Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy First Birthday, Nora!

I abandoned my blog because life got too hard.

I'm baaaack.

It's not that life is easy now, but we're in a much better place. I'm not so scared of my child....I think she started sleeping through the night somewhere around 9 months (yes, there's a correlation between my sleep and my anxiety). We've established a little routine. I know her in a way only her momma can. I can read her nonverbals. I can finally provide her comfort in ways outside of feeding her (we also weaned somewhere around 10 months).

Despite those challenges of becoming a first-time parent, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Nora grow, learn new things and develop a distinct little personality.

She's fiery and passionate and stubborn — and she's not even a Taurus like her momma! She's so expressive and talkative. She's already a social butterfly. She's going through a touch of separation anxiety, which is sad but also makes me feel needed and appreciated.

She loves her teddy bear and blankie and can't sleep without them. Her new fav toy after her birthday party is her cuddle monkey that Aunt Amy got her. Her favorite thing to do in the entire world is read. She would sit and read all day if we'd let her. Her favorite stories are The Boy with the Drum from Farm Tales and Goodnight Moon. She loves music and already has rhythm; I love it when she breaks out an unexpected jig. Of course, her dada and I have been making songs out of EVERYTHING she does since she arrived in this world. Her favorite thing to say is: "Nora, Nora, Nora KATE!" That and a four letter word (on accident) that I won't post here — we think she's possibly trying to say sheep, or stop, or sit, or this.... She really has an impressive vocabulary. She is either saying or trying to say: Mama, Dada, kitty cat, hi, hello, uh-oh, tickle tickle, baaaa sheep, Tyler, stretch and peek-a-boo. The other day I pointed to the letters "T" "B" "S" and "P" and she was able to make the letter sounds!!! She is not a picky eater at all — anything we eat, she wants. The child has never turned away food. It's good that she has a mouth full of teeth — we lost count, but we think she has more than 6. Also, she's nearly ready to walk, but we're not in an awful rush for that!

They say parenting a child takes a village. Jonathan and I feel blessed that we have a village of people who love Nora and take excellent care of her (and US!). She has wonderful family, friends and caregivers.

Thank you, baby girl, for the most terrifying, awe-inspiring, rewarding, wonderful year of my life. I am just so proud of you. Your health, your heart and your curiosity are just such blessings to Mama and Dada. I thought I would be nothing but excited on the occasion of your first birthday. But, it's bittersweet. I will never get your first year back. Every day you're less my baby and more my little girl. I hope we made your start to life wonderful. I hope you'll always know how much you're loved.

Without further adieu, here are my pictures from Nora's first birthday party:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy 1st Father's Day


I married you because I knew you'd be an amazing husband. I just assumed that you'd be an equally amazing father...

In the beginning, we were both terrified. Here was this tiny life placed in our hands for constant care—and you took that responsibility very seriously. Dr. Google was your constant companion in those days. Then there was the problem of long daddy arms and a tiny baby girl who always seemed to slip through, much to your dismay (and sometimes discouragement). But practice over the past 7 months has indeed made perfect.

Now, I'm in awe of the relationship you've fostered with our daughter. No one makes her ba-bas like you (or sterilizes them like you!). No one can compose Nora-specific songs on the fly like you (except maybe me!) Her face lights up for her daddy in a way that is exclusively for YOU. Sometimes, when Nora does something precious just for you, I can almost hear your heart burst. I love watching you show her off proudly to anyone who'll listen. I love your baby banter—you already offer her so much wisdom and insight into life.

There is so much I look forward to seeing you both share over the years to come—trips to Lowe's, geology lessons, daddy/daughter dances, Disney world, Halloween & Christmas—just to name a FEW!

All this to admit that I was wrong about you. "Amazing" doesn't do you justice. I'm in awe and without sufficient words to describe you as a father. And because of that, I love you more than words. You are the heart of our family.

We love you,
Nora & Mommy

Monday, May 20, 2013

Happy Half Birthday, Nora!

On Tuesday (5/21), Nora will be 6 months old!!! Can you believe it????

This time last year I was gagging on the smell of honeysuckles. This spring, my sweet Nora is 6 months old and her little personality is in full bloom.

Besides the sleep deprivation, it's been an AMAZING 6 months filled with love and laughter. It's amazing how that love covers the sleep deprivation, all the bodily fluids, the aching muscles, constant sickness, TEETHING, etc.

Nora was 16.4 pounds at last weigh in. She babbles. She rolls everywhere. She has blowing spit bubbles down to an art. She loves to eat dinner with us. She's working on being able to sit up. She's got a killer personality now, too. She's laid back, mostly, though she has her limits -- and when you reach those limits, she'll let you know (hmm....wonder where she got that from!?)

