I am struck this morning with the absolute magnitude of how richly I am blessed.
This does not mean that life has been or always will be easy. It does not mean that life is simple, or that we may not have times of further difficulty and heartbreak in the future.
It does mean that through anything we may encounter in this broken world, God has and will continue to provide us with what we need. And more than that,... He will provide abundantly!
I kissed my husband goodbye this morning on his way to the ICU rotation he just started. He is LOVING it. He really thinks this is what he may want to pursue. His excitement for medicine is contagious. He brings love, laughter, and intelligent conversation into our home. And even in the midst of his incredibly busy schedule, with so much to do, he leads our family spiritually. He prays over Peter every night, he reminds us to read our daily Bible together. I am richly blessed.
I look at my sweetie Petey. He's giggling in his sleep again. It makes me melt. Some days I can still hardly believe that he is mine. Peter and Jude are the most precious gifts I've ever been given. And while I miss my Jude dude, and always will, I'm so grateful for them both! I am richly blessed.
I pulled out of work yesterday afternoon after a long and crazy day feeling tired but satisfied at a solid days work; knowing that I improved peoples lives. I'm so grateful for a job that I enjoy, helps me provide for my family, and still allows me to put them first. I am richly blessed.
I just finished chatting with my mom on Facebook. They are in Thailand visiting missionaries that our church supports. While I'm glad they are having a marvelous trip, I can't wait for them to be home again. Our relationship is special. Both sides of our family are loving and supportive. I am richly blessed.
I see my two snoozing pooches. They were just out wrestling in the yard and then flopped at my feet for a nap. Though they come with a lot of chaos, they bring so much joy to our family! I am richly blessed.
I'm sitting at my kitchen table, cup of coffee in hand. Roses, sage, and my flower pots are in full bloom out my sliding door. My garden already producing delicious goodies for us to munch on, and will continue for months to come. This home is so peaceful and I love it. I am richly blessed.
Our new car sits in the garage. I'm thinking of what errands I can come up with to run today, because I just can't wait to drive it. It may sound silly, but we're just so excited about it! (It has a sunroof!) I am richly blessed.
I could go on, but instead of continuing to read about my blessings, I want to encourage you to dwell on some of your own. No matter what you are going though today; I'm sure you can think of some marvelous things God has blessed you with. Thank Him for those things!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Sometimes being introverted really stinks.
It's true! Ask any introvert you know and I bet they'll agree with me. It can be a real challenge when it seems like most relationships are expected to be built and flourish in group settings. Unless others are willing to dedicate the time to intentionally invest in a relationship with an introvert then the introvert is left feeling like little more than an acquaintance even among "close" groups of friends. Especially in the day and age of social media. Alot of one-on-one interactions are replaced by Facebook messages, texting, and blogging. People just don't get together and chat about real life over a cup of coffee very often these days. People rarely talk about things that really MATTER; things that help you see each other's heart and soul. The things that make an introvert feel known and loved and allow them to know and love others are the things that are falling by the wayside of our increasingly media-centric culture.
I've been struggling this week,... well most of the year really,... with feeling pretty lonely. I've been introverted all my life; and have learned alot about how to cope and interact well in groups of people. Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them that naturally I'm severely introverted. But it's true. I rarely, if ever, feel that I can build a close friendship if its only forum is groups. I'm absolutely exhausted by being around lots of people for extended periods of time,... especially if I don't know them well. Add that to the fact that having grown up surrounded by brothers, I've always been more comfortable in the company of dudes than girls, and it has always made building deep female friendships a huge hurdle. And honestly, among many of the blessings of moving back home, it has also presented more of a struggle to rebuild friendships than I expected. I'm to the point of being exhausted from trying so hard and feeling like I'm not getting anywhere. This week I have felt ready to just give up; especially since I know we are only going to be here another year.
Then something dad said during his sermon this morning reminded me that my sustenance doesn't come from relationships with other lost, broken, searching, people. That's what we all are. We may be searching for different things, but our search can end as soon as we regain focus on the one who can meet all needs. I'm searching for meaningful friendships, and yet I often neglect the most meaningful and rich relationship I've been gifted with. Sure, relationships with those around us are still important, but I sometimes get so wrapped up in seeking a feeling of connectedness with others, or wallowing in self-pity because of the lack thereof, that I forget to invest time in the one relationship that can provide infinite connectedness and fulfillment.
