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josephine rose

Parenting

What I Learned My First Year as a Mother

November 10, 2015

One year ago today our lives dramatically changed for the good.

I remember it like it was yesterday and I treasure all the intimate details of that day and just how very blessed it was.

Josie Rosie is now ONE and my oh my how she’s changed in such a short time. Looking back it’s more than obvious that I also changed a lot too. That’s what I want to highlight in this post, lest I forget all the ways this tiny human impacted me during her first year.

Breastfeeding is NO JOKE!

OK, do we really need to rehash this again?

Just go read this, this, and this.

Long story short – troubles with breastfeeding will take the toughest, most badass Momma and leave her a shriveled up version of herself crying in a corner. On the flip side, when breastfeeding begins going well, the most beaten down and discouraged Momma will suddenly walk around feeling like a Superhero.

Nuff said.

Babies SLEEP?!?!

Other people would tell me stories of how their babies slept through the night from early on. Or how their babies slept in the car while they ran errands. Or how they napped in the baby carrier if they were out and about. And how their kids could sleep through noise or light, etc.

Imagine the opposite and that is Josie.

She still doesn’t sleep through the night. Nor does she really nap in the car or baby carrier. And the girl could hear a pin drop in the next room even with her white noise machine blaring. Oh, and her room has to be pitch black for her to even think about sleeping. Lastly we FINALLY transitioned her to a sleep sack from the swaddle when she was 7 (!) months old.

We’ve got a high needs sleeper and I’ve accepted it. I’ve learned how to cope (COFFEE!) with less sleep and the occasional cat nap. We can only go uphill from here with any future kiddos, right?

Other People Gotta Chime In

Oh the advice from other people. Family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers all have opinions on how YOU should be parenting.

I heard this was a thing but sort of didn’t believe it. People don’t offer unsolicited advice on how I do my laundry or load my dishwasher…so why would they care about how I parent? WRONG. They care.

How you diaper, supplement, introduce solids, vaccinate, sleep train, brand of pacifier baby takes, organic vs non-organic foods and items, you name it…others have an opinion about it and they will tell you.

I’ve learned at the end of a day I don’t care about what other people think I should be doing.

I genuinely listen to others and do my own research but once I decide upon a path to take, I am not ashamed to move forward and not look back without caring about other;s opinions. I definitely don’t claim to be doing everything perfectly but I am doing the best I can with the knowledge I have in the present moment. That’s all anyone can do.

Motherhood Can Be Lonely

A temptation I experience before Josie was the thought that Motherhood would leave me feeling totally satisfied and all my suffering would disappear.

And there was a short honeymoon period where all was well in the world as I became a new mom. But suffering and pain are part of the human experience due to our brokenness and motherhood didn’t take away all my pain permanently. It certainly changed my circumstances and many of them for the better, but I still suffer, just in new and different ways.

I didn’t expect to feel the loneliness that being a new mom can bring. In many ways I was isolated this past year because I didn’t have family in Denver and didn’t have many friends available to hangout during the week. If I am being honest, I’ve watched wayyyyy too much Netflix this past year to avert feeling lonely. (7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, and Parenthood…yeah a lot of Netflix)

While it was really hard and I was totally blindsided by how lonely I felt at times, it’s gotten a WHOLE LOT BETTER as I make more friends and have more structure to my days and weeks at home…but it’s something I have to constantly keep my eye on to make sure I channel loneliness towards healthy things.

Still Gotta Be About Jesus

After falling flat on my face this past year spiritually, I realized my need for Jesus more than ever. He’s the only one who fully satisfies my heart’s desires and who gets me. While watching Netflix show after Netflix show and continuing to feel empty, all I had to do was turn to Jesus in prayer and my soul was brought to peace and contentment.

Slowly yet surely I fought to get my daily time with God back. I’ve now know I can’t ever go back to a place of not communicating with him again. It’s just not worth it. He made me to be in communion with him and that’s where I long to be.

And those are just a few of the lessons I learned this past year. I’d love to hear about what other mom’s found themselves learning in that first year too! Hit me up in the comments and share your experience!

