Monday, January 31, 2011

A Roll in the Hay

God's been testing me this weekend, He tends to do that when I don't want Him to :] So it was nice to take a some time to celebrate this life I have growing inside me with 3 of my favorite people. Thank you again so much Michelle!

Man, I can't wait to meet this little person...sigh

Thursday, January 27, 2011

32 Weeks

Woo Woo!!! 8 months baby!
Finding morning activities has been getting hard for me, so this morning, I decided we should paint ;]

This would be the aftermath...oy.

Thank you all for your empathy and encouraging words on How Do You Church? yesterday! Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Name Rant

Every night before we go to bed this is what I say to Eamon

"...Sooooo, are you still attached to Sean?"

That's Eamon's boy name. Sean Michael Burke. I told him that if we have a boy that he could name him [stupid, stupid, stupid woman] since I named Lily pretty much on my own.

Now if you remember [way back in week FI-VUH people!] I really am attached to the name Rhys. I love it. I love it's meaning, I love the way it sounds "Rhys Burke", I love imagining saying "these are my kids, Lily & Rhys." We were in love with Finn, but every trendy mom-to-be has a kid named Finn and I will not continue to take my kids to the playground and have them being confused with all of the other kids parents' calling their names. It's ridiculous.

Today I get on to research some more about baby names, and I'm finding more and more moms having Rhys on their list. WHY?! WHY, WHY, WHY?!?

Am I being a little dramatic...probably...
But the closer we get to having this baby, the more anxious I am to meet him or her and finally call them something other than Baby :]

We're set on our girl name, Norah Jean, but still working on a boy's [...I guess ;] What are your favorite boy names?

Since I've got my feathers all ruffled up, here's the funniest thing I've seen in a while. [click on the link to read the full book. Eamon's pretty fluent in German, so we had a good laugh!]

I can't wait for Lily to ask us all of the weird sex questions. She's probably gonna be that kid that knows too much that other parents won't let their kids around...poor thing.

How Do You Church?

Since Eamon and I got married, we've been asked the same question, one hundred different ways:

"So, where do you go to church?"

The answer is almost always "We haven't found the right church for us, yet"
There's a joke here in DFW that if you throw a rock, you'll hit a church. And it's true! On every street corner there is a church of some sort FILLED with people. The obvious question then becomes
"Why haven't you found one?"

At first, the answer was simple-
 I hate mega churches. Okay, hate is a strong word, but the idea that one man can stand up in front of thousands of people and have the word penetrate into each of their hearts as if he was Jesus Christ Himself, rubs me the wrong way [obviously...] Not to mention the million dollar sound systems, overly gelled worship teams, everyone wearing clothes that looked like they had just been purchased that morning, it all makes me very uncomfortable. [NOT that Jesus ever called us to be comfortable!]

Here's a picture of our home church in Rockport:
There are about 300 people all coming in, greeting each other. There are very few people who don't know everyone's name. With a few exceptions of some button up shirts and slacks, most of the men are wearing shorts or blue jeans, and fishing shirts [the hawiian print t-shirt is in there somewhere, if not a couple!] Most of the women do wear a skirt or dress of some sort, but if you're under the age of 30, no one expects anything more than jeans and a t-shirt. Worship was uncomplicated, and the message was either comforting or deeply convicting-every week. I was baptized there, I was saved there, we were even married there. Every time I walk through there doors, I feel the presence of Jesus, and He is so happy.

This picture of our home church is what a lot of people describe when they come home from mission trips around the world. The simplicity is delightful. My immaturity in my spirit to this day makes it extremely hard to just walk into these huge churches here that are modeled after colleges-some without pastors in them, just a big tv broadcasting another sermon?!?- and not judge, just receive the spirit. But eventually, I sucked it up. That was not before we gave "home church" a try. My experience turned into a bitter one by the end of that too, and I was left with a sour taste for "church" in my mouth by the time Lily was born.

We stop judging, and start trying.
Eventually, we had enough. We needed to go to church. So when Lily was just a few months old, we started trying churches out. From the televised sermons in front of a thousand people, to the small "traditional" church, to the gathering of just a few friends, we gave a little bit of everything a try. But one thing became apparent - Lily did not like church, or rather, the church did not like Lily. When we went to church the greeters always showed me where the "cry room" was [some that you could see/hear the sermon, others you couldn't]. It always felt like they were saying "Oh look at that little angel, be sure she doesn't ruin church for us" So after a few Sundays of getting dirty looks for breastfeeding Lily in the congregation, I started going to the cry room.

