Thursday, December 31, 2015

The year of grace

Last year, I boldly stated on Instagram that my one and only New Years resolution was to grow closer to God - in every way possible, by any means possible. I figured the best way to grow closer to God was to dive into His word. I wasn't trying to read the bible in a year, though I had looked at studies for that, so I found a two hundred something day study that hit all the main points of the bible and then some. While at the start I had to force myself to do it (I actually wrote it out on my daily to-do lists - read, reflect and journal) it slowly became a habit and something I looked forward to doing, which is what I was hoping for. I was giving myself a year to do it even though it was less than 365 readings because I knew I would fail - I was giving myself grace. And oh boy did I fail. I haven't opened up my journal but a few times since Ezra was born. I've opened up my bible even less so. BUT! I have never been this close to God. My prayer life, though it falters daily, has grown leaps and bounds. Both out of my desire and resolution to grow closer to God and out of necessity. This year was hard.

Uriah turned two (the terrible two!) while we were living in a semi questionable long stay hotel in Seattle for four weeks while I was 30+ weeks pregnant and on a severe hormonal roller coaster. We dealt with the pressure of submitting a rank list and impatiently waiting for Match Day along with all the stressors that come with leaving your entire career and future up to a computer algorithm. Ezra was born, which was the absolute highlight of our year, but her birth was accompanied by all the usual adjustments of a baby and going from three to four - wonderful, but still, hard. And then we chose to travel before coming home to the task of immediately packing up our house and moving. Oh and we decided to potty train Uriah right in the middle of all that, too, so there was pee, everywhere. So we get here and Stephen goes from having all this time off after a pretty lax fourth year and he starts working minimum 72 hour weeks. I don't know the city, we have two kids who are stuck with a mother still trying to figure out TWO KIDS, no family, no friends, cardboard boxes e v e r y w h e r e... Stephen had to start working nights, which was a difficult schedule adjustment for everyone. Uriah learned to crawl out of his crib and had the worlds worst and longest transition to a toddler bed. Everyone cried. Everyone screamed. Stephen had to work the holidays. We still don't have any family or friends... You guys! It has been HARD!

So, I learned to pray out of necessity. There were times those first few months here when Uriah was being so very, very two and all the adjustments were hitting him hard and no one was sleeping and Stephen was gone and I would literally just fall to my knees and beg... Lord, God, please... Help me have patience. Help me be ok, be calm, be rational, be content, be happy. Make my babies sleep! Make my child stop screaming! Show me love! Show me grace! I needed so much grace this year... And every time I hit my knees, I would rise filled with His love and grace and goodness and glory. My babies didn't start sleeping and Uriah never stopped screaming and I don't plan on ever having extra amounts of patience, but He was there and I have never felt that so strongly. So we'd make it to bed time and we'd start again the next day because, GRACE.

2015 was such a year of growth for me. I was pushed and pulled and tested more than I had planned for. I learned a lot about myself this year - my weaknesses, insecurities and selfish tendencies - all which highlight and strengthen my need for Jesus. I think I know and understand Uriah better now, too - my mini me to a fault. My marriage was even tested, right along with my faith and patience and aspirations. I have never questioned more or doubted more than I did this year. But I've also never felt this much - believed this strongly or loved this deeply.

Now, I don't want my honesty to be mistaken for negativity. I feel guilty exclusively labeling 2015 as "hard". Because while 2015 has left me exhausted, in almost every way possible, 2015 was good. There was joy - so much joy. Mostly found in Ezra's exaggerated smiles, Uriah's quirky characteristics and our late night teeth brushing parties. I smiled until my cheeks hurt, laughed until my tummy ached and loved until I felt physical pain in my heart. I cried tears of happiness and yelled words of excitement. We made countless memories this year on our new adventure, ones that I will forever cherish. We have been so abundantly blessed this year and those blessings have not been lost on me - they have not been completely overshadowed. The year was filled with it's fair share of light, too, and I can see the good just as clearly. But I think it's ok, I want it to be ok, to say that even still, it was a hard year.

2015 was hard. But it was good.

Saying goodbye to the year lifts a small weight off of my shoulders and I am ready to embrace all that 2016 has to offer. And if it's another hard year? Well, there's always grace for that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

nine months

^^ Another set of not great quality pictures. Sorry, Ezra! ^^ 

Size: Ezra is in size 4 diapers, wearing 6-12 and 12-18 month clothing. She weighs a whopping 22 pounds (finally surpassing Uriah's baby weight - they have always been the exact same weight at any given month), in the 95% and is 28 inches tall, in the 70%.

Eat: Ezra is finally starting to eat solids! We've tried on and off since she was a little over 5 months old and she's just now starting to show more interest. Though she likes them, acidic fruits (mango and peaches) don't seem to settle well with her tummy, but she is a big fan of applesauce and banana. She also loves sweet potato, avocado and mom and dad's smoothies ;) She is still nursing like a champ, nursing about every 3 hours, and showing no signs of weaning, which I am completely happy about!

