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bump love (and single digits!) (9)

15 Aug

We were so blessed to have a dear friend take photos of our little family a few weeks back. It was such a fun night out at the beach, and I will treasure these images forever. I haven’t seen them all yet, but here’s a few I just adore from our time together…So excited for this little peanut to get here and join our family! We’re in single digits towards our countdown–is that crazy or what?!

DSC_5281 DSC_5328 DSC_5359 DSC_5368 DSC_5533

so smitten with the button!

mm

the JOY of pregnancy. (11)

13 Aug

There is something truly remarkable about carrying an entire life inside of your own body, and this morning, as I walked downtown to pick up a cup of (decaf) coffee on my way to work, I couldn’t help but think once again just what a joy it is to be pregnant. I caught a reflection of myself in a shop window and laughed a little bit at the belly I’m toting out in front. I’ve had many an encounter with folks who want to comment on its gargantuan or petite and basketball-ish nature–no matter which Molly-belly measuring team you’re on, it’s certainly not a bump one could miss on my 5’1” frame at 38+ weeks along. And the truth is, despite some of the shockingly rude things people will say about one’s belly when with child, I LOVE my “bump” and all it contains. It’s not been a perfectly smooth road of pain free, high energy days and peaceful, sleep-filled nights, but it’s been a gorgeous journey of appreciating the growth and change as it happens and celebrating all of the love our whole family already feels for this unborn child. I’m not ashamed to be full of baby–there’s a whole human person within the confines of my tummy! What a blessed gift, and a glorious reminder of God’s faithfulness to us!

One year ago, I was still mourning the loss of our last pregnancy and wondering very much how God would redeem the hurt and struggle we were feeling as we thought about that missing babe. I trusted God, sure, but I certainly couldn’t see as far down the line as He could see–nor could I push past my own emotions to imagine a day like today. Now, just eleven days from our projected due date with the Button, I am sitting here on a crazy-beautiful summer afternoon with the breeze blowing through the windows, my two year old sleeping peacefully upstairs, and this tiny munchkin tickling my insides with its perfect little toes. I can fit into about five total items in my closet, and I could never think of a better reason to boast a limited wardrobe and weekly weight gain :)

I know that there are a lot of women around me who don’t love being pregnant, and an equally large number of women who do. I also know that there are numerous women in my surrounds and in the world who ache so desperately for a baby of their own, and who might read this and feel troubled by my bubbling over with delight at my current life station. My mama heart aches for those who can’t bear children themselves and desire it. My heart also deeply trusts and asks God to meet their hearts in the exact right time and place, knowing that He is the only thing that can fill a void so cavernous. As I celebrate the upcoming birth of our babe, I do not take the gift of this blessing at all lightly. Rather, I am humbled beyond measure that I could be a vessel for this particular child, and I pray that I’m always a thoughtful and careful steward of the life entrusted to us.

This afternoon, I am overwhelmed by the goodness and the fullness of this belly. I am equally moved by the number of people in our lives who already celebrate our soon-to-be-here tiny miracle along with us. It is an amazing season! I will do my best to continue to be patient for this, the second of God’s greatest surprises to us in this lifetime. In the meantime, I’m like a child on Christmas Eve, over and over and over again. I can hardly wait to see what our little bundle contains!!

radiating from the inside,

mm

dear henry. (12)

12 Aug

Hey Buddy,

I know you won’t read this now, but maybe you’ll find it someday when you’re older…when you have a young boy of your own, perhaps, or when you’re preparing to welcome baby number two into your world from the dad side of things. This has been an awesome and hard season for you, little man. You are no doubt as excited as a two year old might be about becoming a big brother, but the changes taking shape in our family are clearly having a challenging impact on you as well. I’m sorry. I don’t know how to do this better for you than we’re already trying to: showering as much love and attention on you as we can afford and working hard to explain and involve you in this baby process as much as possible.