It started to really bug Eamon and I that in order to go to church and be fed, we were to be separated. I know not everyone feels this way, and that's ok!, but being together for worship and learning is very important to us. If we wanted Eamon to receive the word every week and then relay it back to me [pretty old testament if you ask me] this would work out fine for us, but we don't, and it doesn't.

But now, Lily is older and can go to the nursery without me and Eamon and I can receive the gospel, no problem! Right?
Even if we tell the nursery workers, "She will DIE if she eats a peanut, WATCH HER!" We both sit through the sermon terrified. If one kid had a pb&j beforehand and has some on his fingers and touches Lily, we only have minutes to save her life. Not every nursery worker who has 10 other kids to watch is up for that responsibility.

Where do we go from here?
With a toddler, and a newborn on the way [starting this mess all over again] we are left aching to worship with others and receive the word. It just seems impossible. So, I'm here asking you with similar family situations "How do you church?" Is it possible? Please share your ideas! We'd love to hear them :]


Friday, January 21, 2011

31 Weeks

Tomorrow's the baby shower :]
I have some pretty amazing women who love me who decided I should celebrate this baby, and wanted to do so with me.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

This is all a little scatter-brained, I'll probably be able to come back in a few days and properly edit it, but I felt I needed to get this out there, on "paper" before I forget :]

Ever had a scent throw you back into a specific moment in time? Sometimes when I smell cigarette smoke I get thrown right back into being 5 years old in Aransas Pass. My mom's hair is up in stinky Aquanet covered rollers as she stands in front of her mirror squinting to see if her make up is even through the smoke coming from the cig hanging from her lip. I remember the lighting of her bathroom, the pallet of eyeshadow and blush colors splayed out on her counter top, the way she looked so glamorous even though only one of her eyes were finished, and her lip liner wasn't filled in with lipstick yet. Before I know it, I feel like I'm sitting on the toilet behind her, swinging my legs, hoping one day I'd be as beautiful as my mommy.

The funniest thing happened a few days ago.
I was doing my hair and make up in the bathroom as Lily was running back and forth between Eamon and me, asking questions that we don't yet understand. My hair was still a little wet, so when I ran my straightener through it, the nasty smell of burnt hair filled the bathroom. I put down the straightener to wait a little longer for my hair to dry and started putting on my eyeshadow just the way my mom taught me. I looked down, and there Lily was with an eyeliner stick, squinting her eyes, trying to be brave enough to get the pencil close enough to her eye to get that "smoky Hollywood eye" all of her other baby friends are sporting...or something like that. Of course I took it away from her [blind babies are a little harder to deal with, I hear] but I couldn't help smiling as I thought about the never ending cycle of little girls trying to be like their mamas.

Lily a few months ago in her first make up attempt. 

Shaping my heart in order to shape Lily's has been/will be one of the biggest challenges I've faced in being a mom. For years my goal was to be whatever my mom was not. It was to rise above my mom's "inadequacies" in order to be the "perfect woman" that she wasn't. The foolishness in that is only recently apparent to me, but never-the-less, I never want Lily to go through that. In preparing for baby number two, I've had more time to prepare my heart as a mom, where as last time, I was preparing my body. I think this might be something that some of the women in my family had much less time to do, but took much longer to do.

 The more Lily tries on my bras, wears my shirts as dresses, and covers her face in make up, I start to wonder what kind of mom she thinks I am and how that will effect the kind of mom she is. I tend to remember my mom's faults more than I should, as I'm sure she did too. Will Lily remember that I go to kiss Eamon every time he comes home, or will she remember how sometimes I bark his name like I'm getting on to Rusty? Will she remember all of the times I sit with my bible praying over her or a friend, or will she remember how many times I curse our neighbors for listening to gangster rap in the parking lot? Being a "biblical mom" is exhausting most days, but I've got to understand that if Lily is already mimicking my physical appearance, it won't be long before her heart reflects mine.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where Does the Time Go?

