my foggy residence

9.19.2013

It’s just one of those days-- A day where you have really good intentions to get a lot done.  I have a list in my mind.  I sit down and start to tackle the list and suddenly I look down at the clock, see that so much time has passed already, and seemingly have nothing positive to show of it. I have done that a lot lately.  I have good intentions, I do.   Strong intentions that unfortunately begin a rough cycle.  An attempt to multi-task, cries and pleas from children, yelling, frustration, then a little onset of guilt…and then we go back to the start. “If you do not pass go, you do not collect $200.”  It’s been three hours and I am a millionaire.

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I wrote that paragraph two days ago. Not only is it evidence of the latter subject, but also a good indication that I've acutely had a writer’s block.  I've held a need to write out my thoughts, but fail to really get much down without coming to a ditch in the road. I've tried to come to terms of why I repeatedly encounter that said cycle.  Why I am left with nothing to show. Even on my thrice weekly runs, I've consciously tried to hash out what it is that has led me to this rut I currently sit in. I've set my intention at the beginning of several yoga classes to find clarity in all the mess, but just find it foggy. So I am going to sit here until it all is out.  Until I am out. I've stayed here long enough. 

A lot has happened lately.  All that comes to mind when finding reason to my rut is change.  We've been blessed with Ellie and have had visitors stay with us.  What was once a great routine is no longer functional, and we've had to find one that now fits.  New bedtime routines, meal preps, and sleep schedules.  As parents, we aren't the only ones that change has affected.  Jonah has had to grow accustom to a new sister and new agenda.  He has started Pre-school (today actually was his first official day. So as I type this, change is inevitable) I've started back into my gym and yoga routine, so expectations of myself run high. Orders are coming in for cakes in the next couple of months.  My calendar is full as I think ahead to doctor appointments, school trips, and family vacations. The list is long.  And re-reading it, I undoubtedly feel that I've met my change quota.  

Yes, change is a good thing.  It allows us to re-prioritize.  It allows growth. But when it leads me down into a foggy pit of self-doubt, confusion, and at times- surrender, I think I've had my limit.  I guess if one faces so much, it inevitably becomes all mustered and foggy.   There’s that ditch I've been residing in.  

So I've figured out the culprit and have seen my recent ‘not-so-cozy’ residence.  I wont dismiss the possibility of my list growing further.  A little more fog may settle in before hand, but I am packing and on my way out. Even if I have no idea of how to move forward, I know I will.  Just tackling the muster of thoughts has parted some of the fog and has led to a bit of clarity. 

Who knows? Maybe clarity, order and clear skies live a few blocks over. 



July 2013

8.04.2013

The month of July was packed with lots of household projects, getting ready for baby Ellie. Our fourth of July was spent at home, just fixing some things around the house and spending time together as a family.  These photos were taken a few days before we took the training wheels off. Jonah has since then learned how to ride (at the age of 3 1/2 years, mind you!) without training wheels.  He has gotten significantly good at it, using his breaks, learning turns, and a fearless mindset for speed.  He has since then graduated to a new enhanced 'specialized' bike.  (Like father, like son!) We are hoping to get him into BMX biking within the next couple of years--we think he will do really well at the rate our little guy is going!




Here's a fun comparison over the years--each photo taken on July 4th.




Here's a short clip of his first moments on the bike (sans training wheels).  We are so proud of him!

video





Right now..

8.03.2013

Right now, my beautiful baby girl is napping in her boppy pillow just a few feet away from me.  My son is happily playing upstairs in his playroom, as I can hear his ‘play/pretend’ voice chatting away with the rocket ship and spacemen.  And now, I am sitting back down to type, because I was called to come and kiss his owey on his head from an abrupt, yet quick, disruption fall. He’s happily launching his rocket ship, so any worry has subsided.  I am smiling.  I feel complete.  And among all the fear that has crept into my mind this past week, I know that I have been given a blessing that I can handle. Two. Two beautiful babies to watch grow.  Two personalities. Two lives. Two children that I get to see evolve into something great. 

So many fears fogged my mind this week.  We of course have endured a fast refresher course of having a newborn. It’s been slightly easier this time around, as the anxiety of ‘the un-known’ isn't there, and only a few minor hiccups have risen.  Discovering and embracing the differences and similarities between my two children is just one contributing aspect to feeling complete. 

