Thursday, January 19, 2017

Baby B2: Eight Months Old

Thanks to our little nephew Wesley, who showed off his sitting skills over the Christmas holiday, Stephen can now sit up for a while on his own! This usually ends in cries as he has fallen down and can't get back up (don't worry, we usually remember to put a pillow behind him!). His favorite activity while sitting is to dig through his toy box and dump out the contents.

Speaking of favorite things, this kid loves bath time. We still use an infant chair that props him up but he will often scoot to the bottom and kick his legs with reckless abandon splashing himself and me with glee. I've gotten soaked on more than one occasion--William told me to just close the shower door when he does that. His last few minutes of bath time are without the chair and I just hold him up in a sitting position. Then his hands get to explore the tub and finger through the water--and splash some more. So much splashing!

He is very creative when it comes to being mobile. Rolling over, inching around on his back and now even squirming on his tummy; he will get himself where he wants to go. Crawling is probably just a week or two away. This week he has gotten up on hands and knees a few times and will rock back and forth. He's catching on.

A couple days after Christmas, Stephen cut his first tooth! And on New Year's Eve, right before we said our goodbyes, Nana discovered his second tooth. I was thankful for the extra hands in helping comfort this little guy. No real signs of any more quite yet, but the amount of drool pooling out would say there will be soon.

Stephen loves food. Usually, I will make my own purees of vegetables and fruit we have at home, but I have also used store bought baby food. I'm looking forward to introducing him to finger foods soon. He loves his mesh feeder -- he has chewed on apples, pears, strawberries and bananas so far. It's really fun to see how excited he gets about food. I hope he keeps the excitement as he gets older and can eat what we are eating! We found a high-chair for him so William doesn't have to share his anymore. Stephen loves joining us for meals around the table. (We love it too as long as we keep him far enough away so he doesn't grab anything!)

He is still wearing his 6 month clothing even though he has grown an inch and gained a pound in the last month. (Now at 16.8 pounds and 27.5 inches.) Some footie pajamas are now a little tight but onesies, shirts and pants are still fitting well.

Stephen loves to make noise. I can't really spell the kind of sounds he creates but it varies from shouts "Ah-Ah!" to babbling. He also loves blowing raspberries/spitting too. I cherish all these sounds as they remind me that my baby is a cheerful, content little boy and no longer fussy with colic. It's music to my ears!

Sleep is still a struggle. After Christmas travels we got sick and needed to be fed and rocked numerous times each night. His naps are short enough to warrant three naps during the day but I cannot get him to actually take a third nap which makes the afternoons hard. Now that I'm not working I hope to spend a little more time and energy getting him to sleep better/longer.

This month has been fun! Looking forward to all the changes to come! (Especially if William is gives any indication of what that might look like!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Decisions Made

The decision for me to leave my role as an online bookstore manager did not come lightly. It is true that it has been part of our long-term plan since we first muttered the word "child." But often times goals require hard work and waiting and this was no different.

On one of our first dates, at an Indian restaurant in Colorado Springs (we had a coupon, it was delicious and we regret forgetting the name of it and never going back) Chris asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I could have said anything, but I said I really wanted to be a mom and stay home with my kids. And just like any good knight in shining armor, he remembered this and made it his goal to make it come true.

So, the dream was voiced and once we had our first baby the goal was set in place. And when it finally came time to make it a reality, Chris's company (a start-up) couldn't afford payroll. And then when they did finally pay him they cut his salary by 30%. Our goals were put on hold. For a long time. I had made a nice arrangement to work from home with my little boy and he was finally sleeping through the night and I felt like a real person again. I could keep doing this.

That year flew by and we both kept working hard. We found a rhythm that seemed to work for a while. I cut my hours down and William lost a nap. I never felt like I could get ahead. Eventually Chris was put back at 100% and we prepared for a second child. We prayed the opportunity would come soon.

Stephen joined our family and I went on leave. I loved my maternity leave. I felt a new life and passion rise within me. I yearned to be home with my boys with out juggling work. We prayed some more but didn't feel peace about leaving right then. We needed to finish out the year. Waiting felt impossible. We had to make some major changes in order for me to work, even just part time. William would need to be in school. There was no way I could work while he was awake most of the day.

Thankfully just days before I went back to work, we found a preschool that had openings and was actually on Chris's commute route to work. He went every morning for 4 hours. I would pick him up, give him lunch on the drive home and put him to bed when we got home. Stephen would also take a nap during some portion of William's nap so I would get a little overlap to work. I tried to work for an hour each morning before Chris went to work and two hours while William was at school and then finish up during nap time. (whew!) William loved school so that was a blessing. It took the pressure off and lessened the guilt; but preschool was a huge bill to pay. After taxes, insurance and preschool, there wasn't much left.

My load felt heavy. It was all adding up (not sleeping, trouble feeding baby, juggling every hour of the day, etc). Friends sympathized and encouraged. Some reminded me of the mothers that have gone before us taking in laundry, cleaning for others, making a living on the side in centuries long past; this is what mothers do. My knight in shining armor continually reminding me that the time was coming soon. Just a few more months. The Lord was going to provide.

And then I jumped. One of those "Okay, Lord, please catch me!" kind of jumps. The year ended and the time finally came for me to leave my job. It felt unreal. Is this really right? Is now the time? Are we going to make this work? Yes, yes, yes!

The Lord will indeed provide. That is a truth that has proven over and over in our lives. I know He wants me to raise my boys --to love Him with all their hearts-- and I know he wants me to learn about His love by being a parent. He also wants to give me what my heart desires. Desires he placed there from the very beginning of my life. So we trust.

We trust that now the year has ended and I've said my farewells that he will indeed provide all we need. Our security cannot be found in an organization or a paycheck; two things I've held on to tightly.

This has been a goal for a long time. The decision has been made. But now the journey of walking in faith begins (again). I cannot wait to experience this. I cannot wait to spend intentional, uninterrupted time with my children. I'm excited to make improvements in our home (small things, like a clean counter top, laundry done regularly, the table clear of clutter). I'm a little nervous about our smaller income but we've been in tight spots before and we managed just fine. Again, the Lord has always provided--so we will seek him for all our needs.

I'm grateful to everyone who has said "you will not regret this," "your boys will be so blessed," or "I'm so glad you can do this for your family." I needed to hear these reminders as I made our decision known. No one said "You can totally do it all, you don't have to choose." or "what about your career?" No one tried to stop me (except that one guy).

This new adventure will not be easy or even easier than what I've been doing for the past three years. It will be different and have it's own challenges for sure. Prayers are appreciated. Encouragement welcome.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Big Changes in our House

Today was my last day as a Work-from-home-mom. Monday will be my first day as a full-time stay at home mom! For the past three years I have shuffled my kid(s) to the office twice a week to pick up work/drop work off and head back home to cram it all in during nap time (and my evenings, early mornings, and any time the boys were distracted for two minutes). Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful I had such a flexible company to work for and grateful for all it provided for my family. But I'm exhausted.

No, staying at home with my children won't really be any easier, but hopefully I'll have enough energy to give them what they need. And if I sneak a nap or a shower in during the day, I'll take it. I'm not trying to set my expectations of my "new life" too high just yet!

I hope to blog more about how we came to this decision and how we handle the transition later, but now, I'm going to bed with a burden lifted and peace that surpasses my understanding.