Sometimes at bedtime

Both of the kids are in bed, and baby Hattie is sound asleep. However, the little guy is talking to his miniature Lightning McQueen and stuffed whale. It might be a while before he finally falls asleep.

Eric and I are both exhausted, but sometimes, you just have to Netflix. I don’t know why! So we settle in for at least 1 (but probably 2) episodes before we fall asleep. And we’re eating chips & salsa in bed, because we can, and we don’t have to share with the kids. WHA, HA, HA HA!

And not 30 seconds after I’m tucked in cozy, I hear a squeaky little voice,

“mama!” 10 second pause. “mama!” 10 second pause “mama?”

I’ve tried sending daddy before, but only mama will do.

So I untuck the comfy covers, put on my old lady slippers, and shuffle down the hall. It’s 9:15 and I’m about to turn into a pumpkin.

When I walk into his room, my little Coby is sitting up in his bed wearing the goofiest little grin that you ever did see.

“Mama,” he says, “I need to tell you something, okay?”

“Okay, buddy. Just one thing, but then you need to sleep and no more yelling.”

“Okay,” he says, “I always want you. I always need you.”

And he puts his tiny, sweaty hands on my face, pulls my head closer, and kisses my cheek. Then he turns my face and kisses the other cheek. Then he turns my face again and kisses the other cheek. Then again, and again, and again.

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Always being wanted and needed can be exhausting. But it’s a good exhausted, most of the time. And even though I didn’t really need the reminding, I’m glad he likes to tell me.

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On Loving Others

Part 1

Two months ago, I started having periodic back pain. I chalked it up to the fact that I was turning thirty this year and falling apart. A month ago, I started having level-10 stomach pains accompanied with the back pain, and I though it was probably due to eating too much junk. Then one morning, the pain forced me to go to urgent care. The kind, kind doctor thoroughly checked through all possibilities and determined that I had gallstones. I hugged him when I left because he had given me an answer. That same week, I just happened to have an appointment with a fantastic internal medicine doctor that I had scheduled 6 months earlier (for my 30 year-old checkup). He was wonderful in talking me through all of my concerns, referring me to a surgeon and determining that i would likely need surgery relatively soon. I had an appointment with “the best surgeon in town” in 4 weeks. Well, no. I didn’t make it four weeks. And last Friday night I had a completely debilitating attack that had Eric rushing me to the ER at 3am.

At the ER, there were no lines. I went straight to the check-in desk, and then straight through the double doors. Within an hour and half, I’d had a CT scan, ultra sound, IV hookup, morphine, blood tests, and had met with several nurses and doctors. The care I received was outstanding (GHS downtown for anyone who needs to go to the ER). And then four different surgeons, came several times throughout the night, to review my case and talk through emergency surgery. They were all the on-call surgeons over the weekend, and they all worked together to determine that I needed surgery asap. These guys were brilliant and I felt so blessed that they were all coming to work on me.

We checked into a hospital room, then waited all day Saturday. I had the laparoscopic gallbladder surgery first thing on Sunday morning. I came home around 8pm on Sunday evening. Eric is off work all week to take care of the kids (and me), and I’m going through some pretty intense recovery. This recovery process has been a beast, to put it nicely. I would much rather do childbirth than go through this miserable surgery recovery. This week has been a nightmare of pain.

Part 2

Last week, before the crazy weekend events, I was talking to one of my dearest friends while our kids played in the yard. We were sharing our struggles and encouraging each other in our walk with Jesus. I told her, “sometimes, when I analyze the basis for all of my struggles and fear and doubt, I think it is that I am doubting that God really loves me. Like actually, me.” It’s the oldest lie that has ever been told, and I still fall into believing it. And she said, “Well, what does someone who God will love, look like?” That night, I meditated on God’s love and on the people He loves. And you know what? None of em are pretty. Abraham, Jacob, Judah, Rahab, David, the list goes on. And that He would love this world? The sin-diseased people? That is what makes His love so completely unbelievable – and has humbled followers over the ages to worship and surrender to Him. Because He does love us.

