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two weeks later…

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     Two weeks ago today, I celebrated my very first Mother’s Day.  Even though I spent most of the day sick in bed, I still savored every moment from nursing Linc and Viv separately in the morning, spending just a little longer holding each of them in bed…to rocking them to sleep before laying them in their cribs that night.

I spent so many long days and months praying and hoping to become a mom.  I remember feeling the deepest desire to have a baby to love. Yet even that longing didn’t prepare me for how it would feel to love my babies.  The love I feel is oftentimes overwhelming because I just don’t feel like I have the capacity to be what they deserve in a mama.  It’s like I can’t possibly show them how much love my heart has for them. I’m slowly learning that I can spend every day trying to convey to them through my words and actions what a treasure they are…but I also have to give them up to the Lord every single day because I truly don’t have the capacity to be what they need on my own.

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I try at times to control everything in life in an effort to protect them.  I feel so vulnerable having them out in the world, at risk of something bad happening to them.  It’s terrifying, and if I allow myself to dwell on it, it can be crippling to me.  For several weeks now, I have felt pushed in different ways to leave Linc and Viv in the nursery at church, but I’ve avoided it every time because I just don’t trust anyone.  I feel this crazy intense need to be with them every moment so that I can protect them from any harm that might come their way.  But I know that I have to begin to let them go in some ways.  Baby steps.  So I left them Sunday morning.   With tears filling my eyes I walked away and prayed myself through the service to stay strong.  And when I went back I found Vivian crying, tears running down her face as she lay in the nursery bed.  And it tore my heart to pieces.  I felt like I had deserted her with strangers.  And to think that she might have wondered if I was coming back was almost more than I could handle.

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I had written this post in my head two Saturdays ago, knowing just what I would say about how on Mother’s Day I took a necessary step of every mother – letting her babies go just a little bit – and how it worked out just fine and how I celebrated later.  Instead I feel like I’ve been set back about ten steps.  Honestly, I’m dreading taking them to the nursery again.  But I know I will.  And I know it will be fine.  I guess this is still all part of this journey of motherhood.  Learning to love my babies with open hands, holding them up to the Father and trusting that He’s protecting them and that He has a distinct plan for their lives.

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I also celebrated my own mother from afar last week.  We were with Jon’s mom for the weekend, but I did get to meet up with mom and spend a few minutes with her.  Celebrating her came from a new perspective for me this year.  I’ve always appreciated and thanked her for everything she gave up for me and all the ways she took care of me as a little girl and as I’ve grown.  But this year I, for the first time, understood the complexity and depth of love she has had for me.  The kind of love that keeps you up at night, hoping and praying your babies are safe and okay.  The kind of love that consumes you because you literally feel like your heart is walking around outside your body.  And I’m so grateful to have been loved with that kind of love.  What a special and unique thing being a mother is.  It’s incomparable to anything else, and I feel so blessed to have that kind of love from my own mother and to be able to pour out that kind of love to my sweet babies.  It’s the best thing in the world.

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Throughout the day my thoughts also kept drifiting to all the women out there waiting to be a mother.  I remember like it was yesterday the emptiness that comes from not being able to fill the desire for a baby.  That pain is something one cannot forget.  Now that I’m on the other side of it, it only brings more intensity to the gratefulness I feel everyday to be able to touch my babies faces and kiss their heads.  I think about it often…in the hard times when I’m exhausted and I’ve changed a million diapers and I just want to lay down and go to sleep…it jolts me back to reality and showers me with patience, understanding and a full heart.  I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone.  But in the end I can honestly say the journey we had to walk to have our Linc and Viv has only made life that much sweeter now that we’re on the other side.  So for those women I pray for peace, comfort and hope.

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Easter weekend

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By far the best Easter I can remember in a long time, this weekend was full of family, food, and an absurd amount of time spent listening to our babies laugh (they love their grandparents, aunts and cousins).  On Saturday we packed up and headed to my mom and step-dad’s house where we hung out with them and my sister for the day.  We laid in the floor forever watching Linc and Viv soak in time with Grandma and Aunt Cristen.  It was a super relaxing day, and we topped it off with some mexican food for dinner and hanging out in the kitchen making food to take to my grandparent’s on Sunday.