This weekend you helped your daddy put up a baby gate on the nursery (to keep the pup out, of course:), and you were so proud of your efforts and contribution. Today as we were playing catch, you told me you would share your ball with baby, and I was so proud instead. I thought earlier on that maybe you knew something we didn’t…you’ve been singing “Happy Birthday” to the baby all day, and you asked me to “tell her it’s her birthday today” more than once. You could still be right that the Button is a baby girl, but unless he or she makes a freight train kind of entrance in the next hour and a half, today will (sadly) not be baby’s birthday. I would love it if you would keep guessing and singing, anyway. It’s really quite endearing and sweet.

Today was a very long day for both of us, and I feel like you’re lashing out a bit as things change. I wish this weren’t the case, although I understand it as best I can. I hope we can work together over the next number of weeks to help you feel at home and at peace. I promise that baby brother or sister will be one of the best gifts I can give you in the long run.

So, clever, charming, animated, energetic, frustrated, lovable, wonderful, curious, kind boy, this is to say that I love you with my whole heart. You are not losing anything more than some lap time with mommy as you gain a sibling. I hope that over the months to come, you stop feeling the growing pains as much and start feeling the joy that comes with a constant playmate, a partner in crime, and a live-in best friend. You are going to be a great leader and caretaker for this little baby on the way. He or she is already quite blessed to call you brother! I can’t wait for you both to meet, to see you snuggle him or her for the first time, to show the pride you feel as you care for and help and pray over baby. I have no doubt you will.

i love you forever and ever and ever, and nothing will ever change that. i hope somewhere in your two year old heart, you can comprehend just a bit of how much we treasure and adore you.

xo, your mama

no rush. (16)

8 Aug

I read a great article this morning about the lesson of not rushing our children as we parent. It’s so easy to say, “hurry up,” to our kids–even at a very young age, but as impressionable as they are, it’s not safe to assume that our hurry isn’t having a long-term impact. In my case, I think I say things like, “Come on, buddy. We’ve really got to go,” or “We’re going to be late,” or “I really need you to go faster right now.” I’m not sure whether the occasional comment in this vein will cause heaps of damage, but I can certainly see how day after day of rushing our littles along could really add up to undue stress or worry as they grow older.

It was helpful to think of Henry as the article suggested: he’s a noticer, taking things in everywhere we go and not missing a beat. Admittedly, this is sometimes wearing as a parent–the constant report of all that we see or pass by can be daunting on even a really great day. But the reality is that Henry notices all of the good things. He doesn’t miss a single one. He readily stops to smell flowers, or to look at an ant pile…to point out a “cute little doggie!” or a “little tiny baby!” as he scrunches up his nose in delight.

In moments like tonight, H pauses what he’s doing to put his hand on my belly and say hello to the baby–not with words, but with a gentle tap on my tummy and a sweet look on his face like he’s absolutely planned to take the moment with his soon-to-be-here sibling. He lists off everyone when we talk about family, never missing a single member and sometimes going back, just to make sure. I could easily be irritated by all of the extra that comes with so much observing and caution and double checking, but it’s really an amazingly sweet part of who Henry is and who he’ll undoubtedly become.

I don’t know exactly how often I suggest to Henry in one way or another that we need to get moving, but I’m going to try to be more cognizant of it either way. I want him to feel the freedom to take a moment for something that matters to him–to observe, to learn, to appreciate. And I need him to be himself as the constant reminder he is for our little family–that life is precious and all too short, and that we should savor the little things and make big things out of them sometimes. Our noticer is a gift…one that two very Type A and busily scheduled people will benefit from (and do benefit from) forever. I’m so glad that another parent had the thought to share about her experience with “hurry ups,” reflecting exactly why our lives can live without them. We may end up late sometimes, and the otherwise normal parts of the day might take a different shape. But our little buddy (and his future sibling) might continue to teach us a thing or two about patience and genuine living in the process. Certainly, God is glorified in Henry’s childlike heart and curiosity and joy!

always learning to learn from our munchkin…and excited to learn from the button soon, too!

mm

blueberries with papa. (17)

7 Aug

Tonight was as Pure Michigan as Michigan gets for me. My heart could not be happier. My dad is in town visiting for today and part of tomorrow, and it’s likely been the best Wonderful Wednesday we’ve had all summer (and we’ve had a lot of great ones!). The weather was perfect. We grabbed morning coffee downtown. Farmer’s Market. Visits with friends along the way. Peaches, watermelon, fresh bread, cherries, and a rainbow of peppers. Stops at TWO toy stores. A leisurely lunch at home. Naps for all. Dinner with three generations of my favorite boys (Papa, Daddy, and Henry:). Blueberry picking in the breeze. Sail boats and a sunset and sand on Lake Michigan. Ice cream. Baby tagging along in my belly the whole way.

