Friday, November 30, 2012

Children's HopeChest....Season of Giving

I know that this is a difficult time of year with buying Christmas gifts, traveling, etc. I often get so caught up in it all and get so stressed out trying to organize and handle all of it. Sometimes I forget that there are so many people out there who's greatest concern is having food to eat and clothes to wear .....and here I am stressing about whether the Target on my side of town will have the Leap Frog game my nephew wants but certainly doesn't need. I forget to be grateful for the simplest things sometimes.

  I wanted to post something that has recently become dear to my heart and something I feel really makes a difference. Our Church sermon some time back was about Compassion...helping and giving to those in need. In the few weeks after that, my friend Morgan told me about the Children's HopeChest. Morgan and her husband sponsor 2 children.  100% of it goes to them for food, clothing, school etc. My favorite part about it is you can write your child or children once a month and they will write you back up to twice a year. You can send them pictures and a few times a year people from the organization travel there and will take things to them from you. Morgan has the opportunity to go in August so I will be able to send some things to Joyce (more on her later:)).

For $34.00 a month, a child is fed, clothed, sent to school, provided medical treatment and access to facilities they otherwise wouldn't. But moreso they are given love and hope and faith so that they can overcome the abandonment, violence and poverty surrounding them. I know I spend at least $34.00 a week sometimes on silly things I don't need. I know it's not for everyone, and I know there have been times in my life where I just couldn't do it. But if you can, I promsie it's such a wonderful and rewarding feeling. I am posting because there are a handful of children who still need to be sponsored...and because someone told me about this and I figured I should pay it forward. The goal is to have them all sponsored by the end of December. I want to help and I figured if this blog reaches out to just one person it will be worth it.

There is so much more information here at http://www.hopechest.org

You can also find information at any of these places:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/ChildrensHopeChest
http://www.gallery.mac.com/hopechest
http://www.twitter.com/hope_chest
http://blog.beliefnet.com/redletters/
http://www.vimeo.com/hopechest


This is Joyce. I chose her because my middle name is Joy so I was drawn to her name, she's 11 just like my youngest sister, and for whatever reason I just knew she was the one I should sponsor. When I received all of her information it said she was competitive, loved sports, and loved singing and dancing. We were literally meant to be:)

Joyce lives with her mom who is HIV positive and her 4 other siblings. Her father died from AIDS. She is in the 4th grade and lives in Uganda. I have already written her once and cannot wait to do so again next month. I've been told they cherish the letters and photos they get and have them read to them as our children do with books.


The people behind this organization are such amazing and inspiring people. They make me want to give back so much more. They teach the children about God and despite how they are mistreated by many people, they show them love and give them hope for better lives. These two in particular, Dylan and Jennifer DeBruin. They live in the Des Moines area and their family oversees two CarePoints in war torn Uganda that care for almost 400 orphaned and vulnerable children in the area. You can follow their blog at www.ramblingalien.blogspot.org.


You can see Joyce in this picture:) Her name is on her forehead.

For those of you unable to commit to a monthly sponsorship but still want to help, my friend Morgan is part of a team that is fundraising to help raise money to give the children of Ogoloi Carepoint in Uganda a sanitary kitchen and bathroom. This will help feed the 120 sponsored children of the Carepoint to get sanitary meals 6 days per week and a clean bathroom. She has a goal of $1,000.00. $5, $10...anything helps. You can donate by going to the following link:
http://donate.hopechest.org/site/TR/Events/CommunityPages?px=1031083&pg=personal&fr_id=1142


Here is the current kitchen where 5 widows cook food for the 120 kids in Ogoloi 6 days a week.



Current Bathroom

 
I hope that I was able to reach out to just one person. I cannot believe the effect this has had on me and wish I would have been involved so much sooner. I know some people are unable to do anything despite wanting to, and I can understand that too. Simply praying for these children and families does so much.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My first year as a Mom....

My sweet Jimmer boy turned 1 last week...I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around it. A baby no longer:( I wanted to get down some things I have been feeling and thinking about this whole experienec and what I've learned or what has new meaning.

