Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A little perspective...

I am going to tell you a secret. Well, it's sort of a secret. I'm a people watcher. I know that there are others who secretly (or even very publicly) enjoy this voyeuristic past time as well. (Maybe this is why social media, like facebook, is so popular.) So far, my favorite people watching spots are the boardwalk at OCMD, the mall -but mostly at Christmas time, and the airport. I love to watch people interacting and imagine a whole scenario in my head as to what their "story" is. Are they arguing because someone left the oven on? or Did they just get a frantic call from the babysitter who has been locked in the bathroom by their five year old? or Is this guy looking nervous because he is on his way to propose to the love of his life... or maybe he just needs to desperately find a bathroom in a hurry.

I started thinking about this whole idea of just catching a snipet of someone's life. I mean, I don't really have the entire picture. I can make up any scenario I want, but it would take a lot more than a stare down in the airport to know what someone's life is about. I only have a limited perspective on any situation. As I started thinking about this more and more, I started realizing something. WE ALWAYS HAVE A LIMITED PERSPECTIVE... EVEN ON OUR OWN LIVES!!!

The age old question of "Why do bad things happen to good people?" came up recently. And, no. I don't have the answer. But, I do have a thought. First of all, don't think that God MADE bad things happen. He didn't. Did He ALLOW it to happen? Possibly. But why? Why would He allow a family to lose a young mother of three small girls and then lose their home a few months later? Why would He allow a man who has only ever served others, be involved in a fatal crash? Why would He allow a child to have a rare heart condition or cancer? I don't know.

But, then again, we all have a limited perspective. For real. In the span of eternity, or even if we could see into the next 300 years or so, there may be a positive in such negative situations. God may wait for the perfect time to perform a miracle. It just may not be in our desired time frame. Maybe it's not even during our generation. Maybe it's something that, because of the situation and how we handle things now, there will be a life changing moment for your great great grandchild. Of course, that doesn't make the crappy parts of life any easier in that moment, but, again, we don't see the big picture.

I know. It's a lot to swallow. Especially if you're the one going through it. Especially if you are smack dab in the middle of it at this very moment. It's easy to say or even think about... logically. But, those emotions and focusing on the current situation, typically take your head just about anywhere but "logical."

As the Christmas season approached this year, I heard a sermon about our faith filled responses to God. I started to think about how much absolute faith Mary must have had. I mean, she was only in hear early teens. (They got engaged and married young in those days.) I can't imagine that as this unwed teenager told her fiance or started to show, that her situation was very easy.

If I was Mary, I would have probably balked a bit. "C'mon God! Can't you fix this? Why am I the one going through this? What did I do wrong? Everyone is talking about me. I am seeing the true colors of my 'friends' when they act this way. I have no one. Joseph finally believes me, but his family and mine think that we're nuts..." Pretty sure this kind of thinking on my part would take me out of the "candidates for birthing the Son of the Living God pool."  Mary just seems to take it. She doesn't go on a rant on fb (or write on the side of the stall in the stable) about how her friends and family are horrible. She knows what she was told and believes that it's true. She still has that limited perspective, but she has a decent attitude about it.

I don't know if she could have fully grasped the idea of her son, her little baby, being the Savior for the whole of mankind. How could she? For ALL of mankind. Not just her generation. Even if she was told this, eternity is a hard concept to totally get your mind around. Let alone, her baby growing up to save people. I have a hard enough time trying to imagine my kids growing up and getting married or whatever.

God can see all of that and more. He has the benefit of seeing eternity. He has the benefit of seeing what possible outcomes lie ahead for the crap that Satan throws your way. He has the benefit of the ultimate perspective. We still have that limited perspective. Like we're watching our own life from the other side of the airport. We only see the snipet we're involved in at the moment. It may not make your situation disappear to think of it this way, but if you try to think of God's perspective, you may just have a better attitude about it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Am I Nuts, Or Is It Him???

Am I nuts, or is it him? I used to ask this question a lot. If any of you know my husband, you'll know that we are... pretty much exact opposites. Where I tend to err on the side of not knowing when to shut up, Jon barely says a word in public. (I even had a friend ask me when we started dating if he was mean to me. She figured that since he didn't talk to everyone and isn't really expressive, good or bad, that he must be grouchy and mean. Just so you know, he doesn't know HOW to be mean. Honestly.) He's definitey not speechless at home, but that's only with a few that he shows his more talkative side.

