Wednesday, December 17, 2014

a little holiday cheer!

We are fighting some wonderful winter illness at our house.

So, from our now-sanitized-to-the-max-home to yours, here is a happy Christmas moment that warms my heart.

And seriously. Don't come into my house unless you are going to go wash your hands.

Friday, December 12, 2014

a quick comparison

i have a sick baby, a house that looks like a tornado came through here, 100+ Christmas cookies to make, and 2 parties to go to this weekend (and gifts to wrap for both of them. I DON'T EVEN HAVE WRAPPING PAPER).

so why not spend precious time while sick baby is sleeping to blog? procrastination makes us all efficient.

for your viewing pleasure, i submit a photo comparison of Joe to robert and to me at similar ages.
Left: Joe, 8 months. Right: Robert, 9 months

Joe: 8 months
Me: some time between 9 months and 1 year

Joe: 6-7 months
Me: 7-9 months

all this shows is that you can feel like death for 41 weeks and that baby will have the audacity to look just your husband. except maybe kind of your eyes and some of your smile.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

our advent

Unwrapping the Christmas ornaments for our Christmas tree, I kept thinking, "Didn't I just do this?"

If pregnancy was an eternity, the months of having a baby have been in fast forward.

Life thinks it's smarter than me by racing faster than I can keep up with, but  I am on to it.

I am on to how fast the first months of our son's life have gone.
I am on to how fast his first Christmas is approaching.
I am on to the fact that my little baby is slipping into toddler hood day-by-day.
I am on to it.

In a world full of fast and now, I remind myself to stop.
In a season normally packed full of events and cheer and business, I take deep breaths and remind myself that my hope and joy aren't quite yet fulfilled.
In a time in life when part of us honestly can't wait to get the first set of holidays without a loved one behind us, I am trying to find a way to enjoy them, too.

When I put Joe down for a nap today, he turned into me as he fell asleep. I sat with him instead of plopping him in the crib to run off to do my one million things that I do during nap. I held him and gazed at his sweet, sleeping baby face and loved it. I remembered the days where that was the only way he would sleep, a precious, needy newborn in my arms. I took in that moment today, forever remembering it for what it is. I prayed for his future, that he would find his Savior. I reminded myself this time is precious and few, but there is so much more that God will do in our lives.

Our past is both beautiful, broken, meaningful, and gone.
Our present is full and rich if we invest in it.
Our future isn't empty.

This is our advent. Here. Now. Stop. Go. Enjoy. Cry. Breathe. Focus. Pray. Hope.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

my life: a summary

I don't know why or how or what, but my left shoulder is completely messed up.

I can't breathe without it hurting.

Since we have a long car trip ahead for Thanksgiving, I called the chiropractor yesterday and they worked me in so that we could try for some relief before I left.

After, I asked the chiropractor what I could do to help.
He laughed.
He looked right at me and laughed.

"Why are you laughing?" I asked.
"Nothing will help." He responded, still laughing. "The only thing that will help it is rest. And I am looking at your son in his car seat and I know the minute I am done you are going to hoist it up and then spend the rest of your day picking him up. You can't rest it. So you will have to deal with the pain. Do your best." He then carried Joe and his car seat out to the car for me.

I fought back tears this morning lifting Joe into his high chair. Picking him up to change his diaper. Cradling him as he drank his bottle. Unloading the dishwasher. Shaking his bottle. Picking up the laundry basket. {then i took 4 advil and 2 muscle relaxers and gave up toughing it out}

When I think about all the things in our life right now, I look at a lot of them and I think, "Nothing can be done."

We are just going to have to let things hurt and wait for them to heal. And we are going to have to live life and let those wounds be poked and opened as we go, and hurt again, and heal again.

This is my life in a summary: every day we have to find a way to balance the impossible with our reality and not to be overwhelmed with pain.

Today I am thankful for advil and muscle relaxers and my kind chiropractor who squeezed me in before I left town. Today I am thankful for the Balm that coats my heart and soul, giving me more grace than I deserve, and more hope than I can muster on my own.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place...
Hebrews 6:10

Friday, November 7, 2014

and then God threw me a bone

I realize there is no actual theological basis for saying, "God threw me a bone".

Seriously. It's been a rough couple years at the Brack house between my nightmare pregnancy and everything that's happened this year, and I'm not seeing any metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel.

But one of my very best friends in the whole wide world whom I have known since I was 7 is moving {back}to the Indy area (and she would appreciate my use of "whom" there).

She both knows me better than 99.9% of the population, loves me the way I am, and absolutely refuses not to hold me accountable. And she's fun and we both love coffee and wine (nothing could wrong there). Friends like this aren't a dime a dozen.

She laughed at how excited I was, and all I could say is, "No really, my life has been that depressing". I mean that in a very retrospective, narrative way. I am not depressed but things have been kind of depressing around here and good news is a sweet rarity.

