juliaandruswilliams

Dear Whit :: 5 Months

Dear Whit,

Well, I looked at the calendar today and realized I totally missed your five month picture and blog. Is this the month that everyone stops filling out their baby books?

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeIt would make sense. You’ve gotten so much busier. Awake more. Talking more. Moving more. Eating more. Smiling and laughing more. Drooling more. So much more.

You’re rolling all over the place and scooting around the living room on your back. You still love to stand up and want so badly to take off running. But mama is glad that you’re still mostly immobile!

WMW_7907

We tried introducing some foods this month. So far, you think oatmeal is the most disgusting thing ever – which is strange given that I’ve eaten at least two servings of it a day since I first got pregnant! But you’re a big fan of peaches and avocado. I think we’ll try sweet potatoes next.

Andrus Williams Creative

You’re a pretty consistent sleeper (though, it’s hard to write that sentence given you woke up for the day at 3 am this morning!) and I think the key is the long afternoon nap we’ve gotten in the habit of taking. It’s mama’s favorite part of the day. Please don’t grow out of it for a long time!

Nap

I think this has been my favorite month yet. In many ways, this whole motherhood thing has gotten a little easier. Or maybe I’m a little more comfortable. Or maybe the smile you give me every single time I say “Hi Baby” makes it all worth it. Whatever it is – I’m so thankful and happy to be your mama.

Love you for always,

Mama

Dear Whit :: 4 Months

Dear Whit,

Dear Whit :: Four Months

Four months already… and officially a year since I first found out I was pregnant – and I am still completely amazed by your mere existence every day. And on top of that, so thankful that you are such a happy and healthy little guy – so perfect and truly a gift from above.

This month has been full of so many smiles. You start your day with a smile. Every morning when I go into the nursery to get you, you smile as soon as you see my face. My heart melts every single morning.

Dear Whit :: 4 Months

You’re still talking up a storm – but I must say you’re sounding less and less like you’re speaking English. Your oh goos and hiyas have turned into guttural screeches. Maybe you’re born to be a French speaker? And you’re definitely starting to understand volume and how to make louder noises.

Dear Whit :: 4 Months

You have totally mastered rolling over and keep trying to army crawl around the living room. You’re starting to get the hang of sitting up. But, you really just want to stand up and take off running. Your balance isn’t quite there yet, but your strong little leggies are able to support your weight pretty well. Like your dad, you are constantly testing the limits of your body and seeing what you can do and accomplish.

In fact, you continue to be e.x.a.c.t.l.y like your dad. His new joke is that instead of getting 50% of his DNA, you got 87%. Honestly, maybe more. Everyone who sees you comments on how much you look like him. You are strong and active and curious and determined like him.

FathersDay

We celebrated his first Father’s Day this month. I am so thankful that you will grow up with such an amazing man as your father. I love watching you interact together and know that he will teach you so much over the years (good and bad – ha!).

Whit – you are an absolute joy. We love you more than we knew we could.

Dear Whit :: 4 Months

Love always,

Mama

Cheers to 30

After six years of blogging toward 30, I’m almost there. Tomorrow, I reach this milestone that I thought was so huge when I was 24.

It has been a decade of figuring out who I really am, what I want to do, and who I want to be. I had to figure out how to adult and take care of myself. And now, how to take care of someone else. It was almost a full decade of figuring out how to really love and know someone else. It was figuring out how to really love and know myself.

And it required a lot of trial and error. A lot of change.

When I look back on the past decade, I’ve lived in 5 cities, and at least twice as many dorm rooms, apartments, and houses. I’ve traveled to four continents, somewhere around 20 countries, and met countless people along the way. I’ve lost friends and made friends. I’ve had not only several jobs, but several career paths – all abandoned for a volunteer ministry in Purpose Coffee and the occasional consulting work, stuck in between feedings, diaper changes, and naps. I’ve struggled. And succeeded. Fell on my knees in desperate prayer, and then again in overwhelming thanksgiving.

From sorority girl, to single in the city, to business woman, to farmwife, to stay at home mom. Just when I hit my grove and think I’ve got it figured out, life seems to change pretty drastically.

