Thursday, December 30, 2010

12th letter to my baby (Daycare baby)

My dearest Adria,
It's amazing to me how my love for you keeps growing! Of course I loved you before you were even born. And then I loved you with a fierce and startlingly strong love when I saw you for the first time. But it seems like every time I see your face that startlingly strong love grows even stronger!

I had to go back to work full time this week and you started daycare, and I think it's been kind of a hard week on us both. We haven't been away from each other for this long at a time, and it breaks my heart a little each time I have to leave you. In fact, I want to linger when I drop you off, and today had to push back tears as I said goodbye to you. Being apart from you makes me think of things I'd like to say to you for the record, in case I don't get to say them to you later. I think of you having these letters and knowing my heart and my words to you when I'm gone. I hope I get the chance to say everything and teach you all along the way, but in case I don't, or if you forget:

1. My job is not more important than you. Definitely not in any way! But my salary pays bills for our family, so it's important that I work to earn that money. This is what's best for our family right now.

2. I wish I could be with you all the time! Your mama loves you and wants you, period. You are loved and wanted!

3. You are a delightful and lovely person. It's easy to be with you, and to be with you just being you and doing the things that you do delights me. For now it's watching you discover things, like your fist. It was fun to watch you looking at your hand opening and closing it the other day, as if you were connecting things for the first time. Or watching you fade off to sleep, with your heavy eyes opening and closing, slower and slower, until you don't open them anymore. Or to see you fix your eyes on me and study my face and smile, or stick your tongue out at me, or start making happy noises. But you have a sweetness about you that comes from the inside out.

4. Tina at daycare this afternoon told me that you were a "good baby", and I think that means you eat and sleep well, and that you allow yourself to be comforted. I'm so proud of you. I know that these few days have been hard on you, as they have been on me. I've seen your red, tired little eyes and how you've passed out once we get you home. Things will be hard in this life, and we have to face them. But you are a person who can face hard things and adapt. I hope this will be true of you throughout your life. Be strong.

5. God is in control of all things, he is good and loving and perfect, and he can be trusted. His perfection can't be in the presence of our sins, so even though he's God, he became a baby that grew up into a man to trade places with us and take the punishment for our imperfections so we could be together in his presence. I trust him. I want you to know and trust him.

There are too many other important things I hope to spend a lifetime teaching you. But these are just a few things I hope you never forget.

I love you fiercely,
Your mama

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

John is an idiot.

I just dropped off Adria for her first day of daycare. Jason and I each drove down to the little school to be a part of her first day and then to head our separate ways. She was sweet as could be getting into her little classroom, and I even got to swaddle her and lay her down in what will be her crib while she's there. She usually sleeps on her tummy at home, but that's against the rules there, so I laid her down on her back, and she just watched me and smiled! I know she's tired because of her routine, but we left while she was still awake and wide-eyed. So I hope by now she's sleeping soundly and dreaming happy things. (I watched her sleep in the car on the way back from Dublin, and her little mouth made sucking motions in her sleep--I hope she has those kind of dreams today!) I think it'll be harder on me than on her, and I'm already looking forward to my lunch break when I'm planning to visit and nurse. Ugh... first full day back at work, I want you to go quickly!

Also, I shared with one person so far this morning that I'd just left Adria at daycare. And do you know what he felt compelled to share in return? How the nuns at his Catholic school growing up had abused him, hadn't let him use the bathroom and had struck him in the face with a yardstick. Seriously John? That's the story you think is appropriate to share this morning?

What an idiot.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!



For Christmas this year we packed it up and headed to Dublin to spend some time with my family. It was a great time, and lots of fun to show off little Adria, to just enjoy being with my husband and family, and to play with my little nephew Brayden! One interesting thing that happened on this trip is that Adria really showed her preference for her dad and me for the first time. She's never really fussed when anyone else held her, but this time, with all the people and activity, she just wanted to be held by her mom and dad. And even though we want her to be happy and comfortable with her extended family too, we'll both admit it was a bit gratifying that she knows us and wants us! Our baby loves us too!



Brayden loved playing with his Uncle Jason! Or was it that Jason loved playing with his nephew Brayden?


Gamma and Brayden looked at the real meaning of Christmas.


And can you tell the boy had a Toy Story-tastic Christmas this year?

