Monday, December 24, 2012

Very Jane

Really want to win one of these awesome gifts from the 2013 Very Jane Giveaway!  If you all are a fan of Etsy, you'll like Very Jane.  It's basically like a Plum District type thing, but for handmade things. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Learning Joy

If all I have to unwrap this Christmas are size 2 and size 5 dirty diapers, I'll still have more to thank God for than I deserve.  These two precious lives have given me so much.  I only pray I can be half the mother that they deserve.  Every day, I fall short, usually it has something to do with not keeping a level head or acting my age--sometimes I forget that I'm the adult in certain situations.  Today I feel guilty about every complaint I've ever made involving anything associated with parenting--the days I've forgotten to give thanks for the two gifts I never thought I'd be able to carry for 9 months, or hold in my arms.  I only wish I could keep them there.

I'm still far from wise, but I believe a parent's love is more real and pure than any other.   That is why it is an honor for us to be considered children of God.  Not only are my children gifts, but their existence alone allows for the ultimate gift: a greater understanding of God.  God sent his son to die in our place.  In that action, he sacrificed what he loved most, his son.  It's easier to see the beauty and sense in the trinity, now.  God the Father, Spirit, Son--3 in 1.  We hear it and sing it, but why is it significant?  I'm still learning why.  But if who we know as God the Father, the Almighty King, came down to Earth, it truly wouldn't mean as much than if his innocent Son, a lamb, was the sacrifice.  As a mother, I can understand that.  What a gift; it is perfect love--he gave what he held dearest.  He knew we would be more eager to accept his love this way.  Now I don't have to fear death because of what he did.  I still fear losing my children, though, more than anything. A parent losing a child becomes more real when we have children of our own, yes.   But our tears will never be as heavy with grief as theirs, only God knows their weight as he himself experienced this ultimate loss. 

We can say our condolences, empathize with tears, and pray for those families and even our own children.  We want to make it better, though.  We feel a sense of guilt as we struggle to find a way to improve the situation.  If we knew the families, we'd offer to cook them meals.  We'd find a way to make this holiday season somewhat "bearable", if that's even possible.  We'd want to help them focus on something else on Christmas morning, so that they wouldn't have to sit before a Christmas tree bearing unopened gifts for children whose souls are now a light shining brighter than the one atop the tree they decorated just weeks before today's tragedy.

I'm thousands of miles away, feeling helpless and with a heavy heart, though.  But I'm doing what I can with what I have.  I'm close enough to make a difference, still, because my children are HERE.  They are wanting to be loved, every single day that I have them on loan from their Heavenly Father.  When they are misbehaving, when they are brushing (aka pulling) my hair with a plastic doll comb, when they are begging for chocolate at the top of their lungs with their dinner still before them--they are asking for love.  It may not be at the top of their Christmas list, but it's the best gift I can give them. 

I can't buy them a thousand years on this Earth, even though that's at the top of my Christmas list, but I can love them today better than I did yesterday by learning to stay joyful in all situations, because, in the end, sitting down and having my hair pulled by a pink plastic doll comb hurts a lot less than the regrets I'd have if I missed these moments, if my sweet babies were gone tomorrow.

I love these kids so much.  Please, Lord, they deserve my joy every day, so give me a heart to love them like you love me, no matter what.  Thank you for another day of diaper changes, spit up-covered clothing, tantrums, and hair pulling.  I'm ever so grateful for every obvious and disguised beautiful moment, especially today.  Be with those who've lost a child, show them you are closer to them now more than ever before.  Amen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Colorado trip

Last year around this time (while still pregnant), I was convinced that I wouldn't be going anywhere with a 3 month old; we even told family not to expect a visit from us for the next holiday.  My only experience was with a particularly unique infant/toddler... my energetic Mirabel.  She didn't like sleep very much.  You all remember the posts: waking up 6 times a night, considering it a good night if I got to sleep a 4 hour stretch, etc.?  Well, Juliette is a lot easier than her sister was at 3 months (aside from not enjoying car rides much), so we decided it'd be fun to take a trip, by plane... a nice relaxing trip to beautiful Colorado.  Both girls did great on the plane.  No tears.  It started off great, really...
We even had a chance to visit The North Pole ;) (also known as a Santa Claus-inspired theme park outside of Colorado Springs)...

Mirabel really enjoyed all the rides, in fact, she even rode the tallest ferris wheel in the world (well, it sits atop a mountain, so it's technically the highest not necessarily the tallest).

Her dad got a little dizzy on this ride ;)...

Though we stayed in a home away rental for most of the trip, the first night we slept at a cozy resort and enjoyed stuffing ourselves at their buffet, for both breakfast and lunch.  Food was delicious, views were gorgeous.  We were even greeted by deer upon waking up the first morning we were there.  Couldn't ask for a better trip (so far!) ;).

We visited the Garden of the Gods.  So lovely.  Gorgeous cliff dwellings, that's what they're called, right Ali?  Not exactly mountains ;).  But in Texas, we would refer to these as huge cliffs, or maybe even mountains :D.

Then we made our way to our home away; this is the mountain view from our front porch.  We kept pointing out the mountains to Mirabel while we were driving around town.  After we got back home, Mirabel kept pointing out her window and saying, "Look at the mountains!".  I had to explain to her that those "mountains" were really hills.  This is the hill country, after all; definitely not mountain country :).

We even got to meet my blogging buddy and her sweet family. The kids really enjoyed playing with the decorative bronze figurines, they even made it into the picture ;).  Excuse the construction paper scattered all over the coffee table.  Mirabel is really into using her plastic scissors to cut paper into really tiny pieces, makes for a fun clean-up time!

Then 4 DAYS LATER... we made it to Manitou Springs.  A really cute town with so many fun shops. Though Jose was saying that we should've stayed there (since there was so much to see on foot), I told Jose that we probably would've spent more money.  I'm usually a bargain shopper, but I had a hard time sticking to a budget on this trip ;).  
Why did it take us 4 days to get here?  Because WE ALL GOT A TERRIBLE STOMACH VIRUS!  We weren't actually supposed to stay that long.  Our flight was scheduled to leave on Tuesday afternoon, but they refused to let us board because Mirabel was vomiting quite a bit and they were concerned that they'd have to stop the plane (three times before boarding).  So they rescheduled our trip.  It's a good thing, too, because it took us a little while to get back on our feet.  Actually, it took me a little longer.  Nursing while having a stomach bug and not eating can be quite rough.  I lost about 5 pounds, and I don't have much to lose as it is.  Thankfully we are all fine now and we made it safely home a few days later.  I prayed that Juliette wouldn't get it, thankfully she was spared.  And, again, I feel so blessed to have a baby that sleeps well!  She slept while I was the sickest; not sure how I would've made it thru otherwise!

All in all, we had a great time.  The bug didn't taint our overall experience.  I still would like to go back to Colorado.  I'd love to buy a place there!  The housing costs aren't too bad, either!  Plus, you get seasons!  Something I do miss.  There isn't much work out there for Jose, though.  Oh well, I guess we'll just have to visit again.  Next time, we'll try skiing :).  I figured, skiing with a 3 month old strapped to my torso would probably be a little too adventurous, and we definitely had enough of an adventure :D.


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