Through all of this change, I’ve learned a lot about myself. And maybe a little about life in general. As I look back on my 20s, here are some of my biggest lessons learned:

Everyone struggles. Your 20s are hard. No matter what path life takes you on in your 20s – whether you’re married with 3 kids, divorced, single, working, not working, still in school, living on your own, living with your parents, living with three other people in a single bedroom rental – it’s a tough decade. Even though it looks like your friend or that person on Facebook has it all together – I don’t think any of us really do yet.

I heard a theory once that if we could put everyone’s life on a clothes line – with our struggles and joys honestly spelled out – and you could go pick whichever set of circumstances you wanted – we would all go back and pick our own.

So just because you don’t have it together yet, it’s not worth it to beat yourself up – or to pretend like you actually do have it together. Embrace the mess. Be truthful and vulnerable. Connect with people who are right there in the middle of the mess with you.

You lose friends; you make friends. I’ve hurt people, and people have hurt me.

I’m sorry. That we couldn’t communicate. That we didn’t have compassion for one another. That I held onto anger or resentment. That I wasn’t a bigger person.

I’m sad. That we drifted apart. That our friendship ended. That I don’t even know the person I used to care so much about.

But I’m thankful for the season you were in my life. You impacted me, taught me things, shaped who I am today.

I wish we were in a place to just put it all behind us. But, it’s also okay that we are different people now. And sometimes the damage is irreparable – and that’s life.

I’m thankful to start a new decade with only fond memories and no more hard feelings.

There’s power in asking for what you want. This was one of the most important things I learned. In my early 20s, I spent so much time trying to figure out what other people wanted that I often forgot to think about what I wanted. And even if I did know what I wanted, I wasn’t brave enough to say it.

I finally worked up the courage to say what I wanted at work, in terms of responsibilities, hours, and salary. And I said it. Put it into the world. And they said okay. And it came to be. Hmm, that was easy.

Since then, there has been such empowerment in figuring out what I want, saying it, and making it happen. Whether it is through prayer, sending positivity into the world, or making a concrete plan to make those desires come to fruition – knowing what you want and saying it is half the battle.

I can’t force it. Piggy backing on knowing what I want…. I’ve also learned that I can’t force myself to want something. My head can know something is the best choice, but if my heart doesn’t want it, it’s not happening. (For example – I know that exercising is really important and the best choice for my health now and in the future. But my heart isn’t having it. And I cannot force myself to do it.)

So many of my 30 before 30 goals ended up not being in my heart. And they so didn’t get accomplished. I didn’t even try. And that’s okay – I learned something about myself in the process.

And at the same time that I didn’t accomplish so many things, I accomplished a lot in my 20s. When something is in my heart, I suddenly have all the self-discipline and determination in the world. It will happen.

As I conclude this tumultuous decade, I’m proud of what I have accomplished and of the effort I put into learning, experiencing, working, traveling, loving. I’m at peace with what didn’t come to be. And I’m so thankful for the many blessings I’ve had along the way and the help and support from friends and family.

I’m not particularly excited about being 30 tomorrow, but I’m really happy my 20s are coming to an end. I’ll start 30 tomorrow knowing who I am, confident in my marriage, with amazing friends and family beside me, and so thankful for this little life I lead.

Cheers to 30.

Cheers to 30.

 

Dear Whitaker :: 3 Months

Dear Whit,

This has been quite the month. Ups and downs. Lots of firsts. Lots of smiles. A few tears. I think this month we both started living a little more consciously, instead of in the newborn/postpartum haze fueled by adrenaline and instincts. Getting out of that haze has meant things were so much more enjoyable – but also a little more difficult since neither of us are on autopilot anymore.

WMW

The month started with the pediatrician telling us you might have cystic fibrosis. And then 24 hours called and said nevermind. (Word to the wise – don’t tell a sleep deprived brand new mom that her baby might have an incurable, life-threatening disease unless you’re pretty positive.) Praise the Lord that you continue to be healthy, growing like crazy, and getting stronger every day.

WMW

This month you rolled over for the first time. You had been trying so hard all month long and finally got it. I couldn’t believe the amount of pride that swelled inside of me as I watched you accomplish this task! You, on the other hand, acted like it was no big deal.

You slept through the night for the first time. Thank you, baby, for the uninterrupted sleep! We started sleep training, and you’ve done great so far. Your dad and I feel pretty dumb that we didn’t do it sooner. We’re all a little happier and a lot more rested.