The icing on my bone cake? She's going to work semi-full time and be home with her son when she is not working. WE CAN HANG OUT. At this point, a once a month playdate would sort of change my life.

We can now make our babies be best friends. J & S, you are welcome. (even though her baby is older than mine, we'll figure it out)

And I am in sorry in advance to anyone who may be involved in the possible craziness that may ensue. Mostly our husbands.

Friday, October 31, 2014

happy halloween!

5 years ago today, robert asked me to marry him.
we already had a wedding date (nice, right?)

but in that moment, we forever sealed our lives together.

i may have said "no" because i was getting off a flight and really hungry and feeling lightheaded, but i still married him, and i think that's what counts.

5 years later, we are still saying yes. or no. either way, we are embracing life together. the pain, the challenges, the joy, the heart bursting moments.

there's no one else i would rather say no to for the rest of my life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

the exile {part ii}

"The history of Israel revolves around the double foci of exodus and exile. At the exodus, Israel began the process toward becoming a nation. The exile, however, signaled the loss of Israel's status as an independent nation, and even after the exile Israel was merely a political backwater in the Persian province of Yehud." - M. Throntveit

I value my independence. It's not a secret around here that I think I am in charge. I have my house clean. I dress the way I want to, and before I had a baby, I was the size I wanted to be. I have lists of things to do, the order to do them, and when they are done, I want them to impress you.

It's gone.
All of it.
I was never more lost then I was those first few months after Joe was born. Overwhelmed, confused, with no answers or sleep... I needed things. I needed meals at my house. I needed help watching him, feeding him, so I could rest. I just needed help.

I have a closet full of beautiful, perfect clothes... and it doesn't look like I am wearing them again. Possible ever. That's a hard pill for a fitness person, health coach, weight loss professional to swallow.

My house? Don't even get me started on how it looks in here. Oh, and we are selling it... so this pretty granite on which my laptop sits is going the way of a memory soon.

What about something a little less shallow? Like my marriage? My control is gone there. My husband has to work when he has to work - whether that is 1am or Sunday afternoon. He has to leave when he as to leave... leaving me to myself.

What about my family? My sister? Let's just say life handed her a big plate of crazy and it's not like I can throw mine on top of it. Robert's family? As of a year and a half ago, scattered and moved away. Today? Recovering from the blow of death (we are re-building). 

I feel a bit like Israel - I am reduced to a small, backwater person I don't recognize lately. 

In exile, Israel remembered God was God. In their loss of independence, they remembered their dependence on God. Without a king, they were ruled over by the King, who brought peace and joy into their hearts.

I feel a bit like Israel in that way, too. I have seen God's provision, I have felt his sustaining hand, and I have been reminded of how everything I value is so, so temporary. It's all been replaced by joy and peace.

What does God say after that Jeremiah 29 bit about being sent to exile, destruction, and chaos?

The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the LORD appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31: 2-3

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

the exile. {part i}

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Whew. Doesn't that feel great to read? Welfare? Hope? A future? Sign me up! Good old Jeremiah 29:11! I have heard this verse quoted so many times. I have seen it on cross stitches and graduation cards. It's so great, let's just keep reading!

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lordand I will restore your fortunes"

Yes! God will hear our prayers? He can be found by us? Did you say fortune? Sounds so good! Let's keep reading!

"...and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."

If you didn't have some mental breaks screeching there, you may want to re-read that last segment: I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

I've never seen that plastered on a cross stitch or graduation card. You probably haven't, either.

We don't really like the thought of being sent into exile, and it's very, very tempting to go back and just cling to Jeremiah 29:11. Context is kind of mean some times, isn't it?

But friends, it isn't those in the promised land that need Jeremiah 29:11. It's those in exile. That barren, wandering desert isn't exactly Palm Springs.

The message of Jeremiah 29:11 is for those of us in the desert. We aren't here by mistake. We weren't delivered from slavery only to be shoved uselessly into the desert. When you look around what feels like a wasteland of a life, situation, or problem... it isn't hopeless. It's part of The Plan. Even when it feels useless. 

There is a reason behind all this time in sand. 
Like streams in the desert, His mercy will flow.
Like water from the rock, He will impossibly quench our dry hearts.
With mud and saliva, He will open our eyes.

It's not pretty. It's not cross stitch worthy. He doesn't promise either, but he does promise us one thing: and that's redemption. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

stories for joe

Baby boy. We will have so many stories to tell you about your first year of life.

I will tell you about how it was just you and me. Family had a boatload of life dumped on them. Daddy had so much crazy work to do. And it was you and me. We went everywhere together. Everyone loved you when I brought you into Daddy's work, or dragged you to the grocery store, or unloaded you at church.

Baby boy, you were held through so many tears. You had a "funeral outfit". You went to 2 funerals while you were only months old in my womb - I wore the same thing to both, because you don't have a lot of funeral outfits while pregnant. You went to 2 funerals within your first 8 months of life -you also wore the same outfit.

