Babies Grow Up

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Abigail, only hours old

Our sweet, not so cuddly, newborn baby we brought home two years ago is growing. Her baby fat is melting away, her hair grows inches everyday I swear, and if Abigail would stand she would be almost 3 foot tall now! I see the changes everyday – a baby turning into a beautiful little girl.

She is learning so much and is becoming interested in her environment around her. She loves people and will interact with any adult she sees whether we are in a restaurant or checking out at the store. Her joyful little personality comes out day by day. She brightens up a room, and makes people smile in her own simple way.

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One year old Abigail. What a cutie patootie!!!

If Abigail was your typical two year old she would have be jumping around and climbing into everyting. She would be an adventurous, that kid who is into everything and we would be exhausted at the end of each day as we try to keep up with her. Abigail is fiercely independent and stubborn. She is adventurous and a little dare devil. She has no fear of getting hurt, falling or being in danger. She is our blonde headed wild child.

When I lay her down in her crib at night I see her length has taken over her crib. Yet, she finds a way to snuggle all the way to the bottom of her crib with her legs always at crazy angles jutting out away from her most nights. I know it is going to be time for a big girl bed soon, and that excites me and saddens me all at the same time. This baby is turning into a girl, and we have so much to learn about raising a child!

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Trying out the big girl swing in the park the other day. She is still so tiny in it.

My little girl will always be my baby. So often it is hard to see her growing up because she is still so dependent on us, but I am seeing her grow before my eyes. One day she will not be as reliant on me. One day she will feed herself or get herself dressed and I will be a proud mama who will treasure these moments, but for now I will watch this baby girl of mine grow into a lovely child who will one day shine her bright light for the world. Right now though she is my innocent, sweet little baby girl snuggled up in her footie pajamas just sleeping away in her crib. Oh may this little girl grow into a godly woman with a big servant’s heart.

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I love sleeping babies!

The Perfect Mom

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I am not perfect. In fact most days I am not even that good. I spend more time on my phone and on social media than I would like. I get impatient with Abigail. I brush off her whines to be played with or held so I can finish that one load of laundry that just has to be done. I am selfish with my desires and time. Often at the end of the day I can see the moments I should have done things differently or had a better attitude or reaction to something that happened earlier in the day.

However, despite my imperfections I love being a mom. God blessed me with my daughter and she is my responsibility to raise, and I am thankful for this even on the hard days. Raising children is not easy. They need a lot of things and attention especially when they are young. I know the teenage years come with its own list of demands and worries as every new stage of childhood does, but right now I am in the infant, dependency stage. To think that God gave you children to raise is a huge honor and one not to be taken lightly. So often we forget the big picture as we struggle through the daily grind of dirt, feeding, and playing. We forget that we only have these little people in our lives for a short period of time before they grow up and leave our houses to build lives of their own. Babies do not keep. Babies become adults out in the world who have an impact for the good or for the worse. We all want our kids to be world changers and lights in a dark world, but are we modeling that in our homes everyday with our children now?

Motherhood is a blessing. Those little arms that reach around you at just the perfect time make your whole day better. Watching your children learn and discovery as their personalities bloom in front of you is a treasure in and of itself. Knowing that this little child will soon be replaced with a man or woman making their own decisions, makes you want to store every possible memory of them you can. Yes, days can be long between the complaining, whining, cleaning, and hunting for that lost shoe. But God gave us children to enjoy, to nurture, and to teach and He trusts us with that precious child each and every day. Motherhood not only shapes the child, but it transforms you too as you learn from those precious little lives about child-like faith, dependence, and brings you face to face with your own selfish desires. God uses motherhood to mold us as we mold our children after God.

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Children are a blessing. I still remember the first day we went to listen to Abigail’s heartbeat at the OBGYN’s office. We were about 8 weeks pregnant. I had already been experiencing night sickness for about 3 weeks, but that tiny whoosing on the monitor made everything just stop for a moment. I wish that they could give every mom a recording of that precious sound. It is the sound of life. Children bring life into everything they touch. They bring joy and laughter and fun. The way they see things is astounding, and makes you realize how much the world influences you daily. Children find more joy and laughter in the simple things of life. They would rather play in the giant cardboard box than the new toy they just received. Children make life seem so simple, and they can teach us so much.

