It Goes By So Fast [Year 1]

It is hard to believe that we are about to celebrate one whole year of life for Baby Borg and thus one whole year of life of being parents, and then most specifically one whole year of life of me being a mom.

Looking back on just this one year, what everyone and I mean everyone -including the two hardware store employees who stopped me last week mid-errands with Baby Borg – says is true: it goes by so fast. They all say enjoy it. One of the said hardware store employees told me she would pay all of the money she has to go back to the days of her daughter’s childhood. All of her money – just to go back to the days of diapers, discipline, and sippy cups.

Her comment has stuck with me. She said it so endearingly as she remembered her daughter’s childhood and her experience being a mom. She didn’t remember the hard days of bedtime battles or mid-meal melt downs. She didn’t remember the long nights of consoling a sick child when all you crave is your comfortable, warm, and quiet bed.

Or maybe she did. She didn’t tell me…but from what she did tell me through her eyes, her words, and sharing more about her daughter I could tell how being a mom was something she cherished and was proud of.

Since becoming a mom a year ago, I can personally say parenting is the hardest thing I have done to date. It is the most demanding, time consuming, and challenging experience with no real playbook. Sure, there are blogs, books, social media channels, and well-meaning friends with advice galore, but every child (and parent) is different (think: moving target) so one day or season something may work when in the next it won’t.

IMG_3548

Here I am in “mothering” glory – exhausted, clueless, yet happy.

Finding my footing as a parent and specifically a mom was difficult. I didn’t ease into motherhood like I expected to or even how my friends who are moms did.  God used my transition, as rocky as it was, into motherhood to reveal some ugly obsessions (what I’ll call idols) I’ve let grow for a while like success, control, and people pleasing come to the surface.

Facing these things head on while trying to learn to care for an infant, manage a home, help my husband, and work part-time all while sleep deprived was overwhelming. But it was in the midst of this overwhelming flood of “all the things” that God assured me He was there for me, He knew what was going on, He was behind me and ahead of me, and has the days all planned for me as it says in my favorite scripture in Psalm 139.

How did God assure me? In many moments this past year it was through my time reading the Bible (even the 5 minutes here and there) that I knew He was with me. At other times it was in my desperate prayers driving home from a long day at work with a screaming baby in the back seat that I knew He was there with me. In other moments this year I felt His loving kindness through the hands and feet of those He has put around me – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers who asked the tough questions, physically

MissHaddieTurnsOne-59

It’s really true – it goes by so fast. Baby Borg is turning one!

came over to help with diapers or house work, or pursued friendship with me when all I could manage was to respond back.

What have I learned in this past year of being a mom? What am I celebrating this next week as we celebrate Baby Borg turning one? I’m celebrating that I know I simply can’t be the mom I desire to be without Him even more than I did a year ago and I’m so thankful.

So, admittedly I already forget many of those long days and nights or how I survived those first few months of sleep deprivation because it really is true…it goes by so fast.

Advertisements

Pausing to reflect [post stomach-bug]

It’s at this time of the year for the last three, that I’ve taken time to stop, hit the pause button, and reflect on God’s goodness in my career. This weekend God really helped me hit pause as I came down with what I am calling an epic March stomach bug and for two whole days I was bedridden with plenty of time to think.

I try to daily thank God for the many things in my life including my job but it is at this time of year when I celebrate starting my current job (three years ago last week) that I do an intentional deeper dive in reflecting, praying, and praising God for the journey He has taken me on with my career to get to my current job, and the journey I am on as I continue my work in the church.

Work was put on pause for about 12 weeks last year as we welcomed Baby Borg, and although I was enthralled (and honestly some days drowning) in the new work before me with learning how to be a mother and parent an infant, I did at many times miss my work and co-workers. Digging deeper, I quite frankly also missed the routine of it, the systems and expected results of you put this in and you can get this out work that you don’t get with an infant or with parenting…ever.

God was working on my heart though in big ways as I adjusted to motherhood and then went back to work.  I thought I had it all planned. I would work from home on Mondays and Fridays and be in the office Tuesdays thru Thursdays. I got the best of both worlds with time at home (although still working some of the time) while still being able to be in the office and out of the house a few days of the week. Of course in my plan, Baby Borg was a perfect napper who would nap for at least an hour twice a day for me to get work done – now, please, insert your chuckles.

