Sunday, June 30, 2013

like who?!

Brad, 1985

Lincoln, 2013

Megan, 1986

Lincoln, 2013

Many people insist Lincoln is a "mini-me" of Brad. He doesn't not look like me, though. I guess he just looks like Lincoln.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Harvest 2013

One of my favorite times growing up was wheat harvest. My dad would leave the house early (even though he wasn't usually in the fields until mid-morning because of moisture) and come home late. Every night, my mom or Grandma Donna would take supper to the field - main dish, fruit, veggies, dessert, lemonade. Almost every night, we four kids would go out, too. We'd eat our picnic supper, then play in the grain truck, ride along with Grandpa to the elevator, and ride in the combine.
Our cousins came out one evening every year to join us. Some of them still go.

Things have changed over the years. The combine is newer and the grain truck is bigger. Grandma isn't here anymore to take supper out. Grandpa doesn't get around quite well enough to drive truck now (though he still gets around quite well for his 87 years). Uncle Chuck comes from Minnesota every year to help, and Daniel drives, too. Harvest still happens.


I loved sharing this experience with Brad when we were dating. And yesterday I got to share it with Lincoln for the first time.


Oh, I know he's only three months old. And he won't truly remember it, not this year.


But it was so special to sit in the combine and watch him take it all in. It was so much fun to watch my dad sneak glances at his grandson to see what Lincoln's reaction was. It was amazing to sit in the cab of the combine as an adult and see how adept and efficient my dad is at maneuvering the huge piece of machinery around a bumpy, sloping field.


And it was beautiful to watch my sister and brother hold and bounce and talk to Lincoln as he screamed his way past nap time.


And it was a joy to watch my mom use all her energy to make Lincoln laugh and to make sure he was protected from the wind and sun.


And it was sweet to see Grandpa peek into the backseat of the car to say hi to Lincoln.

I know in the future harvest will be much more fun for Lincoln than this one was. But this one meant a lot to me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lincoln's room

Lincoln's room is my favorite in the house. Before he came along, it was just a boring brown box with a sewing machine and a twin bed. The only reason it even got painted was because I had lots leftover from the living area.


We chose this room for Lincoln's because we knew it would be easier to move the sewing room than to move the office.

So without further ado... Lincoln's room


We chose the colors before we knew we were having a boy. I wanted something pretty much gender-neutral so it can be used for any future babies as well. The wall color is the most true gray we could find, and that took a while (we were trying to paint our master gray and ended up with more blue). Barb painted for us. My mom and I made the curtains and the crib skirt. She made the quilt. Brad sanded and painted the dresser and replaced the knobs; it was mine when I was little and my dad's and my great-grandma's. 

The cross stitch baby shoes were made by one of Brad's co-workers. The footprints are a copy of his from the hospital. I did all the other prints with Photoshop Elements.

We made the bookshelves. They might be my favorite thing because of that. Many, many people have asked me how I'm going to organize Lincoln's books. Here's the shocking truth: I'm not. I think there's something incredibly charming about a kid's bookshelves, books of all different shapes and sizes and colors leaning against each other. Plus I know it'll be a while before he understands alphabetical order and can put them back where they belong. ;) But really, I like them the way they are. Just because as a child I had my fiction organized by author's last name doesn't mean Lincoln has to do the same.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Three Months

Lincoln,

You are three months old! When I think about how much you've grown, I can't believe it's all happened in just 13 short weeks.

You love bath time. One day you were fussy all afternoon, so I decided to leave you in the tub as long as you were at least content. You lasted 30 minutes before I finally decided that the water was cold enough that I should take you out! You kick your rubber ducky and splash, splash, splash! We have to mop up the floor afterwards. You're still taking baths in your baby tub over the sink, but it won't be too much longer before you've outgrown that.

Your self-imposed bedtime is still 8:00, as long as we're home. If we're out and about, you still have to have your bedtime routine of clean diaper, nursing, and swaddle whenever we get home. Typically, you sleep until 6:00 a.m. During the day, you will be awake for about an hour to an hour and a half at a time, then you fuss for a nap. You get swaddled, rocked, and (usually) read to before you are actually ready to go down. I usually can put you down awake as long as you're calm. And, really, neither of us mind rocking and snuggling for a bit at nap time. Nap length is still a toss-up, anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. We did hit a rough patch this week with naps - as in, they were practically nonexistent for a few days. We're hoping that it's a growth spurt or something so you can get back to a little bit of sleep during the day. 

