Our Newborn Baby Girl!

sophie and mommy

Still in the hospital at 1 day old

Our newborn, heavenly, baby girl has arrived!!!!!!  She is 1 week old today and we are over the moon with how perfect and beautiful she is!  Having babies and growing a family with my husband is just beyond describable how wonderful it is.

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This past week has been hilariously hard though, she breastfeeds every hour during the evening and all through the night – literally!  And our other two have decided we should now have a 3 ring circus of screams and running through the house and general excitement over her arrival.

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So this post will be short and sweet 😀 otherwise it’d probably be unreadable due to typos!

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I did want to say though, since I wrote about it before how we were worried how my uterus was handling pregnancy and if we’d be able to have more children after this baby.  The Dr. said it was still strong – no windows or tearing – praise God!!!!  We were leaving it in God’s hands and preparing to accept (really grieve) that maybe it was His decision to “close the womb,” but we were so happy when the doctor told us this in the operating room!

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My amazing husband giving me “that look” LOL ❤ 

And of course… I cried tears of joy when seeing her – I always seem to cry with my husband (he’s the one holding her since it’s a c-section) right when one of babies come out.  It’s just such a miracle!

She came just before Father’s Day, too, which I thought was so sweet and perfect. ❤

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All throughout the surgery, too, I kept remembering the verses,

“You will keep in perfect peace the mind that is dependent on You, for it is trusting in You.”  Isaiah 26:3

and

“Will I bring a baby to the point of birth and not deliver it?” says the LORD;

“or will I who deliver, close the womb?” says your God.”  Isaiah 66:9

 

And again, just like with our last baby, growing our family just creates so much more love in our marriage, which didn’t seem possible – but I love my husband even more!  Even through the fog of exhaustion and sleeplessness, the love and affection is so strong and increasing.

And just a random video on my husband’s last days of work before the baby came – him singing to our son before he left.  He is such an exceptional father…

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My Amazing Husband & His Boys

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Snapped this photo when we went downtown to see my husband working our annual city party called, “FIESTA!!”

My husband is an incredible hero.

It’s not just because he wears the badge, although the courage and bravery there are not to be discounted.

It’s his strength, heart, and mind that make him go above and beyond in teaching our sons how to actually be men.

Real men.

The kind that fight for goodness and against evil in our society.

The kind that are God’s warriors and ministers – both at the same exact time.

Words can hardly even describe the intensity with which I love this man so much.

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Is Being a “Keeper of the Home” Unhealthy & Bad for Children?

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5

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What is the purpose and value of a wife that keeps her home well, and sets an example of godly womanhood for her children?

I believe the value of a wife who chooses to focus on her husband and children as the most important people in her life, a mother who creates a wonderful place of peace and serenity for her family, is beyond riches and any success one can find on their own, pursuing their own fulfillment.

Fathers are equally important in their different role and purpose for the family, and there is certainly a time and place to argue the importance of fathers in a feminist society that tries to diminish our need for them and erase the beauty of masculinity.

But I want to focus on mothers today, the various pressures we feel to succumb to what society wants or thinks is best for our families, and encourage women to know their value and worth to their husbands and children in fulfilling that glorious and high calling that is a wife and mother.

Being a wife and mother is such an honor, but ironically, I think we as moms tend to struggle with it feeling much less like an “honor,” and much more of an overwhelming responsibility that we’re failing at.  With a world that tells us that we’re not fulfilled unless we’re making money, or “doing something productive” with our time, it’s no wonder we don’t feel as though we’re doing something of value at times, especially, for the mother who stays at home with her children.

This is for the mothers that feel like they’re failing, discouraged, or overwhelmed.

Your work you’re doing right now is so productive!

It is so important!

And if we do it with a willing, cheerful attitude, it will make a lasting impression on our children!

Raising our children, being available for them when they need something, playing with them, being cheerful and having fun with them… is productive!

Managing a household, helping our husbands be ready and at their best for work, helping our kids to be ready and at their best for school, all the multitude of tasks that go into making sure these things go smoothly and everyone is taken care of (including ourselves!) is productive!

 

“God wants to help you make your life a place of order, peace, and serenity.  

You are helping shape the lives of your children by everything you do and say.  

The job of a mother is a high and holy calling.”

