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.]



Thursday, June 18, 2015

bigger plans.

I am extremely aware of the privilege it is to be able to stay at home with my son for most of the week. I work two days while Harrison enjoys time with his Meme, and the other days I am home with him. By no means is it a walk in the park to be home, but I do know that our family makes sacrifices so that I can be here. The balance is an entire blog post in and of itself, but that’s not why I’m writing this morning.

I never know exactly what each morning will bring when I am home with my son. The variable sleeper that he has been from day one has taught me to be ever on my toes, as I’m sure all other aspects of motherhood will do over time. Some mornings he wakes up with the sunrise, others he will be in a deep sleep until the comfortable hour of 8am.

I thought I was going to be getting a quiet morning this morning when Harrison fell back asleep after I fed him while Harris was leaving for work. Perfect morning for some quiet Bible-reading, praying, and journaling time to start my day! The monitor next to me, I opened my Bible and took a deep breath… “Thank you Lord for this time!”…

Yes.

You know.

He’s up.

Of course.

[Let me insert here that for the record, I am delighted
to walk in and greet my son in the morning. It’s top on my list!
I love seeing him wake up and greet the day with his infectious smile.
Just so that’s clear. Anyways, back to the story of my first lesson of the day.]

So I look over and pray, Lord, I was just about to have some quality time with you. Surely it’ll be good for Harrison AND for me if he goes back to sleep. Please let him go back to sleep…. please?

Sure enough, he’s rolling over with eyes wide open. He’s up.

I was sure that God would honor such a small prayer as mine was. It was ultimately so that I could spend time with Him. Just a few minutes. Oh well, I suppose He had other plans. I went in, grabbed my happy happy baby, and brought him into the room where I had my books open. I placed him in his activity chair, and since he was happy, I decided I’d try to get some reading in after all. Here’s to hoping.

I began reading, praying, and journaling and he sat there quietly with the morning light streaming in from the sunrise. Before I realized it, many minutes had passed and I looked up and saw his bright blue eyes just staring at me. He was watching his mama enjoy the Word. Pray to her Father. Write down precious words from Scripture.



He was soaking it in.

In this small yet eternally monumental way, God had not answered the prayer that I thought was “best” for the situation. I thought the “yes” that I wanted was what I really wanted. He was answering much bigger prayers for me. I have asked from day one that my son would learn and know how mighty and amazing our God is. How else could he begin to know that unless it was by first watching his mother savor moments like these?


Clearly I am simple minded and not creative at all when it comes to orchestrating my time and my energy for God’s glory. All credit goes to Him. And I’m glad to give it.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

a continual feast.

Welp, my kid rolled over for the first time last night.

[don't leave]

We have been expecting this milestone because my little one recently started showing signs that he was about to do it. Naturally we had our camera phones out each night recording every non-success in an attempt to catch the big moment. Naturally when it finally happened we did not have our phones nearby to capture his accomplishment.

It was not like I expected. We waited and waited for him to make one smooth move from back to belly.. Ta-da!! But in reality, we sat around cheering him on, watching him grunt and push and scoot, and saying encouraging words to him like he was about to break some world record, but to no avail. 

When he actually did it, he was working silently on the floor and he sort of just flomped from his back to his side (like he had done a thousand times before), then eventually figured out he could keep going and rolled over onto his right arm. It was stuck.. So we waited until he wriggled it out from under himself to officially "claim" the victory. Yay!!! 

                                     


[okay, okay, nobody cares. I'm getting to my point]

We celebrated him with everything we had. It was a sweet moment of praise for this little human in his little moment of accomplishment. What joy! It's silly, but it got me to thinking about how to translate that attitude to other areas of my life. 

To watch Harrison's face light up while we hugged and kissed on him in a celebratory fashion was a moment for me. We all like to be celebrated, even for the small things. There is so much competition out there, so much comparison. How can I do my part to truly "get there" with someone and genuinely celebrate little accomplishments in life as though they were the greatest?

It could be that your best friend made it throughout the day without having any negative self-talk. Maybe your grandma successfully figured out how to open and use the "instant gram" app on her new iPad you got her for Christmas. Perhaps after many failed attempts your neighbor finally perfected the backspin on his ping pong serve. 

It is so important to take the time to genuinely celebrate the little things. Celebrate the little people. Celebrate the little accomplishments. In both yourself and in others. For both yourself and for others. 

It is so often that in moments like these there is opportunity for joy and we run past it cheating both ourselves and others out of a few minutes of life-giving. 

So your wife had an extremely successful coupon-savings grocery run?
Tell me all about it! What'd you buy? You saved how much?? That. Is. AWESOME! Way to go! Look at you. Savin' money. You're great!

So your son memorized song lyrics to a fast-paced pop song?
Sing it! Sing it again! I'm so proud of you. That took a lot of practice and dedication! I love it!

These things are so mundane but they are so good. A continual feast.



"All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast." - Proverbs 15:15


Sunday, February 8, 2015

our birth story.

photo credit: morgan blake

Yep. Ours.

Not just mine.

I decided late the other night to share the story of how our little one came into the world. Not only because I feel like a powerful tiger/warrior woman who conquered a HUGE physical, mental, and emotional challenge, but also to bring light to the power of a loving, supportive husband who is often lost in these stories. 

Yes, we did this together. 

My man was as much a part of bringing our boy into the world as he could be short of carrying him in and delivering him from his own body. 

So here it is. Our birth story.