So I'm challenging myself the next few weeks and months to not try so hard. I'm giving myself a free pass in the friendship department, as long as I stay focused on the Savior department. If deep relationships are truly something that I need right now, then I trust that as I draw closer to Christ, He will provide the rest.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Little stinker thrashed around in his crib for the entire hour that is his normal nap time,... then as soon as I got him out and layed him on his play mat, he was out cold. Haha,...
Sometimes it's scary how stubborn he can be already. We're gonna be challenged for many years to come by this kiddo! But,... everytime I would go in to give him back his pacifier or to check on him during "nap time" he would just look up at me from his crib and grin.
And I just want to melt into a puddle of baby snuggles. Man, I love this kid!
We got through Mother's Day without any major breakdowns. It's still definitely a bittersweet day, but when I look back on how painful it was for me last year compared to this year I just have to praise God. He has done such an amazing work of healing in my heart, and has blessed me beyond measure with little Peter.
There's still a gap in our family.
The pain is not gone.
The missing him is not gone.
I would get irritated after we lost Jude when people told me to have another baby right away. They would say something like: "It's ok, you're still young; you can have more." As if they thought I could just have another baby, and then Jude would be voided. As if all of the love and pain that Jude brought with him had never happened. As if Jess and I could go back to being the people we were before, by just having another baby and "moving on."
And those people were so, so wrong. We were completely molded by that experience and loss. But it made our character deeper. It made our love stronger. Jude made us better.
Why would we EVER want to "get over" him?
God used his short little life to teach us so much. And though we did experience excruciating pain because of him, we would never want the clean slate that many people wished for us.
Peter is not Jude's replacement.
Neither is he our consolation prize.
They are both our dearly beloved sons; and we are immensely grateful for each of them and the blessings and challenges that they have, and will continue to present in our lives.
These were just a few of the many thoughts I was mulling over this Mother's Day. I pray that your day was as blessed as mine. Whether you have children present to celebrate with or not, I hope your day was full of peace.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Something that I've been thinking about alot lately:
How do we make sure that Peter knows about Jude, and maintain his presence in our family over the years?
We have Jude's painting; and it will always have a prominent place in our house. Peter and all our future children will grow up knowing the story behind it. We have pictures on the wall of us with Jude. We have his ultrasound picture in the nursery. There are little reminders around the house. But I want our other children to feel connected to him as more that just some random baby that died before they were born?
How do we help them feel like they know Jude, when we didn't really get the chance to know him ourselves? How do we continue to include him in our family in tangible ways for our kids in years to come? There are a few traditions that we have started or are planning to start with Peter and any future children. We are going to get a new angel ornament for our Christmas tree every year and hang it on Jude's birthday. We plan on always including a blue helium balloon in family pictures to represent Jude. And someday when we will be in one place for more than a couple of years I would love to plant a tree and a memorial garden for him.
But how do we describe him and explain his place in our family to children? How do we include them in their brother's memorial traditions even when they are very small?
If you're a bereaved mama with other children I'd love to hear how your family includes the baby/child that's not present!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I don't want to forget anything about these days. These days full of snuggling, smiles, tired, and so much love.
All of Peter's little features and habits are changing and developing so quickly and I don't want to ever forget any of the tiny details that I love about this boy.
My desperation to cling to every precious moment that was established when we lost Jude has been reinforced as we've seen several friends, and friends of friends pass away unexpectedly the last few weeks. It makes my heart heavy to think of all the moments these families will never have with their loved ones. It makes me cling with renewed passion to every beautiful moment my lovely little family has together.
Every loving word from my husband.
Every gentle whisper in Jess' deep voice into Peter's tiny crinkled ear.
Every short, sleepy breath against my neck.
Every moment his rapidly increasing weight lies against my chest.
Every feeding with his warm cheek against my breast.
Every time he sleeps with his left eye peeking open.
Every adorable lop-sided smile.
Every time his cheek dimples.
Every stretch of little muscles when he sticks his booty out and clenches his fists on the air.