As a bonus "Christmas miracle", Adria did AWESOME on the ride this time (probably helped at least in part by the fact that I sat in the back with her to keep her company, and we had a bottle ready for her to eat on the road). But just look at the remarkable difference of this picture of her in her carseat from my previous post! And--her first smile caught on camera! (She's been smiling since Thanksgiving--but just isn't sure about smiling for the little black or silver box we put in her face every so often--the camera! Even for this it's more of a demure little smile than the big ones she's started handing out to me and her dad, but you can tell it's there!)



Hope to get a few more pics to share from the fam, but this is all I got! Too busy having too much fun.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lose yourself

The feelings that compete for my heart's attention these days are fast-coming and varied. Love. Joy. Fear. Anxiety. Dread. Loneliness. Satisfaction. Confusion. Fulfillment. I came back to work part time last week and this week, and next week I will be back full time, so things have been changing in my life (yet again), and we still have some big changes coming up. I've never done too well with change, but truly find that often the dread of it is worse than whatever may actually happen, and am hopeful that's the case this time as well. Next week I start back full time, which means I'm away from my baby full time, and she's with someone besides me full time. And the week after that she'll start daycare. These baby steps of easing back into things have probably been very good for me, but they're opening a whirlwind of neurotic and incorrect thinking entwined with those competing emotions.

At the same time, I am absolutely convinced that in this whirlwind, my rock must be Christ. He must hold me fast, he must validate and define me. If I were to look any other direction for my self worth, I would fail and flail, and lose myself in the chaos of my heart. If I look towards my baby, who night by night varies even in her sleep patterns, not to mention her moods, and her willingness to smile or coo at me. If I look to my husband, who is himself a person of his own, with his own heart and days to manage. If I look to my work, filled with serving and catering to other people who are not nearly as important to me as my family. If I look to my own abilities. In any other direction, I will be let down, I will be given a false identity, and I will lose myself. So whether I like it or not, whether it's difficult for me or not, I must be found steadfast on the rock of Christ to thrive in any other relationship or endeavor. To thrive just in living my life!

Much easier said than done. Easier to find myself seeking a 2 month old's approval! Or in reading into every nuance of my husband's actions and attitudes towards me. Or in my own abilities, or who I can be at work. Those things seem concrete, even if they are in reality nothing more than shifting sands. But God, the solid rock, often seems obscure, and impossible to possess.

Yet I was struck the other morning by my own words to my child. In looking at and watching her during our early morning feeding, I whispered my love to her, and the words escaped my lips, "I want you to love me."

It occurred to me that I could never understand God's heart for me until I became a parent. I am filled with exuberance and joy over my baby. And an overwhelming and surprising aching for her, both for her good and happiness, and for her to share in love with me. And it occurred to me that perhaps at this very moment Christ is also whispering over me, "I want you to love me."

It's a shocking idea! Having Adria has given me a whole new understanding and appreciation of my own mother's love for me. But it is absolutely shocking to think of Christ himself loving me that way. And again, easier for me to relate it to my own earthly mother than my sweet Heavenly Father.

Could he really love me that way? Even me? Wayward and wishy-washy? Undisciplined and ungrounded? And then I think of my baby. She has never done anything to earn the strength of my love for her except exist. It would break me if she were ever ashamed to be with me or hid from me or rejected me because she didn't understand how much I love her and want her. Could it be that Christ loves me, accepts me as his daughter, in the same way?

At Christmas time we celebrate Christ's remarkable and miraculous entry into the world. He would do anything and go to any length to ensure our protection, to prove his love, to have relationship with us. I do not know greater love than he does.

I want my baby to love me. I want to be her #1. I want for her to laugh and smile whenever I walk into the room, and for us to delight in each other and the happiness of our love.

Christ, help me to reciprocate the free kind of love you have for me! Help me to lose myself and find myself in the security you and your love alone can give me, and fulfill me with. What a gift! What love! What I need!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Satisfaction

Some days I am just so... satisfied. We have got a beautiful life, albeit a little messy, and certainly far from perfect. But I've got a fabulous husband, and we're in love. My darling baby girl is such a light and joy in my life. All our bills are paid, we have people around us who love and care for us, and basically, life is good. (God is good.)

We had a visit on Friday afternoon from some of Jason and my dear friends who moved away from us over the summer, the Nelsons. We got to enjoy Andy and Emily, and baby Bradford and big (K9) sister Opal for the afternoon, and it was just sooo nice to get to sit and talk face to face. Emily has been a source of encouragement and wisdom for me where Adria has been concerned from the start, and I think we truly could text back and forth for hours at a time. So the actual conversation was fast paced and refreshing. It was fun to get to watch them meet our little Adria, and it was sooo much fun to get to watch their little man Bradford! He's gotten so big, with so much personality, and the boy can walk! He's right at 11 months, and has changed so much since we last saw him! We truly love their little one, and it's something special to know that they genuinely love our child as well.






