Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Lydia Carol!

From this moment...

to this moment...

you've been an absolute pleasure!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

One Day to Go: A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I was a nervous wreck.  The doctors were concerned that Lydia was too small and that I might have inter-uterine growth restriction.  It was a Friday, and they told me that if I didn't go into labor over the weekend, they would induce me Monday morning.  Now, I am a hippy-dippy, new-agey, all-natural kind of girl when it comes to labor, so the word "induce" terrified me.  So I spent this whole day, the day before Lydia would come, walking.  I walked and walked and walked.  It was a 100+ plus degrees outside, but my mom was a trooper and walked right next to me.  I have no idea if the walking is what did it, but I went into labor that night.  Every woman must decide for herself what kind of labor she wants, and I think there is more than one right way to do it.  I just feel so blessed that I was able to have the labor I wanted.

I think those days leading up to the birth of a child are so anxiety-filled for pregnant mothers because we are so excited about that moment when we meet our child, the moment that everyone says was one of the best moments of their life.  It is like waiting for your wedding day to happen without knowing the exact time and date.  With both of my babies, The Moment has been exactly as awe-inspiring as I was told but couldn't possibly imagine.  The pain leading up to The Moment was excruciating, but The Moment, when it finally came after months of anticipation and hours of pain, was euphoric and as free of pain as my body has ever been.  Motherhood is so challenging and at times frustrating and flat-out scary, but there is something about thinking back on that first moment you beheld your child that constantly reminds you what a gift you have been given and what an amazing system of love and creativity God has put into place in his infinite wisdom and compassion.

I've been thinking about what I'm going to tell Shepherd when he asks me where babies come from.  Here is the plan: when a mommy and daddy love each other so much they hardly know what to do, God takes all of that love and makes a special little person with it.  He then gives that person to the mommy and daddy so that their love can be shared.  Shepherd and Lydia are mine and BJ's love.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Three Days to Go: The Top Fifteen Best Pictures of Lydia from the Past Year

I tried to keep it to ten.  I really did, but 15 was the best I could do.  Here they are in order of when they were taken with a brief description of why they made my list.

1. Because they were cautiously getting to know each other.  Now they are enthusiastic partners in crime on a daily basis.

2. Because Lydia spent her first week being held by my then-invalid father, and this picture shows how tiny she looked next to his big carpenter's hands.

3. Because she's even cute when she's angry. This is what she thought of baths for the first four months. 

4. Because this is the look BJ always gets from her.

5. Because you've got a love sloppy, wet toddler kisses!

6. Because Lydia and I have spent the better part of this past year cuddling with her in that wrap.

7. Because of their matching snotty noses.

8. Because this is from the night Lydia and I did our Christmas shopping.  I dressed her like a polar bear to go Christmas shopping.  How fantastically awesome is that?!?!

9. Because of baby back wrinkles!

10. Because between the red wrapping paper and the brand new knitted hat from Nana, this picture pretty much captures Lydia's first Christmas.

11. Because of a simple math equation: the hair + the eyes + the ears + the drool = cute.

12. Because of two words: the hair.

13. Because this is the intensity with which she examines each person she meets.

14. Because Lydia has a purple hat with ear flaps. 'Nuff said.

15. Because Lydia in a swimsuit makes me giggle.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Four Days to Go: The Shoes

Everything on Lydia is tiny, so it should come as no surprise that Lydia has exceptionally small feet.  When I was pregnant, Uncle Bro and Aunt Stephanie got Lydia a pair of 3-6 month pink Converse shoes to match my own pair.  I was very impatient for Lydia to be able to wear them, but it took her about 6 to 7 months to grow into them.  Fortunately, they have now fit her for the latter half of her first year.  She has worn them out.  They are frayed and grimy.  She has crawled and walked all over the place in these shoes, and they show the signs.  Her toes are just now reaching the limit, so I will be retiring them soon.  But when I think of Lydia as a baby, I'll probably always think of her in pink converse shoes.  Here's a pictures of Lydia's first truly great pair of shoes.  Being that she is a girl, there are probably going to be many, many, many, many, many more pairs to come (and yes, BJ, you will be paying for them the next 17 years).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Five Days to Go: What we've learned since having Lydia.

