Crawling

Yes, it’s true.  My son has forward movement.  It’s sort of an army crawl, but it’s getting the job done.  It’s terrible.  He might as well be walking down the aisle.

We are heading to Lake Kivu in a few hours for some much needed R & R.  No internet due to “technical difficulties” – I’m pretty sure every hotel in Rwanda advertises free wi-fi and then tells you they have technical difficulties upon arrival.  So here are a few pics to get you through the weekend.  Have a good weekend!

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Some crawling lessons…

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7 months

Freddy turns 7 months this week.  I can’t believe how time is flying.  I brought the baby book all the way to Kigali, but I haven’t updated it.  Baby steps.

He’s learned to clap, and it’s adorable.  He loves to listen to music and dance.

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Now we are working on waving goodbye.

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He’s such a delight.  I’m still amazed that he’s really here.  I was just re-reading some messages I sent back when we were doing IVF.  What a time we’ve had.  Our little miracle.

He’s a huge hit in Rwanda.  People grab his legs wherever we go.  Last week, we took him to IJM’s prayer retreat, and all my colleagues (men and women) were passing him around.  He does not lack for love around here!

My sweet boy, I hope you grow up knowing how loved you are; how much you were wanted; how many people prayed for you.  There are big shoes to fill, but we trust God has big plans for you!  I love you with all my heart.

Manna

The burritos are on their way.  That’s the good news.  Like manna from heaven, the Lord is sending me a burrito. I’m a weak-willed woman and 30 minutes ago was trying to figure out how hard it would be to get home.  But I am won over again with a burrito.

Fred is sick.  He hasn’t been sick his whole life, but of course gets sick the first week in Rwanda when I am supposed to be starting work.  I guess I shouldn’t have let him suck on the seatbelts on the plane and lick the floor of our new home.  Live and learn.

Enough dramatics!  Let’s see some pics.  Here’s the view from our front yard and front gate.

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Front gate

Our surrogate dogs – don’t tell Lucy!

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Fred’s diapers drying on the clothesline.

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The golf course.

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Kigali mountainside.

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I told you it was beautiful here!

The Mundane and the Amazing

First things first, I need a new name for the blog.  Something catchy that conveys the topic (which is really broad – my spiritual journey, motherhood, social justice, adoption, orphan care, chocolate eating…).  But I have no creative bones in my body.  Please help me by commenting with your suggestions.

 I had such a rejuvenating day today.  BB got up early with Freddy, which allowed me an extra hour of sleep, followed by a cold, rainy run and finished off with a cup of coffee and a Bible study.  I need to figure out how to start every day that way.

Freddy and I had fun visiting my sweet sister at her nanny job.  The little girl (1.5 years old) enjoyed throwing her ball at him and at one point sat on his head.  Freddy, of course, remained smiling and unaware.

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You can see that Freddy still has quite the affinity for hand-towels and washcloths.  Perhaps a job as a bathroom attendant in his future?  Or maybe Bed Bath and Beyond? 

I had a fabulous lunch with a great friend, also a new mom.  A visit from another friend and her sweet girls who entertained the boy and brought peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  Finally, a visit from a friend who cut BB’s and my hair.  Her passion for helping victims of sex trafficking spurred on great conversation, and I think I may now know where all my stuff needs to go when we move [in 7 weeks!!!!].  🙂

All this grace.  Undeserved.  Who am I to merit such rich relationships with people?  Such love poured out on me and my family.  If not for the Holy Spirit, I would have never met these friends.  These precious people who pray for me, chat with me, bring me cookies, and cut my hair.

My cup overflows tonight.  May I never forget such grace bestowed on me.

 

The Elusive Nap

First, a gratuitous Fred picture.

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I’m in a blogging slump, as the four of you who are still reading have seen. I struggle with perfectionism, so unless I can come up with a really witty and thoughtful post, I usually don’t post. I still have so many thoughts about adoption – there have been a few thought-provoking articles lately about Christians and adoption. I also have thoughts on motherhood. But does anyone want to read them? I am drowning in self-doubt.

That’s really my biggest issue these days – self-doubt. I have spent most of my life running from anything that I wasn’t good at and only doing things at which I could succeed. I don’t play games that I don’t win, I don’t try new things. I really hate failing. {side note – who doesn’t hate failing? This sounds a little pompous – oh you other people must love failing, but I just can’t handle it. blah blah.}

I’m pretty much convinced that I am failing as a mother. Fred doesn’t sleep the required amount of time to ensure that his brain actually develops. His poop is green all the time, which either means I’m starving him or he’s dying of a terrible disease. He still sleeps in our bed, which means (a) he will die or (b) he will still need to share our bed when he’s 16. And on and on and on.

I spend 60% of every day trying to get him to sleep, 20% feeding him, and the other 20% worrying about what he’s not doing right. This motherhood thing is basically pure torture that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Sure, there’s joy. There’s nothing better than his smile and laugh. His smooth, soft squishy skin against mine. His beautiful blue eyes and sweet personality. Of course, I wouldn’t trade that for a few full nights sleep. Seriously, I wouldn’t.

