Sunday, October 8, 2017

before the reveal.

Dear little one,

When I first learned of you late one July night, I felt extreme excitement and such fortune to get the opportunity to be in your life. I brought your dad in on the excitement the following morning on his birthday - and the news of you being in our family brought tears to his eyes. As I sit here quietly the night before we learn whether you are a boy or a girl, I find myself reflecting on why this piece of information about you feels so significant to me as your mama.

Right now I feel a tender connection with you that is simply due to the fact that you belong to us. There is something about loving someone simply because they're yours.

What I think I'm anticipating in finding out your sex is the discovery of a piece of you that is a huge part of your identity. Your maleness or your femaleness matters so much - whether you are a boy or a girl makes a difference in the world and in our lives. It is the once piece of information we can learn about this early that truly informs us about you. We can't fully see you, hear you, or touch you right now, so knowing you in this way is how we can connect and identify with who you are. Manhood and womanhood are the beautiful handiwork of our Creator, and we get to enter into that with you before you're even here!

As of now we have a boy name selected and a girl name selected. The moment we discover which you are, you will be given your name. We will call your name. We will pray your name. We will dream for your name. We will know your name.

This sweet season of knowing you are with us but not knowing your name is hours from being over, and it just feels bitter sweet in that you're already growing so fast, but we also cannot wait to meet you!

Until then baby,

Mama

Monday, May 9, 2016

this is Father's day.


Harrison,

This Mother's Day was sweet. We enjoyed a fun, beautiful Sunday together and, at this age, I know that's just about all you really knew about the day. There is, however, so much more I want you to know about mother's day. It's also Father's day. 

Let me explain:

Before I had you, I dreamed about all of the wonderful adventures we would share together. I could really imagine your little baby waddle with stubby feet coming towards me excitedly. I could just picture moments of watching you grow and learn, and it was all beautiful. I selfishly dreamed about what I would get from the blessing of having you.

Despite being coached by those whom had walked the parenthood path before me, I lacked the capacity to understand the non-stop needs, the smells, the antics, the sin nature to the extent that I do today - and you're only one and a half. The selfishness I had about what I'd gain from having you was definitely muted by some of the many challenges that parenting brings. 

In my elementary stage of parenthood,
I have taken steps of bravery I never thought possible. 
[Killed a spider or two that I thought might get to you.]
I have searched scripture more fervently than ever.
[To hopefully shed light on how to train you up right.]
I have cried more tears - of joy, fear, anger, exhaustion, anxiety, insecurity, and laugher.
[Only to find that I'm helpless and often just a mess.]
I have smiled and laughed at mundane moments that normally would not catch my eye.
[The way 'you do you', if only I'd had a clue...

that while parenthood can sometimes be nothing of what I wanted, it is every time, every thing that I want. In the most imperfectly perfect way, your existence brings me to the ultimate place of humility, and to finding that I am desperate for Christ on a minute-by-minute basis. I can do nothing good. I am nothing good. Thankfully, among other things for your sake, He lives in me. The times you see the best mama is the times He is moving through me to get to you. 

So pay attention, sweet boy. When your mama is failing, please give me grace. 
I will try to remember to apologize and do better. 

One thing I do know is this: Christ is in me and, because of that, I know that some days I will get out of the way just enough that His light will shine through to you. My prayer is that you see those times, know it is Him, and learn to trust in the only One who will never leave you or let you down. I ask that I may be pushed aside often, reflecting His light to you as much as I can. Lean in. Watch closely. 

Inside your broken mama is  the King  worthy of your worship and praise. 

He is calling you, Harrison, by name. 

He longs to be in relationship with you.

At the end of my time here, with all of my parenting successes and failures, my only hope is that you've seen Him, and that you remember that the good days with mama were because Jesus lived in her heart. The invitation is open to you, and Lord willing, you'll RSVP with a big "YES"!

My role as your mama is to reflect Him. 

So happy mother's day to me... and may you have a happy Father's day every day of your life.

I love you,

Mama





Friday, May 6, 2016

the one about the elephant.

I would not describe myself as a perfectionist.

To be honest, I think my closest friends would laugh if you asked if I was a perfectionist.

I am, however, discovering something about myself that for some reason I have chosen the word perfectionist to describe - perhaps for lack of a better word. Maybe that something fits better under the description of an 'all-or-nothing' personality.

In so many areas of my life, if I am going to do something, I want to do it fully, do it well. I'd argue that's many people's M.O. The problem comes in with my 'or-nothing' side. If I cannot do it fully and well, I tend to not be motivated to do anything.

[Which, as a funny side note, I looked up what M.O. means because, I'll admit, I did not know - and what if we used the latin words instead of the abbreviation in casual talk?... "I'd argue that's most people's modus operandi." HA! No.]

Anyways.

