Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's Complicated

Sometimes I feel like my favorite posts come out of the moments when I don't really know exactly what I am going to write - but there is feeling welling up in my heart so I know I have to write something.

Today I feel like being transparent. Yikes. There are those occasions after I've been transparent that I immediately wonder if it was too much. Too much honesty. Too much vulnerability. Opening oneself to judgement surely. But there is just something about me that can't help it! Maybe I'll mature out of that someday - or maybe I'll mature into the capacity to quiet the hindering thoughts when I've got the urge to spill the beans. :)

I quit my job a little over four months ago to be at home with Liam full time. I quit because of moments like this. There is not one second of regret over the decision. He is a gift beyond words and the opportunity to pour into his both tiny and colossal heart is something I cherish dearly. But the journey of my heart since quitting has been - complicated.

It's complicated on many levels. I don't miss the work - honestly I feel like I'm working harder than I ever have in my life! I am shocked that I don't miss the adult interaction as much as I thought I would. Me and my little buddy have a great time together and there are new relationships building in my new-to-me-world. It's deeper than the work and the adult interaction.

It's the question: Who Am I?

It's the part of my pride that says - I know I'm smart and I could probably whip most smarty pants at their own game given a little time but here I am staring at that freaking bedroom that looks like college students sleep there instead of a grown man and woman. Shouldn't cleaned rooms just stay clean for goodness sake? It's the moments when I'm asked what I do and my mouth goes a little dry at the phrase 'stay at home mom.'

It's the thought of that blasted kitchen getting dirtied all over again because it's time for dinner. It's the part of not working that encompasses becoming more of a servant to all.

Which brings me to yet another point of complication: the undeniable example Jesus gives us is to be precisely a servant of all. To lay down one's life for his brother. To love your neighbor as you love yourself. To love the Lord with all your heart and to love others. I mean - the list goes on!

I wrestle.

And I've come to the point of believing that God has appointed this great battle in my heart. I truly believe that He has something for me to uncover in Him in this process. That there is a revelation to be garnered if I continue to seek. Because He also says that if I seek Him, I WILL find Him.

So who am I? I am a wife and I am a mom. I am a cook/maid/house cleaner. But I'm also a teacher/strategist/marketer/creative/negotiator/go-getter. I'm all of it. And I know that I know that I know God has a unique path for my life and specific jobs for me to do.

The funny thing is that I don't live under this cloud of complicated confusion. I sincerely love my life and love the opportunity that I have to raise Liam. Our days are full and happy. Then all of the sudden - these questions will surface in my heart and present themselves so strongly that I have to give thought to them. It's almost as if the Holy Spirit stirs the waters in my soul and nearly forces my face into the questions. I think His point is that He holds the key to this resolve :).

So I live with the knowledge that this precious opportunity to be at home with Liam is not my ticket into retiring my destiny. It's not my path to sitting back and propping the feet up in terms of significance (in case you're wondering - I 100% believe that raising children and managing a home are worthy in and of themselves as a destiny and they are most certainly significant). My path is not to now see my wonderful champion of a husband as the major and I am the minor. His calling is bigger/mine is smaller - you get the picture. My opportunity is to now grab onto the robes of Jesus and allow Him to show me how to live each day as worship. By the way, it's the mopping the floor that I struggle with loving not the teaching and parenting my child LOL!

I am sure that if a handful of different readers read this post - the reactions would vary greatly. You may not feel that you can identify - or you may identify very deeply.

So come help we women Lord! :) We are a complicated lot to be certain! We are as unique as the zebra - no one animal's stripes being exactly like another's. But we do long to be found in you because you cover every ounce of quirk we contain. I long to lay every question I have about this moment and about the future at your feet and rest. You are good and Your plans for us are undeniable.

Ahhhh yes. The end of this post. I'm not even re-reading this one for editing because I'd probably delete the entire thing before posting! So please forgive the typos - I am pretty bad at typos! I think the important thing - for me - is to put it out there (the good, the bad, the wrong, the true, etc). It's my obedience today.

