Wednesday, April 20, 2011

an adoring mother

These are a few things I especially love about my sweet girl right now... by tomorrow she'll be doing something different I'm sure, but I don't want to forget these precious moments:

~lots of "bbb" sounds as she rubs her fingers against her lips, "raspberry blowing" I guess?!
~"dada" is a common word, "mama" has happened occasionally but with less intention I think, and "baba" too
~when I pick her up in her crib as she wakes up in the morning or after her nap she grabs me and squeezes her little hands so tightly as if she just wants to hold on and not let go!
~when she's been playing on the floor or in her jumperoo and is excited to be held, she paddles her little legs so fast as I lift her up
~her most inquisitive look as she grasps things in her hands, turning them every which way and "studying" with such intensity and often a furrowed brow, I think she's already a lot like her daddy :)
~if she sees a "favorite" toy she squeals then sort of pants, and almost seems to flap her little arms with elation... her favorites now seem to be things that make noise, like Sullivan's Little People airplane and Munchkin Mozart Music Cube, or her Tiny Love sound book, or the wind up toys I've been using to entertain her during tummy time - a little squirming caterpillar and a head bobbing hopping chick
~bathtub splashing is two-fold fun now... kicking with her legs while I recline her to wash her long hair, then waving her arms as she sits up to play while washing her body
~tummy time is becoming less aggravating to her and she's even starting to pivot around as she plays and reaches for things
~when tummy time is over in Moriah's world, she's started rolling (think log rolling) here and there and everywhere... a few times in a row during any one blanket play session
~sweet smiles when I sing, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" or "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" which seem to be all-time favorites
~leaning forward in her high chair to look for Matt when he's in the kitchen and just barely out of sight
~watching her excited smiles each evening when Matt comes home from work and she sees her daddy who is her biggest thrill!
~sleeping on her tummy for the first time this week as she rolls herself over in the night, but stays content with it... no more precious baby gowns, now we're on to big girl footed sleepers
~a new bedtime routine which includes board book reading with mommy and one song then prayer, it seems to help a lot since she has more "wind down" time as we read and less singing time which brought on sleepiness but made it hard to be laid down
~eating lots of baby purees which are of course getting thicker, if she starts losing interest I can always win her over with her seemingly favorite fruit mix of bananas, apples, and pears with flax seed... thanks to the Baby Love cookbook I've kept from the library using all the renewals I can before returning it soon
~watching her face of first time joy with any sort of new fun... her eyes squint and her little nose even wrinkles while a squeal comes out :)
~realizing new sounds as she responds to them for the first time, usually with laughter... shaking a bottle of nail polish was lots of fun
~holding her arms out when she's ready to be picked up and almost "jumping" into our arms
~a messy milky face after she finishes nursing... a bit of a sloppy eater it seems :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

thoughts from a full heart

I was so excited to visit my old school with Moriah this morning! We enjoyed seeing lots of my former co-workers, who in many ways truly became a "second family" of sorts during our first two years in Louisville when everything was new to us. I also enjoyed talking with some of my former students, only the former kindergarteners who were in lunch... the former third graders were still in class, busily preparing for state testing next week so we didn't want to interrupt their hard work! As I talked with my old students who seem SO big as first graders now my heart swelled for lots of reasons. Some of my sweetest girls were still as sweet as ever and couldn't believe I remembered their names - how could I forget them?! Some of the little boys blushed to see me dote on them again. One little guy kept saying (in very clear English which was amazing after starting Kindergarten with none), "It looks like Mrs. Peery", to his astonishment I looked at him and said "Because I AM Mrs. Peery!" He jumped up and shouted "I told you!" to a near by friend :) One little boy had made his way back from a leave of absence which took him home to Iraq. Their faces and smiles made me beam, and flooded my mind with memories of sweet days and challenges I faced as well.

And two little boys made my heart melt... one little guy has suffered much as a six year old. He has a large family full of brothers (I think maybe 8, but can't quite remember) who range from my age (mid-20's) all the way down to his. One brother is confined to a wheelchair after a terrible house fire years ago which left his body severely burned and permanently disabled in many ways. Their mom who did all she could to care for them, passed away over Christmas break after a long battle with cancer. I spoke with her often last year about this little guy and his struggles to learn, though he had such a sweet and very kind spirit. She gave everything she had to help him in spite of her difficulties and illness. Now as he told me today, "Mrs. Peery my mom died." When I told him that I knew and was sorry, I also told him I know he must be very sad. He replied, "My cat died too." I really wanted to pick him up in my free arm (as I was holding Moriah) and take him home to live with me forever. It's just not that simple, and not possible of course. Another little guy who I grew to love last year after some difficult days involving extreme profanities uttered from a lisping five year old's mouth, was upset today. He had a very grumpy face that I couldn't encourage in spite of my attempts. I found out dad recently moved out of his parents house where this little guy and his brothers had been living with some stability. This dad is trying very hard and is also doing all he can with all he has (their mom left a long time ago and has only been around sporadically though she lives in town). The last time the dad was at school, I was told he cried not knowing what else he could do for an older son who has refused any school work for the last eight weeks. Really... think about that, all day in school, walking in the halls or sitting outside the door because he won't work. Many people have been involved in his life, rewards have been offered no doubt, consequences have been administered, but to a child who doesn't care for one reason or another no one can force productivity.

