Category Archives: Parenthood/Pregnancy

Update on the Kiddos

photo copy 5Liam and Sofia are now 3 years and 22 months respectively. My, how time flies. It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks we will have a 3 and a 2 year old. I know it’s a cliche comment and ubiquitous sentiment among parents, but it is nonetheless true that your children grow up faster than you can possibly anticipate – literally right before your eyes. It’s so very hard to believe that Liam was born 3 years ago, and perhaps even harder to believe that Sofia was born nearly 2 years ago. It really just seems like a few months ago that our baby girl entered the world on a lukewarm (seasonal for Destin, FL) Thanksgiving morning, changing our lives even more radically than just 15 months prior when Liam made his debut. In some ways it is sad that the baby phases have passed, but on the other hand it is exciting to see them grow and mature, and to watch their personalities emerge day by day. It is sometimes exciting, sometimes funny, sometimes exasperating, but always fascinating.

Before getting into specifics about Liam and Sofia, just a few general thoughts on being a parent and father. In the Bible, King Solomon – in one of his few known psalms – writes that “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3). This is undoubtedly true, for children are indeed a gift from God and a reward in the sense that they are completely undeserved blessings. Melissa and I adore Liam and Sofia, and have been eminently edified by their presence in our lives. Yet they are unmerited blessings: we did our part from a biological standpoint, but from there  – beginning with fertilization of the egg – we did nothing. Who our children are and how much joy they bring are determined by God alone. We did nothing to cause them to have such fun and entertaining personalities. We did nothing to ensure they were born healthy and have remained so since birth. In sum, we cannot claim credit for any of the innately wonderful attributes of our children; that they are so wonderful only draws our eyes heavenward, because left to our own devices Liam and Sofia would probably not be so wonderful.

It’s not that we are particularly bad people; the reality is no one deserves the incredibly awesome gift that are children. Indeed, children serve as a reminder that God does not give us what we really deserve, because if He did we would be in for nothing but tragedy, heartbreak, and turmoil. But the good news is God is defined by faithfulness and steadfast love (to use Old Testament terminology), and it is just that love that caused Liam and Sofia to be who they are. As U2’s famous lead singer says in Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas, “along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that ‘as you reap, so you will sow’ stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.” Bono nails the difference between grace and karma, and there is no better of demonstration of the profligacy of God’s grace than children. Liam and Sofia are unmerited gifts; I cannot express the fullness of gratitude I have for those gifts.

In addition to demonstrating God’s grace, being a parent also helps us understand the greatness of God and our relationship with Him. As a father, I love Liam and Sofia unconditionally; I love them because they are, not because of some inherently lovable qualities. But part of loving them means both giving them things they don’t want and withholding things from them they don’t want withheld. For example, though generally fun and cheerful, Liam is not a big fan of food. Sometimes it seems like every meal is a major trial prodding him to eat just a basic requisite amount of nutrition. (Why this is the case is a mystery to us: Melissa and I both love eating, especially when it can be done guilt free) To a 3 year old, the necessity of eating is a mystery. He doesn’t understand our insistence on a full meal, and his feelings are hurt that we would force him to do something he doesn’t want to do. The only way he eats sometimes is with discipline, or the threat of discipline, and even then it is very reluctantly. It’s sometimes hard to understand this reluctance to eat – why does he get mad at Melissa and me for insisting he do something that he absolutely must do for survival? Why is something so enjoyable and so necessary such a source of conflict?

photo copy 3The reason is because Liam, as a 3 year old, can be stubborn and is unaware of his own lack of knowledge and understanding. All he knows is that he wants to play instead of eat (a common 3 year old mentality). He can’t grasp that something so unappealing could be so fundamental to survival. All he knows is what he wants in the moment: to play, explore outside, work on a craft, read a book, or basically do anything other than eat, and on a certain level he resents the fact that we force him to eat. He fails to grasp that we force him to eat because we love him, and that not only is eating necessary, but it will make the playing and painting and exploring outside that much more enjoyable. Our insistence on doing something he dislikes stems from our love for him. If we did not love him we would not care whether not or eats. So what he resents us for making him do, we make him do because we know it is the best thing for him.

