Sunday, August 16, 2015

Matthew Turns TWO! (July 21)

Dear Matthew,
You turned two last month. TWO! Even with your little sister on the way, I would look at you and still see my little baby, whose thighs I loved to squeeze, and asleep in your crib with your footie pajamas. Last week when we brought Skylar home, you were no longer my baby. Some how in one day's time your hands got huge and your thighs lost all their chub. You became a big boy over night and my little baby was nowhere to be found. I feel like being your mom puts me in a constant place of mourning the loss of last stage and looking excitedly toward the one that lies right ahead. There's no denying it, you are becoming a big boy. You run without tripping, you communicate your needs (more on that later), you share your toys and play with others, you make funny jokes - the most recent of which is when you proudly brought in your little lego man whose little lego head was replaced with a lego toilet bowl. Lego toilet man. You were laughing so hard and your creation and I was cracking up along with you, proud of your creativity. That's what you boys have made me into, a mom who is proud of her boys lewd humor because however lewd it was, it sure was creative.

You are my little goof ball of the bunch. You love to play games and make jokes, anything to make someone laugh or get to laughing yourself. You will play hide and seek for hours, always telling me exactly where you want me to hide. Haven't quite caught on the the suspense part of the game, but it's how you enjoy playing, so I indulge you. You will rise the the occasion to play at any moment, and we can often turn you out of a sour mood just by making a face or chasing you down the hall. Although, when it comes time to stop, you do become a bit put out. You've taken to expressing yourself very clearly with your actions. You will stomp your one foot rather hard and give a look of sheer stubborn determination. But, when you get the call to time out, you usually go rather willingly. When it comes time to apologize, you will come right over and give your "sorry hug" and then proceed to do what we asked of you.

Speaking of communication, you are definitely the latest of your siblings to talk. I'm not sure if it's because you had fluid in your ears for so long the first year of your life, or if it's just your particular developmental process, but you only have about five words you say - Mama, Dada, hot, hat, ice, and dirty (pointing to your diaper when it needs to be changed). We're going to have an assessment done this next week to make sure there's nothing else hindering your speech, but in the meantime, you still get your point across quite well. Sometimes I think you communicate better than your siblings just through the few words you use, your grunts, points, and facial expressions. I do wish I could hear your voice though and look forward to when it starts to present itself. I know it holds a great deal of your personality, just bursting to come forward.

It has been fun to watch you starting to play more and more with Cy and Charlotte. You're learning to share your toys and that every tower they build or fort they create is not made especially for you to knock over. All three of you are sleeping in the same room now and I can tell you like the company. Maybe a little too much from the sounds of shrieks and laughter that come from your room at a little past six in the morning. But I will definitely take that over yelling and crying any day. You always want to be a part of their play and as you get older I can tell you're learning more about how to play with them rather than at them. It's fun to watch you three together.

Probably the quickest to give hugs and say your sorry for any wrongdoing, I could tell from the beginning you've had a real sensitive side. If ever I'm sad or having a hard day, you will notice and come to my side with a hug or a snuggle. It's even amazing to me that from the day we brought home Skylar, you have not wanted to leave her side. At even such a young age, she is not a stranger to you, but it's like you know without a doubt she is your sister and it is your duty to protect her. I can't wait to see how you two grow together. I pray you two will be close and that this bond I see forming will grow even closer.

When we had you, I thought you would be our last. I didn't know our little surprise would come along two years later. Because of this, I did my best to soak in every moment with you. Every late night feeding, every song before bedtime, every moment your head rested contently on my shoulder, every laugh, every new step, every joke you would make, every sweet blankie and thumb-sucking snuggle. I am so glad I thought you were my last because not only did you teach me to soak in every moment with you, but also reminded me to do the same with Charlotte and Cy. It has been a wonderful last two years with the three of you and I look forward with joyful anticipation at what comes for the four of you in the many years ahead. 

