Saturday, June 30, 2012

Each day with you is better than the day before...

The sound of the crickets chirping outside and the tick-tock of the clock remind me that we're back at home.   We've been out of town the past couple of days taking part in a friend's wedding. What a celebration it was to see these good friends joined together as one. Such a precious reminder to me that each wedding, each start to a marriage is a gift from God. The weather was hot and humid but we braced ourselves for the 100 degrees and above heat and headed over to the ceremony. Little one was good for about 15 minutes in his stroller--I purposely parked us in the last row. As the lovely bride was heading down the aisle little boy got squirmy and we walked further in back...I strained my neck to catch a glimpse of the groom and his reaction to his bride walking down the aisle toward him. What a beautiful picture. He was all choked up with this look of love in his eyes and even through the heat I could see his pleasure as she walked toward him in her pure white glitter gown. I started to choke up at this reminder at how Jesus stands at the altar looking at his church with a look of love and devotion--and what a deeper, more profound eternal love is this!

We danced the night away and enjoyed catching up with friends. We really miss our friends at our old church and sometimes it's hard being away from them. I told Thom as we drove home tonight that our friend's home who we stayed with is like this revolving door of community...the way it should be. I love how the 3 days we spent with them brought with it new friends that would drop by and visit. Sometimes just to say "hi" or "goodbye I'm heading out of town" and even to talk intimately, just to hang or reach out for support. I miss these guys and it was a privilege being part of the action in their house and reminder that we are still family even though we now live in another town. The freedom to just be in community--to relax, talk, eat, play games, watch "Parks and Recreation" and Jim Gaffigan's "Mr. Universe." Especially being a mom now it helps to be surrounded by friends that just love on our son. Takes the stress off and reminds me to come up for air and just be Amy again, not just "Mama." :-) 

Now...the house is quiet, little bug-a-boo is sound asleep in his crib, and we are uploading photos from the wedding. I look forward to scrapbooking will take some time but it's worth it. Thank you friends for being who you are, for loving us the way we are, and for walking this road with us. We love you. You know who you are. 

the bride & groom rehearsing for the big day...

me, hubby & bug-a-boo. 

bride & me. love this girl. <3 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

rhythms of my life...

The sound of the lawnmower startled me back to reality. My head felt heavy and my heart full as I looked around the dining room of our brick home. Stacks of books and newspapers lay unopened in the middle of the table. I have such high hopes of reading these books one day, but it seems like when I'm all gung-ho starting a book and then put it down never to finish it. I keep longing for the day when we can take an extended vacation and I can finally read all the books I've been adding to my list for quite sometime. I glance at the floor and catch my eye on scattered cheerios and my son's sippy cup underneath my chair. These days life is filled with "to do" lists and demands. There are nights (like last night) where I lie awake unable to drift back off to sleep and find myself just talking to God. "Fill our life with joy. Give us hope in the midst of routine. Provide for us Lord. Lift us up out of financial debt and into a place of abundance. Pour Your peace over my heart now Lord. I need You." I wonder if the struggles come because God wants me to be more dependent. If I didn't struggle and things were more "easy" I would not come to Him as much or even just talk with Him. I was about to say "I wouldn't start the conversation..." and yet He is always speaking to me. 

This past weekend my husband, son and I ventured off to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to join my parents and long-time friends for a couple of days. It is such a peaceful place on the island. Expensive too--which in a way removes some of the beauty for me. I love the simplicity of watching bike riders adventuring on the paths under trees and the sand as if they don't have a care in the world. We made it to the beach twice and I tried to spend as much time as possible in the ocean. The waves were violent tossing me here and there and it was all I can do to escape the force of each one crashing down on me. I "escaped" the roughest waves by diving head first into them and staying under until they passed me by. My favorite thing to do on the water is just to float...simply allowing the waves to hold up my body and rock me back and forth. A little more difficult to do when the waves are rough, but it is such a picture of surrender to me. Allowing myself to be lifted up and rocked...soothed...even just for a moment.