When I held you over a grave site yet again, I held you tighter. I don't want to think about how many times you've heard me sing the alto lines to "Amazing Grace". You've heard me sing it next to Grandma Karen, next to your Uncle Rob, next to "Uncle" Steve. I hope you don't have to hear it again for a long time.

Baby boy, when we were in a hotel, your dad and I put you on the huge king size bed and you went nuts, happy to be out of your carseat. You were so joyful and fun. We created our own, small, safe world there, just the 3 of us.

Baby boy, you flirt with every blonde woman who smiles at you. Guess Momma is going to have to darken her hair color.

Baby boy, you loved your Ferarri walker like you were born to drive. I ate the words I had told your father - that it wasn't a "necessary" item. Like all Brack men, you seemed pretty convinced you were destined for Ferraris.

Baby boy, you brought me to tears when we set you in your great grandfather's lap. You just sat with him. I've never, ever seen you so still. Not in the womb, not asleep. Were you getting a little glimpse of your lost grandfather? It's like you knew this was your only chance to get a distant piece of him. And I missed your grandfather so, so much more in that moment. More than I ever had.

Baby boy, you have changed the way I see the world.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


A friend and I recently were talking about how everyone's parenting looks so perfect from the outside. This can make you feel pretty inadequate as a mom pretty fast. The truth is, having a small child or children is really all about survival.

I recently posted a picture on Facebook of my homemade baby food. Yes, I make 90% of Joe's food.
Hopefully this covers for
those cheesy puffs

This could lead you to believe that Joe eats a perfectly healthy and organic diet. Some times that's true. And some times, I let him self feed baby cheetos because it's the only food he will self feed. Speaking of which, how are babies born knowing how to eat baby cheetos? A mystery for sure.

Additionally, I often let Joe watch music videos when I feed him. While I feel guilty about the screen time, it makes the job about 100x easier. Joe is on the move and super squirmy. I've had veteran daycare workers ask me how I change his diaper. So being confined in a highchair often results in him acting like he is being tortured/stuck in prison forever/possessed by demons. We have watched Taylor Swift's "Shake if Off" and Megan Trainor's "All About that Bass" more times than I can count. And in the process, he has gotten all the healthy, organic, homemade baby food I have made him. We'll call it a win.
Joe is thrilled with his outfit

Joe has adorable clothes. I make him adorable outfits. I have been exercising regularly. What you aren't seeing there? Joe looks nice. I'm wearing PJs. I make him clothes... but I never put away his laundry. I have been exercising... but some times don't shower. And some times Joe gets a hold of my dirty exercise shoes or socks and eats them.

But you know what? We are happy. We are healthy. I love being a mom and count myself blessed every second of every day.

Building immunity, yes?
So be free, friend. Whether it's the dessert in your lunch, the songs you listen to in the car to and from work, the reality TV show you are hooked on, or anything else, go for it. Life is short and hard. Give yourself freedom to have fun and not be perfect.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What Worked: September

Happy October, everyone!

What worked in September?

-Church community: our small group re-launched for it's fall session. We never really took a break, but there's something nice about a fall kick off
This study is great!

-Women's Bible study: this fall, I joined our women's Bible study at church. I've participated 2 other
times and it's always a blessing. Plus, it's a great break for me mid-week, and gives Robert a designated night home with Joe... if he can make it home (I have a back-up sitter if he can't!)

-Giving up on the house hunt: No really, this was huge. We decided to build, which I had (or have?) mixed feelings about. But I do NOT have mixed feelings about giving up the house hunt. It was a lot of extra stress to search for houses and to find times that worked for everyone. Between Robert's work schedule, Joe being a baby, and our {kind} realtors' schedule, this was no small task. I am happy to put it all behind us.

This is not Joe, but I bet he looks even cuter in his
-Sleepers on sleepers: Joe has gotten his parents' cold-ness. Robert and I are always cold and Joe seems to be the same way. After a few night wakings, I've done my best to bundle that baby up. We've gotten some sturdy sleepers that we put under fleece sleep sacks or under Joe's ridiculous blanket sleep sack. And while Robert makes fun of me for buying this, it works, and it's only going to get colder. 

-Old habits: I dusted the cobwebs off the elliptical and popped in some Jillian Michael's DVDs! While I miss my abilities to work out like I could before pregnancy crippled ruined kicked my butt changed me, it feels good to be back at it

-2 naps a day: Oh friends. The joy of Joe napping once in the morning and once in the afternoon is so profound. We have some consistency and so much more time to do things since we don't have to break up the day around 3 naps. And he tends to sleep longer for his 2 naps than he ever did for any naps, ever. PRAISE JESUS.

Monday, September 22, 2014

the name

A friend of mine recently posted about how they picked their daughter's name, and I love hearing name stories, so I thought I would share ours.

You get pregnant. You anticipate finding out out boy/girl. You get excited to pick a name.

Then you spend 9 months arguing with your spouse about what name sounds good or bad, old person-ish, irrelevant, or just plain stupid. You will wonder how you married a person with such terrible taste in names. 

