Wednesday, June 15, 2011

for the love of writing

Here it is, the official CUTE logo that Ryan so lovingly designed for our new blog together. May I just point out that it includes is a bird? That was for me.

Anyways, we are excited to begin this new venture together because we really feel like we have a voice together that is better than either of us have alone. There is still going to be a lot of daily life processing from me under the "thankful" tab including my first post about my b-day last week. We also took some time to think through the heartbeat of why we write and shared that here. Our hope is that it serves as a blessing and encouragement as we go about our journey.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

a new chapter

Here I sit with my little sweet pink bundle wrapped up and resting on my chest and I couldn't be happier. These quiet moments are what the mother part of my heart lives for and I am so thankful for them on a Sunday night.

I used to refer to the "Sunday night blues" on a regular basis during my college days, many times due to the fact that I was leaving a weekend with Ryan and starting classes at 8 a.m. the next morning. Then after college, Sunday nights represented youth group and craziness before a week of work and the blues went away in a sense because I really loved my work. Due to the fact that every day feels like Saturday right now, I have no concept of Sunday night vs. Wednesday night. However, I just caught myself thinking on this Sunday night and how full the quietness of a newborn can be. And I'm thankful for a new kind of Sunday night.

With Hannah sleeping I am thinking through the pieces of my writing that have been swirling around in my head today. I find inspiration in church, in conversations and in the day-to-day moments just waiting to be captured in words. Ryan and I have been having some late night "business meetings" as we call them where we pull up the chairs at the dining room table or settle in to our respective corners of the couch to talk about writing together. He has spent a good amount of time creating a new blog to represent us together and we have loved dreaming about it. If everything goes as planned, we are going to start writing over there tomorrow. No time like the present right?

I have LOVED everything about this open space for the past three years and as much as I am little afraid to leave it, I am even more excited about what is to come. We feel like there are a lot of things that God is putting on our hearts in this season as far as perspective, marriage and life in general that we are excited to write about together. Besides that, I want to keep growing my commitment to spilling life out in words because it brings me so much joy.

I write to share life but more than that, I write for myself. It is the best expression of me I can find and sometimes the only worship I know how to give. With that, bring on the new blog. I will post a link tomorrow and hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

dear hannah,

dear little miss hannah june,
What a wonderful blessing having you has already been. Here is what I am learning after being your mom for only two short weeks. Taking care of someone your size is harder than I ever gave anyone credit for but at the same time, more beautiful and natural than I ever thought it might be.

You will learn that sometimes I make things way bigger than they need to be (I'm working on it). The first few weeks of your life have been no exception. The amount of energy that went towards a small issue we were working through to get your weight up has consumed conversation and brain space more, than I dare admit. I have decided to move forward and I'm thankful for the community that already surrounds us as I do so. I don't want to miss a moment of this journey consumed with myself or things outside of our control. As for you, you have been a gem and unaware of this worry of mine so I know I need to let it go too.

This is the beauty of it girlie, that God is inviting us to grow as I live in this space of learning a whole new role in life. I feel stretched and moved, humbled and tired of course. I have been thinking a lot about how to start translating our experience into words and want to capture all of this for us.

Before you were born, your Dad and I started talking about writing together and in the next few weeks we are going to make that little dream a reality. We are not 100% sure what direction it might take yet but it will be a combination of my thoughts about "thankfulness" & his deeper perspective on "thoughtfulness". We also want it to be a place where we can work through our own journey as a little family in hopes to encourage others. I can't wait to see where the path takes us next and am so thrilled you are here and along for the ride.

For now I am enjoying every day with you as I tell you all about our family and the things we like to do. We seem to be finding our own little quirks as I read to you from my favorite books in the middle of the night to keep us awake to eat and call you my little "birdie girlie". Thank you for being patient with me and teaching me how to love bigger than myself.

all my heart,

*More to come on the writing and Hannah but here are a few snapshots of our first few weeks. (PS. everything in her closet has been a gift so far! This girl has more personal shoppers than Macy's!)

This is one of my FAVORITE pictures of her so far by our friend Christy who did our maternity pics as well:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

a whole new world

I can't believe that 9 days have already passed and a week ago we were bringing our sweet baby girl home from the hospital. I haven't blogged, although there have been many hours between 3-5 a.m. that I could have but it seems almost too large to capture all of the emotions, changes, joys and blessings that have taken place in less than 10 days.