Being a new mother I am learning what it means to be a soother and to be soothed. My son is 10 months old and it is hard to believe he is nearing his first birthday. Plans are in full-swing for his dinosaur themed-pool party mid-August. I love the adventures of life as a mom where each new day he does something or discovers something new and we can be a witness to this amazing journey. I love how my husband Thom and I look at each other and say "did you see that...did you hear that?" We don't want to miss a thing. Wow, I just got Aerosmith in my head...
He'll hold up his long, "beefy" arms and just want to be shielded from the world. I wrestle with the balance of coming quickly to his aid and waiting to see if he can "self-soothe." Through this time of tension I usually find myself praying. "Lord would you soothe Him, right now to help him get back to sleep?" I peel myself out of bed in the middle of the night to see him pressed up against the crib wanting to get out and needing reassurance from me that everything is OK. I need that reminder too. I need soothing too, especially in the wee hours of the morning when all is quiet and dark. It seems my heart is beating the loudest during those hours. "I am with You." a still small voice whispers to my longing soul. Today my soul feels like an onion--layer upon layer to unravel and discover. I am thankful that I don't have to go this road alone. I try to--and fight myself to simply surrender to the waves...the rhythm of my life.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The gift of rest...

Today is Saturday. For some reason Saturdays always feel like they are longer than work days. Maybe because you have the whole entire day to do what you want mind floods with ideas. I can read a book, write a song, do some painting, go on a walk, write in my blog :-)...etc. Then the necessary house work comes to mind...laundry, dishes, cooking...thankfully today my hubby has taken care of the latter two! Just laundry to do today and take care of the little one. It is hard to believe how fast he is growing. Izzy is now 5 months old. What growth he has made in just a month! He is more sociable and engaged with the world around him. He can play on the floor for about an hour before becoming fussy and ready for a change. He is a gift and I am humbled to be his mother. I am humbled to be a wife too. What hope filled my heart this morning. I have been fighting this nasty virus going around (well we all have in the Watson household)...and all I wanted to do was sleep in bed but couldn't fall back asleep. Thom was playing "Shane and Shane" in the background and the worship songs filled my heart with joy beyond what I feel and see. "We exalt you...Your name be lifted high..." It made me smile hearing the sound of dishes being done and laundry started...and the sound of our baby talking to his toy sheep on the floor. My bet is he will be a very social little boy...just a hunch.
I am humbled at the thought that I worship the Giver of all my gifts. He is the One who deserves my praise, not the gifts. That is so hard sometimes as a wife and mother when I want so much to show my husband and son how much I love them and value their lives. How much more does the Lord deserve my love? When I at times over think all this stuff I sense the word "Grace" so strong, so clear on my  heart.
The chimes are blowing wildly outside. It's been cold lately...winter is trying to squeeze it's way in the southern air. I actually had to borrow a winter coat from my mom! Getting sick makes you more aware of how you're dressing when it's cold! (Note to self: not a great idea to head out to work with a head of freshly showered hair without a hat or scarf). Oops.
Thom and I have been on a LOST kick lately. For those of you who watched the TV show when it was on I am behind the times but catching up to the show. Wow, what great storytelling. Like Thom said this morning, "you know it's great storytelling when you become attached to the character and are sad to see the story ending...they become real to you." I close my eyes and think about all the characters and the stories from the past...the whole concept of time.
The Christmas tree is still up and stocking still hung. It's so hard to part with Christmas decor. It took creativity and time to display it that it feels so short-lived to take it down once "Christmas-time" is over. The tree is real so it's very dead and prickly. I'm actually kind of afraid to touch it in fear of needles falling everywhere. Ornaments decorating the tree mean something special...the framed ornament of the family in New York City this past Christmas, Izzy's first dinosaur ornament from Grammy, our "Couple's First Christmas" ornament from last year...all to be stored away until next year when we'll hang them again.
this would have been our Christmas tree, but too expensive! Haha!

best gift. 

eating rice cereal for the very first time. He liked the place mat more!

meeting his great-grandmother for the first time. 

Statue of Liberty! 

