How is it already 2012? Something mysterious and twilight-zoney must happen after you have a child. Time seems to move 10 times faster than it did before. Can I get an "amen" mamas?
Because it's a brand new year, and because it's fun to look back fondly on the year that has just past, I wanted to take some time to reflect on 2011. Tyler and I did this together and it was great. It will be great for me to have it documented here.
[It's long. Please don't feel obligated to recount the details of my year with me. :) ]
2011 in review:
January : I started the year off very pregnant. See below.
I returned back to my 3rd grade classroom after a much needed winter break for the last time for a while.
February : We celebrated our 3rd Valentine's Day together. I tried to make a romantic dinner for us to eat in our little Town Lake Apartment. I bought Filets, but neither of us were sure how to grill a steak. They didn't turn out well.
Katie and I sent out the girls we had been discipling for close to 2 years to lead their own groups. We were all a little sad, but we knew it was right. And it has been SO incredible to watch as God grows them into women of faith and love. So many cool things happening with them. 1 off to DC , 1 leading her own missional community in the Music Building and seeing God move and change people's hearts, 1 off to work in Houston, 1 still looking and waiting :) but all of them are growing in obedience to Scripture and love for God. So cool to be a part of.
March: With my due date fast approaching, I treasured every little "last" as my life before parenthood. Here's what I did on my Spring Break with Elle safely tucked inside my belly. While my life most certainly does not look like that now, it's not quite the calamity I imagined it would be at that point.
April: At the beginning of this month we had our first fake-out hospital visit. That was fun. (Or very not fun and exhausting for me the next day at school.)
I said "goodbye" to my sweet sweet 3rd graders and fellow teachers. Oh, how I miss them.
At the end of the month we welcomed this little booger home.
What a beauty.
We also learned our limit for exhaustion. We struggled to communicate. I struggled (read, still struggle) with control over our daughter. I wanted things done my way and had a tough time making way for Tyler to learn to be a daddy. God has brought me a long way... (blogpost on that to come soon...)
May: We lived life in a newborn induced fog. I was always tired. I honestly don't remember much about this month.
I do remember how anxious I got when it came time for bed. Nights with Elle were hard at that point.
Now that I think about it, I remember Tyler preaching at our church (The Austin Stone Community Church) for the very first time. It was a very big deal and such a huge and weighty task. He did fabulous. He preached on how God calls us into a family. Hear it here. (It's the first one. Titled: Missional Community: Living as Jesus' Family.)
June: We packed up all our belongings in boxes and sat in the living room and sipped coffee while movers hoisted everything onto their big ole truck and drove it all to Maple Hollow Trail in North Austin.
[side bar: Movers are THE WAY to go. Especially in the summer. Especially with a new born. Worth every penny, I say.]
July: We went on our very first "vacation" as a family of 3. Vacation is in quotations because it's not quite "vacation" with a 3 month old. I learned very quickly that Elle could really care less if we were at the lake or the beach or in a Motel 6 outside of Austin. My perceptions of vacation have since been corrected, and I have been able to enjoy them for what they are and not get annoyed because they aren't what they used to be. :) See? God's at work in my heart.
(Kidding. I am hopeful and CERTAIN that he has done much bigger and more eternal things in me than shifting my view of vacation.)
August: After being pregnant and working (also known as: had no energy for anything but laying on the couch and eating rocky road most evenings) and then adjusting to life with a little one (also known as: can't write your own name or remember if you ate that day,) it was this month that I finally felt normal. I had resurfaced and realized that I. Was. Missing. Out. I realized that I had a lot of insecurity that had been festering in my inability (or unwillingness, perhaps...) to do anything but what was in front of my face.
It was good to be reminded that I'm not accepted or valuable or more loved because of what I'm doing. But because Jesus has called me His.
Seems like I may have learned that lesson a time or two before.
September: Tyler and I spent our first nights away from our sweet girl. We were in the same hotel, but my parents kept little E while I got my first full night of sleep in 4 months. However, much like vacation, a full night of sleep has to be enjoyed for what it is now and not what it used to be. (The constant worry about how she's doing and discomfort that comes with not nursing when you're used to takes away a tad bit from the peace of a full night of sleep.) However different it may have been, it was marvelous and I love that my mom was so excited to do that for us. :) Thanks, KK, you're the best!
