The Wait – A Story of Waiting for a Baby

As I sit here this morning with my handsome 7(!) month old boy in my lap, busily trying to reach the keys with his chubby fingers as I type, my heart is just keeps repeating, “This is totally worth it.”

Image of Little Helper in Waiting for a Baby

In the last several years, between pregnancy, trying to conceive, dealing with infertility, and walking through an adoption process, I have waited for 81 months. While many of those months flew by without much struggle, a heaping portion of them seemed to tear at my heart in a variety of different ways. And now, here, on the other side of the waiting for a baby (at least for a little while), I know that God has used all the mess help me learn to rejoice.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

The Pregnancy Wait

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was shocked! We had been trying to conceive for a year, knowing, due to some past medical history, that it might not be possible for us to have children. I had mostly decided to quit the “trying” thing and just go on with life as usual when one day, I was feeling tired at work and a co-worker suggested I take a test. I remember feeling like those two lines couldn’t be real. Over the following 9 months, I went through phases of anxiety, worrying that I would miscarry or that something would be wrong with my baby. There was also a lot of excitement as we registered for all the sweet little girl stuff in the store (we might have really registered for almost everything!!). In the last month or so of pregnancy, it seemed like every single day was one hundred years long! I remember being so afraid of the childbirth experience and also incredibly impatient to meet my baby girl. I am sure my husband thought I was going crazy going back and forth between the two day by day! And then, one labor induction and c-section later, I had a beautiful little lady in my arms.

Photo by: Shara Jo Photography
Photo by: Shara Jo Photography

The Adoption Wait

After another long stint of trying to conceive and seeking medical help, my husband I decided to put our resources toward an adoption rather than costly fertility treatments. Our lives became a sudden whirlwind of busy haste. We filled out 1,003 forms, had our entire existence picked through by people in two states, made the cutest little profile book for that sweet little pregnant girl who was going to choose our family, applied for 341 grants, raised as much money as we could, and prepared ourselves for a (surely) quick and (probably) painless adoption process.

And we waited.

And each month that went by with no news from the agency turned the sky a little more grey. I wondered often if anyone would ever choose us. I checked the agency’s list of birth parents every day to see if anyone’s profile had come down. When they did, I was jealous and angry. I knew I should rejoice with my fellow waiting mommas, but the disappointment was bitter. Eighteen months went by and again, I was beginning to lose hope. And out of the blue, a young girl came to a class I was teaching for single moms and asked if I knew of anyone who would want to adopt her baby.

I. Nearly. Choked.

I didn’t know if I was supposed to say anything at all, I mean, we were working with an agency and this was definitely NOT the protocol, but there she was, right there next to me at the white plastic table. Before long, there were tears in both of our eyes and the waiting began again. This brave young woman let me walk beside her through a pregnancy that she nearly ended in abortion out of desperation. We went to doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds. We laughed and cried together. I picked her up from some horrible situations, wondering how her choices were affecting this boy who was going to be a part of my family, but wanting to love and support the woman who was carrying him through it all. We lost contact for periods of time and I despaired as the hope of motherhood seemed to slip through my fingers like fog.

Finally, I sat beside her and held her hand as she labored and brought my (our) son into the world. There are no words to describe the intense joy and grieving that were going on in those moments. All at once I wanted to snuggle my sweet boy and comfort my courageous friend who was no doubt hurting deeply.

Photo by: Shara Jo Photography
Photo by: Shara Jo Photography

All the waiting was most definitely worth it. The funny thing is, I asked my husband just the other day if he was ready to start again! I don’t know what the future holds for my family. I don’t need to know. Rejoicing is richest when it comes on the heels of trials…and waiting.

Mama Bird Box Review

Meagan Bailey is a very talented photographer and mama-to-be who happens to be one of my very best friends. I was so excited when she announced that she was expecting, and lucky for us it was right around the time that Mama Bird Box launched. She was kind enough to write a review of her first box and took these lovely photos.

Thanks for sharing, Meagan!

Have you heard of Mama Bird Box? My best friend Becca and her sister started their own company just for the pregnant moms out there! It’s monthly subscriptions for each month of your pregnancy. They are specialized as you go through each stage of pregnancy (ex. headaches, morning sickness, etc.).  I got the sweetest little note inside with all kind of goodies!!! Check out their page if you’re expecting or know anyone who is! A little something to make the Mama-to-be feel special! MAMA BIRD BOX

 

Mama Bird Box Review

Mama Bird Box Review Box Opening

This was my first subscription! During my first trimester. Filled with all kind of goodies to help with nausea and even those pesky headaches.

Inspirational Card in Mama Bird Box

Personalized Cards in Mama Bird Box

A sweet personalized note from Beth and Becca.

Baby Bump Gestational Sticker

Cutest gestational sticker for how many weeks I was!

Emmy's Organics Snacks for Pregnancy

Yummy lemon ginger macaroons!! If you love coconut then you will love these!

Shower Burst Aroma

This Aromatherapy shower burst smells so so good. Helps with headaches.

Morning Sickness Aroma Mist

Morning sickness is no joke, I kept this spray in my purse and it helped ease the nausea each morning.

 

These drink mixes tastes delish and are so nutritious.

Prenatal Snacks

The Tulle Box Coaster

and a cute little coaster to remind you to drink plenty of fluids and stay very hydrated!