Hannah came in to our world a few days later than our original due date (May 16) but also a few days earlier than the doctor eventually thought she would. Believing that I would be later yet, I went with Molly to a girl's night in GR, in hopes to win some giveaways and have some good snacks. I got a whole lot more out of the deal! Just for fun I had gotten a foot massage with some focused pressure on "trigger" spots for labor but hadn't taken it too seriously.

When I got home we went on what Ryan declared the fastest walk I had ever taken, pregnant or not. It didn't occur to me at that time that the burst of energy I was feeling could be related to oncoming labor. It just felt like a good night for a walk and we got home and in bed at a relatively normal time. When I got up for probably the third time to go to the bathroom around midnight, my water broke, just like happens in the movies and I knew at that point that things were getting started. I woke Ryan up to tell him and he jumped in to action with me, calling the hospital to see what to do next. They gave us the advice to stick it out at home for awhile and poor Toby followed me around the house for the next 6 hours or so of contractions.

Per my request, we hit up McDonalds for a smoothie between deep breathing on the way to the hospital out of my fear that once I got in to more active labor, I wouldn't be able to eat. We were set up and in our room by 7 a.m. and although my contractions were closer together and harder, I was surprised to hear that not much was happening yet. Between Ryan's support, a few laps around the hall and trying to focus on the end result, the time went pretty quickly but I couldn't imagine going all day like that without progress. When the doctor gave the invitation for an epidural (my plan all along), I jumped at the opportunity and couldn't say enough nice things about the anesthesiologist. I told Ryan to "write him a check" because his work was invaluable, clearly I was a bit loopy by this point.

After that took place, the game changed incredibly. I was actually able to enjoy the process and focus on the fact that I was going to have this baby within the next 12 hours or so. A couple of times the doctor came back to check me and things were still not progressing to the point that he wanted them to. The biggest issue was that she was not dropping at all and he was pretty sure that she would not fit. We started to wonder around 3 or 4 p.m. if a c-section might be in order. He decided to come back one last time after his 5:00 workday ended and if I wasn't ready at that point, we would get ready for surgery. Ryan and I prayed at that time for peace with whatever happened and to be prepared for either outcome. Lo and behold, within a matter of an hour or so, things changed dramatically and when the doctor came back and told me I was at a 10 I was shocked and elated. The time had come!!

The next 45 minutes were some of the most amazing moments of my life, with Ryan by my side as my coach and an incredibly supportive and encouraging medical team, Hannah was born at 6:35 p.m. The emotions I had when I first saw her tiny nose and heard she was a girl were so overwhelming and beautiful. Something changed within both Ryan and I in that moment, knowing we were going to be parents to a daughter. I know I thought it was a boy all along but it just seemed 100% right when Ryan said "its a girl".

The past nine days since then have gone by in a blur of quiet moments, sharing her with friends, all kinds of firsts and learning more than I ever knew possible about love and our little family. Ryan has made this transition incredibly beautiful by doing all kinds of things to take care of his girls. I really don't know what I would do without him. As I right, he and Hannah are fast asleep on the couch, she on his chest and Toby by their feet. I can't wait to share more about her and the journey we are on as parents but until then, I will be soaking up these moments as the come.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

she's here

introducing our GIRL!
Hannah June
born May 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm
8 lbs, 2 oz and 20 inches long

Hannah \ha(n)-nah \: of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Hannah is "He (God) has favored me". Biblical context: mother of the prophet Samuel - love this story and knew it was right for this little beauty.

June: my grandma who is a Godly woman and has provided a heritage that we want to continue on with our daughter.

We couldn't be more thrilled, overjoyed, full to the brim with love.

more to come...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

still here

Wish I had a picture of what 40 weeks and 3 days looks like, feels like things continue to stretch and grow in ways I didn't know they could. Thankfully I am really not that uncomfortable yet during the day and have even felt pretty darn good most of the time. I'm excited each time I get to go to the doctor just to hear a heartbeat and hear a little bit more of where I am at. Wondering if will be 10 hours or 10 days. Realistically I know if nothing happens in the next week I will likely be induced so I keep just thinking I have to take it moment by moment. God has been really gracious in this whole process to me, I am so excited to meet this little one and not really thinking about much else at this point! We have felt so loved and supported this week with texts, facebook messages, emails, it has been awesome to know other people are almost as excited as we are.

