nice houses and Jesus

My sweetheart is in the field this week, training in the the cold, rainy dreariness while I'm keeping the house at 72 and bundled up in a sweatshirt. I am also becoming increasingly tired of all the political debate on Facebook. I wonder if there's a way to filter out political statuses...? Or maybe I should just take a break in general. For many different reasons. Yes.

The weeks Randy are gone always prove to be the ones where I'm ready to go a little bit crazy. Just a wee little bit. It's like God knows I'm not going to be able to depend on anyone but Him. Irony at its finest. And it really is beautiful... when my response is right. But that's another post for another time.

I've had this topic on my mind for a while. I'm not quite sure of the best way to put it, really. It's a lesson God's had to teach me over and over again -- it's one He still is teaching me. It's nothing eloquent (never is), but it's a lesson I'd thought I would share all the same.

Jesus is more than enough.

If you're anything like me, you've dreamed about a really nice home someday. I mean, let's face it, Pinterest does not help. I have all my dream home pins neatly tucked away in a corner of my brain for "someday." In reality, "someday" probably won't happen. And that's okay. But I'm not really talking about designer homes with luxury spa baths and closets the size of your master bedroom. I'm talking about the materialism that grasps us -- me. Dissatisfied, tired of what I have. Needing (wanting) to redecorate my house. Really feeling the urge to go out and buy a new wardrobe (and not just because of post-baby blues!). Of course, there's nothing inherently sinful in decorating my home and buying clothes or whatever it is you love to do. I love to decorate and have fun with it. I actually like these military moves because it means I get to rearrange/redecorate my living room again. (Yes, yes, I know I'll get sick of it eventually.) And, of course, if it fits into the budget, there's nothing wrong with buying a new outfit or gadget or whatever now and then. But let's face it: it's all about the heart, and I know when I've crossed the line in mine. When my desires for those things become more intense than my desire for Jesus, they have become idols. And the heart of my issue is that I'm not finding Jesus my satisfaction. Instead of being consumed with Jesus, I have become consumed with things. 

The beautiful truth that sets me free is found in the heart of the Gospel. My Savior is not just barely enough. He came to give me life -- and to give it to me abundantly (John 10:10). These things can't satisfy me because He didn't come to die in order for me to find my satisfaction in earthly things. He destroyed those idols at the cross. He is my treasure, my joy, and my satisfaction in this world of emptiness. Just a little lesson God's been teaching me... and I'm sure it's not over yet.


... and he's a year.

Two blog posts within a two-week period! Something must be wrong with me. Ah... I blame it all on hormones. But then again, I blame everything on hormones.

My little sweetie turned a year old on Tuesday. I'm not sure how that happened. Well, I do. 12 months ago, I was in a hospital room, and now, 12 months later, here we are. You is smart...

I had a super easy labor with Landon... much easier than the first 4 months of life with him. I was induced at around 6:30, got the perfect epidural around 12, and pushed him out in a short 16 minutes. 3:46 p.m., to be exact. I told Randy that if having children only involved the labor, I'd have like 6. But it's the newborn part that always makes me rethink #2. But... that's all a hazy memory now. Sort of.

Soo tiny. Wow. 

So what is my squirt up to these days? He...

- is a whopping 18.12 pounds and 28.5 inches (for you people who like stats). As in, the 4th and 9th percentiles. Makes me laugh... I was most definitely in the 85th percentile for weight around his age. However, his daddy was not. And I'm happy with him staying small... love to hold him (when he will let me!).

- loves milk. I started giving it to him consistently about 2 weeks ago, and he's done great adjusting. My only issue is that he's extremely dramatic: when he's done drinking, he throws the cup away from his mouth and then I have milk all over my floor (those no-drip cups are lies!).

- is, very unfortunately, dropping his morning nap. Unless he's exhausted, he'll play and talk to himself for about an hour and a half (no crying, mind you). Occasionally, he'll take two naps... I just have to play it by ear. Which, for me, is quite difficult. I love routine.