The night before the trauma happened, this is what I wrote in my journal: “Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.””Stomach Flop. Tears Streaming Hot. Hands raised in surrender…Yes, Jesus really does love me…Change me, God, to live your love to my husband, children, family, friends and community.”

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life my all.” (When I Survey The Wondrous Cross – Isaac Watts)

And let me tell you how He has completely overwhelmed me with His love in the past few days.

Part 3

In-laws that answer their phones in the middle of the night, and rush over to take care of the kids – and took care of them all weekend. An empty ER and awesome ER team. Fantastic surgeons on call. My OR nurse was someone I knew! A friend who rarely works on Sundays, and just happened to have scheduled to work that Sunday. And my patient care tech in my room was a friend from my Shepherding Group. Who got us extra pillows and blankets and took superb care of us. And all my nurses were complete rockstars. And another sweet friend who is a Peds ER nurse was working that day, and just happened to have a few minutes to come encourage me greatly. And 2 friends came to sit with me while Eric ran home for a shower and clothes. One brought flowers and another brought Kombucha. And they helped me keep my mind off of fear. And one sat with me for hours! And cheered me via DubSmash (but seriously, its addicting). Then one of my dearest friends immediately planned dinner for us for the week. And every single night, someone has dropped by with dinner for my clan. I mean, just an abundance of delicious, amazing food! And this has been a tremendous blessing to Eric – who is being mom, dad and nurse (to me) this week. The man is awesome. And exhausted. Every day around 5PM, he starts looking like Cameron from Ferris Bueler’s Day off when he totals his dad’s car.

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I’ve had friends bringing by essential oils, lunch, special bone broth jello, kombucha, and and a Strossner’s delivered pastry basket and flowers. These people have gone above and beyond the call of loving others. And they are outpouring it on my family.

There are COUNTLESS people who have messaged me, called me, texted me to ask how we are, what they can do, and that they are praying. People are volunteering left and right to come over to love my babies and me while Eric goes back to work next week. My sweet office has taken over doing my job, and they are smiling as they do it. And you guys, through it all, my eyes are seeing Jesus. This outpouring of love has been completely sudden and overwhelming – and it’s like He is saying to me, “I’ve loved you even when you doubted. Even when things were dark. And let me show you this in this tangible way.”

Because right now, I’m completely helpless. And people are loving me, my babies, my sweet husband – and it’s breaking me. I’m actually a wounded person right now, with nothing to offer, and people are going out of their way to love me in big ways. Jesus’ love manifested right here in my face, and it is so kind and sweet – and just a small picture of how deeply He does love me. And you. What a kind Father and what good gifts He has given.

I specifically asked Him to help me love. And He, in His kindness, outpoured His love onto me.

This song has been playing on repeat in my house.

Reminder

Doodle schmoodle. All over my notes, journals, caboodles and fingers.

And it just became permanent.

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I come from a long line of tattoo lovers. My grandma has two (I won’t say which grandma), so that makes her pretty rad.

My first tattoo was going to be a few years ago, and was *almost* the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows symbol (go ahead and judge). I chickened out.

Then it was *almost* my first child’s name. But I want 50 babies, so I’ll need to wait to get them all at the same time.

So here it is. That first ink art, branding me with this permanent reminder that points me to my Savior.

Psalm 46:10 “Be Still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!”

Because the truth is, I can’t “be still”. My brain doesn’t turn off – The questions with no answers, the hurt that won’t leave, the hard battles that leave me drained, the every day life that pulls me through extreme highs and lows. Busy all the time. Glorifying “being so busy”.

A lifetime lesson that I am learning is to rest in Him. Be secure in Him and in His love for me. Resting in the great rescue of the cross. Hoping in a Savior that doesn’t make sense at all, yet at the same time, makes complete sense to my needy, soothed and saved heart.

I can “be still” only in Jesus. Not on my own. Never on my own.

My soul cries out, Hallelujah! What a Savior!

– – –

But don’t be alarmed if a Tolkien symbol or my babies’ names show up on my arm in the near future!

