Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Country & A Little More Photography

This morning we made our thirty minute trek to church. Unfortunately, Rachel just wasn’t in a good mood from the moment she woke up. I don’t know what got into that girl! I put her in the front pack (which she normally loves) but she wasn’t having it. I paced around inside and outside the church with her for about 20 minutes and when that didn’t help, I decided to pack her up and go for a country drive. Our church is sort of in the country already, which made our venture pretty easy.

Our hour long drive (while Rachel snoozed, thankfully) was spectacular. I think I may have worshiped God more just by seeing His breathtaking creation than I might have from a pew. It’s amazing how much the beauty, peace and quiet of the country really allows my mind to clear these days.

These cell phone pictures are pretty much terrible compared to what I was actually seeing. Oh well, I’m still posting them here anyhow. I’m dying to get back out to the country soon with my camera.

 

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On that same note, my friend Frances was over the other night and taught me some more about the settings on my camera. She helped me with aperture, focusing and ISO. So whenever I get an opportunity, I’m trying to take pictures and get a handle on the various settings. Here are some of pictures I took in the last week.

Josh was eating crayons coloring the other day. I give him his pacifier when he’s coloring to discourage him from chewing his crayons, but it usually only works about 25% of the time. I figure that learning to hold a crayon is more important than not swallowing colored wax?

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Rachel was happy in her bumbo. Oh, the smiles that girl gives us sometimes! Even my husband said that her big smiles “melt his heart.”

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Josh still really enjoys playing with beans and scooping or pouring them from container to container (and I love it because he doesn’t put the beans in his mouth!).

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And earlier today I saw Josh’s toy train sitting outside all alone and for some reason it made me think of Toy Story — how nuts is that? Poor train. Left outside, all alone,  in the cold, windy weather. What will life come to.

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So that’s the extent of my grand photography. 😉 I have so much to learn, but I’m just happy that I’m feeling more comfortable with my camera.

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Our Hope is in Christ

Our kids were both dedicated this morning at our Christian church. Before the congregation, we pledged to pray over and to train up our children in the Lord. This is not a requirement in any way for the Christian parent; it is simply a special time devoted to praying specifically for our children as a church congregation, as well as an opportunity to publicly declare our intention of raising our children to know Christ.

I’ve been looking forward to this day for months. It wasn’t so very long ago that we were wrestling with infertility and the daunting thought that we might not ever be parents. How I cried out to the Lord repeatedly, reminding Him about Hannah and Sarah (as if He needed to be reminded) and some other barren Biblical women who were blessed with children. God certainly doesn’t promise us children, so I didn’t pretend to believe that we would be parents someday. We just didn’t know what would happen, and as the years went by and the likelihood of needing a hysterectomy went up, we lived with a lot of pain and turmoil.

But then God blessed us; not with one child, but two. We don’t deserve children, but He had mercy on us.

How grateful my heart was this morning, thinking that we could have arrived at church this morning still barren. Still fighting endometriosis. Still having surgeries. But we didn’t.

And yet, it’s not all about having children, or raising children, or being a mother or a father. These children of ours are wonderful and grant us great purpose for a time. But children are not our hope– our hope is in Christ! And how we thank him for His tender mercies on us.

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Our families came alongside to worship with us this morning and to pray over our children. After the service, my brother in law took our family picture outside the church. I’m still amazed at the color of the plants behind us!

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Hebrews 6:19-20: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (NIV)

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Rachel is 4 Months Old!

Rachel is 4 months old today, and although it’s meltdown time at our home right now I wanted to get this post done before my memory fails to recall the details about her in this age and stage!

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This little girl is growing like a weed. I weighed her on our home scale the other day and she was 13#8 oz (she was 6#9 oz at birth). It is a joy to see her gaining weight and growing in length. We’ll get an official weight and length next week at her 4 mo. baby check up.