When we first got married, although we had talked about marriage and families and goals and such before we ever got married, (just ask the pastor who did our premarital counseling) I still was very frustrated that our communcation wasn't working as well as I'd have liked it to. He was... not like me. I mean, I'm expressive. I'm that crazy person you see in a crowd of people from a distance who is acting out the scene and waving her arms all over the place. My husband may not even be with the crowd. I'm a hugger. Or a toucher. If I'm talking to you, I may put my hand on your arm (to make sure you don't get away) or playfully punch your arm. Yes, I know for you non physical people, this is annoying. I'm working on it. Jonny is not like that at all. Hugging is REALLY stretching his comfort zone and he doesn't even think about holding my hand or putting an arm around me when we're in public. I mean, he does it... now. But he has to make a conscious effort to do so. I LOVE to hang out with him. Watch a movie, take a walk, sit and talk, go to dinner, etc... He is cool with all of those things too, but he doesn't NEED to hang out with others. He's fine if he has time by himself. Jon could easily go to a movie, dinner and/or play a game of hoops all by himself and have no issues with it.

When we got married, I wondered what was wrong with him. Should I fix him? (My mom called it "missionary dating" in high school.) I mean, he can't really be happy like that, right? I knew he loved me, but after a while, especially when he'd be playing basketball for hours every night or those video games or whatever... I got really irritated. And, like a genius, instead of sitting down and telling him, I decided I'd play a little game. (One that I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND and that I'm not proud of.) I decided I'd wait until he hugged me or kissed me or whatever first. I would not innitiate. Darn it. That sucked. Stupid idea. It was a day and a half later that he finally kissed me. I was irate. I didn't even want to kiss him. Didn't he understand? Why didn't he love me back? We had big blowout. Actually, I had a big blowout. Jon doesn't really get angry, and I'm not really sure he knows how to yell at another person. Not to mention, he was clueless as to what I was blubbering about, and he looked super confused.

We got over it, but, a few years later, we were encouraged to read a relationship book in our small group. It's called The Five Love Languages. To be honest, we only sort of read it. Then, about a year later, we were encouraged to read it again by our business team. Yes, a business team. At that point, we were ready to read it and actually apply it. Funny thing is, it's not only about husband and wife relationships, but in EVERY relationship. ONE of the reasons it was highly recommended by people in business.

As a general overview, the book talks about how people perceive "being loved" in very different ways (or languages.) Some people love being told that they do a great job. (Words of Affirmation) They love people verbally applauding them. Some people love getting gifts, even if they're just cards or something small. (Gifts) This is a sign of love to them. Others are touchy people. (Physical Touch) Their physicality is an expression of caring. Some people are all about spending time with people. (Quality Time) They would rather spend time than money on someone they care about. And there are still some people who love to DO things for others. (Acts of Service) They would go out of their way to do something for someone else without any kind of reciprocation.

Holy cow. After reading this book we knew what the issues in our marital communication were. We weren't even speaking the same darn language!!! You may have guessed that I'm a Physical Touch/Quality Time love language combo. Hanging out and holding hands makes me feel loved. But... Jon is not. Not that he doesn't enjoy it, but it doesn't come naturally to him. He has to THINK about it. Make a conscious effort. Jon is interesting, because his showing and receiving love is different. He shows love by Acts of Service. If I go somewhere, I'll come home and he'll have cleaned the house, done the laundry, mowed the lawn and made dinner. Just so I don't have to. He's pretty smooth like that. And the funny thing is, this is how he shows me he loves me. He'd be willing to do these things without me asking or just because he loves me. He doesn't expect or receive love in return this same way though. He loves Words of Affirmation. The Thank Yous and Great Jobs and other encouraging words. (Although we all love kudos now and then, this motivates him and makes him feel loved more than other things.) And I never knew it. I never realized that this was his language. When I get mad or emotional and say hurtful things, this REALLY hurts him. When I praise him or thank him, this REALLY makes him feel loved! So, he's not crazy and neither am I. We just speak different languages when it comes to loving someone.

