Thursday, January 30, 2014

Emily's First Snow

As things often happen in the South, mention of the word "snow" gets everyone all excited and nervous. Milk and bread fly off the grocery store shelves and schools close long before the first snowflake is spotted. Children and adults stay glued to the local weather channel anxious to see when it will all begin.

Such was our day Tuesday. Schools and work closed late Monday night. Emily and I sat around the house looking out the window, waiting and waiting. We even made paper snowflakes and taped them to Emily's window in hopes of encouraging more of them to show up. :) The day dragged on, and despite promises from local meteorologists, it was clear we were not going to get as much as we had hoped for as soon as we had hoped for. I managed to stay up long enough Tuesday night to see the first few flakes start to fall. And it really is a beautiful thing. I'm always amazed at how quiet snow is. I think that's one of the most beautiful things about it. So beautiful and peaceful!

When we woke up Wednesday morning, our yard was covered with a good two inches of fresh snow. I got Emily up and took her to the backyard door to see it. After a few minutes, she finally realized what had happened and started pointing outside saying "Sah NOOOOOOO, Sah NOOOOOO!" After dressing her in several layers, we ventured outside to explore. She was not sure about it all at first and instead of walking through it, she wanted me to pick her up and carry her across the yard.

"Up, mama!"
(Please also note the glass storm door in the above picture as that will come up again in our adventures yesterday.)

 Snow selfie :)

After a few seconds, she got brave and decide to have some fun with this new stuff. We threw the snow in the air (she loved picking it up), we made snow angels and one pitiful little snowman. She ventured down our cul de sac to see what the neighborhood kids were doing. We went out three times over the course of the day and stayed until her little cheeks and nose turned red! 

Checking out the big kids.

We had a blast exploring and it was so much fun to share something new with her! She had so much fun that she took an almost 3 hour nap! And I napped right along with her. Snow day naps really are the best!

Ok, so everything up until that point was fine, great, and wonderful.  But things got a little out of hand after nap time. Randy was scheduled to fly back late from a work trip and I was planning to pick him up if the roads were clear. After nap time, I realized I should probably clean off my car a little while it was still light (and at least a little bit warmer) out. Emily was playing in the living room so I grabbed a broom and walked out the front door. Let me just say, I do this pretty much everyday when I have to start the car in the morning or run down to the mailbox. I was only wearing yoga pants and light jacket so I could not stand to be outsdie for long. After maybe a minute of cleaning off the car, I started walking back up the side walk to see Emily and Princess looking for my return through the closed glass storm door. Again, something they do 99.9% of the time I walk outside. So I do what I normally do, smile and wave to them and in return Emily smiles and waves and Princes starts jumping up and down. I reach for the handle, turn it and the door doesn't open. Locked. I repeat, LOCKED.

Emily, the smart and observant 18 month old that she is, has seen me lock that door numerous times and has decided to try it herself. Success.  It would be such a proud mommy moment if I were in fact NOT standing outside in 30 degree weather with light clothing, only a broom in hand with a locked baby inside and a husband clear on the other coast of the United States.

Holy hell.

This is exactly what when through my head over the next 60 seconds:

Negotiation. "Emily, honey, can you unlock the door for mommy?" Repeated probably 3 times only to be met with a confused look from Emily.
Option #1- "Ok, I can see into the living room and to the back door which I know is only locked at the bottom. And I also know that I can get into that door if I have a credit card. Which I do not have on me so that would mean going to the neighbors (are they home? what will they think of me?!). Screw that, I don't have time. MY BABY IS LOCKED INSIDE!"
Option #2- "I'm pretty sure I can open this door if I pull hard enough!"

One, two, three BIG pulls on the handle and the mental frame bends back and the door pops open. OH THANK GOODNESS!

Emily runs off, I think scared by my loud and dramatic entrance, but then starts laughing. Not 100% sure this was a complete accident.