Teeth: Ezra has 3 and a half teeth! Her two bottom teeth and her top right tooth. Her second top tooth is making it's slow appearance, breaking skin and then disappearing again, poor girl. Hopefully it will come through and stay through soon! For now, I can't see or feel any more teeth so we might have a little teething break heading our way.

Sleep: This last month has been a little all over the place for sleep. Typically, she was waking up one to three times a night and I blamed it on teething and a new bowel schedule, but just before she officially turned 9 months I decided to "sleep train" her, again, and after just one night of "crying it out" (she cried 5-20 minutes three different times) she started sleeping through the night again. So I don't think it was pain or discomfort of any kind and just habit...? Either way, she's sleeping through the night again (!!!) maybe waking up once but can be soothed back to sleep with a binki, her blanket and a little rocking. Her naps have also been in a bit of a transition phase, going from 3 naps to 2. She wakes for the day around 6, goes down for her first nap about an hour later and naps for 1-2 hours. She will occasionally sneak in a little cat nap sometime between 10:30-12, usually in her carseat, but goes down for her afternoon nap sometime between 11:30 and 1, depending on our schedule and that on the go snooze. She'll sleep for another 1-2 hours and we'll get some good one on one time when she's up before her brother wakes up from his afternoon nap - some of my favorite moments of my day! She gets tired again around 4:30 but usually refuses that third nap, so food and a bath keep her fuss free until she goes down for bed around 6:30-7.

Milestones: Ezra is getting faster and faster at her crawling! She'll stand up on anything she can reach and walk along the couch or from chair to chair. She's starting to show more interest in walking while holding our hands and is getting much better at it. She's also mastered the squat (while holding on to her support) and can get herself up and down pretty gracefully. A couple times, now, she has balanced standing on her own, but only for a few seconds at a time. She waves when you say "hi!", raises her arms in the air when you ask "how big is Ezra?!" and throw her blanket over her face when you tell her to "hide!" (and then continues to play peek-a-boo! It's the cutest thing!) She can say "dada" and knows right where "momma" and "yi-ah" are, but doesn't consistently say those, yet.

Likes: Ezra loves her brother! She loves getting to play with his toys, watching him jump on the bed, playing chase with him... She thinks he hung the moon! She loves attention just as much as always - her open mouthed, eyes disappearing smile is more contagious than ever! She loves to sit in her high chair, whether she's eating or not. She loves bath time and the two of them almost always take one together now. She loves tickle time and starts laughing even before you get to her out of the anticipation! She is her daddy's biggest fan and immediately follows the sound of his voice. She loves nursing, her blankey and a good snuggle in the rocking chair. Ezra still loves being outside - worn and strolled. She loves to slap things, surfaces, which I know is typical for this age and maybe not even really a "thing", but she lights up at the sounds she makes and it makes me just as happy in return! She is getting more and more interested in books and will flip through the pages herself and sit happily in our lap as we read to her. She is such a happy and content baby - fed and changed, she will crawl around the living room playing with toys for a solid hour just happily entertaining herself (her favorite toys, of course, are not toys at all! Cords, outlets, her carseat...)

Dislikes: Girl hates being laid down in the bathtub! I was surprised by this one because she loves the bath and she has never minded laying down to get dressed or get her diaper changed, but man does she have an opinion about laying down in the tub...! She hasn't been a big fan of the Christmas tree - she doesn't mind it until she ends up underneath it and then is just too confused by it, I think. She doesn't like waiting for her food or "no no"s getting taken away from her. And I recently discovered that she doesn't like watching mom in the shower...!

Things I want to remember: The way she crawls over to me and lays her head in my lap when she's ready for her nap, sometimes dragging her blankey. The way she blows her lips ALL the time and in response to others doing it, like she talking! The way she licks the sliding glass door and the refrigerator. The way she lights up when dad walks through the door - there's nothing sweeter! The way she lays her head on my shoulder when I hand her her blankey. The way she laughs at Uriah's annoying sounds. The way her hair is soft and fuzzy and ever so blonde. The way her skin feels, smooth as silk.

Month 9 was good, but I foresee things just getting better and better with this one. Miss Ezra, your personality is showing through more and more and it is so sweet and joyful. You are such a gift from God and I hope you know that you are truly treasured and loved!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Just in time for December to end, I have a post containing all of November's pictures. Naturally. We had many visitors in November, including Sherri, Stephen's mom, the Lobdell couple and my mom, whose visit also included a visit to my Great Aunt Sally a few hours south. I think we went to the beach on every one of Stephen's days off and we all took the train for the first time. The month was full of love and laughter, warm sunshine and cool mornings. A northern California November with these three just might be my new favorite month.