6.28.2013

Babywise vs. Attachment Parenting

Preparing For A Little One

I figured since I'm on a roll with remeniscing about baby life with Zoë and delved deep into what breastfeeding was like for us, I'd continue on in my looking back as Kaitlyn has been doing link-ups on everything baby. (Ok, so I'm not really on a roll, but I'm just feeling it in my blood after all the nostalgia yesterday created.)

The hard part of this post is I won't really be able to reference On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D. The copy I read I borrowed from my older sister. And though I own the AP book, I'm not going to use specific quotes from it just because it's been forever since I read it, I didn't highlight when I read, and I just don't have it in me to make this more like a research post. Just giving my thoughts regarding looking back at the parenting style I adopted.

However, what I can tell you is that I wanted to throw Babywise (BW) out the window within about two weeks of having Zoë. Not because the book is horrible and doesn't offer any advice, but because I'm already type-A organized and I found that, for me, the book was just a little too restrictive. I found my maternal instincts waging war with everything I had learned from the book. Well, almost everything.

You see, one piece of very valuable information I did glean and cling to was this: allow yourself to work into an eat-wake-sleep cycle with your baby. Val, who has an awesome blog on the entire -wise series (Did you know that they go through...oh gee way older children is all I know? And yes, I said her blog is awesome even though I'm telling you that I wasn't a completely sold out "Babywise Mom".), has a great post on this topic. She likely has several, but I've read and gleaned from this post.

I faintly remember that I also learned about sleep training your child through BW, which is completely against Attachment Parenting (AP). (One of the AP "building blocks", as they call them, is to "Beware of Baby Trainers".) And while I think there is a certain amount of training that goes into the sleep schedule, I also think that you have to determine what is best for your family and make it work for you.

Let me explain: Babywise discusses how there are periods where you child will, a few months into life, begin waking around 5 am or some other not-normal-to-be-awake hour of the morning, but not because they are hungry. They will wake up. Talk to their little hearts content in baby coo. Make you want to peek in their crib and start cooing with them. But with everything in you, resist! Why? Because it's just a pattern almost every baby goes through and should you decide to be awake with them to enjoy it, your new wake-up time will become 5 am. If you ignore it, your baby will go through this cycle which takes days, at the minimum, up to possibly a month or two, at the maximum.

I don't know about you, but I wasn't waking up at 5 in the morning unless my daughter was calling for nourishment. And believe me, if you take the time to learn your child's cries (another AP building block), you will know the difference. Your voices of doubt may jump out at you, if you're anything like me and don't always believe in your ability to reason (Yay for fighting myself!), but if you have taken the time to learn them, you will know the difference. Period.

However, and I don't think BW is the only "parenting style" out there that says this, Ben and I didn't like the "don't pick your child up if they're crying" rule. Now, it wasn't everytime Zoë woke up that we would pick her up. Learning your child's cries plays into this. A lot. Because you see, we were blessed with a daughter who would cry because she needed just a bit more comfort. So we would go in, pick her up and snuggle her, and just before she was ready to sleep, put her back down.

Bingo!

It worked like a charm. Every. time.

Oh and not picking her up? Well, let's just say we only did it one night, the next day was h.o.r.r.i.b.l.e. and my momma heart was ripping at the seams trying to be held back when something in me knew. I just knew that my daughter needed comfort, not crying herself to sleep. And, by the way, she cried for at least three hours that night. I personally felt like a failure as a mom that night.

We then moved to the start with checking on baby at the 10-15-20-etc periods and letting her cry in between. We also were adament about sticking to the "not picking her up" and just rubbing her belly.

Yeah. That didn't work for us either.

And thus we found out our daughter actually needed to be picked up. All it took was one night of me picking her up, singing to her and swaying a wee bit, for maybe all of ten minutes while she calmed herself and was comforted by mommy. When I put her back down she wimpered for maybe all of five minutes and was out. like. a. light.

But this isn't the case for all kids. And it can change. My older sister was never really able to pick her oldest up out of bed when he was working himself to sleep because it only made him madder. (Lindsey, correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm pretty sure that's what you told me.) As Zoë has grown, nap time has become a, and this is a general rule of thumb which must be broken every now and then, don't go in and so much as look at her when she's crying or she will not nap at all.

It's a general rule of thumb now because if she has been overstimulated, I generally have to calm her down to either just before she sleeps or get her to fall asleep on me and then put her down. Which, by the way, is a big BW no-no. Baby should always go down for sleep awake, but calmed, according to BW. I'm not sure that AP addresses this or not, but I'm pretty sure it is suggested that baby not be "nursed", in any form, to sleep. (You can allow a baby to form attachments to rocking, the swing, the breast, the bottle, etc. Not that you shouldn't form a routine, but that baby should really learn from the beginning to actually finish the falling asleep process on their own.) However, I do know they never say it's taboo for baby to fall asleep in someone's arms.

I do believe that a baby shouldn't always fall asleep in someone's arms, and the older the child gets, the less frequent the falling asleep not in their bed should be. If a baby isn't put to sleep in their own bed at all, it's going to be harder for them to figure out how to soothe themselves to sleep there the older they get. My personal opinion, though it has held quite true with our Zoë.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, a few weeks in I was desperate for some help, and not from BW after the first few weeks, and so against what I'd heard about AP, I bought The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. Sears and his wife, Martha.

And I. loved. it.

Not every part of it, but from the get go I loved it because they were very adament about how even though they believe using all 7 of the building blocks of AP works best, you have to use what works for you. And so if you're not using all of them, that is ok.

I needed to hear that like I need fresh air.

The seven blocks of AP are as follows (found on pp. 5-7):

  1. Birth Bonding
  2. Breastfeeding
  3. Babywearing
  4. Bed sharing
  5. Belief in baby's cries
  6. Balance and boundaries
  7. Beware of baby trainers
Ben and I did not do bed sharing, except for in rare, utterly fatigued instances, and I only slightly followed number 7, using my judgement as to when "baby trainer's" had good or bad advice.

Also, because of so many emotional decisions and the fear that consumed me with knowing what I was stepping into as a mother, birth bonding didn't happen for us. I deeply regret it and know that next time I will do it differently.

What is it exactly I wish I'd do differently?

I want to hold my baby or at least have them placed on my abdomen, depending on how long the cord is, right after they're born. I don't want my baby taken from me unless they have to be, like for weighing them, but otherwise that baby will be loved in my arms from the second they enter this world. Yeah, it's could be a bit messy, but birth is a little messy naturally and my heart couldn't get my mouth to scream with Zoë that I was wrong and I want my baby. right. now. So I know that I will want that with the next one we're blessed to have in our arms here.

Breastfeeding, well, I gave you link to my post from yesterday. They recommend breastfeeding past the first year, but I wasn't really all for that. I knew a year was my mark and that worked for us.

