Friday, April 29, 2016

Transitioning

Yesterday Harry asked if he could take a picture of me feeding Ellis. I love this picture of me with my messy hair, Ellis in one of Harry's old outfits, and the sweet four-year-old who was behind the camera. 



I have to say that the best and hardest part of transitioning to having two has been with Harry.
He tenderly loves his baby brother and hasn't shown any signs of resenting Ellis or even really feeling jealous when I'm caring for one of his many newborn needs. He's been super helpful too.
And in the midst of loving his brother so much, Harry has also been struggling with his attitude. He often throws little fits (rude tone, foot stomping, etc.) when he's told "no" or doesn't get his way.  We have had to correct his behavior a lot since coming home from the hospital (or at least that's how if feels), and I'm honestly having a hard time with it. Of course we can't let him behave with rudeness and disrespect, but couple this with the extra reminders to "be careful around your brother" and "watch out for mommy's sore tummy" (and the other normal reminders you have to give a little kid when there is a tiny baby and a mom healing from surgery....) and it feels like that's all he's hearing all day long.




There have been many tears shed by both Harry and I in this process. Josh and I are trying to encourage and praise him often. We are also trying to include him in things like cooking meals, listening to music, watching movies together as a family, and even reading a chapter book (his first one (!) James and the Giant Peach). I'm reminding myself that we would be correcting Harry about his behavior even if Ellis weren't around; this is what parents do...it's part of the job. And I'm a little over-sensitive right now with all the hormonal changes in experiencing physically. We've also been hugging it out more. Letting Harry know that our love for him isn't based on his behavior. That just like Jesus loves us all the time, no matter what...even when we sin...our love for Harry as his parents will never go away. ...and when the emotions feel overwhelming, I'm also giving myself permission to just go to sleep. Waking up from a nap, or in the morning, I feel a lot better. 



So that's where we are at. Head over heels in love with Ellis and savoring this short stage in the life of our family. We love watching Harry, who has truly been the apple of our eye for the past four years, grow into a brother. We are tired and a little emotional, at least Harry and I are ;). We are messing up, feeling frustrated, and giving/receiving forgiveness on a daily basis.


Mostly, we are thankful. The road to get here, to have two sons, hasn't been without pain and loss and grief. And here we are on the other side of it, so very thankful because each of the boys God has entrusted us to raise up are a gift and a blessing. As much as I look forward to the point where we have settled into our new normal, these growing pains are completely worth it because we get to be parents to these two boys. We are so very thankful!!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Things I Don't Want to Forget

Ellis was born on Wednesday April 20, 2016 at 3:10am. I'm going to post his birth story soon, but for now there are just so many sweet little moments I want to jot down so I don't forget them in the haze of being sore and tired...and contantly feeding a new baby.



• The soft velvety feeling of Ellis' head when I rub if with my hand (or my lips/face while plastering him with kisses. 

• Speaking of kisses, his neck is the BEST SPOT! I love to kiss him on his neck and up onto his cheeks. So squishy and delicious!

• His sweet new baby smell. He hasn't even had a bath yet and he smells incredible! "New Car" smell has nothing on "New Ellis"!

• His calm demeanor. Whether he's sleeping or just taking it all in, he's a pretty quiet little guy. He hardly fusses. Such a blessing! 

• The sweet little voice Harry uses to talk to Ellis. It makes me want to cry and laugh and burst because it is SO precious!

• The way Ellis  l o v e s  to be swaddled. It instant th calms him if he's "upset" which is not really that upset to begin with...but this boy loves a good swaddle.

• The quiet early morning moments when it's just Ellis and I. Everyone else is asleep  and he and I can just snuggle and take each other in. 

• How big Harry seems now that Ellis is here. At four I have been long past thinking of Harry as a baby, but still he seems gigantic now that he's a brother. 

• The little moments when Harry has an attitude or a rude tone of voice. When he gets overly emotional about small things because, seriously...adding a family member is a HUGE adjustment! I can't wait to be healed up from my surgery enough to drive so I can take Harry somewhere just us two and have some quality time together. My love for him has expanded even more watching him become a brother; more than anything else I just want Harry to know how loved and important he is to us in the midst of this gigantic change!

• The shock of going into labor before my planned c-section...and the completely different experience I had this time around. Getting to see and hold him right away was magical! And then to have two solid hours of skin-to-skin time with Ellis was so good for both of us!

• I'm sure there are many more things I'll want to share, but got now this is a good start!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

15/52 (2016)

14/52 (2016)

We Got a Mini-Van

After twelve faithful years, we said farewell to the my Honda Civic, Esmerelda. She came into my life at the beginning of college and has seen me through many phases of life: college, engagement, marriage, first home, becoming a teacher, our second home, having Harry...


There'll always be a special place in my heart for this car...but man are we excited about the upgrade! Harry most of all :) The whole time we were shopping for the van, Harry kept asking "Did you find the perfect mini-van yet?" 

And when we actually got it...he was LITERALLY over the moon with excitement!

We haven't decided on a name yet, but his first idea was Jupiter (he's a little space-obsessed these days).


Here's Harry giving Daddy a high-five before we signed the paperwork. He chose gray for the color, which we all approved of!

And here I am standing in front of my very own "swagger-wagon". Whoever dislikes mini-vans, just come for a ride with us and maybe it'll change your mind. It's AMAZING! :) 



A boy, and "his" mini-van!



Here are a couple of videos I took of his first reaction to the van!

video


video

I'll end with my favorite quote so far (he has asked me to stop telling people the story because it makes him embarrassed...how did he get so grown up?!). When we went to church the day after we got the van, Harry excitedly said:

"I'm going to tell my teacher about our new mini-van, and she's going to be so impressed!"