7 Ways to Declutter Your Kids’ Stuff

It seems like every couple of months or so I have to sort, reorganize, prioritize, and p-u-r-g-e my kids’ stuff. A little less frequently my husband and I go through our own grown-up things and repeat the same process. For pregnant, first time moms, nesting is only a trial run for the constant cleaning out and organizing that a home with kids requires. They outgrow toys and clothes so quickly; most days it’s hard impossible to keep up because you don’t live in a kid-free home.

declutter post | Mama Bird Box
Image Courtesy of Maka Architekci

I often get lost in all of our stuff, and in my first world perspective we don’t even have that much, yet I find myself feeling closed in and trapped with things. And, at the end of the day, when all of my kids’ toys are everywhere, I think, “Where did this stuff come from? I didn’t even know we had all of this!” Then I throw everything back into bins just to see toys vomited all over my house the next day. Over these past three month we’ve been getting rid of more things than usual, and I feel like I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.

Most credit for my decluttering education goes to a friend who is reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I really want to read this book, but sometimes I just have to be okay with listening to the good things someone else has to say. So much of my parenting is that way. I just glean from other people’s knowledge and good ideas. How much stuff one has is definitely a personal decision. One of our value’s is to live simply, so I’m sharing with you the ways that we try (emphasis on try) to live simply in a land of toddlers.

image for 7 ways to declutter your kids stuff | Mama Bird Box
Image Courtesy of Glitter Guide

1. Move or rearrange. Okay, I realize I’m starting off in the extreme and no one, NO ONE, is going to move just so they can declutter their life. Maybe they will move to declutter their life in a figurative sense, but not just to clean out a room. We have moved five times in our seven years of marriage and during the first few moves, we accumulated stuff along the way, but in the last two, we downsized. It was genuinely refreshing to go through cabinets and see what we hadn’t used in a year, donate it, and move with less. However, if you’re not moving, rearranging is much more feasible for the general public. I’m kind of obsessed with rearranging. I get bored in spaces and want it to feel fresh without having to buy anything new, so I rearrange. Sometimes it works, sometimes it gets put back like before, but always when I rearrange, my house gets a great cleaning, and I get rid of things along the way.

2. Forget about it. One day when you are cleaning up the toy explosion, pick everything up, put it in the trunk of your car and see how much stuff you or your kids forget about. Leave it there, out of sight, for a few days. It’s amazing what a week can do to offer perspective on the things you really don’t need or even miss, and you get to start enjoying your decluttered space without quickly saying goodbye to everything. Decide what is worth bringing back in and then drive away with the rest of it to your favorite donation place.

3. Keep what’s special. This is my biggest takeaway from my friend’s reading of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Decide what you want your space to look like and keep the things that stay in that aesthetic. So with our kids’ toys (while the kids were asleep) we took everything out and only brought back in what we really wanted. I’ve since done the same thing with our clothes and books. Our house is now 175 books and one bookcase lighter, and I don’t miss what we let go because I love the things that we kept and I love our less crowded space so much more. Kondo’s idea is to take away the negative outlook of ‘getting rid of stuff’ and change the paradigm to think about it as ‘keeping the good stuff.’ One evening when going through our two toy baskets, I realized our cool blocks weren’t being played with that often but the “Spinny Guy” (the name my son gave to a small toy of a guy holding a stick that could spin around) was played with a lot, but my son always lost the stick. I hated this toy for that stupid, little stick. Based off of frequency of play, I should have donated the blocks and kept the “Spinny Guy,” but my husband reminded me that we want our kids to play with the blocks more, so let’s lose the things we don’t love. I used method #2 on “Spinny Guy” and he never got asked about again.

4. Loan out what you’re not using. I have two kids 21 months apart, so the toys we have are pretty appropriate for both of our kids, but that is not always the case. For baby clothes and toys, find someone you are willing to loan out your things to as you wait for your younger little to be older enough to enjoy them. Make a list of what it is or write your initials on things you want back. Tip: I find it is soooo much easier for my kids to be okay with saying goodbye to toys if they know who they are going to. Right now, most toys get passed down to my nephew, and the kids get really excited about it and are usually the initiators of the giving.

Image for Ways to Declutter Your Kids' Space | Mama Bird Box
Image Courtesy of The Boo and the Boy

5. Buy organization items. Once you’ve gotten rid of the nonessential and kept the specials, get what you must to keep it organized. Look for ways to use your newly freed up furniture, shelf space, and baskets, but you should feel inspired to keep things clean and at least semi-confident that your kids can, too. If that means a trip to The Container Store or IKEA, then so be it.

6. Ask for experiences instead of things. Another way to rid your life of your children’s clutter is to push back on getting things to begin with. When gift giving seasons come around, think about outing, activities, lessons, or events that you or others can do with your kids instead of giving them a toy. An item can accompany the experience if a present is required. For example, one year my in-laws gave my daughter dance lessons for Christmas and wrapped under the tree were a leotard and ballet shoes. There was a present to open and an experience to be had. If and when you do ask for toys, be intentional and think about what kind of play you want your kids to have. If the gift doesn’t fit into that, don’t get it.

7. Declutter more frequently. In general, if my kids receive a toy, they get rid of something in its place. Sometimes this happens in one big cluster, not necessarily item for item. Pre and post birthdays and Christmas, I am in major purge mode. I really try to declutter the space before things get out of hand again. Emphasis on try.