Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dedication Sunday

On Sunday, March 15 we had William dedicated in church. William's godparents: John, my brother, and Shannon, Chris's sister were there and stood with us. Chris's mom, Sheryl or "Nana" to William was also able to be with us.

The morning started off just fine. Church starts at 11, so typically William can take his usual morning nap before we have to leave. This Sunday, he slept a bit late and I had to wake him up. He wasn't very happy about that and preceded to cling to me, and only me for the rest of the morning.

I felt a little frustrated with his attitude and could easily imagine this becoming one of those Sundays where the family spent the morning fighting but pasted on smiles for the service or something.

We were supposed to arrive a little early to meet with the Council chairman to go over the service. We were late, but only by a few minutes. William typically goes to the nursery for the service, but on this special Sunday he would be with us for the first 40 minutes of the service until the dedication was finished. He sat still for a couple of minutes during the worship music, but was soon off and running. I took him to the back where there was another little boy playing.

Then the dedication started and Chris, William, John, Shannon and I all went up front. Scott, our church counsel chairman led the ceremony and did a really great job of describing why we dedicate our children -- to give him back to the Lord and have the Lord do as He will in William's life.

Then he did something I hadn't anticipated. He prayed over me. He explained that I would be, for the first few years, William's primary teacher and influencer. He prayed that I would be a mother who led her son to a relationship with Jesus.

I had never really thought of my role in that way. I'm just his mom. But listening to his words over me had a powerful effect. Even now, two weeks later, I remember that prayer and it gives me peace, assurance that God is with me; it reminds me to rely on God when I doubt my ability.

Photo Credit: Matthew Ronan
Then he asked Chris and I if we would dedicate William to the Lord. We responded, "We do." He asked John and Shannon if they would commit to assisting us and supporting us in raising William.  They responded, "We will." And he asked the congregation to support and help us as well.

Then he asked people from the congregation to come and pray over William. I think ten people came and laid their hands on us and prayed and anointed William with oil.

It was a short ceremony, about 15 minutes. But it was very special. I've given God back the most precious gift he has given me, our son. I didn't think I would feel different afterwards or think differently, but I do in a way. I feel more supported, by people, yes--but mostly by God. I know He has been there all along, I guess I was just forgetting about him or not acknowledging Him in our daily parenting.

I do wish we would have done this earlier for two reasons 1) I could have/should have felt more dependent on the Lord earlier, when the beginning was so challenging and 2) William would have been easier to hold for 15 minutes!

William Bradley, you are a gift from God. We love you and are so grateful to be entrusted with you. We dedicate you to the Lord and ask Him to use you for His purposes. May you trust in Him and follow Him all the days of your life.

Photo Credit: Matthew Ronan

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Family Visits Continue

I mentioned earlier that we had William dedicated on March 15. We picked that date because Shannon, Chris's sister, who is William's godmother was already planning to visit us during her spring break. Chris's mom, Sheryl was able to join us for a long weekend too. 

A quick note about the living arrangement: Sheryl and Shannon stayed in a hotel and my brother stayed with us in our apartment. After my brother and Sheryl left, Shannon did stay with us for three nights. It would have been quite crowded had we all attempted to stay together especially since we moved our bed into the living room a couple of weeks ago!

Sheryl came on Friday and stayed through Wednesday. Since both Chris and I had to work on Friday, she spent the afternoon biking through the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge. She came over in the early evening and played with William and then played with us after he went to sleep. We played games most evenings this week.

On Saturday, Chris and Mom went out for brunch and ran some errands before Shannon flew in. Sunday morning was the dedication (more to come on that soon!)

Sunday afternoon we headed to the park for bubbles and basketball. One of William's favorite things is watching and joining the guys on the basketball court. He even does the shooting stance!

Chris took Monday off and joined his mom and sister on a hike in Muir Woods. They did quite a long hike and had a really great day for it. They returned home late afternoon and rested. Sheryl took us all out for dinner. William doesn't frequent restaurants often and just wanted to explore everything. The owner was super friendly and available so she actually helped entertain him! Of course, William signed "all done" as soon as our food arrived.

On Tuesday, I took Shannon and William to the beach. From inside our apartment it looked warm and sunny, but the wind off the ocean was vicious. After just a few minutes of playing in the sand near the water, we had to move; we found a sand dune we could use as a shield from the wind which made it quite pleasant. 

Shannon and Sheryl played with William while I made dinner and finished up work. Having extra hands is so helpful! 

Wednesday morning we all had breakfast together and Shannon went to work with Chris. She had some projects to work on and wanted to see the studio he works in. Sheryl left for a few hours while William napped and I worked and then joined us for lunch before her flight back to Texas. During her visit we had an opportunities to spend some one-on-one time together while William played nearby. I really enjoyed that and so thankful she was able to come for the weekend and dedication.

Wednesday night, and again on Friday night Shannon babysat for us. On Wednesday night we had dinner with some friends we hadn't seen in a long time. It was a very enjoyable night for us and I hope Shannon enjoyed a little bit of downtime. Friday night, Chris took me out to dinner and then to the symphony where we heard pieces by Handel and Haydn. It was a lovely night out.

On Thursday, I came down with a cold and took off a day of work (ended up taking Friday off too). Shannon was a wonderful help with William while I napped and took it a little easier. Being sick while you have company is the worst time to be sick. I would have much rather just taken a vacation day and actually done something fun with my guest!