As alluded to above I began to learn quite early on once back to work (maybe week 2) that although babies do thrive on routines (I read blog after blog about that), that doesn’t happen overnight and some babies learn to nap quicker or are better sleepers than others. Enter in Baby Borg…sweet as can be most days, loves to chat, read books, and do anything but nap or nap for long. So my plan changed for the days I spent at home. My father-in-law began to come over. He wanted time with baby and I needed to work, it was a great deal. Still, napping was a struggle. We hired a sleep coach. Yes…it got to that point that I remember pleading with Kyle asking for a sleep coach to help to try and “fix” our challenge with napping. He agreed after discussing it at length that we could try it but he was skeptical.

Although the sleep coach was very kind and even helpful to a point, napping and sleeping at night wasn’t automatically better. Again and again I found myself throwing solutions at this or that struggle – insert napping – and many days I found myself depressed and discouraged as I continued to put my hope and trust in the outcome of Baby Borg’s naps and not God or His plans for my day.

I looked forward to my days in the office when I wasn’t playing the guessing game of when to put baby down for nap to not be overtired or under tired. But at the same time, I loved and I mean, loved, my days when I didn’t have to get out of the house with baby in tow to drop off at day care or the pressure to be on all day at work. I loved spending one-on-one time with Hadley with no hurried schedule. And this I knew was ending as we planned as always, for me to go back to full-time, in the office work, at the beginning of the new year.

My flesh started to panic. And I mean, really panic about being out of the house and being “sane” 5 days a week in the office. I prayed specifically asking God daily to put it on both Kyle’s and my heart for me to continue part-time work. This wasn’t an option for us at the time for a number of reasons. On one level, I was shocked. I had always planned to be a full-time working mom. That was just going to be my thing and of course I should be able handle it…but then I just couldn’t.

And it was through a sweet non-napping little girl that God really humbled my heart and opened my eyes to the call He was placing on my life and the plans He has for me right now with work. You see, it was in my pride and misplaced identity that I expected myself to of course work full-time and be a mom. That was the identity I had to fit, mold, and adhere to – not because God was asking me to but because I, Katie, had wanted and expected that.

It took time and there were a lot of tears (not all Baby Borg’s protesting naps) but as God changed my heart I was reminded again and again how foolish I was to put my trust or identity in anything or anyone but Him. He had paid it all for my sins (but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8) – by me worrying, putting my identity in working full-time, and trying to control everything, I wasn’t trusting the blood shed for me on the cross. God opened my eyes to see this and slowly I opened my, at the time, clenched hands to God’s plan and will for my life with work. And that seemed to mean that I needed to stay in part-time work.

A few things happened after that. With Kyle’s permission, I talked with my thoughtful and kind superiors at work to see if part-time was even an option. By God’s grace, it was. It would mean a number of things for us though including some larger changes in finances. Kyle and I then met with a sweet and wise couple from church to discuss the decision of me going full-time or not. They gave us great counsel. Then after another meeting with our financial advisor and many conversations with dear friends and family – we stopped our seeking of information and input from others and simply continued to ask God for direction and peace.

stomachbugbackpack

Here we are in all our post-stomach bug glory working to clean the house.

And as we asked and waited, God granted both of us peace that transcends all understanding. We made the decision for me to stay part-time at work. By faith we trusted and are trusting God to help leads us with our finances for me to go part-time and here we are. We are in the new year and my hours are reduced (as is our income) but my time with Baby Borg and being home has increased. It’s not always easy (we didn’t expect it would be) but it has stretched us as a family to remember where and who our hope comes from on a regular basis.

So as I sit here (okay, lay here post stomach bug) I am so grateful to God for the job that I have to do (and LOVE) a few days each week and then the other days, the job I get to do with my title as “mom” or currently “maaa-maaa-ma.”