Jonah has adjusted well with his little sister around.  He loves holding her and is quite protective.  His sensitive nature worries when she cries, as he noticeably cares and nurtures in his own way.  He isn't as much jealous, as I believe him to be worried.  Thus resulting in a refusal to listen, and increase in energy. I feel he worries that our attention isn't as focused as it once was, which is expected and true.  I cannot dismiss the frustration I've felt, but know as time resides a calmer normalcy will fall into place, just as it should be.

I remember always ‘feeling’ and verbally stating that God would give me boys and that I wouldn't ever have a daughter. Part of me now thinks that I ‘felt’ that with an undermining fear—fear to raise a girl that might be like me, might have the characteristics of me that I don’t particularly like, might face this world with similar struggles I have faced, and I don’t know if I would want or like that.  I may not.  But I know God doesn't give us anything we cannot handle—as children or adults. 

In the morning hours I find myself just staring at her, first in awe of the gift God has given me, and second in prayer that she may be strong in this harsh world, knowing that struggles will come, and she may face hardship that I cannot protect her from.  The fears of raising a daughter may still linger, but becoming a mom to Ellie has shown me that God can handle what we cannot.  God has given me what He knows I can endure with His help-- this gift to nurture, love, protect, and mother my beautiful baby girl. 



As stated, there are a lot of emotions right now, but one standing out is complete. A complete understanding that a household normalcy will reside soon.  A complete acknowledgement that my plans for the future aren't always those of His. And lastly, I accept completely that God will protect my sweet baby girl and the future He holds for her. 



Ellie's birth story

Ellie Grace Hancock
July 21, 2013
5:35am
7.9 oz, 18.5 inches long

Let me start off by saying that Ellie’s birth story, in my mind, mimicked those seen in movies.  The frantic rush to the hospital, the experience of my water breaking, the fear that we weren't going to make it—it was all there, and looking back, it was perfect J Having been induced with Jonah, I didn't have the experience of laboring and having my water break on its own.  Knowing that this was my last pregnancy, I wanted to experience it all (well..not all..I did want an epidural and thankfully received one.  Barely, I might add, but no complaints on this end).

As my due date approached, like any pregnant woman, it got significantly uncomfortable.  On the night of the 20th, Patrick and I decided to watch a movie in bed to ease any levels of un-comfort on my end.  I recognized that baby Ellie was moving differently, and actually stated to Patrick that, “something weird” was going on in there.  I fell asleep shortly after midnight and woke up to a contraction around 1:45am. I had a couple contractions 8 minutes apart, but really didn't think much of it, as I had experienced some false labor a few weeks back that started out similar.   Within minutes the contractions became 4 minutes apart.  I told Patrick I thought we needed to go to the hospital.  I called our neighbor to come and stay with Jonah and by the time we were in the car, the contractions became much stronger and 2 minutes apart.  Looking back on the car ride to the hospital, I laugh.  Patrick and I both experienced fear, excitement, a bit of laughter, and pain all in one.  I remember mentioning to Patrick that I thought my water was going to break in his car.  His foot hit the pedal so hard, we found ourselves going 65 mph down Meridian. (speed limit I believe is 40 mph).

When I got to the hospital, Patrick wheeled me into the emergency entrance and I was taken to a triage room where they checked my cervix and vitals.  That prior Monday, the doctor had indicated I was 3cm dilated and 75% effaced. Considering the stats, I figured I had progressed a little since then.  The nurse told us I was at a good 6cm and that we were going to have a baby! It was really happening! She wheeled me down to the delivery room.  I remember throwing up a few times, nurses asking if I had wanted an epidural and an overall rush to get me to where I needed to be to deliver.  I don’t believe I would have had the opportunity to receive an epidural had the anesthesiologist not been in the next room at the time of my room transfer. Within 10 minutes after I received my epidural, my water broke and I was completely dilated.

I have to state that the faculty and facility itself at Good Samaritan are amazing. Both of the times I have delivered there have been wonderful.  Reminiscing and reviewing all the little details here and there about Ellie’s birth, there are a few comical moments to mention about the staff that helped me deliver. There may have been an overly sweaty (now I mean OVERLY..overly being ‘drenched in her scrubs, dripping on my gown’ )  nurse helping me who couldn't quite figure out her bearings.  Whether it be hooking up the IV machine, inputting correct stats into the computer, or her ability to make some decent coffee for sleep deprived fathers, it all makes for a few good laughs.  The unstated but laughable non-communication between her and the anesthesiologist, and post-delivery nurses all made our experience that much more ‘story-worthy’. 