Happy Tuesday Friend,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Biting the Bullet

I really can't tell you how many times I sit down and log in to blogger to see if my bloggy friends have any new updates for me. Seriously. I love the window into their worlds. I love glimpses of their days - the good, the bad, and the hilarious. So when I sat down just now and saw no new updates - I decided to bite the bullet. I'm gonna tell you about my day :)

My last post mentioned that we were almost through the transition to one nap. Ding ding ding ding. Wrong! We're not. We're oh-so-not. We are fully back to two naps a day for the time being. When it comes to these transitions - I never know if I'm doing them right or very wrong lol. I'll research to find the answers and still not be 100% clear so here we are. Maybe in another month or so??? I'm fine with two naps a day really :)

Having said that - today was a busy day because this week is going to be a busy week. We have small group here tomorrow night and then on Friday we are having our Memorial Dinner with our small group at our house. The Memorial Dinner is going to be a time when we all take time to tell what the Lord has done on our behalf in 2012 - we are going to make our own memorials to His great works by giving time to tell about them. I can't wait! But that means that it's time to get this house Christmas-fied. Which means I need to tidy and clean it first. And wouldn't you know - these are the days on which Liam isn't 100% and he needs me more.

I think as a mom - these moments are especially challenging. My heart melts that he wants to be held and be close, my mind races through the list that isn't being accomplished while the holding happens, and my nerves valiantly fight to stay un-frayed by the low-ebbing constant whining tone that accompanies a nearly 16 month-old who is tired and doesn't feel his best. Which part to give in to???

Today - God's grace got me through and I didn't lose it. Can I get a big fat whoopin' YES????!!!!! I enjoyed that sweet blonde head on my shoulder and his closeness - even took some time to just sit and hold. We rocked more today. I told him how much I loved him. But we also got some things done! This is our first year of decorating for Christmas 'together' :). He helped me put the small tree together that's going in the front window - which will now be our kiddy-fun-silly tree. We got the mantle decorated. We got to Hobby Lobby and bought red lights for the fun tree. We dusted! We did dishes! You're getting the picture of how glamorous my life is - I know.

And did I mention - I have make-up on? Praises.

To top it all off, I got 15 minutes to take in Colossians 2. I am thankful because of the over-the-top reminder that God is head over all and rules over all - and I am FILLED with Him. The one true God. So it's not that I am powerful - but that the sacred God who resides in me is all-powerful. Come on brain - get it! is what I tell myself!

So I call today a win. The master bedroom still holds a few piles of laundry for me to tackle, the extra bedroom still needs me to do something with the baby clothes, and I still have receipts waiting to be shredded BUT He is good. We made it through another Tuesday - we're upright - we're smiling - and we're ready to see Daddy!

Hope you have a great day my friend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fifteen Months: Liam in all his glory

Fifteen months you say? Where is time flying off to? Man alive wherever it's going - it is going FAST! I love being able to have my little buddy by my side and seeing him unfold more all of the time.

Liam, oh Liam. You - my son - are full to the brim. Full of life, full of ideas, full of sounds, full of language I can't quite yet decipher, and full of BOY! I still get taken by surprise when you innately do something male that no one has ever taught you. Car sounds just ooze out of you when you see a car. Your 'grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr' is applied to a train, a truck, a car, or frankly - anything that resembles a car. :)

We love watching the trash truck each week and we love watching cars drive by the house. And we loooooove going outside to wait for daddy to come home from work.

When I was pregnant with Liam - I asked the Lord to fill this child with His joy. Liam indeed is filled with joy ;). He loves to laugh with you and he loves to smile and have fun fun fun.

It definitely seems like we are way past the baby stage. My little walker (who is working so diligently on becoming a runner) is a big boy who loves to be treated like a big boy. We love throwing balls back and forth, rolling balls back and forth, making baskets with our basketball, playing chase, playing peek-a-boo, playing with the little people farm, pulling out pots and pans to cook with on the floor, and our new-found adventure is climbing. So far the climbing is nothing too dangerous - but as I see those little legs reach up to hoist his body onto more and more things - I find myself wondering just where this is all going :).

