Monday, April 29, 2013

auntie love.

today marks one year since the birth of one of the most loved babies in the world, my niece Ella.

I remember the day so clearly... Jordan and I were both in Atlanta doing some last minute wedding stuff & Jenn was 2 days past her due date. We thought the baby was going to come early and it didn't, so we were on high alert and were praying that she would wait until we got back. The night/early morning before the day we were leaving to come home, we get a call around 3:30am from my sister, Shannon, saying that Jennifer was in heavy labor with Ella and that she would be making her entrance soon. I remember being devastated. not that she was being born, but that I was missing it. Jennifer and I had become so close in the months of her pregnancy. I felt so connected to her and this baby and wanted nothing more in the world than to be present for her birth. I cried and cried and cried. I felt such loss... I can't explain it. I was so mad at the Lord I couldn't even see straight. I simply couldn't understand. I woke Jordan up and we never went back to sleep because we were waiting on the phone call to tell us she had made it into the world. We got a call around 4:30 that she had come. Shannon brought the phone in the room so I could hear her cry and I just lost it. I felt like we were missing out. Looking back, it seems so selfish because while I was so happy that she was born healthy and that Jenn was healthy... I just can't describe the feeling I had other than I was distraught. Jordan will tell you it was one of the worst memories he has with me :) I cried all day long and couldn't wait to get back to see her and be with my sister.

the next day, we drove all the way from Atlanta to DFW and went straight to their house. I got to hold her for the first time and I just remember feeling so overwhelmed with her. She was so tiny and so pretty. a lot of babies aren't pretty when they're first born... let's be honest. but not her- she was BEAUTIFUL. I wasn't pregnant then, but I knew that I wouldn't love another baby like that until my own. I was absolutely crazy about her from day one. Jenn and I have talked about this several times, but my nephew Jackson, of course I know he loves me... but I wasn't in his life until he was four. He had to learn who I was. Ella will ALWAYS know. She will always have known me and I will have always known her.

My sister, Jenn, had an amazing, redemptive, natural, intervention free, peaceful VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) with Ella. she was brought into the world with grace and strength. I had never been more proud of my sister and never been happier for a family to have a new baby. I knew how hard they had prayed and how long they had waited for her. she was truly a gift. not only to her parents, but to our whole family.

looking back... I am now thankful that the Lord knew better than for me to be present at Ella's birth because I was able to have no pre-conceived notions for my own (although I had a natural, intervention free, peaceful birth with the same midwives in the same bed as Jenn, haha!) but my pregnancy and my birth were completely different and they were all mine, just as Jenn's were all hers. although I love that we share the commonalities that we do. my sister is a rock star... no one parents with as much gentleness and quiet strength as my sister.

and now a little letter to Ella-

ella girl-

what a year it has been as your aunt. I'm crying while writing this because I know right now that you don't quite understand just yet how much you are adored and loved. from your first day of life to this present day at one year old, you have blessed my life tremendously. I know you know you have wonderful parents... you are so in love with your papa and your bubba and your sweet mama- well, you never want to leave her side! you love her so much. your whole family is absolutely crazy about you. we have watched you go from sleepy newborn, to sitting up on your own, to laughing, army crawling, full on crawling, and now you are almost walking... you are a girl on the move. you are adventurous and you are hysterical. you are so proud of yourself now that you're walking! you are loving to eat right now... we came to visit you at your house this weekend and you were talking up a storm. you love your baby cousin and you want to touch him constantly. he is going to love you so much when he's older. I know you will take good care of him and make sure he doesn't date just ANY girl :) I love watching you love your big brother, Jax. he is so crazy about you. although I was an aunt before you were born, it was different because I had to adopt that role immediately and learn Jax as a four year old and hadn't gotten to watch him grow up. I felt robbed in that sense because I love him so much and missed out on so many things. but you... ella girl, you made me an aunt. what a joy and a privilege to love you and to watch you grow up. the Lord has shown me and taught me so much about being a mom, by watching your mom mother you and her allowing me to be involved with you as your aunt. I will always look at you with as much love and as much adoration as I did the first time I met you. you and me... we have a sweet relationship, little lady.

I want you to know that you have the best parents in the world. They love you, they prayed so long and hard for you, and they are faithful when it comes to parenting you. You are part of an amazing heritage... one that started way back and continues today, on both sides of your family. I want you to know that I will always be here for you. I'm not your mom and that is NOT a role I can or will fill for you and I will ALWAYS agree and side with your mom, however, I will always have an ear to listen and hopefully some wisdom to give. I am the luckiest aunt in the world to be yours. (by the way- you have a few aunts who feel the same way!) and I cannot fathom life without you. I pray you always know your worth and value are in Jesus... that it is God given and something no one can ever take away from you. You have joy and beauty to offer this world and already at one year old, you give it so easily.

thank you for loving me as much as your sweet one year old heart can. thank you for the privilege of being "aunt mal." I love you forever and I am so grateful for the blessing of calling you my niece.

all my love
aunt mal

the first time I held her. bliss!

Monday, April 1, 2013

two months & Easter

What a wonderful last few weeks we have had!