Your head is still just a little bit wobbly, but for the most part you hold it up and lift it well. When it gets tipped backward, though, you can't always bring it forward on your own. You love to sit and stand with support (either someone holding you or in the bumbo). You're pretty strong and mostly just need help with balancing. During tummy time you've started to act like you're trying to roll over but aren't quite there yet. I think what you really want is to creep and crawl, not roll to your back, so you spend most of the time trying to do that. Sometimes you get frustrated that your body won't do what you want it to.

You also have the one eyebrow raise down pat, with both eyebrows! I can only do it with one, so I'm impressed. 


Whenever you get a chance, you are working with your hands. You are getting much better at doing what you want with your arms and legs, instead of flailing. You hold hands with yourself, suck and chew on them, and have started grabbing certain things - the rings on your car seat and in your pack and play, our fingers, blankets (especially your swaddle), and a little blue monster. It's fun for us to watch you start to play. You will shake the rings and blankets and put them in your mouth to suck or chew on. Just this week you've started rubbing your eyes with your hands when you're really, really tired. It's pretty adorable.

You continue to smile a lot, laugh, and "talk" (especially when I'm singing to you). Your "vocabulary" is increasing but it's hard to write the sounds you make; "ah," "g," "l" are the three most common.

You don't have a doctor's appointment this month, so I'm not sure how much you weigh. I'm guessing it's close to 13 pounds based on your previous growth. I measured you at home this week, and I was so amazed that I had to do it four or five times - 25 1/4"! That's a whole inch and a half since your May appointment. I've put away most of your 0-3 month clothes, but there are a few that still fit. You also wear 3 month (which are getting a little snug), 3-6 month, and 6 month, depending on the brand. Your cloth diapers are still on the smallest snaps; sometimes they're a little snug at the waist so I do an "in between" with one side on the next largest setting. 
 
We realized when you were a couple of weeks old that you have a blocked tear duct in your left eye. There's nothing we can do about it until either six months (according to your primary care doctor) or one year (according to an optometrist friend) other than massage it with a damp washcloth. It seems to be getting better, but there are still some times when you wake up and can only open your eye halfway because of the "goop."

Other things I want to remember about three months:
  • your little feet hang off the end of the pillow when you nurse.
  • smiles, smiles, and more smiles - sometimes just because we say "hi" to you.
  •  when you wake up, you stretch your arms as high as they can go and your legs as far down as they can go, making your whole body so stiff.
We love you, Lincoln, and it's exciting to think of everything the next few weeks have in store. Here comes month four!

Monday, June 17, 2013

home sweet home

This is just kind of a random home-related post.

On Sunday, Brad came into the study with a broom and a bucket. He said, "I need your help. And we might have to move."

Turns out, there was a tiny garter snake in the basement. I think I would have even picked it up to take it out, but Brad had just sprayed it with bug killer. I swept it into the bucket and released it outside.

Oh, the joys of adulthood.

We moved into our house over four years ago. Since then we've been slowly working on what seems like everything in it. We've painted every wall (some twice), installed new flooring almost everywhere, worked outside, replaced appliances, and fixed an assortment of other problems. The other day, the guys from Sears clean out our dryer vent (it got bad, really bad... they were here a loooong time).

Just a couple months ago, we installed a new microwave/vent hood. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but the old, cream-colored one had the vents on the front. It got so grimy and gross. Plus, the buttons were inside the door, so you had to remember to punch in the time before you closed it. Weird. This one is shiny and new and has hidden vents and buttons on the outside. Yep, that's what we get excited about around here.


My Grandma Lu made this wall hanging a long time ago. It goes so well in our living room. My dad made the quilt hanger for me for Christmas, and he even came to hang it up (in March, just a few days before Lincoln was born). My family is so talented.



