November 14, 2008

Three Years Old!

1,095 days of chaos personified.

And yet, I wouldn't change a thing.

I love you sweet boy.

September 28, 2008

Six Months.

Sweet boy, I cannot believe it's been six months since we welcomed you into this world. And what a joy these last few months have been! You graced us with your presence "sunny side up," and I must say little one, that quite literally, you beam happiness.

You are growing bigger and stronger each day. I still cannot believe how tall you are. In the last few weeks, you have started taking solids, and I think your first tooth is soon to follow. You can roll over now and are showing signs of wanting to sit up on your own, but mostly you are content to lay on your side and "talk" to us.

When you flash me your dimpled smile, I think sometimes my heart with actually melt. Did you know your sweet smile means that much to me? You love for us to sing to you - "Itsy Bitsy Spider" is your favorite, though "Twinkle, Twinkle" is a close second if Jonah is singing to you. And let's not forget the special Luke song that daddy made up just for you. Your eyes light up whenever you hear it.

Each morning, when Jonah hears you stir, he says "I'm coming baby Luke!" and runs to tend to you. One of his favorite things is climbing into your crib and laying his head next to yours. And even though he sometimes loves you with a bit too much exuberance, you never seem to mind. You simply look at him with your eyes imploring him to play with you a little while longer. You make all of us want to linger with a you a little longer.

I was looking through your birth pictures and thinking of that day. But time is moving faster that I am ready for it to and before you know it, you'll be six and a half and I'll be serving you a half birthday cake on our red "You are Special" plate and telling you I can't believe how much you've grown.

So for now, I am going to savor the baby part of you with this video of your birth. I love you little man. Happy half birthday!

July 25, 2008

Without Words.

This is my sweet Jonah Bear.

He is by far the most wonderful blessing I have ever received. He is bright and funny and so very sweet in the most amazing of ways. He also happens to be very late in speaking. At the present time, he is probably about a year behind children his age in terms of language maturity.

I have started and stopped this particular post for a number of months as it has been difficult to pen the words describing the ebbs and flows of this journey helping Jonah to find his voice. There have been times when my tears have actually tainted the clarity of the computer screen. But I have decided to finish this post because years from now, when this trial has made its way to virtual irrelevancy, I will want to remember exactly what this time in my life felt like and what the Lord taught me through my son.

Most households that I know with two-year-olds are filled with constant chatter. Just recently I drove a neighbor's child to Chik-Fil-A with Jonah and actually counted the number of times she asked me if she could order apple juice. 19 times in 5 miles. But my household has never been like that. Mine is filled with laughter and the occasional tantrum, but until about four months ago, my days were filled mostly with the sound of my own voice talking to Jonah and my evenings at home with Todd were filled mostly with adult conversation, while Jonah played quietly with his toys at our feet.

Recently my friend, Amy, wrote a post about her son telling his father that he wished each day were either Saturday or Sunday so he could spend it with him. I would be less than truthful if I said I did not look forward to the day when Jonah will use words to express this type of emotion. I am sure the day that he tells me that he loves me will be forever etched into my heart. Oh what a day that will be.

And the truth is, I could write pages and pages about all of the negative attributes that surfaced in me as those months passed by with no verbal communication - the constant worry about possible hearing problems until tubes were placed in his ears last October and a subsequent test confirmed otherwise; the over-focusing on what he could not do rather than the perspective of what he could; and the placing of misguided emphasis on the comments of well-meaning friends, rather than trusting my own instincts with regards to his capabilities. But I don't want to do that now. Instead, I choose to remember the many blessings God has bestowed as a result of this pilgrimage of sorts, and I know I will be forever different because of them. The following are just a few of a long list of many.

A renewed sense of thankfulness for so many things. I am thankful for being chosen as his mother. Of all of the mothers on this earth, God believed I was the only one for Jonah, and what an incredible privilege it is to have him entrusted in my care. I am thankful for each and every way Jonah has learned to express affection. Oh, Jonah's kisses! When he gives me kisses, he really gives me kisses, looking me straight in the eye before throwing his arms around my neck and smooshing his face against mine, making sure to emphasize the "muah" sound before pulling away with a giggle. The way he now quietly approaches me and whispers "tickle" when he wants me to rub his back. The way he always has a kiss and a pat on the head for baby Luke. The way he crawls into my bed for snuggles, making sure his little body is as close to mine as possible. Yes, I am thankful for each and every one of those moments where he shows love, and I am reminded that loving is an action and that the deeds of love are often more important than the words.

An incorrigible diligence. Because of Jonah, I have scoured books and materials searching for new ways to help him use words. Through the use of a simple chalkboard, I have discovered these last few months, that Jonah knows his letters, numbers, shapes and colors. I have learned he can read and spell hundreds of words. I am fascinated and inspired daily to be inventive in our play and continually seek new avenues of learning.