I managed to fix the bent frame with a few hits from a hammer retrieved from the garage.  All is good and no one is worse for the wear. But I am definitely wiser.  Emily's first snow day was certainly a meorable one for so many reasons! 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Days and Devotionals

It's 3pm on a Tuesday and I'm writing this post from the comfort of my cozy bed. Emily is napping and I'm still in my pjs!  We are experiencing a glorious and needed snow day! Work and day care are closed but sadly, no snow yet.  We've had great day playing, including building a blanket fort and making paper snowflakes to display on Emily's bedroom window (hoping it will bring on the flurries faster!). I've been able to catch up on some cleaning and not-for-work reading. Ahhhhh, the life!

I've been wanting to write about what I'm currently reading for some time now and I'm taking my chance in the quiet time of this afternoon. I decided earlier this month I was going to try a daily devotional. I wanted more than the 30 second sound bite devotional. I wanted something more meaty, with accompanying scripture I could dig into. Something I could read, reflect and write on. Yet something that was quick and easy enough for me to do every day. I also wanted something by a woman. Something that would allow me to connect my busy mommy/wife life with the word of God. I know, lots of requirements!

After browsing the shelves at our local Christian bookstore, I finally found something that peaked my interest.

Beth Moore's Whispers of Hope is a daily 10 week devotional prayer book. Each day has a one page devotional followed by a P.R.A.I.S.E format which gives space on the following page to write out our prayers, everything from our praise to request to repentance.

The first day I sat down to do the devotional, I had woken up earlier than usual with a lot on my mind. Randy's travel schedule, my work demands, friends and co-workers struggling with loss and illness.  That morning I got out of bed, made myself a cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table. It was still early so it took a few re-reads to understand how exactly the devotionals are laid out. I begin collecting my thoughts and filling in the blank spaces to form my daily prayer. When I finished, I closed my eyes and bowed my head and begin to actually pray what I had written down. I was completely overcome with such sadness and defeat but yet relief at the unburdening of everything I had been carrying around. I begin to cry and I felt God's presence and comfort at my overwhelmed-ness (I don't think that is actually a word but it accurately describes how I felt in that moment).

Needless to say, that was a very powerful and affirming moment to me. The realization that this is was meeting a need in my spiritual growth.  I do pray-constantly, daily-but these devotions have taken those prayers to a whole other level. I feel like I'm finally getting to something of substance in my conversations with God. That I can move past the "superficial" asks and thanksgiving to the underlying real struggles.

I just heard  Emily waking up, so it's back to "work" for me. Fingers crossed we have snow outside! I hope you will consider looking into buying this book. I would love to hear your thoughts and how it's changed your approach to prayer time. Or maybe you have another devotional book you would recommend. Please share in the comments below!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Good and Bad: The Story Continues

So naturally, after my last post on being committed to parenting with all the good times and bad, I had a doozy of an afternoon. Randy was out of town so I was "single parenting it" and, side bar, let me just say I have MAD RESPECT for moms and dad flying solo. You guys deserve major awards. And by major awards, I mean like a million dollars, a brand new Lexus and a month long vacation to Hawaii.

I digress. Back to my little sob story.

My work ran late and I was stressing about how long I could wait for a return phone call (that never came) and still make it to daycare on time to pick up Emily. I finally bailed around 5:30 and was happy to see that Emily was still playing with several of her little classmates. Because ya know, as much money as you pay and as much fun as they have you always feel a little guilty when they are the last one there.

Then things started to unravel a bit. Emily did not want to leave. Let me back up, she basically ignored me when I walked in. She used to scream, and I do mean SCREAM, with excitement when I walked in at the end of the day. She would run as fast as her little legs could carry her over to me with arms out to pick her up. Melt. my. heart. I'm not sure if we are past that or this is just a little stage. She did, however, proceed to give her favorite teacher (who I do adore) not one but TWO hugs. STAB ME IN THE HEART.  Seriously?! Working mom guilt times times a hundred thousand million gazillion.

After a mini tantrum from Emily when I finally grabbed her and wrestled her coat on, I proceeded to find out that she BIT two girls in her class that day. Sadly, this is not new information to me. And I know that this is pretty standard toddler behavior as Emily has been bitten herself. The frustrating part is getting it to stop. She bit me on our first day home together over the holidays (there was amoment I wasn't sure the two of us were going to make it through 9 whole days together) and I put her in timeout, which actually worked, I think?  Luckily, daycare put her in timeout as well so I'm hoping (PRAYING) that a little consistency will pay off.  Talk about bad times.

