juliaandruswilliams

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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! ::

A Letter to Whitaker

Dear Whit,

It’s not very long until we get to welcome you to our family – and we can’t wait for you to get here.

Armed with the latest research, info from every single mommy blog on the internet, and the stories and experiences of an army of friends and family, I’m ready for your arrival. But, I also know that I’ll make mistakes and forget so many things. So, before you get here, there are a few things I want you to know.

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I want you to know that you are the answer to our prayers. You are so wanted and loved and cherished already.

With every little (and big!) movement you’ve made the last 9 months, I feel like I already know you. I can’t wait to see if those predictions are right. I think you’ll be active and strong and independent. I think you’ll have my toes and your dad’s dance moves. And this photographer mama hopes you aren’t as camera shy as you have been so far!

Tomorrow, we will check into the hospital to start inducing labor. That’s not how I planned your delivery would start – but a part of me kinda loves that it’s not going according to my plan. Just like the timing of this pregnancy was not at all according to my plan. I can confidently know that you are the result of God’s plan and His perfect timing.

As I start my journey as your mother, I know that He formed you, with great plans for your life. And my prayer is that you find that purpose, pursue that purpose, live that purpose. And I promise to do all I can to help you in that pursuit.

Your dad and I value your individuality so much – and can’t wait to see how your personality develops, what passions and hobbies you have, and how you’ll make your mark in this world. It’s such an amazing world we live in, and I hope you find your place in it.

Bear with us as we figure out this parenting thing. We want the very best for you. And while we will make mistakes along the way – I hope at the end of it, (in the words of my grandfather) you come away knowing who you are, whose you are, and that you are loved by your God, by us, and by a whole host of family members and friends.

See you so soon, Whitaker.

Love,

Mama

 

Nesting

When I used to dream about being pregnant, I planned that I would photograph and document and blog the whole journey. I would take week by week bump photos and have cute little signs that tell all about my growing baby.

Well, that plan went out the window about as soon as I found out I was pregnant. And here I am, entering the third trimester, with less than a handful of pictures and no cute signs!

Andrus Williams Photography

The last few months have gone by so fast and so slowly at the same time. After our difficult fertility issues, I’ve barely let myself get excited – telling myself just to get past the next milestone.

And I’ve finally realized that all that’s doing is robbing me of this joyous time in my life. So, like my plan to photograph everything, my plan to not get excited is out the window.

This last month, Russell and I have enjoyed picking out baby’s name (and starting my monogramming obsession), starting his little wardrobe (baby clothes are the CUTEST!), and planning his nursery.

Nursery

A snowy, windy day forced us to stay home and inside today, so it was the perfect opportunity to begin work on the nursery!

In my months of not letting myself get excited, I had started using my spare bedroom as my very disorganized storage room… “I’ll just stick this in here until I start on the nursery…” Well, that meant my “Before” pictures ended up looking like this:

Nursery BeforeNursery Before

(Yikes! I’m almost embarrassed to share those!)

We spent the day clearing the room out so we could start from scratch. My furniture hasn’t been delivered yet – so I’m decorating this room in reverse. Decorations first and then furniture. Let’s hope it works out the way it looks in my head…

It’s amazing the peace it brought to start this project. Even though his due date isn’t for a few more months, it was already stressing me out that his nursery was quite literally a storage space… Even though we don’t have any of the important things in place – like, say, a crib or a changing table – it’s still such a relief to have a little organization and the start of a plan. The power of nesting really is so real!

Here are a few peeks at Whit’s nursery so far!

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A Wedding in Cartagena

This week, one of my former co-workers is traveling to Colombia for her wedding.

A few months ago, she and her fiance contacted me about designing their wedding materials. Victoria is a unique individual – so it follows that her wedding materials would be too. As an avid traveler and humanitarian, she wanted to capture the the beautiful color and architecture of Old Town Cartagena, while also capturing the rich culture of the country. Not the typical wedding invitation requests – but such a fun challenge!

Wishing you all the best, Victoria and Mike!

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams Creative

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