Tuesday, July 26, 2016

When God's Plans Don't Match Our Own

Adam is a wiggler when he sleeps. Actually, he's like a little break dancer. He kicks and squirms and nearly rolls over, until he ultimately does a 180 in his crib. I lay him down with his head on one end of the bed, and next time I check on him it is on the opposite end!

Now, in the middle of the night, in the dark, when I've just been jarred from sleep by little grunts and cries, this can be very disorienting! I look into the crib and see...what is that? What am I looking at? His head looks weird! This isn't right. It takes my brain several seconds to catch up and realize that it looks strange because it's not a head at all, it's his feet!

In any other occasion, if I were to look at Adam's feet, I would immediately recognize them as feet. I know what feet look like! But when I'm looking at them, fully expecting them to be a head, they suddenly become some strange, unrecognizable objects. It's confusing and I struggle to make sense of it.

Of course, it doesn't take too long before my brain kicks in and I realize what has happened. But this disorienting illusion can happen to us in other areas of life, and sometimes it is a lot harder to see the sense in it.

We make plans in life. We expect our plans to play out in the ways we've imagined. I always thought I would be a high school English teacher. I love literature and writing. I love helping people. I'm a strong public speaker. I'm also empathetic. All the career assessments in high school, college, and even graduate school indicated teaching as an ideal career for me. So, naturally, I expected to become a teacher and love it. I had taken all the steps to prepare for it. It was logical that things should go according to my plans.

But when I found myself withdrawing from the Masters in Teaching program, scrambling to find a job to help pay the bills, and with no clue what to do next, I was confused. What was this life? This wasn't my life. Not the life I had expected to see. It was unrecognizable. The stress, the feelings of failure, the desperation of not knowing... I didn't know what that was, but it wasn't my life. It wasn't my plans.

It wasn't until I stopped trying to see my life through the lens of my own plans that I began to see it for what it was. I couldn't see the new opportunities ahead of me, until I gave up on the identity I had clung to for so many years. God's plans for me were different. When I accepted that, I finally felt less confused. Things came into focus.

I can't recognize Adam's feet as feet until I give up on the idea that it should be his head. Once I realize, okay, this is not his head, I immediately can see what it really is.

Maybe once we give up on our own insistence of how things should look, how situations should play out, how God should handle certain people and certain circumstances -- then maybe we can begin to see them as they really are. Until we can do that, we'll always be seeing a distorted image of what we want to see. We'll always be seeing a really freaky looking head!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Adam is 3 Months Old and Other Vital News!

Adam Updates:

Yes, I realize Adam is 3 months old and this is the first time I've attempted to document his life with a monthly update. It's much more difficult to blog on maternity leave than you would imagine. Sure, there is ample free time for watching TV and eating poptarts, but that's because you're mostly limited to activities that can be done one-handed. Poptarts, yes. Typing, not so much.

I can't believe my littlest is already 3 months old!! He is growing up way too fast! I know all parents say that, but that's just because it's true.

He's incredibly strong and has great head control! He can lift his head and shoulders doing tummy time, and wobbles much less when held upright. He will be rolling over any day now, I'm sure. He can easily roll onto his side, and he kicks and squirms and grunts with effort as he tries to propel his body around. He's thisclose! In his efforts to turn and roll, he manages to end up completely sideways in his crib at night. Once I even found him with his head on the opposite end of the bed! He did a complete 180 during the night!

Speaking of cribs, he is sleeping 90% of the time in his crib now. Honestly, I'm shocked. I had been bedsharing since he was born, and was expecting the transition to his own sleep space to be difficult. But he's so easy going, and he likes to actually fall asleep laying down, rather than being held. I still put him in bed with me usually around 3:30-4:30 whenever he wakes up just because I love the snuggles! :) They are only little once, and sleeping with a baby is totally different than sleeping with a 2 yr old. I want to cherish it while it's still nice! ha!

This week he has started falling asleep earlier. The past couple nights he's gone down between 6:45-7:30. Since he's going to bed so much earlier than we are, it only made since to put him in his crib. The crib is still in our bedroom. We'll probably move him to our room in a month or two. Right now I still like having him so close. Putting him to bed is relatively simple. He starts getting fussy and it's obvious he's tired. I take him back to the bedroom, change him into jammies, feed him, burp him, then lay him down in his crib. I stand by the bed, sometimes holding his hand, sometimes just watching, and wait until it's obvious he's going to sleep. This typically takes around 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes! How awesome is this kid?!

I'm sure I'm jinxing it like crazy, but not only does he go to sleep easily, but he sleeps great! His longest stretch so far as been 9 hours! Most nights he only wakes up once, though a few nights ago he woke up three times. But once seems to be his normal right now. He wakes up, eats, and goes right back to sleep. So simple!

