Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sleep Tight

For many sleepless nights, I worried. Like any new parent, every waking minute was spent checking to see if my newborn was breathing. I cannot tell you how many times I would reach my hand into the bassinet to make sure he was alright. I never slept. Even if he was, I wasn't. All the thoughts that filled my mind would keep me awake.

I had read all of the statistics. I knew that laying a baby on his stomach to sleep was strictly prohibited by doctors. I was told to remove the bumper from around his crib. I remembered that a sleeper would be all he needed to keep warm, and that a blanket or any loose item could be a hazard. I had been given so much information as a first-time mother that I couldn't actually "be" one due to the worry that overtook me.

But something changed tonight.

After my only (okay, so maybe it was my fourth) fifteenth trip to check on Daniel earlier, I realized that I had this all wrong. My fears were completely irrelevant. With each breath my son took, I heard these words, "He who keeps you will not slumber." The Lord whispered to me over my sleeping baby.

I have spent so many nights in fear. If it isn't my child I am worried over, it ends up being what to make for dinner the next evening, where the money is going, whose feelings I have hurt, when or if we should move, how God could sell a house in this economy, when Daniel is going to wake up, how many hours of sleep I need, or whether or not I am actually good enough (and these are only a few of the things my mind has meddled over just recently). I find it impossible to sleep among my thoughts and fears.

It wasn't until this evening, as Daniel rested peacefully in his crib, that I truly understood that worrying isn't in God's plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11). The same God that watches each sparrow, also has His eyes over me. He does not sleep or slumber (Psalm 121:4), and He definitely knows when I rise and when I go to sleep. Why has it taken me so long to realize that God's doing that very same thing for my child?

So, even in this early hour, my son has rolled over onto his stomach, is snuggled right up beside his bumper, and has his security blanket in arm. Am I worried? No. I have no fear because the God of Israel is watching him as he sleeps. Every statistic I've read couldn't give me any more peace than that. Good night and sleep tight.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One of THOSE Days...

Rushed. Nothing to wear. Forgot to get cash. Stopped by the bank. Running late. 3 bags to carry. Crying baby. Then, upon getting out of the car, I notice my hair. It had taken on a life of itself in just 30 minutes, and knowing I was about to enter a room full of women, it was the worst part of the morning thus far. That is, until Beth Moore hit me across the face when she said, "God knows you're a girl!"

I don't know why it caught me so off guard, but it was such a relief to hear. After the morning I'd made for myself, I had to admit that I've been seriously struggling with the fact that I feel as though I'm not living up to my potential as Brian's wife, Daniel's mother, Dwight and Vicky's child, Jessica's sister, and most importantly, HIS DAUGHTER - this "girl" I'm supposed to be.

Something about being a woman means there are just days that aren't too good. Like just this week, I'm having issues... Issues that range from being unable to make a good lasagna to losing my hair due to post-pregnancy hormones! These are so trivial and silly, but it's so true, and you'd be lying if you didn't have times like these.

I have just started Beth Moore's study on Esther, and I'm learning that God can use me. He has a plan in His mind laid out for me. He takes great pleasure in me. Is that hard to swallow or what?! It is for me.

I have been so busy all of my life trying to be someone for everybody else, from the clothes I wore to the smiling face I often hid behind. It has taken me quite some time (and hearing Beth's resilient voice) to realize that the only person I have to impress is God. And even when I'm doing nothing impressive at all, He loves me just the way I am. Take Songs of Solomon 7:10, for instance, "I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me." Me? Yes, even me... and you!

It is so refreshing knowing that God doesn't see me the way the world views me. On any given day, they can see a new mother, dealing with teething, tears, and tantrums. They might even catch me biting my nails, worrying over the next painting I have to finish or what I can attempt to make for supper. When God looks at me, He sees a brilliant, yet unfinished product that He is diligently working on. He sees a heart cleansed by the blood of His Son. He knows my imperfections and insecurities, and all the while, He is busy straightening each one out in me.

So, if it's one of "those days" - you know, those baby's-crying-phone's-ringing-traffic's-crazy-running-behind kind of days - please, take heart in knowing that God knows where you are, and more importantly, He loves who you are becoming. Messy hair and all.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gone Bananas!