A reconditioned ability to listen. I have found that those times when I have stopped myself from filling the days with unnecessary chatter, are the very same times when Jonah has provided me with the most insight pertaining to his innermost thoughts. The other day as I was brushing my hair, I thought I heard Jonah say "siete." I said, "Jonah, are you counting in Spanish?" He smiled and proceeded to count from one to ten on his fingers in perfect Spanish. "... a time to keep silence..." Ecc 3:1-8

A patient heart. I have struggled with patience since I was a child and I can think of no better way to acquire patience than having a late-talking child. Through Jonah, I am learning to relish each and every accomplishment and stifle the wistful feelings of ungratefulness and the wishing away of any sort of deficit.

Finally and most simply - for the blessing of trust. I have given this over to God and I am grateful to know that Jonah is on his timeline and not mine and that everything in his precious life will unfold according to His plan.

It occurred to me the other day that even if Jonah's speech were to remain a year behind children his age for the rest of his life, when is 37, he will speak as if he is only 36. I am thinking I am okay with this, and that for now, I will spend my days loving him in such a way that there are no words to describe it. You are beyond words, my sweet boy. Beyond words.

July 16, 2008

No Mama...

You can't take my picture.

But I want to.

Okay. Now, can I go back to playing?

July 15, 2008

A Comparison.

This is me. Or was me, I should say.

This is Luke.

My mom thinks the above pictures resemble each other.

But I don't see it.

Except for maybe the ears.

June 24, 2008

My Little Thumb Sucker.

Looks like my little man prefers the thumb to the pacifier.
Either way, he sure is cute.

June 10, 2008

Look at this Face!

It's too cute for words so I'll leave it at that!

May 31, 2008

I Heart Our New Fence.

What a wonderful thing to be able to take my two and a half year old outside to play in our backyard without constantly chasing after him for fear that he will either:

a. descend over a large embankment, or
b. run into the street in front of an oncoming car!

May 29, 2008

Cries of Solidarity

I took Luke to the pediatrician today for his two-month check up. I was dreading this trip for two reasons:

1. I knew he would be receiving a series of shots.
2. I had to take both boys without the convenience of a double stroller thanks to a recent ordering fiasco with a certain baby store.

I decided to push Jonah in the stroller as he has a tendency to run away from me, particularly in parking lots for some reason. I carried Luke in the Graco car seat carrier. About halfway through the walk from the parking garage to the doctor's office, I realized this was perhaps not the best transportation scenario but there was no turning back at that point.

Once we arrived at the doctor, I spent a good five minutes trying to convince Jonah that he was not here to see the doctor. I finally quieted him with some juice and goldfish.

Luke weighed in at 11 and a half pounds and was 23 and 1/4 inches in height. Not too shabby. The doctor thought Luke had some baby eczema but it turned out to be dried oatmeal that Jonah had placed on his head when he kissed him this morning. All was going well until the nurse came in to give Luke his shots.

On cue, Luke, Jonah and I all cried at the same time. Luke was crying due to physical pain and I was crying because I am an overly emotional, hypersensitive mama. I was most surprised by Jonah's reaction as real tears were pouring from his eyes and he looked absolutely horrified that someone would cause harm to his little brother. I was really quite moved by him.

When we got back to the car, Jonah insisted on giving Luke a kiss and a pat on his head before getting into his car seat. He has officially assumed the role of staunch protector at age 2 and a half. And with such ease. You amaze me, my sweet Jonah Bear!

May 25, 2008

For Heather.

A Child's Angel

Once upon a time there was a child ready to be born.

So one day he asked God:
They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?

Among the many angels, I chose one for you. She will be waiting for you and will take care of you.

But tell me, here in Heaven, I don't do anything else but sing and smile, that's enough for me to be happy.

Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you every day. And you will feel your angel's love and be happy.

And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me, if I don't know the language that men talk?

Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.

And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?

Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.

I've heard that on earth there are bad men. Who will protect me?

Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life.

But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.

Your angel will always talk to you about me and will teach you the way for you to come back to me, even though I will always be next to you.

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from earth could already be heard, and the child in a hurry asked softly:

Oh God, if I am about to leave now, please tell me my angel's name.

Your angel's name is of no importance, you will call your angel: Mommy

Godspeed little Lincoln!

This Boy's Smile...

Makes my heart melt!

April 1, 2008

My Luke.

I often wondered throughout my pregnancy how I was going to possibly be able to love my second son as much as I loved my first. I worried about how well I would make the transition from one to two children and about how Jonah would feel about his brother and about me when I had less time to spend with him. Somehow God managed to address these fears the moment he arrived. I was overwhelmed with him. And when Jonah saw him for the first time, he was overwhelmed with him. And as I sit here typing this, I have a little one asleep on my lap and my big boy playing with a toy at my feet. Every now and again, Jonah looks up and says, "B, A, B, Y - baby!" Is there such a thing more precious? Today, I feel content and complete, knowing that this is the way things are supposed to be.

