Category Archives: motherhood

open letter to my son on his second birthday.

Dear Dax, 

A year ago, you woke up completely unaware of what was awaiting you — a house filled with family and friends who traveled near and far just to fawn all over newly-one-year-old you. 

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You managed to conquer over-stimulation, a late nap, and even melted cupcakes (baked from scratch by your culinary-inept mother) to have a pretty awesome day. 

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And just like that, your second year of life started, and today, almost as quickly as it got here, it ended. It is your second birthday! You’ve been bumbling around on this planet for two whole years! It doesn’t seem very long to you, but I can barely remember life without you. Of course, purely biologically speaking, half of you actually was inside my body ever since the day I was born so really, you HAVE been here with me all this time.

Not even a month after your first birthday your dad and I had the biggest scare of our lives as your parents when you suffered a febrile seizure. Thankfully, I’m sure you don’t remember The Worst Tuesday but I’ll never forget it. The image of you seizing in my arms will never leave my memory and each and every day I am so unbelievably grateful that it was a relatively minor issue. And ever since that day, we know that if you ever have a fever we need to be diligent in treating it so we avoid a recurrence. That was the hardest lesson for me to learn this year, for sure. 

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A late bloomer like your mama, you didn’t walk until you were 15 months old. Part of that is my fault, I guess, for this reason: I knew that once you started walking, there was no turning back. With the knowledge of this skill, you’d go from “baby” to “toddler” and, just like that, you’d be off. And so I did my best to keep you in my arms as much as possible to delay that monumental milestone, but I could only do so for so long. Now, those fears I had have been realized. You are no longer my baby. You are my very independent toddler who prefers walking (running) to being pushed in a stroller, carried, or worn thankyouverymuch. 

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walking1

And while it is a bit sad for me to say goodbye to those precious baby months, it has been so fun to see you explore this world on your own. Like in the above picture, for example: you can just barely see a bandage over your left eye, which shows how brave and adventurous you’ve become since learning how to walk. You’re still your mostly-cautious and analytical self, but sometimes you can get a bit excited and accidents happen. I deeply cherish those times you let me hold your hand as we carefully take it all on together.

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You had your second Christmas this year but since you weren’t eating solid food the year before, you finally got to participate in your family’s tradition of eating waffles on Christmas morning. You seemed to like them a little bit and I, because I’m an emotional time bomb, cried.

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At your 18-month checkup, the doctors had me fill out a form answering questions about your verbal abilities, social skills, and motor skills. I was so proud when the doctor told me that you scored above average in all those areas! I mean, your father and I know how smart you are. But having a doctor affirm it resulted in some serious high fives.

You’re so smart, Dax. So stinkin’ smart. 

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When you turned one, you could only say a few words — “dada”, “nana”, and “mama”. But now, with your first birthday far behind you, you can say so many things; from types of food, to manners (“peez” for “please” and “deeyew!” for “thank you!”), to all your letters and numbers (though, to be fair, “W” is still hard to say and you still believe that 6 is actually 9 but we’re working on it), to our friends’ names (Grandma is “G-G”, Molly is “Mayee”, Casey is “Zee”, and Savannah is “Nuh” just to name a few), to places and things, your vocabulary is growing each and every day!

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You also say “no” a lot which, I’m told, is to be expected at your age. It can be cute sometimes but it also gives me heaps of opportunities to refine my patience. And let me just use this letter to tell you thanks for that. Even in frustration, my sweet boy, you are making me a better person everyday. 

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So, I have to confess something: The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children should not watch any television before the age of two. 

I’m sorry to inform you now that your father and I didn’t meet that timeline. You watch TV everyday. Sometimes pretty close to your face. Sorry.

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Your favorite shows are currently, “Curious George,” “Super WHY!”, “Dinosaur Train”, and basically anything else on PBS. While I guess we kind of failed as parents in this regard, I’ll say that it has been so fun to see you fall in love with these characters. I’m pretty sure you have a crush on Princess Pea, which is a great choice but I hate to break it to you now that royalty rarely ever marry commoners unless you’re smokin’ hot like Kate Middleton. Not that you aren’t incredibly handsome. I’m just here to help you manage expectations.