- is still into absolutely everything. His favorite toy was, is, and will continue to be, the laptop. When it comes to "no" and the computer, you can forget about it. I might as well be speaking to him in tongues.

- has become extremely stubborn regarding food lately. Lately, the only things I've found him to be interested in are chicken nuggets, yogurt, bananas, oatmeal, and pureed veggies (see previous post).  What child doesn't like mac 'n cheese? And whose child actually rejected a frosted & sprinkled birthday cupcake, even after a taste? Mine. Ahhhhhhhh!!!! Okay, telling myself that it's a stage.

- is teething. That's all I will say.

- has no interest in walking. He cruises all along the furniture, but when it comes to walking without support, he gets this petrified look on his face and sticks his legs straight out. Crazy boy. But since I rushed crawling and he was into everything, I'm not going to rush walking. He can take his good ol' time.

My friend Melissa had a cute post the other day about what she'd learned in her first 15 weeks of mommyhood, and I thought I'd touch on highlights of the first year. I don't know that anything I've learned is necessarily earth-shattering; probably every mommy can relate. But for what it's worth, here it is, folks:

- Plan showers around the baby's nap. But not around the time he's going to wake up. Or you might end up with cuts all over your leg from shaving in a hurry because he's screaming (because I do NOT believe in shaving one leg).

- No matter how many people tell you not to compare your child to others, you will still do it. Unless you're not normal. Or maybe on your 5th or 6th. I guess by then it doesn't matter.

- Letting a baby cry it out does not mean that one day he will hate you and end up feeling ostracized and distant from you. In fact, he will probably end up happily drifting off to sleep on his own.

- It is okay to call your mom 7 times a day during the first few weeks... or months, in my case. She will probably understand why you're crying.

- Sleeping through the night is usually short-lived in the first five months. At some point, there will most likely be a regression.

- Everyone has an opinion. Take the helpful advice and throw out the rest. And whatever you do, don't feel guilty because someone else chooses to parent differently from you.

- Being back to your pre-pregnancy weight and being in your pre-pregnancy clothes really doesn't mean much. Post-baby bellies are just way too jiggly for their own good.

- Hormones do not help with the afore-mentioned jelly belly. In fact, epic amounts of tears may occur in regards to the jelly belly... or for no apparent reason. It is key that in those moments, you hold your baby instead of going through your closet of size 0's.

- I cannot operate without a schedule. Kudos to those of you who can.

- Don't plan doctor's appointments for mealtime. It could get ugly.

- Sound machines are one of the world's best inventions. No, really.

- Don't invest in the most expensive toys on the market. Instead, buy an old cellphone, get together some old keys, a set of coasters, some measuring spoons, and you should be set.

- Breastfeeding does not make you a superior mom. Ever.

- Since I am a mom, I will take pictures of my baby -- hundreds, maybe thousands. And I will probably only delete the ones where it is not actually evident that the photograph contains a baby.

- Babies will only be small and sleepy enough to hold for a little while. I still tiptoe into Landon's room before I go to bed and hold him while he's sleeping sometimes, just so I can hold him close without him squiggling away.

- Nothing can prepare you for the way you're going to love your child. Not nine months of pregnancy, not The First Year, not all the mommy advice in the world. Nothing prepares you except being a parent. All those hard newborn nights, those frustrating days where all you can do is pray, and those overwhelming love-him-so-much-it-hurts moments -- that's what it's all about.

Happy birthday to my favorite little guy in the world.

I know it's fuzzy, but I love how happy he is. 
This is how I find him all the time!


recent happenings

Well, here I am again. Blogging over a month later. I guess that's because I don't always have a ton to say. I mean, I could sit and write about what I do every day, but that would involve feeding baby and changing baby diapers. Which is great and everything... but you all don't need details about that. Although there were some recent diaper changing episodes...