Isn't it funny how we often spend so much time consumed in thought, fretting about that which we have no control, only to find that when that moment arrives God has already done the work for us? He has been gently working on my heart these last nine months, creating a special space for Luke to reside and leaving more than ample room for my sweet Jonah bear.

My Luke entered into the world at 2:43 p.m. on Friday, March 28. I had visited the doctor the day before and was informed that I was 4 cm dilated and almost completely effaced. As I was still measuring small and was technically in active labor, he made the decision to induce the next day. Thankfully, my parents had arrived earlier in the day to take care of Jonah. Later that evening, Todd and I received a call from the hospital asking us to check at 5 a.m. the next morning.

My friend, Mary Ann - a labor and delivery nurse - met Todd, my mom and me at the hospital at 6 a.m. and helped us check in. She came in on her day off just to help deliver me, and let me just say how wonderfully calming it was to see a familiar face in the midst of the hospital protocol. She put in my IV and started the petocin. About a hour later, Dr. Fairbrother arrived to break my water.

By 1:00 p.m., I was fully dilated and ready to push, but Dr. Fairbrother had to complete an emergency cesarean and asked me to wait about an hour and let Luke's head drop a bit lower. She returned at 2:00 p.m. to deliver baby. Despite my pushing, for some reason, Luke would not move down further. Dr. Fairbrother was a bit worried because his heart rate dropped a bit. Thankfully, after 45 minutes of pushing, Luke was finally born occiput posterior or "sunny side up." Dr. Fairbrother said normally when the baby is in that position, it usually results in an emergency C-section. Aside from a bit of bruising, both Luke and I were fine.

I will never forget the first time I saw Luke's face and heard his tiny cry and how that cry negated all pain and fear. And now we are home together, just me and my boys, learning each other and what it's like to be four instead of three. What a blessing.

February 14, 2008

A Letter for Luke.

"And the child grew and became strong in spirit" --Luke 1:80a

Beloved boy,

You revealed your profile to me today, and in doing so, gifted me a small glimpse of you. I saw the same strong jaw I see in your daddy and the tiny hairs emerging on your sweet head. Though I am your mama, the One who knitted you knows you better, and He has entrusted you to my care. Long before I knew you, I prayed for you and just as in the book of Samuel, the Lord granted me what I asked of Him.

As I count down the final days of your arrival into this world, I pray that God will cradle you in the waters of good health and gentleness, that He will nourish you with joy and wisdom and strengthen you with the spirit of His love.

February 1, 2008

Showered with Love.

On January 26, my sweet friend, Amy, hosted a shower for baby Luke at my parents' house in Florida. It really was a wonderful day, and I am so thankful for the family and friends who attended. I sometimes forget how difficult it is to live in a state so far away from our extended family. I really love being around them and enjoyed the weekend we had to catch up.

As Amy is one of the most efficient people I know, she has, of course, already detailed this event on her own blog. For posterity, here is a picture of some of the 643 cookies that Amy claims to have eaten that day:

And for the record, I am disputing the portrayal of the "pants incident." That's not quite how I recall the course of events, but alas, challenging the accuracy is not the purpose of this post. My reason for writing is to thank her for being such a wonderful friend.

Amy was my college roommate. Actually, my husband and Amy went to high school together, and it is because of him that she and I and two other women ended up living together for the majority of my undergraduate years. She is probably the closest thing I have ever had to a sister as living together for that long through formidable years like college brings about a certain closeness attained only by exeriencing both the good and the bad with each other.

Though it's been 14 years since we first met, I still maintain warm memories of those initial moments of getting to know her. We'd have long talks on our many walks to campus, where because of our height difference, I would have to practically run to keep up with her. We've cooked many a meal together, and no matter how old we get, I will always associate Amy with tri-colored pasta with a dash of Parmesan cheese coupled with half of a bagel with strawberry jam.

Perhaps one of the reasons I so value her friendship so is because she charted many of life's important milestones before me. She and her husband, Matt, got together long before my husband and I did, and I have watched, with admiration, as she has become a wonderful wife and mother to her two precious children, and how she handles each with humor and strength and above all, grace.

I have benefited tremendously from the advice she has given me throughout my own journey down similar paths, and I marvel at how our friendship has evolved through time and continued to grow despite physical distance. Thank you for everything, sweet friend.

January 17, 2008

Jonah's First Snow.

Yes. I said snow. I know what you're thinking. How far north did we move anyway? Just to Atlanta. But apparently, it snows here. And yesterday, it really snowed. We had enough to build a snowman! Obviously, you can tell from the above picture that I was far more excited about this than my little man. Here are some pictures from this blessed event.

From the front of the house:

Our backyard:

Happy Winter!