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Even though you look a lot like I did when I was your age (minus your bow ties) there is one way in which you are distinctly your father’s child: your love of sleep (or “ni-ni”, as we call it). While you’re down to only one nap a day, that one nap usually lasts about four hours and you usually (bad dreams notwithstanding) sleep through the night until about 8:00 AM. I gotta tell you — you’ve set the bar pretty high for any future siblings. I’m certain we won’t be blessed with a great sleeper like you twice in a row. Please never ever ever doubt my gratitude for this trait you’ve inherited.

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Nap time 6 months and 23 months

While there seems to be a million things that have changed since the day you were born, there are still some things that are the same. Your pacifier is the biggest one. You are very attached to that thing. Even more than you used to be, I think, because now you prefer to have not one, but at least two of them with you in your crib. Sometimes three. I’ve capitalized on this by teaching you how to count them. You excitedly shout, “TWO!” when you have one for each hand and it’s obvious that you’re very proud of yourself. 

You also still nurse a couple times a day. Some days I feel like you’re just about weaned, but you’ll surprise me by jumping on my lap and asking for milk. As much as I wish I was ready to be done, I’m not. So I don’t push it. Mostly because it usually results in some pretty great snuggles.

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This year you have taught me more about myself than any class, life experience, or book could teach me. Not only are you in your “terrible twos” and thus teaching me the true meaning of grace and forgiveness and patience, but you’re also teaching me so much about love and trust. Without even realizing it, Dax, you are teaching me each and every day what it means to be your biggest supporter and also your gentlest corrector. You’re teaching me that mistakes don’t equal failure and that failure doesn’t equal being unloved. You’re teaching me that not only is it okay to not be perfect, but it is preferred. Messy is best because messy is real. 

Today you are two and that’s truer than true. There is no one around who is two-er than you. 

I love you, Bubs. Happy birthday!

Love, 

Mama.

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second chances.

This week I had to write a blog for my job about the idea of forgiveness — namely the difficulty of forgiving ourselves — and, I think, when I wrote it I sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

Check it out and let me know what you think. I’ll wait.

Then this weekend happened and my husband and I got into a fight that started because I don’t know how to give myself a break. The biggest reason that sucks is because it put me into a funk too strong to break through to blog.

So today, on this quiet Sunday, I am grateful for second chances and for a husband whose memory is so bad that he only has to remember the most recent chance he gave me to get this wife thing right.

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wine.

Today I am grateful for end-of-the-day glasses of wine.

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Baby boy has been fighting a fever for a week now and over the past couple days has developed a wet cough which I’m hoping means we’re nearing the end of that business. Even still, he’s pretty high spirited, perfectly content to spend his days crawling and pulling up and pointing at things and babbling about them and walking and falling and getting up again, all while I’m frantically checking his head and trying to remember, Was it Tylenol or Ibuprofen that I last gave him? And how many hours has it been? Has enough time passed to be safe? Is he going to have another seizure if I don’t stick to a strict schedule? Is he okay is he okay IS HE OKAY?!?

He’s fine. And at the end of the day, when he’s in bed sleeping like an angel, wine reminds me of that. He’s fine. I’m fine.

We’re fine.

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the weekend and some gardens.

So, uh, it appears as though trying to write a blog each day in November has been a bit more difficult than I’d hoped it would be. Not because I don’t have things for which I am grateful, but because when I stumble across some free time I’d much rather do any and all things instead of sitting down at my computer. Things like go for a walk, read a book, catch up on schoolwork episodes of How I Met Your Mother, New Girl and The Mindy Project.

So forgive me as I shove four (??!?!?!) days’ worth of gratitudes into one blog post.

