9 Months.

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My girl….

You’ve been with us on the outside as long as you were on the inside, and I wont lie, that makes me a crying mess right now.

I am so thankful, more than I ever knew to be before you were born.

Every day is such a gift sweet thing, you are such a gift to this family.

You make me so stinkin happy. Your personality and disposition is the biggest blessing to us.

Sometimes I cant believe we almost didn’t get to know you… and what we would have missed… I’m just so thankful to God for you.

You are growing and developing so wonderfully and that thrills me too.

When we left the NICU, we asked if anything was “wrong” with you from being without oxygen for so long and if there was anything we needed to be aware of long term. They said you had passed all your NICU tests and to just watch for your developmental milestones and that you would probably have an asterisk by your name until middle school to watch for learning disabilities.

So far you are passing all your milestones with flying colors (another thing that makes me sappy). Every time you do something new, experience something for the first time, etc it’s a reminder to me of God’s grace and my unreservedness. Almost losing you seriously changed me in the best way possible.

So, what you are up to…

Every since you got the grasping/pinching thing down you eat all on your own. We give you pouches occasionally for convenience but otherwise you completely lead the way and feed yourself anything that we give you (which is pretty much everything).

You pull on everything. You can stand for a couple seconds on your own.

You love your brother a lot.

Your daddy too… you have started to get excited when he comes home from work.

You love to touch other people but are kind of funny with your own space.

You are obsessed with your baby dolls, I have a couple so that we always have one accessible and you seriously squeal and laugh at them. If anyone tries to take one out of your hand you pull hard haha

You can say mumm mumm mumm but don’t do it all the time. In fact, you can make a couple sounds that sort of sound like words but you definitely take more in than you try to say.

You sleep through the night and usually take two naps a day. You are like clock work and at 8pm you turn into a grump if you are not getting ready for bed.

We never even had to sleep train you – you cried for like 2 minutes the first time we “tried” to train you. Every now and then you give a little protest but it’s nothing crazy and it never lasts for long.

You are learning the word no and I wouldn’t say you always listen to it… but you seem to be very teachable, which is something we pray for with you kids.

You make the most hilarious face when you don’t like something… you just open your mouth and make funny eyes, every now and then you make a whining noise and purse your lips too.

You rarely cry. If you do there is definitely a reason.

It’s hard to read to you… you are so active. I hope you will love books like the rest of the family though!

You are a tall little thing and I have no idea where you get that from but I should have known since you did give me stretch marks and your brother didn’t… I forgive you. I also still haven’t lost all the weight I gained with you and Ive been running over 25 miles a week – so I am assuming I just need the extra pounds for you to continue nursing. Which you are a champ at by the way.

As of today, (which is 4 days past your 9 month mark) your first tooth broke the skin!

I love you little girl and I cant wait to see what this month brings!

8 Months.

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VB,

You turned 8 months last week and you just continue to capture all of us with your bubbly personality and big gummy smiles.

I truly don’t know a happier baby.

You are the most active little girl ever. You crawl all over the place. You pull up on anything within reach. Daddy had to lower your crib.

You are obsessed with your big brother and it is the sweetest thing to me when you giggle together at the craziest things.

You go from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. You don’t really cry a lot though… more of a voice your opinion type of noise.

Just days ago you finally started shoving fistfuls of food into your mouth. Before that it was only pureed and you preferred store bought over anything I would make! Now you will eat whatever is in front of you… which is awesome but not so much when you find things on the floor now…

You had a blast at the beach. The sand was so fun for you.

You like to swing at the playground, jump in your bouncer, crawl, pull up, press buttons, eat your baby, get into things…

One of my absolute favorite things you do is, suck the air… bahaha when you want to nurse or are tired you just suck on your tongue a little bit. I need to get it on video.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you stood on your own any day now, you try but it doesn’t happen successfully yet.

You are learning the word “no” and sometimes you yell at be and get the biggest frown if I use that word. You also are super smart… because you go up to things you have already learned no about and you look at me and wait for me to look! little stinker.