I know I am not a perfect mom, and I know I never will be. Mistakes happen, reactions will come out too fast, and time will be mismanaged. However, I want my kids to know that I was the best mother I could be. I want to be their mom that they love. I want them to know that they are loved and that we are so proud of them. I want them to know that the love God has for them trumps my love 100 fold. I want them to be children, and let innocence reign for as long as possible. I want them to feel safe in my arms, and know I will be there to support and encourage them all day, every day. I want my children to laugh and love. I want them to be different than the world, and shine in the darkness. I want them to know and understand the Truth and know God’s Word. I want my children to love one another and love others. I want them to not be afraid to be who God created them to be.

Today, I pray, not to be a perfect mom, but to be the mom Abigail needs. I pray that you will be the parent your child needs. Let us remember the big picture, that these children will not be children forever. God gives us these little lives only for a short time to raise, and then we send them out. But they are not alone! Our God who loves our children so much more than we ever could is with them every step of the way. Let us remind our children of that daily, and then remind ourselves of that even more. May your season of motherhood be blessed!

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My Sunshine

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I love this time of year! Everything is blooming and waking up from its winter slumber. Nature is just beautiful, and even though my allergies are at an all time worse, I love driving and seeing all the beautiful scenery. But the sunshine as it kisses my skin is my favorite. I am up early enough to see the first rays of light touch the earth and brighten it as the sun rises. I love the feeling and warmth of the rays and knowing no matter what that the sun will come up and be there to welcome the day.

The sun brightens everything and shares its light and warmth. Abigail is my sunshine. She brightens everyone’s day that she meets and she never meets a stranger. She loves “waving’ at people, which is really her reaching out to touch them. Faces are her thing. If she could play with your face and hair all day she would be the happiest baby! In just the first five minutes of meeting Abigail, she reaches out for your face and hair and smiles her perfect smile. Abigail is simply a joy to be around, and I don’t think I am saying that just because I am her mom. She smiles and laughs at people while we are in the check out line. Her therapists love her and say she makes their days better. And friends and family always tell us she’s wonderful. People are just taken with her because she is such a welcoming little one.

When I think of the way Abigail brings joy to people, the way she just makes people smile with her beauty and joy, it brings hope into my life. Maybe this is exactly who Abigail is meant to be. A little blonde headed ball of joy who is a little odd compared to others. A person who stands out in the crowd. Until you meet Abigail yourself you cannot fully grasp her personality. I cannot put it into words correctly, but this child can change the atmosphere in a room instantly. Even as tiny as she is Abigail makes a big impact in a room of people and I love that about her. She brings life, and joy and hope to others, and she is not shy to have all attention on her. She does not realize she is missing out on so much. She does not want things other toddlers want. She is content to play with your face other than a new toy. She just wants to be with you more than anything in the world. In the arms of a person who adores her she works her magic and you cannot help but catch on with her contagious smile and adorable giggle.

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Our precious Spring pictures from last year.      Happy Spring y’all!

Abigail Paige is my sunshine. All children have an innocence about them that is perfect, and their joy in the smallest things lights up this world. That is what Abigail does for me; she is my bright light in this dark, confusing world. She warms up my heart and allows me to love freely. She helps me see special needs in a whole new light, and she is teaching me she does have purpose in this world. Abigail can be a world changer with just her smile. And she is by lighting up lives with her tiny rays of joy everyday!! Oh I hope that those sweet rays continue to shine for a long, long time.

My Hope Restored

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My first Mother’s Day we were leaving the hospital! Abigail was two days old

It seems like a lifetime ago that we sat in our pediatrician’s office as he told us our baby’s vision was not normal. I really do not remember it too well because at the time I was not that worried about it. I knew nothing about babies, so what did it matter that our two month old daughter was not tracking or focusing? She would grow out of it (and she has). He referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist in Atlanta, and a few weeks later we had our appointment. The first year of Abigail’s life was like this. The doctor would tell us something wrong with Abigail and then refer us to yet another doctor. Every doctor we went to was confused or puzzled by her condition. Abigail does not fit any textbook they have seen so far, so we have done a lot of testing to try to find answers.