October: I turned 26.
Elle got 2 teeth.
I started meeting with a group of young mamas that live in my neighborhood in hopes that we would continually challenge each other to be obedient to scripture and love Jesus more and more. This has been so good and challenging for my soul.
I also got baptized this month!
The story behind my baptism is this: I was baptized when I was 9. Mostly because my mom encouraged me to, because our pastor at the time said I should be. Looking back, I did have a desire to know God, but had no understanding of the implications of God becoming man to take my deserved punishment and giving me undeserved love and acceptance. I was baptized out of a love and obedience to my parents. My mom said I should, so I did! However, as my love and affection for Christ has grown out of the knowledge of the depth of my sin and the heights of His perfection, I began to feel that I needed to be baptized again. This time out of a knowledge of the symbolism and proclamation of the event: That I was a new creation, buried with Christ in His death and raised to walk in the newness of life in His resurrection. Also, because I ultimately want to be obedient to Jesus in this life. Because I love Him and trust Him as King. If He says to be baptized in faith, I want to walk in that.
It was so special to have Tyler baptize me. I also got baptized alongside Tyler's cousin Luke and a good friend, James Ornelas. Such a good day and beautiful evidence of the way God doesn't let go of me. Even in my obstinate disobedience.
November: The ladybug's first Thanksgiving! We got to see both sides of our family, which is always such a blessing.
After much anguish over Elle's crazy sleeping habits, we enlisted the help of a very experienced friend. She's had 5 kids and has gotten all of them to sleep through the night at a reasonable age. Those are some serious credentials. It was with her help that we moved Elle to a 4 hour nursing schedule. (She was still nursing every 2 hours. I had no idea that that was too much. But apparently, nursing only ever 2 hours doesn't keep her tummy as full at night.) And we fully introduced solids. I had only been giving her about one meal a day from about 5 1/2 months up to this point. Here's what our schedule looks like now:
7:30 wake up and nurse
8:30 solid breakfast
10 morning nap
11:30 wake up and nurse
12:45 or 1 solid lunch
4 wake up and nurse
5:45 solid dinner
8 bottle and bedtime!
(giving Elle a bottle before bed has been so helpful for me to know exactly how much she ate, that way if she wakes up in the night I know if she's hungry or not and I don't fall into the trap of nursing her because I think she might be hungry and it turns into a nursing dependency. Which, I know nothing about. I've never done that. Ever.)
Granted, this is just a skeleton. She just got done teething (and, is working on another one. 5 down, 15 more to go! Sigh...) and that means she will NOT nap longer than 45 minutes. Since we're letting her figure out how to put herself to sleep at this point, that also might mean that she sleeps until 8:30 or 9 if it took her awhile to fall asleep the night before.
**I am very proud to announce, however, that my sweet, precious, wonderful, beautiful little girl slept for 11 hours STRAIGHT last night. This. is. a. big. deal. people! She only cried for 7 minutes and slept until 7:30. She even woke up around 6, cried for a few minutes and just as I was stepping out of the fog to get her up, thinking that she was probably hungry at that point, she put her little self back to sleep. Hoping that this becomes normal in our lives.
December: Tyler and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary with a wonderful meal at Uchiko. Very seriously the best and most interesting meal I have ever had. It was great. We recounted what a great year in our marriage it has been. Our friendship and enjoyment of one another continues to grow. And as the Lord works in my heart to change me and make me more like Him (very, very slowly sometimes...) I've grown in my capacity to trust Tyler. Not because Tyler is infallible, but because God is perfect and wise and perfectly placed Tyler as my husband. To refine and shape me. All that to say, God is gracious and loves my husband and has made him very wise and trustworthy when it comes to leading our family. He's wonderful. I'm very thankful to have been married to him for 3 years and excited about however many more years God gives us together.
We celebrated Gods Gift to us with our little girl for the first time! It was a blast. She didn't quite care about unwrapping anything, but loved pulling bows off packages. We didn't develop any traditions this year, but began talking about how we'd like to do Advent next year.
We ended the year with a few friends at our house for dinner and kicked them all out by 11 because Tyler had to preach the next day and needed rest.
Wow. What a wonderful and blessed year it has been! So many firsts! Thankful!