Saturday I packed up little Adria, hooked up with my lifelong friend Brandy, and we hightailed it to Villa Rica to help celebrate my nephew's 4th birthday. I have to set the scene like this: when we walked in the door there was the birthday boy, ready to greet us fully decked out from head to toe as Buzz Lightyear. It was fabulous! The boy LOVES Toy Story, and we enjoyed his 4 year old Toy Story themed birthday party, complete with pin the horsey tail on "Bullseye", Toy Story bingo and trivia. In fact, even the snacks and goodies were Toy Story themed--sugar cut out cookies in the shapes of Woody's hat and sheriff's badge, and cupcakes decorated as the Toy Story aliens and Bo Peep's 3 sheeps. (Pretty cool.) We just got him some jammies, since Christmas is coming right around the corner as well, but for whatever reason the boy loved them, and just loves me, and gave me the biggest 4-year-old hug imaginable! I love to hug and kiss him and tell him how much I love him and how special he is to me, and somehow he just gets it. I love it that he receives that love from me. Oh, and how cute is this. He also loves his little cousin Adria--when she was going down for her nap he went into his closet looking for something, and came out with his Woody doll for her to snuggle with while she napped! She's not really a snuggler yet since I still keep her swaddled, but what a generous and loving little boy! I've got my favorite girl, and he's definitely my favorite boy! How sweet.

And the last and latest big thing is... drum roll please... our first babysitter! My dear husband asked me out to go to a party with him! (His boss was having a housewarming party and he thought it was important that he go, and he wanted me to go too.) So Sunday afternoon we packed our little one up and dropped her off for our first time away from her. We left her with our friends CJ and Zach Greene, the wonderful and proud parents of 3 children themselves (they had 3 under 3, so they know how to handle babies!), so we were comfortable and happy to leave Adria in such good hands. They said she had a great time, smiling at CJ, enjoying watching the hub-bub of their children, and completely taken in by watching Toy Story herself! It's strange, because when we finally got back to the house (it was about from 4-8 or so--the party was in Dahlonega), little Adria started to cry when she first heard and saw me! I'm thinking it was because she realized at that moment that she wasn't being held by me and hadn't been with me, and because she realized how much she'd missed me! Surely that was it! But in any event I got her back in my arms and we snuggled some while Jason and I got a chance to chat with CJ and Zach some before heading back home. And then my sweetie went down well for the night and slept from about 10:45-5:15 a.m. or so. Not a bad 6.5 hours, and I think her fun time with the Greenes the night before just wore her out!

So you can see what a blessed woman I am. I love, and I am loved. My heart just remains so full. I have love and fear and hope and surprises, I just feel so much, and my heart is full and satisfied. Praise to God!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Back to work...

Well today marked my official re-entry into the work world. I've dreaded this day for weeks, especially since I realized the disappointing reality that my maternity leave would have to be cut shorter than I'd hoped for based on some financial circumstances. I'd planned to take all 12 weeks with my little pumpkin, and I'd arranged everything perfectly, so I thought. I'd use my 4 weeks vacation for the first few weeks, and I'd be getting an Aflac short term disability check that would cover us for the rest. In fact, the plan was so perfect I've been paying into that Aflac policy for maybe 2 years, just in case. Only to find out that Aflac considers a vaginal delivery with no complications worthy of 6 weeks, and 6 weeks only, period. (Wish I'd known that when they started debiting my paycheck!) And then, after filing for continuing disability due to post partum depression (did I not tell you about how my 6 week check up went? Well, that doctor's appointment was, um, interesting!), I came to find out that PPD isn't covered either. So. That's that! Stuck with my measley 4 weeks vacation pay and my 6 weeks of Aflac. Which by the way isn't nearly the same as 6 weeks working. So, I drug myself back to work part time for 2 weeks until I have to start back full time after Christmas. (Sigh. I am NOT ready to go there yet!)