You are such a joy and delight in our lives. Your laughter is contagious and your sweet smile lights up the room. You have such a huge personality and I love how it just washes over everyone around you. And I love your hair!! I can't do anything to tame that mane, but I just LOVE it! You are my sweet little guy, and I have so many prayers for you in the years that still lie ahead. I pray with all my heart that your sensitive sweet side would be pulled into the arms of Jesus at a very young age. I pray that big personality inside of you would just burst out with a love for your Savior and that love would spread onto everyone you touch. I pray you would be a great friend to your brother and sisters and that friendship would grow stronger every year. I pray all four of you would encourage one another in the Lord and be there for each other through the joys and sorrows, pointing one another more toward Christ through every difficult circumstance you face. I pray you would learn to sit in one another's pain with each other, sharing His love just in your presence with them. No words needed. I pray you would be a good friend to others and always find the one who is left out, ignored, or pushed aside, and offer a word of encouragement or kindness to them. I pray when people see you and get to know you, they would see the love of Christ so deeply inside of you with such compassion and love for others, that they would be drawn to Him with an undeniable pull. I pray you would see in the hard times how He is molding and shaping you more and more to His image and what a wonderful and perfect thing that is. I love you so deeply that at times it hurts, and those are the moments when I need to remember ultimately you are His, only given to me for a time to teach you how deep and how wide and how high is the love of Christ. He has entrusted you to me, and I pray with all my heart that I make good on that trust. I love you, Mister. My sweet sweet boy. 


Cy Turns Four (May 22)

Dear Cy,
I know, I know, this is August and your birthday was May 22, but for the past few months I was really just trying to keep you all alive and having any free time to write (uninterrupted) was pretty much nonexistent. We brought home your little sister, Skylar, a week and two days ago, and this morning your dad took you, Charlotte, and Matthew to church and gave me some time alone to rest. So, now, three months later, I finally have a moment to write to you. Please forgive your crazy mama.

First off, I want to say how amazed I am every day at how BIG you're getting! You are turning into this little boy and have left the toddler station for good. I see you walking down the hall sometimes and I can picture the stages of life you will walk through to your teenage years and in becoming a man. My heart is so huge for you, Cy, and as much as I'm excited to see you growing so fast, I also am saddened by the loss of everything that was baby in you.

You have changed and grown so much this past year and not just in size. Your personality has just exploded and we've gotten to see so many changes in your heart as well. It used to take quite a bit of prompting to say you were sorry or to show compassion toward others in a personal way, and now I notice you are often the first to say you are sorry and to make sure the other person is okay. You still love hugs and cuddles and are by far my best hugger. I could just hug you all day long when you give me one of your big wrap around hugs. You're also learning to control your temper more and often use your words before I even prompt you, in order to tell me how you're feeling about something. Dinner time is also much more enjoyable with you, as we've seen huge growth in your willingness to try new things and also to eat vegetables!! A once almost impossible feat! You now brag to us about how you're the first one to eat all the veggies on your plate. Many nights you're the one to ask if you can pray for the meal which is such a joy to watch...."Thank you God for the food, thank you for the earth, thank you for our family, thank you for ..sorry for our sins, help Matthew's boo boo....Amen." Many nights, if not every night, you are the first to thank me for dinner - something I'm sure your dad taught you by his wonderful example.

You started preschool this past year at the elementary school Monday through Thursday 8-11am. Other than a handful of days when you would have rather stayed home with me, you really enjoyed it. It was on those days when part of me wondered if I should have waited a year, but then I saw how much you were learning and how much you enjoyed making new friends, and I realized it was probably a good choice. You and your sister spend so much time together at home, which is often such a great thing, but sometimes you two need some time apart in order to enjoy one another more. School was a good opportunity for both of you to do this. You went in the morning, came home for lunch with the family, and then Charlotte went in the afternoon. So you both had a break from one another for a time and you both had some more one on one time with me.

Speaking of you and Charlotte, I have to say it was actually pretty tough to find many pictures of you alone because so often you two are playing together. As you two get older, you really do enjoy spending time together. Don't get me wrong, there are many fights I have to break up, but on the whole I know you would rather be together than play alone.

You've also started including Matthew in your play more as well. Often it's hard for you to share your toys and I know he hasn't learned all the "rules" of play yet, but I have noticed you being more patient with him and more willing to help him when he's having a tough time. You're the one who is quick to forgive and hug back when he has to apologize.

It's fun to watch the three of you play together, which has happened more and more often these days. Sometimes it will be fifteen or twenty minutes and I haven't heard any screaming or crying or arguing. I begin to wonder if everything is okay. I go outside to assess the situation and you all are sharing and playing together as if you are the best of friends. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of screaming and dirt throwing and balls thrown at heads, but on the whole, it's pretty peaceful.

