Happy New Year from the Daws family and may you sense God’s nearness, love and richest blessings in the coming year!
A stay-at-home mom's thoughts on life and parenting.
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Happy New Year from the Daws family and may you sense God’s nearness, love and richest blessings in the coming year!
I love Autumn. I love everything about it. The smells, leaves changing and crunching beneath my feet, going to a GA Tech football game, bundling up, chili on the stove, pumpkin candles. Everything.
I was just thinking how in four Autumns, so much has changed. I am a reflector by nature and now as Autumn rolls in each year (even in SoCal), the memories flood me. The cool air and change of season blow in with it memories so vivid I can touch them. Especially memories about building our family.
Four years ago today, I was just starting the last assisted cycle of my fertility treatments and wrote about it here. Would you believe I remember exactly what the sky looked like that day? And what the weather was? Sunny and gorgeous. I was in a bad place. A really, really bad place. But at the same time I realize though I felt God was as far from me as he possibly could be and had checked out of my life, He was as close as the next breath I drew.
How limited my perspective was. God was at work all around me, but at the time, it didn’t seem so. I felt like he had withdrawn his presence from me and I looked for Him like one looks for a lost dog. I put up signs in my heart. Have you seen my God? I longed for Him and His presence again.
As the weather changes, I am drawn to reflect too on the very next Autumn. The change in weather instantaneously brings back memories of the days surrounding Grant’s birth. I delivered a healthy baby boy. I loved being pregnant; it was magical for me. I truly cherished that hard won pregnancy. The leaves were so crisp and beautiful in that Georgia November 2008. It was a chilly, sunny beautiful day – the day he was born. And even now, I realize God redeemed that horrible previous Fall.
And then there was last Autumn when we had our sweet Hudson. A California Fall and whole new memories. I saw God bring great joy in giving us him so surprisingly and so thoughtfully during an incredibly hard transition here. I was falling apart, honestly. And he was a blessed distraction. A symbol of God’s grace and POWER! I wasn’t even “supposed” to be able to get pregnant much less carry a baby to full-term. And here he was – a surprise! Quite the contrast from three previous Autumns.
Autumn also brings with it a whole new bout of homesickness each year. I really miss the Georgia Fall. I know what I am missing and it makes me sad. I think I also grasp for some touch of Fall (which there is today!) here that will allow me to go back in time and relive those memories – good and bad – and reflect and remember. I don’t know why I feel the need to do that but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it is a time in my life that I can truly mark as seeing the faithfulness of God from one season to the next.
Someone recently asked what I gained from going through all of that. I paused and then said, “perspective.” I now have perspective to see that God is always at work behind the scenes. He’s never gone dark. He’s always plotting and planning and working to bring glory unto Himself through the display of His might in our lives. And not just might in the sense of His mountain-top miracles. But in the sense of clinging to Him with the one last ounce of strength we have or running back to Him after a time of shunning Him – once again acknowledging Him despite our pain. That is His might in our lives.
So in four Autumns a lot has changed. Infertility, two babies, selling a house and moving to the other side of the country and essentially starting completely over. And today? I’m grateful for cooler weather and a taste of home that beckon memories of God’s silence and shout of His goodness.
Thank you God for my two Autumn babies!
Happy first birthday, sweet Hudson. How can it already have been a year?
We love this little guy so very much. He is the sweetest, most mellow baby and has stolen the heart of his momma. He has brought so much joy to our lives. I’m so glad he was in God’s plan for us.
Josh and I ran the Disneyland Half-Marathon Labor Day Weekend. Months of training, hard work, waking up early and aching muscles paid off in the end. I can’t quite capture in words what if felt like to meet this goal. Pure elation.
This Is The Time – Billy Joel
This is the time to remember
‘Cause it will not last forever
These are the days
To hold on to
‘Cause we won’t
Although we’ll want to
This is the time
But time is gonna change…
Sometimes when both my babies are screaming to be held at the same time, and I am letting one hold my finger for comfort while placing my other hand on the baby’s tummy to soothe him, I’ll remember my days of infertility and then this Billy Joel song will start playing in my head.