So far he has a handful of words (that we can understand): Dada, Mama, Mimi, B.Bo, BoomBoom (balls and balloons), Arf Arf for dogs, Baaaa for sheep, YaYa (which is what Isaiah - his cousin - is called), and he's working on banana. But by far the most precious word he says started a few weeks ago. We pray before our meals, before bed, and we pray for Daddy before he leaves for work. Out of the blue - he started saying 'min' right before we'd get to amen! Sometimes it sounds like 'may min' and sometimes it's just 'min' - but it truly melts my heart. When he sleeps I ask the Lord to plant Himself deeply in Liam and make Himself real and known to him. I explain to Liam that we're just talking to Jesus because we love Him and He loves to talk to us - I may be crazy but I think He gets it! Okay - I'm probably crazy :). But sometimes I think about how recently He was with Jesus and I just so wish I could know what He still remembers.

I have realized that I am doing these blogs so that I won't forget the precious details of a sweet little boy growing up. Thanks for your patience - if you're still reading!

Much to my delight - Liam has really gotten into books over the past few months. He likes to bring me his favorites and settle into my lap - :). His favorites are: Ten Tiny Puppies (he kisses the puppy on each page), Farm Animals, Trucks by Usborne, Baby Jesus is Born, Bubbles Bubbles, Baby Einstein Letters, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon, and another version of Farm Animals......basically anything with animals!

A few stats: At his fifteen month appointment he had shot up to the 75% for height and dropped to the 10% for weight. Dr. Jones wasn't concerned about the weight as he has fluctuated up and down and is eating...just grew taller all of the sudden :) I'm thinking he has his daddy's build.

He is nearly transitioned to one afternoon nap a day - but not quite. Whew! This transition has been interesting for all. Poor little man has been tired more as a result of the shift and so we keep waiting it out.

Other adorable things I don't want to forget: He's started nodding his head up and down for yes. But it's a very definitive yes - nothing subtle about it. Too cute to see this little boy man bobbing that head up and down so certainly. When we pray for Zion in the mornings, he puts his hand on Zion's chest just like I do to pray for him. He loves holding hands to pray in the highchair before meals. When he sees Isaiah (YaYa) he pats him on the head. Liam loves going to the park and doing the slides - again and again and again. Thank the good Lord - he's returned to his willingness to give kisses. :) The sweetest little kisses on earth. Mama and Daddy can get kisses about half the time. His stuffed friends like Lance the Lion on the other hand, get kisses 100% of the time.

I am loving life and loving this little man. Feeling so blessed. The budget may be tighter on one income but the joy overflows and God is faithful. I soak this boy up and love getting to know him.

There is so much to be thankful for and you, sweet reader, are one that I am thankful for. Thanks for being caring and nosy enough to love my little man with me :).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Learning Mama

Here's the deal - he wakes up in ten minutes from the morning nap so this is going to be a blitz. Probably a little more full of typos than usual lol!

I've been thinking a lot about the first year of parenting your first child. It's beautiful, precious, pinch-me-is-this-real cute, excruciating, challenging, and humbling. No one's stories can prepare you for the total shock to the system when your life is, in an instant, driven by a new presence in the form of an eight pound eight ounce bundle of beautiful boy.

I think that some moms pop that baby out and instantaneously feel the mom instinct gush through her and she has an innate trust of herself, her perspective, her methods as a mom. You know, the 'You're the mom - you'll know what's best for your baby,' thing. I don't think that I was like that for the most part. In fact, I had to learn to embrace that a little more than I was at first. I researched everything. A lot. Sometimes too much.

At the end of the day, I think that parenthood is 50% instinct/discernment and 50% 'get a clue and realize that your instincts don't always yield the best fruit.' Ahhhhh yet another opportunity in life to walk the fine line!

So 14.5 months in I have learned:

- My actions and decisions as his mama bear both short term and long term fruit. Both need to be taken into consideration. Often, researching helps to understand some of the long term fruit that will come from today's decisions.

- Learning to be a mama is both natural and something that should get energy, intention, and effort on my part.

