work.

I wrote this when I was a little upset, left it, and then I calmed down and decided to re-edit it. I rewrote this iteration with a level head, and I have kept it in draft for several weeks, and I’m still hesitant to post it. I hope it will be received in the same tone it is offered.

When I was eight months pregnant, a woman in a church we were relatively new to came up to me and struck up a conversation. She asked when the baby was estimated to be born, if we knew whether the baby was a boy or girl and if I planned on continuing to work once the baby was born. I answered all of her questions, “the baby’s due February 20; he’s a little boy; and I will most likely be returning to work after he’s born.”

She looked at me sadly when I answered the last question. She told me how she quit her job when her first child was born, and she had the full support of her husband, who told her the most important job she’d ever have would be to be home with her children. I smiled and nodded. And then she asked me why I was going back to work. Before I answered, which, honestly, I wasn’t sure what I would have said, she told me “you’d be surprised with how little [income] you really need.” Again, I smiled and nodded.
We walked out of the sanctuary, and I cried the whole way home. I was mad and I was sad. I thought out loud, “it’s none of her business why we are making the decisions we are making.” That was the angry side. The side who is defensive and protective of the sad part of me. The sad side of me wanted to hand the woman our monthly budget so she could see where we allocate every dollar we earn. I wanted to explain to her, on paper, that my income isn’t optional for my family right now. I wanted to show her why I do what I do, and why I make the choices I make.
I don’t think this woman’s intentions were cruel. She was a very kind woman to speak with, and I am thankful she approached us newcomers and made us feel welcome. What I wish I could tell her is how her words about our family’s situation are like ripping flypaper from my heart. When I try to take the words off, it hurts, and they still stick. 
Don’t we all know how much work our own lives take?

Perhaps I am sensitive to this topic because I have a sense of sadness regarding it. Thankfully, I get to work with some fantastic friends, friends who have made the transition easy and my time away from Shepherd seemingly shorter because of their great friendship to me.

I was home with my son for twelve weeks of pure joy. I savored every moment of it, but it was work! I wouldn’t say to a mom who stays at home that her job is easy. And, if I stayed at home, I wouldn’t tell a mom who had a job outside of the home that she is doing a disservice to her children or infer that she should be at home with her child instead. I have been on both sides, albeit briefly, and it hurts my stomach to see that these accusations continue, whether they are in conversation with one another or, especially, when they are behind each other’s backs. I’m using this as a challenge to myself to be better in my assumptions and snap judgments, especially when it comes to being a mom. 
Also, I read this and found it so comforting. I hope, if you are going through something similar in your own walk, it will encourage you and bring you peace as well. It’s from Romans.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking,but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 
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bedtime for bears

Our nights are so different than they once were. For starters, I have an hour-long trip from work to home with a pit-stop on the way to pick up my VIP from Ma’s house. I get home and play with Shepherd for as long as possible.

I try to nurse him as soon as we get home. Afterward, we go on walks, read, play on his playground and sometimes just hang out together during these two hours. We listen to Rdio; listen to records; sometimes Aaron plays guitar or some other instrument; and sometimes we don’t have any music and it’s just me singing and Shep cooing.

He and I usually play in his room; I take him out of our living room when Aaron has the TV on, because Shepherd will watch it if he sees a face. Some nights we make dinner with him awake; some nights we wait to eat until he is in bed. Lately, I’ve been eating dinner after he’s asleep.

Shepherd is like me in that his attitude changes like clockwork when he is tired and needs to go to bed. Around 7, Shep will start getting a little whiney and rubbing his face. We stop what we are doing and start to wind down for the night: nursing, jammies, stories, prayers and songs. We do the latter two with Shep in his crib, and he seems to recognize that indeed it’s time to rest. He and I both love our routine.

He usually smiles and laughs at us as we put him to bed, and lately he’s been rolling on his sides. We kiss him goodnight, turn on his fan and leave him; he’s usually asleep in a two minutes (another trait he inherited from
me). Lately, we have to rescue him from himself when he rolls from his back on to his stomach. He gets scared that he can do it and screams until he’s returned to his back.

Shepherd will sleep for about nine- to ten-hour stretches usually. He nurses and then falls back asleep for another hour and a half or two hours. If I nurse him right before I lay him down, he has slept until 6 a.m. each time. But then he won’t have any of the routine while he’s awake. I love full restful nights, but I think I love those few happy hours in the evening more.

