Friday, October 25, 2013

Adventures in Motherhood

This is the bus I used to take to work in the mornings.
Now my job is taking care of HER, and I am so glad!!

When Jady and I started dating 6 years ago, I would never have imagined that we'd be raising our first child in NYC. 

I think some people have the impression that we are constantly shielding Rosie from gang activity or something, but that is not quite the case--thankfully!

A friend recently asked, "What's it like raising a baby in New York?!" to which I mumbled a few things about sidewalks and laundry rooms and mini cribs. But when I think about that question now, I realize how so much of parenting--the nurturing, feeding, holding, playing, kissing, loving--is the same no matter where you are. Rosie might swing in the park instead of a backyard, and ride in a stroller instead of a carseat, and learn to crawl on a floor that's seen the feet of 30 previous tenants, but those are all becoming as normal to her as McDonald's PlayPlaces are to the suburbs.

Now that we've survived the first few months with a newborn, we're learning to swing through this concrete jungle with a little monkey on our back! Having a tiny friend to accompany me on errands and watching her discover the brand new world around her are privileges to thank God for. I love how cozy we are in our apartment here. Rosie is nearly always in my sight no matter which "room" I'm working in. And I love that all we need seems to be just a few blocks away.

On a more serious note, though, one thing that has surprised me about having a baby here is the negative attitude some people have toward children. When Rosie was just a couple months old, we were returning to our apartment and got into the elevator with one of our neighbors--not the friendliest man in the world. Rosie was crying, and I was juggling her and the stroller and my own sanity, and he said, "Oh, I'm just so glad I don't have one of those." What was I to say? We live in the abortion capital of the country, a city obsessed with following its dreams even at the expense of innocent little lives. I tried to smile at him and responded, "She brings us so much joy!" even though I doubt he could possibly understand how a fussing, needy little baby could be someone's definition of joy. 

But in laying down our lives each day and picking up our own crosses, we feel a blessed assurance that we are walking where our Savior did. We are aiming to please a Father who has given more to His children than we could ever give to Rosie. What a wonderful example we can look to and learn from--the One who parents us with perfect patience (1 Tim. 1:16) and loves us more than we can comprehend.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I came across some pictures my sister-in-law's husband took when they visited us last summer and thought they provided some nice snapshots of the city.

The playgrounds here are called Tot Lots,
and the number corresponds to the cross street (this one's at 110th St).

This is just across the street from us.
Nice to have a diner so close!
Rosie has been here 3 times so far and has done great every time.

Also nice to have markets so close.
One of the cashiers here takes Rosie's picture on her iPhone
every time she comes in... and tries to give us a "Rosie discount."

Bibimbap is a Korean dish with meat and vegetables served over rice
then all mixed together. Jady likes it more than I do... but I should give it another chance!

Riverside Park, near where we live.
That's New Jersey across the Hudson River.

Again, the Hudson from the park and the George Washington Bridge. 

And a few of my own pictures...

Best view from our apartment on a beautiful day

Our oak tree has sprouted!!!

From this...

... to this!

A few days old...

... and now 20 weeks.

Monday, August 12, 2013

An Open Letter to my Mother

Dear Mom:

There are so many times--now that I have my own little girl--that I have thought about you with fresh appreciation, knowing a little better the ways you've taken care of me through the years.

And I don't just mean the routine work of changing diapers, fixing meals, and doing laundry (although that is huge!). I realize that one of the most important acts of service you've shown me was being willing to put those tasks on hold just so you could be with your children. Thank you for not being too busy providing for our physical needs to spend time speaking to our souls.

Even still, when I visit, I know you will just sit on the couch and listen (or talk!) for as long as I need you. In a world where it seems like everyone is hurrying and scurrying, this means a lot. 

I was always a little worried that once I had your first grandchild, I might need to take the backseat for awhile... that now your attention would be on a precious little one, and I would need to get out of the way. But to my relief, when you showed up at the hospital after Rosie was born, you saw me first. And you smiled at me with a love that I knew would have traveled any distance even if there wasn't a new baby, too. 

And the first time you left after Rosie was born? I will never forget the way you explained to me that you knew it would be hard to leave your grandchild, but you hadn't expected it to be so hard to leave me, too. And then we cried together on a park bench like mother, like daughter... while dad ran away from the female emotions as fast as he could! :)

You have modeled for me a gentle and quiet spirit: calmness even when things are falling apart, submission to authority even when you may not agree or understand, and self-control to simply do life's plain, common work without complaining or grumbling. 

