Monday, March 29, 2010

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I'm not sure if this is technically happening this week, but it is here! It's been awhile, and apparently, I'm running out of "good stuff"...that, or I just can't ever remember it.

I am not beginning to think my spelling has gone out the window. Reading over posts already published, I noticed I spelled immersed this way: emersed, haha (among some other recent misspellings). Really, a person would not spell words incorrectly, especially if she has a Literacy degree (my husband did not point out while reading...let alone a MASTER'S degree in Literacy. Alright already!). I mean, come on. Maybe I should edit my posts, but honestly, sometimes those mind blocks last awhile. (You know what it's called, "baby brain." The definition: if a woman forgets many common things she used to know or be able to say or do from the time of conception to the end of all time, she is said to have baby brain.)

I did not spill a brand new box of Cheerios on the kitchen floor this week. My little man was in his high chair looking down with his wide eyes. I did not say, "Oh no! Mommy made a big mess," and call out for our non-existent dog. Where is that dog?...just so I wouldn't have to clean it up. I also do not think that would be the only reason to have a dog at this time in our clean up the food messes. Then I would not have resigned to using my socked foot to sweep them into a pile before using a broom. It's certainly not because I think I know a better way.

I would not think sometimes I'd rather never even buy a house because of the risks and the work behind getting it. Hmm, I'm starting to sound lazy, huh? (No, just ready to drop the whole idea, wait awhile, or maybe jump in so it's over).

Speaking of the house hunt, we are not considering a house that has a make shift above ground pool inserted in the ground... at the end of the driveway. No, really, it's at the end of the driveway. I guess the idea was run and jump? Drive and jump? Bike and jump? That wouldn't give you an idea of our price range now would it? I'm too private to reveal that kind of information. Oh, it's kind of country-ish out there too. Oh, you guessed that? (In case you're wondering...we think we'd do something about that pool thing. We aren't really drive and jump type people. But maybe we'll convert it to a hot tub because we seem to be that type of people. You know the kind...rednecks with a hot tub at the end of their driveway. Ok, maybe not.)

I would not be letting my son play with my shoes (his favorite activity) so I can type this ever so interesting post.

This post would not make me motivated to get things done because I feel like I'm wasting my time and possibly yours.

Updated later:
Ok, here's another one I remembered. This morning while getting ready I would not take notice of an item in our bathroom garbage...such an item as my husband's deodorant. He didn't tell me he was almost out. I love Matt, but that man needs to wear deodorant! So, I did not groan and worry about how bad he'd smell when he got home from work because he was all out of the deo for his b.o. Fast forward. Matt came home from work, Stevie was snoozed on the floor, and we got wrapped up in conversation...until...he wafted his arm pits towards me. I would not exclaim, "Oh no you don't! No! Ew, I know you don't have deodorant on!" I turn away to see Stevie eyeing us, just awakened by my exclamations and laughing. My husband would not reply, "No, I'm wearing yours!"

So, I probably did not redeem my Not Me! posts with that addition, but there you have it anyway.

Friday, March 26, 2010

And life goes on...

...but we must remember.

There are so many different worlds people live in our very own country. There are so many different stories among the different lives lived. (Ok, this is starting to sound like an essay...not my intention.) I was a military wife for such a short time, but yet, the feelings of that time will be etched in my heart least I imagine them to be, and I hope they will be. However, my life, our life, continued on after "that time." Matt is home and done. Here we are, living our civilian lives, going about our daily routines so far removed from anything military but the old camis and boots around the house.

Two different worlds though lived side by side.

I still have a few military wives blogs I love to read and some in real life friends who are military wives. I feel like I need to read those blogs. I need to be reminded that though our time "in" is over, others are still enduring. Part of me wishes to be immersed in that life again, how much I appreciated things differently. But the other part of me, selfishly wants my husband to be home all the time, not have to leave for a year at a time, or more, every couple of years. I would encourage you to really think about that if you have it would change your life. It's just not really that fathomable to "us civilian folk."

I was reading Ashleigh's blog (no, I don't know her personally) and I find myself choking up. It's almost too hard, and too much to read because her pure writing floods back memories and ushers in the reality of it all (well, the reality to which I can imagine...the reality I am not forced to live anymore but that should still be on my heart).

