Wednesday, March 30

The Cherry Blossoms Are Here to Cheer Me On!

Aren't they pretty?

Like I said, aren't they pretty?

Cherry blossoms are officially out in DC!  Unfortunately, the weather has turned cold and sour yet again, which can't be good for the blossoms that are set to cheer me on this Sunday.  Yes, you heard me.  This Sunday, I am running the DC Cherry Blossom 10 Miler... ah!  I'm running 10 miles this Sunday!  A first!  Thankfully, my running buddy, Kelli, will be right beside me.  Kelli runs marathons, and she is actually going to be my personal running coach this Sunday.  Yes, Kelli will literally cheer me through my first 10 miler while running next to me.  I will be huffing and puffing and losing all ability to talk by mile 3 or 4.  But she will keep speaking words of encouragement to me.  Or perhaps she'll sing me a little tune.  I don't know, but I will be spoiled because that's what Kelli does.

This 10 miler was a personal goal I set around the time I had to stop counting pregnancy pounds back in November in order to keep my sanity.  Yes, I decided to stop counting somewhere around the 40 pound mark and just commit to train for a 10 miler after pregnancy to get back in shape.  Getting on the treadmill that first day in January was tough.  Not only do treadmills make me feel like a hamster, but this treadmill had a full body mirror in front of it (are those really necessary?), and I hadn't run one little bit since about the time I discovered I was pregnant.  But each day got a little easier.  Then the end of February came, the weather lightened up a bit, I dropped some weight (yes, the pounds do come off!), and Bella put on a little weight.  And so began our runs on the National Mall together. Bella became my training buddy from the seat of her Bob Jogging Stroller.  I must admit, it was pretty fun to run past the Senate Office buildings in my workout gear in the  middle of the work day while others were going about their usual business and Hill meetings.  Feels like a world away, save the fact that I was just there a few months ago.  Crazy how your world can change in a few short months.  (Yes, this is your friendly reminder- especially to women- to hold on to the things of this world loosely.  I feel like our world's are especially good at changing and throwing us in to new roles at the drop of a hat.)

So, you know how I titled this blog "Home on the Hill"?  Well, that's because Capitol Hill is truly, you guessed it, a hill.  And I always run down this hill at the beginning of my runs and then attempt to run up it at the end of my runs.  Attempt.  Key word.  I stink at running up hills.  I grew up in the rice fields of Texas.  There are no hills there.  Therefore, I have no hill endurance, and for the life of me, I can't figure out how to get it.  So add a baby with a stroller to this hill, and there is rarely a run that goes by where I don't have a fellow runner or tourist either give me a look or verbally say something like, "Poor thing."  Or "You can do it!" Or "That baby doesn't know how good she has it."  Yes, I know the look on my face screams, "Help! Someone! Feel my pain! Or better yet, just please carry me and this stroller up this God forsaken hill!"  I know I look pathetic.  I can't help it.

We'll see how pathetic I look come the finish line this Sunday.  Something tells me that whatever hill may come my way, I'll be smiling at the end of it all.  It feels good to be so close to a goal that's been a few months in coming.

And just in case a hill does get the best of me, thankfully I have Kelli to carry me over the finish line.  And she would.  Because that's what Kelli does.

Thursday, March 24

Bella Lovin' Her Some Camera Action

So Mike and I are back in DC after a week+ of travels to visit family in Texas during their Spring Break, attend a good family friend's wedding, and then jump over to see family in Georgia and celebrate my man's upcoming birthday.  What a whirlwind of fun!  Thankfully, we paused in the middle of it all to capture some shots of our little girl... and a few other special cousins.

So without further ado, here's Bella Mae!  She's a little over 4 months old at this point and has managed to acquire some awesome baby chub and adorable expressions.

Classic Bella Cuteness

Bella close up with some nice drool action

My personal fav...

... or maybe it was this one...

...or perhaps..., this one!
Trouble.  She's gonna be trouble, I tell ya.

Bella decided to share the camera with a few of her cousins.  She's got an awesome "stand in big brother" in Cousin Cole.
Bella and Kate hanging out with Papa, a bottle, and a glass of wine.  Life is good.

