Monday, June 27, 2011

8 Month Pictures! *Finally*

I know I know, it has been A WHILE since my last post!  I promise I have been nothing but busy!  The Cliftones rocked out a few youth camps for a week and a half a week ago (say that 5 times fast) and then Mark and I had a little anniversary/birthday get away the day it ended until a Friday!  Needless to say, this Mama has been busy!  However, without further delay and thanks to a brand new card reader, I will now give an array of 8 month pictures!

Look at this big guy!  

Isn't he a doll?!

Mmm Mmm Mr. Monkey is good eating!

Love those blue eyes!

"Mom wanna show everyone my new trick?"

"It's so much fun!"

"Oohh lookie at what I can do!"

Here comes trouble!

Love his crooked grin!

Reid + Ellie = BFFs

Of course he is cutest when he's nakie!

Ellie watching bath time!

Getting brave crawling around!

The kid has not 1, not 2, but 3 swirlies!  Can we say YIKES!

Love this precious boy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dear Reid: 8 Months Old (a little late)

I started writing this last week, but had to go do something else, and never got back to it until now.  Sorry for the delay.

Dear Reid,

Today you are 8 months old!  Wow I can hardly believe it.  It seems like just a few short weeks ago I was finally able to hold you in my arms after 9 long months of waiting.  You are such a blessing to your Daddy and me, a treasure we could not live without.  We love waking up to your adorable cues and huge grin when we come to get you out of your crib.  You remind us to start the day with a good attitude and that everyday is on that the Lord has made.

You are doing so many things baby boy.  It is fascinating to see all the changes you have gone through and what all you have accomplished in just 8 months, but especially in the past 4 weeks!  Now you are able to sit up freely, all by yourself (instead of mommy and daddy having to run to keep you from falling backwards and bonking your noggin) which is a huge help to mommy when she needs to put you down for one reason or another.  After 3 weeks of getting to your knees and rocking back and forth you have finally started crawling!  In fact the first thing you crawled for was an iPhone and it is still the thing you will crawl fastest towards.  I guess you love your technology.

You have your two bottom teeth in, and are working on those top stinkers.  Mommy hates it when you teeth because you're in pain and you don't sleep to well.  You chew on anything and everything, the plant by the T.V. (you try that one daily), your hands, paci, blanket, you name it!  Mommy has already had to pull a starburst wrapper out of your mouth, you were happily chewing it like gum.  Speaking of chewing, some of your favorite foods are mangos, peaches, apples, bananas, pears, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and baked potatoes!  Mommy keeps trying to get you to like green beans, but you always make a horrible face.  We will get there.

Another of your many skills is pulling up in your crib.  You can get yourself all the way to the standing position.  You are working on pulling up on many more things now too.  You really are fearless.  Figuring out you can now crawl around during bath time has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, full of laughter and splashes.  This is probably your favorite time of the day.  Another favorite is when you and mommy read books together.  It is so funny to watch you go from a very active boy to sitting and listening intently to a story.  It makes my heart so very happy to see you love books already.

One thing you do hate is getting dressed.  I feel as if you think it unnecessary because you will cry over it!  Loudly!  There are just bigger and better things to do in your opinion.  You are beginning to test mommy's limits too, pulling on cords and other items you shouldn't be.  She must now begin the procoess of baby proofing and parenting you so you don't get hurt.  Baby boy, you have a mind of your own, would rather do your own thing then crawl after Mama, you have actually yet to do that, you find something else you would rather have!  Putting you to sleep is still a chore, but we are getting there.