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It was a late night, and I didn’t sleep well once we finally went to bed.  But Sunday morning came early anyway, and it was hard to feel tired once we pulled the babies from their pack-n-plays and cuddled up in the big bed together.  Our family of four.

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The babies were fed and they experienced their first Easter morning – baskets and all.  Of course their favorite part was the basket, the grass and the eggs.  They could have cared less about what was inside them.  Eventually they went down for a short nap before church while the rest of us bustled around getting ready for the service.  We joined my grandparents at their church, which doesn’t happen often enough.  A small, southern Baptist church with a hymnal at every seat, it felt like the perfect place to be on Easter morning.

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I held my sweet baby girl while worshipping our Savior, and I was overcome with thankfulness for all that He has done for me.   I deserve death because of my sinfulness, and not only has He given me life, but also two precious babies, a husband who fits me perfectly and family all around.  I couldn’t ask for more.

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Sunday was a beautiful day, and we spent the afternoon at my grandparent’s house.  A fantastic lunch was had before we gathered around the house catching up…then an epic egg hunt planned by my mom and sister later in the afternoon.  Unfortunately for Vivian, she got paired with her mama, who ended up only snagging two eggs the entire time.  Next year somebody remind that girl to avoid her mama when it comes to egg hunting time.

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All in all, this Easter will go down in the books not only as the twins’ first, but also as the one where I stood in my grandma and grandpa’s kitchen and got all choked up over His awe inspiring love.  I see it now in a different way than I used to.  Not a better way, just different.  The life He has given is so so good.

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dear linc and viv

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Dear Linc and Viv,

Yesterday was your first Valentine’s Day, and your daddy and I had so much fun loving on you extra much all day long.  You are the sweetest little parts of our lives, and we feel like the luckiest people alive to get to be your mama and daddy.

In the same way that we hope you feel loved beyond measure by us, we also always want you to know how much we adore each other too.  A long, long time ago before we even knew you would someday exist, I fell head over heels in love with your daddy.  I still remember the first time I ever met him and how I thought he was the cutest and funniest guy I had ever known.  It wasn’t long before I realized that he wasn’t just cute and funny, but also thoughtful, loyal, humble, sensitive and just plain cool.  It took him a little while to realize how amazing I was, but eventually he did;)  From that point on we knew that we never wanted to live without each other again.

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To celebrate your first Valentine’s Day with you, we all went out for a family lunch at Whole Foods, and then once daddy got home we spent the evening cuddling with your new zebra and tiger and feeding you lots of good food like sweet potatoes and avocado!IMG_7671

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Then after you went to bed, Daddy and I had our own little celebration.  We ate homemade pizza and cupcakes.  I gave daddy a new record and a print for the wall, and he gave me a new wallet and some fun polka dot shoes.  There was also lots of relaxing on the couch together and talking about how darn lucky we are to have each other and you.

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 In the past we might have gone out to a nice dinner or even stayed overnight at a hotel to celebrate, but this year was sheer perfection even though we never stepped out of the house.  The day you two were born, we discovered love for each other that we couldn’t even have imagined existed, all because we’re in awe of the fact that we created you together.

So, thank you sweet babies, for all the sweetness and depth you’ve brought by taking our family from 2 to 4.

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There’s a lullaby I’ve been singing to you lately….when we cuddle during the day or when I rock you to sleep at night.  I hope it will always help you remember how deep our love is for you.

I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap and I’m talkin’ in my sleep
About you, about you
‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do

Love, Mama (and daddy too)

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christmas in january

As you can tell from the last post, I am really backed up on the blog!  And even though it’s not super timely at this point, I will catch up if it kills me.

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Like many of you I’m sure, we had about fourteen Christmases.  While it was crazy trying to get around to see everyone everywhere…it was such fun watching the twins experience it over and over.  And I especially loved seeing them encounter traditions from all different parts of our family.

