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A Mind That Wanders

My mind wanders.  Especially during prayer time.  It’s hard for me to quiet myself, my mind, my to do list, and just focus.  These prayer cards from Navpress have been a great resource, guide and help for me as I pray.  Especially when you just don’t know what to pray.

One of my favorites is the “31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.”  I try everyday, before I lay Oliver down for his morning nap, to pray one of those virtues over him.

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Great resource!  Highly recommended!  They even have the sampler pack, which is one copy of each prayer card they produce.  It’s $9.99 and includes the following:

30 Ways to Pray for People in Authority

Prayers for Healing Broken Relationships

Life-Giving Prayers for Your Church

Partnering with God in the Struggle Over Sin

Prayers of Repentance

Scriptural Prayers for Your Finances

Scriptural Prayers for the Next Generation

Prayers for our Military and Their Families

Prayers for Missionaries and Their Families

Praying for the Lost

12 Prayers of Christmas

Blessing for Your New Year

Praying for Your Family

31 Ways to Praise

Power-Packed Prayers for Public Schools

Scripture-Based Prayers for Your Pastor

Prayers for Prodigals

Everyday Prayers for Your Spiritual Battle

Scriptural Blessing to Pray Over Your Children

Personal Prayers From Colossians

Prayers for a Strong & Loving Marriage

Prayers that Birth Revival

A Month of Prayers for Your Wife

Prayers for the Sick

 

To Order:  http://www.tyndale.com/Bookmark-Prayer-Card-Sampler-29-pack/9781576834565#.VqCtAEs7Ads

 

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The Everyday 5

I live by a to-do list. It’s a word document that is saved on the desktop of my laptop that I go to multiple times a day. And sometimes, that to-do list is so long that I feel paralyzed and it seems nothing gets done from that list. So this year, I have committed to trying to simplify my life.

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Kaelan encouraged us as a family to seek to do 5 things everyday. Hence, the “Everyday 5.”   So everyday, we seek to do something…

Physical

Spiritual

Emotional

Relational

Intellectual

Somedays, I get them all accomplished. Somedays, only one or two. But it’s a guide for us as we structure our day.

So what does my Everyday 5 look like?

Physical: When living in Cali, I was at my peak in physical fitness. Running, biking, Crossfitting. Moving to the UK, I wish I could say that I have continued to thrive in this area, but I haven’t. The weather has been a challenge for me, then I had a baby, now it’s finding childcare so that I can go workout. So I have set two simple goals in this area: running and Betty Rocker.

In the mornings, as soon as Kaelan leaves for work, I put Oliver in his stroller and off we go. There is about a 1.5 mile loop around our neighborhood. Takes me less than 30 minutes and I’m done. Right now I’m shooting for every other day.

After that, I come in, put Oliver down to play with his toys, and knock out a 15 minute Betty Rocker workout video. If you haven’t checked her out…DO IT! 15 minutes a day for 30 days. No equipment or childcare needed, and it is right in the comfort of your own home.  It’s awesome. And free!  I’m on day 5 and my body is feeling the pain.

Spiritual: As soon as Oliver goes down for his morning nap, I’m seek to first and foremost, before I move to chores or anything else, have my reading and prayer time. More to come on this later.

Emotional: I’m still trying to determine what would be an emotional activity for me. What helps me to not just absolutely “lose it?” A nap? Watching an episode (or 3) of The Following (my new Amazon Prime addiction)? Doing household chores? Having meaningful conversation with my husband about our future and making plans?

Relational: This varies day-to-day. On Thursdays I go to a mom and tot playgroup on the base. Other days I meet a friend for lunch. Other days, I message, call, Skype, Facetime someone I haven’t spoken to in awhile. Maybe one day it’s a date with my husband. And everyday, it’s quality time with a little blue-eyed boy named Oliver.

Intellectual: For me, this entails several things: First, I’m seeking to read 5 pages a day in a book of my choice. I’ve discovered my attention span is short.  I’m too pre-occupied on my to-do list and what to accomplish next (another reason why I can’t do longer than 15 minute workout videos). But I can easily knock out 5 pages and be intentional about what I am reading. Secondly, I am starting back my graduate classes in March.  And then of course, blogging, working on a few business endeavors, etc.