I've also begun to notice some other things. My mom is a lot like me. My dad is... you guessed it, a lot like Jonny. Weird, huh? Now I understand them a bit better, too! And then we had Avery. Holy cow. If I hadn't read that book... She is a Words of Affirmation girl. If I correct her in front of people, and even sometimes in private, she may start to bawl. She hates feeling like she did something wrong. She lives on praises. Just the other night she was putting together puzzles all by herself and asked (after almost every piece) if I was proud of her. If I hadn't read this book, I'd probably have crushed her little spirit (and probably that of my husband) a long time ago. That really stinks. It's a bit early to figure Sam out, but I'd think he's a bit Physical Touch. He'd have me hold him all day long if he could have his way. We make sure to have snuggle time at least once a day...

There is so much more to this book. It has helped me in just about every relationship imaginable. Please, I emplore you. For your sanity, for your friendships, marriages, kids, and any other relationships, READ THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES!!! Yes, I do realize that this is pretty much a big book promo,but it will make a world of difference. I am forever thankful that I did. Now I know I'm not crazy, and I know how to not drive other people crazy either. I'm still a work in progress, but it's a start!  :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No More Monkeys Jumpin' On The Bed...

First there were giggles and laughing. Then a thud. Then a split second of silence and... a WAIL!!! Bawling. I ran into the living room and found Ava curled into a ball on the overstuffed chair holding her head. It didn't take me long to figure out what had happened.
She's recently taken to jumping on the furniture. Our bed, the couch, and now, even the chair. The one that is by the steps. The back of it is just high enough so that if you fling your head correctly, you may be able to whack yourself off the edge of the steps behind it. (Not if you're just sitting down though.) Obviously, this is what she did. I cuddled her into my arms and kissed it to make it better. The tears flowed for a little while longer, but eventually dried up. Ava looked at me and tried to explain what had happened. She had "bonked" herself.

"Do you remember Mommy & Daddy telling you 'NO MORE JUMPING?' Just like the monkeys, right?"
"Do you see why we don't want you to jump? I know it's a lot of fun. We're okay if you jump on the floor or a trampoline or even in the bouncy house we went to. Jumping on the furniture is not okay. You can hurt yourself more easily here."
"But, I did it before. I didn't fall off before."
"I know." I tried to explain how I could see the possibility of it happening without it happening every time. That's a bit much for a three year old. So, we just left it at, "Ask Mommy & Daddy if you want to jump somewhere and we'll tell you if it's safe."
I started thinking about our conversation. I always feel like I'm setting down a ton of "no fun" rules. (No jumping on the furniture. No talking to people who come by the back yard by the community walking path. No playing hide and seek in the stores... I'm a killjoy, I know.) It's for her safety, but I know she doesn't see it that way. Then I started thinking...

I've heard a lot of people refer the Bible in the same manner. (List of rules. Lots of stuff you aren't supposed to do. No fun.) Hmmm.... Although I don't see it that way, I'll admit. There are a bunch of things in the Bible that the Lord tells you not to do or that you're supposed to do. Some of them don't seem like they should really be a big deal. Especially not in today's society where a lot of things are allowed. Some of them may seem like a "killjoy" or just there to squash your fun/ freedoms.

What if... maybe, just maybe, God knows more than us. His understanding and the possible outcomes that He sees is greater than our own. He can see that there is potential for danger. Maybe not even for you, but for someone who is watching you and sees you as an example. He can see if there's the possibility for "bonking your head." Or maybe He sees that you're example will lead to others pushing the envelope even further. ie: You may just "jump" on the furniture and be okay, but the next guy sees you and decides to do a flip or try some trick and falls off of the bed.
Maybe, just maybe, they're not a list of "don'ts," but a list of places where humanity tends to fall apart or bonk themselves over and over. And maybe, just maybe, He loves us enough to tell us "No More Jumping" even if that makes Him seem like someone who wants to squash our fun. I think I'll try not to JUMP anymore. I'll also ask my Heavenly Father if it's safe, if I DO feel the urge to jump.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book vs. Nook???