So, at first, Daniel wasn't for the introduction...

But, he eventually realized, they weren't so bad.

That is, once he figured out the spoon...

Things got better from then on.

Daniel loved them!

We tried baby food for the first time after Daniel got the go ahead at his 4-month well visit today. He did surprisingly well with the spoon and the bananas. He also handled his shots like a pro! He's weighing in at 16 lbs 1 1/2 oz, measuring at 25 1/2 in long, and his head is 17 inches in circumference. All are in the 75th percentile. Dr. Cormier said that he looked like a 6-month-old! We are so proud of our growing, good-eating boy!

SHOWING MY LIFE - Baby Showers

I've got to be honest, most of my friends including myself are just now having babies. So far, I've not had to throw any showers as of yet (other than bridal ones). However, I was blessed with 5 different baby showers before Daniel was born in April. Here are just some of the many brilliant showers that friends, family, and churches threw for us:

My dear friend threw this one at my home church for me, and it was blue and brown themed. It was ALL of my favorite things from white cake with vanilla and chocolate icing to daisies which were dyed baby blue... They also put blue mints on the cake and had blue punch, and she even had brown and blue polka dotted decorations which, of course, I loved.

My husband's home church threw us a beautiful shower. I would have to say what was so amazing about this one was the cake. A sweet friend of ours made the cake and included our baby's original monogram on it (I say original because we changed his name just 2 weeks before he was born).

My family shower was AWESOME. My mom, aunt, cousin, and sister listened in great detail about things I would like. I found these ADORABLE invitations at a dollar store and wanted the whole shower to be themed around them. However, we had to order EVERYTHING online, but it was well worth it. It was blue and lime green stripes with white polka dots (if you cannot tell, I love dots).

Here is my beautiful cake, made by my mom's dear friend

The lime green punch and themed cups

Another friend made this diaper cake as a centerpiece

The food table with blue and lime green streamers

Me and my loving family

Last but definitely not least, the sweetest "shower" by far was the one my husband's classmates threw for us. Well, they didn't actually "throw" it. They had planned for weeks to do something for us, and on the last night of classes, Brian had walked out for break and came back in to the room to find gifts, cookies, and cards galore. He brought everything home to me (I was 38 weeks pregnant at the time), and we took this picture of all they did for us!

The cutest things I've ever seen at friends' showers have been:

This ridiculously useful diaper cake with pacifiers, burp cloths, hairbows, rattles, etc. attached to it.

These clever favors shaped like lollipops with baby spoons as the stick and wash cloths as the sucker.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fearlessy Four

Daniel is turning 4 months old today! He wasn't a big fan of today, but we caught a few pictures of our fussy, funny, fabulous four-month-old.

Here's what Daniel has done in his 4th month:

Holy Roller, Part 2 from Jenna Johnson on Vimeo.

In his 13th week:
He rolled over and over and over...
He hated his crib.
He had revival at his Mimi's church.
He listened to his Daddy preach... A LOT.
He was SO good in church.

In his 14th week:
He spent it in West TN while Daddy preached a revival.
He went to church 10 times from Monday to Friday.
He slept 10 whole hours one night!
Mommy and Daddy thought something was wrong with him!
He had to be taken out of every service... SO FUSSY.
He had a hard time nursing with the change in scenery.
He loved playing with his cousins.
He hammed it up for all the new faces he saw.
He stayed awake most nights until 2 or 3 a.m.

In his 15th week:
He had another week of revival at his Daddy's church.
He visited the doctor's office.
He was screaming through the night until 3 a.m.
He weighed 15 lb 5 oz.
The NP decided he needed to up his dosage for reflux.
1.2 mL of Zantac twice a day.
He started a sleeping pattern.
He loved his set of "keys."
He would push up on his arms.
He really enjoyed being on his stomach.

In his 16th week:
He had a vacation in Nashville.
He continued to nurse!
He rolled and rolled and rolled.
He had a new-found love in the television.
He went to his first ever consignment sale!