So maybe you are having trouble structuring your days. If so, try the Everyday 5.

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It doesn’t take long to realize that running errands, going out to eat…in other words, braving the world outside of your front door…is much different when you have a baby in tow. Especially in a foreign country where “getting around” is not exactly convenient…AT ALL. No drive-throughs, crazy roads, very little parking. So needless to say, it has been very tempting for me to become a homebody. And some days/weeks, I am one.

Yesterday Oliver and I were able to have lunch with a friend. A much needed outing for me, especially since the in-laws left and I’ve been a little (okay a lot) depressed. And it was a great time enjoying one another’s company and catching-up. I left thankful that we were able to make that happen and wanting to do it again soon.

But as I drove home, these questions came to mind…

“Was I a good lunch ‘date’? Did I seem engaged in our conversations? Did I respond to her? Did I talk? Did I make sense? Did I even answer her questions? Did I let her finish her topics of conversation?  What exactly did we talk about again?”

You see conversation that happens during a meal out with a 9-month old soon becomes a blur. You are so busy tending to him (feeding, changing, entertaining), that it seems everything else takes 2nd place. I use to pride myself on multi-tasking, but becoming a mother has challenged me in this area in many ways.

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Oliver is what I like to call a “fully-committed” child. Whatever he is doing at that moment, he is fully committed to it. When eating…committed to it. Even after all of the food is gone. When sleeping…fully committed. And when he is up and ready to play…fully committed. You see, he is an explorer. He loves to go and do and see. He loves to test his limits: physically, emotionally, intellectually. And Kaelan and I try hard to encourage him to do so. To explore.  We were the parents that encouraged him to climb the steps, and let him multiple times a day.

In short, he is not my china doll who is going to sit still and quiet at a restaurant.

So for now, friends, if we share a meal together, and Oliver is with me, I may not seem “fully there.” But know that I am. And I am so glad to be there and sharing time with you. I just also have a little one who needs my attention too and I’m still learning how to do both, and do both well.

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Month 4

You are now 4 months old! And stealing our hearts more and more each day. I love it when you look up at me and stare awhile, and then just give me this big smile. Melts my heart every time.

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We have started you on solid foods, and you have amazed us on how quickly you’ve picked it up. No problem with a spoon or anything. So far you have had sweet potatoes, avocados, squash, plums, carrots and butternut squash. And you haven’t turned down any of it.

You still love playing on you playmat. And will tolerate short amounts of time in your bouncy chair or bumbo seat. The playmat is by far your favorite.

You love toys. Especially being able to see yourself in a mirror, and you love things that light up and makes sounds.

You’ve mastered the fake cough. And crying without tears. Especially during a car seat ride, which you still very much hate. We’ve learned to travel at night so you will sleep. You have found your toes. And as of today, you figured out how to suck your big toe.

It was actually during month three, but you made your first trip to the waterpark and the Columbus Zoo.

You’ve met your godparents, who flew all the way out from California and Arizona to attend your baptism. And of course, you were baptized. What a special day for our family. You only cried slightly when the water hit your head.

You love to be sung to and read to…especially when you can touch the book. Dad and I have each made up a song for you. I sing to you Braham’s lullaby, but with my own words… Go to sleep, Go to sleep, Go to sleep baby Oliver. Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep right now. And when you wake, I will be here waiting for you. Close your eyes and goodnight you are mother’s delight. It seems to do the trick every time. And Aunt Missy bought you a bear that plays the song, which you love!

Nicknames for you include: Ollie, Ollie-Boy, Ollie Bear. You’ve attended your first luau. And made your first trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

We’ve started making the transition from you sleeping in your carry-cot to the crib. You do pretty well. Except you now have more room to roll over from you tummy to your back. You can’t get yourself back over just yet, so that wakes you up and makes you quite mad.

You loved to be rocked, and your head nuzzled under our necks.

You still eat every four hours, getting solid foods three times a day, and sleep through the night.

