Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dear Abby: A Note for You on My First Mother's Day

Dear Abby,

Today is my first Mother's Day with you, baby girl! 

You have made me a mom, and I thank God every day for entrusting your dad and I with a tiny daughter who smiles and loves ceiling fans. 

You are nine weeks old, and you are just now starting to hear me sing to you... Because up until now, I have cried every time I've tried to sing due to overwhelming gratitude for you. You see when I was a little girl, I loved playing with baby dolls and sang to them, and each time I wished in my heart that when I was grown up, I would have a real little baby girl to sing to. And I do! You have made that wish come true for me. I look into your big brown eyes, and see myself reflected back as a mama now. 

Baby girl, I look into your eyes and see you taking in the world around you. I see you thinking about the people you meet, and how you track the dog and cat's every move. How when they find me, they light up and you smile! Nothing could be more precious. 

I am glad beyond belief you are my daughter Abigail! God placed you in my family so that you would learn His heart toward you, by how much your dad and I love you. This is an incredible honor to have bestowed on us, baby girl. I hope that just as I see myself reflected in your eyes, that you see your mom and dad reflect Him as you grow up, and that you learn while we love you more than anything else on earth, He loves you even more. 

This is the first of many days that I will rejoice over being your mom. 

Love always, 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Meet My New Little Sweetheart: Abigail Grace

After months of waiting, back pain, chiropractor visits, doctor's visits, cartons of strawberries and boxes of Dunkin Donut chocolate Munchkins, I was ready to meet this girl.

Her due date was February 24, although it looked like she would be here a week or two earlier than that. I was ecstatic!

Well, February 24 came and went, amidst a lot of false labor starts and stops. One night I had contractions for six HOURS, and then they just... stopped. So we waited some more.

March 5 came around, and at my doctor's visit that day my doc said, "Hannah, you need to have this baby. I'm going to schedule you for an induction tonight," and I was so relieved!! Little miss simply didn't want to come out on her own!

At 8:00 that night, Scot and I went to the hospital and were shown to our room. We had a nice LDS nurse who knew where Mesa was, and we talked about the snowbirds while she tried to get an IV line into my arm. She couldn't, and it took two other nurses and the anesthesiologist's assistant to finally get one in just above the bend in my right elbow, which meant I could not bend my arm for the rest of labor and delivery. Fun.

Well, things progressed nicely until the next day when I requested an epidural. It took the lady three tries to get it in, and she kept picking spots that were right where my back injury is from those falls back in high school marching band (side note: if Abby ever wants to march with a bass drum, I'm telling her no!), which made me jump. Thank God I didn't paralyze myself!! Once it was in though, things were hunky-dory until it came time to push, because little miss was sunny side up (can you say back labor much?) and insisted on an hour and a half of me pushing to get to meet her. But oh, how cute she was! And is!

After 24 hours of labor, Abby made her appearance at 7:05 p.m. on March 6, weighing in at 7 lbs. 14 oz. and measuring 19 and 1/4 inches long. There are no words to describe the joy I felt looking my daughter in the eyes for the first time, and her little eyes looking back at me; to see her cute little cheeks and watch her move her arms and kick her legs. Scot held her first, and she just looked and looked at him. We were in love from the start, and in amazement at her that first night. All the nurses said she was a very cute baby, too. Cuter than most. ;)

Today she is just over a month old, and is growing and changing every day. She laughs in her sleep (grandma says she remembers playing with the angels), and is starting to smile more and more. She has the sweetest disposition, and loves her snuggles and kisses. Nothing smells as good as she does after a bath, and I love burying my nose in her downy-soft hair. Her hair, by the way, is both light and dark-- she hasn't yet made up her mind what color hair she will have... but she has a lot of it. Her eyes are the same way; some days they look brown, and others they look hazel. We don't know yet what they are, although I'm betting on hazel. She holds her pacifier in her mouth, and is working on putting it back in when it falls out. She can hold her head up and move it around, and doesn't hesitate to change it to get comfortable when she's on someone's shoulder. Her little baby noises are purposeful. She will definitely let me know what she wants and doesn't want, a little scary for one so young, and she is very curious about her world already. Particularly the crinkly plastic bags I put her diapers in, she is all about those.

I had no idea this little person would change my life so quickly. I knew that babies did that, that someday I would probably have kids and do the "mom" thing, but I had no idea it would come so fast and with such joy! I absolutely love being her mom.

I can't wait to read her my favorite books, and to show her the classics when she's old enough.

I can't wait to have her "help" me in the kitchen, spilling flour everywhere and playing with dough.

I can't wait to get her a big floppy hat and let her dig beside me in my garden, and to see her face when little seedlings sprout up through the ground.

I can't wait to grow flowers and have her take some to the residents in the nursing home down the street from our house, to teach her about love and caring for others. About gentleness and the simple joys in life.

I can't wait to have tea with her and her stuffed animals, as an honored guest.

I can't wait for all of the little girl things, that turn into big girl things, that turn into womanly things.

Guys, I have a daughter!!

