May 22, 2015

Thirty-Four

Last month, I turned 34. I was feeling a little pout-y about getting older, because being 34 puts me officially in my mid-thirties, which makes me feel old. So, my boys took me to breakfast at my favorite, Ramos House. The delicious food and my adorable company quickly changed my mood. My life doesn't look the way I thought it would at 34, but I'm glad. Nick asked me if I was sad that day because I feel behind in life. Truthfully, I have felt that way at points. Nick reminded me that I'm not behind in anything that matters. And in actuality, this life I'm living is better than anything I ever could have dreamed of.
 
follow: Facebook / Bloglovin' / Instagram / Pinterest


May 9, 2015

San Diego Zoo

The week after Easter, we decided to take a family trip down to the zoo. It was so fun seeing Silas discover new animals and respond to them. He stared and stared at a snake that came right up to the window to look at him. Then, he started sticking his tongue out over and over again, mimicking the snake. He's been doing it ever since. The most intriguing thing to Silas was not the animals, though. He was enamored with the floating buckets that passed by overhead (the skyfari), so of course we had to ride one ourselves. After the zoo, we had a picnic lunch at Balboa Park and let Silas play on the playground while Nick and I traded off napping in the sun. I love these days with this kid!
 
follow: Facebook / Bloglovin' / Instagram / Pinterest


May 6, 2015

Easter 2015

  April was quite an eventful month for us, so I've got some blogging to catch up on. Starting with Easter! Nick spoke at Rock Harbor central on Good Friday at four different services. There he is in front of all those people....

We went to church on Easter morning, then went to my grandma's house for an Easter egg hunt. This was Silas's first egg hunt, but the only thing he had any interest in was the cool police car Grandma has. I had to distract him and hide it to even get him to have any interest in what was going on. He was still only mildly interested, but that didn't stop us from finding as many eggs as possible. Silas and Trevor liked exploring their loot together, which included mostly yogurt bites along with some candy bars that were pretty much all eaten by the parents.



My grandma took a picture with all the great grandsons who were there. Four out of the five kids in this picture are black (or at least part). How rad is that!? Our family has got some color now, and I love it!
follow: Facebook / Bloglovin' / Instagram / Pinterest


May 5, 2015

Thoughts on Mother's Day and the Church (Repost)

This was originally posted here on May 10, 2014.
This is an excerpt from a post I wrote a couple years ago, but never posted:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Did you know that Mother's Day is called Mother's Day and not Mothers' Day?
(note the placement of the apostrophe in Mother's).

That was done on purpose when Mother's Day was invented, because it was meant for each of us to celebrate our mothers individually within our own families, not meant to be a corporate celebration of all mothers worldwide.  I'm serious....look it up.  

Did you hear that, oh ye churches of the world?  So, maybe you should stop making it a corporate celebration wherein all mothers stand and receive honor and glory and praise and applause and flowers, whilst us infertiles have to stay seated, trying to keep ourselves from becoming bawling buffoons just because we don't have working uteruses. (what is the plural of uterus?  uteri?)  But really, what do I know?  I skip church on Mother's Day. 

I do have a lot of serious thoughts about Mother's Day, and I am working through them all right now, trying to write up something coherent about it.  One thing that struck me this year was thinking about all the women from the Old Testament who would have also been left sitting in church on Mother's Day for most of their lives, had it existed at the time.  The Bible makes it very clear that God did not forget them.....so maybe the churches shouldn't forget them/us either.  And, I suppose they are not a bad camp of women to be among.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It's been two years since I wrote that post.  And I guess now I have finally worked through my thoughts enough to write about them.  I'm sure that my feelings about Mother's Day will continue to evolve and that the future will bring continued healing. But, I'll never forget how hard Mother's Day was for me, and, for the sake of other people, I don't want to forget.