This spring we've also been working on the front yard and landscaping. It's coming along. We haven't done any big house projects lately and don't have any planned, but sometimes it's the little things.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

We are family!

Lincoln is so lucky to live close to most of his family. He gets to see grandparents, some aunts and uncles, and even great-grandparents regularly.

We also make sure to tell him all about the aunts and uncles he doesn't get to see very often. We need to be better about having some Google hangouts with them!

Monday, June 10, 2013

growin' up!

I'm sure I'll post about all these things in just 12 days when it's time for Lincoln's 3 month update, but here are a few things he's been up to lately!

He's getting quite good at sitting (and standing, a little) with support. Obviously he can't balance on his own yet, but he holds his head up well and likes to be upright.

Part of his increase in strength is definitely due to the fact that I moved tummy time to right after he nurses. He's much happier, works harder, and lasts longer than if I do it closer to nap time (duh, Megan?!). 

Lincoln has also started to tip and push toward one side when on his tummy, like he's going to roll over. Maybe soon! 

This one's my new favorite picture. Since he was born, I'm much more comfortable with being the subject of pictures - as long as he's right there with me!

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7


5 years of marriage


4 years in our first home


3 wedding rings (Brad's the one who doubled up, not me!)


2 (and a half) months with our amazing baby boy


1 beautiful life together


{random and obviously not inclusive list of things}

Thursday, June 6, 2013

my brokenness

Jamie wrote today about brokenness and how important it is to share ours. Here is my story.

Lincoln spent a week of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I suppose it's time for me to start to process that time, rather than allow emotion to overwhelm me whenever I think of it or whenever something is not absolutely perfect or whenever there's a possibility that something could be wrong.

I think that most people in my life believe what I force my words and actions (or lack thereof) to convey, that I've moved on, that I'm able to remember those days without moments of fear of something happening again and without my emotions overwhelming me, that I can just be thankful that all is well now. (Truly, I am thankful that all is well. It's just that my emotions aren't quite that simple right now.) But, honestly, I don't know when I will get to that place. This is part of my brokenness.

In many ways, I know we have been so fortunate. Saying we're "blessed" sounds kind of hokey because I think it's overused, especially by Christians. But blessed is truly the word. Right now, we have a perfectly healthy little boy. My pregnancy was uneventful. Though labor and delivery didn't go the way we planned and hoped, we left the hospital two days later with a healthy, full-term baby. We have more than we need.

There was a week, though, that we did not know if life would be this way again. And this post is about that.

Who knew that 19 days after his entrance into the world, our sweet, tiny baby would be readmitted, placed in intensive care.

When I think about April 10, the day we took Lincoln to the ER, it seems like there's a haze around the events before about 8 p.m. I just remember how strange it was that he was limp and not at all interested in nursing.

I do remember the drive to St. Joe, the 30 minutes when Please, God were the only words I could form in my mind. And I remember how I would not allow myself to even think the rest of the sentence, because it seemed so horrific that a mother would even acknowledge the possibility - Please, God, don't take our baby.

I felt I had failed my son in some way, that it just might be my fault we were in this place.

I felt so afraid.

We had no idea what was wrong, but we knew with certainty that something was wrong. We sat in the waiting room, but not for long. The long wait was in the ER exam room; it seemed like hours. I fought to hold in tears, but broke down when I called my parents to tell them what was going on.

I remember walking back into his isolation room in the NICU, after leaving to pump, as they readied Lincoln for a spinal tap. I was simply told that it would happen now and escorted to the waiting room where Brad sat. Please, God, my prayer continued. I remember my parents walking off the elevators and tears spilling, unwelcome, down my face.

Seeing his big blue eyes, a little weary but bright again, was comforting. But I also remember thinking, as my mom prayed, that I desperately wished I could have some answers and feel some peace.

I "slept" in the broken hospital bed for the next week. Over that time Brad and I sat, on the broken bed and on the plastic-y chair, and watched Lincoln become more and more animated. We sat on the broken bed and on the plastic-y chair and prayed - desperately and peacefully, mixed words of supplication and of thanksgiving. We sat on the broken bed and on the plastic-y chair as our son was poked and prodded and tested. We sat on the broken bed and on the plastic-y chair and heard that though our baby was himself again, we would stay for one full week. We sat on the broken bed and on the plastic-y chair and cried out our fear and stress. We sat on the broken bed and on the plastic-y chair and made countless phone calls to our parents, replied to text messages, sent e-mail updates to family, posted on facebook and this blog.

