You only get just one time around

I rarely have time these days to record my thoughts.I have good intentions about writing things down – my impressions on motherhood, watching Gwendolyn grow and progress, growing closer to God and learning to trust in Him.

Computer time is limited to Gwen’s naptime. Some days she goes on nap strike, and other days there are too many demands on my time, and dishes and laundry come before the internet. Other times, it takes the whole of Gwen’s nap – which often isn’t very long – to wait for a page to load.For someone who hopes to get pictures uploaded, write e-mails, and maybe get some Christmas shopping done online, this is very discouraging.

Sometimes I feel disconnected, because e-mail and facebook are my main outlets for correspondence. I don’t like to talk on the phone a lot since I find it hard to multitask; I tend to pace in circles (or squares or other shapes) around the house while talking on the phone. At least I get some exercise! Someone told me that, in a nutshell, I don’t maintain my friendships. I took this pretty hard, and took issue with it… and for those of you whom I call friends, I hope you don’t feel this way. I know everyone gets busy, but I try and take the time to write a message, jot down a quick note, whatever, to let you know I’m thinking about you and that you’re important to me.I prefer to see my friends in person, but sometimes schedules and finances don’t allow for this pleasure.

Gwendolyn is now eleven months. I can’t believe how big she has gotten!She’s a little girl… without all the hair. *grin* I have tried to put barrettes in he hair, believe me, but it’s just too short.I’m sure most babies go through the same stages, but it’s so special to watch Your baby go through them. Seeing Gwen wave bye-bye both on command and without my telling her to is so sweet! When she finally began crawling we were bowled over with pride… and now my patience is daily tested with all the things she gets herself into. I find myself saying “no!” and “Gwendolyn, what are you doing?” much of the time. Her latest talent is pulling herself up to standing on everything – our legs, her toy area, the couch, the coffee table, the stairs, in her crib during “naptime,” you name it. This can be particularly hazardous if I’m in the rocking chair and she tries to pull herself up while in the midst of rocking; or if I’m in the middle of making dinner and she comes up behind me just as I’m taking a step.

Not long after I tested a variety of finger foods on her (cheerios, fruit, etc.), she decided she would rather feed herself than put up with the dreariness of being spoon fed. She’ll still accept homemade yogurt, sometimes cereal, from a spoon – and of course ice cream, which goes without saying – but other than that she’d rather touch her food. I’m sure you can imagine that this contributes largely to the fact that I’m forever cleaning up after someone or something, and I quickly go through bottles of stain remover. I find it challenging to give her a varied, nutritious diet of things she can safely and relatively neatly feed herself.

These days, Gwen’s favorite foods (although these can change on a daily basis, due to some infant whim) are toasted avocado and cheese, yogurt (with any number of additions, such as cereal or fruit), meat (primarily chicken or ground turkey), soba noodles and veggies in a soy sauce and sesame oil glaze (one of our recent fave meals), pizza (anything bread-like), mac and cheese, dried apricots, cheerios, cheddar cheese, plums, grapes, citrus fruits (esp. lemons and oranges), and orange juice. If fed veggies alongside meat of some sort, she’ll usually shun the veggies in favor of the meat, pick out all the meat pieces, and whine for more. On one such occasion of whining, we said that she had food on her tray and pointed out the veggies; we were quite soft-spoken and matter-of-fact about it, and were surprised and rather humored when Gwen broke into tears at the suggestion of eating her veggies instead. We often refer to her as our little carnivore.

She does, however, take after mommy in regards to her sweet tooth.It’s so nice to finally have an ally in this area. If Phil doesn’t want to get ice cream with me, I can always rely on Gwendolyn! I am ashamed to say that there have been a few occasions on which we tricked her into eating her food by feeding her bits of ice cream, and sneaking in bites of real food in-between. The trick is to keep the ratio of ice cream to real food balanced, so she keeps the creamy flavor in her mouth. I’m telling you, it’s a science.

As Gwen nears her first birthday in November, I am both excited and saddened at the same time.The bigger and more independent she gets, the less of my baby she becomes. The fact that she only wants Mommy at 2 0’clock in the morning doesn’t count! We were both sick at the same time recently, and I swore we reverted back to the newborn stage, up at all hours of the night, every night, for at least a week. I didn’t know how I would have the energy to face the day!

Motherhood definitely has its challenges… and also its rewards. I am constantly reminded of how God has blessed us, how my love for her is such a small picture of His love for us. In some ways it has brought Phil and me closer as a couple, and definitely made us comrades as parents. Having a child has renewed our desire to be the best examples we can be, to rely on God for our wants and needs, to put Him first in our lives.

Though we don’t agree with becoming members of a church, we are considering becoming members at Christian Hill Community Church, where we have attended for a number of years, simply so we can be involved in some type of ministry (we aren’t allowed to volunteer unless we’re members). We have started attending a Truth Project small group here in Exeter, and find it extremely inspirational and thought-provoking. We don’t make it to church every Sunday, and struggle with finding time for daily devotions, but we make prayer a big part of our lives and we strive to make our Christian walk a lifestyle rather than a religion relegated to church on Sundays.

Much of the time I find myself stressed and pressured, and feel like I’m carrying this massive weight on my shoulders. What with finances these days, the state of the economy, the upcoming election, trying to raise a child and take care of house and family and work part-time and go shopping and accomplish all of life’s mundane and necessary tasks while maintaining a positive attitude… this can be extremely overwhelming. Even though she doesn’t understand, I find myself apologizing to Gwen for snapping at her! I am prone to outburts on occasion, and though it’s not a cure, I find prayer, talking to friends, and listening to K-love Christian radio in the car keeps me grounded.

There are many songs that speak to me on different occasions, but there’s this one song that helps me put things into perspective -especially the frustrations of being a mommy – whenever it comes on the radio. It’s called “One Life to Love” by 33 Miles, and the chorus goes like this:

You only get just one time around, you only get one shot at this
One chance to find out the one thing that you don’t wanna miss
One day when it’s all said and done I hope you see that it was enough
This one ride, one try, one life to love

I didn’t intend for this to be such a lengthy update, but there you have it. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some more recent pictures on my facebook profile.