But what is so easy to forget is that our relationship with our children mirrors our relationship with God, only more so. God gives us commandments and precepts and limits not because He doesn’t love us, but because He loves us beyond comprehension. If He did not love us He wouldn’t care what we did or how we acted. But because He loves us, He often wants us to do things we can’t understand and don’t enjoy doing, and often withholds things from us that we resent Him for withholding. Seeing my relationship to Liam – my 34 years of learning and knowledge and experience and development compared to his 3 – makes me realize that my relationship with God is even more lopsided. He is infinite and unfathomable, and I am a very finite 34 year old. He is infinitely wiser and more understanding than I am, and moreover knows all that happens, both past and present, and weaves all things together for His glory. That I can struggle with and occasionally resent God’s direction in my life is so incredibly foolish and immature. Liam should simply trust that as his loving parents, Melissa and I will always do what is in his best interest. We may not do what he wants, but we always act for his ultimate good. So it is with God and us. He always acts in our ultimate best interest, even if it is unpleasant and painful in the moment, and even if we can’t understand it. So being a father and showing love for Liam and Sofia, and seeing that love misunderstood and not comprehended makes me realize how much easier life would be if I would simply trust and obey God. If Liam can trust two well-meaning, loving, but finite parents, we all can trust an infinitely loving and infinitely wise God.

Moving on from the esoteric, one of the most fascinating aspects of parenthood is seeing the personalities of my children. In many ways they are their own unique person, but in some ways that are obvious amalgamations of their parents. In our case, the most obvious demonstration of this is the blend of their social tendencies, because that’s where Melissa and I are most different. Melissa is warm and outgoing and mostly extroverted, whereas I am much less outgoing and generally introverted. Liam and Sofia are sort of a hybrid of both of our personalities. Liam, for example, loves being around people. He likes being around adults, and he likes being around other kids. He rarely goes off and plays on his own – he almost always wants to do something with the nearest adult or other child. He also loves talking. Being around Liam is to get a running commentary on life literally from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed at night; I usually leave the room after tucking him in while he is still talking. Even so, he tends to be shy around new people. He gets an embarrassed look around new people (more adults than kids), and takes a while to warm up to strangers. But once he does warm up, it seems as though there is no cooling him down. I love this about Liam, because it is very different from me. I am not a talker and don’t have a strong need to be around other people – Liam is very much the other end of the spectrum.

photo copy On the other hand, Sofia is much better at playing by herself and is generally less vocal than her older brother. She likes being around people and probably “talks” more than the average toddler, but compared to Liam she is an absolute wallflower. She is giggly and silly and fun to be around, but she also likes going off and “reading” a book by herself. She likes people, but is happy by herself as well. However, she is much more outgoing and does much better with new faces than Liam. She has no problem talking to anyone or interacting with anyone in just about any context. She smiles and enjoys attention from other adults – very different from Liam. And yet, unlike Liam, she generally doesn’t need other people or kids around all the time. It’s as if Liam has a harder time interacting with new people but is very outgoing with familiar people, whereas his younger sister does much better with new people, but generally doesn’t need to be around others as much. Thus their social sensibilities are basically a mix and match of their parents social tendencies.