Ever since we told you in December and you watched my belly grow in size every month, you have been excited at the idea of having another sibling. You wanted to know how the baby grows, what it eats, and if it could bite me. You really wanted a baby brother (the gender we always keep a surprise until the end) but toward the end you started to admit more and more that a little sister is really what you'd prefer. From the moment you met her at the hospital and every moment since, you have been so gentle and sweet toward Skylar. Your big hands stroke her small soft head like it were your most precious possession. You always want to know where she is, almost as often as Matthew does. I know you're going to be a great big brother, always looking out for her, and showing her the ropes.

Cy, it is a joy being your mama and watching you grow and change so much every day. I see a light in your eyes and a softness in your heart that gives me great encouragement for all that lies ahead for you. I continue to pray your heart would fully open one day to the love of Christ and you would let Him in completely without reservations. I know when that day comes you will be forever changed with no turning back. That's just the kind of boy you are - all in or nothing at all. I pray your love for your siblings would continue to grow and that the friendship you four hold for one another would withstand the test of time and circumstance. I look at your picture now and it just makes me smile, for all you are and all I know you will become. You are my bud, my sweet boy, my Cy. I love you with all my heart.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Charlotte at Five and a Half

Dear Charlotte,
My apologies to you that I've waited six months to write you five year letter. It seems that as we add to our family of blessing, time runs a bit shorter these days. I have the time today because I'm taking a vary rare day off of church and trying to get better from a lingering sickness that struck earlier this week. I'm trying not to feel guilty with three hours of uninterrupted time on my hands to rest and heal. If you were home with me now, I know you would be the first to make sure I was okay, getting me blankets and glasses of water and asking if there's anything else I need. You are indeed my little helper and such a sweet one at that. You have such a caring and kind nature, that whenever you see me hurting or in any pain, you're the first to come over and make sure I'm okay and give me a sympathetic hug or kiss what's hurting.

It's hard to believe you've grown up so much. I look at you and I still see my little baby, but at the same time I can't deny this sweet young girl you're becoming. Even when I look at this picture of you in the snow that was taken six months ago, I already see so many changes now. I just know that I want to enjoy every moment I have with you and never take a single one for granted.

The thing about you I am most grateful for is your sensitivity to the Lord's calling on your heart and your desire to tell everyone you can of the great love of Jesus. I remember listening at your door when you and Cy were "going to sleep" one night, and hearing you share the gospel message with him. You were telling him how Jesus is God and how he made everything, how he made Cy, and how much he loves him. You were telling him of how Jesus can take away sins and how he wants to live with him forever. Sometimes when I share these truths with you, I'm never quite sure if you're completely understanding it, but then when I hear you repeat them in your own way with your own heart, I realize you've been listening all along. And not just listening, but really understanding and wanting that truth for yourself.

You and Cy can be real goofballs together and it's fun to watch you two grow closer. As you become better friends, you also have your share of frustrations with one another. But, somehow you always manage to work it out and miss one another terribly when the other is gone for even part of the day. You and Cy both think of one another when at school and always try to make a project or color a coloring sheet for the other person. If I go to the store just with you, you always want to make sure we bring something back for Cy and Matthew. It's been hard for you to relate with Matthew, as he is still fairly young, but I do see you trying harder to find ways to play with him and be close to him. He loves you dearly and will cling on for a super hug whenever he can.

You will be in kindergarten next year and you are so excited to start school for the full day. You love to learn and often will pull out your kindergarten workbook and want to work on your writing and math skills. You have mastered your first name in upper and lower case letters and are now learning how to write your full name, your phone number, and address. You can count to one hundred with very little assistance, can recognize almost all the alphabet letters, and are learning to recognize more of your numbers past the teens. It's fun watching your brain work and want to know and take in more information. You love coloring, especially horses, and pay great attention to details. I am daily impressed with how well you're advancing in your artistic skills. You love reading and will often want to take a book into bed with you at night to read until you fall asleep. Even though you can't make out the words yet, you enjoy the pictures and trying to figure out the words and story line.

You found out in December that you'll soon have another little brother or sister this coming August. With Cy you were still a bit young, and even with Matthew, not as interested with the pregnancy, but with this baby you are very curious. You love watching my belly grow and keep asking how much bigger it's going to get. You will put your hands on my belly and patiently wait for a kick, and I get a thrill out of watching your eyes light up when the baby inside answers your request. You desperately want a little sister, but have become content with the fact that God knows what's best for our family - boy or girl - and that our job is to be thankful for the blessing of either. But, you're really hoping for that girl just the same! I love it that we all get to wait for the surprise together come August.

