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Finding the Joy

It’s hard to believe that the last time I updated my blog was when Isaiah turned 1. Now, nearly a year later, he is merely two months away from turning 2, and two months into life as a big brother. Yes, Isaiah has a little baby sister, and it has taken me two whole months to write about it.

Karina Joy came into our lives like a whirlwind. Completely unexpected yet absolutely wanted, her adoption is something I am still trying to process. It hasn’t been an easy two months either. She has been either sleeping or screaming for most of her life. Colic, reflux, gas, anger, grief… your guess is as good as mine as to why she has had such a hard time. She’s seemingly healthy and we’ve tried countless things to make Karina happy, but happy is not an emotion Karina seems to feel much of yet. We’re working on it.

Karina Joy. It took a very long time to come up with her name. “Pure joy” is its meaning, and what we long for in our lives together. Some days I wonder though if we made the right choice in naming her. Grace was a middle name we considered, and many days I feel like it would have been a better choice. For it is only by the grace of God that I have these two beautiful children in my life, and some days it’s only by my grace that they aren’t eaten with a thick layer of chocolate sauce on top. Grace. Though we often fail, we try to live it and breathe it around here. Then there is Hope… Karina Hope? I hope so greatly that she finds her happy, and hope with all that is in me that I can be the mother she needs me to be. Faith would have been an excellent choice as well, since most of the time faith is the only thing that keeps me going. Faith that this season will pass. Faith that God will bring us through it relatively unscathed. Faith that He knew what He was doing by bringing us all together.

Then there are the names that aren’t fitting for a child by any means, but fitting in my life at the moment. Doubt. Fear. Guilt. Some days I feel only these things and it’s a struggle to move past them. Some days mothering two high needs children under 2 is an extreme challenge fit only for the most terrifying of reality TV shows. Some days I feel like I need an intervention.

It has been a difficult journey so far, and some days it’s hard to see anything but negatives down the road. But then! Then she sneaks in a little bit of that Joy. Like how on my 32nd birthday, which was a very difficult day, she smiles at me for the first time, and I get a glimmer of Hope and have a little more Faith that Karina will someday find her happy and the road will be a little less treacherous.

I look at these beautiful children and while they are 100% mine, I still wonder. I wonder if Isaiah looks like his birth mom. Does he have her eyes? Does she share his contagious smile and infectious laugh? How much will it hurt him to never have those answers? How would his life be different if I were not in it? Would it be better? What if we had not pursued Karina’s adoption? To whose family would she belong? Would her life be better? Would she be happier? How can I make them understand the difficult choices their original families made for them? And what would my life be like if they weren’t in it? What would I be doing right now?

Then like an innocent child wondrously blowing the seeds of a dandelion, I watch those thoughts fade into the sunlight as they vanish with the wind. One or two seeds might crop up again someday I’m sure, but every smile and every giggle… every hug and every snuggle… every kiss and every “mommy!”… every delicious sniff of their beautiful heads reminds of of why they are in my life.

They’re my crazy.
My doubt.
My laughter.
My fear.
My silly.
My guilt.
My snuggles.
My kisses.
My hope.
My faith.
My grace.
My world.
My everything.

Yes, they are even my joy. These little creatures waltzed right into my life, turning it upside down and inside out, challenging me in ways I never thought possible. But even on the hardest of days, they still bring me joy. And on the better days that are filled with all the goodness that motherhood has to offer, I find new determination in that Joy and the strength to do everything within me to help Karina find hers. After all, it is her name. Her destiny. She will find her Joy and be a Joy to all who are lucky enough to know her.

I know it.
I feel it.
I will help her realize it.

Tonight

Tonight I hold him a little tighter
Stare at his lovely face a little longer
Shed tears of a greater number
Stroke his cheek a little softer
Breathe him in a little deeper
Speak words of love a little sweeter
Tonight I hold him a little tighter
For tomorrow he will be older

Copyright © 2011 Crystal Harris. All Rights Reserved.

Oops (Or: Where I’ve Been the Past Three Months. Or Six Months. Or something.)

The crazy mama that doesn’t update her blog for three months? That’s me. The same crazy mama that walks the dogs at 1am in pink plaid pajama bottoms. But that’s not really the point of this post now, is it?

The past three months have been crazy. No, scratch that. The past SIX months have been crazy. For those of you that do not know, last fall my husband switched companies. He was offered a position with a company he had been wanting to work with for a few years. It was a perfect opportunity… more money, less hours, GREAT company. We had to take it. The only problem was it meant moving a few hours away. So in January, we did. This was after a few months of Dustin traveling back and forth between the home we were trying to pack up and prepare to put on the market and his new job. We only saw him on the weekends. It was not fun and it got old really quickly, so we decided to trim the budget and rent a tiny (and I do mean tiny) apartment in the new city. We’ve been here ever since.

I must say, I LOVE it here. Love. To avoid getting cabin fever in our tiny (TIIIINNYYY) apartment and to also facilitate the absence of reclusiveness, I joined a few mommy groups. I was terrified at first. I’m not so great at meeting new people. Believe it or not, I’m pretty quiet until I’m comfortable in any given situation. (*gasp* *shock* You, Crystal? QUIET?) I know, I know. You had me pegged as the fluttering social butterfly, hmm? Yeah, not so much. I’m more the awkward, quiet observer. Until you least expect it. Then I pounce on you with my verbosity. Rawr. However, despite the terror, I marched on and went to play groups and play dates and found myself really enjoying it. I’ve met some really lovely people and Isaiah has made some cute little baby friends.

Speaking of Isaiah, he is… amazing. He literally changes from one week to the next. At 7 months, 4 days, he started crawling. This was just a week after being able to sit up by himself from a laying down position. Which was just a week after learning to support himself in a sitting position. Then this week at 9 months, 3 days, he took his first teetering steps. I fully expect him to build a rocket ship by, oh, mid-July.