My cousins & mom at a NJ diner. 

our 5 month old! 
Life is busy. I am learning that life is so much richer and enjoyable when I rest. It is easy to rush from here, there and everywhere...but rest is precious these days. Sometimes my mind and heart just need some time to catch up with the rest of my body! I am thankful for my life. The town we live in, the brick house we call "home", my family who knows and loves me the same. The daily routine requires a lot...get up, shower, dress, coffee, lunches, breakfast, diaper changes, pack up the diaper bag for the day, drop off the baby, head to work, back home again, supper, relax, get ready for bed...time is precious. To slow down a moment to enjoy doing the dishes, the next diaper change, making dinner, to enjoy these times as a gift.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When I was a kid at Halloween...

Ahhh...homemade pumpkin spice latte and I didn't have to spend $4 at Starbucks! Just brewed some coffee, added pumpkin spice creamer, whipped topping and a dash of cinnamon= delight. Halloween has come and gone. Candy is now on sale...75% off from what I hear...Thom and I are left with a bowl full of candy. There weren't as many trick or treaters as we had anticipated. Times have changed. I remember when back when my family and I lived in New Jersey the candy bowl would be emptied quick! It was disappointing to see kids not even dressed up but walking door to door opening up their backpacks and just coming for the candy. Izzy's snoring exhausted from a busy weekend. I actually dressed him up in 3 different outfits...poor kid. The first was his Halloween "day" orange "I want my mummy" outfit with a pumpkin hat. At night we put a robot costume on him that he fussed in so we changed it to his knitted Link outfit from Legend of Zelda. He looked so precious all curled up in daddy's lap greeting the trick or treaters!
I was all nostalgic on Monday night remembering when I was a kid getting all dressed up and ready to hit the streets with my friends and older brother. One of my favorite costumes was being dressed up as a green crayon and my brother, a yellow one. My mom is so creative and she made these costumes for us. Another year I dressed up as a panda bear...very appropriate seeing how in Manitoba, Canada it had already snowed! I recall going from house to house in the city sliding on a layer of ice! But who am I kidding? The best part was the candy, of course! My brother, Brian and I had a plan...we would go to several houses and fill up our Halloween bag and then return to our van and empty out the stash in a garbage bag. When we returned home later that evening we emptied out the garbage bag on the living room floor and sorted through the glorious stash! There were all sorts of candies from mini chocolate bars, to Dots, Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls, to Rockets, lollipops...even the weird brown papered wax kind you didn't really know what it was! The candy would last a long time too until we eventually forgot we still had Halloween candy and it would be too stale to eat!
I look forward to the day when Izzy will be excited about dressing up in his own costume of choice (as opposed to his mommy putting an outfit on him!) I will probably claim the chocolate candy or at least some of his stash and thankfully we probably won't have any snow or ice!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

With Jesus in the boat...we can smile at the storm!

I just watched an adorable video of my nephew singing with his daddy..."With Jesus in the boat we can smile at the storm..." He filled in the word "boat" in his cute, little voice and it really hit me. We are teaching our children what we learned as children. The teachings of God and of the past never die. That song was a favorite of mine through the years when my family and I helped out with C.S.S.M (Children's Sand and Surf Mission)--a ministry in Ship Bottom, New Jersey to teach the Bible to kids out on the beach through skits, Bible stories, games, devotions, etc. It sure was a fun time and I think fondly of my memories there. Some of my favorite times were bonding with others and the Lord out on the beach in the warmth of the sun, the smell and feel of the ocean breeze, and the sunrise and sunsets I got to see everyday. I don't think any sunrise and sunset is quite as beautiful as it is over the ocean. The words of that simple, childhood song now fill my heart. "With Jesus in the boat...we can smile at the storm..." Powerful words. Whatever my boat is "lot" in this life at this time, I have the ability and power to smile even in the face of trials and change.