Overall, my favorite moment was when we spent time, just the four of us, in our home with the tree shining and the fire on.  We let Linc and Viv open their gift from us – a piggy bank that we will save coins in throughout the year.  And every year at Christmas we’ll pick someone who could use a little help.  It won’t be much, but my hope is that it will be one way we can show the twins what it is to give.

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 Around the second week of December, along with Jon’s brother, sister-in-law and nephew, we visited Jon’s parents.  Usually we make food and go caroling as we deliver it to friends around town.  But times are changing as the family is getting filled with babies, so we laid low this year, just relaxing around the house, eating lots of good food, playing games and opening gifts.

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It wasn’t until the weekend after Christmas that we got to have one last celebration with my mom, step-dad and sister.  We even got to see my grandparents as they stopped by for a few hours.  It makes me so happy to see the twins with all their grandparents….they are lucky little babies.  We had such a great time just relaxing around the house and trying to figure out what in the world we did before the babies.

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And that’s a wrap on the holiday season.  Super busy…but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Obviously it’s sort of ridiculous that I’m posting this in the middle of January…such is life!

 

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love and peanut brittle

Not too long ago, sometime before the chaos of the holidays set in, I packed the twins up one day and headed east.  My grandpa and grandma live just far enough away that we don’t get to see them as much as we’d like, but not too far for a day trip visit.  To some it may sound silly, but before I got pregnant one of the things I was extremely excited about at the thought of having a baby was giving my grandpa and grandma their first great-grandchild.  And the day we told them there was a baby on the way was up there on my list of best moments.

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So not only did I want to take the twins for a fun visit, I had something else in mind as well.  To me, my grandpa has been known for many things.  Among them are working on planes at Tinker Air Force Base for most of his life, loving snickers bars, being able to fix any problem on a car, and making the best peanut brittle you’ve ever tasted.

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As far back as I can remember, every year as the weather starts to turn cold and festive decorations begin to appear, everyone who knows my grandpa begins to anticipate the day they’ll receive their package of peanut brittle.  And believe me, it’s not just any peanut brittle.  It’s a recipe that was passed down from my great-grandma Loise.  Super thick, light, and fluffy – it really is in a league of its own.  But it’s not just the taste that makes it so special.  With my grandma overseeing and hopping in to help when needed, my grandpa spends hours in the kitchen watching the sweet, peanutty mixture begin to brown, dumping in the special ingredient, and then “stirring the fire out of it” before dumping it onto a baking sheet.  He makes nearly 20 batches a season, with each batch taking about 45 minutes…it truly is a work of love.

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While the peanut brittle tradition is something I’ll always think of when I think of my grandpa George, I had never actually seen him make it.  This year when the time drew near I realized what an injustice it is that I’ve never had the chance to see how it’s done.  Helping him was every bit as interesting and fun as I knew it would be; seeing him work and having him teach me each step of the process was far better than just reading it on the recipe card.

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While I told my grandpa he should hide away his recipe so that no one can ever make peanut brittle just like his, he insists that the recipe should be shared with anyone who wants it.  But I have a hunch that it’s not just about following the recipe, rather it’s about the perfect peanuts, the special pot that he uses, the certain way he stirs it and how he knows just the perfect moment to take it off the fire before it burns.

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Our visit was a highlight of the holiday season for me, and as the twins get older I can’t wait to take them out to help their great-grandpa.  And it’s always a bonus to get cuddled by great-grandma in between batches.

 

Peanut Brittle

  •  1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda

 

Boil together sugar, karo syrup and water. Stir constantly until it spins a thread (about 12-15 minutes) (see spoon photo above). Be sure it spins a good thread. Add 2 cups raw peanuts and 1 cube margarine. Continue to cook and sitr until it turns the color of peanut brittle and peanuts begin to pop (about 10-15 minutes). Add one heaping teaspoon baking soda and stir rapidly. Let it foam up, then pour into a greased 9X15 inch pan while it is still foaming. Don’t press it down. Just let it roll into the pan and settle on its own.

 

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