I love you so much little girl.

7 Months.

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Sweet baby girl you are 7 months old!

You bring me SO much joy.

You “crawl” all over the place.

You are super determined.

You wont eat food unless it is completely pureed, obviously you are not a fan of textures right now.

At your 6 month check up, you were in the 27% for weight and 87% for height.

You are still a champ at nursing, just an easily distracted one.

You love the baby you met in the mirror.

You “talk” and make sounds like mmmm and daaa. You also growl a lot.

You laugh, mostly at your brother and dad, sometimes me… and often at that baby you met in the mirror.

You know your name and sometimes I can even get you to crawl to me for a diaper change or to be picked up.

You’ve been sleeping pretty well lately, maybe 50% of the time its through the night. I think all the moving and grooving wears you out.

Your brother’s toys are fascinating to you now.

I can see you wanting to pull yourself up but if you actually accomplish it you cry because you aren’t sure how to get back down.

You are pre-teething still and try to bite my face off.

You do sit and play and can get in and out of that position though. It’s the cutest.

You are content to play by yourself with toys for very long periods of times, like your brother, thank you Jesus!

You are a very busy baby. Constantly moving, you do like to be held but not for long periods and if you are being held you want to look at things and touch them while also being held.

You are a sensitive little thing. If your brother kisses you too hard or someone makes sudden noises you get these big fat tears with the saddest frown ever, like someone personally offended you.

I just love you to pieces Verity Belle.

Be You Bravely.

Yesterday I had the privilege of sharing a little about what God has been teaching me this year at our MOPs group.

The main point is: God is sovereign and in control, no matter what happens.

Introduction –

How I thought I was going to be the bravest this year!

So the topic this year was “Be You Bravely” and when Kristin asked me to share about what God has taught me this year through MOPs and just His leading, I truly didn’t know what I would share. I thought my biggest opportunity to be brave this year was going to come from asking my boss if I could just work part-time. Little did I know this year would be one full of transitions.  I have felt anything but brave on multiple occasions.

I realized I’m not brave by myself/ Lots of life transitions

All these different occasions led me more to my knees in prayer and humility than a “climb the mountain, conquering type of feeling” if you know what I mean. I realized that I am just not brave by myself, especially if life gets hard… but that’s okay.

It’s okay if you haven’t been brave this year either – and I hope you feel encouraged and not saddened at the end of this little talk.

The idea of being brave requires that you can summon up courage during some sort of decision or life event. I am more of a dependent woman than I ever have been in my life.

So at the end of this, if you can relate to me and you haven’t felt very brave this year, that’s okay. You don’t have to be by yourself. If you have felt brave this year, good! I am so glad for you. I hope you have thanked God for the grace to do so and realize that every good gift is from Him and that we shouldn’t boast in anything but what He has done for us. No matter what your situation, I hope you feel encouraged to lean into Him after this little talk, no matter what your story.

Body –

Verity’s Birth

I could tell you a lot of stories about all the transitions that have gone on in my family’s lives this past year but the most impactful for me to realize my dependence on God was my daughter’s birth.

Because I have to keep this talk under 15 minutes, the short version is, she wasn’t breathing when she came out. For seven minutes we heard nurses and doctors administer CPR, give her epinephrine, and then hook her up to tubes to help her breathe. I say we heard because we couldn’t see anything through the whirlwind that was the delivery room. I just kept asking “why isn’t she breathing, why isn’t she crying, and looking at my husband with fear in my eyes. I don’t remember actually asking him questions but the look in my eyes said it all – what if she doesn’t make it?

He knows me and he could read straight through my eyes and asked me ever so sweetly and calmly:

“Whose baby is she?”, “Who made her?”, “Who loves her more than we do?” I love that man.

When they got her stable and wheeled her away, Micah crawled in bed with me and we lost it. We almost lost her. But we didn’t. What if we had though? I know some of you have lost loved ones. We didn’t know if something was “wrong with her” from going that long without breathing and started to wonder what our road with her would look like.