- God made Liam and I'm His sidekick helper. All I have to do is ask God to tell me about His little boy named Liam and to help me understand how He wants me to parent him and everything tends to go a lot better.

- Prayer is my best tool as a mama. Not just prayer over Liam's future. But prayers like - "Okay Jesus, I don't know what to do about the milk situation and I feel really confused. What do you think is best for Liam's system? Holy Spirit - come give me guidance." And then watch and listen. The answer usually comes in a very subtle way.

- Know when to talk about it and when to be quiet. Other moms (grandmas included!) have taught me so much as I've been willing to put a situation out there that I am processing through. Tidbits here and there have rocked my world with wisdom and she never even knew she was God's answer to my cry for help. But then, there are those times when you can feel the anxiety or worry swirling around your heart and you've talked about a situation, you've researched it, you've thought about it a million times. I've found those are the times when the Holy Spirit will gently nudge 'Enough talking/thinking Abi. Trust me and be quiet now.' There's nothing like a mama at peace - amen sisters??!!

Yes - this road of mamahood is complex: part confidence, part humility, part learner, part teacher. So I'll keep learning and keep trusting that God will get me where I need to be all on His own. And I'll keep perfecting my wrestling skills because I know a little man who spells love - p l a y w i t h m e a n d b e s i l l y m a m a.

Well that turned out longer than I intended. Wouldn't you know he woke himself up right on time and is patiently waiting for me - bless his heart! Mama to the crib rescue.

Love y'all,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Waiting Game

Tonight my fingers wanted to type, so here I sit. I wonder how your evening has been. I wonder if today has been good, okay, surprising, tough....

When I was growing up - my mom and I would have late night hot chocolate made with milk (never water) and topped with marshmallow cream (the only truly wonderful form of the fluffy white sweet goodness) if we couldn't sleep. A perfectly wonderful solution to most any problem if you ask me :)

So - in my dreams I have that cup in my hands and you have your's (my actual cup will have to wait until a few more of these "baby weight" pounds disappear). But still - you get the picture.

Tonight - I am on the brink of Wednesday. And Wednesdays have become one of my very favorite days of the week. You see, Wednesdays bring me a bright and early 3 mile jog before the sun rises with my brother and a friend. What ensues after that is something of a mad-dash as I get myself showered and as dressed as possible - get Liam up - and get us out the door to Mimi's house. Mimi has so sweetly offered to have some Liam time so that I can dash to a Weight Watchers meeting and then to Bible study at my church. We get to hang out and have lunch at her house afterwards and then head home for an afternoon nap for him and a house tidy up job for me. Small group meets at our house Wednesdays nights. Whew! That is one crazy day.

But. Each of these activities seemed far off and even unattainable just a short while ago.

Just a few years ago - I was not only not a runner - I was not an exerciser at all: nada.

Just a few years ago - getting to go to Bible study seemed like a 'someday maybe' dream as I balanced working full time and other commitments. In fact, for a significant season, I was the one working while Zion sought after the next step in his career. If the girl I was then could see me now....

Just a few years ago - my heart ached (understatement) to become a mama and start expanding our family. In so many ways, I had to lay that dream down because it just wasn't time yet - and I really didn't know when the time would be.

Just a few years ago - we were in a spot where we truly wanted community but it just wasn't clicking. No matter how hard we tried. No matter how hard we prayed. It just wasn't time.

In the Old Testament - people often made a memorial to God out of stones to remind not only themselves - but the generations to come - of what God did. So that they wouldn't forget. Tonight, I don't want to forget. In so many ways - it seems like our waiting game was long and longer and longest at times. Often, it felt like every desire of our hearts was asked to wait. Not for a few weeks - but for years.

But sister (and brother if you're reading this Zion lol), I'm here to tell you that He moves on our behalf. That the waiting is worth it. That when the time comes - he hastens. That not quitting life and not hardening your heart - matters. That asking Him for joy in the waiting is one of the most beautiful things.

