Monday, September 15, 2014


  Yesterday morning was Camilla's dedication at church. I cannot even tell you how long I've been waiting for this day. Oh wait, yes I can: almost six years. It's so surreal to finally experience the thing you've been waiting for. It's been happening over and over again for the past six weeks, and yesterday was no exception.

Our church is rather non-traditional, I suppose, so our dedication experience may be different than what you'd associate with a typical baby dedication/baptism/christening. For starters, we went with a clearance-rack white dress from fancy gowns. That's not a rule or anything, we just don't have any family heirloom gowns floating around and I didn't see any reason to spend tons of money on a fancy dress just for the heck of it. I'd rather buy more jeggings and moccasins. ;) Obviously I am a failure of a parent because I don't even have any good close-ups of Millie in the dress. Luckily, it's the same dress she wore for our photo shoot last week, so you'll get to see it eventually.

We start by going up to the front.

Contemplating the massive importance of this day...and lamenting that my former biceps have melted into a pile of fat. Wah.
Kyle, our pastor, talks for a few minutes. There are tears. 

Then he opens up the floor for anyone in the church who has anything they want to share- encouragement, blessings, prayers, etc. This may seem weird, but my church has been praying for us and for this baby for six years. Lots of people have lots of things (and tears) to share. Thankfully, our parents videoed everything- one day Millie will be able to watch and hear how many people love her and have been praying for her and for us. I hope she will love it.

I took this opportunity to weep and make faces like this. Don't you wish you'd been there?
After everyone had shared, Kyle prayed for us and for Camilla. I could be wrong, but I think there was more crying involved.

And then it was done. But not really, because I haven't told you the most exciting part.

Not only did a whole slew of folks from my family and Matt's family come out, but a lot of Camilla's biological family were there as well. Back in August, before we'd been released from the hospital, one of J's grandmothers had asked if we were going to have Camilla baptized, and if we were, would it be okay if she came to watch and support us? I was floored and honored and told her that nothing would make us happier. So when the dedication was scheduled, I let her know. She asked if it would be okay to invite some other family members; we said absolutely. Word spread quickly around the family, and yesterday there were NINE amazing folks from Millie's birth family-- including J!!!-- there at church to support her and us. 

I was blown away. I mean, I knew they were coming, but still. Blown away. 

Because this is how they have been from the beginning-- 100% supportive of J, 100% supportive of us. Overflowing and abundant in their love for all of us. They came and they loved us and they held Millie and they exclaimed over her cute nose, her red eyebrows, her adorable moccasins. They told us how thankful they are for us, how often they think of us, how excited they were to be able to support her on this important day. We hugged and we cried and when people shared words of encouragement during the service, J shared. She told us again how thankful she was for us. Can you see why I can't stop crying?? Oh, and they don't live in town, by the way. J rode overnight on a bus to be there that morning.

There very well may have never been a child so loved by so many.

I am so thankful and encouraged that this is Millie's heritage. That she will know and be known and loved by all of us? Unbelievable. I never even dared to hope that we would be in an open situation this positive. This is redemption beyond my wildest dreams.

So yes, yesterday was amazing, unbelievable, breathtaking, tearjerking- pick your adjective. I waited for this day all of these years, and I didn't even know what I was waiting for. I never could have imagined it would be what it was- my greatest hopes fell far short of the reality that we experienced. 

A year and a half ago I wrote about the locusts. I had no idea what my redemption would look like- I only prayed it would come. I felt this peace inside that one day, redemption would come. And then, over the next few months...well, it was the opposite of redemption. It was the misery of the previous four years amplified by like fifty. Thousand. But somewhere deep inside, a tiny piece of my heart clung to the hope that He would restore the years that the locusts had stolen. 

And now I'm living in that redemption, and sometimes I'm so overwhelmed I can't even breathe. He has restored the years that the locusts had stolen. 

The paradox of this new phase of my life is funny, in a way. Really, it's all about Millie. Anyone will tell you that being the parent of a newborn isn't all about you. But in a way, having my life be all about her for now...well, it restores me. When I change her diaper, my soul rejoices. When she cries for 20 minutes and I have no idea why, but I do the best I can to comfort her...a part of my broken heart is healed. When she smiles at me (completely unintentionally, probably because she has gas), the tears of months past are replaced with happier memories. When the biological family of my daughter hug me and thank me for loving and parenting the baby we all love...I can't even describe it. It's too beautiful and my heart explodes. This is redemption.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 

Psalm 103:1-5 (emphasis mine)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

alive and kickin'

Um, wow. I'm such a reliable blogger these days! I hope you aren't still trying to set your clocks by my prompt 9:00 a.m.-every-work-day posts...or your schedule is probably pretty messed up. My bad.