That's the story of Joe's name. Getting Robert to think of names, discuss names, or consider names was like pulling teeth. So I approached the subject with a lack of enthusiasm one December evening on our way to a Christmas party. 

"What about Joseph?" He said, out of nowhere. 
I just about fell over - because I also liked that name.
"Sure! Let's put it on the 'A' list" I said. "What made you think of Joseph?"
"Matt's sermon about Joseph, Jesus' earthly father. The story of obedience, humility, love for God."

Joseph means, "God will add" or "God will multiply", which I really love. The shortening of Joseph to Joe still sounds good with our short last name. 

We didn't necessarily want to name our son after anyone, because we wanted him to be his own person. However, we always knew he would get a legacy name as his middle name, after his father, grandfather, and great grandfather. 

Joseph got added to our short list. The moment they set that newborn baby on my chest, most of the names were eliminated just by how he looked. I turned to Robert and gave him the remaining choices. "He is either Joseph or Nathan. You pick." 

And, just as Joseph was the only name Robert added to our name list, it was the name he chose for our son. 

True to his name's meaning, Joe has added to our lives. Literally, he is our firstborn. He also brings joy, love, and giggles to our everyday. We had no idea when we picked Joe's name what lay ahead. When the sadness of our lives gets overwhelming to me, I hold Joe and I am confronted with the truth - God adds. For our loss and pain, he multiples his love. Where I see hurt, he is showing grace. And in a loss, we also passed down a small piece of Robert's father through Joe's middle name. It's a reminder that life has to continue, even as our hearts grieve. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

i've lost the TV remote

not kidding. i don't even know where it is right now. Robert is going to be mad if i've left the tv on all day because i can't find the remote.

anyway. that's not what this post is about.

If you know me well, you know my not-so-quiet disdain for Mark Driscoll.
My small group at church won't even say his name because they know they will be in for an hour long discussion of my issues regarding him and his practices.

"He's your brother in Christ, Chrissy. Don't judge him. Love him"
"He's reaching so many people, and people the church wouldn't normally catch. Isn't that honoring to God?"
"That's just Biblical teaching. Of course you aren't going to like it {you crazy liberal, you}."

I have heard these things over and over and over, but I never really shut up about it. When I found out I was pregnant, and pregnant with a boy, to say my heart was grieved over the influence of someone like Driscoll over the larger Church is an understatement.

I prayed almost everyday while I was pregnant that my son would have a better church than the one Driscoll built. I know we don't go to MH, but the influence of MH over the larger American church was undeniable.

I didn't speak out or pray those things because I am a hater. Or a crazy liberal (well, maybe, who knows). Or because I didn't see the good coming from MH (I mean, my brother and his wife went there). And I'm not going to lie - I wasn't always the most gracious about it all.

I did because I loved the Church. I saw it being beat down, in a huge way, and people seemed blindly to accept it because of all the other things. I saw the creeping influence of MH over other churches and it scared me. Were there good influences? Sure. But at a cost, and I cost that I would argue the church could not, should not pay. A cost I was not going to pass onto my son.

So you could think I am throwing some huge anti-Driscoll party over here, but that's not the case. Instead, I'm still praying. As a Christian, when one of us hurts, we all hurt. As the church, when a congregation is sick, ours is sick, too. Do you know who I thought of when I read about this all? Grace Driscoll. I'm guessing her life is pretty crappy right now. I'm guessing she could use some love and support and prayers. We don't hate her, and we don't hate her husband, and I bet she feels like neither one of those things is true and that can't be easy.

My heart is relieved in knowing the issues are being corrected. But this isn't where the story ends, and the hard work is just beginning. I believe, fully and truly, our God is a healer, and a restorer, and that much great things can lie ahead for MH and for Driscoll.

I am no better than Driscoll. I am not any more worthy of God's grace or love. I will throw a party when Driscoll is restored (if he chooses to continue on as a pastor). Because that's what we celebrate in the Christian life - Christ's redemption of us all.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. -Galatians 6:1-3

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

6 months

We have officially kept Joe alive for half a year.
Go team!

Joe loves music.
Joe loves his feet.Joe loves the dog. Joe loves his Ferrari.
Joe loves moving - wiggling, bouncing, walking, car rides.
Joe loves playing with his momma, daddy... or anyone. Joe loves that everyone loves him... but he does love everyone back.
Joe is a happy, lively, energetic, attention-loving little guy.
We love him so.


Monday, August 18, 2014

for Michelle

Be ready in season and out of season.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith.
{from 2 Timothy 4}

Our pastor preached on this passage this Sunday. At one point, he spoke about the verses just before this, about preaching the word, and how some times preaching the truth upsets people, and they may send you a mean email. They may accuse you of calling them out, speaking directly to them, when in fact, as a pastor, you have no clue who your message will impact in what way.