On April 17, we got to bring our little man home from the hospital for the second time. We sat on our own couch and held Lincoln close.

I felt cheated. I lost a week of maternity leave to the NICU. I felt afraid. How could we know that this - or something else - will not happen again? I felt guilty. What could I have done to keep my son healthy? I felt sorrow that my son had this experience (though I know he won't remember).

I don't feel afraid now, at least not often. My memory is starting to fade, and this experience is now rarely at the front of my mind. But I still get emotional when I think back about that week. I tear up every time. What "could have been" - and could still be - haunts me sometimes.

I worry. I know it's part of parenting. But this worry seems magnified. I am working on choosing my worries wisely.

I'm not sure how to completely let go and trust that all is and will be well. I am unsure, but I am working on it.

This is my brokenness.

Please know: this has been a difficult post to write. I have had it started for weeks now. I know that some of the feelings I have shared are not logical. Whether or not my feelings are logical or even close to the reality of the situation is not the point. The fact that they are my feelings makes too them valid and important to be dismissed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

my wish


My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to - your dreams stay big, your worries stay small, you never need to carry more than you can hold. And while you're out there getting where you're getting to, I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same things, too. Yeah this is my wish. -Rascal Flatts

Lincoln,

I think often of my hopes and dreams and prayers for you. I truly do hope your dreams stay big and your worries stay small. Life would be wonderful if worry never took over. But at the same time, I want you to know that sometimes dreams don't come true and worries do take over. I don't want to sound pessimistic or cynical, but I also don't want you to have an unrealistic, fairy tale picture of what life may be. This, though, doesn't mean that you should temper your dreams. It doesn't mean that you should only set out to do the things you know with certainty that you can accomplish. Sometimes the crazy dreams, the ones that seem unachievable, are the ones that keep you going. And they are, quite often, the ones that change the world.

I do want to tell you that, when dreams don't come true, it's because something better is coming along later. It might be days or weeks or years. Something else is happening or coming, maybe something you don't even know you want until it comes to be. Try to remember that all you want your life to be will evolve as you grow.

I want you to know that there are some moments in life when the worry will seem so, so overwhelming. But these are the times when you realize what in life is worth the worry, and my prayer is that you will choose your worries wisely.

Lincoln, I cannot say what your future holds. I do not know who you will become or where you may find yourself. I do know that every single day of your beautiful life I will love you and pray for you. There is so much more that I could - and someday will - write, but I will end today with this.

Sometimes, you will need to carry more than you can hold. I have been there and tried to do that. When you're in that place, know that your daddy and I will always be there to help you carry whatever it is because we love you more than you can imagine. Always and forever.

Love,

Mommy

Sunday, June 2, 2013

dedication

This morning in church we had Lincoln's baby dedication.

"Here’s the standard Mennonite understanding of child dedication: it is an act by which parents thank God for the life entrusted to them, offer their child back to God, and ask for God’s blessing on their life together." (Thank you, Joanna Harader.)



(I really was happy. I promise.)


Brad and I have discussed many times the fact that I am not a "happy crier," obviously meaning I don't shed tears on happy occasions. Today was a happy day.


I have thought quite a bit lately about this day. Since day one, Lincoln has been a blessing to us (and by day one I mean the day we knew he was on his way), a gift from God, as his middle name declares.
 
But, as parents learn, one has to hold their children's lives loosely, to trust them to God. This became so real to us when we held our very sick baby in our arms during his stay in the NICU. Though Lincoln is all better, I am still processing my emotions from that week and those that linger as a result.

Today, though, was just what I needed. I needed to declare my intent to raise my child to know and love and serve God, who showers us with a love that is greater than I can comprehend. I needed to hear my church and family and friends declare their intent to pray for and support us on this journey. I know our twists and turns and bumps in the road are not gone, but they are made easier by the presence of this community.


"Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9