Last night Eamon took his ladies out to The Cheesecake Factory to make up for dragging us to Bass Pro Shop to buy some dumb knife because he loves us so much. There was a quiet moment where all three of us were eating. We were in a booth, Lily between Eamon and me. She was munching away at her broccoli, kicking her feet back and forth over the edge, totally enjoying the moment. I totally swooned as I saw what a little lady she was being. Then, Baby kicked. I got totally overwhelmed by the fact that we only have so many more moments to be a family of three. But instead of crying and moping and being a total drag, I embraced it.

Dear Lily,
You're 18 months old now! Your baby chub is slowly disappearing from your face, arms, and legs. Your little hands are now capable of helping mama. Your gummy smile is completely gone, replaced with beautiful white teeth that you show off proudly every time you laugh. The past six months have been so eventful for you, but you have taken the punches [and the falls] and been flexible for mama and dad.
In the next six months, your world is going to change. You're going to be a big sister! That baby growing in mama's belly button is gonna come out soon and I will have two babies to take care of. Mama worries about whether or not I can do it, and whether or not I'm being selfish by taking time away from the days of just you and me, but the Lord told me something great last night.
"I made you pregnant now, so that you can be a mother of two now. I made you pregnant now so Lily can be a big sister now."
Guilt has left my heart, baby. My new charge for now is to prepare you to be a big sister, and to continue to raise you with patience, love, and grace. I'm going to savor every last tantrum you throw, every time you ask me to kiss your finger, every raspberry you blow on my belly... My love for you is unending darlin. I'm beyond thrilled that YOU have been the baby girl God sent me, that YOU are my first born, and that I've gotten to spend the 18 months of my motherhood journey with YOU and you alone. Time is moving so fast, but I'm holding on to you as tight as I can for now.


I cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned for this little girl all before she turns TWO!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Getting Over Valensuck Day

My inbox is starting to get flooded with cute Etsy Gift Guides for Valentine's Day.

This in particular made me laugh when I saw it this morning

...Might have to make some faux-screen prints in this fashion to hang over our bed ;]

But more and more every year, I get weary of Vday...
Since I was 15 years old, I have made plans- ahem- extravagant plans for Eamon and myself, and every year, though they have become less and less extravagant, they fall through more and more. So much to the point that I have really just about given up.

The following is a real life pillow talk conversation via the Burke's bed:

Eamon "We could get someone to watch Lily and get a hotel room for the night?"
Me *crickets*
Eamon "...maybe not stay the whole night?" [thinking I was freaking out about leaving Lily. We STILL have never spent the night away from her]
Me "No hotel worth staying in rents hourly rooms...that's gross"
Eamon "...weeeell..."
Me "I mean...why would you want to go to a hotel? All we'd do is watch tv. I can't have sex in there knowing someone else has. [We were the couple that drove EIGHT HOURS home after our wedding so we could finally do it. I was NOT about to lose my virginity in some hotel room. Grosses me out...] I mean, I guess there's the appeal of ordering drinks in bed, but HELLO" [referring to the growing mass of life squished between us]
Eamon "Ya...I guess you're right"

Totally. Crushed.
I knew what he was thinking of. He was thinking we'd get all Mad Men'd up and hit the town Draper style

And that by the end of the night we'd end up in the Sweetheart's Suit where I'd be wearing something like this

But come one, there are already SO many impossibles to that situation. [One being...well, me having January Jones's body...]
What's a wife to do?

So this year, we've decided to do it big, but with little expectations. Let's face it, every year I make plans, they don't work out, I end up crying like a five year old, and no one wants to get sexy with a sobbing five year old trapped in a grown woman's body. [If you do, you need to talk to someone about that...] So we've planned sushi and a movie. And it won't be on valentine's either. We don't want to go out and see all the nasty couples at the sushi bar who think it's appropriate to get drunk and molest each other because they're out eating sushi [WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? Eamon used to see it AT LEAST once a night at the gross] And, more practically, it'll be impossible to find a sitter that night ;]

So what do you have planned for Valentine's Day? Hot night out? Hot night in? Burning cards and boxed chocolates in protest?