All in all Reid I cannot believe you are 8 months old.  That is so big!  You are a wonderful baby, so happy, full of life, and loving every minute of it.  We get compliments on you, your big blue eyes, your smile, your disposition and I am reminded often to thank God for a little boy who just enjoys being alive.  I pray that one day you will be alive in Christ and find the unspeakable joy in living for Him.  I promise to do my best to teach you and disciple you in Him.  I am so glad you are mine, I cannot imagine a better baby.  Know Mommy and Daddy love you very much, pray for you, and enjoy you.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Struggling with Self-Image

Today’s post is going to be just a little bit different.  It’s about something that has been on my mind for the past 18 months (since I got pregnant), and lately has just been on my heart.  It is the ever dreaded issue of self-image.  This is something that I know millions of girls and women all over the world struggle with to some degree, something that I have really been dealing with myself since my pregnancy and the birth of my precious baby boy, something I am having to place t in God’s hands.
With it being summer the issue of my self-image is more promenant than ever, I mean hello, it is swimsuit season.  And while I do not don a bikini or anything such as that, it is hard not to start giving yourself the once over, and for me, noticing you shortcomings.  Especially after having a baby. . .
Maybe I should start kind of at the beginning.  I have always been a short, scrawny kid, like didn’t break 100 pounds until high school short and scrawny.  That was just me though, part of who I was, and I was ok with it, I really was naive and didn’t know any different.  By the end of high school though I had put on some weight, nothing of magnitude, but I was at my heaviest.  That all changed when I went to college.  I went to college and instead of gaining the freshman 15, I lost it.   Then I decided to transfer to East Texas Baptist University the next year.  On move in day I caught a summer cold from my mom, and never really got well (let’s face it, I wasn’t sleeping enough to get entirely back on my feet.  I mean do you really sleep well when you live 24/7 with your best friends?) As a result I lost 15 more pounds give or take a few.  I know what you’re thinking, that is unhealthy.  Believe me I had the weight to lose, and I was back to a healthy weight range.
Now fast forward, through the wedding, and the first year and a half of marriage and not a whole lot changes.  I am happy, satisfied, and active.  Throughout college and high school God really protected my heart when it came to the issue of body image.  I by no means had the perfect body, but like I said, I didn’t know enough to care.  However, when I got pregnant unexpectedly with our little man, the body image monster hit me full force.  Perhaps it was because the pregnancy was a surprise, or the concept of my body was going to change, or the fear of "will I ever get my old body back" that I was okay with having, either way, the devil took this issue in my mind and began to run with it.
As a result, I didn’t really like pregnancy that much.  I actually had one of the best pregnancies ever, I wasn’t sick, Reid was active, but at the same time, calm,he came earlyhis labor and delivery were quick (although NOT painless), I mean I really had it great, and I thank God for that blessing.  However, coping with the changes my body was going through was tough.  You see, I always thought I would be this cute little petite pregnant woman, with the baby bump showing up in all the right places (nice and low and cute), and I would just be precious.  This was NOT the case.  at week 8 I started wearing a pair of maternity jeans because I was SSSOO bloated.  When I did start showing he was “riding high” so I wasn’t even the cute pregnant girl that I thought I would be.  In my mind I felt like people couldn’t tell that I was pregnant, they were all just thinking that I didn’t take care of myself and “let myself go” (bear with me, I promise the rant will be over here in a second). They say “hindsight is 20/20″ and I can now see it was the enemy coming to steal my joy, and boy did I ever let him.  I look back on it and am now upset at how I felt, even though the feelings were genuine, I just remember the fact that I couldn’t wait to have him and go back to the way things were.
This would not be case.  While I only gained the recommended amount of weight for this pregnancy, I didn’t have the easiest of times losing it.  At all.  I lost 12 pounds from the birth, but it was SLOW GOING after that.  So slow.  I cried many a night (and day) to my hubby and my mother about how the weight just wouldn’t come off, how everyone else’s weight had just magically seemed to disappear after 4 months, and mine was just sticking around.  What were they doing different?  Was I doomed?  (Ok, so I am a little dramatic).  Little did I know I had so much to learn.
The weight finally did start slowly coming off, but it wasn’t until I stopped breast feeding that I began to make real progress.  Once I stopped I could exercise without fear of losing my supply and I wasn’t nearly as hungry (all breastfeeding mama’s know what I am talking about!  You feel like a boy, you eat so much!) as I was before.  I have also now recently taken up running with one of the girl’s from our youth group and her sister.  It has been good, to just get out of the house and have some interaction as well as to begin to exercise my body.  There is a definite difference in my thinking when I exercise as opposed to when I do not.  I am now 4-5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, and am excited about this.  It has taken 8 long months, but I am hoping by month 9 to be done with the weight loss.  I will have to maintain, but not have to concentrate on losing.
So basically this is a post for me, to see where I am at, and to see how far I have to go.  I am working on finding myself in the Lord, seeing me as He does, knowing He creates beautiful things because He is a beautiful creator.  I know I am not the only person with this struggle, there are many others.  It is a constant battle I believe I will always have to face now that I am older.  However, I know Who I am created after and I know Who my Creator is, and that gives me great hope and joy.  My God doesn’t create junk, therefore I am not junk, I am beautiful, a princess, the daughter of a King.  Thank you Lord for saving me, and from saving me from myself.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thankful. . .

