Sunday, December 29, 2013

e, l & m

A long, long time ago I had this idea to put our initials on our dining room wall (because my baby shower/valentine's day origami heart decorations are still up. i don't want to talk about it.). I also wanted the letter 3. I had this vision in my mind and that vision also involved black and white striped walls.

SO. I gave up on the stripes and decided to focus on the letters. My brother cut the letters out of some left over bathroom remodel wood and the wood happened to be really bad quality and chipped and splintered as he was cutting it. I figured I could just sand it down and make it look okay and roll with it. But it did not look good. It was bad. So Evan threw them in the craft graveyard and I forgot about them for the remainder of the summer and all of fall. And then we decided to do some redecorating and I remembered my letters and I had the brilliant idea to cover them in fabric and hang them on the wall.

I didn't take any pictures of the process because it's mostly self-explanatory: Wrap in batting, wrap in fabric, staple, done. I stapled the batting into place first and it was super forgiving so I thought the fabric would be just as easy. It is not. There are a couple of places where I barely had enough fabric to cover a corner or an edge and a couple of places where I got a little crazy with the scissors and had to be creative with my wrapping. I did have to hot glue a few corners down which wasn't a huge deal, but hot glue + batting isn't a very good time. I am also staple happy and won't disclose how many dozens of staples I used.

I'm kind of in love with them and so glad I dug them out of their final resting place and gave them new life. They look a billion times better wrapped in fabric than they ever would have with stain (or paint, which was my second option).

I also realize that I could have bought the $2 letters at Hob Lob but these are bigger and I cannot stand those ugly bubble letters they sell there. Plus I love arts and crafts with my little brother almost as much as I love arts and crafts with Evan. My brother has a lot of big boy tools and so we make a lot of cool things because he's not afraid to saw through nails or to drill holes in things. Evan is a little more careful and also the only kind of saw he owns is a hand saw and I'm like, "This isn't 1502, babe. Get with the program."

Anyway. This is my newest project. I'm kind of madly in love with it. They're obviously not in my dining room so my next project should probably involve getting that Valentine's decor off the walls. HA.

Friday, December 27, 2013

here & now

I worked on the fourth floor of a gray building. Until they moved me to the fifth floor and the receptionist asked how she could help me, because she had forgotten who I was. I stared at a computer for eight hours a day unless I was making copies and putting papers into binders. Then I was rounding up binders and page protectors and those little white circle stickers to protect the holes on the side of the page. I researched drugs and what they do to the human body. Things like cocaine and heroine and methamphetamine. I built tables and graphs and typed document after document and studied medical records and bills. I did all of this to protect hospitals and insurance companies from sue-happy adults. I did it for two years.

I had lots of conversations and whine-filled sessions to my friends, to Evan, to my mom. I would complain about my lack of fulfillment, my wasted college degree, my job description that went unnoticed by everyone (because during a trial, no one hears about all the work that the medical record something something did, which, by the way, is basically all the work).

I had these grand dreams of working for a non-profit. Or being a teacher. Doing social work. Being a child advocate. I had a lot of "insteads." I just really felt like I was not able to help people. I wanted to make a difference and do something that mattered.

But I wasn't. I wasn't doing that.

I did a lot of job searching at my job. Looking for something bigger and better that would fill this hole in my heart. And I did a lot of praying, too.

And God answered. He answered my prayer for a job that mattered by giving me a son. I have a job now where I work in a grey house. My son recognizes me and smiles at me every time he sees me. I get to wear pajamas and sweats to work and crank the Britney Spears Pandora station all day. I get to take naps and play with blocks and a tambourine that plays exactly four songs. I get to make baby food and cook food for my husband. I am a mother and I am caring for another life. That's the most important job I'll ever have. I think it's quite obvious to say that I have not once thought about my next steps or where I need to go from here to get what I'm looking for.

This is it. This is what I was looking for.