I read a question some time ago (probably over a year) that I've been turning over in my mind since then. It was not long after I had mentioned how enamored I was with the Kindles and Nooks. You know, those e-readers. I think it was not long after the Kindle had come out and they were still pretty expensive. Well, the question I read was in reference to these e-readers. I don't remember the exact wording, but it was along these lines and brought up several spin off questions in my mind...
Are e-readers really the way to go? What will become of our libraries? Will they go the way of the Encyclopedia Britannica or World Book? Will we even have a reason for libraries if everyone starts carrying an e-reader? Will children lose that love of ... holding a book in their hands? the smell of the pages? the lovely sound of a never before opened book being creased for the first time?
I mean, I can VIVIDLY remember the first book I ever read from. It's a Richard Scarry book of several stories. It's still in Ava's room. I remember loving to hear my mom read from that book almost every night. I knew the stories by heart. I would sit and pretend to read until, one night, I actually figured out the words to the story of the egg that had fallen down the drain pipe. I was in LOVE!!!
I realize that these e-readers are great and really convenient. I can't say that I don't still secretly yearn for one... But, I pray that they don't take away from the love of actual books. I know that it's a way to carry more books with you and have more of them at your access at a time.
Maybe it's just nostalgia, but I find something therapeutic about having an actual book in my hand. Is this just me? Does this mean I'm officially old? Or just hoping to preserve a precious feeling/memory for myself and to pass on to future generations?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

25 Pieces of the Real ME!

With all of those "notes" that float around facebook, I actually completed one of them. It asked me to give 25 facts about myself. I didn't include things that are obvious or that everyone would know. (ie: I have two kids. etc...) What I included is a little more about the rest of me. The me that I know and others may only if I've told them. So, for those of you who care to know more of the "real" me... Here you go. I'm reposting my original "note" with a few minor modifications.

1. Most of my best friends I did not know a few years ago, but I would love to reconnect with some of my old friends better too!

2. My husband is my ultimate best friend and a hero to me.

3. I believe that everyone should have a good mentor. (If it's good enough for professional athletes, entertainers and business people, it's probably a good thing for me too.)

4. ONE of my future goals is to teach my own children by experiental learning. (Living in and diving into the cultures that we would study or going to historical places and things like that.)

5. I studied in Kenya for a semester and now have a whole other family that calls me their white adopted daughter... and I love them!

6. I have tried several times, but I still can't stand the taste of coffee. It smells delightful though.

7. Jon and I have talked about having a large family... at least 4 kids. Half way there...

8. I hope to have a membership someday to exclusiveresorts.com or the large ship called "The World" so that we can travel more often.

9. I love autumn and, in second place, spring.  Moderate temperatures are the key. I'm all about jeans and hoodie weather. Sweating while just standing there is for the birds.

10. I'm not a huge fan of plain chocolate... Maybe if it's mixed with something...

11. I taught English in a middle school in PA for a few years before they made me go get an English certificate. (I was elementary education before.)

12. It irks me when people don't know how to use the adjective "GOOD" and the adverb "WELL" correctly in sentences. (ex: I'm doing good. - This is not correct English!!!)

13. I would love for my kids to grow up learning many languages. (Tutor? Rosetta Stone?)

14. I would like to some day own a motorcycle, but Jon says that I drive too fast and he'd be scared all the time. We'll see who wins.

15. I think I could eat lobster, crab and shrimp every day.

16. I know you should never have favorite or least favorite students when being a teacher, but I will admit that some names that I previously liked as names to (potentially) name my children have been banished from the list (or even some added to it) because of prior students. It's that whole word association thing. Sorry.

17. I'm trying to get better every day at keeping in touch with people. Really, I am.

18. I've vowed to spend time every day "smelling the baby hair" so that I don't take my time with Avery or Sam for granted while they're little.

19. I am a firm believer that kids and spouses often spell love this way: T-I-M-E

20. I have a ton of books in mind that I think should be made into movies... just ask me, I'll tell you which ones.

21. I've come to realize that every decision is/can be a life changing one. As I look back, some things that seemed life altering at the time really were, while other decisions that seemed insignificant when being made, have changed my life forever. You never know how things will play out, so make decisions carefully.

