The Club

Are you in The Club?

the club

If nothing else, you at least know someone in The Club. They hold gatherings in houses, coffee shops, churches, and schools. They exchange advice, share stories, and swap resources. They shop at exclusive stores, receive exclusive magazines and memberships, and benefit from frequent exclusive promotional materials that are hung on refrigerators across the country. Members of The Club are recognized daily, though they may sometimes still feel under-appreciated for their contributions.

And it’s true — they sacrifice body, mind, and soul. They put in long hours without pay. They worry about their performance and lose sleep over the effects it might have on The Club’s beneficiaries. And while eventually members’ responsibilities lessen with seniority, membership is a life-long commitment.

It’s stressful to be in The Club. And there are some members who even got drafted to it without ever volunteering their participation.

If you haven’t caught on by now, “The Club” I’m referring to is Motherhood.

In spite of it’s requirements, five years ago all I wanted was to be in The Club. We had settled down in a house in our ideal community and school district. We’d been married for 3 years and were ready to introduce a new tiny member to our family.

But in spite of our frequent *ahem* “application“, The Club just kept rejecting us.

It was a painful roller coaster of hope and disappointment. And while my greatest desire was to be in The Club, I couldn’t help resenting their exclusivity and the painful reminder it was of the experience I thought we might never have.

“Just wait till you have children,” and “When you’re a mom, you’ll understand,” were among the biting phrases members of The Club frequently offered me.

Nowhere was it more prominent of a reminder than at church.

Being fairly new to the community, we were visiting different churches, hoping to find one that had a similar style and feel as the church we grew up in. After visiting a few, it became apparent that the easiest way to connect with church-people… is to have kids. 

Them: “Good morning, I’m Chad and this is my wife Andrea. What are your names?”

Us: “I’m Cheyenne and this is Tyler.”

Them: “Welcome! So do you guys have kids?”

Us: “No…”

*insert awkward pause*

Them: “Well, we’re glad to have you here!”

In my insecurity, I imagined their drive home going something like this:

Andrea: “You know those new people today? What were their names?”

Chad: “I think it was Cheyler and Tyanne.”

Andrea: “Oh, right. Did you notice how awkward it got when you asked if they had kids?”

Chad: “Yeah, I noticed that too.”

Andrea: “Do you think they don’t like kids? Do you think they were annoyed by our kids?”

Chad: “Who knows. And if that is the case, they will just have to deal with it. They’ll understand someday when they become parents.”

I’m sure that’s not what really happened. And I truly believe people had the best intentions and were sincerely trying to create a hospitable place for us to worship. But when the parenthood-connection couldn’t be established, it felt difficult to connect at all. Even the ministries and events offered were mostly for moms, children, and families. And the conversations around us always seemed to be centered on other people’s kids. Infertility is just not a good opening-liner to explain childlessness. We knew we would just have to get past the initial awkwardness of being “three-to-five-years-married-without-children” and focus on the point of church – worship.

It was five years ago – on Mother’s Day – that I got another negative pregnancy test. I was tired and frustrated and crushed with disappointment again. Why did I do that to myself? I should have waited one more day.

Not pregnant

The last thing I wanted to do was go to church and get by-passed for a Mother’s-Day-daisy. But we went anyway.

I put on a skirt and feebly attempted a happy face as we found our seats in the row. But when we closed our eyes and bowed our heads in prayer, the pastor’s words wrung my heart like it was nothing but a soggy sponge. I couldn’t hold back the tears that flowed down my face.

“Father God, on this day we recognize all the mothers who have cared for us and who care for our children. For them, we are so grateful. And be near to the mothers who are still waiting for children. Help them to see Your goodness and love for them, even as they wait.”

I am in “The Club” now. But that pastor’s words made a lasting an impact on me – to feel included. Remembered. Honored for the important role I would someday play in my children’s lives. I know don’t want my “membership” to alienate anyone – at least as far as I can control.