It was a glorious weekend which started with a Friday that Dan and I accidentally got to spend together for a bit. Fridays are Dan’s day off and I work onsite, so he gets to spend the day with Dax while I get work done and roam the city freely. However, I got done with work around lunch time which gave Dan and me a few hours to spend together before I went out for a GIRLS NIGHT!

Yeah! That happened!

Then, on Saturday, we slept in (!!!) till 9:30 (!!! again) and then lounged around watching Martha Bakes and Martha’s Cooking School on PBS until we were so desperate for delicious food that we ran out and splurged on our favorite barbecue place in town. (Oh yes, we’ve only lived here since May but our duty as good, proper, southern people was to find good barbecue ASAP.)

Sunday was a long day for all of us, which is not unheard of for those of us who work in ministry, but even still, we all stayed relatively uncranky and got to bed at a decent hour. I even got to enjoy a glass of wine while Dan and I watched an episode of Star Trek for our seminary class! (Yeah don’t ask.)

So all in all, it was a great weekend, each day teeming with gratitudes.

And then there was today. Today a dear friend of mine and her two kids took Dax and I to the Botanical Gardens. This was our second time going together but the last time we went Dax was still a stroller-bound infant. This time we started out in the stroller, but we didn’t end there. Once I finally got up the nerve, I set him free. And there he went, the wobbly little toddler, doing all but dragging me all over the place. He even face-planted on the sidewalk once, only to barely whimper for a few seconds before taking off again.

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And my chest heaved with the heartache of a proud mother watching her tiny baby step in the background of history to make way for a child. It was so very bittersweet.

At the moment he is, quite literally, walking all over the house pointing at things and babbling about them, some incomprehensible language only he understands and I wish to, and I can’t help but smile.

And I am grateful.

 

 

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you don’t have to defend yourself.

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of my friends posting articles on Facebook titled things like, Reasons Why It’s Okay That I’m a Working Mom, or, I Didn’t Go To College and That’s Okay, or, Why Being in My Twenties and Not Married or With Children is THE BEST. (By the way, don’t go Googling those titles. They’re not the ACTUAL titles. I didn’t want to cite the real articles because that’s not the point.)

I have read a couple (particularly the ones that validated my own personal life choices/position in life) and I have rolled my eyes at some of them (particularly the ones that went against my own personal life choices).

The most recent one I came across was about how being my age and having no kids or no husband was TOTALLY OKAY and how the writer was sick of the expectation that, just because of her age, she should be sporting a gold wedding band and a diaper bag. And it made my stomach sink a little bit because as I was reading it I felt a little bit self-concsious because I am.

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My knee-jerk reaction was to post a blog that was all, Hey! I’m married and have a baby at 27 and you know what? It’s not only OKAY but it’s also GREAT and AWESOME and I LOVE IT but then I stopped myself and thought…

I don’t have to defend myself.

And neither do you.

All of these articles are floating around to serve one of two purposes: 1. to validate or 2. to defend. But either way, they all tend to perpetuate the idea that you are only worth what you do/don’t do/choose/don’t choose. 

So I’m here to tell you something else.

Whether you went to college or didn’t, graduated high school or didn’t, got married or haven’t, got divorced or haven’t, have kids or don’t want kids, homeschool or don’t, are vegan or aren’t, love something or hate it… whether you think you’re “there” yet or you know you’re not, it doesn’t matter.

You don’t have to defend yourself. Because you are you, and that is enough.

So let that be enough.

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three pieces of parenting advice for kate middleton.

Hello Kate!

As you snuggle that new, yummy little bundle of royal joy (now, we have learned, you have named George) I realize that, even for someone who probably has her own staff of child rearers within an arm’s length, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. That’s okay. Contrary to your life circumstances, this is completely normal.

In all your abundant down time, please take a moment to read my three biggest pieces of advice for surviving your first year of motherhood. After all, I AM a mother of a one year old now, so I basically know everything.

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1. try to breastfeed.

