Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Elijah Meets Easter Bunny

Elijah had the chance to meet the Easter bunny this weekend. We were pretty unsure how it would go, but Elijah did fantastic!!

The place near our house that hosted this event was also really neat. It was an antique long store that was kind of like a mini-mall. It was free, not rushed, and refused to let any child leave without getting a picture of them smiling. Then all the pictures were uploaded to Facebook and we could download them for free. It was really a neat time. There was another family there with a 2-year-old girl who didn't want to leave {and seriously screamed and was so upset when she was forced to leave} and we enjoyed hanging out with them while they were there. You'll see Madyson in many of the below pics. So fun!

I put him on the floor and sure enough, he just crawled right on over and pulled himself up to the bunny! His extroverted personality is definitely from his mama!! :)

Trying to eat the bunny's outfit. He really does put literally everything in his mouth!

(the above & below pics are courtesy of the place taking our pics, I won't name them here publicly since I never indicate quite where we live)

And, drumroll... my favorite from our pics:

I love it!!! Our sweetheart. :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Welcome Spring... finally!

Signs of Spring are finally starting to trickle in! Here are signs, as well as a few fun things, from around our house. In part, this post is to help cheer me up as we've been home-bound for the entirety of this week, save little walks around the block and a quick Target trip! I'm sick with an upper respiratory infection and Elijah had croup, then a cold, and now he has double pink eye. Not a fun way for us to start Spring. But we've enjoyed the fresh air through the open windows and are praying we are all well very soon!!

From our front window

The top of our living room bookshelf

Our entryway cabinet - it has to include a handmade card a friend gave us after Elijah was born! :)

New flags swaying in the breeze

Must not forget the candy dish and table decorations - dining room table

Kitchen table

Main bathroom

Just because it's a very cool-looking and sweet thank you card on my desk

And well... duh. He's just too cute to put this away even if it's from his daycare for Christmas!

So excited! And so glad this weather is warming up too!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Beyond-Baby Update

I've been quiet lately in most things unrelated to Elijah. Every time I read someone else's blog, I just feel like I don't have much additional to contribute to the online conversations.

My world has changed so dramatically over the past year and a half. Ever since November 2012 when I found out I was pregnant, my world has encompassed a lot of pregnancy and baby-talk.

The Fibromyalgia conversations have gone by the wayside because I fear a new vulnerability - being considered any sort of an unfit mother because of some of the things I deal with daily in private as a result of my chronic illness.

My latest pictures have been pulled randomly or from my iPhone. We recently purchased our first Mac for our home {woohoo!!!} and I've managed to screw something up with iPhoto already {doh!}. Too. many. pictures. :(

My camera has mostly been all Elijah pictures. Last week I finally took some random pictures of random things around the house and outside. Maybe I'll get to share them with you soon.

I've had a lot on my heart to share, just not the words to say it. I just feel like everyone else says it so eloquently.

But I've been doing well, despite being super sick this past week. I'm learning so much these days - whether parenting, relationally, about our great God, balancing working full-time with mothering/housekeeping/cooking/being a wife full-time, or about how so many things matter so much less than they used to. And it's quite freeing.

Though these days - I've been enjoying March Madness... somewhat, though my brackets are certainly all destroyed as I know many of yours are!... and enjoying time with family visitors, get togethers with friends, a jewelry party for some friends, catching up on our favorite TV shows which we so rarely get to watch live anymore {which is totally fine! Elijah is wayyy more important}, and being one of the last people on earth apparently to still not have seen Frozen. {wait, check that, just saw it. great movie, but it was so hyped up that it sorta fell flat for me. please don't throw things at your computer.}

Elijah is really our lives. So completely. So much so that I know it spills over into everything else. What I talk about on social media, how I pray, lacking severely in my quiet time with the Lord, how I relate with other people, and so on.

I know that's not what so many of you have come here for. You either came to this blog because of Fibromyalgia, chronic illness, finding my recipes on Pinterest, or some such thing.

That's just not what I'm about lately. My life revolves around so much beyond any of that. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

He is such a gift. I'm amazed by him. Every time he shakes his head no, giggles at the hair towel on my head after a shower, leans his head back into me or Tim in a sweet/snuggly way, when he giggles hilariously as Tim rubs his head into Elijah's tummy, or when he gives me baby kisses, cries for me, can't get over to me fast enough, or laughs at my crazy antics... I can't help but feel like now my life has really begun.

Not at all to mean that anyone out there without kids should ever feel that their lives aren't worth anything because they don't children. NOT AT ALL. Please hear me in that. I remember those years. You have so many vastly important things to do and be involved in.

It's simply that once you do have kids, it just changes. Everything. In every good and challenging possible way. I'm so exhausted. I miss the free days of dashing anywhere I wanted to whenever I needed or wanted to. I miss shopping without worrying about whether or not I can make it through quickly enough without Elijah freaking out, screaming, or needing to be fed/changed/etc.

And I also don't miss those times one iota. Because I have an adorable, sweet, fun little sidekick that makes every pain-in-the-neck moment also filled with more joy and love than I ever knew my heart could hold. He grabs everyone's attention when we're out and causes me to strike up conversations with some random people, which we both love. He flirts with all the ladies, turns whenever a young girl goes by {uh oh!}, and smiles lots at all the lights, sounds, and fun stuff in the stores. He makes my life more interesting and oh so joyful.