At 4 months I’m suppose to cut out two of the feeds, which will be hard for this mommy. I so love our feed times, as those our great moments for just you and I. When mommy and daddy are having a bad day, frustrated with each other, you seem to just flash a big smile at us which makes us forget it all.

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Happy 3 Months Little Fella!

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If there is one thing that I can count on every morning when I wake up it is that you will surely put a smile on my face before the day is over. It goes without saying that you continue to amaze us! Your dad asked me to have you tested because he thinks you are a “Super Baby.” But I guess all parents think that.

Milestones:

  • By week 5 you were rolling over from you back to your stomach and could “scoot” from one end of the blanket to the other.
  • By month 2 you had found your hands. Now, at month 3, you can intentionally get your hands to your mouth. And you have indeed found your thumb. But generally you just like to stick your whole fist in your mouth, which at times has induced gagging.
  • You smile…A LOT! Just not for pictures. And laugh out loud, which sounds more like a cackle.
  • You love to talk. Or babble. A LOT. Especially during church it seems. You try to mimic the sounds we make to you. One day, your dad was making noises to you that sounded like the word “good.” We promise that you repeated it back to him. It was freaky. That was month 2.
  • Your strength is ridiculous. You can straighten and stand up on your legs and about pull yourself up from a laying position to a seated position when supported.
  • You can grab and hold onto toys…and purposely reach for them.

Loves:

  • You love laying on your playmat that has the toys that hang down. You enjoy tummy time as well. Your bouncy seat you tolerate for 5-10 minutes. But now at least you play with the toy that is attached to it.
  • You love to suck! Especially your hand and your pacifier. We are trying hard to prevent you from being a thumb sucker.
  • If fussy, we lay you on your tummy across our forearms. You love it! Your daddy calls this the “monkey hold.”
  • You still love bathtime.
  • You love bright lights. Especially a tv, computer or phone screen. All of which we will have to be very careful with.

Hates:

  • You HATE riding in a carseat in the car. You refuse to nap in said carseat as well. You are fine for about 5 minutes and then screaming is induced.
  • Most of the time diaper and clothe changes make you mad.
  • Your temper comes out during feed time when I make you stop to burp. Generally, you scream through it and stiffen your little body. I guess you love food like your mommy.

Firsts:

  • Months 2 and 3 brought your first stamps in your passport. You have been to Italy (Naples, Florence, Rome and Tuscany), London, and most importantly, back to the states to meet your family (North Carolina and Ohio). Of course, everywhere you go you get everyone’s attention. You have been the best and most easy-going little traveler, adapting so well. You have done better than your father and I.
  • You saw your first fireworks show for the 4th of July in Ohio. You loved it and were mesmerized by them. Not scared at all.
  • We introduced you to the pool in the Italy. And ever since you have become a water baby and love it.

Funnies:

  • While in Florence, you had a diaper explosion on your daddy at a restaurant. Then, when meeting your Great-Grandmother Clay, you exploded on her as well. Think puddles of poop on her skirt at the restaurant.

You still sleep on your tummy, eat every 4 hours throughout the day and sleep through the night. Your alertness continues to amaze everyone that meets you. Especially those big baby blue eyes of yours. You look mostly like your daddy, minus one or two features of mine. You especially have your dad’s forehead and forehand wrinkles, as well as his hairline. Your hair continues to lighten so that at times we don’t know if you will be a blonde or red headed baby. You drool…a lot. So much that I wonder if you are starting to teeth.

Overall, you really are a great and contented baby. You have made my introduction into motherhood easy and have brought so much joy and happiness to our lives. We are forever grateful for you.

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Happy One Month Birthday little fella!

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One month ago today you came into the world and made me a mommy. And ironically, today is the day we also celebrate Mother’s Day in the US. I always wondered if I would make a good mother. If I had the patience and love to have a child. Everyone always said, “Wait until it is your own and it will be different.” And you know what? They were right.   You have completely changed me. When it’s time to put you down for naps and bedtime, it seems so hard, as all I want to do is hold you and look at you. You truly do bring so much joy to our lives.