22. I'm really sappy and I cry at movies, books, and hearing passionate people talk about their hopes and dreams.

23. Although I made other dumb decisions in high school and college, I have stayed true to my vow to never drink alcohol.

24. I wish that people would be good for their word more and have more ambition in life. Things may be really different if everyone vowed to do that.

25. I understand that I can control my actions and my attitude. What others do and how they behave is up to them. (It still frustrates me sometime, but I understand it's not up to me.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Royal Treatment

Avery is infatuated with all things girly. Fairies, princesses, pretty bows, flowers, cooking, tea parties, etc... I will also add that she is also excited that someday daddy will teach her how to play baseball, basketball and football. (I've got field hockey to teach.) More than anything she is super excited about being a princess. I mean, I guess most little girls are. I don't necessarily remember being like that when I was a kid... more of a tomboy, I guess. Ava, however, would wear her tutus and princess dresses (and even the fairy wings) every day and to every venue if I let her. Funny thing is, she acts nicer when she's a princess. This is not saying that she's not still three years old and has the occassional melt down, but she dances around singing and smiling at everyone for the most part.
It's interesting... the Ava being a princess thing. I was thinking about it. If our heavenly father is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then each of us is also royalty. And, just like any other royal family, we did nothing to earn being a prince or princess. We just have to receive it. I recently heard my friend, Jody, read from a book about this very subject. It said that, "In the kingdom of God there are no commoners." The more I thought about it, the more I realize that we do not always live like we are royalty. We believe the lies that people have told us about how "ordinary" we are. We give up our dreams that we have when we're little and try to settle for what we've been told is "reality." We live like a commoner.
Why don't we realize how amazing we are? Why don't we realize that we are the kids of a King? If your biological dad was a King, how different would you act? How different would you carry yourself? How different would you look at the world and at your family? At your responsibilities? Truly, your heavenly father, who cares more about you than even your biological one, IS a king. He's got more authority and can make more things happen than any earthly king (or president.) I think we need to realize how awesome we've been created. How amazing our lives can be by mere association with the King. How many people are watching us and watching royalty conducts themselves. (I mean, if a zillion people tuned in for Prince William's wedding, I'm guessing at least the people you come in contact with watch you.)
What if we started behaving like we have people watching? What if we started acting like we are representing the name of our heavenly father every time we come in contact with another one of His children? (We are.) How different would this world be if we all started acting like princes and princesses in everything we do? How different would our lives be if our expectations (about our lives and our responsibilities) were those of royalty? I'm excited to try it every day. I probably won't start wearing a tutu or frilly dress, but I will start to recognize my role as the kid of a KING!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fear Not!

