Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm Bad

Like Michael Jackson. Not really, just regular old bad at blogging. My last post was Jude at 2 months and he is nearing 6, so it's been awhile. I just turned 31 (I feel like 30 just happened), and today we went out for my birthday and left Jude with a babysitter for the first time. Actually, 2 babysitters. Two gals from our church, Becky and Pilar, braved the snow and stayed with Jude while we went to lunch and a movie. These gals are awesome, I wish I had taken a picture of them. Jude had a great time and I honestly didn't worry a bit with him in their care.

So we went to lunch and to a movie. Just like old times. Only this time we talked about how last time we talked about what it would be like "next year" with a baby in our lives. Wow, things have changed. Here is a picture of me at dinner enjoying a peaceful moment, unaware that Kevin is not texting, but snapping a photo with his iPhone.

Here are some recent Jude pictures--he's getting so big. He is so much more fun now at 6 months. He is grabbing at everything. Even when he is crying, you can dangle any old thing in front of him and it's like he can't help himself but to reach for it. Kevin definitely gets the biggest smiles out of him, he's so funny. I just love him so much, more than I thought possible. That's what happens though, right? It's hard to describe the feeling of watching this little person soak everything in and learn what it means to be alive.

Here is his first trip to Cracker Barrell, our favorite place to stop when we are travelling

This one is just funny. That's Kevin completely ignoring George Washington.

This is at our good friends house, the Zimmermans, for Thanksgiving. They always invite all of the "familyless" people over for dinner, I think there was somewhere between 30-40 people this year. This was our 3rd year spending that holiday with them.
I met Mari (left) at Starbucks one day with her 6-month old, Ricky. She and her husband came to the U.S. from Japan a year ago and have never celebrated T-Giving before. Laura (middle) is a good friend that we go to church with. She has been such a blessing to me as we both became moms around the same time. We spend a lot of time together each week walking, talking and trying to figure this mothering thing out. Lennox is Jude's first friend.

Here are Jude and Lennox at Starbucks, their favorite hang out spot. They showed up this day wearing the same outfit. Laura and I think they may coordinate with each other since things like this happen a lot with them.

Blessing and a Merry Christmas to you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vermont & Jude's 2nd Month as a Human Being

This is one lucky baby to get to go on 3 trips out of NJ in his 3 first months of life! Month 1: Georgia, Month 2: Vermont, Month 3: (upcoming) Texas. We had a great vacation with Kevin's brother, sister in law and mother last week. Scott and Brooke came up a little early so they could visit NYC. When Evelyn flew in, we loaded up 2 cars and headed up North to a little town called Putney, VT.
Here is the cabin

Let's just get this out of the way.. I think Brooke would agree that this was the BEST thing about the cabin we rented...

The two of us pretty much hogged the hammock the whole week, it was so relaxing. The weather was a perfect 70 degrees most of the week and chilly in the mornings. The porch overlooked 2 little ponds where Scott did some fishing. Scott is actually an expert fisherman, and they do a lot of it on the little island where they live.

We (or some combination of us) hiked, biked, fished, canoed, shopped, cooked, and just hung out around the cabin.

Here are some pictures of the big family hike. Scott in his Evelyn gear, and Evelyn with her game face on:

Kevin, Scott & Brooke went kayaking one day and had a great time. I think they even swam some--Vermont water is frigid!!

We had to take 2 cars to fit everyone, and during the distribution of persons we realized that there would not be a quiet car among us. Jude isn't the best of car passengers yet, and Pippin perhaps never will be. Poor Scott and Brooke got stuck with Pippin and I'm pretty sure they were ready to throw him out the window by the time we arrived. Luckily they made up by the end of the week. I think Scott and Pippin came to an agreement--something like, "shut up or I will hurt you, you punk" is what I may have heard Scott say.

Jude was so happy in the mornings and Grandmom had such a good time holding him.

Ok, here is the sentimental part. I would like to say something about Scott and Brooke Pounds. It was such a blessing to spend a whole week and a half of quality time with them. This was our first chance at some extended time getting to know Brooke. They have been married for a few years now and are living as overseas workers on a very remote island a long, long way away.
One night we got to talking about being called to be overseas workers as compared to other callings that God leads Christians to. Scott and Brooke really believe that they are not doing anything any greater than other Christians who are called to a particular life. I definitely agree that we all have a vital role to play right where we find ourselves, and that we aren't all called to do the same thing--like becoming a career overseas worker. But, I've just been thinking more about it and I believe there is something special and remarkable about them--something that makes them stand out among us, and I don't think it is a bad thing to say it out loud. It shouldn't diminish our own callings as believers to recognize these people who are on the front lines in this war for souls.
I mean, not every Christian is willing to go to a country where they could get hurt or killed for sharing the Gospel with the natives. Think about the parts of the world where Christians live--we definitely congregate together leaving huge areas completely uninhabited by believers. Surely God would have us go there sooner and in greater numbers than we are, right? There are just so few of us willing to "go" and it makes me wonder if God has actually called a lot more of us than are willing. It's worth thinking about, anyway.
Anyway, Scott and Brooke are just what you would hope for in an overseas worker, or really, in a Christian. Humble and grateful, imperfect and know it, and willing to get their hands dirty doing...well, whatever it takes. That is a funny way to put it, I know, but I just mean that these are people who are doing what Christians should be doing--wherever they live and work. They are making a real difference in the spiritual world. I just want to do the same here in NJ.
(sorry if I embarrased you guys! We just love you and are proud of what you do!)