Not only is it best for that little future king, and the snuggles are so great, and it’s cheaper than formula (LOLOLOLOL LIKE YOU EVEN NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THAT) but it also will help you speedily drop the three pounds of baby weight you gained. And don’t worry if it takes you and George a while to get used to it. It took my son and me three weeks to really get it down to a science. Also, don’t worry if you can’t breastfeed or decide you don’t want to. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother. So long as you are feeding your son SOMETHING, you’re good. But regardless of what you do, people (tabloids?) are going to have an opinion. Which brings me to my next piece of advice…

2. comparison is the thief of joy.

You may have royal girlfriends who are giving birth around the same time as you and so you naturally compare George to their kids’ growth and demeanor. Or maybe you know people who had children a little bit before you so they ask you questions about George’s behavior/development/whatever. Or maybe you’re curious about something so you Google it. JUST DON’T. It will steal every ounce of baby-inspired joy you have in your body. The second you ask someone something about their kid, or Google something about “normal milestones”, you’ll be freaking out because George isn’t sleeping all the way through the night yet or talking soon enough or walking fast enough or using the “pincer grasp” or spelling out complete sentences in sign language on his first birthday. It’s poison. Go with your gut instincts. No one knows that kid better than you do.

3. the first year is not indicative of your child’s entire life.

The first three months of your kid’s life may damn near kill you. That’s normal. The first year of his life may be the most challenging 365 days you face as a woman. But hear this — it gets better. Every day it gets better. One day, you’ll wake up in an overtired panic around 4am only to find that your baby actually hasn’t woken up yet, and you’ll rush to his royal cribside to find him soundly sleeping for the first time, and you’ll cry tears of joy and think to yourself that you never thought you’d get there but you did. And one day, you’ll get to the end of your day and realize that, for the first time, there wasn’t a single meltdown (from George or you) and you’ll think to yourself foolishly, “I could have another…”

So when (not IF, but WHEN) things get rough, know this — you’re made to do this. And even on days you don’t think you’re doing it, you are. Because just by being George’s mama, you’re doing it.

Oh you’re also a princess but whatever.

Last thing — is the hair/makeup team you had come to the hospital cheap? Just curious. I’d like to hire them for my next baby delivery.

Cheers, Kate and George! (Oh and William too, I GUESS.)

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open letter to my son on his first birthday.

Dear Dax,

Today at 1:34 AM you turned one. You have been alive, outside of my womb, for one whole year now. (But you were alive and inside my womb for 38-ish weeks prior to that!)

Do you remember what life looked like a year ago? Well, yesterday you forgot that you like grapes even though the day before you couldn’t shovel them into your mouth fast enough, so if your memory is a little fuzzy, that’s okay. That’s why I’m here. Because I remember it all.

A year ago, we were cuddling in my recovery room, number 309, and everything was white and sterile and loud, but quiet at the same time. There were all these machines and people buzzing about us, even the few times when you or I were asleep, and time seemed to creep by and zoom past as we got to know each other.

Though you were a big, 8-pound-4-ounce ball of heavenly chub, in my arms you felt fragile and tiny. The most precious thing I’ve ever seen. And I couldn’t believe that you were mine.

Because I loved you so much, I didn’t know how to hold you. You can tell because in the pictures that were taken right after you were born, I was holding you in a way that I never held you again. Once I got to know you, every inch of you, I learned the way you love to snuggle. But, at first, I was just so scared and so new at being your mommy and I didn’t know if I was doing it right. Thank you for giving me the chance to learn.

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That first night in the hospital was an exhausting one for me, and probably you, too. While your daddy slept, you and I (after sixteen hours of labor) stayed up together learning how to nurse. When your daddy woke up in the morning, I got to tell him about how much you loved to nurse and how (much to the nurses’ dismay) you and I both preferred for you to sleep on my chest as opposed to in the bassinet. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I was so tired that night was because every time a nurse came in I’d pop awake and pretend I wasn’t sleeping — just cuddling you while VERY STILL — because I didn’t want her to tell me to put you back down.

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Adjusting to life with you at home definitely took some time. It was several weeks before you learned how to sleep at night and, even still, you would only sleep in bed with your daddy and me. I didn’t mind, though.