For now I am continuing to fill the time with reading, hanging out and more walks. My darling hubby has made a great effort to make sure I am comfortable and entertained as he knows my mind is getting a bit bored. We went on our third "late date pre-baby" last night and I was so happy to have something to look forward to.

We headed to GR for dinner & a movie and a last minute spontaneous swing into Marie Catribs for their famous chocolate pudding that he has been raving about since trying it a few months ago with a friend. If you know Ryan, you know he loves beer and cheese more than sweets but I think have been rubbing off on him. It came in a simple little tin and until we unpacked it in the dimming lights of the movie theater (thank goodness for a large purse!) I had no idea what I was in for. Oh my goodness, it was like brownie batter in pudding form, not even legal. I really did wonder for a second if I should eat it because it was SO rich. I quickly got over that and dove right in.

I also went back earlier this week and finally finished the book I had committed to back in January, Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. Such a timely reminder of the need to look for grace in everyday life. I have a feeling that the upcoming blurred days will be filled with moment by moment living, something very outside of my norm. Starting my thankfulness journal again may be one of the only ways I capture the little quiet moments for a season. Besides taking one million pictures of course.

Finally, in a "I'm going to brag like an older sister should" moment, I'm proud of my little bro who has made the move to the big city of Chicago in the past few weeks to work for Groupon. If you haven't registered for their daily deals yet, shame on you, you are missing out! Don't fret though, you can still sign up. Anyways, E is going to be working with a team on the new Groupon NOW rollout that the Chicago Tribune explained today here. Very cool and a great opportunity to be part of something growing leaps and bounds. Speculations that they are going to have an IPO (going public with their stock) in the next year make it even more exciting to get in at ground level with them.

Nothing more from me this afternoon...feet up and watching the time go by.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

according to the countdown...

We have one day left. According to how I feel, I wonder if it may be more than that. However, I have never done this before so I don't know what it feels like the day before or a few days before one has a baby.

All I know is that statistically speaking, most first time moms breeze past their due date so I am anticipating my original prediction to be true, that this baby will be born sometime toward the middle or end of this week (I put my bet in on May 20th for a boy weighing somewhere in the 8s). But really, who can know right?! And I did buy some adorable girlie newborn stuff the other day because if it is a she, I want my girl to come home all decked out!

What is one to do the day before her due date or the week of you might ask? Well, I have decided that sitting around isn't going to help much so tonight we are planning to go to the youth group end of year bash. And besides compulsively keeping up on laundry & dishes (maybe to the point where I put things away before Ryan is done with them, whoops!), I hope to sit on patios with friends, take walks and fill the time with good things. Like more pasta and ice cream. Yes, even food right that actually tastes good right now is a welcome addition to my oh-so clear schedule. I keep thinking that it isn't bad to live on these staples for a few more days because I know it can't and won't be forever. So here is to mac and cheese & strawberry shortcake ice cream.

Maybe the next time I post I will have news!

Friday, May 13, 2011

a year later: still learning

It was a year ago today that we were nearing the end of our time in Israel. It brings back all kinds of great emotions for me to think back to last May. To the way that those 15 days changed all kinds of things for me. My paradigm about God's story, about the history and depth of the Bible and in my own relationship with the Lord in general. I have said it before and I will say it again, I don't think one needs to go to Israel to experience God by any means but I do know that it was and continues to be a blessing in my life.

I also can't get over how much fun it was to climb each of those hills and walk the paths with Ryan next to me. Some of our best friends, Ben & Stacie, are bringing a group of college students on a similar trip in a few weeks and I simply cannot wait for them to experience the same awe and wonder over the dusty paths. As I look back in my journal from last year at this very time, I love seeing the thoughts I was thinking and the notes I was taking. I can't help but wonder how different my journal will look a year from now about all that is about to transpire.

This path has felt so unknown in many ways over the past few months, from feeling led to change our decision on which seminary Ryan will go to, to deciding to move, which led to making the decision to being a stay at home mom. The list goes on.

I DEFINITELY did not know this path ahead of time and couldn't have guessed it. But at the same time, I can't put in to words how faithful I feel like God has been to us along the way. My eternal optimism sometimes put me in a position where I just "feel" like things will work out a certain way and that hasn't happened this time. Our house is still for sale and the sign is still in the yard. My emotion was that it would sell right away and I am learning a lot about thinking realistically versus thinking based on emotions. We have had a couple of interested buyers fall through and I am learning to not get so wrapped up in them because it causes disapiontment that maybe I could protect myself from. still learning.

