It’s a Gift

Life is such a beautiful gift. This week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. Today, my sister gave birth to the most precious baby girl, Avery. I am so overwhelmed with happiness for her. Being a mother is such a wonderfully, scary, rewarding, awkward, breathtaking, heart stopping, and glorious thing. I am so excited to watch my sister as she travels down this new path in life.
I am also very sad at the same time that the distance between us has prevented me from being able to hold my new niece or give my sister a hug. I know I will meet her soon enough, but I still just wish I could have been there to see the amazing bond that was instantly formed between them.
This range of emotions is such a high compared to the feelings I was having the two days before. On Monday, the tornadoes hit Oklahoma, where my husband has been working the last year. He does a lot of driving throughout each day. Most of his travels take him as far north as Oklahoma City and sometimes east, west and south of OKC, depending on the day. The travel trailer is parked in Ardmore which is about an hour north of the Texas line on I35.
Monday, I was at work. I had just returned to the office from getting an advertising picture. I got a text from my husband that read, “Tornadoes hitting the ground. Pray for us.” I panicked. I immediately began to sweat. He kept me updated the best he could, but he had plenty of guys working out on right-of-ways that he was trying to check on and continue to watch the path of the tornado. Soon enough, reports started popping up about the tornado in Moore. I watched live video that was streaming from the computer. I felt my body go into panic mode. I was drenched in sweat and my stomach was in knots. I received another text that said they had left the office because one was located 1.8 miles south of the office. That was at 3:36 p.m. At 4:08 p.m., he wrote back and let me know that he was safe. At 5:40 p.m. he was in Norman. He waited out the remainder of the storms there. All the while he was very concerned about his guys out in the field. At one point, his boss called from Denver and asked him to get in contact with everyone working for them and make sure they were all accounted for. There was no phone service, he could only send and receive texts. After rounding up a response from everyone, including one that took an hour to answer, he could breath a little easier. This was great news!
8 hours after I received the first text, I finally heard my husband’s voice. He finally had phone service at 1:00 a.m. as he was driving back south toward his trailer in Ardmore. I think the events of the day really began to sink in at that point. All he talked about were his two kids. He was exhausted emotionally and physically. I sat there on the other end of the phone. It was quiet. I could hear the sadness in his voice. I could hear the quiet calmness of the night air. Just like everyone else, I can’t comprehend the loss of life. I can’t watch the news without crying. I can’t keep myself from reading and watching the stories good and bad. I want that constant flow of information. I want that spark of hope.
This week, I was reminded how precious life is and how truly blessed I have been. I will continue to pray for the families in Oklahoma. I will continue to worry too much and sleep too little. And I will praise The Lord for my sister’s new gift of life. Don’t take any second of life for granted. It’s a gift. It’s a beautiful gift.

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Just Stay Calm

Since today is Mother’s Day, I figured I would share a few of the helpful pieces of knowledge I have gained so far about being a mother. I have never claimed to be an expert and most of these things have come from learning them the hard way. So, here we go!
1) Don’t say “I will never let my child do ________________.”
Chances are that at one point or another, you will eat these words! Throughout my whole pregnancy, I always said my baby would NOT sleep in the bed with me. Mostly, I said this because I have seen and heard so many stories about people rolling over on their babies in their sleep. It completely freaked me out. So, go ahead and judge me, but Cooper went back and forth from my bed to the pack and play in my room until he was 6 months old. Then, he moved to his room and his crib. I don’t know what to say, except sometimes life is just easier with a baby in your bed, especially if you are breast feeding.
2) All those precious baby clothes you get at your baby shower, don’t save them for a “special occasion.”
Trust me, you will think they pumped your newborn full of growth hormones. There will not be enough “special occasions” in the first 6 months of a babies life to wear all the beautiful, overpriced, tiny clothes you have hanging in his/her closet! Dress them up! Even if you look like you got hit by a train, at least your baby will be stylin’ on the very few occasions when you allow them out of your home. I have so many “special occasion” outfits that still have tags on them in the closet.
3) Keep extra diapers, clothes, and baby things on your person at ALL TIMES. Even a ten minute ride to town can make you feel helpless if your baby decides to have a POOP-a-palooza in it’s car seat! Which brings me to number four…
4) Babies have POOP-a-paloozas! Your baby WILL have a blowout in his/her diaper. Nothing is going to prepare you for the lovely moment when you realize your child has pooped through its diaper, through its clothes and through the clothes you are wearing. It’s going to happen. Just be prepared.
5) There are people in this world who LOVE to give you advice about being a parent. Even strangers in the line at the grocery store. Yes, it’s annoying that a total stranger wants to talk to you about breast feeding, diaper changing, what your child should or should not be doing at this point in their developmental stages. Just roll with it. Although it is pretty rude for someone you don’t know to be asking and/or telling you about your kid, just smile and nod your head. Chances are that these folks think they are giving you some sort of holy piece of information that your doctor doesn’t know or that you haven’t read in the 9,000 pages of baby books you have at home.
6) Strangers will touch your baby. Once, I was at the store and Cooper was in his car seat in the cart. I pulled the cart towards me to unload it in the line and I looked up to find some random sweet old lady touching my 3 month old on the hands. JUST STAY CALM. But, she touched his hands!!! He puts his hands in his mouth and all over his face! What if she hasn’t washed her hands, EVER?! What if she spit on her hands to wash them? CALM DOWN. Pay for your groceries and quietly exit stage left where you can wipe your baby down with baby wipes and douse him/her with sanitizer.
7) When someone offers to hold your baby while you do __________. Let them.
I have an abnormally hard head. Since it is usually just me doing everything, I think I don’t need anyone’s help to do anything. The truth is, that yes, while they are trying to be helpful to you, they really just want to hold your baby. I learned this the hard way because I didn’t know the code. I found that I have hurt several people’s feelings because I truly thought I was being super mom.
8) You are Mom. You know best.
Don’t let anyone who isn’t your baby’s doctor make you feel like you don’t know what is right for your child. You will make choices as a parent. These are your choices to make. If you made a bad choice then you know better next time. Unless they are life threatening, then you always get a do-over.
9) Ask a million questions.
Before you leave the hospital, make sure you ask ANY and ALL questions you have. Don’t be shy! You just spent hours in labor and delivery and you have an adrenaline high that you will keep for a while. No question is too stupid. Also, if you leave the hospital and get home and have a question at 2:00 a.m., you can always call the nursery at the hospital. They can answer any question you have day or night! Also, make a list of all the questions you have. That way, when you go to the doctor, you won’t forget.
10) Lastly and most importantly, enjoy every single minute of your baby being this little! They grow way too quick.
Happy Mother’s Day!!

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