As a mom, one day maybe you'll come to know too, we always wonder if we're doing enough. Are we loving enough, leading well enough, teaching enough, being patient enough, helping enough, and giving enough. I wonder that with you daily and I daily have to trust the Lord that in every moment he is answering my many years of prayers to be a mother and to do the job in a way that honors Him. I pray that you will always know how deeply you are loved, by your Heavenly Father first and foremost, and then by me and your father. I pray that all we do every day will help lead you closer to Him and that your heart would swell with love with Him in return. More than anything else - more than any educational advancement, worldly prosperity, notoriety, or fame, I pray you would love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength, and that you would do great things for His Kingdom. I love you, my little sweet pea. With all that I have. I love you.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Can Hardly Believe It - Matthew Turns One!

Dear Matthew,
I feel like a single post could not contain all the joy I would like to express to you for being in our lives this past year. You are such a dear delight to us in so many ways. You have by far stolen the most sleep from me of the three of you, but somehow I've noticed the loss the least with you. I keep thinking that you're the fortunate one being born third. By this point in our parenting, we've messed up more than I ever imagined I would in my entire course as a parent, let alone in only the first three years, and now we're slowly starting to get our act together. You get to be witness to this parental sanctification and glean much of the fruit it produces. The same things the other two would get disciplined for, we look at you and say to one another, oh honey, look how cute he is. Then we smile and reflect on how great it is having a baby in this sweet, lovable, cuddly, adventurous stage. This is the time I pray wholeheartedly that your brother and sister are still young enough to not be scared for life and will also get to enjoy the benefits of the knowledge and wisdom we gained from our first two rounds in the ring. Or they'll just be so caught up in the games you like to play that they'll forget all about the challenging times.

I have to say, you surprised us at how early you initiated playing games. It was maybe at around nine months that you started pounding your high chair tray and laughing, then pulling your shirt up over your head repeatedly just to get a reaction from us.You also smiled very early on, and maybe not even two months old you started giggling. You've been very easy from the start and as soon as you could crawl, you'd make your way into the toy room and start playing with toys all on your own. You aren't one that needs constant entertainment, but you will take the cuddles whenever you can get them. Definitely the lover, you'll rest your head on our shoulders and snuggle in close. Whenever Daddy is around, you reach for him. If' he's lying down on the living room floor, you'll crawl to him as fast as your little body can take you, ready to initiate a game of wrestling or tickle fest. As soon as he comes home from work at the end of the day, you'll get a huge smile on your face. I'll tell you, go find Daddy, and you'll crawl down the hall into the bedroom, searching for him, or start knocking on the bathroom door, waiting for him to come out.

You're still waking up most nights to nurse. I thought I would go crazy when Cy didn't sleep through the night until eight months old, and now you're over one year and still waking. But, strangely, it doesn't bother me now like it did then. I think the Lord has worked on my heart over these past few years and shown me that sometimes being with your little one in their moment of need is worth a few hours of missed sleep. I still enjoy every opportunity I have to spend time alone with you, even if it's at two in the morning. Many nights, after feeding you, I'll then hold you on my shoulder, with your blanket around you and listen to your gentle "mmmmm....mmmmm............mmmmm" sounds before placing your gently into your bed. So so sweet. I don't mind one bit holding you those extra five or ten minutes. I do think part of your waking to eat has been that your ears have had fluid in them for a few months now. We went this week to get tubes in your ears and are hoping that it helps you sleep a bit better at night. Although, I do think as much as I will love the extra sleep, I will secretly miss our sweet moments together in the middle of the night.

Little by little you're starting to walk now. You took your first steps last week and now will take six to eight before falling down on your bottom. You're our only child to first learn to stand on your own before learning to walk. The others had to pull up on us or on furniture or the wall before they could walk, but you just stand up all on your own right in the middle of the floor. We'll clap for you and you'll start clapping along, not even completely realizing what you're doing. But when you do take those few steps, you get a big smile on your face and beam with pride.