Aaand, she is SO expressive, just like her mama!! :-) Anyway, here are a few pics showcasing the faces of Nora:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Working Mom Update

Baby girl's 4-month benchmark came and went and this working mom didn't even have time to post a picture for comparison....and now she's nearly 5 months!!!

This new stage has been (mostly) fun. Nora is rolling over. She is babbling a lot more, including consonants. It sounds an awful lot like she's saying "Mama." :-) She continues to get into giggle fits, which melt my heart. She loves to blow spit bubbles (we may or may not have taught her that!). She's tried rice cereal and baby oatmeal for the first time. She grabs everything and everything goes into the mouth — especially while she continues to teeth. She continues to grow stronger and become more coordinated and she weighs more than 13 pounds — she's officially looking like our chunky monkey.

Being a working mom is rewarding and exhausting. Parenthood is painfully teaching me so many valuable life lessons. I'm grieving the end of my selfishness. It's not about me anymore. I figured that out the first time I got sick. Try taking care of a sick child while you yourself have bronchitis. Not. Fun.

Also, my house may never be clean again. I count it a success when I can put a warm meal on the table. I'm having to learn to live in the moment and just enjoy spending time with baby girl. The house...well, I've had to come to terms with the fact that it will never again be clean all at once.

In parenthood, you learn to appreciate the little things in life. After several sleepless days in a row, getting to sleep until 5 a.m. made me throw my hands up in praise to Jesus. And, speaking of Jesus, I've had to give a lot to Him these days. I realized I was perpetually disappointed because I don't feel like I'm the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect worker or perfect house manager. And, news flash, I'm NOT!!!! When I finally realized why I was perpetually despairing, I was able to identify this problem as a sin issue. We are not called to be perfect. Jesus is perfect and I must learn to rest in that. I don't have to be the perfect wife because Jesus alone meets my husband's needs perfectly. I don't have to be the perfect mother, because Nora must see that she needs Jesus. What good is having a perfectly clean home if I haven't fostered the relationships in my life and have no one to share my home with?

And then there's the issue of REST. Just listened to a timely sermon that reminded me that my soul longs for a kind of rest that is promised to Christians. Thank goodness. One day I will experience satiating rest. Until then, I will continue to strive to do things that are pleasing to Christ. And I will continue to be pulled in a lot of different directions.

Just read a Facebook status the other day that said if you don't have time to read scripture and pray, then you're busier than God ever intended you to be. I know this is a busy season for me, but I'm also trying to figure out if I just have too much on my plate and, if so, what could possibly go....

Pray for me, I'm a work-in-progress!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Hypothetical Person: Liz, I LOVE your blog and I miss you terribly! Why have you been on a blog hiatus?

Me: Parenthood.

I submit to you, Exhibit A:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A difficult past few weeks

It's time to blog, or I might explode. Maybe the words I'm about to purge will help alleviate the constant crying I've been doing lately!!

In a month's time, Jonathan and I have had to tell two sets of our best friends goodbye. We've had to tell our awesome church community group goodbye. And I feel heartbroken (but hopeful).

The Richards — Liz and Dave — moved a couple of days after Valentine's Day to Birmingham. I hadn't known them but a year, but we were fast friends. It's nice being friends with people our age who are in the same place in life. Plus, they are just AWESOME ;-) But, I tell myself this is a temporary move, that they may end up nearby when this is all said and done.

The Kotrlas — Keith and Jessica — are leaving Monday for....ETHIOPIA. Yes, you read that right. It's not a matter of being sad that I won't run into them around town — they're moving halfway across the world (and all of this after adopting their precious sons from Ethiopia only a couple of years ago!).

Bitter, party of one???

No, as sad as I've been, their move has disrupted my life in some good ways as well. It's shaken me out of my comfort zone — as these things tend to do — and forced me to take note of my own relationship with Christ. Would I, in my current walk, be willing to do the same....? I don't think so. :-/

Their departure makes me long for the return of Jesus — for a time when there's no longer a need for missionaries to spread the Gospel...for an ending to goodbyes. In the meantime, I'm grateful that my friends are taking news of Jesus to Ethiopia. I can't think of a better family to take the Word to them.

Few can say they understand how it feels to sell their possessions and give to the poor. But my friends can. Few take seriously the command to GO make disciples of all the nations. But my friends do. Keith and Jessica Kotrla are amazing stewards of the resources they've been given. Please join me in praying for my dear friends and supporting them in their missions.