My boys need me, but they won’t always.
It seems like I’ve sat down many times to try and write, but the words just don’t come. To try and sum up the last 4 months seems impossible so I’ll just say my days are caught in that crazy, non-stop, wonderful, exhausting, blissful thing called motherhood where I am caring for two small children and have little time for much else! Sound familiar?
L.A. It’s better. Much better. Community is starting to form here for us. I’m in a groove. I have accepted and EMBRACED where we are. Excited and all grateful to know I am in the center of God’s will which so many struggle to find their whole life through.
I still get homesick. Last week in fact. I miss my house, my GA friends, our family, my dogs. Getting to see my day lillies bloom in my front yard from what was Grant’s nursery while rocking a baby in the gorgeous morning sun that room got. Oh, how I loved the morning sun in that room.
But L.A. Did you know how completely gorgeous it is here in the Spring? Last night I spied hundreds of roses as I ran and inhaled their sweet smells. Did you know many streets have these gorgeous overarching trees alongside them?
Maybe the greatest thing I am learning is that life is a series of seasons. Children, places you’ve lived, worked, trials, triumphs. And probably the greatest thing I can do is breathe them in and hold them loose or maybe just a little tighter?
A baby is a calling…
2010. What a year it has been for the Daws family. A move to California and a brand new baby. Two things that encompass a whole lot of other things!
So here it is. Our year in review in pictures:
We loaded up a moving van and drove across the country to chase our dreams in California:
Moved into our new apartment in Burbank, CA:
Found out I was pregnant. Surprise!:
Drove far and wide to find Chick-fil-A to satisfy our cravings:
Visited many beautiful places like Newport Beach:
Sequoia National Park:
And Kings Canyon:
I was sick for months with all-day morning sickness. I spent a lot of time on the couch.
We visited Disney Animation and Studios and got a personal tour:
We went to Disneyland. A lot.
Here we are riding the Lilly Belle at Disneyland. I was really, really sick this day.
Josh ran a half marathon on his birthday:
We flew back to Georgia for Josh’s brother Jon and Mallory’s wedding:
We visited the Santa Barbara Mission:
Josh got a new do:
We went to the premiere of Cars – the online game – at Bob’s Big Boy and saw celebrities:
I was on “The Doctors” television show:
I grew and grew and grew:
And on September 23, 2010 at 8:05 am, Hudson Alexander Daws was born to us:
I fell in love all over again:
And we became a family of four:
LaLa (Josh’s mom) came to stay and help for 6 weeks:
Grant dressed up as Buzz Lightyear for Halloween:
And celebrated his 2nd birthday with a homemade train cake:
We all paid Santa a visit:
And while we were sleeping, Grant grew from a baby to a boy:
We took a long trip to the East Coast for the holidays. Here is Becca in Florida with her siblings:
Hudson and our new niece, Julia, celebrated their first Thanksgiving:
Hudson celebrated his first Christmas:
And we enjoyed Christmas with the Daws family:
It was a year to remember. Happy New Year, y’all.
It feels that just yesterday I was up at 3am feeding this guy wondering when he would sleep through the night. Now, he is a boy and sleeps in a bed and loves all things Buzz and Woody, trains, planes and automobiles. He hugs and kisses — tells me he loves me.
In fact I remember one specific night I was sitting on my couch in Georgia in the dark at 3am feeding him as a newborn. He, wide awake looking at me. Me thinking the sleeplessness would never pass. It did. As I looked at Grant all tucked in his new bed, I choked back the tears thinking how very quickly he was growing — another milestone before my eyes.
The sweet perspective I now have as a second-time mom is priceless. I find myself staring at Hudson now, knowing he is growing as I gaze.
I know I’ll turn around and they’ll be grown.
I’ll long for the nights I gently, sleepily whispered prayers for them as I fed and soothed them.
It’s so easy to get lost in the wanting to get to the next step, to get beyond a stage or a season in life for the “next” thing.