This week is his third full week in daycare. He seems to be doing well. They tell us he's calm and happy and talkative most of the time. This week they say he's been a little more fussy. We think he might be on the verge of his first cold. He has had a little cough in the mornings and some congestion, but it doesn't seem to be getting worse so maybe it won't develop into a full illness.

He coos and laughs and smiles. He just has the best little personality! I love him so much I can't even stand it!! :)

Mommy Updates:
on our date for Scott's 30th birthday

I've been back at work since July 1. It's good to be back. Yes, I sometimes miss the slow pace of maternity leave, but I also like the routine and challenge of work life. Plus adult interaction is always nice. It was hard to leave Adam at daycare. I definitely cried a lot the night before and morning of. But after that initial drop off, I've been fine. I miss him, just like I miss Grayson, but we love our daycare and I enjoy working, so I don't regret it.

I don't think I posted before, but if you recall, I was selected to represent GA Southern as the nominee for the Outstanding Advisor award through our national association (NACADA). Well, I found out a week into maternity leave that I won the award! Yes, that's a national award. And yes, I'm thrilled!! I will be recognized at the national conference this year in Atlanta. The opening banquet is at the GA Aquarium. I think it'll be super fun! It would be cool if it were someplace I hadn't been before, but it'll be convenient to be in Atlanta because I can be close to the boys (assuming they stay with my inlaws).

Other than working again and finding that home/life balance, I'm sort of trying to lose the rest of my baby weight. I say sort of because I've been intentional about eating more vegetables (I've challenged myself to have veggies with every meal!) and I'm doing a 30 Day ab challenge. But I still eat nightly ice cream and haven't done any real cardio yet. Baby steps! haha!

Grayson Updates:

Grayson has been slightly more challenging since we had Adam. Mostly it's just normal 2/3 yr old stuff. Blossoming independence, testing boundaries, and walking that line between toddler and big boy. He is SO smart! He always has been, so this is no surprise. He speaks extremely well and has a large vocabulary. He can count to 20 (though sometimes will jump from 15 to 18...). His memory is outstanding and he's always surprising me with the details he remembers from things we did or things he's learned from books or school or movies/TV shows. He is like a little sponge...always eager to learn. 

He sleeps through the night almost always, but some nights it's harder to get him to bed at a reasonable time. It's usually around 8:30, but sometimes later, before he falls asleep. And lately he's been waking up as early as 5:30 am! It makes for a very grumpy boy and a more challenging morning for all! 

He is one of the most loving kids I've ever known. He loves to snuggle and he's so considerate. He shares really well, for a 2 yr old. But he does still have his moments where he plays too rough, gets mad and yells at us or hits us, he's even acted out toward Adam a couple times. We're working on discipline. It's all part of the fun of parenting! But despite all that, I realize he's still an amazing kid. We were talking to one of his teachers and I said I used to feel like he was perfect but lately he's been more challenging and she said, "Y'ALL. He is still perfect! Look at any other kid his age. He's perfect. I promise." haha! I mean, I guess she would know. ;)

He loves Adam and is typically very sweet toward him. He's an excellent helper most of the time. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing Grayson love on Adam...until I have to tell him not to squish him! :)

Grayson spent his first full week away recently as he spent a week at Scott's parents' house. We were sad when he left. We both cried at the door after they walked out. But then we quickly moved on to enjoying the ease of parenting an infant and no one else. We watched a lot of TV that didn't involve Elmo. It was kind of glorious! But we were ready for him to come back home! 

Grayson will be moving up to the 3-yr old classroom on August 1st...just a couple weeks away. We absolutely love his current teachers, so it'll be sad change for all of us. I know he's developmentally ready to be with the 3s, but I think he'll be sad to leave his current teacher and classroom too. I'm hoping it's a smooth and quick transition, though. 3 yrs old...I can't believe that's just around the corner! What happened to my baby?!

Daddy Updates:

Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium

Sunday Family Movie Time
Scott is working hard at being an amazing dad and husband. I feel like he never stops working from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed at night. I can't imagine those poor moms who have husbands who don't help out. Scott is the best and I thank God for him daily. Literally!! 

He recently turned 30 and we were blessed with a date night! We went out to eat and went cosmic bowling! Super fun!! The two of us also recently celebrated our 7 year anniversary. :)

I don't that much else is new with him. He's gearing up to teach his second section of FYE 1220 in the fall, and he's eager to start leading worship with the kids again soon since they took the summer off. He's been working out in the evenings just doing weights and pushups and crunches, etc... He misses running but it's dangerously hot and waking up any earlier is insane (see: Grayson waking up at 5:30). 

I love my family and this wonderful stage of life. It's not always easy. Sometimes my nerves are shot and I long for a nap. I look forward to the days in the future when we can drop the kids off with grandparents and take a vacation just the two of us. But those days are still a long ways off. Until then, I'm just enjoying the fun things and making the most of the hard things. We've survived Family of Four for 3 months so far! I'm confident we can keep it up! :)

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