For Shepherd's first birthday, I did a count down.  While in Ardmore, I worked on a series of post so that I could do the same thing for Lydia.  If I set them up correctly, a new post should appear every morning at 7:00 leading up to Lydia's birthday. For the first post, here are some thoughts on what we've learned during our first year with Lydia.

1. In the words of BJ, "She's no smile slut."  As I've mentioned before, Lydia is an introvert.  It takes months of quality time with Lydia before she starts handing out smiles.  The plus side to this is that when she does smile at someone, they feel like they've accomplished something significant.

2. I'm even girlier than I new.  For the past year, I've giggled at every bow, every pair of tights, every ruffle, and every tutu. BJ just rolls his eyes, but I'm not fooled.  He's giggling inside.  Deep, deep, deep inside.

3. Having a girl has changed BJ.  The other day, BJ told me that he had ordered a bigger car seat for Lydia.  At first, I was disappointed he had ordered it without consulting me because I naturally assumed it would be gray and stoic.  Well, it came in the mail. It is pink.  And floral. 

4. Just because she's light wieght doesn't mean you should never put her down.  According to the nursery attendants at the YMCA, Lydia constantly demands to be held, and the only explanation for such behavior in a baby is that they are held too much at home.  After being repeatedly chastised for this, I have changed my holding habits exactly none at all.  Oh well.

5. She is the tiniest baby in the world. At Lydia's last doctor's appointment, we were told that she is in the 0% in weight and the 1% in height for a girl her age.  When first seeing these number, I had a panic attack (What do you mean? Is she merely a figment of our imagination?!?) Thank you, anxiety disorder.  But after repeated reassurances from the doctor, I came to see that Lydia is a perfectly healthy miniature baby.  It is actually sort of cool.

6. There are several perks to having the tiniest baby in the world.  For one, people think she is a prodigy at everything she does (we'll just keep it our little secret that she isn't a three month old who has magically learned how to crawl.) Perhaps the biggest advantage is what I like to call the teacup affect.  You see, people always want the teacup poodles, yorkies, etc., because pretty much everything is cuter in miniature.  Well, Lydia is a teacup baby, which means she is extra adorable.  Do you see the logic there?   

7. There are also drawbacks.  Primarily, when Lydia is in the nursery at the YMCA, all the other children think she is their own personal doll.  She isn't the youngest baby there, but she is the tiniest.

8. There are also some drawbacks to being the mother of the tiniest baby in the world.  People are openly incredulous when I tell them Lydia's age. No, I'm not an idiot who doesn't remember when she birthed a child.  My daughter really is a year old.

9. Girls are sugar and spice and everything nice. But that doesn't mean they don't get a good laugh out of passing gas.  Lydia tooted during dinner the other night, and she and BJ got a big kick out of it.

10. A two year old is capable of a great amount of love for a baby.  Shepherd and Lydia play and jabber all of the time.  As someone who values my own sibling relationship more than I can put into words, this is a beautiful thing to watch.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Before we head out...

As many of you know, BJ has begun a doctoral program this year to earn a Doctorate of Ministry in Spiritual Formation from Lipscomb University.  The way this program works, BJ will be spending two weeks in Nashville every July and February for the next two years, and he will work on his final project at home the third year.  At the end of all of this, he will be Rev. Dr. Gensic (which he is fully intending to make any boy Lydia ever brings home call him.)  BJ's first residency begins Monday, July 15th (our anniversary).

The down side to all of this is that BJ will be missing Lydia's first and second birthdays and our 7th and 8th anniversaries.  A week from this Sunday, Lydia will be a year old.  I'm seriously not sure where that year went.  The good news is that Shepherd, Lydia, and I will be spending this coming two weeks with the Gensics.  We will be in Alton, IL, with BJ's parents (Nana and Papa), and in the middle of the two weeks, we will be in Markle, IN, with the extended Gensic family.  That middle part just so happens to include Lydia's birthday, so needless to say, there is going to be a big family celebration that I am very excited about.

I record all of this here for the purpose of warning that my post are likely to be sporadic for the rest of July.  We'll just have to see what I manage while I'm away.  But in the mean time, here are some wonderful pictures of my children.

First, here are some pictures of Shepherd in his new favorite sleeping location: his tent.  He has put every blanket and stuffed animal we own in there, and he sleeps with them all every night and every nap time.

And here is Lydia's first real pony tail.  It was a big moment for me.