Then he moved on to the passage above. He said, "If you are in a place this morning where you are tired and feel like giving up on Christianity, keep fighting. You have to finish the race well, you have to keep the faith." (well, I am paraphrasing. I am sure what he actually said was more articulate and interesting than that)... and I felt like he was talking to me. (don't worry, no mean emails will be sent)

If you had asked me before the service that morning if I felt like giving up, I would have told you I was just fine. But as I sat there and thought about Matt's words (and I'm sorry Matt, I was stuck on that point so I tuned out for a while, but I think that's allowed), I realized, deep, deep down, a part of me does want to give up.

This fight is beating us down.
The race conditions have worsened.
I feel my faith is quiet, too quiet.
And I don't know what to do.

I told Robert yesterday that I am angry. I am angry about a lot things, more angry than I have quite possibly have ever been in my whole life. I will spare you the long list here, but it includes losing my father-in-law, feeling overwhelmed as a new parent, frustration with our own materialism and selfishness, watching a child we love die, and many other things.

Maybe I have to be angry. Maybe it's the only way I will be moved into action. Maybe it's the only way my heart will change. Maybe God is tired of my apathy.

I was thinking of it all again this morning when I pulled up my daily devotional (while pumping, of course, which also makes me angry. if you have ever pumped, you understand why)

The first two words brought me to tears:
hold fast

That was literally the title of the devotional. 
hold fast

I spent all day yesterday saying, "Lord, I don't know what to do. And I'm angry about all these things. And you are so quiet and I feel tired of waiting to listen for you."

This morning he answered me -
hold fast

It's not much. It's not concrete. But it's an answer as clear as day, so I am going to do my best to obey.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…”
- Hebrews 10:22-24

Thursday, August 14, 2014

working it out

I remember the old me. The me that would run 4 miles without blinking. The one who did HIT workouts daily.

What happened?

I'm going to say it, and hold on before you get all angry with me: pregnancy ruined my body.

I was so, so, SO sick while pregnant. I would just lie on the couch, waiting to throw up. Some times I could manage to walk, a little. I had already enrolled in one dance exercise class before I got pregnant and fought to finish those 12 weeks.

I really could not move while pregnant. Next time you have the flu, go for a jog and let me know how that goes.

To make matters worse, the only foods I could eat tended to be the worst things possible: potato chips and French fries were often on the list. To make this even worse, if I let my stomach get too empty, I was in deep, deep trouble. Our church small group can attest to the amount of Sweetarts I consumed. I can't even look at one now. *Shudder*

So there I sat, on the couch, drinking lemonade, eating potato chips one at a time. For nine long, long months.

This killed every ounce of muscle I had. This produced much weight gain, despite the vomiting. This also made me lactose intolerant (I still don't get that one).

I don't hate my body. It did it's best. It wasn't it's fault that being pregnant really took a toll on it.

But I'm taking it back, guys.
One work out at a time.
One healthy meal at a time.
...and one Lactaid at a time.

I don't know if I"ll ever be in that great shape that I was before Joe. I don't care. All I know is that Joe deserves a healthy, happy momma, and that's what we are working towards.

Besides, he's going to be fast. I gotta be able to keep up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

cleaning it out

as i start to clear through and clean stuff out, as we prepare to move, i find myself asking over and over again...

why do we have this?

we have so. much. stuff.

i am 100% disgusted with my own materialism, my own belief that this stuff was worth our money when there are people in need. people who don't eat dinner. children who don't have diapers or formula. people who struggle to have a home.

and i have 3 coffee makers.


we need to downsize. right now. i'm not doing this anymore. i am not believing this lie any longer. i am not packing this stuff up and moving it. it's not worth my time to pack and unpack. it's not worth my time to keep up with this house. it's not worth our money to pay for a mortgage for a house much bigger than we need.

i feel almost sick looking around here. we have to change. we have to change for joe. we have to change for those people in need.

anyone else doing a clean out, both spiritually, physically, emotionally right now?

Friday, August 8, 2014

what's working: June & July

Sleep. Joe has been doing better at nights (though we still get up, don't be fooled). It's amazing how much a few hours of consistent sleep can change your life.

Family. In the wake of the sudden loss of Robert's dad, all of his siblings and their families came to town. It was such a comfort to be together. It was so fun to watch Joe interact with his aunts, uncles, and cousin. Seeing them all together, it may or may not have convinced this hyperemsis momma to consider giving Joe a sibling... one day. Via adoption.

Food. Our house got flooded with food & alcohol (we have good friends). I've been cooking and baking. A hot dinner can go a long way.

Letting go. I feel like I will always view Joe's first year of life as before Don died and after Don died. After Don died, I stopped caring. I don't care about naps, a schedule, sleep props, breastfeeding, or anything. I make Joe eat much as possible and try to help him sleep when I know he needs to sleep. I don't really worry about anything else.

