Zombie Days & Flashforward

She gnaws on everything in sight. I lay her down in her crib and her little arm stretches forcefully through the bars to grab onto me and hold tight to anything she can grasp. I'm not free until I gently pry the last thread of fabric from her little fingers. She hisses and babbles through the pacifier in her mouth and drool dribbles out. And finally, after months of a long awaited milestone, the reality that the baby is walking feels more like my greatest fear. She comes at me slowly, but surely, arms outstretched. My tired bones smile at her determination, and for a moment, I laugh that we both look like Zombies.

I cried when I saw her reach out from the couch and take 5 wobbly little steps, progressively faster and more desperate, into my arms. We've been practicing this for weeks, "walk to Mommy, now go back to Daddy". She finally did it! And she claps for herself with a big approving smile wiped clear across her precious little cheeks.

Now she's faster. I have to look when I shut the door because I realize her quick sneaky fingers could be exploring right in the door jam. I'm dreading that blood curdling cry as she's now into the fun of opening and slamming doors. I know from personal experience that the slamming gets increasingly stronger with each year that goes by, and peaks around 16. Whew, glad I've got 15 years to prepare for that.

And then I see her smile at me from across the room. She reserves those casual glances and pointed affection just for me, and Daddy too. I remember how she giggles in the morning when I open the door to rescue her from the great abyss we call her crib. I revel in that trained giggle she’s been refining for some months now, as she proudly wobbles herself across the sunlit floor. And as she falls into my arms with abandon, I realize 15 years is not enough time. She'll grow out of this soon enough. First grade will come and go and sloppy kisses and silly little grins will be old news. And I'll die a little inside, struggling between trusting this life cycle God has intended and wanting to change the mold and tell her 35 really is a more reasonable age to leave home and fly the nest.

I'll see that proud wobble again one day. I know her surrendered fall will be into the arms of a man she loves. And these Zombie days of Motherhood and so many life altering changes will seem like a piece of cake compared to releasing her on that day - her Wedding Day.

Her careful, slightly unsteady steps down the aisle, holding tightly onto her Daddy's arm will flood back memories. A bittersweet reminder of her first steps here in our home as she is exploring life and loving every knew accomplishment.

And I hope he'll breathe in this huge gift God is preparing for him. I can only hope he is wise enough to take it all in deep and cherish this little blessing I kiss every morning and night, this beautiful little girl full of life named Stella.

See Stella Walking Here


It was wrong, right from The Part

Anyone who has birthed a child can identify with this one. The wonderful, miraculous process of having a baby knit together in your innermost being has an innumerable amount of repercussions on your outermost person.

I don't know whose head of hair I carry around these days, but trying to become acquainted has been quite the annoyance. These lovely locks I've spent years getting to know have suddenly taken on the shape and temperament of the obnoxious little brother no one ever wanted (my little sister would never act this way!)

As if vacuuming wads of hair up every day wasn't bothersome on its own, now the hair that actually remains has been joined by new hair that behaves like a midlife crisis. So daily, I try to tame this new found friend who is actually more like a brother because you can pick your friends and NOT your family. I've realized that subconscious thought to do something radical has become more of a plausible plan to tackle this daily, grating problem. And in my frustration, I nearly succumbed to chopping it all off.

Yesterday however, I had a breakthrough.

It was all so very wrong, right from The Part!

How could I forget the fundamental importance of The Part! I tested a new Part and - Voila! I felt like a knew Woman. No,no. I felt like the Old Woman. The Young Lady. The Girl I worked so hard to grow up out of and now if I could get back to her, I'd be ever so grateful. Yes, Motherhood changes so many things. Outward and inward.

So I've got the Part right and I can get on with this "new-do". Sometimes that's all we really need. Get back to the Part, fix it, and see if every other strand doesn't just fall right into place.


Moving on Up

Yes we are!

As I write this we are having our bed delivered, and oh my, we cannot wait to sleep like Royalty tonight. It's going to take some getting used to surely, our view from atop our new bed will be stunning!

You might remember when we set out on this journey from the U.S. we left with 22 bags and a guitar. Obviously, a bed wouldn't fit in the suitcases(if it had you bet we would have packed one!) However, we did manage to disassemble many other household items and bring those with us. The larger items we were lacking we were able to borrow from various gracious givers here in Brazil. So the mattress we are borrowing has been perfect! We just were not able to find a bed frame or even a box spring that we could afford. As is everything else in Brazil, box springs and bed frames are an investment.

So since January 17, 2012 we've been just 12 inches off the floor. It hasn't actually been so bad, minus pregnancy belly and post surgery. God has always provided what we've needed and your personal creativity and humor truly shine when you accept the way things are. For example, the first time Stella fell off a bed in the U.S. I was sure we'd be in the E.R. I mean, it's a whole 3 feet down! But here in Brazil when she slides off our bed, I pick her up and say "you know that was only 12 inches, suck it up!" Just kidding. Some of you are thinking "how many times have you let your poor baby fall off the bed Mandy?!?!" My answer is never! She pulled herself off head first both times!

Back to the point, you always have to look on the bright side. Today that side comes with a view about 2 feet higher with storage underneath! Woo hoo for the bonus storage space! (Closets don't exist here).

Maicol and I celebrated 4 years of marriage in August and this week was our first major home purchase. We've never owned anything new and it's exciting to take a few more steps towards building our home. That's not to say we've never had anything of value. We've always sought to be deeply thankful and in awe of the way God has moved the hearts of people around us. We've been given many nice things for free and bought used furniture and vehicles from friends for very reasonable prices.

It's always fun to celebrate and thank God for his graciousness. We found this deal almost by accident, and that's how we knew it wasn't an accident at all, but divine intervention!