Did I miss anything? Could I possibly have? Truly, this has been one of the most beautiful days I can remember in a long time. I am so full of gratitude.

I can’t do the memories justice, but pictures can. Here’s a tribute to the day (or at least our evening) in photographs. We’ll all sleep well tonight after this…

yum.

hello, pretty little darlings!

one seriously good blueberry picker.

one seriously good blueberry picker.

summer memories in the making.

summer memories in the making.

"look, daddy! a huge one!"

“look, daddy! a huge one!”

can't beat 'em. so pretty!

can’t beat ‘em. so perfect!

blue stripes, blueberries, baby bump.

blue stripes, blueberries, baby bump.

rows and rows of summer delight.

rows and rows of summer delight.

really, i just can't get enough of this!

really, i just can’t get enough of this!

And this…

so much goodness in one place!

so much goodness in one place!
boat watching with daddy.

boat watching with daddy.

me and my dad. and a baby-to-be!

me and my dad. and the baby-to-be!

wonderful wednesday? check.

wonderful wednesday? check.

Just a whole heaping lot of goodness in one place. My heart and spirit needed a day like today. The Lord is so gracious to me!

filled up to the very brim,

mm

monkey business. (18)

6 Aug

In the midst of plenty of seriousness and a lot of focus on accomplishing tasks, it’s absolutely essential to take some time out for a break. Especially when you have an energetic toddler who you want to soak up as much as possible before he loses his only child status. We’ve been trying to make room for fun activities as a trio, even if they’re simple and require no more than a little planning. H is a firecracker. He is so fun to be with, and equally fun to watch. I can’t resist getting in on the fun he’s having–at the park, the pool, the beach, outside…if only I could transfer some of his energy at this stage of pregnancy. We’d really be golden!

Tonight: a few pics from a weekend outing to the park. We’ve made it our mission to explore as many great parks as we can this summer. Henry determines their awesomeness (or lack thereof) based on a few criteria: bucket swings, slide variety, and playground equipment color. This particular park was green and sort of gold (win) and had awesome slides that were accessible to H’s little two year old muscle power (win), but lacked any bucket swings to speak of (major disappointment). He was very sad to have to sit on Daddy’s lap to swing, but the outdoor instruments, replete with bongo drums, a metal keyboard of sorts, and various other percussive equipment made for a good distraction. So did climbing the apparatus below with mommy and baby. We had a great time:

climbing up.

climbing up.

peek-a-boo belly! (and a few monkeys, too.)

peek-a-boo belly! (and a few monkeys, too.)

Even when 37 weeks pregnant, it’s good to do a little climbing. (Just not the kind of climbing we do at 39 weeks pregnant;) Remember those 200 some odd stairs that brought on a baby the last time? Needless to say, we’ll be going for a family hike in a few weeks if we don’t already have a new arrival in tow…

always up for a little shenanigans with my boy!

mm

story. (20)

4 Aug

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that God is crafting a story for each of us–how our little baby, although not yet born, already has a story to tell. And soon, he or she will have lots of great details to add…I was born on a…I weighed x number of pounds and so many ounces…my mom and dad had my name picked out for months, or…my mom and dad had to spend some time getting to know me before they decided on the perfect name. My big brother came to see me and his reaction was…

It’s fascinating, isn’t it, that from before we ever enter this world, there is a story being shaped for us and for our lives?

I hope that all of this “journaling” or blogging will help our babe to know his or her story, and to be confident that it had a great beginning. I want our little one to be sure that we were brimming over with love and anticipation, with joy and curiosity and wonder at who he or she will be. Especially in light of baby having a older sibling in the mix, I spend time daily thinking about how our kiddos’ stories will intertwine and interact–and how they’ll go their own directions, too.

