Tag Archives: Family

Reason to Celebrate

26 Jan

Wow! It has been one year since I started Life As I Know It. It’s a birthday, of sorts, for me. When I first started writing here, I just thought it would be a fun way for me to connect with other people. A good outlet when I was having a bad day. A way for me to have some “me time” throughout the week. And it has been all of those things. I appreciate each and every one of you who has shared in any part of this journey with me!

Today should be a day of celebration and good news! But, first, let me share a story with you…..

A year and a half ago, my husband and I decided that it was time for us to have another baby. We hadn’t been married for very long, but we are both in our early 30s and didn’t really want to wait. We each have a child from previous relationships and we figured it might take a couple of months, but it wouldn’t be too difficult, right? Wrong. I won’t go into all of the painful details but it was far from easy. There were doctors visits, test after test, invasive procedures, medications, and never a guarantee that any of it would work. There were tears, disappointments, negative pregnancy tests, insecurities, and fear. It put a strain on our marriage. It was one of the reasons that our marriage completely fell apart for a couple of months.

There was so much devastation. Broken dreams that seemed as if they would never become a reality. Each of us, without really consulting with the other, had all but given up on the possibility that we would be able to have another child. The sympathy that I have for people who cannot conceive, or struggle to do so, now knows no bounds. It is something that can never be explained to anyone who hasn’t felt it. I know people who have spent years and years wondering if they will ever be blessed with a child to call their own. And some never will. Our other two children are such immense blessings to us. We wanted to add to our family with a child we created together. A representation of the love we had found in each other. I cannot imagine the pain of never having a child. Secondary infertility carries its own hurt as well.

It is a very personal, very lonely, very painful kind of hell. It is a place where you can’t help but feel as if you are all alone. As if no one can possibly understand your heartbreak or provide comfort for your tears. As if there are no words to describe your disappointment. As if your dreams are laying, scattered, at your feet. You know that you’ll find a way to cope with it. You just don’t know when. Every week, every month that passes seems like forever.

imageAnd then one day, I woke up and realized that I hadn’t felt right for a few weeks. I was tired and I didn’t have much of an appetite. I was so nervous. I’d been here before. I’d been under stress, or just caught a bug, or something and thought to myself, “Maybe….” This time, I was afraid to go there. I waited a few more days. Still the same. So, I did it. I took the test. And then I sat it on the sink and walked away from it. And I prayed. I prayed for the strength to look at another negative. I prayed for peace. I walked back into the bathroom, took a couple of deep breaths and looked. Then there were no breaths. I couldn’t. Tears immediately fell from my eyes. I couldn’t even smile. I just stared. And blinked; hard. And stared again. Then, I believe everything was a jumbled series of laughing and spinning in circles and crying. Positive.

Telling my husband was a moment I hope I never forget. There was so much joy in that room. I’m surprised our home could contain it all. Our families and friends are excited. Our children are thrilled. I am on cloud 9. (When I’m not a hormonal, emotional, grouchy mess…… well, honestly, even then.) Our family will soon be complete. I have been blessed with a miracle. One that I will forever be so, so grateful for. And that is a reason to celebrate!

Making Memories

23 Dec

Merry Christmas

 

I love Christmas! I love everything about it! Spending time with the people I love. Decorating. Eating. The joy that everyone seems to have. Picking out that perfect present for someone you love. I seriously love it! One of my favorite parts of Christmas are the traditions. Some of them have passed down from when I was a child. Some of them we have started on our own. All of them make the Christmas season so much more special. Here are some of my favorite holiday traditions. I would love to hear some of yours!

 

Shopping – I love Black Friday shopping with my best friend! We make a night of it. We scope out the sales, visit as many places as we can, drink lots of coffee, eat breakfast (in the middle of the night) someplace yummy, and then sleep the whole next day. I know there are so many people who think Black Friday is a waste of time, for many reasons. It is, however, one of the days I look forward to throughout the year. One of my favorite traditions with one of my favorite girls!