In his 17th week:
He played in his exersaucer ALL of the time.
He loved watching Baby Einstein videos.
Curious George and Clifford really kept his attention.
His bedtime was 10:45 p.m.
He took 10 minute cat-naps all day.
He slept through the night... 7+ hours.
He wanted to sit up, even though he couldn't on his own.
He hated... despised... even loathed... being put in his changing table, car seat, or in the Bumbo.
He started baby food... Organic bananas. YUM!

Playing in the floor

He's sitting up in his high chair

Daniel is this happy, now that he is waking up after sleeping through the night

Watching Channel 5 Weather with Ron Howes - LOL

Look how long he is - and no, I don't let him do this all the time

SO OVER that Bumbo

Nothing exciting to Daniel about turning 4 months old :)

Pure Delight

One of the best times in my day is when I hear the sounds of my sweet boy waking up... It doesn't take me long to find my way into his room, look over the rail, and find this precious face smiling back at me.

Good Morning, Gorgeous! from Jenna Johnson on Vimeo.

Kid Genius

If you're wondering, like we had, if Baby Einstein videos are worth the cost, let me just tell you that they work wonders... Here's the proof that Daniel's working on becoming Einstein himself:

Baby Becomes an Einstein from Jenna Johnson on Vimeo.

Best money we ever spent!

I Love You, Daniel

You're in for a treat, because I have FINALLY downloaded quite a few videos we have taken of Daniel in the last month, and since he's turning a WHOPPING 4 months old today, I wanted to share this with you.

It wasn't long ago when we had a day of running errands... Daniel had been quite ill, though, as Mommy and Daddy ran him ragged. However, I caught him in the back seat just smiling up a storm after a bottle. I just reminded him how much he was loved, and turns out, I think he might just feel the same way about me...

Mommy's in Love from Jenna Johnson on Vimeo.

Who Would Have Thought?!

I wouldn't have; that's for sure!

However, consignment sales are just amazing. Well, if it's your first one, then it's just plain overwhelming until you find some awesome deals. After much consideration, we decided that ALL of us would head to THE consignment sale in Rivergate this past weekend. ALL of us, of course, means Mimi, Daddy, Mommy, AND Daniel. Since it was our first time to visit one of these, we didn't even think to bring a clothes basket or his stroller; who knew we'd have to wait in line to pay for over an hour?!

But, all in all it worked out, and here's what Daniel got:

*pair of tan Crocs (just like his Daddy's) - $4
*pair of grey New Balance tennis shoes (just like Dad and Mom)- $6
*What to Expect Your First Year - $3
*Evenflo circus exersaucer - $20
*Evenflo Johnny Jump Up - $8
*Baby GAP winter coat - $12
*BRAND NEW Gymboree cars and truck overall set - $13
*lion costume - $10
*Baby GAP striped sweater and corduroy set - $6
*Children's Place short-sleeved polo - $3
*argyle v-neck sweater and shirt set - $12
*navy corduroys to match - $3
*OshKosh striped sweater and brown khaki's - $7
*First Impressions plaid jumper set - $7
*Children's Place long-sleeved polo, jeans, socks - $6
*Old Navy sweater - $4
*Carter's thermals - $3
*Tommy Hilger plaid overalls - $ (can't remember)
*6 Baby Einstein DVDs - $4-$5 each

When we got home, Daniel tried out his newest toy:

But then, he got distracted by his new Baby Einstein DVDs:

Here's a shot of ALL of his clothes:

Close up of the cuteness:

Yes, we spent a FORTUNE, but in Mimi's opinion, Daniel is SO WORTH IT!

A special thanks to MIMI for her tireless efforts to spend 3 hours with us at the sale, holding our spot and waiting in line, carrying heavy Daniel, finding great deals, and helping with the expenses! We are incredibly blessed!

The next morning, here's what Daniel wanted to do:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Day in the Life...

You wouldn't think it, but babies have busy days. A couple of weeks ago, Daniel had such an eventful one himself that I couldn't help but share it with you... (Sorry I'm so late getting it posted - that's a day in the life of being a Mommy.)