 

 

 

 

 

Coby at 3

Silly. Wild. Smart. Loud. Imaginative.

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This little guy could tell knock-knock jokes all day long. Of course, they go something like this:

Coby: “knock, knock.”

Mommy: “Who’s there?”

Coby: “banana orange.” SCREAM LAUGH. End of joke.

He loves to laugh, and make up silly noises and word combinations. He is vibrant, full of energy, and giggles constantly.

He plays legos with daddy for (what seems like) hours almost every night. Building ships, cars, castles, farms – anything as long as it has a distinct purpose. He lives to build “forts”. All kinds of forts – all.day.long. Using blankets, pillows, lamp shades, coasters, baskets, Amazon boxes and piles of (clean, unfolded) laundry.

Coby talks non-stop. NON-STOP. He was a late talker, and I was a little worried when at 2, he was still not saying any words. But then, almost overnight, his vocabulary exploded! He talks more than most teenage girls. His “F”s are “P”s, “TH” is “CR” or “P”, and he uses a few other letter replacements. “Funny” is “Punny” and “Thunder” is “Punder” – of which he is not fond of atall. His little brain moves so quickly and I love watching him trying to explain something to me as quickly as his brain is thinking it up.

He lives to be outside. He loves digging in the dirt, taking walks to find treasures, and running as fast as he can. Just like his parents, he must always have a “project” that he is working on. Aimless playing holds no joy, but ah, give him a task (“Hey Coby, can you stack up all of those logs for me?”) and he’s the happiest little worker.

We are well into the “why?” phase, so I’m working to patiently answer that question 75 times a day. His mentor is Curious George, and “Why?” could very well be his life’s motto, not just a toddler phase.

Curious George, Lightning McQueen and Frozen are his favorites. He thinks that “Let it Go” is Hattie’s favorite song and sings it for her in a high squeaky mouse voice.

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He will always sit still to read books. He loves to snuggle and read with anyone who will turn pages for him. Finding the smallest part of the story to rehearse and ask questions about. He loves Ferdinand, anything Richard Scary, and new books from our weekly library trips. He’s been like this since birth, and insists on reading books every single day.

He will always choose a chip over a cookie, mac & cheese over pizza, and a tomato over just about anything. He frequently asks for salad for lunch. WHA? No dressing. And he eats only the stems of broccoli. I’m not sure how this all happened, but I am thankful for his healthy eating. Of course he can pound french fries and donuts too.

His favorite person is Googie (Hattie) and goes to great lengths to include her in all that he does. Before I put him down for his afternoon nap, he runs into her room, kisses her sleeping hand, and then runs back into his room. He can’t get enough of his baby sister.

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He’s also challenging and loves to push my buttons. I frequently have to remind him to be polite and stop it with the potty/ blood & gore talk. He’s learning to obey with a happy heart, although he frequently says he “cannot obey and be happy” – I understand that rebel heart. Oh man, do I ever.

I love finding out more about him, who he is, and what makes him tick. He’s part me, part Eric, but he is wholly his own person. He has traits that neither of us do, that make him uniquely, Coby.

Hattie-cakes at 9 months

Sweet. Soft. Gentle. Calm. Quiet.

All good words that describe my Hattie.

She is squishy and dimply, all in the kind of way that makes you want to pick her up and kiss those cheeks a thousand times.

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These days, she is sometimes army crawling, sometimes crawling on all fours. She has perfected the complicated move of getting from a laying position, to a sitting position. Her new favorite skill is pulling up in her crib. She is content to sit in her crib and play with toys – or watch big brother be wild in her room. This pink baby could possibly be the most content little pink that ever was.

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She rarely cries and has been like this since day one. Truly, she is not fussy, whiny or grumpy. She will cuddle and smile all the day long. She will follow me around the kitchen, just to get the chance to pull on my leg and smile at me.