I'll give some examples:

- If I'm going to clean my house (besides your normal 'straightening up' that just must be done on a regular basis) - and I mean really clean my house - I always want to wait until there is the perfect environment. Ideally, I put on my 'work' clothes, I clear the house of distractions (and distracting persons..), and I have hours upon hours to really strip the house and clean every crevice. Otherwise (subconsciously) I believe that there's really no use in beginning a 'deep' clean, only to be interrupted. 

- If I'm going to study for school (praise Jesus that I'm almost done with this sort of example..), I tend to not even begin if I cannot have complete silence, a large clean space on which to work, and a few hours of quiet to really 'get in there' and learn.

- If I'm going to work out, ideally, I would have my cute workout outfit on, a block of time to drive to the gym, get a really solid workout in, shower immediately afterwards, and feel really accomplished at the end of it. 


I could go on, but you get the picture.

If there are only a few minutes to spare or the day is full, I tend to avoid the things that I want to do 'more fully' or 'better' if I cannot create the perfect environment for them in my day.

My quiet time - if I cannot have soft music playing on Pandora ("Classical for Studying Radio", I highly recommend), my cup of coffee, and a warm blanket while I read and pray for an hour, then I may as well just not even try, right?

[Firstly, sorry for yet another example when I told you I was done. ]

[Secondly, I know that people are laughing at the trendy 'coffee quiet times' that so many Christian women enjoy - but if it is truly something you enjoy, just as you would a spa day, or night out with the girls - why should we discourage enjoyable, special time with the Lord?  Ok, off soapbox.]

A quick prayer in the car while my child is whining in the back seat will more than suffice for some 'quiet time' with the Lord. Some crunches and push ups in my living room in between laundry loads will suffice for keeping my body healthy and in shape until I can get in a good run. Reading notecards  in order to prepare for an exam as I am cooking dinner for my family  will really help me to review some of the topics I'm trying to learn for school. Windex-ing (verb) the windows while my boy naps in the other room will ultimately help me get one step closer to having a clean home.

You cannot eat a whole elephant all at once. 
You can only do so a bite at a time. 



[My sister can vouch for me that this phrase, while one I use often, is one I have 
butchered a number of times no thanks to my hectic brain - something 
about eating elephants typically comes out, and I sound morbid.]

Give what you have, when you can, and you'll find that you're more motivated, more successful, and more energetic than if you wait for the perfect setting before you accomplish anything.

One.

Small.

Bite.

At.

A.

Time.

Whatever goal you've set for yourself, the reason it may seem daunting is that it is something unreached at present. If it is unreached, that means you have to 'reach' to obtain it; then it will have become 'reached'. Sometimes reaching is a struggle - especially if the goal is lofty. So reach as far as you are able for today, for this hour, for this minute. That's all you can do.

Ultimately, you'll be that one small step closer to whatever it is you've been trying to do.

Pretty obvious, I suppose.

I guess I just had to actually take that small step this week to realize that I was in a closer position to my goal than I had been.

So yay!






Tuesday, September 29, 2015

even then.

In sickness and in health.

They say that part for a reason. We're completely vulnerable and at our worst when we're sick, yet we're called to love each other patiently, thoroughly, and kindly none the less. Now I know that some families find themselves in situations where sickness is such a huge and all-consuming component of their marriage, and I do not even attempt to pretend that I know what the full extent of the call to love in sickness can  truly look like. If you want the opportunity to learn about the truest test, I know of some who would have much more to say on the subject, and I hate it for them. But sickness, like all other aspects of life, has both mundane and extreme sides - and I think we can learn from both.

This poor house has been hit with whatever bug/virus it is. Hit hard and fast.

I got it. Then Harris got it. Thankfully baby has not gotten it.

Since we have apparently been passing the sickness on to each other, we decided that we would sleep apart. One of my favorite things about being married, hold on now kids, is getting to sleep next to my best friend every night. His home is my home. His bed is my bed. Not getting weird here, just stating the joy of being so connected to someone. Well, as much as I didn't want to get sick again, I really didn't want to sleep apart. Harris, the practical one in the relationship, was pretty adamant that this was the way to go. He even offered to sleep in the living room himself, sweet man. I wanted him to be comfortable, so I gathered my pillow and a blanket and slumped into the living room.

I put on The Notebook, a movie that Harris and I love to watch together (sorry to release your secret, babe), and cuddled up alone on the couch.

In about 2 minutes, I hear footsteps coming down our old hardwood floors, and Harris comes around the corner with his own pillow and blanket to climb on the other couch. He couldn't stand it either - he wanted to be close, even then. That, my friends, is just one of those precious moments that add up to what make marriage so great. In mundane sickness, no less.

Now, I know this isn't the make up of a romance novel (or romance movie like the one we were watching), but that one act was so precious to me. He wanted to be near me too, even in his weakest moment. Even then. My best friend.

