Monday, March 25, 2013

Introducing Lulah Grey

Lulah Grey,

People have asked about your name.

It first came up a few years ago in a casual conversation with my mom about baby names.  I said I liked the name Tallulah, and would want to call her Lulah.  So my mom, being a teacher, said why don’t you name the child what you want to call her.  And I thought, yes, Lulah is pretty awesome.

It sounds so melodic to me.  Like a song rolling off your tongue.

I was a teenager when I first heard Grey used as a name.  I liked it a lot, but really just filed it away somewhere in my mind.  

When I started trying out names with Lulah, it jumped out as a front runner.  For me, Grey brings with it a sense of quiet peace and warmth.  Like a knit blanket, hot cup of coffee, and a good book.    

Lulah Grey, a beautiful song grounded by peaceful warmth.

I will write about your amazing entrance soon.  But today, I just wanted to celebrate your first week.
  • You officially have your own perfect little belly button.  The cord fell off last night.
  • Nursing is going beautifully {Praise! Praise! Praise!}. And I’m excited to get to treasure those quiet moments instead of the uphill battle I had to conquer with your sister.
  • I baked some banana bread today.  In case you’re wondering, that’s pretty awesome for week one.
  •  Lucy is adjusting wonderfully.  She starts her mornings running to the couch, climbing up in the corner and stretching her arms out saying, ‘I hold you, I hold you.’ 
She’s smitten alright!

We all are.

Lulah, while you were growing in my belly I loved you.  But it was more this fascination and curious kind of love at the idea of a new little person I would meet soon.  Someone already picked out perfectly for our family.

Then you arrived in my arms.  And I spent the next couple of days in complete and utter awe and amazement.  I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the perfection in my arms.

Just one week of getting to know you my dear and I have fallen deeply, madly, and completely IN love with you.  

And I want to tell you a secret…

You pretty much had everyone thinking you were going to be a boy.

And yes, this pregnancy, the way I carried, the way I felt, was different then your sister.  I was almost convinced myself.  But there was this one thing that I couldn’t shake.  Something that wouldn’t let me narrow in on having a boy just yet.  It’s something that I never told anyone, not even your father.  I don’t think I trusted what happened.

Last February, your sister was about to turn one, and I thought I might have been pregnant.  It would have been way sooner than we had initially planned on, but how could I not get excited!  When it was finally time to take a test, it was negative.  I wasn’t pregnant.  Relief mixed with remorse.  I decided to strap Lucy in her wrap and take a walk, while I worked through my thoughts.  She fell asleep almost instantly and I just kept looking at her, knowing I needed more time with just her, but trying to figure out why I felt a sense of loss with just the thought that I might have been already growing a new baby and wasn’t.

Then I heard it.  Or felt it really, a whisper in my heart.


I was instantly washed in peace and smiled through a few tears running down my face.

I would wait, resting in God's timing, for my Lulah.

Lulah had been a name option for when Lucy was born, but when we met her we knew she was Lucy.

And then I knew Lucy would have a sister named Lulah.

Typically I would have loved to rush home and share a story like that, but something made me want to tuck it inside.  My own magical secret.  Or maybe I didn’t quite trust what I had just experienced, being comforted by my Lord.

But I never stopped dreaming about the day when I would share that experience with you.  

My sweet Lulah, promised to me on a wintery walk.

I will write more soon, there’s too much love I want to get down in print.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thank you Mama...

Before the pictures start piling up, and the stories are written, and these first days become a blur as our new normal becomes true reality...I wanted to write a note to my Mama.

A thank you note, even though thank you doesn't quite express it all.

Like any loving Nana, the emotion and excitement and energy of a new grandchild can be overwhelming.  But even with that overwhelming love, my Mama remains a Mama first.

Arriving 30 minutes after Lulah's entry into this world, she quietly soaked in the magic and miracle of the moment, and then her true nature set in.

For the next 5 days, she served.

Steven and I were blessed by her cooking, cleaning, and her nurturing.  But it was her sensitivity to my little family that meant the most.  Her ability to read the situation and know when she needed to entertain the two year old so that daddy, baby, and me could rest and snuggle in safety and quiet.  But then knowing when this mama here, needed to be alone with just my new family of 4 and she would quietly remove herself from the room.

There are just those times when only my Mama will do.

And it's these times when I'm reminded all over again how blessed I am to have family that know how to circle the wagons.  Their presence never ceases to wash me in peace and the type of love that allows me to just BE, with no expectations.  And when all my energy is needed to pour into this new little life, those relationships mean more to me then ever.

