Archive | Family

Defeating Mom Guilt

Last month we spent a weekend in La Jolla, California at the beautiful La Valencia Hotel. It was a refreshing weekend with family and friends, but at one point I had to combat a serious bout of mom guilt.

defeating mom guilt

defeating mom guiltdefeating mom guiltdefeating mom guiltdefeating mom guiltdefeating mom guilt

We were at a swanky seaside restaurant for dinner and were seated on the patio. My desert-dwelling self wasn’t prepared for the evening chill and I was agonizing over whether or not I had bundled Everly enough.

I ventured to the restroom hoping to find a changing table and a secluded place to nurse, but wouldn’t you know it – those things don’t exist in swanky restaurants! As I slid two chairs together into a makeshift changing table, I began to berate myself:

“I should’ve thought things through more before bringing Everly on this trip.”

“Who brings a two month old to a restaurant like this?!”

“Why didn’t I think to bring warmer clothes?!”

“Am I a bad mom? Or worse… do they think that I’m a bad mom?”

At that moment, an elderly woman entered the restroom and interrupted my thoughts. Seeing Everly brought a HUGE smile to her face. She came close to admire her and we exchanged a little small talk.

Then she let her guard down.

She told me how she regretted not having a child of her own. Instead of having children, she toured the world as a career ballerina performing in famous shows, including Swan Lake.

“Wow, that’s amazing!” I told her. “What an accomplishment!”

A look of sadness washed over her face as she replied, “I thought so at the time. But now look at me – I have nothing to show for it.”

My heart broke. Not only for the regret and pain I heard in her voice, but because I recognized in her my own need to seek out significance and worth in accolades.

In being the best mom, the best teacher, blogger, sister, etc. My list of identity-definers is limitless.

And so unsatisfying.

Each pursuit leaves me disappointed and empty because only one pursuit, one identity, can ever truly fulfill me.

And that is Christ.

He redeemed me when I was irredeemable. My life in him has purpose and meaning that extends beyond this present reality and into eternity. Motherhood fades, careers come and go, and trophies and accolades will burn up in the end – but my my status as a daughter of the King will never end.

So why do I strive for perfection in temporary titles? I think it will be my life-long struggle. But the fight to honor and love the Lord above all else is a worthy one.

Before I had time to process my thoughts into a meaningful response, the woman was gone and Everly and I were left alone in the bathroom. I deeply regret not being able to share the hope of the gospel with her!

My prayer is that by sharing this story, someone reading might be encouraged! This journey is nothing apart from Jesus. His grace and salvation are sufficient in this life and for all eternity!

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Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Dear Everly,

I’ve written so many letters to you, letters filled with prayers for your life and the excited ramblings of your expectant mama. But of all the letters I’ve written to you, this one is by far my favorite. It’s the story of how you came be with us – your birth story.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

I had hoped that you’d come early, but you kept your mama in suspense and decided to wake me up early in the morning just two days before your due date! The pains began softly – almost so softly that I wasn’t certain if I was imagining them!

Your dad and I decided that it was best to hunker down and try to relax as much as possible until you arrived. Dad made some work calls from home and I tried to nap without much success. I was just too excited to meet you! We read our favorite verses aloud. My favorite was from Psalm 139:

For you (God) formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I couldn’t wait for the unveiling of the beautiful work of art that the Lord had been knitting together inside of me for so many months!

Suddenly those soft pains began to pick up intensity. Short of eating ice cream, I knew the only thing that could make me feel better was a warm bubble bath! So in I went! While I soaked in the tub, your dad played our love song on the piano.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

About that time, Doula Alyssa arrived. I don’t know what we would have done without her help! She rubbed my back and helped me to get into comfortable positions for each birth pain. When I was feeling weak and afraid, she encouraged me to be strong and remember that with each breath and pain, we were getting closer and closer to seeing your face.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Finally, at seven in the evening, we decided that you were DEFINITELY on your way and it was time to get to the hospital. I’ve never seen your dad get out the door so quickly! Before I could even put on a change of clothes he had the car packed and ready. The sun was setting, but we could barely see it through the monsoon storm that blew in just in time to escort us to the hospital!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

We hit nearly every red light along the way, but finally we arrived at the hospital. I waddled to the door where the amazing Doula Noleen had a wheelchair waiting for me. The nurses checked me and determined that on a scale from 1 to 10, my body was at an EIGHT! It was almost time to push!

I continued to labor in the hospital room. I was getting so tired! I remember thinking, “What if Everly doesn’t come out?!” To help speed up your exit and bring you earth side, the doctor broke my water. Now there was nothing standing in your way!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Through the hospital window, we saw fireworks – which was actually quite fitting because firework explosions are the only way I can think to characterize the feeling of pushing! The minutes dragged on for what felt like a painful eternity. But then suddenly – you were here!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

They placed you in my arms and all I could do was look at you in complete shock and with absolute joy. You were here! After all the months of waiting, I was finally able to see your beautiful face.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Dear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth Story

For so long I tried to anticipate how I would feel once I finally got to hold you in my arms. The love your dad and I have for you is SO much deeper than I ever could have imagined! It’s indescribable!

I pray for you everyday.

I pray that I can be every bit the mom you need me to be.

I pray that our love for you would lead you to the foot of the cross.