But, I really think having to accept going back to work earlier than expected along with the dread leading up to it has been the worst part. My sweeeeet little girl slept a good 7:30 hours last night, so that meant her mama got to sleep a good 7 hours too! And after her daddy got her up this morning and changed her and got her ready, we had a lovely time at breakfast and playing! I love her baby time in the mornings probably more than anything--after she eats she'll end up snuggling on my chest for a while after I burp her, perfectly sweet and content, and then I'll let her sit on my lap and prop her up on my knees and we're able to just look at each other and play--I talk and sing nonsense and she always tries to join in with her little sounds and coos, she'll hold my fingers with her whole hands, and we'll end up just smiling at each other. It seems like a rare and special time when I've got her undivided attention, and for whatever reason it makes me feel special when she zeros in on me. I also love how intently she studies me, and it makes me more comfortable that if I'm going to miss out on being with her for part of her days, she'll have started the day with me and my love and the sound of my voice.

Oh yeah, and work today was fine. I was able to fit (not well) into some of my regular work clothes, so that was a relief. My desk was in pretty good shape, and people had been taking care of my cases pretty well, so there wasn't just 2 months worth of work piled up and waiting for me. I was able to text back and forth with Jason pretty much throughout, and I pumped milk twice for little Adria to have a bottle tomorrow, and felt pretty successful there as well. (I think it helps me still feel connected to her, and like I'm not giving up on or unable to meet her needs by going back to work.) The best part of all was that I was only there for 4 hours--by the time I fixed my decaf coffee, greeted all my co-workers and got settled in, I was already halfway out the door! :)

I am SURE the battle isn't over yet, with full time and daycare looming, but all in all I think it was a pretty successful first day back.

Happy 2nd monthday, Baby Adria!

Our sweet little Baby Adria officially turned 2 months old on Saturday, 12/11/10, 2 days ago. We also had our annual Christmas cookie-baking party that day, so I wasn't able to get on the computer--I was cleaning and cooking up a storm! But we had a wonderful time on her actual monthday! I was able to get a few pictures of her on Saturday.




And yesterday it occurred to me that we've been playing with and holding Adria so much, there were certain things I wasn't sure whether she could do or not, because she hadn't been able to try! So instead of tummy time on mommy's chest, we put her down on a blanket on the couch, and what do you know--she flipped over! Not once, not twice, but 3 times! She's grasping things in her sweet hands now (she holds onto her burp cloths all the time, I finally put a set of baby keys in her hands and that seemed much better than having her hold onto a spit-up rag). She continues smiling and cooing to us and I love getting to play with her! And of course she's been sleeping much better. In fact, 3 nights out of the last 7 she's slept for 6 hours or longer, from 10:30/11:00 through 6:00 a.m.! What a great girl!

And today we went to her 2 month check up! She got a few shots, which wasn't fun for anyone! But here are her stats:

Height: 23 inches, 80%
Weight: 10 lbs 15 ozs, 55%

And when the doctor put her on her tummy she was surprised how far she raised her head into baby Cobra pose!

So proud of my baby, and I love her so much!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Best dog ever

We lost our Max-dog today. He was hit by a car while running home from a romp, and made it all the way back to Jason before falling down. He died right there, and it's been quite a shock. It's taken all day long to sink in, but this evening the house is just too quiet and feels a little too lonely.

Here's some of the best of our times with ol' Max dog.
















Friday, December 3, 2010

Today was a good day!

I know there's some country song that goes like that, "Today was a good day", and I'm singing it in my head!

Adria has been doing better all around, but today was just especially good! She slept... drumroll please... 7 hours last night, and incidentally, so did her mommy! And then, miracle of miracles, she took a 2 hour nap first thing! And napped during the rest of her naptimes too, although admittedly not nearly as well. Oh well, you can't be perfect all the time! But she is napping, and is definitely on her schedule now, it seems, so that's been cool for me too.

We started decorating our Christmas tree 2 days ago and I guess just got tuckered out halfway through, so left a disaster in the living room and yhe tree half decorated. We finished it off yesterday, though, and I'm sooo happy to be sitting here in the glow of my beautiful Christmas tree. It just makes it seem like the Christmas season has arrived. (And, the disaster is now carefully contained in boxes. Strewn around the living room. Hey, that's progress, isn't it?)

And of course one of the best things--Little Adria is a smiler! Not all the time, definitely. Sometimes days will pass with no smile! But today she was teasing me with it--she showed it to me a few times. Sometimes I don't even know what she's smiling at--it's not me! (Like when I've got her on the changing table and I'm turned throwing a stinker in the trash and then turn around and there it is sure thing--a smile! Just hanging out on the changing table!) But I saw a few more of them today, and am just sooo happy that she's happy!

I have a beautiful and sweet baby girl who I'm crazy about. I love talking to her and hearing her little sounds back to me, I love when she sticks her tongue out at me, I love snuggling with her, and I love her smile. And today was a good day.