Speaking of babies, I nursed Landon for the final time yesterday. The last feeding to go was the morning nursing, mostly because he loves it (I happened to as well... the only time I can keep him still). I was a little bit sad, mostly because I fought so hard to nurse him in the first place (he didn't understand the concept). But he's been self-weaning since about 9 months, so it was definitely time. [And no, I'm not into "nurse the kid until he's 4," but that's just my personal decision.] He'll be a year old next week, and I'm still kind of in shock. Maybe denial. I do absolutely love this stage... minus the teething and sudden refusal to eat steamed vegetables. Which, by the way, came out of nowhere. He will eat jars and jars of pureed veggies, but when it comes to whole peas and green beans? Heck, no, Mom. I will gag until they spew out of my mouth, even when you hide the broccoli in pureed peas. Deceitful woman. I'm guessing it's a texture thing. Regardless... I love this age. Love to see him learn, explore, and change. Just wish it didn't happen so fast.

Christmas was a blast. Randy got two weeks off, so we visited some of our friends in Greenville, which was absolutely wonderful, Landon decided to get sick and have a febrile seizure, Randy and I got to have some amazing and much-needed time together, and then we went to my parents' house for Christmas. 

[Mommy side note]: Landon is fine. I guess his fever just spiked really high, and no pediatrician thought to tell me that he could have a seizure because of a high fever. I mean, really?! Why didn't they bring this up at his 3-day-old visit? Doctors. Just kidding. :) By the way, don't Google febrile seizure. It probably will never happen to your kid. After Landon had his seizure and went totally unresponsive, I panicked. I don't think I'm a typical first-time mom because I generally don't freak out about things like germs, etc... okay, so, I probably don't worry enough... but I honestly don't even remember everything I was doing. I just know I was having a hard time breathing. My dear friend Jenny was the best person that could have been around... she is completely sane and calm and told me that he was going to be okay because he was still breathing. She was right. He's back to his normal self now. So thankful for God's protection!

Back to Christmas. All of us seven kids got to be home this year, which was fabulous. A little crazy, but we're used to that. I mean, hello, we four girls shared a bathroom at one point in our lives and we also DID NOT HAVE A DISHWASHER until Rachael went to college, and somehow we survived (with some singed hair tips and perhaps a teeny tiny bit of hatred for dish detergent -- do I sound bitter?). I finally got to meet my first nephew, Aiden, who, by the way, is stinking adorable. Made me want another one (almost). It is just way too easy to forget about those sleepless nights and colicky moments. I explicitly told Randy to remind me of those two things when I got the hankering for another kid. He hasn't. Anyway, we had a blast. Played way too many phases of Phase 10 and definitely consumed way too many calories. So, so thankful for my family. They are pretty much amazing, and I would never have made it to this point without them. 

But anyway. That's just a little peek into what we've been up to. What I want you to remember from this post is not steamed veggies or baby seizures or my family's lack of a dishwasher. I want you to remember how good our God is. Before Christmas break, God took Randy and me through some deep waters. It would take too long to explain, and it probably wouldn't make a whole lot of sense if I did explain it, but it definitely was one of those "valley" experiences. I asked "why" a lot. I cried for about four days straight. I'll admit it -- I doubted God's goodness. Well, of course I knew in my head that He was good, but by my questioning, I was doubting. It's really amazing that after the Lord brings us through so much, we still wonder if this trial is it -- if this is where we'll finally be disappointed.

He brought us through the valley. He answered prayer in an amazing and really, quite honestly, a miraculous way. As my mom reminded me, it showed me how big my God really is. How kind, how merciful, how good He is. Even in the midst of our sin, our doubts, and our fears -- He remains faithful because He cannot deny who He is (II Timothy 2:13).

The words of As Long as You Are Glorified struck me:

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled?
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well?
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

God is still King in my valleys. Nothing shakes Him. He isn't sitting on His throne in heaven, wringing His hands and anxiously wondering what's going to happen next. He has the blueprint in His hands and He is working all things together in order that I might be sanctified and He might be glorified. 

So... that's all for now. Giving thanks to my God because He is good -- because His steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136).

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