Being June's Mom | 7 Month Update

My sweet girl is 7 months old!! June is the best thing to ever happen to us. I love sharing these little snippets of her life with everyone. Thank you for following along. 

This has been the most difficult month so far. When she was tiny, I thought, "This is SO EASY!" She slept a lot, she ate a lot, she was easy to calm. Things are different now, but we are still enjoying the moments, even when they are hard. 

One of my favorite things to do with June is go on walks. We both need it and since the weather is finally agreeable, we have made many trips around the block. I'm going to start taking her to the park for a change of scenery. It's hard to explain how much she likes being outside. When I was pregnant, they weren't sure June would be able to express joy. I would like to bring those doctors on a walk with us...she loves it and smiles the entire time. 

I have been reading my weekly blog posts from our pregnancy as they pop up on my Facebook timeline. This past week's post was the last one before we had any bad news. I wish I could hug that girl. I want her to know that the storm coming will be terrible and trying. But I also want her to know that there is a tiny little gummy smile that wakes up to her each morning. I want to tell her my sweet girl will try her darnedest to sit up, laugh, and even use her little legs to stand when we hold her up. Dear self from 52 weeks ago, you will get through this.

Being a first time mom, I'm certainly learning what's needed and what's not. Babies don't need a full wardrobe of clothes. Seriously, this girl has so many cute things and not enough time to wear them! She grew out of some of my favorite outfits and never even wore them. Waaaaah!! Also, we probably have more baby toys we will ever know what to do with. Next time you shop for a baby shower, diapers and wipes and burp cloths are THE WAY TO GO! I always thought those were boring gifts, but now I know they are the most useful! 

Another thing I am learning as a new mom is how important it is to take time for myself. I hate asking for help, but I've been better letting Cal help when June wakes up in the night. (And by "letting Cal help" I really mean "making" him. Haha!) 

It is hard to believe, but we will be planning a first birthday party in just a few short months!!! I am excited to start dreaming and scheming. ...and crying because my baby angel is growing up so fast.

My Biggest Regret in My Marriage | 'To Have and To Hold' Series

There are many moments of our marriage that I look back on with regret. Things I said. Things I did, or didn't, do. Actions that hurt Cal. Emotional temper tantrums. The list goes on, but we all have those things. I thought long and hard about my biggest regret in our nearly eight years of marriage. It was difficult isolating one as the "biggest"...until I actually realized what it was. 

My biggest regret is that we didn't take on life as a team for so long. I'm having a hard time expressing in words what I mean, so bear with me for a minute. When we found our there were problems with our pregnancy, something changed with us. We became partners. We started to face the world together, as one unit. Sure, I've always felt like we were on the same side, but not like this. We went to battle together. We felt sorrow together. We planned our next steps together. We truly became one in our hardship. 

Bad things happen to everyone. A failed pregnancy. A family member dies. When one of you loses a job. Your house forecloses. You go through a major surgery. Financial loss. When you receive more bad new than you know what to do with. Those things show you just how much you need one another. Our particular circumstances made me understand the words, "For better or worse." 

 So, my regret is that it took me a ridiculously difficult time to take my husband's hand and say, "Whatever you got, world, we can take it." Don't wait until the hard part comes to start living and acting like your backs are against the wall and the only way you can do it is together. 






When You Have the Perfect Wife | 'To Have and To Hold' Series

So you have the perfect wife? I asked my husband, Cal, to take the lead on this one. I mean, it would be arrogant of me to write an entire post on my perfect qualities, right? ;)

Standards can be a funny thing.  In order to get good things, one has to have standards.  But, we often times fail our own standards.  This seems to be a paradox.  Marriage, it seems to me, is this sort of conundrum.  Some of us may say we have the perfect wife.  This is especially common among those soon to be married and newlyweds.  Before I was married and during our newlywed period, I thought that I had a perfect wife.  Notice I say a perfect wife, not the perfect wife.  It wasn't like I thought my wife was perfect and above all others, or attaining a sort of objective standard of perfection.  What I thought I had was a perfect wife, a woman who met my notions of perfection.  This worked great for a while, as long as things were the way I thought they should be.  

Eventually, I began to see that I did not have a perfect wife.  Some of you may be thinking, "Duh, how could this even be something that you needed time to realize."  Whether I am thick or not may require a different blog post.  My realization was in actuality not a good thing.  After a few months, I came to see that my wife was not up to my standards and therefore not a perfect wife.  For the next FEW years of my marriage, I harbored feelings of resentment towards my wife.  Sometimes this would come out in harsh words, cutting criticisms, and giving her the silent treatment.  All of my antics assumed the premise that my criteria for what a perfect wife should be resided in my subjective set of standards.  My frustration with my wife was grounded in selfishness.  My marriage wasn't about us, it was about her attaining my standards.  Never did I consider that my thought processes and standards caused me to be an imperfect husband.  I spent more time attempting to rehabilitate my wife to standards, and virtually no time on self improvement.  The truth is that my wife's burdens and struggles are mine.  This took me a few years to recognize and fight back against.  

I still have to fight these feelings in my marriage.  Many would say that if your spouse doesn't meet your standards, then it's just time to find someone else.  If that's what marriage is, then you don't have a marriage but a legal contract.  Party A has to do the following, and Party B must hold up their end of the bargain.  If this is your view of marriage, you will at the very least fight, harbor resentment, and brood.  In the worst cases you will steer the marriage straight to separation and divorce.  

I certainly can't be a perfect husband, and my wife can't be a perfect wife.  If marriage is about having your spouse satisfy your subjective standards, it's not really a marriage.  A real marriage has some elements of a contract to it, but it is so much more.  Jesus tells us that the marriage union is a profound mystery, and that a man and a woman come together to form one flesh and that to do this a man and woman both leave their prior family relationship to start a new unit.  There cannot be a perfect wife because perfection is not something that a spouse can achieve, but a standard by which a marriages can be measured.  I cannot look to my wife to be perfect without also demanding perfection of myself.  I need not focus on the actions of my spouse, but on the cultivation and growth of the marriage.  I know this is abstract, but I will have some practical application of these ideas in coming posts in the "To Have and To Hold" series.


Photo: Kate Coogan