-Elisabeth Elliot

Some things we can all be reminded of in this journey of motherhood:

  • We teach our children by your example, we can’t require them to have qualities in their character that we ourselves don’t have a handle on
  • Self discipline – are we spending our time wisely, limiting computer time so that we can get more important work done?  Are we neglecting our work or be available to our children
  • Restraint – I think as mothers, we have to learn the art of restraint, of not giving in to every emotion or word we want to say.  Our words, when we’re tired or overwhelmed, have the potential to greatly harm our husband and our children.  Being women of restraint, only saying things that build up and are good for those who hear, is part of the santification process of motherhood and wifery.
  • Submission – Are we submitting to our husbands?  How do you speak to your husband?  Do you honor him in the way you treat him?  Do you go out of your way to treat him with respect?  Do you do things he requests you to do and do them with a good attitude?

 

Additional Reading to encourage you:

Thoughts from mothers who wish they could stay home

Homemaking when it’s hard

Christian women shouldn’t be careerists

 

This is not an article trying to diminish the work women are able to do outside the home.  I definitely believe a mom who also needs to be in the workforce in addition to her role as a mother, is still a homemaker and a “keeper of the home.”  It does become harder, though, to balance and organize life around a job or career and proper care and supervision of small children.

Protect Your Rest – Protect Your Family

Last week, one of the leaders in our Bible study sat at my table, she listened as we went over our homework and talked about the ideas or thoughts we had regarding it.  When it came time for her to speak at our table, she let us in on something she thought we should really know:

She said she wished she had spent more time playing on the floor with her kids, had had dinner more often at the table, rather than spend so much time driving around town getting to their activities.  She said she was always in the car, the kids ate their fast food dinners in it as they drove to the next big thing.  And now, as she’s looking back and her kids are much older, she wishes she had lived this part of her life differently.

She wishes she had spent more time actually present with her children, rather than merely with them.

Regret.

I had this sense of despair listening to her story… none of us want to have regret like that, especially in how we raised our children!  But how can we keep from having the busyness of life suck out our time together as a family, appreciating each other?

Rest.

Rest is the antithesis of Busyness.  We need to protect our rest.  We need to have boundaries against how much we are pulled away from our family.  We need to guard our serenity inside our homes.  We need to stop getting our kids so insanely involved in every activity under the sun so that they’re exhausted – just exhausted – both physically as well as mentally drained.

We need to let go of any guilt we feel about our kids not being involved in everything, and embrace just one or two activities that won’t take over and steal the joy we have when we are able to rest with our children.

Peace is the opposite of Anxiety.

How many moms and dads need some more peace?  If you’re buying into this lie that we need to be as busy as possible, eat dinner in our cars most nights, spend every waking hour chasing something that we’re not even seeing an end to, then let’s come together and think seriously if this is what we want to be doing with our time.  We only have our kids for a certain amount of time, and from what everyone tells me, it goes by way too fast!

Living our lives running everywhere, never stopping for a break, never really getting to ENJOY our kids or life together, feels like living the life of a slave.  A slave to a life we think we need to have or achieve.

But God came so that we could have life, and live it abundantly!  Living abundantly doesn’t mean fast food dinners and regretting that we didn’t see our kids more – really SEE them.

His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.  We are not slaves of this world, or at least, we don’t have to live as though we are.  We have freedom in Christ.

There’s freedom when you protect your rest – freedom to breathe, freedom to sit down as a family around your dinner table and enjoy for food for once!

Before we had kids, in fact, when we were pregnant with our first, my husband and I promised to each other that we would not over-involve our kids, and that we would always try to have dinner around the table with them.

Even with my son going to his sport’s practice 3 nights a week (excessive for us), we still have 3 hours together to play, relax, do homework, relax some more, and then eat dinner at the table before heading out to practice.  In that order.  Protecting your family’s rest will look different for each family, though.  A major factor of why we aren’t stressed even though we’re going out 3 nights a week to a field to practice, is because I’m able to be a SAHM and our children don’t have to wait for me to get off work. We can make sure our family has enough rest by altering our life or the activities we let them be involved in to ensure it.

You can’t give something you don’t have.  If you aren’t guarding your own peace and rest, how will you teach your children to?

I have those 3 extra hours that allows for my son to play, relax, do his homework in an unrushed manner, relax some more on the couch, then eat his dinner.  A working mother does not have that luxury, so a program that involves 3 nights of practice a week might not be what her family needs.  Protecting your rest will look different depending on how over-extended or busy you may already be.