As I posted last year, Liam and Sofia are different in a lot of ways. It has been especially fun watching Sofia’s personality emerge over the past year. She is generally very easy going, reacts well to change, and like both her parents, loves to eat and sleep. Liam is ready to go and talking 90 to nothing from literally the moment his eyes open (usually VERY early), while Sofia takes a little while to get her act together in the morning; we often find Sofia with her “lovie” covering her face in the morning. As alluded to above, Sofia loves eating to the point of going overboard at times, while it’s like pulling teeth to get Liam to take a single bite. Sofia likes reading. She has her set of favorite books at different times, and likes adults to read to her as well as “reading” on her own. She likes wearing scarves, necklaces, hats, and shoes, and constantly rifles her Mommy’s drawers to get her clothes. She also loves her family, and is very unhappy when anyone leaves the house. Most of all she loves Liam, and follows him everywhere he goes, to the point of seeming like his shadow sometimes. She is observant and we often find her gesturing like her older brother, even to the point of imitating very subtle movements and expressions. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the Sofia is watching and learning because she is so much less vocal than her brother, but it is obvious that she truly is a sponge when it comes to observing what’s going on around her. It’s really hard not to love Sofia: she is so easygoing and not the least bit stingy with smiles and giggles and kisses. She is an absolute joy the vast majority of the time.

Liam is a joy as well, but in different ways. He is very thoughtful and tenderhearted, and very sensitive to others’ feelings. It truly bothers him when he thinks others are down or sad, even if it is on a video or TV. Yet not only is he sensitive others’ feelings, but he is also sympathetic and tries to comfort people when he senses they are unhappy, either with a hug or some other expression of affection. He has called Melissa beautiful (unprompted!) on multiple occasions, and will say to us randomly “I love you so much.” He is also very intelligent and inquisitive, always more interested in how toys work than actually playing with the toys themselves. He likes reading books, but only reads them with one of us; unlike Sofia, he usually does not like reading on his own. Liam loves firetrucks to the point of obsessiveness. He watches videos of firetrucks, he has at least a dozen toy firetrucks of various sizes and shapes, and he loves sliding down “poles,” whether they stair rails, chair legs, door frames, or really anything that he can wrap his legs and slide down. We are always putting out pretend fires and turning off alarms, and he is always cognizant of where smoke detectors and fire alarms are when he goes in a new house or building.

photo copy 6The most interesting thing about Liam is his incredibly expressive vocal ability. He talks virtually non-stop, and talks well. He may be small for his age and a finicky eater, but few 3 year olds, especially boys, can match his verbosity. He is always talking about everything, and usually makes coherent sense, if not logical sense. This is fun and entertaining most of the time, but can he exasperating at others. For example, last night during a typical showdown over his dinner, he said his food was “not my problem,” and that was after, while I attempted to feed him a forkful of food, he turned to me and said in a vice of unmitigated annoyance, “Stop it, I’m trying to talk to Mommy right now.” I admit I laughed both times, violating the cardinal rule of parenting. But that’s the great thing about his loquaciousness: we always know what he’s thinking and feeling. If we have this much fun talking with at age 3, I can’t wait to see what’s it’s like in 10 years!

I could go on, but I’ll end here for the night. I have a wonderful family, a true example of God’s amazing love and graciousness. Melissa is a great wife and mother as I wrote last year, and since that post she has demonstrated those qualities to an even greater degree. I am so thankful for her and for our phenomenal children!



Blue M&M


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Filed under Liam, Parenthood/Pregnancy, Sofia

Did they really come from the same gene pool?

They both came from the same womb just 477 days apart, and they both share certain faint physical traits with Melissa and with me. But otherwise, is there any reason to believe they have the same parents? Sure, Sofia looks like Melissa in some ways and maybe like me in a few minor ways (lucky girl!), and Liam shares some of my physical traits and a few of Melissa’s as well.

Yet for the small ways they look like their parents, they look absolutely nothing like each other. Liam is blonde with a round face, while Sofia has brown hair (not much of it) and an oval, pudgy face. Liam has always been small for his age  – 10th percentile in weight as of his last doctor’s visit – while Sofia has always been average to above average in size (50th-75th percentile in weight). Liam has mostly rough, dry skin, while Sofia’s has always been smooth and soft. Sofia has always had the little baby fat rolls, while Liam never really had them. Sofia has a big, open mouth smile with dimples, while Liam has more of a beaming grin.

