Thursday, January 28, 2010

This is Avery's new grin - it cracks me up! Oftentimes it's accompanied by a sniffing sound and a nose crinkle.

Not too sure about Papaw's motorcycle!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cutie Pie

We have a crawler! She'll make it a few steps before resorting back to the army crawl, which is faster for her. She loves to stand and we find her trying to pull herself up on whatever she can get a good hold of. Once standing, she'll stay there and bounce for about 20 minutes, or until she loses balance or lets go. She switches hands and waves with one while balancing with the other. The other day she even took a few steps while holding onto the coffee table as she tried to get the remote. She seems to be hitting milestones at a rapid pace this month, after taking her sweet time with everything for so long.

She also has a cold this week and is so grumpy. We missed playgroup this morning because she seemed to be feeling worse. Her naps have been short little catnaps all day, and she just seems so unhappy. I feel so bad for her.

But check out this cute face she's making now.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Hard Things in Life

We were in Houston this weekend celebrating a couple family birthdays. Over dinner, Luke's older sister made mention of a topic that has come up periodically in our own marriage throughout the past few years. Adoption. It's something that I really seem to struggle with, out of fear and hesitation and desire, all wrapped up together. My emotions start wrestling inside. I want to reach out to those hurting, to those in need. I want to let go of my insecurities as a person and as a Christian. I want to let God be bigger than me.

We are called to "visit orphans and widows in their affliction...." (James 1:27). But does this extend beyond donation of time/money/etc? Does this extend to giving them a permanent place in our personal homes? Perhaps it should mean that, if it doesn't. But why is this so hard for me to accept?

And also: "Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor...." (Zech. 7:9)

We are all lost without the saving grace of Jesus. We are all orphans, in a sense. But God has offered redemption and grace and a home with him. Jesus reached out to the poor, the homeless, the lonely, the outcasts. We too should be like Him. Instead, we cling to our nice houses and our nice cars and the security of our alarm systems and fences and locks. Our ipods with headphones so we don't have to communicate with the odd man on the subway. We have 2.4 kids and a dog and live in Suburbia. Is there anything inherently wrong with this? No. I don't think so. But we limit ourselves to this. (And when I say "we", I'm speaking to myself more than anyone else - these are my own personal struggles). We tithe, we send donations when a crisis hits, we go on mission trips. But is this enough? Probably not. We can do all of this from a distance, without getting our hands too dirty. We pray. Prayer is good. See this.

 There are a lot of things I struggle with. I struggle with being more open about my faith - I'm quiet and private about it much of the time. I try to live my life in a way that shows Christ's love, but I don't know that people know how important my faith is to me. I'm not bold in it. I struggle with what other people think of me - I am easily swayed by others' opinions. Let me explain this further in regards to the current topic...I have always been open to (the idea of) adoption. I have long considered foster care. I believe these are good things that show some mercy to those hurting. I believe that there are so many children out there who are in need of a little hope, a little kindness, a permanent place to belong, and someone to guide them to God, who is bigger than all of the trouble they have seen, who can give them a home far better than I can. Luke and I have always looked toward the possibility of adoption one day. But now, I struggle. I struggle deeply with this. It started after having my daughter. My first child. My heart learned to love in a way that I never thought possible. But it also learned to worry in a way that I never thought possible. My heart has become selfish - I want to protect her from the hard things in life. I want to shelter her from pain and suffering. I want to have more children, but I want to be pregnant. I I I I I I I....can you hear how bad that sounds? I know that she is God's child, and that I have been blessed to care for and nurture her, as a gift, for however much time He grants, and that she is in His hands. So why worry, right? Because a mother worries. Mothers are on their knees, literally and figuratively, for their children. Relating back to adoption - I'm drifting here, it's late at night, I should be sleeping...I worry for Avery's safety and emotional well-being in bringing a child in who has suffered. (Selfish me.) I let the worst-case scenario stories get to me. I let those who are opposed to adoption (maybe not fully, but still VERY hesitant about it) sway me away from considering it. The naysayers are many. Those living it are few. They are brave. I am wimpy.

But then, I read stories from those who are living it: here and here. I am inspired.

And still - I struggle.

I come up with excuses - we don't have the space, the money, the time. I want to birth more babies. That last one, the babies, actually not an excuse. This is a true heartfelt desire. Is it selfish to create new life when there are lives out there, hurting and alone, that would benefit from a real home with a real family? How can it be wrong to desire new life, a life that is a gift from God, given to us as parents? That was a hard question to think about tonight on the way home. Can't we do both - adopt and have more babies?

I've purposefully left out much of the conversation that occurs between my husband and I in regards to this matter. It's not fair to speak for him or to put on here what I assume he is thinking. I resist out of fear. My husband urges out of....? I don't know. I know his heart is big. And for now that's all that matters.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Love Ice Cream

My love for it is so strong that I eat it all year round. Even if it's 30 degrees outside and I have to sit by the fire.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Peek-a-boo and Playgroup

Well hello there Avery!! I see you peeking from behind that door.

