Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Blog Might Seem Empty but My Heart is Full

+JMJ+

Have you ever fallen off the blogging bandwagon and struggled to climb back on? That's me...right now. I took a huge chunk of time off for many reasons and I'm finding it really difficult to jump back in. I over-analyze everything I write, I stress out about the fact that there are SO many occasions surrounding the holidays that I have yet to document (call me OCD, but I like my blog - and everything for that matter - in chronological order), and I really want to redesign my entire blog (title and all!) but feel just a tad bit lost as to where to begin.

So what's my point? It's really difficult for me to blog right now for a lot of different reasons. The longer I wait to write the more difficult it becomes...because my ideas continue piling up higher and higher and I simply don't know where to find the time for it all. So I'm going to start small. Today I'm simply sharing this sequence of photos from my morning with Gabriel. I just love him so. I think these photos do well to demonstrate what I'm doing with my time when I'm not blogging.

Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed about not having my blog exactly the way I want it (when I want it) I simply look at photos like these. Or better yet, I look at Gabriel sitting right in front of me in his Bumbo, on his play mat, in his swing, or in my arms (wherever he happens to be at the time)...and oh. All is well in the world. 

After all, blogging is not my life. It's simply a means to help document my life. If I'm not writing it, I'm living it. And for all the moments I have recorded on this blog (in writing or through photos) there are a hundred more I couldn't possibly capture anywhere save my heart...which is a pretty good place to record them after all.

Now you'll have to excuse me as I go snuggle this little boy out of his 'I just woke up and have no idea what is going on' face to his 'Ah-ha! I see Mommy and I'm really happy to have taken a good nap!' face. I'm sure some of you other moms out there know exactly what I mean.

Happy random Thursday from Gabriel and me to you!

“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” 
-A.A. Milne

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our Arrival and a Faithful Departed

+JMJ+

Before I go too much longer without writing much of anything I'd simply like to say: we are here! We've been at our new place in the Philadelphia suburbs for almost two weeks now. It's been one of those blurs of unpacking, getting situated, and working hard to maintain a "normal" daily routine with a teething infant that leaves me feeling like our time in Florida was somehow just last week and about two months ago all at once. Time is a funny thing, I tell ya.

It also feels like an incredibly long time since I've sat down to write...anything. Sure, I've posted Gabriel's monthly updates and a couple brief things near Christmas, but the reality is that I have been so consumed by Advent, Christmas, visits from family, visits to family, and moving 1100 miles across the country that I simply had to sacrifice some things along the way in order to be present to my family (in this case - blogging).

I'm happy to be settling into our new home and getting back into a more normal routine. Hopefully it will be one that allows me to get back into the habit of working out, having a regular "prayer time" beyond little snippets here and there, reading actual books, and more. Perhaps I'm getting a little too ambitious here, but I think it's important to my mental health to maintain as much normalcy amidst another move as possible. In my experience, moving to a new place seems like much less of a huge deal if you can unpack quickly and start doing things that make it feel like your home and help you feel like...well, you...as soon as possible. I think the craziness of the holidays followed by our move has left me feeling somewhat unlike myself for a little too long...but I'm happy to announce that that has greatly changed this week. It's amazing how much a little planning (like building in a daily time to read, establishing a consistent wake up time [that isn't based on our son], etc.) can affect my mood and overall sense of sanity.

That's really all I have to say at the moment except for one important request. Please pray for the repose of my Grammie's soul (her name is Dorothy - Dot for short). She had a rough few months with multiple falls that landed her in a rehab facility and ultimately a nursing home. Her health deteriorated rapidly and this past week she went into kidney failure. She passed away peacefully this past Saturday. All of this has been rough on my family and is certainly sad - but she would have been 90 years old this March and has lived a long life filled with 4 children, 10 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren (plus one in utero that my cousin is expecting in April). I'm so grateful that Michael and I got to visit her briefly back in November and am happy that she was able to meet Gabriel. I'm saddened to think that Gabriel will be our only child to have been held by all 4 of his great-grandmothers but I also know what a rare, precious thing that is and am simply thankful he was able to have the experience. Even though he won't remember it I certainly will - and we'll make sure he sees the photos.

Now that I've shared all of that, let's end this piece with a photo that shows how happy my grandmother was. I will always remember her for her spunky attitude, funny jokes, her selfless, constant desire to feed anyone who entered her home, and her mean harmonica skills.

