Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's Time To Turn The Page...

Fifteen months and thirteen teeth later, and we are DONE with breastfeeding.

I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little bit excited for this chapter to be over, but a part of me (and Landon) is sad this part of our story has ended. I feel like I no longer have a baby, but a toddler!

I once wrote about my breastfeeding experience here!
It was an experience I pray I am blessed to have again, but none will be like the experience I had with my Landon Shae.

I doubt I will be nursing our next baby on top of a mountain in Southern California.  I remember hiking with Landon for the first time when he was just two months old and I was sure he was going to have a melt down while we were a deep four miles into the woods, but he didn't! In fact, he slept most of the time. And when we reached our destination (a beautiful waterfall), he happily nursed, and then laid on nature's floor and looked around. Who says you have to give up hiking when you have a baby?!

And I highly doubt (although wish) I will be nursing our next baby while sitting on California beaches multiple times a week. I remember sitting on the beach, looking out into the water while Landon was nursing and thanking God for such a beautiful life. There was something so peaceful about holding this sweet baby and looking at a gorgeous creation.

Now that we are done, I can't help but feel proud of myself.
It is an amazing feeling knowing that I was able to completely sustain his eating life, until he was six months old. He has grown and developed into such a healthy, little boy and I know thats because of the nutrients I was able to give him.

And I believe Landon and I have the bond that we do because I chose to nurse him. He depended on me and was able to trust that I would provide him with a full tummy whenever he needed it, even if he needed it multiple times in the middle of the night. And now, he trusts that I will feed him three meals a day and pick him up when he needs me to. He knows I will always come back to get him when we leave him somewhere without us, and he knows that I love him unconditionally.
I've said it before that the first time the two of us really connected was when he latched on for the first time. It was the first time we made eye contact and it was the first time I really felt like he was my baby.

I will miss nursing a calm Landon who was content just looking at me and playing with my hair, and I will even miss nursing a crazy Landon who would try to talk and laugh and pull my hair.

This was a beautiful experience that I will forever cherish.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dancing Away With My Heart

Landon and I like to have dance parties together. 
So, tonight while Tyler was at his meeting, Landon and I had a dance party.

They usually consist of us just jumping around the house, spinning in circles, and Landon hanging upside down.

While we were dancing, "Never Grow Up" came on (Thanks to Taylor Swift Pandora).
Landon relaxed, put his little forehead against mine and said, "ahhhh."

And we slow danced during the entire song.
He laid his head on my shoulder and we moved around in a circle. 
It was blissful and I wanted to soak up every second of the moment because I know Landon won't always let me hold him and dance with him.
But for now, and hopefully a few more years, he will let me scoop him up, and dance with him while he rests his head on my shoulder.

I feel so honored, privileged, blessed, lucky, excited, and joyful to be able to have moments like this with this precious boy. And not only is he a precious boy, he is MY precious boy. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Child Is Hilarious

Landon is a little boy with a big personality and an even funnier sense of humor. He does the funniest things and his imagination is really starting to shine.

He loves standing at his kitchen, and pretending he is stirring a pot. After he is done stirring, he tastes it and says, "mmmm." And then he WALKS ;-) over to me and says, "Mama" with the spoon pointed at my mouth because he wants me to taste it too. After I taste it, he says, "mmmm" again.

Needless to say, I think he is the most adorable, funniest. sweetest baby ever to exist.

Tonight, Landon and I were on our own for the bedtime routine. Tyler had his weekly ministry team meeting.

7pm rolled around so I started Landon's bath water. He likes watching the bath tub fill up so I underdressed him and stood him up by the bath tub. When the tub was done filling up I took Landon's diaper off. In the time I folded the diaper and threw it away (in the trash can right beside the tub), Landon walked right out the door, to his walker and literally started running away from me. I chased him and yelled, "Landon Shae, get back here right now. It's time for your bath." He, of course giggled and shrieked and kept running to the opposite side of the house. As I turned the corner, I found him squatting down, peeing all over the floor. I couldn't help but laugh at him. I walked over to him, knelt down beside him, and said, "Landon, that was not a good choice." But, I couldn't help but say it with a smile on my face and a chuckle in my voice. He gave a loud, belly laugh and took off back through the house and met me at the bath tub.