After I had Rosie, you have encouraged me to be a better mom not by having more "me time" but by having more God time. You made sure I knew the importance of daily studying the Word, even now that time is so precious. And your prayers with me while we are together, and your prayers for me when we are apart... that has given me such strength and confidence. I know that whenever I text or call to ask for prayers, you will respond, "I've already been praying for you today!" Thank you for your example.

I hope I can be to Rosie what you have been to me. 


Friday, August 2, 2013

No Slight Thing

Life continues to speed ahead.

This is old news by now, but we have decided to stay in our apartment for another year. Because moving in NYC (and with a baby) is such a daunting task, we are doing our best to make this place workable for a little while longer. It is small, but it is still more than we need. Running water, electricity, indoor plumbing, and comfortable temperatures are luxuries our forefathers would certainly have enjoyed. We are thankful to be in a good place in a good neighborhood here.

Jady is working hard to provide for me and Rosie. He does a good job juggling all of his responsibilities and manages to make it cheerfully through an ever-changing schedule of studies with a variety of people. He also just launched a new outreach a few weeks ago called the Daily Phone Devotional. If you have two minutes, give it a call: 1-800-560-DEVO.

In Rosie news, she is almost 4 months now and enjoys bouncing in her jumperoo, grabbing on to fabric, chewing and sucking on her hands, smiling at herself in the mirror, riding down the cold aisles of the grocery, being outside, sitting in our laps at restaurants (especially if she can watch people or cars going by), blowing raspberries and spit bubbles, and listening to Mommy or Daddy sing. She hates tummy time (unless she's propped up) and especially hates riding in her car seat. The best word to describe her personality is vigorous. She is always ready for action and loves to be moving.

We continue to be won over by her charm. How is it that such a little person can have so many feelings to express? How can a 12 pound creature possess such ability to communicate and love? A Dickens quote I have been pondering lately: "It is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us." We are so thankful God has sent Rosie our way, and we recognize it is no slight thing to receive her. Oh, what a wonderful and yet terrifying task awaits us as we seek to train her in God's ways!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Message From the Girl

Hi, my name is Rosie!

I have two good friends: Frog and Dog.

I love to hang out with this princess.

I keep Mama busy and throw her lots of curve balls!

And I wish every girl had a Daddy as good as mine.

Gotta get back to being a baby! 

There are still hands to chew, naps to have, and clothes to stain.

Plus Dog and Frog are missing me.

See you later!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Reflections on Motherhood

Our sweet Rosie is just over three months today.

I’ve had so many good intentions of blogging about our birth story, our nursing saga, our adventures with a little one in a big city… but I’ve been purposefully staying away from this blog, wanting to soak up these precious, fleeting moments with our baby. I know I will never regret holding and loving and enjoying our little girl. My blog may get quiet at times, but that’s because my home is now full of cooing and crying and silly songs.

But while Rosie is sleeping tonight, I thought I would start some reflections on motherhood.

Plenty of people warned me that life with a newborn would be crazy, that nursing might hurt, that housekeeping and cooking would suddenly not matter as much, and that my relationship with my husband would change. And yet, because I had read lots of books and talked to other young mothers, I had convinced myself I was prepared. But now I look back on my na├»ve self and just laugh. Nothing could have really prepared me for how utterly exhausted and drained I would feel (although working at summer camps was good practice). Nothing could have prepared me for the flood of new emotions that would wash over me—that when my baby cried, my heart would jump inside of me and long to respond. Nothing could have prepared me for the frustration and pain I would experience as I nursed a tongue-tied baby.

But books also didn’t explain the joyous warmth that would bubble inside of me when my baby looked up and smiled at me. No one quite told me how it would feel to be the best part of someone’s day. I wasn’t expecting to be so in love with a tiny someone I had only met a few months ago, to be so saddened that she is growing so quickly, or to be so excited to teach her about God and His world.

Now I know why the older woman in the check-out line looks longingly at my baby and says how fast they grow up. Because that will be me one day soon. God, help me to be grateful for each day I can spend with Rosie. Help me to enjoy her innocence, and to appreciate each stage, and to love her sacrificially as You love Your own children.

And Rosie, thanks for being my baby. You are worth every stretch mark, every 3 AM feeding, and every missed dinner out. You are precious in my sight, and I would rather rock you in my arms for one minute than hold all the riches of this world. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful for...