Every time Jess walks in the door and can't wait to get his hands on the little guy.
Every quiet sigh in the middle of the night.
There are a million things I could list that I love about my life right now!
But even the things that are less inherently wonderful I want to notice and remember. How rewarding it is hanging diapers on the clothes line and folding tiny clothes. The frustration of responding to his desperate cries when even he doesn't know what he needs. The soreness in my neck and shoulders from nursing him day and night. The seeming hours on end it takes to complete even simple household tasks.
They are all a part of this wonderful challenging life that not everyone is blessed with.
And I am grateful.
Playing with Grampa
helping dad study
Thursday, April 18, 2013
I feel that apologies are in order! I've been too busy NOT neglecting my baby and haven't even checked my blog in over a month and a half. I know,... you're not exactly sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for my next post, but I still feel bad.
So here's a recap of the last month and a half:
- I LOVE MY BABY!!!!!!!
- Being a mom is amazing,.... and exhausting,... and there's a STEEP learning curve, but we're getting it.
And it's so, so worth all the hours of sleep lost.
Yup, that pretty much sums it up.
Jess has been gone the last three weeks, and that's made for long tiring weeks, but Peter and I are hanging in there. Kudos to all the single moms out there,... it's a hard job.
Eventually I hope to get back to blogging with a little more substance, but for now blurbs and pictures must suffice. So get ready for some picture overload!
| 2 weeks. Lovin' some sling time.|
|3 weeks. Snuggle boy. :-)|
|3 weeks, a boy and his dog,.... It begins. :-)|
|3.5 weeks. One of the professional pics we had taken, can't wait to get and share the rest!|
|1 month birthday!|
| 4 weeks. 1st real smile we caught on camera. LOVE that gummy grin!|
|4 weeks. 1st bottle|
|Almost 5 weeks. Easter morning with Granny Mur and his Easter basket (complete with candy for mom and dad.)|
|5 weeks. More love from Lola|
|5 weeks. He really does love the front pack,... this was just bad timing. He's done great hiking so far though!|
|5 weeks. Good Morning smiles.|
|6 weeks. And post-bath smiles|
|6 weeks. Chillin' with Gramma Storey|
|6 weeks. He's such a happy boy in the morning!|
|7 weeks. Chunky Monkey in the tub|
|7 weeks. So expressive!|
|7 weeks. Love that face!|
|7 weeks. Love this boy!|
|7 weeks. How can you not want to kiss those cheeks!|
And I'm out of time! He's awake!
I'll try not to let it go another month and a half, but I can't make any promises!
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Warning: It's a long one!
We have a baby!
Here's our week in pictures, and the birth story:
We took the last batch of belly pictures the day before the c-section. We spent the day doing all the little last minute preparations. I was definitely nervous about the surgery, and just wanted to get it over with so we could have the little guy!
|last belly picture!|
|My friend Janelle made him the gorgeous quilt.|
We got to the hospital at 10:00 the next morning, and got ready. They hooked me up and started meds. Here's the last picture still pregnant, right before we walked back to the OR.
|All ready to meet Peter!|
Note to the faint of heart:
I'm going to describe the surgery in some detail, you might want to skip to the next picture if you're on the squeamish side! I almost loaded pictures of his birth, so count yourself lucky!
We were in the OR right a noon, I had the spinal by ten after, and they were starting the surgery by quarter after. It was super surreal. The drugs they put through my IV made my brain feel super fuzzy, so I felt pretty disconnected from the process emotionally. I didn't like that, but I'm glad I was at least awake, and got to watch with a mirror. I could feel alot more than I expected. It wasn't uncomfortable, there was no pain, but I had almost full sensation otherwise. I could feel them cutting, pushing, digging and pulling but none of it hurt. I could even feel when the doctor reached inside me to grab him! It was pretty much the weirdest thing I've ever experienced. Jess was in the OR with me, and he kept asking how I was doing. All I could say over and over was: "This is so weird!"
They pulled him out, butt-first, right at 12:25. His body came right out, but in true Anderson/Storey fashion the kid has a giant noggin, and it got stuck. I was watching in the mirror as the doctors twisted his little body every which way trying to fit his head through the incision. his little arms flailing. It was bizarre, and rather comical. They tried for a couple of minutes before resigning to the fact that it just wasn't going to fit, and my doc extended the incision to get him out.