Once complete, I labored for about an hour, letting her progress naturally down into the birth canal.  I started pushing at 5am, after around 6 pushes, she arrived at 5:35am. Ellie Grace Hancock was born at 7.9 ounces, 18.5 inches long.  From the time we left our home to the time she was born, it was less than 3.5 hours.  Ellie’s birth was such a different experience than Jonah’s, but both equally rewarding.  She is such a blessing to our family, and makes our family complete in so many ways.

video


Our family
Jonah meeting his sister
Jonah sharing his blanket with Ellie
sweet sibling kisses
all ready to go home!



our baby girl's shower

5.13.2013

This past Saturday my dear friend, Stephanie, hosted a baby shower for our sweet baby girl. The shower setting was beautifully perfect.  It was equipped with my favorites--stargazer lillies, fresh fruit, an abundance of delicious oreos (the top contender in the line up of cravings I've had) , and a common theme (pulled from the vision of her room) of soft coral and mint green colors.  


Friends and family gathered outside on this gorgeous day to help celebrate with me.  One of the activities held was to write down wishes for the baby.  Among many tears of joy and happiness, they were all read out loud--a very special memory I will always cherish. 

We laughed, took photos, played 'baby bingo' and opened gifts.  By the looks of things, her wardrobe is getting to be bigger than mine!  Did I mention there was yummy cake, too?! I thoroughly, and clearly enjoyed it!

This day is one for the books.  Being surrounded by such love and support made me even more excited for the upcoming arrival of our baby girl. My hope for her is that she will have a similar foundation of friends and family that love and support her in her life's endeavors.  




An un-tampered faith

4.16.2013


Yesterday, I read a really good article on how becoming a mother gives us way to review or discover our own faith composition.   I quote her in saying, ‘when babies start growing up, you begin thinking about everything you believe—how it matters, how it transfers, how the responsibility of passing things on suddenly bears weight.’  There have been several times where I find myself feeling guilty, knowing I probably haven’t yet set a good foundation needed for Jonah to learn about God. Yes, I've bought books, we pray every night, and I try to constantly remind him how much Jesus loves him.  I worry I have let my own frustrations about church and my own doubts get in the way of allowing him the opportunities to discover who Jesus is-- where the trees come from, hear the stories, sing songs,  and recite bible verses that I reviewed so many times while growing up in various church activities, camps, and Sunday school.  

I am drawn to reminisce in the memories of my own childhood, and review a pride I have let slip.  I remember accepting Jesus as my Savior at the age of three and memorizing bible verses for AWANA , singing on Sundays, and attending camps.  In later years, my weekends consisted of church activities, small groups, and daily devotions.  I had an overwhelming support system of mentors and friends who gave way to my personal growth with Christ, and what I believe helped keep me out of trouble for at least a few years of my adolescence.  I give much credit to my mother in the earlier years, who despite any financial or economic circumstances she faced as a single mother, made God a constant priority in her life, transferring what matters, passing on her own beliefs, and teaching me what she knew was right and true.  That desire to learn, dive into faith, and develop a relationship with Christ was so strong.  I was eager. I tend to become sad as I reminisce the days of my childhood where my faith was so prominent in my life--Sad, knowing that today my faith is nowhere near the level it once resided.

In those teen years, I was young and like any teenager, held a desire to fit in with those around me.  Competition, self-discovery, and temptation all sat within a bird’s eye view.  But I think those life lessons all encompass what it means to ‘grow up’.   This ‘growing up’ could have coincided with the alternative, had I not chosen the narrow option. I rather enjoy the fact that I wasn't involved in much trouble young teens indulge in at that age.  Discovering myself and what my faith consisted of in an environment lacking any drugs, sex, or immorality presents a pride in itself. 

This pride, both derived from my mother and choosing the narrow has seemingly slipped into a blind spot. Masked by the doubts centered around faith, and frustrations later years have brought.  I quote the author in feeling  ‘For a long time, I viewed my faith issues much like I view my house when it gets too messy—I stand back, take it all in, and conclude the mess is too overwhelming, so I make a cup of coffee and walk away.’ It becomes a fear to really sit down and muster through the unknown. Many excuses and reasons have been given in hopes that it will be put on the back burner for a little while longer.  I guess this article has not only forced myself to accept the need to understand my own beliefs, but it validates the importance of them--For in order to diminish any doubts regarding Jonah’s personal growth in Christ, I must strengthen my own.   

