Friday, January 29, 2010

Sacred Influence

So I'm reading this book called Sacred Influence. Remember how I've learned to never say never or always? Well, before becoming a mom I always said I would always be a wife first and foremost (and I do believe that loving Trevor well is one of the most loving things I can do for my daughter and will make me a better mother). Then I became a mother. My body no longer feels like it's my own (because I'm a nursing mother). My sleep is irregular, I'm hormonal, and oh yeah - I'm completely smitten with Karis. I would do anything for that girl, seeing her makes my face light up and I talk to her with a song in my voice. Let's juxtapose this to when I see Trevor, let's say after work: my voice does not have a song, I maybe smile but definitely do not light up, and as far as doing anything for Trevor . . . well, I put food on the table and right when he's done very often ask him to do things for me.

Back to Sacred Influence - while the pages are lending good reminders and encouragement about the important role that wives play in their husband's lives, the author is largely addressing women whose husbands are angry or lazy or unfaithful. Here's the thing: the book doesn't address how to cope with the nearly perfect husband! (ha ha). I say that kind of for real, but mostly kidding and with a HUGE amount of gratitude to God for gifting me with Trevor's love and his heart. Trevor is still smitten with me (and he is with our daughter too, of course!), he lights up when he sees me and he talks to me with complete kindness. I've never once doubted his love and I am humbled by his example of faith in action through his character and convictions and attitudes. Having an almost perfect husband does pose its own frustrations, BUT what a blessing compared to the alternative. I love you, Trev.

Needless to say, having Karis has changed our marriage, as I expected it would. Being parents has deepened our bond for sure as we're committed together to seek her best interest and to love her in the best ways we know how. But to be honest, it's been a struggle for me to prioritize Trevor and our marriage. And I've come to see that struggles are okay, and having to be intentional and having to try is okay too, even good. There's so much more to say that I'm going to stop right here for now! I'm thankful. I'm trying. Life is good.

Just for fun, here's a recent real-life story of my awesome wife-ness:

I get a text from Trevor telling me he has been invited to go to Alaska in late July or early August. I sent him 3 texts in reply, as follows . . .

1. Um, money?

2. That would be Karis's birthday.

3. What do I get to do?

Trevor sent this in reply:

I laughed out loud really hard. The pastor who did our premarital counseling said that our biggest conflict would be that I am off the charts subjective and Trevor is off the charts objective. When he told us that almost 6 years ago we left the session and I over-reacted and cried (proving his point that I am subjective). He was sooooo right.

In recent our-family news, we've had a memorable second half of January. We went to South Carolina with my parents and brother for a few days of fun in the sun (except for the dreary days, but those were cozy and warmer than here so it didn't really matter). We realized that "packing light" has a new meaning to us: 1 huge suitcase, two big backpacks, carseat and stroller. We felt like minimalists shlepping all those things around. Anyways, we had a tremendous trip with hanging out, enjoying the sea breeze, eating, touring a vineyard (and doing some wine tasting), walking through a huge sculpture and "low country" garden, and being entertained by Karis. Karis went to the ocean for the first time, although I can't say she saw it since she was snoozing the whole time. And oh yeah, Krispy Kreme. SC has Krispy Kreme! I know, it doesn't take much to please, right? Speaking of shlepping things around, I'll always remember one of our Krispy Kreme stops (there were only two, in case you're wondering) when we took up two tables and a booth with our donuts, coffee cups, changing "stuff" for Karis, her diaper bag, ourselves . . . stuff, stuff, stuff. It's unavoidable and really funny. Ah, Krispy Kreme, I think Karis loved it (maybe it has to do with the "K" connection?). Karis was quite the terrific traveler and we're thankful for all the memories we were able to make there (in South Carolina, not just at Krispy Kreme!).

This picture cracks me up, Karis watching us all drink wine. At what point do we need to not do such things in her presence?
We got home and were glad to welcome Trev's parents for a few days - Karis just loved seeing all her grandparents in such a short amount of time. Our little girl seems to be quite the extravert, smiling at anyone who looks her way and charming family and strangers alike. She soaks in all the sights and sounds, she's more alert and interactive all the time. She's rolling over more consistently, making new noises, playing with her feet, loves to suck on her toys (and anything else she can manage to get to her mouth).