We have had to hold each other up, support when the other was lacking, and even though we are weak and sick, we still want to be close and sweet. May you always find moments to be close, be sweet, and enjoy mundane moments together, in sickness and in health.




Thursday, September 10, 2015

awkward & awesome.

Awkward

  • The amount of sounds I have already mastered being the mama of a boy. Walking down the grocery aisle, I almost forget that other people have ears. And thoughts. And..  oh, don't mind me, I'm just doing a quick u-turn in my race car buggy to pick up the Cheerios. 
  • Getting super emotional watching love stories unfold on a certain reality TV show which shall not be named. Fine, if you're dying to know, it's a show based on singles who gather together to find love on a beach. In Mexico. 
  • Okay, it's Bachelor in Paradise. Judge away.
  • My cat snobbishly ignores all table food that Harrison drops on the floor, but for some reason is not able to resist the tantalizing smell and taste of cold cut turkey...?
  • The sound of a congested nose... you can only imagine the awkwardness. 
  • Keeping your toothbrush still and moving your head back and forth to brush your teeth. Electric toothbrushes would fall under the "Awesome" category, but I think how I use them qualifies for this one. 
  • Trying to do an extensive shopping trip with a 10 month old. When it's time for a nap, you're fumbling with formula and bottle appendices, shushing a very frustrated passenger, and unloading and then reloading a plethora of shopping bags from the undercarriage area, all in the middle of the four-lane walkway. Look cool, I challenge you. 

Awesome

  • The hate-hate relationship I have with this blasted spider who lives in the dead-bolt excess space in our front door. Tried to kill that little stink and I'm just not quick enough. I come out looking for him every morning because apparently he's a party-all-nighter and does not know when to retreat back into his creepy little hole.. I'll get you one of these days, spider. For now, I feel like we're frenemies. 
  • There is a common occurrence of asian women who just love my child and all of his delicious rolls. One lady even told me that in her culture, if a baby has one roll in his thighs, that means that the next baby will be a boy, and if the baby has two rolls in his thighs, the next baby will be a girl. Well good grief, I better start shopping for pink!
  • Still occasionally look down at my wedding ring and get giddy like it's fresh on my finger. 
  • The other night we were eating dinner and a good, cleansing summer rain came pounding down. Harris opened the window in the dining room and we enjoyed a home-cooked meal to one of my favorite sounds. 
  • We have been praying with and in front of the boy ever since he was teensy. Yesterday he did his 'pray hands' at the table and we were just so humbled and thrilled!
  • I painted my nails this week. Make that this year. #winning

Friday, August 21, 2015

not your typical recipe blog post.

 Domestic is not necessarily the word I would use to describe myself. I love making a home, hosting friends, family, and guests, and enjoying food and drink amidst lively conversation to be sure. I love walking into someone’s home and finding beautiful decorations, cozy accents, and the smell of something delicious. I try my best to recreate that atmosphere in my own home, with a little dose of the ‘I’m not really good at this stuff’ reality mixed in. I think I am oftentimes too eager to be a part of the camaraderie that is happening to be good at the details.

So sometimes I’ll get the question, “Do you enjoy cooking?”
Yes, because I really like to feel like I can make people happy with food, however, I’m bad at it. I give myself too much freedom in the kitchen for my skill level and I end up with something that only resembles the recipe I attempted. The point is.. I’m not a good cook. And I’m okay with that.

We eat in just about every night of the week, so I’m obviously keeping my family nourished somehow. It works, but my cooking is the source of some of our favorite inside jokes. Needless to say, when it comes to blogging about recipes, laughter and fun around the kitchen, I find myself leaning in the opposite direction. I have nothing to contribute in that category.

Today I am making my very first pot roast. I figured I’d give it a try. It is one of those feel good meals that I would love to add to my very small repertoire of dishes I can successfully create.

Yes, that's the baby monitor on the counter.
You bet your bottom dollar I wasn't trying this while he was awake.


To begin, I picked up the variety of meat that I believed to be what one uses to put in the pot.. to roast.. (pot roast, get it?). I was hoping I'd be reading "roast" or "pot roast" on the label. Not so easy.  I even asked the sales associate behind the meat counter if he could assist me in selecting the meat I would need. He proceeded to tell me about the different cuts. After a while, he showed me about 5 options for different recipes, and after a few polite head nods and “oh yeahs”, I ended up thanking him for his help because if I told him that I was still as lost as I was about 10 mintues ago, I feel he may have been insulted. He was a guru for sure. My eyes began to cross when the discussion turned to the anatomy of a cow. Shoulder? Flank? Shank? 

I ended up grabbing what was called “boneless beef chuck steak” and ran. 

