Tuesday, April 22, 2014

9 months

Dear Henry,

This past month has been my favorite so far!  (I know, I know, I say that every month).

At the beginning of the month, you did the impossible and grew two more teeth!  This brings you to a total of 8, which is quite a lot for such a little dude!  These last two teeth seemed worse than the first few.  You were much fussier than normal, and went on nap-strike a few times.  

You are such a little talker!  You will have full conversations with yourself, mostly when you are supposed to be napping.  You have learned a few new sounds, mostly f's and v's, which developed about the time you got all of your teeth.  You can also combine consonants, like b-l.  You say Mama and Dada, but it is still more random than intentional, I think.

You are quite the little biter.  EVERYTHING goes in your mouth.  If you don't have a chew toy in hand, you are perfectly happy to bite Mommy's shoulder or my finger if I'm not paying attention.  It has also gotten extremely challenging to get pictures of you with your mouth closed.

You love the outside.  Everyday we go on a walk or run, or both if Mommy is feeling particularly energetic.  You also love to sit outside in the backyard on a towel or blanket and watch your puppy dogs run around like crazy animals.  You've been to the zoo, the firetruck park and the arboretum, and genuinely enjoy just observing your surroundings.  You are so interested in grass, leaves, birds, trees, etc.  

You love to be the center of attention.  If Mommy and Daddy aren't paying enough attention to you, you will fuss until we give you our full, undivided attention.  You usually reward us with a smile, a laugh or a squeal.  Anytime we're out in public, you love flirting with strangers (mostly ladies.)  You stare at them until you get their attention, and then flash a huge smile, then bury your head in Mommy's shoulder as if you're shy (we know better.)

You have officially entered the squealing phase.  You scream, yell, and squeal, but only when you're happy.  You also make the cutest little sound when you're really excited.  You stick your arms straight out in front of you, and make this low-pitched, throaty, laughing sound.

You are such a great sitter.  You sit completely on your own, and your have great balance.  You are working on getting from the sitting position to the crawling position.  You have made some great progress!  At first, you would very ungracefully face plant, before righting yourself to the crawling position.  Now, you slowly lean forward onto your hands, and adjust your legs one at a time until you are up. 

You have begun crawling.  You can only army crawl, with your belly on the ground, but you can get anywhere you want to go, and fairly quickly.  If you're moving fast, it usually means you are going after power cords, cell phones, or trash cans.  Crawling has definitely brought out your ornery side.  You laugh hysterically every time Mommy or Daddy tell you "No!"    

You have begun pulling up.  Mostly this only happens when you are in your pack-n-play or your crib.  You can get from the sitting position to your knees, but you haven't managed to pull yourself to standing yet.  But if Mommy or Daddy stand you up, you can stand all by yourself, as long as you're holding onto something.  Once you started pulling up, we decided it was time to lower your pack and play to the lowest level.  You like being able to see out the sides, but sometimes you act very dramatically like you are in prison.  You press your face into the sides and whine until someone comes and rescues you.  

You still have a great appetite.  You have gotten a little too big for your britches and sometimes you think you're too old for your bottle, so we have to have a small battle of wills.  Mommy always wins.  You eat all kinds of veggies and fruit, and we are starting to introduce protein.  So far, you have eaten chicken and you seem to like it.

You are still sleeping well.  You sleep about 11 hours at night, and take two naps during the day.  Usually both naps are 1.5-2 hours long.  You are officially a stomach sleeper.  We're not surprised, since both Mommy and Daddy are stomach sleepers.  Even though we always put you to sleep on your back (Back is Best!), it only takes you a few minutes to flip yourself over.  Many times, we catch you on the monitor sleeping on your belly with your legs tucked underneath your body and your little booty up in the air.  It's really quite cute :)

You have started developing stranger anxiety.  You don't seem to have a problem if we leave you in our home, but when we drop you off at church, you cry almost every time.  Usually you only cry for 5-10 seconds while we walk away, so I know you're just putting on a show for Mommy...but it works.  It kills me every. single. time.

As always, Henry, I can't wait to see what you have in store for us over the next month.  Every day is an adventure, and I couldn't pick a better partner-in-crime!



Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter with a son

So, of course this was Henry's first Easter, but it was also my first Easter as a parent...a parent to a son, at that.  Wow!  This really made Easter special and so incredibly meaningful.  Honestly, I could hardly keep the tears back all day.

Sitting in service, singing praise songs, all I could think about was the HUGE sacrifice that our loving Father made for us, in sacrificing His only Son.  I could no sooner imagine sacrificing my son for anything or anyone than I could imagine growing a tail.  The love that I feel in my fallen, sinful heart for my son is nothing compared to the unconditional love our Father poured on us through His Son, Jesus.  