Here I am removed from that time, and am so thankful that Matt is home, nay, was able to come home to me. Obvious to even say, but important enough to emphasize (I feel demanded of me...though we live in a free country, so it's not), not everyone comes home.

Saying goodbye to my husband deploying is an experience I can't say I want to go through again. It is such an awful, choking experience, yet brimmed with the slightest, but heaviest in my heart, glimmer of pride. She wrote about the waiting game that day she was to (and did) say goodbye...and how you just want to soak in those moments as if they will last forever, but at the same time, wishing they would say it's time already to get this ordeal moving and over with. I remember. Those moments were sickening...I shook inside, nervous, heartbroken, tear stained. I was fearful of the future, fearful for the moment we would be separated, but at the same time, I tried to stuff those fears away that kept threatening to overwhelm me just to hold onto that last moments we had together. I was just looking through some of the pictures of the day Matt left (well, one of our "goodbyes", the first one...I saw him off 3 times due to our weird situation). We had a lot of family members there...ugh...pit in stomach. Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful to have support. It really meant a lot to me, to us. At the same time, I felt jealous of my husband's time and afraid to let go of my feelings. Thinking back, I now recall the biggest blessing of that day. I was given clearance to follow Matt to his gate at the airport. We needed that so much. We needed that time for just the 2 of us, secluded from those we knew...even if surrounded by strangers. As his plane took off, he was able to see me wave goodbye, a blubbery mess. Then he saw the family members outside with flags blowing. The man next to Matt asked if they were for him. Yes, for him and for all the other men and women.

I don't know how these wives do this over and over. I don't know how they comfort their little ones missing their Daddy. Today is Friday. I don't know how many Americans still wear red on Fridays, but I will be today. It might not ever be seen or noticed, but for me, that is not the point. I know the intention of the red Friday "movement" was to have a sea of red all over the nation to show our troops we support them. It would be nice to have that outcome. At least I will be personally reminded of our troops and families today as I wear my red shirt. I am thankful for all those giving up "normalcy" and safety to protect mine, to protect my freedom and that of my family. Because they go, my husband can stay. That is a huge privilege. Please pray for the military overseas and serving at home, and please pray for the spouses and children living that daily life and for when they're left behind waiting for their beloved to come home. And, when they do, let's welcome them home!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dear Stephen

Dear Stephen,

I decided I wanted to write to you about when timing and things in life just don't make sense because undoubtedly, there will be times in your life just like that. You may experience discouragement and hardship. Don't give up. Hold on. One verse we included on your name board is a "name" verse. Your name means "crown" or "crowned one" (and Matthew, means "gift of God.") The verse is from James, one of Daddy's favorite books. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)

I have often been thinking lately about the twists and turns our little family life has taken, before your dad and I met, and now as a family. There certainly have been unexpected times, some welcomed, and some difficult to endure. I just want you to know there is so much more to life than the moment. Whether the moment holds pure happiness or deep sorrow, there is more to life than those feelings, those experiences. God certainly cares about our feelings, but He has a plan through it all, and you know? He's right there with us. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11)

There are greater things happening than what we can often see. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) The Bible is full of stories where God is working out good while us humans are experiencing difficult times. Check it out! Think of Christ's suffering on the cross to save us...and He considers it "joy" to endure the cross.

I was just reflecting on the story of how we came to sponsor our boy, Iradukunda, from Compassion. Your dad and I had been hoping and praying for a child of our own. It did not happen in the timing we so desired, and then your dad was sent on deployment. I struggled through that time. I wanted a child, and I wanted your dad to stay home, not have to leave. Neither of those things were to be at that time. We decided we wanted to help a child in some way, even if, especially if we could not have a child of our own at yet. So, we sponsored Iradukunda, a child who was in need. I believe God wanted us to reach outside of our family to bless another child. Had things happened the way we wanted them to, in the time frame we wanted them to, we may not have blessed another child and we probably would not have blessed Iradukunda. There are so many times in our lives where we just don't understand why His answer is "no" or "yes" or "wait." "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8). Sometimes, we'll catch glimpses as the years go by of why...and we realize God has a far greater plan than we can see. Sometimes you may even be able to chuckle at how things have turned out. Even your old mom and dad are continuing to learn this as we come across decisions to be made and enter into different seasons for our family life. God really is weaving together an amazing patchwork. Oh, if we just live for Him to be a part of it! What an amazing opportunity to be a part of God's plan, through the rough times and good times. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17) Remember that crown?