Avery has discovered the door to her bedroom. She loves to open and close it, over and over again. Sometimes it shuts all the way, and she'll let out a little cry for me to come help her out. She also discovered the door stopper, and I'll hear it going thump-thump-thump for 5 minutes straight. Or I used to...she figured out how to take it off the wall, so now it's been put up.

She also noticed her baby doll for the first time this week. She pats her head and pokes her and then bangs her head into the cradle. We'll have to teach Avery about gentleness.

We've also joined a new mom's group at our church - I've noticed that a few of the gals have been calling it smAll Saints (so cute, right?!). The group started up right around the time we moved to Houston, but now that we're back in Austin, Avery and I finally get to attend and make some new friends. We had a blast today and are so grateful for this new blessing in our lives. Avery gets tickled pink when she's around other babies and just talked up a storm. She's not a huge screamer, but apparently other babies bring it out of her. I pray that over the years we will both make some dear friends from this wonderful group.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back in the Austin area

The move is over! We all survived, but it took Avery a few days to adjust to a new place. Her top teeth are coming in (so so slowly), so she has been super grumpy this week. Naptime was interesting - she usually takes 3 naps a day, although the first one seems to just be a continuation of sleeping at night, broken only by the intense need to eat something first. She's adjusted, I think, and the teeth aren't bothering her as much, so the past couple days have been better.

With the chaos that comes with moving, I've failed to get many pics of the girl lately. There are a ton on the good camera, back in Houston, which I'll need to upload next time I'm there. But I did manage to get a couple of her this week as I was unpacking.

So what is our 9 month old up to these days?

  • army-crawling -- the second Luke walks in the door from work, she's crawling as fast as she can to him. It is just too cute!
  • she loves strings and necklaces

  • she also loves anything electronic...phones, remotes, computers, keyboards...nothing is safe
  • practicing pulling up -- she'll only do it if she can grab onto our hands. She doesn't try and pull up on the furniture yet.

  • she has 2 teeth on the bottom, but the top ones should show up soon. She tried a teething biscuit this week and fell in love. She also figured out what her teeth are for this week. She bites her puff cereal in half now, and it crunches. She looked so pleased with herself when she figured that out.

  • her next doctor's appointment has been pushed back to 10 months, back in Houston, for a well-baby and for shots. We're doing an alternative vaccination schedule, so we go more often than most but she only gets 1-2 shots at a time. I'm so curious to know her stats now!
  • after her one year doctor visit, we'll switch back to her first doctor here in Austin. We really love her first doctor so much, but we don't want to mess with the shot schedule any more than we already are at this point, so we'll keep with the current one for now.

  • while I was unpacking, she found the extra parts to her bottles. I heard this suck-suck sound and turned around to see her sucking on the nipple of the bottle, with no bottle attached. She kept taking it out to look at it, trying to figure out what was wrong with it.

Friday, January 08, 2010

2009: A Review in Pictures

1. pg craving of Indian food 2. baby shower 3. fat fingers caused new (fake) bling 4. cupcakes didn't help the fat fingers 5. 38 weeks
6. minutes old 7. c-section 8. precious 9. meeting her great-grandparents 10. four generations
11. lovely K came for a visit, we took her to Chick-fil-A 12. new glorious ice cream machine 13. lemon fro-yo in the making 14. early smiles 15. stylish lady
16. first swim 17. beignets in New Orleans 18. sunhat 19. slip 'n slide 20. three months
21. diapers on the line 22. tummy time dissatisfaction 23. homemade danishes 24. sitting up! 25. first solids
26. homemade baby food 27. a little propaganda 28. helping Pap-paw 29. silly face 30. Christmas card '09
31. snow day 32. country Santa 33. Christmas Eve jammies 34. bows on head (which you can't see in the pic) 35. new piano

I was going to re-do this collage through a site recommended by a friend (thanks Diane and Julie!), but after moving, I don't have the time or energy to upload the pics again. So, you don't get to click on the tiny photos. But I labeled them.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Blogging for Dummies

I'm working on a post of 2009 in Pictures, but I can't figure out how to make a snazzy collage of photos on here. I don't care much for the Picasa collage option, since you can't click on the photos to enlarge them. Anyone know how to solve my problem?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Family tradition - new pj's every Christmas Eve, so that we all look good for pictures the next morning.

Avery picked up baby Jesus from her nativity set...went for this one out of all of the pieces...

and decided he looked tasty...

then threw him on the floor

at least he landed right side up.

Can you see the pure joy on this man's face? I HATE this t-shirt. My sister got it for him. He'd been wanting it for so long, thinking it was the funniest shirt ever.

Avery's stocking that I made for her. It'll be a long time before I make another one.

Avery delivered a wagon to Grandmommy, for GM's garden. Now Avery can help with the gardening.

The family at Christmas brunch.

New Year's Eve was low-key...we had a photo shoot down at my sis-in-law's studio for Avery's 9 month pics, then off to Niko Niko's for some super yummy Greek food. Then we headed back home, where Avery went promptly to bed and I only lasted til about 11:30 - long enough to see the ball drop in NYC and drag myself to bed. Wasn't feeling so hot, so I greeted 2010 this morning instead of at midnight.