I think the church needs to rethink how we do Mother's Day.  Not all churches, but the church as a whole.  When you have a select group of people who feel that they need to avoid church on a certain day, and when church is the last place they want to be, I think that signals a problem. Our home church has come a long way on the topic and chooses to celebrate all women on this day, rather than just mothers.  I think with any celebration, we have to think about what we are saying and how it will effect an entire congregation.  And, while many will feel momentarily celebrated on Mother's Day, there are others who will just feel further isolation that will last far beyond that day. 

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I don't think we should be celebrating Mother's Day in the church. (Who decided it needed to fall on a Sunday every year anyways?).  What other secular holiday, other than Father's Day, (which usually isn't made into as big of a deal) do we celebrate in the church?

I get that we want to honor the role of mothers in a world that sometimes devalues this calling.  But, I also believe that we need to speak truthfully about what it means to be a woman.  Motherhood is not our highest calling.  Following Jesus is.  And that calling is going to play out differently in each woman's life. Not every woman is called to be a mother, and not every woman is called to be a wife.  So, when we have a day in church where we honor mothers, and we do not have a day where we honor other women doing other work, we are elevating motherhood above anything else a woman might do. And this is especially painful for women who would love to be wives and mothers, but aren't for reasons beyond their control.

This is damaging.  I can say without hesitation that church was by far the most difficult place for me when we were walking through infertility and waiting to become parents, and not just on Mother's Day.  It is where I felt the least valued and the most insecure. I have talked to many people who have said the same thing, including single people. We've created a church culture that puts mothers and the nuclear family on display, and in a place where everyone is supposed to be included, many are excluded. 

So, as Mother's Day approaches, I am feeling a mixture of emotions. This day represented so much pain for me for so long, that I'm not walking into my first Mother's Day feeling light hearted and excited. I am thankful to be on this side, and I do want to celebrate this day with my family (and just my family). I am deeply, deeply grateful to be a mother now. But, I also want to remember those who are hurting, and I do not want or need to be publicly celebrated at their expense.

follow: Facebook / Bloglovin' / Instagram / Pinterest


March 31, 2015

Gratitude



Yesterday afternoon, Silas fell asleep on my chest for the first time in a long time. I laid there soaking it in, feeling his heart beat on top of mine. This kid's heart beats so in sync with mine that sometimes I forget he grew in another mama's belly. I never forget her. I just sometimes forget that Silas hasn't always been a part of me. He hasn't always been mine. 

I began imagining what it would have been like to have had him growing in me. I don't feel any lack in our relationship because we missed out on that time together, but there's a part of me that does grieve for that time. Not because we lack a connection, but because I know he has a connection to another mom too. 

I started to wonder...if I could have grown him in my own womb and given birth to him myself, would I have? 

Well, sure, if he could still be the same Silas that he is now. But, the reality is, he would be a different kid if he had been born to me. And, I don't want a different kid.  

So, my grief is drowned in the depths of my gratitude. 

Gratitude for his birthmom, who carried and cared so well for my baby for 9 months and then selflessly gave him the life she wanted him to have...one that did not include her. My privilege is her pain. And her connection to Silas does not diminish mine. In fact, I think it strengthens it, because I carry with me every day the knowledge that he could belong to someone else. And yet, he's mine.

And my gratitude for a God who breathed a deep desire for adoption into my heart long ago, before infertility was something I even knew could be a reality. For a God who gently guided us through our pain down the road that led to Silas. For a God who redeems and restores and who causes all things to work together for good.

I feel this overwhelming gratitude daily, and I often ask Silas in these moments, "How did I get you?" and "Why do I get to be your mama?" 

I live every day in awe that he is mine.

  
follow: Facebook / Bloglovin' / Instagram / Pinterest


March 15, 2015

Created For Care

This last weekend, I was in Georgia at the Created For Care retreat for adoptive moms.  I am still processing everything I experienced there. It was so life-giving for me to be among so many women who have the same heart for adoption. I left feeling so encouraged and empowered, knowing there is this incredibly strong and courageous group of women walking a road so similar to mine. I am so thankful for the relationships I was able to form in such a short amount of time. I felt instantly bonded to so many of these women and know that there were lifetime friendships that began over the weekend. If only we all lived closer!