So I'm not sure what you're waiting for right now, but you're seen. You're not forgotten. You're loved. Don't focus on how much longer you may have to wait and therefore panic as to whether or not you can literally make it. Focus on today and look for the provisions He is offering in this little moment.

And go to the iTunes store or Spotify and search for "What A Difference A Day Makes" by Frank Sinatra. Do it. Because it's a good reminder - it can all change in one single day.

Sweet dreams.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fancy Friday!

I can't help but feel a different vibe on Fridays. Even though I'm no longer at my desk in the office first thing in the mornings - I still feel the ever-welcome Friday arrival and relax a bit. Lest you think otherwise due to the title of the post - I am anything but fancy at the moment....however I do have a fancy feeling deep down...because it's Friday, you see!

I sat down to write - not knowing where this one was going - but just kind of willing to see what words came out when I started typing. :) Because it's Friday, you see!

So here are my musings as of late:

Change. Change. Change. Change. Change. And then you take a five minute break and tackle a tad bit more change. Changing who I am, what I do, how I think, how I spend time: change. Thankfully, I am not alone and I'm even getting into my change groove. We're in flux baby!

I'm doing the Beth Moore Bible study - 'Living Beyond Yourself.' May I just say - she dropped a one liner on Wednesday that is still reverberating inside of me: "All we need to create an environment for rejection is relationship." Everyone experiences rejection in life and I am humbly thankful to say that God has dealt with rejection in me a good deal and has healed my heart in ways only He could. But the true mark of freedom and healing must be the capacity to jump back into relationship - where we know it will inevitably happen again. We know we can jump back in though, because He's there and what is to be gained is so much greater than the risk of being hurt.

You know what I savor on Fridays? A mocha from Nordaggios. Know what makes a good mocha? The oh-so-perfect balance in the sweet of the dark chocolate and the bitter of the espresso. Nords does mocha well my friends. I have really cut back on my coffee stops during the week and opted for lattes at home - but on Fridays - Nords and I have a standing date.

Did I mention I have a thirteen month old now? How did that happen??? Big boy is on his way and he'd prefer that I keep up. He loves to laugh and I love it when he laughs. He loves to dance and I love it when he dances. He loves to practice demonstrating his will and I cannot say that I love that! LOL. Parenting is not for the weak! But I must say it is amazing to see the fruit of correction and guidance even at thirteen months old. Those little eyes tell me he's testing me and that little heart quietly whispers how much he craves the boundary that helps him know he's okay because I truly am the mama - and I'll take care of him.

Are you getting the fall fever? Before long I may have to start throwing a chai into my Friday mix!

I'm trying a new recipe today: Balsamic Chicken. The beauty is that it is a crock-pot recipe! I am going to add portabello mushrooms and perhaps some black olives and serve it over angel hair pasta. Can't wait!

Hope you have a really beautiful weekend and that you find the grace you need to move forward in whatever way you need to!

Love y'all,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Liam's First Birthday Party

Ahhhhh the first birthday party. I so wanted his party to be special and a wonderful celebration, but simple. I knew that I didn't want to blow a wad o'cash. But, didn't want to scrap a few fun details in the mix as well. So - here's what we got: Liam's Lion Party.

The choice to have a family-only party was a good one because the house was packed! Mercy!

You know what took me by surprise? The way my heart felt when I woke up on his birthday. All of the sudden I have a new favorite day of the year. There was something almost sacred about it. I wanted to giggle, gallop (it's true), dance and cry all at once. Am I a crazy mama or what??? I could not wait to get that party started. My heart was bursting with excitement even though I FULLY realized he would never remember a second of the celebration.

I'll let the pictures tell the story...for the most part lol.

So much fun with family, cake, and lots of love!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Favorites for Baby's First Year

Each mama is different and each baby is different but these are a few of my favorite finds that we used during the first year:

1. Aden and Anais burpy bibs. It's hard to put your finger on just what is so wonderful about this burp rag - but it's just the best. I have adorable handmade ones, cute store bought ones, and these. These fit on your shoulder perfectly and are honestly worth the $10/burpy bib. They wash incredibly well and are so cute on top of that. And, they snap to be a bib for when baby is really spitty:
Check them out!