Facts about your first month:

  • After plateauing at 9.7 lbs for about 2 weeks, and having mommy concerned as to why you weren’t gaining more weight, you then gained a whole pound in 10 days! So now you weigh a hefty 10 lbs, 7 ounces! Our little chunker.
  • You have been amazing at adapting to a schedule! You feed every 4 hours at 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm, and 10 pm. After a feed you are up and happy for about 30 minutes to an hour, then back down for a nap.
  • You feed great, but are in fact the nosiest eater EVER, which is why I don’t feed you in public.
  • You are SO alert and talkative. The doctor was amazed at just how alert and talkative you are for your age. Your alertness makes it very difficult to get you to nap. As you just want to see what’s going on around you. So we have to be very disciplined with putting you down in your own room and bed for naptime. When you do fall asleep on us, you love to be nestled against our chest. At church today, your talkativeness caused me to have to walk out of service about 3 different times. Can’t wait for the school years J
  • You are the happiest in the mornings, after your 6 am feed. We generally put you into the bed with us where you will look around, smile and even try to laugh with us. And then sometimes you doze back off to sleep and we get extra Oliver cuddles. Other times your alertness keeps you wide awake and we have to send you back to your bed/room.
  • You have already begun to sleep through the night. After your last feed at 10 pm, you sleep until 5 am, but mommy makes you stay in your bed until 6 am. When you do wake in the middle of the night, you cry/whine for a short time and back to sleep you go.
  • You have amazing head and neck control.  You can completely hold your head up on your own for long periods of time and can completely push yourself up when on your tummy.  And yes, you are a tummy sleeper.  Again, back sleeping keeps you awake and alert!
  • You have discovered your hands and can hit things (though probably not intentionally done yet) and grab at some things. You are slowly learning how to suck on your own hands/fingers.
  • And you love to suck! A pacifier or our pinky fingers. The paci puts you straight to sleep. Though we are trying to limit how much you get it.
  • You love your Ergo Baby Carrier. It puts you to sleep in a matter of minutes! As does the vacuum cleaner or hair dryer.
  • After about a week, we moved you to your own room. Again, noisy baby that you are J
  • Shooter is having a little more to do with you, though he still keeps his distance most of the time. He is having a hard time sharing the attention with you.
  • You are starting to enjoy bath time. Or at least you no longer cry through it.
  • You are still not a big fan of diaper changes.
  • We had a newborn photographer come by and try to take pictures of you. You refused to sleep and screamed through the whole session, and peed on all of us.
  • Three days after your arrival, we made our first road trip with you to the American base near Cambridge (RAF Lakenheath…6 hours away) to have you circumcised (which you handled like a champ and didn’t even cry) and to get your passport processed.
  • You have met and spent 10 days with your Nana and Papa. Them leaving was hard on all of us.
  • We’ve had lots of visitors from church and daddy’s work. They have showered you with lots of cuddles, gifts and meals for us.

Needless to say, we have LOVED every minute of this past month with you and look forward to every new thing you learn and do in the days, months and years to come.

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An Update on Baby Clay

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Well, Monday was my due date. And that day came and went with still no baby.  Since I had not gone into labor, I had a follow-up appointment on Wednesday with the midwife, which I was so excited about. Here in the UK, they do not check for dilation and effacement until your actual due date, so I couldn’t wait to FINALLY hear how close we were to our baby boy’s arrival. The last few visits were all the same, with the doctor telling me just two weeks ago, “Your baby is really low so it shouldn’t be much longer.”

The midwife did the usual…

Urine check…Great.

Blood pressure…Great.

Baby’s Heartbeat…Great.

Measurements…Spot on.

And then what we all were waiting for…

Dilation…

ZERO.

Zero? WHAT?!?!?! Is that even possible this late in the game??? Here I am 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant and you are telling me I have not dilated AT ALL????

The midwife then tried to do a “sweep” to see if she could jumpstart the labor process, but with zero dilation and with my cervix not in the right position for giving birth, she could not successfully do that. The next step was to book me in for an induction, which was scheduled for next Friday.

Now I know with birth plans, you really can’t call the shots. You have “hopes” as to what will and will not happen, but really it is all out of your control. So when we created our birth plan, I tried to create one that provided as much “go with the flow” as possible.  However, there was one thing I did not want to have to do…and that was be induced.