So for those hurting today on Mother’s Day: Please know you are cared for more than you realize. I may not see your pain or know which of you is struggling, but I stand with you as one who cannot forget my own struggle. And although I am on the other side of infertility, I will always remember that I am entitled to nothing on Mother’s Day. The greatest gift I could have is my children.

Hang in there, dear friends. And when your time finally comes, don’t forget the journey it took to get there and the ones still struggling down the long, hard road.

Lamentations 3

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Reckless Love

It’s been over four months since we first met this tiny stranger we now call our son. Except, he’s not so tiny anymore, and he’s still not technically our son. But he sure has made a himself at home in our hearts. He is the sweetest, happiest baby– so quick to return your smile with a squinty-eyed, scrunched-nose, toothless, ear-to-ear grin.Isaiah four months

Isaiah’s birthmom signed her parental rights over on February 9, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for the court to pick up the file and sign the paperwork to make us his legal parents. It’s annoying to still have this hanging, but there is really no chance he’s going anywhere. This chubby little man is here to stay.

I haven’t had much time to blog since he came along, but I’ve had so many thoughts mulling in my heart. While in the hospital with Isaiah, I witnessed an adoption-reversal happen right before my eyes. And in just the past 2 months I’ve had two friends lose their babies: one in a tragic car accident that took the lives of baby, mom, and grandma; another in surgery on his tiny little heart.

That baby was born on the same day as Isaiah.

Both babies spent a majority of their lives in the hospital with illness. Both mothers – whether they knew it or not – were a great encouragement to me while I was with Isaiah in the hospital for two weeks.

It just doesn’t seem right… how do you reconcile something like this?

For 10 weeks we loved Isaiah as our own, knowing full well he was not our own and could be taken from us at any moment.

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He won’t be taken away from us now. But going through those 10 weeks and then witnessing these families’ losses… it’s stayed with me that we could just as unexpectedly lose either child at any point…

I suppose such a realization could cripple me with fear. And sometimes it starts to.

But besides making me a sappy basket-case, it’s challenged me to cherish every moment and show grace, even when I’m frustrated.

My children NOT napping, in spite of the tranquility it looks like.

My children NOT napping, in spite of the tranquility it looks like.

Ok, not every moment. I’m still human. And don’t forget we are on the undies-side of potty-training a toddler (which, trust me, is much worse than the pull-ups-side of potty training).

The words of another friend has added to my conviction.

Two months back, when we were waiting to get the call that Isaiah’s birthmom had signed off her rights, I was talking to another adoptive mom about how the call really would change nothing about how we felt about Isaiah. No paperwork or phone call could make us love him any more than we already did. She told me in essence that,

“What I’ve come to realize is that each child I have is an amazing gift from God. But I’m not promised any more days with my biological children than I am with my other children. I just need to love them all unconditionally for however long I have them.”

Whether you realize it or not going into it, parenthood requires reckless love. When you love a child, there are no guarantees against heartbreak.

My natural personality is to keep everything the same. I am happy to read books about risk-taking protagonists. But I myself would rather stay in the safety of what I know – the same job, the same community, the same morning routine.

Please don’t ask me to change my morning routine.

Can I get an “Amen”? Surely I’m not the only one.

Risks are not attractive to me. Change is never a welcome event. Hardship, even less so.

Remember the emotional basket-case thing? Yeah, that’s me. I cry even when the team I can’t stand gets eliminated on Amazing Race. I’m fairly confident that no one has ever said of me, “She’s so strong.”

In fact, I am so confident in my weakness that I’ve already decided to home-school both kids all the way through college. I’ve made Elise promise never to date because she’s not leaving home nor is she ever even riding in a car with a boy. And I’ve even designed the “Mom” tattoo that Isaiah will be permitted to get when he turns 16, just so the ladies know he is not available.

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But my instinct to shelter them is really mostly about sheltering me.

Children are worth the risks. Worth the heart-ache. Worth the heartbreak.