I don't day dream about bigger and better anymore. This is my bigger. This is my better.

As I was rocking Maddox to sleep the other day this all hit me. It hit me in a way that only an answered prayer can. An answered prayer that took a little extra time, almost two years in fact. But it was so worth the wait. I think it's like knowing what you don't have, makes you a little more thankful when you achieve it. I was desperate for something that mattered. Which makes me not take a single moment for granted.

 and thank you to my amazing husband for snapping these beautiful pictures.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

what a difference a year makes

Then & Now

A year ago we were meeting our little somebody in our third ultrasound to measure the spine and make sure we were back on track with weight and measurement. We were in awe of how big our (tiny) baby had gotten and how much moving those little arms and legs did. We watched the baby wiggle around and kick against the ultra sound wand and fall asleep with his hand by his face. We came home and impatiently counted the weeks until we would meet and felt him push and kick against our hands as we pressed on my belly.

Today we wrestled with this monkey boy, holding him upside down and throwing him into the air (his favorite). We stacked his brand new wooden blocks in a tall, tall tower and he repeatedly pushed them over and laughed and laughed at his accomplishment. We read all of his new books and read them again and then again.

It doesn't even seem possible that that tiny little baby, the size of a head of lettuce, is now nine months old and the size of many heads of lettuce. Last year, seeing our baby on that tiny little screen, I could not have even fathomed what a year from then would have looked like. And today, I cannot imagine what a year from now will look like.

Life is crazy. And beautiful. And amazing.

nine months//dear maddox

Dear Maddox,

Nine months is the amount of time that I grew you inside of my body. Nine months I spent knitting you together, piece by piece until you were perfectly formed and ready to thrive in this world on your own. Nine months I carried you with me, wondering if you were a little girl or a little boy but hoping for a healthy baby over all. Nine months felt like an eternity when we were waiting for you to join us.

But then you arrived. You arrived on a Tuesday afternoon in a hospital operating room, screaming from the bottom of your miniature lungs until you were placed in your daddy's arms and he held you close and brought you to me. And suddenly, those nine months were over and here you were and I had forgotten all of the sleepless nights where you slept on top of my bladder and the swelling in my feet and the fact that my wedding ring no longer fit. I forgot all about it because here you were, worth every last ache and pain, every last mark upon my body, every last sleepless night.

And now we've come upon another nine months and I'm just as amazed at how far we've come and how fast it has seemed. I seem to have forgotten much of the past nine months and so I'm thankful for the ways that I keep track of all of your changes and the sweet little things you do (and used to do, too). I've forgotten how small you were as a newborn and can hardly believe that you fit into those teeny, tiny newborn clothes that I must stop and ooh and aww over at Target and every baby store I step foot into. I've forgotten how tired I was when you were waking up every three hours to be fed. I've forgotten what it was like before solids, when you were a milk-only baby. I've forgotten what it was like when you couldn't sit up by yourself; or before you could crawl; or before you rolled over for the first time.

Because here we are now. It doesn't make sense how a human body can grow a baby in nine short months and that tiny infant can grow and grow and grow and double (and come close to tripling) their birth weight and start to crawl and pull himself up on things and put every single thing into his mouth and put himself to sleep at night and wean himself from his pacifier (cold turkey. not mad.) in another nine short months.

What I'm saying is you are so, so amazing and I cannot stop thanking God for this gift that you are.

You were born five days before Easter--a holiday we celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior. Never before has a holiday held so much significance as your first Easter when I held you, my son, in my arms and understood--the most smallest fraction of understanding--of how God sent his Son to die for me and what that truly means. How I lived for 25-years with absolutely no concept of His love for us until I held you in my arms and felt that unconditional love that only a parent can extend to their child.

And it's only fitting that nine months from your first Easter we would celebrate the birth of our Savior and your first Christmas. You have given us new understanding for these two beautiful holidays and we are so thankful for that. And we are especially thankful for you.

