Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

On this beautiful autumn day, I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to count the many blessings the Lord has given me. First of all, I am thankful for my family.
My parents raised me to have faith in my Heavenly Father and to act on what I knew to be right. They taught me to gain an education and to be always learning.
Because of them, I attended Brigham Young University, where I met my husband. I am thankful that I found such an intelligent, handsome, talented, funny, loving man and that, by some miracle, he fell in love with me too.
I'm thankful that we were able to be sealed together for time and all eternity in the Lord's holy temple.
I am thankful that, because of that sealing, all of our children will be born in the covenant and be part of our family forever. I'm thankful that we were blessed with such a beautiful, happy, smart, healthy, lively little girl and for the joy and laughter that she brings into our lives.
 I'm thankful that we're able to take care of that sweet girl through gainful employment.
I'm thankful that we have food to eat, medicines to heal us, and modern technologies to make our lives easier. I am thankful for wonderful friends who share so much of themselves with us. I am thankful for music, art, and literature. I am thankful for love, laughter, and beauty. I am thankful for this gorgeous world, my good health, and my life itself. I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and my Heavenly Father.
I am thankful that through Christ's Atonement, all of these blessings are possible, especially the gift of eternal families.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eight Months

My little girl is getting so big--she's 8 months old now! This is the perfect age, and I really wish she could stay this size forever. She can't talk back yet, and she can't really get into too much trouble. Plus she's still little enough to snuggle into my arms. But she's old enough now to show off her own little personality and sense of humor. In fact, she does such silly things all the time nowadays, and I just wanted to share a couple of them:

She's such a cutie! Since the day she was born, her eyes have been her largest and most prominent feature.
In fact, I hate to say it, but she used to look slightly bug-eyed. In the past couple of months, though, her face has filled out and she's grown into her eyes. Evie's always been a cute and pretty little girl, but now she's growing into quite the little beauty!
 I'm happy to be Evie's Mommy, and I wanted to share that joy in celebration of my baby's 8 months of life!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leaps and Bounds

Holy cow! Evie is learning and growing at a ferocious rate. It isn't possible to leave her in one spot anymore and expect her to still be there a few minutes later. That little girl moves fast! And she's smart! She understands the phrase "Come here!" and she'll crawl towards us and then reach up her arms for us.

Evie is a very social little person, and likes to be with her Mommy and Daddy. She's learning to follow us wherever we go. The other day, I left her in the middle of the living room floor while I ran downstairs to get her a bottle. When I came back two minutes later, she was behind the recliner, halfway to the stairs, and was playing on the fireplace bricks. Good thing I came back when I did, or she might have made it all the way down the stairs! Then yesterday morning, I gave her a bath, put a clean diaper on her, and left her to play in the middle of the bedroom floor with the door closed so she couldn't escape. I left the door between the bedroom and the bathroom open so I could keep an ear on her, and I got in the shower. Only seconds later, I heard little grunts getting closer and closer. After washing my hair, I poked my head out of the curtain and saw my little girl grinning up at me from the bathroom doorway. When I was all clean, I looked out again and she was sitting up on the cold floor, playing with the bathmat. I dried off and stepped onto the bathmat, and she grabbed my feet and tried to climb up my legs.

She's getting good at climbing all around. A couple of nights ago, I was curled up on the couch playing on my computer, and Evie was playing on the floor at my feet. Suddenly, I heard serious little grunts and then felt her pulling up and playing with my toes. I looked down, and she had used the couch to pull herself up to a standing position! I called to Todd, but just as he poked his head around the wall, she plopped down again. Then she pulled up again, but plopped down as soon as Todd tried to see. Finally, he was able to witness this major event! And this afternoon, I was finally able to document it!
Besides her physical accomplishments, Evie is learning to try new foods. I took her to her appointment on Tuesday, and she is now allowed to have three solid meals a day, in addition to her bottles, and she's allowed to try meats. I got her all kinds of fun new foods to try: apples and cherries, pears and raspberries, apricots with pears and apples, apples and blueberries, and mango. We fed her turkey in turkey broth Tuesday night, and she was not impressed. She kept gagging, and refused to finish it. Last night we tried beef in beef broth, and the same thing happened. Finally, tonight, we tried apples and chicken. I don't know if the third time is the charm, or if having a familiar fruit flavor mixed with the meat helped, or what. But she scarfed it down!

At her appointment on Tuesday, we also weighed and measured her. She is now 24 7/8 inches tall (4th percentile--but she's our child; we're not surprised she's short!), weighs just over 16 pounds (23rd percentile--hooray!) and her height to weight ratio is in the 84th percentile. She's a very healthy and happy little girl, and she's learning and growing at a good rate!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Best Blessing

There's something about a hot shower that just starts my day off right; the hot water works the kinks out of both my muscles and my thoughts. Today while I was in the shower, I had an epiphany. It occurred to me that my purpose in this life truly is to be a mother. I've always believed that families are central to God's plan for us on this earth, but it suddenly became real to me this morning. Really, my epiphany was that our lives revolve around our children; they are some of our biggest trials sometimes, but they are also our greatest blessings.

Most of the worst things that can happen in this life happen to, or because of, our children. Some mothers get horribly sick while they're pregnant or have difficult labors. Many of those mothers have to do that all alone because the fathers flaked out on them. Some children are placed for adoption because their parents, despite wanting and loving those children desperately, simply cannot provide for them. Others are just neglected. Sometimes, children turn their backs on the way they were raised and lose touch with their families. Some children are born with a devastating illness, and others develop illnesses later on in life. Some children are horrifically abused, and others die tragically young. Some parents struggle endlessly to provide their children with the basic necessities of life. Regardless of individual circumstances, it is safe to say that being a parent is not always easy, and no child has a perfect life. Every single family has their own personal struggles in life and has to learn to overcome them together. Every parent is haunted by stress, by trials, and especially by worry.

But in the end, it's all worth it. One single smile on the face of a child wipes away an entire night of crying, throwing up, and cleaning. One look into the pure innocence in a child's eyes makes a mother forget all the pain and exhaustion she feels after labor. One sweet giggle from your little one blots out the swathe of destruction that follows that little one around the house. And all true parents would do it all again. Even the "mistakes." A close family relation had her son when she was seventeen years old, and when he was eighteen years old, he died from an allergic reaction to drugs. She has told me that she would do it all again; even knowing that she would only have those eighteen years with him, she would choose to get pregnant at sixteen and have him at seventeen, just for the pleasure of knowing him and being his mother. Todd and I would do it again, too. Even though we can't really afford to give Evie the life we want her to have, we would choose to have her again because she is our precious little girl and we love her.

That was really my epiphany this morning: children are a privilege that eclipses any trials that they may bring. The love of parents for their children makes every sacrifice and every challenge worth it, just to have the blessing of a child in our lives: the best blessing of all.