Kirsten Grace – Month 8

My sweet baby girl,

You are growing up so beautifully and (just as I’ve been warned) so quickly. I am cherishing your gummy grins while they last (for your teeth still haven’t decided to make an appearance). I am soaking in our moments in the rocking chair, nursing you before nap times and bedtimes (for I already see glimpses of their disappearance). I am trying to remain calm when you are shrieking like a banshee whether out of glee or anger (for I know eventually the days will come when you’d be mortified to have anyone witness such outbursts). I am loving your growing affinity for mama and daddy (for your love for friends…and Lord, help me, boys…will someday be upon us). I adore you bouncing gleefulness and your cheerful arm flapping (for I know you will be on the move before we know it and I really don’t mind your lack of mobility at the moment).
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first time exploring Lake Erie with mama

This month you have tried more foods that I could probably list, and you seem to love them all. Green beans, watermelon, peaches, zucchini, tomato, and all sorts of summer produce have graced your plate (and your face and arms and hair). It definitely appears that you are teething, but we don’t see anything poking through just yet. You gnaw on everything like your life depended on it. Beyond my better judgment you chewed on the edge of a table in the restaurant last week, mouth gaping and tongue waving in eagerness every time you began leaning forward to gnaw once again. It was hilarious and disgusting and adorable all at once.

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Like most kids, you seem to enjoy non-toys almost more than actual toys. The best way to keep you occupied and quiet in public is sitting you on the floor next to something like mom’s bag to just look at and poke at and grab and of course chew on. Paper and napkins and books are your favorite items, loving the crinkle and the texture. There is nothing that gets you more quickly angered than taking away a piece of paper you were chewing on. Wow, the wrath surfaces instantly. (But, Kirsten, my dear, we just really don’t want you to eat paper, that is gross and unhealthy.) And currently you are sitting on the kitchen floor joyously and inquisitively playing with a metal spoon and sauce pan. What fun!

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Aside from those items, you do have a few favorite toys.  Your puppy dog pacifier now goes everywhere with you. It is a must for bedtime and nap time, but also nice to have when we go out, keeping a pacifier from rolling tables away from us. (The Wubbanub is an incredible invention.) A couple weeks ago, you had your first encounter with your very own baby doll. She is a soft-sided Cabbage Patch handed down from your Zia (Aunt Ashley). You just light up when you see her. Blankets (especially their tags) remain a favorite and your crinkle book is a winner (we just happened to misplace it, unfortunately.)

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You are rolling over professionally now and getting close to pulling yourself to standing or rocking into a crawling position. You just seem a disinterested or perhaps fearful, or maybe a little of both. Like I said, I am content with your immobility at the moment, for it makes some things a little easier. I do really look forward to the day of walking hand in hand with you to the church, though, or having you crawl into my room just to find me. (Let it be known that I do not look forward to those eerily quiet moments when you are sure to be doing something mischievous, like climbing onto a bookshelf or getting into the Vaseline or plastering your body with my makeup.)

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You seemed to have adjusted to using the church nursery as your second bedroom, napping more readily most days of the week while we work or have worship practice or whatnot. I have constructed various baby monitors out of tech devices using Google hangouts. (Though your screams are heard throughout the church building if all is quiet.) There had been many times a poor unsuspecting parishioner entered the church for a meeting or a service project and woke you up without meaning to. They felt so terrible, and yes, I would love for you to sleep, so I made signs to hang in the hallway to ask people to be as quiet as possible, or at least warn them that you are asleep. It’s a little jankity but it works alright and we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do.

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cherished kisses from great grandma Mary Fish (93 years old)

We are still faithful users of the cloth diapers (you’ve avoided rashes for many months now). You still adore bath time (which happens most frequently in the kitchen sink). You go to sleep well, but you have slept through the night since sometime in the third month when you led me to believe we had won some infant parenting award. Nope. Not even close. You wake up yelling (yes, yelling) at least twice a night, sometimes three or four times. (I cannot even remember what it was like to get a full, undisturbed night of rest, which just blows my mind because it was of utmost importance less than a year ago. My, how times change.) During one twilight rendévous I typically change your diaper because it is pretty inevitable that you will spring a leak otherwise. But you will then go back to sleep after nursing, keeping me up for just about 15 minutes each time. Not bad, I suppose. (And thinking of my future self who will likely be laying wide awake in agony when you are experiencing some sort of high school crisis or deciding on college or staying out past 8pm with your friends, I will take these sweet innocent nighttime encounters any day.)

