Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quick Journal for a Busy Mama

Since I was a little girl, the sight of an empty journal filled my heart with thoughts of endless grand entries. Judging by how consistently faithful (ha!) I am with this blog, it doesn't take much effort to imagine that I have stacks of notebooks that are filled with good intentions and very few words. Why am I so convinced that a new notebook will encourage daily entries, when the notebook before that didn't?

Now that I'm a mom, I truly want to be writing down the special things that happen each day. My boys change so quickly! Abel says such cute things and Micah's growing like a fat little weed. While we're making memories all the time, the boys are too little to remember them long term. But as I look at the priorities of my day, I know that now more than ever I don't have the time to be journaling regularly.  I needed something simple, quick, and organized.

Enter my note card journaling system. I have a stack of 3x5 cards for each month clipped together. The top of each card has a date (January 1) and then on the first line of that note card, I write the year (2012). Next to the year, I have a tiny bit of space to jot down something about the day. I've noted funny things Abel has said, special family outings, what days I had ultrasounds of Micah, etc. This is a wonderful way to keep track of those memories and dates that are soon forgotten in a busy family.

My "quick journal" box with cards so far.

Quick journal example- Reed's first day at work after Micah was born.

I'd love to take credit for this awesome idea, but I saw a version of it in a magazine a few years ago (pretty sure it was Family Fun, but I'm not positive). When my kids get older, I'd like to make writing on the cards together part of our nightly routine, getting suggestions about what we should write that day from the boys. In years to come, it will be fun to look back and see what we did on a particular day in years past!

Today, I'm linking up to We are THAT Family  for her Works for Me Wednesday party.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Way to my Heart

This evening, it's just me and the little guys- Reed is on a weekend retreat with the men from our church.

After he woke up from his nap, I asked Abel what he'd like to do with me this evening since Daddy wasn't home.

He said, "Snuggle!" which happens to be one of my favorite things.

When I asked him if he wanted to do anything else he said, "Buzz Woody three!"


I miss his Daddy tons tonight, but Abel sure knows the way to my heart!

Abel set these pillows up for us to snuggle on while I was in the other room.  He patted the big one and said, "That one  Mama's!" 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Staying at Home

I've recently discovered a blog called Passionate Homemaking: Loving Simple, Natural, and Intentional Living. The title alone really grabbed me, and I've spent a little bit of time reading, always wishing I had more time to spend poking around on the site.  I'd like to share a post of hers that encouraged me, reminding me of the benefits of being a stay at home mom that  actually stays home most of the time.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Side Effects

Part of one of my bruises from the injections; the whole thing is the size of my hand. Most of my lower abdomen is  marked with bruises in various stages of healing. 

About 569 Lovenox shots down, 19 more to go.

 I'm in complete awe that God could use this drug to save my babies (and, in His sovereignty, allow me to take too little in my first pregnancy).   Thank you Lord for using my emotional struggles with this regimen for my sanctification and for Your glory. Praying earnestly that You allow me the privilege of carrying another child, and resuming the love/hate relationship I have with Lovenox.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


On this day in 2009, I would never have guessed how much my life would change in three years. I could not have fathomed two little boys in my near future, I was too blinded by the unexpected grief and sorrow of losing our first child. Sitting in that little ultrasound room, clutching Reed's hand, the pain was suffocating. But through comforting words spoken by my husband, and a treasure trove of truths found in God's word, the Lord graciously softened the harsh blow we'd been given. An ache of longing gnawed at my heart as I later cradled my newborn nephew, born the same day we'd lost our baby. The joy and sadness I felt as I held the tiny baby whose birthday would stand as a memorial to my own special date causes my eyes to swell with tears even now as I type.  I was learning even in that moment how God uses trials for our growth and for His glory. My little ring with the March birthstone serves as a reminder to me that God is faithful even when the pain is suffocating. He is never surprised when things don't go the way we planned. He has been faithful to restore our joy many, many times over.

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. 
Psalm 30:5

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness...
 Psalm 30:11

While Abel noisily played in the living room with a few of his friends this morning, I stood there next to our little brown bassinet, rocking my fussy baby to sleep. I breathed in deeply of his new baby smell as I smoothed the soft fuzz on top of the little head cradled in my arms. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this undeserved blessing of another son.
My heart caught in my throat as I remembered the days Reed and I thought we had lost him, 9 weeks into my pregnancy. I cried out to God in those few days before an ultrasound confirmed a heartbeat, praying for God to reconcile what I knew to be true about His character and the fear that was lurking beneath my confidence. I held sweet Micah a little closer this morning as I recalled my struggle with placing all of my hope and trust in God's faithfulness to bring Himself glory through every circumstance, and to care for me personally through any trial. Reed had held me steady as I wavered, reminding me of how God had been faithful before, and of the rich closeness we share with each other and with God because He cared for us in our suffering. Reed repeated these truths to me every time the fear would resurface throughout my high risk pregnancy, directing me to follow after God's desire for our lives and to push away the distractions of fear and my own desires.

...fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 Isaiah 41:10

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you. 
Isaiah 41:13

While I continued to rock him, Micah sighed the little sigh that babies do, his eyes closed sweetly in sleep. He nestled against me, warm and safe, unaware of any distractions. I love being a Mama with everything in me, and I think that it's amazing how God uses our experiences as parents (and the pursuit of children) to mature our faith.  I am so thankful that our heavenly Father protects us, comforts us, forgives us when we sin, and provides us with opportunities to grow. He is faithful.

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you...
Isaiah 66:13

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
Isaiah 49:15

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reclaiming Adoption

I have been working on reading Reclaiming Adoption for a while now.  For the past few months, I haven't taken the time to read that I usually like to. I've found that my practice of and love for reading often comes in cycles throughout my life. Tearing thorough several books a week some months, then hitting a slump and not reading much at all for a few months. 
Anyways, I've been enjoying this slim little book even though I don't pick it up too often. Reclaiming Adoption is primarily about the spiritual aspect of God's adoption of believers, the once wayward sons He has chosen to bring into His eternal family through the sacrifice of His beloved son Jesus. 
While reading reviews of this book, one in particular caught my eye. Sally Lloyd-Jones is the author of my personal favorite children's storybook Bible: The Jesus Story Book Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name.
She says:
“Adoption isn’t limited to child-placement, it’s not just for a few and it isn’t plan B. Adoption is at the very center of the Story of Redemption–and of the heart of God. We were all orphans without a home or hope in this world and God brought us into his family and gave us his name. Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father is a thoughtful, inspiring and moving call to understand the wonderful truth: adoption, far from being plan b, is in fact plan A+ with God.” (Emphasis mine)
Praise our sovereign God that He planned on rescuing his wayward, rebellious, and sinful children from the beginning! There is no 'plan B' with God. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Simple Spring Mantle

One of the things I absolutely love about this house is the fireplace mantle. After living in two apartments before we came here, it's great having such a fun place to decorate as the seasons change. This year, after taking down my Valentine's decor, I decided to spruce things up with a few Spring-y accessories. 

My typical decorations are all green. But for Spring, I swapped out my darkest green vase on the right side for the cute white pitcher with green flowers that I found at TJ Maxx. I also intentionally picked a white candle to leave up instead of my other favorite Woodwick scent (which happens to be green). 

After my mom pointed out that flowers in the front would be fun, I pulled these three glass vases out of my closet. I was hoping to get a few artificial daisies to put in them, but Walmart didn't have any and I didn't want to pay more at a craft store. The sticks in the green vase on the left are always there, but Abel and I made cute little tissue paper buds to glue on them after finding a tutorial on Pinterest.

The Spring mantle isn't the only new decor going on in the living room. The other is actually much more noticeable. Did you see it in the first picture? Here it is if you missed it:

After a few vinyl Bible verses were applied at the church, Reed and I were inspired to order our own. I think it looks great, and we're very pleased.

Have you made any changes  (big or small) to a room in your home recently?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tandem Nursing

I recently discovered this twist on the international breastfeeding symbol.

Yup. That about sums it up.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Micah's First Sunday in Church

 Two Sundays ago we were planning on going to church for the first time since Micah was born. I was really looking forward to sharing our little bundle with friends! But our plans changed Saturday night when Abel threw up as I tucked him into bed. Thankfully he was sick just that once and never spiked a fever. So this past Sunday, we made the trek across the parking lot to join Redeeming Grace for worship. I'm so thankful to be part of this family away from family that makes Lynchburg feel like home.

With my three favorite guys <3

 Hugs from Miles, stares from Abel


 I wish I was facing the camera in this one!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lazy Morning, Thankful Mama

Today, Reed didn't have to go into work until 12:30. When Abel woke up, we invited him into our warm bed for some snuggle time. Baby Micah joined us not too long after, still wrapped up in his swaddling blanket and eager for his breakfast. After moving to the living room, Reed brewed us all tea (well, not Micah) as he and I took turns eating while taking care of our boys. Due to the exhausting night spent with the baby who loves to sleep on his mama, I fell asleep on the couch while watching my boys (again, not Micah) wrestle on the floor. While I slept, Reed moved some laundry inside for me, and threw another load in the washer. I woke up off and on to Abel climbing on me, playing with my hair and rubbing my cheek. I could hear the sound of the dishes clanking as Reed emptied and reloaded the dishwasher, then washed the dishes in the sink.  Reed woke me just before he jumped in the shower, offering to hurry so he could watch the boys while I showered and dressed before he went off to work. When he left, Abel made sure Daddy hugged and kissed all three of us. Now I sit in a quiet house. Abel and I enjoyed lunch together, and he is now sleeping soundly in his room. Micah is nestled sweetly in his swing, and I have the pleasure of watching him sleep while I type. I know that in a few hours my phone will ring, as it does every day, with Reed letting me know he is off of work and offering to bring me home a Starbucks treat. This evening, our dinner will be arriving right after Reed does. Many of my friends from church have pitched together to ensure I don't have to worry about dinner for these first few weeks after Micah's birth.