His bath went great, he got his PJs on, I nursed him, and we read Goodnight Moon. 

Before I laid him down in his crib, I told him how much I loved him and I told him nothing he does will ever make me love him even any less...even if he peed on the floor.
He wrapped his little arms around my neck and hugged me. And! He initiated a kiss too, which is rare.

I just love the person this tiny human is becoming.
I love him, and knowing he loves me back is the the best.

Monday, January 13, 2014

True Life: I grew up as a PK

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, "PK" it means, Pastor's kid.
There are plenty of stereotypes that come with being a PK and I believe when Tyler told his mom he was interested in a girl from Pennsylvania and she was a pastor's kid, she responded with a worried, "Oh dear."

However, I like to think I wasn't just another pastor's daughter who rebelled against the church, never stepped foot into a church after going off to college, and got a bunch of tattoos and piercings.
(I guess I did end up with a tattoo......)

I actually loved my church family and felt they were just a natural extension of my actual family. I looked forward to going every week and I maintained some relationships that I formed with that community.

At the same time, there were plenty of things I didn't particularly like.
     I felt like I was put under a microscope and expected to be perfect. I knew if I made a "bad" choice, it would be talked about more than normal only because of the family I came from.
     I was referred to as "gospel girl" which didn't necessarily bother me, but it was annoying.
     Not only was my dad's job at the funeral home demanding, but a lot of his free time was taken up by deeds that had to be done at the church. But, I should add, he rarely missed any of my brother and I's events.

I didn't see myself marrying a pastor. I didn't have an idea of what I wanted my future husband to do as a career, but I didn't see him being a pastor.

And here we are...
Tyler is a pastor and I am now not only a pastor's kid, but a pastor's wife.

It is a beautiful thing, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's struggles.
     I feel like our family is under a microscope.
     Tyler has to go to meetings that take up some of our evenings and preparing teachings takes up a lot of time.

But, I am once again, blessed to be apart of a community that feels like family. It is a familiar, childhood feeling being around these people.
I am learning what it means to be a pastor's wife and I luckily have many women surrounding me with encouraging, uplifting, and loving words.

Last night, we had an event for one of our sister churches. There wasn't childcare provided so I was anxious to take Landon. He doesn't sit still very well and he likes to talk and giggle. But, to my surprise (with a few exceptions), he was on his best behavior. He was content eating crackers, playing with whatever I could find in his bag, and looking at the people who were looking at him. And he loved watching his Papa play music.

I also discovered he knows how to use a pencil. As I watched him drawing with his piece of paper that was support by a hymnal, I thought to myself, he is living the life I grew up in. I can't count how many pictures I drew during my dad's sermons. I was impressed that his scribbling lasted fifteen whole minutes!

This is his first church, service, masterpiece. 
I'm excited to see how his drawings evolve over the years.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Final Countdown of 2013

Here are my top ten moments of 2013!

10. Going On a Whale Watching Tour
I've always loved the ocean and the creatures that are in it. It is nice to feel tiny while in the midst of something so huge. I didn't expect to see anything when we started out. Of course, there is no guarantee you will see any whales or dolphins and there is definitely no money refund. But! We got lucky and ended up in the midst of an entire pod of dolphins.

9. Jared Becoming a Part of Our Family:
While living in California, it was hard to have a sense of family and community. We found this with Jared. He not only loves us, but he loves Landon as if he were biologically related. There were few people I was comfortable leaving Landon with while we were in California, but I was at ease when we left him with Jared. I knew Landon would be well taken care of and loved as if we were there. It just feels natural to take Jared in as another member of our family. 

8. Every Hike We Completed
When we decided to move to Toledo, we committed to go on a hike or to the beach (at least) once a week. And sometimes, we did both in one day. What a life, huh? I can't express the beauty we discovered while living on the West Coast.