Chris took Friday off of of work and brought Shannon and William to the California Academy of Science. William loves the fish and getting to go twice in a week was pretty cool. He still walked around saying "ooh" and pointing to everything. I'm sure Shannon, the science teacher enjoyed it too; although having to keep an eye on a toddler doesn't give much time to take everything in!

Shannon left Saturday morning and now our home is empty and a little quiet. William misses our visitors and isn't quite sure why I'm the only one at home to play with him again. We had such a wonderful time with everyone and realize once again how blessed we are by our families.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Second Visit from Brother

My brother John is William's godfather and was able to come out to San Francisco to be a part of William's dedication at church on March 15. He came a few days early and we had a fun-packed time together. I'm thankful William still takes naps as it gave us an excuse to rest too!

Here are some highlights:

On Thursday morning, we headed to Muir Woods to do a little hike. William was along so it was a very little hike indeed! I think we walked a total of a mile. William's favorite sights were the carvings of bears by the restroom. He made sure everyone around us knew that it was a "bear" as he pointed to each of them. He also liked the little creek running near the boardwalk. We stopped several times to "ooh" at the running water. John was a trooper for caring the big hiking pack even though it got very little use.

It was a gorgeous day to be out in nature and a nice treat for me to get out of the city.

On Friday I had to work, but we still made a trip out to the beach. William loves the sand and John showed him some new tricks, like burying our feet in it! John strolled the beach bringing back a few sand dollars and shells to show William who quickly decided they could be used as shovels.

On Saturday morning, John and I headed to the Golden Gate Bridge. He couldn't let my dad be the only one to run it while visiting! It was a gorgeous day for it too and I was glad I got to go (Chris had taken my parents). John ran the whole bridge and back and I walked to the halfway point and back. It had been several years since I walked on the bridge.

That afternoon, I took John and William to the California Academy of Sciences. William had been one other time so I knew this would be a hit. The aquariums thrilled him! He would have been content to stay at watch the sting-rays for hours if I didn't show him the other fish tanks. He "ooh"ed and pointed and exclaimed how exciting the fish were over and over again. The only animal hand sign he knows is "fish" so he was going crazy telling us to look at the "fish."

John got to experience the planetarium and earthquake simulator while William was entertained by the aquarium. We also did a brief walk through of the indoor rainforest which was hot and humid and crowded. But the butterflies were big, beautiful and everywhere so that was a lot of fun, even William could spot them! (but he was getting tired so smiles were a little harder to come by.)

Sunday was the day of William's dedication. I will have a separate post about that later. Afterwards, we headed home and had a nice lunch and played games while William napped. Then we headed to a park where we introduced William to his "bubble snake" or wand. It was really windy so the bubbles flew by really fast and we all had fun watching William chase them. (Okay, I had fun chasing them too!)

When we used up the entire bubble solution, we headed to the basketball court, which is William's favorite place to play "ball."

Monday was John's last day with us. I worked while William and John napped and then we went to the zoo. After our visit to Muir Woods and seeing how excited William was about the wood bears, we thought we'd start with the real ones. And we were thrilled to see both the polar bears and grizzly bear out and moving around!

We had quite the show with the rhino and peacock too! The peacock would fan his feathers, turn around and shake his rear at the rhino. The rhino would look like he was about to charge the bird but just "gently" nudged him with this shaved horn. Definitely a highlight! 

We had such a great time together. I loved having John visit. I'm so glad he could come for the dedication, but also spend so much time with William; I know William had a blast. I liked that he was able to see my day-to-day life but also get us out of usual park-nap-errand-routine. We did a lot of stuff that I wish we did more often. I forget that the ocean is just a 30 minute drive or the zoo is an easy way to spend a couple of hours. I forget that I live in such a beautiful place.

I also like getting face time with my brother. To catch up on his life and hear about his day-to-day. I love hearing about his job, friends, Bible study, church and motivation to do things like Insanity workouts. He is such a fantastic man. I'm lucky to have him for my brother and William's uncle and godfather.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Beach Boys

Saturday was the perfect day to go to the beach. We had made plans several weeks ago to join another family at the beach and were so glad the weather agreed with our intentions. This was William's second time at the Pacific Ocean. The first being last summer on our mini-family vacation. We were way overdue for another beach day.

In my mind, this was going to be anything but relaxing. I imagined the four parents straining to keep the two toddler boys within arms reach as they ran at the water's edge; trying to keep them contained in the wide open space, and not loosing site of them in the midst of other children, surfers, and dogs.

But our boys surprised us. Content with sand toys and balls, they stayed within arms reach and only a few times explored the beach in the opposite direction of the water. We breathed easy as they ran back and forth and returned to dig holes and fill buckets. We relished in the opportunity for conversation and basking in the warmth of the sun.

We took William to the water's edge a couple of times, thinking he'd love watching the waves and touching the water as it lapped the sand. Once again, he surprised us. He was timid and unsure. I held him as I talked about the waves and we watched the water get closer and closer to our bare toes. Only once did it touch us and that was enough for him.

We only stayed for a couple of hours, which was plenty of sun for us. The boys were tired and covered in sand. We left feeling tired but blessed by such a fun outing with good friends. We will have to do this again soon!