Yet beyond their static physical differences, they are also dynamically disparate as well. Sofia never stops moving. And no, that’s not hyperbole: the little wiggle-worm has been in perpetual motion since conception. Melissa felt her moving non-stop in utero, and she hasn’t slowed down, even after birth. It doesn’t matter if she’s eating, sleeping, or just sitting in someone’s lap, some part of her body is moving: twisting her feet at the ankles, reaching for some irresistible object with her hands, or generally contorting and twisting her little slinky of a body. She wakes up in such radically different positions and locations in her crib from where we put her down for the night, we are suspicious she makes late-night excursions around the house. She has been rolling over since before she was 4 months, and now at 7 months is basically crawling. Sofia has no problem with tummy time, and if she sees something she wants across the floor, she at least makes an effort via rolling, pseudo-crawling, etc. to get it.

Liam composing his first concerto at 16 months old.

Liam runs and walks around like any 23 month old boy, but he can also sit still for long periods of time. He is perfectly content to sit in our laps and read books, watch Sprout TV, or teach me how to use the I-phone. Perhaps simply savoring his food, Liam has never fidgeted considerably while eating. Neither has he felt any sense of urgency in gaining mobility. He rolled over for the first time at 4 months, but rarely did it for the next few months, and did not crawl until he was 11 months. He took his time walking as well, refusing to go it alone without the security blanket of an extended parental finger until he was nearly 14 months.

Sofia enjoys eating. She has always breastfed well, and as a result we waited until she was nearly 6 months old before feeding her solids, whereas with Liam we started at 4 months. It has always been a bit difficult getting Liam to eat: he is picky and impatient when it comes down to sitting down for a meal. He prefers to eat his food on the go, or at least graze during the course of playtime. And he has always had certain likes and dislikes, and he can be fickle: a banana-avocado  combination (“bananacado”) was initially positively delectable, but over time morphed into something repulsive. He was never a big fan of yellow squash or anything green. Now ice cream (helado) is a favorite, along with bread (pan); vegetables are unpopular. Sofia just likes food. Any food.

Their vocal emanations are also near-opposite: Sofia doesn’t “talk” much, Liam never shuts up. Indeed, our 23 month old is so loquacious I’m really curious to find out what we’re missing when he finally develops the ability to enunciate fully. He carries on a running monologue from the moment he wakes up to the moment he falls asleep. Liam is not “awake” until he’s talking. I’ve gotten lectures on all sorts of things, most recently the mechanization of a lawn mower. Granted, there were some fuzzy moments, but he clearly said “gas” while pointing to the gas can, “round-round-round” while pointing to the engine, “push” while pointing to the handle, and “grass” to top it off. And after we pick him up from the nursery after church, there’s no need to wonder what he was up to: he gives us a play by play all the way to the car. This is nothing new. From 2 months old he was “cooing” incessantly, and from 3 months old was prone to fits of hysterical peals of laughter. Only when in the company of strangers does he become somewhat reserved.

Sofia chuckles…occasionally. Mostly she smiles and lets out excited little squeals in the heat of the moment. She hums with approval while eating, and whines in disappointment when she isn’t being fed fast enough or when the meal is done. She lets out a frustrated “ma-ma-ma” or “da-da-da” when she’s not perfectly content, which is rare. For all her love of movement far beyond that of her brother, she is relatively mute compared to his verbosity.

And of course their personalities couldn’t be more different. Liam is always into something. He’s inquisitive, curious, and patient when it comes to figuring things out. He is also finicky, picky, and has definite ideas about the way things should be and has no problem vocalizing those ideas. He has a bizarre obsession fondness for vacuum cleaners. He likes pushing them, he likes watching other people push them, he likes turning them on and off, and he likes detaching the hose to get those hard to reach places. And he likes actually vacuuming. If the vacuum gets put away, a fit will follow. And speaking of fits, Liam throws them. Often. Indeed, if there’s one area of clear precociousness, it’s his penchant for epic tantrums. Melissa – and me, but mostly Melissa – has done a great job disciplining and correcting him and he has improved considerably, but there was a time when it looked the Terrible Twos were starting very early. Yet he is also extremely loving and gentle. He loves snuggling and loves doing things with us: he likes reading with us, playing with us, and teaching us things. Liam is very sensitive, and always try to “comfort” us and Sofia if he senses we are unhappy. Most of all, he just enjoys being around his Ma-ma and Da-da.