So when the time comes that we can consider growing our family again, I inwardly tremble at the thought of fostering. So much about it hits at the very core of my fears. Getting attached, giving them back to a bad situation, having no control, the possible impact on my kids…

But ultimately, I also want my children to learn radical, reckless love themselves over cozy entitlement and constant leisure.

Growing up, my parents demonstrated this for me. They didn’t “foster” per-say… But for several years, we lived with my grandparents while my mom helped with their care. Then years later my uncle moved in with my family for 4-5 years until he passed in 2007. They’ve also opened their home up for months at a time to my paternal grandpa and an intern at my mom’s PT clinic.

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My mom and my Uncle “Grand-brother” Greg

 Although I didn’t always love sharing my house, but I am so thankful that it gave me such a close relationship with these family members. I also witnessed such extreme compassion and hospitality and saw the impact it had. I honestly don’t know that my grandparents or my uncle would ever have come to know the Lord if it weren’t for my parents. That, in itself, is… huge.

And really, having long-term “guests” actually made the time we had as a nuclear family something we looked forward to. Not typical of families with teenagers.

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Obviously these are just words right now. But it stands what I said earlier:

Children are worth the risks. Worth the heart-ache. Worth the heartbreak…

Whether that means unconditionally loving on your own children through potty-training, threenager-hood, junior-high, and some season of rebellion or despondency; or loving on another child that’s never known unconditional love.

Our Family of Four

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It’s official – we are now a family of four. Isaiah5

Isaiah is now 10 weeks old and is now legally ours. Today his Mama gave us the greatest gift anyone could ever give. I truly can’t express how grateful we are to her. And how grateful we are FOR her as well.

On Sunday, we made the 2.5 hour trek out east to visit her for the first time since he was born. I’ve spoken with her periodically on the phone in these 10 weeks, but this was our first reunion. We were nervous, knowing that she could still change her mind. I mean look at those beautiful dark eyes… those precious, chubby cheeks… his sweet cuddly demeanor… I think everyone wishes they could take him home with them.

Isaiah1

You think you know what love is? Love is sacrificing. Love is taking a risk. And I don’t mean being careless and naive about who you love and how much you love them. I mean being so self-less that you give up your deepest desires for the good of that person.

Isaiah3

People have asked us, “How could a birthmom give her baby up?”

My answer: I have no idea.

100_7910I can’t speak for other birthmoms, but Isaiah’s mom loves him more than life itself. Her decision to place him with us is for reasons that are personal and for which we deeply admire her. She is a beautiful, wise, compassionate, strong, determined woman, and we are so thankful to have her in our lives. It’s crazy to say, but I never thought I would be so comfortable sharing the name “Mom” with her. Somehow, it just comes out naturally… in fact, I feel so honored that she is the one that gave me that title.
This is love: Not that we loved Isaiah (that was easy!), but that SHE loved him. And gave over her right to be his Mom, so that we could love him as our own.

Sound familiar at all to some of you?

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is 1 John, and so much of it resonates with the adoption journey. Here is 1 John 4:10…

“This is love: Not that we loved God, but that HE loved us, and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Friends, we are so very blessed by this cuddly bundle of chub. I just can’t stop kissing his soft baby-jowls. Can’t stop making ridiculous noises just to see his smile. Isaiah has 3 parents that would move heaven and earth for him. And a sister that sure would do her thang too.

 

 First Love

He gave you his first kicks,

First cry, first sigh,

Cuddled up in your warm arms

Settled into his first sleep.

No matter where you go or what you do

Remember you chose us, but he chose you

You’re his first love.

You gave him his first breath,

First sight, First kiss,

Touched your nose to his nose,

Told him how you’d miss him.

No matter where you go or what you do

Remember you chose us, but he chose you

You’re his first love.

You gave us his first smile,

First words, first steps.

Every day of his life

We will never forget this.