And now for the classic Kate and Bella pics!  These two girls have really taken off.  They are most definitely their own little persons.  They're completely different in look and personality.  But one thing they do have in common.  They are both precious little dolls!

The end to a most wonderful trip and some great memories!  A special thanks to Nana, Papa, The Martin Family, Poppi, Uncle Joey, and GiGi!  And Aunt MeShell... don't worry, we'll catch ya next time!

Monday, March 14

Just Where Do You Think You're Going?

Me: Bella!  What are you doing in that suitcase?!

Bella: Oh, you know, just getting ready for my trip to Texas and Georgia.  I get to see my Nana and Papa!  And then my Aunt Amy and Uncle Brian! And then my Cousin Cole and Best Bud Kate!  And then my Grandma and Poppi!  My life rocks!

Me: Oh yes, that reminds me.  I need to get packing!  You just sit over here and be cute, okay?

Bella: No problem!

Me: And please stop distracting me with that cute face of your's!

To what is probably half of my readership, see you all soon!

Tuesday, March 8

Ready for the Day with the Little Green Army

"Standing at Attention"

I've had two recent conversations with friends about enjoying my days with Bella.  As cute as this girl is, I know my natural tendency is to treat my child as another thing in my life to be managed.  Children "how to" books love to push for getting your baby on a set schedule.  While schedules can really serve a child and family, I usually crave that set schedule for the purpose of getting back to my life.

During pregnancy and even to this day, I've been afraid of the sacrifice, responsibility, costs, burden, commitment, etc. of having a child.  But in the end, the choice boils down to whether or not I trust God's Word.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." 1 John 3:16

Is Christ's example at the center of my love for Bella?  Am I willing to lay down my schedule, my tasks, my friendships, etc. for her?

Or how about, "Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him."  Psalm 127:3

Do I daily see Bella as a gift from God to me?  Am I enjoying this gift or do I treat Bella as another burden to be managed to my own selfish ends?

While my little green army stands ready to manage the day's cries, my heart is dwelling on these verses so that my attitude, my time, my hands-- my whole self-- might stand ready to love and serve this little girl, as well.

Friday, March 4

Who is this little girl?

The early mothering days are filled with the question, "Who will our little munchkin become?"

Miss Independent?
Miss Einstein?

Miss Sassafras?

Or little Miss Artist? (See grandparents?  She did make those Valentine's Day treats.)

I don't know, but it sure is fun to wonder!  Most of all, I pray this little girl someday finds her identity in Christ.

"When we remember that Christ has given us everything we need to be the people he has designed us to be, we are free to serve and love others.  We are free to be humble, patient, gentle, and forbearing."  (Lane and Tripp, Change and Your Relationships Study Guide)

Now those are the defining characteristics I desire for my sweet Bella Mae.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 1

Fanny Packs and Family Outings

Lately, Mike has been begging me to go to a museum.  You see, we live amidst a host of the nation's best museums and art collections, and because of this, we're also surrounded by traffic making tour buses and slow moving tourists.  So we've grown snooty and lost the excitement of it all.  But frankly, we're the ones missing out.

So to counter our snooty attitudes, this past Saturday we packed up some water, put on our walking sneakers, skipped the fanny pack, and became DC tourists for the afternoon.  The National Portrait Gallery was our museum of choice.  We toured it for just over an hour because our life now revolves around a little someone who will remain nameless and her feeding schedule.

Bella was awestruck as Daddy explained the history behind the portraits of our nation's Presidents.  She ooo'd and ahhh'd at the Civil War and Native American artwork.  Others around us confused Bella for a piece of art.  I couldn't agree more. ;)

Actually, the whole trip brought back memories of my childhood, when family road trips consisted of our dad pointing out historical sites or God's wondrous creation.  In the back seat, my sisters and I would trade off on who would have to help Dad feel special by remarking on how interesting and unbelievable it all was while simultaneously rolling our eyes.  We were ungrateful twerps.  Bella will probably be one, too.  I deserve it.

Anyways, it's hard to say that Bella was ungrateful during our mini trip.  But perhaps a bit bored?  I don't know.  You be the judge.

The Before and the After:

P.S. I love my husband.  We are both nerds, and I am so thankful for it.