38+ weeks

hey friends,

so i haven’t been updating much, and definitely haven’t been using this blog as much of a personal blog, in quite a while. but i wanted to fill y’all in on the goings on in the pappas household.

i’m currently 38 weeks and a few days. given that keaton was a 41w+5d babe, i keep telling myself to just assume 42 weeks. it was easy with keaton to just keep going and not think much about it, but this time around it feels different. literally. LOTS of practice/warming up happening, and lots of those lovely “zingers” as i call them. i know my body and baby are preparing…and for that, i am grateful.

we got some maternity shots done recently, too! this amazing and talented photographer (petula pea photography) was actually a doula client of mine. she is just the absolute sweetest woman you will ever meet, and is beyond talented. as you can tell by these sneak peaks:

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are you swooning yet? dead from gorgeousness? not our own of course, but just the FEEL and the LOOK of these photos? we wandered into a totally random field with dead grass and weeds and such and ta-da! talk about her having a vision…! again, her link is Petula Pea Photography, and if you are in San Diego- she does amazing work. Check out her portfolio! her weddings are so insanely gorgeous, too!!

we are currently feeling really grateful we are waiting to find out if this sweet pea is a boy or a girl. i love the build up of not knowing, and i love that the moment of meeting this little goose will be that much more of an “oh my GOODNESS!” moment. if that’s even possible?!

i keep thinking about how keaton is going to be a big brother, and that we will be parents to two little peas. i really don’t have those feelings of “ohhh, i feel sad that it won’t just be keaton any more” or anything like that…i feel like we have given him our absolute all during this period of his life that it has been just him, but that we have also really striven already thus far to show him that life isn’t all about him no matter what. so add in a sibling, move him to a remote nation for missions work, or put him on a playground with other kids…we want him to show us, as he says, “my kind, sweet, gentle heart.” goodness do we pray he always keeps that kind, sweet, gentle heart (of course there are days where it seems like it has left his little body forever! only to return a bit later in the form of cuddles and kisses and genuine care).  our prayer is that this new little life only serves to strengthen keaton’s heart in his awareness of our love for him, his abilities to be kind and gentle and encouraging and selfless, and to point him towards God’s everlasting love. what more could we want?!

i have a little email address that i set up for keaton when he was maybe 4-5 months old and have been periodically writing emails and sending photos or videos. i am writing him an email in a bit about how these are the last days of “just us” … and i am cherishing the waiting game (still very very early in the waiting game!) as of now, as it keeps me in this beautiful precipice of known and unknown.

i already know that the unknown is the most beautiful thing we have ever experienced, so this … this is exactly where we are supposed to be.

 

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and with that, hello…

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i kept telling myself i would focus on blogging when my final doula client i had scheduled before my own little goose arrived had her baby.  funny about the timing of baby’s births though…it’s never quite what you envision! this sweet mama nurtured and loved on her healthy baby boy longer than we anticipated, and i thought to myself- eh, i’ll write a post whenever it does happen and go from there. but i kind of envisioned starting to get back to blogging around week 22 or so. welp, hello week 25!

it was quite the labor for this mama. i pulled just about every doula trick i knew (and researched new ones) for this birth. and, in the end, a sweet little boy is now in the world and is so stinkin sweet and healthy and fully loved by his family. and a sweet little boy who shares the same name as MY sweet little boy, no less!

and with that, hello…

and with that, my phone has been turned off at night and i have started thinking of baby names. i have started to envision what life will be like with two. i have started to really focus on the reality of what is happening in my own belly, rather than solely focusing on what is happening in others’ bellies (although, of course, i still have that focus, it’s just not as intense as it is when doula’ing for a couple- where i am quite invested). it was pretty fun to have those conversations about names, about what little girl clothing we would get should this little goose be a girl…and how similar or different we think they will be if this little goose is a boy. i finally let myself go there, and it was pretty freeing honestly.

i will be 25 weeks tomorrow. i have 17 weeks or less to go before meeting this little one. and while yes, we are preparing for the birth, i am also doing much more heart preparation this time around. God has been working in our lives in mighty ways over the past few months (well, He always has been, we just have been crazy aware of it recently in particular), and i believe this is a result of our steadfast desire to spend time with Him and ask Him for very specific direction in terms of our family’s future. a lot of prayer in regards to having the heart of a parent of 2 that glorifies Him, for the good to be refined and for the negative to be made clean…for the heart of our kiddos to turn to Him and love Him by our example. i think i left God out of my journey in many ways in my last pregnancy- or, i should say, i didn’t understand the fullness i could have by intentionally inviting Him into each and every experience within my pregnancy (and life) and birth and early parenting world. i know better these days. or, i should say, HE has shown me better.

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i have about 6 different blog posts started for the next couple weeks, and more ideas swirling. some are birth related (you’ll hear more about my transition out of being a “hypnobirthing” instructor and into my own “brand” of classes that reflect, fully, what i teach, you’ll meet my “birth team” and learn a bit more about how i picked them, and pick up some advice about how to pick your own should you be looking for some of that!), as well as life related (learn more about what keaton is up to, what my belly is up to, what directions our family is being led…)

but for now…hello.

and for now…here are my babes.

