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Saw this hilarious comic in the Lincoln paper on our way home this weekend. I laughed out loud because I thought it fit us perfectly. It will definitely be hanging on our fridge. 🙂

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After reading these two posts on Ellen’s Blog, I am feeling a little convicted about some things.

Lately I’ve been struggling in my communication with Matt.  I think for the longest time I’ve felt that a husband and wife should tell each other when something they did is bothering them.  While I still think it’s good to be open and honest, I’m starting to wonder if my means of communication are doing more harm than good.

Before Matt and I got married, I learned what the role of the wife is.  In Genesis, when God made Eve, he called her Adam’s “`ezer”, or helper.  Interestingly, the only other times when this word is used in the Bible is in reference to God Himself.  (See this page for information; scroll down to the bottom.)  I took/take this to mean that a wife has an extremely significant and honorable role in the life of her husband.

To get more specific without airing all our dirty laundry, what I really want to know is how to fulfill my role as a wife in an honorable and Godly way.  When we have conflict and I disagree with Matt, how do I communicate my feelings and still submit to him as God wants me to? (Eph. 5:22-24) How can I be a helper to him when I sometimes disagree with what he does and I think my way is better?  At the same time, it’s extremely frustrating to feel like I could help a situation, but not have him understand me or not accept my help.  Like I said, it’s something I’m struggling with.

At the beginning of one of her posts, Ellen shared this verse, which really hit home to me:

Proverbs 18:2

“A fool has no delight in understanding but only in expressing his own heart.”

I’m wondering if this is one of the mistakes that I’ve been making-speaking rather than listening.  It’s one that I’m definitely sorry for and hoping that I can improve in the future.  I feel that my relationship with my husband is the most important one I have, and I want to take care of it.  Wives, has anyone else struggled with this same thing?  What do you think?  How do you communicate disagreement in a respectful way, and still fulfill your role as a “helper” to your husband?

So, this is a few days late of one month, but it’s close enough.  Here are my thoughts of being a mom so far:

  • When I first gave birth to Caleb, and the nurse handed him to me, it was not love at first sight.  I don’t know about other moms, but it took quite a few days for me to feel some attachment to him; breastfeeding really helped with this.
  • I think I was a walking Zombie for the first two weeks; I had no idea that babies needed to be fed at least every 3 hours…that’s no more than 2 hours of sleep at a time!  I’ve always been a heavy sleeper, but it was amazing that I was able to wake up for every feeding.  I guess I do have mom instincts.
  • Recovering from birth takes a lot longer than I expected as well.  This may have something to do with the lack of sleep…
  • Breastfeeding is difficult-it definitely takes some getting used to, by mom and baby.  Talking with a lactation consultant helped immensely.
  • Though a bit on the pricey side, Special Addition, in N. Austin, is the best store I’ve been to.  I highly recommend checking it out.  The staff helped me find a great nursing bra that fits perfectly, and gave me lots of tips as well.
  • Caleb pretty much just sleeps, eats, and dirties his diapers.  Oh, and cries (I hear him now).  I love the times when he just curls against my shoulder after eating, but I’m also looking forward to him being a little older and able to interact with him more.
  • I am very grateful for the people who brought us food the first two weeks.  I think I may have starved if not for them. ❤
  • I really enjoy watching Matt interact with Caleb.  It makes me happy.
  • A marriage is definitely challenged by a baby.  There are already things that Matt and I have disagreed on, which is tough and will take working on.
  • Our marriage is also enriched by having a baby;  it’s a pretty special thing to become a parent with your spouse.  I wouldn’t have picked anyone else to share this with.
  • Matt and I are reading BabyWise, and trying out this method of organizing the insane task of feeding and getting Caleb to sleep.  There have been some challenges, but we’ll see where it goes.  There’s quite a bit of controversy surrounding this book, so the jury is still out on it.
  • I love cuddling with Caleb.  It is very satisfying to have a little baby sleep in your arms.
  • Even though having a baby is hard, I have this feeling that it’s only going to get more challenging as he gets older.  Someday I may think back to when Caleb was a baby and relish these early baby moments.

Last September was my last post (wow!), and I realized that it was also about the time I was finding out I was pregnant with our first baby.  This whole pregnancy thing has been interesting, frustrating, emotional, happy, sad, exciting, terrifying, and full of hope.  I think I’d like to write a few things that I’ve learned through it all.

1. Breaking the news of pregnancy is a tricky thing.  Telling some friends is easy and wonderful, because they are just as excited as you are.  Telling others is a little difficult, because you know they are dealing with their own disappointments, so it’s hard for them to be as happy for you.  I also wanted to surprise my family with the news, but couldn’t because they figured it out early.  This frustrated me at first (I was being a little selfish), but then I realized they were excited anyways, so it didn’t matter.  Sorry mom.

2. There is no sickness like morning sickness.  I was afraid it would never end, but thankfully, between months 3-4, it passed.  Probably the hardest part of my whole pregnancy was feeling so unlike myself during this time.  I also noticed it was alot worse when I was stressed and tired, but taking my vitamins before I went to bed helped.

3. Maternity clothes are expensive!!!  I am very grateful for those lovely women who passed on their clothes to me.

4.  I was surprised at the dynamic shift in my relationship with Matt.  I’m not sure if he noticed anything, but I felt like we grew closer emotionally through this time.  I’ve enjoyed that.  I am looking forward to having our physical relationship go back to what it was before I got pregnant, hopefully.  I am a bit apprehensive about the different ways having a baby will change our relationship.  I’m not really sure what to expect.