7. Running The Color Run
I loved running in high school and for parts of college, but my love for it eventually faded. I don't think there was a specific reason why...I just stopped making it a priority. However, on My Bucket List I had said I wanted to run The Color Run, which is a 5k. So with a running history, I figured it wouldn't be hard and not to mention, it looked like a lot of fun. AND IT WAS! The run wasn't competitive at all. I didn't have a goal finish time, I just wanted to run and have fun with my cousin, Lexi, and that is exactly what I did.

6. Biking Along The Beach With Tyler and Landon
All my favorite things tied into one! Tyler, Landon, my bike, and the beach. It doesn't get any better than that. Experiencing the beauty of the Ocean with Tyler beside me while pulling Landon in his little bike trailer is not only one of my favorite moments of 2013, but easily one of my favorite life moments. 

5. Moving To Ohio
It's  funny though, because if you would have told us in May 2012 that we would be moving back to Ohio only after a year of living in California, we would have laughed and said, "There is no way we are moving back to Ohio." we are, and this life is beautiful. Beaches, mountains, and warm weather are no comparison to living closer to family. This doesn't mean there are not days where I don't miss our life in was so easy (and so warm), but Tyler and I are so happy and content with where we are in our lives and moving back was one of the greatest decisions we have made. 

4. Becoming Members of A Methodist Church 
Another funny thing. If someone would have told Tyler a year ago he would have been part of a United Methodist ministry team, he would have denied it all day. But, here we are. He is the pastor at a church that is located literally in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by farm land. It has been nothing but a blessing to become a part of this church family. It reminds me a lot of my old church family in Blacksville, WV. The people are so gracious, kind, open minded, giving, and so sweet. They have taken us in like we have been there our whole lives. And not only do I get to spend every Sunday with a great group of people, I get to watch my husband teach. This is what he loves doing and call me biased, but he is amazing at what he does. I have learned more from him in the few years he has been preaching, than I have learned my whole life. 

3. Landon saying, "Mama" For The First Time
If you spend just a few minutes around our family, you will quickly realize that Landon is 100% a mama's boy. Not to say he doesn't love Tyler just as much as he loves me, but seriously, he wants to be around me every second of every day. And of course...I don't mind (with the exception of needing a break every now and then). His first word was, "Mama" and I'm sure people will say, "That's because its the easiest syllable for him to say." And that may be true, but he knew what the word, "Mama" meant the minute he started saying it. I could go on and on and on about how much I love Landon and the incredible bond the two of us have, but you can find that in just about every other post I have ever written. Landon is simply...incredible. 

2. Landon Turning One!
It is hard for me to believe I have a one year old. It is amazing what he has learned and the person he has developed into in just one year! I'm not one to brag, but he is darn smart! 
     He knows titles of books. For example, when he sees, Pete The Cat he says, "Pop" and when he sees, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? he says two words that sound like, "brown bear brown bear."
     He can do "more," "eat," and "all done" in sign language.
     He knows the meaning of the word, "hot."
     He actually listens and comprehends really well.
I could go on and on, but I'll spare you ;-)

1. Getting To Go Through Another Year With Tyler
Call it cliche, but it's the truth. This man is truly the best thing in my life. It has been a crazy year, from moving across the country, loosing our things to a moving company for two months, taking on a church, and raising a baby, but he has been the most encouraging and loving man. I can't express how thankful and blessed I am to have married him.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby!

I'll never forget the hours leading up to Landon's arrival.

Once we were in the delivery room and the nurse found the baby's heart beat, I then at least knew he was alive. We didn't know what to expect once he was born...what he would look like, if he would be deformed at all, or if HE actually was a he or a she.

We had an amazing nurse. She gave us the space we needed, but was there for support. I found great comfort in her and with her in the room, I felt safe. She was so kind, understanding, non judgmental, and even brought humor into the room, which was needed. She never left us when we needed her and she answered all of our questions honestly.
She bought Landon his blue striped blanket which he never goes a night without.