Did you ever notice that if there's a lesson that you really must learn, it shows up everywhere? I guess it's God's way of making us take notice. I mean, I would typically prefer a billboard with just some explicit instructions tailored just for me, but I'm guessing He feels that repetition and constant working through a new "lesson" is better in the long run. He's right, obviously.
I've started noticing my "lesson" recently has been about fear vs. faith. Did you know that the Bible commands us 110 times to "FEAR NOT!" ?? I'm guessing this is where part of the repetition thing comes in. He tells us over and over to have Faith that He will take care of us and that He will keep his promises to us. Unfortunately, this sounds... nice. Kind of like a Hallmark card. I think that people don't totally grasp what He's trying to tell us. They dismiss it as the kind of promise that a human would make. One that can be easily broken. But, they forget, He's GOD. He doesn't lie. If He says it... He MEANS it.
I mean, I only am sort of understanding it all now. This means that HE is our source... not our job or this economy. This means that HE has taken our pain and suffering upon Himself already so that we don't have to. This means that HE will bless us and our family and keep them safe. We don't have to worry about every "issue" that comes along (health or safety wise.) Don't get me wrong. WE still need to exercise common sense. (God gave us that too.) No, you should not be sitting around on unemployment and being lazy waiting for that "miracle money" in the mail. Yes, you should take your vitamins and eat healthier...God's concerned with your health and you should be too. No, you should not let your children get into cars with strangers... You are still their earthly parent and should take as much caution as you can to keep them safe.
But... all of that being said, God truly wants us to have FAITH in Him. Faith is believing what you can't see. Believing that He really will prove His word to be true. Unfortunately, Fear has the same definition... belief in what cannot be seen. However, fear is the belief in the negative things that you can't see. Satan is really good at distorting the truth of God's word and His promises to us. (He's been at this a long time.) Funny thing is... Satan can not "create" anything. He can only distort or try to make you doubt God's promises. In planting that seed of doubt, fear can come creeping into your mind.
Last year, before I found out I was pregnant with Sam, I lost a baby shortly after I had found out I was pregnant. After working through my emotions from that ordeal, I prayed to God for a child. (One of my reasons for naming our son Samuel. Samuel in the Bible was an answer to His mother, Hannah's prayers... just as Sam was an answer to ours.) When I found out I was pregnant with Sam I was elated... and scared all at the same time. For those first few weeks before I had any kind of ultrasound or could hear the heartbeat or could feel him move, the only "confirmation" I had was the little stick I had peed on. I started living in fear that the worst would happen. After a conversation with a friend, I knew that I had to kick Satan's lies right out of my head. The only way to do that is to make sure that there's no room in my brain for him to sneak any kind of doubt. I had to fill it with the promises that God gave me. I had to make sure to live and speak and breathe only the Word of God concerning my baby. That way, when Satan and his little groupies tried to throw in a word of doubt or unbelief about the health of my baby, I could dismiss it as a total lie. It would be like seeing a flying cow. You would typically figure that someone is trying to pull one over on you if you looked out your window and saw a cow flying by.
The thing is... your brain is constantly looking for new information. If you stop filling it with the promises of God, Satan will use that instant to sneak a little fear in there. If you stop living by FAITH you will, eventually, live by FEAR. After Sam was born I started to think that the battle was won. Wrong. Satan will use your children most of all to instill fear into you. I started to worry about Sam. He wasn't/isn't like Ava. Was/Is that okay? Oh gosh... and that's where Satan jumped right in... trying to fill my head with fear. (By the way, Sam is fine. He's just less "social" than the ladies of this household. :) Go figure.) I began to speak and seek God's promises on the subject of fear and faith and blessing. He promises to bless us and take care of us. He's our Father after all. I mean, I want the ABSOLUTE BEST for my kids. Who doesn't? If I could give them everything/anything, I would. How much more does God want the best for us? If we told our children that we were going to do something, wouldn't it frustrate us if they didn't believe us and constantly talked about it NOT happening or doubting us?
Is living by Faith easy? No. Is it worthwhile? YES! Living by Fear isn't easy either. A state of constant worry and negativity can even have health ramifications. And it's not even worthwhile! Each day may need a constant reminder that fear is worthless at first. But, if you put enough of God's promises and His word into your brain, you will identify the enemy's lies immediately. Keep doing that! He really does want us to FEAR NOT!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lessons from my kids...

I've been noticing a lot of life lessons lately that I have learned by staying at home and observing my kids. I originally thought that I could teach them some things while I stay at home with them. Now I'm finding out that I'm the one getting the education.
Some things are simple. Especially from Sam's point of view.
#1. Cold rear ends aren't fun. (Cold toilet seats reinforce this for me. Apparently, cold wipes are the baby equivalent.)
#2. When people's basic needs are met - ie: food, clothing, clean rear end- they are much happier. (For example, I've often heard it said that money doesn't buy happiness. That's correct. But, when you don't have enough to cover your basic needs, that causes stress. That's not good either. I think that good people do good things with that "extra" money. The opposite is also true.)

Avery's recent lesson is a little more complicated and profound.
#1. Ask for help when you need it. (Ava's been going through an "do it myself" phase lately. She wants to get herself dressed and make her bed and turn on/off the lights ALL BY HERSELF. The only thing is, if she has trouble with any of these, she gets super frustrated and begins to bawl. She is so determined to NOT ask for help and to do it herself that she gets mad at me for even offering.)
I wonder if this is how we seem to act towards God. Our heavenly father is standing by, watching us get frustrated and He knows how to help us or fix it, but He's waiting for us to ask. He watches us try to do it all by ourselves and it pains Him to see us kick and scream and get so mad and hit those brick walls over and over. If only we'd ask for help. If only we'd ask for His guidance. If only we'd realize from the start that God is standing by and has the answers we're looking for. We just must trust Him. And that's where the hard part comes in. Living by faith that our Father knows the answers and that it'll work out. Whatever "it" is.
Please, Dear Lord, don't let me be like Ava sitting in her room frustrated and crying when I can just ask my heavenly father for help. Please let me humble myself enough to learn how to live by FAITH.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...

