This past winter was a long one, but God heaped a whole lot of sunshine on us this past weekend. In short, Josh graduated from medical school, and we also found out the gender of our baby. In addition to those life-changing events, Caleb is now done with daycare and staying home with Daddy until I finish teaching in two weeks. My parents were also able to come visit us and spend a lot of time with Caleb, who loved seeing them outside of Skype!
Without further ado, here are some pictures to summarize our happy weekend.
We saw our precious baby 18-wk old baby on Thursday (Side note: The Dr. wants to move our date up by a week, but we’re sticking with our original date since I went a week late last time. We are, in short, just going to be ready to go at any time during the first half of October!). The tech did not tell us the gender and instead wrote it in an envelope, but we both had a feeling it was a girl. He/she loved stretching his/her legs out!
On Friday we went to Josh’s graduation banquet. It was so nice to enjoy an evening of celebration together while my parents watched Caleb. Then, on Saturday, Josh officially graduated and is now a practicing M.D.
And, after graduation, we cut the cake and found out that our little miracle #2 is indeed a girl. Let the name-hunting and cute-clothes-buying commence!
Today marks week #17 of pregnancy, making the baby approximately the size of an onion. After week #15 I started feeling significantly less nauseated and now have a much-increased appetite. Josh says I’m starting to show, and I’d like to think that it’s obvious there’s a baby inside me. I really try not to let it bother me, but I hate it when people (thinking they’re being complimentary) tell me that “Wow! You don’t look pregnant at all!” Seriously? I look this tubby normally? Anyway, I’d also like to mention that I have not yet broken out in hives, which makes me guess that it’s a girl. We will find out this weekend, though. And, I want to clarify that I think it’s a girl, but I don’t have a preference of boy or girl. Whatever God gives us will be fine by me
Caleb at 14 months, and baby #2 at 4 months gestation. All three of us are loving the fact that spring is now here!
Something happened to me about 2.5 years ago. I was pregnant and realizing that I could not stay alert after 8 p.m. Reading? It just wasn’t happening. Grading papers or tidying up the house? Those things weren’t happening either. Pregnancy gave way to my precious baby, who obviously kept me just as exhausted. And now that my precious baby is sleeping 11 hours every night. Wonderful, right?! Well, I’m actually pregnant and exhausted again! I’ve deduced that I will probably always be exhausted at night, and I think most people (not just mommies) who has gone full force all day has a hard time being productive at night.
Sadly, I’m not as bothered about a pile of papers or a stack of dishes. But, that stack of unread books in the corner? That really bothers me. There are worlds that I must explore. People who I need to meet. Ideas that I should better understand. Those clean dishes? They don’t produce lifelong benefits. A book? The benefits are endless.
I therefore concluded that I had to do something to resurrect my nightly reading. So, I put aside what many (including myself) would deem as more worthy books–you know, those books that you feel every paragraph needs to be chewed upon, journaled about, and then revisited again. And, I decided that I would instead find something that excites me (often a novel or memoir of sorts), and although it may not be as meaty, it would be read. I have a huge interest in international affairs, missions and history; so I’ve found books that fit into those category, but also provide a compelling story line (Amazon reviews help immensely when sorting through books).
The result so far has been six books in the past three months. It wasn’t until I finished my latest book that I realized what I had subconsciously done to incite more reading, but now with a conscious effort, I am making a goal of a new book every two weeks. Please send any recommendations for reading or productive reading my way!
Book reviews are forthcoming
Here we are on March 22, getting our first glimpse of our baby and hearing its heartbeat at 10 weeks, 4 days. There’s nothing like this experience; no one will ever be able to tell me that this isn’t a precious life that deserves a chance to be born and grow. What a miracle!
Over two months ago I had an exciting realization, and I made sure to quickly type out my thoughts that evening so I wouldn’t forget about the day I found out about our precious blessing that was on its way. As most expecting moms, I will forever enjoy looking back at that moment when I realized we were having another baby. Here are a few snippets from that moment…
Wow, what a week. Josh left for his 6-week medical missions trip to Ghana this past Friday. It’s only been four days since his departure, and I’m already falling apart. Caleb developed full-blown Pink Eye on Saturday, and upon taking him to the doctor, he was also diagnosed with a cold virus and a double ear infection. I am sick, too. About 30 minutes into rocking my screaming and very needy 11-month-old (for probably about the 5th time that day), I told God, “You have got to be teaching me something here.” I consider myself a patient person (i.e., I teach high schoolers!). But, with no exit in the form of nearby family or friends, I found myself wanting to collapse right along with my screaming child. So, while rocking Caleb, I prayed through it. It wasn’t pretty, but it certainly helped.