Meanwhile, life continues and today was a day highlighted by a shared piece of carrot cake & coffee in a french press with my dear friend Allison. Living in the small moments and taking it a day at a time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

a quiet week

Well, here I am, day two of my "retirement" as Ryan is calling this little window of time between working and baby. So far so good but I can see why people start to get anxious towards the end. The house is clean, the diapers are lined up and books are being read for FUN at this point!

I think if I can force myself to just wait patiently, I might really enjoy this week or however long I have until we meet this little one. The weekend started it off on a great note after my last day at work. Ryan picked me up an hour early and whisked me off to an unknown destination. He had planned a date night out to Grand Haven, more specifically the Kirby Grill House, which has always been a treat in my mind as far as places to eat. We spent a few hours walking around, looking at the little boutique stores and shared a late dinner complete with a mile high brownie sundae. Yum. I felt so loved that he planned this little outing for us, knowing that this summer will be the start of a whole new chapter.

The rest of the weekend was enjoyable as well, with a good mix of resting and doing fun things like a bonfire with the neighbors, dinner out with my parents and a visit to the park with friends. I think the reality of being done with work for now is starting to set it and I have to admit, it was a bit weird being downtown Holland yesterday without being in the office. Almost like it was a Saturday even though it definitely wasn't. I think this season is going to be one where I am a bit lost on what day of the week it really is for a while.

I did the annual necessary Tulip Time visit yesterday with friends & their kiddos and we had a great time debating which stand to get food from. I can tell you that "fatballs" were not in the running for my top choice. What are those anyways?! In the end, I choose a simple pulled pork sandwich and hand dipped ice cream bar from Froggy's. Can't be beat! The tulips were lovely as always and we went early enough in the day that we didn't have to fight the crowds which was a plus because right now small spaces don't agree with me. Or maybe I don't agree with them. Beth took a pic of me in front of the tulips which she reminded me "wasn't just of me". Here I am in my 39th week and counting:

A few other things I am looking forward to this week:
a pedicure tomorrow morning with Shallon
finishing my latest fictional read and maybe squeezing another in
dinner tomorrow night with friends
a Whitecaps baseball game later this week if the weather cooperates
SITTING ON THE COUCH, watch hulu and napping in between shows with my pup

I think that is it for now but it is good for me to see a list in front of me and to take heed to the advice of friends who have gone before who are saying "rest now" before you are living in a state of sleep deprived happiness and hormones. Trying my best to take that one to heart!

Friday, May 6, 2011

endings and beginnings

I just updated my profile on facebook (what better is there to do when you wake up 4:45 a.m., right?). I hadn't thought about doing it in advance but noticed that it displayed my work information from February 2005-present and I simply updated the end date to May 2011.

A post was then generated reading "Rebekah left her job at X (insert company name here)". It felt a little final to see it written like that, very cut and dry. I suppose it is and I truly am done after my 8-5 today; for now, until who knows when. Or what for that matter. As much as I really do love working, being part of a creative team and finding creative solutions, I think I am about to find that this isn't the end of my working. This is simply a transition into a whole new job title. One that doesn't have vacation days and bonus' that pay in dollar signs but one that grows and develops me in new, challenging and beautiful ways.

It has been a very interesting and fulfilling process sharing with some of my favorite clients that I won't be returning. It is meaningful to see the depth that I have developed over the past six years and to hear their encouragement towards stepping into the role of being at home for this season. It's also nice to know that my work has been appreciated, that I have somehow, in some small way, added value to their world in light of their finances. I never anticipated to be in the financial industry, discussing 401ks and wealth planning but I am so thankful for this time and what it has given me personally and professionally.

I kind of wonder where it will take me in the distant future, even in light of being able to share what I have learned with friends. I have found that finances and investing are a very intimidating and personal topic for so many people which means we avoid them with vigor. I would love to know that my experience could make it a little less scary for one or two of my friends to make wise stewardship decisions (insert plug to email me with any questions here).

All of that said, I'm happy to turn in my "worker bee" badge for awhile and venture into this unknown territory because it is the path I believe God has set out for me in this season. I don't know what to expect but as with anything, I hope I can take it one day at a time. Looking forward to my Friday at work, including the "farewell fiesta" my co-workers have so kindly organized. I hear there is going to be a major Mexican feast followed by ice cream cake so you know I'm there and Ryan is joining us for the festivities as well. More to come.