Jen's Maternity

Playing a bit of catch-up here. Some of you may already know that my sister, Jen, had her baby already, but I had to share some pictures from her pregnancy... after all, it will be her last, and she was just too radiant to NOT share them.

Jen and I are four years apart. Those four years seemed like decades when we were young.  But once she was in college, and I was in high school, the distance started closing. As we got older, our friendship grew stronger.  She is so creative.  She has a knack for picking out the best prints, and her vision for a room is amazing.  My people pleasing ways usually hold me back from speaking up, even if what I want to say is gentle and honest.  Not Jen. I have always admired how she stands up for herself and others around her.  She tells it like it is, and she knows what she wants. As someone who is always mulling around feelings and shoulds and shouldn'ts in my head, she is refreshing. I always know where I stand.




Get outta here! How gorgeous is she?!


I love this next series of her and Presley.  As she's gotten older, P is very independent (like mother, like daughter!!!).  She isn't really into snuggling much anymore, so capturing a few of them together was really special.


Beautiful, right? What you don't see in this picture are Presley and Will running around like crazy people behind me :)





Love that last one!!

And I had to share a couple of Will. Notice the dirt on his face? He had been rolling around in it while I was snagging pictures of my sis... what ever keeps him happy so I can shoot! :)


I never made a birth plan


As Steve, Bethany and I walked among the avocado trees, I asked them if they were ready.  They looked at each other, laughed and said “I guess so?” I loved their response, because it reminded me a lot of how I felt when I was weeks away from having my son. I thought I was ready, but ready for what? Everyone told us, Oh, your life is going to change!! But what does that MEAN?! I had no idea. And really, I could set up as many hypothetical scenarios in my head as I wanted, but I had no clue until I experienced it for myself.





 
I never made a birth plan. What's funny is that I am a rule follower, a cross-off-my-to-do-list type of girl, and yet, I wasn't remotely concerned with having a step-by-step plan of how I wanted my labor to go.  I guess I felt that voicing my wants and desires on how I envisioned my delivery to go was like setting expectations for myself on something that I had never experienced before.



 

And we all know how that goes… the disappointment that comes with not meeting expectations. I knew that for me, the disappointment that would have came with those un-met expectations  would have held me back from fully experiencing my son's birth. From experiencing the JOY when my son was first placed on my chest. From being completely wrapped up in him and all the sounds he made. From recognizing that his eyes are his daddy's, and his chubby cheeks are mine. From understanding the depth of my love for this little tiny human, who I was now responsible for. From getting a glimpse into how much He loves me.
 

 

 
 I didn't want to be let down that I couldn't handle the pain on my own, because I wanted to do it all natural.  I didn't want to go in to my labor knowing that I was going to get an epidural as soon as I could, because I had never done it before. I didn't know what I could handle, and I wanted to give myself the option.





Mostly, I wanted the focus to be on my healthy baby boy, not on my own ability. Because, lets face it, I will disappoint myself. I found that when I turned my focus onto the GIFT that was given to me, I realized that God surpassed ALL of my expectations with my boy.


 
 PS. These last two photos are special to me.  I had asked Bethany to change her position slightly by placing her hands right on top of her belly.  Right as she put them there, baby girl kicked.  It's like she was telling her mom Hi!







Confession..

Something a little different than Friday-faves...

Confession time.. Ever just believe a lie about yourself, and before long, you notice you're way off in a far away land, when everything you want and envisioned for yourself, are miles away?

Lie : I should have it all together.

Most days, I feel like I have my stuff together.  I meal plan, and do laundry, and spend time with my husband and son, I blog, I work full time, I go to church, etc etc.. and before long, I start believing that little voice in me that tells me, "Man! You have it all together, Christina!" and "You are doing such a great job! Look, Will is happy, and bathed, and dinner was on the table by 6pm! You got this thing DOWN."

Usually, dinner time is what gets me.  This is how it's been going lately... I pick him up from my sister, and go home.  It's 5:00pm.  Crap, I forgot to pull the chicken out of the freezer!! I plop the bag into some hot water in the sink.  Will is getting into that drawer again, the junk drawer with all of the tools in it, which is right at his level.  I pick up the Phillips screw driver and pliers and put them up out of his reach. He cries, upset that I'm taking his toys away.  I start prepping the veggies for the meal, that will likely be ready after 6:30pm now (I HATE eating late, and that is late to me). Chop. Chop. Chop. Will is at my feet, crying, whining, hitting my legs and biting because he wants me. Rich is home, and in the living room, but my boy wants me.  Its pretty hard cutting stuff up with a very wiggly and curious boy on my hip.  Doesn't he just understand that I NEED to get dinner ready? Why does this have to be chaos?

Does this all sound silly to you? Because re-reading now, it just sounds silly. Why does this get to me like it does? So many other people struggle with far more, so why am I not handling this well? Since when have I decided to be perfect? I have unknowingly set some very HIGH expectations of myself. Most of all, where is God in this?



I read this post the other day, and I asked myself, what is he learning? What example am I setting? When I get frustrated in the kitchen, what does he see mommy do? I probably look like a stress ball.. I feel like a stress ball. If I keep this up, he'll grow up thinking that the kitchen a is stressful place. Every day. That I don't have time to answer his questions or play with him. Better yet, that to avoid that stress, he just shouldn't ask at all. Even though I may be saying the right things, are my actions backing that up? I know he's still young, and won't have any memory of this, but, I can't help but think that if I don't stop some of those behaviors now, that IS what his memory will be.

Here's the thing.  I actually REALLY like cooking! I like making a warm, home-made meal for my family.  I enjoy it!  But, man, do I show something different. My behavior, the way I handle dinner time, is really just a reflection of my heart. A selfish heart that is obviously desires to cross things on my to-do list off way more than seeking what He wants of me in this moment, in this short time, when my family is young. I so badly want to do right by my kids. What parent doesn't?

Truth is, I've believed in Jesus since I was a little girl, and I struggle with the entirety of the gospel. Sure, it brings life after death, but it also brings life TODAY. I will fail my own perfection every. single. day. But that is not what He asks. He simply wants me to want a relationship with Him. And He will take a legalistic, perfection-ist wanna-be, like me, and make me new.I trust that He will make all things new. Even my little ol' dinner time. Because He loves me that much.

I've been thinking and talking to God about this lately, and, here's some things that I think need to change.  The TV and phone need to be off and out of reach (unless I'm using the phone for a recipe :)) Lord knows I don't need any more distractions.. spending time with my family and making dinner are enough! Maybe play some music? Also, give my boy some undivided attention right when I get home, for maybe 10 minutes.  I can tell that he misses me during the day, and when I get home, he wants some mommy time. I need to let go of making dinners every night.. and that there will be nights where everyone needs to fend for themselves.. and that's OK.

One day I will BEG him to play with me. I'll probably fight him to get off of the computer or video games or whatever it is, and spend time with me. I want to cherish this time that I have with him now.


Still with me?? That was pretty long :) I reward you with some pictures of my boy. We had just taken out the trash, and the door was open. Of course, he thinks it is the coolest thing. I turned around and found him inside :)


 And a few from our house. He is concentrating so hard on filling up that cup with dirt and rocks.. his little tongue sticking out just kills me. I wonder if that'll be what he does when he's concentrating, as he gets older.
 Helping clean up! Gotta start 'em young ;)


I'm working on a blog post of our house and the progress we've made thus far.... I'll post it one of these Fridays :)

Have a great weekend!