I've noticed lately that you really do understand me too. A few things have happened lately that I really don't recall other one-year old's doing. A couple weeks ago you pulled a spatula of the dishwasher while I was loading it and I asked you to pick it up and bring it back to me. You had to work real hard to shimmy down under the dishwasher where you had dropped it, but you worked at it and managed to get it back, then placed it in my hand. I didn't expect you to do it, so was surprised when you gave it back to me without any fuss. Also, I've told Charlotte not to leave her hair clips around the house because you could put them in your mouth and choke on them. But, if she does forget, you'll go find them around the house and bring them to me. Then the sweetest thing happened today when Cy was brushing his teeth before his nap. I had told him to brush his teeth and then he'd take his nap. While I was brushing his teeth, you crawled in with his blanket, stood up by the sink and handed it to him, as if you knew he'd need it for his nap. Finally, you melted Daddy's heart when he was leaving for work yesterday after lunch. You crawled after him, waving to him when he looked back to say good bye. That was the first time you had done that, and totally unsolicited.

Matthew Leif means blessed gift from God and that's just what you are. You are like a soothing balm to us on some of our more challenging days. You really bring such laughter and sweetness to our lives. You were probably the most physically and spiritually challenging birth, but as soon as you came out I knew you were just what we needed. You make Charlotte and Cy laugh every day and give them such great chances to show love and kindness. I have a feeling you and Cy will be great truck buddies and I think Charlotte will always have a very sweet place in her heart for you. You go to her often for play and even for cuddles. Cy can't wait to see you in the morning and has been slathering you with kisses lately. Maybe realizing everyone can use an ally. I'm so excited to see all the Lord has in store for your future. I am convinced that he has made you the playful, lovable, easy going guy you are for some of his best and greatest purposes. I pray you will rise to the occasion and grow to serve him with your entire heart and soul. I also pray you and Charlotte and Cy will grow to be great friends and dear confidants in Christ; that your brotherhood and sisterhood would be bonded not just by family blood but more importantly, by the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. For this is the bond that nothing can break. I love you more than you could imagine. I pray one day you will have the blessing of children of your own and might get a chance to know and understand the depth and delight of a parent's love for their children. You have my heart, sweet one.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cy Turns Three: Happy Birthday Little Man!

Dear Cy,
You turned three years old this week. As you would say, "happy birthday to me!". I have to say, life with you rarely holds a dull moment. You are chock full of energy from sun up to sun down, minus a two hour nap you still day most days. You are growing so fast; earlier this week when we were at the doctor's office for Matthew, I measured you and Charlotte, only to find you both at the same 39" mark. I think you also have about five pounds on her, even being 18 months younger. People are constantly surprised how heavy you are when they go to pick you up. Often I have to remind myself when disciplining you two or in my expectations of your behavior, that you are indeed 18 months younger. Even though you may look the same age as Charlotte, you respond to life quite differently still.

It's great to see how creatively your mind works. Many days you come up with the most impressive lego creations. It makes me realize I better start saving now for a potential lego addiction in the years ahead. You love taking things apart to see how they work. This has caused me to be a bit better at my supervision of your independent play time. The other day, I was on the computer trying to write down some directions for a location we were to travel to out of town, and you kept asking me to use the squirt gun outside. I told you, no, no squirt gun, multiple times, then followed with a request for you to go find something to do. Well, it was quiet for a while, which makes me both equally grateful and nervous. Then I saw you playing with the lid of the salad spinner - the part that you push down to make the bowl spin. You've done this before with no problems, so I didn't worry. Then it was quiet for some time and a tickle of worry entered my mind. I went to find out what you were up to only to see you on the kitchen floor with the screwdriver and the salad spinner top in pieces in front of you. You were so proud of how well you took it apart that I found it rather difficult to discipline you for completely ruining my salad spinner. Needless to say, the new salad spinner is now on the very top shelf, hidden out of reach. But I've learned not to be so sure it won't be found one day.

You're slowly learning to get along better with your sister and most days you two spend many hours playing quite nicely together. Don't get me wrong, a day doesn't go by where sibling rivalry doesn't rear its ugly head, but I've noticed many times where, no matter how much she "bothers" you (Charwotte is bothering me!), you are the first to defend her when she's in need. Often times, when at the dinner table and we need to speak sternly to Charlotte, you will speak up and defend her rather strongly, telling us not to talk to her like that. If Daddy tries to sneak a bite of her desert when she's not looking, you'll practically jump over the table to keep his fork at bay. It's nice to know that no matter how much you two get at one another, I know deep down she is dear to your heart.