But let’s not live our life with regret.  Our leader was a working mom, and she still admitted that there were times when she should have played more with her kids on the floor, or eaten with them at the table – so don’t use your career as an excuse for not spending enough time being really present with them.

Let’s show our kids how much we value them, and guard our family’s peace, protect our family’s rest.

The Art of Relaxation

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The other day I bought some dark chocolate, an iced vanilla coffee, and a Sweet Sangria candle.  I was excited to again have a candle to light in the mornings when I wake up.  Simple things like that mean so much to me, especially during this busy life phase of raising small children.  Someone always needs something, it’s a never-ending job until they’re asleep around 8pm ❤ but it’s beautiful.

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Whenever I’m stressed or tempted to let the busyness get the best of me, I find myself going to God with my complaints and issues, and come away with the peace and fullness of a heart of Gratitude.  I’m reminded of my blessings in this beautiful life.  I’m so grateful for them, grateful for a house to clean and keep up with, grateful that we have so many dishes… grateful for a husband who adores me!  But with the loudness and craziness of a busy and full life, comes the necessity of knowing when to light that candle in the evening, have a dessert or a glass of wine, and just slow down a bit.

I found a treasure of a book a couple of weekends ago that was in a bulk of books being given away for free.  Free books!  Love ❤ !  Here is another excerpt from the Art of Living, this is The Art of Relaxation… welcome to my living room, sit down, stay awhile, put on some beautiful music, and relax.

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Modern man must learn to break the tensions of daily living or the tensions will break him.

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He must learn to bend with the stresses and strains like a tree in the wind.  He must develop the resiliency of spirit to spring erect again after the storm has passed.

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He first relaxes his mind by thinking thoughts of peace, quietness and tranquility.  He mentally pictures the placid pool amidst whispering pines and puts himself in tune with nature’s calming mood.

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He strives to carry an inner serenity with him so that even amidst a whirl of activity he will not lose his poise.  He learns “to cooperate with the inevitable” and he accepts life with faith in the ultimate triumph of right and good.

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He relaxes his body by imitating a lazy person – a boy on the beach in the sun – a man in a boat fishing.  He takes a tip from the circus clown who says that the way he avoids being injured in his tumbles is by making his body become “like an old rag doll.”

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He exercises – walks, stretches, works in the garden, plays golf – knowing that physical tiredness invites relaxation and sleep.

He knows that confusion is one of the chief causes of tension so he

organizes his work,

puts first things first,

does one thing at a time,

avoids hurry

and develops a spaciousness of mind.

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He uses the soothing beauty of great music to calm his nerves.

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He observes that the face with a frown marks the tense person, and that the face with a smile is a symbol of relaxation, so he strives to meet life with a sense of humor.  He learns not to take himself too seriously and to laugh at himself now and then.

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He takes time for meditation.  He accepts the wise counsel of Emerson, who wrote: “Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment.”

With our firstborn, almost 5 years ago!

With our firstborn, almost 5 years ago!

He recognizes that relaxed living is a way of life and strives to manage body, mind, heart, and spirit as efficiently as he manages his business.

Spring Bliss 2015

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Yesterday was blissful – the sky, the warm sun with the cool breeze, we ventured out as a family to find some fun… and we did!  I had to leave my camera at home to charge so the pictures came out not as clear with a phone camera.  It was just too beautiful to not take photos!

Spring & Summer clothing, for me at least, is lightweight and comfortable.

Striped dress for Spring

Striped dress for Spring

Victoria's Secret Nail Polish in Flirt Away

Victoria’s Secret Nail Polish in Flirt Away

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Blue-eyed Cutie

Blue-eyed Cutie

Haha his expression!

Haha his expression!

Our view looking up

Our view looking up

Love being with him!

Love being with him!

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Kids & Bad Attitudes

This morning, we were getting back into the swing of things of doing school in the morning for my 4 year old son.  I’d made bean and cheese tacos for breakfast, beautiful music was playing softly in the background, that sweet coffee aroma filled the house, and the sunlight was shining through the gray clouds, gently lighting up our sun room/classroom area.  It felt like the perfect Spring morning.