 

Decorating – Immediately after Thanksgiving, the Christmas decorations come out. When I was a kid, we would put Christmas music on and drink hot chocolate. We each get a new ornament for the tree each year and it’s so lovely to see how the number of ornaments has multiplied from year to year. There is something so exciting and magical about beginning the Christmas season.

 

Lights – One evening, just before Christmas, we all pile in the car, hot chocolate in tow, to drive around and look at the lights. The kids love trying to find the biggest and best light display. I love listening to the conversation and laughter coming from the back seat. It’s one of my favorite things to do with my children.

 

Pajamas – Ever since I was a little girl, there were new pajamas to be opened on Christmas Eve. When I was young, I just thought it was a neat thing my mom did. Turns out, her motives weren’t just to give us a special memory. She wanted decent pajamas in the pictures each Christmas. As a mom, it is definitely a tradition I’ve carried on with my family. We all get new pajamas on Christmas Eve. The kids love the idea of opening a present early and I love getting nice pajamas for pictures the next morning.

 

The Christmas Story – To be sure that we remember what our focus should be on Christmas Day, we read the Christmas story from the Bible before any present is opened that morning. Again, something that my mom started when we were kids. I think it’s the perfect way to remember the greatest Christmas gift ever given. And to remind us all that it’s not the shopping, or the decorating, or the presents….. it’s the gift of Love. That’s what Christmas is all about!

 

Merry Christmas to each of you!

 

A post of posts

15 Aug

I found a very interesting idea the other day…. A list of posts. A legacy of sorts.  Something to leave for my children to look back on some day. The things I think they should know about me. I have decided to tweak it and make it my own. As I finish each post, I will link it here and it will eventually become an interactive list of posts. I’m pretty excited about it and I hope you enjoy!

Thirty Things My Kids Should Know About Me

1. 20 Random Facts about myself
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears and how they came about
3. Describe my relationship with my spouse
4. The 10 things that make me most happy, right now
5. If I had 3 wishes…..
6. My dream job
7. Five things I am passionate about
8. Ten people who have influenced me
9. Embarrassing moments
10. Pet peeves
11. A typical day in the life
12. The hardest part of growing up
13. Weaknesses and strengths
14. When I knew he was “the one”
15. My 5 greatest accomplishments
16. What I wish I were great at
17. What people love the most about me
18. How I felt the moment I became a parent
19. Memories from my childhood
20. Favorite holiday
21. Parenthood: likes and dislikes
22. Dinner party from history
23. Favorite quality of my spouse
24. Hopes and dreams for my children
25. Ten things I want to be remembered for
26. My favorite things about me
27. Best advice I ever received
28. Best advice I can give
29. Where to go from here
30. What faith can do

Going to the chapel…..

24 Jul

My baby brother is getting married in a little over a week. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was looking forward to my own wedding. I was much older than he is now and I thought I knew so much. I thought I knew what to expect and what life would be like. I had no idea. I do realize that no one can ever prepare you for something like marriage and real life, but I want to try.

image

To Eric and Kelley (and anyone else who needs it),

Making the decision to love someone isn’t always easy. But that’s what it takes. Loving them no matter what. Even if they leave empty Mt. Dew cans in the living room. Even if they say they will fold the laundry and it’s still sitting, two days later. Even if their snoring keeps you awake at night. Even if they say something that isn’t nice. Even if they don’t act like they love you. Even if you don’t want to. It’s hard and sometimes it’s messy. But, to make a marriage last, it’s necessary.

Working on your marriage should start before you need to work on your marriage. If you wait until there is a problem, things get much harder. Make date nights a priority. Make learning new things about each other a priority. Have those late night conversations like you did when you were dating. Continue to try to do little things that make each other happy. Let her pick the date activity. Go watch that superhero movie he’s looking forward to. Surprise each other with little tokens of your love. Don’t find yourselves, years down the road, realizing you know nothing about the other person and no one cares enough to make an effort anymore. Don’t even let it start.

Love is an action word. Gary Chapman writes a fantastic series called “The 5 Love Languages”. It’s a great resource on making sure that you are showing your spouse love in a way they can receive. Don’t just do things ‘your way’. Make sure you are doing things that are specifically acted out for the sole purpose of making the other person feel loved. The things they enjoy. The things they need. Sacrifice is an imperative part of making a marriage work. Just because you don’t particularly like holding hands doesn’t mean he doesn’t need it. You may find it silly to know that she needs to hear that she’s beautiful and the extent to which you love her everyday; do it anyway.