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sometimes

i can’t count how many posts i’ve made where i’ve mentioned how crazy it is that my son is growing up so quickly. i guess i won’t ever stop thinking that. even when i am watching him drive away for the first time on his own, or heading off to college, or getting his first career job, or dancing with him on his wedding day, or crying with him when his son or daughter is born…i guess my thought will always be- wow, how time has flown!

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i don’t really want it to fly though. not necessarily because i treasure these moments so much (i do, i wish i could bottle them up and keep them forever), but moreso because i don’t want that to be my life. “where did the time go?!”

this year, after looking at pinterest at the end of last year, i decided to take note of little joys that happen each day in my life. not only does this help me see joy in sometimes unexpected places, but it helps me take some time out of being preoccupied with busy-ness and focus on the sweetness of life. grace.

some days the joys are easier to spot than others. keaton happy, mama happy- yes, good things just seem to burst forth like a well.  but some days i don’t want to leave the house and keaton is running me ragged and i just don’t know how i’m keeping all of the balls i have in the air up so high. but those days are when this practice is so needed. where is my joy? in my circumstance? dependent on my day to day experiences? dependent on the choices my son makes to obey or disobey? where is the joy in that fickle-ness? how can i be IN the moment when i feel overwhelmed by it?!

those are the days i need the reminders of sweet grace in my life. of taking on a project and seeing it to completion. of writing hand written cards to friends and sending them. of bringing up old jokes with my husband that we had forgotten how they used to make us laugh so hard we couldn’t breathe. of being intentional in my discipline with my son but deciding to focus more on connecting than correcting. of finding even small ways to bless my family. of doing something sweet for my husband that reminds him that no matter how many kids or jobs or crazy things that happen, that i always strive to honor and love him well because, well, i love him.

thinking about these sweet graces in my life and shifting my perspective is helping me reclaim my joy. and it’s keeping my footing strong. and helps me stay in the moment, enjoying the moments rather than letting them dictate how my life will be, or how i will engage in that life. yes there are times when i’m stressed, and overwhelmed, and wondering how in the world i can take any more in that exact moment- but in that same exact moment there is still joy to be found. it takes a lot of intentionality to find it, but it’s there. and i’m learning to find it. to enjoy the moments of my life rather than let them slip by unnoticed. it’s making me a better woman. a better wife. a better mom.

a few days ago was a rough day with keaton. he wasn’t giving me a hard time, he was having a hard time. or at least i kept telling myself that.  i wasn’t feeling well, i didn’t have a lot of energy to play with him, and i was getting the brunt of his frustration. we could have gone on all day like that. a few minutes of giggles followed by some alone time, followed by tears and frustration, followed by some giggles and so the pattern could have just repeated all day. i decided instead to make the best of it. his sweet little laugh was all i needed to keep going. we made, out of the blankets on the bed that i was laying sick in, a pretty awesome fort. i had keaton run and get books and toys and he brought them in with him, as if he was entering disneyland or something, with a huge smile he says “mommy this is VERY cool!” add on a flashlight and some shadow puppets and there you go…day turned upside down. a shift in my perspective to be present and meet his needs while needing to meet my own needs as well…took a bit more effort than just turning over and thinking “woah is me…”

and it was one of those moments that will go down on a piece of paper for my little joys of the day for the year. and when the year is up and i look back on it through these papers, i can smile and say- yup, that WAS very cool.

it’s the little things

i am not much of a new years’ resolution kind of girl, but i do appreciate the newness that a new year can bring. (how many times can YOU use the word “new” in a sentence?!)

i like the feeling of a blank slate. of an easy to utilize way to being truly following hard after what has been serving your heart well, and easing off the things that were holding you back the previous year. it just feels like a fresh start when you look at it that way, and a good bench mark to feel yourself out- where am i? where is my heart? what am i striving towards?

in 2013 i want to focus more on contentment.  not complacency, but contentment.tumblr_lsrie3me6l1qiqf01o1_500

ever heard that phrase before? it is something i have hanging on my corkboard above our home computer. it is something i need constant reminding of. i can, almost instantly, go from “ohhh, i feel beyond thankful and want to serve others, etc etc!” to “ahhh! i’m discontent! i am not good enough, smart enough, busy enough, a good enough mom, a good enough wife, a good enough friend, i don’t have enough cute clothes!” woah. that’s quite the shift, right?! all from how i choose to look at things. when i am coveting things, when i have pieces of envy and jealousy that are shrouding my view on the world, i immediately am small. not good enough. i don’t measure up. but guess what? that’s not where my heart should be focused at all, and i don’t need to believe the lies. but what i do need is to take my thoughts captive. to CHOOSE my outlook, to CHOOSE joy, to CHOOSE contentment.