5.  The first time I felt this baby kick I was talking about it with my friend.  It was strange, sort of like a small muscle twitch, and it took awhile for me to get used to it.  Since then, the baby got really active, especially during the 5-7 months.  I wonder if he’ll have Matt’s energy-I think so.  Now, he doesn’t have as much room, and it looks weird (and sometimes hurts) when he stretches out.

6.  People always comment on how you look when you are pregnant.  I don’t think I really liked this, although I got used to it by the end.  At least they’ve been saying nice things for the most part.

7.  I started reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting early on, which helped a great deal.  It basically listed every pregnancy symptom, so I didn’t get too freaked out when weird things were happening to me.  It was also nice to know that I didn’t have some symptoms other women experience.

8.  I wasn’t really into the whole belly picture thing-maybe I’m vain-I wanted nice looking pregnancy pics of Matt and I.  Our friend Eric took some great shots for us, including the one you see here.

9.  I think I kissed regular sleep goodbye once I became pregnant.  I don’t know about everyone, but I definitely have to pee at least 2x a night, no matter if I drink a little or alot.

10.  We’re pretty sure we’re having a boy, which I think is great.  Even though someday I’d love to have a daughter, I’m a little intimidated  by it.  Plus, Matt told me now the pressure is off.  I guess it’s good to have someone carry on the family name. 🙂

11.  Walking is good…I’ve tried to do it more.  (So is stretching, but that’s been fairly difficult here in the last month or two.)  I think if I have another pregnancy, I’d like to try swimming.  This time I wasn’t really ready to be pregnant in a swimming suit.

12.  Decorating one room (for baby) is a whole lot easier and way more fun than decorating a whole house.  I think I must have gotten some nesting instinct at some point, because I also decided I wanted to repaint our bedroom.  Of course, that will wait until I can actually help.

13.  Maybe Matt has been nesting a bit too?  He’s been doing projects like crazy-fixing the car, building closet shelves, painting, and putting up molding.  I think he did a great job on all of them, but I think he should also take a break from projects for awhile.  Poor guy has been working hard, with little help from me.

14.  Matt and I decided that I should quit my job next year.  I was a little surprised at how sad I was to actually make it official.  Even though I complained about it, I think I found my job very rewarding and a great blessing in my life.  I hope that I either enjoy staying home with my kid immensely, or I get the opportunity to have a good job again in the future.

15.  Taking off some time here at the end of school (and my pregnancy) was a really smart move.

16.  I am excited about the change happening very soon, but I am also pretty nervous.  Will I be able to take care of a baby?  Will Matt and I continue to grow in our relationship and love for each other?  Will Matt love being a dad?  Will I love being a mom?  Will we be able to handle this change with flexibility, grace, and resilience?

17.  I find it funny how I’ve worried about this baby who isn’t even born yet.  I decided that I should try not to do that; it doesn’t make a bit of difference in what will be.

18.  I find it astounding and humbling that God would allow me and Matt to take care of another human being.  That’s a pretty big deal, and I’m pretty sure an amazing blessing.

There is something very satisfying about planting and cultivating a garden.

When Matt moved in-Redbud to the right

When Matt moved in-Redbud to the right

When Matt moved into our current home, there was one tiny tree in the backyard and not much else.  Dressing up our backyard has been quite the process.  Before we could begin putting in beds and plants (which I was eager to do), Matt insisted we first put in a sprinkler system.  After the 3-4 thousand dollar estimate on our backyard, we decided-no, Matt decided-to do it himself.  Let’s just say that after half a year, a lot of hard work and a few arguments, it was finished.  Now we could begin planting.  We first chose trees, knowing that our backyard needed some substance.  We put in a Live Oak, a Red Maple, and a Bradford pear tree.

After planting these, we spent the next two years testing out other plants.  We planted several Canna bulbs, a Texas Sumac plant-which is HUGE now, a red/pink Oleander, many Indian Hawthorn bushes, and some very pretty purplish Chinese Witch-Hazel.

The treacherous sprinkler system project-rocks anyone?

The treacherous sprinkler system project-rocks anyone?

In addition to these, we put in some grasses, vines and other test plants.  I was really looking forward to putting in fruit/veggie plants and herbs, wanting to use these for cooking and eating.  My first test was a jalapeno plant.  It took off-I had jalapenos coming out my ears.  I tried again this year, but I guess I didn’t water it enough because it hasn’t done much.  This year I also planted a red pepper plant, a tomato plant, and basil.  I actually accidentally spilled the basil seeds on the ground when I opened the package (oops!) so I just moved the dirt around a little and watered the spot to see if it would grow.  I can’t believe it, but my basil plant is like 2ftx2ft wide and tall now!  The red peppers are doing okay, and the tomato plant looks horrible, although it’s given us a few tasty tomatoes when the ants haven’t gotten them first.

Planting trees-Growing Redbud to the left

I definitely enjoy being in my backyard now, because it actually looks pretty!  It’s definitely not finished, and I suppose won’t be as long as we’re living here, but I guess that’s the beauty of gardening.  You never get bored.  This next spring we’ll probably move some more plants around and take out a few others.   I’d really like to plant a pomegranate tree at some point, if I can figure out where to put it.

I’d also like to point out that gardening is something Matt and I like

Our backyard currently

to do together; it’s a healthy and fun avenue for us to spend time together as a married couple.  It’s an apt metaphor, I suppose.  As we grow and cultivate our relationship, beautiful things come out of it-just like our garden.  And that’s the most satisfying part.