As far as bed sharing, Zoë's crib was in our room, actually out of necessity, but I loved it for the first few months. That worked for us. There were occasional nights that I begged Ben to just let her sleep with us, and he graciously allowed. That was more out of my extreme fatigue than her need, usually, but either way it was nice to have her there when wanted or absolutely needed, but in her bed otherwise. I should note that we also only had a full size bed. It was tiny without a third body.

I didn't follow baby wearing to the letter of the law, as to generally be classified as such, the baby must be worn 3+ hours every day. In the beginning it's quite possible that happened out of necessity, but once the reflux medicine kicked in, it was more on a want basis, though it did happen daily and I do think it was nice for both of us.

Also, they highly suggest that dad baby wear some. This didn't completely appeal to Ben as the first "baby wearing" carrier I bought was the Moby. However, once we got the Boba, he was a bit more inclined to use it. He never really wore Zoë, though I wonder if that will change with the next baby as we already have the Boba. Not sure, we'll see. But that was one part of it that we just didn't follow.

Belief in baby's cries: I CANNOT OVERSTRESS HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS! Even if you decide to lean more to the BW method, this is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT! For the first several months, I'm talking it really doesn't start changing until around 8-9 months, at least in my experience, your child cries to communicate. Not to manipulate. Not to try and get you to do what they want. No, they cry because they need something. And that cry changes depending on what they need. Don't believe me? If you haven't tested this out yet and you plan on having more children, try it out with your next.

Yes, the cries may change over time, but if you've been paying attention, you will be able to decipher those tiny differences in the cries. You will be able to give your child what they need and soothe the tears long before it becomes a long, drawn out cry fest.

I was so enlightened when I read this in the AP book. And it clicked with my heart. I knew that I wasn't going crazy when I thought Zoë had certain cries that were communicating different things. (Like the way I just knew in my heart she had silent reflux and knew a specific cry was associted with the discomfort.) The day I started listening to Zoë and what she had to tell me, was the day that I began really connecting with my child and noticed that she trusted me more and more. Not that she didn't trust me before. Most children are born with an innate, inbred "trust your parents". I just noticed that the bond grew stronger as time went on and I believed in what each cry was telling me. It was also nice because I found it hard to be around adults much in those first few months, sheerly because I was so exhausted I thought it was great if I had showered and changed clothes that day. Maybe that was just me, but it was how we operated, and so learning that Zoë was communicating with me gave me a small bit of connectivity that I desperately needed.

(Please note: I am not saying that this is everyone. Nor am I saying that your child replaces good, healthy relationships with other women. I'm just saying that those first few months were not covered in visitors and going places. And though they were good, I did miss some of the connectivity, especially considering I went from a full time job five days a week, where I was around people from 7:30 until about 6 every day, to home alone with an infant who only spoke "cry". It was rough.)

As far as balance and boundaries, I think this should be put with any parenting style period.

It. is. essential.

Even more so than believing in baby's cries, though I think they could practically tie for first place.

I say this because setting boundaries and striving for balance in the relationship is very necessary. Our children need us, but more than needing us, they need mom and dad to have a healthy relationship. I know some people don't have this option, but if you are married, then make sure that your relationship with your husband is not put on the backburner. Both BW and AP talk about this.

This can be very hard. Especially in the first months when the baby is so very needy. And it seems many times that mom may be the only one who can help. But do whatever you can to include dad. I know that Ben loved when he was included, even if it was giving Zoë a bottle. And I was also blessed with a dad who, though had some moments he wasn't so sure he could do it alone, jumped right in on the diaper changing. And still does. (Those "Megan, I need your help" moments usually came with the lovely blow outs an infant gives you. Fun times.)

Now as far as beware of baby trainers goes, I took this on my own terms. I found that some information baby trainers give can be very helpful. After I read the AP book, I felt they would classify BW as baby trainers. I obviously didn't throw everything BW taught me out the window. I just held loosely to some of their guidelines. And there are some great sites out there that have some useful information, but also had information that I wasn't comfortable with using or didn't like at all.

Looking back, I guess you would call my style to fall along the lines of AP, though I used what I liked and left either what Ben couldn't stand or I didn't find necessary behind.

I know people who don't read any of the books and parent solely off of instinct and God's guidance, and ultimately, I feel that this is what Ben and I did/do. Yes, I read books to get a general idea to help me with forming my style. Yes, my style is more of an AP style than anything else. But if that isn't working for me tomorrow and I come up with or find something else that is, then that's what I'll use.

And that is probably my biggest plug on parenting. And the way I hope I will continues to parent as long as I'm raising a child.

6.27.2013

My Experience with Breastfeeding

I'm not sure why, but for forever I've really wanted to sit and ponder my experience with Zoë and breastfeeding. Maybe to remind me of just how easy ridiculously difficult it was for whenever the next little one enters the picture.

Maybe to remind me that it took well beyond the month people say it'll take to adjust and really find that level of comfort "I can do this and my child is not going to die".

Maybe to remind myself that it was not a bucket of beautiful, fresh picked flowers.

No. It was more like someone tossed a bucket full of thorns all over me. And many of them lodged themselves into my flesh.

And to remember that I fought. And it was worth it.

Yes, maybe that is what has been driving me to get this down for myself.

And I just do better typing than writing with pen to paper, so hang with me, or don't. But I'm going to get all my thoughts out there. Who knows, maybe it will encourage you to keep on truckin' even when you feel like your tank ran out of gas well over 30 miles ago. Because, well, I sure know that from, oh probably day 2 I felt like that. And it took me at least a good 4 to 5 months to feel like I wasn't always out of gas. And then a few more on top of that to hear the words that I actually kind of enjoy it.

Going into it I was dead set on breastfeeding. Solely. If I "supplemented" it would be with pumped milk.

Now hear me out, I'm not against mothers choosing to use formula. That decision should be made on a family-by-family basis and should be something you feel you need defend to no one. I do feel that breast is best as it provides so, so many benefits. (Seriously, you can go here or here or a million other places. Just google it. Though I warn you that many of those sites are not shy about posting a mother breastfeeding a baby.) And the decision may need to be on a child-by-child basis.

That said, I was set on breastfeeding. Unless my body just absolutely said no or Zoë couldn't for some reason, then we were breastfeeding.

Part of my decision was driven by our need: formula is dang expensive. And had we needed to use formula with Zoë, it would have been the best of the best break-your-pocketbook mix. The money was just not there for us.

The other part was that this momma wanted to give her child what she knew was best, and in my heart of hearts, it was au naturale.

Little did I know that from day one, we would have issues.

I'm talking the lactation consultant and nurses said I was doing everything perfectly (whatever that's supposed to mean) and Zoë latched properly.