A Letter (Past Due) To Baby Borg

Below is a blog post that I wrote six months ago…I’ve been sitting on it, ignoring it, and just not having time for it until today. Today is the day I finally will post it. So ignore the 15 weeks part… Baby Borg was 15 weeks when I started this post and today is 40 weeks (9 months) old.

Maybe it’s only fitting that today I post this blog and reflect that we now have had the same number of weeks with Baby Borg outside the womb as in. And for the record, naps are officially better now…not every day but most days we nap and go to sleep all on our own. I’m not sure when I first started writing this blog below I thought we would ever get to this day but here we are, it is documented, and it is really all God’s grace that we are here.

Enjoy – K

Dear Baby Borg,

You are here! I’ve been meaning to write you this note for quite some time now but since you made your official appearance outside of the womb and into the world 15 weeks ago (okay, really 40 weeks ago now), I’ve been a little preoccupied. I’ve also been a lot sleep deprived. It has been a whirlwind since you arrived and although I’ve probably cried more in the last 15 weeks than I can really remember (or maybe since I was your age), I wouldn’t change a thing.

Something I am learning and something I will teach you is that hard is hard, but hard is not bad. A great pastor taught me that lesson that although the hard things in life are, well, hard, they have a purpose, and I can honestly say it’s been the hard things in my life that have really taught me the most.

img_4354

Here we are when Baby Borg was around 15 weeks old & in a season of nap trial and error, etc.

Now let me be clear from the get go, you are not difficult. You are a baby who has normal needs and lets us know often when or when they are not met. I’ll be honest though, it is hard on days when you forget how wonderful naps can be and no matter how much rocking, shushing, or jiggling we do, it’s a no go. It’s hard when after you peacefully go back to sleep at 4 in the morning I am too wired and thus sleepless knowing my alarm will be going off in about an hour. It’s hard leaving you and going to work each day knowing I’ll miss your smiles, coos, and even cries.

It’s been hard as I’ve continued to learn how deceitful my heart can be as God uses motherhood to reveal again my sinful desire to want to control just about everything. It’s also been so good and wonderful as I’ve learned with new meaning the significance of releasing all things to God and trusting in Him for the outcome.

So here we are little one, starting out on this journey of life. Already as you know, we’ve had many ups and downs and those will only continue. But know this, it’s the hard things that can teach us the most if we are willing and open to learning from them, and then trusting in the One who keeps us trusting. This is really the only way we will make it through. Don’t worry, I’ll continue to tell you about this One to keep trusting as we go so for now, let’s celebrate each nap, smile, and even dirty diaper along the way.

-Mom

My Fickle Heart

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect to be waiting at this point. I’m still kind of surprised it is actually the month of May. I’ve flipped over my calendar and it says May on my phone, but it still doesn’t feel like the month of May. There are grey skies, lots of rain in the forecast, and only a high of 60 a few days this week making me really believe in my mind that we are still living in the month April. But indeed we are not…May it is.

All along this journey to meeting baby I had hoped (and verbally shared with many) for a May baby even though we were cutting it rather close with a May 1 due date. Most of the family and friend votes had baby coming early in April and to be honest most of me did too.

As we’ve been counting down the days to May for what seems like a very long time…since late August in fact, now that it is here and we are still waiting, I find myself traveling in unchartered or really more so, unexpected territory.

Ignore #babyborgs fabulous headband collection and look at the white piece of paper: waiting is not a waste, God's mercy never ends.

Ignore #babyborgs fabulous headband collection and look at the white piece of paper: waiting is not a waste, God’s mercy never ends.

Territory I’ve been in before as I’ve tried to make my own plans and control my way to certain outcomes only to be stopped by an ever gracious God who reminds me again and again, Who is in control.

So even though I am thrilled we’ve passed the 40-week finish line and are in the month of May, I would be lying if I didn’t say that there are some parts of me sitting here, waiting a bit impatiently for baby to arrive. Isn’t the human heart so fickle? Mine is.

