Thursday, March 30, 2006 1 Comments A+ a-

My friend, and fellow family member, Kara, is currently expecting her first child, which is due in September. I recently received an emailed update from her and in it she mentions that she is feeling a variety of different emotions. The strongest of which is questioning whether or not she’s going to be a good mom or wondering if she’ll know what to do when Baby gets here. I smiled as I read it because I remember every one of those emotions and thoughts when I was pregnant with Devyn. As I sat at the computer, fingers poised above the keys ready to write my reply, I thought to myself, “Do these doubts ever really go away?!”

Granted, once the baby arrives, feelings of apprehension and hesitation seem to float away as you start handling the day-to-day care of a newborn. Soon, your household has fallen into a routine and even new mommies start to feel confidence in their ability to care for their child. But that soon gives way to new questions and fears and I've decided that mothers are always going to doubt themselves. I know that I’m constantly plagued with questions and doubt, wondering am I doing a good job; is this how my mother would have handled it; was God pleased with my action there; could I have handled that differently; and the list goes on. Even my own mother questions herself and wonders if she brought us up to the best of her ability, and we’re all grown adults. I’ve decided that to be a mother is to be weighed with doubt.

However, every once in a while, we’ll see that glimmer of truth and light in the lives of our children and we can say to ourselves, job well done. Take for instance, Jon’s cousin, Jessica. She recently recounts a night with her 2-year-old daughter, Sophia, and a day of bad attitude problems. As they’re sitting on the couch together, Sophia suddenly breaks out in prayer asking God for forgiveness of her attitude that day. Jessica and her husband, Griff, were silenced into tears as they listened to her plea.

Another example is watching Devyn during the worship service. We keep Devyn with us during worship because we want Devyn to absorb the music and emotion that belongs to God; we want her to experience and remember it, so that it rests in her soul. My favorite part is watching Devyn lift her arms and close her eyes during a song. It is humbling to see a child, albeit 16-months-old, withhold nothing and copy those she sees around her.

Now, I’m sure both Sophia and Devyn aren’t quite aware of what they’re doing; either asking for forgiveness or lifting their arms in praise, but the important thing is that they’re mirroring actions set before them. And that, my friends, is what parenting is all about. Representing a life and relationship grounded in God and hoping (and praying) that our children will emulate what they’ve learned and seen in us.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 2 Comments A+ a-

Jon and I have been in a couples bible study with other young couples from church since January. Our pastor and his wife are leading it and it has been a wonderful way to connect with other young couples and share both the joys and struggles that marriages are facing today. Last week Pastor Murphy and his wife gave each couple a copy of a book entitled, "Love Talk Starters - 275 Questions to Get Your Conversations Going" by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. It is a fascinating book of questions and I thought I'd start a weekly question entry. Its just for fun but if it allows you and your partner to start thinking beyond the daily chit-chat, so much the better!

This week's "Love Talk Starter" question is:

"If your spouse were a professor of marriage, which of his or her "lectures" would be most popular?"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 3 Comments A+ a-

I am so tired! Even my usual shot of caffeine, straight Pepsi thank you very much, is having little impact on my drooping eyes. Why am I so tired, you ask. Its because I was woken at 2:00am by the sounds emanating from our baby monitor. There is nothing worse than waking up to the sounds of your child grunting and pushing like there is no tomorrow. Imagine waking from a deep sleep to "ughhhhh, errhhhhh, ahhhhh" at full volume and realizing that its not a nightmare, just your 16-month-old trying to poop. But there is something worse. Changing that diaper at 2:00 in the morning while trying not to fall asleep and keep your daughter's hands out of her used diaper, at the same time.

Maybe I should try a shot of espresso...

Monday, March 27, 2006 3 Comments A+ a-

Happy Birthday, My Love!
We celebrated Jon’s birthday over the weekend with a romantic dinner and evening for two. I plotted and planned in secret to arrange this evening for us. I’d been thinking for a few weeks that it was probably time for Devyn to have her first sleepover without us and this was a perfect time to do it. I dropped her off at Uncle Caleb and Aunt Christine’s house on Saturday evening and then rushed home to create our special evening. Jon was both surprised and touched at my birthday plans and it was wonderful to reconnect with him as my husband; not just as my best friend or the father of our baby. Jon had some fun with our digital camera, as you can tell, and took some great shots of the evening. Happy Birthday, Jon! I am so blessed to have you in my life.