I was reading a devotion this morning written by Joni and Friends founder Joni Eareckson Tada that reads "Jesus squared off sin because He knew it was the ruin of those He loved. We feel His love most when He makes us most conscious of our rebellion. If you desire to become more like Jesus, if you want to get closer and know Him better, then be prepared to have Him uproot sin from your life." The word "uproot" really hit me. It reminds me of my love for gardening. I had a extremely difficult time about 2 years ago trying to clear out a ton of ivy to make room for a garden at the house I was renting. I worked out there for hours and began to find that the more I dug down in the soil to remove the ivy, roots and weeds were so in-grown that I had to trace them back to where they began sometimes all the way across the other side of the "garden"--it was very tedious but I knew that in order to create a good garden it had to start with good soil. I actually rented a rototiller to help me do the job! Man, I would love to get back into gardening again. It was quite humorous though once I actually started planting flowers and vegetables and things started sprouting up I got so excited and asked my next door neighbor what was growing. She politely pointed out that I was mostly growing weeds! Grrr. Today I realize that Jesus is in the "boat" of change and uprooting with me and hates my sin --my weeds more than I do. That is humbling that He is at work within me to work His ways.

I look at my little baby boy--of only a month old. He is a gift that we didn't plan for or intend on having at this stage in our marriage, but a true blessing. Sometimes when I'm nursing him I'll look into his deep blue eyes and catch a huge grin across his face. Some say it's just gas but I really think he is smiling. It is comforting to know that Jesus loves him more than me and knows him inside and out. I look forward to teaching him the songs that my brother and I were raised on..."with Jesus in the boat we can smile at the storm!"

my baby sporting his superman onesie! 

the sunset as we are leaving Charleston, SC...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fearfully and wonderfully made...

The house is so quiet...just a couple of sounds in the background...Izzy's mechanical swing, the sound of him sighing/breathing, the squeaky recliner and the sound of me typing. It is still hard to believe that I am a mother. A mother...such a lofty, high calling role...that I do not feel worthy of at all. I keep sensing the word "grace" when I think about how unqualified I am to be a mom. I pray every day that I'll be the kind of wife to Thom and mother to Isaac that they deserve. I know I cannot do this on my own and each day I learn. I look over to Isaac "Izzy" swinging and he makes these adorable squeaks and moans as he sleeps soundly. Occasionally he will smile and start only 2 weeks old...I wonder what he is dreaming about. I don't like when he gets this frown on his little face and looks worried-even afraid for a second. How complex and intricate we are as human beings--even as newborns.

One of the most comforting verses I read during my pregnancy was Psalm 139..."For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made....Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." We had a "sneak peak" look inside the womb...through the 2D and 3D ultrasounds...but to think that all along the Lord could see Isaac being formed and not only that--He was forming him! Next to Psalm 139 in my Bible I have written in the margin "01/05/2011...Little life inside me, the size of a lentil bean-grow, honey, grow. Can't wait to kiss your sweet face and hold you close." Wow. I am so thankful for you Isaac and thankful to the Lord for protecting this life and carrying him to completion.

me and my baby...i love his dinosaur pj's! <3 

just chillin'

baby foot! 

he loves his daddy! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Adventure Begins!