Real food. Joe loves real food. Avocados, sweet potatoes, green beans, eggs - Joe adores these. He tries regularly to drink my coffee and diet coke and looks down right angry at us when we don't feed him things he cannot chew because he does not have teeth. He hates breastfeeding and hates bottles.

Coffee. Pregnancy and lots of nursing kept my coffee drinking down until recently. Coffee is really, really  good, people. I missed it so much.

Less internet. Our internet has been goofy. One day it was off the whole morning... and I got so much done. So I've been trying to cut back on mindless internet time.

Yoga and walking. It's nice to move again. I miss running but don't sleep enough to do it right now... so we will wait.

Monday, August 4, 2014

We were feeling bored?

You may (or may not) have heard that we decided to list our house for sale.

There's a lot of reasons why, and a lot of them are kind of complicated to explain. In case you were worried, we are fine. Robert's job is fine. On the financial end, seeing what our floor plan is being built for (much more than we paid) was a big motivating factor, but we don't want anyone to think we are in trouble or anything like that - we're fine.

We realize moving with a baby is sort of a stupid idea. Why would we do it? I don't know. We were feeling bored, maybe? JUST KIDDING. The truth is, Joe isn't the only baby in the world, and while Joe is loved and cared for, there are plenty of babies and people who need our help. Help we could give to them instead of our mortgage payment.

We love our house. We know everyone who knows us knows that we love our house. People who have stayed with us or lived with us love our house. We definitely pictured ourselves living here a long time. But do you know what? We lost a parent this year, and he didn't take his house with him to heaven. He's not exactly living in his house up there, and it made us realize how much it doesn't really matter that we love our house.

Pray our house sells, pray we find the right house, and pray we have wisdom and what to do once we make this change.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

it's hard.

I had a conversation with a friend recently, and I was talking about losing my father-in-law, watching my husband mourn, and watching him pick up the pace at work since he was in business with his dad.

"I could worry, but I'm not in control anyway. I can either trust that God's plan is bigger than mine, or I can worry. Honestly, I don't know how people do it without faith, without Jesus. I'd be panicking."

My friend looked right at me and said, "But isn't it hard even with him?"

If I have led you to believe that living our life of not-so-dull moments is easy, I'm sorry.

It is hard.
This is hard. Even with Jesus.

This is the moment where my heart is broken.

This is the moment where I sincerely, honestly, truly regret picking a study of the book of James for our small group this summer.

Count it all joy, my friends, when it is hard. That's what James tells us. Not, "Hey, you could have some tough things coming" or "go ahead and whine, it's totally unfair." Count it all joy.

I didn't want to learn what that meant. I didn't want my faith to produce steadfastness, so I could be found perfect and complete, as James writes. If I'm perfectly honest, I was happy. I wanted to believe in Jesus, drink my coffee, and love my church friends.

And when I get mad, when I start to doubt, the words from our James Bible study echo in my heart...

Do not be deceived, Chrissy. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:16-17)

There has been darkness - but my Father is a God of light. I've had things taken away - but God gives perfectly and he is good. Our world is completely different - but God remains the same.

But that still means we feel darkness, we lose, and things change.
It's hard.
I've been reading Psalm 61 every day.

When my heart is faint,
lead me to the rock
that is higher than I.

Monday, July 7, 2014

what we learned about Joe

There is nothing like trial by fire to learn about your 4.5 month old.

The past 10 days, as I mentioned before, Joe has been taken completely out of his little world and did great. Here's what we got to learn about him...

Joe is an extrovert (at least at this stage of his life). With all the people around to entertain, Joe smiled, babbled, and hardly wanted to stop to eat or sleep. I've never seen him light up so much and be so social.

Joe is a flirt. He is waaaay more smiley for women.

Joe gets slap happy when he's tired. It's pretty hilarious and pretty goofy. Until he comes unglued.

Joe wants to eat solids. My child has fought nursing, bottles, formula, etc. But he loves food. Right now he's only allowed avocados 1x a day. When I put him in his high chair, he leans forward and start licking and smacking his lips. He will sit quietly in his chair, even when he's super fussy, because he knows food is coming. He stares longingly at cups, forks, and the food that fills our plates. It's going to be a long wait until 6 months, baby.

Joe does okay going to bed and being transferred. It's a bit of work for us, but he fared all right. Joe also transitioned from the rock-n-play back to sleeping in his crib at night because he moves around so much we feared he would fall out. Naps are a totally different story, though. If we aren't home or in a similar environment to home, naps are out of the question.

Joe sleeps like a rock when he's really asleep. Fireworks had nothing on him. However, if he half wakes up without his pacifier, expect total freak out. It makes no sense.

Joe is long. So, so long. He's keeping up in height with his cousins who are 3-5 months older than him. This is also entertaining because he doesn't have the same amount of control and coordination they have (obviously), so he's awkward and his long limbs flail about with no stopping.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

my word.

Over a year ago, a very dear mentor and friend gave me this verse to comfort me during a time of transition.

Over a year ago, I had no idea how much our lives were about to change.

