the eagles family

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Letting go of the baby

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm

For whatever reason, Liam wanted me to rock him tonight after fussing in his bed for a while. It’s been some time since I’ve cradled him in that way; there’s something about an 18 month old that with all of his being revolts against being held like a baby. But tonight, as I cradled him, snuggled him close and could feel his breath on my cheek the memories came flooding back of a time not long ago that I spent hours each week doing this very thing. And my heart began to ache for a time I know I will never get back with him. I remember the way he turned his hand over as if massaging something unseen in the air, a sure sign that he was about to fall asleep, the sweet, sweet smell of his head covered in downy soft hair. His silky smooth and plump skin as I gently ran my fingers over his arm.

There aren’t many things that I honestly feel like I’ve excelled at in life or put my whole being into. College I pretty much did what I needed to to get by. My marriage I often find myself acting in my best interest, but there is something about motherhood that makes me want to give every ounce of energy to that is as natural as breathing to me. I have loved being his mother. Sure there are days I pine for hours to myself, shopping alone, or an afternoon at a coffee shop to just read. But the innate love I feel for Liam far surpasses those moments.

Nathan continues to remind me that our little boy is not a baby any longer, that he is our little boy. I struggle to see this, knowing that as the days pass this will become more true. As I held Liam close tonight, the reality that there will soon be a little soul younger than he taking up residence in our home began to sink in. I know that change will be good for all of us and God will once again knock our socks off as we open our hearts to another child and Liam gains a lifelong friend. I know that we will love this baby girl just as much as we love our little boy, but for now it is a little bittersweet to me.

For now I’m soaking up the last bits of time I get with just the two of us and trying to remember that God never intended for my baby boy to remain my baby boy, but that he was entrusted to us for a season to help him grow into the man he was made to be. I can’t think of any more worthwhile task than that.

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We’re Alive!

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2012 at 5:39 am

I’ve been on an extended blogging hiatus but have the itch to rev this baby back up. Since our move “back East” as our California friends would say, we’ve kept busy with settling into our house, fighting over which cabinet should be devoted to Tupperware, settling into new jobs, establishing some new friendships, laughing at our little boy and growing our family (more on this to come!).

I’m loving the colder climate during the Christmas season and getting to watch Liam experience all things Christmas for the first time. Lighted trees, houses and eggnog are a hit; Santa, a complete bust. Perhaps we won’t do Santa in our home after all.

Liam is now nearly 17 months old. Having a child is some of the most fun I have ever had. And he is fun! He giggles, loves peek a boo, blows on hot food, loves to be chased and still loves to snuggle and sit on my lap. Play time with daddy elicits the most belly laughs and some days I am so relieved to here the garage door at 5 o’clock for my back up wrestler to wrangle him for a while. Liam sits on my lap for long stretches of time and will ask me to read book after book after book. I love his excitement over opening a new book.

Liam’s picked up a few more words. “Dada” is his favorite word and it is uttered about a thousand times a day. It usually is accompanied with his hands up in the air and a shoulder shrug as if to say “where’s dada”? “Mama” typically is uttered when he’s crying (go figure). He also says “hi” (my favorite) and often declares it when he comes into a room or when he’s trying to get in our face and get our attention. He says “hot” with a big emphasis on the “h”.

This new toddler stage is so fun as you see them put things together and develop new skills, sometimes within seconds, in front of your eyes. He still has a Buddha belly and chubby cheeks that often remind me that he is still my baby.

For all of you starving to see an updated picture of Liam here you go. I heard him rustling around in our bedroom and just about fell over laughing when he emerged with my bra hanging from his neck. He’ll love this one in 20 years!

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Leaving in an Automobile

In Uncategorized on August 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Yeah, I meant to post this months ago. Yes…MONTHS. Ago. Oh well, here is the long and short of our move back to Iowa!…

If you see us on Facebook or Twitter, then you probably know that we are, within a few days, moving back to the Great Midwest. We’ve had quite a few questions about the who, what, why and when, so I thought I’d fill you in a bit on the crazy turn our lives have taken, a story, I believe that only God could write.

One morning, back in March, Nathan’s phone rang early in the morning and it was someone we knew from Cornerstone in Iowa. We weren’t up yet so Nathan didn’t answer it, but mentioned that it was from Mike. I jokingly said “He’s probably calling to offer you a job”. Nathan shrugged my statement off because we both KNEW that Cornerstone wouldn’t be calling about a job. Later that day we discovered that he was, in fact, calling about a job and we soon found ourselves flying back to Iowa for Nathan to candidate for a position at our old stomping grounds.

