Friday, September 14, 2012

My Best 154 Days

A friend of mine recently posted about Taylor Swift's new song "Ronan" which she wrote about a little boy who lost his battle with cancer at the tender age of four. I, of course, couldn't help my curiosity (even though I know these types of things make me an emotional wreck for hours/days afterward) and googled the story. I found the blog written by Ronan's mommy, Maya, where she had penned the story of her sweet boy and his hard fought battle. I read all about her love for Ronan and her guilt that she couldn't save him and her genuine belief that even up until the very last second, they would receive a miracle. Then (just to torture myself) I looked up the video of Taylor Swift singing the song at the Stand Up 2 Cancer benefit. Taylor (we're on a first name basis) had taken bits and pieces from her conversations with Maya and excerpts from her blog and composed a song from Maya's point of view. She sang of ghost memories of Ronan still dancing in the house and how she could still feel his hand in hers and of the moment she gave him permission to let go. And most importantly, she sang about how lucky she was to have even gotten a single day with him, singing, "You were my best four years."

I was already sobbing from reading the blog (I only made it through 1.5 posts and one picture of sweet Ronan) and this really sent me over the edge. I'm talking, kneeling on the floor and praying to my sweet Savior to hold this family close. I just prayed over and over again that he would bring them comfort and thanked him for my little blessing asleep in the next room.

It seems that since Titus became a part of our lives these stories are happening more frequently, although I'm sure they happened before him. I just have a heightened awareness now because as a mommy you cannot help but think, "What would I do if that were my sweet baby?" When I was pregnant a couple that is in Community Group with close friends of ours lost their toddler in his sleep with no explanation (Hill Family Blog). Another couple lost their baby at 23 weeks pregnant after already knowing the gender and having the name picked out. My Facebook newsfeed seems to be covered with Pages dedicated to precious babies who are fighting or have lost their fight to different syndromes and diseases. Most recently, some good friends of ours delivered their baby early due to complications and our gracious Lord has given her the chance to live (Kaundart Family).

Half of me screams AVOID! AVOID! as soon as I see these stories, but the other half quietly whispers "Life is but a breath," and reminds me to cherish every second I have with Titus. There are so many moments that we were not promised and yet we were given anyway.
Moments like when we were finally able to get pregnant and he grew big and healthy in mommy's tummy. When he was born and his arms flailed around wildly and his lungs filled with air. The first time that he smiled and his eyes changed completely, like they learned how to glitter. When he first used his jumper and his tiny world was filled with joy. The many times he has snuggled into my chest when he is sleepy. His old man laugh that is so infectious. All the bath times where he has kicked his feet and surprised himself when he splashes water in his face. The moments he stares at me with his big blue eyes when I'm feeding him like I am the only person in the whole world.
All of these are gifts.

Titus has been with us for 154 days now.
My best 154 days.


Monday, September 10, 2012

5 Month Update

This has been the first month that seemed to have less than 30 days! I can't believe how quickly we got to you being 5 months old...

Dear Titus,
At five months...
  • You eat 6oz every 3.5-4 hours (about 25oz a day)
  • You weight about 16.5 lbs
  • You sleep unswaddled in your crib from around 8:30-7:00 (10-11 hours)
  • You still wear size 2 diapers, but wear size 3 diapers at night
  • You are ticklish! And sometimes you have a deep belly laugh that sounds like a grown man :)
  • You are in a phase where you scream when you get excited. You think it's so funny! But you also scream when you are bored, tired, hungry, mad, happy, talking.... You are just really loud in general (surprise!)
  • All daddy has to do is look at you and you start laughing! You think he is the funniest person ever (but mommy still gets the most smiles)
  • You LOVE your jumper. You can't reach the ground yet, though, so we have to put a box under your feet.
  • You are in the 30th percentile for body and 70th for head size...
  • You have started jabbering a lot and practicing new mouth noises
  • You are doing a bit of teething so your favorite toy is your Sophie Giraffe from Aunt Katelyn. You chew on that thing (as well as fingers) non-stop!
  • You figured out how the mirror works and you laugh at yourself when you look at it. You must think you're pretty funny!
  • Your eyes are settling into a deeper blue than mine. You may have even less genetics from me than we previously thought! :) But they are beautiful.
  • You are doing these belly crunches when you lay on our laps because you want to sit up on your own. In time, sweet boy!
  • You are really great at standing (with help) and you love to do it all the time!
  • You finally have a nap schedule for the most part (yaaaay!!). You take 2- hour and a half naps (usually around 9am and 1pm) and then a shorter catnap (30-45min) around 4-5pm. You almost always nap in your swing (you still won't nap in your crib).
  • You are closer to wearing 6 month clothes than 3 month, but they're still a little big on you.
  • You have really started noticing Bosco and Lucy and love to watch them wherever they go.
  • You have started cuddling into my chest when someone makes you smile like you are bashful. It is the cutest thing ever and makes your mommy feel so loved!

Titus James you are adorable! The older you get the more like your daddy you become. You love watching football and you are LOUD :) I love that you are like him already but I pray that you would grow to be a man of God like he is. I pray that you would be a faithful and serving husband to your wife one day, that you would be a respected leader in your community who is known for being wise and just, and I pray that you would prize the Lord above all else. You are so lucky to have your daddy to look up to and I hope that you will be just like him one day... with maybe just a little better clothing ;)

 Reaching for those toes!

This is your typical stance: always doing crunches trying to sit up on your own! 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Using my Fancy Camera

Almost 2 years ago I got a nice DSLR camera for Christmas and I was SO excited! At the time, we were trying to get pregnant and I knew I wanted to have a nice camera before the baby arrived (which wasn't for another year and a half). I started practicing my photography skillzzz on everything- the dogs, flowers, cards I'd made, anything I could get my hands on. At first, I was OBSESSED with figuring out all the fancy tricks and vocabulary that came with this new hobby. But the more I researched, the more confused and overwhelmed I became. It seemed like no matter how much I researched and asked around, I just couldn't get my pictures to be at the level I wanted! So I gave up trying to be the "oh hey, it's no big deal, I'm not a professional but my pictures look great anyway" kind of photographer and settled for being the "I use my auto settings and I'm okay with it" photographer.

Fast forward to today. Titus is here and I really do want to have great pictures of him. I take pictures that are probably better than people who don't have a DSLR, but they're definitely not where they could be! I stumbled across this blog that finally broke down all the fancy terms in a way that I could begin to understand (written by another DSLR newbie). I was so excited to try out her tips and tricks! Lesson one was aperture, which is basically how much light you let in through your lens (aka, how to make the background look blurry). The general idea is that lower aperture keeps one thing in focus and blurs the background, while higher aperture brings the whole picture into focus and gives everything detail.

The homework for this lesson was to shoot a line of objects started at the lowest aperture setting (3.8 for my camera) up to the highest (25 for my camera) and noticing the difference. I set my camera to Aperture Priority, which just means that everything else (white balance, ISO, etc.) were on auto and the only thing I was changing was the aperture setting.

So here is my homework assignment for lesson 1:

Did you notice that at 3.8 only the first apple is in focus and by 22 the apples, tablecloth, and chairs are all being brought into focus?

Cool, huh?! I knew the jist of aperture before this, but all the numbers were just overwhelming. This assignment helped to make it feel a little more manageable and I'm excited to try out the next step, shutter speed!