Here's my 30 Weeks old belly

I need ideas for my maternity shoot coming up. I'm praying it snows again...that would be so amazing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Come Away with Me

We've started getting down to the fine details of what we need to pray for this baby. Funny thing is the actual "home birth" part is not a worry at all, but there is something else that is consuming every bit of my heart. 

We chose to birth at home with a midwife because I want a peaceful birth and a healthy baby. I'm a healthy mama with no complications, so this decision isn't risky. Although, I will say, I don't know if I'd be so secure in my decision if our back-up hospital wasn't just minutes away. I'm not doing this to add a "Look What I Can Do" trophy to my collection, We're not doing this to be reckless, different, or rebellious. 
As I've been writing in my journal about my own birth, praying over my dear friends upcoming births, and writing prayer requests for prayer cards for my baby shower, I've gained a much deeper understanding of my desired birth experience. 

The biggest revelation [which I think I just have forgotten since Lily's birth] was how close birth can bring you to your spouse. It's been said that raising small children is the most trying time in any couples marriage, I'm starting to believe that He's created the birth experience in such a perfect way that you can enter the trials of child-rearing joined by pain, endurance, and bliss. It's a high and a driving force that a lucky few get to experience.

"Wives, Submit to your husbands as to the Lord"
Eph 5:22

I bet you never thought of this verse in such an intimate way. Usually, this is used to remind women that we are to be obedient, and to be subservient, but recently I have found a whole new meaning to this verse.
When I was praying for a friend , I remembered my husband's hands on my belly, I remembered him smiling through my contractions and making me smile through my pushes, and most of all, I remembered the Lord whispering to me "Hold on to Eamon, hold on to me." I nearly broke down from the joy of knowing that my sweet friend would get to experience this new kind of submission with her husband soon too.

At one point, after Eamon had been propping me up for hours, I heard Norah Jone's "Come Away With Me" Through each contraction, I fell DEEPLY in love with him. Not once did I think "YOU did this to me, stay away from me!" All I could think about was how he was there with me... He was sticking this out with the once 15 year old girl that he met in the library, and the eventual 90 year old woman that he would have to help roll out of bed one day. If he was battling through this with me, without question, he is always going  to be there for me. This reassurance wasn't just because Eamon's such a stand up guy, but it was because in that moment, more than any other time in or marriage before [or since] I was submitting to my husband as I was submitting to the Lord. Physically I was submitting to my husbands prayers to minimize my pain as I let him take some of the weight off my arms, or legs, or hips, as I spiritually allowed my God to take the pain and distraction from my heart. At some points during my labor, it was very intentional, during others, it was nearly involuntary.

I'm sharing this now to encourage some of my many friends who are due very soon. I encourage you, whether your birthing at home, a birth center, or the hospital, to embrace your husband, as you would the Lord. He has placed him very specifically in your life at this point to be there for you in this birth! This experience is comparable to little else in life, soak in every aspect of it!


Baby It's Cold Outside

FINALLY! Winter showed up in North Texas. It's about damn time too!

It snowed a few days ago for a few hours, not enough to stick because it had been raining all night and morning, but enough for me to say "OH! I should take my baby who already has a cold outside to go see it and take pictures!" Mom of the year, y' of the year

I think wanting to eat snow is in our blood. Never have I taught Lily to do that, but she just thought, I don't know what that is, but I want to eat it!!!

Eamon is back working full time at the campus for the semester so I'm back to full time mom again too ;] It was so nice to have him home for a few weeks, and help me out around the house. Lily's been missin him something terrible though. Every morning and after every nap, she wakes up looking for him. It's quite precious.

The past few weeks have been nice, celebrating babies with friends
"How many pregnant women can you fit in an iPhone picture?

getting deep into this book,

and putting together the details for our next home birth. 

[This was just minutes after Lily was born. All snuggled up in our bed.]
You can go here to read all about that ;]

We've got roast in the crockpot, and everything we need for hot coco to keep us warm tonight, Hope your weekend was wonderful and wintery as well!!!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time keeps on slippin...

With my birth plan done, my shower coming up in a few weeks [where I get to pick up the birth tub I'll be using!!] and finalizing my photography schedule, I feel so close to meeting my baby.

I know, I know, I still have 11[ish] weeks to go, but I've felt a sense of urgency this time around, Eamon has too. We were talking just a few nights ago about how we both think this baby will come earlier that Lily did [1 week "late"] but maybe it's just all in our heads.

