Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dear Stephen

I am so excited to write you this letter. I dream of the day when you can write back to me. You have grown so much in the past 2 months. We've always known a lot about you, Stevie. We've known how you like cows and trucks and trains. We've known by watching you and spending time with you. Now, it is even more exciting to get to know our boy ...because now, we are hearing from you! We are for the first time getting a glimpse of some of those thoughts going on inside you. We are learning your favorite songs in Sunday School are the "cluck" song (Days of the Week with cluck sounds) and the "J" song ...or you sort of say "A" (J.E.S.U.S. song). A couple of weeks ago was the first time you have responded to our questions with more than a "yes" or "no" or "ok." Grandma asked you about singing in Sunday School, and you told us "cluck." Then one night before bed, I asked you what you did with Daddy downstairs (while I was on the phone). You shared about "trains" how they "bump" and "bump in the house" (a little game you play with Daddy). We're so proud of you. We didn't even know you could say "house." You laughed and laughed to us on Daddy's lap because we were FINALLY undertanding you. It was a moment I hope never to forget. Our first conversation.

I can't tell you how thankful I am to the Lord to see your bright eyes and hear word after new word bubbling out of your sweet mouth. A light switch has been turned on within you the past couple of months (the day we started those probiotics). We still have our challenges and struggles, but Stevie, you are working hard and doing so well. We have a God who hears and answers our prayers.

A couple of weeks ago, you were having a difficult week and so was I. Your behavior is often affected with the struggles you have verbally and within. When days are hard for you, they are hard on me. There's just so much in you that wants to come out, and I know that. In church during the worship singing that week, I was struck that we are going to learn together how to persevere and praise God through these unique trials. Your Dad and I have had some heavy challenges in our marriage, but God has always been faithful. We have been praying for your communication and development, and sometimes I admit, I could only pray with tears because I didn't know the words to say. You know what, Stevie? God heard those tears as prayers. Jesus intercedes for us when we don't have the words or don't know how to ask God for help. So, if God hears my tears, He most certainly hears yours! He most certainly knows every thought you have and every word you want to say but can't. When we don't understand you, Stevie, God does. When you feel alone, He is always there. Oh, He's a great and loving God, Stephen. He knows everything about you, and how often I rest in that. I rest in knowing our loving Creator, the One who knit you together in my womb, is for us and not against us, and has overcome the world. Oh, how I claim those truths of Who He is, for you and for me.

As we walk through these challenges, I pray that God meets you in such an intimate way in your little heart and mind, and I can't wait to hear all about it when you've grown. May your strength, perseverance, and confidence come through Him. He's already working in you, Stevie, as a 2 year old boy. He's answering our prayers and is deeply involved and invested in your young life. I cannot wait to see what more He does in you and through you. You are a gift, my Stephen, a gift of immeasurable value. Remember, your name means crowned gift of God. James 1:12 is on your name board, "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." So, as we hit the bumps in the road, let's remember how far he's brought us. Let's build an altar of thankfulness for Who He is, what He's done, and what He is yet to do. And then, with His help and grace, we will keep pressing on.

Love always and forever through the sunshine and the rain,
Precious Lydia,

You are 9 months old. Wow! 9 months in and 9 months out! It's a little shocking to me to be thinking about what kind of cake to make for your 1st birthday. It won't be your first taste of sweetness though because of your caring, sharing big brother (and grandma too!). You don't seem to have a favorite food, but you definitely prefer the food over your bottles. Graham crackers are especially enjoyed and messy because you have to flip the ends and bite off the opposite end each time. You've been army crawling for about a month and have just started to crawl on your knees. You're pulling up in your crib too. Your first two little teeth poked through 2 days before Christmas (exactly on your 8 month birthday).

You're still a smiley little girl, but your real hearty laugh only appears when Stevie is doing something silly. When I pick you up, you immediately nuzzle your soft little head into my neck and shoulder and smile. It's one of the best things in life, and those cuddles are always welcome. You love your baby doll and give her lots of hugs and smiles...and little chuckles. It brings me such joy to see you loving on your little baby at 8 and 9 months old. You absolutely lit up and reached out for her the moment you saw her on Christmas morning. I pray that I'm showing you a loving, joyful, and patient mother. (Even as I write this, I hear you waking early from your nap unhappily.) Sleep hasn't been super high on your priority list these days. The other night, you joined us in our room and thought it was super fun. You partied from the time I brought you in at 1am till 6am when we both decided sleep was a goner for that night. The room was dark, so you'd feel around to find our faces and squeeze our noses. For a few minutes, you held my hand and slept. The rest of the night, you'd rustle up to a sitting position and grace us with your first word, "Hi!" Sometimes, you'd top the "Hi" off with a little chuckle. Yes, we're proud of you too, but greetings can be saved for the morning.

You love your jumperoo. It's been a hit for a few months now. You smile all the while you jump. When on the floor, you're all over the downstairs chasing after Stevie's toys, and no matter where you are, I often hear, "Oh, Ly-ia", which is apparently my cue to rescue you or the toy you have snatched from Stevie. You've just begun to sit back on your knees while playing, and that's one of my favorite milestones in little ones.

These are such precious moments and days, even if they do seem long for both of us sometimes. When you are completely content, you often kick and swing your right foot rhythmically. I often look at you and wonder what song is playing in your little heart. Hold onto that joyful song, precious Lydia, and sing, play, and dance unto the Lord. You are His treasured possession, and you are mine.

Love always and with a kiss,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shopping with little ones

Shopping with little ones...maybe I could write a series.

It was a family ordeal last week when we went shopping together at Target. It is our go-to place for diapers, wipes, and formula. When Matt is graciously shopping with us, Stevie doesn't ride in the cart. When I'm on my own (which is often the case), both kiddos are in the cart.

Anyway, we got what we needed and were headed on our way to check out. Stevie is always super thrilled to be walking and exploring rather than being contained in a shopping cart. He likes to touch everything he sees. Yes, we are at that stage.

We were walking through the little (but bigger than my boy) boys section where the socks and undies are hanging on the wall. Stevie seemed to admire the Batman underwear and sock set though he has no idea who Batman is. However, something else quickly took his attention. One of the small metal loopy rods that hang articles on the walls was on the floor. "What a treasure," Stevie must've thought, as he picked it up ...and then proceeded to use it to pick his nose. Oy. "You need to put that down, and we do not pick our nose...with ...anything!"

So, if you find yourself walking through the aisles of Target and you see one of those metal rods, you probably better not touch it. Or, if you're in search of one, ask for their special extra long metal nose picker. Maybe Stevie needs a little more time in the shopping cart.