I've always known I wanted to be a Mother. Long before I was to become one I would think about what their names would be, where we'd live, things we'd do. I was that sterotype..I dreamt of first meeting a wonderful man, marrying him, and having children. My heart would swell with joy thinking about those wonderful days to come. Knowing I wanted to be a Mother, and actually becoming one are so vastly different. I know one day Jimmers little brown eyes will read these posts and learn about what the beginning of what his life was like....I find it so hard to express myself well enough so that he will know what he has done to our lives and how much I love him.

(Warning: I apologize for the sappy post in advance)

LOVE....I am a lover, always have been. I love the feeling of being in love and everything that comes with it...I love my husband. But this is different. It's a different type of love which I'm not sure I can explain correctly. When Jimmers big brown eyes squint at me when he smiles....when he leans in to give me a kiss....when I peek in on him while he's sleeping....when he turns to make sure I see him crawl up those stairs....when I think he's in pain or hurting in any way....his giggle when I tickle his feet....how he dances to any type of music or beat....when he sticks his tongue out...and when he tugs on my pant leg to lift him up....my heart literally feels like it could burst. That's the only way I know how to say it. I feel like my heart is swelling up inside my chest and will explode. I know they say your heart makes more room when you have more children, but I cannot fathom that right now.

WORRY....You know that song..."Mama said there'd be days like this...there'd be days like this ...my Mama said." Never has this rung more true. I worry at work, I worry when he sleeps, I worry when he walks, I worry he's too cold or too hot, I worry he took too big of a piece and will choke, I worry he's getting a rash or a cold, I worry he'll fall down the stairs, I worry when he gets off schedule, I worry his nails are too long. But it's not just stuff that happens right now. I also worry kids will be mean to him someday, that he'll struggle in school, that he won't know how incredible he is, that he'll get his heart broken. I guess this is and will forever be my life....to worry.

TIME....I know that he's a year old but I can't remember how he came to be that way since I feel like I had him a few weeks ago. I am finding time goes faster as we get older. Highschool went faster than middle school, college went faster than highschool, the last 5 years out of college went faster than the 5 years I was in them. And now I'm afraid having children is speeding this up even more. This blog will help me remember things and times that came and went much too quickly. Jimmer went from rolling over to crawling to walking at what felt like lightning speed. I wish we could go back to the rolling over and start from there again. I saw this quote on another blog and it couldn't be more true... "The days are slow...but the years go so fast"

FAMILY...Nick and I are both very much devoted to our families. Family is and has always been important to us and we are very fortunate to have the family that we do. Now that we have our own little family that we are responsible for...I sometimes feel a tremendous amount of pressure. Or rather, I put this pressure on myself. I want Jimmer (and future kiddos) to have that same family dynamic that we had. The big family get togethers, the overwhelming love that surrounds us whenever we are all together. I didn't realize just how incredible my upbringing was and the family God blessed me with until recent years. I didn't grow up wealthy in the sense of money....but I was a billionare as far as I'm concerned.






PATIENCE...It's not all roses and sunshine. The piercing sound of a screaming baby, the day I had sh*t on my nose, waking up in the middle of the night, functioning on half the sleep you got before baby, not being able to make them stop crying no matter what you try, pumping 8 times a day, trying and failing at putting their shoes on their uncooperating limp feet, attempting to make them stay seated in the bathtub, walking around with throw up on your shirt, not having as much time for yourself, feeling completely exhausted and overwhelemd. I could go on. I am finding a deep breath and slowing down help. We may appear to be super women but we're not. My previous impatient self would fall over dead if they saw me now.

UNDERSTANDING....The hardest and most exhausting job I have ever had is being  a Mother. I have a whole new understanding and apprecation for my own. Late night feedings, lack of sleep, breastfeeding, changing diapers, teething, getting them dressed, packing up the car with all their "stuff", entertaining them in the car.....this little person is 100% dependent on you. Every need has to be met by you. Until I became a Mother, I never thought about my parents doing those things for me and going through those times. I get it now. High five Mom and Dad...I appreciate it.