... this great guy!
He inspires me to joy in the Lord and keeps my life full of adventure.

... the kindness of friends.
This handmade baby blanket came in the mail a few weeks ago. (Thanks, Raven!!)

... quiet mornings before the baby comes.

... the bagel shop downstairs. 

... another pregnant friend to eat pickles with and anticipate parenthood!

... time to count my blessings and reflect on God's mercies.
They are new every morning.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

There's a Monster in the Mirror: Self-Pity


If I am honest with myself, I know there are far too many times in my week when I feel sorry for myself, when I am tempted to sulk and pout for not getting my way, or when I just want to sit stubbornly on my own sour emotions and let them brew. (How's that for honesty?)

And while certainly some situations are made better by a little sympathy or an encouraging word, a LOT of the times I need a kick in the seat of my pants to get over myself and move on to better things. When I get discouraged and tend to focus on how I'm feeling or what I want, the best medicine is not to nurse my own self will, but rather, to crucify it. To present my case before God and truly say, "Thy will be done."

Can you relate? Isn't it easy to get stuck floundering in our own pool of pride and selfishness?

We have so many single people at our church. I don't just mean 20-somethings. I mean 30, 40, and 50-somethings who will most likely never be married or have children. Loneliness is something I hear about on a regular basis from so many of our friends here. Recently, I was realizing that it's not wrong or sinful in the least to feel lonely. In fact, Jesus must have been deeply lonely during His time on earth! But loneliness quickly becomes our downfall when we start feeling sorry for ourself and telling God, "I hate the life You've given me. I wish I was someone else or in a different set of circumstances. I think I know what would make me happy, and I will be miserable with the lot You've set before me until You give me something else."

Maybe that's not exactly what we say to God, but doesn't our refusal to be grateful for wherever we are and whatever God has placed before us communicate our distrust in His goodness and sovereignty? Doesn't pitying ourselves and dwelling on our own hurts, injustices, and problems keep us from seeing Him who suffered more than we will ever know, and yet joyfully endured such things? Oh, that we would always have a willing heart like our Lord to accept whatever cup God placed in our hands!

To close, a quote from missionary Amy Carmichael to challenge us all:
"If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love."

(Previous posts in series: on anxiety and jealousy.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Apartment Tour: At a Glance

Here's a peek into our home!

I love seeing into other people's places, especially in NYC where the apartments are often so old and interesting.

We moved into this apartment in August and finally are feeling settled in. We are blessed to live so close to where the church meets! So here are some pictures:

Before we moved in, this apartment was basically a studio.
With the addition of french doors, it's now a one bedroom!
(I'm waving from our bedroom. Bathroom on the right, mirrors on the left.)

The tiled niche with shelves used to be a window, but then a building was built right next to it,
so our landlord transformed it into something more attractive.
Antique writing desk and swirly mirror above the bathroom = also our landlord's.
Other piece of furniture here is a pantry on top, trashcan on bottom.

Here's our kitchen, overlooking the living area. Notice the fridge & freezer,
more tiles/shelves, and deep sink that makes my pregnant belly cry a little! 

The best part of our apartment: the boss. :)
And no, my countertop is hardly ever that clean!

Here's our kitchen, looking back down a long entry hallway.
Wondering how I reach those kitchen cabinets?? My trusty friend, The Ladder. :)
Also thanks to our landlord: the entire two rows of hallway hooks,
a project involving collected umbrella handles and such.

I think the hanging shelf is an old headboard. The plant up there was Jady's vision.

Around that corner is our front door. The brown door is a coat closet.
The white doors are a surprise (want to guess?).
More mirrors, shelves, hooks, and bench that were furnished already.

This picture is back in our bedroom. A whole wall of books!
Feels a little like sleeping in a library.
Notice the great storage underneath.

On the other side of the bedroom: our nursery! Still working on finishing touches.

Another kitchen shot. The back kitchen wall is a(nother) mirror, by the way. Hard to capture in a picture.

And behind the white doors in the entryway...
Jady's cloffice! That's an office in a closet.
Good sermons, taxes, and studies are prepared there!
Thanks for joining.

Thanks to God for the comfortable places He gives us to do His work!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

On Pregnancy

My dad suggested renaming my blog "Bearing Children in the Big Apple." That has definitely been the name of my game these past 8 months! And I have absolutely loved it.

