It’s April

Oh, today I am reluctant to type out some words that capture our life. Its been so long. There is so much. It is April, which means its hard not to think about next month, May- the month that Lewis finishes his first year of classes in Seminary and our second baby will make her grand entrance into the world. The month that in many ways symbolizes the end of the beginning here in St. Louis, as new students will start moving in and we’ll be old students. May is the month that brings unknowns to our family. May is the month we have been longing for and at the same time trying to figure out how to stop it coming.

I had some tears last night out of confusion of emotions- and there are many emotions right now. I am ready to be done being pregnant, but I think I really recognize what a gift it is to feel life ripple underneath my belly button. I am ready to fall in love with new pink fingers and toes, but with the arrival of baby girl, means the end of just me and EK. I know she will love her sister, and a sibling is the greatest gift for her, but it changes our relationship in a million ways.

Ellie Kate has been a joy and a gift and a ball of fire that sanctifies and challenges and fills us to bursting. She is curious and beautiful and social and stubborn. It is so hard to imagine what this baby will be like- and that they will be different from each other.

I am hopeful in this last month that I will laugh and play and get dirty with Ellie Kate. That I will continue to learn how to release her into the hands of The Lord, whether that means her schedule, or her eating or her safety. In every sense of the word, she has been a gift, and in these last sweet weeks, I am hopeful that chores come farther down the list of priorities, that we eat Chik Fil A more often because we were too busy playing to make dinner, that we skip bath time because the playground was too fun, that we realize its after bedtime because we are giggling at her drunken walking around her room enjoying her shuffling books and shoes from one place to another. She won’t remember this month, and we might not either, but I think I’d rather it be full of togetherness and celebration of right now than fearful wondering at the many ways our life is going to change.

In the midst of all of this, I know that love multiplies and I trust that our hearts are growing in anticipation for a sister.

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a zoo trip

Today we met some friends at the zoo- the day started rainy with a dozen donuts and ended 60 degrees and sunny! We spent the morning in the Children’s Zoo petting guinea pigs and seeing mole rats and ended our time seeing the hippos, rhinos and elephants! Ellie Kate LOVED the big animals and was inspired all day long by the fishies!

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Ellie Kate and Daddy spy the Rhinos!

a few thoughts

it has been a rough week around here- so many changes in little Ellie Kate, and we have always said she does everything 100%- be that being joyful (which she is most of the time) or being stubborn (which she was most of this week!) this morning she finally napped and woke up happy and we shared a zuchinni carrot apple muffin fresh from the oven and she kept saying, “mmmmm” and looking at me with big eyes and she even giggled while i picked her nose (what??) so in many ways, it feels like the sun has come out around here after a long week.

as the afternoon settles in, i have been struck by a few things:

1. i now know why students would expect me to do the grossest things for them- i found myself holding ellie kate’s boogers in my hand (too much?)- this is what moms do, not teachers, but i could see the blurry line there.

2. i have also been thinking more about those sweet silly students from JES. i think the deeper i get into motherhood, the more i appreciate what it means to have raised and kept alive a child till they were eight! last night, after playing with a friend where EK was grabby and possessive of her toys, i was thinking about how many times i watched students make good choices on the playground, how many times i watched them be kind or compassionate or responsible, and i thought, “how did their parents do that?”

3. in the midst of missed naps and lots of strong wills i have been humbled to a new place and had to ask myself new questions about where my identity is (an obedient, kind child that asks to pray for her friends when they walk through the door?), loss of control (why won’t you nap??? i’m doing everything right!), expectations of EK and my own sense of fulfillment, and what it means to really really feel like you have run out of grace and patience. last night, in bed, i realized, i get to ask God to forgive me for the ways i fell short, and to help me tomorrow. He’s not expecting me to get it right, he doesn’t think i have an endless supply of grace and compassion and enjoyment of picking up cheerios off the floor- that’s HIS job. Its like I could hear him whisper so gently to me, and I was so grateful for HIS grace to me, and it renewed me to start a new day with her. I found myself praying that many more days would end like that- instead of me feeling proud of all i had accomplished, instead, feeling humbled and free and cared for in the arms of a Father who had enough grace to cover me and my children.

4. so, since we have gotten rid of the bottle, ellie kate is clinging very very closely to Teddy. Whereas she has always loved this little rag tag bear, he now is making appearances in the high chair- and we’ve decided that’s not a battle we need to fight, but we have drawn the line at the bath tub. But this morning, when I got her from her nap, she had scooped up ALL the teddys in her bed and lovey and was motioning towards baby doll on the floor. She kept all these overflowing from her arms while we cuddled in her rocker. She would lean forward and rearrange them, or check and make sure they were all there, and offer them her sippy cup of milk- and i found it cute and funny and odd and beautiful. Because i think it was a good picture of how big our arms and our hugs and our love can get- she wasn’t excluding anyone, even me. We were all snuggled in there against her- she wasn’t worried about how she would fit them in her arms. It was a sweet reminder of me as we get closer and closer to welcoming baby girl #2. Perhaps Ellie Kate will be my teacher and she’ll just wrap us all up and snuggle us in closer, teddy, real baby, baby doll, sippy cup, mommy and all.

5. this is another thought about mothering, and i did not come up with it, but i read the little book called “Loving the Little Years.” What a sweet, humorous, quick and easy and helpful read on being a mom to young children. In one short essay, she talks about growth spurts. How these little ones are always changing- right when you get it figured out. The author pointed out that instead of freaking out, we moms need to think about what ways is God trying to grow me. But most practically, she used hte illustration of a pain scale- when they ask you in the emergency room where your pain is on a scale of 1-10, and in the middle of your child’s growth spurt, you might feel like yelling “13!15!” because things are so topsy turvy from what they were last week (like when Ellie Kate was sleeping till 7:45 and this morning woke at 5:50! “13! 15!,” I want to yell). BUT, instead, the author encouraged, I need to look at this growth spurt and say, “This is my new normal, this is my new 1.” So, armed with this perspective, I more gently can say,” Who knows how long 5:50am will be our new normal, and we will gladly welcome another new normal soon (as long as its later than 5:50!”

a big day coming soon

Next week Ellie Kate turns 1! WOW! We have been getting ready for the big day in a few ways. First, Lewis taught her to show 1 finger when we ask her how old she is:

And, I made my first dress! I figured another little girl can wear it on her first birthday and i found some adorable cake fabric. We don’t know if it will fit the bday girl, so stay tuned to see her in it!

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