2. Music! I have loved four CDs in particular. I use them while Liam is going down for a nap or going down for the night. It's become a part of our routine but he can go down without it. I have liked setting the mood for sleep and it kind of signals to him that is sleeping time.

The Rockabye CDs are amazing! They take popular bands (we have Coldplay and U2) and do soothing instrumental versions of their biggest hits. So great!

Rockabye Coldplay: Check it out!

Rockabye U2: Check it out!

Worship music for baby: I really like having baby-friendly worship music to encourage that little spirit from the beginning. These are the two that I've used:

Praise Baby: Check it out!


Sing Over Me: Check it out!

3. Baby Love cookbook. If you want to make your own baby food this is such a great find. The recipes are fantastic and real food recipes. Some of our favorite recipes are banana/apple/pear, Alba's Chicken Soup, Basil Ricotta Pesto, and Macaroni and Cheese. Yeah! As a side note - I think products like the Baby Bullet are great but ultimately unnecessary. A regular food processor does the trick.
Check it out!

4. RazBaby Teether. By far Liam's favorite teething tool. With 8 teeth in the first year, he really went after it!
Check it out!

5. Earth's Best Chlorine-Free Wipes. I really don't prefer to be high maintenance in life :). But - Liam had persistent diaper rash that just wouldn't fully go away. So I decided to try these wipes and it was gone within 24 hours. If you buy them in packs of 12 through Amazon you can get them for about $3.33/pack which is comparable to other wipe prices. Definitely worth it to me!
Check it out!

6. Amazon subscribe and save products. Wow! If there is anything you buy with regularity for baby, I'd check to see if Amazon offers it on their subscribe and save option. You 'subscribe' to the product and receive it automatically every month, two months, etc (your choice). For intance, I started supplementing Liam with a little formula around 7 months because I was concerned about milk supply. He probably had about 10% formula and the rest was bm. Formula is expensive!!! I wanted something organic and went with Earth's Best. He did great with it. At Whole Foods and Buy Buy Baby, it's about $30 a container. WHEW! With Amazon subscribe and save - I got it for $23/container and didn't pay shipping. Works for me!

7. This toy has been a consistent favorite for months for Liam. It's adorable and has multiple layers of learning which I like: Check it out!

8. If you're interested in Baby Wise - this blog is so helpful: Check it out!

9. In the splurge category, I cannot skip mentioning Best Chairs. I made efforts to be budget-friendly on creating Liam's nursery (borrowing a crib, finding other furniture on Craigslist, and using a seamstress on Etsy to make the bedding which was a lot cheaper than going through a the local custom bedding options I found). BUT - I knew I wanted a great rocker/glider. A few friends had purchased their gliders from Best Chairs and I loved what I saw. Locally, I think that Buy Buy Baby has a few models but Peek A Boo Baby caries and can order all of their models. I chose the smallest model and didn't go for the recliner or ottoman - and I have been so happy with the choice. We have used it a lot and it's still in great condition! The glide is so smooth and even the smallest model chair works for both me and Zion's bodies and is very comfortable. Love it and look forward to many many more years with it.
Check it out!

10. And finally, the Miracle Blanket was one of the very best things! Little man Liam was strong from the get go and swaddling him in a standard blanket didn't work for us. This blanket has so zippers or velcro which makes loud sound if you need to adjust it when the baby is falling to sleep or already asleep. It has a pocket for the feet and a pretty great arm manuever to keep those little limbs in place. We discovered it a few weeks in but next time around it will be used from the very beginning. It really helped Liam because those little arms did not stop moving when he went to sleep. I think it's the best sleep swaddling solution because of it's unique design and no zipper/velcro. You need it!
Check it out!

I'm sure there are other things I am forgetting but these are our top ten! Happy first year mamas! I'd love to know any great finds you discovered :)

Twelve Months: Big Boy!

WOOOOHOOOOOOO! WE DID IT! We kept him alive for a whole year! He isn't permanently damaged in any apparent way! He smiles and laughs and eats and sleeps! It's a miracle!!!!!