Devyn did fine with our night apart; in fact, she did far better than I. I believe I called my sister three times from Saturday evening to Sunday morning. Although she was a bit attached to Aunt Christine, she did fine and actually slept 11 hours straight for them. It wasn’t until Devyn saw us in church the next day that she realized we’d been missing. She was grouchy and very clingy the rest of the day, never letting me out of her sight. Although it was a bit frustrating not being able to leave the room all day, it feels nice to be missed. But I’m glad that we got that "first" out of our way. I’m hoping that next time we plan a weekend retreat, it won’t be as hard being away from my baby.

Friday, March 24, 2006 2 Comments A+ a-

One of my good friends, Malisa, and her husband, Kevin, work for area newspapers. Both are incredible writers and living out their dream of being reporters. This is from Kevin’s column this morning and I just had to share the hilarity of it. So without further ado, his column featuring Malisa, Kevin, their three-month-old daughter, Brooklyn, and a speeding car.

"Pop quiz, hotshot. There's a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?"

Any movie buffs might recognize that quote from the popular 1994 film "Speed," where a macho Los Angeles cop (Keanu Reeves) and a frazzled bus passenger (Sandra Bullock) try to thwart the sinister plot of a mad man (Dennis Hopper). I couldn't help but think of that quote a couple weeks ago as my wife and I steamed down Interstate 25 in our Subaru Outback.

First some background. Our 3-month old does not like red lights or stop signs or detours or slow-moving traffic. For now, it's cute. Seventeen years from now, it's going to be a car-insurance nightmare. But we've found that if we can keep the car moving at a reasonable rate of speed, she is happy. If the car slows down, then the screams start.

When we recently headed out to a restaurant across town on a Saturday night, it didn't take long for her to share her feelings on the speed we were moving. It was so loud that it made me think back to the happier times when she woke us up in the middle of the night. Our only chance was to get to the interstate. "Get this car up to 65, and there's no way she can keep screaming," we thought. We were wrong. But not before we pulled some Hollywood-style stunts that would have made even the producers of "Speed" proud.

There was action. You can't beat the traditional dive into the backseat delivered by yours truly - albeit a real snooze in this day and age of CGI-effects. There was my wife swerving in and out of traffic, desperate to keep the speedometer from dipping below 60 while singing a rousing rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." I think she delivered a driving performance that Dale Earnhardt Jr. - let alone Sandra Bullock- would have struggled to match. The other drivers didn't seem as impressed.

There was drama. Any fans of the slow-motion scene would have appreciated my desperation grab at my daughter's pacifier as it began to fall out of her mouth coupled with my blood-curdling yell of "Noooooooooooooooooooooooo."

But the gutsiest performance of the whole ride had to be my daughter _ screaming at the top of her lungs for more than 30 minutes. And, like any trained thespian, she knew just how to not overplay her part. Minutes before we made it to the restaurant, she fell sound asleep, delighting cooing relatives who could only wonder, "Is this little angel ever upset?"

Three gripping performances delivered, unfortunately, just a week after the Academy Awards. No worries. I'd look for "Speed 3: Baby Gate" to walk away with best picture in 2007.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 2 Comments A+ a-

Devyn Paige loves her American Idol. Don’t ask me where it comes from because her daddy and I really don’t follow it that closely. But last week we stumbled across American Idol performances and Devyn became hooked. She danced her way through several songs, moving and bopping to the beat. It…was…adorable! So, this week we were armed and had the camera ready. Please click on these links and catch our dancing star.

In other Devyn-related news, she developed a new way to catch our attention over the weekend. Daddy was gone, plowing again, and it was just the two of us relaxing on Saturday afternoon. I was folding some laundry and didn’t notice Devyn come up behind me but when I didn’t turn around fast enough, she growled. Yep, that’s right, she growled at me; a deep growl with all the effort her body could muster. Of course, I laughed and now it’s become a fun game of growling back and forth at each other. She is becoming aware of her own cuteness.

Devyn brought me her cowgirl boots that are still too big for her to wear yet but was insistent that I put them on her. She spent the rest of the evening clacking her way across our wood floor, tickled at the sounds these boots make. Jon, of course, is so pleased that his daughter is fast becoming a “real” cowgirl.

