Thursday, August 22, 2013

Some marital honesty

I remember the first 6 months of marriage as mostly being incredibly challenging and not very fun. Jeff and I are both pretty selfish creatures. We both like to get our way and, like most, we had much learning and maturing to do that first year of marriage. Who knew the kind of effort and selflessness marriage would require? Really, the first year was very challenging but with people around us who knew and loved us we learned and grew so much. Thankfully, things started to seem much more fluid after the first year.

After several years of waiting, we decided to try and get pregnant. Very quickly, we did, and we had our son, Noah. The whole pregnancy, birth, first days and months were such a beautiful time for us. Everything was new and exciting, we clung to Jesus and each other in the challenging moments, but it was all so beautiful. Jeff and I were a team and we had a family!
When my dad died, Noah was only seven months old. He was slowly becoming less- baby and more-toddler which presented new, busier challenges. When he was 10 months old I became pregnant with Gracie. We were ecstatic and had been waiting for the time that we could get pregnant again (after needing to wait 9 months due to my c-section). As exciting as it was, reality hit not long after finding out. I had been exhausted from grieving the death of my dad and now entered a very, tiring first trimester…all the while still adjusting to parenthood in general and chasing after a busy baby boy. Somewhere in the middle of that pregnancy Jeff and I got really off track. His job was at the peak of a new transition, he was traveling a lot, I was pregnant, and although I don’t think I realized it, I was very much still grieving the loss of my dad. In hindsight, it was the beginning of feeling like we were completely falling apart.

Months later, we had Gracie. Her birth was a successful VBAC and such a beautiful moment for our whole family. But in all honesty, it was very much tainted by how distant from each other Jeff and I were becoming. We were lacking our “oneness” which really stood out in such an intimate time. It makes us both so sad now, but I remember Gracie’s first days as being challenging, lonely, and painful…much different than the first days of Noah.

Still adjusting to life with two kids and a fussy baby, we started house hunting when Gracie was four months old. That. Was. Brutal. But thank God, it brought so much to the surface. We came dangerously and painfully close to a breaking point. We needed help and finally came to a place where we had nothing left to do but ask for it. With a friend, who loves us like a dad and served us a mediator one evening, we sat in our living room being open, honest, yelling, and crying. Our friend loved us and was also honest with us. It was a hard night, but a turning point. This particular night was also right after we got back from our annual summer vacation to San Diego (that was also tainted and crummy). Vacation buzz kill!

This year, we went to San Diego and completely enjoyed each other. We probably said a thousand times, “wow, it’s so nice to actually like each other this year”. Marriage is crazy. Life is crazy. Little kids who are completely dependent make both of those things even crazier, but it’s so much easier when we are walking in the rolls that Lord has given each of us and when we’re working to serve each other and not ourselves. Throw in obvious things like laying down pride and communicating and there’s a much better recipe for success than we were using before.   

That being said, there was much time to reflect this last week having been away. I may have had a near break-down over a sub sandwich one afternoon, but other than that we went on vacation in a great place and we came home in a great place (also a new house- thank you Lord!). I’m so grateful for the work that the Lord has done in both of us over the last year. I’m grateful for how and what he has taught us, for people who love us when we need to be loved, and for our growing family. We have nine or so weeks until we meet our son and it’s nothing but exciting. I’m so proud of my husband and I feel privileged to journey through life with him.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oh, sweet productivity!

One of the many frustrations for me in the life of kids has been my inability to get things done. Before kids, I could run errands for any time of day, throw a party on a whim, paint a room on a Tuesday because I felt like it, reorganize my cabinets, etc. etc... Now, with two kids who are 19 months apart and another on the way I either take weeks to get one of these things done, I get a babysitter, or I just tell myself that in 10 years I'll (hopefully) have the time to do it.

With an employee recently leaving Jeff's family's business, he hasn't traveled for weeks (which has been a.mazing!), but on his last trip away I decided to grab the bull by the horns and paint Noah's room. Of course, this meant starting the job after the kids went down for the night and staying up until about 2:30 am. It took me two nights of this to get Noah's room finished but it felt so good when it was done.

Every room in our house desperately needs color, but I decided to start with the kids' since they had this awful white-with-a- ting-of-pink paint on the walls and ceilings. Hideous! My first dilemma was, since Noah and Gracie will be sharing a room for a time, I needed to make it something neutral yet colorful. Noah's room has a nice molding on the walls so I painted the top a light gray and the bottom pure white. As soon as I can get my hands on some yellow fabric I'm going to do yellow curtains and accent Gracie's part of the room with purples and Noah's with blues.

Three weeks ago we found out baby #3 is another...BOY! What is now Gracie's room will be the baby's nursery for at least a year so I was waiting to see what the gender of this baby was before painting. We went with a nice green to really add a pop of color. I felt like I was in the center of an avocado at first, but it's growing on me. It goes perfectly with the bedding in Gracie's room now and will go perfectly with what I used for Noah's nursery and what will likely be #3's soon too. I need to pick out some fabric for the curtains in there also. Curtains are the next priority on my to-do list!