We love Spring.  We love celebrating the Jewish holiday, Purim, where it is remembered how one brave woman, a Jewish girl who became the Persian Queen Esther, saved all the Jews in Persia.  We love how our crazy city celebrates St. Patrick’s day by dumping gallons of green dye into our river…

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But this morning, my son was not ready to come back from break.  He didn’t want to practice writing, and he became frustrated with himself when he would try to write with a dry erase marker and mess up because it was writing “too fat.”  He eventually stopped, folded his arms, made the cutest face of disgust and anger & decided to sulk.  Ironically, he’d stopped in frustration when he only had one last letter to write as part of his practice words.

Aren’t we all a little (or a lot) just like that?

We give up in frustration, or become easily angry when something minor goes wrong and decide to sulk for the rest of the time.  Even while enjoying a perfect serene morning, one little frustration can pollute our entire outlook and attitude in life.

After I motivated him to finish that one last letter, I decided to impose a break so that we could learn about Joseph.

Dear Joseph.  That sweet boy who bragged too much, he was the 2nd youngest child, with 10 older brothers – all of whom had a mother whom their father loved less than his own.  He was the special & favored child, along with his younger sibling, because they were born from the wife Jacob really desired and loved.  To make matters worse, his father decided to give him a special coat – a brightly colored symbol of how much more he loved Joseph than the rest of his children.

His brothers despised him because of this, and hearing him brag about the dreams God was giving him sent them over the edge – they plotted to kill him and make it look like an accident.  They threw him into a well, decided to say an animal had killed him, and ended up selling their brother into Egyptian slavery.

While I was relaying these events to my son I asked him if he thought Joseph had a bad attitude at what God had allowed to happen to him, and he said yes.  How could Joseph not?  This young, coddled boy, never used to being without, the favored child of his father, suddenly betrayed so abruptly that he found himself at the bottom of the totem pole in the slave trade.  He’d more than likely never worked a day of hard labor in his life, and now he would be solely valued based on his ability to work & labor for the rest of his life.

But Joseph… that sweet young man, didn’t.  He didn’t let his circumstances dictate his choice of how he would respond.  He decided to become the best slave.  He was so faithful, so trustworthy, and such a dedicated worker, that his owner, Captain of the guard Potiphar, decided to make him preside over everything he owned!

Then enter Potiphar’s wife.  It was the classic set-up of the bored housewife and the hired hand.  Joseph had grown up to be “handsome & built,” he was not only intelligent and good-looking, he was now rough and masculine.  She wanted him to be with her – but he would never be with a married woman, let alone the wife of the very man who trusted him with everything he had.  I admire Joseph so much, he could have easily rationalized that having his master’s wife on the side would’ve made up for the injustice of what had happened to him in life.

But he didn’t.

He chose to have integrity, and he paid dearly for it.  She accused him of harming her (child’s version – you know she accused him of false-rape), and Joseph lost everything he had built for himself – his reputation, work ethic, the trust of Potiphar, and he was thrown into jail as a prisoner who had raped an official’s wife.

He went from being a treasured & pampered son, to a slave whose only value was based on what he could do, to a prisoner and forever remembered sex offender.  I explained to my son how even when we do the right thing, we can still be punished and have to suffer because of it.  But did being a prisoner and convicted rapist let Joseph give in to having a bad attitude?

No.  Joseph rose up the ranks within the prison to become the Prison Guard.  He went from being held behind the bars to being the man who held the keys to the others’ freedom.  His attitude, his integrity and trust in God gave him power to rise above his circumstances. Joseph still chose to keep a good attitude, and it showed in the way people reacted to him.

I didn’t go on, even though Joseph’s whole story is truly inspiring, this 5 minute break was enough to shift my son’s thinking – he was genuinely in awe of Joseph and his attitude.  My son’s entire outlook changed, we prayed and he went over to his little brother and hugged him.  And I read him this last verse:

“Even if you should suffer for what is right,

you are blessed.

‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.'”

1 Peter 3:14

My Son & Volcanoes

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My adorable, crazy & full of life and laughter son, LOVES volcanoes.  He has been pretty obsessed with them all summer – making them out of the sand when we went swimming, out of the bubbles in the bath, and even out of toys he sees simulate the explosion that happens in an eruption.  So since we do science experiments together (he absolutely LOVES science), I thought a perfect experiment would be the classic baking soda & vinegar volcano.