I used to worry and dread about Abigail’s future a lot. In the beginning we were worried her brain was not functioning or developing right. We were worried she would not grow physically, or that she would be blind and disabled. A lot of these fears have been proven wrong. We have learned we have a very healthy baby with a very functioning brain and other vital organs. She is tiny for being 22 months, but she is still growing every day! And her vision is no longer a worry; it has come a long, long ways!!

In the last couple of months since becoming a full stay at home mom I have had a heart change towards Abigail’s disabilities. They are no longer hindrances and burdens. I no longer worry about them in the way I used to. Yes, do I wish my daughter would sit on her own? Every day! We could do so much more with her if she could just sit on the floor and play. Do I wish she could communicate with us better? Yes, to know what she needed or wanted to be so much easier. Do I still worry about her ever being able to walk or play with children her age? Of course, but if you could see the improvement that Abigail has made in the past few months you would share my joy that there is still hope.

That is what has changed the most in the last few months. I have hope! I have hope that my child can learn to do new things every day if she wanted to. She changes and gets stronger everyday, why could she not be rolling over and eventually sitting in the next year? I have hope that her future looks good no matter what it holds because we have such a huge support system behind us. I have hope that just maybe I can do this special needs parenting thing and be the voice in the world my daughter needs. I have hope that Abigail will continue to grow and strengthen and amaze us all with her uniqueness that God has made her with.

At times, I have struggled with finding this hope. I have cried over Abigail’s disabilities as I watch others little babies crawling, walking, and talking. But these last few months I have come to realize that if I do not think positively about Abigail’s situation, and give her the encouragement she needs then who will? I have prayed and wrestled about my feelings, and God has graciously given me grace as always when I do not deserve it. He has shown me that being my daughter’s biggest cheerleader is my calling for now. Jordan has encouraged me to keep my head up and not to give up on my hopes and dreams for Abigail. I am thankful for this small but significant heart change. It is so easy to lose our hope and our faith when obstacles surround us on every side. But God gives us the strength to keep fighting when we do not think we can. He is beside us to lead us and to help us see that there are bigger things to fight for. My daughter is one of those things, so my faith rests in God as He sees to Abigail’s daily development. May my hope always rest in Him, and not how I feel or what the world tells me.

Our Joy

Abigail always keeps us laughing. We often say Abigail is a mess because she is. Her little personality is coming out more and more. She is a very independent and stubborn little girl. The therapist says she thinks Abigail has the best little sense of humor. And she is a lot smarter than you think she is. Abigail is pretty great in lots of ways!! So many of the readers have not met Abigail personally, so I wanted to introduce you to our crazy little girl, and tell you a few stories about her.

We have a little ottoman in our living. It functions more as a table and a footrest on most occasions. Underneath is the label stuck to the felt bottom. I am not sure what it is about this ottoman/table that Abigail likes, but she loves it under there. We put her on the floor on one side of the table with some toys underneath with her. She somehow starts to inch her way further and further underneath the table to reach that label. Tonight she played under there for thirty minutes. She just reached for the label and played with her toys. Then we realized we could not see her feet on the one side of the table anymore. She managed to scoot all the way to the other side. Her little head was sticking out and she had a blast playing peek-a-boo with us. Jordan and I could not stop laughing. It was probably one of those things you had to be there for, but just look at the joy on her little face!!

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She falls asleep in the silliest positions and then snores. She spreads out to take up every available space in the crib. It is all too cute. Now she can turn from side to side, and it is a constant battle before she goes to sleep as to what side she will manage to end up on. And for a baby who does not move anywhere she somehow manages to get the blanket that was on top all the way beneath her. How does she do that?

When Daddy does not have to work we usually go in after breakfast to wake him up. Again for a baby who never moves she somehow scoots herself over to Daddy in no time flat to touch his face and pull his beard. If he inches away from her she manages to just creep closer until Jordan is barely on the bed. She goes into giggle fits to wake up Daddy in the morning.

Abigail loves it when you get right in her face. She likes funny noises and funny voices. All these things make her crack up. She is always very ticklish on her ribs and feet and back. If you tickle her foot she will stick them straight up for you to tickle again like a little game. And when she gets excited you have to watch out because you are liable to be punched by flying arms. She just pumps her arms up, and down, and if you are holding her when she is like this it is even worse. You instantly death grip her because she becomes a bouncing dead weight in your arms that could slip any minute.