Overwhelmed, tired, a little emotional, and unsure of how I was going to tackle this new parenting challenge, I managed to make it out of daycare and safely home. We had a decent and healthy dinner, a fun time reading books, I got lots of hugs after putting on Emily's pjs, and we made it to bed on time. All of this without tears (from either one of us). Talk about good times.

So, see? Good and bad. All rolled up into less than . 24 hours.

I easily could end my post right here. But I had two things happen this morning that reminded me, good or bad parenting stuff,  I was taken care of whether I knew it or not. 

After scouring my house for my car keys I finally found them still in the door. Yes, OUTSIDE my locked house. I had a moment of panic at the thought that someone could have easily gotten into my house overnight immediately followed by what I like to call a "God moment".  In my mind I literally heard the words "I've got you, Megan."  Whew, God was looking out for me. 

Still amazed by God's protection (unknown to me), Emily and I began our commute to daycare and work. This morning was yucky with lots of rain and of course lots of traffic. We came up on a spot on the interstate that is notorious for  congestion. Most mornings everyone goes from 60+mph to a crawling 20 mph in less than half a mile. As I was coming to an almost complete stop, I for some reason looked in the rear view mirror to a car  narrowly miss rear ending the car DIRECTLY BEHIND ME and swerve in the median until finally regaining control back onto the highway.  I tear up now, thinking about how fortunate we were to miss being a part of a horrible accident. Again, another God moment.

What's the lesson in all of this (because you know there is always a lesson)? Good and bad will come in parenting (and heck, in life).  Let's not forget to be MINDFUL and THANKFUL that the bad times are fleeting, good times are just around ahead and we are taken care of protected all the time by a  merciful God!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

Late last night (as I was flipping through Facebook, unable to sleep) I came across a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Jen Hatmaker. She is the mom of two child who were adopted and has penned some amazing, insightful and heartfelt posts about what it all means to her and her family. The post that caught my eye was entitled After the Airport which describes the time after the adoption frenzy and excitement wears off and reality sets in. This line in particular caught my eye:

"You cannot just be into adoption to adopt; you have to be into parenting."

Amen, sister.

I knew that before deciding to adopt. I truly did. I mean, as much as I could know and understand that without having never gone through the adoption process or being a parent. 

Looking back now on the time prior to adoption and our life now with an 18 month old, I realize it's a lot like swimming if you've never done it before. You read about, you see other people do it, and you figure you could give it a try. So you get as prepared as you possibly can, maybe take some classes, and then you put on your swim suit and dive in. That's what adoption is. You dive in. Head first. You are fully committed, whether you were ready or not. Immediately there is a sense of stillness, calmness and almost peacefulness. It's quite and it's beautiful, if you allow yourself to open your eyes. The water feels amazing and you wish you could stay in that moment forever.  Like those moments cuddling your new baby while surrounded by loving and supportive friends who have been with you through the whole process.

Then like an electric shock, panic hits you. You are underwater and you forget what to do. You know you need to get to the surface but you don't know how. Those moments of panic when there's a glitch with the legal paperwork. Or a birth parent contacts you unexpectedly.  Or you are just overwhelmed with all of it, adjusting to becoming a family overnight.  Finally, your brain processes what is happening, you kick your way upwards and taken in a huge and wonderful breath of air. 

You look around and seeing nothing but blue water for miles and decide to start swimming. You try some different strokes until you find one that works best for you. Like parenting, trial and error until you hit a groove. The more you swim, the better you feel. You start to feel more confident and enjoy yourself more. Sure, there are times when you get a side cramp or get tired. But you adjust, maybe even floating for a minute to rest, and continue on your journey. 

Like swimming, we have to be into adoption and parenting. And by being in it, I mean a full commitment. 100%. Clear blue skies or category 4 hurricanes, we committed. When times do get tough (and they will) find someone or something to hold on to when things get rocky: a supportive spouse, caring friends, other families who have adopted. Then just keep swimming and be what you were created to be: an amazing parent.