Friday, February 15, 2013

The Way it Really Turns Out

I love Valentine's Day, you guys.
I also love Pinterest.
There are so many great ideas to be found, right?

I printed off these cute tiny valentine's.

I set them out on each dinner plate.
I think the kids thought they were okay.
But, I forgot to read them aloud to each of them.
And, they can't read.  So, I don't think they were particularly touched.

How about these gorgeous little pink pasta bows?

So, I made those for the kid's special dinner.
Only, they never pinked up.
The just got super chubby and soggy from the 1.5 hour soak.

I made a cream sauce with peas that I thought was tasty and kid-friendly.
My kids did not agree.
They kept asking, "What is this?!!"  They claimed the smell was too hard to bear.
I suggested they try at least one noodle while I watch.
Our boy put one in his mouth, and then almost exploded.
He ran to the trash and spit it out.  Unbearable!
Gillian wondered why I planned such a joke, of making everyone throw up.

I quickly cut some salami slices into hearts to make up for the fail dinner.

Kids off to bed, and my man and I got our living room picnic together.
Fabulous cheeses and toasts and fig preserves,
asparagus bundles wrapped and roasted with prosciutto,
spinach puff pastry rolls
and our favorite champagne.

I had the idea to make a spectacular canopy of lights in the living,
with paper doilies added on,
like I saw on Pinterest.

Gillian and I worked for a good portion of the afternoon on this project, earlier this week.
We had fun.  We were both excited about our progress.  But, we still weren't done.
The kids and I left the house for an hour or two.
Once we got back, all of the lights had fallen down.
I just left them there.

So, we had our living room picnic with lights and doilies scattered all over the floor.
The way it all really turned out?
Lots of laughing & loving.  It was actually quite lovely.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Living & Moving "I Love You"

"I love you."  We say it to each other all the time, he and I.
It's true.  We do love each other.
But for the "I love you" to stay real and vibrant,
we have to recognize that those 3 little words are not simple.
They are all living & moving.

As Scott & I clean the kitchen together this week,
(only really a partial clean, people.  rarely is it all the way cleaned.)
he wonders aloud to me,
Does a man fall out of love with his wife, because he only sees her as "wife" or "mother"?
I say, I can see how that could be.  That may, very well, be true.
Couples get bored, because they think they have fully drawn of that well.

But can it ever be done?
Which of us can ever know another person all the way?

This had me thinking.
How easy it is to think we know someone as well as we possibly can know them.
We think "I get you."
But even as I look into his eyes and know well what he is thinking,
there is still more.  There is more that I don't know.  More for me to learn.
Mystery will always remain, even as we grow more in our unity in openness and honesty.
We will never plumb the depths.

As we love each other,
we have the privilege and the responsibility to learn of the other.
For the love to stay, strong and true, we engage in actively seeking each other.
Who are you?  What are your passions and dreams, struggles and pains?
It's about learning that my husband cannot be defined by any
personality quiz, gender study, love language,
career, family background, church denomination...
I know my husband better than I know anyone else,
and better than anyone else knows him.
But, the day I think I can draw up a precise definition of him,
that is the day I am failing to seek to know him well.
On that day, my "I love you" will fall far short.

I will not confine the love of my life to a narrow definition.
In loving him,
I will remember that he is one who is living and moving and changing,
therefore my love has to be the same.
I will never know the fullness of who he is.
May I never tire of learning of his every facet.

"I will love with urgency, but not with haste." -Mumford & Sons
Just because I listen to them all the time these days.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

When is Babyhood Officially Over?

A couple weeks ago, our sweet baby Kendall turned two.

The night before her birthday, I had gone out to get balloons for her celebration.
We set them up in her room, to hover above her.
The mommy and daddy were a little giddy.
Watching sleeping baby, we smiled at how crazy excited she would be when she woke up.
But, she woke crying.
I woke up wanting to cry, too.
It turned out, she & I were both feeling super sick.
Scott went in to bring her to our room.
He's like, "She didn't even see the balloons!"
Once she was snuggled into our bed and done crying,
I asked her if she saw the balloons in her room.
Matter-a-factly, she said, "Yes."
Did you like them?  I ask.  "No."
The Daddy went out to get her birthday donuts.  She did like that.

The only thing she asked for her birthday was a party hat.
So, we did make party hats.
But, we didn't wear them & make cupcakes until a whole week after her actual birthday.
She blew out both of her candles on her own.
That seemed amazing to me.
But, I guess she was 2 years old, plus a whole week.
Otherwise, I would have declared her to be a genius.

Speaking of... she has quickly been learning all the punk and spunk two year old spirit.
It's amazing, really.
Last month, she was oozing preciousness & pudgy adorableness.
Now she does things like stomping on your toe, to hurt you on purpose.
She screams NO at mommy and daddy sometimes.
She cries when we tell her no.
She used to just obey.  I promise.  She always listened.
I guess our baby is growing up and expanding her world.

That's okay.  Such is life.
But, I really need to get her on video camera before all her babyhood is but a whisper.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

First Lessons in Parenting

8 years ago today was a day that I don't think I will ever forget.
It was the day we went in to have our first ultrasound,
to check on the well being of our first baby.

I was nervous that day.  I had been having a large amount of blood loss.
We were trying to find out why.
The worst case scenario I had in my mind was
Placenta Previa and a necessary C-section.
It turned out that Placenta Previa would've been great news,
compared to what we got.
The tech told us our baby had something called Anencephaly.
We'd never heard of it.  What did it mean?
It meant that being born would turn out to be fatal for our baby.
He would not be able to survive for very long, once outside of my womb.

On February 6th, we found out that we would see our baby die, and soon.
We only had a few months of being able to parent Gabriel.
But we learned some life changing lessons in parenting
(and about love in general).

We loved our son.
But we also knew that our love would not change the course of his life.
Our love, as parents to child, was not about him making us proud.
Our love for him would not take away the hard stuff.
Our love for him would not make him into a better person.

Our love could only be about giving;
Genuinely giving all we had.

Sometimes we as parents, (spouses, friends, whatever),
get our actions of loved mixed up with actions of control.

We tell ourselves if we love them enough, then they'll love us enough.
If we love them enough, their life will be free from hardship.
If we love them enough, they will make all the right choices.

But not really...

Love is about giving.  It is not about results.
Love is powerful.  Don't get me wrong.
But the power of love is something we don't have much control over ourselves.
As soon as we start controlling with it, and trying to accomplish our will with it,
we aren't actually giving our heart in love anymore.

This lesson in parenting that our firstborn helped to teach us
is a key foundation for adoption.
Are we nervous about being the right parents for this child
who is currently a stranger to us?
Yes, if we're honest, we are.
Are we worried that he might have "problems"?
Are we nervous about the way he will "turn out"?
No, not really.
Not because we think he will be problem-free, and we are sure he will "turn out" well.
It's because being a parent is not about controlling the child and the end results.
But being a good parent is a lot about loving your child well.

Loving well is about giving, and not controlling what is done with that love.
Just love all the way.  Give it with joy.  We don't know what that love will accomplish.

This song, "All of Me" always reminds me of Gabriel.
Matt Hammit wrote this song when he & his wife were given a diagnosis
for their baby (still in the womb) that could be fatal.
I think the message can apply to a lot.
It's about loving all the way,
even though there is nothing sure about what the love will accomplish.