So as I left, as quickly as I came, I felt a wave of emotion. Guilt in some ways that I could come and go at my free will... I'm not living in those hard times like the little children are, and I'm not teaching among them trying to lighten their loads day in and day out like many friends still are. This has been a sweet sweet season for me as the Lord has blessed me with much... very calm days at work in comparison, only one bright bright child to "teach" as we play, and a sweet baby girl who I can care for all day long myself. I know that this is good and this is where the Lord has sovereignly placed me now, but stepping back for a bit was more gut wrenching in many ways than I'd expected. I was asked, "So, do you miss it?" and "Are you coming back to teach again?" I do miss things sometimes, and of course I don't miss other things. I'm not going back to teach now, or in the very near future as far as I can anticipate. The Lord is calling me to my home and my family... and that is sweet, but hard as I consider the weight of that world. Because who is going to those children? Who is serving among those families? How can I turn away and leave so conveniently? Have I betrayed them? Am I living hypocritically after "preaching" for so long that these are the forgotten places which we can't abandon? I trust the Lord... He knows my heart, and it is full as I read, play, and giggle with Moriah while those little faces are fresh in my mind and still struggling. This is significant now, it wouldn't be any better or easier to leave my own family in a sense to continue working in a way that is the most draining and taxing work imaginable. The answer isn't that simple. The Lord knows the tension, but He is in control and I am thankful.

So, if you're there like many of my dearest friends are, teaching in hard places, take heart. Today is probably feeling daunting to you for many legitimate reasons. But the Lord is carrying you, He is ministering to those little (and big) ones through you as long as you look to Him and proclaim His name in every way you're able. He is working, and your role in that is not in vain. As hard as it may be to believe, someday you may leave... He may give you a new place of ministry (perhaps one you've always dreamed of!), but even then you'll think of times past and wonder how those little ones are doing, and you might wonder how you let it go so quickly. And if you're like me, you'll be trusting God and hoping that you spent yourself as much as you could've and as much as you should've. Let Him sustain you each day, and give Him all praise.

who couldn't smile at these sweet little guys, and their song...

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I'm finding myself very thankful these days... the list below is just a bit of all the ways God has blessed me this weekend:

~ kind and helpful pediatricians who quickly identify symptoms and provide treatment
~ a sweet husband who does all he can to serve our family
~ an understanding husband who went out to buy a scoop of my favorite ice cream on evening two of a sick baby
~ extra cuddles with my little one, though I'd sort of trade cuddle time to know she was her happy self feeling well again (soon I'm sure!)
~ a spring weekend perfect for playing on the seminary lawn
~ friends all around us literally who bring great encouragement
~ a generous mom who bought Moriah a new big girl stroller (we'd still be using the "Snap N Go" with her infant seat)
~ an amazing public library system here in Louisville... some good books for perusing - "Weekend Sewing" which is full of inspiration, I think bloomers may be in my future! and a baby food making book, also a novel I've been interested in "The Help"
~ my Maya Ring Sling which is so helpful for holding sweet Moriah who just wants to be with mama these days
~ rotisserie chicken, an easy and tasty dinner tonight
~ cheap big rubber balls out in the stores since it's summer, Moriah got a purple one today!
~ homemade yogurt with brown sugar and maple syrup... delicious!
~ Pampers diaper points, we're on our way to earning enough for a Melissa & Doug farm animal puzzle with sounds (I'm stashing them away as 1st birthday presents)
~ a fresh haircut which always feels good
~ Honey Bunches of Oats ON SALE... our favorite cereal is rarely on sale or has coupons, today however I bought a box for only 30 cents after a sale and coupons, yay!

I've also been thinking lately that in spite of many day in and day out parts of motherhood I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have these moments with Moriah. I'm glad that when she's sick I'm with her to comfort and hold her. I'm happy to feed her many new baby foods and see her reactions rather than hear about them from other people who would be feeding her. I'm glad to continue nourishing her as I nurse for a few more months. I'm thrilled to encourage her movements as we "enjoy" tummy time and have mastered sitting up all alone! I'm thankful that my life is slow enough to not be overwhelmed and stressed by the bumps along the way (like a sick baby) in the midst of working as a teacher busy with lesson plans and a heavy heart. I'm also glad to offer a bit of care and love for our little friend Mr. S. and his family as I spend our days together. The Lord has been so good to us in His sweet providence.