Sunday, September 14, 2014

If I Could Write A Letter To Myself Before September 15th

Dear Before Kids Carly,

Your world is about to be turned upside down.  I know that you think that you are ready for this, I know that you think that you're prepared, but you're not.  It's okay, I  promise you're going to be fine.  You're about to experience something so wonderful, so amazing, so life altering that no amount of preparations would have done it justice.
 You are going to have to learn to wake up repeatedly in the night.  You are going to learn how the crook in you arm was made so that a small baby could sleep in it just so.   You are really going to have to learn to be okay with all sorts of bodily fluids and you will.  Trust me, by the time you get to number three it won't be a big deal at all.  Adult conversations are going to  be rare, but you are going to be a pro at chatting about things like baby food, diaper brands, and pediatrician well visits.  You won't remember the last thick book you read, but you will be able to quote "Goodnight Moon" and "Where the Wild Things Are."  Listen, if they ask you to read it again and again, just do it, even if you have read it 12 nights in a row. You won't get to read to them forever.
 You need to get that lack of patience in check, because girl, you are going to need it.  I am here to tell you that yelling doesn't work, a gentle, loving but firm voice does.
About you're little girl.  Your first one.  She's a lot like you, but don't you forget that she's not you.  You loosen your reigns and let her be the one and only Liberty Rose that God made her to be.  You'll see, she is going open wide the windows of your heart and fill them with this amazing brand of love that you didn't know existed.  She's going to make you a Mommy and there will be no going back after that. You'll be hooked.   She will be just what you always imagined your little girl to be and so much more.  She'll twirl on her tip toes and laugh like a song.  She will be wild and free, just like her name.  
 You are going get a surprise.  His name is Cooper.  Right when you thought your love tank was full, he is going to come along and over-flow it.  He's going to look at you and lock eyes when ever he can.  He's going to want to sleep with you every night. Just let him. Don't worry if every other baby in the world is sleeping on their own.  He needs you.  You're his safe place and not everybody gets to be someone's safe place.  By the time he reaches his first birthday he'll be sleeping (almost) through the night in his own bed.  He's going to melt you, you'll be done for, no other little boy will ever compare to yours.
Hold them, all three, whenever you can because before you know it they will be too big to hold.  Memorize the folds in their chubby baby hands, remember how sweet tiny feet are (preferably with a bit of dirt on them to show how well they have been playing.)
Write down as much as you can to help you remember how precious small they were.
Have fun with them.  Leave the laundry, read a book to them.  The dishes don't matter, cuddling at bed time does.  Take them to the library, the park and the beach.
Pray for them.  Their lives are not yours, they belong to God.  He sent them to you so that you could know a little bit more of what His love for you looks like.  Your job is to point them towards Him.
Time flies by, and before you know it you'll be up past 1 am wondering what happened to it.  Cherish this time with them.
Celebrate birthdays and trying new things.
Hug them.
Kiss them.
Laugh a lot.
Tell them that they are brave and strong.  Tell them they can do it, you know they can!
Tell yourself you can do it, I know you can.  You are brave and strong.
Take a deep breath, you are going to love being Mommy.

Love, Six Years Later Carly

P.S.  They love to dance, all three, so when dinner isn't ready yet and they are all crying turn up some music and dance
photo credit

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On Those People Who Are Precious To Me

