We're all still alive around here. We've been busy spending time with our nugget. Shes such a beauty. Would you look at this kid?!?!

This is actually the first time I've been sitting on my laptop since the last post. My pictures keep accumulating past the point of sharing all of them. I suppose that's a good thing though. I'll have plenty to scrapbook.

I'm learning a lot about myself these past 10 weeks. I'm learning just what it means to choose grace for myself, for Ben and for Eowyn. I've always been performance driven-its been something I've struggled with since I can remember. It was probably my biggest hurtle when really choosing to rely on Jesus. It was hard for me to admit that I needed help in the first place-and that I couldn't work my way into his graces. Even with that, I think in a lot of ways I function as a closet performer-I've told myself that as long as I was in control of the way things turned out-as in much as they depended on me-then I could keep this performance thing 'healthy'. Rely on Jesus for Salvation and the things that I most certainly couldn't work out-and work diligently on keeping every thing else functioning as it should.

Then comes this drooling babe who laughs at every attempt of me controlling anything. Tiny humans, I'm learning, are not a performance project. Eowyn  is God's way of blowing up my attempt at control in my face. Or rather, allowing my performance to detonate on itself and show itself for what it really is-a joy killer.

The books say this child should sleep X hours-but sometimes she doesn't. She sometimes just gets upset and expresses that. She was born a month early-which means I have no clue what milestones to look for. She's the most beautiful little baby I've ever seen, but she has given me a run for my money. She can be guided yes-but not controlled. She's been having bouts of reflux which is rather unfortunate and making a lot of our plans on potential sleep training have to be altered. And at the end of some days, I find myself saying  "I can't do this anymore."

Ben typically comes in then-4:54PM  is the best moment of my life. Its crazy how good that man is. He then reminds me that its not about performance-He starts pointing me to Christ outside of just salvation. He begins reminding me how blessed we are.

*Eowyn is healthy, other than that little bit of acid reflux.
*She's happy-that child is starting to smile like no ones business-the big wide mouth kind-and is overall content.
*We have a great extended family-two of which are coming to visit me TOMORROW!
*Friends that genuinely care about us.
*a home.
*A job that provides plenty for us.
*A fairly good sleeper.
* a surprisingly healthy relationship-despite the sleep deprivation.
*and a God who is, despite my inability to always see it, really is working in and around us.
*Good health for Ben and I
*A fairly easy recovery
*God providing literally everything we could need for E and then some
* Rest
*a lot of joy in this home.
*Laughter and more laughter
*Exciting changes in the horizons

Yet, I've been struggling through a lot these past few weeks. Struggling to not compare babies to babies, struggling to not get discouraged when I feel like I do not have clue whats going on. Struggling through a lot of this new territory. Labor happened and Ben and I sort of marveled at how-despite the horrible pain that it was-we did it. Ben mentioned to me that he was surprised at just "how good I was at it!" Nurses were asking if I had another kid at home because of how it happened. It made me hopeful. Fist pumping hopeful. Part of me hoped motherhood would be like that-I have no idea what I'm doing and voila! I discover I have a natural propensity for it! Mile high patience! All the awesome hormones that propel me to delight in every second of every moment! A sixth sense for exactly whats wrong with this baby when she's unhappy!

 Realistically that isn't happening. I struggle. Daily. I have no way to measure success in motherhood since everyday is different. One day she sleeps like a rockstar and is happy as a clam and the next all hell breaks loose and she's pissed and relentless in her tears.

And to not find my identity in being a mom has been something I'm still figuring out. I'm with this baby all day, I pour my life into this-and yet its not who I am. I'm somebody outside of just being a mom. I sometimes need Ben to remind me of all of this. To point me back to Jesus.

I'm kind of word vomiting, but I want to remember this struggle because I think its good. I think its good to struggle and to be open about it. Some mom somewhere may stumble upon this and be screaming hallelujahs that she's not alone. Well, future friend-you are not alone. I know I'm not alone either. Several moms were honest with me about how hard it was while I was pregnant. I'm thankful for their honesty-I am impressed with their mothering and am hopeful in that this is part of the course.  I admire them and I can see their children do too. This is so encouraging.

That being said, being Eowyns mom is the bomb. I wouldn't trade it-obviously. People ask me if I like being a mom. My answer has consistently been I love being Eowyns mom. But "Motherhood" isn't anything I dreamed of. Yet,  I love taking care of her. When she and I are playing, or when she's taking in the world outside-or sleeping on my chest-man I can't believe how good God is in creating this little nugget! or in the way she sleeps on her dad-or gives him the biggest grins ( I can't get half the smiles that she gives to her dad-she loves that man). Life is inexplicably more joy-filled since she came on the scene.

She's caused us to reflect on how we communicate, how we work out conflict, how we love each other. She's expanded our view of self-sacrifice and has shown us our worst and our best. Parenting really has been good for Ben and I. He knows me. and he can handle me. I know him. and I can handle him. The depths of our love for each other have grown because we've gotten to choose each other even in new worst case scenarios.

Some of the best moments have been talking with friends about parenting and being reassured. Or my sister who consistenly non-challantly says "thats normal." Its silly, but those side comments alone have been so freeing. Hearing Ben tell me that he's more interested in our happiness then in getting her to reach such and such goal. Having her begin smiling. Having friends who delight over her with me. Early morning when she's just eaten and shes out cold and sleeping heavy on me. Or the way her little hand brushes my skin when she's eating. Or the way she smiles and coos. The way Ben and I laugh together, and with her. Ben's surprise laugh when she does something unexpected-he has a special smile just for her. I get one, and she gets one. Its magic. The silly giggles that have made a permanent appearance in our home. Just life. Its so good.

Its all this stuff that make me realize I am blessed.. I like us. I like that us is now 3.

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