My friend Lauren and I flew out to Atlanta together and met up with several people we have connected with through Instagram, Facebook, and blogs.  Meeting them and others in real life was better than I could have hoped for, as I loved all of them even more in person. What a blessing and an honor it is to walk this road with these women. When my heart is heavy with the burden of infertility, or when I have a difficult encounter with someone who just doesn't get adoption, all I have to do is picture the faces of these women...my friends...and I feel strengthened. These are some of the strongest women I have every known, enduring trials with grace and dignity and rejoicing in the beauty God brings from ashes. They get it, and I am forever grateful that God has given me these incredible friends to journey with.
After the retreat, we took a little detour to the Coca-Cola museum on the way to the airport. I highly recommend the Created For Care retreat. If you ever get the opportunity to go, do it! I can't wait to go again next year.
 
   
follow: Facebook / Bloglovin' / Instagram / Pinterest


March 1, 2015

Five Years

Five years ago today, my grandpa went to be with Jesus. I miss him everyday. Not many people are so lucky as to have a grandpa like mine.

Silas has figured out how to open the doors in our house by himself, and his favorite place to enter is the bathroom, of course. Over the course of today, Silas dropped three full rolls of toilet paper in the toilet and one full roll of paper towels. I couldn't help but laugh, thinking about how proud his great grandpa would be of him. He honored him well with his orneriness today. My grandpa was, after all, the most ornery and mischievous of them all.
Let's zoom in, just to prove my point.
I love you Grandpa!
 
 
follow: Facebook / Bloglovin' / Instagram / Pinterest


February 14, 2015

Adventures in Co-Sleeping

Nick left for Portland on Wednesday night, so Silas and I are living it up on our own these next few days. Seeing as how I'm used to having a warm body nearby when I sleep at night, I thought I'd have Silas sleep with me while Nick is gone. When I was ready to go to bed that first night, I snuck into Silas's room and pulled him out of his crib, barely waking him. As we laid down together, I was pleasantly surprised to have him go right back to sleep there next to me. This was going to work out beautifully. A couple minutes later, he scooted a little closer to me and snuggled his little body up next to mine. Perfection. And then a couple more minutes later, he decided that he still wasn't close enough and squeezed his feet in to rest between my knees. And then his hands to rest between my arm and my body. And just to reassure me that he was there, he started squeezing my arm gently and patting me over and over again. Stop the cuteness! Only, he didn't stop there. He still wasn't close enough. So, he sat up, readjusted himself and laid back down with his head on my chest. And now, we could fall asleep. And so we did.

It wasn't long before I was awakened to have the same process of events happening all over again. We managed to fall back asleep again, once he had adjusted himself to his liking, and I figured we had finally pushed passed the hard (but so so adorable) part and would now have a good nights sleep.

I was wrong.

At 12:30, I had to call it. At that point, Silas once again sat up to readjust himself, and this time slammed the back of his head down as hard as he could on my face. Which didn't seem to phase him, but I was certain that my nose was broken and was reaching up to check for blood (not dramatic at all). I decided that we would probably both sleep much better if we were in our own separate beds. So, I reluctantly returned him to his crib, where he happily snuggled up to Belle and fell right back to sleep.

So, maybe we aren't going to be co-sleepers anytime soon. But seriously, having a ridiculously cuddly child is a problem I'm thrilled to have....because it's really not a problem at all. And, I do think I'm going to give it one more try before Nick gets home. We'll see how that goes. 

To prove he's a cuddle monster and also totally expressionless (wink face)...(I need some blog emoticons)....
If he's sitting on our lap or laying on us, it's pretty much always because he has climbed up on the couch or chair specifically to snuggle with us.
He had never met this girl....didn't know her at all...
 He barely knew her...
He also loves to cuddle with his dogs...
Who wouldn't want to sleep with this squishiness?....
Oh yeah...his dad.
 
follow: Facebook / Bloglovin' / Instagram / Pinterest