the work. I put a box of rice in boiling water and entertained you. But again, I offered to help.) For dessert, Daddy enjoyed our chocolate chip cookies we baked him. Delicious food day!

Following dinner you enjoyed a real bath with Daddy in a much smaller bathtub: the kitchen sink. Pretty soon you’ll be graduating to the real bathtub. Baby steps. 🙂

By the time all was said and done, you were one tuckered-out baby, and your daddy had a fun first Father’s Day. I’m sure thankful for all your daddy does for us and our family. Seeing how much he loves you makes me love him even more. We’re pretty lucky to have him.

Though I missed my own daddy today, I am so thankful for the memories I have of him that I will share with you someday, as I mentioned in my post yesterday. He was a pretty great dad; he always had such an upbeat attitude and was so proud of his girls – my mom, my sister and me. And, he would be so incredibly proud of you as his grandbaby girl. I know he is smiling at you from heaven today, along with your Pap – Daddy’s dad. We are blessed to have had such loving fathers, and we hope to carry on the traditions and love that they shared with us.

We are also incredibly blessed to be surrounded by loving family and friends and to have you as our beautiful daughter. You are our pride and our joy, and we are so thankful to celebrate each day with you.

With love,

Momma

 

1

First Father’s Day : Part One.

Dear baby girl,

Father’s Day has not been an easy holiday for your daddy and me the past several years.

I lost your grandpa, my dad, nearly five years ago when he passed away from brain cancer. Your daddy lost his dad, your pap, more than six years ago, to skin cancer. It was a very difficult time for us, both personally and in our marriage. We still miss them and wish they were here to delight in their grandchildren, but we know that they see you from heaven. It is our hope that you will know them as we share stories when you are old enough to understand.

As I write this, your daddy and I have been married for nearly seven years, together for almost 11. Going through losing parents and other family members seemed to be the theme of our marriage the first few years. There was a point when your daddy said he was ready to start adding to instead of subtracting from our family.

We got through the losses together, thankful for each other’s love and support through the process. It seemed as though we would go through similar losses of family members so that we might further understand and be there for one another.

I tell you this not to make you sad, but to help you understand why I write this blog. I don’t know when my day will come, but there are so many things I want to share with you while I can. I tell you these stories now in hopes that you will be able to read them someday.

I look forward to tomorrow, celebrating your daddy’s first Father’s Day. While we will still remember our own dads, we also get to celebrate the day with you. As we remember life passed on, we will also celebrate new life, your life.  I may have a few special things planned for your daddy, and I look forward to spending the day together.

Your daddy is an incredible dad, and seeing him love you makes me fall even more in love with him. I will share with you more tomorrow about him and our special first Father’s Day together.

With love,

Momma

1

Consistently inconsistent parenting.

Dear baby girl,

Since before you were born, I have found myself reading just about everything I can get my hands – and eyes – on. From researching car seats to cribs to nursing, I wanted to be prepared for your arrival as much as possible. I even found myself joining local Facebook groups on a variety of topics, from babywearing to thrifty spending to cloth diapering, following other parents’ questions and tips on a variety of issues. I subscribed to emails, read blogs and Googled more random things than I ever thought I would.

Do yourself a favor if and when you have a kid someday: don’t read everything.

While some information is useful and helpful, it’s easy to get information overload via the Internet. There are so many options – and opinions – about everything. No matter what you read, you will feel like you’re not doing it right, or that you’re not doing enough. Parenting “experts” will give you advice on how to ensure your baby is sleeping through the night or how to not scar your child for life. Some parents will tell you to meet your baby’s every demand while others will tell you that your baby won’t learn independence through attachment parenting.

I’ve quickly discovered that parents are more judgmental than high school teenagers. Mommy bloggers and parenting experts galore are quick to share their opinions, stories and successes, which usually involves a rant about those who do things differently. It’s painful to read, and it’s unfortunate how guilty it makes mothers feel about their parenting choices.

Your daddy and I don’t subscribe to a certain parenting method or lifestyle. We babywear and use a stroller. We cloth diaper at home and use disposables when out and about. We let you cry to sleep sometimes, and I nurse you to sleep. We don’t have a strict schedule, but by following your lead, we tend to feed you and put you down for naps on a regular basis. We nurse and bottle feed.

We do what we feel is right. We follow our instincts. We put your needs first and shower you with more love than we ever thought we could possibly pour out to you. We aren’t consistent in our methods, but we are consistent in loving you.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my reading, it is that just because people may subscribe to a certain parenting style or opinion, doesn’t make it any better or worse than my own personal choices. People may try to tell you otherwise.

Parents know their own babies the best. It’s helpful and okay to look for advice and resources, but ultimately it is up to me and your daddy to know and trust what you need. The decisions we make to care for and raise you may not be the same decisions others would make, and that’s okay. Ultimately, we are looking out for your safety, your comfort and your health. We want you to know you are loved and cared for – more than you will ever know.

With love,

Momma