Abigail is also one of the most flexible babies around. The orthopedic doctor even said that when he examined her. She loves her feet and will stretch them completely to her face with no trouble. Many a stranger has told us while we have been out and about with our baby doing sitting toe touches that she will be a gymnast. The best part is that she loves to put her feet on the table while we eat. Daddy doesn’t like her to do it, so he tries to teach her to put her feet down while we eat. Well Abigail is again a mess. Daddy puts her feet down under the table, and she will look straight at him and slowly raise up one little foot at a time and put them back on the table. I know it is awful to laugh but it is too stinking cute. She knows exactly what she is doing.

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Abigail hates anything in her hair. If you touch it to get it out of her eyes or even attempt to tame to mane, she instantly has to run her hands through it to make sure you did not put anything in her hair. She can last with a ponytail for about an hour or two but after that she fights to rip that holder out of her hair. And when she gets tired she runs her hands through her hair. Jordan calls her a wild child because her hair is always a giant mess. One day her beautiful blonde mane will be gorgeous and curly, but for now it is just a crazy mess.

Abigail also prefers adults to children any day. And she is very particular to who she likes. We still cannot figure out her system for choosing people. Some people she will go to instantly like she has known them forever. But others she will not even let them look at her without crying. Her system makes no sense. She does usually prefer men over women. But instead of waving at people she just sticks her arms straight out like she is reaching for the person. She really just wants you to reach out to so she can touch you. But if you touch her it is a big no no. She will instantly take her arms away. She likes to be in charge.

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Abigail wakes up with a smile and goes to sleep laughing. She is always in a good mood. Even when she was sick this past week she was still smiling. She lights up every room, and people are just drawn to her. I am not sure what it is about her, but she definitely likes the attention, and she knows she is cute! She is going to be a strong-willed child that is not afraid of much. She is a thrill seeker and an adventurer at heart. Who knows what she will grow up to be, but I know I love this girl beyond what I could ever say. She is our joy and our sunshine!

 

Delight in Your Children

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What is it about your children that makes you so proud of them? I remember playing a newly wed type of game with my family when Abigail was only about three months old. One of the questions was, ‘What are you most proud of?’ It was a no brainer for Jordan and I. Abigail won hands down. Even at three months old, when she had not even barely moved yet, we were so proud of her. We were proud of her beauty, of her sweet smiles, and the fact we had come as far as we had with her at that time.

Pride in your children is like none other. And today I was reminded of how proud I am of Abigail. We laugh at her a lot about how ‘lazy’ she is, and how she does not do anything. But as the physical therapist was talking to me about Abigail’s improvements these last couple of months my pride in her was like none other. She has been working so hard. You can see how she strains to try to sit up, and how she wants to reach out for things that interest her. She is trying so hard to roll over and sit up. Her progress amazes me. To remember her at 6 or even 8 months with zero interest in anything, and now to see her laughing at a balloon we bought her for Valentine’s Day it makes my heart smile.

Pride in your children makes you puff out your chest and say, ‘Yes, that one is mine.’ Pride in your children makes you smile when you see them conquer that fear or when they succeed in the challenge that was facing them. Pride in your children makes you linger by their bed at night to watch them sleep and see how much they have grown since that day you brought them home. Pride in your children allows you to fight for them like you would never fight for anyone else. Pride in your children makes you celebrate their successes and cry in their defeats. Pride in your children is to have a delight in them.

As I write this I am thinking about all the things I am proud of about Abigail. I think I am going to write a list in the next days to look back on in the tough times of frustration and tiredness. I love lists. I love having tangible evidence of my thoughts and memories to refer back to at any time. In what ways are you proud of your own children? Tell them those specific things and ponder them in your heart. Some of my proudest moments of Abigail’s that I can recall are the moments she ‘stood’ for the first time, the time she said ‘mama’, and the time she handed me a toy. Her first birthday party and her dedication. The way she behaved on the day we had her MRI and the first time we gave blood. These are such simple things, but when I think about them they mean so much to me!