Even in my drugged up state I was thinking to myself: "That's my boy!"
And he came out screaming. My doctor has said multiple times since then that Peter is one of the loudest babies he's ever delivered. It was nice to hear his screams within just a few seconds of coming out. The whole pregnancy there's been this overwhelming feeling of just waiting for something to go wrong,... waiting for the hammer to fall. I knew immediately that he was alive and kicking.
Jess cut his cord, they did a little initial assessment and cleaning up, then Jess brought him over for me to see. My hands were still strapped down, and I was feeling pretty out-of-touch with reality, so it didn't hit me yet that this was actually my baby. I gave him a quick kiss and they took him out to do his full assessment while my doc stitched me up.
By 12:45 I was all put back together, and joined Peter, Jess, and my mom (VERY proud gramma) in the recovery area. He was still wailing!
He weighed 7lbs, 12.7 ozs, and measured 19 inches long. (They've measured him since his hips loosened up a bit though, and he's actually a little over 20 inches.) His head was super lop-sided at first because he was so wedged up against my ribs. My doc said no wonder he wasn't able to get him to flip, he was totally out of room in there! He was perfect and healthy though other than a little hip dysplasia from being folded up like a taco-shell. A common problem with big breech babies, and easily treatable.
I watched them do his first bath, and then got to hold him. I still felt a little fuzzy-brained, so I hadn't really connected yet emotionally, but we snuggled for a bit and nursed. He latched on perfectly the first time, and again, in true Storey/Anderson fashion has eaten like champ ever since. One of the things I do remember thinking right away, is how much he really does look like Jude! They totally have the same mouth and chin.
|Holding my boy for the first time|
We were in the recovery area for an hour or so, then they wheeled us upstairs to our room. Within a couple of hours of holding him, snuggling, doing skin-to-skin and nursing my systemic drugs had worn off, I was myself again emotionally and was 100% in love.
I've told several friends since then, that the absolute wonder that I feel as sit and hold him and just look at him is more amazing than anything I ever imagined. And believe me,.... it's something I've imagined for years. I KNEW it would be mind-boggling, but it's so beyond what your mind can even conceive until you experience it. Five days later, it still makes me shake my head in wonder that this gorgeous creature came out of me!
He. Is. Amazing.
|A few hours old|
We stayed in the hospital two nights. I was so worried about the pain before-hand and have been super pleasantly surprised. It just hasn't been that bad. I was up and moving around in less than 18 hours, and felt good doing so. Now, at 5 days post-surgery, as long as I keep on top of my pain meds a few times a day, I get around the house comfortably.
The time in the hospital flew by, but we were very ready to be home by Wednesday. The nurse in me has a really hard time being a patient. I kept offering to my nurses to do things myself,... they just kinda looked at me funny. :-) Oh well.
|Our first family photo|
|Biiiiiig yawn! Snuggling with dad|
We have just been hanging out since we got home. My mom has been by each day for a few hours to offer reinforcements and help out with things. Jess has been an amazing husband a daddy this week taking care of me, and helping with Peter. He sings to Peter when he's crying, and it works like a charm to calm him down. It's always the Indiana Jones theme song with various made-up lyrics to match the situation.
Pretty much the cutest thing I've ever witnessed in my entire life.
Goodness, I love that man!
We're pretty tired, but manageably so at this point. Peter likes to eat about every two hours, so by the time I've gotten him up, changed him, fed him, and get him back down, I'm sleeping in about 1 hour intervals. I've been getting good naps in though, and feel like it's totally doable assuming it will only improve from here.
I'm praying that's the case.
|He found his thumb. So cute!|
|Sunggling with daddy and Lola. The dogs have been great with him.|
|Another big yawn! Rockin' his new hip brace.|
|Lovin' his first bath at home. |
Jess was in the process of giving him a comb over. Haha.
We are feeling blessed beyond measure, and I find myself praying prayers of thanksgiving frequently throughout the day. We serve a great and mighty God!
That's all for now,... He's hungry.