...we'll see if he still loves the van in eleven years when he's learned to drive in it ;) lol! But I have proof in these photos and videos that he LOVED it when was four! 

10 on 10 :: April 2016












Sunday, April 3, 2016

Feeling Reflective

I opened up a journal I've been writing in for over a year now, and just realized that I only have a few pages left. It seems fitting that this journal is coming to a close as I am in the midst of making a huge transition in my life.

.    .    .

I looked back at my first few entries and was struck by these words from February 8, 2015:

Lyrics from "Finally Free" by Rend Collective

"Your mercy rains from heaven 
like confetti at a wedding
and I am celebrating in the downpour.
Your heart is wild with color
like a never-ending summer.
You burn away the winter
of my cold and weary heart.

My soul cries out
Holy
Holy.
My heart is lost
in your beauty.
All hope is found
in Your Mercy.
You paid the price.
Now I am...FINALLY FREE!"

This morning I am overwhelmed by Your grace and mercy God. I am overwhelmed by Your beauty and the way You have used every circumstance in my life to change me and make me more like you. 

Every painful trial has actually been a blessing.

Each pregnancy has truly been a gift. With Harry you taught me to let go and trust. With baby number two you taught me that You are enough - that You truly never leave or forsake me...and you've given me a desire for heaven that I've never had before!

And today I rest in Your peace as our third baby is growing in my belly. I am choosing to trust you in the unknown. I am believing and hoping for a miracle. I am also choosing to believe that you are Good, regardless of the outcome.

Lord, You give. You take away.

Blessed by the name of the Lord.


.    .    .


Over a year later, I can honestly say that God is truly Good and that His beauty and mercy have carried me through the ups and downs of our journey to bring another baby into our family.

A few weeks after writing this journal entry, I lost our third baby. It was devastating. But God has faithfully walked alongside me. He slowly healed my broken heart as I trained for the half marathon I ran last June...literally speaking to my heart through songs like the one I shared above as I ran, and ran, and cried, and ran some more.

And here I am, just a couple of weeks away from meeting Ellis. Our fourth baby...but the second one we will be blessed to raise. I still don't know for sure that he'll be healthy, although I'm praying and trusting that he will. I don't have a guarantee that anything in this life will go according to my plan. Most likely, it won't. But I serve a God who is faithful and altogether Good. He has allowed me to experience suffering that certainly changed me...but I am so thankful for it. Through the loss of two babies I came to see my need for Christ more than ever before. And I cherish the gift of motherhood in a different way than I would have if it had all gone according to my plan.

There are still days when I wonder about those babies. When I shed tears and long to hold them in my arms. When I ask God to hasten the day when I will get to meet them in heaven. And yet, I know that without their lives and deaths, we probably wouldn't be sitting here anticipating the arrival of Ellis, a little boy that I am sure will stretch our hearts to the point where they nearly burst. A baby boy I have loved fiercely through this pregnancy and cannot wait to meet later this month. Ellis doesn't replace the others. They were gifts in their own ways. And now I sit here, crying, smiling, thanking God for the season He has brought us into!

It's funny how much has happened since I wrote that journal entry last February. And yet, I can say that I feel the same way:

Lord, today I rest in Your peace as Ellis is growing in my belly. I am choosing to trust you in the unknown. I am believing and hoping for a miracle. I am also choosing to believe that you are Good, regardless of the outcome.

You have been faithful time and time again in my life. Thank you in advance for all that this month will hold for our family Lord. Bring Ellis safely into our arms. Prepare our hearts to love him and care for him as we adjust to being a family of four, instead of three.

Thank You for the blessings that have come out of our suffering! The freedom I have found in walking through life with You Lord is such a great honor and a gift that I am eternally grateful for!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Farewell Letter

Dear Cascade Family,

I'm not entirely sure how to start this email, so I'll just jump in (and if you're newer to Cascade and don't know me very well, feel free to ignore ;)

For the past eight years I have called Cascade my home. I student taught here (thanks Janet for organizing and Emily for sharing your students with me) which launched my career as a first (and now third) grade teacher. Basically, I've grown up here. Today is my last day before I start my maternity leave as my family welcomes our second son into the world. While I am overjoyed about the gift of growing my family, I am finding it really hard to say goodbye. Many of you know that I am taking next year off to be home with my family; after that I'm not sure what the future holds. I could very well be back at Cascade, or life could take me down another path. I'm just not sure, which is why today feels monumental to me. It's the end of an era in my career and I am really going to miss being part of this community.

I wish I had the energy (I blame pregnancy and swollen ankles for this) to write each one of you a personal note to let you know how much you've meant to me during this season in my life...but this email will have to suffice.

Thank you!

Thank you for believing in me and for pushing me to be better. I can honestly say that without the guidance and support I found in you, I would have given up long ago. Teaching is so hard, and yet it's such honorable work that I am beyond thankful to have been a part of here at Cascade. Thanks for reminding me that it's first and always about the kids, even on the hardest of days. Thanks for holding my hand when I needed it and for letting me try new things when I needed to grow. And for those who worked closely with me, thanks for letting me cry when I just needed to let it out. Thank you for nudging me out of my comfort zone. For teaching me that I learn and grow the most from mistakes and challenges. For encouraging me and bringing out my strengths, and for sharing yours with me through collaboration.

I could honestly go on and on...

Thank you doesn't seem like enough, but from the bottom of my heart I am so thankful for you!

I wish you all the best as you enter into the final stretch of the school year. I know that next year will be an incredible one, as you continue the hard, good work that you're doing at Cascade! 


Krysta Matt


PS: Don't worry - I'll be back to visit this spring, and of course I'll bring Ellis and big brother Harry to visit!!! It may take a little while to get into a groove, but once we are...get ready for baby snuggles! :) 

13/52 (2016)