So yet again I’m reminded and grateful that I don’t have to trust in my fickle heart in this life…but that I can and should trust in God in all things. So trust in Him and His timing I am as we wait…walk…eat spicy food…do jumping jacks for baby Schulenborg.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8

Imperfect & Perfect Timing

It’s funny or perhaps a bit ironic how time flies when you don’t want it to and how it slugs along when you want it to simply pass by. I remember waiting, often some moments impatiently, during our engagement and eagerly wanting the time to pass by until our big day. While here we are weeks away from baby Borg’s arrival and all I want is time to simply slow down…most days.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eager to meet the newest member of our family, but if I am honest, I feel like I need all the time I can get before she comes. Not time to “prepare” or get ready as I don’t think we will ever fully be ready, but time to just breathe a bit deeper and reflect a bit more before our new race as parents begins.

So as I sit here typing away and thinking about time – how it passes or slugs along – I’m reminded yet again how His timing is perfect (and has been perfect in my life) and how imperfect my timing has been.

It’s often at this time of the year that I’m reminded of how perfect His timing is. Two years ago earlier this month I took a step of faith and began a new chapter in my career. It wasn’t what I had planned or in my timing. I had just lost a job and found a new one, but the door was opened and He led me through it on His watch. It’s been two of the most exciting years of my life professionally and I would argue personally too. And I still pinch myself often that I get to go do my dream job five days of the week.

God continues to remind me how perfect His timing is in big and little ways. Slowly but surely, I’m getting better at recognizing how imperfect my ways are and how I simply and always need to trust in Him.

35 weeks picture

Talking to #babyBorg at 35 weeks.

So as the countdown to meet #babyborg is becoming more real (less than five weeks) and of course I have my desired timing for her arrival “planned out,” I am reminded again by His faithfulness and perfect timing in my life that no matter when she arrives… early, “on time”, or late I know it will be in His perfect plan and not my own.

Telling Baby Borg … it is well

Some weeks are just going to be like this.

That’s what I’ve been telling Baby Borg (and really myself) as we come to the close of one of my least favorite weeks in a while. And although this week hasn’t been terrible directly to me, it has been horrible to some of the people in this world that I really love. This week a family member lost their job they have been working at more years than I’ve been alive – just. like. that. A friend’s life has completely unraveled due to a mistake on their part and it’s literally all over the news. And today is the year anniversary for when a dear relative lost her husband suddenly.

So as I feel the need to continue our conversation, Baby Borg, I need to tell you this world is broken. You’ve got to be in on that secret now. Some days are going to be really rough, whether you caused the roughness or the roughness just came on its own. Some – err, well many days you won’t have the answers. Some times all you will want to do is go right back to bed and not face the hardship. Some days will just be plain blue.

photo-1440999189875-aec750e026f4But there is good news. Really good news to tell you. Even on days and weeks that are just downright horrible, there is hope. That hope comes from someone who completely understands hardship, scorn, ridicule, and so much more. He faced it for us – for you and for me – when He didn’t deserve it at all. He even died on a cross to give those who trust in Him new life. I plan to tell you much more but for now I’ll tell you the name that gives me hope, especially on weeks like this. That name is Jesus.

So you know that song I’ve been singing a lot this week, little one?

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

I’ve been singing it because of Jesus.

Reading & Writing

I just got the desire back to read again. It’s been months since I’ve wanted to pick up a good book and read it just for fun which is odd for me, a book club starter and lover of Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books, and the library. I haven’t even read or wanted to read a practical book, well, for practical sake. I simply lost my appetite for reading one day and it just didn’t come back. Until now.

Last night, all of a sudden, instead of watching another episode of our (okay, just my) Netflix show of the moment, Gilmore Girls, I wanted to read. It was just like a light switch went off and I was ready and eager to plow through a novel. I didn’t plow by any means…I managed to get through the first chapter before acquiescing to the need for sleep, but it was a start.

It has been the same status quo with writing for me, but just longer and a bit more serious. Considering the time stamp on my last blog boasted warm weather… I haven’t wanted to write for quite some time and on some days I’ve honestly been afraid to. But here I am, writing, not for my intense enjoyment or yours, but because I feel lead to continue sharing the story God is writing in my life.

I don’t want to miss out on the opportunities to remember and reflect on His goodness just because of my fleshly timid-ness, laziness, and even pride.