Here in the UK, inductions are not quite like those in the US. They will not even do an induction here until you are almost 42 weeks.  And seriously, who doesn’t want to be pregnant for two additional weeks???  Anyways, medicines used are different, and the process can be LONG, taking anywhere from 24-48 hours to even GET labor started. On top of that, they warn you that it will be more painful, and often results in requiring assistance to help get baby out (forceps, etc).

On top of that, inductions do not always work if the mom’s body isn’t ready (such as my case at the moment), and can result in a C-section. Normally, I wouldn’t have an issue with such a procedure. Again, not ideal, but I can cope with a C-section. But as many of you know, my hubby had extensive shoulder surgery four weeks ago. Hopefully, he will be out of his sling in two weeks, but he still can’t drive for another four weeks and has a six-month full recovery timeframe. In addition to that, he leaves in early May to join his next ship. So if I had to have a C-section, I couldn’t drive for eight weeks, my mom would be gone, hubby too, so not only would I be stranded, but felt as if I would have to take care of myself and a newborn baby with no help while trying to recover from surgery myself. And as soon as the baby is born, we have to drive six hours to the closest US base to have the circumcision done and his passport and visa processed. Who was going to chauffer us there if I couldn’t drive??? And the anxiety set-in….

I went home devastated. Many tears were cried. And my poor husband and mom were left to deal with my less than Christ-like attitude for the next 24 hours. I had such high hopes that with my mom living so far away and being here for the baby’s arrival, that God would allow him to come quickly and early so she could enjoy as much time with him as possible. And selfishly, to give us as much time as possible to enjoy her help.  And at the time of the induction, two of the four weeks of her visit would be gone. In addition to that, I had tried to be as healthy and active throughout this pregnancy as possible. Which has paid off in wonderful ways. The pregnancy has been easy, baby and I have been healthy, and I have experienced minimal weight gain. However, the downside to that is that it apparently has produced a cervix of steel. So at this point, I had felt like my body had let me down, and that I had let my mom and husband down.

I knew in my heart that God was in control and He had a perfect plan and day of arrival for our baby. He knew of all the intricate details…my mom’s visit, hubby’s recovery and work schedule, circumcision and paperwork, etc and that we had been praying over all of this for months. He would take care of every last detail, I just needed to trust in Him. But after that appointment, I was having a heard time getting my head to agree with what my heart knew.

The next day, I had come to accept the fact that this baby would not be coming until next Friday or after and I was going to have to deal with it. That there was nothing I could do about it. Did I like it? Not one bit. My mom and Kaelan tried to encourage me to not give up hope, have faith that God could change things and not imagine the worst possible scenario, but I just didn’t have it in me. Being realistic was where I was at and this was the reality I knew. Sometimes, we have to stand on other people’s faith, so they were trying to have faith for me, despite my negativity and attitude.

However, as the day went on, I came across something that caused a seed of faith to be planted within me, and gave me slight hope than began to grow and encourage my heart. I found a picture that talked about the death and burial of our Lord on one day, and how He was alive and well, resurrected by the third day. It was encouraging us to never forget that nothing is impossible with God and things can drastically change, even in three days.

Slight peace finally rested over me. God COULD change things completely at any time. He could change this situation.  But even if He didn’t, being reminded of the reality that He could caused some of my faith to be resurrected. Even if He didn’t change our situation, He had a perfect plan for our baby’s arrival and He would give me strength to endure whatever I may have to face, and provide the assistance and help we would need during and after. As much as I care about the details, God cares even more. I just needed Him to remind me of this in a way I could see.  So this Easter weekend, as we celebrate our risen Lord, I rejoice and rest in knowing this all-powerful and loving God that cares for our child and for us. And I again can pray the words:

“I am pleased with your will, whatever it is, and if you would ask me to decide for myself in any affair, I would choose to refer it to you, for you are infinitely wise and can do no wrong, as I am in danger of doing. I rejoice to think that all things are in your hands and it delights me to leave them there. Amen.”

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