We've had a super fantastic week- the kind that is so good, I'm too busy enjoying it to document it much. I really can't complain. But I do feel bad about falling behind on emails, blog reading and commenting, and so forth. Maybe I'll catch up one day. Okay, enough excuses!!

This week my bestie Kristina came and visited!! She lives all the way in Jacksonville, FL, so I never get to see her enough- but babies bring visitors! She left her kids with her in-laws (and her husband on a work trip) and came for three uninterrupted days of baby snuggling, late-night chats (and HGTV marathons), and lots of good eating. Oh, and shopping. And picture taking!!! Stine is a talented photographer (if you live in JAX you should definitely hire her!) and she spent our days making sure Millie's life is being documented with something other than my iPhone. We had 'real' photo shoots as well as 'real life' unscheduled shoots...the kind where she sees the Matt, Millie, and me snuggling in bed in our PJs and just comes in and starts snapping away. And then crawls in bed with us for even better shots. That's when it's convenient that your photographer is also your best friend and that it isn't weird for her to climb in bed with you and your family. :)

Unfortunately, I don't have any of those pictures yet. So you'll have to wait with bated breath to find out exactly how sexy I am when I wake up in the morning and someone starts taking pictures. Try to contain your excitement. We did take some pictures today in our game day attire, though!! Millie's wardrobe this week is a significant improvement over her first game...I was excited about it all week!!

Man, I sure do find amazing backdrops for pictures...the side of my front porch is breathtaking, right?

Gooooo Dawgs!!

The selfie isn't great, but I was trying to get a close-up of Millie's cute outfit. The dress was a clearance rack find at Old Navy! I think it is ultra fabulous.

We have a big couple of days coming up- tomorrow Millie will be dedicated at church (our equivalent of baptism/christening) and Monday morning is something even MORE exciting...can you guess what?? Ha. Thus this Saturday evening blog...the events of the next two days will require posts all unto themselves! (I feel like the grammar there is atrocious. I apologize.)

Have a happy rest-of-the-weekend!

Monday, September 8, 2014

currently...maternity leave ed.

I have basically all the time in the world these days...and no motivation to do anything productive with it. Except cuddle my baby. And spend four hours a day at Target. ????

Anyway, how about a fresh currently? Yeah? Great! Millie make her dolphin noises, of course. And the getting-old-quickly tune (well, one of five...I guess that's something?) that her swing plays. She's not in the swing, we just forgot to turn the music off, and don't nobody have the energy to walk 11 feet into the nursery and take care of that...

Eating...nothing at this exact moment, BUT I actually cooked dinner tonight!!! Amazing!! After a month, our meals-provided-by-other-people train has nearly run out (I think we have one freezer meal left we're saving for an emergency situation or something, ha)...and we actually felt ambitious enough to shop for and prepare A MEAL!!! In the crock pot. It felt like an inordinately huge achievement (two capable adults...ALL DAY WITH NOTHING TO DO...and look, we managed to throw some stuff in a pot and call it dinner!!! GOLD STARS ALL AROUND!). Anyway, we made these Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls and they were delicious! And as a bonus, there are enough leftovers for like 4 more meals, so...I won't be obligated to do a cooking encore performance for at least a few more days. Whew.

Drinking...again, nothing at the moment. But I might get a glass of water soon. Exciting stuff.

Wearing...gray running shorts and a purple tank top. My maternity leave uniform. Don't worry, sometimes I wear different running shorts and a different tank top! I'm all about mixing and matching this fabulous wardrobe!!

Feeling...happy. I'm watching Bach in Paradise, watching my husband snuggle with my is good. And as soon as I'm done typing this blog, it'll be MY turn to snuggle. Like this:

Weather...really nice! It was rainy and cloudy and much cooler (low 80s) today...we went on two walks!

Wanting...ya know, I really wouldn't turn down a hot fudge and caramel sundae from Sonic right now. Anyone? No? Boo.