As a newborn, all you really did was sleep and eat. And cry. A lot. We found out early that you had a bit of colic, and your tummy was very sensitive. Because I breastfed you, I had to eat a very bland diet in order to keep your tummy happy. As much as I loved cheese and ice cream, I did it gladly, because I love you more.

Though you smiled in your sleep when you were only three days old, it took you a while to social smile. On Labor Day, you actually FOR REAL smiled at me for the first time and do you know what? I instantly burst into tears.  And then my crying made you cry. I’m sorry about that. But after six weeks of colic, that fleeting grin was enough to send me over the edge of joy.

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And then, there was a period there — between four and nine months — where I felt like I couldn’t keep up with you. It was almost as if you started each new day by hitting another milestone, something that made my heart simultaneously swell with pride but break with longing. As proud as I am to watch you grow, it also hurts a little, because every centimeter you grow pulls you that much farther away from being a baby. Being my baby.

At 6 months, you got your first tooth, sat up on your own, and tried solid food for the first time. Your first taste was carrots and you absolutely loved them! However, now, you’re a bit more picky when it comes to carrots. Though you do like them, you seem to hold out for more tasty options like sweet potatoes. (At the time of writing, sweet potatoes are your favorite food, followed closely by apples, bananas, pasta, pickles, yogurt, and — of course — mama’s milk.)

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At 7 months, you said your first word. It was “dada” which makes sense. You love your daddy so much — he can make you giggle like no one else on earth. And he loves you too. So very much. Your second word was “nana” and your third — finally! — was “mama”.

At nine months, you learned how to crawl and pull up. And you have been unstoppable ever since. You can zoom across our house in seconds flat and get into everything on your way. You are funny, though, because you like to crawl a little bit, then stop and turn around to make sure I’m still there watching you.

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You are cautious like that. Though you are capable of going far and doing much, you approach each new situation with trepidation and analysis, very carefully examining each and every aspect of the new. This is the case when I take you to a new friend’s house, or introduce you to something weird like grass and flowers. Because you trust me you don’t cry. But I can see in your eyes that you are wary and skeptical. I admire this about you, and I believe this will come in handy when you are a teenager. (Lord, help me.)

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You are also very particular. You like the things you like and you want things to stay the way they are. This is why, despite taking two two-hour naps a day and sleeping all night in your crib, you refuse to sleep in the church nursery or in your Pack n’ Play at a friend’s house. If things aren’t just right in your world, you notice. I think that — just like your blue eyes — you get this from me. It is a blessing and a curse and I’ll do my best to try and help you navigate this. If you find yourself an advocate for social justice with a burning desire for people to DO RIGHT and TREAT OTHERS RIGHT, know that this is where it stems from. But, if you don’t end up an advocate for anything else than a consistent bedtime routine, that’s okay, too.

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I know a lot has changed in the past year, but I am so very grateful for the one thing that hasn’t. To this day, just like it was when we were in the hospital that first night, your favorite place to sleep is still my chest. You fell asleep there this morning as a matter of fact, and every time you do, I thank God for one more snuggle. If the way this year has flown by is any indication of how fast the rest of life is going to fly, I hold few things closer to my heart than these moments.

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Dax, a year ago, you turned my whole world upside down. You took what I knew about life and love and you shook it all up and rebuilt it into something beautiful, something I don’t fully understand.

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Thank you for letting me be your mommy that day a year ago, and thank you for continuing to let me be your mommy today.

I love you more than words could ever say. Happy first birthday, booger.

Love always,

Mommy

daxbday

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the economic cost of obesity. [video]

This Friday marks one year since I became a mom.

That’s right — my baby boy is turning one.

But something else turns one on Friday — my freakish paranoia about the food industry.

Something about becoming a mom made me extremely fearful of the food that’s available out there; as it stands right now, if I can’t pinpoint exactly where it came from and how it came to be, I don’t want to feed it to my kid.