On March 24th (which just so happens to be my amazing Poppy's birthday), we celebrated Jaden's 2nd month of life. What a month it was. We had visits from one of my best friends, Hayley, and also my mom and little sister came. We had our 8 week appt with our midwife and our doctor and we have a very healthy, strong, little man. He also had his lip and tongue ties both removed and while the recovery was no fun, our nursing relationship is SO much better, as is his gas and tummy problems. who knew? During this month, Jaden's colic was at it's peak. I was pretty much at my limit and felt like I was going to have a meltdown. He screamed non stop for two. whole. days. Even though he's had a pretty severe case of colic, he had never screamed and cried like that. His pedi couldn't see him and so I did what I had to do... took him to the ER. When I got there, I was sobbing. He hadn't stopped crying for a good 3-4 hours at that point and I just felt so defeated and helpless. The people at Cook's Children's (if you live in DFW, they are AMAZING) took such good care of Jaden (and of his emotional mama). They even took the baby and let me have a few minutes of quiet. Jaden was diagnosed with GERD which in laymen's terms is reflux. I knew he had tummy issues and had planned to talk to his ped at the 2 month visit, but I didn't realize that's what was causing all the discomfort. They gave me a prescription for reflux meds, which I really hate to put him on so young, but I was so desperate. I had tried EVERYTHING up to this point.

fast forward to Thursday, which is the day he was 8 weeks old, and ya'll... I had a different baby. He was smiling and cooing and laughing. Jordan and I went to lunch and Jaden was sitting in his car seat and all of a sudden he just started smiling at us. I started to cry because before that, my baby did NOT smile, nor did I ever feel like he was happy. He was an angel at lunch and usually going out is a nightmare for us.

I still have a different baby. I am SO thankful. I cannot tell you how much I cried and prayed these last 2 months. I cannot tell you how many times I thought, "I cannot do this another day." I cannot tell you how often the enemy whispered to me how bad I was failing and how helpless I felt. I cannot tell you how much I dreaded when Jordan left for work because it meant I was all alone with the baby all day. But now, I cannot tell you how relieved, appreciative, and happy I am to finally have a peaceful, content baby. It was by far the hardest 2 months of mine and Jordan's lives and we found a patience within ourselves that we didn't have before this. We learned to love and take care of our baby despite his constant screaming and not being able to enjoy him right away. Now, we are enjoying him so much more as he seems to be enjoying all of us. Not to mention the poor thing finally feels better! no tummy pains, no gas, no nothing. complete healing!

We have also moved out of our apartment. I say GOOD. FREAKING. RIDDANCE. I hated that place and I hated our upstairs neighbor and her demon dog so I am thankful to be out. We are back in with Jordan's parents for now as we're in the process of buying a house. *fingers crossed* We said we would never move back in with either of our parents, but for now we are thankful for the opportunity so we can save money, have some extra hands with Jaden, and to have the extra space. Plus we spend all of our time here anyway, so now we don't have an extra drive :)

Easter was yesterday. I am going to be honest, I get irritated at Easter because of all the people who are not Christian's the other 363 days out of the year (the other day being Christmas) coming out of the woodwork with random scriptures and all this religious hoopla and it makes me mad. It's like some people only remember what Jesus did for them 1 or 2 days out of the year and the rest of the year they don't acknowledge Him whatsoever or blame Him for things going wrong in the world and saying, "Where were you God when _________ happened?" I said to my family yesterday, I wonder how many ways people will try and write "He is Risen" all over Facebook. Let me tell you, it was a lot. But, then I felt convicted for being so cynical about it and not giving the day much thought because I was so annoyed by all the pretenders. I am grateful every single day for what Jesus did, but how does it play in my life? Sure, I pray, I thank God, I read scripture, I try and live my life according to the Bible, but what else?? Is that really it? We watched the new series "the Bible" on TV the last few weeks and last night's was the Easter episode. I have loved watching this every week because it really makes you wonder about things that you may not have thought of before. It tells the Bible as a story and I love that. Each week it has evoked some sort of emotion out of me. This week's had me feeling small and convicted. To watch Jesus go through what He went through, to have been beaten, to have walked with a cross on his back, to be accused, spit on, screamed at, whipped, nails piercing his body... for me? For me who sometimes tries to justify my sins? even the small ones? For us who continually turn our backs to Him when we hear Him and do not obey? For the people who are trying to get Him out of schools? For those people who only appreciate Him 1 or 2 days out of the year? For the people who HATE him? For the overzealous, haughty, biggots who think they can do no wrong? It just wrecked me. I cried as I watched and I couldn't stop thinking about it. How humbled I was... how grateful I was, and how I still couldn't quite wrap my mind around why someone who do that for me. How can you watch that and still not believe? How can you not be affected by the fact that someone else who was blameless died on your behalf? I just don't get it. Then I watched Mary as her son was being crucified and my heart just felt so much pain for her. I cannot imagine now having a son, watching him die, watching people mock his name, beating him... how helpless and afraid she must have felt. I immediately went upstairs and got Jaden, held him and cried. Ya'll, that was her baby boy. Dying for all the people who hated him. Can you imagine that feeling? Ugh. I know this is a lot, but I just was so astounded by watching the crucifixion yesterday. I think I need to rewatch it over and over again to keep it in the forefront of my mind. After yesterday, I am more appreciative than I have ever been and more humbled than I have ever been.

Okay- now on a much lighter note- here are Jaden's 2 month stats!

Happy Two Months, little one. my love for you grows everyday!

  • LOTS of smiling, laughing, and cooing
  • loves watching Baby Einstein DVD's
  • can keep his head up for extended periods of time
  • still loves bathtime
  • weighing 12 lbs, 14 oz
  • 23.5 inches long!

This picture was at lunch the first time he really smiled at us!

here too... I seriously cried.

My mom was here! We LOVE her and love when she comes to town.

Happy two months, little love. You are joy.

Easter! How handsome is my boy?

Jaden and his 2 cousins, Ella & Jax. I am in love!!

our sweet family.

be blessed everyone.