I hope Abigail always knows how proud Jordan and I are of her. Right now she cannot grasp that, but I know she knows she is loved and well cared for. She trusts us fully and depends on us for everything. Her smile and joy are contagious. I am so very proud of my little blonde headed love. She has come such a long way, and I am excited to see what her future holds!


“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”

Psalm 127:3-5, NIV

An Altered Pace

I am reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and she had a wonderful quote sandwiched in chapter 2 that just really spoke to me. “Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life, like abiding, delighting, and dwelling – all words that require us to trust Him with our place and our pace. Words used to describe us being with Him.” As I think about an average day in my life do these words describe myself and my family? These words challenged my heart because they seem so inviting, but do we abide in God on a daily basis?

This makes me think of what does a day in the life of us look like? I have wondered what word to use to describe a day of our life, and the one word I would describe it is peaceful. That is probably not what you, or even I think of initially, but as I have thought about writing this post peaceful is what I have concluded.

Our day is filled with what everybody else’s day is filled with. Morning and bedtime routines, running errands, playing, napping, cleaning, eating, talking and laughter, and simply being a family. If you came to spend the day with us it would not be anything special, but everyday is special to me.

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I don’t always let Abigail make a mess while she eats, but she was so cute playing with her rice the other night. 

Having Abigail has taught me to slow down. You cannot rush with any child. There is no last-minute lunch dates with your best friend or random adventures with your husband. Every child slows you down to some extent. You have to take time to take care of them and love them. But with Abigail those things are slowed down even more.

Every simple routine thing takes a little longer to complete. Whether it is meal time, or getting clothed, or buckling her into her car seat things just take an extra minute with her. But through that I am learning patient endurance. It is not something someone picks to learn, but it is teaching me that life is not meant to be rushed. Jesus was intentional with every thing He did, so being intentional and present in every moment is something I strive for even if I fail often.

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Soaking in every bit of this beautiful weather we can!

I am a schedule and to-do list junkie. I love lists and schedules and I often get too caught up in them. It is my strength and my weakness. I love routine and order. But Abigail is showing me that a list is not as important as quality time. A schedule is not as important as showing love. And a routine can be changed and the world will not quit revolving. Abigail takes me out of my comfort zone a lot of times. I make a pre-planned schedule of the day in my head each morning and rarely does it ever play out the way I think it will. Abigail ends up liking an activity more than I thought she would, so we play a little longer than expected. Or she ends up not napping which means I do not get the chores I was planning to get done. She messes up my made up schedules a lot but it is teaching me to let go of them and just relax and enjoy each moment.

Today the world says rush, rush, rush. Do this event or this activity or make sure your child is in this certain thing. The comparison game is stronger than ever through social media. But I am learning not to listen to these messages the world screams. Instead I choose to listen to what my God whispers through my soul and time spent with Him. It is hard to compare Abigail to other children. I used to, but as she got further and further behind toddlers her age the comparison game quickly came to an end. She is unique and truly in her own category. She’s already backtracked on every single milestone so now any progress she makes is an answered pray. She teaches me to slow down and let peace reign because God has created her exactly the way He did for a reason.

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Our little, smiley blessing

Abigail does not run around and talk about toddler things. She does not scream or fuss or throw fits. These are not things I wish. I want her to walk and talk and communicate with us. I want her to interact with her environment. But because of the way she is our life is peaceful. We have other stresses in our life. But Jordan is always so good about reminding me that there is no need to worry about things that are out of our control. That is hard for me because I like control, and I like knowing what tomorrow holds and what next month holds. But we are living in the unknown with our little one. And we are learning to embrace the unknown.

I want to do better and live in each moment. I want the pace in our house to slow down. I want my home to be a place of rest and shelter. I want the peace of God to reign in our lives everyday no matter the situation. The days we live may pass slowly sometimes, but the years are flying by. I do not want to miss a moment of Abigail’s life. A day in our life might not be extraordinary, but it is what we make of it. And we are trying to make it the best life, full of abundant blessing!


“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

My prayer for you, dear reader, is that the peace of God finds its way into your heart and life today. It is a wonderful thing to rest in God’s able hands. May you surrender all your cares and burdens over to the Lord, for He can do much more with them than you ever could.