WMW

You went on your first road trip, to Farwell. You meet lots of cousins, went swimming, and hung out with your grandparents. I was away from you for a whole day for the first time (and we all survived to tell about it – even Nana and Grandpa James). You went to church for the first time. And to the farm for the first time. And to SAMs for the first time. Really important milestones.

You’ve started laughing. One day, you said, “Hiya!” So I told you that ninjas say hiya, and your daddy would really like you to be a ninja. You thought that was hilarious, and let out a real chuckle. I almost cried it was so cute.

WMW

And we celebrated my first Mother’s Day. Thank you for the new patio decor – so thoughtful of you. I am so thankful for you, little man, and so happy to be your mother.

Happy 3 months.

Love always,

Mama

rePURPOSE

Can nesting happen AFTER baby comes? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening.

I worked all the way through my pregnancy, right up until the week Whit was born. And I just didn’t have the energy for true nesting. Now, having been cooped in my house for almost three months – the urge to really nest is setting in. To clean. To organize. To streamline. To simplify. To get rid of. To sell. To donate.

As I look around, I have nice things, that I like, but they just aren’t right for me anymore. Clothes that don’t quite fit right. Shoes that are a little too snug. Purses that I never use. Decor that no longer has a home. Things that I don’t want to just give away – but that I don’t want taking up space in my life anymore. They are sitting in closets, waiting to be loved again. To be given a new purpose.

A few weeks ago, I was telling my mom how I wished someone would host a charity garage sale that I could send my stuff to. And then I realized I’m involved with a charity doing some pretty amazing work around this world. Hey, why don’t I have that garage sale?!

And so, we are having a multi-family garage sale this Thursday, with all funds going to Purpose Coffee and our efforts to care for orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. (There are additional garage sales happening across the street – so lots of shopping to be done!)

Thank you so much to those who have donated to the garage sale, giving us a wide selection of sizes and styles! Shop clothes, home decor, kitchen goods, kids stuff, and more!

Shop for a PurposerePURPOSE

As I’ve gone through my things and found so much that I don’t mind parting with – it really got me thinking. This needs to be a life change for me.

I want every aspect of my life to have purpose and to be meaningful. And that extends to the things I own. I want my home to reflect our style and personality as a family. I want my closet to be filled with clothes I want to wear. I want my storage closets to house loved items.

So, I’m trying a new avenue to clear out these items that don’t quite fit my purpose. The online store, rePURPOSE, will feature only new, like new, and very gently used goods, with all of the funds going to Purpose Coffee’s Child Wellness Fund.

Follow the rePURPOSE account on Instagram for regular updates. I’m happy to ship or can arrange local pickup. I hope you’ll find something and give it a new Purpose in your life.

My first sale is in honor of Memorial Day this week, featuring red, white, and blue outfits, with items starting at just $5!

rePURPOSErePURPOSErePURPOSE

Purpose: Dalhart

Since we welcomed Whitaker to the world just over two months ago, friends, family, and acquaintances frequently ask some of the same questions: “Don’t you just love him?!” “How’s he sleeping?” and “Are you opening a coffee shop?!”

So, let me answer those. Yes, he’s a dream. Sometimes he sleeps wonderfully. And, no – at least not yet.

It’s the last question that needs a little more explanation.

A few days ago, I posted a progress shot of the building we and some friends are renovating to house Purpose Coffee in Dalhart. We hope that this new space will make it easier to shop, sip, roast, and ship. So, it will be a shop. And there will be coffee. But it’s not a coffee shop.

Purpose: Dalhart

Instead, it’s a space to further the mission of Purpose Coffee, and the dreams we have for the company. We will roast and ship from the location. And will have limited hours that we are open so that the community can more easily buy coffee and purpose-driven goods.

It will be a space to organize and host events, tastings, and expand the reach of our annual charity run and pancake breakfast (hoping to host this in September, so be looking for more details!). We will be able to share updates about our projects and the great works that are being accomplished, all because there are a lot of coffee lovers out there.

But, it’s also more than just an office space for Purpose Coffee.