90% of our family that lived in town moved away.
I got pregnant with Joe.
I got hyperemsis gravidum while pregnant.
My last living grandparent died.
We started a new small group at church that changed our lives (and I hope theirs!).
My husband lost his job.
My husband started a new company with his father and a family friend.
Joe was born.
I quit my job.
My father-in-law died.

12 months, friends, is not a long time. Some times I close my eyes and I picture myself 15 months ago, not even pregnant with Joe yet, living a totally different life. 15 months ago, I was hosting a surprise 60th birthday party for my father-in-law, probably drinking a glass of wine or something in my perfectly clean house, relishing in how good God was and is to us.

But God is so, so gracious. He gave me this Word to hold on to for dear life when it all changed. And while this Word has not come without pain, it has pushed me to grow, to trust, and to live beyond myself. It has reminded me that God is still so, so good. It's a long chunk to put in a blog, but it's worth reading until the end.

More than ever before in my life, I know and believe and understand that He is I am.

But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.

Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

-From Isaiah 43, emphasis mine

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

our son

He's a pretty cute kid.
And he's been the ideal baby these past few days, despite a lack of sleep, food, mommy-time, or any type of normalcy.

He's got some big shoes to fill.  Carry on the legacy, little Joe.

Monday, June 30, 2014

kick them in the shins

I can't even process losing my father-in-law.

I don't know if I have ever loved someone quite the way I loved him.

But to honor him, I will say this...

My mother-in-law's reverend came over yesterday to help us plan the service.

"People will say, 'It gets easier with time.' Just kick them in the shins. It doesn't get easier. It gets easier for them, maybe."

I keep coming back to this and it keeps making me laugh. And my father-in-law would be happy to know that we are still finding ways to laugh.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

finding our joy.

I am not someone who would describe myself as someone that does well on little sleep. I would tell you that it's a struggle for me to have a good day on 7 hours.

Oh how things have changed.

I meant to write a post on my first mother's day, but honestly, I was so overtired and wracked with post partum depression and anxiety that I could barely function. After an intervention from my husband and the help of countless family and friends, a check in with my ob, we've turned a corner.

What did I not expect in motherhood? The sleep deprivation. The constant second guessing, the constant feeling that I'm doing something wrong or should be doing more.

We are reading "Be Mature", a study of James, in our small group. It's all about embracing the trials, knowing that God is shaping you. I did not expect for my faith to be stretched so much. But it brings so much joy.

I can't do more. I don't know what I'm doing. But this is a calling. I have to trust that God is who he says he is - good and faithful. I have to trust that he is provider and can sustain me because I cannot.

That faith brings so much joy. Because its not dependent on me, or Joe, or sleep.

I knew I would love my son, but I could never imagine this joy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

what's working: may

-We found the golden goose of parenthood: the perfect babysitter. You want to know what's working for us? THAT. She adores Joe. Her parents drive her one way. She is polite and perfect. I basically want her to move in. Bonus? Her sister cuts our lawn and loves our dog.

-Accepting help. This is hard for me, super type A, super I always have it together. But it's a necessary reality in my life that I need weekly, some time daily help

-Daddy time. Robert coming home at a decent hour and spending time with Joe. Robert taking Joe when he wakes before 7am (he's getting ready for work anyway). Robert taking Joe on errands on the weekend. I have mad respect for single parents. I don't know how they do it.

-Formula. I know. Super controversial. But we now do what's called "combo feeding" (where you both breastfeed, pump, and give formula) and it's saved my mind and kept us breastfeeding when I was ready to give up. Plus, Joe has gained more weight, sleeps better, and is a much happier baby. It's not for everyone, but it's for us. There is no shame in a healthy baby and sane momma.

-She Reads Truth. These devotionals have been really challenging and beautiful. It's hard to think I struggle to read the few paragraphs and chapters of Scripture, but it's always good when I do.

-Re-watching 30 Rock while nursing. There's only so much HGTV and Real Housewives I can take. Tina Fey is a genius.

what's working: april

-Cartwheel Target App
Do you live at Target? We do. This app has special offers & coupons. PLUS you can scan stuff in-store and see if there are deals.

-Reading on the Kindle
I finally started using the gift R gave me for Christmas. I love it! It's way easier to manage than a paper book when I'm nursing or pumping and it makes the time go fast. What am I reading? Jen Hatmaker's Step Out of the Spin Cycle and I am Livia

-Facebook garage sale groups
I buy everything for Joe on these. Baby stuff, clothes, etc. all for dirt cheap and it's barely used.

-car seat swaddle
What did I buy that was super useful on these sites? SWADDLES. Joe loves to be swaddled and he is getting too long for his newborn ones. I found some bigger ones for $2/each and they can be used in a car seat!! BONUS. They are very thin and keep him warm (I know you all are like "PUTTING STUFF IN THE CARSEAT ISN'T SAFE. I assure you this is thinner than a sweatshirt would be for him). They help him stay calm because he can't scratch himself when he gets cranky.