So, as many of you may know, HE'S HERE! Samuel Elijah Culbertson (Sam) was born on Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 9:21am weighing in at 8lbs 14oz and 21inches long.
He is... AMAZING! Sam has quite the set of lungs on him... He cried super loud as soon as they pulled his head out and suctioned out his mouth. Then he didn't stop crying until he was bundled and in Daddy's arms and Mommy was talking to him. Only then did he calm down. So far, he's been pretty good. He seems to only really cry if he has to poop or is hungry... or if I am wiping his bottom with a cold baby wipe. He's not a fan of the cold hiney thing. Not that I blame him. I'm not either. :) He typically eats every 3ish hours during the day and at night he can even stay asleep longer. Not sure if it's because I have him in one of those swaddling thingies to sleep or because it's dark and quiet, but he's made it 4.5 to 5 hours some nights. After he's done eating, he drifts back off to sleep. This makes mommy really happy. During the day he'll sometimes stay up for an hour or two at a time depending on how much he's slept previously. He just stares at the world around him. Sam's so serious looking sometimes... that must come from Daddy. :)
His only "issue" is that he poops in every diaper. Not much, but just enough to smell up the joint and it's typically RIGHT after I've changed him once. :o/ Sometimes I haven't even gotten him off the changing table or his clothes back on before he poops in the new diaper. We've also had some of the "crazy hosey" (as my sister calls it) incidences. The best one was when he shot a stream of pee halfway across the room and hit Ava in the arm. She started to scream and ran around trying to get her shirt off because it had pee on it! I laughed. She didn't think it was funny. Maybe someday she'll see the humor.
As far as Avery's thoughts on him... she LOVES him. She wants to snuggle with Sam all the time and constantly tries to soothe him if he fusses or cries. "Sam, it's okay. You're alright. I'm here." :) I constantly find her petting his cheeks or rubbing her cheeks on his head because she says he's soft. Several times a day I hear, "Mom, I love Sam." She has just about forgotten about the baby that she (for MONTHS) claimed was in her belly. We got her a doll and brought it to her in the hospital. She loved it... but now that we're all home and the REAL baby is here she is much more interested in helping me with Sam. She gets his blankets or pacifier or a new diaper for me or whatever. She loves being a helper.
The first few days were trickier because Ava wanted attention and even negative attention would do. (She was not aware that she was jealous or acting out, but she just wanted someone to notice her.) We had several time outs and "chats" about how to act appropriately. But, it's gotten easier. She now loves her role as helper, and during his naps we color together or practice letters or play games or whatever. As Sam gets older and requires more attention I am hoping to be able to have her share in his attention and then get some of her own at times too.
Although sometimes momentarily overwhelming, I only need to look at her big, bright smile and his sleepy, milk face grin to know that it's all worth it. I'm in love. :)