But she SCREAMED within seconds of latching. Every. single. time. And would continue to scream. And not nurse. And wail because "I'm so freakin' hungry guy I'm not gonna latch and stay latched!"

This momma was plum. w.o.r.e. out! (Yeah. That's an understatement.)

And so by the end of our stay in the hospital, the LC was suggesting we use the Medela SNS. I was a bit hesistant, knowing it would mean that Zoë was not just getting breastmilk, but also slightly ready to dive in head first knowing that maybe this would be our answer.

And it worked! Well...sort of.

My little Zo bug had a will all her own from day one. And it just wasn't coming out fast enough. Dang it! I want that milk now!

So at first, I thought that was our only issue. And I was determined to wean off the SNS ASAP! Formula was not going to stay in the picture. Period.

My milk came in somewhere in the normal range given. And we weaned off the system.

And Zoë was still wailing when she was latching.

So I tried putting just a little bit of formula in the SNS to use to jump start a couple sessions. But wailing was still an every feeding thing to deal with. So I bailed on the SNS. I said sayonara and never looked back. If it wasn't doing any good at all, then it wasn't worth my time as it was only a hinderance.

At some point in every feeding, we'd finally get comfortable, but then she was nursing for 45 minutes plus at every feeding. I felt like I was a stinking milk bar 24/7.

There were a couple times I'm sure I yelled at Ben that I wish he could take over. Even for just one night. Because I was so sick of this that we were just going to have to switch to formula. We were just going to have to stretch our budget pants as tight as they would go. Really beyond what they were meant to handle.

I was a winner. For sure. Oh and I probably didn't even say it as nice as the afformentioned.

Yep. Told ya I was a winner!

After a several weeks of being completely done with breastfeeding and wondering how on earth I was going to make it through an entire year, I finally decided to press the issue of acid reflux with her pediatrician. You can read about that here.

Why I waited so long, well, now I know to trust my maternal instinct and not let anyone else try to be the expert on my baby. Because they don't spend 24/7 with her. 'nough said. But I did. And I wish that I hadn't.

You know the good ol' adage "hindsight is 20/20"? Well, I'm about 150% sure that my hindsight is 20/10. As in, I don't think this mistake will be made again should we cross that path.

Reflux medicine became our best friend. She was happy. I was happy. And nursing was no longer a huge wailing session.

However, it did not mean that she began speed nursing.

Many moms will tell you their kids became like little race cars when it came to the speed of their nursing. Both sides in 10 minutes tops. By about 6 months of age too.

I know, without a doubt, I can count on two hands the number of times nursing was that quick for us. And I also know that I was not a pretty song waiting to serenade my husband about it when he got home every day. It probably sounded more like the kid learning how to make music with their bow to the violin and only the parents can keep from covering their ears.

I was also frustrated by the fact that as much as I was a milk bar, I did not produce enough for a bottle in one pumping session. Not even two sessions did that. And yes, I took Fenugreek. (And I was sick of smelling like maple syrup...though I guess it's better than straight body odor.) And so the evening bottles stressed me out more than they helped me. Because espeically by the time she needed at least 6 ounces in a bottle, it was taking me almost 2 days to produce one bottle. Ain't nobody got time for that!

I'm sure that didn't help the voice of "I really want to continue doing this" in my head.

Finally, around the time Zoë was nearing somewhere in the 6 to 7 month age range, I quit fighting and learned to enjoy it. I realized that the time I had where I could hold her close like that for an hour without a fight would be over all too soon. I knew that when there was one or two or three other kids that I was caring for as well as trying to nurse, the relaxing bit of the deal wouldn't be a great.

It was only this one go round I would have it in this form.

It didn't matter if I was able to pump for a bottle or not. If I couldn't, oh well! Big deal. If I could, then yippee!!

And so I finally was able to tame my inner wild horse, and learn to move with what I'd been given. To enjoy right where I was. To see that even if the fatest my little one ever nursed was 20 minutes, that was ok because all too soon it would be gone.

Wouldn't you know that I actually cried when I knew it was our last nursing session?

Or that I cried for about a week after we were finished?

I actually sort of missed nursing my daughter.

I say "sort of" because there was still a part of me that was relieved. A part of me that was rejoicing to have it all behind me.

It was a battle. A hard fought battle. And like most battles, there were pros and cons to the entire thing.

So as I look back I see that though part of me still loathes breastfeeding and doesn't really care to bat an eye towards it ever again, I can also see the sentimental part of me that knew I fought to give what I thought best and I won. And learned to enjoy it too.

I hope that the next journey down this path is not a battle. I hope that maybe for once I will have an easy nurser somewhere in my days of nurturing a newborn, however many are in my days to have. (Umm, I feel need to say here that I'm not hoping for an overly huge family, though we do dream of 3 to 4 kids, which in our day and age is a larger family than most. Unless of course you're in kahoots with the Duggers. And no, that's not a knock against them. Love that family. Sooo not my calling.)

But no matter what way it's sliced, I will forever be able to look back and see that even as difficult as it was, breastfeeding is one of the best decisions I made as a mom. And I hope that no matter the circumstances with any possible future children, I will remember that fighting is so worth every moment.

It has allowed me to look back and view it with no regrets.

I am forever grateful for that.

6.26.2013

Praying for Him: What Cripples Everyone

Over the next 30 weeks, which I started with an intro on May 1st, I will be doing a weekly series where I talk about my journey through Stormie Omartian's Power of  a Praying Wife. I felt led to pray for my husband, wanted to incorporate the book, but knew that doing a 30 day challenge was next to impossible. (Let's face it: life with a baby just-turned-Toddler changes and there are still nights with many wake up calls due to teething or illness. I'd already tried once and failed.)  So this series was born as a way to share, encourage, and hold me accountable to the commitment I made. I'll keep a list of links just below this on each post so you can easily access them all. Enjoy!


___________________________________________________________

I originally thought I was going to be confessing to you that this week was another hard week, another week that I let prayer slip right past me when it came to praying for Ben. Another week where I certainly was not depending on the strength of our Lord.

And though I certainly do not feel it was the best week out of the nine I've been doing this, I realized that without knowing it, I was praying for Ben's fears and my own on a consistent basis.

As I looked back on this past week and all it entailed, I realized that I was constantly praying for Ben as there were some possible situations that would arise at work which brough fear with them.

I also realized that I was constantly praying for a fear, likely a healthy fear, both of us struggle with: whether or not we are really serving God in the here and now. This was so prevalent this week as we were recently faced with an opportunity that, while it's a great way to "know" you're 100% using your life to serve the Lord, was a huge commitment that would likely cause our relationship and personal family life to suffer. We have a lot going on. We also have never had time to really work through any changes that have come our way. One change is followed shortly by another which has caused us to become stronger in some ways, but has also made it very difficult for us to establish a great base for our relationship.

