Easter

I want so much.

I want the teenager to see. Really see how precious those around her are. And how precious she is. Her ipod set aside this week, I wonder how that will impact her heart.

I want my little Legolas to know he is precious. School is hard. Home is hard. Everywhere in between is hard. Could it really be that no one likes him? Could it maybe be that what is inside is what is hard? Grace is what heals that place. So I wait for God.

I want the seven year old to stay small. His heart, a beautiful mix of compassion and boyishness. Can it just stay that way? Can he always just look at me with those beautiful blue pools of wonder and be innocent? I want this. For him. For me.

I want the almost-kindergartener to know he is loved. Bedtime comes, and we talk. His favorite thing of the day? That people were nice to him for a change. And he still manages to pray “God, change my heart so I don’t get so mad.” And my heart leaps and weeps all at once.

I want the baby to be the baby. Always. Being almost-two is taxing. On me. Can we leave the tin foil alone for just one day? And possibly not throw raisins around just this once? My heart bursts. Because its hard. And I fear ruining her with all my mistakes.

And still, there are so many more wants in my momma heart.

This weekend, this Easter, I wanted more than anything to know HIS love and feel HIS joy and revel in HIS goodness. My greatest struggle is knowing I am not enough. Mothering is hard and raw and real. And it sends me screaming into myself. Hidden away inside is ache that I can not do this.

But I know the ONE who can.

The ONE who does.

HE did it. It is FINISHED. All I need to do now is to COME.  In the coming, HE meets. HE sustains. HE shoulders my load. Carries my burdens.

These children? They are not mine. Not really. They belong to HIM. And HE will meet them through the ages and weave their lives into tapestries of grace. Me? I am HIS servant. Blessed beyond measure to witness this weaving. Blessed beyond measure to let HIM use me.

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Emily’s first birthday

Emily is ONE. The big ONE. Today. I look at her and I marvel. How did the year pass me so quickly that I feel as though it was merely a dream? How did eight pounds of helpless turn into twenty pounds of walking adorable? A strange mix of sorrow and joy swirl madly within me. I want to rewind. To go back and do it again. Not to have another, but to experience her. All over again. On the other hand, I adore who she is and is becoming. I delight in her growth. And so I will pray that God helps me to cherish each and every moment of this sweet little one’s life.

Her party was marvelous. From the sitting on big sister’s lap for gifts, to the delight on her face when we sang Happy Birthday, to meeting her first Cabbage Patch baby, to resting by Grandpa for a bottle after the festivities.  I will remember it always. Happy birthday, sweet Emily. (An enormous thank you to Ellie Baumann for the beautiful cakes!!)DSC_9422DSC_9412DSC_9408DSC_9439DSC_9414DSC_9538-2DSC_9446-2DSC_9474DSC_9478-2DSC_9481-2DSC_9502DSC_9521DSC_9543DSC_9552-2DSC_9551DSC_9600DSC_9584DSC_9631DSC_9633

what ten months looks like

My Emily is ten months old this month. My heart leaps, and grieves, and cherishes what this time looks like.

Ten months looks like a whole lot of cuteness.

Ten months looks like trying to master this thing called walking. And falling down a lot.

Ten months looks a lot like strong opinions. She certainly knows what she wants and when.

Ten months looks like life is flying by way too quickly. She is growing up way too fast.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Capturing what is

My kids run from my camera mostly.  The kids who can walk at least. The one who can’t walk – lets just say she probably thinks my camera is an extension of my face.  Makes for some pretty frustrating situations for this photographer mommy. Some days, instead of fighting with them to sit, pose, smile, again, again, one more time … I try to relax and capture them living. I am learning to take in whats around me. To let go of the expectations I have of what I want to capture, and instead just capture what is.

This is dreaming.

