Monday, June 23, 2014

The Baby Years: Rocky Mountain High

There goes trouble.

Recently our family watched some old videos of the kids when they were babies. After laughing at how funny the kids reacted to seeing themselves as little ones I then noticed the dazed and confused look I had in those videos.  Questions popped into my head like, "is that ME?" and "why don't I remember that?" "we had three kids in diapers?" Sleep deprivation was my constant companion in those days as with any parents of infants. In our digital age of technology advancements, I'm thankful for the easy accessibility to videoing and snapping pictures to secure lasting memories. For me, this has been crucial because within four years, I got married, had four pregnancies, experienced a career change and moved across state to the beloved Kansas City area. To say I was in a haze those days is an understatement.

By no means do I feel I deserve a medal or award for surviving the baby years of my children's lives. There are many married and  single parents out there without the resources and support they should have and end up doing an incredible job. There are many parents who have lost their little ones to SIDs or other fatal situations. Not to mention those who simply cannot get pregnant and birth their own biological children. I recognize and respect all of these sensitive situations. Bearing children is a supernatural phenomenon.

Which brings me to my confession. I didn't enjoy being pregnant, nor did I enjoy those sleepless nights. Before you stop reading and disregard me as a selfish, ungrateful mom, let me explain.  I love my kids. I have always wanted to be a mother. In fact, I wanted a six pack of them! Growing up as an only child with a mother from a family of  five and a father from a family of six lent itself to endless amounts of crazy times, organized chaos, occasional tears with daily hugs and kisses-all of which I couldn't get enough of.  I lived for family gatherings, our revolving front door with my grandparents, aunts and uncles taking care of me and making everything seem like an adventure .  So you can imagine the discourse I felt when I became pregnant and found it overwhelming. Along with some physical issues due to pregnancy, I struggled with "keep calm and carry on."  Long story short, I'm happy to be past that point and where I am now.

Psalms 121: 1-2 (NIV)
I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

I have realized over the years from conversations with my friends and strangers, self-help articles, and much prayer, that parenting is a different journey for everyone. This is such a sigh of relief for me.  Every time I was pregnant in the grocery store, some sweet little 'ol lady would walk up and say something like, "savor every minute, there is a miracle growing inside of you". Guilt would sink in because I would give her a half heartfelt smirk and go back to counting the days until I delivered. Glad to know there are others out there who also struggle with complete bliss as a 24/7 caregiver. 

A few years ago on the 4th of July In Vail. 
Janie looking for...her stroller, binky, woobie, nap time.

When the three amigos arrived safe and sound over those four years, I was more than thankful.  They each came with their own challenges but also with their own amazing personalities. One of my favorite memories is of our middle child, Molly. She loves suckers. We NEVER would have given our first born a sucker at the age of two. But being that she came 14 months after Tommy, it seemed fitting. I mean it resembles a pacifier, right? Naturally, her first word was not "momma, "dada", "ball" or "doll". It was "suckaaaa (sucker)." She would yell it out with this cute little lisp so proud and always right at me. When we watched her on video the other night saying it, I couldn't help but think that maybe she wasn't talking about a lollipop.

Fast forward to today, we are on kidcation in Vail, Colorado and I'm in heaven. My favorite family, yearly vacation since Tommy was a baby. We've made it across the long stretch of flat highway, through the valleys, around the mountain and are enjoying God's country together. No diaper bags, binkies, bibs, strollers, poop attacks or throw up (hope not), middle of the night feedings or scheduled naptimes (well, maybe for me). I have been looking forward to this day of doing what we want, when we want, as we want. It's here!

Now I just need to get all these pics into a photo book.

Let me end with this, several of my close friends are preggo or have just had their babies and I am ecstatic. Those that know me well, know that I am a "baby bandit". If you have a baby, I will whisk it away faster than you can say  thank you, and I've got that bundle of joy for the rest of the night. Confused? Why would she want to hold babies when it's clear she wasn't in love with the baby years of her own offspring? The only explanation I can give you is this: I loved holding my babies and when others held them as well.  I still love watching their infant videos, reminiscing through old baby photos,  I'll always love the sweet sounds and smells of all babies. But I feel it's unrealistic to love every single moment of parenting. I don't believe it means you are ungrateful, it means you recognize that it's hard! I do know that the years ahead will bring more mountains to climb as a parent, but also more breathtaking memories.  

Those little miracles which grow inside of our bodies should be savored.
 I just think each parent savors them at different times. 
Thank you little 'ol lady from the grocery store.

Here are some apps/programs which help you preserve those memories, before you forget them:
  • Drop it like it's hot! Dropbox: seriously, how many times do I need to mention this app. I LOVE it. backs up all my camera uploads, video, files... asap. I can retrieve them from anywhere. FREE.
  • Laptop Lovers: Laptops are not dead. Don't get bullied into dissing the laptop. If you do like to save pics, videos, etc to your laptop that is completely acceptable. One program I use is MovieMaker (Windows 7). Occasionally I create and produce videos for weddings, funerals, anniversaries, etc. This program is amazing. You can load any photos you want, add  (your own) music from iTunes, time it and upload it to YouTube or burn it to a DVD. (Note: I back up the pics to Dropbox so I don't have to use my hard drive space).
An editing pic from a wedding video I produced in MovieMaker.
It's not hard and actually a lot of fun!
  • Mac the Night (or Day): iMovie via Apple is incredible, but it does take a lot of storage and usage from your iPhone, iPad or Mac laptop.
  • Usual Suspects:  Vimeo, Shutterfly, Animoto, Vine, Snapfish- all Free and I use them all. Animoto (for videos) and Shutterfly (for photo books)  are my fav. They all are apps and web-based. They come with all kinds of help/step by step tutorials.

When it's all said and done, there ain't no mountain high enough to keep me from being there and lovin' on my kids. ;)

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