I can’t end this post on Josephine’s first birthday without some photos of our little lady from each month of her life thus far. My, how she’s grown and changed from a teeny tiny newborn to a happy and silly baby.

really real one

 

Adoption, Infertility, Our Story

How Josie Got Her Name

February 4, 2015

The name Josephine Rose wasn’t on our radar until only a few weeks prior to her birth.

But when we finally said that name out loud, it was instantly perfect. The name fit our story of waiting for her so well.

That’s what we want to share here today.

It all starts back during our days of dating. Jonathan was battling with some personal issues and in turn I was struggling to know where our relationship was supposed to turn. I prayed a novena to St. Therese begging for her help. I asked her for red roses and white lilies if I truly was on God’s path for me in dating and marrying Jonathan. What do you know, I show up at my home parish later that week and it’s FILLED with that exact flower arrangement. Moments later I was filled with peace that I was right where I was supposed to be.

I don’t know how but from that moment I knew the red rose and white lily would be a special sign to me of God’s love and promise that I was in the middle of his will for my life. There were times I would see the arrangement over the next couple of years and it was always exactly when I needed to see it. Always a source of comfort and peace, since the rose is a symbol of Mary and the white lily is a symbol of St. Joseph. I knew that with them praying for me, I was in good hands.

Until it got confusing.

A year ago Jonathan and I were in the middle of pretty invasive infertility treatments. We were trying some new medications and I was going in for ultrasounds to monitor my follicle development and hopeful ovulation 4-6 times a cycle. It was truly exhausting but I had more hope than ever that each cycle might be the cycle.

I was also extremely busy at work, planning and executing the FOCUS Greek Getaways. Let’s just say that between those and dealing with my infertility treatments, I was only surviving by God’s grace.

It was February 6th and I was in North Carolina for the Smokies Greek Getaway. Unusually I was actually a few days late and my period felt nowhere in sight. Could it be?!?!?!?! I called Jonathan excitedly and decided I wouldn’t test until after the Getaway since I needed to just get through the weekend first and foremost.

Our planning team went to pray and attend mass at a nearby Cathedral and upon walking in, I see a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, surrounded by white lilies and red roses. “I must be pregnant!” was the only thought in my mind. I was sure of it. I don’t just randomly see that arrangement of flowers. Ever. I sat down to attend mass, feeling peaceful and content, in awe that I was finally (or so I thought) carrying life within me.

Fast-forward one day to February 7th. I get my period. Hard.

I plummeted into a couple hours of extreme sadness and depression, knowing I needed to pull myself together so I could run a conference in only a few hours. I knew the students were worth offering my pain up for, so that is what I did. Offered it up for their weekend and moved forward, telling nobody what I was going through.

Now I was just mad. I NEVER see the roses and lilies randomly. Why now, when I undoubtedly thought we were FINALLY going to be parents? Nothing made sense.

Until this past August when Jonathan and I began to think about names for the baby we were hoping to adopt.

We were standing in a Marshall’s t-shirt aisle when Jonathan said, “I think I know the name of this baby girl. How about Josephine Rose, in honor of the white lily and red rose that has always been a source of peace for us.”

It sat with me for a moment. I thought back on that last time I saw the lily and the rose and got tricked into thinking I was pregnant. But then I realized something…

What’s nine months from those bleary February days when I saw the red rose and while lily, assured that we were FINALLY expecting a baby?

The due date our our baby girl. She might not have been conceived in my womb at the time…but she was conceived during those very days.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Everything clicked at once and I realized that I wasn’t tricked last February. It really was yet again, a sign that meant something special for me. A sign of hope.

Josephine Rose was the perfect name.

That evening, we looked up the name of Josephine…and it meant “God will add.” Yet again, perfect. God was adding this little lady to our family only in a way that was so undeniably HIM. On one hand, I couldn’t believe it but on the other hand? Totally could. This is the kind of story only God writes. I could never have made it this good.

From that day on, we knew that was to be this little gal’s name.

On November 10, 2014 when we finally held her in our arms and were able to call her Josephine Rose for the first time, it was so very special. It was a name filled with so much meaning and purpose…a perfect name for our new family’s story of finding one another.