Though this may sound as though I'm complaining, I'm sincerely wanting you to get a glimpse on our 2 1/2 years as a married couple to help you understand what I'm talking about. This isn't because I wish our life was different, this is simply how it's been.
  1. Ben and I met, started dating, became engaged, and married all in 19 months time. That's not a lot of time to get to know each other. Which leads me to...
  2. We hoped that we would have at least the first 2 full years of our marriage to strengthen our relationship, get to know one another even deeper, and establish a good basis on which to weather the storms we knew would come before as well as after we had kids.
  3. God had other plans. 9 months into it, SURPRISE! Pregnant with Zoë!
  4. #3 caused Ben to search for another job, knowing that we both desired and practically needed me to stay home. (I'll have to write another post on that later.)
  5. Ben's two jobs had him working so that 3-4 days a week he left at 7:30am and didn't return home until 1-1:30 the following morning. This started about two months after we found out.
  6. March 2012 Zoë is born. Huge life change to throw in the mix of newlyweddom (Yes. I made that up. No, it does not denote the highs and lows that true marriage brings but I like it. So I'm leaving it.) And Ben's schedule still followed the routine of #5. Can you say worn out?
  7. mid-October 2012 Ben gets a single job that will provide but will move us to Houston.
  8. 3 weeks after being offered the job, we're required to move. Woah! That was rough. Good, but rough.
We also have some other changes that are coming up here in the near future, but I'm not able to share about them at this time.

However, it is obvious that we have gone through many, many changes, some of which we cannot control. While we know life will bring change, we didn't feel it a great idea to ask for change to be brought in if it didn't need to be.

I say all this because the idea of being involved in an "actual" ministry, appealed to Ben greatly. It also appeals to me as there are some days I wonder what good I am doing for Christ when I'm sitting at home with a child who can barely communicate with me. I know in my heart that being a mom is a ministry of itself, but sometimes it's hard to get past the knowing to actually believing. Ben struggles with the same thoughts, though I don't feel it necessary for me to divulge in what they are. There may be many factors to this, but that is something truly between Ben and God and sometimes shared in confidence with myself and men who he is close to.

All this to say that fear isn't just something that cripples women and finds us frozen, not willing to move from fear of whatever choice it is we're being faced with. When I thought that this week was truly a let down, I found that I was actually praying for fear to be done away with more than I realized in the moment.

It helped me to realize that this truly is a very common struggle that takes on many forms.

Ironically, it is what our pastor has been teaching on these past two weeks. One of the bits tht stuck with me from his sermon this past Sunday was this: "The single-most command used in the Bible is some version of 'Don't be afraid.'" Though I'm no Bible scholar, and I've not done studies on this, I'm willing to guess this is said so much because we struggle with truly trusting God on a daily basis. We let fear take hold of our hearts and keep us from living a life fully devoted to God, wherever we are. When we fear, it takes the place of trusting God with our everything.

And so this week really was more of an eye opening experience, though I didn't realize it until today. A realization that fear can take over anyone, that it isn't just some problem that I struggle with, that I need isolate myself because no one struggles with it. (Oh, the many voices of fear that leave you feeling so alone!) And many reminders that fear is not where God wants us to live, He can and wants to use you no matter what your calling in life (need I say that is why any job can be listed as a calling? If that is what God desires for you to do, it is ministry. Period.), and if your everything is given to God, He will give you peace amidst the fear.

Maybe this is more for my heart than yours, but either way, it has felt healing to type this up. May we live this week basking in His Peace and Strength, banishing any fear that comes our way!

Next week I'll be sharing about my week of praying for His Purpose. 

6.25.2013

15 Months

Time really is flying around here. And I can't even keep up with it. It's been a few weeks since Zoë  has actually hit the 15 month mark, but I just can't seem to get things together around here. Not to mention, it's way hard getting a pic of her these days. (read: keep her sitting still long enough for the .5 seconds it takes to adjust camera settings and snap the shot. She moves constantly.)

So on to the meat of this post:

15 Month Stats
  • you weighed 21 lbs 5.5 oz and measured 30 1/2 in at your 15 month check up. You're still hanging around the 30th percentile for weight and dropped from 78th to 50th for height. Though I think you have the perfect amount of rolls on you. Just enough chub for me to love on daily. :)
  • You wear 18 month or 18-24 month size clothes. And you're between a size 3 and 4 shoe.
  • You love to go "bye bye", which, to you, means we're going outside for a walk. Though you also love just leaving the house.
  • You know that "bye bye" entails putting your shoes on. As soon as I'm sitting with you to get them on, you're sticking one of your feet out as if to say, "Hurry, Mom! We don't want to waste any time!"
  • You're vocabulary is expanding daily. Daddy thinks you tried to say "tiger" this morning. You definitely can say and know what "mama", "dada", "that" (pronounced "dat"), "bye bye", "baby", "bee bo" (this is "belly button". If you've never heard of the Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton, you should check it out. No that isn't a paid plug. We just love her books.), "dog" (you kind of forget the "g"), "puppy" (though you you stop at "pup"), "no", "yes", and "book" pronounced "boo". You say "Poppa" though I'm not sure you associate it with him or not and this weekend when Paw Paw and Honey were visiting, you said "Paw Paw". I don't think the association for that is quite there yet.
  • You love animal sounds. Your favorite by far is the elephant. You're adorable when you do it as you make the sound and raise your arm. You also know what a cow, duck, horse, rabbit, dog, cat, peacock, and alligator say. Every now and then you'll make a noise for a pig, though typically you say "la la la" because of Sandra Boynton's Moo, Baa, La La La book.
  • You love walking with assistance, whether it's a person or your walker. However, I think you prefer it to be a person because then you can lead whoever is helping you to the door, point at the handle, and say "bye bye", in hopes that they'll go outside to walk with you.
  • You've begun testing what Daddy and I tell you to do. You even get this look in your eye just before you test us as if to say, " Are you really going to enforce that?"
  • Temper tantrums are on the rise. You have a very strong will and desire to do what your mind set out for on the first try. So between getting frustrated with yourself, and mad at whoever is telling you no, fits are becoming normal around here. The hard part is you're really kind of cute when you do it. Let's just say I have my work cut out for me.
  • You are sweeter than ever. You love on all your animals and baby dolls, kissing and hugging them loads throughout the day. You even love to sit in my lap so I can read you a book.


Love Bug,

You seem to grow more. Daily. Many times, it makes me simultaneously smile and cry on the inside. I so love seeing you grow, learning the world around you, but at the same time I know that all too soon, I will be "out of a job", so to speak. I just hope at the end of that road, there will be a relationship, a new beginning.

(I know this pic is fuzzy, but I love your face. You're such a happy baby.)