Your dad and I hope and pray that you will grow to be a strong, faithful man of God. We pray you will endure and receive the crown that lasts forever, the crown of life through Jesus Christ. We love you so much. We will share in your joys and endure with you in the hard times. You are such a gift to us. This is why I say God has great plans for you! He created you! He chose just the right time for you to live in this world and be a light to those around you. What an incredible journey He has in store for you. I'm thankful God has chosen us as your parents to be a part of it, what a blessing and responsibility. "Lord, lead and guide us, as we lead and guide Stephen. May he from an early age be certain of Your love and promises, as a Son of the King, and may he desire to pour his own love back to You. May his faith grow so strong and rooted in You, (like those oak trees) that he will not be shaken from the plans You have for his life. As he lives out Your plans, may others see Your work in him and be drawn nearer to You. In Your holy name, Amen."

Love always,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It came!

The mei tai that I ordered on ebay came in the mail on Saturday. I was more than excited...ask Matt. Upon taking it out of it's package, I was pleased with the pattern I chose and also impressed with the padding and how it seems to be made well. I was supposed to get a pattern on one side and a solid on the other...but I didn't provide all that information (I guess I needed to be more specific) so I was given the pattern on both sides. Fine, whatever. Normally, you'd get 2 sides, one solid, one patterned, so it's reversible. I am so glad (at least in this point in time) that I barely spent $20 including shipping when brand name sell for $80! I will admit I was shocked at first by the length of the straps. I started searching back online to see if I was supposed to order a "size." The straps are much longer than my height...which is the only "negative" thing so far. It's only negative in that I'm not sure how to put it on outside of the home without the straps dragging on the ground. I plan to figure that out though. But because the straps are long, it provides you with options for tying, which is nice.

Why did I choose this style carrier? I did a lot of reading about different carriers. I have a sling for when Stevie was little, but it really only works for newborns. I looked at ring slings because of the option of using it with older babies, but I thought the ring would dig into my shoulder (though I have no experience). I almost got a Moby wrap. I really liked how the material was stretchy/flexible and the way it's wrapped distributes the weight of your baby. I decided it was probably better for younger babies, wasn't sure how long before the stretchiness got too stretchy, and it looked hot for the summer. I just didn't want to be mummy wrapped. I really liked the beco carrier. They have more structure, are cute, have great reviews, but are expensive (too expensive for us right now, including the Ergo and Boba). I'm not a fan of spending a lot of money on something and finding out I don't like it. However, these wraps and carriers do have good resale value. We had been loaned a Snuggli, and we used it about twice. It was confusing for me to get on, and I always needed Matt's help getting it on and Stevie in. It also has a weight limit, which Stevie has outgrown. Other makers prefer different styled carriers than it also because of the way it holds the baby and the development of their little spines. So, I found myself looking into the mei tai - No rings, no buckles, adjustable, can carry on front, back, and side, balance between structured and unstructured, reversible (2 in one...well, usually, haha), off brand price was right, not mummy wrapped (except my straps are super long), and fits a variety of sizes of big as you can carry!

Stevie was napping when I found our package in the mail. So, I waited until he got up (even though it was tempting to get him up) and practiced tying it on...with his beloved stuffed cow. The first time I tried to put it on with Stevie, he was a bit cranky (ready to eat) and had an expression like, "What are you doing, Mom?" as he tried to brush the straps away. Once I got him all bundled in though, he was a fan. He just sort of hung out, all laid back. It impressed me and reminded me of when I put him in the sling the first time (well, the first time I actually got the hang of it). So, I gave him his dinner and tried it again takes (well, it takes me) some practice and getting used to. Stevie loved it! It was so nice to have hands free, and he was just so relaxed. I do think the weight distributes nicely, but I'm still trying to make the straps flatten out and not bunch (it's new/stiff material...probably should've washed it first). We zoomed around the living room airplane style, and Stevie looked up at me and giggled while I blew bubble gum bubbles. I got into conversation with Matt, and then I noticed...Stevie was falling asleep! Yes, it was getting close to bedtime, but seriously, seriously...this boy fights sleep unless he's in his crib. He very rarely just falls asleep in my arms.