Because of this, I’m choosing Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and the Green Wise organic section of Publix instead of my used-to-be go-to WalMart. And it’s getting expensive.

Like, really expensive. (Here’s a figure for you — I spent $42 at Publix today on TWO dinners for my family. TWO. Either I’m doing something wrong or healthy, organic, clean food is just that much more pricey.)

A couple weeks ago, Dan and I were out running errands. While out, I remembered that I was out of sandwich-makings, so I asked if we could stop by the nearest grocery store so I could grab some spinach, tomatoes, meat, and hummus.

The neighborhood we were in was a poorer one, but there was a WalMart nearby. So we stopped and went in.

I was so saddened by what I saw.

There was nothing — I repeat — nothing in the grocery section of this lower-income store that wasn’t processed. Nothing. Not a single piece of fruit. Not one vegetable. Nothing. Only boxes and boxes of fatty, sodium-rich, nutrient-free garbage.

And we wonder why America looks the way it does.

This video by Academic Earth illustrates just how much money we, as a country, are putting toward healthy food versus junk food. It was eye-opening but after this trip to WalMart, it also makes a whole lot of sense.

Take a look at the video here.

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giving a crap.

Six days ago I moved from Tallahassee to Naples. Not even a week has gone by but everything is already different and changing so drastically that I can barely stand up straight. It’s as if the ground is moving swiftly forward beneath my feet and I have nothing on either side to hold to, either for stability or for stalling. We hit the ground running, as they say. (Stumbling, really, in my case.)

During my last bible study meeting with this guy before I moved, we spent the majority of our time fawning over ink pens, journals, and other writing instruments, particularly those that are well crafted and expensive because, he argues, if you’re going to write you might as well do so using the best utensils.

“Life’s too short to not give a crap about stuff,” he declared.

I wrote that sentence down in my journal the moment he said it and, while he carried the conversation elsewhere, I repeatedly ran over the phrase with more and more ink to make it stand out on the page.

Why? Because I find it way too hard to give a crap about stuff these days.

I think my Give-A-Crap turned off because I was moving away from a city and a community for which I have great affection and I knew, were my Give-A-Crap at all functional, I wouldn’t be. I would just be a walking, sort-of-talking-but-mostly-sobbing, mess of a girl. And no one likes a sad sack, am I right? I mean think of my poor husband, for example. To quote the always-lovely Emma Thompson from Love, Actually, “No one’s ever going to shag you if you cry all the time.”

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Right now, our apartment is mostly unpacked and organized, but there is still quite the lengthy list of things that need to get done. I haven’t really started my job yet so, while my baby is currently napping, I really should be organizing my bedroom closet or unpacking the last few boxes or hanging pictures or sleeping or putting on some damn makeup for crying out loud or something rather than blogging but I just can’t do it because why. Who cares. I certainly don’t.

To compensate, I think my son’s Give-A-Crap has jumped into overdrive. At 10 months, he suddenly gives a LOT of craps about EVERYTHING. My sweet angel baby who used to go down for naps happily now screams bloody murder whenever I try to put him down. As I am no stranger to hyperbole on my blog I have to clarify that I’m not exaggerating here. He literally screams so loud that I’m legitimately concerned. It’s so bad that his voice has actually become hoarse in the past week. I’m not joking, guys. Kid really gives a crap.

Last night he really gave a crap about being awake unless he was in my arms which kept me awake all night. It’s been awhile since that has happened (sorry to burst your bubble, new moms I know — the sleepless nights don’t always end when the newborn phase does) so I was quite the emotional wreck this morning. A ticking time bomb, all I needed was a stern email from my new boss to cause me to crumple into a heap of sobs on my new, south Floridian tile floor and weep for the better part of an hour while my husband tried to hold us all together.

All of a sudden, this morning, I gave ALL THE CRAPS.