I've noticed lately that you're getting better at sharing and will more quickly change your heart when needing to share a toy or your food with someone else. You even get excited to share a bite of your favorite food or desert. When Matthew comes close to you to play with your toys, you've even started searching for one of your favorites to give to him, often without me having to ask you. He loves being close to you and if he's up from his nap before you are, he'll crawl down the hall to your bedroom door and wait by it, hitting the bottom of the door with his little hand. I have a feeling you two are going to grow to be great friends.

When you go to bed at night, I'll tuck you both in, pray with you and then sing a song. Now as often as Charlotte does, you too remind me to pray if ever I forget. You're also the first to call out prayer requests, whether it's that God will help you go poo poo and pee pee in the potty so you can get your truck (which you did - wooo hoooo!!), or for a friend of yours who was going to have eye surgery. It has been fun to talk with you about the things we've prayed for and how we've seen the Lord answer our prayers. "Sanctuary" is one of your favorite bedtime songs and many times you'll ask me to softly scratch your back while I sing it to you one last time. Those are some of the most exhausted moments of my day, but also by far the most enjoyable.

The Lord has definitely made you big and strong for your age, but he has also given you a sweet and loving heart. One of my favorite things you've started doing is telling me, "Mommy, I love you so very much.". It is usually followed by a big hug that just melts me from head to toe. Some days I feel like I could just hold you all day long if time and life would allow it. I pray every night that the Lord would take hold of your heart at an early age and never let you go. I pray that you would grow to be a godly boy, and in time, a godly man. I pray your heart would swell with a desire to seek and serve the Lord with your entire being and that you would find sheer joy and delight in being in His presence. I pray your faith would be so big, it would put all of ours to shame. I pray you would grow to know how deep and how wide and how high is the love of Christ. I pray that in all my failings as a parent, somehow, you would see through them my love for the Lord, and that alone would be the one thing you would hold on to. I pray you would always be able to come to your Daddy and me and we would always point you to the Lord and show you the safety you can find in His arms. I love you so much, my sweet boy. You are a joy and delight in our lives. You bring laughter, sweetness, and fun to our days in ways we've never known before.

Love you to pieces,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nine Months Old - My Sweet Matthew

Dear Matthew,
You're nine months old this week and changing so much with every passing day. I can honestly say you make my heart melt every time I look at you. You were quite a challenge to bring into this world, but from the moment you arrived, you have been nothing but joy. I praised the Lord when I first saw you and have been praising him every day since. You are a beautiful blessing in our lives.

I am grateful you have been such a good eater from the start. I've always enjoyed nursing my babies, but somehow I feel you may be our last, so I'm really trying to just soak up every moment I have with you. Those moments aren't too frequent, as I'm usually pretty distracted with the needs of your brother and sister. But, every day I look forward to those few times a day when for ten or fifteen minutes I get to be alone with you. I've been teaching you a few signs, so lately when you're finished nursing, you'll give me your version of the "all done" sign, smile at me and say, "ah doh".

You are crawling on your belly everywhere, and you're FAST. I mean, seriously quick for pulling yourself around on your belly army style. You're trying to pull up, but usually only make it to your knees. Sitting isn't your preference, but you will sit unassisted for a short time if you place you on your bottom. You would rather be on the move and have figured out how to open cabinets, doors, and love taking canned goods out of the bottom shelf of the lazy susan in the kitchen.

You're definitely not a big fan of baths. For convenience sake, we started bathing you in the shower with us from early on, so that is definitely your preference. I think it's just because you get to be held the whole time, which is your preference in general. You are definitely a cuddle baby and at this point in your life prefer me to hold you over any others. Although, you have been reaching for Daddy more often lately and during dinner time, when sitting in your high chair next to him, you spend most of the time reaching over for his arm and holding it close.

  Charlotte and Cy have been your most cherished play things. Wherever they are, that's where you want to be. If you're awake after Cy has gone down for his nap, you'll make your way down the hall to his closed bedroom door and start knocking on it. Charlotte does a good job playing with you and watching out for you, as a big sister should. She'll make sure you don't put small things in your mouth and always give you your toys to play with when you might be getting fussy. Cy talks about wanting to play trucks with you when you get bigger, but is having a difficult time sharing his cars with you even now. I know in time though, the two of you will be great play mates.