And in that regard they actually similar: both of them love being around us. Neither of them tolerate being “on their own” for more than a few minutes. Yet even with us, Liam can still be prickly at times. Sofia is just happy to be there. She is extremely generous with her wide smiles, and really only cries if very hungry or tired. For the most part she is profoundly content as long as she’s with someone. She’s happy to bounce in her jumper, to play with her toys, to hang out on her play mat, to eat, to sleep, and she’s even fine with riding in the car now. If Liam isn’t perfectly content he has never been shy about letting us know; Sofia has seemingly never been discontent.

Yet for all their many differences, I could not be more proud of either of them. I love Liam’s talkative particulars, and I love Sofia’s jolly equanimity. They are both wonderful children in their own way – truly gifts from God. Just as racial diversity gives us a glimpse of heaven, so too does the varying personalities of our children. I can only imagine what a 3rd would be like…



Filed under Liam, Miscellany and Tomfoolery, Parenthood/Pregnancy, Sofia

The Excellent Wife

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. – Proverb 31:10

The first line in a Hebrew acrostic poem about the “excellent” or “virtuous” wife, the above quote seems to me a vast understatement; even on the most literal level, I can’t fathom the notion of trading Melissa for the most precious gem at the 5th Avenue Tiffany’s or Cartier. The message here, I think, is that an excellent wife is worth more than anything in the mere material realm – her value is beyond compare, far exceeding the ability to quantify in numerical fashion. Her magnanimity is so great that it exceeds the ability of language to describe. In a word, she is priceless.

My wife, Melissa Turnbough Mandy, is indeed priceless. She is the reason I get up in the morning and do what I do during the course of my day. She is the basis for virtually all of my decisions, she is the wind that fills my sails as I journey through the seas of life. (And lest you think that metaphor is more than a bit twee, consider that the Bible uses the same metaphor in Hebrews 6. If God provides the current and hope in Christ anchors the soul, then Melissa certainly billows my sails.) When I wake up in the morning the trajectory of my day is irrevocably launched by her. More than merely a friend or helpmate or mother of our children, she is the catalyst of my life, the nucleus of my existence.

Melissa’s worth is certainly boundless, but beyond her worth she is a gift from God. As the verse implies, finding a good wife is extremely difficult – if not impossible – because such a “search” is undertaken on human terms using human faculties. God brings the truly excellent spouse into our lives, often in vividly apocalyptic fashion. I wasn’t looking for a wife and on my own I would have been hopeless. But through His perfect, supernatural divine work He brought us together. I do not deserve Melissa; for me she is a shining example of His mercy and grace. In His manner and in His time we can all have someone excellent, as long as well allow Him to define what “excellent” really means. And His definition of excellent is found in the remaining verses of Proverbs 31.

I won’t go into a lengthy discussion of the specific virtues listed in Proverbs 31, but I will say that Melissa embodies them all to varying degrees. Specifically, she is wise, shrewd, an excellent mother, good with finances, plans ahead for the household, possesses a vision for the family and put a plan in motion to that end. She is highly regarded by her peers and family, and above all she “fears the Lord,” and desires to glorify Him in all she does. It is impossible to reach a higher pinnacle of excellence than that.

At the Nashville Zoo.

In the past 2 years Melissa has been tested by the Refiner’s fire, and proven to be of exceeding worth. In that span she has had two children, the first of whom was a very poor sleeper. Melissa was repeatedly sick and exhausted in the first 7-8 months of Liam’s life, and just when things started to improve, we found out – to our great shock – that she was pregnant again. After a physically trying pregnancy she had a long, arduous labor. Throw in my Achilles’ heel injury that left me virtually immobile for a month, the usuay daily difficulties and illnesses that come along, five moves, two job changes for me, and a spattering of financial difficulties (mostly beyond our control), and you begin to understand the trials she has endured. And now there’s the “great matter” spoken of in my last post – that alone has been as difficult as everything else combined.