I gave ALL THE CRAPS about leaving Tallahassee. And about the first week living in a foreign land with zero friends. And about how my husband and I have actually been in a fight for the majority of our new life in Naples. And about the fact that I CANNOT STOP SWEATING. And about the fact that no matter how many times I Swiffer this EFFING tile floor my feet are ALWAYS black after I walk around barefoot. And about the fact that we didn’t have internet until FREAKING yesterday. (I know. I know. All of these are first world problems. Which leads me to…)

I then gave ALL THE CRAPS about GIVING CRAPS about stupid, meaningless, arbitrary B.S. that, if I’m lucky, won’t even hold a spot in my memory this time next year.

That’s a lot of craps to give at once. Not sure if you’ve tried to give that many craps at one time but it is exhausting.

So. Instead of unpacking the last few boxes that need to be unpacked or putting away the clothes that are just in piles in our bedroom or starting the OVERWHELMING load of laundry that is staring me down, I’m writing.

Because this is the one thing right now that isn’t too exhausting to care about.

Thanks for reading my crap.

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introducing nineveh.

At the moment, it’s 4:02PM on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m sitting on my couch — not inside a cubicle — while my baby peacefully naps in his crib and one of my cats does so behind my head.

Friday was my last day at my job and Sunday was our last day at our church. Many tears have already been shed and more are coming, no doubt, as the final pages of this chapter of our lives turn.

I suppose that, at this point in time, it’s safe to go ahead and blog publicly about what’s next for our family and to give Nineveh a proper introduction. And so — here goes.

We are moving to Naples! (Florida, not Italy — though the culture is so different down there it’s almost as if we are moving to a different country.)

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. Lindsay, you must have failed Geography because Naples is not central Florida and that’s where you originally said you were headed.

First of all, that’s mean. I never failed Geography. I managed to slightly pass it thankyouverymuch. Second of all, yes, we realize that Naples is not central Florida. So here’s the Reader’s Digest (does anyone still get Reader’s Digest?) version of why we’re headed to So Fla:

Once Dan and I came to the realization that we had to move in order to build a better family life — ideally including me being the primary caregiver for Dax as opposed to him being in full time childcare — we chose central Florida because that’s where my family is. Dan and I were pretty pessimistic about finding a situation in which I would be able to stay at home with Dax, but we wanted to give it a shot. If we didn’t find anything, we knew we could at least count on someone in my family to care for Dax during the day. So Dan blanketed the central Florida area with his resume and we waited.

We had a few churches contact us for interviews and we even visited some. All of the churches we looked into were great, but none of them offered a situation in which our family dynamic would change to be more what we envisioned. I was getting pretty discouraged by this until Dan got an email from a man named Don using a nondescript email address.

In the email, Don said he saw Dan’s resume online and asked if he’d be interested in an opening for a youth pastor. Dan said yes, and the two continued to discuss the position. After a few emails, Dan finally asked Don where he was from. When he said that he was the Director of Ministry at a church in Naples, both of our hearts sank.

Don requested a lunch meeting with us and we agreed to go even though we both thought there was no way we’d end up taking a job in south Florida. It’s good practice, we thought.

But then, the lunch meeting went really well. Which led to a Skype interview with a handful of staff members that also went really well. Which led to an onsite visit and interview that went extremely well…

What came out of all of this is nothing short of amazing, providential, and praiseworthy. Not only was Dan offered the position, but I was also offered a job coordinating the church’s online campus — simulcasts, social media, and BLOGGING!!!! — that is set to launch this summer.

The best part of all of this? The, like, super-duper God part?

Apart from staff meetings on Tuesdays and church on Sundays, I get to do this job completely from home. And, those times I have to be onsite, Dax gets to come with me and hang out in a fully staffed nursery at the church so I can still be near him.

As you can see, there is no way we could have been any more blessed. God has provided for us in a way I (maybe we) never thought possible. And we are stoked.

We have applied to live in a condo down there; once that’s approved, we’ll move in and then start working!

This does not make the pain of us leaving Tallahassee and the community we have here any less real, but it does give us peace about the God we serve and the callings He has for our family.

So. Now I need your help.

What the heck do we do in Naples? Besides go to the beach, I mean?

Ready, GO!

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