I couldn't be more thrilled.

But for now, I am content to hold her in my arms and marvel at her silky baby skin, and smile when she smiles back at me. To sit quietly for long stretches of time because this baby girl needs her mom, while she holds my finger with her little hand to tell me so. These days will go quickly, and I don't want to miss them! Not any part of them.

I'm officially in the mom club now.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hurried Hannah: Learning to Like the Gift of Rest

Right now, God has granted me a special gift. Yes, the baby is one of them, but that's not what I'm talking about in this post.

I'm talking about rest.

For the first time in my life, God has closed the doors of busyness I have been trying to open, and slammed the windows with them.

I was so discouraged at first; why would no one hire me? Or give me an interview?

Why was I suddenly stuck with all this free time on my hands?

And this is what I've learned: busyness has its place, but so does rest.

I used to think that being industrious all the time was a kind of virtue, the "proper" way for me to live my life, and I was always rushing to "make the most of my time." While that outlook served me quite well through high school and college, and then in the working world, it did take its toll.

Bags under my eyes. Not enough sleep. No time to exercise.

I don't know, something about being a contender for Zombie Magazine just wasn't good for me, in hindsight.

And now? Now I have all the time in the world to sleep, to read, to do chores, to read... basically whatever I want to do, I suddenly have time for. I'm not saying this to brag. I'm not saying it in any kind of judgy way, I'm just stating that right now, this is what my life is like.

And at first, I hated it.

I thought I was being lazy, and my days were full of guilt. I felt like I wasn't measuring up to anyone's standards, particularly my own, and I thought, "what happened to me?"

For the first time, I wasn't in the paper or winning writing contests or being chosen to go to England; I wasn't scoring my dream job, or teaching Sunday School or volunteering or making things, or taking up languages or teaching blind kids or any number of things that used to be a normal part of life for me.

Even being pregnant,  I felt like I should still be able to do them, to continue this business of being busy.

I have learned that I was wrong.

God is teaching me to rest in Him, to grow closer to Him, and to use this extra time as a season in my life to be nearer to Him.

He's telling me that it is just a season, and that I need to take time to go look at the flowers outside, and enjoy the rain, and focus on my little growing family right now; that right now, my ministry is my family and that is all He is calling me to do at the moment. That right now, I need to rest up before the little one He is entrusting to me and my husband gets here...

... that I need to rest.

I'm finally learning to listen. For the first time I think ever, I don't feel rushed during daily life. I don't think I've ever known (even as a child I was this way) what it feels like not to be in a hurry with everything. Going to college? Better hurry through it to save money. Going shopping? Better get in and out as fast you can, you should be doing something else. Going to the gas station? Only because I have to, and I would actually bring flash cards or things to do while I stood there at the pump. My dentist still reminds me of the times I did homework sitting in the lobby. After church, I would often sit in the car and do homework until the rest of the family was ready to go. You get the idea.

For some reason, probably foolish youth and pride, I always thought that God would have some "Big Purpose" for my life, and I envisioned that as being an overseas missionary, trekking through jungles or toiling in deserts, and someday He might call me to to that. Especially because Scot has similar notions.

But not right now.

And I know once the baby gets here, busyness will have its place again.

I'm learning to be ok with resting during this special season of my life.

I found this poem, and I want to share it with all of you because it describes what I'm learning:

From The Still Small Voice

I longed to walk along an easy road, 
And leave behind the dull routine of home,
Thinking in other fields to serve my God; 
But Jesus said, "My time has not yet come." 

I longed to sow the seed in other soil, 
To be unshackled in the work, and free, 
To join with other laborers in their toil; 
But Jesus said, "It's not My choice for thee." 

I longed to leave the desert, and be led
To work where souls were sunk in sin and shame, 
That I might win them; but the Master said, 
"I have not called you, publish here My name."

I longed to fight the battles of my King, 
Lift high His standards in the thickest strife;
But my great Captain had me wait and sing
Songs of His conquests in my quiet life. 

I longed to leave the hard and difficult sphere,
Where all alone I seemed to stand and wait,
To feel I had some human helper near, 
But Jesus had me guard one lonely gate. 

I longed to leave the common daily toil, 
Where no one seemed to understand or care; 
But Jesus said, "I choose for you this soil,
That you might raise for Me some blossoms rare." 

And now I have no longing but to do 
At home, or far away, His blessed will, 
To work amid the many or the few; 
Thus, "choosing not to choose," my heart is still. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Changes (as in, every major life change you could think of right now, except maybe owning llamas)

For those of you who aren't close family and friends, Scot and I moved to Colorado about 2 weeks ago. My fabulous husband will be attending his dream graduate program starting on Monday, and I am so excited for him and incredibly proud! We are getting used to being OUTSIDE in the summer (remember, we are home-grown desert rats from Arizona), and I discovered that having the windows open in the morning, letting the cool air circulate through the house, is a wonderfully fresh thing. We also get rain here!! I almost forgot what it was. There are beautiful trees, and flowers, and even... yes... grass! We are very happy so far here.