Needing...not a whole lot. I seriously have everything I've ever wanted (minus the aforementioned sundae, of course) and thinking about wanting or needing anything else feels petty. Sure, I wouldn't turn down a raise or a bigger car, but in light of what I have? I don't need a thing. I am incredibly blissfully content.

Thinking...about how happy I am I didn't have to meet my husband on a reality dating show. Ha. Not that it isn't great entertainment, but dang. Save the drama for yo mama.

Enjoying...we just started watching Sherlock the other night!! I seriously didn't think I'd really like it (I'm ashamed to admit I don't usually like British/BBC shows. Or actually, maybe it's just that I don't really try them in the first place.) but I am very glad to have been wrong about that! We love it, and one of my favorite things about it is that I feel like it's one of the few non-"guilty pleasure" shows I watch. Ha. I feel like I should be ashamed of most of the shows I watch (*ahem*reality dating shows...), but Sherlock is like legitimately GOOD! Great plot!! Not gory! Not full of bad language or anything else objectionable! Witty! You could watch it with your grandma, your preacher, or your kid (well...young kids would be bored, probably)! Yaaay Sherlock!

Well, time to turn my full attention back to my less-quality TV program...sorry for the lack of baby pictures, I'll try to do better soon.

OH! One last thing (also, a commercial break...)! So our crib finally came in last week!! Yaaaaaayyyyyy!! It's set up, it's fabulous (you may have caught a glimpse of it on Instagram last week), and you know I'm chomping at the bit to do a 'nursery reveal' post. BUT. Although all the major pieces are accounted for now, the room probably won't be really 'done' for another month...I still have showers and will most likely/hopefully get more of the finishing touches I want for the room (lamps, wall art, etc.). I'm dying to share it now, but I also really want it to be 'done' when I show it. So this is my huge and life-altering conundrum of the moment. To share now or to wait? You can weigh in if you care. :) Have a great night!

Friday, September 5, 2014

one month!

Holy moly, Camilla is ONE MONTH OLD today!! She has been with us for ONE MONTH! I've been a mommy for ONE MONTH! It's insanity!

 At risk of turning into an incredibly stereotypical mommyblogger, let's assess her life at one month, shall we?

Name: Camilla Ann. And by her two month birthday, her last name will officially be the same as ours!!!

Also Known As: Millie, Millsie, Mills, Nuggie (this and all subsequent variations originated when we noticed what a cute little nugget she was/is), Nugs, Nugsie, Nuggaly, and Tiny Dictator. I don't even know why we bothered giving her a normal sounding name; she'll never hear it!

Stats: Updated height and weight TBD at her appointment Monday. If my parents' scale and Matt's math can be trusted, an at-home weight estimate from last weekend would be 10.5 pounds. 

Because the clothing manufacturing industry has no consistency, she can currently wear clothes ranging from Newborn to 3-6 months. With her cloth dipes on, she can rock out pants up to size 6 months (although they have to be folded up ten times at the bottom, ha). In disposable diapers, she's a size 1.

This blog is boring, Mom. Let's talk about something interesting.

Likes: FOOD. She has never met a bottle she didn't love and chomp down with reckless abandon. It brings a tear to my eye. We've used probably 5 different types of formula (just because we had a wide variety of kinds purchased already) plus breastmilk and she loves everything equally and intensely.

Other passions include being swaddled, cuddling, being carried in the K'tan or Ergo, baths, white noise, music, and people respecting her 'schedule.'

We ain't scared of no stinkin' storm.
Dislikes: Baby jail, a.k.a. the car seat. Putting on long-sleeved shirts. Hunger. When Mommy cleans out the gunk that accumulates in her neck rolls. When the bottle is empty and we cruelly try to burp her.

Undecided about: Whether diaper changes are fun or torture. Whether her paci is a soothing friend or a hateful poser. Whether the vacuum is an excellent source of white noise or an angry monster about to eat her.

Special Skills: Breaking out of non-velcro swaddles. Giving super obvious 'hunger cues' for a generous amount of time before she starts crying. Not crying very much ever, in general. Sleeping for long periods of time during the night. Being ridiculously cute. Making dolphin sounds.

Yes, I am a star!
What a month it has been!!! From this...
August 5, 2014 this!
September 3, 2014
I'm sure you had no idea, but I reeeeeaallllly, reaaalllllllyyyyy  love her and love being her mom. Here's to a million more months!!