Now, I'll leave you with a few 2-month old Jude shots

Jude LOVES his changing table, we usually spend about 15 minutes on diaper and clothing changes. He thinks being in the nude is hilarious, and I guess I do too!
This is how I find him in the morning when he is ready to wake up. He lays very rigid and still and looks all around. When he sees my face for the first time, he grins and wiggles. I like to think that he is just so overcome with love and adoration for his mother! Looks like he is almost too big for the bassinet, next stop: Crib!
And here he is on Game Day with his UGA bib. It's a little askew, but he was especially wiggly in anticipation of the Dogs that I couldn't get a good picture.
I love watching him sleep. I know when his is what I call "good and asleep" when he is in this "don't shoot" posture.

He has started swatting and grabbing at toys that are dangled in front of him, so he loves this mat. He is enamored with Pippin.
These are just some great ones with Kevin.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

30 family members in 7 days--Jude's 1st Month

The three of us travelled to Atlanta for my brother's wedding last week... by car... 18 hours driving. Actually, the trip down was pretty uneventful. Jude slept most of the time peacefully with stops in between to eat. We won't talk about the return trip.
The hard part about travelling with a 4 week old baby is that, well, I just didn't know what in the world I was doing yet. We were still trying to figure each other out, so there were definitely some anxious moments when I wondered if he was going to be alright. He really did amazingly well, and having my Texas family in town to meet him was priceless. He also met his Papa (my dad), his Grandmom (Kevin's mom), and his Grandad (Kevin's dad) for the first time.
The story in photos..

We stayed with Kevin's mom for the first 3 days in town. This was the first time she met Jude. Kevin's two brothers and their wives were in town as well. This was the first time in several years that all three brothers have been together.

Grandmom loved rocking Jude. She introduced the pacifier to him, which has brought sweet peace to our lives.

We went to the Atlanta Aquarium--amazing! Jude slept the whole time in his Magic Sling--this thing has wonderful womb-inducing powers over his little mind.

Cute Pie Everett was so much fun. This is Brian & Noelle's son; they are moving from California to England while Brian attends Cambridge this Fall.

Uncle Scott. Scott & Brooke are missionaries and are in the states for just 6 months. They are coming up to NJ next month to spend a couple weeks with us.

Aunt Brooke

The second half of the week we stayed at my dad's house. This was their first time meeting Jude and we also had a whole bunch of Texas family staying with us. It was such a blessing to introduce Jude to practically the whole Conley family.

Mimi & Papa

Ok, this is for real. There is a facial trait (some may say tick) that the Conley's are prone to--I'll call it the Conley Brow. Dad and Bekah, and who knows who else, have the ability to raise just one eyebrow. This somehow skipped my generation, but that's ok because it has apparently passed to my son. No sooner had my dad taken a first look at his new grandson, did Jude's right eyebrow arch upwards. I mean, we both noticed it at the same time. It was like my dad imbibed his powers down to his grandson at that very moment.

This is the antique bassinet that my dad slept in when he was a baby. He had his engineers refurbish it so that Jude could use it--so sweet.

On Saturday before the wedding we went over to mom's house for a brunch. My Granparents were there as well as my Uncle Dirk. When mom left NJ after Jude was born, she kept telling him not to forget his Oma. I think he definitely remembered her--she was such a good rocker! I'll post pictures from mom's house soon.
We saw Kevin's dad on our way out of Atlanta the last day. Here's Granddad

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This is me surfacing for air finally. Wow, constantly caring for an infant is HARD WORK. He is such a great baby and this has been just what we have asked for, we are so grateful for him. I look at him and want to cry in gratitude to the Father for such a precious gift.

The first couple of days were rough. He didn't sleep much and cried a lot the first day. The last couple of weeks have been completely different, though, he sleeps a whole lot now. I guess this is what we have to look forward to--fleeting stages of life from here on out. He sleeps so much now that I just want to hold him all the time. He has moments of quiet alertness that only last a few minutes at a time. Kevin has been enjoying some stare-time in the mornings with him while I get ready for the day. There are those wailing times, though (is it bad that I took 30 seconds to get a picture of this instead of trying to console him? This mouth had to be documented.)

A rare quiet alert moment..

This is his "drunk on milk" face, he's quite a lush...

He sleeps on his side and will roll over if I place him down on his back. He's so cute with his arm tucked under his head. At the hospital immediately after he was born, the nurse put him next to me on his back while she checked him out and he promptly rolled over onto his side. She was surprised and laughed.

He makes the funniest faces--from looks of disgust to what seem like wide grins, he keeps us laughing. I love his little lips--they pucker up in the cutest way. He purses them like an old man who has seen something he disapproves of. When he blinks, his eyelids crinkle up. He hardly has any eylashes or eyebrows, but has a full head of light brown hair, like Kevin's. When he yawns he strains his neck upwards so that he looks like a little hungry bird.

The disapproving pucker...

Little birdie...

I love watching Kevin with him. There are different emotions that a man experiences with his child and I see those coming out in him. Things like protectiveness and the desire to provide and care for both of us have been the things on his heart these days. He worries that he isn't doing enough, but I don't know what I would do without him. he has waited on me hand and foot and has changed far more diapers than I have. He gave him his first bath and checks him over carefully to makes sure he is alright. Nothing can mesmerize Jude like Kevin's original number, "Jude is a Dude in a Mood." I love seeing the dad in Kevin.

A lively little jig...

Oma came to visit the second week, and it was such a huge help. She rocked him to sleep and I got to catch up on a little sleep. It's really helpful to have a third person around during the first couple of weeks since I was still recovering from the birth. He loves her already!!

I have to admit that I'm not quite feeling like a human being again, but I'm getting there. this has been a hard and wonderful few weeks--there is nothing I can compare it to. Jude is hanging out in my lap watching me write this and I can see that he has no expectations of me. I, on the other hand, feel the weight of this office greatly. Whether he knows it or not, his little life is a great gift and one that will require much of us. The real greatness is in the Giver, though. Don't we all have little lives? The Father makes tiny things great.