And I pray that your days would be full of the joy that comes from loving the Lord and serving others.

I can’t wait to watch you grow, dear daughter. Welcome home!

Love,

Mom

Incredible pictures taken by Alyssa and Noleen.

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What I Can’t Wait For

It’s now July –  my baby girl’s birthday month. Lately, the reality of her arrival has been hitting me in massive waves of excitement! There are so many things about bringing my little human home that I just can’t wait for!

What I Can't Wait For

I’m looking forward to the tangible things.

Like the smell and feel of her brand new baby skin!

And being able to hold and kiss her precious little baby hands and feet. (Does anyone else just lose it over adorable baby feet?!)

What I Can't Wait For

I can’t wait to see which features of me and which features of Mike she uniquely wears. I already know that I’ll marvel in amazement at how God knitted her together so perfectly.

And then there are the intangible things that I can’t wait for.

Like the instinctual ease of holding baby. (I was that teen that fearfully held newborns as if they were ticking time bombs)! I’m looking forward to those mama instincts, or in the very least, what I’ll learn in sick or swim fashion!

I’m looking forward to loving a completely new facet of my husband – Mike the dad. There are moments as we sit talking and dreaming about our little girl when this look of absolute tenderness comes over his face… and I just want to cry!

What I Can't Wait For

PHOTOGRAPHER

And most of all, I look forward to understanding God’s love in a deeply new and profound way. To know that the massive love I feel for my daughter can’t even compare to the everlasting and depthless love of God for me will be SO humbling!

I’ve been carrying our Everly June for almost 9 months now. In a way I feel like we’ve been planning a massive homecoming party for dear friend all this time. A friend who’ve we’ve never met, and yet somehow know so well. A little life who will change our lives forever.

We can’t wait to meet you Everly June! You homecoming party is ready for you. 🙂

What I Can't Wait For

PHOTOGRAPHER

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7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

If you’ve ever been pregnant – you’ve been there. The moment people know that you’re expecting, your body suddenly becomes an acceptable topic of conversation.

And scrutiny.

And touching.

Don’t get me wrong! For the most part, I’ve loved the changes pregnancy has brought me and I’ll be the first to want to gush about how excited I am. BUT, occasionally over the past 8 months I’ve received some shockingly rude – and hilarious – comments.

I should preface this list by saying that I know that none of the people who made these comments were ill-intentioned, which is why I can laugh about them! So go ahead and laugh with me! 🙂

1.  Me: “I’m having a girl”. Store clerk: “Ah yes, girls steal all of their mom’s beauty.”

2.  Girl (as she compares me to another pregnant woman standing nearby): “You’re short, so the weight has to go everywhere.”

3.  My dermatologist: “Wow. When you were sitting, I thought you looked small… but now that you’re standing…”

4.  Guy: “When are you due?! You don’t look like you have much more room to grow!”

5.  (Before we knew our babe’s gender). Woman: “You’re having a girl. I can tell because you’re carrying the weight everywhere.”

6.  Fitness instructor: “How are you today, besides being SUPER pregnant?”

7.  Husband: “Sorry wifey. I finished off the ice-cream.”

Ah pregnancy – what a delightful season! Having a sense of humor is KEY!

How about you other mommies? Got any comments that top mine?

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A Wedding Reminisce

We’re counting down the days until our family goes from a party of two to a party of three! We are incredibly excited!

With all of the wonderful changes in store for our family, I can’t help but reminisce about how it all began – on our wedding day!

Wedding reminisce

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisceWedding reminisceWedding reminisceWedding reminisce

Wedding reminisce

Wedding reminisce

A Few of Our Favorite Things

We actually reminisce about our wedding day often. We have so many fond memories of the celebration and everyone who made it possible.

The Personal Touches

My sweet dad handmade the alter arch out of aspen trees…

Wedding reminisce

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisce

…and hand-crafted dozens of boxes to serve as center pieces.

A friend baked our cake.

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisce

Family and friends teamed up to set the tables, string dangling lights, and set out mason-jar “place cards”.

My talented friend Brittany from Delight in the Desert created our invitations and this beautiful chalk board to sit at the entrance of the aisle.

Wedding reminisce

My favorite personal touch was our guestbook.

With both Mike and I being so passionate about adventure and travel, we decided that a globe guest book was the way to go!

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisce

This globe belonged to my Grandma. I used to stare at it whenever I visited and daydream about the places I would go. Now it’s a focal point in our home!

The Venue

Those of you who know my hubby personally know that he is the host-extraordinare in our relationship! He loves showing people a good time; food and relaxation are his love languages.

He found  our caterer. And our venue – a gorgeous 5-acre home with a beautifully landscaped yard at the foot of Camelback Mountain.

It was beautiful, private, and perfect!

Wedding reminisce

Wedding reminisce

The Party

Some people wear two dresses, I sported two hair styles – down for the ceremony and up for the reception.  So glad I did!

I wanted my hair out of my face so that we could party hard.

And party hard we did!

Wedding reminisceWedding reminisce

Wedding reminisce

OUR PHOTOGRAPHERS

 

The Best is Yet to Come

Every adventure has it’s start. Ours began on March 7th, 2015. The next chapter begins in a few short weeks!

Wedding reminisce

Did you love your wedding? I’d love to hear about your favorite things!

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