I decided to ask Micah to turn on hymns because I just wanted to listen to truth. I couldn’t really talk and just wanted to be saturated with His word.

Because of this and a lot of other things this year… I became anxious and fearful. Two sins I’ve never struggled with before. It caused me to search my heart and mind to decide things… He is either good or He isn’t. I can trust Him or I cant. Not only in outcomes but through processes too, for it’s often there where we grow the most, through the process of pruning. Our sanctification. My anxiety and fear are being pushed away, (although not completely), as I learn and remind myself of His truths.

 

The Importance of Community

I remind myself of his truths by being in a gospel teaching and practicing church, by saturating myself with the word of God, by surrounding myself with believers to be encouraged, and non-believers to pray for and share truth with, it comes from prayer, it comes from a godly husband, it comes from me remembering every good gift is from Him and not mine to keep. It comes most of all not by me being more courageous but more dependent on the grace He lavishes out on me.

Community is so important yall – did you know that in the NT Paul is mostly writing to churches? When our old pastor shared that with Micah, it was a game changer for us. Who is the one another often mentioned in the NT? It’s us, its each other, it’s not just you or I. We are to encourage one another, serve one another, rebuke one another, bear with each other, pray for each other, etc.

Conclusion –

God is Sovereign and in control. He is good.

It’s true stuff is going to happen. We live in a fallen world where there is death and sickness and we are a far cry from Eden. Even when stuff seems terrible or on the contrary when we are in a season of light with hardly any darkness… we need to be trusting in God’s plan and His sovereignty, His purpose and abilities to make all things work together for good for those who love Him.

He is so good. If he didn’t let Verity live, He would still be good. I would just be a really brokenhearted mama.

We need courage to persevere in our faith, to run the race set before us.

In the old testament, we see time and time again where God calls people to do some really crazy things. To trust Him when things seem downright crazy. I was reading about Joshua entering Jerico, God says “be strong and courageous, the Lord your God goes before you”. He goes before us yall. He knows the number of hairs on our head and nothings surprises Him.

So “Be You Bravely” ladies, for sure. Practice courage everywhere you can. Just don’t think you have to go at it alone.

Be brave in your decisions, your parenting, your finances, your marriage, but all those things are circumstantial – pray that come what may, we can be courageous in our faith. That it wouldn’t yield to anything or anyone.

Let’s have our prayer be that Christ would be made known through our lives, and that we would be brave in making sure that happens, no matter what our story.

I just want to end with lyrics from one of my favorite hymns…

“From life’s first cry (or lack thereof…), to final breath, Jesus commands our destiny”

MOPs

Working From Home.

I’m not one for major goals and dreams and five-year plans.

In fact, if I truly did stick to my old ones I would have achieved those at the age of 26.

Married: Age 24 – check

Mama: Age 26  – check

Thanks God and Micah.

Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be as a kid, without fail, the answer was: a wife and a mom. Although I think I always said mom first. I bought baby dolls until I was in college. True story.

When I went to college, it was because it kind of seemed like what I was supposed to do. I loved JMU and my undergrad minor led me into my graduate studies: Human Resource Development and Adult Education. There were so many avenues you could take with that degree and I really liked it! I always hoped it would be something I could still use if I did become a mama. I hoped that it would be the kind of work I could do from home.

I’ve kind of always just tried to go with the flow when it comes to God’s plans for my life.

He led me to my first job after college – working full-time in an office in Newport News.

He led me to Frederick, MD – working part-time for that same company.

I couldn’t have planned that out.

I get weekly interview offers through LinkedIn for exciting opportunities, mostly because I am hitting my 5-year experience threshold and the location of where I live. I turn them down every time though. For now, what is most exciting to me is not the money, the project, or the location. It’s that I am here every day when my husband gets home. It’s that I am with my kids more than I am apart from them.