Have fun! Enjoy this time alone! Kids are great! They add so much to life that is incomparable. But, they take a lot as well. They take a lot of attention and love. They require stability and don’t allow for much alone time. They certainly change things drastically. I love both of my children! I do frequently wish, though, that my husband and I had been able to enjoy some time together, just us, before we added that component to our family. That wasn’t life’s path for us, but it is for you. Live each stage of life to its fullest!

Pray together. Make sure that God is in the center of your marriage, your home, your life, and eventually your parenting strategies. Continue to grow in your relationship with Him separately. Continue to support each other, challenge each other, and push each other to be better. He has all of the answers and strength that you need to make this marriage everything He designed it to be.

Fight fair. No name calling. Forgive past hurts and move beyond them. Bitterness is a dangerous trap to fall into. Be vulnerable and honest. Love unconditionally. Ask for help! There is no shame in seeking help from trustworthy sources that have your marriage’s best interest in mind. Don’t betray trust or confidentiality. Make sure no one else can be a threat to your marriage. (Friends and family included.) Make sure that giving up and walking away is never an option. Don’t even mention it. And never, ever forget that love, true love, conquers all.

I love you both and I wish you all of the happiness and joy that love and life can possibly bring!

Motherhood

19 May

English: Motherhood by Leah Michlson, Arad, Is...

 

Mother’s Day came and went recently. It was a great day and I enjoyed spending the day with some of my favorite people. I had every intention of writing a Mother’s Day post sooner; however, my computer crashed and I lost everything. And at this point, I’m glad I didn’t. As I was perusing through Facebook a couple of days ago, I came across a status update explaining why Mother’s Day was unnecessary. The writer basically said that a day meant for thanking someone for doing what they were supposed to do anyway was asinine. They felt that it was a Hallmark holiday meant to boost card sales in an off month. It was a very interesting opinion that I’ve heard about other holidays (Valentine’s Day mostly) but never really about Mother’s Day. So, I would like to pose an argument as to why Mother’s Day is important.

 

Firstly, simply being a mother does not make you someone worth celebrating. If all you have ever done for your child is give birth to them, you don’t even deserve the title, in my opinion. And there are plenty of people like that in this world. Maybe that’s the only form of a mother this person had in life. Otherwise, stating that mom’s are only “doing what they are supposed to do” and don’t deserve any thanks…. I simply don’t understand that.

 

I suppose, technically, that “what I’m supposed to do” is feed and clothe my children. Provide them with a house to live in and make sure they get an education. If that was all I ever did for them, I still wouldn’t feel myself worthy of appreciation. It’s everything else, the things that truly make me a mommy, that I hope my children, and husband, feel are important. Mostly, I want them to know that it is all a manifestation of how much I love them. I don’t feel that I should necessarily have some big celebration. However, knowing that they are thankful for all that I try to give to them, makes me feel like I am succeeding in loving them.

 

The following words were read at the church I attend, on Mother’s Day. I thought they were beautiful and I couldn’t possibly say it better. This is the perfect explanation of why I feel Mother’s Day is worth celebrating.

 

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who are foster moms and mentor moms– we celebrate you
To those who kneel in prayer for the next generation – we need you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children or your mother – we believe with you for restoration

 

To those who are raising children on their own – we honor you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we believe with you.
To our spiritual moms – we honor you
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To all those who are stepmothers – we applaud you

 

To those who are caring for their aging mothers – we appreciate you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To all of our grandmothers who are leaving a lasting legacy – we are blessed because of you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. God bless you!

 

A Place Where I Belong

19 Mar

I remember, several years ago, wondering where I would fit. What my calling in this life would be. Dreaming about that moment when my heart would suddenly find the place that it was meant to reside. I wondered where I would be, what I would be doing. I wasn’t sure what career that would mean or the people that would be in my life at that moment. I didn’t know what the future held, and I didn’t know how I would ever figure it out.