Daniel started his morning in his bouncer, saying "Hello" to his animals... and his Mommy, of course.

Daniel's Animals from Jenna Johnson on Vimeo.

Daniel soon got over the bouncer and decided the Bumbo would be best.

However, his teething situation kept getting the best of him, and we had to pull out this guy.

He got over that too. Bouncers and swings do nothing for Daniel, but his exersaucer that was given to him really got him excited! That is, until he got over-zealous and gave himself his first bump.

Daniel's rough morning ended with this red spot and a long nap after screaming over it...

When he woke up from napping, he wanted his daddy.

Then, a big surprise for Daniel! His Pop came by, and they had a TIME in the living room floor.

He even had Daddy rolling with him, too!

After all that playing, his teeth got to bothering him again, and nothing would help, well, except for Daddy's thumb.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Starting from Scratch

If you stopped by this blog in the past few days, you probably have noticed that I've been completely unable to finish what I've started in getting a new look for my site. It's been driving me crazy. I'll find one I like, get to work on it, and Daniel will throw the biggest fit you've ever heard. Or, I may spend Daniel's whole naptime Photoshopping a picture for a header, and for some reason, it wouldn't show up. I finally decided on a simple, Blogspot template and that I would just be starting from scratch.

That's how I feel lately with just about every single thing I do.

How about dealing with a teething baby? Well, we tried teethers, cold wash cloths, ice, Tylenol, and even the fantastic teething tablets. However, as of this week, my almost four-month-old decides that crying is the best way to handle it. For hours out of the day, this is how we do it. He cries, I fuss, and we get along just fine. It's hard though, and despite my obvious attempts at a routine, we are having to start from scratch.

How about my latest battles with cooking? Well, actually, there never was a battle; I just didn't cook, and when I did, it was either disastrous or I couldn't remember how I made it taste so good. Nothing ever repeats itself in this department. I'm just not the best at it, but today, I pulled out one of the most treasured items in my kitchen: my Nana's cookbook. It was given to me at Christmas this year, but I have never even used it because let's face it: Nana could cook... I cannot. However, starting from scratch, I made Squash Casserole tonight, and it was great. Could I do it again? Probably not.

How about handling being a housewife and new mother? Well, being these are probably some of the toughest roles I've ever been blessed to have. I've worked in food service, gift shops, and even dealth with buggars and vomit on a daily basis as a Kindergarten teacher, yet my job as a homemaker is H-A-R-D. I haven't actually MADE anything, except that I have made Daniel scream a few times and Brian ill a couple more. Only because I cannot find my way too well at this gift God's given me. I'm learning though; I mean, today, for instance, I didn't get a shower until 2:30 p.m. and no paintings are finished, and there are still clothes in the baskets, and Daniel's toys are E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E, BUT I was able to cook dinner, vacuum a few rooms, dust a few more, and take care of my precious son. If that's not starting from scratch, then I don't know what is!

How about the constant lessons I'm learning as God's child? Well, again, these are difficult for me. I'm not one that likes to be pointed out, and I rarely enjoy being the center of attention anymore. Yet God always points at me and I'm always in His view. I'm realizing that my relationship isn't as strong with Him as it should be, and studying His Word is more challenging. I can't just read the stories anymore; I've got to be getting to the heart of each scripture. I can't just show up at church each Sunday; I've got to be living each and every single day. And, I'll be honest when I say, I don't do either of those all that well. So, here I am, 16 years after being saved, and starting from scratch.

And, you know what I've heard? It's the best place to start.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Make It Fast

Right this second,

Daniel's sleeping in his swing.
I've not updated in over two weeks.
He's sleeping through the night now.
After he fights it for 45 minutes.
When he's awake, he's ill as all get out.

He's teething.
It's awful.
He's only 3 and 1/2 months old.
However, teething tablets are fabulous.

Revivals have ALMOST ended.
Daniel's only missed 3 out of 40 services or so since July 1st.
We're exhausted.
Need a vacation.

Life's happening... Happening fast.
Baby's crying now.
I love it when he's laughing out loud.
God has truly blessed us.
And,in case I haven't said it enough...
Our Lord is so good.