Yet here she is, after everything still the same wonderful person, excellent wife, and superb mother. She gets up early in the morning, breastfeeds Sofia, and then gets Liam out of his crib as soon as his eyes snap open and he is full chatter mode. She then cares for them, which includes trying to coax Liam into eating something – anything – and taking care of 7 month old Sofia. She balances their naps – which usually do not coincide – all while taking care of the normal chores around the house, along with anything else that comes up during the course of the day. You moms know how difficult all this can be, yet despite being exhausted at the end of the day, Liam and Sofia are the last thoughts on her mind, as she checks on them both before going to bed. Over the past 3 months she has had to do all this without my help other than on the weekends, which is obviously a draining experience for her. Yet she loves her job as a wife and mother, and performs both with effortless sublimity.

The fact of the matter is that I am deeply in love with her, and always will be. Melissa is my best friend – the one person I confide in and the one person I absolutely have to talk to on a daily basis. Life without her is truly unfathomable. She is  a blessing, and one that I absolutely have not earned and do not deserve. I fall short as a husband on a consistent basis, but my aim is to enrich her life only a fraction of the extent to which she enriches not only my life, but all those around her. You are my jewel, Melissa: you make the world more beautiful every day.



Filed under Miscellany and Tomfoolery, Parenthood/Pregnancy

Liam at 16 months

I cannot believe you are already 16 months old! Here are some of my favorite things about you lately:

– The way you bring us books to read to you. You will sit in our lap for a good 20 minutes and we will just flip through books.

– You randomly come up to me and give me a hug, melts my heart. You are my snuggle bug.

– Sometimes when you are hugging me or while I am holding you, you pat my arm or my back. Adorable.

– You love to pull/push toys all around the house.

– The way you say iPad, you shake your head up and down when you say it.

– You are trying to repeat a lot of the words we say. Here is what you can say so far: iPad, Mama, Dada, bye-bye, Abuelo, Abuela, Don, done, down, Calliou, “whoo” like the owl, “wow-wow” like the dog, WOW, Uh-Oh, agua, caca, and “No” (but you never say it just once…it’s always “no no no no”). You sign for more, all done, and eat.

– Along those lines, you are constantly babbling…no one really knows what you are saying but I love to hear you “speak” all the same!

– You could live outside. You love exploring and picking things up from the ground.

– The way you dance when you hear music. You recently added twirling to your dance routine. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing. If you hear a beat that you fancy you will start to dance.

– The way you try to snap.

– The way you try to wink, you basically blink your long beautiful eyelashes.

– I put up these fabric alphabet letters on the playroom wall and we have an elephant that sings the alphabet. We often turn on the elephant and point to the letters as we sing the alphabet song. You have started to point to each letter as we sing together. You are so smart.

– I love the way you walk around with one of your lovie’s in your mouth. We have Elly the Elephant, Barry the Bear, and Ralphy the Dog. They smell so badly, it doesn’t matter how often I wash them- they stink! But, you absolutely love them and know where one of them is at all times.

– You give us besos and blow us kisses. I cherish each and every one.

– I love watching you play with Max and Luna. You love it when they run around, you try to run after them and throw them their toys.

– Hearing you laugh. I can’t help but smile.

– Hearing you call my name. You know who I am and want to be with me. This brings me so much joy because I love being with you, you fill my days with so much happiness. I love being your Mommy.

Love Always,



Filed under Liam, Parenthood/Pregnancy

Change is in the Air

Most of you know that I am a missionaries’ kid. As such I am accustomed to change. We moved from Spain to the States and back to Spain several times. We moved to a lot of different towns within Spain as well. The last time I counted in my THIRTY years of life (yikes!) I have lived in twenty-seven or so homes. I’m sure the number is higher now. And being as though I am married to a surgeon who is in the Air Force that number is simply going to continue to climb for a while. That’s ok, I feel claustrophobic after a while, I get a deep yearning for change. I’m not sure what I would do with myself if I knew there were no more moves in my future.