You're still hesitant to walk on your own, though earlier today you took four steps to the couch by yourself. I think leaving you stranded without whatever was supporting you (in this case it was the vaccuum, which inevitably had to move as I continued to clean) may need to happen a bit more. Maybe then you will realize you're fully capable of walking.

Fear has always seemed to be your biggest battle. I'm hoping that knowing this now, I can work with you as you grow to conquer it. It will always be ready to take you over if you let it.


Anyway, you love your new Vtech Learning Walker. Daddy and I laugh hysterically because you tuck your shoulders down just before you take off. It's like you're getting ready for a big race and need a great start from the beginning. Too cute!

(Anytime we say "hello", you put your hand up next to your ear. :) Oh and that dark spot on your left cheek: you fell and hit your cheek on the corner of your toy box. Ouch!)

You have such a will and determination about everything you do. I can't wait to see how this will play out as it is obviously one of your strengths, yet can also be a weakness at times. It has also begun to show in the temper tantrums you throw. Sometimes you're literally throwing objects you get so mad. I have to hide my smile every time; it unfortunately is a visible outburst of what I feel on the inside when I get angry. We just keep telling you it's ok to be angry but we don't do "x, y, z." I don't think you're really to a place where you understand the end of that phrase, but I don't want to teach you that anger is bad.

You love to laugh and smile. You also are constantly trying to get whoever is around you to imitate you and/or laugh at your antics. Some days are nothing but giggles coming from you. So precious!

(This is a face you make. Daily.)

I am so glad that you, Zoë, made me a Mommy first. It makes me proud to know that I was given the title by such a sweet, caring girl.

On the note of caring, you kiss your animals all. the. time. You've even started making a kissing noise. You also hug them a lot. You give Daddy and me hugs if we ask for them. You will snuggle into me on the weekend mornings when Daddy brings you into our room so we can all just chill on the bed a bit longer before greeting the day. And for the first time last night, without asking, you gave me one of your "real noise making" kisses on the cheek. I. melted. completely. Literally, I'm pretty sure I became a puddle on our living room floor.


Sweet Zoë, I may tell you to stop growing, but I don't mean it. Not one bit. Because greater than keeping you all to myself would be to see you grow and make a difference in this big, wide world.

I love you Sweet Pea!!

Love forever and always,
Mommy

6.24.2013

Defeated

So by now, you may think I'm crazy. I mean my last post on Ben's and my story unveiled a pretty crazy detail. (If you're just starting, I would recommend you read the back story, followed by the first part of our story.)

Honestly, I kind of thought I was crazy and maybe I had heard God's voice wrong. But, I kept on with life as normal.

And I just realized that I should back track a bit.

You see, Ben came back from a several week mission stint in China the Summer I moved to Baton Rouge. And he came back praying about going back to China for a year. However, shortly after school started up that Fall semester, he found out that if he didn't finish his degree by May 2010, he would not be able to earn it. Something about the Dean hadn't been keeping up with the accreditation for Art Education and so the program would be no more as of May 2010. When he found this information out, he felt God telling him to finish out the degree, rather than move forward with China at that time.

Had Ben gone to China, we likely would have never met. He would have been gone later that Fall semester. Which would have meant he wouldn't have shown up at the Super Bowl party that fine February of 2009. And the outfit my little sis insisted I wear wouldn't have left an impression on him along with my personality. (And yes, Ben still knows what I wore to that party. Ha!)

After that meeting, we really only saw each other in a quick passing by at church or me asking him where the other girls were sitting. I began to think I was ludicrous for ever thinking that we'd possibly be meant for one another. (I don't know a better statement to use, but I don't believe in the whole there is only one person in the universe you are made for. The person you are supposed to be with is the person you marry. Long story short.)

And then we both helped move his sister and her husband. It was a two weekend commitment because they had to move out of their old apartment, but the new apartment wasn't ready until the next weekend.

The first weekend in March of 2009 I spent plenty of time getting to know Ben, though it had nothing to do with me trying to pry my way into his life. I needed a ride and my original ride was cram full of stuff. Shane, who picked up on the fact I needed a ride, quickly piped up and asked me to ride with him and Ben. There was lots of laughter to be had by all and the multiple trips taken from the old apartment to Ben and Celeste's parents passed quickly.

Once the job was done, Ben's parents hosted all of us at there home for lunch as a thank you for helping. During the meal, I needed my phone, but couldn't find it even though it had recently been sitting on the table. When I asked for a phone so I could call it, Ben and Shane both shoved their phones into my face. I grabbed one, called my phone, and found it was in my chair.

Score: Blonde Moment - 1, Megan - 0.

Though I spent time riding around in Ben's truck as the group was hanging out, I went home that evening thinking that it would never work. Our paths would never be going the same direction. And I was honestly ok with that.

6.22.2013

It's 2 am...Enough Said

It's 2 am.

And I can't sleep.

I shut my eyes and hoped for crazy dreams when they opened and read 1:04 on the alarm clock. And then 1:20. Oh and 1:45. And...well, you get the point. Let me explain that, for whatever reason, I've been having the most insane dreams lately, and so though I usually don't care whether or not I dream, I was wishing for them when my eyes greeted an alarm clock telling me it's way too early to be awake.

But, I. just. can't. sleep.

I kind of am wondering if maybe my dinner had too much salt and that has just as bad an effect on me as caffeine. Of which, I know is absolutely, positively not the cuplrit because I rarely drink caffeine and I haven't had any for days. This also brings tears to my eyes as the way-too-salty food I ate last night was Chuy's.

For those who don't know what that is, let me enlighten you: it is some of the best Tex-Mex I have ever laid stomach on. (Did I just say that? I'm going to blame the fact that it's 2 in the morning.)

Carrying on.

So my head has been rolling around inside it's little wee space on top my neck a lot lately. (errmm...maybe I need not write at 2 am...my mind seems to be a bit wacko at this time of day...night? Whatever...but I'm all about keepin' it real so...yeah.) I keep thinking how much I want to devote to this tiny space of the internet of mine, and then I always find that it hasn't made it to a space of priority and I'm not great at the post a day, though many times throughout a day I think, "Oh! This would make for a good blog post." or "I would love to just type this out and share it with my followers in my corner of the web."

Yet, I never find myself sitting at the computer with enough time to get a blog post out. And honestly, when inspiration hits, it's really hard to find time to sit with an ever active 15 month old always vying for my attention as well as household chores and errands to be run. Not to mention I've added a 10 year old to the mix at least three days a week.

I would have to wake up at...well, now! Ha! Not literally, but essentially, my quiet time that I try to keep sacred would need to be exchanged for writing time. And I'm just not willing to sacrifice my time with the Lord so that I can write to my little hearts content.

So I ask you, how have you found your niche in the blogosphere? What is it that helped you find a way to getting your thoughts to...computer screen (sure...thought it's not at smooth as "thoughts to paper")...? Do you always have time to actually jot them down when they come or have you found a method to help you remember so you can write about it later? And for those of you with kids, how have you found the time to write without taking away from them?