Jeff could go the rest of his life without changing a thing in our home and as satisfying as it was to have those rooms painted, I have officially moved on to the next project. Now that I have some color, I see the light and I can't stop running towards it! I think I often frustrate Jeff for having so many "projects" but it's so much more than a project to me. Our home is where I do everything. It's our sanctuary. I want it to be warm, inviting, and comfortable. The projects that I come up with aren't out of a place of discontent but a desire to make our house OUR home. I feel like it's my duty.

For now, here are pictures of the kids' semi-finished rooms. I guess I could have waited until I got the curtains done, but let's be honest, that's probably still at least a month away. I'm hoping to paint our living room, family room and kitchen next. By next, I mean before the baby gets here. T-minus five months and counting!



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Whoa, baby!

If two wasn't crazy enough, sometime in mid-October there will be THREE little Markins' in our home. Yep, I'm pregnant! Aside from, at this moment, feeling slightly defeated after having three of the most challenging days with Gracie this week, we are ecstatic!

We were actually a little bit surprised this time around, which makes this third pregnancy even more unique and exciting. Gracie hasn't been an easy baby and after she was born I told God I needed at least a year before I got pregnant again. (Wasn't it nice of him to listen to me?) As Jeff has been traveling more, and some days, it still feels like we're adjusting to two, we started talking about waiting another year. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure I can hear God laughing because the next day I took a test and saw that little, blue plus sign. Jeff traveled a lot that month and things just seemed slow, you know what I mean? Surprise! We're having a baby!

I actually really enjoy being pregnant. I love the miracle that it is and don't take it for granted. I'm relieved and grateful that God has spared me from longing for a baby and not being able to conceive. For us, getting pregnant has been easy. It seems so basic, but I know it is a challenging and painful process for many these days. We have known so, so many friends who have suffered loss or infertility. Praise be to God that we have not. Although, I do need to remind myself regularly that this baby is His from the git-go.

Our first pregnancy was exciting because of all of the firsts. I was dying to buy maternity clothes, feel little kicks, understand what people meant when they said "I feel as big as a house" (which I did). Our second pregnancy was exciting because, after losing my dad, we had new life to look forward to. Would this baby be a brother for Noah, or would it be a new experience, a girl? It felt new all over again once we found out that it was, in fact, a girl.

This time, it's just exciting for reasons I can't even explain. Maybe it's the surprise aspect, I don't know, but it feels new yet again. Whether we had a preference or not on sex the last two times, there is NO pressure this time. It just feels like a really special bonus baby! We're comfortable doing the boy thing and just as comfortable doing the girl thing. I will say, my instinct is that it's a boy. I have had some nausea this time around just as I had with Noah and I'm in love with salty foods again. With Gracie, all I wanted was sweets and sleep!

No one in either of our families have ventured to three kids, so this is also exciting. We're "heading into uncharted waters" as Jeff likes to say. That's slightly frightening when I say it out loud, but we have such great community and support around us, I know we will be okay. One kid had it's crazy moments, 2 has definitely had it's crazy moments, so I know to expect that 3 will also have it's crazy moments. I have had several people tell me that the third is the easiest, and I'll admit, I'm clinging to that a little bit.

I'm 9.5 weeks now and keeping it a secret was too hard. Throw in that fact that I think I might be showing already and it was time to tell.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Seems like forever

Two years. It has been two whole years since I have seen my dad. It feels like forever since I have heard his laugh or been able to give him a hug. I miss him dearly and as this two year mark has been approaching, I have been thinking about him and reflecting on his life for some weeks now.

So much has changed in the last two years. In February of last year I was anxiously (and nervously) awaiting the birth of my daughter. Gracie arrived beautifuly and has added so much to our family. Needless to say, it has been sad that my dad hasn't been able to be a part of her first days, weeks, and months. A friend summed it up best when she affirmed me that in all of the happy moments, there will always be a bit of sadness. Sadness for what is not and for what is different. It's just the way it is.

Everyone says it, but the rate that kids grow and change is unreal. Noah was seven months old when my dad passed. He was practically still a blob. Now, he's running, playing with friends, and developing more and more personality by the second. I have these moments where I try and picture how my dad would play with him and it makes me a little bit sad. Sometimes, it's because he isn't here to share in these moments. Sometimes it's because, in all honesty, it's hard to picture at all. Things are different now. One thing is for sure; he would have been a great grandpa to my kids. Afterall, he was a great man.

I can be such a realist sometimes that it's annoying. Even when I want to be sad and feel sorry for myself my thoughts always come full circle to what is true. In the moments of sadness, I am reminded of the fact that these moments are temporary. Praise be to God for that! Jeff and I have a very close friend who would be close to my dad's age. There are so many similarities between them, it's funny. This friend of ours recently said something that was "so my dad", and as I thought about it later I was telling Jeff that I wish they could have gotten to know each other as I think they would have been good friends. He completely caught me off-gaurd when he said, "and I think they will be in Heaven". I had a slow drip of tears for about 30 minutes. It was sad because they can't be friends now, but oh so beautiful because someday they can be. Thankfully, I was once again reminded that the pain and struggles of this life are temporary. This life is temporary.

I am so grateful to know that God called my dad. That He has called me. That someday I get to introduce him to my kids, and to our friends. I will get to laugh with him again. Someday, there won't be any sadness associated with these sweet moments. I am thankful that someday, God's going to restore this life. Until that day, I will continue to press forward and find my hope and peace in Him.