I am challenged to find joy in each season. In each moment. How about you?
Hudson Alexander Daws was born to us on September 23, 2010 at 8:05am in Pasadena, CA. He was 8lbs. and 21 inches long.
We are beyond grateful for the perfect gift that he is. And that just three years ago, after doctors thought we’d never have children, we now have two gorgeous sons.
My God keeps His promises. Psalm 113:9.
Welcome, sweet Hudson!
Living in California definitely has its advantages. For one, the weather is mostly gorgeous every day. Always sunny. Never humid. According to the locals, this has been a very mild summer for which I am grateful for being so very pregnant.
And, it’s a very exciting life in that we never know what a day may bring.
In the last few weeks, we’ve gotten to do so many fun things. We were able to attend a red carpet event for the new “Cars – Online” game. It was invite only at the famous Bob’s Big Boy here in Burbank. We had all you could eat diner food and saw replicas of all the favorite cars from the movie “Cars” along with a play area for the kids. Grant was in car heaven. He even played alongside Tori Spelling’s kids. Several other celebrities were in attendance. It was just fun on a random Wednesday afternoon.
Then, I got tickets to the season finale of “So You Think You Can Dance.” If you know me, you know that I love the show and even though I was the only pregnant 30 year old amongst the teenagers in the audience, I had the time of my life. It was so fun to see a show like that live and to peek behind the scenes. And to finish that night off, we ate at the first Chick-fil-a to ever open in LA on our way home. It had just opened that day. Pure bliss.
Last week, I also had the opportunity to be on “The Doctors” daytime TV show. I was helping to demonstrate what to do when a pregnant woman chokes. And yes, the former “Bachelor,” and host of the show, Dr. Travis Stork, demonstrated the Heimlich on me. I thought the lady sitting next to me was going to turn green with envy after I sat down.
I went through wardrobe, hair, make-up – got picked up by a golf-cart. The whole nine. I can’t wait until it airs, although I loathe watching myself on camera. Hope I don’t look too nerdy.
And then there is the day to day life with the same chores and responsibilities I’ve always had raising a toddler and taking care of my family and home. Those things don’t change even though I am in the media capital of the world. But the fun adventures we have definitely help to spice it up!
And, cupcakes are really big out here. Did you know that? They have all these cupcake stores everywhere. My neighbor brought me one the other day. Bad idea.
And I love The Coffee Bean’s iced lattes. The Coffee Bean is based out here and so much better than Starbucks. Iced lattes are new with this pregnancy. Speaking of which. I am 35 weeks now and less than four weeks from meeting our newest baby boy!
So, here are some long overdue pictures of us and me very pregnant.
“Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.” – C.S. Lewis
My new favorite thing is an iced caramel latte or iced caramel macchiato. Nonfat. Decaf. Half a shot. Light on the ice. In fact, I slurped down one of them yesterday during an uplifting – no kid – coffee date with a friend. While the drink was refreshing the conversation was even more so. Well, refreshing and sobering.
I lamented my homesickness to my friend – how a huge wave of it had come over me again. And not because I think living somewhere else would make me happy or fulfilled – just missing friends, home and the really the convenience of it. My friend has been here in LA for seven years and remarked how you can count on half of your friends leaving within a two year time period. People don’t last out here.
It can be brutal.
So, you invest in a friendship and they leave. A lot. Even in the short time we’ve been here, I’ve seen it happen to me several times already. I’ll think, Yes! This could be a great friendship. This has to be a God thing. And then because of understandable circumstances, they leave. And it feels really lonely again. It’s like being the new kid in class trying to make friends, forever. I think this has contributed to the homesickness along with more life change on the way with the baby coming soon.
We took a tour of the hospital I’ll be delivering at earlier this week. There was no parking of course anywhere near where we needed to be. After we finally parked in our tiny California-sized parking space, I squeezed my 8 month pregnant belly between my car door and the car immediately next to me – scraping it as I shimmied through. Once in the hospital, my jaw dropped when I saw how tiny the maternity rooms were. About 1/4 the size I had with Grant. Everything is smaller here and cramped together because land and everything else is so very expensive.