We used in total, 3 glasses of vinegar, dyed with red food coloring, about 1 cup of baking soda, and an empty soda bottle.

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We then took it outside to create the volcano out of real dirt and mud – placing the bottle (baking soda inside) at the center of the volcano… it was dirty and icky and so much fun for him!

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I also talked with him about the acid -base reaction and why it would explode, bubble, and fizz… its important to make things fun when you can – and showing your child how something works and letting them experience it for themselves is the greatest gift we as parents can give them to grow their curiosity!

 

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All throughout the experiment, even when he was just funneling the baking soda into the bottle, he kept telling me how much fun this was …

Learning + Fun = SUCCESS!!!!

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I didn’t get any pictures of the eruption, but it was awesome!  And since we did it 3 times (3 glasses of vinegar), the third eruption went the highest – actually SHOOTING out – while we laughed and screamed.  🙂

 

When Mothers Emasculate Their Sons

When you have a child you want to be the perfect parent to them; my son is going to turn 4 years old in June, and it has been so crazy, beautiful, and wonderful all at the same time.  But there are times when I wish I really knew what I was doing – sure you can ask parents, friends, and mentors and get wonderful ideas and advice from different perspectives, but when it comes down to it, you never really know if you’re completely doing everything right.

I think if I had to pick the biggest mistake that a mother could make with her son (and my biggest fear), it would be this emasculation process.  What exactly is emasculation of your son anyway?  Reading Wild at Heart by John Eldredge years ago really opened my eyes to what it’s like to live in a man’s world – his problems, fears, passions, and how things in childhood can really affect his masculinity later on.

Emasculation, as this book explains through it’s examples, is a mother’s not allowing her boys to make the transition from her sweet, adoring baby to a male that wants to be adventurous, wild, and even dangerous.  Not allowing him to learn to shoot a gun when he’s old enough, not allowing him to be with his dad if you’re divorced, or go on hunting trips, fishing trips, camping trips… these things are invaluable to boys and often remembered in their adulthood.

Overprotecting your son (and even your daughter) is just not good.  It gives them the message, “We don’t think you can handle this, so we’re stopping you from even trying it.”  It lets them know that you don’t have confidence in them.  You give them a confidence complex because they constantly feel that you don’t believe in them in the deepest way.

Boys especially, need that affirmation that they really can handle it.  Men have it hard in life, they are always expected by society to be able to handle anything – and this isn’t just our modern society, all throughout history men have been expected to be able to handle life as the sole provider, the frustrations of working to support ridiculously large families, and the brutality and horror of war.  If a boy is expected to be happy later in life, he needs to feel that he can handle it, he needs to know his mother believes in him.

Dads play a special role in this process as you can imagine… they are the idol to a boy.  It’s strange though, that nearly every man I’ve met has had a difficult relationship with his father (including my own brother which can show you how different siblings can even be treated).  The different ways in which dads fail to establish a good relationship with their sons is a different post altogether, but rest assured that dads have the responsibility of bestowing masculinity on their sons – as a mom, I just can’t do it.

“Femininity can’t bestow Masculinity”

 

Even right now this morning as I write, my son has drawn on tattoos of crosses on his legs with his dark blue marker!  His response when I act a little shocked: Well, I like tattoos because I’m a BOY… like Daddy.

Point taken.

Inspiration

5 Beautiful Things:

1. Braids

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Anastasija-Nikitskaja-blonde-braid-hairstyle-2

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BAFTA Los Angeles 17th Annual Awards Season Tea Party - Arrivals

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2. An amazing letter written from a dad to his daughter about her True Worth: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vt86j

daddaughter

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3. This French Song:

4. This quote:

“True beauty radiates not from outer cosmetics, but from the simple joy of making a difference for those that need your voice, passion, and time without expecting or wanting anything in return…”
―     Deborah Barnes

5. I frequently visit a shop called Z Gallerie for inspiration when it comes to home design and color.  Last time we went I took some pictures to give you the vibe of the incredible shop, complete with mini art gallery on the side of it.  Their official website: http://www.zgallerie.com/

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 It’s so beautiful

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Many paintings

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I fell in love with this one.

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They always use florals… in the best way.

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Beautiful ideas

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This chair and the surroundings.

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A more masculine mirrored look.

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