For a long time, I’ve had a dream, a hope, a prayer, that Purpose Coffee could be a tool for individuals to find and pursue their spiritual passions – indeed, to find their own God-given Purpose. And, I’ve dreamed, and hoped, and prayed, that it could be a tool that unifies and excites the various church bodies in Dalhart. That instead of focusing on what differences we have, we can bond over a cup of coffee and focus on the commonality we have in Jesus. So, we want Purpose: Dalhart to be a community space for fellowship, for learning, for prayer, for worship.

Admittedly, it’s a fluid concept, waiting to be molded based on God’s plans. And I can’t wait to brew some coffee with friends and see just what those plans are.

Dear Whitaker :: 2 Months

Dear Whit,

Time keeps marching by – a little too quickly – and today you’re two months old. You’ve changed so much and hardly even resemble that tiny, raw newborn we brought home two short months ago. You’re big and strong and healthy. You’re still so alert and interested in the world. Luckily, you’re a little less interested in ceiling fans and a little more interested in the faces smiling at you.

WMW :: 2 MonthsWhen I was still pregnant and dreading late night feedings, my mom always said that time would be the most precious part of my day. And she was right. Your 11 o’clock feeding has quickly become my favorite part of my day. I sit, with you in my arms as you fight off sleep to finish your bottle. I look over to see our sweet puppies and my resting husband. Oh the peace that floods my heart as I thank God for you, and this family we have, and the blessed little life we lead.

WMW :: 2 Months

This month, your personality has really started to emerge. You’re smiling all the time and have let loose a few little giggles.

You’re talking so much. In fact, you technically said your first word. Goo. As in, “Hey mom, there’s some goo in my diaper.”

And you absolutely love music. You dance and sing along, no matter what music is playing. Latin music, country music, my very off-tune singing – it all brings a smile to your face and some movement to your legs.

WMW :: 2 MonthsWMW :: 2 Months

When I think back over month two, the thing that stands out the most is how you’ve bonded with your dad. I had a doctor’s appointment and left you two together for 5 hours. (I might have snuck in a little shopping too….) That night, with a smile on his face, your dad said, “We bonded today.” And boy did you.

For a while, your smiles were reserved for him. And you clearly like his singing better than mine (admittedly, he can carry a tune and is a better rhymer than me…). Every morning and every night, no matter how early he has to go to work or how tired he is at night, he is so excited to see you, talk to you, and get one of your amazing smiles. And every morning and night, my heart bursts with happiness watching Russell and his mini me.

WMW :: 2 monthsWeights

We have loved (almost) every second of the last two months. You’re an amazing little human and I love getting to know you.

Love you for always, little man.

Mama

 

 

Dear Whitaker :: 1 Month

Dear Whit,

In some ways, I can’t believe it has already been a month. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital. But, on the other hand, it seems like you’ve been a part of our family forever – as if we have always been a family of three and you just weren’t here yet. We know your cries and grunts and coos, your squirms, and the many faces you make. You are part of us, and we are part of you.

OneMonth

We love learning what you like and don’t like – even at such a young age. Nothing mesmerizes you quite like a ceiling fan or the big blue sky when we are out for a walk. You certainly love to eat. And to snuggle. You’re not such a fan of putting on clothes or dogs licking your face. And baths aren’t so great at first, but you end up liking them by the end.

You have grown so much in just a few short weeks. You’re no longer wearing newborn sizes and you’re about to outgrow your little bassinet. You used to fit perfectly in the crook of my arm, and now you’re a sprawling baby that takes up my whole lap. It’s amazing to watch you change into the person you were born to be right before my eyes.

Some women are mothers, even long before they actually have kids. Not me. Over the last month, you have made me a mom. You have brought out a kind of love and a new joy and motherly instincts that I didn’t know existed in me. I will forever be thankful for that.

We love you, little one.

Mama

Unsolicited Fertility Advice

Thanks to Facebook’s Timehop, I know that it has been exactly one year since I shared this post about infertility. I wrote that blog post while recovering from surgery – the surgery that ultimately led to my ability to conceive. And I write this blog post, exactly a year later, recovering from giving birth. My what a difference a year makes. (In fact, Whit’s due date was same date I had that surgery. Crazy timing!)

After sharing about my struggles, many friends reached out to share their similar stories – whether they had gone through it previously or were right in the middle of their own journey. It was amazing to connect with people on a different level and find a new commonality – even when that commonality sucks.

