Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Will I sacrifice daily?

Nobody prepares you for having children.

Sure, they tell you that the birthing process will be painful and that your life will change after your new bambino comes into the world. However, this whole storytelling process is a lot like collegiate classes for future educators (I'm sure other majors have the same ones, but I can only relate to education). You know the kind - they tell you how how to teach a class (rarely, if ever, tell you how to manage a class), how to have good record keeping, etc, but it isn't until that final semester (yes, only three short months of actual classroom involvement) that you get a taste of what teaching will be like. My theory is that they do this at the end of your senior year of college because they know that if you don't like it, you'll push on and continue through to graduation because you've already spent 3.5 years and lots of money to just change majors. I digress...

Back to child-rearing.

It isn't until you are home alone with your child day in and day out (weeks and months after family and friends have left with all the yummy pre-made food) that you begin to realize how exhausting it is to be a mom.

There are times when you feel like you have zero personal time. I know what all of you non-moms are saying, "what about when the baby sleeps?" That's a great theory. If I want a clean house and food to eat, that is when I usually get those things done - when baby is sleeping. Raising a child is mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting.

I don't say these things to discourage any of my friends who do not have kids, yet (Laura - I'm still waiting for you to get pregnant next!). I say these things to let all of my mom friends out there know that you're not alone in these feelings. I was beginning to feel guilty for feeling a bit selfish at times. But, after reading this blog post, I felt very encouraged in knowing I wasn't alone in my thoughts and feelings. I was also encouraged to serve the Lord by serving my child every moment of every day.

After you read the post, ask yourself the same question I am - are you willing to sacrifice every day? Even when its hard? Even when you feel as though you're alone in this process?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My First Love

I grew up the youngest of three girls. I never had the pleasure of living with my oldest sister, Julie, as she was on her own and starting a family by the time I came along. I did, however, share a bedroom with my older sister, Stasi.

Stasi, now this girl is 100% a "grandpa's girl." Me, although I love my grandpa, I am 100%, without-a-doubt, no questions asked a "daddy's girl."

My dad was my first love. I remember falling head over heels for him as we danced together in the kitchen while I stood on his feet and he led me through the two-step. This love only grew through the years as he taught me about value, character, sports, fishing, the Bible, relationships, hard-work, acceptance, and love.

I have many, many memories about my dad and memories with him. When asked what my favorite memories were growing up I, without hesitation, talk about fishing with my dad, him coaching me in sports, and the random and surprise trips to a favorite local pizzeria in Ohio to get a pretzel, yoohoo, and play Mrs. Pacman.

I have always admired the man I called "dad."

The Saturday morning before Easter I received a phone call from my mother that no child ever wants to answer. I knew as soon as I saw my mom's name appear on my caller I.D. what she was going to say. In fact, I feel as though God had been preparing me for that moment for the past year. That, however, still didn't make the phone call and the news she had to share any easier to hear. The words echo in my head, "Shan. It's your dad. He had a heart attack and passed away."

As unexpected as it may have seemed, I knew it was coming sooner rather than later (although you never truly know what "sooner" really means until your face to face with it). Unless you were close to the family, you would have never known the amount of pain my dad was in. (He never wanted to make a big deal about his situation).  I recently asked him what part of his body hurts. His answer astounded me - "everything from my knee up is in constant pain." Those words tore at my heart. As a child, you think your parents are indestructible. To think that my dad was hurting all of the time, broke my heart.

After I got off the phone with my mom that morning, all I could do was cry in Keith's arms as he held me and we prayed. We lifted praises to our heavenly Father that my earthly Father was no longer in pain and he was now hanging out with Jesus! We prayed comfort over our family, for we knew that the coming days, weeks, months, and years were going to be challenging and emotional.

I miss my dad every day and often have to stop myself from dialing his cell phone number to talk about the latest sports gossip or share in the joy of something new that Connor has done. But, my faith in the Lord brings me through those tough times. I can do nothing but praise my Savior - for allowing me to have my father here on earth as long as I did (he was able to walk me down the aisle and see my first born child), for allowing my mother to have her best friend by her side for the past 32 years, for all the many blessings I experienced with my dad, for my dad not being in pain anymore, and most importantly that I will get to see him again one day!

My dad. My hero. My first love.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New things in the world of Connor

Wow! So much has happened these past couple of weeks with my little guy that it seems as though he's growing up way too fast!

He just started army crawling around the floor. He usually sits on his bottom and scoots across the floor, but now when he is on his belly he will crawl. He's also learning to sit up from laying down. This morning, about 5am, I heard him whining in his bedroom. Normally, I just ignore him and he eventually gives up and goes back to sleep. However, this morning I felt as though something was different. When I walked into his room, he was STANDING up in his crib just looking at me. He's pulled himself up before from a sitting position, but never from a laying down position. So, today, we move his crib mattress down :) He loves to walk! He will hold onto your hands all day long and just walk throughout the entire house stopping at every little thing to check it out. It's fun to see things through his eyes for the first time.

More and more of his personality is coming through and I love it! The one trait I am not fond of is when he whines because he's not getting what he wants (he gets this from his mama...not proud to say). He threw his first little fit out in public this past weekend because we took a drink coaster away from him at the restaurant because he was sucking and chewing on it. And, when your husband works at a paper mill supplying chemicals that go into the paper that makes these products, you would take it away too :) He's also discovered clicking his tongue and does it all day long. It's hilarious! He also LOVES people. We could be walking through the store, down the street, or at church and he smiles at everybody we pass by. His favorite - the ladies! Yes, my son is a huge flirt!

I am cherishing every second with this little guy because I know he won't stay little forever.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Connor's first hike

I am somewhat ashamed to say that we are just now taking Connor on his first hike. We have taken this kid out of the country, on rock climbing adventures, and a trip to Florida. You would think that since we live in the mountains that we would have taken him hiking by now, but alas, we have not. When Keith's friend from college, Ben, said he would be in the neighborhood and wanted to go hiking we immediately said yes!

Keith and I woke early Sunday morning and packed the car with all of our gear, water, and some snacks. We put the kids (Connor and sweet Norah) in the car and took off down I-40 to the Great Smoky Mountains. First stop - Pancake Pantry for a delicious breakfast with friends. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. Next stop - Chimney Top Trailhead.

Keith and I had hiked this trail before and were excited to get to the top to check out the amazing view. However, I like to think of this particular trail is very similar to childbirth - it is painful, long, and laboring; but when it's all over, you forget how much torture you went through. We were quickly reminded of this as we began our ascent. As Keith carried Connor on his back almost the entire way (our sweet friend, Nick, carried Connor part of the way), we finally made it to the top!

Connor and Norah loved every minute of it! I'm sure Keith would have rather chosen an easier climb for the first time taking Connor :)

This is what most of the climb is like - straight uphill and full of rocks

Our sweet friends, Lauren and Ben 

Just along for the ride :)

Norah needed a break so we all decided to stop too

A little tired from carrying all that extra weight

Me and my sweet boy on the rock face at the top

Finally out of the backpack and enjoying the view!

Family photo

On our way back down

I love this man!

It's tiring doing all that hiking 

The guys - Ben, Nick, Keith, and Connor

The ladies - me, Lauren, Jennifer, and Norah

This sign says "no dogs allowed"....oops...

Connor is ready to go home!