No matter where you go or what you do

Remember you chose us, but he chose you

You’re his first love.

We see you in his sweet smile,

Tough guy, won’t cry.

Breaks out in a shy grin,

Studies life with wise eyes.

No matter where you go or what you do

Remember you chose us, but he chose you

You’re his first love.

Isaiah14

So Much to be Grateful For

I can’t even put in words how I feel right now. But let me start from the beginning…

August 14, 2015     The Training Software at work goes down for a planned, 2-week outage so they can upgrade to the latest version.  It’s about as much fun as copying the Dictionary in calligraphy. For 45 hours a week. But no big deal. I’m a planner. I’ve got a great team backing me up. As Elise says, “Go got this!”

August 31, 2015     The Software is back up and working! Now for entering all that calligraphy into the computer! Only, the software is running at about 5% of the normal speed. Anxiety is starting to set in.

September 4, 2015     We get an email that there are many known issues with the upgrade, and the software will be down until further notice. I was able to get all of my data entry done by then, so I buckle in for what I hope will just be a weekend without it.

September 23, 2015     The Training System is still not up and we have our first of three inspections in October. My anxiety is so high, I decide it’s time to talk to my doctor. He gives me a prescription I can take as-needed. I hate taking medicine of any kind, but my stomach constantly feels like I’m incubating a porcupine, so I’m thankful to have the option to take it if I need to.

Sometime in early October      I have a breakdown in front of my boss. And his boss. But they take my concerns very seriously and make a game-plan to speak to the powers-that-be about prioritizing the resurrection of the training system.

October 15, 2015     The Training System is finally back up! Now I can enter all the information from the last 6 weeks for our 70 employees. An exhausting 57 hour week. But with a lot of help from the other Training Tech’s and my dear friend Kelly who’s the Training Supervisor at another center, we got it all done!

October 20, 2015     Inspection #1. No findings! Such a relief! And to celebrate, Tyler surprises me with planning a trip to Traverse City for the weekend after our last inspection!

November 5, 2015     Inspection #2. A much more intense inspection of Training, but after examining stacks of paperwork all day, they find only 2 very minuscule errors that have no affect on the quality of the work we do. Such a relief!

November 12, 2015     Inspection #3. This one was a huge one for our center, but there were really only a few things they asked for from Training. Again, a successful inspection. And the first time I can really breathe with hope that this stressful season is over and we can move forward with the normal, day-to-day stress of business-as-usual. Tyler also finishes his parent-teacher conferences for their first trimester. Time to celebrate!!!

November 13, 2015     Traverse City, here we come!!! Beautiful sunsets and sunrises, delicious food, and a much-needed, perfectly-relaxing weekend together. I owe Tyler’s coworkers a huge “thanks” for recommending this trip to us. I don’t need fancy things, just quality time. This weekend meant so much.

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November 15 2015     The Lions win their second game of the season. I wish this wasn’t news-worthy.

November 16, 2015     The first week I can officially get back to the job I love!

November 16, 2015, 4:00 pm     I notice a missed call from our Adoption Worker. My hands start to shake. I haven’t been completely honest with you guys… we’ve actually put our names in for about 4 babies in the last month. And my call-back to the Adoption Worker confirms it… we’ve been chosen!!!

Yesterday, November 19, 2015     We meet our birthmom. What starts as an awkward introduction ends with two hugs and her smiling and quietly saying words I will treasure forever: “I’m excited.” 

She’s excited about us. 

She clearly had no idea how profound that simple statement would sound to my heart. One of the things I have been dreading is seeing everything unfold as our greatest joy… and our birthmom’s greatest grief. I can only imagine there will still be grief on her end. But hearing that she was excited for us to be parents to this baby means she knows we care about both her and the baby. I’m blinking back tears right now. We care so, so much. She will forever be in our hearts and prayers, that throughout her life God would give her hope and comfort in her grief, strength and a support system in her troubles, clarity and confidence in decisions, and that she would begin to understand just how much her Heavenly Father loves her.