Check out http://www.samculbertson.srprints.com/  for more pics

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Days of Three

I've come to a realization. My days of three are almost over. By this I'm referring to the fact that there are currently three of us that reside here. I have less than a week until Sam enters the world and that delicate balance with the three of us is upended. I am trying very hard to sneak in tons of little moments and memories with Avery right now because I know that I'll have to share my time between the two of them soon. It's sorta bittersweet. I cherish every snuggle, every song, every chance I get to spend time with her... but I also am SOOO excited to meet my son. I can't wait to see him, to hold him, to introduce him to this crazy family he's been born into. I love him more than words can express already. Is this crazy? As I sit here writing this, I'm already a bit emotional... but for me that's typically par for the course.
I don't know how God does it. I mean, He really loves us equally, you know? I am wondering how exactly that will work for me and two little ones. Imagine the billions/trillions?? of children God's had over the course of humankind. And each one of us is just as important and has been given just as many talents and gifts as the other. (Not the same kind of talents and gifts and, unfortunately, we don't all use them, but we all have been given them by our Heavenly Father.) He loves every single one of us with ALL of His heart. He always has and always will. I am trying to figure out how to share time and attention with two. I know that I'm probably overthinking everything and that it'll just come naturally, but I don't want to slight Ava while I'm trying to get back into baby routine with Sam. I also don't want to miss celebrating the amazing milestones for Sam as I figure this out. (I've been reminded that first children get all the photos and such and subsequent children don't because they're parents are typically too busy to break out the camera or make as big of a fuss.)
I have less than a week... and I have a feeling that this will  not be resolved by then. I am just going to cherish the last Days of Three that we have and pray about it. I know it will be fine. (There are millions in the world with more than one child and they've figured it out.) Heck, maybe I should call the Duggars... :o) No matter what, on Feb 2nd my world will change again... AND I'M EXCITED!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Just thought I'd share a few of the more memorable recent Ava-isms from the past few months and especially over this holiday season. :) Hope they make you smile or even laugh. Most of them made me laugh...

1. After her first visit with Santa at the mall, Avery was still reliving the whole situation the next morning. While getting ready I heard her in her rooom putting each of her toys on her lap and asking them what they want for Christmas! Even the dog (our 115lb chocolate lab) was told, "Come over here and sit on my lap and tell me what you want for Christmas."

2. Ava knows that Christmas is Jesus's birthday. We even talked about people using presents as a way to "celebrate" His birthday each year. She then asked if Jesus grew up to be Santa Claus... hmmm.... No. But I can see how this can be very confusing.

3. Going to the OBGYN with Avery during this pregnancy has provided its own share of funny moments. She is now an expert on mommy having to "pee in the cup" and "put it in the little closet" for the nurse to check. She even gives me the cup each time I walk into the bathroom. When I had to have a test done today which required that I remove my pants for them to "check the baby," Avery asked why they can't just listen to my belly like they normally do and why they needed to listen to my hiney this time. Oh geesh.

4. Ava is CONVINCED that she is having a baby too. (We talked about daddy not being able to have one because he's a boy. Obviously this means she is able to have one.) So... she is having a baby sister while I am having a baby brother. We also had originally asked her if she liked Samuel Elijah or Elijah Samuel as a name. (He will be named Samuel Elijah, by the way.) She said she liked Eli and that is now the name of her baby. Mommy has baby Sam and she has baby Eli... the baby sister??? She even tells people to feel her stomach and then tells them that Baby Eli just kicked them. How to break the news to her when we go to the hospital??? I think she'll be getting a baby doll of her own.

5. We were packing up a few boxes of old pictures and such in an effort to start cleaning out the office/extra room so that we can eventually (in the spring or summer) make this Ava's room. She ran across some photos of our wedding and then noticed the ring on my finger. She asked me what it meant. I told her that the ring means that I'm married to daddy and that those pictures are from our wedding when we got married. She asked where she was in those pictures. Hmmm... not here yet. Then she told me that SHE got married in a wedding before too. I asked her who she got married to and she looked at me like I had three heads. "Mom, I got married to SARAH!" (My new sister in law... where Avery was the flower girl.) "Don't you remember? We BOTH wore princess dresses!!!" :)

6. I have been asked by the doc to watch my carb intake. I have found some really yummy "Carb Smart" ice cream bars as a little treat. I don't typically eat them when Ava's around because she would also want one, and they're not really that cheap as far as ice cream goes. One day, when Ava was down for a nap, I had one of these bars. I absentmindedly laid the wooden stick the bar comes on on the coffee table after I was done and forgot to throw it in the trash right away. After she was up from her nap for a while I noticed that she had the stick and was playing with it. Each of her dolls was told to, "Say Ahhhh" so that she could look in its mouth. She came to me to do the same thing. Mind you, this has been HOURS after I originally had the ice cream. That's why when she put it in my mouth and it was still wet I was a little weirded out. I told her to get it out of my mouth and asked why it was wet. "What mom? What's wrong? Hershey (our chocolate lab) already did it." EWWWWW!!!! Note to self: Don't leave things for Ava to stick in the dog's mouth and then your own... :oP