His adoption was finalized in April. That experience was fabulous. Knowing it was 100% finished and done and all legal, mommyhood sort of clicked. I think perhaps I finally allowed myself to fully relax and start enjoying him more. And I have. He’s a big challenge, but he’s also a total joy. He can make me smile like no one else, and we laugh over his fun and beautiful personality every day.

Now our house is on the market and it looks GREAT, so we’re hopeful the right buyer will come along very soon. We’re also about to move out of the (TINYYYYYYYYY) apartment into a decent sized rental house, where we will stay at least a year until we are able to build a house here after the one in our previous location sells. This means we’ll be moving yet again, and this time it will be in the extreme heat of the summer. Yay.

It’s now 3am and I’m pretty much brain dead and have no idea how to wrap up this post without going on and on (and on) with meaningless drivel. So I shall end it with a photo of the cutest boy in the cutest little red swimming trunks, taking a little dip in his very first pool for the very first time.

I dare you to come up with a better ending.
Go on.
Yeah, I thought so.

Arrrggg!

He growls.

He flies.

Such talent, that little Z.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Not when you’re Mr. Frog, stuffed toy of baby Z, anyway.

This past weekend, he learned to roll from his back to his belly. Before he learned this skill, he usually hated being on his belly. Now when you lay him down, he automatically rolls over on it. Then he rolls to his back. Then to his belly. Then to his back. And his belly. He rolls across the entire bed that way. Silly boy.

He loves his toys. His favorite is a giraffe that sings the ABCs. We named him Geoffrey. We bought an extra Geoffrey because Geoffrey does not have replaceable batteries, and when Geoffrey stops singing, we might be screwed a little. Also, G has tasty ears and tail. If you’re a baby, anyway.

Then there’s Lenny the Lion. And Mr Monkey Man. But we can’t forget Mr Frog. He hasn’t gotten a lot of play time yet, but Isaiah made up for that the other day by trying to shove him in his mouth. Apparently frogs taste good.

He played with that thing for quite a while.

I was just happy that he got in some good tummy time. He must be making up for the 4.5 months when he absolutely hated it.

Happy froggy boy.

Precious Moments

Some of my favorite moments in life right now are the simple ones late into the night with my lovely boy stretched across my lap, hand on my chest or neck, sweetly cooing at me.

I coo back.
I smile.
He smiles.
He talks himself to sleep while I gently rub his head.

How did I ever get so lucky?

Then there are the nights he moans and groans and whines and kicks and punches me as he fights sleep even as his eyes are closing… but we won’t talk about those. 😉

Random fact of the Day #23

Found in the couch crack while cleaning today:

An M&M
A mini M&M wrapper
A mini Twix smashed and in wrapper
A crushed mini Oreo

I take credit for the candy, but no one here has been eating mini Oreos. Oh no. We buy the big Oreos. The big ones with double the good stuff in the middle.

Conclusion:

I have a big taste for small sweets.
Aliens have been eating mini Oreos in my couch.
I need to clean my couch more often.
Especially when aliens come to town.

That is all.

On Gentle Parenting

I know the kind of parent I want to be.

I know I want our home to be full of love and laughter and gentleness and grace and peace.

I know the kind of person I am.

I don’t know how I can ever bridge this huge gap.

Thank God that grace is for mamas too.

Signs You’re a Mom #1

You laugh instead of cry as you realize your baby has pooped while in his jumperoo and has not only managed to get it all over his butt, but his legs, feet, socks, leg warmers, arms, hands, jumperoo, and the pillow under his feet as well.

You laugh instead of puke as you get poop under your fingernails while you attempt to clean him.

You laugh instead of run away as you decide to cut off the onesie rather than get poop in baby’s tightly curled hair and on his face.

You wash your hands (and his!) five times.

You still love said baby after this most nasty deed.

Four Months

It’s hard to believe it has already been four months since our little man came into our lives. It has gone by too fast. He’s already changed so much!

My tiny, scrawny baby that was a mere 4 lbs 14 oz at birth is now over 11 lbs. His once 18″ frame is now close to 25″. His skinny little bum and tiny feet have filled out and are now chubby and dimply. This boy knows how to grow. We are ever so grateful that he is healthy.

It’s been incredibly cool to watch him grow both physically and mentally. From one day to the next it seems, he picks up a new skill or refines a current one.

He grabs and puts everything in his mouth now. Loves to chew. He gets pissed when the whole thing, whatever it is, won’t fit. He shakes his little head and tries to shove it in, while making the cutest little sound. He’s a silly little boy.

He loves to bounce and jump and leap to one side or the other. He’s usually only happy when sitting or standing. Laying down is for little babies, you know. He’s a strong little boy.

He throws incredible temper tantrums already. He gets this look in his eye and goes wild. He hates going to sleep. There’s way too much fun stuff to do. He can’t miss anything! He’s a stubborn little boy.

He hasn’t been much of a cuddler, which was sad for me. He’s too busy for that kind of nonsense. But lately he’ll lay across my lap or chest and happily talk, play, and even cuddle a bit. He loves to play with my hand. It’s awesome. He looks at me with these eyes that turn my insides to goo. The expressions on his face are magic. His smiles are ginormous. He’s a sweet little boy.

His hair is awesomely wild. His adorable toes are fat little tootsie rolls. His eyes are wise, his dimples cute. He’s covered in drool and crazy loud. He squeals and squeaks and screeches and coos. He smiles and giggles and kicks and bounces.

He’s strong and strong-willed. Sweet and cute. Daring and curious.

He’s my world. He’s mine.

Just four months old and I can’t imagine a single day without him.

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