So since writing last we’ve had more lessons in the world of homeownership. Many more lessons. I can’t say I’ve stomached them all well but I’m still learning. It’s a process.

We’ve had more house guests for an extended period of time which we loved. House guests that usually live across the globe in China. They taught us a lot.

We have prayed a lot for broken marriages, our marriage, lonely widows, friends who want to grow their families or find a spouse, those struggling with their jobs, our world, and so much more.

We hosted our first holiday…meaning I made my first turkey. Some moments really weren’t pretty but in the end, we had family around our extended table (thanks to a trusty card table) and warm food so it was pretty perfect.

IMG_2732

Our Thanksgiving table(s).

We’ve signed six different wedding cards including two for each of our sisters. I’ve worn two navy blue bridesmaid dresses. The weddings were each perfect in their own different ways.

IMG_2681

One of my navy blue dresses & a beautiful bride (my sister.)

And we’ve painted the last room that needed a new color in our house…yet another color of grey, in the room we will call the nursery that will have an occupant in it in four short months.

I couldn’t have written any part of this story myself but I can share it, so share it I am.  Thanks for reading, following, or being a part of this story of mine.

The joys of homeownership

Our backyard dolled up for a fun baby shower.

Our backyard dolled up for a fun baby shower.

Our home has been filled. Filled with dear friends for a fun extended stay. Hungry college-age counselors for a week of camp nearby. Family coming in for a busy holiday weekend. Most Monday nights for time to share life and about Who made it. Sweet celebrations relishing in new life and others another year past.

What fun it has been to play host to many of the special people and even strangers in our lives in our old house.

Our home has also been filled with projects. Like a leak that created mold just like that in the guest bathroom. Or the garage whose panels hadn’t seen daylight since 1977, so we thought it would only make sense to burn and make anew with drywall in one weekend. Or the weeds that grow back in a day just to spite me. Or the chipmunks and squirrels that like to play a game of catch and come back with Kyle.

Projects like this make me want to pull my hair out or just shut the door.

Projects like this make me want to pull my hair out or just shut the door.

No matter what our home is more filled with, the special people and events, or the long list of daunting projects, I’m hoping that it is always a bit of both. I relish in the sweet moments of celebration or extra roommates as second nature while the projects quite honestly make me want to pull my hair out more often then not. Oh the joys of homeownership everyone says in a sarcastic tone.

But even under my own sarcasm of saying that, I’m learning that I truly mean it. There is joy in owning a home. It’s not been only the fun, celebratory things that have made this paying a mortgage and mowing the grass thing joyful. It has been the scary, I don’t know how to do that so look it up on Google, projects that have led me to learn the real joys of homeownership. It’s in those moments that I remember who the real Owner is and how this sweet old house isn’t for my constant comfort or pleasure.

This squirrel "bit the dust" according to Kyle but I'm pretty sure I saw it at the bird feeder just yesterday...

This squirrel “bit the dust” according to Kyle but I’m pretty sure I saw it at the bird feeder just yesterday…

I’m learning again and again that this home isn’t my final home and that there is no way or amount of money that can make it perfect. And although we try to make our home someplace desirable and albeit a bit of a refuge, I know that my only refuge is never going to be someplace with four walls or some website with all the home fix it answers, but some One who created all things. It’s Him in who I put my trust and where I’ve found my joy in owning a home.

#character and imperfect progress

This old house is loaded with character. Tons. Of. It. If you have been around me recently or gotten a tour of the home, you will likely know my explanation and rationale for anything not quite right, broken, or a bit odd and that is hash-tag character. Yes, #character.

Our sweet house in the spring time.

Our sweet house in the spring time.

Like I’ve written about before, our awesome new-to-us old home is weighty on quirks or things left behind from the many previous owners. I’m learning to love most or get used to the things I dub #character but it’s a process as most things in life are.

There is some #character for you: the fun wallpaper which for the meantime is here to stay.

There is some #character for you: the fun wallpaper which for the meantime is here to stay.

It’s the blue tile I’m keeping for sentiments sake as I’ve shared before. It’s the broken and can’t quite be fixed doorbell (so knock loud if you drop by). It’s the closet light that won’t turn on if the bathroom light is turned on. And there is more.

