Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013.

This was on 12/31/12. Exactly one year ago, today.

our year in seasons:

SPRING
almost bought the wrong house. contract fell through.
sold a lot of stuff. got rid of tv and internet. 'roughed it' while saving up for a baby, without a game plan on how we would be able to afford said baby. moved in with our parents in april.

living with my parents was actually pretty freakin awesome.


oh, i gained 60 pounds. lilah only weighed 8 lb 6 oz.

went on quite a few strolls with all 3 of my babies.
was a bridesmaid in one of my best friend's weddings with my other two bests.

celebrated our first year wedding anniversary by eating year old cake.


had a surprise 'children book' themed baby shower. loved every second. this really made me feel so special. thanks to you all, you know who you are.
had a planned baby shower. felt empowered and showered. knew i could do this mom thing, because i had a network of supportive, loving people. 


read many books to 'sprout'. this remains a favorite.

had an amazing experience at the spirit fair with the dwc.

made up my mind that we WOULD go to the farm regardless of expenses and travel risks. 

had an exam by legendary midwife, pamela, of The Farm midwives.

hung out in the wholeo.
got a blood clot as a direct result of stubbornly insisting on the farm roadtrip adventure. overnight hospital stay. was proud that my intuition knew i had a blood clot even though the doctor on the phone said to 'take an aspirin.' this was a good lesson on listening to my instincts. 'twas also a costly lesson.


threw away 4 years of stashed mums. made room for baby. wondering if throwing these away was a good choice?

chopped my hair for a mom cut.

saw "wicked" with the most important women in my life (lilah included)!
endured 22 hours of labor, and successfully lived through an emergent c-section while birthing the most beautiful and loving child i've ever known. my proudest accomplishment to date.

SUMMER


watched my best friend become a daddy. fell even more in love with him.
cooled off in the pool with my new best babe.

adored and admired her for countless hours. memorized lip lines, hand dimples, and only took breaks from staring to shift senses to smelling. loved smelling her baby's breath.
blissfully bonded with this child. living at home gave me uninterrupted time to bond and stare and love and cuddle. the c-section bought me 2 extra weeks of time off work. turned the negatives into positives. 
met our (hopefully) next governor while breastfeeding.
TEAM WENDY!


took LG to her first protest. 
ACTUALLY BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOUSE! FINALLY! 

smudged our new house, cleansing the energy and giving us a blank slate to work with.

moved in August. began home improvement projects. 


AUTUMN


first halloween.

baptism.  

first thanksgiving.


WINTER
enjoyed the ice day with my lil family.

bundled up this lil snowcub a number of times.

enjoyed time outside in all the seasons. decided fall and spring are undoubtedly more convenient for walking a baby. our walks dwindled in the winter, hehe.
first santa visit.

said goodbye to a friend. grieved. still praying for his mother and father, sister, fiance, and son.  still thinking often of my best friends in college, and the good times we shared. it's easy for life to look perfect in a blog where all the happy times are documented and shared with an online presence. nobody takes photos at funerals or burials. but there were tears in 2013, as well as smiles. and a part of me feels guilty for even sharing how wonderful my year was, knowing the intense pain that john's family endured this year. their reality is my greatest fear in life. all i can do is give to the best of my ability and meditate. listen to God's encouragement and follow my heart. give comfort. remember him, and honor him everytime i light a candle.
woke up christmas morning in our new house, with our new baby, and told her all about santa. god willing, i'll do the same thing next year, since she will have no memory of this. i hope someday she looks through this blog and knows how magical she has made my life.


I love the feeling of a new year. There is buzzing energy all around. People are motivated and united to make positive changes. We get rid of our old stuff, and make room for new experiences. This year was undoubtedly the most exciting year of my life. I've never been so grateful. 

xoxo,
L








Friday, December 20, 2013

What is the point of prayer?

Help me to the Sun/Son, I'm lookin' everywhere. I'm lookin' to become not the pray-er, but the prayer.

I liked this song the moment I heard it. The title, "I Don't Wanna Pray," sounds controversial but speaks so much spiritual truth. 

When tragedy strikes, the first thing people often say is "I'll pray for you." My favorite minister spoke on this very topic 2 weeks ago: ((to see the sermon, click here)).

Really, if the only thing you do for somebody is "pray for them," you might as well do nothing. Do we as Christians honestly believe that God is a man up in the clouds, waiting to be swayed by our mortal pleas? Like God will cure my friend of cancer if I ask Him to in prayer? Or He will give her energy after chemo if I say a prayer correctly, or multiple times? Or if I pray for peace on Earth, do I expect God to say, "Lindsay Van Meter asked for it, so it is so." Yeah right. How egocentric is that concept?? When somebody loses a loved one, it is natural for us to tell them "You're in my thoughts and prayers." The "thoughts" makes it sound less religion-y and more politically correct. But are we just telling people that because we are at a loss on how to otherwise help?

Like the song, I don't want to be the person praying ((the "pray-er"))...I want to BE the prayer. So, if I'm praying for comfort, I want to BE the comfort. If I'm praying for peace, I want to BE the peace. Currently, I am lifting people up in prayer multiple times a day. To me, this means more than "Dear God, please comfort ((so and so))." 

To me, prayer is the direct connection to Spirit. When I pray, I am reminding MYSELF of my connection to God, which is always there whether or not I acknowledge it. When I pray, I silence everything in this physical realm, and focus on the spiritual realm. I acknowledge my connection to God, and meditate on what spiritual ((or physical!)) gifts I can offer that particular person//cause. 

Long-story-short, PRAYER DOESN'T CHANGE GOD. PRAYER DOESN'T CHANGE THE PERSON I'M PRAYING FOR. PRAYER CHANGES ME.