And it gets better.

This sacrifice was for Henry.  As much as I love Henry, I know that I cannot love him into the kingdom of God.  I pray every night that I can point him in the right direction, but he is his own person, on his own trajectory in life.  The fact that Jesus died for my son's sins, and that my son will get a chance at a relationship with God and citizenship in God's holy family shows me what an incredible GIFT it is to raise a child.  I get to raise him as mine, and teach him about God's incredible love for him.  For every missed opportunity, every tear, every failing of mine, I know that Henry has a perfect Saviour that rescues my failings as a parent.  However perfect I think Henry is to me now, I know that someday he will lie, he will cheat, he will call me names, yet despite his utter human-ness, His sins are already forgiven!  

I seriously cannot comprehend the magnitude of Easter, nor can I appropriately put my thoughts into words...sorry.

Happy late Easter!  He is risen!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ode to Spring.

I don't know what it is about spring...it sneaks up on me every year.

It's like the earth breaths a collective sigh of relief, saying "We made it!" after the long winter.

I don't know about y'all, but this particular spring in Houston has been lovely.  The skies have been extra blue, the sun has been shining extra bright, and the grass is extra green.  Not to mention the bluebonnets!

Maybe it's just that I've never taken the time to notice spring.  There's something about experiencing something with a child for the first time that makes you take a second glance.

Henry loves being outside.  He could literally spend all day outside, watching the birds, laughing at the dogs playing in the yard, trying to select the perfect blade of grass to put in his mouth...

So that's it, y'all...I just wanted to share with everyone how much I am enjoying this spring!

I'll leave you with this:

Spring is like a perhaps hand (which comes carefully out of Nowhere)
arranging a window, into which people look
(while people stare arranging and changing placing carefully there a strange thing and a know thing here)
and changing everything carefully.

Spring is like a perhaps hand in a window
(carefully to and fro moving New and Old things,
while people stare carefully moving a perhaps fraction of flower here placing an inch of air there)
and without breaking anything.

--E.E. Cummings.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What do you stand for?

Ok folks, this post is primarily me ranting about my BIGGEST soap box, and is meant pretty exclusively for one audience: middle class, American Christians.  Man, do I have a beef with this group!  Now technically I fall within this group, so this is in no way meant to be an attack or an indictment; rather, it is meant to be a introspective look into bettering ourselves to make God look better.  Because that's what we're here for, ya dig?  (He is better, infinitely better, but to those who don't know Him, we are all they have...Lord help us)

Recently, there have been so many hot button issues revolving around social media, news outlets, and lunch time conversations.  You know the ones I mean.  I'm not even going to mention them here.  Believe me, I understand, (or at least empathize with) the heart of these issues.  I know that these issues stem from a place within people who truly believe they are doing the right thing.  And maybe they are.

But I can't help but think that we are missing the big picture, people.  You know, can't see the forest for the trees?  The way I see it, the way I've been taught, the way I've read and studied, is that we were given one commandment above all else.  Ok, well really, it's kind of two commandments crammed into one, but the bottom line is love.  In case you've forgotten, here's the gist of it: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."

So, when push comes to shove, I think we're safe if we stand on the side of love.

Unfortunately, if you are not a Christian, and the only exposure you have to Christians is through what you hear on talk radio, what you see on the news, and what you read on the Internet, I'm afraid non-Christians have a very inaccurate view of Christians.  Why is this you ask?

These days, all I read about is what Christians stand AGAINST.

I think the world would know us better, and therefore, would know our Saviour better, if we did a better job vocalizing what we stand FOR.

Here's a short, simple list of the things that I stand FOR:
I stand FOR love.
I stand FOR life.
I stand FOR any opportunity to point people towards the love of my sweet Jesus.
I stand FOR the nations.
I stand FOR international justice.
I stand FOR giving when I can, and oftentimes when I don't think I can.
I stand FOR the poor, the widows, the orphans, the oppressed.
I stand FOR human rights, where not one soul is enslaved in poverty or sex trafficking.

Naturally, there are more causes and organizations and belief systems that I actively support with my time, my money and my prayers, but those are the big ones.  I'm writing these things into the void, in the hope that with time, more and more Christians will reroute their time, money and resources into positive, instead of constantly berating the negative.

I think that if we as Christians stood together for some of these issues, we would see more souls saved and less lives lost than simply arguing with people.

[End emotional ranting]

Food for thought: What do YOU stand for?