Noting this, I have prayed asking to desensitize any fear.   Digging deep into the doubts I hold, may bring forth new doubts, may confront the reality that my faith is nowhere near the level I state. That truth is scary. A couple of weeks ago, Patrick and I watched “The Passion of the Christ.” Every time I see that movie, it brings me to tears.  Weeping more is a word to describe the nature. Amongst the reminders given of what I know true, I always get a sense of guilt and the doubt I hold resurfaces.  The definition of faith is perplexing; a belief in the unseen.   Jealousy surfaces and I question why the followers of Jesus and those living among him so many years ago had the privilege of seeing Him.  Why must I live in a world where just believing is the means of salvation? Why can’t I touch His nail struck hands, or see Him walk on water?  And even if I was present in that day and age, would I have believed in Him had I seen?  I do believe I would have, for I know I believe in Him without such vision..but it just always leaves me with a ‘what-if’ mentality and makes me question my own faith foundation.

And to note the familiar question--one I am sure is present with the disastrous event in Boston-- why must we live in such a world of destruction?  Reading of all the turmoil taking place in our country and those foreign makes me ask why? Is it evil? Why must evil be present and occur in the lives of the innocent? Why so vividly must it lie in the time I live in—the time my children live in? And if I don’t know the answer to that—how am I to answer to a child with similar wonder? Unprecedentedly, I've grown to know these frustrations give root to an arrogance towards those who lack any such doubts.  Claims of growth and validity of one’s faith tend to frustrate me further--Most likely crediting to the lack of answers in my own faith.

With this prayer for a deeper understanding into the doubts I've let live within me, I have also prayed for a validation of the things that I do know.  If I stood back and took into account the things that I do know and have learned in younger years more often enough—various verses, life lessons, bible passages--I think I would surprise myself.   I think it would allow me to move forward and re-open the truth of what I've learned.  It would give me the means to put forth a stronger effort and probably diminish some of the guilt I feel in not setting that stronger example of faith. The example I desire to set for my children.

What I do know is that my God is love. He is the definition of it. He gave His son for us and died for us.   The author validated the same—in that she wants her children to know the limitless love of God.  If what I pass down to my children is God’s love, and showing them that loving one another is what matters, I know He will work in their lives in a deeper way imaginable. For I know the faith I held in younger years was a result of knowing the love God holds. My parents may have had doubts in their own faith, but never allowed their own issues to get in the way of teaching me about our loving Savior. 

It’s evident, as I mentally process this post that I must face these doubts head on.  I must focus on mending my inner struggles and faith issues within.  I ask that a continuous prayer be made on my behalf for the courage to do so.  To parallel that, however, I vow to reaffirm what I do know, and take the more simplistic approach that endorses the innocent faith God asks us to have. Jonah is noticeably in the stage where he will believe most everything, we as parents, tell him. My hope is that God’s limitless love is seen in my actions, words, and heart as a mother. Thus resulting in a childlike, un-tampered faith. A strong faith that can one day withstand adulthood.   An assured one…and coincidentally one less complicated. 




A paint party!!

4.14.2013


This year's birthday party was so much fun to plan.  Knowing that Jonah loves painting and crafts of any sort, the moment I found a fun pottery studio that offered painting parties for kids I called and booked the date for the birthday boy.  We invited 8 of his friends (and 11 adults) to come and paint with us--they all had a blast, as they were given a chance to paint one ceramic figurine in as many colors desired, eat pizza, devour cupcakes and overall have a merry good time celebrating Jonah!  

The 'painters' at work!
presents!
It was so fun watching Jonah.  A thought of disbelief that my son is three has been a constant one the past couple of days.  Just remembering his birth story, and reminiscing over how much joy he has brought our family has brought my emotions to new levels. (As if being pregnant doesn't heighten them already!)  Here's to a beautiful baby boy, born three years ago--we cannot imagine our lives without you! 

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jonah!
The adults clearly had fun, too! :)

You give this mom a themed party--I am on it!  I had so much fun finding the perfect items to go in the 'paint can' favors.  From the invitations to the cupcakes, 'paint' seeped into everything I put my crafty hands on!


That said, I must give credit, where credit is due--

Invites/favor tags/paper cupcake toppers: Little Mavens paper studio
Party banner: Bella & Teo boutique
Edible paint palette cupcake toppers: Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe

Party favors:
paint can containers/stickers: Stuff4Scrapbooking.com
paint chip notebooks: Ivy Lane designs
art class crayon roll ups: Artisticsoul Designs
paint brush Rice Krispies Treats: Sweet Bites MS
watercolors/sidewalk chalk/paint pots: Michaels
foam paint rollers: Amazon