I'm of the mind that I enjoy writing almost every day. I just haven't found my niche yet. I'm still working on finding my writing voice, though I hope it's a lot like my natural speaking. I'm all about being personable, warm, welcoming. You know, two friends sipping coffee or cocoa or tea, something and just chatting the time away? Yeah, that.

Well, my eyelids are growing heavy.

Finally.

I will greet you later. Hopefully, when the hour isn't so undisturbingly early...late? Who cares. When the hour says I should be staring at my eyelids, not a computer screen.

6.19.2013

Praying for Him: His Battlefield

Over the next 30 weeks, which I started with an intro on May 1st, I will be doing a weekly series where I talk about my journey through Stormie Omartian's Power of  a Praying Wife. I felt led to pray for my husband, wanted to incorporate the book, but knew that doing a 30 day challenge was next to impossible. (Let's face it: life with a baby just-turned-Toddler changes and there are still nights with many wake up calls due to teething or illness. I'd already tried once and failed.)  So this series was born as a way to share, encourage, and hold me accountable to the commitment I made. I'll keep a list of links just below this on each post so you can easily access them all. Enjoy!


___________________________________________________________

Ahh, the mind. It is such a fragile place, but I don't think we often think of it as such. Especially when it comes to men, I think an image has been portrayed that we are strong minded. That whatever it is, we can do it ourselves, we have the will power, the strength of mind.

Yet, really, we all struggle. I don't think it really matters who it is, they battle some sort of lie that the Enemy has slyly planted in their mind. A lie that they may believe to their core or struggle to battle it off with truth on a daily basis, but no matter where they are in the battle, it is there, and it is real.

I found this week being of utmost importance because I have seen firsthand the way lies can bring my husband to his knees. I have seen how it can keep him from seeing the truth about himself and the strength he has in Christ. And as Stormie rightly points out, I have seen the toll it ends up taking on me, even though the battle didn't start in my mind.

Why? Because when you marry, you become one with the man you marry. And as such, the battle raging in his mind is ultimately an assault against me and the life God wishes to lead us in. I love what she says at the beginning of this chapter: "If he and I were one, then an assault on his mind was an assault on me as well. I could stand with him in the battle by declaring, 'This is not God speaking into my husband's life, it's the voice of the enemy. I'm not going to stand by and watch deadly games being played with his mind and our lives (p. 81).'"

Her mentioning of standing with him in the battle reminds me of Ecclesiastes 4:12, "And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." A reminder that when we pray, we are inviting God into this battle, and oh, how sweet the victory will be in the end!

I was also stretched in my thinking of how to pray for this battle raging war within my husband's mind. Often, I only think of going to God and stating the obvious. But Stormie challenged me again in this. She states that the most powerful weapons against this attack are scripture and praise. When I first read that, I immediately thought she was talking about praising my husband, but truly what she meant was praising God for giving my husband a sound mind. Worshiping God.

I think that truly applies to many areas of our life. I also think it is choosing to believe God wants for us what He has said in scripture and praising Him for it, even if it is at it's weakest in the moment you're praying for it. What He has promised, He will come through on; we must choose to walk in His ways so that He can bless us with those promises. I believe a sound mind is one of those promises, because He wants us to grow in His likeness and to serve only Him as God in our lives. If we don't have a sound mind, how can He be center of all that we have?

This journey is truly helping me to see the importance of praying for my husband, daily, hourly, any moment that I can take captive to whisper in the quiet of my soul to God. Any moment that I am given where I am not engaging in conversation with someone else.

And Ben loves that I'm doing this. I tried to start a habit of asking Ben once a week how I could pray for him in the coming week. New habits are hard to form, thus, I haven't done the best job of remembering every week. But I'm not so sure I will always have to remember; Ben came to me this past Sunday, began talking, but at the end asked, "So would you pray for peace for me for x, y, and z this week?" That was a first, but I'm certain not the last.

May I encourage you, even if you feel like you aren't a prayer warrior, ask God to give you a heart to pray for your husband. To stand in the gap with him and for him. It will likely change him more and more into God's likeness, but it will change you, growing you more into a woman of God than ever before. It may seem slow (I know that I have had moments where I feel at a loss over this journey. I have had moments that I've wondered if it's even worth it.), but I firmly believe that is a lie of the Enemy who is wishing you off the journey of talking with God consistently.

Don't lose heart! Remember Jesus' words from John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." We serve a great and powerful God who has already overcome all that we think we can't handle. Next week fits with this perfectly, in my opinion, as it is focusing on praying for your husband's fears. Likely, facing our own fears will find it's way in there, too.

Fear cannot reign if God is to be victorious and King.

6.18.2013

This Peach...

...it kind of has my attention. It's kind of one of the cutest peaches in the whole wide world.


I bought it sheerly on the fact it still had it's happy, little leaves.

It is a reminder that it's the small things in life. There are so many unknowns I can fret about on a daily basis, but when it comes down to the wire, I am cared for by a wonderful Creator who has blessed me with far more than I need.

And so this fuzzy gift...


...brought a smile to my face.

I hope it brings one to yours as well.

6.17.2013

Our Wonderful Weekend

Good morning! (Many times I wonder how I can write such a greeting, and though I know it might be through messy hair and a tired-I-just-woke-up voice, I am reminded that I have every reason to smile every day - my Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow!)

And so I'll say it again, GOOD MORNING! (Yep. That was a bit more chipper.)

I know I tend to disappear from the world of social media and my blog whenever guests are in town. And last week was no exception.

Thankfully, I wrote my post for my Praying for Him series before my mom made it into town last Wednesday, because from Wednesday through yesterday, we were busy roaming TJ Maxx, Target, and avoiding the heat as best we could. I also had a helper when it came to Zoë's 15 month check up. (Yes, I have yet to write that post. I haven't even taken her 15 month pics. *sigh* Hoping to do that this week.)

By the time Friday rolled around, we were enjoying one another's company and added my dad to the mix.

Zoë had already been thoroughly entertained by my mom as she blow dried her hair.


I mean can you not see her steady gaze as she's enthralled by only God knows what with that device. This isn't the first time she has come rapidly crawling whenever she hears it turn on.

She also found many giggles while she delighted in this little guy:




I thoroughly understand her excitement. We all enjoyed having Cody around the house. It sort of fixes my fur baby desires. Sort of.

Whenever we arrived home, this was always the scene to unfold:


I'm not so sure Cody was as much a fan of it as Zoë was. It seemed to elicit giggles. Every. time. While Cody incessantly whined until we released him from his torture chamber. (This dog was not kennel trained. He thinks he's in prison.) Please don't think we left him in there for any long amount of time. It only takes the .0000001 sec for you to put a toe across the threshold of your doorway for him to begin the whining. 