I’m thankful for a calm night routine, though it isn’t always that way. The most common problem is waiting too long to put him to bed and having a crabby baby who can’t be consoled. One thing that instantly calms him, though, is having one of his swaddle blankets to grasp. He is my little Linus with his blanket. He is still refusing a pacifier, so we don’t even offer it. He self soothes by sleep-sucking, and it’s so funny to watch.

I am often guilty of wandering into his room just to watch his little chest inhale and exhale. I love how he throws his hands over his head and smiles as he sleeps. It’s so hard to resist picking him up and holding him, and sometimes I have to do just that. I get “the look” from Aaron, but I have to hold him while I can. He is quickly growing, and I want to treasure each moment.

Mid-week brain dump.

1. Shepherd’s three and four month posts aren’t up. They aren’t even done. I’m disappointed in myself because I want to record these things. I have a terrible memory for some things, and if I don’t write them down I will forget them. I am going to sit myself down and finish them (both) by Friday. Thankfully, I have a calendar that I am jotting down notes and events on. I can reference it, and I’m pretty diligent about recording.

2. Anybody else’s mind blown that it’s the last week of June?

3. This week has been crazy. Tropical storm Debby, aka Debby Downer, has made life crazy since Sunday. Huge rains, flooding, crazy wind, power outages… I guess this is my official initiation into being a Florida resident (aside from the car registration, of course). The air conditioner is out at work for the rest of the week, too. Friday can’t come soon enough.

4. I am on a cleaning rampage lately. Yesterday it was the bedrooms. Tonight I cleaned the kitchen and the carpet in the dining area, which, let me tell you, I LOATHE carpet. Especially in areas where people eat or drink. My next home will not have carpet in gathering places.

5. When I get my mind set on something it is next-to-impossible to break my focus. Lately my thoughts have been centered around finances. I hate paying for the past. I’ve been an excel spreadsheet addict lately, plugging in scenarios and playing with numbers.

6. These storms are taking a toll on all of us, Shep included. He gets so fussy when it’s really bad. Thankfully, he’s sleeping through the night despite his irritability.

7. I have a stack of about ten unread magazines just sitting on the side table. They are foes in the war against clutter that I am waging (by myself) in our house. Have you ever just wanted to get rid of everything?! That’s where I am.

8. My dad’s best friend (who is practically my second dad) had heart surgery yesterday, and he is doing well today, but I’m sure his family would appreciate prayers!

9. Sometimes I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought my small car, and I get to thinking I want an SUV. Then I think about point #5 and the fact that I spend relatively little on gas and am content again.

10. July 4 falls on a Wednesday, which means we probably won’t be able to watch fireworks, as we will have to be up early for work.

11. I could go for one of these right now.

NOLA instagrammed

I spent the weekend in New Orleans with all of my favorite people. My parents and sister met me, Aaron and Shep there Friday evening. It was sweet but way too short, as usual. Here are my favorite shots from my phone. I’ll be back later this week with a recap and pictures that aren’t from a phone!

Bourbon Street 
Sazerac at the Roosevelt
Baby’s first beignet
Couldn’t resist.
A night on the town.
I loved this signage.
My sister and Shepherd had a fantastic time together. She is such a great aunt!
Basilica art at St. Louis Cathedral.
Cafe au Lait at Cafe du Monde
Jackson Square

This Time Last Year

One year ago today happened to be Father’s Day. It was also the day Aaron and I found out we were going to be parents.

I cried when I told Aaron. Aaron was overjoyed.

Our son is proof that sometimes the most unexpected circumstances bring unimagined joy. The journey that began last June has been a memorable one, a time of growth (both emotionally and physically, ha!), and we have found ourselves completely taken care of by our gracious Lord. I didn’t know, sometimes, if we would be OK. We have been more than OK. How useless it is to worry. How loved we are.

We are so thankful to be on the opposite side of this year and are stronger and wiser for all that has happened in the last twelve months. I remember the intense fear I felt when I found out I was pregnant. I had no clue what I was getting in to. Now, so many of the things I dreaded have come and gone, and a sense of peace has taken worry’s place. In a way, I feel reborn.

I am so thankful for the lessons learned since June 19, 2011. Mostly, I’m thankful for the chance to continue on this path with my baby son, who turns four months old tomorrow, and his daddy, who has held my hand day by day.