Scot secured a job at Quest Laboratories while he goes to school, so he won't have a lot of time off this year. That leaves me with plenty of time to write, and play the piano, and compose, and sew, and craft, and bake, and yada yada.

But wait, you say. Why aren't I working?

Because... drumroll please... we are expecting! We are going to be parents come late February.

We found out officially on Father's Day this year, which was fitting for Scot. We then told our dads that we wished them a happy Father's Day and Grandfather's Day, too! Both sets of parents are over the moon for this new baby.

I am experiencing morning sickness, along with other things, but I know that in the end it will be more than worth it when I get to hold our little baby Carlisle in my arms. How exciting!

We aren't dead-set on any names (although I've shot down most of Scot's suggestions...

Me: "I want a strong name, preferably a Biblical name, for our kid. Names are important!"
Scot: "How about Jezebel? Or Haman? Or Ahab? Or-"
Me: *head hits desk* "No," through muffled laughter)

Anyway, we are both beyond thrilled and like Abigail Grace so far for a girl, and maybe William for a boy. Although knowing *ahem* family, our kid would be called Wet Willy, so I'm re-thinking that one a bit.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Another exciting development in our little life story is that the plot for my novel is now finished, with room for a sequel and ideas for that, too. I can't tell you what it is about yet, but I have been a long time in the throes of reading writer's blogs, getting all the writing tips I can, and going through my favorite novels in the genre I'm writing in (fiction) and dissecting how the authors formulate their writing. I think I have them down.

Now, alas, to begin! I'm excited. I think this book may actually have a chance, but we will see.

That about wraps up the last few months... can you say, "crazy?" Wait, what am I talking about. I don't know, must be the pregnancy brain...


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Our Cruise Journal-- (The Highlight Version)

I do not have time to capture every part of our trip, so here's the condensed version.

Highlights of Our Trip:

Ocean sunsets
Rainforest Toucan
Scot ate a termite
Tubing through Xilbalba, the Mayan hell
Pineapples growing
Claustrophobia on board ship

Snorkeling in Cozumel
Ziplining in Belize
*I got turned backwards and crashed into the wooden platform at the end*
Relaxing on the beach
Smell of sunscreen everywhere
Found out I love pineapple and coconut drinks

Movies with my honey
2 on-board comedy shows
An old Motown sing-along show we left early
Art history lecture
Ship navigation lecture
Yes we are old people at heart sometimes :)

But the best part?
A whole uninterrupted week with Scot.
Dancing on the very top of the ship,
Playing mini-golf in the insane winds
Seeing his eyes light up in the jungle
Leisurely dinners together

It's been great first year babe (well, not until June technically

but close enough)!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Our First Pets

A week until the Caribbean, but Scot and I wanted to get a head start looking at fish. The tank took a while to set up (you can't add everything all at once), but here's the finished product.

We have two clownfish (like Nemo)

This one is a flame angelfish.

She's super pretty. 

This is our emerald crab

And here is our six-line wrasse.

Every time its eyes move, it's kind of freaky.

And lastly here's our coral-banded shrimp. 

I'm sorry they aren't the best pictures, but fish are hard to photograph! 

We are thinking of setting up a smaller tank for some seahorses and a green mandarin. We'll see, though. Everybody seems to get along, and they are fascinating to watch. 

Anybody have any saltwater tank or seahorse keeping tips? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Crazy Carlisles

Here's an update from us crazy newlyweds... we are going on a cruise! A Caribbean cruise, no less. What we are doing:

  • Ziplining through the jungle in Belize
  • Tubing down a rainforest river (cross your fingers there aren't any crocs!!)
  • Taking a twister boat to a private island to enjoy an out-of-the-way beach near Cozumel
  • Sailing on a catamaran to one of the best snorkling/ diving spots, with lunch included in Honduras

We can't WAIT. We have been working so hard to save up for this trip, and it will be the trip of a lifetime! Scot and I wanted to do something special to celebrate our 1st year anniversary, and his graduation, and I guess my graduation too. But mainly, we just want to celebrate each other and our marriage, and we think it is deserving of a cruise. Ah!!!! 

In other news, we are getting a fish or maybe fishes! I am hoping for this beauty:

(we found him at an aquarium store)

Or, some of these or both.

How fun is that?

I threw a dinner for work that involved fish centerpieces and everybody loved them (and don't worry, the fish were properly cared for and are being taken care of). They stole the show, without a doubt. 

Here are some pics:

 (side note: I hand-made the placemats and wrote the namecards out myself, in addition to making the centerpieces)

They were great, the only problem is now I want one. Luckily, Scot is willing to adopt some. 

In other other news, we used a free cultural pass at the library to go to the zoo. I hadn't been since I was a child, and we thoroughly enjoyed monkeying around all day, like this guy.

We also found a sale at the library, and we really scored all of these for under $3 altogether.

 Scot's picks

 My pick 

And, lastly, I have been making bread and I tried bagels, too. The recipe for the bread can be found HERE

Life is good! 

Until next time,
Hannah & Scot