It was just before midnight when I awoke to a loud "pop" and a dazed & confused thought that Harris might have just kicked me.. Only to realize that it's game time and my water had just broken. I excitedly scurried down the hall only to find myself contracting.. hard.. excitement gone. I was completely unable to find a comfortable position to sit/stand/lie in. My doc calmly recommended (via our midnight phone call) that I jump in the shower and head to the hospital. Well, shortly after showering, Harris noticed that my contractions were coming on much faster than how we had learned they would be from our birth class. I could hardly put one leg through my pants without doubling over with intense contractions. Forget looking cute and taking a couple "on our way" pics. We needed to hurry. 

We pulled into the carpool lane and ran. We stopped halfway as I awkwardly worked through another big one. Imagine a passionate church-goer getting into the spirit of worship: head nodding up and down, one hand on knee and the other on hip, an occasional arm raising, and lots of "oh Lord"s. 

We get checked in and I'm feeling sick. I can't keep last night's dinner down from pain and the sweet nurse asks me what I had in mind for a birth plan. Birth plan? Birth plan. Yes, we had some preferences, but words would literally not come out of my mouth, so I point to Harris. He knows. He was my words. This is our birth story. 

The next big question was about whether or not to get an epidural. My thought after going through birth classes was, since I am usually pain tolerant and I had yet to experience this type of pain, that I would give it my best shot as naturally as possible then just get the meds if I came to a breaking point. Well, she checked me at this point and I was at a 1.5cm. [This is where I had been for two weeks].. Are you kidding me?? All I could think about was the stories women had told me of the 12, 24, and 32 hour labors they had, and I about passed out! No way could I keep this up for that long! I barely had time to breathe from one contraction before my next was right there. Epidural.. you're looking mighty fine right about now.

I get checked into my delivery room because there was no doubt my contractions were hard and strong. At this point I couldn't even imagine laying in the bed so I jumped in the shower and stayed there for approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. I continued to progress and the heat felt good, so I stayed. And stayed. 

And stayed. 

Funny side story: You know how throughout the course of taking a shower you get used to the water temp so you periodically turn the faucet warmer and warmer? [maybe not, but you probably would if you ever took a 2+ hour long one] Well I was doing that but the water was getting colder so I decided that I had run the hospital out of hot water. I was sobbing. The only comfort I had was gone.. and I told Harris all about it. He calmly noticed what I had actually been doing and said softly as he turned the faucet to warm again, "Tay, you've been turning the faucet colder each time". I cried again. I am so thankful for warm water.

Harris kept checking on me but was the perfect balance of being present and supportive yet also being out of sight and quiet. A necessary balance. He advocated for me during this time because I was simultaneously begging for an epidural and refusing to get out of the shower. [and as the saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it too] He communicated this to me lovingly and didn't push the envelope either way. He let me lead and he patiently followed without making me feel rushed. This is our birth story. 

When I got out, I had progressed to 6cm. We were moving along! I started to think that maybe my labor really would be unique to me and not like others I had heard. I had to be in the bed to get fluids for about an hour before I could get the epidural, so labor in bed I did. 

My quirky pain-coping mechanism: each time a contraction came along I grabbed and squeezed whoever's hand was nearby with my right hand, pointed my toes REALLY hard (that's the dancer in me), and tapped my left hand on the bed really fast. Weirdo. 

Harris stood by every time telling me how proud he was of me and how strong I was. This is our birth story.

Well, they decided to go ahead and give me the epidural before they checked my progress so that it wouldn't hurt so bad when they did. I signed the consent form (barely legibly, Harris later informed me), and I got the meds. He held me while contractions tried to bury me alive and a foot long needle was slowly inching into my spine. [I'm dramatic.] I started to feel an urge to push almost immediately after getting the shot. The doc said that I should start to notice the meds taking effect.. I didn't. He then checked my progress when I confessed that the epidural was not working, only to find out that I was already at 10cm! Oops. Go time.

Before the nurses could get ready, I was setting myself up to push. Thankfully at 10cm and a few pushes in, the epidural started to work. Harris was ready by my side. [Real man points go to him for being so strong during such an intense and foreign experience.] The whole 45 minutes or so of pushing he was right there with me because, after all, this is our birth story. 

Finally our son arrived. He's here. He's healthy. He's ours. It was a total of 6 hours and 46 minutes after my water broke until he was in my arms. From what I have been told, that's a whirlwind pace for a first time mama. It was indeed a whirlwind, and a story I will cherish forever. Harris was with me each step fighting alongside me to get our son here. He saw a side of me he had never known before. We were running the race together and the prize was our son. 

The gift of marriage is that we get to do this, and everything else, together. We get to do life, including bringing our son into the family, together. What an incredible gift it is! Now the three of us get to do life together. 

To my single sisters: baby delivery is a part of marriage you may not necessarily be thinking about when butterflies are happening in dating. I didn't. Let's just say that it's one of those moments where to have a man with humble strength and a commitment to the covenant relationship is worth the wait. 

Every woman's story is different, and you will probably hear many (especially if you're pregnant and do NOT want to hear them). As I said, it's like telling people about your warrior alter-ego. It feels like you went to battle and did the dang thing and you just really want people to know about it! So cut us a break. You'll want to tell yours too. 

God has a plan for your life, and He is good. Whatever your story (or birth story) looks like, He will provide. I am just over the moon thankful for a God who loves me, a strong supportive husband, a healthy baby boy, and an incredible experience I'll never forget.