Kirsten, I love you, everything about you. You are crazy and intense, yes, but you are MY crazy and intense girl. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. You know what you need, you have vast expressions that rival my own, and you have a smile that can instantly win over the sourest of moods.

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Keep being you, Kirsten Grace. We love you.

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Pre/Post Natal Class

PrePostNatal Class

This is a 6 week Gentle Class designed to ease your body and mind during the challenge and emotions of pregnancy.

Taught by Registered Holy Yoga Instructor, Melanie Eccles, certified in Pre/Post Natal Holy Yoga.
Location: Monroe Free Methodist Church (3928 E. Dunbar Rd. Monroe, MI)

Class registration is limited to 30 students.
$30 for 6 week class, due at first class via cash or check (to Melanie Eccles).


Yoga for Stress Relief

Stress Relief

This will be a 6 week, Slow Flow Yoga Class incorporating Scripture meditation and worship music to rest and renew your spirit and your mind.

Taught by registered Holy Yoga instructor, Melanie Eccles
Location: Monroe Free Methodist Church (3928 E. Dunbar Rd. Monroe, MI)

Class registration is limited to 30 students.
$30 for 6 week class, due at first class via cash or check (to Melanie Eccles).


Kirsten Grace – Month 7

My sweet Kirsten,

Wow! What a joy it is to be your mother! Watching you grow and develop, experiencing the world’s sights and sounds through your perspective is so much fun. I am being transformed, daughter. Through mothering you, the Lord is opening my eyes to his grace in new ways. I am being tested, challenged…will I give mercy? Will I seek His grace? How will I respond when I’m frustrated and exhausted and everything seems to be going wrong? Will I take credit for the days that go smoothly…or will I find God’s gifts in those times? 

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I am thankful, sweet girl, that the Lord in his mercy waited to call me to motherhood. I am thankful because holysmokes I don’t think my spirit was ready for this crucible all those years ago. This is hard. Time is a bigger premium than I can describe. And I notice how selfish I still am. (How am I still so selfish?!) For all of the difficulties and pain and “opportunities for growth” that mothering you has allowed me, I am beyond thankful. Growth is sometimes painful. Crucibles don’t have comfortable connotations. But you are the most wonderful gift I could ever be given. You do give me countless opportunities to step deeper into my Christ-in-me identity. And you do bring more joy to life than I ever knew possible. (Have I mentioned how motherhood is a paradox?)

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You are just over Seven Months Old and I am loving this stage. With every passing day and week, you become more independent, more funny, more personable, more loving. Your smile is truly contagious (as Gramma says). Your expressions are boundless.

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love the big personality you have. There’s no doubt that intensity and a flair for the dramatic are hard-wired into your being, and with that extreme comes possibilities for deep, Christ-like compassion and true, Spirit-led love for others. You are a leader in the making, Kirsten Grace. I see your strength of personality, your unique combination of traces of me and traces of your dad. We pray that you will root your life deeply into Jesus and use your very evident gifts of passion and fierce tenacity for the Kingdom of God.

You are a gem, my girl, beautiful and unique and priceless.

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This month you’ve fallen in love with all sorts of new foods. You’re still loving butternut squash and sweet potato, and you’ve added apple, pear, avocado, banana, spinach, carrot, zucchini, mango, and chicken to the mix. The mesh feeder has been a fun and wonderful tool to introduce new foods. There were two pears on the counter that were super soft so I sliced them up and gave a piece to you in the feeder. After just a few minutes, you’d eaten both of those pears! You haven’t been too sure about banana, but a semi-frozen cube of banana in the mesh feeder was devoured. Carrot wasn’t high on your favorites, but in the mesh feeder, the puree was gone quickly! (Thanks, Amanda, for this great gift!)