The fact that I am working from home right now, using my hard earned degree is not something I take lightly, at all. In fact, I have tears in my eyes just writing this because I don’t know why God is being so nice to me in allowing me to continue with my career and see my littles more. Truly the best of both worlds.

Now that I’ve been working from home for over a year, I feel like I can shed a teeny bit of advice for mamas who desire to do the same.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind if you are considering this type of arrangement, in no particular order:

Have a set space. Even if it isn’t an “office”. It’s easier to stay focused when you have a designated work space. My office happens to be in the basement so every now and then if I don’t need two monitors I come upstairs and into the light!

Have designated hours. I work Tuesdays and Thursdays full 8-hr days and on Wednesday mornings. For me this meant taking work email off of my phone and closing down my computer at certain times. I don’t want to be connected to it all of the time. Isnt that part of my goal in having more dedicated and designated time for each priority?

Have reliable internet and phone service. It’s kind of embarrassing to have to log back into a meeting or call your manager back because of a dropped call. I know from experience… as I’m still working on cell phone service in my neighborhood!

Get a babysitter. Find someone you love and who loves your kids. I know some people hate the idea of a sitter but I personally really like the fact my kids are learning to play with others and listen to other adults. Plus, then they aren’t sitting in front of the tv or crying for your attention 20 hours a week.

Get dressed. Okay, I don’t always do this one. Seriously though, if you have a client call, a meeting, etc. just put on some normal pants, a little mascara, and lipstick.

Practice Professionalism. Just because you can see dried cheerios on the floor and your pump with milk bottles full is beside you doesn’t mean you are not a professional. Answer your phone, texts, emails, etc just as if you were interacting in the office. No matter where you are or what you are doing – do it for His glory. Your reputation matters.

Take breaks. Don’t feel guilty about them either. If you were in the office you would be chatting with people, going to lunch, going for coffee, smoke breaks, etc. Just know your companies guidelines on break allowances and give your honest day. It’s definitely a fact, that I work better and faster from home. You might be more distracted though, that’s where space and time are important – or just go to the office!

FaceTime. I actually don’t mean it the way its spelled. I mean, go see your co-workers, bosses, and clients if you are able. In the meantime, email them, text, call sometimes and not just to talk about work. That’s one of the cons about working from home if you are an extrovert.

Evaluate. Ask your boss to evaluate too. This should be a mutually beneficial relationship.

That’s all I’ve got for now.

Someday my littles wont be so little anymore. They wont need me as much as they do now. I will probably want the fancy project, higher salary, to get dressed in a cute outfit every day and do my hair and go see people! That’s not right now though.

Whether, I am able to do this another 6 months or another 3 years, I’ll be forever grateful for this time.

6 Months.

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Has it really been 1/2 a year since you’ve entered our lives?!

This month was a little crazy.

You were still sweet as can be but…

You didn’t sleep as well as you had been and that made me a little nutty.

Then the last week of the month, you started crawling (kind of), eating solids, and sleeping in your crib.

They are all very welcome changes.

It feels a little freeing to me knowing I’m not the only thing that feeds you.

The crawling wears you out and helps you sleep better.

You are also a mover, a toucher, a kicker – you crazy girl. Your brother was so observant – you see something and go for it.

You prefer your crib to other spots to sleep.

Now that you can move, you are after your brother’s flashy toys. Sometimes he minds and grabs things from you but most of the time he loves to have you playing with him, watching him, and just being near you. If you sleep too long, he wants to wake you because he wants you around.

You two giggle at each other and it makes me soooo happy.

You are seriously the happiest and most delightful baby I’ve ever been around.

You blow spit bubbles and stick out your tongue like crazy! You don’t say anything yet but you are starting to make the “mmmm” sound so we work on mama a lot. I love when you scoot your little self over to me and then just wait for me to pick you up.

You can play nicely by yourself or with your brother for long periods of time but if you get stuck, bonk something, or get frustrated you get pretty dramatic. Now that you’re mobile I have to rescue you a lot.

You are such an undeserved blessing my little treasure and I thank God for getting to be your mama in this life.