I got in the car and thought I want my old doctor, my old hospital, my old pediatrician. I don’t want this. I don’t want to try and figure out a space in my room for a bassinet. I want the baby to have his own nursery. I want to decorate a nursery for him. I don’t want to have to carry my groceries from the alley or parking garage with two babies in tow. I don’t want to raise my kids in the city with the smog and sirens. So yeah, not some of my finer I choose to trust God moments.
It’s funny how quickly we as humans revert to MY comfort, MY happiness. ME. Definitely not God’s idea. And my kids won’t know any different anyway. Let’s face it. Those are my conjured up I think I need this thoughts. And I live in America for goodness sake. What am I complaining about?
I know He knows my heart. I know He knows I want Him to be famous in my life. I just don’t know that I know if I have really accepted His leading us here. I mean I know it’s His will for us to be here, but If I really, really trusted Him in this, would I see things differently? I don’t know.
So here I am, on this boat at sea being bounced around by a storm – wave after wave of life change hitting me, my hands desperately trying to grasp something familiar and sturdy to hang on to. And so I think backward to the familiar and comfortable – the gentler, more placid seas. But then I hear God gently whisper, “I’m here. You can hang on to me.”
Lots of stretching going on in all aspects of my life.
I think I need another caramel latte.
“Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism.” – C.S. Lewis
We made our way to Atlanta for our first trip back since we moved to LA. Everyone who moves away has to have a first trip back. And to be honest, I was fearful of it. I knew I had had a hard time of it — adjusting to the crazy, new life that is LA — and I just wasn’t sure how I would feel, what I should expect, and where I would fit.
I stepped off the plane and the comforts flowed. Southern accents. Warm smiles. Tall, green trees. Big, open empty spaces. A warm hug from Mom and Dad. And even the familiar feel of the Georgia humidity.
And then the tears. I was flooded with emotion as we drove to the house and one by one checked off all the familiar sights in my mind. Each full of memories. One step in the house and I crumbled. The smell of cinnamon, the smell of the room we stayed in for months before moving, seeing Grant run around from room to room when he could only crawl when we left. It all came back. Every memory. Every conversation Josh and I had about our fears and hopes about moving.
And I suppose it’s normal to feel this way the first time back. I reassured Josh that I was not going to not get back on the plane – I was just in this weird place where I knew I was exactly where God wanted us, yet missing home so very badly.
And now we had done it. But, even looking down at my pregnant tummy – a visual reminder that yes, time had indeed passed – it still seemed as if I had just woken from a dream that lasted four months. Yet Atlanta was no longer home either.
I think the way I feel is best described in the first verse of Neil Diamond’s “I Am…I Said.”
L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is ‘lay back’
Palm trees grow, and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin’ about
Making my way back
Well I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more
Lost between two shores. That’s how I feel.
We haven’t lived in LA long enough for it to feel like home, yet it was very clear to me that Atlanta is no longer my home either.
But then it struck me. Home is where God plants me. Home is where Josh and my children are. And why was I missing Atlanta so much any way? “Home” is actually Florida for me. I was born there and lived there 23 years, yet I never grieved it the way I was Atlanta. But then Atlanta is where my first baby was born, where we bought our first home and where we had deep relationships and a great church home. Things God is faithful to provide in LA too if I’ll just give Him a chance. I needed to just surrender the emotions and the sadness and just see what He might have for me there too.
I can choose to be miserable and forfeit the blessings, benefits and privilege of somehow maybe being used of God in a dark city or I can surrender all of the hard stuff, knowing my God knows and then watch Him work. Watch Him provide. And get to have an adventure most can only dream of.
And then I am flooded with reminders of His past faithfulness. I won’t always feel lost between two shores. I realize it’s right now – in this very moment of uncomfortableness that He is drawing me nigh. Asking me to listen closely, stretching my faith and resolve and yet being a patient, loving Daddy who understands and is willing to shoulder the load of complex circumstances He’s asked me walk through.