We love you so much, Maddox Oliver. We love how you reach for us and point to us and wave hello and bye bye. We love how you crawl towards us and after us and can recognize when we call to you from the other room and you can follow our voices to where we are. We love how you give open mouth kisses on our lips and our cheeks and how you stand up in your crib and scream to us to come and look at your accomplishment. We love how you laugh when we read you books and how watching yourself on video is your most favorite thing ever. We love how you mimic and the panting noise you make all the time. We love your new closed-mouth laugh and your open mouth laugh and your belly laugh reserved for tickles. We love cleaning up the water dish and vacuuming our floors five times a day and making sure that absolutely no piece of anything besides possibly a cheerio falls on the ground. We love how you sit in front of your jumparoo and pull it around the house while you scoot on your bottom. We love how you sleep through the night and mostly wake up in a good mood laughing and giggling to yourself. We love every little thing about you and can't wait to love every new thing you do this month and next month and all the months after that.

I love you, I love you, I love you.

To the moon and back,


Tuesday, December 17, 2013


When I was pregnant, I would sit in the rocking chair in the corner of the nursery and marvel at all we had completed in this room. The room went from a dirty tan color to yellow to blue in a few months. We painted everything multiple times to make the room fresh and clean and ours and we argued over paint colors and when the girl at Sherwin Williams tinted our paint the color of baby poop, we insisted that she try again. Evan painted the room for me, surprising me after letting me sleep in one morning. I woke up to the sound of him rolling the brush along the walls and found him in the nursery putting the first coat of blue paint on the walls. "Um. It's blue." I stated, obviously. Because my vision had been gray. Our daughter cannot sleep in a blue room. Blue is for boys. I was sure of it. But Evan loved it. He loved it more with the second coat and so I closed the door and went back to shopping online for strollers and car seats and cribs and itty bitty baby clothes. I ordered a crib and a rocking chair. I found a dresser and a rug. We returned the rocking chair and found a different one that although green, is the exact style I had wanted, simply $500 cheaper. And so, one rainy day, after finding a table at Goodwill for one dollar and fifty cents, we assembled the rocking chair, pieces parts and nuts and screws strewn about the floor while I read the instructions and Evan assembled the chair. We pushed it into the corner and every time I walked past the room, I stopped and peered in. I would abandon all tasks to go and sit in the rocking chair, rocking back and forth and imaging a baby sleeping in the crib; a baby playing on the rug; a dresser full of baby clothes. And weeks flew by and I rocked in that rocking chair until one day when Evan and I brought home a perfect baby boy from the hospital. We carried his car seat into the house and I lifted him from it and immediately took him into his room and rocked him in our rocking chair. I sat there while Evan put things away and rocked my baby for the very first time. And since then, we sit in our rocking chair and read books and play with toys and watch videos on my phone. I rock Maddox to sleep and feed him and hold him in that chair. Sometimes when he's sleeping in his crib, I rock and pray and pray and rock and watch his chest fill with air as he gives sleeping smiles and coos with whatever it is that babies dream about. And sometimes there are mornings when Evan works from home and he sits on the rug in front of the crib and plays peek-a-boo with Maddox and Maddox reaches his hands through the bars to grip Evan's beard and I sit in the corner and watch my two boys, the two loves of my life and I think about how undeniably happy I am to have this life. How blessed I am to have these two, these memories, these opportunities to sit and be still and to watch and to soak each moment in. And I give thanks because that is all that I can do; I simply give thanks.

Monday, December 16, 2013

the weekend

This weekend was for quick trips up to the mountains to spend some time with 17 of the coolest and best and funnest college students and my amazing husband (and baby because leaving your child for any amount of time isn't a thing. SEE ALSO: Evan's work Christmas party and being the only parents with their kid in tow.).