So...the last time I updated my blog was when I was just entering into the third trimester of pregnancy. Swollen feet, bulging tummy, and so many questions running through my mind..."what will our baby look like? when will he arrive...early, on time, or late? what's the next step in where we live..." Looking back on this time it's hard to believe that was only 2 months ago. Thom and I now have a handsome, healthy baby boy named Isaac, have moved out of Rock Hill to Columbia into a house. Thom tells people "Yeah, Amy and I like to do all our transitions at once!" Tonight I said to him, "You know, one of those changes alone is enough in and of itself but we've gone through like 3 huge changes!" that I have some time to sit and update this blog my tummy is smaller, my feet are still swollen :-) and I still have so many questions running through my mind. Isaac is sound asleep in the swing with a full tummy and diaper freshly changed. Time is such a gift right now. I looked at the clock and said to myself "now what?" I stuff around the house, eat some breakfast, surf the 'net...awesome!
It sure has been a whirlwind of a week! It's hard for me to comprehend all that has happened in the past 6 days! Let me start back to this past Wednesday and give you a snapshot in words about all that has gone on in the Watson household. Thom and I decided to travel back to Rock Hill Wednesday night to visit our friends and join in on the fun at the middle school youth "End of Summer Bash" night. It was a great turn out and we enjoyed visiting our friends again and hanging out at a lake house. My heart was heavy as we left that night to head back to Columbia. "I really miss our friends here." I told Thom. When we drove out of Rock Hill that night it felt like leaving home again into a new city where we haven't quite found our place yet. As we said our goodbyes to our friends some of them commented on how baby is really growing in my belly and wondering when he would arrive. I said "I've been thinking he'll be late but now I'm hoping he'll come early 'cause I'm really starting to feel uncomfortable!" I had no idea after saying these words what would happen the very next day.
We got home that night exhausted with me feeling worn out and ready to start maternity leave from work. I planned for my last day of work to be Friday, August I was down to the wire with only 6 more work days left to go. That morning we went to the OB-GYN and she checked my progress to see where we were in the pregnancy. She told us I'm only a tight finger-tip dilated so if things don't progress naturally I may have to be induced if I go past 41 weeks. At this time I was 37 weeks and 3 days. I got nervous about what she said and I prayed a lot that day..."Lord help baby come on his own when he's ready. I really don't want to be induced!" I heard from childbirth class and other women that being induced speeds up the contractions so that they are one on top of the other and that did not sound pleasant in the least! We went to bed that night with my heart still thinking about our home in Rock Hill and missing friends there like crazy I just wanted to cry. I knew the Lord brought us to Columbia and He would continue to provide but it's been a difficult transition for us to leave all the amazing love and support we have there and the ministry that Thom has poured his heart into the past 4 years.
The next morning was when our life as we knew it took a wild turn! I say that dramatically but that is what it felt like. I woke up that morning around 4 a.m. with painful cramps and bleeding. I told Thom about it and he reminded me that would happen after having the doctor all up in my business the day before. The cramps were getting worse the next few hours so I called my boss at work and explained what was going on and that I wanted to call the doctor and see what I needed to do. I called the doctor on call and explained what was happening and she told me to rest and drink plenty of water and if the cramps and bleeding didn't go away to give her a call back later. I tried to rest but things got worse over the next few hours. I called the nurse too and she basically told me the same thing but to call if things progressed--I did later on that day and she told us to come on in to "Triage" so they could check me out. Thom and I looked at each other as we left the house both thinking this is probably a false alarm but I wanted to be sure. We got to the hospital that night and the nursing staff hooked me up to a machine to monitor the timing of the contractions and baby's heartbeat. It was cool to see right in front of us what was going on inside of me. What made me nervous though was every time the contractions (what I thought was just cramping at the time) got worse, the baby's heartbeat would speed up. Thom would coach me along as another contraction hit..."Ok, baby breathe through your he...he....who..." we felt like pro's as we just graduated from our childbirth class that Monday night! They gave me some medications through IV and checked my cervix again to see where we were. I was still only a centimeter dilated at around 8:30 p.m. that night so they sent us home. I felt a lot better with the medication running through my body and after falling asleep for awhile in the hospital room doped up. Thom watched some NCSI while we waited to see if I would have to stay overnight or be send back home. We left the hospital that night and a part of me felt foolish for even going in. Maybe it was just "braxton hicks" afterall and I'm making a big fuss over nothing. I don't have a great tolerance for pain and that is something I'm not too proud of! That night we came home and I tried to keep myself busy and distracted. As the pain medication wore off the cramping and bleeding got even worse. We just left and I realized there was nothing that could really be done but just to wait it out. I felt like such a wimp moping around complaining about my body...Thom tried all he could to distract me with alternating from bed to couch to recliner...putting on my favorite TV show "Monk" for me and doing the dishes and several loads of laundry while I made sure my suitcases were packed just in case we had to rush back to the hospital. Little did we know a couple of hours later we would be looking into the eyes of our precious son.