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We’re having a baby….

Big Sister!

Big Sister!

And up until yesterday we thought our birthmom didn’t know the gender. But she revealed to us that she is having a baby BOY!

I think even Tyler teared up when she told us! Not that we had a preference really, but it just made everything more real. Oh yes, and another spot of news: The baby is due Dec. 12. But probably sooner. She had an appointment two weeks ago and was already dilating and having contractions. Please be in prayer for her and the baby!

Funny, isn’t it —  God’s timing? So much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Thank you all for following our story, for praying for us and encouraging us, supporting us financially, and most of all, for loving this baby and his mother without even knowing who they are. It means the world.

Adoption Month Musings – Part 2 (“Babe Ruth”)

The second “Musing” I wanted to share with you for National Adoption Month started with a conversation I had with my dear friend Jamie, who is at the same stage in the adoption process as we are. As a result, we end up talking to each other at least twice a week on my drive home from work. A typical conversation starts like this:

(Speed dial Jamie)

Jamie: “Hey.”

Me: “Hey, how’s it going?”

Jamie: “Pretty good. How are you?”

Me: Oh, ya know… good. Just antsy. You?

Jamie: The same. Have you heard anything yet?

Me: No. Have you?

Jamie: No!!

(Insert 5 minutes of over-analyzing why there haven’t been many birthmoms seeking adoptive couples and when we might hear news of them)

Me: Call you right back, I have to go pick up Elise!

(Insert 7 minutes of chatting with Karla whilst trying to stealthily coerce Elise to the car)

Me: Hey, it’s me again. (This time remembering that Jamie had gone to a conference the previous day) Oh, so how was your conference?

Jamie: It was really good! I actually got to hear a speaker who grew up in foster care talk about his story and he gave some really good pointers on working with “at-risk” children.

She proceeded to tell me his story of Foster-family hopping, right up until the climax when Elise started crying about having dropped something.

As usual.

Me: “I’m so sorry, I’ve gotta go! I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story though – don’t forget to tell me the rest!”

I spot the lost item and determine it is in safe-reaching-distance to grab it at the stop light.

Elise: “Good job, Mom!!!” She cheers and claps for me from her carseat.

As moody of a passenger as she is, gosh, do I ever love her.

A couple nights later, we call Jamie and her husband Nick up to get together for dinner. Jamie finally finished her story while we binged on chips and salsa.

The speaker had shared about keeping a notebook to track how fast he could get out of a foster home, always trying to see what it would take to get kicked out and move onto the next one. He was in disbelief to have finally ended up in a place that he stayed for over a year and decided it was time to kick things up a notch. Opening a checking account and writing a bad check for a car seemed like the perfect solution to get himself kicked out of there. Add a little driving under the influence and he’d be gone for sure.

But that wasn’t how it ended. In fact, his foster parents just kept on loving him and calling him their son. There was nothing he could do to make them stop loving him.

I fought back tears as she told me the story, as I seem to do often these days. (What is my problem?! I’m turning into my mother already!!).

Then she shared that the point he made that stuck out to her was this: Be Babe Ruth.

I blinked a couple times and tilted my head, much like my border collie does when she’s confused about why I want her to back away from the dropped food on the floor.

She explained: Don’t just aim for the fence. Point to a spot on the fence and hit it right there, out of the ball park.

It means that instead of just showing these kids love, they need you to make promises and keep them. All their lives, they have been told one thing and another — all to learn that words mean nothing to adults. They’ve been disappointed and lied to, and they’ve learned that they can’t trust anyone. The only way to really gain their trust is for their caretakers to consistently do what they say they’re going to do.

I’ll be honest, I was a little taken aback by this thought. It’s easy to make abstract promises like “I will always, always love you.” But I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets a little nervous about making concrete promises. “Let your ‘yes’ be yes, and your ‘no’ be no,” it says in Matthew 5:37. Therefore, it’s easier to just say “maybe.” Or better yet, to just make tentative plans, not tell your kid, and that way it can be a great surprise if it works out.