-White noise
I'm working on getting Joe to sleep faster and better, especially for naps. The white noise app on my phone is like an "off" switch. I hit it, he stops crying and his eyes stop drooping. IT'S AMAZING. I don't even have to leave it on... I slowly turn it down and Joe stays asleep. In the car when he gets cranky we roll down the window. Because we are awesome parents.

-Getting dressed
Getting Joe dressed everyday has really helped me and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the cute baby outfits. But we have moved away from sleepers 24-7 and into clothes. What am I wearing? Besides yoga pants and nursing tanks... not much. I did just buy an awesome pair of jeans at Target (see above) that are way comfy and forgiving post partum and cost $30. Thank you Denizen by Levi for $30 skinny jeans.

-Seeing my husband
In case you didn't know, Robert changed jobs in January, right before Joe was born. And by changed jobs I mean started a new company with his dad & a business partner. This has made for a ton of work for him. Then Joe was born, making a ton of work for me. I feel like the last couple of weeks we've actually managed to cross paths a bit more. It's nice to feel like I am still married underneath all this craziness that is our current season of life.

-No vomit April
My big goal for April was not to vomit. I caught a stomach bug at the end of March, which combined with my pregnancy meant that I had thrown up every month since last June. What a sweet relief not to scrub projectile vomit off our bathroom for the first time in ages.

Monday, May 26, 2014

our super advanced baby

Since it seems to be all the rage to have your child be super advanced, Robert and I have started a little joke in which we take everything Joe does and blow it way out of proportion. Apparently, we are NOT the parents who are looking to brag that our child did x by z age, or did xyz early, or go around telling people how ahead our baby is. All I can tell you about Joe's head involves my experience pushing him out, and you don't want to hear about it.

So, here is our super advanced baby, you know, driving a car, and, of course, talking up a storm.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

packing up the newborn clothes.

Joe, day 1
today i packed up the newborn clothes (well, minus the pants because you are so skinny that's the only size that really fits you).

today i packed the newborn clothes. you still seem so tiny, yet they are impossibly even smaller than you.

today i folded the first outfit you ever wore and i remembered that strange, sleepless, dream-like hospital stay in which you entered the world. where we met face to face for the first time.

has 10 weeks gone by? or has it been one? or a thousand? it's so fast, yet so much has changed it's hard to imagine it's been only 10 weeks. it's hard to imagine a time you were not here.

Joe, a few weeks old
as you drifted off to sleep in my lap, i traced the outline of your face. i'm looking down at my forehead and eyes, yet you look just your father. but then you flinch, i see your aunts, your father's sisters. but if you half grin as you dose off, you pull your mouth back on one side like my nephew, like my father.

Joe, a few weeks ago
today, after i packed up your newborn clothes, i got tears in my eyes. i held you a little tighter. not because i can stop or change anything, but because i wanted to breathe in the moment a little more, because i realized they are limited and finite and fleeting.

sweet baby, every morning my heart echos the psalms that the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever. i hope you hear this resounding in your ears as you grow.

sweet baby, every day that you grow up a little bit more, my heart aches in a bittersweet way. i remind myself that the best is yet to come, because God's promises endure and his mercies are new every morning.

sweet baby.
Joe now
Joe now
we love you so.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

what's working: new momma edition

A fellow blogger friend of mine does a super sweet blog segment called "what's working" each month. She includes cute pictures.

I'm not that organized, but I love the idea - so here's our "what's working: March 2014".

This one is dedicated to all my momma-to-be-friends.

Gatorade. I got a stomach bug last week, and the only things that would stay down where Gatorade and Sprite. Guess what? Gatorade almost doubled what I can pump when I have to. That's a big win.

Books. The Baby Whisperer, Baby Wise, Bringing up Bebe. These are my go-to's as I navigate being a new momma. Joe has been to our library many, many times in his young life.

Buying in bulk. It's not easy getting out with an infant. I buy doubles of a lot of things: gas drops, diapers, etc. I buy snacks at Costco (I snack a lot while nursing). I know individual packs are wasteful, but they are so handy to stash around the house and in our diaper bag.

The boppy. Joe loves being propped up in that thing. We have a big, thick one. I'd take about 10 and stick them everywhere in our house.

Playtex Vent Aire bottles. Less gas. Less fuss. Happy Joe. Happy Momma.

One piece breast pump parts. Who thought it was a good idea to have to assemble those, anyways?!

Faded Glory sleep-n-plays. Listen, friends, I hate Walmart. But these sleep-n-play outfits fit Joe better than the other brands because of his catwalk model build (long and skin and bones). They have a lot less bulk around the middle than the Gerber ones. I'm pretty sure will be getting orders from us.

Prayer. I pray 100x more now that I have a baby. It's very humbling to realize how self-dependent I thought I was before. When I struggle to fall asleep or feel like I am failing at motherhood, I recite this praise to God...

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.Psalm 100:5