Because Evan is the college pastor at our church and so he planned a weekend retreat to get away to a house in the mountains and hang out. I was going to go and then I wasn't and then I was and then I wasn't. But I ended up going and I am SO glad that I did. (Reason: Maddox IS FINALLY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT OMG. Do I go and ruin that?! < I did and I didn't. High five, self.)

And so. We spent the weekend in fellowship and all the girls (and one boy) ooh'd and ahh'd over Maddox and he was so loved and my heart basically burst over the attention that he received.

I decided that someday, I will live in a house in the mountains and have extra rooms for people to come and stay and hang out and get away from the obnoxious city for a day or two or three or thirty. Because that should be a thing that every single person does because I was so relaxed and happy (except for at 2 am when Evan came to bed and woke me up and kept me up with his snoring and then woke Maddox up and Maddox didn't want to do anything but scream) and then I came back to town and I was like, "UGH. OTHER DRIVERS. UGH. CLUTTERED HOUSE. UGH. LAUNDRY. UGH. COOKING MY OWN DINNER. UGH. NO CUT THROAT MAFIA IN THE DARK."

What I'm saying is, EPC, move me to the mountains RAT NAOW!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

a story about some pajamas

I bought this onesie when I was still pregnant with our little m&m (that is what we secretly called maddox/girl name that also starts with m), before we knew m&m was a boy. What really happened was that I saw the cutest tutu at target and every time I went to target I would go look at the tutu, telling Evan I was going to buy it. But then one day when I went to my beloved tutu, it was like 50 percent off and so I had to buy it. I felt bad buying something just for a girl, you know, just in case, so I grabbed the first acceptable boys thing that I could find: this.

This 9-month outfit that finally fits him at 8 months.

And Evan looked at it and said, "That is never going to fit him." A lot of parents with a newborn baby don't like to share. So a lot of people don't realize that newborns are really, really tiny.

And so, this adorable little blue knitted jammie sat tucked away in the closet until a few weeks ago when I finally washed it. We pulled it out for the first time when we were decorating the tree. Maddox sat on the ground all cozy in his sweet little jammies and my heart exploded into a million pieces. Thinking about how I had no idea if we were having a boy or a girl (which is so silly to think about now. I can't even remember not knowing) and wondering who this sweet little baby would look like, how the baby would act and what those first few cries would sound like. That seems like an eternity ago.

This little outfit was the very first thing I ever bought our baby and I think this little outfit will forever hang in my closet.

I mean, the tutu is adorable. It's orange and sparkley and a stinking baby tutu for Pete's sake. But look at these jammies. Look at this boy. There is nothing cuter in the whole world. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

tree trimming

We decorated our Christmas Tree last Wednesday (yes. procrastination central over here) and it was magic. Pure magic I tell you. We even let Maddox stay up past his bed time just so we could play with the lights and so that he could hang some ornaments on our tree. And also because I put him in thee cutest jammies on the face of this planet and didn't want to have to put him to bed at our regularly scheduled bedtime.

We picked up our tree and made sure to get our annual Christmas Tree Picking Photo:

Yes. Ridiculously adorable baby. Thanks to my brother for snapping this gem!

We turned on some Christmas music and lit a Christmas candle and spent a good long while playing with Maddox and the lights. We were in the middle of snapping pictures and trying to keep the lights out of his mouth when all of the sudden, Maddox took off crawling across the floor. He had been doing one or two "steps" here and there but he finally just took off. And in jammies and on hardwood floor no less. We promptly took a very long video of the cuteness and sent it off for high praise from all the grandparents and aunts and uncles and then proceeded to put the lights on the far side of the room to watch Maddox crawl back and forth. (And he has not stopped since.)

This night was the best nights we've had in a long, long time. I think it was mostly Maddox's cuteness overload that did us in, but just being together as a family and loving on that sweet boy and watching him grow up right before our eyes (literally) has just been magic. I'm so incredibly thankful and blessed and I know that this holiday season is going to be the best. There is no other way when you have a crawling baby in those sweet knitted jams.