Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Contentment or Joy?

It's always hard to be a mom but some days it's almost impossible to will myself out of bed to shrill scream coming from the next room. It's not because I don't love my child it's because I'm exhausted. One hundred percent physically, and sometimes mentally, wiped out. It's not just taking care of the 12 pound,  eating, pooping, screaming being that exhausts me, it's life. There is more to being a mom than just feeding, cleaning and comforting (on repeat). There is still taking care of me … which has been redefined since baby, and there is also my husband. I have been thinking, struggling and praying a lot lately about how to be a joyful woman with what sometimes seems more than I can handle. 
I have found that it is much easier to "be content" than it is to be joyful. Contentment, for me and I would venture to guess for many,  is finding yourself in an unpleasant situation and not complaining. I feel as though that is probably how I have defined contentment in my life for a while, if not forever. Joy on the other hand makes you smile, you find pleasure in the mist of things that upset you. It does not mean those things become easy and it does not mean you must enjoy every aspect but choosing to not let your soul be dragged down by the devil, there I find joy. 
It is a constant battle and one I can not fight on my own. As the diapers pile up and for the 5th time the dog finds a way to sneak one and eat it, which not only makes me gag but also cry out of disgust. The dishes pile up, the laundry isn't folded, and the doorbell wakes the baby I just spent 2 hours getting down for a nap… I could continue this list for longer than I'd like to admit, but as I pick up my daughter and my back shoots with pain, a reminder that I gained a lot of weight and birthed a child I remember I made a person! I look at my imperfect body with scars, and skin and weight were it never use to be and I am reminded that this life is not forever, this body will serve my soul for as long as God choses to have me on this earth and I long for eternity. 

I chose joy because I know that this is all fleeting, the good with the bad. I will soak up the smiles and the tears. Because if these last 3 months are any indication of how quickly this little one will grow, it won't be long before she won't let me hold her as she cries. I will continue find ways to take care of myself, my husband and my daughter. Although the laundry may not get folded, the dishes may still be in the sink tomorrow I have hope for this life and eternity. I have a man who loves me more than words can explain and a baby girl who without knowing it yet is teaching me patience and love deeper than I ever knew before. She is pointing me to Jesus and I pray I do the same for her. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

3 Years

We should have celebrated our 3 year anniversary in July but instead here we are in January :) I'm so thankful for our 2 engagements: the bumps, bruises and how much we learned together through it all. These past 3 years have been amazing, hard, exhausting and so life giving. I couldn't have dreamed up a better man for me to explore and learn with. 

In the past 3 years these two crazy kids got the craziest dog the world has ever known. Moved 4 times, one of those moves being from the East to West coast 7 months pregnant. We've searched for churches, made friends, started new jobs, left jobs, lost jobs, cried, dreamed, learned. Baseball games, drives through the night for NFL playoff games in Mass, dinners, and laughter. We were surprised by pregnancy, wondered how we would pay bills, learned to trust God ... learned to trust  God again (realized how blessed we are that he doesn't give up on us). Learned to work in 2 different states and were so thankful when we were a family living in the same state again. Now we are a family of 4, if you include the dog ... he thinks he's human so we will include him. 
Peter Brandt you have my whole heart, you love me better every day. You are the most patient, loving, caring man .. and you're hot :) I love you. Thanks for the best 3 years of my life. Can't wait for what the next year and year after that and year after that .... have in store for our crazy lives.  

Some of my students last year had a few thoughts on marriage :) 

The Crazy Animal :) 

D.C and Boston sports ... can't wait till we can take Piper to games! 

Packing ... story of our lives :) 

Year 3. Big move from DC to California! 

More packing and leaving the city we called home for almost 3 years. 

Cross country road trip, swollen feet and legs and finally arriving in Cali, all together again :) 

Tattoos and travels. Exploring the West coast in large fashion ;) 

And then waiting ... waiting and waiting for the most stubborn baby ever!

2 is now 4. A little less put together, a little less rested, but so happy and blessed!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Baby Girl

Baby Girl,

I thought I'd write you a little note and tell you what your getting yourself into entering this family. You have me and your dad and a dog, Elbie.
- Elbie has loved snuggling up with my belly ... he loves you already. He's a trouble maker and I can only imagine how much fun you guys will have and how much trouble you guys will get into. Elbie loves to be outside ... he's a bit dramatic but full of energy and personality, you will love him there is no doubt in my mind.
- Your daddy. Where do I start describing this wonderful man you are lucky enough to call dad. You don't get to pick your parents but you are so blessed with the dad you are ending up with. Your dad in a nutshell: Sometimes he's a weirdo if he doesn't get enough exercise, he's super artistic but also nerdy, and he LOVES to run and climb mountains. Although he is very organized at work he isn't so great with detail in everyday life and will probably lock you and the keys in the car at least once when you are little ... don't take it personally... he will feel really bad and probably tell you not to tell me. He's awesome and helpful and caring and he loves you already.
 Your dad rubs my swollen feet every night after he works hard all day, he keeps me laughing when I'm uncomfortable, he doesn't get mad when I keep him awake all night snoring (although I've never snored before so we both blame you for that one). Sometimes your dad smiles like a little kid because he's so excited to be your dad. Your dad loves me better than I could have ever imagined being loved. I can't wait for you to be here and hang out with him!