If you found this blog post because you’re in the thick of fertility struggles, you’re probably pretty tired of unsolicited advice from people who have no idea what you’re really going through. I get it. And I feel ya.

But, from the year that has followed since sharing my own struggle, I also know how important it is to connect with others. So, here’s my unsolicited advice.

Seriously, share your story. It’s awkward. And personal. (For real, SO many awkward and inappropriate encounters followed after I broke my silence!) But it was also freeing and the start of my emotional healing.

Your story doesn’t have to be public – though I do think there’s a great amount of benefit for yourself and others in bringing the issues to light. But if that’s not for you, find a girl friend or your mom or a stranger or a therapist or whoever – and get it out. Get out all of the shame and pain and frustration. Because the ultimate lesson that comes from sharing about infertility is realizing that it doesn’t control you, it doesn’t limit you, and it doesn’t define you.

Take control. After I shared my previous blog post, several people commented that they feared something was wrong – but they had no idea for sure or what the issues might be. I lived in that same limbo for way too long.

After about 3 years of trying to varying degrees, we finally decided to seek medical help. But, I let the insurance company tell me how and when and what to test. It was try three months on this medicine, then we will test for this, and then three months later we will test for that. It prolonged the journey by at least another year – and resulted in an incorrect diagnosis!

We finally decided to take control. We went to Denver and had a grueling and invasive day of testing to figure out exactly what was going on. It was awful. And insurance didn’t pay for much of it. But it was the turning point. No matter what health issue you have, it’s so important to arm yourself with knowledge about your body so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your situation.

But also be patient. On one hand, take control and don’t wait around. And at the same time, be patient and give things time to work.

After I had surgery, the doctor said she still didn’t think we would be able to conceive on our own. So, I was ready to make my appointments to start IVF. Russell convinced me to give it three more months before we went down that road.

Toward the end of the third month, I remember praying – no, more like crying out – “This isn’t fair; when is it my time?!” I was so frustrated and impatient. And the very next day I found out I was pregnant. When I think about those two days, I really think I can hear God chuckling at my impatience.

Trust in God. Which brings me to my last little piece of advice: Trust in God’s timing and plan. It’s so hard sometimes (okay, most of the time for those of us who are a wee bit controlling) – but ultimately God does have a plan for each of us.

Had my attempts to control the situation succeeded, instead of (reluctantly) submitting to patience and trust in God – I wouldn’t have this perfect little boy. It would be an entirely different set of chromosomes and DNA; an entirely different little human.

God knew what I needed – both in terms of growing as a person and growing in my faith, as well as what Russell and I could handle as first time parents. It wasn’t my timeline, but Whitaker is absolutely our perfect answered prayer.

So, to whoever is reading this, whether I know you or not – I pray for your perfect answered prayer too. And if you need someone to share your story with, I’d be so happy to help you get it out.

Dear Whitaker :: 1 Week

Dearest Baby Boy,

You’re one week old today! I know you couldn’t care less; it’s more a celebration for your dad and me. We made it!

WMW :: Andrus Williams Creative

You’ve already taught us so much. Like that changing a diaper is a race against the pee-in-the-face clock. And that one little creature can require more wardrobe changes in a day than a Taylor Swift concert. And that sleep is oh-so-precious, but not as precious as caring for you. And that love really can happen at first sight.

WMW birth :: JAW Design

And we’ve learned that it really does take a village. I don’t know if we could have made it without your grandparents here to help us adjust this week. We’re rounding out week one with satisfied bellies, relative amounts of sanity, a clean house, and full hearts.

We had predictions about you before you were born. That you’d have my toes. I was wrong about that one. We’ll see about the dance moves.

WMWIn fact, you’re a lot like your dad – with one very important difference. You seem to have gotten my never ending love for sleep. Awesome.

I know we’re biased, but you’re pretty much the cutest, sweetest baby in the world. At a minimum, you’re my favorite – and frankly, that’s all that matters.

You’re so alert and love to see what the world has to offer. I hope you don’t ever lose that curiosity. We can tell that you are so smart and strong; just like your mama – wait, no, that’s wrong – just like your dad.

WMW_7071lr

Whitaker, you have rocked our world this last week. Life will most definitely never be the same. But we wouldn’t change it back for anything.

Love always,

Mama

:: Thank you to M. Roberts Photography for the hospital photos! ::

1 2 3 20