 

Today, I can tell you exactly where I fit.

 

I can tell you what my whole purpose in this life is. I can pinpoint exactly where I should be and the people that should be surrounding me. I still don’t know what my future holds, but I can tell you one thing. I know exactly who I’ll be when it gets here.

 

I was made to be a mommy.

 

I was made to experience that feeling of falling in love instantly, with no hesitation or reservations. I was made to know a love so strong that it can’t be explained with ordinary words. I was made to completely understand what it means when someone talks about your heart walking around outside your body. I was made to look at a smile, a face, and feel like my heart might literally burst with more love than it can possibly hold inside.

 

I am supposed to be the one to create a home out of an ordinary house. I am supposed to be the one to make a safe place to land. I am supposed to make meals and create an environment for conversations over them. I am supposed to plan family game nights, fun activities in our town, and memorable vacations. I am supposed to teach lessons on taking care of things by cleaning and doing laundry. I am supposed to be the example, and then divide up the responsibilities.

 

I know the feeling of helplessness when this big bad world rears its ugly head. I know the intense need to protect when someone threatens what’s mine. I know the pain when I must let a hard lesson be learned. I know the fear when I have to let go. I know the sadness when I see tear filled eyes. I know the feeling of incompleteness when part of me isn’t near. I know the feeling of failure when I realize I haven’t done something as well as I should. I know what real love is.

 

I am the one who can calm fears in the middle of the night. I am the one who can repair broken hearts. I am the one who can ease anxieties over doctor’s appointments and shots. I am the one who can build strength simply by holding a hand. I am the one who can create a whole new world out of bed sheets and dining room chairs. I am the one who can be a bank robber or a princess, a customer or a dragon, a super hero or a damsel in distress. I am the one who can wipe away tears and find a smile. I am the one who knows the answer to all questions. I am the most beautiful woman in the world. I am a mommy.

 

 

imageAnd that is where my heart belongs.

 

Pieces of my heart

18 Mar

I used to believe that there was no more challenging job on earth than being a mommy. I also believe that there is no job more rewarding. I used to think that nothing could stretch my limitations, test my strength, or ask more of me that being a parent. And then I fell in love. I fell in love with this beautiful, spirited, silly little girl and her daddy. I became a step-parent. And, with that, I realized that being a mommy wasn’t the most challenging thing I would ever do. Being a step parent was.image

My views of parenting were much different that her father’s. My views on discipline were much different from her father’s. Ultimately the decision was his, but I also had a child that was effected by those decisions. We had to work very hard to come to compromises that both of us could be happy with. We had to evaluate everything we thought we knew in the context of our combined family. Both of our children had to go through some changes. We are still learning and it is, and probably always will be, a work in progress.

For Isaiah’s whole life, I had been working with his father to schedule holidays, special events, and visitation times. We had, for the most part, gotten things down to a science. We still have days where all of that is difficult, just not very many. Now there was another parent to schedule things with. There was another set of family members and special events. We now have to schedule holidays with each of our families, plus each of our children’s other parents. I love Christmas, but it certainly gives me a headache now.

Then there are many of the same challenges that each of our children present me with. Am I making the right decisions for them? Am I modeling marriage well enough? Am I teaching them how to be individuals? Am I teaching them to stand up for themselves? Am I showing them how much I love them? Am I being fair? Am I giving them memories they will cherish? Am I fulfilling this call of parenthood the way I’m supposed to? Am I helping to raise little people who will grow up into successful adults?

But then there’s the other side. The part where I love that little girl just like she were my own. The part where I miss her so badly when she’s not with us. The part where it is so important to me that she knows how important she is to our family, even though she’s not with us as much as we would like. The part where I am so thankful to get to watch the sibling relationship develop between her and Isaiah. The irreplaceable laughter and light that she brings to our family. The beauty and magic that she brings to our home.

Until I met her, I never knew what we were missing. She is one of the best parts of my world. I thank God every day that I get the opportunity to love her.

To all of you who are good step-parents – I raise my glass to you for stepping in and choosing to love a child that isn’t your own as if they were.

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