Church Home/Church Planting.

This post has been swirling around in my head since January.

We’re home. The Lord had us waiting patiently (or maybe I wasn’t that patient but still) for a church home when we moved here and a year later I can confidently say we are home.

I haven’t been this excited about “church” in a long time.

It’s kind of a long story… before we moved here Lauren mentioned a guy at her church in Charlottesville was going to church plant in Frederick. Then Brodie and Jenn called and gave us their contact information. We met up with Bliss and Shelby on one of their visits to Frederick in April of 2014.

They seemed great, we loved the church’s vision, mission, our beliefs aligned but they said they weren’t launching until 2015… our excitement diminished because we didn’t want to wait that long for a church. Plus, I was pregnant… Could we really help church plant with a newborn?

So we didn’t commit. We looked around, tried other churches, even staying at one for a couple months but not feeling like it was “right”. The pastors there even prayed that the Lord would guide us and lead us to the right one.

It was a lonely year. We missed being in deep fellowship. We missed serving. We missed community. We did grow incredibly close to one another as a family though!

We stayed in contact with the Spillars and went to Redemption City Church’s first launch service (which happens to meet in our neighborhood).

I left there and I looked at Micah and said, yep – this is it. What do you think? We were on the same page (which… doesn’t always happen hehe)

It’s been four months and I can say wholeheartedly that I am confident in God’s leading for us to help with this church plant.

We love the people. We love the mission. We love Jesus.

Pray for our church as we seek to proclaim the gospel in Frederick!

Join us in our vision… our vision is to EXSIST as A CHURCH WHERE PEOPLE CAN ENCOUNTER JESUS AND BE TRANSFORMED BY HIS GOSPEL. 

5 Months.

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Verity Belle,  I fall more in love with you every day little one.

I can probably count the number of times on one hand that I’ve actually felt impatient or frustrated with you.

You are a sweet baby and I thank the Lord for your life daily. When I think about the fact that we almost didn’t get you… I feel weak. You will bless this world in a big way darling. You already do.

Because no day is guaranteed… and I know that more and more the older I get, I enjoy the heck out of you.

You have a pretty good routine but I don’t watch the clock with you at all.

If you are whiney at all it is because you either are about to poop, have pooped, or are getting hungry or tired. That’s it.

The day I wrote your last post you rolled over that evening. I cried. When we left the NICU, we asked if you were “okay”. We didn’t know if minutes without oxygen damaged your brain at all. They said they couldn’t really say indefinitely but you seemed fine. They told us to just keep an eye out for your milestones. Every time you meet one I think of the Lord’s grace to you, and to us.

You are reallllly distracted these days, by every thing. Most of the time I have to go retreat to feed you. Your brother, dad, music, fan, heck a fly would probably keep you from eating well.

You are still nursing like a champ. Those thighs though. After what I went through with Haddon’s feeding issues, the delight I have in seeing that chunk on you is such a good feeling!

You like to play with toys now, especially your dolls. It is so crazy to me that your brother came out practically liking anything with wheels and you are showing a strong preference to doll babies.

You squeal. You blow spit bubbles. When you laugh you sound like an old man coughing.

Your daddy and your brother are your favorite people in the world to watch. However, you better believe if you are hungry, you will find me from across the room and give me the nonblink stare until I acknowledge you.

Daddy calls you juicer, gusher, juice bomb… and an array of other things dealing with the fact that you are always drooling. I think its pre-teething. You naw on everything, mostly hands.

You have gotten so big… with Haddon I kept loving every stage that came next more and more. While it is true that I love to see you developing and growing. I hate how fast time is going. It is so true that “babies don’t keep”. But then again… they aren’t supposed to. You are on loan to us, you are supposed to get big, grow and develop into the person God made you to be for Him. Oh, but how I wish I could slow down time.

You are super smiley my happy day girl.

I love you VB.

Four Months.

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This month was so much fun.