November 2010

"Eternal rest, grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace. Amen. 
May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gabriel: 5 Months

+JMJ+

Gabriel is 5 months old. What? Tomorrow he is also officially 22 weeks old. Again - what? To a first time mom that sounds so...old! In reality, though, I know he is so very young still. :)

Florida baby in January
Making my point further is the fact that my husband just walked past, saw me typing a blog entry and said, "Another blog?" I told him that I was writing Gabriel's 5-month update. Michael then said to Gabriel, "Ooh! You're an old baby now! Not a new baby anymore!" Plus...this picture:


Without further ado, here are his 5-month updates!

Nursing

Nap Time
  • He loves to be bounced bounced bounced to sleep during the day. Aiding in this nap time routine, however, is the fact that in the past month he became a total thumb sucker. He has disliked/rejected pacifiers his entire life (except for a few days after his birth) and still won't suck on them when given the chance...but his thumb - now that's a different story! As long as I cradle him in a position that doesn't keep him from finding his thumb I am able to put him down for naps much sooner than I could last month.
  • His naps seem to be getting shorter and shorter...though he still takes 3-5 a day (usually 3 during the day and 1-2 in the evening).

Bed Time
  • Hmm...not too much has changed here, either! Because he is teething he typically wakes up 2-3 times a night...even if we give him baby Tylenol, this Ora Jel, or both before he goes to sleep. As with all things baby-related, I know this is temporary. Whenever he starts sleeping longer again, though, I will not complain.

Bath Time
  • The days of bath toys don't feel too far off anymore - mainly because his habit of flailing/bouncing his arms up and down repeatedly is starting to resemble some playful splashing. Adorable.

Play Time
  • Most of his play time looks the same as last month - except that he is always improving his hand-eye coordination and grasping skills.
  • "Oh Mr. Sun" is still his favorite play-time song...although lately he has been giggling a lot at "The Wheels on the Bus."
  • In general he giggles more and more. :)

Growth/Development
  • This month he has learned how to control his arms so much better - and he is constantly bouncing them up and down when he gets excited. Before he would simply kick his legs excitedly...but now it's an arm-leg combo that makes him look almost like a little bird trying to flap those wings. It's textbook cuteness at its finest.
  • He outgrew the last of any 3 month clothing and is wearing 3-6 month gear full-time...except for the fact that this week he suddenly outgrew all his 3-6 month sleep 'n plays! He now sports 3-6 month clothing by day and 6-9 month sleep 'n plays at night. He is clearly getting taller!
  • He weighs 14-something pounds.
  • His hair is really growing in!
  • His eyes are starting to look more hazel...so we are still waiting to see if they turn brown or not.
  • Still teething....
"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one."
-Leo J. Burke

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Home

+JMJ+

Those of you that remember what my husband does for a living can probably guess what this post is all about....

That's right, we are moving! 
Again. :)

I haven't written much the past month due to Advent, my birthday, Christmas, New Year's, and all the fun times we had with family and friends both here in Florida and back in the Midwest...and now we are busy preparing for our move - but I wanted to take a small amount of time to share this news on here. :)

Yes, we've only been in Florida for just shy of 6 months...but that's what we signed up for. We knew that this was a short project when my husband accepted it but we had also been praying and praying and praying about where God was leading us...so even though we packed up all our things when I was 37 weeks pregnant and got here a week before Gabriel made his debut it was all surprisingly peaceful. And just where we believe God wanted us to be. Michael's main professional reason for accepting the position here in Florida was because it was a great opportunity and could open up some doors for future projects - and I'm happy to say that this has been the case. Figuring out our next project and location could not have been simpler.

Without further ado, you're probably curious where (and when) we are going. Let's see if you can guess! Here is the skyline of the city we'll be near:


Take a good look.

And because I really don't feel like torturing you or waiting for anyone to actually guess...if you said Philadelphia, you're right! We'll be in a suburb but I'm really excited to learn this city. Not only that, but I'm excited at the prospect of meeting some of my fellow bloggers out there. If you live reasonably close to Philadelphia, please let me know so we can plan something fun. 

Oh! And we will be there in about two weeks time. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to finish up some new apartment paperwork with my husband before we spend the afternoon soaking up this Florida sunshine at the pool. Because it's 80 degrees today and you'd better believe we are going to enjoy it while we still can. But oh...boots, sweaters, and scarves, here I come! Time to put all the warm baby clothes we got Gabriel for our Christmas trip north to very good use.

"Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence."
-Pope (almost officially "Saint") John Paul II