Through all the homes, towns/cities, friends,changes in relationship status, jobs, hair colors, phases, etc the one thing that has remained constant in the past thirty years are my parents.  I have ALWAYS been able to count on them for anything-day or night. For the most part they have gone through all my biggest changes with me. Now it’s their turn. For the first time they are leaving Spain (with no plans to return), the place they started their first church, the place they raised their children, the place they met their first grandchild. Spain is where they grew up together as a couple in many ways. This is a huge turning point for us as an entire family. I’m not sure I ever believed this time would come. Spain is “home” and my parents have always been “home.” I can’t decide if this blog is going to be more about my feelings about their move or how I imagine it must be for them. It will be some of both, I suppose.

My parents are amazing parents, grandparents and have become best of friends to me. Selfishly, this move is a gift from God. Instead of being 4,579 miles away (yes, I googled that) they will only be 447 miles north of us in Nashville, TN. I wish they were only 4 miles away, but hey, I’ll take what I can get!! I have said this before and I will say it again, as I get older I feel more of a need for my parents. More importantly, I WANT them near. I can obviously live my life without them right here, but life is simply more enjoyable when shared with two of my favorite people. I look forward to being able to call my parents up and not count seven hours ahead every time to figure out what time it is there. I look forward to texting them. I look forward to them seeing Liam and, soon-to-be-arriving Sofia more often. I look forward to being only a SHORT plane ride away or a day’s car ride away from quality time with them. I look forward to celebrating more holidays and special occasions together. There are a ton of things I look forward to – one being the day we live in the same town!!!

On the other hand, I am sad that they are moving back. Mostly because of my brother and his three children. I think it will be a huge change for them. Every time I am around our nephews and niece and they see my parents they yell “ABUELOS!!!” and seem really excited to be with them. Their entire lives they have had them close by. I have only known Spain with my parents there. It is the same for my brother. Spain without my parents must be an odd place. Now that they are moving back we will not be visiting Spain as much. We will still go to see M,B,A,C & D of course, but it won’t be the same. This is sad to me. I will miss Spain and I will miss Spain without my parents – it simply will not be the same. I almost feel as though I am leaving home all over again. There is a sadness amidst the happiness.

It will also be difficult on all the people my parents have touched in their thirty years. I don’t think they realized how deeply they have impacted people until now. We tend to take people for granted on a day to day basis but when our day to day is threatened by change you re-evaluate the value of those around you. I think those around my parents are experiencing this and vice versa.

Change is never easy but when this change entails moving your ENTIRE life across the ocean and saying goodbye to thirty years of memories it makes it seem almost impossible. I know God has a reason for this move and He will be guiding them and holding their hands throughout this entire process. I pray they feel His presence at every step of this journey.

Mama y Papa, I love you both so much and we are here for you and praying for you always!



Filed under Liam, Miscellany and Tomfoolery, Parenthood/Pregnancy

In Just One Year

Dearest Liam,

Today we had your very first birthday party! You are a big ONE year old. I am so very proud of you. As I type this I have home videos playing of the day you were born, your first car ride, your first walk, your first bath. It brings tears to my eyes. So much has changed in just one year. I never knew it was possible to love someone unconditionally until you came along. I never knew what it was like to want to give of myself completely to another being until you were born. I never realized how lacking I am in so many areas and how I want to be a better person in every way until I met you. I could have never imagined watching my heart walk this earth (outside of my body) until you were given to us. You have been such a blessing and a gift in so many ways.

I know I have already made so many mistakes and I am sure I will make many more. I am sorry honey. Please know I am trying to improve as your Mommy and as a human being because of YOU. You deserve the best and I am trying to be that for you. I pray that you will forgive me for my short comings and love me despite my faults.