Who will this little person become? What will he or she learn to love? How will baby impact our lives over the days and years to come?

God is such a marvelous creator–so clever and generous and grace-filled as He knits us together and readies us for the world. Experiencing this part of motherhood–as one small part of our baby’s story, is humbling, emotional, beautiful, and so personal. I feel unbelievably privileged to have already carried this tiny Button around for 37 weeks.

Today at lunch, J and I were talking with Henry about traveling and visiting Africa with us someday. “I think I will like the world,” he said. “And baby is going to like the world, too.”

I have no doubt that God will put a hunger for the world on these two sweet little hearts. As He does, I can’t wait to watch each of their stories unfold into bright and dynamic histories that I will cherish as their mama.

praying for beautiful storytellers and courageous Kingdom builders in our home,

mm

quotables. (21)

3 Aug

Today I’m incredibly thankful that it’s the weekend, and that we spent the entire day together as a family. We just needed a dose of normalcy in the midst of the crazy schedules we’ve collectively juggled over the past few weeks. It wasn’t a down day, necessarily, but we did enjoy coffee and the farmer’s market downtown this morning, burgers on the grill tonight, and a visit to the park with Henry before the day was out. We’re still checking things off of the baby prep list…and probably will be until baby arrives. I think that’s just the nature of getting ready for something big–you do as much as you can for as long as you can, and then eventually, the day is here and there’s nothing left to do but embrace its arrival. No doubt we will do so, regardless of how much or how little is done. I keep asking God to be generous with time right now, but not too generous ;) Typical expectant mama, right?

Henry was in rare form today, and I think it was just that mom and dad were both home all day with him that did it. He was wound like a top, chatty as can be, and full of jumping, running, hopping, climbing, bouncing, shouting, testing, persuading,  and directing…all of the things you’d expect from a little boy…on overdrive. We are two exhausted parents at the end of it all, but to be fair, H kept us in stitches the entire day. He may have been acting like a handful in spurts, and yet he was delightfully entertaining. The most authentic way to represent the day, I think, is just to share some of Henry’s commentary. He never ceases to surprise me, and almost always in a good or entertaining way. From our babe’s mouth in the past sixteen-ish hours…

As we talked about the day: “​That’s a good plan!”
Heard randomly in the kitchen: “Come here, Kruger, and I’ll fix your head.”
While playing after nap time: “I like your belly, Mommy. I like that baby growing in there!”
At the dinner table tonight when offered corn: “I believe I’ll have some corn.”
Several times after Jason asked H to do something: “​You bet, buddy!”
When I asked Henry if he was done going to the bathroom: “No, I’m still pooping.”
When I asked him how much more he had to go: “Tons of poop!” (Oh, dear.)
When I told him that I was going to change his diaper: “That’s your job!”
On our way to Target tonight: “We are going to Target, and we will go see the Matchbox cars and Matchbox trucks! Here we go, here we go!”
Before bedtime, after I told him the baby would be so excited to meet him: “And I will hold the baby myself.” “Myself,” he added with emphasis. We’ll have no trouble getting him to show interest in the Button, I’m sure.
And my personal favorite from the day, in random reference to the new baby monitor (and its built in song feature) that we’re testing out before we add it to baby’s room: “I don’t like the ridiculous songs of that white camera. I don’t like that monitor.”
There are a few words lately that I can just hardly handle when Henry says them. I know his speech will change, but I wish a few words could stay the same. “Ridiculous” is one of them. I know I should never have taught him to say it, but it’s just too funny. Undoubtedly, it will backfire on me at some point. I’ll keep stifling laughter until then.
No matter what we’re up to, Henry is pretty much non-stop conversation and observation. Admittedly, there are times when I’m not sure I’ll have the energy for one more chat about cars and trucks, but inevitably, H finds a way to engage us and keep us on our toes. We are so blessed by his two year old insights, and better for the added smiles. H continues to be a deliverer of joy in our home. I can’t wait to see how God will use him in the life of his little brother or sister! This will be a sweet, sweet season for the two of them soon, as they get to know each other and to learn how to be siblings, playmates, and friends. I wonder who will be the ringleader… ;)
grateful for laughter and progress,
mm

feeling the pull. (24)

31 Jul

It’s not news to me that my heart will, in many ways, share itself in the very near days to come. Until now, Henry has had me all to himself, every day. So I face the same dilemma all mamas do when they expand their kiddo count from one to two…and I’m only a little nervous about it.

