One year reflections… Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy

A note to the reader: I feel like oftentimes it’s easy to romanticize our lives – to look at only the positives and ignore the negatives. However, with our son, even with the “negatives” (ie, getting up in the middle of the night for feedings when an infant, poopy blowouts ;)) there has been such a joy throughout Jaxon’s life that it truly has been our pleasure as his parents to love him and serve him. I am not ignoring the negatives. There are no negatives. Maybe it’s easier because he’s such a good kid, or maybe we just truly appreciate the gift that he is to us and the “downsides” greatly diminish. Jaxon was made to be our son, and us, his parents. We fit perfectly together as a family unit and each and every day, every interaction brings a tremendous amount of joy that I can’t even begin to explain.

My one year letter to our son:

My sweet boy, Jaxon.

I can’t even start typing this without my eyes becoming moist.

You turn one on Friday… How is that even possible?

It has been a whole year that you have been in our lives and it has been so much fun that the days, weeks and months, have seriously flown by. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that you are one!!!

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It was around this time last year that you were 5 days past your “due” date and it was finally starting to get to me. I had been super patient up to that point and knew that God was doing his finishing touches but I was ready to meet you! All the questions swarmed in my head…

What would you look like? What would your personality be like? Will I finally get to hold my sweet baby in my arms? Is it actually going to happen? Is this really for real?

The anticipation was building and I was starting to get impatient.

Then, the first contraction came….

15 minutes later, another one….

From then on out they never stopped and 50 hours later I was holding you in my arms amazed at this little human being that my body grew.

So crazy.

So unbelievable.

Your dad and I finally had our first born child. What a gift. What a miracle.

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(Image by Evin Photography)

The word says…

Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
(Psalm 127: 3-5a)

… and I personally know this to be true. Over the last year you truly have not only made our lives richer, but you have brought out the best in us.

It has been SO fun seeing you grow from a tiny helpless infant, to a baby that can grab at things, roll over, sit on his own, say our names, use sign language, crawl, and now begin to take his first steps.

Completely amazing.

You are not only a joy to me and your dad, but you brighten many, if not hundreds of lives each day. Who you are is a constant reminder of an answered prayer – when I was pregnant with you, I kept a prayer journal and I prayed to the Lord for…

… our son’s personality and disposition. Create him to be easy going, affectionate with other people and have your joy flowing through him. Let him light up a room with his smiles and laughter.”

I have lost count how many people have told us what a smiley baby you are and that they look forward to seeing you each day online because it brightens their day. Jaxon, you are one in a million, kid, and I am so honored that God chose ME to be your mom.

View More: http://amyandjordan.pass.us/zach-jody-and-jax

(Jaxon 6 months | Image by Amy and Jordan)

I knew that I would have kids one day but honestly, wasn’t really sure if having kids was going to be that awesome… based on what others have said about their kids. And I never really got why people talked about their kids all the time.

Now, I get it.

I get it all, and those people who view their kids as a burden and complain about them are missing out on something special. You haven’t halted our lives, you enhance our lives. Sure, it’s not as easy anymore to just pick up and go, but it’s really not a big deal. Life is waaaaay more fun with you!

What I love about you….

– I love how you are the only person in the world who can wake dad up in the morning and actually have him SMILE back at you (your dad loves his morning sleep :))
– I love how when I enter a room you turn to me and crawl with your toothy, open-mouthed smile as fast as you can to get to me
– I love it when I pick you up and your little legs grip onto me and your arm goes on my shoulder
– I love how you like to explore EVERYthing and taste-test it all – the edible and the not-so-edible.
– I love your determination and your curiosity
– I love your sweetness around other kids and how you just take it all in
– I love our sweet moments together before bed when we just sit with each other, your head on my chest, your hand on my arm, and your heart in mine.

We were told that it gets even better with each new phase and season and I can’t agree more. I cannot wait to have conversations with you, actually sit down and go on adventures together in a book (right now you’re more interested in eating the pages…), and explore the world through your little eyes. If the past is any glimpse of the joys we will have with you in the future then I am strapped in and buckled, ready to enjoy the ride.

Happy one year birthday, Jaxon I truly never knew what love like this felt like until I had you. You are the best thing that has happened to me and your dad and I will always love you.

Love,
Mom

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Where has the time gone?

Six months… SIX months! Holy, cow it has been six months.

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6 months ago today I gave birth to Jaxon Pierce Gray and he has forever made our lives better. They say it goes by fast, but holy moly, it really has. How in the world is he six months old already?