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To say big brother Coby loves her, is an understatement. Coby is crazy about his “googie”. No really, he calls her “googie” and I have no idea where it came from. Just today, Eric and I were saying that the best thing we ever did for Coby was give him a sibling. He kisses her at least 20 times a day and can never get enough of her. He’s always bringing her toys, building her Lego ships, covering her if she’s cold, singing her songs, trying to feed her peas, reading books to her, or holding her water bottle for her. This morning, I peeked into the sitting room, to find them on the floor side by side, laying on their tummies, looking at a Winnie the Pooh book and laughing together. True Story! Their sweetness together is a balm to my heart! I hope and pray that they always play together so well and get along this sweetly together.

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We call her Hattie-cakes, Googie, Hattie-Pie, Lovey and a few other mushy names. And she always has a sweet smile in reply. She loves daddy and flaps her arms like a bird whenever he enters the room. She has perfected saying “ma-ma” and “da-da” – of course, “da-da” was her first word. She still nurses 4 to 5 times a day, mostly before nap times. She loves table food – bits of soft veggies, fruits, black beans, yogurt, applesauce, chicken, and beets. She self feeds famously! (Coby did not self feed until after he was about a year old!) I love watching her chubby fingers pinch at food bits. And then she shoves her whole fist into her mouth.

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She sleeps through the night like a dream. Most mornings, she wakes early for a feeding & snuggle with mommy, but she’ll go right back to sleep for a couple more hours.

This precious baby is a gift. How thankful I am to be her mommy. Tears come easily to me these days, tears of overwhelming thankfulness and joy. I love this stage with this sweet babe. I cherish each minute and don’t ever want to forget.

On growing up

I was twelve years old and feeling mighty fancy. As a Christmas gift, my cousin and I had been given tickets to see Phantom of the Opera at the Buell Theater in downtown Denver. My grandma had even completed the gift with little black opera glasses, the kind that old ladies used in movies. (I still have those binoculars somewhere in my nightstand.) The weeks dragged on between Christmas and the date of the performance.

My dress was beautiful – a perfect piece for 1997. The top was black velvet with a pink satin rose at the collar. The empire waist accentuated my (12 year old girlish) chest, and the flowy black satin from my ribs to the floor was dotted with bright pink and green flowers. I wore black velvet, strappy heels; no doubt a purchase on clearance from Payless Shoe Store. I was wearing a proper slip, bra and pantyhose. I dreamed of that outfit for weeks until the time finally came to actually put it on.

Leigh (my cousin) and I arrived at my grandma’s house to get ready before the play. We carefully got ready in that back bedroom, taking extra time to apply Dr. Pepper Lipsmacker. Purple NYC eyeshadow was all the rage, and my hair was pulled half-back in a metal barrette. I used a curling iron for probably the first time, which makes no sense because I have naturally curly hair.  I admired my figure in the full length mirror on the back of the door. I was so grown up. I walked out into the living room, and looked at my mom, grandma and grandpa.

“How do I look?”

“woooo-weeee!” Grandpa whistled.

I smiled, sticking out my chest just a little, and flipped my hair over my shoulder.

“You look better than Marilyn Monroe!” Grandpa cat-called.

I had no idea who that was. But she must have been someone beautiful by the way grandpa said it! The compliment still rings in my ears today.

I think my mom dropped us off at the theater. I had never seen anything like it. The women wore furs and jewels, fancy gowns and red lips. The men wore black tuxedos and admired all the women. There were hardly any kids there. This was an adult event. And here we were!

The fanciest event I’d ever been too was probably a cousin’s wedding, where they had champagne and dancing. But this trip to the theater was even better. We weren’t the kind of people who went to the theater, or even went downtown very often. Not because it was wrong or bad, but mostly because that just wasn’t our thing. My education in culture included impromptu magic shows from my 80 year old neighbor Jim, where he’d make his thumb disappear. Or trips to watch my extended cousins perform in a Native American pow-wow.

That opening score! You know how it goes, “Perhaps we may frighten away the ghost of so many years ago with a little illumination, gentlemen?” Queue organ fanfare!!

A favorite memory. The first time I felt oh so grown up, yet still such a little girl.