And last, but not least, our baby girl is turning into quite the cuddle-bug. She is constantly lifting her arms for a quick snuggle, or if you’re sitting on the floor, she’ll come up behind you and throw her arms around your neck. And much to daddy’s dismay, she’s starting to give her kisses away. I love when she walks up to me, arms high, and when she’s snuggled in my arms, she lean forward and press her lips to mine. Ahh, sweet, sweet child, how she knows the way to my heart!

Monday, March 20, 2006 0 Comments A+ a-

This congratulations post is very overdue but I’ve been waiting for some pictures. I want to extend congratulation to my cousin, Isaac, and his wife, Becky, on the arrival of their baby girl, Autumn Raine. Isn’t she beautiful?!? I love the black hair and chubby cheeks! We are so thrilled for you two and so excited that Devyn has another cousin to play with. And another congratulations needs to be extended to Jeremy and Jamie on the arrival of their baby girl, Annabelle Piper. I haven’t seen any photos of Annabelle yet but I’m sure you’ll send them soon. =) I hope that Junio is adjusting to life as a big brother and that you two are getting some sleep. Congratulations to all!

Friday, March 17, 2006 0 Comments A+ a-

It is so hard to understand God’s plans, and sometimes it’s nearly impossible to look beyond the pain to the bigger picture. As a mother, when you stumble across stories like these, you often wonder how it came that you were blessed with a healthy child. You sit in horror as you watch a mother’s struggle with the knowledge that their child is dying and that there’s very little they can do to stop it. Where do they get the strength? How are they able to continue turning to God for help? And then you realize that this is part of the plan; to show others around the world that our God is a loving God and does not leave us in times of doubt or sorrow. He is there; he is listening; and he is giving them the strength to endure such heartache.

I ask for two things with this blog. One, be prepared for a heart-wrenching story before visiting this link. Courtney Davis is approximately 20 months old and was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her parents have been given the news to expect only months left with their daughter. Yes, God is a powerful and healing God and we will continue to pray for her healing but I also ask that you pray for her parents and brothers as they come to terms with the potential loss. And two, I ask that you grab your child in a hug and be so thankful for blessings in your life.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 5 Comments A+ a-

After spending the weekend with my sisters, I realize how truly lucky I am to have them in my life. We are each other’s best friends, greatest fans, biggest defenders, and ultimately, closer than most siblings. Siblings are often seen as family obligations, someone to visit with at holiday gatherings, or just distant relatives. I’m not saying these aren’t families or that this is wrong in any way; I’m just grateful for MY family. The four of us are incredibly close, maybe too much so, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

My parents had four girls in six years. When the youngest, Courtney, was born, Mom and Dad already had a two-year-old, a four-year-old, and a six-year-old. Growing up in a house full of girls became chaotic at times but we had a blast playing house, bride, Barbies, or even building forts out of sheets and kitchen table chairs. I’ve been told that I was always the leader and was often very bossy, but that’s to be expected when you’re the oldest.

When we grew into our teen years, we fluctuated between being best friends and mortal enemies. Screaming matches over clothes could be heard throughout the house but within hours we could be found watching a movie together. As the second sister, Christine, described us, we are passionate women, who have strong convictions, strong beliefs, and strong opinions. None of us have to guess where we stand with the others and we always have an opinion to give, whether you want it or not. But, she continued to say, with that passion comes fierce loyalty and deep love.

When the third sister, Allison, was going through her eating disorder in her mid-teens, you’ve never seen more scared sisters in your life. As she dwindled down to 58 pounds at 15 years of age, we were faced with the reality that we may lose her. I know that I felt helpless, wanting to take this disease from her and fight it myself, and I know that Christine and Courtney felt the same. But since that wasn’t an option, we all rallied behind her and tried to give her our strength and determination to beat the anorexia. It was one of the hardest times in our lives and we’re so grateful to be able to say that she is doing great; she is now a healthy and thriving 22-year-old.