To add to my list, I felt strange. It was probably Aunt Flo getting ready to visit. Nevertheless, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I hurriedly set the test on my bathroom counter and came back to the kitchen to finish dishes while Caleb was still napping.
About five minutes later I darted back in my bathroom to grab a mundane item like a bobby pin and decided to pick up the strip and throw it away. But, something prompted me to take a second glance. It looked like a second line…. So, I pulled out another test, and it didn’t appear immediately, but a few seconds later I saw a second line!
I ran into the kitchen and held both tests under a bright light and was just overwhelmed with joy and worship toward God. With no one around to share in this experience, I grabbed Millie (my ever-present, devoted canine), and told her that yes, “We were expecting!” How gracious of God to give me such great joy during a bleak time. Half a world separated me and Josh, yet I carried OUR baby. It wasn’t until that afternoon that Josh was able to respond to the email that held a picture of a lovely, positive, peed-upon, pregnancy stick. When he did, he said it was just the news he needed to carry him through this trip that he was taking alone. God is good all the time. And even if the news would have been negative, God, the Creator of all things, is is still good all the time.
Josh’s Spring Break coordinated with mine, so the three of us got to spend an ENTIRE week together, and it was beyond wonderful to catch up on some projects while still enjoying time together. So, here’s how Spring Break 2013 went down…
No babysitter? No problem. The three of us went out for a nice evening dinner together. Baby Einstein was on, but virtually silent. And since going out is a rarity for us, we also decided to give up any food battles and just let Caleb have whatever he wanted (which was most of the spinach/artichoke dip). That’s how we enjoyed a stress-free dining experience
After dinner we enjoyed a snow-covered walk in this quaint downtown. Can’t believe how well my little guy gets around! He’s getting so independent and starting to become averse to the hand-holding sometimes.
Here we are! The four of us (Yep, did you catch that? More on that news later!).
Now that we know where Josh’s residency is for the next four years, we spent a great deal of time house-hunting. Thanks to Josh for this candid, early morning, house-hunting picture. I am, of course, checking out the storage space.
We took a quick jaunt to Ohio to see some friends. On the way we stopped at a dairy farm and petting zoo. Caleb loved the animals. He thought the goats were large Millies
Noting that Caleb is in love with climbing, we took him to a playground. I’m so excited that it’s warming up because he loved climbing and sliding. It did scare me a little, though!
Oh, the thrill!
I just love these two men in my life, and, as you can tell, Caleb LOVES having his daddy home!
Easter was wonderful. We enjoyed celebrating our risen Savior, going to church, and spending time with Josh’s family. We also, yet again, failed to get a good family picture. Oh well. There’s always next year. Caleb, however, immensely enjoyed getting an Easter basket this year.
Can’t believe how much my little man has changed since last Easter. I’m clearly still in love and so very thankful for our much-needed Spring Break.
Josh has been home for a mere 24 hours, and I’m already readjusting to our normal way of life (which still includes a lot of his absences, but is WAY better than NO Josh for 6 weeks!). As the three of us happily drove around running errands together today, those days of single mommyhood were starting to look like those of a bygone era, so I know I have to blog before I forget. First, I believe we are more likely to reach out those we notice and sympathize with, so my experience has put single mommies on my radar, and I certainly don’t want to miss an opportunity to reach out to them in the future.
Second, please understand that this is not meant to be a “woe-was-me” post, nor a “look-how-awesome-I-was-at-getting-through-that” post. It is a glimpse into the life a single mom, which will give simple suggestions (to my future self) on how to brighten a single mom’s day.
- Tell her she’s doing a good job. I flew alone with Caleb to NC, and, as I was getting off my connecting flight, I had about three women (men probably don’t understand-ha!) compliment me for being a great parent to my 1-year-old during our flight. Maybe my face said it, but I was completely worn out, feeling rather nauseated, had lost my hearing in one ear, and was so very ready to just curl up in a corner and forget it all. But, their comments pushed me forward, giving me the extra ounce of energy I needed to push on and keep putting Caleb first.
- Don’t ask her how she is doing unless you genuinely care and are willing to help out. This issue transcends to more demographics than just single moms. It’s quite frustrating to know you desperately need some help and are just about willing to have anyone watch your child so you can catch up at work, and then have someone provide empty offers for the sake of niceties. It’s probably better to simply say nothing.
- Don’t assume that because she (or anyone, for that matter) is independent and seemingly self-assured that she is doing okay. I give my parents kudos: they raised me to be rather independent. I love to travel, try new things, and take on new challenges; but this doesn’t mean I’m Superwoman. This also means I do a good job of keeping up appearances (which I think is the case for many single moms), but there is often a great need on the inside.