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I’ve thought about this magical evening recently as I’ve been raising my own little girl. (Okay, she’s 6 months old, but still.) How do I help her through this stage? This little girl meets grown woman stage? Read a lot of books? Glean a lot of advice from other moms? Yes. I still remember so many things from this time in my own life, and I desperately want to help Hattie through such a crucial crossroad.

And this same scripture keeps coming my mind, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

And the truth that gently instructs me day after day: live in Jesus. Be a follower of Him. Don’t worry about this time to come, or the uncertain times now. Take it a day at a time.

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She’ll be there soon enough, and I’m only making my hairs gray by worrying about it now.

 

Hattie’s Birth Story

A little late, but here is Hattie’s birth story (for those that are interested – a small audience of probably mostly family) 🙂

It all started on Thursday morning, February 27th – two weeks from my actual due date. However, since Coby was born two weeks early, I was hoping (demanding) that this baby would be born two weeks early too.

At around 11:45 AM, I put Coby down for his nap, and then I went into my bedroom to nap too. As soon as I got on the bed, I heard a “pop” coming from my belly. And then I smiled – because I was pretty sure that my water had just broken and this party was about to get started.

After getting up and walking around a bit, my suspicion was confirmed by the trail of lovely that was left on the floor. I called my friend Jill because her water had broken with her first baby. She said that it can take hours to go into labor. So after hanging up with her, I felt assured that baby might arrive by the evening. Queue phone calls to Eric and my mother-in-law – telling them I’m about to start labor, but take your time because it might be a while. 10 minutes later, the first contraction hits and I fall on the floor, screaming like Amy Poehler in Baby Mama. This was no joke. Labor had hit me full on.

Queue sweating and panting, and a lot of me violently whispering, “oh sweet mother of pearl!”

FINALLY Eric and my MIL arrive and I’m not even thinking clearly at this point. Coby leaves to go with his grandma (and I’m about to lose it because it’s the last time he’ll truly be my only baby) and Eric helps me into the car.

On the car ride to the hospital, I am screaming like a banshee and Eric’s pep talk to me is the same as when Coby was born: “Please don’t curse when we’re in the hospital.” Truly, there was no cursing from me, but I guess he’s just trying to make sure I behave.

We make it to the 4th floor of the hospital. The checkin nurse wants to take me straight to L&D. But the triage nurse wants to take me first (she thinks I’m making up all of the drama ). Triage nurse wins and I’m at 7cm. This is at about 2:00 – two hours after my water broke. They take me to L&D and try to hook me up to machines and make me lay down. However, it is complete torture to lay down. So I stay standing and swaying and yelling. Somehow they hook me up to monitors and ignore my screams for an epidural.

A nurse tells me that once I have a full bag of IV fluid in me, they can call the doctor to give me an epidural. I truly almost lost it. Regretfully, I was not being cooperative with anyone. I was in no way prepared for things to happen so quickly. And I was in no way mentally prepared to go through labor and birth without pain meds. I may have lost composure.

At some point, I took a moment to look at one of the nurses helping me. She had a couple of gold teeth. She was older and had a lot of wrinkles. She had done this countless times – help women (some crazy like me) give birth. She was calm and confident. She smiled a lot, and her gold teeth were shiny and awesome. She looked me in the eye and said, “You control the pain, don’t let it control you.”

I wanted to calmly say, “yes, Sensei” – but I just screamed, “OK!!!”

I reached 10 cm within a matter of minutes. The very kind nurses called in the very kind anesthesiologist who gave me an epidural even though I was already at 10 (and my IV bag was not completely empty). He graciously said that he’d at least be able to help the pushing part be a little more comfortable.

Right after he finished with the epidural, I needed to start pushing.

Queue the doctor running in, my awesome nurses getting their game faces on, and my awesome-pirate-nurse winking at me.

Hattie Joy was born at 3:02 PM.

 

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She was greeted with loud, joyful cries coming from Eric and I. I mean, we were sobbing.

 

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New life is amazing. Life is amazing

What a precious gift from such a loving Heavenly Father.

 

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From start to finish, 3 hours and 2 minutes. Should God bless us with another baby, I’m just going to camp out in the hospital parking lot for a few weeks before my due date.