I guess that's all for now.  I'd better go work on packing.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Reading list update

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal for myself to read at least one book that fit twenty different topics.  In late February, I did an update on the first four books I had read from my list (these books are in bold on the below list.) Since that post, I have continued whittling away on my list (while also managing to fit in several just-for-fun books along the way.)  So here is another update on my year of erudition.

1. Theology - The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach by  Elaine Heath
2. Pulitzer Prize Winner - Gilead by Marilynne Robinson; It took me a very long time to get into this book, but once I did, I felt it was well worth my effort.  Gilead is about a dying minister who is writing to his young son.  In testimony to the profoundness of the book, BJ got a couple of sermons out of me reading him some of my favorite parts.
3. Mystery - Brandy and Bullets by Donald Bain;  I was almost too embarrassed to admit this one on my list.  This book is actually based on the TV series, Murder, She Wrote.  Apparently, for the past twenty years, Donald Bain has been publishing murder mysteries staring Jessica Fletcher, and as it turns out, they're pretty dang good.  I've always been a devotee of the show, so when I needed a light read a month ago, I checked this book out.  It is set in Cabot Cove, so I was immediately enchanted with the atmosphere.  The rest was just a delightful little read.
4. Thriller - The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley; This was a Kindle Daily Deal that I bought specifically to fulfill my "thriller" requirement.  It was about a female archeologist in Scotland who is researching the site of an old Roman camp.  Of course, there were ghosts and murders and a romance with a charming, curly-haired Scotsman. Basically, I couldn't stop clicking for the pages to turn.
5. Trashy Romance - Years by Lavyrle Spencer 
6. A Vampire Book
7. Children's Lit
8. A book that has or is being made into a movie
9. A Collection of Poetry
10. A Shakespeare Play - The Tempest; Turns out that reading Shakespeare when you aren't being forced to in school is absolutely awesome!  It didn't feel like a chore I had to do to complete my New Year's resolution.  It was actually fun!  This may have to become a yearly goal.
11. A book of historical non-fiction written by Doris Kearns Goodwin - Team of Rivals; I decided that since this book was so long and hefty (and since my opportunities to read are usually short and include children screaming in the background), I would listen to it as an audio book while I worked in my kitchen.  Just 30 minutes in, I didn't want to turn it off.  I started trying to think of extra chores I could do in my kitchen.  I am not being facetious when I say this: I had the cleanest kitchen of my life that week.  And when I got to the final CD and the narrator announced that it was Friday and I knew that Lincoln was assassinated on a Friday, I put down my dish rag, set on the floor next to the CD player, and cried for the rest of the book.  Obviously, we all know how the story ends, but you can't help hoping for a happier ending even after a hundred and fifty years.
12. Biography (Currently working on this with David McCollough's John Adams.  It is so engrossing that I've hardly had time to clean house or think about my upcoming trip these past few days.)
13. Memoir - Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield; Another random find on my Kindle.  This book is written by a former English professor and lesbian who is now the wife of a minister in a very conservative denomination.  It truly is a story that is stranger than fiction.  While many of her currently-held views are a bit conservative for me, I found her humility in the face of God's divinity inspiring. 
14. Comedy - I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern; I laughed so much reading this book that BJ would leave the room because he couldn't focus on his homework.  Justin Halpern first got famous for his Twitter feed, "Sh*t My Dad Says." This book chronicles Halpern's encounters with women from childhood to marriage, and of course, his father plays a big role in his education about the opposite sex.  What surprised me most was what an amazing parent his foul-mouthed father actually is.  I actually got some good parenting tips from this book.
15. British classic and/or a Booker Prize winner - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen;  I read this book with my brother and sister-in-law (we have made our own book club.)  While it was quite different from Austen's other books, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.  All I have left now of her books is Emma.
16. An Agatha Christi - Peril at End House
17. Young Adult Lit - City of Bones by Cassandra Clare; My mother-in-law lent this to me about two years ago, but I just picked it up on a whim in May.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  It is definitely Young Adult.  You have to accept that the character are going to seem a bit immature before you pick it up.  But once you get in the right mind-set, it is a fast-paced, action-packed ride.
18. The Bible - Read through Chapter 96 of Psalms so far...
19. SciFi or Fantasy - The Once and Future King by T. H. White 
20. Graphic Novel