No sickness/hospital worries, my anxiety and fear levels are way down, and you are really developing a personality!

You cry more now. It had been held at bay for a while with minimal complaining, then one day your brother accidently bonked your head and man did you learn how to cry. Now you have no problem doing it.

You are still more content and calm then anything else though, at least with mama. You know the hand that feeds you.

You drool and blow spit bubbles, a lot!

You have found your voice and talk, squeal, screech, sing, complain, yell, cry and coo – oh my goodness its all adorable.

You are a sensitive little thing and get startled/scared easily.

Three favorite memories of that:

  1. I had a mud mask on and you didn’t know who I was until I started talking and then you acted like everything was wrong in the world.
  2. One of daddy’s friends has a beard and brown hair like him. You were looking at him all lovingly and then you heard daddy talk and realized that the one you had been staring at wasn’t him. You lost it.
  3. You were talking to yourself one morning and I walked in the room (with a towel on my head) and startled you and you about jumped out of your skin.

You are crazy about your daddy and brother, mostly just to stare at them though. You have ga ga eyes whenever you hear their voices.

You love your mama and your whole body shrivels up when you see me and you grin from ear to ear, especially when you are hungry.

You have no schedule, just sort of a routine and I’ve learned you really well.

You still sleep in the rock n play, but I’ve moved you from beside my bed. No offense.

You still wake up about once a night to eat. Speaking of eating… an update from our feeding post this time around. I never pump anymore. Well except for days you are at Ms. Shelby’s house. A friend came over and I saw how easy it was for her to nurse even if it meant more often, and I was stressing a little about how many ounces I would pump. I just let you nurse one day for all your feedings and we’ve been doing it every since. I love it. I don’t even like pumping now. Funny how things change and you just have to learn to trust your body.

You grab onto toys and have very strong neck, leg, and torso control. You haven’t rolled over yet, but you sure do try!

Haddon really, really loves you now. He never wants us to leave you and always makes sure you are coming with us.

I have so much fun playing dress up with you and having girl talk.

I love you my sweet Verity Belle.

Three Months.

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Verity Belle,

You are the sweetest baby. Seriously, despite the medical drama, you are so so good to us.

Speaking of medical drama, this was our first month with no hospital stays since you have been born! yay!

You are a happy little girl who doesn’t fuss almost ever. Sometimes you make some noise when you are hungry or tired, that’s about it. Besides that, you mostly make a variety of sounds.

You are a big talker right now. You coo and gurgle and I don’t know if I’ve ever loved staring at something so much.

Your gummy smiles light up the whole room.

To sleep you don’t always have to be swaddled or pacified or really anything – but you do prefer to be in your rock and play and inhale your cozy blanket on the left side to fall asleep. You can also just be laying on your back staring at a fan or something as well. Did I mention you are the sweetest? Because you are.

We got in a nursing groove this month because I got sick and didn’t feel like pumping. It’s been so nice and way less stressful to worry about how many ounces or what time you need to eat. I just listen to you and its working out beautifully.

Today, I start working part-time. You are at Ms. Shelby’s house with your brother 1/4 of a mile down the road, in the same neighborhood. God is good to us baby girl. I think it will be good for all of us to have a little structure to our days and weeks.

I don’t know how much you weigh or how tall you are because we haven’t been back to the doctor for any well check ups. You are growing out of clothes, have a million rolls, and are happy so I assume you are doing just fine.

You are starting to love and recognize the men in your life and they make you light up. Daddy calls you his white chocolate chip chunk… one time you “yelled at him” for giving you too many kisses.

Your brother is starting to really love you vs being your commentator – “she pooped” “she’s awake” “why she not sleeping?” “she cant have pizza or ice cream”. He tells me on a daily basis that “he loves his baby”. One of my favorite moments was at church, I was holding another baby and he came up to me and said “whose that baby, where is my baby?”.

You two melt me into a huge puddle.

You seriously are the real life doll I always imagined, except you are more than I ever imagined.

I thank God for you every day sweet girl.

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