Or you can pull it out as a bargaining chip to threaten with once their behavior heads south.

But a Promise that’s permanent?

That’s commitment.

A Promise that’s not conditional?

That’s grace.

A Promise that’s fulfilled?

That’s love.

The more I thought about the concept, the more I realized it has applications for so many relationships. In our society today, we shy away from committing to marriage too quickly. It’s better to test the waters and pretend to be married for a few years before making any rash Permanent, Unconditional Promises of Love to someone. We want to be ready to jump ship when forgiveness is too hard or pseudo-commitment feels too restricting. After all, love is about doing what feels good for me, and when it stops feeling good, it’s time to move on. And then we pretend a break-up won’t be as damaging, as long as we haven’t exchanged rings.

In our friendships, we make “tentative” plans with each other, just because we don’t want to be tied down if something more pressing comes along. Our agenda comes before the consideration of each other. But we are gracious and understanding of each other, because we know we might be the ones to cancel next time.

In my parenting strategy, I’ve noticed that when I’m not consistent in enthusiastically rewarding Elise with a sticker for her “Nice Chart”, she’s not real enthusiastic about it either. Why should she be if good behavior one day gets her a sticker and the same behavior another day doesn’t even get recognition?

Feel free to pin. No need to give me credit for my creativity and artistry. I'm just that humble.

Feel free to pin. No need to give me credit for my creativity and artistry. I’m just that humble.

In my mind, I’ve reasoned that we shouldn’t have to always bribe kids to be good. But the more I think about the application of this “Babe Ruth” principal, the more I think at the toddler stage, consistent rewards for good behavior makes her more self-aware, so that she can make good choices instead of just always act impulsively. So even though she doesn’t have any trust-issues with us, I still see benefits to making a point of saying you are going to do something and following through.

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Well, those are my profound thoughts for this morning. And they really aren’t even my thoughts. But hey, I told you I was going to write another post this week, and look who’s practicing their Babe Ruth? 😉

I’m on a roll here. Maybe I’ll even write another post this week! And by maybe, I mean: Of course I will write another post this week. Let’s plan on Friday. See you then!

 

Adoption Month Musings Part 1

Here it is, November 12th already, and I can finally sit down and reflect on it being National Adoption Month.

My thoughts ping and pong in all different directions as I ponder if this will be the only post I manage to make time for in November. But if nothing else, I want to share two predominate things that have impacted me recently.

The first came unexpectedly one day after “racing” Elise back to the house from the mailbox. We sat down to flip through the mail and she asked me to read her the Bethany Christian Services Magazine. Instead of reading it to her, I turned to the pages of the kids who are waiting to be adopted. I told her how they don’t have Mamas and Daddies and how we should pray for these kids. After that, she memorized every kid’s name by quizzing me over and over on every picture.

When we got home from Daycare the next day, she opened the magazine up again and named off all the kids.  And then she asked me if they have Mommies and Daddies yet.

If that doesn’t break your heart…

On one hand, adopting a child from Foster Care is not a venture to be taken lightly. I want that point to be clear.

But on the other hand, perhaps we – the church – need to make a little more of an effort in finding homes for these children and supporting those families willing to do so. I know some churches do a great job at this already. But even one of the largest churches in our area offers no special assistance or programs for foster or adoptive families. That seems crazy to me.

Creating programming that appeals to the masses seems like a good idea. That’s how business strategies work, right? Appeal to the largest population using the leanest resources. But how can we call ourselves “the body of Christ” if we are not intentional about reaching out to those in the margins? Isn’t that what Christ did again and again? Broke away from the crowd to give special attention to marginalized individuals who needed Him most?

These children may not seem like our responsibility because they are not a part of our congregations.

They are not a part of our congregations Yet.

