Saturday, September 22, 2012

What I Proudly Told BJ Tonight

"I know my way around a video game.  You hit Alt+Tab and they disappear."

He was so proud of his wife.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Favorite Things About Lydia (in no particular order)

-Her gnome ears.  Although I said this was in no particular order, this is in fact my very, very favorite thing about my daughter.

-Her angry face.  If she wants us to take her seriously, she should stop being so cute when she is angry with us.

-Her lack of reserve. Who can pass gas for the camera?  My daughter can.

-Her tendency to make her mouth as small as possible while making her eyes as big as possible.  It is like cute on steroids.

-Her coos. No picture can capture coos, so just trust me on this one.  They are better than Shakespeare. 

-Her lopsided grin.

-Those big eyes.  Just like Shep's in every way but color.  When I look at the enormous eyes on each of my children, I know God had fun making them.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My new favorite picture

The other day, our neighbors kitten found its way into our yard.  Shepherd immediately picked it up upside-down.  After correcting his holding technique, we got this picture of Shepherd holding a kitten for the first time:

Later, a second kitten sneaked its way in.  Guess what Shepherd did.

I have always loved animals.  As a child, my number one goal in life was to catch one of the stray kittens around our neighborhood and cuddle.  So even though I don't want a kitten of my own right now, I'm glad a few ended up in our yard for the afternoon.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

On a happier note...

Could they possible be more beautiful?  I think not.

Friday, September 07, 2012

It is 8:50 p.m., and at least for now, both of my children are in bed.  I feel exhausted in every way a person can be exhausted.  Having two children under the age of two is many things (chaotic, exciting, funny, life-affirming, etc.), but the main thing that comes to mind tonight is just exhausting.

I can't blame all of this exhaustion on my children, however.  After a lifetime of struggling off and on with anxiety, this particular weakness of mine has taken a stronghold in the past year.  Suddenly, it hasn't been an off and on thing.  It has just been on.  Two weeks ago, I finally went to a therapist, and I'm happy to report that I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Unfortunately, I'm still in the tunnel, but it is a work in progress.

The oddest thing about this whole process is trying to decipher the root of an irrational, moment-stealing, cold and unflinching anxiety.  Of course, one doesn't get to this level of disorder without many factors, but it does seem that the constant stress of our three years in Farmington took a serious toll.  From what I've learned in my sessions, prolonged severe stress causes the parts of the brain that react in crisis to become over-active, thus causing a person to feel irrational anxiety almost constantly.  It is exhausting.  Even more exhausting than having two children under two.

I say all of this to say that I am in a rough patch right now.  I want to post all the wonderful things about my family and just feel joy, but I am currently busy processing the relatively recent admission to myself that I have a problem and I have got to do something about it.

On Valentine's Day of 2010, I had a particularly memorable confrontation with my anxiety problem.  BJ and I had been trying for over a year to get pregnant.  We had lost one pregnancy almost a year before, and we were in the midst of various medical tests to see how serious our problem was.  I had taken pregnancy tests regularly through out the previous year only to be plunged over and over again into dissappointment and fear that we would not be able to have a family.  On this particular Valentine's Day, I knew I was a day overdue for my 'monthly visitor', but I was refusing to take the test.  Finally, BJ demanded to know why I wouldn't just take the test.  I admitted that I was afraid it would be negative again and subsequently ruin our Valentine's Day.  BJ made a simple, one-sentenced reply: "What if it makes our Valentine's Day?"  To make a long story short, it was the best Valentine's Day of my life.

Somewhere along the way of these past 5 years, I've lost the ability to imagine the possibility of the best possible thing happening.  I've begun to assume that the worst is around the corner, that best-case scenarios are simply fairy tales, and that, worst of all, God is apathetic about my life.    

One thing I've come to realize as I have faced this problem is that the most egregious sin of anxiety is not a failure to trust in God.  The worst offense is the cynicism that allows such anxiety to exist, the belief that if something bad were to happen, darkness would take over with out the light having a fighting chance.  It is a rejection of hope and joy, two essential virtues and fruits of our faith.  This perspective makes my little problem seem more manageable.  I can't just tell myself to believe more in God and then do it.  I'm not built that way.  But I can see the ultimate hope and joy of the Christian narrative and start feeling it seep into my personal story.

For now, this is my game plan.  To allow myself to be a little happier.  To believe that hope and joy are part of my story.  To ask myself daily, "What if it (whatever it might be) makes my Valentine's Day (or fill in the blank)?" 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Indulge me for a moment as I brag about my son

The past 23 months have been wonderful.  I love being a mother.  I haven't started a career yet, and in many ways my twenties thus far have been unimpressive.  However, when I start feeling like a failure in any way, all I have to do is look at this picture:

Shepherd has been so kind and patient and loving as we have welcomed Lydia into our family.  I am constantly having to postpone his needs and desires to meet her more immediate needs.  And he has taken all of this with a grace I had no idea toddlers were even capable of.  As I have been stumbling through motherhood these past two years, I've honestly not had a clue if I was doing anything right, and so I've invested a lot of time in prayer that I would raise these children well enough.  When I see Shepherd's love for Lydia, I suspect God has been listening.