Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Five Months!

I'm way behind on the monthly updates, so I'll start with last month's. Natalie had her four month check-up on April 19th. I was nervous to take her by myself since Alex had a lot of work to do. It's a 45 minute drive each way, which might as well be an eternity if the baby starts crying along the way. Thankfully, she rode well in the car and got a little cat nap in at the very end. She weighed 14 lbs 1 oz and is 24 inches tall. Both measurements put her in the 50th percentile.

Yesterday, she turned 5 months old! It makes me sad to think that so much time has gone by already and she is getting closer and closer to becoming mobile! I weighed her last week and she was 16 lbs! She has gotten much steadier while sitting, although we still have to support her. Right at 4 months, she would roll from tummy to back, but after a few days, she stopped and I don't know if it's because she has gotten lazy or if it's because she scared herself after rolling over one day, but she will NOT roll over anymore. Maybe she'll master that this next month. She also started giggling, mostly at Layla. It takes a lot of effort to get a laugh out of her, but when we do, it's one of the most precious sounds my ears have ever heard. For a while, Natalie went through a phase where she wouldn't let anyone but me and Alex hold her. It broke her grandmothers' hearts that she would scream and cry when they would try to get in some cuddle time. Thankfully, that stage passed quickly and she has become much more sociable letting complete strangers hold her (ie: the cashier at Hobby Lobby, lol). She loves to pass out smiles to everyone who talks to her and they gladly accept.

Sleeping is still sporadic at night. Lately, she has been waking up between 11 and 12 and then every 3 hours after that. I miss the nights when she would sleep at least 7 hours straight! Alex will be on a business trip later this week, so I plan on working with Natalie on this while he's away. I'm not a huge fan of crying it out, but sometimes it's the last resort and it works.

This child loves to wiggle and squirm and blow raspberries like no tomorrow. She has so much energy and is very inquisitive. Heaven-forbid she can't see what is going on around her and she miss out on some of the action! I wouldn't change any of this because these things are part of who she is and part of what makes her special, but it does make it difficult to sit through a church service. It seems like there are never enough workers to help with the babies in the nursery, so I've never left her back there, especially since she can't sit up on her own and do anything independently yet. So, we juggle her around between grandparents and such and take her out when she's noisy. I don't really like this arrangement because I feel like we're distracting everyone around us, but I don't have any better ideas yet.

I embroidered the onesie she's wearing below for her over the weekend and am happy that it turned out ok after having a bobbin crisis in the middle of it! Now I'm hooked on appliques and embroidery and my machine will finally get some serious use!

Every day I thank God that we have a healthy baby girl. I never want to take her for granted. She is such a precious gift and I still can't believe she's mine. I love you so much, Natalie Grace!

Strawberry Picking

Last week, Natalie and I went strawberry picking with my mom. Natalie had just finished an extraordinary two hour nap, so I thought she'd be in a good mood to sit in her car seat in the grass, but she wanted to be a part of the action, so I held her and tried to pick berries, but that was very slow going. The short picking season was pretty much over, but we thought we'd try our luck and see what was left. With all the wet weather we've had recently, lots of the berries were moldy and rotting, but my mom and I managed to pick about 3 quarts worth of good berries and the generous owner of the strawberry patch gave them to us for free! I made freezer jam for the first time, and then we had homemade bread to go with it. Yum! There's nothing like homemade food.

It took until I was married to enjoy cooking and baking. My mom always cooked when I was growing up, but I resisted her attempts to teach me. Chalk it up to stubbornness and just not loving all the food she made. I hope that Natalie has the desire to help me in the kitchen and learn how to prepare a variety of foods while she's growing up. I'd say we could make a lot of special memories over a pot of homemade spaghetti sauce or a bowl full of chocolate chip cookie dough.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nothing is Impossible

There has been some serious "stuff" going on in Alex's family lately and I haven't exactly been compassionate and loving towards the people that I should be. My attitude has been one of frustration, criticism, anger, and arrogance. I've prayed that my heart would change and that I would have the right perspective on the situation and God answered. Yesterday at church, we sang "Healer" by Kari Jobe. If you're not familiar with the song, here are the lyrics:


You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus, You're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

When we got to the "nothing is impossible" part, I started thinking about this situation in our family and how I've been saying that it feels like it's impossible for these certain individuals to change. They've made many bad choices, suffered numerous consequences, seemingly lost everything, and despite hitting bottom over and over, they still won't turn away from sin and ask God to redeem them. Yet, I am a sinner just like them, and God saved me. What if He had thought that I was a hopeless case? What if God had thought I was incapable of changing my sinful ways? Even though we tend to rank sins in order of their "horribleness", regardless of how great the consequences for sin may be, all sin separates us from God. So, I'm just as horrible and messed up as these people that I judge. These people that I struggle to love.

But then there's this song that says, "Nothing is impossible for You". They aren't a hopeless case. They can be saved. Their lives CAN be redeemed. Jesus died for every.single.person.on.earth. Including them. His blood is enough for them. His love is enough for them. Just because I can't wrap by little head around it and my poor human eyes can't see hope for their salvation on the horizon, doesn't mean that God is incapable. Nothing is impossible for God.

"For with God, nothing shall be impossible." Luke 1:37 KJV

And it is still my responsibility as a Christian to love them. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34. And I need to stop thinking of myself as better than them because I have my own sin to deal with. "How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Luke 6:42

I'm so thankful that "The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love." Psalm 103:8 NLT and that He didn't give up on me. That He is still working on me. That I can "be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" Philippians 1:6 NIV. And just as these things are true for me, they are true for every one of us. Nothing can separate us from God's love, from His grace, from His goodness, from His salvation. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 NIV. And just as God will never give up on me, I can't give up believing for the salvation and redemption of these loved ones.