Matthew, I hope you always know how very loved you are. Most of all, I pray in time you will know the love of Christ in your life. I pray you would grow to be a godly boy and in time, a godly man; that others might see Christ in you and long to know more about him because of how well you represent him in your life. I pray He would use me to teach you about his love for you and you would never question its power to do great things in and through your life. I love you, my sweet boy. I can't wait for each new day to come and show me more and more about who God created you to be.


Friday, January 10, 2014


I called Peter this morning at 6am. He has been out of town for the week, in Florida for a conference. It was 7am his time and he was on the bus heading to the airport to come back home. It has been a long week. Charlotte started preschool this week and I had to get her there at 8am Monday through Thursday. I was blessed to have many friends throughout the week come watch the boys while I dropped her off in the morning and picked her up before lunch. This was a lifesaver. The hardest part of this week has been that I haven't gotten more than 2-2 1/2 hours of sleep in a stretch on any given night. Between Matthew waking up two to three times a night and Cy also waking up in between the times Matthew wakes up to eat, I get maybe two hours at a time before I'm up again either feeding, changing, or putting a reluctant Cy back to bed. You may ask, is he waking up from night terrors, or scared or crying? Um, no. He wakes up, sits in the doorway with his blankie and stuffed animal and starts growling. Growling, you ask? Yes, "roarrrr". Growling. Fun times. I've gone back and forth between how or if I should punish him and how to handle this situation and I really have no answer. But, when it's the third time I've gotten up in one night and my nights are starting to look just like my days, I start to lose it. I've come to understand why sleep deprivation is a key tool in military interrogation. You get to the point where you would do literally anything to get some sleep. I go to sleep earlier, say 9pm, and lay down to the thought of how long will I get before Matthew wakes up. Maybe I'll get two hours, maybe three or four if I'm lucky. I fall into a deep sleep and wake to crying at 10:20am. Less than two hours. I stumble to his room, pick him up and hold him close, sit down, latch him on and in less than five minutes I'm dreaming. I'm sitting up, nursing my baby, and dreaming. He pulls off, I wake up and switch sides. He finishes, I burp him, lay him back down - praise the Lord! he goes right back to sleep after I nurse him - and stumble back to bed at 10:45pm. I lay my head down thinking, four hours, I should have four hours now. 12:30am (less than two hours later) I get startled awake by a sound in the hall...."roarrrrrr". Yes, Cy has emerged into the hallway. I climb out of bed, tell him to get back in bed, he hesitates, I tell him a "bit more firmly", warn him with a night in the pack n' play if he doesn't stay in bed, tuck him back in, tell him I love him, and kiss him goodnight, again. 12:45am I'm back in bed thinking, okay, it was four hours, now only two, maybe three if I'm lucky. I can do three. I can do tomorrow if I only get three more hours of sleep. 2am (a little over an hour later) Matthew wakes up again, wants to eat. Growth spurt? Teething? Who knows. All I know is I prayed all through this pregnancy, from the time I knew I was pregnant, for a baby that would sleep well, through the night, early on. The same thing I've prayed every night since. Who knows why God answers some prayers and not others, but this one hasn't been touched. At least not in the way of my interests. I go to his room again, same drill. I'm so tired now that my arms and legs are getting "antsy" and very restless. I can't seem to take sitting there too much longer. I feel like I'm going to crawl out of my skin, but Matthew isn't done yet and seems to be eating for much longer than I think I can handle. I love nursing him and don't even mind doing it now, but my body is about to jump out of itself. He's starting to slow down and I can barely sit there any longer from total exhaustion and my legs so incredibly restless, so I pull him off just a tad early and he is just fine, snuggling into my shoulder after I stand up and then I gently put him back into bed to sleep. I lay back down, melt into my pillow, and am rouse again around 2:45am by Matthew. I go in and can smell his dirty diaper. I get him changed, sing him back to sleep, and lay my head back down on my pillow by 3am. Two hours pass, which feel like two minutes and I hear roaring in the hallway again. 5am and Cy is back out of bed. I get out of bed, do the drill again, put him back in, and pray for just two more hours. Just two hours of sleep, please. 