When I say “a little,” that’s really what I mean. I’m not sitting awake at night thinking about it or talking with numerous friends about how I’ll cope. I’m just acknowledging that this upcoming paradigm shift will make its mark as it happens, and that it’s ok to be a little uneasy about what that means for Henry’s heart as well as my own.

I’ve tried to be so careful as we prep for baby. It’s easy to say, “this is for baby,” “that’s baby’s,” “when the baby comes…” and I know that H is not oblivious to the adjustments happening all around him. He has embraced so much of this transition time so beautifully–I couldn’t ask for more from a two year old. But we’re all feeling the growing pains in different ways, and Henry’s way (I think) is to express himself with a good deal of volume when he’s frustrated. I’m fairly sure it’s his way of being certain he’s heard (which feels like reasonable behavior for a two year old system of rationale). We are hearing him loud and clear, and working painstakingly to make him feel heard (without allowing the tantrum-esque quality of his occasional lashing out to get out of hand).

As mama to both of these kiddos, I feel the heart tug that takes place. I know I’ll love this next sweet babe just as much as I do Henry, but differently. To meet this little one will most certainly be to fall in love all over again with our precious bundle–the same as we did when H arrived and for a long time after. It’s a grand and growing season for all of us. Hopefully, the gift of a sibling and the joy of having a baby around will negate some of the tension Henry is feeling as of late. We are so excited for him to be a big brother!

When the day comes, Henry will be the first to meet this little one…just as soon as we can get settled and get him there. I catch myself daydreaming about that moment–when he first holds the Button and takes him or her in. He has already promised to help by counting fingers and toes for me:) Surely we’ll take crazy amounts of photos and video, and Henry will be at the center of it all–just as we want him to be. And when we get home with the tiny little bundle we’re looking so forward to, H will no doubt make an excellent baby whisperer and partner in crime, even if there are a few growing pains to get out of the way first.

loving these two, their dad, and what it means for all of us to be family, together.

mm

with this ring. (27)

28 Jul

Little Button,

I know that I put you through your paces tonight, but it was all worthwhile :) Someday, I’ll tell you the story of how two people (with very beautiful hearts) met and became friends and fell in love. And I’ll tell you all about how we got to watch them grow in that love and become more and more like each other, and how on one rainy and abnormally chilly summer day, they were married and committed their lives to one another forever and ever. It’s a wonderful story, really, and one that has made me consider just how I pray for you and your brother in the days and years ahead. Miss Elyn and Mr. Eric were married today. Your daddy and I were privileged to play a part in orchestrating the day, and I’m so thankful. Already, sweet little one, I pray that you would someday find a best friend and confidant and partner in life who is as equally yoked to you as these precious friends are to each other.

You were a trooper all day today, and I will keep praying that you continue to cooperate and stay tucked away for just a bit longer. I know you’ll come in your own time, but two or three more weeks would just be so good…more time for you to continue to grow healthy and strong, and more time for us to feel even more ready to meet you and to welcome you home. Tomorrow I’ll do my best to grant you a low key day–just you and your brother and I, hanging out and enjoying the mild temperatures here at the end of July.

When you grow up and the time comes for you to say “yes” to a boy, or to ask a girl to marry you, know that we want the absolute best for you as a husband or wife. With that, we pray that you will both know Christ and know Him well, and that you will use your lives to serve Him and one another. We pray that you will always maintain your servant heart towards your spouse, that you will cherish and value the sacred covenant of marriage, and that God will richly bless your lives with His abundant peace and provision. I know that you’re not even here in the world yet, but I don’t think we can ever begin to dream and pray too soon. You are so dear to me little one, and I want the best for you–always and everyday and everywhere for a lifetime!

thanks for being my wedding day companion today. Between you, your daddy and me, I think we made a really great team.

love you so much,

mama

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