i have been thinking about just that recently- taking my thoughts captive. i was washing the dishes the other night and was kind of bitter about it- why are there ALWAYS dishes?! why do i always end up doing them?! ohhh poor me, why oh why?! and then i asked myself why i am doing them in the first place. yeah, i don’t like a messy kitchen…but really…why. well, it’s because it serves my family well. it allows for our family to focus on being together. sometimes the things that we need to do aren’t the most fun, but they need to get done. when i started thinking about the fact that even the act of doing the dishes, something i was bitter about just moments ago, was actually serving my family well- woah! i was done with the dishes in no time and off to find another project to help keep the flow of our household going. this is a small example, but a huge heart change.

i am not always the greatest at taking my thoughts captive on my own. i am GREAT at encouraging others to do so- family, friends, students, doula clients- I can remind them that they can get to a place where they are focusing on the truths instead of the lies. and they often do. but i’m not so great at doing that on my own. but guess what?! more great news! we weren’t meant to do this all on our own! travel partners were created for this journey.

i’m learning more and more about my need for community. not just friends or people i chat about things with, but real authentic community that builds me up and i help build up too. the type of relationships where you come to serve but in the process are also served, and even if that had previously made you a little uncomfortable (raising hand), you accept it because that’s what we are there for…serving each other well. i’m not always great at (i swear this isn’t a “i’m not always great at!” post!!) asking for help when i need it. i can do a lot of things on my own, i CAN do it…but should i? that’s a question that’s been on my heart. 2013 is going to be for focusing on contentment. contentment found in this kind of community. i’m thankful for a church that focuses so hard on community and doing life with one another, without that i think it would be easy for me to feign this. fake it a little, pretend like friendships are real community, and call it a day. that’s not what i want! real, authentic community. and in that, an encouragement towards contentment.

contentment, as i mentioned, is such a choice. for me, another way to actually CHOOSE this kind of joy and contentment is to notice the little things, to HONOR the little things. like soaking up the times when keaton gets a case of the giggles and can’t stop laughing. or when i see trevor and keaton running around the house- keaton chasing him growling and saying “i’m a lioooonnn!!”, or even the bigger things like the big conversations trev and i have about our future, our family, mission work, whatever (or the asinine conversations we have that leave us both cracking up for no apparent reason). soaking up those things. enjoying those things. when you soak up that, there’s much less time to think about what is lacking. and honestly, in those moments- there isn’t much that’s lacking at all!

i’m not saying i don’t want to strive for more. or that learning or gaining new skills or knowledge is bad. not at all. or that i don’t want MORE from life. because i do, and i will. but the MORE just looks different to me than what conventionally it might look like to others. contentment is not complacency.

i know i will struggle and fail at this, and while i am encouraged by the first couple weeks of the year, i know that there will be weeks where i am just not. i hope by simply pressing “publish” here this serves as a reminder to me of where i’ve been and where i want to go. and what i hope for your hearts as well.

how are you doing? what are you hoping for this year? where is your heart focused? let’s get real here and encourage each other in this.

and, i leave you with some of the small things that make my heart full. just a small conversation, but a sweet part of my heart. contentment in this giggle.

hello my friend, hello

oh, hey. how are you? how’s your family? yeah, it’s been a while. we should get coffee and catch up.

my blog avoiding tendencies are getting in the way of actually having a blog. i teeter between deactivating this thing and trying to make it like a full blown blog where i keep everyone much more updated than i do now. but for now, i’ll come slowly crawling back to you. with promises of future coffee dates. and catch up sessions. maybe we can skype? okay. sounds great. it’s a date.

first up: obligatory cute pictures of keaton as a duck for his first halloween (yeah, i’m running late i know). this time last year i thought we would have a newborn to dress up. but no, little man made us wait almost a-whole-nother month for his arrival. which, by the way, the year anniversary of is coming quite quickly! first up, keaton and his amigos. he had a twin duck in his little late arriving friend audrey, too!

life in our household has been kind of crazy. maybe not crazy, but definitely active. lots of things happening. i have been given a really cool opportunity for a future job that i am crazy excited about. but i can’t give details for a bit. tease, right?! i also am starting my first group session of hypnobirthing classes in a couple weeks. i have been doing private sessions a ton, but now i got my stuff together and am jumping on it! really excited. my long lost brother is coming home for a month and a half in a couple weeks- he lives in vietnam and will be transferring to sri lanka after that. you best believe we will be visiting him there- the maldives are right off the coast. booyah!

trevor is busy with work. and with a new career path ahead of him. a long time in prayer, months and months, and a few conversations later and BAM- God made it really clear what he should be doing. but, again, i gotta keep that on the down low because i don’t know how public he wants to make his plans quite yet. needless to say, i am so proud of him and the things he will be enduring to make his calling a reality. so excited for his excitement. and i will share as soon as i can. with pictures i’m sure. because it’s gonna be pretty cool.

and last but definitely not least, there’s keaton. he is steamrolling towards his first birthday and growing up every minute of every day. he’s walking with our help, or with the help of a little walking toy, and is repeating a lot of words we say to him (more so the sounds and inflections).  he comprehends so much of what we say to him, and we can’t help but think he’s a genius. and a future athlete. probably a nobel peace prize winner. and most definitely a future president of the united states. i dream small for this little guy. obviously. here is his adorableness at church the other day. he loves to dance. and party.

he’s got the rhythm.