Of course, Friday was full of laughs and giggles to be had by all. Which could only mean one thing: a demon would be possessing Zoë on Saturday which was overloaded by whines, tears, and "I want my way" temper tantrums. (We are rapidly getting full swing into toddler hood.) However, an afternoon nap seemed to fix most of that and we enjoyed lounging around while Zoë happily pushed her new walker around the apartment. (You guys, I don't know why we didn't invest in one sooner!)

Somewhere in there my dad fell asleep on the couch (note: this is nothing new. He falls asleep at the drop of a pin.) Normally, this doesn't provide for laughs. However, I'm pretty sure you'd have been laughing too. See for yourself.



I don't know what the rest of us were doing when mom noticed this, but we all died laughing. Normally, Cody will find a spot to cuddle up next to dad while he's sleeping, but for whatever reason, this day he decided it'd be a great idea to sit on my dad's head. Dad had no idea until we showed him the pictures.

We ended the weekend with singing happy birthday to my mom. Dad, who always finds a fun way to spruce up events like this found a sparkler candle. My mom was elated! It was great seeing her smile as we sang to her.


Oh, and of course, Zoë had to start some kind of mischief before my parents left this weekend.


That face. Oh, that face! It looks like a mix of "I didn't do it" and "I can't believe you caught me." Thankfully, none of them busted. No caffeine rush for Zoë today!

We all thoroughly enjoyed our time with them. Though originally we had planned to be by ourselves for Father's Day, it was nice to spend some time with my parents.

Ben and I ended it by watching The Amazing Spider-man. SO GOOD! I was thoroughly surprised and had a few questions about the story because all I know of Spider-man is the movies with Toby McGuire. I loved this one. It's such a good movie all the way around. And according to Ben, it's much more true to the storyline from the comic. (Fail for the night: I called it a graphic novel. Ha! This is obviously not my area of nerdom.)

It was a nice wrap to a nice week/weekend. 

6.12.2013

Praying for Him: His Achilles Heel

Over the next 30 weeks, which I started with an intro on May 1st, I will be doing a weekly series where I talk about my journey through Stormie Omartian's Power of  a Praying Wife. I felt led to pray for my husband, wanted to incorporate the book, but knew that doing a 30 day challenge was next to impossible. (Let's face it: life with a baby just-turned-Toddler changes and there are still nights with many wake up calls due to teething or illness. I'd already tried once and failed.)  So this series was born as a way to share, encourage, and hold me accountable to the commitment I made. I'll keep a list of links just below this on each post so you can easily access them all. Enjoy!

___________________________________________________________

Ok, so maybe "achilles' heel" isn't exactly the right description because none of us humans have overall strength. But it's what I think of when I hear the word "temptation". Probably because whenever I hear temptation and I've heard of people succumbing, I also typically associate it with a pretty big downfall in their (or my!) life.

Not because all temptation leads to horrendous disaster; God's forgiveness and mercy are very gracious at times. And some temptation, if repented of and done everything in that person's power (read: they rely on God to help them through, for He will "provide the way of escape also, so that [they] will be able to endure it." [1 Corinthians 10:13b]) is can truly be "minor", in a sense.

I guess it's just the notion I've grown up with. It isn't something I judge people based off of. It just is the lens through which I view temptation.

Anyway, this isn't where I was going with all that.

The achilles' heel bit more ties into the fact that I struggled with looking at this chapter and thinking, "I'm not even sure how to pray for Ben's temptations. I don't really see any."

You see, for a very long time, I have struggled with seeing Ben's imperfections. 

Hear me out here. I'm not about to bash him, nor am I saying you're supposed to look for the imprefections in someone and try to help them fix them. (Honestly, the week 2 post for this series dives into that just a tad. I would love to write an entire post about my thoughts on that. Maybe I will...)

Because of some situations in our lives, the nature of Ben's beasts (hey, we all have beasts we deal with.), and my own personal struggles with self-image, I formed this thought process that looked a little something like this:

I don't think Ben really has any struggles. I mean, he's practically perfect. He's a much better Believer than I am. I mean, look at all his Bible knowledge. Gah...if I really take the time to think about it, I'm not sure Ben has any struggles.

And this could go on. For hours. It's definitely come and gone for years.

And while I subconciously know that Ben isn't perfect, that he needs prayer just as much as any of us, my heart doesn't always get to where it embraces that and loves him through it. My heart doesn't always find a way to work through my problem so I can pray for him, in hopes that he will not succumb to whatever temptations Satan throws his way.

And if I had to guess, I'm not the only one who has done this regarding a relationship with someone else.

We belittle ourselves and set people on such a high pedastal (umm...sometimes they help us.), we grow these images of a "perfect" human. Yet, the only perfect human was Jesus. The only one who could and did overcome every temptation that came His way was Christ.

We see our sins so blatantly and have trouble seeing or understanding someone else's that we begin to wonder just how they do it. (Might I ask: why on earth are we so worried about another person's problems anyway. This also ties into not searching for another's imperfections. *sigh* I think I'm seeing a pattern here...) We think that maybe if we could just be like them or just figure out their secret. 

Hello! The only person we should ever want to be like is Jesus! Why on earth do we waste our time with other trivial matters?

Umm...temptation.

I'm laughing at the irony of this post. Because while I was supposed to be praying for Ben to lean into God so as to hopefully not succumb to whatever temptations come his way, I was sulking thinking I had no clue how to pray for him and was giving in to my own temptation of belittling myself. Not seeing myself as the child God has made me and sees me as.

Ahh, Jesus! Thank you for the lesson this week. May I take it to heart and see that praying against temptation in my husband's life is so valuable. May I not take the throne in my life by focusing on anything other than you.

By His grace, my journey will be set to a slightly different tune this week. And by His grace, I will seek him out as I pray over Ben's mind this next week.

(I think I'm growing more than I thought I would through this. Prayer, you guys, is such a powerful tool, that I hope you're tapping into no matter where you are in life. It is absolutely, 100% worth it.)

6.11.2013

Against All Odds

I promised I would start filling you guys in on our story. I started last week with some tidbits on my past. That pretty much catches you up to April/May of 2008. So that's where I'll start...

During this time in my life, I was doing a lot of emotional healing from having dated a guy for 2 1/2 years and the aftermath of a very unhealthy, but graciously short relationship. I happened to be building a really good relationship with one of my close guy friends and God was slowly bringing me back into a relationship with Him. (I must note that the slow part really had to do everything to do with me and my hurts and hesitation. God was being patient. Very patient.)

From the time my dad found out about his job transfer, my mom shamelessly begged me to move down to Baton Rouge. She would find any way she could to talk to me about searching for a job down there. I, however, was adament: I'm NOT moving to Baton Rouge. I wouldn't even turn my head in that direction to start looking for a job there.

