A Promise and a Celebration

On Sunday, we asked for God’s blessing upon our little daughter.  We promised to guide her and to raise her to seek God.  I pray that she will have an open heart, that she will ask good questions, that she will come to know Him and love Him.

Pretty scrapbook paper, fabric on clearance, and some gorgeous roses made quick, inexpensive table decorations.

(Thank you, Aunt Patty, for the lovely cake.)

Getting so close

The days are ticking down, and the boxes are filling up.  In just a few days, my family is moving.  What will that mean for the blog?  It will mean some inconsistent posting for sure.  It will also mean a whole new setting, a new climate, a new house to decorate, and a new community to explore.  The change will mean that the blog will take on the tone of sending a letter back home.  As much as I am preparing myself to embrace our new town and our new state with all of the potential for building friendships and creating memories, THIS is home.  So I’ll be writing to keep family and friends informed in addition to all the other reasons that I love this space on the Web.  I also plan to show a few more faces on my blog in the future since I know some grandparents who will be keeping their eyes to the blog in order to watch their little munchkins grow and learn.  I’m thinking about a recurring feature: Movie Monday.  I thought my readers might like to see our clan in action. 

I’ll try to pop back in for another post before the move.  ‘Bye for now…

Hard Work

Life is pretty tiring when you are 3 weeks old.  A lot of eating goes on.  A lot of sleeping, too.  Of course, there is the task of overseeing the packing and entertaining the brothers.  Oh and visiting.  We have lots of friends to see.  In the last few weeks, we have been truly humbled by the out-pouring of kind words, hugs, and good wishes for the trip.  Add  in plenty of congratulations, sweet gifts, and generous offers of help.  We are so blessed.

Now…back to work!

Three!

Today my little boy is three.  He came in a quick, natural birth on Friday, July 18, 2008.  Eleven days after his due date, the midwife ruptured his cozy, watery home, and in a short few hours, a treasure was in my arms.  He has a sweet spirit, a joyful presence, and a ready smile.  He finds every opportunity for mischief, idolizes his big brother, and adores his new baby sister (when he isn’t frustrated by his disrupted routine).  He loves to hide under the diningroom table, swim in Grandma & Papa’s pool, and give hugs & kisses.  He makes us laugh and reminds us that silly is good!

Today we will celebrate with a light picnic supper at the park with our family of five and the grandparents.  Rain may come, but we will have a fun day for this fun little guy.

Habitat

As we pack up our belongings and make plans for our big move, I’ve been thinking a lot about home.  The concept of home has been an important theme in my adult life.  My Masters thesis (a collection of poems with a scholarly preface) considered the meaning of home.  I did an independent study in Children’s Literature on portrayals of home in novels for children.  As I pulled away from academia and saw my purpose in places other than the classroom, I embraced the contemplation and development of “home” in my own household as my work and my joy.

Now, we are preparing to make our home in a new physical place.  As we dismantle the structures of home–watching books and toys disappear into cardboard boxes–and notice our routines disppearing as we use our time differently in the face of preparations and baby care, I am realizing that home is a blend of people, things, and atmosphere.  It’s not enough to set up furniture and fill cupboards.  It also isn’t enough to just be with the people you love.  Of course, they are essential, but I’m learning about something else…a sense of normalcy and predictability.  I miss those things!  The “habitat” that makes me cozy combines my people, my stuff, and a rhythm that I crave.  While I’m dreading leaving behind our family, I am very much looking forward to finding a routine and a rhythm that nurtures this little clan.

Check out the slug habitat that the boys made!

Living Palms Up

My younger son loves to pick flowers for me–a sweet, timeless mother/child ritual that I love.  Yesterday afternoon, I was given this daisy and was delightfully surprised to find an inch worm on the underside.  An unexpected visitor received in an open palm.

Last summer, I led a class on the subject of prayer at our church.  One evening, we talked about postures for prayer.  We discussed the practice of raising hands, folding hands, closing eyes or not, bowing , and kneeling.  Our pastor mentioned how the simple act of resting your hands on your lap, palms up, helps you to open your heart and mind to God.  The palms up position prepares you to receive from God instead of just shooting petitions in His direction.  It leaves you with a spirit of openness. 

I want to live “palms up,” ready for surprises to land in my open hands.  I think the birth of our little girl, Charlotte*, is going to be a big step toward living that life.

Early in the morning on Monday, June 27, I woke suddenly.  I felt a long, strong–but not painful–contraction.  I immediately knew what it was.  I waited for another–about 15 minutes.  For the rest of the early morning, I felt these unmistakable sensations every 15 to 20 minutes.  I was able to doze between them.  I was excited, joyful.  Both of my other children were born after their “due dates,” so I wasn’t expecting this to be happening yet.  Later in the morning, my mom came over to hang out with the boys.  I’m so glad she did!  By noon, I was becoming uncomfortable and excited at the prospect of our new baby coming soon.  At one, I took a shower.  The water was soothing, and labor began to speed up.  At two, I notified the midwife that I was in labor.  Over the phone, she listened to me experience two contractions.  I approached each sensation quietly, slowly swaying my hips and breathing softly.  Between these contractions, I could chat pleasantly.  The midwife and I agreed that it was okay for me to stay home for awhile since I was quite comfortable.  

Here, the journey is filled with surprises.  I had to be open and ready to accept what was to come, even though it looked nothing like the tidy birth plan that I had discussed with the midwife several weeks ago.  In the next hour, I worked through each contraction by rocking on my rocking chair, the same chair where I nursed two precious sons.  The room was very warm and sunny but filled with boxes for our move–not the place where I imagined I would give birth to our 7 lb. 8 ounce baby girl.  That’s right…in a single moment, labor went from “normal” to oh-my-goodness-the-baby-is-coming-now!  My husband welcomed our daughter with his own open hands, receiving her into the world.  Her birth was smooth, quick, and completely healthy.  If this homebirth had been planned, I would call it perfect, but the next hour was filled with the arrival of an ambulance and the harrowing ride to the hospital (ouch!).  I was never so happy to reach a hospital or hear the voice of my midwife.

I’m not sure which surprised me more:  the homebirth or the fact that I now have a daughter, a daughter.  I was so sure that I would have the trio of sons, but God has decided to charge my husband and I with the nurturing of a precious little girl instead.  When my first son was born, I looked at him and felt the enormity of preparing a little boy to become a man.  That prospect excited and frightened me.  Raising a daughter will bring new joys and new challenges, and I’m thrilled to accept every bit of it.  I’m ready for the surprises, my hands are upturned in openess and in praise for a healthy birth and a healthy baby.

*Until today, I’ve always kept our childen’s names and faces “private,” but since I want to share how we chose Charlotte’s name, I decided to be more open this time.