Zach-and-Jody_0001(image by Amy & Jordan Photography)

Jaxon, you have made me a better person and I am so proud to be called your mom. You are a ray of sunshine in our lives and there are so many firsts and sweet moments we have had with you these last six months…

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The Top 10 Lifesavers for New Parents

Being a first-time mom can definitely be an interesting challenge, even for one who may have grown up babysitting her whole life. In my journey of becoming a  mom I have found a few items/resources through friends/birthing class, etc. that have helped smooth the transition of being a first time parent and I wanted to share.  (Feel free to share in the comments any of your own lifesavers that aren’t included here!).

Image by zachandjody.com

Jaxon and I together… some of my all-time favorite moments with him…

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Jaxon’s Story | His 50 hour Entrance Into the World

As I’m starting to write this, it’s Saturday late afternoon and I can’t believe its 4:30 already… Shoot, I can’t believe that Jaxon is 9 days old!! Time flying by has been a theme ever since we got home from the hospital. It’s crazy where the day goes, but as Zach keeps reminding me, we have nothing to do and nowhere to be, so that helps ease the question “Did I get done what I needed to do today?” Our priority and focus is our son and if we have taken care of each other and his needs then we have done well.

As I’m writing, Norah Jones is playing on my phone and little Jax is right next to me swaddled up like a baby burrito sleeping soundly. I kicked Zach out of the house so he could have a break. He has been working so hard here (not like I haven’t… just different) and I could tell he needed to get out and have some man time. So it’s just me and the little man.

I thought I would take some time to share with you all our birth story! The 50 hours of labor kind of blended together, so below is to the best of my memory, Zach’s and what the midwives told me 🙂

For those of you who want to skip the story and head straight to the images, click below to view the slideshow of the birth by photographer and friend, Evin.

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Parenting Words of Wisdom

I think every marriage should have mentors, counselors – SOME other couple (or person) pouring into their marriage.  No individual is perfect, and therefore no marriage is perfect and there will be bumps along the way and things to work out and work through together.

Since early in our marriage, Zach and I have been seeing this  amazing couple, Dee & Barbi. Our last session with them we were talking about the birth of our son and the fears and worries of being parents.  You know, wanting to be the perfect mom and dad for him and the children that follow (Lord willing) and being afraid of messing them up.  Dee & Barbi shared two things that I’ll never forget that I thought I would share here with you all: Continue reading

From the Heart of One Woman’s Struggles

When I first met her in early 2012 it was in a suite at WPPI with a few other women and I thought she was cute and totally gorgeous. 🙂  As our short meeting went on I learned she was a baby and family photographer and had a love for digging deep into the word.  Little did I know of her own personal, heartbreaking journey that she had been suffering through and wrestling with God for the last 6 years.

Some would call it fate. I would call it God’s perfect timing.  God brought along Jane Johnson to have her world collide with mine.  After our first meeting at WPPI, I had no idea the looming events that would rock my world in the following months and how God would use this remarkable woman to give me the encouragement and faith boost I would need that was the catalyst for God to begin the healing my heart so desperately needed…

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Remembering

There are many ways that people cope with grief and loss, and even how they choose to memorialize (if that’s the right word) those who have left them in this world.

Seeing that so many of you have gone through your own loss of a child,  I wanted to share with you a charm I came across last year on Etsy that is comforting to wear in remembrance of the kids we lost.

BabyCharm

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Anomaly & Gender Scan Today

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Today we go in for an ultra sound and it’s the big, exciting and greatly anticipated appointment where we find out the gender of our precious baby! We are so pumped and excited to know that we FINALLY get to know if we are having a little boy or a little girl. Eeeek!!!

Though today is exciting, there’s a small part of me that’s trying not to worry. See, not only do they do a gender scan but it’s at this ultra sound that they do what they call an anomaly scan. Continue reading

Mother’s Day Thoughts

A year ago on this day, where millions of women were celebrating what they had, I was mourning what I had lost.

Up until a year ago I had always seen Mother’s Day as a happy day, but now realize how painful it can be for some. For those of you out there where this day brings sadness, I pray the Lord turns your mourning into dancing and turns your sorrow into joy.

I know there will be hard times ahead with parenthood and life, but today I am focusing on what He, my heavenly father, has given me. I am so thankful that I get to celebrate Mother’s Day today knowing that we are on track to have our first born child here on earth who gets to call me “mom.” So crazy, so surreal.

(My first Mother's Day cards...)

(My first Mother’s Day cards…)

The message at church today was really interesting and not what I expected it to be.

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Thank you…

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Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

Two days after we made our pregnancy announcement, we were headed off to a marriage retreat and away for almost a week.  I have finally had a chance to respond to all of your comments. I read every comment and am trying to respond to each and every one of you.

Thanks for the congratulations and prayers and also thank-you for sharing your stories.  As your comments were coming in, I found myself reading them out loud to Zach during a car ride and not even being able to get through some of them.  My heart hurts for so many of your losses, but also have been excited to read “… and we now have been blessed with Children.”  For those of you who don’t have that happy ending yet, keep pressing in. Continue reading