During that Spring semester, guy #3 and I had become really good friends. I also thought I had found a job that would work out, if only I could land it. I thought things were looking up for me.

Guy #3 and I eventually started dating. When in the semester, I'm not really sure, but I know that we did. I do remember he was really sweet in the way he asked if he could pursue me. I really thought everything was going well and God was showing me I was right about staying in Little Rock. (Sometimes, I still wish I lived up there. I still want to move back to Arkansas. It's just so pretty up there! Trust me. I shamelessly ask Ben if he can move his job up there. :)

And then the job fell through. As in, I never got a call back. Not even the decency to say they'd chosen someone else.

*wah wah wah*

I was bummed. Severely.

By the point I knew I wasn't getting the job, I hadn't heard from anyone else. I couldn't find a job that would sustain me, let alone, bring in a small amount of income. I'm pretty sure I cried. I still had no desire to move to Baton Rouge.

Somewhere in May, during the middle of not hearing back and not finding anything else, I remember having a quiet time. I was frankly asking God what I was supposed to do and why on earth I wasn't finding anything in Little Rock. Why would You not provide something for me up here?! (Hmm...how nice of me to pin it to Him. The blame game. It works so well.)

It was in that time I will never forget Him whispering to my spirit these words:

"If you want to be in the center of my will, you will move to Baton Rouge."

WHAT?! You can't be serious. Please, please don't be serious.

Silence.

Oh. my. goodness. You're serious. But how on earth am I going to find a job there if I can't even find one where I live?

Trust me.

But...

Do you trust me?

...ok...I tru...ugh....I trust you. Your plans are best.

Within a weeks time, I had a temporary plan, had the possibility of a room mate, and a job that would let me live my dream for the Summer: working with horses. (You guys, I constantly tell Ben that if we ever have the money, I want one. I love horses. And yes, I've been thrown from one we were trying to re-saddle train. I love horses.) During that time, I would be able to try to find something more stable as well as pay a little better.

Time flew once I moved down there. Within a few short weeks, I was living with a girl who owned her home, I had a job that allowed for me to move up and paid well enough for me to live off of, and I was involved in a church. I was even starting to make friends. (Oh. By the way, I ended it with Guy #3, though he begged me to do long distance. I was not up for that as I hadn't had a great experience with it for 2 1/2 years. We both cried at the realization, but I also knew that it was for the best.)

As the months passed, I remember having several conversations with my mom about dating and the next guy. In so many words I told her I was fine if I was single for the rest of my life, though I still dreamed of getting married some day. (Umm...marriage is great, but why do we dream about the hardest aspects of life? As a kid we dream about becoming an adult, unaware of all the responsibility. We also dream about marriage with no realization that it is tough, hard work. Worth it? Most definitely, but it was nothing what I dreamed of as a kid.) I had honestly began dreaming about going back to school to get my BSN, RN. I dreamed about being a traveling nurse and maybe going to help in countries that would otherwise not have it. I truly was content with where I was in life and not in need of a guy. I kind of didn't want one.

Not too long after I had that conversation, I met Ben. He was friends with several of the people I was getting to know and he was involved in the collegiate ministry at our church. (No. I wasn't in college, but those were the people closest in age to me.) And I'm pretty sure around the 2nd or 3rd time I saw him (I'm talking we might have said "hi" to each other. And no, I wasn't all out attracted. He was cute, but my mind wasn't playing wedding bells), my spirit was moved. I heard God foreshadowing my future if Ben and I both stayed commited to our relationships with Christ.

So against all odds, I had gone from Little Rock to Baton Rouge. I had begun making friends with the group Ben hung out with. And God was giving me glimpses of a possible future for me. Needless to say, I was a bit in shock. And wondering how on earth that would work out considering I hardly knew the guy. Yet, I knew that I had questioned God before and He had proven Himself trustworthy.

I was slightly perturbed by this possible truth as I was just becoming comfortable with and LOVING single life. But I did what I knew God wanted me to do: waited. Waited to see how the story would unfold.

6.10.2013

Summer is Here (Alternately Titled: Zoë's Pulling Out Her Tricks)

I'm not sure why, but today feels like it's marking the first day of summer for me. It's not because of the weather.

Trust me.

Houston has been seeing plenty of 85º+ weather for several weeks now. There was even a day I noticed the thermometer in my car was registering 99º.

Excuse me?!

People told me it gets hot here. I, however, was not prepared to greet high humidity and ridiculously hot temps this early. The pool and I will become best friends this Summer. I'm sure of it.

Anyway, I'm guessing the reason I feel like Summer starts today is because today will be the first of several weeks where Monday through Wednesday I will be keeping my neighbors daughter. I'm sure we will have a lot of fun as Zoë loves playing with B.

Honestly, I think B even pulls out the dangerous side of Zoë.

You see, this past week, B came over to play with Zoë when she woke up from her nap. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it meant Zoë didn't need me quite as much because she had a comrade. This meant I was able to cook, work on bills (Oh, goody!), fiddle with our budget and an assortment of other household chores without having Zoë pulling on my leg, vying for my attention.

I could hear the girls "talking" and playing. I wasn't too worried about them so for the most part they played while I worked. Every now and again, I would pop my head in to check on them.

Well, one time I go in and I see B sitting next to Zoë's bookshelf. She's focused on getting the books back on the shelf. (She's yet to learn Zoë will just pull them off in a heart beat.) I'm chuckling inside at how tidy she's trying to be and at the same time realizing that Zoë isn't enjoying her books too. (Please note: this realization only took about .005 seconds.)

It's then I see that my child is straddling the recliner in her room.

Wait..she's doing WHAT?!

She isn't just straddling the arm rest, she's boldly reaching for the lamp up on the shelf all the while she's toddering back and forth on said armrest. In the two giant steps it took me to reach her, I'm seeing ambulance sirens and cracked skulls with a screaming, tears streaming baby before my eyes.

Oh, Lord! Please, please let me reach her before she falls! I had NO IDEA she could climb in the chair!!!!!

I swoop her into my arms and immediately start laughing about the situation. B kind of freaked out a little. I'm pretty sure I asked her a million times if she put Zoë up in the chair, to which the response was always the same freaked out "No. I didn't even know she had climbed up there."

I just couldn't believe Zoë had done that. She's never been that much of a go-getter for what she wants. She normally tries "See how cute I am when I whine?" tactics. I guess in that moment, she really wanted that lamp and saw her only means. The child is tall enough to climb onto our couches. I'm sure of it.

I guess I need to keep a closer eye on her. And here I was thinking that I am keeping a close enough eye. Ha!

Lesson learned: your children will find ways to prove you wrong. Always. Oh and make liars out of you. It's true. Don't underestimate it.