I love my sisters. I treasure the memories of our childhood; I enjoy the memories we’re making now; and I look forward to the memories not yet made. I just hope that Devyn gets to experience the mixed blessings of a sister; only time will tell…

Monday, March 13, 2006 2 Comments A+ a-

My poor, poor, exhausted husband! We had some cold, snowy weather this past week and Jon has been putting in a number of overnight hours at work. He clocked in 30 hours over the weekend from Friday night to this morning. I don’t think we spent more than an hour together at a time since Wednesday night. It’s so hard to see him leave around 7:30 at night and stumble back in around 8:30 the following morning. Devyn and I try to leave him in peace and often spend days elsewhere so he can sleep. I am so thankful for such a hard-working, dedicated husband. He is such an amazing man, one who is so willing to work hard for our family and without a complaint. When he comes home after being out all night and crawls into bed, I will just stare at his whiskered face and thank God for putting him in my life. I’ll admit though, I miss spending time with him after a week like this. I feel disconnected, out-of-sorts, and as though something is missing in my life. I’m anxious for the snow to disappear from the roads and spend some alone time with my beloved.

On another note, Devyn and I had a great weekend together. We spent some "girl" time at lunch with my mom, sisters, grandma, Aunt Debbie, and her daughter, Abby. We went to Young’s, a Vietnamese restaurant here, and the company was wonderful. There’s nothing better than getting together with the women in your life and enjoying each other. Then we spent Saturday night with a friend who was house-sitting for an eye doctor in the area. My brother-in-law, Caleb, was joking that we could pool all of our salaries, agree to live under one roof AND still not afford that home. It was a spectacular home, complete with an indoor pool, wine cellar, and deluxe entertainment center. A person could get lost in this home and Devyn actually did a couple of times. On Sunday, Devyn and I went to church; went grocery shopping; and then waited for Jon to wake up. All in all, an uneventful weekend but filled with family, friends, and good times. What more could a woman ask for?!

Thursday, March 09, 2006 2 Comments A+ a-

What is it about closed doors that prompt a child to open them? Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that Devyn is nowhere near the age to understand that Mommy wants some “alone” time but it’s a little frustrating. Devyn has recently learned the joy and fun in closing and opening doors. She loves going through an open door, flashing us a mischievous smile, and closing the door in our face. We’ll stand on the other side, calling her name until she opens the door a crack, as if to tease us, and then shut it again, giggling the whole time. Another thing she’s discovered is that if Mommy or Daddy disappears behind a closed door, they still exist even though she can’t see them. If Jon or I have gone into the bathroom, Devyn will stand outside the door and cry and “knock” on the door until we come back out. It’s nice to be missed…

But just this past week, Devyn has discovered that she is able to open doors with the use of the door handle. We’ve stepped into a whole new realm of lack of boundaries. I was in the bathroom last night when Devyn decided to join me; she opened the door, stepped inside, closed it behind her, and proceeded to keep me company the entire time I was in there. The best part was how proud she was of herself. Tal es la vida!

We’re going to be doomed when she figures out how to use the locks!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 4 Comments A+ a-

I love Saturday mornings. Before I was married, I would grab a mug of chai, a book, and just laze around. Once I said ‘I do’, Jon and I would spend hours in bed having breakfast, talking about life, or just enjoying the quiet of the morning. Now that we have a child, Saturday mornings are still my favorite part of the week.

Every Saturday morning, once stirrings can be heard from the nursery, either Jon or I will tiptoe to the room and grab Devyn while she’s still half-asleep. We’ll wrap her in our arms and head back to bed where we’ll crawl beneath the covers. I pull her in and tuck her close to my chest; the scent of her baby shampoo fills my senses and I can feel her breath on my arm. This move usually ensures an extra hour or two of sleep.

Sometimes I’ll wake first and just watch my husband and daughter sleeping soundly, side-by-side, and I’m overwhelmed with feelings of love and gratitude. Those are the moments that I’ll sit and wonder about the sovereignty of God and why I’ve been allowed to have such beautiful gifts in my life. Those are the moments that I bask in the knowledge that my life is complete and that I know true contentment. It is a beautiful feeling, one that I savor!

Then there are other times that I’ll awaken to a pair of blue-gray eyes staring at me from underneath a mop of curly, blond hair. I can see a smile forming behind her pacifier and then mischief appears in her eyes as she prepares for some horse play. As I look into her joyful eyes, I marvel at the little person she’s turned into; complete with likes, dislikes, and various temperaments. What a miracle!