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This is finally

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This is taking a rest

DSC_0742-2and this is just cuteness 🙂

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Emily | 4 months old

Yesterday, I wasn’t ready to say she was 4 months old. She was still “almost 4 months.” Because it feels like this was yesterday…

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Then I looked at the calender and realized how “almost 4 months” she really was. When I think about the time that has passed I get a little sad knowing it went by so quickly. And yet my heart overflows seeing my beautiful girl growing and changing. She is so precious to us. I can’t get over those eyes. And I can’t get over how much God has blessed us with her and through her.

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For those of you wondering, her reflux has greatly improved. We’ve found our happy place at the intersection of Omeaprezole, probiotics, Nutramigen formula, chiropractic care, and a hazelwood necklace. Life is good. I was talking with a dear friend today and we realized together that peace comes from accepting things just the way they are, and then having faith that God will lead you through. We are thanking God that he gave us peace and guidance in this.

We love you so much, sweet Emily

Project life | week 4

And finally here’s my week four. (A little late, I do apologize.)  I was going to work on our week 5 yesterday and get that posted as well, but we had a small electrical fire in our computer room and had to shut off the power to that room. (Just one more thing to add to our stressful, chaotic week of emergency gallbladder surgery, four dentist appointments, a baby with ear infections and too many snow days… deep breath. deep breath.)

week 4:

Emily was 11 weeks old this week so I recorded some of the things she’s doing at this age. We found out she had reflux this week and started castor oil wraps. Whether they are working or not is yet to be seen, but she sure looks cute all wrapped up in saran wrap and a blanket 🙂

DSC_7197copyTitle card is made from paper using the Seafoam core kit. I had the yellow number paper lying around and I’m honestly not sure where that is from.

DSC_7223Yellow number stickers are from basic grey.

We had two more snow days as more snow storms and cold temps rolled in. The kids spent tons of time with their legos and actually had fun playing together. Minimal fighting = happy mommy. And I just love that little yellow guy on the bottom right. Daniel drew it and told me it was a gummy bear doing the gummy bear dance. 🙂
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supplies used: Becky Higgins page protectors design A, bazzil basics kraft paper, paislee press yellow paper, basic grey yellow alpha, Tim Holtz tickets, Project life midnight edition core kit, Project Life seafoam edition papers

Project life | week 3

I am starting to wonder if we will ever have school again. This is snow day number eight for us here in Holland, MI. And I will admit that we are going a little crazy in our house. On top of that I’ve gotten myself addicted to coffee recently (and by addicted I mean that I am super tired and crabby unless I drink three cups). *sigh* Weaning off coffee while enduring this many snow days is NOT a good idea.

Anyway, I promised to share week three, and here it is. I think I love this project more and more as time goes on. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve flipped through this album so far. Week three is quite possibly one of my favorite spreads ever. The colors, the photos, the simplicity. Love it all. Still lots of Emily. What can I say, I take lots of pictures of her.

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We got tons more snow this week. The boys played out in it for a little while, but couldn’t stay out for long. It’s just too cold. A frequent discussion topic in our house is what would happen if they got frost bit. They seem to think their cheeks and hands will have to get cut off if that happens. I may or may not have told them this so they’ll be alarmed enough to be aware of when they are too cold.

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Emily still loves her baths. She actually cries when I take her out. Silly baby.

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And this. This is what I live for. I just love these girls.

DSC_7194copySupplies used:

Project Life Midnight Edition core kit, Project Life Jade edition core kit, Tim Holtz journaling tickets, Basic Grey mini monogram stickers white, Lily Bee alpha stickers white, Becky Higgins page protectors design A.

a letter to my nemesis

Dear Reflux,

I hate you.

The first time we met was 6 years ago.  You snuck up on me one night. The new baby had been happy for days, but then the screaming started. It lasted for hours that night and then it disappeared for weeks. It would come back again every so often, those long unpredictable hours of inconsolable screaming. The funnest episode was when we were camping in a pop up camper. Everyone could hear the screams long into the night. Unaware of who you were, I avoided every food imaginable in an attempt to pinpoint what was hurting my baby’s tummy. Nothing worked. Finally,and by finally I mean when the poor boy was 6 months old, we went to the doctor and discovered YOU. You had ridden in on the coattails of a hiatal hernia.