Here are some of the highlights of this past year for me:

– The moment I laid eyes on you for the first time. This was a life changing event.

– Breastfeeding, I loved the bond and closeness that it brought.

– Watching you smile for the first time, the sixth time, the one hundredth time…your perfect smile lights my world.

– Hearing you laugh. Every time I hear you laugh I can’t help but laugh myself.

– Watching you sleep. In the beginning it was like a miracle when you slept so I would cherish those moments and run off to nap myself. Now you are a great sleeper and I love the peacefulness that I see when you lie in your crib dreaming sweet dreams.

– Experiencing all your “firsts”. You have grown from a tiny newborn to a fun and curious toddler.  Not every step has been easy but I will cherish each and every one.

– Seeing the world through your eyes. Everything seems to intrigue you.

– Reading books with you.

– Watching you play and love on your amazing Daddy. (You really do have the best Daddy in the world. He is wonderful in every way and we are beyond blessed to have him. I know one day you will look up to him and respect him like I do.)

Liam, there are so many other things that I love about you and that I will carry in my heart always. I am so thankful to be your Mama! I look forward to waking up to your sweet and smiling face every morning. And to giving you kisses and snuggles before every bedtime. And to all the fun in between. You are my personal gift from our Heavenly Father and I hope that I will be able to show you this in a real and tangible way.



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Filed under Liam, Parenthood/Pregnancy

Dearest Baby M2

Baby Girl,

What a surprise you have been to us in every way! We already love you so much and are so thankful for you. One day you will probably hear  how shocked I was to find out that you were growing inside of me. You will also probably hear that I was a little sad. Baby Girl, this had nothing to do with you and everything to do with your silly Mommy. I was/am scared that I won’t be as good as a mommy as you and your brother deserve. I am terrified that you and Liam will not feel loved enough or have enough “Mommy time”. In my perfect plan you were due to arrive a year or two later. But you came at a much better time. You came in God’s perfect timing.

You also shocked us by being a girl! Daddy and I really wanted you to be a little girl but we had convinced ourselves that you were a boy. We were going to name you Lucas. When Dr. Esses did the ultrasound and told us you were a GIRL I just kept saying “WHAT?!??!? REALLY?!? NO WAY!”  I still can’t believe that I get to be a mommy to you, my precious little girl. I think I might not completely believe it until I hold you in my arms!

I am twenty weeks pregnant with you and time is flying by until the day we get to meet you. I find myself dreaming of you and what  you will be like on a daily basis. I daydream of all the fun girly things we are going to be able to do together. I hope we can be as close as I am to Abuela. I pray for you. I pray that you will see how precious and perfect you are. I pray that  you will see yourself in God’s eyes.

Honey, you are so blessed because you have the BEST Daddy in the entire world. Your Daddy treats me better than any woman could ever dream of. I really hope and pray that you will find a husband exactly like your Father, but I feel as though it will be hard. He is so uniquely wonderful. You will be spoiled by seeing how amazingly he treats me and us. You deserve someone like him though, I pray you wait patiently for whomever God has for you.

Your big brother is so much fun! I know he is going to make you laugh a lot. He is a good snuggle bug too!  I really hope you two are really close and truly enjoy each others company. I know there will be times when you get on each others nerves but I pray that at the end of the day you realize there is nothing in this world like family.

I am planning your room and having so much fun all along the way. I love looking at all the girl bedding and baby clothes. It really is so much fun. I hope I don’t go overboard! I cannot wait to have your nursery together! I know you probably won’t remember your first room but I want you to know that we put a lot of effort it to making it perfect for you. We have many years of planning your rooms and clothes together-how much fun!

Well, I guess that is all for now. I am sorry if I don’t write much but know that I think about you everyday. Our family is going to have so much fun together. You were perfectly placed in this family and I love you always, Mama.

Our first unofficial family picture!



Filed under Liam, Miscellany and Tomfoolery, Parenthood/Pregnancy