So pardon me that things have changed so much around here. They will continue to be a lot about Elijah and parenting and babies and advice... because that's what my life is about now. I'm more than my Fibromyalgia. I'm a mom fighting daily through it and doing great because God has blessed me so abundantly that I cannot complain.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Winter That Won't Die

This has been an unusually harsh, cold, longggg winter for so many. 

I know for us here in Chicagoland, we have been wishing it away for a month or so. Even this typically-loves-Winter gal. Especially now that I bundle up and lug around a baby who hits the 75-90 percentile for both height and weight. 

Love my baby. Hate what the winter has done to his little body. He's been so sick since November. We had a decent reprieve for several weeks, but then he caught a cold that seemed to almost disappear just before getting his 3rd round of croup that he now has.

We are just so. very. over. Winter.

We desperately long for the beauty, fragrances, and allergens of good ol' Spring.

I'm not one for the heat of the Summer, but it certainly has a beauty and sweetness of its own. And for that, we long too. No more dry heat, running the humidifiers, dried out noses needing saline solution constantly, and no more sub-zero temperatures.

There is always something to savor about Chicago in the summertime.

And there's always the wind in your hair driving down Lake Shore Drive or savoring the smell of Lake Michigan. There's nothing quite the same to me as a view of Lake Michigan. It speaks home to me.

Oh the sunsets over that skyline. *swoon*

Or the good ol' Lincoln Park Zoo in the Summer heat when all the animals decide to hide too. {No, the pic below is not from Summer but Spring when we actually managed to just be driving around and the zoo was closed so we just took pics outside as we wandered around and took advantage of the free parking. Good times. Hilarious friends.}

Then comes Fall... and really, need I say more?! 

I simply adore the Midwest changing of the seasons, but really, go away Winter. We need to feel the sun's warmth again, get more fresh air and take long walks, and we are so very tired of snow. 

Disclaimer: These pictures are my own and are not to be used without permission.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

9 Months

Standing on tip-toes
Holding on to things
Pulling up on things a little bit
Loves older kids, especially girls
Gives baby kisses
Army crawls or scooches everywhere
Loves apples, pears, carrots, and squash the most.
Hates green beans and peas.
Enjoys being read to and trying to eat the book
Loves music
Loves to pull the bottle out of his mouth and squeeze the nipple so it'll squirt everywhere. This is super annoying.
Seems to slightly understand the word no, but we're working on this and have a long way to go to full understanding and obeying. 
Shakes his head back and forth in hilarious fashion.
Always catches the attention of people no matter where we go, we are blessed to constantly hear "oohhh he is so handsome [or cute or...]".
Is easily distracted if a girl walks by.
Arches his back and starts screaming if he doesn't want to do something we're trying to have him do. Oh boy, we are really seeing signs of his personality emerging, and we're in trouble!
Has started some stranger anxiety
Is really uncertain of some men
Doesn't like it when mommy leaves the room or leaves him somewhere. He's fine at daycare or church, but if I stay for a few minutes and then hug him again on my way out... that's when he cries and gets really upset. Or if I visit daycare over lunch and leave again without taking him with me... ohhhhhh boy.
He's started pulling the kids at daycare down if they're nearby and standing up but he isn't. It's so funny. It looks pretty harmless, like he's surprised when they fall down and get mad, like he didn't realize they'd fall or something. 
Still tries to eat anything - wires, electronics, paper, plastic, etc. No, we don't let him. ;) 
Hates when we take something from him
Still enjoys baths and the outdoors
Hates us wiping his nose or mouth
Has started being a little ticklish
Has the best giggle
Loves being carried facing forward so he can see the world and thrash his arms about with glee

We love you SOOOO much little buddy! We can hardly explain just how much. You've rocked our world, made our lives complete, challenged us to the core, exhausted us more than we ever knew possible, made me understand now what parenting with chronic illness is truly like (oy), and have made us happier than we could have ever dreamed. You are an incredible little boy and we are so blessed by you!! You are so much fun and such a delight. We praise God for you every single day!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Parenting Quandaries

I've been blown away lately as Elijah grows by leaps and bounds.

I always knew this would come, but all of a sudden he seems to be a little boy, and less baby. He's so much fun, army crawling and scooching around more and more. He's babbling "dadadadadada" constantly. He's hilarious and such a joy.

And he's so. frickin. hard.

He's at that point where we have to say "no" or "no touch" repeatedly. No, really. Repeatedly. 

Sometimes feeling like it'll never stop! It's so frustrating. You want to be patient but after 30 times of saying no to the same thing, you just feel zapped and are amazed at how he still doesn't get it.

It's easy to forget that babies are born with no knowledge of the world around them and that part of our purpose is to teach them about the world around them. Oh yeah. That can be so hard.

I'm sure so many of you have gone through this stage too. It's exhausting and draining, rewarding and challenging. As first-time parents it's a big guessing game. How often do you say no? How do you emphasize it when they're not even 9 months old? When will you know to start disciplining [don't worry we know it's not yet]?

Followed by a million other little questions. It's just baffling to me. Things I never had fully thought of. We'd talked about how we wanted to discipline our children - but this?

This not quite knowing is a new thing to me. I don't think there are crystal clear answers and that's why it's so tough.

All the more why we depend on God for the answers for our lives. He's the potter and we are the clay. Isaiah 64:8

I just pray that God continually gives us wisdom and we don't screw up Elijah too much!