Today I was driving.  That is it.  Just driving.  All alone, a rarity in my life now that I am a Mama.  No, there was no babbling baby, no radio, no husband singing slightly under his breath.  It was just me.  And it was good.  Here is why.
About a month ago my husband and I leant one of our cars (we have two) to a family in our church who had run into some bad luck with both of their cars.  They were waiting to be worked on in the shop and since the church where my hubby works is right across the street, we could spare a car for a couple of weeks.  Our Ford Taurus found a new home for a time being.  However, one day while they were driving it, it just quit working…
This was not good news for either party.  We brought the car up to my grandfather’s shop.  Luckily this man is one of the best mechanics this world has ever seen.  Seriously.  Most of the time you can just turn the car on, he will listen to it, and have a pretty good idea on what the problem is (and is right more than he is wrong).  This has saved countless thousands of dollars for my family as well as other families in our community.  He is a servant, a God fearing man, and a prayer warrior, a wonderful example.
This past week my husband and Papaw have been working on our poor Taurus.  My husband knows absolutely nothing about cars. Zero. Luckily Papaw is a patient man and a willing teacher.  He took the Hubs under his wing and allowed him to help in this project.  They had to take the transmission out, which took a while, and sent my husband home looking like a grease monkey the first day.  After this there was the ordering of a part (a Tork converter I believe) that they hoped would be able to fix the transmission instead of having to replace it.
Which brings me to today, when these two men go back to working on the car, and my husband the grease monkey reappears.  However, before they start their work day, my grandfather says to the Hubs, let’s pray because I am not real sure if this will work, it is a gamble.  So they pray for their day, their families, and that God would allow this $200 part to fix the problem instead of a $700 new transmission.  Guess what, at the end of the day, it did.
The best part though was getting the text message from my grease monkey honey saying he was done for the day.  When I asked how the car was he simply replied, “Working, praise God.”  Immediately I was so thankful for a husband who would work all day long on something and without a second thought give God the glory for it.  I was so thankful to have a husband who is unashamed to love the Lord.  I was so thankful to have a husband who would talk this way to me, and lead me to do the same by example.  I was just so grateful for this man, not another, that he is the one I get to spend the rest of my life with.
So on my solitary drive home, I thanked God.  Intensely thanked Him for the blessing of my husband.  Of a God-fearing/loving, praying grandfather.  Of the fact I get to be married to this guy for however long God sees fit.  I am blessed beyond measure to be his wife.  I prayed also for our marriage, for a strengthening of our relationship, for his stamina in being a leader not only at our church but at home, for his own spiritual life.  THis was such a sweet time with the Lord, one I am grateful for.  I am thankful for a God who listens, who hears, who blesses.  Thank you Father for quiet rides alone on a long stretch of highway when this mother needed it.