Some of our character has been fixed in the few weeks we’ve been here but undoubtedly each week we find something more. Yesterday it was the middle bathroom shower that didn’t have cold water. Either I was just super hot and parched from my long run so any temperature of water felt hot OR something isn’t quite right. I’ll go with the latter.

The family room went from tan to grey. Even with 6+ grey paint samples to help us make a choice, we still had to paint it twice as the first grey wasn't quite right. #selfinflictedcharacter

The family room went from tan to grey. Even with 6+ grey paint samples to help us make a choice, we still had to paint it twice as the first grey wasn’t quite right. #selfinflictedcharacter

Some character has bit the dust recently. Prime example: the bathroom and closet light debacle. We had a sweet friend who came over one afternoon with an idea of how to fix it and fix it he did! And then there are other elements of character that may take forever to get fixed or might just hang there like the doorbell. Again, you will have to knock.

In this process…let’s actually call it a journey… of diagnosing and attempting to fix some of our #character, I am actually surprising myself in how many of the quirks or things not quite right that I have been able to let go, not fret about, and give to God. It’s like I am actually not sweating the small stuff. Now I’ve got to be honest, there is plenty of stuff I am still sweating that I need to just hand over to Him, but I’ve

From teal to cucumber green, our kitchen gets the best sunshine. It is probably my favorite room in our house.

From teal to cucumber green, our kitchen gets the best sunshine during the day. It is probably my favorite room in our house.

made progress and I’ve seen it most through this journey of being a first time home owner, My progress, albeit small, is just that: progress.

I’ve made imperfect progress as I continue to learn to trust Him with all things and not my own flawed ability or failed attempts to fix the #character in my life.

To keep the tour going of our sweet little old house, I’ve included pictures.

We hope you will visit. – K

Dear Mymy,

I will always remember you as Mymy but I will always think of you when I hear the names Norma, Jane, NJ, or the family nickname of Yangle. You wore all of these names well.

You wore many things well during your life like the beautiful hand-knitted sweaters you made.

You truly were a woman of many talents and gifts. It was the way you used these gifts to love and care for most specifically – our family – that I will always remember. It was these gifts that you shared that truly touched my life.

It was your gift of cooking. Even if the meal was simple, like pot roast, it was exquisite yet comforting all at the same time. Your pies were out of this world. There was always something about that crust and to this day even with your recipe and some practice I can’t emulate it.

Your gift of sewing made me Snow White one Halloween and Blaire, Jasmine. It also made us a fabulous Dorothy costume which we begrudgingly shared and the cute cooking apron I have to this day.

I loved your gift of generosity. One of my favorite memories with you was from one of my many visits during the summer when I visited on my own. It was a chilly August before school started and I had only packed summer clothes for my trip. That just wouldn’t do for you so we went on a girls shopping trip to Gap on Walnut Street and bought a whole outfit – from head to toe including socks and a hat! I loved those corduroy overalls and striped shirt dearly but the experience with you was all the more special.

You shared so many things with us and served us – our family – in so many ways and so well. You were a constant partner to Poppop and were his ally through and through. It was evident the appreciation he had for you as when he would speak about you he would always get choked up and implore us grandchildren to find a partner like you one day.

I know he would be happy to know that each of us grandchildren have found that special partner to share life with. And I think you, Mymy, would be happy too.

Whenever I hear the words “Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house…” I will forever hear you saying them.

This is a memory I hope I will never forget. This post encompasses some of the farewell message I will read in a few weeks at my grandmother's funeral.

This is a memory I hope I will never forget. This post encompasses some of the farewell message I will read in a few weeks at my grandmother’s funeral.

For some of the later years of my childhood I loved this special tradition to finish our Christmas Eve to have you read “Twas the night before Christmas.” I remember flanking the sides of your chair and listening as you skillfully read this book to us.

And although Poppop was known as the artist in the family, Mymy, you truly were one too. You used your gifts well and you mastered loving your family and friends through them. I hope to be working on using my gifts in just this way like you did.

Thanks for the lessons, the love, and the memories.

Very sincerely,

Your granddaughter, Katie