So when I look at my girls, I only hope that one day as they become wives and then mothers, I will be there to help them ease through the transition with the love, grace, and wisdom I have received from my mother.

Thank you Mama for making this first week as a mother of two, surprisingly refreshing and restful!

I'm forever grateful for your servant's heart.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy 10th Old Havana and more about the man behind it...

Today is a big day for my husband.

Today marks the 10th year of owning and running Old Havana Cigar Company.

And if you're interested, one of my first posts was a little about how he even ended up buying a cigar shop right out of college.  You can read it here.
I don’t know a lot about entrepreneurship…but I know 10 years is a big deal.  Especially considering what the last 4 or so years have been like.

That’s actually part of why Steven is successful.  He doesn’t make excuses…for anything.  If he has a goal, an expectation, a standard, he will achieve it.  Circumstances and situations do not make up who he is.  He has an inner strength and a spirit of perseverance that I have never seen displayed in another human being.

That very strength and perseverance and refusal to make excuses are traits that are woven through his entire life story.  A story I couldn’t possibly pour out here and do any justice to.  But I can tell you it’s one of complete inspiration.

So here is to the sacrifices he made in his youth to be in a position to buy and run a business at age 23.  And to the time, worry, hard work, and heart, poured into keeping it going and growing over the last 10 years.  For how he runs a business, to how he treats others;  I am proud, I am in awe, and I am in love with this man.

Onto a more personal note…

There’s a slightly different reason why I am so proud, in awe, and in love.  A reason that isn’t really seen or understood by anyone except for me, a two year little girl, and a new little life soon to join our family…


I have watched over the last 5 years, you learn to work differently.  Certainly not less, but different.

It started with me.  We met, and I heard all these stories of how you were a workaholic and poured everything you had into your shop.  But I watched your schedule, your hours, start to change.  It was to get to know me, to pursue me, all leading up to learn how to be a husband who put his marriage first.

Then, oh my, this little girl was born.  You weren’t going to miss a thing.  I watched you somehow balance more responsibility, working to provide for a growing family while losing my income, all while still making time spent with us a priority.

I don’t envy that responsibility, but I’m completely moved by what you do with it.

And shame on me.  I know there are times when I take it for granted, when I still want to complain about days that end up being longer than planned or work that can’t be left for another day.  But selfishly I simply don’t want to share you with anything.  Maybe if your presence didn’t bring me so much peace and contentment it wouldn’t matter as much!
But my prayer for my own heart is that my attitude and actions toward you are more consistent with what’s in my heart.  

And what’s in my heart is that…I know.  I know with every fiber of my being what your priorities are, your family.  Your wife, your children (born, coming soon, and future).  

I am so grateful and so thankful for the man you are.  I’m excited for our children.

Speaking from experience, I know the value of being raised by a father who did whatever necessary to provide for his family, while recognizing that his time was still the greatest gift he could give us.  Never having to question where my importance ranked in my father’s life was an immeasurable gift that I feel beyond blessed that our children will get to experience as well.

I know it’s not always easy, well really never easy, but you make it seem that way.  The lessons our children (and me!) will learn about responsibility and love will be heard loud and clear just by watching you live out your life day by day.  That means more than any list of rules, guidelines, or lectures.  They will see that.

And yes, here we are about to bring another child into our world, and I think you’ve been pulled in more directions than ever.  

But at the end of the day, in the bottom of my heart, I’m not worried.  Because when it comes down to it and if things got to be too crazy, I know you will choose us every time.  Not out of obligation, but out of love. 
So know my love, that it’s noticed.  Our togetherness?  It’s noticed.  All the moments you shuffle around to be with us.  That you count those times as joy and not duty.  It’s noticed.  If I need to tell you a hundred times every day, I will.  Because I never want you to think I’m unaware of just how blessed we are and how your love for me is woven into all that you do. 

I see it, feel it, and treasure it and I send it back to you.


Friday, March 15, 2013

39 Weeks

Just waiting on you baby love.

We're ready...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dear Lucy {year 2}

Dear Lucy,

Your birthday is tomorrow.  But we'll be heading out-of-town for a special day together.  So I wanted to write you this evening.

It's been a weekend spent together.  The three of us;  Daddy, me, and you.   

A simple weekend.  Every day, common activities; playing in the yard, exploring trails, movie night with popcorn, frozen yogurt, playground outings, backyard grilling.  Simple activities with just the three of us.  But choosing to be aware of one little fact.