Rachel nurses every 2-3 hours during the day and once at night. I usually put her down to bed around 8 or 9pm, but since I’m planning on going back to work in the evenings soon I’ll need to move it up a bit (she doesn’t take a bottle). She wakes up around 6 or 7 am, nurses, and takes another nap in the baby swing until her next feeding time. I still don’t have her on a nap schedule because she continues to sleep for at least a little bit in between every feeding during the day. Once she starts staying awake between feedings I’ll start her on a nap schedule. She’s getting close to having that happen.

I’m still putting her in the rock n play sleeper at night and she loves that thing. She rarely spits up when she’s in it, which helps her to sleep longer. Also, her pacifier stays put. She’s almost too long for it though (sadness!) so she’ll be transitioned to her crib soon. She occasionally takes naps in her crib during the day.

Following in her brother's footsteps. She loves books already. I find myself sorting through books more than I do baby/toddler clothes.

Following in her brother’s footsteps. She loves books already. I find myself sorting through books more than I do baby/toddler clothes.

She’s out of most of her 3 month clothes. She’s in 3-6 month clothes or 6 month Carter’s clothes. All of her 3 month sleepers are too short. I really need to get her some more winter 6 month basics, like onesies and pants. I’ll probably end up ordering them.

Rachel has nursed like a champ from the beginning. I’m SO relieved about that. I don’t think I have an amazing milk supply or anything, but what she gets seems to go a long way. Breast milk is amazing! (Please don’t feel sad if you are formula feeding — I did 6 months of formula with Josh and he did great with it.) I’m planning to nurse her for a year (that’s my goal). I would be lying if I said I was excited about it– I don’t really mind it, but I will mention that I made a mental note today that we still have 8 months to go. 😉

She is very verbal and loves to “talk” to you when she’s in a happy mood. She squeals with delight sometimes, and it’s soooo cute. She can also scream at the top of her lungs when she is in pain or freaked out by a loud noise. Her biggest nemesis is her tummy — she’s had a lot of gas since birth and it is a major problem whenever I eat something on her “do not eat” list (which consists of broccoli, oatmeal, beans, and trail mix).

Around this time last year was when I was 6 weeks pregnant with her. We thought we were going to lose her when I hemorrhaged and got diagnosed with a subchorionic bleed. How INCREDIBLY blessed we are that she is happily sleeping next to me right now! Thank you God for sparing her life and for allowing us to cherish her in our arms! Her daddy and I often marvel over how fearfully and wonderfully made she is.

Snuggling with Mommy. One of mommy's most favorite parts of the day!

Snuggling with Mommy. One of mommy’s most favorite parts of the day!

 

 

 

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New Camera Lens

Two years ago I got a nice DSLR camera for Christmas. It was a Nikon D3100 that came in a kit with two lens. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I didn’t learn how to use it much in manual mode like I had wanted to. Part of the reason for this is that my friend Katherine takes awesome pictures, and she pretty much got all the nice portraits that we could ever need or want! Plus, cell phone pics are getting better and better these days.

Anyhow, for Christmas this year I got my first prime lens. I didn’t even know what a prime lens was until Katherine told me about it. She took a lot of our maternity shots with Josh with a prime lens, and I loved how they turned out. One of the great things about a prime lens is that it almost completely eliminates the need for a flash, even when indoors with very low light.

I’ve been experimenting with my prime lens (in case you’re interested, it’s a AF-S Nikkor 35mm) and I’m really enjoying it! Just thought I’d post some pictures below. They’re nothing special, just pics of random objects and my kiddos on any given typical day. Sometimes the less formal pics are the ones I enjoy most.

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Simply Being Here

These days are fun yet hectic. Rachel is doing great — she’ll be 4 months old in a couple of days and she’s giggly and smiley and already popping out teeth (teething at 3 months is CRAZY, by the way). Josh is almost 23 months and is and putting words together for the first time. He can be found with his nose in a book and a train piece in one hand at almost all times. It is a delight to see them both growing and learning new tricks! But lest you think it’s all roses– our days also involve lots of screaming. So yes, it is fun and there is much laughter– but there is also much screaming too.

