Friday, May 28, 2010

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens...

As I have been at home with Eliana this last week before returning to work, I have had the chance to just sit and marvel at some of my favorite things about her.

I love how she makes all sorts of little facial expressions and "sings" in her sleep.

I love it that when she wakes up in the morning she makes little grunts to get my attention.

I love how when I go to get her out of her bassinet in the morning and sing "Good Morning
Beautiful" to her, her big blue eyes light up and she smiles.

I love how when she finishes nursing she lays there half zonked out and smiles with full contentment.

I love how she became really excited the first time we showed her the mobile we bought for her crib.

I love how she is so intrigued by the back of Jacques the Peacock's feathers.

I love how she's such a snuggler... especially after she eats in the middle of the night.

I love how when she snuggles, she wiggles around until she finds the perfect spot.

I love how she is so good about letting me give her Zantac three times a day and never fusses about it.

I love how when she wakes up from a nap she extends her arms like Superman, arches her back, purses her lips, and does the biggest stretch. She is a GREAT stretcher!

I love how when she seems confused about something, she raises her hand while extending one finger (as if to flag down a server in a restaurant). So cute.

I love how she tries to talk to me with her little sounds.

I love how she gets excited when we sing "Them Bones" along with her Baby Einstein CD.

I love how she is so curious... you can watch her eyes wander and almost see the little wheels in her mind turning.

I love how she laughs at all the little quirky made up songs we sing her.

I love that the hair on the top of her head sticks straight up, regardless of how much we brush it.
I love how she tracks along with the books Spencer reads her at bedtime.

There are so many more... but I have loved just getting to know her and having the chance to be with her. Heading back to work on Tuesday will definitely be hard; but thankfully it's just for a few weeks until I get to be with her for a while this summer. And hey... maybe we'll win the lottery and I can be home with her for good ;-) I would really covet your prayers for all three of us during this transition.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

This post is all about my amazing husband, and a huge accomplishment for him over the past three years. I am amazed and the strength and integrity with which God equipped him to balance all that he has had on his plate. I am so proud of him!!

In the fall of 2007, Spencer began his Master's degree in Educational Leadership. His program was set up as a partnership between our school district and a local university, and consisted of about thirteen teachers aspiring to become school administrators. Little did Spencer know how much life he'd live over the next three years as he embarked on his journey.

Just as Spencer began his program on top of teaching full time, we found out I was pregnant for the first time. Ironically, it was Labor Day that we learned the good news :) Three months later, we found ourselves sitting in an exam room hearing the sonographer whisper, "I am so sorry... but I can't find a heartbeat." As she held back her tears, mine came pouring forth.

Five months into his program, Spencer and I again learned that I was expecting... again to sit in an exam room three months later to hear the words every parent dreads: "I am sorry, but there are some serious concerns about your baby's development. I'll need to go get the doctor." Spencer wasn't supposed to be at that ultrasound that day; I had just asked for one for some added reassurance, as I felt like something just wasn't right with my pregnancy. He came anyway, and I am so thankful he did... because the day that unfolded included a CVS test and a meeting with a genetic counselor at which we were told that our sweet Isaac had complications that, barring a miracle, were incompatible with life.

And so began the journey with our sweet son... the journey through which God has so faithfully carried us. All the while, Spencer was left to balance a full time job, a part-time graduate program, and a wife who was pregnant with a baby that we had been told was going to die. Looking back, I am continually amazed at the grace of God and how He sustained Spencer through such a difficult season for both of us.

In the second year of his program, Spencer endured the birth, and death of his son... our sweet Isaac. He somehow managed to still go to work, complete his papers for his program, and take care of me. While he and I grieved very differently, we both grieved and continue to grieve... and we both were left to pick up the pieces of dreams for our son that had been shattered. Spencer did it with so much courage and strength. He pressed on because he had to; but he did it with excellence because he cared to, and because God was faithful in giving him the strength to do so.

During this last year of his program, Spencer still had classes to attend; but he also had a 280 hour internship to complete. To say it was time consuming would be an understatement. Thankfully, he was able to get a lot of his work out of the way so that he was able to fully experience the joy of welcoming Eliana to our family this past March.

This past weekend, Spencer graduated with his Master's and received his diploma... and he did it with a 4.0. I am amazed at the strength, the perseverance, and the quality of character with which the Lord has equipped him. I am so proud of him, and am so proud to be his wife.

Enjoy a few pictures from this wonderful day...

The cohort members, glad to be finished!!

Out to celebrate Maryland style... steamed crabs!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Life in Pictures

We've had a busy few weeks here in our house. Between going out of town for Mother's Day weekend, Eliana's baby dedication the following weekend, and Spencer graduating with his Master's this weekend... well, I've been work out :) So to catch you up on what's been happening, here are a few pictures!