You are still my miracle.  This extraordinary miracle that has become this subtle, existence in our ordinary days.

Most moments hit me square in the chest.  Looking you in the eyes while you grin and giggle as you tell me something that is clearly funny.  Watching you take off running and squealing the moment we get outside.  When I see you conquer a new task by yourself.  When you surprise me with a new phrase, spoken clear as day.  Those moments you’re sitting in my lap or we’re lying down together and I rub your smooth little hands and feel like I can’t possibly squeeze you close enough to me.

You, my love, are my miracle.  I still look at you with so much awe and wonder.  I don’t see how that could ever change.

But there are other times.  Times when I let myself think upon the things that don’t matter.  When I choose to throw my own tantrum along side of you.  How quickly I can let myself wallow.

Then even in the midst of those foggy, grumpy days, I’m reminded.

You’ll take my face in your hands, rubbing my cheeks.  You’ll lean forward until the tip of your nose is touching the tip of mine.  Our eyes starting to cross.  You grin, ‘Hey, Mama.’  And I smile, ‘Hey, Lucy.’  You say, ‘kiss’ and then ‘hug’ and then follow it up with an ‘awwwwwwww.’

We continue to go about our day, but now I’m staring again at this miracle that I don’t deserve.

But back to this 2 year business!  If I could pinpoint anything about you that sums up this stage the most, it would be that you are hilarious (and yes, you struggle with whining and constantly pushing boundaries...but mainly you're funny!)  You keep us laughing constantly, and I thank you for that.

Here are a few other things, in case you are curious one day…

  • You are still a meat and fruit lover, although lately you have been on somewhat of a yogurt obsession.
  • Your vocabulary is amazing, you speak in phrases and some sentences, you can count to 11 (sometimes in the right order), and you recognize your name and will spell out L U C Y.
  • You’re starting to sing songs on your own and it is quite possibly the cutest thing my ears have ever heard.  Most frequently; Twinkle little star, Itsy bitsy spider, He’s got the whole world in His hands, and Oh how I love Jesus.
  • You love to be helpful.  Helping cook, clean, unload the dishwasher, anything that looks like a responsibility.
  • You’re still sleeping in your big girl bed beautifully.
  • You still love wearing your panties at home, but we put a diaper on for outings. 
  • You are very much fascinated with predators.  Alligators/Crocodiles, bears, lions, etc.  You can’t get enough.  Your favorite things to watch are documentaries and YouTube videos about Crocodiles.
  • You are very nurturing with your dolls.  You like to change them, feed them, rock them, read to them, and put them to bed.  If it wasn’t for this, I might be concerned with the above mentioned…
  • You like to dance.  And quite frankly, I’m impressed with your moves.  I think you might have gotten your rhythm from me, but most certainly, your coordination has come from your father.
  • At night before bed, you now want to read your own books.  I could listen to your sweet, high little voice forever.
  • When we talk to Jesus, you’ve started interjecting your own thoughts.  Usually it’s a list of names; family, friends, classmates.  Sometimes an object or food item.  No matter what, you love to end with a very passionate, ‘AAAAAMen!’
  • Your memory astounds me!  Whether it’s recognizing and pointing out cars of our friends and family (which I don’t notice very often), or remembering a routine after being shown it one time and a week ago.
  • And your laugh.  You have the greatest laugh, several of them actually.  Along with more facial expressions then I can keep up with. 
  • A phrase I hear more than any other these days, “No, Mama! I do it!”  And most of the time, you can do it.  It’s a pleasure watching you become more independent and to see your confidence and abilities multiply.  It’s also been just another way I get to practice patience and grace… :)
Lucy, I could list a hundred more bullet points.  And truthfully, I’m not the best at documenting things like that…the specifics.  Things you say and do that I can check off.  I see you more as this continuous being, constantly growing and changing and the lines and boundaries around who you are and what you’re learning are constantly blurring and growing as well.  The details happen with my camera in hand.

Tonight we’re going to get in bed and go to sleep.  A couple of hours before the sun rises, you will turn two.  Two years marked on this earth.  Two years since my view of myself and of your father and of life, were changed forever in the most spectacular way.  Two years of new challenges and struggles.  Two years of the most tangible form of joy and love I’ve ever known. my 25 lb, 34 inch, size 6 shoe, 2T wearing, looks and acts like her daddy, ticklish and expressive like her mama, uniquely, perfectly, and wonderfully made Lucy Pearl…Happy Birthday.

And my dear?  We are about to start a marvelous new adventure together…