Sweet boy - you're the best. This year has changed me in the best and complete way. I am simply not the person that I was before you entered the world barely into the morning of August 4, 2011 at 12:14 am. This year has been the sweetest discovery of one of the dearest people I think God has ever created, learning to live with never sleeping in again, staring at your unbelievable face, and the embrace of our new perma-state of transition because no season lasts more than just a bit. I wouldn't trade this year, you, the highs or the lows for anything in the world William Justice Spencer.

A few stats:

At your one year old appointment you weighed in at 20 pounds even (just at the 25%) and measured 29 3/4" (the 50%).

You took your first wobbly step on July 25 unknowingly. Two weeks later, on your actual birthday, you took your first series of steps when Daddy was entertaining you by blowing up balloons for your first birthday party.

You spoke your first word (mama) to me on August 1 a few days before your birthday. I was holding you on my chest by the crib before laying you down for a nap. You were cuddling (a rarity for you, my little mover and shaker), and looked up at me and softly said "Mama." Like you just wanted me to know you could say it. :) Now it's mostly said in times of dire need only!

You said your second word (dada) just a few weeks later while Daddy was getting ready for work. Talk about a happy man!

You have eight teeth even though I could have sworn you were cutting numbers nine and ten two different times! Alas, no cigar.

You take two naps/day - a 1.5 hr nap in the morning and a 1.5 hr nap in the afternoon - and you sleep 11-12 hrs/night. No complaints here my little man!

Not really a stat - but Mimi and I have discovered the pure magic of offering you a dum dum sucker. It's the perfect size for you and it has gotten us through one year old shots, one year old blood work and the first haircut where stillness generally helped the success of the outcome.

A friend recently asked me what your favorite toy was because by one year old - both of her babes had distinctly favorite toys. I had to think about it for a second but there is no other answer than balls. Oh son. You haven't met a ball you don't love and balloons from your birthday party still live in this house 2.5 weeks post party. To you, balls and balloons fall into the same category and you've actually developed your third word because of it. Everytime you see a ball/balloon it's a 'bmm bmm.' So it's not a real word - but it's a consistent word for you! Balls challenge you and you love to roll them, toss them, bat at them, carry them - anything. Your coordination really impresses me!

Your current love is loading and unloading anything - laundry hampers, the silverware in the dishwasher, a box of balloons, your trash can in your room (yikes!), etc.

You also have really started enjoying books! Granted - your attention span in approximately two pages of each book lol! Favorite books are The Very Hungry Cattepillar, The Usborne touch and feel Trucks book, Sesame Street Bubbles book, touch and feel Baby Jesus is Born, and the audio-recorded version of Grandpa and Grandma Spencer reading Good Night Moon.

About a week and a half after you took that first series of steps - you didn't look back and have been a walking machine ever since. You get such a proud look on your face when you are toddling everywhere on your own! Often I am able to hold your hand and guide you somewhere but you are starting to 'politely' refuse the hand hold - certain you can do it yourself.

I think it's pretty clear that I am crazy about you little boy. God outdid Himself with you. I know that I haven't been perfect and that you're not perfect. I am so thankful that God is everything that we need though. When I was pregnant with you God started really teaching me to trust him to be the God that 'will provide all of your needs - according to His riches and glory.' Your life has given me the chance to lean on Him more than ever before. He's got the smarts when it comes to parenting you and I'm just trying to listen!

Liam - you are loved and you are wanted. You are a priceless part of our family and God chose you to live at this exact time in history so that you could play your specific part in life. You are strong. You are joyful. You are relational. You are sweet. You are funny!

Yes - this is my over the top love letter to you! But, you know, everyone needs to know that his mama is cuckoo crazy about him every once in a while. I'll be your biggest cheerleader until God brings you a special woman to carry that banner throughout your married life. I pray for her and I pray for you. You are special little one and your destiny is special too.

Psalm 1:3 is the Scripture we pray over you:
"He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." Let it be for Liam!

So thankful for you. So thankful we've made it through year one and that we've all lived to tell of it! I know that the next twelve months will be anything but boring!