Then we met again two years later. You covered me in baby puke. Every day. All day. LOTS OF IT. I tried and tried to “figure out” how to fix my dear baby who couldn’t sleep, couldn’t poop and couldn’t keep anything in his little tummy. Once again avoiding every food known to man and once again failing. I finally gave up nursing and put him on meds. I grew a very large left bicep that year from NEVER PUTTING THE KID DOWN. EVER. And thanks to you, that same kid still sneaks into my bed every night and insists on sleeping with me….even though he is almost four years old.

I thought I could avoid you with this one. I thought I had given you enough of my time and enough of my kids. The first two weeks with Emily were wonderful. But then again she was fussy at night. And she didn’t sleep well. And there was lots of gas. It made me wonder…could she have…?? Nope, don’t even go there. It has to be normal fussiness that all baby’s go through.

Then four weeks hit. I was standing in the doctors office with a waiting room full of people. They were staring at me holding a baby I couldn’t console. And because I was suffering from severe sleep deprivation and frustration, I couldn’t hold it in any longer – the tears came. For all to see. How embarrassing. What kind of mother can’t even comfort her own child? This one. Talk about feeling broken.

DSC_6194copy(just look at my sweet baby trying to enjoy her first ever Christmas present … yup, you even stole her Christmas.)

The doctor said it could be you since you’ve been in our family before. I think I was in denial. I just couldn’t believe you could be allowed to torture another one of my babies. You kept me in denial for eleven weeks. You should be proud. My mind kept searching for other answers. Especially since you weren’t acting the way you had in the past.

Fast forward through seven weeks of multiple doctor appointments, a medication that I only tried for a few days, countless chiropractor visits, three bottles of probiotics, and the list goes on. I was cutting out every food known to man. All at once this time. I was only eating chicken, rice and carrots and I was still hurting her stomach. I concluded that I had poisonous milk.  (At this point I think you were laughing at me.) You made me give up nursing, and I was battling guilt and disappointment.

When I was at the end of my rope one day I remembered the doctor mentioning silent reflux. Epiphany moment…silent = sneaky…and that describes you perfectly. So I googled you. Do you feel exposed? Because I read up on you. I know all about you now. How you crept in silently and stole my baby. You didn’t even make her puke, you clever dog. You knew I’d be on to you if she so much as spit. Nope, instead you riddled her tummy with gas, gagged her, made her nose stuffy, gave her asthmatic breathing, woke her up from her naps and made her cry constantly. Things I would never expect were from YOU.

An upper GI test confirmed it – you’re in there, reeking havoc.

I got a prophetic word from my neighbor today while shoveling my driveway. My neighbor doesn’t even know me. Doesn’t know what’s going on in my life. He said that God says to hold on even though things are rough right now. To be strong. To focus. That his purpose for me is still the same and he will help me through.

It seems, dear reflux, that even though each time we’ve met you were  trying to destroy, God has used you to teach me more about Him. And now I’m thanking Jesus for HIS HOPE. That I can have peace IN SPITE OF YOU. That you do not get to win, or take over. Whether that means I fight you with medication or with castor oil rubs, or if it means I accept you and I hold this baby all day every day. Either way, you can’t win.

So I guess I should say thanks.

Sincerely,

Emily’s mom

“And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

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And by the way, I never want to meet you again.

silence and sweetness

I have been awfully silent on this blog lately. I do apologize for that. Words just won’t come most of the time. (probably due to sleep deprivation) And when I have a photo that is post-worthy, I am hard pressed to find time to post it.

It’s called life with a new baby, I suppose. (even now I am typing one-handed with a baby in my arms 🙂 )

Today was a happy day for Emily (we like to joke that she is Dr Jekle and Mr Hyde…some days are a little scary) so I grabbed the chance to shoot some photos.

And I HAVE to post this month because I just noticed there are snowflakes falling on my blog! Makes me a little giddy 🙂

So here is sweet Emily at 5 weeks old. Love this little peanut!

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