 For some reason, at this very moment I recall a summer walk with my Dad when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I was wearing a tie dyed Strawberry Shortcake t-shirt.  He and I would always go on evening walks at our farm.  We would walk up the road to the neighboring farm and if the mood struck him right he would walk me through the woods to a clearing to watch for deer.  I don't remember talking that night I just remember being there with him, sitting on the rail fence in the quiet.
 My precious Dad's health rapidly declined this year.  By the beginning of the summer we felt helpless, unsure of what was wrong, but knowing that something had to be done.  I packed up my kids and drove to their house, hoping to help some way.  After a series of unfortunate events he was hospitalized, and after even more unfortunate events I found myself being told by a doctor that they needed to sedate my Father to intubate him.  I leaned over my Dad and kissed his head.  I held him while they injected yet another round of something strong.  I wanted to tell him about that evening walk I remembered.  Instead I whispered, not to be afraid.  I told him that Jesus was right there with us.
 They wheeled him away to a critical care unit and the doctor told me of the difficulties that came from extubating patients and how he would possibly never come off of the ventilator.  My mind swirled. I felt like I was eight years old again.  I called my sister and told her to come.  My mother called family members.  I made arrangements for people to watch my children.  I clumsily went from room to room in my parents house organizing trying make sure that something, anything, was the way it should be.
My hand touched the back room shelf  and I thought of him. I searched for toys in the shed and thought of him.  With each move I made I realized that every corner of the house was infused with him.   Even more, every corner of me was infused with him.  My mind wrestled with thoughts of walking and talking and living in a world that he wasn't in and it just didn't make sense.
 When I returned to the hospital a man from my parents church was praying over my Father.  He sang "Bless the Lord Oh My Soul." He told me that whatever I was praying for my Father, to pray it expectantly because The Heavenly Father was listening.
I realized that I wasn't praying.  I had no words to pray because I felt eight years old and had no idea how to deal with sick Father.  Dad is strong. Dad knows everything, can fix anything, Dad is calm...This isn't my Dad.  This man...Father, I don't know how to pray for this.
 And then these Words "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." Romans 8:26
 My Father's room filled up.  Brothers, sisters, friends, saints, all.  Praying for my Dad.  Praying that he would be well.  Praying for him when my words only came out as tears.
Two days later, still on the ventilator, Dad woke up and wrote us a note that said "I'm fine, go home."  The next day they extubated him with out any sign of trouble.  When I walked in the room he said "hey kid," and I said "don't you ever do that to me again."
A week later he was home.  A month later, his whole family was together under one roof.  
Thankful doesn't seem like a big enough word, but I am.
 I'm thankful for his life, thankful for the legacy that he and my mother have made.  There is nothing extraordinary about these pictures, but this family is rooted in love, and because of his testimony, his family is rooted in Truth.  On second thought, maybe they are extraordinary.
 The fear of losing him was real.  I feared what life would look like if he wasn't here.  But because of the faith that he instilled in me, real hope was never lost.  Even if the worst had come to pass, hope would not have ended because this man, my precious Father, knows Jesus.
Jesus that heard my wordless prayers.
Dad's health continues to improve.  His doctor, the one who told me he would likely never come off the ventilator, gave him the most improved patient award.
Thank you for praying friends.
Grace and Peace


I think that because Cooper is my youngest, and maybe because he is a boy, he takes real pride in his accomplishments.  He started standing alone and taking his first steps in July while we were at Babette and Grandad's house (for the record, all of my children's first steps were taken on holiday.  Libby took her first steps in England, and Maggie's were in the mountains).  He was 10 1/2 months old.  I hope that you can feel his pride through these pictures.  He squealed and laughed with every movement he made

 Just put one foot in front of the other son.


These Days Are Fleeting

A woman waiting on me at a store the other day looked down at my children and told me she thought I had a beautiful family.
 I smiled and thanked her.  She followed that statement with "it goes so fast.  I have five and my baby is starting his senior year."
 Our eyes locked for just a moment, and I think I saw a tear in her eyes and maybe she saw a tear in mine.
 It does go fast I told her.
No one ever tells you how fast it will go before you have children, or maybe I just never listened.
Now I hear it when I look at them in morning sure that they have grown in their sleep, I hear it when I lay them down, I hear it when I hold them, I hear it when their laughing, I hear it everywhere.
Childhood is so precious fast.  I  hope that they are loving every minute of it.

Time to Write

September I'm not sure how you got here, but you're here now and I have some catching up to do.
I'm all up in my head today wondering about the speed of time, and growing children, and kindergarten, and babies about to turn one year old, and a little girl content to stay with mama one more year.

 Summer blew by us with a little low, and a lot of highs.  I wish I had written about every high.  How every day something that those amazing children do make me so thankful that they are mine.

 Some moms are amazing planners.  You've seen them at the park, at the mall and everywhere else.  They have snacks, they have cups, they have first aid kits, they have a packed lunch, they have bug spray, they leave in time for naps to keep with their schedule.

 That is not me.
I am a terrible planner.  I almost always forget something truly important, like diapers!  I never leave in time for proper naps and sometimes I skip them all together if we are having fun.

 One day in July, I planned to skip naps, I remembered bug spray, and I think I remembered to pack drinks.  I took the kids to the most magical blueberry farm.  We were almost the only pickers there.  My children ran wild down the rows of berries and it made me wish that we lived in the country.  True to form, the ate more than they picked and had a glorious time doing so.  If the woman at the farm stand had known about all the berries they ate she would have weighed the children after she weighed my buckets.


As if this farm wasn't dreamy enough, on the opposite side of the road was row after row of beautiful blackberries.  The bushes were heavy laden with berries.  All we had to do was reach out our hands and berries were falling in them and almost straight into our mouths.

This sign is true of the berries and my children, all three.
Grace and Peace