You have an amazing family outside of our little unit as well, so many cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles who love you already. Here are the first 9 months that you won't ever remember and we won't ever forget.

January 24, 2013. That was your daddy's 25th birthday (although he didn't know yet he was going to be a daddy) and also the day that God decided that we would be parents. Was that TMI? Get used to that kid :)

I had been really sick all winter with nasty sinus infections and after finishing my 4th round of meds in February your dad wanted to go out on a date. When he got home from work I was sleeping on the couch and said I didn't want to go out and that I was grumpy and tired. Your poor dad was annoyed and I went to bed.

I was working in Special Ed at an elementary school Monday through Friday and then Friday nights I worked at a respite care center for kids with multiple disabilities. My Friday night job required a lot of lifting, changing diapers, feeding kids ... don't get me wrong I loved this job and these kids, but it was not easy. I had worked this job for 2 years so I was used to the hard work but for some reason I was so tired and cried at work that Friday night. Saturday morning your dad had a race 3 hours away and when I woke up still exhausted I decided that maybe I was sick. For some reason I decided I should take a pregnancy test "just to make sure" ... when it said "Pregnant" I took 4 more haha ... they all said Pregnant. So now with your dad 3 hours away in the middle of a race I had to wait hours for him to come home. I kept calling him and asking how much longer he would be?!

So once we went to the Dr.s and it settled in sorta, (I was in denial for a long time lol, we were excited but also a little shocked) we decided to tell the grandparents. We were living outside of DC and close to the Brandt's so we met Grandma and Grandpa Brandt for dinner. Parents always know when something is up so Grandma was waiting for some sort of news and trying not too be too excited that it may be her first grandchild. When we told them she screamed. Nonnie and Papa Schnepp lived in Massachusetts so we called them one Sunday and again Nonnie knew something was up and I can't quite remember but she may have asked if we were pregnant before we even said anything ... either way they were so excited.

As my belly grew life did not slow down: You attended your first few weddings as a photographer, took the metro, met Auntie Holly and took a tourist bus around DC, went to Nationals games, hiked, went to Eastern Market in DC, received many pokes, pats and kisses from my precious Special Ed kids who didn't understand why you were taking so long to grow, because they wanted to meet you NOW. Also in the first few months all I wanted to eat was crab ... lucky for us there was an amazing crab place 5 minutes away .... unlucky for us it was probably the most expensive thing I could have craved.

In May Nonnie, Papa, Auntie Becca, Auntie Cheryl, Uncle Tommy, Sara, Andy, Mike and Brittany came to DC and we had a ultrasound that weekend to find out your gender. We told all of them and the Brandt's at dinner that you were a girl! Everyone was excited but after having 5 boys ... Grandma Brandt screamed again :)

We decided to name you Piper Elizabeth Brandt. Piper just because we love that name, Elizabeth because not only did Grandma was to name a child that but also because it is Grandma Brandt's middle name, Great Grandma Brandt's middle name and also Great Grandma Thomas' middle name. You got a lot of family packed into that middle name baby girl.

Spring came and your dad was put on a project in Texas. I was still working outside of DC so he traveled and flew home every weekend. I remember the first time I felt you move I freaked out and called your dad and scared Elbie. Your dad was sad he wasn't there the first time you moved but when he came home and talked to you, like he did often, you jumped in the direction of his voice ... daddy's girl already? It was hard having your dad travel so much and we didn't know where we would end up by the time you were due. God was so good to us and gave me peace, clearly from God because I like to have a plan!

At the end of June we found out that your dad would be on a new project in California and he would start in 2 weeks. We found out while I was in Massachusetts at Nonnie and Papa's for a shower Nonnie threw for us. While we were in Massachusetts we got to meet the defensive tackle for the New England Patriots, Vince Wilfork! Hopefully I raise you right and you understand how awesome this is :)

So the traveling continued for your dad, and I, 6 months pregnant, continued working and packing up our life in DC so we would be ready to move at the beginning of August. Let's just say the month of July was a blur, but you did get to meet Washington Nationals outfielder, Bryce Harper, thanks to a trip to the groomers with Elbie, who tried to start a wrestling match with his dog who is at least 10 times his size. When your dad came home for short weekends we tried our best to visit all out favorite DC spots, hike, spend time together and pack.

Finally August came which meant we were officially out of our apartment in DC and on the road. We went up to Maine and spent a week at Moody Beach with the Schnepp family and then your dad drove from the East coast all the way West baby! Once your dad made it to Cali and got settled I flew out and we were finally a family again!

Since we've been in Cali you have been moving around like crazy, I think you have long legs and you like to stretch them. You stick your butt out one side of my belly and legs out the other. You are getting big ( and so am I, praying you come sooner than later :) We've been checking out hiking and beaches and got to explore San Francisco! We can't wait until you get here so we can show you the world.

Great Grandparents and you :) 

Wilfork and Harper! 

At the Nats game on the Fourth of July ... with my favorite snack :)



And more cuddles .... 


Packing break! :)  

 Leaving D.C.... so bittersweet 

Maine. I can't wait to take you there!

Your daddy and Elbie took a LONG road trip from Maine to California 

I finally made it to Cali!! 

We were happy to be a family again! 

Your daddy made me a map of our new home in Cali

Just hanging out, hiking and going to the beach and waiting for you!