After sharing a few words about my morning with a dear friend, she said to me, "You are very blessed, Toni."

Why is it so easy to miss the gifts and pleasures of everyday that God has given us? And even when we remember the gifts, why is it even easier to forget to thank the Giver of these good gifts? Lord, fill me with awareness and gratitude! 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Micah's Birth Story

Reed and I welcomed Micah Anthony into our family on February 16, as scheduled. Due to my complicated medical history, we planned a repeat Cesarean section for the day I turned 39 weeks pregnant. There were a few times that my regular contractions tried to convince me we might not make it to the 16th, but I was monitored so closely during my third trimester at my four appointments a week that I knew my doctor wouldn't let things progress too much. 

My mom came to town the night before the surgery to keep Abel for us and to help out for a few days after I came home. I am so thankful she did! Abel and I had never been apart for more then a few hours (and usually I left him with his Daddy) so I was pretty anxious about leaving him. Thankfully, he knows and adores my mom, and has slowly been growing a little less clingy to Mama. I'm happy to say he did great with her!

 Right before we left for the hospital

My surgery was scheduled to 2:45, so Reed and I had to be at the hospital at 12:45. After we were checked in, we were told that it was a very busy day on the Labor and Delivery floor, and that my surgery would be bumped back. My doctor had begun the c/s scheduled before me later than planned, and when he finished with that mom, he had to deliver three babies whose moms were ready to push and were waiting on the doc! By the time those three were born, a fourth was ready and waiting. A nurse told us that they actually had to call a few women who had elective inductions that day to tell them not to bother coming in - that's how few beds there were!

 The hours passed by while we waited for the doc to become available. I was so hungry because I wasn't allowed to eat or drink after midnight. Sometime before the surgery, the anesthesiologist came in and explained that some lab work I'd had done that week suggested I might need to have general anesthesia again, instead of the planned for spinal block. He apologized for delaying the surgery further by calling for repeat lab work.

This was a very emotional last second complication for me. While I have come to accept that God was glorified by both Reed and I missing Abel's birth, I still struggle with wishing his delivery hadn't been so dangerous. This threat of general anesthesia was a very loud reminder of my pregnancy-long desire to submit my will to God's in the outcome of this pregnancy and delivery.  I tried to assure Reed that I truly was okay with that option if need be, and that I knew that God was in complete control. Reed obviously was aware of my spiritual struggles, and I wanted to assure him that as long as we came home with baby I was willing to do whatever I needed to get him there.

The anesthesiologist came back a while later to tell us that while my labs weren't where he would ideally like, he felt like it would be safe to undergo a spinal block. But he did also tell us that if he had any trouble at all getting it into place, he would not try again or move the needle around (like he would with someone whose labs were totally normal), but he would just put me to sleep.

They came in shortly after to wheel me back; Reed would join me later. I had to say goodbye to him then, with him not knowing if I would be awake or not when he came into the OR.  I was very relieved that the spinal went in smoothly, nearly painlessly, and I didn't have to be put under without him there.

The surgery itself was strange. I was totally awake and aware of everything going on, but obviously couldn't see the surgery because of the sheet they put up, or feel what was going on. Reed was brought in after the incision was made. He told me later that after 30 mins of waiting, he thought they forgot to get him again, like with Abel.  Instead of sitting by my head like a normal husband, Reed stood so he could watch the entire surgery. :) If you're interested, I have a picture he snapped after Micah was born, my uterus outside of my body, being stitched back up. It's pretty graphic, but a neat picture.

Micah Anthony was born at 6:07 PM, weighing 7 lbs, 10 oz.

I got a glimpse of the baby very briefly after they pulled him out, then the nurses took him to the other side of the room to clean him up. Reed was able to bring Micah back to me for a minute before they brought him to the nursery while they sewed me back up.  Reed was required to go with Micah, and couldn't stay for the remainder of the surgery.

 In the nursery, waiting for his Mama!

 Being examined in the nursery

While it's typical at our hospital for c-section moms to recover for 2 hours without their baby before being moved to a normal room, Reed and I weren't okay with that. So as soon as I was in the recovery room, we asked them to please bring us our precious bundle. 

I already have trouble believing that this picture was taken two weeks ago today. Reed and I both feel like Micah has always been a part of our family!

Thank you so much to all of our family and friends who prayed for this baby and my pregnancy from the beginning. God is faithful!