Love doesn't even begin to be a big enough word for how we feel about you Mr. Spencer.

Eleven Months Elation

(This post has sadly been written for a long time and I'm just now posting. Yikes!)

First, I'd like to give an honorable mention to Liam's tenth month which sadly did not receive a blog update. Future son who's old enough to understand - forgive me! You were stealing my heart more by the day and making messes at new levels of scale and moving moving moving. There may not have been a blog - but there WAS a picture! Big. Boy. Emerging.

You turned eleven months old on July 4 - while on your first vacation! Vacation blog and pictures to come! Man - I feel like that week was a big development week for you. You went into it taking a few cruising steps here and there and left speed cruising around furniture and balancing for a few seconds of standing to get from one piece to the next. You are quite the master of movement my friend.

I am trying to just enjoy the emergence of your personality instead of trying to peg it at this point. It's hard to tell what is personality and what is a developmental stage...but I can say that whatever it is - it is fun! Liam is a waving hi/bye machine, a big time pointer, and a fasicanted engineer who loves putting lids on bottles or anything related.

Favorite toy? A throw back to my childhood: a bright red plastic ball from the Wal-Mart bin of balls for $2.50. Within a few days of having it at home - he learned how to raise it over his head and throw the ball. The ball happens to be bigger than he is so it's a pretty cute site.

Another favorite is a good old fashioned tooth brush. There is something about them that simply thrills his heart. Or maybe it's the jamming the tooth brush into my mouth to offer his kind help in brushing my pearly whites :). He will drop anything else he has in his hands if offered a tooth brush.

On the topics of favorites, I would be remiss to not mention Lance. Meet Lance the Lion. He has Liam's heart and he gets a kiss any time he wants one. He gets to sleep with Liam and I love coming in to find Liam sleeping with his arm draped over Lance. Such a big boy thing!

Life with eating has gotten so much better. Around 9 months things just got better. My take is that the onset of lots of teething plus a few bouts of sickies side swiped our eating efforts for a while there. But - a friend also turned me on to a GREAT cook book for babies/toddlers called Baby Love. It's real food and it's good. Current Liam favorites are Alba's Chicken Soup, beef stew, pasta with pesto, blueberries, watermelon, bananas and of course - cheerios. However - the bite or two I gave him of banana chocolate swirl ice cream made him very happy today :)

We have all sorts of sounds around this house but no official words yet. Ga, go, na, va, ba, la, ma, da, etc. But Liam's favorite language is growling. That and snorting. Not even kidding! He has this deep-back-of-the-throat growl that he uses to communicate about half of the time. I label this one hundred percent boy-ness and I love it.

(After a swim at Mimi and Bebo's house)

Speaking of things that I love, I love kissing on this boy. Zion and I think we may have kiss-attacked one too many times because Mr. Spencer is discretionary with his giving of kisses. It is not uncommon to go in for a kiss and get a swift Liam-hand to your mouth. Or he'll simply ignore you. But oh. There are those other times when he buries his face into mine and pushes his nose almost into my mouth to give his version of a kiss that makes every other heisman to the kiss attempt worth it.

This first year of life has brought many stages of sleep for Liam. Months five through eight I refer to as our wilderness months - 'What is going on and where am I and where are we going?' And then things really settled down around nine months. However each teething experience brings the return of night time waking (poor little man) and recovering from vacation has taken a while. His nights have ranged from ten hours to twelve hours over the past month or so - so lots of shifting around! But - I have relaxed with that a lot more than I used to. We still get in two naps a day. And my favorite thing is when he goes through a rocking stage. There's nothing sweeter than feeling that sweet blonde head fall on my chest and his body go still as he lets me rock him. I treasure the moments.

(my little drummer boy and his daddy)

Each month makes me more of a sappy mama lol. Zion and I regularly look at each other and ask ourselves how in the world he could be so precious. So in love and so aware of how much I truly need God's heart for Liam. I want to partner with Him in parenting. Life as a parent is no walk in the park - but it's a thrilling adventure. So thankful and so enjoying the journey!