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You’ve been sitting like a big girl in your high chair to eat. We could have put you in the high chair months ago, I think, but there was something very grown-up about the idea of you in a high chair that made me hold off. But you were ready for it and now we are too. It’s so much fun watching you experience our favorite foods in raw, real form. I love feeding you things that I can take bites of because they’re foods I love too!

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You’ve turned a corner this last month with Sunday mornings. I know how tiring and long Sundays are as a pastor, and I can imagine they feel even longer and more tiring when you don’t understand why you’re still at church and why can’t I just be with mommy and daddy? But this last month, you really seemed to start settling into this aspect of life as the pastors’ kid. Part of it is the time I’ve spent with you in the nursery during the week, nursing you and putting you down for a nap in the pack ‘n play. Being a mom and a pastor, I’ve continued to hone our church nursery into a place that is comfortable and clean, that provides for all the possible needs of babies and their parents. It’s a cool bonus gift from God, allowing me to step into a place of hospitality by way of motherhood.

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Anyways, Sunday mornings has brought a decent number of before-church naps which aids your nursery-time tremendously. God has also brought a growing number of new families with new babies to our congregation so our nursery is a fun-filled place for you to be. You seem to be a people-person through and through. When you’re in their alone, you tend to fuss. When there’s lots of friends around, you’re happy as a lark.

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You’ve started reaching for me, which I adore. If I’ve left you with daddy or a friend or family member for a while, you’ll have been peachy-keen-content for quite some time. But as soon as I walk into your line of site, you start fussing rather dramatically. I love that you love me so, and seem to have a crazy-desperate need to be with momma right now. But really, Child, you’re just fine. Take a deep breath. It’s all good.

As much FUN as it is watching you grow and become more whole YOU, it is a true privilege to call you ours. We love you, Kirsten Grace, and that is one thing that won’t ever change.

Always,
Mama

A few fun facts:

  • you love water bottles, almost more than any other toy
  • you started practicing with a sippy cup and you’re getting the hang of it
  • you are now consistently able to get a pacifier back in your mouth
  • you’re sitting up like an old pro
  • your hand dexterity seems to be strong: you’ve been passing toys back and forth from hand to hand since before your six month appointment
  • you have started mastering the grown-up, real-food poop. Holy cow. Poopy diapers have diminished from a few a day to about every 2 days. But wow, you are a CHAMP at poop. whew-whee.
  • your bedtime is between 7:30 and 8 and you let us know. I still nurse you every night before bed.
  • you sleep until 1 or 2am, nurse, then back to sleep until 5 or 6, nurse, then back to sleep until 7:30.
  • you’re not really consistent on any sort of daytime naps.
  • you love Tavie.
  • you love watching screens.
  • you flap your arms and bang on the table constantly; we think you might be our next cajon player on the worship team
  • you have powerful vocal chords and a crazy high falsetto
  • YOU FINALLY ROLLED OVER! A few times now we’ve found you on your tummy in your crib. Go, you!
  • you like taking rides in the stroller or on my back when we go bike riding
  • you are starting to play
  • you bounce when you get really excited
  • you fed yourself your own bottle for the first time

Kirsten Grace Month 7

Playlist: Power

Great in all the Earth – Starfield

Open Up the Heavens – Meredith Andrews

Never Move On – Meredith Andrews

Open Up Heaven – Kim Walker

Live Through Me – Meredith Andrews

This is What You Do – Bethel Worship

My Soul Longs – Jesus Culture featuring Kim Walker

Furious – Bethel Worship

Only One – IHOP

Rooftops – Jesus Culture featuring Kim Walker

I Need You More – Bryan and Katie Torwalt (Jesus Culture)

 

Playlist: Slow Flow

Hands to the Heavens – Kari Jobe

Ascribe Unto the Lord – IHOP

A Future Not My Own – Matt Maher

King of Glory (Restore My Soul) – All Sons & Daughters

Moving with Love – Rita Springer

Great Are You, Lord – All Sons & Daughters

Captured – Rita Springer

Almighty God – All Sons & Daughters

Surrender – Kim Walker

Holy Spirit – Kari Jobe (Cody Carnes)