We had been in California for a little over three years. It probably isn’t that surprising to hear me say, if you know me at all, that these past three years have been difficult for us, for a number of reasons that aren’t particularly blogworthy. Suffice it to say, however, that God had completely deconstructed almost every facet of our lives that was familiar and was rebuilding us. I would talk to friends and family from home, see people’s lives online and weep for the simplicity and sweetness that seemed to encompass their lives compared to the difficulty we were facing. By Christmas 2011, we returned to California from Iowa and for the first time, I felt legitimately surrendered to the life God had provided us here, even with all of it’s difficulty. And bonus! I was excited about the possibilities that life in California had provided us. Life here had changed us and we were beginning to feel better suited for ministry here.

So when that phone call came in March I felt a bit deflated and protective over our life here. These three and a half years had been fought for with blood, sweat and tears. We had worked hard in our marriage, faith, jobs and friendships to get where we were. After returning from Nathan’s interview we talked it over, prayed and lost sleep considering the possibilities. In the end, we couldn’t escape the incredible opportunity that lay before Nathan and God opening that door for us was undeniable. With two weeks we had someone to cover our lease, saving us thousands and thousands of dollars. We made the crazy decision to buy a house that we’d never seen, but was purchased on the confidence of our realtor and parents who had seen it.

As we spent our last night in our apartment, I laid in bed thinking about all that we’d been through these last three years. Three years is barely a blip on the time scale. Barely enough time to call a place home. I remembered how we left Iowa the day after our wedding, to cross 1,800 miles of landscape to reach California. How we didn’t even make it 100 miles before we had to pull over because we were both weeping over what were leaving and what we were heading into. I remember having no idea how to communicate with my husband, now the only person and friend I had within a couple thousand miles, that I was sad, or why I was sad or why I was struggling. I remembered difficult days with Nathan’s job and not knowing how to handle the situation or how to encourage him. I remembered not being able to see God working and changing us on a day-to-day basis and feeling like we were failing at every turn.

With this move has come incredible clarity and understanding of what our Father was doing in us and I’m sure we’ll process that for years to come. We came to California with a 3-day old marriage and few belongings. We leave California in a few days with a 24 foot truck FILLED with all of our belongings, a sweet and gregarious baby boy, a marriage that has weathered storms that at times I believed would sink us, and a faith that has endured, and with friendships that have become like family. I’ve seen my husband grow and develop in character in ways that I never imagined. I’ve learned that sometimes the strength of our faith isn’t measured in how great you are at following every letter of the law, but simply that it has endured and held you fast when the waves continued to roll in and press you against the rock. That if you were still standing by morning, though tattered and bruised, that God could still look at you and be pleased. I don’t leave California with any amazing spiritual or theological revelations, but I leave seeing that He has provided for our every need, that He alone can change your heart and cause you to love a place and a people that in many ways do not feel like your own, and that Jesus is a strong tie to our heart strings. He is not some cute little god we put in our pocket to make us feel better, but He is mighty, consistent, and gracious to all who call on Him.

Week in Review

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I saw this on a blog I read and I’m totally stealing it.  Call me ego-centric, but though I love, LOVE my son, this blog has become too Liam-centered, right Barrett??  I’ll still post about Liam, but it’s kind of nice to talk about other things besides my too-quickly growing, no longer sleeping like a champ, chubby and purely delightful child.  This is my week in review.

This Week:

What I’m Reading:  I feel a bit scattered in my reading endeavors as of late.  I’m simultaneously reading a few books on parenting:  Shepherding a Child’s Heart and To Train Up a Child, a book on California history, and a study on the book of Jonah.  Given the limited amount of time I have for reading these days, I should finish them all by the end of 2045.

What I’m Watching:  Confession time:  I LOVE the new show SMASH!  I don’t often find a show that I follow save for the Mecca of all shows that is Lost, but SMASH… I am hooked.  I find the behind-the-scenes perspective of Broadway intriguing (minus all of the adultery and general heathen story lines).  We also rented Hugo this week and highly recommend it.  Man, being a mother changes how you react to movies, doesn’t it?  I could have balled like a baby, and promptly turned to Nathan at the end of the movie and told him we needed to adopt all the orphans we could get our hands on and love the bits out of them.

What I’m Listening To:  Perk #679 of being married to a musical genius that is my husband is the man comes up with some incredible new music to delight my little ears.  Just a sampling of what fills our homes these days is fun., Punch Brothers (lead singer used to be in Nickel Creek), Of Monsters and Men, and All Sons and Daughters.  Liam’s favorite is “Some Nights” by fun..  Seriously, he starts to rock when we play it and his whole face smiles.

What I’m Wearing:  On a recent date night to downtown San Mateo, Nathan and I happened upon a great consignment shop where I found a brand new pair of Free People black skinny jeans.  For $20 bucks.  C’mon people.  That’s a steal!  I.  LOVE.  THEM.

What I’m Eating:  I nurse an 8 month old child.  What am I not eating?  Last night I made a yummy pan of Smore’s Cookie Bars.  Yumm-o!  All the yumminess of a smore without the crumby mess and sticky fingers afterwards.  Definitely a keeper.