Once Daddy awakens, the fun really begins. We will watch as Devyn tries to walk from one end of the bed to the other; navigating the pillow-top of our mattress; joining in her giggles when she falls down. We chuckle as she gets into my makeup bag and attempts to put lipstick on her lips; exclaiming over and over what a big girl she has become. We smile as she struggles to gather the pillows in a pile; anxious to fly through the air and land on her cushiony target. We’ll sit against the headboard, snuggling her between us, as we read her books. Jon and I will stare at each other in wonderment as Devyn erupts in a big, deep, belly laugh, for there is nothing more healing or magical than hearing your child laugh.

Yes, I love Saturday mornings; it always seems to put life back in perspective.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 1 Comments A+ a-

I received a notice over the weekend from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The notice advised me that they had received information that I was selling puppies about six weeks of age without an appropriate license and am facing huge fines and penalties. Hmmmm… We have two male dogs that are both neutered; I think it’s pretty unlikely that we have puppies in our house.

I called the investigator on Monday to let her know that this information was wrong and would she be so kind as to give me the name of the tipster. I was informed that it was an anonymous caller but that based on the facts I gave them, they would consider the case closed. All in all, it was an interesting experience.

Monday, March 06, 2006 2 Comments A+ a-

I love my friends! I do not know what I'd do without my girlfriends. My friend, Marianne, and I have been best friends since our freshman year in high school. (Oh lord, that's over 10 years ago!) When we graduated, she "abandoned" me for Utah and has stayed there ever since. This morning I got the following message on my computer screen.

From: Marianne
To: Jenn
Subject: OPEN THIS NOW JENN!!!:)
Jennifer Lynn!!
Open this one up ASAP and I'll get back to you on it!! I LOVE YOU!!

There were two attachments. One was a photo of Marianne pointing to her ring finger and the other was a photo of her brand new engagement ring! I think she heard me screaming from Utah because not two seconds later, I got a phone call. Yes, Dennis had proposed over the weekend and they're now planning a June wedding!

Congratulations Marianne and Dennis! I'm so happy and thrilled for you! It's great to see two people so in love and about to embark on this crazy, fun, wonderful journey called marriage. I'm so honored to be part of this happy occasion. We love you!

Friday, March 03, 2006 1 Comments A+ a-

I have some really fun links in my sidebar and I just wanted to give some background to each site.

Tutto a Pezzi – This is the blog of Jon’s cousin, Jessica. She is the one that turned me on to blogging in the first place! She is an incredible woman and I find myself agreeing with her on so many issues. Her daughter, Sophia, is a charming little girl and Jessica’s stories involving motherhood and Sophia are hilarious!

Motherhood is NOT for Wimps – I do not know Elizabeth directly but I find her experiences with motherhood to be humorous or insightful, depending on her mood. I think she is an incredible writer and can evoke feelings shared by all mothers; definitely worth a read.

As the Lord Works – Sarah is a childhood friend of mine. Our mothers threw us together in 2nd grade and told us to be friends. We both fell in love with our high school sweethearts and our daughters are 4 months apart. She helps keep me grounded in life and centered on God. She and Travis are expecting their second child in August.

And Baby Makes 3 – We became friends with Derek and Julie through our church. They have one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard. They are true examples of faith and obedience to God! They just adopted their first son, Daniel David, and are finding themselves in the midst of brand-new parenthood.

The Greatest Journey – Jill and her husband, Jeremy, have been friends of mine for ages. Jeremy and I grew up together in my childhood church; a church that his father pastored. They recently discovered a miscarriage when Jill was eight weeks pregnant. I think she is an amazingly strong woman to be willing to share this experience online!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 0 Comments A+ a-

Last weekend was bright, sunny, and warm! Perfect for selling houses, as the real estate business says. Sure enough, after being on the market for three months, my parents sold our childhood home. We have lived in that home since 1985 and I would be remiss to say that I'm not a little sad. I'm sure I'll reflect more on leaving this home in the future but right now, I'm just so happy for my parents! Jon's mom, Terry, also sold their home on the same weekend. It was a good weekend for the real estate agents! Here is the latest progress on my parents new home; it's coming together fast!!

[Edited to add: We just found out that the completion date of my parent's new home is May 20th which is their anniversary. How perfect is that?!]