I'm pleased with it. I hope it stands the test of time, but hey, I didn't spend a ton to begin with. After the first few uses, I think we give it a 4 thumbs up (ya know, for both of us).

Monday, March 8, 2010


I've written several posts including dates. There are so many special "dates" in our family that have common themes. I have come across another special one.

In my last post, I shared increments of 9 months that are too interesting to me.

I like to read MckMama's blog. Right now, she's over in Kenya with Compassion. We have a Compassion boy. I decided I needed to sit down and write him a letter. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to share on here of the boy we sponsor, so I'll keep it simple. He is a 10 year old boy. His birthday is September 20.

Let me tell you about how we came to sponsor this boy. I wanted to have a baby. I wanted to badly. I desired to be a mom. We tried. It did not happen before my husband deployed like we hoped. One of our last days together in our hotel room before he left, we looked through the Compassion website. A man my dad roomed with in college comes to our church about once a year to share what Compassion is doing and encourage others to sponsor a child. He sent us a Christmas card, and it was on my heart...we needed to sponsor a child. I knew I could be a bit of a "mommy" through sponsoring a child who so needed it. We looked through the pictures. How do you pick just one child? It was so hard to "choose." We decided to narrow it down to a boy, since I knew Matt would really like a boy...a boy to sponsor, and also a son of his own one day. I decided I wanted to find an older child... how often the little ones get chosen first. That's when we chose Iradukunda. He was an older boy, on the list waiting for a long time, in and HIV/AIDS affected area, and seeing his face...we knew he was the one.

We received his information. His interests? Soccer and running. Matt's? Soccer. Mine? Running. Grin. Like I said before, his birthday is Sept. 20. On his birthday the year we chose to sponsor was the day our family and church had a send off party for Matt. Our sponsor boy's birthday the year after? Well, that was the day we found out we were expecting our own little boy. What a blessing to have "sponsor brothers." Had we gotten pregnant before then, we may not have chosen Iradukunda. God certainly weaves lives together into a beautiful patchwork. I am often amazed by His timing and the blessing of shared days. I really believe He can and does often use the little things to make them big things, or at least important things. I think that's one of the reasons I love children so much. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What a difference 9 months can make!

Today, is a celebration of 9's. Stevie is 9 months old. I can hardly believe it.

9 months ago, I was holding you for the first time in my arms. You were born at 9:15am and weighed 9 pounds 1 oz.

9 months before then, your daddy and I were as excited as we could be for this surprise.

9 months before that, I was visiting Daddy in San Diego, getting ready to say goodbye for his deployment. *He certainly brings beauty from ashes...

9 months before then, I was hoping for you...for whenever we'd be blessed with you. Instead, we found out Daddy was recalled to the Marine Corps, and God was making ready the perfect time for your arrival, when we could all be together.

9 months prior to that, Daddy and I were newly engaged, making our wedding day preparations!

Finally, 9 months before that, Daddy called Mommy from Hawaii...and well, the rest is history.

What a difference 9 months can make! Happy 9 Months to my growing little man! We love you so much!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Making a House a Home

So, we're in the process of looking for a house. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we have no idea when the looking will become owning. It's definitely a bit of a roller coaster...looking at houses, trying to have a creative eye (this will be what we call a "starter" home), and becoming attached enough to want but not attached enough to be bummed when an offer gets accepted before we send ours in. Easier said then done, I think.

So, I probably won't blog about this endeavor much (I know, I said that in the other post...and here I am), but I've been thinking about the whole "making a house a home" idea. I am trying to really focus on being thankful. I really am content if we are to stay we are for awhile. I'm not sure how many kids we can squeeze into a 2 bedroom place, but I have been praying for a thankful heart and creativity and wisdom for what we have. It really is a nice place, and right now, we fit just fine. We really don't have many complaints. We just would like a place to call our own with a little more space to...grow*.