Top number: Foster children waiting to be adopted Bottom number: Number of churches

Top number: foster children waiting to be adopted
Bottom number: Number of churches

But can we make room for them? If 1 family out of every 3 churches in Michigan chose to adopt from foster care, what a huge difference we could make! (And not to say church-goers are the only ones who should adopt from foster care – but if we claim to be Christians, we are implored to “Take up the cause of the fatherless.” Isaiah 1:1.7.

Can we make more of an effort to share their stories and implore people to consider if they might be open to making room for a child in their homes? Can we support families through networking and respite care and material services and counseling? I’m sure there are even more needs I’m not aware of yet.

I could never tell anyone that adopting from foster care is something they should do. I don’t know what particular calling God has put on their family. But it is crazy to think of the number of children who don’t.have.parents.

Staggering. Sobering.

And after seeing Elise show so much interest in these children, it’s made me realize how important it is to teach your kids about real-life orphans. To help them grow compassionate hearts instead of self-pitying little souls. And not in an angry, “There are starving children in Africa who would be glad to clean your plate for you.” But in a “What do you think we should do to help kids who don’t have families?” And then involve our children in whatever activity we can think of – whether it’s praying for them, buying material supplies for a home for foster children, donating, etc…

(All that is to say, our daughter is still self-pitying. Aren’t we all? 😉 But the more we focus outward, the easier it is to forget why we thought our busy schedules and materialistic woes were ever so important to us.)

Anyway, this is what has been speaking to me lately. I wanted to share the other thought with you also, but I’m not quite sure how to segue into it without making this post extraordinarily long. 🙂

I’ll just plan on posting Part 2 next week.

 

This Season

Oh, is it October already? This beautiful two-week window of mid-October in Michigan is one of my favorite times of the year.100_7870

The bright, speckled palette of trees that frame wide-open fields of corn, wheat, and soybeans….

The cool breeze that gently washes you with the smells of burning leaves or imminent precipitation…

The warmth of a cozy couch cushion, a warm mug of mulled cider, and the lull of the voices of sportscasters on the TV– all tugging you into the nap you’ve been putting off for months.  100_7873

Mmmm… I love it.

I’ve been teaching Elise the importance of stomping on leaves when walking in the Fall. She’s caught on quite well.

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Today we played in the giant pile of leaves Tyler raked for her. She picked a “special” red one and sang “Twinkle, Twinkle” to it as she twirled the stem in her fingers while I pushed her in her swing.

elise leaf

These days are the best.

And then the day comes to a close.

I told you we are in the process of potty-training, right?

Ya know, for all the time our newborn classes spent talking about diaper contents, this was one they never warned us about. I suppose it surpassed the scope of the class.

“Go potty!” Elise demanded tonight.

“Ok, lets go,” I replied, hoping this meant a nice, dry Pull-up.

As she took my hand to head for the bathroom, she looked up at me and matter-of-factly told me, “Ahweeve in there. Ahweeve. Ahweeve in there.” She nodded at me like I needed to agree with her.

I chuckled at her toddler antics and smiled and nodded, “Yep, sure. Elise in there.”

But when I went to help her onto the potty, I gasped and gagged when brown flakes that had been caked to her skin flew out of her diaper.

And onto the floor.

And her clothes.

And me.

Blehhhhh….

Heave….

Someone please grab me the Anti-bacterial wipes.

And a trash bag.

And gloves.

I was not prepared for this. Why must potty training be so gross?!

“Ahweeve on my bootie!” Elise exclaimed.

And I fell over laughing.

Apparently Elise had spent a good part of the night with a leaf in her diaper.

And besides the leaf, she actually was dry. Hooray!

Yes…. these are the best days. Even though we’re waiting and impatient to be chosen for a baby, we are in such a fun season of life right now. And much like Fall, time passes faster than we can imagine.

Enjoy these last few days of beauty, friends. And don’t play too hard in those leaves. ❤  Just a little tip from Elise.