Sunday, April 10, 2016

6 Months

These Walter pictures are getting harder as you get more mobile!!
My sweet Devin,

I can't believe how much you've grown in one month, and how much has happened! Everyday is pretty much the best day, but we've had some extra fun moments leading up to the 6 month mark.

You still would prefer Mom or Dad picks you up, rather than rolling over. But you can do it, and have done it a few more times. You're just very selective about deciding when and where. But I have a feeling that will be changing very soon.

You definitely want to be upright these days. When I try to lay you down you use your ab muscles to pull yourself up just as far as you can toward sitting. And you can now stay in a sitting position all by yourself.

You are constantly reaching and pulling things to you. We turned our backs for a moment while you were in your bumbo on the table, and suddenly you had the whole stack of napkins in your hands. You were pretty proud.  One day you were also trying to get the napkin holder up to your mouth. You would pull it close with one hand and when you'd try to grab with your other hand to get more leverage you would accidentally pull it away from yourself. It's incredible to watch you process, act, fail, and try again. And you can try again many times before giving up because you want to! The hardest thing is waiting, watching, and allowing you to keep trying as long as you're willing. I want to help you, and sometimes I want to just do it for you. But it's worth it to watch you growing from each of these experiences. And you have grown so very much.

As most babies do, you love to put EVERYTHING in your mouth, and this most recently includes the bath water. At some point you discovered that while you can't grab the water, you can lick it. Of course it's gross that you lick the water, but more concerning to me that your eye gets in it. I feel like it's infection waiting to happen. That being said, it's RIDICULOUSLY hilarious to me when you do it. So I do stop you, but I had to capture it at least once on video.

Since you love the tub, and since we live in Florida, we decided it was time to introduce you to the pool. There were two things working against us: 1. Our pool is not heated. 2. You basically fell asleep on the stroller ride over the day we went. We put you in anyway, and you didn't hate it, although I'm not sure you actually loved it either. We're going to try again in a warmer pool next week.

You love hanging out with Dad. We decided to take you on a date night out to have dinner and watch a movie at the Animal Kingdom Lodge one night. We figured you'd fall asleep, but you were all about hanging out and joining in on the fun. I love these moments when I see you snuggled up with your Dad. We are so blessed to have him. He's a pretty great guy and he loves you like crazy!

You are incredibly observant. We went on a tour at EPCOT with Dad early in the month, and you watched and listened intently for the first several minutes of the tour, just taking it in. Whenever you are out in the stroller you are always looking around, and you especially love to just be outside!

You got a jumper this month, and you're learning that it's fun to bounce up and down. In fact, I think sometimes you think Mom is a jumper now because you jump up and down on my lap all the time!

You went on your first road trip and took it like a CHAMP! We were smart enough to do the driving during your typical sleeping hours, so you only woke up once both ways to eat. We were also able to get some beautiful family pictures in Georgia thanks to Grandma Jean.
Hitting the road with Dad

The final highlight of the month was a visit from your cousin (even though they came to help us move out of our apartment, which was not the most fun). Aria is almost 2 months older than you are, and it was so fun to watch you interact and get to know one another. We could not have gotten so much accomplished with out Auntie Bryn here to help, and having Aria was an added bonus.

There are times I want to say, "I can't wait until you...", but I am doing my best to avoid those words because I love this stage so much! And I have loved every part of this motherhood experience. That doesn't mean there aren't hard days, and that sometimes I don't wonder if my arms have the strength to hold you and rock you until you fall asleep in Sunday School. It doesn't mean that I love waking up in the middle of the night (sometimes more than once). But even in those times I look into your beautiful blue eyes, and I hold you close and thank Heavenly Father with all my heart that you came to us, and that these moments are mine to cherish for eternity. Your smile fills my entire soul and brings me indescribable happiness. You light up our world every single day.


Mom and Dad

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Be Uncommon

The theme for our Sales Kickoff this year was "Be Uncommon". I came away motivated to work hard in the coming months, but also thinking about how to "be uncommon" in every area of my life. And that brings to mind an example of someone who recently made an incredible impact on my life. His name is Paul.

Paul was diagnosed with cancer in mid-December, and by January was moved into the hospice wing of the hospital with what was projected to be four, maybe six months left to live. I was told their goal was getting him well enough to make the journey back to Hawaii for his remaining time so they could both be with their families there. They would leave as soon as he was released by the doctors to make the journey. I felt a huge sense of loss upon hearing the news. I barely knew Paul, but I knew his wife well, and grew to love her in a very short period of time. I felt of their spirit and generosity, and it seemed the world was losing a great man too soon, and I would miss them dearly.

I didn't know what to do, but the scriptures tell us to "mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort", so I set off for the hospital the first day they allowed visitors with a note telling Molly that while I felt a bit helpless, I hoped she knew that I was mourning with them, and praying with, and for them.

When I reached Paul's room, Molly walked me to the cafeteria and, to my surprise, told me a story of hope and potential, rather than a story focused on "the time they had left". Paul had chosen not to accept his diagnosed fate, and decided to fight in every way he could. In fact, the morning after a 10 hour surgery during which more than one organ was removed, he was walking the halls. The doctor was astounded. The nurses in the hospice wing didn't know what to do when he asked for a walker. No one else in hospice bothered trying to get out of bed. He wasn't given any treatment options based on his diagnosis, but he started getting some natural treatments, and by the time I got there, was not even taking much of his pain medications.

Not only was Molly's explanation of their time in the hospital filled with hope and peace, during the time we spent together, I suddenly realized Molly had coaxed me into talking about my problems, and was talking me through my aches, when I had really come to be there for her.

I walked into Paul's room, and listened to him share his feelings of peace as he felt prayers reach his bed from people who didn't even know him. He expressed his faith in God, accepting His will whole-heartedly, and told me that if his only purpose was bringing a bit of joy to the lives of the nurses in the hospice wing, that was good enough. I was in awe at his cheerful disposition, and his ability to make jokes and fill the room with light. And I felt a certainty that whether or not he lived, the Lord had a purpose for him, and he would live to see that through.

Since that time, Paul and Molly were able to make the journey back home. He was doing so well in Hawaii that he was kicked out of the hospice wing, and last I heard they were trying to get his weight up so they could start treatments.

I left Paul's hospital room with the desire to keep the following things in my heart:

1. Our prayers count. Whether we're praying for someone we're close to, or someone we've been asked to pray for, God hears us, and He answers according to His will.

2. Our attitude matters. We don't know how long Paul will be with us, but I firmly believe he is still here today because he chose not to give up. Whatever our challenges, and whatever life hands us, we have a choice about how we respond.

3. God is a God of miracles. The fact that Paul made the journey from Florida to Hawaii is a miracle, made possible by lots of prayers and faith. He provides miracles in big ways and small everyday and if we are looking, we will see them.

4. It's always worth acting, even when we don't know exactly what to do. I feel so blessed to share the time I did in the hospital with Molly and Paul. They touched my life so much in a few short minutes. I am often the one that stands back, not knowing what to do if I don't have a tangible way to serve. But I'm so grateful I took the time to share my love, even though I didn't know Paul well. I gained so much more than I ever gave in learning from two people who live close to the Lord and have followed His path throughout their journey in this life.

5. Being uncommon means having the courage to fight, to take a chance, to believe when all the odds are against you, while having the faith to believe and trust in God's perfect plan.

Molly and Paul on their 21st wedding anniversary - 2 months after diagnosis