So, in this process, I've been trying to dig out the stuff not used in awhile to donate or chuck. That has been fun, but boy, I feel like we have so far to go. I look at our place and think, "I don't want to move that." A lot of our belongings come in the form of baby things (and paintball stuff, ahem...I love you, Matt), which are difficult to get rid of since we'd like to use them again someday. Then there are the clothes. My oh my. I am not a crazy shopper girl, but I feel like I have so many clothes. I still have some things from high school (umm, since I'm not a crazy shopper girl). I have my regular clothes...for the different seasons. Then I have my maternity clothes. Those clothes are a variety of sizes because well, you grow. I just got bigger and bigger... Then there are the post-baby clothes. Maybe I'm the only one who still wore some maternity stuff after and some big clothes because the shrinking process takes awhile. My maternity sweatpants were staples I tell ya! Of course, I couldn't wear jeans (maternity or not) for 4 months after that miraculous day. Next time, I'm voting for a better recovery. Anyway...all that adds up. Stuff, stuff, stuff. But, I'm an emotional saver. This has been a fun process, as I mentioned, because I'm pushing the "aww, I remember when" out of my head as I toss. I feel better. There will be things that will remain in our home forever, but most of them, I'm realizing, can hit the road.

I have my little daily schedules Stevie and I do, and cleaning has become more joyful lately. I will be the first to admit, my home will probably never fall under the "I can eat off your floor" ranks (though Stevie doesn't mind), but I'd like it to be welcoming. I'm definitely the type of gal who would rather be spending those moments with my boy than worrying about the dust settling. I'm finding my own little system for trying to be organized. Well, you know, as I can with an almost 9 month old boy who likes to leave his trail (or, tornado, of toys and household items) behind him. " ...Boys are God's way of telling you that your house is too neat" (Author Unknown). Ok, or something like that.

Anyway, what I'd like to get out, is I'm really noticing an answer to my prayer. While looking at some homes, there are sometimes rooms that I love...and other rooms that need a bit of work. Instead of me thinking, "ohhh that's not very desirable," I'm thinking, "hmm, I wonder if we could do this!" and I'm getting excited about it. It's been awhile since I've undertaken creative projects. Just ask my scrapbooking box. So, thinking of a future house...and being presented with a "work in progress home," has been somewhat thrilling for me. Others may not see how wonderful this room is, but I am starting to see how wonderful it can be! That is how I want to view our present apartment, our future home, and our family. That's not to say I am not thankful for how we currently are, but I want to continue to grow. I've been praying for thankfulness, wisdom, and creativity to use what we have been given. I am content here. I am even happy here in this place we are living, but it can be better. I'm not trying to say I'm striving for perfection. That's not it. I want our house (wherever we're living, house/apartment) to reflect a home. I want our "unit" to reflect a family, a covenant, a growth together and in Him.

So yes, the cleaning must be done, and maybe I'll learn that more cleaning must be done, haha, but there is so much more to our home than the clean or dirty floor, the walls, the furniture, the big yard, or the small yard. I have been called to be a daughter of the King, a wife to my husband and a mother to my son. Matt often says, "We don't live the high life," but I respond, "I think we do!" We have been so blessed. I often visit Dumptrucksandteacups. She has such a beautiful blog about her family life. She used this quote in a post a "long" time ago, and I just beautiful.
"If our homes are filled with beauty and the shadow of God’s creativity, our children will not only hear the messages of our devotions and prayers, and school books, but they will breathe in the atmosphere of color, great tastes and smells, dancing music, great stories, loving hand rubs or back tickles and they will expand in their souls to understand that our God, the original artist and designer, is indeed worthy or our love and adoration–because they will know that He is the author of all things great and alive with His pleasure and blessing." - Sally Clarkson

I think that sums up making a house a home. I desire it. Lord, help me make, wherever we live, an apartment or a house, a joyful, thankful home filled with Your love. Amen.