I'll never forget the phone calls I made to my parents.
My mom was at a Christmas party and I knew she was. As much as I didn't want to give her the news while she was at that party, I knew I didn't have much time, so I called her.
I told her I needed to talk to her and I asked if she was sitting down. As I told her what was going on, she said to me, "Oh honey, I don't know if I should be thrilled or really scared." And I said, "Probably both." She prayed with me over the phone and she was calm...exactly what I needed her to be.

I then called my dad who was luckily at home and not at work. My blood pressure got so high from nerves that the monitor went off.
I could hear the fear in his voice. He kept saying, "Are you sure you are okay...are you sure you are okay?" I think he asked me the same question about four times...but rightfully so.

We picked out two names. One for a girl and one for a boy.
And eventually the pushing process started.

I pushed for four hours.
Finally, at 6:47pm (pacific time), a beautiful, HEALTHY, perfect, baby boy was born!
6lbs. 13oz. and 20in. long.
There were multiple doctors in the room because they were prepared for the worst, but once he was born and evaluated, they delivered the news that he was miraculously perfect. The doctor even said, "I can't find a single thing wrong with him." This is the best news a new parent can receive.

After I nursed him for the first time, they took him to the nursery for the other tests he would have received while in the womb and Tyler and I were sent to a resting room where Landon would arrive early the next morning.

I ate a grilled cheese sandwich that night while Tyler made calls to our closest friends and family. We "rested" (yeah right) and waited to be reunited with Landon.

We were sent home two days later. 

Somedays, I still can't believe he is ours. He is OUR baby! 
Somedays, I look at him and wonder to myself...where did you come from?
I am so grateful that God chose and in trusted us to be his parents. 

We may not have known he existed, but we love him like we knew he was there the whole time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Who Cares.

I am not defined by being the woman who didn't know she was pregnant. That does not make up my identity. I understand it is a big part of of my life and probably the biggest part of my story, but it doesn't define who I am as a person.

I am a woman who knows a lot about how the human body works. I studied it in college.
I am not oblivious to what is happening to my body. I take good care of myself and I am in tune with what I need to be healthy.

I am a woman who was blessed with a body that is able to carry a child for nine months. I grew a human and then pushed it out of my body, just like every other woman who has been pregnant.

My pregnancy may have looked differently than a "normal" one, but it was still a pregnancy and I still went through it.

And no,
I didn't feel him kick. And that sucks because when I thought of what it would be like to be pregnant, I couldn't wait to know what it felt like to have a tiny baby kick from the inside.
And no,
I didn't show. And that sucks too because I had plans of how I would track how big my belly got.
And no,
We didn't move to California so we could "hide the pregnancy." Why would we want to keep the joy of expecting a baby from our families.

Over the past year, I have been the subject at dinner parties, I have been questioned, and I have been doubted.

I understand people are interested and want to know details and I love talking about Landon's story because it is beautiful, but I can tell when people are skeptical and are waiting for a flaw in the story.

In a previous post, I said, "It has been a year of overcoming guilt and "what ifs" and that statement couldn't be any more true. I struggled and still struggle.
I have never felt more terrible than I did when I found out I was pregnant and delivering the same day. All I could think of, was "How did I miss this and what have I done."
I had dreamed of what it would be like to find out I was pregnant. I thought it would be exciting and joyful and happy, but instead I was scared to death and the first thing I said to Tyler was, "Nobody is going to believe me." and he said, "Who cares."

At the time, "Who cares" wasn't enough for me, but now, it is plenty.
It's plenty because I've learned that I don't have to prove myself and I don't have to convince anyone because the only thing that Landon.

Landon was born healthy and perfect, but people don't usually ask about him. They want to know every reason why I didn't know I was pregnant.

I've come to a place where I feel more grace than guilt.
And a place where I feel more blessed than cheated out of a "normal" pregnancy.
A year ago, I couldn't have said that.

I am where I am now because I look at Landon every day and he is so smart and so adorable and so full of love and energy, I realize that because of my lifestyle and because of God, he is here and thriving.
And nothing else matters.