Not that every day has been easy, and certainly challenges are yet to come, but we would ask for nothing else except as God wills. As the hymn goes, "Nor for ease that prayer shall be, but for strength, that we may ever live our lives courageously."

Carrying a child has been an incredible experience, and one that I wish I could remember!

The first moment when I really started to wonder if maybe I was pregnant was when my sense of smell turned into a superpower. One day I was just able to smell flowers from across the room, and soup wrapped up inside several bags, and every store and trash can that I walked by on the street. In fact, just recently I detected a small natural gas leak from our stove, and when the ConEd worker came to investigate, he was not surprised to find out I was pregnant. Apparently that happens a lot!

People always ask if I've had any unusual cravings, and I wish I had an answer, but as of today the answer is still no. We did, however, consume NYC's entire supply of pizza during my first trimester. Thankfully, they have kept making more. :)

We are waiting to find out the gender, and to be honest, that was more Jady's idea than mine! But I was happy to go along, and I expect that final old-fashioned moment of "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" will be even more special after all this anticipation. For the record, I predict a boy. But all the strangers on the street tell me it's a girl, so we'll see who's right. I love remembering that God knows, and that He has given us exactly what we need!

And I can't sing enough praises of our care providers, Midwifery of Manhattan. If you've watched the documentary, "The Business of Being Born," you've seen and heard from a couple of our ladies. I have enjoyed their warmth, their optimistic perspectives on natural births (and yet their complete acknowledgement of complications outside their control), the time they spend answering questions at each appointment, and just the entire midwifery model of care. We are hoping to deliver at the Birthing Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital here in the city, but if not, we'll be on the next floor up at Labor & Delivery at the same place.

I think being pregnant in NYC has been some of my favorite time here so far! For one, I have been offered a seat on the subway during most of my rides--at least since I've been looking more obviously pregnant. Maybe this is working the system, but my trick is to unzip or take my coat off when entering the train and hold my baby bump... and within minutes someone usually tells me to sit down in their seat. In the south, courtesy is normal and nearly expected, but in New York, I am storing away all these nice moments for the days when rudeness and apathy seem to prevail! Another perk has been the friendliness of strangers. Those cashiers at West Side Market who never spoke a word or looked at me before? Now they are asking all about my pregnancy. And the rough men in front of me in line for the Harlem McDonald's bathroom?  Now they're yelling at each other to let me use it first.

Our apartment has been slowly filling up with the cutest and tiniest of baby things, including a mini crib (from Craigslist, of course!) and changing table that fit perfectly in the corner of our bedroom. Being able to keep our nursery items simple has been a breath of fresh air! And although we already have more things than we even need, we are thankful to still have room for the baby. :)

Baby Copeland, we are ready to meet you and welcome you into our family!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Back in Gear

Well, my friends, I should apologize for the long break in blogging!

I hope to pick it back up, at least as time permits.

For now, I'll try to give a brief update of the last 7 months:

In July, we found out we were expecting our first child! This was a wonderful and humbling time, and we continue to thank God for the healthy pregnancy He's given us so far.

Our C.U.B. (cute unborn baby), due April 6th

In August, I worked at a girls Bible camp, then Jady worked at a guys Bible camp, and then we moved apartments (see previous post).

In September, we continued our move. This was a hard month, to be honest! With my morning sickness (a.k.a. all day sickness!) and exhaustion in full swing, I wasn't able to do as much as I had hoped with moving, cleaning, and getting set up. Jady was a real trooper as he continued with his own responsibilities and also took care of me!

In October, I was able to quit my job after being there for 2 years. I'm thankful to have had a job and for the opportunities and lessons learned there, but I'm so glad to be working around our home now and getting ready for the baby! Hurricane Sandy hit the week after I ended my job, so I was glad to not have to commute through the crazy aftermath of the storm.

In November, we traveled to Kentucky for my grandmother's funeral and then to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with Jady's family.

In December, we traveled back to Kentucky for Christmas with my side of the family and for a wedding of dear friends.

In January, we traveled to Florida for Jady's grandmother's funeral, Jady worked at a winter camp for the young people in the area, and we started taking Bradley Method classes for getting ready for birthing.

In February, we traveled back to Florida to attend a conference for Florida College camps and their annual Lecture series.

We are now glad to be home for more than a few weeks at a time, and we're excited to meet our little one soon!!! Pregnancy post, apartment tour, and more rejoicing in the Lord to come. Stay tuned. :)

Home sweet home