In light of this busy season, I have often wondered “How can I be serving others? How can I help out at church? What can I be doing to be a blessing?” The truth of the matter is that it’s a small feat just to make it to the grocery store, let alone church. With a small baby in tote who nurses often, there aren’t really any practical places for me to be able to serve at church right now (which really makes me feel like a consumer). Josh also depends heavily on routine and schedule, and not adhering to his routine for too long means a complete meltdown (which happened in an extended version on Christmas day). All this is to say is that the bulk of my ministry these days is at home– loving my kids and my husband. I know many women who have several more kids than me, who home school and serve outside of the home in multiple capacities– and they are amazing! But that is not me. I’m being stretched thin these days just by getting dinner on the table and both kids bathed before bedtime.

Blogger Melissa over at yourmomhasablog.com encouraged me today with her post about how stay at home moms can serve God. She writes that the stay at home mom has the strange occupation of simply being there. (I’ve been mulling this over as I grew up with a mom who was also “there” (even though she worked a lot from home) and the positive impact that just having her around (to keep tabs on me, or for me to ask her questions, etc) had on me.) Melissa encourages those who feel like they aren’t even very good homemakers to see that all the work they’re doing at home for their kids and husbands  are being done for the Lord– that He is their boss. She writes “We’re doing these things, yes laundry and the whole shebang, because God has given us this job, this calling of being there, and we owe Him everything. So, we serve Him with our presence in the home.” She also offers several small ways we can serve the Lord, merely by being obedient to His Word and the overflow that such obedience brings. Some examples of this that she mentioned were as obvious as being a good friend to your husband– or as small as being kind and friendly to the employee at the grocery store. Lastly, she encourages women to focus on their chief purpose: To know God and enjoy Him forever. She encourages women not to get caught up so much in what they can or can’t do, but to focus on making every day an exercise to dwell in His presence. Amen to that!

My whole life has been geared on getting good grades in school and being in such a place so that I could choose any career I wanted. And I’m glad I chose nursing — it has been a wonderful choice, full of hard work and promoting good critical thinking skills. But not much of my life has prepared me for the challenges of being a mother. I have relied heavily on my older sister (in a way, I’m really glad her kids are much older than mine so that I’ve been able to watch her parent so much) and my mother in this area, as I am oft in amazement in the jobs they have both done as mothers. Obviously, being a good nurse has always been important to me. But being a WISE mother trumps everything else, let alone my devotion to God and to my husband. And this is where the buck stops. As much as I miss not serving in more tangible ways outside of the home, for this season of life I can serve God by being in His presence and by serving my family. Showering others with the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control). Speaking kind words and encouragement to others, or being a listening ear when needed. (Or, more realistically for this week: Not complaining even though we’re all sick, responding calmly to a toddler who’s just pitched his plate of food onto the floor, and being able to smile at a baby who screams with indignation when being put down in the baby swing for a while.)

3 month old Rachel. How we love her!

3 month old Rachel. How we love her!

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Changes for 2016

A new year lies before us once again. I made some changes this January. I decided to go for a year without being on Facebook and Pinterest and from reading parenting articles.
I decided I needed to be hearing more from God directly. And that I needed to not be carrying around unnecessary guilt about my parenting.
Lastly, I want to read more. I should set a goal for that- but as of right now it’ll probably be something like 1-2 books a month.
My goals for my children this year are: Play. Have fun. Read books. Learn about Jesus.
That’s it.
It’s only been 3 days, but I am already feeling more freedom and space in my life.
That being said, I’m still exhausted. I know I keep saying it, but two kids under two is a lot of work! And that’s even with hubby home to tag team these past few days.
That doesn’t negate the fact that we are ridiculously blessed with these kiddos. How they bring so many smiles and laughter to our house!

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