Mother's Day at my mom's house on the eastern shore of Maryland... love the view from her back porch!

Me, Eliana, and my Mom!!

Eliana's baby dedication at church. She slept through the whole thing!

A few pictures back home afterwards...

For my birthday back in March, Spencer had gotten me tickets to see Sugarland in concert! So that same evening, some good friends came and took care of Eliana, while we got to go out for a really fun date night. Our seats were GREAT!!

And finally, the many faces of Eliana. Just a few pictures of our sweet Ellie while she and I were hanging out at home yesterday. I can't believe she is 11 weeks old already!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

(Happy?) Mother's Day

For the past couple of years, Mother's Day has been difficult for me. Last year, I remember all of the moms in church being asked to stand. And I did... knees trembling and tears streaming down my face, as the only physical evidence of my motherhood existed in the six inch scar left from my c-section, and not in the face of a sweet little boy named Isaac. But I was still a mother, and I was proud to stand that day because doing so dignified my son.

I remember the Mother's Day before that... Just six months after losing our first baby to a miscarriage at 13 weeks, and already pregnant with Isaac, who were told was not going to live. And even then, I was already a mother.

This year, the joy of having little Ellie here and celebrating Mother's Day like any other mom fills my heart abundantly... but it still collides with the heartache of missing my son. My precious daughter will grace me with her big blue eyes and adorable smile...and I am so grateful for that. But I still long for my strawberry blond haired little boy who would be 19 months now, and no doubt would be "helping" his daddy make me a yummy breakfast in bed.

If you've been there, you know. You know that it is all of your children who define your motherhood; and that's where the joy and sadness collide.

While for many, this Mother's Day is a day of great celebration... Celebrating your mother, other mother figures in your life, and perhaps your own motherhood. For others, today is a day of missing... Missing your own mom, or missing your little ones who make you a mom.

I would encourage you to not only celebrate Mother's Day in the way you typically would, but to reach out to someone you know who may be hurting... Someone whose loss may be intensified. In a recent blog post, Molly Piper calls it "brokenhearted love." I encourage you to read what she has to say, and then extend that kind of love to someone you know. I know it will mean the world to them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My How You've Grown only two short months!!

Here's Eliana on her birthday...

At one month old...

And today at two months old...

She's still smiling like crazy...

And has been introduced to her Bumbo seat!

Looking forward to month 3 and all the joy that she will continue to bring! :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Love Languages

QUICK UPDATE-- I didn't realize that I hadn't yet updated here about my job. I head back to eork one June 1. Whild I am disappointed to not have the uninterrupted 6 months at home that I thought I would, my return will only be through June 17. Going back allows me to not only return to the same school, but it seems like I would have been out of a position entirely had the request for me to return early not be granted. So I am thankful that since I have to work, that God allowed things to get resolved the way they did. Thanks for praying about that. Back to the original post...

If you haven't already read Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages, I highly recommend it. The premise essentially is this: people tend to have a primary love language; in other words, they feel the most loved when cared for in a particular way, and tend to care for others in a particular way as well. The five love languages include physical touch, gifts, quality time, acts of service, and words of affirmation. The point is that it is important to not only identify your own love language, but also that of your spouse and other important people in your life so that you can "fill their love tank."

Spencer and I dialogue a lot about this concept, mostly in an effort to continue to care for each other the best that we can. Our love languages don't match (often, spouses' don't), and so it's important to regularly check in to make sure we are loving each other well. It's also been interesting to see how, throughout our marriage, the ways in which both of us feel most loved have changed.

Most recently, my primary love language seems to be acts of service, but words of affirmation are starting to become quite a close second. And what's interesting about it, is that the affirmation doesn't need to be of me; it actually means more to mean when those words are about my son.

This past Sunday at church, Spencer and I noticed a few different folks wearing the golf shirt from last year's Isaac Timothy Delisle Memorial Golf Tournament. That alone is enough to make my heart swell. One of the men, came over to Spencer, Ellie, and I and struck up a conversation about this year's tournament. He talked about how great last year's tournament was, and said he was looking forward to playing again in August. As the conversation ended, he affirmed Isaac in a way that caused me to fight back major tears...

He's one very special little boy.

I've discovered that as much as I feel loved when Spencer helps with the dishes or vacuums the stairs, my heart feels so full when Isaac is affirmed... or even mentioned.

This gentleman also went on to comment about how cute and sweet Eliana is, which also makes my heart swell with such joy.

And with that, a few updated pictures of our sweet little girl, who will already be two months old tomorrow!!