People typically say, “I can follow a recipe”, when they’re really trying to say that they are not inventive in the kitchen but that when they follow a well-written recipe, they obtain a delicious meal. I’m not even so sure I can do that much. Sure, I can read. I can. I don’t know, something I can’t explain happens to me when I begin the cooking process.

For example: this pot roast. I looked up recipes online, found one, thought the picture looked great, wrote down the ingredients, and bought them at the store. When I came home to begin cooking, I read the instructions only to find out it would take much longer than I anticipated, so I decided to improvise.
I browsed some other recipes, and after reading/searching, I found a combination of recipes that I figured might work out and I am going to do like always and “wing it”.

Harris loves that. Sometimes he’ll walk in the kitchen when I’m making something new and sees me tossing some herbs on something, he asks reluctantly, “Are you winging it?”

“Sho‘nuff!”

So here we go on my latest cooking journey!

At present, all ingredients are prepped and sitting cozy in the crockpot. Cross your fingers!

This is my kitchen. We haven't finished putting cabinet doors on. Welcome.
Also, the bag of chips is not there because that was part of the recipe. Cooking makes me hungry, ok?


Side note: I went back to double check my recipe only to read about something I’m supposed to do with cornstarch and the broth. What? I googled, “why use cornstarch on pot roast”, and the first sentence of the first website that I pulled up (not even kidding) says, “Pot roast is a wonderfully forgiving dish that’s hard to mess up.”

No pressure.

Apparently the cornstarch makes a thicker gravy. Who knew? Probably everyone.

I’ll let you know how this mess turns out later. We’ll hope it is edible and, if we’re lucky, magically delicious! 

I kill houseplants, I am a bad cook, and I’m happy to be me.







Thursday, July 30, 2015

super mama.

This story is brought to you by the girl who always somehow gets herself into silly situations. This story has no moral lesson or insightful take-away.. perhaps except for the fact that Taylor watches too many FBI-themed tv shows. Read on.

A few weeks ago I was running around the house prepping to go out of town for the weekend. Despite what many may think, or really I should say, what I thought prior to having my own babe and staying home with him most of the week, the work of a stay-at-home mama is very full, very tiring, and very overwhelming at times. There are just so many factors to keeping a home and caring for the needs of a child. And I only have one. That's another topic for a more insightful day.

As I was scurrying to complete tasks for impending weekend travel, my mind was running in all sorts of places, my tasks were getting sporadically checked off, and my "super mama" story begins as I was taking advantage of the baby-free time that comes with morning nap. Now, it should be known that my little one is not the best of sleepers. He's more of the "don't want to miss a thing" type of social child (cue Aerosmith). On this particular morning he was sleeping like a champ, so I knew that every minute more than the last was a gift and I should be productive before he began his next phase of the day.

One of my tasks for the day was to water the flowers on our second story, no stairs to the downstairs, no access or windows except for the door off the kitchen deck, so I filled my pitcher and walked outside. You see where this is going. I closed the door behind me because my cat was trying to escape and I proceeded to water the plants ignorant of what I had just done. I started back to open the door and, you guessed it, the handle wouldn't budge.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

Harris won't be home for hours. 

Nobody knows I'm out here. 

I don't have my phone. 

This door is completely locked and won't budge.

No. No. No.

For that matter, ALL my doors are locked to the house. 

I'll wait for someone to walk by. 

Ok, no one is walking by.

The neighbor's car is there.

I haven't met her yet, but maybe I can wait until she comes out, tell her our garage code, and have her come in to let me out. 

Ok, she's not coming out.

Harrison is for SURE awake by now.

He NEEDS me!!

No. No. No.

Gotta get down.

Two stories.

Am I really going down?

Yep, I'm going down. 

Yep, it's happening.

Here I go.

What the heck am I doing??

I'm SAVING MY BABY!

I'm COMING BABY!!


That's a little glimpse into my thought process as what felt like an HOUR passed on that deck. In all reality it was probably only about 30 seconds all-together. Still.

So I proceed to scale down the side of my home. I pulled a deck chair to the ledge, climbed up and threw my legs over the railing, shimmied down the vertical boards, used a cross-bar as a foothold on my way down, reached my other leg over to the top of the fence that borders our yard, balanced on there until I could jump down onto the top of the trashcan that was on the other side, then jumped off of the top of the trashcan. I mean, I'm basically spider woman.

My heart was racing the whole time, and all I could think is that he is in his room needing me and feeling abandoned. I typed in the garage code, ran through the door, ran up the stairs, only to find him sleeping as soundly as before. An-ti-climatic.

It's in this very moment that you wish you had someone there with you to celebrate your heroism.

"Did you SEE that?! That was intense!! I just scaled my two story house!"

So I did a little victory dance on my own to celebrate and then immediately called Harris to tell him how awesome I am. End of story.




[Full disclosure: I decided against posting a picture of the side of the house I went down for fear you might think my actions were less than AMAZING.]