FAITH.... I was raised to be and have always been a Christian. I am so thankful that I had family that made Jesus a part of my life at such a young age and taught me to have a personal relationship with him. I want my kids to know this life as well. Big moments in life naturally make you turn to him more. Great moments and tragic moments alike. Although I need to work on remembering all the little moments and in between moments are his as well, blessing me with my family has given me an overwhelming sense of gratitude and thankfulness. Above all else, I want my children to love and have a relationship with God. If they do this, everything else will fall into place. I think the world is slowly losing this...which I don't think it's a coincidence what's going on around us in the world beacuse of it.

MARRAIGE: When Nick and I found out we were pregnant we had been married all of 3 1/2 months. Granted we had been together nearly 4 years. Because of that, we had agreed after our honeymoon we would let be what was to be. Apparently that was immediately in terms of pregnancy. When you have a baby your relationship changes. Not in a bad way....in a deeper way. Our relationship grew so much stronger the moment Nick brought Jimmers sweet face to mine for the first time and squeezed my hand. But as much as we grew closer, this year was also the most challenging. There are really really hard days. Days where you're running on very little sleep, where one thinks they are doing more than the other, days when one just needs a break at the same time the other does too. So often it appears everything is picture perfect in people's lives. I can assure you that with anything...marriage, babies, jobs....there are days where a drink, cuss word, and a yelling match are taking place to get through it. And I've come to realize it's healthy and normal. The beauty of it is the hard days are followed by so so so many good days. Nick and I work at this together. We've learned so much about who we are as parents, and who we are in our marriage. He is such an amazing Dad....I will never be able to tell Jimmer how much that man loves him. When they are chasing after each other in the kitchen belly laughing, when nick sneaks in to YET AGAIN kiss him goodnight, or when I get countless emails telling me how Jimmer laughed different or started doing something new.....you are a lucky boy Jimmer Jack.

My last pregnancy free days.....we were pregnant just 3 weeks later.
I love this stage. He loves life and has no idea about any of the ugly that exists in the world. He knows no other pain but when he bumps his head, runs a fever, or scratches himself. Nobody judging him and no expectations. I wish it would always be like that.

November 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm, we welcomed our first son Jimmer Jack Larson into the world....and our lives have never been the same....

Just as my Mother said to me.....I love you Jimmer Jack Larson....and don't you ever forget it.










Monday, November 12, 2012

Jimmers very first Birthday Party

I love Pinterest. There are so many cool things to make and places to find inspiration. That being said...I got a lot of ideas from Pinterest and other blogs for Jimmers first birthday party. I chose to do a red car theme because he loves little cars. If I had to pick the theme today I would change it to have to do with balls...that kid says the word "Ball" about 1,000 times a day and has one in his hands at all times! Our house was full and it was a great time. Jimmer will certainly need NO toys for Christmas. He got trucks and clothes and books and a bouncy Tigger and a ball and bat and little basketball hoops for the tub and and a wagon and all sorts of things. Nick and I got him a bigger basketball hoop, a pair of Nike flight tennis shoes and a wagon full of blocks to pull. It was so fun to see it all come together and to see Jimmers face. I know he won't remember...but we will and we can show him what fun it was through pictures and this blog when he's older:) I still can't believe he's one!

 We did walking tacos, chips and salsa, chips and queso, jello jigglers in red and blue to match the theme, and cupcakes. We also had licorice and coke bottles, mini pepsis, and red and blue juice boxes. My Mom made Jimmers smash cake:) I made all the decorations....Pinterest and other bloggers were a huge help! :)




He loved the cake smashing for the most part...towards the end he had had enough!

I think Nick would be great with a little girl...... :)

Jimmer was obsessed with the dog bed...he kept climbing in and out of it...here are a few pictures and a video of him..we were all cracking up!


Always has a ball in his hands...
He also got a Tigger gift from his cousin Kyle that he loved....here he is trying to dance along with him :)

Time is just going much too fast....