For example ((and not to say I think I'm so great...I don't, it was just a spiritual thing))... I have a work friend going through chemo right now. I pray for her. I don't think that God is going to change His mind on her outcome based on my prayers. I am reminded of what Jesus would do. It came to me in prayer, that I had a sick day I could donate to her. So I did. That doesn't mean I think I'm so great, or so giving, or so wonderful. It's a physical act that I am capable of doing, and I think that's what Jesus would do. It helped her, and it was an idea given to me by Spirit. That's the power of prayer. 

When I pray, I think about how Jesus would act. I try to do as He would do. Words are just words. Actions mean so much more. Sometimes, we can't act. We only have words. I think the best example here is with natural disasters. I can't afford to go physically help further than in my immediate metroplex. But, I do believe I can pray, and remind myself of the connection I have with Spirit. I can be moved during the prayer to either send money ((if I'm able)), or just be still, quiet, and give my energy to the victims. We are so obsessed with social media and technology, if I take the time to quiet myself and focus on the victims of tragedy, I believe I am giving a piece of energy to them. It might not be much, but it's better than believing I can say a quick "God be with the victims," to cross it off my "To Do List". 

Saying you'll pray for somebody, and then quickly asking God a favor, in my opinion, is not a valuable contribution. Heavily meditating on something matters. And most importantly, DOING something for the person(s) matters most. Being Spirit's hands and feet on this physical realm. 


"Well it's all right to talk, long as you walk it
It's all right to take, long as you give
Some say we forgiven and forgotten all our sins
Either way, I know it's so, that we all will live again
Pardon god and mom, if what I'm sayin' isn't fair
See I'm looking to become, not the pray-er but the prayer
And now I don't want to pray
Nooooo, I don't wanna pray
I don't wanna pray"
-Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Friday, December 6, 2013

Transitioning

I definitely feel a shift. Lilah Grace isn't my tiny little newborn baby anymore.

2 or 3 days old

4 weeks old

Even though she has been growing like a weed since her conception, the difference between stages hasn't been as obvious. She's 7 months old now, and into everything. Everything is going into her mouth, thanks to her first tooth waiting to make her appearance any day now. I can feel the sharp edge through her tiny fleshy gum.
((her finger is constantly rubbin' that gum!))


She's reaching up and out, which is absolutely adorable. And in that moment, I'm using my hands to pick her up, which explains why I don't have a picture of it!

She's mocking sounds deliberately ((still no consonants...I'm on the edge of my seat for an intentional "mama")), and she loves eating a variety of foods. I think her affinity towards solids is probably WHY I'm feeling such a shift.


I have absolutely loved breastfeeding. And even though we still nurse in the mornings and before bed, I physically ((and emotionally)) feel like that's coming to an end. I can go to work now and not need to pump. I no longer get engorged...even after not pumping or nursing for 12 hours. I never had a huge milk supply, but I used to have enough to exclusively breast feed for her first 4 months. We just fed every 3 hours. Which included night shift! And as a result, we started a co-sleeping habit.




The silver lining is that I am getting more sleep...she now SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT! In her crib! I'll give her a bottle around 6:00 in the evenings and then bath//breastfeed//bedtime by 7:30. When she nurses, it's just a comfort thing. I can feel that she's barely getting any milk. Sometimes that makes me feel like I'm becoming less necessary, or less satisfying to her...but sometimes it makes me feel more like my old self...it's been over a year since I felt like my body was my own, and not a shared entity.


I have mixed feelings, but I'm definitely having them. I know I could try fenugreek...or frequent pumping...or dietary changes. But breastfeeding ((fortunately)) has been a very natural thing for us, and hasn't required any interventions thus far, and I just feel like riding it out naturally, too. As long as she continues to have an interest in nursing, I'll let her for our mutual comfort, but I think it's a matter of time until she gets frustrated with my decreasing milk production.

When she closes her eyes and is resting her head on my chest...THAT is my favorite moment on any given day. That's the closest her face looks to her newborn face. And I ALREADY am missing that face. I have been so present and in the moment, but recently have felt myself longing for the past and those sweet newborn days.




She will be mobile any day now. She rocks back and forth on her hands and knees, rotates in a full circle around herself, and can push backwards. Thinking of my little baby as a mobile tot terrifies me. Such a game changer! The next chapter will require much more energy, diligence, and discipline. I've absolutely cherished the innocence//sweetness//helplessness of her infancy.



The next phase brings some anxiety, but also excitement! I can't wait to hear "mama"! And though I'm scared, I'm so excited to see her take her first step! I love hearing new sounds and seeing new facial expressions. And other parents have told me it continues to get better...that's very reassuring ((much better than other parenting tips//advice...like "eat this//tell her that//read this" etc...))

I've heard a few phrases lately that have resonated. First, that having a child is like having a Christmas present that you get to open every single day. I feel it when I walk in her room and see that fuzzy little head popped up in her crib ((and side note...she is so good about just waking up and cooing rather than crying...which I find very pleasant)). Second, that parenthood exists in a timewarp, where the days are long, but the years are short. I can't believe my baby is 7 months old! And I know I'll say that about every age! "I can't believe she's 1!...potty-trained...starting school!...driving!...graduating!...getting married!"I totally get why people think of their children as their babies regardless of their age, and I totally listen to "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey differently now.

Lilah Grace, you have already brought me so much happiness! You have brought me peace, laughter, and more joy than I ever thought possible. You are continually the best part of my day, and you'll ALWAYS be my baby!


See??! She's growing up WAY too fast! :) :) :)


xoxo,
L
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