So...after my failed attempt at distracting myself with Monk, a hot shower, organizing, etc. I kept whining about the pain and around 11:00 p.m. that night the pain got even worse to the point where I started screaming. I am not a big screamer so for me to holler at the top of my lungs Thom knew something was up. It felt as if a knife was stuck down inside of me every 5 minutes...excruciating pain. After about 2 hours of this sitting at the edge of the bed rocking myself and falling asleep between contractions...I cried to Thom..."we need to go back to the hospital!" He reminded me we just left not that long ago and I wasn't dilated very much. When I told him the bleeding was even worse he called the doctor right away. We couldn't get a hold of my doctor who was on call that day so we decided to drive in anyway. Around this time it was 1:30 a.m. Friday morning.
It really felt like we were the actors in a movie when I kept screaming from the pain and Thom drove me downtown to the hospital. The way he served me that night and the look in his eyes at the pain I felt and how much he wanted to help reminded me why I married him. He rushed me to the car and we sped downtown running through a couple of stop lights along the way. It really felt like the baby was about to pop out and it was all I could just to keep him in and calm myself down. Things got even more dramatic as we arrived at the hospital. Thom rushed me upstairs in a wheelchair and the nurses checked me out. I was relieved to hear this wasn't all in my head and there was truly something going on when the nurse said "she's 5 centimeters dilated, let's move her down to labor and delivery!" This is it, I thought, I don't feel ready yet at the same time I'm so ready! Thom was moving the car out of the ER parking area and when he came back upstairs he was surprised to find out I was sent to delivery. What a quick turn-around in about 4 hours!
I will spare some details here as there is so much to recall from the hours of 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. but basically the staff there took amazing care of me down to calming me down. One of the funniest moments looking back was when I was crying out in pain before the epidural was administered and one of the nurses looked at me held my hand and said "Let's breathe through and out...squeeze my hand as hard as you can...get angry at me and breathe...but no more yelling." I was getting pretty worked up! Thom said when he was there in the room watching all of this happen he felt pretty helpless..."you were in so much pain and there was nothing I could do." He did so much and just seeing him out of the corner of my eye (when I actually opened my eyes again) was a comforting assurance. It didn't take long for me to reach 10 centimeters and we were surprised when they checked me out again after the epidural took effect and we tried to catch a nap and the nurses came back in and said "Ok, call the doctor she's fully dilated. Let's set up the room!" So this is really it, I thought! Wow, I didn't expect to be there that early...with still 2 weeks and 2 days left until my due date.
The next half an hour was one of the most exciting and exhilarating times of my life so far. My lower body was feeling nice and numb and I felt a lot calmer so that helped out a lot. The doctor came over and the room seemed to fill up with nursing staff. "She's the only one in labor right now so we have a full staff" one of the nurses told Thom and I was well taken care of! They lifted my legs up in the stir-ups and Thom helped to steady my foot and they kept telling me to breathe and push through 10 counts...and repeat. I have never pushed so hard I thought the veins in my neck were about to pop out! It only took 20 minutes and with a final *push* I heard the first cries of our baby boy! I could see his slimy body with his hands and feet flailing in the air. Thom cut the umbilical cord and almost immediately they placed his little body on my chest. I couldn't believe the sight of it all. This little creature was growing inside of me the past 9 months and was actually here with us. It it funny to recall the first words we said when we saw Isaac for the first time. I exclaimed "he is so beautiful!" Thom was standing next to me and said "he looks like an angry raisin!"
The next 2 days were filled with new moments and emotions I had never quite experienced before. I enjoyed the room we stayed in. It was tight but we had the freedom to have Isaac stay with us or head over to the nursery. We opted for the nursery at nighttime so we could get some sleep. Thom was a trooper staying at my side on the uncomfortable pull-out chair in the corner while I slept on the deluxe reclining hospital bed with controls! I miss that bed. Staff was there every hour checking on me making sure my stomach was going down to normal and my vitals looked good. I enjoyed taking Motrin to help with pain as I didn't realize all my body went through in just a 24 hour period!
Leaving the hospital was bittersweet. Part of me wanted to dress up nice and show him off to the home in my own bed and relax. Another part of me felt reluctant to leave all the staff and wondered how things would be at home without all the newborn nursery help. We walked out of the hospital that day with flowers, "It's a Boy" balloon and our bags packed up. We got to take home a lot of free stuff too for me and for Isaac to start us on the journey. That was Sunday and as I write this it's Tuesday morning. It's been a wild week that's for sure! He is only 5 days old today and already I feel like time rushes too fast. I want to enjoy every minute and pray to God that we will be loving, wise parents who raise him in a fun, encouraging environment where I hope one day he will experience what it is like to have his own child...even if he's 2 weeks early! :-)

Some snapshots of our week...