This would be me this morning [29 weeks]

I'm already finding myself finding new ways to maneuver around the house [and bedroom...] to make way for my belly "bump" I can't get too close the the kitchen sink or stove without getting surprised by bouncing back off of the counter, splashed by water, or feeling ultra hot on my belly button [which is slowly becoming an out-y...]

Did time just seem to fly by with your second?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jesus Was A Carpenter, I'm a Rusty Nail

The decision to share my PPD after Lily was born with my blog readers was an extremely hard one.
Knowing how to recognize the signs of depression put me at ease when we found out we were pregnant again this time around. I knew that denial wouldn't do anyone any good, and that fixing the problem was fairly simple, and to ask for help asap.

What I was not prepared for was the apparently common phenomenon of "Well, the second time around, my hormones were unbearable."
The past few weeks, I haven't kept make-up on for a full day. Eamon and I will have a disagreement, Lily will decided to dump her pee out of her potty on to the floor, I leave the butter on the stove while the oven's on leaving it to melt- and my world crashes in. This is not "Oh em gee, I can't watch ASPCA commercials anymore without crying!" I am more than welcoming to the cute weepy hormones that accompany 90% of pregnancies, but I wouldn't wish these "mood swings" "growing pains" or whatever you want to call them on my worst enemy. It's exhausting.

Now I am not one to question God, truthfully. I will complain about a situation till I'm blue in the face, but rarely turn my nose up to the world and my head up to the heavens, screaming "WHY ME, GOD?! WHY ME?" But I did recently. Not only did I do that, but I convinced myself on more than one occasion that I never want to get pregnant again. Ever.

That's when my husband, despite my protests and pleas, decided to give me a word that I didn't like. "God has created your body to have your babies a certain way."


Uhhh, God wants me to be miserable so I can have a baby?
That's what I heard anyway.

I went to bed angry with Eamon, angry with God. Why do I have to have this burden to carry? Why me? Why can't I [insert ridiculous comparison to other pregnant women in my life]?

I woke up yesterday morning determined not to let the crazy get to me, and was quite successful. I went to take a meal to a friend who just had a beautiful baby girl. Not expecting much conversation outside of "She's gorgeous!" "Congratulations" and "How was the birth?"
This mama had a very...well, laborious, labor with her first and had been praying for a more peaceful experience this time around- and received it. Baby E was born peacefully at home after a 2 hour labor. That glowing mama started telling me about conversations that she had with other experienced moms that encouraged her through her pregnancy and preparation for labor. When telling me about another woman who had an "easy", short labor that she talked to, she said something that almost brought me to my knees. She said,

"Just because I had and 'easy' labor, doesn't mean I didn't labor with her throughout my pregnancy."

I heard C's voice saying the words, I pictured Mrs. A saying them, and I felt God's whisper rumble through my body saying "This is confirmation!!!!"

After yoga I came home and told Eamon what happened, and despite being on that..."full tank" high, I shortly after had another breakdown- all the way back to square one. The crying, the shaking, the questioning, the sinful lack of trust all came back in a blink of an eye. After fighting him for almost an hour, Eamon took my hand, again to much protest, and asked me if I believed in what the bible says. Anger and resentment welled up inside me. "I don't need a sermon, I need for you to shut up and leave me alone!" was all I could think. After walking me to the heart of the issue Eamon said.

"Think about the hammer and the nail. I'm sure the hammer feels like it's being attacked over and over again..."

I imagined a pair of weathered hands holding a rusty nail in one, and a hammer in the other. Every drive of the hammer drove the nail deeper and deeper, but eventually, that nail helped hold up a magnificent structure. Peace washed over me as I thought about my creator hammering away at me. Yes, the pressure is intense, and often unbearable, but His other hand is holding on to me!!!

Growing this baby and shaping my heart for the His glory has been a confusing, challenging, and unbelievable experience, and I still have about 12 weeks more of it. I think I'm ready for it now [late is better than never, right?] How has God used you? Has He ever used you in a way that hurt, that you didn't understand, that left you questioning Him? Don't pity yourself! Embrace it! Use it! Ask Him to strengthen you to grow you!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Isaiah 55:12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.