AND, Karis is 6 MONTHS OLD. I can't believe it. People always say how fast it goes, but MAN it goes fast. I'm mindful lately of her wonderful health, her growth, her emerging personality. We are blessed, and she is a blessing to so many with her joy and smiles and coos and cuddles. Oh baby girl, you're not going to be a baby for much longer . . .

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baby crazy!

True confession: I was never really a baby person. I mean, I loved getting to see people's babies and was always excited for families to welcome their babies to the world. But to be honest, when I'd find myself in the room with a baby, I was never the one to rush over and beg to hold him/her. In fact, I probably often had the thought, "I hope they don't ask me to hold their baby." Mainly because they seemed so fragile and, well, scary. I mean, what if I held them wrongly? What if they started crying in my arms?

Since Karis's arrival, all that has changed. I am crazy for babies! And it just so happens there is baby crazy-ness all around these parts. I've visited 3 new babies in just the last ten days, and with each one I am so excited to hold them and rock them and cuddle them. I can see why people keep wanting to have more, there's something just so precious about newborns in their helplessness and their cries and their sleeping and their movements and stretches and smells. I thank God for the health of all these recent babies in our friends' lives, and it's been the greatest joy to watch many of our close friends enter the realm of parenthood. So yes, welcome to the world all you little babies. And dear Karis, thank you again for changing my life in so many ways - you continue to amaze me!

This new year has been off to a fun start, as I wrote last time, beginning with a weekend spent with all Karis's godfathers. I relish watching them talk to her, ask to hold her, laugh with her, and play with her. She loves their attention!

Last week we had a blast seeing some old friends (who I stayed with in Germany almost 3 years ago!). Thank you, S & Z for stopping by, playing with our girl and giving us lots of laughs. Please move back here!

Trevor started a new addition to our nighttime routine with Karis, singing and playing guitar to her (adorable!). Speaking of Karis . . . she is becoming the most smiley and joyful baby I know. It's like she just can't beam bright enough, sometimes it looks like her face must hurt from straining to express her feelings. And then my face starts to hurt from smiling back at her. Our days are so fun as she discovers the world more every day, taking it all in with her big eyes and moving limbs. Lately when I hold her on my lap, she'll crane her neck back to look me in the eyes - this little lady loves to be looked at. She's also doing what appear to be push ups when she's laying on her tummy. Strong girl! We're also certain that she's working on some teeth - she chews on anything she can grab (including our fingers, and it hurts!). I always try to imagine what things are like for Karis in her day, the funny feelings she's experiencing in her gums, what she might be thinking when she wakes up from a nap, what it must mean to her to be looked and talked to and held. I am a blessed momma to receive her smiles and cuddles and coos. And Trevor is such a good dad, and the truly an amazing husband (hopefully also another post later).

In random personal-journal-type recordings, I just finished reading Jane Eyre for what must be about the 7th time . . . the story and Jane's character was better than ever. There's nothing like the feeling of digging into an old familiar book. As corny as it sounds, when I read Jane Eyre, I feel like I'm sitting in a living room with an old friend.

I'm also enjoying a simple but refreshing book called What Kids Need Most in a Mom. I appreciate reminders and insights into the many facets of motherhood, from creativity to identity to mom-guilt to the healthy-ness of having outside interests from the home. Being home lends itself to the temptation to making my world very small (and often selfish). Some other reading is helping me remember the world at large: Exodus, a historical fiction about the struggle for a Jewish homeland in Israel. I'm horrified to read about the events of World War 2 and the century old persecution of Jewish people. Yes, my life is simple and it is very good and I try to not take that for granted.

Karis's life seems pretty simple too - here's a picture of her in an outfit I wore as a baby. I think she likes it!

I hope to write more about this in a separate post, but baby matters on my mind lately are: schedules and food. I'm developing some opinions about each of them, and it's been good to discern what works for our family (haven't started food but will probably start soon, and don't seem to be on much of a schedule and am trying to rest in that).

Speaking of small world/big world, I've been watching the news reports today about the earthquake in Haiti, and I'm reminded of the fragility of life and the precious gift that each day is. May all those affected by this great tragedy find some kind of rest and peace in the midst of chaos and devastation.