I'll leave you with my fave pic of Jessica, the one I will look at when my heart gets to missing her:

Just so there's no confusion, she was demonstrating for me how to use the pregnancy pillow!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy 3 months!


I continue to fall more in love with you with each passing day. I can't help it, you give me so many reasons to love you:

Early on, when you were too little to interact much, it was your warm reassuring breath on my skin when I held you close.

Now, it's watching you explore the world around you. It's those sweet, trusting little hands that always seem to find their way to mine. It's that ear-to-ear grin you're always so eager to share, and the occasional baby giggle—which is like music to Mommy's and Daddy's ears. It's those piercing blue eyes that take us in and threaten never to return us. It's when I hold you upright and you put your arm around my neck—almost like a hug—and I can't help but linger there even when I know I should put you down. Two words: Baby kisses.

You are one of the most vocal, expressive and alert 3-month-olds I've encountered. You continue to grow stronger every day. You've been in preschool now for 2 weeks and you're already making friends--you even got your first Valentine's cards from classmates! I'm so grateful you love your caregiver and class, because it makes working much easier!!

We are so grateful that you're our daughter, that God entrusted us with you for this season. Keep thriving, baby girl!!

Nora 3 months

And the outtakes...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The End of Maternity Leave

Before I jump to the negatives, let me start with the positives:

I am so grateful that I could enjoy 10 whole weeks with Nora. What a sweet baby girl she is. It has been a blast watching her transition from newborn to baby. I have savored every smile, every cuddle, every coo. I am also thankful that I have a job that has allowed me to take this time. Thankfully, I will be bringing Nora to work with me since the parents at the school fund a childcare/preschool co-op.

Despite all of this gratitude, I'm also afraid. I'm afraid that I will NEVER be on time ever again. The average time of day that I've gotten the two of us ready to step foot out the door is around 1:30 p.m. I'm going to have to wake up EARLY, and I don't do well with sleep deprivation. Not to mention, I'll have 1 million things to pack and carry every day (this from the parent who first went 30 minutes away without Nora's diaper bag and then, practically the next day, brought the diaper bag along sans diapers...).

Also, I get emotional thinking that someone else will be spending the most time with my daughter and, as a result, probably know her better than me :-( I'm terrified that I'll miss her firsts: first word, first time rolling over, etc. I hope someone else doesn't get her best. I'm equally terrified of the germs she'll encounter on a daily basis.

But, all that said, I'm ready for grown up time. I'm ready for a routine. I miss my friends at work and all the ministry opportunities. I'm grateful that my schedule is Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 3:30. On Fridays, I plan to continue working from home for Life Training Institute, and Nora will hopefully be with her grandparents for the most part, which is really close by.

Please pray for me as I make this transition. Pray that Nora starts sleeping a little later in the morning so I'm not so sleep deprived. Pray that we figure out her eating schedule, since I plan to continue breastfeeding for as long as I can (or until I can no longer stay away from dairy, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, etc.). Pray that the breastmilk will keep her well despite her new and sudden exposure to germs. And, most importantly, pray that mommy and daddy would be okay with this next step and that we'd trust the able caregivers who will be watching her during the day :-)

Ok, wish me luck.....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

2 month update


It's mom again. My, how you are GROWING. I continue to love you more than I could have ever imagined. When you smile, I smile. When you cry.....well, sometimes I laugh because you're even precious when you cry (that and I get to comfort you!). Luckily, you mostly smile -- especially in the mornings after a long night's rest. You continue to be a great sleeper. Just last night you slept for 10 hours!!!!!! But it came at a cost because you cried for hours on end yesterday. Also, you're sleeping in your big girl bed finally.

You love making noises and trying to talk to us. You think Mommy and Daddy are really silly. You're interacting with the world around you more and more every day and we couldn't be prouder. Mommy and Daddy are shamefully typical when it comes to your poop -- we get so excited for you! We don't even mind cleaning it up. But, we prefer that you keep it in your diaper and off the nursery chair and wall ;-)

At your 2-month appointment today, I found out that you now weigh 10 pounds, 12 ounces. You're about 23 inches. We have to work on your misshapen head. You greatly favor your right side so now your head is flat on one side. I'm sorry to embarrass you by sharing that with the world. But, we hope some time on your left side will fix things right up. We think you're still sensitive to dairy and so we're going to try supplementing your feedings with soy-based formula. We're also going to start giving you something for your acid reflux so you don't spit up so much.

Enough with the details! Here you are at 2 months old:

As a point of comparison:

(1 month)

One week:

Keep on growing String Bean (but not too fast!)!! Love, Mama and Dada