What I’m Enjoying:  Recently I’ve been evaluating our life here.  What we give our time to, the relationships that we invest in, and the areas that we minister in.  It’s been refreshing to see the little life that God has crafted and built for us in our transplanted home.  It’s helped me see that He was very present at times when I believed He was absent and has girded up my faith and trust in our Father in ways that only the Holy Spirit can.  Now literally everywhere I look, I see God’s hand.  And that, friends, is a welcome change.

What I’m Smelling:  Some of the jasmine near our apartment has begun to bloom, telling me that spring is here and summer is fast on her heels.  This means that soon it will be cherry season, and after that white peach season, and after that garden fresh tomatoes are here.  This also tells me that 98% of our grocery budget and our fridge will be packed with fruit that I can’t possibly eat all by myself.  I’ve also been smelling a clean kitchen for the last 10 days.  Yes, you can smell it.  Trust me.  My mother-in-law has kept our kitchen clean her entire visit and I’m going to grieve the loss of clean counters when she’s gone.

New Noises

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 10:53 am

I took this hilarious video of Liam yesterday squealing at Nathan.  The new sounds that come out of Liam are hysterical sometimes.

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I don’t usually share these things, but this is so incredible, it will change your life.  My mother-in-law got me into America’s Test Kitchen and I’ve been hooked ever since.  They also have a bi-monthly publication called Cooks Illustrated.  Their recipes are tested and tested 100s of times until they are perfect and easily replicable.  Basically fool-proof.

Well, if you didn’t know, I have a little love affair with my slow cooker.  And low and behold, America’s Test Kitchen published an entire cookbook on slow cooker recipes.  Oh. Boy.  My in-laws gave me the book for Christmas and so far I’ve tried four of their recipes and they were amazing.  We’ve had Tequila and Lime Turkey Chili, Balsamic Braised Chicken and tonight I made Red Meaty Tomato Sauce that’s made with short ribs, red wine and lots of tomatoes.  Yum!  Check out the book.  It will save you time and you’re husband will think your even more amazing than you already are!

The cookbook is called Slow Cooker Revolution.

Liam’s First Swing

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 at 9:35 am

The Many Faces of Liam

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm

The other day I took this series of pictures of Liam playing in his room while I was picking it up.  They were all so cute I couldn’t choose so you get to see all of them.  My, my how fun he is.

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Training Liam

In Uncategorized on February 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Who would have guessed that a sweet little boy with this face could ever give mom an attitude or throw a little fit?

Pure sweetness

Yes, I can’t believe it either.  But alas, it’s true.  He’s beginning to get his own mind and opinions about things.  This is uncharted territory for us as parents, so we’ve been discussing a lot how we want to train Liam to do what’s right and to obey.  That may sound strong for a 6 month old, but we’re already finding some situations that need addressing.

Nathan sent me an article that he read in the Wall Street Journal that really resonated with us, and, I think perfectly encapsulates how we’d like to approach discipline in our home.  To think we can learn something from the French.  Anyway, I thought you might also find it interesting.

(I should also mention that this post is not in any way an invitation to share your parenting advice/philosophy.  I know, I’m cold)

Day in Berkeley

In Uncategorized on February 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Friday we took a little mini family getaway and spent the day in Berkeley. We first made a stop to Solano Road lined with interesting little shops and good restaurants.  We opted for Zachary’s a Deep Dish Chicago-Style pizza parlor.  Best. Pizza. Ever.  Topped with fresh roasted tomatoes.  Yum.

We perused a few stores, found an item for Liam’s room I had been looking for, visited a Bone Shop (yes, they sell bones of many different animals, and dried insects, bleh)  and I bought a cardamom truffle (surprise, surprise).  Berkeley, if you didn’t know is hippy central.  There are plenty of crazies there.  The woman in the chocolate shop commented on how chill Liam was and asked in an equally chill tone if I drank lots of chamomile tea while I was pregnant.  I told her no, just a lot of Pepsi and Doritos(not entirely the true).

I had heard that there were some spectacular homes up in the Berkeley Hills just above where we had lunch so we spent an hour or so driving through the narrow windy roads drooling over houses that we could never afford.  Each home was unique from any other in it’s neighborhood, and all had sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay below.

As the sun was near it’s end, we headed out the Berkeley Marina, a pier that stretches far out into the Bay.  At the end of the pier we could look out and see Alcatraz in front of a sunset washed Golden Gate Bridge.  It was beautiful.

Sometimes it still strikes Nathan and I as odd that we live in such close proximity to so many cool sites.  Liam especially enjoyed his time on the Berkeley Pier guffawing at Daddy.

And what trip to Berkeley would be complete without stopping off at Ikea for a few items and Swedish Meatballs?  Yah, we’re classy.