- Take her a meal or give her a gift card. I had a girl from church bring me a meal one evening, and it was a huge blessing because I really struggled to find time to make meals, and I sadly had to settle for fast food (which I hate) on work nights. How wonderful it would be to relieve a single mom of dinner duties, giving her a healthy meal for her family one night a week–and leaving enough for her family to have leftovers!
- Offer to help her out at the store. There are so many ways to help out a mom in the store. Often I can’t reach an item because I’m holding my sick child, or sometimes I just need a stranger to entertain my child in the shopping cart as he’s fussing in the long line. Even taking a mom’s shopping cart back to the rack for her is huge…especially in the dead of Indiana winter.
- Offer to help her take in the groceries. I think it’s a different era. On several occasions, I would pull up to my apartment, Caleb would be screaming in the back seat (he really is usually a pretty happy kid, but it’s been a season of sickness for him), and I absolutely dreaded having to set him down (where he would continue to scream), haul groceries up my 16 steps (thank you, dad, for counting), put them away, etc. Why? Because I would rather be with my baby that needs me at that moment. I know I had neighbors who saw this transpire, and it never occurred to them to help me out. Do I mind a stranger coming into my house? At this point? Not at all.
- Realize that she’s lonely. I consider myself an extrovert, and I am so blessed to (1) have many acquaintances, and (2) interact with students and colleagues a couple of days a week, and (3) have some amazing friends in NC; but I still crave deep face-to-face relationships that go beyond a professional level. These are hard to come by, especially when I often lack the time or energy to pursue them. So, next time you see a single mom that seems too busy, pursue her.
- Help her get out of the house, or simply hold her child. I consider myself a pretty sane person. I have Jesus guiding me every day, and I know the Creator of the universe has not forgotten me. I am logical, and I try to keep a check on my unwieldy emotions. But, there were many moments that I felt like I was losing it. Caleb had two ear infections, strep throat, Pink Eye, and several bouts of diarrhea during Josh’s absence. After so many hours of holding a crying child, it is time to get out and let a new face come and show him some love while mom clears her head. How does a mom without Jesus make it? I can’t even imagine…
- Realize that she feels like she’s never being a good parent. In spite of what the world tries to tell us, in the heart of man, we know that a child thrives with a unified family unit that consists of mommy AND daddy. Knowing that half is gone makes a single mom feel like she’s short-changing that child by 50%. Jump in, get involved, remind her to be strong, and encourage her that she can and is 100% to that child.
- Sympathize with her. Sometimes you just need to know that someone understands and realizes that what you are doing is hard. I know there are far greater problems in the world than my singleness, but sometimes a single mom’s world becomes very small because it has to be that way.
When all is said and done, though, I look back and realize that this small chapter of life was a good one for our family. I learned to (1) be incredibly thankful for my spouse, (2) maintain a positive attitude and look for the good in all things, and (3) rely fully on Jesus. I’m not saying it was easy, but it was good. And, oh, the things that Josh learned and experienced! I know I’ll be hearing his amazing stories for the rest of our lives, and, most of all, I know he grew richly from his experience. It was totally worth it.
With Josh overseas for six weeks, I’ve been playing the part of single, working mom. As much as I want to make an elaborate 1-yr video and write a reflective piece about Caleb’s first year of life, it’s going to have to wait. We are in survival mode over here, but God is being so good, and we ARE surviving! We are certainly ready for Daddy to come back, though. If this experience has taught me anything, it is this (1) I should daily give thanks for a loving, committed husband in my life, and (2) I should be seeking opportunities to minister to single parents–it is a tough job, and I can’t imagine being successful and sane without a parenting partner.
So, as a brief commemoration of our little miracle’s first year, I present a quick picture survey of Caleb’s first year (thanks to Pixlr.com‘s collage program). I can’t believe I actually followed through with the sticky tie cut-outs from Etsy, but looking back, I’m glad I did. Full disclosure: they were a little difficult after 7 months (due to Caleb crawling), but we still managed to get a picture. Also, with the help of my family, I managed to pull off a first birthday party for him in NC on his birthday (see pics below). He, as you can tell, had a blast and consequently slept very well that evening. And, currently at 12 months, he appears to weigh 25 lbs, be 31″ long, and have ten teeth (one is a back molar!). He is also quite the cut-up, and he loves to laugh and play games; he now prefers walking over crawling. Chicken is his favorite food (even though I’m trying hard with the veggies!). And, cuddling is becoming more of a rarity, which makes me thankful that I constantly held him as a baby (yes, I was one of THOSE mothers).
From Day 1 to Month 12, we have had a blast.
We had a great time celebrating Caleb’s birthday in North Carolina this year. I loved the little whale theme; it was so cute!