5:30am and I hear Matthew. He's screaming. I try to let him cry it out. I want him to make it to his 7am feeding because if not, the whole day's schedule is thrown off and things get even crazier. It's 5:45am and I give in after hearing him off and on for the past half hour. I go in and try to feed him. He's not hungry. He must be teething. I bring him to bed with me, hoping he might sleep on me for another hour. He's up and down, restless, snuggles for ten minutes, then pops his head up and squawks. At 6am I try to put him back in bed after rocking and a song. He goes back down, only to have both the kids up at 7am and popping in and out of their room. Shortly after I hear Matthew wake for his 7am feeding. We're up. We're all up. Sometimes I pray for daylight to come so I don't have to endure any more of the night. It's that bad. I called Peter this morning at  6am crying and asking him to pray for me. I told him I'm angry with God. I told him I've had enough of this sleep sanctification. I told him I'm going to be tempted to seriously injure the next person who tells me they hope I "sleep well". Just those words, "sleep well", make me tears well up in my eyes. Don't tell someone who hasn't slept in over five months, plus the nine prior when pregnant, to sleep well. They know you mean well, they really do. But, if you know what's good for yourself, tell them you love them. Tell them you're sorry it's been so hard. Tell them you'll be over at 2pm to watch the kids so she can nap. But, please don't tell them to sleep well or you hope they have a good night's sleep. It's good to hope, hope is a good thing, and keep hoping for them, but don't tell them about it, because all they can think about is all the sleep they have NOT gotten, and that for them, it feels like there is no hope in sight. That's all I really do want, is a little hope. I just need one night, one single night of maybe a five hour stretch of sleep, to give me something to hang onto. Something to keep me going and give me hope that this stage will indeed end. I keep looking forward to a few years down the road when hopefully Cy won't be twelve years old growling in the hallway at 12am or 2am or 5am. I know when I talk to parents of older kids that they say there's always something that keeps you up, either you're waiting for them to come home after a date or worried about their first sleepover away from home, etc. But, really? This kind of sleep deprivation? I don't believe it. Or at least I just can't. I can't believe this kind of insanity will continue on for the rest of my life, and still be able to make it through this current challenge. This is hard. This is really really hard. Peter told me he loves me and he's sorry its been so hard on me and that he's been praying for me night and day, and and that he'll be home soon. Those were the words I wanted to hear. I don't know how single moms do it. I'm so grateful for a husband who loves me, is here for me, and helps me through my day. It's amazing how much help it is just for someone to hold the baby at 5:30pm when I'm making dinner. Or another person to keep an eye on the kids when I'm making everyone breakfast. Or another disciplinarian to sort through the game plan with and to help be my tag team. I recently read a blog that brought tears to  my eyes because I could relate to it so well. It wasn't the exact situation I'm going through but it hit on so many of the same key aspects of it. It was on the lie that God won't give you more than you can handle ( She reminded me of God's encouragement in Scripture about how to handle life when you are indeed pulled under by so much more than you can handle. When you're gasping for air, struggling under so much pressure weighed down on top of you. What does our Lord say? He tells us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30. So, it appears I've gotten it all wrong. I'm seeking my bed for sleep. Seeking four or five or even three hours of sleep for my sanity. I am to seek HIM. HE will give me rest for my SOUL. Not my body, or my mind, but my soul. The very place where I need him most. Where I crave him to dwell. Where sanity of body, mind and spirit rests. So, I press on. I lean on him and his promises. I trust he will get me through. I am no longer mad at him for not answering my prayers. I seek his forgiveness for not trusting him. For not believing in his promises. The truth is he loves me more than I could ever imagine. The truth is that he knows my struggle and he feels my pain and he would end it in an instant if he knew it would help me become more sanctified and him to be glorified. The truth is that it is through my pain and struggle and sleeplessness that I need him most, see him best, and learn more about him. I NEED this struggle to have my best prayers answered. Prayers for humility and patience and sanctification. Our pastor (my husband) asked last week in church what we would say to answer His question, "What do you want me to do?" Mark 10:36 and 51. When I sat there in church, my first response was, "give me sleep", of course. But then I thought more. Sleep would be the answer if I were James or John. But what if I were Bartimaeus? I dug a bit deeper and changed my answer. What do you want me to do for you? My answer? Lord, draw me closer to you. Help me to know you better. So, why doesn't he answer my prayers for sleep? He longs to answer the deeper, more meaningful prayer of my heart. To draw nearer to him. To know him better. So, I don't believe I will pray for sleep any longer. The only prayer on my heart is to know him more, to be pulled closer to his side, to fall more deeply in love with our Savior. If sleep comes, I will praise him to be sure, but I believe my heart, my mind, my soul needs so much more than sleep. It needs my Savior.