But man, how did I go from a reasonably competent lawyer with multiple degrees, fairly confident in my abilities to being completely brought down to a sniveling puddle of mush by a 16 pound human-parasite? At this point, I barely trust my ability to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich correctly.

I just want to watch a YouTube video that tells me exactly what to do. Or is there some sort of consultant who can come over for the day and tell me how to care for my child? I’m really good at following directions.

It gives me a new appreciation for mothers. I don’t think I ever quite realized the barrage of worries and concerns that comes with this little bundle of joy. I’m not, by nature, a worrier. I don’t care enough about anything to really worry about it. But now! Ugh.

It reminds me of something my sister-in-law said when she was a new mom. The only way you can really sleep at night is to decide that you will survive if your child dies. It’s a morbid thought, I know. But it is true, the child cannot be an idol. Even the child has to be held with an open hand. I can’t stop the hurt that’s coming his way. I can try and minimize it, but I do want him in the battle of life. I want him to become a fierce warrior, able to change the world. But first, he needs to be able to nap.

Fred: 3 months

I’ll probably stop these posts at some point.  We can’t spend the next 18 years commemorating every month of this kid’s life.  I get that.  Feel free to skip this one.  I have some more meatier material growing in my brain for next time.

In the last three months, my life has imploded.  My apartment is always messy.  I rarely eat a meal in one sitting.  I haven’t slept for more than 7 hours straight (and that only happened once).  I barely remember how to put on make-up.  BB and I haven’t had a conversation that wasn’t primarily about poop color.

And yet, my sweet little boy is such a delight.  He’s starting to learn how to grab things.  He can laugh now.  He sees images in the mirror.  He is babbling more and more.  And he has fat legs.  I always wanted a baby with fat legs.

He has a delightful personality.  Even when he’s crying, it doesn’t take long for him to smile.  And he doesn’t mind when Lucy licks his face.

How are the parents doing?  Surviving.  Not sure we are thriving.  We haven’t gotten a routine down yet.  I want him to work less.  He probably wants me to stop complaining so much.  I am desperate for spring to come to Chicago.  We are getting glimpses, but then it drops back down to 35 degrees. I want to fit in my pants and still eat cookies.  I want to have time to read a book without cardboard pages and to spend time in the Word.

It’s so frustrating that we can never have it all at once.  We want sleep when our babies are young, and we can’t sleep when they are old.  We want money when we are in college, and when we get it, we don’t have time to spend it.  We want time to travel the world when we are young, and when we have the time, we are too tied down.

Isn’t that just the way it is with God?  This world is not our home.  We will never be fully content here on earth, and that’s the plan.  I need to stop fighting it and embrace it for what it is.  Looking forward to the true paradise on the other side.

Used

BB and I are dying to know – is there some sort of study that has proven that babies prefer the sound of the pan flute as opposed to actual orchestration? Why don’t these baby toys just play Beethoven’s Ninth by the full orchestra?

I’ve been warned.  Being pregnant, giving birth, nursing, all these things will ruin my body.  I’ll be all used up by the time Fred is 6 months old.  It makes me wonder, what would I be saving myself for? 

I want to be used.  My body was designed (in part) to bring forth life.  My breasts were designed to provide food.  My body is here for a function.  Even if it wasn’t child-bearing, my hands are meant to wash, build, create.  My feet are to meant to walk, run.  My back should be bent.  I’m not a priceless work of art, meant only for observation.

Our culture strives to preserve – save your money, use the candlesticks only for special occasions, keep your skin out of the sun, wear rubber gloves, keep your shoes out of the mud.  We don’t want to get dirty.  We don’t want to be used.  We want our bodies, homes, cars, brains, kept fresh until….until what?  What are we saving ourselves for?

We are about to embark on another 7-style purge of our home.  This one’s going to be bigger, deeper, more painful.  I’m scared.  I love my stuff.  It’s not all materialistic – some of the love comes from the memories the things hold.  The warm coat that’s insulated me at the bus stop, the running shoes in which I’ve logged miles, the skillet that has cooked many a meal, the platter given by a friend, the sweater picked out by my mom.

But then I kick myself.  Here I’m giving away so many items that I was saving for something special.  Why didn’t I use the wedding china more often?  Why have I only worn that necklace once?  I didn’t know that one day I would be called to give it all up.

Our vats are overflowing, and we build another barn to hold it.  Spend it.  Use it.  This life is fleeting.  You can’t take it with you…not in the next life, and sometimes in this one.

We save our money for an emergency.  But (as Francis Chan once asked), is it only an emergency if it affects our family? 

We save our time like misers.  We have to work hard, and we will serve others later.  We will have that date night with our spouse next month.  We will spend more time with the children once we get this last errand run.  What if later never comes? 

Spend it.  Wear it.  Use it.  Jesus’ body was broken, used.  His blood was shed for us.